[Published in DNA, November 11, 2012]
There are quite a few things from my teenage years that I cringe owing up to, none perhaps as embarrassing as having been a shameless Shahrukh Khan fan-boy. As a matter of fact, I was so Madan Chopraaaa crazy that I would occasionally dress up SRK-style (I still have photographic evidence of me in my Ramjaane-inspired get-up) .
Those days, there was a hero vacuum in Bollywood. Amitabh Bachchan, after a disastrous run in politics, was turning out turkeys like Toofan and Akela, fast descending into the rabbit-hole of Dev Anandian obsolescence. Mithun Chakraborty was preparing to pack his bags for Ootie, Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff were on their ways out (they didn’t know it yet of course), Aamir Khan and Salman Khan were still finding their feet through a series of chocolate-boy low-key romantic roles, Saif Ali Khan was thought to be a Sharmila Tagore lookalike with no future, Akshay Kumar was cavorting in speedos as “handsome man” Mr Bond and producers considered Rahul Roy a viable sole-hero.
Yes things were that bad.
[ONLY for those who have seen Skyfall. Inside references and spoilers galore.]
Around Independence day, I inevitably start feeling patriotic. And when I do, I turn to Bollywood for sustenance and succor. Honestly, where else would you find true greatness like Dev Anand’s “Peeya hoon main sat mulk ka paani, sabse meetha Hindustani”? Where indeed?
Which is why, in this post, I salute five of my favorite filmi patriots. A disclaimer: Since I am primarily a Hindi film man, I have avoided greats like Balayya in my list (I lack intimate knowledge of his body of work) and for that I apologize. I have also not considered Prabhuji simply for the sake of fairness. After all, everyone deserves a chance.
Readers of this blog often ask “Why don’t you ever review movies you like?” Or the variant” Do you always watch a movie so that you can hate it?”.
Well, I actually do enjoy quite a few movies and review them on this blog.
Of course when I do, I end up hearing “What? You liked this crap and not <insert his/her favorite movie> here (Usually “Rockstar” or “Rang De Basanti” or “Delhi 6″)? And that too has its variant “I had come here expecting you to skewer <insert movie-name>. Such a mild review. Not upto your mark.” As if I am obliged to be trenchant about anything I see, even though I may have…errr…enjoyed it.
Quite a conundrum.
[Original word-limited version was published in DNA Sunday. Sans these pictures]
Can someone tell me what all this hullabaloo is about? Krrish and Enthiran and Ra-One—-a new wave of Indian superhero movies, the so-called next level, reflective of the recently acquired international taste of the Indian audience?
What? Superheroes new to Indian cinema? I beg to disagree.
All our action heroes, for decades, have been superheroes. Spiderman and the Green Lantern can just stuff it.
Sure our Indian superheroes did not wear Tron-and-Ironman inspired suits (Ra-One) or Zorro and Shiva (played by Jackie Shroff)-like masks and capes (Krrish). They did not need to, being comfortable in their own skins. They also had enough fashion sense not be caught wearing a underwear over their trousers or over-tight, trapeze-artist-like body-suits.
[I have been busy putting finishing touches to my next book "The Mine", releasing next January. Hence the long hiatus. Sincere thanks to all who inquired.]
I have always been a fan of Shakti Kapoor. One of the reasons for my admiration has obviously been his career-defining performance as the Vitamin Sex-amped, ambigosexual, killed-in-a-ladies-bathroom-by-Prabhuji-through-cutting-off-of-male-organ Chutiya in one of the most influential Hindi movies of the last century, Kanti Shah’s “Gunda”. But even before I came across this life-altering celluloid classic, I had been keenly following Shakti’s acting career, marveling at his histrionic abilities.