Fenil and Bollywood


By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:31 IST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sometimes, the expectations from a movie are zilch, but what unfolds on screen is beyond expectations. It surprises you, to put it simply.

On face-value, BOLO RAAM looks like it’s straight out of 1970s cinema. A movie with predictability written all over it. A movie that carries zero hype and matches it with zero content. But BOLO RAAM isn’t archaic, isn’t the usual masala, isn’t zero content.

A remake of the Tamil film RAAM [2005; starring Jeeva, Saranya, Rehman, Murali], BOLO RAAM has an interesting plot with an engaging screenplay that compels you to look at the screen for most parts of the movie. But, of course, there’re hiccups. A few non-actors and a done to death climax could’ve been avoided.


Raam [Rishi Bhutani] is charged with the murder of his mother Archana [Padmini Kolhapure]. Raam falls into a state of shock, brief psychotic disorder, after his mother’s death and becomes silent, refusing to talk or react in any manner.

The investigating officer, Indrajeet Singh Rathi [Om Puri] is puzzled and unable to make Raam speak. He consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Negi [Naseeruddin Shah], to determine the cause of Raam’s state of mind and the reason for his silence.

Rathi interrogates various personalities for the case, questioning Raam. Every possible motive that Raam might have for murdering his mother is explored. Furthermore, Raam’s neighbours, Sub-Inspector Sajid Khan’s [Govind Namdev] daughter Juhi [Disha Pandey] and son Sameer [Krishan Khatra], are summoned by Rathi for interrogation. Will his silence solve the puzzle?

Without wasting any time, BOLO RAAM takes off from its opening titles itself. The story goes back and forth, several new characters are introduced, but the narrative stays faithful to the main plot. The best is reserved for the second half. Layer after layer is peeled with expertise. The viewer is keen to know the identity of the killer and that’s when the film fumbles and tumbles.

The culprit’s track is sloppy and a major put off. In fact, the circumstances that lead to the murder are quite amateurish and look far from convincing. Surely, the writer could’ve thought of a better culmination. Also, the one-sided love affair is functional.

Debutante director Rakesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’ makes a confident debut, although he should’ve cast some better actors for key roles. There’s not much scope for music [Sachin Gupta] in the film and hence, just one song merits mention – ‘Maa Tere Jaisa’. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] deserves special mention.

Newcomer Rishi Bhutani does a commendable job. He oozes confidence, despite sharing the same frame with accomplished actors. Om Puri gets into the skin of his character and is impressive, while Padmini Kolhapure is a pleasure to watch after a long gap. She is beautifully restrained. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief role and the veteran does it well. Govind Namdev is very good.

Rajpal Yadav is wasted. Both Disha Pandey and Krishan Khatra are non-actors. Manoj Pahwa does his usual act.

On the whole, BOLO RAAM has decent merits [hence those 2 stars], but the problem is its wrong release timing. It won’t stand a chance in front of a hurricane called 3 IDIOTS.

Rishi Bhutani will be making his Bollywood debut with Shree Keshav Films’ Bolo Raam which is releasing this New Year eve — December 31. The new kid on the Bollywood block is pretty sure that everyone’s going to love his acting skills. “Acting is in my veins,” says Rishi. Rishi promises that Bolo Raam will be a gripping thriller.

Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure, the film’s being produced by Rishi’s elder brother Goldy, and has been written and directed by debutant director Rakkesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’, who is a well known theatre artist. “After reading the script and knowing the cast, I felt that this is that character with which I want to start my career,” says Rishi.
Rishi plays Raam in the movie. Speaking about the movie, Rishi adds, “It’s about a mother and son. The mother is mysteriously murdered leaving the son in a cage of silence.” Rishi, of course, plays the quiet son, Raam. He credits his brother, Goldy for pushing him into it. “He was the one who said I had the talent, and motivated me to be an actor,” says the actor who used to bunk classes to take part in school theatre.

Rishi admits that he was a bit nervous when the shooting began. He says, “But Naseer Sir, Om Puri Sir and Padmini Maa’m made me feel comfortable. I would say it has been a dream role for me as I got an opportunity to work with legends of our industry and that too in my first film, I had never thought about it. I hope that audiences like the film.”

Producer Goldy Bhutani adds, “I thank Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure for coming together for this project and would say that Rakkesh has done some excellent work as a director. It is a must watch film for everyone to know how circumstances take over the good times.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 30, 2009)

Naseeruddin Shah, who has just finished his film Bolo Raam, refused to take any fee for the film, because he thought it would be an injustice to the script if any commercial angle was brought in. India’s finest talent didn’t charge a penny from director Rakesh Chaturvedi or producer Goldy Bhutani and left everyone stunned.

Another reason for Naseer rejecting any money for this film is the nostalgia of working with Padmini Kolhapure after a gap of two-and-a-half long decades. The duo was last seen together in Woh Saat Din in 1983.

“I believe that scripts like Bolo Raam are very rare and they require a lot from an actor. I am sure that if I would have charged any money for the film, I wouldn’t have been ever able to deliver my best and it would have been an injustice with the film. Padmini’s presence in the film is another reason, which led me away to talk about any financials, because we are coming together on screen after a span of 26 years.” Responding to this big favour by Naseer, the director said, “I think Naseerji is a great personality on as well as off-screen. When I narrated the script of Bolo Raam to him, he was so moved that he said he was doing my film and to relieve me of any problem, he said he was doing it for free. I can’t say how obliged I felt. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and can proudly say that he is the finest actor India has ever produced.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 15, 2009)
Marathi film and stage actor Nilu Phule died on Monday at a hospital in Pune after a long battle with cancer
By Kunal M Shah / Ashwini Deshmukh (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 14, 2009)
Veteran Marathi film and stage personality Nilu Phule died at Pune’s Jehangir hospital on Monday morning at 1.50am. He was 80. The actor breathed his last in the hospital where he had been admitted on July 5 for treatment of cancer of the oesophagus.

He is survived by his wife and daughter. The funeral was held in Pune yesterday morning.

Phule had acted in over 130 films, including some Hindi films and many Marathi plays for over four decades. He had also acted in memorable Hindi films like Pinjra, Samna and Sinhasaan. He was best remembered for Coolie, Woh Saat Din, Mashaal, Saaransh and Prem Pratigya.

Remembering Nilu Phule

He was extremely fond of reading English novels-SACHIN PILGAONKAR

Sachin Pilgaokar

I had the opportunity to work with Nilu bhau in 1971 in a film produced by my father. He played a negative role and I was a child artiste. He often stayed with us whenever he was in Mumbai and it was always a pleasant experience to be with him. He had a tremendous voice and carried himself very well. Despite being a star, he never refused to act in stage dramas. He perpetually suffered from colds but he (smartly) incorporated it (the sniffles) in his acting. For instance, he used his voice to his advantage, which might have been a hindrance for any other actor. When I became a director, I also had the opportunity to direct him in Maza Pati Crorepati.

He was extremely fond of reading English novels so I made him speak English dialogue in my film which was a first for him. We will miss him not only as an actor but also a friend. He was always humble and down-to-earth.

He had an amazing screen presence-PADMINI KOLHAPURE

Padmini Kolhapure

I worked with Nilu Phule in Woh Saat Din and working with a veteran actor like him is an experience by itself. It was a typically Maharashtrian atmosphere on the sets and we worked like a family. I always looked up to him. He has portrayed such brilliant characters for years that as an audience, I enjoyed all his films irrespective of whether he played a villain, a comic character or a hero. His style of acting was distinctive, completely unique. He had an amazing screen presence. Indian cinema is going to miss him dearly.

He taught me a lot about acting and life — Ashok Saraf

What a wonderful man Nilu Phule was. He contributed tremendously to Marathi cinema with his unique style and landmark performances. He was not only a brilliant actor but also a great human being. I feel a great sense of loss; he was a great friend of mine.

I was a junior and he was a veteran, but he never treated me like a junior. He was a co-star. He not only encouraged me, but also taught me a lot about acting and life. He was a great example of tolerance.

The industry has lost an actor but I have lost a great personal friend, my supporter and a fan. It was great fun working with him. He was an extremely sensible and a sensitive human being. He had a great knack of cheering up other actors on the sets, which is rare in the industry.

Very few people know about his social commitments-AMOL PALEKAR

Amol Palekar

Nilu bhau believed in understated acting. Even the pitch of his voice was so amazingly understated that it was a revelation to youngsters like me. I remember his performance in Katha Aklechya Kandyachi and Sakharam Binder, which I watched 10 times just to see his performance.

It’s the end of an era. Very few people know about his social commitments and his belief that artistes must give back in every possible way to society.