Vivek Shukla On Scripting ‘Chhota Bheem’ And ‘Surreal Play’ – A Screenwriting Initiative For The Visually Impaired

Since an early age, Vivek Shukla was quite the filmbuff and an ardent dreamer (by his own admission). But was quite unsure, as to what he wanted to do in his life. Whilst in college, a theatre workshop subsequently led Shukla to find his true calling i.e. scriptwriting.

In the later years, Shukla went on to write some of the most noteworthy animated shows for Indian television such as New Adventures Of Bal Hanuman and the extremely popular Chhota Bheem.His repertoire also includes other shows such as Akbar Birbal  for Discovery Kids and Bunty Aur Billi for Toonz Animations.

Interestingly, the writer has decidedly stuck to writing a wide variety of animated shows for Indian television. This decision coupled with his vast experience has helped him evolve as one of the most prominent names in the field of of Animation Screen Writing and Live action TV in India.

In a tete-a-tete with, Vivek Shukla spoke to us about his journey, his creative influences and Surreal Play – an amazing initiative that helps visually impaired learn the art of scriptwriting.Continue reading “Vivek Shukla On Scripting ‘Chhota Bheem’ And ‘Surreal Play’ – A Screenwriting Initiative For The Visually Impaired”

Growing up with the Big B: A Personal Tribute to Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh-BachchanI have always wanted to write this post and what better day for this than today when Amitabh Bachchan celebrates his 70th birthday. Like millions of others he has been my favorite actor too from the time I remember. In fact he’s to acting what probably Sachin Tendulkar is to Cricket but while I am someone who always prefers to swim against the tide, in this case I have more than a fair share of reasons for the admiration I have towards this personality. To start with Amitabh is the earliest hero/actor whom I was aware of followed by Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan. So it was but obvious that the early impression was to become quite strong later slowly, but surely due to so many incidents.Continue reading “Growing up with the Big B: A Personal Tribute to Amitabh Bachchan”

Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin: R.I.P Rajesh Khanna

Note– This happens to the 500th Post on MAM. We at MAM thank all our authors and readers for their support and look forward to your continued patronage.

Rajesh Khanna-1After moving in and out of the hospital in recent weeks Rajesh Khanna aka Kakaji finally passed away earlier today (18 July). Ever since the recent Havells commercial came out there has been a lot of talk about Rajesh Khanna. Everyone had a word or two to talk about the ad and as to whether R.Balki had done the right thing or not in making the commercial. Continue reading “Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin: R.I.P Rajesh Khanna”

Babumoshai —- Fans Gone

Rajesh Khanna

Rajesh Khanna has undone himself long back. He had no pressing need to do the new Havells ad and cut the sorry figure yet again for himself. Yet the evanescent sense of erstwhile glory prompted him to appear in his werewolf avatar in the latest TV commercial. He looks a wreck, almost dinosaur in his relevance, at best an object of abject ridicule.

There seems no pressing financial need to do the same. His son in law Akshay Kumar is one of the biggest present stars in the Hindi film firmament. Yet he could not say no to the allure of limelight, however, ludicrous and ephemeral it is. The icon of yesteryears failed to realize that he was  being used as a spoof of his former image. The first authorized superstar from this continent despite his failing health and ‘Hagar the horrible’ looks thought he could woo his fans back with this ‘fan’tastic excercize.

There was a time, women across the nation swooned at the very mention of his name. Guys used to emulate his Guru shirts and all mimics make a living simply by miming him. He had many choices after he had faced a string of flops. He was given a ticket by the Congress Party in 1992 for the Lok Sabha. He defeated the formidable rival L.K. Advani of the B.J.P to secure this seat. But to what avail. He remained ensconced with his retinue of time servers, and never took Parliament seriously. His films and TV shows bombed in a row. He caused consternation within his family. Dimple had not formally divorced him. Though she was in a relationship with Sunny Deol, Dimple took care of her ex husband in times of need, helping him to over-ride the pressing high expectations imposed by his misconstrued perception of ground reality.

Khanna Now

Rajesh Khanna’s era was over with the rise of the Amitabh Bachchan persona. The others in that age group had their backbones broken. Ideally, the old star should have chosen to walk away into the sunset. But he wanted to hold on to a non-existent glory. As a consequence, he did a spate of meaningless failed TV shows and even a semi-porn film ‘Wafaa’ that was slated to be his umpteenth comeback vehicle. He never seemed to have realized the adage that “the good get interred with the bones”. There have been PH.D dissertations trying to deconstruct the myth of Khanna. Now he was allowing social commentators to sublimate him into the complete spoof space. He openly was displaying visible signs of neurosis. The supreme irony is none of his friends stood by him in these trying hours of his life. Though Dimple did try but to no avail. His family now stands with their heads hung hanging in shame seeing the circus clown act of the fallen man.

Stardom creates delusions of grandeur. But not all stars end up to such a bathetic scrutiny. Today all those who fanned his ego and created this phenomenon have disappeared. All that remains is a skeletal man lost in a hell of his own making.

It is indeed tragic to witness this spectacle. For the first time in my life I cried for a Hindi film hero was as a child seeing his immortal classic Anand. Kaka, as his fans and family called him, I truly wish you were gone.

Sudipto Chattopadhyay

Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) – Fun On The Run

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”

Being rated as one of the best film makers, can be a boon or a bane to lot of people who have either withered away with time or carried the burden of expectation firmly on their shoulders. Fortunately Mani Ratnam falls in the latter category but unfortunately too, he has made movies which though being good had to be weighed in the glory of past.

Thiruda Thiruda released in 1993 is a clear example of being an underrated flick. When internationally renowned and acclaimed directors dabble with different genres and are appreciated for their efforts, we still never fail to seize an opportunity to pull a person down or to dismiss an attempt. India has rarely produced any notable action adventure heist capers, which are entertaining and provides your full value for money in its grandeur and execution. Barring a Shaan or some obscure films , this genre is fairly untapped and not many directors have experimented unlike their Hollywood counterparts

CBI Inspector Laxminarayan(S P Balasubramanium in a role of his lifetime) is assigned the task to track down the heist of fresh printed bank notes amounting to the sum of an absurd 1000 Crores from the Nasik government security press, masterminded by T T Vikram(Salim Ghouse) from London. Tracing the clue to Chandralekha(Anu Agarwal) who escapes with the key card of the container that holds the money, she comes across Kadir(Anand) and Azhagu(Prashant). Both are country side thieves on the run along with Rasathi(Heera Rajgopal) who helps them in getting out of a tricky situation while doing their theft and even she is trying to escape from the clutches of her uncle and his henchmen.

Meanwhile Vikram lands in India in search of Chandralekha as she even disappears with the stolen money of Kadir and Azhagu too. They get hold of her bag where the card key is kept but had secluded Rasathi on their way and later realise the folly of leaving her behind, for she is being forced in a marriage with her own uncle.

The rest of the movie is how all these characters play a cat and mouse game in the quest to obtain that container in an entertaining manner filled with breath taking visuals, path breaking music and background score put to thrillingly orchestrated action pieces.

Ram Gopal Varma seems to have paid back his obligation to Mani Sir who helped him in the script of Gaayam by writing the story here. Partly inspired from his own heist caper Kshana Kshanam, which he later re twisted with disastrous results in Daud(It has a decent following now with people enjoying it on TV).

But the person for whom Thiruda Thiruda will still be remembered and undisputedly so has to be only and only A R Rahman. The second collaboration with Mani Ratnam after making his debut with Roja, he delivers a path breaking soundtrack where words fall short to praise. No adjectives can suffice the greatness of the sound produced here and it still remains the best among hardcore fans who have been following his music from early days.

Be it the grand orchestrated Veerapandi Kottaiyele, the hauntingly beautiful capela Rasaathi, the energetic Kannum Kannum, the enchanting Chandrelekha, the refreshing and ethereal Putham Pudhu Bhoomi Vendum or the terrific fusion Thee Thee, Rahman goes wild and how. It was a never before heard sound in 1993, which broke all creative barriers and made every music album pale around and can compete with any soundtrack many notches higher even now.

The action sequences still remain a highlight replete with chases and thrills and it is to the achievement of Mani Ratnam that he has ensembled it with a lot of energy and adrenaline. The climax where the characters clash together atop a moving train is one of the best I have seen and it’s a difficult task accomplished by the technicians and crew. Though the technique of flashing lights in an action scene was earlier used in Agni Natchathiram during the hospital climax, but it stands apart more here. Watch the video and you wont be disappointed.

P C Sriram is the second hero of the film and it must have been a difficult job to shoot this adventure ride as there are a lot of chaos scenes involving trains, jeep, bikes, horses etc in a wide canvas. It is to the credit of him, that a lot of sequence matches up to the technical effeciency of recently released movies too.

The cast comprises mostly of unknown faces and character artistes like Prashant, Heera Rajgopal, Anand, Salilm Ghouse, Anu Agarwal and everyone does a competent job. Maybe it was a conscious decision by Mani Sir to not opt for any known stars and keep the theme and its entertainment quotient as the highlight without utilising the image of any recognised faces.

Tad unnecesarily lengthy for some parts and not so memorable characters are the only weak aspects and if one is willing to overlook this part, Thiruda Thiruda is Mani Ratnam’s way of breaking away from his more serious relationship and socio-political dramas. Having re-visted it again a few days back, it may not be a classic by any standards if judged to his previous body of work (except Pagal Nilavu & Idhaya Kovil), but is a fun ride nevertheless and makes for solid entertainment. Enjoy.

Read more reviews on MANI RATNAM BLOGATHON:

1. Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) 2. Unaroo (Malayalam) 3. Pagal Nilavu (Tamil) 4. Idaya Kovil (Tamil) 5. Mouna Ragam (Tamil) 6. Nayagan Tamil) 7. Agni Natchathiram (Tamil) 8. Geethanjali (Telugu) 9. Anjali (Tamil) 10. Thalapathi (Tamil) Take 2 Thalapathi (Tamil) 11. Roja (Tamil) 12. Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) 13. Bombay (Tamil) 14. Iruvar (Tamil) Take 2 Iruvar (Tamil) 15. Dil Se…(Hindi) Take 2 Dil Se…(Hindi) 16. Alaipayuthey (Tamil) 17. Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) Take 2 Kannathil Muthamittal(Tamil) 18. Yuva (Hindi) 19. Aayutha Ezhuthu (Tamil) 20. Guru (Hindi) 21. Raavanan (Tamil) 22. Raavan (Hindi)

10 heartbreaks of Indian cinema to cry for

Emotion is the complex psycho physiological experience of an individual’s state of mind as interacting with biomechanical(internal) and environmental(external) influences.(Source: Wikipedia)

Tears are the secretion of the glands that clean and lubricate the eyes. Strong emotions, such as sorrow or elation, may lead to an increased production of tears. (Source: Wikipedia)

Human emotions are very tough to analyse and especially when it comes to movies, we are normally at tears for spending our money in watching movies which did not deserve a view or some additional costs involved if it’s a family outing to the nearby multiplex.Continue reading “10 heartbreaks of Indian cinema to cry for”