Jiah dhadak dhadak jaaye

Jiah Khan is anxious about audience reaction since she is dressed from head-to-toe in Ghajini.

Prominent ad filmmaker Ravi Udyawar makes a not-so-quiet Bollywood entry with a sizzling song he has directed for Ghajini. The song features Jiah Khan who loved doing all the latka-jhatkas. But working in the Hindi film industry is not a cakewalk for Jiah. Since she is a Londoner, she is far more comfortable with the English language rather than Hindi. Jiah found herself in trouble when she had to speak lengthy emotional dialogue for Ghajini, that too in sync sound.

Jiah said, “I must admit it was a bit of a problem. Aamir got me an Urdu dialogue coach, Athar Nawaz who guided me. And each time I’d be stuck with a line, Aamir helped me out. My mom came down from London during the shooting. Since she speaks Urdu fluently, she ran through the dialogue with me over and over again.”

The latka-jhatkas were also easy after some practice. “Like the Urdu-Hindi language, I’ve also managed to master the dance steps to a large extent,” said Jiah.

Jiah is of course excited about her first item song in Ghajini for which choreographer Gita Kapoor trained her. Jiah added, “I realised how difficult it is to do a sizzling item song. The song, ‘Lattoo’ is a stylish Jennifer Lopez kind of number.”

However, the challenge for Jiah in Ghajini is to be accepted in a more conventional role. Her role in Ghajini is unlike what she played in Nishabd, which had released two years ago. She said, “I needed this challenge. In Ghajini, I’m dressed from head-to-toe except for that one song where I transform from a plain Jane to a femme fatale.”

Mahendra Singh Dhoni debuts in Bollywood


Two good looking men, friends to boot, come together for a film. Mahendra Singh Dhoni debuts in Bollywood with John Abraham.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni will finally be seen on the big screen, in a cricketbased film, Hook Ya Crook. A source close to the production house said, “UTV, who had earlier made Goal, a footballbased film, want Hook Ya Crook to be an authentic cricket film. The climax will be a huge cricket match a la Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan. Dhoni, who has a full-fledged role, is being brought on board to share the field and cinema space with the rest of the cast and also to help his
colleagues give a believable spin to the game.”

David Dhawan, the director of the film said, “Cricket does play a very important part in my film. This would be my most uncharacteristic film, very different from the comedies I am associated with. John Abraham and Uday Chopra will come together again after Dhoom. And Aditya Pancholi has a very important role. The audience will love him.”

The film, Hook Ya Crook, is hugely inspired from the 1981 Hollywood film, Escape To Victory, which featured football star Pele. The film was about a group of prisoners escaping from a World War 2 prison camp while playing a football match. Writer Rensil D’Silva has adapted the film for an Indian audience.

While the prison set is currently being built by art direct or Samir Chanda in Hyderabad, all the actors have been asked to brush up on their high-school cricket.

Anjali Dissanayake -Saying Miss Sri lanka??? -Any way Enjoy the beaut...

Frnds, This beautiful chick claims as miss srilanka and some viewer says she miss Kerala 2008. Dont blame me if she is not any of them. What ever it is, she looks hot, stunning, cute. Just enjoy the beauty....

King Khan wins hearts in Malaysia

King Khan made his first overseas trip post 26/11. Shah Rukh Khan was in Malaysia to receive the nation’s highest civilian award, Datuk. “It’s an award conferred to him much before the Mumbai tragedy. But SRK was in no mood to celebrate. His heart was in Mumbai and the actor requested a quiet ceremony. He didn’t want the media to highlight this either,” we were told by a good friend of the actor’s. So we’re just mentioning the laurel of this hardy actor, and not quite highlighting it!

History can be created only once

Lata Mangeshkar refused to sing a patriotic song on the lines of the famous ‘Aye mere vatan ke logon’.

Recently, Lata Mangeshkar refused to sing a patriotic song focusing on the 26/11 terror attacks. Apparently, she is traumatised over the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai and is no mood to entertain anyone who wants to capitalise on the attack by making a song or a film on it.
Our source said, “Lyricist Satyaprakash Mangtani and music director Surinder Kohli were persuading Lataji to sing a patriotic song on the lines of the famous ‘Aye mere vatan ke logon’ but Lataji was adamant about not singing it. Despite umpteen requests, she did not give in.”
Lata confirmed the news and said, “I will not do any such song now. History can be created only once.”

We asked Lata about her music album Sarhadein (with Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali) and she replied, “I had only one song in the album, which I have already recorded. It was Sa Re Ga Ma’s album with music composed by Mayuresh Pai. I think it will be very difficult to complete that album now. I am not even sure if it will get released but I am still to hear from the music

However, our source from Sa Re Ga Ma had a different story to tell. The source said, “Lataji has not completed the song with Ghulam Ali. He was supposed to come to Mumbai on Sunday, but he did not. As and when he comes to Mumbai, Lataji will complete the song.”

Lata also paid her homage to the victims of the terror attack. She said, “I pay my homage to all the people who died in the recent terrorist attack - the public, the fire officers, Navy, Police and NSG. I am with their families and also a part of their pain. I want to request our government to take strict action against the terrorists. The time has come for us to act now.”

Wrong number again Aamir?

The makers of Ghajinido not seem to have learnt anything after their run-in with Surekha Verma. Once again, a mobile number on the poster has created trouble.

The promos of Aamir Khan’s Ghajini have managed to annoy another person, businessman Trilochan Singh. After Dr Surekha Verma, Trilochan Singh has sent a legal notice to the actor.
Mr Singh, a resident of Juhu, has issued a notice to the actor and production company Geeta Arts for circulating his business and personal mobile phone number 9820413238, through various advertisement and hoardings of the film Ghajini. The notice has been issued through his lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee, seeking “Rs 50 lakh towards damages that have been willfully,
mischievously and intentionally caused.”

Rizwan Siddique, Trilochan Singh’s lawyer, blasted the producers for the irresponsible act, “My client is a blood pressure patient and he is unnecessary made to suffer because of the illegal acts on the part of the producer. It is difficult to believe that even after Dr Surekha Verma’s case that was reported in the papers, the producer did not bother to verify and change the other mobile numbers appearing on the hoardings and publicity materials of the film. Now my client has been inundated with unwanted calls and text messages on his mobile number. He has lost business as well as goodwill and reputation, as it has been over two months that he is unable to take genuine calls of his business associates, friends and relatives. The producers ought to take full responsibility of the damage caused to my client.”

Some months ago, Dr. Surekha Verma had strongly objected to her number being printed in the papers, but Aamir had pacified the lady with a new phone connection, flowers and chocolates. We wonder how the actor intends to compensate Trilochan Singh. Trilochan Singh could not be contacted and Aamir Khan remained unavailable for comment.

Akshay Kumar is more than just King!

Now, that we’ve brought up the much buried Akki-Shilpa connection, we might as well update you on some udhti khabar that has been doing the rounds. Buzz is that Akshay Kumar will replace Shilpa Shetty as the host of the reality show she was handling so far. And there’s more. Akki will be paid twice the amount Shilpa got for it. So in these times of recession, Akshay is raking in his moolah, and enjoying his big share of the pie. He’s not just the King, but also the Big Boss, eh?

Shahid says no to Santoshi, Gowariker

Some surprising dope on Shahid Kapoor. The actor is turning down some good offers JLT (just like that!). He’s hell-bent on adhering to his one-film-at-a-time strategy. It’s believed that Rajkumar Santoshi offered him to play the lead in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani, while Ashutosh Gowariker, too, approached him for What’s Your Raashi, which later went to Harman. The actor wants to concentrate on Bhardwaj’s Kaminay for the time being. “Any other actor in his place would have definitely said yes to them, but Shahid is not greedy for work at this point, he just wants the best,” says a friend of SK’s. But turning down Gowariker and Santoshi is thoda ajeeb na?!

No shooting please!

Karan Johar’s film denied permission to shoot in London.

Shooting a film on terrorism on foreign soil may not be easy anymore. Writerdirector Renzil D’Silva was recently denied permission to shoot in any underground tube station of London for his film on terrorism. The film, produced by Karan Johar, had to be shifted out of London. Since a major chunk of the terrorists’ scenes featuring Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi and Om Puri were situated in a tube station, the unit had no option but to shift base to Philadelphia in the US where permission was not only obtained to shoot in a tube station, but an entire train was hired for shooting during off hours.

Filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra however, some time ago, was luckier and managed to shoot his film Shoot On Sight based on the London tube-station bombing on actual location. Says Mundhra, “Getting permission was tough. The British authorities were very apprehensive because they had read my script. The UK Film Council had to intervene after we protested about artistic muzzling.”

The Kite ( s ) runner

Rakesh Roshan and Anurag Basu are taking no chances with Hrithik Roshan starrer Kites. They have replaced action director Dick Ziker with Spiro Razatos.

After burning his hands with Krazzy 4, Rakesh Roshan is being extra cautious with his ambitious project Kites starring his son Hrithik Roshan, Kangana Ranaut and Spanish actress Barbara Mori. Recently, Rakesh showed the door to action director Dick Ziker (who has directed the action sequences for Speed 2) because Ziker’s work did not meet his expectations.

After a few days of shoot, Rakesh Roshan and director of Kites Anurag Basu took a joint decision that Ziker should be replaced. After firing Ziker, they got action director Spiro Razatos on board. Spiro has directed action scenes in Hollywood films like Vantage Point and Bad Boys 2 and is currently working with Sajid Nadiadwala on Kambakht Ishq. Sajid said, “I introduced Rakesh to my line producer Prashant Shah who told him that Spiro will be the apt choice for Kites.”

Anurag disliked Ziker’s work to such an extent that he had to reshoot all the scenes which the latter had worked on. Firing him was a creative decision.

When contacted, Anurag said, “We got Spiro in place of Ziker. We shot eight days with Ziker after which we realised that we had to do most of the work despite him being present on the sets.”

This is not the first expulsion from the unit of Kites. It may be recalled that Rakesh Roshan had showed the door to cinematographer Bobby Singh as he was not happy with his work.
Our source added, “Kites is Rakesh Roshan’s most ambitious project. He has never had a problem with budgets and this time is no different.”

The price for beauty

Lisa Lazarus, who arrived in Mumbai yesterday to shoot for Veer, refused to come till she was provided with four bouncers that cost the producers close to Rs 2 lakh.

Miss Universe UK 2008 Lisa Lazarus, the second lead heroine of Salman Khan starrer Veer, flew down to Mumbai yesterday morning to shoot for the film but not before ensuring her safety. Without losing time producer Vijay Galani arranged for four bouncers so that Lisa felt comfortable.

Our source from the unit says, “A few days ago, Lisa informed Galani that she was keen to keep up her commitment of acting in Veer but she was apprehensive about her safety. Galani assured her that she should not worry and everything would proceed smoothly.”

Elaborating on the financial repercussions of employing four bouncers, our source says, “Galani is paying Rs 16,000 per day for the four bouncers. Lisa will be in India for 12 days. So, Galani has to shell out Rs 192,000 lakh extra for her visit.”

Galani confirms and justifies his decision, “Lisa is the second heroine of my film. She plays a UK-based girl who comes with her father to India and falls in love with Salman. As a producer, I have to make her stay very comfortable.”

Apart from Salman Khan and Lisa Lazarus, Veer stars the Katrina look-alike Zarina Khan whom Salman spotted on the sets of Subhash Ghai’s Yuvvraaj and recommended to Vijay Galani and director Anil Sharma.


Rani Mukerji’s association with Yash Raj Films is doing her more harm than good. Industry insiders analyse what she needs to do to get her groove back.

Gone are the days when Rani Mukerji used to rule the box-office. Her last five films - Baabul, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Saawariya and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic - failed to recover their cost.

So what exactly went wrong with Rani's career? One cannot deny that she is an extremely talented actress with fantastic screen presence. But, it was her selection of films that resulted in her downfall. The buzz in the film industry is that Rani only wants to work for her boyfriend Aditya Chopra's banner, Yash Raj Films (YRF).

Kunal Kohli, who was once upon a time Rani's favourite director (they worked together in Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Hum Tum and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic), does not deny this but prefers not to elaborate. He says, “How can I answer why Rani wants to do only YRF films?”

A few months ago, good sense seemed to have dawned when Rani decided to discontinue her association with YRF. Sources reveal that she was furious with the fact that YRF does not publicise their films. Rumour had it that Rani wanted to rebuild her career even if it meant completely cutting all ties with YRF.

There were also reports that the shooting of Rani's cricket film with newcomer director Anurag Singh in which she stars with Shahid Kapur was stalled and she was ghost directing the film. But true to YRF style, the production house sent press releases denying any discord. But the truth is that Rani was indeed unhappy with Anurag's work and had refused to shoot for that film any further. She only agreed to resume working because of her love for Aditya Chopra. Now YRF claims that the film will restart in January 2009. We will wait to see if that indeed happens.
We tried to speak to director Pradeep Sarkar, who had directed Rani in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, and Ketan Mehta who had worked with the actress in Mangal Pandey: The Rising. They heard us out and then evaded the topic and said, “I am in a meeting. I can't talk about this.”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, “Currently Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are at the top. Priyanka Chopra is going from strength to strength. So, automatically Rani has been phasedout.”

“Many people say that because Rani is limiting herself to YRF, other filmmakers may not be approaching her. But her recent spate of flops is the key reason for her not ruling the roost anymore,” added Adarsh.

Another trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “If you put all your eggs in one basket (read YRF) and the basket leaks, then your career as an actor is bound to go for a toss. That's what happened with Rani. Moreover, some of the YRF films have given her a behenji image. She has also turned down offers from several filmmakers.”

The current status on Rani's front is that other banners have altogether stopped offering her films. She is now 30 years old which leaves her with very little time to get back in control especially in an industry which is known to be heartless to actresses who are not young. Where will Rani go from here? Will she manage to take stock of the competition, which is only getting tougher by the day?

Rani has acted in a string of films with all the Khans - SRK, Aamir, Salman and Saif. Now that she is down and almost out will they rescue her?

This is the time for drastic action… and fast.

Hema Malini’s zindagi ki kahani

Hema Malini is probably shocked at her own popularity. After all her PRO claims that the actress’ biography has been selling like hot cakes, so much so that volumes have been sold out and a re-print order has already been given.

That’s not all. We’re told that the biography was recently translated into Marathi also, and that too has been lapped up by the Marathi manoos. Now, we’re not so sure we believe this hot, straight from the oven news! But if it’s true, Hema ought to be inspired enough to pen an autobiography. And that piece of cake making some dough will be a more palatable story!

Aamir could ask you to check your eyes!

It’s always a pleasure to meet Aamir Khan. He’s down-to-earth, practical, sporting… However, with his nephew Imran having entered B-zone, Aamir has some competition. People are forever comparing their CQ (Cuteness Quotient).

And both actors, too, get down to playing some ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ pretty often. But try telling Aamir that Imu looks cuter than he does, and he’ll simply say, ‘Go get your eyes checked!’ while Imran will be on top of the world telling maamujaan, “See, I told you so!” The two never see eye-to-eye, and it’s fun to witness this nephewuncle ladaai...

HIgh Five

Stars are known to usually have a fascination for particular numbers. In order to enhance their luck stars spell their names differently and also commence new projects on a particular date. Sometimes they even make sure that their car plates and phone numbers are in harmony with their favourite number.

For instance, Shah Rukh Khan has an affinity to the number 555. Even the star's family members, his entire staff at his Bandra residence Mannat and most of those who work in his production house Red Chillies have the number 555 as an integral part of their mobile numbers. One of Shah Rukh's staff members who did not wished to be named said, “We all have the number 555 in our mobile numbers. In fact, the only difference between all our numbers is the last two numbers. All one has to do is change the last two numbers to call anyone who works for Shah Rukh.”

So is Shah Rukh superstitious about the number? “No, SRK is not superstitious about the number. It's just that he has always been particularly fond of the number. That's why he wanted all of us to share his fondness for the number,” added the staff member.

According to the source, more than 30 associates of Shah Rukh have 555 as a part of their mobile numbers. To cite a few examples, Shah Rukh's secretary, Karuna and Bobby Chawla, CEO of Red Chillies Entertainment also have the power of five.

When contacted, Bobby Chawla said, “There is no mystery to it. Shah Rukh is fond of the number, thats it. We had applied for the numbers and have had these for long now.”

Apart from Shah Rukh many other stars too have a fixation for particular numbers. An industry insider said, “Amitabh Bachchan's fond of the number 11 as his birthday is on October 11. A few of Sanjay Dutt's car plates have the number 4545. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan loves to collect currency with the number 786 while filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala is also particularly fond of the number 786. Singer Sonu Nigam has always been attracted to the number 9.”


Mastii-kustii tracks down five actors and five actresses whose careers have reached a dead-end with no salvation in sight.


She may have a few films in hand, but nothing that she can go ga-ga over. She has been a prominent member in Sanjay Gupta's films since a few years, but that's about it. She needs to look for better projects opposite bigger stars, rather than work with Arshad Warsi in his first home production.


Where is Hrishitaa Bhatt? For the girl who started her acting career alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Asoka and Abhishek Bachchan in Shraarat, she seems to have reached a dead-end. Not so long ago, she was seen in an item number in My Name is Anthony Gonsalves, but neither her bindaas act nor the film itself was great shakes. In fact My Name is Anthony Gonsalves was the first official box-office disaster of 2008.


Almost all of John's films, after his debut film Jism, have flopped and the buzz in the trade is that distributors are wary of projects that star him. Excessive display of brawn in Dostana doesn't seem to have done wonders to his career. He sailed through in Dhoom and Kabul Express, but Ravi Chopra's Babul and Anurag Kashyap's No Smoking were disastrous. Aashayein has failed to find a release date as yet. Worse still, the trade buzz is that his film Hook Ya Crook has either been shelved or the producers have asked him to reduce his fee by 60 per cent. And we will now see him in Abbas Tyrewalla's next opposite Tyrewalla's wife, Pakhi!


After his father launched him in Himalayputra and he followed it up with Border, he was seen as the next best thing. Dil Chahta Hai earned him compliments - 'effortless' was the word used to describe him. In spite of some commercial hits - Humraaz, Deewangee, Hungama and Gandhi My Father (which won him critical acclaim) - Khanna is at a dead-end. His reputation of being moody and keeping his producers hanging, doesn't help.


Amisha Patel is on a career high these days, that's what her friends are screaming from the rooftops. Well, she has nothing much in her kitty except Kannav Puri (Vikram Bhatt, are you grinning?). She was banking on Mangal Pandey - The Rising (she kissed an unknown guy) and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (where she donned a skimpy swimsuit). None of that skin show has producers queuing up at her door.


Fardeen has seen a complete professional drought. None of his films have worked at the turnstiles. Frankly, his father Feroz Khan launched him with a dud - Prem Agan. In spite of working with filmmakers like Boney Kapoor in Khushi and Ram Gopal Varma in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, Jungle and Bhoot, he failed to impress the audience; even his western looks and twang have not helped him. Critics don't give him any brownie points for his acting skills. With dad Feroz Khan not in the best of health, his plans of remaking Qurbani with Fardeen have been put on the backburner.


Where did he go wrong? He's still scratching his head. After a decent start in Chura Liya Hai Tumne, Zayed has hardly any film in his kitty. Main Hoon Na salvaged his pride, thanks to the tough taskmaster, Farah Khan. Apoorva Lakhia's Mission Istanbul could have benefitted him. The actor even put on 11 kgs to increase his weight to 75 kgs so that he could match up (physically) to the baddie of the film, Nikitin Dheer. But Mission Istanbul bombed and now Zayed finds himself in no man's land.


Sushmita Sen has absolutely no films on hand. She has turned director, and we hear, her ambitious directorial debut, Jhansi Ki Rani has no financers. What happened to that strong performer of Samay, Main Hoon Na? She seems to have spent much of her time putting her personal life in order (Vikram Bhatt, Bunty Sachdeva, Randeep Hooda and now Mudassar Aziz). Incidentally, Mudassar is penning her Jhansi Ki Rani.


Nothing has worked for her so far, not even her skin show in Dhoom. Mama Hema is extremely worried about her career but Esha has not been helping her cause. She usually selects wrong films. The fact that she obeyed her mom in dumping Aftab Shivdasani is another story. Her last film Hijack was, to say the least, disgusting.


Abhishek has had his share of hits like Dhoom, Dhoom 2, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Bunty Aur Babli and Guru. But Sarkar Raj and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom prove that Bollywood still counts on stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan. Would Dhoom and Dhoom 2 have been runaway hits without John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan respectively? Would KANK have set the cash registers ringing if Karan Johar hadn't roped in his best friend SRK to play the main role? Would Bunty aur Babli have registered if Big Daddy and ‘Kajra Re’ weren't in it? And, hasn't he made a big mistake by doing Drona?

Discordant notes

Three compositions of A R Rahman from Mani Ratnam’s shelved Lajjoare now in Mani’s Abhishek-Aishwarya starrer.

Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are doing what Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor couldn’t do… singing A R Rahman’s songs that were meant to be used in the Mani Ratnam’s shelved film Lajjo.

Confirming the news, Rahman said, “Some of the songs in Lajjo were generic, so we have translocated them into Raavana (working title). Such things happen once in a while. No regrets. There is no time for that. Regret is boring. Mani’s new film is a new genre for me. I’ve done nothing like this before. So that’s exciting.”

However, Rahman’s songs for Kamal Haasan’s shelved Marmyogi are yet to see the light of the day. Rahman said, “I had composed three songs for Kamal Haasan’s Marmyogi but he said that this film is being put aside for another film.” Though Rahman is working on another film for Hassan, he cannot use those compositions in the new film. “What can I do about it?” is all Rahman said and shrugged.

Though Rahman tried fitting them in Ghajini, Aamir Khan, the lead actor from the film, insisted on a fresh score. Rahman sighed, “There’s a lot of pressure to deliver because Harris Jairaj’s music in the Tamil version of Ghajini was a big hit. My songs in the Hindi Ghajini are all new. And I hope they are as popular as the songs in the Tamil version.”

Shah Rukh Khan's dates jinx continues

Shah Rukh Khan's dates for Dulha Mil Gaya had to be reworked (for the nth time) after a mishap on the sets yesterday.

Shah Rukh Khan's dates for Viveck Vaswani's film Dulha Mil Gaya seem to be jinxed. Shah Rukh was supposed to shoot for Dulha Mil Gaya today for which a special set was being erected at Hema Ashish Studio (near Vihar Lake) since the past few days.

However, yesterday morning the roof of the studio collapsed and hurt a few unit members. One of them is currently recuperating at Paramount Hospital, Sakinaka.

When contacted, the film's director Mudassar Aziz confirmed that there was an unfortunate incident on the sets but he said that nobody was hurt to an extent that they had to be admitted in the hospital for more than a few hours. “Yes, a few light men were hurt and we took them to Paramount Hospital but only for a check-up,” he said.

We hear that a case has been filed at the Powai Police station. To this Mudassar said, “These are all production issues. I wouldn't know if Viveck has filed the case or my executive producer.”
However, when we called Paramount Hospital, last evening the duty officer-in-charge Dr Manoj had a slightly different story to tell.

Dr Manoj told Mumbai Mirror, “We have a patient Mr Tarun Wagh who was injured on the sets of Dulha Mil Gaya yesterday morning. He is admitted in our hospital. He was brought in around 11.30 am.”

Is he better now? Dr Manoj said, “Mr Tarun is better. He has suffered compression in his spine. I can't say how long he will be with us. Only Dr Utkarsh, who is treating Mr Tarun, can tell you when he will be discharged. But Dr Utkarsh is not present here right now.”

Mudassar Aziz added that he has now taken fresh dates from Shah Rukh. The venue has now been shifted to Mehboob Studios. “SRK will now shoot for the same song on December 4,” he said. All the best, Mudassar and Viveck!

Movie Review - SORRY BHAI

ACTORS: Sanjay Suri, Sharman Joshi, Chitrangada Singh

Afamily of four in this this film - father (Boman Irani), mother (Shabana Azmi) and two grown male siblings (Sanjay Suri, Sharman Joshi) - should ring a certain bell of truth at most nuclear homes with the same demographic.

The parents rarely display their affection in public. Their unconditional love is a given, but rarely said. The mother is inevitably a strict voice with a veto power on all matters at home. The father makes light of many things the mom often takes too seriously. Between them, the family swings on a sweet balance. The kids know what they can get away with whom.

The elder brother is usually the righteous one. He is born to greater expectations. When he doesn’t meet them, it hurts the mother much more. Sanjay Suri’s Harsh had gone abroad to make a living. He never found time to return home in two years. At one point the mother admits, “Had it been Siddharth (the younger one), I would’ve been disappointed much less.”

This family is now finally together for the elder one’s marriage in Mauritius. The groom merely informed everyone of his decision over the phone, one fine evening. This has the mother sulking even more. She grudgingly decides to participate in the wedding. The reluctance is a bit of a sham.

This is the sort of home I know; or actually live in. The film certainly starts off with a natural connect. To this, one could singularly credit the brilliant actors on screen. Each of them lends an easy emotion, backstory and humour to their roles that I’m willing to believe cannot be entirely written. With such a lovely setup, the movie could have smartly paid off any way. It doesn’t. It merely tells you that these four actors are better than their screenplay.

Siddharth, the younger one, is a serious budding physicist. He seems to have developed a scientific theory called ‘Everything is alive’, which in his case, means he can make a toydog fly. He is at a conference of institutional scientists who could grant him a fellowship to further research his theory. All he takes to the life-defining meeting are not theoretical proofs or mathematical models, but the toydog. He keeps staring at it, hoping it would fly. “Data errors,” he says, and gives up. A girl in the corner gives him a knowing smile. She believes in his theory. The lunacy of that first scene, you don’t realise, would explain the rest of the film.

Harsh, the elder brother, is to marry his girlfriend of five years Aaliya (Chitrangada Singh). She hangs out with his younger brother over five days that he’s there for the wedding. There is not even a hint of chemistry between these two relative strangers. They never make half an interesting conversation. Everything is either inexplicably implied, or merely in the script.
The two brothers on the other hand share a very strong bond and a superstition over swearing on their mother: the words ‘Maa kasam’ from a Dharmendra film, which proves important to the story.

Aaliya, in one scene, appears equally inspired by another Dharmendra movie (Sholay). She looks into the mirror in the girls’ loo and questions, “ Tera kya hoga Aaliya.” She is fatally attracted to Siddharth. She says he doesn’t know what pleasures she can give him. The turning point is an evening she watched him play the saxophone. There is a monologue that runs through her mind where she either speaks of drowning someone in water, or taking off on her mother-inlaw-to-be. She couldn’t care less that her boyfriend is going through a financial crisis (Stock-market crash, everyone keeps yelling throughout). She follows her new hero instead around jungles trying to steal a kiss, while he shows disinterest.

I’m not sure whether this studboy Siddharth should allow this erratic, psycho girl to marry his brother and ruin his life, let alone, save her for himself. It would still be fine was this a goofy-flick, like the Cher-starrer Moonstruck (1987), of the same premise.

It takes itself as a supremely serious, heart-rending romantic comedy. In a nation of exaggerations, it’s one thing to allude to a pretty, dusky actor as Smita Patil over two movies. It’s quite another to give her similar roles to live up to. Unfortunately, her hare-brained character is pretty much the inconsistent movie. The rest you can feel sorry for.


DIRECTOR: Dibakar Bannerjee
ACTORS: Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Neetu Chandra

About the time of Dibakar Bannerjee’s fine debut, reading a Delhibased columnist Mahmood Farooqui refer to Khosla Ka Ghosla as K2G, I remember feeling strangely envious of a delightfully cheesy acronym I hadn’t thought of myself.

That doesn’t explain the silly abbreviation on the headline above. It’s just to call attention to the film’s firstrate title, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye; words skillfully repeated the same way many Delhi-ites, particularly Punjabis, are known to in their everyday speak.

The film itself seems a warm trip back from the many LIG, MIG and HIG (lower, middle and higher income group) residential colonies that the nation’s capital is a grimy cluster of.

Paresh Rawal plays three unrelated characters in the film. He lends instant familiarity to each, in a manner that it appears only this rare superstar character-actor could. To be fair, every part in this movie, especially the inspired walk-on ones, let alone Rawal’s, have been petted and smothered with such genuine affection for minor nuances, you’d think you’ve somehow met them all before.

Or maybe, I have; growing up in Delhi. This shouldn’t exclude others. All universal films, to start with, are specific by nature.

One of Rawal’s main roles is that of Goga Bhai, a jagran singer. He has a thickish double-chin. He wears hair dyed in henna, and a flashy sarong around his shoulders. Loud all-night jagrans are roughly to Delhi, what the dandiyas are to Mumbai, though the former can inconvenience neighbourhoods any time of the year. The picture of Goga immediately brought to my memory, one Narendra Chanchal, whose mildly scary banners would decorate gullies of several LIG or MIG colonies while I was around. I don’t know if Narendra Chanchal still is.

Goga Bhai’s night-job is a front for a crime syndicate. One of his star-employees is young Lucky (Abhay Deol; characteristically calm and affable). Lucky steals from Delhi homes with the gaudiest d├ęcor. He himself bears no home address: “ Jiska pata nahin hota; uska pata nahin hota (No address is best for no whereabouts).” The retort directed at him is right, “ Bahut jald duniya tumhara pata poochhegi (Soon the world will care for your whereabouts).”

Another time Rawal appears on screen as the hilarious Handa saab. He’s the sort of networking pest, always ready with their business cards, that you would’ve surely bumped into at the an airline-seat next to yours. So does Lucky. Handa saab, a veterinarian, has a sociable Mrs (Archana Puran Singh). They want to get into the “restara” business. Lucky wishes to legitimise his life; gentrify his existence. They could work for each other. They do. Or actually they don’t. Inevitably Lucky realises the superficially cultured world before him is in fact far more crooked than his unpretentious profession. This question of class is in fact the perennial undercurrent of this truly urban film.

You sense it most unsubtly when the confident swindler takes his sweetheart (Neetu Chandra; naturally innocent) out on a coffee-date. She mocks a group of Modern School girls for the skirts of their uniforms so short; they’d rather not wear any. You must’ve worn them to school too, he asks. We wore salwar kameez, she says. That’s why you’re jealous, he jokes.

In fact the way little Lucky (Manjot Singh) grows up is of its own a movie of the caliber of City Of God. If not, this is the closest we’ve come to an adaptation of Kiran Nagarkar’s novel Ravan And Eddie (a script still waiting to be filmed). Li’l Lucky, under an uncaring father (Rawal again) and his mistress, mother, siblings, TV antennae, electrical poles and wires of the quarters in East of Kailash, grows up to become a thief. It’s alarming, if not unrealistic, the ease with which he robs anything he can lay his hands on.

But his inexplicable modus operandi isn’t the point. This is an altogether atmospheric film; the sorts where the sum of sweetly stirred parts and details is so much superior to the whole. How often do we watch a Mumbai movie whose setting alone we can smell from our seats. It’s the cheapest ticket to experience another place. We should feel lucky to have this.