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Why Make ‘Raavan’ When You Can Make ‘Housefull’

“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” – Aaron Levenstein.

The box-office report of Raavan and Housefull is out there for everyone to see and infer what they want to. And when I say Raavan, I actually am talking about movies like Dil Se, Gulaal, Firaaq, Parzania etc; and when I say Housefull, I actually am referring to movies like Welcome, SiK, Kambakht Ishq etc. Obviously, these are movies of different genres but the one thing common is that, they were all on exhibition in theatres, multiplexes etc and we know the fate of all of these movies.

So, what lessons do we learn from the BO reports. I don’t know because I am neither a critic nor a movie maker or a trade analyst; just an avid movie watcher. And here are some of the things that I have come to realise, over a period of time.

Story & Screenplay Why bother writing about problems of people in the relief camps of riot affected victims or the inspector trying to track down the goons involved in Bombay bomb blast or a radio-journalist trying to interview an ULFA terrorist or the caste/class divide in red-alert zones of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh? We don’t want to see such non-existing issues which are hyped by media. We want to see what issues a common man faces. We want to see how a bartender in London handles the visit of his father-in-law, we want to see how a ‘panauti’ copes with life and wife, we want to see whether Uday Shetty is able to find a suitor for his sister, an intelligence agent walking around with a lie-detector and how a bumbling sikh becomes King of Australian mafia. These are the real issues we are plagued with.

Characterisation This is one area where Mani, Anurag and others really need to work upon. I mean, why take pains in writing the character graph of Dukey Baana when people are happy with Aarush; why write Meghna and Preeti when people actually want bimbos like Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta, why sketch Amar Mathur and Beera when Riteish Deshmukh is able to make people laugh at his stupid antics? Who is watching the growth and maturity of a character! People are busy sniggering at the immaturity of the 3 hunks with a baby, and the reverse growth of stars like Akshay Kumar. And then, someone like Anurag comes along to give us Rananjay SIngh. What! Is that a real name? What happened to the Raj’s and Rahul’s and Gupta’s and Malhotra’s. Give the characters a real name, please!

Locations & Cinematography Why does someone like Mani Ratnam go to all these beautiful locales in North-East (Dil Se) or the Malshej Ghat and Athirapalli Falls (Raavan)? Why did Anurag Kashyap make a movie in backdrop of Rajasthan in Gulaal? To bring a level of authenticity to the story-telling! But who needs that? People are happy watching an entire cast camped and cramped in a rented mansion (Housefull, SiK, Welcome). So, what if the mansion only has a few rooms, a big dining hall, a grate, huge portraits of prententious people and some make-believe classic paintings. We want to see that, nothing else. Please don’t show us serene environments, breath-taking views and sceneries of visual pleasure. We neither want authenticity nor aesthetics. We are not concerned about how scenes are shot because we are not here to appreciate beauty and splendor.

Music & Lyrics Someone really ought to stop Gulzar from penning songs. What were the lyrics of Satrangi Re, Ranjha Ranjha and Thok De Killi? We don’t want songs that make sense, force us to think, create visual imageries. And Piyush Mishra be damned with the Ranaji song and his stupid take on Ye Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye To Kya Hai. See, that’s exactly what everyone these days are telling, ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai! So, please stop penning such outdated songs and give space to the new breed lyricists who say ‘O Girl You Are Mine’ and ‘Hush Hush Hush, Papa Sleeping’. See, now these sound like some real song and are so convenient to sms our friends. And what was Rahman trying to prove with his tunes in Dil Se and Raavan and many others; that he is Mozart From Madras! Has he not heard of Pritam and his ilk who struggle day and night to create original tunes which leave a lasting impression! With whom is Rahman, Vishal and others competing? Take a break dude! We want songs like Bhootni Ke, Bebo Mai Bebo and not something silly like Behne De, Dil To Bachcha hai Ji and Aarambh Hai Prachand!

Direction This definitely is the most over-rated job. I mean, any Tom Dick and forget it, can become a director. We have had action directors and stuntmen become directors, choreographers turned into directors, photographers and ad-film makers took to direction; and sometimes we have had entire movie being ghost-directed. So, who the hell needs the sophistication of Mani Ratnam or the detailing of Anurag Kashyap or the perfection of a Bhansali or the hardwork of Ashutosh Gowariker, please call on a spot boy to take the next shot.

Production/Finance This has to be the toughest job of all. I mean, if you approach Nadiadwala with script of Swades or Gulaal, then he will need so much time to mull over it because the movies are so unchallenging and silly. And what about all the criticism he will have to face for a good product. Its so much easier to produce a ‘Housefull’ where you have your friends and relatives on the sets having a party; my God, its such a stress-buster. No wonder SRK was so relieved when he produced OSO & MHN but was so tensed about Chak De and Swades because he was not producing such tacky works.

Actor/Actresses The last piece in the jigsaw, did I say last! They ought to be the last, but they are often the first ones to be onboarded in a project. Everything else revolves around them. With my limited knowledge, I assumed that a bound script, location finalisation, camera angles are decided first; and then actors/actresses come into picture. But no, actors make the movie their personal statement; often changing lines and locations to suit their needs. After all, its so difficult to extract good performances from Nandita Das and Seema Biswas; but its so much easier to cast Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Oh! please don’t wonder and let me explain. Whatever be the movie, the set, the location; they are consistently bad. They can give you the same expression in the bedroom/bathroom/drawing-room with such perfection, 100% strike rate. They don’t even have to get into the skin of the character, they are the character. Imagine how difficult it would be if actors got so intense that they cannot get the character out of their head. Its so much easier to cast Tushar Kapoor and Fardeen Khan who can walk in and out of characters as if they were changing clothes.

Coming back to the quote on statistics, what it reveals is the changing taste buds of the audience and what it conceals is a dangerous trend of dumbing down the audience as they lap up bad movies without blinking.

A Question To The Movie Critics And Reviewers I know you guys did not approve of Kambakht Ishq and Housefull and gave it 2 or 2.5*, maybe more. But, didn’t Dil Se and Raavan also get the same stars? So, don’t you see any difference between Raavan and Housefull! Was Raavan all that bad or was Housefull all that good? I am actually amazed that all the great performances in Housefull was neglected, all the fantastic music and lyrics went unobserved, all the pains taken by the film crew to shoot in such difficult location of the various bedrooms of the mansion was ignored. And in Raavan, we promptly noticed camera slip-ups, shoddy performances and the carelessness with which certain scenes were shot. I mean, how can you compare an auditorium filled with intellectual dignitaries rolling with the effect of laughing gas and a silly shot where Ash is just falling down a waterfall, clinging onto a branch and then slipping again; how tacky! Shouldn’t both movies have been reviewed without prejudice and bias, based on their individual merits and using the same yardstick. Then how did both these movies get the same kind of rating?

A Question To The Movie Go-ers Do we watch a movie to have a good time and nothing else? Even if we are looking at entertainment, was Housefull all that entertaining and Dil Se all that dull and boring. Did the movie Welcome make more sense than Gulaal? Why don’t we watch movies which go beyond the obvious, which makes a point and brings an issue to light. Or are we merely looking for cheap humor and titillation, hollow entertainment and slipshod quick movies.

And Finally Why should someone make a Raavan and be lambasted when he can easily make a Housefull and get away?

This post was first published on PFC

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in bollywood, movies

 

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‘ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai’ revisited

Piyush Mishra has carried forward from where Sahir had left-off. In his mesmerizing words he reminds what a worthless life it is and what worthless causes we are chasing at our own expense. He also makes a reference to Iqbal’s sitaron ke aage jahan aur bhi hai beautifully.

https://i0.wp.com/img1.chakpak.com/se_images/1465187_-1_564_none/gulaal-wallpaper.jpgO ri Duniya…
Surmayi aankhon ke pyaalo ki duniya
Satrangi rangon, gulaalo ki duniya
Alsaayi sejon ke phoolon ki duniya
Angdayi todey kabootar ki duniya
Karvat le soyi hakeekat ki duniya
Deevani hoti tabiyat ki duniya
Khwahish me lipti zaroorat ki duniya
Insaan ke sapno ki, niyat ki duniya

Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai

Mamta ki bikhri kahani ki duniya
Behno ki siski, jawani ki duniya
Aadam ke Havva se rishte ki duniya
Shayar ke pheeke lafzon ki duniya

Ghalib ke, Momin ke khwabon ki duniya
Mijaazon ke, un inquilabon ki duniya
Faiz, Firaq-O-Sahil-O-Makhdoom, Mir ki, Zauk ki, Daagon ki duniya

Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai…

Palchhin me baatein chali jati hain
Palchhin me raatein chali jati hain
Reh jata hai jo savera vo dhoonde
Jalte makaan me basera vo dhoonde
Jaisi bachi hai, vaisi ki vaisi bacha lo ye duniya
Apna samajhke, apno ke jaisi utha lo ye duniya
Chhut-put si baaton mein jalne lagegi, sambhalo ye duniya
Kat-pit ke raaton mein palne lagegi, sambhalo ye duniya

O ri duniya…

Vo kahey hai ki duniya ye itni nahi hai
Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hai
Yeh hum hi nahi hai, vahan aur bhi hai
Hamari har ek baat hoti vahin hai
Humey aitraaz nahi hai kahin bhi
Vo Aalim hai, Faazil hai, honge sahi hi
Magar falsafa ye bigad jata hai jo vo kehte hain
Aalim ye kehta vahan Eeshwar hai
Fazil ye kehta vahan Allah hai
Qatil ye kehta vahan Eesa hai
Manzil ye kehti tab insaan se ki
Tumhari hai tum hi sambhalo ye duniya
Yeh bujhte huay chand basi chiraagon
Tumhare ye kaale iraado ki duniya…

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2010 in bollywood, lyrics, movies

 

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Holi And The Unholy

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Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Holi. This is one of the most important festivals for us as it marks the victory of good over evil. Yes, Dussehra/Diwali are not the only festivals celebrating the end of sin/sinners; but Holi also is celebrated for the same reason. If we go back to mythology, Prahlad sat on the lap of Holika, the evil sister of Hiranyakashyap, on the pyre and she was burnt to death while Prahlad was unharmed due to his devotion to Lord Vishnu. We still re-play this in the form of Holika Dehan.

Hiranyakashyap had been granted a wish that he would neither be killed by man nor creature, neither in the day nor night, neither inside the palace nor out, neither on sky nor on earth and neither by knowledge/debate nor by weapons. Vishnu then appeared as Narsimha, and killed Hiranyakashyap at dusk with his clawed hands, laying him on his lap with each leg on either side of the mukhya-dwar.

Ok, now that we are through with mythology lets get down to films. Although the festival is marked with wonderful colors, its usage in our cinema has always been as a dark plot or as a turning point. The cheerfulness around is lost due to some gruesome incident, its probably the air which does it. People are so high on emotions that they end-up being a part of some life-changing events.

The most disturbing Holi sequence I have seen was in Damini, where a bunch of rich-spoilt-brats rape the maid-servant of the house. And although Damini[Meenakshi Sheshadri] is a witness to this horrific incident, they try to shut her up to maintain the dignity of the family, khandan ki izzat ka sawaal. What an irony, if they did have some dignity to begin with, such an incident would not have occured. From hereon, the whole movie revolves around this event and Damini’s fight for justice. Some of the sequences in the movie are repulsive, like the court-room sequence where the opposition lawyer Chadha[Amrish Puri] asks awkward questions to Damini.

Silsila was another movie which had a brilliant Holi sequence. The song Rang Barse is legendary, and any Holi is incomplete without this song. The song is a part of the narrative and brings out beautifully the relationship that Amit[Amitabh Bachchan] and Chandni[Rekha] share, which otherwise would have been difficult to disclose. The song penned by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, is so suggestive:

Bela chameli ka sej bichhaya
Soye gori ka yaar, balam tarse, rang barse
Rang barse bheege chunar wali, rang barse

It might have taken lots of scenes and dialogues, but this one song did the trick. The body language of all the characters involved in this song is marvellous; Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar as the helpless spouse, Amitabh as a poet lost in their celebration of love, and Rekha caught in-between the reality of the situation and the fantasy world of endless love.

Another Amitabh Bachchan movie Baghban had a lovely Holi song holi khele raghubeera awadh mei holi khele raghubeera. The song was sung with great gusto by Amitabh himself, but what followed the celebrations was heart-breaking. Amitabh’s children decide that the aged couple must live separately with each of the brothers for a period of 6 months, thereby helping them reduce the financial burden. The happiness of the moment is marred by the heartless call taken by the very kids he brought-up with such love and affection. This culminated in him writing a book, and changing the course of their lives.

Of course nobody can forget Gabbar Singh roaring Holi Kab Hai? Kab Hai Holi? He plans an attack on the Ramgarh village on that day, spoil the festive mood, and to teach the villagers a lesson that Gabbar se tumhe ek hi admi bacha sakta hai, khud Gabbar! His plan is thwarted, but not before some action, some gunshots, some cleverness by Amitabhsome cleverness by Amitabh and some blood to add more colors to the already colorful day.

In stark contrast with the many hues of the festival is the presence of a widow in a white saree. This has been captured many-a-times in movies like Kati Patang, Mohabbatein and Sholay. Holi is the symbol of free spirit and boundless joys, and film-makers have juxtaposed this with the colorless world of a widow who is constrained by society and she has no freedom whatsoever. In Sholay, this festival is showcased twice; both with a marked difference. While the first Holi was shot with Jaya Bhaduri making merry on the occasion and sparing nobody; the second Holi was a colorless bland affair as she was a widow then. These contrasting images stay with us for a long time.

Holi marks the breaking of shackles in the song Aaj Na Chhodenge Bas Humjoli where a gushing Rajesh Khanna sings to Asha Parekh in Kati Patang. The sorrow and loneliness of a widow is brought out well in the simple words of Anand Bakshi as Lata Mangeshkar sings the following lines:

Apni apni kismat hai
koi hase koi roye
rang se koi ang bhigoye
koi Asuan se nain bhigoye

Holi brings the winds of change in Gurukul of Mohabbatein where it was never celebrated before. SRK adorns Amitabh Bachchan’s forehead with a tilak and its followed by a Holi song Soni soni aankhiyon wali. Here, the widow played by Preeti Jhanghiani is caught-up in the persuasion of playing Holi :

Jimmy Shergill:
Gam ho ya koi khushi, Purva ka jhonka hai.
Ek aaye ek jaayega, Kyon dil ko roka hai.

Preeti Jhanghiani:
Is dil ko humne nahin, Hame dil ne roka hai.
Koi bata de zara, Kya sach kya dhoka hai?

SRK:
Ye duniya saari, Badi hai pyari,
Yahi ek sach hai, Ye sab rang bade suhaane hain.

The movie Darr also has a famed sequence involving Holi where an obsessed lover is trying to get a glimpse of his  beloved, wants to share the happiness and joy of Holi with his object of affection. Rahul, played by SRK, takes up the challenge of showing himself up at Kiran’s door and smearing gulaal on her face. Juhi Chawla, playing Kiran, is totally engrossed in the festivity; while paying money to the bandwala guys, Rahul applies gulaal on Kiran’s cheeks  and wishes her in his menacing words  KKKKKiran. There begins a chase where a furious Sunil, played by Sunny Deol, is after Rahul. The scene which starts with gulaal, ends in blood with Sunil smashing a bottle on SRK’s head.

Holi ke din dil khil jaate hain, rangon mein rang mil jaate hain
Gile shikwe bhul ke doston, dushman bhi gale mil jaate hain

Although the above lyrics were from Sholay, it was totally justified in the case of Saudagar. The two friends-turned-enemies, Veer Singh played by Dilip Kumar and Rajeshwar Singh played by Rajkumar, get back together on Holi festival. Rajeshwar declares that nobody dare throw color on him, thats when Veeru takes a handful of gulaal and hurls it at him, thereby ending ages of hatred between them and brings them together once again.

The above sequence is what I wish for everybody around, heal the world. Lets take this opportunity to make love, not war; win friends and not create enemies; that’s the true spirit of Holi.

This post was first published on PFC

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2010 in bollywood, movies

 

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‘sarfaroshi ki tamanna’ revisited

piyush mishra re-wrote the legendary song for the movie ‘gulaal’ keeping in mind the current scenario. and he has done a wonderful job.

sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mei hai
dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qaatil mei hai
waqt aane pe bataa denge tujhe aye aasmaan
hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil mei hai

o re bismal kaash aate aaj tum hindustaan
dekhte ki mulk saara kya tashan kya chill mei hai
aaj ka launda yeh kehta ‘hum to bismil thak gaye
apni aazaadi to bhaiyya laundiya ke til mei hai’

aaj ke jalso mei bismil ek goonga gaa raha
aur behron ka wo rela naachta mehfil mei hai
haath ki khaadi banaane ko zamaana lag gaya
aaj to chaddi bhi silti angrezo ki mill mei hai

dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qaatil mei hai
waqt aane pe bataa denge tujhe aye asmaan
hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil mei hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mei hai

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2009 in general, literature, lyrics, movies

 

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