Monday, September 20, 2010

Images from a Bhojpuri Film Set!

Given Bhaand Group's fascination for the 'other' cinema, this was always on cards. Watching Bhojpuri films and more importantly visiting their sets/locations. Thanks to a wonderful friendship made on a bollywood movie set, I got this amazing opportunity to visit this season's mega budgeted, multi-starrer and the most expensive Bhojpuri film being prepared for a grand Diwali release. 'Ganga Jamuna Saraswati'

This is the kind of a name that will attract all the migrant population to cinema halls when they go back to their homes during festive season. So as the slogan goes by Farah Khan: 'Without much ado, Entertainment Shuru Kiya Jai'

Up first is the Police Jeep being prepared for the scene with a Uttar Pradesh number plate. The numbers on it look so fresh, as if the production designer wanted to impress the producer with his neatness!

A sneak peek of the 'extra'-decorated faces inside the dilapidated make up rooms

Every Bhojpuri film has to have the police as its essential part. I thought the so-many characters played by the great Iftekar and Jagdish Raj must be wandering inside. What! you don't know who are they? maybe you are on a wrong blog!

One object that is synonymous with the magical world of movies.

Lunch time!

The Making-wala.

'Spot Boy! One Issspecial Tea'

Every Junior Artist worth his/her salt is always looking forward to a Break and they invariably find an opportunity to flash their mobile models.

The shooting resumes and the audience is at their windows to see their superstars.

Its time for melodrama. Bhojpuri style!

Remember this frame. You wont see all the superstars of Bhojpuri cinema together ever. Starting from Left: Pakhi Hegde, the numero uno actress of the East, Dinesh lal Yadav, the highest paid Bhojpuri actor, Manoj Tewari, the evergreen face of Cinema Errite, Rinku Ghosh, the B Queen, sorry the B for Bengal Queen, Ravi Kisshan (need I say more?) and finally Rani Chatterjee, the dehati version of every bollywood heroine. She can walk bhojpuri, she can talk bhojpuri and she can laugh Bhojpuri because Bhojpuri is a very phunny...

And finally, as the day comes to an end, a secondary actor waiting for those golden words: 'Pack-up!'

p.s: After the decision of Mumbai municipal corporation that the auto rickshaws have to be shared from various local train stations, I have decided that now you can also share your favourite posts from the Bhaand blog on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. 'Sharing karna hai?'

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dabangg: Live from Chandan Talkies!

Let me start by telling the K Jos and A Chos what they have been missing in their movies and why does a Dabanng come and leave them with a feeling of powerlessness. So much so that K Jo had to release his movie one week earlier. Sample this: Dharma productions, the production house of Karan Johar is coming with stuff like: Agneepath's remake, I Hate Love Stories (a trashy remix of its own cliched rom-com movies), Dostana 2 ( a sequel to an already dim-witted original), We are Family (remake of Stepmom), Cootchi Cootchi Hota Hai (animation remake of their earlier hit Kuch Kuch Hota hai) - now take that: how many times did you read the word 'remake'.
Can anyone get more original than this? Are you done with your stories? If you do not have the ability to tell a story, please dont keep making movies, just because you have a production house to run and some fashion designer's nephew and some heroine's brother waiting/wanting to test their directorial skills.
Same goes for priya Aditya Chopra sir, the other day I was watching DDLJ on Set Max and it made me think, what a genius of man to have made this movie. It's like The godfather of bollywood, the one that set trends for the decade and more...for movies to come. Its almost like cause of that one film - bollywood survived the next decade; by making its remakes and adaptations and other loosely-inspired to the blatantly copying forms. The problem that happened later is that people even started loosing respect for DDLJ which was a genuinely made great film. But look at this year: your titles suggest that could you have lost the plot?: 'Lafangey Parindey, Badmaash Company: hangovers of a Kaminey. 'Yaar tum logon se nahi hota toh rehne do na'

Now lets come back to the topic: Abhinav Singh Kashyap, the man on the fringes of bollywood comes up with this absolutely winning formula called Dabangg. If someone has seen Spike Jonze's brilliant film Adaptation with Nicholas Cage in double role then thats whats happening in the case of the Kashyap Duo. The brainy Charlie Kauffman like screenwriter is making movies that are completely anti-bollywood (but within the realm of bollywood) and his twin brother Donald Kauffman in this case Abhinav Singh Kashyap comes up with this stylized trashy potbolier and with all the winning collections at the box office. Anurag Kashyap tweets that Dabangg's first 2 days of collection is equal to the collection of all his movies combined till date. Take that: The curry western music in background, the guitars free flowing and from the sunset comes a silhouetteish figure of Abhinav Kashyap and stands tall, takes out his gun and clicks the trigger and we hear the gun shots ring in the air! dhiskiyaaon! Of course Donald Kauffman is a result of imagination but its come true in the case of these two Kashyap brothers.

Essentially what makes Dabangg special is the way it remains true to the nature of bollywood: The audience goes inside the dark hall not to feel cheated but to get entertained. And entertain toh bahut kiya Dabanng ne! Its a movie that people in Mumbai will tell you: 'It has to be seen inside a Chandan or a Gaiety/Galaxy to know its true value. I went to Chandan, Juhu - one of the last 'action heroes' cinema hall left in suburban Mumbai.
Chandan cinema is the pulse of a nation like us, stuck between development and its third world nature. The seats in Chandan are all plush, it gets all the big movies on day 1 and yet when it comes to the crowd and ticket-price: Iska dil abhi bhi hindustani hai. Salman Khan's entry into the movie gets such a huge roar that it would have been wonderful if the screen would have frozen for a good 20 seconds and the camera could revolve inside a theatre doing a bullet-point photography and get the slow motion reactions of the people in frenzy. Popcorns being thrown in the air, whistles, catcalls, cheering, jeering - all happening in slow motion -As all of this was happening around us, for a moment I thought: 'Hey we are back to the wonderful days of Housefull boards, the madness and the magic of cinema. You go to a cinema to sit with a thousand people and watch the movie, together. The multiplex movies have not given us those moments.

If you gauge the situation of the previous two Super Hit movies then the secret of their winning formula remains: the content has to be re-hashed from bollywood's own repository of revenge stories, but the stylized packaging has to be unique to get the product moving inside the market. 'Once upon a time in Mumbai' was exactly that. Ajay Devgan's character was very well written and so were his dialogues. You can read them here. But Dabangg didnt have many such dialogues, but it had Salman Khan coming on a Eid Mubarak day. 'Dialogue se yaad aaya...' The writer is back in bollywood, so what if right now 'clever dialogues' are the need of the hour. But great writing is being paid off. And great writing while being honest to the cliched content of the movie. Don't try to be too clever, else the audience will reject you. Be clever in the realm of the content-of their context. Just take this case in point: Mr. Stephen Chow. highly highly creative films packaged with amazingly stylized content. That brings me to one more secret formula that we have (and Mr. Chow doesn't have). Songs! We love our songs: 'Tere Mast Mast do nain" led to amazing lunacy levels inside Chandan talkies. The crowd was whistling in rhythm of the song! And when Mr. Chulbul Pandey came on the terrace top in Munni Badnaam hui, it was chaotic rhetoric, I thought the theatre would break into a happy joyous riot-like situation.

So the conclusion remains: Watch Dabangg inside a single screen cinema hall and you will know where these mind-boggling figures of opening collections come from. Inorbit multiplex ki Rs. 280/- ki ticket mei woh power kahaan jo Rs. 60 ki ticket ko Rs. 200/- ko black mei bechne se hai...

p.s: Once the junta is done with this Dabangg mania there is a very interesting film coming up at a theatre near you. please dont miss it. For Real by Sona Jain. I will be writing more about the film. but for now here's the theatrical trailer of a very very fine and sensitive film.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta