Tag Archives: Bollywood

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.

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Chennai Express – Is A Full Paisa Wasool Journey

chennai express shwetha

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

Whose Fault is it Anyway?

By Ankit Chandra

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Off late, or maybe its an exponential function of getting older, I’ve begun to see more shades of gray in our lives. Not to mention I have a huge trouble differentiating between greens and grays ( I think I am colourblind), but that again, is digression.

The grays I am talking about are absolutely divergent from the simple problems as we used to face. much like the transition from 11th standard’s finding forces of friction between two cubes, to finding the forces of friction between all bodies in a moving cycle.

Earlier it was so simple to point the good vs the evil. God Ram was good, Ravan was evil! it was simple. But then IBN live ran a story saying that in south India, some people actually worshiped Ravan and thought Ram was evil! Even that could have passed off as an exception, if it wasn’t for a wiki article on Indo-china war in 1965. Before that, as most Indians, I thought that the fault was all Chinese. After reading that article, it wasn’t clear who was wrong. Chinese, according to that article, were just trying to protect their territory. Whose fault was it then?

Then I watched Devdas (new one, again). Obviously the hero in the movie, Devdas, was loved by everyone. Poor guy, because of the pain he went through because of Paro leaving him or his father punishing him for everything, he got into drinking problems. Although otherwise a drunkard is considered bad, in this case Devdas won all the sympathy because we all ‘knew’ why he became a drunkard. So then, something becomes despicable only when we judge the act. But as soon as we get to know the reason behind the act, the whole picture turns itself on head, and the character become a hero of a Rs. 30 crore plus movie.

There was this character in this movie. That of Devdas’s bhabhi (sister in law). She comes out in a very sinister portrayal. But I now think that was because the movie doesn’t get into the details of her character. If Devdas had his reasons for turning into a drunkard, she must have hers for turning into a bitch. Maybe if those reasons were shown in the movie (like a disturbed childhood, early rape or whatever is heart wrenching enough), we might not have considered her evil. Assuming her part of story was shown and we looked at her with the same sympathy as Devdas, who was responsible for all the fracas? Whose fault was it anyway?

I think the point that comes out is that there are so many shades of gray that I am bound to get confused in between them (and I almost thought I was colourblind :P) Most of the people in the world are living in the various shades of gray. Let’s be a little more careful the next time we point are fingers ‘knowing’ whose fault it actually was after all.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Wrath! A Shagufta Rafique Meet-Up

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By Ankush Kumar

I had met her way back in 2008. I did not know much about her except that she was a writer. She had a film to her credit. She also penned lyrics for Vishesh films. On the outset she was very rude to me and she questioned the male society a lot during our entire conversation.

I couldn’t derive much from that meeting, but she did give me a few insights on the filmy career and the uneven path that I was going to encounter in the coming years. The only memory I still have is her face and those eyes that communicated a very different language. Today I read about her in the newspapers and the entire meeting flashed in front of my eyes.

Shagufta Rafique an established screenwriter with several hits like woh lamhe, Aashiqui-2 and murder-2 to her credit is a prolific individual. Someone who has seen so much in such little time, she had every right to question my motive behind meeting her. She was forced into flesh trade at the age of seventeen. She escaped the wrath of vultures and landed up working in dance bars of Mumbai.

On account of the fact that she had a face that even a blind man could not miss she graduated to dancing abroad in the gulf nations. Now I know that those eyes spoke an universal language of struggle and triumph, maybe hence she was harsh at me, she wanted me to fall and rise without any support.

I guess those eyes communicated just one message ‘ If I could do it, so can you. Don’t lose hope’. For every Jiah Khan’s who end their lives in tinsel town we have a Shagufta Rafique who has battled odds of humanity to make a living. She eventually met someone who got her out of the rut and helped her become a writer. And here she is one of the most sought after writers of mainstream Bollywood today. I salute you mam.

P S: This story needs to be told on the silver screen. It will be the best way to celebrate the courage of the lady.

Ghanchakkar Review: Meat Missing From Story

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By Ankush Kumar

The one thing that is common between the intelligent filmmakers of Bollywood, the dumb ones and the pseudos’ is their love for the disease called Amnesia. The pseudos’ mostly get this one right because their audiences are equally mushy and stupid.

The dumb ones have little options but it’s the intelligent ones that goes horribly wrong. When expectations from a cult filmmaker are massive and you are treated to an overdose of amnesia the end result is ‘Ghanchakkar’.

Loosely inspired by the Danny Boyle film trance where a man robs a painting and forgets this one has money as its subject. But as it has happened umpteen times an inspiration with dash of Bollywood clichés and the movie gives its audience a burst of amnesia at the end.

The movie starts perfectly well. Setu has shot the bank heist brilliantly. Quirky humor, stellar performances and bouncy music gives you a hope that delicious biryani is being cooked. But beyond the first hour the movie begins to fizzle out. Repeated gags and the film starts to choke. In the end you feel cheated when you realize that bharta has been served instead of biryani.

On the acting front Emraan Hashmi is honest to his role, Vidya Balan is brilliant playing a boisterous Punjabi housewife whose fashion sense will give complex to the behenjis from Delhi. But it’s the funny don who is a stand out in the entire movie.

Raj Kumar Gupta is better of picking up real life issues than making a mockery of short stories. In the end you can only hope that the intelligence will return in the future. For the moment though the meat is missing.

ghanchakkar

 

 

किसान-एक संवेदनशील जीवन

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Abhinav Singh writes on why the farmer, who completes our lives, struggles to keep up his own.

ये कैसा जीवन,
जुबां पे सिर्फ आह है।
क्या करें पता नहीं,
क्युं नहीं मिलती कोई राह है।
बंज़र भूमि, बंज़र जीवन,
ज़िन्दगी भी तबाह है।
ये कैसा जीवन,
जुबां पे सिर्फ आह है।
क्या करें पता नहीं,
क्युं नहीं मिलती कोई राह है।
कैसे हो बच्चों की शिक्षा पुरी,
कैसे पुरी हो परिवार की अभिलाषा अधुरी।
खुद मुक्त भी नहीं होती यह जीवन,
मुक्त हो जाए तो होती हमारी चाह है।
ये कैसा जीवन,
जुबां पे सिर्फ आह है।
क्या करें पता नहीं,
क्युं नहीं मिलती कोई राह है।
 
कोई नेता कहीं अपनी मुर्ति बनवाए,
कोई खेलों से करोड़ों कमाए।
अश्क भी कोई समझ ले,
क्युं नहीं किसी को हमारी परवाह है।
ये कैसा जीवन,
जुबां पे सिर्फ आह है।
क्या करें पता नहीं,
क्युं नहीं मिलती कोई राह है।

5 Suicides That Rocked Tinsel Town

Parveen Babi1. Parveen Babi

She is often cited as one of the most beautiful actresses to have ever appeared in Indian cinema. Parveen Babi was one of the most glamorous actress of 1970-80s with blockbusters like Deewar, Namak Halaal, Amar Akbar Anthony and Shaan. She was found dead in her Mumbai apartment on 22 January 2005 after it was noticed that she had not collected milk and newspapers from her doorstep for three days. Her postmortem reports showed that she had not consumed anything for more than three days and sadly starved to death. The police ruled out any foul play and it was determined she succumbed to all organ failure.

divya bharti2. Divya Bharti

Hailed as “the most interesting young actress of her generation”, Divya Bharti acted in a number of commercially successful Hindi, Telugu and Tamil films in the early 1990s. Bharti’s career was cut short by her death on 5 April 1993 at the age of 19. The circumstances of her death, falling from the window ledge of her five-storey Versova apartment have been the subject of dispute over the years. Police investigated the case and closed it five years later without a conclusion.

silk smitha3. Silk Smitha

Silk Smitha, the South-Indian actress was popularly known for her glam doll roles in South Indian films. In 1996, Smitha was found dead in her Chennai apartment. A year earlier, she had tried becoming a film producer. Financial problems, disillusionment in love and alcohol dependency apparently led to depression. It is suspected that Smitha committed suicide by poisoning herself.

4. Guru DuttGuru Dutt

Guru Dutt, often credited with ushering in the golden era of Hindi cinema, was the first among Bollywood stars who committed suicide. He had a raging love affair with Waheeda Rehman and a running quarrel with his wife Geeta Dutt. On 10 October 1964, Guru Dutt was found dead in his bed in his rented apartment in Mumbai. He is said to have been mixing alcohol and sleeping pills. His death may have been suicide, or just an accidental overdose. It would have been his third suicide attempt.

Manmohan Desai5. Manmohan Desai

Known for his family-centered, action-song-and-dance films which catered to the tastes of the Indian masses, famous director Manmohan Desai fell from the balcony of his building in Khetwadi as the rail he was leaning on collapsed. Very little is known about his death except that he was suffering from chronic back pain. There were rumours of him committing suicide but have not been confirmed.