Posts tagged art
Image courtesy: Prasad Naik
Being a small-town 17-year-old from Bhambla in Himachal Pradesh didn’t stop this stunner from taking on Bollywood. Waiting in her vanity van to front the camera for Knock Out, her latest movie with Sanjay Dutt and Irrfan Khan, where Kangna plays a crime journalist – today’s Kangna is confident, composed and totally at ease with being ‘real’.
Excerpts from the interview:
What made you become an actor?
I was restless when I was 15/16. I was pursuing science but I was more attracted towards art. So I started pursuing theatre. Thereon, I also tried modelling because people kept harping that I looked different. I signed up with a modelling agency and took it quite seriously. Unfortunately, modelling didn’t take me very seriously! I figured that in India, modelling is only something you can be happy doing part-time. In the mean time, I was pursuing theatre and my guruji, Arvind Gaur encouraged me a lot. I started giving auditions for movies. The truth is even if I wasn’t selected for Anurag Basu’s Gangster, I would’ve tried other projects. However, I got selected and Bollywood became my career.
What is the creative process that goes behind every character you etch?
Each role is challenging. You have to do your homework. For instance, in Abhinay Deo’s Game, I play a cop from London and she has a Brit accent. It was difficult for me to emulate that. Acting is a job where you have to learn to look, talk and project a certain body language. The trick is to remain focused, yet flexible.
With no filmi background, how do you hold yourself in this fiercely competitive industry?
People in Mumbai are judgemental. Here, your fate changes every Friday. Also, it’s true that if you’re a star kid or if you’re a star girlfriend, you get extra mileage. But if none of these things work in your favour, you tend to work on your talent. My challenge was to be able to fit in here. People criticised the way I talked, walked and even the way I looked—more so because I come from a small town. There are two ways of dealing with such a situation: either you care a damn; or you can improve yourself.
You’ve gone through several ups and downs in your personal life. Do you think the media has been fair to you?
I feel that the media, somewhat, is nicer to people coming from a filmi background, or personalities they have connections with. The media doesn’t accept you easily. A Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir (Khan) have been around for two decades and have established a relationship with the media and the public. That’s why their films get 90% opening. So, tomorrow, of course their children will get special treatment because the rapport is already there. But now I realise that if I connect with the media personally, it always works better. They figure out your dimension too.
And how have you evolved as an actor?
I’ve always been surrounded by very creative people—whether it’s Bhatt saab, Anurag Basu, Mohit Suri, Madhur Bhandarkar. I can write a whole book on my experiences and the craft I’ve learnt in the last five years! (laughs) When I entered Bollywood, (Mahesh) Bhatt saab made me unlearn everything – he taught me not to act and be real in front of the camera. You don’t fake crying or laughing. You actually do it.
But the turning point came when one day Bhatt saab told me I was the ugliest woman he’d seen. I asked, why? He retorted, asking where my dark circles, pimples were and why I was hiding behind makeup. He called me a mannequin! That’s when I realised that it’s important to be real.
Can you actually be ‘real’ in Bollywood?
It’s difficult. It’s almost like being naked in front of the public. Every time you’re in front of the camera, there are so many emotions you let out and you’re not scared. You may even portray emotions that might not be familiar to you. But you need to be you, your real self, to give that astounding performance.
How do you keep fit?
I take care of my body and make sure that I’m happy. I work out, but I don’t over-do. I don’t remove that cheese slice from my sandwich; or remove the oil when I’m having kheema pav! I try to be as normal as I can be in my habits. I love food and I love life. So I’m not the kind who’d count calories everyday and kill myself in the gym, or die doing yoga. I listen to myself and my body. I don’t push myself very hard.
What’s more important to you: critical acclaim vis-à-vis box office success?
For me, there are two kinds of movies– good or bad. To please only a particular group of people is not my goal. I think a film should be entertaining.
Kangna’s hit list
Holiday destination: Paris
Perfume: I wear men’s perfume. But I like Chanel.
Dream director: Aamir Khan
King Khan pours his heart out in a stirring interview about his relationship with his father, what he learnt from his parents and how he approaches life
“I’m honest but I’m not defensive about winning and living well,” says Shah Rukh Khan, as he looks back at life 30 years after his dad died of cancer in Delhi.
You’ve been posting messages about your dad today (Sep 19) … nostalgia?
Haan yaar… I just suddenly realized today, I woke up and I’d forgotten what date it was, I just looked at the newspaper and then realized it… Actually, before that, at night, strangely, my son came to me – my wife is at the hospital, she’s staying there – and he came to me and said, ‘papa, I want to give a hug.’ So I asked, ‘why?’ And he said, ‘just like that, papa… I think, I love you’. I found it very touching.
And then I woke up and realized that it was my dad’s death anniversary when I saw the newspapers. And I’m glad I’m in Delhi today. I’ll go and pray in a while. When good things happen in my life – and I think every day a good thing happens in my life – I feel, I wish, that my parents were here, as my kids are growing up. For example, we had to bring the kids here, we couldn’t leave the kids in Mumbai; sometimes you suddenly feel, arre, if I had my parents, you could always leave the kids with their grandparents, but that’s not to be. We don’t have any elder at home. I miss that, I miss them…
It’s been a long, long time since my father died. I calculated it in the morning itself; its been 30 years. I feel happy to be in the town where he lived and died today. Ek ajeeb sa… isme kuch supernatural nahin hai, but I feel nice to be in the vicinity of where your family has lived and breathed.
Do you ever manage to go the house where he lived, relive memories?
The Gautam Nagar one? You see, my father died when we were in Green Park. My mother expired in the house we lived in, in Gautam Nagar. Yeah, I go in the night sometimes… I take the kids for a drive, go past the area, but I haven’t specifically gone into the house, no.
You don’t have the luxury of walking into the house where your father lived his last days without cameras and people around, do you?
No, I’m sure I can walk in and they won’t say anything! I remember when my sister was joining university – I must have been 14 and she must have been 18 or 19 – my father took us to Delhi University. He took us into Miranda College. He had lived in a room there. I think perhaps it wasn’t an all-girls college in those years; anyways, the principal had allowed him to stay in a room there. So he took us to the room, and he opened the door, and there were some girls there, and he said to them, ‘beta, bura mat manna, main yahan pe rehta thaa.’
So I’m sure I can also walk into somebody’s house and say, listen, I stayed here, and they won’t mind. But no, I’ve never tried, I’ve just seen them from outside. I normally do take the kids out for a drive at night, tell them this is where I used to stay, this is my old house… they kind of feel nice. But yes, I’ve never gone inside.
You don’t miss not stepping in and taking a look and saying, this is where his chair used to be, this is where he lived, this is where you had those childhood memories…?
Na… nahin, I feel I don’t think I’d like to do that. I’d feel too sad. I’ve seen it from the outside at night but I probably wouldn’t want to go in. I don’t know. Maybe I don’t want to go inside, which is why I never have. I haven’t thought about it. Now that you’re telling me, is when I’m thinking about it.
Maybe you wouldn’t want to go with anyone around.
Yes, if I do, it’ll be by myself, because there are things I don’t share with the world, and I’m very clear about that… But I don’t think it’ll be right for the people who are living there for me to knock and walk in and say, ‘hi, I’m here because my dad’s memories are here for me.’ They must be having a happy life in that house and they should just have their own memories in that house, not mine. My memories should move with me. So, no, I don’t wish to go inside either of the houses where my parents died. If it was my house still, then of course I would go – but it’s not. And I don’t think I associate the space with my father and mother. A material space isn’t something that I need to go to think of them… of course I’ll go to my father’s grave and pray at night sometimes.
That’s a luxury you have?
Yes, yes… I’ll go quietly and at night. It’ll be scary, but I’ll go (laughs)! If I can’t go there, I’ll go to the vicinity and pray.
And the kids?
I’ve taken them, yes, I’ve taken my kids to my parents’ graves a few years back. Not my daughter, she was too small, but my son, yes. I like to take them sometimes. My wife gets a little worried sometimes, she says, ‘don’t. Take them in the daytime if you must.’ So maybe I’ll send them in the daytime with the family, and I’ll go later at night.
When they are a little grown up, maybe, I’ll take them along. You need to know your roots… like I, unfortunately – my father’s family, I have hardly met. I’ve known them, and known of them, they’re in Peshawar, but not much.
Sometimes I think – arre, what did my father’s father look like? I’d like my son to know more than I do – to know how his father’s father looked like, to pray a little for all the goodness that has come his way in life…
How unreal does all this look today? When you lost him, you were a fatherless 14-year-old in a small house in Delhi. Today, all of Delhi would line up to spend a few minutes with you.
I was speaking to my brother-in-law on this a little while back… I come here, even if I go to the hospital, the Escorts people, Dr Seth and all the other doctors are very kind… People stand in lines to see me, wave out to me. There’s so much riding on me all the time…
This is as much a distance someone could have covered in 30 years, isn’t it?
Yes, I just realized, if somebody were to ask me what I did to become successful in this distance – people do ask me that – and I swear I don’t know. I think about fathers telling their kids what they should try and be. I never knew what I will be. I just studied, went from one place to another, went to Mumbai and acted a little – and before I have realized it, I have a son who is 12 years old, a daughter who is 10 years old, I am sort of famous, I am respected a lot, I am loved a lot.
And I find love in all the writings on how successful I am and on how unsuccessful I am going to be. He’s the biggest star. He’s not the biggest star. All the discussions I read about myself, I find love in all of them, they’re concerned, that’s why they talk about me.
And I just remember roaming about the streets here, as a nobody… I’ve come here (Gurgaon) when this was a desolated space, once, twice maybe.
I just don’t know how all this happened. And I don’t know – absolutely from the bottom of my heart I don’t know how I became successful. There are better looking people than me, more talented than me, as hard working as me – or maybe more. But why did it all come to me? Why has it sustained for so long?
I’ve thought about this. And I came to the conclusion that it has happened because I never doubted what I am doing. I never doubted the fact that there wouldn’t be somebody to look after me after my parents died – even though there was no one. I never doubted that I would be able to make ends meet for myself. I never doubted whether the work that I do would be a failure. And in fact I feel that as we have it all, we begin doubting – so I need to go back to that basic.
I was just telling a lady here that I have the heart of an entertainer. From the food I serve at my home to the cold drink I serve you, I want you to smile. The heart that I have – the heart of an entertainer – a part of it has always been sensible enough to do the business part of it. But a large part of it, a large part of my heart, still believes in magic. Because I believe in magic, magic happens to me
Also it happens, I believe, because my parents have given me that prayer – that listen, don’t worry, you are magic. I don’t have any other reason to believe in my success. I can’t duplicate it. I can’t tell my kids to become the same. There’s no way – and I know it. But I think I am surrounded by the magic of my parents’ soul. I believe that. I truly believe that. And I don’t do anything special – I think of them, I pray to them, I pray to Allah and say, keep them nicely. But I am surrounded by the magic of their souls. So if God takes away from you something – if Allah takes away from you the most important aspect of your life, he fulfills other aspects. And today with my kids, I feel even the vacancy of my parents is fulfilled. I have got a son and a daughter – and I always think of them like my father and my mother, in the sense that chalo yaar, woh they, agar woh hote to main hota, biwi hoti, behen hoti – abhi bhi wohi team hai.
I am alone in what I do – I have a very small family – but I am never lonely. I don’t need so much. I just need these 3-4 people to keep me away from loneliness, and I think that’s the gift my parents have given me. I’m all alone, I am an outsider in Mumbai, but I do things with a lot of belief. I screw up also, I go wrong, I take pangaas, but I’ve always stuck to – agar isne galat bola hai, toh take a stand; agar yeh sahi bol raha hai, support; abhi yeh ulta bol raha hai, toh chup ho jao yaar, keep dignity.
It’s my belief that so long as I am doing that, I will never be lonely. I will be alone, but I am happy – that’s what life has given me, that I will walk alone. My loneliness has always been fulfilled by 3-4 people; earlier, my parents and my sister, now, my sister, my wife and kids. So it’s a great gift. On good days, especially in Delhi, I miss my parents, and I do today, because it’s a coincidence that I’m here today.
Coincidences happen… two, three years ago, on this day, somebody called me to release some medicines for them in Bangalore. Kiran Shaw. I didn’t know her. I said, mujhe Bangalore nahi jaana yaar… and again, I looked at the papers, and realized it was 19th September, dad’s death anniversary. So I asked my EA, what medicine? He said, cancer medicine. I said, listen, just fix up a plane quickly, I’m going. They’d even changed their programme in the meantime, and asked why I was coming now – and I was like, I don’t know you, but somehow this is connecting – this is about a cancer medicine, and my dad died of cancer, and today is the day he died – so here I am. You have to believe in these things – whether faith, love, magic. The ‘non-existent’ things for human beings. We have to believe in them. I do.
I had a choice of costumes today; I chose to wear a sherwani, I said to myself, my dad would like it.
You often speak about your dad as a reference point – waqt ki chhoti, dad’s eyeglasses…
Also my mom. My dad was very gentle, very honest – and his honesty killed him. My mom was also very honest, but she was a woman of the world. She knew how to fight the world, while retaining her integrity.
Why do you say his honesty killed him?
I think he was, you know… he was very successful, then became unsuccessful… he was a lawyer, he did not practice… he had a lot of options to take favours from people, which he did not. He went to Peshawar with a lot of dreams, took me also there… but I think somewhere he felt let down, he worried a lot, and I think worries cause cancer. And today it’s proven also, in some ways, worries cause ulcers, and other things, and cancers. I think those worries just took his life – otherwise he was very strong, was just 51, no heart disease, never drank, nothing… I think just sticking to impractical honesty and beliefs took him away early.
My mother, on the other hand – though she also died at 50 – she was a go-getter. The training I got from the both of them was – from my dad, be gentle, be religious, be kind, be honest. He taught me shayari, poems.
What I learnt from my mom was – let me put it this way. There are three development stages of a kid – I’ve been giving lectures so I remember this. The first development should be of the heart – love, art, music, nature, all good things. The second part is development of the head – how to use it, how to develop the intellect. And the third part is, development of the hand – how to put that intellect to use. These three – but in that order. I truly believe that my father taught me the heart, and my mother taught me the intellect.
That’s why when I meet people, youngsters, I tell them – please go out, and win your material goals as much as you want – honestly. Don’t be like, how a lot of people think, yeh nahi hona chahiye, woh nahi hona chahiye, chhoro, aur bhi gham hai zamane mein. You should fulfill your material desires. Fulfill them honestly, straightforwardly, without owing it to anyone. Don’t ask. Go and work for it.
The mixture that I got from them – I think that is the person I am. And so I miss both of them, perhaps differently. When I’m going wrong at work, I’m thinking of my mom, that I need to go out and DO IT, even if it all looks to be going wrong, go and give it my best shot. And when I’m going wrong in life, in my thoughts, that’s when I think of dad. Then I’m like, isko maaf kar do yaar. Galti ho gayi toh chhoro na yaar. Yeh ulta bol raha hai, lekin jaane do… You have to overcome a lot of latent and spontaneous anger and disturbance. My dad was like that. Mom would have slapped. So I learnt how to slap from my mom, and how to hold it back from my dad (laughs).
I don’t know if I can teach it all to my children, you know, because I’m a watered down version of their goodness.
When you’re 50 yourself, you’ll tend to do that comparison more frequently, perhaps?
I don’t know, but my sister has been telling me that I have begun to look more and more like my dad – and I take that as a compliment. Because he was a gentle soul. I don’t think I can ever be like my dad. I am a little too material, and a little too worldly intellectual. I wish I could say it right now, but I’d be lying if I said that I can be as simple as my dad. That’s an inner calling. If it happens, well and good, because then I’d be a well-off honest man. I’d like that, yes! If at the age of 50, if I can pass on the education that my dad gave me, it would be great, but I honestly don’t think I’d be able to reach that calibre. I think I am always going to be a mix of what my parents taught me.
Is that a bad thing?
It’s a fantastic thing. I think my mix is the best mix. You’re straightforward, honest, and you’re living well – I think that’s the best way. I tell my kids what I tell all youngsters – work hard, play harder, and don’t forget to pray. To that I’ve now added – pay your taxes also. Don’t owe anything to anybody. Always a giver be, if you can afford to. And just lead your life in the way that, at the end, it shouldn’t be, arre yaar, mujhe aise nahi karna thaa – no regrets at the end of your life.
Vivek Oberoi’s got the best birthday gift of his life
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; September 2, 2010)
Talk of the rainbow at the end of the tunnel and Vivek Oberoi puts it in the right context. The actor, who turns a year older today, says he has been actually living a dream for the past few weeks. Yes, ever since his marriage to Bangalore beauty and social activist Priyanka Alva was solemnised, the Bollywood star has been walking in the clouds.
First things first. Vivek, his parents Suresh and Yashodhra and the very special person in his life are all scheduled to ring in the actor’s birthday later tonight at an undisclosed destination. “Each year there is a puja at home… and then it is a simple family day,” he says of previous birthdays.
However, this year all that stands changed. With Priyanka having entered his life… the birthday has got a new meaning. “I thank God for Priyanka,” he says. There are rumours that they may get officially engaged one of these days. The actor absolutely refuses to talk about this but, yes, the most important date in his calendar is October 29, the day when he ties the knot with Priyanka. And after a lot of coaxing he says, “After what happened to me in a previous relationship, I was a battered guy. I dealt with hurt in my own gentlemanly way. But the betrayal, the bitterness and the pain that I experienced left me with some niggling doubts about this emotion called love.” Just for a flashing minute the actor recalls the lonely moments and the spiral emotional dips of a day gone by; of the time when he often wrote poetry and made Simon Garfunkel’s I’m a Rock, I’m an Island his mantra. “I didn’t want to be vulnerable again,” he says.
Vivek is amazed that his parents found him a girl who is not only educated, a social worker and a keen follower of art, but also someone who he knows is his soul mate. He says that when he met Priyanka for the first time he knew ‘she was the one’. “It sounds cliched,” says the actor, “but when you are as comfortable with someone in silence as in conversation, then you know that you have found the right life partner.” His marriage will be sandwiced between Part I and Part II of his most ambitious film Raktha Charitra. And the honeymoon will be deferred by a few months because of the promotional activity. But like they say, when you’re in love then life is one long honeymoon…
By Bollywood Hungama News Network, August 9, 2010 – 12:11 IST
She is what one can call the latest import to Bollywood. Without much ado, guys and girls please put your hands together for the girl who is responsible for men suffering from insomnia, post the release of Aisha. She is Lisa Haydon, the girl whose eyes speak much faster than her lips. And it is this chic who is making everyone into a bookworm as she is on the cover of the latest edition of FHM.
In this issue, the petite lass goes onto speak and confess all about the matters of the heart and art! She talks about her Hindi classes, how she was discovered while eating a burger at McDs, her first ad, her wish list… phew… the list is endless. She also talks about her love for cars, her cooking skills, and the eternal question: is she single or not! Well, that’s for you to guess. Some girl she is!
By Subhash K. Jha, July 19, 2010 – 12:05 IST
“Keep politics out of art and culture,” says Pakistan pop singer Ali Zafar who arrived in Mumbai this month. He would like nothing better than to move to Mumbai and become a singing actor like Kishore Kumar. But would the current milieu of hostility allow him to make that move?
“Things have to get better between the two countries,” Ali says optimistically. “The sooner the better. Because the present hostility is unbearable. We from the entertainment industry in Pakistan are hard hit by the suspicion between the two countries.”
Ali Zafar is honest enough to admit there’s more scope for him to function in India than in Pakistan. “I’ll be honest. There are more avenues and prospects here. So if the God above and the politicians down below permit, I’d love to move to Mumbai. An artiste knows no bounds and boundaries. My first home is Lahore. But I’d like to make Mumbai my second home.”
Ali has a wife and a 3-month baby boy back home. “When I left home I kept looking back at my home and loved ones. I wish they could come with me.” Ali expects his wife to join him in Mumbai later during his current trip to the city, his first after 26/11.
In the last 6-7 years, he has been to Mumbai at least 20 times.
However, he was unable to return recently because of the current political scenario. “Things have changed. My last visit was before 26/11 and I remember how pleasant the mood was in Mumbai. I was free to move around and roam freely on the streets of Mumbai. I cannot deny there’s tension between the two countries. Earlier aana jaana laga rehta tha. Initially, we artistes from Pakistan used to get multiple visas quite easily. Yes now it’s different, and sadly so. However, I feel singers and other artistes should be exempt from politics.”
Ali thinks it’s easy for him to incorporate singing into his acting because he uses a lot of acting expression on stage. “I wanted to do something different from what my colleagues from Pakistan do in India. I always thought my first acting experience would be something different and special. I’ve no leading lady in my first film Tere Bin Laden. I was determined that when I act for the first time, I’d sing for myself and not sing for others on screen. When I met the director Abhishek Sharma for Tere Bin Laden in Mumbai, I knew this was the project that I wanted to start my big-screen acting career with. I laughed so much when I heard the script. I was sure audiences would love it too.”Being married doesn’t diminish Ali’s popularity. “On the contrary female fans trust married men more than unmarried men. Married men are considered stable.”
About being inspired by Kishore Kumar, Ali Zafar shoots off, “He’s my definite inspiration, just as Kishore Kumar Saab was inspired by K.L Saigal.”
Ali is on the verge of signing new films in Mumbai…and moving in Mumbai. “I love the city. I want it to love me back as much as I do.”
The actress has angered Tamil political groups
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 6, 2010)
Now that it is certain that Asin Thottumkal is not the girl in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s life, it must be slightly embarrassing for the actress and her family to have been a part of those stories hinting that the Indian cricket captain and she were even friends. Obviously there isn’t an iota of truth in that. But the South Indian beauty’s tale of woe continues. She is caught in yet another fracas.
Asin is shooting for Anees Bazmee’s Ready with Salman Khan in Sri Lanka. And in Chennai, certain political groups are up in arms against her for being stationed in Colombo.
Speaking to BT from Colombo, a harrowed Asin said, “I’m truly upset that certain political groups in Tamil Nadu are targetting me for my decision to shoot a film in Sri Lanka.”
The actress asked, “How can I be targetted for this decision? Ready was initially to be shot in Mauritius, Thailand and then Goa. Till a few days prior to the shoot, I didn’t even know the final destination. When I heard it was Sri Lanka, I did express my concern to the producer and the director. While they understood my predicament, they too couldn’t change the shooting location because things had already been planned.”
The actress who has completed three schedules for a Tamil film titled Kavalkaaran with the Tamil superstar Vijay is genuinely concerned about having to face the ire of certain political groups when she visits Tamil Nadu for the next schedule.
Said Asin, “Art should not be politicised. And actors shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of political animosity because we are truly ambassadors of peace. I’m making my effort to reach out to the troubled Tamil community in Sri Lanka; and I think by being in their midst, I’m bringing a smile to their faces. I just hope others see this as a peace-building exercise.”
She said actors aren’t the only ones who are trying to build bridges. “There are an average six flights connecting Chennai to
Colombo each day. Our cricket team visits Lanka too. Then why is it that when an actor comes to shoot in Sri Lanka, people start some kind of propaganda,” asked the beleaguered actress.
Nikhil Deshmukh | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; February 13, 2010)
Pune: With theatre owners shying away from screening My Name Is Khan, movie buffs were left dejected on Friday. Theatre and multiplex owners, too, were disappointed as they were banking on attracting huge crowds in view of the long weekend, with Mahashivratri falling on Friday.
The situation at single screen theatres was worse as they had reserved prime slots for MNIK and had no alternative to fall back on. Many such theatres ran the morning show of the scheduled movie and had to close for the day.
Authorities at a theatre acted promptly and screened a Friday release for all shows.
Sonal Gawand, a post-graduate student, said, “I am a fan of SRK and was eagerly awaiting MNIK’s release. The ongoing protests have nothing to do with the content of the movie. If the protesters have an issue with an actor, why should movie-goers suffer for it? Political parties have no business interfering in art and culture.”
Rukmini Surve, a home-maker, said, “I feel that producers and distributors should boycott places like Maharashtra if there is repeat of such protests. Once the government starts losing revenue, agitations based on a non-issues will be curbed in time.”
Asif Pathan and Kamlakar Dubey, bank employees from Dehu Road, said, “Today being a holiday, we wanted to watch the much-discussed MNIK. We will now watch the Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory instead.” A college student from Akurdi, Saurabh Gadgil, said he was disappointed that MNIK was not being screened in Pune.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, movie-goers opted for other movies. Policemen were deployed at all theatres to prevent any untoward incident.
V K Murthy is the first cinematographer to be awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He talks about his journey and working with Guru Dutt, who was irreplaceable for him
|V K Murthy|
V K Murthy’s once steady hands have captured the most beautiful images for Indian cinema. He is the man who turned legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt’s creativity into on-screen magic.
That shot in Kaagaz Ke Phool where Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman are bathed in white light as Geeta Dutt’s melancholy Waqt ne kiya… rings out became Murthy’s calling card as a cinematographer. A pioneer of lighting techniques, Murthy is credited to have turned the technique and technology into art. This year he takes home the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award (the first cinematographer to win this award) as a befitting tribute.
His fragile 86-year-old frame struggled to pose for the barrage of photographers that laid siege to his Chamrajpet home in Bangalore, as the news spread. But the cinematographer understood the challenge. “It is difficult to take a shot sometimes,” he said. He rolls out his story…
• If I were an actor
As a 12-year-old, I wanted to become a Hindi film hero and even took Hindi lessons so I could speak clearly. But at 16, reality dawned and I realised I did not have the personality of an actor. But I remained fascinated by the art of story telling and its technique. At that time, S J Polytechnic was the only college in South East Asia to have a course in cinematography and I enrolled for it. When I went to Bombay, it was a struggle to find a footing in the Hindi film industry. I didn’t know where my life was heading. Maharana Pratap gave me my first break where I assisted cinematographer Dronacharya. Yet it was Fali Mistry who honed me in the art. To this day, I am yet to see a more talented cinematographer than him.
Leading ladies were all stunning then, you could never pick one as a favourite. However, I was a favourite with them if their compliments were anything to go by. Meena Kumari always told me, ‘Murthysaab, nobody makes me look as beautiful as you.’ Madhubala was, of course, a beauty.
|Chaudhvin ka chand|
• Who needed colour
I was assistant cameraperson for the film Baazi and had suggested a particular shot for a musical bit in a song. Rathra, who was the cameraperson for the movie and leading man Dev Anand’s cousin, said that the shot could not be done so. I asked for permission to shoot it myself and in the third take, we got it right. Guru Dutt asked me to be his cameraman from then on.
When I began my career, we were in the black and white era which was indulgent to one’s creativity. Any cinematographer will tell you that black and white is the best way to shoot. It allows you to experiment with lighting and shot break-ups. But when I shot the song Chaudhvi ka chand in technicolour, it amazed me to see the difference.
For my own
I have shot just one movie Huvu Hannu and even acted in it. Why I did not become a more integral part of the Kannada film industry is a question you need to ask the producers of that time who never invited me. They said I was too expensive.
• Guru Dutt, magic and movies
|Waqt ne kiya…|
Though Dutt and me were from Karnataka, oddly enough we always communicated in Hindi. We were individually creative and worked very well with each other. Though many consider Kaagaz Ke Phool to be his finest, I personally am a fan of Pyaasa. The writing, the scenes, the sequence are par excellence and gave me the best platform to experiment.
While making Kaagaz Ke Phool, the two of us were sitting in the studio as the late afternoon sun poured in through the ventilators of the room. It struck both of us that this would make a great shot. When we shot Waqt ne kiya, I had used mirrors for the effect and the final product was stunning, capturing the pathos of the song beautifully.
We had shot one scene for a new movie Gauri, with his wife Geeta in the lead, when he died. I had lost a friend and creative soulmate. I have worked with Shyam Benegal on his Discovery of India series, Govind Nihalani and Pramod Chakravarthy who I was very fond of. But there was no other Guru Dutt for me.
ROSHNI K OLIVERA (BOMBAY TIMES; November 24, 2009)
It wasn’t just Anil Kapoor or the cute couple Dev Patel and Freida Pinto who catapulted to international fame with Slumdog Millionaire. It was also a pretty face that emerged from behind-the-scenes. That’s Loveleen Tandon, who co-directed the movie with Danny Boyle. But she has kept a low-profile for a while now. “Yes, I have literally been hibernating in Delhi,” smiled Loveleen, who was in Mumbai recently. “I have been busy with my film script. That’s a full time job.” The only time she took a break was when she was invited to meet the Queen and the Duke to the Buckingham Palace last month. And the Mumbai trip for Eve Ensler and Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal’s play I am an Emotional Creature, where she read the epilogue. “It’s a great co-incidence that Eve’s play is quite similar to my script, the story of a young girl, her desires, emotions and the pressures on her,” says Loveleen, who plans to start her movie next year. Getting good actors shouldn’t be difficult, she believes because “script is the queen.” As she puts it, “People are always on the lookout for a good script. Whether it’s actors or producers, nobody says no to a good script.” All credit for Slumdog’s apt casting goes to Loveleen, but she wasn’t just the casting director for the film, as some initially thought. “That wasn’t the only thing I was doing. Casting is a part of the bigger scene, part of the larger vision,” she says.
Matching Slumdog’s heights is not going to be easy and comparisons are bound to be there, but that isn’t putting any pressure on her. “I’m someone who thrives on pressure. I thrive on tension, crisis, less time and deadlines. It brings out the best in me,” counters the pretty filmmaker. One question Loveleen’s often asked is, if her film is going to be an international venture, and this baffles her. “You just make a film. Whether it becomes a hit in a city or a country, two countries or five is beyond you. Crossover, international, mainstream, commercial, art… are just tags.”
Refer to Mira Nair, who Loveleen assisted on Monsoon Wedding, and she points out, “She lives abroad. She comes from a different space. I live in India. This is my speciality. I can’t relate to the NRI experience. May be some day in the future, but at the moment, mine is the Indian experience. It’s unique; there’s a strong element of traditional and modern ethos… perfect material for movie making.”
What about criticism regarding Slumdog highlighting only poverty in India? “Films are stories, they are not documentaries meant to highlight any aspect of society. You can only tell a story and tell it well. If it’s a boy from the slums, you have to tell it from that perspective. You can’t glamourise or glorify it.”
Very often in life the people whom we love the most let us down the most. In ‘Shob Charitro Kalponik’, sensitive storytelling wizard from Kolkata, Rituparno Ghosh takes his protagonist, the unhappy wife Radhika, on a journey that opens doors within her heart that she would have liked to remain closed.
Ghosh occupies the two mutually exclusive yet inseparable world of art and reality with a fluency and effortlessness that takes his characters far beyond the cartel of prototypes.
We see Radhika, trapped in state of marital unhappiness, as not just woman struggling to keep her home and heart together, but also as an individual trying to find her identity against odds that are created mainly in her own mind.
Orson Welles style, the ‘real’ personality of the dead poet emerges in flashbacks that are more cursory than comprehensive. But when has life ever offered complete solutions to the riddle of marriage that has puzzled man and woman for centuries?
Echoes that reach back to the very core of humanity reverberate across this miniature masterpiece on marriage and fidelity. Ghosh’s forte is the unspoken word. The bonds that form between Radhika and her maid and between Radhika and her colleague (Jisshu Sengupta) rely on resonances beyond the rhetoric of interactive art. The director creates room in cramped spaces.
Most of Ghosh’s narrative are vibrant vignettes behind closed doors done up in deep shades of anguish and bitterness. The progression towards a mellower comprehension of the tenderness behind the seeming spousal insensitivity begins after the husband’s death. The irony of loving a spouse after he’s gone is far from lost.
Radhika’s tormented understanding of her dead poet husband’s inner world is laced with luminous moments of revelatory tragedy, leading up to a finale that’s surreal and introspective. The hallucinogenic conclusion where Radhika enters her husband’s poetic world is charming, controlled and yet frightening.
Ghosh’s cinematographer Soumik Haldar shoots the interior of Radhika’s home as a manifestation of her innermost turmoil. She paces the bedroom, speaks to her dead husband, scolds and accuses him, as the family’s silently-observant maid tries to come to terms with the enormity of Radhika’s self-recrimination and loss.
The film is a work suffused with longing for a world that has slipped out of the protagonist’s fingers while she was counting the money in her purse. It’s the illuminating story of a woman’s voyage into the dimmed light of a yesterday that she thought was wretched.
But it was just life.
Finally, the impact of the marital tale depends completely on the central performance. As the working wife who feels her husband has let down their marriage, Bipasha pulls out all stops to deliver her career’s best performance. Her moments of anguish before and after her husband’s deaths are expressed in tones of cathartic conviction that we never knew existed within Bipasha.
In the scene where she shouts against her imaginary husband on his favourite chair, Bipasha furnishes the proceedings with the anguished portrayal of bereavement that perhaps only a Shabana Azmi can equal.
This despite the fact that Bipasha’s voice has been dubbed by a woman who doesn’t really have a say in the character’s portrayal.
But then in an ironic way, isn’t that what the character is all about? The disembodied voice is a reminder of Radhika’s dissociation from her own identity.
Somewhere in finding the centre to her marriage, Radhika lost it. And loss, as we all know, is one helluva upper for art.
Savour the delicacy of Ghosh’s poetic work. And never mind the spoken language. In a true work of art, the sound is the least important component. Listen carefully. You can hear the muffled sound of a broken heart in this film.