Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 - The Year That Was - XI

So, all in all, it was a very good year for Bollywood. Hope that the good performance of films in 2006 continues in the year 2007 as well and we get to see better films in the coming year. So, here is wishing everybody a very happy new year and have a safe and entertaining 2007!!!

2006 - The Year That Was - X

The other remake was Farhan Akhtar’s Don starring Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Om Puri with Kareena Kapoor in a special appearance just for one song. Farhan Akhtar stuck to the main story line of the original Don, but he had some very interesting twists (two in particular) by which, he managed to give the film his own touch.

Of course, there were critics who said that the film was too complicated in its twisted plots. However, the movie has done very good business. I am not sure if the film would be categorized as a hit or would just be a semi-hit. In any case, there seems to be flying rumours that a sequel is on the anvil with Shahrukh Khan producing and acting in it and Farhan Akhtar once again at the helm of the affairs.

2006 - The Year That Was - IX

Nagesh Kukkunoor’s Dor also received rave reviews, both for the film and its lead actors Ayesha Takia, Shreyas Talpade and Gul Panag.

However, for me, one of the most entertaining small budget flick had to be Dibaker Banerjee's Khosla Ka Ghosla. It had an ensemble cast of Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Parveen Dabas, Ranveer Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Tara Sharma, Navin Nischol and Kiron Juneja. As I have already mentioned in my earlier post on this film, this movie belonged entirely to Anupam Kher. If you have not seen, I’d strongly recommend you to see it. It’s a very simple and sweet story of a man swindled of his lifetime of savings by a shark of a builder and how his son helps him to get back his money.

Other than that, there were two prominent films remade this year. One was Umrao Jaan directed by J. P. Dutta and starring Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Shabana Azmi. According to J. P. Dutta, this film was not a remake, but his interpretation of the book Umrao Jaan Ada. The film sank at the box office without a trace and as if it was never made.

2006 - The Year That Was - VIII

Coming back to movies, this year saw a number of small films doing very good business. Maalamaal Weekly directed by Priyadarhsan with Ritesh Deshmukh, Reema Sen, Paresh Rawal and Om Puri alongwith the rest of the regular Priyadarshan cast, was a surprise hit.

Another off-beat film which got great critical reviews and good commercial returns was Being Cyrus directed by Homi Adjania who managed to assemble a stellar star cast of Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah, Boman Irani and Simone Singh. Once again, Saif Ali Khan received critical acclaim for breaking his lover-boy image and trying the dark humour genre.

With movies like Gangster (directed by Anurag Basu and staring Emraan Hashmi, Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut) and Woh Lamhe (directed by Mohit Suri and starring Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut), the Bhatt camp was busy churning out small budget entertaining flicks which made good money at the box office. They indeed have a great business model! The music of these films also did good business.

2006 - The Year That Was - VII

Other than the above, there were some other hits such as Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Krrish, Fanaa, Dhoom 2 etc. which turned out to be huge money-spinners but were pretty ordinary as movies. The sole exception being the exceptional stunts in Krrish and Dhoom 2.

Other than that, it would be unfair if I didn’t mention Himesh Reshamaiyya. I am not sure how many he movies he composed for, but there was a time when every music channel, both on radio and television, played his songs only. And that’s not it, now he’s doing a film which will be released in 2007. Like him or hate him, you cannot ignore him! He’s arguably all over the place as India’s first ever Rockstar!!!!! Now, is that a tall claim or is that a tall claim?

2006 - The Year That Was - VI

Omkara is most definitely one of the best films that has been made in recent times. Vishal Bharadwaj is undoubtedly a force to reckon with especially with this follow up to Maqbool. His story-telling skills are superb. The only film that could have given Rang De Basanti a run for its money (to be India’s official entry at the Annual Academy Awards) is Omkara.

Ajay Devgan is in superb form and Saif Ali Khan has truly come onto his own. He has successfully shed his lover-boy image (and inhibitions) to potray such a powerful role as Langda Tyagi. And to say that Saif Ali Khan was convincing as Langda Tyagi, is an understatement. It was probably one of his best performances ever.

2006 - The Year That Was - V

The second movie to have a stupendous impact this year was Lage Raho Munnabhai. “Gandhigiri” evolved as a concept. Personally, I feel that “Gandhigiri” was more media generated that movie generated. Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Producer) and Rajkumar Hirani (Director) did not even imagine that the film and the concept of Gandhigiri would become such a huge rage.

The media hype was at its peak during the first 3-4 weeks after the film’s release. It’s come back into the limelight in the recent past because of the Sanjay Dutt’s legal hassles from the 1993 blast case. However, full marks for the makers of the film, it was an amazing feel good film with a good social message. There is no doubt that we need to reflect back on the thinking of the great Mahatma Gandhi in today's day and age.

2006 - The Year That Was - IV

I have no hesitation in beginning with Rakyesh Mehra’s Rang De Basanti which has become one of the top grosser this year and is undoubtedly one of the best films of this year. It is no wonder that it is India’s official entry at the Annual Academy Awards to be held in early 2007. Aamir Khan, Atul Kulkarni, Sharman Joshi, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor and Soha Ali Khan were very good. A. R. Rahman’s music was great as well.

So much was the impact of the film that there were demonstrations where people took to the streets with candles in their hands in protest against the injustice done to the families of Nitish Katara, Jessica Lal and Priyadarshini Mattoo and as a result of the public outrage, the judiciary has actually re-opened these cases and managed to convict the killers of Jessica Lal and Priyadarshini Mattoo. Real life imitating Reel life. I wish UTV, Rakyesh Mehra, Aamir Khan and the rest of the star cast of Rang De Basanti all the best for the Oscars.

2006 - The Year That Was - III

Naseeruddin Shah made a promising entry into the Directors’ club. Priyadarshan continued to churn out run of the mill slapstick comedy once again with little success. Shirish Kuner’s much touted debut turned out to be nothing but a damp squib. Ravi Chopra and Sanjay Gadhvi reprised their previous acts. However, only the latter met with some amount of commercial success.

J. P. Dutta went askew with his interpretation of the famous courtesan. Kunal Kohli was spot on with his casting coup. However, this year belonged to Rakeysh Mehra, Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bharadwaj for churning out the biggest (and probably the best Hindi films that we have seen in recent times). Over and above these biggies, some of the fresh and new talent to emerge are Dibaker Banerjee and Homi Adjania.

It would be very difficult to cover all the movies that were released this year. However, the attempt is to capture some of the best cinema we had this year including some of the biggest mistakes / duds of the year. So, here is my take on the highlights of the year 2006 that is about to whiz past us in a few days time.

2006 - The Year That Was - II

Kajol made another come back with a bang with a casting coup of this decade when she starred with Aamir Khan in Fanaa. Priyanka Chopra was part of a few hits with very little performance to boast of. Rani Mukherji had a quiet year and so did Preity Zinta. Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi re-created their Munnabhai-Circuit chemistry in to go one up on their previous outing in Munnabhai MBBS. Akshay Kumar had a mixed bag of a year. Govinda almost managed to come back.

Hrithik Roshan proved a major point as to why he is one of the topmost contenders for the next superstar tag. He played the super-hero and a perfect thief with absolute elan’. Amitabh Bachchan and Abhisehk Bachchan had a fairly tepid year. However, this year was the year of small-budget experimental but good films. We were lucky to watch movies from some of the out-of-the-box filmmakers.

2006 - The Year That Was - I

The year 2006 has been one of best years that Bollywood has seen in recent times. It’s been raining hits this year. As reported by one of the national newspaper couple of days back, this year has been phenomenal for Bollywood movies in the overseas market (especially United States of America and United Kingdom) when Hindi movies have done stupendous business.

Actors like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan further cemented their position as top draws at the box office doing diverse roles. Shahrukh Khan once again proved that he cannot go wrong with Karan Johar at the helm of affairs and Farhan Akhtar’s remake gamble was also actually quite safe. Aishwarya Rai had an absolutely lacklusture 2006, pretty much like her histrionics in the movies released this year!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Govinda - V

Will the king of comedy be able to make a come-back? Will he be able to do a better job in his second innings as an actor? Will he be more selective about the movies he does? Personally, I feel a strong yes for all the above three. Because all said and done, the man is talented, natural, hard working and inspite of his problems he’s been having over the last 7 years, he still has some good friends in the film industry.

What do you guys think?

Happy Birthday Govinda - IV

Be that as it may, now the man seems to have cleaned up his act and seems to be raring to have a second go at his profession. He’s currently riding high on two new releases. First to hit the big screen tomorrow is Bhaagam Bhaag directed by Priyadarshan and also starring Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Lara Dutta and Tanushree Dutta. Of course, in Bhaagam Bhaag, Govinda’s doing what he does best, comedy.

The second movie which would be released after Bhaagam Bhaag is Nikhil Advani’s Salaam-E-Ishq. This movie is a super-star-studded with Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, John Abraham, Sohail Khan, Govinda, Priyanka Chopra, Juhi Chawla, Ayesha Takia, Vidya Balan and Isha Koppikar. The music of the film is by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the movie is clearly one of the most eagerly awaited movies in recent times.

Happy Birthday Govinda - III

Another big mistake he made was choosing wrong films and filmmakers. I have read in the media that Subhash Ghai had offered Govinda was offered Anil Kapoor’s role in Taal. The movie had Akshaye Khanna and Aishwarya Rai in the lead. However, since he did not want to play second fiddle to Akshaye Khanna, he refused the film.

Another role that he refused was that of Chunnilal in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas which was eventually done by Jackie Shroff. Devdas had the enviable star cast of Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit. Although his role may not have been anything to write home about, it was a big hit nonetheless and he would have had another feather in his cap. Another notorious habit that had all the producers fuming at Govinda is his habit of coming famously late on the sets. They would have had to incur huge losses due to his problem with keeping time commitments.

Thereafter, he had problems on his personal front with rumours of his marriage being on rocks, his alleged affairs with his leading ladies and the fateful accident his family met while on their way to Ajmer Sharif this year. In the interim, he also entered politics and won the general election from Mumbai by defeating a Bhartiya Janata Party heavyweight Ram Naik. All was not good on that front as well as there were rumours that he’s neglecting his constituency and not doing much as a politician.

Happy Birthday Govinda - II

And the reason for the movies to flop was because he did the same thing again and again and the audience just got bored of him. I don’t think he was criticized for his histrionics and dancing as he was for being repetitive. Govinda has one of the best comic timings in the film industry today. And inspite of his weight issues, he’s one of the best dancers we have in the industry. His acting, like his dancing, is effortless and he’s a complete natural.

Consider this - in 1998 when he starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Bade Miya Chote Miya, directed by David Dhawan, Govinda completely overshadowed Amitabh Bachchan in the film and was considered the next big actor of that decade. However, that was then when he was having the time of his life and probably became over-confident that nothing could go wrong with his career. And that’s when the worst happened. The phase from 1999 – 2006 must have been the worst seven years of his life.

Happy Birthday Govinda - I

Today is Govinda’s birthday. Here is wishing him a very happy birthday!

Readers may wonder that out of all the filmstars, why would I wish Govinda? Firstly, it’s his birthday. Secondly, I am a huge fan of Govinda, notwithstanding his loud dressing style (which he has improved over the period of last few years) and his large girth. Lastly and most importantly the man’s on the verge of proving himself all over again.

The man has been down and almost out for over a few years now. He’s had a disastrous run at the box office. It’s not surprising that Govinda’s last hit was, Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999) directed by David Dhawan with Sanjay Dutt, Karisma Kapoor, Pooja Batra, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher and Aroona Irani as his co-stars.

After that, he’s had string of flops. Believe it or not, he’s had 21 flops in a row. To be precise, these movies are Sandwich (2006), Ssukh (2005), Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen (2005), Raja Bhaiya (2003), Ek Aur Ek Gyarah (2003), Chalo Ishq Ladaaye (2002), Waah! Tera Kya Kehna (2002), Akhiyon Se Goli Maare (2002), Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai (2002), Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya (2001), Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001), Albela (2001), Jodi No.1 (2001), Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (2001), Beti No. 1 (2000), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain (2000), Shikari (2000), Joru Ka Ghulam (2000), Hadh Kar Di Aapne (2000), Kunwara (2000), Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain (1999).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Farhan Akhtar's Don - VI

The highlight for me were the (i) title track of the film "Main Hoon Don" which was very well sung by Shaan, (ii) two major twists in the plot of the film which were a major deviation from the original film and (iii) a very restrained Shahrukh Khan which automatically translated into a very bearable Shahrukh Khan. The title track “Main Hoon Don” is a very racy and peppy number and I must say that it’s picturised very well on Shahrukh Khan. It is in this song that Shahrukh Khan really comes onto his own while potraying the attitude of Don. The other supposedly highlight of the music of the film i.e., "Khaike Pan Banaraswala" was very disappointing. That's all I can say about this song.

So, for all you people who have a prejudiced mind against Farhan Akhtar's Don, I would highly recommend it as a must watch. If not for anything, purely for its thrill, fast paced action, extremely entertaining and jazzed up background score (which does remind you of the original Don).

An interesting trivia about this film is that Farhan Akhtar initially wanted to cast Hrithik Roshan as Don. However, after writing the character of Don, he thought he would need a more mature actor and hence he zeroed in on Shahrukh Khan. My limited knowledge of Hindi film industry says that Hrithik Roshan would have done better justice to this role than Shahrukh Khan. But then, these are my views and it is not a wonder that Farhan Akhtar and Shahrukh Khan have reached places in their respective careers which I can only dream of.

I also noticed a small blooper in the film. When Boman Irani escapes from the van by getting out of the van (before the van blows up) and then getting in the manhole which was under the van. After Boman Irani goes away into the manhole and when the van moves, the manhole is just not there. Seems like Boman Irani took away the manhole with him when he went underground :-)

Farhan Akhtar's Don - V

Amongst the other star cast of the film, Priyanka Chopra (as Roma) and Isha Koppikar (as Anita) didn't have much to offer except just look good on screen which they did. Arjun Rampal (as Jasjit) is strictly okay. Kareena Kapoor (as Kamini) was okay though her gyrations on “Yeh Mera Dil” was very disappointing. Om Puri (as Interpol inspector Malik) was wasted. The only other person who had a meaty role was Boman Irani (as Inspector De'Silva). His role was almost parallel to that of Shahrukh Khan. Although I though Boman Irani was a bit disappointing, he was very earnest in his pursuit to potray Inspector D'Silva though. Personally, I thought Farhan Akhtar ought to have cast somebody who was more fit, lean and agile as opposed to Boman Irani who inspite of being a brilliant actor, did not fit the bill of an inspector who would run to chase a criminal. Frankly, I thought he was not convincing as Inspector De'Silva.

Farhan Akhtar's Don - IV

All in all, very well made film even though it may not have had a phenomenal run at the box office. But it has done very well to ensure that it’s producers / distributors are laughing all the way to the bank. Although I am not a Shahrukh Khan fan, I thought he was decent. What I was impressed most was that Farhan Akhtar had managed to get Shahrukh Khan to not be his usual self. This according to me was Farhan Akhtar’s biggest accomplishment.

Had Shahrukh Khan been his usual self and acted the way he acts in almost all his films, then Farhan Akhtar’s Don would most definitely had been a disaster. Besides Farhan Akhtar, Ashutosh Gowariker is the only director who has managed to get a good performance out of Shahrukh Khan in Swades. However, he just doesn’t have the voice and dialogue delivery to pack the killer punch into the character of Don / Vijay which was so effortlessly done by Amitabh Bachchan.

Farhan Akhtar's Don - III

And to be very honest, I wasn't disappointed after watching the Farhan Akhtar’s Don. Farhan Akhtar has adapted the story to his sensibilities and made the movie according to his interpretation. And he's come out with flying colours.

He has indeed managed to hold on to his own inspite of knowing very well that comparison of his Don with Chandra Barot's Don was absolutely inevitable. Farhan Akhtar has very cleverly made changes to the story line of Don and without revealing the twists, I was extremely impressed with two of the most important twists in the film, one of which comes in the last few seconds of the movie. Farhan Akhtar has managed to adapt his interpretation of Don into a fast paced and racy action thriller which was more in the mould of Bond flicks or like Mission Impossible kind of movies.

Farhan Akhtar's Don - II

To be very honest, I was a little apprehensive before watching Farhan Akhtar’s Don the first time around because I was convinced that Shahrukh Khan just doesn't have the required ammunition in his arsenal (voice, attitude and most importantly dialogue delivery) to carry off the legendary and unforgettable dialogues of Don.

Secondly, the music of Farhan Akhtar’s Don by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy did not catch my fancy barring the very entertaining title track “Main Hoon Don” which has been very well rendered by Shaan.

Regarding my views on the other songs of Farhan Akhtar’s Don, I have already written about them in my earlier posts and hence am not repeating myself. However, I must say that with all these reservations, I went to see Farhan Akhtar's Don and the only reason for that is that I have tremendous respect for Farhan Akhtar as a film-maker and according to me, he's one of the leading filmmakers who will take Hindi film industry to greater heights.

Farhan Akhtar's Don - I

Farhan Akhtar's Don, which is a remake of the cult 1978 Chandra Barot directed thriller Don with Amitabh Bachchan playing the Don. The original Don is a cult movie in more ways than one. Amitabh Bachchan's suave Don act as well as the bumbling idiot turned Don, Kalyanji Anandji's music and the hysteria the movie generated. Chandra Barot’s Don is truly a cult film and in many ways was quite ahead of its times. It was more in the mould of Bond flicks and not many films in those times had plots like Don.

Being such a huge fan of the original Don, I was very keen to watch Farhan Akhtar's Don. I have already seen it twice, once because I wanted to see it and second time when I was in one of the remote town of Gujarat on work and I had half a day to kill post lunch and Don was the only film that I could have watched.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Music release of J. P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan - III

In comparison (very unfairly though), Aishwarya Rai is not even a patch on Rekha. I know that she’s the most beautiful woman on this planet (an oft used expression for Aishwarya Rai) and that she’s the most recognizable Indian faces on the world stage and all that rubbish. However, personally I don’t rate Aishwarya Rai very highly, both in terms of looks as well as performance. But then that’s me and I may be in minority.

Another very irritating fact that I noted is that in all the interviews that Aishwarya Rai gave to the sound-byte-hungry news channels, she seemed to put on such a fake stiff upper lip accent and tried to sound extremely intelligent about her interpretation and take of role of Umrao Jaan in J. P. Dutta’s interpretation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa`s novel. It’s the best “most fake and pretentious” interview that I’ve heard in recent times.

Music release of J. P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan - II

The two songs that have been released don’t seem to be very impressive. The first song “Salaam” which is a solo song picturised on Aishwarya Rai and I think it’s sung by Alka Yagnik. There is another duet song that is already on air these days and it’s picturised on Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. I think it’s sung by Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with either of the songs.

In all fairness, I must admit that when I hear the songs of J. P. Dutta’s Umrao Jaan, I invariably end up comparing it with the music of Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan which was composed by Khayyam which songs have been made deeply etched in my memory with the soulful voice of Asha Bhosle and the timeless Rekha.

Music release of J. P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan - I

Very recently, the music of J. P. Dutta’s Umrao Jaan was released on October 3, 2006 and the music videos of couple of songs from the movie have started appearing on television. The music of J. P. Dutta’s Umrao Jaan is by Anu Malik and lyrics are by Javed Akhtar.

Cannot resist but make the following observations.

According to the filmmaker J. P. Dutta and his lead actors, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, this film is not a remake of Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan that was released in the year 1981. According to J. P. Dutta, his film is based on Mirza Hadi Ruswa`s novel Umrao Jaan Ada, published in the year 1904 and was probably one of the first Urdu book that was ever printed and it is J. P. Dutta’s interpretation of the Ruswa’s novel.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Khosla Ka Ghosla - V

Coming back to Khosla Ka Ghosla, the movie however totally belongs to Anupam Kher. He has said in one of his interviews to a newspaper that he is grateful to one of his friends father on whom the character of Mr. Khosla was based. Anupam Kher is totally in his elements and evokes empathy from the viewers immediately upon his entry on the screen. Right from his dialogue delivery to his body language, each and every way, Anupam Kher is your regular simple service class man who is meek and timid and can be easily bullied by somebody. His love for his kids especially Parvin Dabas, his concern for his family and his wish to build a big family mansion in the plush South Delhi locality are all very sweet.

All in all, I thought the movie was pretty good if you go by the normal parameters of judging a film i.e., simple story line, good story telling by the director, good performances in the film, not too long and above all, no melodrama or over the top acting. Check it out if you have not already!!!

Khosla Ka Ghosla - IV

Amongst the performers, Boman Irani as the builder Kishen Khurana is his usual self, brilliant! Although the length of his role is not great, but he does manage to pack a punch into the character of Khurana, especially with his mannerisms of threatening Mr. Khosla during their first meeting, his adjusting / scratching his crotch everytime he got out of the car, his weakness for women etc.

Parvin Dabas was decent and Tara Sharma needs to take serious (and immediate) course on dialogue delivery. Kiron Juneja was also endearing.

However the surprise packet of the film is Ranvir Shorey as the good for nothing older son of Mr. Khosla. His sincerity comes effortlessly on screen and his Punjabi dialogue delivery is first rate. Equally effective is Vinay Pathak as the visa agent (and one who was working for the builder Khurana and knows all about the tricks of his trade) is in good form as well. As an aside, these two talented actors, i.e., Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey are hilarious in a stand up comedy show on Star One called "The Comedy Show Ha Ha Ha" which was earlier known as The Great Indian Comedy Show. Sometimes the humour is flat but generally these guys are quite funny. If anyone of you has not seen them yet, I’d strongly recomment it. The show is aired from Monday to Wednesday at 10.30 pm on Star One.

Khosla Ka Ghosla - III

The movie is entertaining with good performances. Most importantly, the story and concept of the film is simple and the director has ensured that the script, screenplay and the narrative of the film also stay as simple. And he has managed to achieve this task, which it seems (looking at the movies that are being released these days) is something most of the directors are missing. Dibakaer Banerjee seems to be from the KISS school of film-making viz., Keep It Simple Sweety!!!! And the result is for everyone to see. From the reports in the media, the movie is doing good business although I don’t know the figures.

The USP of Khosla Ka Ghosla is that its characters are very real and believable and the bad experience that the Khosla family goes through could easily have been experienced by any one of us and we do indeed get to hear or read about these stories day in and day out. This is where the director Dibaker Banerjee may have struck a chord with the middle class.

Khosla Ka Ghosla - II

Mr. Khosla invests all the savings of his lifetime that he had accumulated over a period of thirty years, into a plot of land in plush South Delhi, where he wants to build a plush home for his family. However, he’s swindled by the broker through whom he buys the plot and the plot is now fraudulently encroached upon by the shark-like builder Kishren Khurana, played effortlessly by Boman Irani.

Thereafter, the builder Khurana asks Khosla to buy that plot of land for half the cost (which was paid by Khosla to buy the plot in the first place). The plot of the film is about how Khosla’s two sons, alongwith able assistance with some common friends and a visa agent, try to turn the tables onto Khurana and get back the plot by playing the same game as the builder Khurana.

Khosla Ka Ghosla - I

About two weeks back, I managed to see the small budget flick Khosla Ka Ghosla made by debutant Dibaker Banerjee and written by Jaideep Sahni. The ensemble star cast of the movie is being led by the experienced Anupam Kher alongiwth Boman Irani, Parvin Dabas, Ranvir Shorey, Tara Sharma, Vinay Pathak. The music of the film is by Bapi – Tutul and Dhruv Dhalla.

The premise of the movie is fairly straightforward and simple. Mr. Kamal Kishore Khosla played by Anupam Kher is a very simple-about to retire-service class man who is in his late 50’s and has two sons and a daughter and a nagging but loving wife. His older son is a high school drop out and the younger son (who is also Mr. Khosla’s favourite) is a software engineer who is on his way to the United States of America, much to his father’s disappointment.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

India's official entry for the 79th Annual Academy Awards II

Anyways, now that Rang De Basanti has been nominated as India’s official entry to the 79th Annual Academy Awards, I feel that it has a good chance of making it to the final five. The main reason for it in my view is that the movie would be able to stand on its own keeping in mind the theme of the film and its relevance in today’s time.

Further, the presence of Aamir Khan in the film should ring a bell for the jury members as Aamir Khan was in the United States of America in the year 2002 when his film Lagaan was nominated as India’s entry to the Annual Academy Awards and was in fact nominated in as one of the five films in the Best Foreign Film category. The previous occasions when Indian films were nominated at the Annual Academy Awards were Mehboob Khan’s Mother India and Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay. Interestingly, Deepa Mehta’s “Water” is Canada’s official entry for the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

Here is wishing Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, Aamir Khan, Ronnie Screwala and the rest of the team of Rang De Basanti all the very best and hope that they manage to bring Indian cinema on the world map.

India's official entry for 79th Annual Academy Awards I

The announcement for India’s official entry to the 79th Annual Academy Awards (Oscar Awards) was made yesterday. The competition was very tough as this year, Bollywood has had a very good run at the box office. There were movies like Lage Raho Munnabhai, Omkara, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Krrish and Rang De Basanti that were in the fray for being selected as India's official entry for the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Finally, the results were out yesterday and Rang De Basanti has been nominated as India’s entry to the 79th Annual Academy Awards this year.

In my view, out of the above movies that were in contention, the only movies that had a real chance of nomination were Lage Raho Munnabhai, Omkara and Rang De Basanti. I was very sure that Krrish and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna would never make the cut for the simple reason that although both being commercial blockbusters, they had nothing to offer that would be worthy to represent Indian Cinema at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. On the other hand, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Omkara and Rang De Basanti were all movies that would have made Indian cinema stand out amongst world cinema at the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

Don - VII

I am totally excited to see Farhan Akhtar’s Don. Not because of Shahrukh Khan but because of Farhan Akhtar and because of the fact that I totally loved the original Chandra Barot’s Don.

I have lot of respect for Farhan Akhtar as a director and a story teller. I thought Dil Chahta Hai was a fantastic debut for Farhan Akhtar and he followed it up with an even better Lakshya. Although Lakshya did not do very well commercially, I thought that it was a very good film in terms of storytelling and performance. According to me, Lakshya will definitely go down as one of better performances of Hrithik Roshan.

One interesting trivia about Farhan Akhtar’s Don was that Hrithik Roshan was supposed to play the main lead of Don / Vijay. However, it didn’t work out as a result of which Farhan Akhtar approached Shahrukh Khan for the role which was gladly accepted by Shahrukh Khan.

Don - VI

They don’t make dancers like Helen any more. The song Yeh Mera Dil, picturesed on Kareena Kapoor is strictly okay. I did not find Kareena Kapooor to be as spunky and vivacious as Helen. It’s been sung by Sunidhi Chauhan in a very husky voice, apparently to ensure that it goes with the personality of Kareena Kapoor. I am not sure if the song Yeh Mera Dil picturised on Kareena Kapoor is getting good reviews. I don’t think the song is doing that great as well.

The music of the film, at least what has been shown on television has been fairly average with nothing to write home about. However, I am awaiting the main song i.e, Khaike Pan Banaraswala and am really interested in knowing how Farhan Akhtar – Javed Akhtar – Shankar Ehsan Loy would have done this song in view of the fact that this is one of the two songs that they have retained in the remake. The promos of Khaike Pan Banarswala have already started and it’s got the fresh voice of Udit Narayan, who seems to be in his elements while singing this song. He’s sounding very good. Maybe because the beat of this song is such that it has to sound good. From the promos, it seems that the basic orchestration seems to be the same. However, it would be very difficult to rate a song based on a 5 second promo. So, will have to wait for the real thing. The interesting trivia about this song Khaike Pan Banaraswala is that when Kishore Kumar was recording the song, he actually had a pan and sung the opening lines "Arrre Bhang Ka Rang Jama Ho Chakachak, Phir Lyo Pan Chabaay, Arre Aisa Jhatka, Lage Jiya Pe, Punar Janam Hui Jaaye". No wonder the song was such a huge hit. Not only did it have a magical voice of Kishore Kumar at work, it also had the attitude which was so effortlessly carried on screen by Amitabh Bachchan.

Don - V

The music of Farhan Akhtar’s Don is by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy and the lyrics are by Javed Akhtar. Farhan Akhtar has retained two songs from the original Don i.e., Khaike Pan Banaraswala and Yeh Mera Dil and Shanker Ehsaan and Loy have given a jazzed up remixed version of these two songs. So far, they have aired three songs from the film, i.e., Moriya Re (co-inciding with the just concluded Ganesha Festival), the ever-green Yeh Mera Dil and the remixed, re-worded, re-composed and jazzed up Main Hoon Don.

The title track Main Hoon Don has been sung by Shaan. In the original Don, Kishore Kumar had breathed life into the song by his playful singing. Probably keeping this in mind, Shankar Ehsaan and Loy have consciously ensured to stay away from the original soundtrack of Main Hoon Don and have come up with a very stylized and very techno soundtrack. Personally, I like this song and Shaan has done a wonderful job and so have Shankar Ehsaan and Loy.

Don - IV

However, from the television interviews of Farhan Akhtar, it seems that he has made slight changes to the story line of Don and keeping the same in sync with today’s generation.. Another departure apparently is that Farhan Akhtar’s Don is meaner, more suave and very stylish.

Unfortunately, it seems Shahrukh Khan has put in lot of effort to act (read ham) to look mean as the Don and I think that this may be the reason for him not succeeding as Don. One look at Shahrukh Khan’s filmography as a mean, negative or action oriented role, and it would be clear that he has not had great run either at the box office or for critical acclaim save and except Darr and Baazigar.

He’s had pretty disastrous outings as a baddie / action oriented roles viz., Anjaam, One Two Ka Four, Ram Jaane, Duplicate etc. Anyways, this would be another test for the great Shahrukh Khan to prove his mettle as an actor considering his movies that have done earth-shattering business till date have only been candy-floss mushy and romantic films. Although very little, but Shahrukh Khan has made some of these above attempts at playing negative / bad / action oriented roles but with very little success.

Don - III

The main characters in Farhan Akhtar’s Don are pretty much the same as that of Chandra Barot’s original Don.

Name of Character – Farhan Akhtar’s Don (Remake) – Chandra Barot’s Don (Original)

Don / VijayShahrukh Khan (earlier played by Amitabh Bachchan in the original)

RomaPriyanka Chopra (earlier played by Zeenat Aman in the original)

JasjitArjun Rampal (earlier played by Pran in the original)

Inspector D’SilvaBoman Irani (earlier played by Iftikhar in the original)

MalikOm Puri (earlier played by Om Shiv Puri in the original)

AnitaIsha Koppikar (earlier played by Aparna Choudhary in the original)

KaminiKareena Kapoor (earlier played by Helen in the original)

Don - II

Fortunately or unfortunately, comparisons to the original Don are inevitable. The original Don (1978) was directed by Chandra Barot and was written by Salim – Javed duo and earned Amitabh Bachchan his Filmfare Best Actor Award. The music of the film was by Kalyanji Anandji and the lyrics were by Anjaan. All the songs in the film were superhit especially the Khaike Pan Banaraswala, Main Hoon Don and Yeh Mera Dil.

Farhan Akhtar is remaking this 1978 classic where Shahrukh Khan takes over the mantle (and huge responsibility) of playing the characters of both Don and Vijay. The television promos of this film have started and one thing that comes across immediately is that this is a very stylized version of the film.

Don - I

Don ki talash gyaraah mulkon ki police kar rahi hai, lekin Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, na mumkin hai!

This famous dialogue (I may not have got the dialogue verbatim) from the movie Don brings back the memories of Amitabh Bachchan with his trademark booming baritone playing the unforgettable Don in this 1978 super hit film. Unfortunately, Shahrukh Khan, in Farhan Akhtar’s remake of the same film, does not sound as effective as Amitabh Bachchan when he says this same dialogue.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Omkara - V

To sum up, I don’t think that these minor negatives can in any way affect the quality of the film. Omkara is one of the best films to be released in recent times. It takes lot of guts and gumption to make a film like Omkara and to say that Vishal Bharadwaj has excelled in his endeavour to make a good film, would be an understatement. I would be surprised if Omkara does not sweep away all the major awards next year.

Vishal Bharadwaj is clearly one of the leading film makers we have today and considering his earlier films Makdee and Maqbool, he has proven himself beyond anybody’s doubts about his ability as a master story teller. He’s here to stay and will in time to come, become one of our finest filmmakers.

Omkara - IV

One of the negatives in the film may have been the language. Although, the story and Uttar Pradesh settings demanded use of such language, the local Uttar Pradesh dialect can be difficult to understand. Which probably was one reason why the movie could have done even better than what it already is. Needlessly to say that the movie is both, critical and (huge) commercial hit.

Another negative is the excessive use of expletives in the film. I guess the story demanded use of expletives. Although I’m not too sure, but the use of the foul language in the film makes it difficult for a whole family to watch the film together. Nonetheless, I think that the cuss words were very effective to the narrative of the film. After the release of the film, there was this big hype about use of foul language and actually somebody had taken the producers and director of Omkara to court to cut out the expletives. Of course, the court said that if the censor board has passed the film with the expletives so be it and the request was rightly turned down by the court.

Omkara - III

Naseeruddin Shah as the politician Bhaisahab has very limited to do and is good at it. Ajay Devgan as Omkara the weak, suspecting and jealous protagonist is awesome and clearly is in his elements and having the time of his life in his career. He’s really transformed into one of the leading actors of his time. His brooding intensity and his earnest potrayal of Omkara comes across effortlessly onto screen. Ajay Devgan breathes life into the character of Omkara as if he was living it. Konkona Sen Sharma as Indu, wife of Langda Tyagi is also top rate. Even though Kareena Kapoor does not have much to do, she’s done a pretty decent job of whatever little scope her character had. Bipasha Basu did not have much to do in the film. One surprise element in the film is Deepak Dobriyal who makes his debut in this film. He has shown good promise and with good roles, will emerge as a good acting talent.

However, the entire movie belongs to the devil himself, LANGDA TYAGI!!! Inspite of not having an author backed role, Saif Ali Khan has managed to come out tops with flying colours. He has infused reality into his scheming Langda Tyagi character. Right from the look to the mannerisms to the language to the body language – everything is awesome! His entire performance where he tries to ensure Kesu Firangi’s downfall and his attempts to poison Omkara’s mind against Dolly Mishra. I've read in media reports that he actually consumed tobacco to get that realistic look (read dirty teeth) and he had to make many visits to his dentist after the shooting of the film was completed. Saif Ali Khan probably should win all the major awards for his terrific potrayal of Langda Tyagi and this movie would go down as one of his finest performances of his career. Here's another actor who's broken the rules and done movies ranging from Dil Chahta Hai to Kal Ho Naa Ho to Hum Tum to Salaam Namaste to Being Cyrus to Omkara. What a range!!!! He's grown into a very fine and mature actor.

Omkara - II

The story is set in Uttar Pradesh (a Northern state in India) where Omkara “Omi” Shukla is the “Bahubali” to Bhaisahab and leads a gang of outlaws. Amongst other cohorts, Langda Tyagi and Kesu Firangi are the two trusted lieutenants to Omkara. When Bhaisahab moves from the local politics to a higher level, he appoints Omkara in his place. And when the time comes, Omkara appoints Kesu Firangi as his “Bahubali”, much to the disappointment of Langda Tyagi who has been his trusted lieutenant for over 15 years. This is where the movie becomes extremely interesting as from this point on, Langda Tyagi schemes the downfall of Kesu Firangi and unknowingly triggers off a chain of events that destroys everything around him and Omkara.

Right from the story to the script to screenplay and most importantly the characterizations of the lead actors, Vishal Bharadwaj is top rate in every department of filmmaking. However, he could have totally done away with the music in the film as it tends to dilute the intensity of the story and disturb the narrative flow. Save and except the title track, all the songs were dragging the plot. And the title song has been sung exceptionally well by Sukhwinder Singh setting out the (mostly bad) qualities of Omkara. The title track has very good music and lyrics.

If the other songs were cut out of the film, then the impact of the movie would have been significantly higher. However, these days, producers have to keep the commercial parameters in mind while producing the film and I guess the same would have happened to Omkara. There were two item songs “Beedi” and “Namak” in the film. Of course, the song “Beedi” is a huge hit and may have ensured good sales of music of the film. Of course, it also had Bipasha Basu as Billo Chaman Bahar gyrating to the beats of “Beedi” with the wily Langda Tyagi and her lover Kesu Firangi.

Omkara - I

Evil! Thy name is Langda Tyagi!!!

Omkara (2006) directed by Vishal Bharadwaj and starring Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Deepak Dobriyal (debut) Bipasha Basu and Naseeruddin Shah, was released about 5-6 weeks back and is doing amazing business at the box office, both India and abroad.

Omkara is Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello. Ajay Devgan plays Omkara “Omi” Shukla (Othello), Kareena Kapoor is Dolly Mishra (Desdemona), Saif Ali Khan is Ishwar “Langda” Tyagi (Iago), Vivek Oberoi is Keshav “Kesu Firangi” Upadhyay (Cassio), Bipasha Basu as Billo Chaman Bahar and Naseeruddin Shah as Bhaisahab.

Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello is very impressive, even though I haven’t read Othello at all. However, in one of the promotional interviews, Vishal Bharadwaj said that slight changes were made while making Omkara. Vishal Bharadwaj also wears many hats while he was at the helm of Omkara. He has co-written the screenplay and the dialogues of the film. He has also composed the music of the film. Very talented indeed!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Asha Bhosle - II

In her career spanning six decades, Asha Bhosle has numerous awards. Some of the main awards won by her are as follows

7 Filmfare Awards:

Don (1978) - Yeh Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana
Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974) - Chain Se Kabhi
Naina (1973) - Hone Lagi Hai Raat Jawan
Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972) - Dum Mara Dum
Caravan (1971) - Piya Tu Ab To Aaja
Shikaar (1968) - Parde Mein Rehne Do
Dus Lakh (1967) - Garibon Ke Suno

2 Indian National Awards for:

Umrao Jaan (1981) - Dil Cheez Kya Hai
Ijazat (1986) - Mera Kuch Samaan

In 1997, she became the first Indian singer to be nominated for the Grammy Award, for Legacy, an album with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. She has received seventeen Maharashtra State Awards. She received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 for her outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.

Here is wishing Asha Bhosle many happy returns of the day!!!

Happy Birthday Asha Bhosle - I

Asha Bhosle, the diva of Indian film industry was born on September 8, 1933 in Sangli, Maharashtra, into the musical family of Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar. Her father was a theater actor and classical singer who had been born in the village of Mangeshi in Goa. When she was nine years old, her father died and their family moved from Pune to Kolhapur and then to Bombay. She and her famous older sister Lata Mangeshkar began singing and acting in films to support their family.

Her career started in 1943 and has spanned over six decades. She has done playback singing for over 900 Bollywood movies and sold many records. Nobody knows exactly how many songs she has sung, but in one of her interviews she had said that she may have sung more than 12,000 songs in her entire career spanning six decades. Some people believe that she may have sung more than 20,000-25,000 songs in her career.

Asha Bhosle has sung songs primarily from film music and continued to sing and excel at pop music, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian Classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, and Rabindra Sangeet. She has sung for actresses right from the 40’s till date and continues to wow audiences with her ever so young voice.

She has worked with various music directors right from O. P. Nayyar to Khayyam to Sachin Dev Burman and Rahul Dev Burman and right upto A. R. Rahman.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie IX

However, I would like to add one comment of my own. Towards the end of the film, there is a dialogue. I cannot remember the whole dialogue, but it says that for a successful marriage to work, the only thing one needs is “be-intehaan mohabbat” meaning tremendous love. From personal experience (and at the cost of sound like a cynic), I can say that these things when said on screen, sound very good but is not the entire truth. It is not just love that can sustain a successful marriage. There has to be trust between the two people, there has to be respect for one another, there has to be transparency in the relationship and there has to be faith between the two people. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. This is what I feel. Of course, I could be wrong here. But this is what I genuinely believe. And it is this aspect of marriage that has not been explored by Karan Johar in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and which is why I think he’s gone wrong in dealing with the sensitive issue of an extra-marital affair. Had he done that, I think the movie would have been far too superior than what it is today. Anyways, these are just the thoughts of an amateur blogger.

What do you guys think of what I’ve said above? Does anybody have any comments?

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie VIII

One guy who’s risen above the circumspect acting in the movie of the other stars and the flawed script / story, is Abhishek Bachchan. He is so very natural. He is quite effortless with a range of emotions right from funny, to being loving and caring husband to a raging husband to a grieving son who knows that he is about to lose his father. His jig on the song “Just Chill” was quite good. And he was the junior most in comparison to all other stars in the film in terms of acting, number of years in the industry, accolates and hits. And yet he stood out. He’s clearly here to stay and for a long time.

Another aspect that stood out in the film was the chemistry between Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. These two are very good together and their off-screen chemistry comes so naturally on screen.

All in all, my take on Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is that it’s a bad movie with bad performances (except Abhishek Bachchan), bad music and a really bad story. However, the box office collections have another story to tell. Which may also throw some light on my skills to write a critique about a film.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie VII

Music of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and lyrics are by Javed Akhtar. Sadly, the music is lacklusture. The only passable song is Mitwaa and it has some very good lyrics. However, one striking fact about this song in the movie is that the lyrics of the song do not match with the situation in the film. I don’t know if anybody else felt this way. The other song Rock and Roll Soniye is totally in the Kajra Re mould and tries to capture the chemistry of Amitabh Bachchan-Abhishek Bachchan. Other than that, there is not even one song worth its salt that needs mentioning.

In terms of performances, I thought that this possibly was Shahrukh Khan’s worst performances. For some reason, the way he has acted in this film, reminded me of the way he acted in Ram Jaane. He is trying too hard to live the flawed character but just ends up looking unconvincing. Frankly, he has not done justice to the role. Of course, his presence has ensured stupendous box office collections for Karan Johar. But that’s a different story and I’ve dealt with it. Rani Mukherji was strictly okay and Preity Zinta did not have much to do except wear designer outfits and look good. Amitabh Bachchan as Sexy Sam was okay.

Karan Johar in his promotional interviews had said that had Amitabh Bachchan not said okay to play Sexy Sam, Karan Johar would not have made this film. I don’t know why these guys patronize one another so much. The character of Sexy Sam besides being inconsequential, was not even a part of the so called story of the film.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie VI

Even when Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji get dumped by Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan, they don’t make any efforts to work towards their already fallen marriage. Considering Shahrukh Khan has a young son, he has no remorse in leaving his son and mother behind. That I thought was a little strange because his relationship with his wife may have been over, but he still had his son and his mother. That aspect of their relationship also half baked like the rest of the story of the film.

The humour in the film is completely contrived. Especially that part where Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji try to get cosy with Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan respectively (at the Opera) in an effort to outdo the other. For god’s sake, they are all grown up people, not some school children. I thought that entire sequence was churlish.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie IV

The entire sequence where both Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji try to advise one another on how to spice up their marriage and how to make their respective relationships with Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan work was not convincing. Karan Johar has said in many interviews that the character of Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji are flawed. I think that so is his story. The structure of the story where Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji come close to each other and decide to have an extra marital affair is just not convincing.

Finally, what I thought was the most complicated and confused part in the film was when Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan realize that Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji may not know that both their marriages have fallen apart and when then meet up accidently at Abhishek Bachchan’s second wedding, they egg Rani Mukherji on to go and make a life with Shahrukh Khan as he is on his way to Canada for ever. That to me can never be a reason for two people to get together. This actually justifies their extra marital relationship and the old adage that “end justifies the means”. It was almost as if they came back together full of guilt and due to the fact that since both of them had been dumped by their respective partners, it’s okay for them to come together.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie V

However, what I could not understand was the problem in the relationship of Abhishek Bachchan-Rani Mukherji. Okay, their life styles were distinctly different i.e., Abhishek Bachchan headed a Public Relations firm and Rani Mukherji was a school teacher. However, Abhishek Bachchan loved Rani Mukherji completely and was always on the lookout to spice up their married yet mundane lives. I just could not understand why does Rani Mukherji feel that their marriage is falling apart. Her apprehension before getting married to Abhishek Bachchan is fine as every woman goes through the same emotion i.e., whether they are marrying the right man or not, but once having married him, a woman cannot keep on having that feeling all through her life whether she’s married the right man or not.

In fact, Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherji had been childhood friends and she had grown up with Abhishek Bachchan. All the more reason for her to feel more comfortable with Abhishek Bachchan. However, that aspect of Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherji’s relationship has not been exploited at all. This according to me is one of the major drawbacks of Karan Johar’s story.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie III

Anyways, coming back to the movie, I thought there were more negatives in the movie than the positives. To put it succinctly, the story of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is about various problems in the married relationship of Shahrukh Khan-Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan-Rani Mukherji and how they fall out of their marriage and how Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji fall in love outside of their marriage.

The problem in the relationship of Shahrukh Khan-Preity Zinta was okay inasmuch as Shahrukh Khan was a failure as a footballer and as a husband and that his wife is a beautiful super-successful and super- ambitious working woman and he had that obvious element of jealousy and low self esteem that in their marriage, it is Preity Zinta who “wears the pants”.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie II

The reason why I think Karan Johar makes movies only to make money are:

1. His movies only have big and established stars which guarantee him the openings. Case in point, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kaal and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Hang on a second! Isn’t that the entire of filmography of Karan Johar both as a as director as well as a producer? Well of course it is and that’s my point.

2. He taps the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) market very well but shooting his film in New York. Both his last films Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Kal Ho Naa Ho were based in New York and he ensured that the movie got tremendous publicity while it was being shot. Not to mention the fact that Karan Johar knows how to tap the NRI market by cashing in on Shahrukh Khan’s popularity.

3. The canvas of his movies is large, lavish sets, lavish locations, fancy gadgets, latest designer costumes etc. These are all the ingredients to lure the common man to live that fantasy for those three hours. Of course, nothing wrong with creating a fantasy for the common man. Just that the fantasy should not (actually NEVER) take precedence of the main crux of the film i.e., the story.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - The Movie I

After writing my previous posts on Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, I got an anonymous comment on the same criticizing me for writing about Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna without even watching it.

Inspite of all my efforts of not watching Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, I eventually had to give in to my wife’s emotional blackmailing and saw the movie on Monday i.e., August 28, 2006. Well, to recapitulate from some of my previous posts, I wasn’t too jazzed about watching the film and had many apprehensions about the film. And I was absolutely spot on. So, here’s my take on the film after watching it.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is considered to be a bold move by its director Karan Johar and he has thinks that watching this movie will make people think about their married relationships. Karan Johar also thinks that he has matured as a film maker. I am not sure as to whether he has matured as a film maker indeed or not, but I personally think he has not. As stated in my earlier posts on Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, it seems that he is primarily makes movies to make lots of money. And that he does in style. Full page advertisements carried in leading national newspapers stated that Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna had collected 120 crores in just three weeks of its release (as it then was) and I’m sure he’ s added quite a few numbers to that as you read this.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hrishikesh Mukherjee - R.I.P. - I

Born on September 30, 1922 at Calcutta in West Bengal, one of the finest filmmakers of all time, Hrishikesh Mukherjee passed away on August 27, 2006 at the ripe old age of 84. He is survived by 2 sons and 3 daughters. He died after a couple of months of prolonged illness. He was admitted to Leelavati Hospital due to renal failure and was on dialysis for sometime. He passed away at around 4.30 pm on August 27, 2006.

Personally, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was one of my favourite filmmakers and most importantly, a story teller par excellence. The art of storytelling, unfortunately has died with the sad demise of Hrishi daa and it is very unfortunate that inspite of having all the best technology at its disposal today, Bollywood cannot boast of even one genuine story teller. Even during his time i.e., 60’s and 70’s, Hrishi daa was peerless.

Some of the leading actors of the 60’s and 70’s have given their best performances under the direction of Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Actors like Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Rekha etc. have given their best performances in Hrishikesh Mukherjee films.

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - VII

And last but not the least is Masoom (1983) directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Saeed Jaffrey, Tanuja, Jugal Hansraj and Urmila Matondkar. Music was by Rahul Dev Burman and lyrics were by Gulzar. Once again, the music was terrific.

So, although Karan Johar may have made Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna with on such a lavish canvas with a star cast to die for and which may eventually become one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna can never find a mention alongwith films like Arth, Silsila and Masoom.

Anybody, any thoughts?

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - VI

Coming back to genuinely good cinema, in case somebody were to ask me about my favourite movie on infidelity / extra marital affairs, I can readily think of three awesome films that have been based on extra marital affairs and the directors have dealt this sensitive issue very beautifully.

First on the list is Arth (1982) directed by Mahesh Bhatt and starring Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil and Raj Kiran. Music was by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. This definitely remains one of Mahesh Bhatt’s best films of all times and one of the better Hindi films with unforgettable music.

Second is Silsila (1981) directed by Yash Chopra and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rekha and Jaya Bachchan. This movie had the casting coup of the century as the rumour of Amitabh-Rekha romance was at it’s height. The music by Shiv-Hari is timeless and the lyrics were by Javed Akhtar.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - VI

When the movie was released two weeks back, the way media has gone over the top in rating this film just goes on to show that even film reviews can be bought. Each and every news paper, every news channel, every entertainment channel, every radio channel had only good things to say about Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. I just don’t see anybody giving frank and forthright reviews of the films. Everybody has only nice things to say about Karan Johar and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. So much so that a leading news channel which hosts a very popular debate show, had a debate last week on extra marital affairs and panelists were Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar, Shobha De, CEO of and a psychiatrist. The show was entirely a promotional gimmick for the film. And during the entire debate, the only person who spoke intelligently was Shahrukh Khan.

Omkara was already a huge hit much prior to the release of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. There’s another conspiracy theory doing the rounds is that Karan Johar tried to sabotage the success of Omkara by spreading news in various media that women and children are walking out of the theatre because of the crude and crass language used in Omkara. This was supposed to be a ploy to ensure that people do not go to the theatres to watch Omkara and actually go to the theatres to watch Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Of course, there is no official “confirmation” on this conspiracy theory, but it’s floating around for some time now.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - V

According to me, if a movie is made only around commercial considerations, then you are not being an honest film-maker and you may manage to make a commercially successful film, but it would rarely be considered as good cinema. My take is that the story and characters of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna could have been in any city in the world and it would not have made any difference to the film or its story. I can totally imagine the characters of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna being the same even if they are in any metropolitan city in India or even a small town in India. The only probably difference would have been the box office collections.

One geographical error (amongst a few others) in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is that the trains shown in the movie are actually SEPTA trains, which operate in Philadelphia, and not in New York City. Of course, I have not noticed this error. It’s been pointed out to me by one of my friend who lives in New York. I found it notable and hence this finds a mention here.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - IV

Coming back to Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Karan Johar has said in one of his television interviews that he has grown as a film maker. He said that New York, where the movie Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is based, is central to the movie and all the characters in the film are based in New York. According to me, having New York as the back drop to the story of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was a pure commercial ploy to ensure box office success.

While the movie was being filmed, the shooting was famously covered by the media in the United States of America and the entire period for which Karan Johar shot the film, there was enough curiosity generated amongst the people in the United States of America, especially the Non-Resident Indians. This was one of the best master stroke by Karan Johar to ensure that his movie got a record box office collections in the United States of America. He had applied the same ploy when he produced Kal Ho Naa Ho, which was a super hit as well.

In addition, Karan Johar could not have gone wrong with the star cast. Amitabh Bachchan continues to have a universal appeal, Shahrukh Khan is still undisputed box office champion, Rani Mukherji and Preity Zinta the two out of the top three actresses in Bollywood and Abhishek Bachchan’s rising popularity as the “next big thing” in Bollywood. With this deadly twin combination of New York and star cast, Karan Johar knew he had a winner on hand. In one of his interviews, Karan Johar had said that he has got Veer Zaara and Bunty Aur Babli in his movie.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - III

Firstly, I have not seen the film. I do not propose to see the film. And if I do eventually end up watching the film, it would be only because my wife will coerce me into watching it and in which case, I will put up a post setting out the agonizing moments suffered by me while watching the film.

My twenty odd years of “watching hindi films” experience has given me this knack of predicting with amazing accuracy whether the film will be a hit or a flop. I can also predict with an equally amazing accuracy whether I will like the film or not, purely by watching the promotional teasers / footage / clips / songs of the film on television. And when I saw the promos of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna on television, I was absolutely certain that this is one movie I don’t’ want to watch.

Frankly, I haven’t been a fan of Karan Johar school of films. I have not liked any of his films. I did not like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai because I didn’t agree with the way the subject was handled. I liked music of the film very much though. I did not like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham for the obvious reasons viz., too opulent, too garish, too self-absorbing, too weepy, too long and too much. I thought Kal Ho Naa Ho was strictly decent, thanks to an outstanding performance from Saif Ali Khan and a soulful and outstanding title track. I did not like Kaal.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - II

The movie has the impressive dream star cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan. Shahrukh Khan, in all his modesty, has said in a television interview that no body can go wrong with as talented star cast as this film. The story is by Karan Johar himself and the screenplay is by Karan Johar and Shibani Bathija. The Art Direction is by Sharmishta Roy and the Costumes are by Manish Malhotra. The music is by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the lyrics are by Javed Akhtar.

Since everybody knows that this film deals with the ‘sensitive’ issue of extra-marital affairs, I will refrain from setting out the basic premise and story of the film. In this next few posts, I will only discuss some of my own views about this film and about its young and intelligent director Karan Johar and other miscellaneous things associated with the film. Of course, these next few posts will read as if I am terribly biased against Karan Johar. Frankly, I am not. My philosophy is very clear. He is a not one of the best directors around, but he’s a decent director. But I think he’s a poor storyteller. However, he’s a fantastic businessman. I have to give it to the man. He’s raking in the moolah like nobody else and like nobody’s business. And I respect him for that.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - I

Karan Johar’s “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” released two weeks back all over the world and has had a stupendous run at the box office. The movie has been released with 1000 prints all over the world and the cinemas are completely flooded with shows. Most of the multiplexes are running almost 5-6 shows in a day and reportedly some multiplexes in the United States of America are having shows every one hour.

Not surprisingly, the movie has collected 72 crores in just the first three days of its release and also collected a whopping USD 1.4 million in the United States of America, which is a record for an Indian film in the United States of America. I don’t think anybody has any doubts as to the fact that this movie will, in the coming weeks, do bumper business and will add many more crores to the bank balance of Dharma Productions and Karan Johar.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sanjeev Kumar - XI

Sanjeev Kumar was very unlucky when it came to love. He was unlucky twice over. He was was in love with Hema Malini and lost her to Dharmendra. The second time around, he proposed to Leena Chandavarkar. Co-incidentally, Kishore Kumar had proposed to Leena Chandavarkar on the same day and she chose Kishore Kumar over Sanjeev Kumar.

On November 6, 1985, Sanjeev Kumar died a bachelor, at the young age of 47 due to a heart ailment.

Definitely one of the phenomenal actors produced by the Hindi film industry.

Sanjeev Kumar - XI

Sanjeev Kumar won National Award as best actor twice for his movies Dastak (1970) directed by Rajinder Singh Bedi starring Manmohan Krishna and Rehana Sultan and Khoshish (1972) directed by Gulzar and starring Jaya Bhaduri, Seema Deo, Om Shiv Puri, Asrani and Dina Pathak.

Sanjeev Kumar has won Filmfare Best Actor Award three times for Arjun Pandit (1976) directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and starring Ashok Kumar, Bindu, Vinod Mehra and Srividya; Aandhi (1976) directed by Gulzar and starring Suchitra Sen and Shikar (1968) directed by Atma Ram and starring Dharmendra, Rehman, Asha Parekh, Helen and Johny Walker.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sanjeev Kumar - X

Sanjeev Kumar also acted in a few movies directed by Yash Chopra. Although these movies mostly had Amitabh Bachchan as the central character, Sanjeev Kumar also played stellar supporting roles in these movies. Sanjeev Kumar's movies directed by Yash Chopra are as follows:

8. Silsila (1981) directed by Yash Chopra starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Jaya Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor. Although Sanjeev Kumar had a small role, but he did well to potray the character of a husband whose wife has an extra marital affair.

9. Kaala Patthar (1979) directed by Yash Chopra starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Shatrughan Sinha and Neetu Singh.

10. Trishul (1978) directed by Yash Chopra starring Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Sachin and Poonam Dhilon. Sanjeev Kumar's role in this movie was his meatiest with any Yash Chopra movie.

Sanjeev Kumar - IX

6. Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978) was directed by B. R. Chopra. The star cast of the film included Parveen Babi, Rishi Kapoor and Ranjeeta. Sanjeev Kumar once again excelled at comedy.

7. Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) directed by Satyajit Ray. This was Satyajit Ray's only Hindi film. The starcast of this film was very interesting and talented. The movie starred Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Saeed Jaffrey,Shabana Azmi, Farida Jalal, Victor Banerjee, Farooq Shaikh,Tom Alter, and Leela Mishra.

Sanjeev Kumar - VIII

3. Anamika (1973) directed by Raghunath Jhalani and starring Jaya Bhaduri, Iftekhar and A. K. Hangal. Music by R. D. Burman was a big hit and so was the movie.

4. Faraar (1973) directed by Shankar Mukherjee and had Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore as his co-stars. This movie is an off-beat film and had a very interesting story line. Amitabh Bachchan has also given an good performance in the role of a murderer hiding in the house of a police officer (played by Sanjeev Kumar). However, police officer's wife has been Amitabh's girlfriend before her marriage. Sanjeev Kumar gave a great performance in the role of a helpless police officer who cannot take hold of a criminal because his son is his hostage. Sharmila Tagore also acted very well in the role of a woman caught between her husband and her ex-lover.

5. Naya Din Nayee Raat (1974) directed by A. Bhimji was quite an experimental film. Sanjeev Kumar played nine different characters in the film. Jaya Bhaduri was his co-star in the film. This film was a path-breaking film in the career of Sanjeev Kumar.

Sanjeev Kumar - VII

Sanjeev Kumar also did many other films with other directors and was successful at the box office. Some of his other prominent films were as follows:

1. Aap Ki Kasam (1974) directed by J. Om Prakash starring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz. This was an authored back role for Rajesh Khanna and Sanjeev Kumar had a supporting role in the film. The music was by R. D. Burman was a big hit just as the movie.

2. Sholay (1975) directed by Ramesh Sippy and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. This potrayal of Thakur Baldev Singh was one of the high points in Sanjeev Kumar's career as an actor. The movie is a land mark film in the history of Bollywood. The music of the film was by R. D. Burman.

Sanjeev Kumar - VI

Sanjeev Kumar then next acted in Gulzar's Namkeen (1982). His co-stars in the film were Sharmila Tagore, Shabana Azmi and Waheeda Rehman. The music was by R. D. Burman.

And then came one of their funniest films together, Angoor (1982) which had Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma both in double roles. The film also starred Moushmi Chatterjee, Deepti Naval, Aruna Irani and Utpal Dutt. This film was inspired from William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors and Sanjeev Kumar excelled in this comic caper. The music was by R. D. Burman.

Sanjeev Kumar - V

Thereafter, he acted in Gulzar's acclaimed Aandhi (1975) where he co-starred with the beautiful Suchitra Sen. This movie was a landmark movie in the careers of both Gulzar and Sanjeev Kumar and it ran into much controversy because it was released during Indira Gandhi's regime (as a Prime Minister of India) just before the emergency and it was rumoured that the movie was based on the life of Indira Gandhi. This movie is definitely one of Sanjeev Kumar's best performances. The music of this film was by R. D. Burman and the songs Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa and Tum Aa Gaye Ho are unforgettable.

In the same year, Sanjeev Kumar also acted in Gulzar's Mausam where he co-starred with Sharmila Tagore (in a double role). The movie is about the guilt, struggle and anguish of the protagonist when he finds out the injustice he has caused to a girl and her family by getting the girl pregnant and then after many years finding out that his illegitimate daughter, who is supposed to be studying medicine, actually earns her living in a brothel and is a foul-mouthed prostitute. The story is about the protagonist's struggle to identify himself as the father of the prostitute. Once again, outstanding performances from both Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. The music of the film was by Madan Mohan and the song Dil Dhoondhta Hai is a classic.

Sanjeev Kumar - IV

Sanjeev Kumar has given some of his best performances in movies directed by Gulzar.

Sanjeev Kumar's first movie with Gulzar was Koshish (1972) where Jaya Bhaduri was his co-star. They play a dumb and mute couple in the movie. Deaf and dumb Haricharian meets deaf and dumb Aarti and persuades her to lean the sign language to communicate with her mother and brother. Their courtship leads to marriage and ultimately a child born to them. After the death of Aarti from an illness, Haricharian's son tries to deal with the after effects as well as his history of being raised by two deaf parents when he begins courting another young girl who also happens to be deaf. The performances of Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri were extremely poignant and touching. Definitely one of the better performances.

Thereafter, he did a brief role in Gulzar's Parichay (1972) which had Jeetendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Pran and A. K. Hangal in lead roles. The music was by R. D. Burman in this Gulzar's inspiration of The Sound of Music.

Sanjeev Kumar - III

He went to do many movies where he potrayed a range of emotions. He went on to do movies such as Seeta Aur Geeta and Manchali both of which were huge hits.

Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) was directed by Ramesh Sippy and had Sanjeev Kumar in the lead role with Hema Malini and Dharmendra. Although Hema Malini had the author backed role in the movie, Sanjeev Kumar did well to come out on tops with Dharmendra.

Manchali (1973) was directed by Raja Nawathe and starred Sanjeev Kumar, Leena Chandavarkar and Nirupa Roy. The music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal. This movie further established Sanjeev Kumar as a lead actor with good comic sense and timing.

Sanjeev Kumar - II

In the year 1968, he acted in Sangharsh directed by Harnam Singh Rawail where his co-star in the film was none other than the ultimate Dilip Kumar and the legendary Balraj Sahani. However, he managed to hold on to his own in a movie which had such big and legendary names.

However, it was in the year 1970 that Sanjeev Kumar tasted superstardom when his film Khilona was released. Khilona made him into a star in its truest sense. Khilona was directed by Chander Vohra and had Jeetendra, Mumtaz, Shatrughan Sinha, Durga Khote, Aruna Irani, Ramesh Deo and Jagdeep as a part of its star cast.

Thereafter, there was no looking back for Sanjeev Kumar. He went on to become one of the most versatile actors of all times. He essayed roles of extreme complexity with ease and was equally comfortable doing comedy as well. He had an awesome ability to emote with his eyes and facial expressions. It is often said that Sanjeev Kumar used to add tremendous depth to his character with his voice modulations at the time of dubbing for a film.

Sanjeev Kumar - I

I have received a request from one of the anonymous visitors on my blog that he wanted me to write something about the life and career of Sanjeev Kumar. Hence, in my next few posts, I will discuss Sanjeev Kumar's humble beginnings in life generally, as an actor and his rise as one of the most talented actor Hindi film industry has ever seen.

Sanjeev Kumar was born on July 9, 1938 in a poor Gujarati family. His original name was Harihar Jariwala but he took on Sanjeev Kumar as his screen name for coming into movies. After studying acting in a film school, he joined Hindi films. He made his Bollywood debut with Homi Wadia's Ali Baba And the 40 Thieves (1954). However his first break as a lead actor came with Nishan (1965) directed by Aspi Irani. The movie had Sanjeev Kumar as the lead actor with Nazima as leading actress, Prem Chopra and Helen as the supporting cast.


I have read in some parts of the media that this 1967 desi bond flick is gonna be remade with Tushar Kapoor as the lead actor. Tushar Kapoor will try to step into the shoes of his dad Jeetendra who excelled in the original movie.

The original Farz (1967) was directed by Ravikant Nagaich and had Jeetendra, Babita Kapoor and Aruna Irani as lead actors. The movie did very well at the box office and Jeetendra as the desi James Bond did well. The music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal.

It would have to be seen whether Tushar Kapoor manages to hold on to a role that his father Jeetendra excelled in.

Amar Akbar Anthony

There have also been rumours of this Manmohan Desai classic being remade by David Dhawan. I am not sure whether this movie is being made or not.

The original was released in the year 1977 and had the stellar star cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Neetu Singh, Nirupa Roy, Pran and Jeevan. It was a multi starrer in its true sense. The music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal. This is one of the best entertainers of all time with all the actors excelling in their own parts. Of course, the cult of Anthony Gonsalves continues to live on and Amitabh Bachchan has, in many interviews said that people still call out to him as "Anthony Bhai".

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam

Besides these remakes, there are also other remakes that are on the anvil. However, I am not sure whether these have been finalised or if finalised, is it happening at all or not.

The first one is Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam that was supposed to have been produced by Pritish Nandy's company Pritish Nandy Communications. The original Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) was directed by Abrar Alvi and starred Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman. The music was by Hemant Kumar and the movie is one of the classics with top notch performances from the entire leading star cast.

I am not sure whether this is being made by Pritish Nandy or not but there have been many rumours that Priyanka Chopra was a part of the star cast for the remake.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sooraj Barjatya's "Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon"

Sooraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon was a remake of his Rajshri Productions' earlier film Chitchor.

Chitchor (1976) was directed by Basu Chatterjee and had Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab and Vijendra Ghatge in leading roles. The music was by Ravindra Jain. The movie was a big hit and was very well received cricically and commercially.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Sooraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon (2003) starring Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan. Sooraj Barjatya was supposed to have hit a bulls eye with the casting coup that he had managed for this film. The (jarring) music was by Anu Malik. It was an absolute washout for Sooraj Barjatya and Rajshri Productions and this movie was mercilessly rejected both by critics and audience.

Ram Gopal Varma's "Sholay"

This will be the mother of all remakes. Ram Gopal Varma is making the remake of Sholay, arguably one of the best Hindi films to be made. Ever.

The original Sholay was released in the year 1975 and was directed by Ramesh Sippy. The original Sholay had Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri, Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan. The movie was written by Salim-Javed and the music was by R. D. Burman. The movie had a record run at a theatre in Mumbai. I have done a comprehensive post on Sholay in the month of May 2006. See the archives on my blogspot for the week ended April 30, 2006 (2006-04-30).

The remake would be known as Ram Gopal Varma Ka Sholay. However, the remake would be Ram Gopal Varma's interpretation of Sholay and would not be set in Ramgarh. The remake would be, you guessed it right, set in Ram Gopal Varma's favourite set up - Mumbai Underworld and Gabbar Singh would be your typical Mumbai underworld king pin. The likely casting of the remake is as follows:

Amitabh Bachchan as Gabbar Singh (originally played by Amjad Khan)

Mohit Ahlawat as Jai (originally played by Amitabh Bachchan)

Abhishek Bachchan as Veeru (originally played by Dharmendra)

Mohanlal as Thakur Baldev Singh (originally played by Sanjeev Kumar)

Katrina Kaif as Radha (originally played by Jaya Bhaduri)

Rajpal Yadav as Soorma Bhopali (originally played by Jagdeep)

Urmila Matondkar as Helen for Mehbooba song (original dance by Helen)

Himesh Reshamaiyya singing the song Mehbooba (originally played by Jalal Agha)

The all important character of Basanti (originally played by Hema Malini) is still missing. I am not sure but the music is likely to be composed by Himesh Reshamaiyya. Well, what do you say, he's the current flavour of Bollywood. Not only do we hear him and his compositions, we also have to see him now.