Thursday, May 21, 2015

Akshay Kumar: “We are not some Mahalaxmi Ka Ghoda running a race!”

Though the Khan trio may be the most sought after celebrities in Bollywood but the actor who is silently but consistently proving his weight in the industry is none other but Akshay Kumar thanks to the mega success of his recent movies BABY and GABBAR IS BACK both crossing the coveted Rs 100 crore mark! 

Interestingly both the movies despite being commercial in content had social message. Elated at the success of his movies Akshay Kumar said, “I am just so overwhelmed with all the love that people shower on me. God! I don’t know what to do ... how to return their love. The more I try to give back, the more it multiplies. It is just unbelievable.”

Speaking about movies with social message Akshay Kumar says, “It feels great when not just fans but even politicians congratulate us on taking up the issues like corruption in GABBAR IS BACK or terrorism in BABY.” 

However what annoys Akshay Kumar is the lack of unity among stars in Bollywood

Recently when Akshay was asked about a multi-star movie opposite a Khan he said, “There is no competition or bad blood between anyone. I am sure, like me, others also wish me well. But the only problem today is, there is a lack of unity among all of us. Maybe, that’s why there are not many multi-starrers and two-hero projects coming up now.”

Akshay Kumar believes the competition in the film industry has been reduced to nothing more than a rat race. 

“I don’t believe in competition. We are not some Mahalaxmi Ka Ghoda that we need to constantly race against each other. I feel all such loose talk is a thing of the past,” he quips.

Amitabh Bachchan invests in a Singapore-based website firm

After incurring losses in his film production company ABCL (Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited) Amitabh Bachchan has decided it wise to invest in a Singapore-based company that runs free cloud storage, e-distribution and micro-payment platform

According to reports Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek Bachchan have jointly invested $250,000 (about Rs 1.6 crore) in Meridian TechPte Limited. According to Venkata Srinivas Meenavalli, founder and chief executive of Meridian Tech informed media, "Mr Amitabh Bachchan and his family have invested in at a valuation of around $71 million." 

It may be noted that Ziddu was among the top five file-sharing sites across the world, generating 1.2 billion page views with visitors from more than 225 countries.

Besides Amiatbh Bachchan a majority of Bollywood celebrities are engaged in business because they are aware about the instable career of Bollywood. "Many Bollywood celebrities generally get into business to make sure that they do not have to depend solely on the success or failure of their films,” says Anirban Das Blah, managing director at KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions. 

Anil Sekhri, a Chartered Accountant, rightly points that the younger bread of film celebrities have taken lessons from their yesteryears peers, who were reduced to poverty when their charisma declined. Remember legends like Meena Kumari, Bharat Bhushan, Mehmood, Chandershekar, Bhagwan etc. 

Anil Sekhri is associated with many top Bollywood actors for more than two decades. He says, "Initially actors used to invest in land and real estate but the present generation of actors is more adventurous. After investing in properties they get into non-Bollywood ventures like solar projects, restaurants, spas etc."

Few stars who are engaged in business other than films include Shah Rukh, who is the owner of IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders with Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta. In addition has also bought 26 percent shares of the Indian franchise of KidZania, an international chain of family entertainment centres. 

Sunil Shetty besides having chain of restaurants in India is also the owner of Mischief, a series of boutiques spread across Mumbai. 

Ajay Devgan is a part investor in the Charanaka solar 25 MW plant project in Gujarat. 

Arjun Rampal runs a lounge bar Lap in New Delhi. He also runs an event management company, Chasing Ganesha.

Mithun Chakraborty owns the Monarch group of hotels, across the country. 

Thus today’s crop of celebrities has safeguarded their future so that they do not end up into taters as their yesteryear pals.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Anurag Kashyap’s assistant Neeraj Ghaywan shines at Cannes Film Festival with his debutant film MASAAN

While the audience may have given a thumps down to Anurag Kashyap’s most dear film BOMBAY VELVET but his home production MASAAN, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan has won a thumps up at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

According to latest reports MASAAN, produced by Anurag Kashyap and directed by debutant director Neeraj Ghaywan has floored the audience at Cannes Film Festival, who were so overwhelmed by the movie that the audience gave a thunderous applause and a five-minute long standing ovation!

Surely the movie’s success at Cannes must have broaden Anurag Kashyap’s chest and given him a sigh of relief because the kind of cinema he his encouraging will surely in days to come change the face of Indian cinema.

Speaking about the movie, it took three years for Neeraj Ghaywan to complete the script. In an interview Ghaywani said, “MASAAN is an attempt of escaping the conventional mindset, the rigid social structure."

He added, “MASAAN is set in the religious city of Varanasi and touches the age old tale of a low caste man (in this case Dom community, who work at cremation grounds) falling in love with a high caste girl but what makes the movie intriguing is its authentic backdrop and its innovative treatment.”

Readers would be surprised to know that Neeraj Ghaywan, is an electrical engineering graduate from Hyderabad’s Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology and was earning a six figure salary but his passion for cinema drew him to filmdom and he quit his lucrative job.
“I started my cinematic journey by contributing actively to the film website (not functioning presently) through which I came in contact with Anurag Kashyap, who would blog enthusiastically on the site,” he informed.

He added. “One day to my surprise Anurag Kashyap called me and asked me, if I would be interested in assisting him on ‘GANGS OF WASSEYPUR’, which was to be screened at the Cannes International Film Festival.”

He continues, “ I nodded and today my directorial film has been filmed at the same festival, where many legendary filmmakers’ of Indian cinema like Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, M S Sathyu’s and Shyam Benegal’s film have been screened! “ 

Another nursery rhyme maligned by Bollywood!

After Akshay Kumar starrer ENTERTAINMENT’s song Johnny Johnny... haanji.. Tuney pee hai? naaji…. Which tainted the famous nursery rhyme Johnny Johnny...Yes Papa… another popular kid nursery rhyme - Lalla Lalla Lori, Dhooth Ki Katori… has been plagiarized by Bollywood and yet again the nursery rhyme has been maligned into offensive lines that are sure to pollute the minds of kids.

The song in question is Lalla Lalla Lori, ‘Daaru’ Ki Katori….penned by Mayur Puri and sung by Jigar, Priya Panchal and Madhav Krishna in the forthcoming movie WELCOME 2 KARACHI starring Arshad Warsi.

Annoyed by the distortion of nursery rhymes a NGO has filled PIL against the Central Government, Censor Board, the Delhi Government and producers Pooja Entertainment Pvt. Ltd asserting the song promotes liquor consumption and ‘maligns’ a nursery rhyme.

The PIL underlines the following stanza ….
Ab main chhota baccha nahi; Bournvita peeta nahi
Ghadi mein saat baje ; I'm on daaru ki katori
Daaru ko behne de; Thodi thodi thodi chadhne de

(I am not a small kid; I have stopped drinking Bournvita
When it’s seven in clock, I indulge in drinking
Let the alcohol flow; little by little let me get intoxicated)

An activist from the NGO claimed the lyrics of the song fall under the objectionable category of article 47 of the Indian constitution (duty of the state to improve the standard of living and to improve public health affairs).

It further urged the court to implement a policy wherein such objectionable film songs which malign nursery rhyme must be banned and film producers strictly penalized.

Interestingly in case of ENTERTAINMENT song too an NGO Early Childhood Association (ECA) had raised it voice. They had even urged Bollywood filmmakers to spare nursery rhymes from being distorted as films have lasting impression on young minds and such songs can pollute their young minds.

Hope our so called sensible filmmaker understand and keep aloof from tarnishing nursery rhyme and content that evil has effect  on our children because they are the future of country and if our future is tainted than what progress can we expect???  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The unfortunate tale of Aruna Shanbaug ends peacefully! Bollywood mourns!

Imagine yourself for being on a hospital bed in a vegetative state with twisted hands and crooked feet, no vision in eyes and in the name of food you are fed just liquids through your nose. At times you silently cry in agony and when the sufferings swell you scream hysterically for hours but there is no mercy. This agonizing condition continues for not one month or one year or ten years but for a consistent 42 years!

Don’t you think it is far worse than our sins being chastise in hell? Well I think every soul on earth will agree that this kind of life is thousand times worse than the horrors of sin being penalized in hell.

Hence when the unfortunate Aruna Shanbaug, a former nurse in Mumbai’s KEM hospital, who lived the above mentioned horrifying life breathed her last in Mumbai, Bollywood film actor cum director Satish Kaushik rightly wrote in his condolence message, "42 Years... My God... Terrible.. Aruna Shanbaug at last got rid of her miseries and pain... May heaven be the happiest place for her... RIP!”

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar too paid a befitting condolence to her. In his tweet he aptly wrote "A 42-yr struggle ends as Aruna Shanbaug leaves for a better life in a better world. RIP.”

For readers who are not aware of the brave heart Aruna Shanbaug, She was a strict and sincere nurse working at KEM hospital in Mumbai. So you may wonder what brought her doom. Well, frankly speaking it was her honesty for which she paid such a heavy price.

According to reports she kept an eye on a hospital ward boy who was corrupt and threatened her many times to expose his misdeeds. In anger the ward boy sexually assaulted her and when she resisted he brutally choked her with a dog-chain. As a result the blood supply to her brain was blocked resulting in brain stem contusion and injury to her cervical cord, which also left her cortically blind.

The incident occurred on the night of 27 November 1973, since then she was bedridden. She was declared brain dead but artificially kept alive by nurses at Mumbai’s KEM Hospital.

An appeal for passive euthanasia (Mercy Killing) was filled by Author Pinki Virani, who wrote a book on Aruna’s life called “Aruna’s Story: The True Account of a Rape and its Aftermath”. She was successful in convincing the Supreme Court that such a futile life can be terminated as per patient’s relatives wish.

 In 2011 acting on Virani’s petition, the Supreme Court legalised passive euthanasia in 2011. However the tragedy is that Aruna Shanbaug was denied the benefit because the nurses of KEM Hospital refused to entertain the idea of allowing her such a death!

However the bigger irony of the case is that it was the same staff and administration of the KEM hospital that refused to grant passive euthanasia to Aruna, kept silent when the charges of rape and attempt to murder were leveled on the ward boy, who made Aruna’s life miserable.

Since the KEM Hospital did not come forward the police filed an FIR and fought the case in court. But due to no evidence from KEM hospital the culprit got a jail term of just 6 years!

Today he is freeman and is also working as a ward boy in a hospital in Delhi!!!

Isn’t this the hypocrisy of KEM Hospital???

Bollywood rocked by another Suicide!

Stardom and depression go hand in hand … don’t believe take a look at Tinsel Town and you will acknowledge that most film celebrities who have committed suicide have been victim of depression.

 From the maverick filmmaker Guru Dutt to the bewitching and buoyant Divya Bharti to the sex symbol Silk Smitha to the struggling actress Jiah Khan each have been prey of despair and melancholy.

The latest to join the list of multiple suicides in Indian Cinema is Shikha Joshi (40) a struggling actress who made her presence felt in director Ajay Bahl’s moderate successful film BA PASS (2012).

Briefing the media senior police inspector Ravindranath Pawar of Versova police station said, “Ms. Joshi was staying at her friend’s place and was found in a serious condition with her neck slit by kitchen knife in her bathroom. She was rushed to nearby Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri where she was pronounced dead. Later, the body was sent to Cooper Hospital for post-mortem.”

The police said the prima facie reveals a case of suicide. However as committing suicide by slashing one’s own throat is a rarity hence the police is investigating every possible angle related to the death. The police have also not ruled a case of murder.

Besides Bollywood, the South Indian film industry too is plagued with many actors, more particularly actresses taking the harsh step.

According to Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, consultant psychiatrist and founder trustee, SNEHA, a suicide prevention centre in Chennai, the reason why film celebrities commit suicide is because actors are distanced from reality, get to the top positions quickly and go through sudden, sharp fluctuations in life. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Is Anurag Kashyap finished? Or will he be BACK?

Its official Anurag Kashyap’s much anticipated magnum opus BOMBAY VELVET is a flop!

After the first day’s lukewarm collection, cinema owners across India were expecting a windfall on the weekend due to the media hype and assemble of top stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar. But alas neither the charismatic stardom of Ranbhir Kapoor worked nor could the brilliance of director Anurag Kashyap could save BOMBAY VELVET from the debacle.

Nevertheless filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has gracefully acknowledged the people’s verdict. In an earnest post on social media Anuragh has accepted the bitter truth that many viewers could not connect with his style of narration and his tryst with a different kind of cinema but he asserted that he will keep reinventing cinema and take the risk.
 In his post an optimistic, Anurag wrote, “It’s upon us who choose not to take the easy route, it’s upon us who stand tall when they let the lions loose on us, we are and will be the gladiators, let’s just keep playing the sport. Let’s continue reinventing, let’s give everything our best and like Schwarznegger said, I WILL BE BACK…”

Frankly speaking like Anurag Kashyap many legendary filmmakers faced a similar debacle when they experimented with cinema but they did made a comeback with a roar.

Remember the greatest filmmaker of Indian Cinema Raj Kapoor, who pumped all his resources into the making of MERA NAAM JOKER (critically his best work till date) but alas the film was far ahead of his time hence cine buffs  could not connect with it and rejected it.

However Raj Kapoor did not give-in and like a gladiator he made a bumper comeback with BOBBY, which overflowed his resources that had been drained in the making of MERA NAAM JOKER. 

Interestingly as Anurag wrote in his blog that the viewers could not digest the narration of BOMBAY VELVET as it was novel to them but years later when they revisit it they may marvel at the creation.

 Likewise MERA NAAM JOKER which was a bitter failure on its release in 1970 was regarded as cult classic in the 80’s when it was re-released and made mind-blowing box office collection and rave reviews!!

History is packed with genius filmmakers like Guru Dutt whose KAGAZ KE PHOOL (1959) was a failure but with his film CHAUDHVIN KA CHAND (1960) he bounced back.

Besides who can forget the maverick filmmaker  Yash Chopra, who was declared jinx in Bollywood with a series of failures KAALA PATTHAR (1979); SILSILA(1981); MASHAAL (1984), FAASLE (1985); VIJAY(1988).

For almost 10 years Yash Chopra could not deliver a single hit but with CHANDNI in 1989 he proved he is filmmaker par excellence and filmmakers like him do not go into oblivion.
True it is because of daring and unconventional filmmaker like the above mentioned legends and present day genius filmmaker Anurag Kashyap that Indian Cinema has survived or it would have remained a butt of criticism in International cinema.