Posts tagged airport
Amisha Patel’s luggage was thrown around at the airport en route to Kolkata. She has filed a complaint
Amisha Patel’s jaunt to Kolkata for a professional commitment yesterday morning turned out to be her worst nightmare. Amisha was allegedly mistreated by airport security staff, leaving her indignant. She has now written a formal letter to the head of the security staff at the airport complaining about the same.
An eye witness said, “Amisha was at the security check around seven in the morning when she had an altercation with a woman at the security check. Amisha was polite but the lady was extremely rude; when Amisha asked for a tray to place her bag in, the lady threw her bag. Amisha told her that the least she could do is smile and be polite. However the lady was in a grumpy mood and gave Amisha a piece of her mind.
Amisha was so annoyed that she went to speak to the head of the security staff. Here she was given an explanation that the lady had been working night shifts and was thus grumpy.
When Amisha requested that the least she could have done was to be polite, she was told that the security staff has an army background and so they are rude.
Amisha insisted that she would complain against the lady who was rude to her and wrote about this incident and gave it to the security guard.”
The eye witness further wrote, “Amisha was seen talking to the officials of the airline which she was traveling with and they also voiced her opinion that the security staff was extremely rude. Amisha though expressed her doubts if the letter would do any good.”
When contacted Amisha Patel said, “I don’t wish to comment on the incident.”
Is Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai about him or not? Read this life-sketch of the legendary smuggler and check for yourself
For Bollywood scriptwriters who tend to seek inspiration from the underworld, Haji Mastan would be hard to resist. Movies like Deewar and Mukkadar Ka Sikandar were loosely based on the life of this smuggler.
As Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai is all set to release next week – with a disclaimer as directed by court - we put together the stories from the life behind the legend.
Contrary to his eulogised figure in movies, Mastan was no dreaded don or gangster. He had never killed a man or shot a bullet in his entire life. He was merely a smuggler with money and connections. What turned him into our Don Corleone was his penchant for exhibition - of power in Robin Hood style and of luxury in the company of the glamour world.
|Haji Mastan with Sona, a starlet he fancied, financed movies for and later married|
Haji Mastan was born Mastan Haider Mirza on March 1, 1926 in Panaikulam village near Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.
His father, an impoverished farmer, migrated to Mumbai with Mastan in 1934. They ran a small cycle-repair shop near Crawford Market that barely fed the family.
As Mastan toiled through the day at the shop, Mumbai’s cruel wealth whizzed past him in luxury cars and beamed through the posters of art-deco film theatres. No wonder, he started nursing fantasies of breaking out of his circumstances.
In 1944, Mastan joined the Bombay docks as a porter - a job that turned his life on its head. Unloading cargo that came from Aden, Dubai, Hong Kong and other cities, amiable Mastan, developed good relationships with much of the staff and officers, and most importantly, regular travellers.
Because of heavy taxes on electronic goods, gold and silver, there was room for smuggling. This is where Mastan came in.
Retired ACP Isaque Bagwan, who saw the rise and fall of Haji Mastan, recalls, “People who came back from Haj brought electronic items like transistors and watches. Some of them even brought gold biscuits. Mastan helped them smuggle these items out of the port by hiding them in his clothes, headband or underwear. He was well rewarded.”
Mastan’s adopted son Sunder Shekhar, 54, shares a dramatic story of how his father earned the trust of the hajis and regular travellers. “A man was trying to smuggle gold biscuits with the help of my father.
|In the ’80s, Mastan had formed the Dalit Muslim Suraksha Mahasangh with Dalit leader Jogendra Kawade|
While my father managed to sneak out with the biscuits, the man was caught. After three years of imprisonment, when he came out, my father returned him all the gold. That man never did business with anyone but my father after that.”
The big game, however, started when Mastan came in contact with Daman’s fisherman-turned-smuggler Sukur Narayan Bakhia in the mid ’50s. Both became partners and smuggled gold and electronic items from Dubai and Aden.
By mid ’60s, Mastan had become rich and powerful, thanks to underworld friends like Karim Lala and Varadrajan Mudaliar and politicians who hobnobbed with him because of his influence over Mumbai’s Muslim voters. “Sanjay Gandhi never missed the opportunity to visit daddy, when he came to Mumbai,” says Sunder.
|Mastan with underworld don Karim Lala. Both were good friends|
Mastan was almost out of bounds for the law. However, there was one Customs officer who gave him a tough time. When Mastan could not buy his integrity, he got him transferred.
When the officer was leaving the city in a flight, a gloating Mastan went to the airport, climbed the flight ladder and waved the officer goodbye. “That was the clout and confidence that Mastan had in the ’70s,” says former DGP T Singarvel, who was in Mumbai at that time.
He adds, “Even when he was arrested in 1974, the two officers who arrested him gave him king’s treatment at a night halt in Kolhapur, with Mastan dressed in impeccable whites enjoying bowls of dry fruits. His arrest itself came after then union minister of state for finance sat on a dharna in Delhi.”
Since mid ’60s Baitul Surur, Mastan’s palatial bungalow on Warden Road in South Mumbai also saw a constant stream of stars.
“During ’70s, daddy had excellent relationship with Dharmendra, Firoz Khan, Raj Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar and Dilip Kumar. Salim and Amitabh often visited him while Deewar was in the pipeline,” says Sunder.
|All his life, Mastan lived in a 15×10 feet room on the terrace of his plush bungalow on Warden Road||Mastan when he was young|
Mastan married a starlet called Sona and financed a few films for her. However, neither Sona’s career as an actress nor his as a filmmaker took off. “His films either bombed or never saw the light of day,” says Sunder.
With these indulgences, Mastan was also trying to shake off his past -poverty and infamy. “He wore designer suits, ties and his hair was neatly combed back. He had a Mercedes Benz, plush with TV and radio, and puffed 555 cigarettes. If someone spoke to him in English, he would just keep saying: ‘Yeah, yeah’,” says Sunder.
The 18-month incarceration during Emergency, however, took the wind out of Mastan’s sails. He became increasingly scared of the law. Surrendering to Janata Party leader Jayaprakash Narayan, he quit smuggling. He went on a haj and started prefixing his name with Haji, which means ‘devout Muslim’.
While he held janata darbars in his heydey, in the late ‘70s, he went on a social work overdrive. “He doled out money to the needy or solved their problems through his influence. There used to be a queue in front of the bungalow every day for food,” says Sunder.
|Mastan with his son Sunder and actor Sunil Dutt|
In early ’80s, he made political forays by teaming up with Dalit leader Jogendra Kawade and formed the Dalit Muslim Suraksha Mahasangh, which was as unsuccessful as his films.
Before his death due to cardiac arrest in 1994, Mastan had started spending more and more time with his family, which he had ignored before. “Once he took me to our native place by train. He sat by the window like a child looking at hills and rivulets and animatedly calling our attention,” says daughter Shamshad.
Despite all his efforts, people didn’t accept him either as a filmmaker or as a politician. People liked him as the smuggler who played godfather. Mastan struggled to shake off this image, which Bollywood has since lapped up.
Bipasha Basu recalls shooting in the troubled Valley
Anshul Chaturvedi | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 18, 2010)
As Srinagar grabs the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again, and the J&K authorities refuse permission for Lamhaa’s premiere in the embattled capital of Kashmir, Bipasha Basu has a sense of deja vu. Not a happy one, though. “Just landing and driving from the airport to the hotel seems out of a film script when you see it for the first time. The number of armed men on the roads, the checkpoints, vantage posts — the very atmosphere can be unnerving,” she recollected.
We heard a lot about her having a tough time, leaving the city midway through shooting. How much of that is true? “Oh, some days were tough, very scary, oppressively so,” said Bips. “In Anantnag, I was as worried about the jawans’ overenthusiasm as I was about the crowd that was increasingly getting restless and hostile. There was this narrow stretch and I remember thinking, God, I must be the only woman amidst a thousand men here, and I definitely don’t think we have enough security. The atmosphere was heating up, and then suddenly stones began flying. I didn’t wait for anyone, I just RAN to the car with the spotboy and make-up artiste, and locked it from inside, and asked the driver to take us back to the hotel rightaway. But getting out was not easy — there were stones being hurled, people hurling themselves onto the car, jostling and pushing. I honestly thought I’d die there itself, something would happen for sure. Thankfully, we got back in one piece.”
It was after six such days of endless stress and no shooting that the actress said, “Please see how we can get this going, get Sanju here, get the security in place, and then I’ll come…. When it was all in place, after the elections, I went back for shooting, and it was much more peaceful as compared to the first time round. Today, when I see what’s happening in Srinagar on TV, read about the clashes, the violence, the curfew, I understand that it is on the edge, we couldn’t have had normalcy for a premiere there.”
Does Bipasha look at any specific roles that’d define her legacy, especially the intense, non-masala ones such as this one? Her response was disarmingly honest, “I couldn’t care what anyone thought about my legacy once I am through with the industry. I work for today, I enjoy what I am doing, but I am so not concerned with things like what will be my place in the industry X years from now. When someone says you will be remembered as the sex symbol of the industry in this era, I shrug it off and move on. Does it matter? It’s not as if I don’t care about what I am doing — but I’ll not think about it when I am not doing films. That’s the way I am.”
Is this detached mode a legacy of the modelling life — step off the ramp, forget the show? “No, I was hardly detached then — I hated modelling! I completely hated it. I got into it very early, so at 17 or so I enjoyed the visibility, the money, the travelling — the one redeeming feature — and I also got to meet some good people. But by 19, I was like, God, what am I doing here? So I think I was lucky that I got the chance to enter movies at that time when I was offered Ajnabee, and within a year or so, I realised that here was a profession that I enjoyed and I’d like to do more of it. And, well, I’ve been here since!”
It’s likely to be on Wed, at John’s penthouse in Bandra
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 5, 2010)
After the action in Dehradun over the weekend, the excitement is going to shift to Mumbai. And, BT has it that John Abraham and Bipasha Basu, who are Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s closest friends in Mumbai, are going to be holding a party for the newly-married Team India captain at John’s duplex penthouse apartment in Sea Glimpse building, Bandra Bandstand.
This party, a sort of reception for Dhoni and his new bride Sakshi (Singh Rawat), may happen on Wednesday, July 7, which is also the cricketer’s birthday.
Bipasha, who was shooting in Diu for Priyadarshan’s Aakrosh yesterday, could not accompany John to Dehradun for the wedding, because the couple (like everybody else, including Dhoni’s cricketing teammates) got short notice. John himself, who spoke to BT from the Dehradun airport, had no idea that he was heading for the ceremony. “I just got a call from Mahi saying, ‘Bro, please come’… and I rushed off,” said the Bollywood hunk who did not find the time to even pick up a gift for his buddy. Bipasha was attending to that.
She and John are both returning to Mumbai tomorrow, he has to report on the sets of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Saat Khoon Maaf, and Dhoni and Sakshi are slated to come to the city on Wednesday after a brief stopover in Delhi. As to who will be invited to the party at John’s home, according to Bipasha, only people close to them with whom Dhoni is comfortable. Apparently, the swashbuckling cricketer is a very private and reticent man, he doesn’t know too many people in Mumbai. “But he is a big fan of Ajay Devgn’s,” revealed Bips. The Bollywood couple have been on foursome dates with Dhoni and Sakshi before and are pleased at the marriage. John gave his friend’s choice a thumbs up. “Sakshi is a nice girl, very sweet… damn cute and pretty, a small town girl with good middleclass values, she is perfect for Dhoni. In our industry, he’d be devoured, he’s such a wonderful and amazing person,” said John yesterday from Dehradun. While Bips added from Diu, “I’m over the moon. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Mahi and Sakshi are getting together.”
By Taran Adarsh, July 1, 2010 – 16:01 IST
The first thing that attracts you to I HATE LUV STORYS is its title. Let’s face it, we adore love stories… at least I do. We idolise the characters decades after the movies have come and gone. The songs that come on our lips instantly while playing a game of antakshri are romantic songs as well. In fact, the biggest moneyspinners, let’s face it, have been love stories, right? So how can we ‘hate’ a love story?
No matter how mushy or cheesy they are, we find love stories irresistible because of the tremendous rush we experience at the end. Some of us are big suckers for love sagas, aren’t we? That’s precisely the reason why this title [I HATE LUV STORYS] nagged me no end every time I watched the promo of this film.
Helmed by first-timer Punit Malhotra, I HATE LUV STORYS is typical candyfloss romance with a story that’s not jaw-droppingly different, let me forewarn you. But if you’re young at heart or a diehard and hopeless romantic, you’d lap up I HATE LUV STORYS like a kid laps up his fav candy.
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM
Now to the vital question: If I HATE LUV STORYS rests on a thin plot, what is it that drives the film for the next two hours? My answer to that is, four factors: The fresh pairing and chemistry between the lead cast, tremendous youth appeal, terrific music and magical moments that make a love story work.
Final word? The makers have never claimed that I HATE LUV STORYS will change the face of Hindi cinema. Nor did they ever claim that I HATE LUV STORYS will change the mindset of the viewer towards romantic films. So let’s sit back and enjoy the fun ride. This one’s by the youth, for the youth. It’s this age-group that would come out smiling, cheering and rooting for this prem kahani.
‘I hate love stories’ is the maxim Jay [Imran Khan] lives by. But as an assistant director to Veer [Samir Soni], the most famous romantic film-maker of Indian film industry, Jay has little option but to live with larger than life, glossy, cinematic love on an everyday basis. Things only get worse when he is made to work under the new production designer on the film, Simran [Sonam Kapoor], with whom he shares the strangest first encounter.
Simran loves love stories, so much so that even her life has begun to resemble one. With her ideal job and the perfect boyfriend Raj [Samir Dattani], she lives a blissful, dreamy life. One that is rudely interrupted by Jay’s cynicism.
Writer-director Punit Malhotra wins Round 1 by casting the right actors in the roles of Jay and Simran. In fact, it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the casting is the trump card of this film. But what Punit ought to know by now is that every story ought to have a strong grip to keep your attention arrested for the next two hours. In this case, the film rests on a waferthin plot, with not much movement in the story in the first hour. In fact, the story barely moves in the first part.
Yes, post-interval, the story does gather momentum and though you’re well aware of the journey and what the culmination will be like, you don’t mind the ride because you can’t take your eyes off Imran and Sonam. Also, a love story works if one pines for the on-screen lovers and in I HATE LUV STORYS, you genuinely want the duo to sort things out, which means that you’re involved in their lives. Even the finale – it won’t be fair on my part to reveal how this movie concludes – may be filmy or cliched, but let’s face it, it works.
Let me draw parallels with another love story, also starring Imran Khan. Recall the finale of JAANE TU YA JAANE NA, which had Imran riding a horse to reach his sweetheart [Genelia] at the airport. I distinctly recall, a lot of people found the end bizzare and rightly so. Can you imagine anyone galloping to the international airport in Mumbai? But I was truly surprised when I learnt that the youth were whistling and clapping all through. The finale is different here [no horses, please] and you exit the auditorium with a smile on your face.
Director Punit Malhotra is heavily inspired by Mills & Boon novels and several Bollywood films… love stories all. But like I pointed out earlier, Punit needs to polish his writing skills, although the director in him bails the writer out and takes the film to a different level. The sequences between Imran and Sonam are well penned, but the ones between Sonam and her parents or Sonam and Samir Dattani are half-baked. Directorially, Punit shows super-confidence in moulding the two actors in their respective parts, so much so that you get sucked into Jay and Simran’s world after a while.
A love story ought to be embellished with a lilting score – that’s a compulsion – and Vishal-Shekhar are in true form this time. The score is trendy, energetic and beyond fantastic and what’s more, it’s already a rage. In fact, the musical score only takes the movie a step ahead. Ditto for Salim-Sulaiman’s background score, which matches the mood to the T. Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is awesome. The ace DoP proved his credentials in KITES recently and with I HATE LUV STORYS, he should find himself entrenched in the top bracket. The styling [Manish Malhotra] is top notch.
Imran enacts his part effortlessly. Though the role doesn’t demand histrionics, you keep reacting to Imran because of the magnetism he radiates. The devilish streak in his character is sure to appeal to the youth. Besides, Imran has been photographed and presented very well. Sonam is a revelation. From salwars [SAAWARIYA, DELHI 6] to skirts in I HATE LUV STORYS, Sonam finally gets a role that does justice to her as an actress. The ease and class with which she carries off the glam look is fantastic. She’s like a whiff of fresh air and you actually wonder, is she the same girl from SAAWARIYA and DELHI 6? In fact, I HATE LUV STORYS will only multiply Imran and Sonam’s fan base manifold.
Samir Dattani is decent, although his role gets sidelined as the story moves forward. Samir Soni’s character reminds you of a certain hi-profile director and he plays the part extremely well. Kavin Dave, as Imran’s buddy, is first-rate and steals the show in several scenes. Aamir Ali is perfect, while Pooja Ghai doesn’t get scope to deliver. Bruna Abdullah looks sensuous and adds to the glam quotient. Ketaki Dave [Sonam's mother] is wasted. Anju Mahendru [Imran's mother] is adequate.
On the whole, I HATE LUV STORYS is a young and vibrant love story with tremendous appeal for the yuppies. The fresh pairing and the on-screen electrifying chemistry, the lilting musical score and the magical moments in the film should attract its target audience – the youth – in hordes. If you’re young or young at heart, this one’s for you!
By Akela (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 06, 2010)
Film actress Mugdha Godse on Wednesday allegedly smashed her car into the car of a bank executive near Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Versova.
Incidentally, she tried to run away. The executive, Madhukar Lahkar, 32, was going to his Lokhandwala residence in his Honda Civic when the accident took place. Lahkar chased Godse’s car and stopped her.
Lahkar’s wife Geetanjali alleged that instead of apologising, the actress said, “I do not talk to people like you. You should talk to my personal assistant.”
The Versova police said the incident occurred around 10 pm. “I was returning from the airport after receiving my wife. I was trying to take a left turn when suddenly a Skoda rammed into the front left of my car. Before I could gather myself, the driver tried to speed away. I chased the car for about 200 metres, overtook it and forced the car to stop. I saw Godse at the wheel,” Lahkar said.
The actress allegedly did not roll down her window at first, but when the Lahkar couple insisted, a visibly shaken Godse opened the door and shouted, “Main keede makodo se baat nahi karti. Talk to my PA.” It was then that the Lahkar couple called the police control room. The police reached the spot within five minutes and took Godse and the couple to Versova Police Station.
At the time of going to press, the two parties were still trying to resolve the matter. API S A Patel said, “It was not a major accident. Both Godse and the Lahkars are still here. No complaint has been filed as yet.”
|Godse outside Versova Police Station on Wednesday (Pic: Raju Shinde)|
Some would call it a schizophrenic existence but Satish Kaushik who straddles cinema at both extremes of the drama spectrum is unfazed.
If on the one hand he has done over-the-top desi comedy characters with such outlandish names as Calender, Pappu Pager, Airport, Muthuswamy and Kunj Bihari and directed melodramatic mainstream films like Tere Naam ( 2003) Badhaai Ho Badhaai (2002), Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001) Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000), Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain (1999), on the other he has a growing fan base overseas with stellar and underplayed performances in Brick Lane (2007) and Road, Movie (2010).
He treasures the fact that when Robert De Niro met him at the Berlin Film Festival recently he walked upto him saying, he (De Niro) had seen his work in Brick Lane and would love to some day work with him. And yet, he is aware that mainstream cinema needs larger than life characters and is proud his comedy is appreciated by not just urban audiences.
Satish and Dev Benegal have fulfilled an old commitment by working together on Road, Movie. “Dev was an assistant on Shyam Benegal’s Mandi and right then he had told me he wanted to work with me one day,” says Satish. Talking about his character, Satish describes him as representing experience, a man who knows about everything be it the police, films, relationships, projectors or trucks. He is one of the three people Abhay Deol encounters as he tours Rajasthan with his touring cinema.
With two international films under his belt now, Satish Kaushik is poised to take advantage of Hollywood’s new interest in Bollywood following Slumdog Millionaire and Anil Kapoor’s success as a television actor. He is finalising an agent in LA and has taken time off to think, read and write before deciding what it is he wants to pursue next. But this Satish knows for sure, he can straddle both the worlds with ease, like any good actor should be able to.
A persistent Rahul Mahajan insisted that his co-passenger Amitabh Bachchan should show up at his wedding
Passengers travelling by the 7.15 am flight to Delhi yesterday were witness to an amusing exchange between Rahul Mahajan and Amitabh Bachchan.
On spotting the superstar, Mahajan went up to him and touched his feet to seek his blessings. Bachchan acknowledged the gesture, but he wasn’t about to get off lightly as it was not over for Mahajan.
An eyewitness said, “Suddenly, Mahajan held Bachchan’s feet and said, ‘Aapko meri shaadi mein zaroor aana hai. Aaoge na?’” This time, Amitabh was visibly embarrassed. He did not reply, but managed a faint smile. However, Rahul persisted with his invitation. After all, how often do you bump into the Big B where he can be cornered with such ease?
Mahajan confirmed that he met Bachchan on Monday morning. Speaking from Delhi, where he said he had gone for some personal work, Mahajan said, “I met Mr Bachchan and hugged him. Actually, I met him in the bus, which takes you from the runway to the airport. We met very warmly. I know Mr Bachchan and I have interacted with him before when I worked with him for the Vijay concert in Srinagar (to celebrate the Kargil victory). And he and Jayaji had even visited my dad when he was in the hospital. Yes, I invited him to my wedding.”
Mahajan also admitted that he had pursued Bachchan to attend the celebration.
And what was Bachchan’s reply? Will he attend the finale of Rahul Dulhania Le Jayega slated for March 6? Mahajan replied, “He nodded. And yes, I am going to take a formal invitation to his house around February 20. I told him that I would seek an appointment for the same from his secretary.”
We took the opportunity to ask Mahajan if he had developed a special liking towards any of the last four contestants who want to be his bride. Mahajan quipped, “As if I would tell you. But honestly, no.”
It isn’t easy spending almost all your married life explaining that your son has Asperger’s Syndrome. Now aged 35, he is a senior correspondent with a news agency, after graduating from St. Xavier’s College with Economics and Sociology and also securing a distinction in English at ICSE.
His achievements have mainly come about due to his cooperation in the interventions my husband Yorrick and I chose for him since he was three years old.
With problems faced by dyslexics portrayed in Taare Zamin Par, followed by progeria (Paa), it appeared that it wouldn’t be too long before Bollywood explored the idea of using asperger’s syndrome to promote a story.
Knowing the formulaic nature of the brand, I went to watch My Name Is Khan with mixed feelings and emerged with one question: Who did SRK model himself on?
The main intention of the film is clearly to highlight the plight of Muslims post 9/11. It appears that given the current scenario, everything is grist to the current Bollywood mill. Hence the introduction of a hero afflicted by Asperger’s Syndrome to heighten the travails of the underdog as hero.
However, the complexities of the disorder have been twisted to suit the plot. It is clear that the film-maker has only a vague idea of this complex condition. In the film SRK as Rizwan faces a double bias post 9/11 - having AS and being a Muslim. It is a very complicated situation and has to be dealt with sensitively by doing justice to both predicaments.
One is a human disability issue and the other, an important political issue. Cinema evokes powerful responses and can act as an engaging medium to draw attention to serious issues, to anguish and suffering, when handled with depth as has been done, for instance, in A Beautiful Mind, My Left Foot and indeed our own Taare Zamin Par. However, MNIK uses AS to push the point about religious prejudice.
AS, with its features of oddness immediately draws attention. Yet, it is Rizwan’s soft chanting of prayers that draws a co-passenger’s attention, following which he is taken aside to be thoroughly frisked at an international airport. An identity card showing him to be ‘autistic’ is found on his person and he’s subsequently released only to miss his flight.
There is no evidence of an identity card at the time of his arrest when he goes to meet the President much later in the film. This, after he’s been taken for counseling by his sister-in-law who recognises signs of the syndrome. Consistency is not one of the film’s strong points. Also, it is not clear how he manages to get an American visa on his own and navigate the customs at the airport.
There are many instances in the film that reveal the confusion in portraying the central character. From his verbal and body language, he demonstrates traits of autism, autistic ‘savants’, high functional autism and asperger’s syndrome.
At several points in the film, SRK is probably so focused on his interpretation of the asperger’s look that he appears blind as well. But asperger’s syndrome is on the high-end of the spectrum, so adults have a less aloof expression. There is a good deal of significant difference in the spectrum.
The one thing that evokes immediate sympathy is the character of Ammi. She’s poor but with compassion, rejoices in her son’s abilities. Her belief in her son sustained by prayers and deep human values which underpin the courage with which she copes with harsh reality, resonate with me.
Parental and familial support is the prime reason for success in the lives of people with AS. Sibling animosity is commonly acknowledged and here it’s an authentic portrayal. The next close relationship Rizwan has is with Mandira. This is the USP of the film. Sadly, the film shows inadequate knowledge of the stresses of such relationships in real life. AS is marked by impairment in social interaction inevitably leading to an inability to enter into and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships.
Case studies reveal that the non-AS spouse has to cope with additional roles including those of caregiver, mentor, advocate and executive secretary! The viewer may be won over by Kajol’s proven skills and gamine charm but serious questions remain. Although a good many ‘pretty women’ prefer personality over looks while choosing a partner, very few will choose one who’s got a visible personality disorder.
A prominent feature of AS is above-average talent in a special area. Rizwan is good at repairing machines. In one of the best scenes, a very young Rizwan, covered in grime, is happily sorting through used car parts in a junkyard before being chased out. His aptitude is strangely ignored by his brother when he employs him as a salesman in his cosmetics business.
There we go again! Their lack of social skills make them “back-office boys”. They are by definition not ‘marketers’. Resourcefulness of the kind displayed by Rizwan when he emerges as the hero who helps people when Cyclone Katrina hits Georgia, is exaggerated. In such a scenario, it’s highly unlikely that he would be an organiser.
The film glosses over genuine difficulties with spontaneous communication which impacts their social interaction. Individuals with AS are also known to be uncommunicative; Rizwan talks too much.
He is very well-groomed for the part as well. Those afflicted with AS really cannot be bothered about their appearance.
Finally, there’s the major problem when arrested by the police for declaring “My name is Rizwan Khan and I’m not a terrorist”. Research shows that individuals on the autism spectrum are seven times more likely to come into contact with police.
Typical manifestations of the disorder such as an inability to empathise, impulsive behaviour, over-frankness and a lack of understanding of the outcome of situations, may be misunderstood by law enforcement authorities with serious consequences.
The awareness of such difficulties has led parents and care-givers to form support groups in the US and many other countries which have succeeded in putting in place disability laws which protect the rights of this vulnerable segment of the population.
Strangely, none of this kind of restraint is shown when Rizwan is arrested till the media highlights his plight. This heartbreaking experience points the way to the direction in which our own legislation should move.
Notwithstanding all its inadequacies as far as research about the condition and portraying the disability goes, the film has several endearing moments for which this team (KJo, SRK and Kajol) is known for.
By Subhash K. Jha, February 1, 2010 – 11:51 IST
She came, she shot and she sneaked out of Mumbai on Friday night on a flight to New York, traumatized by the experience of making a film on the life of a sex worker.
Lucy Liu came and shot her 30-minute film entitled Meena for ten days in Mumbai and tried to sneak out of Mumbai on Friday night as quietly as possible.
Says a source, “Lucy shot her film right until Friday evening then rushed to the airport to escape all media attention. She had to return to New York for another film. Then she had to edit her Mumbai film entitled Meena and submit it by mid-2010.”
According to an actor in the film, “Lucy is painfully shy of the press. Plus this was her first film as a director, and it was on a very sensitive subject.”
Lucy’s film was on the subject of prostitution. According to a source, “The film inspired by Meena’s tale as told in the book ‘Half The Sky’ is about a real-life sex worker Meena Haseena who at the age of 10, was abducted from her village in Bihar and brought to Mumbai. Meena grew up in a brothel. After escaping from the brothel, Meena made it her life’s mission to help as many of her sex-worker colleagues to escape from a life of prostitution as possible.”
The irony that moved Lucy Liu was that Meena couldn’t manage to rescue her own daughter from a life of prostitution.
Says an actor from the film, “It took Meena 14 years to rescue her own daughter from prostitution. As Lucy shot this sensitive film, she’d often burst into quiet sobs in corner. The real story is so searing and brutal we all were traumatized. There was a 13-year old girl playing Meena’s daughter. And the ambience was especially sensitive for her. You can’t blame Lucy for wanting to finish shooting and leave quietly.”
Tannishtha Chatterjee who plays Meena Haseena met the real Haseena several times.
Says the source, “Meena was a consultant on the project throughout. Tannishtha and Lucy met Meena several times and Meena was on the sets supervising the proceedings.”
For the sequences showing Meena daughter Naina’s rescue attempts, Tannishtha had to perform several dangerous stunts, climbing up walls jumping down buildings, running and slipping as she was chased by goons.”
Says Tannishtha, “All I can say is, I’m battered and bruised both emotionally and physically after doing the film. Working with Lucy Liu and that too on a project of very high realism, just shattered me.”