There are films of all kinds that we are exposed to, very few of them go on to become commercially successful and maintain their iconic status despite the passage of time. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or DDLJ as it is more popularly known as, is one of the rare films to have that distinction. There has been enough and more that has been written about the film, with people praising the film for various aspects, while even attracting some criticism for its cheesiness, overtly sentimental nature and emphasis on a more old school romantic style and family values. So, let me not try and analyze the film per se, as that would simply not make sense, nor will it add any new insight into the film otherwise. So, what does this write-up intend to do? Simple, it is about why the film deserves all the love and appreciation that has been coming its way, and how I have evolved with the film over the course of these 25 years.Continue reading “25 Years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ): What Makes the Film So Special Even Today”
Depiction of India or Indians in films produced in the west has mostly not only been inaccurate but to an extent has been outrageous. With the advent of social media, globalisation and lot of ease made in traveling, one would expect to get to know about each other better than ever. This probably might be why such bigotries among the west and its film makers are reduced, if not completely among the new age cinemas. But shouldn’t the Indians themselves be blamed for this by doing very little to show their might by not speaking enough to the world through the medium of cinema? Let’s take a look at some of the movies that were completely harsh, some a little with its own share of imprecisions and some, kind enough to show India and its countrymen in good light.Continue reading “Through The Lens Of Western Cinema: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”
I must begin this review by stating that director Rajkumar Santoshi‘s stunning debut feature Ghayal is one of my all time favorites featuring one of the most explosive climax ever, that lasts for a good thirty minutes before Ajay Mehra (Sunny Deol) kills his nemesis Balwant Rai (Amrish Puri). I had seen this film on the first day at Metro talkies in Bombay and had paid almost double the amount in black compared what I paid today for the ticket of Ghayal Once Again. Indeed those were the days 🙂
Now 26 years and several delays later, Sunny Deol returns with a sequel to his vigilante classic and also dons the directorial responsibilities for the film.
Ghayal Once Again begins exactly where Ghayal ended. After completing his life sentence, Ajay starts a newspaper called Satyakam, making a credible name for himself in investigative journalism and earning a credible fan following in the process, especially among the youngsters. Four of his teenage fans, accidentally record a murder on camera whilst on an expedition, and it shows two of the city’s most powerful people involved in it. The kids get entangled in this mess and find themselves on the run from the most powerful man in the city. Whether Ajay is able to save these kids from the impending danger or not is what forms the crux of the film.
The movie starts with scenes of Ghayal playing in black and white and immediately grabs your attention. It unfolds slowly as a thriller, making the patronizing Ghayal fans glued to their seats in anticipation of another explosive and long climax. The film keeps moving briskly and before the interval, we are rewarded with a heart-pounding chase sequence, but that is no match to the climax chase or the fish market chase witnessed in the original.
One of the best characters in the prequel was that of the no nonsense serious cop ACP Joe D’Souza played by Om Puri, who provided the right balance in the mayhem that ensues in the climax. But here he returns as a retired funny officer, who loves eating butter chicken with his wife. The villain here is played by the suave Narendra Jha, who plays Raj Bansal – a powerful man having a strong nexus between media, politicians and police. One couldn’t help but notice uncanny similarities Raj Bansal and Mukesh Ambani. However with ‘Antilia’ doubling up for Bansal Mansion made me root for Ajay Mehra. 🙂
Sunny Deol chews up the scenes with his dangerous frown, flaring nostrils and the dhaai kilo ka haath. Honestly, I don’t remember when was the last time I enjoyed watching him with such glee, while destroying the villains.
The film tries being true and faithful to its original and is therefore engaging, though it may appear clichéd to the average viewer for this very reason. But for a diehard Ghayal fan, these cliches doesn’t matter and neither does it dampen their viewing experience.
But sadly, post interval, the ‘curse of second half’ continues. The film has a gripping start and then everything goes haywire. This happens very often in the movies now a days and now I wonder why.
Ghayal Once Again is very clichéd and silly, but honestly I feel in its current form, it would not have been possible even for Raj Kumar Santoshi to match the thrill of original.
We have always loved the Sunny of the JP Dutta, Santoshi and Rahul Rawail films and here we only get glimpse of it. Go, Watch the film in the hope that it may work for you and also for Sunny who badly needs a hit.
Rating – ***
Recently I’ve come across many trilogies by great directors, like the Color trilogy, death trilogy, some zombie trilogy, some vampire trilogy and there are many more which I’m unaware of. When we look for trilogies coming from India, the first one that comes to mind is the Apu trilogy. I am sure Shyam Benegal also has a trilogy, but to be honest I’ve seen very few of his 70-80’s era movies.
But I grew up with the Rajiv Rai trilogy. Hahaha. Sounds like a big joke, right? Believe me, it isn’t. I very strongly believe Rajiv Rai completed a trilogy with Mohra. Please don’t laugh. I confess. I am a tru-blu fan of Mr. Rajiv Rai.Continue reading “The Rajiv Rai Trilogy”
With Kabhie Kabhie and Silsila , Yash Chopra had started moving completely into his favourite genre – Romance. However, the anger against the ways of the society which Yashji had depicted in films such as Deewaar , Trishul still lived within him. This is what he depicted for the last time in Mashaal.
Mashaal is apparently based on a Marathi play – Ashrunchi Zhaali Phule (Tears that turned into flowers). The same play was adapted into a Hindi film earlier ‘Aansoo ban gaye phool’ directed by Satyen Bose and starring Ashok Kumar.Continue reading “Mashaal- Yash Chopra’s Fiery Saga”
Since time immemorial, the malaise of plagiarism is very prevalent in Indian Film Industry especially in Bollywood. We have more than often seen directors (read Sanjay Gupta, Mahesh Bhatt etc amongst others) stealing films frame by frame and passing off as their own. However certain minor changes are made in the script. So that when their theft becomes public, they can defend themselves by saying that the particular film is inspired not copied. And they have those minor changes to defend their (false) claims.
However there also have been times when the director has truly taken an inspiration from a certain film and has made an effort to make a film that is quite different from that respective film. Here’s looking at some films that fit the above mentioned description.
Dombivili Fast/ Falling Down
Falling Down directed by Joel Schumacher features Michael Douglas as an ordinary American citizen who, frustrated with the flawed system sets out to violently fight the same only to end up as an anti hero
Similarly Dombivli Fast directed by Nishikant Kamath tells the story of Madhav Apte played by Sandeep Kulkarni who plays an average Mumbaikar. Frustrated with the problems faced in his day to day life such as corruption, bribery etc. He sets out to fight the same only to meet with a tragic fate.
Though the basic plotline of the film is similar to Falling Down, Kamat has taken enough care to make adequate changes in the script. By tackling issues such as bribery, corruption, water scarcity, pathetic conditions of people travelling in local trains etc. the film becomes much more identifiable and identifiable with the Indian audiences especially those living in Mumbai. And for this reason alone, this film deserves to find a mention in this post.
Nishikant Kamath even went on to remake Dombivli Fast as Evano Oruvan in Tamil with R.Madhavan in the lead.
Kaminey/ True Romance and Snatch
In the film Kaminey, director Vishal Bharadwaj (VB) borrowed subplots from films such as Snatch and True Romance and made a nice amalgamation of it.A couple (Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) while trying to elope get stuck in a drug racket involving a stolen consignment of drugs. This was very similar to the situation faced by the lead pair in the Tarantino written movie ‘True Romance’ directed by the late Tony Scott. The couple is being pursued by a dozen odd shady characters who want to lay their hands on that particular consignment of drugs. The situation is somewhat similar to the dozen odd shady characters that are in pursuit of the stolen diamond in Snatch.
However VB adds another unique subplot of a pair of twins (Shahid Kapur and Shahid Kapur) who hate each other but have to depend upon each other to save their lives during their worst crisis. Vishal Bharadwaj nicely mixed all the three subplots to give us one hell of an entertaining movie. Despite taking inspiration from the above mentioned movies, Kaminey stands out as a unique and well made film. That is due to the fact that VB has taken care to make in the film in his own style rather than copying Snatch or True Romance blindly. This is why one doesn’t see flashy editing patterns like those used by Guy Ritchie in Snatch. Although unlike Bharadwaj’s earlier films, Kaminey bears a much more stylish and slick look. Apart from extracting a brilliant performance from Shahid Kapoor, the writing of Vishal Bharadwaj and team results in a dozen odd memorable characters that stay with you even after the movie has ended. Such as Bhope Bhau (Amole Gupte), Sweety (Priyanka Chopra),Mikhail(Chandan Roy Sanyal), Inpsectors Lele (Hrishikesh Joshi) & Lobo (Shiv Subramaniam) amongst others.
Chachi 420/Mrs Doubtfire
Mrs Doubtfire featured the versatile Robin Williams as a divorced parent who disguises himself as a female housekeeper so that he can get to spend time with his children who are staying with his ex-wife.
Similarly Chachi 420 featured Kamal Hassan as a divorced father who disguises himself as an elderly female caretaker so that he can spend time with his daughter who stays with his now ex-wife played by Tabu.
However Kamal Hassan has added enough subplots and masala that helps the film to acquire a local flavor and also adds to the overall comic moments of the film. The film nicely shows the relationship being developed between Tabu and Kamal Hassan prior to them getting married. The film also featured quite a few versatile actors who featured in some superb roles such as Amrish Puri – the arrogant father in law of Kamal Hassan , his lecherous assistant played by Om Puri and Paresh Rawal as Kamal Hassan’s shrewd landlord amongst others. These characters were not present in Mrs. Doubtfire. Moreover Kamal Hasaan has nicely weaved these characters in the main story and hence their subplots don’t stick out as sore thumbs in the movie. In fact it only adds to the fun quotient of the film. And this shows the amount of hardwork Kamal Hassan and his team have put in the film. This results in the film turning out to be a tad better than Mrs. Doubtfire.
Before directing Chachi 420 in Hindi, Kamal had starred in Avvai Shanmughi a Tamil version of the same film directed by K.S Ravikumar (Dashavatharam)
City on fire/Reservoir Dogs
City on Fire directed by Ringo Lam features Chow Yun Fat as an undercover cop who infiltrates a gang of robbers who are planning to carry out a jewellery store heist. Quentin Tarantino used the same storyline in Reservoir Dogs and made an entirely different film.
City on Fire focused more on the moral dilemma and test of loyalty faced by the undercover cop. Whereas the entire conflict in Reservoir Dogs is focused on the identity of the undercover cop which is unknown to the audiences till the end. And what you get is a kickass film which etched Tarantino’s name permanently in the minds of moviegoers.
Munnabhai MBBS/Patch Adams
Patch Adams tells the true story of Hunter Doherty who is a doctor and a social activist apart from doing many other tactivities. Robin Williams plays the role of Doherty who used many unconventional methods (including making them laugh ) to cure his patients which found a lot of criticism from the medical fraternity. Raju Hirani used this as one of the many subplots in the endearing Munnabhai MBBS in which a gangster (Sanjay Dutt) vows to become a doctor to avenge the insult his parents endure at the hands of an egoistic dean of a medical college (Boman Irani).
The cult film by Christopher Nolan tells the story of a person suffering from short term memory loss (Guy Pearce) who uses his body tattoos and notes to hunt down the killer of his wife. Director A.R Murugadoss used the same storyline and made Ghajini adding a lot of elements such as love story between the protagonist and his wife, action etc thereby making a complete a masala entertainer.
I also wanted to include Dasvidaniya in which a terminally ill Vinay Pathak makes a wish list of things he wants to do much like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman from The Bucket List. But apart from the basic plotline( which could be a mere co-incidence) I didn’t find any similarity between the two films hence I refrained from mentioning the same in the post.
It would be good to hear from you all about some more films which could have been added to the list.
The bond of friendship has been one of the oft depicted bonds in Bollywood since time immemorial. From Jai and Veeru of Sholay to Akash , Sid and Sameer of Dil Chahta Hai , the depiction of friendship in Hindi cinema might have gone a radical change. Still it continues to be one of the most explored relationships in Hindi. Moreover , when it comes to declaring undying love and dedication to their friends no one does it better than Indian cinema.
On the eve of Friendship day, here is a look at the some of the best songs in Hindi cinema that have gone to immortalise the bond of friendship on celluloid.
Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge – Sholay
How can one not mention Sholay while talking about Best friends forever(BFF) jodis of Hindi Cinema? Right from doing daylight robberies, harassing “Angrez ke zamaane ke jailor” to taking on the most dreaded villain of Hindi cinema – Gabbar Singh, the duo of Jai and Veeru have done it all. And they survived through almost all of it, thanks to their strong friendship . And what could be better than this song , which brilliantly depicts their love and respect for each other.
Tere jaisa yaar kahaan – Yaarana
The film Yaarana sees Bishan (Amjad Khan) helping his best friend Kishan (Amitabh Bachchan) to realise his dreams of becoming a playback singer and they stick with each other through thick and thin , proving that their bond of friendship is indeed a strong one.
This beautiful composition by Rajesh Roshan sees Amitabh Bachchan getting his moment of glory as a singer and performer in the film. And it also gives him a chance to thank his BFF for sticking with him through thick and thin.
Diye Jalte Hai – Namak Haraam
Namak Haraam directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee was loosely based on a Shakespearean play ‘Beckett’. The film tells the story of two best friends Somu(Rajesh Khanna) and Vicky (Amtabh Bachchan) belonging to different strata of the society and how their friendship gets affected due to a clash of ideologies.
This beautiful song composed by R.D Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar shows the duo in one of their happiest moments together.
Yaaron – Rockford
The film Rockford is a coming of age story set in hostel and centered around a school going kid. Though this song was a part of the Rockford OST, it was never featured in the movie. Instead, a separate music video was shot (which was a very popular trend those days and still continues to be ) to promote the film.
This beautiful composition rendered beautifully by K.K implies that friendship and love are one of the best things to happen in an individual’s life. And the memories of such love and friendship are to be cherished forever.
Bane chahe dushman zamana hamara – Dostana
This Dostana doesn’t refer to the Abhishek Bachchan – John Abraham starrer. Instead this refers to the Amitabh Bachchan – Shatrughan Sinha film in which the two actors star as childhood friends who are separated due to misunderstandings only to reunite towards the end in true Hindi film fashion.
This song sees them giving an ode to their immortal friendship. Composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal , this song is one of the rare collaborations of Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi who come together to do the playback for Amitabh and Shatrughan Sinha respectively.
Yaari Hai Imaan Mera – Zanjeer
The first solo megahit of Amitabh Bachchan sees him as an honest police officer who avenges the death of his parents who were murdered by Teja (Ajit) with ample help in the form of ladylove Jaya Bachchan and a good samaritian Pathan played by Pran.
This song follows after an explosive confrontation between Amitabh and Pran in the police station. And this song shows the bond of friendship being cemented between them. With vocals by the versatile Manna Dey and music by Kalyanji Anandji, this song is undoubtedly one of the best songs that celebrates the bond of friendship in true hindi film style.
Dil Chahta Hai – Title Song
Director Farhan Akhtar created a revolution of sorts with his directorial debut , that had some brilliant cinematography (Ravi K Chandran), awe-inspiring visuals and some brilliant music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
The result was Dil Chahta Hai. A trendy, urban, coming of age movie set in an urban milieu.
The film is about three best friends Akash (Aamir Khan), Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna), their individual relationships and the effect that these relationships have on their friendship.
At a time when Bollywood was getting increasingly stereotypical, this film came as a breath of fresh air with its subtle and subdued depiction of individuals and relationships.
The title song sees the friends heading to Goa, wherein they are having a gala time whilst enjoying the company of each other , indicating that the moments spent with best buddies are to be cherished forever.
Qurbani – Title Song
Qurbani directed by the late Feroz Khan was a stylish actioner with the right mix of action, setinments, romance and melodrama. The film focusses on two friends Vinod Khanna and Feroz Khan who drift apart since they are in love with the same woman – the superhot Zeenat Aman only to come together for a action packed and an emotional reunion in the end.
One of the film’s highpoints was undoubtedly the music by Kalyanji-Anandji and Biddu. The extremely hummable title song(co-incidentally once again song by (Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi) well establishes the bond between the duo of Feroz Khan and Vinod Khanna in the film.
Jaane nahi denge tujhe – 3 Idiots
Based on the book ‘Five Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat , 3 Idiots was a much better on-screen adaptation of the book directed by Rajkumar Hirani with his usual flair for feel good cinema.
The film focuses on three friends (Aamir, Sharman & Madhavan) and the ups and downs they face during the course of doing their engineering course.
The song comes at a time when Sharman Joshi’s character is going through one of his worst phases as a student. Being unable to take the pressure anymore , he attempts suicide. The song sees his other friends Aamir and Madhavan trying their best to help Sharman recover from the incident. Though the picturisation is a bit filmy unlike the normal style of Hirani , it does manage to brign a lump in your throat. Shantanu Moitra and Sonu Nigam deserve a great amount of applause for doing a wonderful job composing and rendering the song beautifully.
Imli ka boota – Saudagar
At the time of its release , Saudagar was one of the most hyped and eagerly awaited films . For a very simple reason – since it brough together , two of the biggest superstars – Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar in the same frame. Besides this , the film also featured an ensemble cast of Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Jackie Shroff, debutantes Vivek Mushran and Manisha Koirala amongst others. It also featured music by Laxmikant Pyarelal which contained chartbusters such as ‘Ilu Ilu’ and the above featured song amongst others. And director Subhash Ghai met the expectations as the film went on to become one of the biggest box office hits.
The film tells the story of best freinds Veeru Singh (Dilip Kumar) and Rajeshwar Singh(Raaj Kumar) who become bitter enemies due to a misunderstanding created by Chuniya(Amrish Puri) and his accomplices. Only to re-unite towards the end to eliminate their common enemy Chuniya and rekindle their everlasting friendship.
This song which is the theme song of the film plays at various critical junctures of the film. At this point , the song is playing when both the friends reunite after a long time.
Khudgarz – Zindagi Ka naam dosti
Khudgarz which was the directorial debut of Rakesh Roshan tells the oft-repeated story of two best friends (Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha) who become sworn enemies due to a series of misunderstandings initiated by the evil Kiran Kumar. Though the storyline is predictable , the film is well directed by Roshan and well enacted by Jeetendra and ‘Shotgun’ Sinha.
One of the film’ s highpoints was the music composed by Rajesh Roshan which featured a couple of hummable numbers, including the above mentioned number which very well depicts the friendship between Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha.
Mustafa Mustafa – Duniya Dilwalon Ki
Duniya Dilwalon Ki was a dubbed version of the Tamil hit film ‘Kadhal Desam’ starring Abbas, Vineeth and Tabu amongst others. The film is love triangle where two friends (Abbas and Vineeth) fall for the same girl (Tabu).
The music composed by A.R Rahman was one of the biggest strengths of the film even in the dubbed version. The Mustafa Mustafa song was a rage when it had released. The song which celebrates the spirit of friendship is rightly considered by many as an anthem of friendship.
The Mahabharat has always been one of my favorite books. It is like an ocean for me, the more you know of it , the lesser you still know about it. And one of the most fascinating characters in the Mahabharata for me has been Karna. I guess maybe due to the fact, that Karna is a character who inhabits the grey area betweeen good and evil. He is brave, generous and a person who would give his life for his friend. Yet he collaborates in the Kaurava’s unfair strategy to kill Abhimanyu in the Chakravyuha. But the story of Karna, is that of a man who was let down by destiny. Abandoned by his real mother Kunti, as a child, he grew up under the care of a charioteer. At every stage he was let down by destiny, including his final moments, when he was killed totally defenceless. He refused to part company with Duryodhan even though he knew he was not on the right side, because of his friendship and gratitude.Continue reading “Thalapathi-Tale of a Modern Day Karna”
More than two decades have passed since Sanjeev Kumar died, but his performances still remain fresh in my mind. He was undoubtedly one of the best actors Indian cinema has seen. But sadly, today he is mostly remembered mainly by way of the innumerable spoofs on his character of Thakur Baldev Singh from Sholay.Continue reading “A Tribute To Sanjeev Kumar”