‘The Khan’ factor

My new blog on Times of India – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/the-khan-factor


51 Responses to “‘The Khan’ factor”

  1. This is a page where I can pick any subject, while we wait for the post to appear in two days!

    There is a controversy doing the rounds on Marathi news channels about ABCL next projecct called Buudha. It is translit in the Mumbai accent as Bbudda which is not right ofcourse. The phonetic u of Hindi has a short and a long note. Buudha as in old man has a long u. Anyways, that’s not the titbit.

    The channel is showing something about a TOI reporter making false quotes in the name of an alleged co-producer and AB has shot the messenger. That’s not unusual.

    The junior artistes in the film industry are not paid cheques at the end of the day. They are paid cash from 1000 Rs to 10,000 Rs a day depending on the work. They are paid by their hiring company, not by the producer. The hiring company is a simple body-shopping outfit that supplies man and woman power as demanded by the production managers.

    It’s a thriving business. Film units bring only the key actors and the rest are hired locally.

    The jeep that I own in Ooty was hired for a AB-Mohanlal scene in a film called Kandahar which was shot on the Wellington cantonment golf course. More than a hundred locals were on call-out duty and paid 500 Rs to a 1000 Rs for two hours.


    It’s the entertainment industry. ABCL is a very small player as compared to the Khan empire.

    ABCL has to produce at least one or two movies each year to earn something for the shareholders and pay for the running expenses. They do that on a modest scale and quite well too.

    The Khans run holding companies and invest like Israeli merchants. They own stakes in everything from the concept to the exhibition of their films. It’s a territorial conglomerate.

    You can kick-start a steady revenue stream for yourself if the post above draws the attention of someone in the Khan lobby. They own the entire supply chain from production houses based out of Malaysia to distribution networks and exhibitors in the US, UK, South Africa and the ME.

    • Sharmila Says:

      So, you saying AB is right ?

      • AB seems to have done what he usually does. Shoot the messenger.

        He wouldn’t dare take a call on Raj Thackeray or the PR machinery of the anti-AB lobby in Mumbai. I am sure he is not so naive that he doesn’t know who those people are.

        I feel ABCL is running on AB’s personal goodwill with some big houses like Aditya Birla, Chopras and Anil Ambani who invest in the film industry. Nothing wrong with that.

        Nonetheless, I don’t see this episode as a hurdle to his creativity as an actor. His competence as a performing artist is beyond scrutiny even for those who pay to see his movies.

        His modesty or humility (or the nature of their causes) mean nothing to me personally. AB is not Sai Baba.

      • AB is right.

        All he needs is 2 million viewers for 2000 prints at 1000 viewers each in the first 72 hours of the release of the movie. Multiplexes can average 3 times 1000 in the same time. A bit of emotional hype may even fit the mood of the movie.

        Locals in any territory often resort to strong-arm methods for negotiating. Money and political clout are brothers-in-arms.

        I don’t find any missionary, ethical challenges in the whole exercise.

        If you have noticed my inclinations, I am a bit forgiving about anything that is labelled Indian, even if it is called divisive politics, economic corruption or bullish methods of negotiating.

    • Sharmila Says:

      I wonder why the Thackerays have a personal vendetta?

      • That’s definitely not true. Thackeray’s do not have anything against AB. On the contrary, Bal Thackeray and AB are close friends in every possible way that you can imagine.

        Raj Thackeray’s MNS is a breakaway faction of the Thackeray clan. Mumbai is divided in their allegience between the two.

        The Mumbai territory is worth at least 2-5 crores in the first 3 days of the release of a movie starring a reliable actor like AB. If one gets the exhibitor’s rights for one of it’s cronies, the other demands protection money.

        I guess that is quite normal for any one, be it a Bachchan or a Khan (remember, ‘My Name is Khan’ when SRK had to deal with the parent Thackeray!)

    • Sharmila Says:

      I don’t quite believe this theory. I think there is more than what meets the eye…will mail you ..

      • If you accept my economics of 10% white and 90% black money, everything falls into place. I bet, the cash paid to junior artists is unaccounted. It is paid by the supplier of the junior artists, not the producer, so ABCL is not responsible for them.

        AB’s movies were super duper hits in the past. Territories were divided at two levels. The exhibitors and the black-marketeers. I remember watching Lawaaris at Prakash Mehra’s single screen cinema hall called Satyam in Worli at a whopping INR 500, when the tickets were INR 70! It falls under the prabhadevi, dadar territory and the operators belong to Shiv Sena. In those days, Ghatkoper belonged to Nayakan Vardha. Colaba and Central Mumbai were with Yusuf Patel and so on.

        After the D-Company broke all the rules, the areas got re-structured. The “Madrasi” (all south indians) dens were terrorized and booted out of Mumbai.

        I think the modus operandi in the parallel economy still remains the same. The goon-power maintains law and order. They collect their taxes by force.

        The same way as the government collects taxes from the white money. If you don’t pay-up you go to gaol.

        Some call it extortion, I call it cost of living.

    • Sharmila Says:

      I think AB is right too. His blog serves the purpose in more ways than one..

      • His blog is at once an advantage and a disapppointment.

        It’s an advantage to him in that it gives him a platform to voice and vent his feelings.

        It is a disappointment for anyone who idolizes him as his father’s son. His occassional protests against selected journalists are over personal muck-raking, not a national issue of media ethics.

  2. My claustro phobia has reached clinical levels. Where ever I look, I see the Creator. I am losing myself. There’s no space to breath!


  3. Frankly, I think it is all about the support system that one chooses in an open society.

    It’s like choosing between managing talent and managing a public image. The support systems required for the two are entirely different.

  4. Yes, that is right. I wish there was more focus on pressing issues, he would be marvelous in addressing some social issues even if he wishes to remain apolitical.

    • Politically, I feel, he is inclined towards Russian socialism. He was introduced to their hoi polloi by Raj Kapoor when he was at the peak of his super-stardom. He supported the labour during the UK elections by attending one of their political functions just before the elections in UK. He attended Jyoti Basu’s funeral in January last year. He was honored by the Polish government recently. He is one of the investors in an electricity distribution company in Calcutta.

      There are very few socialists who make their political beliefs public. But they express themselves quietly through their work. There is a long list of such silent activists in the film industry.

      Khwaja Ahmed Abbas (writer of Raj Kapoor’s movies and AB’s first movie Saat Hindustaani, also his father’s friend), Sahir Ludhianvi, A. K. Hangal, Uttpal Dutt, Balraj Sahni, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Saeed Jaafrey, Shashi Kapoor. These are just a few names I can remember off-hand.

  5. Reader – Dubey is at it again. Read this –
    MUMBAI: Shooting of Amitabh Bachchan’s Bbuddah was stalled again on Thursday. This time by the police for not taking their permission to shoot at the location. Shivaji Park senior police inspector Suresh Unavane said that they stopped the shooting of the film after learning that the producers had not sought police permission to shoot at United Mills. He said, “Now they have applied for permission they can begin shooting if they get the sanction letter.”

    On Tuesday, members of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS stalled the shooting of Amitabh Bachchan’s film Bbuddah that was going on at United Mills in Mumbai alleging foreigners with no work permit being part of a song sequence. It was after an apology letter signed by the line producer Neeraj Sharma on behalf of Puri Jagannadh, the director of the film, was sent to Raj Thackeray the MNS decided to go slow.

    However, on Thursday morning Bachchan wrote in his blog denying any such letter being issued to Raj Thackeray by Puri Jaggannadh. But president of the cine wing of MNS Ameya Khopkar said: “I have the original copy of the letter signed by line producer Neeraj Sharma.”

    Asked what was the MNS stand now, he said, “If Amitabh Bachchan’s unit has all the proper papers of the members working on the set and permission from the local police is taken we have no issues.”

    • Sharmila,

      For me, an anti-AB conspiracy or a campaign would be one where there is absolutely no mention of the film at all. Something that was done for Raavan against the little sheikh Abhishake. The media tried that against AB himself in the ’80s. That one failed so badly that film glossies were reduced to soft porn pin-ups on railway stations and bus stands.

      Dubey’s publicity is good for the movie. I think he/she is doing a great job, keeping a tab on the story from all angles, the police, the line prdoucer, MNS et al.

      The producers of the movie are not indulging in any criminal offense. Neither is Dubey doing anything wrong. He/She is adding spice in the right measure. A bit of controversy is always good.

      This movie will do well, if the theme, as publicized by the grapevine, is “‘Angry Young Man’ re-invented.”

      Dubey’s story seems off-track but I think it is good for a thriller or a masala film.

      Negative publicity works in India.

      Amitabh Bachhan rules. His screen presence guarantees success whether the media likes it or not.

  6. The numero uno – The Don of Bollywood – Amitabh Bachchan

  7. Okay. Enough of Bachchan. Sachin is coming to bat against Shane Warne. Battle of the titans on Set Max.

    • I woke up half at 4 am instead of 3:30, and Sachin is gone already 😦

      Bachchan is cheering me up immensely.


  8. Bad day in the office for Sachin. Hota hai. Ofcourse, if AB were to act as a cricketeer in a movie, he would do better than Sachin in real life. I guess that is what acting is about.

    Meanwhile, English language Indian TV channels are salivating live over the wedding of a prince in London. Faithful dogs.

    Bloomberg UTV is showing the best scam so far: Black Money in the Realty markets. Proves me right. Black money is 90%! Agreements are a rip-off! It turns out that the property remains in the name of the developer in many cases. On paper value is usually 20-30% of the actual transaction, excluding services. That reduces to 10% overall.

    I hope this one draws the attention of the judiciary! Excellent investigations by Bloomberg UTV.

    • If AB were to act Sachin’s life, the movie would end with the World Cup.

      What comes after the win, the wedding or the long-awated leading couple’s kiss, nobody is interested in – too much like the pesky real life we want to get away from.

      • AB’s roles are scripted by someone. AB is 6 feet and a bit more in height. He can’t act Sachin’s life even on celulloid. He can act as a cricketeer and show an ideal one who never loses. That may involve staring at kissing couples.

        Sachin writes his own script on the pitch. Life happens to him real time. He doesn’t kiss for an audience. Pesky? I don’t know.

      • I’d much rather watch Sachin in real time real life.

        Movies are good. There is a prescribed set of emotions to go through and in three hours (for an Indian one), I leave satisfied (most of the time, except if Akshay has anything to do with it), perhaps I’ll discuss it with my friends or on AB’s blog and that’s the end of it.

        Watching Sachin walk up to the pitch is an altogether different thing. No movies about his life, please – not yet.

  9. There’s one thing about human endeavors. Unlike other species, the male of the human often attempts to do things that he has never done before. Sometimes even things that he knows are not in his declared skill set.

    Salman Khan’s acting falls into this category. He is a very sensitive writer, a poet and a painter with a graceful sense of colors. Blame it on AB’s successful screen persona of the anti-establishment angry young man, many young ones in Bollywood’s capital, the JVPD scheme in Mumbai, have attempted to re-create the same magic.

    The Angry Young Man broke a lot of myths in the main stream. In those days movies celebrated 25 weeks, 50 weeks etc in theaters calling them Silver Jubilees and Golden Jubilees. Rajendra Kumar was called Jubilee Kumar for 9 Silver Jubilees in a row.

    AB’s movies opened the theaters for slumdogs and the militant poor. These folks are not happy seeing a movie just once. AB’s movies were seen 10s of times till his next one was released! Prices of sundry services in the market varied depending on how many AB movies were running in the theaters nearby. The tickets were quite expensive.

    The theme of a rebellious protagonist was not limtied to cities, states or nations. It stormed even neighboring countries in Asia and the erstwhile USSR.

    Ajmal Kasab, the terrotist caught alive in the Mumbai attacks, is on record that he is a die-hard fan of AB’s movies. AB’s movies as an underdog hero are motivational stuff for those who do weapon training in the forests.

    Salman Khan, who could have easily made a good writer like his father, modelled a screen image that mixed a boisterous romantic and a stud. It has worked well.

    Shahrukh, a television artist, stumbled into stardom because of the big banners that signed him for the intense negative energy in his portrayals. The friendly neighborhood Raju is almost an accident.

    There is one snag, if we can call that, about good actors in bollywood who happen to be islamic. It can be trended from the earliest days of Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar to all the Khans today. Once they become successful, for some reason, there seems to be some peer pressure to prove their religious loyalties. And this starts showing up in extra loud public declarations of “Inshallah” “Humdu Lillah” and other expression that are more common in Arabia. From the polite ‘Aadab’, the greeting changes to ‘Salaam Wa Alekum’. This is the beginning of the end of their acting prowess. They get driven by their market segments. Salman’s Dabbang is one such example. He would be amused at the success of that film, more for what the success means than his own acting skills.

    Salman’s personal life is a similar oxymoron. I don’t think he has homicidal instincts. But he has this attitude of an outlaw, where it is more important to show disrespect for an ideal in law than express his own ideals. I guess it is some sort of distorted aesthetic sense.

    I have nothing against his hunting black bucks or any other animal. I don’t find that any different from neuterring domestic pets. Neuterred pets don’t produce new ones. Hunting kills existing ones. It’s the same thing.

    Personally, I love PETA only for their anti-fur campaign. The slogan “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” is rather well advertised by hollywood models. I can’t recognize a hollywood actress if she has not done that ad.

    • had no idea Kasab was a keen follower of AB movies! This is news to me. But, who doesn’t watch his movies! PS: how is the book going?

  10. The blog is frozen for the past two days.

    It’s a long weekend in London. The delivery of my consignment is delayed. Seems like the couriers are either wearing over Will’s willy or celebrating Cathy’s catch?

    Oh, well. I have nothing to say on this page further. So, I guess I’ll say that: “Nothing”

    Must find something else to do… notifications are on.. I’ll know if a comment or a post appears…

  11. Aishwarya Says:

    Isn’t it time for the new post? The Khan factor…

    If AB gets grades A and B in acting, can the Khans get a C? Or Khan they not? Are the Khans canned? Or can the Khans still can-can?

    It’s so quiet here, I don’t know what I am saying… 😦

    Let me post some songs instead. Tribute to the Khans. Great performers and entertainers, who continue to take us on an emotional ride, in a stretch limo… (considering the mega-budget movies they do)…


    • Hi Aish! I just did post ! .. its on now.. how have you been?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Hi Sharmila! Thanks. Read the new post, good one. The rate at which the Khans have been churning out movies for over 2 decades, it could be called The Khan Factory… 🙂

        Wondering if your new post will be about the royal wedding gala or the Obama-Osama drama. Sometimes it feels like the US has nothing to boast of except their gruesome attacks on the Arab nations, be it Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Wish they would spend time governing their own instead of doing dadagiri. Or perhaps this is the only way they can survive…by puppeteering other nations and managing their resources…with the rest of the world playing the chamchagiri to the hilt. Pathetic. With no solution in the horizon.

  12. Aishwarya Says:

  13. Aishwarya Says:

  14. Aishwarya Says:

  15. Aishwarya Says:

    And for AB…

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