Fenil and Bollywood

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HITLIST (Mid-Day; January 1, 2010)

The writer has plenty to say about the movie being touted as being different from his book Five Point Someone

Chetan Bhagat is peeved that he has not been given his due credit in Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots. The film is based on his novel Five Point Someone. The writer has vented his ire ‘A book, a film and the truth’ on his blog (http://www.chetanbhagat.com/).

Here’s an extract….

“The 3 Idiots story credit issue has been making some noise now… and I think it is important I clarify a few things. Clearly, the makers of the film have been unfair and thousands of my readers have been saying so.This is not an issue that has ‘just come up’. I’ve been grappling with it for two years, but kept silent about it.

Wrong claims

The only reason it has surfaced after the movie’s release is because Five Point Someone has a few million readers, and when you copy a popular story claiming it as ‘original’ and ‘completely different’, people are going to find out.

The case is as simple as the makers claiming the story as their own, and clearly it is not. Pre-release, the makers made  statements like  the movie is only ‘very loosely’ inspired by the book….

After release, those who have read the book and seen the movie (and frankly, I think those are the only people who have the right to comment) find the film to be an adaptation of Five Point Someone. Almost all aspects that make up the story are from FPS. Yes, there are some changes, any adaptation requires that — but it is no way an original story. Leading movie critics have privately admitted to me that the film is 70 per cent the book. Still, don’t take my word for it — go read the book, watch the film.

I, frankly, was shocked to see this. This is because I was also fed ‘this is an original movie’ line a lot. I wanted to see the final script — it was never shown to me. I wanted to see the film before release — it was not shown to me (even though trials had been done for  people).  What’s more, the makers had called me to their office and pressured me several times to withdraw my ‘Based on a novel by’ credit, which was by contract. They told me they’d replace it with something like ‘initiated by’ — a credit that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. I still told them that if the film is indeed original, I’ll happily withdraw the credit, but somehow the promos don’t tell me so. I asked them to show me the film and they fell silent.

Soon, they started doing media promotions for the film, and kept me completely out of it (you’ll never find me in an interview with them). Crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that 3 Idiots is not based on Five Point Someone. Ten days before the release, I was called into their office. They said ‘we should be friends now’. I said I am always up for friendship, and the success of the film is good for me as well. They also said, and I quote verbatim ‘even though this is an original film, we have given you a great credit, right upfront. After all, we love writers and a king should treat another king with respect. You are family’. I believed them.

Then I went for the premiere. My family sat in the theatre shocked, as sequence after sequence came from the book. Two per cent means three minutes or so, and I had told my family to look for the few FPS moments and note them. However, there were so many that it became impossible to keep track. The plot was same — people meet at ragging, the first class with definition of machine, the friends separate, Alok (Raju) moves with Venkat (Chatur), Ryan (Rancho) helps Alok’s father, Alok rejoins group, etc, etc. From Alok  (Raju) jumping to stealing the papers and calling out from Cherian (Virus’) office — the book came alive on screen.

However, my family had not spotted my credit in the beginning (there was none) and they were feeling let down. A screenplay associate credit to VVC had a prominent upfront placement. The story credit was not shared with me. And yes, all the office talk of a ‘king treated like king’ was a white lie. I knew they had played with me, and that ‘based on a novel by’ credit, which they were legally bound to give would be hushed away at the end — with the clear intention of making sure people miss it. And indeed, it came after the junior artistes and still photographer of the movie. My mother missed seeing my name, and for that she cried after seeing the film. I told her it doesn’t matter, as people know FPS. But yes, that hurt me a lot.”

The Other Side
3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopta and actor Aamir Khan preferred not to comment.
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HITLIST TEAM (Mid-Day; January 1, 2010)

The folks associated with the Star Screen awards have taken the decision not to have Sajid Khan as the host for the 2009 film awards nite.

Last year, Ashutosh Gowariker made a hue and cry about the comments that Farah Khan’s brother had passed about him in jest at the event.

So instead of trampling on some more egos, they have decided to let Sajid go. The awards are slated for January 9 and will be telecast on Star Plus on January 18.

By SHAHEEN PARKAR (Mid-Day; December 25, 2009)

Dara Singh is both amused and horrified to see Vindoo become a weepy person on Bigg Boss 3. Though his son is the frontrunner for the reality show’s prize in the finale tomorrow, his drastic behaviour is worrying the father.

Dara Singh and Vindoo Dara Singh

Beyond limits

“I am shocked to see this side of him,” says the Rustom-e-Hind. “He has become extra sensitive in the house. Vindoo is an emotional man no doubt but he has gone beyond limits. I don’t think he is missing his family and resorting to all this. He was keen to be part of the show. Guess the situation has made him kuch zyada hi.”

Singh Sr catches up on the antics of his son every night. People ask him: Pahalwan ka beta hoke bhi rota hai?

“When tears roll down his cheeks and Vindoo keeps wiping them away, I keep chuckling.”

About the housemates telling him to create his identity and not latch on to his father’s name, he says, “Vindoo has always been known as Vindoo Dara Singh. He prefers it this way. He has been telling the others, too, to write their names like that. Many people like to show others in bad light. Neecha dikhane me aur ilzaam lagane mein…some love to do this to others — to each his own.”

Dara Singh’s last B-Town outing was Jab We Met. “I lead a retired life and if there are some dada and nana roles that come my way and I like them, I am game.”

He’s looking forward to the show’s finale tomorrow night. “If an invitation comes along, I don’t mind going to Khandala for the show,” he says. And the first thing that he will tell Vindoo on meeting him is: “Tu itna kyu roya?”

Who Knew?
Vindoo has a brother Amrik who is based in Chandigarh and runs a film studio.

By IANS (Mid-Day; December 26, 2009)

Vishal Bhardwaj’s production venture “Ishqiya” faced the censor board’s ire for using the word ‘sex’ in its promos. But the ban has been lifted, giving respite to the producers.

The film has a scene where actor Arshad Warsi uses the three letter word, but it did not go down very well with the censor board.

Bhardwaj and his co-producers managed to convince the board members that the word was needed, and they finally gave their nod.

“It was initially decided that the word would be beeped and we gave an application for it to the revising committee, that comprises six-seven members. We had to convince them and make them understand that the word is essential for the film and the dialogue,” Mansi Maroo, co-producer of the film, said on phone from Mumbai.

With the censor board’s approval, the producers will re-launch the promos with the word audible.

“The dialogue lost its impact because of the ‘beep’ and now our whole plan has been delayed. In order to rectify things, we will have to re-do the scene and launch another promo with the word audible,” she said.

Asked if Bhardwaj too accompanied the other producers to the meeting with the censor board, Maroo added: “Vishal did not go for the meeting but he did have talks with the censor board people.”

Set in eastern Uttar Pradesh, “Ishqiya” is a tale of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion and deceit. Directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey, the film also stars Naseeruddin Shah and Vidya balan in pivotal roles.

Maroo also revealed that such procedures create hindrance in the film’s promotion.

“We have lost two-weeks of right promotion.”

“However, we are glad that finally we were heard and our job was done,” she added.

IANS tried to contact censor board chief Sharmila Tagore, but she was not available.

“Ishqiya” is slated to release Jan 29.

By UPALA KBR (Mid-Day; December 23, 2009)

Ekta Kapoor says the promo of her film Love Sex Dhoka is going to be the most controversial promos released this year. Incidentally, the 90-second promo of LSD will be released along with Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots in theatres across India on December 25.

Says Ekta, “We have already edited the 90-second promo thrice! When I first saw it, I was so shocked I fell off my chair. We had to edit almost 30 per cent of the controversial version in order for it to be shown with 3 Idiots. We will be releasing the unedited version on the internet simultaneously along with the trailer. The promo will be shown across only 290 multiplex screens across India. We didn’t want the promo to run at all theatres as it’s a digital medium.”

Ekta feels that it will be met with a largely polarised reaction. “It will shock the daylights out of people. They will either hate or love it but they can’t ignore it. The censor board was adamant that we couldn’t show these scenes without a U/A certificate.”

She adds, “The promo is not too sexually explicit but the dialogues and basic premise are raw and explicit. We had 40 beeps in the original promo which has now been cut down to two.”

Dibakar Banerjee says, “The censor board didn’t allow the promo to run without a U/A certificate. Some cuss words have been edited out. One of the scenes edited out is a slightly explicit scene where the male protagonist and another girl are rehearsing how to seduce a famous public figure on camera for a sting operation with some intricate moves. They found these objectionable and we had to remove them. Love Sex Dhoka is isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.”

By TUSHAR JOSHI (Mid-Day; December 23, 2009)

Despite an ‘A’ certificate, the panel suggests major cuts in the film

Mahesh Nair, director of Celina Jaitly-Farooque Shaikh starrer Accident On Hill Road is a livid man. The Censor Board has objected to a one minute-50 second scene in his movie. The scene showing Celina and Abhimanyu Singh in bed making love has raised the eyebrows of the authorities making them chop some portions.

The film has been given an ‘A’ certificate, but Nair says the board isn’t playing fair. “In the recent past, there have been movies depicting violence and sex but that has gone unnoticed.”

Claiming that his love making scene is aesthetically shot he adds, “In fact, the portion they have raised objections to, doesn’t even have a liplock. Despite that they have problems with it.”

Describing the three issues the board has raised, Nair says, “Their first problem was that they objected to the lady removing her undergarments in the scene. However, Celina wears stockings that Abhimanyu removes before their lovemaking. I don’t think stockings are undergarments, and the board should understand that.

Secondly, they had an issue with too much caressing happening between the actors. They told me instead of touching each other why can’t they express their love by looking at each other, through their eyes! Lastly, they thought that one minute and 50 seconds was too long a time for the actors to establish a relation between the two. All these points are totally baseless and unwarranted.”

Furious that he has to go with the cut, Nair feels the board only picks on small budget films. “I don’t want to take names, but there have been so many films this year with enough liplocks and fight scenes depicting brutality which have made it without cuts, why give a different treatment to me?”

By  SARITA TANWAR (Mid-Day; December 23, 2009)

3 Idiots
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani
Rating: 4.5

What’s It About: Bring out the bugles for the biggest celluloid celebration in a long, long time. God bless Rajkumar Hirani for ending an otherwise mediocre Bollywood year on a smashing note.

You go in to see 3 Idiots expecting the genius combination of Hirani and Aamir Khan to weave magic on screen.

But despite the mental conditioning, the impact of the film is so overwhelming that it leaves you spellbound for hours after it has ended.

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Five Point Someone (though only a miniscule part has been adapted from the book; the rest is all original), here’s a story of three friends studying in an engineering college Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi).

Rancho is the rebel among them always questioning things and believing that learning is more than just the usual mode of education.

He encourages his friends to look beyond the ordinary and soon earns the wrath of the college director Viru Sahasrabuddhe (Boman Irani).

Despite his fun and frolic, Rancho always surprises everyone by topping the class. He even manages to win the affections of the director’s daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor). But Rancho’s greatest contribution lies is making his friends realise their true calling.

The twist comes when on Graduation Day. After being awarded the Student Of The Year title, Rancho mysteriously disappears into oblivion.

Years later, Farhan and Raju, finding a common thread, embark on a journey to find their friend. 3 Idiots is a story of friendship, hope, aspirations and most importantly, the goodness of life.

With 3 Idiots, Rajkumar Hirani proves beyond doubt that there’s no better storyteller than him in the present generation.

This isn’t an easy film to make the interplay between characters and the narrative is interestingly woven.

The film switches from present to flashback mode often but not once does Hirani lose the momentum. The medley of emotions that he brings forth as he establishes the film’s structure is indeed commendable.

Like the peppy Aal Izz Well song drawing towards a tragic climax it’s so cleverly done that it has the desired effect. There are scenes that’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry and they’ll make you think.

Hirani does it all so beautifully that you want to go back to college and relive all those moments.

The falling in love, the harassment by professors, the secret drinking sessions, the ragging of fellow students it’s all there.

Hirani also sends across a message on student pressures but there’s no preaching here it’s all done in his inimitable style.

Most films have their own set of ‘highlight’ scenes.

3 Idiots is different because every scene is special and brings with it something that’s out of the ordinary.

But there are a few that have a far lasting impact the entire ragging sequence; the camaraderie between Rancho and Pia; Chatur’s (the ‘brainy’ student) hilarious speech; the entire black-and-white depiction of Raju’s family; most of the scenes between Rancho and Viru; the sequences that lead to Raju’s recovery in the hospital and many more. After a point, you just stop counting.

Dialogues are snappy and totally effective (“In India, you get a pizza in 30 minutes guaranteed but not an ambulance”). The soundtrack, background score and cinematography is top class.

Among the performances, Madhavan delivers his most retrained act ever. He takes the film back and forth with his narrative and is splendid even with comedy.

Sharman Joshi is brilliant, especially in his breakdown scenes. Boman Irani is sincere as expected, with his lisp act getting all the right nuances.

Kareena Kapoor gives her finest portrayal in recent times as Pia. Her “dhokla, fafda, thepla, khandwa, khakra” scene is simply too delicious. Here’s a performance that proves why she’s indeed the best we have.

The life and soul of 3 Idiots is of course Aamir Khan. His perfection lies in the fact that he makes everything look so easy and spontaneous.

And at all the right moments, he brings the film alive with his sheer brilliance. From his look to his walk to his manner of speech, Aamir breathes life into Rancho and that’s what stays with us.

If you thought Aamir Khan couldn’t get any better than he is, think again. Aamir is the heart and soul of 3 Idiots and he proves why he’s simply a class apart.

What To Do: Book your tickets for consecutive shows because one viewing isn’t enough to savour 3 Idiots. Quite easily, this is the film of the year. Nothing else comes even close.

Debut
Volvo XC90 R-Design makes its first appearance in Bollywood with 3 Idiots

3
The number of cities that Aamir travelled to in disguise to promote an alternate reality game (Varanasi, Palanpur and Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata)

Rs 50 Cr
The cost of making the film

10 Lakh
The number of copies of Five Point Someone sold in India since 2004


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