Happy Birthday @SrBachchan

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When I was doing a book on him the enormity of the thought did not dawn on me but today when I look back I feel proud of my efforts, privileged to have spent so much time with him and documented milestones of his life.

 

My first book Amitabh: The Legend was an unplanned manuscript. Bachchan had not been talking to the media for almost 18 years and when he made up with the fourth estate there was no stopping him or us. The book is a result of all those interviews with the superstar combined with first person accounts of his leading filmmakers and heroines.

A decade later I was ready with another book Bachchanalia recaps Bachchan films from 1969 to 2009. This was essentially a coffee table book of Bachchan film posters and behind the scene encounters.

Two years later I was ready with my third book on the megastar Amitabh Lexicon which captures 2,833 headwords of the English dictionary into films of the actor spread over 41 years his magnificent career. It is a colorful joyride into Bachchan’s memorabilia.

Nearly every word in the English language could find its place in the cinematic vocabulary of Amitabh Bachchan. The book takes you through 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…”

 

@bhawanasomaaya

Happy Birthday Rekha

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People call you a Diva today but you have been through a phase when they wondered if you had the making of a star. Some laughed at your filmmakers for signing you and others mocked at you openly because they knew you did not understand the language.

You ignored them all and step by step you learned the ropes of survival. As decades went by you became better than the best whether it was makeup, costume, hair.

You are in the true sense a self-taught artiste because you mastered the language, the dialect and the craft of acting. Dance was in your genes and the more you films you did, the more you blossomed.

So many decades have gone by but you still look ethereal and hearts still stop beating when you enter a room.

Most of them react to your beauty but since I have walked many miles with you I know that that there is a beautiful heart beneath that beautiful face that many people don’t know or don’t make an effort to know.

 

@bhawanasomaaya

Time for Dassehra

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Considering the censor board had a problem with Love Raaatri title I thought they would object to Dassehra as well but now that the trailer is finally out I guess Neil Nitin Mukesh and gang can heave a sigh of relief.

Neil Nitin Mukesh plays a police officer for the first time in his 11-year career and cannot stop raving about his director Manish Vatsalya. Written by Saurabh Choudhary Neil sports a moustache in the film and is excited to wear khadi and carrying a pistol on him like a Dabbang cop.

 Dassehra is a political thriller set against the backdrop of a politically destabilized state and dedicated to bureaucrats of India.

@bhawanasomaaya

 

Film Review : Andhadhun

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Date: 05 October 2018
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Tabu, Ayushman Khurana, Radhika Aapte

Aakash wakes up early to practice his piano and has an attentive listener in his cat that jumps in from the window to spread herself in his house.

It is an 18 step staircase from his apartment to the ground floor and he counts them with a click of his stick every time he ascends/ descends the steps.

A small accident introduces him to Radhika Aapte who gets him a job as a pianist at her father’s restaurant. It is here that Aakash meets the 70s superstar/ Anil Dhawan and what follows is roller coaster ride of music, masti and murders.

A 19 second Amit Trivedi symphony is the turning point of the film and establishes Sriram Raghavan as a magnificent craftsman, easily the best in the thriller genre.

Raghavan presents a perfect coordination of characters, props, emotions and situations. Here’s a spine-chilling screenplay brimming with humor and razor-sharp editing.

Most filmmakers either get the first half or the second half, there are some who are master technicians and some better storytellers but Raghavan combines erotica, intrigue, pace, morality, music, nostalgia to serve you a delicious platter you cannot resist.

Unpredictable and full of twists and turns, the best part of the narrative is that the viewer is a participant in the plot and knows as much as the characters. That does not mean there are no surprises because the director holds the final card to himself till the end.

There are as such no negatives in the film but it is unusual that a film star has no staff at home or that a blind musician has no domestic aid to even shop his groceries but these can be overlooked for the adventure that unfolds..

The music is the soul of the film and all actors are aptly cast particularly Anil Dhawan in all his old songs. Radhika Aapte is spontaneous and Tabu, Ayushmann have you guessing till the end but the film finally belongs to the director and his technical team.

From Ek Hasina Thi in 2004 to Badlapur in 2015 Sriram Raghavan is a revelation. Andhadhun is unpredictable, adventurous and full of fun. It is a celebration of cinema and cannot be missed. Wait for the end credits paying tribute to Chitrahaar and Chaya Geet.

I rate Andhadhun with 4 stars

Movie Review: LoveYatri

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Film: Love Yatri

Date: 05 October 2018

Director: Abhiraj Minawala

Cast: Ayush Sharma, Warris Hussain, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor

The film was originally titled Love Raatri but on the objection from the CBFC the title has been altered to Love Yaatri.

Sushurat / Ayush Sharma lives with his parents in Baroda and has no interest in studies and comes alive during Navratri festival because dancing garba is his passion and dreams of launching a Garba Academy someday.

Michelle/ Warina Hussain is doing her masters in London and visiting her uncle for Navratri where she happens to meet Sushurat in a Navratri celebration and they become friends.

He takes her sight-seeing, they romance, they quarrel and part ways.

There’s nothing novel about the plot and that’s because there’s nothing novel about love.  And yet so many love stories succeed because they engage us in their unique process of finding love.

Unfortunately, there are no real reasons why the lead pair gets attracted to each other, no real reasons for them to get attached either. The girl has come to spend quality time with her extended family but they are eliminated from the narrative until it is time for conflict.

The best sequence in the film is the seasonal montages after the lovers are separated. The most hilarious moments are when Ronit Roy invites Ayush Sharma to accompany him on a giant wheel ride in Baroda and then again in UK.

The biggest problem with Love Yaatri is that it fails to exploit the grandeur of the festival. Except for a brief shopping of costumes, there are no glimpses of the elaborate perpetrations and tradition attached to the nine nights.  The garba venue remains static without any alteration in lighting.

With better screenplay, music, and choreography the film had the potential to engage youngsters but unfortunately, that does not happen.

The best performance in the film comes from Ram Kapoor followed by Ronit Roy.  Ayush Sharma is vastly influenced by Salman Khan and it is evident in the way he walks and smiles. He makes a sincere debut but needs to work on his arched eyebrows.

I rate Love Yaatri with 2 stars

Cleanathon

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Reckitt Benckiser, world’s leading consumer Health and Hygiene Company, raised the benchmark of its flagship Dettol Harpic Banega Swachh India (BSI) Campaign to drive bigger transformational change with a special focus on reaching a Healthy and Hygienic India by 2019.

This will be achieved by concerted efforts targeted under five key pillars of the campaign that includes Sanitation – making India open defecation free; Hand Wash – inculcating regular hand washing practices; Air Pollution – encouraging plantation drives to help clean the air we breathe; Mere10Guz – keeping your 10 yards clean and Health – key to our future and a progressive nation.

Taking forward last year’s agenda of a holistic approach to Swachhta by promoting three key steps – Swachh Zameen, Swachh Hawa, and Swachh Pani, the campaign urges the common man to keep “Mere10Guz” – 10 yards around him sanitary and unpolluted by taking small steps in that direction.

The target of the Hygiene and Sanitation curriculum is to reach 6 lakh Madrasas and Gurukuls a total of 7 crore school kids across multiple states in India. Additionally, the Dettol E-Curriculum will reach over 4 lakh schools by 2019.

 

@bhawanasomaaya