Friday, 16 May 2008

Let's trust Ramu for one last time!!!!

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. Off late, in Ram Gopal Varma's case, this saying stands true. After directing 4 flop films in a row (Shiva, Nishabd, RGV's Aag and Darling), any other director would have quit their profession. But this Bollywood's Quentin Tarantino isn't backing off. Infact, he is coming back with a bang on June 6...not alone...but with the power of three - The Bachchan's, as Devansh Patel finds out.

Mumbai ka King kaun? (Who is the king of Mumbai?) The answer was loud and clear after the film's release - 'Ram Gopal Varma'. Yes, you heard! This question was asked by the character called Bhiku Mhatre from the hit film Satya directed by Ram Gopal Varma. That was 1998. Come 2007, the same director made RGV's Aag. This time the question asked was, 'Sabse kharab director kaun? (Who's the worst director of all?) The answer was even louder - 'Ram Gopal Varma' again.

The man who is known for making gritty, twitsty thrillers and smart, self-referential masala pictures all with watertight scripts and ace actors turning in some of the best performances of their careers in films like Shiva, Satya, Company and Sarkar has bounced back with a bang. He is coming back on the 6th June with 'Sarkar Raj' (a sequel to Sarkar) starring the three Bachchan's - Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya. Not only are the three Bachchan's acting together for the first time in a full length feature film, Sarkar Raj also happens to be Abhishek and Aishwarya's first film post their marraige. How exciting is that?

And the excitiment doesn't just stop here.
After a year of honeymooning, embarking on pilgrimages, arriving hand-in-hand with hubby at premiere nights and basking in the glory of her recent success 'Jodhaa Akbar', Aishwarya is set to take Bollywood by storm once more. India's highest paid actress who's back in Mumbai after celebrating her first wedding anniversary in Miami last month, Aishwarya's all geared up for her next big project 'Sarkar Raj' which has it's world premiere at the IIFA Awards in Bangkok this year on the 6th June where the creme de la creme of Bollywood will walk the green carpet along with the awesome threesome. (green - to support the climate change). So if Sarkar was highly lifted from the Hollywood gangster flick Godfather, the sequel Sarkar Raj isn't Godfather 2. The script is inspired from the real life Enron disaster way back in the mid 1990's. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's character is actually based on Rebecca Mark, a high flying Enron executive who managed to lose Enron $2 billion before resigning. She was never accused of any crimes and actually walked out of Enron with about $80 million in stock options before the scandal broke. She immediately cashed out when she left, leaving her one of the few Enron executives to emerge smelling like Roses.

And after delivering one of his best performances in Sarkar, the junior Bachchan, Abhishek, is all set to take over the film from daddy Amitabh Bachchan. If you look at Sarkar, it was a fairly simplistic tale. It had a basic plot of a son (Abhishek as Shankar Nagre) taking revenge against those who attacked his father (Amitabh as Subhash Nagre). Simple, isn't it? Of course there was a power game involved with political and underworld angle coming in as well but the basic germ of the plot was centered on revenge. Sarkar Raj doesn't even start from where Sarkar left. It is just another episode in the life of 'Nagres' where the situations become far more complex. And though the common element in both the films will be the insightful sociological study of violence, power, honour and obligation, corruption, justice and crime in India, the sequel looks far more promising in terms of Abhishek's acting. In Sarkar, he was only shown in full swing after the interval portions. Let's hope this time around, he takes over the control from frame one. One things sure though, this Yuva (Youngster) is soon going to be the Guru (teacher) and Sarkar (Boss) of Bollywood.

Coming to the third curiosity factor called the Big Baap (father) of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, he is the pillar to this sequel. Him removed and the film will fall flat like a pack of cards. This actor just keeps getting better day by day and film by film. Dressed in his black outfit from top to toe, rudraksh mala in his hand and his can't-miss-the-eye red tilak in Sarkar, Big B, as we lovingly call him, will be seen at his fiery best in the sequel too.

And finally, the byline for Sarkar Raj which says, 'Power cannot be given, it has to be taken' stands true for one man - Ram Gopal Varma. Being almost powerless after his four debacles last year, this man has the guts to not only take one or two but three power packed performers of Bollywood in his Sarkar Raj. And when you add Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya you don't get power, but get powerful. But Sarkar and the soon to be released Sarkar Raj is an impressive reminder that Varma is a director whose strongest movies come out of his conflict with the Bollywood system, not his total rejection of it.

No matter what the fate of the film will be, you'd be a fool not to watch Sarkar Raj on June 6. Book your seats in advance guys!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Video - a 3 minute rendezvous with Big B in London

Exclusive Amitabh Bachchan interview in London while promoting Bhoothnath - A must read!

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

Amitabh Bachchan could have retired long ago. He could have hung up his hat on his many awards, basked in the glow of movie history, and holed up in his Mumbai bungalow above all the hustle and bustle of Bollywood. But luckily for everyone, he hasn't gone anywhere and, at 66, is at the top of his game. In the last three years alone, he's worked with one of the movies' best known directors demonstrating a penchant for artistic evolution and experimentation. But as Bachchan tells me, and as few of the legend's colleagues and friends tell us, as much as his role choices and costars have changed, some things about the man remain the same: He loves to learn, is more anxious to promote his films than the distributors and producers, has to have tea and cookies while giving interviews and can't get enough of life's little pleasures. So while he adjusts his yellow tie and his trademark dark glasses, I have a last careful look at my questions which will be fired to Mr Bachchan.... because you never know when they might get back fired.

B for B.R.Films, B for Baghban, B for Baabul, B for Bhoothnath, B for Bachchan and B for Blog. The only thing I can say here is - to B or not to B?
(laughs) It's nice the way you've used the B in the question. But it's also a coincidence that happens to everyone in their life at some point or the other. Yes, I still haven't worked with B.R Chopra as a director but look at destiny, I'm working with B.R.Films for that matter. And now the entire media is talking about the blog which I've started but then it wouldn't be possible without the help of media. I hope my views and opinions expressed in my blog are appreciated by one and all, and if not, they are free to express their.

With so much going around - IIFA, Bhoothnath and Sarkar Raj next, you seem to be the busiest actor on board. What's your stress level like?
I don't understand why the media asks this question. I mean whatever I'm doing is my job. Today if I'm given some responsibility, I'll make sure I fulfill it. Yes, my age does not permit me to do everything I want to but I try and manage and adjust as per my convenience. And my stress level is normal at the moment.

Adlabs distributed and marketed your earlier film Baabul which grossed 960,000 pounds and was one of the top 15 films ever on the U.K box office out of 500 released. Now with Eros International distributing Bhoothnath, do you think this film will touch a million pounds?
Well, we all know how capable Eros International are. And with the stats which you've just mentioned of B.R Films, I can't see why Bhoothnath can't do good business.

You're playing a bhooth in Bhoothnath and a genie in your forthcoming film Alladin. Do such roles allow you to tap the child within you?
We all have a child within ourselves and it does come out sometime and somewhere. So if films like Bhoothnath and Alladin give me variety, it also gives me freedom to be jovial and interact with kids and ofcourse, as you just mentioned, to tap a child within me.

You'd normally associate a bhooth with Ramsay Brothers or Ram Gopal Varma. But Amol Palekar in Paheli and Vivek Sharma in Bhoothnath have given a completely new dimension to their bhooth's. Any comments?
You're right. They have. But let's not forget that the Indian Film Industry needed a makeover and it came at the right time. Yes, there is a risk of films not doing well while you experiment with new ideas but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel too. The way Vivek has made this film, for once you will not be able to tell that Bhoothnath is made by a debutant.

Why do you think the story of Bhoothnath in today's time period be relevant for people today?
Bhoothnath is just not another ghost story. It's a story of a little kid and a ghost who becomes friendly, their relationship and how as it develops, they are able to sort out a problem which is quite universal like togetherness, family relationships, respect for elders and so forth.

Do you encourage your costars to take on your style and do you accept theirs when you're acting?
I have no style and I hope I don't, and I will never want to interfere in someone else's style.

You mentioned on the BBC Breakfast while promoting Bhoothnath that you refrain from using the word Bollywood. But do you mind when people use that word in front of you?
Yes, because it's detrimental. It's degrading. We are the Indian Film Industry and why give it a definatory terminology.

What did you learn about the mindset of young directors like debutant Vivek Sharma from your years of reserach and study in films?
I've hardly done any research, but yes, I've had the oppurtunity to work with many prominent directors and new ones too. I find the younger generation more excitable, aggresive in their passion to succeed, technically more savvy, more professional as far as managing their project is concerned and very very keen to propel their graph upwards, not that the others aren't either. But this generation is terribly independent, aggressive and wanting desperately to prove themselves at a very early age.

Merchandising a film has become an important marketing tool now-a-days, from clothes to accessories to games. Do marketing of this sort change the fate of any films?
I don't know but I'd imagine it does, otherwise it wouldn't be there. Once a film becomes popular, perhaps there is a need and a desire to have a lasting identity with it so that the merchandising goods get manufactured and they remain with you. For Bhoothnath too we have come out with some games for the kids which I'm sure they will love playing. In the past we have seen that such strategies have been successful in the West. So why not try them here when it works. I'd say Yes.

One learns about Mr Bachchan on the set of being dedicated, the visionary, the go-getter and the one who shares a laugh with his costars. Is it an obsessiveness, a passion that's necessary to get where you want to go or is that you've had enough?
No, I hope that I've never had enough because then it'll be a terrible moment for me. So yes, we look out for fresh things and new ideas and fresh oppurtunities and the atmosphere on the sets needs to be very conducive in wanting to achieve that. So we work to excel in whatever we are doing and look for excellence in every department and try to work hard enough to achieve our goals and dreams.

How would you characterise your contribution and your achievment in the field of films and what do you understand about achievment now that you did not when you were young?
I don't think that there's been any great achievment as far as I'm concerned. I've just been fortunate and lucky to be in an industry which has looked upon me rather kindly. The fans have propelled me into doing what I've desired to do and I'm happy for that and I hope they continue looking at me in this manner. Industry changes happen because of changes in the society, changes in time and period and in the way the country has changed. All this is reflected in any kind of creativity. So if you find things different in our cinema, it is reflective of the above changes. I will always honour that and that is my achievment. These are some of the things I've noticed.

The road to shoot a film is not a straight line. It's a winding road. You must have faced set backs, frustations and self doubts while filming Bhootnath and many other films. How do you deal with them?
I think that is true for any vocation in life, whether you are a journalist or an actor or a businessman. There would be ups and down and that's what teaches you about life and how to overcome hardships, obstacles and hurdles. I hope they remain because each hurdle is a great lesson in life. We need to struggle everyday to be able to succeed and to be able to look forward. If it was all smooth sailing, my life would be too monotonous.

The Indian Film Industry is more about the star kids. But when you see young and very young talents such as Aman Siddiqui, don't you feel they are the future to look out for and should be groomed well rather than see them in a one off appearance?
I think Aman is very young and surely this is something that he will have to decide upon or let us say, his parents. But to say that the film industry is full of star kids is not entirely correct. Yes, there are children that are working who belong to stars but that's a very natural phenomenon. I wasn't a star kid when I started off and neither was Shahrukh or Salman and Hrithik or Hrithik's father, Mr Rakesh Roshan. There are examples and I don't think that should be looked upon in a derogatory manner or in a negative way. When the same thing happens in business nobody says anything, when it happens in medical profession nobody says anything, then why films?

You also quoted on the BBC Breakfast show that the films you do is sort of an escapism for those who cannot afford luxury or want to escape from the daily worries. Why do you say so?
The question asked revolved around our Indian films which are very big and colourful and so on, and I said yes, I think our films are escapist in nature and we need to show that to the common man who perhaps does not get an oppurtunity to see this. So if by paying some money to watch a film if that person can get three hours to escape from his personal worries, poverty and hardships in life, that's what our cinema is all about.

From IIFA Yorkshire in 2007 to IIFA Bangkok in 2008. Are there any cities and countries left now to host the awards?
(laughs) Well, we always try to do things which are different and add more to the IIFA weekend irrespective of which country or city hosts it. I hope we continue doing that and try and make it better in the future years as well. Ofcourse, IIFA weekend in Bangkok this year will also be special and remembered dearly as for the first time the entire Bachchan family comes together for Sarkar Raj which is premeired there.

Well then, would you like to give a special parting message to the readers of this blog?
Thank you for your love and affection. I hope you continue seeing our films. We are a family full of actors now and we need your blessings which I know has always been with us.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Round up of Zee Cine Awards 2008 in London - Padhlo...You won't regret not being at the awards.

By Devansh Patel

The gargantuan night of glamour took place at the Excel Docklands in London last Saturday. The night when the stars dropped from their limos in their most attention-getting outfits, tasteful or not, (we all know there is no such thing as bad publicity). I often snickered at the flattering costumes. I often groaned as the stars prattled on endlessly during their thank you speeches. I cringed in anticipation of the musical acts - will they be impressive or a snooze? But love it or hate it, like thousands of other Indians, I was glued to my seat that night watching the Zee Cine Awards!

So as most of the public was eagerly awaiting the arrival of their favourite Bollywood star inside the arena, I was impatiently waiting for them to first arrive on the mere 5 meter red carpet kept only to make us media feel that it was a grand red-carpet event. The few first ones to arrive were designer Manish Malhotra & model Nina Manuel who respectively played hosts on the red carpet for channel ETC and Zee After Hours. Come 6.30pm, BMW's, Mercedes, Bentley's, Chryslers piled up one behind the other to bring in some of Bollywood's well known faces like the lovey dovey couple Saif Ali Khan who looked like a true nawab in his white blaser with yellow embroidered collar on his blue jean along with his girlfriend Kareena Kapoor wearing a dark brown dress and looking quite tanned (they've just popped in to London from their vacation in Maldives), the entire Kapoor family walked the red carpet from Randhir, Rishi, Neetu and Chimpoo Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor in a trademark London style outfit wearing a pink jumper on his black suit. Also hand in hand walked the hot contender hone wali Kapoor bahu Deepika Padukone in her beautiful long black outfit. Neil Nitin Mukesh who was accompanied by his father Nitin Mukesh and his mother looked desperate to win an award...and why not?, Karisma Kapoor walked in with her Polo obsessed husband Sanjay Kapur, and when asked him whether he has any plans to make it even bigger in Bollywood by showing his acting skills, he said "Yes" and after a long pause uttered "No". So what exactly is your answer Mr Kapur?

But before the Kapoor brigade, Lara Dutta graced the red carpet in her blue dress and soon followed her ex boyfriend Kelly Dorje in a rather strange looking outfit along with....hold your breath....three stunning ladies. As for Kelly, all we can say is - teen tigda...kaam bigda. The jaanbaaz jodi of dad Feroz Khan and son Fardeen Khan attended, the lonely looking Riteish Deshmukh in his grey suit and blue shirt walked all alone by himself, Mrs Gauri Khan in her olive green outfit was seen on the red carpet without hubby SRK who already escaped the media through the backstage and it was a white day where many of the celebs wore white - Upen Patel, Dia Mirza, Simi Garewal and Raima Sen. Ofcourse, Abbas Mustan were the only ones missing, which reminds me that when Sajid Khan asked Fardeen Khan why does he feel that the director duo wear white always, he replied - 'I think because they must be a fan of Simi Garewal'. Ha!

The beautiful, the ever-so-charming, the crowning glory and the saagar jaisi aankhon wali Dimple Kapadia along with her daughter Rinke Khanna and designer Abu Jani walked in. Dimple made all heads turn in envy when she walked the red carpet in her exqusite and delicate red and golden kurti. Veteran actors Shammi Kapoor saab, Prem Chopra saab and Rakesh Roshan too made their presence felt at the Zee awards. But the last to arrive after all the celebs had taken their seats was none other than music maestro A.R.Rahman. He was late and I wanted toknow the reason why, to which he gave me the most cliched answer of all - 'There is lot of traffic in London'. Agreed Sir!

So as the red carpet looked deserted outside, the show looked packed inside. From Saif Ali Khan to Katrina Kaif, from ace choreographer Ganesh Hegde to British Asian singer Jay Sean, all showcased their acts with thunderous applause. But the show stealer was Shah Rukh Khan who received the maximum, not only by his Om Shanti Om performance right at the end of the show but just by the cameras showing his face on the giant screens kept for the public. Can you believe it? It was funny man Vinay Pathak who received the maximum as well. How? Read on....He came up to receive his award for the best comedian but as the crowd in London hardly know him and his popularity in India, the arena went a bit quiet. So Vinay comes up to the microphone and tells the audience that he knows how to get them cheering on for him in three words. The words were - 'I love Shah Rukh Khan'. That's Vinay at his best. The fans seemed like they wanted to tear off the sreens and take SRK out of there. He is meant to be the 'King' afterall.

11pm - the awards were given out, the acceptance sppeches were delivered and the stars walked out in style after the award functions heading to the grande 'After Party' at the St James Park Hotel near Buckingham Palace hosted by Zee. Zee Haan, aapne theek suna. So while Saif Ali Khan was getting too private in front of the public eye with Kareena in the middle of the road outside the Hotel enterance (no wonder his next film is titled - Roadside Romeo), it was Mr Rishi Kapoor who was more watched by the public for his disrespectful behaviour and using swear words left right and centre towards the security guard only for the reason best known to him. What I did hear from the veteran actor though was that he was complaining about his car not turning up on time to fetch him when he stepped out of the party. What's further more embarrasing is the fact that he was shouting and swearing in front of Neetu Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone and how can we forget....the public too.
While the rest of the fraternity were enjoying their drinks, chicken and dance, the Kapoors left quietly after making a bit of noise. Kya kare...Jo dikhta hai...wohi bikta hai

Tashan review - If you don't want to read the full review. Scroll staright to the 'Rating' at the end of the review.

By Devansh Patel

After having scripted blockbuster films like 'Dhoom' and 'Dhoom2', you definitely think that the next product coming out from Vijay Krishna Acharya should be worth it's money in gold. But after having watched Tashan last week at a special preview screening, I was speechless. Why? Devansh Patel tells you what went horridly wrong or pleasantly right.

Let's get this straight. a Yash Raj Films production starring Akshay Kumar, the only lucky mascot of Bollywood, the ultra slim Kareena Kapoor, the multi talented Anil Kapoor and the fun loving Saif Ali Khan. Now after reading this, anybody and everybody would love to bank on Tashan. But the saying - Do not judge a book by it's cover, best describes Tashan.

The movie begins with Jimmy (Saif Ali Khan) who is shown in the film as a smart and a suave call centre excecutive, runs a part time English speaking class for the new entrants in the call centre. With such a good command over his language, every girl falls prey over his charm . One rainy afternoon, the wet and wild Kareena Kapoor (Pooja Singh) walks in his call centre for help, and who else but Jimmy comes to the rescue. Pooja wants Jimmy to teach English to her boss, Bhaiyaji, the dreaded killer (Anil Kapoor) who wants to learn the language before he meets his foreign deligates. So, after a lot of hard work, Bhaiyaji learns how to speak fluent Hinglish (mix of Hindi and English). He even goes to the extent of comparing his fluency over the language to that of George Bush. In this whole process, what Jimmy doesn't know is that Bhaiyaji is a cold blooded killer and Pooja works for him. One fine day, Pooja and Jimmy elope to get their hand on the 25 million pounds, the money which belonged to Bhaiyaji. So with the help of a local goon Bachchan Pande (Akshay Kumar) based in Haridwar, (Holy place in Uttarakhand, India) Bhaiyaji delves on the journey to acquire the cash from Pooja and Jimmy.

What confuses me is that whom should I feel sorry for after having seen 2008's worst film. The writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya? the producer Yash Raj Films? or the entire cast? The movie byline reads - The style, the good luck, the formula. Seems like debutant director Vijay Krishna Acharya forgot to add all the three ingredients into his film and made a mockery out of it. Since we never doubt our Bollywood heroes for a moment, the film struggles to generate any suspense. Director Vijay Krishna Acharya tries to entice the audiences through the visuals and the slim bikini clad Kareena Kappor but fail to create a substantial script. The movie takes too much time for the introduction of characters, who act like cartoons and becomes quite sluggish at times. First half is nothing but that. The question I was asking myself after watching the first one hour was - Do I need pop-corn or a paracetamol?

The trailer of the movie gives an impression as if it's going to be an out-of-the-world kind of a movie but the harsh truth is that after scripting Dhoom and Dhoom 2, this should be called 'Doom'. For a movie to be a hit among the audiences, it needs to have some collective effort and something commendable. It does not necessarily have to be a film having glamorous girls and bicepped guys trying to flaunt their chiseled looks and giving it the name of "style".

In terms of acting, the less said the better. After doing some memorable roles in 'Namaste London', 'Heyy Babyy' and 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa', Akshay Kumar disappoints a big deal. He is a complete misfit in such roles. Well, all I can say is that his record of seven hits in a row ends with Tashan. Although, he started as an action hero, but now after creating a name for himself in substantial roles, he should avoid doing such films. I don't know when Saif Ali Khan is going to understand that being a cool dude isn't enough to be an actor. His over-acting is quite visible on screen. But the two surprises come in form of Kareena Kapoor and Anil Kapoor (the two are not related). Both are bearable for a change. But here's a free tip to Kareena - Girl, you seriously need to put some weight back.... in your acting. Ha! Ha!

To add more dissapointment, the film not only lacks in acting, scripting and direction but also falls flat in departments like editing which is not refined, choreography which is not at all impressive, the music which is just not hitting the right chord and the action which is silliness personified. Well, it's good to know that Yash Raj Films Tashan has joined the league of films such as Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, Shakalaka Boom Boom and Cash.

Spend your cash in something worthwhile

Rating - Not applicable

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Juhi Chawla interview for Bhoothnath

Watch this exclusive 4 minute video of the chirpy chawla as she chats about her latest film Bhoothnath and much more

Why I ishstarted the blog?

In a true filmi style, the answer is - Actually, basically....I started my blog because I wanted to. I want to connect with the people, the aam janta out there. They are the ones responsible for what I am today. (You mean a flop star?...Ha Ha) Without their support I wouldn't be where I am today (Yeah...still finding your first big break) I've got your blessings and now I need the ishtyle, the goodluck and the farmoola (Saala...yeh line toh kahin suna lagta hain...arree Tashan ka copy mara) Jokes apart....

For all you mad, crazy Bollywood buffs out there, Filmi Farmoola is dedicated to you. So begin your journey by watching the Zee Cine Awards red carpet arrival video which is already posted.

Besides, you will also find the latest reviews, gossips and interviews with your favourite pin up star.

First impression eejj last impression (Saala....yeh bhi Tashan se uthaya hain)

Zee Cine Awards 2008 in London

Hey guys,

Watch this exclusive 4 minute footage of the Zee Cine Awards 2008 in London as your favourite stars walk the red carpet.

By Devansh Patel