Fenil and Bollywood

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By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, December 24, 2009 – 18:27 IST

Chetan Bhagat Very few authors have managed to reach out to such a wide audience as Chetan Bhagat. The writer of international bestsellers like ‘5 Point Someone’, ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ and ‘2 States’ have been widely read and now he is all set to see yet another of his book being made into a film. On the eve of 3 Idiots release, Chetan Bhagat speaks to Bollywood Hungama and talks about why 3 Idiots is a special film, his next big project and lots more.

After ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’, yet another book of yours ‘5 Point Someone’ is all set to be seen in its celluloid version (3 Idiots). How does it feel?
It feels great. This time it’s a far bigger film, the buzz about 3 Idiots is enormous. We have done the right thing by putting the film ahead of us. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to reach out to so many people through the medium of cinema.

Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone‘. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times.

The screenplay has been written by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi…Would you have liked to be a part of the screenplay writing process?
Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone’. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that.

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar the film is to the book? Raju Hirani says that the film is just 10% of the book….your comments.
I don’t think Raju must have said something like that. In fact I just met him a few days ago and we spoke at length about the film etc. See…’5 Point Someone’ has over the years achieved cult status and has its own loyal fans. I am sure they would like to see each and every moment of the book on the big screen but that is not how the process works. Adapting a book and making it into a film is a relatively new thing in India. The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that’s why the makers have officially credited the film as ‘Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat’

You are but obviously not directly involved with the film and its promotional strategies…does it upset you?
Not at all…at the end of the day I want the film to be a good film and I am happy that a film whose base is generated from my book has generated so much response and is the talk of the town.

Aamir recently was on an innovative promotional spree travelling the length and breadth of the country…what do you think about this marketing strategy?
Chetan Bhagat When you have Aamir Khan, I don’t think anybody else needs to be involved in marketing of the film. Aamir is known for his innovative style of marketing. He will never directly say, ‘Please come and watch my film’ but he will do something that will grab your attention and make you go and watch the film. I am really inspired by his marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Moving on from 3 Idiots, how is work coming along on the film based on your book ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ being made by Excel Entertainment?

I am really inspired by Aamir’s marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Abhishek Kapoor (the director) is very conscious of the comparisons that will come between the book and the film and hence we (Abhijit, Pubali Chaudhari and I) are taking great care in writing the screenplay of the film. In fact even today as we speak, I am working on the screenplay of the film based on ‘3 Mistakes Of My life’. We are aware that after Rock On and 3 Idiots, there will be a lot of expectations from people and hence we are working very hard on getting the screenplay right. I think we should be able to finalise it soon and begin casting in a month or so.

Your most recent novel ‘2 States’ was launched a couple of months ago…how has been the response so far?
‘2 States’ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour. It’s a very good book for a lot of people to relate and enjoy. It also carries a nice message. Especially in the South, the book has done extraordinarily well. I think I have been able to meet my fans expectations which is the ultimate dream for any writer.

2 States‘ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour.

That book would make for an interesting Bollywood potboiler…any plans to adapt that book into a film too?
There have been many offers but I know that my fans would like me to be involved with only A-grade Bollywood. I don’t want to sell the rights to any filmmaker just for the heck of it. It should go into the right hands so that it emerges as one of the best films of the year

What else are you busy with these days apart from tweeting….the buzz is that you are scripting a film?
Twitter is a great way to stay connected with my fans. Yes…I do want to script a romantic comedy. Abhishek Kapoor has taught me a lot about screenplay writing. The best part about working with Abhishek is that he has shown me how the screenplay language works and also how to use restraint. Rock On was such a film that expressed so much more in spite of being subtle. My books tend to be quite filmy sometimes (laughs). It’s ironical that a filmmaker is telling me to be less filmy but I am forever indebted to Abhishek for teaching me these things about screenplay writing. Now I am hoping that I can do a better job.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Kannada matinee idol Vishnuvardhan, passed away of cardiac arrest yesterday

By S Shyam Prasad \ Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 31, 2009)


At the age of 22, H N Sampath Kumar was rechristened Vishnuvardhan by legendary director Puttanna Kanagala and he had fame and popularity literally seeking him out overnight. The Mysore-born actor would often call his entry into films as dynamic and expressed a desire to have a graceful exit. It turned out to be an unexpected exit in the early hours of December 30; and not just from films.

At 59, none of his fans, friends or family expected him to perish. The late actor was suffering from diabetes and had developed cardiac problems during his last days. He is survived by his wife, Bharati and two adopted daughters.

Vishnuvardhan made his film debut with a small role in Vamshavriksha directed by Girish Karnad in 1972. In the same year, he appeared in Puttanna Kanagala’s magnum opus Naagarahaavu, where he played the protagonist Ramachari, which remains a much-liked character to date.

A polyglot who could speak six languages, his life changed when films beckoned him. As Vishnuvardhan would recall later in life, he had neither enthusiasm nor love for films. “I was not a hard worker, but a sincere worker,” he summed up his film career. When his first photograph appeared in Chitradeepa magazine after his film debut, what the young Vishnuvardhan aspired was to be recognised by girls as he walked around Gandhi Bazaar.

At the time Vishnuvardhan married actress Bharati, she was a bigger star than him. Their marriage lasted for a lifetime but the couple was childless. They adopted two girls. But the actor never spoke about this aspect of life.

Vishnuvardhan Akshay Kumar

In the last few years, Vishnuvardhan had become a disciple of Bannanje Govindacharya and taken up vows of silence from time to time. He would avoid public platforms that would necessitate him to make tough statements or take stands. However, he held on to his beliefs and would never waver from his somewhat radical views.

Akshay Kumar, who is holidaying with his wife and son in Goa, expressed his shock about the superstar’s death. Akshay says, “I worked with him in Ashaant (1993) and I think, that is the only Hindi film that Vishnuji did. We shot it in his home town Bangalore, and he was so popular! Men, women and children came to him to be touched by him. He was like God. Newly-born babies were named after him.”

Akshay remembers the good times that they had while shooting the film. “Vishnuji was disciplined, focused and hard working. I have learnt a lot from him. We did a Hindi and a Kannada version of Ashaant. The Kannada version was a super hit. The Hindi version was a flop. I guess he was a much bigger star than I could ever be. As I speak about him now all the memories of shooting during that film flash through my mind. I met him in Bangalore much later. He was warm and very friendly. Was he just 60? That’s no age to go.”

Although My Name Is Khan will premiere at the 60th Berlin Film Festival, distributor Fox Star Studios, has prevented it from competing with other films in the Competition section

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 25, 2009)


With the good news comes the bad news as well. The good news is that Fox Star Studios, international partners on My Name Is Khan, has decided to premiere the film at the 60th Berlin Film Festival in February 2010, in the most prestigious Competition section. However, the bad news is that they have not allowed the film to compete with other films in the section. The reason for the same is unknown.

Karan doesn’t deny the news but pooh-poohs the belief that the global corporates are trying to bully him into submission. He says, “Yes, the decision to place our film in the Competition section without competing was taken entirely by Fox Star. Shah Rukh and I are completely one with it. We are just happy to be in the same section as the new films by Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski. Fox Star has been on the same page as me from the start. Shah Rukh, Kajol and I are getting ready for Berlin. It will be the first full-fledged screening of our film. We are anxious to see how the global audience at Berlin reacts to it.”

According to sources, Fox Star has grown progressively wary of the 9/11 angle in cinema and has asked Karan to tone it down as far as possible. Apparently, the filmmaker was asked to change the trailer for the premiere of My Name Is Khan (unveiled last week) so that overt references to terrorism are done away with. Karan was also asked to stress on the fact that the film is not about 9/11 and terrorism. Karan dismisses the news. He says, “Fox Star knew exactly what My Name Is Khan is about. It’s a fact that the film is not about terrorism. Yes, 9/11 does form a background to the tale, but the film is a love story and a story of humanism under pressure.”

(L): My Name Is Khan, (R) :Karan Johar

Apparently, there is also a fear that Shah Rukh Khan’s smaller-than-life role as an autistic Muslim, fighting injustice in the US may not go down well with his fans. Karan laughs at the rumours. He says, “That is such an erroneous interpretation of Shah Rukh’s character. He plays a man with a disability who can see the world around him far more clearly than the so-called normal people. He is a superman with a soul pure enough to fly. No, I don’t think his fans would be disappointed just because he isn’t larger-than-life in Khan. Shah Rukh’s fans all over the world want to see him in roles that connect the reality of cinema with the reality of the world outside the theatre.”

Vijay Singh, CEO, Star Fox Studios, also insists that the film is not about terrorism. He says, “My Name Is Khan is a love story and Shah Rukh Khan’s character’s journey to win back his love. It has nothing to do with terrorism.”

Two women land an unexpected chance to be ushered inside Amitabh Bachchan’s house, as their health deteriorates outside his bungalow

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 16, 2009)


What happens when Amitabh Bachchan decides to step out of his bungalow and reach out to his fans? Chaos, traffic jams, a near stampede-like situation and of course, a crowd of crazy but satisfied fans.

That’s precisely what happened yesterday evening. However this time, a couple of women also got breathless. Apparently, Amitabh took control of the situation, instructed his security to take them inside Jalsa and ensured that nothing adverse happened to them.

As per his Sunday routine, Amitabh stepped out of Jalsa and met his fans. According to our source, he was giving television interviews for Paa when he decided to take a small break. He knew his fans were waiting outside. This time around though, he had planned a special surprise for them.

 

Amitabh Bachchan outside Jalsa

A witness to the situation outside Jalsa said, “When Amitabh stepped out and started distributing autographed pictures, people crowded to grab the pictures and to just touch the living legend. The word that Amitabh was out, spread like wild fire and the crowd soon increased manifold, causing a jam on the roads. Caught in the mini mêlée, a couple of elderly women started feeling breathless. It immediately caught Amitabh’s attention and he asked his security guards to rush them inside the house and give them some water. He then got his personal staff to distribute the remaining pictures to the people he could not personally reach out to.”

Appreciating the love shown by his fans, Amitabh said, “From the day I was discharged from Breach Candy hospital in 1982, every single day, crowds throng my gate. That’s 27 years without a break. I have never been able to explain this incredible outpour of emotions. I am indebted for life by my fans’ gestures and step out every Sunday to greet them. I give them autographs and pose for photographs as and when the frenzy permits. I felt like giving them autographed Paa photographs, so I sat up till late signing them.”

Katrina hobnobbed all night with Shah Rukh, Shilpa Shetty couldn’t stop showing off her engagement ring and Gauri Khan danced enthusiastically till the cops came in and repeatedly asked host Hrithik to stop the loud music late on Sunday night

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 27, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan Gauri Khan
Nandita Mahtani and Dino Morea Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty

A near stampede resulted outside Hrithik Roshan’s building Palazzio, Juhu late on Sunday night when Hrithik threw a party to celebrate his wife Sussanne’s birthday. The who’s who of Bollywood attended the do and a throng of fans stood outside the gate to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars.

Guests at the party included Shah Rukh-Gauri Khan, Saif-Kareena, Katrina Kaif, Karan Johar, Parmeshwar Godrej, Tusshar Kapoor, Arjun Rampal-Mehr Jesia, Chunky-Bhavna Pandey, Shilpa Shetty-Raj Kundra, Zayed Khan, Kajal Anand, Neelam, Kunal Kapoor, Vicky-Gayatri Oberoi, Sonali-Goldie Behl and Farah Ali Khan,amongst others.

Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza came in together, as did Dino Morea and his now on-now off girlfriend, designer Nandita Mahtani. While Gauri Khan was having a great time dancing, Shah Rukh, who came in an hour after her, was in a rather sober mood. Parmeshwar Godrej was in high spirits and was one of the last guests to leave the party.

Hrithik looked dapper, as usual, in a black shirt and blue jeans, while Sussanne complemented his attire with an elegant black dress.

Incidentally, Hrithik’s favourite co-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan did not attend the party. A source close to the Roshans said, “Abhishek was busy shooting, hence Aishwarya decided not to come.”

Hrithik’s good friend Priyanka Chopra was also absent. The actress’s official spokesperson said, “Priyanka could not attend Hrithik’s party because she wasn’t feeling too well due to food poisoning.”

Unlike most parties where Ameesha is usually accompanied by her boyfriend Kanav Puri, this time she came alone and looked quite lost.

A rather plump looking Katrina Kaif managed to raise quite a few eyebrows by hobnobbing with boyfriend Salman Khan’s arch rival Shah Rukh Khan. A close friend of Salman said, “Never before have we seen Katrina get along so well with Shah Rukh. Has she broken up with Salman?”

When we asked why Hrithik’s sister Sunaina did not attend the party, the source said, “Sunaina is a loner.”

Since Shilpa got engaged to Raj on Saturday night, everybody wanted to have a look at her huge ring. “Shilpa proudly showed it to almost everybody who was around. She was the centre of attraction all evening,” added the source.

The revelry ended on an unpleasant note when an irate neighbour complained about the loud music reverberating from the building’s 10th floor where the party was on in full swing. A few cops reached the venue but failed to take stock of the situation. They had to call senior police inspector Sawant who asked Hrithik to mellow down.

Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan & Katrina Kaif

 

Salman Khan fulfills his promise to his fans of having a live show in Kolkata on October 23 as the first one on September 26 had to be cancelled at the last minute

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 20, 2009)

Salman Khan

Salman Khan clearly believes in practicing what he preaches. True to his ‘Ek baar jo maine commitment kar di, phir main apne aap ki bhi nahi sunta’ dialogue in his recent release Wanted, Salman is going out of his way to live up to his commitment in real life by visiting Kolkata on October 23 for a live performance.

A source says, “Salman had gone to Kolkata on September 26 for a live show but was unable to perform as the venue was over crowded with his innumerable fans and there was a mad rush which resulted in a stampede. The event was held at the Mohammedan Sporting Club which could accommodate 20,000 people but over 40,000 fans turned up there. “

“Consequently, the organisers had no choice but to cancel the show. That’s when Salman promised his fans to rework the show schedule and come back with a bang. The actor will now go to Kolkata on October 23 and will be performing at the Salt Lake Stadium which has the capacity to accommodate around 1,25,000 people,” adds the source.

One of the event organisers says, “Unfortunately the show had to be cancelled the last time as the ground exceeded its capacity. Salman had given his word to his fans to be back.”

Salman Khan says, “I am very happy to go back to Kolkata because I had committed to my fans and once I make a commitment I stick to it no matter what happens. And that is why I am going back to celebrate the success of my recent release Wanted and the launch of my forthcoming film London Dreams.”

By Subhash K. Jha, September 25, 2009 – 13:56 IST

Boney Kapoor Celebrations are in order. But the Wanted party has been postponed by a week. “Our director Prabhu Deva got caught up in an assignment in Kerala. So we’ve postponed the party for next week. We can’t celebrate without Prabhu,” says Boney emotionally.

Boney has not been so excited in a long time. “The collections of Wanted speak for themselves. In the first week, it has done better business than Kambakkht Ishq did in its entire run. There was gun-firing between two sections of clashing Salman fans in a theatre named Rishi in Bulandshaher.”

And yet Wanted is supposedly a slow-starter in the multiplexes. Isn’t it? Boney retorts, “Let Aditya Chopra make films for multiplexes. I’m happy reaching out to the masses.”

Commenting on why Dil Bole Haddipa didn’t do well, Boney says, “Their intended USP was the Punjabi culture. Ironically, the film didn’t even open well in Punjab. How does one explain this? Their other USP was Rani Mukherjee dressed as a man. But old-time heroines like Asha Parekh and Saira Banu have done the man thing long ago. And they were buxom ladies therefore tantalizing in their cross-dressing. With due respects to her amazing talent, Rani looked like a school boy.”

Feeling on top of the world, Boney says, “The corporatized culture that has seeped into filmmaking is not working. The corporate guys know only about paper-work, nothing about filmmaking. We need individual producers with vision to bail the industry out of its present crisis. I’ve made 30 films. But I still feel I’ve just started with Wanted.”

Apart from the No Entry sequel, Boney will also finally start a film with his mesmeric wife Sridevi. “If I don’t, her fans will kill me. I’ve heard a script I’ve liked.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

DBH3

Post-Lagaan, there has been multitude of films on cricket out of which only two succeeded-Jannat and Iqbal. The rest of the badly executed cricket films failed. ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’ falls in between the two categories. The film in interesting and has its share of wonderful moments. But the film lacked depth and the director and screenwriter could have worked wonders with the kind of script they had in their hand. Thus, ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’ is just a one-time watch.

The story of the movie: Veera (Rani Mukherjee) is a charming and bubbly girl who lives in a small town in Punjab. She is a great cricketer and is passionate about the sport. Every year, Aman Cup is held between India and Pakistan during the independence day of these countries and Indian team had lost the match 8 times in a row. Frustrated, the owner of the Indian team, Vikram Kapoor (Anupam Kher) calls his son Rohan (Shahid Kapoor), an accomplished county player to be the captain of his team. Rohan gets rid of the existing team which he felt wasn’t upto the mark and holds a selection. Veera wishes to be a part of the team but knowing that women won’t be allowed in the team, she disguises herself as a Sikh guy and goes for the selection. She tells her name as Veer Pratap Singh and gets selected in the team. To find out what happens next, watch the film.

The beginning of ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’ is fabulous and sets the mood of the film. However, the film gets into the flawed mode with the entry of Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil. Both of them are shown as childhood buddies who got separated after the Partition. But both of them looked too young to be born 10 years before the Partition!

Notwithstanding such goofs, the film maintains its pace and doesn’t get slow or dragging or melodramatic at a single point. There is lots of things happening throughout the film and although the film gets predictable, it stills manages to engross. If the screenwriters and the directors were more careful, the film could have been flawless product. The biggest glitch of the film is Veera turns into Veer and succeeds in looking like a guy but doesn’t alter her feminine voice, thus giving a clear giveaway that Veer is a girl in disguise. Still, no one gets a slightest hint about it and this is slightly hard to digest. This may result in a comparison with Shahrukh Khan’s double act in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. However, in RNBDJ, SRK had not guised himself as a member of the opposite sex and had wonderfully changed the tone of his voice, appearance, mannerisms etc in such a way that when Anushka Sharma failed to recognize him, it looked believable to a great extent.

Coming back to ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’, the romantic track between Shahid and Rani was refreshing. The final cricket match was nail-biting although we all knew what will be its outcome. Rani’s dialogue in the climax was well executed and the film ends with a good message.

DBH2

Dil Bole Hadippa!’ belongs completely to Rani Mukherjee. The film rests on her shoulders and she does a stupendous job. Even as Veer, she was mind-blowing, notwithstanding her voice. It was funny to see Shahid making Veer do the exercises. Watch out for the scene where Veer is daydreaming on the cricket ground! In short, it was just incredible on the part of Rani. Let’s hope she gets more meaningful roles. She deserves to stay in Bollywood.

Shahid Kapoor, as usual, was perfect as the tough captain. And he has an important role to play in the film and doesn’t have lesser screen presence, as mentioned in many reviews. He shines in the scene where he tells Veer about his feelings for Veera. In fact, both Shahid and Rani were at their best in this particular scene.

Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil were consistent. Sherlyn Chopra is a good actor and will be taken seriously, provided she stops exposing. Rakhi Sawant, Poonam Dhillon, Vrajesh Hirjee and Vallabh Vyas didn’t have much to do in the film. Shonali Nagrani looked charming.

Pritam’s music wasn’t in complete form but nevertheless, gives couple of good songs. Hadippa, its remix version and Ishq Hi Hai Rab were the best songs. Julius Packiam’s background score was fantastic! Several scenes turned exciting, thanks to the energetic background score. Same goes for the brilliant cinematography by acclaimed cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee.

Jaya-Aparajita wrote the story, screenplay and dialogues. The screenplay was perfect in some scenes but could have been better. Dialogues were excellent.

Anurag Singh, the director of the film, overall did a good job but he failed to treat some scenes exceptionally which was really needed. Overall, it was a great directorial debut. There’s another director by the same name who had made Raqeeb, starring Rahul Khanna, Tanushree Dutta, Sharman Joshi and Jimmy Shergill. Coincidentally, it also starred Sherlyn Chopra!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.   The first scene
2.   The Aman Cup held in India
3.   Rohan and Veera’s first meeting
4.   Veera denied entry for the selection
5.   Veer and Rohan meeting for the ‘first time’
6.   The intermission point
7.   Rohan asking Veer about Veera
8.   Rohan and Veera’s date
9.   The final 30 minutes

On the whole, ‘Dil Bole Hadippa!’ is a good film with a message. The film could have been outstanding if the writers had taken care of the flaws. Rani performs wonderfully and it’s a must watch for all her fans!

My rating-*** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Dil_Bole_Hadippa-176045-1.html

DBH

By Taran Adarsh, September 17, 2009 – 19:15 IST

This is for fans and foes of Salman Khan…
Fans, rejoice, Salman is back with a vengeance with WANTED. This is his deadliest performance to date. Yes, you read it right!
Foes, sorry, you won’t be able to lash out at him or pick on him or launch a vicious tirade this time. The spate of flops should come to a grinding halt with WANTED.

Let’s get this straight. WANTED rides on Salman Khan’s star power. He may not be the best actor in town, but in a film like WANTED, in a role that seems like an extension of his personality, you can’t think of anyone else enacting this role with flourish.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

A remake of POKIRI [made in Telugu and Tamil versions], WANTED is a full on masala film. Recall the successful potboilers of yore. Recall how the good guy would reduce 10 hoodlums to pulp in a fraction of seconds. Recall how heroism prevailed in the end, no matter how adverse the circumstances were or how powerful the villains would be. Recall those movies in which logic took a backseat since the focus was on entertainment… You relive those moments as reel after reel of WANTED unfolds.

//

A departure from candyfloss movies and diabetic-sweet characters that most Hindi movies boast of, WANTED takes you back to those days when popular cinema reigned supreme, when the sole motive of the film-maker was to entertain.

The daring hero and his herogiri, the naïve girlfriend, the corrupt cop, the dreaded don, the don’s moll, the fist-clinching henchmen… WANTED is for those who seek unabashed entertainment and relish masala films. Damn the indomitable critics, pseudo intellectuals and connoisseurs of parallel cinema, this one’s not for them. WANTED is for the aam junta.

Radhe [Salman Khan] is a hardcore gangster. A sharpshooter with a sharp brain, he works for Gani Bhai [Prakash Raj], the dreaded Mafioso, but on his own terms. Totally fearless, Radhe single-handedly eliminates Gani Bhai’s enemies one by one; making more enemies in the process.

He’s astounded when the young and pretty Jahnvi [Ayesha Takia Azmi] professes her liking for him. Inspector Talpade’s [Mahesh Manjrekar] lustful eyes fall on Jahnvi. He doesn’t know that Jahnvi has developed a soft corner for Radhe.

Whether it’s the Golden Gang or Data Pawle’s Gang, everybody wants the biggest piece of the lucrative cake that is Mumbai and the only way to get it is to eliminate whoever gets in the way. As Mumbai reels under bloody gang wars, Commissioner Ashraf Khan [Govind Namdeo] vows to make the city crime free.

Director Prabhu Dheva serves a hardcore masala fare that’s not inventive or path-breaking by any standard, but the execution of several scenes as also of stunts takes the graph of the film Northward. In fact, if at all there’s any film that competes with GHAJINI as far as raw appeal goes, it’s WANTED. Every action/stunt/chase here is choreographed with aplomb.

Watch out for the action sequence at the interval point or the penultimate half-an-hour. The climax is sure to send scores of action lovers in frenzy, as Salman bashes the evil forces black and blue. It wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the climax is worth the price of the ticket, samosa, sandwich, popcorn, nachos and cola put together.

Not that this 18 reeler abounds in mindless action. As mentioned earlier, this one’s a hardcore masala film and the narrative has its share of light moments and romantic sequences. Even the bad man here makes you laugh intermittently [when he's not spewing venom], especially in the sequence when the Commissioner of Police holds him captive in the middle of the sea. Even the romance between Salman and Ayesha charms its way into your heart. It’s very likable.

But WANTED is not without its share of flaws. The film stands on a thin storyline and the viewer can guess what’s in store next, which means that there’s not much novelty in the plot. Besides, WANTED could’ve done without a song or two, thereby keeping its length in check.

Director Prabhu Dheva has presented Salman like never before. Most actors have drifted away from roles that hold tremendous mass appeal, that cater to the desi audience, like they did in the 1980s. SRK did it in OM SHANTI OM, Aamir Khan did it in GHAJINI and Salman does it so effortlessly in WANTED. The screenplay [Shiraz Ahmed] may not be foolproof, but it has its share of shining moments. Dialogues are clapworthy, especially those delivered by Salman.

Sajid-Wajid’s music is of a mixed variety. ‘Jalwa’ is the best of the lot and the star presence of Anil Kapoor, Govinda and also Prabhu Dheva in this track will send the viewers into raptures. The remaining tracks oscillate between good and strictly okay. This review would be incomplete without the invaluable contribution by the action director. It deserves brownie points. Cinematography too is top notch.

Salman is like a ferocious lion who roars with all his might. The show belongs to the actor, who scorches the screen every time he displays the manic anger. Without doubt, Salman gives the power to WANTED. It’s his best work to date.

Ayesha Takia Azmi is very good and the pairing with Salman looks wonderful. Vinod Khanna is sidelined. He deserved more footage. Mahesh Manjrekar is excellent. He’s only getting better with every film. Prakash Raj is first-rate. The accomplished actor adds yet another feather to his cap. Govind Namdeo is perfect.

Mahek Chahal radiates oomph. Aseem Merchant is alright. Raju Mavani is effective. Inder Kumar and Sajid are okay. Manoj Pahwa tries hard to make you laugh. Prateeksha Lonkar is as usual.

On the whole, WANTED rides on Salman, Salman and only Salman Khan’s star power. A masala film that’s aimed at the masses, WANTED is backed by tremendous hype and hoopla, which will result in the film taking an earth-shattering start at the ticket window. The Idd celebrations in the coming days will only enhance the business of the film, which means that the film will have a solid Week 1. The holidays in Week 2 should also be bountiful, thereby ensuring a strong place in the ‘Hit’ category.



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