Period Films Are Here To Stay


By Monica Arora
It’s been almost two years and we are still wondering as to why did Katappa kill Bahubali?

 We all have grown up reading larger than life stories of kings and queens, princes and princesses, gods and goddesses and so, on through fairy tales, Amar ChitraKatha comics or purely through word of mouth stories being passed around for generations from our great grandparents to our generation. Why just in India, a good fairy tale or a historical tale set in the golden days gone past evokes an eager audience everywhere in the world as the child in us still seeks a fascinating story of victory of good over evil or about a monarch or queen who hascaught our imagination through their riches, wealth, kingdom and lavish lifestyles. Think Cleopatra or Elizabeth or Braveheart in Hollywood or Mughal-e-Azam, Bahubali, Jodhaa Akbar, Bajirao Mastani or even the recent dud Mohen-jo-daro closer home in Bollywood.

 With the Bahubali II trailer having just being released, audience excitement mounts and the anticipation to discover as to why Katappa killed Bahubali is on full brim. The 2015 release, marketed under Karan Johar’sgrand Dharma banner was made at a budget of Rs 120 crore (1.2 billion), and went on to become the highest grossing Indian film within India, besides earning the title of third highest grossing Indian film globally. Actually, it was the first and only South Indian film directed by S. S. Rajamouli to gross over Rs 650 crore (6.5 billion) worldwide. So much is the frenzy around the sequel that a three-part book, entitled ‘Bahubali: The Untold Story’ has already been released for those curious to read the story in its entirety. Fans have gone on to compare it to the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies and just cannot wait to see part two!

 Of course Bollywood is known for its period dramas right from the K Asif directed Mughal-e-Azam starring Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor. Conceievd in 1944, the film took more than 15 years in making and was eventually released only in 1960. Narrating the doomed love story of Mughal Prince Saleem (Dilip Kumar), who falls in love with a courtesan (Madhubala), only to be strongly opposed by Saleem’sfather Emperor Akbar, the lavishly mounted sets in those days, particularly the Sheesh Mahal created for the Pyarkiya to darna kya song, literally drew thunderous applause from audience whenever it was played on screen. 


Recent years have seen a revival of period based movies in Bollywood after a lull. Ashutosh Gawarikar directed Jodhaa Akbar in 2008 was amongst the fairly successful period dramas that depicted the love story and marital life of King Akbar and his Rajput queen Jodhaa. The main protagonists were played by the Adonis-like HritikRoshan and the queen by the stunning Aishwarya Rai Bachchan whose chemistry left cinegoers enthralled, not to forget the grand sets, stupendous war scenes, and aw-inspiring expensive jewels and costumes and plenty of arms and armour that were especially crafted to lend authenticity to the film. Deemed as a moderate hit, the movie had its cult following amongst those who loved its Sufi music and story.


And then came Bajirao Mastaani, Sanjay LeelaBhansali’s magnum opus in 2015 which became one of the highest grossers of all times, with collections touching some Rs 350 crores. What started as a dream project after his Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam became a huge hit in 1999, his original lead pair of Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai fell through owing to personal reasons and the film got stalled. Until 2014, when Bhansali cast Ranveer Singh as Bajirao, the luminous beauty Deepika Padukone as his Mastaani and Priyanka Chopra as Kashiba, Bajirao’s first wife. Ranveer’s killer physique and Deepika’s grace, costumes and mesmerizing beauty, besides her near-perfect portrayal of Mastani made the movie rake up a frenzy. Truly, the period drama had been revived and on a scale that had been unimaginable a few decades ago.

 The same year also saw Bahubali leaving audiences spellbound, not just in India, but all over the world. A good story enacted by actors and actresses with perfectly toned and well-maintained physiques and with so much thought, planning and detailing going into every aspect of filming has made this genre much sought-after.

With Bahubali 2 around the corner and ‘Padmavati’ in the making one thing is almost certain that period films are here to stay.

‘Bahubali 2’ Trailer Hits Cinema Screens


Movie trailer for ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ is finally out. The trailer gives you goosebumps with its magnificent visuals and splendid VFX. If ‘Baahubali’ left you speechless, it can be easily imagined what might be in store for the viewers in its sequel.

‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ will feature Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah Bhatia, Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishnan and Sathyaraj, the second part will have a simultaneous release in Telugu, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. The movie will hit the screens worldwide on April 28, 2017.

“Sholay Maker Waited Three Years To Shoot One Sequence”

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who portrayed iconic character ‘Jai’ in Ramesh Sippy’s cult classic “Sholay”, on Thursday recalled the time when the ace director waited 3 years to get the “perfect light” for a particular sequence.

Addressing the audience at the launch event of the Ramesh Sippy Academy of Cinema & Entertainment, he said: “I wonder if you remember a scene in Sholay where Jaya (Bachchan) had to light a lamp in the corridor and I am sitting in the outhouse playing the mouth organ. There was particular kind of lighting that was required for the shot. Our DOP Mr Divecha was keen to take the shot at the time of sunset. You would not believe that Rameshji spent almost three years before we finally got that shot.”
“Every time we would go to enact that sequence, something would not be right with the lighting. And Rameshji said ‘until we get a correct light, we are not going to shoot this’. We waited for three years for one flash of a shot for the film,” the 73-year-old actor added.

The veteran filmmaker of “Sholay” has ventured into education sector with film school, which has also tied up with Mumbai University, where the students will be receiving complete knowledge and graduating with a degree in various aspects of film production and entertainment.
Praising the director producer, Amitabh said: “Rameshji is a great motivator, a wonderful technician, a teacher who takes care of his artists on the set. Before enacting a sequence, he sits and talks with the actor. He discusses and takes the view of an actor. He has the all-wonderful qualities, which are required to make better cinema.” 
“I wish all the very best to him for this initiative. It will be going a long way. The institute is going to be an important element of cinema in our country,” he said. (IANS)

Dangal Girl Sana Dropped From Thugs Of Hindostan On Flimsy Ground


By Bhumika Rawat

Dangal Girl Sana Shaikh was believed to be the first choice to play a romantic character against Aamir Khan in ‘Thugs of Hindostan’.  A lot has been speculated about the leading lady in the film. And now, rumours are rife that ‘Dangal’ girl Fatima Sana Shaikh has been dropped from consideration.

The reason for dropping her name is reportedly very flimsy. The script requires the actress to kiss the character to be played by Aamir in the film for a dream sequence. According to a report in MissMalini,com, since the pretty girl played the role of his daughter in ‘Dangal’, Aditya felt that it wouldn’t be a good idea to romantically pair her opposite Aamir. Certainly it is not a valid ground to drop an artist from the film. 
Sana is a professional artist and expected to play all kinds of role. A kiss can not be a reason to drop someone from the film unless she is found lacking in skills. Her performance in Dangal was appreciated by most of the critics and audience.
The report even suggests that Aamir wanted to have Sana on board for the short by significant part but Aditya opined differently.The hunt for an actress for the character in question is still on!Thugs of Hindostan will see two of the biggest names in the world of Hindi Cinema coming together on screen for the first time – Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan

Movie Trailer For ‘Geostorm’ Looks Promising

By Bhumika Rawat

Hollywood is gearing up Geostorm this fall. The movie starring Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Lara and Andy Garcia imagines a world where the climate is controlled by satellites. In a futuristic world the climate technology goes awry, causing a massive disaster across the globe.

The movie teaser for ‘Geostorm’ is out in March itself. The teaser looks promising and To seems to be VFX-heavy spectacle-driven adventure. Check out the teaser and judge yourself.

Dear Censor Board Bollywood Is Really Getting ‘Lady Oriented’


By Monica Arora

On the eve of yet another Woman’s Day celebrated with alarming alacrity on 8 March every year, it was amusing to see social media trolling and tabloids trashing Hollywood star Emma Watson for wearing a see-through top and exposing her breasts. The Sun carried a story titled ‘Beauty & the Breasts,’ while website, Pret-a-Reporter, stated: “Is Actress and Feminist Emma Watson a Hypocrite for Going Topless in Vanity Fair?”
Befittingly, Emma retorted with the very well-worded statement to Reuters in which she opined: “It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is. Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.”

 Truly, it is indeed confusing as to what feminism is all about going by how society, particularly the Indian patriarchal society judges women and the male gaze is always looking down upon the female anatomy and sartorial choices.

 But what is heartening to note is the fact that currently, women or actresses in Bollywood are thriving and perhaps getting the best choice of roles that they could have ever envisaged. Right from the Vidya Balan’s portrayal of south Indian siren Silk Smitha in the bold and beautiful The Dirty Picture to a feisty woman protagonist in Kahaani 1 and 2; from Aalia Bhatt’s sexually abused little girl act as Veera in Imtiaz Ali’s much-acclaimed Highway to a state-level hockey player who gets embroiled amidst drug peddlers in Abhishek Chaubey’s heart-wrenching Udta Punjab; from Sonam Kapoor’s south Delhi miss hoity toity act in Aisha to the brave airhostess who saved so many lives whilst sacrificing her own in Ram Madhvani’s Neerja; Deepika Padukone as the quintessential Bengali professional and doting daughter in Shoojit Sarkar’s Piku to her powerful Mastaani portrayal in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastaani; and from a woman jilted by her fiancé on the eve of her wedding portrayed oh-so-effectively by the effervescent Kangana Ranaut in Vikas Bahl’s Queen to the female stuntwoman in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon, current Bollywood actresses are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to playing meaningful and powerful characters.

 Not too long ago, all a Hindi film heroine was required to do was two or three romantic numbers and five scenes to support the “hero” in the film but refreshingly, all that has changed. In fact, even when Madhuri and Sridevi ruled the roost in the 1990s, films like Beta, Tezaab and Ram Lakhan of the former, and Chandni, Chaalbaaz and Lamhe stood out as shining examples of how women centric subjects and powerful heroines were adding much value to the male-dominated industry. But these were few and far in between until very recently, when the above listed women actors started not just getting accolades and recognition for their roles, but movies even got a good opening by virtue of their leading lady. Case in point being Tanu Weds Manu 2 and Ram Leela.

And the best part was that more and more women centric films were doing very good business be it Kahaani 1 and 2, The Angry Indian Goddesses winning much critical acclaim, Dear Zindagi, or Sridevi’s comeback vehicle, the Gauri Shinde directed superhit, English Vinglish or even Aishwarya Rai’s impactful lawyer’s portrayal in Jazbaa or the Omung Kumar directed Sarbjit in which she plays the wronged man’s sister, women oriented subjects have found a breath of fresh air in the contemporary scenario.

 When Rani Mukherji left her husband portrayed by Abhishek Bachchan for lack of passion in a lackluster marriage in Karan Johar’s multi-starrer Kabhi Alvida na Kehna, the film drew gasps and groans from traditional Indian audiences back in 2006 as no one was willing to accept that she made love to the man she was attracted to, played by Shah Rukh Khan. The film generated a lot of mixed reactions and debate but cut to 2017, audience tastes have matured and they are all-embracing and all-encompassing to women’s issues such as attempt to rape in Pink; female infanticide in Matrubhoomi; extra marital affairs as in Tabu’s Astitva; child abuse as in Aalia’s Highway; casting couch in Kareena Kapoor’s Heroine; and above all the dignity of a wronged woman in Queen, English Vinglish and Gulabi Gang, all prove that women roles in Bollywood are undergoing a heartwarming transition and people are accepting flawed, real and very down to earth women in movie parts.

As the Greek philosopher Marcus Aurelius stated: “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” That is my ode to womanhood on this Woman’s Day! More power to the women stars…Shine and sparkle and bedazzle with your sheen…

Hugh Wants Him, But He Needs Hair

Hollywood star Hugh Jackman has expressed his desire that Shah Rukh Khan takes forward the baton to play his popular The Wolverine character. The Bollywood actor, however, has said he would first need hair on the chest to look convincing.

Reacting to a post by a fan on Twitter which said why she wants Shah Rukh to play Wolverine, SRK posted: “Hair on the chest lady… Need hair on the chest!! Working on it though. Love Hugh and Wolverine.”

Jackman has essayed the role of the superhero mutant with a heart of gold in The Wolverine film saga, which started 17 years ago. The actor has appeared as Wolverine in nine of the X-Men sagas. He has reprised his role as The Wolverine for one final time in Logan. During the film promotion activity in Taiwan, Jackman had said that “maybe Shah Rukh Khan” can play him.