Tag Archives: Amitabh Bachchan

Movie Review: Satyagraha – It’s Just Okay!

By Shankar Venkatraman

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Satyagraha – reminder of the “Lokpal” Andolan!!! Some good insights in “what could have transpired behind the scenes of Anna Hazare hunger strike”, great use of technology with focus on Social Media Marketing, minimal ‘gyaanbaazi’ though Jha had the platform to rake in ‘n’ number of issues and the brilliance of Bachchan…

Corruption, politics and revolution huh…a poignant and helpless B speaks the angst in the climax “where is the nation headed as there is no one to hear us out…”True indeed as ‘aam junta‘ continues to suffer for there is nobody to listen to them. It is better to forget the civic lessons we’ve had on the freedom and rights fundas!!! The movie takes a dig on almost all aspects – youth to take up a cause with the advent of technology, the games played by the political parties, conscientious citizens who sacrifice their “current” in lieu of a “future” which looks still bleak. A moralistic media (for a change) who speaks on the “need for a change” without unscroupulous means…the tirade against justice continues.

The movie has come at a time when the country is perhaps undergoing the worst economic and social turmoil ever. There has been a complete breakdown of every possible fabric that binds the nation together. The movie limits itself to a small town while addressing that “this is the state of affairs” across the nation. But how far can a common man go to make life better is still unclear! We pay all our taxes right?

Income tax with onions and oil prices going up…30% of our earnings and efforts…are donated to the national and state exchequers for these goons to keep looting us in every plausible way!!!

Road tax with no proper roads…an aam junta is so burdened with his own troubles…where has he got time for such idealist movements??

Devgan is in his usual space (as always in a Prakash Jha movie), Rampal gets wasted, Kareena is poise personified and Amrita is just about okay…Manoj is cheesy and awesome. BiG B-wallah re wallah…check out his eyes, his gait, his downburst…too much!

Go watch it and if possible grab a copy of “Main Azaad Hun” movie – nothing has changed in the last 25 years though.

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Movie Review: Satyagraha: Poor Story Except In Bits

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By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, & Manoj Bajpayee.

Introduction: The message is loud and clear. And Satyagraha adds no new aspect to the revolution.

Premise: Only if you are news blind, you will miss the fact that this one is based on the Arvind Kejriwal & Anna Hazare movement.

Plot: Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a school teacher who lives by the Gandhian principles, Maanav Raghvendra (Ajay Devgn) is a NRI business magnet. At the core it’s the story of these two individuals. How a shrewd businessman becomes a nationalist and then becomes part of the revolution.

Acting: Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant as he underplays his character, the portions where he really breaks down with citizen kanesque acts he is let down by his editors, Ajay Devgn disappoints this time though, the punch is missing in his dialogue delivery. Kareena Kapoor looks less of a journalist and more like an add on. The whistles might be heard but Manoj Bajpayee character is becoming caricaturish now. Arjun Rampal has a miniscule role but his heart is worn on his sleeves.

Technical Insight: The script disappoints, Anjum Rajabali can learn a thing or two with changing times, you will feel like re reading the newspapers all over again with very little entertainment value, editing is hopelessly bad, scenes of highest emotions has been killed by lazy edits. Cinematography though is brilliant especially the revolution bit. The music is a sore bore except for Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. Prakash Jha, maybe out of commercial compulsions gives in, sir atleast once give us a Damul again.

Kela moments: Many actually. The songs weren’t needed. And how on earth Kareena Kapoor is the only journalist covering the agitation?

Citizen Kane moments: Amitabh Bachchan consoling his widowed daughter in law Amrita Rao, the scene where Mr. Bachchan breaks down when he returns to the scene of his son’s death and Mr. Bachchan scene where he tells Devgn he will miss him when he is gone.

Brownie Points: 2.5/5.

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.

5 All-Time Favourite Bollywood Friendships

No matter whether they are off-screen or what type of their relationships they share in real life, but these on-screen friendship stories have been a hot favorite amongst the viewers. Kushal Sakunia brings to you your favourite friendship jodis.

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1. Sholay – Amitabh & Dharmendra (1975)

The first film that comes to mind when we think friendship is of course Sholay. The title role of Jay and Viru excellently played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra respectively would etch into your hearts permanently post viewing this classic film and the song “Yeh Dosti”.

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2. Dosti – Sudhir Kumar & Sushil Kumar (1964)

Another classic from the golden period of Indian cinema that will touch your emotional chord is ‘Dosti’. Starring Sudhir Kumar and Sushil Kumar, the film is the story of two friends who help each other out even in the face of extreme hardship.

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3. Rang De Basanti – Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan (2006)

Fresh faces and an inimitable storyline including friendship, war against corruption and political distress made Rang De Basanti an apt film for the times. It had an incredible story about friendship which the youth of today can relate to. RDB is a must watch this weekend with your friends.

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4. Dil Chahta Hai – Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna (2001)

The only film that revolves completely around friends and friendship is Dil Chahta Hai. The three lead characters are the epitomes of true friends, but circumstances drift them apart and the film essentially tries to establish that whatever complicated situations come in one’s life, it’s absolutely impossible to break the bond of a true friendship.

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5. 3 Idiots – Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi & Madhavan (2009)

The story of 3 Idiots is a entertaining journey of three friends who try to explore themselves and share them unforgettable experiences.  It dealt with the education system in India and the bond between three engineering students in a premier institution of engineering. It also showed how if one followed his dreams, fame and family and friends will never leave his or her side.

The ‘Alive Club’ And Its Benefits That Jiah Khan Will Miss

Ankush Kumar continues to write on why fighting the devils of the world is the only way to fight depression and how zillions others are doing it day-in and day-out. Suicide to him is the easiest escape route and unfortunately, that would not just kill depression, that will kill the self too, so how is that a victory?

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We all know how difficult it is to live up to people’s expectations. If you haven’t encountered that yet, then I bow my head to thee! For all remaining commoners like me and scores of others if you are reading this post after facing several lows in your life, after going though frustration of failures, after feeling the heat from your staunchest critics, then mate welcome to the ‘ALIVE CLUB’.

This club has its presence across the globe, the entry fees to this club are free but the cost to remain inside the coterie is extremely high. It takes tremendous amount of courage, sweat in gallons, wounds that cannot be cured with any medicine and lots of strength to counter the politics within to eventually make it to the platinum section of the club. Very few from each part of the globe are platinum members; these are the heroes we all look up to. These are the ones who smiled from one failure to another and moved up the ladder of success. They are the ones we all dream of emulating during our growing up years.

The second category of members are the Gold club ones. These are people who are successful in their own little way, but are still striving to reach the platinum section. For example Sanjay Dutt an actor from Bollywood, who has millions of fans, people aspire to have a personality like him, but the man is still going through tormenting times in his life. But the fact that he is still fighting the demons makes him a privileged member of the ‘ALIVE CLUB’. Then we have the third category the largest one in the club.

The general members, who day in and day out strive in their own respective fields, fighting different kinds of demons at home and work place to make a mark for themselves; these are the ones whose first goal is to make it to the silver club. Gold and platinum for them is still a distant dream. The journey for them is the toughest indeed; they have to fight a syndrome called depression which they encounter at a regular basis. In a world where competition is nerve wracking feeling like giving up on life is the easiest escape route. Some succumb to the pressure and hence lose the privilege of being part of the ‘ALIVE CLUB’, while the others keep the battle alive.

The counsellors around the country have been writing shorts on depression and how we should not ignore it ever since a tinsel town actor committed suicide. Nobody ignores the aspect folks; it is just that ‘we general members go through that fear of losing hope day in and day out’ and we are the best judge for ourselves on how to encounter the challenges, adjust to our new changes and move on. If the mind is suppose to be the best doctor for ourselves then depression is curable too.

What is not curable though are the invisible wounds that we commoners encounter every day. These wounds cannot be healed with any medicine. The only cure is ‘TIME’. But some people choose to defy the clock and land up doing something as stupid as committing suicide. The ironic part is that ‘suicide’ is a criminal offence in the world, but the deceased won’t even be tried in the court of law.

One court though will always ask us questions, one person will judge us on our achievements and at that time we should have the right answers. Did we do justice to the gift given to us by GOD? Did we squeeze out the last ounce of talent given to us by him? Did we survive and enjoyed the journey inside the ‘ALIVE CLUB’ or did we commit a sin and betray his faith reposed on us?

P.S: Expectations is the mother of all miseries, I am under scrutiny after my first post today. Even if I fail, I surely won’t commit suicide.

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STOP Jiah Khan! That Is Not Your Job.

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Ankush Kumar, someone who has seen the struggle of the Tinsel Town from very close quarters, having lived in match-boxed sized houses and survived on Vada-Pao, talks why no struggle, no matter how tough it is should propel one to go and take an extreme step like Suicide. A must read. 

How we wish school would have lasted till we die! The charm of sleeping in the bathroom as a hysterical mother yelled at you to get ready, the innocence of missing the school bus almost on a daily basis to squeeze in another hour of football before reaching home, fooling parents on holiday homework so that you don’t have to study, how we wish life could have been just like that.

The truth though is that none of us had imagined at school that life would be one hell of a ride. At school everything seemed so rosy and colourful; all we forgot was the thorns that we would encounter as we grew up. Today none of us know what will happen tomorrow (except the daily routine perhaps) then why take extreme steps and end the most beautiful gift GOD has given us?

Today one tinsel town actor ‘JIAH KHAN’ committed suicide; speculations are rife that she was fed up with people taunting her at not making it big in the industry. The entire social networking sites are flooded with ‘RIP’ statuses. I for one don’t feel like putting up one though. Why on earth should we care for other people’s opinions? We were not born in to this world to please others! I am sure the people who lamented at her failures, had not gone far themselves. Because the people who have achieved stardom know that it takes time to reach the top, and they are so immersed in work that they have no time for such cheap talks.

Every time a tinsel town actor is caught taking drugs, or committing suicide, the world starts questioning the working ethics of the industry? This is highlighted by the media because it generates eyeballs, it gives them money from advertisers, and it gives them TRP’s. There several working professionals from other sphere too who end their lives, are involved in brawls, but we hardly come to know about such activities. Why question the darker side behind the glitz every time a weak individual takes an extreme step? Why don’t we talk about the smaller fringe players who put in hours of hard work, day in and day out to create that glitz for us viewers?

We unfortunately have become a society that thrives on stories of failures. Rumours will fly for quite some time now. Media channels will run her story, blame the industry, and expose the bitter realities of the ‘Gore behind the Glitz’. In some dingy area of suburban Mumbai, where strugglers reside, they will feel a little sad, will give their struggle a second thought, some may question her morals and character, there will be gossip mongers who will create stupid stories of sex, sleaze and lies and torment her soul forever. But I still don’t feel sorry for her, because she chose to do the job of GOD.

The Bollywood film industry lives by one mantra ‘THE SHOW MUST GO ON’! That is exactly what will happen, people who have work will continue to put in the efforts, strugglers will continue to work for that elusive break, and losers will continue to have suicidal symptoms.

Some will make it to the national headlines like ‘JIAH KHAN’ because she had managed to crack some big films; others will be lost in anonymity forever.

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A Tribute to the Symbol of Sacrifice, Hope and Comfort

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Our Mother’s Week celebrations continue as Ganesh Subramanian talks how God by his creation of mommies made sure his presence ain’t compulsory everywhere. Read on the wonderful article. 

It is said that God cannot be everywhere to help everyone and that is why he sent mothers to earth. How true is this adage even today! From Bollywood’s legendary exchange between Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, where Shashi Kapoor says, “Mere pass maa hai!” to TV soaps and media glorifying women as a mother, we have seen it all. But can mother, that caring, gentle human being, be restricted to these praises alone. Not at all! A mother is beyond words, beyond worlds.

From seeing us take those tiny, baby steps to beating the floor if we slip and fall down and are on the verge of crying, from sacrificing her food and eating what is left after the whole family has consumed its food, from rejoicing at our success to crying when we were in pain, from telling proudly to others as to how/her son/daughter won an event to putting herself on the line when her kid is in danger, a mother has been our constant companion in joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat, delight and despair, success and failure and pleasure and pain.

Often when I am dejected or when I have met with some failure, it has been my mother who has reminded me that this failure is just a learning curve and I am too talented for success to be elusive for too long. Often this is what is needed for me to become cheerful again and work harder next time. A mother understands her child’s hunger, she understands her children’s aspirations. She along with her children builds castles with them, a castle of dreams, of hope, of betterment.

How many roles does a mother play? If there is any CEO who could play as many roles as a mother had to, then he/she would have been extinct by now. A mother is a companion to her kids, a devoted wife to her husband, a mentor and a coach to her kids when they learn, a relationship counselor to her kids when they grapple with teenage issues. The list is endless.

On the occasion of Mother’s week, let us all take a moment to reflect on this wonderful human being, a walking God amidst us in our family, the unselfish supporter in everyone’s life. Let us prostrate before this light of divinity and may we all pray to the Almighty to give this amazing creation a long, healthy and happy life. Happy Mothers Week !

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