Archive for the ‘conspiracy theory’ Category

The Censor Board chief, Leela Samson, has quit. And then the entire Board members have also followed her steps. Reason? A new film titled MSG : Messenger of God, by a controversial religious leader who plays himself in the film. Not only that, according to reports, the Baba of MSG can cure AIDS, bring a dead man back to life, and so on. So why exactly did the Censor Board Chief and the members quit? Because going by the way the film was cleared, it made them completely useless.

The Tribunal has all the rights to clear a film which the Board objects to. But there is a protocol to be followed – how the film goes from where to where, who is informed, who is kept in the loop, the issues Board members had with the film, and many more. In the case, none of the guidelines were followed. Again, going by reports, seems the Board Chief wasn’t even kept in the loop about how things went. And the film quickly got a clearance. Pulling strings always works, right? Especially when there is a political connect and clout. In that scenario, the Censor Board chief really has no role to play. The Board members followed the same route soon.

Yes, they were appointed during the previous Government. But the members had major issues with the previous Government too, in terms of transparency and making the system better. Every Government tries to put their people at various capacities. The members had given many recommendations to make it better and more independent. But none of it was followed. Their letter sent to previous Government is also embedded. That issue was going on, and then the final nail in the coffin by this Government. All gone with the wind!

Hail Baba’s film! Hail Babas rule!

The Minister of State,

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Government of India

Shastri Bhavan

New Delhi

 

Respected Minister,

With this letter, we the undersigned are submitting our resignation from our position as Board Members of the Central Board of Film Certification with immediate effect.

The events that led to the Chairperson Ms. Leela Samson resigning from her position are merely the proverbial last straw. Since the time that we first occupied seats on the Board, we have been asking for some critical changes, which are imperative if the functioning of the CBFC has to be reformed. However, in spite of sending numerous recommendations and appeals, and having several meetings with the Secretaries and senior officials of the ministry, and even one with an earlier Minister, not a single positive step has been taken by the Ministry. We had also sent a letter to the then I & B Minister in December 2013 making several recommendations that would strengthen CBFC as an institution, and that we were willing to work on with the government. The earlier letter is attached to this mail. None of the recommendations that we made in that letter have been taken on board, and there has been no engagement with us on crucial issues that we were raising.

The Advisory Panel continues to be filled up with people of questionable credentials appointed directly by the Ministry, without taking the Board’s recommendations into account. No funds have been released for conducting orientation workshops for the panel members. Officers from other departments, who have no understanding or experience in cinema are appointed as officials. Furthermore, there are several positions in the regional offices that do not have regular appointments There has been no Board meeting for the last one year for us to discuss developments and make recommendations, as we were told that there are no funds to organize it! It seems that the CBFC Board is not required at all.

This Board has consistently attempted to make the certification process more uniform, transparent, consistent and sensitive to the freedom of filmmakers’ right to expression with responsibility. The struggle to do so has been extremely frustrating and disappointing.

It is our firm position that given the cavalier and dismissive manner in which the CBFC is treated by the government, it is impossible to perform this duty with even a modicum of efficacy or autonomy. We also object to the way in which the Chairperson has been treated by the Ministry which we feel has been humiliating for us all. This is not the way in which the head of an organization ought to be treated, and it is certainly not one that is conducive to any productive relationship.

We do hope that the new Board will find the government more responsive than we have.

With regards.

Ira Bhaskar

Lora Prabhu

Pankaj Sharma,

Rajeev Masand,

Sekharbabu Kancherla

Shaji Karun,

Shubhra Gupta,

T.G.Thyagarajan

And here is their letter to previous Government

 

Let’s tackle it one by one.

So the film has finally released all over India except Uttar Pradesh. Most critics have rated it between 1.5 to 2.5 stars  ( Rediff 1st review- 1.5, Rediff 2nd Review – 2,  NDTV – 2.5, Indian Express – 2, CNN IBN – 2, Hindustan Times – 2, Mid-Day – 2.5) with the few exceptions (Mumbai Mirror – 3.5 + the usual suspects). I still haven’t seen the film. But looking at the trailers of the film, it seems loud and very tacky, and can be best described as “from the makers of Raajneeti”. Or as Jayhind tweeted earlier, Prakash Jha is Madhur Bhandarkar with a JNU degree.  That’s the best and the apt description of the filmmaker if you look at his last two films. Hilarious trivialisation of serious issues with stars masquerading in unintentionally funny characters. what a fall!

The film still hasn’t released in UP. And with a Dalit Behenji at the helm of the state, this might just be a power trip for her. Plus, the  votebank. But don’t be surprised if it gets a release soon there as well. Though at this point Prakash Jha admits that he is not even getting a window to start the talks – what do they actually want? No communication. Behenji  ne bola, toh darwaza bandh. But a photo-op and some chai-paani can make things move at any political quarter.

Whats more weird is the points raised by the Punjab Government’s 7-Member Committee who saw the film and asked for the following changes –

1. In the dialogue “humne aapki tatti bhi uthai hai“, it was felt that the “mull” can be substituted for the word “tatti”.

2. In one of the scenes, “hans chuggega dana tinka, kauwa moti khayega” is there in the background. The couplet should be removed.

3. In the credit roll of the film, a palm drenched in blood appears when the movie title appears. This needs to be removed.

WTF can be a mild reaction if you ponder over the cuts asked by the Committee. With our over zealous conspiracy theorist mind at work, many insinuated that it was all orchestrated. A tracking agency did confirm that the film’s buzz went up in the last week because of the controversies. But inviting ban? Three states, loss of revenue, fear factor. Some gyaan gurus on twitter also suggested that with its banning in three states, the revenue will increase multiple times in other places. Looking at the first day’s collection, that surely didn’t happen.

So?

My theory is the makers were smartly playing around the issue till the last week. Like all filmmakers do these days. Plant stories, theories, counter it, deny, get space for more stories. When the matter went to court, the reply from the makers spilled out the truth – it’s more about commercialization of education and less about reservation. But with a title called Aarakshan, who would believe it. By that time, P L Punia, Chairman of National Commission for SC, had made enough noise. And bollywood has always been a soft target. People came, shouted, made their voices heard, grabbed headlines and the film got some more buzz. With both the parties benefiting and without spending any single penny, its a win-win situation for both. It all went of hands in the last week. Nobody expected such extreme reactions and the ban. If the film had released without any political party making any noise against it, most of them would have been disappointed after watching the film. A friend who went for the special screening of the film, realised that most RPI party members who had come to watch the film, they never came back to their seats after the interval. Like the rest, they might have got bored.

Though Amitabh Bachchan poured his heart out in this post but Javed Akhtar made a very valid point in an interview – where were these sentiments when Fanna got banned or there were protests against Water? They are paying a price for being silent then. On Fanna’s release, I remember his stand clearly – What Aamir is doing is right, what the others are doing, they are also guided by similar principles. On asked to take a stand and criticise the ban, he said he needs to acclimatised himself with the situation as he is not completely aware of it. I guess it’s a complete circle now with Aarakshan. But you can’t blame him either. That’s the industry stand – don’t look around, don’t speak up till I’ m not hurt. Not sure what those Power Lists of bollywood means when some of the biggest stars of the industry can get together and take some concrete action against nonsensical hullabaloo. Or blame it all on their need for some more buzz.

Not very long ago filmmaker Hansal Mehta wrote a post on PFC about what he had to face during the release of Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar. Since the post is not online now, posting it here again. Do read.

Raj Thackeray – Get Well Soon

A few months ago Shiney Ahuja was arrested for allegedly raping his maid. Yesterday Karan Johar apologized for being raped. His rapists have emerged triumphant. In our law books there is punishment for physical rape. There is no law for raping our freedom of expression. There is only triumph for the rapists. Bravo, Raj Thackeray. You are a master rapist.

Nine years ago after the release of Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar, I was subjected to humiliation by moral police from some wing of the Shiv Sena, headed by ‘youth leader’ Raj Thackeray. His touts(a few thousand) vandalized my office. They thrashed me. They colored my face black. They threatened to burn down the home of Kishore Kadam, a wonderful actor and even more wonderful friend. I was summoned to Khar Danda and made to apologize in front of over 20,000 people and 10 MPs, MLAs and local politicians. I was made to touch the feet of a lady in the village to make amends for my mistake. My mistake? An innocuous line of dialogue from my film, misinterpreted, misunderstood and twisted to suit the publicity hungry touts hired by Mr. Thackeray. Touts who had not even seen the film save a couple of them who viewed a pirated VCD and smelt a great opportunity for titillation. Some called me a coward. Some called me spineless.

The truth is that I was a film-maker who was coping with the box-office failure of his film. I was a father who feared for the safety of his young children. I was a son who feared for the well being of his parents. I was a friend who feared for the security of his actor’s home. They threatened to burn down Kishore Kadam’s house if I did not show up at the village. They refused to stop thrashing me and painting me black until I agreed. The police did not want me to visit Danda village and apologize. They feared that they would be unable to grant me protection. But I wanted to move on. I wanted to erase all memories of this dastardly attack, this blatant violation of my human rights. I thought I had moved on.

The latest threat to Karan Johar about similar innocuous references to Mumbai as Bombay reminded me that whatever happens, the scars of that shameful week will never be erased. The wounds will never heal. It was a similar situation then. There was a Congress government in the state and the Shiv Sena needed to make it’s ‘marathi’ presence felt. Today the situation is doubly dangerous. A bigger film-maker. Not one but two cancerous organizations – the Shiv Sena and MNS. The jihadis have Osama. Gujarat has Modi. Maharashtra has the Thackerays.

I spent last night reliving the horror of nine years ago. I spent a sleepless night. I was tormented by visions of my cowardice. I awoke to find my being filled with anger. Once again, the blood suckers have succeeded. One more film-maker bites the dust. The vicious, self proclaimed messiahs of the marathi manoos have triumphed. They persecuted me. I apologized. They harassed the Bachchans. They apologized. They threatened Karan Johar. He apologized.

Today, I apologize. I apologize for being a selfish, cowardly citizen of an impotent country. I apologize for pretending to express through cinema. Who said cinema is a powerful medium of expression? Who said that it reflects society? The only cinema in our country is the political drama that unfolds every day. The only real protagonists are the goondas who portray such convincing politicians. And the antagonists are all of us who retreat into their supposedly secure lives, happy to carry on living as persecuted citizens of Bombay. Sorry Mumbai.

Dear Sirs, where were you then ? Dil Pe Nahi Liya?

Lil late but it surely counts for the archives. So, here it is..a half page advertisement by Red Chillies Entertainment (Shah Rukh Khan ?) in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Samna, wishing Uddhav Thackeray all the best for his birthday. As they say, in Bollywood there are no permanent friends or foes!

FLASHBACK

After Guru released, one morning we woke up to a big shock! Amitabh Bachchan had put a full page ad in all the major national dailies, and had put out all the congratulatory smses that he received for his Beta Bachchan. Private messages meant for him became advertisement! And some of the filmy people of Bollylalaland who send these kind of smses every friday to every filmmaker whose films releases, just to make them happy, were surprised, shocked and embarassed too. They never imagined that it will go to print.

PRESENT

After Raavan has been butchered by critics and its BO fate seems doomed, Beta Bachchan has gone completely silent. Infact he has moved to Football fever! Bet something surely is fishy there because citizens of bollylalaland go on and on and on about their films pre & post-release. Surprisingly, there are no post-release promotional events too!

On the other hand, daddy Amitabh Bachchan is still active on twitter. In reply to Jitesh Pillaai, Editor of FilmUnfare, he has explained why Beera’s Bakbakbak looks so illogical in the film…first the tweets in text form….then the screenshot of the twitter page and a closer look, if you cant read.

@jiteshpillaai Agree, Jitesh ..gather lot of merited film edited out, causing inconsistent performance and narrative,but what presentation !

@jiteshpillaai Yes it was all there, but sadly edited. Abhishek’s erratic behavior was due to symbolic 10 heads visually appearing..contd about 3 hours ago

@jiteshpillaai contd ..and each giving him different attitudes to adopt for a situation, he would then finally shake them off and decide .. about 3 hours ago

@jiteshpillaai ..in the edit all the visual heads got cut and you see a confused Beera expression and wonder why .. it was after he removed about 3 hours ago

@jiteshpillaai .the other head visuals from his thinking.. in the edit you see the after effect of that thinking process, hence inconsistent about 3 hours ago

So, is Mr Sreekar Prasad & Mani Ratnam listening ? As they say, for every successful film, there are million daddies and for every bad one, its a bastard child!

Yes, not one, two, but three films. And so, we are back with a new conspiracy theory. First, it was Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch. Like everyone else, we also thought that after years of frustration the filmmaker must have leaked it out online himself. Then came Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johnny. And now a film titled Mr Singh Mrs Mehta by debutanat director Parvesh Bharadwaj. So, whats common between all the three films ?

Well, they all got leaked out online much before their theatrical release. And all these three films have a common name in the credit roll – Tutu Sharma. Conclusion ? Our guess is as good as yours. Is it him ? If yes, why so ? If not, why isn’t he taking any action ? And if not him, who could it be ? And if someone else, then why isn’t Mr Tutu Sharma bothered to find it out !

Time for Mr Holmes & Dr Watson ? Because we don’t have the answer. Or can anyone enlighten us please!

(PS – Mr Singh Mrs Mehta is making headlines because of a nude scene of Aruna Shields…much like  the way Kate Winslet posed and Leonardo painted her in Titanic. Here the painter is Prashant/Prroshant/Proshant/Whatever Narayanan.)

PJ – As a reviewer wrote, ” Perhaps Prakash Jha is just punning on his initials, and laughing at us all”. We thought its priceless and deserves to be QOTD! But who knew that PJ would really get down to play dirty and stupid politics. First story is our conspiracy theory and second, our sources say, is cent percent true. And if second story is true, then we are sure about the first one too.

Here is the conspiracy theory. Padmaja Thakore posted a review of Fart-neeti on PFC, and in not so kind words. Two days later, the post vanished. No reason was given, where and how. And if you have been following Padmaja Thakore’s posts, then its not difficult to figure out how strongly she defends her reviews. Suddenly withdrawl symptoms! Why ?

We were curious and tried to put two plus two together. We found out that she is married to filmmaker Manish Tiwari who made his debut with Dil Dosti Etc. The film was produced by Prakash Jha. According to our theory, PJ must have got to know about the review and didn’t take it lightly. Ghar ka bhedi Bivishan, ok, Bivishan’s wife ( Yes, if they can take Mahabharata route, we are going Ramayan way). And thats why, without any reason Padamaja Thakore removed her Raajneeti post from PFC. If you are still interested in reading it, click here to read the post. Courtesy – Google cache!

Now, the fact. We have got to know that PJ has been calling the big bosses of one of the popular websites and has threatened to sue them and their reviewer. Reason ? Their Fart-neeti review and the reviewer’s hilarious pricesless quotes on him and his Fart-neeti film. It seems PJ, unlike his intials, doesnt have a funny bone. And our sources say that this news is cent percent true. If this is true, we are sure that our conspiracy theory is correct too.

Whats more, this is not the first time that PJ is doing it. When his film Apaharan released, something similar had happened. The film had a tie-up with one of the major hindi news channels. But when the channel gave a bad review to the film, PJ called up the person concerned and got into an altercation, on how they can give bad review to the film when they are channel partner! Since then, the two have not been on talking terms!

Someone need to tell Mr PJ that any kind of partnership doesnt mean that you own the editorial right over any kind of content! Unless, its Khat-Ni LajMi ! And yes Mr PJ, now we know why you lost the elections, not once but twice. Think big, play politics at bigger level, not dirty & petty ones!

PS – And after all this, we read a profile of PJ in the latest issue of Tehelka that portrays him as a man born with instinctive love for risk! Yawwwwnnn…..we have happily moved to Open!

PPS – Dont get us wrong, we also used to love his films. But then, his “films” used to deal with politics and not “him”! Now its all just a PJ!

Here was our bet! And yes, she doesn’t disappoint! And like always, we are again damn right! Ok, tired of saying it. BTW, we are being warned from different sides – Karara jawab denge! We replied – Hum dekhengepar jo kahenge sach kahenge….

And if you are still interested in reading the review, click here.