Monthly Archives

October 2017

Bachchan Trilogy (Day 1199)

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I have often been asked why I have done three books on Amitabh Bachchan, what is it about him that could not be sufficed in one book. My answer to all my detractors and his fans is of them is that the three books encompass different aspects of Bachchan’s life besides nobody has ever asked Satyajit Ray why he did a trilogy on Appu. He did three films because the story was not complete. I may do a fourth/ fifth even a sixth book on the superstar in the future if I feel like. It is my privilege as a writer.

 On his 75th birthday, I recap synopsis of the three books.  The first was translated in Hindi and there are plans of it going digital. The second is a masterpiece production and can be purchased from Osians and the third, my favorite, one of its kind can be purchased from Pustak Mahal.


AMITABH BACHCHAN: THE LEGEND 

Published by Macmillan India Pvt Ltd

Released in the year 1998

Priced at Rs.. 450/-

(Also available in Hindi- Amitabh: EK JIVIT KINVADANTI published by Macmillan India Ltd Rs. 385)

1. Amitabh The LegendAmitabh Bachchan has played varied roles on screen, but off-screen the actor remains an enigma.  Admired, envied, hated, hounded, his celebrity status transcends national boundaries.

Published by Macmillan, the author captures the roller-coaster life of a superstar through incisive, introspective interviews.  And the protagonist, Amitabh Bachchan, takes it all head-on, emotional choices, professional commitments, candid confrontation with controversies, allegations et al.

Surviving both, the near-fatal accident on the sets, and political cesspool in real-life, his reflective personal accounts are beautifully blended with intimate analysis rendered by his actress-spouse Jaya Bhaduri, leading ladies and colleagues, a documentation of a legendary success and a collector’s proud possession.

 

BACHCHANALI: The Films and Memorabilia of Amitabh Bachchan

Published by Osians – Connoisseurs of Art Pvt. Ltd

Released in the year 2009

Priced at Rs.3500/-

9.BachchanaliaA collector’s item of Bachchan’s 135 films over 40 years with film posters and stories behind the scenes. In his four-decade-long career, Amitabh Bachchan has been a witness to all the turning points in show business both on and off screen. He symbolizes the evolution of Indian cinema in creativity and technology. His growing stature from an actor to a superstar is evident from his altering body language reflected in the film posters over the decades. He stands testimony to the changing trends in cinema as well as the socio-political scenario in the country. Amitabh Bachchan will always remain the touchstone of the entertainment business.

 

AMITABH LEXICON

Published by Pustak Mahal

Released in the year 2011

Priced at Rs.1000/-

11. Amitabh LexiconAmitabh Lexicon captures 2,833 headwords of the English dictionary into films of the actor spread over 41 years his magnificent career. It is a colourful joyride into Bachchan’s memorabilia.

Forty one years and 174 films (and counting)… Amitabh Bachchan has long since sublimated the language of cinema that is peculiar to Hindi films. He has worked its verbs, overwhelmed its adjectives, brought to life its nouns, subjugated its predicates and predicated its subjects. This does render it easy for a writer to describe his phenomenon but then, makes it equally difficult to, when one seeks to summarize it.

Nearly every word in the English language could find its place in the cinematic vocabulary of Amitabh Bachchan.

Therefore, this attempt, to take you through a Lexicon of his various personas on screen – scenes where he made you cry, laugh, and all shook up. Like he says in his film Namak Halaal “Lo karlo baat…aree English to aisi ave hain ke that I can leave angrez behind… I can talk English, I can walk English, and I can laugh English…”

Those interested in purchasing Amitabh Lexicon can contact Rohit Gupta pustakmahal@gmail.com

 

@bhawanasomaaya

 

Happy Birthday Rekha (Day 1198)

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I met her in the late 70s when she was shooting at Dadar’s Ranjeet Studio. Those were days you could just walk into a studio and meet the actors without an appointment. Filmmakers had no objection to journalist hopping on their sets and they willingly shared pictures of the shooting to be published in our magazines.

1Rekha 1979It was a terribly hot day and when Rekha discovered that I had come to meet her she quickly let me inside her makeup room because she did not want me standing in the sun. My first interview with her was what Karan Johar today describes as a rapid-fire round where she gave candid answers to questions asked.

2016Pam R n meOver the decades I did several interviews with her probably the maximum any journalist has done with her, some of them reproduced in my several books.

My last interview with her was for my radio channel and unlike other recordings mostly conducted at our studio, Rekha recorded her interview at a Dubbing Studio because she did not trust the sound quality elsewhere.

@bhawanasomaaya

 

 

Karva Chauth at Kapoors (Day 1197)

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It was a normal day until I got a message from Sunita Kapoor inviting me to celebrate Karva Chauth. My first reaction was what will I do there and then I got a supporting message which goes as follows:

Yes, I am fasting and I’m unapologetic about it. I am a believer in moon or stars and nor am I evolved enough to understand the mysteries of nature or so naive to blindly follow tradition….

Then why I am observing Karva Chauth, I do it because this one person in my life means more than anyone else and it is my way of thanking the heavens for this boon.

 

KC 2Yes I am fasting because I value this relationship higher than my need for water or food. It reminds us that this partnership is above everything else. I know this is not about my proof of love for my husband but it gives me the joy of celebrating his presence in my life and I am not going to shy away from it.

I dress up because I want to and there is joy in bringing out your forgotten jewellery! This day, every woman can be a bride again. Married life reboots itself! And what about the story your mother-in-law narrated to you as a Katha? Well, legend combines with life and there is no harm bowing to tradition even if it sometimes defies logic…A mystery, a scope for some miracle, a little sweetness…can not hurt.

Does my husband do the same thing for me? Well he has tried his best to dissuade me from staying hungry and when that did not help, he has offered to fast with me but I cannot handle another irritable person in the family that day. It is my day of pampering and I’m not going to share the spotlight.

KC 3Do I resent buying a gift for my mother-in-law, on the contrary, I cannot thank her enough for gifting me her prized possession, her son because now that I have my own son, I discover it is not an easy task and I hope, my son grows up like his father! Do I crib and grumble about thirst and hunger as the day goes by, yes, all women do and it is great fun to do it together so try it next time and trust me it is cathartic.

I accept at the end of the day it is tiresome to wait for the moon to emerge in the sky but we do it just one day in a year, one day in a year when we abide by nature and it is because of this eternal wait we value phrases like Eid ka chaand!!

On Sunday I reached Anil Kapoor’s home at 4:30 and was welcomed by women dressed to the hilt. At the decided time the women squatted on the carpet in a large circle with their puja thaalis in front of them. When the music played they rotated the thaalis from one hand to another. The process continued till the song and the legendary story were over. Post puja the women are expected to seek the blessings of their mothers-in law, the previous evening the mother-in-law sends the daughter-in-law sarrgi and on the puja day the daughter-in-law presents a gift to the mother-in-law.

KC 4If the mother-in-law gives permission, the daughter-in-law is allowed her first single drink of the day (water/ coconut water/ lassi/ tea/ coffee/ juice) so all the women quickly phoned their ma-in-law and sought permission for lassi to get them going till evening.

From 5 to 9 pm is a long journey waiting for the moon and the women occupy themselves either play cards or being entertained by their husbands. Sreedivi was joining Boney Kapoor in Chennai and Raveena Tandon had house guests but the others Neelam, Shilpa, Bhavna Pandey waited and made themselves comfortable. The men (Anil, Sanjay Kapoor, Raj Kundra, David Dhawa, Chunky Pandey, SanjaySuri) soon joined the party and collectively waited for the moon.

The moon was nowhere in sight because of heavy showers but then somebody called from Amritsar, Delhi to say Chand nikal aaya and the women broke their fast…. Participating in Karva Chauth at super hostess Sunita Kapoor I must say was a delightful experience!

@bhawanasomaaya

 

Movie Review: Chef (Day 1196)

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Film: Chef

Release: 06.10.2017

Director: Raja Krishna Menon

Music: Amaal Mallik

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Janki Raman

 

You discover Chef Roshan Karla/ Saif Ali Khan suffers anger management issue when he  bashes up a customer in the restaurant for criticizing his food.

After one night in the lockup Roshan is fired by his boss and decides to head home to Cochin, India to spend quality time with his son in custody of his divorced wife.

The film is an official remake of 2014 American film Chef directed by Jon Favreau where the entire focus was on the making and the presentation of food, a big seduction for food lovers.

In the adaptation, the filmmaker adds Asian spices of family drama and drastically alters the original taste of the recipe.

The first half is unusually slow and repetitive. The second half comparatively more energetic and funny in segments as well but the end is a foregone conclusion.

What works in favor of the film is Amal Mallik’s music, Kerala’s exotic locations, leisurely boat ride and the ancient cottages. The message of the film is live for the moment and the hero most certainly does!!

There are some films you watch for the story, some for performances and some for the mood. Chef falls in the last one.

A guest appearance from Milind Soman and Malyalam actress Janki Raman paired as Radha are refreshing casting. Saif Ali Khan as always gives his best and is equally convincing as a carefree father and as the chef expertly chopping and cooking in the kitchen.

Chef is certainly not Khan’s best recipe but it is edible, I mean watchable if you are a Khan fan or better still a food fan. I rate Chef with 2.5 stars.

@bhawanasomaaya

Trophies & farewell (Day 1195)

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It is my privilege that Sandeep Marwah has asked me to visit his academy, engage with his dynamic students and also awarded me with a trophy from ICMEI. This is their third successive Literature festival attended by poets and litterateurs from both India and abroad. It is my loss that I don’t get an opportunity to listen to other speakers as I have to rush to the airport.

October 6 aAshok Tyagi and his team have made all the arrangements so that I am not late and find my car as soon as I come out of the auditorium. I drive to the airport with fragrant memories of the festival, the vibrant atmosphere, the energetic students and the warmth of Sandeep Marwah and his dynamic team.

@bhawanasomaaya

 

Movie Review: Tu Hai Mera Sunday (Day 1194)

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Release: 06.10.2017

Director: Milind Dhaimade

Cast: Barun Sobti, Shahana Goswani, Avinash Tiwary, Vishal Malhotra, Nakul Bhalla and Jay Upadhyay 

Musician: Amartya Rahut

Tu Hai Mera Sunday is the story of five friends Arjun, Rashid, Domnique, Mehernoosh and Jayesh.

Arjun /Barun Sobti quit his corporate job to relish life as the consultant. Domnique/ Vishal Malhotra nurtures dreams to launch a band but that hasn’t happened as yet.

Rashid/Avinash Tiwari, owns of a laundry but has never dry-cleaned his home. Mehernoosh/ Nakul Bhalla is Chief Accountant in a company and hates his boss with a passion and finally, Jayesh/ Jay Upadhyay is a stockbroker who yearns for a hassle-free life.

In a city bursting with people and problems, the five find respite through a ritualistic game of football every Sunday at the Juhu Beach. Football is their passion and yet it’s not just the love of the sport that keeps them together. A freak accident on the beach puts a ban on all sports and now the friends loiter around the city hunting parks/ bridges/ lanes/ buildings for empty space to kick the ball play but there’s no such spot in Mumbai city.

Tu Hai Mera Sunday is more than a tale of friendship; it is about their extended families, their complexities, and dreams. It is also the story of Mumbai city, desolate, lonely and yet strangely compassionate.  Superbly written, innovatively shot, expertly edited, the film raises multiple issues ranging from gender gaze, seniors and caregivers, single parenting, sibling conflict, marital negligence and joint family responsibilities.

It is to costume designer Nyla Masood’s credit that the characters stroll from the screen and inhabit our hearts. The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2016 which says a lot for a film flanked by mostly newcomers except Shiv Subramanium and the absolutely brilliant Shahana Goswami.

I have not stopped smiling since I watched Tu Hai Mera Sunday and so will you.  I rate Tu Hai Mera Sunday with 4 stars.

 @bhawanasomaaya

Debate & Discussion (Day 1193)

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 The debate is on Cinema – how much it has changed over the decades and how much is for the betterment of the audience. The discussion also includes the media, its role in communicating with the cine-goer. Marwah is the moderator of the session. He has a unique style of introducing the subject and his panel members which is a combination of sher-o- shairis and dossier of the speakers.

October 5The best thing about Marwah is that while he keeps the discussion restricted to the topic, he allows his speakers a free hand to address the audience on a subject close to heart.  I am asked to share my experiences as a columnist and critic and engaging the students on the mantra of surviving show business.

 

I can see they are interested because when the session is over a lot of them have curious questions which cannot be answered in such a short time.

Lighting the lamp (Day 1192)

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The studio is packed with enthusiastic students and other guests and their energy is infectious. Sandeep Marwah is clearly very popular with his students and it shows in the manner he is greeted by the academy.

October 4He has a lot to share with his students but before that some formalities need to be out of the way. He invites all members on the dais to come down and join him in the lighting of the lamp. There are ambassadors for different countries and all of them in some way or the other connected to the academy.

 

Post the lamp lighting combined with Ganesh vandana and some music everybody is ready for serious discussions.

 

@bhawanasomaaya

Seminar in Noida (Day 1191)

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ICME International Chamber of Media & Enertainment Industry combined with Asian Academy of Arts is hosting its third Global Literary Festival in the capital and I am invited as a chief guest. It is a long drive from the airport to Marwah Studio in Noida.

October 3

Marwah Studios most efficient director Ashok Tyagi is waiting for me outside the venue and as soon as the car drives into the compound I am led into the auditorium for the event, which I am surprised begins on time.

@bhawanasomaaya