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I am at loss to explain the reasons why I do not enjoy festivals like most Indians do.  I never lit crackers during Diwali.  I do not play Garba! (It is a shame for a Gujarati, not able to play Garba). I do fly kites during Uttarayan (Yippieeeeee).  And yes I do not play Holi at all.  During this Holi I was criticized (and rightly so) for not playing Holi and being such a bore for my family (I was too busy seeing Sehwag and India thrash NZ in an ODI was my lame excuse).  I cannot enjoy and appreciate the joys of playing with colors during Holi.  My cousins and relatives in far off Canada send me their Holi pictures as if taking a dig at me :). 

However, Kintu, Parantu I do enjoy and MORE IMPORTANTLY APPRECIATE the different Colors of Hindi Cinema which to a person like me is more important.  Muzaffar Ali (Director of the old “Umrao Jaan” and father of Shad Ali the director of the new “Sathiya”) said in the Sunday Times of India that “Bollywood has nothing to be proud of; Indian Cinema has lost its plot”.  Too many people lament the fact that “Good cinema” is not made in India.  All we get is masala movies and melodramas served by the Bhansalis, Johars, Chopras etc.  Well the good news is, that these people are totally ignorant of the type of cinemas is dished to the audience. Unless you go to the theatres (Yes the important thing is to see in theatres and not in some pirated cheap dvds) and appreciate good cinema, you cannot expect the makers to make good cinema.  Bollywood has a long history of making excellent movies which have flopped (or have not become super hits) at the box office.  From Khamoshi to Dil Se to Shakti (Amitabh, Dilip Kumar) to Kabul Express, audience has NOT learnt the art of appreciating good cinema. Then sitting at home seeing movie on a pirated disc “Experts” would write Obituaries of Hindi Cinema.  Please give me a break.  Sample the following movies released in last few months which have not created a history at box office but have gone down as good, different cinema.

1)      Luck By Chance (Director – Zoya Akhtar, Sister of Farhan Akhtar): This is an odd choice considering the type of movies to follow.  I really enjoyed the movie coz it was the behind the scenes look at our own Film industry.  Manipulation, Greed, Aspirations, Hard work of the strugglers of the Indian firm industry was wonderfully shown in this movie.  The brilliant dialogues by Papa Javed Akhtar were the show stealer (Picture this – On a story sitting the director of the movie gets too “Arty” and the producer played superbly by Rishi Kapoor says  “Mein Yeh picture, film festivals ke liye nahi bana raha ho”).  The superstar and superstar kids’ tantrums, cameos by Hritik, Karan Johar, and SRK were very well used.  Zoya being a star Kid, she would know all about the film industry double standards.   

 

Luck By Chance

Luck By Chance

 

 

 2)      Dev D (Director – Anuray Kashyap): In the movie No entry ( See this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3snfmK1ij4) Anil Kapoor goes to a doctor for check up.  The doctor asks whether Anil drinks too much of Alcohol.  To this Anil replies “Kkkk Kaun Kambakth Sharab pita he, mene to jisse pyaar kiya usi se shaadi ki”. The doctor replies “Chauthi (4th) Devdas banate reh gaye”.   However Anurang Kashyap was not to be deterred by this funny remark.  He came up with his own modern day Devdas in the form of Dev D.  If someone (Read  ME) had to learn about cinema and wanted to assist some good director, Anurag Kashyap would be one of my top picks.  The modern devdas is into drugs as much as Alcohol.  The Paro is modern too communicating with our Dev through SMS and internet.  An ordinary school going gal becomes Chandramukhi because of a MMS scandal.  Abhay Deol as Dev is mind blowing.  How can a deol do such an “emosional” role is a thing I fail to understand.  Anurag had said in an interview that it was difficult to come up with screenplay to portray the bone of contention between Paro and Dev.  Unlike the devdas of the old, he could not show communication gap in this modern day saga.  How he managed to do it, is to be seen in the movie.

Dev D

Dev D

3)      Billu Barber (Director – Priyadarshan):  I have always dreamt of SRK working with few directors he has not worked till now to see what magic it can bring to the screen.  To see SRK in a Priyadarshan movie was a treat in itself.  Though SRK the producer needs a bigger applause than SRK the actor.  This was not a typical multiplex movie. This was not a movie in which SRK was in the lead.  It had the extremely talented Irrfan Khan in the lead roll.  The modern day Krishana – Sudama story was a sight to behold (Again in theatres off course).  SRK the modern day Krishna (Movie Superstar to complete the analogy) and Irrfan as the very likeable Sudama (Poor Hair dresser to complete the analogy– Cannot use the word Barber as it was dropped after some controversy by Hair dresser’s association).  This movie did not rake in the mullah like Rab Ne or Gajhini but was a touching tale of 2 “Friends”.  I do not know whether SRK would ever be associated with Priyadarshan again, till then I might have to watch this movie on DVD/TV.

Billu

Billu

 

 

4)      13B (Director – Vikram Kumar): I have to confess that I had not heard about Vikram Kumar the director till I was impressed by this super natural thriller.  I found out that he is a national award winning director for a short film about Suicide. Television is used as a metaphor.  The best thing about this movie is the 2nd half is better than 1st half. Most of the Indian movies suffer from this phenomenon where they make the first half so engrossing elevating the audience expectations, only to fall flat in the 2nd half.  I cannot remember many super natural thrillers made in India. This movie keeps you at the edge of the seat and the suspense at the end is not farcical as with many suspense movies in India. Latest News: The Weinstein Company, a famous Hollywood production company has bought the rights to re make this thriller! Bollywood to Hollywood!!

13B

13B

 

 5) Gulal (Director Anurag Kashyap):  I saw this movie yesterday and still cannot stop thinking about it.  Brilliant political/human drama against the backdrop of Rajputana movement in Rajasthan.  Kay Kay Menon, Piyush Mishra, Raj Singh Chaudhary, Abhimanyu Singh (Hardly a name would ring a bell but see their performance and one would know the power of cinema) were all brilliant in equal measure.  If being swept of your feet was an idiom, then it could well be apt for this movie.  We all know politics is more for personal gain and vendetta and no movie proves it more than this movie.  Even the great Shekhar Kapoor has given thumbs up to this movie.  The wonderful lyrics add beauty to the movie (This is a political satire as well, read this lyrics

Haayeee Ranaji Maare Gusse Mein Aaye

Aiso Balkhaaye, Agiya Barsaaye,Ghabraaye Marro Chein

Jaise Durr Desh Ke , Jaise Durr Desh Ke

Tower Mein Ghus Jaaye Re Aeroplane”

Powerful story, screenplay power packed performance, earthly music, this is a 5 star rating movie after a long long time.

How many of these movies have the readers seen in theaters????? Think about this before you make any statements about the state of Indian movie scenario.

Gulaal

Gulaal

 Coming back to the title of the blog – “Why would not I see A movie in Theatre”.  This movie is Firaaq.  The movie has got very good reviews.  I have always made a point to see off beat movies in theatres as compared to blockbusters (I could not see Jab we Met in theatres and do not regret it. It will find audience unlike movies like Gulaal). One should see a movie before making any statements about it.  However I gone tired of such Anti Gujarat and Anti riots movies and media coverage.  No I am not a BJP campaigner (I have family friends on both side of the aisle), I am not anti congress altogether.  But to praise media coverage, movie which is anti riots is sad.  Human riots allegations are every where.  Take US for e.g. – what it has done in Iraq and Afghanistan is far more gruesome. But who would dare take on the mighty Lion of the jungle.  The US too has the history of Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay then why single out just one state? The pseudo seculars will not shed a tear when Hindus get burnt in trains, Hindus get killed in Kashmir.  Again I must reiterate that I am not a Hindu fanatical.  I am just an ordinary citizen of Gujarat who does not want bias coverage.  Everything should be condemned in equal measure. However equality is a word which exists only in written constitutions and not in reality, after all we are in Kalyug and not in an ideal world.

All out For No Loss:

I think the best films try and not resolve themselves. They set up more questions than they can answer. Or even try and answer, leaving issues in audience minds and emotions” – The genius Shekhar Kapoor on his blog.

 

 

It is SlumDog (Some Blog)

My boss from the United States of Amrica had visited India during Christmas for vacation and official purposes.  We went to buy some stationary for the office. The owner sitting at the counter quoted for every small item available in the store. He would think for a second and then quote a price. No price list. My boss took me to one side and asked me what if he quotes different price to different people! Can’t we buy these things online? I laughed off the suggestion. I said boss if you buy these things online, they will charge your credit card and never deliver the things! He said Wow what a mess.

I visited my local Gas Agency for New Gas connection. There is only one Gas Agency per area fixed by the Government. Also one Gas Bottle per house hold can be obtained. I was told (“Dhamki” in fact) that if I do not buy the accessories like Rice, Tea, and Gas Stove along with the Main Gas connection then he would not sell it. Even the local Newspaper had reported such misgivings. I told him that I am a lawyer and would not buy other stuff. He growled, I will see to it how you will get a new Gas connection.  How can a household survive without Gas in the home even for a weak or for a day? I bought the other accessories as I did not have a choice (Internally I decided to fight this in court).

I applied for a Credit Card through Tata called Tata Card (“Tatacard.com”). I visited the place from where I had applied 4 times but there was no one to tell me what the status of the application was. I emailed the Tata Card website but they asked me for an application # which obviously I did not have.

Today Jan 24, 09 I visited a Tea Stall to have a cup of tea. I gave the money and told him to deliver it to my car as it was very dusty. The tea never came for 15 mins. I went back and told him (Almost shouted) that why you did not deliver tea? He said I forgot! I said that you did not forget to take money from me. He quietly gave the money back not listening to what I was saying (Read Shouting).

 

Phir Bhi Dil He Hindustani……..

There is something about this Country – India the Great. No matter what the shortcomings are we love this country, don’t we? There is also much to like about this country which could keep us going.  Vikas Swaroop would surely have similar feelings. He is an Indian Diplomat (Indian Foreign Service) currently placed in Pretoria, South Africa.  He wrote the novel “Q and A”.  I visited few Book stores to buy the book.  One of the store owner said that he gave the book back to his distributor as he could not even sale one book. The price of the book was Rs. 195 odd.  After the global success of “SlumDog Millionaire” which is based on “Q and A”, this book is not available in market due to a different reason.  It is a sell out. I could not even order online through Rediff.com. Vikas has re packaged the book giving the same title name as the movie and now is priced at around Rs. 300.  Though more people in India will spend Rs. 200-300 on a movie ticket + popcorn then on such a world class book. The extremely pacy and touching movie SlumDog is based on this novel.  At the end of the movie I almost stood up and started to clap.

The movie is nominated not for one, two but 10 Oscars.  This movie has been able to garner global attention which is rare for movies made here. The script by Simon Beafouy is as good as it gets. I personally love thrillers and this movie is wonderfully scripted.  The director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach starring Leonardo Caprio) was initially not that keen to make a movie based on this Reel Life “Who wants to be a Millionaire”. The script writer Simon Beafouy had before written the script of the successful and funny “Full Monty” (Story of Few Men who take on Striptease to earn money!).   Danny then decided to take a look at the script and thankfully made the movie. This rag to riches story of the Slum man who loves his Girl Friend to death is more like a Bollywood movie made by an English Director (The scriptwriter Simon did see some of the Indian movies like Deewar, Satya to know more about Bollywood movies and Dark side of Mumbai). The Characterization is superbly done. Ram Gopal Verma had once said that movies are remembered for the characters for e.g. Gabbar, Mugambo etc.  All the characters Salim, Jamaal itch on your mind even after the movie is over.  The script is expertly written with each question on the show interwoven with the life and story of the central character Jamaal.  I have a wish that the Indian Technicians who regularly learn how to shoot scenes, shots from “Foreign” (I have not used the word Hollywood because the director Danny Boyle and the script writer are English) counterparts should also take classes how to write scripts. Many of the scenes in the movie are memorable – 1) the young Jamaal stepping on Shit to take an Autograph of Amitabh Bachhan,  2) ……. Let me not be the party pooper. I know many of the readers have not seen the movie so let me not describe the scenes here.  The referencing of “The Three Musketeeers” and Blind Poet Surdas (Thanks to my wife for drawing my attention) is exceptional. The editing is crisp and the cinematography top notch.  The way director Danny Boyle has shot the movie, it seems like he has lived in Mumbai all his life. The underbelly of the city is beautifully captured.  The slums, beggars and the entire city life (the other life of city which is non metro life) of Mumbai is shown like Real Life and not Reel Life.   Often the transformation from book to movie is not very well done.  My favorite book Da Vinci Code‘s movie adaptation was a disaster. Even Harry Potter movies are not up to the standard of its books. Though we also have some cracking examples like Lord of the Rings. Except for Devdas and few other novels, the Bollywood directors are not keen to base movies on books (They generally turn to Hollywood for ready made scripts).

 

Lovleen Tondon is the casting director of the movie. She also has been christened Co Director of the movie due to her active involvement. She was the Indian contact for the English Production house.  She put forward each actor for all the characters. And how well she has done her job.  Dev Patel (From the United Kingdom not India) as Jamaal has done a stunning job. The innocence of the character is beautifully captured by facial expressions which is difficult to get from trained actors.  Irfan Khan, Freida Pinto as the heroine, Saurabh Shukla do their job efficiently. Danny the director was quizzed in an interview as to why Anil Kapoor was chosen as the Host of KBC (Who wants to be a Millionaire) and not SRK, Amitabh. He justified saying that the character of the host is bit Evil. He is not the gracious host and would have been difficult for the Indian audience to digest if SRK or Amitabh had played it.  Anil Kapoor who has played the character very well adds some star value to the movie.

 

All the bouquets received by the movie, also come with quite a few Brickbats as well.  Amitabh Bachhan in his blog has said that this movie is celebration of India’s poverty. Right from the Satyajit Ray days the movies based on India/made by Indians have come into limelight only which shows the dark side and problems of India – Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding, Bandit Queen to name a few. To a great extent it is true.  All the Escapist cinema movies made by the Farhans, Johars, Bhansalis and the chopras would not be appreciated by the Western audience.  Certainly the westerners do not see the Glossy Malls, Cars, Theatres (From personal experience – Most of the Indian Multiplexes are better looking than many of the U.S. movie theatres ). Most of the urban households in Indian cities have a car.  In Ahmedabad, the city I live has a Toyota, Honda car parked in every street.  If India is shown as a dark, poor, problematic country then it is called “Real” cinema and if you show great sets, dance moves then it is escapist cinema which does not impress the western audience.  The movies that have been nominated at the Oscars have been Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.  Satyajit Ray has been given a life time achievement award by the Oscars! All the movies have celebrated India’s problems and not the progress.

The makers of the movie have disagreed with this argument.  One way of looking at it is the movie is based on the novel. There was no eye brow raised on the novel! Now when the movie is doing well then the detractors are out on the prowl. If Madhur Bhandarkar makes a movie based on Beggars as Traffic Signal then it is not a problem, but if a foreign person shows Beggars then it is bad.  The growth of the central character Jamaal from childhood to Adulthood of the movie is shown as coinciding with growth of the city. The character says “Bombay Mumbai ban Chuka Tha” with Fly overs, High Rises as the back drop of the scene. Every star has given his opinion on this point. The best analysis came from Arshad Warsi on the Premier of the movie. He said that even Westerners make movie on their own problems. Their problems are social in nature and not economical (though now in this era of “Mandi” this is not true). They make movies on Drugs, Child Crime, Mafia etc. which show their issues. Slums, Poverty, Hygiene, and Discipline are our problems.

Surely this movie could be celebration of Indian problems but this movie could push the Indian cinema into limelight. The Oscar jury would now know how crazy Indians are for Movies, Cricket and Amitabh Bachhan.  A R Rehman the genius has been nominated for 3 Oscars. He has extremely good chance in the Best Song category as 2 of the 3 songs nominated are from this movie.  Gulzar too has been nominated for lyrics. The sound engineer Resul Pookutty will have the chance to run in the race in the category of Sound Mixing. Not to forget the Best movie, Best Director, Adapted Screenplay categories at the Oscars.  So the question is “Is this an Indian movie or British”??? Shekar Kapoor has firmly said that this movie is Indian movie. He argues that even Bandit Queen was sponsored by foreign money. This movie is based on the novel written by Indian diplomat. Most of the actors and technicians are Indian.  Though it is true that this movie would not have obtained such world wide fame if had been made by a “Brown” Director.  The credit must go to the “White” director to take the Indian cinema to the world!

This may not be the best ever movie to come out from India. The soundtrack by Rehman may not be the best EVER given by him. However consider this great movie to be the best celebration possible of Indian movies. The end titles of the movie end by the wonderful song “Jai Ho”. Let this movie be “Jai Ho” at the Oscars.

 

All Out For No Loss

Sau Me Se 80 Baimaan phir bhi mera Desh Mahaan (80/100 of the nationals are Cheaters but still my country is great) – Nana Patekar’s famous dialogue in his own style.  

It is Some Blog (SlumDog)

My boss from the United States of Amrica had visited India during Christmas for vacation and official purposes.  We went to buy some stationary for the office. The owner sitting at the counter quoted for every small item available in the store. He would think for a second and then quote a price. No price list. My boss took me to one side and asked me what if he quotes different price to different people! Can’t we buy these things online? I laughed off the suggestion. I said boss if you buy these things online, they will charge your credit card and never deliver the things! He said Wow what a mess.

I visited my local Gas Agency for New Gas connection. There is only one Gas Agency per area fixed by the Government. Also one Gas Bottle per house hold can be obtained. I was told (“Dhamki” in fact) that if I do not buy the accessories like Rice, Tea, and Gas Stove along with the Main Gas connection then he would not sell it. Even the local Newspaper had reported such misgivings. I told him that I am a lawyer and would not buy other stuff. He growled, I will see to it how you will get a new Gas connection.  How can a household survive without Gas in the home even for a weak or for a day? I bought the other accessories as I did not have a choice (Internally I decided to fight this in court).

I applied for a Credit Card through Tata called Tata Card (“Tatacard.com”). I visited the place from where I had applied 4 times but there was no one to tell me what the status of the application was. I emailed the Tata Card website but they asked me for an application # which obviously I did not have.

Today Jan 24, 09 I visited a Tea Stall to have a cup of tea. I gave the money and told him to deliver it to my car as it was very dusty. The tea never came for 15 mins. I went back and told him (Almost shouted) that why you did not deliver tea? He said I forgot! I said that you did not forget to take money from me. He quietly gave the money back not listening to what I was saying (Read Shouting).

 

Phir Bhi Dil He Hindustani……..

There is something about this Country – India the Great. No matter what the shortcomings are we love this country, don’t we? There is also much to like about this country which could keep us going.  Vikas Swaroop would surely have similar feelings. He is an Indian Diplomat (Indian Foreign Service) currently placed in Pretoria, South Africa.  He wrote the novel “Q and A”.  I visited few Book stores to buy the book.  One of the store owner said that he gave the book back to his distributor as he could not even sale one book. The price of the book was Rs. 195 odd.  After the global success of “SlumDog Millionaire” which is based on “Q and A”, this book is not available in market due to a different reason.  It is a sell out. I could not even order online through Rediff.com. Vikas has re packaged the book giving the same title name as the movie and now is priced at around Rs. 300.  Though more people in India will spend Rs. 200-300 on a movie ticket + popcorn then on such a world class book. The extremely pacy and touching movie SlumDog is based on this novel.  At the end of the movie I almost stood up and started to clap.

The movie is nominated not for one, two but 10 Oscars.  This movie has been able to garner global attention which is rare for movies made here. The script by Simon Beafouy is as good as it gets. I personally love thrillers and this movie is wonderfully scripted.  The director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach starring Leonardo Caprio) was initially not that keen to make a movie based on this Reel Life “Who wants to be a Millionaire”. The script writer Simon Beafouy had before written the script of the successful and funny “Full Monty” (Story of Few Men who take on Striptease to earn money!).   Danny then decided to take a look at the script and thankfully made the movie. This rag to riches story of the Slum man who loves his Girl Friend to death is more like a Bollywood movie made by an English Director (The scriptwriter Simon did see some of the Indian movies like Deewar, Satya to know more about Bollywood movies and Dark side of Mumbai). The Characterization is superbly done. Ram Gopal Verma had once said that movies are remembered for the characters for e.g. Gabbar, Mugambo etc.  All the characters Salim, Jamaal itch on your mind even after the movie is over.  The script is expertly written with each question on the show interwoven with the life and story of the central character Jamaal.  I have a wish that the Indian Technicians who regularly learn how to shoot scenes, shots from “Foreign” (I have not used the word Hollywood because the director Danny Boyle and the script writer are English) counterparts should also take classes how to write scripts. Many of the scenes in the movie are memorable – 1) the young Jamaal stepping on Shit to take an Autograph of Amitabh Bachhan,  2) ……. Let me not be the party pooper. I know many of the readers have not seen the movie so let me not describe the scenes here.  The referencing of “The Three Musketeeers” and Blind Poet Surdas (Thanks to my wife for drawing my attention) is exceptional. The editing is crisp and the cinematography top notch.  The way director Danny Boyle has shot the movie, it seems like he has lived in Mumbai all his life. The underbelly of the city is beautifully captured.  The slums, beggars and the entire city life (the other life of city which is non metro life) of Mumbai is shown like Real Life and not Reel Life.   Often the transformation from book to movie is not very well done.  My favorite book Da Vinci Code‘s movie adaptation was a disaster. Even Harry Potter movies are not up to the standard of its books. Though we also have some cracking examples like Lord of the Rings. Except for Devdas and few other novels, the Bollywood directors are not keen to base movies on books (They generally turn to Hollywood for ready made scripts).

 

Lovleen Tondon is the casting director of the movie. She also has been christened Co Director of the movie due to her active involvement. She was the Indian contact for the English Production house.  She put forward each actor for all the characters. And how well she has done her job.  Dev Patel (From the United Kingdom not India) as Jamaal has done a stunning job. The innocence of the character is beautifully captured by facial expressions which is difficult to get from trained actors.  Irfan Khan, Freida Pinto as the heroine, Saurabh Shukla do their job efficiently. Danny the director was quizzed in an interview as to why Anil Kapoor was chosen as the Host of KBC (Who wants to be a Millionaire) and not SRK, Amitabh. He justified saying that the character of the host is bit Evil. He is not the gracious host and would have been difficult for the Indian audience to digest if SRK or Amitabh had played it.  Anil Kapoor who has played the character very well adds some star value to the movie.

 

All the bouquets received by the movie, also come with quite a few Brickbats as well.  Amitabh Bachhan in his blog has said that this movie is celebration of India’s poverty. Right from the Satyajit Ray days the movies based on India/made by Indians have come into limelight only which shows the dark side and problems of India – Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding, Bandit Queen to name a few. To a great extent it is true.  All the Escapist cinema movies made by the Farhans, Johars, Bhansalis and the chopras would not be appreciated by the Western audience.  Certainly the westerners do not see the Glossy Malls, Cars, Theatres (From personal experience – Most of the Indian Multiplexes are better looking than many of the U.S. movie theatres ). Most of the urban households in Indian cities have a car.  In Ahmedabad, the city I live has a Toyota, Honda car parked in every street.  If India is shown as a dark, poor, problematic country then it is called “Real” cinema and if you show great sets, dance moves then it is escapist cinema which does not impress the western audience.  The movies that have been nominated at the Oscars have been Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.  Satyajit Ray has been given a life time achievement award by the Oscars! All the movies have celebrated India’s problems and not the progress.

The makers of the movie have disagreed with this argument.  One way of looking at it is the movie is based on the novel. There was no eye brow raised on the novel! Now when the movie is doing well then the detractors are out on the prowl. If Madhur Bhandarkar makes a movie based on Beggars as Traffic Signal then it is not a problem, but if a foreign person shows Beggars then it is bad.  The growth of the central character Jamaal from childhood to Adulthood of the movie is shown as coinciding with growth of the city. The character says “Bombay Mumbai ban Chuka Tha” with Fly overs, High Rises as the back drop of the scene. Every star has given his opinion on this point. The best analysis came from Arshad Warsi on the Premier of the movie. He said that even Westerners make movie on their own problems. Their problems are social in nature and not economical (though now in this era of “Mandi” this is not true). They make movies on Drugs, Child Crime, Mafia etc. which show their issues. Slums, Poverty, Hygiene, and Discipline are our problems.

Surely this movie could be celebration of Indian problems but this movie could push the Indian cinema into limelight. The Oscar jury would now know how crazy Indians are for Movies, Cricket and Amitabh Bachhan.  A R Rehman the genius has been nominated for 3 Oscars. He has extremely good chance in the Best Song category as 2 of the 3 songs nominated are from this movie.  Gulzar too has been nominated for lyrics. The sound engineer Resul Pookutty will have the chance to run in the race in the category of Sound Mixing. Not to forget the Best movie, Best Director, Adapted Screenplay categories at the Oscars.  So the question is “Is this an Indian movie or British”??? Shekar Kapoor has firmly said that this movie is Indian movie. He argues that even Bandit Queen was sponsored by foreign money. This movie is based on the novel written by Indian diplomat. Most of the actors and technicians are Indian.  Though it is true that this movie would not have obtained such world wide fame if had been made by a “Brown” Director.  The credit must go to the “White” director to take the Indian cinema to the world!

This may not be the best ever movie to come out from India. The soundtrack by Rehman may not be the best EVER given by him. However consider this great movie to be the best celebration possible of Indian movies. The end titles of the movie end by the wonderful song “Jai Ho”. Let this movie be “Jai Ho” at the Oscars.

 

All Out For No Loss

Sau Me Se 80 Baimaan phir bhi mera Desh Mahaan (80/100 of the nationals are Cheaters but still my country is great) – Nana Patekar’s famous dialogue in his own style. One more dialogue from the actual movie “Allah Aur Raam Na Hote to Aaj Meri Maa Hote”.

 slum

Surfing the TV Channels is our national favorite pass time. I was engaging in the same act, when for a fraction of second I saw Sooraj Barjatya leaving a Music Reality Show (I did not stay for too long on the channel to notice the name of the show) and I thought wow! Even Mr. Barjatya the normally shy and not so media savvy director had to resort to such antics (BTW he was promoting his not so exciting Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi). However Sooraj is not to be blamed. Every Tom, …., Harry of the Tinsel Town is making appearances to promote their films (or themselves for that matter).

 

Now the people associated with film making particularly the Directors have a face to them. When Farhan Akhtar made his acting debut in Rock On, people were surprised. He has now started his own show named “Oye its Friday” on NDTV Imagine on the lines of Karan Johar and Sajid Khan. Sajid Khan and Kunal Kohli have made the successful transition from TV hosts to successful directors, though Sajid has only given one movie and it is too early to call. Farah Khan, every singer/music director/Choroegrapher, Madhur Bhandarkar, ……….. are all hosts/judges on some reality show or the other. It has become necessary in this world that people identify your movies with some known face. Once Himesh was asked as to why he choose acting. To this he replied: It is every common man’s dream to come in front of the camera and be appreciated! It is the need of the hour. In India it is an unwritten rule to go with the flow. Currently Reality Shows are the order of the day, hence every channel have their fare share of them. Even the news channel do not hesitate to promote the Big Bosses (are they paid?) of the TV world.

 

So – the question is can you break the mold? Well there is one person who dare does it and how! Aditya Yash Chopra, the son of legendary Yash Chopra is the man. He has taken the Yash Raj brand to such heights that it is the model for other Movie Corporate houses to follow. He has allowed the brand to grow beyond itself. Even the great Sanjan Bhansali who goes into hibernation after every movie, re appears to promote his releases. But our Aditya does not do so. He is faceless.

 

Trying to find video interviews (or even Press interviews for that matter) for Aditya Chopra is like finding a needle from a haystack. Currently his brand is under the scanner. Except “Chak De” his movies off late have not done well by Yash Raj standards. Still you will not find him promoting his movie anywhere. The only time he is in news is when his alleged Affair ( deep love?) for Rani makes it to the tabloids. Though SRK does ensure that his share of interviews are more than enough for the movie. He lets the audience decide for themselves. I keep telling my friends that he is genius and my knowledgeable friends shoot back saying how can u judge a director just by 2/3 releases. He has off course directed the longest running movie DDLJ, Mohabatein and now Rab Ne Bana De Jodi. He is also an excellent script writer having scripted some of the biggest hits like Veer Zara. One another striking common trait he shares with other great directors is this: They seem to direct a movie, go to their shell (as if to energize themselves) and suddenly out of the blue come back when none expect them to. May be the great directors need that break to gather their thoughts. After Titanic how many movies has James Cameroon Directed? Shekhar Kapoor has done hardly any work except Elizabeth. Spielberg too takes 2 to 4 years to direct a movie and the list could go on. Why it took Aditya 7/8 years to direct a movie himself will never be known. Though it just took 12 days for him to write this script of Rab Ne!

 

The opening couple of scenes of Rab Ne catch the essence of the movie. In the first shot Surinder Sahni (SRK) is shown with White sports shoes under normal dress pants and then for next half an hour or so the character hardly utters a dialogue. As my childhood friend Jaydeep observed that he had about couple of dialogues in first half an hour or so. Still the character is so well written (and acted off course) that it manages to engage the audience. Surinder’s common man life – like cooking his own breakfast, washing his own dishes or bathing under a tap remains itched in your memories. How this commonest of the common man wins the heart of the leading lady makes the movie worth going to theater to. The diagonally opposite character of “Raj” is over the top but is there to bring the contrast to Surinder’s character to the fore. Surinder’s character is underplayed. The script is handled sensitively. The scenes like Surinder telling his “Wife” that he does not know what a love is, not saying a word on wife’s demand of going to a dance show and just leaving money behind are touching. The entire plot revolves around 4 principal characters and as observed by noted review writer Khalid Mohammed in Hindustan times that thankfully no screen time is wasted in unnecessary details like parents, relatives of Surinder’s characters. Few of the scenes are funny which is strange as per SRK because as he tries to divulge some information on Aditya’s life and lets loose the secret that Adi is not a funny man in his real life (Great we get to know of something about him). The song “Haule Haule” is very sweet and easily the best track of the album. The medley featuring five of the best beauties (Rani is there off course) in a song with SRK is a treat to watch. The camera work is first grade and the movie seems to be a medium budget “quickie” shot in few sets over a period of 45 odd days straight. The choreography by Vaibhavi Mercant and Shiamak Davar is top notch. At the end of the movie you feel that why does not Aditya direct more movies?

 

Though like most movies (Except for may be Munnabhai, Lagaan, Rang De basanti) this too comes with few flaws of its on. The narrative becomes a tad slow in few portions. The music of the movie is not in the league of the movies directed by Aditya’s own “Disciples” like Karan Johar, Siddharth Anand ( Bachana Ae Haseeno, Salaam Namaste). When he has the whole music industry at his disposal, then why would he choose Salim Suleiman is surprising. The music is v good but not of blockbuster quality like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Na Ho, Tashan, Bachana Ae Haseeno. Aditya does not have to go any further than his own father to get some inspiration for choosing good music. The overall story reminds you of many movies of the past like Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Woh Saat Din. Many have raised the question as to how can the wife not recognize the husband without the mustache! Cinematic liberty (license) ka full tus use or may be too much.

 

This movie would not have been made and would not have become a big hit without the one and the only one THE KING KHAN. Just like Sachin hit the century in the Chennai test and silenced his critics once and for ever, even the King Khan has hit two birds with one stone:

 

Criticism # 1:

 

SRK does not get into the skin of a character like Aamir Khan. When he plays Devdas or the Don, its the characters who become SRK rather than the other way around. Real acting consists of the audience remembering the character and not the actor.

 

SRK’s Answer:

 

Just look at the performance of his as Surinder. He has literally lived the character. SRK is Surinder Sahni and not the other way around. Kudos!

 

Criticism # 2

 

SRK never takes on roles where there is importance given to other actors. He would not take confrontational roles like in Race ( Saif, Akshay Khanna), Deewange (Ajay and Akshay Khanna) etc.

 

SRK’s Answer:

 

He does not need to! SRK has completely carried the whole film on his shoulders. He does not need any other actor to support him! Most actors who have other actors need it to carry the movie and also sell it to the distributors! Not Mr. Khan. He is a one man army.

 

How we wish that this Jodi (Aditya and SRK) churns out movies more regularly. The movie has done very good business in almost all the sectors and will put new lease of life in Yash Raj’s off late flop banner. Aditya might have chosen few poor scripts for his production movies recently, but he has come out winner in his all three directorial movies.

 

Hum Hain Rahe Pyaar Ke, Phir Milenge, Chalte Chalte. (The “Takiya Kalam” of the character Raj in the movie).

 

All out For No loss

 

Tushar Kapoor in a recent interview was quizzed about recession hitting the movie industry and whether he was ready to drop his price: “ I always look for quality work, I am not concerned about price. The new offers I have received have paid me more than ever before!” Real meaning of this – “ I am ready to work in any movie, I can work for any throw away price. Recently I am getting also paid for the new roles!

 

 

 

 

 

Winds of “Change”

 

Internet and News channel (for that matter all) websites is a good way to catch up things one has missed. I had the opportunity to see the Gavaskar- Sachin interview by Rajdeep Sardesai on the CNN-IBN’s website. The eloquent Gavaskar was asked – What is the thing that strikes about Sachin the most. He replied – “Balance On the Field and OFF IT”!

It looks like just yesterday when I used to see the highlights of the India – Australia test series of 1992. Doordarshan would provide a half hour highlights package of the matches. My parents and me included would leave everything aside for that half hour at night. I was just hardly ten years old. Little did I realize that the Perth Century that Sachin scored were to become part of folklore today. However much water has passed under the bridge after that.

Anil Kumble has taken a gracious exit and Ganguly has announced his retirement when he was almost ready to receive the boot. Their retirement was as much due to pressure of the media as much due to their fragile bodies. M S Dhoni is the reigning king of Indian cricket now. He is the captain of all three formats of the game. Dravid (why is he so out of form) Laxman, Sachin would not survive for too long. Though Sachin has said indirectly that he might play the 2011 World Cup to be played in the sub continent for one last hurray. Dhoni has brought a fresh approach to captaincy. His leadership qualities are impressing even the brilliant minds of cricket. After taking on the ODI job, he went about changing the old guard and more importantly delivering with the new crop of players. He has done in ODIs what Greg Chappel wanted to do but in a different manner. Dhoni has changed the mindset of Indian cricketers especially those coming from non traditional centers. He also leads by example as evidenced by the fact that he is the # 1 ODI batsman. His captaincy is astute and he looks so calm and composed on the field and off it. Even on the press conferences he has a smile and answers the volley of questions just like he would treat a spinner.

MSD
MSD

 

He is not from a regular cricketing culture (he is form Ranchi). For too long the Mumbai and the South lobby has dominated the Indian Cricket. The mindset of crickets now from non regular centers has changed because of players like Dhoni. In india one should be level headed else could falter away much like the Azhars, Jadejas and Kamblis. The ODI team looks fresh rather than Old and sloppy and Dhoni could be and should be credited for this change. He does not like his team mates to take a backward step. He looks promising and the whole of India has high expectations from him. Even the cricketing world is praising him ( for e.g. the tactics used of negative bowling in the last test might not have won many fans but he can point to the scoreboard as an answer). What he has done is to give hope to the millions of unforgiving fans of Indian cricket. People have hope that this young charismatic leader will lead Indian cricket to top rankings in all three formats of the game. In the short term as the captain more often than not he has taken the right decisions and there is lot of promise for the future.

 

There is where the problem starts. To keep up to the expectations (Indian Fans expectations) is no less than chewing a metal rod. Indian media can easily make a Zero from a hero. The retirement of Kumble and Ganguly is partly due to media pressure as well. It is one thing to promise and other to fulfill them. What has Dhoni done is to give hope that Indian cricket will get better from here. He would a tough task in tests to maintain the consistency after changing of the old guard. It is impossible to replace the likes of Sachin, VVS, Kumble etc. Question is – Dhoni has shown promises to change, however can he really change it?

 

Speaking of charismatic personalities and bringing about a change, how can I not mention the person single handedly responsible to teach and reinvent the whole world a simple English word – “CHANGE”. Barack Obama the President elect ( he is not a president as yet) is a world celebrity now. I was reading some news websites of different countries like New Zealand, Australia, U.K. for their cricketing coverage. Each and every news website had the news of U.S election (which is now a world election) and about Barack Obama. The message of change by him has traveled across the length and breadth of the world. For so long (20 odd years) U.S. had the Clintons and Bushes ruling the country. His campaign mantra “Change” worked (and how) and won one of the most fascinating elections in recent memory. This change is historic as he becomes the first African American to become a President. Writers from all round the world (especially Indian media who is always fascinated in any thing that happens in America, the land of opportunities) have gone gaga over this very very eloquent speaker. He is astute, clever and has brought a fresh approach to US. The US is currently going through severe financial crisis, its worst since the great depression at start of the early century. Financial giants are falling like nine pins. What Obama has done is to bring great hope to the country. The old guard has been changed (John Mccain is in 70s and would have become one of the oldest persons to grace the President’s chair) and he has promised some wholesome changes to the way country is run. Even the Indian media is debating whether we can produce a Obama like figure (Modi?) in Indian politics. However it is impossible when the elections are fought on race, caste rather than any concrete agendas. Obama to his credit has not fought the election on basis of the color of skin. Detractors (like yours truly!) have said that he is too young and naïve to hold this post. But Obama has the personality and aggression ( if you need any evidence of that “Click Here) which the Mccain campaign did not have. He is not from a regular political background (African American Senator with little experience of the big stage). He is calm, composed who appeals to the masses. He has given hope to the Americans that he will lead the country out of this dark era.

OBAMA
OBAMA

 

However the challenges for the senator are immense. It is easy to speak and hard to follow what you speak. Can he deliver even half the things he has promised to? The economy is so rotten that even Obama who is supposed to have a magic wand would have a tough task ahead. People who have flocked to vote for him would expect results (and not just well spoken speeches). His oratory would not fix the falling economy and create dwindling jobs in all sectors.

 

Can the two men (Dhoni and Obama) from different walks of life doing a very different job bring about the Change they have promised? I know it is absurd to even think of comparing the two men and their jobs. They say cricket is just a game after all. It is not a matter of life and death. However the comparisons are not of their jobs but of their personalities and promise to bring changes. I (and the world) hope that they both deliver and I would be the first to stand up and applaud. God bless Indian cricket and America as well.

 

ALL OUT FOR NO LOSS

 

The first song of Rab Ne Bana De jodi is out and extremely hummable. The movie is directed by the path breaking Aditya Chopra – but more on that next time.

 

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