Round and About – II

With Wanted last year and now Dabangg, Salman Khan seems to have found his winning formula. There’s no one who can quite carry off a larger-than-life superhero of the so-called masala action films of the 1980s – a genre, the South, especially Tamil and Telugu, still does with a lot more flair and conviction. Little wonder, his upcoming films too are Southern cinema re-makes – of Ready (Telugu) and Bodyguard (Malayalam). Southwards Ho!


Just finished reading the synopsis of Priyadarshan’s Ajay Devgn – Akshaye Khanna – Bipasha Basu starrer Aakrosh coming up on October 1. Hmmm, wonder what the makers of Mississippi Burning (1988) would say about this one… From burning crosses to burning trishuls… Really!


Yet another discussion on the pathetic state of smaller, content-driven ‘mulitplex’ cinema with a fellow filmmaker. More and more moaning about lack of infra-structure for the indie film – be it a total rethink in marketing strategies, or creating the concept of art-house theatres with a proper distribution network, and most importantly, having a different pricing structure for such films. Only see two ways to make a film now – go the totally no-budget digital route or play the game, chase the star, persist, persist, persist and make that dream blockbuster! Actually, can pursue both ends of the spectrum simultaneously – why not?


Finally, an interesting bit of old time trivia – Raj Khosla’s initial announcement of Bambai ka Babu (1960) with Dev Anand and Madhubala. Of course, the film was ultimately made with Suchitra Sen.

Previous ArticleNext Article


  1. @Sanjivan: True, but that is precisely the section one was moaning about and which needs a total re-think. Till then, happy to pursue the extreme ends of the filmmaking spectrum! 🙂

  2. Bali, between No-budget and Big-budget there is something called Low budget….the problem with this section is that people making these film lack conviction / confidence to market & promote it well…to begin with most of the people making films in this segment beside confidence / conviction do not have have fund to spend…that’s why most of them lose out…how is that every time UTV’s spot boy comes out with a small film [Right from KHOSLA KA GHOSLA, WEDNESDAY, AAMIR, UDDAN, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR, DEV D and so many others] – they hit the bulls eye – unless and until the product has been real bad…[AAGE SE RIGHT]..It is here most of the producers fail…I believe…reasonably good film backed with decent publicity can do wonders….but is there anyone listening outside UTV???

  3. Karan, I would have loved to see Bombai ka Babu with Madhubala. Though Suchitra Sen is quite as beautiful, she does tend to be stiff in Hindi films.

    The low budget, no budget, big budget dilemnas are never going to go away. One just needs to plod along in the best way one can. And hope that sooner or later, one will hit the bull’s eye.

    Have yet to see ‘Dabbang’. Want to, will. And I know I’ll have a great time. I enjoyed ‘Partner’ quite a lot, and ‘Wanted’ a lot. Salman Khan seems to satiate our hunger for masala.

  4. @Batul: Very true but in Bambai ka Babu , she is relatively less stiff and it is perhaps her best and most open Hindi performance – I think better than both Mamta and Aandhi.

    @Sanjivan: Agreed – There is a dearth of ideas how to market and correctly release a low budget film. Have seen the pain and frustration of fellow filmmakers waiting for years and years for the release of their films after all the hard work gone in making of the film. Maybe that is why I am wary of such type of projects. Anyway, to each his own.

  5. Well Bali, this attitude of pursuing ‘extremes ends’ is nothing but reflects lack of confidence / bankruptcies of marketing abilities! ;)) Next gem from UTV’s spot boy sure to hit the bull’s eye is going to be PAN SINGH TOMAR ! Mark my word! :)) Wonder…wonder!!

  6. Tanuja, thanks for the feedback, loooooonger than my entire piece! 🙂

    Agreed – Dabangg is empty if you take out Sallu Bhai. He has carried the film through and how and made it watchable. There is nothing in the film otherwise barring some smart dialoguebaazi here and there, and yes the ‘robin hood’ angle is strangely left unexplored. Only the first action scene somewhat holds up, not the other action setpieces. And Munni works in its own corny way again lifted immediately by Salman’s participation in it. What amazed me was how tackily the film was made, but technique has never played a role in our films being a hit or flop.

    Regarding social conscience, well times have changed especially so urban life. And more than simple notions of good or bad, maybe our cinegoer today should question his/her conscience on having made films like Housefull and I Hate Luv Storys hits… 🙂

  7. Okay Karan. Here goes again. In my first blog piece I had written about the abyss for the good old hindi film – the dialogue baazi, the seeti maar action. The paisa vasool film patented by Manmohan Desai when we were jawaan.
    Dabbang had all the masala and a star who is coming on his own and really is at ease knowing what one flick or gesture will evoke in the audience. So Salman was, Salman but that is good for me. Vijayan got the action cracking but didn’t work so well for me. The ambience was created with loads of details. Apna Wai Panchgani is the answer from Merrut to Bhagalpur to any UP shahar. In fact an interesting aside is that Sungursh with Dilip sahab was shot in Wai, the young portions of the benares ghat. Bantu dhawan who played young Dilip Kumar told me and showed me the locations.
    Okay. What the hell was the Director of this film doing? His inept handling and setting of scenes, the completely disjointed narrative, the comlete emotional disconnect with the characters, the robin hood doing nothing noteworthy for the common man? What an oppurtunity wasted! What amateurish boohhoo…
    Messers Kashyap brothers are so keen to be Tarantino that in this lumpen maara ,maari there is nothing of joy or beauty you ever carry back. It’s sheer ineptitude.
    Last and disturbingly least. A corrupt cop who stashes money in a godrej almari, whose mom dies because of the hidden loot… Yeh kya ho raha hai bhai? In this country which is watching with frozen despair the and a crisis of faith the money stealing and laundering. To foist a hero is surely not a very sweet thing to do. If that is the India these brats know (the creative director etc) then I really beg their pardon.
    I know villages, small towns where really good human beings exist and they are not in a minority believe me. So which India is this bhai? Today to shock is to market! that is why the film will not have a repeat value… the twist that an unlettered prabhu deva also did with wanted.
    I mean if you look back to lagta hai ki MKD to the hi but all that generation was absolutely oozing with soul and a social conscience.

  8. Even if small budget content driven films do get released the general film viewing public is accustomed to (or have been made accustomed over the years) to watch and enjoy mindless drivel that goes by the name of ‘popular cinema’. A film like Antardwand ran less than a week in the so called ‘intellectual’ city of Kolkata. There seems to be no end to the sufferings of committed/ responsible filmmakers.
    Yes, like Banno I too would have liked to see Madhubala in Bombai ka Babu !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *