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Chandni : Eternal Moonlight

Her heart was a secret garden, and the walls were very high“.
-William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Chandni is not just a character from this movie, but she is a character who has been residing in Yashji’s thoughts for a long time. What culminated in this movie was the effect, but the cause of it can be found in his earlier works. Yashji is not a writer, I do know that. And this implies that Chandni is not a character that he has created. And yet, the character kept coming back to him, again and again. It was more like the character found him, rather then he going after the character.

The story of this movie was written by Kamna Chandra, who had earlier written Prem Rog, and her next work was 1942 A Love Story. She has been really selective about her work, and the quality of her work shows in the characterisation. She writes strong grounded characters, be it male or female. The screenplay was written by Arun Kaul and the dialogues were beautifully written by Sagar Sarhadi, another person who has a rare quality of writing mesmerising lines. Earlier, Sagar Sarhadi had written the screenplay of both Silsila and Kabhi Kabhie.

The bubbly and garrulous Chandni meets the naughty and romantic Rohit. When Rohit strikes the lighter at the staircase and the glow from Chandni’s faces brightens the screens, it almost like a storm-in-a-tea-cup moment. Even the heartbeat of the audience stops for a moment. Who wouldn’t fall in love when a smart and daring stranger compliments a beautiful small-town girl! And not just compliment, but open the heart like a bedsheet and shower all the petallic words. The fortress had been breached, someone had gained entry into Chandni’s heart. She just wanted to convince herself that its infatuation, but in fact it was love.

And that deep a love is resounded in the words of Chandni when she questions Rohit ‘Agar tum meri jagah hotey to tum kya karte?‘, when he comes back to reclaim her. Its not easy to fall in and out of love, not for people like Chandni & Rohit. What Rohit does is cruel, but sacrificial at the same time. Both Rohit and Chandni are two sides of the same coin. Chandni wants to tend to Rohit’s leg injury and even becomes his wheelchair in the act, but Rohit wants Chandni to lead her own life and not waste her time on him. She is ready to hear all abuses from his family members, and he is ready to abuse and humiliate her for her own good, so she goes away. And in the process, both of them hurt each other. But if there is more tears than smiles, how can it be called love? Suddenly, the love of Chandni pushes Rohit into going for a treatment. And after he regains his mobility, he shows up at her door. Rohit should not have come back into Chandni’s life, it was too late.

In the meanwhile, Chandni moves in with her friend in a new city and tries to gather the pieces of her broken life. She comes across Lalit, a person who owns a tourism business. Lalit is also a loner, having lost his loved one. But he has accepted life the way it is since his relationship had a closure. That’s where Chandni’s story was different, she did not have a closure. Walking out on Rohit was an impulsive decision, and not a thought out plan.

Its not everyday that you come across a character like Chandni, someone who is so full of energy and bundle of joy, someone who spreads cheer and keeps her pain to herself, someone who makes you feel good although she maybe herself be under duress, someone who nurses your pain and licks her own wounds. When someone loves you with all their devotion, least that we can do is not hurt them. But Chandni has always suffered, and not just at the hands of her loved ones but also by nature’s design. It could have been God’s way of saying ‘don’t love with all your heart’, but Chandni probably doesn’t wish to hear that. When she loves, she brings the moon to her man’s doorstep, but when she cries, there is no one to console her.

I had started out talking about Chandni, the character, rather than the movie. The above story is similar to the story of the character Chandni from Silsila. Just equate Rohit with Amit and the helicopter accident with the death of Amit’s brother. Chandni went onto marry Dr.Anand, but we don’t know under what circumstances. It was an incomplete story without any closure, and suddenly one fine day, she comes face to face with Amit. She is again pushed into making a choice.

The movie ‘Chandni’ explains what may have happened after the departure of Amit from Chandni’s life. How Dr.Anand came into Chandni’s life and the many questions that Chandni must’ve asked herself before deciding to move on. The situation in Silsila is a lot more tense, because Amit and Chandni were married, but not happily-married. Both of them were leading a life of compromise, a marriage of convenience rather than conviction. Amit should not have come back into Chandni’s life, it was too late.

But here, in this movie, both are still yearning for each other. When Chandni is in doubt, her friend tries to convicne her saying ‘Rohit tumhara guzra hua KAL tha, Lalit tumhara AAJ hai‘. But she is still not convinced. Although she agrees to marry Lalit, its more a decision of the mind than the heart. Buth when Rohit comes tumbling down the stairs on the day of the wedding, Chandni’s inner feelings come to the fore. A bride, a soon-to-be-wife of Lalit, forgets everything and runs upto Rohit; that one scene changes everything for everybody. A story that had started from a staircase and mandap ends with mandap and staircase. The same questions about love and loyalty start bogging Chandni. She is again pushed into making a choice.

Chandni was dumped by her boyfriend because she was just a toy for him and when she got pregnant, it was like a burden for him to handle; so Chandni was ditched in Daag. She had trusted him with her life, and here she was, left at crossroads. Sunil comes into her life and lends her legitimacy, while she gives him a new identity. And when things were going fine and she had started liking Sunil, from nowhere Sonia lands up to reclaim Sunil. Sonia should not have come back into Sunil’s life, it was too late.

Again, by nature’s design, Chandni is hurt. Her marital life is marred by another woman, and she doesn’t know how to handle the situation. She can either lose Sunil or share him. She is again pushed into making a choice.

That has been the bane of Chandni. She is always left to make a tough choice. In Daag, Chandni ends up sharing her object of affection with somebody else; more out of societal pressure than free will. In Silsila, Chandni chooses to make amends to her life and forget Amit for ever. She has an awakening and they both decide that it would be selfish if they didn’t honour the committment of their spouses. Amit too has a realization and agrees to let go. In both movies, the story of Chandni’s life was incomplete.

Finally, its here that Chandni has a proper closure. She gets to cry the tears of joy. All the wandering years spent in search of love, ultimately results in attaining it. And only Yashji could have made it possible by making this movie during the time when action movies ruled the box office.

Shiv-Hari were the music directors of this movie as well as Silsila. In fact, they even went on to do the music of Darr and Lamhe. Also, a signature tune in this movie went on to be used as a tune for a song in Lamhe, Kabhi Mai Kahoon. Their extensive use of tabla and santoor in both movies is a standout point. They understood the demands of the situation really well, and gave an awesome musical score. They pushed Amitabh Bachchan into lending his voice in Silsila, and they did the same with Sridevi in this movie. Wish they had continued to give music to some more movies, but we have to be content with a handful of albums from this brilliant duo, Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia.

The lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi and the songs are sung in every wedding since then. Mere haathon mei nau nau chudiyan hain & Mai sasural nahi jaoongi has risen above the status of being just a song and has become a folklore. Its the simplicity of the situational lyrics that keeps us glued to the movie, be it Tu mujhe suna mai tujhe sunao apni prem kahani or Lagi aaj sawan ki phir wo jhadi hai. The songs are memorable and they sit easy on our lips without taxing the brains. It was a phenomenal artistry with the pen.

There is a Chandni all around us, but we probably fail to see her or perceive her. Sridevi as Chandni came across as a loyal, sweet and an innocent persona. Her love was pure as gold and soft as marshmallow. Sridevi justified the character, and for once, she corrected her diction so the dialogues seemed natural and effortless. Rohit was played brilliantly by Rishi Kapoor. Its so easy to not notice him because all the attention is on Chandni. But as a frustrated lover or a romantic fool, he rises above the level of the script. And not to forget, Vinod Khanna as Lalit was immaculate. It was a while since we had seen Vinod in such an avtar, and he lent credibility to the character of Lalit. You feel for him towards the end, and for Waheedaji who plays his mother.

Chandni ushered in a new era of love and romance. In an interview Yashji had said that when he was driving down the lanes of Bombay, everywhere he saw movie posters of heroes with guns. That’s when he decided that his next movie would be a love story, and Chandni happened to him again.

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in bollywood, movies

 

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Kaala Patthar : Adaptation of Lord Jim

Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim, first published in 1900, finds a resonance even today; so timeless was his tale. And many a movie has been based on this book, only the setup has changed with the changing times.

It’s a tale of living an ignominious life and how the protagonist redeems himself. Very recently, we saw this theme being played out in Chak De India, with SRK in the lead role. And before that, Abhishek Bachchan in Zameen got an opportunity to re-live the character of Lord Jim.

But many years ago, it was Salim-Javed who brought this fine tale to Yash Chopra, Indiansed it, added the much needed entertainment quotient by introducing new elements into it and roped in Amitabh Bachchan to breathe life into the character.

After Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie & Trishul, this was the fourth collaboration of Yash Chopra, Shashi Kapoor and BigB. But for this movie, where Amitabh & Shashi gel well and are on the same side, in the three previous encounters they have always crossed swords with each other. In this movie, we don’t get to see that. Here we see Shashi’s calm and cool attitude being the best response to Amitabh’s smouldering anger, equal and opposite in effect.

Among the star cast, Rakhi and Neetu were again regulars who had worked with Yashji earlier; but Shatrughan Sinha and Parveen Babi were new to his school of direction. Their discomfiture in the movie can be gauged by the fact that neither of the two acted in a Yash Chopra movie again. Shatrughan has always indulged in theatrics in his characterisation, as seen in Vishwanath & Kalicharan. And such characters are rarely found in Yashji’s movie. And what can one say about Parveen Babi; she always had the looks but lacked substance.

Much before Coalgate scam and mine block allocation, there was a Seth Dhanraj, played by Prem Chopra, a capitalist who believed in making money by looting the mineral resources and depriving the coal miners of a decent livelihood. And the entire story revolves around this coalmine setup.

Before getting branded as the tour guide of Switzerland, Yash Chopra was known for capturing various industries with good detailing in his movies. In Deewar, the movie begins with a trade union meeting in the rain, and how they discuss the terms and conditions of the factory owners. Later, the movie goes onto capture smugglers lifestyle and how wheeling and dealing goes on in the underworld. In Trishul, Yashji dives deep into real estate development, opening and closing of tenders, and what underhand tricks are used for winning a tender etc. In Kabhi Kabhie too, poet Amit retires into a life of an industrialist. Even in later years, the movie Vijay had the modern outlook on Mahabharat with the backdrop of competitive industrial war. That’s the mark of a good director, they work hard on the characters and the detailing. They are never afraid to try a new setup, a different storyline or unique situations.

Here too, the coalmine workers and their living conditions are captured pretty well. Their working environment, the siren that marks the start of the working hours, the tea stall and the entire setting and backdrop is done with lot of effort.

We see a brooding BigB, playing Vijay Pal Singh, who is nursing a deep pain in his heart, some guilt of the past, a hurtful truth that he cannot runaway from. In his attempt to hide from the world, he takes up a job at a nondescript location where nobody would recognise him. He goes about his job silently, without interacting with fellow workers. The only person who seems to understand him is doctor Sudha, played by Rakhi, and she is the only person with whom he ever speaks.

Sudha can see through the hollowness in his heart and the vacuum in his life, but she can do nothing to fill it as he has built a wall around himself that nobody but him can break. In such a situation, Salim-Javed drops in two characters – Ravi, an engineer who marks the mining zone and looks into the concerns of the workers, and Mangal, an escaped convict who is just looking to have some fun while he keeps the police busy.

Mangal, played by Shatrughan Sinha, annoys Vijay, challenges him to a duel and behaves cocky just to cause an imbroglio, but for no particular reason. And on the other hand, Ravi, played by Shashi Kapoor, tries to assuage the animosity between Vijay & Mangal. BigB and Shatru were pitted against each other just for some whistles and cheap thrills. But it didn’t add much value to the movie. It was just the coming together of two huge actors, UP ka bhaiyya and Bihari babu.

The movie keeps you interested as we are still unaware of the cause of Vijay’s inner turmoil. But the additional characters of Ravi’s & Mangal’s love interests weighs down the movie. It not only reduces the pace but also the intensity of the movie.

Just when the movie starts drifting, Salim-Javed pull another fast one to bring about a sudden mood swing. A mishap takes place and how the lead characters change themselves for the better, and how they all come together to help save lives of the coalminers, takes the movie forward.

Vijay’s hour of redemption finally arrives, where he faces fear dauntingly and exorcises the demons of the past. The shadow of his inglorious act finally vanishes as the sunshine of guilt floats behind the clouds of a brave act, and he is ready to face the world again, with his head held high. He had the author backed role, and Amitabh Bachchan did complete justice to the character.

But the movie didn’t do very well at the box office. Only if Shatrughan Sinha or Shashi Kapoor had been given a meatier role, the movie might have fared better. It was Bachchan’s show all the way. Although, Rakhi did well to get noticed. Rest of the characters just became a supporting cast, in this show largely driven by Vijay.

The movie had some rather mediocre music and forgettable lyrics. Rajesh Roshan was the composer and Sahir Ludhianvi was the lyricist; needless to say, they never worked together again. Ek Rasta Hai Zindagi, sung by Kishore Kumar is the only memorable number from the movie. Rest of the songs were passé and uninspired. One of the few movies of Yashji with such indifferent musical score. Later, Faasle and Vijay were added to this list.

Overall, the movie was no great shake. Salim-Javed probably missed out on that elusive x-factor, which they usually get it right in most movies, but not this time. This was the beginning of a long and listless time that Yashji had to endure for a whole decade. From 1979, when Kaala Patthar released, to 1989, when Chandni released, was a muted period for Yash Chopra. All his movies fared badly in this 10 year period, starting with this movie. Silsila flopped, Vijay and Fasle were disasters and Mashaal was average.

But the story of Lord Jim is eternal, and it shall be played out again and again, in different regions with different flavours and a different backdrop. And Kaala Patthar will always be mentioned, even as a footnote, only because of its honest effort and a good adaptation.

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in bollywood, movies

 

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Amitabh Bachchan’s look in Great Gatsby

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in hollywood, movies

 

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Kungfu Panda 2 : Or Was It Zanjeer Redux!

Last night I was watching Kungfu Panda-2, again. This time in 2D and in the comfort of my house. I had first seen the movie on the big screen in 3D, more than 6 months ago. But the movie is so much fun that I didn’t get bored even in the second watch, I did miss the 3D effects though. Jack Black is so good with his voice modulation, and the many expressions that his dialogue delivery can convey is amazing.

Kungfu Panda was one of the few movies that was worthy of a sequel. And the sequel was as good as, if not better than, the original. There was a definite story backed by a good narrative and fine dialogues. Even the comic quotient was very well done, it wasn’t forced into the story.
 
The story has a Harry Potter like prophecy, where a ‘warrior of black & white’ is supposed to end Shen’s rule. Shen, the peacock, was disbanded by his father for having evil aspirations. But he was not going to give up so easily. He took the path of destruction and anyone who would come in his way would be knocked off. Po, the dragon warrior, was out there protecting the valley from Shen. All was going well, when suddenly the flares and the fire around Po brought back old memories to me.

What was unfolding before my eyes was Zanjeer! I am not sure why this did not strike me while watching the movie first time around. I was a little surprised that both movies had so much in common.

A very long time ago, our beloved inspector Vijay was in the lookout for Teja to end his criminal activities. Teja was a cause of concern for the police and a threat to civillian life. Similarly, Shen’s ambitions were big and his actions went uncontrolled.

Po and Vijay, both, are haunted by a nightmare. A bad dream kept waking them up from sweet sleep to harsh awakening; and they kept fighting it off. Both these souls were searching for inner peace. As master Shifu says very early in the movie, some attain inner peace by meditating while others get it by going through pain in their hearts. They both had to come to terms with their past, the hard way.

Inner peace is something we all look for. Its the stimulus that helps us cope with vagaries of life. Unkept promises, unfulfilled dreams, unachieved targets and many such unresolved issues can take away our peace. So, inspite of the clear sky we are unable to see due to mist in our eyes and cloud-cover on our minds. And then there is a moment when all these things come back to bite us. That’s when we need inner peace the most.

Yes, it was a fiery night. The lights of Diwali and the surrounding fireworks had burnt the pages of Vijay’s childhood and left him an orphan. Similarly, Po was adopted by Zeng, the goose, when a night of fire and fury had left him homeless. Both burned in the same flame and carried the pain of separation.

Po and Vijay grew up to be brave fighters and big hearted protectors. When Po and Vijay were out there, fighting their enemy, both did not know that they also had a personal score to settle. But the audience did. Unbeknownst to them, they walked into the lion’s den and challeneged the king of the jungle. Po was ably helped by Famous Five and Khan was protecting Vijay. But in the moment of truth, it was just them against their adversary.

And in one sudden moment of flash, when they find replies to those unanswered questions and when all those mysteries become clear, they attain inner peace; just like that. Once that happens, they become unstoppable!

How much of Zanjeer did I see in Kungfu Panda-2? Apparently a lot! Not sure if you agree with me, but if someone were to remake Zanjeer sometime in the future, then this would be an ideal blue-print for it. In fact, this qualifies as a good enough remake for me. It neither tarnishes the original visuals of BigB nor makes me cringe; in fact I can happily have both in my movie collection without having to swear under my breath as we do after watching most remakes these days.

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in bollywood, hollywood, movies

 

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Dabboo Ratnani’s Calendar For 2011

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in bollywood

 

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aamir khan aur remakes ki daastaan – part 2 of 2

Click here for part 1 of 2

I thought I would assimilate the entire thing into a single post, but I was unable to do so. It has taken me 2 weeks to complete this because I was not able to dedicate myself totally to it. Anyways, here’s the next part, continuing with the number series.

Raja hindustani6. Jab Jab Phool Khile – 1965 : One of the earlier movies of Shashi Kapoor where he plays Raja, a houseboat owner-cum-guide. Rita, played by Nanda, visits Kashmir and she falls in love with the valleys. Not just the valleys, she falls in love with the charming boatman Raja too. She  promises Raja that she will convince her dad and get back to marry him. But Raja is shattered when Rita does not return for a very long time. Meanwhile Rita is being introduced to suitors as her dad presses for marriage. Rita returns to Kashmir and explains the situation to Raja, and they together hatch a plan to showcase Raja as a wellbred citizen who is prim and proper in his habit and mannerism. That is when Raja notices the difference in cultures and the superficiality of the city dwellers. What happens next and how Raja copes with this and finally gets Rita, forms the rest.

In 1996 Dharmesh Darshan along with Robin Bhat rehashed this movie and titled it Raja Hindustani. Aamir Khan played Raja, the cab driver-cum-guide and Karishma Kapoor played Arti Sehgal who visits the small town of Palankhet. The only thing that they added was the newborn child for whom Raja fights it out with Arti. The highlight of the movie, apart from the wonderful songs, was the drunk-scene of Aamir. Legend has it  hat Aamir being a method-actor actually got drunk so that it would look natural. Aamir won the Filmfare for Best Actor, but as usual he did not  turn-up and quite justifiably so, because it was a mediocre performance. Karishma looked amazingly beautiful and she walked away with Filmfare Best Actress. The movie also won the Fimlfare for Best Film, Best Music Director and Udit Narayan won the Best Singer for the Pardesi song. But this song was not as good as the original Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana song.

7. On The Waterfront – 1954 : A story about corruption and total control of a dockyard was made starring Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy. Johnny Friendly rules the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey and Terry’s brother Charley is his lawyer who does all the cover-up job. Terry moves around as an aimless guy so johnny asks him to pry over the gathering of the dissenting voices against him and report him the events. Very innocently Terry reports Johnny about certain dock workers who want to lodge a complaint to the crime commission against him. Johnny is also involved in other illegal activities like betting on boxing matches and in one such match he wants Terry to lose the match since the odds against the opponent is high. Terry is disappointed by this but what actually turns him against Johnny is the incident where Johnny’s men throw over a dock worker into the railway track of an incoming train. But Terry lives with the guilt that he has been made use like a bait and the only way to find peace within himself is to depose against Johnny. The deceased’s younger sister Edie and Father Barry. When Terry becomes a threat to him, Johnny decides to get him eliminated. Terry and Johnny have a final confrontation where Terry testifies against Johnny and then fights him in front of all dock workers and decimates him.

This movie has been a source of inspiration for quite a few Bollywood movies. Let me start with Yash Chopra’s Deewar, which was supposedly
lifted from this. But the only thing common was the dockyard. In fact, Mukul Anand’s Hum was more of this movie than Deewar. Hum had the docks, the martinet Danny Dengzongpa as Bhaktavar, Gonsalves who dies fighting for the cause and his sister Jumma played by Kimi Katkar who wants Tiger aka Amitabh Bachchan to stand against the tyranny of Bhaktavar. So, Mukul Anand almost had the entire plot covered but he took it to a different logical conclusion with the reform of Tiger as Shekhar and how Bhaktavar returns 20 years later to haunt him.

In 1988, a lesser known movie called Kabzaa directed by Mahesh Bhat, was released. The movie starred Sanjay Dutt as Ravi and Raj Babbar as
Ranjit. Ranjit is a lawyer who works for Veljibhai[Paresh Rawal] who is a small time ‘dada’. Ravi is sent on small assignment to forcibly vacate the house of an idealist gandhain Ali Mohammaed [Alok Nath]. Ali reforms Ravi and Ravi turns against Veljibhai, and to avert a face-off between the two, Ranjit requests Ravi to flee from the scene as Veljibhai’s men are looking for him; he also hands Ravi a gun for his protection. All this was taken from OTW, but the backdrop had been changed from dockyard to Mumbai streets and from small time corruption to big time dadagiri.

Finally, 10 years later in 1998, Ghulam was made. The writer Anjum Rajabali, maintained the same setting of Mumbai and laid out the entire screenplay of OTW. He avoided the twists and turns that Kabzaa had taken, thereby remaining faithful to the original. Aamir Khan as Sidharth Marathe struck a chord with the audience. They related to him and sympathised with him in his pain and guilt of having been used as a pawn to eliminate Alisha’s [Rani Mukerjee] elder brother. Sidhu’s elder brother, played by Rajit Kapoor, advises Sidhu not to testify against Raunak  Singh[Sharat Saxena] and when he is not able to convince Sidhu he gives him a gun for protection. The same scenes were played out as in the original, and the audience cheered for Sidhu as he beat up Raunak Singh in the end. Aamir playing tapori for the 2nd time [1st being Rangeela] was amazing. He played it so differently, his mannerism and dialogue delivery and the Khandala song, which became the anthem of the nation, just added to the movie viewing experience. The 10-10 ka daud was shot brilliantly in Shanpada junction. Aamir gave it his all, the conviction in his performance was evident. He did total justice to the character and was almost there when compared to Marlon Brando’s performance.

8. Love Affair – 1939 : One of the most romantic movies to adorn the silver screen was released. It was about a French painter Michael Marnet, played by Charles Boyer, who meets Terry McKay[Irene Dunne] while they are on a cruise across Atlantic Ocean. They both are already engaged to other people but that does not prevent them from falling in love. The ship has a minor stop-over in a beautiful island where Michael’s grandmom stays; she finds Terry really charming and wishes the newfound couple all the luck. At the end of the cruise, Michael and Terry decide to meet on top of Empire State Building exactly after 6 months. While both are gearing up for the big day, Terry gets hit by a car and she is unable to make it. When she finds out that she cannot walk anymore she does not want to spoil Michael’s life and so she does not get in touch with him. But destiny brings them together again during a stage-play, where she successfully hides her handicap. After this meet, Michael wants to see her one last time and visits her apartment where he gets to know the truth. But her handicap cannot come in the way of true love and the two lovers unite.

So brilliant was the story-screenplay that this movie was remade in 1957 and titled An Affair To Remember based on the same screenplay,
without any changes. Cary Grant played the painter Nickie Ferrante and his love interest was played by Deborah Kerr who retained the same name Terry McKay. This movie did much better than its original and people remember this version and have almost forgotten the original one. Cary Grant and Deborah were perfectly cast and they did a wonderful job. The romance was so believable and so heart-warming that the American Film Institute considered this this as one of the most romantic movies of all time.

So timeless is the romance that Sleepless in Seattle, made in 1993, revolved around this movie. The character Annie Reed [Meg Ryan] and
her friend make references to AFTR and there are clips and dialogues from AFTR which appear all over the movie.

Anything as famous as AFTR had to come to Bollywood, sooner or later. So, in 1965 Ramanand Sagar re-wrote this with a role reversal of the two main leads in the movie titled Arzoo. Rajender Kumar as Gopal plays a doctor who meets Usha[Sadhna] in Kashmir during one of those yearly skiing events. They fall in love and decide to marry, but tragedy strikes as Gopal meets with an accident and loses his legs. He voluntarily walks out of Usha’s life so as to give her a better life. Finally, in the end sequence Usha sees him again, with the crutches, in a similar skiing  contest, and accepts him despite his handicap. All this happens after a whole lot of tear-jerking moments and sacrifices from Feroz Khan who plays Gopal’s friend.

Mann PosterAnyways, Inder Kumar anad Ashok Thakeria took it up to themselves to remake this movie again, retaining the original plot of a playboy painter. In 1999 they came-up with Mann, starring Aamir Khan as the painter Dev, and Manisha Koirala as his love quotient Priya. When the first few sequences were being shot in a ship a rumour spread that Titanic was being remade. But Mann was a blot in the name of AFTR. It did not retain the spirit of the original and the screenplay was tampered with the induction of unnecessary characters like Neeraj Vora[Nattu, Dev’s side-kick], Rani Mukherjee and Anil Kappor in guest appearance. The comic sequences of Dev and Nattu marred the movie, and the romance came undone due to some sleepwalk acting by Manisha. The music by Sanjeev-Darshan was the only saving grace of the movie. The grandmom sequence with Sharmila Tagore lacked sensitivity and warmth, it seemed like a gimmick. All in all, it was crass.

9. Memento – 2000 : A movie about anterograde amnesia [short-term-memory-loss] was made by Nolan brothers. The movie starred Guy Pearce who played an insurance fraud investigator. During a burglary his wife is killed and he is hit hard by severe psychological trauma where-in he is incapable of making new memory and his memory lapses every 15 minutes. He devices a method to recall things, he walks around with a polaroid camera and shoots every image and makes detailed notes about the person/place which can help him in recognizing them later. He is on a search for the killer of his wife. How he finds the killer with all the various clues forms the rest of the movie.

https://i1.wp.com/indihot.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/amir-khan-ghajini-photo-gallery2.jpgAR Murugadoss picked up the idea and the original plot of this movie, added the usual Indian tadka with songs, romance, violence, revenge
and came out with Ghajini in 2005, in Tamil. Surya essayed the role of the STML patient who was out there looking for a man named Ghajini, to avenge the death of his love Kalpana[Asin]. I dont think there is need to write anything else.

Inspired by the success of this movie, Murugadoss wished to remake this movie in Hindi. He roped in Aamir Khan, tweaked his screenplay to
remove some of the glitches like the double-role of Ghajini etc, asked Aamir to work-out and develop 8 packs to make the action sequences look believable. In 2008, the movie was released by the same name Ghajini. The rest is history, the movie raked in 200 crores in 2 weeks. By the way, I thought Aamir was brilliant in the movie. He brought out the angst of the character very well. The romance between him and Asin was  refreshing, and Rahman’s music gave a flair to the movie.

Let me end this by saying that Aamir Khan has made quite a few movies based on literary works. His famed debut with QSQT was straight out of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1947-Earth was the movie adaptation of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel ‘Ice-candy Man’. And his next movie ‘3 Idiots’ is based on Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’. I hope they expand the horizon of that movie to include the educational system machinery and expose the flaws.

Click here for part 1 of 2

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Posted by on May 24, 2010 in bollywood, hollywood, movies

 

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aamir khan aur remakes ki daastaan – part 1 of 2

Today, 14th March, is Aamir Khan’s birthday. I wish him a very Happy Birthday.

https://i0.wp.com/oorrkut.com/bollywood/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/aamir-khan.jpgI have wanted to write this article from a long time, to be precise after the release of Mann. Eventually, after the release and the super-success of Ghajini I have got down to writing it. There is something with Aamir and movie remakes, he has consistently been a part of movies which are remakes. Its definitely not his fault that he has featured in them, its the writer-director who were looking for a quick and readymade storylines  and of course the producer for easy money. And let me also say that he is not the only star to feature in remakes, as we all know, but the quality of the remakes is what differentiates him from the rest. Why I have analysed him is because, out of the 40 odd movies that he has made, nearly 10 of them have been remakes which is like 25%. Let me go ahead and write down about these movies in a chronological manner of their release wrt Aamir’s filmography.

1. It Happened One Night – 1934 : Clark Gable played the male lead Peter, he even went on to win the Oscar for the Best Actor. It was a
heart-warming movie with a smiple storyline. A small time reporter Peter is looking for a big story and he meets a high-browed lady Ellie
[Claudette Colbert] who has escaped from the clutches of her dad and is on the run to meet her beau. How they both make the journey from
Florida to NY, the small squabbles that they have and how they eventually fall in love with each other is what the movie is about.The
movie went on to win 5 Oscars; apart from Clark Gable, Claudette won the Best Actress, Frank Capra won the Best Director, it was awarded
the Best Movie and Best Writing/Adaptation.

The formula was a sure-shot success, and so in 1956 a movie named ‘Chori Chori’ starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis was released. Raj Kapoor
played the struggling reporter named Sagar while Nargis was Kammo. The highlight of this movie was the songs and especially the puppet-act of
Raj and Nargis. The movie had some brilliant compositions from Shankar-Jaikishan like ‘Panchhi Banoo Udti Phiroon’, ‘Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mei Hum’, ‘Jahan Mai Jaati Hoon Wahin Chale Aate Ho’ and ‘Rasik Balma’. SJ won the Filmfare for Best Music Director.

If you watch Mehmood’s Bombay To Goa, you can see the same theme where Aruna Irani is trying to escape to meet her lover Shatrughan Sinha and is guided all the way by Amitabh Bachchan. But it was dished out in a different way, they changed the screenplay totally and added the
comedy angle to it. This occured to me just now, wonder why I did not think of it earlier.
Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin
Anyways, the person who did not deviate from the original screenplay was the Robin Bhat-Mahesh Bhat duo. They stayed faithful to IHON and
in 1991 came Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin starring Aamir Khan as Raghu Jaitley and Pooja Bhatt as Pooja. Aamir exuded the same kind of charm
as Clark Gable. In fact, he went a few notches up in the emotional sequences where he could neither stop Pooja from meeting her lover nor
could he tell her that he has fallen for her. Aamir played the role with gusto beginning with the telephone-booth sequence, then the
request-for-lift scene and ending it with the elopement. The entire journey was fantastic, but the magical moment has to be the one where
he starts humming ‘Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke’ with a cigarette between his lips and Pooja in his arms. Only after this does he realise that he
has started liking Pooja. The movie received 4 Filmfare nominations, for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Comedian [Anupam Kher playing
Pooja’s father] and Best Female Singer. Anuradha Paudwal took home the award for the title track, while the rest just remained nominated.

2. Breaking Away – 1979 : This was a really nice movie about a good-for-nothing dude Dave Stoller [Dennis Christopher] who has no aim
or ambition and leads a non-chalant life. His parents keep reminding him about his responsibilities but he just loves spending time with
his friends and riding the bicycle. He has a chance meeting with a beautiful girl Katherine [Robyn Douglass] and to make friends with her he fakes his identity to be a guitar playing Italian exchange student. While he is dating Katherine an entourage of Italian bikers happen to come to his town for a Little500 race. He loves watching them pratcise and shows his talent with the bicycle. He hopes to get close to them by showing that he can keep up to their pace, but he beats them in a friendly dash; but instead of lauding his effort they just push him into a ditch. That really breaks Dave’s herat and he loses all respect for the Italian cyclists. He decides to take part in the Little500 race wearing the ‘Cutters’ jersey; referring to the lesser privileged people who are not able to complete their education but take pride in hardwork. He ofcourse goes on to win the race and create history. The movie won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay; but it lost in the 4 other categories Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Music.

https://i0.wp.com/www.musichouseltd.co.uk/shop/images/JO%20JEETA%20WOHI%20SIKANDAR%20DVD.JPGIn 1992, Mansoor Khan took a lot of inspiration from this movie and made Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. I have used the word ‘inspiration’ because the movie was not a scene-to-scene remake. Lots of new things were introduced, but the plot, storyline and the spirit of the original was kept intact. Mansoor wrote a brilliant screenplay and dialogues by Nasir Hussain were really good, they breathed a life into the Sanjaylal character played by Aamir Khan. They retained the sub-plot of Aamir faking his identity and calling himself a Xavier student so he can go around with Devika[Pooja Bedi] and ultimately she gets to know the truth. The friendship of Sanjaylal and Anjali[Ayesha Jhulka] was handled with maturity and utmost honesty. Mansoor Khan introduced an emotional quotient attaching a prestige to the Annual Cycle Race and added the nostalgia of Sanjaylal’s dad[Kulbhushan Kharbanda] having won the race once upon a time. And the burden of bringing home the cup rested on Ratanlal [Mamik], Sanjay’s elder brother. But when Ratanlal is severely injured from an accident inflicted upon by the Rajput College boys, Sanjaylal takes it upon himself to bring home the coveted honor and take revenge against the Rajput College boys. The movie won the Filmfare for Best Film. Aamir was excellent in the movie, to say the least.

3. Houseboat – 1958 : This movie starred Carry Grant as Tom Winters, who works in the state department of Washington and Sophia Loren as
Cinzia who is the daughter of an Italian conductor. The movie is about Tom whose estranged wife dies in a car crash and he decides to raise the 3 kids, but the kids despise him. In his effort to befriend the kids he takes them to a concert, but the youngest kids get bored and goes out to have some fresh air and play his harmonica. The kid runs into Cinzia who has runaway from home after a small squabble with her dad. Cinzia is able to strike a chord with the kids and since she has nowhere to go, she accepts Tom’s offer of being their housemaid/nanny. After some wandering around and having seen their travelling house [home on wheels] getting destroyed due to a speeding train; they finally move into a houseboat. Tom’s sister-in-law who has a crush on him tries to woo, but slowly and surely Tom finds himself falling for Cinzia. How they get married and how the kids finally accept their dad and new mom is what the rest of the movie is about.

https://i1.wp.com/s.chakpak.com/se_images/13474_-1_564_none/hum-hai-rahi-pyar-ke-wallpaper.jpgIn 1993 a movie titled after a popular Dev Anand song released, the movie was Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. It was again the combination of Robin Bhat-Mahesh Bhat who systematically copied the movie scene-by-scene. The only thing that they changed was that, the kids were Aamir Khan’s nephews and nieces and not his own. And Aamir becomes the caretaker of the kids after the sad demise of his sister and brother-in-law in a car crash. They also introduced the character Mishraji [Mushtaq Khan] who had returned from Japan after getting trained in assembly-line production; and they made use of this by adding the twist of having to deliver the bulk order of 1 lakh shirts. Apart from this, rest of the movie remained faithful to the original. It was so faithful that the Cinzia character’s Italian dialogues were translated to suit Juhi Chawla’s tamil character Vyjayanthi. The concert, mouth-organ playing kid, taking the kids to visit the museum, Vyjayanthi’s advise of treating the kids with maturity were all the same as in the original. All the kids did a great job, especially Kunal Khemu who went onto become an actor. Aamir was also the Assisstant Director of this movie, in fact this was the phase when Mahesh Bhat was considered to be the most busy director, so busy that he was supposedly giving instructions over the phone; that was the reason for Aamir to step-in as Assisstant Director. This did not stop the movie from winning the Filmfare for Best Actress, Best Film and Best Lyricist[Sameer].

4. Kramer Vs Kramer – 1979 : It was a movie about a marriage gone wrong and a divorce case ending up in a courtroom. Dustin Hoffman as
Ted Kramer, a workaholic from advertising industry marries Joanna Kramer, played by Merly Streep. One day when he returns home after being given a big assignment with a new client, he finds his wife walking away. She wishes to walk-out on him, leaving behind her son Billy. Now, its upto Ted to look after Billy. He does so with some help from Margaret, his neighbour. One day, as they sit around the park while the kid is playing, Billy has a minor accident and is bleeding profusely. Ted makes a mad rush to a hospital amidst the traffic and speeding cars. A year and half later, Joanna returns to seek custody of Billy and this is where a bitter court battle ensues. There is a lot of bad blood and lot of vicious remarks being made about Ted’s carelessness in taking care of the baby. Finally, Joanna being a mom, wins the battle on emotional grounds and Ted is left alone. The movie won 5 Oscars, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay.

https://i1.wp.com/www.musichouseltd.co.uk/shop/images/Akele%20Hum%20Akele%20Tum.jpgMansoor Khan could not resist this movie as well. In 1995 he remade this movie and titled it ‘Akele Hum Akele Tum’. He just changed the fields of interest, i.e., Aamir Khan as Rohit is a promising singer who sings for a club and awaiting his opportunity to sing in a movie. His love interest Kiran, played by Manisha Koirala, is learning classical music. She is a fan of Rohit and she makes it to one of his New Year shows where they meet and falling in love seems inevitable. Soon after the breezy romance they get married and realise that life is not easy. Kiran is ambitious and she is not willing to sacrifice her singing so she walks out on him, leaving Rohit with his son Sunil, played by Aadil. How Rohit and Sunil manage  together and how Kiran comes back into their lives to reclaim Sunil forms rest of the courtroom drama. Aamir gave a very well restrained performance but the same cannot be said of Manisha. The movie had some good songs but was marred by plagiarism where Anu Malik lifted the famous Last Christmas song of George Michael. Also, there was a rubbish spoofing of Nadeem-Shravan duo; Shafi Inamdar and Harish Patel played the crook music directors Amar-Kaushal, who are after Rohit’s composition. I am not sure whose idea it was, TIPS guys or Anu Malik but it was in bad taste. Anyways, the movie bombed at the box-office. Only Aamir and Adil’s performance added some value to the otherwise dull movie.

5. Godfather – 1972 : How does one even start-off talking about a movie like ‘Godfather’. I shall not go into the plot and drama because its totally unnecssary. And I will not be able to say anything that has not already been said.

In 1975 Feroz Khan paid tribute to Godfather with his version named Dharmatma. But he twisted the plot towards the second half, where instead of allying with his father and their forces Feroz plays against them. Feroz Khan repeated the same concept in Jaanbaaz and Yalgaar without much success. In 1992 a movie named Zulm Ki Hukumat was released. The movie starred Dharamendra as Pitamber Kohli and Govinda played Pratap Kohli aka Michael of Godfather. This was one of the first proper remakes of Godfather. The movie fared pretty well and I liked Govinda’s perfromance.

https://i1.wp.com/content6.flixster.com/movie/10/85/20/10852076_pro.jpgEven after all this, we still had Aamir in line to pay tribute to Godfather. So, he acted his part in Atank Hi Atank which released in 1995. He played the role of Michael, which Al Pacino had played. In fact, it was quite fascinating to see Aamir with a moustache and his wet-hair all combed back, he looked like he meant business. This movie had Rajnikanth playing Sonny, I think the only time that Aamir and Rajni have ever worked  together. But none of this could save the movie at the box-office.

to be continued …

Click here for part 2 of 2

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Posted by on March 14, 2010 in bollywood, hollywood, movies

 

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