Monday, September 20, 2010

106 Crores in 10 Days

By Anant Mathur (September 20, 2010)

Dabangg has become the first ever Salman Khan film to collect over 100 crores. In just 10 days since its release the film has shattered all the records to collect 106.24 crore rupees. And the film is still going strong - the second weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) collections were approximately 25 crores - that's more than the FIRST WEEK collection Peepli Live and Lafangey Parindey combined.

It's hard to judge where Dabangg will end up in the history of Hindi films. But one thing is for sure, it's quickly creeping up behind 3 Idiots for the title of Biggest Box Office Grosser. It's not too difficult to believe the success Dabangg is having there hasn't been buzz like this about a film prior to its release in almost 2-3 decades and when the film is as good as Dabanng is, it's just Icing on the cake as they say. I for one am eagerly awaiting the DVD release, so I can bring this fantastic film into my home.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dabangg Fever!

By Anant Mathur (September 18, 2010)

I’ve waited a whole week to write this post. I could have written it last week but I wanted to wait a week to see the effects of Dabangg Fever. Needless to say, it’s an epidemic. What started out as infectious hit songs and remarkable promos turned into a full scale outbreak by morning on Friday September 10. And by the end of the first week Dabangg Fever had shattered every record in the books from opening day to weekend to first week collections. Finally, finishing off week one with a record Rs. 81 crores in collection. Dabangg Fever proved to be so contagious that it even shattered the records for advanced bookings at the Box Office.
As predicted in my previous post (All Eyes On Dabangg) it would be fairly safe to suggest that Dabangg will be the first Salman Khan film to break 100 crores in collections. No one knows for sure how long Dabangg Fever will last, we'll only get a clear vision of the damage Dabangg has done at the Box Office after we find a cure to rid ourselves of this wonderful disease. A cure might be months away because films like these are not easily forgotten. But we don’t mind, Dabangg Fever is something every man, woman and child the world over wishes to catch.

Dabangg is made for the BIG SCREEN. Nowadays, we rarely get a chance to enjoy films on the big screen – films lack entertainment value and that’s why two days after their release the business drops drastically for most big budget movies, very few last more than two weeks in the cinema halls. But films like Dabangg are what the big screens are meant for, entertainment to be enjoyed with the whole family, people whistling & dancing in the aisles. Films today have one, sometimes two songs which are entertaining. In Dabangg, every song makes you want to get up and dance. Even the love song Chori Kiya Re Jiya is filmed so well that you yearn to see it repeatedly.

From the first frame to the last, Dabangg is full of entertainment. The dialogues are excellent - every character in the film is given importance and has wonderful lines to deliver. Salman Khan steals the show in a never before seen performance which he has played to the optimal. 

Sonakshi Sinha's screen presence and charm win you over the moment you first see her. I can’t say enough about Sonakhi’s performance, anything I say will do injustice to this youngsters’ talent, so I will only say that she’s the best find since Kajol and far better than the toothpick looking actresses we have today. Finally! An actress, who doesn’t look anorexic and can delivery a good performance.

After a long time, I have felt content after viewing a Hindi film. By feeling content, I mean that I have no complaints. Usually, when I watch a Hindi film, there are tons of loose ends or the film is utter nonsense and predictable. Dabangg has so much entertainment value that it leaves nothing to be desired, it only makes you want to say “encore”.

When I think of Dabangg I believe it will be the Sholay of today’s generation. Dabangg is easily the most entertaining film to come out of Bollywood in the last 15 years. And it should be a favorite to win all the awards at every function next year. 

But like Sholay, Dabangg doesn’t need to win awards to impress us, because it’s already won our hearts and touched our souls.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Six Months? Six Months? Wow!

By Anant Mathur (September 15, 2010)

Last night, I happened to catch an interview with Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh promoting their film Lafangey Parindey. It must've been a repeat broadcast of the interview because Lafangey Parindey was released quite a few weeks ago.

At one point in the interview, Deepika pointed out that she spent six months training to learn how to roller skate. I couldn't believe my ears, six months? Thanks to PVR technology, I quickly rewound the last ten second to make sure. And yup, she said "six months."

When someone trains for six month I don't expect them to learn something as simple as roller skating! I expect them to jump out of the top floor of a twenty story building without any wires to support them.

I was 5 years old when I went roller skating for the first time. I still remember how petrified I was of the thought of moving around on those skates. But once my parents put them on me and took me around once, I was fine. After that it was a piece of cake. I did fall a few times as any beginner would, but I didn't find it all that difficult once I got the hang of it. By the end of the night, I was no pro, but it didn't take me six months to learn how to roller skate.

At age 20, I even learned to rollerblade (a.k.a. Inline Skating) and it took less than a week. When you compare - rollerblades have much thinner wheels and are all in one line - not side by side as in roller skates. Also, I learned on my own without a personal trainer. So when I hear six months, on wheels as wide as my feet, only one thought comes to my mind, how dumb is this woman! One can only imagine how long it must take her to learn the dance steps for her film songs.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

All Eyes on Dabangg!

By Anant Mathur (September 8, 2010)

With the mega flop We Are Family out of the way, all eyes are now on the most eagerly awaited film of the year. Dabangg, set to release this Friday (September 10), has been making waves for quite sometime with its interesting promos and incredible tunes. There hasn't been such hype about a film in an incredibly long time.
It is expected that the film will take an extraordinary start. It might be safe to say that Dabangg will be the biggest hit of Salman Khan's career and his first film to cross the 100 crore mark in collections. Sonakshi Sinha looks dazzling. I don't think there's been so much buzz about an actress in the industry prior to a debut release for quite a while. Salman Khan has sported a mustache in the film and I must say he looks very good with it.

Munni Badnam Hui is the item song in Dabangg. Usually, when promos are put together an item number is the biggest song of the film and used extensively for promotion. In the case of Dabangg however, Munni Badnam Hui wasn’t used in the promos till much later. Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Udd Udd Dabangg mystified us with the very first promos of Dabangg many weeks earlier. Another superb track is Chori Kiya Re Jiya, this sweet love song is sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. Even Humka Peeni Hai has become some what of a crowd favourite.

A powerful soundtrack, amazing promos and a promising star cast, looks like Dabangg is already on its way to becoming the biggest hit of 2010. I'll even be as bold as to say that Dabangg will go on to become the biggest hit of all time, breaking the record set last year by 3 Idiots. Dabangg is sure to give you a bang for your buck.

Story: Dileep Shukla, Abhinav Kashyap
Choreography: Farah Khan, Raju Khan
Cinematography: Mahesh Limaye
Editor: Pranav V Dhiwar
Singers: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Sukhwinder Singh, Mamta Sharma, Aishwarya, Wajid, Master Saleem, Shabaab Sabri
Music: Sajid-Wajid
Lyrics: Faiz Anwar, Lalit Pandit, Jalees Sherwani

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tip # 1: The Screenplay

By Anant Mathur (September 7, 2010)
A screenplay or script is the first step towards the birth of a film. There are no hard and fast rules for how a screenplay should be written or its function in the making of a film. The traditional approach to screenwriting, in which words precede the image, is not the only way to write a script. There are numerous ways of writing a screenplay, and every writer has their own style.

Some prefer to begin with mainly visual ideas and then add sound and dialogue to it. Filmmakers who write their own screenplays often keep a file or scrapbook of images for each scene during composition. This material can be used as reference to specific locations or to stir up feelings and memories. It comes in handy when developing the dramatic content of a story and later as source material for design ideas during preproduction.

Most writers also create a back story or biography for their characters which describe their lives prior to the time frame presented in the story. Developing a fully rounded character with a past makes it easier to write the present.

A popular method of organizing the screenplay structure is the index card layout. Each scene from the script is represented in a row of cards. This allows the writer to see the overall structure all at one time.
Visualization is more than just image; sound & music are also a part of the process because they evoke images. Many filmmakers, including myself, write to music. This helps in visualizing the mood and tempo of a scene. And it works even if the music isn’t going to be a part of the scene. I wrote a short story, in college, while listening to a Leonard Cohen song and received an A+ for it. The song wasn’t a part of the story but it created a mood which inspired me to write a story I may not have otherwise.

Sound effects are also very useful, and the street traffic or the echo of far away sirens can help conjure images of city streets for a writer punching away on his laptop. Actors often refer to these as sense-memory cues, one part of learning acting is to heighten one’s sensitivity to the world through observation. Writers should do the same thing.

Because preproduction requires an immense amount of detail, directors frequently lose sight of pacing, mood and the visual arc of the story as it relates to locations. It is very important that filmmakers develop an overview of the film. 

One way of doing this is to place photographs and/or concept sketches in the script to illustrate the overall look of each scene. This is referred to as the “Illustrated Script”.

Each filmmaker has his own way of working with the screenplay before shooting. Some use storyboards while others write out a shot list or an aerial view diagram of the location indicating camera setups. There are lots of ways of turning the screenplay into sequences, and your way of working may vary with the project.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Critics - What a joke!

By Anant Mathur (September 03, 2010)

It’s mind boggling to see how many top Hindi film critics are speaking ill of Karan Johar’s latest offering WE ARE FAMILY. What I fail to understand is that these same critics, after crushing the film, are giving it 2.5 stars or more, the only exception - at the time of this post - was Khalid Mohamed who gave it 1 star.

I know we’re suppose to buy that critics are not paid for their reviews by filmmakers, but come on guys when you bad mouth a film so much and still give it a 2.5 star rating, it doesn’t support your case much now does it? 

A similar review for a film whose producer is a small time guy (and not Karan Johar) would get 1 star or less from you, so why the favoritism?
Fine, you didn’t like WE ARE FAMILY, but you thought the performances were good. Performances alone don’t a great film make, and if there’s no story, I don’t care how good the acting is – no film deserves a higher rating because of the performances. It's just not done!

A film should evoke emotions, draw you in and compel you to want to watch it over and over again. If a film fails to do this - it shouldn't be given more than 1 star.

Sooraj R. Barjatya please return to the director's chair and show this fool Karan Johar what good family films are - perhaps he can learn about family values and our Indian culture by watching your films.

Links for some reviews of WE ARE FAMILY:
1. STOPmom - Khalid Mohammed - Passion For Cinema
2. We Are Family Movie Review - Nikhat Kazmi - Times of India