Category Archives: Fiction

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara – Review

By Ankush Kumar

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One of the reasons why the sales of ‘Pass pass’ slumped at its launch was the movie Yaadein. Never in the history of entertainment a movie as lame as that was made, but the makers of painkillers had a smile everytime the movie was screened at any theatre in India. Once upon a time in Mumbai dobara is no different.

Premise: An extremely unique story of two friends falling for the same girl.

Plot: Well! They Lost it!

Acting: Over the top, caricaturish & Lousy.

Citizen Kane moment: A few scenes like Akshay Kumar’s bank sequence or the tayab Ali song and possibly the background music.

Kela moments: Sans the above three the entire movie.

Technical Aspect: As usual brilliant by bollywood standards, gaudy by our western counterparts.

Take home: Acting by Pitobash and Sonali Bendre.

Leave Behind: The dialogues, Rajat Arora tries too hard this time. The plot if there was any, acting a huge let down by the main cast and a disappointing result to a brilliant first part.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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66 Years Of Bollywood Since Independence: Why The Show Will Always Go On

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Ankush Kumar brings back 66-years of the Hindi film industry since Independence

“Awara hoon, ya gardish mein hoon, aasman ka tara hoon”. This Raj Kapoor classic sums up the journey of Hindi cinema in the last 100 years. A name that is not just a poorer cousin of its western counterpart, but also is behind its regional competitor, ‘Bollywood’ has reached an age of celebrations. Bevinda Collaco, the veteran journalist and Amit Khanna, a film maker both have staked claim in coining the term, that now appears even in the Oxford English dictionary ‘BOLLYWOOD’.

Ever since India gained independence in 1947 Hindi cinema has taken baby steps forward and today in 2013 we are ready to cater to global audiences. In the last 66 years Hindi cinema has seen some great periods of entertainment and some really low phases when the audience were treated to utter nonsense and stupidity. Today lets look back at the industry of entertainment fondly known as ‘Bollywood’.

“Dekha ek khawb, toh yeh silsile hue”
This song defines the era of post independence Hindi cinema. The fifties and sixties was the golden period of Hindi movies. A few good men saw the dream of making quality cinema and entertaining the audiences at large. Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor redefined the perception of Hindi cinema and brought a cross cultural appeal to it. Hence the films of that era, even today are considered timeless gems. In a poll conducted by BBC Asia for the top hundred songs in Bollywood, a whopping 46 percent of its music came from this era. At the dusk of the sixties, and dawn of the seventies, Hindi cinema witnessed the birth of a legend, that too purely ‘Luck by Chance’.

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The angst a common man had in him, was beautifully portrayed by the then generation of film makers and Hindi cinema made way to classics like Sholay, Deewar, Trishul, Zanjeer. This was the same era when film makers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee showcased the struggles of an underdog in a light humorous way.

Bollywood smashed box office records in this era. Legends like Amitabh Bachchan were born, and the world had begun to take notice of cinema from the east. The era of the seventies can be best summed up by this awesome dialogue ‘Mogambo khush hua’!

Its quite an Irony when it comes to Bollywood in the eighties. Back then when India won the cricket world cup in 1983, or when Delhi hosted the Asian games in 1982, or for the matter of fact when our hockey team won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, our cinema saw a huge slump. The period between 1980 and 1988 is considered the darkest hour of Hindi cinema.

The old order was still adamant then, be it the actors or the directors or the musicians hence the end result of the movies were tacky and useless. Legendary directors like Manmohan Desai who had popularized Kumbh melas in the seventies did not find takers of his brand of cinema in the eighties. Legends like Amitabh Bachchan were the only who still managed return on investments; otherwise mostly films were a dull affair.

The advent of the nineties brought a sea change in Bollywood. The Chopras, Barjatyas and Johars dominated proceedings. Stars like Salman, Aamir and Shahrukh Khan were born. The new order of technicians and actors managed to erase the dark era of the eighties. Romance as a genre helped Bollywood make its mark in European and American markets. This was also the decade where Bollywood stars made rapid strides in the world of publicity and advertising.

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“Dekho 2000 zamana aa gaya” the dawn of the new millennium saw the birth of two sons of legendary actors, the Khans continued to dominate the decade. But some very inspiring comebacks made the difference. Bachchan Sr, Sanjay Dutt made a comeback of sorts, so did Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. This was the era when new age cinema found their calling. Our movies went to prestigious fests and made a mark.

The copyright act meant plagiarism wasn’t a choice anymore and yet adaptations of western classics were made. Directors like ‘Vishal Bhardwaj’ captured literature from the world beautifully. Dark cinema was equally entertaining. But the decade of 2000 will be best remembered for ‘Lagaan’. A movie that made it to the academies final five. There is a section of society that thinks Oscars are equivalent to our Filmfare, but that has never been the case. They respect and celebrate cinema of the world, we have narrowed it down to just Hindi cinema.

Today as we enter sixty-six years of independence, Bollywood is ready to cut its hundredth cake, many milestones have been achieved, some have been missed, some legends have transcended into a better world, some are still wielding magic. One line that defines the spirit of Bollywood is “The show must go on”.

Disclaimer by the author: Editors have a way of thinking. He gave me just 600 words to cover 66 years of cinema. His expectations is for another day. Today I just want to say ‘there have been several names that do not make the write up, but their contribution to our cinema is equally important.

Chennai Express – Is A Full Paisa Wasool Journey

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By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

All set to board the Chennai express?!? Vaango…ukkarango (read: please come…please sit)!!! Is the journey worth the ride?!? Read on.

Full credits to SRK and the moviemakers to have the name of the female lead displayed over the male counterpart! This drew loud raptures from the crowd and what a way to start the two and half hour odd train journey.

Back again as Rahul (naam toh suna hoga), a planned trip to Goa changes track to Rameshwaram, as he comes across Meenamma, who boards the Chennai Express in typical DDLJ style. As the train chugs along, there are definitely some funny gags which have you in splits. A la Rohit Shetty’s ishtyle, the movie serves comedy and action in equal dosages – flying cars and bikes and colorful sets, for a change, we got to see some action involving steel buckets too!

The movie does have its share of rough patches. Deepika’s twang was lousy, despite being a southern belle. Her Hindi was fluent in certain places, while in most of the other scenes, her dialogues were laced with the southern accent. How’s that even possible?!? Gal, you ought to have gone in for a dub-artist. SRK keeps referring to the power of the common man in the movie. Now, how many common men wear or for that matter can afford a Dolce & Gabbana vest today?

A major portion of the film had Tamil dialogues – for a moment, I was confused if I was watching a Hindi movie or a Tamil flick. The female lead, aptly nicknamed Ms. Subtitle serves as an interpreter whenever the need arises. As much as the important bits were translated, it’s obvious that some portions were lost!

SRK’s screen presence is mind blowing and has you begging for more. He tickles the funny bone, makes you shed a tear and packs in quite a punch in the action scenes. Deepika Paduone was a complete stunner and surrenders to her character completely (albeit her southern accent). The veteran southern star Sathyaraj leaves a desired effect but his role was down played that had me a tad disappointed. The villain Niketan Dheer looked menacing and fit into his role perfectly (but even the villain couldn’t speak good Tamil!). Rohit Shetty travels the full mile to deliver an action packed comedy with all the tried and tested ingredients of the genre he is known for.

Chennai Express is a typical family entertainer – full paisa vasool journey!!

Chennai Express: Finally an SRK film with a story

Chennai Express: Finally An SRK Film With A Story

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By Ankush Kumar

The last interview I read on Shahrukh Khan, he said two things. One ‘ Deepika Padukone is the soul of Chennai express’. Two ‘ he wants to be remembered as an actor who constantly tried’.

Chennai express is an example true to his latter statement. The man has definitely tried. SRK has always been your boy next-door actor, whenever he has tried hardcore action, the Baadshah has looked stupid. But here in this journey he has balanced the genres of romance and action perfectly well.

Add to this the comic elements Rohit Shetty style and ‘you would want to get on this train baby’! His former statement that ‘Deepika is the soul of the film’ also holds true. She plays a South Indian girl whose dad is a don and gets the accent and mannerisms spot on.

Rahul played by SRK gets on a train and witnesses the death of a ticket checker, hence Deepika escorts him to her house till matters calm down, and how Rahul escapes the clutches of the goons forms the crux of this Southern sojourn.

The cameraman has captured picturesque Kerala beautifully. The editing of the movie though is a huge let down. The first half of the movie is crisp until Deepika and SRK escape from her home. Post interval though the film drags on endlessly. 

Every time a Rohit Shetty film is filled with amazing car related action sequences; this is no difference except for the fact that Ajay Devgn possibly looks better doing those stunts. As long as SRK plays the quintessential lover boy Chennai express is a joyride, but beyond that the movie falters!

The saving grace though is that the movie atleast has a story, and for a change the item numbers have the fun element than the vulgarity.

I am going with 2.5/5 stars with this movie; die-hard SRK fans relish the character of Rahul yet again. Till then Eid Mubarak!

The Tale Of Entrapment

By Shivani Gupta

Under the affect of alcohol he could barely walk, walking looked so dangerous for him. His hands battled with glass wall to hold them. Tremendous pull of gravity made his grounded feet imbalanced and prone to collisions. His blurry vision and loose tongue crowned him as a super dangerous orator. Isn’t it “ITS KEWL”?

[Caution – My woven thoughts might sound CONSERVATIVE but understand the underlying message. READ THIS WITH OPEN HEAD]

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Youth population of any country is considered to be extremely important in defining its growth. India driven by corrupted politics and polluted mindsets can be superior nation if courageous youth determines to wash away evils. We have to be vigilant and determined enough to create this change, but are we?

To join us you have to be of ‘OUR TYPES’, and how do you define TYPE. The ‘type’ is clearly visible with multiplying clubs and bars. It reflects intensified and zingy social life of youth. Nightlife attraction is now top rated entertainment that has made its way through kicking all family boring parties. But here REMORSEFUL part is not midnight party culture but what happens after that….

Until dawn youth crazily party, experiment with alcohol and drugs, bid adieu party in arms of affluent strangers and then expects the snoring pot bellied cops to reach at right time if something wrong happens. Haven’t you ever learnt from bollywood spicy flicks that cops reaches to the crimes scene after IT’S DONE. SO BETTER BE RESPONSIBLE PARTY PEOPLE.

We chant bleak law and order in the society, AGREED… but how about you… when after two pegs you take an avatar of not being satisfied with alcohol even if bar is closed. You might feel light after peeing hundredth and thousandth times and continue gulping those golden tonics one after the other. Does that really matter in your life – Party and Booze?

My opinion of liberal is not against ones freedom or barring youth from parties. It is extremely important to be socially active with friends and families in order to enhance realm of networking and vent out mindful dishes. But it’s time to demarcate line of control, be a good example for your coming generation, who see you as a mentor. Let’s be responsible for our actions and stop hiding under the murky blankets of (bleak) law and order.

One should never forget lessons of – Anything in excess is harmful. 

D-Day Movie Review: Story, Performances Awesome

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The movie goes beyond the plain logistics of the ugly world of espionage to try and put a human face to the people who lose everything and gain nothing in their line of work, says Jaideep Ghosh

The movie’s momentum is built up right from the first sequence, as a catchy version of ‘Damadam Mast Kalandar’ sets the pace which is sustained remarkably throughout the plot by director Nikhil Advani. The tempo has its ups and downs in terms of speed but doesn’t lose the momentum of intensity at any time.

Wali (Irrfan Khan), Rudra (Arjun Rampal), Zoya (Huma Qureshi) and their local outlaw-turned-agent Aslam (Aakash Dahiya) are ordered by the RAW boss in India, Ashwini Rao (Nasser), to bring back to India the most wanted terrorist, Iqbal (Rishi Kapoor).

Within that framework, Advani has been able to push through the human tragedy that espionage can be. Wali’s wife and son are used as a handle by the ISI to try and snatch Iqbal back, tearing the spy between country and family. Zoya’s marriage falls victim to her work while Rudra’s love is a death sentence for a Pakistani prostitute (played brilliantly by Shruti Haasan).

It’s a movie about how human tragedy can even work as a catalyst for people to go so far beyond the realms of realism in an effort to achieve something. Also, it shows how these people, operating in the shadows, are no one’s children (RAW frantically tries to disown them when the plan threatens to fall through).

Rampal is sculpted to near-perfection, but Advani decided not to load him with excess histrionics, which worked fine. Huma is good and Irrfan, who has set a high benchmark, does sometimes threaten to look like the same guy we saw in other movies. Rishi Kapoor is at his cynical best while Haasan and Shriswara, as Wali’s wife Nafisa, have really done extremely well.

The music, if you have the patience to appreciate a good score, will keep you spellbound, especially if you can appreciate the mix of music and picturisation.

घुलता हुआ एहसास

Sad-Love-Poem

Ankit Chandra writes this forlorn lover poem with a caveat. Don’t label him as a forlorn lover, this is just an artistic creation. Wonderfully crafted though, enjoy

सोचता तो था की शायद उसको याद करता हूँ
पर अहसास अब कुछ कम होता है

कुछ समय पहले चाहता तो उसे बहुत था
पर महसूस अब थोडा कम करता हूँ

कहीं से कुछ कम हुआ है या खुद ही ख़त्म हो रहा हूँ
पर कुछ बातों को याद करके मायूस अब थोडा कम होता हूँ

सूरज को देखने की आदत तो नहीं पड़ी है,
पर चाँद को अब कभी कभी ही देखता हूँ

किसी और का नाम तो नहीं आया है अभी जुबां पे,
पर उसका नाम ज़रूर कम लेता हूँ

देर रात तक जागना तो अभी शुरू नहीं किया है,
पर रात में अभी भी कम सोता हूँ

आँखें अभी तक सूखी तो नहीं है
पर शायद अब थोडा कम रोता हूँ..