Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
The last thing I expected A.R. Rahman to do during his Oscar speech is invoke Salim-Javed. After all, you don’t expect to hear one of Bollywood’s most famous dialogues on Hollywood’s biggest night. But in hindsight, I am so glad he said “mere paas maa hain.”
Not only did he demonstrate his love and respect for his mother, he also pretty much made that particular one-liner from Hindi cinema world famous. Melodramatic and over-the-top though it may have been, Shashi Kapoor saying those four words to his brother (Amitabh Bachchan) in “Deewar” remains one of my favourite moments in Indian cinema.
Following close behind is another Bachchan moment, when he ambles up to Basanti in “Sholay” and drawls “tumhara naam kya hai, Basanti”, after actress Hema Malini has finished regaling him and Veeru with her life story. That scene never fails to crack me up.
I did a quick poll in office and it turns out “Sholay” features on most people’s lists, but so do Yash Raj films. And although I never quite warmed up to the fact that “bade bade deshon mein, aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai,” a lot of people are huge fans of that line.
A perfect Saturday afternoon beckoned me. An early lunch was had, the house was quiet and the prospect of dropping off into an uninterrupted sleep was enough to make me smile.
One phone call changed all that. Amitabh Bachchan is on his way to the hospital, a source said and he is sick. The first thing that registered in my mind was “I hope he is ok” and then the journalistic instinct kicked in.
There has been so much controversy about the release of “The Last Lear” that it’s easy to overlook this is a film that has been well received in the international festival circuit, has some of India’s best known actors and has even been touted as Amitabh Bachchan’s finest work yet.
Honestly, I don’t agree with that last statement — but then people are entitled to their own opinion.
Bollywood hasn’t always had the most original of ideas, but “God Tussi Great Ho” takes the cake.
Not only is the film a clear rip-off from the Morgan Freeman-Jim Carrey starrer “Bruce Almighty”, it manages to be such a badly pulled off one that you want to rip off the writer-director-actors heads.
I am a bit wary when filmmakers announce Bollywood projects based on real life people. After all, the word Bollywood evokes images of glitzy song-and-dance routines in exotic locales. And that’s largely true even though the Mumbai film industry is showing signs of opening up to bolder, more realistic themes.
Take “Rave Party” for example. The story of Scarlett Keeling, the British teenager murdered at a Goan beach, is being made into a film.
Amitabh Bachchan started a blog on April 17. And has posted almost daily since, generating hundreds of comments from fans around the world.
His blog is ostensibly about his life and films, but also a platform where the 65-year-old Indian superstar gets even with the “rumor laced spicy barbs” of the media.