India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap: Sometimes old is not gold

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Anyone who has grown up watching Amitabh Bachchan during the 70s and 80s will either go all nostalgic on watching Puri Jagannadh’s “Bbuddhah Hoga Terra Baap”, or will cringe at the way your memories have been distorted with this new, technicolour version of the angry young man. In my case, it was the latter.

During one of the funnier scenes in the film, Bachchan tells a character that he’s the ‘original”, and that kids today are doing nothing but imitating him. He then proceeds to sing a medley of most of his hit songs, including “pag ghungroo” and “mere angane mein”, except this new modern version has English rap songs, skimpily clad foreign extras dancing around him and Bachchan himself dressed flamboyantly (some would say garishly), gyrating to the song. At that point, you wonder, should you really mess with a classic, even if it’s your own?

Bachchan evidently wants to — and he mouths plenty of his old dialogues, (hum jaahaan se khade hote hain, line wahi se shuru hoti hai) and projects himself as a angry old man, a retired hit man who comes to India for one last assignment.

The story in this case, is merely incidental — this film is meant as a showcase for Bachchan — he might well be a star son making his Bollywood debut. There are item songs, fight sequences, romance and outlandish costumes.

Double Dhamaal: Twice the agony

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Indra Kumar’s “Double Dhamaal” is a sequel to the 2007 comedy “Dhamaal” and tells the story of four men whose plans to make a quick buck are foiled by their arch nemesis.

The story takes off from where the four, after having donated all the money they won to charity, are back to being jobless and penniless. But when they come across their arch nemesis Kabir Nayak (Sanjay Dutt) and see that he’s rich and successful, they decide to feed off his wealth. Riteish Deshmukh, Ashish Chowdhry, Arshad Warsi and Jaaved Jaafery play the roles of the four friends.

India takes cue from Pakistan as Coke Studio crosses border

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By Annie Banerji

Usually known to adapt shows from the west like American Idol, The X Factor and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, India is set to start Coke Studio @ MTV, a rendering of Coke Studio Pakistan, which is currently airing its fourth season. It seems the two initialised an exchange of television programmes last year when MTV Pakistan asked the Indian counterpart for the licence to produce Roadies, an Indian home grown reality show.

Coke Studio, which originated in Brazil in 2007, welcomes and celebrates the diversity in unity in the genres of music, wherein the artists collaborate to offer a plethora of cultural and diverse influences ranging from classical, Sufi, folk to contemporary, pop and even bhangra (a type of music combining Punjabi folk traditions with Western pop).

Shaitan: The devil is in the details

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Director Bejoy Nambiar’s debut effort “Shaitan” is not your typical Bollywood film, so if you are the kind that enjoys that kind of fare, let me warn you at the outset this may not be the film for you.

However, if you keep an open mind and go into the theatre, believe me you will be rewarded. Here is a film that is unabashed, cool and made by a director who knows his craft.

An encounter with M.F. Husain

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I met Maqbool Fida Husain a little over three years ago in London, ironically the same city where he breathed his last on Thursday.

He was one of the VIP attendees at a film awards function that I was covering, and having never spoken to him before, I wasn’t sure if he would agree to an interview.

Ready or not, here comes mindless cinema

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I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before, but there really should be a template created just for the kind of cinema Anees Bazmee’s “Ready” represents, because having to find something to say about a film that seems like the exact replica of ten other films you have seen recently, is a very tough job.

There is always a rich hero, an airhead of a heroine, long-haired, weird looking villains who make sporadic appearances and brandish guns, bumbling aunts and uncles and loads of toilet humour. You can also call it mass cinema, formula films or the oft-used “leave-your-brains-behind-cinema.”

The other side of Bollywood

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The relationship between Bollywood and the criminal world has always been a controversial one. The world’s biggest film industry has often struggled to rid itself of allegations that all is not above board when it comes to financing its films.

Ever since the murder of “cassette king” Gulshan Kumar in 1997 and the Pandora’s box it opened up, Bollywood has feared that some of the money that goes into the industry may be tainted.

Kucch Luv Jaisaa: Not a fun ride

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A bored, under-appreciated housewife, who decides to break out of her monotony, meets a stranger and spends a day with him — not knowing who he is, or what his motives are and discovers a different side to her personality.

To her credit, director Barnali Ray Shukla does have an interesting premise at the heart of “Kucch Luv Jaisaa” but a good idea doesn’t always translate into a good film and this is the perfect example.

Ragini MMS: Scary stuff

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If you’ve watched Hollywood horror flicks like “Paranormal Activity”and “The Blair Witch Project”, you will find the narrative style in Pavan Kirpalani’s “Ragini MMS” very familiar.

The camera is the narrator; you see the film through its eyes and that adds to the fear factor. Even the most innocuous of objects looks scary in pitch dark, with just the camera’s lens providing illumination.

Stanley Ka Dabba: Not just for school kids

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It’s easy to compare “Stanley Ka Dabba” to “Taare Zameen Par”. Both were written by the same man, both have children as their theme and have a school as the background. But the two movies aren’t similar, at least not in my mind.

While “Taare Zameen Par” was about the evils of the education system and messages galore for parents, teachers and everyone involved, “Stanley Ka Dabba” for the most part doesn’t hammer its message home. So that when the message does hit home, it hits pretty hard.

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