Friday, December 30, 2011

The 100 Crores Club!

By Anant Mathur (December 30, 2011)

2011 might well be the most successful year in the history of Bollywood or at least the last 3 decades. It was only 4 years ago that Ghajini became the first film to cross the 100 crores nett collections mark, since then one film per year has crossed 100 crores. Never before has more than one film crossed 100 crores in any year. 2011, not only gave us one or two but five films which crossed the 100 crores mark. Other notable films which just barely missed the mark were Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and The Dirty Picture - making it a truly historical year.

Here are the films that currently belong to the 100 Crores club:

Ghajini (2008) - Hit
3 Idiots (2009) - Blockbuster
Dabangg (2010) - Blockbuster
Golmaal 3 (2010) - Hit
Ready (2011) - Blockbuster
Singham (2011) - Hit
Bodyguard (2011) - Blockbuster
Ra.One (2011) - Flop (Due to massive budget)
Don 2 (2011) - Flop (Due to massive budget)

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Tips

By Anant Mathur (December 18, 2011)

With Christmas fast approaching I thought I would use this post to provide a couple of holiday tips for my readers.

If you're planning to go away during the Christmas break it's important to plan a trip you'll enjoy, think of the kind of activities you like to do and plan accordingly. Everyone likes to dream big, but remember to be realistic and stick to a budget - it doesn't make sense to worry about your finances while you're on vacation. Where ever you go remember to do a little research beforehand about your holiday destination. Find out about the best places to eat, see and stay. You don't have to plan your whole itinerary but it will only help to know what's available to you when you get there. Before making your reservations make sure you read reviews about your hotel or resort. Lastly, remember to relax and enjoy, it's your holiday, a chance to get away from the stress of your daily life.

For those who're planning to stay at home, the holidays can be overwhelming, it's important to get rest and catch up on your sleep. Remember you're on vacation - relax and get some ME time. Try not to leave anything for the last minute, get it done ahead of time and stay stress-free. If you're going to parties, please remember to drink responsibly and don't drink and drive. Laugh as much as possible, it's the best medicine as they say, and it's absolutely free. The holidays are about giving not buying each other expensive gifts, so put some thought into your gifts, a homemade present will be remember far more. Eat, drink and be Merry but do it responsibly.

I would like to thank my readers for visiting my posts and wish you all a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tip # 38: Language

By Anant Mathur (December 11, 2011)

When writing a screenplay it is extremely important to use language which suits your story. By language I mean the style of speaking, the dialect and the attitude that comes with it. If you character is from South India, London or China, he must speak and have the same body language and attitude that people of that region have, same is true if he’s from any other part of the world. Similarly, a young prince will behave differently than a street urchin. For a writer it is crucial to understand the minutest differences between people, it's these small elements that make characters come alive. For example, you may feel there's something wrong with a person who speak monotonously, but it could make for an interesting character.

Communication is as old as humanity and language is a big part of that. If you travel to different parts of the world, you discover the many different dialects in other regions of a country. Take cockney for instance, it's a dialect from England, a rhyming slang, but most Englishmen today wouldn't understand it. But again, it would give the writer the ability to create a great character, if he/she understood details like this. If you travel from the Northern United States to the South or West, you can certainly see the difference in how people speak, behave and work. The same is true in India, in fact, in India you can find the difference from village to village. It shouldn't be surprising to find then that India has more than 400 languages and thousand of dialects. But these dialects and languages rarely translate into our character or stories.

When filming a screenplay it is equally important that the producer hire the right actors to portray these characters ­­– when producers fail to accomplish this we see characters which appear to be mocking their environment, and instead of being strong characters in a story they come across as weak caricatures. Great characters have an on-screen persona which draws the audience into the story. Gabbar Singh, for example, when we watch Sholay we see Gabbar Singh the character not Amjad Khan the acclaimed actor. Even though we may have seen Sholay hundreds of times it's the on-screen persona of Gabbar Singh which makes the story entertaining and engaging, can you imagine how bland Sholay would've been without strong characters like Gabbar Singh or Jai, Veeru, Thankur and Basanti. 

The original choice for Gabbar Singh was Danny Denzongpa, the first time I heard that I laughed it off as a joke, but it's now a well known fact. As brilliant and versatile as Danny Denzongpa is, no one in their right mind can imagine Danny as Gabbar Singh, Ramesh Sippy and Amjad Khan created a legendary character which still scares children. The sole reason Sholay works so well is because of the characters and a talented star cast which pulled off those characters without missing a beat. Don't get me wrong, Sholay had great music, action and cinematography as well, but without the actors' ability to pull off those characters everything else is meaningless. But when an actor can pull you into a story with his or her portrayal that's when everything else falls into place and you, as the audience, start to notice the brilliance of a story or film.

It surprises me when I speak to writers and find out how little they understand about language, characterization and the ability to create characters which the audience can relate to. Today a majority of writers a busy penning stories where actors seem to be playing themselves, yes there are those gems once in a blue moon where you can see the talent of a writer, actor or director but they are too few and very far between. But what a wonderful world it would be if only writers could understand the art of language.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dev Anand Passes Away. :(

By Anant Mathur (December 04, 2011)

It is with a sad heart that I inform my readers (some of whom may have already heard) that the evergreen and seemingly immortal Dev Anand passed away on Saturday night in London following a cardiac arrest. 

As an actor he gave brilliant performances in films such as Guide, CID, Jewel Thief, Taxi Driver and Johnny Mera Naam to name just a few. But acting wasn't the limit of this man's talent he also produced over 35 films through his banner Navketan International Films. Dev Sahab, as he was known to many, directed and acted in several of the films he produced including Prem Pujari, Des Pardes, Funtoosh, Hum Dono, Kalapani, Heera Panna and one of his biggest hit HarĂ© Raama HarĂ© Krishna which launched the career of Zeenat Aman. 

Dev Anand was honoured with the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2001 and Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2002.

The dynamic duo of Dev Anand and his director brother Vijay Anand ruled the box office for nearly two decades from the late 50s to the early 70s with films like Nau Do Gyarah, Kala Bazaar, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Guide, Jewel Thief, Kahin Aur Chal, Johny Mera Naam, Tere Mere Sapne and Chhupa Rustam. Extremely passionate about films Dev Anand turned director in 70s with Prem Pujari. So passionate was he about filmmaking that he continued his contribution to films till 2011, his last film Chargesheet was released in September. Dev Anand was 88 years young and will be forever remembered through the magic of films. We can only humbly thank the man for entertaining us for more than 6 decades...

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.