The Common Man Speaks

30Jan/129

SRK slapping away his popularity!

There was a time when I was just not able to hear anything against Shah Rukh Khan. Apart from his acting talent, I was highly impressed by his non-starry and humble attitude. But after his recent behavioral antics, even I have started losing respect for him. The latest being today where he shocked everyone by slapping filmmaker Shirish Kunder, who is the husband of SRK’s once best buddy Farah Khan.

It all started when the actor expressed pain just after the July 13 Mumbai blasts by saying he is eager to come to the city to be there for the people. However, he soon landed in the city only to throw a success bash for the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Then came his dream project Ra.One. The way he became over-desperate to promote his film by appearing in almost every popular show and tying up with almost every famous product made me and others wince. Apart from his, all his interviews oozed with self pride where his main focus was to prove that he is the King Khan.

Even after the film was rejected by the majority of audience, SRK refused to accept the fact sportingly by continuing to boast its terrific opening. His self-boasting interviews continued.

Soon after that, his naughty kissing extravaganza with Priyanka Chopra made heads turned. A married man who is a father of two grown up kids doing such things it in full view of the cameras made me feel ashamed.

His flirty and cheap behavior reached another level at the recently concluded Colors Screen Awards where he was literally behaving tharki on stage with popular actresses, especially Madhuri Dixit. What shocked me the most was that he was showing desire of getting physical with Madhuri, and that too in presence of her husband Dr Nene. In fact, SRK even announced that Nene won’t mind him flirting with his wife!

I was still not able to get out of this incident when I got to know today that Shah Rukh openly slapped Kunder. I was horrified to hear this considering the way SRK preaches kindness and tolerance. Even if Kunder was at fault, it is just not justifiable to indulge in such violence by someone who is almost worshipped by the masses!

People might think this isn’t an issue of national importance. Well, I think it is since over the years, SRK has been the brand ambassador of India in various countries. There are places where India is famous because of SRK. So, such national brand ambassador slapping away his popularity is a matter of concern.

30Jan/122

Gali Gali Chor Hai Box-Office Prediction

Star Value: Akshaye Khanna has proved his mettle as a versatile actor by playing a number of challenging characters with perfection. However, he has ceased to have the power to garner a good box-office opening since it’s only those big stars that attract audiences the most these days. Shriya Saran is a superstar down south but has not been able to add star value in Bollywood. The rest of the cast, including Mugdha Godse, can’t help the opening either.

Hype: The promos of the movie have managed to impress the audience. But such small or medium budget movies lack proper funds required for promotion. And whatever promotion they carry out is overshadowed by the big budget movies with big stars. But the ploy of arranging a special screening for social worker Anna Hazare has helped the film gain attention, especially after the media idiotically misquoted Hazare for his slap remark.

Music: The title song of Gali Gali Chor Hai, a peppy number, has become somewhat popular. Veena Malik’s item number ‘Chhanno’ too has been noticed for reasons best known to everyone!

Prediction: Gali Gali Chor Hai will find it difficult at the box-office despite the film promising to bring to light an important issue with humour. If the initial reaction is positive, it will require a strong word-of-mouth, which is almost like a miracle for such low budget films.

29Jan/1221

Jana Gana Mana (Marathi Movie) Review

Direction: Amit Abhyankar

Production: Golden Dreams Production House

Cast: Nandu Madhav, Chinmay Sant, Santosh Juvekar, Madhura Velankar Satam, Asmita Joglekar

Music: Dr Saleel Kulkarni

Rating: * * * ½

Plot: School teacher Ramchandra Sontakke (Nandu Madhav) is fed-up of teaching in a school in a tribal area of Maharashtra called Mhalunge. He longs to get a transfer to a school with more civilized students. In order to impress his senior, who will be visiting the school on Independence Day, he organizes a flag hoisting ceremony and a patriotic play to prove his mettle.

His student Katu (Chinmay Sant) is eager to sing the National Anthem on Independence Day. For this, he needs to be dressed up in new white clothes. However, his parents Dagadu (Santosh Juvekar) and his wife (Madhura Velankar Satam) can never afford it as they are struggling for even the basic necessities of life (food, clothing and shelter). Will Katu be heartbroken?

Review: Tribals are looked so down upon in our society that they are almost considered from different species. Naturally, their children are regarded the same. However, given a chance, these children can match up to their civilized counterparts and develop love for the nation if they are given proper education. This bold message is sensibly delivered in Amit Abhyankar’s Jana Gana Mana, a film which will change many a perception towards the so-called backward classes.

(Click to engarlge)

Sameer Joshi’s impressive writing is seen right in the initial moments as the tribal life is presented realistically with the inclusion of simple but rib-tickling humour. The fact that these children are not aware even of the name of our country will come as a shocker for most of us. A well-performed humorous scene follows when Madhav’s character struggles to explain the name of our country and its history to the students.

But what takes the cake is the actor’s one-act play performance at the interval portion where he narrates a historic incident in one take. Talking of one-take scenes, there’s another one where Madhav, on a bicycle, tries to dodge bullock carts coming from opposite direction, which could have been dangerous. Looking at Madhav’s overall performance, you can’t help but applaud the actor’s talent and dedication.

Apart from few dragging moments in the later part of second half, there isn’t any flipside. Lastly, Chinmay Sant’s act in the climax touches your heart. This also gives rise to a twist (not possible to reveal) which sends a positive message that every child has a right to education irrespective of his or her social status.

Rajesh Khale’s camerawork and Dr Saleel Kulkarni’s music suit the mood of the flick. Editing department should be praised too for the tight length (less than two hours).

Child actor Chinmay Sant adapts a tribal lifestyle with ease and delivers a top-notch performance. Santosh Juvekar and Madhura Velankar Satam are remarkable in challenging roles. Asmita Joglekar as Chinmay’s sister does well too.

Overall, Jana Gana Mana deserves applause for presenting a serious issue in a light-hearted manner while retaining the sensibility of the subject. However, it won’t have an easy run at the box-office since it is released with the Bollywood biggie Agneepath. Hence, it is highly in need of positive word-of-mouth.

29Jan/120

Twitter first one to bow down! Show protest else…

In one of my earlier posts, I had said India’s democracy is in threat after the Centre gave its approval to prosecute social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just before that, a High Court judge had threatened to go the China way and ban such social networking sites!

Sadly, I am been proved right by Twitter head honchos who have agreed to block Tweets if needed. They have clearly bowed down to the pressure brought upon them by countries that flaunt their democracy!

According to me, in India, this is a clear conspiracy on the part of the Congress Government to fully dissolve the anti-corruption spirit in the country which is instilled by Anna Hazare’s movement. To explain this, have a look at the following points: -

1)      Things our government did to sabotage the anti-corruption movement are known to everyone. These include Anna’s arrest, using violence at midnight to end Baba Ramdev’s non-violent protest, silly accusations on Team Anna and lastly bribing even the media to showcase Anna’s Mumbai (MMRDA) fast as a flop show.

(Article continued after Twitter logo.)

2)      The movement became largely possible due to social media since awareness about the movement and information regarding all agitations/ demonstrations was spread via Facebook and Twitter.

3)      It is not a mere co-incidence that Kapil Sibal cam down heavily on social media sites, compelling them to ‘block’ certain posts or updates saying it could lead to communal riots.

4)      Now, Twitter becomes the first site to bow down to block or censor certain posts.

 

I would like to repeat that one day people will say India ‘was’ a democratic country if we don’t raise our voice and protest!

I would also like to repeat what filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said on this issue - “YouTube, Facebook, Google and Twitter are platforms, not publishers. Can you sue a bookshop for carrying Satanic Verses if not banned? Can you sue the Loudspeaker Company for the lies that politicians tell the electorate? Internet is free source and each of you with a blog is a potential publisher, can government sue a million blogs? Each email forwarded 1000 times is potential ‘objectionable material’. Can courts shut down e-mail?”

28Jan/128

Darling Darling (Marathi Play) Review

Writer: Madhusudan Kalelkar

Direction: Pradeep Pawar

Production: Rupali R Lakhan, Sanjay Nevrejar

Cast: Shashikant Bhobekar, Pradeep Pawar, Sandeepa Gujjar, Manjusha Morgaonkar, Sujata Tulsankar, Sachin Kadam, Tushar Namaye, Rajeshri Kale

Rating: * * *

Plot: Prabhakar (Shashikant Bhobekar) pretends to be loyal to his wife (Sandeepa Gujjar). His wife is unaware that he is having an affair with a number of girls. Sharmila (Manjusha Morgaonkar) and Mona (Sujata Tulsankar) are two such girls. Prabhakar’s uncle, who is no more, has left Rs 50 lakh for him in his will. However, according to the condition put forth by his uncle, Prabhakar can lay his hands on the money only if he is loyal to his wife and living a happily married life.

All hell breaks loose for Prabhakar when one fine day both Sharmila and Mona land up at his house. Now, Prabhakar is in a fix as he has to hide his affairs from both his wife and the advocate. Will Prabhakar succeed or will he be forced to say good bye to his wife as well as the money?

Review: Themes on infidelity, where a husband tries hard to hide his affair, have become common over the years. So, when a comic play is based on such a story it is vital for the writing to be top-notch so as to deliver huge number of rib-tickling moments. Writer Madhusudan Kalelkar and director Pradeep Pawar’s Darling Darling provides that for the majority of the duration which surely makes it a one-time watch.

One of the good things about the writing is that the main plot is revealed soon. A large number of comic twists that follow manage to keep your interest alive. Both situational as well as crazy humour is used in abundance; almost in every line. A bunch of crazy characters and their weird traits are one of the major plus points.

Talking of flipsides, the duration should have been shorter, especially in the second half where the proceedings do appear tedious at few portions. Also, some of the lines and acts appear too over-the-top at certain post-interval portions. But since it’s a keep-your-brain-aside kind of an entertainer, such points shouldn't be considered as crime.

The play scores high on performances. Shashikant Bhobekar perfectly carries the proceedings on his shoulders with a commendable act. His comic timing is up to the mark. He is aptly supported by Pradeep Pawar who also displays good comic skills. Sandeepa Gujjar as his wife shows maturity. Manjusha Morgaonkar gives a confident performance as Prabhakar’s love affair.

Sujata Tulsankar does well too and so does Rajeshri Kale in the role of an overweight cop. But it is Sachin Kadam who turns out to be a surprise package. His crazy antics will have you in splits. Tushar Namaye and actors playing doctor and constable aren’t bad either.

Overall, Darling Darling will be liked by those who prefer mindless, over-the-top comedies. It deserves more publicity and promotion.

27Jan/122

True story of Anna Hazare’s slap comment…

Our dear media has done it once again! They have once again misquoted Anna Hazare in the most horrible of manners, making him appear as someone who endorses violence! On January 25, 2012, all newspapers, TV channels and news websites flashed a news item which said that Anna feels one should start slapping the corrupt if corruption doesn’t end! By reading this article further, you will realize how false were the news.

The entire team of the upcoming movie Gali Gali Chor Hai had organized a screening of the film for Anna at Ralegan Siddhi, since the film is based on a Common Man fighting corruption. After watching the film, Anna, while speaking to the media, explained one of the scenes of the film where the protagonist Akshaye Khanna slaps a corrupt minister. Anna said, “When someone loses patience while fighting for the truth, he feels the only option left is to slap.”

If you wish to see and hear it yourself, here’s the video (skip to 2 minutes 8 seconds):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFeJF9_v2Co&feature=youtu.be

It is clearly visible from the video that he is just speaking about a scene. It’s terrible to see the way he is quoted as an ambassador of violence. Not-so-long-ago, he misinterpreted as someone who wishes to tie all drunkards to a tree and bash them. We all know how true this was. Last month too the media tried hard to prove that his Mumbai fast at MMRDA was a flop. I proved them wrong at that time in my post which you can see here.

Looking at the way our media is trying to misinterpret and sabotage Anna and his movement, I think I will get used to writing such posts to present the true story. It’s such a shame that our strong media is busy promoting falseness while we, the common people of India, are left to spread the true message. But we will do that! Anything for the nation and the movement!

P.S – Anna has himself explained his slap statement on his blog here - http://news.indiaagainstcorruption.org/annahazaresays/?p=128

26Jan/129

Agneepath Movie Review

Direction: Karan Malhotra

Production: Dharma Productions (Karan Johar)

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Zarina Wahab

Music: Ajay-Atul

Rating: * * ½

Plot: Kancha Cheena (Sanjay Dutt) dreams of running a drug kingdom, in the guise of salt business, in Mandwa and for that he wants to take the village on lease. However, Master (teacher) Dinanath Chauhan (Sunil Chauhan) urges the villagers against falling in Kancha’s trap. In order to get his way, Kancha mercilessly kills Dinanath. The film follows the story of how Dinanath’s son Vijay (Hrithik Roshan) tries to avenge his father’s death.

Review: Although the original Agneepath (1990) is known for Amitabh Bachchan’s greatness, the film suffered courtesy a weak script which became a reason for its downfall at the ticket window. Karan Malhotra’s remake of the same has a slightly better writing and offers a different take on the same plot. However, this doesn’t ensure a flawless product which is also due to the casting of Hrithik Roshan as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan.

Malhotra’s version sees lots of changes in the sub-plots and incidents from the 1990 movie. Even the character of Vijay is completely novel in terms of mannerisms, temperament as well as age. Hence, it won’t be proper to compare the remade version with the original one.

After the cruel initial moments, things brighten up after Hrithik and Priyanka Chopra’s entry. Pace does drops down few times, mostly due to the inclusion of songs and some emotional scenes. During the ‘Hun Hun Huna’ number you realize such jazzy birthday celebrations, including the disco effect, can take place in a chawl only in a Karan Johar flick. But the subsequent twists end the first half on an exciting note.

Things continue to be interesting in the second half too. However, brakes are applied again in the proceedings in the form of some over-emotional scenes (very K Jo-ish indeed!). Fuel is added once again with some paisa vasool moments and mostly during the Ganapati Visarjan part (‘Deva Shree Ganesha’ song) only to disappoint in a non-believable and over-filmi climax.

Debutant director Karan Malhotra leaves a mark in a number of sequences. He surely has a future in Bollywood.

‘Deva Shree Ganesha’ is the track of the movie. The rest of Ajay-Atul’s creations are not bad. Ravi K. Chandran and Kiran Deohans deserve brownie points for their camerawork. The same can be said for Abbas Ali Moghul’s action although it gets too violent at times for a UA certificate film.

Hrithik Roshan lacks the manliness needed for the character. This is largely felt by his non-mardana voice. Due to this, he lacks the personality needed for a bhai or dada. But despite these limitations, the actor carries off his act with dedication.

Sanjay Dutt is the one who leaves the biggest impact! He brings a new dimension to the cult character of Kancha Cheena with his outstanding villainous acts. You just love to hate him. Rishi Kapoor is remarkable too as Rauf Lala. Priyanka Chopra is average. She doesn’t appear like a Maharashtrian mulgi although she tries a lot.

Zarina Wahab isn’t bad as Vijay’r mother while the girl playing his sister is likable. Inaamulhaq presents a commendable act as Shiva.

Overall, Agneepath has its share of good as well as bad moments which finally tilt more towards the latter. Its box-office opening has been tremendous which will make sure it breaks quite a few records.

 

25Jan/120

Agneepath to create new box-office records?

Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots is the highest money grosser film ever in Bollywood while Salman Khan’s Bodyguard holds the record for the biggest earner on first day with Rs 20 crore. But looking at the way advance booking of Hrithik Roshan’s Agneepath has gone so far, one shouldn’t be surprised if the film breaks Bodyguard’s record if not 3 Idiots’.

The cash registers for Agneepath started ringing from Monday itself when the advance booking commenced. Such advanced positive response is hardly seen these days. And considering the film’s huge number of shows, we can say Dharma Productions are sure to earn huge bucks from this extraordinary opening!

One noteworthy fact is that the audience hasn’t seen an interesting film since last few weeks after Abbas Mustan’s Players disappointed them.

Hence, there is no doubt that the collections for Agneepath will be one of the highest ever in Bollywood. But more importantly, let’s hope the film also succeeds in satisfying majority of the audience unlike other blockbusters like Bodyguard and Ra.One.

22Jan/129

Marathi films shouldn’t compete with each other: Santosh Juvekar (Exclusive Interview)

After playing a wide range of characters in last three years or so, Santosh Juvekar has become one of the most sought after names in Marathi cinema currently. It is his quest of exploring different shades of his talent that has helped him reach this level.

The actor has continued this exploration in his upcoming flick Jana Gana Mana. In an exclusive chat, the Morya lads speaks about his movie and shares his views on Marathi cinema.

(For more news on Marathi cinema, click HERE) (To join us on Facebook, click HERE)

What is your movie Jana Gana Mana about? What is the context of the title with the movie?

As we all know, Jana Gana Mana is our national anthem which is sung proudly on Independence and Republic Days. In the film, my son wants to sing the national anthem in his school on Independence Day. However, only those with clean and white clothes get a chance to sing it. And we being tribals can’t afford such clothes. So, my character vows to get such clothes for his son so that he can sing the National Anthem in his school.

Tell us about your character in the movie.

I play a carefree and lazy character who doesn’t even shy away from stealing. But he goes through a transformation and sets a goal to fulfill his son's dream.

It is visible from the promos and posters that the actors were made to wear a very dark make-up. Was this really necessary?

Yes it was. We play tribals in the movie who live in dirty and unclean surroundings. So, one can't expect us to be clean and tidy. And my character in the movie is such that he doesn’t take a bath for even 2-3 days (smiles).

What are your expectations from the movie?

We are surely expecting the film to succeed. It’s a movie for the whole family and we all have worked hard for it. The story is moving. So, we want people to go to the theatres to watch it.

Nowadays, there are too many Marathi films releasing simultaneously. We can even see three films clashing on the same day. Don’t you think this is a disadvantage?

This is definitely a disadvantage. This shouldn’t happen. It is up to the producers to sit and decide and make sure there is a gap between each release. Till now, Marathi films were competing only against Bollywood. There shouldn’t be a time when Marathi films start competing against each other.

 

Jana Gana Mana is directed by debutant Amit Abhyankar and produced by Sandeep Kadam and Sachin KAdam. Apart from Juvekar, it also stars Madhura Velankar Satam, Nandu Madhav, Chinmay Sant and Asmita Joglekar. The film is slated to release this Republic Day i.e January 26.

- Keyur Seta

21Jan/123

Are Indian cricket fans, experts Amnesic?

India’s performance in Australia in the ongoing Agneepath series has indeed been hugely disappointing. However, I am pained to see the way Indian cricket fans and so-called cricket experts are reacting.

Just over nine months back on the night of April 2, the whole of India literally worshipped Team India after they lifted the World Cup 2011. Just two bad series (in England and Australia) and the same people are reacting as if Team India is worse than minnows. What right do you have to call yourself an Indian supporter if you can’t support your team when it requires the most? After all, support is needed the most when a person or a thing is struggling. The difference between an Indian supporter and an Indian fan (who just likes to see the team winning) is proved once again!

It is even more disheartening to see the way the most experienced players – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman – are been forced to retire! How right is it to humiliate them in this manner for their age old services for the team? The fact that some of the ex-players are involved in these forceful tactics is even more shocking considering their knowledge and experience.

Tendulkar’s contribution to Indian cricket is known far and wide. He has been consistently scoring runs. His fitness level is clearly visible. So, if he wants to continue playing, what is wrong in it? For your kind information, he is India’s leading run scorer even in the current series!

There is no doubt even Dravid has been one of the greatest Indian batsmen ever and even he is scoring runs, although not much in this series. He was also the only one who showed some resistance in the England tour. So again, how can we force him to retire if he is scoring runs and wants to play? In Laxman’s case, I agree he has not been scoring runs but that doesn’t mean one should forget his talent and record and compel him to hang his boots!

In my personal opinion, it is Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir who are more responsible as they have failed to build a platform as openers. Especially in the case of Sehwag, he has been in terrible form but we are just busy pointing fingers at the ‘big three’.

Before this series, all types of cool adjectives were used for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his captaincy, especially after winning the World Cup. There have also been debates going on whether he is the best Indian captain ever. It is a mixture of shame and amnesia that after just two bad series, even he has been indirectly forced to step down as captain!

Apart from their performance, team India has also been demoralized by the reactions and forceful tactics of the public and ex-players before the start of the fourth test match at Adelaide.

P.S: - People laughed at me when I continued to support India despite their shameful exit from the 2007 World Cup. I laughed back at them in the same year when we won the T20 World Cup and other series which followed after that. I am quite sure I will get a chance to laugh once again!