Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YASHasvi Bhava : Benchmark Moments In Hindi Cinema by Yash Chopra

The son of Lahore is no more with us in flesh and blood. But he lives on in his films and in the sweetest emotion known to humankind – Love.  Not many have the ability to make a movie completely on emotions. In his films emotions are the essence, actors are simply the medium to deliver them. (In comparison, many of today’s actors idea of enacting  true-to-life emotions is shaking some parts of your face almost like they are suffering from a minor attack of epilepsy ) The lavish sets were mere props, not the heart and soul of his film ever.  But he was not just a film maker who made romantic films, though that was a branding he very happily accepted.

Yash Chopra was an offbeat film maker, he thought of issues at a time when those issues were not spoken about. In fact when he debuted as a director under his brother BR Chopra’s banner, he made a film that spoke about a Muslim  Couple bringing up a Hindu child. (Dhool Ka Phool) And a couple of years later making a film about a Hindu family bringing up a Muslim child. (Dharamputra). Both the films he had the same heroine, in Dhool Ka Phool  Mala Sinha was Hindu, and in Dharamputra she was a Muslim  Yet no brows were raised. He believed that the script is the god of the story, and the characters are mere navigators that help take one scene to the other.  The series of films that we experience today with similar themes is a trend that was initiated then. 

Yash Chopra didn't merely reinvent the wheel. He made new sturdy roads to run those wheels on. How can we forget the film in which Asha Bhosle croons “Yehi Waqt Hai Karle Poori Aarzu…" the song is a mood-enhancer. From the pen of  Sahir Ludhianvi this song from Waqt is immortal, revered for several generations thereafter. This film was a lost-and-found-after-many-years tale. Yeah, the same tale that became “run-of-the-mill” years later. This also started the trend of having multiple "stars" in one film.

The first truly love story film could well be Aadmi Aur Insaan, I say so, because love, lust and jealousy was the central theme of this story. This is where the real branding essence of the “Yash Chopra Romance” began. Though Aadmi aur Insaan, a triangle love story, was not as a big hit as the films that followed.   Aadmi aur Insaan marked the entry of a hero – FerozKhan, who got his first film-fare award for Supporting Actor. Then in his tribe of romantic films,  followed the much popular Daag. The Rajesh Khanna  starrer Daag,  spoke  about illegitimacy and Bigamy without making an issue out of it. It was a film about a kind soul who gives an illegitimate child his name when the world thinks he is dead. Only to realize that his first wife was pregnant when he was presumed dead. Only to have a blast-from-the-past years later. Again, this film won Rakhee the best actress award. What’s interesting to note is the fact that Yash Chopra, introduced the character “Chandni” with this film. With Chandni yash initiated an  association with Juhi Chawla in the song Lagi Aaj Saawan 

Yash Chopra was fascinated by the lives of innocent convicts. The theme of his film Joshila  where he directed Dev Anand and Hema Malini was based on the aforementioned setting.The film also touches upon themes of poverty and disparity of wealth. The film has a very complex story by Gulshan Nanda, it almost looks like Yash Chopra wanted to put all the genre’s together in one single film.

Then came Ittefaq that was of a totally different genre. It was a murder-suspense mystery staring the then superstars – Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. The film was remake of an American film. It was remade with high emotive value and with great dialogues and a water-tight screenplay. The essence storyline was copied. Though not a happy copying trend that followed later. Ittefaq was “inspired” in the true sense of the word. This film helped Yash grab his first ever filmfare award which was I think the only award that honoured film talent then.

After this Yash Chopra focused on issues and family stories he connected with best. Deewar is a film that we all know about. The family feud, and the drama of the good son, bad son is something that most of the houses could relate to. How could one every forget “Mere Paas Maa Hai” when mentioning bollywood. With this, I could say that Yash Chopra films were becoming more real. It was no more something that happened in that house with that person, this was something that happened in our own household.

Kabhie Kabhie was a film that set the box office on fire. It is a film that grows on you. A film about a child’s quest to meet her biological mother is a complete bollywood masala. This move has a time span of 20 years, this film is trans-generational. Half sisters Neetu Singh and Naseem are still remembered.The same kind of s fervour is displayed in Trishul which was all about family feud. Drama, illegitimacy and complex human relations.Taking more complex causes cinematic-ally, Kala Pathar focused on the lives of Coal Workers. The film was largely issue based, It took up the rights of the aam mazdoors who were not given basic medical attention. It also focused on the difficult lives of naval officers. 

Then came the real silsila of bollywood. Silsila was of the romantic genre and marked the beginning of the alleged Rekha- Amitabh romance. Many stories were floating around about the film and the leading ladies. I remember of having read a film glossy that said that Silsila was a competition between JayaBhaduri and Rekha. I wondered though, how could Amitabh base his judgement on the on-screen performances. Yash Chopra’s character – CHANDNI came alive in this film. And it was Rekha after Rakhee who was given this character to play.

Three years later  Mashaal was released. While most of Yash Chopra films focused on the mother-child equations. With this film Yash Chopra was focusing on a different area. This film focused on the intricacies of the relationship between the father Dilip Kumar and the son – Anil Kapoor. This was where Yash’s association with Anil Kapoor started.

Yash Chopra made some films that are forgettable too. No one remembers Faasle. Faasle is a film starring Rekha and Farah Naaz ( Actress Tabu’s sister). This film was a total dud in the box office. May be the timing was not alright.

Then was the time for Vijay. Yash Chopra loved the character so much that he named Amitabh Vijay in many films. Finally, when he made the film titled Vijay, he did not have Amitabh Bachchan in the cast. In fact, the film doesn't have any character by the name of Vijay. The film is an expansive family drama with Anil Kapoor playing an important role. The film marked the beginning of the relationship of Yash Chopra with Anupam Kher who plays an aged widower and Sridevi who has a little guest appearance in this film.

The relationship that Yash Chopra forged with Sridevi in Vijay, was taken  forward with a full length author backed role in Chandni. Yash Chopra made two films back to back based on his favourite screen characters – Vijay and Chandni. Looking back, he named Rakhee, Rekha, Farha chandni. But when he finally made a film by that name, he gave the honour to Sridevi to essay the character. And the film is still known for it's pristine whites - depicting moonlight.  It is said that years back, before the phenomenon called Sridevi entered the scene, It is said that, Yash Chopra had shared his desire to cast Rekha in this author backed role, which she refused.

Lamhe was the film closest to Yash Chopra’s heart. The film was way way ahead of its times. The film was about a man falling in love with the mother and the daughter. Well, it was not unusual in the hindi film industry, with the age difference between people like Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu being 24 years or even Rajesh Khanna and Dimple who could easily be father-daughter. The film was a complete dud, despite having a wonderful and an original storyline. The film won Sri her second hindi filmfare award. And is counted amongst one of the favorite love stories of all times by many.

After suffering huge losses in Lamhe, Yash Chopra produced and directed Parampara. Not many know, that it was actually Yash Chopra who introduced Saif Ali Khan. This film starred Aamir Khan, Neelam, Raveena Tandon and was quite a family drama. This film flopped as well. Yash Chopra was at the receiving end of critics for this film. His direction abilities were questioned too. It was necessary for Yash Chopra to come up with a hit film.

And Darr happened. This Sunny Deol – Juhi Chawla starrer would have actually had Aamir Khan, juhi’s QSQT star playing her obsessed lover. But Aamir is reported to have had several differences post Parampara, it is also reported that Aamir wanted several changes in the scriptand Yash was not willing to make those changes. Aamir’s loss was Shahrukh’s gain. Bollywood got the superstar – Shahrukh Kkkkkkkkkkhan.

The Journey with Shahrukh continued. All the landmark films that made shahrukh khan what he is today could be attributed to Yash Chopra and Karan Johar. Yash Chopra continued his film making with shahrukh in "dil toh paagal hai". Dil Toh Paagal Hai was a musical treat. And there was a huge song and dance about it. Yash Chopra teamed up with ShaimakDavar for some wonderful dance moves, that won shaimak a national award too. Yash Chopra faced a lot of issues in finalising the second female lead. The role was offered to Kajol, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala and finally it landed in the lap of Karisma Kapoor. And though Karisma got the role that was rejected by many, she immortalised it just as her sister Kareena immortalised Jab We Met. Much that it won Karisma her only national award.

Veer Zaara was his next where he made a film on the India he was born in and the india that he is in now. He was born in a part of india - lahore, which was now in Pakistan. He placed Zaara in pakistan and Veer Pratap Singh in Punjab, India. And created this hindu muslim and india pakistan film. Incidentally, the religion of the  real life and the reel-life characters  are just opposite. Preity Zinta a hindu plays Zara- a muslim, and shah rukh a muslim plays Veer Pratap Singh – a hindu Punjabi. It is rumoured that Rani’s role was originally written with Aishwarya Rai in mind, but Aishwarya turned it down.  Also, the gossip is that Preity's role was offered to Kajol.  The film also had Madan Mohan’s music that was produced posthumously. He had left the notes that were re engineered by Sanjeev Kohli, who besides being Madan Mohan’s son is also the CEO of Yash Raj Studios.  Another interesting fact about this film is the fact that this film was supposed to be called “yeh kahaa aa gaye hum” which is a song from the iconic film of Yash Chopra – Silsila.

The last offering of Yash Chopra is Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The film has music by A R Rahman, and is a emotional thriller. The film storyline is very similar to that of Daag and an Italian film starring sophia lauren, that i would rather not name to keep the suspense on. 

It is interesting to note that all of Yash Chopra films had very strong female characters. Several of this themes were about illegitimacy and orphans. He showed us that it was not necessary to strip to your bare minimum for orgasmic pleasure. Fully clothed actors holding hands in love and sharing a love moment could be more seductive than a hip-gyrating love making scene. He made several careers. His storytelling abilities made several characters larger than life. Though he was much respected and revered, he did face a lot of difficulty in getting people to play the author backed roles he designed. Heroines kept refusing the roles that he approached them for, but finally everything would fall in place.  He is one of the most revered directors. And would always be. 

Long live Yash Chopra.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stud Of The Year - review

It was a cool breezy Saturday night, and I was in the mood for some visual orgasms. Films offer that reprieve from everydayness. And all of Karan Johar films - replete with flashbacks and fast forwards are a sexy treat to soak senses in. Hence I rushed to the theatre close to my house and got myself a corner seat.  The film was Karan Johar’s student of the year. There was much hype about this film for its drool worthiness. This Red Chillies and Dharma Production was marketed as a package of complete seduction. And boy, it was! The film credits begin with the star of the film Karan Johar proudly introducing his stars  Johar-da-heera – Siddharth Malhotra, Soni ani Mahesh chi mulgi Aliya,  Dhawan-putra Varun and then comes the evergreen star Rishi Kapoor.

The film begins in future tense with friends of the trio giving a P2C (piece to camera) and introducing the shirtless dudes amid a lot of tamak-jhamak fanfare,(truly Karan style) The story of the film could be summarized in 4 sentences :  Three students unhappy with their families 2 Boys-1 girl. Three, thus a triangle love-story. Two boys fight over the girl and end up competing for student of the year title against each other. The two boys resolve their fight after ten years and fall in love with each other again.

The film is an out-and yet-in-closet film. Rishi kapoor is openly gay, and feels up John Abraham’s photo that’s in his drawer. He is in love with the coach – the heterosexually married  Rohit Roy. There’s a scene where Rishi topples Rohit Roy’s dharam patni in an act of sauten-type jealousy. Rohit Roy doesn't complain throughout and sports a “i-dont-mind-it” smile. The scene where Rishi is dying and he tells Rohit – “agle janam mein”, is a very endearing Kjo moment. The film has a lot of eye-candy moments – swimming-pool-drool moments blink-and-miss butt crack of Varun and Siddharth bursting out of his briefs. Varun and Siddharth are all touchy and feely throughout. And Siddharth teases Varun – “gay hai kya” to which Varun hugs siddharth and say “Haan... Aaa naa”. Also at high emotive moments when Varun demands a hug from Siddharth, Siddharth asks him “kiss toh nahi karega naa”. The back-shots of Varun exercising in his shorts and Siddharth’s frontal shots could be interpreted  as   Bottom and Top respectively by bi-gay men. Aliya also has a Butch Friend often referred to by Varun as “ladka”. The character is played by the little girl in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Though their chemistry is not as strongly depicted by Siddharth and Varun.

The film has heterosexual tracks being played to play-to-the-gallery. Poor Aliya is reduced to a prop. She has no doubt acted wonderfully well. But the role wasn't something that you cant imagine some other actor doing. She lives the character, she doesn't immortalize it.  Siddharth is puppy faced, expressionless, if it was not for jaan-e-man Karan Johar’s specific camera angles or his body he would have not made it big in Bollywood.  Student of the year should be called “Stud Of The Year” thanks to him. Karan has gifted him a very expensive portfolio with this film. Music by Vishaal- Shekar is bad. No let me make it BAD. None of the tracks are hummable over a certain point. The lyrics are yuck.  Real yuck.  The film doesn't leave you carrying the film with you home, It doesn't grow on you over years like how Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Kal Ho Na Ho does. Though the look and feel of the film is very good. I wonder how “school” kids could look so old and hot. Karan should have made them “college” kids which would make it more believable.

Despite all the flaws, the film is good for a one-time-dekko. Please watch the film for Varun Dhawan. He is a dhamaaka performer and has a great body to sport.  He can easily give takkar to the big-wigs in bollywood, hope he does meaningful cinema. I carried varun the actor back home with me. I have this wish to meet him. He brings in vulnerability and subtleness to the character he plays in SOTY, there are moments where I feel he deserved an instant hug. His innocent looks are very boyfriend-material type I would put him on my chest and sleep.

Verdict : Go watch it. Once. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mamata's 5 Laws Of Relativity

Mamata Banerjee! I love this woman. I mean. She is just fantastic. Her views are mind blowing She is multifaceted. She dabbles in big theories in social sciences with as much ease as she slips into hyperbole, personification, simile and metaphors of English poetic literature. 

The secret of life is letting go, the secret of love is letting it show. And so I profess, my heart full of love for the one and only Mamata Banerjee. 

 Here are some of her Laws of Relativity

 #1 :  Students = Maoists 

Before Mamata Banerjee came into power we never could relate to the Maoist the way we did after she came to existence in our lives. She helped me see light. She helped me understand that Maoists are college going students. In a show called Face The Nation in CNN IBN with Sagarika Ghose, she bravely faced questions by the audience which had a lot of college going students. She was patient. She was composed. But she can’t be taken for granted you see. She can’t be asked questions that she finds uncomfortable answering. She will get angry if she is asked questions that proves her inaction. Naturally. It is human nature.. Actions speak louder than words you see. But seriously, her anger must have really hit the ceiling when she said "I know that Maoist people and CPM are putting up these questions". Mamata needs to be rewarded for this investigative finding. Sagarika Ghose and other journalists could take a tip or two from her.

Thank god for small mercies. I am out of college and I don’t have to study with Maoists every day. 

#2 : Media = Opposition 

Mamata is media’s favourite child. But this is not her fault. You can’t let the media use her and then misuse her quotes. Come on! In the recent past, most railway ministers, now or then, in power or out of it, have been closet stand up comedians and media has always  highlighted that. Morrissonda (Jim Morrison) once famously said ““Whoever controls the media, controls the mind” So, for Di, it is very important to control the media. Because you di, are the karta-dharta of West Bengal. I totally agree, the whole of media is against Mamata Banerjee. Some bloody conspiracy. I feel media is just re-dubbing her speech. Next time when a media person interviews mamata or the camera focuses on her when she is in the parliament – Read Her L i p s. I tell you. What she says is totally different than what media projects. All TV channels have a special dubbing artist to dub the voice of Mamata. TV channels increase their TRPs by showing Mamata and Mamata and more Mamata. I feel all the media houses are in the side of the opposition of Mamata. They sit and plot strategies against her during their Tea breaks. Media  persons would retort in defence “we don’t know which side Mamata is in, so how would we be in the oppositions side?” to which Mamata smartly responds sternly, as wonderfully as Amitabh did in his baritone voice, she does it in her DidiTone voice “I will not make any comment”. Obviously, she cannot satisfy all

#3 : Cartoonist = Terrorist 

You think she is a cartoon? How dare you! I mean, she might sound funny. But she is not. She means business. She means business when she says what she says even if you don’t understand what she says. Freedom of speech should not be stretched that far Prof Ambikesh Mahapatra was thus arrested. He needed to be taught a lesson. Mamata and only Mamata has the right to mimic people. She can mimic the prime minister of India. But hello! Ambikesh, or whatever your name is, you can’t mimic Mamata you can’t cartoonify her. Obviously, if you attempt to, you will be thrown behind bars. 

Everyone who mimics (excluding Mamata) in cartoon or in real terrorist. 

#4 : Rape Victim = Anti Government Conspirator

Imagine the state of affairs in India. People tell lies all the time. Like I said before - everyone is so jealous of Mamata that people plot against her. They pay people to cry rape. You have seen, 90s avant-garde bollywood movies? Remember how Madhuri Dixit lied that Aamir Khan had raped her in Dil? Exactly like that. Everyone is behind Mamata Didi’s reputation. Rape Victims are anti mamata government conspirators who engage in malicious propaganda. How sick. My bechaari didi. 

Here is a quote I read somewhere for you didi – “Haters don't really hate you. They hate themselves because you're a reflection of what they wish to be. Poor, confused people.” 

#5 : Men And Women Free Interaction   α      Rape 

Has mamata shared anything that is not known. She has stated the obvious. She is reported to have said in Bengali that Men and Women interact freely leading to rapes. It is not actually the man’s fault. It is the fault of the imported western culture that youngsters of today are strongly influenced by. The relativity of rapes is directly proportional to the openness between men and women. Men and Women have started speaking to each other. Yes, Mamata believes that the reason girls get raped in India lies in a bigger problem that India is facing – men and women in India have started interacting with each other. She is right, if women speak they get raped by men. They should not interact with men. They should not speak to men. Speaking to men would tempt men as they would get tempted by the aural sound waves which will tickle their groin and they would get jumping and pumping right to the peak of their libido. And in that libidinal peak they would rape. So, mmmmm… there lies the fault. Women and Men should not speak to each other. I think mamata is the answer to the male chauvinist khaap. Jitender Chattar from khaap thinks that chewing chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance and instigates people to rape. Jitender Chattar must have done his masters in endocrinology. But Mamata is more learned – she seems to be a master in Clinical Psychology , Sociology, Physics, Neurology and also an MD in Psychiatry. 

Now considering that Mamata feels that rape is a anti government conspiracy, and that rape happens because men and women interact more freely – combining these two scenarios, here is the screenplay for the scene

Guy will ask a hot gal for coffee. 
They will interact. 
Guy informs the girl that he plans to rape her. 
He requests her to scream while he is doing it. 
Girl accepts the offer for her pleasure. 
Rape happens. 
But she ditches him and files a complaint. 
Government name gets tarnished. 

How true isn’t it. 

For all your detractors Mamata, let me quote Ralphda  - "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." 

P.S. pardon any typos and errors in grammar. Sad, but true.  i am not as qualified or prolific as didi. 

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