My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Bollywood

This is one of my old articles but always relevant in India

My Thoughts

Shahrukh’s recent brawl with the MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association) staff and the security personnel has made the headlines all over. It seems as though the film personalities cannot keep themselves away from the media albeit for the wrong reasons. I was obviously not at the scene of the incident nor do I know what exactly happened and who was at fault. But in India justice and law is different for celebrity and for a common man. Everybody starts judging the common man based on the arrest. Common man probably loses his job for his antics. His life gets turned upside down.

Common Man:

Common man’s kids play on the ground. Security personnel man handles them (According to what Shahrukh told the press). Common man gets angry, screams at them using lots of expletives and pushes them around. MCA staff comes in gets a mouth full from the common man. Police…

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I posted this 3 years back and it seems like this issue has resurfaced again. It is funny how our celebrities can do anything to be in the news.

My Thoughts

No news has grabbed the headlines in the past few days more than Shahrukh’s detention at the US airport. Even swine flu had to take a back seat on the Indian media. Was the Indian superstar making a huge deal of the incident to promote his upcoming movie which is based on the same theme? May be, but Shahrukh has denied such claims. Yeah it was bad that Shahrukh was detained at the Airport for couple of hours but it’s not a National disaster. It was funny when a famous Bollywood actress claimed that Shahrukh is a “World” figure and should not have gone through such treatment.

The above statement is all that is wrong in India. If she had said something like any Indian should not be subjected to such treatment based on his religion or race, I would have had more respect for her sentiments but that was…

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This is not something we get to write that often. The Indian film industry is synonymous with Bollywood aka Hindi film industry and South films hardly get the recognition. 2011 in a way broke that trend and it will be fair to say that Southern Industries ruled this year. Not only did the south films (Malayalam and Tamil) dominate the National awards earlier this year but the Bollywood box office was dominated by southern remakes. It was a year when the Southern Industries got their day under the sun in India.

As far as Tamil cinema goes it was yet another great year. It was the continuation of the good work which started in 2010 and carried over to 2011. The year 2011 is when the Tamil cinema broke the language barriers and reached to nook and corner of the vast country. The year which began with Tamil cinema dominating the national awards along with Malayalam making it a very southern awards, ended with Dhanush’ s “Kolaveri Di” winning CNN international song of the year.

Dhanush was the year’s biggest star and he was part of couple of good movies this year. The biggest success of Tamil cinema this year has been the success of small movies such as “Engeyum Eppothum”. A movie which was Fox Star’s foray into Tamil cinema, sans top stars and with a new director at the helm was a super hit. Appreciation of good scripts and attempts by the audience has always been the success of Tamil cinema which was again in view in 2011.

This year had releases from Suriya, Dhanush, Ajith, Vikram and Vijay. This year also saw Ajith take over a bad guy role and pulling it off with great panache. Vijay shifted his path from masala genre and signed movies with big directors. Suriya and Dhanush once again confirmed their status as good actors. This year also marked some path breaking movies such as “Aaranya Kaandam”. A movie which received praise from all quarters was a great addition to the gangster genre. The movie did rounds in the International film festivals and won some awards.

Even though some great movies were made this year and some remakes were extremely successful in other languages, this year belonged to Kolaveri Di. The song broke the language barrier to be accepted by all the music lovers.

South cinema comprises of some of the best talents in the country and makes some wonderful movies and this year was really a testament to that fact. Hindi blockbusters like Bodyguard, ready, Singham and Force were all south remakes. The year 2012 promises to be a fine one for Tamil cinema and hopefully will have some great movies. As 2011 comes to an end, here is wishing a great 2012 for Tamil cinema and its audience.

Super Star Rajinikanth gives one of the most compelling performances in the recent times in Endhiran/Robot

I was able to catch Super Stars Endhiran over the weekend and it was a mind blowing experience. It was fantastic that the movie release in the city I reside as not many Tamil movies make their way to the theatres here. We were anyways prepared to drive couple of hours to watch the movie in Chicago if need be. We reached the theatre about 30 minutes prior to the screening and once we entered the movie hall realized that we were about 20 minutes too late as all the seats were already taken.

We were left with only the front row but fortunately just before the movie began we were able to grab couple of seats in the second row. Thank god for that as the first row seats would have left me and my wife with terrible neck pain. So after that was sorted out, the movie began to a full house with the fans screaming when Thalaivar’s name appeared on the screen. The movie was surrounded with great hype as it was touted as the most expensive movie in India and also brought together Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the first time on Silver Screen.

The movie totally lived up to its billing and we had a blast watching the same. Our Thalaivar’s performance as the scientist and the “Robot” Chitti was fantastic and the visual effects were stunning to say the least. After a long time Rajini was able to play a character with negative shades in a movie and his performance was simply amazing at that. Aishwarya Rai did her part well and so did the rest of the cast but this movie was all about Rajini and Shankar. Even the Oscar winner A R Rahman had to take a back seat.

First of all Shankar has to be appreciated for attempting something of such a magnitude and for making it work big time. It’s all good to have lots of money to play with but to make it work is completely a different thing. Shankar has achieved the same with flying colors. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie left us all speechless with the special effects. Shankar has definitely pushed the bar as far as Indian movies go. I am not sure if anyone can ever surpass the extravaganza that is Endhiran/Robot.

Well this piece will not be complete without a word on the brilliant performance by Rajinikanth. It takes a huge courage for a super star like Rajini to act in a movie which has the script and the director at the helm. At no point in the movie did you feel that this was a Rajini movie. After a long time we saw Rajini the actor take over Rajini the super star. Rajini for sure has earned himself more fans through this movie. His performance as the Robot was special and his subdued performance as the scientist suited the character brilliantly. All in all brilliant movie and will be a milestone in Super Star’s already glittering career. As the Super Star himself said at the audio launch, “Endhiran is not a movie but a cinematic experience”.

I am not sure how Shankar or Rajinikanth are ever going to surpass this in the future. People are going to expect a huge deal from the director in his future projects and I am not sure how he is going to beat this success. Sivaji was big but Endhiran is bigger and for sure is going to smash all box office records across India. Leaving all the minor negatives aside, this is one Indian movie to be proud of. The criticism that the movie is tad long and is inspired from many Hollywood flicks is something I don’t agree with. Every director while making movies in such a magnitude goes overboard sometimes which is acceptable.

Every ambitious movie made around the world can be accused of being a tad long and there are always few scenes which could have been done without. As far as the claims about the movie lacking logic, it does not hold water in a Sci-Fi fantasy flicks. What can be logical about a movie which begins as an imagination in the first place? What was logical about a matrix or an Avatar for that matter? When you start a movie as a fantasy the directors imagination takes over and his creative instinct drive the movie, so the sudden requirement of logic in a Sci-Fi movie is laughable to say the least.

The there are the claims that we have seen it all in the Hollywood movies already is something again should not be held against the director. Hollywood has been making Sci-Fi genre for over 40 years now, so any movie made in that genre is for sure going to resemble one of them. That should not take away anything from Shankar for making one of the best movies technically from India. Just compare this with other Indian movies and tell me how many directors have ever thought of attempting anything even remotely close? The movie is a brilliant attempt and needs to be encouraged for the excellent vision of the director and for the compelling performance from our own superstar.

Shahrukh Khan was detained at the US Airport for 2 hrs for interrogation

Shahrukh Khan was detained at the US Airport for 2 hrs for interrogation

No news has grabbed the headlines in the past few days more than Shahrukh’s detention at the US airport. Even swine flu had to take a back seat on the Indian media. Was the Indian superstar making a huge deal of the incident to promote his upcoming movie which is based on the same theme? May be, but Shahrukh has denied such claims. Yeah it was bad that Shahrukh was detained at the Airport for couple of hours but it’s not a National disaster. It was funny when a famous Bollywood actress claimed that Shahrukh is a “World” figure and should not have gone through such treatment.

The above statement is all that is wrong in India. If she had said something like any Indian should not be subjected to such treatment based on his religion or race, I would have had more respect for her sentiments but that was not what she meant. There were lots of reactions from Bollywood after the incident which only showed arrogance on their part. I know that there are millions of Indians who go through such hell everyday around the world and none of us complain. Maybe we should, but who will listen? If I had been detained at the Airport for any reason, it would have been difficult for me to even get hold of our Indian consulate.

The VIP, VVIP, VVVVIP etc culture in India is sickening. In know that the Indians are now used to that culture but why do you expect the same treatment in a foreign country. The comparison with Brad Pitt was another dumb statement by yet another Bollywood bigwig. If the Indians treat Hollywood superstars differently then it’s our problem and the US immigration should not be blamed for that. The Indian security check is a joke and lots of Americans (not only Brad Pitt) are let through without even being checked. The problem with this incident is that no one has spoken on behalf of the entire Indian community who undergo such checks and interrogations every other day, it’s all about one superstar detained for 2 hours for the first time in his life.

Since becoming a superstar in Indian cinema, he was made to feel human for the first time which the star did not like. Now the stars should realize the predicament of common Indian who goes through such scrutiny everywhere in the world. If Dr. Abdul Kalam can be stopped at the Airport then why not Shahrukh? Is Shahrukh bigger than our former President? Our defense minister had to go through the same problems, so is our Bollywood superstar bigger than the above two National leaders? No he is not, at least not for me.

Yeah I know that this is not an ideal scenario and discrimination based on caste, Religion and race has to be questioned but why only when a high profile star is detained. What about the common Indian man? I guess it’s okay that our over the top superstar was brought down to earth for couple of hours, I don’t care if that happened. Nothing is going to change here. Even if the US immigration apologizes for their act, Indians are still going to face these checks, so why worry so much. The incident is done and dusted and Bollywood has to realize that this is not India and the immigration officers across the world don’t recognize Shahrukh Khan.

Recently I was looking at winners of the 54th Film Fare awards and was startled to that Bollywood called pre-show interviews as Red carpet interviews. I don’t know why they have to do that. It seems like the Hollywood bug has bitten the Film Fare awards too. Film Fare awards are the finest in Indian cinema and its unfortunate that it’s lost its originality. I am not sure who the organizers are trying to impress here. They are not increasing their viewership in America as they are not interested in knowing which Bollywood movie is the best of 2008.

Yeah there are few Americans who watch Bollywood movies but that’s about it. They are not going to be interested in the awards in India. Are we trying to impress the Indian Audience? I am not sure because how many Indians in India do actually watch the Oscars to know what Red carpet means. The actors and actresses behave as if they are in Hollywood with their dressing and interviews. I hardly saw anyone wearing Indian costume in an Indian award. None of the actors give interviews in Hindi which seems to be out of fashion.

So by talking in English they are already cutting out more than 50% of our own people watching the show as they don’t understand what’s going on most of the times. Unfortunately the quest to gain International attention seems to be affecting Bollywood big time. They have to realize that the NRI’s are not Americans but they are Indians who have settled in America. We don’t care about the Red carpets and the fashionable dresses which the actresses wear. We see it already in the Golden Globe and the Oscars and I don’t think we need to see the same in Film Fare in India.

An Indian award needs to be Indian that’s what everyone wants. The shows on Television and awards need to first cater to the Indian audience and then to the International community if they actually watch the show. By aping Oscars in Film Fare awards Indian movies don’t become world standard. To get International recognition India need to make movies which are world standard rather than doing such ridiculous things which aren’t going to impress anyone but the Bollywood themselves.

I am really happy that the south awards are still maintaining the traditional approach and yes we don’t call it Red carpet yet. I hope that it remains this way. Indian film industry needs to be Indian first which I guess is a message lost on most of the actors and organizers. India has the talent to make an impact on the world stage but that can only be achieved by quality in cinema.

It’s unfortunate and saddening to see that we copy everything that happens in Oscars and none of the legends in cinema seems to talk about it. Recently Amitabh said that he thought calling Hindi cinema Bollywood is a derogatory as its copied from Hollywood but its seems like copying the Oscars doesn’t seem to affect anybody. Red carpet is just one of them. I guess in few years time the Hindi audience will turn their back on their own awards as it would seem alien to them. I hope that the organizers realize the same and maintain some Indianness in these functions.

54th Annual Filmfare awards 2009

54th Annual Filmfare awards 2009

Recently I was looking at winners of the 54th Film Fare awards and was startled to that Bollywood called pre-show interviews as Red carpet interviews. I don’t know why they have to do that. It seems like the Hollywood bug has bitten the Film Fare awards too. Film Fare awards are the finest in Indian cinema and its unfortunate that it’s lost its originality. I am not sure who the organizers are trying to impress here. They are not increasing their viewership in America as they are not interested in knowing which Bollywood movie is the best of 2008.

Yeah there are few Americans who watch Bollywood movies but that’s about it. They are not going to be interested in the awards in India. Are we trying to impress the Indian Audience? I am not sure because how many Indians in India do actually watch the Oscars to know what Red carpet means. The actors and actresses behave as if they are in Hollywood with their dressing and interviews. I hardly saw anyone wearing Indian costume in an Indian award. None of the actors give interviews in Hindi which seems to be out of fashion.

So by talking in English they are already cutting out more than 50% of our own people watching the show as they don’t understand what’s going on most of the times. Unfortunately the quest to gain International attention seems to be affecting Bollywood big time. They have to realize that the NRI’s are not Americans but they are Indians who have settled in America. We don’t care about the Red carpets and the fashionable dresses which the actresses wear. We see it already in the Golden Globe and the Oscars and I don’t think we need to see the same in Film Fare in India.

An Indian award needs to be Indian that’s what everyone wants. The shows on Television and awards need to first cater to the Indian audience and then to the International community if they actually watch the show. By aping Oscars in Film Fare awards Indian movies don’t become world standard. To get International recognition India need to make movies which are world standard rather than doing such ridiculous things which aren’t going to impress anyone but the Bollywood themselves.

I am really happy that the south awards are still maintaining the traditional approach and yes we don’t call it Red carpet yet. I hope that it remains this way. Indian film industry needs to be Indian first which I guess is a message lost on most of the actors and organizers. India has the talent to make an impact on the world stage but that can only be achieved by quality in cinema.

It’s unfortunate and saddening to see that we copy everything that happens in Oscars and none of the legends in cinema seems to talk about it. Recently Amitabh said that he thought calling Hindi cinema Bollywood is a derogatory as its copied from Hollywood but its seems like copying the Oscars doesn’t seem to affect anybody. Red carpet is just one of them. I guess in few years time the Hindi audience will turn their back on their own awards as it would seem alien to them. I hope that the organizers realize the same and maintain some Indianness in these functions.

We have seen so many articles in past couple of years about ICL but there have been very few based on the actual action on the field. The so called “Rebel” league enjoys very less space on the media due to its status. Well keeping the political standpoint aside lets for once concentrate on the actual cricket. I have watched two editions of ICL and the inaugural edition of IPL earlier this year.
While IPL is all glamour and glitz, ICL is more about cricket. Even though I loved watchin IPL’s first edition earlier this year I would rate ICL higher in terms of action on the field. ICL provides more close contests than what I saw in IPL earlier this year. We might put that down to IPL being in its first season and ICL has already completed 2 editions. IPL was enjoyable but there was a overdose of bollywood stars in the first edition. It was exciting in the beginning but later in the tournament it became little bit irritating and annoying.
Every four or a six from the Kolkata Knightriders was followed by the camera focussing on Sharukh khan dancing on the stands with his esteemed bollywood friends. The purpose of the league was lost on the same. The cricket was good but it was unable to sustain the hype for too long. ICL on the other hand does not have the burden that IPL has, its sans hype and media attention. Not many high profile bollywood stars are involved which shifts the focus on cricket. I have seen few bollywood stars here and there but none dancing in the stands regularly for all the games.
The franchise system is a good attempt in cricket and it was highly successful in the first edition of IPL. But the organizers need to be careful as the focus can easily shift from cricket and the league can become one big budget bollywood movie. The stars are fine as they own some of the teams but while there is a cricket match going on, the focus should remain on the ground rather than on the stars in the stands. IPL was good as an overall entertainment package but as Kapil put it ICL is definitely better in terms of quality of cricket.
ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

ICL provides more closely fought games than IPL

We have seen so many articles in past couple of years about ICL but there have been very few based on the actual action on the field. The so called “Rebel” league enjoys very less space on the media due to its status. Well keeping the political standpoint aside lets for once concentrate on the actual cricket. I have watched two editions of ICL and the inaugural edition of IPL earlier this year.

While IPL is all glamour and glitz, ICL is more about cricket. Even though I loved watchin IPL’s first edition earlier this year I would rate ICL higher in terms of action on the field. ICL provides more close contests than what I saw in IPL earlier this year. We might put that down to IPL being in its first season and ICL has already completed 2 editions. IPL was enjoyable but there was a overdose of bollywood stars in the first edition. It was exciting in the beginning but later in the tournament it became little bit irritating and annoying.

Every four or a six from the Kolkata Knightriders was followed by the camera focussing on Sharukh khan dancing on the stands with his esteemed bollywood friends. The purpose of the league was lost on the same. The cricket was good but it was unable to sustain the hype for too long. ICL on the other hand does not have the burden that IPL has, its sans hype and media attention. Not many high profile bollywood stars are involved which shifts the focus on cricket. I have seen few bollywood stars here and there but none dancing in the stands regularly for all the games.

The franchise system is a good attempt in cricket and it was highly successful in the first edition of IPL. But the organizers need to be careful as the focus can easily shift from cricket and the league can become one big budget bollywood movie. The stars are fine as they own some of the teams but while there is a cricket match going on, the focus should remain on the ground rather than on the stars in the stands. IPL was good as an overall entertainment package but as Kapil put it ICL is definitely better in terms of quality of cricket.

When I saw that my company is conducting its annual day I wanted to participate as a singer in the same. When I enquired about the same I was forwarded to the right contacts and thats how I got associated with Sargam (The name given to our Orchestra). When I decided to sing for Sargam my agenda was two fold, first to obviously sing and the second one was to make some new friends. Being in a very small team comprising of just myself and my colleague I do not get to meet too many people. So making some new friends was also a part of this exercise.

So everything was set and I was called over for the first day of practice by the event organizer. The meeting was to pick and download the karoake for the songs to be sung by each person. Before even going there I was pretty much set with mine as I kind of played safe by opting to sing a song which I had performed during my college’s International night. From that day onwards the entire excercise was a joy ride for all of us. For the first time since I came to Bloomington in Nov of 2007, I had something to look forward to when I left from work.

Every meeting was total fun with all of us taking pot shots at each other and at the same time the atmosphere was totally professional. There were totally 7 singers in the team including myself and the practice sessions were a total blast. The entire team was really great and we really cared for each others performance. There was few hiccups here and there but overall the experiance was totally worthwhile.

The actual event itself with the grand stage and Sizable audience was kind of overwhelming for me atleast but I think we all did a great job. Well all of us put up a great effort and the outcome was fantastic. As far as I am concerned I made some new friends along the way and also got to perform in front of a decent audience.

Being part of Sargam was really a great experiance and hopefully the same team can get together again next year.


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