Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘1999

…after ten years with a woman-centric film that stars Vidya Balan in the lead

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


Noted lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar’s last offering as a director was Hu Tu Tu (1999), starring Tabu and Sunil Shetty. Since then, friends and family, especially his daughter Meghna have been urging him to return to direction. However, no idea seemed to inspire him enough to make that effort.

Vidya Balan

That is until now. Gulzar is set to direct a film in 2010. The film’s subject will be women-centric like his earlier films and will star Vidya Balan.

Without divulging details, Gulzar says, “My next film will star Vidya for sure. I saw portions of Ishqiya and she is truly an outstanding actress.

The fact that Gulzar’s daughter Meghna and Vidya are close friends only enhances the director’s fondness for the actress. “I have known Vidya from the time she used to drop in with Pradeep Sarkar during Parineeta. She is a lovely girl. Do you know, when an Oscar was announced for Jai Ho, Vidya came home and gave me a trophy? Yes, an actual trophy! I am happy to see her friendship with my daughter.

In Vidya, my daughter has found a soul mate. It’s very rare to see two people in the film industry reaching out to one another without ulterior motives. Vidya visits Meghna more than me. In fact, my daughter’s next also stars her. So both father and daughter are working with her,” adds the filmmaker. Apparently, Meghna’s next is a hard-hitting, marital drama.

From (L): Meghna Gulzar, Gulzar

As for Gulzar, Vidya has made a promise to herself. “I will keep sending him notes to start his film with me. I still remember that one shot in Parichay where the song Beeti na beetayi raina is going on and Jaya Bhaduriji is pleating her hair. That moment has stayed with me. No one captures everyday moments with such tenderness. I will do anything to work with Gulzarsaab. To me there are three people who are the epitome of culture and grace – M S Subbalaxmiji, Waheeda Rehmanji and Gulzarsaab.”

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Vidya Balan to play the late Jessica Lal’s sister, Sabrina Lal, in No One Killed Jessica

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 26, 2009)


Director Rajkumar Gupta, who earlier made the intense thriller, Aamir, has been planning a film on the Jessica Lal murder titled No One Killed Jessica. The crucial casting of Sabrina Lal was keeping the project from taking off. He has zeroed in on Vidya Balan for the powerful role.

Sabrina Lal

Vidya’s earlier stint as a strong, assertive woman in Parineeta and Halla Bol, (which incidentally had shades of Jessica’s life) and Paa has helped her land the critical role of Sabrina.

Sabrina fought a relentless battle to get her sister’s killers nabbed after Jessica was gunned down in a crowded bar on April 29, 1999, in front of several eyewitnesses.

Recently, the sensational case was in the news again when Jessica’s convicted killer, Manu Sharma, was out on parole, making merry in the nightspots of Delhi.

Vidya confirmed the news. She says. “Yes, I am playing Sabrina Lal in Rajkumar Gupta’s film. The minute I heard the role, I wanted to do it. It’s my first biographical role and a big challenge. I’ll be meeting Sabrina shortly. After Paa and Ishqiya, I need to move forward.”

Commenting on the film, Rajkumar says, “I start the film in February 2010. Vidya Balan seemed like the right choice from the start. Now that I have got her for the role, the rest of the casting will be easy.”

At the Paa premiere, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan bonded with Ranbir Kapoor, making him blush as she recalled that he was caught sketching her secretly the first time they met in 1999

By Preeta Rao (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 17, 2009)


The lives of the Bachchans and the Kapoors seem to be intertwined on many levels. First, it was Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter Shweta who married Nikhil Nanda, a Kapoor prodigy (Raj Kapoor is his maternal grandfather).

Then there was Abhishek’s romance with Karisma Kapoor, which ended soon after they got engaged. And now Ranbir Kapoor seems to be completely floored by the Bachchan bahu, Aishwarya Rai.

At the premiere of Paa about two weeks ago, the Bachchans and the Kapoors were seen mingling like never before. Ranbir walked up to Ash and gave her a warm hug, while Abhishek played the cordial host. After ten minutes of the Aishwarya-Ranbir interaction, Abhishek was seen running to his beloved wife, with a tinge of insecurity masked by his courteous smile.

Before Abhishek could enquire about what was brewing between the two, Aishwarya took Abhishek into a flashback, to the sets of Rishi Kapoor’s Aa Ab Laut Chalen. This was in 1999, when Ranbir and Aishwarya met for the very first time. Apparently, while Rishi and Aishwarya were engrossed in a serious discussion over a shot, Ranbir, who was then assisting his father, was seated next to them unnoticed, busy making a sketch. But even before Ranbir could finish his sketch, his dad pulled across the notepad and caught Ranbir secretly sketching Aishwarya.

As Aishwarya narrated this funny incident to Abhishek, he seemed quite amused while Ranbir couldn’t stop blushing.

After Sarfarosh in 1999, John Mathan is working on the script for the sequel
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 09, 2009)


Director John Mathan is a busy man. He has begun working on Sarfarosh’s sequel while already working on the remaining portions of A New Love Ishtory.

John has just started writing the script of the sequel. He has decided to meet Aamir Khan, the lead actor of Sarfarosh, after he completes the script. The duo will discuss the details of the film. Actor Rakesh Bapat may play one of the key characters in the film. The lead actress still has to be cast.

John confirmed the story, but he refused to give us an insight into the storyline of the sequel. He said, “Hopefully, the script should be ready soon. Only after I complete it and provided I like it, I will talk to Aamir.”

But our sources insist that the director is very keen on carrying the theme of national security forward. The source said, “The villain in Sarfarosh, played by Naseeruddin Shah, was not an Indian. In the sequel, John wants to dwell upon the enemy within.”

(L):Aamir Khan, Sarfarosh, John Mathan

Madhur Bhandarkar
Is Madhur Bhandarkar a victim of the country’s rape laws?

TEAM BT Times News Network (November 19, 2009)


Poor Madhur Bhandarkar. The Bollywood filmmaker, who’s just had a critically acclaimed release in Jail, finds himself in the dock once again for rape charges by aspiring actress Preeti Jain dating back to July 2004. Fortunately, the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate who rejected the Versova Police’s adverse report of the charges from back then and decided to conduct an inquiry into the case, has not ordered Bhandarkar’s arrest. The flamboyant filmmaker is not unduly worried by this development. “But my family is going through trauma,” he admitted to BT. It is a bittersweet moment for him. The news comes at a time when he is in Egypt attending the Cairo International Film Festival where five of his films — Chandni Bar, Traffic Signal, Page 3, Corporate and Fashion — are being screened as a tribute to Indian cinema. “My films reflect society and are liked by the classes and masses,” said Madhur, “I’ve got name and fame after a struggle, and I request society not to make a judgement until the case is over, so please don’t give me a trial in the media, I have faith in the judiciary.” But, the question uppermost in people’s minds is this: is Madhur a victim of the country’s rape laws? The filmmaker, naturally, thinks so. “It also amounts to blackmail,” he alleged of this sordid bit of dirty linen that was washed in public by the starlet.


Facts of the case
In July 2004, Preeti had lodged a complaint with the Versova Police against Madhur alleging he had raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004 under the pretext of casting her as actress in his films. Madhur insists the complaint was of “cheating” and did not mention rape.

Our View: Irrespective of what relationship they shared, how can what happened between Madhur and Preeti amount to rape? She claims she was raped 16 times in four years, which is not like saying several times in one night. If this was rape, what prevented her from going to the police after the first incident? Why wait four years? And what prompted the complaint? Was it outrage, jealousy, indignation, a burning desire to teach the man a lesson? If Madhur had promised to cast her in his films, and if he had honoured this alleged commitment, would their alleged sex still be rape? The humiliation, the hurt, the abuse of body and soul that is caused by rape, is as much the 16th time as it would be the first… and any woman suffering this exploitation for four years and then crying rape, sounds like she’s complaining against rejection. Not the sexual act itself.

What is Rape?

The dictionary defines it as “the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse; and the act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person”. The Supreme Court’s expansive interpretation of rape in recent years has been to stretch the ambit to include consensual sex based on ‘‘false promise to marry’’. What was clearly never in its contemplation was to bring the casting couch — promise to give work in exchange of sex — under the definition of rape. Even if Preeti’s allegations are taken at face value, it is debatable whether they constitute prima facie evidence to try Madhur on the charge of rape. The allegation, if a promise was made and broken, is a case of fraud. But when sex is involved, courts tend to treat it as a case of rape. Sex by deceit. The opening made by the Supreme Court to provide relief to those who had been deceived into having sex on false promise to marry cannot be pushed further for the sake of those who claim to have been deceived similarly by false promise to give work.


Our view
The idea that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman can occur only if they intend to marry clearly has no place in a liberal society. Also, if the woman gets into a physical relationship because she has been fooled into believing that marriage is on the cards, we may question the morality of the man, but is it not extreme to equate his deception with rape? We would suggest that it is time the law adopted a more nuanced approach to what is universally acknowledged to be a complex issue. Having a breach of promise law to deal with such cases would be more suitable than clubbing it with rape, which is an extremely violent offence.


Is having sex for work any different from prostitution?
This does not come under deception and so on or being conned on the basis of a false promise of marriage, etc. In the case of the casting couch, the lady gives consent as she has been promised something and if she is able to prove that she was deceived into giving her consent then it does attract the provisions of the law… but this, of course, is quite difficult to prove.
— M N Singh,
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner


The starlet cannot say it’s rape. She can call it cheating. She cannot say that “I had sex with him because he promised me work.” This kind of deal is anyway not legal. She had no business to sell herself for a role. If she had alleged (and could prove) that the filmmaker agreed to marry her, then this would have been worth considering. But as it is, she has no case here. If she was a commercial call girl, then this would perhaps fall into the category of prostitution.
— Majeed Memon,
Criminal Lawyer

VALLEY OF HOPE: A still from Zero Bridge, in which Tariq Tapa cast ordinary Kashmiris
Does Zero Bridge, the first Kashmiri film to be made in 39 years, hold out hope for a revival of the arts in the troubled valley?

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; November 15, 2009)

Kashmir, the breathtaking beauty of which has served as a backdrop for innumerable Bollywood romances, never really spawned a thriving film industry of its own: the last Kashmiri film, made in 1969, was Mehanzraat, starring Kashmiri actor Omar Ama. But now, after the long silence, comes Zero Bridge, a film by a Kashmiri NRI from New York, Tariq Tapa.

Twenty-four-year-old Tariq, born to a Kashmiri father and Jewish mother, landed in Srinagar with zero finance and a shooting kit packed into just one suitcase. “I decided to make a film in Kashmir because I found that no outside voice accurately captured the daily life of the average Kashmiri,’’ he says when asked what compelled him to come so far away
to make a film. “I thought a movie introducing the lives of a few Kashmiri citizens and their daily hopes and fears would reveal them more intimately than the usual western documentaries on the Kashmir situation or Bollywood films which only use it as an exotic backdrop. I want my film to make a statement and hope it starts a debate on Kashmir.’’

Tariq was a one-man unit and had to use a news channel’s permission to shoot his film in Srinagar. He mobilised ordinary Kashmiris to be part of Zero Bridge, including collegians who came for the audition. “There is so much talent here,’’ he says. “People want to be part of cinema but there is simply no encouragement from the state. Most of the cinema halls in Kashmir are now army bunkers.’’

Indeed, most aspiring artistes from Kashmir have had to leave their home state to fulfil their creative urges elsewhere, and despair of the arts ever flourishing in their home state. Dr Amit Wanchoo, a Kashmiri Pandit, faced a lot of resistance when he started his rock band, Immersion, in 1999. “From the kind of crowd our shows pull in, it’s obvious that Kashmir is an entertainment-hungry state, but there is certainly no political will to promote art, cinema and music in the state,’’ he says. “They don’t even provide security for shows. One has to perform at one’s own risk.’’

Film-maker Ashok Pandit, who made a Hindi film on Kashmir, points out that given the complete lack of infrastructure, it is impossible for Kashmiri cinema to grow. “There is no cinema, television is banned and no funds are made available to those interested in film-making,’’ he says. Pandit has been trying very hard to push the state government to encourage at least television serials but finds it extremely reluctant.

The climate of fear is also a factor a factor to reckon with. A source from Jammu & Kashmir tourism reveals that of the eight cinema halls in Srinagar, four have been converted into army bunkers. The remaining ones are perpetually guarded by the army but audiences are nervous about walking into them because of the constant attacks by militant groups who are anti-cinema to boot. “Given this fear and the general deprivation, the locals are more concerned about making ends meet rather than expressing their creative instincts,’’ says Pandit.

Bollywood has been filling up the state’s exchequer in the past, but more and more separatist groups are against Hindi film-makers shooting in Kashmir. Last year, Rahul Dholakia commenced his film Lamha, allegedly based on the lives of Muslim separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Shahidul Islam, a former insurgent commander, and Dukhtaran-e-Millat leader Asiya Andrabi, the Kashmiri women’s morality brigade so committed to Kashmiri separatism that her sons are already pledged as martyrs to the cause. The shooting in the Valley ran into rough weather when Andrabi took offence to Bipasha Basu playing her character and Geelani, Islam and others became wary.

Says Anil Raina, a Kashmiri journalist who introduced Dholakia to the separatists, “They conveyed to Dholakia that they were against the film. They were afraid that his realistic style of film-making would portray them negatively and it would go against their efforts. I had to intervene and convince them otherwise. At my behest, Dholakia changed many characters in the film. As I played a central part in getting the film on track, I didn’t want anything to go against us. After all, I have to live here with my mother and don’t wish to be slaughtered at the hands of the separatists.’’

9999 has been in the news for more reasons than one. It’s the first A-grade Hindi film to release after the producer v/s multiplexes tussle commenced. The promo aroused curiosity and with no other Hindi film in sight, 99 was the only option left for film-starved audiences. And fortunately, 99 entertains! The film with its wonderful story, screenplay and execution works big time!

99-BThe story of the movie: The film begins in the year 1999. Two small-time crooks, Sachin (Kunal Khemu) and Zaramud (Cyrus Broacha) run an illegal SIM card duplication business. When one day police comes knocking on their doors, they rob a car and escape. Unfortunately, the car meets with an accident. But the crooks escape with little injuries. But more bad news awaited them-the car they robbed belongs to AGM (Mahesh Manjrekar), a gangster-cum-bookie. He asks them to reimburse the amount of the car. They refuse as they couldn’t afford it. And then they had no choice but to join AGM’s illegal business and help him. Some months later, they are given a new ‘task’-recovering money from Delhi-based Rahul (Boman Irani) who owed 20 lakh rupees to AGM and had not returned a single paisa. This new ‘mission’ changes Sachin’s and Zaramud’s life as they meet the compulsive gambler Rahul. What follows is an unpredictable and hilarious roller coaster ride!

99 starts off amazingly and the witty screenplay makes sure the film doesn’t turn boring at any moment. The characters thrown in the narrative are very interesting. Right from the foul-mouthed gangster AGM to Rahul, his wife (Simone Singh), JC (Vinod Khanna), Kuber (Amit Mistry) and his ‘right hand’ Dimple-everyone manage to amuse and impress. And how can we forget the protagonists and also Neha (Soha Ali Khan)-they too rocked! The writers should certainly be appreciated for wonderful characterization.

Also, the film is set in the year 1999 and 2000. It was a time when metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi were still ‘mall-less’! Mobile Phones were still expensive and one was charged even for incoming calls. People still struggled with dialing, messaging and changing ring tones in their cell phones. Cyber Cafes proudly displayed on their hoardings that they have a high speed of 64 kbps! 99 wonderfully display all this and captures that period effectively!

10

The film falls in some places in the 2nd half, especially in Kunal-Soha scenes. These were very short scenes but still proved as an obstacle at times. Maybe, these scenes could have been chopped off. However, the last 25 minutes of the film were certainly the best part of the film. It was hilarious, unpredictable and doesn’t go over the top.

Directors of this film have succeeded in extracting fine performances from the entire cast. Kunal Khemu shines in his role. He looks great in trimmed hair and gives a great performance. Cyrus Broacha doesn’t mouth many dialogues but manages to raise many laughs throughout the film! Last seen in Little Zizou, he’ll be seen next in Mumbai Chaka Chak! Boman Irani is certainly the best performer in the film! He plays his role with aplomb. In every film, he plays a character different from the other and still manages to give an outstanding performance! Hats off to this marvelous actor!

Soha Ali Khan does a wonderful job and was exceptional in her final scene. Mahesh Manjrekar comes up with a hilarious performance. Watch out for him in the climax! Amit Mistry also entertains, esp when Kunal wacks him at Boman’s house! The guy enacting the role of Dimple was funny too. Vinod Khanna and Simone Singh were great.

3 songs of the film stand out-the theme song, ‘Delhi Destiny’ and ‘What’s Up’. Fortunately, the song ‘What’s Up’ is played when the credits roll. Kudos to the director duo/editor for not incorporating the song in the film as it would have reduced the pace of the film.

Background score elated the film at several points. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography was flawless. Cherag Todiwala’s editing was slick. Dialogues by Chintan Gandhi, Sita Menon and Raja Sen (the critic?) were amazing.

12

The story and screenplay is written by Raj Nidimoru, Krishna DK and Sita Menon. Story was inspired from the real-life events but was well-written. Screenplay was just amazing and certainly, one of the best of this year! They knew what they wanted to make and succeeded fully. They deserve maximum appreciation for those scenes where Kunal bangs the heads of so many throughout the film. The scene looked straight out of popular cartoons. Seems like the screenwriters were heavily inspired by comic series like Tom and Jerry!

Finally, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK do an exceptionally great job as directors. They surely have a long way to go. If they come up with such cool scripts for their directional ventures in future too, they’ll soon be the next Abbas-Mustan of Bollywood!

Some of the best scenes:
1.   The first scene!
2.   Sachin having a walk in South Mumbai and the titles rolling by
3.   AGM’s meeting Sachin and Zaramud for the first time
4.   Scenes of Rahul knocking at Jahanvi’s door
5.   Sachin and Zaramud’s first meeting with Rahul
6.   Sachin and Zaramud at Rahul’s office and the intermission point
7.   Kuber getting wacked by Sachin at Rahul’s house
8.   Sachin at Kuber’s suite (excellent!)
9.   The final 25 minutes

On the whole, 99 is a smart, witty comic flick that would surely provide entertainment to the viewers. The film unfortunately hasn’t taken a flying start at the BO. But it’s a great film and with no other Hindi film running, 99 should be watched by all movie buffs. Recommended!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/99-167773-1.html


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