Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Dostana

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: John Abraham pushes himself an extra mile

John Abraham believes if you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain…

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 5, 2010)

It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words. But this stark and screaming one of John Abraham pumping 140 lbs dumbells in the gym, does 473 actually. The Bollywood hunk himself believes it is a “wild, crazy and ugly” picture. “But it speaks the state of my mind,” he is quick to explain. He is at an inbetween stage. In between films. He’s finished Abbas Tyrewala’s 1-800 Love and has Nishikant Kamath’s
(Mumbai Meri Jaan) untilted action project lined up next. Then there’s Dostana 2 starting in June. Before which he has four months to himself. “To look at life, to introspect, to ask myself questions about things I’ve done and which need to be done, to solve 10,000 problems, my mind is caught in a melee,” carries on the actor, “there’s a lot of nervous energy, there’s tension waiting to be relieved, and the gym is my release. I’m not lifting heavy weights to prove a point. The gym is like my church and working out is like praying…”
He’s umindful of the fact that, like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, he’s stuck to doing one film a year only. There was Dostana in 2008 and New York in 2009. That’s it. “Like everybody else, I get offers all the time, but you’ll never hear I refused a film… I don’t take pride in saying that. The point is not to do everything you get… but to do the right thing,” says John. And right now, he’s not doing anything. Yet he’s the only actor, apart from SRK and Akshay Kumar, with a non-filmi lineage who’s hanging in there. Perhaps that’s because John has a huge and loyal fan following that’s got nothing to do with the success or failure of his films.
But it doesn’t worry him who’s doing what in Bollywood. “I’ve studied economics, so I know that if somebody else’s film works, so will I as an industry,” he says. And he’s busy benchpressing in the gym towards his own benchmarks. He’s got severe tendonitis in both elbows, shin splints, he fractured the bones, severed the veins in his left foot in a 2006 bike accident, he broke the navicular bone in his right foot last year… yet, as his T-shirt suggests, John Abraham is aware that pain is temporary, pride is forever. “If you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain,” he warns. “I’m trying to reach a pinnacle, at the gym, in films and life itself. I want to get to a point where I can say, yes, I’ve got what it takes.”
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The biggest hits of their career were NEVER meant to be theirs

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

You talk to any film director and he’ll give you gyaan on how such and such actor is in the film because he/she fit the casting to the ‘t’.

Yet, the reality of the matter is something else. It is usually who is available; and sometimes who is more saleable.

Take the latest: Aamir Khan was never meant to be playing the idiot in his latest film. It was to be Shah Rukh Khan. Since SRK and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra had a difference of opinion, the Bollywood Badshah was replaced by Aamir. And while the rest is history, there are innumerable such examples in the film industry.

History knows that Amitabh Bachchan was not Prakash Mehra’s first choice for Zanjeer. It was meant to be Dev Anand or Raaj Kumar. When both actors said no, the Big B stepped in. Jaya Bachchan even thanked Dev saab for refusing the Zanjeer role. The film gave her — her real life husband and it gave Bollywood one of its most revered screen couples.

Today you wonder how Dev saab would ever have fit into the angry young man mould. But that’s an after-thought.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted Raj Kapoor to play Anand. When he couldn’t, Hrishida sent for Shashi Kapoor but Rajesh Khanna wormed his way in. And till today Anand is synonymous with the 70s phenomenon.

Shatrughan Singh continues to smart that it was he who was to be Jai in the Jai-Veeru jodi of Sholay but because he was riding a crest of super-success then, he didn’t want to do a twohero film. Amitabh Bachchan got the role instead.
Aamir had been pencilled in for Yash Chopra’s Darr but at that point he ‘accused’ Yash of playing games. And SRK made a permanent place for himself in the YRF camp.
Ajay Devgn was to play Karan in Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun. But he was ousted by politics and next thing you know is that Salman Khan was in. Till today Karan Arjun remains one of the biggest hits of Bollywood and Salman’s career. And it may become film history because he and bete noire are unlikely to star in a movie again.

Saif Ali Khan had qualms about playing a pansy in Dostana so John Abraham was brought in. John got male and female temperatures rising with this fun flick and is now a part of its sequel.

Kareena Kapoor asked for too much money for Kal Ho Na Ho; result — Preity Zinta landed this memorable film. Shah Rukh was meant to be playing Munnabhai but since he walked out after some miscommunication, Sanjay Dutt became Munna. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was in Chalte Chalte till Salman dropped in as an uninvited guest forcing SRK to call Rani Mukerji to replace her… and Rekha and Jaya would never have had their screen face-off in Silsila had Parveen Babi and Smita Patil done their roles.

Unlike real history, reel history is often made by default.

Bollywood is coming out with creative, out of the box films and the year 2009 is a witness to it. Paa is one such film that can also be safely termed as ‘most unique film of 2009’. Of course, the USP is undoubtedly Amitabh Bachchan’s wonderful portrayal as a 12/13 year old kid. But that alone isn’t the only thing that makes the flick special. The execution by R Balki is marvelous and the film would have surely fallen like a pack of cards if the treatment wasn’t appropriate. Paa, thus, works well and is definitely a must watch!

The story of the movie: Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is a 12 year old suffering from a rare genetic disease, progeria which results in accelerated ageing. So although he’s just 12, his body age is 5 times more. But Auro is witty, mischievous and intelligent and just like any other school going student of his age. He lives with his mother, Vidya (Vidya Balan), a gynecologist and Vidya’s mom (Arundhati Nag). All three are living happily but one day their world turns upside down when Auro comes to face to face with his own father, MP Amol Atre (Abhishek Bachchan). But both Auro and Amol are unaware of each other’s ‘connection’.

Paa is simply made and the film grips you from the first scene itself. Auro and Amol’s entry in the narrative is highly impressive. The innovative projects made by the students and Amol’s beautiful speech in the school instantly put a smile on your face. Also note how very less time is reserved for the flashback portions and the focus of the story is entirely on the star of the film-Auro and his paa!

However, the film deviates from the main plot in the first half in the slum redevelopment track. But trust me, it was damn interesting and you’ll silently wish if the politicians of our country were such visionaries and witty.

However, the second half won’t give any reason to complain. Auro’s reaction after finding out the truth and the time he spends with his paa in Delhi is supremely rocking! The pre-climax, when one of the main characters finds out the truth could have been more impactful. But the final 10 minutes which is beautifully directed and leaves the strongest mark, compensates for it.

Although the film is titled Paa, the film doesn’t only focus on the father-son relationship. It wonderfully showcases the child’s relations with his mom, grandmom and also with his classmates, the latter being the cutest! Also, the film isn’t made to only evoke sympathy on progeric patients. Throughout the film, Auro is being treated as any other normal child by everyone around him and this also works a lot in the favour of the film.

There is not a drop of doubt about Amitabh Bachchan’s performance. He was marvelous and outstanding-even this doesn’t justify his well performed job! One forgets that one is actually watching Amitabh Bachchan on screen. The way he speaks like an adolescent and also behaves like one is just amazing and leaves you in awe and shock. And the look given to him is actually quite cute! However, the performance wouldn’t have worked solely with great work by make-up artistes. It was Amitabh’s great work that makes the character believable and lovable. Kudos to Big B-keep shining, keep rocking!

The characterization of Big B as Auro is so strong that you even forget all the past performances of other actors. Abhishek Bachchan simply rocks as the young cool politician and builds up a strong position to himself throughout the film. After Guru and Dostana, this is yet another memorable performance of Abhishek. Watch out for him in another rocking performance in his next, Raavana!

Vidya Balan is a relevation. She gives a brilliant performance, of the same level that she delivered in Parineeta. Watch her in Paa and you’ll forget all about her disastrous period that she faced 2 years back. She is expected to please everyone in her next Ishqiya too!

Arundhati Nag was perfect. Paresh Rawal was fine in his miniscule role. Pratik, who plays Auro’s buddy Vishnu, was excellent and provides laughter in some scenes. Taruni Sachdev, the girl who terrified Auro throughout the film was amazing! Also, Kiran Shah, who played the 5 year old Auro did a great job in his one scene. Kudos to Vidya for lifting this 53 kg old on his shoulder in one of the scenes!

Ilaiyaraja’s music was soulful and melodious. Songs are there in the film but doesn’t hamper the pace of the film-the story moves during the film too. Mudi Mudi is the best song of the lot. Mere Paa, sung by Big B deserved to get a better focus in the film. Background score was cute and mischievous, just like Auro!

P C Sreeram’s cinematography was top notch. Christien Tinsley and Domini Till, the makeup artistes, deserve the highest praise for transforming a 66 year old actor into a 12 year old child! Hats off!

Finally, R Balki deserves the highest praise for coming up with such a wonderful film and making complete use of the opportunity provided to him. As a director he was perfect and it was nice to see the quick editing done in certain scenes so that the film doesn’t drag at any moment. But as a writer, he could have done a better job, especially in the flashback portions of Abhishek and Vidya. But he impresses most as the dialogue writer. Dialogues and wittiest one-liners are the best part of the enterprise! Also, the toilet jokes which are a complete put-off at times are hugely funny in the film!

There were reports that Paa is a copy of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and a section of moviegoers even believed this. By now, the truth is out Paa is miles away from the Hollywood flick. But it’s really sad to see our media and some moviegoers are always waiting for an opportunity to thrash Bollywood and its films. Our industry churns pathetic films at times but it also comes up with sweet films like Paa. Let’s not always act and think so negatively about Bollywood. And now there are reports that Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai’s next, Action Replay, is Benjamin Button’s rip off without even knowing a single line of the plot of the film. Alas, some people don’t want to grow up ever!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. Amol at the school, looking at the projects and delivering a speech
2. Auro orders pickle from grandmom
3. Amol’s slum redevelopment track
4. Amol and Auro’s video chat
5. Auro all set to go to Delhi (you really feel sad for the poor kid here)
6. The intermission point
7. Vidya’s Hichki-ous justification
8. Amol and Auro’s trip to Delhi
9. The last 30 minutes

On the whole, Paa is a beautiful film, written wonderfully and performed outstandingly! Undoubtedly, it’s a must watch! Go for it, if you haven’t seen it yet!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Paa-181639-1.html

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

Filmmakers known for fairytale romances are now making movies with terrorism as the backdrop, finds Harshada Rege

It could be a reaction post the 26/11 terror attacks or just the fact that terrorism is a global phenomena, but filmmakers have never before been so keen to highlight this evil on the big screen. And the emphasis on this is laid by the fact that two production houses known for their romantic films, have taken a huge leap and have made movies on this topic. We are talking about Yash Chopra’s production house that’s known for movies like Chandni, Lamhe and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge; and Karan Johar who has made feel-good movies like
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham to the more recent Dostana and Wake Up Sid. Yash Chopra’s banner has already brought out its offering on terrorism in the form of New York that was directed by Kabir Khan and starred John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Karan on the other hand produced the recently released and highly-acclaimed Kurbaan that stars Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi. While the movie is what Karan calls a “love story” it was a subject that Karan couldn’t stop thinking about. He asked Rensil D’Silva to write and develop it for him. He later asked Rensil to direct the project. “The story addresses this evil that has become a global phenomena,” he says.
But it was director Kunal Kohli, who surprised everyone with Fanaa in 2005. Easily one of the most successful films that had terrorism as the backdrop, Fanaa handled the issue very well. “Movies that are relevant to that particular time always click with the audience. Like Naya Daur or Namak Haraam that the audience remembers for those particular eras,” points Kunal, who has also directed Hum Tum, Mujhse Dosti Karoge! and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. Speaking about Fanaa he says that the movie worked because it was a Hindi ‘picture’. “It had the right elements put together. It’s is very important to make your film entertaining. If you feel socially responsible and want to give a message you have to make it entertaining and not sound preachy,” he says. He feels that people liked the movie because the common man was the protagonist. “People found Rehan (Aamir Khan’s character) like any other man. He was a guide and a very mard character. He wasn’t just a boy, but a man,” says Kunal.
A trade pundit says, “As long as the director doesn’t get confused between making a love story or a film on terrorism it’s fine. In the end the audience has to feel for the characters.” Managing the commercial aspect and sending out a social message can be difficult. “Yes, it is very difficult. But that’s what the audience expects from you,” says Kunal.

BOMBAY TIMES (November 26, 2009)

Rohit Dhawan’s directorial debut shelved; he is working on a rom com now

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 24, 2009)


Times aren’t good for director David Dhawan. Yesterday, we broke the news about how Salman Khan is not letting him direct Sanki and now, we have learnt that his son Rohit’s debut directorial venture has gone kaput.

The Akshay Kumar-John Abraham starrer, Come on Pappu has been shelved and the junior Dhawan is now working on an entirely new film, a romantic comedy, which is yet untitled. Rohit confirms, “Yes, I am not making Come on Pappu anymore.”

 

Rohit Dhawan / Pic: Yogen Shah

A source reveals, “Come on Pappu was in trouble because several production houses were backing out. Initially, the film was to be produced by Percept Picture Company, but they backed out due to lack of funds. Rohit then took his project to Studio 18, but they refused to go ahead with it, thanks to Akshay’s exorbitant fee and John’s huge fee hike post the success of his films, Dostana and New York. Come on Pappu was then taken to Eros, who too eventually backed out.”

“Come on Pappu was a big-budget film and some really advanced technology had to be used to make it. Rohit finally decided to scrap the project altogether and moved on to write a romantic comedy. He has also auditioned a few actors from the industry for his new film,” adds the source.

Rohit says, “I am writing something else now. Due to market constraints, Come on Pappu couldn’t see light of day as it was an expensive film.” So, will the star cast remain the same for the new film, we ask Rohit. “I am still working on the script. I’ll start casting only once I am done with the final script,” he replies.

WHAT’S ON HIS MIND? Karan Johar

Karan Johar has a karmic connection with the actress of his Friday release

OMAR QURESHI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 17, 2009)

JLo is probably eating her heart out. ‘Coz the new toast of the debonair circuit has slightly different initials — KJo. But envy won’t get her (or anyone else) anywhere, simply because Karan Johar has worked his butt off — planning, focusing and making his dad, Yash Johar’s banner, Dharma Productions, proud. Suddenly it’s an unstoppable juggernaut. Dostana, Wake Up Sid, now Kurbaan with My Name Is Khan and Stepmom to follow, even as his team of directors is plotting the next scripts. “These young directors today, Tarun, Ayaan, Rensil, Siddharth and others directing for Dharma, they’re geniuses,” says the stylish producer. “They’re steps ahead of the way we thought earlier. They’ve taken cinema to another level. Look at the themes — comedy (Dostana), adolescence (Wake Up Sid), terror-sensitivity (Kurbaan), poignancy (MNIK) … it’s incredible. I only wish dad was with us today. To see us take his legacy of honesty and credibility forward. Yes, hits help us financially, but we’re not greedy. We also want to give back quality cinema with conviction and good viewing. Otherwise, right now I have only Kurbaan on my mind. I’m very excited about it because it has been a subject close to my heart for a while now and I’d been tossing it around in my head. Then I asked Rensil (D’Silva) to write it and develop it for me. And I was so taken by his passion for the subject, that I asked him to direct it himself. And the result is crackling.”

Elaborating on the November 20th release, Karan says, “The story addresses the perpetually looming threat of terrorism, the film lends emotion into that graph. It has a point of view. That’s the path. Of presenting this threat in a logically, emotionally, sensitively cinematic manner. I’m quite delighted with the final product.” But there had been a thought in Karan’s mind, some time ago, to cast SRK in the lead role in this subject. “Maybe it was a thought a long time ago. Simply because SRK is emotionally a part of everything I do. Even before I wake up to box office figures, Shah Rukh calls asking, ‘How’re the collections dude? … How’s it going?’ He’s part of Dharma. However, that said, after the way the film has shaped out, Saif and Kareena are ideal casting,” smiles KJo. And how dissimilar is My Name Is Khan from this subject? Isn’t that Karan-directed venture also a ‘terrorism’ subject? “Not at all. My Name Is Khan is totally different in as much it doesn’t deal with terrorism at all. That’s all media conjecture. Wait for that one as well.” What we couldn’t wait for was his response to Kareena’s recent joke that KJo was like a ‘witch’, that everything he said was almost prophetic. Karan couldn’t stop laughing: “We have this strange Karmic Connection and I feel the need to be as protective about her as ever. I love Kareena to death. We fight too. We didn’t speak for a year. I hurt her and she hurt me. But one only fights with those one loves. Now that we’re past the initial hurdles, we’re the best of friends. And you have to see her in the film to believe what she’s capable of. As for the ‘witch’ part, I wish I could prophesise the success of Kurbaan for starters … that’s all I pray!”

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