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Tribute can never be late

                                                                                                   

Millions loved him

Millions admired him
He gave
Juvenile a new look
And romance a new face
That Rajesh Khanna joins
destiny’s ultimate pace

His amiable smile and bright eyes
had assured us a hero never dies

Though you have gone
but a great job you’ve done
that
those who were dejected and at variance
you show them floral beauty and fragrance

Be it a matter of three hours only but
it bolstered many who were lonely…

I hope
You will come again among us
With a new face and on newer dusk..! 

By
   Bharat Mehru

Dialogues, which created treasured moments…

Babumoshai, zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai jahanpanah. Usse na toh aap badal sakte hain na main. Hum sab toh rangmanch ki kathputhliyan hain jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon main bandhi hain. Kab, kaun, kaise uthega yeh koi nahi bata sakta hai. Ha, ha, ha.’

‘Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye, Lambi Nahi Babu Moshai’

 

Maine tumse kitni baar kaha hai Pushpa, mujhse yeh aansoo nahi dekhe jaate. I hate tears.’

He gave a new meaning to expressions…

 

Rodney Dangerfield, an actor once said, “Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts, he does not hide; he exposes himself.”

His expressions secretly depict his life story, which is said and narrated a number of times but  yet not understood.

To understand the charm of Rajesh Khanna, was something totally out my reach but it was the year 2003, when Karan Johar’s film ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ was on its way to release. This was the first time when I heard about ‘Anand’, Rajesh Khanna’s epic film. In an interview, Karan Johar was asked, whether he has taken the script of his film from ‘Anand’. To this, he answered “it would be a privilege to call my film, remake of ‘Anand’, but I don’t think I have even touched the eminence of Kaka’s film”. This was the time when my curiosity to know about the actor started with the notion that how can an actor be more awesome than Shahrukh Khan!

With the coming of audio films, era of silent films came to an end. Dialogues here played a significant role and became the key to success for these films. Writers often try their level best to write powerful/ effective dialogues but one cannot forget that an actor is the one who makes these dialogues classic. Rajesh Khanna, the first superstar of India was among those who changed the face of Bollywood cinema with his influential dialogues and his trademark expressions.

According to Readers Pick of Rediff Movies, ‘Wolf-whistle moments are made of dialogues especially when conveyed by a proud, unwavering Rajesh Khanna. With his head slightly tilted, nodding on cue, smiling or sombre and a voice that felt like a mix of velvet, mint and silver, Rajesh Khanna produced some of the most effective lines of his career.’

Today when he is not among us, the only thing that can give a glimpse of Rajesh Khanna, is his movies and a critical observation also allow you to see his characteristics. ‘Anand’, a movie that, created a hallmark in his career also gives you a slight hint of Rajesh Khanna’s background. Here in this movie, he is an orphanage, victim of partition (lost his parents) which is very similar to his own story.

Jatin Arora (earlier name) was the man who could bring his audience into his character’s world.  His birth is a bit controversial because it is not clear enough where was he born. It is assumed by Indians that he was born in Amritsar but according to his followers in Pakistan who gathered near a house in the sleepy town of Burewala near Faisalabad, paying tributes to the departed actor at a place where they say he was born in 1942 in December. (Mentioned in an article, ‘Pakistan town says Rajesh Khanna was born there’, Times of India, dated July, 20, 2012) He was adopted and raised by his foster parents – Chunni Lal Khanna and his wife Leela Wati Khanna after his father migrated to the holy city, Amritsar. This detail of migration puts weight on the succeeding aspect. His foster parents were the relatives of his biological parents. There is no detail of his biological parents, what led to the adoption? These are the questions, which remains unanswered about his life. However, it gives a hint about his personality. Can this be the reason behind his ability to bring so much of emotions in his acting?

According to an article of Ndtv movies ‘In birthplace Amritsar, relatives remember Rajesh Khanna’, foster brother of RK said here, “He used to love to play cricket when he lived here. He was a simple boy when he lived here and led a simple life even after achieving so much”.

The word migration seems to be constant when it comes to Kaka’s life. His foster parents migrated to Saraswati Niwasin Thakurdwar near Girgaon, Mumbai. He studied at Sebastian’s Goan High School, Hill Grange High School and passed out in 1959. Later he went to Wadia College of Pune for two years for his bachelors but ended up in KC College. Every individual is born with some talent and it starts flourishing when given an opportunity. Khanna progressively started giving attention in theatre and did a lot of stage and theatre plays in his school and  during college days and won many prizes in competitions.

Before joining the film industry, his uncle changed his name from Jatin to Rajesh, love and affection from his friends and relatives gave him the title, ‘Kaka’. In an article of Times of India, ‘Rajesh Khanna’s lesser known facts’, July 18, 2012, an interesting point comes out, which says that ‘his foster father initially didn’t approve of his foray into films.’

He was a rare and yet strange newcomer who used to go to theatre and studios in his MG Sports car. The most normal way of looking at this aspect is, he came from a strong financial background but there is another psychology behind using sports car. According to personality theories, people who are fond of sports cars are risk takers and showy.

People like Rajesh Khanna really sets examples for how talent hunts are efficient in finding talents. His path towards bollywood was visible when he won the All India Talent Contest organised by Filmfare and United Producers, and acted in Chetan Anand’s Aakhri Khat the very next year.

Most of the big stars of bollywood could not do very well in their initial period for example Amitabh Bachchan, Shammi Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan etc. Likewise Kaka’s actual stardom started after his romantic film ‘Aradhana’.

To understand a movie actor, it becomes very important to have an overview of his or her movies. In a way, it defines their view of the world. Like in case of present day leading stars, Aamir and Salman do completely different genre of films. Rajesh Khanna did 163 feature films of which in 128 films, he  played the role of lead protagonist and he appeared in 17 short films. Films that an actor does act as an image in front of the public. It is entirely on an actor to choose the kind of movies he or she wants to do, based on their comfort zone, where they want to be and this is the reason why one becomes a superstar and others do not.

When you look at his movies, specially the continuous 15 hits that he gave, starting from ‘Ittefak’, where he his playing the role of Dilip Roy, a painter ,who is being tried for murdering his wife.

Moving towards ‘Aradhana’, here he had played the role of an air force officer. Smart, Handsome, Dashing, good-looking guy. In other words a “Man in uniform” is considered the most elegant, well mannered and chivalrous.

In ‘Kati Patang’, he is the one who falls in love with a woman who is seen as an imposter in the society but Rajesh Khanna falls in love with her.

‘Sachha Jhutha’ is a film where Rajesh Khanna is an innocent villager but gets into trouble because he looks very similar to a crook.

‘Anand’ is the movie that can force anyone to fall in love with Kaka. Here he is a man who doesn’t have any family, lover left him, got married and saddest of all is he is suffering from incurable cancer but despite all this he is full of life and values the importance of it. He is very helpful and caring but one cannot run away from the destiny and he ultimately dies.

Bollywood is known for making animal affectionate movies and when Rajesh Khanna featured in ‘Hathhi Mere Sathhi’, he became the favourite of children.

Similarly when you look at ‘Amar Prem’ and ‘Bawarchi’ and so many others one can feel a very positive vibrant. However bollywood follows a similar pattern and entirely focuses on entertainment. Rajesh Khanna chose to do movies that focused on breaking the cultural norm of bollywood and yet entertained. (Like falling in love with a servant, falling for a women who is seen as imposter etc)

The way he brought romance on screen, the chemistry that he built with his co-actors is rarely seen in any films even today. It was so natural that millions of girls went crazy for him. This ability does not just come within an actor just for the sake of it; it comes from personal life experience to some extent. Love was not just a major part of his life but it was an unstable part that was never stable and even after his death, his love life is surrounded by controversies.

‘Anju Mahendru – Why She Broke in to Tears for Rajesh Khanna’, an article on SeventyMM.com, talks about Kaka’s very first affair with Anju Mahendru, and says, ‘Rajesh Khanna dated actress Anju Mahendru for around seven years. They broke up in 1972 since, apparently, Mahendru wasn’t ready for marriage. Anju Mahendru, who broke in to tears while Kaka was cremated. There are rumors that when Kaka died his hand was in Anju Mahendru’s hands. However, have you given it a thought why Anju was so concerned about Kaka? It’s because she was his old lady love. Rajesh Khanna and Anju Mahendru were in relationship for 7 long years, but, they were not able to convert this long courtship into a lifelong relationship. The reason behind this, as the sources say was the bold and open nature of Anju Mahendru. Rajesh wanted to marry Anju but she did not. The differences resulted in conflicts. In the mean time, his closeness to Dimple increased.’

An article in entertainment.oneindia.in, ‘10 lesser known facts about Dimple Kapadia, Rajesh Khanna’s marriage’, says that ‘Rajesh Khanna met Dimple Kapadia when she just had a break up with Rishi Kapoor. She was single at that time and was Rajesh Khanna’s huge fan. Rajesh Khanna married Dimple, who was 15 years younger to him, at her father Chunnibhai Kapadia’s family bungalow in Juhu, in March 1973. Dimple was fondly called Dimpy by Rajesh Khanna and Dimple used to call him Kaka. Rajesh Khanna and Dimple lived separately but they never got divorced.’  Rajesh Khanna once said, “I still love my wife”.

Thirteen days after Kaka’s death, Dimple Kapadia came for his funeral. (‘Rajesh Khanna’s death’s thirteenth day, Dimple makes it’, article in English.samaylive.in) In addition, another point that comes out about this affair is that Rajesh Khanna did not include Dimple in his will.

Mid Day in its article ‘Rajesh Khanna and his women’, dated July 19, 2012,  Tina Munim entered his life soon after he and dimple were separated. Though she was half his age both did several movies together and their on-screen chemistry proved to be successful. This made them come close and soon they were romantically involved. Unlike other couples, they never tried to hide their relation. They rather announced that they were so much in love with each other to the extent that they even shared a toothbrush.

Indiatoday.intoday.in, in its article, ‘Why Tina Munium left Rajesh Khanna’, doubtfully mentions that Tina wanted to marry Rajesh Khanna but as he could not get divorce from his wife, Tina left him.

The last controversial affair of Rajesh Khanna with Anita Advani is still under the court of facts.

The most common angle one will take while looking at this facet of Kaka, is in a negative way but one cannot ignore the fact that none of his relations lasted till the end. None of his lovers stayed with him till his last breathe infact   they all abandoned him.

Continuous affairs, states one thing very clearly, that he did not want to stay alone in life. His loneliness brought several people close to him.

The way he enacted his songs gave rhythm to romance.

“An actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet.”
By James Dean

His personal life had a great role in influencing his professional career. His competence in romance was not something he had adopted from anyone. This depicts importance of love in his journey of life. He presented what he had so strong within himself.

He created magical chemistry with numerous actress.  Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna gave eight hits and mended history in bollywood. Actress like Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, Zeenat Aman were behind his success as a romantic actor in 70’s.

Singers are the soul mates of actors specially when it comes to bollywood. Super hits songs not only bring stardom to an actor but also reflect his or her ability to feel the essence of words written in the song. A new wave of expressions was introduced by Kaka not only through his acting but also the way he presented emotions filled in the words of songs.

Duty of an actor is to act. How does he or she enact that it makes them so outstanding? The extent to which an actor is capable of depicting reality determines his or her quality of acting.

An article of nst.com, based on Rajesh Khanna life by a columnist states that, ‘Khanna found his own status challenged even as he gave 15 big hits in a row. While still 31, he told Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the maker of ‘Namak Haram’, the Indian version of Richard Burton-Peter O’Toole star-studded Becket: “My time is up. Amitabh is the superstar of tomorrow.”  It was a rare moment of modesty.’

Directors generally portrayed him as a middle-class hero. They always projected him with melodical and fictional aspiration. His relation with his crewmembers on set was not very likeable. His attitude was a major problem. They did not appreciate his sycophantic allies a lot. Continuous change in behaviour, coming late to work and ego clashes with other stars became one of the most prominent obstacles that came in his way.

Rajesh khanna through his this charm won the hearts of many. At the end of the day, one cannot forget that films are forms of entertainment. One single face in bollywood cannot survive for long. The super stardom of Rajesh Khanna was inconsistent. It did not last for long.

Awards and actors are related to each other as if an actor is not appreciated for his act through awards then he is not considered as an impactful one. This tragedy is evident when comes to Kaka, as he was never recommended for any national awards for any film nor for any of his public work.

His stardom as a romantic hero came down with the introduction of Rishi Kapoor. Within the short span of two years (1976-1978), four films of his were able to make it to box office but the rest 9 films flopped surprisingly but the critics valued his performances and the film’s music and hence his flourishing run at the box office was broken.

One of the reasons for his downfall is also considered fall of his good person image. His marriage with Dimple Kapadia was often seen as an outrageous decision or one can also interpret  as a spontaneous decision.

He later came up with many movies, which brought stardom back to him, but not that one which he had seen earlier. His latter movies include  AmardeepPhir Wohi RaatBandish, Thodi si BewafaiiDardKudratDhanwanAshanti (1982 film), AvtaarAgar Tum Na HoteSoutenJaanwarAsha JyotiAwaazNaya Kadam, Hum DonoBabuAaj Ka M.L.A. Ram AvtarShatru, Insaaf Main KaroongaAnokhdid Rishta,NazranaAngaareyAdhikar (1986),AmritAwam (film) (from 1979–1991). These sort of films did not woo the audience like the way it did earlier mainly because of same plot , same  ideology behind films. Time was passing and the style of bollywood was changing. An actor can only survive those changes when he or she change themselves along with change and adapt the varieties it brings with itself.

Risk is something on which all our actions depends. Rajesh Khanna came back with Amardeep and then again started giving many critically acclaimed and commercially successful films starting from 1979 till 1991. Balaji wanted to set up himself in Hindi film industry as a producer and thereby wanted to remake his Tamil film Sivaji Ganeshan starrer Dheepam in Hindi. At a time when Khanna’s films were not working at the box office, Khanna got this film out of the blue and went on to become a big hit. In the 80’s his films opposite Tina Munim, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil and Poonam Dhillon were big hits.

India as a country is very political in approach. Rajesh Khanna, once a leading actor of the nation joined politics. In the same article of News Straits Times, it is mentioned that, “he was Congress star support against Bachchan, who had fallen out with then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Khanna was fielded in the 1991 parliamentary election against opposition stalwart L.K. Advani. Women thronged to vote Khanna. After a big shock, Advani won by a paltry 1,589 votes. Khanna later defeated fellow actor Shatrughan Sinha. But he contributed little to Parliament beyond his “charming presence.”

Rajesh Khanna was modern like Devanand. But he couldn’t use his modernity in politics.

Acting is a profession, which involves life longing controversies and never ending contradictory statements. Rajesh Khanna was not aloof from this and as recent update on him states doubtful facts about him. An actor cannot stay a super star forever but Rajesh Khanna will always remain the first ever superstar of India. He fought his battle till the time he could. It was the era that changed, choice of people shifted. He did movies, which he could do as an actor. When Amitabh Bachan emerged as an angry man, Kaka didn’t accept the proposal made by Hrishikesh Mukherji because he knew he wouldn’t make up to Amitabh Bachan’s level and one can understand this is how a film industry works. (An article of nst.com, based on Rajesh Khanna life by a columnist states that, Khanna found his own status challenged even as he gave 15 big hits in a row. While still 31, he told Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the maker of Namak Haram, the Indian version of Richard Burton-Peter O’Toole star-studded Becket: “My time is up. Amitabh is the superstar of tomorrow.”  It was a rare moment of modesty.)

A single actor cannot play various types of role because all of them are not his cup of tea. In addition, for how long audience will admire a single genre of films. Everyone needs variety. Rajesh Khanna was an actor of 70s who showed people what was appreciated by people at that point of time. With time audiences also change, they are not the same one.

History of films states that films were to allow people to move away from their daily life that were so full of tragedies, tension, and grief. Rajesh Khanna was an actor and his prime duty was to entertain his audience, which he did to the fullest.

He had a mysterious and controversial personal life. Impact of which can be seen in his professional career too. Stability was never seen in his entire life. On July, 18, 2012, Rajesh Khanna said, “time ho gaya, pack up”, these last words reveals a lot about his personality. Films were an eminent part of his life because it was a medium for him to send a message across us. Ups and downs of his life may portray him in grey shade but it did influence him and gave him the talent for which he was admired that most: his emotion filled expressions, ability to deliver dialogues which made those moments classic and the amazing on screen chemistry.

‘Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye, Lambi Nahi Babu Moshai’, one of the most famous dialogue of Rajesh Khanna now can be used to describe his own life. He died at the age of 69 on 18th July, 2012. His weak, pale body had already given up hopes. Liver infection became the cause of his sudden death. Kaka would have never thought that his dialogues and the plot of his films will be used to describe his own tale. Films are like the mirror of society. His film,‘Anand’ shares some similarities with Kaka’s own life story. Anand(character) died because of cancer in the film but left the world with many reasons to live life happily and likewise Rajesh Khanna left the world with so much to learn from him. He made his life big, big enough to be learned from.

“I don’t want to die before dying,” he said in Safar. Mahendar Ved in one his column quoted Rajesh Khanna and added, “that lonely grit sustained through personal and professional fluctuations. He has departed, like the era he represented. Nostalgia remains.”

Today when I think about, how someone can be more awesome than SRK, then I feel stupid of myself because I know it is not about being awesome or great, it’s about how one depicts different things in different manner.

Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye, Sanjh Ki Dulhan Badan Churaya, Chup Ke Se Aaye, Mere Khayalo Ke Aagan Mein, Koi Sapno Ke Dip Jalaya.

I know life is ending; bride like beautiful death is approaching, slowly.

I want someone to bring a hope in my life also, which can allow me to live more. No one wants to die but one cannot ignore death, the ultimate truth of life.

Unnati Maharudra

TYBMM.

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Film Review: VICKY DONOR

Director: Shoojit Sircar

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor

Scriptwriter: Juhi Chaturvedi

Cinematographer: Kamljeet Negi

Producers: John Abraham, Ronnie Lahiri, Ram Mirchandani and Eros International

Poster of Vicky Donor

Country like ours where sex is a taboo, anything related to it, is a taboo too. Hence, making a film on sperm donation is a very gutsy thing. Even though film revolves around this controversial topic, it is a “family entertainer”.

JA Entertainment (John Abraham), Rampage Motion Pictures (Ram Mirchandani), Rising Suns Films (Ronnie Lahiri) and Eros International’s Vicky Donor is about a young man who turns into sperm donor to make some money.

Vicky Arora (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a lazy, jobless, typically Punjab boy who believes in living life king size. He stays in refugee colony of Delhi with his mother (Dolly Ahluwalia), who runs a beauty parlour, and his paternal grandmother, Biji (Kamlesh Gill), who wants to own iphone with 32 GB and 42” LCD Television. He is persuaded by Dr. Baldev Chaddha (Annu Kapoor), a “certified” infertility doctor, to donate his “waste” sperms. Dr. Chaddha tell him that he is an Aryan race and doctor wants such young man like him (Vicky) who can help him to save his clinic. After much resistance, Vicky gets ready to donate sperm but makes it clear that he is not doing for charity but to earn extra money.

Meanwhile, Vicky meets Bengali banker, Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam). Later both fell in love and eventually get married. The way their love story takes a flow is very sweet and you somewhat relate yourself with it.  Since, Vicky is in a work which is not considered good and is look down; it is hidden from his family and love. But twist comes when his truth is out and then starts the tragic part.

The casting is very good. VJ Ayushmann Khurrana has proved that he has a talent and he can be a great actor if given chance. Every genre of his character be it comedy, romance or tragedy, has been played with an ease by Ayushmann. Acting comes to him naturally. Even the leading lady Yami Gautam has proved her potential. She is a pleasure to eyes to be watched. She has carried her role with a charm. What makes film superb is its supporting cast. Annu Kapoor with his special hand gesture for sperms has been the perfect choice as Dr. Chaddha. He has taken the film to another level. Even the casting of the family members of the couple has been the right choice. Every character in the film has given good details.

Director, Shoojit Sircar has created an aura around ever character. He has been successful in making a film with such a taboo topic with perfect comedy timing but no awkward moments. This is a film which works on performance and direction. But the backbone of the film is script, Juhi Chaturvedi has written a film, which is full of romance, comedy, bit of tragedy and which will touch your heart.

If we talk about music, then it is very peppy and lively. “Rum Whiskey” a Bhangra number, with special entry of co-producer John Abraham, can be a hit in discos. Even slow songs like “Pani da Rang” and “Mar Jaiyan” are treat to ears.

After a very long time we have seen a movie which is refreshing, funny, warm and sensible, in all, a complete entertaining.

 

– Anusha Pathak

TYBMM Journalism

Sophia College.

SEX, BOLLYWOOD &POLITICS: RAGE OVER REMOVAL OF JISM 2 POSTERS

I read the articles over the recent removal of jism 2 posters. I am amused and angered by it.

Sex is something we all like, want and crave for.  A woman’s body is most aesthetically made. All this is accepted. But there is also another perspective through which we need to look at these two concepts especially in the medium of cinema.

“Censoring images created by the human mind has been going on since the dark ages. I remember qurban’s posters being removed by the moral police. I guess the more things change they remain the same. Individual freedom has always been trampled upon in the name of the larger good by the political class” said Mahesh Bhatt when the issue came up.

This is the same man who once blatantly stated on national television that “I make movies to titillate the audiences”. The perverse excitement and intent with which it was spoken was visibly very clear.

The jism 2 posters show that it is a downright porn movie. I talked to a prominent psychologist regarding the issue. She is based in Vadodara. My question to her, was do you think such movie posters increase crime against women? Her answer was, ‘any kind of image of sexual images, literature affects the human mind. So the public must first be educated about them. Sexual content must be exposed to people according to their age group, according to the dimensions set. Different people have different levels of mental vulnerability towards sexual content. Children are especially vulnerable to such exposure. There is an immaturity in them to the access of information. A group of teenagers who are not vulnerable to sexual content may not get affected. But if such content is distributed on a college campus a number of them are going to be affected. Such posters contribute about 25-30 percent in sexual crimes against women”.

It is common sense that unconsciously we are terribly excited about sex. But my concern is that children and women are affected. This is precisely the reason why the NCP MLA VIDYA CHAVAN requested the Maharashtra bureaucracy to remove the posters.’ School going children with impressionable minds view these posters. The reason, why I feel the posters must not hit the public eye. My suggestion is to have different, more sedate posters for the public view and the promotional posters put up in the theatres and multiplexes. The posters must certainly not be on walls, parks, colleges, buses and billboards.  This way one does not curb personal freedom as well as does a service to women.

There is something called as a society which comes before personal freedom. If cinema is a mirror of the society it also counter affects it. One cannot deny this.  One has to check and debate the effects of such objects, on society. Both sides of a coin must be debated with equal importance. The media never understands this in its hunger for sensationalism.

In this case except vidya chavan, no other individual backing this change was asked his view. All those who were asked to opine were members of the film industry like Mahesh Bhatt, alyque padamsee etc. At the end of the articles it was explicitly stated that politicians always attack the film fraternity. As far as I know, journalism does not allow a journalist express his opinion in any matter. The newspapers and the media as a whole have always done this.

One has to debate this issue hotly, but neutrally. The audience must be handpicked cutting across professions and mental health professionals must most definitely be involved . Sex in films is a sensitive matter and should not be a one-sided discussion.

REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Be it Mumbai- India, U.S.A or the rest of the world; The Dark Knight Rises has beaten records all across the world, beating Avatar and the Avengers.


July 30, 1970- the day a legendary director was born. With movies like “Inception”, “Prestige”, “Insomnia”, and “Memento”; comes yet another masterpiece- “The Dark Knight Rises,” directed by Christopher Nolan; and is THE epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy! It has very well been able to live up to all the hype and expectations created before its release. The level to which the film has been able to grasp the attention and imagination of the public is incredible. The most awesome part of this entire trilogy is that the portrayal of batman is believable and relatable, as Bruce Wayne/Batman himself says, – “Batman is just a symbol, it can be anyone”; a true hero for our times and representative of the world we recognize around us.
I have watched every superhero movie ever, but TDK is a league above, it is a movie that focuses on superhero as a person, not as a superhero with superhuman powers. It talks about how a superhero is just like us, scared and desperate for someone to love.

The movie shows the ever-lasting loyalty and love between Alfred Pennyworth and a crippled, withdrawn Bruce Wayne, who has been living like a recluse in Wayne Manor since he gave up the Bat cape eight years earlier; when he took the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder.
“You’re not living,” Pennyworth says, emotionally. “You’re just waiting for something bad to happen.”

And something bad happens, indeed. Bane (Tom Hardy) who is said to be born and raised in hell and excommunicated from the League of Shadows has come to disrupt the peaceful Gotham city to lead his own devious, evil revolution against the city’s wealthy and powerful along with his army of thugs and mercenaries. Just when you miss the presence of the Joker, comes the Bane character, who is unique in itself as he is what our worst fears about terrorism embodied in a single man, comes alive.

“The Dark Knight Rises” finds Batman racing against time to stop the Darth Vader-like (except the heavy breathing part) super-terrorist Bane, his face mostly obscured by a metallic vent; from detonating a nuclear bomb set to destroy Gotham City. Indulging in any more details of the movie might be a spoiler as it is packed with mysterious twists and turns, which makes one go like–“OMG!!”

While there is no performance quite as legendary and enticing as the late Heath Ledger’s as the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” the cast’s work is sterling, from the big roles to the smallest.
Christian Bale as usual, as the Batman is even better here, adding nuance and shading that was absent before. “Dark Knight” veterans Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth) are impressive in their performances.

Anne Hathway as Selina Kyle, the ‘Cat Woman’ offers the biggest surprise of a performance as she fully inhabits the character of a master thief who is on the on-look for a device which can erase every record of her crime life from every database in the world. She virtually steals your breath away with her sarcastic wit, sultry allure and seductive looks; delivering both in dialogue delivery and action. In comparison, Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate (“Inception,” “Midnight in Paris”) provides just the right measure of allure, smarts and mystery as the wealthy philanthropist Miranda Tate. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a wonderful performance as young police officer John Blake, who plays a significant role in the film.

Have no doubts about it; “The Dark Knight Rises” is a spectacular show. The visuals are extraordinary. The action sequences are dazzling, especially so since Nolan relies on his old-fashioned stunt work. It will be hard to shake some of the images, whether it’s the stunning midair plane hijacking that opens the film, the way Batman’s bike turns; Batman flying through Gotham in his cool toys or Bane blowing up a stadium during an NFL game.

Nolan’s “Dark Knight Rises” from being a superb bit of work to a truly visionary filmmaker is a marvelous final installment of the Batman saga. Nolan’s storytelling is undeniably serious but never quite boring or sober. It is though, a pity that this was his last direction as he is just 42.
As a cop tells a younger partner when Batman first reappears after the stock exchange attack; “Boy, you’re in for a show tonight, son.” And, it indeed is quite a show.

One advice to the world: DO NOT MISS THIS EPIC CONCLUSION OF A MOVIE OF THE FRANCHISE. But do watch it at your own risk, as after this movie, no other superhero movie might be good enough to match up to the bar set up by this piece of legend.


— Sakshi Raina
TYBMM (Journo.)

COCKTAIL : FUZZY OR WATERY?

A REVIEW 

COCKTAIL. It lived up to its name in terms of the diversity in characters, their lifestyles and spirit that Imtiaz Ali very cleverly put together in his script to cater to the entertainment needs of the present modern generation. Homi Adajania did full justice to the script by getting only those actors who were most apt to play the characters. Pritam Chakraborty gave amazing music tracks that I’m sure most of us continue to hum to this date. Irshad Kamil, who also wrote the lyrics for ‘Love Aaj Kal’ did a rather splendid job too. But after all the glossy promotions, Glamorous star cast, Generation Next approach, did the cocktail work its magic? Not quite.

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Gautam, played by Saif Ali Khan, is an outright Casanova who hooks up with any girl for casual sex. Veronica, played by the glamorous Deepika Padukone, calls herself a “Rich Bitch” and is basically dumped by her parents. She attempts to hide her loneliness by drinking too much, visiting night bars and discos and indulging in anything that gives pleasure to her senses. Yet, we see a soft side to her.  Meera, played by model Diana Penty, is a coy girl-next-door with all the supposed “Indian values” in her. She comes to London to meet her Husband, played by Randeep Hooda, who abandons her the very day she reaches London. For him, the marriage was an excuse to get some money.

The ingredient that ruins the cocktail is the unnatural bonding the characters share in an unbelievably short period of time. Veronica meets Meera in a washroom, listens to her story, takes her home, and the next thing you know, they call themselves sisters. Veronica plays a prank on Gautam, both get drunk in a pub, dance, have casual sex that night, and the next thing you know, they are living together. Meera is disgusted by Gautam. Gautam as one can clearly see is mesmerised by Veronica, but the next thing you know, he is in love with Meera. One would not have even realised that Meera was in love with Gautam too, unless the kiss that happened between the two. Friends can be difficult to share and love can be totally confusing, but to confuse the audience in all the confusion makes the cocktail real distasteful.

Now comes the part where the cocktail shows its true colours. The Generation Next approach falls flat on its face as the coy Indian girl, who knows how to cook, clean and impress mothers, is unusually unaware of her good looks until made cognizant of it by a guy, for whom she obviously falls later, is predictably the one the hero falls in love with in the end. What happens to Veronica, the girl with flimsy character and brazen dress sense? Someone who is not so different from Gautam yet condemned by all? Of course, as Veronica says, “someone has to lose”, the subtext being, a girl with the same character as a guy, is absolutely the kind of material one wants to sleep with but not take home to dear mommy. It is rather unfortunate that a movie such as cocktail that screams modernity out loud, gives such a sad message.When are we going to give up this archaic, patriarchal attitude?

Perhaps the only ingredients that gave some kick to the cocktail were the outstanding performances by the actors, especially Deepika Padukone. Taking on a very challenging role and doing complete justice to it, Deepika proves her capability as a prolific actor. She clearly takes the audiences’ attention toward herself for a major part of the movie, so much so, that instead of feeling happy for Gautam and Meera’s reunion, one feels utterly sorry for Veronica. The disco scene where Veronica’s composure and indifference eventually give way to a complete emotional breakdown deserves a standing ovation. Diana, as a debutante, and Saif, as entertaining as ever, also did a great job. The direction and cinematography are outstanding as well, especially those scenes shot at the disco where one moment Veronica is amidst a huge crowd and the next in an empty dance floor, hence speaking volumes about the circumstance and Veronica’s emotions.

To conclude, the cocktail may been a little watery as the story line is fairly predictable and redundant, yet the music is fresh, the faces are young and glamorous, the direction and acting are at their best. All in all, it is a cocktail worth trying.

Neel Kamal Mishra

TYBMM

JOURNALISM

When Mumbai bid Rajesh Khanna a farewell…

A crowd of thousands gathered on the streets of Mumbai on Thursday, the 19th of July 2012, to bid adieu to India’s first superstar.

The crowds at Rajesh Khanna’s funeral. Amitabh and Abhishek Bachhan were also present.

Rajesh Khanna lost his battle to cancer on the 18th of July 2012. His funeral was a rather grand one. His body was taken to the cremation grounds in Vile Parle from his home in Carter Road, Bandra on a truck. The truck was decorated with white flowers and had huge, fully blown up images of Rajesh Khanna from his young days.

What added to the funeral and made it so remarkable were the mourners that mobbed the truck when the body was being carried for cremation. Thousands of fans and admirers gathered on the streets to catch a last glimpse of the superstar. I happened to be crossing Pawan Hans, Vile Parle (probably the closest landmark to the cremation grounds) on the day of the funeral. Around the entire area, there were four police vans with many police out on the streets on a traffic bandobast. Unaware that the funeral was going to take place, I was initially worried looking at the kind of security Vile Parle was provided with. As I proceeded towards Santacruz, I saw the crowds and the truck carrying the body. That’s when it struck me that it was Rajesh Khanna’s funeral.

The crowds on the streets were a reflection of the level of stardom Rajesh Khanna had achieved in the 60s and 70s. From my auto-rickshaw, most of the crowds that I could see were women in their mid-forties. These teary-eyed women were struggling, pushing, snubbing everyone in their way to catch a glimpse of probably, their first crush.

Being the month of July, the rains did not favor the funeral. But, the rains didn’t stop more and more people from joining into the funeral. As my rickshaw proceeded further towards Bandra, I could only see the crowd increasing.

I had heard many stories, from many people about the kind of fan following Rajesh Khanna possessed in the 70s. I had seen 40 year old women blush as they spoke about him and his sex appeal in his younger days. But only when I saw his funeral, did I believe all of that. I don’t remember seeing such love and remorse at any celebrity’s funeral in the past. I actually saw both men and women, holding up pictures of him and crying on the streets. At certain areas, the crowds had become uncontrollable. The police had to take control of the crowd.

The police controlling the crowds during the funeral.

The truck carrying Rajesh Khanna’s body.

On the whole, the streets between Bandra and Vile Parle were filled with grief, madness and traffic jams on Thursday, the 19th of July 2012. Mumbai took time out to bid a goodbye to her favorite superstar. Akshay Kumar was heard quoting, ‘My father-in-law received the kind of funeral he deserved.’ It was a scene that the streets of the city hadn’t seen in a long time and wouldn’t probably see for a long time from now.

Luckily, I happened to be a part of this kind of a celebration of stardom. RIP Rajesh Khanna, you did give your fans something that your contemporaries didn’t which is why they showed you their love at your funeral.

Photograph courtesy:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/rajesh-khanna-funeral_n_1685552.html#slide=1245654
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/rajesh-khanna-funeral_n_1685552.html#slide=1245646
http://www.india-forums.com/event/5020/213761-rajesh-khanna-funeral.htm#image

-Shruti Shenoy
TYBMM

Films and Society: Film Review – Zodiac

We all read about the Colorado Killer and his hooded rampage. The Dark Knight Rises supposedly gave him an excuse to go firing during a screening without a motive. But this isn’t the first time. There is a long list of english films, like the Child’s Play Series, The Basketball Diaries, The Matrix, Scream and so on, that have instigated crimes in the past.

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Since we Indians are so fascinated with the west and have dedicated our lives to aping them in every way possible, such cases are not unknown to our country either. Paranoia is contagious. The incident that occurred in Ahmedabad on July 10th testifies my previous statement. A 16-year-old murdered his older sister in bed and was planning to kill his parents with the same knife, if it wasn’t for his cousins screaming. His justification for the act was that he wanted to kill he family so he could inherit all the money, just like the film Vidhwanshak.

Suddenly, people realize the role that films play in their lives. But the film industry, unfortunately, has criminals to thank for some of their greatest hits. Films based on real life homicide make for good entertainment. Some of these have actually been given high ratings. One such film, The Zodiac (2007), directed by David Fincher was adapted from the book, and nominated for several awards, even the Cannes.

Based on the true story of the killer who identified himself as Zodiac killed 7 people in the San Francisco area and sent letters to the press creating terror in the districts of San Francisco, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the film shows a young cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle who becomes obsessed with finding the identity of Zodiac, long after the police give up hope. The killer, Arthur Leigh Allen, was  pedophile and was thrown out of the school where he was a teacher, for touching children. He killed only the women and left most of the men alive. His killing pattern would constantly change but he never has his fill of media attention. He was suspected to be ambidextrous which made his letters to the editor all the more difficult to trace. He was found to possess two guns and bloody knives. His reason for killing was, as per his first letter to the Chronicle, to collect as many servants as possible that would serve him, once he dies, in paradise.

ImageThe film begins with him killing a friend, Darlene and her boyfriend in 1969 in their car, post which the killer starts sending letter of confession to the leading newspapers, without revealing his true identity. The SFPD soon gets involved but the case seems to be headed nowhere. Each time the police come close to catching the killer, things become more complicated. A reporter at the Chronicle gets a threat letter addressed to him by the Zodiac (possible retaliation to being accused of being a latent homosexual) which involves him in the case so deep that he loses himself. The cartoonist, Jake, somehow does not seem to be satisfied with the justification that the Zodiac is gone, given years of silence from his end. He obsessively begins investigating and trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle. He succeeds in the end, no doubt. However, due to lack of legal evidence and other similar loop holes, Allen is never truly proven guilty. Regardless, Jake writes a book called the Zodiac which becomes a bestseller in a few years. The film ends with Darlene’s boyfriend recognizing Allen as the man who had shot him all those years ago on the 4th of July.

With a promising cast including Mark Ruffalo, Jake Cyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., the 2 hour 40 minute film makes for a gripping and entertain mystery. 

One wonders if it is he easy access to weapons in the US that makes it easy for a person to carry out his/her psychotic fantasies, if that is the reason for the alarming number of crimes in the country. In India, you need a license to own a gun. But does that really reduce the crime rate? The film Jannat 2 ruled that one out by bringing to light the scandalous illegal arms trade in the capital city. 

We can thus say that it is a two-way street. If people can use films as excuses to commit crimes, films based on crimes turn out to be entertaining.  Children these days do not play, and if they do, it would only be on their expensive computers or cell phones. The games developed by the booming gaming industry can be blamed for the violent entertainment they provide to innocent minds. But are they not the only reason. Would it, thus be right, to brand society as hypocritic, to want entertainment, yet criticize it?

-Disha Deshpande

Kevi Rite Javana Aapde?

Dhollywood gets fresh lease of life 

The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation, says Abhishek Jain, director of ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’  to our reporter, Disha Deshpande

Dhollywood has come of age after 30-year long wait! As the Gujarati film industry completes 60 years, the industry is undergoing a slow metamorphosis with newer film themes. After the golden era of the 70s, came the clone period where the films and music lacked innovation, post which the Gujarati film industry saw its viewership dwindling. But the silver lining may yet be visible as the young filmmakers explore newer and bolder themes to move past the long shadows of the Gujarati films revolving around the same old themes like mythology and love stories. But is it a comeback yet?

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First time directors seem to be taking the reins in their hands, instead of migrating to television and Hindi films like before. “The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation. They want to get into the Gujarati film industry and change its face. Their involvement will bring fresh perspective to the films. I have lived in Ahmedabad all my life, so I understand Gujaratis better. This gave me the confidence to make a Gujarati film,” says Abhishek Jain, debut director of upcoming comedy film ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ (How will you go?),It is a satire on the fascination and obsession of Patels, a farming community, migrating to United States of America and starting a life afresh there. It has received a lot of attention post release, specially from the gujju crowd.

Multiplexes have a different story to tell. “Gujarati films lack the basic audio-visual quality. Even if the film is screened, it is a no show. People do not come to watch. The acting is not up to the mark and the actors lack the intensity in their expressions. It becomes pointless as the films are just not worth it,” says Manubhai Patel, owner of Wide Angle Multiplex. Owner of Ashok and Roopam theatres in Ahmedabad, Vandan Shah adds, “People are ashamed to watch Gujarati films. The government give filmmakers a sub- sidy of Rs 5 Lakh. Despite this, on an average, 40-50 Gujarati films are produced every year. Last year, the industry churned out 63 films.”

The involvement and contribution to the Dhollywood is definitely on the rise. But direc- tors are making sure they give the audiences a lot of variety to choose from. ‘Megh Dhanushya- Colours of life’ is one such film which is sure to raise some eyebrows. “My film is about homosexuals, their lives, and their struggles. They are criticised, mocked in public and used as humour props in several other films. The film is not aimed at increasing their acceptance, but to sensitize people about gays and their turbulent world.” says director K R Devmani, another debutant. His film is scheduled to be released worldwide. He is quite sure that his film will be accepted as it is an informative one, for all age groups, with no offensive scenes.

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A still from Meghdhanushya

The new age directors and actors of the Gujarati film industry are very optimistic about its future. Devmani adds, “For the past several years, films were not very well made, and the repetitive aspect of the rural stories was not getting the audiences. Now, with new concepts pouring in, one hopes the audiences will re- turn.”

“Marathi cinema was in a similar position a few years back. But young directors gave a slew of great critically acclaimed films and they just could not be ignored anymore. The Maharashtra government had stepped in and it was made compulsory for cinema houses to carry Marathi films,” says Abhishek Jain, positive that a few good films will be an urban contemporary wave and everybody will accept Gujarati cinema as a something valuable. Will this new wave in Gujarati cinema turn the tide is something that one can only wait and watch! 

 

Disha Deshpande

WOMEN IN LOVE

Madhur Bhandarkar, a film maker known for making women-centric films but have you ever thought about the representation of women in his films? Well there can be a number of angles to look at his films, but for now i want to tell you about representation of women in love in his films.

 As far as love is concerned, women in Bhandarkar films definitely seem to fall in love and fall is the operative word: they hit the ground with a resounding thud. 

Bhandarkar’s women are in politics, the corporate world, the fashion industry and amongst the Page 3 elite. They are ambitious. But they choose the wrong men. They fall in love with men they admire, men who have mentored them. It seems as if these women’s love relationships reflect as genuine an attachment to the men they love as to success, power or money. Thus, when they fall, they fall (here meaning hurt themselves) simultaneously in love and in their professional lives.

In the film Fashion, when Abhijit Sarin (played by Arbaaz Khan) terminates Shonali’s (Kangana Ranaut) contract and ropes in Meghna as Panache’s new face, Meghna then falls in love with him  and leaves her struggling boyfriend.

Another recurring pattern in Bhandarkar’s films is that women cannot keep their professional and personal lives separate. Once in love, they commit stupid mistakes.  

Madhavi in Page 3, who is shown as a sensible journalist, starts writing about her model boyfriend in her paper because of their relationship. Meghna, an ambitious, smart woman fails to understand the motive behind Mr. Sarin’s lust for her and gets drawn towards him emotionally. She knows that Mr. Sarine is married and has two children yet she is falls in love with him. In the film Corporate, Nishigandha takes the blame of the soft drink scam on behalf of the company only because her soul mate Ritesh convinces her to do so. A woman who is seemingly smart and intelligent in the initial half of the movie sacrifices both her personal and professional lives only because of her love for Ritesh?

Women in Bhandarkar’s films have been shown as being emotional fools who repeat their mistakes in love. It can be inferred that women are driven by feelings while men by benefits.

In the film Corporate, Nishigandha played by Bipasha Basu is a part of the corporate ‘system’ – manipulative, smart and diplomatic. However, her loyalty exposes her vulnerability and gets the better of her. She ultimately is stuck in a long drawn out legal battle to prove her innocence as she is asked to take responsibility for a major scam by her employers.

Besides love, sexuality is also fore-grounded in these films. Bhandarkar’s women-centric films often portray women as sexually vulnerable. The male gaze is a constant threat to the women in the society. In their professional endeavours they are constantly curbed or come up against the challenge of being anything more than either ‘eye candy’ or mere sexual gratification for the men who rule these professional spaces.

For instance, in the film Fashion, Gayatri (played by Tara Sharma), an aspiring actress is asked for sexual favours by the Director in exchange for a role in one of his films.

Bhandarkar’s films reinforce that for women, ethics and love are impediments to success in the real world. This can reinforce stereotypical roles & patriarchal images for womanhood as the weaker sex and imply a final discouraging, mythical and misleading moral lesson that a woman always pays a price for her ambitions.

This piece of information is a part of a research paper presented in a national conference. If you are interested in reading the whole research paper, please email at unnatimaharudra@gmail.com.

Unnati Maharudra

TYBMM

Crusaders of Change- मराठी चित्रपटाचे शंभर वर्ष

It was hundred years back when Marathi film industry registered its inception. After gaining both critical and commercial accolades, the Marathi film industry strives to be the Crusader of Change.

No, it is not only 100 years old; it has tried to break away from social stigma by creating awareness through means of entertainment.

The year 1912 not only proved to be a landmark for the Indian Cinema, it also led to the birth of a new regional cinema industry- the Marathi film industry. It was back in 1912, that Pundalik the first Marathi film directed by Dadasaheb Torne, was released. Posters in dailies like the Times of India had created a buzz and grabbed the audiences, who eventually appreciated the film. Soon after, Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra was a major breakthrough which introduced indigenous production of a motion picture in the country. Not only was it a landmark film for Indian cinema, but marked an initiation of the Marathi film industry too.

It becomes important to note the significant contribution made by Marathi film industry to the World cinema. Over the years, Marathi films have spanned a gamut of areas- often making audiences roll on the floor at the same time talking about issues of societal importance.

Post the era of Ashok Saraf’s frolic, the focus of contemporary Marathi cinema has significantly shifted to highlighting social issues which haunt the middle-class families at large, even today. Their aim rests to work as crusaders of change.

Still from the film Kunku

One of the initial films which portrayed realism of the society was V Shantaram’s Kunku. Released in 1937, it was one of the first films to contest the idea of arranged marriages which often ignore women’s rights. The film is a social commentary of Neera’s life, who is forced to marry a widower of her father’s age. An online film critic with the name Memsaab story says “Kunku is made with such stark realism and simplicity that it takes your breath away, and the social commentary at the heart of the film seems (to me anyway) to be way before its time.” Blog link- http://memsaabstory.com/?s=kunku

Interestingly, Marathi cinema has often touched upon issues pertaining to female sexuality in a middle-class scenario. One such film Gargi (2008) directed by Ashish Ubale aimed to break away from the stereotypical notions about female’s sexuality. The plotline focuses on the female protagonist who enjoys sexual encounters and is not averse to the idea of one-night stands. Bharti Kale, a marathi-film buff believes “Gargi breaks away from the stereotypical ways in which women express their sexuality. But there is more to it which the society needs to understand. And such films help people realise the same. Marathi cinema must often explore these so called ‘bold’ issues.”

Still from the film Jogwa

Similarly, the critically acclaimed film Jogwa (2009) directed by Rajiv Patil underlines the hypocrisy of society and a woman’s struggle against sexual violation, discrimination and servitude. Abhishikta Ray, a member of Sophia College’s Film Society says “Jogwa is a revolution! Powerful performances and strong plotline creates a dramatic effect on the audience.”

Champions, one of the films to have bagged the 58th National Award 2011 held in Pune, focuses on the perils of rampant illiteracy and child labour. The producers of the film have made tremendous efforts to hold screenings of the film in several schools across the state.

Several colleges offering Mass Media courses in the city have integrated Marathi films in film screening programmes. As part of Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) course, KJ Somaiya College screens Harishchandrachi Factory and Natrang to acquaint students with Marathi cinema, every year. Prarthana Uppal, a Journalism student says “Marathi films enhance our understanding of cinema. These films mostly deal with real-life issues and are important to get a holistic knowledge while understanding cinema.”

It must be noted that Marathi films have been critically acclaimed and have gained commercial success. The industry continues to be in the good run after several Marathi films being nominated for the Academy awards.

Manisha Lakhe, head of content at Film Orbit opines that Marathi film makers have always tried to make movies with a social message. Even family dramas of the 70s highlighted household problems. For instance, Jhenda tackled the problem that young men face when their loyalties are divided. “As long as the message reaches people via a good story, the ills balanced out with humour, cinema can make a difference.” she further adds.

-Niharika Pandit