The Common Man Speaks

29Oct/120

Bhandarkar launches Bhagwan dada biopic Albela

A number of interesting, humorous incidents from the legendary actor’s movies and life were shared at the event

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Acclaimed filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar recently said in an interview that he used to run a video library during his growing up days in Khar, Mumbai. But on Saturday he got further candid by revealing that his lot of 70-80 video cassettes always used to have few prints of Bhagwan dada’s popular movie Albela.

“There was a lot of demand for Albela. People watched it again and again. Sometimes I used to urge my customers to watch it again and they used to happily oblige. Even I have seen the movie many times. I also have fond memories of watching Bhagwan dada a number of times in a small restaurant in Khar where he used to shoot his films.” said Bhandarkar.

Madhur Bhandarkar during the launch of Albela (Pictures - Ashish Desai)

The Chandni Bar director went into the flashback mode during the launch of the Marathi movie Albela, which is based on the life of the late yesteryear superstar Bhagwan Abhaji Palav aka Bhagwan dada. Produced under the banner of Kimaya Motion Pictures, the film is directed by Niranjan Patwardhan. The event also marked the launch of Isak Mujavar’s Marathi book Ek Albela, which is also based on the dancing superstar.

Patwardhan, himself a big admirer of dada, said he is eager to spread his art. “I was highly surprised when I realized nobody has ever written even 30 pages on him. If people had known even fifty percent of his talent, he would have been considered the biggest showman,” he said. This is Patwardhan’s first film as a director. He has earlier worked with Bhandarkar in Corporate, Traffic Signal, Fashion and Jail.

Various other guests spoke about dada’s greatness which turned out to be very informative for youngsters who don’t know much about him. “While working with him in any film, we always felt as if we have come for a picnic. His dance was remarkable. In fact, dada’s dancing style is also visible in Amitabh Bachchan’s dance steps,” said senior actor Viju Khote. “It is not possible for the current actors to match his dancing skills,” stated filmmaker Kiran Shantaram, son of the late legendary V Shantaram.

Some funny incidents about the actor were also shared by Mujavar and the yesteryear Marathi and Hindi film actress Sulochana Devi, who launched Mujavar’s book. “He had an unusual habit of sleeping while standing. But when the shot was announced, he used to automatically wake up and start acting,” laughed Sulochana.

Mujavar added, “Once during our train journey out of city, he fell down from the upper berth. So I was told to occupy his berth while dada was given the lowest berth. But in the morning, we realized he had fallen from the lowest berth as well.” He also revealed that some of his movies had the same basic plot but despite that, each film succeeded in keeping the audience engrossed.

Attendees also included dada’s son Arun Palav, yesteryear actresses Jeevan Kala and Leela Gandhi, Uday Chipalkatti and others. The event surely generated a lot of curiosity for the biopic. But one has to wait till 2013 to see how the film turns out to be.

Sulochana Devi launching Isak Mujavar's book Ek Albela

27Oct/121

Shree Partner (Marathi Movie) Review

Direction: Sameer Ramesh Surve

Production: Parv Creations

Writers: Va Pu Kale and Sameer Ramesh Surve

Cast: Padmanabh Bind, Shweta Pagar, Satish Pulekar, Lalan Sarang

Music: Nilesh Moharir

Genre: Drama

Rating: * * * *

By: Keyur Seta

Plot: The film is based on novelist Va Pu Kale's popular Marathi novel Partner. The story revolves around Shree (Padmanabh Bind) who is living a not-so-perfect life as a chemist in Mumbai. He finds solace when a total stranger (Satish Pulekar) becomes his best friend in an unexpected manner. That person calls himself Partner as he doesn't find it necessary to reveal his real name. Partner guides Shree during every issue of his life, including his love for Kiran (Shweta Pagar). But how far will Shree and Partner’s friendship go?

Review: Adapting a novel into a film is a big challenge. Filmmaker Sameer Ramesh Surve faced the same challenge in Shree Partner since he was set out to make a film on the classic novel Partner by Va Pu Kale. Although, generally speaking, the aim of both the novel and the movie is to tell a story, both mediums are vastly different. So there shouldn’t be comparisons on whether the film is better than the book or vice versa. The question should be whether the film succeeds in generating the same feeling which the book did. As far as Shree Partner is concerned, the answer is a big yes!

While reading a novel, one tends to visualize the story and its characters. Your visualization, while reading Partner, matches with what Surve has presented on screen. He has done justice to the whole lot of interesting conversations and events by keeping their flavor intact. On most of the occasions, he has used the exact lines from the book which is a very good idea. Of course, a number of events are edited from the book but that in no way affects the continuity factor. But at the same time there are innovations as well, especially in the humorous moments and the climax.

However, we can’t ignore the fact that there would be a good number of viewers who haven’t read the book. The film will appeal to them as well as they would get to watch an engaging, moving saga of friendship and love. Although the book was written way back in 1977, the common man of today’s era would also be able to relate to the relationship and interaction between Shree and Partner. But one has to say that the chances of the film being loved by those who have read the book seem bigger.

The duration of the movie is one of the bigger challenges for a filmmaker when he creates a movie based on a book. Maybe because of this, some of the events, especially the entry of Mai’s character, appear hushed up in order to fit the story in the desired timeframe of two hours.

Nilesh Moharir’s music also plays a vital role in storytelling with all songs being impressive. ‘Jaadu’ and ‘Bheeni Bheeni’ are the tracks that stand out. Sandeep Dhumal’s cinematography is simple yet effective. Nilesh Dahanukar’s background score succeeds in creating desired effects while the editing is alright.

Padmanabh Bind and Shweta Pagar had their task cut out as they were playing lead characters of a classic novel in their first film but they both rise to the occasion with ease. Padmanabh is very real as a middle class youth. He portrays different emotions with maturity. Shweta’s transformation from a young girl to a married woman is praiseworthy. Senior actor Satish Pulekar brings the character of Partner live on screen very successfully. Lalan Sarang does justice to the character of Shree’s mother. Actors playing Shree’s brother and sister-in-law are perfect.

Overall, Shree Partner is a fitting tribute to Kale’s novel. The film has a chance of succeeding at the box office with the help of word-of-mouth.

 

25Oct/120

Green Building Congress 2012: Promoting Sustainability & Eco-Friendliness

With global warming creating havoc and natural resources getting depleted, going eco-friendly through sustainable development seems to be the only option for us. Such eco friendly measures are encouraged and helped by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The main aim of IGBC is to promote the use of Green Buildings in order to build homes, offices and other such building through eco-friendly measures.

A green building is the one which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building. Through Green Buildings, they are trying to revisit traditional Indian architecture based on five basic elements of nature - Agni, Jal, Vayu, Prithvi and Aakash – known as Pancha Butaas.

Some examples of traditional Green Buildings:-

  • Hawa Mahal in Jaipur: Its articulated windows provide cool breeze in a desert area.
  • Golconda Fort in Hyderabad: Ventilation is designed to let in fresh cool breeze, in spite of summer.

IGBC was formed in 2001 to try and achieve the goal of sustainable environment for all by 2015 through its ratings & events. Green Building Congress is one such event that they have organized to spread the message of going eco-friendly. It will be held from October 30, 2012 to November 1, 2012 in Hyderabad.  Complete Address: - Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), Novotel & HICC Complex, Near Hitec City, PO Bag 1101, Cyberabad Post Office, Hyderabad - 5000081, India. Phone No: 91-40-6616 3000, 91-40-6682 4422.

If you are in Hyderabad, you should grab this opportunity as the event will help you easily understand on how to save water, power, have healthy spaces and use renewable energy. And if you are not in Hyderabad, you can at least spread the message. After all, the type of environment our future generation will get to live in depends on our present actions!

Event Brochure (Click to ENLARGE)

23Oct/120

Rush Box Office Prediction

Direction: Shamin Desai

Production: Percept Pictures Company and Showman International

Writers: Shamin Desai and Sanjay Masoom

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Sagarika Ghatge, Neha Dhupia, Aditya Pancholi

Music: Pritam

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: October 24, 2012

Analysis:

Star Value: Emraan Hashmi has become a kind of a crowd puller after gaining an image of a quality performer instead of just a serial kisser. This factor alone states that the star value for Rush is decent. The film also has some known names like Neha Dhupia, Sagarika Ghatge (of Chak De! India fame) and Aditya Pancholi.

Hype: There is hardly any hype for the movie. This comes as a big surprise considering it has Emraan in the lead. The promos have failed to create much excitement among the audience. But the biggest culprit for this is the very low key promotions. This has been the case with almost every Percept movie. Over the years, the banner has suffered heavily due to poor promotions or marketing but they don’t seem to be learning from their many mistakes.

Music: ‘Fukraa’ is the only song that is somewhat popular. The rest of the songs aren’t known to the audience.

Prediction:

Rush won’t get a good opening at the box office. At the most, it will only garner an average response. The film will struggle to make a mark at the ticket window if it doesn’t receive very positive initial reports. Although there isn’t much excitement for Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh, which is releasing alongside, it will surely act as a tough opposition for Rush along with Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year, which will not even be a week older when the Emraan starrer releases.

22Oct/120

Chakravyuh Box Office Prediction

Direction: Prakash Jha

Producers: Prakash Jha Productions and Eros International

Cast: Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee, Om Puri, Esha Gupta, Anjali Patil

Writers: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajabali and Sagar Pandya

Music: Salim-Sulaiman, Vijay Verma, Sanjay Shandilya, Shantanu Moitra and Aadesh Shrivastav

Genre: Drama

Release Date: October 24, 2012

Analysis:

Star Value: Although Chakravyuh has a well known, ensemble cast of Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee and Om Puri, none of them are crowd pullers. Hence, the star value for the movie is decent. But it won’t be an overstatement to say that director Prakash Jha’s name also adds to the star value.

Hype: The promos of the movie have managed to create some excitement for the movie. The makers have also promoted the film well. It has also had its share of controversies due to the song ‘Mehangai’. But despite this, there isn’t much hype or excitement for the movie.

Music: The ‘Mehangai’ song has managed to make heads turn due to trouble it faced from the Censor Board. No other song from the movie is known much. One should also mention that music doesn’t have much scope in such movies.

Prediction:

Due to the low hype and excitement, Chakravyuh will at the most only get a decent opening at the box opening, which is surely disappointing considering it’s a hardcore issue based film by Prakash Jha. Due to this, it is very vital for the movie to super impress at the onset. Its advantage is that it has a long weekend to exploit coupled with an appeal for both masses and classes. The bad thing - it will face tough opposition from Rush, which is releasing alongside, and Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year, which will not even be a week old when Chakravyuh releases.

Picture Courtesy - Chakravyuh Facebook page

21Oct/122

His message of love shall live forever…

There comes a time in everyone’s life when he or she is unable to react at something. I am facing that situation ever since I heard the news of the passing away of Shri Yash Chopra, one of the greatest filmmakers and pillars of Indian film industry. The feeling is more profound because deep inside everybody knows there can be no replacement for such a legend! Even those who aren’t much into films are influenced by his films at some point in their lives since the feeling of love is present in all of us.

But I will never label him as ‘King Of Romance’ like most of us. That title doesn’t do justice to his achievement. Looking at his overall career, most of his successful films haven’t been love stories. Examples – Dhool Ka Phool, Dharmputra, Waqt, Daag, Deewar, Trishul, Kala Patthar, Darr, etc.

When I associate him with love, it purely means the love of human association (instead of just the love between the hero and heroine) which he brought alive on screen so successfully. The love between a son and a mother in Deewar and Trishul, the love among a family in Waqt and most importantly, the love that defines humanity to be the only religion in Dhool Ka Phool and Dharmputra.

With his death, the world has not only lost a great filmmaker but also someone who had pulled up his socks to spread love and humanity, something which is the need of the hour.

May his soul Rest In Peace and may his family, friends and we, the well-wishers, garner the strength to overcome this tragedy and be able to continue his mission of spreading love.

Have a look at Yashji’s last interview with Shah Rukh Khan: -

This is the above mentioned scene from Dharmputra: -

Picture Courtesy - Rediff

21Oct/122

Making of a Bhojpuri movie

Even a layman (someone who is not exposed to filmmaking) would know the basic process of making a movie – writing the script, shooting and lastly, post production. But recently when I got a firsthand report on the making of a Bhojpuri movie, I was stunned to say the least. I am eager to share this as I am sure most of you would react in a similar way.

Father of my friend’s friend is a Bhojpuri movie producer. Last year, he co-produced a Bhojpuri film along with Bollywood’s one-time star, who also played the central character in it. Since the son of the producer is a close friend of my friend, the latter got to know about the making of that film. Stunned and bewildered, my friend excitedly narrated their movie-making process to me. It is as follows: -

  • First and foremost, they signed the leading lady and few other actors. Since one of the producers was playing the main lead, there was no need to hunt for a ‘hero’. I also came to know that the actor handled most of the scenes as a ghost director.
  • As strange as it may sound, they started off by shooting more than 10 songs for the film! It was then that I was enlightened that it is a must for every Bhojpuri movie to have more than 10 songs. In most films, songs are a mixture of romance, dance, tragedy and lastly, item numbers.
  • Here comes the most shocking part. It was after finishing off the songs that they started writing the proper script for the movie! Yes, you read it right. Earlier, they just had a rough idea of the subject. While writing the film, they just fitted those songs wherever possible!

There is more surprise in store. This is not the only Bhojpuri movie that was made in such a weird manner. I was then told most of the Bhojpuri films are made likewise! If the film has the same masala elements of action, songs and dance and most importantly, those heroic dialogues, it is liked by all. Needless to say, the film which I am referring to also became a superhit!

18Oct/121

Student Of The Year Box Office Prediction

Direction: Karan Johar

Production: Dharma Productions

Writers: Rensil D’Silva and Niranjan Iyengar

Cast: Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhavan, Rishi Kapoor, Manasi Rach

Music: Vishal-Shekhar

Genre: Romance

Release Date: October 19, 2012

Analysis:

Star Value: There is no star value in Student Of The Year as all three of the main characters are played by debutants. But due to a good marketing strategy, Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhavan are slowly becoming known among the youth.

Hype: The promos of the movie are well received by the youngsters. The makers have succeeded in creating some excitement among the college students, its target audience.

Music: Vishal-Shekhar’s music has helped a lot in promoting the film. ‘Velle’ became a known track instantly. ‘Ishq Wala Love’ and ‘Radha On The Dance Floor’ are not far behind either in terms of popularity.

Prediction:

Student Of The Year will get a decent opening at the box office. If it manages to impress initially, it will fetch good numbers even after the first weekend, since college students like visiting multiplexes on weekdays. However, due to the urban, modern genre, it will appeal more to the urban youth. Hence, it has better chances at the multiplexes of metros. It won’t fetch good collections at the single screens, mostly the ones in the smaller cities and towns.

Picture Courtesy - Indiatoday.in

17Oct/124

Law Minister endorses lawlessness: Kejriwal hits at Gadkari

If there is anyone who is expected to safeguard law and order in India the most, it is obviously the Law Minister of the country. However, the whole of India was in for a shock today when the Law Minister Salman Khurshid himself openly endorsed lawlessness by threatening to physically harm anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal.

Trying to hit back at allegations made by Kejriwal, Khurshid openly told a news channel, “Let Kejriwal come to Farrukhabad. Let’s see whether he succeeds in returning back.” Through this statement, Khurshid clearly indicates physical assault on Kejriwal, which definitely amounts to breaking law.

Picture Courtesy - Deccanchronicle.com

The statements give rise to a number of serious questions. – How can a Law Minister openly endorse breaking of law? Do you have a right to punish a criminal when the Law Minister himself encourages crime? The ruling party has to answer these questions and the only option they have is to remove this person who calls himself the Law Minister. But after a huge number of anti-national actions and statements by the ruling party itself, I wonder whether it has any right to continue to stay in office. The feeling that the British have started ruling India again is produced by the UPA government time and again.

Khurshid’s open dhamki however didn’t deter Kejriwal to name BJP President Nitin Gadkari in a scam where he grabbed land allotted to poor farmers of Vidarbha. Of course as expected, the party has rubbished off all allegations. I don't know whether the allegations are 100% true but like numerous other instances, BJP or the government won’t even order any kind of probe in the issue. After Anjali Damania’s experience with Gadkari, it is clear all parties are unofficially united when it comes to corruption.

It appears weird to many including me that Kejriwal isn’t going to court against Kejriwal or Vadra. But after he highlighted today how these court cases and probes account to nothing, I am slowly starting to agree with him. If you look back at history, you realize these big shots always get away even after committing the most heinous of crimes. Forget politicians, even a hardcore terrorist like Ajmal Kasab is enjoying his stay in India even four years after he openly killed innocents in Mumbai!

So it is up to the people of India to realize how all parties are together involved in money grabbing and then punish them with the power of their vote. Of course, it would be great and ideal if law punishes them but I hardly have any hope for it considering India’s current scenario.

17Oct/124

Awareness needed ASAP, say Fibromyalgia patients

By: Keyur Seta

Twelve years ago Sagarika Chakraborty, then in her teens, started suffering from a terrible headache which refused to subside even after undergoing medical treatment. Due to this, it was concluded she has Migraine. She started medication for that as well but to no avail. Later on, she developed a whole lot of other health issues that just wouldn’t get cured. She underwent tests after tests without any conclusion. “In fact, there is not a single test I haven’t undergone,” she said at The World Arthritis Day meet in Mumbai recently. The event was an initiative by rheumatologist Dr Shashank Akerkar.

Since she was appearing absolutely normal with the tests showing no signs of any illness or disease, people started believing she is faking an illness just to stay away from studies. Worse, questions were even raised about her psychological wellbeing. Sagarika lived with such physical and emotional baggage for 12 years until she came to know from a doctor in Hyderabad that she is suffering from a rare condition called Fibromyalgia. And it was only a year back when she was able to start proper treatment for the disease from Dr Akerkar.

“For 12 years I suffered mis-diagnosis and took over 36 medical opinions. God forbid this should not even strike my worst enemy. I suffered but pledged that others around me shouldn’t. So I am here to talk,” she said.

There are only a handful of people in India who have heard about Fibromyalgia. In fact, people might take some time before even pronouncing or spelling it properly. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculo-skeletal pain, stiffness and tenderness of muscles and joints without detectable inflammation. But that is not all. Patients suffering from Fibromyalgia also experience sleep disturbance, fatigue, irritable bowel movements, depression, anxiety, stress, hypersensitivity to light, sound, heat and cold, etc.

Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli speaking about Fibromyalgia at the World Arthritis Day

Some patients also show symptoms of Parethesia (feeling pins and needles), cognitive dysfunction and memory problems (known as Fibro Fog). Sadly, the symptoms are not reduced to these. While revealing few other symptoms, Sagarika says, “I can’t move for a few seconds after I sit for long. Sometimes, a thousand pins prick my body and my eyes. It locks my jaws and dehydrates me. I have nerve pinch in seven parts of my body. There are mornings when my fingers won’t move. My nostrils hurt and a certain nerve throbbing is almost visible through the skin.”

Needless to say, emotional trauma goes hand in hand with Fibromyalgia. It is been found that a very high percentage of Fibromyalgia victims are females. In fact, the female to male ratio for this disease is 9:1.

What is worse is that there is no sure shot cure for Fibromyalgia. There is treatment available but it can only help in reducing the symptoms or controlling the disease. And since there are a wide range of symptoms, undergoing a single treatment doesn’t work. A patient is prescribed medical drugs but at the same time, it is vital for him or her to undergo physical exercises as prescribed.

As patients suffering from Fibromyalgia appear totally normal, the disease is also known as ‘Invisible Illness’. “If an employee is suffering from Fibromyalgia, he or she has to often take leave from work. This becomes difficult because the patient looks physically normal. Hence, most of the patients quit their jobs to work part time as working full time becomes extremely difficult,” said Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli, another patient suffering from Fibromyalgia, at the meet.

It is due to total lack of awareness that Fibromyalgia has derived the nickname of ‘Invisible Illness’, especially in a country like India. This was enough to prompt Anuradha to launch an awareness campaign for the disease in the form of a website called – http://www.fibromyalgiaawareness.com/. The website provides complete information for a layman on Fibromyalgia including its meaning, symptoms, tips on how to live with it and most importantly, comments from patients. The website also has a Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/fibromyalgiaawarenesspage.

Anuradha and Sagarika along with a group of individuals are also all set to start a non-profit organization called The Purple Pact which will aim at setting up centers with specialized facilities for chronic pain patients. But for that, one needs awareness.

“There are around 3-6 % of world population suffering from Fibromyalgia. But the percentage of patients in India is just unknown! Due to the lack of awareness, naturally people won’t understand what a patient goes through.”

Both Sagarika and Anuradha are thankful to their doctor Shashank Akerkar for creating awareness on Fibromyalgia through World Arthritis Day. “It is vital to create awareness. If people start accepting the disease and the problems associated with it, it will certainly make life better for us,” sums up Anuradha.

Dr Shashank Akerkar (Click to enlarge)