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By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:31 IST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sometimes, the expectations from a movie are zilch, but what unfolds on screen is beyond expectations. It surprises you, to put it simply.

On face-value, BOLO RAAM looks like it’s straight out of 1970s cinema. A movie with predictability written all over it. A movie that carries zero hype and matches it with zero content. But BOLO RAAM isn’t archaic, isn’t the usual masala, isn’t zero content.

A remake of the Tamil film RAAM [2005; starring Jeeva, Saranya, Rehman, Murali], BOLO RAAM has an interesting plot with an engaging screenplay that compels you to look at the screen for most parts of the movie. But, of course, there’re hiccups. A few non-actors and a done to death climax could’ve been avoided.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Raam [Rishi Bhutani] is charged with the murder of his mother Archana [Padmini Kolhapure]. Raam falls into a state of shock, brief psychotic disorder, after his mother’s death and becomes silent, refusing to talk or react in any manner.

The investigating officer, Indrajeet Singh Rathi [Om Puri] is puzzled and unable to make Raam speak. He consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Negi [Naseeruddin Shah], to determine the cause of Raam’s state of mind and the reason for his silence.

Rathi interrogates various personalities for the case, questioning Raam. Every possible motive that Raam might have for murdering his mother is explored. Furthermore, Raam’s neighbours, Sub-Inspector Sajid Khan’s [Govind Namdev] daughter Juhi [Disha Pandey] and son Sameer [Krishan Khatra], are summoned by Rathi for interrogation. Will his silence solve the puzzle?

Without wasting any time, BOLO RAAM takes off from its opening titles itself. The story goes back and forth, several new characters are introduced, but the narrative stays faithful to the main plot. The best is reserved for the second half. Layer after layer is peeled with expertise. The viewer is keen to know the identity of the killer and that’s when the film fumbles and tumbles.

The culprit’s track is sloppy and a major put off. In fact, the circumstances that lead to the murder are quite amateurish and look far from convincing. Surely, the writer could’ve thought of a better culmination. Also, the one-sided love affair is functional.

Debutante director Rakesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’ makes a confident debut, although he should’ve cast some better actors for key roles. There’s not much scope for music [Sachin Gupta] in the film and hence, just one song merits mention – ‘Maa Tere Jaisa’. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] deserves special mention.

Newcomer Rishi Bhutani does a commendable job. He oozes confidence, despite sharing the same frame with accomplished actors. Om Puri gets into the skin of his character and is impressive, while Padmini Kolhapure is a pleasure to watch after a long gap. She is beautifully restrained. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief role and the veteran does it well. Govind Namdev is very good.

Rajpal Yadav is wasted. Both Disha Pandey and Krishan Khatra are non-actors. Manoj Pahwa does his usual act.

On the whole, BOLO RAAM has decent merits [hence those 2 stars], but the problem is its wrong release timing. It won’t stand a chance in front of a hurricane called 3 IDIOTS.

BOLLYWOOD CALLING: Rishi Bhutani
Rishi Bhutani will be making his Bollywood debut with Shree Keshav Films’ Bolo Raam which is releasing this New Year eve — December 31. The new kid on the Bollywood block is pretty sure that everyone’s going to love his acting skills. “Acting is in my veins,” says Rishi. Rishi promises that Bolo Raam will be a gripping thriller.

Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure, the film’s being produced by Rishi’s elder brother Goldy, and has been written and directed by debutant director Rakkesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’, who is a well known theatre artist. “After reading the script and knowing the cast, I felt that this is that character with which I want to start my career,” says Rishi.
Rishi plays Raam in the movie. Speaking about the movie, Rishi adds, “It’s about a mother and son. The mother is mysteriously murdered leaving the son in a cage of silence.” Rishi, of course, plays the quiet son, Raam. He credits his brother, Goldy for pushing him into it. “He was the one who said I had the talent, and motivated me to be an actor,” says the actor who used to bunk classes to take part in school theatre.

Rishi admits that he was a bit nervous when the shooting began. He says, “But Naseer Sir, Om Puri Sir and Padmini Maa’m made me feel comfortable. I would say it has been a dream role for me as I got an opportunity to work with legends of our industry and that too in my first film, I had never thought about it. I hope that audiences like the film.”

Producer Goldy Bhutani adds, “I thank Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure for coming together for this project and would say that Rakkesh has done some excellent work as a director. It is a must watch film for everyone to know how circumstances take over the good times.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 30, 2009)

In the process of eliminating handful of terrorists, we end up creating many more-this best describes the policies of Western developed powers who are hell bent on making the world more democratic but adopt inhuman ways to achieve the end point. Kurbaan throws light on this sensitive topic and thankfully treats it well. The flick throws a spate of questions and forces you to think, discuss and debate. But it doesn’t get preachy and hence it’s not like one of the several films on terrorism that are made for a niche audience. The film is thrilling, has some wonderful twist-n-turns and includes some moments of love and passion too. All this make Kurbaan one of the finest films of the year-one that can’t be missed!

The story of the movie: Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) takes the job of a teacher in a university in Delhi where he comes across a psychology teacher, Avantika (Kareena Kapoor). He instantly falls in love and she also ends up liking him. But unfortunately, she’s called back to New York where she originally belongs. Realizing that it would be wrong to have a long-distance relationship, Ehsaan also moves to NYC with Avantika. But before that, they marry. After moving to New York, they buy a new house in a neighborhood full of Asians, conservative Muslims to be precise. The neighbours invite Ehsaan and Avantika for dinner so that they can get familiar with each other. Soon, Avantika realizes that things are not fine in the neighbourhood as they seem and finally, realization dawns upon her-she has been as used as a pawn in a dangerous game.

The beginning 20-25 minutes focuses on Saif-Kareena’s courtship and may not impress. It was the weakest part of the film and wasn’t treated well. But thinks take a good turn with the song Shukran Allah and when the couple shifts to New York. The film engrosses from the scene where the neighbours invite them for dinner. From this sequence, the film turns into a roller coaster ride with lots of unpredictable turns. The entry of Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi) in the narrative adds to the icing on the cake.

The intermission point was brilliant and fortunately, unlike other films, Kurbaan doesn’t fall or gets slow in the post-interval portions. In fact, the 2nd half also keeps you hooked onto your seat. A number of sequences are memorable in this hour. Kirron Kher sharing the tragic story astonishes you and Kher’s mind blowing performance only enhances the impact. Same goes for the scene where Saif is nursing the wound with little help from Kareena after getting hit by a bullet. The way the blood tickles down and the way Saif screams-man, it gives goosebumps!

The last 30 minutes of the film is undoubtedly the best portion of the film. The tension that is created in the climax and the engrossing and captivating direction is truly appreciable. The film ends on an acceptable note.

Regarding the flaws, as mentioned before, the first 20 mins doesn’t work. Also, the film is full of violent and gory scenes which might not be liked by some sections. And the editing wasn’t upto the mark. More about it later!

Kurbaan is a rare film where the cast and most of the crew have worked exceptionally well in all respects. Saif Ali Khan was outstanding in his role. He looked dapper in his new look and performance wise, doesn’t provide even a miniscule chance of complain! Thus, Kurbaan can safely be added to the list of ‘finest performances of Saif’. This year has been particularly lucky for Saif with his home production Love Aaj Kal being a super hit and now even Kurbaan has been appreciated. His next Agent Vinod with Kareena is also expected to rock! Way to go Saif!

Kareena Kapoor has exposed as minimal as possible and still managed to look stunning. She’s always been delivering fine performances and in Kurbaan too, she does a perfect job. Watch out for the scenes where she discovers that she has been used and in the climax. She proves once again as to why she’s one of the top actresses today! Great going!

Vivek Oberoi steals the show with his wonderful act. In fact, his acts impact more than Saif-Kareena at several points in the film. Audiences as well filmmakers would surely sit up and take notice of this highly talented actor who was neglected in the past due to many reasons. He is expected to shine in his next films, Prince and Rakta Charitra too!

Kirron Kher, like Vivek, leaves a mark in several scenes. For a change, it was good to see her in a different kind of role than her usual stereotypical ones. Om Puri performs with ease. Dia Mirza looked charming and impresses with her special appearance. Nauheed Cyrusi does a fabulous job. Asheesh Kapur, who plays her husband, was great. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Aakash Khurana and others were good.

Salim-Sulaiman’s music was haunting and songs suited the film well. Shukran Allah, Ali Maula and Kurbaan Hua are the three best songs. Ali Maula leaves a mark. The duo’s background score was electrifying and they may bag the Best Background Score award this year.

Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues were sharp and top notch. Best dialogue of the film was, “Ek minute ke liye bhi ye mat sochna ki ye allah ka kaam hai!Parvez Feroze’ gory action enhanced the reality of the film. Asif Ali Shaikh’s editing wasn’t upto the mark. One can notice that desperate attempts were made to haphazardly cut down mini portions of scenes to reduce the duration of the film as much as possible. Not good!

Rensil D’Silva, the screenwriter-director scores in his dream debut. Although the direction wasn’t perfect, the film managed to make an impact and give out a strong message. The screenplay was undoubtedly intriguing.

And finally, kudos to Karan Johar for writing the film and also for producing such a hard hitting flick. KJo was criticized for making lovey-dovey films only. But with his last two films and Kurbaan, he has proved that he’s here not only to rake in moolah but also to provide fresh and interesting flicks! Hats off!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.       The songs Shukran Allah and Ali Maula
2.       Ehsaan and Avantika at the dinner in the neighbour’s house
3.       Avantika meets Dia
4.       The plane bombing sequence
5.       The intermission point
6.       Riyaaz at the Saif’s lecture
7.       Riyaaz’ quick conversation with Avantika at the mall
8.       The scene at the sandwich parlour
9.       The coffee scene
10.     The climax

On the whole, Kurbaan is an engaging and thrilling film that impresses and engrosses thoroughly! Go for it and have 160 minutes of captivating and thrilling time!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Kurbaan-180014-1.html


By Taran Adarsh, November 19, 2009 – 15:14 IST

Post 9/11, there’s anger, distrust, suspicion, uneasiness all around. Not a day passes when you don’t hear of terrorists killing civilians in the name of religion.

Many storytellers have, in the past, narrated stories about terrorists and their nefarious and despicable plans. But let me state one thing categorically. You haven’t watched a more profound, a more thought-provoking, a more dramatic story on this subject before KURBAAN. It’s not just the most powerful film to come out of Dharma Productions, it’s the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry this year, thus far.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

KURBAAN tries to penetrate into the psyche of not just the terrorist, but also someone who has been a helpless spectator all this while. This film is sure to spark off discussions and debates, although it must also be noted that it doesn’t take sides or gets preachy.

Rensil D’Silva has chosen a burning issue for his directorial debut, which is a complete departure from Karan Johar’s earlier films. For some inexplicable reasons, parallels are being drawn with FANAA [Aamir Khan, Kajol] and NEW YORK [John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif], but the fact remains that barring the backdrop of terrorism, there’s no similarity with those films.

I’ve often felt that certain films are beyond box-office. Movies are not meant to merely entertain, but enlighten and educate as well. They need to prick your conscience and in the process, make an attempt to make this world a better place. KURBAAN does just that and for this very reason, it deserves a double thumbs up.

Final word? Drop everything else you’re doing to watch KURBAAN. Movies like these need to be made, encouraged and lauded.

Avantika [Kareena Kapoor] is a teacher at a university in Delhi. She has come back from New York where she teaches, because her father [Aakash Khurana] has suffered a heart attack. During this period, she meets a Professor called Ehsaan Khan [Saif Ali Khan]. Soon, they begin seeing each other and love blossoms.

A few months later, Avantika receives a call from her university in New York, asking her to come back. Avantika breaks the news to Ehsaan. He, in turn, tells her he doesn’t mind coming to the States with her. But first they need to get married.

Soon after the marriage, they leave to start a new life in New York. They buy a house in an Indian neighbourhood and move in. Just as they are setting up home, their conservative Muslim neighbours invite them over for dinner. The next morning, Salma [Nauheed Cyrusi], one of the women Avantika met the night before at the dinner, visits her under the pretext of gifting her sweets.

When Avantika invites her in, Salma tells her that she is in grave danger. Nothing is what it seems. Salma pleads with Avantika to help her. What follows next is a series of incidents that sucks Avantika into a vortex of danger and intrigue. As her life spirals out of control, Avantika realizes that she is a pawn in a huge game.

KURBAAN has two stories running concurrently – the love story between Saif and Kareena and the story of Islamic terrorists. Rensil sets the stage in the initial 15 minutes itself, after which there’s a twist in the tale every 15-20 minutes, which catches you completely unaware. Rensil doesn’t borrow from the past, which makes the proceedings thoroughly captivating.

The highpoint is the 35-minute climax, which leaves you spellbound. The culmination to the story shakes you completely, largely because it’s pragmatic and has been executed most logically as well. In fact, filming the climax at the various underground tube stations must’ve been the toughest challenge for the director.

On the flip side, KURBAAN caters more to the intelligentsia or the thinking viewer and might not be lapped up whole-heartedly by those who survive on the staple diet of hardcore masala fares.

Some of the finest technicians in the business are associated with KURBAAN. Hemant Chaturvedi’s cinematography is super. The film bears an international look all through. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is well integrated in the narrative. At least two tracks merit a mention – ‘Shukran Allah’ and ‘Ali Maula’. Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogue are superb. The lines enhance the impact of several sequences. Thrills are, again, in sync with the mood of the film.

KURBAAN is embellished with superlative performances. Saif is extra-ordinary in a role that only proves his versatility once again. If he won your heart with a winning performance in LOVE AAJ KAL a few months ago, you need to watch this supremely talented actor underplay his part so beautifully in KURBAAN. As for Kareena, KURBAAN reiterates one fact yet again: She’s the best in the business. No two opinions on that! Watch her get those emotional sequences right, it’s incredible. Here’s a performance that truly merits the highest praise and admiration, besides fetching her awards and accolades.

Vivek Oberoi is fantastic. Matching Saif and Kareena at every step, KURBAAN should be the turning point in Vivek’s career. It’s a difficult role to portray and only an actor with a wide range could’ve portrayed this part so effectively. Om Puri is top notch and so is Kirron Kher. Kirron is marvellous, especially in the penultimate scene. Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda lend credibility to their brief roles.

On the whole, KURBAAN is the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry in 2009, so far. The film has a captivating plot, gripping screenplay, super performances and a climax that shakes you up completely. Watching this movie should be on top of your agenda this week.

ON AIR: Kareena at the Radio Mirchi Studios. Tune into 98.3FM for the songs from Kurbaan and Kareena’s interview

Kareena Kapoor talks to Radio Mirchi’s listeners about the initiative and her new film

REAGAN GAVIN RASQUINHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 16, 2009)

While last year’s terror attacks during 26/11 left us dazed and confused, stories about acts of outstanding bravery, kindness and generosity also abound. Acts that make us proud to be from this city. Highlights in a cloud of grey, that let us know that humanity shines through no matter what. Mumbai will never forget the bravery displayed by the NSG, the policemen or the firemen.

To honour these heroes, Radio Mirchi has organised a special screening of the film Kurbaan. Kareena Kapoor was recently on Radio Mirchi’s Sunset Samosa with RJ Suren to talk about this initiative and her upcoming film. Visiting the Radio Mirchi studio after a gap of six years, the stunning actress spoke about her role in the film. She said, “I think this is one of my best roles after Jab We Met, so I am very excited about it. Karan came up with ‘Some love stories have blood on them’ because the film is very intense; blood here refers to the pain.”

Produced by Dharma productions and directed by debutant director Rensil D’Silva, Kurbaan stars Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Kirron Kher and Om Puri. Salim-Suleiman who are the music directors have given a fantastic score for the film which can be heard on Radio Mirchi. Suleiman’s favourite here is a song called “Rasiya, as it is has dark undertones and really sets the mood for the images it accompanies in the film.” On her part, Kareena continues, “The lyrics of all the songs are beautiful. Ali Maula is a very gripping song; the film comes to life in this song.” The popular Shukran Allah is already climbing the charts.

Pleased with the special initiative take by Mirchi, Kareena asked Radio Mirchi listeners to nominate those people they know who helped out during 26/11. The nominees will be able to attend the special screening of Kurbaan where the lead star Saif Ali Khan will also be present.
reagan.gavin@timesgroup.com
Om Puri now directs his anger at wife’s publishers

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 13, 2009)


 

Nandita & Om Puri

Om Puri blasted his wife Nandita through this paper for exposing some of his most private and sexual experiences in her biography, Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri.

However, Om, now regrets his decision to have spoken out so bitterly against his wife and her book.

“I was very angry and admit that I said things that I shouldn’t have said. I deeply regret my impulsive nature. It has hurt my wife and my son Ishaan.” While Nandita has been angry and grief-stricken, Om, who is still in Chandigarh said, “Nandita has been bombarded with calls, messages and visitors inquiring about what I said.

What’s worse is that my son Ishaan too has come under scrutiny. I’m not in Mumbai to protect them from the damage I’ve caused. I can’t sleep or focus on my work. I don’t want our child to suffer for the mistakes I have made. I therefore sincerely apologise to my wife and to my son for being so rash.”

Om is livid with the book’s publishers and says that they are to be blamed for sending out such sensitive aspects about his sexual encounters to the media. Om said, “My anger should have been projected at the publishers for trying to pre-sell my wife’s book by leaking out only the sexual episodes. My story doesn’t need this kind of publicity.”

It was coincidentally Nandita’s birthday yesterday and Om felt miserable. “My son has been crying over the phone. I beg my wife and son’s forgiveness.” Well Om, your life is certainly an open book now. You and she have said it all indeed.


By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 11, 2009)


Acclaimed actor Om Puri is enormously upset with his wife, journalist-columnist Nandita for highlighting some of his most private sexual incidents to market her biography, Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri. A discernibly upset Om said, “I don’t care  if she’s my wife. I won’t let her get away with it.

I am in Chandigarh shooting for a film. On Monday I heard Nandita speaking about the biography she has written on me. I was shocked by her revelations. It was so cheap. She was talking about my sexual encounters as though those were my biggest achievements!”

Om’s main reason for being upset is Nandita’s revelation that he had sex with his maid Shanti at the age of 14. She has also exposed Om’s longstanding liaison with a woman named Laxmi with whom Om was sexually and emotionally involved.

Om is livid. “My wife has reduced a very important and sacred part of my life to cheap and lurid gossip. I had shared these dark secrets with my wife as all husbands do. If she chose to make them public at least she should’ve made sure to maintain a dignity about experiences that are a valuable part of my life. Has she forgotten that I have a standing in society and I’ve worked hard to achieve all that I have today? I won’t allow her to throw it all away for the sake of sensationalism.”

Om says that Laxmi was one of the most important women in his life. “This lady whom Nandita talks in such an undignified manner was Laxmi, who raised me and my brother’s orphaned children. My relationship with this wonderful woman was a homage to her loyalty for looking after me unconditionally.” Om doesn’t deny he had sex with Laxmi. “But it was not  a furtive and sleazy experience. It was beautiful. Why make such a tamasha out of these very sensitive moments? Mahatma Gandhi spoke of his experiences with sexuality in The Story of My  Experiments With Truth. But was that all there was to his life? Why highlight these aspects when there’s so much more to me? Do you know, when I was a child, I was travelling by train with my destitute mother. The entire compartment collected money to feed us. That incident remains etched in my mind. I was working in a teashop when I was seven years old. When I came to  the FTII, Pune I didn’t have a decent shirt to wear. I had to borrow one  from Naseeruddin Shah. I had hoped when my life was chronicled it would be an inspirational story.”

Om says his wife insisted on  writing his biography. “I was aware that another lady (Aparajita Krishna) was writing my biography. When Nandita expressed  a desire to write about me I couldn’t stop her because she’s my wife but she has forgotten who she is,” added Om.

The actor complains that Nandita didn’t allow him to read the  manuscript. “Not once did she let me read even one page of the manuscript. How was I to know how she would use the incidents from my life to sell her book?”

When we promised to be discreet in putting forward his anguish and humiliation, Om retorted, “Please don’t be discreet. Has she exercised any discretion in talking about my personal experiences? The final decision to put my life up as a tamasha was Nandita’s. I can’t forgive her.”

Om and Nandita Puri

When we asked Nandita for her side of the story, she said, “This is all such a mistake. My book on  my husband is a biography, not  bl***y pornography. The book is about Om, the man and the actor. Om has all the human foibles, just like all of us. He had sex as an adolescent with his maid and then he had a long liaison with the other lady who was also a maid. This was his way of coming out of his other relationships and demolishing class differences. If Om has any objection to her being called a maid he’s just being unrealistic.”

So are his sexual experiences an integral part of the book? “They are,” admitted Nandita. “But that’s not all.” Apparently, the broadcast journalist who interviewed Nandita picked up excerpts from a weekly news magazine. “She called me on her show and for 20 minutes she spoke only about Om’s sexual escapades. When I thought she’d  question me about other aspects of Om’s life in the book, the show was over. I was horrified. I was even more  horrified when I saw the show,” added Nandita.

Yesterday morning, Nandita received a very angry call from Om who is in Chandigarh .“He was livid. The double escapades with the two maid servants has made Om feel he’ll be compared to Shiney Ahuja. Now my husband is angry, my publishers are upset and so  am I,” said Nandita.


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