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Pankaj Kapoor’s 5 Finest Movies

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My favourite  film critic Roger Ebert wrote this   about one  of  American cinema’s luminaries: “The Japanese name some of their artists Living Treasures. Sidney Lumet is one of ours. He has made more great pictures than most directors have made pictures, and found time to make some clunkers on the side.”  Pankaj  Kapoor too has made many mistakes, like  Raam Jaane  and Matru Ke Bijli  Ka Mandola(no relation to Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety). And his  stab at direction in Mausam  was  an unmitigated  creative  and  commercial disaster.But when Pankaj is  brilliant he is  incomparable. Try for these  for sighs.

1.     Ek Doctor Ki Maut(1990): Be warned: Pankaj Kapoor(PK)’s  finest  performance as  a brilliant doctor struggling against red-tapism and  cynicism is contained in a dreadfully boring  film. It takes  herculean  skills to make  such an interesting story  so dull and lifeless.  But Bengali  director Tapan Sinha  managed  the  miracle. Directors  should not make films in a language they don’t understand. Tapan Sinha’s Hindi films Zindagi Zindagi and Ek Doctor Ki Maut  are proof it. This one survived solely on  the  basis of PK’s National award winning performance. As  Dr  Dipankar Roy, the actor imparted a life  so  lived  into the character  it felt like  a documentary.Shabana  Azmi as his supportive wife was  also  excellent.  Decades  later the pair came together in Vishal  Bhardawaj’s awful Matru Ke Bijli Ka Mandola to remind us of  how  good they were together  in their earlier  film.At a time when civilization is gripped by a pandemic this gritty story of a doctor  struggling to establish the  genuineness  of his vaccination against leprosy has acquired a  renewed relevance.

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2.     Kamla Ki Maut(1989):  A  woman dies, and the whole neighbourhood goes into an introspective tizzy. This atypical Basu Chatterjee  film was a scathing  exploration  of  middleclass  morality.  PK was  brilliant as a study  of middleclass mores. PK played Sudhakar an over-sexed  whitecollar charlatan who develops a sexual relationship with a string of women, one  of them played  by  Supriya Pathak who later became  PK’s wife. This  is a fearless performance filled with moral suppression and raging  hormones.

3.     Maqbool(2004): Playing Tabu’s aging unforgiving  husband   Pankaj Kapur as  Jahnagir  Khan is a revelation. His expressions of steely revenge melt into displays of utter compassion for his enchanting wife. Kapur corroborates Bollywood’s myopic disregard for its truly outstanding performers. Maqbool transports us to a threshold of pain and redemption hitherto unknown to Hindi cinema. Because this is Shakespeare’s Macbeth trans-located to Mumbai’s underworld, and because Bharadwaj has selected a dream cast to portray his nightmarish world of crime and retribution, Maqbool takes its emotional content to new heights.

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4.     Dharm(2007): Pundit Chaturvedi is  a potbellied, bare-torsoed symbol of religiosity who could easily have become a parody in lesser hands. The debutant director’s penetrating take on  how  grim  is  the grass in  the land of the divine and  the crass, wouldn’t  have worked were it not for Pankaj Kapoor in the central role.  As  the head priest caught in a terrible dilemma  that questions his entire ethos and commitment  to  society and religion, Kapoor ceases to be an actor  once the camera switches on. Let’s stand up and applaud the actor  for this reformist mellow drama. Dharm could’ve been screechy, preachy and jarringly sanctimonious. Instead, it affords us a look into the soul of a wounded civilization thanks  to PK’s  pungent powerful  performance.It is an old fashioned typewritten transcribed screenplay ,reminiscent in many ways of Yash Chopra’s four-decade old “Dharmputra”, written in words that are meant to reach into the remotest corners of the stoniest modern hearts.

5.     Happi(2010):  This  is a film that will go down in history as  India’s only genuine tribute to the genius  of Charlie Chaplin. Doing the homage,never an  impersonation, the  great Pankaj Kapoor immerses himself in the  character  of the capricious  naïve pure-hearted  Happi , a chawl dweller who is the brunt of ridicule in  an  Iranian  club where he  sings and does stand-up comedy to eke   out a living.He is fairly ridiculous. But happy when humoured.The sequences in the smoky  club find  Pankaj Kapoor at the peak of puckishness.That’s where Happi comes alive.As  socio-cultural changes overpower Happi’s life,  he looks around in utter bewilderment at a world he no longer knows. It is a heartbreaking situation to be in.  Pankaj Kapoor  constructs a Chaplineque pathos  in  Mumbai’s bustling chawls where callousness is a way of life. If you can’t cope, you perish. Or  otherwise  you become the Joker.More than a portrait of  a rapidly mutating metropolitan  environment  Happi shows us how cruel  human beings can be to someone  who is not   uncorrupted enough to understand when he is being mocked. The  sequence where  the club gets Happi  drunk and watches him perform a silly dance is  heartbreaking. Pankaj Kapoor’s Happi  is what Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker becomes when left to be annihilated  by his own desolation.

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Why On  Earth Is Sushmita Sen Smoking A Cigar In Aarya’s First  Look?

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Aarya

Season 3  of Aarya is being shot as  you read this, and naturally Sushmita Sen is  super-kicked about it, so kicked that she has put  out a  video where she is seen  in the  best Lady Boss version of herself.

Alarmingly, she is seen puffing away at a  cigar, to  complete her Badass Lady Boss image.

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 There was a  time when women smoking  cigarettes  in Hindi cinema signaled vampishness. If a female actor was  shown smoking it meant she had evil designs  over the  hero, and life in general.

 Sushmita being Sushmita, a cigarette won’t do. A  cigar it is, to go with her formidable image. The last Bollywood actor I saw smoking a cigar  on screen was Premnath in the 1970s. Back then so  many  people didn’t die of cancer  by smoking.

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 These are  different far more dangerous  and deadly times.

Sushmita is an iconic  actor.She  needs to be more careful about the image  she projects . Smoking  a  cigar doesn’t  enhance a woman’s(or a  man’s) muscle power. Nor does it make her look cool.

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About shooting for the third season of Aarya  Sushmita says, “Aarya is synonymous with my name.  I have lived as Aarya for two whole seasons and the love received by the audiences has only encouraged me to do more. Walking on the sets of Aarya Season 3 makes me feel at home and gives me  a sense of empowerment. I’m grateful to the entire team at Disney+ Hotstar, Ram Madhvani Films and Endemol Shine India for the vision of creating Aarya and taking it to newer heights with every season.”

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Shah Rukh, Deepika, John Will Meet The Media  On Monday At 4 pm(But There’s  A Catch)

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Pathaan

Pathaan has effectually discredited the  efficacy  of media interactions to promote  a  film. The  film’s lead actors Shah Rukh  Khan, Deepika Padukone  and John Abraham did not conduct any  press or portal interviews  to  promote the  film.

And  yet Pathaan  is  a blockbuster.

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 This  weekend  the Pathaan producer Aditya  Chopra  of  Yash Raj Films  took a call on behalf  of  the Pathaan team  to do one media  meet at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai  on Monday January 30 at 4 pm.

The  three principal actors  and  director Siddharth Malhotra  will address  the  media.

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 But  here’s the catch: the media will not be allowed to ask any questions. There will be no  Q& A s or  one-on-one  interactions.This  basically means that the  Pathaan  team will  have an opportunity to  say what it wants  to the media. But the  media will have no say.

Make what  you will of this  one-way traffic.

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A  source close  to Yash Raj informs  me that this is  the   pattern  regarding the media that  Yash Raj will follow for  future  releases: no  press meets  no promotional  engagements.

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Fake Projects of Pathaan Director Being Planted In Media

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Pathaan

Siddharth Anand Denies Considering  Any Project With  Deepak Mukut

A  word of caution to those marketing and publicity wizkids  who think  it’s okay to  plant fake stories  on (fake) projects  with the Pathaan director.

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 It is  not.

Such baseless announcements  are meant only to  raise  the equity  of the  producers  with whom Siddharth   Anand’s name is  linked. One  such  producer whose name  has cropped up after the  spectacular success of  Pathaan is  Deepak Mukut.

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There were  reports  everywhere that Siddharth Anand’s next would  be with Mukut.

Turned out to be a false rumour.

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A  source in the  know informs, “Siddharth now has to complete Fighter  starring Hrithik Roshan and  Deepika Padukone  for Yash Raj.Then  he  is   committed to direct the sequel to War 2 for  Yash Raj films.  They will then start  work on the  next film in the Pathaan  franchise. There is no scope  or  room for any outside  projects  for Siddharth Anand. So every announcement  that  you read of a  new film  to be  directed by Siddharth Anand  for an  outside  producer is likely to  be  a hundred  percent fake.”

When I asked Siddharth Anand  about the  supposed project  with  producer Deepak Mukut he promptly replied,  “NOT AT ALL.”

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Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

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Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

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Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

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The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

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