Spotlights – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Sat, 02 Jul 2016 01:07:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Madhuri Dixit Nene completes 30 Glamourous years in Bollywood! http://bollyspice.com/madhuri-dixit-nene-completes-30-glamourous-years-bollywood/ Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:17:48 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=89896 She is a fine actress, complete with mega dancing skills. Starlet Madhuri Dixit Nene has completed a glorious 30 years in the Bollywood industry! We at BollySpice, feel that 30 years is a long feat and surely must be celebrated! When you hear the name Madhuri, you instantly remember her charming smile that lights up the screen and her amazing grace. Madhuri has worked in many films such as Dil Toh Pagal Hain, Anjaam, Ram Lakhan, Tezaab, Devdas, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam to name but a few! Madhuri began her filmi career with the art film Abodh, where she played

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14aug_Madhuri30Years01She is a fine actress, complete with mega dancing skills. Starlet Madhuri Dixit Nene has completed a glorious 30 years in the Bollywood industry! We at BollySpice, feel that 30 years is a long feat and surely must be celebrated!

When you hear the name Madhuri, you instantly remember her charming smile that lights up the screen and her amazing grace. Madhuri has worked in many films such as Dil Toh Pagal Hain, Anjaam, Ram Lakhan, Tezaab, Devdas, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam to name but a few!

Madhuri began her filmi career with the art film Abodh, where she played the innocent character of a newly wedded wife who was not aware of the many changes that come with marriage. She was highly appreciated for her performance. Despite a few initial failures at the box office, Madhuri always bounced back. The film Tezaab became the turning point of her career. Her character of Mohini along with her stand out dance performance ‘Ek Do Teen’ gave her that much needed boost. Madhuri’s pairing opposite Anil Kapoor proved to be very successful and they both went on to star in many films together. After working with Anil Kapoor, Madhuri’s pairing with Salman Khan also became very popular. The audience loved their pairing in films such as Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dil Tera Aashiq.

With each film, Madhuri not only proved to be a brilliant actress, by delievering outstanding performances, but also a versatile dancer. Some of her most famous dances include ‘Ek Do Teen’ from Tezaab, ‘Channe Ki Khet Mein’ from Anjaam, ‘Key Sara’ with Prabhu Deva in Pukar and the controversial ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ from Khalnayak. One can say that almost 90% of Madhuri’s dances were choreographed by the legendary choreographer, Saroj Khan. One of the most famous dances that Saroj Khan had choreographed for Madhuri, is most certainly ‘Dola Re’ from Devdas. Actress Aishwarya Rai also joined Madhuri in that stunning performance.

14aug_Madhuri30Years02Late painter MF Hussain loved Madhuri so much, that he not only painted her, but also made an unconventional film on her called Gaja Gamini. Though the film left a lot to be desired by many, it was most certainly MF Hussain’s tribute to his favourite muse Madhuri. It is a well known fact that he watched Hum Aapke Hain Kaun almost 20 times just for Madhuri.

On the personal front, Madhuri got married to Dr. Sri Ram Nene and left India to settle in the US. She has two children. Madhuri returned to Bollywood in 2007 with her comeback film Aaja Nachle. The film did not fair too well at the box office, however that did not stop Madhuri re kindling her filmi career. Madhuri has continued to surprise audiences with films like Dedh Ishqiya and Gulaab Gang. She also gave a special item song (‘Ghagra’) in the film Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani with current heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor.  Madhuri has also achieved her own wax statue at the famous Madame Tussads museum in London.

My personal favourite film of Madhuri, is Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I loved her character of Nisha and her chemistry with Salman. My favourite song from the film is ‘Joote Do Paise Lo’ and I would always participate in this ceremony during weddings after watching the film! I would also like to mention my favourite dance of Madhuri (which I feel does not get enough attention) is ‘Badi Mushkil’ from Lajja where Madhuri danced alongside Manisha Koirala. There is so much energy in this song and the video certainly leaves you with that happy feeling.

Madhuri is currently a judge on the popular dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.

Join us as at BollySpice in celebrating 30 glorious years of Madhuri Dixit Nene! Share with us your favourite Madhuri moments and dances.

Joote Do Paise Lo:

Badi Mushkil:

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Top 10 Amitabh Bachchan Films You MUST watch! http://bollyspice.com/top-10-amitabh-bachchan-films-you-must-watch/ Thu, 11 Oct 2012 02:22:52 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=49740 To celebrate the 70th birthday of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and also to pay tribute to his contributions as an actor, we have compiled a list of the ten greatest films which this Bollywood legend has starred in. We hope this will entice you to watch some, if not all these films if you have never encountered them before. This list has aimed to promote some of Amitabh Bachchan’s films where he has been able to demonstrate his wide-ranging abilities as a professional actor. This includes the years when he was dubbed ‘the angry young man’ of Hindi cinema, as well

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To celebrate the 70th birthday of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and also to pay tribute to his contributions as an actor, we have compiled a list of the ten greatest films which this Bollywood legend has starred in. We hope this will entice you to watch some, if not all these films if you have never encountered them before. This list has aimed to promote some of Amitabh Bachchan’s films where he has been able to demonstrate his wide-ranging abilities as a professional actor. This includes the years when he was dubbed ‘the angry young man’ of Hindi cinema, as well as some of the films where he has played comedic, romantic and senior characters. We hope that by highlighting some of his key films, this will verify for you why Amitabh Bachchan is widely regarded by many as one of the greatest actors to have emerged from the Indian film industry ever since the first moving picture was made in 1913. It should be stressed that the list is chronological. Therefore, there is no numerical preference made here as we consider all of these films to be great on an equal level. So let’s take a look at which films have made it onto this special list!

1. Anand (1971) –  Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Although Anand really belongs to Rajesh Khanna for his tragic performance as a dying cancer patient, Amitabh also gave an equally memorable performance in this film. He plays the role of Bhaskar Banerjee, who is one of Anand’s (Khanna) doctors and he eventually becomes his confidant during his final months. Khanna’s character incessantly refers to him as ‘Babu Moshai,’ meaning ‘Sir’ in Bengali. It has become a popular term in India and South Asia ever since it was used in this film. Though Amitabh did not become the ‘angry young man’ until much later on, you will see in this film early signs of a firm and masculine personality which eventually develops at a radical level post-Anand. Amitabh was a new face to the Bombay film industry during the time this film was being made and he went onto win a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his gripping performance in Anand. This is also one of the best films to have ever been made by the notable Bengali filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who has entertained everyone with an assortment of films from the 1960s up until the 1990s. If you are curious to see a good Amitabh film which he starred in during his early years as an actor, then Anand is definitely a must watch! It is a tear-jerking film which will make you appreciate the gift of life on a whole new level.

2. Zanjeer (1973) – Director: Prakash Mehra

Without holding any reservations, it can be said that Zanjeer was the film which saw the making of Amitabh Bachchan as an actor. This was the film that catapulted him to superstardom and conferred him with the title of the ‘angry young man.’ Without giving too much away, the film is based on a police officer named Vijay (Amitabh) who is on a mission to end the crimes of the vindictive ‘goonda’ (hooligan) Teja (Ajit Khan), who is responsible for selling poisoned goods to locals, who eventually die from it as a result. Zanjeer was a ground-breaking moment for Hindi cinema. For decades the audience had seen male protagonists in largely romantic roles. Therefore, this meant that many had to exude politeness and chivalry towards their co-stars. With Zanjeer, however, Amitabh plays a character that is aggressive and hot headed and this was something which the audiences had rarely seen before. This is what significantly contributed to his increasing popularity. Furthermore, Zanjeer was the film which inaugurated the ‘action era’ in Hindi cinema. After the release of this film, a sting of other action/violent oriented films (many of them starring Amitabh himself) followed and continued to do so for many years. Zanjeer is one of the few films where Amitabh and his real wife Jaya Bhaduri (who is the female protagonist) displayed fantastic on-screen chemistry. Though they have done many films together, Zanjeer is perhaps their best collaboration to date. We strongly recommend that you guys give Zanjeer a chance. After watching it, you will be left asking the following question: ‘The film is perfect so why is this being remade?

3. Deewaar (1975) – Director: Yash Chopra

If I was forced to choose only one Amitabh film where I think he delivered an exceptional performance, this would be definitely be Deewaar. It is a crime drama which focuses on two brothers who follow two different paths in life. Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) is the law abiding and benevolent police officer, whereas his brother Vijay (Amitabh) turns to crime and smuggling in order to acquire wealth and status. Their difference in social norms and values is what makes them turn against each other and a metaphorical wall ultimately creates distance between the two brothers. Deewaar is not only the best non-romantic film which Yash Chopra has made during his long career, but he forever transformed Amitabh’s image as a male protagonist with this film. This is the film where Amitabh truly lives up to the title of the ‘angry young man’ and he delivers a riveting performance as the anti-hero. No one could have played this role any better. It was destined for Amitabh and Amitabh only! By taking some time out to watch Deewaar, you will gain a better sense as to why he is one of the most revered figures in Bollywood. Watch it for Amitabh’s historic performance, as well as for its exhilarating storyline and great direction. In three words: A BOLLYWOOD MASTERPIECE!

4. Sholay (1975) – Director: Ramesh Sippy

I can just imagine the countless number of complaints we would be getting from Amitabh fans if Sholay (one of India’s greatest films ever) was not included in this list. Amitabh was fantastic in this masala action epic where he was able to illustrate a masculine image to a great extent. In this film Amitabh plays the role of a delinquent called Jai, who along with his associate Veeru (Dharmendra) are assigned on a mission by Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) to catch the notorious bandit Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan). Sholay is honestly one of the most entertaining and adrenaline-fueled films you will see in Bollywood! It acquired the designation of being the highest-grossing film ever at the time of its release. It is a film that will leave you wanting more, despite its mammoth 180 minute run time. Amitabh especially stands out towards the end of the film when he is tackling Gabbar’s associates on his own with the minimum ammunition that he has left. Yet Amitabh was also very comedic in this film, especially when he thwarts Veeru’s attempts at wooing Basanti (Hema Malini). He therefore offers variety to those who want more from him than just someone who engages in ‘dhishom dhishom’ scenes. Although this is one of the defining films of Amitabh’s career, the rest of the lead actors in this film were also equally brilliant. Hence, it is difficult to pluck out one particular performance as they all displayed an eclectic range of personalities, which adds much needed spice to this film. It can be safely said that you are not a true Bollywood or Amitabh fan until you have seen the magnificence that is Sholay! A MUST WATCH!

5. Kabhi Kabhie (1976) – Director: Yash Chopra

Just after he had wowed the audiences with his aggressive roles in Deewaar and Sholay, Amitabh displayed a completely alternative side to him by playing a romantic character in Yash Chopra’s classic Kabhi Kabhie. In this film, Amitabh enacts the role of a poet named Amit who falls in love with Pooja (Rakhee Gulzar). They both drift apart as Pooja is duty-bound to marry Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) due to her parents’ wishes. They both cross paths again when there is a generation change and their children are now the ones taken aback by the power of love. You will have to watch this eternal classic to see for yourselves the events which transpire and how Vijay reacts when he uncovers his wife’s previous relationship. There is also another significant element to the story where Amit’s wife Anjali (Waheeda Rehman) encounters her illegitimate daughter Pinky (Neetu Singh) for the first time. She conceived Pinky through pre-marital relations with another man before she met Amit. You will be completely blown away with Amitabh’s performance when you see how his character reacts to his wife’s previous doings. Kabhi Kabhie is a beautifully composed film which contains a progressive structure and narrative that will leave you impressed for sure. Moreover, at a time when the audience was besotted with seeing Amitabh in violent films, he was not afraid to show his soft side and took a successful risk with this particular film. His character is both romantic and dramatic and you will be left asking the question: “Is this really the same guy who gave us Deewaar and Sholay?”  The song ‘Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein’ is perhaps one of the best songs you will see picturized on Amitabh and he showcases the precise emotion and facial expressions which makes this a truly memorable melody. Watch Kabhi Kabhie for Amitabh’s splendid performance, its advanced storyline, its breath-taking Kashmiri locations, as well as for the beautifully composed soundtrack which accompanies this film.

6. Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) – Director: Manmohan Desai

Amar Akbar Anthony is a film which, if anything, helped to consolidate Amitabh’s position within the Bombay film industry. The film’s overwhelming commercial and critical success proves that audiences just could not get enough of this immortal hero. Starring Amitabh, Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor in the leading roles, Amar Akbar Anthony is based on three brothers who become separated at birth as a result of their father (Pran) abandoning them. They are each raised in three separate families who follow different religions (Hinduism, Islam and Christianity). A series of events which also involve their mother (Nirupa Roy) reunites the three brothers but you will have to watch the film to find out what happens and how it ends. The last thing we want to do is dish out spoilers which will minimize the impact this ever-growing popular film will have on you. Amar Akbar Anthony is also the film which won Amitabh his first ever Filmfare Award for Best Actor (definitely an award that was long overdue and which he should have won years ago). Amitabh is a true entertainer and shows a great deal of charisma, as well as some comedy in this film! Perhaps the highlight of this film is when he dances to the song ‘My Name is Anthony Gonsalves’. This is a perky number which sees Amitabh coming out of a giant egg! If you are looking for a Bachchan starrer that will dazzle you from beginning to end then look no further: Amar Akbar Anthony does just that!

7. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) – Director: Prakash Mehra

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is a quintessential Amitabh Bachchan starrer which roars commercialism to the highest degree. It has an intense storyline, spellbinding music and an excellent performance by Amitabh which makes him the showstopper of this film. The narrative is quite complex so it is difficult to sum it up in just a few lines. However, it is a film which focuses on the dramatic events affecting Sikandar (Amitabh), the ups and downs of his life, as well as his love for his childhood sweetheart Kaamna (Rakhee Gulzar) and his various encounters with Zohra the courtesan (Rekha). Muqaddar Ka Sikandar transformed into a blockbuster hit at the time of its release. It is one of the key films which define Amitabh’s career and contains everything you would expect from one of his films during that particular period and more. This includes action, violence, drama, romance and tragedy. The film has memorable melodies such as ‘O Saathi Re’, ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, ‘Dil To Hai Dil’ and ‘Rote Hue Aate Hain Sab’. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is a must see film if you cannot get enough of Amitabh as Bollywood’s ultimate action hero!

8. Silsila (1981) – Director: Yash Chopra

Along with Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila is one of the best films which starred Amitabh as a romantic hero. It is also one of the early films to touch on the issue of adultery. Therefore, the film’s brave storyline and Amitabh’s remarkable performance is why we have chosen this to form a part of our top ten list of his must see films. Silsila is based on a writer named Amit (Amitabh) who falls in love with Chandni (Rekha), but they soon separate due to forthcoming events. Amit discovers that his brother and Air Force Pilot Shekhar (Shashi Kapoor) has died in a plane crash. He therefore feels compelled to marry Shekhar’s lover Shobha (Jaya Bachchan) who is carrying Shekhar’s child. Shobha loses the baby after she and Amit are involved in a car accident. Amit and Chandni meet again at a hospital where he and Shobha are being treated from the accident by her husband Dr Anand (Sanjeev Kumar). Soon both Amit and Chandni profess their deep love for each other and an affair begins whilst they are both are married to other people. You will have to watch Silsila to see what happens next and how this great film comes to an end. Although Silsila was a box office failure at the time of its release, it has become a cult classic over time. Amitabh gave a solid performance in this film and he managed to strengthen his romantic persona as a result of him playing the leading man in Silsila. He displayed eye-catching on-screen chemistry with Rekha and the great melodies in this film such as ‘Dekha Ek Khwab’ and ‘Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum’ only helped to reinforce this. Watch Silsila if you would like to see an Amitabh film where he plays the ROMANTIC YOUNG MAN, rather than the angry young man!

9. Mohabbatein (2000) – Director: Aditya Chopra

Aditya Chopra can be credited for re-launching Amitabh as an actor in his second directorial venture Mohabbatein. The film is based on a university principal named Narayan Shankar (played by Amitabh in his first major senior role) who does not have any faith in the concept of love. The university’s new music teacher Raj Malhotra (Shahrukh Khan) sets out on a mission to prove to Narayan that love is something which should be embraced rather than it being tossed aside. Narayan is later filled with anger when he discovers that Raj was the very student whom he had expelled from the university many years ago for forming a relationship with his daughter Megha (Aishwarya Rai), who commits suicide as a result of her dad tearing them apart from each other. Raj ultimately decides to bring an end to the unreceptive attitude Narayan has towards love and to those who are in love and finally mend his ways. Does Raj succeed? You will have to watch Mohabbatein to find out! Although we are aware that this is an unusual choice to include in a list of must see Bachchan starrers, nevertheless, this is one of Amitabh’s best performances in a senior role. He has played many senior characters in the past and continues to do so today. Yet Mohabbatein is arguably one of Amitabh’s best and he won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his powerful performance in Mohabbatein. It is a film where Amitabh takes the anger and bitterness which he has exhibited on the big screen for many years and imports it into a senior character. Though the film has a colossal 3 and a half hour runtime, Amitabh’s dramatic performance gives you the stamina to watch it until the very end. Watch it if you want to see Amitabh enact the role of a MISERABLE OLD MAN!

10. Black (2005) – Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Five years after Mohabbatein, Amitabh wowed the critics and the audiences again with his ground-breaking performance as a senior character in Black. The film is based on a man named Debraj Sahai (Amitabh) who becomes the teacher of a deaf-blind girl named Michelle McNally (played by Ayesha Kapoor as the young Michelle and Rani Mukerji as the older Michelle). As Debraj gets older, he begins to develop Alzheimer’s disease. You will have to watch this Bollywood masterpiece to uncover what happens to Debraj as well as Michelle, whose aim is to get a university degree despite her visual and hearing losses. Black was a revolutionary moment for Hindi Cinema. We have seen many films where a character is either blind or deaf, but we have never seen a character that possesses both these unfortunate disabilities. In addition, Amitabh showed his dramatic side like never before in this film and no doubt you will find his, as well as Rani’s and Ayesha’s characters very moving to watch. Amitabh won both the Filmfare Best Actor Award and Best Actor (Critics) Award for his strongly commendable performance in this film. To an extent, Black can be classified as an art-house film rather than a commercial film due to its bold content. Hence, we advise you to watch Black if you have never seen it before. It is perhaps Amitabh’s most triumphant attempt at doing an art-house film!

11. A special mention of three Amitabh Bachchan performances which did not make it onto this list.

We would like to mention three key films which have not made it onto this top ten list, but which we would like to highlight anyway. Another Amitabh Bachchan starrer titled Don (1978) is considered by many to be one of his most significant films and it has become a classic hit ever since its release. Yet since quite a few action films with Amitabh as the leading man have already been included on this list, we felt this would restrict us from strongly recommending films where he has exemplified variety as an actor. Hence, although Don is not officially on this list nevertheless, give it a watch anyway as this is another Bachchan starrer which you will find exhilarating to watch! We would also like to add that a few years after the release of Black, Amitabh played another great senior role. This would be his first English language film titled The Last Lear (2008). Although it has not officially made it onto this list as we have already included two films which feature Amitabh in a senior role, we would like to give this film a special mention anyway. Amitabh delivered a spellbinding performance as an ex-Shakespearian theatre actor in The Last Lear and he received unanimous praise for it. Finally, this feature piece will feel incomplete if we did not refer to his noteworthy role in Paa (2009). Amitabh gave a very emotional performance as a boy suffering from progeria, a rare disease which makes him age at an extremely radical level. Apparently, Amitabh spent HOURS during each day of shooting for Paa in putting on and taking off the make-up which he wore in order to ensure his character looked authentic. His efforts eventually paid off and he went on to win his fifth Filmfare Award for Best Actor alongside many other awards, which he won for his unique performance in Paa. Therefore, if you are still hungry for more great films with Amitabh as the leading man, we recommend Don, The Last Lear and Paa also!

Before finally bringing this feature to an end, we would like to wish Mr Amitabh Bachchan a very Happy 70th Birthday!!!! We hope that he will continue to delight us all with more cutting edge and entertaining films! We can’t wait to see what he will bring us next!

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Shahrukh Khan: Twenty Years and Still Going Strong! http://bollyspice.com/shahrukh-khan-twenty-years-and-still-going-strong/ Sat, 22 Sep 2012 12:05:30 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=49042 Shahrukh Khan has indeed come a long way since he made his entry into Bollywood films over twenty years ago. He is one of the most influential figures in the Indian film industry today and has a global fan following which only few actors have managed to secure. He has greatly modernised the romantic hero persona for the new generation of audiences. This has given him such overwhelming success that any aspiring actor is most likely to be in deep envy of. His varied characters have led to young women loving him and young men wanting to be like him.

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Shahrukh Khan has indeed come a long way since he made his entry into Bollywood films over twenty years ago. He is one of the most influential figures in the Indian film industry today and has a global fan following which only few actors have managed to secure. He has greatly modernised the romantic hero persona for the new generation of audiences. This has given him such overwhelming success that any aspiring actor is most likely to be in deep envy of. His varied characters have led to young women loving him and young men wanting to be like him. His star image has been strengthened over the years as a result of being an ambassador for numerous commercial products, from Tag Heuer watches to Pepsi cola drinks. His body of television work has added to his success and has allowed his popularity to cultivate both in India and overseas. Shahrukh Khan has also made a significant contribution towards enhancing Bollywood’s global reputation. Although South Asians still remain the majority audience for Bollywood films nevertheless: Shahrukh Khan is one of the key actors who have helped to entice people from other ethnic groups to give such films a chance. There are many now who have come to appreciate it and follow it in the same way which South Asians do so. This has helped to reinforce Bollywood’s international image and industry figures and fans should be proud that it is now the second biggest film industry in the world! We will now dive into Shahrukh Khan’s twenty year career in order to interpret why he continues to remain a towering figure within the Indian film industry.

Born in New Delhi on 2 November 1965, Shahrukh Khan’s entry into the entertainment industry began as a television actor in serials such as Fauji and Circus. He attained critical praise for his performances in these TV shows and subsequently made his entry into Bollywood films. His first release was in Raj Kanwar’s Deewana (1992) opposite the late actress Divya Bharti and Rishi Kapoor. However, the first film he made was Dil Aashna Hai (1992) which released later due to delays. Deewana remains a classic today, primarily due to the fact that this was the first time Khan graced the big screen, although it also had a good screenplay and musical score. It was in 1993 that Khan catapulted to superstardom for his villainous roles in Baazigar (1993) and in Yash Chopra’s Darr (1993). Shahrukh’s performances in both these films are still considered by many to be some of the best that he has ever delivered in his career. Although Baazigar was the film which won Shahrukh his first ever Filmfare Award for Best Actor, Darr is just as memorable where he conveyed the persona of a mentally deranged and obsessive lover to a great extent. Shahrukh renovated the image of a typical Indian villain and gave it a whole new edge. It was also somewhat ground-breaking as the audience have seen very few performances like this before. Of course, this was also the film which established the famous Shahrukh-Yash Chopra relationship and together, they have created further hits following Darr.

Luckily for Shahrukh, his villainous enactments did not lead to him becoming eternally glued to such roles. He was able to move on and provide an eclectic range of performances. This included the all-time classic blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) by Aditya Chopra, which marked his directorial debut. Both Shahrukh and Kajol (the female protagonist) won huge commercial and critical acclaim for their portrayals. The film is based on two NRI’s (Non-Resident Indian) living in the UK and both begin to fall in love with each other during a European tour. Ultimately, we see Raj (Shahrukh) racing to the Punjab to fight for Simran (Kajol) before she marries someone else and also win acceptance from her conservative father (Amrish Puri). Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge is an unforgettable box office hit! It is regarded by many as one of the greatest films to have ever been made in Hindi cinema under the romantic genre. It also helped to consolidate Shahrukh’s status within the film industry and earned him further respect and admiration from film fans in India and worldwide.

With Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge becoming such an overwhelming success and winning countless awards, Shahrukh was now at the top of his league. He rapidly became one of the most powerful men in the Indian film industry.  Shahrukh gave further memorable classics during the late 1990s which included Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and Karan Johar’s directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Both these films had Shahrukh as part of a love triangle and his ability to romance leading actresses like Madhuri Dixit and even new actresses at the time like Rani Mukerji grew stronger and stronger. Shahrukh has stated numerous times to the media that his major acting inspirational figure is the legendary Dilip Kumar. It is clearly obvious that Shahrukh is not just saying this. If you watch some of his films, including these two, you will see that some elements of Shahrukh’s performances contain traces (though not imitations) of how Dilip Kumar used to serenade women in films. Both these films, especially Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, are regarded by many young viewers to be some of their favourite films.

Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar are three key directors who can be deemed as instrumental in carving Shahrukh to be the ultimate modern romantic hero. They were able to successfully push him into projecting a sensitive yet masculine form of romance. This had not been witnessed on the big screen since the years of Rajesh Khanna, who was one the last great romantic heroes before the action era stormed in during the mid-1970s. Although there are many talented actors in Bollywood today, Shahrukh is one of few who can romance female actors so effectively that it can feel rather realistic. For example, we all know that Shahrukh and Kajol are just acting in films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Yet watching particular intimate scenes between the two can leave many viewers feeling convinced that they are actually a real life couple. This obviously is not the case once viewers return to reality. Therefore, Shahrukh is a perfectionist when it comes to playing a character that is required to do crucial romantic scenes for a film. I am sure there are many men who have tried to imitate Shahrukh’s flirting skills with their own female companion. This is a key reason why he has been so successful in his career, why the audience continue to watch his films and why he is referred to by the media as the ‘King of Romance.’

At the beginning of the millennium, Shahrukh continued to enchant the audience with his romantic roles in films like Mohabbatein (2000) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.Yet 2002 was the year when the audience witnessed Shahrukh starring as Devdas Mukherjee in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed film Devdas (2002). This was the third time in which Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic Bengali novel was transformed into a Hindi film. Shahrukh delivered a raw and tragic performance as a young lawyer driven to alcoholism as a result of him not being able to marry his childhood sweetheart. Having said this however, it is difficult to label this as his best performance ever. One cannot help but assume that Shahrukh must have kept in mind Dilip Kumar’s magnetic and powerful portrayal in Bimal Roy’s 1955 version of Devdas whilst playing this classic character. Moreover, Dilip managed to express his character’s heartbreak in a way which will deeply move people, more so compared to that of Shahrukh’s. Hence, Shahrukh’s portrayal is a very good yet unmatched performance to that of Dilip Kumar’s. However, the 2002 version of Devdas has done phenomenally well and is very popular with the new audience. Yet critics and the older generation will instinctively prefer Roy’s version for its simple and less opulent take on the story.

Following Devdas and after having had a major back surgery, Shahrukh continued to impress the audience and critics with meaningful films, including Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades (2004). The film is based on an NRI American’s visit to rural India and results in a changing attitude and patriotic allegiance towards the country. Another critically appreciated film is Chak De India (2007), based on a washed up sports star who becomes the coach of a female hockey team. Shahrukh however did not refrain from doing romantic films and met the commercial needs of the audience by starring in some of the finest which India has produced during the 2000s. This included Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004), both of them seeing Shahrukh star alongside Preity Zinta. Both can be regarded as quintessential tearjerkers, with Veer-Zaara being particularly noteworthy for its story on cross-border romance. The drama which unfolds in these films provided Shahrukh with the stamina to express an array of sentiments which no doubt reaffirmed for the audience that he was not losing his touch in exuding sheer emotion and romance towards his female co-stars. He also showed incredible versatility as a professional actor in Rab Ne Bana De Jodi (2008) and My Name is Khan (2010), where he was able to exhibit intricate male identities at a very proficient level. Shahrukh also managed to revive the anti-hero image which we saw him as during the 1990s with the successful Don franchise (2006, 2011). Although they are based on the 1978 classic film of the same title featuring Amitabh Bachchan, this has not prevented them from becoming major box office successes. It is especially a highly enjoyed franchise amongst the new male audience for its modern technological stunt and action sequences.

In addition to these, Shahrukh has done a number of films under his home production company Red Chillies Entertainment. Although Om Shanti Om (2007) and Ra.One (2011) were huge commercial hits due to Shahrukh’s star presence, they received mixed reviews by critics and these performances are arguably some of the weakest he has delivered in his career. Having said this, Shahrukh did take on a commendable risk with Ra.One and made an audacious attempt at popularising the sci-fi and fantasy genres in Bollywood as a superhero character. This is despite the fact that we had seen something similar before with Krissh (2006), where Hrithik Roshan played a superhero in this film. Interestingly however, the success of Om Shanti Om and Ra.One demonstrates the powerful influence which superstars can have on the audiences. The fact that both films starred Shahrukh Khan as the male protagonist was enough motivation for people to want to go and see it and they did not need any further convincing. This undoubtedly validates why after twenty years, Shahrukh continues to remain in a very strong position within the Indian film industry.

Everyone will soon be seeing Shahrukh star alongside Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in the upcoming Yash Chopra film Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). This is perhaps the most highly anticipated film of the year! This will also see Shahrukh and Yash Chopra coming together, eight years after their last major hit Veer-Zaara. It can be argued that many are euphoric to see this film as they want to see Shahrukh playing an intense romantic character again. We have not seen him playing such personalities for a while now. I am sure that Chopra will continue doing what he has done best for almost twenty years with Shahrukh; which is bringing out the best in him as a romantic hero.

The likeliness of Shahrukh facing decline as an actor is difficult to predict, despite him facing stiff competition from new and popular actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan. However, if he continues to impress the audiences with a range of conventional and unconventional characters, Shahrukh’s career could run the same length or perhaps even longer than Amitabh Bachchan’s, who is still a reigning figure more than forty years after having entered the industry. Shahrukh Khan is one of the most professional and talented actors to have surfaced from contemporary Hindi cinema. A number of his key films which I have discussed in this article will most certainly transform into institutional classics as a result of his skilful and eloquent performances in them. He has stated in front of the media several times that he will continue to entertain the audience for as long as he possibly can! A career spanning over twenty years, Shakrukh Khan continues to remain a colossal figure within the Indian film industry. The prospects of him being overthrown by another actor are definitely miniscule for now.

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A Tribute to the Original Romantic Superstar – Rajesh Khanna http://bollyspice.com/a-tribute-to-the-original-romantic-superstar-rajesh-khanna/ Sat, 21 Jul 2012 13:26:55 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=46915 Long before Shah Rukh wiggled his eyebrows and raised his arms for a hug, and well before Salman built that body, there was the inimitable Rajesh Khanna. If the late 70s were Amitabh Bachchan’s one man industry, then the early 70s were Rajesh’s domain. Truly, the era of the first superstars in Hindi cinema has come to an end when Khanna passed away this past Wednesday. Often called the Prince of Romance, Khanna offered up a gentler and tender side to romance that is sorely missed in today’s era. Born as Jatin Khanna on December 29th 1942, he was a

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Long before Shah Rukh wiggled his eyebrows and raised his arms for a hug, and well before Salman built that body, there was the inimitable Rajesh Khanna. If the late 70s were Amitabh Bachchan’s one man industry, then the early 70s were Rajesh’s domain. Truly, the era of the first superstars in Hindi cinema has come to an end when Khanna passed away this past Wednesday.

Often called the Prince of Romance, Khanna offered up a gentler and tender side to romance that is sorely missed in today’s era. Born as Jatin Khanna on December 29th 1942, he was a keen lover of films since an early age. His rise to the top also seems like a struggler’s dream, as he was picked from thousands of applicants from the All India Talent Contest. It’s easy to see why. That twinkle in his eye, the tilted head, and that lovely voice, all of which have been parodied around, but there was something in those mannerisms was so arresting. Rajesh Khanna cracked the big league with his double role in Aradhana. Paired with Sharmila Tagore, in one of the best jodis of all time, Khanna created a persona that would define many heroes to come. In fact, he was the first actor to become a superstar and a true phenomenon with this film.

He was sensitive, shy, and soft-spoken, which set him apart from the Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, and Dilip Kumar triumvirate. That trio had their own brigade of fans, who probably did send them flowers and gifts. Yet with Rajesh, his romantic persona was one that sent women of all ages wild with desire. If he’s called the original superstar, then it’s for a reason, Khanna had that certain je ne sais quoi that clicked with audiences during his 6-year reign. Showering his car with kisses; writing letters in blood, sending overflowing bouquets to his house, mobbing him wherever he went, fans just could not get enough of their hero. When he married Dimple Kapadia, there were stories of women committing suicide due to this gorgeous hunk tying the knot. Celebrity culture and superstar worship truly flourished when Rajesh during his heyday. He had enough off-screen drama to fill tons of gossip papers, and enough likeability to keep the audience hooked. Khanna was shrewd about his career and persona, and he made sure he was on top of his game during his reign.

He had that everyman charm that perhaps the trio were lacking. Raj Kapoor’s Raju was a bit of a bumpkin, Anand was a stylish cad, and Kumar had a grave intensity to every tragic hero he played. Khanna was a hero who was an all-rounder. He could play both a cook in Bawarchi and a stylish charmer in Andaaz. Fans could relate to this hero, because he was so likable and charming in each role, while facing romantic and social upheavals. It’s a testament to his fabulous acting skills that although he did that crinkle with his eyes in film after film, he kept us invested in his character and as a superstar.

In Amar Prem, he proved that he could do more than just rely on mannerisms to act, and make us empathize with the heartbroken Anand. He could pull at our heartstrings even in Aap Ki Kasam in his jealous husband role. Khanna took also quite a few risks with his movie choices with the intense role in Ittefaq that made us all love him with a stubble and grizzled manner. Even sharing screen time with an elephant in Haathi Mere Saathi, Khanna looked like he was having fun. With each unconventional role he chose, there were lots of romances to fall back on. His pairings with Mumtaz, Asha Parekh, and Sharmila Tagore became iconic and got the audiences packed into cinemas. His chemistry with Tagore was best epitomized with the gorgeous song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, which was filmed in one long tracking shot as the two lovers try to fight off temptation with a thundery storm brewing outside. The way that Khanna looks at Tagore is just so sexy, no wonder girls went crazy over him! With Mumtaz and Asha Parekh, Khanna had a more tender and fun chemistry. In Kati Patang, Khanna and Parekh’s slow courtship is so sweet and wonderful. With Mumtaz, Khanna had a partner who could match up to his charm offensive, and the camaraderie really comes through in many of their films together. It helps that this superstar came with a singer like Kishore Kumar to complete that romantic persona that he specially crafted and unleashed on the adoring public.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppFmipV6KZc

Khanna’s reign at the top started to diminish around the time that the Angry Young Man came into vogue, as personified by his co-star Amitabh Bachchan. Bachchan and Khanna made two classic films together, Anand where Khanna’s cheery character shone through, and Namak Haraam, where Bachchan revealed his intensity and powerhouse talent. These two films are two products of time, where the changing of the guard would soon happen. Bachchan soon eclipsed Khanna in the latter half of the 70s. Yet Khanna was always willing to share the screen with talented actors, who might outperform him like Vinod Khanna, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, and so many others. However, in his willingness to keep up with the other angrier heroes, his characters started doing a bit more dishoom-dishoom, while trying to balance all the romance too. With this downward slope, out came the stories of his arrogance, alienating those near to him, and a loss of perspective. Every superstar has a time to cool off, but Khanna’s output may have been less than memorable but he still kept going despite the fans flocking to see a grittier hero with little time to romance. Overdoing those mannerisms and working in subpar films made his career implosion a lot more disheartening. His films in the latter part of his career may have flowed into one, but there were flashes of the hero we all loved taking a chance on a role like Avtaar or Agar Tum Na Hote.

With Khanna’s passing, we have truly lost a hero who set the bar for the masala heroes we have today. Shah Rukh’s persistent charms in romantic films, Salman’s masala man appeal, owe a lot to Rajesh Khanna’s universal and accessible hero persona. There will be constant reinventions of the hero type, but there will only be one hero that made us swoon as he cried and crinkled his eyes, Rajesh Khanna.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN0WIihPuZw

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Ferrari Ki Sawaari Trailer is out! http://bollyspice.com/ferrari-ki-sawaari-trailer-is-out/ Sat, 24 Mar 2012 00:52:21 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=39475 The upcoming film by Vinod Chopra starring Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani and directed by debutant Rajesh Mapuskar, is all set to release on 11th May, 2012. This movie is about a person who believes in dreaming big no matter how difficult it is to achieve it and wants his son to have the same passion for his dreams. In this heartwarming tale of unconditional love between father and son, the pursuit of an Indian legend’s Ferrari makes a young boy’s dreams of playing cricket at Lords Stadium a reality. About the story of Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Vinod Chopra expanded

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The upcoming film by Vinod Chopra starring Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani and directed by debutant Rajesh Mapuskar, is all set to release on 11th May, 2012. This movie is about a person who believes in dreaming big no matter how difficult it is to achieve it and wants his son to have the same passion for his dreams. In this heartwarming tale of unconditional love between father and son, the pursuit of an Indian legend’s Ferrari makes a young boy’s dreams of playing cricket at Lords Stadium a reality.

About the story of Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Vinod Chopra expanded more in our interview with him, “It’s a film about three generations; the young kid, a twelve-year-old, his father Sharman Joshi, who has done an incredible job in the film and his father, played by Boman Irani. Boman is a dejected, disheartened and unhappy cricketer. The young kid wants to play cricket and the disheartened grandfather does not want to encourage him. It is really a film about these three people and also, it’s a film about Ferrari as the title suggests. It’s about a Ferrari being stolen to send this young boy to Lords and then that car gets stolen itself, so it is a fun movie, a lot of fun. But mainly it is about family.”

Presenting the official trailer of Ferrari Ki Sawari

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PqQNr570Ro

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Get Ready for Agent Vinod! http://bollyspice.com/get-ready-for-agent-vinod/ Tue, 24 Jan 2012 16:41:11 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=36458 With just a teaser poster showing a profile shot the excitement for the Saif Ali Khan starrer Agent Vinod hit some pretty big highs. Now we have an even cooler look for you in this brand new poster! Needless to say Saif is looking totally hot, totally cool and we can’t wait to see him in this suave spy avatar. If you look real close you can see some of the slick exciting action we can expect when the film hits theater on March 23rd! Now keep a tab open in your browser on BollySpice because tomorrow we are going

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With just a teaser poster showing a profile shot the excitement for the Saif Ali Khan starrer Agent Vinod hit some pretty big highs. Now we have an even cooler look for you in this brand new poster! Needless to say Saif is looking totally hot, totally cool and we can’t wait to see him in this suave spy avatar. If you look real close you can see some of the slick exciting action we can expect when the film hits theater on March 23rd!

Now keep a tab open in your browser on BollySpice because tomorrow we are going to have exclusively for you the first teaser promo too! We know we can’t wait!

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Sanjay Dutt completes 30 years in the film industry http://bollyspice.com/sanjay-dutt-completes-30-years-in-the-film-industry/ Sun, 08 May 2011 18:11:48 +0000 http://127.0.0.1/bs-wp/?p=22305 Yes, yes, I know, he made his first appearance on the silver screen already 1971 in his father Sunil Dutt’s film Reshma Aur Shera — a cute little boy beaming and trying to clap rhythmically in a qawwali scene. But his adult debut film came ten years later: Rocky, premiered on May 8, 1981; not really a success, but it nevertheless made Sanju a new heartthrob in the industry. Especially after he successfully fought his drug addiction in the early 80s and then impressed with his intense performance in Naam (1986), he silenced all the people who much too early

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Yes, yes, I know, he made his first appearance on the silver screen already 1971 in his father Sunil Dutt’s film Reshma Aur Shera — a cute little boy beaming and trying to clap rhythmically in a qawwali scene. But his adult debut film came ten years later: Rocky, premiered on May 8, 1981; not really a success, but it nevertheless made Sanju a new heartthrob in the industry. Especially after he successfully fought his drug addiction in the early 80s and then impressed with his intense performance in Naam (1986), he silenced all the people who much too early had written him off.

In the following years he started a fitness trend which subsequently was followed by many of his colleagues. “Sanjay Dutt was the first to make a macho physique a fashion statement,” wrote the Stardust in 1997. “The Deadly Dutt has an animal sexuality about him that emanates as much from his perfectly sculpted ‘he-man’ physique as from his large, vulnerable eyes with their ‘little lost boy’ look. Add to that his smile, his hair and his recklessness and you have a lost lion cub that is just waiting to be mothered. Not many women have been able to resist that.”

Never did Sanjay show this combination of muscles and vulnerability more clearly than in Sadak (1991) which made him the most wanted action hero of the 90s. Other highlights of these years were Saajan (1991 — the role of a crippled, sensitive poet earned Sanjay his first Filmfare Best Actor nomination), Aatish (1994) and Khalnayak (1993) which became a synonym for Sanjay: the ‘antihero’ which won the people’s hearts though being a ‘villain’.

It was sheer, bitter irony, that Khalnayak just advanced to one of the biggest hits in 1993 while at the same time the fiction became reality for Sanjay when he was arrested and jailed, suspected of being involved in terrorist acts leading to the Mumbai blasts — an accusation he finally was to be acquitted of in 2006. At that time, he had made himself another popular identity besides the ‘Khalnayak’ — it was the loveable and golden-hearted Munnabhai he played in Rajkumar Hirani’s blockbusters Munnabhai MBBS (2003) and Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006).

At the age of 51, Sanjay Dutt still enjoys a firm position in the industry and is still a much sought-after actor who gets more film offers than he can accept. Besides, he has launched his own production banner Sanjay Dutt Productions; his maiden home production will be Rascals starring him and his buddy Ajay Devgn. Other forthcoming projects include Double Dhamaal and Karan Johar’s Agneepath remake where Sanjay plays the role of the villain Kancha Cheena.

So now, as my gift to Sanjay’s 30th birthday in the film industry (many, many happy returns of the day, Sanju!), I present you my slightly different film recommendation list — apart from the usual suspects (as named above):

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Spotlight: Mani Ratnam http://bollyspice.com/spotlight-mani-ratnam/ Thu, 17 Jun 2010 18:20:00 +0000 http://127.0.0.1/bs-wp/?p=2652 In one of his interviews, when Mani Ratnam was asked which his favorite among all his movies was, he replied, “None, probably the next one”. MANI RATNAM. One name, so much associated with it. I’m not sure where to begin. A thousand thoughts swarm my mind. The man needs no introduction but undoubtedly, his cinematic brilliance will be a subject of conversation for many years to come. A director every artist dreams of working with. A man who without apprehension transformed South Indian cinema. The man who gave Indian cinema an element & an identity, which fairly astonishes global audiences.

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In one of his interviews, when Mani Ratnam was asked which his favorite among all his movies was, he replied, “None, probably the next one”.

MANI RATNAM. One name, so much associated with it. I’m not sure where to begin. A thousand thoughts swarm my mind. The man needs no introduction but undoubtedly, his cinematic brilliance will be a subject of conversation for many years to come.

A director every artist dreams of working with. A man who without apprehension transformed South Indian cinema. The man who gave Indian cinema an element & an identity, which fairly astonishes global audiences. A man who ventured into the darkest subjects attempting plots which others feared implausible. The man is Mani Ratnam – reserved, gifted, audacious and a sheer genius.

The journey – Mani Ratnam is evidently one of the most eminent directors in India today and much respected as well. In his two decades of contribution to Indian Cinema, he has managed to establish outstanding credentials as a director and producer, as well as a writer. Yet it is overwhelming to think that there was a moment when all this would have not been possible.

The beginning – Cinema ran in his blood owing to producer Father Venus Gopalratnam and Brother G.Venkateswaran, film distributor turned producer. Yet, armed with a business degree from Mumbai, he began working as a management consultant. One random day, because of his passion for watching movies, he got interested in how movies are made and in all the processes involved in filmmaking. This curiosity led him to becoming a film director. That was all. No apprentice, no internship, no degree in filmmaking and no experience in the field. His enthusiasm for films persuaded cinematographer Balu Mahendra to consent him a chance to don the director’s hat.
Mani Ratnam’s directorial debut was in the year 1983, an Anil Kapoor starrer Kannada lingo, Pallavi Anu Pallavi, a film that explored the relationship between a young man and an older woman. The movie was not a commercial success, but was critically acclaimed and Mani earned his due credit.

Three years later, his 5th film Mouna Rangam, the story about a woman grieving the death of her lover but convinced for an arranged marriage, was released. This movie became a significant milestone in Tamil cinema and Mani Ratnam got his much-deserved breakthrough. The film went on to win the National Film Award for best film that year.

The subsequent year, 1987 marked the release of Nayagan, starring superstar Kamal Hassan. The film is considered the finest Indian film ever made. Included in Time Magazine’s ‘All-Time 100 Best Films’ list in 2005, Nayagan was India’s official entry to the Oscars in 1987. It also won Kamal Hassan the National award for Best Actor.

Thereafter, there was no turning back. What followed was a spate of Mani Ratnam films that triggered a cinematic gala in South India.

Mani Ratnam made his Bollywood debut with Roja, the first of his terrorism trilogy. Films Bombay and Dil Se followed subsequently. Post that he moved away from the subject and made films like Yuva and Guru, which reflected current issues of youth ambition, power, unions and politics.

Gripping dialogues, scintillating camera work, melody and extraordinarily scripted screenplay characterize a Mani Ratnam production. All his films boast of larger-than-life cinematography, clear-cut editing, impeccable aesthetics and groovy scores. He is famed for keeping emotions intact whilst concentrating on pressing issues. His style is heavily marketed by a gamut of practical, urban themes and is shown ‘as is’ thus leaving nothing for viewer’s imagination.

Over the decades, Mani’s films have set a benchmark for captivated storytelling and finesse. The USP of Mani Ratnam movies are that they are inspired from real-life events and famous epics. Themes are sincerely researched upon, about familial-marital hardships, class-religious conflicts, terrorism, war, or politics.
Nayagan: loosely based on Varadarajan Mudaliar, underworld Don in Mumbai
Iruvar: based on Tamil Nadu political & cinematic icons M.G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi
Kannathil Muthamittal: based on the Sri Lankan Civil War
Aayutha Ezhuthu: a movie about student politics
Thalapathi: based on the Hindu-epic Mahabaratha,
Bombay: the ethnic war between Hindus and Muslims in Mumbai
Guru: loosely inspired by the life of millionaire businessman Dhirubhai Ambani
– His yet-to-be-released film Raavan – speculated to be inspired by another Hindu epic, Ramayana.

So who does he see himself as – an artist or an entertainer?

“A bit of both,” Mani Ratnam says. “It is important to me that I make films I am proud of. And who said good films can’t be entertaining.”

Apart from his direction, Mani has an enviable collaboration with the best technicians in the field. Ranging from the very talented music maestro AR Rahman to cinematographer Santosh Sivan to editor Sreekar Prasad, a dedicated team whose combined talent provide Mani with the wide canvas to pour out his visions. For a man who is obsessed and takes undivided interest in all areas of his films, be it technical or creative, Mani went on to say in an interview, “A director does not need to know every aspect of filmmaking. He should have the right people and be capable of asking the right questions.”

Another area that Mani seldom fails is extracting stellar performances from his actors. Be it Manisha Koirala in Bombay, actors Madhavan in Alaipayuthey and Abhishek Bachchan in Yuva and Guru, he is adept at bringing out trophy winning performance or giving a leash to the actors careers.

Although many movies are made on delicate subjects like terrorism and religion, the reason why Mani Ratnam’s films appeal to global audiences is the treatment of the plots. Most of his films focus on relationships and emotions with terrorism of religion as a background. Eg: Roja which was widely shot in terror-stricken Kashmir, but did not shift spotlight from the woes of a couple who was accidently caught in the midst of it.

Unfortunately with every success, comes the danger of being victimized. Post release of Ratnam’s Bombay, a movie on Hindu-Muslim inter-caste marriage, he received threats and bombs were hurled at his house, which necessitated him and his family to be flanked by bodyguards. He has received endless criticisms, but it never disillusions him. He does not like to justify what went wrong and will never stray away from his ideologies about making films that have character and element of human relationships.

At a retrospective of Mani Ratnam’s films, Toronto reviewer David Overbey very sagely noted – “Mani Ratnam makes movies; lets the cinema take care of itself.”

Recently Mani Ratnam was bestowed with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. In recent years, the award has gone to other major world filmmakers such as Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnes Varda and Sylvester Stallone. This year, however, Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates its six years of partnership with the Venice International Film Festival by announcing Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.

Speaking on why they chose Mani Ratnam for this honor, Marco Mueller, Venice Film Festival Director said, “Mani Ratnam used to initially make movies only in his native tongue, Tamil, but has now been one of a handful of filmmakers to successfully handle the transition to the All-India market. One of the great innovators in contemporary Indian cinema, he helped introduce the auteur concept to contemporary Bollywood. His movies display precision and poise, and have always been removed from the bombast and bluster of mass-produced regional cinema. The lavish musical numbers in his films, some of the best-tailored in Mumbai and Madras in recent years, have influenced the style of many others (as well as the design of commercials and music videos). Ratnam’s most celebrated films have become part of the cinematic imagination of the sub-continent.”

As his next film is up for release after a hiatus of almost 2 years, the Mani fever rises. The trailer is pretty predictable but the expectations are high because of the brand ‘Mani’ associated with it. While the ace of Indian cinema readies to flaunt his magnum opus to the audiences, he is mindful of the exhilaration surrounding his offering Raavan. With the much-awaited film geared up for release, audiences are looking forward to enjoying the Mani magic all over again.

Mani Ratnam has come along way from his first and he has done it quite on his own. Never worried about commercial success, he has mastered the art proficiently and is loved, admired and respected for his sincerity, passion and dedication for films.

Like a lot of filmmakers turned politicans, would he do the same if he gets tired of making films?

“No, I don’t tired of making films,” he coyly replies.

We hope you never get tired of making films sir. We really do.

Trivia:
– His actual name is Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam.
– Mani is married to actress Suhasini, niece of southern superstar Kamal Haasan, which makes Kamal, Mani’s father-in-law equivalent.
– He and Suhasini have one son, Nandan.
– Mani Ratnam is a vegetarian.
– Mani co-founded the independent production company Madras Talkies with his brother.
– Mani Ratnam is the only person who can meet AR Rahman without an appointment.
– A rainy scene and a scene related with railways are part of most of his films.
– Post the release of Bombay, Mani Ratnam received threats and bombs were hurled his house. He passed those days by with high security.
– All his films had music composed by Ilayaraja until Roja for which he used debutante AR Rahman, and has used his music in every film ever since.
– His film Thalapathi had 2 different climaxes. For the Tamil and Telugu versions, he shot superstar Mammootty’s death, since Rajnikanth is more popular with those audiences, and in the Malayalam version Rajnikanth dies, as Mammootty is more popular there!
– Abhishek Bachchan ate a box of Mysore Pak everyday after lunch and took a nap after that. Apparently, that was Mani Ratnam’s idea to beef him up for the old man look in Guru!
– In 2002, Mani Ratnam was awarded the Padma Shri (an award given by the Government of India to Indian citizens to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity).
– In Indian language, both words ‘Mani’ and ‘Ratnam’ mean ‘Jewel’ and the director definitely lives up to his name.

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Karan Johar Spotlight http://bollyspice.com/karan-johar-spotlight/ Fri, 12 Feb 2010 17:37:07 +0000 http://127.0.0.1/bs-wp/?p=3386 Karan Johar may hail from a reputable film family but the director-producer has had to prove himself worthy of a place in Hindi cinema right from the get-go. It wasn’t as easy as being handed Dharma Productions on a silver platter, a production house put together by his father Yash Johar many years ago, the young boy had to work hard to finally earn a film which eventually became his directorial debut and a major hit, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. However, before that, he appeared in a guest appearance as his lucky mascot Shah Rukh Khan’s best friend in Dilwale

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Karan Johar may hail from a reputable film family but the director-producer has had to prove himself worthy of a place in Hindi cinema right from the get-go. It wasn’t as easy as being handed Dharma Productions on a silver platter, a production house put together by his father Yash Johar many years ago, the young boy had to work hard to finally earn a film which eventually became his directorial debut and a major hit, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. However, before that, he appeared in a guest appearance as his lucky mascot Shah Rukh Khan’s best friend in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Ask KJo, as he is fondly called, who his influences are, and he quickly juts out some the most glamorous moviemakers including Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Sooraj Barjatya. The effect of these veteran film makers is evident almost all Johar films, which talk about love and friendship, family values and betrayal, and of course with the requisite song and dance.

As a child, Karan knew he wanted to be famous. He grew up amidst the glitterati and their children, which included the Bachchans, Roshans, Kapoors, Khannas and Chopras. Strangely, Karan grew up in a snooty area of Mumbai where Hindi films were frowned upon and thus, secretly watched films and found himself feeling rather embarrassed to be Yash Johar’s son. In fact, on many occasions, he denied that his father was a film producer but rather a mere businessman. However, he did on the sly watch films and would burst into tears when he was not allowed to attend previews. During his college days, he became friendly with the reclusive Aditya Chopra who had come up with idea of a cult story. KJo ditched his plans of going to Paris to pursue a degree in Mass Communication and joined forces with Chopra. The two developed that story together and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was born. It was during the DDLJ schedule that Shah Rukh Khan and KJo became chums. It was upon Khan’s persuasion that Johar decided to script and direct his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

KKHH released to great expectations, which it met, and Karan Johar the director was born. It was in this first film that Karan Johar established not only a niche in the industry, his film direction style started a new trend in moviemaking. The director added a modern flair to his debut film with the use of branded clothing and slang language, which appealed to the younger masses, but as the film progressed it changed to become one about values and love, targeted at an older mature audience. It was with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that Karan Johar had arrived and how. The film went on to become a blockbuster hit, which is loved even today. It won numerous awards including Best Movie and Best Director for the year of 1998. KKHH also became the film which strengthened the director’s friendship with Shah Rukh Khan. From then on, Johar vowed to never direct a film without SRK in the lead. And sticking to his word, he never has. A few years later he was back with Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, another winner then 4 years later he followed with Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and his next release, My Name is Khan; all of course starring SRK as the hero.

Besides, actor and director another cap that Karan wears is that of producer with his banner Dharma Productions. Each of Karan’s films has been produced by the company and in the last few years the banner has become known for it’s fresh take on Hindi films.

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Why I Love Anil Kapoor http://bollyspice.com/why-i-love-anil-kapoor/ Sat, 31 Jan 2009 15:25:00 +0000 http://127.0.0.1/bs-wp/?p=5304 My memories of Hindi movies and my admiration for Anil Kapoor pretty much run simultaneously. When I think back to my childhood, one of the most prominent memories is sitting on my living room floor, crossed legged, watching Ram Lakhan and being mesmerized by ‘One-Two-Ka Four’ – and yes, I did remember pretty much all the dialogues from the movie, scene by scene. That was the start of my Anil-Kapoor-Mania. I was drawn to his great sense of “everythingness”,— which when defined meant that he could take on any character and any role, make it his own and you couldn’t

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My memories of Hindi movies and my admiration for Anil Kapoor pretty much run simultaneously. When I think back to my childhood, one of the most prominent memories is sitting on my living room floor, crossed legged, watching Ram Lakhan and being mesmerized by ‘One-Two-Ka Four’ – and yes, I did remember pretty much all the dialogues from the movie, scene by scene. That was the start of my Anil-Kapoor-Mania. I was drawn to his great sense of “everythingness”,— which when defined meant that he could take on any character and any role, make it his own and you couldn’t imagine any other actor enacting that role. He’s been around since the eighties and this Kapoor has no intentions of going anywhere. While the Khans run around finding the crown to finally claim their kingship, Kapoor is more than happy with the roles he receives and the accolades that follows thereafter. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and explain my L-O-V-E for this one of a kind Kapoor.

Be it the charming Lakhan in Ram Lakhan, the tapori in Tezaab, the lover in Lamhe or the simpleton in Eeshwar, this Kapoor is an actor who manages to excel in all his roles. From his debut in Who Saat Din in 1983, critics knew that the young boy from suburban Mumbai was one to watch out for. He quickly went on to take on a variety of roles and star with some of the greats within the industry, winning immense praise along the way and yet staying as grounded as ever. Perhaps one of his best performances was the eighties favorite Mr. India where he played the warm-hearted Arjun bhaiya who cared for orphan children and discovered his scientist father’s experiment to become invisible. From that film on his career really accelerated. What followed was nothing short of sheer excellence: Parinda, Kishen Kanhaiya, Beta, Virasat, Pukar and so on.

Anil has had his share of duds at the box office, but his performance has rarely or never been criticized. In the epic 1942 — A Love Story, he played a young boy in love with the daughter of a revolutionist. While the over-hyped movie was expected to be thunderous, it bombed at the box office. However, Kapoor did go on to win the Best Actor award for his performance in the movie. This was the just the beginning of his wins for the popular awards. He was bestowed with many honors in the Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor in a Comic Role categories: Taal and Biwi No. 1 respectively. Additionally, for his outstanding performance in Pukar he was felicitated with the National Award. Anil however, has never cared about the length of his role in a film and in fact has been caught saying and living up to might we add, “It is not the length of the role that counts but the content in it.” This demonstrates his best trait: humility.

Ask any of his male co-stars and they will tell you what a generous and helpful actor Kapoor is. He has worked with all generations of stars and directors, and none of them have a single ill word to utter about the actor. Kapoor has also romanced every popular actress in his time. Be it Padmini Kolapure in the early eighties or Madhuri Dixit later on; add to the list some the previous and current reigning queens: Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koriala, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Aishwariya Rai, Kareena Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor. Mind you, that is just a few of a large number. Surprisingly, he has never been linked to any of his co-stars and in fact, the ladies are all praise for this evergreen actor. Being the family man that he is, Kapoor’s heart only goes “dhak-dhak” for his wife of 24 years, Sunita.

After reigning in the eighties and nineties, the millennium was not short of any Anil Kapoor movies, clearly demonstrating that he is here to stay. He isn’t afraid to dive head on into territories that his peers refuse to step into. He produced Gandhi — My Father, which created lots of news with its controversial topic, as well as acted in the newly released and globally acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire. While the movie has been loved and accepted worldwide, back home in India the movie was seen as a poor depiction of the country. Kapoor quickly jumped to the movie’s defense claiming, “The film is going to be a terrific inspiration to kids around India. It’s a feel-good film, a film of hope.” Kapoor knows firsthand the problems that slum children face on a daily basis as he too was bought up in a Mumbai slum. Perhaps, director Danny Boyle knew he would understand the trials and tribulations such children face because of his background. The movie has already won many awards, including best ensemble cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It is also nominated for 10 Oscars.

His experience as a child residing in the slums of Mumbai has made him take it upon himself to help out the children who are unfortunately a victim of living in the slums. He works with several organizations including the popular NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) and Plan India to help children in such poverty-stricken areas. The actor who believes in charity work also went on to auction “A Day with Anil Kapoor” on Ebay and all the proceedings were donated to assist these children. In addition, his entire earnings from Slumdog Millionaire have been donated to help the livelihood of these children. He has a deep love for young impoverished children and has vowed to continually help them.

While we have seen most actors of his generation mature physically, A.K. has refused to let his age show on his face or in his acting ability. He does occasionally change his appearance by shaving off his trademark mustache, but no quicker is it off, it is as quickly back. Either way, fans love him sans the mustache or with. Kapoor can still act, dance and give any of the youngin’s a real run for their money. While this actor shows no sign of retiring anytime soon, and we wouldn’t want him to, be sure that he will be around for a while jutting out some excellent films and some even better performances. So until we get to see this “jakaas” actor again on celluloid, we will reiterate what fellow co-star Amrish Puri insisted on repeating to Anil in Mr. India: “Mogambo Khush Hua!”

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