Monthly Archives

September 2021

Pooja Bhatt cooked with pain – Day 2064

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Dad said it was the beginning of a new phase for me and he was right. I turned calmer, more self-reliant now. Earlier, I was frightened of being alone, now I enjoyed my company. Dad said it was because I was cooked with pain, he is always right because he reads me the best”.

Pooja Bhatt always sounded like her father and now has become a replica of Mahesh Bhatt. “That’s true, the older I get, the more I feel like him. Dad got irritated when people did not measure up to his intensity, now I feel exasperated when people don’t measure up to my intensity. Sometimes, I feel that children are the best company because they don’t ask questions. I remember the day my little brother Sunny was born. Mom and dad were talking in whispers, and then Dad woke me up, said, ‘Pooja wake up, the time has come’.

To be continued

Mahesh Bhatt turns 73 – Day 2063

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Mahesh Bhatt turns seventy-three on 20 September 2021 and he hates celebrating his birthday, so I pick on his daughter Pooja Bhatt to reminisce about Bhatt and their family. Pooja told me she turned producer because her father told her that the only way to make films you believe in is to launch your own production, so the day Pooja found a script she felt passionately about, she announced her banner. 

The first lesson she learnt as a producer was to approve of the best script. The second lesson was to believe in the script till the end. “I chose Tamanna as my debut production fully aware that it will not be a commercial grosser but I’d rather begin artistic than ambitious and my father supported me. To shoot the film in Seychelles was chachu Mukesh Bhatt’s idea and we could do this because we shot four films Dastak, Papa Kahte Hain, Fareb and Tamanna together at the island…

To be continued

Sequel to Doosra Aadmi – Day 2062

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Ramesh Talwar and Yash Raj Films never worked together again. I am not attributing the fallout to the film, there many been a different reason. Nobody knows because it has never been talked about. Many years later, when Talwar watched Doosra Aadmi again on the video, he understood why and regretted not trusting his mentor but it was too late! Nobody sustains success or relationships forever but there is a lesson in this story for all of us.

In the coming years Yash Raj made innumerable films and Ramesh Talwar also directed a few like Basera, Sawaal, Duniya, Zamana and Sahibaan. He continues with theatre and is revered for plays likje Kaifi Aur Main but sometimes, I do wonder on how life would have been for Ramesh Talwar had he stayed associated with Yash Raj Films. Do you wonder about this too Ramesh Talwar and if yes, how about a sequel to Doosra Aadmi produced by Yash Raj Films, think about it seriously?

concluded

Young couple & older woman – Day 2061

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The film was Doosra Aadmi and Rishi Kapoor- Neetu Singh confirmed in the lead pair. For the ‘other older woman’ Talwar’s original choice was Sharmila Tagore in sunglasses and short hair but when Raakhee (already doing Kabhi Kabhie) learnt about the exciting role, she dressed up in the same look and convinced Talwar to change his mind. He did.

The first screening of Doosra Aadmi was exclusively for Yash Chopra and Chopra took Talwar for dinner post the show, lavished him with praise and requested for just one change. He asked him to delete the last scene, where Raakhee looks into the mirror and breaks down! Chopra said the depressing climax will not be accepted by the audience but Talwar obsessed with his creation, refused to relent.

Chopra could have had his way as a producer, instead, he let Talwar have his way and when the film was released, as predicted by Yash Chopra, Doosra Aadmi bombed at the box-office.

To be continued

First AD to Yash Chopra – Day 2060

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Ramesh Talwar joined as the fifth assistant on Ittefaq starring Nanda and Rajesh Khanna and his duty entailed escorting the artistes to the sets and sometimes carrying the heroine’s sandals and hero’s cigarette packet. Talwar had no complains, he enjoyed the shooting atmosphere, enjoyed watching Chopra closely while at work.

A year later, Talwar was assisting B R Chopra’s younger brother Yash Chopra in Daag and this time he was the third assistant and his duty entailed engaging artistes in conversations while the director set up his shot. Rajesh Khanna, also from theatre, enjoyed Talwar’s company and when half way through the film, the first and the second assistant got involved in a bitter fight, the banner sacked both and promoted Talwar as the first assistant.

Soon Yash Chopra’s began including him in every film he did –Joshila with Dev Anand, Deewaar with Salim-Javed and a multi-star cast with Kabhi Kabhie. On the mahurat of Kabhi Kabhie Rishi Kapoor in an unusually good mood told Yash Chopra that if his banner launched Ramesh Talwar as director, he would work for free and Yash Chopra asked Talwar to get ready to be launched.

To be continued

Ramesh Talwar: Doosra Aadmi – Day 2059

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On 14 September in the year 1977 released Yash Raj Films Doosra Aadmi and even though the film was not a great success it remains a critically acclaimed film after forty plus years. There is a reason for this, while there are innumerable stories made on the ‘other woman’ in the hero’s life, there are hardly any examples of ‘another man’ in the heroine’s life. 

The only relevant example I can think of offhand is the 1963 film Gumrah where Mala Sinha under difficult circumstances marries her brother-in-law Ashok Kumar but is haunted by her ex-flame Sunil Dutt, remember the famous ‘Chalo ek baar phir se’?

In the 70s it was Ramesh Talwar who ushered the extra-marital story of a young couple and an older woman. But before that a little flashback on Talwar. He was actively involved in theatre, when one day, B R Chopra came to watch his play and asked Talwar to join his banner.

To be continued

Ganpati festival and Dance shows – Day 2058

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Urmila Matondkar makes her first appearance on a reality show with Madhuri Dixit celebrating thirty years of her super hit film Saajan.  Directed by debutante Rima Rakeshnath, the success of Saajan had surprised everyone and looking back, I feel it was the magical casting of three superstars- Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit combined with the music that made Saajan a memorable film.

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi and it is the right day to talk about our Maharashtrian actors. Nutan was the first Maharashtrian superstar in the fifties. Smita Patil in the seventies though a good actor was never considered a mainstream star. In the eighties Madhuri Dixit came like a storm and offered stiff competition to Sridevi. And in the nineties came Urmila Matondkar better known as the Rangeela girl.  There are rumors that Urmila is coming back to movies butt she has denied all the stories, says she would rather live in the memories of her stardom instead.

Exhibitors are optimistic – Day 2058

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Shootings are still not permitted in Mumbai and cinema halls still closed all of Maharashtra but for some mysterious reasons the exhibitors are still optimistic. They feel that if Bell Bottom and Chehre can release in cinema halls so can other movies. Strange, that nobody is talking about the box-office collections. The fact is even in cities where the cinema halls have opened up nobody is willing to risk their lives and go for movies.

And why should they when they get to pick their choice on the small screen. Coming to think of it we need to give due credit to all the small screen artistes who risked their lives to shoot the web series in these difficult times. The positive of the corona in the entertainment business is that the OTT platform provided work to so many out of work artistes and the reality shows revived so many of our golden vintage stars who entertained us via music and dance shows.  

Movie Review: Thalaivii – Day 2057

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Film: Thalaivi

Date: 10.09 2021

Kangana Lives Jaylalitha

In Mahabharat Draupadi was disrobed in public. In1989 Tamil Nadu Assembly, leader of opposition, J.Jaylalitha was pulled by her braid and dragged by her sari pallu and now in 2021, writer- director Vijay’s Thalaivi Kangana Ranaut relives the anger and the anguish of both, Draupadi and Jaylalitha.

The film opens with this shameful incident and even though we are all familiar with the proceedings watching it replay on the big screen is devastating. Thalaivi is based on author Ajayan Bala’s book by the same title and captures thirty years in the life of Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalitha.

Beginning in 1964 when sixteen-year-old Jaya/ Kangana Ranaut met superstar MGR addressed as MJR in the film/ Arvind Swami on the sets of her debut film. This is a story of their attraction, their super hit pairing, their blossoming romance and the devotion of the audience. Their heartbreaks, their personal anguish, controversies, party politics and Jaya braved all these storms to rise and rule as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Unlike other period films, Thalaivi makes no mention of dates and years, rather seamlessly travels time through changing sets and surrounding, fashion and conversations. We notice a change in Jaylalitha’s body language post her road accident, the medical complications and the steroid injections resulting in rapid weight gain and change in attire.

There’s no denying that Thalaivi is an engaging narrative but it is not the complete truth because all of us remember history the way we want to and Thalaivi is author Ajayan Bala’s perspective. Director Vijay adapts the book into a selective presentation, ignores many important facets and undermines the role of MGR’s wife Janki and Jaylalitha’s companion, Shashikala, clearly a conscious decision.

If you can ignore these prejudices or safety devices, there are many positives to appreciate in the film like music, lyrics, voices aur Rajat Aroraa’s dialogues. The cast is interesting and the performances competent particularly the versatile Nassar as Karunanidhi even though his eyes are forever covered with dark glasses and Raj Arjun as RNV, watch out for his expression when Jaya wins the elections!

If Kangana’s ensemble team of hair/ makeup/choreographer and stylist Neeta Lulla dress up the body of Jayalalitha, the soul comes from Kangana’s sparklingly, uncompromised, flawless performance. Ranaut is riveting in every frame and you cannot look at anything while she is on the screen.

I rate Thalaivi with 4 stars 2 out of which are reserved only for Kangana. Take a bow lady!

Bhawana Somaaya

Happy films and Happy Birthday – Day 2056

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For some time, everyone has decided to make only happy films because the audience is in no mood for gloom. The OTT platform has all the dark content and the viewers are now fed-up of the dark web world. The actors are fed-up of playing complex characters and look forward to playing happy roles particularly Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh. Alia has just wrapped up a demanding Gangubai Kathiwaadi and Ranveer Singh an exhausting 83. Call it their good luck that the duo has been signed by Karan Johar for a frothy Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahani.

Filmmaker Karan Johar is in happy space and enjoying it. He recently launched a jewelry line, then shot for Big Boss on Voot and is now shooting in the capital. Singer Asha Bhosle is in happy space too, spending most of her time in her bungalow in Khandala and when reality show demands, she drives to Mumbai and charms them all. At 80 plus Bhosle can still sing live. Today is her birthday, Happy Birthday Asha Tai.