From Gunmaster G-9 and Disco Dancer to Grandmaster; Happy birthday Mithun Da

 

Image result for mithun chakraborty disco dancer picsMithun Chakraborty  who was born as Gourang Chakraborty and popularly called Mithun Da is in my personal opinion the first dancing superstar of the Hindi film industry. Today, 16th June is his birthday.

Let us reminiscence his career and discuss some interesting trivia about him and his top films.

The early years

Mithun was an excellent football player and had dreams of being a top player for Mohun Bagan. He was a much sought after player for hire and was paid Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 25 for quarter final, semi-final and final matches. His father wanted him to be an Engineer and Mithun had even picked up the admission form for an engineering college, but that was not in his destiny.

As a struggler, Mithun had taken the name Rana Rez. He was a Chemistry Graduate from Scottish Church college and got involved with Naxalite movement. However when he lost his brother to a freak case of electrolocation, he left the Naxalites and came back to his family for a living. He chose FTII Pune course to chart his destiny. At FTII his batchmates were Vijayendra, Mala Jaggi, Ranjeeta and Rama Vij.

Mithun made his debut with the art movie Mrigayya, for which he won the National film award for best actor. Acclaimed director Mrinal Sen was teaching at FTII Pune, and Mithun was a student there who Mrinal Ji thought would be perfect for the role of Ghinua. Mamata Shankar, daughter of dancers Uday and Amala Shankar played the female lead. The story of Mrigayaa is based on Shikar written by Bhagabati Charan Panigrahi, uncle of former Chief Minister of Odisha Nandini Satapathy. Later in his career he won two more National Awards for Tahader Katha and Swami Vivekanand.

Disco Dancer firmly established Mithun as India’s Number 1 dancing star. It was the 1st Hindi movie to break the  Rs 100 crore barrier worldwide and later this record was broken by blockbusters My Name is Khan and 3 Idiots.  Mithun became a household name in Soviet Union. The songs and dances of the movie and music by Bappi Lahiri became a nationwide craze there. Jimmy Jimmy became a popular song even in China.

Surakksha, meaning protection had Mithun in the interesting character of CBI Officer Gopi, known as Gun-master G-9. The movie was deliberately meant to be larger and louder than life itself, with gadgets such as flying car with parachute, cigarette lighters with sleeping gas, stun guns and so on.

Wardat too continued the trend of fancy gadgets, super-villains and outrageous story line. While in Surakksha, Mithun was to save India from an artificial Tsunami brought about by an atomic weather controller, in Wardat, he was supposed to save the world from villains who wanted to destroy the world’s crops through giant locusts. The villain in Surakksha was a top scientist, Dr Shiva while the villain in Wardat was a hunchback named Jambola. Probably the aim was to showcase Mithun as our 1st Desi James Bond. These two movies in my view inspired the concept of super villain in future movies.

Hum Paanch was a big multi-starrer which was an adaptation of the Mahabharata. Even amidst a galaxy of stars like Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval and Raj Babbar, Mithun’s role of Bheema drew wide ranging applause. The movie was Boney Kapoor’s 1st as producer and had some brilliant songs, one of which, namely Ka jaanu mein sajaniya by Amit kumar and Lata and picturised on Mithun and Deepti naval is a personal favorite of mine.

Other popular movies of Mithun include Tarana, Hum Paanch, Mujhe Insaaf chahiye, Ghar ek Mandir, Pyaar Jhukta Nahin, Swarag se sundar, Pyaar ka Mandir, Jaal, Dilwaala, Jagir, Watan ke Rakhwale, Elaan, Guru, Veer, Kick and so on.  It can be seen that he has done a wide variety of roles. His role as Krishnan Iyer nariyal paaniwala in the Amitabh starrer Agneepath was very popular for which he won the Filmfare Best supporting actor.

Mithun, Amitabh and Aamir

Mithun was such a big fan of Amitabh that he slit his chest and took a pledge on his blood when Amitabh was nearly fatally injured during shooting of Coolie. Big B wrote this in his blog and also recounted Mithun’s loyalty for him on the sets of Do Anjaane where Mithun did a cameo.

Aamir Khan also spoke about the Jimmy Jimmy craze of Mithun in China from his 1st hand experience when he went to promote PK there. Aamir also gave a tribute to Mithun by emulating him in his special appearance as Disco fighter with the song “I hate you like i love you” in the movie Delhi Belly.

Mithun’s association with dance continues. He is the popular “Grandmaster” in the extremely popular dance show Dance India Dance which has entered the Guinness book for the largest Bollywood dance ever performed.

Happy birthday Mithun Da.

 

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5 Hindi movies ahead of time

Image result for mera naam joker imagesA movie usually depicts the prevailing thoughts and ideas of the time in which it is created. Film-makers also prefer to err on the side of caution, and make movies which are generally considered safe for that period of time. Thus one sees similar type of movies in an era, such as “lost and found era”, “angry young man era”, “romantic era” and so on.

However once in a while, we come across unconventional movies where the makers decide to experiment and come up with something new. While the movie may sometimes be a success, it may be a financial disaster as well. Be that as it may, the makers come across with movies which are ahead of their time where the country as such is probably not yet ready for the concept or idea.

Lets look at five such movies.

Mera Naam Joker

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Mera Naam Joker at 255 minutes with two intervals  is one of the longest movies in the history of Hindi Cinema. The Great Showman Raj Kapoor intended it to be his masterpiece and termed it his favorite film.

Raj Kapoor won best director award for the movie, while Manna Dey got best singer award for “Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo“. Shankar Jaikishan got best musician award while Radhu Karmakar got the best cinematographer award.

The movie is about a joker who had a sad life himself but but made others laugh for his living.  Mera Naam Joker at the time of release was a flop, though over the period of time it has acquired cult status.  Raj Kapoor reportedly wanted to make a part 2 of Mera Naam Joker, but  dropped the idea.

Lamhe

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For Lamhe, Sridevi won the best actress award. She plays a double role and many consider this as one of her finest performances. The idea which was unusual and ahead of its time was Anil Kapoor being in love with an older Sridevi who marries someone else, and ironically Sridevi’s daugher, played by Sridevi, falling in love with obviously the much older Anil kapoor, who was her mother’s friend. The conservative Indian audience found it difficult to accept and it was a commercial failure. However it was highly acclaimed critically and Yash Chopra, among all movies made by him cites it as his as personal favorite.

Lamhe was supposed to be released on same date as Akayla but Yash Chopra did not want to compete with a Ramesh Sippy-Salim Khan-Amitabh combo. Therefore he released it with debutant Ajay Devgn’s Phool aur Kaante, which he thought would be no match for Lamhe. Ironically Akayla did not do well  and neither did Lamhe, while Phool aur Kaante was a huge hit

Most film analysts agree that Lamhe was ahead of its time and  if it had been released later, it would have been commercially successful.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

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Karan Johar handled the complex theme of adultery very delicately. He got the idea of this film on a visit to London when he saw the movie “Before Sunset” about a parting couple and later when at a restaurant he overheard a married couple amicably parting ways.

For the promos of the film, there were tee shirts with the phrase “Married or Happy”. This has become a popular tee shirt phrase ever since but the origin is due to this movie.

While most “ahead of time” movies were flops, this was a commercial success. Abroad and especially in the USA it was highly appreciated.

Ra-One

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Many would not agree with the inclusion of Ra-One but i feel this SRK starrer was ahead of its time. Currently one witnesses the huge success of Super hero movies, so much so that International giants like Marvel are releasing movies in India the same day as in America. Some would say of course that Ra-One could have been better made, but thats a different logic altogether.

In my view the movie did not do as well as expected as it was ahead of its time.

Dil Se

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This Mani Rathnam starrer made a bold attempt to tackle the complex subject of insurgency in the north-east and tried to discuss and analyze why someone becomes a terrorist. It also boldly stated that it is perfectly ok to fall in love with a terrorist.

The idea was not acceptable in 1998, and the movie was maybe two decades early as at that time the acceptable themes were over the board patriotism. In my opinion, now with audience more willing to accept unconventional love stories, such as RAW agent Salman falling in love with ISI agent Katrina in Ek Thha Tiger, Dil Se would have been a hit. It was however critically acclaimed.

There are many other notable mentions such as Jaane Bhi do Yaaro and Kya Kehna.  However these five are what came to my mind first. Do you agree with the list.

Happy Birthday Dimple Kapadia and Shilpa Shetty

Image result for dimple kapadia  picsToday, June 8th is the birthday of Dimple Kapadia and Shilpa Shetty, While wishing them a very happy birthday, lets reminiscence a trivia journey about them.

Dimple Kapadia won the Filmfare best actress award for her debut film Bobby and her comeback film Saagar. Coincidentally both were opposite Rishi Kapoor, and the duo was magical in both. The scene in Bobby where Dimple meets Rishi was inspired by Raj Kapoors first meeting with Nargis, which certainly adds to nostalgia and romance.

Dimple’s career can be divided into 3 phases. In the 1970’s her sole film was Bobby which established her as a youth icon. She is one of the first actors who inspired  a fashion trend and  style ( polka dot dress) based on her look in Bobby.

The 80’s saw her act in many hits as  a beauty queeen. Some of her important movies were Manzil Manzil, Aitbaar, Arjun, Kaash, Kabzaa, Batwara and Ram Lakhan. Her role in Ram Lakhan was considered insignificant  considering her seniority and stature and she joked in an interview “I was paid 6 lakhs to throw my hair around”

In the 1990’s and thereafter Dimple shifted her focus to serious movies and was willing to experiment. Dhristi, Rudaali, Dil Aashna Hai, Prahaar, Dil Chaahta hai and Krantiveer are some of her top movies. For Rudaali she got the National award for best actress. Dimple also acted in Mrinal Sen’s bengali drama Antareen and got the ultimate compliment from him when he described her as India’s Sophia Loren.

Shilpa Shetty immediately made a mark in her debut film Baazigar with SRK. Main Khilari tu Anari was her next success after which she had to wait quite a bit before she tasted success again with Dhadkan. Garv was a success too but it was Phir Milenge and Life in a Metro which were highly acclaimed and where she gave the performances of her career.

A major success in Shilpa’s career came when she won  the Celebrity Big Brother contest which came after controversy as she was victim of racism.

Shilpa wears different hats with aplomb. She with her husband Raj Kundra were co-owner of IPL Team Rajasthan Royals. She is a celebrity judge in various successful tv programs. She has launched a perfume and a fitness DVD. Shilpa has launched a digital game show “IQ Trivia live” hosted by Rohit Roy and she is the owner of a luxury Spa chain names “Iosis Spa”

Happy Birthday Dimple Kapadia and Shilpa Shetty.

 

 

Usain Bolt, Faster than Lightning, My Story; Book review

Image result for Usain Bolt picsIf ever an autobiography of anyone compelled me to immediately write a review, it is that of the living legend, Usain Bolt.

In just his 5th 100m race Usain broke the World record for the 1st time to become the fastest man in the planet. Interestingly Bolt had started with 200 and 400m before settling down as a 200m runner. He ran 100m for a very strange reason- to escape running the 400m which he dreaded and which his coach was asking him to go back to. Bolt and coach had a bet, that if he would run 100m in 10.3 then he would continue the event along with the 200m, or he would go back to 400m along with 200m. In his 1st race itself he ran a 10.03 and as the cliche goes, the rest is history. Who knew that a bet would result in his winning the Olympic 100m gold a year later and ultimately become the 1st man to win 3 back to back 100m golds.

Bolt’s autobiography gives us lots of unknown gems like the above mentioned untold truth.

The book tells us why he put a finger on his lips while completing the 100m gold at the 2012 Olympics, which was to admonish Blake who had given the same gesture in an earlier event, as if to show that bolt was finished . It tells us about his lowest point of career which was disqualification for a false start at the 2011 World championships. He speaks about the potentially fatal car crash. He speaks about the popularity of Asafa. He speaks about the different approaches before major events of mega stars like Asafa, Gatlin and Blake. There are numerous such untold truths in this book which covers the period upto winning 6 Olympic gold medals.

A glimpse of a few important aspects covered by the autobiography are as follows;

His early years

Bolt as a kid was very much interested in cricket. His father told him that cricket being a team sport, the coach would play an important role in selection and while he may be the best he may still not make it. However in athletics it was he and his timings and if the timings were better than others he was through. This practical advice helped Bolt take the decision to discontinue cricket and concentrate on athletics alone. He was instantly a success, and even in school, his Principal used to schedule school meets on days Usain was away competing in International events, so that others have a chance.

Money

Bolt is clear that big money is a huge motivation. To earn big money one has to be really good and to make the most money, one has to be the best in the world. However, one does not become the best just like that, there is huge amount of hard work behind the success. His initial wish was to have enough money to buy a washing machine for his mom and a car for his dad, which was soon fulfilled, and was only the start of amazing things to come.

Partying

Bolt says he loved to party, with his philosophy of “to run fast, he needed to live fast too”. Hence he would love to dance and generally party. Sometimes he would bump into celebrities and they would come over which he admits, gave him a high. Once Didier Drogba did which he found great since he is a huge football fan. Once at a restaurant he bumped into Heidi Klum and Sandra Bollock who immediately recognized him and they chilled, hung out, talked, danced and sipped some champagne.

He says that often the media would misunderstand him and feel he was not serious, but on the contrary partying would help him unwind.

Training

Bolt had a abnormal curvature of the spine called as scholisis. In the early part of his career, when he did not know about it, he used to get injured every year. Later, his emphasis on strengthening the core and back helped him. He is very particular that every athlete was different and the training had to vary from person to person. Bolt changed his coach too for the same reason, since he was getting overworked. Accordingly he found a coach who understood him-and his body, and together they gave magical results.

Drugs and doping

Bolt is clear that his parents raised him to be competitive and win, but not at the cost of integrity. To stay away from trouble from doping tests, he was very careful about everything he ate and drank. He partied with cranberry juice. If he got sick, he refused to take medicines. If he caught a cough, he relied only on vitamin C. He says that whenever there was any scandal, he was tested, often by different authorities. He complied, delivered as many samples as authorities wanted, and passed all tests.

Carl Lewis

Interestingly, when Carl Lewis 1st spoke about his suspicions regarding Bolt, that time Usain did not know who he was, since Michael Johnson who was his 1st inspiration. He did not bother but when on someone’s advice he googled carl Lewis name and found he had 9 Olympic Golds , he was furious and cut loose at a press conference that he had no respect for carl lewis and Lewis was saying all this to get attention.

The book, which is upto 2013 ends with the words “Believe me, my time isn’t up yet”. Usain walked the talk and went on to win 3 more gold medals in the 2016 Olympics, making it a historic triple treble. Unfortunately, the perfect 9 became a 8 since due to the doping violation of Nesta Carter, the 4 x 100 m Jamaican relay team for 2008 Olympics was disqualified. Bolt will therefore remain a eight times Olympic Gold medallist.

Bolt certainly is the greatest sprinter of all time. His book is awesome, and i hope the glimpses given by me above encourage you to buy the book and read it. If u do so, I promise you its so well written, it will be a lightning bolt to the finish.

 

Roger Federer and the “Weak era” myth

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20 Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will be seen in action once the clay-court season is over. Considering that Federer won his 1st Grand slam when he was 22  it is incredible that at 37, he is not just a contender but among the favorites.

Federer’s breakthrough Grand Slam win was at the 2003 Wimbledon where he defeated Andy Roddick and Mark Phillippousis in the semis and the final. The next year he won 3 Grand Slams to be the 1st player since Mats Wilander in 1988 to win 3 Majors in a single year. 2004 also saw him as World Number 1 for the 1st time and in the period from 2004 to 2007, he won 11 Majors. Federer’s domination of world tennis led to this period being called a “weak era”.

Why a “weak era”. The two main reasons are his winning 11 out of 16 Grand Slam titles against various “weaker” contenders and overall having “weak” competition such as Marat Safin, Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian and Nikolay Davydenko.

Lets check out his Grand Slam Final opponents. In 2004 he won against Safin, Roddick and Hewitt. In 2005 he won against Roddick and Agassi, while he lost to Rafa and Safin in the semi-finals. In 2006 he won against Baghdatis, Roddick and Rafa and lost to Rafa. In 2007 he defeated Fernando Gonzales, Rafa and Novak Djokovic and lost to Rafa yet again.

Now let us analyse Federer’s performance against these players.

Safin, incidentally the tallest ever world number 1 handed Federer a defeat in the 2005 Australian Open, one year after losing to Roger. Thereafter Federer won each of their next 3 matches in the Majors in straight sets, suggesting that he had the measure of the giant Russian. . It is also pertinent that Safin has won US Open defeating Pete Sampras and Australian Open defeating Lleyton Hewitt, and had also helped Russia to two Davis Cup titles, which shows he in his own right was a strong player. His destroying Sampras at the US Open in 2000 against whom he has a positive 4-3 head-to-head also shows he certainly is not a weak player.

Roddick had a skewed 3-21 record versus Federer. However interestingly, the 1st Major they met at was the 2003 Wimbledon where it was Roddick who was the favorite. Even in 2004 Roddick was expected to be an even contender. However Federer destroyed him and took an unassailable psychological edge. Otherwise Roddick was certainly not a weak player, which is seen by his positive 5-4 head to head versus Novak Djokovic, including 4 straight wins in 2009-2010.

Hewitt had become the youngest Number 1 in the world in 2000 before he was 21. The 2001 US Open Champion and 2002 Wimbledon champion led Australia to 2 Davis Cups wins before he was 23. Hewitt in fact had a 7-2 head to head versus Federer, before Roger upped his game and won 16 of the next 18 matches to finish their career at 18-9. Interestingly Hewitt won 2 of their last 3 matches which shows that he was not a poor player, but Federer had read and analyzed his game to outclass him. The Hewitt-Rafa rivalry has the same pattern with Hewitt winning 4 of his 1st 5 matches before Rafa won the next 6 for a 7-4 career head-to-head. In the 2004-2007 period Hewitt defeated Rafa twice at the Australian Open and lost once at the French Open.

Agassi and Novak need no mention, and before we come to Baghdatis and Gonzales, lets quickly discuss a few of his other competitors in that period.

David Nalbandian and Roger Federer ended up with a 8-11 career head to head. David won their 1st 5 matches including 2 Grand Slam matches. Federer then pulled ahead and won 11 of the next 14, including one match each at the 4 Majors. Nalbandian had defeated Federer at both Australian as well as the US Open prior to 2004-2007, and then in this period Federer won all their 4 Grand Slam matches. At the 2005 year end tournament David was the winner. So how was he a weak opponent? In fact if one sees the Nadal-Nalbandian match up, one sees that Rafa lost his 1st 2 matches in 2007 and then won 5 in a row. The pattern is the same, a great player initially losing to a tough opponent, and then mastering him.

Nikolay Davydenko is a player most popularly quoted as the weak opponent faced by Federer during the “weak era”. Federer defeated him 12 times in a row, including two US Open and one  Roland Garros semifinals. Davydenko then won 2 matches versus Federer and then lost his final 7 against the Swiss magician.

Nikolay-Rafa makes for an interesting study.  Apart from Djokovic, Davydenko with 6-5 is the only player who has played more than 10 matches versus Rafa with a positive head to head. Rafa won 4 matches on clay and 1 on hard courts and lost 6 matches on hard courts to Nikolay. The 1-6 on hard court certainly enhances Federer’s 2 wins at the US Open semi finals.

Against Ferrero, Federer lost 3 of his 1st 5 matches, then won 8 consecutively, which shows that he took his time, then sorted out Ferrero. Now, in this period, of 2004-2007 Ferrero has 2 wins vs Nadal and these are his only 2 wins vs Rafa in a 2-7 head-to-head. This shows he certainly was not a weak opponent.

We now come to Baghdatis and Gonzales. Is 2 Finals out of 16 enough enough to label an entire era weak. Certainly not. Moreover before defeating Gonzales, Federer had defeated Novak and Roddick in the same tournament. Similarly Baghdatis to reach the final had defeated much higher ranked players like Roddick and Nalbandian and dangerous floaters like Stepanek and Gimelstob. Pertinent to mention that Nalbandian reached the semifinals by defeating Fabrice Santoro 7-5, 6-0, 6-0. Santoro in the circuit was considered a dangerous player as he had defeated top ten players 40 times which is a record for any non top ten player. This shows the form Nalbandian was in, and Baghdatis defeating him was highly creditable, but the great Roger Federer awaited.

The main point about “weak era” has therefore been addressed that opponents were actually not weak but due to vastly superior level of play Federer got the better of them, even in the case of those players who were defeating him earlier.

Further how can any era which has Rafa Nadal in it be a weak one ? In 2004 itself, in their 1st meeting Rafa defeated Federer at Miami. In 2005, he took a 2 set lead at Miami but Federer recovered to win the match in 5 sets. Rafa defeated Federer at the French Open in 2005, 2006 and 2007 French Open. In 2006 and 2007 they met in 8 finals, with Rafa winning in 7. In fact Rafa had an early 8-4 career head-to head lead by mid 2007, and Federer’s win in Wimbledon 2007 ( a hard fought 5 set win ) and Masters cup 2007 decreased it to 8-6. Therefore Rafa being very much part of 2004-2007 shows it was not a weak era.

Logically, if 2004-2007 was a weak era Federer should have longer winning streak than those of champions in other periods. Well, Federer’s longest streak was 41 matches in 2006-07 which along with Borg’s 41 match streak in 1980 is only the joint 5th longest winning streak in tennis history. Gullermo Vilas ( 46 in 1977), Ivan Lendl (44 in 1981-82), Novak Djokovic 43 in 2011-12 and Borg in 1978) and John Mcenroe ( 42 in 1984) have longer streaks. The weak era logic does not succeed on this point too.

Now, lets  have a look at players who have defeated Federer in the 2004-2007 period.

I propose a detailed analysis for 2004 and a brief look at the other 3 years. The1st to defeat Roger in 2004 was Tim Henman who had won 6 of his 1st 7 matches with Federer, before Roger won the next six. Federer also lost to 2002 French Open Champion Alberto Costa in the 2nd round of Rome Masters and to 3 time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros. Thereafter Slovakian Dominic Hrbaty upset him in the 1st round of Cincinnati Masters while Tomas Berdych won against him at the Athens Olympics. An important win in the year was over Guillermo Coria at Hamburg which ended the clay court giants 31 match winning streak.

In 2005 Federers lost to Marat Safin ( Australian Open), Richard Gasquet (Monte Carlo), Nadal ( French Open) and David Nalbandian ( Masters Cup). In 2006 Nadal won at the Dubai Open, Monte Carlo, Rome, and the French Open.  He lost to Andy Murray at Cincinnati.

In 2007 his loss to Guillermo Canas snapped a 41 match run. He also lost to Nadal ( Monte Carlo and French Open) and to Fillippo Volandri (Rome). Notably he defeated Rafa at the Hamburg finals, to end Rafa’s run of 81 consecutive wins on clay.

Thus analysis of losses show that apart from losses to the peerless Rafa and to champions like Kuerten and Costa, he has lost even to relatively unknown players like Volandri and Hrbaty. This shows that in competitive tennis, one needs to be at peak of performance all the time, in each and every match. It also shows that while wins are taken for granted, they actually are not as easy as they seem.

Interestingly, way back in 2006, Roger Federer had been asked what he thinks of the people who say his wins in the slams were due to weak competition. Roger had replied “To all those people i say pick up a racket and play against Nalbandian, Ljubicic, Safin or Moya. Domination is not about poor competition, its about making the difficult look easy”.

Just as Rafa’s domination on Clay is not because it is a weak clay-court era, but because he plays better than his opponents, similarly, Federer, at peak of his powers won in 2004-2007 because he was better, and not because it was a weak era. There were lesser Grand Slam champions in that era not because they were not good enough, but because he did not allow them to become Champions.

To conclude,  the era was not weak, but Federer with immaculate level of tennis got the better of most opponents. Even after 11 years of the era discussed , the King is still around, ranked 2 in the world and competing to win. Hence in 2004-2007, the era was not weak, it was a transitional era in which he seized the opportunity to not just win several Grand Slam tournaments and reach the number one rankings but establish a domination over his worthy competitors.

A Trivia journey of Madhuri Dixit’s top ten movies.

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Madhuri Dixit, one of India’s most loved actors ever has given us several blockbuster as well as critically acclaimed movies. Lets go on a trivia journey of ten of her best films.

Tezaab

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N Chandra gave Madhuri her 1st major hit. Her role of Mohini and her dance “Ek do teen” took the nation by storm and established her as a dancing star. Saroj Khan- Madhuri duo went on to give us numerous dance hits.

When Tezaab released, Madhuri had gone for a family vacation to USA. When she returned she was greeted at the airport by thousands of fans who kept on screaming “Mohini, Mohini”.

Ram Lakhan

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Subhash Ghai had shelved Devaa starring Amitabh and on the advice of Boney Kapoor made Ram Lakhan as it was expected to be commercially safe. This movie was loosely inspired by Deewar. It had Gulshan Grover in the role of Kesariya Vilayati with his dialogue “Bad man” which he repeated in many movies.

Dil

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Madhuri won her 1st Filmfare award for Dil, in which she plays a rich and spoilt girl. Originally it was a movie planned by Chandra Barot, who had made Don and had planned a movie starring Shashi Kapoor, Rohan Kapoor, Farha and Tabu. When it got shelved, Indra Kumar remade it as Dil with Amir and Madhuri.

Saajan

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In Saajan, Sanjay Dutt plays a lame poet named Aman or Sagar. Aman’s character is inspired by writer Reema Rakeshnath’s own life as she had broken her leg, and her doctor was concerned that no one would marry her. The original choice for the role of Aman was Amir who did not see himself connecting to the role. Sanjay got it and did a superb job. Madhuri plays the love interest opposite Sanjay and Salman.

Hum Aapke hain Koun

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The 1st Hindi movie to cross 100 crores, MF Hussain reportedly saw it 85 times and not only made several paintings on Madhuri, but also made the box-office disaster movie Gajagamini. This movie had 14 songs with Lata Mangeshkar singing 11 including “Didi tera devar deevaana” which is even now one of India’s favorite wedding songs. Reportedly later, after the movie’s release, Madhuri adopted Tuffy the dog.

Khalnayak

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Reportedly Subhash Ghai had wanted Nana Patekar to play the main role of a middle-aged villain but later had second thoughts as he wanted a misguided youth instead. This led to huge misunderstanding between Nana Patekar and Ghai.

Madhuri’s song “choli ke peeche” is the only song in film history where two singers namely Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun sharing the best singer award. The song was initially banned but later brought back after it was clarified that it was not meant to have a vulgar meaning.

Beta

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Beta was a huge hit winning Best Actor (female) award for Madhuri and Best actor (male) award for Anil Kapoor. Madhuri’s song , “Dhak dhak karne laga” is one of the all time popular songs and got Madhuri the nickname Dhak Dhak girl. The song is “inspired” from an Illaiyarajaa song featuring Sridevi and Chiranjeevi.

Parinda

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Starring Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri, this crime thriller had 2 of the most romantic songs in entire history of Hindi cinema. “Tum se mil ke” and “Pyar ke mod pe” were both enchanting duets of Suresh Wadkar and Asha Bhosle.

Parinda influenced many great filmmakers, including Ram Gopal Verma and Mahesh Manjrekar.

Devdas

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Sanjay Leela Bhanshali’s movie won 5 National Awards and 10 Filmfare awards. Madhuri’s role was of Chandramukhi, with SRK playing Devdas and Aishwarya Paro. Her dance “Kaahe Chhedd Mohe” was choreographed by none other than Pandit Birju Maharaj especially for Madhuri. Her saree weighed 30 kilos and it was a challenge which she accepted. Bhansali also took care to ensure that “Dola re Dola” was shot perfectly as it had both Madhuri and Aishwarya together.

Dil to Pagal Hai

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Karan Johar was SRK’s dress designer for this musical romance, which is Shiamak Davar’s 1st as a film choreographer. Juhi Chawla was supposed to play Karishma Kapoor’s role but she refused as she did not want to play a supporting role to Madhuri. Both Karishma and Madhuri are terrific dancers and SRK says that he had difficulty keeping up with Madhuri who was so considerate she would pretend the steps were difficult for her too.

Choosing ten movies was difficult as she has so many. Hope you liked this trivia journey.

A trivia journey through Aamir khan’s incredible career.

Image result for amir khan images“Mr Perfectionist” Aamir Khan has proved himself to be one of the most versatile and successful movie stars  in the history of Hindi film industry. He is one actor who has constantly reinvented himself and enjoys experimenting with different ideas, concepts and looks.

Interestingly the superstar himself says that “Mr Perfectionist” tag is not appropriate and he feels rather “Mr Passionate” will suit him better since for him what is more important is whether in a shot the heart of the moment has been captured rather than achievement of technical perfection. However costars and colleagues say that he indeed is Mr Perfectionist and give several examples such as (i) his rejecting 6 scripts of Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Lagaan and liking the 7th so much he decided to produce Lagaan himself (ii) hiring a Punjabi tutor to get the accent right for Rang de Basanti,  (iii) piercing his ears for Lagaan and so on.

Let us reminiscence some rare trivia on his career.

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His 1st day’s shooting of Qayamat se Qayamat tak (QSQT) was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Reportedly Aamir was disheartened as he thought its a false start. Well it certainly was not. Interestingly Juhi Chawla had been offered the role of Draupadi in BR Chopra’s Mahabharata, but she preferred to act in QSQT .

While generally it is believed that QSQT is Aamir’s 1st movie, it is actually not so. Ketan Mehta’s Holi was his debut film. He also acted in two movies, namely Yaadon ki Baraat and Madhosh as a child actor.

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From 1988 when Qayamat se Qayamat tak was released to Lagaan in 2001 Aamir had a normal career which thereafter took off spectacularly. He decided to do one movie at a time and that too different type movies. One blockbuster after another namely Dil Chahta hai, Mangal Panday, Rang de Basanti, Taare zameen par, 3 idiots, Talaash, Dhoom 3, PK,  Dangal and Secret Superstar followed and each one was a blockbuster hit.

For Lagaan, Preity Zinta, Sonali Bendre and Ameesha Patel were considered for the role of Gauri, but finally Gracy Singh got the role. Apparently Rani Mukherjee was supposed to act in it but did not have consecutive dates for the shooting. For the movie, Aamir being a perfectionist extensively studied Mihir Bose’s “The history of Indian Cricket” and also interacted with Sachin Tendulkar a lot as well. Aamir recollected later in an interview that during the preview of Lagaan, Sachin looked very tense during the final match.

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Aamir Khan can take personal credit for several 1sts. He created a market in China where his movies are very highly popular. His Dangal is a cultural phenomenon in China, so much so that the Hon’ble Chinese president Xi Jinping told our Hon”ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji that he’d seen the film and liked it. Aamir’s earlier 3 movies, Dhoom 3, PK and 3 Idiots had also been huge hits in China while Lagaan broke the monopoly of Hollywood movies by being the 1st Hindi film to be released nationwide as a revenue-sharing title.

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Aamir has always dealt with the pre release publicity of his movies in a different and most unusual way. in Ghazini he sported an unusual haircut and even cut others hair at a saloon in Delhi. For 3 Idiots he disguised himself and went throughout the country to interact with people.

For QSQT, he went around requesting autodrivers to paste posters of the movie. While many agreed, some refused and asked, who is Aamir Khan? Ironically that itself led to a super marketing idea and the film was marketed as “Who is Aamir Khan, Ask the girl next door.” For Taare Zameen Par, Khan did a live chat with parents and children across 45 stations of the Big FM network over nearly six hours. He toured colleges for 3 Idiots and for Talaash: The Answer Lies Within,  he visited nine cities across India with nine well known local crime reporters.

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Aamir’s next movie,  Thugs of Hindostan is releasing on Divali day in November 2018. It is going to be the 1st time he and Amitabh Bachchan will be sharing screen space together. As has been for the last several movies of Aamir it promises to be unique as it is on the little known Thuggee cult of professional robbers and murderers and both Aamir and Amitabh play the role of leaders of Thuggees. Thugs of Hindostan which is much awaited will definitely showcase his extraordinary talent.

Looking forward to see the two superstars in Thugs of Hindostan.

 

Happy Birthday Madhuri

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Madhuri Dixit is the only  Bollywood female actor to have a star named after her. A star located in the constellation Orion is named after Madhuri. Apart from her the only other Bollywood actor to have a celestial body named after him/her is superstar ShahRukh Khan. A lunar crater in the moon’s Sea of Tranquillity has been named after SRK.

What is it about Madhuri which sets her apart from other actors. Is it her smile, her looks or her acting . Is it her dancing, which legend Pandit Birju Maharaj calls the best in the industry . Madhuri indeed is different, and that is why in a male dominated industry, she is only one of the few lady actors who are superstars.

Today on May 15th, on her birthday, let us take a quick journey through her career and also reminiscence some rare trivia about her.

Madhuri, a trained Kathak dancer, had enrolled for a course in microbiology in Mumbai’s Parle College when she signed up for her 1st movie, Abodh.  It did not do well and it was  Tezaab which made her a star overnight. Anil Kapoor was fresh from his super hit Mr India, and he and Madhuri combined to make Tezaab the biggest hit of 1988. The song “Ek do teen….” became a blockbuster and apart from getting Alka Yagnik the best singer award established Madhuri as a dancer par excellence.

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Madhuri-Anil were a top pair who went on to act in as many as 15 movies together. Some of their huge hits and appreciated movies  were Ram Lakhan, Kishen Kanhaiya, Parinda and Beta. After Anil, maximum movies of Madhuri are ten in number with Sanjay Dutt while she has worked in 7 movies with Shahrukh, 4 with Salman and 3 with Amir.

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Dil, Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Dil to Paagal Hai are some of her biggest hits. Madhuri therefore has had hits with all superstars Anil, Amir, SRK, Salman and Sanjay Dutt. She was the highest paid female actor of her time and reportedly she was paid 2.7 crore for Hum Aapke hain Koun which was more than Salman’s remuneration. Madhuri has shared screen space with Amitabh Bachchan only once, in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and this movie marked a successful comeback for Amitabh.

Major Awards. 

Madhuri was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2008. The Government of Maharashtra honoured her with the Raj Kapoor Special Contribution Award in 2012.

Madhuri has had a record 16 nominations at the Filmfare Awards , a record she shares with Raakhee. However, Raakhee had 8 nominations each for Best actor (female) and Best supporting actor. However Madhuri had just 2 nominations for best supporting actor and as many as 14 nominations for Best actor, which is her own record.  Her dominance and popularity can be known from her being nominated for 8 years in a row from 1989 to 1996 including two nominations each twice.

Madhuri has received the best actor award four times for Dil, Beta, Hum Aapke hai Koun and Dil to Paagal Hai. She has also received best supporting actor for Devdas. In 1991 she also won the Filmfare Special Award for overall contribution.

Currently, Madhuri has successfully reinvented herself and wears many hats. She is a successful celebrity judge, she is involved in charitable activities and works for child and women’s rights. She works for conservation of Asian Elephants and other endangered species. She has been named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She indeed is an all-rounder.

Happy Birthday Madhuri.

Amitabh Bachchan-Rishi Kapoor;”Kabhi Kabhi” to “102 Not Out”

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Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor have always been a hit pair. They have now come together in 102 not out, where Rishi plays a grumpy 75 year son of Amitabh who at 102 is a chirpy teenager. Their last movie before this was Ajooba 27 years back.

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Lets go through a trivia journey of their movies together.

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Kabhi Kabhi  (1976), the 1st movie starring Amitabh and Rishi was a multistarrer  which also had Shashi Kapoor, Raakhee, Waheeda Rehman and Neetu Singh. This was an important film in Amitabh’s career as it presented him in a role very different from his angry young man image. The movie consolidated Rishi-Neetu hit pair as well, as it was just after their super hit Khel Khel Mein and Rafoo Chakkar.

Amar Akbar Anthony was the biggest hit of 1977. Rishi played Akbar while Amitabh played Anthony. The original name for Amitabh’s character was Anthony Fernandes but music directors Laxmikant-Pyarelal did not approve of the name and Pyarelal remamed it to Anthony Gonsalves after his violin teacher. In the song “My name is Anthony Gonsalves“, Amitabh speaks the famous dialogue “you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity” with an accent and this dialogue was inspired by Disraeli speaking about Gladstone. Amitabh won the best actor award for his role. Rishi and Vinod Khanna drew applause as well.

The song “Humko tumse ho gaya hai pyar kya kare” is the only song which has the 4 legendary playback singers Kishore Kumar,Mohd Rafi, Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar together. Kishore, Mukesh and Rafi sang for Amitabh, Vinod and Rishi while Lata sang for all the 3 heroines. During the song’s picturisation, Kishore who had deep respect for Lata remarked , “three singers are required for the three heroes, but to sing with the three singers, one Devi ( Goddess) is enough”.

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Naseeb was the next movie featuring Amitabh and Rishi. Vinod Khanna took a break from movies and hence he was replaced by Shatrughan Sinha, otherwise Manmohan Desai had wanted the 3 heroes of Amar Akbar Anthony in Naseeb as well. The song John Johnny Janardhan had cameo appearances by many actors playing themselves. Since it was a Manmohan Desai film so many stars agreed that Desai had to request Raj Kapoor to coordinate and manage them. The song “Chal chal mere bhai” showed the terrific chemistry between Amitabh and Rishi.

Coolie as a movie had the famous Amitabh fight scene where he got almost fatally injured. The entire country came to a standstill and millions prayed for the superstar. Apparently Coolie originally had a sad ending which was changed as it was felt that the audience would not accept Amitabh’s death after rejoicing his recovery in real life. Rishi’s name in Coolie too was Sunny, as it was in Naseeb. The song “Lambuji, lambuji, bolo tinguji” like “Chal chal mere bhai” once again showed the terrific chemistry between the duo.

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Ajooba in 1991 was the last movie Amitabh and Rishi starred in before 102 Not out. Amitabh plays a masked Zorro type hero in this fantasy. Neither Amitabh not Rishi took fees for this movie which Shashi Kapoor had primarily made to rescue himself from his financial issues. Shashi wanted Raj kapoor to direct the movie but due to his failing health he could not, and Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan convinced Shashi to direct it himself. Shashi wanted Sreedevi to act opposite Amitabh but as she had issues in adjusting dates, Dimple Kapadia acted opposite Amitabh, and she too waived her fees.

Hope u liked the trivia journey.

102 Not out is their latest movie, and hopefully it is not their last.

 

Amitabh; 40 years of Don and Trishul

Image result for don amitabh imagesExactly 40 years back, this week saw not just one but two blockbuster movies of Amitabh Bachchan released back to back. Trishul and Don which released on 5th May and 12th May 1978 respectively took the nation by storm. Lets celebrate the 40th anniversary of this “Amitabh week” with some rare trivia about these two super hit movies.

While all know that Shahrukh Khan had a remake of Don in 2006 ( Don, the chase begins) and a sequel as well in 2011 ( Don 2), a lesser known trivia is that the 1st remake of Don was in 1979 itself in Telugu by legend N.T.Rama Rao (NTR), called Yugandhar. There was also a Tamil remake by legend Rajnikant called Billa. Helen repeated her Don role in Billa. 

The producer of the movie, Nariman Irani was in severe financial problem. Amitabh, Zeenat , Pran and director Chandra Barot decided to help him. They approached Salim-Javed who gave them a rejected script. Sadly, Irani died before the film was complete but it was a big hit and his widow was given the profits so that she could pay off her husband’s debts.

Tanzania based Chandra Barot left the country for London due to safety reasons amidst political turmoil. He was a banker with Barclays Bank and had visited his sister in Mumbai, only to stay on in India. Don was his only major movie.

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Barot’s mentor was Manoj Kumar, whom he had assisted for Purab aur Paschhim. Barot, showed the script of Don and Manoj suggested adding the song “Khaike Pan banaras wala” as he thought the script was too tight. The song itself was originally planned for Dev Anand’s Banarasi Babu but was edited out. It was probably destined to be filmed on Amitabh and is an integral memory for us. The song played a big part in making the movie a hit.

Yeh mera dil” is a super hit song of Don. This inspired the rap group “Black eyed peas” for their Grammy winning song “Don’t phunk with my heart“. Kalyanji Anandji were honoured for this rare achievement of a Hindi song inspiring a Grammy winning song.

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If remake of Don had legends NTR, Rajnikant and superstar SRK, Trishul was remade in a movie starring legend Kamal Hassan. Trishul played an important role in reinforcing Amitabh’s image as angry young man, along with other landmark movies like Zanjeer, Deevaar, Sholay and of course Don. 

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Amitabh-Sanjeev Kumar confrontation is one of the important aspects of the movie, and while Amitabh indeed had an author backed role, one must accept that Sanjeev Kumar held his own against the superstar.

Trishul also starred Raakhee. Shashi Kapoor and Hema Malini featured as a romantic pair. Songs were a highlight of the movie. One particular song “Mohabbat bade kaam ke cheez hai” brought together 3 legends, Kishore Kumar, Yesudas and Lata.

Trishul is the first Hindi movie to mention a computer which was unknown in India in 1978. In the movie, Shashi Kapoor called Raakhee a computer.

This was Poonam Dhillon’s debut movie. She and Sachin had a very lovable and a huge hit song “Gapoochi gapoochi gam gam” in the movie. In Bigg Boss season 3, which is the only season of Bigg boss which was hosted by Amitabh, Poonam Dhillon said that in Trishul there was a scene where she falls down and Amitabh takes her in his arms and drops her home. Her friends used to tease her and ask her how it was to be in the superstars arms.

To end  the Don and Trishul Trivia, for best actor award, Amitabh Bachchan in Trishul lost out to none other than Amitabh Bachchan in Don.

Happy 40th anniversary Trishul and Don.

This Blog has been published by both top Bollywood site Koimoi.com and leading daily Pragativadi