Posts Tagged ‘bollywood

18
Aug
09

Much ado about nothing

Shahrukh Khan arrested and detained  for suspicious behaviour. If you assumed that I’m talking about the recent ‘detainment’ of SRK at Newark International Airport, you are wrong. The arrest I’m talking about is in fact a part of the story of an upcoming Bollywood film.  And guess what, it stars none other but the mighty Shahrukh Khan himself. A mere coincidence? You decide.

Of course, I would be exaggerating if I say the Baadshah of Bollywood planned the ‘detainment’ in advance as a publicity stunt for ‘My Name is Khan‘, his next movie which follows a Muslim’s tribulations in post 9/11 America. You don’t have to pass through the immigration checks at Newark or travel to the USA to realize the ‘torture’ faced by the actor is something every Asian, Muslims in particular have long  faced. But to make such hue and cry about it was absolute shame. Whether you like it or not, these checks have prevented possible security violations.

Shahrukh couldn’t have asked for a better promotion for the film. He was simply in the right place in the right time. He is possibly the best person to know how to handle the media in the right way to hios own advantages. Now all he has to do is to wait for the media to highlight the similarity of the film to this real-life event faced bu the star of the film himself.  He may have shed crocodile tears and threatened ‘never to set foot in the US again’. But at the end of the day he is Bollywood’s biggest star and a big percentage of his moolah comes from overseas, in particular North America. Not just that, the whole incident also would also increase awareness about him among the Americans, probably even land him a future Hollywood role.

Shahrukh should learn a lesson or two from former President APJ Abdul Kalam. He kept his mouth shut and did not want up to stir a controversy after the ‘mistreatment’ meted out to him by an American airline. Be it SRK or Kalam, they are no different from the common man. They may have done great deeds but that doesn’t mean they get special treatment wherever they go. Very few Indians are aware of the fact that even former American Vice President Al Gore was checked after he inadvertently bypassed security. Unlike SRK, he made no fuss about it and politely went through the check.

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26
Jul
09

Review – Luck by Chance: An Insider’s tale

Director – Zoya Akhtar; Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen-Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Isha Sharvani, Dimple Kapadia, Hrithik Roshan

This movie released in January this year and here I am writing a review in June. Now this is something I really regret. I should have been watching this marvellous film relaxing on a posh seat in Sathyam or Inox rather than in my dingy room on my ancient computer. First time director Zoya Akhtar delves behind the glitter and glamour of Bollywood, or rather as the ever lovely Dimple prefers it ‘Hindi Cinema’, and gives us a bold, yet masalaish outlook of the industry.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that when it comes to Indian cinema, there is lot more than what you see or what you read in the tabloids. Om Shanti Om was the last film to poke fun at the industry.  RGV attempted it with Rangeela before that.  Whereas the former dealt with the subject in a rather humerous manner, the latter was more of the hard-hitting category. Luck by Chance, on the other hand has the same old cliches told in a refreshing new manner. For example, unlike her cousin Farah Khan’s OSO, Zoya Akhtar has been careful in not going over the top. The movie tells the story of young Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan Akhtar), who has come down to Bombay from Delhi to see his Bollywood dreams achieved. He meets and slowly develops a romance with Sona Mishra (Konkona Sen-Sharma), a struggling actress who belives someday she too will touch the heights of fame. While Vikram spends time honing his acting skills at a school, Sona is left with no choice but to act bit parts in B-grade movies. Sathish Chowdhury (Ally Khan) a small-time producer takes advantage of her predicament and promises her a ‘big’ role in the future. Meanwhile Vikram unexpectadly manages to bag the lead role in big shot producer Romy Rolly’s (Rishi Kapoor) latest venture after superstar Zafar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) ditches him for Karan Johar’s sure-shot next. The film also acts as a launchpad for Nikki Walia (Isha Sharwani) , the daughter of yesteryear heart-throb Neena (Dimple Kapadia). Conversely on the same day, Sona’s dreams are crushed when Chowdhury shows his true colors and and is left in the lurch. The rest of the film follows Vikram’s life as the new kid on the block and whether success gets into his head and affects his relationship with the ‘lowly’ Sona.luck by chance

The opening credits itself, a montage depicting the hard-work put in by everybody involved in any film, from the caterers to the extras, the light-boys to the set builders, the taliors to the fashion designers, is enough to create a lasting impression of the flick. What makes this movie different from other similar ones like OSO, is that although it digs into the filthy secrets of the industry, it does so in a subtle manner without ‘offending’ anybody. It is not easy to please everone, but Zoya has managed to even please even those at whom she takes a dig at. Writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar has complimented daughter Zoya well. With a strong script and simple, yet hard dialogues, Javed saab has once again proved he is one of the best around. I had never heard of cinematographer Carlos Catalan before this, but his work here is truly exceptional. You almost feel like you’re in the midst of Farhan and others. The soundtrack may not be anything outstanding, the trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy have sure come up with some good tracks. I especially liked the folk sounding Baawre song.

Zoya Akhtar is the daughter of such stalwarts like Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani. Not to mention Farhan is her brother and the beautiful Shabana Azmi is her step-mom. Coming from a typical filmy family, she perfectly understands what goes on behind the scenes. Her past experience as a casting director has well paid of in this flick. After Rock on, Farhan has put up another mindblowing, yet effortless performance as the protoganist. This being just his second film as an actor, he has the right expressions and simplicity of a new-comer, something that the rags-to-riches role demanded. Konkona meanwhile is in a class of her own. Her ‘unbollywoodish’ face perfects fits the bill of the actress struggling for a break. Sona is one character that deserves to be placed next to that of her award-winning character from Mr and Mrs Iyer. I would have loved to see Rishi and Dimple once again as love birds, but their respective roles more than make up for it. Dimple especially deserves a special mention as her’s is a role that echoes that of many former Bollywood starlets. Isha Sharwani may have gone unnoticed among the other major roles, but her character of the star-kid with zero acting skills is indeed special. After all, to act like someone who can’t get even the most basic dialogues right is no easy task. Her character is one of my favorite in the film. All the others including Hrithik in an extended cameo are realistic and translates one cliche or the other.

Apart from Hrithik, the film also features cameos from stars like Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachachan, Akshaye Khanna, John Abraham, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Ranbir Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Dia Mirza, Ronit Roy and also others such as Karan Johar, Rajkumar Hirani, Javed Akhtar, Mac Mohan, Manish Malhotra and Anurag Kashyap all of whom play themselves. The script did require the cameos. But even if it didn’t I’m now sure Zoya is someone who is capable of pulling it off even without the presence of A-listers. If at all, there is any regret (if i can call it that way), it is the length of the film. We are talking about Hollywood and crossovers and here we have 2.5 hours. But other than that, there is not a speck of lifelessness in it. On the whole, I loved the movie and is a must watch, especially for those who don’t mind knocking the doors of the studio chaiwalla for a role. With Luck by Chance Zoya Akhtar has managed to carve a niche for herself.

My verdict – 4 out of 5

27
Dec
08

Ghajini Review – Dont Expect Memento here

First things first, Aamir Khan is no Guy Pearce and AR Murugadoss is no Christopher Nolan. Whether you like Ghajini or not depends on how you look at it. For all those who have seen Nolan’s 2000 flick Memento, Ghajini may turn out to be a cheap Indian rip. On the other hand if you are among those who haven’t seen the original or if you don’t mind directors being ‘inspired’ by Hollywood, just sit back and enjoy the ride. 

I walked into the theatre knowing what to expect. I had already seen the Tamil version made by the same director. I had very much appreciated the effort but then I had never even heard about Memento. Cutting back to the Hindi version, the director has made a few changes here and there, but nothing really that deviates from the Tamil Ghajini. The film is about a business tycoon, Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) who falls in love with a model, Kalpana Shetty (Asin) without letting out his true identity. Kalpana too ultimately reciprocates his love. Just as he is about to reveal himself, Kalpana gets killed by  a goon Ghajini (Pradeep Rawat), as she got herself involved with his men who were trafficking young girls. While trying to save Kalpana,  Sanjay gets hit on the head but survives and  is diagnosed with amnesia. The rest of the film is about how Sanjay tracks down his girlfriend’s killers and exacts revenge. 

Aamir Khan in his macho avatar with six-packs and all has done a decent job. But somewhere I felt he wasn’t all too convincing as Asin’s lover boy. There is nothing except for his memory condition and the tattoos all over his body that can be likened to Guy Pearce in Memento. He looked rather cramped up in his suits with all the bulging muscles. Asin’s role is no different from the one in the Tamil one. Vivacious, bubbly, confident with a tinge of over-acting which was necessary for the role. The second heroine, Jiah Khan who plays a medical student researching amnesia, has certainly come some way from her Nishabd days. She looks pretty and has carried out her role aptly. Pradeep Rawat as the mean baddie is no different from any other Bollywood villain. Nothing new there. 

On the technical front, I should say I was quite impressed with Ravi K. Chandran‘s cinematography. It looked fresh, colorful and appealing. Anthony Gonsalves has done a good job as editor especially in the parts where the film cuts back and forth between Aamir’s past and the present. AR Murugadoss as director has tried nothing new and just delivered what was expected of him – “Make a full and full money spinning masala movie”. One thing for sure, if he continues making such films, he is for sure to remain in Bollywood. 

Ghajini just like the Tamil one, is no Memento. The only thing that is psychological about this psychological thriller is Aamir’s psychological problem. Apart from that the film is just another masala Bollywood flick. Your opinion of the film is sure to change if you have seen Memento. But nevertheless, it is a worthy watch during the holiday season. I would give the fim 3.5 on a scale of 5.

07
Aug
08

How old is Vidya ‘aunty’ Balan…really?

Ever since ‘Kismat Konnection‘ was announced, people have raised their eyebrows at its lead pair- Shahid Kapur and Vidya Balan. Not surprising considering Vidya looks older than Shahid. So i decided to check out the age of both the actors. Shahid, born in 1981 is 27. Nothing special there. I went on to check Vidya’s age. Her official site says, born in 1982, she is 28. Hmm, so she doesn’t ‘look’ older; she is in fact ‘older’ than Shahid. Its just a difference of one year, whats the big deal, right? WRONG. Next I checked her profile on Wikipedia. Now it became evident that Vidya is in fact an ‘aunty’. Her age was listed as 33. Thats a difference of seven years. SEVEN YEARS! That implies when our ‘aunty’ was busy clearing her 10th boards, Shahid probably was asking his mom- “Where do babies come from?!?”. Sigh..

A couple of days later my good friend, with whom I had been discussing this told me that aunty’s age is 28 according to Wiki. WTF?!? Just two days back it was 33. I was sure that some idiot who probably thought Vidya looked hotter than Jessica Alba in Heyy Baby must have edited the page. So the both of us did some digging. I went to answers.com and asked a simple question- “How old is Vidya Balan?”. Within a couple of seconds the screen was filled with results. The first result was a link to aunty’s wikipedia page. The second one was titled -“Just again how old are you Vidya Balan?” Without even wasting a second I clicked on it. I was directed to the forum of some Bollywood site. Some guy like me now, had posted about Vidya aunty’s age. I don’t want to waste my time writing what he thinks. So I have copied and pasted the post here-

Women lying about their age is nothing new and in Bollywood an actress always begins her career when she is eighteen years old and so did Vidya Balan, who claims that she is 24 years old, but what the actress is forgetting is her past when she began her career in Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Hum Paanch’, the Indian Television comedy that was shot in the 1990s in which she played Radhika one of the five sisters.


While shooting for the comedy series Vidya was 21 years old so is it possible that after a span of 9 years she is just 24? Looks like Vidya too is suffering the Mallika Sherawat syndrome. Listen up gal you have the talent and the conviction so rather than hiding be proud that you made it big a little later in life rather than never.

See my point? BTW this was posted in 2006. Which means according to Aryan Mishra’s (the author of the post) calculations and considering that Hum Paanch first aired in 1995 Vidya in 2008 must be 21+13=34 years old. Thats one year older than what i had told earlier. You may still excuse that one year since she may not have been exactly 21 in 1995. Even then she couldn’t have been younger than 19-20. Being an Indian, I would refer to any woman over 30unknown to me  as aunty. So doesn’t it make Vidya eligible to be called AUNTY? These bollywood beauties na… By the way there were some rumors doing around that little Shahid and Vidya aunty were dating. So I wonder, if that is true can aunty be called a MILF to Shahid beta? Think…