Tag Archives: Films

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

 

The Bollywood Mutiny!

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Bollywood was in an unforgiving mood. It had had enough of these godforsaken politicians. After all, how much more nonsense could anyone sane endure? The government, the opposition, in fact all these damned politicians needed to go! Scoot! Vamoose! And Pronto!

As a replacement, the members of the Bollywood fraternity had decided that it was time for India to be run by them instead. This answer had been staring at them in the mirror for a while. Quite literally, actually, because they did like to stare at their mirror often and for extended periods. 

To take this discussion further, an emergency closed-door meeting was taking place at Jalsa, Aaraadhya Bachchan’s swanky crib in Mumbai. The entire film fraternity was in attendance. This was too important a meeting to let egos, personal bickering, camps, height, box-office results, clubs, accent, fisticuffs etc. come in the way. Moreover, the return-gift goody bags that had been promised to all attendees after the meeting, prepared by master artisan Karan Johar himself, were already the talk of the glitterati circuit. Obviously, no one was even remotely interested in staying away from this shindig!

 

Manoj Kumar, Chief Guest : (finally winding up his hour-long speech, in which he had recited poetry and dialogues from deshbhakti films such as Upkaar, Kranti and Clerk) And therefore I say, enough is enough! What have these politicians given us anyway? Same old boring ghisa pita story lines of corruption and violence! No more! It is our turn now! Jai Bollywood! Jai Hind!

The audience starts applauding slowly, after having been woken up in haste by determined elbow kicks from the stray folks who managed to stay awake through the Chief Guest’s discourse, possibly due to pill addiction induced insomnia.

Aamir Khan, Convenor : (stifling a yawn and rubbing his swollen red eyes) So, Friends, fellow Mumbaites, Countrymen, it is, therefore, time for us to wrest control of our nation from these bloody politicians. Guttersnipes, all of them!

Shah Rukh Khan : (excitedly) Hear, hear!

Katrina Kaif : (looking confounded) Eh, but what about Countrywomen? What do you want us to do?

Vidya Balan : (shaking her head) Oh you poor Firangi Phool, by ‘Countrymen’ he meant everyone in the country. Men and Women. But mainly strong, intelligent women like me.

Priyanka Chopra : (looks around pointing to Katrina) How did this foreigner even get into this meeting anyway? Isn’t she from Southall, London or someplace? What is she doing here (breaking into a song) In My Citaaaay! Go back to where you came from, you British Bitch!

Begum Kareena Kapoor : (turning sharply toward Priyanka and tossing her dandruff free hair almost toppling her tiara) Shut up! You mind your own accent, I mean, business!

Shah Rukh Khan : (raising both hands) Ladies, ladies, be quiet. Important matters are being discussed here. Let’s take these petty squabbles outside later so even I can join you!

Aamir Khan : So, as I was saying, Bollywood films have consistently breached the 100 crore mark. That’s more than the GDP of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh put together! Obviously, we are doing something right!

Akshay Kumar : (butting in) Excuse me, but some of us have even breached the 2000 crore mark. Oh wait, not some…only one person has! Me!

Dimple Kapadia whistles from the audience followed by a loud “Woo Hoo!”

Salman Khan : (hisses) Yeah, yeah, we know. We are no bloody Jokers, are we? Some of us are Tigers.

Akshay Kumar : Or Wanted? By the law?

Aamir Khan : (ignores the two and labours on) So, all that is left to be done now is the appointment of the leader of our party – the Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society. As you know, the leader of the political party that wins the election becomes the Prime Minister.

Sunny Leone : (interrupting) Are you certain that’s the party name we are keeping? “Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society” or BOOBS for short? And if so, have you chosen a mascot yet? A party symbol?

Aamir Khan : (annoyed) That name has been chosen after careful market research conducted by Mahesh Bhatt Sahab. And please don’t interrupt. Once our leader has been chosen, we will get to the business of selecting the right face to go with BOOBS. Now, talking about the party leader being Prime Minister…

Sonakshi Sinha : (interrupting) Really? Is that how it works? Then how come my father never became PM? He is the most important leader of his party!

Amitabh Bachchan : (turns curiously at her) Hah! Says who?

Sonakshi Sinha : Says he. In our house! All the time!

Reena Roy : (looking at Amitabh) Typical. (Both shake their heads incredulously)

Before Aamir is able to resume, a voice from the back calls out authoritatively.

Ekta Kapoor : (speaking boldly as she walks up front) I should be the Prime Minister. I run the country from 7 pm to 11 pm every day, anyway!

Sajid Khan : (angrily) Ekta Kapoor, you bloody insect from the TV world! What are you doing gatecrashing a Film People Only event?

Shilpa Shetty : (joining in) Yes, we can’t have you small time TV people come here and tell us what to do. Next thing we know, Alok Nath will want to be PM!

Ekta Kapoor : Arrey, I am the lifeblood of this nation!

The whole room erupts into loud guffaws. People have tears of laughter brimming in their eyes. Tiku Talsania is seen rolling on the floor, quite literally.

Ekta Kapoor : Khamosh, Fools! Half of the population of this country – that is, ALL the women – are in my Louis Vuitton handbag! I rule that vote bank! Don’t you forget!

Prem Chopra, Rajneet and Shakti Kapoor, the statisticians in the BOOBS team, are seen to quickly huddle into a whispering tete-a-tete with Mahesh Bhatt. After discussing for a few minutes, Mahesh Bhatt looks up and addresses Ekta Kapoor directly.

Mahesh Bhatt : (firmly) Well, we have confirmed that it isn’t half, as you are falsely claiming, you liar! The sex ratio of our country is already down to 800 and falling fast. Pretty soon, much of your audience will either die out or settle abroad. So shut up. And Get Out of this room!

Ekta Kapoor recoils at the backfire. An old man with jet black hair and pure white shiny shoes gets up agitated and rushes to her side.

Jeetendra : (yelling) Stop shouting at my daughter! (With that, he takes off one of his white shoes and flings it towards Mahesh Bhatt)

Suddenly, there is pandemonium in the room. Unable to bear Jeetendra’s outburst towards his uncle Mahesh, Emraan Hashmi springs out of his chair, picks it up and flings it towards the aging Himmatwala in true Gangster style. This causes everyone to rise to their feet and start tossing whatever objects they can get their hands on. It’s a free-for-all. Microphones, Blackberrys, iPhones, mirrors, hair brushes, compacts, sandals, wigs and toupees, Bentley and Land Rover car keys, nothing is spared. When Salman Khan can’t find anything to lunge and toss, he tears off his ‘Being Human’ t-shirt and flings it across the room barely missing Shah Rukh Khan by an inch.

With great difficulty, order is eventually restored. It is only possible because Karan Johar offers to distribute two return-gift goody bags to each person instead of just the one as earlier promised. That calms people down.

The meeting resumes and Madhuri Dixit gets up to make her case.

Madhuri Dixit : For PM, I have a laat of wourrld experience naao. Efter awl, I have bin living in Amairrica, but have nao returrned to Baambae to rool everything and everybaady. I am in everry rreality TV show. I haiv evolved as somewaan rreelly sooperiur. I am a Regenerist and my pimples are gaan! And my husband is a daacterr! Plus, look at mai teeth! (She pauses to flash her smile exposing ridiculously perfect white teeth)

The audience is unmoved. Possibly because they haven’t understood a word of what Madhuri has just spoken. Some ask for a translator but that request is quickly turned down in the interest of time.

Shah Rukh Khan : But why should we (tosses his index finger at himself, Aamir, Akshay and Salman) look for an old retired actress like you? We already have Hemaji, Rekhaji, Jayaji…wouldn’t we just choose one of them as our PM then? (Looks around searchingly) By the way, where are they? I can’t see those original Lux Beauties anywhere.

The audience repeats his gesture. Everyone looks around searching for the older actresses mentioned.

Salman Khan : (pointing at a dimwitted-looking man with floppy hair sitting by the door) Hey, Darbaan, where are they? Jayaji, Rekhaji, Hemaji? Didn’t they come for this meeting?

Vivek Oberoi : (extremely pissed) I am not the doorman! I am Vivek Oberoi!

All attendees look around quizzically, not knowing who that is. Some wonder if there has been a security breach. ‘Have they just allowed anybody and everybody into this room?’, ‘Who?’, ‘Nonsense, how can he be an actor – just look at him!’ is heard murmured loudly. Vivek Oberoi leaves the room in a huff.

Unperturbed, Salman Khan looks at the other homely-looking young man sitting near the door.

Salman Khan : Sorry, Darbaan, so I was asking…

This time, it is Tusshar who gets up and leaves the room in disgust.

Aamir Khan : (interjecting) Wait, I spot someone who can answer that question. Zeenatji?

Zeenat Aman : (in unbelievably perfect English – the kind that has never been heard in India before) Let me tell you, boys. Those beautiful ladies that you have just alluded to are already in politics. They are all MPs! Obviously, they didn’t want to be a part of this meeting! We are the actresses of the 70’s and 80’s. We have very high morals and dignity!

Aamir Khan : But how about you yourself, Zeenatji? We could all build consensus around you!

Zeenat Aman : Oh, no thanks, my dear friends and fellow fraternity. You see, I may already be taken. Since I may or may not be getting married soon, I will have to decline the offer. But, thank you anyway!

The discussion is back to square one. Just then, someone big and bulky in nothing but chaddis bursts into the room.

John Abraham : Sorry, I am late. I was at the gym. Did I miss anything important?

Bipasha Basu : (dryly) It’s ok, we didn’t even notice you were away. We are just electing our Prime Ministerial candidate, that’s all.

John Abraham : (sounding relieved) Oh, in that case, I am just in time. I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. (He raises his right hand to the back of his head and crinkles his forehead trying to strike the standard pose of a Softhearted Hunk)

The room immediately breaks into loud guffaws again. Everyone laughs hysterically – exactly like they did when Ram Gopal Verma came to them to offer a role in his Sholay remake. This time, Tiku Talsania doesn’t just roll on the ground but even has a massive heart attack while rolling and laughing, and dies. No one notices as his body quietly rolls to the side on its own.

Vidya Balan : (angrily) Stop that Dirty Picture pose, John! We are not talking entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. This is politics, politics, politics!

Aamir Khan : (extremely distressed at where the meeting is going) How the heck do you even consider yourself fit for Prime Ministership? Ok, tell me, do you even know the meaning of ‘Satyameva Jayate’?

John Abraham : Oh come on, stop pulling my leg! Isn’t that just a made up name of an old film? And then you just used it for your reality TV show? Lots of film directors use made up names. You tell me – does ‘Boom Boom Shakalaka’ mean anything? Or ‘Kai Po Che’? They are all made up!

Hritik Roshan : (derisively looks at John and then flexes his own muscles) You fool – ‘Kai Po Che’ is a Gujarati slang! Do you know nothing?

John Abraham : Really? So ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is also a Gujarati slang? I had no idea! (looks around sheepishly)

Hritik and Aamir roll their eyes.

John Abraham : But how did it get so popular? (Suddenly, his face lights up as if a bulb just went off in his head) Must have been coined by Narendra Modi ji! That man is a genius! What a catchy phrase he has created – ‘Satyameva Jayate’. It almost sounds real!

Amitabh Bachchan jumps to his feet at the mention of Narendra Modi and starts applauding loudly. Clearly, the Gujarat CM has connected well with the youth of the nation, including the eternal Angry Young Man.  

Aamir pulls his right hand up to his forehead, draws it in the shape of a handgun and shoots himself.

Taking a cue from the youthful sprightliness of Amitabh, another ‘youthful’ actor rises from his seat to make a case.

Rishi Kapoor : I say, this coveted Leader position belongs to the youth of the country and no one else.

Deepika Padukone : Hein? Uncle, you may have been the original chocolate hero lover boy of Hindi cinema. (Adds politely) But don’t you think that the chocolate is past its expiry date now?

Rishi Kapoor : Oh no, not me! I nominate my son Ranbir for the PM post. After all, the Kapoors are the first family of Bollywood!

Sanjay Dutt : (angrily) Bloody dynastic politics! We have no place for that in our country any more. Look at me, Uncle. I could have followed my dad’s footsteps and become a minister too. But did I? No! And you know why?

Ajay Devgn : (cheekily) Because of your love for AK-47s?

Sanjay Dutt : No, you idiot, because body building is a full time profession, that’s why!

Salman Khan, Sunny Deol and Dharam Paaji spring from their chairs and give a standing ovation for this sterling answer. The 3 sets of hands, each weighing 2.5 kilos, keep clapping until they realize no one else has joined them. That makes them stop and settle down into their chairs a wee bit sheepishly.

Ranbir Kapoor : (makes an angry face and looks at Neetu Singh) Mummy!

Neetu Singh : No, don’t worry, my little Laddo, my pyaare Barfi, we will get you something else!

Meanwhile, noticing that Amitabh has still not stopped applauding after the original Narendra Modi comment, Aamir addresses him directly.

Aamir Khan : (determinedly) Amit Uncle, you are the most senior, most well respected man in this room. Why don’t you take the mantle as our leader?

Amitabh Bachchan : Oh me? Oh no, who has the time? I have a Binani Cement shoot this week, then I fly off to Maldives to shoot for No-Corn Hawaii Chappal ad. As soon as I am back, it’s Hajmola Churan. Next month, Reid and Taylor, followed by Kajrare Kajal, where I am joined by my son and bahu. Then a guest appearance in KJo’s next film, then the next season of Crorepati, Balki’s next film….. (the list continues for the next 17 and a half minutes.)

Some people go off to sleep during this narration.

Amitabh Bachchan : …and some other commitments that we have not firmed up yet. So, looks like I might be free in 2019, but only in the second half. Does that work?

Aamir looks heavenwards, realizing this meeting is not going anywhere. He takes a decision.

Aamir Khan : I am afraid we will just have to adjourn this meeting to a later date. In the meantime, if anyone has any other thoughts on how to dislodge the politicians, do log into www.BIG-BOOBS.reliance.in. As you know, this event is sponsored by Reliance Industries and Big Entertainment. (Looks inquiringly at Abhishek Bachchan who nods back)

Abhishek Bachchan : Ladies and Gentlemen, food has been served at the back lawns. This way, please!

Abhishek leads the assembly towards the assigned area. As he gets there, he sees most serving containers empty and the scared staff shaking their heads and pointing to the woman sitting in the centre table ravaging a chicken tangdi.

Abhishek Bachchan : (incredulously) Where is all the food, honey?

Aishwarya Bachchan : (giggling, as she normally does) Oh, sorry, you people were taking so long in your meeting, I just couldn’t resist starting lunch by myself!

Lara Dutta and Shilpa Shetty look at each other and cluck their disapproval.  

 

 

The 10 Bollywood Films We Would Kill To See In 2013

With the remarkable benchmarks that Bollywood set in 2012, it is only obvious that we, the audience, would peg our expectations from our stars in 2013 even higher. True to style, they look unlikely to disappoint, if one were to go by the 2013 new movie releases list.

So, as a modest attempt to do my own “creative pay-it-forward”, here is my list of movies that you should watch out for this year. I can already see you nodding you head in wholehearted agreement. Here goes –

 

Jeans XXL – A worthy sequel to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s debut film Jeans, so what if it is coming 15 years later and 15 pant sizes wider? Just like the original, this one, too, is expected to bear an incomprehensible storyline but with lots and lots of expensively mounted songs filmed in foreign locales. Rai Bachchan, having given up her futile tryst with the gym for good, now has all the time to focus on her gigantic comeback. And unlike the boring one-dimensional though svelte characters that she has played in the past, this time she sinks her teeth into playing a well-rounded, khaatey-peetey ghar ki healthy ladki. There is already plenty of buzz around this being India’s nomination to the Oscars this year, just like its predecessor was.

Bharat Kumar – As a true desh bhakt, Aamir Khan has decided to follow up on his Lagaan, Mangal Pandey, Rang De Basanti, Satyamev Jayate success with the ultimate patriotic ode. In his next film, he stars in and as Manoj Kumar, the greatest Indian ever born in Bollywood, as has been repeatedly demonstrated by films from Upkaar to Roti Kapda Aur Makaan and everything in between (and by that we mean Clerk, Santosh, Kraanti, Om Shanti Om etc.). As part of his exemplary training regimen to get into the ‘skin of the character’, Aamir is only ever seen in public these days with his hand covering his face. Such obsession with perfection can bode nothing but box office gold. Already, people are wont to bursting into the national anthem at the mere mention of Aamir’s name – such are the colossal expectations from his new film.

Rajputana Rifles

Rajputana Rifles

Ek Tha Blue Whale – Frankly, film makers have run out of movie titles that symbolically signify what a gargantuan deal Salman Khan is. Hence, this new film, because there really is nothing bigger on earth left for Salman Khan to play. In this sure-shot blockbuster, Salman plays a rich Rajput named Ha-Whale-y Ram from Jodhpur (you see the connection to Blue and Whale now?). Once, while waiting at a traffic stop on his camel and simultaneously dancing to an item song with hundreds of street urchins, he comes across the beautiful Cham-Cham (played by Asin Ileana Diana Rumbha Ileana Asin) who he unabashedly eve-teases romantically pursues, not realizing that she is a clandestine spy from Pakistan! (But she is a good spy, so it is all ok). Then, lots of other bad spies also materialize and everyone chases everyone else across all of Jodhpur and many, many international locations across the seven seas (Blue Whale, you see). It all sorts itself out in the end with Salman bashing up 400 ISI spies to pulp with his bare hands. Oh, and we discover he is a closet CID agent too, the best India has ever produced. The film is expected to be Salman’s 100th film in the 200-crores club. And there are already hints of a sequel called White Whale – to be filmed in Antarctica.

Superr Duperr Housefull. If after watching this film, you happen to leave the theatre with a belly ache, it might be due to the consummate humour of this new Sajid Khan – Sajid Nadiadwala comedy. Or it could just be bad popcorn. But most likely, it may be because of the rich star cast of this film. After all, the marquee names include – Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Mithun Chakravarty, Bobby Deol, Kangna Ranaut, John Abraham, Paresh Rawal, Arbaaz Khan, Randhir Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Tusshar, Asin, Genelia, Jaqueline Fernandez, Zarine Khan, Mallika Sherawat, Mahesh Manjrekar, Nana Patekar and many many more. This delightful comedy has been penned by none other than Farah Khan’s triplets who are almost 5 now (keeping it all in the family, you see). Oh, and did we forgot to mention Chunky Pandey? Yes, he is in the movie, too, making it instantly repeat-viewing worthy.

Joker Tu – (Tu, as in, the Hindi word for ‘You’). Shirish Kunder strikes again with the sequel to Joker. Featuring Akshay Kumar. Enough said, except that the joke’s on you if you miss it.

Laddoo Sing! – The sensitive Ranbir Kapoor is back with his realistic and sensitive portrayal of Laddoo, a simpleton with a heart of gold. Living in a quaint town that is referred to in the film as Shimla but looks nothing like it, this sensitive simpleton’s only dream is to become a famous singing rockstar and win the heart of sensitive Ruby, the quintessential girl next door (played to Anglicized perfection by Katrina Kaif, quite sensitively). However, Ruby realizes around the interval mark (after leading on the sensitive Laddoo all this while) that she is in love with someone else, and also has cancer, plus she hates rock music anyway. That leaves sensitive Laddoo totally crumbly and ready to drop out of the singing competition that he is oh so very close to winning. What happens in the end? Does love conquer rock music? Does love at least trump cancer? Watch Laddoo Sing!, sensitive Ranbir Kapoor’s new sensitive film. It’s realistic too. Plus, the songs are to die for.

Mawaali Rascal – Prabhudeva is back with another Hindi remake of a South Indian box office masala smash! This time, it is Ajay Devgn who plays the bare chested mustachioed cop masquerading as a mawaali. Crooks and cars fly in his presence – quite literally, when he goes dhishoom-dhishoom like the good old films from the 70s! In fact, for this one, they have even managed to rope in Helen to perform a saucy cab-ray song like she used to 40 years ago – that should make the boys throw chunky 5-rupee coins at the multiplex screens. The film stars Reena Roy Sonakshi Sinha as the Heroine –the impish but bholi village belle in backless blouses, making a smooth transition to an item-number-type dancer for the latke-jhatke songs, or a damsel in distress in the last reels, as required.

Kabhi Kal Bhi Toh Kuchh Khushi Ho – Karan Johar’s new magnum opus musical extravaganza, featuring ShahRukh Khan, Kajol and Amitabh Bachchan. This eternal love story has been filmed in the choicest foreign locations where everyone speaks Hindi, like in Milan, Vienna, Melbourne and Miami. The story is about an extremely rich and well dressed family where no one seems to need to work (and they commute in helicopters and live in chateaux type homes). And yet, they are emotionally unstable and unhappy. However, by the end of the film, after a lot of singing and crying has been accomplished, they become emotionally stable and happy. Perhaps because by then they realize how bloody rich they are.

Asdfghq Wertyx Cvb – Yes, you guessed it right. This movie has no coherent title. That is because it is Vishal Bhardwaj and Vidya Balan’s brand new experiment. It has been observed that regardless of what they do, the audience will go watch their films. They know that Asdfghq Werty Xcvb is sure to be a cutting edge story with mindboggling performances and brilliant direction. Oh, and we have been told that Vidya Balan wears a full burqa throughout the film. You can’t see her face. Moreover, it doesn’t even sound like her either. Yet, somehow, that has succeeded in making people even more excited about the film. Talking of the sheer draw power of raw talent!

And finally…

Untitled Soft Porn Horror Musical No.24 – At the time of writing this article, the Bhatt Factory (Mahesh, Mukesh, Vikram, Pooja, Soni, Alia, their dog etc. etc.) had still not settled on the final title of their latest Japanese/Korean remake absolutely original work. This one just might be called Jism Ka Raaz. Suffice to say, the film stars Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu, Sunny Leone, with Dino Morea in a special appearance. If that hasn’t already made you put all your 2013 outstation travel plans on hold in anticipation of the film’s release, we don’t know what will. The Bipasha-Sunny kissing scenes? In bikinis? In Fiji? But that’s a given, anyway.

 

La Zawaab Film Awards 2013!

Come January each year and the poor Indian plebeians are swamped by a deluge of film awards of all shapes and sizes. Right from Filmfare, Screen, Lux, Zee, Sony, TV Guide, Star Dust and down to Sitara, Manmohak, Charlie, Pappu and their aunt, everyone has their own version of the “biggest and most coveted ever” film awards. Complete, of course, with glittering award functions where identical dance routines are performed to the exact same Bollywood hits.

Amidst all this glamorous vomit, one has to spare a thought for the poor film folks who had the misfortune to be part of successful films of the past year, and who must now bear the brunt of this overenthusiastic adulation. The same names are repeatedly nominated for these zillion awards. For each award function that they deign to attend, there are scores of others that they must find creative ways to wriggle out of.

Here is one such sad story.

We are at the Office of the Organizing Committee of the 2013 La Zawaab Awards, sponsored by the makers of Paan-e-Khaas Paan Masala and Khajana Boutique. The award ceremony is only two days away. The preparations are ongoing but decidedly not very well, going by what is overheard of a conversation between two of the main organizers.

This dialogue has been poorly translated from Gujarati to English.

And the winner is....whoever is available.

And the winner is….whoever is available.

Kokila Behn hangs up the phone dejectedly.

Ramess Bhai (Organizer No.1) : So who was it this time?

Kokila Behn (Organizer No.2) : Vidya Behen.

Ramess Bhai : Let me guess, she can’t make it either. What is her kahaani?

Kokila Behn : You are right, she can’t. But her reason sounds genuine.

Ramess Bhai : What is it?

Kokila Behn : She says she has put on too much weight. The saree she bought especially for our awards function has become too tight. She has nothing to wear now and so she can’t come. I feel too much bekdis with butter she is eating.

Ramess Bhai : Oh no! Can’t she get another saree? Like a XXL size or something?

Kokila Behn : I suggested the same. She said there isn’t enough time. She said her fashion designer Sabji Bhaaji was in Calcutta for Puja.

Ramess Bhai : Puja? Durga Puja? In January?

Kokila Behn : Maybe those Bengali lok do it twice a year? I have never been to Calcutta myself.

Ramess Bhai : Hmm…sounds like an excuse to me. And who is this designer Sabji Bhaaji?

Kokila Behn : Who knows. Aisa hi kuch bola usney. She said she only wears his clothes.

Ramess Bhai : Made up excuse! Like Kareena. Hers didn’t sound genuine either.

Kokila Behn : What did she say?

Ramess Bhai : Dandruff. She says she has too much dandruff and so can’t come.

Kokila Behn : Hah! Who can believe that? Isn’t she constantly applying Head and Shoulders?

Ramess Bhai : How people lie…

Kokila Behn : So, who are we left with?

Ramess Bhai : Well, so Priyanka is out because of she is preparing for Granny awards, and Kareena, and now Vidya. And Sridevi dropped out a week ago.

Kokila Behn : Arrey not ‘Granny’, ‘Grammy’! She only sings Engliss music now. And that Sridevi! I still don’t understand why she was speaking to us in Tamil! You remember when we took her call on speakerphone? I didn’t understand a word she was saying!

Ramess Bhai : Tamil? I thought she was speaking in Hindi!

Kokila Behn : No, it was definitely not Hindi. I think she was speaking in Tamil. Or maybe in Engliss…?

Ramess Bhai : Well, it was definitely not Engliss. Wouldn’t we have understood what she was saying if it was Engliss?

Kokila Behn : Yes, true…

Ramess Bhai : Anyhow, good that you had the foresight to pretend that the line was not clear and asked her to send us an SMS instead.

Kokila Behn : Which she promptly did. With a decline.

Ramess Bhai : How sad!

Kokila Behn : That leaves us with only Katrina Behen who is coming for the awards night.

Ramess Bhai : Which means our Best Actress award will have to go to her.

Kokila Behn : Such a pity.

Ramess Bhai : But what can we do? No option!

Kokila Behn : And on the men’s side?

Ramess Bhai : Well, there’s Akshay Kumar.

Kokila Behn : Arrey? What happened to Aamir Khan? I thought he was coming?

Ramess Bhai : He said he has to go to a village in Jharkhand that day. Or maybe he said Chhatisgarh? It wasn’t Bihar…No, definitely Uttarakhand…he said he was going to Uttarakhand. Or UP?

Kokila Behn : Oh saala! Why?

Ramess Bhai : To judge a kabaddi match! How the hell would I know?

Kokila Behn : You should have asked…

Ramess Bhai :  And said what? Don’t go feed water to the poor suffering farmers of that village, come here instead because we want to give you a prize? Chee! Sounds cheap.

Kokila Behn : You know, he scares me.

Ramess Bhai : He scares me, too! In fact, he was so intense on the phone that the connection broke!

Kokila Behn : Wow!

Ramess Bhai : So the men are out as well – Salman Bhai – court case, Ranbir – because his mummy-papa said no, Ajay Devgn – because Yash Chopra’s accountant was attending the function…

Kokila Behn : And Shah Rukh because he wanted to host and perform.

Ramess Bhai : Too much, this man. Limelight Hogger kahin ka!

Kokila Behn : When we have already selected apna Paresh Bhai to host!

Ramess Bhai : Oh yaarab this Best Actor trophy will have to be given to Akshay Kumar!

Kokila Behn : We should have nominated Irrfan Khan when we had the chance.

Ramess Bhai : Hindsight 20:20 hai!

Kokila Behn : That makes Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar our award winners. The Best Actor and Actress in India.

Silence

Ramess Bhai : Well, certainly better than our choice of Best Director and Best Film.

Kokila Behn : That film wasn’t all that bad, was it?

Ramess Bhai : Well, what choice to we have now, anyway?

Kokila Behn : By the way, Karan has asked for 3 extra trophies besides his own – one each for his 3 stars. He wants them all to be in golden colour, with a platinum top and with diamond rivets going down each side.

Ramess Bhai : Gadhedo saala! Chalo, let’s talk to Mansukh Bhai in Surat then. Let’s see what trophies he comes up with.

Kokila Behn : Has anyone even confirmed that they are definitely attending?

Ramess Bhai : Yes, Zarina Wahab.

Kokila Behn : Ok good! At least the Lifetime Achievement award is all set then.

  

Saifeena! The Secret Story Behind The Marriage That Almost Didn’t Happen.

They may look like a perfectly happy couple now, but do you know that the first date between Saif and Kareena almost didn’t go quite right? This is what the waiters at The Zodiac Grill at The Taj overheard of that meeting many months ago.

Made For Each Other. Manufactured Ten Years Apart.

Kareena Kapoor : Hello!

Saif Ali Khan : Oh, hello, Bebo! I mean, I hope you don’t mind me calling you that…

Kareena : No, no problem at all, Uncle!

Saif : <Coughs> Errm…I wish you wouldn’t call me that…

Kareena : Call you what?

Saif : I mean, Uncle! Uncle is such a…such a formal word, isn’t it? You could just call me…

Kareena : Chachu?

Saif : No, no, not that!

Kareena : Mamu, then?

Saif : Why don’t we just call each other by our names? We both have such cool names. You could just call me Saif.

Kareena : Haww…I used to call Amrita aunty Amrita aunty, na! And you have always called me Kareena beta. Remember your wedding? I was wearing my pink frock and plastic clips in my hair. I must have been 2 years old or something. You must have been, what, 50?

Saif : You were 10. I was 19. But that was many years ago. We are both grown ups and mature adults now! We don’t have to be formal any more.

Kareena : Ok, Unc…I mean, Saif-ji…?

Saif : Saif. Just Saif. Please.

Kareena : Ok, Saif.

Saif : So, Bebo, how are things going?

Kareena : Oh, things are going great! Especially after I broke up with that lazy loser Shahid! You know, jab we met no, I thought it would be cool to get married to someone who already had Kapoor as a surname. But he is just so…blehh!

Saif : I see. Is it important for you to retain your surname after marriage?

Kareena : Yeah, sure. I am a Kapoor after all. Our family has achieved so much! You know why the Karishma – Abhishek engagement broke?

Saif : Why?

Kareena : Because he didn’t want to change his name from Abhishek Bachchan to Abhishek Kapoor. What a loser!

Saif : Naturally.

Kareena : I know, right! I mean, look at Karishma! She is considered to be the most famous actress of all time!

Saif : Oh, she is?

Kareena : Of course, that was why she was the heroine of all No. 1 films – Biwi No. 1, Hero No. 1 etc. etc. Why else would they name those films after her?

Saif : I see.

Kareena : And now, she is about to release her comeback film – Dangerous Ishqq 3D. I think the Khans had better watch out!

Saif : You mean I should be worried?

Kareena : You? Why?

Saif : You just said – the Khans had better watch out.

Kareena : Oh, sorry, I meant Aamir ji, Sallu bhai and SRK. You are not really in their league, na.

Saif : Ouch…that hurt…

Kareena : I mean, you are a Khan, too, but still not quite one. They are like – KHAAAAAAN. You are just – khan. You know what I mean?

Saif : Not really. But you do realize that I am as accomplished as them, right?

Kareena : Oh, yeah, yeah, I didn’t mean you are not old like them.

Saif : <Coughs> I mean, I am not that old.

Kareena : You are what now…like, 50 or something?

Saif : No, no, I am waaaaay younger than that!

Kareena : You know, Lolo is many years older than me. Many times, I just call her Daadi-ma. She is just sooo old! You know she even colours her hair! Have you seen her Garnier hair dye TV ads?

Saif : <Coughs> But many people colour their hair…no harm in that!

Kareena : Yeah, old people do! Like Aishwarya ji in her L’Oreal ads! By the way, I just re-bagged Heroine, that movie she was supposed to do with Madhur ji. I think it’s going to be another Mother India. A total classic!

Saif : Congratulations…yes, I can already see it as the biggest success of 2012! Madhur and his hard-hitting brand of cinema. In fact, I am hoping that he will someday make a male-oriented film called Halwaai and sign me up for that.

Kareena : Oh wow, really?

Saif : Never mind that. You know, there are many other great things on the anvil for 2012…

Kareena : Really? Like what?

Saif : Have you heard of Agent Vinod?

Kareena : Agent Vinod…hmmm…I think so. Isn’t it a brand of phenyl? Strong chemical agent to clean floor ke kaale kaale daag? I think they asked me to be their brand ambassador once. Before I bagged the Boroplus campaign.

Saif : <Coughs> No, no…nothing like that. It’s a new movie I am planning. Like James Bond. Agent = Spy, get it?

Kareena : Oh, I get it!

Saif : Would you be interested in playing the female lead in the film?

Kareena : I would be, but only if the character is very hat-ke. Something so unusual that it doesn’t even exist! Like, if you are a RAW agent, I could play a female Pakistani spy! Who is also good hearted! It will be sensational! I bet you, no one can even imagine a character like that, let alone play one! A good female ISI spy!

Saif : Yeah, that does sound absolutely unusual! Never in a million years will we ever have Aamir, SRK, or even that box-office ka Ek Hi Tiger Salman have his heroine play a Pakistani agent in their film! We could be the pioneers of this genre!

Kareena : Super excited! This will be another Sholay at the box office !

Saif : My God, we will have a Sholay and a Mother India in the same year!

Kareena : Good times!

Saif : I think we make a great pair!

Kareena : Yes, won’t it be great if we won the Filmfare awards together in 2012? Me for Heroine and you for Agent James!

Saif : Agent Bond. I mean Vinod James. I mean…

Kareena : Agent Vinod, yes, yes, sorry!

Saif : Yeah, but what I meant was that we make a great pair not just professionally. I think we are at the same wavelength personally as well.

Kareena : I know! Like the connection that M.F. Hussain and Madhuri Dixit have!

Saif : <Coughs> No, no, not like them!

Kareena : You mean, like M.F. Hussain and Tabu, then?

Saif : No! I don’t mean M.F. Hussain at all!

Kareena : Who then?

Saif : I was thinking more like Amit ji and Jaya ji, Rishi uncle and Neetu aunty. Like Shah Rukh and Karan. Like Riteish and Genelia.

Kareena : Oh! But you are so…

Saif : I am so what? Royal, suave, articulate? Charming?

Kareena : I was going to say o…

Saif : Opulent? I am a Chhota Nawab. Opulence runs in our blood. Have you not seen my mother?

Kareena : Yes, she does look good even though she is so old. How old is she, like 100?

Saif : You had better not say that in front of her. But yes, she does look great. And as Begum of Pataudi, she is royalty. Owner of all the khandaani riches – clothes, jewellery, land.

Kareena : Hmm…

Saif : All of which will be inherited by the next Begum…

Kareena : Amrita aunty?

Saif : We are divorced now!

Kareena : Oh, you mean your next begum!

Saif : I am just saying.

Kareena : Interesting thought – you and me. At least my initials won’t change!

Saif : That’s right!

Kareena : Though, if it ever gets serious between us, everyone will maaro PJs about our age difference!

Saif : Not at all. No one will even notice the age difference! There is hardly any, anyway!

Kareena : But you are old…

Saif : I am not…

Kareena : Geriatric almost.

Saif : <Coughs> Let’s talk about something else. Should we just order something? How about some wine?

Kareena : Sure. As long as it’s vintage.

Saif : Dammit!

Kareena : <Laughs>