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Shashi Kapoor’s 5 Favourite Leading Ladies Speak On His Birth Anniversary

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Shabana Azmi (Junoon,Fakira, Chor Sipahee, Hira Aur Patthar, Atithee): “I believe the skies opened up and it rained in Mumbai.. as though grieving on behalf of all of us .. his countless fans ,admirers and colleagues…When I last met him in the ICU in hospital I knew I wouldn’t be seeing him again. He was a pale shadow of his  former self .. only the long lashes curled up and thick   remained….He was born to his mother after her child rearing years and she was embarrassed to find herself pregnant. She tried all kinds of herbal concoctions to drop the child but he was determined to be born. Prithviraj Kapoor would say . “ Shashiraj mere naqshe qadam par chalega “ And he was right..

Shashiji inherited a love for theatre from Papaji and would often say that he would have probably never joined films had Prithvi Theatre not closed down and if Shakespearewallahs had not moved to London.. But he also inherited Prithviji’s humanity and compassion. My mother Shaukat Kaifi speaks of Prithviji’s compassionate nature in almost hagiographic terms and Shashi was truly his father’s son. The number of people he helped financially and quietly , his concern for the well being of those who worked with him , his generosity ,were aspects of his personality he kept hidden from public view. In fact he could be rough and scathing even.

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He never said a kind word to me always ribbing me ..but behind my back I would learn that he praised my work and would often say that he was proud of me.He taught me many things .. How to avoid top light because it was so unflattering. I used to find it excruciating to face the harsh reflectors and in outdoor scenes my expression was inevitably the same .. whether it was a romantic scene or emotional or comic .. my eyes would be crinkle up.. Like a strict teacher he would force me to face the reflectors till tears rolled down my cheeks .. “ Film Institute mein Gold medal tto mil gaya yeh nahi sikhaya ke aankhein khuli nahi rahin tto expression kaise dikhega?” he would holler.  And finally I did get trained to face the reflectors.

During the shooting of Junoon he would scold me for listening to the Beatles between shots. “  Why dont you listen to Begum Akhtar instead? Shaukatji se kuch tto seekha hota !” My mother was known to get into her character hours before a performance and would surround herself with stimuli that would help her inhabit the world of the character she was playing..I would make a face and reluctantly switch off the Beatles to put on Begum Akhtar.. I never admitted to him that it did help…

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I used to complain that he only scolded, bullied or made fun of me. But in a crisis, he was rock solid. In ’86 I had taken up the cause of slum dwellers in Colaba whose homes had been demolished to make way for an MLA hostel. We knocked on several doors, demanding alternate housing for them, before Anand Patwardhan and I, along with three slum dwellers, went on a hunger strike.No actor had gone on a hunger strike before and our fraternity was confused about whether to express support for me. On the fifth day, my blood pressure started falling and my mother was worried. Shashi Kapoor turned up wanting to know our demands.He left soon after and went straight to the Chief Minister, Shankarrao Chavan, telling him that the film industry had always supported the government in a crisis and now it was the Government’s responsibility to reciprocate.

The Chief Minister must not let the demands of one of its members go unheard. The CM summoned the Housing Minister who came back with Shashiji to the Colaba footpath where we were, conceding alternative land for the slum dwellers and urged us to end the hunger strike with a glass of juice.I was on stage, about to thank Shashi Kapoor for negotiating the deal for us, when I saw him step away from the media glare, slip away into an alley and disappear…“I had nothing to do with it .. Its their victory “ he said firmly before driving away. The fact is that I don’t know how much longer we would have had to continue with the strike had Shashiji not intervened ..but he didn’t want any accolades and never spoke about it, ever. That’s the kind of person he was..Was? I’m referring to him in the past tense ..but we will never really lose him because in death, his spirit, trapped in a frail body has been set free and will surround us like the air we breathe…..”

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Zeenat Aman(Chori Mera Kaam , Satyam  Shivum Sunderam,  Vakil Babu,  Pakhandee, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan):  “I did some  of my most enjoyable and unforgettable films with him. But before that, I remember when I was  studying at  the St Joseph’s Convent. Shashiji came with his wife to perform a play  in our school. All of us schoolgirls were in a swoon. He  was devastatingly handsome. Later he lived down the same road as me.And we’d bump into one  another . I think the  first film that we  worked on together was Roti Kapada Aur Makaan . It was  a very important film for me.And  Shashiji  was a terrific  co-star in what was a very complex role for me with shades  of grey. The film was  a big hit. But the one that we  had most fun with was Chori Mera Kaam a  few years later. It was  a comedy and  we improvised like  crazy  almost every scene was filled wuth  dialogues that we thought up on the spot. Shashiji was  a veteran  of  comic timing . I was new to comedy. But because he was so supportive I could pull it off .

That was  what defined Shashiji’s attitude: a sense of ongoing generosity towards his costars. After Chori Mera Kaam we  did  what was perhaps  our most talked-about film, I am  talking about Raj Kapoor’s Satyam Shivum Sunderam. My God! What an  uproar that film created. Shooting the film was not easy. I remember Raj Saab kept calling Shashiji a ‘taxi’.He meant the number of films that Shashiji  was  doing at that time. Rajji very firmly told Shashiji he didn’t want the  ‘taxi’.

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He wanted Shashiji’s full attention.Both of us had to be fully focused on this one  film. Every gesture every nuance every movement of Shashiji and I were done by Raaj Saab. He would tell us where to stand, how  to walk, how to sit ….everything.We were  mere puppets.The approach to our roles in  Satyam Shivum Sunderam was  quite the  opposite to what we  did  in Chori Mere Kaam. I remember Shashiji was  shy about taking off his shirt  under the waterfall in Satyam Shivum Sunderam  when were shooting the song Yashomati maiya. He didn’t think  he had the physique to  pull it  off.  I did several  other films with Shashiji  like  Deewangee and Heeralal Pannalal. It was always fun to shoot with him. He was gracious and warm, courteous and  gentlemanly. I last  met him at the Prithvi Theatres when he  was honoured  for receiving  the Dada Phalke award. Though he was unwell I could see the  look of warm recognition in  his eyes. He held my hand warmly and I  knew he  remembered  all the wonderful times we had shared while shooting.”

Raakhee  Gulzar “I was in awe of Shashi Kapoor. Whatever I’ve learnt about self-discipline and punctuality came from him only. During our first film  Sharmilee, he would reach the location in Malad for a 7 am shift much before me although I stayed much closer to Malad. The director Sameer Ganguly was very softspoken. So Shashiji did all the dada-giri during shooting.One day he came to me and warned me, ‘Raakhee, if you don’t reach at 7 am your bags would be packed and you’d be sent back to Bengal.’ I got so scared that I came on time after that. I’d reach the location even before the sweepers.

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I’ve never met a more cultured man. If we were on the airport he would pick up the vanity case and other luggage of any lady he came across. If there was a crowd at a shooting he would clear it for me to feel comfortable. These qualities I’ve never encountered in any of my heroes. Of course he loved my cooking. Whenever the lunch dabba filled with green salad would go back home untouched  his wife Jenniferji would call me to ask if her husband  was shooting with me.I can’t remember how many films I did with Shashiji. For that matter I don’t know how many films I’ve acted in.The last time I  met Shashiji was at a Ganpati festival in Pune. I didnt  want to see him the way he had become in his final years.”

Sharmila Tagore: “I don’t think I enjoyed working with  any co-star as much as I  did with Shashi Kapoor…His death has still not sunk in.Even as I’ve been busy with various things during the past few days, my mind has been going back to all the wonderful times I shared with Shashi. While I shared  only a professional rapport with  my other co-stars with Shashi I also socialized. We  did meet over dinner and drinks. And it was always a pleasure to meet Shashi and his  really wonderful wife Jennifer .They complemented each other perfectly.Seeing Shashi and Jennifer  together was so gratifying. I don’t think Shashi ever got over her death.  It broke him and turned him reckless about his life. He became suicidal. It was sad  to see him let himself go …I still remember how  handsome he was. My God! He was  the most handsome man I had seen.When I met him  for the  first time, it was when  he  visited the location of my first Hindi film Kashmir Ki Kali. We were shooting the song Isharon isharon mein with Shashi’s brother Shammi. I couldn’t concentrate on my  romantic poses with Shammi. The director Shakti Samanta had to ask Shashi to leave.

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The funny thing was,before I could confess I  was a fan  Shashi started telling me he was fan of my work, having seen me in Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar. That charm completely won women over. Over  the years we became  close friends.We got a  lot of opportunity to work and spend time together as  most of our films were shot outside Mumbai over a lengthy period of time.I remember we were all together for My Love in Nairobi. Likewise my other films with Shashi which were shot in places as far-flung as Rajasthan and Canada(Door Desh was shot in Canada).I remember we were shooting Paap Aur Punya  in Rajasthan  . Shashi’s children and my son Saif were all there.Saif who very small ,became very fond of his Shashi Uncle. In a sequence where Shashi was being hung by a noose by the villain Saif unknown to the camera and crew toddled up to the villain and bit him for  hurting his favourite Shashi Uncle. I  guess Shashi’s charms worked with the  young and old alike.We did a lot of films together, some of them like New Delhi Times, Aamne Samne and Aa Gale  Lag Jaa  were good,some really awful. Not too many of them worked at  the  boxoffice. Which is a pity. Because among all my co-stars it’s Shashi I enjoyed working with the most.”

Asha  Parekh :  “What a lovely thoughtful courteous and kind person!Shashi Kapoor was a  thorough gentleman. Not just me, he looked after all his heroines so beautifully. I think I  did  four films with him. Out of these , two  films Nasir Husain’s Pyar Ka Mausam and Mohan Sehgal’s Kanyadan are remembered to this day…I remember  during the shooting of Kanyadan in Kulu, I strayed into  the wilderness with some  of  the crew. Shashiji came looking for us. He was so upset that we had wandered away. ‘Anything could’ve happened because there are bear roaming in the  area,’ he said. I’ve seldom come across a more caring and  chivalrous hero.

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I had the privilege of working with  both Shammi and Shashi Kapoor. They both were unique , so different  from one another.And they  bothhad a great sense  of rhythm. I remember his  absolutely out-of-this-world  sense  of rhythm  in the song Ni sultana re pyar ka mausam aaya ….Girls just swooned when Shashiji danced .And he had  the  most amazing marriage.  His wife Jennifer Kapoor was just the most perfect wife I had ever seen.She looked after her husband and after  all of us when we were shooting together. I  think Shashiji  lost his will to look after  himself after his wife passed away. It was sad to see  him suffer so  much in his final years. He  was on dialysis , just like his brother Shammiji before him.I had gone to see him in hospital a few years  ago with my friends Waheeda Rehman and Nanda. The last time  I met him was when he got the Dada Phalke Sahib award. He had become so frail . To see  my hero who out-danced me in Pyar Ka Mausam on a wheelchair was heartbreaking. Shashi Kapoor was  the last of my heroes. Now they are all gone.”

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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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Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat Is  Anurag Kashyap’s  Mellowest Most Meditative Movie In  Many Years

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Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat

Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat

Written & Directed  by Anurag Kashyap

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Rating: *** ½

That annoying cackle! In one of the two  love stories that are fused together  in Anurag Kashyap’s fascinating new work of  heart, Yakub, the  intellectually  dim  loverboy has  a laugh like  a hyena on heat which is hard to beat  and anything but a treat.

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Silly impetuous Yaqub(Karan Mehta) stalks silly adventurous underage Amrita(Alaya F).  Somewhere  in London another a struggling musician Hameet(Karan Mehta, again)  is stalked by Ayesha(Alaya F), again underage  , the rich  spoilt pampered  lonely daughter of a Pakistani millionaire  who, according to Ayesha, bangs  everything that moves.

In one of the film’s most beautifully conceived  sequences  Ayesha tells the  introverted Harmeet why she cannot help being his  little lamb, why she goes all mushy when she looks at him.

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It’s  a memorable monologue  brilliantly performed by Alaya . She is most certainly a  better actor than her grandfather Kabir Bedi  and her mother Pooja Bedi.Karan Mehta is a notable find.He will find his way eventually.

The  narrative scampers  from Dalhousie to  London and back again without skipping a beat.  There is  a virile fluency about the narrative quite difficult to pinpoint and define. But it’s there underlining  almost every  scene.

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What doesn’t work at all is  Vicky Kaushal’s  DJ act. Mouthing gyan and Gulzar  as  if he owns them, Kaushal is  as annoying as  Yaqub’s laughter. The  film needed  a far more sturdy and centralized  narrator. Not this  idiot in a  headband trying to  be cool but  remaining just a fool who has probably never been to school.

That  apart, Kashyap packs in quite  a punch  in both the love stories. He lets the  couple make massive blunders in their relationships and  doesn’t judge them. The mistakes  in fact  add a luster of  unvarnished  credibility to the going-on. Oftentimes, especially in the  Indian segment,  the lovers are shown to be muddled headed and  reckless. But that, says Kashyap, is  what makes them  so  much in  love.

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Almost Pyaar With  DJ Mohabbat is  a charming mix of fluid fantasy and  raw realism.Sometimes  it is  hard  to tell the  fantasy  from the  reality. The coincidences especially the one that ties the  two couples, are  a bit too much Gulshan Nanda in Shakespeare. But that’s what  makes  love what it is. A puzzle which only Gulzar’s lines can define: Sirf  ehsaas hai yeh  rooh se mehsoos karo pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na  do. Touche.

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Faraaz : We Are The Champions

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Faraaz

Faraaz

Directed  by Hansal Mehta

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Rating: *** ½

 Compared  with  Hansal Mehta’s other two  films on  global terrorism ,Shahid and OmertaFaraaz is a mellower more  lenient  and  forgiving work. It is  predominantly  a discourse on true Islam and  its subversion by  terrorists as embodied in the two main characters Faraaz(Zahan kapoor) and  Nibras(Aditya Rawal).

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The  dialogues between the two are sharp and relevant. Most importantly these dialogues  never overstay their welcome, hence the film, though largely confined to a café  held  hostage  by a bunch of misguided  youngsters, never gets verbose.Instead Hansal Mehta brings in a sense of reined-in anxiety.

The agony  of  those  outside the  sealed café, whether the government officials  or parents of  the hostages(Juhi Babbar Soni, Amir Ali are  both superb , though the former has a  far more dramatic scope than the  latter) is given as  much  priority as  the  terrorized  hostages  inside the  café.

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Unlike  the several 26/11   films, the latest being the Adivi Sesh starrer Major, Faraaz is not too keen on generating thrills out of a  real-life tragedy. Hansal Mehta  doesn’t  edit out the brutality and suddenness of the attack, but  he  does humanize  the  young terrorists , specially Nibras, played with compelling restraint  by Aditya Rawal S/O the extraordinary Paresh.

 In  the  years to come,  young Rawal will be an actor to watch.

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Faraaz has  a lot of young talent to galvanize  the  story of one  blood-bathed night in  a  café in  Bangladesh . Many young  people went for an evening of recreation and  conversation. Several  never came out. This  is the story of one  braveheart who said he won’t run for his life without  his friends.

It’s  a disturbing moving tale of true heroism told with feeling rather than flourish.

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