When Steven Spielberg Endorsed Himmatwala

Khan and Nadiadwala, the two Sajids responsible for giving us Himmatwala Redux got a letter of appreciation from Steven Spielberg recently. ‘Hmpf!’ we say, ‘as if the film needs a firangi filmmaker’s positive reinforcement. We already know it is the greatest film ever made, thank you very much!’

The question is not whether you will see it. The question is – how many dozens of times will you see it?

 

Let the Ta-Thaiya-Ta-Thaiya begin!

Let the Ta-Thaiya-Ta-Thaiya begin!

 

 

 

March 18, 2013

14 Sunset Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90099

USA

 

Dear Sajid and Sajid,

Thank you for the amazing hospitality shown to me during my lightening trip to Mumbai last week. I must say, my spur of the moment decision to come meet you after watching the trailer of the incredible Himmatwala was, by far, the best decision I have ever taken in my life. To you, shorter and fatter Sajid, I must thank profusely for making time for me despite your busy TV schedule. I apologize that I was not able to guest co-judge the episode of Nach Balliye! with you due to the distractions afflicted on me by the Ambanis and the Bachchans – sadly, some people just can’t take no for an answer.

Thankfully, there is always the promise of next time.

Beyond expressing my heartfelt gratitude, I was also compelled to write to you for another reason. That being your magnum opus Himmatwala. Seldom, nay never, have I felt so enthralled by a motion picture before. By choosing to tell the real life story of a man who was part Schindler, part Indiana Jones, part Jaws, part Lincoln, and yet almost entirely E.T., you have reset filmmaking benchmarks so high that they may never be matched. Fortunately, Himmatwala’s story is so compelling that I am confident that future filmmakers will retell it to new generations of audiences every 25-30 years.

I must say that casting Ajay Devgn as Himmatwala, The Great, was a brilliant masterstroke. As you will recall, I had expressed to you my fear that, perhaps, Tusshar was more appropriate to reprise the role that had firmly established his father as the most fascinating actor the world has ever produced. After all, and as amply displayed by his body of work, Tusshar abounds with virtually the exact same characteristics that Jeetendra had – the same good looks, panache, hair, pelvis, feet and talent. But now, after having watched the film at least 3000 times, I see clearly why you chose Ajay over Tusshar. It’s because of the former’s ability to do a convincing tongue-twirl inside the mouth, isn’t it? The kind that Jeetendra used to excel at, especially while doing those acrobatic dance steps that were his forte? Clearly, Ajay matches the legend in practically all parameters.

I was also absolutely thrilled to find Sridevi replaying the same character she did thirty years ago in the original! She still looks great at 50. How she managed to recreate the same magic to flawless authenticity, I shall never comprehend. The mindblowing leather outfits with matching horse whips, skirts the size of postage stamps, a voice that reminds one of caged birds squealing inside a burning shack, an exposed supple belly that undulates precariously and eventually spills up and over the tight saree – it was all done to perfection. Not to mention the frantic eye movements and the tongue thrusts – delightful mannerism, timeless even in this day and age!

I must make a special mention of the film sets, make up and costumes, and action sequences. The village setting, the huts, the flying ox cart, the million drums and pots on a beach and the zamindaar’s haweli were just the kind of Indian touches that a common viewer even in New York can easily identify with. The white cotton saree of the widowed mother, for example, was the epitome of simplistic fashion that the sartorial connoisseurs in Milan, Paris and London are bound to usurp for their next collections. And who can beat the kind of hysterical guffaws that only a Hitler-moustache and an odd wig can yield in a Bollywood movie? By the way, here is my advance alert – when I eventually get down to my Extra Terrestrial Part II project, I am sure to ask for the services of your entire Himmatwala crew. Hope you won’t turn me down, considering we are now underwear-buddies (I googled the translation of chhaddi)!

My wife Kate and I, along with our six children have been ta-thaiyya-ta-thaiyya-ho’ing constantly ever since each of us downloaded the album of Himmatwala on our iPods. We thank the lord that there is finally music that is worthy of downloading on this remarkable invention of my friend, the late Steve Jobs. Though I must admit, I am now on my second downloaded copy. The first digital copy got all scruffy and scratchy due to overplaying!

I shall cherish the advance copy DVD of the film till my dying day – and given the profuseness with which I am watching it, I suspect that might happen any day. If I do, it will still be worth it!

I am looking forward to personally hosting you for the 2014 Academy Awards in Los Angeles where, undoubtedly, Himmatwala will shine the brightest. Do visit with Jennifer bhabhi.  Farah, Shirish and the triplets as well.

With best regards,

Your totally unworthy friend,

Steven

 

Comments

comments

67 thoughts on “When Steven Spielberg Endorsed Himmatwala

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I got quite emotional writing about the letter myself, Suresh! And I have found out from reliable sources that Sajid Khan does not plan to respond to it – after all, he receives dozens of such letters from so-called renowned film directors every day!

      Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I am quite sure everyone, including soon-to-be Jennifer bhabhi, is getting their outfits done for the Oscars already. It is a foregone conclusion that this film is going to sweep all the awards in 2014!

      Reply
  1. purbaray

    I laughed my guts out, imagining Spielberg and his sukhi parivar doing tathiyya!
    Man who was part Schindler, part Indiana Jones, part Jaws part Lincoln and yet almost entirely E.T. – sounds just like Jitendra in his white shoes.

    LOVED IT.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Earlier, your neighbours used to complain about the hyena laughter from your apartment. I am pretty sure someone is filing a complaint about all the ta-thaiyya-ta-thaiyya sounds emanating from it!
      And I have decided to wear white shoes when I go see this film. A sport a pencil mustache too!

      Reply
  2. alkagurha

    ET part two with shades of Himmatwala will be a worldwide blockbuster. Sajid Khan, should co direct the movie and take KRK for the lead role. What fun.
    Hilarious read.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Those foolish people in Hollywood don’t even know what they are missing. It takes a Steven Spielberg to open their eyes!
      I hear Tom Cruise is auditioning for Mission Impossible 5, which will be a remake of Mawaali. :P

      Reply
  3. Ruchira

    [a voice that reminds one of caged birds squealing inside a burning shack, an exposed supple belly that undulates precariously and eventually spills up and over the tight saree] Hilarious !
    I knew we will get a post from you about Himmatwalla … ;P

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      This movie has the potential to make a movie critic out of each one of us. Gone with the Wind, Godfather, 3 Idiots, Sholay…and now Himmatwala. God has been so kind to us!

      Reply
  4. kriti mukherjee (@kritimukherjee)

    This had me in splits! You have a charming way with words Rickie – I am so going to be a regular in your blog now… P.S. – Ashamed to admit I haven’t watched the old Himmatwala but I just totally viewed it scene by scene through your post! LOL

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Yes, absolutely. Do make sure that everyone you know watches the film at least 2-3 dozen times! That is the only kind of respect we must pay to the makers of this masterpiece!

      Reply
  5. Amit

    I am sure the nation will have multiple cinematic orgasms while watching this masterpiece. I am thankful to Sajid Khan to make this tremendous Himmatwala effort to lower our nation’s IQ.

    Reply
  6. B K chowla

    Himmatwala,for sure will be a hit,with or without Sajid Khan.
    Incidentally,copy–or remake–can never be as ggod as the original.
    I wonder,how many of you have seen the original??????
    There cant be another Jeetendra

    Reply
  7. Rachna

    Aha Rickie’s muse Himmatwala :). Seriously I wouldn’t have noticed if not for your enthu promotion. Funny as always. Sri’s voice now even crows will go into depression don’t you agree? :) And Ajay did they put a gun to his head to do this one? He looks like a deranged monkey while dancing.

    Reply
  8. mamta khanna

    wow rickie u r awesome— seriously do consider writing scripts for soap operas nd movies. well this blog is again awesome nd yes funny too.the line i liked most was- d digital copy got scruffy nd scratchy b-coz of overplaying.wow

    Reply
  9. Rickie Khosla Post author

    If I have convinced you to turn off your music system that was playing the latest Bowie album, put away your tea, leave your comfortable couch, and head to the nearby multiplex so you can stand in line and purchase Advance Booking tickets for this movie, my work here is done.
    Though, somehow, I don’t think that’s likely……

    Reply
  10. anuglyhead

    I JUST DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN AND YES I AM COMMENTING FROM THERE!
    SPIELBERG might be shifting in his sleep as you wrote this post.
    But I am never going to watch that film.

    Reply
  11. The Fool

    Ha Ha Ha. Seeing your Facebook updates I expected this was coming soon. When is the post on tooth paste with salt coming up. Or should I beat you to it?

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Me ignoring the biggest cultural phenomenon India has ever known since the discovery of singer Mika? I don’t think so!
      By the way, mere toothpaste mein to namak hai hi nahi! So perhaps you should go ahead and write your experiences using a salted toothpaste each morning! :D

      Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      As he should, student of cinema that he calls himself!
      Meanwhile, I have already pre-booked my seats at the Radio City Music Hall and the Kodak theatre since Himmatwala is expected to sweep both the Grammys and the Oscars next year!

      Reply
  12. Rahul Aggarwal

    lol .. this is brilliant!

    hey you never know, himmatwaala may win an oscar next year for foreign category film .. if it is really that brilliant as appreciated by Steven Spielberg ..lol :P

    Reply
  13. jaishvats

    LoL!! ha ha…That was awesome! Have not seen even a trailer so far but I definitely got a good mental image now hi hi …Shall borrow the DVD from Steven ;)

    Reply
  14. Numerounity

    Lolz….himmatwala dekhne ke liye himmat chahiye…looks like all stars of original himmatwala are hiding their faces after seeing the disaster called- remake!!!

    ektakhetan.blogspot.in

    Reply
  15. Naina

    I have just been laughing out loud for last 15 mins since I read this! Brilliant!
    And who is Jennifer?? (Sorry if I am sounding too geeky and not up-to-date with the latest filmi gossips!) But I thought he was dating Jaquelin..no?

    Reply
  16. Nisha

    Oh, now I’ll HAVE to watch the movie. Reviews are pretty bad… but so what! We love goras… they are much more smart than our own critics ;)

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Der aaye, durust aaye, as the saying goes! But I am distressed that you are mocking Spielberg-ji’s dancing skills! I am sure he tathaiyya’s brilliantly :P
      I will surely visit your blog very soon!

      Reply
  17. Dagny

    I know now!

    I have finally understood, thanks to you, why I have never been able to appreciate Himmatwala. There was nothing wrong with the movie! The fault was entirely mine.

    I hadn’t the organ with which to acquire the enlightenment that the viewing of this magnum opus brings. Naturally, the experiences not only fell flat- it was a crying bore!

    I’ll never criticize Jeetu uncle again. Promise.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Hahhah! So glad that I was finally able to “open” your eyes to Jeetu uncle’s talent…and the magic of Himmatwala!
      And now, I am going to the temple to pray for a remake of Mawaali and Tohfa!

      Reply

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