Tag Archives: Bollywood

Movie Time

bollywood movie screening

The probability is high for one to become a movie buff if the sole theater in neighborhood has been renovated recently and shows latest flicks. I have watched more Bollywood movies in the past couple of weeks than I did in the past year (in theaters, that is). Eros cinema, a landmark of Jangpura Extension, resumed its service a few weeks ago. It was under-construction when I came here in late 2008. At times I thought it would remain that way for another year or so because work didn’t seem to progress.

Today I watched a Bollywood flick: Once upon a time in Mumbai. Not bad. Didn’t like songs interrupting storyline though one song was nice to hear (not to watch). Gangster flick but doesn’t show much violence and fights. Only one character, the protagonist, dies at the end (if I remember correctly). That too of a single gunshot to chest! Impossible for a Bollywood movie! Reminded me of Ram Gopal Varma’s Company (which also stars Ajay Devgan). Company starts from where Once upon a time in Mumbai ends. Well, not exactly but in some ways. Btw, the city of Mumbai has been extensively referred to as Bombay throughout the movie as it tells the story of the Bombay in the 70s. The city was renamed Mumbai only in 1996. Rightist forces in Mumbai in recent years have been forcing filmmakers not to refer to the city as Bombay. That is perhaps the reason for the title to have the word Mumbai. Still, I appreciated the filmmaker’s courage to use the word Bombay in the movie.

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Shah Rukh Khan: Don’t Apologize to Shiv Sena

Update (04-Jan): Speaking in London where he is promoting his movie My Name is Khan, Shah Rukh Khan today said:

“I don’t know what the issue is all about…I don’t know what I am supposed to retract. Am I supposed to retract the fact I’m an Indian but I don’t want anyone to come to my country. What all that I’ve said is that I would like people to come to my country to participate in the biggest event and it scarce me to say anything because our stakes are very high. I have no idea what people would like me to say. If somebody could tell me this is what you would want me to say, I’ll say it. What all I have been taught by my father who was a freedom fighter for this country is wrong and my kids are steering wrong. It’s not a stand or a statement against anyone. It’s actually a sort of what I individually feel and normally when a film is releasing-to be really honest and I wouldn’t comment on it on a larger scale because it’s not nice when a Hindi film hero who is thought of as an icon, to say this. I am really sorry. I would like to apologise Karan Johar, to Kajol and I am immensely sorry to all our business partners that because of what I said, or what I believe in, their film and their work is going to be affected.”Karan Johar, producer and director of the film and co-star Kajol were present. (source)

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We’ll Watch Your Movie Twice

There are limits to political hooliganism. The two ‘political’ gangs of Mumbai- Shiv Sena and Maharastra Navanirman Sena- have crossed those limits more than once. The Indian state and its much revered Democracy are mute spectators of the Sena anarchy. It is shameful that the Senas have taken the city of Mumbai hostage and rest of India is unable to do anything. So much with the super-power dream of new India.

I am not an Indian but as an admirer of Indian democracy, lover of Indian movies and songs and observer of Indian politics, I find the Shiv Sena’s latest threat to Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan absolutely preposterous and downright condemnable. So many other people, inside India and outside, share the same feeling. Yet, as of today, Khan finds himself virtually isolated. No one, not even from his own film industry, is daring to speak for him who expressed nothing but truth while commenting upon the recent IPL fiasco. Khan had recently regretted publicly saying that it was humiliating for him as an IPL team owner that no Pakistani cricketers was taken by any of the teams despite the fact that several talented Pakistani players were up for auction. He also praised the Pakistani cricket team, current T20 world champions, as being, well, the world champions.

I see nothing wrong with that. The Shiva Sena sees nothing right in that. They feel the actor shouldn’t have praised Pakistani players and expressed regret over their exclusion from the tournament because, according to them, it’s a matter of patriotism. Now the Sena is demanding that Khan should either retract from his statement (apologize) or go to Pakistan, as in leaving India for good. As if India belonged exclusively to the Thackeray clan and their goons at the Senas.

It is clear why Shiv Sena is targeting Shah Rukh. Shah Rukh Khan, the mega star of Indian film industry, is a Muslim. Shiva Sena, who plays the politics of Marathi Manoos, is a right-wing ultra-Hindutva outfit. That is the sole reason for the latest Sena outrage against Khan who has the right, constitutionally speaking, to say what he said in Indian democracy. The Sena’s act is clearly an example of religious chauvinism and highhandedness. Look at this statement by Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, a former speaker of Indian parliament: पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Jab We Met Imtiaz Ali, Bollywood Experience Became So Cool

Yet another blog on a Bollywood flick. This time I am excited.

Eye on Bollywood: Amidst all the hypes that are surrounding Om Shanti Om and Saawaria, if you haven’t watched this cool movie called Jab We Met, you have missed something very good. When I watched this movie directed by Imtiaz Ali I felt really glad that I watched it. I hadn’t enjoyed a movie like that in months. Initially, I had dismissed this film as a “just another small offering from Bollywood with relatively small stars like Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor.” I didn’t know the director of the film and the name, the cocktail of Hindi and English, was unattractive. But, as they say, seeing is believing! I now believe in the talent of Imtiaz Ali, the man who directed and wrote Jab We Met. I have decided to watch his next film if me makes one. [The performance of Kareena and Shahid is laudable. I have never liked Kareena or her acting but after watching her as Geet in this film, I must say she can do the job.] पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Om Shanti Om: No Shah Rukh No

Eye on Bollywood: My first choice for the day was Saawaria by Sanjay Leela Bhansali but ended up with Om Shanti Om (second in the list, by Farah Khan). I definitely do not regret watching it but there is no question that I will remember it for long: it’s just another masaladar Hindi film.

This is not a review of the Om Shanti Om but my personal impression. I am disappointed for I spent Rs. 100 (and other expenses like coffee and bus fare to the theater) for the movie, spent almost three hours of my time on the day of Laxmi Pooja (for the film) when people sing and dance beautiful bhailos. I had thought the film would be dealing with something very new, fresh drama. Only thing I loved about the movie was: the smile of Deepika Padukone, the lady who plays opposite to Shah Rukh Khan. She is too beautiful (or presented as such) and at times that becomes the problem. Even when she is supposed to show anger and be angry, she can’t. She just looks like a sweet little doll. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Shilpa Shetty, British Raj, Indian Psyche and Nepali Case

shilpa shetty big brother

Big Double Standard: Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in British TV program Big Brother. Many Indians and the actress feel she was a victim of racism in the program. But do they know that given the opportunity Indians show big brotherly attitude to their small neighbors. BTW, if anyone feels I am anti-Indian after reading this blog, here is a pre-emptive clarification: I love Bollywood, I love Sachin Tendulkar, I love Hindi songs. [Guardian on Shilpa case]

This is more about WHO said what to whom then actually WHAT was said. The fact is that Indians were under British imperialism until 60 years ago. They fought hard for the freedom and they feel proud to have defeated the British raj. Even after six decades, freedom (ajadi) is one of the most talked about topic in Indian cultural, political and social scenario. Indians are never tired of comparing themselves with the growing Chinese economic rise and, as they are also having impressive economic growth, they are dreaming of being another engrej, at least in the region. They want to be in parallel with the English. Why do they rally behind the takeover bid of Laxmi Mittal? Because they see their own aspiration to be global in his efforts.

When an Indian goes to an English television channel and receives insult from the formerly gora saheb, the Indian pride of being free from the imperialism gets injured deeply. Indians have this inferiority complex and that feeling gets infatuated even by remarks of a 20 something Engregi gori who was stripped of the beauty pageant crown she won. Coincidently, the crown was passed to her closest competitor in the Miss Great Britain pageant with an Indian name. The question is: Would the Indian reaction be same if the bullying had come from an Ethiopian or Nepali in the program [in Ethiopian or Nepali TV]? No. Why? Have you seen American public vandalizing properties in Washington D.C. or in New York just because someone in Nepal says he hates the USA? That is why I strongly feel it’s about WHO said rather than WHAT was said.

While creating hue and cry on alleged racist behavior faced by them (Shilpa is merely a representative of Indian psyche) from English, Indians easily forget that, given opportunity, they demonstrate their big brotherly attitude to citizens from small countries like Nepal. Nepal and Nepalis are presented in bad taste in Indian films and books which is not in any different than any racist remarks. Interestingly and unfortunately, the Nepali reaction to such Indian big brotherly attitude is just as same and immature as Indian reaction to English bullying. Oh… how seriously we take any statements, said or unsaid, of Indian actors or any Indians for that matter, about Nepal and don’t hesitate destroying our own national property and killing ourselves while protesting. Remember the unfortunate Hritik Roshan episode a few years ago in which we organized several days of bandas and crippled daily lives of Nepali urban area while protesting what the Bollywood actor allegedly said about Nepal? Later, after property worth billions of Rupees was destroyed and an innocent 9-year-old girl was killed, we discovered that the actor in question never made any such remarks (“I hate Nepal”). What the hell even if he says he hates us? But our inferiority complex infatuated and we went on rampage. Even the government reacted and banned Hritik Roshan movies in Nepal.

I want to end my remarks with these lines from today’s editorial in Times of India: “The racist remarks against actor Shilpa Shetty are repungant and a justifiable cause for outrage amongst the Indian community in Britain. However, there is absolutely no reason for the Indian government to be required to respond…The insults hurled at Shilpa may well reflect a larger problem of racism in British society but should be tackled at the level of public opinion. Social issues can be debated in media; essays can be written about the status of the Indian community in Britain; the film industry in India can express concern over the abuse of one of their won. The government, however, should have no role to play.”

The only thing, I feel, the paper forget to add is this: such remarks don’t even deserve attention from the Indian public and shouldn’t have been dignified by creating waves of protest.

Indian Movie in Nepal: My Impression of Dhoom 2

Hritik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in the movie Dhoom 2

Yes, the sizzling pair of Hritik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai is definitely HOT in the movie Dhoom 2 but the movie itself is not so much praiseworthy From the blog body: “Ash is definitely hot in the movie,” I wrote, “and she herself feels that in a scene when she asks ‘don’t you feel hot?’ to her ‘partner in crime’ while taking off clothes after stealing a sword from a museum.” I know Sunahari of Dhoom 2 isn’t the Paroo of Devdas.

I am talking about Dhoom 2. I had no plan to write this blog on the movie but the comment I got from Sudeep Shrestha, my colleague in the business bureau of Kantipur daily where I work as a reporter, this morning propelled me type these words. I wanted to write what I felt and I did just that in Kantipur. That was more of my personal impression of the film then a standard review. My opinion is that the film isn’t as good as everybody is portraying it to be.

Everybody is praising about Dhoom 2, including Sudeep, a great fan of Hindi movies and a keen follower Nepali film industry. He put the Dhoom 2 in the list of top three movies in the year: Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Dhoom 2. So far I have trusted his criticism of the movies and found him accurate in judging films. Be it in the technical aspect or the directorial perspective. This time I couldn’t. I enjoyed Dhoom 2 but didn’t find it to be one of the best movies of the year, definitely not one of the top three movies of the year. I think I am going against the tide by criticizing Dhoom 2. Let it be.

Hritik Roshan In the movie Dhoom 2

Hritik Roshan in the movie Dhoom 2. His dance is one of the major attractions in the film.

By taking the cop to Brazil following the thief the film poorly tries to expose the Indian ambition of wanting to become a global player. We know Indian economy is growing phenomenally and with that the Indian aspirating of becoming a global player is growing in the same rate. But the time hasn’t arrived yet that they can send their investigators around the world and run an operation. We have seen in Hollywood movies the American FBI running international missions in countries thousands of miles away from home. They are perfect and seem convincing given the widespread American influence around the world. But I found some flaws in the execution of that part in Dhoom 2. It doesn’t seem suitable.

Sudeep wrote in a Short Text Message: “Disagree. Who cares suhaunchha ki suhaunna [suits or not as long as] it entertains. [I am] not talking about bike chasing [which was better] in first part [but] Mr. A is high-tech thief who does miracles. Bollywood is doing great whether in RDB or D2. Do not expect realism in film.”

abhishek bachhan in dhoom 2 movie
Abhishek Bachchan in Dhoom 2

My other complain about the movie was lack of originality. The star cast lineup is great. The pair of blue eyed Hritik and Ash is superb. The dancing skill of Hritik Roshan is awesome. But the ‘originality’ ends here. For those who have seen Mission Impossible series, XXX or any Bond movies, Dhoom 2 constantly reminds them various scenes from the previously mentioned movies. That’s what I felt. Even Aishworya Rai’s much talked about blue bikini, I read in this website this morning, is copied from “the one worn by a popular UK model Keeley Hazell and featured in her official calendar”. How can you put this movie in the same list where Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho Munna Bhai are featured? RDB and LRMB are original stories or presentation from the Indian perspective. Nevertheless, the film is a total fun and a great time pass. I must admit I enjoyed watching it.

Okay, I have praised the Ash outlook through a quote in my Kantipur write up. “Ash is definitely hot in the movie,” I wrote, “and she herself feels that in a scene when she asks ‘don’t you feel hot?’ to her ‘partner in crime’ while taking off clothes after stealing a sword from a museum.” I know Sunahari of Dhoom 2 isn’t the Paroo of Devdas. Aishworya Rai’s glamour, which used to be hidden in long saris and make ups in the movies like Devdas or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is now exposed in Dhoom 2 where she wears short clothes and appears hip. The talk of her new outlook is the only thing that I feel is attracting audiences to theaters.

This blog was written on Tuesday, 28 November and was first published in the blog: Topics from 192 countries. Here is another impression of Dhoom 2 on Zade Xpress.

Here is what I wrote in Kantipur:

सुनहरीको जादु

‘फ्रन्ट स्टलको मात्रै छ,’ सोमबार दिउँसो राजधानीको जय नेपाल हलमा फोन गर्दा जवाफ आयो- ‘त्यो पनि केहीबेरमा सकिन बेर छैन ।’ सहरमा ऐश्वर्याको धूम छ र दर्शकहरू चलचित्र ‘धूम-२’ हेर्न हलमा झुम्मिएका छन् । हल हाउसफुल भएका छन्, गफमा ऐश्वर्या छाएकी छन् । ‘केटाहरूले झन्डै ढुंगा हानेका !’ बाराही मुभिजमा दुई दिनअघि उक्त फिल्म हेरेका एक तन्नेरीले भने- ‘टिकट नपाएर ।’ त्यति भनेपछि उनले सिनेमाका डायलग सुनाउन थाले, ‘ऐडा’ भनेको के हो अन लागे । ऐश्वर्याको प्रशंसा गर्न त के चुक्थे !

आफ्ना अघिल्ला सिनेमाका तुलनामा कम कपडा पहिरिएकी र वजन घटाएकी ऐश्वर्यालाई धूम-२ मा धेरैले ‘हट’ पाएका छन् । ‘डन्ट यु फिल हट ?’ साहसिक चोरीमा एउटा संग्रहालयबाट तरबार उडाएपछि कालो रङका कपडा उतार्दै उनी आफ्ना पार्टनर ‘इन क्राइम’ अर्थात् अपराधका मित्रलाई प्रश्न गर्छिन् ।

भारतीय प्रहरी एउटा शैलीवान् चोरलाई पछ्याउँदै ब्राजिलसम्म पुग्दा अकासिँदो आर्थिक वृद्धिदरसँगै पलाएको विश्वव्यापी बन्ने भारतीय चाहना फिल्ममा अप्ठेरो लाग्ने किसिमले झल्किन्छ । हलिउड सिनेमामा अमेरिकी अनुसन्धान संस्था एफबीआईले विदेशी भूमिमा गएर खोजी गरेको सन्दर्भले अमेरिकाको विश्वव्यापी प्रभावको प्रतिनिधित्व गर्छन् । धूम-२ मा पनि त्यस्तै गर्न खोजिएको छ, जुन कताकता नसुहाउँदो लाग्न सक्छ । हलिउडका टम क्रुज अभिनीत ‘मिसन इम्पोसिबल’ शृंखला हेर्नेहरूलाई कताकता त्यसको झल्को मिलेपछि धेरै दर्शकले ऐश्वर्या र हृतिकको जमेको जोडीका कारण फिल्मको शैलीलाई ‘कुल’ पाउने छन् । जोडी त जमेको छ नि, नीला आँखा भएका र सिनेमामा पहिलोपटक सँगै प्रस्तुत भएका दुई मुख्य पात्रको ! अब त्यो लजाउँदै गरिएको चुम्बनलाई पनि कसरी बिर्सनु ! नृत्यमा हृतिकलाई कसले भेट्टाओस् ! ‘कृश’ मा उडन्ते पात्रको भूमिकामा देखिएका नायकले यसमा पनि एक्सनप्रधान दृश्यमा क्षमता देखाएका छन् ।

मोटरसाइकल लखेटाइ सासै थमाउने खालको छैन तर त्यसबाट निस्कने आवाजले ‘थि्रल’ अनुभव दिलाउँछ । मुख्य कथा चोर-पुलिसकै हो तर बीचमा प्रेमकथा पनि छ, जसले दर्शकको संवेदनालाई समाउँछ । हलिउड सिनेमाका दर्शकलाई ‘धूम-२’ प्रयुक्त स्पेसल इफेक्ट खासै ‘कुल’ नलाग्न सक्छन् । त्यसैले ‘रंग दे वसन्ती’ जस्तो आफ्नै खाले कथावस्तु खोज्नेहरू यसबाट निराश हुन सक्छन् । फिल्म पक्का टाइम पास छ, कमै मात्र चिनिएका उदय चोपडाको पात्रले बेलाबेला हाँसो सिर्जना गर्छ ।

सञ्चारमाध्यमहरूमा स्त्री पात्रहरूको जतिसुकै चर्चा भए पनि तथा पत्रिकाहरूमा जतिसुकै ठूला र ग्ल्यामरस फोटा छापिए पनि भारतीय अभिनेत्रीहरू आपmनै नामबाट सिनेमा चलाउने हैसियतमा पुगिसकेका छैनन् ।

‘धूम-२’ को हकमा भने त्यो सोचमा हल्का परिवर्तन आएको देखिन्छ । यसपालि धेरै दर्शकले ‘ऐश्वर्याको फिल्म हेर्न जाने’ भनेको केही भारतीय लेखमा उल्लेख छ भने काठमाडौंमा ‘धूम-२’ ’bout चर्चाहरूमा ऐश्वर्याको नयाँ स्वरूपले बढी स्थान लिने गरेको पाइएको छ । लामो सारी या प्रशस्त मेकअपमा ऐश्वर्याको ग्ल्यामर लुकेको छैन यो सिनेमामा । पारो र सुनहरूमा धेरै फरक छ । सुनहरी अर्थात् सुनौली केटीका रूपमा उनले आफ्नो छवि यसरी प्रस्तुत गरेकी छन् कि परम्परागत रूपमा ‘सेक्स बम’ मानिने पो पूरै छायामा परेकी छन् ! ऐश्वर्याको प्रशंसा या चर्चा उनको अभिनय क्षमताका कारण निश्चयै भएको होइन, केवल उनको बदलिएको छविको समाचारले दर्शकलाई फिल्म हेर्न प्रेरित गरेजस्तो देखिन्छ ।

फिल्ममै पनि एक ठाउँमा महिलालाई अनुभव गर्नै सकिने गरी पुरुषको तुलनामा कमजोर र असहाय देखाइएको छ । जस्तो- आर्यन (हृतिक) का तुलनामा सुनहरी राम्ररी बास्केटबल डि्रबल गर्न पनि सक्दिन, स्कोर गर्नु त परै जावस् । पुरुष पात्रलाई महिलाका तुलनामा त्यसरी अब्बल देखाइनुमा निर्देशकको उद्देश्य ‘हिरो’ लाई बढी क्षमतावान् प्रमाणित गर्नु हुन सक्छ तर ठ्याक्कै त्यही कुरा महिलालाई कमजोर प्राणीका रूपमा नदेखाई पनि गर्न सकिन्थ्यो ।

फिल्मका यस्ता अपुग पक्षले भने बक्स अफिसमा प्रभाव पार्ने देखिँदैन किनकि ऐश्वर्या कत्तिकी हट देखिएकी छन् भन्ने जान्ने चाहना सम्भावित दर्शकहरूमा अचम्मै पार्ने खालको छ । त्यसैले आउँदा केही दिनमा काठमाडौंका हलमा ढिलो फोन गर्नेले टिकट फ्रन्ट स्टलकै पाउने छन् ।