Fenil and Bollywood

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ON A SONG: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in My Name Is Khan and (below) Karan Johar

Karan Johar releases Sajda, the first track of his new film, today

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 3, 2010)

Today music lovers will have a special reason to groove. For the soulful, melodious, Sajda track from Karan Johar’s romantic drama My Name is Khan will play across every satellite channel and radio station.

The fortunate few who have already heard the track sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma say it holds the promise of becoming the anthem of 2010. Karan Johar says, “I’m glad Sajda has got an ovation.’’ He adds that working with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on this track was indeed different from the previous experiences of Kal Ho Na Ho and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna — both chartbusters in their own right…but both more similar to each other in a way.

“On the other hand, for MNIK, we decided to have music which is a sharp contrast to the visuals that may dominate the screen. The music has a rustic and soulful feel; the songs aren’t your regular lipsynced numbers, as is the normal practise, yet each track is a haunting melody and will leave behind an indelible mark.’’


Candidly Karan admits, “I’m besura, I can’t sing to save my life, I can’t play a single music instrument, yet if my films do throw up songs that find a following, it is simply because God has blessed me with the ability to say yes or no to a track that is suggested to me by my composers.’’

Explaining how Bollywood film music has been his raison de etre for 30-odd years, Karan says, “I’m obsessed with Hindi film music. Be it on my radio or my iPod you will find me listening only to Hindi film songs. I have grown up listening to music from the 40s until now; and in a way, I can say I have developed a keen ear for it.’’ Praising his composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the filmmaker says, “I don’t know how the three of them work in such perfect tandem. But they do. If I had to have a co-director, I’d probably kill the person. But these guys are amazing.’’ The trade also has given Sajda a thumbs up. This track which has a sufiana kind of feel climbed to the eighth spot on the charts within minutes of it being aired. Of his lead pair, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, on who the MNIK tracks have been picturised, Karan says, “If Kajol loves a song, she’ll say so instantly. As for Shah Rukh, most of the songs he vocalises seem like they are owned by him because he is one actor who gives 300 per cent to every song he sings. SRK’s tracks have that evergreen quality because when he is on screen singing them you just feel the song was made for him and none other.’’
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

Amitabh Bachchan looks back on the hits and misses in his life over 2009

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 14, 2009)

When Amitabh Bachchan was asked to describe what 2009 meant to him, the great actor said, “Gosh, what a year this has been — a few ups, and a few downs… more downs really! Years, months, days… they rush through at such speed, it’s impossible to keep an account of them.” He’s right, he’s had ups and down all right, but what’s there to complain about? If his Aladin was a disaster, then look at what a thumping success Paa has become; these are the only two films the Big B has had in 2009. He wrapped up work on Johnny Mastana, Rann and Teen Patti by June because he wanted to be by the side of his ailing friend Amar Singh. Now all these films await delayed releases because of the multiplex strike earlier. It’s been six months since Bachchan took on any new film or faced the camera. But he kept himself busy with television, with the Bachchan Sandhya on the occasion of his father’s 102nd birth anniversary, with the promotions of Paa. Here the Big B reflects back on 2009…
Aladin was a disaster, Paa a success…
• Aladin failed and Paa moves in a direction that looks to be one of success, both critical and commercial. Modesty prevents me from disclosing what reactions we are getting. But no amount of prudence prevents me from admitting that Auro has been embraced in a manner that I have never seen before. The other noticeable factor has been the will of the people. They want Auro and this film to succeed. No amount of sophisticated marketing will ever stand in the way of the choice and demands of the masses and this is why all traditional assumptions on the business trends for Paa are falling short. Auro is dictating an unique box office attitude all by himself and the so-called pundits are wrapping up their janam patris and shifting base.
You’re back on television, a new experience…
• It is different from KBC and gets more intricate as we move along. The medium and those that are attached to it, work diligently round the clock, and it is a marvel to see the amount of thinking and labour that goes on behind the scenes to create something like this. I feel very saddened when I have to announce the person who has been voted out and then later to spend time with them after their eviction. It’s much like what I used to feel when on KBC I had to inform the participant that his answer was wrong. You’d think KBC was harder because that was my first time on television. But no. Every time I do anything new and that means starting a new film too, I get butterflies in my stomach.
The year zipped by for you…
• I really have no recollection of what went by. I know what I am doing now. Age does have this adverse effect on one and I am no different from any other. It may seem power packed for you but for me, it is just another day, another job. I endeavour to do what is assigned to me to the best of my ability.
You’re 67 and still going superstrong…
• I don’t know if I am still going strong, but yes, I am alive and I exist. I have never wished for any fancy recognition or accolade. I am grateful for the jobs that I get and am thankful that I am given opportunity for work.
Your thoughts on the world around…
• I wish for there to be peace and harmony. For humans to understand that we are all one and that we all have common characteristics. To understand that all faiths need to be respected, for none of them are different in their beliefs. That we are one nation, united by our independence and our sovereignty. That this world we live in belongs to all of us and we need to protect it for its survival. That a kind word and a smile never did harm anyone.
The most significant occurrence in your life this year…
• That I am still alive!

Wanted2

Although our tastes for film has improved manifold, we still don’t mind watching a hardcore action flick, where the hero is able to take care of more than a dozen criminals and escape unscathed. Wanted also falls in this same category. Although the film is bound with many loose ends, it still gives a thrilling experience. And Salman Khan takes the film to dizzying heights!

The story of the movie: Radhe (Salman Khan) is a one man army. He is a gangster who can do anything for the sake of money. Golden (Aseem Merchant), who works under Singapore-based Gani Bhai (Prakash Raj) invites Radhe to join his gang. Radhe becomes a part of Gani Bhai’s gang and nearly at the same time, falls for Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia). The eyes of Inspector Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar), a corrupt cop at a nearby police station fall on Jhanvi and he desires to make her his mistress. Radhe then begins eliminating the rival gang members and also succeeds in impressing Jhanvi. But will Jhanvi be able to get into a relationship with a person like Radhe, who doesnt think twice before killing? And there’s a new Commissioner in Mumbai, Ashfaq Khan (Govind Namdeo) who has vowed to city crime-free. Will he become a threat to Radhe?

Wanted begins well and Salman Khan’s entry sets the mood wonderfully. However, after all character gets introduced, the film falls a bit and the story hardly moves. Thankfully, there are some funny interesting moments in the first hour that prevent the film from getting boring.  The intermission point was gripping and was well shot.

But things lighten up in the second half after Gani Bhai’s arrest. Commissioner interrogating Gani Bhai was hilarious. Later, the kahani mein twist moment in the pre-climax takes the film to a new high. In fact, it was what made the film stand out. Even though the climax was a bit lame, one won’t complain, thanks to the wonderful suspense.

Each character in the film is well written. Radhe, Gani Bhai, Jhanvi’s landlord (Manoj Pahwa) and Inspector Talpade were my favourites. As for the flaws, the film gets little dragging at places and the narrative just doesn’t go ahead. Also, the wonderful suspense also raises some questions. However, the impact is so huge at this point that one doesn’t get the chance to think of any goofs.

After Partner, this is surely Salman’s next best performance. In fact, it won’t be wrong to admit that Wanted is one of the finest performances ever given by Salman Khan! He fills life and colour to the rowdy character that he plays in Wanted. Also, Salman’s thoda-good boy-thoda-bad boy image helps a lot in doing total justice to his role! Hence, Salman was the perfect choice for this film and he comes up with flying colours. Hats off to Sallu!

Wanted

Ayesha Takia Azmi looks charming as everytime and manages to give a nice performance. Here’s an actor who deserves to get more and better roles. Mahesh Manjrekar plays the baddie with élan and also makes us laugh. Watch out for him in his entry scene and in his first meeting with Salman. Prakash Raj, a popular face down South and whose last Hindi film was Khakee, performs wonderfully. He is hardly there before interval but dominates in a lot of scenes in the 2nd half. Govind Namdeo gets a positive role after a long time and does a fine job.

Mahek Chahal was perfect in the role of the seductive moll. Aseem Merchant was simply fantastic. Why is this actor not getting enough roles? Manoj Pahwa was hilarious. Vinod Khanna and Inder Kumar do a nice job in their respective roles. The kid playing Ayesha’s brother leaves a mark too.

Sajid-Wajid’s music was energizing. Two songs steal the show, thanks to their execution-‘Jalwa’ and ‘Love Me Love Me’. Anil Kapoor, Govinda and Prabhudheva also make an appearance in ‘Jalwa’ which increases the appeal of the song. The song ‘Dil Leke’ is missing from the film. Salim-Sulaiman’s background score was good but could had been better.

Nirav Shah and S Sriram’s cinematography was outstanding and just the kind required for an action flick. Vijayan’s action was also praiseworthy. The action scenes were not foolish or funny but one which looked real and raw. Although the film has quite bloodshed, giving it an ‘A’ certificate was unnecessary.

Shiraz Ahmed’s screenplay wasn’t flawless but still works. However, his dialogues were phaadu, esp the ones mouthed by Salman! The best dialogue of the film is “Tu jis school se ye seekh ke aaya hai, wahaan ka headmaster mujhse tuitions leta hai!” Clapworthy, isn’t it?!

Puri Jagannadh’s story was indeed worth appreciating and appealing. This explains why three films are made from the same plot! Prabhudheva’s direction wasn’t top-class but still manages to come up with an entertaining action flick. His smart treatment to some of the scenes (esp the climax) enhances the film to a great extent.

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.   Salman and Mahesh Manjrekar’s entry scene
2.   The song ‘Jalwa’ and ‘Love Me Love Me
3.   Radhe joining Gani Bhai’s gang
4.   Radhe and Inspector Talpade’s meeting at the basketball court
5.   Radhe and Jhanvi in the elevator
6.   The intermission point
7.   Radhe bashing up Talpade
8.   Commissioner Ashfaq Khan interrogating Gani Bhai
9.   Radhe fighting the goons in the local train
10. The last 35 minutes of the film

On the whole, Wanted is a cool action flick that will surely be loved by Salman fans. It has some loose ends but manages to impress. If you relish action flicks, this one is for you! Go for it and experience Salman Ka Jalwa!

My rating-*** out of 5!
This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Wanted_Dead_or_Alive-175348-1.html

Wanted



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