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Actors Who Took Us By Surprise in 2021

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There are the ones whom we expect to shine in everything they do. And  they still managed to stun us  this year. Then there are  those who  struck us  out of the  blue  . A  look at the  Mr & Ms Marvels who went beyond expectations. During the 2021.

  1. Konkona Sen Sharma In  Geeli Puchchi :  This  is  a miniature masterpiece with a central performance that is hard to  put aside. Playing a  Dalit lesbian Konkona’s performance  adroitly  avoids  over-burdening  the character’s personality. Among this  segment  from  Netflix’s Ajeeb Daastans  many prominent virtues try this:  Abha’s  husband is  no cad  providing an alibi for her  meandering heart. He is a caring man who even cooks  for her. As she  confides guiltily in her new friend Bharti Mandal, “Shiv bachche ki soch raha hai aur main ussey pyar bhi nahin karti.” Having someone love you is not reason enough to love  that  person back. Geeli Puchchi is filled  with an aching  passion and  a bridled wisdom. Director Neeraj  Ghaywan has the ever-reliable Konkona Sen Sharma giving a magnificently layered performance as a Dalit, working woman in a factory whose  job and respectability  are threatened when a prettier,upper-caste  fair skinned all-feminine woman Abha(Aditi Rao)  joins in. The  unlikely friendship between the two women never reaches  where we think it would. Ghaywan and his writers are constantly ahead of the audience , creating  a  kind of playful yet sinister and tragic dynamic between the two women from completely  diverse  backgrounds. Just when we think we have their  relationship figured out , the narrative does a  somersault which  refuses to make the Dalit woman Bharati Mandal  a martyr .Why should the underdog always remain buried  under the  heap of  broken dreams? Geeli Puchchi(wet kisses) is  so  heads and shoulders above  the other three segments  that it seems like the centerpiece of the anthology(which it is) with  the rest as serving as space fillers.  Neeraj Ghaywan whose  only feature film Masaan so far is  a class act on socio-economic discrimination, goes deep into the theme in just over 30  minutes  of playing time.
  2. Entire  Unrehearsed  Cast  Of  Amazon Prime’s  Cinema Bandi After I  finished  smiling and sobbing over this amazing  work of  pure  genius, I wanted  to  ask debutante  director  Praveen Kandregula.. Tumne filmmaking kahan se  ‘Sica’? Indeed there is  the artless charm  of Vittorio de Sica’s  Bicycle  Thieves  in the  way the characters seem unaware of  the world outside their  modest means. Look at Cinema Bandi as a long (really loooong)  delayed sequel to Bicycle Thieves, as far away from  it original habitat as humanly possible, from Italy to  idlee, so to speak.This is debutant director Praveen Kandregula’s  ‘Camera Thieves’ , the  quasi-sequel to  Bicycle Thieves.As  far as  simple, lucid, warm,funny,  tender and gentle as  screenplays go, this one is  just what the Covid doctors prescribed. It  will induce all the aforementioned  feelings in you,  and then some more. More than  Vittorio de Sica, this is   the world of R K Narayan’s Malgudi Days where  every  one  of every age is inured am  frozen  in infinite  innocence.  There is  not a mean bone  in  any inhabitant  of the  soporific village of   Gollopalli, not even that tall long-haired  guy who tries initially  to be mean and scheming with our  camera-stealing  heroes who want to make their own film. But meanness is  not  in  the  DNA of this  wonderful ode of  innocence. So  let me introduce you  to Veera and Gana,  honest righteous hardworking  auto-driver and a photographer in a village where  the  most interesting  meeting point is a run-down kerchief-sized  barbar’s shop run by a pasty-faced young man who wants to be Mahesh Babu(played by Rag Mayur)  . He has already christened  himself  Maridesh Babu. And he is Veera and Gana’s  leading man.Heroine is  a bit problematic. Veera and Gana  first settle on  a young school girl Divya(Trishara)   . But she lets them  down our burgeoning filmmakers in ways that I don’t want to reveal. She is replaced midway by a feisty vegetable-seller Manga played by  Uma Yaluvalli Gopalappa in  a role that any right-thinking actress(that eliminates nearly everyone in Bollywood) would give  her left arm to  play.Manga is  so entertaining  there could be a  film just about her.Or about the auto-driver Veera’s quietly supportive  wife(played  by Sirivennela Yanamandhala), At first she baulks at her husband’s wild  scheme to use  a sophisticated camera  left behind in his auto , to make  a film. Gradually she supports him, unconditionally, wordlessly.Nearly every  character, big or small, changes by the end  of the film. So do we  the audience. When was the time we saw a film so stripped  of artifice and  posturing, so  simple heartfelt and  disarming?  The writing is sharp and  clear,  the  direction by  the debut Praveen Kandregula makes no  detours into  humbug .The narrative  cares deeply for these  unassuming diligent characters.Stripped  of  fakery Cinema Bandi is a back-to-basics  film that will steal your heart and then melt it. It is  a unique experience  so charming and  personable, you want these people to come back in your lives again. A word about the performances—every newcomer from the two leads(Vikas Vasishta  and  Sandeep Varanasi) to the  little   curly haired  boy Basha(Ram Charan)  who teaches our amateur  filmmaker  a thing or two about continuity, is  a superstar. Take a bow, team Cinema Bandi. Hope to see  you very soon again.
  3. Guru  Somasunderam  in  Minnal  Murali : A  star is  virtually born in  front of our eyes. Rightaway let’s salute  the super-acting powers  of  the two humble super-heroes who helm this engaging fable  of  the  caped scaled-down crusaders. Tovino Thomas is  the  rising star  of Malayalam cinema. See him as  the confused reluctant endearing  super-hero, and you’ll  know  why. However  it is Guru Somasundaram whose  emotional responses  to his character’s newly-acquired powers that anchor  the plot, and  irrigate  its irrational hurl into an odd and uncharted  orbit. Somasundaram’s look of  gratitude and vindication when the woman he has loved all his life accepts his love, is a textbook illustration  of emotive empowerment. It’s a joyride  from the first to the last, powered  by a sense  of   logistic fantasy—if that makes any sense—whereby the  obvious absurdities  of  a flying crusader are  melted down to a ground-level   intrepidity born more of necessity than  vanity.
  4. Sundeep Kishan  in Kasada Thapara  : You  have seen him play the archetypal hero in  Telugu potboilers. Now see  him act. Sundeep Kishan,the only star in the  actors’ ensemble giving a measured powerful performance as a low-caste(probably Dalit) man who has risen to the ranks of  a police officer  and must now pay  a heavy price to his benefactor. Kishan’s is by far  the most complex character of the anthology. Some  stories in  Kasada Thapara,like the  one  featuring Sundeep Kishan, seem to deserve  a full-length feature treatment.
  5. Vaisshnav Tej in Konda Polam This is  one of the most accomplished Man versus  Nature  films I’ve seen in recent times with  a stand-out performance  by Vaisshnav Tej.After seeing him in Uppena  I suspected  that this is an actor whose eyes speak louder than words. Now I am sure. Vaisshnav Tej occupies centrestage in this Telugu film  as  a young man torn between his traditional  heritage  and  worldly  ambitions. Vaisshnav Tej belongs to an illustrious family of  actors. Pawan Kalyan and Chiranjeevi  are his Mama(maternal uncle).And  his elder brother  Sai Dharam  Tej is  also a popular actor in Telugu cinema.But that  doesn’t mean  he  automatically wanted  to be an actor. Far from   it. During his  younger days he  toyed  with many career options , but never acting. After  the success  of Uppena he  had to make  sure people  didn’t  think of him as a fluke . They don’t. Not after Konda Polam.
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Bhupinder Singh The Popular Voice That Drawing Room Singers Were Drawn To

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Bhupinder Singh

Whenever one thinks of the booming pain-lashed  voice of Bhupinder Singh  one thinks  of Gulzar  and  Khayyam, not always together, although once,  in a Rajesh Khanna-Shabana Azmi starrer Thodisi Bewafaai, Bhupinder ,Gulzar and  Khayyam did come together  for an underrated  haunting melody Aaj bichde hain kal ka darr bhi nahin zindagi itni mukhtsar bhi hain hai.Today’s parting doesn’t bother  you about  tomorrow…life isn’t that short.

Indeed, life was  not short  for Bhupinder. He  lived a long satisfying life  in a world of music. He  died there as well.He sang some  of  the most beautiful film songs in  recent memory, many of them in Gulzar’s  films.

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 I know . You are thinking about Beeti na bitayee raina  in Gulzar’s Parichay and Naam ghum  jayega  in Kinara. In all fairness, these were  not Bhupinder’s songs although he  did sing in them. There were Lata Mangeshkar’s songs.For vintage  Bhupinder in  Gulzar’s cinema please turn to Koi nahin hai kahin  in Kinara. It is  a  heartstopping R D Burman  composition where Bhupinder creates  a momentous  mood  of isolation desolation and despair.

  1. D Burman and  Bhupinder were  bonded  for life. Bhupinder  played the guitar in some of RD’s most celebrated  compositions  including  Kishore Kumar’s Chingari  koi bhadkein  Amar  Prem.

Bhupinder’s  voice, like Mukesh’s, was the one that drawingroom  singers were drawn to. He didn’t always sing in  tune.  But he  never failed to sing from the heart.I remember asking  Gulzar why he insisted  on Bhupinder’s voice for some of  the greatest songs  in his cinema when  there was  Kishore Kumar  to do the needful.

Gulzar Saab had given me a  shrivelling  look. “Beta,tum nahin  samjhoge. It’s  not always  about  getting the  sur right.  The emotions  underlining the song are far more important than technical correctness  in the rendition. In  my Mausam  only  Bhupinder could have sung  Dil dhunta hai phir wohi phursat ke raat din . In Kinara Kishore had Jaane kya sochkar nahin guzra. But for Koi nahin hai kahi it had  to be Bhupinder ,and Bhupinder only.”

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I remember asking  Bappi Lahiri why he  chose Bhupinder  for Saiyyan  bina ghar soona  in the film Aangan Ki Kali and Kissi nazar  ko tera intezaar aaj bhi hai  in Aitbaar.

Bappi’s reply was revealing:  “These  two  compositions had  a very strong classical base. I needed  a male  voice to match Lataji and Ashaji’s  proficiency with Hindustani classical music.”

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Among the great music composers  of Hindi cinema  , the  mighty Khayyam  was  the one to  repose the optimum faith in Bhupinder’s unique baritone. The  singer sang some of his  most memorable songs for  Khayyam beginning with the  little-known solo Rut jawan jawan in  1966 Khayyam enlisted  Bhupinder’s  vocal  skills  for songs  like Karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi in  Bazar and Kabhi kissiki muqammal jahan nahin milta  in Ahista Ahista.In  Muzaffar Ali’s Anjuman  , Khayyam  brought together the  Bhupinder and Shabana Azmi for  the rare duet Gulab jism ka  yuhin nahin khila  hoga.

Shabana  recalls   the experience with  happiness. “I  was  so besura. Bhupinder Singh was such an accomplished  singer. He patiently waited  for me to get it right.”

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While  his film songs often got eclipsed in the background  score—and Bhupinder  himself admitted  to me  that he was  not the hero’s voice—he was right up there on stage with his wife Mitali Mukherjee belting out  one successful Ghazal after  another, the  most famous  among them being Shama jalaye rakhna  jab  tak ki main na aaoon

I met  Bhupinder  only once. He was  recording a song for Vishal Bhardwaj.  Gulzar  was also there. He  introduced  me  to Bhupinder . When  I told him how much I liked  his duet with Lataji  Thodisi zameen thoda aasman  from the  film Sitara Bhupinder in all humility  replied, “Oh, but that  song  is special because of the little  nuances that Lataji brought  into it.”

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 In a world filled with self-glorification Bhupinder liked to  just do his work and move on.He  never looked back. There  was always the  next song.

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“Shah Rukh Khan Is A True Pathan”  Kamal Haasan

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Shah Rukh Khan

When   Shah Rukh Khan turned 50  the Tamilian maverick actor Kamal Haasan paid  the actor who played a Pathan free of fee for Kamal in Hey Ram, lavish compliments for his qualities of humility practicality and apolitical astuteness.

Said  Kamal Haasan, “Probably Shah Rukh knew where he was headed.  Probably he did not know where he’d end up on the ladder but was willing to climb till he could no more. With that mindset humility is something you had to train on right from the word go.  Shah Rukh first practiced on a quality that most successful people try  to practice when it is too late. Early trainers like him require  least humility lessons at the top  Late trainers learn the hard way.  Humility is taught through humiliating lessons.”

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Kamal  was all praise for Shah Rukh’s powers of apolitical articulation. “Shah Rukh spoke the best part of his mind for all to hear and the worst part he digested like food and the world never saw it. No,that does not make him a politician.”

Kamal Haasan  is extremely fond of Shah Rukh. They go back a  long way to the time when 12 years ago, Shah Rukh agreed to do an extended cameo in Kamal  Haasan’s Hey Ram .Kamal Haasan who played the role of the cop on the lookout for a serial killer in the Tamil hit Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,   expressed a keen interest in Shah Rukh playing the role in the film’s Hindi version.  When Gautham Menon, who understandably respects Kamalji opinion, asked the thespian who should play his role in the Hindi remake, Kamal promptly gave Shah Rukh’s name.

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Kamal Haasan and Shah Rukh share a mutual admiration society from the time they worked together in Hey Ram  in 2000. Shah Rukh had refused to charge any money for the film claiming that the honour of working with the great Kamal Haasan was reward enough.

Says Kamal Haasan appreciatively, “Shah Rukh is a true Pathan. A man of his words. I owe him a big favour.”

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For a party in Chennai to celebrate Kamal Haasan’s career in 2013 Shah Rukh not only flew down  he danced drenched in sweat from head to toe.

 Recalled Kamal Haasan, “He danced wonderfully on stage and it looked like he had come out of the bath and forgotten to dry.”

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The air conditioning at the posh luxury hotel had conked off leaving SRK swathed in sweat.

Says Kamal, “It was every celebrity-bash’s worst nightmare come true. The air conditioning at the hotel broke down. We were all left seething and simmering in the heat, helpless, angry and bitter. Shah Rukh was fully and formally dressed in a suit for the occasion. His condition in the heat was indescribable. But look at this entertainer! He pulled off his coat, jumped on to the stage and danced, although he dripped sweat like he had just had a bath.”

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Shah Rukh, we are told, was pretty much completely drained out and on the verge of dehydration after his sweat-soaked performance. “But he didn’t care. At that moment he forgot all his discomfort. It was just Shah Rukh Saab (that’s how Kamal Haasan addresses his junior colleague) and the stage. He is a natural-born entertainer,” says Kamal Haasan.

 Says Kamal emotionally, “Shah Rukh is an artiste at heart and I wish my younger brother stays that way. I wish that success like it always has will sit very lightly on his shoulder. Wishing more success to him will induce only emotional sniffles but then that might be only from his detractors .Old friends like me never tire of his success. More to you, Brother, more of all that you love in life”

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Abhishek Bachchan’s Must-Watch Films

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Abhishek Bachchan

Happy Birthday …Abhishek  Bachchan’s  Must-Watch Films

  1. Naach(2004):  Naach in fact carries the Abhimaan theme forward. On a simplistic level we can take heart in Abhishek doing an overdriven version of his dad’s compromised and jealous musician’s part in Abhimaan.But the dynamics are far more intricate in Naach. The protagonists are no longer driven apart by their ego. They are victims of a well-oiled machine of power and passion that inflicts a certain self-annihilating rejection of a standard code of morality on their lives.When we first see Rewa she’s sitting at the roadside impervious of passing traffic. As the music in her head plays a pounding invitation (remember Urmila Matondkar’s opening song in “Rangeela”?) she jumps to her feet and performs an enigmatic seductive and yet personal dance that has no definition.Antara Mali’s Rewa dances to an indeterminate rhythm that goes well with the film’s restless unanchored hitherto-unexplored man-woman axis. The camerawork by newcomer Kiran Reddy is so anguished and passionate you begin to see the characters as dancers caught in a dance of self-destruction.Varma catches them to stop them from falling to the ground. Abhi’s love for Rewa is redeemed, though personally I’m not convinced by the happy ending to their turbulent and short-fused relationship.If she refuses to be compromised by the murkiness of showbiz, he sees assimilation and surrender as the means to further his career as an actor. If initially she’s a choreographer who has never choreographed a dance, he grins and says,  “I’m an actor who hasn’t acted”.As you share their mutual sneers, you get ensnared into their world of heavy-traffic ambitions. The sounds and fumes of Mumbai’s roads qualify the Rewa-Abhi relationship as much as Reddy’s poetic cinematography which captures Abhishek and Antara in the most aesthetic kiss I’ve ever seen on an Indian film.The relationship grows with an animal passion and then gets stymied as Abhi’s ambitions carry him away from Rewa.It’s the first half where their relationship grows that holds you. Small details from the couple’s lives and their intense focus on dance crowd the canvas without toppling over the narrative.The second half about the couple’s ‘groaning’ disenchantment is laden with angry dance numbers where Abhishek’s grimace and growl are offset by Riteish Deshmukh’s gentle attentions towards Antara. In the film’s less weighty moments there’s a touch of Varma’s Rangeela.Naach is perhaps what Rangeela couldn’t be. An anxious and passionate look at the compromises that showbiz demands from the wannabes.There are only two principal characters and some well-etched passers by providing a beguiling backdrop to the tale. Both Abhishek and Antara perform their parts with a conviction that comes straight from the most unexplored areas of their talent.Naach escapes the blind alleys that Hindi cinema chooses to wander in.Naach is Varma’s most personalized and sensitive film ever. In it he creates an untried synthesis of realism within the morally suffocating world of showbiz and a freewheeling fantasy where both the struggling protagonists find success on their own terms.
  2. Yuva(2004): Abhishek Bachchan blossomed into a formidably engaging actor .Yuva is that rarity which can be watched both as an entertainer and a vehicle for projecting socio-political ideas.The easiest thing in the world is to sneer at someone who attempts to be unconventional through conventional routes. In that sense, Mani Ratnam and Michael Mukherjee, his protagonist in his latest film, share the same predicament.A riveting blend of social message and entertainment is what sets Yuva apart. Like Ratnam’s first Hindi film Dil Se, Yuva is an extremely restless film about young characters who are on the lookout for a relevance to their existence.While Michael wants to use student power to change the festering fortunes of Indian politics, the loutish Lallan (Abhishek Bachchan) just wants a decent life for his wife Shashi (Rani Mukherjee) and himself, and never mind if it’s through indecent means. You can almost read between the lines that Ratnam crosses from one protagonist’s life into another. The effect is of sea waves lapping against the shore and receding to leave behind tempting tides of significance.The three-tiered plot creates a sense of lyricism in the plot. Every character fits in the Kolkata milieu without stretching in the larger picture. Yet the existence of the binding cosmic force that keeps watch on Ratnam’s world and the world beyond his creation, looms large over the narrative.The gangster Lallan and his volatile blow-hot, blow-cold relationship with his wife Shashi echoes Manoj Bajpai and Shefali Chhaya’s rapport in Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya.But beyond that echo of familiarity is an aching originality in every frame, nurturing the characters through a remarkable process of self-discovery.Unlike Dil Se, whose narrative couldn’t really hold the audiences, Yuva keeps us glued to the goings-on till the very end, not because it tells a remarkably original story but because the characters come alive here as complete people, full of little gestures and understated personality traits that we may miss at first.Yuva is like a visit to a strange and warm tropical island. At first the sights and sounds may appear too familiar for excitement. But every shrub and every rock hides a new experience.It’s that subterranean experience that Yuva brings to the surface.Ratnam goes from one level of characterisation to another, weaving in and out of three lives without creating an autonomous self-contained world for each protagonist. The men who tower over the plot are also the tools in the hands of destiny.
  3. Sarkar(2004):  What makes this film the most special achievement of Varma’s career? It’s the father-son combination of Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, furnishing Varma’s ebony vision of the world gone awry with a kind of blazing and bridled intensity that one last saw when Dilip Kumar and Amitabh played father and son in Ramesh Sippy’s Shakti.Sarkar is a far more complex jigsaw of patriarchal intensity, filial crises and familial obligations. Its ethical complexities go far beyond politics and cinema to embrace a kind of multi-dimensional secularism where religion is not about gods but definitions of goodness.Who’s the real villain? The people who rape society, or the ones who check crime and corruption by means that are extra-constitutional? The socio-political issue becomes more tangled in the light of the septic corruption that has crept into the governmental structure.Into this world comes Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief. Thackeray’s name is changed to Subhash Nagare in the film. But the power and the socio-political positioning of the man remains unaltered in the movie version of his life.No other actor in the universe could’ve played Thackeray’s screen version, or done the astonishing things that Bachchan has done to the character. Bachchan plays Nagare, the frail and yet all-powerful man.Marlon Brando’s The Godfather act provides a prototypical starting point for Subhash Nagare, one of the most entrancing heroes ever in Indian cinema.Varma brings out the protagonist’s power and glory through a demeanour that never screams for attention. Little gestures and nuances, agreeable and yet sinister, swathe the screen in a splendid arc of life and vitality.Abhishek as Shankar, the quietly faithful, duty-bound younger son destined to take up the strange family business — a role that has its roots in Al Pacino’s character in The Godfather — is in-sync with his character and the senior Bachchan’s prismatic persona.Abhishek’s delicately balanced facial expressions, his projection of the character’s fierce unquestioning loyalty towards his father’s politics, is done with such rare care and sensitivity that you cease to look at the actor.
  4. Antar Mahal (2005): Abhishek Bachchan uses his eyes and inward-drawn body language to create a socio-economically oppressed prototype. He almost seems like a distant kin of Om Puri in Satyajit Ray’s Sadgati. With less than 20 minutes of screen space, Abhishek’s eyes pierce a hole in the narrative’s sepulchral vision.In the bowels of feudalism there cries a female heart… The deep anguish of desolation has never created a more piercing and indelible dent in our soul. The refined, evenly defined resonance of Ghosh’s new Bengali work of art leaves behind the awkward rhythms of his last film in Hindi Raincoat.In Antar Mahal, he gets it right. The astonishing grace with which the director steals Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay’s skimpy short-story and turns it into a scintillating study of feudal and patriarchal oppression immediately links this work to some of the greatest literary adaptations from Bengal.The lonely wife Madhabi Mukherjee in Ray’s five-decade old film was more flirty. Soha Ali Khan as the child-bride, who is smothered in ritualistic subjugation in the inner chambers of a feudal household, is far more tender, fragile, vulnerable and heartbreaking. Images of her peeping anxiously and forlornly from behind filigreed curtains just sweep your heart away.Soha resembles the child-bride in Ray’s Devi — with a difference. Ray could’ve never imagined going into the graphic scenes of sexual subjugation. He was too much of a puritan to project sex in anything but silhouette.Ghosh brings feminine oppression out of the closet. In resplendently lit scenes of poetic languor (cinematographer Abhik Sen creates a lilting and magical play of light and shade), director Ghosh conjures images of unbearable pain and torture, as the heir-hungry decadent zamindar (Jackie Shroff, aptly cast) heaves and thrusts into his child-wife while the lascivious priest chants ritualistically to plead to the gods of procreation.The contrast between love and sex, male oppression and tender ministration is brought into the frames with teasing sensitivity when the Bihari sculptor Brij (Abhishek Bachchan) arrives in the sepulchral mansion to create a ripple effect in the lives of the brutish zamindar’s two wives, the doddering and crumbling elder bahu (Roopa Ganguly) and the sweet and heartbreaking younger wife (Soha).You can’t forget Roopa’s look of erotic longing as the Bihari sculptor shivers in his sleep in the outer courtyard. You cannot forget the bonding between the two wives, deeply but diametrically reminiscent of Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das’s camaraderie of desolation in Deepa Mehta’s Fire.But Ghosh doesn’t dwell on the bonding. He sweeps across the burning ghats of emotional desecration, entering the enchanting embers of simmering discontent only long enough to sweep us into the vortex of these demoniacal emotions. We are then pushed out of the inner chambers like unwanted guests.But the hospitality while it lasts, is overpowering. This is a film that invites you into fascinating folds of emotions, creating pockets of intangible feelings for us to savour… and live with forever.The doomed characters wrench us out of our habitual repose to evaluate the space and sound of cinema in a novel light.Though Ghosh’s film is exceptionally literate and articulate, it doesn’t do away with that cinematic quality of emotions which make the characters seem to be simultaneously sublime and obtainable. The anguish of the women is handled with a graceful delicacy unequalled in the work of any other Indian director. You cannot forget Roopa Ganguly and Soha Ali Khan’s collective desolation, or their shared unexpressed passion for the soft and kind sculptor, or the way they handle the suffocating brutality of their household.
  5. Manmarziyan(2018):  While Tapsee and Vicky give to their robust parts, it is Abhishek Bachchan, whose quiet character creates a space in the heart of the plot and lodges itself in the library of the luminous by respecting the character’s need to remain noble without seeming over-sweetened or simply stupid.Manmarziyan takes the traditional love triangle to a new level of expression, articulating an idiom that cannot entirely avoid tedium. After Rumi marries Robbie the narrative runs out of steam. There are repetitive scenes in the second-half which could do with some serious pruning. In spite of its flawed flow due to its extended length Manmarziyan is a winsome romantic tale which dares to ask a very basic question from diehard romantics: love is all very well, but what else? Imagine if Mani Ratnam had sex in his mind for Moun Ragam. Yes, the same story that Sanjay Leela Bhansali made into Hum… Dil Chuke Sanam about a marriage of inconvenience where the kind patient husband desists from consummating the marriage until the wife comes out of her earlier relationship.Imagine if the wife can’t come out of her stuporous obsession with her first love because, hell, the sex with Vicky (Kaushal) is toooooo good.The girlfriend-wife is played by Tapsee Pannu who seems to get more confident with every film. Her Rumi is no walkover for sure. Nor is it someone you would want as your wife, or your son’s wife or even as son’s friend’s wife. She is an unabashed epicurean… and the fact that Tapsee can play this super-annoying selfish woman without making us cringe is in equal measures a triumph of writing (Kannika Dhillon) and performing.Take the sequence where Tapsee’s Rumi rides a mo’bike to her future husband’s home and tells him, sorry, she can’t marry him. But hey, she can talk to him on Facebook. And she rides off.Outrageously self absorbed Taapsee plays Kangana’s smalltown harridan from Tanu Weds Manu multiplied by 10. She is vixenish yet spontaneous, arrogant in her selfishness and yet not unlikeable. Tapsee brings out all the contradictions in her character. She spares us none of Rumi’s churlishness. By the time she heads to Kashmir for her honeymoon with her husband on the rebound, I was hoping someone would slap this unapologetic self-server hard.Fate does that. The trouble with a pleasure-seeker like Rumi is, she is given a lot of leeway by the people around her. Her Punjabi joint family consternation at her sickeningly self-gratifying behaviour with Vicky comes through in spurts of hurt and indignation.Not that Rumi cares. She is arguably the most annoyingly self absorbed romantic heroine seen on screen. Vicky Kaushal as her cheesy DJ lover has worked hard on looking his part. The hair and the clothes and the body language exude a sense of selflimiting rebellion. It is never very clear whether the passion between Vicky and Rumi is all about sex, or something more.
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Nawazuddin’s Dream  House Turns Into A Nightmare

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Nawazuddin

Brick by brick, Nawazuddin  Siddiqui  constructed his own Taj Mahal in Mumbai. Gleaming white  and  custom-built, Nawaz  is rightfully house proud. Nawaab, Nawaz’s home named after his father, has  six  bedroom  , two large  halls, two spacious  lawns .On the first floor Nawaz has a large space to grow trees. Nawaz loves greenery. He want my home in Mumbai to  remind me  of  my home in my  village .

His voice  beaming with  pride and joy, Nawaz said, “I had  an exact map  of  every inch of my  dream  house in my head, and I would not compromise  on even an  inch of that  vision. If during my absence something  was built wrongly I  came back and  broke it. There have been many demolished walls before the  house happened.I wanted every inch of the house to be the way I had designed  it in my mind.I must thank my  brother who helped me  a lot ;during my  absence he supervised the construction.”

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When  I  had mentioned  that people were comparing his home  Nawaab  with Shah Rukh Khan’s Mannat  Nawaz demurred, “There is  no  need to compare the two. That is his dream home.  This is mine. Sabke sapne alag alag hote hain(to each his  own dream).I’d like  you to come to see my home.It is on Yari Road in Andheri.”

And now the same home has turned  into  a veritable  horror castle where his wife  is fighting an ugly  property battle with Nawaz’s  mother .

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The wife  Aaliya who has apparently been locked out of  the bedrooms  and  other private areas in the sprawling palace allegedly by Nawaz’s mother , has  made the livingroom sofas  the  temporary(?)  home for herself  and her children.

Nawaz’s home Nawaab is swarming with cops and lawyers while he is  nowhere to be traced, and rightly so. Whatever Nawaz  says at the moment will be  held against him. Whichever side he chooses he will be seen as a traiter  and a man who won’t own up to his  responsibilities.

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So where is  Nawaz? According to friends, he  has moved   into a  hotel  for now. There he has remain until his lawyers  sort  out the mess  at his home.

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