New projects, new ideas – Day 2104

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A director I find consistently brilliant in everything she does, be it short or feature films is Nandia Das. During the lockdown she shot a number of short films, one of them is Cuber featuring her son.  Describing it as her first time with the vertical format, Nandita reveals that she likes to experiment with forms, “We take photos from our phone, in a vertical format but when it comes to video our hands automatically change their orientation. So, this time both the hands and the brain, both had to change! I cast my son because he is cubing all day and during the shooting, I discovered that he is a natural, so apart from a few giggles in the beginning, he performed with ease and more important, he got to do a lot of cubing which anyway he loves”.

Seems like everyone is determined to do something new in the new year. Rasika Duggal so far associated with dramatic roles has given nod to Spikes her first brush with the sports drama genre where she plays a volleyball coach and has been training for the last few months.  Big plans are on for the big productions too. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is preparing to showcase Gangubai Kathiawadi at the Berlin Film Festival and also ready to launch his mega series on Netflix.

Happy New Year – Day 2103

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It is new year and everyone has a new way of merchandising the coming season, especially the music companies because new year begins with melody. So, a music company has come up with the novel idea of capturing public attention and so an album titled Power Couples locks six super hit jidis. Guru Randhawa and Nora Fatehi for their “Dance Meri Rani”, then the album that attracted eyeballs, “Chand” featuring Sambhavana Seth and Avinash Dwivedi. Third is Hardy Sandhu’s “Bijlee Bijlee” introducing Palak Tiwari followed by Krishna Kaul and Donal Bisht’s “Teri Patli Kamar”.  The last two are the best Badshah and Jacqueline Fernandez in “Paani Paani” and Jugnu” featuring Haryanvi singer Renuka Panwar.

Many actors forayed into new experiments this year. Tusshar Kapoor wrote a book on becoming a father, debuted as an author with Bachelor Dad, to be released shortly and Naseerudin Shah’s son, Vivaan Shah a published author already came up with a new novel, this time a thriller. On the subject of crime, I saw one of the finest crime series breaking stereotypes on ZEE5 and Zindagi titled ‘Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam’ a desi noir anthology the series is helmed by critically acclaimed British Indian director Meenu Gaur and features an eclectic cast with leading actors from the subcontinent. Set in the timeless lanes it is a mythical series of love, lust, power, and redemption.

Movie Review 83 – Day 2102

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83 recreates history

Film: 83

Date: 24.12.2021

Ratings: *****

By Bhawana Somaaya

Kabir Khan directed 83 is the story of the Indian cricket team and the historic win during the World Cup. Everyone is familiar with what happened during that iconic match and how India created history and now filmmaker Kabir Khan and his talented writing team recreates the magical moment on the big screen.
The narrative addresses every query, controversy related to cricket and the players, their passion, obsession, superstitions, regime, personal crisis and we are exposed to their discomforts and discriminations. Along with we travel through the country’s national/ political/ social/ cinematic and cricket milestones during that year, the highs and lows!
It was the year of the war across the border, of communal riots, of dish TVs, of Amitabh Bachchan movies and a 10-year-old Sachin getting ready for the big dream.

From the opening credits to the end credits, the manner in which the film unfolds, the pace, the treatment and the story-telling is spell binding, packed with drama, humour, emotion and excitement and even though you are aware of the outcome, you are screaming out of joy and weeping at the same time.

It does not matter whether you understand cricket or not. It does not matter whether you are a film buff or not because 83 is not about you, it is about India, our self-respect, our glory and our unity!

Whenever something spectacular occurs, something out of ordinary, no matter how earnest the efforts, something always gets left out. In that sense 83 is not an exception, the film has a failing too, the interval.  You resent that small break because you are desperate to get back to the movie, restless to watch Kapil Dev on the playground.

Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev is the heartbeat of the film, his team, his moral support and Pankaj Tripathi as Man Sigh, the conscience of the team players. Deepika Padukone brightens the screen in a cameo. Watch out for her when she reprimands the British reporter.

Watch 83 with your entire family, all your neighbours, all your friends, even your enemy and carry with you, your cricket caps, whistles and the national flags because this theatrical experience is in no way different from the stadium experience. I am proud to say that film 83 gives viewers as much joy as the year 1983 gave to our nation! With a big salute to Kapil Dev and to Kabir Khan team, I rate, for the first time in my career as a film critic, a  film with 5 stars.
Jai Hind!

Promise not kept – Day 2101

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Govinda had begun shooting and the family made sure that he remained focused on his work. Nirmala Devi was ailing but she made it a point to sit up cheerfully when Govinda left for shooting in the morning. Govinda knew she was making an effort and appreciated her courage, but one day, the mask fell and Nirmala Devi confessed that she was tired and it was time to depart. Govinda panicked and began to cancel his shooting, that is the time Nirmala Devi changed her stance, convinced Govinda that she was going to be with him for a long, long time.

He trusted her and left on a long outdoor to New Zealand. He was restless, called his mother every evening to inquire after her health. Nirmala Devi was cheerful, ensured him all was well and then suddenly she departed in her sleep. Govinda was thunder struck. He could not believe that his mother had deceived him, not kept her promise and it was something he was unable to come to terms with”.


Govinda and TV – Day 2100

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Govinda was most of the time inaccessible and invisible but once in a while, he featured on a Reality show on TV and very rarely one bumped into him in public space and he clearly out of place. It was one such event when I found him in a corner dreading the cameras and unable to negotiate his exit. I hung around him till he was safely escorted to his car and he expressed himself rather candidly, said, “Just because I do light hearted films people expect me to entertain them. I retain my calm but I am restless inside…”

Govinda said his mother believed that fortune is a collection of our blessings and curses, he said his mother said that God is the banker who watches over everyone’s debits and credits and his balance sheet is never wrong. It was more than a decade his mother Nirmala Devi passed away but he had not stopped mourning her.

To be continued

Highs and lows of stardom – Day 2099

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He was in a mood to chat, about career, his personal life, said relationships come to us by birth, by choices and also by destiny and chemistry. “Relationships alter according to external pressures. God made human beings the most superior but also devoid of self-assurance.” Do you feel unconfident often? “Most certainly, which is why I’m able to recognize insecurity in others, it is all instinctive. I understand because I have studied astrology and numerology in depth. Different people deal with stress in different ways, youngsters hit the gym. I prefer to meditate but there are problems that cannot be resolved with meditation ike my acting career.  I accept I made many mistakes. I lacked discipline and paid a price for it. I am now in the process of rectifying those mistakes”.

Govinda was committed to his career, to a second chance to himself.  I had believed in him, so did the trade and his fans, but even after hand holding from Partner/ Salman Khan, he was not able to fit into the rat race again and after some lackluster assignments evident in all the post 2010 releases Govinda turned a recluse again!

To be continued