30 Nov 2008

Breaking news

I was in Mumbai till the 25th and joined work in London on Wednesday. I had got sweets and savouries from Mumbai for my friends on London. When everyone asked me how the vacation was I glowed up recalling my days in the bright day light of Colaba causeway, Churchgate station, VT station, Bandra, Andheri and the various theatres. I was all recharged and telling everyone that Mumbai is the best city in the world. The day whizzed past as the after taste of my short vacation in Mumbai was still lingering.

Ironically, when I went back home that evening the news channels were show casing the audacity of the terrorists who had entered and ruined my favourite place. Nothing can undo or make up for what they have done. The effects of the attacks will stay in the memories of the world for a long time. Mumbai will soon be considered one of the most dangerous places in the world. There will be a constant fear attached to the name of my city.

This will all be followed by the usual politics and blame games. Pakistan will incorrigibly deny any part in the attacks. The ISI will diplomatically deny any links. The local politicians will try to gain mileage at the cost of Indian tax payers' money. An enquiry commission will be duly setup that will take months to come up with any useful conclusion. There will be a lot published in newspapers, magazines, blogs and even, movies. The news channels, who had been foolishly disclosing all the army tactics during the attacks, will continue with the 'breaking news'. Group discussions will continue highlighting the stoic spirit of the city. Soon all this will fade away and everything will be forgotten.


I hope that these attacks have shaken the Mumbaikars enough to make them take things in their own hands and elect the right people this time. We need leaders who can take responsibility and lead from the front. The city that provides the most income taxes deserves at least a sense of security in their homes. The financial capital that boasts of a sea of educated thinking minds is capable of calling it the shots. Like Shobha De said - Enough is enough.

3 Nov 2008

Sequel Server

Unlike its western counterpart, Bollywood has been churning them out in relatively smaller numbers. Excluding the dubbed versions (the likes of Makdi-manav), I have tried to list out the hindi sequels.

Nigahen - Sridevi is back as the human daughter of the naagin-Sridevi from the hugely successful first part. Sunny Deol plays the naag held in captivity by the evil tantrik Anupam Kher. The fight of good vs evil is for a magical diamond called naag-mani. Harmesh Malhotra directed both the parts that have had a major contribution in fueling many of the myths related to snakes. This was an average success.

Return of the Jewel Thief - One of the masterpieces of Indian cinema, Jewel Thief, was sequel-ed after nearly 30 years. It brought back Dev Anand and Ashok Kumar from the original and the Kohinoor diamond from the UK. This one was not blessed with the S D Burman's evergreen music or Vijay Anand's slick direction. Ashok Tyagi roped in a string of actors for this multi-starrer thriller. The title had the Kohinoor diamond and the famous jewel-thief cap.

Hathyaar - Sanjay Dutt is back as the son of the underworld don (Raghu, played by Dutt) from Vaastav. Vaastav was a huge hit, but there were no attempt to publicise Hathyaar as its sequel. This was a gritty movie that went un-noticed. ("Yeh picture aa-gaya?" "Haan, aaya bhi aur gaya bhi.") The son of the don struggles to fit into the society because of his infamous middle name. Mahesh Manjrekar does a talented job of maintaining the tempo of this drama. At a couple of occassions, whenever the tension is high well placed gangster jokes provide relief ('Boxer bhai song' and 'the hospital scene were dedh-footya's mom yells at a goon - daal doo kya?').

Phir Hera Pheri - The trio of Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty are back; this time without Priyadarshan. The look and feel seems quite different to the hugely enjoyed, Hera Pheri. This time the comedy of errors leads them to a load of drugs and a hidden diamond. The climax is a mad-cap chase at a circus. The comedy fails to work mainly because of the lack of its closeness to the homely feel of the original.

Sarkar Raj - Ram Gopal Verma got Amitabh to do what he does the best - act. Amitabh's character was considered to be a depiction of the Shiv Sena chief - Bal Thakerey - whereas, this was actually RGV's version of the Godfather. No less. Sarkar was not a huge hit, but it certainly got noticed by everyone. Sarkar Raj brought back together the Bachchan father-son duo and the to-be-bride of the family. Aishwarya plays a foreign-based businesswomen who needs help from Sarkar to establish a power project in India. The story evolves into an intriguing thriller-drama of mind games between Sarkar and a rural leader played intently by Dilip Prabhavalkar. The end builds up enough to create another part.

Lage Raho Munna bhai - The feel-good team of the local goons Munna bhai and Circuit are back. Munnabhai MBBS did a great deal to improve Sanju baba's image. Raj Kumar Hirani creates another breezy feel-good movie on the backdrop of Gandhi-giri. It is fun to watch a feared goon taking up the non-violent path of Gandhiji (played by the talented Dilip Prabhavalkar) as he tries to win his love (Vidya Balan). Munna is fighting non violently against a scheming Sikh builder, played by Boman Irani. A loveable show of Munna and his chum, Circuit. I have seen trailors of the 3 part - Munnabhai chale America.

Hyderabad Blues 2 - Nagesh Kukunoor debuted with his Hyderbad Blues, an auto-biographical account of adventures of an NRI coming back to India and finding an Indian bride. The entire ensemble is back with the post marriage comedy of the normal middle class couple with the backdrop of a conservative South-Indian culture. The multiplexes lapped it up.

Krrish - Rakesh Roshan dares to create an Indian superhero as a follow up to the ET-inspired Koi mil gaya. Hrithik plays Krrish who gets his superpowers from the alien, Jadoo. He goes on to save the world and rescue a secret towards the end. This was a thoroughly enjoyed hindi-masala adventure, Bollywood got a new superhero and Priyanka got a major hit.

Dhoom 2 - Sanjay Gadhvi and Yashraj films brought together the top actors of the year to create screen magic and rake in a lot of overseas moolah. Abhishek and Uday are carried forward from Dhoom, this time to chase an elusive and stylish thief named 'A', Hrithik Roshan. Bipasha (in double role) and Aishwarya (more important role) provide the oomph and promote size-zero. The thief does some daring stunts and the cops nab the thief in the end. The Diwali opening for this pacy thriller was a huge hit.

Golmaal Returns - Rohit Shetty brings the loony team of Ajay Devgan, Tushar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi and Shreyas Talpade together for a mindless comedy of lying men. Sharmaan Joshi from Golmaal was left out for this one. Kareena plays a shrieking doubting wife and dances to a couple of item songs. Tushar is probably seen in the best act of his life as a dumb hair-stylist act. This was a Diwali hit, a surprise one.

Jodha Akbar - This one is not a sequel, but rather, a prequel to one of the biggest films from the B&W era of Hindi cinema. Ashutosh Gowarikar asked what can one do after 'Lagaan' and 'Swades'? His writer replied that it would be only fitting to create something that would outdo the greatest in Indian cinema - Mughal-e-Azam. It was a classic love story of Akbar's son, Salim, and a dancing slave, Anarkali. Jodha Akbar is the lavish story of the love between two proud royalties, the Mughal (Shahenshah Akbar) and the Rajput (Rani Jodhabai). Hrithik and Aishwarya get together for this period drama and Ashutosh creates magic with help from A R Rehman. It might not have worked at the box-office, but it represented India to the world and got appreciated.