Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
Amitabh Bachchan plays Dwarka Anand, a retired teacher and an idealist. Soon after the film opens, he berates his son’s friend for promoting a capitalistic lifestyle. Anand accuses the new generation of being greedy and having selfish desires that encourage corruption.
Within minutes, a character asks another if a packet of India Gate rice has been opened. Another extols the virtues of UltraTech Cement. How can you make a film that criticises certain values and promotes them in the same breath?
Amitabh Bachchan has threatened legal action over a YouTube video that apparently shows the Bollywood actor championing Narendra Modi as India’s next prime minister.
Twitter is abuzz with the spirit of festivity, and here’s why: It is Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday.
One of the few people who can be described as a superstar, the ‘Big B’ is one of the greatest actors India has seen, and (I dare say) one of the few who does not need an introduction almost anywhere in the world.
In my head, I always imagine Ram Gopal Varma, sitting in his office, legs up on the table, going through a checklist on the last day of a film shoot. Hyperactive camera angle – check. Lots of fake blood – check. Added some element of “Satya”, “Company” or “Sarkar” to the film – check. Leading ladies showing off cleavage – check.
How else do you explain a film like “Department”? That someone (Varma) thought they could make a film with such tacky production values, a convoluted and weak script, and some scenes that could be straight out of a soft-porn flick, and still convince a major studio to fund it and market it as a A-grade movie, is baffling.
More than 20 years after he first mesmerised an entire generation with his baritone and signature dialogue, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan is going to be back on celluloid, but this time in a different avatar.
Producer Karan Johar said the original film which was produced by his father didn’t “meet commercial expectations” and he thought this one would hit bull’s eye. Directed by debutant Karan Malhotra, the film stars Hrithik Roshan as Chauhan while Sanjay Dutt plays dreaded villain Kancha.
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?
If you’ve played cards or for that matter, any kind of game, you will know a good start is only half the battle won.
It is how you end it that determines the result and if director Leena Yadav had only kept this cardinal rule in mind before starting out to make “Teen Patti”, perhaps this would have been a very different film.
First things first. “Paa” belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. And Vidya Balan. Or actually it belongs to Auro and his mother. Because that’s who you really see on screen and that is the hallmark of a great performance.
For this reason alone, R Balkrishnan’s “Paa” is worth watching. There are some hiccups (or hickis as referred to in the film) but on the whole, this film should leave you with a lump in your throat and nothing but admiration for Amitabh Bachchan.
Last night, between 9 pm and 11 30 pm, my phone was working over time. Calls were going back and forth, messages were being exchanged and opinions voiced – all of them discussing only one thing – the inmates of Bigg Boss, Tritiya (as host Amitabh Bachchan calls it.)
Why is Rakhi Sawant’s mother in? Why does Kamaal Khan call himself KRK? Sherlyn Chopra as a bai in the house? Not just me, but a lot of bloggers and netizens were updating Twitter and Facebook with every little detail of yesterday’s launch episode.
Varma uses the tune of ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and adds to the lyrics, making it a full-fledged song for his film about India’s media industry — “Rann”.