Stories about Bollywood

“Baji, why does Master ji not give me the same kind of attention he gives to Hira?”

She was bathed in my perfume when I entered the room. “Baji, there was some stench coming from the store room; that’s why I was using it.” She is the daughter of our housekeeper; hardly 12, with dark skin, sharp features, huge, sparkly eyes, and an innocent face. Her mother asked me to help her with her studies and I loved to teach her. She was such a bright student who wanted to learn as much as she could. But for some time now, I was noticing a devastating change in her personality; a lack of interest in her studies, a sudden interest in the latest ...

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Banning Pakistani actors or Indian movies won’t stop me from dancing to Kar Gayi Chul

Art is art. Art does not know a nationality or a region or a religion. Does a German heart move more than a non-German heart while listening to Beethoven’s symphonies? What if nobody outside France ever saw the Mona Lisa, or the Starry night was only seen by Dutch eyes? Art and artists belong to the world. Art is a reflection of the human condition, feelings shared by all of us universally. We all feel love, we all feel sadness, and we all feel loss. The world was moved by the picture of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish shore. Statuses mourning the loss ...

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If we take out the romantic element, M S Dhoni could be considered an all-time great biopic

Not too long ago, Bollywood released a cricket biopic of a fallen star called Azhar (2016). Among other things that went wrong with Azhar, the biggest problem with it was the mockery it made of cricket. Even before Azhar, films like Kai po che! (2013) and Victory (2009) also struggled to show the sport the way it is played. Admittedly, it’s very difficult to make sports genre movies because you have actors playing the sport that may not be their strength. However, if you miss the basic laws of the game, there is a bigger problem than the actor. M ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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The exoticness of Fawad Khan: Why one man is giving Indian women (and men) sleepless nights

To ask a Pakistani actor to go back to his country when there has allegedly been a terrorist attack on Indian soil by Pakistanis, is both stupid and understandable. The citizens ask for quick retaliation and, as always, people in the world of arts, culture and film are the softest targets. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), sensing the public pulse, cashed in on the anger and gave Pakistani actors and artists a 48-hour ultimatum to leave India. And mind you, a lot of Indians are irate with the presence of the Pakistani artists in India. That does not make them right or ...

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Will Mirzya turn out to be just another version of Mirza Sahibaan’s folklore?

Filmmaker and screenwriter, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, waited a couple of years after the release of his award winning biopic, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), to entice filmgoers with another mystic drama film. This time, Mehra has placed the genre of the socio-political story in the form of a charismatic folklore to present a war-action filled romantic anecdote – Mirzya. Photo: IMDb   Mirzya is based on the epic love story of Mirza Sahibaan, one of the most poignant Punjabi folktales. It is about the courage and distress of a woman who sacrificed her love to avoid bloodshed. The idea is touching and has attracted numerous filmmakers ...

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Dear India, our actors don’t need Bollywood to become stars

Dear Soumyadipta Banerjee,   I don’t know if it’s the right thing to be writing you a letter, since you might be endorsing a cut-off of all sorts (of written collaborations between our countries) after so emphatically bashing the cultural ones. It might not even be the best time for you since I see your fellows are caught up in a frenzy of misjudging the Pakistani markings regarding the ammunition used in the Uri attacks. But I write to you because it’s necessary. You might not have singled out Fawad Khan in your letter but I evidently am addressing this to only you, ...

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Raman Raghav 2.0: Violence with a mix of dark humour

After directing his commercial and critical flop Bombay Velvet (2015) last year, Anurag Kashyap is back again in the lowlife underbelly of Mumbai with his crime-thriller Raman Raghav 2.0.   Raman Raghav 2.0 is a story of a scoundrel serial killer, Ramanna, who is heavily inspired by the real-life Indian serial killer of the 60s, Raman Raghav. And thus, the 2.0 in the title. As the story progresses, Ramanna’s strange obsession with a young cop by the name of Raghavan thickens the plot and reveals a strange connection between the two souls. Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Raman Raghav 2.0. PHOTO: IMDB But Raman Raghav 2.0 is not just ...

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Pink: No, she does not want to have sex with ‘you’!

How do you break a woman who has the audacity to have a spine to stand up for herself? What does it take to knock her down if she has the gall and gumption to fight against all that’s wrong? How do you shut a girl who has the temerity to have a rational mouth on her? Well, you can’t! And B-Town has finally manifested the point in all its cinematic mightiness. In the prevailing culture of putrid patriarchy, if a female refuses to submit, it is considered as an attack on the male ego. You label her a slut, ...

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Baar Baar Dekho: A boring time-travelling experience

There’s no doubt that Baar Baar Dekho was amongst the most anticipated movies of 2016. And we’re all excited to see Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra starring together in a Karan Johar movie. There’s was a lot of hype with the release of the teaser, trailer and not to forget – the song Kaala Chashma. Time-travelling is not a common subject to expand on in a movie, we can hardly quote Action Replay (2010) and Love Story 2050 (2008) under this genre; both didn’t do well at the box office. You will just have to watch Baar Baar Dekho to discover what makes it different from the others. Artist Diya Kapoor ...

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