Fenil and Bollywood

Several Bollywood flicks have the B-word

Posted on: October 7, 2009

WHAT’S IN A NAME: A still from Fruit N Nut in which Boman Irani calls himself the “Maharaja of Bombay’’

Meena Iyer | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 6, 2009)

Mumbai: Bollywood is wondering whether Karan Johar has been a victim of bad timing—unintentional on his part—in the controversy on the use of “Bombay’’ (and not “Mumbai’’) in some dialogues in Wake Up Sid.

For,many films of the recent past have referred to the city by its old name. And, what’s more, another upcoming film will use a lot of the B word; trade insiders say a character played by Boman Irani—in upcoming multiplex comedy Fruit N Nut—calls himself the “Maharaja of Bombay’’ and wants his city back.

Earlier this year, in screen
writer-turned-director Sooni Taraporewala’s Little Zizou, a contemporary comedy that dealt with the Parsi community, the term Bombay was used in reference to the Parsi Panchayat. And, as recently as August, in Tamil cowboy tale Quickgun Murugan, Dr Rajendra Prasad refers to Mumbai as Bombay.

Irani, whose character in Fruit N Nut is loosely based on that of Playboy boss Hugh Hefner, has a unique role of an ageing “Maharaja of Bombay’’ who has his own dungeon, very much like Hefner’s mansion where he celebrates life in style.

Reports from the unit say that Maharaja Harry Holkar,
the character that Irani plays, not only jives with young and pretty women but also claims authority over “Bombay’’, a princely state once ruled by his forefathers. The film, of course, is a work of fiction and has no historical reference as Mumbai or Bombay was never a part of any princely state. ‘Fruit N Nut’ director Kunal Vijaykar justifies the use of Bombay in his film. “My lead character is a complete mental case. He believes that he is living in 1821 when Mumbai was Bombay. He is completely westernised and he comes to this island that had the British and the Portuguese inhabiting it. Hence, he feels free to call it Bombay,’’ Vijaykar explained.

On his part, Irani said: “There are different shades to the character but it is one of the funniest I have ever played. And, of course, everyone is aware that Mumbai (or Bombay) never had a Maharaja and so it is a a work of fiction.’’

A leading trade consultant said: “Multiplex films targeted at the upper middle class tend to refer to Mumbai as Bombay. Wake Up Sid is targeted at the hip crowd of metros and Fruit N Nut is also catering to a similar segment, for which Mumbai is still Bombay. There is a certain glamour and romance attached to Bombay which Mumbai somehow lacks.’’
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