Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘K K Raina

Hindi entertainment channels are nowadays mostly dominated by family melodramatic soaps and rigged reality shows! At this point of time, Sony Entertainment Television came up with an interesting concept. Titled ‘Specials @ 10’, the series consist of 4 different tele-films, each produced/presented by renowned filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Vikram Bhatt, Mahesh Manjrekar and Madhur Bhandarkar.Anurag Kashyap-presented Rajuben took away the cake as it managed to keep the viewers at the edge of the seat and moved at a fast pace, both of these qualities which other serials on TV lack!

Rajuben2Rajuben started on March 2, 2009 and ended 12 weeks later on May 18 (last Monday). It was aired only once in a week on Mondays at 10pm and each episode was an hour long. Unlike other serials on TV, Rajuben was shot in a different format and had a film-like visual quality.

The plot of the serial: Rajuben is the story of Rajshree (Shilpa Shukla), daughter of a staunch Gandhian (K K Raina). The serial focuses on three different points of Rajshree aka Raju’s life which is as follows:

Year 1986: Raju is an electrician and one day goes to Rohit’s (Rajesh Shringapure) place to repair his fan. Later, she learns that he is a gangster. But still, she falls for him and Rohit too starts liking her. Raju’s father gets the biggest shock of his life when he learns this. He tries hard to explain Raju that falling in love with a gangster can be dangerous but she stood adamant. Finally, she marries him and Raju’s father breaks all ties with her. As Rohit’s wife, she took time to adjust, given his husband’s profession. She tried to persuade Rohit into leaving the underworld. Rohit tried but his plan backfired.
Year 1990: Raju is pregnant. Rohit is all set to escape to Malaysia, to escape the crutches of police, much to the annoyance of Raju. By this time, Raju has understood A to Z of ‘bhaigiri’ business and she takes Rohit’s place in her absence. All of Rohit’s colleagues including Tabrez (Raj Arun) accept her. But Abu Miya, Rohit’s godfather and Abu’s close aide and corrupt politician Joshi (Harsh Chaaya) is dead against this idea and they tried to ward off Raju. But Rajuben has acquired too strong a position to feel threatened by anyone.

Year 2009: Raju is now MLA Rajshree and all set to contest for elections. Joshi is also in her political party and both are rivals. Rajshree’s twins, Sameer and Shraddha return after completing their studies and upon their arrival, some unknown gunmen attack them. Shraddha escapes unhurt but Sameer is kidnapped. Some hours later, Tabrez (who is still with Raju as her confidante) find Sameer unconscious in a gunny bag. Rajshree now tries to find out who could be behind it. On the other hand, Shraddha tries to strike a chord with Rajshree’s father, who still hasn’t talked to his daughter and after she married. And as for Rohit, he died in 1993 in Malaysia in a police firing.

What sets Rajuben apart from the rest of the soaps is its wonderful treatment. All these above mentioned three eras of Raju’s life move simultaneously as parallel tracks and intersect at several points, a laRang De Basanti style! Although these three tracks may seem to be poles apart at times, there’s a constant coordination between all three of them. For instance, when Raju’s son Sameer starts taking drugs, the story moves back to 90’s era and the viewers here learn how Raju had started selling drugs in order to make money. Even though the story constantly moves back and forth jostling between three tracks, the story doesn’t become confusing and complicated at all. And that’s the biggest achievement for the makers!

Some of the characters are very intriguing. Raju’s daughter Shraddha has feelings for Tabrez but is mature enough to understand that her mother deserves him more than anyone else. Shraddha equally loves her mother but is angry at the way she plays politics and takes wrong advantage of the media for her gains. On the other hand, Raju’s father, a Gandhian, wanted his children to follow the eternal Gandhian principals. But his own daughter married a gangster while his other two children used wrong means in their business, which was unacceptable to him. So he disowned all his children and lived alone with his wife. This raises a question-Does being a Gandhian also implies that we should not be supportive of our children, no matter what they do? Should a Gandhian be very ‘ziddi’ and angry-types? But at the same time, should a Gandhian give up his Satyagraha mentality just because everyone around is corrupt?


But the most favourite of all has to be Tabrez (see pic above)! He spoke little and when he opened his mouth, he won’t utter anything nonsense. He obediently carried out Raju’s orders without questioning her. He was unmarried but always loved Raju a lot and yet, didn’t marry her after Rohit’s death. Everyone around used him as a punching bag to vent their frustration. Yet, he was always loyal to Raju and her family and would see to it that nothing untoward happens with them. He is a guy who can be trusted anytime. Tabrez, you rock!

Performance-wise, everyone was perfect. Shilpa Shukla who had already proved her worth as Bindiya Naik in Chak De! India, does an amazing job as Rajuben. She gave a perfect performance in each of the three tracks. She impressed a lot in 90’s track. Eight month pregnant Raju, having fruit salad and ordering her men to finish off members of a rival gang-wow…what a scene!

Rajesh Shringapure too does a great job. It was difficult to accept in the beginning that he’s the same guy who gave a rocking performance in Sarkar Raj as Sanjay Somji! Raj Arun as Tabrez was undoubtedly the best performer! His wonderful role coupled with his natural performance made Tabrez the most adorable bhai of the story!

Harsh Chaaya did a great job as the villain. K K Raina left a mark as Raju’s father. Ritu Dutta as Shraddha was fantastic. Others did a great job too.

Amit Trivedi who created waves with Dev D album, composed the title track of Rajuben which suited the mood and theme of the serial. Editing was perfect. Screenplay was gripping and of course, the biggest winner! Lalit Marathe, who also directed the upcoming film Shabri (*ing Ishaa Koppikar; produced by RGV) directed this serial and did a wonderful job. Some of the scenes were truly memorable. My most fav was when Raju kills Abu Miya. She disassembled parts of her gun, hid all its parts including in her hair and inside her sandal. Then she went to Abu Miya’s place and proceeded towards the loo. Inside, she assembled all the parts together and came out and killed him! Brilliant!

On the whole, Rajuben was a slick and very interesting concept that succeeded in keeping the viewers engrossed and entertained. Those who have missed it, there’s a good news-Anurag Kashyap is going to release its DVDs soon! So all those interested in this wonderful one of its kind serial, grab your copy and do watch it!

My rating-***** out of 5!


Phoonk is not flawless, but still it deserves the highest praise. A film with no known star cast and made on a budget of just Rs. 3 crores manages to attract audiences and achieve the ‘Hit’ status-a very big achievement, considering the fact that nowadays even multi-starrers and films starring superstars fail miserably. I had missed this film in theatres. 2 months back, I won its VCD after I participated in an online survey! And now that I am free, I finally saw this film last week. As mentioned earlier, the film has some minuses but overall, it manages to entertain, thrill and scare a bit too!

The story of the movie: Rajiv (Sudeep) is a rich and successful construction engineer, living in a posh duplex house in Mumbai. He has a lovely wife Aarti (Amruta Khanvilkar), adorable children, Raksha (Ahsaas Channa) and Rohan (Shrey Bawa) and a god-fearing mother (Jyothi Subhash). Rajiv is an atheist and doesn’t believe even in the existence of God or evil forces. But one day, his daughter Raksha gets falls into the trap of demonic forces and this compels Rajiv to get out of his beliefs and take necessary action against it. But how would Rajiv do it? And who is behind these evil acts? Watch Phoonk to find out!

Many may not like Phoonk but one can’t deny the fact that the film engrosses the viewer right from the first scene and keeps everyone glued to the screen till the end. The film doesn’t send the chill down the spine but there are ample thrilling moments in the film which makes it interesting. The intro scenes, when the titles roll, set the mood. Rajiv’s outburst at the party and the villains making their evil plan were too good. But Raksha being possessed by evil powers takes the film to a high (especially the school scene-fantastic!).

What doesn’t work is that Phoonk doesn’t scare at all. The film was publicized as a total horror film and many expected it to be scarier than RGV’s Bhoot. And due to these high expectations, many were disappointed with the film. What also bewilders is that how come Rajiv became an atheist, when his mother was a staunch believer in God? No light was thrown on Rajiv’s past regarding this. And the climax could have been shot better.


The best performance in the film is undoubtedly given by Ahsaas Channa! The girl, who has always acted as boy before (‘she’ was seen as ‘he’ in Vaastu Shastra, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna etc!) does an extraordinary job. It was a very difficult task in her hands but she came out with flying colours. And it’s really shocking to see that her performance was never considered during awards. When preparing a list of best child artistes of 2008, everyone remembered only Aman Siddiqui (Bhoothnath), Purav Bhandare (Tahaan), Dwij Yadav (Heroes) and Manjit Singh (‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’). Not a single award even nominated her for any award. Very unfortunate!

Sudeep was rocking and a powerful performer. He’ll be seen next in RGV’s forthcoming Rann as Amitabh Bachchan’s son. Amruta Khanvilkar also delivers a fantastic performance. Lileete Dubey as Dr Seema was excellent and it was great to see her after a long time! Ashwini Kaleskar shines in her over-the-top performance! K K Raina looked every inch a doctor. Zakir Hussain and Jyothi Subhash surprise with their powerful performance. Ganesh Yadav lent able support. Others were good.

A ‘horror’ flick of Ram Gopal Verma is bound to have flawless cinematography and background score. Sure enough, background score (Amar Mohile) was perfect, providing the thrills at the precise scary moments. Savita Singh’s cinematography was raw and unusual and does total justice to the setting in the film. But she falters in the climax.

Milnd Gadagkar wrote the story and screenplay of the film which without a shred of doubt fantastic! Kudos to him for writing a plot based on superstition and tantra-mantra stuff (how many times has it been attempted before?)! Screenplay is top notch and the magical Ram Gopal Verma touches helps to make things better. They could have done a better job in the climax but nevertheless, a great effort by the entire team!

Some of the best scenes:
1.   The intro scene
2.   Madhu (Ashwini Kalsekar) at Rajiv’s house
3.   The party scene
4.   Raksha suddenly goes missing
5.   Bones and lemon found at Rajiv’s place!
6.   Raksha at the school (marvelous scene!)
7.   The docs treating Raksha at home
8.   Murtaza (Zakir Hussain) at Rajiv’s home

On the whole, Phoonk is a nice timepass entertainer. It is definitely not horrifying as it was promoted and has some flaws too. But still, it works and can easily be seen once on a lazy Sunday afternoon!

My rating-*** ½ out of 5!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com:http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Phoonk-167504-1.html