Fenil and Bollywood

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3 Idiots’ Omi is an established actor in the US, now in Bollywood

By Lekha Menon (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)

His distorted Hindi speech is one of the biggest talking points in the recently released 3 Idiots. In reality, it was an almost similar monologue that fetched Omi Vaidya,  (who prefers to be called Omi) an LA- based actor, the role of Chatur Ramalingam in the Aamir Khan-starrer.

On a trip to Mumbai to check out the Bollywood scene, Omi was asked by a friend to appear for an audition. The first audition went off without a hitch, but at the second he was given a dialogue from Munnabhai… to mouth. “I just rattled it off without exactly understanding the words… almost like the speech scene in the film,” says Omi. The next thing he knew, he was pencilled in for the role of the accented, mark-obsessed NRI geek in the film.

The instructions he received from the makers were clear: Don’t take Hindi classes, stop watching Hindi movies and put on weight.

Omi followed them to the T and now of course, he is revelling in the compliments coming his way for his role in the blockbuster. “I am still flabbergasted by the response. I guess people have liked the character because he is so relatable. In a way, this character’s negativity brought out the essence of the message more forcefully,” says Omi.

Incidentally, he began his acting career at the age of six, performing for Marathi Mandals in the US (also the reason why his Marathi is much better than his Hindi). He pursued a serious acting career in his teens, graduated in film studies from NYU and did roles in  Bones, CSI Las Vegas, The Office and Arrested Development, besides ads.

But being Asian or Indian, it’s still a tough task to break into Hollywood,  says Omi. “It’s difficult for Indians to get into the mainstream. At the most, you might be cast as an IT professional or other stereotypes.”

Omi in 3Idiots

That’s when he thought of exploring Bollywood, though there were other apprehensions. “The Hindi film industry is still not taken that seriously in the West. There are myths that it is unprofessional, and is mainly about songs and dances.”

But all his fears were put to rest once he joined the cast. “Here, there is a personal touch, unlike Hollywood. Even if they don’t pay you by the hour and there is no extra time, there is warmth and care. I basically saw my Bollywood innings as a challenge. A lot of credit also goes to Raju and Abhijat Joshi for the way the character came across on screen.”

Not surprisingly, after the stupendous success and appreciation, he is here for the long haul. Omi, plans to divide his time between the US and India and work in films ‘that don’t necessarily typecast him as an NRI but are dynamic and enjoyable.’

And for the record, he has now started taking Hindi classes as well.


By Taran Adarsh, December 4, 2009 – 08:41 IST

When Himesh Reshammiya stars in a film, it’s got to be a musical. Musical it is, but RADIO also attempts to explore the man-woman relationship in a metropolis.

RADIO rests on a thin storyline. Superficially, it’s about a couple that goes separate ways, then man meets another woman, later ex-wife develops a soft corner, much later man is torn between the two women. Haven’t we witnessed similar themes in the past? Oh yes, aplenty!


Only thing, director Ishan Trivedi places the story in a radio station and that gives the film a different texture. Also, the film is divided in various chapters – some interesting, some mundane, some yawn-inducing and boring.


The USP of RADIO is, without doubt, Himesh’s musical score. The film has some melodious tracks, but how one wishes the super music was complimented by an equally superior script.

Vivan [Himesh Reshammiya] is a successful RJ with a popular radio channel. His wife Pooja [Sonal Sehgal] seeks divorce and the reason cited is lack of compatibility between the two.

Enter Shanaya [Shenaz Treasurywala], who is like a ray of sunshine in Vivan’s insipid life. He discusses Shanaya with Pooja, but being a woman, she can see his love for Shanaya. In the end, however, Vivan realises that he may have a soft spot for Pooja, but he wants to spend his life with Shanaya.

RADIO rests on a fragile plot, with the writing holding your interest at places, but blowing away the hard work in its immediate chapter. That’s how erratic RADIO is.

Confusion kya hain? The ex-wife can’t decide if she wants her man back or not. It was she who wanted a divorce, not the man, but she can’t let go off her man for some inexplicable reason. Even the other woman, all of a sudden, wants the man she loves so dearly to go back to his ex-wife. That just doesn’t work!

Besides, the narrative is laced with too many songs. Whether or not the situation warrants them, you have one track ready to unspool every 10 odd minutes.

On the brighter side, RADIO has some tender moments too. Note the sequence towards the end, when Himesh pours his heart out to Shenaz. It’s a beautiful sequence and the writer in particular needs to be complimented for taking a mature look at relationships.

Directorially, Ishan Trivedi cannot do much given the fact that he’s handicapped by a sketchy screenplay, which, ironically, is also penned by him. Resultantly, the film grips in bits and spurts. Himesh’s music is top notch. ‘Mann Ka Radio’ is already a craze and its picturisation needs to be lauded. The other tracks – ‘Teri Meri Dosti’, ‘Zindagi Jaise Ek Radio’ and ‘Rafa Dafa’ – are lilting compositions as well. Attar Singh Saini’s cinematography is perfect.

Himesh has grown as an actor and that reflects in certain difficult moments of the film. Shenaz is natural. In fact, she gets it right this time. Sonal acts well, but her character is not well defined. Paresh Rawal’s track looks forced. Zakir Hussain is strictly okay. Rajesh Khattar is good.

On the whole, RADIO just doesn’t work… It’s complicated!


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:

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!

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!


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

YEH DOSTI: Ajay Devgn with Rohit Shetty. For more pictures of Ajay, log on to http://photogallery.indiatimes.com

Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty, friends turned film-makers, return to the big screen with a Diwali extravaganza

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 6, 2009)

One is a hot-shot actor-turned-filmmaker. The other, a director with two blockbusters. The deep bond between Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty is a relationship between equals. It has withstood time, fame and misfortune and is today the force behind Devgn Films’ All The Best, a Diwali (October 16) release. “The first slab of this friendship was laid when I started my career with Phool Aur Kaante 18 years ago,’’ says Ajay. “Rohit was an assistant to my father Veeru Devgn and we started our interaction on that set.’’

As time elapsed, Ajay became a
superstar, and Rohit slowly found his own feet. The two collaborated on the action flick Zameen in 2003. The film flopped, but their bond grew stronger. They struck gold when they pooled their talent for Golmaal. And they then made a sequel called Golmaal Returns, a film that broke several box office records in 2008.

“Ajay is my best friend,’’ says Rohit, “but he is also my best producer. I couldn’t have made All The Best on the scale that it has been, had it not been for Ajay’s generosity and vision. He never questions my decisions as a technician. He gives me a free hand to tell a story the way I wish to. He does not compromise on budgets for songs or action sequences.’’

The director feels All The Best has turned into a Diwali extravaganza because it has all the right ingredients — great comedy, superb action, a story at the core, lavishly-picturised songs — to stand out as a complete family entertainer. A huge Manmohan Desai fan, Rohit says, “If you followed his work right from Chhalia, Bluff-Master, Amar, Akbar Anthony, Coolie and Mard — you’ll realise how he made complete entertainers with a good dose of comedy, action and emotion. I have made his style my mantra.’’ For Ajay, Rohit’s wish is his command. So both friends have decided they’ll continue making family entertainers, no matter what.

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 14, 2009)

Emraan Hashmi is so eager about his forthcoming film Tum Mile that he ended up messing up all the hard work done by the film’s marketing team. The filmmakers were supposed to unveil the first look of the film along with the music release at a grand event on September 16 but Emraan has already unveiled the first look on Twitter.

An upset Kunal Deshmukh said, “An actor has to be responsible about what he is doing. What Emraan did for his personal publicity or for his fans was just not needed.”

Commenting on the exclusivity of the forthcoming event, Kunal added, “We had an entire marketing plan to release these unique visuals on the September 16 so that it grabs media attention. Otherwise it would be just another music release party where media persons watch songs, meet people, party and leave. We didn’t allow anyone to come on the sets throughout the making of the film. We only released Emraan and Soha’s look in the film and not of the 26/7 floods, which the film is based on. I will speak to the Bhatts (producers) and the music company will speak to Emraan.”

Emraan Hashmi confirmed the news but seemed clueless about the exclusivity of the visuals. “I didn’t know that these pictures were part of the promotional activities when I put them up on Twitter. Kunal sounded quite upset about it. I am not aware if they have cancelled the event. I will meet KD and solve the issue today. Making such a fuss is unnecessary,” said Emraan.

msrbb3Wherever there is urbanization, migration is bound to follow. And after some time, the migrants begin to consider the region as their own. Nothing wrong with that but problems arise when the local people living in the urbanized region since years begins to feel threatened with the growing migration. Things turn sour when these people feel victimized about their identity, culture etc. which finally results in feeling shameful. This is the time when things have almost gone out of the hands. ‘Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoy!’ tells a similar story of a Marathi person. However, kudos to the writer for not making this film a pro-Marathi.

The story of the movie: Dinkar Bhosale (Sachin Khedekar) is a common Marathi man living in Mumbai. He works as a clerk in a bank and lives in an ancestral bungalow. He is a simple man with simple needs but his life is miserable. His salary is meager and is humiliated everywhere. His daughter, Shashikala (Priya Bapat) is highly talented and she can easily be one of the best actresses of Bollywood. However, in the audition, she is rejected because of her surname ‘Bhosale’ which the production manager considers ‘downmarket’. His son Rahul (Abhijeet Kelkar) wants to pursue engineering from a reputed college but the college asks for a huge ‘donation’ inspite that the college is run by Nandkumar (Ganesh Yadav), who’s a childhood friend of Dinkar. Then there’s a builder, Ghosalya, who is keen to demolish Dinkar’s ancestral property and build a skyscraper in its place. In return, he’s willing to give Dinkar a posh flat in far away Badlapur area and a Santro. Dinkar rejects this offer and his wife Sumitra (Suchitra Bandekar) ridicules him for being impractical. Ghosalya on the other hand wants Dinkar’s property at any cost. He starts harassing the Bhosale family in various ways. Frustrated by all this, Dinkar curses him for being born as a Marathi. He says that his ancestors must have committed a heinous sin because of which he’s born a Marathi. This outburst of Dinkar arouses the spirit of Shivaji Maharaj (Mahesh Manjrekar) who comes face to face to meet Dinkar. He scolds him for his shallow thinking and asks him “Did I fight and establish Swaraj to hear something like this from my people?” He teaches him a lesson and Dinkar realizes that he was indeed wrong. From the next day, Dinkar changes his mindset and decides to fight landsharks, goons, corrupt officials, cops and all those who obstruct his path. Will he be able to emerge victorious?

Although the film has lots of dialoguebaazi, it doesn’t become preachy at any place. What really works is its excellent screenplay and direction. At places, the film just shakes you. Take for instance, the scene where Dinkar is criticizing the biggest Maratha leaders of the past-it stirs up your conscience. And the scene that follows, the entry of Shivaji Maharaj in the narrative creates a far more impact. The war theme in the background and the audience’s whistles and claps made for a fantastic experience! And from here, the film becomes brilliant!


The film becomes little slow in the 2nd half but again picks up in the last 20 minutes. The other flaw was in the story itself. Why wasn’t any attempt made to politicize Dinkar’s cause by any party? And the way he suddenly became very famous was hard to digest. However, the film makes up for its flaws completely in various departments and emerges victorious!

Along with its unique storyline, the film also earns brownie points since it doesn’t preach hatred towards other communities. Dinkar is shown to have rented a part of his bungalow to North Indian and Muslim family and is supportive to both of them. In return, they provide complete help to Dinkar in his struggle. Then there’s a scene where Dinkar says that we never raise our hand on the enemy’s wife/sister/mother or children. These were also the teachings of Shivaji, which is in today’s times forgotten especially after the cause of the Marathi people is politicized.

Coming to the performances, Sachin Khedekar deserves the highest praise for his mind blowing performance. In the film ‘Bose-The Forgotten Hero’ he wonderfully essayed the role of Bose which I feel was much better than Amitabh’s performance in Black! After ‘Bose’, this must be one of the best performances of his career. There was not a single flaw in his acting anywhere. Watch out for the scene when he comes home drunk and where he criticizes for being a Marathi-simply incredible!

Mahesh Manjrekar shines as Shivaji! His entry takes the breath away and his dialogue-delivery was powerful and strong. But what really worked was his appearance-he looked like Shivaji completely! Although audiences may be disappointed since he doesn’t have much role in the film, he leaves a mark and creates a long lasting impact!

Makarand Anaspure as Raayba was hilarious and provided lots of laughs in the film. Suchitra Bandekar was perfect. Siddharth Jadhav as the goon Usman Pakar was terrific and was quite funny in the final scene. Priya Bapat and Abhijeet Kelkar as Dinkar’s children play their part perfectly. Ganesh Yadav was natural. Others were good.

Out of the 4 songs of the film, the song ‘O Raje’ rocked! Sung wonderfully by Sukhwinder Singh, the song was the theme of the film and was played in all important scenes. Then there’s ‘Maharajanchi Kirti Befaam’ which describes Shivaji defeating the mighty Afzal Khan. It was a unique song with fantastic lyrics.

Sanjay Pawar and Mahesh Manjrekar’s dialogues were sharp. In fact, the film succeeds due to its mighty dialogues. The film also has some great one-liners, esp the ones mouthed by Makarand Anaspure which were quite funny! Shailesh Awasthi’s cinematography was flawless. Visual effects were breathtaking and the film is technically brilliant!

Mahesh Manjrekar has written the story of the film which was very novel. Screenplay by Manjrekar and Abhijeet Deshpande was great and did total justice to the story. Santosh Manjrekar emerges as a ‘hero’ for such a wonderful direction!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.   Ghoshalya and Dinkar meeting for the 1st time
2.   Shashikala’s audition
3.   BMC officials inspecting pipelines in Dinkar’s bungalow
4.   Dinkar criticizing great Maratha leaders (powerful scene!)
5.   Shivaji scolding Dinkar
6.   Dinkar scolding Gidwani for rejecting his daughter (best scene of the film!)
7.   All scenes of Usman
8.   The song ‘Maharajanchi Kirti Befaam’
9.   The final 20 minutes

On the whole, ‘Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoy!’ is surely one of the most powerful films to have come out of Marathi cinema. It teaches the great teachings of Shivaji, which we have forgotten thanks to the ‘sons of the soil’ campaign by political parties. All those staying in Maharashtra-go for it! Satisfaction is guaranteed!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Me_Shivajiraje_Bhosale_Boltoy-165321-1.html


VCDS AND DVDS OF ‘MI SHIVAJI RAJE BHOSALE BOLTOY!’ LAUNCHED: https://fenilandbollywood.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/mi-shivaji-raje-bhosale-boltoy-vcdsdvds-launched/