Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘autism

LOOKING AHEAD: Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the film
Karan Johar is unperturbed by mixed reactions to his recent film

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 28, 2009)

Dharma Productions’ Kurbaan with Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead definitely got people across the globe to sit up and take notice of it. Rensil D’Silva’s cross-genre flick that is a love story set against the backdrop of terrorism came in for a mixed view from its audience. However, Karan Johar is not shaken. “I know exactly what I’m doing,” says Bollywood’s prolific and progressive producer. He admits that his banner has in the past been associated with candy floss cinema. But from the start of 2009, Dharma is emerging as a formidable force, and has been making dramatic departures from its safe zone. Says Karan, “With Kurbaan, we did make a complete departure from what we have earlier been doing. Whether it was Dostana or Wake Up Sid, we’ve been dabbling in different genres.” He says that even those films were closer in texture to what he has been doing in the past — like a Kabhie Khushie Kabhi Gham or a Kal Ho Na Ho. “But,” adds Karan, “in the case of Kurbaan, we moved away completely to address a serious issue. And, when we did that, we were well aware that we were treading on a new path. Reactions to the film may be mixed. However, it is my endeavour to raise the bar with each film that I undertake. And, to also make globally relevant cinema.” Of the firm view that the West is watching not only our economic progress but also taking interest in our cinema, Karan feels that, “Sometimes such cinema may not exactly get the box office that one hopes for, but that certainly doesn’t shake my faith in this genre of film.” KJo also feels that the synergy between him and UTV Movies with whom he associated for Wake Up Sid and Kurbaan is truly gratifying in that both production houses are invading a similar cinema space. And have a similar thought process. “UTV produced some of the most amazing films in the last couple of years,” says Karan. “From a Mumbai Meri Jaan, Aamir, A Wednesday, Jodhaa Akbar, Wake Up Sid, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and now Kurbaan — it has consistently backed progressive and meaningful cinema.” And while he will delve into relevant issues like terrorism and autism next (in My Name Is Khan), Karan will keep up the quintessential date movie like I Hate Luv Stories, a fun caper like Dostana-2 and the remake of the Hollywood flick Step Mom. No matter what, Dharma is a banner on a mission. They will never veer away from good cinematic content — be it realistic or pure fantasy. meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

Cancer & TB Passé, Bollywood’s Top Films Are Betting On Rare Diseases

Meenakshi Sinha | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 18, 2009)


New Delhi: The destitute poet dying of cancer, the coughing mother suffering from tuberculosis — over the decades, Hindi films have often used diseases to create engrossing drama. Now, with changing times, a fresh bunch of ailments, disorders and conditions are afflicting the protagonists: dyslexia, dextrocardia, progeria, and short-term memory loss.

‘Pa’, a forthcoming Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan-starrer, deals with progeria, a condition where a person ages five to six times faster than the average individual. Director R Balakrishnan was toying with the idea of casting the father-son duo in a role reversal. “The film’s story fructified when a doctor gave me the details of the condition,” he says.

The recent shift in the nature of diseases of protagonists partly stems from the fact that tuberculosis is no longer life threatening. Cancer remains a major killer but timely discovery offers a possibility of cure. The new ailments provide a certain topicality and give the story a modern feel.

Characters with special ailments gathered focus when Hrithik Roshan played a “developmentally disabled” youth in ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (2003). A slew of films highlighting such conditions have followed since: Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition where a person has difficulty in reading and writing. Also, Amitabh Bachchan and Kajol brought Alzheimer’s disease in to the limelight in ‘Black’ (2005) and ‘U, Me Aur Hum’ (2008) respectively. Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, turns its attention to autism. Aamir Khan suffers from short-term memory loss in the action blockbuster, ‘Ghajini’. The disease plays an important part in the movie’s plot. More recently in ‘Luck’ (2009), Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a rare medical condition of a person born with his heart on the right.

Irregular ailments have always been an integral part of Hindi films. Mental sickness formed a vital part in movies such as ‘Raat Aur Din’ (1967, where the heroine had multiple personality disorder, and ‘Arth’ (1982), where the heroine was schizophrenic.


Film trade expert Taran Adarsh says earlier films seldom discussed diseases in detail. “But now, with growing awareness, scripts often explains the ailments or mental conditions in detail. The audience also accepts reality more easily today. Hence you have films like ‘Pa’ and ‘My Name is Khan’,” says Adarsh. But, as Amol Gupte, who wrote the story and screenplay of TZP, points out, barely 2% of Hindi cinema looks at special medical conditions.

Changing Script
->Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition in which a person has difficulty in reading and writing

->Amitabh-Abhishek starrer ‘Pa’ deals with progeria in which where a person ages 5-6 times faster than normal

->Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, starring Shah Rukh Khan, turns its attention to autism
->In ‘Luck’, Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a medical condition in which a person is born with the heart on the right
->The trend started with Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Koi Mil Gaya’