Monday, July 5, 2010

rec.arts.movies.local.indian - 2 new messages in 2 topics - digest


Today's topics:

* RSC Morons - read this - 1 messages, 1 author
* 'BOLLYWOOD CHANGING' - 1 messages, 1 author

TOPIC: RSC Morons - read this

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sat, Jul 3 2010 10:02 am
From: Don

Don had predicted a Holland vs Germany final being played in
Johannesburg, a German name...he had predicted homecoming for the
continental Europeans...and so it happened....German and Dutch
migrants dominate South Africa...Dale Steyn would be the happiest to
see all this :-)



== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sun, Jul 4 2010 3:54 pm
From: and/or (Dr. Jai Maharaj)

Bollywood changing

-From the idealistic '50s to the rebellious '70s and from the
degenerative '80s to the formulaic '90s, the Hindi film industry has
come a long way. Now, with formula filmmaking coming to an end and
despite a number of big, expensive movies biting dust this year,
Bhawana Somaaya says it's the best time for Hindi cinema

The Pioneer
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sometime in the mid-1970s when Shashi Kapoor announced four films --
36 Chowringhee Lane (Aparna Sen), Junoon (Shyam Benegal), Vijeyta
(Govind Nihalani) and Utsav (Girish Karnad) -- to be made under his
banner 'Filmwala', all that the media wanted to know was whether
these films were going to be art house films or mainstream movies.
"There is nothing like an art or a commercial film. It is either a
good film or a bad film," said an exasperated Kapoor.

Today, with the success of Rajneeti, My Name is Khan, Paa, Kaminey
and Ishqiya -- and despite the failure of Mani Ratnam's Raavan -- it
seems Kapoor's message has finally reached the audience and the
credit for this goes to our present filmmakers. But the wheel, in my
opinion, turned with Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai (2001) -- a new-
age film about three friends in pursuit of their dreams. Producer
Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan just out of college combined force to
launch 'Excel Films' and present a real world of make-believe
characters. Dil Chahta Hai was as much about the new-age parents as
the youngsters in the film and, therefore, loved by all generations.

Looking back, it was an extraordinary year with a number of new
directors ushering a new sensibility. Madhur Bhandarkar, who started
as an assistant with Ram Gopal Varma, after many years of struggle,
found his niche in Chandani Bar -- a heart-breaking story of a bar
girl doomed to despair. Ashutosh Gowariker, learning from his
previous mistake (Baazi), toiled over a near perfect period script
rejected by everybody and finally accepted by Aamir Khan Productions.
Aamir believed in the spirit of Lagaan and systematically worked
towards a universal appeal. Ashutosh combined cricket, colonialism
and drought to tell the story of a courageous farmer. The duo
painstakingly worked on the preproduction, held auditions and
workshops in India and the UK. The cast and crew were booked for six
months and lived like a family on location in Bhuj.

Veteran filmmaker Yash Johar's son Karan Johar made his debut with
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with two-and-half superstars (Rani Mukherjee was
still on the rise). For his second film, he had to take a step higher
and sign six superstars. Living to his showman image, his film
portrayed sprawling mansions, helicopters, designer clothes and
extravagant naach-gaana. Johar was a great storyteller and a master
at pushing all the right buttons to make his audience laugh and cry

The year also introduced us to two diaspora films made by two women
filmmakers -- Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding and Gurinder Chadha's Bend
It Like Beckham -- and both were box-office runaways that spoke
volumes about the changing taste of the audience. But there was
another reason as well. Hindi films were looking and sounding better
because people behind the scenes were changing.

Affluent, educated youngsters with a global perspective were entering
the medium and defining new guidelines of professionalism. Unlike the
'70s, '80s and '90s when producers first announced projects and then
went hunting for scripts, the current bunch of filmmakers vigorously
brainstormed ideas and diligently worked on scripts. They stayed away
from announcements and disapproved of visitors on the sets.

There was greater discipline and higher ambitions at stake. Everybody
aspired for quality cinema endorsed by the box-office and it
reflected in their varied choice of subjects. Ram Gopal Varma wasn't
satisfied with the laurels he received for Satya and strived to
better his craft in Company, a story of two underworld kings Dawood
and Chhota Rajan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
was seductively colourful, went a step further in Devdas, portraying
the magnificent and melancholic world of Sarat Babu's hero.

Interestingly, while the big budget films were aspiring to become
realistic, the smaller budget films refrained from becoming pedantic.
Aparna Sen, through a bus journey of Rahul Bose and Konkana Sen
Sharma, told an engaging story of two strangers trapped in vulnerable
circumstances (Mr & Mrs Iyer). Similarly, Shaad Ali, who assisted
Mani Ratnam in the Tamil version, remade the story as Saathiyaan in
Hindi. What set the film apart was the treatment of the film. Ali's
contemporary love story redefined the careers of his lead pair --
Rani Mukherjee and Vivek Oberoi. Not all filmmakers were as alert to
adapt to changing trends. Mahesh Manjarekar's Astitva and Jagmohan
Mundhra's Bawandar, though rich in content, fell into the '80s
parallel films and appealed to a niche audience. Rajkumar Santoshi
tried to combine the artistic with commercial in Pukaar and failed
miserably. Anil Kapoor was heart-broken when the film bombed, but
there was some consolation when he won the National Award for his

In the early '90s, Amitabh Bachchan launched ABCL but the country was
not yet geared up for 'corporatisation' and it was only a decade
later when foreign production houses came to India and renowned
banners like Yash Raj and Mukta went corporate that the business of
entertainment really altered. Now banners were more professional and
actors had turned into brands. Everybody had to be super-prolific to
get the business running.

The easiest way out was to launch multiple small-budget films.
Pritish Nandy Communications released Chameli, which got Kareena
Kapoor all the Critic Awards and visibility for the banner, and
Jhankaar Beats inspired by RD Burman, a unique idea but again
catering to a limited audience. Subhash Ghai did Joggers Park and Ram
Gopal Varma Ek Haseena Thi -- both unsuccessful but opened roads for
many experiments.

Ravi Chopra took a chance when he launched Baghban, a recycled story
about the dignity of the old. In the original, the old couple is poor
and helpless and ill-treated by their children, while in Baghban
Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini look prosperous and glamorous. In
fact, what worked for the film was the star quotient. Director
Prakash Jha, whose Mrityudand exposed the feudal lords of Madhya
Pradesh, went this time closer into politics with Gangajal. Baghban
tapped our conscience and Gangajal touched a raw nerve.

Gone were the times when filmmakers submitted the fate of their film
to destiny. Years ago Raj Kapoor had said that every film had a
kundali and the maker couldn't fight that. The new crop of filmmakers
didn't agree with that. They were in the profession not only for
passion, but also business. They left nothing to chance and desired
success at any cost. They were willing to toil and even compromise.
In the olden days distributors asked for a cabaret in their films.
Today, raunchy item numbers are in demand and if Gulzar pens a 'Bidi
jalay le�' or a 'Kajrare�' -- performed by Bipasha Basu and Aishwarya
Rai -- the songs automatically become dignified and chartbusters. If
Rakesh Roshan strived to make Koi Mil Gaya as believable as possible,
Vishal Bharadwaj, within a limited budget, portrayed Maqbool with all
the commercial trappings. And the wonderful thing about multiplexes
is that all kinds of cinema are accepted.

It wasn't so two decades ago. In the '80s, people had stopped going
to the cinema halls and preferred watching films on the video. The
'90s witnessed a terrible phase when rubbish films were being churned
out in the name of entertainment. Cinema changed in 2000 because the
audience changed. The new audience was willing to accept thrillers
(Dhoom, Murder), action (Yuva, Khakee), patriotism (Swades) or drama
(Phir Milenge) as long as these films were engaging -- and most of
them were.

It is more challenging to make films in India than anywhere else
because we live in multiple centuries simultaneously and that is why
we need an Apharan, Bunty aur Babli, Bluff Master, Parineeta and
Salaam Namaste to balance a Black Friday, 15 Park Avenue, Iqbal and
Page 3. Considering these circumstances, I sometimes feel we make
better films than Hollywood with lesser budgets and facilities.

Come 2006 and our competitive spirits soared even higher. The formula
films became better packaged and the smaller films focused on quicker
recovery. The audience smelled their intentions from the posters and
juggled choices between a Dor and a Don, Golmaal and Corporate, Kabhi
Alvida Na Kehna and Khosla Ka Ghosla, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Omkara,
and Rang De Basanti and Om Shanti Om. The lines between the artistic
and the commercial were diminishing, so was the distinction between
the traditional and the radical. If Don was gripping, Dor was moving.
If Munnabhai was delightful and thought-provoking, Om Shanti Om was
reflective and entertaining.

The new audience was as involved in the technique of a film as in the
post-mortems. Technology had made it simple for everybody. They were
as familiar with Aditya Chopra's reticent nature as they were with
Sajid Khan or Sajid Nadiawala's jokes. They knew when Shah Rukh
suffered a back injury and when Aamir built muscles and why Abhishek
put on weight for Guru. They applaud Neil Nitin Mukesh for choosing
an unconventional Johnny Gaddar to make his debut and appreciate Tabu
for romancing an older co-star in R Balki's Cheeni Kum.

The stars appreciated audience participation and made sure they did
not let them down. Unlike actors in the '70s who never got out of
their hairstyle (check out all Amitabh films) and never visited a
health club (Sanjeev Kumar and Rishi Kapoor), today's stars are
single-mindedly focused on their careers. They do fewer films but go
out of their way to internalise their roles and look different in
every film. If Aamir developed biceps for Ghajini, Hrithik Roshan
took lessons in Urdu for his role of emperor Akbar. While Aishwarya
was coached in sword-fighting for her role as Jodha, Amitabh and Rani
learnt sign language for Black. Likewise, Shabana Azmi trained in
Carnatic music for Morning Raaga and Akshay Kumar let go of his
vanity to wear a turban in Singh is King.

Now actors were less hierarchy conscious. The project mattered more
than the length of the role. Amitabh saw wisdom in playing the royal
guard in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya and Rishi Kapoor saw the fun of
playing the older version of Saif Ali Khan in Love Aaj Kal. Shabana
Azmi enjoyed being paired with young Konkona and old Waheeda Rehman
in 15 Park Avenue and, of course, Anil Kapoor won a lottery saying
'yes' to Slumdog Millionaire.

The image of a star was no more sacrosanct, nor was his price.
Everybody experimented with everything. Gone were the days of once
bitten twice shy examples; now, everybody was granted a second
chance. Akshaye Khanna, after a series of flops, did Race and Shahid
Kapoor, after a couple of wrong films, did Jab We Met and Kaminey.
Salman Khan had no problems wooing the interiors in Wanted and
romancing a young babe in Veer. John Abraham flirted with negative in
New York and Vidya Balan dared to play Amitabh's mother in Paa.
Ranbir Kapoor played a loser in Rocket Singh and then a winner in
Rajneeti. Abhishek married Aishwarya in Guru and was her abductor in

This is the best time for Hindi cinema where Preity Zinta appears for
IPL and offers no explanation for her broken relationship with Ness
Wadia. Where Rani Mukherjee takes a sabbatical and it does not mean
the end of her career. Today, legends like Amitabh and Asha Bhosle
are not unattainable because we watch them on our television and can
read what they are thinking. We watch Shah Rukh holding his
daughter's hand at a function and discover he is as normal as us.
Their accessibility on the Internet and otherwise have lowered our
inhibitions. We are more confident as an audience today in projecting
what we like or dislike about a film.

There is another reason why cinema is so versatile today. Remember
how Salim-Javed arrived in the '60s and hijacked the box office all
the way to the '80s with intense angry characters (Deewar, Trishul)
that left you panting for more. Today, once again, a host of new
talent -- actors, writers, directors, lyricists and music composers -
- has arrived on the scene. Some herald from villages (Kailash Kher),
some from small towns (Sushant Singh) and some from the big cities
(Katrina Kaif) and all of them bring a new flavour and a beat which
represents a larger India. The old guards say that art and literature
change when the country changes.

Many years ago Shekhar Kapoor had said in an interview that when a
new Superman was made, the hero behind the mask would not be a
Hollywood star but a Hrithik Roshan or a Shah Rukh Khan. I think the
time has come for that.

- The writer is a noted film critic and author of several books on


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Just one grudge

By Anurag on 7/4/2010 6:06:54 AM

A good article overall, but I gave it a 4-star because the writer
seems mysteriously soft on a certain gang of mutually praising,
below-average pests in the film industry, who have created a
ridiculous hype around them through mere manipulation, networking and
ludicrous amount of headache-giving publicity. Every true film lover
in India knows which gang that is. I cannot fathom how the writer
could possibly admire Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam, Don and Kabhi Alvida Na
Kehna as classy films.

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Man safe if surrounds oneself by Dharm, sanskriti and prakriti

By Aam Admi on 7/4/2010 1:19:57 AM

Man is safe if surrounds oneself by Dharm, sanskriti and prakriti.
The sanskriti exhibited by Bollywood has led to creation of a
decadent society where 12 years-old rape, gay pride parades, greed,
adhrama, corruption in all spheres, divorce (40% in Mumbai) and
degeneration of the institution of marriage dominate. Thanks to
Bollywood style of culture practice and projection that has doomed
India and the coming generation. With the Bollwood of last 25 years,
India and its culture is long dead.

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Don't lose the masala - there's room for both intellectual and pure
escapist films

By Julie Anderson on 7/4/2010 1:01:38 AM

It's heartening to know film-makers like Anurag Kashyap and Nagesh
Kukunoor have found success in India; they are intelligent story-
tellers with unique voices. Being a newcomer to the Hindi film scene
I confess I also like Karan Johar, and big over the top
romance/popcorn films. Why? For me it boils down to escapism.

As a young adult I searched out meaningful drama, but now my life and
the world offer plenty of real drama

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More at:

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

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