Monthly Archives

September 2016

MS Dhoni:The Untold Story is selective biography – Day 989

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Poster of the film

Film Review: MS Dhoni: The Untold Story

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Herry Tangri, Shreyas Talpade, Kiara Advani, Disha Patani, Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla, Rajesh Sharma.

Rating: 3 stars

Neeraj Pandey written/ directed M S Dhoni :The Untold Story is the story of Indian Cricket Team’s most prominent and popular captain, his humble beginnings in Ranchi and his passion for the game.

When his coach spots him the first time in the school playground, Mahendra Dhoni is playing football. On being asked if he would like to play cricket, Mahendra responds that why must he give up a big ball for a small ball? Then one night,as he watches his father at work, he sees the stadium lit up for the first time and changes his mind. He is willing to learn cricket and keen on batting but his coach believes that Mahendra/ Maahi has the making of a bowler.

From under nineteen and state level to National and then International matches, Mahendra Singh Dhoni reaches his peak when he wins the World Cup for the country and the nation becomes hysterical.

What works about the film are the highs and the lows, the narrative tells you as much about the person as the profession. We discover that Dhoni is as passionate about football and tennis as cricket and has an aggressive streak that he suppresses and vents out on the field. We learn he is a prankster, sometimes a boaster and lose his heart easily.

What does not work is the selective perception. The film makes a hero out of the cricketer and overlooks anything even slightly negative about the captain. The title suggests an Untold Story but the screenplay borrows from published incidents. One misses the cricket politics, rivalries, the recent scandal and controversies.

It isn’t as if the film does not make you laugh or cry, there are moments you feel jubilant and moments you feel choked but somehow the experience is never complete. At the end of the film you still don’t know the man.

The biggest drawback is the length (over three hours) of the film and by the last hour you are so restless that you are tearing your hair waiting for the climax.

The supporting cast of the film is extraordinary and Sushant Singh Rajput playing Mahendra Singh looks the part.


A still from the film


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Ekjute is 35 – Day 988

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Begum Jaan


















Ekjute founded by Nadira Zaheer Babbar, a veteran of National School of Drama is among the most reputed theatre groups in Mumbai celebrating 35 years of glory. A festival titled Rang Parwaaz Mahotsav launched on 24 September will go on till 2 October at Prithvi Theatre. A delighted Nadira Babbar said on the occasion, “Theatre came into my life 48 years ago, Ekjute is not just my theatre group but my best friend, a friend who has inspired me, encouraged me, supported me and lend me my identity”.

For the next few days catch the best of theater world at Prithvi Theaters featuring workshops, platform performances and a variety of plays to choose from which includes Sakubai, Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan, Jhumru and, Hirkani Burj,Yumrajji Kuch Kariye, Begum Jaan, Dayashankarki Diary and Sandhya Chaya.

I have shortlisted three plays I plan to watch are Salaam 1950s Ke Naam about the writer director Nadira Zaheer Babbar’s love and admiration for the cinema of 1950s.This mega musical is her way of telling a tale which is not alien to the audience and in fact is a walk down memory lane for those who’ve grown up watching films of that era.

Jaise Sookhe Huey Phool Kitaabon Mein Milein is an interesting tale about a Library being bought by a builder to raise a mall. The books are on sale and enters Anjali Mathur into the library to buy these books. Seeing her passion for books, the authors suddenly come alive and want to recite their creations to the professor.Footnotes of Life – Haashiye Zindagi Ke…is about seemingly random events, involving personal relationships or chance meetings with strangers, impermanent but interesting.


Jhumru Jhumri



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Devgns go Global – Day 987

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Kajol and Ajay at Google headquarters

While on their visit to the US for the promotions of Shivaay, the Devgn’s made a stopover in the San Francisco Bay Area (California) and visited the Headquarters of Google and Facebook. Being a gadget freak himself and given the advanced use of technology in his upcoming movie Shivaay, Ajay was really looking forward to these visits but what was special was that Kajol was accompanying him. The couple was given a tour of the Google and Facebook offices and a demo of the cool oculus device (virtual reality headset).  That was the moment Kajol was convinced to come on to the social media, in this case the Facebook. She had resisted the move all this while but now there was no holding back. She was now ready to register on Facebook officially and to make it memorable picked a date she would always remember, mother, Tanuja’s birthday.

The couple visited New York, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco for promotions and while Kajol was impressed with the effect of technology and Ajay felt proud of the Indians holding important positions globally.


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Happy Birthday Lataji – Day 986

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Lata Mangeshkar, the nightingale of India

Everybody knows that Lata Mangeshkar became popular after rendering ‘Aayega ayegaa aanewala …’for Madhubala in Mahal. She was a little girl at that time and to sustain her mood after several retakes the music director would tempt her with Cadbury chocolates. For a long time movie goers did not know her name because it was not a practice to announce the names of the singers on the radio at that time and a lot of people assumed that the song was sung by the actress Madhubala herself.

People were curious to know about the singer however and on public demand the All India Radio started giving information about the playback singers. Post the release of Mahal Madhubala made a condition in her contract that all her film songs will have the voice of Lata Mangeshkar.

That was the beginning of her journey and in time to come she was and continues to be celebrated as Goddess Saraswati of Indian cinema.







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Happy Birthday Yashji – Day 985

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Yash Chopra with wife Pamela Chopra

There are so many memories of so many conversations… The day I visited your old office in Juhu and Aditya Chopra then your assistant at work told us about his re-editing of your film Silsila. When I visited you on the sets of Faasley in Khandala and we sat late evening chatting on your journey in films. I remember coming home for breakfast and sipping tea in your garden, visiting YRF Studio the first time and strolling with you on your terrace when you spoke to me about your first office in Raj Kamal Studio.

I remember the premier of Veer Zaara, the promotion of Jab Tak Hai Jaan when you became unusually emotional and had to take a break from the interviews.

I remember bumping into you at Bachchan’s 70th birthday party and then came news of Dengue.

It is so many years but it is still difficult for me to attend a FICCI conference without thinking of you or watching a film at YRF studio without missing you…

Maybe you don’t miss us as much because you are probably busy shooting a romantic film with the beautiful apsaras in the heaven.



Yash Chopra



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Happy Birthday Dev saab – Day 984

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Dev Anand

In the late 70s when I was still a cub reporter I used to come to interview you at your Navketan office situated in Khira Nagar, Santacruz. Then came a phase when you called us for screenings and a chat, sometimes party at Ketnav Dubbing Theater in Khar.  By 2000 you had shifted office to Anand Dubbing theater at Pali Hill and were always happy to meet friends passing by. We shared coffee and discussed cinema. Another decade passed by as you made some more films even though your health was not hundred percent.

The last time I met you was at Hotel Sun-n-Sand in Juhu for your film promotion. You looked frail and exhausted but were happy to see me in your room after a tired day of work. Somehow, I had a hunch that maybe this was the last time I was seeing you. Then you left for London and never came back.

Where ever you are, we are certain you are happy and making films. This blog is to say we miss you Dev saab.



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Parched is about female bonding – Day 983

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Still from the film Parched

Film Review: Parched

Director: Leena Yadav

Music: Hitesh Sonik

Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee,Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla

Ratings: 2.5 stars

Parched is a story of patriarchal tyranny. Of four oppressed but courageous women Rani, (Tannishtha Chatterjee) a widow, Lajjo, (Radhika Apte) who is childless, Bijlee (Surveen Chawla) , a sex worker and Janaki (Lehar Khan) a child bride.

The film proves that India lives in multiple centuries simultaneously so while this village is reformed to possess mobile phones their dream is to own a dish TV so that their men will return home early.

What works: is the spirit and the urge to break shackles. Shot by the renowned Russell Carpenter of Titanic every frame is a treat to the eyes.

What does not: is the story because we have watched these issues (oppression, promiscuity, tyranny, bi-sexuality and sexual gratification) addressed in Rudali, Aastha, Mirch Masala or Rihaee and Fire. The climax is somewhat crazy where the women in search of happiness drive away in a bicycle cart into the rainbow and to feel empowered let go off their vanity and cut their hair.

Would men ever do that, no and it is time to question that why do women need to emphasize their freedom, should not they be taking it for granted?

All the characters are believable and all the performances sensitive. Tannishtha Chatterjee and Radhika Apte are acclaimed actresses but this time Surveen Chawla has the better role and makes a better impact.



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Banjo is cacophonic – Day 982

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Still from the film Banjo


Film Review: Banjo

Director: Ravi Jadhav

Music: Vishal-Shekhar

Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri

Rating: 1 star

A slum dweller and his friends work on mundane jobs for a living and in the evening for refreshment play a band at local events. They are untrained but talented and are discovered by a musician of Indian origin in America who has to create an album with new sound.

A friend sends her what he has recorded in the by-lanes of Mumbai at the annual Ganpati festival and she is charged. She packs her bags to arrive in Mumbai to search the band and offer them a platform. They are ready for the experience but there is a communication problem.

Nargis Fakhri does not speak their language but through trial and error they somehow strike a chord and deliver the album she is looking for.

If only director Ravi Jadhav had also managed to communicate with his audience. Sadly all he manages is to create colorful ambience, great posters and cacophony in the name of music. It is difficult to believe that this is the same man who made acclaimed Marathi films like Bal Gandharva and Natarang.

There is not a single, soulful moment in the film that bonds you to the character or the story. No attention to logic, detail or sensibility. Nothing works about the film, not the music, not Riteish Deshmukh unfortunately and certainly not Nargis Fakhri, can she please rethink of a career option.



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Irrfan Khan in Inferno – Day 981

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english-panel-posterAcademy Award winner Ron Howard returns to direct the latest bestseller in Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code) billion-dollar Robert Langdon series, Inferno, which finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself.  When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories.  Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population.

The film is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and stars Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, along with Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan. The film has been shot extensively across locations in Italy, Istanbul and Budapest.










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Ajay Devgn’s killer instinct for Shivaay – Day 980

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Sukhwinder Singh in the title track

Ajay Devgn has created a special visual experience to launch ‘Bolo Har Har Har…’ the title track of Shivaay. A visual extravaganza featuring the singers and the composer has been created especially for the title track and this includes music composer Mithoon, singers Badshah, Sukhwinder, Megha Sriram Dalton and Mohit Chauhan who renders a mesmerizing chant for the track.

Those who have heard the track are talking about the haunting mix of the contemporary and traditional sounds. Ajay Devgn may not boast about it but he has a super ear for music and in case people forget he is the man to introduce the husky voice of Jaspinder Narulla in Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha many years ago.


Megha Sriram Dalton



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