Category Archives: Views on News

Student of the Year 2

Student of the Year 2’s ‘The Jawaani Song’ recently dropped and has received mixed reactions from the audience. Many have expressed their displeasure at altering the original number ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ by Kishore Kumar and RD Burman from Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan’s Jawani Diwani. The composer duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani have reprised the song, which has been picturised on Tara Sutaria, Ananya Panday and Tiger Shroff.

Randhir Kapoor on Student of the Year 2s The Jawaani Song: Remixes are making old songs accessible to youth

Randhir has spoken in support of the new version. “I feel there is no harm in recreating songs. The original track came out four decades ago. Many youngsters were not aware of the song, but today, everyone knows it because of the remix. [After the redux version released], they all went back and searched for the original song on the Internet. I haven’t seen the song but I have heard it; it has a nice tune. Also, Karan [Johar] has officially bought the rights of the number. So, his intentions are honest,” the actor told Mid-Day

In February 2019, the remixed version of 70’s classic ‘Mungda’ from Total Dhamaal had received criticism from veterans in the music industry. After Rakesh Roshan expressed his displeasure with the new version, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and her sister Usha Mangeshkar reacted to the number and complained that no one seeks their consent before using the songs.

However, Randhir holds a different point of view and believes that remixes are making yesteryear songs accessible to the youth.

Ishita Dutta on Ajay Devgn, Tanushree row over Alok Nath: ‘If not her, who will speak about it

Tanushree Dutta, who was the flag bearer of the #MeToo movement in India, raised her voice over the casting of Alok Nath in Ajay Devgn’s upcoming film De De Pyaar De. Tanushree and Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel led the criticism against Devgn for Nath’s inclusion in the film despite knowing about the allegations of sexual assault against the veteran actor.

Ishita Dutta on Ajay Devgn, Tanushree row over Alok Nath: If not her, who will speak about it?

Ishita Dutta, Tanushree’s sister, has worked with Devgn in Drishyam, where she played his adopted daughter. Ishita revealed to Bombay Times that Tanushree’s comments will not affect her equation with the Singham actor. She claimed casting is a collective decision and Devgn is not solely responsible as he does not wear the producer’s hat.When asked to comment on the Alok Nath row, she mentioned though this dispute could land her in a precarious situation, all she knows is that her sister is supporting the truth. “My sister is totally justified. If not her, who will speak about it? I would have still supported her even if I wasn’t related to her. She has nothing to gain or lose. She isn’t even a part of the industry anymore. It takes a lot of guts to take a stand like this.”

On the work front, Ishita will be next seen in Blank, that also stars Sunny Deol and Karan Kapadia. It is slated to release on 3 May.

Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai: Why Soumitra Ranade’s remake fails to match up to Saeed Mirza’s cult classic

In Saeed Mirza’s 1980 cult classic Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai, there’s a pivotal moment close to the end — one that signifies a shift in the eponymous protagonist’s (Naseeruddin Shah) thinking. We see Albert (a mechanic by profession) and his mates (led by the laconic Om Puri) at the garage, taking some time off to have lunch together. Suddenly, Albert is summoned because a customer with famously deep pockets has called for him, and he cannot wait an instant. This is a man we’ve seen Albert suck up to previously in the film, but something has changed. He is no longer beholden to upper-class glamour like he used to be — he firmly tells his colleague that his services will be available only after lunch, thank you very much. This isn’t a particularly loud scene, but it hits home because of its subtlety.

Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai: Why Soumitra Ranade’s remake fails to match up to Saeed Mirza’s cult classic

In director Soumitra Ranade’s remake (starring Manav Kaul, Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla), a food metaphor is used in at a similar, transitional junction for Albert (Kaul). Sitting at a highway dhaba, he has just decided to hire his waiter’s sister, a sex worker who operates out of a small room behind the kitchen. As he crosses the kitchen area to get there, we are shown a gratuitiously large knife tearing into chickens in slow motion, even as ominous-sounding music plays in the background, completing the laboured prey-on-the-flesh-of-the-weak metaphor.

The difference between these two scenes sums up the difference between these two films in a shell — although well-intentioned, crisply edited and equipped with some superb actors, Ranade’s Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai falls well short of the mark, mostly due to an erratic script that never quite takes off. “Show, don’t tell” is by no means a cast-iron rule in writing fiction, but Ranade’s script either does both in quick succession (which is overkill) or does neither (which leaves one confused).

Singing the plutocracy blues

Mirza’s original followed the fortunes of a young mechanic, Albert Pinto, who believes that if he keeps his head down and fixes his rich customers’ cars quietly, he too can achieve their levels of prosperity. He takes great pride in being on first-name basis with his rich customers, who he calls “friends” (they don’t). But when his workhorse father leads a long-overdue strike at the textile mill he has slogged away at for over 30 years, Albert is forced to rethink his views on class politics. He realises how predatory the relationship between India’s upper classes —and pretty much everybody else — really is. Some transparently sleazy behavior by his girlfriend Stella’s (Shabana Azmi) boss Arvind also helps solidify this newfound perception of his.

Since the 80s, of course, India’s economy has opened itself up in a big way — and Ranade’s remake seeks to make (the very valid) case that this has only managed to make crony capitalism more powerful than ever before, specifically the politican/industrialists/goons nexus, which was a significant part of Mirza’s film as well, especially in the second half. The 2019 Albert Pinto (Kaul) is a white collar professional who, we are told, has bizarrely quit his job, gone incommunicado and become a contract killer, on the heels of his father’s tragic suicide — a longtime government officer, he was falsely accused of corruption after the actual culprits (a pair of corrupt politicians) needed a likely scapegoat.

On paper, this makes a lot of sense — there have never been as many educated unemployed young people in India as there are right now. Thanks to a number of financial scams involving high-profile businessmen (Nirav Modi being the most prominent example), the idea that crony capitalism runs a parallel government in India sounds more and more accurate every day. It’s just that the execution of this idea leaves a lot to be desired.

The hits and the misses

The area where the remake scores high is, obviously, acting — as it to be expected from any film headlined by Manav Kaul, Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla, masters of their craft all. Given that the 1980 film was a show of strength for alternative Hindi cinema — Naseerusddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Om Puri et al — this was always going to be a tough act to follow. Kaul and co. are up to the challenge. Das, who plays multiple characters (Albert, in his fevered state, sees his girlfriend Stella in a host of women he comes across), is compelling as ever while Kaul, given the heavy lifting job here, channelises his theatrical skills to great effect in a role that features several scenes more attuned to a stage-like setting anyway. His Albert takes the rage of Shah’s original character and escalates it to suit the heightened circumstances of 2019 very effectively indeed.

There are some nice moments, like the time Albert sums up his bleak worldview in front of Stella. There are, he tells us, three kinds of people in this country. There are the rich, drunk drivers running the country (the upper class), there are the dogs sleeping on the road who get run over every night (the poorest of the poor), and then there are middle-class people ie crows who are scavengers, always on the lookout for carrion they can feast on. You feel Kaul’s impotent rage exlpode onscreen when you see him screaming, “I don’t want to be a crow!”

Sadly, a jarring musical score and a neither-here-not-there script lets him and the other actors down. Many devices Ranade uses in crucial scenes — Albert’s “visions” through which the flashbacks are conveyed, the series of conversations between Albert’s family and the inspector investigating his disapearance — come across as tired, even done to death. Instead of these stylistic flourises that do not come off, Ranade would have been better off concentrating on the dialogue, some of which (especially those between Kaul and Shukla, who plays a veteran hitman) is very funny and could have been developed a little more. In the 1980 film, the most interesting cameo is by Dominic, Albert’s nihilistic younger brother, who has a tendency to speak in singsong, guitar in hand. This trope is repeated here wholesale, which is a nice little tip of the hat but no more.

The smaller picture

One of Saeed Mirza’s great strengths as a filmmaker (and later, also as a writer) was his uncanny ability to capture the minutiae of his character’s lives. While his films did end up making broad-angle points about Indian society, he never sacrificed the smaller picture, so to speak. In Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai too, this is evident — Albert’s little speech about the fetishisation of the skirt-and-goggles-clad Christian working woman, his sister Joan’s expert shaming of a lecherous customer at the sari shop she works at, and the “public service announcement” at a cinema hall that turns out to be pure propaganda for the textile mill owners. The way Mirza both uses and critiques the Angry Young Man trope also shows this — one of Albert’s most annoying habits is to pass on his anger to Stella. So whether it’s ogling men on the street or the unwanted attentions of her boss Arvind, ultimately it is Stella who’s at the receiving end of Albert’s yelling.

These are little touches that capture the texture of lived reality circa 1980 exceptionally well. It is in this aspect that Ranade’s remake fails most notably — apart from Albert’s unspecified white collar job, and stray snippets of English from him and Nayar (Shukla’s veteran hitman character), there is virtually nothing that identifiably anchors the story in the here and now. Albert might as well have been an upper-caste Hindu character here, for all we care. Unlike Mirza’s original, the specifics of Albert’s identity, his world, are lost in his diffuse, nebulous rage against “the system”. Like the scene where Albert has a mini-breakdown in a crowded store, where he repeatedly asks the proprietor, “Do you want to buy me?”, insisting that everybody had a price in today’s world, and that price was not very high, in most cases. The scene is unconvincing not because it’s not well-performed, but because there’s little leading up to it that contextualises the theatrics adequately.

Junglee box office collection: Vidyut Jammwal’s action-adventure film earns Rs 13.85 cr on opening weekend

Chuck Russell’s Hindi directorial debut, Junglee, picked up pace on the third day of its release. Starring Vidyut Jammwal in the lead, the film minted Rs 4.45 crore on Saturday (30 March) and Rs 6.05 crore on Sunday after opening with Rs 3.35 crore on Friday. The film’s opening weekend collection stands at Rs 13.85 crore.

Junglee box office collection: Vidyut Jammwals action-adventure film earns Rs 13.85 cr on opening weekend

Despite the buzz surrounding Junglee, the adventure-action flick has underperformed at the box office. Trade analysts opine that if the film continues its upward trend in the next few days, it will be able to recover its lost ground. The film has however performed well inthe mass circuits.

Junglee tells the unique tale of a friendship between a man and a herd of elephants. Jammwal, who made a breakthrough debut as an antagonist in the John Abraham-starrer 2011 action drama Force, plays Ashwath. His character confronts an international poacher’s racket at an elephant reserve. Jammwal was last seen in Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi’s Baadshaho.

Junglee also stars Pooja Sawant, Asha Bhat, Akshay Oberoi and Atul Kulkarni. It has been produced by Vineet Jain and co-produced by Priti Shahani.

Junglee Song Fakeera Ghar Aaja: Vidyut Jammwal wistfully recalls his childhood days in Jubin Nautiyal’s nostalgic number

The first song from Vidyut Jammwal-starrer Junglee, ‘Fakeera Ghar Aaja’, is a wistful homecoming song that reminds one of one’s roots. The much-awaited action adventure film is a unique tale about the relationship between one man and his herd of elephant friends.

Junglee Song Fakeera Ghar Aaja: Vidyut Jammwal wistfully recalls his childhood days in Jubin Nautiyals nostalgic number

‘Fakeera Ghar Aaja’ begins with Vidyut Jammwal rowing down a river to his picturesque childhood home, which he had left behind to pursue martial arts. From the thick foliage that skirt the hamlet to the damp soil, everything around him reeks of fond memories of his growing up years. His home is spruced up with marigold flowers and mango leaves to celebrate a wedding ceremony. In the midst of the laughter and merriment, there is a growing fondness between Jammwal and Pooja Sawant’s characters.

‘Fakeera Ghyar Aaja’ also sheds light on the relationship of the majestic tusker Bhola and his human friend.

The song has been composed by Sameer Uddin, sung by Jubin Nautiyal and penned by Anvita Dutt.

Directed by Chuck Russell, known for his popular films The Mask and The Scorpion King, and produced by Vineet Jain, Junglee is slated to release on 29 March.

Kalank: Teaser of Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan’s period drama to be out 12 March; film will release on 17 April

Abhishek Varman directed multi-starrer Kalank, which was slated for release on 19 April, will now hit the theatres on 17 April. According to trade analysts, this will give the film a five day long extended opening weekend. The trailer of the epic drama will be out on 12 March.

Recently, the makers had unveiled first look stills of all the characters in the film. Kalank stars Varun Dhawan as Zafar, Alia Bhatt as Roop, Sonakshi Sinha as Satya Chaudhry, Aditya Roy Kapur as Dev Chaudhry, Sanjay Dutt as Balraj Chaudhry and Madhuri Dixit as Begum Bahaar.

Karan Johar had on 6 March released a teaser and had in an Instagam post, recollected recollected how the film was actually conceptualised by his father, Yash, 15 years ago. It was the last film he worked on before he passed away. The filmmaker had called the film a ‘story of turbulent relationships and eternal love.’ Kalank will be set in 1940s, around unrest and turmoil faced by India and Pakistan.

The film is being produced by Karan, Sajid Nadiadwala, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta. It has been co-produced by Fox Star Studios.

Kriti Sanon on her special number in Kalank: The feel of the song is a mix of ‘Kajra Re’ and ‘Ghagra’

Kriti Sanon’s upcoming Dinesh Vijan production, Luka Chhupi, is about to hit the screens. But the actress also seems excited about something else. Sanon will be perform a special number in Abhishek Varman’s multi-starrer period drama Kalank, state reports.

Kriti Sanon. Facebook

The song will feature Kriti along with the two lead actors of the film, Varun Dhawan and Aditya Roy Kapur. The shooting of the song was reportedly done in June 2018.

Talking about the song, Kriti tells Mirror that the feel of the song is a combination of ‘Kajra Re’ (from Bunty Aur Babli) and ‘Ghagra’ (from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani). This will be Kriti’s second association with Varun after Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale, which featured Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as the leads.

“Since Kalank is a period film, you will see me in a very different avatar. In fact, this is the first time that Manish Malhotra, who I have been telling since my modelling days to do a film with me, has styled me for a song,”
the actress says.

The other period drama that Kriti will be a part of is Ashutosh Gowariker’s historical drama Panipat, where the actress will be feature opposite Arjun Kapoor. The feature recently went on the floors. Kriti is also reportedly preparing for her second schedule of the film which begins next week in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Fraud Saiyyan song Chamma Chamma blatantly objectifies Elli Avram in Urmila Matondkar’s chartbuster remix

If you thought that you were done with remixes for the year, lo and behold! Another ’90s chartbuster, this time, Urmila Matonkar’s hit song ‘Chamma Chamma’ has been revamped by the makers of Fraud Saiyyan to give it an Elli Avram twist.

Elli Avram in Chamma Chamma. YouTube screengrab

Whether or not remixes are good, bad or ugly is a debate for a different occasion, but what is jarring about this number is not its overuse of led-bulbs or the drowning percussion. It is the blatant objectification of the former Bigg Boss contestant, whose dancing skills are not the focus of the song. AT ALL! From skimpy clothes to close-up camera shots that seem to hug her body at different obtuse angles, the makers have done it all to live up to the infamous ‘item number’ tag.

It is perhaps important to note that the only time the camera seems to zoom out of the different contours of Avram’s body is when Arshad Warsi is injected into the frame. Surely enough, no such treatment is given to Warsi.

Neha Kakkar, who has almost become synonymous with party numbers, has lent her voice to this ‘Chamma Chama’ version, along with Romi, Arun & Ikka. It has been recreated by Tanishk Bagchi.

Fraud Saiyyan is slated to release on 18 January.

With Zero, has Shah Rukh Khan bid goodbye to the quintessential lover boy for more eccentric characters?

When Shah Rukh Khan appeared on the big screen in Deewana, he was challenging a hegemony that was created nearly twenty years back.

He would become a ‘lover’ – arguably Hindi cinema’s most successful lover, breaking the formula of the ‘Angry Young Man’ created by Salim-Javed and Amitabh Bachchan in the early 1970s. All of 1980s and a big part of 1990s had heroes playing versions of Bachchan’s original act, the vigilante taking revenge for death and/or dishonour.

Shah Rukh Khan was the lover boy who turned the tide against the action hero. Of course, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan came before him but neither matched SRK’s early successes or his virtuosity in playing a wide range of lovers. And SRK’s career can be divided into segments where a certain kind of lover type has dominated, and each phase has brought him great success. Almost always.

Shah Rukh Khan as Raj from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Image from Facebook/@DilwaleDulhaniaLeJayenge

His opening act was that of a ‘cute and (sometimes) bumbling lover’ – with a disarming charm and a raw edge. The Deewana character was a Hindi film stereotype – rebelling against parents for a quasi-forbidden love – but Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman had a guy who knocked glasses off tables and stammered through his lines. Be it the less successful Chamatkar or the super-successful Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, the early SRK was tripping over himself and tumbling into women’s hearts. In Maya Memsaab, he was the charming youngster that older woman took on as a lover and the lovemaking had an energetic childishness.

Almost intertwined with the bumbling lover was his ‘crazed lover’ phase – a character not seen before or since. The trilogy of Baazigar, Darr and Anjaam catapulted him to stardom and audience reaction went from gasping surprise to starry-eyed adulation to eye-covering disgust. It is interesting how well SRK positioned these roles in his career to wrest the spotlight away from star sons and actors backed by bigger production houses. And that spotlight helped him get films with the biggest directors of Hindi cinema. Rakesh Roshan, Ramesh Sippy, Subhash Ghai and Mahesh Bhatt all worked with him in the year after these films.

This gave him the launchpad for his next phase – where he was the quintessential ‘lover boy’.

Shah Rukh Khan was the anti-hero in 'Baazigar'

The one known for his signature pose with extended arms and dimpled smile. This phase officially kicked off with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, an iconic film that married sanskar with subdued sexuality. He perfected this with Dil To Pagal Hai, Pardes and Dil Se, before hitting the partnership that would establish SRK as one of the greatest heroes of Hindi cinema. Karan Johar and SRK did Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kal Ho Naa Ho in a five-year period, films which – along with Mohabbatein in the same period – made him the face of the modern romantic hero – in India and abroad.

Kal Ho Naa Ho was an interesting transition point because this is the point where SRK turned into his next persona – the ‘mature lover’.

File image of Shah Rukh Khan.

He was a lover and philosopher rolled into one, dispensing advice and murmuring sweet nothings simultaneously. Be it the older brother in Main Hoon Na or the suave scientist of Swades or the old convict of Veer Zaara, this was a character we continue to see even today. If we keep aside the two Don films and Ra.One, all his films from the mid-2000s have shown him with a mature or jaded side. Fan had the ageing superstar Aryan Khanna, nearly an SRK alter-ego. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’s ritzy Raj had a sedate Surinder while SRK declared himself to be 40+ in Chennai Express.

Which brings us to the observation that this phase of his has lasted way too long.

Still from Zero Eid teaser. YouTube screengrab

While the other phases – with very different characterisations – lasted less than five years each, we are seeing the ‘mature lover’ for more than a decade now. While there have been attempts to get in different shades, the SRK who pushed the envelope in characterisations is sorely missing. We were supposed to get a debauched older man in Jab Harry Met Sejal but the character turned out to be sweet and safe guy, befitting a superstar but not the edgy SRK we probably wanted.

Zero trailer: Shah Rukh Khan takes a leap of faith for love in Aanand L Rai’s colourful film

The makers of Zero recently released the trailer of the much awaited film. The trailer was released on Shah Rukh Khan’s 53rd birthday.

Still from Zero trailer

The trailer depicts Anushka, who is wheelchair-bound, as Shah Rukh’s love interest. There are hilarious moments in the trailer, one being an altercation between Shah Rukh and his father, when Khan replies saying, “Guthka khaate rehte ho, sperm chhoti ho gayi hogi.”

Unfortunately, Anushka and his love story does not reach fruition and Khan moves on to Katrina, who is portrayed as a celebrity. Most of the Zero trailer revolves around the three main characters. Finally, the trailer takes us all by surprise with a sweeping shot of a rocket, with Khan’s voice over in the background, saying, “Kahaaniyon mein suna tha ke aashiq mohabbat mein chaand tak le aate hain, saale humne yeh baat seriously le liyi.” Zero may have Khan taking the leap of faith for his love.

Khan will reportedly not be the only one playing a special role in the film (he plays a vertically challenged man). Kaif will be playing an alcoholic in the film who struggles with her addiction, while Sharma plays a struggling scientist.

Director Aanand L Rai also shared a new poster of Zero featuring SRK on his birthday. The poster depicts Shah Rukh standing on what seems like a New York street amidst tall sky-scrapers with a garland of notes strung around his neck. Rai dedicated the poster to Khan’s dimples.

Recently, the first look posters of Zero were unveiled which saw Katrina and Anushka with SRK.

The teaser and title of the highly anticipated film was released on 1 January and it left the internet in a frenzy as Khan was seen as a “dwarf” for the first time by the audience. For SRK’s challenging look, the makers reportedly used advanced technology inspired from Hollywood films.