Fenil and Bollywood

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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

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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

Abhishek Bachchan to play kingpin Mohan Singh in Neeraj Pandey’s Special Chabbis, based on the 1987 TBZ jewellery heist

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 09, 2009)

A Wednesday director Neeraj Pandey who is making Special Chabbis based on the notorious 1987 heist at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri jewellery store at Opera House, has signed Abhishek Bachchan to play the lead role. Abhishek will play the man who booked a room in a posh Mumbai hotel as Mohan Singh and proceeded to commit the most daring daylight robbery in the city.

Singh recruited 26 conmen, who posed as income tax officers, and raided the Opera House branch of TBZ and walked away with jewellery worth lakhs.

According to sources, Neeraj finalised Abhishek for the role because he is from Uttar Pradesh. Although no one knows if Mohan Singh was the main conman’s real name, he apparently hailed from UP and was in his mid-30s. Abhishek was an obvious choice as he too has a UP lineage and belongs to the same age group. Abhishek loved Neeraj’s A Wednesday and was happy to be part of Special Chabbis.

Since the role is based on a real life character, Abhishek needs to prepare for his role in terms of speech and body language.

(L): Abhishek Bachchan (R): Neeraj Pandey

Neeraj confirmed the news and said, “I can’t deny that Abhishek is on board but I want to get some other key members of the cast in place before I make a formal announcement. The film requires 26 actors and I want to make sure all of them are just right for their part. I will start the project in mid-2010. Before that I am producing a film titled 3 Large 1 Small under my banner Friday Filmworks. It’s the story of a somewhat young man who looks back on his life. I’m currently hunting for a director and a main lead.”

Meanwhile, there’s bad news for those waiting for Neeraj to start the prequel to A Wednesday. After the Tamil remake of A Wednesday (Unnaipol Oruvan), Neeraj has decided to shelve the earlier planned prequel.

“I’ve to admit the remake (Unnaipol Oruvan) makes my plans to make a prequel to A Wednesday redundant now. I think we need to move on from A Wednesday. That’s what Special Chabbis gives me a chance to do,” said Neeraj.

Ashutosh Gowariker makes another three-hour long movie with What’s Your Rashee?
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 20, 2009)

Ashutosh Gowariker

Ashutosh Gowariker likes his films to unfold leisurely, without consideration for minor details like crispness and tight storytelling. What’s Your Rashee? is another three-hour saga, which may not please multiplexes as they prefer to restrict films to two-hours of running time.

At least 40 minutes of the three hours will be taken up by 13 songs. “But they are brief songs, none of them is longer than three minutes,” says Ashutosh. “Besides, the argument that sale of popcorn suffers when films are longer doesn’t hold water. How many of those feel-good films with the supposedly correct playing-time have done well? I don’t think a film’s length decides its box-office destiny. If it did, then Lagaan and Jodha-Akbar wouldn’t have worked. I’m least worried about the playing time of …Raashee?.”

What’s your Raashee? is based on a well-known novel Kimball Ravenswood by Madhu Rye. Condensing the story of one potential groom’s tryst with 12 prospective brides wasn’t easy for Ashutosh. He says, “It has been a tough task. There were so many tracks and characters in the original novel. We modified and condensed the novel to make it cinematic, with the author’s permission, of course.”

Till now, only Sanjeev Kumar has played nine roles in Naya Din Nayi Raat, which is a record number in Bollywood. Now there is Priyanka Chopra in What’s Your Raashee? playing 12 parts, Ashutosh adds, “It’s not 12 girls from different parts of the country, as people are saying. All 12 girls that Priyanka plays are Gujarati. Unlike Sanjeev Kumar in Naya Din Nayi Raat, no prosthetics are used here. All the girls in …Raashee? are between the age of 23 and 24. They are different in dress, mannerisms, speech, hairstyle, etc.”

We hope this three hour long drama refrains from being too self-indulgent.

Sanjay Dutt had a great 50th birthday bash in Cape Town, complete with belly dancers, friends in high spirits and emotional speeches
By Ashwini Deshmukh (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 30, 2009)
Although Sanjay Dutt was reluctant to celebrate his 50th birthday as close friend and mentor Amar Singh was not back on his feet after his surgery, his friends across the globe brought his birthday in with a bang. The celebration on Tuesday night was nothing less than a grand affair in Cape Town, South Africa, where the actor is shooting for No Problem.

Naturally, Maanyata played a perfect host, by welcoming the guests and making sure that everybody was comfortable. A source present at the bash said, “It was an extremely private affair with select invitees. Dutt’s close friends like Imran from South Africa, Paresh from Chicago, Mac from LA, Sudesh of Wizcraft and cricketer Graham Smith were present. Among the filmi crowd were Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal, who were shooting in Durban and flew down for the party.”

According to the source, the bash was organised by Sanjay’s friends from Cape Town. The source added, “Everybody was welcomed by a local band after which, they drove down in a black limousine from the hotel to one of the most beautiful lounges, Karma, at Camps Bay.”

Apparently, Akshaye Khanna, was in high spirits after a few drinks and kept hugging Sanjay.

“Apart from dancing to typical Bollywood songs, there were belly dancers too to entertain the guests. Alcohol flowed in plenty while the select menu included a choice of sea food specialties and Sushi. At midnight, Sanjay cut the cake and they partied till Wednesday morning.”

Everyone, including Maanyata, gave a speech in Dutt’s honour.


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