Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Progeria

WHO AM I? Shah Rukh Khan as Rizwan Khan


Shah Rukh Khan speaks exclusively to BT about his role in the biggest film of his career

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 29, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan, the pains and failures of 2009 behind him if not entirely forgotten, is looking forward to the New Year because it brings with it the imminent release and promise of the biggest film of his career (his words, not mine) – Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan. He’s had a bad year starting with the shoulder injury and surgery, then the uninspiring box-office returns for Billu – his only release in 2009, and finally the humiliating decimation of his IPL team in South Africa. But, as the poet T. S. Eliot famously wrote, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”… and SRK, suspect, is secretly hoping that the next voice cinema audiences will listen to is going to be his in 2010. Or rather Rizwan Khan’s, the autistic character he plays in My Name Is Khan, which is slated for a grand bi-lingual worldwide release in February. Actually, the character in this ambitious film suffers from asperger’s syndrome, an autistic disorder whose main symptom is a difficulty in social interaction. It is a role that Shah Rukh, who is notoriously among Bollywood’s least social people, must have slipped into with consummate ease. Over a glass of tea in his vanity van one night late at Mehboob Studios, I asked him whether audiences were ready for another challenged hero after Bachchan with progeria in Paa and, before that, Aamir with dyslexia in Taare Zameen Par. Shah Rukh replied, “Audiences understand what you tell them. People like a good story. And this is a joyous film with a new romantic thought, the journey of an ordinary man. It is a love story with an epic feel. All love stories have obstacles, but the obstacle in My Name Is Khan is real, it happens in everyday life. For me, the film was an opportunity to play a challenged character… bahut maaza aaya!” What he was saying was contrary to public belief that the film is based on terrorism. Shah Rukh scowled. “I don’t know where you got that idea,” he said in exasperation, “yes, it is set in the aftermath of 9/11, and it is heroic without the fighting and screaming, but My Name Is Khan is a heartening and even funny film… even though we didn’t try to make a funny film! I am excited about it as I am about all my films. But this one I’m very proud of. Mainly because I’ve co-produced it with Karan. Also because Kajol and I are acting together after eight years.” He’s not seen a trial of the film as yet to voice an opinion on how well it will do at the box-office. That Shah Rukh never does. Not for his own films nor anybody else’s. In fact, he said he’s hardly seen any of his films completely. “Trials mean analysis,” he explained, “but trial reactions are different from theatre reactions. I don’t make a film for myself, I make it for the story. Besides, I’m shy of myself on screen, I’m not vain, it’s just that I’m not fond of my face or physique. Maybe that’s why I’m an actor – so that I can play someone else.”
Perhaps, he was still in character for the film. Or, maybe, interacting with people is as much a problem for Shah Rukh Khan in real life as it is for Rizwan Khan in reel. “I’m not antisocial,” he protested, “I’m a quiet person, strangely reclusive, I’m not as confident as you think I am. I have issues. I’m thankful to Allah… to be not so gifted and have all this. It may sound pompous, but I’m great enough to be humble, I’m very happy when people say ‘SRK’s the best’… there is a sense of achievement, I’m happy by what I’ve done, but humble enough to know it’s not because of me. Yet put me on stage, say, at Salt Lake Stadium before a million people and I will comfortably entertain you for an hour. As long as I’m an entertainer, I have no problems. It’s when I’m Shah Rukh Khan that the problems arise. I’m a fun guy… yet my kids enjoy their mother’s company more.”

Progerian character from Balki’s film to make it to animation films and comics

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOBMAY TIMES; December 28, 2009)

R Balki’s beloved progerian character Auro from his film Paa will continue to live on as part of a series of animation films and comic books likely to be called ‘The Adventures Of Auro’.
Confirming the news, Balki said, “Auro has acquired the aura of a national icon. Kids, grownups, everyone loves the old child. And the pressure to take Auro beyond the film is immense. Animation films and comicbooks are on the cards. Auro does have immense animation possibilities. It’s time to explore those possibilities.” The filmmaker, who rejected a sequel to Paa, is happy to see Auro go into the realm of animation. For him, cinema is about the emotional interaction among characters. Although he comes from the ad world, computer graphics and special effects do not constitute a motion picture experience for Balki. “That’s where I think Paa has scored with audiences,” he said, explaining Auro’s global appeal.

Meanwhile, the Progeria Research Foundation in the US has suggested a series of tie-ups with Balki and the film’s producers AB Corp Ltd. Audrey Gordon, president and executive director of the foundation, wrote to Balki telling him how the film made an emotional connection with kids suffering from progeria around the world and suggested tie-ups that the filmmaker is happy to implement.

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

By Joginder Tuteja, December 5, 2009 – 17:26 IST

Vidya Balan Vidya Balan is extremely happy with an all around positive response that she has got for her role of an unwed mother in Paa. While keeping her emotions in check and not allowing all the appreciation to make her go overtly gaga, Vidya does admit though that such huge response has come to her four long years after her debut effort Parineeta.

“I guess the wait has been worth it”, says Vidya who plays the mother of a 12 year old kid (played by Amitabh Bachchan) suffering from Progeria in Paa, “I was doing films and by God’s grace most of them were successful as well. However, the kind of respect that is coming the way of everyone associated with Paa is overwhelming, heart warming and above all humbling.”

It is this respect factor that has been the biggest moment for Vidya. When the film’s trial was held a few days back, she was convinced that the film would certainly be remembered for its sincerity, honesty and truthfulness. Though box office factor wasn’t to be ignored, she along with director Balki knew that at the least film would see good respectability coming its way.

“One can’t say much about box office in any case because sometimes even the most quintessential commercial flicks don’t really click with the audiences. However, you instinctively know whether your film has turned out to be a quality outing or not. I remember the days of Lage Raho Munnabhai when we came out of the first screening. Along with Raj Kumar Hirani, I knew that we had made a good film. Same was the case with Paa“, details Vidya.

Now she is eagerly awaiting the box office response for Paa. Given the fact that it is coming a week after De Dana Dan and a week before Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year, Paa has to score and do that really fast.

“I have been told though that the film has been accepted well by the audience and along with critical appreciation, it is also showing good word of mouth from those who have seen it”, she says with that characteristic smile of hers.

What she says does hold good ground. Though the opening wasn’t exceptional (as expected due to its theme), the film has shown a constant increase in crowd inflow with every passing show. Says a trade insider, “The occupancy for Paa on Saturday is almost double than that of Friday. Everyone thought that the film was mainly targeting the class audiences in big cities but it is doing well even in interiors like Nagpur and other cities and towns.”

Vidya Balan Meanwhile, Vidya’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. “Such appreciation is always welcome. Ever since the film’s premiere, there have been congratulatory calls, which is heart warming. I have been literally glued to my cell-phone for last 3 days at stretch and I am certainly not complaining.”

Given the fact that her last film Kismat Konnection (2008) was a success and so was Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), she would be used to such adulation, isn’t it?

“Honestly speaking, there have been good words but such volume of calls is a first”, she confesses, “I remember getting quite a few messages during Bhool Bhulaiyaa or Kismat Konnection. However, so many people actually making an effort and giving me a call reminds me of Parineeta days. Paa has fetched me the best response since my debut film.”

With her much in news Ishqiya round the corner that has an author backed role reserved for her, one waits to see if Vidya gets a further one up over Paa and Parineeta in weeks to come. Starring Naseruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi as the male protagonists, Abhishek Chaubey directed Ishqiya is produced by Vishal Bhardwaj & Raman Maroo and sees a 15th January release.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

FAMILY TIME: Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan on the joys of bringing up her special child

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 4, 2009)

Vidya Balan admits that Reliance BIG Entertainment’s Paa that is releasing today, is her personal favourite. “I have waited anxiously to showcase my son Auro’s film. I want to see how the world reacts to him,” said Vidya, who can’t help but smile everytime someone mentions his name. Auro has a rare disease — Progeria. “There are many things he can’t do that normal children can. He knows he is different from the others, yet he is such a happy child,” said Vidya and added, “each morning when I drop him off to school, he tugs at my heartstrings. Being away from him is difficult.”

She admitted that between her and Abhishek (who plays Paa), she is the stricter parent. “I don’t let Auro eat pickle because pungent food makes him restless. Yet, sometimes he gets adamant and insists on being served pickles,” said the concerned mom. But her child’s special she said and he proves that when he takes the pickle and puts it in her plate instead.
“Honestly, I don’t think I want a child other than Auro. He completes me. He is just such a bundle of joy; and though there are moments when I feel slightly defeated, I never ask why Auro happened to me? Instead, I maintain that he’s a special gift that I have received,” said Vidya.

And about her relationship with Auro’s Paa, she said, “Like most couples, we have our differences. But the reason why we bond is because we both love Auro.”

By Taran Adarsh, December 3, 2009 – 17:34 IST

Can you ever imagine watching an Amitabh Bachchan film and not watching Amitabh Bachchan in it? Seems impossible, isn’t it? The towering persona and the rich baritone just cannot be overlooked. But R. Balki transforms the legendary actor into Auro, replaces the rich baritone with the voice of an adolescent [who’s neither grown up, nor a kid] and taps the hitherto untapped talent of the icon.

Trust me, 10 minutes into the film and you forget you’re watching Amitabh Bachchan. For, Auro takes over the moment he is introduced to the viewer.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

PAA is a simple film told in the most simplistic manner and that’s one of the prime reasons why this film works big time. The emotions would’ve fallen flat had the writing been sub-standard or the execution of the material been humdrum or the actors been inferior. But, thankfully, PAA scores in all three departments, although it must be said that the entire slum redevelopment episode is a complete put-off.

//

Yet, all said and done, PAA is an outstanding film. A film for every paa, every maa… for everyone with a heart. Take a bow, Auro!

Auro [Amitabh Bachchan] is an intelligent, witty 13-year-old boy with an extremely rare genetic defect that causes accelerated ageing. He suffers from progeria. Mentally, he is 13, very normal, but physically he looks five times older.

Inspite of his condition, Auro is a happy boy. He lives with his mother Vidya [Vidya Balan], a gynaecologist, but is completely clueless of his father’s identity. Till he meets him, Amol [Abhishek Bachchan], who is a full of ideals politician.

Okay, let’s not disrespect Balki by calling PAA a rip-off of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON or JACK. It’s not! PAA looks at the varied relationships so minutely. It may’ve been publicized as a father-son film, but the women – mother and granny – play equally pivotal parts.

The first hour of PAA grips you in patches. The introduction of Auro is brilliant, but the moment the story focuses on the politician and his arch rival’s sub-plot, it goes off-track. Sure, there are some interesting sequences, but the impact isn’t mesmeric.

But the post-interval portions take the film to dizzy heights and camouflages the defects. The father-son bonding and the penultimate 25 minutes raise the bar. The emotional quotient is tremendous. Get ready to overhear a lot of sniffs and see a lot of moist eyes once the lights are switched on.

Note the two sequences in the climax, when Auro reveals what his father’s first mistake was and the pheras towards the end. Also recall the scene when the girl Auro detests for a certain reason shows up with a sketch of Auro. It moves you completely.

But let’s not mistaken PAA to be a rona-dhona movie. It’s a positive film with funny/light moments in plenty. The conversation between Auro and his best friend, on various occasions, are superb. Also, not once does PAA show Auro as ‘different’. He’s one among the kids and there’s no discrimination whatsoever, which is remarkable.

Director R. Balki deserves a salute for thinking out of the box and also presenting Amitabh Bachchan like never before. The writing may be erratic, but his handling of the emotional moments is exemplary. Note this, he would be a force to reckon with after PAA. Ilaiyaraaja’s music is soothing. P.C. Sreeram’s cinematography is incredible.

It would be a blunder if one missed out the contribution of the makeup artists. Transforming the veteran actor into a kid must’ve been an arduous task and Christien Tinsley and Domini Till deserve to be complimented for making Auro look so real.

Now to the performances! No amount of praise, no amount of adjectives and personifications would do justice to Amitabh Bachchan’s performance as Auro. Sure, the icon has enthralled us with superlative performances in his four-decade career, but PAA is something else. The icon keeps surprising you at regular intervals and PAA is one of those beautiful surprises, which will remain etched in your memory forever.

That doesn’t mean that the remaining performances get dwarfed by Auro. Sure, PAA belongs to Auro, but not once does Abhishek Bachchan dither from his position or seems less inferior. This is the hallmark of a tremendous actor, which Abhishek is. Vidya is another surprise of PAA. She takes giant strides as an actor and proves yet again that given the right roles, she can match up to the best in the business.

Paresh Rawal is effective. Arundhati Naag is amazing. So is the kid, Pratik, enacting the role of Auro’s best buddy. His telephonic conversation with Auro is superb. Jaya Bachchan’s presence is lovely.

On the whole, PAA is an amazing experience. It makes you realize two things. One, the Hindi film industry is also capable of narrating fresh stories. Two, Amitabh Bachchan is truly the most accomplished actor this side of the Atlantic.

Talking from the business point of view, PAA has been made in a sensible and reasonable budget [approx. Rs. 17 crores, including P & A expenses], which should easily be recovered from multiplexes alone.

In the final tally, here’s a film that should win awards [for Auro] and also box-office rewards, given its low costs. A film that should strike a chord with every paa, maa… just about everyone with a heart!

RADIO v/s PAA

This weekend will see the release of two diverse films, Paa and Radio. The best thing about both films is its cost-both films are made at a reasonable cost and should not find it difficult to recover it. My take on these films:

PAA:
Undoubtedly, Paa will be the first choice of moviegoers. Directed by Balki (Cheeni Kum) and music composed by Illaiyaraja, Paa has aroused a lot of curiosity. By now, it’s a very common knowledge that Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a 12 year old suffering from progeria in the film. He looks unique and completely unrecognizable in his new look. Big B has even altered his voice to suit his 12 year old character and it rocks completely. He has even sung the title song of the film in that changed voice which is a treat to hear! To hear Auro (name of BigB in Paa) speak click here.

Besides the chance to see Amitabh in a never before seen avatar, the other USP of the film is Abhishek Bachchan playing Amitabh’s father! The film also stars Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal as Auro’s mother and grandfather respectively. The film is being promoted innovatively. 2 days back, Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan were on Radio Mirchi FM and spoke as the characters of the film. Listeners were asking questions to Auro (i.e. Amitabh) about his life and he answered wonderfully! It was just brilliant!

Without a shred of doubt, the film will be lauded with appreciation, especially for the performance of Amitabh, Abhishek and Vidya. However, the film has also got some negative reactions from a section of audiences who feel that Big B’s look is horrible and they can’t bear watching him as ‘an ugly child’ for 2 ½ hours. Also, the film should get a good response to sustain in theatres. And if that happens, then there would be no stopping for this film! In fact, I am expecting a Taare Zameen Par-type craze for Paa. Let’s hope for the best!

RADIO:
In an interview, 2 days back to Bollywood Hungama, Himesh Reshammiya shared how he wanted his previous disastrous film, Karzzzz to release on another date. That’s because the producers planned its release on October 17, 2008. 17 equals to 8 (1+7=8) which is Himesh’s unlucky number. But the producers didn’t listen to him and released it on 17th. And then Karzzzz flopped in spite of adding 3 extra ‘z’ in the title for ‘numerlogical reasons’. I really laughed reading this part. Is Himesh trying to say that Karzzzz would have succeeded if it had released on another date? The film was a disaster in all respects and would have flopped even if it had released on some other date or if 100 more ‘z’ was added in the title! Besides having a faulty script and direction, it had a very high cost (reported to be around Rs 40 crores). It was obvious that it would have been impossible to recover this amount. And as expected, the film barely recovered about half of its cost!

But Radio, that releases today, is a safer bet. The film is made at a reasonable cost-6 crores. The film has already recovered this amount from other sources. But to get the prestige of being hailed as a hit, the film’s theatrical collections should exceed 6 crores. It’s difficult to say whether this can happen as Radio has a terrific competition in the form of Paa. Also, the film is an urban love story and is targeted at the multiplex junta, who don’t ‘worship’ Himesh like the masses do! So as of now, nothing can be said about the fate of Radio.

But Himesh is confident because the film is releasing on Thursday 3rd as 3 is his lucky number! He has more faith in numbers than the script of the film. Last time, when Karzzzz bombed inspite of all numerological precautions, he blamed the producer and the wrong release date. Let’s see who he will blame this time, in case Radio flops! But I hope it works and all the best to its entire team!

WHICH FILM ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN? DO LET ME KNOW!
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E-PIRATES MOURN AT MININOVA’S CLEAN UP ACT

E-pirates are a disgruntled lot ever since Mininova went on a Clean-up act. Mininova is the most popular website when it comes to downloading movies, songs, games and other stuff. Every new film used to be available on the site a day after the release or at times, on the day itself. Further, all downloads were safe and didn’t carry any virus. Hence, it was the most preferable website for millions of net users.

Needless to mention, downloading stuff on Mininova were illegal and last week after they lost a civil dispute, the website announced that it’ll share only those movies that are uploaded through Content Distribution Service. Thus, they deleted all illegal stuff which was there in their database. This has proved as a setback for all those who never used to venture in theatres but instead used to watch films on their PC through Mininova.

It is difficult to say whether this step will prove beneficial for our producers and distributors. No one can can say for sure whether these e-pirates would start frequenting cineplexes to watch movies. There were many factors why these people chose Mininova instead of theatres and these factors still exist, the biggest one being the inflated ticket prices. No effort has been done to slash ticket rates and in fact, the prices are increasing. Also, there are many other websites like Mininova (though not safe) from where one can still download films! So unfortunately, piracy will continue to thrive even in the absence of Mininova.

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/ccbhuqsuo/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk77