The context- Bachcan was very close to the Gandhi family. Reportedly Harivanshrai Bachchan did Sonia Gandhi’s ‘Kanyadaan’ when she got married to Rajiv Gandhi.
The above link contains many scans from foreign media, where Amitabh Bachchan has been named as one of the accused. Sadly, Indian media links have been obliterated. The Doordarshan footage too is no where on the net.
This is a 1998 interview. But one cannot say enough about the year’s irrelevance as not enough can be said about Salman ‘Tiger’ Khan’s irreverence for the ‘star-maker’ media. Be it 1989 or 2012, hardly anything has changed about this guy’s …
I pushed back watching this Shakti Samanta movie for quite some time, expecting it to be one of those moralistic tales laced with melodrama and strung together by a few good songs. Another big reason for my lack of enthusiasm was that this movie, unlike most other Shakti Samanta movies of that time, does not star Rajesh Khanna, and instead features Uttam Kumar, an actor I am not particularly fond of. As it turned out, as I finally got around to watching it, I was somewhat right about my pre-conceived notions. But having said that, the movie pleasantly surprised me on many counts, and in fact turned out to be quite a good watch. Also, as the narrative unfolded and moved towards the climax, similarities between its story and that of big ticket Karan Johar magnum opus Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham became quite apparent, which were rather interesting to discern. The coincidence that Rakesh Roshan plays the role that would be parallel to what his son Hrithik Roshan performs in the modern day magnum opus, was what triggered the connection in my mind.
In one of the scenes from the movie, Govind tells Ishaan that he shouldn’t expect Ali to be copybook while playing his shots on the cricket field.
The director might not have intended the irony in this telling remark.
I am a fan of the book and consider it to be Chetan Bhagat’s best along with Five Point Someone. So had high expectations from the movie, especially after the glowing (to put it mildly) reviews. But the movie left me shifting in my seat impatiently for most of its 2 hour and something duration. In effect it felt like the lengthiest movie I have seen in some time.
I am terribly disappointed by Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of the book, and also the way the critics have absolutely ignored what’s lacking in the narrative- spontaneity, irony, energy, and inventiveness- the four things that made the book so entertaining.
I think that either the movie pulled off a con on the audience or it was way too intelligent for me to understand fully. I will appreciate if someone could give his or her views on the following points.
****** Spoilers Alert********
1. The climax shows that Jimmy Shergill is Akshay Kumar’s companion and they all are partners in crime. So, why the hell did he get in touch with the real CBI? No one could testify against them for the first heist on the minister’s house. There were no witnesses, except the Minister himself who did not want to report the heist. Jimmy also identifies Anupam Kher and thus the entire group. Why? They could have gone about conducting many such raids before the needle of suspicion actually falling on them. This is my biggest grouse with the movie, that the entire film was a sham and there was no need at all for the real CBI, and thus Waseem Khan in the picture. And without them, there would have been no real drama.
2. Why did Jimmy Shergill, Diva Dutta, and their fake Police commissioner go the minister’s house after the heist? Just to conduct a drama to mislead the audience? Like normal criminals were they not expected to have a fear of getting caught while they returned to the scene of the crime, and that too for staging an act? On a related note, why did JS and Divya Dutta keep waiting in front of the Minister’s house after the fake raid, while making tensed faces at the camera? Again, to fool the audience?
There are movies that are designed to be money spinners. And there are movies that are destined to be money spinners. Can there be a intersection in the two sets? Most certainly. But there have been many instances when certain sure-shot pre-release blockbusters have received lukewarm (or even worse) response at the box-office. Looking at the list of such movies is in my opinion far more insightful than looking at the list of hit movies while analyzing the box office climate and the stardom of our galaxy of stars.
Now, before I proceed with the list, I am defining an ‘A’ list movie. Like most qualitative decisions, this one too is a subjective call. However I consider the following parameters as the most important to make the classification.
1. The star value of the movie- presence of top stars (people who are generally perceived to be ‘A’ listers)
2. The genre of the film. There are certain genres that are in vogue at a given point of time. In the current scenario the Masala genre with generous doses of comedy and colorful songs is the genre that is almost a sure-shot. Certain genres like a comedy with good music have been in vogue for some time now.
I was watching some interviews of Gulzar recently on YouTube. One thing that he mentioned in almost all his conversations was the impact of India’s partition on his life and works. Not surprising for someone who was born on the other side of the border that wasn’t present at that point of time, Gulzar talked very fondly about the land that was once a part of his being, and that presently was alienated from him, at least in terms of physical distances. But despite this admission, we find that the man was hardly ever a part of any cinematic venture that explored the stories of that painful time. Most of his work that revolved around that motif was not done for the big screen. His poems, his stories, and anecdotes on the subject are a part of his poetry books, his memoirs, and some plays that have been adapted from the same.
However my quick research reminded me of one movie set in pre-independence India, which Gulzar contributed to immensely. Jallian Wala Bagh, a movie directed by Mr. Balraj Tah (one time director/film-maker), had its screenplay and dialogues written by the maestro of words. Chronicling the events around the horrific incident that gave a new impetus to the Indian Nationalist movement, the movie can also be termed as a sketchy biography of Shaheed Uddham Singh, the revolutionary young man who murdered the man largely responsible for the mass massacre that happened on 13th April, 1919.
In 1976, Martin Scorsese came up with Taxi Driver, a movie that went on to be viewed as one of the best films ever. Starring Robert De Niro, the movie garnered tremendous critical acclaim and emerged as a cult classic. Over the years many directors have been inspired by its style and the way it went about constructing a psychological study of a man leading a life shrouded by disturbing elements, or rather deconstructing the psychological state of disturbed man finding it difficult to come to terms with his environs.
Closer home, a man called Irshaad made a movie titled Taxi Taxie, casting Amol Palekar in the lead as a taxi driver operating in the metropolis of Mumbai. This movie that came out in 1977 seems to be clearly inspired by the English classic that released a year before. However it must be said that it is the best sort of inspiration. The director/writer has been influenced by the idea of his famous contemporary from the west, and has created a completely different movie, completely different narrative of his own, which is quite unique and interesting.
Really interesting interviews especially because Salman was in a mood to talk unlike the last time he met (and bossed) the English media (for ETT promotions)
The last part of the Arnab interview when he talks about his illness is a must watch for the people who don’t like him.
Many of our old Hindi movies have messages that have not lost their relevance over the years. In fact some of them seem to have been written with a crystal ball in tow, for the incipience of the issues they reflected on at that time has turned into a chronic persistence in the modern world of today. Annadata, one such film made by Asit Sen almost forty years ago, is a film that moots the breeding selfishness in the modern materialistic world and questions whether there is any good left in the world deafened by the rumble of avarice and ambition.
A rich industrialist Amba Prasad (essayed by an immensely likable Om Prakash) is referred to as annadata because of his largesse and charitable disposition. In the urban jungle that incubates the battle between the haves and the have-nots, he stands tall as someone who uses his wealth for the good of everyone, and not just for himself. However, false news of his death opens a can of worms when a large number of his blood relatives start fighting amongst themselves while staking a claim to his empire. But what truly breaks his heart is when his adopted daughter claims to have been an illicit relationship with him (forced by her gold-digging parents), just to proclaim herself to be a true heir to his vast empire. This cruel accusation completely shatters the old man’s faith in the world and he leaves everything he owns in care of his manager, while embarking on a journey, with only his pet dog accompanying him, to discover his lost belief in mankind.
That knocking on the door…
In the process of discovering and experiencing some lesser talked about or simply forgotten chapters of Hindi cinema, I have being surprised more than once by the sensitivity of our storytellers. There have been so many instances of ordinary real life emotions being brought out extraordinarily on celluloid, that one has to admire the thoughtfulness and the dexterity of the people who ‘wrote’ our Hindi movie heritage. Almost all the movies that we see today are a reflection on some or the other film from our past. Yes, there have been quantum changes in technique, setting, and circumstances, but the core emotions remain quite the same.
And thus when I saw Dastak, conceptualized and brought to life by Rajinder Singh Bedi, one of the stalwarts of Hindi and Urdu literature (and films), I was quite taken aback. Here is one story that is so unique, and so very glowing with brilliance, that it has almost no parallel. The idea, the context, and the sheer execution of this very human and humane drama, is a delight to watch.
There was a time when Mahesh Bhatt used to make films. Good, bad, ugly- whatever- but they were never business projects, just stories that he used to put to life on celluloid. And more often than not they were stories that emanated from the heart that aimed to strike a cord with the hearts of the patrons. Strike a cord with hearts. Nothing above. Nothing below!
Thikana is one such story that is quintessential Mahesh Bhatt of the 1980s. Emotionally verbose, melodramatically intricate, perfectly imperfect, and remarkably sinuous. And yet at the core the film’s simplicity is akin to a child bawling in pain in front of his mother. Save the last thirty minutes when it deep-dives into the pits of mediocrity, the film could have been a well remembered one.
The genre of the movie can be defined as pulp fiction at best- the kind which is available in abundance in the bookstalls of the railway stations across the country. The sub-genres can be described as concentric circles- with mystery forming the outermost circle, and drama forming the central core. The story is woven around the travails of an idealist lawyer, Ravi, who is also unabashed drunkard. Anil Kapoor plays this wasted young man who is pitied, detested, and admired in equal measure. This is established by scene early on in the movie when an inebriated Ravi returns home one night to the caustic remarks of his widowed mother and the comforting presence of his elder sister Shashi (essayed by Smita Patil). What follows next is a full blown melodrama where a semblance of sobriety is incorporated through some wonderful dialogue. The very next morning, however, normalcy is restored, acting as a subtle metaphor to the new day and the fresh start it indicates.
I think we can safely predict that this movie will be watched by a majority of the current total movie goers (people who go to a cinema hall and buy a ticket to watch a movie- the number of such patrons can be anything between 2 Cr to 3 Cr in the domestic market). If all the patrons watch it just once it should easily do around 180Cr nett. Assuming a 85-90 percent penetration rate (many naysayers will never want to enter a multiplex showing a Salman movie)- the number will be around 150-160 Cr.
But it can go even higher if:
1. The movie is damn good and gets in repeat footfalls. Some amount of repeat footfalls are guaranteed irrespective of content considering it is Salman Khan and 2 open weeks.
2. The movie expands the current footfall base. In other words if the hype and the word of mouth forces some dormant movie goers to step out of their homes and go to a cinema after long. Again this is a big possibility especially in smaller centers.
3. The reviews are so good that the naysayers and the intelligentsia are forced to check it out.
From the business point of view, the fact that the movie will do a big chunk of the business before Eid (possibly around 100 Cr) in the first 5 days is a big positive. First day numbers are bound to be huge where the movie might touch 30 Cr. If this gets backed by good reviews and positive fb/twitter feedback as well then it might cross 150 Cr in the first 9 days only.
The movie going audience in India is finite. The number can be anything between 2-4 Cr (no one can know for sure despite all the mathematical models that are available to us). Now the most surprising thing is that this unique footfall number hasn’t increased over the years. In fact, there are indications that this number might have decreased. Some of the probable reasons that come to mind immediately are:
1. Proliferation of other means of watching the movie quickly- Piraced DVDs/ Internet Downloads/ Cable TV telecast (especially in smaller towns)
2. Increase in prices of tickets
3. Shorter shelf life of movies (with a big movie releasing almost every second week, the interest a movie generates is limited to 4-5 weeks at the maximum (3 Idiots)- 2 weeks in most of the cases)
Now, this relatively stagnant footfall number also indicates to a disturbing Macro trend- although the country is growing- the gap between the rich and poor is only increasing . But this is a separate debate altogether and if I broach it then this writeup can run into pages, and very few on this blog would be interested in that excess. So will close this point for now.
Anyway the unique footfall number, that is the number of people who buy a ticket and go to the cinema to watch a movie is fixed.
I enjoyed Ek Tha Tiger. I am enjoying the fact that it may do great business and break records. I liked the effort and thought behind the movie- also the finesse and the restrained humor. Of screen I enjoyed Salman’s promotional interviews and his trips to TV (Jhalak Dikhlaaja might be epic too). But But But… I am not very happy.
I think Salman Khan is the best actor in India today. Yes actor. I have seen almost all his films and all the moments he creates on screen- his samajh, his pakad, his inventiveness, his confidence, his presence- all of it is unparalleled. But very few people are going to agree with me on this. Very few will agree with me objectively- mann se kaafi fans maan lenge yeh baat.
There are a few things that Salman said recently that I didn’t like at all-
1. I will do only action films
2. I don’t know which film to do next
3. It is sad that no film has broken 3 Idiots record in the last 3 years
4. Business is growing- screens are being added- collections are becoming more transparent
5. It is all black and white for me- emotion chalta hai ya nahin chalta hai. It is either good or bad.
6. I will always be larger than life- this is how I am.
Salman is stuck in a comfort zone now. And now that he has achieved a Demi-God Bhai status everywhere- in the industry too- his friends will not even try to break that comfort zone.
‘Ek Tha Tiger’ had to pay this price. The makers had to decide whether to get a new unheard of opening day record, or whether to have a solid first 4-5 day business with minimal day wise drops. In other words they had to decide between a 15th Aug release, or a 17th Aug release. They opted for the former.
After showing the world what the current capacity to collect is on a single day by raking in 32 Cr on the first day, ETT dropped massively on Day 2 and collected just 15Cr. Today on its third day, it might do a bit lower- maybe a 13 Cr- or maybe just about the same- a 14-15Cr.
Now when the makers decided to opt for the unheard of first day record, this kind of a apparent timid response on the next 2 week days was surely not unexpected. But obviously the makers decided to face the backlash of this seemingly alarming drop from all over- naysayers, disbelievers, haters, and also idealists (Who think that getting a 20Cr on a weekday is Halwa).
So what is the reason for this drop? It is almost condescending when I write it out here in plain English like a wise elderly fellow telling a five year old that the world is round.
Yaara Rab Rus Jaane De, Deewana Jag Chhut Jaane De
Main Tera Dil Banke Rahoon, Begaane Dil Tut Jaane De
Ab Saathiya Nayi Manzilein, Naya Raasta Hain Tumhara, Humara!
This song would have been perfect for Ek Tha Tiger. Anyway…
Almost fifty years ago, with this movie, Sunil Dutt attempted something remarkably innovative and courageous… a hundred minute feature starring no one else but himself!
Vanity is undesirable. But no one can deny that some of the greatest artists been some of the most vainglorious people of their time. Be it painters or actors, politicians or writers. If the vanity was not in their words, it was in their works. If it was not in their works, it was in their actions. In some ways a Mahatma Gandhi walking semi-naked, with just a loincloth on, into the viceroy’s office was a blasphemously vain thing to do!
So is humility overrated?
The recently culminated IPL series witnessed action star Akshay Kumar partying with the Kolkota Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan. However, despite the shared revelry with SRK’s IPL win and Akki’s film release, we hear that Akshay is also busy working with SRK’s friend-turned-foe Salman Khan.
News is that Akshay has got Salman on board to do a voice over for the concept promos of his next film Oh My God that will be release with Rowdy Rathore.
The said Oh My God promos will be the first of its kind, which will introduce the idea of a concept driven teaser based on the main story of the film and establish the character of its protagonist Kanjhibhai.
Imagine a scene:
A father and his seven year old son watching an IPL match together. In a commercial break a new Havells advert featuring a diminished and dilapidated old man and his countless fans (literal) captures the attention of the kid. He ignores it the first few times, but finally cannot resist asking his father the question.
“Papa, who is this old looking man, and why are they showing this ad again and again?”
“Beta, he was a very popular film star once.”
“Zulm karna paap hai, par zulm sehna us se bhi bada paap hai”
This line may be an oft repeated one in many of the old Hindi Masala potboilers from the 70s and the 80s. But few would expect it to be the most definitive and poignant lines from Shyam Benegal’s take on the curses of the feudal system, Nishant (Night’s end). Nishant is a story set in the pre-independent era when our country was no country at all, but an agglomeration of fiefdoms, kingdoms, and states- some tiny and non-descript, while some mighty and formidable. Benegal tells the tale of one of the many insignificant Indian villages from that time, which has a landlord family lording over it. This village remains unnamed throughout the film which implies that the story could have been an occurrence in any part of our country. Though from the dialect and the customs and traditions shown in many of the scenes, it can be inferred that it is somewhere in Andhra where the cruel Zamindar (Amrish Puri) and his three younger brothers exploit the poor and helpless villagers in a bid to sustain and further their dominance over them.
Like Benegal’s previous work Ankur (click for write-up), this one is a no-frills representation of an era and a place that we deliberately choose to glaze over while talking about our great nation. Written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar, the seemingly straightforward story has many contours and dimensions that cannot be missed. However, the first forty minutes of the movie are devoted solely to setting the context and establishing the characters. Through some cleverly handled sequences we are introduced to the terror of the powerful feudal lords, their blatant and brazen suppression of the villagers through their illicit ways, their intra-familial dynamics wherein the eldest brother is the commander, the next two (Mohan Agashe and Anant Nag) are his devoted uncouth followers, while the youngest Vishwam (Naseeruddin Shah) is a sometimes reluctant sometimes eager follower of his elder brothers’ ways and means. This much confused youngest brother Vishwam later becomes the inadvertent catalyst of a violent revolution that sees the villagers take up the arms against their oppressive guardians, while his much affected wife Rukmini (Smita Patil) can be nothing but a silent observer.
I went to see the KKR vs Delhi Daredevils match at the Feroz Shah Kotla that happened about 2 weeks back. There are 18 entry gates to the stadium. Out of these 18, 5 gates have a common approach through a narrow lane that has old Delhi style kutcha-pucca colony on one side and the stadium wall on the other (which houses the five gates). We had tickets for one of these five gates.
It was a highly anticipated match and the crowd was simply unbelievable. But what was more unbelievable was the management by the Police and the security. The entry to the lane I just mentioned had 4 police barriers. So effectively around 12-15 thousand people were pouring into the lane through 2-3 m gaps in the barriers. Imagine the scene. I was there with my sister and cousin brother. A sea of humanity was crawling towards the gates. We people had no room to move our limbs- we all were packed against one other like sardines in a tin. The entire exodus was slowly moving in the Delhi heat, sweaty and angry. To compound the matters, 100m into the lane police had blocked about 3/4 of its width. And the entire sea of humanity was moving through 1/4th width (about 6m). It was agonizing to see small kids and ladies being literally shoved and pushed around by many excited spectators who simply refused to keep their wits about them when a rumor spread that SRK was entering from the same gate (it was not the case). After a extremely difficult 45-50 min were entered the stadium in the nick of time to see the first ball. But I was hardly interested in watching the match after that. The entire experience was so damn pissing off. The apathy and the incompetence of the Police and security was really baffling. And we talk about being a superpower in the next few years.
Once we entered, what we encountered was blatant black marketing. 200ml plastic glasses were being filled in through 2l large soft drink bottles and sold for Rs. 50 apiece. 500ml water bottles were being sold for Rs. 50. A packet of chips that costs 15-20 bucks outside was being sold for 50. When a quiet middle aged man sitting nearby asked a salesman about preposterous cheating being allowed, the salesman remarked “Hum toh sau rupaih ka bhechenga. Khareedna hai toh khareed.”
Despite all the troubles faced, all the difficulties that the kids had to endure, they were all very excited about the match. The cheered, they shouted, they laughed- they really had a ball… Completely oblivious to the obvious! While people like too had no option but to compromise. COMPROMISE… a word that’s like a convenient euphemism to mask our inadequacy, our helplessness, and our tendency to forget and forgive…
It is unimaginable how tough it would have been for this guy (and his mother) to open up in front of National Television about their darkest times. And they had done it once before, and maybe that’s why they …