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14 Years Of Saawariya, The Film That Is Closest To Bhansali’s Heart

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Being a close friend  of  Sanjay Bhansali I was never closer to any of his films than Saawariya. I spent many evenings  with  his two  protégés  Ranbir Kapoor and  Sonam Kapoor  and also watched them  shoot the  film.

It  was  a revelation. I could see Ranbir was  born for the camera. He was  also  great fun to be with, mimicking everyone from Shah Rukh to Hrithik Roshan. When the camera came on he was transformed like Geeta Bali,  Sridevi  and his own father  Rishi Kapoor(though I still think the senior Kapoor  to be  a better actor). And when  Ranbir danced, he  conveyed such joy such a state  of liberation.It was like watching a  male version  if Waheeda Rehman  doing Aaj phir jeene ki tammanah hai.

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Sonam, I am afraid, was  not  that easy to direct. In fact she took  a lot more time to get into the  groove than Ranbir. I remember  one day while shooting the  song  Hamari jaan ho tum, Ranbir got the steps right  in one take. Sonam  just couldn’t get it  right. The entire day passed.  I could see Sanjay  getting more and  more disturbed as the  clock  ticked away.

 There came  a time when one day  during the shooting in Karjat,  Sanjay decided to  relieve Sonam  from the  film. It took all of my persuasive powers  and  that of Sanjay’s sister Bela to dissuade  Sanjay from the disastrous move. Of course all was  well  eventually and Sonam  went on to become  a dependable  actress in Neerja and other  films.

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Saawariya was  not destined for immediate success. Its operatic  movement, and its blue-shaded romance  took  a  long while to  register with the audience. I remember my dear much-missed friend Rituparno Ghosh and I embroiled  in heated  debates over the film. He hated it the first time. He  loved  it the second time. And was gracious enough to call me and apologize. Every one  who bitched  about the  film should apologize.  Saawariya was  to Sanjay Leela  Bhansali’s career what Mera Naam Joker and  Kaagaz Ke Phool were  to Raj Kapoor and  Guru Dutt.

 The  premiere night itself  was  a disaster.  The hero’s father Rishi Kapoor didn’t like  the film and he didn’t hide the fact that he  didn’t. A  leading filmmaker known for his glamorous  profile  and elitist coterie  of groupies was frantically sending  text messages  to all his friends with two words—Shit Film— in a row next to where  I was  sitting. Elsewhere Kangana Ranaut was angry with me  for reasons I  can’t recall.

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 The  next morning when Saawariya released everyone associated with the  film had disappeared  from Sanjay’s life. The next few days  were  the  most  painful time  of  the director’s life. How painful? Ask any successful  director when he delivers an unexpected  flop. Today  Saawariya is  regarded as a  cult film.  I don’t think Ranbir Kapoor  could ever match the  artless ebullience  of  that  performance.  You see,  back then he didn’t know he  was  so good.

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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