Monthly Archives

August 2017

Aruna Irani : Gunga Jamuna to television (Day 1163)

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Aruna Irani started her career as a child star in Gunga Jamuna and when she grew up she danced in the chorus or did brief roles till Mehmood spotted her in a crowd scene and launched her as his co-star. She was a good actor and did many powerful supporting roles in many films be it Upkaar, Naya Zamana or Carvaan.  It was Mehmood who launched her as a heroine opposite his prodigal Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay to Goa.

ArunaIrani g 90s partyRaj Kapoor launched her as a dancer in Bobby and there was no looking back for Aruna Irani recognized as a complete entertainer who could fit into any role or character in any film.

aruna cake 2In the 80s when the film offers reduced Aruna Irani got busy with Gujarati films not just as an actor but also as a producer and director. In the 90s she was back in Hindi films with her unforgettable role as Anil Kapoor’s mother in Beta.

2000 onward Aruna Irani became the most in demand actor on television starting with Desh Mein Nikla Hoga Chand to her latest offering as Sau Bhagyalaxami in 2016.

Wishing Aruna Irani a productive and creative year ahead…

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Sachin Pilgaonkar : Child star to superstar Day 1162

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Today is Sachin Pilgaonkar’s birthday. I met Sachin I think on the sets of Basu Bhattacharya’s Madhu Malti with Sarika his heroine. They were shooting in some Goregaon college campus and I spent the entire day chatting with the unit till pack up.

Over the decades as I moved from being a cup reporter to an editor Sachin proved a successful actor slowly diverting to Marathi films first as an actor and later as a director.

He was as active on the television as a producer and as a director and also visible as an actor in Hindi and Marathi films.

Recently he celebrated 50 years in the film industry, a rare feat at his age possible only because he began his career as a child artiste with Meena Kumari when the state and all those associated with him paid him loving tribute at a grand function attended by Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar.

Wishing the versatile Sachin Pilgaonkar a happy and healthy birthday and may there be many more to come.

Toilet Ek Prem Katha- India is changing Day 1158

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Film Review: Toilet Ek Prem Katha

Date: 11 August 2017

Producer:  Bhatia, Arora, Kapoor, Thakkar

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekaar


Rating: 3.5 stars

She is fiery, fearless and upfront. He is foolish, frivolous and evades issues till confronted by finality. He is 37 unmarried, uneducated, she is a topper in her 20s and raring to go. Realistically there’s no meeting ground between the highbrow Jaya/ Bhumi Pednekar and the cycle shop owner Keshav/ Akshay Kumar but cupid has his own reasons and Uttar Pradesh’s Mand village has one more wedding to relish the celebrations.

 At dawn while Jaya is fast asleep snuggled beside her groom, she is awakened by the village women on their daily walk to the forest mockingly referred to as lota party and Jaya is outraged to discover that her in-laws have no toilet in the house!

For the sake of her husband Jaya makes sincere attempts to adjust to her new routine. The newlyweds plan adventurous alternatives but when all plans fail, a furious Jaya returns to her parents determined to not return until her husband builds a toilet in the house.

 The first half of the film concentrates on the blossoming romance between the lovers set against the backdrop of this quaint village comprising cow dung homes, bicycles, and kulhad chai. The characters converse in local dialect with a dash of twisted English and relish colorful festivals.

The second half while specifically addressing the toilet issue stirs age old traditions and questions meaningless rituals. When Keshav is not supported by the Panchayat he seeks legal aid and exposes corruption in bureaucracy that drums all the way to media and Mantralay!

 What goes in favor of the film is the native humor, the extra-ordinary writing, the ambiance, the music, the engaging characters and most important, the message of the film. Clearly this is not an ordinary love story questioning inequality in status/ religion/ age/ caste/ power. We have seen that in many social films over the decades.

Nor is it a film about dowry and pressures of patriarchal society, this time it is a rare story about gender sensitivity, about a married woman who returns to her parents and they are supportive of her decision. This time it’s the woman making demands. Demand for a toilet or should we say demand for dignity!

As Keshav, Akshay Kumar is hilarious in his wedding ceremony with the buffalo and later chatting up his wife inside a toilet cubicle. Bhumi Pednekar for her second film is refreshingly original and redefines the girl next door.

The only problem with the film is that it’s a little long and tad repetitive but you overlook the flaws for the bigger message of the film.

I rate Toilet Ek Prem Katha with 3.5 stars.




Real stories (Day 1158)

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Yoodlee plans to make their films into collaborative efforts, which means offer a profit sharing of 30% to all key stakeholders (director, key crew members) on every project thereby ensuring that all parties are equally invested in the success of all projects.


With 120,000 songs Saregama has the biggest and best music IP in the country and with. Yoodlee Films the company aspires to extend this leadership to films business in the new medium. The studio is looking to create a tidal wave of thematic and real cinema for an audience starved of it. The motto is to offer fearless filmmakers irrespective of the controversies. For trailer click A quick look at the upcoming releases:

10.a.08coming soon The Music TeacherSeptember 25/ Abhi & Anu/ Tamil and Malayalam is a true story about lovers sworn to commitment forever until a strange twist of fate reveals them to be more than just lovers. The point is to what extent they will go to protect their love. Directed by BR Vijayalaxmi, a reputed Tamil filmmaker and has the distinction of being Asia’s first woman cinematographer.


Coming soon…The Music Teacher

Saregama paves the way Day 1157

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Starting with Brij Mohan Amar Rahe about a man sentenced to death for his own murder! Brijmohan fakes his own death to escape his humdrum life and nagging wife. He gets the money and the girl until the inevitable hand of Karma gets him sentenced to death for his own murder. Inspired by a true story the film is directed by Nikhil Bhatt, an Ad film maker who has also been the creative producer on the film Mickey Virus.

Yoodlee Films will release one film every month in theatres with PVR Pictures being their distribution partner. Initially, the footprint for theatrical releases will be in bigger towns and subsequently on digital platforms followed by TV channels.

09..08.2017The Studio is ready with five films for release, three more in production and another three in different stages of scripting and all in different languages. Of the five ready for release, three are in Hindi, one in English and one bilingual – Tamil and Malayalam.

Coming soon…Kuch Bheega Alfaaz

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Celebrating Indi films Day 1156

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Independent cinema gets a shot in the arm. With one film to release every month starting September Saregama’s new studio – Yoodlee Films, is all set to roll out films that will engage and provoke and the project is initiated by none other than one of the pioneers of the Indian film industry that recorded the first song of the golden era of India music namely Saregama (then the erstwhile HMV. The music company has played a big role in how cinema has evolved in India so it is not surprising that decades later they come up with another bold step in the world of filmmaking.
The new studio titled Yoodlee Films will produce films significant stories targeting viewers in the age group of 18-30 years, who are exposed to world cinema through the increasing use of digital platforms, these films will cater to the target group’s inherent need to watch strong thematic content.

08.a. Coming soon HamidDriven by the core philosophy of fearless filmmaking, the Studio is committed to narrate stories- either inspired by true incidents or celebrated works of world literature. Keeping it real and believable, each film is shot in actual locations, with sync sound to give to the audience the real feel of the milieu that the story is based in.


Coming soon… Hamid…

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