Monday 30 November 2015

36 years ago… - DAY 710

36 years ago on this day a film was released called Hum Tere Aashique Hain losely based on the story of My Fair Lady
Produced and directed by Prem Sagar and written by KKShukla and Ramanand Sagar.

 Hema Malini played the role of Ramkali/ Elisa Dolittle while Jeetendra played Dr Anand/ Professor Higgins.

I remember being sent to the mahurat of this film as an intern by my editor and stood in a quiet corner at Mehboob Studio watching Hema Malini dressed in a gown and hat give coy glances to hero Jeetendra.
Those were days of elaborate mahurats after which the shooting began immediately.

Unfortunately the film did not click at the box-office but Sagars continued to make films with Hema Malini and Jeetendra hema continued to make a successful pair.


Friday 27 November 2015

Tamasha is sparkling - DAY 709

Imtiaaz Ali directed Tamasha kahani hai do ajnabiyon ki, jo pardes mein milte hain aur dost ban jaate hain.

Dono wada karte hain ki wo ek doosre ke baare mein kuch nahi jaanenge.
Holiday samapt hota hai, aur dono apni zindagiyon mein wapas laut aate hain!

Kuch saal beet jaate hain aur ek din, dono ek baar phir milte hain…
Iss baar, apni sachi pehchan ke saath…

Film ka plus: film ki anokhi kahani.  Jahan aam taur par love stories sirf pyaar ki baatein karti hai, Tamasha pyaar ke alava bohat saare jasbadon ki gulliyon mein ghoomti hain.

Yahan kabhi bachpan ki kahaniyaan hoti hain… Kabhi rozi roti ki bhaag daud… Kabhi apne aap se baatein hoti hai aur kabhi sapnon ki udaan…

Ranbir Kapoor ka Ved aur Deepika Padukone ki Tara wohi mehsoos karte hai jo doosre premi mehsoos karte hain.

Unhe nirala bante hain director Imtiaaz Ali ki soch aur prersentation, kahani ki situations aur characters ke andaaz.

Jab We Met/ Love Aaaj Kal/ Rockstar/ Highway ke baad, Imtiaaz Ali ek aur thought provoking film laayein hain.

Film ka structure complex hai aur shuruat thodi mushkil bhi magar Ranbir Kapoor aur Deepika Padukone aap ko jakad kar rakhte hain.

Tamasha mein josh hai, jalwa hai, jalsa hai, junoon hai phir wo mohabbat ho ya gaane!
Yahan khushiyaan jhumkar naachti hai aur dukh jhanjhod kar rakh dete hain.

Tamasha dekhni chahiye Ranbir Kapoor aur Deepika Padukone ke outstanding performances aur amazing chemistry ke liye.

Jab dono screen par saath hain, aap khush hai. Jab wo alag hai, aap mayoos hai.
Imtiaaz ali ki Tamasha ko ek aur naye prayas ke liye BiG Entertainment Ratings milte hai 3.5 stars


Thursday 26 November 2015

Other side of stardom - DAY 708

I accept there is a dark side to the glamour world but there is another side to show business too, the better side that only an insider can know. Cinema is perhaps the most sensitive medium where multiple talents come together There is creativity and compassion, warmth and wisdom that an outsider will never know. Inaccessibility prevents identification.

Thirty years is a long journey and over the many decades I have watched superstars rise and fall and rise again, I have watched media barons leap and crash empires. Watched journalism blossom from manual typewriters and spacious tape recorders into floppies, CDs and now mobile recorders and cameras... There was a time the printed word was sacrosanct, a time when electronic media was invasion and today, a time when social media is our lifeline!

Insecurity is an overwhelming emotion in any creative profession and in the film industry even more so. Film stars are peddlers of emotion. There are more emotional wrecks in the film world than in any other place. Every thing comes in excess here. There is shame and scandal, exhibitionism and eccentricity but there is also diversity and energy, a fatal attraction about the world of cinema that is obsessive. Once you've been a part of it you feel incomplete without it.

I’m a film critic because I love cinema, I’m an author because I love writing and my profession allows me both. The experiences have been an integral part of my growing up. Today, when someone asks me the question, ‘How does it feel to be a film journalist’ I look at the person asking. I wonder if it is worth reacting, strongly. I’m not sure.


Wednesday 25 November 2015

Perceptions & impressions - DAY 707

I recently attended a friend’s wedding where they deliberately put strangers on a common table together for dinner. In the beginning every one was awkward but gradually as the evening progressed it proved an interesting experience.

I had on my table a retired doctor who now spent his time reading newspapers and watching television. He said all his nobody ever asked him how he was because everybody was engrossed in telling him what was ailing them. ‘Now for the first time,’ said the doctor ‘People inquire after my health and I love the attention’.  My second companion was an MBA student waiting for a job. ‘It is the worst time to have MBA degree’ she told me in a matter of fact tone me, ‘Because today everybody is an MBA and nobody has a job.’

Now it was my turn to introduce myself and when I said write on cinema I was asked a question I always dread to hear: ‘So how does it feel to be a film journalist…Do you believe in the people you write about?’ It’s a question I’m asked time and again by family, by friends, by strangers followed by ‘But you don’t look like a film journalist.’

I have never understood the implication of such a reaction, never understood how I must react. How do they know what a film journalist looks like? Do all professionals look the same? Or maybe just because I’m associated with the film world they expect me dress in ostrich feathers a la Helen and perform an item number to convince them of my association.

Impressions have everything to do with perceptions and to an extent the media is responsible for the exaggerated image of show business. In our hurry to tell stories, we have often spiced up our copies and unknowingly tilted the balance to an extent that the image does not fade.


Tuesday 24 November 2015

Shaadi sites replace Brahman - DAY 706

Over the decades the brahman who visited homes of marriageable candidates lost his identity as parents began looking for alliance via newspaper classified advertisements.

Gradually with the arrival of the internet even classified advertisements went out of fashion as parents and now the prospective bride and groom hunted for their partners on the net.
Today, websites have replaced the traditional matchmakers and while this has facilitated the process, it has added other kind of pressures on the candidates and their families. A few years ago I was invited as chief guest to a swayamvar organized by a marriage bureau. It was an unusual gathering where every guest was a stranger and there was separate seating arrangement for the candidates and the parents.

The compeer invited candidates on stage and introduce themselves but all of them were self conscious and all parents were anxious. During dinner guests mingled hesitantly and only a few exchanged numbers. Some tried chatting up with a promising partner but majority of them remained aloof. It was an unfair exercise because all the girls looked infinitely superior to the boys. The parents looked stressed and complained that the registration fees of marriage bureaus were too high but they had no option.

While leaving I share my anxieties with my host, she is un-intimidated by my observation, says, “I am a match maker not a destiny maker. My role is to make them meet not to get them married”

That is the difference. The brahman who visited my parents in the olden days accepted the parents responsibility as his own.

He stood by the family till all the rites were performed and was treated as family by all the members. He prayed that the couple remained happily married ever after


Monday 23 November 2015

Where has the Bhraman gone? - DAY705

When I was a little girl an old man in a dhoti often came to our home unannounced. He removed his shoes outside the door and squat cross legged on the living room carpet. He always carried a cloth bag around his shoulder and a small napkin with which he wiped his spectacles.

My mother was always happy to see him and no matter how tired she was, she ran to the kitchen to prepare hot snacks for him which was always served in steel utensils.

Snack over he extracted some photographs and horoscope from his crowded bag and got into serious discussion with my father. When it was time for him to leave, mother packed for him a customary parcel comprising some wheat flour, rice and pure ghee.

He was what they described in traditional Gujarati households- the brahman- and he was also the community match maker. He was well versed with the family histories and went from home to home carrying kundalis of prospective brides and grooms. The parents trusted his wisdom and unanimously submitted to his foresight.

That is how my older cousins and siblings got married.

Then one day, the brahman stopped coming home. My father was concerned. On investigation my father discovered that after a prolonged illness he had passed away in his sleep and his only son did not want to carry forward his father’s legacy.

My mother was distressed. “A home not visited by a brahman can never prosper…” she mourned. My father had bigger worries. He was unsure of hunting a groom for my older siblings without the brahman’s able guidance.

Contrary to my father’s anxiety the grooms came on their own when the time was right and all my older sisters today are happily married and proud parents/grandparents of boney children.


Friday 20 November 2015

X Past is Present proves bad experiment - DAY 704

X Past is Present ek film mein 11 kahaniyaan hain, jisme 11 filmmakers, apne kirdaaron ko apne perspective se pesh karte hain.

Aisa experiment humne pehle bhi bade parde par bohat baar dekha hai jaise Bombay Talkies, Dus Kahaniyaan aur Darna Mana Hai.

X Past is Present ko hum ek filmmaker ki kahani keh sakte hai... Ek raat ki kahani keh sakte hain...Aur rishton ki kahani bhi keh sakte hain...

Film ka plus: film ka concept aur 11 filmmaker’s ke apne drishtikon aur performances khaas taur par, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar aur Radhika Aapte.

Film ka minus: sab kuch amature, over indulgent aur ek tarha se banavti lagta hai. 11 kahaniyon mein se, ek bhi kahani yaadgaar nahi hai...

X Past is Present ko sirf concept ke liye Big Entertainment Ratings milte hain 1.5 stars.


Thursday 19 November 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - DAY 703

A brand new Star Wars: The Force Awakens has nearly 9 million people watching on the official Facebook page in just 16 hours
 Among the thousands of commentors, one fan comment stood out: Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook "liked" the post, and then added his own comment: "This looks amazing. I love Star Wars."

The Star Wars page replied: "We know" an epic response channeling their inner Han Solo!!
Star Wars: the Force Awakens releases in India on 25th December in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.


Wednesday 18 November 2015

Photo Exhibition - DAY 702

On November 13 I visited a splendid Photo exhibition titled Hungarian Visions by Illes Toth from Hungary at the Art Gallery of the Hungarian Center. 

Inaugurated by another eminent photographer, Avinash Pasricha, the exhibition was a feat for the eyes. It was easily the best such event I have been to except that the timing was wrong. 

The city was in a mood for colour and festivity and not photo appreciation even if they were the most brilliant shots by a creative genius.

I learnt a lesson, that timing of an event is more crucial than content. I will always remember it.


Tuesday 17 November 2015

Ghayal Once Again - DAY 701

It was an evening to remember for all the Sunny Deol fans! The trailer of much anticipated film, Ghayal Once Again was launched amidst much fanfare at Sunny Super Sound, Juhu, Mumbai.

The trailer launch witnessed the 4 youngsters – Rishabh Arora, Daina Khan, Aanchal Munjal and
Shivam Patil along with the superstar Sunny Deol.

While in Ghayal Sunny Deol was a bitter out of work cop, the character will go through a transformation in the sequel.

So who will be the bitter cop this time, Shivam Patil?


Monday 16 November 2015

Russian Film Fest - DAY 700

The Russian Film Days Festival, beginning with the Red Carpet World Premiere of Without Borders begins today. 

A high profile Russian Delegation & the Team at Osianama are hosting the premieres and screening of masterpieces of Soviet & Russia's pioneering cinematic heritage. The event is  much awaited in Mumbai city. 


Friday 13 November 2015

Prem Ratan Dhan Payao continues Rajshri Tradition - DAY 699 (2)

Sooraj Barjatya likhi/directed Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Rajshri Production banner ke mizaaj ki film hai jahan sab acha hain aur sab ke saath bhi aakhir mein acha hi hota hai.

Maine Pyaar  Kiya, Hum Aaap Ke Hain Kaun, Hum Saath Saath Hain aur Vivaah ke baad, Saooraj Barjatya, ek aur saaf suthri prem kahani ya yun kahiyen, ek aur pariwarik kahani laayein hain.

Iss baar, wo teenage love ya just engaged/ maried couples ke muddein nahi, aaj gharane ke baadshahi thaat baat ke kisse laayein hain.

Isme Neil Nitin Mukesh jaise yuvraaj hain, Swara Bhasker jaisi rajkumariyaan, shaandar sets, baag bageeche, sheesh mehale aur mahlon ki oonchi deewaron ke peeche chupi gehri raajneeti.

Aisi kahaniyaan 70 ke dashak mashoor thi, magar dheere dheere, bilkul gayab ho gayi…Sooraj Barjatya wohi raja/runk ki kahani ko aaj ki bhasha aur bhaav mein pesh karte hain.

Film ka plus: film ki casting, cinematography aur music.  Ismein rang hai, rass hai, jazbaa hai, masti hai.
Film ka minus:  film lambi hai, zaroorat se zyaada gaane hai, plot restricted hai aur climax predictible.

Sooraj Barjatya ki sabhi filmein parampara ki baat karti hai… Prem Ratan Dhan Payo bhi, isse aap tehvar ke din pure parivar ke saath dekh sakte ho!

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo ko Big Entertainment Ratings milte hai 3 stars.  


Bhai Dooj celebrates siblings - DAY 699 (1)

The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.  

The festival is a reciprocation of Rakhi when the sister visits the brother’s home and shares a meal with her maiden family. On Bhai Dooj the brother visits the married sister with his family and shares a meal with his sister’s husband and in-laws.


Thursday 12 November 2015

Naya saal defines new beginnings - DAY 698

The day after Diwali is celebrated as the New Year by the Gujaratis. It is a day of the victory of good over evil; and symbolizes rising from darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to
good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During these four days, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope.

The illumination of homes and firecrackers are an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. 

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Deepawali celebrates victory - DAY 697

Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or 'Deepawali.' Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.
In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength.
Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day.

In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana.

Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.

It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon granted to him by Lord Vishnu.


Tuesday 10 November 2015

Kalichaudas marks destruction of evil - DAY 696

Kalichaudas or Amavasya or Pehli Diwali as is popularly called is the day before the festival of lights. Actually all the four days of the festival has a legendary story and myth asociated with it. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.

Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his incarnation of a dwarf vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.


Monday 9 November 2015

Dhanteras is worship of Money - DAY 695

Dhanteras is the first day of the five-day Diwali Festival as celebrated primarily in Northern & Western part of India. The festival is also known as Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanvantari Trayodashi. The word ‘Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day as per Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwayuja.

On Dhanteras, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. Dhanteras holds special significance for the business community due to the customary purchases of precious metals on this day. Lord Kubera, the God of assets and wealth is also worshiped on this day.

The tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity in many ways, and the festival of 'Dhanteras' ('dhan' = wealth; 'teras' = 13th) is celebrated two days before the festival of lights.


Friday 6 November 2015

Charlie ke Chakkar Mein :Bores - DAY 694

AmitSial likhiaurManishSrivastav directed Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein wohi drugs, drinks, pyaar, dosti aur nakamyaab rishton ki kahani hain.

Paanch dost jinme se ek director ban na chahta hai aur ek actor, subah sham milte hain, ladte jhagadte hain aur rang reliyaan manaate hain.

Ek raat, ek club mein, zyaada nasha aur arguments ke baad, ek haadsa ho jaata hai, jiske baad, sab ki zindagi badal jaati hai!
Kahani ke teen versions hain: Pehla, jo doston ka version hain.  Doosra, jo underworld ka version hai aur teesra, jo police ka version hai.

Film ke opening credits mein Naseerudin Shah ka shukriya aada kiya gaya hai. Karna bhi chahiye kyon ki jo film mein Naseerudin Shah ke alava dekhne layak kuch hai bhi nahi.

Charlie ke Chakkar Mein ko Big Entertainment Ratings milte hain 1.5 stars.


Thursday 5 November 2015

Parineeti Chopra & Starwar - DAY 693

Parineeti Chopra was part of a panel discussion at Jio MAMI and got visibly excited when she visited the special star wars booth at the venue. She was excited that the festival was showcasing the best of unseen cinema and enabling movie buffs like her to experience the epic Star Wars saga.

The MAMI Mela hosted at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai was a terrific spot for many actors to hang in there for coffee and conversation after their and Parineeti was one of them. She spent a lot of time around the brand new LightSaber which has been flown to India especially from Hollywood and pretended to be a Jedi from the film. The paparazi loved to capture her and Parineeti enjoyed the moment thoroughly.

The customized and theme based Star Wars: The Force Awakens booth allows fans to feel immersed in the biggest cinema spectacle of the century. So many people from the media and others posed with Lightsabers and clicked fun pictures in anticipation of the movie.


Wednesday 4 November 2015

Marathi Rangbhumi Festival - DAY 692

On the occasion of Marathi Rangbhumi Diwas, we at The Hive in association with Culture Shoq have curated a festival featuring some magnificent plays and play readings. Commencing on 5 Nov to 8 the many exclusive shows at the festival include Theatre on the Big Mic which willbe an open mic in Marathi for theatre enthusiasts. Then there is a Kathak performance, play reading by Omkar Bhatkar readings of his play titled L’arbre Etrange (The Strange Tree) in Marathi that tells the story about three people who find solace in a tree.

Varhaad Nighalay London La about a rich father who sends his son to study in London, England. The son decided to marry a girl from Britain is written and directed by Laxman Deshpande will be performed by actor Sandeep Pathak. Didh Inch Var, a solo performance adapted from Dedh Inch Upar written by well-known Hindi writer Mr. Nirmal Verma narrates the conversation between a man and a fictitious character while sitting in a liquor bar in the midnight.
 Antarnaad is collection of stories, poetires, articles on various issues led by Abhijeet Awari and Yugandhar Deshpande and another Rangkamal program based on short stories of Kamal Desai and presented by Ravindra Lakhe and Priya Jamkar.  Similarly two solo acts titled Kathagoi- directed by Hemant Hazare, performed by Dhanashree Karmarkar and Sunil Joshi.

The highlight ofcourse is an adaption of Vijay Tendulkar’s short story Ved about a woman and her imaginations about her lost husband. She lost her husband years ago but has not come to terms with it and believes he is alive and has imaginary conversations with a non existent person.


Tuesday 3 November 2015

Fans make superstars - DAY 691

Ajay Devgn had a surprise visitor recently; it was from a group of his most ardent fans and who call themselves 'ADians' connected with the fan clubs across India through his social media spear headed by approximately 20 fan clubs all over India and met up in Mumbai to surprise their favorite actor on his sets and were happy to meet not just Ajay but also Kajol.

 It was after meeting them that Ajay discovered that his fans are connected to not just India but also overseas and on their request Ajay spoke to his fans across Pakistan, Indonesia and Singapore. 

It was a special day for the fans and for Ajay Devgan who was charming and looked after his guests and presented all of them with ADian' T-shirts.

Now this is what I call a Fan- tastic moment.


Monday 2 November 2015

Critics don’t make cinema - DAY 690

For all the glowing reviews Titli received from our lead critics, the first day collection of the film was just 50 lacs. Granted that the film is shot on a shoe string budget on real locations with newcomers and revenue of a crore for a production like this is more than satisfactory but the poor results raise many questions. The foremost being can reviews/ critics alter the fate of a film and the answer is no.

It is coincidence that renowned criti Peter Bradshaw at a workshop held for Jio MAMI 2015 elaborated on the very same points. Bradshaw recommended that it is important for reviewers to retain their innocence in the theatres and not get carried away by the analysis of the film. He emphasized that it is not about getting a review right all the time but about engaging and involving your reader/ viewer. In many ways a review of a film is like a film and if the reviewer is not engaged in what he is writing/ speaking the reader/ viewer is not going to be involved too.

Bradshaw said that most reviewers feel isolated when their opinion or ratings are not in sync with the other critics, they don’t have to feel apologetic. He said the sad part is that not only do most of the reviews lack original opinions but also are dull and matter of fact, which should not be because cinema is about passion.

Bradshaw was dismissive about his popularity and that so many people around the world watch films only after reading him and attributed his success to the reach of Hollywood, the internet culture and the fact that his medium was English. He said he was the beneficiary of a new revolution.

In a final question to how important is a critic to cinema his answer was revelatory, he said ‘Not at all. In the final analysis it is filmmakers who will be remembered not critics'.