Fenil and Bollywood


By Taran Adarsh, September 17, 2009 – 19:15 IST

This is for fans and foes of Salman Khan…
Fans, rejoice, Salman is back with a vengeance with WANTED. This is his deadliest performance to date. Yes, you read it right!
Foes, sorry, you won’t be able to lash out at him or pick on him or launch a vicious tirade this time. The spate of flops should come to a grinding halt with WANTED.

Let’s get this straight. WANTED rides on Salman Khan’s star power. He may not be the best actor in town, but in a film like WANTED, in a role that seems like an extension of his personality, you can’t think of anyone else enacting this role with flourish.


A remake of POKIRI [made in Telugu and Tamil versions], WANTED is a full on masala film. Recall the successful potboilers of yore. Recall how the good guy would reduce 10 hoodlums to pulp in a fraction of seconds. Recall how heroism prevailed in the end, no matter how adverse the circumstances were or how powerful the villains would be. Recall those movies in which logic took a backseat since the focus was on entertainment… You relive those moments as reel after reel of WANTED unfolds.


A departure from candyfloss movies and diabetic-sweet characters that most Hindi movies boast of, WANTED takes you back to those days when popular cinema reigned supreme, when the sole motive of the film-maker was to entertain.

The daring hero and his herogiri, the naïve girlfriend, the corrupt cop, the dreaded don, the don’s moll, the fist-clinching henchmen… WANTED is for those who seek unabashed entertainment and relish masala films. Damn the indomitable critics, pseudo intellectuals and connoisseurs of parallel cinema, this one’s not for them. WANTED is for the aam junta.

Radhe [Salman Khan] is a hardcore gangster. A sharpshooter with a sharp brain, he works for Gani Bhai [Prakash Raj], the dreaded Mafioso, but on his own terms. Totally fearless, Radhe single-handedly eliminates Gani Bhai’s enemies one by one; making more enemies in the process.

He’s astounded when the young and pretty Jahnvi [Ayesha Takia Azmi] professes her liking for him. Inspector Talpade’s [Mahesh Manjrekar] lustful eyes fall on Jahnvi. He doesn’t know that Jahnvi has developed a soft corner for Radhe.

Whether it’s the Golden Gang or Data Pawle’s Gang, everybody wants the biggest piece of the lucrative cake that is Mumbai and the only way to get it is to eliminate whoever gets in the way. As Mumbai reels under bloody gang wars, Commissioner Ashraf Khan [Govind Namdeo] vows to make the city crime free.

Director Prabhu Dheva serves a hardcore masala fare that’s not inventive or path-breaking by any standard, but the execution of several scenes as also of stunts takes the graph of the film Northward. In fact, if at all there’s any film that competes with GHAJINI as far as raw appeal goes, it’s WANTED. Every action/stunt/chase here is choreographed with aplomb.

Watch out for the action sequence at the interval point or the penultimate half-an-hour. The climax is sure to send scores of action lovers in frenzy, as Salman bashes the evil forces black and blue. It wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the climax is worth the price of the ticket, samosa, sandwich, popcorn, nachos and cola put together.

Not that this 18 reeler abounds in mindless action. As mentioned earlier, this one’s a hardcore masala film and the narrative has its share of light moments and romantic sequences. Even the bad man here makes you laugh intermittently [when he’s not spewing venom], especially in the sequence when the Commissioner of Police holds him captive in the middle of the sea. Even the romance between Salman and Ayesha charms its way into your heart. It’s very likable.

But WANTED is not without its share of flaws. The film stands on a thin storyline and the viewer can guess what’s in store next, which means that there’s not much novelty in the plot. Besides, WANTED could’ve done without a song or two, thereby keeping its length in check.

Director Prabhu Dheva has presented Salman like never before. Most actors have drifted away from roles that hold tremendous mass appeal, that cater to the desi audience, like they did in the 1980s. SRK did it in OM SHANTI OM, Aamir Khan did it in GHAJINI and Salman does it so effortlessly in WANTED. The screenplay [Shiraz Ahmed] may not be foolproof, but it has its share of shining moments. Dialogues are clapworthy, especially those delivered by Salman.

Sajid-Wajid’s music is of a mixed variety. ‘Jalwa’ is the best of the lot and the star presence of Anil Kapoor, Govinda and also Prabhu Dheva in this track will send the viewers into raptures. The remaining tracks oscillate between good and strictly okay. This review would be incomplete without the invaluable contribution by the action director. It deserves brownie points. Cinematography too is top notch.

Salman is like a ferocious lion who roars with all his might. The show belongs to the actor, who scorches the screen every time he displays the manic anger. Without doubt, Salman gives the power to WANTED. It’s his best work to date.

Ayesha Takia Azmi is very good and the pairing with Salman looks wonderful. Vinod Khanna is sidelined. He deserved more footage. Mahesh Manjrekar is excellent. He’s only getting better with every film. Prakash Raj is first-rate. The accomplished actor adds yet another feather to his cap. Govind Namdeo is perfect.

Mahek Chahal radiates oomph. Aseem Merchant is alright. Raju Mavani is effective. Inder Kumar and Sajid are okay. Manoj Pahwa tries hard to make you laugh. Prateeksha Lonkar is as usual.

On the whole, WANTED rides on Salman, Salman and only Salman Khan’s star power. A masala film that’s aimed at the masses, WANTED is backed by tremendous hype and hoopla, which will result in the film taking an earth-shattering start at the ticket window. The Idd celebrations in the coming days will only enhance the business of the film, which means that the film will have a solid Week 1. The holidays in Week 2 should also be bountiful, thereby ensuring a strong place in the ‘Hit’ category.

BABE IN THE WOODS: Ayesha Takia Azmi and (inset) with Salman Khan in the movie. For more pictures of the actress, visit http://photogallery.indiatimes.com
Ayesha Takia Azmi adores her new film’s hero

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; September 14, 2009)

Marriage has given Ayesha Takia Azmi a new address. She now lives in a swank South Mumbai high-rise and is married to restaurateur-cum-businessman Farhan Azmi. The attractive actress with cascading long, brown locks has received accolades for every performance of hers — be it Dor or 8 x 10 Tasveer. And, marriage hasn’t dimmed her enthusiasm towards work. She is absolutely gung ho about her latest release, Boney Kapoor’s Wanted — the film produced by Sahara One Motion Pictures and SK Films Enterprise and directed by Prabhu Devaa, that is releasing on September 18.

“Wanted is a full-on masala entertainer,’’ she smiles. “But it is not a mindless film. It has a nice engrossing story line and I can tell you people are going to love it.’’ Praising her co-star Salman Khan, Ayesha says, “He is very generous and incredible. Many actors try to steal their co-stars’ screen space; but Salman is superconfident and secure. He will never do that. I find that truly admirable.’’

At this point Ayesha is doing just one other film, that is Revathy Verma’s Aap Ke Liye Hum with Jaya Bachchan and Raveena Tandon. However, she’s definitely not giving up the arc lights. “I’m being choosier about what I sign now,’’ she says. “I want to do films that will be remembered, not run-of-the-mill stuff where I stand behind looking pretty as a picture,’’ she says.

Blissful in her new found space as a married actress she says, “Getting hitched hasn’t changed anything. I feel exactly the same. I was seeing Farhan for five years before I married him. We knew from day one that we were committed to each other and would marry. I’m now officially his wife, and though our marriage is six months old, everything around me is the same. I still spend most of my days with my husband, I shoot whenever I have to, I continue to
take interest in the business that mom and I have set up. I repeat nothing has changed.’’

Chances are that this very Friday equations will change. Wanted may bring Ayesha more bouquets than she has bargained for.

MAKING THE RIGHT MOVES: Prabhu Devaa and (right) Boney Kapoor
… and cine goers wait for the big ticket of Eid!

Meena Iyer TIMES NEWS NETWORK (BOMBAY TIMES; September 9, 2009)

In his 20-year-span as film producer Boney Kapoor has only seen mega-size dreams. “It won’t be wrong to describe my next film Wanted that releases on September 18, as my most ambitious project to date,’’ says Boney. He’s left no stone unturned to make this Salman Khan-Ayesha Takia Azmi Eid offering a big ticket venture. The film produced under the banner Sahara One Motion Pictures and SK Films Enterprises, has been directed by India’s most wanted choreographer, Prabhu Devaa, and is carrying the right buzz. Boney confesses he has a smell for hit plots. Through the years, he has kept his ear to the ground about South Indian films that have proved to be super-hits. And, he has usually ended up bidding for the rights even before Bollywood can say, well, “Want it.” And so, Wanted is the remake of the Tamil super-hit Pokiri, a film that is described as the Sholay of Tamil Nadu. Talking of his association with Prabhu, who shot to fame as director of two superhit South films — Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (Telugu) and Pokiri (Tamil), Boney says, “Prabhu choreographed a song with Sridevi in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and subsequently did songs for my films Pukar, Shakti and Khushi. When I heard he had directed Pokiri, I decided to go ahead and make Wanted with him. Prabhu is hot property in the South and I hope he’ll be equally sought-after in Bollywood.’’ On his part, Prabhu is more sceptical. “I’m nervous, I’m opening my account in Mumbai with this one and I’m quite anxious about the film’s fate. I’ll only breathe easy after it has been declared a success.’’ Boney adds, “I was to purchase the rights of Pokiri and Ghajini simultaneously because both are action flicks. However, I heard that Allu Arvind the producer of Ghajini was keen to do the Hindi remake as well. So I settled for just one film.’’ Excited because he has been getting fantastic response to his trailers, Boney says, “This will be one of Salman’s most watched films. Not only has he excelled in the action sequences, he has even danced like a dream. With Prabhu… naturally Salman has got the right guidance.’’ Incidentally, the dancing legend of the South has a blink-and-you-will-miss-it move in the film… watch out for him.

The Naqaab beauty is back…

MEENA IYER (BOMBAY TIMES; August 11, 2009)

Urvashi Sharma who shared screen space with Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna in Abbas Mustan’s disastrous Naqaab went into oblivion immediately after. Tough times followed for the Delhi beauty who was made to sit on the periphery of films doing precious nothing. All because she was under a contract with her mentors — Kumar and Ramesh Taurani. “My contract didn’t forbid me from accepting films from other banners,” clarifies Urvashi. However, producers were unwilling to approach the Tauranis to ask if they could cast her.

So Urvashi continued to do commercials and wait for the elusive film offer. D-day is here. She has just bagged a couple of meaningful films. One is Baabarr where she plays a Muslim girl from Kanpur. And there is Chashni where she will be seen alongside talents like Jaya Bachchan, Raveena Tandon and Ayesha Takia Azmi. “I’m really happy that I will be doing two to three good films soon,” says the Naqaab heroine.

She admits life in Mumbai has been tough, especially for a newbie like her who has had no friends in maximum city. “I just learnt to keep my head above the tide and keep swimming,” she says. Enrolling in a gym; doing power yoga and whathave-you, Urvashi managed to sit the tough times out and she is glad that she is headstrong enough to swing things in her favour finally. “I’m neither insecure nor unhappy,” says the 20-something, “I’m sure everyone has a period in life where they just have to sit it out and wait for the tide to turn. Isn’t this what they call destiny?”