Monthly Archives

January 2022

Bachchan 53 years 200 films – Day 2110

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There are more references to his earlier films than his later ones and it is because Bachchan’s earlier films were more fantasy-driven and included adventure props like a Crocodile, a Tiger and a Dolphin which, over time, got replaced with more realistic props like a Helicopter, a Typewriter, an Apron and a Turban. 53 years and 200 plus films, 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 renders it easy for a writer to describe his phenomenon but then, makes it equally difficult too, when one seeks to summarize it. 

To be continued

Vijay is Amitabh Bachchan – Day 2109

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India celebrates December 16 as Vijay Diwas but for cinema audience, Vijay will remain synonymous with Amitabh Bachchan. For 53 years now he remains a national obsession. My third book on the actor, Amitabh Lexicon celebrates his body of work linking it to the Oxford Dictionary, where every word/ verb/ adjective/noun can be associated with an Amitabh film scene and if this sounds confusing let me elaborate with examples: When I say Arrow – we have Manmohan Desai’s film Toofan and when I say Abduct – we have his childhood scene in Shakti. When I say Bottle- we recall many scenes from Sharaabi and when I say-Backfire- you remember his tricks from Satte Pe Satta to woo Hema Malini and she rebuffing him. Or say the word Cab- what you remember his emotional scene with the taxi in Khud-Daar and so Amitabh Lexicon combines alphabets of the English language with scenes from the actor’s movies and celebrates the superstar.

To be continued

Leap of Faith – Day 2108

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As a decade went by Hrithik got used to the complexities of show business and learnt to take each day and film as it came. He said he had understood there is nothing perfect in life and all one has to do is to give the best shot in whatever you do be it home or work.  “When I was assisting my dad on his films, I thought all my problems would end the day I got a break in films. Little did I know that the day dad launched me was the beginning of my struggle. Now I have to constantly watch myself, because every time I fail, I am letting down my fans. I know I cannot succeed every time but I must have the satisfaction of giving my best’.

And that is something all his filmmakers will vouch for. His father Rakesh Roshan, Zoya Akhtar and director Ashutosh Gowariker who said he built special relationships with everyone associated in the film including the elephant in Jodha Akbar. Gowariker said Hrithik addressed the elephant like a beloved and wore the same perfume so that the animal remembered his aroma, as a result when we had to shoot them together, they were well synchronized.

Surviving Superstardom – Day 2108

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Over the years whenever we met it was always a meaningful conversation. I had watched him in his early stardom days and there were days he was drained and said, ‘My dad had warned me about show business but a few years of stardom and I have realized that everything comes with a price. I’m not complaining, just expressing. Everyone expects me to make time for them, some because they’ve known me since childhood…Some, because they are known to my parents…Some producers are aware that I don’t have dates but still insist on my commitment, it is nerve wracking’.

There were stories of large group of children wanting to meet him and parking outside his bungalow.  Some more waiting on the sets – colleagues, friends, relatives of people involved with the film and gate crashers too. He pleaded with journalists not to visit him on his sets because he needed to concentrate on his scenes, but every day, the media waited to catch his attention in between shots, during lunch break and post pack up. The most difficult thing for Hrithik those days was to balance family time with his parents and his new bride, Suzanne.

To be continued

Happy Birthday Hrithik – Day 2107

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Today, Hrithik Rosha turns 48 and completes 22 years of his career. He once told me that every year on his birthday, he makes it a point to amend a drifted or broken relationship. “It is difficult but I make an effort and I feel nice about it. After he told me this, I started following him and trust me it felt very good. There is something special about Hrithik and it is that something special that connects us to his screen persona and love him in all his films. His family knew that Hrithik would grow up and become an actor, but they were not prepared for his phenomenal success.

For those who don’t know the complete journey it all began with a photo-shoot. Hrithik shot with an ace cameraman and when it was time to pay the bill, father Rakesh Roshan wanted to see what he was paying for and what he saw floored him! The following morning, at the story session at Film Kraft office, Rakesh Roshan said he was introducing a newcomer for his next film. His team was surprised. ‘My son Hrithik will be the hero of my new film’. Hrithik was part of the meeting and left the room. His father followed him, ‘What happened, aren’t you ready son?” Hrithik hugged his dad and assured he was. The rest, as we all know, is history.

To be continued

New projects, new ideas – Day 2105

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SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus RRR is going to be the gamechanger and the lead actors are relieved because the difficult dubbing in all the four languages is finally over. NTR Jr has taken up the challenge and dubbed all four versions himself and so that his colloquial slang does not stand out in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi he hired tutors to supervise his delivery. Last seen as freedom fighter Komaram Bheem, Sametha’s fan following is to be seen to be believed.

Cannot believe that we have finally conquered our demons and ready to embrace 2022. The race for the theatres has begun old times. Tiger Shroff has blocked the cinema halls for Ganpat, Salman Khan has blocked dates for more stage shows, Akshay Kumar has blocked for Rakshabandhan and Karan Johar for Brahmastra. The stars, the cinema halls, the music companies are full-on ready for entertainment. Now let’s just hope that  covid/ virus/ corona/ delta/ omicron or whatwver you want to call it, behaves itself.

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.