Posts Tagged ‘Bollywood movies’

Bollywood Movie Remakes

March 7, 2012

I was completely disappointed with the remake of Agneepath and surprised that it became a hit. Well if you have read my blog about how I like my Bollywood then you will know that I am not much for melodrama or should I say mocktails. Agneepath came across to me like trying out a rich dark chocolate cake in a vegan style only to see it fall flat. (If done right, some vegan cakes are amazing!)

Let me tell you why. The basic story was a literal copy. However it lacked the thrill of retribution like the original where the angry young man vindicates his father’s wrongful death by becoming the underworld don of Mumbai, Vijay Deenanath Chauhan and defeating his enemies.

Okay, so the remake had a twist just like Farhan Akhtar’s remake of Don where the hero is the villain. Here Karan Johar made his victim the perpetrator. Apart from colossal loss of lives including his own there was nothing really gained at the end. And then there was Sanjay Dutt. I love this guy but I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry looking at his persona in the film. He was just an oversized “human” version of Gollum. Remember him? Sorry Sanjay but if you are a fan of “Lord of the Rings” I am sure you won’t be offended as Gollum was quite awesome.

Sanjay Dutt in Agneepath

Honestly friends, I am not much for remakes and that too of movies that are still fresh on our minds and still relevant for many generations to come. Think about it, do you really want to see Godfather again without Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro? Guess not. Do you really want to see Sholay without Dharmendra, Amitabh, Hema Malini, and Amjad Khan in those very roles? Now I am fine with parodies or spoofs. Yes you guessed it, I am a die-hard fan of Amitabh and I choose to overlook his lapses. 🙂

Anyway, the trend for remakes probably started with Devdas. Now this is a very old movie and I really enjoyed watching it again in the grandiose settings of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Then came the remake of Don. But kudos to Farhan for giving a great twist to the story and hitting a home run with the masses and critics alike, including me (a critic among the masses). But what did not work for me is his choice of the actor. Shah Rukh Khan may have done well as Devdas but he failed in the first remake of Don. He desperately tried to copy Amitabh and failed. In fact Farhan should have completely stayed away from the original dialogues and scenes. Even Kareena Kapoor’s dance was disgusting and cheap when compared with Helen. So true, “See, Helen never looked vulgar while doing all those cabaret songs.” – Pandit Birju Maharaj, in Times of India.

My husband says to not compare and to look with fresh eyes. If so, then there should be none of the original scenes, dialogues and dance sequences. For example I was quite impressed with Shah Rukh Khan in Don 2. He was his original best.

Coming back to Agneepath, one thing that worked for me was Hrithik. He did not imitate Amitabh even remotely and gave a fresh take on that character. But I wish this was Farhan’s project because Karan Johar as always, got carried away by his super-duper love for melodrama which was disgustingly portrayed very well at the end. Spoiler Alert below!

If a body gets pierced with a weapon penetrating through and through, there is no way that one can survive. To top that if the weapon is removed from the body then one will bleed out completely within minutes. Yeah I know, I watch CSI too much but isn’t it common sense. Well, our wounded hero went on to fight for 20 minutes or more overpowering a man two times his size and even lynching him single-handedly. Really? Not even Rocky Balboa could have pulled that off. C’mon Karan! What were you thinking? Are you testing the intellect of average Indian public? Or, you thought the chikni chameli dance will blindside this lapse? Lucky for you it worked.

On one hand Bollywood makes commercial yet very realistic movies like Zindagi na mile Dobara and then we have movies that are so ridiculous.  This is yet another classic Indian paradox that afflicts our society, our minds and obviously our taste in films and film-making. My earnest request to all the directors and producers, please don’t make fun of Bollywood legends by making such poor remakes. Exaggerating of facts is fine but it should be within sanity. In fact please take creativity classes if you have run out of ideas or just take a walk into real India and you will get your script or even a fresh talent perhaps.

Adios Amigos!

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Bollywood Love Stories

November 22, 2010

Here are some of my favorite Bollywood love stories from the 90’s until now that really touched me and is quite relatable in many ways both personally and otherwise. These love stories are not the usual Romeo & Juliet kind where the love happens pretty easily but ends in a tragedy or sacrifice. And, I am not talking about Mills & Boon kind of love stories where the girl & boy hate each other only to find out that extreme hate is another word for love. Let’s just leave that one for the psychologists to analyze and figure it out shall we?

Well, the love stories that I am about to allude to are real, complex and mature. They are actually more common in real life but rarely shown in reel life. Okay, let me get straight into it and you will see what I am talking about.

1. Love that has no age-boundaries

The first movie that comes to my mind is Lamhe, a beautiful romantic love story written by Honey Irani made in the early 90’s. It left an indelible mark in my heart as a teenager when I didn’t know much about the matters of the heart.

The gist of the story is a young guy who falls in love with a woman almost a decade older than him but is not reciprocated. He grows up to be a successful entrepreneur but remains single. Years later he comes across this woman’s daughter who is now an orphan and living with his uncle. She is 25 years younger than him and he is shocked to see that she is a splitting image of her mother. Call it a twist of fate, the daughter falls in love with him. The movie expertly balances the emotional and the mental turmoil of the guy and his eventual realization of true love without making it awkward. 

Sridevi who was in her epitome of stardom plays a double role of the mother and then the daughter. In fact this is the only movie that I have actually liked her because she is restrained and subtle unlike her usual melodramatic acting style. Anil Kapoor plays the guy’s role with perfection. Lamhe is a Yash Chopra classic but unfortunately not a box office hit due to a lot of criticism about the age difference. Our society was still very conservative then.

Bollywood Love Stories

Fast forward to 2007, and here comes Cheeni Kum. Just like Lamhe, it is also an unconventional love story between a 34-year old woman and a 64-year old man. Yes, the age difference is huge making it too hard to even believe that a love like this is possible but the movie’s direction, story, dialogues and exceptional performances by Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan make it realistic. Actually, the chemistry between the two characters is so amazing that this huge age difference just becomes a mere number. And, this time the movie was well received and even liked thus showing how much our society has undergone a transformation since the 90s.

2. Confusing Infatuation with Love

A common affliction among teenagers and young adults! Loving the very first thing or a unique thing is quite common in that age and only later do we realize that really, what was I thinking! Well, Hum Dil de chuke Sanam made in 1999 by Sanjay Leela Bhansali sketches a story about a girl’s journey in discovering true love.

The movie starts off as a typical love story where the girl meets boy & boy meets girl and they fall in love. The boy is from Italy and for a girl who has pretty much not set foot outside her small village in India, she is filled with curiosity and a thrill to see this new person living in her house. Pretty predictable first half with songs but then it takes a twist. The boy is not approved by the girl’s father and is thrown out. Before things go public, she is married off to a rich man.

Enter Ajay Devgan who plays the husband who hopelessly falls in love with her while she remains cold, unresponsive and speaks only about her first love unabashedly. Usually an action hero in most movies, Ajay Devgan gives an incredible performance as a helpless husband. Anyway he makes a mission in his life to find his wife’s former lover and restore her happiness. Here is where I can’t help feel even now if true love can be this selfless? Or, is this character actually a master manipulator?

Spoiler alert, in their journey towards finding the girl’s former lover, the girl gets to know her husband and is moved by his undemanding love for her and starts to develop feelings for him. When she finally meets her former lover, she realizes how shallow her first love was. None other than the beautiful Aishwarya Rai plays the protagonist exquisitely portraying the subtle change as she grows from an immature girl into a matured woman realizing the meaning of true love!

Hum Dil de chuke sanam-Jab we Met

A more recent one on similar lines is Jab We Met. A young, spirited and a spunky girl, crazy in love with a guy, leaves her home, her kith and kin in hopes of settling down with him. She is more with the idea of love itself than really understanding the meaning of it. While on the run she helps a depressed business man on the verge of suicide to pick up the pieces of his life and start again. He is mesmerized by her effervescence and her take on life/love and falls for her despite knowing that she loves this other guy. Months later he learns that she was jilted by her boyfriend and had in turn become a recluse to avoid causing shame to her family. He reminds her of her old bubbly self and as she gets back to her true self she then realizes her love for him and what true love means.

Friendship = Love

Wake up Sid

Wake up Sid – This is my personal favorite. The movie is about a rich, young boy played aptly by Ranbir Kapoor who has absolutely all the material things that one can ever aspire to have but has no ambition in his life. He meets Aisha played by Konkona Sen Sharma who is an aspiring writer and knows what she wants in her life. Their paths cross and they become friends. Even though they are poles apart, they complement each other. He slowly falls in love with her but knows that she considers him a loser and he picks himself up but is scared to admit his love for the fear of losing his friendship. The movie ends with them clearing their misunderstanding and expressing their love. A priceless love story set amidst comedy and camaraderie directed by Ayan Mukherjee.

Hope you guys like these movies, they are realistic but at the same time are entertaining with great songs and I am sure it will resonate with a lot of you in some way or the other as love really has no bounds. It is a complex emotion where a few are lucky to find it quick and easy but for a few, it takes time. For all those who are waiting for a Mr. or Ms. Right, patience is the key. Love comes knocking at the door when you least expect it! xoxo!

Is Ranbir Kapoor the next Superstar?

June 26, 2010

Ever since Amitabh Bachchan was conferred the title of a superstar, all of us from simple viewers and fans like me to the media and the movie industry have been waiting for a successor to this prestigious Bollywood title. Every some years we have young actors showing a lot of potential but falling short somewhere. 

I still remember when Shahrukh Khan made his debut in Baazigar he played the same angry young man’s role which had catapulted Amitabh to a profound fame and glory unmatched to this day. Although Shahrukh’s retribution tactics was a bit more on the gray side than that of Amitabh’s character Vijay, Shahrukh’s screen presence and his charisma with women (or should I say the would-be mothers-in-law) were awesome. But somehow it was nowhere near Vijay’s devotion to his mother, his style of avenging injustice a la Robin Hood style and his romance with women played by timeless beauties like Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman and the evergreen Rekha. Well, no wonder Shahrukh Khan stopped doing the roles of an angry young man and became a romantic hero more like Rajesh Khanna and created a separate niche for himself as the “Baadshah” of Bollywood. Befitting, indeed!

Amitabh Bachchan vs Shahrukh

Another contender for Amitabh’s much coveted title was Hrithik Roshan. I fell flat for him in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, loved his raw emotions in Fizaa and was smitten by him in Lakshya. But something happened after that. He just decided to go the Sallu way, shirtless, bearing his 6-pack and showcasing his dancing skills more than his acting talent. Guess what, Shahid Kapoor stole his thunder as a dancer and the 6-packs are so common these days, even cuties like Aamir’s got one.

My husband’s bet was and still is on Abhishek Bachchan. He is very likeable, simple and fun, a true chip of the old block. But how serious is Abhishek? He comes across as an ambition-less lad lost in his father’s glory and now basking in the splendor of his wife. I know I am harsh but he has great potential and I hate to see it go waste. Just think about it, he does a great movie like Guru and then he makes five awful movies in which he is so silly that if I had a “delete” button, I would just keep hitting it.

So, coming back to this superstar title, why is it so hard to get? Is it Amitabh himself who just keeps setting the bar higher and higher? Let’s look his career briefly – 

Amitabh Bachchan through the years

Superstar, Amitabh Bachchan

  • Amitabh started his career in 1970 with Saat Hindustani and bagged the best newcomer National Award. He then went onto win 14 Filmfare awards in various categories, 2 more National Awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree. Still counting!
  • From 1970 to 1982, he gave us constant hit films like Zanjeer, Sholay, Deewar, Namak Haraam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Trishul, Don, Satte Pe Satta, Shakti and so many more. (He was also lucky that his only competitor Vinod Khanna decided to drop out of Bollywood to follow Osho Rajneesh. Otherwise who knows what the outcome would have been!) 
  • However, an unfortunate accident in the sets of Coolie led to a decade of flops for Amitabh but his image remained untarnished. Then came Agneepath in 1991! Bam! It resurrected his image. 
  • But he was not really young and went through another decade of flops and a lot of personal struggles. Best part about his career is that his fans never deserted him. 
  • With Mohabbatein in 2000, he totally re-invented himself and started playing the roles of a father and what a cool dad he became! 

There is no looking back since then. He played some very different and challenging roles in movies like Aks, Black, Sarkar, Paa, Rann etc giving him more awards, fanfare and fame. So, is it really possible for another human being to achieve this kind of success? But the title needs a successor. In fact, I was surprised when I heard this title being used randomly in the recent Filmfare Awards on everyone from Shahid Kapoor to Neil Nitin Mukesh who have not even achieved a quarter of what Amitabh has done. It looks like people in the industry have given up. But I am still searching for the next superstar.

After a long time, I am feeling very hopeful because of Ranbir Kapoor. A product of phenomenal genetic lineage (Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor and the entire Kapoor clan) and a perfect physical make up. He is gorgeous, period. And, he can also act. Phew!

A similarity with Amitabh is undeniable. Both are extremely tall and are not necessarily out and out handsome. Both are lanky with long nose and strange eyes but have some kind of a charisma to attract fans in big numbers and appeal to the young and the old. I know it’s too early to predict but hey, if anyone can get away wearing a pink turban and yet considered macho, it’s Ranbir.

Ranbir Kapoor vs. Amitabh Bachchan

In just 2 years or so, he has established himself as a great performer. But Ranbir better make up his mind on whether he just wants to be good-looking hunk dropping towels to expose his derriere or he wants to really become a superstar. His latest Rajneeti may have gotten him accolades but I was pretty disappointed. He just came across as too serious. If this was supposed to be a role of Michael Corleone, Abhishek Bachchan played it very well in Sarker. So, my friends, the field is wide open as it always has been but I will always remain hopeful even though I am a big fan of Amitabh.

Give me Bollywood straight up!

February 16, 2010

With the latest movie Rocket Singh, I think Bollywood has finally come of age with its screenplay and story line. It was simple, realistic, entertaining, believable and powerful giving a message of hope and change. It further fortifies its genre in Bollywood and such films are on a rise and also are successful. In just 2 years, we have seen similar movies like A Wednesday, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Dor, Wake up Sid and Mumbai Meri Jaan. Of particular point to note in the last one is that the media always portrays Mumbai and its people as resilient and strong and their life is business as usual the next day. I am sure to a certain extent they are forced to follow this perfunctory life out of sheer necessity. The movie exposed the raw pain, fear and loss that people experienced and how they cope with it. It was heart-rending.

I think Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and the likes of them should re-think their usual larger than life, unrealistic dramas or should I say sagas that were quintessentially Bollywood for decades. It was painful for me to watch Kal Ho Na Ho and KANK and I am kind of fed up with Shahrukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee. I call this a Bollywood cocktail, sweet and dramatic.

And now the new movie of Karan Johar, My Name is Khan! The story has too many issues. As the name suggests it deals with an innocent Muslim’s plight in today’s world if his name is Khan. This theme alone would have been a monumental movie actually. But oh no, there is a twist – a Muslim who is innocent and whose name is Rizwan Khan and he has a milder variant of autistic disorder called Aspergar’s syndrome. Okay, this condition can affect anyone so it’s still okay. But it wasn’t enough for our Karan. So, thre is another twist. Our protagonist now is a Muslim whose name is Khan and who is autistic and who wants to meet the US President and obviously does not know or ignores all the protocols. Yeah, you can say he is socially handicapped because of his condition but I say melodrama! Sorry Karan, that don’t impress me much!

Is this a desperate move of Karan Johar to win an Oscar? He tried with Kurbaan too but it did not create even a stir. The only stir was about Kareena’s bare back. 🙂 At least Shah Rukh Khan has yet again impressed the masses and I am seeing good reviews of the movie. I will definitely see it but am in no rush.

So, where does 3 Idiots fit in? Well, this is the in between genre. Rang de Basanti, Fashion, 3 Idiots etc are movies that carry a powerful message but are not very realistic. The melodrama seeps in somewhere. Rang de Basanti’s disappointing moment for me was the politician ordering the police to beat up the old woman and the crowd. That’s bizarre! Actually, any good politician will just do the opposite – befriend the downtrodden, blame it on an innocent bystander and seize the day. Right? I knew it I should have been a politician! 🙂 

Since I seem to be drawing a parallel here with alcoholic drinks, I will classify this in-between genre of films as the popular drink, rum and coke. Real deal but with a lot of fizz! God help me, I am sure everyone will think I drink a lot. Go figure!

One more example is the whole delivery scene and making of electricity in the movie, 3 Idiots. It was downright, shall we say, idiotic? I have started reading the book on which this movie is based on and Chetan Bhagat seems to have handled it much more realistically so far.

"Transition of Bollywood"

Anyway, at one time, I loved movies that had the larger than life romance, a rehash of the usual rich girl, poor boy and daddy the villain. Ah! I can never forget DDLJ. I loved the song sequences shot in exotic locales, in rain and of course the dream sequence of floating in the clouds. I sill love the songs but I can’t sit through 2 1/2 hours of melodrama anymore.

I guess a lot of us now want our Bollywood straight up, not even ice. Give us more movies that have hard- core messages in an entertaining manner keeping the melodrama to the minimum. So, producers and directors, can you handle it?