Mother India 2020

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Mother India [1957] is the most powerful role ever played by a female actor in India. A cinematic “Epic”, it ran in the theatres for more than 3 decades. It represented high moral values of a rural woman,struggling to find her means amidst various hurdles, and established “Radha” as the epitome of motherhood. In this era of remakes, Mother India is one masterpiece I am eager to watch on screen. When it comes to interpreting the nuances of an author backed role, Vidya Balan is the name which crosses my mind. Today movies are attempted with an easy approach. Rare classics like Mother India, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam etc, seem unfathomable; with very few of our artists fitting the bill as replacements.

It’s Vidya whom I conceive in my mind as Chhoti Bahu & Radha. She’s articulate in her craft & breaks the mould of a regular “run of the mill” part of a female actor on 70mm. Having won 4 back to back Filmfare & a National Award in deviant roles, she fits in the supreme category of trained actors. Attempting the poignancy of these characters will be a cake walk for her.

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She has displayed innate confidence in the name of acting. She’s a pioneer in changing the presentation of female actors on screen. She portrayed Sharat Chandra Chatterji’s Parineeta [2005] as her debut- depicting a 1960s character with ease; delivering a range of emotions out of her performance. In Ishqiya [2010] – {a movie full of colourful language, earthy humour & simmering sexuality} she emerged as a powerhouse performer set against rural backdrop. She reminded me of Hema Malini who could perform the contrast [Laal Pathhar & Sholay] with conviction in her times. With Paa [2009], she easily stepped in the skin of Auro’s mother; displaying the integrity of a modern contemporary woman without exaggeration. Dirty Picture [2011] established her as the champion, who provided the audience with full entertainment & glamour along with “The finest performance” on silver screen, in recent times. She carried the entire movie on her shoulders, depicting a woman’s struggle & downfall in a male- dominated film industry; refusing to compromise with her physical exhibition while presenting the raunchiness & oomph of the southern side actress “Silk Smitha”. Vidya gathered the front – row whistles from the audience along with the applause. Kahaani[2012], a movie made on a shoe – string budget, worked on “word of mouth” publicity. She played a Pregnant woman on a mission in this thriller. She kept the pace of the movie & the sharpness of the character intact; not succumbing once to melodrama. It must have been an ordeal to perform with the physical restrictions given to her character.

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It would be a delight to watch her as a lonely alcoholic wife of an Aristocrat, with her sexual desires & desperation/craving for attention. A woman, who is ready to shed her morals to gain love from her husband – Chhoti Bahu as portrayed by the Legendary “Meena Kumari”. It would be equally exhilarating to watch her on screen as Radha [Mother india], a poor villager struggling to bring up her sons in the absence of her husband; her survival amidst all odds; her fight for her dignity; her display of integrity in killing her own son. Radha as portrayed by the Icon “Nargis”– who immortalised the title “Mother India”.

I am eagerly anticipating these adaptations to materialise in near future, before Vidya Balan retires from screen and leaves the void open for another century [as Manisha Koirala did, after she was considered worthy for the title roles a decade back] – till another Supreme Artist takes birth in Bollywood. I hope the wait ends soon.

Amy Winehouse – A Singer who died too soon.

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I finally got a chance to view Amy: The Girl Behind the Name, a British documentary film Directed by Asif Kapadia, depicting the life & untimely death of Amy Winehouse [singer, songwriter]. Its narrative is focused on her life, family, career, fame, addictions and death. Released in July this year, this piece is a tribute to the most controversial singer of this century, who died at the age of 27. Four years have passed since the tragic, untimely death of this “Pop-Diva”; an undeniable talent gone too soon. The resonance of her immortal vocals is like a “one – man” band scintillating your souls, when you chose to indulge yourself in Soul/Jazz. She re-introduced me to the swank of Jazz. Once in a blue moon do we come across this genre being given a fling by Music Directors/Singers of this Era.

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Amy was a musical genius, known for her deep vocals which were an assorted mixture of Jazz, Reggae, Soul, Rhythm & Blues. She began composing music at the age of 15 & was majorly influenced by her family’s interest in Jazz. Her debut album “Frank” was released in 2003 which was critically acclaimed. She rose to fame with the release of “Back to Black” [2006] for which she won 5 Grammy Awards; the “First” British Woman to have done so. Her album is one of the Best-selling albums of the 21st century. Labelled by the BBC as “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation”, she went on to inspire a wave of artists with a sound similar to hers. Adele, Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, Duffy etc. credited her for their rise and journey in the music industry.

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Known for her Bee-hive hairdo, Cleopatra make-up & thick eyebrows, she was influenced by the girl groups of the 60s. It earned her the title of the worst dressed performer but it provided her with a unique identity amongst her fans. During 2005 she went through a period of drinking & heavy drug use. By 2006 her management company advised her to enter Re-Hab for alcohol abuse. She dumped the company instead & recorded “Re-Hab”, a popular song from her album [the song discussed her refusal to receive treatment for substance abuse]. In 2007 she cancelled most of shows in Europe & UK [she was hospitalised for drug abuse]. She was prevented from performing at the Grammy Awards presentation night as she failed to pass a drug test. In 2008 her wax statue was unveiled at Madame Tussauds, but she did not attend the unveiling. Often chased by the paparazzi’s, she was at loggerheads with the media. She had a controversial public image and went to jail for assaulting a fan. She was a rebel with a “Gifted” voice. Her contumacious lifestyle led to her downfall [personal & professional].

She returned to performing at a Jazz festival in 2009 where she was reportedly unsteady on her feet, forgetting her lyrics. She was booed off the stage by her fans in June 2011, as she was too drunk to perform. She cancelled all her tours immediately. Her health deteriorated along with her personal life. Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23rd July 2011. She ruled the hearts of millions with her voice but failed to rise above her dependency on alcohol.

Her famous songs are “Back to Black”, “Re-Hab”, “You know I’m no good”, “I heard love is blind”, “Cupid”, “Valerie”.

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The Devotion of Suspect X- The best Thriller of this decade.

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The Devotion of Suspect X is a Thriller [Fiction] written by Keigo Higashino. He is one of the most popular Authors in Japan who is also called “The Japanese Stieg Larsson”. The book breaks the usual pattern of “whodunit” and provides the readers with a mission to unravel  an Execution of a “Perfect Murder”.

When Yasuko Hanaoka’s ex-husband shows up in her apartment to extort money, she ends up killing him along with her daughter. The mathematician, Tetsuya Ishigami lives next door and is the sole witness. He disposes the body and assists them in creating a perfect alibi. He is secretly in love with his neighbour and helps her in planning the cover up step by step. Kusanagi [the detective] calls in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist & former friend of Ishigami, for assistance. Yukawa is acquainted with the mathematician’s skills & holds him in Esteem.  When he finally uncovers the plan, he is awestruck with his friend’s ingenuity. “He’s quite capable of commuting an atrocity, provided that it’s the most logical course of action.”– He says. His motto “Logical thinking will get us through this”– guides him in out-maneuvering Ishigami.

The murder occurs initially & we have no mystery surrounding the crime. The author subtly instigates the reader to question “What motivates a human being to judge who is worthy of living or not?” Having minimum of drama, it exposes the simple culture of Japan as well. A barren life of a mathematician receives a Silver Lining when he falls in love with his neighbor. “How far would you go to protect someone you love?”– is an expression we can relate to after reading this book. The mathematician designs a perfect crime & the physicist [nicknamed Dr. Galileo] solves it.

The translation in English is simple. The Third book in Dr. galileo series- this book was adapted into a movie by the same name & was hugely successful. The copyrights have been secured by film-makers in Bollywood & Hollywood. [“Drishyam”, starring Ajay Devgan & Tabu has a similar plot of creating a perfect alibi. Sujoy Ghosh is attempting a remake with Saif Ali Khan and Kangana – as reported recently.]

The book leaves the readers with a thought “What is more difficult- To solve a perfect crime or to plan one?”

Truly like “A riddle” inside an enigma, this book is a page turner. It is undoubtedly the Best Thriller I have read in recent times.

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8 Most Entertaining English Movies in 2015 till July.

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1. Mad Max: fury road

George Miller’s post- Apocalyptic franchise is back on the roads after 30 years. This Invigorating, Futuristic action movie is set in a desert where humanity is broken. The narrative has been handed over to Furiosa [Charlize Theron] this time instead of Mad Max, the Maverick Macho. She has kidnapped the breeders of the raving ruler, The Immortal Joe, to take them to safety. She encounters Mad Max[Tom Hardy], a silent warrior carrying the ghosts from his past. She is on a vehicular, violent journey to her homeland amidst mayhem. A visionary film [the director has taken a bold step by giving a dominant role to a woman in this latest edition- drawing praises from feminists & critics]. Charlize is remarkable as Furiosa; with an amputated arm, a spearing stare & a clenched jaw she delivers what many would fail to achieve with pages full of dialogues.

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2. Home:

Story of “The Boovs”, who find Earth as their new address. They relocate humans on other parts of the globe & inhabit their homes. “Oh” [Jim Parsons] is the Adorable, Liberated “boov” who wants to throw a party in his newly acquired abode. Tip [Rihanna] hates boovs, who have separated her from her mother [Jennifer Lopez]. The two begin a journey to locate her, bonding over music & dance. The mother-daughter re unite & “Oh” finally gets a chance to have his much awaited party. This tale of unusual friendship between a teenager & an alien is funny, peppy & adorable; with Hummable songs by the pop icon Rihanna.

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3. Focus:

This romantic comedy is a story of an elegant Con Man [Will Smith] who teaches an Inexperienced Amateur [Margot Robbie] to be a Femme Fatale in the trade. He is a seasoned master who falters from the trick of the trade of not falling in love. Together they cheat a rich man but he abruptly breaks off to avoid losing focus on his trade, leaving her heart-broken. They re-unite after three years & re-kindle their bond to perform a scam worth millions. Charismatic, Charming & Cool with his eternal boyish charms, Will Smith shows perfect comic timing with the stunning, sexy Australian actress.

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4. Spy:

This action comedy stars Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham & Jude Law in a female Spy-comic version of James Bond. The undisputed Queen of comedy plays a CIA agent who graduates from desk to being a field agent. Statham surprises his fans with his crazy performance; a deviation from his otherwise strict- only for Action image. McCarthy provides abundance of belly laughter in her unique stunt as a Spy. Jude Law lends the romantic angle to this Unsung, Hilarious Heroine, who attains her goals minus the guns & gadgets.

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5. Furious 7:

The 7th installment of the incredible “Fast & the Furious” series, stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodrigues & Paul Walker [in his final performance]. This high voltage, thrilling movie- with over the top stunts, makes it worthy as one of the top Franchise in Hollywood. The “AIR DROP” stunt, with the cars being dropped from a plane above a desert; the jumping off a bus on a cliff sequence [a scene executed without special effects] & the “MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY CAR CHASE” are Exceptional. The film has a combination of computer generated special effects & chosen camera angels, using Paul Walker’s brother to stimulate his appearance.

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6. Jurassic World:

The much awaited 4th installment of the “Jurassic Park” series has arrived after 14 yrs. Jurassic World hosts the cloned Dinosaurs & is a tourist destination. The park’s administrator [Bryce Dallas Howard] is entrusted with the care of her nephews. The park’s owner [Irffan Khan] is alarmed when the genetically modified “INDOMINUS REX” escapes to be on a killing spree. The park’s trainee [Chris Pratt] has developed a bond with the “VELOCIRAPTORS” & together they battle the villain. Eventually, the Veteran “T-REX” overpowers the “I-REX” after a colossal damage has been done. The large scale action [especially the scenes where the visitors are attacked by the dinosaur species from the sky, plucking them off the ground] & the Visual, Sound effects make this trip as exciting as ever.

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7. Avengers: the age of ultron

An Ensemble of Superheroes Iron man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawk Eye, War Machine & new addition “Quick Silver & Scarlet Witch”– the twins. They must come together to fight the enemy. “Ultron” is a mechanical AI, bent on human extinction which creates differences among the Superheroes. Their personalities are refined further in this sequel to “Avengers” with eye popping action- full of fireworks. We witness romantic interaction between Hulk & Black Widow as well as a peep into their humane side. The classically sculptured climax scene where the camera takes a 360 degree turn on them is thrilling. It’s a Marvelous piece by Marvel.

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8. Jupiter Ascending:

A space opera starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum & Eddie Redmayne is the story of Jupiter Jones [Mila Kunis], an ordinary cleaner, who has an Exceptional Inheritance from space. A genetically engineered soldier [Channing Tatum] arrives on earth to safeguard her. For a change, a female-centric sci-fi; [though ridiculed by critics for its dumb story] it found huge female fan following, with women calling it “The movie is OUR garbage”. Adorned with Amazing special effects which present the story beautifully, it brings the “Teen Idols” Kunis &Tatum together for the first time on screen.

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan [2015]: An ardent Salman Khan fan’s review.

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An incredibly “Emotional” Movie, minus “typical” Salman Khan “Flavour” of flashy dialogues/bulky action/catchy songs and timely dose of masala. Pawan[Bajrangi Bhaijaan] is a simple/humble/god fearing man with no ambitions, for whom the only way to live his life is with honesty. Munni[Harshaali Malhotra] is separated from her mother on a journey back home after they arrive in our country . She meets Pawan and they form a transparent bond. The movie tends to get boring when we are deprived of the extravagance attached with Salman’s movies. But after a while we absorb the wonderful connection between Munni & Pawan and flow with the theme. The Indo-Pak motif is not stretched either with political conflicts & irrelevant Outcry’s. People across the border are shown as compassionate humans; soldiers in uniform- who wish for peace and humanity to prevail in their nation when opposed with their neighbors. For a change, it appears as men on both sides are united for a cause. Munni is mute but wins our hearts. She conveys her plight & her unique relation with Pawan, simply with her facial expressions/cherubic smile & curious eyes. Our hearts melt every time the camera is focussed on her face. Nawazuddin Siddique arrives as a conscious journalist in quest of a big story, providing a timely “comic” relief in his unique/ “aberrant” style. He volunteers to join Bajrangi Bhaijaan [as he calls him] in his cause. Towards the climax, throats choke and tears roll, as Pawan remains his simple self; instead of transforming into a super hero, and refuses to deceive in order to achieve his goal. He re-unites munni with her family and the neighbouring nation comes together to send him back safe after crossing the border. But not before he raises munni in his arms after she gains her speech in a struggle to shout in despair, after separating from her “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, to call him “MaMa”.

A touching film. It is a rare movie done by Salman, which leaves us in tears every time the same appear in his eyes. He doesn’t wear his favorite “blue gem bracelet” and has a mauli wrapped around his wrist; he appears mellowed down. He has managed to look innocent in the scenes where he faces dilemma over his beliefs. He is definitely a Victor as a subdued/honest/composed man; a diversion from the swagger, which is the cause of the “Mass Hysteria” when we spell his name.

Kareena Kapoor Khan appears as his love interest. Rasika is an intelligent/secular/strong woman who motivates Pawan to shed his secular inhibitions.

Instead of preaching an issue, this film sticks to the theme without any discussions and dialogues on secularism. [It doesn’t provide a solution as well]. Devoid of Glamour & Glitter, this movie can be missed but a Salman Khan fan will not be disappointed to see this softer “Avatar”, which is a true reflection of the actor’s bonding with the children off screen.

Suraj Pancholi/Athiya Shetty: New kids on the Block

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“Hero” is releasing this September marking the debut of star kids Suraj Pancholi & Athiya Shetty.  Remake of the cult-classic “Hero”[1984], it is produced by Salman Khan & directed by Nikhil Advani.

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Son of veteran actress Zarina Wahab & Actor Aditya Pancholi, Suraj Pancholi has been in news recently for all wrong reasons. His girlfriend, Jia Khan, committed suicide and he was under the scan by the investigating agencies. Despite the hardships & under the protective wings of his mentor Salman, he sailed through the trauma. He has undergone extensive training in all departments, including Dance [Salman is reported to have participated in his dance rehearsals] & martial arts. He arrives on screen with a confidence & dedication to prove the virtue of his lineage. He bears a striking resemblance to both his parents & carries the humility of being a raw newcomer who wants no special treatment.

I am looking forward to see him stand next to the dashing Aditya Pancholi in the Movie. Aditya is notorious for his temper issues. Apart from being one of the most Handsome/well-dressed star in the 90’s, Aditya has an aggressive style with a powerful voice. Sharing screen with his father in his debut movie will be challenging for him. Zarina has acted in over 75 hindi & regional films as well as television serials. She is known for her simple/timid/middle class roles. This striking contrast in his parent’s personalities is bound to raise expectations from him.

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Athiya Shetty, born to parents Sunil Shetty & Mana Shetty [who have had a fairy-tale of a marriage in Bollywood] is bursting with teen confidence. After acquiring a professional degree in film making, she is all set to make her childhood dream come true. She inherits years of cinema & business experience from her father. Mana comes from a family of renowned architects & has individually carved a niche for herself as a socialite/designer/entrepreneur. Athiya has received a stable & a secure upbringing which has nourished her as a “wanna-be Star”. With the sparkle of stardom in her eyes, she arrives on screen as “Radha” of Hero.

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Both are fortunate enough to be launched in the remake which has a tremendous recall value even today. With their privileged backgrounds & the backing of Salman Khan, Suraj and Athiya are looking crisp & charged to prove their metal. The teaser released yesterday speaks volumes of their hard work & potential. Cheers to virgin talent.

Bajirao Mastani/ Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Magnum Opus.

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In the year 2002 it was published in a magazine that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has announced his dream project “Bajirao Mastani” with Salman/Aishwarya playing the title roles. The hangover of “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” was lingering in the minds of cinema lovers. The phenomenal chemistry between Salman & Aishwarya was unmatched. Their’s was considered as a Rich Pair. The two were having a strong affair which was inching towards marriage. As fate would have it, the duo had a highly publicised break up. Sanjay was heart-broken as his periodical Magnum Opus was conceptualised with these two playing the lead roles of Peshwa Bajirao [1700-1740], a Marathi General & PM to the 4th Maratha Chhatrapati and Mastani [his second wife]. Bhansali  decided to cast Kareena Kapoor as Mastani but developed apprehensions later. He wanted Salman/Kareena as an exclusive pair under his banner but could not prevent other producers from signing them. He shelved the project and continued working on other projects.

 

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An ardent fan of his work, I tried to search for the legends of Bajirao/Mastani and I remember very clearly that I was unable to gather a desired result for these two periodical personalities. I was presented with a rather obscure image of Mastani as a mere courtesan/dancer in Chhatrasali court. Today I approached the net once again and thanks to Bhansali, I have a clarity regarding the two Lovers/Couple/Soldiers.

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In 2014, Bhansali launched the project finally with Ranveer Singh as Bajirao, Deepika Padukone as Mastani & Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai (1st wife of Bajirao). Stuck in the pipelines for 10 years, this Masterpiece is finally releasing in Dec this year. Bajirao is shown as an uncelebrated character;a diligent son; a responsible husband & father; a passionate lover- a leader who falls from grace. Bhansali is known for his magnanimous style of making movies;he holds extensive workshops for his cast to get into the characters; Ranveer has gone bald; trained hard to pick the ancient Marathi accent altering his voice. He reportedly went the Heath Ledger way and locked himself up in an anonymous hotel for 3 weeks: he wears a particular deodorant every time he has a shot (a weird way he adopted from Vidya Balan). It must have been a gigantic exercise for him to channelize the hyper/over energetic Ranveer; to convert his highly urbanised look into an 18th century General.

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Mastani was a beautiful woman & a skilled dancer. Daughter of a Hindu King/ Muslim mother, she was a brave soldier who accompanied Bajirao on his military campaigns. Deepika has received training in Kathak/horse riding & along with Ranveer has learnt ancient Indian martial Art. It will be interesting to see Priyanka Chopra as Ranveer’s wife after “Dil Dhadakne Do” where they demonstrated exemplary chemistry as brother sister. He has picturised a song with both the lead actresses a’ la “Dola re Dole” style.

He is investing in the magical pair of Ranveer/Deepika who mesmerized the audiences in “Goliyon ki Rasleela- Ramleela”. Recognised for his massive budgets, he will surely not disappoint his fans when they flood the cinema halls.

As an addict of his work, I foresee a Classical; with first-class sets; paramount Drama; songs & dance picturised in hypnotic choreography; glittering costumes & acting par excellence. Counting the days till its Dec-18/2015.

4 Proofs of Ranveer Singh & Arjun Kapoor’s Bromance.

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Ever since Ranveer Singh & Arjun Kapoor shared screen in “Gundey”, their Bromance has been discussed and written about by all and sundry in media. Their sizzling on-screen chemistry & astonishing off-screen camaraderie is visible for all to see. Every time they appear together, they deliver an ample dose of entertainment. Whether it’s the despicable “AIB- Roast”, “Coffee with Karan”, ”IIFA Awards” or any other Bollywood Gathering, their mutual bond & companionship strengthens them as the favourite “Duo”.

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The AIB Roast

They carved a niche for themselves as the “Mad boys on the block” after being a part of the AIB Roast, where they were constantly grilled by a selected panel of comedians & film critics in the presence of around 4000 people from the industry. They were the Roasts with Karan Johar acting as the Host. With their respective girlfriends Deepika Padukone & Sonakshi Sinha seated in the front row applauding, the show was a riot. With digs like Aditi Mittal saying “Deepika is dating Ranveer Singh as we all know. It is great. Thank you for keeping him off the streets.” &  Abish Mathew taunting Arjun “You have been dating Sonakshi Sinha so congratulations there, but those are all rumours, that is not true as you know that you are not supposed to touch carbs.” – various jokes were cracked on their movies, personal lives & acting skills which they took sportingly. Hilarious yet extremely dark, the show was immediately taken off YouTube due to the controversies that erupted for its abusive & vulgar content; FIR’s being lodged against the three. Defying the age old statement of “Friendship is fickle” they shut the rumours of their friendship being a promotional strategy for Gundey and welcomed the scorch by Aamir Khan/Sanjay Leela Bhansali & other noted Film personalities. They did not disown the show and till date take a dig at each other over its mishaps.

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Flaunting their friendship on social media.

From promoting each other’s films on Twitter & referring the other as “Baba” to posting their collection of photographs from memorable moments shared together, their natural magnetism is revealed to all. A look at their snaps together proves that their mutual fondness is real. They don’t hesitate in criticising each other as well. Ranveer posted a picture of Arjun with the caption “Bucharest ka Badshah” & Arjun reciprocated by sharing his, captioned “Romania ka Raja”. They don’t break their hugs in front of the camera further declaring that their friendship isn’t averse to the Paparazzi’s. With an amount of sugar & spice & everything nice, their pictures and selfie’s bring a smile.

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Coffee with Karan.

The Baba duo appeared on Karan Johar’s show and were titled “The Mayors of Brozone”. An epic episode; their esprit de corps made the entire episode emerge as one giant canvas of truthful moments played out by rejuvenating honesty. Their “Uber cool” swagger was eminent. They were busy creating a laugh riot oblivious to Karan Johar being present. Ranveer at his naughty best, introduced his best pal in an adorable manner & the both hit the couch with ravishing madness. From winning the jackpot & cracking the Bollywood quiz, singing songs, imitating Anil Kapoor to delivering exclusive punches at each other, these two managed to get the host tongue tied.

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The IIFA Awards 2015.

They rocked the show this year. They hosted it with their incredibly whacky & entertaining style. They were cracking jokes at each other once again, receiving compliments from the film fraternity. After Shahrukh Khan/Saif & Boman/Riteish their exhilarating comic endeavours & spoofs kept the audience as well as Tv viewers glued. They made a grand entry on stage with a pun on “Karan Arjun” & went on to sing “Humein maaf karna o aamir khan, hum kabhi na leinge Reema Lagoo aur Farida Jalal ka naam” drilling on Aamir Khan’s criticism for AIB. Breaking into impromptu jigs & flirting with Deepika Padukone, their power packed hosting debut was a showstopper at the jam packed Putra Stadium.

They remind us of our very own goofiest friends whom we have loved over the years. Their combined awesomeness can make any other person jealous. Let’s raise a toast to their BROMANCE.

Subhash Ghai- The Showman of Bollywood

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Subhash Ghai is the showman of the 80’s & 90’s with his opulent style of presenting the RAZZMATAZZ of Bollywood. He began his career as an actor but claimed success as an influential Director instead. Inspired by the Legendary Alfred  Hitchcock he adopted his unique custom of creating cinema. He composed scripts magnanimously, with grandeur and executed them with perfection. He kept a tradition of appearing as a cameo in his films, appearing out of nowhere in the theme songs. Having a fine ear for music, he gave us everlasting chartbusters; his characters were seen playing an instrument [ Rishi Kapoor playing his iconic guitar tune, Jackie Shroff with his haunting flute, Anil Kapoor mastering piano & dafli, Katrina Kaif with her cello], his background music was exclusive. He gave us “Choli ke peechey” [atleast 41 politicians created a storm over the lyrics] “Om shanti Om”[a cult disco song], “ILU ILU”[ a term he used to convey his feelings to his wife Rehana alias Mukta]. The famous song “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionare, which fetched an Oscar for AR Rehman, was originally composed for Yuvraj but not used as it did not suit Zayed Khan according to his vision.

Like Raj Kapoor his lead actresses were emotionally spectacular & extremely “Desi”, christened in traditional Hindu names [ Durga, Ganga,Geeta, Mansi & his favourite RADHA]; he had a fixation for “M” when he casted  his heroines  [Meenakshi, Mahima, Madhuri, Manisha,Mishti]; he loved to dress them conventionally and in intense scenes, they were seen with their heads covered- with a black dupatta around their necks. His movies featured strong men of substance, usually in Khakis [Dilip Kumar as a jailor, Jackie & Anil as cops] carrying forward a theme of Good v/s Evil. Mountains & Hills, dew & foggy landscapes were his favourite while picturising his songs. He titled certain movies after famous cricketers [Kaalicharan, Vishwanath,Iqbal,Yuvraj]. He had an unfulfilled dream of working with Amitabh Bachchan; though he structured a script for “Devaa” but due to professional differences it never saw the light of the day [the chosen look for him was used in Khuda Gawah]. He brought the 2 legends Dilip Kumar & Raj Kumar under one screen after they vowed never to work together after Paigham(1959) due to personal squabbles. He presented them superbly in their own individual styles.

Kaalicharan(1976) marked his debut as a director which established the unconventional Shatrughan Sinha in Bollywood. Its Cult Dialogue “ Saara shehar mujhe loin ke naam se jaanta hai” started a trend of Ajit’s Dialogues being highlighted along with his unique persona. It was followed by Vishwanath(1978) and with “Jalli ko aag kehte hain bujhi ko rakh kehte hain,jis raakh se barood banne usse Vishwanath kehte hain” Subhash Ghai, who could not achieve a mark with small roles in Aradhana, Umang & Taqdeer, arrived like a cannonade behind the camera in Mumbai film industry. He paired Shatru & Reena Roy yet again in Gautam Govinda(1979).

Karz(1980) was based on re-incarnation, (the theme way ahead of its time) and was panned by critics. Inspired by “The Re-incarnation of Peter Proud”, the pot boiler plot of murder & revenge featured Simi Garewal (in a critically acclaimed role of Kamini), Rishi Kapoor & Tina Munim. The songs were a trendsetter for disco music in India, composed by the legendary Laxmikant/Pyarelal. Krodhi(1981) met with a lukewarm response in spite of having Dharamendra/Hema/Zeenat. Vidhaata(1982) a multi starrer with Dilip Kumar/Sanjeev Kumar/Shammi Kapoor/Sanjay Dutt/Padmini Kolhapure granted him the status of a Showman who brought  exceptional star cast together for his movies with offering them a due share on screen. Hero(1983) was an instant hit, where he paired newcomers Jackie Shroff/Meenakshi Seshadri in a time when Amitabh Bachchan was dominant. Meri Jung(1985) established Anil Kapoor as a mature actor and the iconic Nutan made a comeback with a phenomenal performance. He also gave us our talented “Bol baby bol, Rock n Roll” dancer Javed Jaffery. Karma(1986) boasted of an ensemble of a cast with a patriotic theme. He broke the mould around Anupam Kher after Saaransh, and we had Dr. Dang arriving as the latest terror after Mogambo. Also the veteran actors Dilip Kumar/Nutan shared screen for the first time in their career. Ram Lakhan(1989) swept the audience; “My Name is Lakhan” refreshed  the Tapori culture and once again Anil Kapoor proved his versatility. We had 4 baddies Amrish Puri/Gulshan Grover [Bad man]/Paresh Rawal/Anupam Kher together and this “Super Duper Hit” set a new standard for entertainment in Bollywood. Saudagar (1991) fetched him his maiden Filmfare trophy. “ILU ILU” became a national anthem for lovers and we had a superb actress Manisha Koirala introduced in our kitty along with Vivek Mushran. Khalnayak(1993) was a turning point for Sanjay Dutt as he was facing a crucial time but he gained the nation’s sympathy as Ballu Balram. This blockbuster established Madhuri Dixit as the reigning queen of Dance, after Choli ke Peeche went viral across the country. Pardes(1997) was set on a theme of a good NRI v/s a bad NRI & became ”One of the major Bollywood movies to succeed in the US”. He worked with Nadeem Shravan for the first time as music directors. Taal(1999) was highly successful overseas as well. He worked with AR Rehman and titled the movie “Taal” as a tribute to the maestro. Govinda refused the role which eventually went to Anil Kapoor who bagged a Filmfare trophy for the same.

Yaadein(2001) was his first box office flop followed by Kisna(2005), Black & White(2005) and Yuvraj(2008)  where he worked with Salman Khan for the first time, showcasing the arrogance & overconfidence of the contemporary youth today. Kaanchi(2014) was a flop as well, with newcomers Mishti/Kartick; story of a woman who represents the suppressed youth  against injustice.

He has produced Trimurti(1995), Joggers Park(2003), Ek Aur Ek Gyarah(2003),Aitraaz(2004),Iqbal(2005),36 China Town(2006),Apna Sapna Money Money(2006),Good Boy Bad Boy(2007),Double di Trouble(2014).

He was currently awarded with the IIFA trophy. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Mukta and daughters Meghna Ghai Puri & Muskaan.

2 Finest Double roles of Bollywood in past 25 years.

lamhe tanu-weds-manu-poster

Lamhe [1991] and Tanu weds Manu returns [2015] are the finest examples of a Double role portrayed on screen in the last 25 years of cinema in Bollywood. Both movies were based on strong, female oriented scripts. Though Lamhe was commercially a disaster, Sridevi won accolades worldwide & a Filmfare trophy for her remarkable performance as Pallavi/Pooja. It was late Yash Chopra’s dream project and probably one of his best directorial ventures. Scripted by late Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza, it is indeed a masterpiece when one thinks of Two roles played by a single actor which are totally in contrast. This year we have yet another stupendous execution of a double role by the Thespian Kangana Ranaut in Tanu weds Manu Returns which is a sequel to Tanu weds Manu[2011]. The actor has left the nation singing hosannas for her role as Tanu/Datto.

LAMHE:           

Sridevi played the mother/daughter duo of Pallavi/Pooja in this iconic love story. The Diva presented the ethnic, mature, suave & emotional Pallavi who is deeply rooted with her culture & folklore. She is devoted to her father and her heritage. Young and on his maiden visit to Rajasthan after his childhood, Viren [Anil Kapoor] falls in love with Pallavi who is much elder than him. Ignorant of his feelings, she builds a bond of friendship & trust with him. After she passes away in an accident with her husband, Viren takes the infant Pooja under his care but never looks at her. At 18, Pooja is vivacious, bright, vocal & in awe of her Kunwarji; waiting to grow up and walk along with her Prince of dreams. She is aware of the age gap with him facing her yet she is strong enough to defy the boundaries of her upbringing. She tries to win his love & attention unaware of her mother’s presence in him. She is sensitive like her mother but stands determined after awaking to Viren’s passion for Pallavi. When confronted by the furious Viren over her display of feelings & his declaration that he can never reciprocate because she is Pallavi’s daughter; she holds her tears and the pride of her being to say “ Mein Pallavi aur Sidhhartha ki beti hoon Kunwarji!”. This particular scene was enacted by Sridevi in the best of her potential as an actor to defy the hints of Incest which was feared to have lingered the Indian audiences.  She returns home but her confidence in her individual love unites her with Viren.

For Pallavi’s role Sridevi was criticised by many for appearing overweight on screen but her unique versatility as the country’s leading female actor was visible in the second half when she transforms into Pooja. As an audience it is easy to accept Sridevi in both roles individually. She is clad in native Rajasthani costumes singing folk songs, dancing in rains, shedding tears of separation from her beloved, displaying an outburst at her mean relatives, fighting for her father’s pride. Whereas in the latter half, she is in the “Chulbuli” avatar we have loved in Chandni & Chaalbaaz previously as well. She tries to woo her Prince with a parody of songs, she is adamant to make him wear the “spunky” sweater she has bought for him, she dances in rage of jealousy after seeing him with another woman: she is a reflection of her mother; yet she is convincing as a separate personality. Lamhe features in OUTLOOK Magazine’s list of top 100 hindi films. It’s a cult movie in its genre. A modern “Magnum Opus” for lovers.

TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS:

Kangana Ranaut plays the finest Double role of this century as Tanu/Datto in this Romantic Comedy. She has delivered an impeccable performance confirming her stature as Bollywood’s rarest Natural Born Actor. Tanu is a bold, rebellious & a fearless girl all set to break the family norms. She is an impudent/Audacious/brash & a spoilt daughter. She is arrogantly insolent & boldly rude; disrespectful- seeking a zesty life minus social restrains. Though she doesn’t seem to believe in Love yet she seeks the affection when deprived of it. She is “Simply Complicated”. After learning about her husband Manu’s liaisons with Datto she insolently remarks “ Mein zara si bewafa kya hui, aap toh bad-challan ho gae Manuji!”. Datto on the other hand is simple, athletic, brave, bold & fearless(like Tanu); rises from a rural background on her own merit. Determined to fight the social model, she is a self-made girl who holds her self-esteem high and sails with her simplicity. She holds no complexes & considers Tanu just like another woman out of Manu’s life. After being summoned by Tanu on her physical appearance & buck teeth, she rebuts her confidently.  Tanu tries to search herself and locate what’s missing in her. In a beautifully executed scene towards the climax, she walks down the lanes of Datto’s village drunk in silence. Kangana’s expertise in her field shines where she depicts the internal pains of her failure to change with the tunes & commitments of marriage. With the song “Ja Ja Ja o Bewaffa” playing in the background, she searches herself, even adorns a wig to look like Datto & finally resigns to the situation facing her. She ends up confronting Manu by simply stating “Mein toh hamesha se hi aissi thhi;paagal. Aap kyon badal gae?”. Datto is what Tanu isn’t. Datto is what Tanu should be to achieve the marks of fulfilment & serenity in her abridged married life. As an audience, one relates to both the women separately as 2 individuals. But the brilliance of Kangana’s talent as an actor is victorious when we end up loving Tanu no lesser than Datto. A true contrast, played to perfection by the champion.

With dialogues like “Ke kar reha thha baahan faelake, yo jagah sae Shah Rukh Khan bannan ki?” “ Pichhli lugai ke plaster tootte nahin, aur aa gaya sand se bhiddne!” Kangana has primed haryanavi like none other previously on screen.

Bollywood’s maiden woman-oriented masterpiece to have crossed the feat of over a 100 crore earning & still running strong, this movie belongs to Kangana Ranaut. She received not one, but two letters of praise including a poem by the legend Mr. Amitabh Bachchan declaring “ Main apne aap ko bhagyashaali samjhta hoon, ki mein uss udyog se judda hoon,jisme Kangana bassti hai!”.Deserves not one, but two National awards.