Framing Movies – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Tue, 26 Jul 2016 05:06:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 FRAMING MOVIES: Take Thirty-three: BFI’s 100 Bollywood Films: Kabhi Kabhie (1976) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-thirty-three-bfis-100-bollywood-films-kabhi-kabhie-1976/ Sun, 15 Dec 2013 07:04:47 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=72294 We have an early Christmas treat for all our readers! Below is an excerpt from Bollywood expert Rachel Dwyer’s much loved book 100 Bollywood Films (2005), courtesy of ‘Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute.’ Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London and is the official biographer of celebrated Indian filmmaker; the late Yash Chopra. She has written numerous books, articles and essays on Indian Cinema and is regularly invited to speak on panels as a film expert. The following excerpt is based on the late Yash Chopra’s critically acclaimed Kabhi

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13dec_FM33-KabhieKabhieWe have an early Christmas treat for all our readers! Below is an excerpt from Bollywood expert Rachel Dwyer’s much loved book 100 Bollywood Films (2005), courtesy of ‘Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute.’ Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London and is the official biographer of celebrated Indian filmmaker; the late Yash Chopra. She has written numerous books, articles and essays on Indian Cinema and is regularly invited to speak on panels as a film expert.

The following excerpt is based on the late Yash Chopra’s critically acclaimed Kabhi Kabhie (1976), which is one of the 100 films to have gained a place in this book, which is centred on the greatest films made in Bollywood history. It serves as a perfect introductory text for anyone who wants to explore Bollywood and some of the most alluring films to have ever been made in the industry since its inception in 1913. Or if you are still thinking of what to get your loved one this Christmas, then this is no doubt a perfect gift to get them if you want to convert them into a Bollywood fanatic. So sit back, relax and enjoy reading Dwyer’s take on this superb Yash Chopra classic.

Yash Chopra was making Deewaar (1975) at the same time as Kabhi Kabhie and was working with some of the same cast. In Kabhi Kabhie, this included actors who had worked across several decades, from the veteran (Waheeda Rehman), to the very young (Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh), with some actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Raakhee playing young lovers and then an older generation.

Amit Malhotra (Amitabh Bachchan) woos Pooja (Raakhee) with his poetry but, in accordance with their parents’ wishes, she marries an architect Vijay Khanna (Shashi Kapoor) while Amit goes into the family business. Pooja and Vijay form a happy family with their son, Vicki (Rishi Kapoor), who falls in love with Pinky (Neetu Singh), the daughter of Dr and Mrs Kapoor (Parikshit Sahni and Simi Garewal). The Kapoors and the Khannas discuss the dilemma they face in telling Pinky that she is adopted. Pinky finds her birth-mother, Anjali (Waheeda Rehman), who pretends to her husband, Amit, and their daughter Sweetie (Naseem), that she is her niece. When Vicki arrives, he hides his connection with Pinky and works in Amit’s quarry; Sweetie falls in love with him. Vijay brings Pooja with him on a business trip to build a hotel. When he realises that Pooja and Amit were lovers, he laughs it off, but when Amit finds pout that Pinky is the illegitimate child of Anjali and an airforce pilot who died before their marriage, he rejects Anjali. Events come to a head when Sweetie, on discovering that Vicki and Pinky are lovers, tries to commit suicide by heading for the part of the quarry where the blasting is about to begin. She is saved by the concerted efforts of all. Amit suddenly remembers Anjali and rushes back to the house to find her about to leave. The film ends with the marriage of Vicki and Pinky, where the three sets of parents perform the rites and Sweetie is the bridesmaid.

13dec_Dwyer-BFI100BollywoodFilmsKabhi Kabhie weaves together two different stories, contrasting romantic love over two generations in the context of love in the nuclear family unit. The first story, the Romantic poet, who cannot free himself from the past, was inspired by the life of the film’s lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, while the second is about adoption and its impact on families.

The theme of family love is very strongly developed here and is used to establish a generational contrast. The happy families are those who place an emphasis on trust and love. The norm is the nuclear family, characterised by great love between husbands and wives, parents and children, whether natural or adopted, the joking relationships of in-laws and the love of friends for each other. The final scene allows Pinky’s adopted parents, her natural parents and her new husband’s parents to take an equal part in the kanyadaan or the giving away of the bride.

You can purchase a copy of Rachel Dwyer’s 100 Bollywood Films (2005) from all good retailers worldwide!

This excerpt has been reproduced with permission from the book’s publishers ‘Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute.’ 

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FRAMING MOVIES: Take Thirty-two: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-thirty-two-kabhi-alvida-naa-kehna-2006/ Fri, 29 Nov 2013 03:04:32 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=71675 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK), directed by Karan Johar, is a film that explores complex human relationships. The film focuses on two married couples, Dev (Shah Rukh Khan) and Rhea (Preity Zinta) and Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) and Maya (Rani Mukherji). However, the film is centred on the love story of Dev and Maya, which starts off as an extra marital affair and goes many trials and tribulations. This causes uproar not only in their relationship, but with the relationships they share with their married spouses. KANK, which hit theaters in August of 2006, opened to a lukewarm reception at the

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13nov_FM32-KANK01Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK), directed by Karan Johar, is a film that explores complex human relationships. The film focuses on two married couples, Dev (Shah Rukh Khan) and Rhea (Preity Zinta) and Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) and Maya (Rani Mukherji). However, the film is centred on the love story of Dev and Maya, which starts off as an extra marital affair and goes many trials and tribulations. This causes uproar not only in their relationship, but with the relationships they share with their married spouses.

KANK, which hit theaters in August of 2006, opened to a lukewarm reception at the Indian box office, and to huge fanfare and large collections to overseas box offices around the world. The differences in reactions to the film were attributed mainly to the cultural differences that existed between the Indian communities in India and abroad. The concept of divorce and extra marital affairs were not well received by Indian audiences mainly because the institution of marriage is considered sacred, and viewers felt that KANK was promoting extra marital relationships – despite there being a love story woven into the film’s plot. As much as the reactions of international audiences were mixed, most viewers found the film and the relationships to be well portrayed, coupled with strong performances. In addition to that, Amitabh Bachchan’s and Shah Rukh Khan’s star power outside of India also helped propel the film to very successful run at the box office. The film was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival as well. The film was nominated for a total of 10 Filmfare Awards, of which the Best Supporting Actor trophy was bestowed upon Abhishek Bachchan for his portrayal of the loving and vulnerable spouse of Rani Mukherji. Rani also walked away with a Best Actress award at the 2007 IIFA Awards.

Like most Karan Johar films, the soundtrack of KANK was a beautiful medley of Indian and international influences varying from beautiful and melodic love songs, to catchy and up beat dance tracks. The soundtrack for the film was by musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Their trademark flare helped delivered chart busting hits such as “Mitwa”, “Rock N’ Roll Soniye” and the film’s title track “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”. The films music was quite successful in the awards category, resulting in many wins including 4 Filmfare Awards including Best Music Directors, Best Lyrics (Javed Akhtar), Best Male Playback Singer (Sonu Nigam) and Best Female Playback Singer (Alka Yagnik).

13nov_FM32-KANK02The film was set in New York City and most of the film was shot mainly in Philadelphia and Connecticut with a few scenes being shot in Mumbai and the soccer game sequence being shot in the UK. Some interesting facts about the film is that the main cast initially included Johar’s favorite actress Kajol in the lead role with Rani Mukherji appearing as Rhea in a supporting role. However, Kajol turned down the offer because she did not fully agree with the portrayal of the relationships in the film as she clearly stated appearing on “Koffee with Karan” during the same year of the film’s release.

This film is an all-time great and in my opinion; Karan Johar’s best film to date. KANK had the perfect balance between Bollywood romance and a serious drama – with a dash of songs to suit each mood, occasion and emotion. The casting of the film was perfect, and the stylized locations and interiors as well as the clothing cemented Karan Johar as not only a master storyteller, but as an aesthetic genius as well (of course, the cinematographers and costume designers had a lot to do with this as well). But what makes KANK a film that truly shines in these beautiful 100 years of Indian cinema – is that it portrayed the taboo. Extra Martial relationships and divorce are highly taboo in the Indian culture and for Karan Johar to portray that so beautifully and with ease was a masterstroke in these 100 years. The building of tension between the characters, the ups and downs, the moments and experiences between them may be highly rehearsed and stylized. However, they represented something that happens every day, all the time….love.

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FRAMING MOVIES: Take Thirty-One: Taal (1999) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-thirty-one-taal-1999/ Sun, 24 Nov 2013 13:02:57 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=71501 Manav (Akshaye Khanna) comes to India with his family and meets Mansi (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) the daughter of a singer, Tarababu (Alok Nath) Both the families meet and become friendly. Unbeknown to their families, Manav and Mansi fall in love. However, when Manav’s father, Jagmohan (Amrish Puri) comes to know of their romance, he decides to move back to their Mumbai house. He tells Manav that Mansi will not be accepted as she is of a low social status. Eventually, Tarababu learns of Mansi and Manav’s love and travels to Mumbai to visit his sister Prabha and meet with Jagmohan.

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13nov_FM31-Taal01Manav (Akshaye Khanna) comes to India with his family and meets Mansi (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) the daughter of a singer, Tarababu (Alok Nath) Both the families meet and become friendly. Unbeknown to their families, Manav and Mansi fall in love. However, when Manav’s father, Jagmohan (Amrish Puri) comes to know of their romance, he decides to move back to their Mumbai house. He tells Manav that Mansi will not be accepted as she is of a low social status. Eventually, Tarababu learns of Mansi and Manav’s love and travels to Mumbai to visit his sister Prabha and meet with Jagmohan. When Tarababu and Mansi go to Jagomohan’s house they are treated badly, made to wait in the heat for hours and Tarababu is insulted by Jagomohan which causes him to slap Jagomohan. Manav arrives and comes to know of the situation and insults Tarababu for slapping his father. Mansi tells Manav she does not want anything to do with him anymore.

During their stay with Prabha, Mansi meets with Vikrant Kapoor (Anil Kapoor) a famous music producer who is a big fan of Tarababu’s work. Prabha encourages Mansi to sign a contract with Vikrant, after doing so, Mansi becomes a hit sensation. Eventually, Vikrant begins to fall in love with Mansi and Manav comes to apologise to Mansi about the way they were treated but Mansi tells him she is not interested. Vikrant proposes to Mansi and she accepts the proposal even though she does not love him. Manav turns up at the wedding day hoping he can stop Mansi from marrying Vikrant. Vikrant acknowledges Mansi’s feelings for Manav and tells her she should marry Manav and they can remain friends. Manav and Mansi receive the blessings from both Jagomohan and Tarababu and live happily ever after.

Taal was very well received and won many awards which included; 6 Filmfare Awards for Best Cinematography for Kabir Lal, Best Lyrics for Anand Bakshi, Best Music Director for A.R. Rahman, Best Playback Singer Female for Alka Yagnik, Best Sound Recording for Rakesh Ranjan and Best Supporting Actor for Anil Kapoor. As well as, 5 awards at The International Indian Film Academy, 1 Screen Award and 3 Zee Cine Awards.

Taal became the first Bollywood film to reach the top 20 on Variety’s box office list as well as becoming the top ten grossing film in the United Kingdom the same year.

It was also screened at the Chicago International Film Festival and was the official selection by Roger Ebert for his 2005 Overlooked Film Festival.

13nov_FM31-Taal02Taal’s soundtrack was praised by many. The music was composed by A.R. Rahman and the lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi. The soundtrack became a huge success and made the list of the Greatest Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time. A.R. Rahman managed to receive majority of the awards that year and Subhash Ghai even said, “I credit the name of the movie to composer A.R. Rahman. This movie is a romance and I could have called it anything – Dil, Pyaar, Hum Bhaag Gaye, but it was A.R. Rahman’s presence in the movie that gave me the confidence to call it Taal. Taal means music and music means Taal. The whole credit goes to A.R. Rahman and Anand Bakshi. Rahman kept me awake many nights, but after listening to the songs, I felt it was worth all the trouble.”

Taal’s soundtrack included 12 tracks which all consisted of high energy songs. The groundbreaking album saw Anand Bakshi and A.R Rahman work together for the first time and saw him win a Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics. It is difficult to not enjoy every song in Taal as each evokes deep emotions and feelings.

The song ‘Ishq Bina’ was actually meant for Subhash Ghai’s Shikhar, but the film was shelved and the song was used in Taal.

Shahid Kapoor played a small role in Taal as one of the backing dancers who places the chunni on Aishwarya Rai’s head during her performance. It is rumoured that Mahima Chaudhary was meant to play the role of Mansi but was later dropped for Aishwarya Rai.

This was Subhash Ghai’s second film out of a trilogy of films he produced focusing on Indian NRI’S abroad, the other two were Pardes and Yaadein.

It seems Subhash Ghai loves product placing Coca Cola in his movies, as Coke is creatively placed throughout this film. When Manav drinks from the Coke bottle and gives Mansi the bottle to drink from too; their love begins to build upon their love of sharing the same coke bottle. His second film, Yaadein also product places Coke throughout the film.

13nov_FM31-Taal03Taal is one of those films that showed everybody what a great actress Aishwarya Rai really is. As well as performing well, her dance performances were beautiful. She fits the role better than Mahima Chaudhury as she carries the natural look and traditional attire well.

Akshaye Khanna was well chosen for this role. His performance as the besotted lover is played well and he is shown in a different light in this film. The addition of Anil Kapoor to Taal provides an edge to the film as he plays the eccentric music producer.

The soundtrack is an important factor in Taal as there are songs every 15 to 20 minutes. They allow the audience to feel Manav and Mansi’s emotions through the melodies and lyrics and allow us to witness the power of A.R. Rahman.

Taal is a film that will be appreciated for years to come. It provides brilliant music, a brilliant storyline and it puts together three actors who show us just how talented they are. Anil Kapoor does well to play a slightly different role to what he is used to. Aishwarya allows us to see she is able to justify her skills as an actress when given the right role. Taal entertains in every way. It is a musical phenomenal which takes you on a journey and allows your soul to experience the beat of love.

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FRAMING MOVIES: Take Thirty: Lagaan (2001) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-thirty-lagaan-2001/ Thu, 14 Nov 2013 03:05:39 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=70745 The historical film may not be the most common genre in Bollywood nowadays, but with no doubt Lagaan is a fantastic film that deserves all our attention. It was directed in 2001 by Ashutosh Gowariker, who seems to enjoy historical movies, as he later made the epic Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and his next project will be based in the Indus Valley Civilisation. The film stars Aamir Khan in the lead role, as well as he also was one of the producers. The movie is set in 1861 and narrates the story of the inhabitants of a small farming village. Under

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The historical film may not be the most common genre in Bollywood nowadays, but with no doubt Lagaan is a fantastic film that deserves all our attention. It was directed in 2001 by Ashutosh Gowariker, who seems to enjoy historical movies, as he later made the epic Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and his next project will be based in the Indus Valley Civilisation. The film stars Aamir Khan in the lead role, as well as he also was one of the producers.

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The movie is set in 1861 and narrates the story of the inhabitants of a small farming village. Under the British rule, farmers are forced to give a part of their crop in order to pay the tax called lagaan. After a long period of drought they are unable to pay so they try to negotiate with the British, but the arrogance of the British Captain Russell and the pride of the villager Bhuvan leads to a new arrangement. If the villagers beat the British in a game of cricket Russell will cancel the payment of taxes of the whole province. However, if the British win they will have to pay three times the normal amount of taxes. Bhuvan accepts the deal, but he will have to overcome the opposition of most of the villagers if he wants to have any chance to win, as what is at stake is not only the tax but the continuity of the British rule.

Aamir Khan constructs a complex character. Bhuvan is a common young man, he respects his mother and aspires to have a family and live on his land. But when his dream is threatened by the British greed and his dignity is despised, he does not hesitate to rebel against injustice.  Lagaan is a tribute to all those anonymous heroes that fight against injustice not looking for success or notoriety but just because is the right thing to do. The film also shows the power of unity against the oppressor. Villagers belonging to different religions and castes overcome their differences and join forces in order to defeat the enemy.

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One of the best elements of Lagaan is its acclaimed soundtrack. Composed by A.R. Rahman (long before Slumdog Millionaire) and with lyrics by Javed Akhtar, songs create the appropriate atmosphere for the story to develop. With a careful attention to locations and rigorous costumes the film takes the spectator to India in 1861. The majestic voice of legendary Amitabh Bachchan as the narrator is the final ingredient that turns Lagaan into an epic piece.

Lagaan was a success, both in the box-office and the critical sphere. The film won eight National Film Awards and nine Filmfare Awards, and became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988). Although it did not win, the nomination helped Indian cinema to become more visible around the world, as Lagaan was dubbed into languages such as Italian and Spanish.

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After having watched many Bollywood films, Lagaan remains as one of the most special for me. In a time when I had no idea of Hindi and my English was far from being perfect, Lagaan was the first film I watched. Although the experience was not complete due to the fact that I watched it dubbed into Spanish, this film opened the door to many others and made me fall in love with Indian cinema. In my opinion the greatness of Lagaan is that, at least partly thanks to its nomination to The Oscars, the film reached new audiences that came into contact with Bollywood for the first time.

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FRAMING MOVIES: Take Twenty-Nine: Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-nine-hum-aapke-hain-koun-1994/ Mon, 11 Nov 2013 03:04:20 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=70740 Five years after the success of his directorial debut Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Sooraj Barjatya made a phenomenal comeback with his next project Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) under his family company Rajshri Productions. It is one of the most important films to have released in the history of Hindi Cinema and contributed towards a number of structural transformations within the industry itself, as you will come to discover in this article. Starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan in the leading roles, Hum Aapke Hain Koun is a family-oriented film which also starred Anupam Kher, Reema Lagoo, Alok Nath, Renuka

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Five years after the success of his directorial debut Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Sooraj Barjatya made a phenomenal comeback with his next project Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) under his family company Rajshri Productions. It is one of the most important films to have released in the history of Hindi Cinema and contributed towards a number of structural transformations within the industry itself, as you will come to discover in this article. Starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan in the leading roles, Hum Aapke Hain Koun is a family-oriented film which also starred Anupam Kher, Reema Lagoo, Alok Nath, Renuka Shahane and Mohnish Behl in pivotal roles. It is based on relationships and how they evolve; whether it is between family, friends or between two people who eventually come to form a more intimate relationship. It contains a masala of romance, comedy, drama, as well as a range of song and dance sequences throughout. Before Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) entered the Bollywood scene, it was Hum Aapke Hain Koun that was the most talked about film amongst the Bollywood frenzied youth during the 1990s.

Hum Aapke Hain Koun managed to accumulate a whopping RS. 1.35 billion at the box office and fast became one of the biggest hits ever in Hindi Cinema. Salman and Madhuri delivered such excellent on-screen chemistry that they were literally sizzling the screen with their unique style of flirting. Moreover, the way in which Sooraj Barjatya has exemplified the Indian family, Indian culture, as well as Indian values on-screen led to the film garnering widespread acclaim within the critics circle. Hence, it is one of few family-themed films that has acquired classic status and is considered to be one of the finest films ever made in Indian Cinema.

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The release of Hum Aapke Hain Koun contributed towards a number of significant changes within the Indian film industry itself, as well as within the film market. The film was on limited release and the makers decided to hand-pick which theatres would be able to acquire the prints. Only theatres which had upgraded its halls and seats were offered the prints to the film. Hence, given the euphoria surrounding Hum Aapke Hain Koun at the time, many owners made the decision to upgrade their theatre so they could profit from the film. This resulted in a radical upsurge in ticket prices, but it did not put the public off from wanting to watch the film. In addition, Sooraj Barjatya was the first ever filmmaker in India to introduce video holdback. This is where a film would be released in cinemas first and then on video a few months later. Before this, a Bollywood film used to be released simultaneously in cinemas and on video. It was due to this intelligent idea, as well as the renovation of theatre halls which contributed towards the return of the Indian middle-classes to theatres. They became too adjusted to watching their Bollywood films at home rather than at the theatres. The release of Hum Aapke Hain Koun brought this social group back to a place where to a large extent; cinema is at its best. Hum Aapke Hain Koun was such an overwhelming hit that the industry came to classify RS. 20 Crores as a blockbuster hit. Before the release of this film, RS. 10 Crore was considered to be the minimum amount a film should make in order to be a blockbuster.

Both Salman and Madhuri deliver great performances as the cheeky Prem and the loveable Nisha. No one could have done justice to these two characters and their attributes have arguably had an influential effect on the audiences over time. The screenplay was also well written and it paints a delightful landscape of the Indian family which one may not have seen before. Hum Aapke Hain Koun won numerous awards during Filmfare season; which included Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress for Madhuri Dixit. It also won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The music to the film by Raamlaxman was also widely praised and he churned out memorable classics such as ‘Didi Tera Devar Deewana,’ ‘Pehla Pehla Pyaar,’ ‘Mausam Ka Jaadu, ‘Mujhse Juda Hokar’ and ‘Wah Wah Ramji.’ The majority of the songs were sung by Indian nightingale Lata Mangeshkar and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and together, they delivered sensational duets which are greatly appreciated today.

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Hum Aapke Hain Koun is a film that will make you appreciate the importance of family and the people who are closest to you. It would be shocking if this film becomes overlooked in the next few decades. Thus, it should be well-preserved so that future generations can witness the magnificence which Hum Aapke Hain Koun has to offer. It won’t be a major surprise if people come forward and admit that they have undervalued the prestige of having a mother, father, brother, sister or even a lover in their life. Hum Aapke Hain Koun will reassure you that before anything else in life; family is what matters most!

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FRAMING MOVIES: Take Twenty-seven: Veer Zaara (2004) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-seven-veer-zaara-2004/ Sun, 27 Oct 2013 07:53:13 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=70145 Running time: 192 minutes Directed by: Late Yash Chopra Produced by: Late Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra Music by: Late Madan Mohan Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Kirron Kher, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini Veer Zaara, which marked Yash Chopra’s return to direction after 7 years, is one of the gems of Yash Chopra’s numerous love stories. This is the story of Indian Air force pilot Veer Pratap Singh and Pakistani girl Zaara Hayat Khan. Veer and Zaara meet when Zaara comes to India for the last rites of her

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Running time: 192 minutes
Directed by: Late Yash Chopra
Produced by: Late Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra
Music by: Late Madan Mohan
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Kirron Kher, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini

Veer Zaara, which marked Yash Chopra’s return to direction after 7 years, is one of the gems of Yash Chopra’s numerous love stories. This is the story of Indian Air force pilot Veer Pratap Singh and Pakistani girl Zaara Hayat Khan. Veer and Zaara meet when Zaara comes to India for the last rites of her Sikh governess Bebe. The heroine, as they do, meets with an accident, where Veer rescues her. Here commences Veer and Zaara’s beautiful friendship, which transcends romance. Zaara returns to Pakistan with her heavy heart and fiancé Raza (Manoj Bajpayee), back into her aristocratic family. Veer goes to Pakistan to bring his Zaara back, but Raza’s political power destroys this divine relationship and Veer is jailed in Pakistan. After 22 years comes lawyer Saamiya Siddiqui (Rani Mukherjee), who takes an oath to revive this love story, which lost its identity in the play of power. This story is not just another love story; it is a story that roots your hearts back to that feeling of belonging to someone. Just when you thought one knows everything about romance, you discover Veer Zaara and their story, which has been penned down and portrayed so beautifully that it adds the feeling that love knows no boundaries.

Talking about characters, each and every actor has played such an important and believable part in making this film stand out. Shah Rukh Khan as Veer Pratap Singh in both his uniform and then later in the jail wins hearts with his performance. He is absolutely legendary as the ‘kaidi no.786’ (Prisoner no.786), as he narrates his tale to his lawyer Saamiya. You can see his eyes twinkle as he recalls his past. Preity Zinta is one actress who can pull it off as a Kashmiri, Punjabi and here as a Pakistani girl. Beautiful, speaking in Urdu and with eyes that speak, Zaara is a delight to watch even as she portrays the old Zaara. Although Rani Mukherjee is supposed to be a supportive character, she carries the film forward on her strong expressions and brilliant portrayal of a woman who can fight for the right causes. Another character that I would like to point out is Divya Dutta as Zaara’s governess Shabbo, who supports her till the end. This character has such a loyal charm to it that one cannot ignore it at all. Boman Irani as the strict father Hayat Khan or Amitabh Bachchan as the Punjabi ‘bauji’, they have all played such pivotal roles and added colour to this story.

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The music of Veer Zaara is still popular on many playlists, and I can say this because it is popular on mine too. For me, nothing matches the beauty of describing love better than ‘Tere Liye’. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics take beauty a notch higher when they are sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Roop Kumar Rathod. At the same time, the innocence and laughter in ‘Hum Toh Bhai Jaise Hain’ makes it like this female anthem for any girl who refuses to fall prey to society’s norms. ‘Lo Aagayi Lohri’ is by far the best festive track! The best part about the music of this film is the variety in tracks, making it an ensemble for any emotion that one experiences.

Critical reaction and audience response to Veer Zaara was overwhelming, as critics described it as ‘not just a love story, but a message to strengthen bonds between India and Pakistan.’ The ratings were nothing less than 4.5 on 5 or 9.5 on 10. The film received response from overseas, as guest reviewer for BBC called it ‘a classic regardless of its fate at the box office.’ The film received 15 nominations at the Filmfare awards and won awards in best dialogue, best story, movie and lyrics. It won the Best Popular Film providing Wholesome Entertainment at the National Film Awards, various awards and nominations at the IIFA awards as well. This film marked its place in Zee Cine Awards, Stardust Awards, Global Indian Film Awards and many more. It grossed over INR 580 million in India, becoming An All Time Blockbuster of the year. The film was notably successful in United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Africa, Canada and the United States. It earned INR 357.5 million in the overseas market which made it an all-time blockbuster.

Veer Zaara has its own story when it comes to interesting facts, and one of the major factors was Yash Chopra returning to direction after Dil Toh Pagal Hai. The film was originally going to be titled ‘Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum’ from the song in Silsila, but eventually it was titled Veer Zaara. However, the song ‘Yeh Hum Aagaye Hain Kahan’ is a twist of the formal title. This film was also the first Hindi film to have a premiere in The Grand Rex, the biggest theater in Paris. There is a book on the making of this film called They Said It, which contains testimonials from the cast and crew of Veer Zaara and also talks about the production of the film. This book released in 2007. Another rare fact about this lovely film was that Yash Raj Music released the entire background music of the film and called it ‘The Love Legend themes-Instrumental.’ At first, Aishwarya Rai had been approached for the role of Saamiya Siddiqui, but she declined and the role went to Rani Mukherjee.

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Coming to why I love Veer Zaara, I am sure a lot of people will relate to my reasons. As a Bollywood fan, you can never escape from being a romantic film person. The thing that mesmerizes me the most about this film to begin with is the sync of direction and background music. There are numerous scenes that give you goose bumps and have your eyes go all love struck, as the camera takes a wide shot and there is a lovely background score with it. No one but Yashji could have directed it like that! The performances in this film are so real, so relatable. Zaara’s duty towards her family, Shabbo’s loyalty towards Zaara, Saamiya’s determination or Raza’s male chauvinist attitude, they have all been portrayed so classically. This film is complete because human emotions of love, hatred, jealousy, power and loyalty have been kept real on reel. Veer Zaara is a film that will remain a part of one of the best films of Bollywood till eternity because of the multiple messages it holds, be it about loving someone, fulfilling your duty towards your family or the importance of having friendly relations with neighboring countries. With the film we will always remembers its director, the king of romance, Mr. Yash Chopra. We will miss you and cinema like this forever.

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FRAMING MOVIES Take Twenty-Six: Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-six-dil-toh-pagal-hai-1997/ Mon, 21 Oct 2013 08:28:00 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=69892 Dil To Pagal Hai revolves around a simple belief, that someone, somewhere is made for you. A beautiful tale of soul-mates, the story revolves around three different characters and their beliefs about love. There’s Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), who does not believe in love and the idea of soul-mates and doesn’t really understand how two people can fall in love, let alone be together forever. Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) completely believes in the idea of soul-mates and lives by the statement and belief that “someone, somewhere is made for you”. She believes that when she meets her soul-mate, she will receive

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Dil To Pagal Hai revolves around a simple belief, that someone, somewhere is made for you. A beautiful tale of soul-mates, the story revolves around three different characters and their beliefs about love. There’s Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), who does not believe in love and the idea of soul-mates and doesn’t really understand how two people can fall in love, let alone be together forever. Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) completely believes in the idea of soul-mates and lives by the statement and belief that “someone, somewhere is made for you”. She believes that when she meets her soul-mate, she will receive a message from divine spirits. The third person is Nisha (Karisma Kapoor) and her belief is that love starts as friendship, and that two good friends have the potential to love one another right to the end. Dil To Pagal Hai weaves together the lives of these three individuals, and how they each grow in their notions of love and come to understand what “love” truly means. 

Being an eagerly awaited film by renowned filmmaker Yash Chopra, Dil To Pagal Hai opened to full houses and very good reviews. The superstar cast of Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor made for fresh pairings on screen and helped send Yash Chopra’s beliefs about love to one and all. One of the main reasons the film struck a chord with the audiences is its soulful, melodic and super hit soundtrack. The soundtrack of Dil To Pagal Hai became the most popular soundtrack of 1997 with music by Uttam Singh and with the soulful and touching voice of Lata Mangeshkar. The film didn’t just experience success at the box office, but was a hit during awards season with a clean sweep in the Actor categories at all major award shows including the Filmfare Awards. The film was also honoured for excellence in music, playback singing, cinematography and choreography. 

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Some interesting facts about the film that most do not know: Juhi Chawla was originally approached to play the second female lead, which eventually was given to Karisma Kapoor. While Juhi has admitted to being offered the role and later turning it down, it is also rumoured that Shilpa Shetty, Raveena Tandon, Kajol and Manisha Koirala were also approached to play the character of Nisha as well. Also, before Shahid Kapoor became a well-known lead actor, he was a background dancer in Dil To Pagal Hai

Dil To Pagal Hai is easily one of the films that will be remembered as one of the best films from the late Mr. Yash Chopra. Mr. Chopra was a romantic at heart, and his love for love itself was beautifully expressed throughout this film. What makes this film even more special is that many do believe in the concept of “soul-mates” and it was wonderfully portrayed in the film through a musical. While all Bollywood films are considered musicals, “Dil To Pagal Hai” was special because all three characters were brought together by a theatrical stage production which also explored the idea of soul-mates. The scenes, moments, and plot of the play mimicked what the characters were experiencing in real life, and it was that delicate balance and tightly written script that made the film excel in all levels. 

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FRAMING MOVIES Take Twenty-Five: Taare Zameen Par (2007) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-five-taare-zameen-par-2007/ Sun, 13 Oct 2013 05:07:50 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=69360 Taare Zameen Par is a story about Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary), an eight year old boy who dislikes school because he fails in tests and finds certain subjects difficult. His parents, unable to understand why he is not excelling the same way his brother is, send him to boarding school hoping he will be able to perform better. Ishaan feels alone and quickly becomes depressed at the boarding school, although he has a friend, Rajan (Tanya Chheda) who is one of the best students, Ishaan remains in his depressed state of mind. However, things change when Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir

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Taare Zameen Par is a story about Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary), an eight year old boy who dislikes school because he fails in tests and finds certain subjects difficult. His parents, unable to understand why he is not excelling the same way his brother is, send him to boarding school hoping he will be able to perform better. Ishaan feels alone and quickly becomes depressed at the boarding school, although he has a friend, Rajan (Tanya Chheda) who is one of the best students, Ishaan remains in his depressed state of mind. However, things change when Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) joins Ishaan’s school as an instructor for those with developmental difficulties. Ram quickly realises that Ishaan remains quiet in lessons. After reviewing his work he comes to realise that Ishaan is dyslexic which is why he fails to excel as he is not receiving the correct support. Ram visits Ishaan’s parents and informs them of Ishaan’s dyslexia and of Ishaan’s creative ability, but they fail to recognise this and tell Ram this is an excuse for Ishaan’s poor performance within the school.

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Ram goes on to discuss dyslexia within the classroom and soon begins to tutor Ishaan in a different manner which is developed by specialists. Ishaan soon begins to perform better at school, which is when Ram organises an art fair for the students and staff. Ishaan wins the competition due to his creative style and Ram gets second prize for his painting of Ishaan. Ishaan’s parents cannot believe the transformation they see in their son and thank Ram for all his effort and support.

Taare Zameen Par was screened by the International Dyslexia Association and received a standing ovation; the audience was left in tears. It was later dubbed in regional languages of Tamil and Telugu, in which it was renamed Vaalu Nakshatram and Like Stars on Earth for Disney’s international DVD.

Taare Zameen Par received many positive reviews; it was considered a work of art. Anuraj Kashyap stated that, “Taare Zameen Par took me back to my hostel days. If you take away the dyslexia, it seems like my story. The film affected me so deeply that I was almost left speechless. After watching the film, I was asked how I liked Taare Zameen Par. I could not talk as I was deeply overwhelmed.”

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Taare Zameen Par won many well deserved awards. Filmfare gave 5 awards including, Best Director for Aamir Khan, Best Actor (Critics) for Darsheel Safary, Best Lyrics for Prasoon Joshi, Best Story for Amol Gupte and Best Movie. Other awards include 1 Stardust Award, 6 Star Screen Awards, 6 Zee Cine Awards and 3 National Film Awards. Taare Zameen Par’s soundtrack included 8 tracks and it seems Maa was a favourite of many as Prasoon Joshi received the National film Award for the Best Lyrics for Maa and Shankar Mahadevan won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Maa.

Many protests were held outside PVR and INOX theatres after Khan’s critical comments of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his support for Narmada Bachao Andolan. Many were asking for the boycott of Khan’s films and issued statements of how Khan’s film would not be screened unless he issued an apology for his comments, this led to INOX boycotting the film.

Real school children were used in Taare Zameen Par and as parts of the filming were taken place during the winter holiday, many children gave up their vacations to participate in the film.  In addition, Assistant Director, Sunil Pandey travelled around India to film documentary style footage of children from various different parts in order to create a realistic feel to the film. Khan felt it was important for the audience to connect to real children, which is why the documentary style footage was shown at the end credits.

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Khan wrote Ishaan’s school note books himself using his left hand as he had familiarised himself with dyslexic writing. The film raised awareness of the issue of dyslexia, encouraging parents to discuss dyslexia more openly with their children, teachers and amongst fellow parents. Ten days after its release, the film influenced the Central Board of Secondary Education to provide extra time to special children during exams.

Taare Zameen Par is a film that explores real issues within the world and seeks to address them. It does not shy away from issues which are usually shoved under the carpet but instead it lays them bare on the table for all to see. It shows us what Bollywood is capable of beyond the usual love triangle storylines. It creates an understanding between parents and children, it makes us see how every child is special and every child is different. As Aamir said, “Taare Zameen Par is a film about children and it’s a film which celebrates the abilities of children. Taare Zameen Par is a title, which denotes that aspect. It’s a title with a very positive feel to it. All the kids are special and wonderful. They are like stars on earth.” This alone should be a reason as to why Taare Zameen Par should always be appreciated and celebrated within Bollywood. Even though it focuses on children, it even teaches adults that temporary failure or disappointment should not discourage you from your dreams and there is always a way around things for you and for children. A bold film with a bold message – always one to watch!

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FRAMING MOVIES Take Twenty-Four: Mahaan (1983) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-four-mahaan-1983/ Thu, 10 Oct 2013 16:05:43 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=69357 Every major actor and actress in Bollywood will at one stage attempt the double role. It is up there on every distinguished star’s curriculum vitae. There a countless examples Hum Dono (Dev Anand), Ram aur Shyam (Dilip Kumar), Seeta aur Geeta (Hema Malini), Apu Raja (Kamal Hassan), Chaalbaaz (Sri Devi), Kishan Kanhaiya (Anil Kapoor) and many many more. In addition to these we have Amitabh Bachchan’s own contributions to the double role genre, but to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema and its great tradition of double roles, we thought we would choose a slightly different film – Mahaan. A

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13oct_FM24-Mahaan01Every major actor and actress in Bollywood will at one stage attempt the double role. It is up there on every distinguished star’s curriculum vitae. There a countless examples Hum Dono (Dev Anand), Ram aur Shyam (Dilip Kumar), Seeta aur Geeta (Hema Malini), Apu Raja (Kamal Hassan), Chaalbaaz (Sri Devi), Kishan Kanhaiya (Anil Kapoor) and many many more. In addition to these we have Amitabh Bachchan’s own contributions to the double role genre, but to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema and its great tradition of double roles, we thought we would choose a slightly different film – Mahaan.

A triple role! Now that is is a completely different level and there is only one actor, the superstar of Indian cinema, who has truly attempted and achieved that – Amitabh Bachchan. Father, son and son – that was Mahaan. The father donned a beard, one son a moustache, the other clean shaven. The father was a saintly type figure, one son a stern police office officer, the other a complete comic. Mahaan stretched all the combinations and contrasts it requires to pull off multiple roles.

Released in 1983, for many years children like myself literally believed that there were three Amitabh’s who existed in real life and every time he delivered another amazing double role (Aakhree Raasta, Satte pe Satta, Desh Premee) that it was simply one of the other Amitabh’s playing the other role!

Just like Southern film remakes are currently in vogue in Bollywood, Mahaan too was one of many South remakes of its time. The film was a remake of hit Kannada movie Shankar Guru, which starred Dr. Rajkumar. The film was produced by Satyanarayana and directed by S. Ramanathan, who passed away in January of this year, having directed Amitabh in several films which included Bombay to Goa, Mahaan, Giraftaar and Zamaanat.

The story followed the classic lost and found narrative, the senior Amitabh separated from his wife and family. The twin brothers separated at childhood and brought up unaware of the others existence. Added to this was a story of justice, revenge and reunion.

Along with the three Amitabhs, were equally three well placed actresses, Waheeda Rahman played the wife of the older Amitabh, whilst contemporaries Parveen Bhabi and Zeenat Aman played the love interests of the Amitabh twin brothers. Joining them were some of top supporting talent of the time – Amjad Khan, Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Aruna Irani.

The music was by RD Burman with all the songs rendered by the voice of Amitabh, legendary Kishore Kumar. In a song which featured both brothers, Kishore’s son Amit joined him in the vocals.

The sheer novelty of watching the actor of the day play such contrasting roles was a treat to watch and one which has not really been repeated since. As a triple role, it gave Amitabh a triple opportunity to showcase his talent, where despite the suspense of belief needed with any masala film, you never got the feeling that it is a different Amitabh in each role.

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FRAMING MOVIES Take Twenty-Three: Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977) http://bollyspice.com/framing-movies-take-twenty-three-amar-akbar-anthony-1977/ Mon, 30 Sep 2013 03:05:00 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=68653 Masala brilliance thy name is personified by Manmohan Desai. Masala filmmaking is that secret ingredient to nearly every film in this wide and bountiful Hindi film industry. Of course, filmmakers disguise these elements in the social message films, the love stories, the thrillers, and countless other genre-pictures. If we want something to break up the tension of love scene, add some dishoom-dishoom, or if you want to cool that down, throw in some smart comedy. The ability to freely mix genres and tropes was expertly done in the juggernaut Amar, Akbar, Anthony (AAA). The late 70s were the beginnings of

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Masala brilliance thy name is personified by Manmohan Desai. Masala filmmaking is that secret ingredient to nearly every film in this wide and bountiful Hindi film industry. Of course, filmmakers disguise these elements in the social message films, the love stories, the thrillers, and countless other genre-pictures. If we want something to break up the tension of love scene, add some dishoom-dishoom, or if you want to cool that down, throw in some smart comedy. The ability to freely mix genres and tropes was expertly done in the juggernaut Amar, Akbar, Anthony (AAA). The late 70s were the beginnings of the Amitabh Bachchan industry and Amar Akbar Anthony marked the partnership between Bachchan and Desai.

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AAA features a 25-minute prologue that stuffs in the three brothers and their parents Kishanlal and Bharati (Pran and Nirupa Roy) as they get torn apart by circumstances. Kishanlal is fresh out of jail for taking the rap for the dastardly Robert (Jeevan at his finest!) who shoos him away and later sends his goons out to kill him. The three brothers are abandoned by their mother, and left under a statue of Gandhi coincidently on Independence Day. The brothers are soon found by a Hindu policeman, a Muslim tailor, and a Christian priest rounding out the secular message early on. Desai works at breathless speed to establish the lost-and-found genre that he would be famous for, and you can forgive this overlong segment because it’s just so much damn fun! From Jeevan’s brilliantly faltering anglicised accent, to Nirupa Roy suddenly screeching “Mujhe kuch dekhayi nahi de raha!” anything goes for Desai’s chaotic vision.

Often the film is praised for its comedy gold and impeccable timing from Bachchan and Kapoor who are mirthful and clearly enjoying their roles. Yet, Desai has a remarkable grasp over the film with its swift editing that ensures that its 3-hour length feels like the quickest and most breakneck time gone by. There are scenes that we can all pick out as being unnecessary like Amar and Lakshmi’s (Shabana Azmi) underdeveloped love story or some moments of dishoom-dishoom. However, you cannot fault Desai for having no control over his narrative, since the three leads have ample screen time to kill a scene and do their dialogue-baazi. The editing is crisp, with the cinematography emphasizing the wild colours and expansive sets of Robert’s villain lair or the confined spaces of Anthony’s bar. Even at the end of the prologue with the three brothers symbolically giving back their blood to their Mother India, they sit outside a window of a temple, a mosque, and a church to demarcate their respective religions while their tubes all feed back into their maa! That’s as far as we’ll go in intellectualizing this spirited film, because Desai’s secular message is inclusive, no one brother is accorded a religious superiority because this didactic point is soon tossed out for more character development.

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The three brothers get themselves some gorgeous heroines with Shabana Azmi, Neetu Singh, and Parveen Babi who they romance in their parallel storylines. Unusually, Amar and Lakshmi don’t get a solo number, and only participate in the communal romantic number, ‘Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar’ where she hangs up the washing and he relaxes in a hammock! Vinod Khanna gets to play the reliable straight man to the zany acting that Bachchan and Kapoor emit, and it certainly works to establish his character as the older more responsible brother, who gives Anthony a walloping to set him straight as well. Kapoor is irrepressible as the flirtatious Akbar Illahbaadi and his chemistry with Neetu Singh is utterly cute and fun. Yet, hands down the film is a star vehicle for Amitabh Bachchan to show off his comedic chops in some of the funniest scenes, like talking to himself in the mirror and who can forget his eponymous song. ‘My Name is Anthony Gonsalves‘ is my one of my favourite picturisations ever, from the Mad Hatter-like English verses (the hemoglobin in the atmosphere…intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity!) to Bachchan happily mugging around the room bopping around like the Easter Bunny. The other songs like the juicy ‘Parda Hai Parda‘ or the pop-devotional ‘Shirdi Wale Sai Baba‘ are made into such gems with Rishi Kapoor’s energetic dancing and commitment to looking goofy.

You cannot describe the film as anything but fun. It is set the precedent for all masala films to reach the comic heights of the dress-up finale, or the unintentional hilarity of the fight scenes, there’s just so much to feast our eyes on. Suspension of disbelief for sure, but Manmohan Desai’s did not usher in the ‘leave your brains at home’ rhetoric we hear these days, each situation is calculated and mined for laughs. Desai may have his situations exploding at the seams with so many characters, plot, and filler yet the film invokes that chaotic and infectious energy that allows Desai to have complete control over his film. The frenetic cinematography and rapid editing ensures that Desai can craft a cohesive narrative with all of his masala mixture. The film is rife with Marx Bros schtick and the actors capture that anarchic spirit so sportingly in the climax song.

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There has been no other movie that can touch AAA’s balance of its masala elements because Desai was at the height of his powers with this riotously good material. Desai’s oeuvre of Parvarish, Suhaag, Naseeb, Coolie, Mard and others tried valiantly to recapture that elusive balance and recipe of the perfect masala film. While some of these other films are on my list of top favourites, AAA feels like an anomaly. One that is iconic for all the right reasons, that can imitated but never regained. Thankfully any remake rumours have not come to fruition since who can beat the holy masala quartet of a Desai, Khanna, Kapoor, and Bachchan at their peak charm and zaniest.

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