Posts Tagged ‘Ashutosh Gowariker’

 

SRK Swades

We love films for various reasons. There are those rare films that seem flawless, every bit crafted to almost impossible perfection. Then there are those even rarer films- with jagged edges and ‘flaws’ that make them so alive and human, they become a part of you.

Swades, for me, is just that kind of film. Its sheer lack of guile- perceived by many as a problem- actually pulls me closer to it; its innate naivety almost seems like a natural companion to the film’s innocent, idealistic spirit. It is this spirit- one that has nearly disappeared from the movies- that Swades gloriously celebrates- and which makes even the ‘imperfections’ in its cinematic artifice a part of its immense beauty.

 Replete with layers and themes that are conveyed through striking imagery and symbolism across its enchantingly languorous narrative, Swades wonderfully blends mythic and fantastical elements within a realistic narrative form.

The most dominant symbol used throughout Swades is that of water- and it is indeed an interesting, though perhaps insignificant coincidence that Ashutosh Gowariker happens to be an Aquarian. 

The preciousness of human life- both denoted by and dependent on water- is something that Swades repeatedly stresses on, and this is evident in the very first sequence of the film that takes place at NASA, which epitomizes the acme of technological and scientific development and stands in sharp contrast to the electricity deprived villages in the heartland of India. After Mohan Bhargava (Shahrukh Khan in arguably, his finest performance) concludes his presentation on the Global Precipitation Measurement Satellite Project that he is handling, a member of the audience asks him whether the massive budget for the project is really justified. 

To this, Mohan replies:

“Globally, there is a danger of water recession in the near future…It will not be unreal to imagine that in the 21st century, cities like Beijing, New Delhi, Santiago… and many others will use up their surrounding water and perish. Water is going to be rare. Is this not reason enough to justify any budget?”

The divisive ancient caste system- one of the main issues that the film addresses- prohibits the sharing of water by people of different castes. Water in Swades is the very elixir of life; the sacred element which unites all those who share it in an unbreakable bond. So water is omnipresent in the film and in its visuals- sometimes subtly, sometimes more conspicuously so.

When the NRI Mohan Bhargava arrives in India, he cautiously avoids drinking anything but mineral water, staying in the sanitized confines of his caravan. As he transforms from an outside observer to an active part(icipant) of the community, we watch Mohan as he bathes, sails through- and then, in the most powerful and memorable scene of the film, drink the water of his country. This moment could well be the called the emotional epicenter of the film. Mohan’s transformation is complete- he can no longer be a detached observer.

Later, during the film’s climax, we see Mohan literally plunge into the water reservoir to make the dam turbine work, and generate hydroelectricity. And finally, of course there is the film’s parting shot- Mohan sitting on the banks of the central village water body washing himself with his feet dipped in. The camera slowly zooms out towards the sky and we see hordes of people moving towards the very same water, almost as if attracted by an invisible, magnetic force.

Swades: Feet in water

Mohan has found his roots, his people… his home. As Fatema Bi says: ‘अपने ही पानी मे पिघल जाना बर्फ का मुक़द्दर होता है…’

PS: As many have pointed out, this has unintentionally coincided with the current and drastic drought conditions here in Maharashtra. Many of us including me, living in our little comfortable bubbles like Mohan, sometimes don’t realize just how bad the situation is. So have a Happy and dry Holi, guys! 🙂

Film Writers Association (FWA) has announced the 3rd Indian Screenwriters Conference. The central theme this year is “Untold Stories : Screenwriting and the truth of our times”.

– Venue : Venue: St. Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra (W), Mumbai

– Dates: February 25, 26, 27, 2013

– Only FWA members can attend. So if you are not a member of FWA yet, do become one. Click here to go to FWA site for more details.

And here’s the programme detail..

screenwriting-215x300Day 1 – Monday, February 25

1000-1020: Introduction to the Conference by Convenor & Co-Convenor, ISC

1020-1030: Welcome Address by President, FWA

1030-1100: Minister HRD (expected) declares the Conference

1100-1130: The Chief Guest’s address

1130-1145: Tea/Coffee break

1145-1230: Keynote Speech by Shiv Vishwanathan

1230-1300: Audience Q&A with Keynote Speaker

1300-1400: Lunch break

1400-1545: Do screenwriters have a social responsibility?

Moderator: K. Hariharan

Panel: Javed Akhtar, Tom Schulman, Rakeysh Mehra, Girish Kulkarni, Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, Vinod Ranganath, Gajra Kottary

1545-1600: Tea/Coffee break

1600-1745: How does our popular cinema and TV portray women?

Moderator: Ranjani Mazumdar

Panel: Ashutosh Gowariker, Anurag Basu, Kumara Raja, Preiti Mamgain, Satyam Tripathi, Ila Bedi

Day 2 : Tuesday, February 26

1000-1130: The charge of the new ‘write’ brigade!

Moderator: Pubali Chaudhuri

Panel: Juhi Chaturvedi, Habib Faisal, Ravi Jadhav, Akshat Verma, Reema Kagti

1130-1145: Tea/Coffee break

1145-1330: Is the old order cracking? New ways of storytelling.

Moderator: Govind Nihalani

Panel: Urmi Juvekar, Anurag Kashyap (TBC), Sanjay Patil, Bejoy Nambiar, Abbas Tyrewala

1330-1430: Lunch break

1430-1600: What is driving TV content? Is it changing? Can it?

Moderator: Saurabh Tewari

Panel: Tripurari Sharan, Vivek Bahl, Sukesh Motwani, R.D.Tailang, Charudutt Acharya, Gul Khan

1600-1615: Tea/Coffee break

1615-1730: The new brigade of TV!

Moderator: Anuradha Tewari

Panel: Raghuvir Shekhavat, Mihir Bhuta, Amal Donvar, Swati Pande, Chinmay Mandlekar, Mrinal Jha

Day 3 : Wednesday, February 27

1000-1145: The empty playroom. Why such few children’s films?

Moderator: Chandita Mukherjee

Panel: Gulzar, Nila Madhab Panda, Preiti Mamgain, Farhan S., Anand Sivakumaran

1145-1200: Tea/Coffee break

1200-1330: The light through the fog: Implications of the amended Copyright Act for film and TV writers

Moderators: Rajesh Dubey & Anjum Rajabali

Panel: Souvik Biswas, Nikhil Krishnamurthy, Sai Gopal, Ameet Dutta

1330-1430: Lunch break

1430-1545: Writer-Producer Bhai-Bhai! The Minimum Basic Contract for film writers

On stage: Dharmesh Tiwari, Vipul Shah, RameshSippy, Nikhil Krishnamurthy, Anjum Rajabali

1545-1600: Tea/Coffee

1600-1730: The way forward! What FWA has for you in the next one year.

On Stage: The Executive Committee of FWA

Conducted by: Vinay Shukla & Kamlesh Pandey

1730-1745: Vote of thanks

– To know more about the topics and the speakers, click here and scroll down to “A MORE DETAILED EXPOSITION“.

– 850 screenwriters and writer-directors are expected to participate. This is the most important event for screenwriting in the country, and ought to impact the profession in a significant way.

– Confirmed participants include : Salim Khan, Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Anurag Basu, Rakeysh Mehra, Govind Nihalani, Sriram Raghavan, Sudhir Mishra, Amit Khanna, Vipul Shah, Jabbar Patel, Vikramaditya Motwani, Bejoy Nambiar, Abbas Tyrewala, Amole Gupte, Habib Faisal, Navdeep Singh, Girish Kulkarni, Umesh Kulkarni, Lekh Tandon, Abhishek Sharma, Shridhar Raghavan, Kumararaja (Aranya Kandam), Rituparno Ghosh, Hariharan, Urmi Juvekar, Ishita Moitra, Manu Rishi Chadha, Leena Yadav, Prasoon Joshi, and others.

– Also, Tom Schulman (Oscar winner for ‘Dead Poets Society’) and Rebecca Kessinger (Asst. Executive Director of Writers’ Guild of America) will be there as guests since FWA and WGA are planning several collaborative initiatives.

(all info from press release)

– If you are completely clueless and confused whether to attend or not, click here and here to read our coverage of previous FWA conference.

If only Ashutosh Gowariker stops taking himself so seriously, the world would have been a better place to live. Ok, thats called exaggeration. But yes, he might get his mojo back. Last night Ashutosh Gowariker was online, through the twitter account of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. One of us tweeted and asked him for Refund. And this is what he replied…

You are asking for a refund?? It is like asking for a refund from the revolutionaries who gave their lives for you!!

Woohoo! As if Gowariker is going to donate all the collections from the film to the families of freedom fighters. And dear Gowariker, if you think there is nothing wrong with KHJJS, then all the best.

On his Facebook wall, Anurag posted this message yesterday –

See Chittagong, a far superior film made on the same subject as KHJJS.. At 1/8 th the cost, far superior actors and immense passion.. Producers decided to sit on it, because of a phone call from someone, Because that someone was trying desperately to save his son’s career..welcome to bollywood, where whose son you are… outshines all the hardwork and passion and potential and talent. KHJJS came and went, now what.

And if its true, then its not the first time. Remember how AB Sr. put out all the congratulatory smses that people smsed him for Abhishek, in full page advertisements after the release of Guru. And for Raavan, he put the blame on editing.

Mumbai Mirror picked the info from Anurag’s FB wall and carried this news today. And according to Mirror, Amitabh Bachchan reacted to it saying its incorrect and baseless.  Click here to read the report that The Telegraph carried in 2007 about Shonali Bose’s film. It seems Naseeruddin Shah and Jaya Bachchan were interested in it. One more Bachchan ? Wah, what an irony!

Shonali’s film Chittagong is directed by her husband Bedabrata Pain. It stars Manoj Bajapayee and Raj Kumar Yadav ( LSD).

Mim-Oh, aah, oouch! We knew that Ashutosh Gowariker was looking for an actor to play the lead in his big budget international film Buddha. But we had no clue that he would settle so close! Film critic Rajeev Masand tweeted about the casting news today evening. Its not confirmed yet but seems he is surely there.

Yes, we also want to know the same. What has he seen in Mimoh ? From which angle ? Where and how ? Or is it gonna be Har-Man/Hurr-Man/Whatever-Man casting redux and one more Whats Your T-rashee ? And if it is all about a star kid, then why this talent hunt ?

Also, Gautam Buddha must be turning in his grave. If you don’t believe us, click here. Why suddenly after 1000 years ? Or is it just a coincidence! We guess it has to do something with Mim-OoH….aah…ouch! We have already started Buddhist chanting!

No, its not the Raashee effect. He is not seeking cinema enlightenment! He is looking for an actor who can play the lead role of Gautam Buddha is his ambitious project Buddha. Sounds unbelievable ? Yes, dont panic, thats normal reaction. But it also seems true.

So, if you can act and think you can play Buddha then click here and apply for auditions. All the best!

Fuck the Filmfare, Screen, IIFA, GIFA, Stardust, Zee Cine and every XYZ Awards. They are all the same. Tv shows that needs naach-gaana and stars. And so the competition is who sucks better than whom and which star!  Most of them are organised by even management companies who get the stars to do naach-gaana and make sure that everyone gets a fat cheque.

So, here is the real deal – Golden Kela Awards by Random Magazine . Desi Razzies! Pure honesty! 100 percent shuddh!Its the second year of the award. And for a change, we agree with every choice of theirs. Thats rare! Outlook’s Follywood Awards are also good but Golden Kela Awards scores better because they have much better categories.

Worst Film – Kambakkht Ishq

Worst Director – Ashutosh Gowariker for WTF is Your Raashee 

Worst Actor – Harman/Hurman/Harrman/Harmun/Whatever Baweja for WTFYR

Worst Actress – Kareena Kapoor for Kambakkht Ishq

Worst Supporting Actor – Ranvir Shorey for Chandi Chowk to China

Worst Supporting Actress – Deepika Padukone for Chandni Chowk To China

Worst Debutant Male – Jackie Bhagnani for Kal Kisne Dekha

Worst Debutant Female – Shruti Hasan for Luck

Worst Pair – Rani Mukherjee & Shahid Kapoor for Dil Bole Hadippa

When Did This Come Out Award – Deepak Tijori’s Fox

Most Original Story Award – Dil Bole Hadippa copied from She’s The Man

Baawra Ho Gaya Hai Ke Award – Sylvester Stallone & Denise Richards for Kambakkht Ishq

Most Irritating Song of the year Award – Pritam for Love Mera Hit Hit from Billu Barber

Most Atrocious Lyrics Award- Sameer for Love Me Love Me from Wanted

Special Awards 

The Lajja Award for Worst Treatment of a Serious Issue – Kabir Khan & Aditya Chopra for New York

The Dara Singh Award For Worst Accent – Abhishek Bachchan for Delhi 6

The Black Award for Emotional Blackmail – Paa

The Insensitivity Award – Chandni Chowk To China

The Bas Kijiye Bahut Ho Gaya Award  – Madhur Bhandarkar

The Critic’s Award of 2009 – Taran Adarsh

Cyrus Broacha, the chief guest of the show was awarded the Cyrus Broacha Memorial Award this year. To read more about the awards, nominations and blogs, click here. And click on the play button to watch a tv report on Kela-ophobia.

This is the first still of Ashutosh Gowariker’s new film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, which has tweeted by Abhishek Bachchan. It also stars Deepika Padukone and Sikander Kher. The film is produced by PVR Pictures and is almost complete.

The film is based on journalist Manini Chatterjee’s book Do and Die on Chittagong uprising. Its pitched as a period thriller in which Abhishek plays the title role of revolutionary Surjya Sen, popularly known as Masterda.

Click here and here to read two reviews of the book Do and Die. The first one was published in Outlook and the second is from The Sunday Tribune. The Outlook review is copy-pasted  here also. Just scroll down. The review follows….

Our history texts hardly have place today for the Chittagong armoury raids, then described by a British bureaucrat as having “no parallel in Bengal since the Mutiny of 1857”. This well researched book was thus necessary. Chatterjee has tracked down masses of documents relating to the raids and met surviving members of Surjya Sen’s (Masterda) army, to produce a gripping narrative. The book’s signal triumph is that it never tries to hide the fact that this entire amateurish adventure was a series of tragic blunders.

Sen’s men took control of the armoury, but found only arms, no ammunition; they didn’t know that arms and ammunition are never stored together. A young revolutionary forgot a simple truth – that you don’t light a matchstick while standing in a pool of petrol – and threw the entire field plan into disarray, something from which it never recovered. One of the leaders, Ananta Singh, was emotionally unstable. Another, Pritilata Waddadar, was driven by a death wish. And finally, Masterda was leading a bunch of schoolboys – the youngest was only 13 – into war against the British Army.These boys never lost faith. On Jalalabad’s hills they fought Gurkha machine-gunners with muskets. The British threw their bodies into a pit and mass-burnt them. Gandhi had not a word to say about them, reserving his commiserations for the mother of Vithaldas, who, as part of Gandhi’s anti-liquor campaign, tried chopping a toddy tree and fatally wounded himself. Chatterjee captures the injustice in one reverberating sentence: “Even martyrdom, it would seem, lies in the ideology of the bestower.” 

You could call these people suicidal fools, but their courage shines through every page of this valuable book. Only two complaints: towards the end, Chatterjee can’t keep her political biases out, and she omits the survivor’s later lives (some had very chequered careers). But overlook that. Read this book and give it to your children, so they know about these misguided warriors who briefly halted the British empire in its tracks.