Monthly Archives

October 2020

Kanchana or Laxmi is the same thing – Day 1902

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Sometimes, the simplest decisions taken out of instinct get blown out of proportion as it happened with Akshay Kumar’s trailer of forthcoming film Laxmmi Bomb. The actor and the director were viciously attacked by detractors on twitter. To clear out all the negative clutter Tamil director Raghava Lawrence sheds light on the back story of his film,
“People are raising objection to my changing the original title ‘Kanchana’ to ‘Laxmi Bomb’. I mean shouldn’t it be my choice? The Tamil film was named after the lead character Kanchana which means ‘gold’ but we felt that Laxmmi will be more appropriate for the Hindi speaking audience and because the film was releasing during Diwali time, we added Bomb to it… “
“Anyone who has seen the original, will tell you that the film has a strong social message. It is inspired from a true story. I have been running a Trust that aids underprivileged and one day, a group of transgenders approached us for aid.
“They told me their story, it was so moving and I was inspired to make a film. When Kanchana released down South, the transgender community came home to bless me. So, my request to all is that please don’t speculate before watching the film.”

Over the Rainbow – day 1901

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Boman Irani is not just a terrific actor, motivation speaker but also a terrific singer as well. The 3 Idiots actor sang ‘Over the Rainbow’, originally sung by Judy Garland from the film, The Wizard of Oz and joined by a choir of talented girls.

Boman says, “I discovered the choir on social media and was bowled over by their talent. I desperately wanted to sing with them and connected with them. In the meantime, I requested budding artists of my Akansha Foundation to send me pictures of their paintings so that we have images to depict the classic song that has filled many with hope and the result was magic. Sometimes, the best things that happen are unplanned”.
To be continued…

Inventive Artistes – day 1900

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All the superstars love to work with director Rohit Shetty who has a reputation of churning out blockbusters and there has never been a time in all these years (except pandemic) when Shetty has been on a break. Good news is that Shetty is back to his office, planning his next with who else but Ranveer Singh. After the massive success of Simmba and yet to release Sooryavanshi, Cirkus will mark the third outing of Shetty and Singh together. Cirkus is set to go on floors next month and will be shot in Mumbai, Ooty, and Goa.

It is nice to see artistes coming out of their shell and getting into serious work mode. Composer, singer and lyricist, Amaal Mallik, man behind chartbusters like Kabir Singh, M S Dhoni The Untold Story, Airlift and Kapoor & Sons, is all set to make his pop debut and his fans are waiting.
To be continued…

Start Sound… – day 1899

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For too long now, everyone has been under a pall of gloom but now it seems the mood is changing. Actors have begun shooting and are planning promotions of new films. The first good news came when Yash Raj Films released their golden jubilee logo followed by the news that the latest statue to join Leicester Square’s ‘Scenes in the Square’ will be of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol thus marking the 25th anniversary of Indian cinema’s most loved film, DDLJ, coinciding with 50 years of Yash Raj Films.

DDLJ is the longest running film in all of India, made on a modest budget of 4 crore in 1995, collected 89 crores in India, 13.50 crore in overseas markets. Thus, total collections stood at 102.50 crore worldwide in 1995! In today’s inflation adjusted value, DDLJ’s collection stands at a staggering 455 crore in India and 69 crores in overseas territories, taking the total worldwide collections to a phenomenal 524 crores!
To be continued…

Zanjeer is Raudra Rassa and Do Anjaane Vibhatsa Rassa – Day 1898

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For an actor identified all time with anger, Raudra Rassa does not need any elaboration, but what made these roles special is that Bachchan expressed anger differently every single time. He mixed emotion with anger in Zanjeer, in Namak Haram the rage came out of his ego and in Agneepath it was disdain disguised as detachment.

A prime example of Bhayanak Rassa/ Fear is when a timid Kallu transforms into the forbidding Kaalia to fight his oppressors. In Benaam, Bachchan is being threatened by the system but fights it to the finish.

And finally, Vibhasta Rassa, Vijay of Deewar nurses disgust for his father and society at large and that’s the reason he is drawn to crime. In Do Anjaane it is disgust that compels him to torture his wife and her friend. So many more roles need to be mentioned but there are no rasas to qualify them for instance where do you slot a Trishul where he battles with his illegitimate father, a Jurmana where he is consumed with guilt for his doing and Shakti where he cannot stop loving a father who he feels did not stand by him? The list is endless…

Jadugar was Adhuta Rassa and Sholay Virra Rassa – day 1897

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Adhuta Rassa or Wonder came from the characters he played be it the larger than life Toofan, the magician of Jadugar or the Almighty himself in God Tussi Great Ho and perhaps even the old man of 102 Not Out.
All his roles qualify for Vir Rassa because he always beat up the villains and prevailed justice. In Saat Hindustani the courage depicted was for the country, in Sholay for the villagers and in Shaan for the family.
Shaant Rass is not a frequently portrayed emotion on screen unless the character is ascetic. Interestingly, most of Bachchan’s writers perceived him as the strong and the silent hero but that’s not to be mistaken for peace. The few films that portray quietude as characterization are Alaap (where he retains peace despite setbacks), Bemisaal (remains composed in crisis) and in the older portrayals Mohabbatein where his gurukul professes anushasan.
All his characters were marked by sorrow, in Abhimaan it was suffering for the spouse, in Mili he is haunted by his past, in Sharaabi and Soryavanshanm it is a dominating father and in Baaghban it is neglect from children.
To be continued

Silsila is Shringar Rassa, Chupke Chupke is Hasya Rassa – Day 1896

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Shringar Rassa is a part of Indian culture and cinema and no matter what character the hero plays, romance and song are part of his projection. Two important films on the subject of romance include Kabhi Kabhie and Silsila.

In the former, the lovers depart voluntarily and while Raakhee leads a happy marriage with Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan is a bitter man even though married to a wonderful wife, Waheeda Rehman.

In Silsila, circumstances separate the lovers, time brings them together again but only tentatively and the dreams die again. Both these films had magical moments.

There are innumerable examples of Hasya Rassa in Bachchan movies because comedy was part of his persona and four films that stand out are, Amar Akbar Anthony for the drunkard scene, Mr Natwarlal for a hilarious sequence with his bhiya -bhabhi, Chupke Chupke even though Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore had better roles and Do aur Do Paanch for the plot and the characters.
To be continued

Amitabh Bachchan: Beyond Nav Rasas – Day 1895

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In a career spanning five decades and approximately 235 films across genres, the actor is primarily identified as an angry young man and his critics are to be blamed for this. He was never given credit for his varied, versatile performances and he once said that since critics feel that he only plays the angry young man he will continue to play angry middle-aged man and later, angry old man roles.  His cynicism came out of deep hurt.

Today, fifty years later, all his detractors have mysteriously disappeared, today Amitabh Bachchan is the undisputed phenomenon.

My mind rewinds to 2009, the release of my second book on the actor, Bachchanlia. I had just received my advance copy of the book and leafing through the 300-plus page coffee table book, featuring all his film posters from Saat Hindustani/ 1969 to The Last Lear/ 2009, I marveled at his extra-ordinary career and more, his courage of conviction to pursue  these films without getting  affected by the constant criticism he was subjected to by the media.

It would have been so easy for him to get demoralized by his detractors. He didn’t, instead he followed his path relentlessly. A complete artiste is one who can portray all the nav rasas and Amitabh Bachchan’s filmography is a proof all the hues and the fragrance of the nav rasas and more…
To be continued

Happy Birthday Rekha – Day 1892

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Happy Birthday Rekha
On October 10 is the screen Goddess Rekha’s birthday. The world knows her as a Diva and her fans look forward to spotting her at award events, draped in her trademark gold sari with traditional jewelry. Graceful, shy and always reserved.
There was a time however when she was not as guarded. When she was spontaneous and child-like and those who interacted with her in the seventies and the eighties will understand what I am saying.
“The day Rekha starts behaving like Rekha, it will be the end of Rekha” she said to me one day, while discussing star attitudes. She emphasized that she would never change, “Well at least I pray that I don’t”. Then, Rekha was a dreamer, high strung and sensitive. She saw beauty in the sun and the stars
and collected butterflies.
Years rolled into decades and mega stardom ushered many highs and many lows. Time changes circumstances and circumstances change people. The core of Rekha remained as pure as she had promised. She was as wholesome and compassionate as olden times but less impulsive now and more mellow.

Shakuni Mama – Day 1891

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A few days ago, the entire team of Mahabharat appeared on Kapil show celebrating the birth anniversary of serial director Ravi Chopra. During the candid chatter with the anchor it was revealed that Gufi Paintal was not the original choice to play Shakuni mama, in fact filmmaker BR Chopra had hired the theatre actor to audition all the characters for the serial. Paintal had more or less finalized the cast but Shakuni was yet to be cast. Somehow, they did not get an actor who could project the menace that the character demanded.

One day, BR Chopra watched Paintal brief the actor who had come for audition and after he had gone suggested to Paintal that he stop auditioning more actors and start preparing for the role himself and rest of course is history. This incident is in memory ofGufi Paintal who celebrated his birthday yesterday.

I’m sure there are many more similar stories and what comes to my mind is Bhumi Pednekar hired by YRF to audition new girls for Dum Lagake Haisha. Pednekar auditioned innumerable girls but did not find a right candidate, then one day, producer Aditya Chopra saw her enacting a scene and suggested that they stop auditioning because he had found his heroine, Bhumi Pednekar.