Not sporting a moustache !!

Film Fare Awards 2005 – And the filmfare award for the best – film, screenplay, direction, camera, back ground music, actor, actress and child artist goes to the cast and crew of BLACK. Will sport a moustache if this doesn’t come true. Sometimes, even if you are stiff emotionsless critic, you fall shaken with emotions when a movie moves so deeply from the heart. Black is one such gem. A classic that can stand over gimmicks and modernities of film techniques.

This was written in this blog, a year back in the review of Bhansali’s Black. Though that review was written very emotionally, I was sure that those moving images of Black deserved a big applause.

Let’s fact check with the Filmfare 2005 which was staged last week.

Best Actor – Amitabh Bachchan (Black)
Best Actress – Rani Mukerjee (Black)
Best Film – Black
Critics Award – Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Black)
Best Director – Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Black)
Best Supporting Actress – Ayesha Kapoor (Black)
Best Cinematography – Ravi K Chandran (Black)
Best Background Score – Monty (Black)
Best Editing – Bela Sehgal (Black)

Except for Screenplay, which was awarded to Nina Arora and Manoj Tyagi (Page 3), what was written, came true. Hurray !! I am not sporting a moustache.


Rang De Basundhi

As everyone churns a review or two (!!) of Rang De Basanti, why should I be sitting idle. If not for Basanti, there is always a favorite dish, Basundhi. A quick search on Google for Basundhi, gets us to this page which lets out the recipe for Basundhi. And yeah, I love Saravana Bhavan’s Basundhi.

Jokes apart, the desi blogosphere seems to be bursting with action on writing reviews for Aamir/Rahman’s latest flick Rang De Basanti. Even folks who were in out-of-action, seem to have come out of the clout. I notice the blogosphere going ga-ga over RDB over the weekend and before I could put them in words, Anti wrote a neat piece on this recent love. This is what Anti had to say –

Rang De Basanti seems to have captured the attention of the desi blogosphere and the Indian media like nothing else before it. Oh wait, a small correction. Before RDB, there was IIPM. But as Jerry would quip, not that there is anything wrong with it. At last notice, a simple search on Blogger Search for “Rang De Basanti” turns up 2,234 posts while a similar search on Technorati returns 1,257 results. In fact, Rang De Basanti has been in the top 15 list of searches on Technorati for the last couple of days and is in the top 10 currently.

People are excessively using internet to get a feel of the movie before they go for it, I would assume. Even if 50% of these searches were by people who wanted to make a decision on RDB before they spend time and money on it, blogs have won hands down. Back in early 2002, when I started to know this thingy called blogs, I never imagined that blogs could be put to use in such a way. Except a handful of badly written sites, there wasn’t much of internet concentrating on this arena. Now with such facts, the Indian Film Industry should turn towards blogs for promoting or taking note of short comings.

This hasn’t happened yet to tamil movies. Sometimes, I have seen sharp spike on stats as people trying to reach this blog during a movie release. But there aren’t many who write about tamil movies on blogosphere. And even if they do, they write as bad as me or they are just trying to make a satirical post to showcase their ‘engpilish’. There is plenty of space for good tamil movie reviews in blogosphere. Just Plenty.


Sanjay Gupta – CopyBoy

Raja Sen writes an amazing ode to the copycats, especially to Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay known for shot-by-shot unauthorized remake of hollywood films in Hindi, is on the hot seat. His recent flick, Zinda seems to be an outright rip-off from famous Korean flick, Oldboy.

I read about Oldboy on Hemanth’s Instant Kaapi. Someone had commented there about Sanjay Gupta re-making Oldboy as Zinda. Seems like this has come to the limelight, finally. Even if Sanjay Gupta originally concieves a film, the next time, people would be trying hard to find a similar match from the hollywood world.

This one is a well rounded column. A must read. From the column, Why I won’t watch Zinda[Via – Sunny] –

Cinema belongs to no one, Mr Gupta, and when we watch a film that excites us, we want to share. There is a school of thought which actually says that you are being altruistic, by remaking films most Indians have never seen, and ‘bringing them good cinema.’ I disagree vehemently. When Tarantino is thrilled by something like Iron Monkey, he doesn’t make a version of it himself, he just makes sure enough people in the US know about it when he re-releases it.

It would be incredible if you pioneered such efforts here in India, ensuring people get to see quirky, incredible, violent, earth-shattering films in theatres, instead of just the standard Hollywood popcorn fare. Get Sanju to redub them in his groovy voice, have rocking press-conferences, talk about why the movie is so special. Fans will freak out. I’ll wear a ‘Sanjay Gupta Rocks’ t-shirt, I swear.


Mani Ratnam’s latest – A Romantic Comedy

With all the hulla-golla over Mani Ratnam directing Mahabharata coming to an end, there is some rumor on bollywood circles that Mani Ratnam is directing Aamir Khan, produced by Bobby Bedi. Well, its not Mahabharata but a romantic comedy. And I’m already thanking my stars that Mani Ratnam isn’t directing the three-series Mahabharata, atleast in the recent future. And I hope he never does it. I would love to see if he makes Mahabharata in Tamil. However, we know tamil cinema’s market isn’t as big as bollywood.

Anyways on the Mani Ratnam-Aamir Khan-Bobby Bedi project, Mid Day reports

Aamir Khan will be again seen in a comic mould after a long time. Mani Sir is directing and scripting; it’s a special project, as it marks the coming together of Aamir and Mani Ratnam for the first time. Talking about the format, Bedi adds, “It’s completely different from whatever romantic comedies you have seen so far. A lot of changes and incorporations are being made, so I can’t really talk about the story.”

Mani Ratnam directing romantic comedy seems very exciting given Mani’s mood to make some serious cinema, these days. Above all that is Rahman joining the team, will be a question to be answered in the coming days.

Bollywood · Two-minute reviews

Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamaana…


Oh !! yeah. I just completed watching Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Certainly this is not the first time. It was probably nth time but its been atleast 5 years ever since I watched it. When it was released, it was Superhit Muqabla that announced the arrival of HAHK to me. And all I saw was Salman trying to hit Madhuri’s back with a catapult while chewing something very exaggeratedly. Cut. The guy in the audio store told me, “Sir, super paatu ellam. totally 14 songs sir.All top class”. Cut. My philips recorder repeatedly plays HAHK casette which I bought for 20 bucks. I still have it. Madhuri and Salman in a black dress on yellow background, the costume they wear during the song, Dhiktana Dhiktana. Salman’s leg raised upward and Madhuri to his left in a similar pose. Whoof !! What memory you should think. There are several movies, I couldn’t forget. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is one of the topper in that list. Ask my sister and she would nod YES, alongwith me.

Noone could possibly write a review on HAHK. It isn’t a movie. It’s a musical and has all the ideal items to be packed in a commercial movie. It never pretended to be a movie elevating the artistry of cinema. It was just an hyperbolic version of a North Indian family. I had an ideal mom, ideal dad, ideal uncle, just a little not-so-ideal aunty and idealistic etcetras. The movie was idealistic to India. Indian films for many years have been hypocritical and idealistic to a large extent. We don’t like to have an incest uncle or a gol-maal daddy. Everyone are just as expected. Sooraj Bharjatya just ensembled those idealistic characters in one movie and presented it. We loved it. There was no villain except the stairs and the bad aunty. The stairs make Renuka Shahaney slip and she eventually dies. The aunty keeps jumping to sky in ego until our maama gives her/us a surprise slap. She is silenced after that like a bharathiya naari. Not just ideal human, even Krishna(our lord krishna) makes a cameo. Except for the magical ray from Krishna’s idol to the dog tuffy, they ring the bells and play a devotional BGM when the dog runs to collect courier from Madhuri which serves as the twist for the climax. These miraculous event knocks off the word kaun from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and plesantly completes the movie as Hum Aapke Hain !!

Well, if you are thinking, I’m subtly mocking at the movie, I am. But I love it. I am pretty sure of my liking. Some people don’t like to accept they like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Its like reading Sidney Sheldon all along and concluding him to be a trashy writer within friends. Infact, I have no idea to write anything more about the movie. I have enough to boast of about my HAHK experiences than talking about what size of banian Salman was wearing in the song, Pehla Pehla Pyar Hi, when he was effortlessly lifting Madhuri from the billiards board.

Infact, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun wasn’t released in parallel at Chennai. It came after 7 or 8 weeks and you know what, it saw more than 2 Diwalis in Chennai, meaning nearly 2 years. I was just completing my schooling and I went the first time to watch HAHK. All I know then about Surat Bharjaathiya was that he was the director. With violence occupying the bollywood scene at that season, HAHK was a breath of fresh air. It was like heaven to many. Pay 10 bucks, go inside watch a peaceful family. No big fights, no big aderanline pumping suspense, no gyrating manmatha raasa hips and ofcourse no big tearjerker story. Before I saw the movie the first time, I heard all the 14 songs, more than atleast 100 times, saw enough clips on TV and so I was expecting a treat. I got it. Though I felt, which bloody family has a swimming pool and a fountain inside the house, SPB and Madhuri took me by a storm. I couldn’t resist watching it again and again. In the 2+ years it ran, me and my friends used to go for a movie theatre to watch a new flick. Luckily we had some cousin’s friend or some landlord’s brother-in-law’s sister working in every theatre. So we got tickets we wanted. If not, NO PROBLEM. We came back to watch Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I think it was more than 10 times in 2 years that I watched the movie just in theatre. Its more than 10 times, I’m positive because we counted. On my thoughts, I’ve seen Thalapathi more than 14-15 times in theatre. The last time, me and my friend couldn’t sit through Thalapathi. We knew every single shot, every single syllable uttered, every camera movement and the Mani Ratnam flick had nothing more to offer us. So we came out even before the intermission and handed over the tickets to two rag-picker boys and sent them inside the theatre for free. I saw Roja 8 times, Bombay 6-7 times, Alai Payuthey 6 times, Thiruda Thiruda 10 times[10 weeks; 10 times] and Gentleman 12 times. Why all that, I even saw Evanaairundhaa Enakenna 3 days in a row, in the same Sangam theatre and worse, same seat. I ain’t bragging. I’m positive. I was such a movie freak. Even before friends, I went to movies with noone. I went alone even during my 8th grade. 5 rupees in my pocket and I’m waiting first in the queue from 9:30 am in Shakthi Abirami to watch Anjali. Next day, same 5 rupees, Kizhakku Vaasal. Anjali again the very next day. Thanks to my mom who shed 5 bucks a day and cursed herself for unable to make me stop watching films. Neverthless, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was something that I could never forget.

Sitting for a matinee inside a hot chennai movie theatre, with atleast 500-600 people, it was only in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, I think I understood the essence of movie making. There are no technical lessons to learn. But I think I consciously started to loose myself for cinema with HAHK. It absorbed me. Transported me to the dreamy world. Threw me out of the teenage worries of school and college. And I owe Sooraj Bharjatya for that. The last few times, we started when Renuka was still rolling down from the stairs. If you always why do people start after the final song is over, they are the repeat audience and I was one with HAHK. HAHK was the talk of the day. Salman and Madhuri were teenage icons and if couldn’t sound the perfect ‘huh huh !!’ to a girl, you are a loser. I never could. But after the 5th time, when every single line of the song lyrics was on my mind, I started watching the other actors in a scene. Lets say in a scene, Madhuri is getting dressed and is the focus of the shot, I would be watching the girl sitting next to her. Because I knew what Madhuri was doing and wanted to know what the rest of the cast was upto in this largely over-populated movie that was a succes in a over-populated country.

My friend used to say, nearly everyone in Delhi saw Hum Aapke Hain Kaun twice. And I think it could be true. Even today when comparing to DDLJ which was another commercial potpourri with the legendary Shahrukh and Kajol, I think the songs and the entire spirit of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is simply unbeatable. A movie, a classic, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is.

Selected Reading

Official Website of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun

IMDB entry for HAHK

Memoirs on HAHK – Sooraj Bharjatya

HAHK Box Office – Did 2,341 shows in 847 days of its run at Mumbai’s Liberty cinema. It ran 105 weeks in regular shows and 16 weeks in noon shows.

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun Soundtrack
Maye Ni Maye – Lata Mangeshkar
Didi Tera Devar Deewana – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Mausam Ka Jaadu – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Chocolate Lime Juice – Lata Mangeshkar
Joote Dedo Paise Lelo – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Pehla Pehla Pyar – SP Balasubramaniam
Dhiktana – 1 – SP Balasubramaniam
Mujhse Juda Hokar – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Samdhi Samdhan – Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu
Hum Aapke Hain Koun – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Wah Wah Ramji – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramania
Lo Chali Main – Lata Mangeshkar

Cast (in credits order) –
Madhuri Dixit as Nisha Choudhury
Salman Khan as Prem
Mohnish Bahl as Rajesh
Renuka Shahane as Pooja Choudhury
Anupam Kher as Prof. Siddharth Choudhury
Reema Lagoo as Mrs. Choudhury (as Rima)
Alok Nath as Kailashnath (as Aloknath)
Bindu as Aunt
Ajit Vachani as Aunt’s Husband (as Ajit Vachhani)
Satish Shah as Doctor
Himani Shivpuri as Razia (Doc’s wife)
Sahila Chaddha as Rita
Dilip Joshi as Bhola Prasad
Laxmikant Berde as Lalloo Prasad
Priya Arun as Chanda’
Tuffy as Tuffy (The Dog)