Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘screenplay

By Subhash K. Jha, January 4, 2010 – 14:18 IST

Chetan Bhagat Those multitudes who have read Chetan Bhagat’s book novel Five Point Someone would agree there are uncanny resemblances between the novel and Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots. The film apparently set out to adapt Bhagat’s novel and then decided to go its own way, for whatever reason. Chetan Bhagat shouts foul as he finds his name missing from the opening credits of 3 Idiots, instead they are in the rolling credits in the end. On the other hand, the producers of the film claim that it was mentioned in the contract that Chetan had signed. Hurt and amused Chetan reacts.

You must be very upset by the latest proceedings?
You’re a writer. You should know how it feels to have credit taken away from you. And it’s not something only I’m saying. It’s out there. The book is there. The film is there. They’ve tried to take away from my contribution. My name is at the very end of the credit titles after the junior artistes and still photographers. From the time they started making the film, they’ve been stressing that their product is different. It’s like a systematic effort (to underplay my contribution). If you read the book and saw the film, you’ll see the similarities.

My name is at the very end of the credit titles after the junior artistes and still photographers

So would you say 3 Idiots is an adaptation of your novel?
3 Idiots is a total adaptation of my book. Some things are direct lifts, others indirect adaptations.

Aamir thinks you are trying to take away credit from the film’s writer Abhijat Joshi?
I heard his comments. But then he says he hasn’t read the book. There’s no denying Abhijat has done the screenplay. What Abhijat has done with my book can only be known if you’ve read it. If Aamir is so concerned about Abhijat not getting the publicity, he should let Abhijat talk. I very much respect Aamir. He’s the reason I thought the project would have a lot of integrity. I know for a fact he was told not to read my book because they told him it’d affect his understanding of his story. I was told it was a different script.

Even dialogues about matar-paneer and Maruti 800 cars are from my novel. The novel was set in the 1990s. Aaj Maruti 800 kaun bolega?

How would Aamir’s perception have been affected if he read the book?
I don’t know. I’m on a firm footing with the facts. See the film, read the book. And judge for yourself. The whole plot-structure narrative, even dialogues about matar-paneer and Maruti 800 cars are from my novel. The novel was set in the 1990s. Aaj Maruti 800 kaun bolega? I mention 42 exams and 16 broken bones in my body. They have kept the same numbers in the film. Kareena’s brother committing suicide on the railway tracks…so many other things in the film; it’s all there in my novel.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Aamir have accused you of trying to make mileage out of their movie?
If I didn’t take up the issue properly, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. If someone else goes and collects the award for best story at the awards functions how will I feel? Only once I met Aamir. When I landed at Bangalore where they were shooting 3 Idiots they said, ‘Don’t come we’ve too many visitors.’ They prevented me from going on the set. The book has been selling for six years. There’re lakhs of fans of the book. It’s not about Chetan being naraaz and Aamir being naraaz. My issue is not with Aamir. When the other film Hello based on my novel One Night At The Call Centre came, did I say one word against the characterizations or treatment? I was credited properly for that. I haven’t been credited for 3 Idiots.

When I landed at Bangalore where they were shooting 3 Idiots they said, ‘Don’t come we’ve too many visitors.’ They prevented me from going on the set.

Have you become embittered towards Bollywood?
You could make up any kind of contract. But is there any contract that stops people from being petty? My last novel Three Mistakes Of My Life is being directed by Abhishek Kapoor. I am co-scripting it. There’s a lot of interest in adapting my latest novel 2 States: The Story Of My Life. I don’t think there would be any problem with future project. With 3 Idiots, I know I’m in the right. I’m just telling people to see the film and read my book. I know Aamir is a very powerful person. But finally the truth has to prevail, no? I’m no great artiste. But there has to be fair play. I’m being accused of trying to get mileage.10 lakh copies of the book have been sold. The book has been read by 1 crore readers. Wouldn’t they know the truth?

Chetan Bhagat What do you intend to do?
The makers of 3 Idiots are busy with their victory tours all over the country. They’re naturally being asked about the similarities between my book and the film. Sorry I spoilt their celebrations. The truth had to be told. I’ve been told by them, ‘You’re just a writer. You don’t realize how big we are.’ Maybe I don’t realize how big they are. Main kya karoon? But the truth is above everything. Aisa nahin ke pura Bollywood kharaab hai.

Do you think you’ll be ostracized by Bollywood after this incident?
I’m not dependent on Bollywood for my livelihood. I’m a big Krishna bhakt. I’ll follow the right path. If I’m wrong I’ll leave writing and join ISKCON. What does a writer want? That his words should make a change in society. Maybe by taking up this issue I hope to bring about a change in the way writers are treated. Vidhu Vinod Chopra assured me that he would treat me like a king. Kahan ka raja?

Vidhu Vinod Chopra assured me that he would treat me like a king. Kahan ka raja?

What do you hope to achieve?
When they go to pick up the story award I want people to know whose story it is. When they make eye contact with their children they should know they’re lying. We’ve to show that truth comes before everything else. I don’t write for money or glamour. I just need paper and pen. Lord Krishna takes care of the rest.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Advertisements

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.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

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.

By Subhash K. Jha, December 31, 2009 – 11:35 IST

Abbas Tyrewala Abbas Tyrewala who directed one of 2008’s biggest successes is also a writer of great repute, having written among other things, the prophetic dialogues of Munnabhai MBBS and the screenplay of Maqbool.

Abbas went to see the latest Yashraj production Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year not only as a writer and director but also as an eager fan of the films that the banner comes out of.

“I love Jaideep Sahni’s writing and Shimit Amin’s direction. But what were they thinking while doing Rocket Singh? Where is the payoff in the screenplay? Where is the hero? Ranbir plays a timid Sardar who steals phone lines and computer hardware from his work-place to start his own business. And we are supposed to accept him as a man of integrity! Would he be able to start his own business if it wasn’t for the nefarious support he gets from his work-place? In other words the ‘hero’ resorts to those very underhand tactics that he claims to abhor and takes the help of that very organization which has disgraced him!”

Most damaging of all, Abbas couldn’t see a hero in Ranbir’s character. “The boss (Manish Chowdhary) is so over-the-top he belongs to another sensibility altogether, calls Ranbir a ‘bastard’ several times, humiliates and disgraces him publicly. We wait for our hero to have his revenge on the boorish boss. I completely believe in the old-fashioned Hindi film formula where the hero gives his tormentor tit for tat. But Boss, where’s the comeuppance for the villain? In fact the story comes across more as the boss’ redemption story as the hero’s.”

Abbas is now more than sure what he wants to do with his own hero John Abraham in 1-800-Love at the end. “I want my hero to either win or die at the end. Not a hero whose fight for the right simply peters out to a dead-end.”

In fact Abbas’s disappointment with Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year has given him a renewed creative strength. “I now know exactly how my hero’s journey to end. I’m an old-fashioned storyteller. And we’ve at heart a very traditional audience. They want to see the hero triumph at the end, not walk away from the villain as he makes an apology speech.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

FLYING HIGH: Ranbir Kapoor, Jaideep Sahni and Shimit Amin at the Radio Mirchi studios

Ranbir Kapoor rocks Radio Mirchi studios in cheeky broadcast for 98.3 FM

NIMISHA TIWARI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 10, 2009)

Look who’s flying rockets at the Radio Mirchi studios in Lower Parel…Ranbir Kapoor aka Rocket Singh, the sexiest Surd in town. Though he was clean shaven for this appearance, the hot new kid on Bollywood’s block said, “I look sexy even with a beard, you gotta check me out in Rocket Singh!” That toh the actors fans are bound to do when the Yashraj Films’ release hits the screens on Friday, but before that, you can catch the high-octane interaction Ranbir had at Radio Mirchi by tuning in to 98.3 FM and also listen to songs from the new film and win attractive merchandise.

With him were Rocket Singh director Shimit Amin (of Chak De! India fame) and Jaideep Sahni who wrote the screenplay of the film. The actor spoke about his character in the film which is all about toppers in life — not necessarily toppers in school or college — even while making paper rockets and sending them darting all about the place. He joked with two female listeners of the radio station who were invited to meet him. One complimented him on his debut flick Saawariya. And the other asked him to adopt her “as maa, baap anything”. Both, Rocket Singh and Ranbir Kapoor blushed!

By Taran Adarsh, October 30, 2009 – 08:28 IST

Most stories sound interesting on paper or when narrated in 10/15 minutes flat. But when you watch the full-blown cinematic version, you realize why most Hindi films fall flat on their face.

Sujoy Ghosh’s ALADIN promises the moon, but what you get is a mere flicker. This fantasy had the trappings to transport you to fantasyland, but… Seriously, Sujoy could’ve run his imagination wild and come up with a film that would’ve made the child in you jump, scream and clap with glee. But 15/20 minutes into the film and you realize that ALADIN is merely a visual spectacle. A film that lacks soul!

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

After having watched ALADIN, I too desire three wishes…

  • Wish 1: Henceforth, actors shouldn’t ask for scripts before they sign on the dotted line;
  • Wish 2: Producers should act more responsibly. They shouldn’t be mere moneybags, but have creative control too;
  • Wish 3: Directors and writers should stop taking the intelligent viewer for granted.

Will a genie appear and fulfil my wishes? I doubt!

// <![CDATA[//

Aladin Chatterjee [Riteish Deshmukh] lives in the city of Khwaish, an orphan who has been bullied since childhood by Kasim [Sahil Khan] and his gang. But his life changes when Jasmine [Jacqueline Fernandez] gives him a magic lamp because it lets loose the genie Genius [Amitabh Bachchan].

Desperate to grant him three wishes and seek the end of his contract with the Magic Lamp, Genius makes Aladin’s life difficult until the real threat looms on the horizon: the ex-genie Ringmaster [Sanjay Dutt]. Why does Ringmaster want to kill Aladin? What is the dark secret about Aladin’s past that Genius is carrying?

Let’s give the credit where it’s due. ALADIN starts with a bang, with the initial portions holding a lot of promise. But no sooner does the genie appears, he breaks into a song and you realize that ALADIN is no different from those mundane films churned out week after week. Sadly, ALADIN only slides downwards after this point. Sure, there’re some interesting moments, but you can actually count those sequences.

The problem is not with the story, but the screenplay [also penned by Sujoy Ghosh]. It rests on absurdities. Okay, one expects absurdities in a fantasy, you can be pardoned for it, but at least they should have the power to keep you hooked. In this case, they don’t!

You can’t overlook two major flaws in the writing…

  • One, Amitabh refrains from revealing the past to Riteish, till Sanjay Dutt arrives on the scene and spills the beans.
  • Two, the flashback portion – which resulted in Riteish’s parents losing their lives – is haphazard. It’s not easy to comprehend.

Also, the entire track, when Amitabh loses his powers and becomes an ordinary mortal, looks gimmicky. At the same time, it looks weird when Amitabh fights an entire army of Sanju’s henchmen in the end. It gets very formulaic at this point. Not just that, even the climax is ridiculous.

Sujoy Ghosh’s screenplay is bad, to put it bluntly. Given the kind of stars and budget at his disposal, the director should’ve come up with a slick entertainer, but ALADIN comes across as a feeble clone of a poor Hollywood film. Like his last outing HOME DELIVERY, this one too is high on gloss, but low on content.

The visual effects are excellent at places, but tacky at times. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is strictly okay. However, too many songs in the initial reels act as roadblocks. The cinematography is top notch.

ALADIN belongs to Riteish, who’s easy on the eyes. The best part is, he looks the character and enacts it without going overboard. He’s at his natural best here. Surprisingly, Amitabh Bachchan is over the top this time, which puts you off after a point. Sanjay Dutt has two standard expressions from start to end. Jacqueline Fernandez gets no scope, but she looks gorgeous nonetheless.

Ratna Pathak Shah is wasted. Ditto for Victor Banerjee. And what is a wonderful actor like Mita Vashisht doing in this film? Saahil Khan and Arif Zakaria are okay.

On the whole, ALADIN is a terrible waste of a terrific opportunity. Hugely disappointing!

He sold his house to fund his dream project, now he is in talks with UTV to sell its rights…Theatre artiste Paresh Mokashi, director of India’s Oscar entry Harishchandrachi Factory, on turning passion into action
By Vishwas Kulkarni (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 22, 2009)

Mokashi standing in the centre with his team; (below) a still from the film

For 40-year-old Paresh Mokashi, it has been a long journey to acclaim and a filmic vehicle finding a shelter — currently it is the modest office of Indian Magic Eye Pvt. Ltd at Matunga that is managing Harishchandrachi Factory. Yet, in 2005, when he first discovered the enigma of Dadasaheb Phalke, India’s first filmmaker who produced Raja Harishchandra in 1913, little did he know that it would take him through a rollercoaster ride of despair and unending hope and eventual acclaim. The film has beaten some Bollywood biggies to become India’s official entry to the Oscars.

“I had not worked as an assistant director with some hot shot Bollywood film director, as is the norm to climb the ladder in tinsel town. I was an autodidact who had imbibed whatever I could from World Cinema DVDs. And then there was the fascinating story of the legend himself. The more I read up on him, the more charged up I got.”

So fired up was Mokashi with the man that he wrote his screenplay in 15 days. Then came the tough part: getting the cash to produce this. “I was done with my screenplay in early 2005. By the end of 2008, I was hadn’t found a financier. Soon we began to hear of people doing projects with Dadasaheb Phalke as the subject. I felt a compulsive sense of entitlement given that I had been so impassioned by the man. So I decided to take my fate in my own hands.”

Mokashi sold his flat to finance the film, but he is quick to dismiss this as a cliché that has been plaguing him.

“Please let’s not talk about this; it’s become the only factor that the Press goes on about, and a lot of salient features about this amazing product are lost in the haze of this gamble. More importantly, it was a friendly deal with a colleague of mine,” he says.

The production did indeed begin after finances had been secured and the film officially began. “I think to follow your dreams you have to take that plunge. Or it never happens. My cast and crew followed me blindly. It was so wonderful to see that level of trust. At 3.5 crores, it’s the most expensive Marathi film ever made. That we haven’t cut corners comes across. For instance, we had a five-day schedule in London, where Phalke went to buy a Williamson camera. The historical dockyard of Chatham was opened for the first time for a film shoot for our film!” says Mokashi.

Thus over an eight-month schedule the film was produced, and its makers are presently in talks with UTV over a possible acquisition deal.

For actor Nandu Madhav, conjuring an idea of playing the filmic pioneer turned out to be quite a blast. “I needed references to the body language of the times, of the man himself. When Dadasaheb Phalke first started to test his camera, he got his wife to shoot him. So I had these experimental film clippings where Dadasaheb Phalke was posing and pretending to act! It was fantastic reference material. Then there was the question of language itself, which at the turn of the century is somewhat different from the Marathi we speak today. There were terms, for instance, such as ‘Eh heh ray!’ that are not in use anymore.”

For lead actress Vibhawari Deshpande, who essayed the role of Saraswatibai Phalke, it proved to be a postmodern exercise in feminism itself. “The character I was playing was extremely simple, extremely real. But she was a pioneering prototype of modernity, well before the idea of a ‘modern’ Indian woman had emerged. The experience was nothing short of electric. Here was a woman taking up the camera in 1912. Coming from theatre, with over 15 years of stage expertise and three Marathi films behind her, did help.

But what helped most was Paresh Mokashi’s passion. We’ve all known each other’s struggles for over a decade. So this film was not a regular film; there was a lot at stake for all of us. It was a collective enterprise that had a rare camaraderie and a cosmic magic attached to it from the word go. I had to give it my all.” Did she shoot in London? “I missed that foreign outdoors number. But you see, when Dadasaheb Phalke went to England to acquire that camera, Saraswatibai was nine months pregnant. It would have been shamelessly inauthentic for me to pull that off!”

By Taran Adarsh, August 28, 2009 – 11:30 IST

Gift an infant his/her favourite toy and see how the toddler plays it with glee. In TOSS, the camera seems to be the toy for debutante director Ramesh Khatkar. He plays with the camera so much, experimenting with zany frames, that you get put off after a point.

TOSS has an interesting thought that the urban junta would like to watch, but the screenplay blows the story to smithereens. This thriller thrills in bits and spurts and the final outcome is least exciting.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

The culprit here, like most films helmed by debutantes, is that form overpowers content to such an extent that what you get to watch is a good looking film with minimal substance to offer.

//

In a nutshell, the subject goes for a toss in TOSS.

TOSS tells the story of a bunch of friends who, on their way back from a vacation, stumble upon a fortune. They decide to split the money and start dreaming a king’s life. Soon, before they realize the owners of the booty are after them, the law is after them and worse, they are after each other.

After a lot of camera jugglery at the start, the director takes his own sweet time to come to the point. The concept of money being the root of all evil is enticing and the writers could’ve come up with a riveting screenplay. Sadly, the writing is so childish at times that it fails to do justice to the subject.

Debutante director Ramesh Khatkar seems to have concentrated more on making a technically attractive project, instead of telling an absorbing story. Music [Sandesh Shandilya and Siddharth-Suhas] isn’t invigorating either. Background score [Ranjit Barot] is far more effective. The visuals [DoP: Anil Akki], of course, are good and that’s what you carry home.

Amongst actors, Prashant Raj is the best of the lot, followed by Ashmit Patel and Aarti Chhabria. Rannvijay is a non-actor and even the length of the role is minimal [he’s killed before the interval]. Zakir Hussain irritates. Mahesh Manjrekar and Sushant Singh are wasted. And what did Vijay Raaz see in this role? Rajpal Yadav gets no scope either.

On the whole, TOSS is body beautiful minus soul.


Advertisements