By: Keyur Seta
The Demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and the introduction of Rs 2000 notes are garnering mixed reactions among the people of India. So, I and a couple of my friends - Padmanabh Subramanian and Ankit Tripathi - came up with this spoof on how the Common Man of Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday would think of Demonetisation if he is facing problems due to it.
This is it:-
Here are the words of it:
Main woh hoon jo aaj do hazaar ki note se darta hai. Main woh hoon jo ATM jata hai toh uski biwi ko lagta hai jung pe ja raha hai. Pata nahin bachega ya nahin. Har 2 ghante ke baad phone karti hai ki paise mile ki nahin, number aaya ki nahin. Darasal woh yeh jaan na chahti hai ki main zinda hoon ya nahin. Main woh hoon jo chunavi vaadon mein phasta hai. Kabhi jumlo mein.
Kala dhan kisi ka bhi ho, bewajah marta main hi hoon. Bheed toh dekhi hogi na aapne? Bheed mein se koi ek shakal chun lijiye, main woh hoon. I am just a stupid tax payer, wanting to jump ATM queues.
By: Keyur Seta
No, I am not giving an opinion on whether the Demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and introduction of Rs 2000 notes is a good move. I have zero understanding of matters related to Money, Finance or Economics. After going through some expert opinions, I am assuming it’s a good move.
This write-up only looks at the situation from a logical and humanitarian point of view. The main aim or reason behind the demonetization exercise is to control the flow of Black Money in the country and to punish those who indulge in keeping undisclosed amount. Apart from this, it is also aimed at stopping the supply of counterfeit notes.
There is a saying, “It is fine if 100 criminals go unpunished, but it is not fine even if a single innocent gets punished.” The scenes taking place in the country since yesterday have made sure that this saying is continuously playing inside my head.
It is completely understandable that one has to face some inconvenience during such operations. I, along with many others, have no problems with it. There is dearth of Rs 100 notes while Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes are finding no takers. It is okay for us because we have numerous options like online purchase, ATMs, net banking, etc.
However, we seem to have forgotten that a large chunk of Indian population doesn’t have bank accounts, leave alone net banking facility. How do you expect them to survive? As is seen from videos posted on the net, people have broken down as they have no cash for basic necessities. Just have a look at the insanely long queue outside a bank in Surat (below video). Have you ever seen such row of people ever? Are you assuming all of them are corrupt Black Money holders?
Such scenes clearly show that there was no planning whatsoever for an operation as massive as this one. But who is suffering the most due to their blunder? The Common Man, who pays his tax duly and has no black money like many of those millionaires. Know about the plight in detail by clicking HERE.
But I still wouldn’t have written this piece if I hadn’t seen Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, joking and mocking about the scenario during his speech in Japan yesterday. It was a mixture of shock and disgust to see him poke fun at the situation by citing few examples of helpless people. If this isn’t sadistic, what is? (Watch the video below)
That too coming from the PM of a country and that too after knowing about few deaths that took place due to the chaotic process! I guess he realized his folly, so he came up with an emotional speech today. Well played!
If this wasn’t enough, people are comparing the plight of the Common Man with that of our soldiers on the border. These are the same people who are ready to label anyone ‘Anti-national’ at the drop of a hat. So, isn’t using the Indian Army to hide your blunder an anti-national act?
After making innocent taxpayers suffer to this extent (including death), they better make life hell for the corrupt Black Money holders soon. I am sure you know the names. Let’s see when they go to jail.
“It is fine if 100 criminals go unpunished, but it is not fine even if a single innocent gets punished.”
By: Keyur Seta
Hospital scenes in movies usually evoke worry and fright. At times, miracle and hope also find their place but only after a few sequences of tension. But Rajesh Mapuskar’s Marathi movie, Ventilator is a huge exception. It is a heartwarming, light-hearted affair despite the fact that it revolves around a patient who is in coma.
Ventilator revolves around Gajanan kaka, a senior citizen who is admitted in the I.C.U due to brain hemorrhage. His nephew Raja (Ashutosh Gowariker), a filmmaker, aborts an important event to be there for him. Gajanan’s son, Prasanna (Jitendra Joshi) is a member of a political party. He has a grudge against his father. Raja too isn’t happy with his dad (Satish Alekar). As the news of Gajanan’s health spreads, his relatives from within and outside city gather in the hospital. What will happen to Gajanan?
In his debut Hindi film, Ferrari Ki Sawari (2012), Mapuskar showed that he is a true protégé of Rajkumar Hirani. He proves it further with Ventilator. The film falls in the same slice-of-life genre that brings laughter with few doses of emotions. However, neither the 2012 film nor this one bears any resemblance with any of Hirani’s films.
Ventilator owes most of its goodness to the writing. To weave sub-plots related to such large number of characters with the basic story while giving proper screen time to each one can is a mammoth achievement. On top of that, the flow is maintained throughout. Apart from the coin episode, none of the incidents seem out of place.
Along with providing entertainment, a lot of underlying questions are brought to the forefront. But instead of speaking them out, the narrative uses subtle techniques of putting forth the points. Although there is plenty of scope for melodrama, Mapuskar had stayed miles away from making it a daily soap affair. The very last frame of the film deserves special mention for its creativity.
But despite these plus points, Ventilator falls short of being much more. The biggest problem here is the length. For a story that revolves only around one setting, 130 minutes is too long. The runtime is felt the most during the pre-climax moments.
As almost the entire film takes place indoors (in a hospital), there wasn’t much scope for the cinematographer, Savita Singh. But she still manages to display her creativity. Coming to Rohan-Rohan's music, the Ganpati song, ‘Ya Re Ya Sare Ya' is heartwarming while 'Baba' is profound.
The film has a huge line-up of actors. The last time this happened in a Marathi movie might be in Amol Palekar’s We Are On – Houn Jaun Dya (2013). [No, I am not indulging in the criminal activity of comparing both the films.] Ashutosh Gowariker suits his character. But his character sketch is very similar to his real self. I didn’t have a problem with that though.
Jitendra Joshi is by far the best of the lot. He brings out various emotions flawlessly. Satish Alekar, as Gowariker’s father, also puts his right foot forward. There is a long list of actors that offer sincere support – Sukanya Kulkarni Mone, Usha Nadkarni, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi, Sulbha Arya, Viju Khote, Achyut Potdar, etc.
Namrata Awate Sambherao gets more than noticed for her excellent portrayal of a cunning lady. Boman Irani is super impactful in a cameo while Priyanka Chopra is decent. The actor who plays an octogenarian is truly adorable!
Overall: Ventilator is a heartwarming, light-hearted family film. It stands a good chance of earning good to decent collections at the box-office.
Rating: * * * ½
Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Producers: Priyanka Chopra and Madhu Chopra
Writer: Rajesh Mapuskar
Cast: Ashutosh Gowariker, Jitendra Joshi, Satish Alekar, Sukanya Kulkarni Mone, Sulbha Arya, Usha Nadkarni
Release date: November 4, 2016
Runtime: 130 minutes
By: Keyur Seta
Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is finally in theaters after facing a lot of mushkils. Without wasting any time, let’s explore the most important question – Does the film live up to the expectations? Well, from the point of view of entertainment, the answer manages to fall in the affirmative. But as far as romance is concerned, it doesn’t. Unfortunately, it is the latter that matters more in such films.
The story takes place in London in today’s era. Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), an aspiring MBA and a singer at heart, meets the carefree and bold Alize (Anushka Sharma) in a club. An instant bond is developed between them despite there being a huge emotional gap between them. Ayan is in a relationship that is going nowhere while Alize has broken-up with her boyfriend. Sudden twists ensure in their lives, which brings Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) in the picture.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is an engaging fare with a good amount of entertainment factors. The conversations, both serious and light-hearted, keep your interest alive and provide continuous giggles, especially the references of iconic Hindi films. Of course, the typical larger-than-life K Jo elements make the film visually pleasing. So, except few moments in the second half, the duration of 157 minutes isn’t felt much.
The music, by composer Pritam, also works in its favour. The title song, ‘Bulleya,’ and ‘Channa Mereya’ are enjoyable tracks. He has also smartly used the tunes of the songs in the background score. As expected from a pro veteran like Anil Mehta, the camerawork boasts of impressive visuals.
But entertainment is not the most important factor in such genre of films. It is extremely important for the romance part to work well and this is where ADHM lags behind.
See the following points to know more:
- To put it frankly, the film appears more like a lust story than a love story. The process of falling in love, which is crucial for every romantic film, is clearly missing here. Such superficial romance defeats the very purpose of the film, which is the move the audience.
- You don’t feel sympathy for the character of Ranbir, despite his constant sobs. The same goes for Anushka due to her constant confusion and Aishwarya for her questionable antics.
- A week ago at MAMI’s Movie Mela, Johar categorically stated that the film has no kissing and making out scenes and is fit to watch with the family. But this has turned out to be a blatant lie. There is a lusty kissing scene and a couple of making out scenes as well.
Ranbir Kapoor is the biggest plus point here. The actor is back to his winning ways and how! He adds life to the character of Ayan while portraying every emotion with utmost sincerity. His characterisation should also be lauded. His weakness and vulnerability makes him more real and breaks the usual male stereotyping in commercial Hindi films.
Anushka Sharma isn’t behind though. She provides a remarkable act as the bindaas Alize and wins you over time and again. Surprisingly, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan only plays a cameo. She is alright. In another cameo, Fawad Khan impresses with his acting abilities. Shah Rukh Khan too brings in a smile with his special appearance.
Overall: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is an average fare that could have been much more. The film will earn well in the first long weekend. But it won’t earn the tag of a box-office blockbuster as it doesn’t have mass appeal. The content caters to the urban audience mostly.
Rating: * * 1/2
Director: Karan Johar
Producers: Dharma Productions and Fox Star Studios
Writers: Karan Johar and Niranjan Iyengar
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Fawad Khan
Runtime: 157 minutes
By: Keyur Seta
The Uri attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based terrorists, which saw 19 Indian soldiers achieving martyrdom, saddened the nation. It also united the people of India above religion, region, caste and what not. However, the incident has also given rise to some intense hatred that is only making things worse.
The biggest example of this is the ban on Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil by Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India (COWAI) just because it stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. This means that the film won’t release in single screens and few multiplexes in India.
Here are 5 reasons why hatred towards the film is senseless:-
1. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was shot much before the Uri attacks. In fact, the film had even completed its post-production by then. Fawad worked in the film through legal means and was given proper work visa by us. Films with Pakistani actors that released before the Uri attacks didn’t face any issue. Happy Bhag Jayegi, which released on August 26, saw Pakistani actress Momal Sheikh playing one of the important characters. There was no uproar and the film was appreciated. So, will you punish ADHM for its release date? Is it Rocket Science to understand that it takes months for a film to release after the completion of shoot?
When I spoke with Nitin Datar, president of COWAI, and asked as to why ADHM should suffer because of its release date, he had no clear answer to it. Read the news HERE.
2. Last year, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, gave a birthday surprise to Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in order to develop friendly ties between both countries. This was also the time when Johar was shooting ADHM with Fawad. If you feel what the filmmaker did was wrong, what do they have to say about our PM’s gesture? You can be friendly with their PM but can’t work with their artists? I personally have nothing against Modi’s act. I found it worth appreciating. But this is clear double standard by those portraying Johar as a villain for signing Fawad in his film.
3. Ajay Devgn had signed Pakistani actor Ali Kazmi for Shivaay, which is releasing alongside ADHM on October 28 (read the news HERE). But things didn’t work out due to date issues. Nobody is having any problems with Devgn. After all, he too signed one. It is only Kazmi’s refusal that has turned Devgn into a hero.
4. A section of people and few political parties are justifying the ban since Fawad didn’t condemn the Uri attacks. Even if we assume it was wrong on his part, why make Johar suffer huge loses because of it? Fawad has already received his fee by the way.
5. For those who believe paying Pakistani actors amounts to funding terrorists, the same logic should apply to the money we pay to Pakistan through trade. Why nobody is speaking against banning trade between India and Pakistan? Why art and sports are made scapegoats always?
The issue is not just limited to a film. If Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is indeed banned, it will become an example of senselessness being given more importance than logic and the law of the land.
By: Keyur Seta
Vidya’s final year in college was about to end. She was studying in Commerce in Symbiosis College in Pune for the last five years. Their tenure was supposed to end with the annual day function. Vidya was keenly looking forward to the day as she was supposed to enact a one-act play.
Her performance was met with a standing ovation. The play slammed the practice of forceful marriage of girls and that to at a tender age of early 20s. The subject and Vidya’s passion towards it deeply struck a chord with the audience. Not many from the audience knew that even in her personal life, she is like a silent rebel.
The act made Vidya’s final moments in college deeply memorable, along with loads of bagful of memories from five years. As she was on her way to her home in Mumbai, she had mixed feelings. While she was sad to see her college life ending, there was a sense of joy to reunite with her family – mother, father, elder brother and sister-in-law. While alighting from the train, she had a wide smile reading a text on her mobile phone.
It was joy indeed for her to be back home. She spent the first few days relaxing. There was a sense of contentment she experienced in Aamchi Mumbai, despite the late September heat and all other issues the city suffered from. After she realized she had enough of those restful days, she decided to hunt for a job.
Vidya’s father, Ramanlal, entered her room while she was busy doing something on her laptop. A single peep on her screen made him realize that she was surfing a job site. He gently sat down in front of her with a smile. Vidya adjusted herself as she became conscious of his presence. She had no idea that his father’s casual visit to her room will change her life forever.
Ramanlal calmly told her that there is no point in searching for a job. Vidya, obviously, was surprised. He elaborated himself saying that her marriage is fixed. Vidya got the shock of her life. As she showed signs of contempt, Ramamlal raised his voice and said that this is their family tradition; a girl is married off when she reaches her early 20s.
Ramamlal further said that the guy is from a good family and the son of their family friend. More importantly, he is from the same community, caste and sub-caste. And being a father, he cared for their status in their biraadri or samaaj. A teary-eyed Vidya explained that she plans to do MBA right now. Marriage can happen later.
But Ramanlal pointed out that girls from their community aren’t allowed to work. She will have to be a wife and her only concern should be to look after her husband. Despite being shocked, she tried protesting saying that she doesn’t even know the guy. But his father cut her short stating that the guy is from a rich family and runs a profitable business. What else does a girl need?
Ramamlal left the room in a hush and ordered his wife, who was witnessing the scene near the door, to make sure she gets ready for marriage. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she asked her mother why did they send her to college then. Her mother said without emotion, “A well-educated girl gets a good husband.” Vidya further asked frustratingly, “But what about my dreams?” Her mother replied coldly, “Your only dream should be to be a good wife and mother.”
Vidya was hell shocked! She just couldn’t believe what happened to her. In the days to come, her parents’ behavior changed towards her drastically. Vidya was numb. She couldn’t believe these are her own parents. She felt as if someone else is impersonating them. She came to know from her cousin that the same thing happened with her. She too experienced the same change in her parents’ behavior when she had refused marrying so early.
This made Vidya recall the disturbing conversation between her parents and brother when he refused to marry so early. Being just 16 during that time, she hadn’t thought much about that incident up till now.
Vidya was insulted by her parents and relatives even if she slightly protested against the marriage. She was trapped. There was just no way out. Finally, she had to give in. Yes, she extinguished all her dreams for, what her parents described as, a heavenly bond.
The engagement was fixed on the day after Dusshera. It was one day away. Vidya was sitting by her window overlooking the rapidly developing area of Kandivali east. Her phone beeped. Instantly she replied to the message with, “Yes, all set.”
The day arrived. On one hand, all the preparations were made for the engagement. At the same time, the city was gearing up to celebrate Dusshera. Various Ram Leela pandals were all set to ignite effigies of Ranava. The act symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
It was just an hour to go for her engagement. Vidya was seated comfortably by the window. She recalled the time when she read Vicky’s text while getting down to Mumbai from Pune. The message said that his parents had agreed for their marriage. She was then reminded of the traumatic times that followed. Her flashback ended when she had replied to his text with, “Yes, all set.”
Vidya took her eyes off from the window, turned towards her right and smiled. Vicky smiled back and they held each other’s hands warmly. Soon, the flight attended instructed the passengers to fasten their seat belts.
As the plane took off, Vidya’s eyes fell on the effigy of Ravana that was being burnt much below her. She had witnessed this sight numerous times before. But it was only during that moment that she truly understood the meaning of the phrase 'victory of good over evil.'
By: Keyur Seta
M S Dhoni – The Untold Story is a biopic on India’s legendary cricketer and the most successful captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film portrays his journey from his birth till the time he wins the 2011 World Cup for India.
In his three films so far, Neeraj Pandey has proved himself to be a terrific storyteller. He shows his class here in the first half. Even if you are unaware about Dhoni, you can easily predict such sports biopics.But this won’t affect you in this portion whatsoever due to some high quality narration filled with winning moments that are real and entertaining.
The story of a small town boy and his struggle to make it big against all odds moves you. You feel the pain of the protagonist and start rooting for him. Chances are that you feel cheering for him when he starts off playing at local and domestic levels.
-- A film so unconventional in the first half suddenly starts treading on the filmi path post-interval. If both romantic tracks aren’t tedious enough, the use of songs make it worse and gives a typical Bollywood feel.
-- Conflict plays an important role in any story but that’s completely lacking here. This point affects more here since, as mentioned before, the film is predictable.
-- But what hurts the film the most is the decision of not including some very important incidents and achievements from Dhoni’s career. So, you feel good in the climax only because it brings back memories of the 2011 World Cup. The film hardly has any emotional impact though.
-- Strangely, Dhoni’s relation and rapport with fellow cricketers is also absent. His rivalry with Yuvraj Singh (Harry Tangri) is built interestingly in the first half. But there is just no mention of Yuvi later on. This is indeed strange as both players played a key role in India’s World Cup triumph.
-- To see Sushant’s face placed on Dhoni’s body through VFX is silly and unintentionally hilarious. It is understandable in the first half when Dhoni is a school kid. But later on, it becomes too much. The director just makes the audience revisit moments from team India’s past matches, which cricket fans must have seen umpteen number of times.
M S Dhoni is high on technicalities (cinematography, background score and editing). The songs are a disappointment though. Plus, they seem unwanted in a film of this nature.
Some performances become turning points in an actor’s career. For Sushant Singh Rajput, it is his act as Mahendra Singh Dhoni over here. He not only gets Dhoni’s traits and mannerisms right but also delivers a mature performance by portraying various emotions effortlessly. However, Sushant’s voice and style of speaking is nowhere similar to Dhoni’s.
The rest of the actors get to play supporting parts. Out of these, Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma and Kumud Mishra are laudable while Disha Patani, Kiara Advani and Bhumika Chawla fall in the decent category. The actor who plays Dhoni’s boss during his railway job and the ones who play his friends deserve special mention. Herry Tangri (who plays Yuvraj Singh) doesn't say a word but leaves behind a terrific impact. He is a lookalike of the cricketer.
Overall, M S Dhoni – The Untold Story has an excellent first half but the film drops post-interval. With the hype and Dhoni’s popularity, it stands a chance to earn well at the box-office in the first weekend. Whether or not it will sustain in the long run and earn above Rs 100 crore will depend on how it performs in the weekdays. Going by the content, there isn’t much chance of that happening.
Rating: * * *
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Writers: Neeraj Pandey and Dilip Jha
Producers: Fox Star Studios and Friday Filmworks
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla, Disha Patani, Kiara Advani, Rajesh Sharma
Music: Amal Mallik and Rochak Kohli
Genre: Biopic/ Drama
Runtime: 190 minutes
By: Keyur Seta
More than a week ago, we experienced a mix of tragedy and anger when 17 Indian soldiers were martyred at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir during a cross border attack by terrorists belonging to Pakistan. Needless to say, it is infuriating to see such news and the people behind this should be punished. It is high time Pakistan’s government, especially Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif come out openly against these cowardly acts and stop giving shelter to 26/11 attack mastermind, Hafeez Saeed.
However, this has given rise to demands from the aam junta that range from weird to extremely outrageous. Here are 6 questions to these Deshbhakts who seem to know everything as to how to handle this situation.
How can you ‘demand’ war?
We have seen people demanding food, clothing, shelter, justice, elimination of corruption, etc. But these days there has been a rising demand for war. In fact, a lot of people have been threatening the government on the issue. I have also read posts where people are giving deadlines to Indian government to wage a war. Seriously? People should understand that waging a war against a nation is not as simple as Bichhoo gang attacking Eagles gang like they did in Josh (1998).
I remember how some leaders from the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, went too far in making some sweeping statements of teaching Pakistan a lesson when they were in the opposition. But that doesn’t mean you force them to attack Pakistan just because you are against BJP.
I don’t have any knowledge on how to deal with the situation. But I personally feel that the way other countries, including Afghanistan and Russia, are openly backing India against Pakistan sponsored terrorists is a positive sign.
Will you join the army?
It is easy to sit in your air-conditioned homes and post messages on social media with hashtags like #AttackPakistan. I have only one question to these people – Will you or any of your family members be joining the army to stop bullets from the other side? Some of you would give daily soap reactions even if asked to take the local train to central suburbs during peak hours. The question also goes out to ‘journalists’ like Arnab Goswami.
Waging a war would also mean that thousands of our soldiers would lose their lives. A war victory is a result of such extreme sacrifices. If you love our army, why haven’t you thought of this point?
Ever considered monetary factor?
Do you even know the amount of money we have spent in war? In 1971, it was Rs 200 crore. In the years to follow, the price of war artillery shot up to such an extent that the 1999 Kargil war cost us a staggering Rs 5000 crore PER WEEK. So, it is anybody’s guess as to how much it would cost us in 2016. Are we in a position to spend such unthinkable amount on war? You can imagine the increase in taxes if this happens. See more info HERE.
Will war solve the problem?
We won the 1999 Kargil War. But did it stop cross-border terrorism? It resumed after the war and we are still suffering. So, how can you guarantee that waging a war against Pakistan will solve the problem? More importantly, if the war takes place, our army would be fighting against Pakistan Army. The terrorists won’t take part, so finishing them off in the war is out of question. They would resume their activities once the war is over. What difference would it make to them if Pakistan loses the war? They are carrying out guerilla war, for God’s sake.
How is Award Wapsi issue related to this?
A message has gone viral on social media and What's App asking where is the Award Wapsi Brigade. Why no awards are returned as a reaction to the Uri attack? Well, the question itself is laughable. People returned their awards to protest against the government for the intolerance by Right Wing and BJP members. Nobody is returning their awards right now because they don't believe our government has any hand in carrying out the attacks. Do you really feel they are behind Uri attacks? Funnily enough, the question is raised by BJP supporters.
How is Fawad Khan responsible?
Imagine this – We boycott Pakistani artists from performing in India to ‘send across a message’ to Pakistani government. Do you think they would even care? Would they rethink their strategy by this move? The artists are earning here through legal means and it is not against the law to employ Pakistani actors. If you have the guts, try changing the law if you are so sure that it would affect the anti-India forces.
There is a demand for the banning of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees since the film involves Pakistani actors. This is to remind all those people that Happy Bhag Jayegi is still playing in theatres. Nobody has demanded a ban on this film although it has a Pakistani playing one of the leads. This easily proves how they target only films with big stars to earn their 15 minutes of fame.
How different is your mind than that of the terrorists?
I am quite shocked to see well-educated people demanding to kill each and every Pakistani. What are you smoking these days? Terrorists kill innocents. And in reply, you wish to do the same. So, basically there is no difference in the content of your mind and that of the terrorists. I am not at all sorry to say that you aren’t fit to be called human if you feel good to see innocents die. And if you believe each and every person in Pakistan is a terrorist, you seriously need a reality check.
By: Keyur Seta
When we think of biggest Bollywood superstars, we think of Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. But now, it is slowly becoming evident that this elite list would be incomplete without the mention of Akshay Kumar. The Khiladi, as he is known, has slowly gained support even of the sensible audience through his choice of films and performances. While doing this, Akshay has also transformed into a versatile actor.
On his 49th Birthday, let’s have a look at his road to versatility starting from the start of his career.
Akshay Kumar entered the Hindi film arena with Mahesh Bhatt’s Aaj (1987), where he made an appearance as a Karate instructor. His full-fledged debut happened with Saugandh (1991). But he hasted success for the first time with Abbas-Mustan’s Khiladi (1992). He wouldn’t have expected then that the title would stay with him for the rest of his career. From here onwards, he came to be known as Bollywood’s action hero. While Sunny Deol too shares this title, Akshay is much more than physical fight sequences. He is also known for performing dangerous stunts all by himself.
Funnily enough, after Khiladi, there has been only two occasions where a film with ‘Khiladi’ in the title has worked for him – Sameer Malkan’s Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994) and David Dhawan’s Mr & Mrs Khiladi (1997). Even Khiladi 786, which released when he was an established superstar in 2012, didn’t work at the box-office. But somehow, the Khiladi tag is always attached to him with respect.
The romantic phase:
During Akshay’s Khiladi phase, very few would have related him with romantic characters. But he ventured in this territory with a considerable amount of success. It all started with Yash Chopra’s production, Yeh Dillagi (1994). But nobody would have expected him to appear in Yash Chopra’s romantic blockbuster, Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997). In fact, he also got the honour of singing the title song of the film.
But it was in 2000 that his biggest success as a romantic hero came with Dharmesh Darshan’s Dhadkan. His love affair (literally) continued with films like Ek Rishtaa – The Bond Of Love (2001), Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya (2002), Bewafa (2005), Waqt – The Race Against Time (2005), Jaan-E-Mann (2006), Namastey London (2007), etc.
Interest in conflict:
Akshay also kept getting opportunities to act in the drama genre. These are films about conflict basically, sometimes based on some social issue. He quietly made a mark in this genre in the late 1990s and early 2000s with, Angaaray (1998), Sangharsh (1999), Jaanwar (1999), Ek Rishtaa (2001), etc. But what can be considered a landmark film in this genre, not only for Akshay but for commercial Hindi cinema, was Abbas-Mustan’s Aitraaz (2004). Films with such bold themes were unheard of in that era. Perhaps it would have done even better had it not released with Yash Chopra’s directorial, Veer-Zaara.
King of comedy:
Although Akshay had displayed his comic timing in a large number of films, his first full-fledged comedy was Priyadarshan’s Hera Pheri (2000). But his proper comedy phase began in 2007 when he did Heyy Baby and Welcome. This was followed with Singh Kinng (2008), Kambakkht Ishq (2009), De Dana Dan (2009) and Housefull (2010) in the coming years. Hence, he became the torch bearer of this whacky comedy genre that had emerged then.
In the modern era, Sunny Deol became the king of patriotic films with his hardcore and loud actions films like Gadar – Ek Prem Katha (2001), Indian (2001) and Maa Tujhe Salaam (2002). In the last few years, he has been replaced by Akshay. But there is a huge difference between the patriotism of both actors. While Sunny replied on loud monologues and rhetoric, Akshay is a cool-minded patriot. He creates the effect through his mature acting skills and the content of his films.
This phase arrived simply out-of-the-blue. His hero-centric masala entertainers weren’t scoring high at the box-office [(Joker, 2012), (Khiladi 786, 2012), (Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara, 2013) and (Boss, 2013)], although his thriller Special 26 (2013) succeeded. But A R Murugadoss’ Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty (2014) brought a positive change for him. He acquired an image of patriotic star with, Baby (2015), Gabbar Is Back (2015), Airlift (2016) and last month’s Rustom (2016).
These films also succeeded in overtaking some average box-office performers like, It’s Entertainment (2014), The Shaukeens (2014), Brothers (2015) and Singh Is Bliing (2015).
By: Keyur Seta
For a Mumbai resident, visiting Lonavala is no big deal as the hill station is close by. But I had never visited the place in monsoon, although I have heard plenty of times about the magic the place creates during that time of the year. It's just that it never happened, until a couple of days ago when our office took us to that place for a picnic.
As soon as we even reached the outskirts of Lonavala, I was amazed by the scenic beauty of the place which went few notches higher due to the monsoons. Thankfully it was raining throughout our stay of two days. Despite visiting the place quite a few times in my life, it appeared different this time due to the rains. The scenes of fog on mountain peaks is something I can't stop thinking.
Do see the pictures yourself (Click to enlarge the pictures).