Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The aahs and oohs of Humpty Sharma’s Dulhaniya

This took me a really long time, like opening a word document and typing in what you are seemingly reading right now. Why? I don’t know. Writing demands a lot of effort from within me. I had this strand of thought in my head since like I can remember but the journey from transforming that thought into a proper readable article is the prime challenge here.

By the way, saw a movie last weekend with friends, precisely long lost school friends. Felt revived. You know, when you have good company, like people you won't mind forgetting the world for, the venue of the outing or what you do at the outing doesn't really matters. And if it’s a movie outing of a seemingly pathetic film, you end up making a much better one with friends laughing and spilling some weird imaginative situations to make times memorable. Having a kickass, comfortable company is all you need to fight the monstrous problems in this world. You must have known this by now.

Fortunately, unlike the last outing(R...Rajkumar), this one turned out to be superrr! We went to meet some random Humpty Sharma’s Dulhaniya. Starring good friends Varun dhawan(Humpty Sharma) and Alia Bhatt(of course, the Dulhaniya) in lead roles, the movie was a good time pass. When I say that it strictly means for the ones who are admirers of love stories and go weak in their knees when their Raj-Rahul cross saat samundars to get to their Simran-Anjali. Also, not to forget, for the ones who cry everytime they watch DDLJ where Simran pleads to her father to let her go away with Raj. Humpty Sharma ki dulhaniya is almost on the same lines. By almost I mean the cake recipe is the same but for the icing. This story is set in modern times, the times of Facebook and NRI grooms, where drinking daru-sharu by a young girl is not considered ‘wrong’.

The record is set straight: Log perfect nahi hote hain, rishtey perfect hote hain (Rough translation: People are not perfect,relationships should be perfect). To make a love story on the ddlj lines, you must and MUST have the following in your story (even if you can arrange an ounce of it, that would be fine!) :
1) Punjabi setting and family with all the veerjis,daijis,paajis,baujis : check
2)A Protective male member in the family preferably a brother or father: check
3)A handsome gabru jawan munda ready to fight with or get beaten up by your family for your love: check
4)Another angle to make a triangle of your love story in the form of the family’s preferred choice: check

Posters of HSKD and DDLJ. Image Courtesy: Internet

All set? Here you go!!! Relish this exciting build up of situations where your love will overcome all on obstacles to prove to your family that he is the one. The one made for you, the one who is made for you. Ohh, by the way, HSKD is a tribute to the love story classics of the hindi cinema: DDLJ and K2H2.
I really liked the sequence which comes during the song Samjhawan (my favourite from the movie), wherein kavya goes to meet humpty and he shows her his wounds. That scene really makes me smile. 

A still from the song, Samjhawan. Image Courtesy: Internet

You know the best part? You'll get to see Varun crying a lot in this one. Like more than Alia has cried in the whole of the film. I mean, that’s so against the Bollywood notion: mard ko dar nahi hota.  Mard ko dard hota hai yaar! And it’s ok for boys to cry when they are losing out on something so dear to them.

What disappointed me was the climax. I really appreciate the way Shashank Khaitan, the director of the movie has dealt with the story, old wine in a brand new attractive bottle, to be precise. But, the climax was not what i had expected. It was too sudden and the NRI munda’s exit looked so unplanned, as if he didn't know what to do with him so he quietly asked him to leave from the back door. LOL.
Anyways, the movie is a good one time watch and alia’s character will rub off you and you would come out of the theatre demanding for a designer lehenga which Kareena Kapoor had worn at some random point of her life. The music is catchy, especially Saturday,Saturday.

A still from the song, Saturday Saturday. Image Courtesy: Internet

Wondering, why i have named this article, The aahs and oohs of Humpty Sharma’s Dulhaniya?? So, the story goes that the morning of one of those days when i was contemplating to write something on this movie, while i was brushing my teeth, my brain bells struck a crescendo and the article heading just came out from nowhere. So random na? Exactly, much like this article.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Bombay is more than just a film

Bombay, the Mani Ratnam directed film, attracted controversies like iron to magnet, as though its sole purpose was just that. The 1995, national award winning venture, Bombay, triggered much angst and invited opposition from every section of the society depicted in the film in some way or the other.
Politically speaking, it was nothing less than a nuclear bomb. Bombay faced political ire in almost all the places it was slated for release like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and inevitably Bombay.  The first objection came from the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray who was obviously not happy with the way Ratnam had portrayed him as an instigating religious leader who had a crucial part to play in making the two religious groups stand against each other during the Babri Masjid demolition incident in December 1992. He wanted major chunks of the dialogues of Tinnu Anand (the actor who portrays him) to be chopped off. The filmmaker though defending this stated that the dialogues were a direct lift from Thackeray’s speeches, he agreed to the cuts. The other condition Thackeray wanted to be fulfilled before allowing the movie to be released in Mumbai was the film’s name to be changed to Mumbai. This time Ratnam, didn't relent.

A still from the film, Bombay. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Bombay was fiercely opposed in Andhra Pradesh too, particularly by the Majlis Ittehad-ul- Muslimin leaders of Hyderabad. Their objection was with the storyline: a Muslim girl falling in love with a Hindu boy. The release was suspended after an incident of vandalism in a theatre in Yadagiri was reported. Few objections among the many are that Bombay, shows that the Hindu boy takes a Muslim girl when she is holding a copy of the holy Quran. Some said that when the girl goes with the Hindu boy, a verse from the Quran is being recited.
Amidst all this, who is suffering and at what cost? It’s the creativity of the film and the maker’s artistic freedom which is being attacked. The Censor board should not allow any such pressure tactics, be it political, religious or spiritual, to tamper with the product once it is green signalled by the Censor board. Once you submit to threats from the leaders of one community, you are bound to succumb to the threats of another community as well.  It should not be for the religious or political leaders to decide whether a particular film should be released or not unless there is a direct attack on any religious sentiments. In such cases the Censor board has certain guidelines which reflect its purpose. Certain social, religious, and cultural sensibilities are taken into account by the Censor board authorities. If every film is left to the religious or political leaders to decide which films will see the light of the day; I don't think any film will witness its release. Ever.
A still from the film, Bombay. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Why always look at the darker side? Why always highlight more of the negative things shown in the film when you have bucket loads of good one to cherish as well? Throughout the course of the film, it, through various sequences propagates the idea of unity, brotherhood and secularism. Take for example, the names of the twin boys of Shekar and Shaila Bano. One is named Kamal Basheer and his brother Kabir Narayan; inter mingling the two opposing religious groups through the dual cross-religious name. Till the very end, the two kids are shown repeatedly questioning with utmost innocence whether they are Hindu or Muslim, to which nobody has an answer and the question continues to resonate in the consciousness of the viewers, forcing me to realise a heavy lump in my throat.
Secondly, the way the two in-laws of both the hero and heroine support and help survive each other till their last breath restores your faith in humanity. Incidents when a potential mob comes to behead the Hindu in-law and the Muslim-in law jumps in to tell the attackers that they are brothers is the first incident where brotherhood brings tears to eyes.
Humanity, tolerance of other’s religious beliefs, brotherhood for one and all, and above all propagating the thought that true love binds two souls irrespective of the caste, religion, creed, and race is what should be taken to heart and in one’s mind from Bombay.

The article was featured in  Mix Fruit Salad on 20th January,2014

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Movies- Dissected (Part 2)

By Vibhooti Mangal Tiwari
Photo Courtesy: Internet
In the first part of my article (follow up if you haven’t yet:, I had discussed why people possibly watch movies. In this continuation, I shall answer a few questions raised when we wonder that and talk about promotion and its importance.
A question pops up in my mind. Why don’t all movies appeal to everyone? Why are a few of them blockbusters, a few average and some plunge into the depths of nadir, embedded deep within the sheaths of oblivion? That’s where the promotions come in. What we see is just seen, what we are shown is what makes the difference. Selling a comb to pretty lasses with flowing locks is business. But selling a modified, overpriced version of the same comb to a bald person, that sire, is promotion. And believe me when I say that, promotion is not as easy as it looks. It’s an act. And in today’s world of ‘sold is the stuff that is seen’ promotions play a pivotal role in stacking up some enviable decks and towers of cash and upping the ante. So how were and are promotion for movies done and what are the major differences between the promotions of the bygone era and the multiplex era, when even a day or a week can add millions of rupees into your bank account. Let’s take a ride through the nooks and crannies of Bollywood movie promotions through a rendezvous with history.
The silent era, which marked the beginning of films in India, promoted its masterpieces through advertisements in newspapers and hand painted posters. Money was spent like water (which was cheap those days and potable too) on extravagant posters that boasted or we can say yelled of a plethora of colours brighter than the brightest bird of paradise of Papua New Guinea. An artist and his swashbuckling affair with the colours marked the high point of many a legendary movie posters at that time. Movies were also publicised by hiring men to sit in some vehicle and go around from one road to another, praising the movie on a loudspeaker as if it were his own blood and sweat embedded somewhere deep within those reels.
Then came the era when standees were used. These were life sized, freestanding cardboard cutouts aimed at drawing a lot of attention towards the character. This technique relied on the sole school of thought that movies were an embodiment of the characters in it and people had a higher tendency to connect to a ‘superstar’ in the movie than the movie itself. This technique is even used to this day, the only major change being the replacement of shabbily cut out standees with graphically designed, precise, almost clone like 2-D and 3-D standees which are a brainchild of a highly specialised team of designers and artists toiling their experience off for a period of many months instead of a single artist like it used to be in the good old days.
A poster of the film. Photo Courtesy: Internet
The recent world is of the multiplex audience. Move over silver jubilees and 50 weeks continuous run of a movie. Now that I think about it, the last movie I remember to have completed the silver jubilee was ‘Kahoo Na Pyar Hai’ which ran for 25 straight weeks in Empire talkies in my town. The talkies is not there now and a gigantic mall with a 5 screen multiplex has replaced it but memories of watching movies in it when I was young still remain hidden somewhere at the back of my mind that otherwise seems to forget answers on the day of exams. Now more importance is given to word of mouth and critique. Specially people in the age group of 20-40. For instance, I wanted to go and watch John Day ( Naseeruddin Shah, Randeep Hooda) as it looked absolutely promising in the trailer but I chose to stay clear of the theatres as the reviews I rad were not encouraging to say the least. Same goes with the highly anticipated Kick Ass-2. Time has changed. People have many options of quality entertainment like YouTube, Internet, etc. People know what they like and are sure of what they want to spend their precious money on. Word of mouth is playing a more important role than ever before and one cannot just get away with making a crap movie, promoting it and not getting trashed by the critics. Though this is a fact that numbers seem to have gained prominence over quality but the fact remains that good, honest cinema doesn’t go unnoticed. If you have put you ind and soul into the movie, it’s bound to reflect and win you accolades. If directors try to keep a certain standard of the movies they make, money is sure to follow sooner or later. The market is open for innovation and originality.
In a nutshell, going by the trend of stars giving haircuts and free tickets and shaking a leg or two at almost every possible TV show, raking in the moolah in the same process, it’s safe to say that promotions play a bigger role than expected in the world of Indian cinema. That it destroys the sacred culture of movies or opens realms of possibilities is yet to be seen.
(Have questions? Need to discuss? Mail me at:
Born, brought up and coached to be an engineer, he changed stream after negotiating with machines for two years. Unsuccessfully. Now balancing his love for movies,literature,cricket,football and poems with his sociophobic (conditions apply), misanthropic thoughts. ‘Enjoying’ college at SOC Manipal. Finally. An aspiring director/novelist/poet/actor/critic/model/Wolverine, who draws satanic pleasure in dissecting movies and pretending to be an expert at them and a million other arts he juggles. But when it counts, a poet and a die-hard romantic at heart. Can scribble about anything the planet knows/is oblivious of.
The article first appeared on 19th January,2014 and was written for The Indian Economist (TIE)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Movies- Dissected (Part 1)

By Vibhooti Mangal Tiwari
After reading an article on people’s tendency to watch movies and a prolonged stimulated discussion on movie promotion over the course of Bollywood, in one of my classes, I was taken, for a brief period of time, somewhere about which I thought even my sub-conscious had forgotten. It was the summer when I was in class 4th and had gone to my grandmother’s place for vacations. I recall a coarse voice blaring from loudspeakers. ‘Mahaan, samajik, dharmik, maar-peet se bharpoor, aikshon, romans se bhari film dekhne Delight theatre zaroor aaiye’ (Do come to Delight theatre to watch great, social, religious, movie, full of action and romance). When I stepped outside, I found a man in a rickshaw, with speakers challenging my own height stacked side by side in a haphazard manner. The man’s feet were entangled in a cobweb of multi-colored wires running out of nowhere to somewhere. What he was doing was quite intriguing. He was actually promoting a recently released Sunny Deol film and I fell for the movie by the way he was promoting it. This little nostalgic brush made me think about two things: first, why do people watch movies? And the other: why do promotions matter and how can they affect movies in a wider context?
Photo Courtesy: Internet
The question is very fundamental: what is there in movies? The typical Bollywood films are full of masala. What they show is fake and imaginary, a product of the story writer’s vivid and, in most cases, exuberantly fantastical imagination. Still, multitudes of people flock to the theatres all across the nation like a business of ferrets, every Friday when some or the other star graces the silver screen with his divine presence, to get their chunk of their Indian pie. They push; they fight and brave the scorching sun, spine chilling cold and the ever-forgiving rain. Just to get a couple of tickets for themselves and their partner in the couple. At times, I fail to register what makes them go through this litmus test for something which is but a mere figment of imagination of someone else’s mind, probably conjured up during mosquito populated night of his years of struggle. I wonder if it’s the glam quotient of movies, which reminds them of the colorless, moribund lives they are leading.
Or is it possible that a common man uses them as a distraction, an escapade from the recurring harsh realities of his daily life and a foray into the labyrinth of movies acts as a detour to unsettle the grim grey clouds of predictability overshadowing his life? The endlessly expanding and ever-changing realm of stories having fictional characters sometimes engulfs even the most stable of minds. Similarly, the harsh, dream-shattering reality of the basic lives that the characters live on the silver screen when taken as a case of study and portrayed convincingly gives them something to identify themselves with. Maybe that’s why people are attracted towards movies like a moth to a flame. Visually lush frames of a random movie act like a magnet that pulls everyone in its direction. Young or old, literate or illiterate, rich or poor – the language of films is same for all and everyone watches the same films. Movies are a piece of fiction created by one who is similar to us and is therefore, able to gauge human desires and fantasies. They provide us what we secretly yearn for. For the duration of three hours when the movie is playing, we are enthralled and carried far away into the world of our dreams. A world that exists beyond mere mortal boundaries and reach of
Photo Courtesy: Internet
an average mind cluttered with day-to-day problems. We become the character on the screen and for those sweet three hours, we are that most confident and powerful person who is capable of overcoming all the obstacles that life greets him with. Movies have endless possibilities. At times they inspire us, seldom do they challenge us and more than often, they make us feel unsatisfied with life. However, if that is the price one has to pay for living life king-size or at least feeling like it, it is worth it or so they say.
All said and done, the bottom line is, people watch movies. Big deal. But there are some people who eat, drink, breathe and feel movies. They are in a league of their own. They LIVE movies. Suck a breed of movie-sapiens is forever looking for an option to curb their insatiable hunger for quality cinema, irrespective of publicity. And as long as people like this will exist, there will be a whole new brigade of film people who are ready to carry the baton forward and produce, direct, or write good, satisfying cinema. Even in a world of YouTube hits and teasers and second teasers and more teasers, character trailers, viral marketing, online petition and campaigns, controversies, etc., cinema exists. It had, it does and it will. Always. For what is imagination in shackles of capital? Money can buy everything, of late it’s believed it can even buy happiness but one think it can never dream of having an upper hand over is ART. For art is but immortal.
(In part 2 of the same article I will talk about promotion, it’s brief history, current necessity and general trends in movie promotions. So stay tuned.)
Born, brought up and coached to be an engineer, he changed stream after negotiating with machines for two years. Unsuccessfully. Now balancing his love for movies,literature,cricket,football and poems with his sociophobic (conditions apply), misanthropic thoughts. ‘Enjoying’ college at SOC Manipal. Finally. An aspiring director/novelist/poet/actor/critic/model/Wolverine, who draws satanic pleasure in dissecting movies and pretending to be an expert at them and a million other arts he juggles. But when it counts, a poet and a die-hard romantic at heart. Can scribble about anything the planet knows/is oblivious of.
The article first appeared on 14th January,2014 and was written for The Indian Economist (TIE)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

What Was Wrong With Bollywood In 2013?

India is a country where people follow Bollywood like couch potatoes. In fact so much that people tend to believe what is shown in reel as real in nature and ultimately try to inculcate the falsified theories shown in the movies as part of their existence.
2013 saw plethora of Bollywood movies release. Some made money, some didn’t. The hundred crore club became a joke and we saw the emergence of two hundred, three hundred crores clubs and even more.
But then those movies somewhere in order to make the producers, actors and directors rich didn’t account for the wrong messages they were sending in the form of their story, dialogues or even the lyrics of their songs and there are plenty of examples to be given.
For starters, let’s take the example of Shah Rukh Khan Starrer Chennai Express which was a mega block-buster, but then the movie can be safely accused of stereotyping the lifestyle of Tamils. The movie did receive lot of flak from various known faces that were from Tamil Nadu and showed their disappointment in way the Tamilians were portrayed. For example, not every Tamil girl would speak like the character played by Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone.
We also had another super hit movie Ranjhanna which also made to the hundred crore club. But then the lead actor Dhanush played the role of an obsessive lover who would slit his hand if the girl he loved said no. Even after being rejected, the boy would kind of force her to fall in love with her. In short the movie glorified stalking and beautified the existence of being an obsessed psychopath who would go to any lengths to get her love even if the methods he used were wrong. Unfortunately the obsession was shown as true love, which clearly sent wrong signals to many youngsters out there.
Shahid Kapoor’s movie R Rajkumar was even worse where in one scene a cop was shown raping a woman. The movie also glorified stalking and probably in a more aggressive manner. Lewd manners used by the hero to win his love are certainly not the right way if a boy wants to impress a girl in reality.
Look at the history of movies and you will witness that hero whether rich or poor carries with him a certain dignity and is a man of principles. He signifies goodness and is shown to have a strong character.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie Ram-Leela broke all barriers where the hero is shown as someone who makes his living by selling guns and porn movies. Probably someone doesn’t even have an iota of respect for women and signifies himself to be the lewd version of Romeo created by Shakespeare. How shameful.
Movies like Grand Masti thrived on cheap jokes but then we have been watching these movies for years.
Songs like Gandi Baat, Dhat Teri Ki Ghar Nhi Jaana, various Honey Singh songs have inappropriate lyrics and the way they have been picturized certainly doesn’t look good if we look into reality.
Bollywood in 2013. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Movies are a strong medium. In a country where we hear cases of a girl getting raped everyday and when we are dealing with the security of our women, such derogatory lyrics, and dialogues don’t help the situation.  Its flabbergasting to imagine a situation where a boy in order to impress a girl makes lewd expressions, teases her, even stalks her and when the girl doesn’t comply to his advances then either the boy turns into a rapist or ends up in a hospital by slitting his wrists, and he learns all this from these multi-crore blockbuster movies which we Indians watch with so much of intent without even thinking for a second about what are we really watching, what are we really learning.
Probably we cannot stop these people who resort to such cheap ways to make money but the public who every Friday throng the halls to watch a movie so that they can recharge their batteries should for once sit back and contemplate the fact whatever they are watching might recharge their batteries and might be refreshing but are those movies recharging their minds correctly?
Probably the New Year will surely set people up thinking, at least for once.
The author is a student of Mass Communication from SOC, Manipal, Nishit holds a deep passion for writing, where his interests range from sports to movies to politics and anything he can scribble about. The author also loves to quiz and get quizzed and also debate with people on various topics. The author also likes to face the camera and has acted in various plays and dramas whenever given the opportunity. A self-confessed movie addict and someone who calls himself as a ‘sports junkie’, the author loves to read books, watch movies, listen to music and just write on anything he finds interesting to write during his spare time. You can mail your queries or just anything to author at
The article first appeared in The Indian Economist on 10th January,2014. The author is a columnist at