Link to my new blog on TOI http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/planet-bollywood-s-fists-of-fury
Archive for the Hindi Cinema Category
The dashing and ever green Dev Anand is no more. A man who I thought would outlive us all. In more ways than one, he still does, through his zeal and zest translated into his love for cinema. I came across two wonderful tributes for Dev Sahab. One from Amitabh Bachchan and the other from Pritish Nandy which I am sharing below. As someone rightly said, Dev Anand did not live until 88, he lived four times twenty two! Of course.
A tribute by Amitabh Bachchan….
Dev Anand that human body with exceptional inhuman skills .. incessant will, speed of thought and compilation of desires. Committed to the art of cinema in more ways than one. I first saw him on a personal private visit to then Bombay in the early 60′s. I cannot remember where the exact location was, but I do know that it was in South Bombay in one of the more elegant shopping centers, inside a store of clothing material. A flash of activity preceded him and then he appeared, sharp, quick in walk, eager and conscious eyes, darting about almost surveying the terrain in one look. Some material was being unfolded in front of him, perhaps a dress he may have wanted for his next film. A quick decision, a feel of the cloth a few words to his team and he was gone .. just gone, before you could spell Dev !! Read more »
Wishing Mr. Amitabh Bachchan a glorious happy 69th birthday. At this time, I would like to quote Shakespeare in trying to sum up the tiger traits that I more than often see in the immaculate Actor. A tiger ( or a Lion as I refer to him most times ) who remains modest and humble, and yet there remains those flashes of the Angry Young man when provoked. I also share a poem ” Amitabha” that I had written sometime back.In the last 42 years of the Actor’s career, many stars have burned out into the nadirs of their own kismet, while Mr. Bachchan continues to shine, 42 years on…
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there ’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
King Henry V Quote Act iii. Scene 1.
Boundless light, eternal flame
Where is your source ?
Where do you begin?
Raging the heart’s desire is your name..
Blazing, burning all that sin ,
Braving gales of dust and storms …
Settling at times, leaping tempestuously..
Infinite, with no shape or form
Warming the bare,
Scorching passionately ..
Inferno, may you always burn
While love patiently waits its turn..
RGV has a habit of expressing himself bluntly and sometimes virally too. An interesting piece from the Director on Amitabh Bachchan. He is quite candid about his own directorial views and believes that Bachchan never fails as an Actor, only the Directors do. I tend to agree.
Why B is Big
In a very bad and not totally darkened theatre (because of the light leaking through some vents and gaps in the closed doors) called Ramapriya in Vijayawada town in Andhra Pradesh, for the first time I consciously began to understand the phenomenon of Amitabh Bachchan.
The film that was playing was Khuddaar and the scene which was going on at that precise moment was, when Amitji learning the lie his own brother told him, barges into the discotheque where his brother is grooving away with a girl. As he shouts at the DJ to stop the music and looks at his brother at the far corner with hurt filled eyes, a gang of vicious looking bouncers move towards him. He looks at them and with an emotion choked voice says that he will break their legs if they try to stop him. There was an audible gasp in the theatre from the viewers as he said this. The interesting point is that none of the guys in the theatre could speak Hindi as Vijayawada is a Telugu speaking town. So what did they connect to? It is just the raw emotions of anger, betrayal, helplessness and above all the hurt he managed to communicate through his body language, his voice and his eyes.
As I looked at the faces of the people sitting in the theatre I could see a tremendous sense of awe, admiration, respect and above all a connectivity in their faces. Each and everyone of his viewers connected to him deeply through the characters he portrayed in his various films. Each and everyone wanted a brother or a friend or a leader like him.
Even after volumes spoken and big fat books written on him, I think it is still very easy to underestimate his incredible influence and his unimaginable impact not only on cinema but also on at least on a couple of generations conscience.
For me Amitji is raw, real and gritty and he hit me like a thunder bolt both as a viewer and as a director. His charisma, his screen presence, his personality made such an impact both on me and millions of others like me unsupported by today’s so-called massive production values. Unlike today’s superstars he never had to hide behind catchy songs or lavish sets or exotic foreign locales etc.
Any random man you pick on the road anywhere in the country, and if you ask him what you remember of Amitabh Bachchan, he is bound to come up with at least a hundred of his favorite scenes, dialogues or moments from Amitji’s various films whereas if asked about any of today’s superstars I doubt that they will remember beyond their hit songs and their films box-office collections.
My biggest desire cinematically was to do a film with him which eventually I realized in Sarkar. In the run up to the making of Sarkar in my several meetings with him I started seeing a very different side of him other than what I only perceived through his films. Behind the obvious power and intensity was a sensitivity and vulnerability and also listening to his thoughts made me sense his incredible versatility as an actor. By that time my proximity to him blinded me as a viewer of him as a star and the filmmaker in me got greedy and dumb enough to experiment with him as an actor which resulted in Nishabd and Aag. It’s not so much only about the quality of those films that I am talking here but it is just the idea of casting him in those roles.
Amitji’s make-up man Deepak told me on day one of shooting of Nishabd that the film will flop because no one is going to accept Amitji in a role like that. Whether that is the reason or not, I for myself as a viewer wouldn’t probably want to see him featured in a role like that. As an actor I think Nishabd is Amitji’s finest performance mainly because of its sheer complexities and it demanded such subtle nuances of reactions, which most of the so-called art-house actors won’t even begin to understand in their life-time let alone portray them. But the question is does one want to see Amitji just as an actor? I for one don’t want to, unless the acting is coming from a certain immensely larger than life perspective.
Similarly in Aag there will be a difference between a viewer’s reaction and my reaction to his performance. As a director I judge an actor by seeing what he does with what is given to him. The viewer sees the final effect of that in the context of the film and hence he cannot have an idea of how I could have screwed it up in the screenplay and how badly I edited it or various other blunders I could have committed. People seeing the film react on the effect, whereas as a director I know the cause.
On the other hand if somebody argues that he had no business to do those films without knowing what he is getting into, yes he is guilty of misplacing his trust in me but he is not guilty of not doing his best which he does invariably better than any other actor can ever even hope to do.
From what I gathered from my association with him, I understood that by being the ultra professional that he is, once he agrees to do a film based on whatever reasons he has, he completely succumbs to the vision or non-vision of the director. The end product sometimes can look a mess but the inside secret will be that he would have always given much more than what was expected of him.
The close-up of his when he stands on the steps looking at Aftab taking Jiah away in the climax of Nishabd calls for an extraordinary understanding of human emotions and hence a far superior performance, compared to him saying “Tujhe bhi karne nahin doonga” in Sarkar which he would have done a thousand times before. But sadly the effect of that line in Sarkar will become cinematic history whereas the Nishabd’s close-up might go unnoticed.
The effect of Sarkar’s performance as compared to Sarkar Raj is probably higher for many primarily because of the shock value of seeing Amitji in such a role after a very very long time but if you look deeper you can’t find a single shot in Sarkar which is comparable to, for an example the expression he has when he shows Sanjay Somji’s body to Raosaab. There are many many such moments in Sarkar Raj.
So the point I am trying to make in summation is that he never ever failed as an actor and he never will. It’s only directors, both other’s and me who frequently fail in framing his art in a given context.
Karan Johar’s favorite film of his is Kabhie Kabhie and Silsila which I loathe compared to my favorites like Deewaar and Zanzeer. I dislike seeing him in movies like Last Lear and Black whereas Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rituparno Ghosh might not want to make films like Nishabd with him.
But that’s what subliminal art is about. You can take whatever you want from it and interpret it in any which way you want to.
Amitji is an artiste who can and will allow himself to be conformed, adapted and shaped up in any which way one wants to mould him and the final result he will leave it in the hands of the director he is working with.
But irrespective of what on a personal level he might think of the result, the effort he puts in and the passion he brings in to elevate even the most mundane of scenes, the performances he brings and the way he speaks his lines is for me my personal proof of what Amitji truly and really is.
Amitabh Bachchan is that rare art form which takes birth just once in several life times.
Was in Mumbai a few days ago and watched the preview of Bbuddah. I have accumulated and penned my thoughts on it. It was also a delight to have met the one and only Mr Amitabh Bachchan at his residence in Prateeksha. Enjoyed the meet immensely and will try to put up pics soon. Here are my thoughts on the movie.
Style is something that many try very hard to acquire. It remains not within every one’s reach; no matter how long or how hard they try to acquire it. It could be the way one speaks, one walks, one conducts himself / herself or even the way one dresses that evokes a wide range of reactions. Gasps, whistles and claps are typical receptivity to the now very ‘rare’ style icons and this is how I reacted when I watched the stylish man in the preview of Bbuddah hoga tera baap today. Amitabh Bachchan at the age of 68 is the ‘baap’ of them all, in every sense of the word. When the villain in the movie Prakash Raj exclaims with absolute enthrallment ‘Baap re Baap’ at a Harley Davidson strutting Amitabh Bachchan, one cannot help but utter exactly the same words with absolute enchantment. Read more »
Out in theaters on 1st July, Amitabh Bachchan is back…A compilation of some fabulous trailers directed by Balki. And then a song from the movie sung in that fabulous baritone voice.
First Look at Amitabh Bachchan’s Bbuddah. HE IS BACK & HE IS ANGRY! Don’t miss it!
First published on Times of India on 27th April 2011 - http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/the-khan-factor
Salman Khan recently declared, “I am not interested in being a superhero. I don’t want to wear my underwear on the outside nor do I want to be bitten by a spider. I prefer being SAL-MAN”. Salman is also supremely confident that he makes a better hero than anybody else as well. It would be interesting to hear Shah Rukh’s or Aamir’s reaction to this statement of utmost impudence. I am not in any way implying that SRK or Aamir are better Actors than Salman but a statement from one Khan always draws interesting reactions from the other Khans. Read more »
We are so immersed in our selfish ways today that we rarely acknowledge or tend to remember those who laid down their lives for us. With a bit of embarrassment I do admit that I had no knowledge of children laying down their lives for our freedom today, if not for Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest movie ” Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” which takes us back in time and tells us a story of struggle and liberation. A movie that unfolds the untold story of “ a band of sixty four - fifty six innocent yet fearless young boys, 5 defiant revolutionaries, 2 determined young women, and an idealistic leader – Surjya Sen, a school teacher by profession” Read more »
Amitabh Bachchan when born was anointed as the “Everlasting Light”. A name that was given to him by the renowned poet Sumitra Nandan Pant. The light that began to burn sixty-seven years ago continues to conflagarate every single conundrum that one may have about him and his reign as the Emperor of the hindi film Industry.From his debut in Saat Hindustani in 1970 as a gawky, young actor and having lent his voice for audio jingles of Horlicks and Nirlon, Amitabh Bachchan has transcended every decade since then with distinction. One of the reasons for his success has been in his ability to critically appraise himself from time to time and allowing himself to be susceptible to suggestions. He demonstrates this art of self diagnosis quite remarkably. He watches more and speaks less, a trait which is naturally unbecoming of superstars and corroborated by him in isolation. Read more »
Undeniably, we live in times where things are seen as black and white, no grey areas allowed. Take the case of the gushing oil in our Gulf: BP is bad, President Obama is good – unless he’s also bad and that’s depending on the day – the environmentalists are good, the people who are trying to fix the problem bad, since they have yet to succeed. It is increasingly more rare to find a film, a TV series or a book which does not depict the battle of good vs. evil while leaning grotesquely on the side of good, making evil appear… well, evil. The Hero is always pure and good – and incredibly attractive – while the Villain is hideous, mean and plain hard to root for.
In this world of black and white, Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’ is an exhilarating breath of fresh grey air. I found myself rooting for the bad guy time after time, and the last occasion I remember doing any such thing was during a Hitchcock film… Which wasn’t nearly as much fun visually as Ratnam’s film is!
‘Raavan’ is one of the few, rare films out of India that actually gets better after Intermission. While most Indian filmmakers only see the second half of their films as a prolonged segue to their ending, ‘Raavan’ actually gains momentum, and nuances, in its last hour. It is in its second act that ‘Raavan’ becomes a riveting story – with strong social and gender messages – beyond its visually stunning cinematography and great performances. When people say that no one showcases Aishwarya Rai like Mani Ratnam, they are right! She is superbly beautiful and absolutely perfect in his films.
After a sepia-colored title sequence, the film begins, immediately blending basic elements of the Sita and Rama story, with class and caste issues – the haves vs. the have nots – and the idea of ownership. Is love truly about what we feel or what we can possess? Are good and evil really that easy to tell apart? What happens when the villain isn’t who we think he should be and the god/hero isn’t perfect after all? Right in that fabulously provocative grey area lies the story of ‘Raavan’.
The main characters are Dev – played by Vikram – the police commander, who’s described in the director’s notes as an “encounter specialist”; Beera – played by Abhishek Bachchan – the voice of the underdog, a man described at once as good and evil; Ragini – played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – Dev’s wife, a feisty, strong woman who is at once fearless and vulnerable; and Sanjeevani – played by Govinda – an alcoholic Forest Guard who knows both Beera and Dev for the men they truly are, basically two sides of the same coin. In the Tamil version ‘Raavanan’, Vikram – the actor who plays Dev in the Hindi version – actually plays the Beera (Veeraiya) character and indeed, the two actors are even meant to look similar in body type, hairdos, facial hair and demeanor. It makes the lines even more blurry for the viewer…
At the very beginning of the film, the question is asked whether Beera is a ten-headed demon or a Robin Hood. It’s an answer you’ll have to work out for yourself. Although, most of the story does takes place in an apocalyptic Sherwood Forest of sorts, damp, muddy and soaked with water through ninety-five percent of the film. It’s a spectacle of wonderful cinematography – courtesy of Santosh Sivan – and keeps the viewer entertained through those moments when the action may move a bit too slowly. I did find myself getting lost in the beauty of the photography for the better part of the first half, since the guts of the story – with its themes of courage, true honor and objectification – really do start after Intermission. If I could offer a negative comment in my otherwise gushing review, it’s that the story takes a while to take off. And it tries to deal with too many themes at once, in the first half of the film.
A friend made me privy to some insider’s info, which is that those who worked on ‘Raavan’ spent most of their time filming in waist-deep water. All this under the super-disciplined watchful eye of Mr. Ratnam, who is known to be quite a perfectionist, hence a bit of a despot on the set. That combination is true filmi commitment right there. Whatever it took, the effort was well worth it in the end.
The dramatic effect of the film is accented by the stunning costumes courtesy of Sabyasachi – at his best in this South Indian setting of vegetable-dyed cottons and gold brocade borders – as well as the haunting soundtrack by A. R. Rahman. Could there ever be a Ratnam film without Maestro Rahman’s sound taking it to new heights? I think we all know the answer to that question. And the lyrics by Gulzar are divinely poetic, even to a not-so-good Hindi speaker like me.
Mani Ratnam will be awarded the Jaeger- LeCoultre, Glory to the Filmmaker award at the 67th Venice Film Festival this year. It is an honor that sums up the international appeal of a man who has never really cared that much about it. While most other filmmakers are scrambling to put together the next crossover hit, Ratnam’s been contently and extraordinarily making films for the Indian market, albeit in a variety of Indian languages, for the past 25 years. And yet, while I watched ‘Raavan’ I realized that within its human message, star performances and impeccable cinematography lies the most worldly of films I have seen in a long time.
In the words of Mani Ratnam himself: “Raavan is not a story, it is a world.” Indeed, a world we want to explore, learn more about and live, deep inside our hearts.
The film opens in theaters worldwide this Friday, June 18, in North America, India, UK, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and other countries. It will be shown in some markets in the Telugu version titled ‘Villain’ and the Tamil version titled ‘Raavanan’.
I have come up with a list of movies which are likely to provide a bit of respite from the regular, churning nonsense that the audience is now accustomed to. I have also tried my best to give an unbiased opinion as to why you should watch it.Quite sure that it may be worth your time and effort to glance at them and then decide for yourselves. The effort that goes into trying to get into a crowded multiplex whilst sweating it out under the hot, blistering sun is unsurpassable. Driving like a mad hatter in the hellish roads of the Metros to get to the theatre, especially in summer when the mercury is routinely stuck at the forties is taking a leaf out of Stephen King’s production. What about parking in the malls? It surely is not getting any better.More time is now spent driving to the theatre, then up and down the narrow parking ramps, blaring the horn at the driver ahead and picking up fights with the parking lot supervisors demanding for the rightful spot than watching the movie itself.I would not try any of this if the movie does not appear interesting. I would wait for the DVD to release and watch it from the comfort of my own home, popcorn in hand of course, if I have missed a worthwhile movie ,why bother?. Probably, the very reason why piracy too is on the rise? The feeders are the reason I conclude. If these movies fail to meet your expectations, please come back here and let me know why. I would also love to hear of your own movie going experience, right from how you got to the theatre and back. I am sure it wont be a breeze.
RAAVAN ( Hindi & Tamil versions ) - Release date 18th June 2010 – Director – Mani Rathnam - Cast – Vikram,Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Priya Mani.
Simply because it is a Mani Rathnam film. Cannot go wrong with the Director or with the star-studded cast. Rathnam is a sure shot guarantee to provide you some respite from this mad summer. He has done it perfectly all times before, cooling us off in the snowy caps of Kashmir and with the monsoons of Mumbai, why would he fail now? Besides, we hear a lot of the first time chemistry between Aishwarya and my favorite actor .Vikram plays Ram in Hindi and Raavan in Tamil. I place my wager on Vikram and Abhishek to showcase their finest here. Abhishek in fact has had me spellbound with whatever little I have seen of him in the trailers. Cannot wait for the rest.
SINGAM - Tamil – Released today – Director – Hari, Cast – Surya, Anushka, Vivek
This is the twenty-fifth film for Surya. Rave reviews have started pouring in for the movie. An all out commercial entertainer ( masala flick ). Lots of action from Surya who plays the mighty cop. He is not so coy as he was in his previous cop role in “kaaka kaaka” but bounces with a lot of flamboyance in this one. Very watchable because of Surya.
RAJNEETHI - Release Date – 4th June 2010 Director – Prakash Jha - Cast – Ajay Devgan, Katrina Kaif, Manoj Bajpai, Ranbir Kapoor
More than the cast and Prakash Jha, I am inclined to believe that the Producer,Ronnie Screwaala ( UTV ) is a goose that lays golden eggs. Besides, this movie is already shrouded in controversy, the trailers show Katrina pulling off a la Sonia Gandhi ( Priyanka ? ). Note the crisp, starched cotton saree and the familiar, trademark Gandhi wave. If this is a movie running down Sonia, I think it will be watchable. It will be interesting to see how much of the movie may get censored, the board is likely to play the spoilt sport.
INCEPTION – Release Date – July 16th 2010 – Director – Christopher Nolan – Cast – Leonardo Di Caprio,Ken Watanabe
If it has Caprio, you have to watch it. Caprio has metamorphosed into the finest. From Titanic to Blood Diamond to Shutter Island, he has been nothing short of outstanding. The movie is about Dom Cobb, a skilled thief in the art of “inception”, stealing secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him valuable in corporate espionage. In one last job, he must cause an “inception” — instead of stealing an idea, he must plant one.
ENDHIRAN - Tamil – Release Date – TBA – Director Shankar – Cast – Rajnikanth, Aishwarya, Arjun Sarja
What better reason does one need besides Rajni to watch this. A guaranteed blockbuster being crafted under Shankar’s capable hands. This is his tenth production and a first time pairing of Rajni and Aishwarya is enough to cause a flurry of excitement. All lungis will be up this summer down under..err south!
FATSO – Hindi – Release date - Released - Get the DVD now and grab the popcorn too -
Starring Gul Panag, Ranvir Shorey, Purav Kohli, Neil Bhoopalam, Gunjan Bakshi, the movie has music by Sagar Desai and is directed by Rajat Kapoor.
After receiving several awards for their films at top international festivals in recent months, Pritish Nandy Communication’s forthcoming film FATSO has been officially selected for Spectrum at the 13th Shanghai International Film Festival. It seems that there is no stopping for Pritish Nandy Communication when it comes to international recognition for their films. The festival will take place from June 12 to June 20, 2010..The film FATSO is all about love packaged in with a calorie count! They say that matches are made in heaven. This is one of those films where they are undone in heaven! But then again, that’s the strange thing about love: just when the worst has happened, the best happens almost like the nightmare never took place, almost like love is undeniable, as if love and hope are two faces of the same coin.Chairman PNC, Pritish Nandy says, “It’s always been a challenge for us to get a romantic comedy into an international film festival as most of them prefer serious, issue based cinema, particularly from a country like India. We are honoured to be at Shanghai for the first time.”
Ten years ago, with a group of giggling friends, I watched Hrithik in his runaway debut blockbuster ” Kaho na pyar hai”, he seemed like another good-looking actor.Another prodigy of a yesteryear actor and I watched the movie with frankly little or no expectations. He looked a bit gawky initially, his legs were exceptionally long, so much so that they could have easily entangled themselves with one another during his moves in the “kaho na pyaar hai” title song. I felt that his chin was a bit too sharp almost giving one an urge to put a cap on it. Yes, I found his acting intense and his eyes quite mesmerizing, and concluded that he would always play lover boy roles.
It was during the movie, the second half to be precise, my initial opinion about Hrithik did a somersault.It was only during the second half of his debut movie did I well and truly believe that finally we have a “complete” actor who has arrived after an excruciatingly long hiatus. An actor who has arrived to fill a vacuum that has been filled by Geek Gods rather than Greek Gods. That moment when I had made my clever little observation was when he made us and the world at large notice his extraordinary fluid steps in the hit number ” ek pal ka jeena”. I sat mesmerised throughout this entire number. I honestly never witnessed that kind of dancing ever before. If one could debut as a talented actor with a lot of potential but stood out as an extraordinary dancer too, it is only but fair to have sky-high expectations from him in the future. I did exactly that and to date I have not been disappointed.
I am probably not the only one who thinks Hrithik Roshan is a living, walking, talking and a brilliant acting effigy of a Greek God. I have always had this notion that Apollo, Zeus, Ares looked like Hrithik and all the Greek sculptures that I have seen in the museums were the result of Hrithik modelling for the sculptors. Sigh, I am sure many women do think of those perfect marble statues in more ways than one.
Hrithik is exceptionally talented and he is one actor who has not been complacent about either his looks, acting or dancing over the years. With each passing year, he gets better in all these departments. Even if his movie ”"Fiza” which was his second after Kaho na pyaar hai bombed at the box office, his acting was praised by critics and the audience alike. Taran Adarsh summarised his performance quite aptly ”The mainstay of the film is undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan. His body language, his diction, his expressions, his overall persona deserves great praise. With this film, Hrithik proves that there is more to him than just being a fashionable rage, a Mills & Boon lover-boy and a sex symbol. His talent comes to the fore in several scenes, especially those with Karisma. All said and done, the show belongs to Hrithik, who saves Fiza to a major extent. A brilliant performance undoubtedly!”
His performance in” Koi mil gaya” as a mentaly challenged person is quite exceptional. Let alone acting normal is a tall order for the known faces in this industry, acting abnormal is a feat that not many can pull off convincingly. Many superstars have appeared quite jocular in such roles.Hrithik Roshan managed not to, again exemplifying his acting prowess.It was well and truly an encore with his electrifying performance as the super man Krrish. Hrithik Roshan well and truly fitted the superman image. I have always thought that there could be no convincing flying hero besides Christopher Reeves and Hrithik Roshan made me eat my words after Krrish.”To state that Hrithik is the soul of Krrish would be an understatement. If the actor walked away with all noteworthy awards in Koi… Mil Gaya, it’s going to be an encore with Krrish. You cannot imagine any other actor enacting the role of a gifted child with aplomb. If his mask and robe look is splendid, watch his make up, gait and mannerisms as the aged father and you had agree, he’s one of the finest talents on the Indian screen today. Krrish is yet another ground-breaking film in his dazzling repertoire!”
The onscreen chemistry that he shares with Aishwarya is quite breathtaking. Their pairing in Dhoom 2 was extremely electric, it was the coming together of two of the world’s most beautiful faces. Hrithik was his sexiest best in Dhoom 2 and crowned himself as Bollywood’s best style icon too. His performance as Akbar in Jodha Akbar is quite stirring. Once again, I had concluded that Akbar looked like Hrithik. Hrithik painstakingly perfected the nuances that the role required. It was quite a revelation to watch Hrithik sit in that upright, perfect pose in the soulful sufi number “khwaja mere khawaja”, not for once did he look like the actor, he looked very much a Moghul Emperor at his height of glory.
One can only but have tremendous expectation from his forthcoming release “Kites”. Hrithik in the trailer once again has set our expectations soaring sky-high. Hrithik in his current garb as the trendy, action hero after coming fresh from a historical role as Akbar repeatedly proves his versatility. I hope this Greek God continues to choose his movies carefully like he has post 2003. I saw him at the IIFA awards last June in Macau, watching the man live reaffirmed his Greek God status and my testimony of the same. The photo above is taken at that event.
On their way to Panchavati,
Perched on a big tree,
Jatayu, the giant vulture,
They met this huge figure.
“Sita I shall look after,
When alone you leave her
For the hunt you go for, ”
The vulture made a voluntary offer.
The official Raavan posters have been released and a peek into the official website has revealed a very interesting note.
A hundred voices
Did such a man ever exist?
Was he just a myth or a metaphor?
Is Raavan the line that divided good from evil?
Does our understanding change when we look from the opponent’s perspective?
The bond between the hunter and the hunted -
between the captor and the captive seems to be a bond of do or die..
The tension between the opposites seems so electric, that it isolates them from the rest of the world,leaving just the two, all alone..
Are ten head better than one?
Is there a Ram inside a Raavan?And a Raavan inside each of us?
- Mani Ratnam
Rathnam has raised many pertinent questions that warrant different answers. I do find the questions raised not only fascinating but it also tries to make us observe the simplistic definitions of good and evil. How many Raavans do we encounter as compared to the Rams? There is a plethora of Raavans peeping out at every nook and corner, some exist in ourselves, some exist in the known faces and some in the visages of the unknown. The more petrifying aspect is naturally the “surprise” Raavan one may uncover in the known face, in the one we thought is Ram.How many Rams do we know who metamorphosed into the ten headed Raavan? This mind of ours has the ability to think in more than ten ways, hence is it not but natural to have multiple faces and personalities. In the last few decades, over controversies and shams we have seen many Rams who transformed overnight into multiple headed Raavans, so much so that every time one head was chopped off another miraculously emerged. Severing the head from the body does not at all times quell the evil or the evil doer.
And a reverse scenario, how often do we see a Ram in Raavan? A Robinhood theory that existed for Veerappan, supposedly a saviour for hapless thousands who depended on the sandalwood bandit for their daily livelihood. Countless men in history have worn the same uniform as Veerappan and have taken refuge under the misnomer of not being able to differentiate themselves and their actions from those of Ram and Raavan.The lone shriek of the good soul is always lost in the victorious war cries of a warring Raavan.
But who and what accords us the right to judge Ram as Raavan or vice versa? If there is a bit of Ram in every Raavan and a bit of Raavan in every Ram, is there really a difference between the two? On the face of it, it appears unlikely. There is a thin line that demarcated the two, barely visible yet profound. The one who in complete control over his senses is Ram, the one who is not is Raavan. Going strictly by this definition, how many Rams do I know? Not one is the likely answer in comparison to the Raavans that I do. Morally unkempt high priests are Raavans, corrupt politicians, lusting celebrities, erring government officials, there most certainly exists a Raavan in all of us and at times ten Raavans in one.The significance of the ten heads is more than just having multiple personalities, it is to do with how much control does one have over his given five senses as compared to the nobel Ram who is believed to be in full control of it.If one has ten times his regular sense and sensibility is it but natural this his needs and wants are at greater levels than the rest? But this is no excuse for partaking in sinful deeds.
Between every Ram and Raavan exists a woman who still remains a singular cause for frictions and factions. But this woman is not seen as a woman per se, she is seen as the guiding force that takes the side of the victorious Ram. She is the force that wills Ram to vanquish Raavan. And again in todays materialistic world of maya or better known as “kalyug”, the guiding force too does not keep the company of Ram, she is seen flitting with Raavan and prods him on to slay Ram. No longer is she the conscience of the good soul or the gate-keeper of the virtuous, she chooses her part after performing a lot of calculations and selfish deliberations.
It is increasingly difficult to separate the chaff from the grain, it is increasingly more difficult to catch our own reflection in the murky waters.How many of us can confidently stand in front of the mirror and truthfully decide if we are Ram or Raavan? A perplexing situation which has no right answer. I wish we could say we are Ram or Raavan with little or no help. A wrong answer is judged by our own little voice,our conscience ,if it is at the right place it will snuff out the incorrect verdict or if logic prevails does it question the difference between Ram and Raavan?
I have an uncanny knack of remembering most portions of a badly made movie over and above the good, rare ones. The finer details of badly made movies stays etched in the memory long after the trauma has ceased. It grows like a malignant tumor and reaches bursting point a long time after wasting two precious hours of one’s life. I fail to comprehend what really goes into the thinking prowess of the makers of such movies. The Producer for these films must be the biggest Goofy in town for getting his foot into such ventures. One wonders if these chaps even read the scripts before financing movies or they are probably happier playing the casting couch game and the money hardly matters. God alone knows what the reasons are, but producing pathetic movies is a regular phenomenon for many hapless Producers. Many limply claim that bad movies are made for tax reasons. If this is the reason why movies are badly made, then almost every other movie is being made for exactly the same frivolous excuse and it is not the fault of any one from the cast and crew why the movie is not watchable? We need better excuses than this. Yes, not every movie has a predetermined fate, but pathetic movies can be very well-recognized as being so at the outset by every Laloo. I obviously do not blame those who made movies with a serious intent and met a comical fate at the box offices but vent my frustrations at those who had the opposite intent.Why subject us hapless audience to two hours of torture!What can one do with Directors who are out to kill us with their movies? We can only but pray that they have a bout of amnesia or Alzheimer’s and spare us from witnessing their work of art.
I recall the movie Tashan rather vividly. This movie gave me a splitting headache within fifteen minutes of watching it. I remember an incredible amount of clanging and wrangling that never ceased. My head started throbbing a bit by the time the first ten minutes were up and within the hour I had contracted a severe migraine. in between my hazy vision I recall Karina and Saif acting in the most nonsensical manner and dancing in an aghast fashion. Karina’s costumes were so skimpy that at the outset the movie did appear to have been made on a prudent budget but the exotic locales made it look otherwise. There was no semblance of logic to the story, but maybe the expectation was a wee bit too much since it was under the Yash Raj banner? I wish I had read Rajeev Masand’s opinion on this movie before subjecting myself to its torture. He had aptly described the film as “…a road movie…that is going in all the wrong directions.”
But what well and truly baffled the living daylights out of me was the Rani Mukherjee starrer ” Dil bole hadipaa”. An incredible feat was achieved in showcasing the Indian desi woman as an able cricketer in the guise of a la Harbhajan looking batsman. This movie was the epitome of well and truly stretching the imagination to the hilt, for how much ever the imagination stretched in this movie that much Rani’s costumes failed to stretch in the peppy numbers. Rani appearing incognito was as incredulous as the plot by itself and Shaheed’s silly deftness in not seeing “through” the woman in disguise was quite nauseating. Boy, an absolute ploy that operated under reductio ad absurdum logic and ensured that the IQ was hastily reduced to negativity zone.
In comparison to some, David Dhawan appears like a God in the true sense. The good old Govinda-Karisma, Govinda-Raveena did tickle the funny bone and provided it’s share of entertainment. I happened to watch a bit of ” Golmaal Returns” today on Star Plus. A movie that was painfully pathetic and failed to make my laughter lines stretch. Many more in the last year impacted us quite profoundly for all the wrong reasons. Some of these have an average market on the net as people prefer not to waste precious money catching these movies at the theatre and they watch it on their computers or buy pirated DVDs. Another reason why such movies must not be encouraged, as they are directly responsible for increased piracy besides other side effects. But, the all important wastage is that of time.
Ex Health Minister Anbumani Ramdoss fought tooth and nail to stop the usage of tobacco in movies so has not to woo the younger generation in imitating their favorite stars and becoming tobaccoholics. An ambitious agenda that met a lot of resistance from the film industry.Stars like SRK who chug away like non stop puffing Billys in their ordinary course of life anyway come across as an iconic role model to the “youth” irrespective of whether they smoke in movies or not. If Khan can, any one can. What the minister should have done for the mental sanity of this community was to have banned making movies that decimate the grey cells. Loud movies like “Tashan” can cause grievous injuries to our central nervous systems, movies like ” Chandni chowk to China” can nail the coffin in the head.Tonight I plan to watch Mani Ratnam’s ” Nayakkan”, a reliable prescription I badly recommend to anyone who has been recently traumatized. I have taken this dosage umpteen times over. It works. It instills confidence that for every hundred nitwits, there is one genius, a god sent reprieve.