Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten Bollywood Cult Films

By Anant Mathur (April 26, 2011)

This is a list of films that failed to set the box office on fire, but we just love to watch them over and over when ever they`re on.
Starring: Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Rolan Bykov, Sofiko Chiaureli, Zeenat Aman, Mher Mkrtchyan, Prem Chopra, Madan Puri, Yakub Akhmedov, Rolan Bykov, Yelena Sanayeva, Frunzik Mkrtchyan, Pinchoo Kapoor, Mac Mohan
Director: Latif Faiziyev, Umesh Mehra
Producer: F.C. Mehra
Music: Vladimir Milov, R.D. Burman
Analysis: An Indo-Russian co-production Ali Baba aur 40 Chor brings to the screen the timeless story of Ali Baba and his gang of thieves. You can never go wrong with a Dharmendra-Hema Malini starrer. I can still recall going to the theatre to see this film, I had just turned five and it was a part of the celebration. It will always be a special film.

Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Amisha Patel, Kiran Kumar, Mukesh Tiwari, Nishigandha Wad, Shahbaaz Khan, Madhuri Sanjeev, Alok Nath, Jimmy Moses, Shaikh Sami, Ali Asghar, Prithvi Zutshi, Hemant Pandey, Jasbir Thandi, Suchit Jadhav
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Producer: Gautam Kumar, Rohit Kumar
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Analysis: Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel's second outing proved to be a disaster at the box office. I still remember watching it in the theatre and liking most of it. What disappointed is the last 30 minutes of the film which dragged on forever, otherwise it's a nice attempt. 

Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sonali Bendre, Farida Jalal, Mohnish Behl, Tiku Talsania, Sharat Saxena, Gulshan Grover, Kajol, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Rana Jung Bahadur, Naresh Suri, Parminder, Randhawa, Robert, Chunnu Mehra
Director: Mahesh Bhatt
Producer: Yash Johar
Music: Anu Malik
Analysis: A superb failure at the box office - this film is worth watching for the dual role Shah Rukh Khan plays and Juhi Chawala`s comic timing. Surprisingly, SRK`s dual role in this film is better than in Farhan Akhtar`s DON remake.

Starring: Vikas Kalantri, Anuj Sawhney, Aslam Khan, Mahek Chahal, Rahul Bhatt, Vijay Kashyap, Yusuf Hussain, Shabnam Kapoor
Director: B.H. Tharun Kumar
Producer: Nitin Manmohan
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Surendra Singh Sodhi
Analysis: It`s sad but the only reason this film wasn`t a blockbuster is because it was made with newcomers. Not exactly a remake of Padosan but Nayee Padosan does present comedy in a new way, with a dynamic dual role by Rahul Bhatt and good supporting performances this film sure holds your attention till the end.
Starring: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Paresh Rawal, Shakti Kapoor, Viju Khote, Shehzad Khan, Jagdeep, Deven Varma, Mehmood, Tiku Talsania, Juhi Chawala, Govinda
Rajkumar Santoshi
Producer: Vinay Kumar Sinha
Music: Tushar Bhatia, Viju Shah
Analysis: Aamir and Salman Khan together for the first time, Crime Master Gogo, not to mention a hilarious screenplay, this is certainly one of the most fun films to watch. It`s hard to believe it wasn`t very successful at the box office, but it has touched many more hearts since. And a couple of catchy songs never hurt a film.

Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor, Sushma Seth, Dalip Tahil, Tanvi Azmi, Himani Shivpuri, Salman Khan, Sonali Bendre
Director: Raj Kanwar
Producer: Raj Kanwar,  K. Pappu, Amardeep Singh
Music: Jatin-Lalit, Naresh Sharma
Analysis: I have seen the DVD of this film in more homes than people would like to admit. I guess perhaps being a remake of so many films is what attracts people to this one.
SHAAN (1980)
Starring: Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Raakhee Gulzar, Parveen Babi, Bindiya Goswami, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Mazhar Khan, Dalip Tahil, Johnny Walker, Helen, Bindu, Padmini Kapila
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Producer: G.P. Sippy
Music: R.D. Burman
Analysis: From a James Bond style villain to the latest technology and flesh eating sharks this film has it all. Of course who can forget two of the most popular songs to come out of Indian Cinema - Yamma Yamma and Jaanu Meri jaan.

Chupke Chupke (1975)
Starring: Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Om Prakash, David Abraham, Asrani, Usha Kiran, Lily Chakravarty, Keshto Mukherjee, Lalita Kumari, Dev Kishan, Harish Magon, Chaitali, Amol Sen
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Producer: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Music: S.D. Burman
Analysis: Although most people love this film today, it was hardly a money maker when it first released in 1975. But solid performances, catchy dialogue and unforegettable comic timing have made this one of the most beloved comedies in film history.

MARD (1985)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Singh, Nirupa Roy, Dara Singh, Prem Chopra, Kamal Kapoor, Bob Christo, Helena, Goga Kapoor, Manik Irani, Satyen Kappu, Seema Deo, Dan Dhanoa, Kirti Kumar, C.S. Dubey, Joginder Shelly, Shivraj, Moti
: Manmohan Desai
Producer: Manmohan Desai
Music: Anu Malik
Analysis: I know, most of you just said "What the..." upon seeing this one on the list, but with dialogues like "Jo mard hota hai, use dard nahi hota", "Sabhi goron ka dil kaala nahi hota" and "Peeth Par Maara Hai Ab Seene Par Khaogey", one can't stop themselves from watching this flick. 

Starring: Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Baby Naaz, Johnny Walker, Mahesh Kaul, Veena Sapru, Minoo Mumtaz, Mehmood, Mohan Choti, TunTun, Pratima Devi
Director: Guru Dutt
Guru Dutt
Music: S.D. Burman
Analysis: It is considered a must watch today, but when Kaagaz Ke Phool first released it performed so poorly at the box office that it cost the Indian Film Industry one of it's greatest directors. Hurt by the miniscule response to his magnum opus Guru Dutt never directed again.

Ten Most Entertaining Bollywood Films

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Did Bollywood Kill The "Musicals" Genre?

By Anant Mathur (April 23, 2011)

It used to be that songs in a Bollywood film were interwoven with the story and mood of the character(s). But nowadays we find ourselves with not musicals but their namesakes in which club-like-environments are created for videos of the songs which have nothing to do with the narrative. I'm not saying all films are like this but a majority of them, especially the so called BIG BUDGET BLOCKBUSTERS, certainly are. Many times songs which are shown in the promos are not even in the films and are just used as marketing strategy to lure the audience into cinema halls. Most times the songs shown in promos are used as title sequences in the film and have no connection to the story.

What can we expect when the top Dance Directors, Singers and Music Directors in the country are more interested in Judging TV shows or Directing, Producing or even acting in films than Choreography and Music. With all the talent in Bollywood jumping on the chance to become judges on reality TV shows (for more money), this leaves them less time to be creative in films and is hurting the industry far more than they realize. The industry that gave them their bread and butter deserves more respect from these artists.

In the days when films mattered - Choreographers, Music Directors, Lyricist, Singers, Actors, Producers, Directors and Writers - all sat in a room and discussed the best possible way to move the narrative forward with a song sequence. In recent times, I can only recall films like Lagaan, Devdas and 3 Idiots where the songs actually moved the narrative forward, but then again these films weren't made in 6 months. It takes time and good collaboration to make a great film and anyone who's churning out films every 6 months is not doing full justice to the story. Even in a nice story like "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi", where music should be the backbone, the songs pop out of nowhere. The less said about releases of this year the better, methinks! 

If Bollywood is to continue with musicals there needs to be a more effective way of portraying the Song and Dance sequences otherwise the songs are just distracting and take away from the plot points in the stories. We all know how good Hrithik Roshan and other Bollywood stars can dance, how about doing something new for a change? Perhaps it's time for Bollywood to follow in Hollywood's footsteps once more and rid the films of songs, so at least the stories can be enjoyed without distracting interruptions.

Several years ago, I saw an interview with a prominent actor from the Indian film industry in which he stated he doesn't see a future for songs in Hindi films. At the time I laughed it off and though how ridiculous - Bollywood films without songs is like the moon without moonlight or smoke without fire - it just can't be. But the shape Bollywood films are in today, perhaps it's time to rid the films of songs before the genre is completely lost. Only when a film can truly be declared a musical, with the songs being part of the narrative, should this genre be attempted. Let's not dishonor a genre which has brought so much joy into our lives over the years. 

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 11, 2011

Save the planet?

by Anant Mathur (April 11, 2011)

For several decades now, the media, manufacturers, retailers and governments, have been promoting the 'Save The Planet' campaign and people have been falling for it. I'm all for less waste and keeping our environment clean, but the truth of the matter is it's not the planet that needs saving, it's the humans who live on it. It's highly likely that the planet will be here long after all humans have ceased to exist. The planet was here long before we came along and even if an asteroid the size of the moon hits it, chances are it will still survive in some form, what won't are the humans!

People need to start using common sense, don't recycle because someone or some ad campaign is telling you it's good for the planet, do it because it makes sense - obviously we don't need a 4 inch cell phone in two feet of packaging, that's being wasteful. If you're not using the water, turn the tap off don't keep it running while you go grab something. Can you imagine the amount of ink, harmful chemicals, paper, plastic, etc. and hours of electricity wasted on promotion for save the planet campaigns - that kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it! 

You don't need an 'Earth Hour' to tell you to cut down on electricity, it's simple, if you're not in a room don't leave the lights on. It really irritates me when governments across the globe expect people to stay in the dark for one hour each year to save electricity, yet they don't care how much electricity commercial buildings in any metropolis waste by keeping their lights on 24/7, regardless of whether anyone is working there or not. Shutting the light in those buildings for one minute each day will save more electricity than all the homes in any city will in one hour.

Every few years we're faced with a new end of the world crisis - in 1999, it was the Y2K bug, right now it's the 2012 gimmick - if any of these were true we would have ceased to exist long ago. People's fears are taken advantage of by money mongers who play on this fear and offer useless solutions of some sort. Fearful and gullible people end up spending thousand, and in some cases, millions of dollars on things they won't need - more on that later... 

Most of the life that survived the asteroid which killed the dinosaurs did so by being inside caves, so obviously it doesn't take much - since these life-forms survived mega-tsunamis, meteor showers, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, firestorms, acid rain and nuclear winter. One precaution to take during 2012 would be to stay in a city that's likely to be safe from all disasters, keeping away from coastal areas such as New York, Mumbai, Japan, Australia, Hawaii, Vancouver, etc. during December 2012 might be a good idea.

There's no proof that 2012 will occur or that it will occur on December 21, 2012, it could happen earlier, later or not at all. Yet people are being offered underground silos (in secret mountainous locations) costing millions of dollars - which means only the rich will survive. If cities and power grids are destroyed, even in the silos they will eventually run out of electricity. We won't need millionaires, billionaires and politicians to survive; we'll need farmers, doctors, engineers and scientist, people who can rebuild. If 2012 occurs, we'll need people who can labor 40 hrs at one go without any sleep - somehow I can't imagine Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Anil Ambani doing that.

For decades disasters have been advertised which will destroy humanity, yet we've over come all end of the world prophesies thus far. Mankind is not as weak as others would have you believe, there is infrastructure in place for a reason. Governments wouldn't be planning for 2014, 2015, etc. if we were not going to be around at that time. I'm sure space agencies like NASA, ISRO, CSA and ESA have a better understanding of what will happen than some money monger sitting in his living room writing a book about the coming apocalypse not knowing the latest scientific data.

One rule to always follow is, when you're researching for 2012 and you come across websites which have a paypal account, it's a scam. They're probably sites set up by money mongers to play on your fears. I've always believed that people who truly give you the best advice don't charge you for it. If you have fears about 2012, rest assured chances are, like with the Y2K bug, nothing will happen. But, in the worst case scenario, if something does happen you should be safe as long as you stay away from coastal cities. Based on my own research, I hardly see the need to rush to your closest mountain.

The question that remains is once December 21, 2012 has come and gone what will be the next big end of the world prophecy that pops up... 2043 perhaps?

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 8, 2011

First Quarter 2011

By Anant Mathur (April 8, 2011)

With limited films releasing during March, due to the Cricket world cup, the first quarter really just comprised of January, February. After a record breaking January, things certainly slowed down. 24 films released in the first three months of 2011, but only two were money makers for its distributors. Here are the top 10 Bollywood grossers of 2011 in the first quarter:

First Quarter All India Distributor Shares

Distributor’s Cost
Distributor’s Share
1. Yamla Pagla Deeewana
24 crores
29.76 crores
2. Tanu Weds Manu
18 crores
18 crores
3. Patiala House
40 crores
16.13 crores
4. Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji
25-30 crores
14.04 crores
5. No One Killed Jessica
15 crores
13.30 crores
6. Saat Khoon Maaf
32 crores
9.24 crore
7. Dhobi Ghat
12 crores
6.97 crore
8. Yeh Saali Zindagi
10-12 crores
5.45 crore
9. Turning 30!!!
4-5 crores
65 Lakhs (approx.)
10. Utt Pataang
5 crores
15 Lakhs (approx.)
© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 2, 2011

India Wins on Home Soil...

By Anant Mathur (April 02, 2011)