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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Although 51 weeks had passed in 2009, it still seemed incomplete. There was not a single Hindi flick this year which could be happily showered with never-ending appreciation and 5/5 ratings. Thankfully, 3 Idiots has arrived in the final week and given us the much needed ‘film of the year’! To tell you the truth, I am finding it difficult to express my satisfaction and happiness in words. Rajkumar Hirani has come up with an extremely superior product. And like his previous Munnabhai flicks, 3 Idiots also entertains and at the same time enriches! And the enlightment is such that will remain with you for a long time and would not vanish away after coming out of theatre! Needless to say, it’s a must watch!!

The story of the movie: Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) are in search for their college friend, Ranchoddas aka Rancho (Aamir Khan) who has vanished after the convocation. They missed him terribly as he was a special friend. He was different from others. He reaffirmed the simple ideas of life which were left behind by everyone for ‘textbook knowledge’ which results in profitable future. He propagated his ideas in a humanistic manner without fear and thus, challenged even the head of college, Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani). He inspired Farhan and Raju to think out of the box and to not end up mugging knowledge. Watch the film to find out where Rancho had disappeared and why.

3 Idiots is a winner from the first scene! The essence of the film could be explained even in serious manner but then that would have been too boring. Rajkumar Hirani smartly uses his smart technique of making us laugh (like hell) throughout the film but at the same time, giving us some important lessons of life. Also, what is immensely likeable about Hirani’s style is the protagonist’s character sketch. In all the 3 films, the lead actor is a source of positivity, giving important teachings in a sweet manner and spreading smiles everywhere. Rancho is also Munna Bhai and vice versa!


The film is wonderfully structured and perfectly comes back and forth (the flashback portion is running parallel in the film). The first scene, where Madhavan exits from the plane which has already taken off sets the mood. Then the ragging session where Rancho enters the film and teaches a nice lesson to the seniors was simply outstanding scene! Undoubtedly, the funniest scene in the film was where Chatur aka Silencer (Omi) gives the speech on Teacher’s Day. Believe me, it would bring the house down for sure! After a loooong time, I was laughing uncontrollably for 5 minutes continuously! This reminds me-the humour in the film is not slapstick or crass-it’s novel and something that would surely tickle your funny bone!

The intermission point was bewildering but the mystery unravels beautifully in the 2nd half. The best thing about 2nd half is you can never guess what will happen next. When a conflict arises, it is solved well in time and when you feel the film is ready for the climax, another conflict surrounds the main characters. However, one doesn’t get bored and doesn’t get impatient for the film to get over. Everyone will enjoy and get engrossed to whatever is dished out by Hirani.

The delivery sequence (involving Mona Singh) was just fabulous. It shows that quick and out of the box thinking can save the day when all our knowledge fails. Just brilliant! As for the climax, it was totally justified. The film touches various topics concerning student life (including student suicide) and depicts and debates in a just manner.

Each character had a purpose in the story and not a single one was unnecessarily added. Aamir Khan, without a shred of doubt, was the most important character of the film and needless to say, he was amazing! The best part is the way he slipped easily into the character of a student and came out with flying colours. Notice the manner in which he scratches his head and ears, the way he walks, his mannerism and body language-all matched with that of a restless and mischievous student. Also, seeing Aamir as Rancho, you’ll forget all his past performances. You’ll forget that he is the same Aamir who played the ferocious amnesic in Ghajini or the lovely teacher in Taare Zameen Par. Like all his recent films, 3 Idiots will also be remembered for a long long time to come!

R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi also maintained a strong position throughout the film. Madhavan is the narrator and does a great job in it. Also rocking was his beautiful performance in the airplane scene and his confrontation with his father. Sharman, on the other hand, did full justice to his character which was no easy task.

Boman Irani rocks! I had mentioned earlier too that it’s extraordinary that this actor plays a different kind of character in all his films and each performance stands out from the other. Here, he was great as strict disciplinarian and watch out for his dialogue delivery! Kareena Kapoor (as Pia), too, has an important role and looked lovely in the bespectacled look. Nice to see that after delivering 3 flops in this year, she finally came up with a winner! Omi was exemplary! Everyone will surely love his chamatkaar speech! What an actor he is! Mona Singh has amazing screen presence. Although her role here was miniscule, she would hopefully receive more offers after this film. Jaaved Jaaferi and Parikshit Sahni were alright in their small roles. Others were good.

Shantanu Moitra’s music was melodious and ‘ear-catching’ (can I use this phrase?!). Best song was of course Aal Izz Well. Zoobi Doobi’s picturisation was amazing. Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe was quite touching.

Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga and Shantanu Moitra’s background score was perfect. C K Muraleedharan’s cinematography was flawless and he’s one of the contenders for Best Cinematography for sure. Watch out for the lensman’s amazing aerial shots in the song Behti Hawa Sa!

The film is loosely inspired from Chetan Bhagat’s first novel Five Point Someone. Hirani has smartly adapted only some portions of the book and interpreting and modifying it to suit the story. Hirani along with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi wrote the screenplay which was brilliant to say the least!

Finally, Hirani came up with the story and directed the film too. Like his previous flicks, here too, he raised questions but didn’t turn the situation overdramatic or serious. He kept it light by adding jokes and funny situations and at the same time giving us an important lesson-do what you feel like in life. Even ‘Rock On!!’ had touched this topic but 3 Idiots will have a wider reach. Also note the outstanding way in which he handled Sharman’s suicide sequence beautifully! Hats off to these geniuses! Keep delivering such meaningful flicks!

Some of the best scenes of the film:

1.       The first scene
2.       All songs
3.       The ragging session
4.       Rancho in the first lecture
5.       Viru Sahastrabuddhe aka Virus tells Rancho to teach in the class (amazing!)
6.       Rancho and Farhan at Raju’s place
7.       Rancho meets Pia in the wedding
8.       Rancho and Pia bring Raju’s dad to hospital
9.       The intermission point
10.     Farhan and Raju with Jaaved Jaaferi (hilarious!)
11.      The chamatkaar speech!
12.     Drunk Rancho enters Pia’s room
13.     Rancho and gang trying their best to make Raju normal
14.     The last 25 minutes

On the whole, 3 Idiots is undoubtedly the best film of 2009! Whether you are a student or parent or professor, this one’s a must for all! Needless to say, missing it can be a big crime! Commercially, the film should be the 2nd film after Ghajini to cross 100 crore collections in domestic market! All Izz well indeed!

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

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/3_Idiots-182740-1.html

shadow

A blind man as a hero…that’s something really novel and interesting! And this blind hero dances, does daring stunts and doesn’t look visually impaired at all. Unfortunately, in order to exhibit blind actor Nasser Khan’s greatness, the director and the screenwriters paid no attention to other factors and came up with a pathetic product, which due to some reason is titled Shadow. The loopholes in the narrative are big enough to drive a tanker through! Seriously, what were the writers thinking while scripting this film? Even kindergarten kids could have come up with a better film!

The story of the movie: Arjun Sherawat (Nasser Khan) is a serial sharp shooter who since few months is giving the Mumbai Police sleepless nights. He kills his victims and doesn’t leave any clues at all. Inspector Sanjana (Sonali Kulkarni) who is entrusted this case tries hard but fails to get any information or whereabouts regarding Arjun Sherawat. In real, Sherawat is a jovial car mechanic called Raju who has the ability to impress any girl by mouthing some crap dialogues in the most pathetic manner! Coming back to Sanjana, she gets clues that point that reporters Sheetal (Hrishitaa Bhatt) and Rahul (Milind Soman) (the latter who’s hell bent on criticizing Sanjana and Mumbai Police) may be Arjun Sherawat’s allies. But Sanjana is proved wrong when Sheetal informs her about Sherawat’s next victim. Sheetal couldn’t save Sherawat’s target but she’s able to kill him. Intermission time! Now we all know that picture abhi baaki hai and that Arjun Sherawat must be alive and that he’s not going to die just halfway. And as expected, he is indeed alive! He sends an audio clip, challenging Police that he’ll kidnap Builder Habib Faizal (Mushtaq Khan) on September 1-rok sake to rok le! If you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to commit an act of bravery, i.e. see this film!

The film could have been an engrossing fare, never mind the glitches, but even that doesn’t happen as songs are placed just anywhere in the film which badly hampers the pace of the film. There’s a scene where Sherawat aka Raju the mechanic fixes a screw in the car of a hottie (Sonia Mehra) who in turns gets floored and offers him 1000 bucks. Raju and his two colleagues feel that this is a reason to celeberate and so they visit a pub and break into the song ‘Yaariyan’! All this had no connection with the main plot and yet, director Rohit Nayyar happily wastes time on such stupid scenes!

The police are shown as utter fools while Arjun Sherawat is projected as an intelligent ‘sexy’ criminal who can escape from the cops right under their noses. And even characters were not well sketched. Even after the film ends, one doesn’t understand Hrisihita Bhatt’s connection with Nasser Khan. Milind Soman in the initial portions is shown as a reporter but later, we learn that he’s actually a senior cop of Delhi Crime Branch who was working on Sherawat’s case. Again, no explanation provided as to what Milind gained by pretending to be a reporter. Maybe, the director felt revealing Milind Soman’s true identity would give viewers the biggest shock of their lives!

Then there’s Sonali Kulkarni’s father (Vishwajeet Pradhan) who is the police commissioner and whom Sonali hates. This track served no purpose other than increasing the film’s duration. Post-interval, Sonali Kulkarni does a stupid item number (it was the most terrible sight I have seen in recent times) and then falls in love with Nasser Khan. Again, there was no need of this romantic angle in the plot. And how can I forget Home Minister Shiv Shankar (Sachin Khedekar) who used to pass his spare time raping young girls and killing them every week! Undoubtedly, Shadow was Nonsense No.1!

The climax of the film seemed little rushed-maybe the director felt that he has wasted enough time showing Nasser dancing and romancing and should finish the film ASAP. Surprisingly, the film has some good points-background score, music and Sameer Aftab’s performance. He was the only one who looked like a good actor in the film!

Nasser Khan, as we all know, is a bad actor with negligible dancing skills and pathetic dialogue delivery. But I’ll like to appreciate him for his efforts. It was next to impossible for a blind person doing such stunts, acting and even dubbing (the latter requires one to see). And he has also co-produced the film. If only he had improved the story and direction, then maybe Shadow would have been appreciated, notwithstanding his performance.

The film has lots of fine actors and it’s shocking to see them in such a film. Sonali Kulkarni impressed in the role of the cop initially but disappointed later with the item number and the pre-climax scenes. Milind Soman’s role was laughable and so his performance also got affected. Sachin Khedekar as the villainous serial rapist cum Home Minister gives a good performance. I hope he never ever signs such films! Samir Aftab, who played Khedekar’s PA, looked charming and he was the only one in the film who didn’t underperform or overact at all. Hrishitaa Bhatt, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Mushtaq Khan were fairly okay. Sonia Mehra was terrible.

Anand Raj Anand’s music was alright. ‘Khumariyan’ was the only good song of the lot. Raju Singh’s background score was the only thing that rocked in the film. Cinematographers Jalees Oberoi and Raju Badiger could have done a better job in the action scenes.

Rohit Nayyar failed as the director. He managed to showcase Nasser Khan but failed to come up with a well-made film. Mostly, action flicks manage to work in rural areas. But Shadow did a shoddy job even in rural places! In fact, after watching Shadow, I realize that Kamaal Rashid Khan’s Deshdrohi was so much better!

On the whole, Shadow was undoubtedly the worst film I have seen in my life. Stay miles away from this film. It’s worth recommending to your foes!

My rating-* out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Shadow-174799-1.html

Russian actress Kseniya Ryabinkina, who had played one of Raj Kapoor’s love interests in Mera Naam Joker, came all the way to India to shoot with Rishi Kapoor for Chintuji despite her frail health
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 29, 2009)

rishi


Russian actress Kseniya Ryabinkina, who had played a trapeze artist and one of Raj Kapoor’s love interests in Mera Naam Joker (1970), has quietly completed shooting for her second Hindi film, Chintuji, which has Rishi Kapoor playing the title role. The forthcoming film is, to a large extent, based on Rishi Kapoor’s life.

Kseniya, who is currently quite frail because of old age was recently brought to Chandigarh all the way from Russia. “We shot with her in a village called Paragpur, which is a two-hour drive from Chandigarh and is on the outskirts of Himachal Pradesh. It was a pleasure shooting with her. She agreed to shoot with us even though she is unwell and is almost 70 years old now,” said producer Bobby Bedi.

Explaining how they thought of getting Kseniya to star in the film, Bedi said, “The film Chintuji draws a lot of inspiration from Rishi Kapoor’s real life. There is a mention of Mera Naam Joker in the film. Director Ranjit Singh suggested that we should cast Kseniya who had played a very important role opposite Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker. He thought it would lend authenticity to our film. In Chintuji, she plays someone who changes Rishi’s life.”

Bedi explained how they got in touch with Kseniya despite not having her contact number. “We got in touch with the Russian Film Commission and the Kapoors too had a few contacts in Russia. We contacted her and she thankfully agreed,” he said.

Kseniya in Mera Naam Joker

Raju (Raj Kapoor) works in a circus owned by Mahendra Singh (Dharmendra) where he meets Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), a Russian trapeze artist.  Despite the language barrier he falls in love with her. Raju’s heart breaks when the circus ends and Marina goes back to Russia.

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.

Rajuben
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?

Tabrez

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!


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