19 Dec 2009

Vaanar sena

... and then there is a group of jokers who add on to the proofs that they have nothing better to do than go on causing destruction because some movie calls their city Bombay instead of Mumbai. Where were they and where was their love for the city when it was attacked by terrorists or when it was flooded with water. The hooliganism shows even in their annual Ganesh festival mandaps where they block roads in the evenings for putting up a stage where crowd assemble waiting for the speech to finish and the cacophonous musical orchestra to start. I have not heard of even one constructive activity that the Shiv Sena has done in the past 5 years.

26 Nov 2009

Mumbai calling

Ahh Mumbai. My place. My people.

The people in Mumbai are an emotional lot. Bollywood and TV ads plays a vital role in everyone's life in Mumbai. There has not been one day when I have not heard someone quote a Bollywood hero/ heroine or an advert slogan.

An uncle pulling out a chocolate from his pocket for a kid would inadvertently back it up with a dhan-ta-dhan (a la Kameeney) while handing it over.

Occassionally at a lunch table in the office, someone would come up with 'tere paas burger hai, tere paas lunch thaali hai. Mere paas kya hai? Mere paas maa hai.' and then opens his home made lunch box.

30 Aug 2009

Of birthdays

It is was the sister's birthday. Every year, I tell her that she shares birthday with Michael Jackson and Dhyanchand. The latter being the great hockey player and captain of the Indian team, who brought gold medal and pride to the nation. While even Google paid homage to the pop star today, I wonder there was any mention of the hockey player on the 24 hour news channels in India. But that is a different debate left to the purists.

Radio (2009)

Himesh music is back after a long time.

His new movie Radio does not appear on imdb.com! The music has just released at Lalbagcha Ganpati pandaal. The album is very unlike the usual Himesh... maybe because it misses the nasal twangs. Rumour is that Himesh has undergone a surgery of the vocal chords. The result is that all the tracks are softer and very light... and on a couple of occassions - uncomfortable. 'Shaam ho chali hai' even has a very audible amateurish jump in the voice. There are glimpses and traces of the old Himesh in the remix version of 'Zindagi jaise ek Radio'.

All tracks, except Kailash Kher's 'Damadji' are catchy tunes. But, the Mumbai rickshaws are going to be disappointed as this is definitely not a 'Tere Naam' or 'Aksar'. Perhaps, the usual T-series ploy of hammering the songs on all music channels might help this one get on the humming-of-the-day lists.

26 Aug 2009

Comin' Age


The critics had been all ga-ga over this new movie from the maker of Maqbool, Makdi, Omkara - Vishal Bhardwaj - the one man movie machine. He features in all the major departments for this film (strictly in order of recollection only) - music, direction, story, screenplay, dialogues, singing.

Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopora, Amole Gupte

This is a gangster movie highlighting a day in the life of twin brothers (Shahid Kapoor) - Charlie and Guddu. The former is a gangster who wants to earn money to become a horse race bookie and the latter is a student working for an NGO. Sweety (Priyanka) is Guddu's love interest and the sister of a crook, Bhau Bhope (Amol Gupte) aspiring to be politician. Charlie stumbles upon drugs worth 10 crore. Expectedly, there is a case of mistaken identity and more gang fights. Everything culminates into a happy ending.

- Filmed in Mumbai (and Gujarat, probably)
- A fresh style of story telling. Reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie.
- A fair importance given to all the characters. Strong characterisations.
- This film has dialogues in bengali, marathi, english, african and yet, no subtitles. No time is spent in romance between the Guddu and Sweety. The audience is not expected to be dumb.

- Cannot think of any!
- Did not understand the NGO angle to the Guddu character. Did I miss something?

I had earlier read somewhere that the story has been borrowed from a short story based in Kenyan slums. That story was by Cajetan Boy, who has been given due credit at the start of the movie. The Rs.44 crore spent on the movie includes his 2 lakhs fee. Vishal Bhardwaj met him at the Mira Nair's workshop (MAISHA) and so, the movie starts with credit to the workshop, as well. Additionally, the Kenyan diamond/ drug smuggler has been named 'Cajetan', too.

Amol Gupte was last time associated with the screenplay for 'Taare Zameen Par'. He debuts as an actor this time. Coincidentally, the lead characters in both these hits have had a medical condition.

I found a scene very funny. 'Tashi' enters Bhope Bhau's ilaaka with all the style of a king. He has a hat on his head and walks chest high, chin high along with his 3 side kicks. Suddenly, they hear a bullet shot and all of them meekly disperse away.

'Do lafzon ki' (The Great Gambler) and 'Duniya mein logon ko' (Apna Desh) are 2 old songs that play in the background. The latter is only for an exhibition of Shahid's oiled physique. Check the 'Making of...' for details on that one. But this should be enough to revive the songs in the remix club houses. Bhau Bhope's mobile ring tone is a hit a marathi film song - Kombdi. Watch out for a remixed video.

29 Mar 2009


The credit/ blame for my tryst with movies goes to my dad and my uncle.  They introduced me to the magic, masti, manoranjan and escapist world of movies. After the introductions, however, it was Amitabh who made me want to revisit the realm. When I was still about 3 years old, I brought the whole house down because my uncle watched 'Don' without me. I was only quitened by saying that he had actually gone to see 'Dawn' baniyaan (vests)!

Don was one of the wholesome entertainers. This was possibly Big B's first attempt at comedy. It was just that Amar Akbar Anthony was released earlier than Don because the latter almost got shelved after its producer, Nariman Irani (NI), died on the sets during the shooting. It is a pity that Mr NI never got to see the success achieved by his product. It did enough business to take care of the loan of 12 lakhs that had stressed him out and even kept his production house alive. NI was a photographer and cameraman by profession, who was under huge debt following the debacle of Zindagi zindagi, was pursuaded by the big B, Zeenat Aman and Chandra Barot to make another movie to settle the financial mess. Amitabh and Zeenat agreed to work for the film at nominal rates. Factually, Pran was paid 5 lakhs and Amitabh agreed for half of it. Salim-Javed's payment was the distribution rights of the film for the Indore and Bhopal territories.

The hit duo of Salim-Javed had approached Jeetendra, Dev Anand and Prakash Mehra with an untitled script based on 'House of secrets'. With no takers, the script was left collecting dust with Salim. When NI requested him for a script, he said- 'Humare paas ek breakfast script padi hai jo koi nahi le raha hai.' NI gleefully accepted - 'chalega'.
In Farhan Akhtar's version the 'Khaike paan banaraswala' song starts with the words: 
Arre tumka ka bataai bhaiyya, hamraa haal kaa hai? 
(chorus: arree bataai do, bataai do)
Nikle the halwa khaane, muh hi jal gaya hai!
Ironically, this is exactly what had happened to Amitabh because he was made to chew 40 paans to get the red-spew-effect. Anandji had suggested this, but he forgot to mention that for the red one need not apply chunaa  (lime) to the paan. Amitabh suffered from burnt lips for days after the shoot. On the other hand, to grant authenticity to the song, Kishore Kumar ate paan and spat on a plastic sheet during the recording. The song was not part of the original screenplay and was added after the interval following Manoj Kumar's suggestion to bring down the pace a bit. The song, eventually, played a big hand in the popularity of the film. Another late addition to the screenplay was Pran's broken story which was a result of an accident he had met. 

Inspite of the success, Hindi screen did not get any more films directed by Chandra Barot. In 1996 'Nariman Pictures' produced 'Shastra'. A remixed version of 'Don' was presented by Farhan Akhtar which scored over the original in the technical department, but, it could not make an impression as the version by late Mr. Nariman Irani.

17 Jan 2009


Chandni chowk to China

'China Gate' and '36 China Town' are two other movies that have the name of India's neighbouring country in their titles. Inspite of the big productions for all the 3 movies,they did not hit the mark.
In the January, 2 years back, Nikhil Advani had an equally over-hyped, Salaam-e-Ishq that got criticised and panned down. It was not a bad hindi movie, either.

So, superstitiously, the following are inauspicious for the box-office success of a Hindi movie:
  • combination of Nikhil Advani and a January release
  • 'China' in the title of the movie
Durr ka connections in CC2C:
Rohan Sippy (producer of CC2C) was director of Bluffmaster (2005), which was scripted by Rajat Arora, who also scripted CC2C along with Sridhar Raghavan, the brother of Sriram Raghavan who made Johhny Gaddar, whose background music is done by Daniel George. Daniel has scored for CC2C, too.

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Mithun,

Director: Nikhil Advani

Genre: Comedy, kung-fu action

This is the story of an orphan, Sidhu, who grows up to be a cook at an eatery owned by his foster brother, Dada, in the famous Chandni Chowk. His only skill is chopping and cooking vegetables. An ancient chinese prophecy and mistaken identity lands him in China to face the evil drug lord, Hojo. Dada travels to China to bring back Sidhu to Chandni Chowk, but gets killed in a fight with Hojo and Sidhu only watches helplessly. Chang, who was wronged by Hojo many years ago teaches kung fu to Sidhu and he gets his revenge.

  • Comedy
  • Action by Dee Dee
  • Masala entertainer
  • The first 20 mins makes one expect a riot like the 'Kung Fu Hustle'

  • Deepika
  • Music; nothing worth remembering
  • A predictable 2nd half

Things I remember:
  • The very fresh fight scenes at the Great wall of China.
  • Akshay Kumar says - Yeh chini sindhi kyu bol rahe hai? Dado Hojo!
  • The background music by Daniel B. George (Johnny Gaddaar) seems to be inspired by Nayak nahi (Khalnayak), a song from Drona and the Saw series theme.
  • Bhappi da singing 'India se aaya mera dost'