WHEN MOHAMMED RAFI AND KISHORE KUMAR WORKED TOGETHER

By

Sharada Iyer

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar with their unique God-given extraordinary voices sang memorable songs and mesmerized the people across the country and the world for over three and a half decades. During this period they became the two pillars of Hindi film music without whom Hindi cinema and Hindi film music seems unthinkable. Music and songs have been the single most important and distinguishing factor in our cinema since its earliest days and the contribution of these two singing giants is astounding and incomparable.

Both left the world too soon at a stage when they were still actively singing and created a void which could never be filled and would never be filled. They had great regard and respect for each other and shared a wonderful relationship personally as well as professionally.

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Together they got the opportunity to work together in different ways. Both sang more than 30 songs together. Interestingly Kishore Kumar got to lip-sync to Rafi’s voice in three of his films in which he acted- ‘Ragini’, ‘Shararat’ and ‘Baaghi Shehzaada’. On the other hand Rafi got to sing a song composed by Kishore Kumar for the latter’s home production ‘Badhti ka naam dadhi’ .

It is indeed our good fortune that our film industry was blessed with two of the greatest singers ever and the joy was doubled when they worked together to give us remarkable melodies!

 

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This is a musical blog-post where we revisit some of these songs either in audio or video form. Regarding the duets sung together, I have posted YouTube links to about 15 of their duets which include some rare as well as some very popular ones. Also included are a few songs where a third singer joins them. The post also has three songs for which Rafi has done playback for Kishore. At the end are two songs for which dual versions exist in the voices of these two great singers.

RAFI-KISHORE DUETS

FILM:MALKIN (1953)

Music director-ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Kahin se unchi kahin se nichi…’

FILM: BHAAGAM BHAG (1956)

Music director- O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Hey Babu yeh hai zamana tera…’

FILM: NAYA ANDAZ ( 1956)

Music director- OP NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Duniya ke bazaar mein bhaiyya…’

audio

video

FILM: FIFTY FIFTY (1956)

Music director- Madan Mohan

SONG: ‘Aadhi tum khalo aadhi hum khalen mil jul ke zamaane mein …’

 

FILM: AKALMAND (1966)

Music director: O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Do akalmand hue fikarmand ab soch rahe kya karna hai…’

 audio (very clear)

video (Not very clear but we can see Kishore Kumar and I S Johar)

FILM: SWAYAMVAR (1980)

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Ek mahal ma cham cham karti rehti dui shahzaadi…’

FILM: DEEDAR-E-YAAR (1980)

Music director: LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Mere dildaar ka baakpan allah allah…’

FILM: DOSTANA (1980)

Music director: LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: “Bane chahe dushman zamana hamara salaamat rahe dostana hamara…’

FILM: YAADON KI BARAAT (1973)

Music director: R D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare…’

FILM: AAP KE DEEWAANE (1980)

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Tumko khush dekh kar main bahut khush hua…’

FILM: CHUPKE CHUPKE (1975)

Music Director: S D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Sa re ga ma, ma sa re ga…’

FILM: AAP TOH AISE NA THE (1980)

Music Director-USHA KHANNA

SONG: ‘Khuda hi juda kare to kare koi taaqat juda humko nahi…’

FILM: IMAAN DHARAM (1977)

Music director- Laxmikant-Pyarelal

SONG: ‘Hum jhoot bolte hain maante hain log jhoot bolte hain maante nahin….’

FILM: RAM BALRAM (1980)

Music-director- LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Ek raasta aha aha do raahi aha aha, ek chor ek sipahi…

FILM: MUQADDAR (1978)

Music-LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Tere chehre se parda hatana bhi hai,wallah wallah wallah…’

WHEN THE DUO TEAMED UP WITH A THIRD SINGER:

With MANNA DEY in Nanha Farishta, 1969

Music director- KALYANJI ANANDJI

SONG: ‘Bachhe mein hain bhagwan…’

With SHAILENDRA SINGH in Parvarish, 1977

Music director-LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Hum premee prem karna jaane…’

With SHAMSHAD BEGUM in Mastana, 1954

With ASHA BHONSLE in KASME WAADE, 1978

Music director- R D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Mile jo kadi kadi ek zanjeer bane…’

With LATA MANGESHKAR in DOOSRA AADMI, 1977

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Kya mausam hai chal kahin door nikal jaayein…’

With SUMAN KALYANPUR in Badaltey Rishtey, 1978

Music Director- LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Na jaane kaise pal mein badal jaate hain yeh duniya ke…’

WHEN KISHORE KUMAR TURNED MUSIC DIRECTOR FOR RAFI:

FILM: Badhti ka naam dadhi, (1974)

SONG: ‘Band mutthi laakh ki khuli toh pyaare khaak ki…’

WHEN MOHAMMED RAFI DID PLAYBACK FOR KISHORE KUMAR

FILM: SHARARAT (1959)

Music director- SHANKAR-JAIKISHEN

SONG: ‘Ajab yeh dastan teri yeh zindagi…’

FILM: RAAGINI (1958)

Music director-O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Man mora baawra…’

FILM: BAAGHI SHEHZADA(1964)

Music director- BIPIN BABUL

SONG: ‘Main is masoom chehre ko agar choo loon…’

—- WHEN KISHORE KUMAR and MOHAMMED RAFI SANG THE SAME SONG

(albeit for different actors under different situations to express different emotions)

PYAR KA MAUSAM (1967)

SONG: ‘Tum bin jaoon kahan ke duniya me aake…’

RAFI

KISHORE

ANDAZ (1971)

SONG: ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’

RAFI

KISHORE

 

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SOORMA: Heart-warming journey of India’s Hockey Legend Sandeep Singh

By
Sharada Iyer
Bollywood is on a roll. After some superb films studded with excellent performances in the first half of 2018, the second half opens with the brilliant Soorma– a biopic on our star hockey player-Sandeep Singh. Sandeep made his International Hockey debut in 2004 and captained the Indian team in 2009 when he led his team to victory by clinching the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. and was the top goal scorer of the tournament. He was also the highest goal-scorer of the Olympic qualifiers tournament in 2012. At one time he was known as ‘Flicker Singh’- the fastest ‘Drag-flicker’ in the world.
THE PLOT:
Soorma captures Sandeep Singh’s unbelievable journey from a simple kid in the small town of Shahabad in Haryana to becoming the Captain of our Indian Hockey team and just when things were going very well for him at the peak of his career, he becomes the victim of an unexpected calamitous accident which leaves him shattered. Soorma is an uplifting tale of indomitable courage, determination and patriotic spirit.

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The circumstances which lead him to pursue Hockey, his inborn talent for a particular shot called the ‘Drag-flick’ wherein the player drags the ball through the ground with the hockey-stick and hits a straight goal, his selection in the Indian team, his unforeseen accident and his miraculous comeback into the same position in the Indian team –all these form the crux of the film. Woven beautifully into the narrative is his strong bond with his elder brother- himself a Hockey player who could not make it to the Indian team, his love for a girl from the same town who is a star Hockey player in the Indian Girls Hockey team, and his warm relationship with other members of the family. There are two coaches and a federation Chairman who also play an important part in shaping his journey.
A FEW THOUGHTS:
Actress Chitrangada Singh makes her debut as a producer with this film and all credit to her for choosing such a wonderful story for her debut production. In a country of Cricket worshippers, the feats and accomplishments of players belonging to other sports often gets side-lined and hence the film was an eye-opener.

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For any biopic to look authentic the choice of the actors is the most difficult task and this film gets full marks for the perfect casting of all characters. There could not have been a better choice than Diljit Dosanjh to play Sandeep Singh. Though he had already proved his acting skills in Udta Punjab and Phillauri, here he gets a better scope to display a vast range of emotions and he is superb! Being a Sikh himself gives him the inherent advantage of the kind of body language required to make the character look natural and believable. One can see the efforts he has put in to make the Hockey playing scenes absolutely real.
Angad Bedi as his elder brother is quite a find in this film. He has revealed a hidden talent not seen before and there are a couple of emotional outbursts where he really owns the scene with conviction. Taapsee Pannu is her usual charming self and looks perfect as a Hockey player. Sometimes it is amazing to watch how our actors look so believable when they play sports personalities on screen.
The rest of the supporting cast is also very good. Satish Kaushik as the father, Vijay Raaz as the coach and the actors who play his mother and uncle are also very natural.
Direction by Shaad Ali is commendable. Lyrics by Gulzar and music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are top-notch and in fact form one of the plus points of the film. All the songs are catchy. The inspiring anthem song is sung very well by Shankar Mahadevan. My personal favourite is the romantic number sung by Diljit himself which iis superb and really grows on you.


The Hockey scenes in the film were choreographed by Sandeep Singh himself along with his brother Bikramjit Singh and thrilling to watch.
IN CONCLUSION
Diljit Dosanjh does full justice in the role of Sandeep Singh and his endearing and charismatic screen presence and brilliant acting turn the film into a definite must-watch.
Sandeep Singh’s story is a powerful story which encapsulates the exhilarating ups and unexpected downs of life a person can sometimes face in his/her lifetime. The key to survival is never to lose hope and just keep up the perseverance however difficult the journey and applies to anyone at any stage of life.
The underlying patriotic fervour in the story makes us realize how proud the people who get to represent our country must be feeling! The last scene where the real-life Sandeep Singh is shown receiving the prestigious ‘Arjuna Award’ (2010) for his outstanding achievements was a proud moment and had the audience clapping in the cinema hall!
This film is sure to touch your heart!

soorma
Reel-life and Real-life Sandeep Singh

Bollywood 2018: report card for first six months

By

Sharada Iyer

The year 2018 has proved to be very fruitful for Bollywood in terms of box-office collections with several films both small-budget and big-budget, raking in big ‘moolah’ at the ticket counters. The year also stands out for the range of stories that were tackled and for several outstanding performances by our actors and actresses.

 

VARIETY OF GENRES:

From historical fiction to films based on real life stories to outright commercial entertainers many kinds of films hit the marquee and met with remarkable success.

The year started with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much touted visual extravaganza Padmaavat which finally saw the daylight after the innumerable threat calls to the cast and controversies surrounding the story . Released amidst police protection, it took time to convince people that there was nothing to fear in terms of historical inaccuracy and posed no threat to any distortion of cultural values.

While Padmaavat exposed the anguish of women forced to commit the horrendous act of ‘Jauhar’ in our country once upon a time, we had Veere Di Wedding on the other end of the spectrum openly talking about women’s sexual lives and we had top actresses performing the role with gusto. 

Padman showed how a common man can turn a hero and how one man’s determination and dedication can bring about a revolution. Under R Balki’s brilliant direction, Akshay Kumar brought to life the unbelievable journey of Muruganatham Arunachalam and his invention of the ‘low-cost’ sanitary pad for every woman. To have a mainstream actor take up such a role was a risk but the inspiring story touched a chord.

There were films with patriotic touch- Aiyyary, Parmanu and Raazi– and all of them were very entertaining. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran , with the least bit of pre-release promotional activity was a revelation. Based on the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran in 1998, the movie was both informative and enjoyable and brought to light the unsung heroes of the experiment that put India on the map as global nuclear superpower. Raazi based on the real life story of 21-year old Sehmat and her journey to Pakistan as a spy for the Indian Army was another brilliant film.

2018.jpg

Two of the unexpected hits of the year included -Tiger-Shroff-Disha Patani ‘s action-packed film Baaghi 2 which in spite of  weak storyline was one of the biggest hits of 2018 and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety-starring Karthik Aryan, Sunny Singh and Nusrat Bharucha. This film with a title which could almost pass off as a tongue-twister and a unique ‘romance vs bromance’ story-line caught the fancy of the youth making it a huge box-office success. Blackmail starring Irrfan Khan was simply brilliant and again its unique story-line was lapped up by the audience giving it a big Thumbs up.

Hichki with its heart-warming tale of a teacher with a disability touched a chord in the viewers’ heart even though Rani was returning to screen after a 4-year gap. The story of two old men in 102 Not Out was another film which ran because of  good word of mouth publicity and became one of the unexpected hits. Though the story of Raazi was like a thriller it was not expected to become such a super-hit that it finally turned out to be!

102 notout1

THOSE WHICH LOST:

A mix of stories about people in a Mumbai ‘Chawl’ (low-cost public tenement) titled 3 Storeys with very interesting characters was also an intiguing film which deserved more success than it got.  Saif Ali Khan’s Kaalakaandi would probably go down as a totally worthless and the most forgettable film of the year. With his stardom in the wane, he has safely decided to try his luck with the digital web-series ‘Sacred Games’ on Netflix. That would give him more opportunity to display his acting prowess Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardan continued with his streak of ill-luck as his 2nd film Bhavesh Joshi Superhero also found no takers!

Anushka Sharma’s horror act in Pari  and  Rajkumar Rao’s terrorist act in Omerta were not received well.

SUPERB PERFORMANCES:

Heroes:

There was healthy competition between the younger generation, the slightly more experienced ones as well as the veterans. No star can now hide behind his ‘starry’ image without a good script. The audience is ready for a lot of variety…

If Ranveer’s evil act of Khilji in Padmaavat was outstanding so was Rishi Kapoor’s performance as a stubborn 75-year old son to his 102-year old father in 102 Not Out. Akshay Kumar’s endearing and inspiring performance in Padman once again reiterated that he is no hurry to pass on his baton to anyone as yet. If Ajay Devgn gave a solid performance in Raid, so did young Vicky Kaushal deliver not one but two amazing performances in Sanju and Raazi.  If Irrfan Khan was appreciated for his Blackmail so was Varun Dhawan for his October.

Ranbir Kapoor’s success story with Sanju showed that even without bagging a holiday weekend he could beat superstar Salman Khan any day with his towering performance and did not need to conform to a set image to get the fans rooting for him. Anil Kapoor’s class act in Race 3, Manoj Bajpai’s dignified act in Aiyyary and John Abraham’s superb role in Parmanu were other winners of the best actor category. And standing tallest among them all was the ‘Shehenshah’ and his ‘never say die’ spirit. Just when everyone thought he has done it all he sprang a brilliant surprise by playing a 102-year old man in 102 Not Out! His loveable act was so touching and natural … indeed it is not difficult to see why he is in a league of his own and will remain an enigma to his fans as well as industry insiders!

Heroines:

Amongst the heroines also the young and the old came up with very good performances.

Rani Mukherjee’s superb act in Hichki found a tough competitor in young Alia’s magnificent portrayal of Sehmat in Raazi. While Deepika’s towering screen presence added a regal and dignified touch to her portrayal of Queen Padmavati , Kareena Kapoor Khan added the right amount of chutzpah for her role in Veere Di Wedding. Sonam made her presence felt in Padman,  Veere Di Wedding and Sanju. Radhika Apte’s role as Akshay’s wife in Padman was well liked by the viewers. Renuka Shahane surprised the audience with her superb role as an old Christian lady in 3 Storeys. Nusrat Bharucha’s entertaining act in Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety kept us guessing about her character throughout the film.

Supporting artistes:

Neeraj Kabi in Hichki, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shishir Sharma, Arif  Zakaria, Rajit Kapur in Raazi, Sunil Sinha in Padman, Swara Bhaskar in Veere Di Wedding, Diana Penty in Parmanu,  Aditi Rao Hyadri in Padmaavat, Anil Kapoor in Race 3, Jim Sarbh in Padmaavat and Sanju and Shahid Kapoor in Padmaavat  were all wonderful in their supporting roles.  Paresh Rawal in Sanju was brilliant!

MUSIC:

Though not all films managed to have brilliant music, there were some films like Padmaavat, Raazi , Parmanu and Padman which had superb songs.  Here are a few of my favourite numbers of the year:

Two mesmerising dance sequences:

A touching ‘bidaai’ song after ages:

One of the most romantic songs in recent times:

Song of inspiration:

Anything for the country:

An anthem of victory:

A unique song:

UPCOMING FILMS:

Going by the list of films slated for release in the second half of 2018 it is clear that the upcoming months are going to be even more exciting for the audience. Though most of the films have kept their stories under wrap, their posters and titles do give us an idea about their content. Here is a look at a few of the releases…

There are two sports biopics on Hockey-Soorma with Diljit Dosanjh and Gold with Akshay Kumar coming up and the songs released are already a hit. Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi and Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan Khatter have gone on a crazy promotional tour from city to city for publicizing their upcoming love story Dhadak.

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Rishi Kapoor will have an interesting outing with Taapsee Pannu in Mulk and Dharmendra will be back with his sons Sunny and Bobby to deliver yet another sequel to his Yamla Pagla Deewana. Anil Kapoor has Fanney Khan with Rajkumar Rao and Aishwarya Rai, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha toh Aisa Laga with Sonam and Rajkumar Rao and in the comedy Total Dhamaal he reunites with his old co-star Madhuri Dixit!

Amithabh Bachchan will be seen in a new avatar yet again in Thugs of Hindostan and this time he has Aamir Khan giving him company. Karan Johar will be introducing two new heroines- Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria in Student of the Year 2 and debutante Sara Ali Khan in Simmba opposite Ranveer Singh.

Irrfan Khan will be coming with Malayalam star Dulquer Salman and a newcomer Mithila Parker in Karwaan. While Varun Dhawan and Anushka have the interesting Sui Dhaaga (a heart-warming film dealing with pride and self-reliance) lined up for release, Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra will be seen in an entertaining masala flick Namastey England. And last but not the least Shah Rukh Khan will be seen as a dwarf in Zero opposite Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma!

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So let the game begin ….

Ranbir’s brilliant performance turns SANJU into a memorable film

By

Sharada Iyer

Director Rajkumar Hirani adds yet another outstanding film to his list of directorial ventures.  SANJU is a superbly crafted, excellently written and very well-directed film with the right mix of humour and emotion and stands out for the exceptional performance of Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt.

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When the project was announced three years back, there had been a lot of skepticism attached to two things: firstly whether Sanjay Dutt’s life deserved a biopic to be told on screen and secondly whether Ranbir Kapoor would be able to pull off the act convincingly. And to be honest, even I had my reservations when I entered the cinema hall…but the next 2 hours and 40 minutes of riveting drama that unfolded in front of me just blew me away…

The genius director Hirani’s faith in his story and implicit trust in his hero had indeed paid off and how! Not only does the script pack a punch bringing to life so many unbelievable experiences of Sanjay Dutt’s life, the superb cast adds authenticity to the whole narrative with their top-notch performances.

Ranbir Kapoor has indeed transformed himself into Sanjay Dutt on screen and he comes up with such a sincere, convincing and mind-blowing performance that there is not one scene where we feel it is another actor playing Sunjay Dutt but it felt like we were seeing Sanjay himself! Not only has Ranbir worked hard  to recreate the different looks of Sanjay Dutt at different stages of his life, what strikes a chord in the viewer’s heart is the true spirit of Sanjay Dutt’s character which Ranbir has captured to the hilt.

The film is an emotional roller-coaster ride as it takes us through the various ups and downs faced by Sanjay Dutt in his life between the years 1980 and 2015. The viewer is made privy to his most trying and private experiences as a drug-addict, his alleged involvement in the Mumbai blasts, how he came to possess the dreaded AK 57 rifle which irrevocably changed his life forever, his painful jail experiences, his inner conflicts, his emotional turmoil and the biased reporting by the media which did a lot of damage to his personal image.

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The film also delves into his personal relationship with his parents and his closest friend. His attachment to his mother and how her death affects him is touchingly brought out. But the film is remarkable in bringing out the dilemma of the father who is on the brink of losing his son to drugs and destruction forever.

The director captures the spirit of the father-son relationship brilliantly and it is to Paresh Rawal’s credit that he turns his portrayal of Sunil Dutt into one of his best performances. The dogged determination of the father to clear his son’s name from being branded a terrorist has also been brought out very well.

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While watching these scenes one can almost feel the pain undergone by Sunil Dutt and Sunjay Dutt in real life and therein lies the film’s charm and USP. To be able to recreate the effect and to convey that to the audience is a tremendous job which Hirani does commendably.

Interest in the narrative is kept throughout as the film is not just a linear narration of his life but focuses on two of the most important and controversial incidents which played a significant part in his life- his addiction to drugs and his possession of AK 57 rifle. The film is like a flashback in parts as the events are narrated to a celebrated writer played by Anushka Sharma who agrees to write Sanjay Dutt’s biography.

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Manisha Koirala plays Nargis in the film and has some touching scenes. She also has a fabulous song picturized on her which forms the inspiration in Sanjay’s early life during his low moments. Sonam plays his girlfriend and Dia Mirza plays his wife Manyata. But the surprise packet of the film turns out to be Vicky Kaushal. As Sanjay Dutt’s best friend, he has an extremely well-written role and he comes up with an excellent performance and leaves an indelible mark. This young actor has shown his talent right from his first film Masaan and followed it up with Raman Raghav, Raazi and Love per Square Foot

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The real Sanjay Dutt makes an appearance along with the reel Sanjay Dutt-‘Ranbir’  for a song at the end when the credits are being rolled out. It was great seeing them together but the song could have been better. while the song ‘Kar har maidan fateh…’ is one of the highlights of the film, the song ‘Ruby ruby… ‘ grows on you. Hirani gives us two scenes when a few lines of two Kishore Kumar songs from the films Amar Prem and Haathi Mere Saathi are played reminding us of the time when music was so brilliant in our films.

In Conclusion:

As it is not possible to condense a man’s life into a 2 hours 40 min film, some aspects of his life have understandably been kept out to highlight some others.

 But that in no way takes away the beauty, the hard work put in, the excellent performances or the genuineness of the film.

So without hesitation head for the nearest cinema hall and treat yourself to a great cinematic experience and wonderful performances ! 

 

 

RACE 3: Lacks the thrill of its predecessors but Anil Kapoor’s superb acting and some brilliant action scenes make it eminently watchable!

By

Sharada Iyer

In keeping with the demands of the genre, RACE 3 is also a lavishly mounted film with dollops of gloss and glamour and here the backdrop is formed by the stunning locales of China, Cambodia, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi and Ladakh… Well! Cinematography certainly deserves a special mention for all the eye-pleasing locales not seen very often in our films.

The film has been shot on 3-D which not only gives a greater depth to the visuals but also enhances the viewing experience to a wonderful level.

While the first two films were centred around the story of Saif Ali Khan and was directed by Abbas-Mastaan-the director duo known for their thriller genre, this one has a completely different storyline involving Anil Kapoor’s life and has been directed by choreographer turned director Remo D’Souza.

Thus the third instalment of the RACE franchise-RACE 3 has no connection with the earlier two films RACE and RACE 2 and except for Anil Kapoor there is a complete change in the cast as well as the director and music director. Even he does not essay the same character (Inspector D’Costa) of his earlier films but plays a new character-Shamsher Singh.

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With so much difference this might as well have been an altogether different film. By naming it as a part of the franchise, the film opened itself to comparisons and that’s when the film falls short of all expectations.

RACE which released in 2008 was a brilliantly directed slick edge-of-the-seat thriller with the tagline of ‘no one can be trusted’ and the narrative was full of surprising twists and turns. Though RACE 2 was not as good as RACE it still retained the tautness in the narrative. But RACE 3 has Salman Khan and he comes with a heavy baggage of his image and fans and hence some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ get automatically incorporated into the narrative which mar the pace and core of the plot.

While Saif Ali Khan is a superb actor and can essay any character with ease, Salman Khan remains Salman Khan or ‘Bhai’. I myself am a  fan of Salman Khan’s films but in this film I felt there was a little stiffness in his movements and his dances and even his dialogue delivery. In fact, the Salman ‘swagger’ was missing-the magic that we witnessed in his demeanour in Dabangg was missing. Maybe he is also tired of doing the same thing again and again and sometimes it shows in his performance.

Here is the trailer of the film:

What works for the film:

The film starts and ends with veteran Anil Kapoor who is the best thing about RACE 3… He brings to his role a certain class and candour which can only come with his experience of 35 years in the industry! Truly an evergreen actor who may never have been bestowed with the title of a ‘Superstar’ in his lifetime but he has always given flawless performances and continues to do so with the same zest and fervour that he had in his first film ‘Woh Saat Din’. He is also one of those rare actors who do not hanker after publicity. He does his work and remains in the background.

For the die-hard fans of Salman Khan, though this film does not give him scope for displaying any emotion or acting skills there are new things like Salman flying in a cape from a tall tower which actually forms his ‘seeti-maar’ entry point in the film. And in one scene both Salman and Jacqueline escape from the clutches of the bad guys by flying off in a cape!!! Salman always reaching  at the accurate moment to help his loved ones in trouble would also give his fans the much required ‘clap’ scenes.

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The heroines Daisy Shah and Jacqueline Fernandez have been given ample action scenes and for the first time we have a well-choreographed major fight sequence between the two heroines which was a very interesting concept.

There are lots of gracefully choreographed and brilliantly executed action scenes have been which are extremely engaging to watch.

The story does have its share of interesting twists and turns right up to the very last scene which will catch the viewer off-guard.

It was good to see Bobby Deol after a long time and he does a good job.

Jacqueline adds the necessary oomph and mystery to the film and provides the much needed glamour to the plot.

What does not work in the film’s favour:

At 2 hours and 40 minutes, the film is a tad too long to be an edgy and taut thriller which it could have been with tighter editing.

The content and storyline have taken a backseat and replaced by action and songs. There are about 10 songs (!!!) which appear at periodic intervals for no reason and most of them English lyrics…

Except the rehashed version of the earlier RACE song -‘Allah duhai hai…’ none of the songs sound good. In fact some are really tuneless! With about half a dozen music directors and lyricists at work, RACE 3 suffers from ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ syndrome. It is not that a thriller should not have songs. Years back a murder thriller TEESRI MANZIL also had so many songs but each one was gem which can be seen and heard so many times. RACE 3 really missed Pritam who had composed really good songs for the first two films.

Except Anil Kapoor, the wafer thin plot does not give the other protagonists much scope to act. Salman Khan and Bobby Deol have their limitations and Daisy Shah and Saqib Saleem are just okay.

A shirtless Salman fighting a shirtless Bobby Deol on the desert sands! Honestly such scenes have become so predictable and boring in Salman’s films…

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PLOT:

Revealing even one line about the story would spoil the fun for those who plan to watch the film as the narrative unfolds every time with some twist.

IN CONCLUSION:

The movie is an out and out masala flick where logic has no place. Just go and enjoy the action scenes, the beautiful locales, the gloss and Anil Kapoor. Salman Khan fans will have an added incentive of watching him doing all the expected stunts.

Though it is not a patch on the earlier films, it can be enjoyed only if one does not compare with the earlier films (Saif Ali Khan was really missed)

For those who find enjoyment in the 10 songs, the film is a treat!!!

Being an Eid release and with so much publicity surrounding the film, the opening weekend collections will expectedly be tremendous probably making  it to the list of the top opening grossers of the year. And with all the satellite and video rights, the film would have already earned a lot of ‘moolah’…

 

 

The brief but magical association of KISHORE KUMAR & SHANKAR-JAIKISHEN…

By

Sharada Iyer

The very mention of their names immediately brings to our mind the evergreen super-hit song ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’ from the film ANDAZ. From the opening prelude to the yodelling to the fast-paced beats – everything about the song became unforgettable! Added to that superstar Rajesh Khanna’s charismatic screen presence turned this song not only into one of the most loved songs of Hindi cinema but also became one of the biggest hits of the careers of  Rajesh Khanna, Kishore Kumar and Shankar-Jaikishen. 

ANDAZ (1971): ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’

Shankar-Jaikishen (SJ): The music director duo who revolutionized the very definition of Hindi film music with their path-breaking music and tunes…

Kishore Kumar: The genius actor-singer who created his own path and carved a place in the Hindi film music scene which people cannot even dream of achieving…   

Both the singer as well as the music director duo reached dizzying heights of popularity during the years they were active. And yet when we look back it is sad that three of the most loved and cherished musical geniuses of our industry hardly got much opportunity to work together during their long and illustrious careers …

Interestingly they even made their debut around the same time –

Shankar-Jaikishen’s debut film as independent music directors was R K Films’ Barsaat which released in 1949

Kishore Kumar’s debut film as an actor and a playback singer (sang for Dev Anand) was Ziddi which released in 1948

Shankar Jaikishen somehow always worked with heroes like Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Biswajit, Joy Mukjerjee, Shashi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt for whom Kishore Kumar never got the opportunity to playback. When they worked for Dev Anand they used Mohammed Rafi except for one instance-‘Dooriyan nazdeekiyan ban gayee…’ a Kishore Kumar-Asha Bhonsle duet that turned out to be the biggest hit of the film:

DUNIYA (1968): ‘Dooriyan nazdeekiyan ban gayi…’

It was around the late forties that the triumvirate of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar entered the industry, became great stars creating a special niche for themselves and also had their own favourite playback singers singing for them. While Rafi became the voice of Dilip Kumar with Talat Mehmood also contributing in some songs, Mukesh was the voice of Raj Kapoor with Manna Dey singing for him at times. In case of Dev Anand, both Rafi and Kishore Kumar’s voices were used.and hence Kishore Kumar between 1948 and 1968 sang only for himself when he acted or did playback for Dev Anand.

NEW DELHI, KROREPATI, BEGUNAAH, RANGOLI and SHARARAT are the five films for which Shankar-Jaikishen worked with Kishore Kumar where he acted and sang his own songs and what beautiful music they created:

Here is a gem from the 1962 film RANGOLI. What an absolutely haunting song- simple, hummable and so melodious

RANGOLI (1962): ‘Choti si yeh duniya pehchaane raaste hain…’

Interestingly both the above song and ‘Zindagi ek safar…’ from ANDAZ had other singers singing their version but really do people even remember that? For when Kishore Kumar sings, such is the magic and resonance in his voice that the other versions pale in comparison.

A fun-filled Kishore-Lata duet-‘Ik nazar kisine dekha aur ban gaya afsana…’

A soulful solo-‘Rangoli sajaao re…’

Listen to this superb song from NEW DELHI. The simple orchestration, the yodelling, the subtle variations in the song all go to make this a masterpiece!

NEW DELHI (1956): ‘Nakhrewaali…’

NEW DELHI (1956): ‘Milte hi nazr aap mere dil mein aa gaye…’

While Kishore Kumar enjoyed immense popularity as an actor-singer during the fifties and early sixties, he had to undergo a long period of struggle to be considered as a playback singer for other heroes. In fact there are rare instances when other singers like Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey sang for him.

SHARARAT (1957): ‘Hum matwaale naujawan…’

 

After giving him such a wonderful solo, wonder why did Shankar-Jaikishen settle for Rafi to sing ‘Ajab hai dastaan meri yeh zindagi…’!!! What made them think that Kishore would not have delivered that song brilliantly in his own way?

SHARARAT (1959)

BEZUBAAN (1957)

Only audio of this song is available

To achieve his dream of becoming a playback singer, Kishore Kumar had to become an actor and act for almost 20 years before giving up acting to become full-fledged singer. This phase coincided with the coming of a new star Rajesh Khanna in the horizon and Kishore Kumar became a voice to reckon with for all the actors after 1968.

In 1968 Shankar-Jaikishen gave music in the Dharmendra-Hema Malini starrer TUM HASEEN MAIN JAWAAN. Kishore Kumar got to sing only one song and that too a comical one in the film- ‘Munne ki amma yeh to bata…’. The song did become popular with the masses:

THE FATEFUL YEAR OF 1971:

This year was important for this combination in more ways than one. Not only did they team up to give several super-hits unfortunately, it was also the last year they worked as a team together  for Jaikishen from the duo passed away due to cirrhosis of liver.

Apart from the blockbuster song ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’, the Kishore-SJ combo gave us some of these superb songs also in 1971 :

SOLOS:

LAL PATTHAR (1971): ‘Geet gaata hoon main…’

KAL AAJ AUR KAL (1971) : ‘Bhanware ki gunjan…’

DUETS:

KAL AAJ aur KAL: ‘Aap yahan aaye kisliye…’

This film which launched Raj Kapoor’s son Randhir Kapoor had superb music by Shankar Jaikishen and Kishore Kumar became Randhir’s voice and all songs were super-hit. There were two more lovely duets in the film- ‘Tik tik tik tik…,’ ‘Jab hum honge saath saal ke…’

NAGINA: ‘Tere mere pyar ka andaz hai nirala…’ 

MAIN SUNDAR HOON: ‘Mujhko thand lag rahi hai mujhse door tu naja…’

The song ‘Naach meri jaan…’ from the same film had Kishore Kumar and Jaikishen making a brief appearance at the beginning of the song…

SEEMA: ‘Waqt thoda sa abhi kuch aur guzar jaane de…’

First in 1966, lyricist Shailendra passed away. On Septemnber 12, 1971, Jaikishen passed away. The team of SJ was hit very badly. Though Shankar did try to keep the flag flying by continuing to compose under the name of Shankar-Jaikishen as per their agreement, but the magic had started fading away.

POST 1971:

Films like JANGAL MEIN MANGAL, AANKHON AANKHON MEIN and DIL DAULAT DUNIYA released in 1972. Probably the music for some of the songs had already been scored by the two together and kept in their music bank. Here are some brilliant songs from these films:

JANGAL MEIN MANGAL: ‘Tum kitni khoobsurat hoy eh mere dil se pucho…’

Here is a rare Rafi-Kishore duet from the film JANGAL MEIN MANGAL picturized on Kiran Kumar and his friends which included  a weird looking Pran: ‘Ae Bagh ki kaliyon sharam karo sharam karo…’

AANKHON AAKHON MEIN: ‘Aankhon aankhon mein baat…’ with Asha

Another duet from the same film:

‘Do baatein pyar bhari kar loon…’with Asha

The Rajesh Khanna-Kishore combo came together again for this film after Andaz but the results were certainly not anywhere near their best. There were a couple of solos and duets by Kishore Kumar:

DIL DAULAT DUNIYA: ‘Saath mein pyara saathi ho…’

Soon offers reduced though Shankar did manage to come up with a few aces with Kishore Kumar:

DO JHOOT (1975): ‘Chalo bhool jaayen jahan ko yahan do ghadi…’

Chatri na khol ud jayegi…’

AAJ KI TAAZA KHABAR (1974) : ‘ Mujhe meri biwi se bachao …’

I end this musical blog with this lovely solo from RESHAM KI DORI picturized on Dharmendra.

RESHAM KI DORI (1975): ‘Chamka pasina banke angina…’

 

There is no doubt that this talented and unique singer-music director combination would have definitely created a different kind of euphoria for whenever they did come together and whatever little work they did together, they created magic. Whether it was industry politics or just destiny which kept them apart, fans remain grateful for the precious and priceless legacy left behind by them…

 

 

 

VEERE DI WEDDING is a big disappointment thanks to its dumb plot and hollow characters

By

Sharada Iyer

Producers Ekta Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor and director Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding with a glamorous and talented cast of Kareena Kapoor, Sonam, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania was touted to be a game-changer with its bold script on female-bonding and friendship much on the lines of Dil Chahta Hai!

Probably for the first time, the heroines have been shown to be discussing their sex life so casually on-screen and to actually have mainstream heroines play his kind of role definitely makes the film stand out. The protagonists are shown to be normal young women of today who are not afraid of being judged by society for not conforming to a ‘saintly’ image conjured up by our society for women which allows men to get away with anything. Girls can smoke and drink and swear and make mistakes about their choices in life and be allowed to learn from their mistakes without any societal pressure.

The premise so far certainly sounds good! But does the film really live up to the hype and expectations which the publicity generated? Alas! The answer is no!

Fortunately or unfortunately, the trailer which was released had given a strong indication of the uninspiring plot going to be doled out, yet I kept up my hopes thinking some surprise element might still spring up in the movie but that was not to be…

Maybe on paper this bold story and concept of Veere Di Wedding sounded very good. There was a lot of potential to develop the script into something unique and in the hands of a good director and scriptwriter, the film could have been highly entertaining and a sure-shot winner. Ultimately, we end up with a film in which neither the characters touch our hearts nor do the situations and dialogues tickle our funny bone.

The film falls flat on its very basic premise as there is very little chemistry among the four friends and lacks the ‘X’ factor much required to engage the audience for such films. To put the bold concept across, the film should have had an imaginative script and well-etched out characters. Instead the plot which revolves around marriage is too silly, the situations very amateurish and boring, the pace extremely slow and the characters quite predictable and uninteresting.

veere4

The cast with popular stars which could have been its USP turns out to be its minus point also. Kareena and Sonam were too busy being Kareena and Sonam and just could not get into their characters. Their designer wardrobe, perfect make-up and modelling poses did not help them either. Of the other two, while Swara Bhaskar was very natural as she has no image to live up to, Shikha Talsania’s character could have easily been done away with as her contribution to the plot was almost nil.

The film starts with four childhood friends  who belong to super rich families. They are very close to each other and grow up to be strong and independent women. Soon we are privy to their adult lives which are not exactly rosy. All four have parental issues and are not able to discuss their problems with their parents freely. Swara has just walked out on her husband and heading for a messy separation, Sonam’s dream is to get married and have kids but there is no ‘Mr Right’ in sight and her mother’s obsession to get her married off is on another level, Shikha is married to a foreigner and has a kid and amidst all this Kareena’s live-in boyfriend of three years decides to propose to her.

After toying with the pros and cons of this sudden proposal, Kareena agrees and the four friends decide to meet again after a long time and attend Kareena’s engagement. To focus on the ‘empowerment’ bit, the four friends are shown to be drinking and smoking and mouthing all kinds of cuss words merrily and talking of things only ‘girls’ talk to each other. Well! The makers clearly desperate to show all his went so overboard that the film ended up with an ‘A’ certificate. But the film neither ends up being a naughty adult comedy nor a film dealing with serious female issues.

In between the script also touches upon the frivolousness of our wedding ceremonies and the repulsive amount of money wasted in such festivities. To drown their sorrows and to get away from their problems for a while the four friends take off to Thailand! But the whole Thailand footage was a complete hogwash and totally avoidable and senseless.

Throughout the film the innumerable product placements were really too obvious and quite exasperating!

veere1.jpeg

PERFORMANCES:

Kareena seemed a little disinterested throughout the film and also looked too old to be playing a nervous and apprehensive bride-to-be. Her side-track dealing with her dad and uncle was so uninteresting! Sonam’s dialogue delivery somehow seemed fake and emotionless in the film. Shikha Talsania had no interesting aspect to her side-story and as I had mentioned earlier, even without her presence the film would have remained the same. It is only Swara Bhaskar with her feisty attitude and natural acting who stands out and brings in some freshness to the narrative even though she has a very ill-written role. The reason for her divorce was so remarkably weird that it has to be seen to be believed!

The supporting cast has nothing to offer. Anjum Rajabali as Kareena’s dad acts quite badly. Sumeet Vyas  as Kareena’s fiancé looked good but had nothing to add and there was zero chemistry between him and Kareena.

Apart from the wrong casting, drab story and dull direction, the music of the film was also a big let-down. Honestly we won’t remember any word from the lyrics or any tune as we walk out of the hall. For a film revolving around a big fat Indian wedding the movie could have been remembered for at least the songs…

Here is a link to the trailer of the film: Venture into the cinema hall only if you like what you see in this trailer…