Posts tagged himachal pradesh
By Taran Adarsh, July 14, 2010 – 14:25 IST
During my schooling days in Himachal Pradesh, a fellow student wouldn’t long for the annual vacations in December, like all kids generally do. I often wondered why. Much later, I was told that his stern [and over-dominating] father called the shots with a cane in hand and my friend would literally shiver at the very thought of spending the next three months with his family.
We lost touch after we completed schooling and with the passage of time, I forgot all about him. Till I watched UDAAN and his face loomed large at the very start of the film. UDAAN does that to you!
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM|
Poignant, unsettling and disturbing, UDAAN is a brilliant take of an adolescent who has stepped into his teens and how he faces a tyrant father, a step brother he never knew existed and how he eventually breaks the shackles and frees himself from a world that’s slowly suffocating him.
UDAAN mirrors the real life and although the plotline is simple and uncomplicated, I must add that simple stories are extremely difficult to narrate. However, debutant director Vikramaditya Motwane remains faithful to the written material and handles the characters in the film with tremendous care, understanding and maturity. I genuinely feel that UDAAN borrows something from everyone’s life. And that’s what makes it an absorbing watch, especially its defining finale.
Final word? This one’s a must-see for every parent, every child. This coming-of-age story is unique and speaks a universal language and hence, shouldn’t be missed!
After being abandoned for eight straight years in boarding school, Rohan [Rajat Barmecha] returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur and finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father [Ronit Roy] and a younger half brother who he didn’t even know existed. Forced to work in his father’s steel factory and study engineering against his wishes, he tries to forge his own life out of his given circumstances and pursue his dream of being a writer.
The best thing about [most] first-time directors is their ability to narrate a new story without bowing down to market diktats. UDAAN is realistic to the core, so much so that the viewer becomes a participant after a while and feels that he’s getting a first-hand account of what the troubled teen is enduring.
A number of sequences leave a stunning impact. But I’d like to single out a few that continue to stay with me, even while I write this review. Note the sequence between Rajat Barmecha and his step brother, when they meet for the first time. Also, the one when Ronit Roy and Rajat Barmecha have a confrontation at the dinner table, when the talk veers to Rajat’s plans for the future. Another sequence that caught my attention was the heated argument between the brothers [Ronit, Ram Kapoor]. And, of course, the finale, the culmination to the film, which will have its share of advocates and adversaries.
Actually, all through the second hour, I was very keen to know how Motwane and co-writer Anurag Kashyap would conclude the story. But Rajat Barmecha’s breaking-free sequence, a redemption of sorts, is simply brilliant. On the flipside, the pacing is very slow towards the second hour. Besides, the length could’ve been sharpened by at least 10/15 odd minutes.
If director Vikramaditya Motwane deserves distinction marks for narrating a slice of life film with aplomb, he along with co-writer Anurag Kashyap deserves the highest praise for handling the delicate and sensitive relationships lucidly. Every character in this film — there are four principal characters — is well etched and so identifiable.
Casting the right names must’ve been a tough call for its makers, especially casting the two kids in pivotal parts. The seniors [Ronit Roy and Ram Kapoor] are accomplished actors with years of experience to their credit. Yet, UDAAN explores a new facet of both Ronit and Ram. Ronit is super as the bully, semi-neurotic father with demons of his own to battle, while Ram underplays his part with rare understanding. The two kids, Rajat Barmecha and Aayan Boradia, are the real stars of this enterprise. Rajat seems to have got a tailor-made role and he sinks his teeth into it. Aayan, the child actor, displays the vulnerability beautifully. His tender expressions and soulful eyes convey so much!
On the whole, UDAAN is a simple, straight-forward film that doesn’t need to be explained. It needs to be experienced.
By Subhash K. Jha, June 2, 2010 – 12:00 IST
Three different wooden bridges for the same sequence had to be built for the climactic fight between Vikram and Abhishek Bachchan in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan. This monument of cinematic architecture between two mountains in a road-less stretch at Malshej Ghat was constructed by famed production designer Samir Chanda and not by the distinguished bridge-architect Sheshadri Srinivasan, as rumoured.
What we would see as one mammoth wooden bridge in Raavan is actually three bridges constructed by Samir Chandra who reveals, “I had to build three bridges, one for the actors’ long shots which was 210 feet long, another for their close-ups which was 70 feet long and the third for just the actor’s leg work (running falling, etc) which was 30 feet long.”
Taking a deep breath production designer Samir Chanda who has worked closely on several films with Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal and Vishal Bhardwaj and has an experience of 26 years behind him, takes deep offence at the rumour floating around that the Raavan bridge was built by Sheshadri Srinivasan, though Samir Chandra does admit that “others” had been consulted initially.
“But the bridge that you see in Raavan has been designed and constructed by me and my team from Kulu Manali.”
Forty artisans from Himachal Pradesh were flown to Malshej Ghat to build this 3-avatar wooden bridge…Mani Ratnam would personally stand at the construction site from early morning till late evening, refusing to budge from the bridge-building venue.
Says art director Samir Chanda, “Mani’s enthusiasm was like that of a child. We had first thought of building this bridge in Sri Lanka because they have the infrastructure and the experience of working in Hollywood units which required wooden bridges. Then we thought of building the bridge in Australia, and then South Africa. Finally, I suggested we do it near Mumbai. Why spend crores when the same quality of construction is possible at a fraction of that cost?”
And to get to the bridges, Abhishek, Vikram and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and the rest of the cast had to wade through slush and mud infested with crabs. Abhishek would carry his wife in his arms to the bridge. But who would carry the others?
This is the same bridge on which the climactic fight between ‘Rama’ Vikram and ‘Raavan’ Abhishek Bachchan is fought in the film. “It wasn’t only about safety and architectural correctness but camera angles and actors’ manoeuvring power. Also, the bridge had to look convincing as the actors fought on it. And then it had to look equally convincing being blown up,” says Samir Chanda.
MUMBAI MIRROR; March 07, 2010
In a small set up of an office space in Jogeshwari’s Visage studio, writer-director Atul Sabharwal has his eyes trained on his actor sitting across the desk. The scene demands an expression of understated panic after a sudden turn in the plot. The actor has given a reasonably good shot and so thinks the crew. But Sabharwal asks for a retake; he wants just a little more. The actor pushes the expression a tad further but with such subtlety that a viewer could hardly differentiate between the two shots.
But Sabharwal is not taking chances with the intelligence of the discerning viewer. He wants utmost sincerity in almost every shot of his most cherished project — Powder, a crime thriller on Sony, based on the murky world of narcotics trade.
It’s not hard to fathom why Sabharwal is so possessive about this serial. For a man who has spent close to nine years just researching the subject matter of his work, being stickler for the smallest of details comes naturally. It is also clearly visible in Powder.
Sabharwal’s characters aren’t polished faces beaming into the camera repeatedly in reaction shots, his policemen don’t pick up fingerprints from knife butts, nor do they whip out revolvers and fling their fists in desperation when attacked by a mob. He knows that no forensic expert can take fingerprints from a knife butt (fingerprints can be collected only from absolutely smooth surfaces), and that it’s not wise to play a hero facing a mob.
Sabharwal has learnt this through hours of discussions with real men in the field, reading miles of text on narcotics non-fiction and through years of observation of the crime world and police operations. Almost every character and most of the plots are inspired from real situations in the underworld. His stubble-sporting policemen are a far cry from the quintessential imagery of Palmolive faces donning Ray Ban shades.
|On the sets|
It’s not an attempt to be different in style, however. “It’s to bring authenticity. That’s how Narcotics Control Bureau officers operate,” says Sabharwal. True, in Mumbai NCB one can easily find officers whose hair-length could put a rockstar to shame. “Officers have to infiltrate rave parties and embed in drug networks. You need to look like a junkie if you want to get to the drugs,” he explains.
It is on this documentary-like research that Sabharwal has built an edge-of-the-seat thriller that not only entertains but goes deep into the wide spectrum of narcotics that’s, perhaps, far more entrenched in our everyday lives than we imagine.
The 33-year-old director, who also has films like Phir Milenge and My Wife’s Murder to his credit as a writer, first came up with the idea in 2001. He also made a pilot episode and presented it to Star Plus. The channel trashed the content and asked Sabharwal to infuse the virtues of Antakshari in his serial to make it worthwhile. Needless to say, the show never took off.
“Shivam Nair (of Sea Hawks fame) had approached me for a story based on these lines. That’s when my extensive research started. We made a pilot episode shortly and presented it to Star Plus. They found it boring. But I had full faith in my story and I continued studying its subject further,” says Sabharwal.
The director spent considerable time with the then officers of the Mumbai NCB not only to understand how the trade functions but also how anti-narcotics agencies operate, the systemic problems and the turf wars within and without the agencies. “To understand the trade, I didn’t have to work too hard. I have assisted my father in his shoe business as a teenager and I realised that principles of trade remain the same everywhere, even in the contraband business. It’s run on the same principles of demand and supply, profit and loss, risk coverage and cost recovery. The individuals and the turf wars among different departments fascinated me. So did the women officers trying to break free in a male-dominated force. And so you have a character like Brinda in my serial,” explains Sabharwal.
“It was interesting to learn how the opening of the economy in early ’90s led to the massive upsurge of contraband trade. Containers arrived in thousands on our ports and it was virtually impossible to check each one of them. Secondly, there was a complex web of parking money from illegal trade to legal businesses and becoming player in the mainstream economy. You will be surprised to know that Malana is no more the capital of charas in the world. Much more cannabis is being grown in Chamba now.”
While his other works of writing carried on, Sabharwal kept reading on the subject. He read the entire NCB manual, waded through reams of literature from books published on customs and narcotics in the West, attended court hearings of narcotics accused, read several chargesheets and even visited villages of Himachal Pradesh where poppy and cannabis are freely cultivated on an industrial scale. “Even if I randomly bumped into someone who had any knowledge of the industry, a chat was on,” remembers Sabharwal. “I recently learnt that there is massive cannabis farming happening in Orissa.”
The director even visited a jail to interact with a female Nigerian drug carrier who later translated into a similar character in his serial, albeit for a tiny role. “Even my actors have had sessions with NCB officers to understand their operational behaviour. They have gone to traditional narcotics hubs in Mumbai and spent considerable time on their own to get a feel of the environment there and make mental notes. Thankfully, I got a great cast,” says Sabharwal.
Despite his meticulous work, he struggled to get buyers for his serial. He stuck to his guns, even though he had all the ingredients to turn it into a film, finding a producer for which wouldn’t have been too difficult. “The idea did cross my mind. But through my research I had learnt that only a TV series could do justice to the wide spectrum of issues involved. I did not want to end up as George Lucas making Star Wars after Star Wars,” Sabharwal laughs.
His wait finally paid off when YRF TV asked him over for a narration. “I wasn’t hopeful and was just waiting for rejection. I didn’t expect YRF to be enthused by it. But Adi (Aditya Chopra) loved it and put it with the launch of its first string of shows on TV,” he beams.
The show, however, has been struggling since then. Sabharwal looks visibly disheartened with the response he has got to the show, which has one of the lowest TRPs among soaps. To add insult to injury, he feels, the channel has been unfair to the show. “I wasn’t expecting roaring response. I know it’s difficult to suddenly wean away viewers sedated on heavy dose of saas-bahu serials, but the series could have been promoted better. Its timing has now been changed from 9 pm on Sunday to 11 pm on Thursday. But I am happy that whoever has watched it, has liked it,” says Sabharwal infusing some consolation in the lament.
He adds, hopefully, “What you are fed regularly, eventually becomes your food. I hope more such work will bring about a change in the taste of the larger audience.” We hope so too.
Sourabh Narang, director of horror film Vaastu Shastra, has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Consequently, the shoot of his film Return Gift, starring Rajeev Khandelwal, has been stalled indefinitely as Sourabh is currently undergoing treatment in Delhi.
The unit of the film along with Rajeev was scheduled to head to Himachal Pradesh for the shoot on November 15 when they heard the bad news. The film is being produced by UTV Spotboy.
A source says, “It is very unfortunate that Sourabh is so ill. Shooting for the film was to start on November 16 but now Sourabh is in Delhi undergoing chemotherapy. He is a brave man. He told his film’s cast and crew that it is a small problem and he will be back very soon to make a rocking film.”
Rajeev Khandelwal says, “Yes, Sourabh is unwell because of which the film has been put on hold. I am not the right person to comment any further.”
By Taran Adarsh, November 13, 2009 – 10:01 IST
Every kid imagines what it would be like to be an adult. He wishes he could grow up quicker. Of course, once he grows up, a small part of him wishes he could go back to his childhood days. Quite an irony, isn’t it?
There’s a line in AAO WISH KAREIN that goes, ‘If you want to be a part of a fairy tale, it’s important that you believe in it [fairy tale].’ The statement is applicable for everyone desirous of watching AAO WISH KAREIN.
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM
In terms of concept, AAO WISH KAREIN bears a striking resemblance to the Tom Hanks starrer BIG . A decade-and-a-half ago, the Salman Khan – Sridevi starrer CHANDRAMUKHI also tackled a similar theme. In that respect, the concept isn’t alien at all.
It's not sacrilegious if a film bears an uncanny resemblance to another film [it could be a coincidence], but films like these need to be well-structured and most importantly, supported by incredible actors who can make you believe in fairy tales. Also, the makers ought to take a stand at the very outset: Should it be targeted at kids or youth? You just cannot sit on the fence. In this case, you don’t know if AAO WISH KAREIN is aimed at the kids or is it a breezy romantic flick, targeted at the youth.
All said, AAO WISH KAREIN has some endearing moments, but not enough to salvage it.
12-year-old Mickey’s life was almost like a fairy tale: A beautiful family, best buddy Bonnie and his angel on earth – Mitika [Aamna Sharif]. One fateful day, Mickey’s fairy tale is shattered into a million pieces. He realizes he’s an adopted child and his 23-year-old angel Mitika too calls him a kid. A heart-broken Mickey sits all by himself until Hitchcock [Johny Lever] appears.
Mickey hopes for a miracle to happen. He wishes to become big. To his astonishment, he wakes up next morning and realizes that his wish has been granted. He has indeed turned big. But was this miracle a blessing or a curse in disguise?
The choice of the subject is perfect. But there’s an inherent flaw in the story and that is, the 12-year-old kid seems to be in love with the pretty woman, but the moment his wish his granted and he transforms into a grown up man overnight, he continues to behave like a kid. Romance, therefore, just doesn’t exist and even if it does, it’s far from exciting.
Ideally, the writing would’ve worked had the kid-turned-grown up behaved like a grown up.
The culmination to the story is well penned, but, again, it might not work in entirety. The writers could’ve run their imagination wild, given the fact that they were writing a fairy tale, instead of taking the safe route here.
Director Glen Barretto has handled a few individualistic scenes well, especially the ones between Aftab and Johny Lever. Music is soothing to the ears, but the non-promotion or lack of popularity will make the effort go unnoticed. At the same time, there are too many songs in the second hour, which weren’t required frankly. Keshav Prakash’s cinematography is top notch. The locales of Himachal Pradesh and Goa are well captured on celluloid by the DoP.
Aftab pitches in a sincere performance. He looks the character. Aamna is easy on the eyes, although the role doesn’t demand histrionics. Johny Lever is first-rate. Rati Agnihotri is good. Yatin Karyekar is alright. The kids are full of energy. Riteish Deshmukh makes a brief appearance towards the end.
On the whole, AAO WISH KAREIN is engaging in parts, but how one wishes the film would grab your attention in entirety. The wish of striking a chord and hence, succeeding at the box-office won’t come true for this reason.
Russian actress Kseniya Ryabinkina, who had played a trapeze artist and one of Raj Kapoor’s love interests in Mera Naam Joker (1970), has quietly completed shooting for her second Hindi film, Chintuji, which has Rishi Kapoor playing the title role. The forthcoming film is, to a large extent, based on Rishi Kapoor’s life.
Kseniya, who is currently quite frail because of old age was recently brought to Chandigarh all the way from Russia. “We shot with her in a village called Paragpur, which is a two-hour drive from Chandigarh and is on the outskirts of Himachal Pradesh. It was a pleasure shooting with her. She agreed to shoot with us even though she is unwell and is almost 70 years old now,” said producer Bobby Bedi.
Explaining how they thought of getting Kseniya to star in the film, Bedi said, “The film Chintuji draws a lot of inspiration from Rishi Kapoor’s real life. There is a mention of Mera Naam Joker in the film. Director Ranjit Singh suggested that we should cast Kseniya who had played a very important role opposite Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker. He thought it would lend authenticity to our film. In Chintuji, she plays someone who changes Rishi’s life.”
Bedi explained how they got in touch with Kseniya despite not having her contact number. “We got in touch with the Russian Film Commission and the Kapoors too had a few contacts in Russia. We contacted her and she thankfully agreed,” he said.
Kseniya in Mera Naam Joker
Raju (Raj Kapoor) works in a circus owned by Mahendra Singh (Dharmendra) where he meets Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), a Russian trapeze artist. Despite the language barrier he falls in love with her. Raju’s heart breaks when the circus ends and Marina goes back to Russia.