There was a lot of hullabaloo last week regarding Lady Gaga hatching from a giant egg at the Grammy Awards before her performance of a song too reminiscent of Madonna’s Express Yourself to be considered original. With all the attention about the song being a copy of another, I say WAIT! The egg hatching is also a copy! Bollywood did it first, and Bollywood did it better. You already know of Amitabh Bachchan’s big egg reveal from Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) in My Name is Anthony Gonsalves and if not, here it is:
So readers, please vote: Who had a more magnificent hatching from a giant egg, Amitabh Bachchan,
Fiza (2000) is concisely described at IMDB here: In 1993 Fiza’s brother disappears during the riots in Mumbai. In 1999 Fiza is tired of waiting and goes looking for him. But there’s a little more to it than this, since when he’s gone he becomes a TERRORIST! And this makes me think, can I write the word terrorist without being put on some kind of a watch list? I’ll let you know. I suppose the movie’s poster hints at what happened to the lost brother.
Fiza (Hindi: फ़िज़, Urdu: ﻓﻀﺎ) is a 2000 Indian film written and directed by Khalid Mohammed. The film stars Karisma Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Jaya Bachchan. Although the film failed at the box office, it was well acclaimed by critics. Originally Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan were supposed to have cameo appearances, but their scenes were removed due to considerations about the length of the running time. The film is about Fiza (Karisma Kapoor), whose brother, Amaan (Hrithik Roshan), disappears during the 1993 Mumbai riots. Fiza and her mother Nishatbi (Jaya Bachchan) desperately hold on to the hope that one day he will return. However, six years after his disappearance, Fiza, fed up with living with uncertainty, resolves to go in search of her brother. Driven by her mother Nishatbi’s fervent hope and her own determination, Fiza decides to use whatever means she can—the law, media, even politicians—to find her brother, which brings her into contact with various characters and situations. When she does find him, to her horror she sees that he has joined a terrorist group!!!!! (source)
The Filmfare for Best Actress went to Karisma Kapoor, and Best Supporting Actress went to Jaya Bachchan for their performances in Fiza. I always enjoy the intensity Karisma Kapoor brings to her characters, and for my tastes, the more hysterical the better! Kapoor has plenty of opportunities to be her most animated and outraged best in portraying Fiza.
Fiza is fietsy and surly as it is, but she’s put on edge even more than usual since the ’93 bombings, and the fact that her brother has mysteriously vanished. Her mother (Jaya) processes her grief over her missing son differently than Fiza and she’s trapped somewhere between denial and faith, but Fiza’s frustrations are manifested in her acting out more than is acceptable for a nice Muslim girl. Her mom gently warns her about this…
Fiza sometimes goes out to the club and on one occasion she seems to attempt to pick a fight through a dance. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but I’m sorry to report that I think this was a girl fight over a guy. I hate to see the ladies stoop so low, but hota hai.
Here she is in the club about to show her dance/fight moves. It’s like she’s a hybrid Capoeira master, Bollywood style. It’s one of those item numbers that makes you think What on earth am I watching and why? In other words the type I love most! Not a lot of people know this, but I choreographed this number:
Fiza has a fiery personality as it is, but too often she is pushed to the limit and her very sharp tongue and tantrums are justified. There are some scoundrels who follow her making lewd comments and generally sexually harass her; as they say in India they are eve teasing. Isn’t that a crazy term, twisting the fault back to the woman?
Idiots! They go to a further level at taunt her with threats of throwing some acid at her. Look how casually these n’er do wells toss up the acid bottle here:Well, boys will be boys afterall, (kidding) and nobody messes with the Fiza, and she just snatches the bottle of acid, taking control of the situation!
If Fiza can speak her mind in the face of extreme harassment, have cool nightclub dance challenges, can’t she go to infiltrate some top-secret terrorist group to try to find her missing brother? YES SHE CAN! So she sheds her salwar kameez and puts on her polar fleece jacket, some acid wash jeans, and her backpack and heads Kashmir or where ever they train terrorists, to handle things! Does she have time to buy a puppet? NO!
Fast forward to find that Fiza locates her radicalized brother outside of a gift shop.
Fiza brings her brother back to Mumbai, but he’s different, sort of stressed out and tense since he’s an undercover terrorist! Mom tries to help him out by taking him to a relaxation/friendship group in the park called the Ha Hi Hi club, lead by Johnny Lever. I think a better naam for the club would have been The LOL club.
I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the more peculiar screen caps I found from Fiza and I’d love to hear about your impressions and memories of the film. I will always take a screen cap when I see the word melodious, so I’ll leave you with this one from Fiza:
It’s Raksha Bandham time dosto. Since I’m a full throttle cultural pirate of all things Indian due to my Bollywood addiction, I thought of this question for us all: On what Bollywood star would you tie a rakhi?
Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection in Hindi and Panjabi) is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shraavana. The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The elder brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her same while an elder sister returns offers to her younger brother. The brother and sister traditionally feed each other sweets. It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a brother by birth; any male can be “adopted” as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person, that is “blood brothers and sisters”, whether they are cousins or a good friend. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. (source-ji)
I recall the first time I saw this done in a movie and someone tied a super big fancy one on Amitabh in some film. Fancy like this:
It was Angry young man Amitabh, so perhaps it was in Zanjeer? I can’t recall. Tell me if you can. Anyway, this got me thinking about what star could offer me imaginary brotherly protection. It was a toss up between Anupam Kher and Amrish Puri, with Paresh Rawal as third runner up for next year. So this year I have a tie (get it, a tie? ) and tie my imaginary rakhi on Anupam Kher AND Amrish Puri.
I choose the sacred bond with Anupam for his intelligence and ability to work in a wide range of films. He offers wisdom and humor which are qualities I’d like in a brother, plus I love his bibi, Kirron Kher, so it’s like a 2 for one. Then, I’d tie the other rakhi on Amrish Puri. I figure since he’s dead that would be some supernatural rakhi power and protection from the other side. Who wouldn’t like Amrish Puri on their good side? Imagine if someone dared to cross you and Amrish stepping on to the scene and starting one of his outrageous villain rants on your behalf. Now that would be the limit! Yeah do you know who my brother is? I’d mention his name, and there would be no trouble.
Now tell me the Bollywood star on whom you would you tie the sacred knot and why? You can think about your answer while you watch this rakhi scene fromHum Saath-Saath Hain (1999) which I haven’t seen but must:
For time-pass I watch a lot of movies and I also read books. I suppose it’s normal to find stories about films in books about India, since the film industry infiltrates the culture. Even in this anthology on the serious subject of AIDS, I was able to find a bit of very uplifting Bollywood material.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India, a landmark collection of essays that presents a complex and gripping picture of the disease. Sixteen of India’s most well-known literary writers go on the road to tell the story of people affected by the epidemic and the stigma that surrounds them. “This book reveals the human side of the disease,” write Bill and Melinda Gates in their introduction to this groundbreaking anthology. (source)
Return to Sonagachi by Sunil Gangopadhyay presented a delightful dilemma: where on earth do we hide the whisky? I bet it was Johnnie Walker. Read on to see how the dilemma reminded me a bit ofUmrao Jaan (1981) and (2006):
See! A poetry writing prostitute with a heart of gold, just like Umrao Jaan.
Love in the Time of Positives by Nalini Jones describes how Baghban (2003), and in particular the part played by Salman Khan, ended up saving someone’s life.
On the day he planned to die, he decided to spend his last afternoon at the movies. Basavaraj described the film he saw at great length-a family drama starring Amitabh Bachchan called Baghban. It is the story of loving parents who give everything they have to their son and look froward to a happy old age. But their children have grown selfish, caught up in their own concerns, and the parents are left destitute until an unlikely saviour, a street boy the couple had adopted and educated, comes to their rescue. Sitting alone in the theater, Basavaraj began to worry about this own parents. He realised he was their only son, their best hope for ‘a good old age’. He wanted to be like the adopted boy in the film, the only one who doesn’t forget what he owes his family. Basavaraj went home, threw out the pills, pored away the alcohol, and cast himself as the unlikely saviour- the son who is secretly HIV positive. (source p.320)
So if you’ve seen Baghban, I suppose the credit would go to Salman Khan for saving the life of Basavaraj! Who would have thought!? I wonder if Salman-ji knows about this.
The Daughters of Yellamma by William Dalrymple includes an Amitabh Bachchan siting! In some parts of India young girls are “married” or dedicated to the temple goddess as prostitutes. Dalrymple interviews one of the women and she recalls the time she lived in Bombay:
I ate fabulous biryani at the Sagar Hotel and once when I was in the streets I saw Amitabh Bachchan pass by in his car. (p. 226)
As much as I enjoyed to Sunil Gangopadhyay’s piece, I enjoyed The Last of the Ustaads by Aman Sethi which both mentions and pays a great tribute to Gadar, Ek Prem Katha (2001). Maybe I loved Sethi’s piece so much because Gadar is one of my favorite movies.
Questioning the plight of truck drivers in India and their higher tendency to have HIV than the general population, Sethi interviews a truck driver:
Is it just ‘modern life’? When finding answers to sudhcomplex questions in a country infested with faux holy men, one must turn to the sole oracle of truth—Bollywood super hit film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha(Gadar: A Love Story), Tara Singh the truck driver, played by trucker demigod Sunny Deol, is asked a poignant question by Partition refugee Sakina, played by Amisha Patel. ‘Tara Singhji,’ she asks as sh expertly ties hi turban, ‘why don’t you get married?’ Tho this, Tara Singh shakes his turbaned head, and gives her an answer that made practically every truck driver in India nod his head approvingly and say ‘Wah!’ ‘Madamji,’ says Tara Singh, ‘I live in Khana Buddur; today my truck is parked here, but tomorrow I might be in Delhi. After that why would anyone want to marry a truck driver?’ Thought the movie is set in 1947, Tara Singh’s question touches upon an issue that is relevant even today. Truck drivers aren’t particularly discriminated against when it comes to marriage partners; but some of the younger drivers I spoke with said that finding partners was becoming harder and harder. I watched Gadar on the recommendation of Sanjay and some of his friends Played out against the backdrop of the Partition riots in 1947 in the border states of India and Pakistan, Gadar tells the tale of how a heroic Jat-Sikh truck driver rescues a wealthy Muslim girl from a rampaging mob; wins her trust, marries her, rescues her once more–this time from her rampaging father–and finally settles down, in a happy ending. While several films have had their heroes careen up and down highways in trucks, the heroes. are rarely truck drivers;l the truck just happens to be the closest vehicle at had to make good their escape, rescue their lovers, or run over their enemies. Gadar is perhaps the only mainstream hit in which the protagonist is a truck driver who proves to be a good husband, father, patriot, and all round nice guy. Unfortunately, Gadar too starts with Tara Singh accepting that fate has dealt him a poor hand by making him a truck driver. He obligingly sings and dances and plays the part of the happy truck driver, but he understands the distance between him and the object of his desire. As he says, ‘Even if I wanted to, I can’t touch the moon, can I?’ The rest of the plot is a story of redemption–of proving that truck drivers are honourable, powerful , and patriotic. Why does truck driving lack izzat? Why are truck drivers victims of negative stereotypes? Is it class? Is it their association with a high-risk behavior group? Does, in fact, being categorised as a high-risk group stigmatise them even further? From Gadar to their portrayal in the Indian press, truckers are regarded as rough and ready and reckless, dirty and dissolute. Prone to drink, driving accidents–and now disease. (p. 306-7)
Also, if you want to get filmy with it, here’s something else.
The AIDS Jaago (AIDS Awake) project is four short dramatic films which aim to dismantle myths and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. These films were funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and made by acclaimed Indian filmmakers Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding; The Namesake), Vishal Bhardwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar. Designed to use the immense power of moviemaking to wake people up about AIDS, the project was the brainchild of Mira Nair and was produced by her company Mirabai Films. (source)
“Shah Rukh’s surgery went off fine and he should be back home in two days. However, he will require some good rest for a long period and he has been advised not to do any strenuous work,” said Sanjay Desai, orthopaedic surgeon at Breach Candy Hospital here. (The Hindu)
This blog is all about cutting and pasting today friends. I mean it often is, but today more so than usual:
Prayers For Shahrukh Khan’s Speedy Recovery: Prayers were performed at a hair-cutting saloon in Bhopal to wish a speedy recovery of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, who underwent a successful shoulder surgery on Monday. Naresh Sen, a barber in the saloon said that Khan had inspired their community to become successful through his film Billu. “The havan(ritual) which I performed was for Shahrukh Khan to live a longer life. He will live much longer. I performed this ritual in my saloon because he has given us inspiration through his film Billuand an opportunity for the poor class to move forward.” said Naresh. The 43-year-old actor underwent an arthroscopic surgery on left shoulder, which kept nagging him for quite sometime. Doctors at the Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital said Khan was recovering well. The operation lasted for around one-and-a-half hours by a team of three doctors, a hospital official said. Before he left for the hospital Khan said that getting injured was part of his job. “I think when you working in a profession like this you ought to fall and jump. It is obvious you can get wounded like this. So I always believe this is a payment for all the goodness that I get,” said Khan. (Hindustan Times)
First off, could Amitabh be looking any cooler than in these photos of him posted on his blog recently?
I think we all have to admit that he can even rock that cartoon bear sweater and not only get away with it, but somehow make it look cool. Who can do that?! Amitabh Bachchan can. More cut and paste, this time from Mr. Bachchan’s blog from day 300 in which he writes about ShahRukh Khan’s successful surgery:
ShahRukh has been in hospital for a surgery. I had sent him a message for his speedy recovery. He calls back to thank and inform that he is home. Was getting depressed in hospital he says so came away. Oh ! I was planning on visiting you in hospital. Come home sir, we shall play some games. Do not take after surgery too lightly I warn him, take rest and do not get into any kind of activity. He sounds a little groggy. I shall visit him tomorrow. (bigb.bigadda.com)
Speaking of, I recently read a good book with the same title,Snakes and Ladders, by Gita Mehtawhich you may like reading, since you are here in the first place.
Or maybe they’d play some Texas hold em? Or what about this game here which I’ve seen in the Indian films called carrom? Well probably carrom is out until his shoulder is fully healed.
I love imaging playing some table games with SRK and Amitabh at Mannat! I spent an evening playing dominoes the other night, which I love to do. Now, since reading the posting on Amitabh’s blog, I’m thinking how fun it would be to play dominoes with Amitabh and SRK. Or spades or hearts! My mind is spinning with the possibilities now that I know they’re both gamers. I also love a jigsaw puzzle. Can you imagine THAT? “Hey Amit-ji, here’s another edge piece.” I just know that Amitabh would have the sense to construct the edge of the puzzle first. “Aur SRK, are you still working on the sky? Here’s a couple blue pieces. Vay!” We’d finish the puzzle whilst sipping on Johnnie Walker, black or perhaps even blue or green label since they are so fancy. We’d discuss many things. I would mind my tongue and casually say The Indian Film Industry and NEVER say Bollywood, as that may set off the stars. I would ask even more fake casually if they wanted to play chess (which I can’t play) and say, “Oh by the way, Amit-ji, I remember when watching The Chess Players, that I heard your voice narrating. Do tell me what you remember about working with Satyajit Ray on that piece?” His head would snap and look to me, thinking suddenly that I had some Bollywood, I mean Indian Film Industry street cred. The lovely Gauri Khan would slip in from time to time with some ladoos, maybe a paratha or two and some chai. Not the help, but Guari, because she’s a hands on wife I’m sure. Finally, late into the evening, Gauri comes in and says, “Janeman ShahRukh, time to rest, remember you just had surgery! OK guys, Amitabh-ji, Sita-ji, thanks so much for stopping by. The flowers are lovely! Do come tomorrow for a swim!”
On that note, like Amitabh, I say to SRK along with you all, “take rest and do not get into any kind of activity.” Get well soon, we need more movies!
Today was Valentine’s Day. I had some options. I could either get started on preparing my income taxes or go and see Billu Barber (2009). I went to Billu Barber. This was really a cute and sweet movie. It was also very romantic for me since I could channel my imagination to play Lara Dutta’s part in the film and thus be Irfan Khan’s wife, whose part requires her to admire Shahrukh Khan’s character. That’s a win/win situation for me. SRK’s character had item numbers with Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Kareena Kapoor. Khan and the gals all looked fantastic, but the costume department must have had to make some concessions for the weak economy and only allowed Kareena to wear a full outfit, and put poor Priyanka and Deepika in small strips of cloth, which made me feel cold just watching.
Shahrukh Khan’s ending speech was shamelessly sentimental and I enjoyed crying through it. I feel it’s only right to cry along with SRK while he’s crying. To weep along with SRK is polite really, and the least I could do to show some respect to him and the industry, and to my Mother India. This speech had the following essential Bollywood ingredients: maudlin reminiscing about better times from childhood, even though those times were sorrowful (dead mother), and hard (hunger brought about by poverty), they were made better through the help of a friend. SRK delivering a message that the masses need to hear in these trying economic times: When I was really poor, my life was actually really rich. Which reminds me, I have to get to those taxes. SRK’s speech in Billu reminded me very much the speech Amitabh gives in Muqaddar Ka Sikandarjust before the O Saathi Re tune. So this Valentine’s Day, dosto, I dedicate this nice song about friendship to you:
I always enjoy watching these FIRST DAY FIRST SHOW videos. Watch it and picture me added in there; I would be the gori who says in my best Indian accent, “SRK was rocking hai! Supurb! Vay! Irfan was acting so excellent!”
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Happy Valentine’s Day Dosto! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
Here’s a better late than never update on Bollywood Insider, with my favorite correspondant of Bollywood chugli and news, Suzi Mann. Many of the links I’ve added here before from ITN/Bollywood Insider through youtube eventually disappear. Hopefully these newer links from AOL, Bebo, Joost, and MySpace will last.