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).