Posts Tagged ‘Farhan Akhtar’

Sherlock Holmes is everywhere!

October 1, 2012

My entire childhood days were spent watching Jeremy Brett playing Sherlock Holmes in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a British TV series based on the short stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I would eagerly wait for Sundays just to see this show. I specifically loved the character Sherlock Holmes and his astute deductions of human behavior based on simplistic and detailed observation. His being socially inept and rude had no bearing on my admiration for him. I realized that observation alone is of no use without logical deduction and timely action.

I guess this was the seed that was planted in me to rejoice thrillers and mysteries even today, especially, where there are detectives and lawyers slicing and dicing the evidence. Even medical enigmas like House MD! So far in my adult life, I have been catching the re-runs of Sherlock Holmes on PBS and even Agatha Christie’s character Hercule Poirot. And, among the newer and relevant thrillers, I love Monk and CSI. I also am an avaricious reader of John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin Cook and more recently David Baldacci.

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The character is a consulting detective to Scotland Yard and is known for logical reasoning using observation, deduction and sometimes forensic skills. He was also known for using perfect disguises to solve many cases. He lived at 221B Baker St.

221 Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes

Dr Watson was his partner, friend and chronicler of all his cases. Sherlock is eccentric and arrogant. But at the same time he never took credit for solving cases. In fact, this character is the backbone even today, to all the fictional detectives that get created. If you look at Monk, Dr Gregory House, and even Poirot, they all are eccentric and socially awkward. While one of them is an OCD, the other is an addict and a narcissist. But one common thread connecting them is their observation skills.

However, this character is seeing so many makeovers and versions recently. Check out the actors who have played Sherlock Holmes.

The year 2009 saw a mega movie with Robert Downey Jr playing Sherlock Holmes and what a perfect choice. The character was further exaggerated with extreme eccentricities and humor. The plot itself had a great combination of action and drama.

Sherlock Holmes

Seeing this success and the guaranteed ROI, we have some new shows in TV now. BBC came out with their short series and a new interpretation. Their Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a modern day young detective and a consultant to the cops. He has a cell phone which further helps him in his logical deductions.

Not wanting to be left alone, American TV has thrown in its hat into the ring to create “Elementary”. The Sherlock Holmes in this show has just come out of rehab. After being kicked out by the Scotland Yard, he comes to New York to assist NYPD. It is also modern and relevant to our times but has a twist. Dr Watson is a woman and to top that, an Asian. Gender and Race change, awesome! I know that many literary purists are quite shocked with this interpretation but I quite liked this version. Lucy Liu has the chutzpah to counter Sherlock. I already love her comebacks like “You are full of it” or my favorite where she points out that Holmes doesn’t have any mirrors around his apartment because he knows “a lost cause when he sees one”. Touché! But I hope they build on this chemistry and not make her just another female eye candy.

So, what more is left? Are we going to get an animated version or a 3D movie with Robert Downey Jr?

And, to my Indian friends, what about an Indian Sherlock Holmes? Since Bollywood loves to copy, why hasn’t anyone thought about this yet? Indian TV is still synonymous with “Karamchand”, a popular detective show of the 80s which was the first of its kind and still the best. So, maybe it’s time for something new even if it is an old wine in a new bottle.

Bu if Bollywood were to make an Indian twist on Sherlock Holmes then my bet would be on Vishal Bhardwaj to direct it, after all he succeeded in making Indian adaptation of Othello and Macbeth. My next bet is on Farhan Akhtar because his modern take on Don was not bad at all. But who do you think can play this role? In my opinion, Abhishek Bachchan will be a great modern day commercial Sherlock. In fact, Irrfan Khan will also be a great choice. What do all think?

 

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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!

The irony of Luck by Chance!

August 20, 2009
The gist of Luck by Chance is how struggling actors who have no familial connections in the movie industry can either make it by sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time or just give up to pursue other dreams. The movie portrays the ambitions, dreams and struggles of these actors and the false promises of the directors, their agents and producers besides showcasing the shallow lifestyle of the film industry personalities.

But the irony is that this film is produced, directed and acted by all who have become successful mainly because they had some family member already successful in this industry. Below is my point of view on how each of them became successful in films not because of luck by chance but being born to talented and successful film personalities. 

Konkona Sen Sharma was launched nationally by her mother, Aparna Sen, a renowned film director. Konkona was doing regional films before that. She went on to win the prestigious national award for this movie. I like her immensely because she easily blends into any role just like Smita Patil. But, had Konkona been born to an ordinary person, she would have gone unrecognized despite her talent because she is not glamorous. She may be a plain Jane but she can put the likes of Priyanka Chopra to shame. Lucky girl for being born to Aparna Sen and thank you Aparna for giving her the break! 

Konkona Sen Sharma

Konkona Sen Sharma

Hrithik Roshan, oh man! What can I say! Girls swoon at his looks, his chiseled body and his dancing. I am a girl and I adore him too. And, he’s talented all right but hey, he is also the son of Rakesh Roshan who is a well known actor and a superb director. Hrithik was also launched by his dad into national fame. In fact, after every 2-3 flop films, he runs to his dad who re-launches him. Now who’s lucky? 

Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan

Isha Sharvani, who is she? She cannot act but she gets a good role in the film! Hmm, wait a minute; she is the daughter of a very famous dancer and choreographer of India, Daksha Sheth. Okay, no film connection here but Daksha Sheth is a popular personality nonetheless. It works that way too, believe me. A chief minister’s son, ring a bell?

Farhan Akhtar is Javed Akhtar’s son. I have no words to describe Javed Akhtar. He is a legend, a gift to mankind. And, Farhan, well, he is the chip of the old block. My God, at that young age, to be making movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya etc, is pure genius. But as an actor, no way! His voice is such a put off but he not only gets to act in the lead role but he gets to sing in his first movie, Rock On. Best part is people loved it. I admire the risk he took and the effort he put in. A complete actor is one who is able to do everything and his step-mother, Shabana Azmi is a rock solid example. But the rock star status bestowed upon him is a bit too much. There were so many real rock stars in India who struggled to get accepted all these years but they ended up being playback singers or they just faded away. For example, KK who is now a playback singer for films or does anyone even remember Gary Lawyer?

Sorry, I have deviated from the main topic. Back to Farhan and Luck by Chance. C’mon people, he is a bad actor. If he had no connections and was an ordinary person like me, no one would give a guy who is scrawny with a weird voice a chance to be an actor even in a supporting role. I really wish he would go back to being a director because that’s his forte.  

Farhan Akhtar

Zoya Akhtar is the daughter of famous Javed Akhtar. Zoya and Farhan’s mother, Honey Irani is a great writer. Zoya’s film here was good, story was even better. Wish she had chosen struggling actors which would have made this movie even more meaningful.

Go Arjun Mathur, the only actor in the supporting role in this movie who became successful on his own merit.

So, Luck By Chance is a movie which is made and played by people who were lucky because they were born to the legacy of fame.