Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘end credits

VIR SANGHVI (Hindustan Times)

Here are two images you may remember from television. The first was the Oscar ceremony. Simon Beaufoy won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire. It is no secret that Beaufoy’s script differed significantly from the book by Vikas Swarup on which Slumdog was based. But Beaufoy made it a point to thank Swarup on stage and to say that without his book there would be no screenplay, no movie, and no Oscars.

Later that same night Slumdog director Danny Boyle, while accepting his own Oscar, apologised to the choreographer Longinus, whose name had been left out of the end credits of Slumdog. When the film won the Best Picture Oscar, the entire unit went on stage including Vikas Swarup who had been flown in to Los Angeles by the makers of the film at their expense.

And here is a second image. It is a press conference in Noida on Friday. The cast and makers of 3 Idiots are answering questions from the press as part of the publicity campaign for the film. When journos keep asking about the lack of recognition accorded to author Chetan Bhagat, on whose book the film is based, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra stands up, points a finger at an inquisitive journalist and shouts ‘Shut up’. Chopra is prevented from saying much more by his colleagues and Aamir Khan then swings into damage control mode. He tries to sound reasonable but manages to abuse Chetan Bhagat, calls him publicity hungry — a bit rich considering the stunts Aamir staged to gain publicity for 3 Idiots — and berates journos for believing Bhagat.

What is the difference between the two images?

I think one word sums it up: grace.

Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy and the Slumdog unit behaved with grace. Vinod Chopra and his star behaved with a complete lack of grace.

If you’ve missed the controversy, here’s what it is about. Vidhu Vinod Chopra bought the rights to Chetan Bhagat’s novel and then turned it into 3 Idiots. Nobody disputes that 3 Idiots is based on the Bhagat novel and indeed Bhagat is credited as such in the movie.

The point of discord is the placing of the credit. Bhagat suggests that it should have been at the beginning along with all the other writer credits. Instead it appears at the very end.

In his defence, Chopra says that the end is an appropriate place for the credit because his scriptwriters, including Rajkumar Hirani, the film’s director, changed so much of the story that the final film has little to do with Bhagat’s novel.

Bhagat says that this is not true. Yes of course there is a lot in the film that he did not write but it is still recognisably his story and on his blog he lists several points of similarity.

For the purposes of argument, I am quite prepared to believe Aamir and Chopra when they deny Bhagat’s version of events. I am also prepared to accept that the screenplay is significantly different from Bhagat’s novel.

But here’s the thing: it shouldn’t make a difference.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra is contractually obliged to give Bhagat credit as the writer of the source material for the movie. So, the issue is not whether the script is 95 per cent based on the book or 25 per cent derived from Bhagat’s novel. The only issue is one of placing. Should Bhagat have been part of the opening credits? And was it graceless to bury his name in the end credits?

In Hollywood, it is not uncommon for scriptwriters to significantly alter the plots of source material or to only use a part of the book. Slumdog differs significantly from Vikas Swarup’s Q&A. The Firm dispenses with John Grisham’s ending and invents a new one. In Papillon, a major character who was not even in the book was invented by the scriptwriters. David Lean’s Dr Zhivago junked the second half of the book. The recent My Sister’s Keeper differs substantially from Jodi Picoult’s bestseller of the same name.

In every single case, however, the original novel was properly credited and the author mentioned in the opening credits. Nobody believed that this detracted in any way from the screenwriter’s achievements. It just demonstrated a certain grace and honesty on the part of the movie’s maker.

So why, you may well ask, is Vidhu Vinod Chopra being so bloody-minded about denying Chetan Bhagat his opening credit?

The honest answer is I simply cannot understand Chopra’s pettiness.

I hold no brief for any of the principals in this drama. At the HT, we’ve had a bad experience with Chetan Bhagat, who we believe behaved unprofessionally when he was a columnist. On the other hand, I have met Vinod Chopra, have worked with his wife and have always thought well of him. Personally, I have the highest regard and admiration for Aamir Khan, whom I know slightly.

So, this is not about personalities. It’s not even about principle — Chopra has conceded the principle by giving Bhagat his credit even if he has buried it in the end.

It is about grace.

What does it cost the makers of 3 Idiots to give Chetan Bhagat his credit in the space where a writer’s credit is traditionally placed in the international movie business? It would make no difference to the movie’s massive box-office performance. We would not think any less of Rajkumar Hirani, a fine director with a great track record. And Aamir’s reputation as the most consistently successful star of our times would remain intact.

Finally, it comes down to how big a human being is prepared to be. Even people who did not think much of Slumdog Millionaire were overwhelmed when Danny Boyle used the Oscar platform to say sorry to Longinus for leaving his name out of the credits. That was the single-biggest night in Boyle’s life, a culmination of everything he had worked for. And he still found the time to mention an Indian dance director he would probably never meet again.

That’s what I call class.

Our own film industry, however, has not covered itself in glory by the way in which it has behaved over Bhagat’s credit. Our producers, directors and actors have come across as mean-spirited and petty and ready to get into fights over something as minor as the placing of a credit.

Just as India has the potential to become a superpower in the 21st century so Bollywood has the opportunity to become the world’s leading film industry in this century. Certainly, we are not short of talent or of audiences.

What we are short of, however, is grace. And our directors need to learn that no amount of box-office success can buy you class. Our film industry will never hit the big time if its leading lights continue to think like small-timers.

It’s time for Aamir, Chopra and Hirani to show some grace. Otherwise they risk coming across as three idiots.

The views expressed by the author are personal

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By Taran Adarsh, September 25, 2009 – 12:00 IST

Films like DIRTY DANCING and GREASE have enthralled millions of moviegoers across the globe. There have been few attempts to make out-and-out dance-based films in Bollywood, although there’s a barrage of dance-based shows on television these days.

FAST FORWARD, directed by debutante Zaigham Ali Syed, has some brilliantly choreographed songs, but there’s a hitch: Absence of a gripping storyline.

Actually, FAST FORWARD stands on a faulty story and the patchy screenplay only worsens the situation. The sole redeeming aspect of the enterprise is the dance numbers. That’s it!

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

FAST FORWARD tells the story of two friends, Rehan Khan and Akshay Kapoor, who are exceptional dancers. Akshay falls in love with Rehan’s sister Bhavna Pani, only to discover she was suppressing her burning desire to dance. Akshay shows Bhavna a whole new world through dance, but unknowingly they revive Rehan’s painful and dark past.

The story is full of contradictions. Firstly, the lead man is haunted by visions of his mother performing dances at sleazy joints and surprisingly, he aspires to be an accomplished dancer some day. But the moment his kid-sister wears her dancing shoes and starts gyrating, he actually throws a fit and gets those visions again that haunt him. Strange!

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Here’s another gaffe. When Rehan’s buddy Akshay professes love to Rehan’s kid-sister Bhavna, all hell breaks lose. Rehan severs all ties with Akshay, opts out of the dance group, even bashes him and also detests his sight. Sure, Akshay has a roving eye, but even to the viewer, his intentions this time [for Bhavna] seem honest, so why this fuss? Suddenly, in the finale, there’s a change of heart too!

The climax fight between Vinod Khanna and Mahesh Manjrekar is ridiculous. Khanna bashes up a dozen-odd villains like a 20-year-old would, which is hard to digest. Something like this may have worked when Khanna was in his prime, not today.

Zaigham seems technically adept, but he’s letdown by a tacky script. The songs are okay, although the choreography is top notch. ‘Taali Bajao’ – towards the end credits – is the best of the lot.

The youngsters pitch in decent performances. Rehan is natural. Akshay is equally at ease. Bhavna makes a sincere attempt. Siddhanth Karnick and Sabina Sheema are perfect. Each of them is exceptional in dancing. Vinod Khanna and Mahesh Manjrekar are wasted.

On the whole, FAST FORWARD is a weak product.

Twist was originally meant for the end credits of Singh is Kinng, was rejected in favour of the Snoop Dogg track
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 31, 2009)

The Twist song from Love Aaj Kal

The popular track, Twist, in Love Aaj Kal is on top of the charts right now. However, originally Pritam had hoped that the song would have been part of Singh Is Kinng. The rhythm of the song was made for Singh Is Kinng, but the last minute decision to bring in Snoop Dogg, knocked the song off their soundtrack. When Pritam made Imtiaz Ali listen to the song, he loved it.

Our source said, “There wasn’t room for one more track when Snoop Dogg’s song was included. Vipul requested Pritam to keep the song for his forthcoming film. However, when Singh Is Kinng was wrapping up, Pritam was very busy with the music sittings of Love Aaj Kal and that’s when he made Imtiaz listen to the song. Imtiaz loved it and the song was recorded. Incidentally, the Naagin been was added in the song for Love Aaj Kal, as it represented the kal in the song.”

Snoop Dogg track from Singh is Kinng

Imtiaz said, “When I heard the song, the entire rhythm was ready. I am not aware if the song was meant for Singh Is Kinng.”

Pritam talked about how Twist ended up in Love Aaj Kal. He said, “I desperately attempted to include Twist in Singh Is Kinng. Normally, we always make the promotional track at the end of the film and we give it our best shot. Both Vipulbhai and Aneesbhai loved the track, but it was decided that they would go with the Snoop Dogg song for the end credits. As a music director, I always want the entire album to be mine and I don’t like sharing the music director’s credit with anyone. However, then I didn’t have the Naagin been in the song. It was recorded for Love Aaj Kal.”

When asked if Vipul Shah had requested him to keep the song for his forthcoming film, Pritam said, “Every producer says that.”


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