Bhupinder Singh’s priceless contribution as a guitarist in Hindi film songs!


Sharada Iyer

Most people may not be aware that singer Bhupinder Singh loved for his soulful ghazals and memorable songs from films like Gharonda, Mausam, Thodi Si Bewafai, Kinara, Parichay, Aitbaar, Bazaar, etc., is also an expert guitarist and has composed some of the most memorable guitar pieces ever heard of in Hindi cinema.

Born in Amritsar it was destiny that dragged him first to Delhi and then to Mumbai where he became very popular as a playback singer and ghazal singer thanks to his unique resonating voice. However the guitarist in him never came to be publicized much and this humble man always put in his best and just let his work speak for itself.


Adept at playing different types of guitars like the Hawaian guitar, Spanish guitar and Electric guitar, he joined R D Burman’s group of musicians as one of the lead guitarists in the late 60’s and remained with him for the next 25 years. He is behind some of the most popular and iconic songs composed by R D Burman like ‘Dum Maro Dum…’, ‘Chura liya hai tumne…’, ‘Chand mera dil…’, ‘Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai…’, ‘Mehbooba, mehbooba…’, ‘Aane waala pal…’, etc. In fact he is said to have introduced the 12-string guitar in Hindi film songs.

‘Dum Maro Dum…’ (Hare Rama Hare Krishna)

‘Chura Liya Hai Tumne…’ (Yaadon Ki Baraat)

‘Mehbooba, Mehbooba…’ (Sholay)

Aane Waala Pal…’ (Gol Maal)


Born on 6th February, 1940 in Amritsar, Punjab, Bhupinder Singh was initiated into music by his father Professor Nathaa Singh, who was a professor of classical music. Though later he also took training in classical music from other music scholars, his father remained his best and most important teacher.


He also loved ‘ghazals’ from a young age and used to pick up poetry, compose and sing for his friends. It was this love which probably made him choose ghazal singing over film playback later in life. His ghazal compositions were unique as he introduced guitar in ghazals also.

His father also had a library of musical instruments in the house which helped Bhupinder gain early exposure to various types of musical instruments. Bhupinder was drawn towards the guitar from a very young age and he learnt to play the instrument very early in life.

Soon he shifted base from Amritsar and started working in All India Radio, Delhi as a singer and musician. He was also attached to the Delhi Doordarshan Center. During this time, All India Radio was celebrating the anniversary of the great poet Bahadurshah Zafar and Bhupinder recorded one of the poet’s ghazal ‘Lagata Nahin Hai Ji Mera Ujade Dayaar Mein…’, which became an instant hit. As luck would have it, music director Madan Mohan who happened to be visiting Delhi attended a party hosted by the then producer of AIR, where young Bhupinder sang a song. Impressed with the youngster’s unique voice he offered him to come to Mumbai and sing a song for his film.


Ready to try the opportunity that had come knocking on his door, Bhupinder landed at Madan Mohan’s recording and was told that he was to be part of a group song. Ironically Bhupinder’s first appearance on the Mumbai’s film scene was not as a guitarist but as an actor-singer in Chetan Anand’s 1964 war film Haqeeqat. He was part of the memorable song ‘Hoke majboor mujhe usne bulaya hoga…’ where he is shown to be one of the soldiers. For a newcomer to have sung alongside stalwarts like Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey and Talat Mehmood in his very first song must have been an unimaginable break, something the young Bhupinder would not have envisioned even in his wildest dreams.

Those were the days when all singers used to come together and rehearse and in one of his interviews Bhupinder recalls how there were only two mikes at the time of the recording of that song and he and Rafi Saab shared one mike while Talatji and Mannada shared the other. He had been both nervous and excited to sing in front of the three giants of the Hindi film industry and yet he was made to feel very comfortable as all three had been very loving and encouraging towards him.


The song had four stanzas- one for each of the four singers and picturized on many extras. The song starts with Rafi Saab and that part was filmed on Bhupinder and later the first full stanza was sung by Bhupinder and picturized on himself only. For a newcomer to have left his distinct mark in the presence of these three musical giants was indeed by no means a small feat!

After this break, Bhupinder’s next assignment was once again as an actor-singer in director Chetan Anand’s 1966 experimental film – Aakhri Khat. The film with a plot that centred around a one-year old child was also the debut film of Superstar Rajesh Khanna. Music director Khayyam gave Bhupinder his first break as a solo singer and made him sing a soft and haunting club song ‘Rut jawan jawan jawan raat meherbaan…’ which was not only sung by him and picturized on him, but he also got to play the guitar. His role in the film was restricted only to that song.  


The YouTube link for the above song:


After shifting to Mumbai he realized that it was going to be a Herculean task to get noticed in the area of playback singing amidst the already existing golden voices of Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, etc., so he concentrated on sharpening his other skill and started nurturing the guitarist in him. During this time he came in contact with many musicians and arrangers of that era and learnt as much as he could from all of them.

He learnt the intricacies of playing the Spanish guitar from the guitar expert Bhanu Gupta (who also happened to be part of R D Burman’s team), and practiced hard for almost two years till he mastered it completely. Always an eager student, he would listen avidly to all the contemporary greats and learnt to play other musical instruments as well.

In his interviews he never fails to mention that destiny had been really kind to him and that he had been extremely fortunate to have got so many opportunities. As a newcomer in the sixties, all the great music directors and singers of the ‘golden era’ had welcomed him with open arms and gave him a lot of love and affection. His talent to play the guitar was recognized and he was flooded with opportunities.

A chance meeting with music director R D Burman resulted in a life-long bond and they remained the best of friends till R D’s untimely death in 1994. R D Burman gave him a free hand to play the way Bhupinder thought best and Bhupinder came up with truly amazing pieces in R D’s songs. Their magical combination gave us some outstanding songs.


Their professional as well as deep personal friendship lasted for more than twenty years. They became friends right at their first meeting itself and realized that they both had the same bent of mind musically. R D Burman was known to sit with his close group of musicians whenever he signed a film and they would all have long sessions of experimenting with various sounds and tunes. Bhupinder was an important part of the team. R D Burman and he also used to see movies together.

It was in 1968 that the duo first came together professionally for the film Abhilasha and stayed together right up to the end. Here are YouTube links to some of the songs where Bhupinder’s guitar can be enjoyed either as a special piece in the beginning or in the middle or just merging with the other musical instruments :

‘Aapki aankhon mei kuch mehke hue se khaab hain…’ (Ghar)

‘Nahi Nahi,Abhi Nahi…’ (Jawani Diwani)

‘Chala Jaata Hoon…’ (Mere Jeevan Saathi)

‘Chaand Mera Dil…’ (Hum Kisise Kum Nahi)


‘Ik Din Bik Jaayega Maati Ke Mol…’ (Dharam Karam)

‘Pyaar Hame Kis Mod Pe Le Aaya…’ (Satte Pe Satta)

‘Aaj ki raat…’ (Anamika)


‘Pyar hua hai jabse…’ (Abhilasha)

‘Chanda O Chanda…’ (Laakhon Mein Ek)

‘Lekar hum diwana dil…’ (Yaadon ki Baraat)

‘Kitne sapne kitne armaan laya hoon main…’ (Mere Jeevan Saathi)

Incidentally six years after his solo number in the 1966 film Aakhri Khat, it was R D Burman who used his magical voice for the semi classical duet ‘Beeti na bitaayi raina…’ with Lata Mangeshkar in the 1972 film Parichay. The song went on to become a super-hit and thus Bhupinder embarked on a wonderful career of playback singing as well and whatever work he did got him the immense love of the audience.

‘Beeti na bitaayi raina…’
‘Huzoor is tarah bhi na itra ke chaliye…’

Among his outstanding numbers as a singer include ‘Dil dhoondta hai phir wohi…’, ‘Naam gum jayega…’, ‘Aaj bichde hain kal ka dar hi nahin…’, Kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta…’, ‘Kisi nazar ko tera intezar aaj bji hai…’, ‘Karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi…’, ‘Zindagi mere ghar aana’, ‘ Zindagi milke bitayenge…’, ‘Huzuur is tarah bhi na itraah ke chaliye…’, ‘Do deewane sheher mein…’, ‘Jab andhera hota hai…’, etc. He sang for many music directors.


Though Bhupinder was part of R D Burman’s coterie, he always took time off to play for other music directors whenever they would request him. For instance, he was always ready to ply for Madan Mohan who was responsible for giving Bhupinder his first break. His songs of Hanste Zakhm especially his work in the soft song ‘Tum jo mil gaye ho…’ remains popular to this day.

For the film Kadambari he played the guitar for the song ‘Ambar ki ek paak surahi…’, for composer Ustad Vilayat Khan.

He also worked with music director Khayyam for the songs of Razia Sultan. He has also worked with Raam-Laxman, Naushad and Sonik Omi. He was one of the instrumentalists of the theme song of Pakeezah in which Bhupinder used the 12-string guitar like the ‘sarod’, to give it a classical touch.

For the film Abdullah, he was made to play the stringed Arabian instrument ‘Oud ’even though he had never played that before. He introduced other instruments also to the film industry.

Later in life, he turned to ghazal singing and along with his wife Mithali took the ghazal world by storm with several beautiful and soulful compositions. In 1965 itself when ghazal singing was not even popular, he had started releasing private albums with HMV. He bid goodbye to the film industry and continues to sing ghazals which had always been his forte. For his contribution to the world of Sugam Sangeet, he has won several awards.

As a singer-composer-musician, his position in the film industry is unique and we salute this musical genius for his invaluable contribution…


(All images have been taken from the internet)










Akshay Kumar gives one of his career best performances in PADMAN


Sharada Iyer


PADMAN’, directed by R Balki, and featuring Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, and Sonam Kapoor brings to life the incredible, heart-warming and inspiring journey of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a school dropout who became a social entrepreneur when he makes it his life’s mission to provide sanitary pads to the women of his village. The film breaks social taboos to touch upon a significant yet completely ignored topic of menstrual hygiene and ends up being both enlightening and entertaining.

The writers of the film with the consent of the real-life Padman (Muruganantham) have taken a few cinematic liberties as the story unfolds and traces the journey from his marriage to the time he is bestowed upon with the coveted Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2016 as an acknowledgement of his extraordinary efforts. Also to give the film a pan-India appeal, the setting is shifted from Coimbatore to Madhya Pradesh.

padman 3
Arunachalam being awarded Padma Shri


R Balki’s intelligent and deft direction ensures that the film never veers off into a documentary mode. The domestic drama involving his wife Radhika Apte in the first half of the film and his relentless pursuit in the second half when he is joined by Sonam Kapoor in his mission keeps the audience engrossed till the end. The dialogue writers deserve a special mention. There are many heart-tugging moments in the film. The songs are catchy, picturized well and fit the situation of the film.

But what makes this movie so engaging and entertaining is Akshay Kumar’s mesmerising performance. He is unbelievably outstanding in the film and delivers one of his career-best performances! The earnestness, sincerity, conviction and an endearing vulnerability he brings to the character is what makes the film stand out. His speech towards the end of the film is just brilliant!

Honestly, I wonder if any other actor would have had the guts to take on such a revolutionary role and give it the necessary dignity it required. With every film he is raising his own bar of acting and every time the amazing variety of characters he plays strikes a chord in the viewer’s heart. Undoubtedly he is the most versatile and gutsy superstar we have ever seen!

Both the heroines are also superb in their respective roles. Radhika Aapte is a natural! She conveys the apprehensions of a village woman effortlessly and is perfectly cast. Sonam Kapoor has a breezy role and her pairing with Akshay Kumar was refreshing. She adds a lot of pizazz to her character.

padman 5.jpg


After his marriage his love for his wife makes him understand her pain as well as the trauma and stigma attached to a natural process like menstruation and the way everyone treats it like a taboo subject akin to an evil practice. He is even more aghast to learn of the unhygienic practices being followed by the women during this time and their uncaring attitude towards the danger to their health. He also realizes the high cost of these pads which is way out of reach of the poor sections of the society who are already struggling to meet their everyday need of food and water.

His innumerable attempts to make his own hand-made pad meet with failure but he does not give up. The mission to provide cost-effective pad to every girl and woman of the village becomes an obsession with him and he does not go astray even when the entire village decides to ostracize and vilify him and his own family deserts him thinking that he has been possessed by the devil! They find it utterly obnoxious and disgusting that a ‘man’ instead of minding ‘his’ business should actually get involved with what they term as a ‘woman’s problem’!

The kind of obstacles, objections and accusations he faces, how he succeeds in his mission, how the journey changes him, what sacrifices he has to make and what all he gains in the end form the crux of the film. His simple and touching thought brings about a revolution when he comes up with his own design of an easy-to-operate machine which not only helps him in producing his own hygienic pads but also ends up becoming a means to empower the village women to make their own living through these machines.

Three cheers to the producer and writer Twinkle Khanna who decided to make a film on such a topic. Last year she had written a story based on the real-life Padman in her book ‘The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad’ and this year decided to foray into film production and  create awareness on this issue by turning it into a film.

padman 4


In a male driven society like ours, it is literally impossible to imagine one man going out of his way facing all kinds of obstacles and incurring the wrath of the entire village just to provide low-cost sanitary pads for the women of his village.

The film shows how one man can make a difference to the society by following his passion and that is indeed inspiring.

The film also reiterates that the biggest obstacle for progress in our society is the meaningless but strong and out-dated and unscientific beliefs that still exist in every village in India.

The entire team associated with the film was indeed magnanimous to have re-scheduled their release date from the coveted January 26th weekend to February 9th to make way for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial film ‘Padmaavat’. In doing so they probably lost out on the morning ‘house-full’ shows which would probably affect their final collection but it only affirms their belief that the unique subject of their film has got enough merit to get noticed irrespective of its box-office performance.

The film is indeed a must-watch in every respect and especially for Akshay Kumar’s bravura performance!!!








Sharada Iyer

‘The old order changeth yielding place to new, lest one good custom should corrupt the world…’

-Lord (Alfred) Tennyson

It is an undisputed fact that the industry will continue to produce stars in every generation, who will have their own identities and contribute in their own distinctive way to cater to the changing dynamics of Hindi cinema.

Right now our film industry is on the throes of a huge change regarding the kind of subjects being attempted, the music being composed, the dialogues being written and this is being catered to the changing taste of the audience. With the fading charisma of our older superstars, the mantle is being passed on to the next generation of talent who will now carry on the legacy of this great and bustling entertainment industry.

The scene today is abuzz with several actors and actresses who in the past 5-7 years have proved their mettle with their unique choice of roles and have already laid the foundation of an interesting career graph. By not getting themselves slotted in any kind of ‘image’ they are leaving the field open to try different kinds of roles.

In this blog I wish to focus on seven talented male actors- Ranveer Singh, Rajkummar Rao, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Arjun Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana– who have shown a lot of promise and endeared themselves to the masses with their heartwarming performances. Given the right stories they have the ability to take on challenging roles and shine further…


He is easily one of the most talented and popular actors currently in the film industry. He is also very bold in terms of his choice of roles and has no qualms playing positive or negative roles.

In his very first film Band Baja Baraat in 2010, he made an impact with his ‘boy-next-door’ looks and won hearts with his endearing performance which rightfully fetched him the ‘Best Male Debut’ award that year. However in his second release Ladies vs Ricky Behl he took on a role with negative shades where he cons three girls by first pretending to be their lover and then robbing them of their money. He plays a conman again in Lootera but this time there was also a sensitive side to him which made the role stand out. In Befikre, he teams up with Vaani Kapoor and scorches the screen with hot scenes done with such gay abandon that it would suffice to say that not many actors would have had the guts to have accepted this role!

In 2016, he became the idealistic historical character Peshwa Bajirao II for Bajirao Mastani where he teamed up with Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, and his excellent acting fetched him the coveted Best Actor Filmfare trophy that year. In the recently released Padmaavat, he has walked away with rave reviews from both fans and critics for his splendid portrayal of the evil Alauddin Khilji. This role would be remembered for being one of the most malevolent characters of Hindi cinema.

In Gunday, he teams up with Arjun Kapoor where they play orphan refugees from Bangladesh who grow up to be city goons and fall for the same girl Priyanka Chopra. After playing her lover and her husband, Ranveer surprised everyone by playing Priyanka’s younger brother in Dil Dhadakne Do-a film dealing with the story of a dysfunctional family. His acting was appreciated in the passionate love story with an undercurrent of violence-Goliyon ki Raaslila-Ram Leela where his on-screen chemistry with Deepika Padukone turned them into Bollywood’s favourite couple.

The kind of physical transformation he undergoes and the amount of hard work he puts in to get into the skin of the character in every film is remarkable! He shaved off his head for Bajirao Mastani, he grew a long beard and pumped up his muscles to look menacing in Padmaavat, he stuck to ordinary ‘boy-next-door’ look for Dil Dhadakne Do and Lootera and now he has lost a lot of weight for his upcoming Gully Boy.


Known for his boundless energy and easy-going camaraderie with everyone in the film industry, he generates positive vibes in any gathering. He also puts life into award shows with his energetic dances.

Upcoming Projects:

–Ranveer will be playing the cricketing legend Kapil Dev in the film titled ‘83’ (directed by Kabir Khan). Kapil Dev himself is said to have expressed his happiness at the choice of the actor who would be playing him. The film will recreate India’s magical journey from being the underdogs with no hope of winning to the glorious moment when they lift the coveted World Cup in 1983. The team came to be known as Kapil’s Devils.

ranveer 6

–He will be seen in director Zoya Ahktar’s ‘Gully Boy’ opposite the talented Alia Bhatt. Having seen their interesting looks and bang-on chemistry in the various MakeMyTrip ads, people are eagerly looking forward to seeing their on-screen magic as a couple on the big screen.

ranveer 11.jpg

–He has bagged the prestigious cop-caper ‘Simmbaa’– a joint venture by Rohit Shetty and Dharma Productions to be released in December this year.


–Director Pahlaj Nihalani is considering casting him and Arjun Kaoor in ‘Aankhen Chaar’ -the sequel to his 1993 blockbuster Aankhen. Both the actors will be playing double role!



Known as the ‘Thinking actor’, he is easily the most versatile youngster in the industry today and winning awards has become a habit with him. In the recently concluded Filmfare Awards function, he bagged two of the prestigious awards- ‘Best Actor Award (Critics)-for his outstanding performance in ‘Trapped’ and ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Award for his fun-filled act in Bareilly Ki Barfi.

He has also won the Screen ‘Best Actor Award (Critics)’ and Zee Cine Award for his remarkable act in Newton, where he effortlessly essays the role of an conscientious election officer obsessed with his sense of duty. Incidentally this film is India’s official entry to the Oscars this year.

In 2014, he won the ‘Best Actor Critics Award’ as well as the ‘National Best Actor Award’ for his exceptional performance in Shahid and the same year he also won the ‘Best Supporting Actor Award’ for his role in Kai Po Che.

That is indeed quite an impressive list for a youngster who has dared to tread the offbeat path and also found popularity in commercial films. The year 2017 belonged to him as he had a total of six releases and his ability to fit into any kind of role with effortless ease rightly fetched him the coveted ‘CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Entertainment’ award.


A trained actor from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Gurgaon boy Rajkummar Rao (original name Rajkumar Yadav) made his debut in 2010 in Dibaker Bannerjee’s ‘Love, Sex aur Dhokha’ and has successfully made a mark with every character of his after that. In Citylights, he gives a heart-wrenching performance in a tale which deals with the events in the life of a married Rajasthani couple trying to make a life in Mumbai.

Gangs Of Wasseypur

His brilliant portrayal of the real life criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi (film-Shahid) who starts representing people accused of terrorist activities and is finally assassinated, rightfully fetched him the National Best Actor Award. He was also seen in Ragini MMS-a horror film with a paranormal angle.

In Trapped, he plays a lower middle-class youth in Mumbai who in his desperation to get a flat gets conned by a broker. By a quirk of fate, he gets locked in his own empty flat which is the only flat occupied in the huge high-rise building under construction and being one of the topmost floors, his call for help is not heard by anyone. To add to his woes, his phone battery goes dead and there is no electricity or water in the flat. The desperation and emotional trauma of a person caught in that situation is so outstandingly brought about by Rao that it gives us goosebumps as we live through the nightmare with him.

He plays a transgender in a Bengali film- Ami Saira Bano. It is a story of a boy who is a girl from inside and is drawn towards the transgender community who in turn rechristen him as Saira Bano. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, the film is yet to release in cinema halls.


He is also playing the role of Subhash Chandra Bose in the popular web-series ‘Bose-Dead or Alive’ which is a drama being produced for AltBalaji digital platform. Owned by Jeetendra and Ekta Kapoor, it is a subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms.


Upcoming projects:

–5 Weddings – This is a comedy directed by Namrata Gujral and is about an American journalist who travels to India to cover Bollywood weddings. His co-stars include Nargis Fakri and Bo-Derek.


–Love Sonia: It is a film on sex trafficking and has a star-cast which includes Richa Chadha, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpai, Adil Hussain and a few Hollywood actors like Demi Moor and Frieda Pinto as well.

–He will be seen this year in director Atul Manjrekar’s Fanney Khan where he is cast opposite Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor.


–In director Shelly Chopra’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga his co-star once again is Anil Kapoor and this time his heroine is Sonam Kapoor.

–He will also be seen in Dinesh Vijan’s horror comedy Stree, opposite Shraddha Kapoor.

–Omerta is a film where he plays the terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. This film has already been released in International festivals last year and MAMI festival in Mumbai but is awaiting theatrical release this year. His performance has been well appreciated.



There is something sensitive and soft about his looks which make him the ideal choice to play a character who is suppressing pain or is unable to express his emotions freely. He was one of the three actors introduced by Karan Johar in his teenage musical drama ‘Student of the Year’ in 2012. While the other two -Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt-were children of well-known directors, Siddharth he was the outsider. He was well appreciated in the film and from then on, he has done many films showcasing his sensitive side. He walked away with the ‘Stardust Award for Breakthrough Performance’ for the film.

Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra

In Brothers, an action packed film dealing with Mixed Martial Arts, he played younger brother to Akshay Kumar and was able to match the latter in fight sequences as well as emotional scenes.


In Ek Villain though Riteish Deshmukh in a negative role was given a better deal, Siddharth left his mark as the sensitive lover who takes revenge. He was also appreciated in the recently released Ittefaq, a modern retake of the 1969 film of the same name which starred Rajesh Khanna. He is one of the murder suspects and manages to keep the audience guessing till the end.

In Kapoor&Sons, he plays the soft-spoken, introverted and troubled younger brother to the more energetic and charming Fawad Khan and also matched his talent with the likes of Rishi Kapoor, Ratna Pathak, Rajat Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. He has also essayed a double role in A Gentleman.

Grandson of an Army officer Siddharth started his career as a model followed by a stint as an assistant director before embarking on a career as an actor.

Upcoming Projects

–Aiyaary is a film releasing on February 9th, 2018, directed by Neeraj Pandey where he has Manoj Bajpai and Rakul Preet as his co-stars.

–He has bagged Captain Vikram Batra’s biopic on Kargil War martyrs where he plays double role- the Captain and his twin brother Vishal. The Captain was posthumously awarded Param Veer Chakra for his bravery.


varun 2.jpg

His chocolate boy looks, his charming personality, his ability to dance effortlessly and his confidence in fight sequences brings him closest to the image of the quintessential ‘Bollywood hero’ our industry is known for.

In terms of box-office earnings, he was easily the most successful star of 2017 with two ‘100-crore’ box-office hits to his credit-Badrinath ki Dulhaniya opposite Alia Bhatt and Judwaa 2 where he essays a superb double role with Taapsee Pannu and Jacqeline Fernandez as his heroines.

varun 1

badri 1.jpg

He is the younger son of famous director David Dhawan and nephew of actor Anil Dhawan and was introduced along with Alia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra in 2012 in the film ‘Student of the Year’ by Karan Johar. He may have got his debut film easily but after that he has proved his mettle by acting in different kinds of films. His sense of comedy was displayed in films like Judwaa 2, Dilwale (co-starring ShahRukh Khan) and Dishoom (co-starring John Abraham).


His romantic pairing with Alia Bhatt is already a big hit as all three films in which they starred were blockbusters.His emotional revenge act in ‘Badlapur’ where he was pitted against Nawazuddin Siddique revealed a tough side to his persona and was appreciated by one and all. He was seen in ‘ABCD 2’, where his effortless dance moves won many hearts.


Upcoming Projects:

–This April he will be seen in Shoojit Sircar’s October-a romantic drama opposite newcomer Banita Sandhu for which shooting was wrapped up in just 38 days!


— He teams up with Anushka Sharma for the first time in YRF films’ newest venture-Sui Dhaaga-Made in India. It is a heart-warming story of pride and self-reliance aimed to connect with every Indian. Directed by Sharat Kataria and written by Maneesh Sharma, it will be releasing on October 2nd ,2018 to coincide with Gandhi Jayanti. This small teaser video released will give an idea of the film:

–He has signed a film opposite Alia Bhatt to be directed by Abhishek Varman.

–He will also be seen in ABCD 3– the third film in the ‘Anybody Can Dance’ franchise to be directed by Remo D’Souza.


arjun kapoor 6

Son of producer Boney Kapoor and nephew of actor Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor made an entry into films with an unusual role in the love story Ishaqzaade which had him playing a good-for-nothing local thug with negative shades. But the film and his acting both clicked in a big way and the industry welcomed another talented youngster.

His very next film Aurangzeb had him in a double role. He followed it up with a sensitive and superb performance in 2 States based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name which turned out to be a 100-crore blockbuster hit!

arjun kapoor 8
arjun kapoor 7

In 2017, once again he essayed a double role in Mubarkaan-a comedy film. In 2015, he teamed up with Kareena Kapoor in R Balki’s off-beat film ‘Ki & Ka’ where he plays a house-husband who finds happiness in pampering his career-oriented wife.

arjun kapoor 4

arjun kapoor 5

Upcoming Projects:

–He will be playing a cop in Dibaker Banerjee’s Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar opposite Parineeti Chopra.

arjun kapoor10.jpg

–He will also be seen in Vipul Shah’s Namastey Canada where his co-star once again is Parineeti Chopra.

arjun kapoor 11.jpg

–Director Pahlaj Nihalani is considering casting him and Ranveer Singh in Aankhen Chaar -the sequel to his 1993 blockbuster Aankhen. Both the actors will be playing a double role!



This youngster became every cine-goer’s favourite when he essayed the role of Indian Cricket Captain-M S Dhoni in his biopic. It was an award-winning performance in which he captured every nuance and emotion of Dhoni brilliantly; it was as if he wasn’t just enacting the character but had transformed himself into Dhoni in the film and the performance touched a chord in every viewer’s heart.

sushant singh1.jpg

Like Shah Rukh Khan and Irfaan Khan, his career also started as an actor in Television serials. In 2008 he acted in the serial ‘Pavitra Rishta’ and won an award for his performance. He also acted in a couple of episodes of ‘CID’ and took part in Dance Reality Shows.

He debuted in films in 2013 in director Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Kai Po Che’ based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel –The Three Mistakes of my Life and walked away with several ‘Best Debut’ award that year. He followed it up with interesting films like Shuddh Desi Romance (based on live-in relationships) and turned a ‘desi’ detective in Detective Vyomkesh Bakshi. He was also seen in the blockbuster PK alongside Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma.

Upcoming Projects:

–He will be seen in Abhishek Kapoor’s love story Kedarnath. Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara Ali Khan will be making her debut in the film.

sushant singh4.jpg

–He is part of a multi-starrer Welcome to New York– which has Sonakshi Sinha, Diljit Doasanjh and Karan Johar.

–He will be playing an astronaut in an upcoming sci-fi film Chanda Mama Door Ke along with Madhavan who plays an astronaut. Shraddha Kapoor is the heroine.


–He recently released the first look as a dacoit in director Abhishek Chaubey’s tentatively titled project ‘Chambal’ about the dacoits where Bhumi Pednekar is his heroine.

sushant singh3.jpg

–He will be seen in producer Karan Johar’s comedy film ‘Drive’ opposite Jacqeline


Ayushmann Khurrana

We come to the most interesting youngster who has played donned many roles before deciding to turn to films. First as a participant he won the MTV Roadies contest. He has been a popular Radio Jockey hosting Big FM Delhi, has been a Video Jockey for MTV, hosted several shows as a Television anchor like ‘India’s Got Talent’ and ‘Music Ka MahaMuqabla’ as well as hosted ‘Extra Innings T20’ for IPL Season 3. Apart from these, he is a good singer and also writes Hindi poems. He has won several awards for being a radio as well as TV host.

In 2012, he made his debut with the film Vicky Donor which dealt with the unique topic of sperm donation. He won two Filmfare awards- for the ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ and also walked away with the ‘Best Playback Singer’ award for his song ‘Paani Da Rang…’ which he sang in the film!

Ayushmann Khurrana2.jpg

His films do have unique story-lines. In Dum Lagaake Haisha in 2015 he played an illiterate but chauvinistic male who aspires for a slim beautiful bride but ends up with an overweight educated girl. How he deals with the situation and learns to come to terms with it forms the crux of the story. It was a lovely film and both Ayushmann and Bhumi were excellent.

Ayushmann Khurrana 3

He had four releases in 2017- Shubh Mangal Savdhan which again dealt with a taboo topic like erectile dysfunction, a heart-warming love triangle Bareilly Ki Barfi with Rajkumr Rao and Kriti Sannon, Meri Pyaari Bindu with Parineeti Chopra and a cameo in Tumhari Sulu.


Ayushmann Khurrana 4
Tumhari Sulu

Upcoming projects:

–He will be seen in Jungle Pictures’ comedy ‘Badhai Ho’ with Sanya Malhotra ( the girl who plays the younger daughter in Aamir Khan’s Dangal)

He will team up with none other than Tabu in Shoot the Piano Player to be directed by Sriram Raghavan.

As mentioned earlier, these actors have been around for just 5-7 years but have managed to carve a niche for themselves. The definitely they have the right mix of talent, looks, dedication and enthusiasm to take them places.

Here are YouTube links to a few melodious songs picturized on these youngsters :

Band Baja Baraat- (Ranveer Singh)

Gunday- (Arjun Kapoor & Ranveer Singh)

Vicky Donor- (Ayushmann Khurrana)

Dum Lagaake Haisha-(Ayushmann Khurrana)

2 States– (Arjun Kapoor)

Student of the year -(Varun Dhawan & Siddharth Malhotra)

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya-(Varun Dhawan)

Ek Villain- (Siddharth Malhotra)

Bareilly Ki Barfi-(Rajkumar Rao & Ayushmann Khurrana)

Padmaavat- (Ranveer Singh)

Hasee Toh Phasee- (Siddharth Malhotra)

Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji steals the show in Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’


Sharada Iyer

I managed to catch the ‘first day-first show’ of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus ‘Padmaavat’ yesterday evening amidst heavy police protection. The security arrangements were excellent and hats off to all the policemen who ensured that nothing would disturb us while watching the 3-D spectacle unfold on the big screen.


The film in every which way lives up to all the expectations of grandeur and extravagance associated with Bhansali films but this time the difference is that it is mounted on a 3-D format giving the viewer a newer, better and grander experience thus making the movie a must watch! The film is a glorious tribute to the valour and ideologies of the Rajput community.

As the film is based on a very popular legend and owing to the extraordinary publicity the film has garnered in the last few months, the basic plot really has no surprises as everyone viewing is aware that the film will culminate in the tragic and gruesome ritual of ‘Jauhar’ in which all the Rajput women spearheaded by Queen Padmavati decide to jump in the huge burning pyre to protect their honour from the cruel Muslim invaders.


Sultan Alauddin Khilji (Khalji), the most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty after hearing about the beauty of Queen Padmavati of Chittor wants to possess her and comes to attack the fort of Chittor just to get a glimpse of her. Unable to get anywhere near the impenetrable, strong and well-guarded fort, he waves the peace flag and extends his hand of friendship to the King of Chittor- Maharawal Ratan Singh. Agreeing to the conditions laid out by the King, he agrees to send back his army and enters the palace unarmed and is treated to the warm hospitality of the Rajputs by the King but much to his chagrin even after repeated pleas and persistence is only allowed a very long-distant glimpse of the Queen and that too for just a fraction of a second.

His anger and frustration are both heightened as he feels he has been humiliated and decides to take revenge. He gets the King kidnapped by trickery, imprisons him in the gallows and insists that he would release him only if Queen Padmavati comes to Alauddin’s palace personally and show her face to him. Of course! The Queen outwits him and gets her husband back. Now Alauddin’s seething rage can only by quenched in a fight-to-finish battle, slaying the king and possessing Queen Padmavati thus leading to the much publicized ‘Jauhar’ sequence.


Nobody in the current lot of directors can dream of matching Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision for grandiose sets and visuals which makes viewing his films an enriching experience. He takes his time to spin this tale dotting it with his imaginative sequences and decorating the narrative with good dialogues, delicate romantic moments, several emotionally charged confrontation scenes between the main characters and superbly choreographed dance sequences.



The battle scenes are done very well and cinematography is excellent. There is a battle scene in particular when the dust kicked up the innumerable horses during the fight makes it look like a veritable area of dust-storm and there is a long shot of the lone man Khilji waiting to enter at the right time. Minutes later he enters with the ferocity of a savage beast and emerges out with the head of the beheaded enemy king!


padmaavat 2.jpg

Though it is the story of Padmavati, the film totally belongs to Ranveer Singh, who dominates the narrative from the first scene to the last frame. As the manic, powerful, ruthless and cruel Alauddin Khilji he reeks of brutality and has delivered an unbelievably brilliant performance. A lot of thought and imagination has gone into his get-up and looks and the effect on the screen is amazing. The director has given a lot of screen-time to showcase many facets of Khilji which allows Ranveer the opportunity to brings to life the menace, savagery, carnal pleasures and brutality in Khilji’s personality with such élan, confidence and conviction that it will remembered as one of the best performances of his career. Honestly, Bhansali could not have asked for a better Khilji!!!

Deepika Padukone is perfectly cast as Queen Padmavati. Her beauty and personality bring a regal bearing to the character and she comes up with yet another milestone performance. She is indeed fortunate to have a director like Bhansali who conceptualizes such strong characters which give her ample scope to test her prowess in every film.  

soft romance

Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh is also very good and has many strong scenes and dialogues going for him. But somewhere in the final outcome of things, his character is somewhat overshadowed by the towering presence and acting of both Padmavati and Khilji. Though the pairing of Shahid and Deepika is novel to watch, their on-screen chemistry lacks the much needed spark which would have given their scenes an edge.

Raza Murad as Khilji’s uncle, Aditi Rao Hyadri as Khilji’s wife and Jim Sarabh as Khilji’s right hand man deserve special mention. They are all very well cast and add a lot of value to the proceedings.

There are not too many songs and though they are very good we remember only two songs- ‘Ghoomar’ and ‘Khalibali’ when we walk out of the cinema hall. And the credit for that goes to the choreographers for coming up with such stunning steps.Deepika’s effortless grace in the ‘Ghoomar’ song and Ranveer’s energetic dancing in ‘Khalibali’ leaves you asking for more.

padmaavat 1.jpg

The ‘Jauhar scene is not as impactful as it could have been. Somewhere the visual grandeur of the slightly prolonged sequence where the Rajput women clad in red keep on running towards the fire pit overshadows the emotion of horror and tragedy connected with such a  horrific act which it should have evoked… But Bhansali thankfully avoids any gruesome depiction of the actual act and only the effect is conveyed.



There is not a single frame or scene which in any remote way can be interpreted as being derogatory to the Rajput women. So it remains baffling as to what started off this unnecessary controversy regarding the film which offended and provoked the ‘Karni Sena’ to threaten the stars and demand a ban. It is not as if stories on Rajput women have never been shown. In fact the popular television serial ‘Maharana Pratap’ (2013-2015) showed two ‘Jauhar’ episodes in the narrative- one during Maharana Uday Singh’s time in the same Chittor place and the other which involved Uday Singh’s grandmother Queen Karnavati. Also in 1988, director Shyam Benegal’s historical serial ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ had an episode dedicated to the story of Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmini and ironically Bhansali was one of the one of the assistant directors. So why all the fuss now!!!

Whether the film becomes a hit or not is not in Bhansali’s hand. Notwithstanding  the senseless ban and violent attacks still ensuing in many States the public may be wary of venturing into cinema halls. But the fact remains that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has crafted this tale with a lot of love and passion and spent extravagantly to give the viewers an amazing experience. The film gives us a peek into our legend, culture and history which by all means is definitely worth watching and applauding.

Take a bow Bhansali and three cheers to Ranveer!!!



Hindi film songs based on Raga ‘KALAVATI’  


Sharada Iyer 

The rich repertoire of our century-old Hindi film music boasts of a wide range of songs based on a variety of classical Hindustani ragas. There is no denying that the reach of Hindi films and Hindi film music in our country is far beyond any other form of music. Therefore instead of composing these songs in a typical classical style which may appeal only to a select audience with in-depth knowledge of the technicalities of classical music, our music directors draw inspiration from our vast legacy to compose either semi-classical songs or just touch upon the raga lightly. 

These subtle modifications in the raga allows them to compose apt songs to suit the mood and setting of  the story and the character keeping in mind the visual medium of cinema. Therefore, such compositions not only help to enhance the appeal and reach of these ragas to the large base of film-viewing populace of our country, but also exposes them to our unique heritage.

This is my third post on Hindi film songs based on Indian classical ragas. The first two posts were on raga Shivaranjani and raga Bhimpalasi. For this post I have chosen a very pleasant raga- Kalavati. 

The word Kalavati implies ‘the one adorned with the ‘kalas’ or ‘arts’. So Kalavati also refers to Goddess Saraswati, who is considered the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom and all forms of arts. It is a very melodious raga and the beauty of the raga lies in its simplicity which makes it extremely pleasant to the ears and gives relief to stress.

The Carnatic counterpart of Raga Kalavati is called Raga Valachi.

For those interested to know the basic technical aspects, here is a quick lesson on the raga:

Raga Kalavati: A quick lesson

Surprisingly there are very few songs composed in this raga as compared to some other popular ragas like ‘Bhairavi’, ‘Yaman Kalyan’, ‘Malkaus’, ‘Pahadi’, ‘Bhimpalasi’, ‘Darbari Kanada’, etc. But these handful of songs composed have attained immortal status and remain unique even today.

Let us look at some of these songs and their situations. We start with the most iconic composition in this raga from the film Chitralekha. Though this film was a failure at the box-office (perhaps due to its unique story-line and wrong casting), the music of the film became very popular and the film is remembered till today only for its outstanding music.

Film: CHITRALEKHA (1964)

Music director: ROSHAN



The film was based on a Hindi novel-Chitralekha, and interestingly, this film had also been made in 1941 by the same director Kidar Sharma, and that film had been a huge box-office success. 

Here is a memorable song picturized on Mumtaz in the film Khilona where she plays a prostitute. The lovely lyrics set to superb beats and tune of this pleasing raga make this dance number one of the best songs of Mumtaz’s career. Such ‘mujra’ numbers have all but disappeared in our films today.

Film: KHILONA (1970)




Sample this soothing composition in raga Kalavati from K Balachandar’s directorial venture in Hindi Oonche Log, based on his play titled ‘Major Chandrakanth’. Ashok Kumar plays a blind retired Major of the Indian Army and his two sons are played by Raj Kumar and Feroz Khan. A very interesting film with superb performances from all three especially Ashok Kumar as this role can easily be rated among his best performances. Later this film was made in Tamil and Telugu as well.

Film: OONCHE LOG (1965)

Music Director: CHITRAGUPTA



The above song is picturized on Feroz Khan and the popular South star K R Vijaya who makes her debut in this film but did not act in any other Hindi film other than this as her assignments in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films kept her very busy.

In classical music all ragas are allotted different time of the day/night depending on the effect they have on our mind and body. Raga Kalavati is a late night (midnight) raga and is generally associated with pangs of separation, remorse, nostalgia. This song from the film Sati Savitri conveys these feelings beautifully.

Film : SATI SAVITRI(1964)




Our music directors using their creative genius have used this raga to churn out even qawaalis. In fact undoubtedly the best and the most iconic qawwali ever composed for Hindi films- ‘Ishq Ishq hai Ishq Ishq…’ from the film Barsaat Ki Raat is based on raga Kalavati. Though the tune does take on slight variations as the song progresses, the basic raga in the beginning cannot be missed.

With this song, music director Roshan proved his genius and mastery over his musical skills as well as mastery over his knowledge of ragas. Sahir Ludhianavi as usual gives dignity to the composition with his magical lyrics and with three of our greatest singers singing this outstanding number, this qawaali remains unmatched and evergreen even today…

Film: BARSAAT KI RAAT (1960)

Music Director: ROSHAN



After a gap of seventeen years, this raga was used once again in a brilliant qawaali, this time by music director R D Burman, sung by Rafi and Asha and picturized on Rishi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman.


Music Director: R D BURMAN



Enjoy this lesser known but beautiful song in the raga Kalavati sung by Asha Bhonsle and composed by Vasant Desai for the children’s film Do Phool which was based on the famous German novel ‘Heidi’. The story revolves around the events in the life of the young orphan girl Baby Naaz and the people around her- her grandfather, her aunt, her goatherd friend in the hills and a rich wheelchair-bound girl of her own age whom she befriends and becomes a companion to.

Film: DO PHOOL (1958)

Music Director: VASANT DESAI



In 2004, A R Rahman decided to weave his magic around this raga to produce a gem for the film Swades. This is such a beautiful song and Udit Narayan has sung it so brilliantly that by the time we reach the end of the song, we will all be humming this catchy tune. Such is the magical effect of this lovely raga.

Film: SWADES (2004)

Music Director: A R RAHMAN



Film: SUR SANGAM (1985)


Lyricist: Vasant Dev


This film revolves around the theme of classical music and how it is dying in today’s times because of people’s ignorance and failure to understand its value. This semi-classical number therefore fits well with the theme.

Technically speaking, raga Kalavati has the same notes in its ascent (aroha) as well as descent (avroha). However, a little change in the structure of Kalavati- the addition of the note ‘re’ in the descending movement (avroha) changes it into the raga Janasammohini. The notes in the ‘aroha’ or ascent remain the same and hence the startling similarity.

The word Janasammohini means ‘that which has hypnotic effect on people’. This raga also produces a soothing effect. This raga was brought to prominence in Hindustani classical and film music by none other than the great maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. In Hindi films, he immortalized this raga in the song from the film Anuradha:

Film: ANURADHA (1960)




Here is a very interesting demonstration of the subtle difference in the two ragas Kalavati and Janasammohini  by Dr Mukul Acharya:

Music director Naushad used the raga Janasammohini to give us a poignant number. The feelings of pain and anguish are brought out so evocatively by Rafi Saab and enacted superbly by none other than Dilip Kumar.


Music Director: NAUSHAD



Our film songs based on classical ragas do not always conform to all the technicalities of the raga and because there is only a very delicate difference between these two ragas,  sometimes songs based on both these ragas are classified under only raga Kalavati.

In the following songs the raga Kalavati/ raga Janasammohini has been very lightly touched upon and the songs are catchy and melodious.

Uljhan is a murder-mystery thriller in which the wife is suspected by the husband who is an Inspector as all clues point to her involvement. But for now they are happy romancing in this catchy number composed by the dynamic duo of Kalyanji-Anandji.

Film: ULJHAN (1975)


Lyricist: M G HASHMAT


Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s heart-warming family drama Khubsoorat  is a movie one can watch any number of times for its lovely plot, lively performances and superb music. Actress Rekha gave one of her career-best performances in this film and her saris and hairstyle became a fashion statement. In this song, the raga seems a mixture of Behaag and Khamaj with a touch of Kalavati…

Film: KHOOBSURAT (1980)

Music Director: R D BURMAN

Lyricist: GULZAR


I end the post with this beautiful piece titled ‘Swagatham’, which was composed for the inaugural ceremony of the Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1982. Pandit Ravi Shankar has composed an immortal piece in the raga Janasammohini / Kalavati.





Given below are links to my other ‘raga’ based’ posts:







Sharada Iyer

As the year 2017 folds up to enter the pages of cinematic history, here is a bird’s eye view of the films that clicked, the films that flopped, the stars who shone, the actors who faltered, the directors who surprised and the music which impressed…

An eventful year where all the big stars- Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Saif Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor and a bevy of younger stars had releases. Yet it was BAAHUBALI 2-THE CONCLUSION, a Telugu film dubbed in Hindi starring South stars Prabhas, Ramya, Anushka Shetty and Rana Daggubatti which created box-office history by raking in a record breaking collection of over 500 crores. This visual extravaganza took the country by storm and viewing it became an experience not to be missed.

Among the Hindi films released this year, Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai  and Ajay Devgn starrer Golmaal Again comfortably entered the ‘200 crore club’ and have been declared super-hits while a few others  like Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and Judwaa 2  entered the ‘100 crore’ club. Many big films with big stars flopped due to useless scripts while unexpected small budget films with young stars and good content were the real winners. In fact both Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan ended up paying money to the distributors for compensating the losses they incurred for Tubelight and Jab Harry Met Sejal, respectively.


Baahubali 2-The Conclusion, Golmaal Again, Tiger Zinda Hai, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, Judwaa 2, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Jolly LLB 2, Bareilly Ki Barfi


Hindi Medium, Qarib Qarib Singlle,Shubh Mangal Savdhan, Mom, Tumhari Sulu, Secret Superstar, Ittefaq, Fukrey Returns


Director Amit Masurkar’s Newton,Director Alankrita Srivastava’s controversial Lipstick Under My Burkha, director Konkana Sen’s A Death In The Gunj and director  Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped were all appreciated for the novelty of script and the audacity of the makers and actors to attempt such films.




XXX RETURN OF THE XANDER CAGE– Deepika Padukone       

BAYWATCH– Priyanka Chopra



All three films failed to make any impact either in India or abroad.


The ‘Khans’: For them sadly it is not so much about how they acted or the characters they played but how fast their films entered the ‘100-crore’ bracket and whether they could maintain their starry image.

Salman Khan delivered a dud in Tubelight but compensated with the year-end hit Tiger Zinda Hai. Shah Rukh Khan had a terrible Jab Harry Met Sejal but managed a semi-hit in Raees but hiscameo in Tubelight was appreciated. Aamir Khan had only a special appearance in the small budget hit film Secret Superstar but was highly appreciated. Saif Khan had two huge flops in Rangoon and Chef which was sad because he acted well in both. It is clear that these superstars really need to work hard to stick to their images or come up with something extraordinary to retain the old magic.

On the other hand the fifth Khan- Irrfan Khan had a super year with two brilliant performances in Hindi Medium and Qarib Qarib Singlle and the films met with both critical and commercial success. Akshay Kumar maintained his golden run at the box-office with content-driven films and managed two winners in Toilet-Ek Prem Katha and Jolly LLB 2 and a cameo in Naam Shabana.

Ajay Devgn had a super-hit in Golmaal Again and a below average collection in Baadshaho. Amitabh Bachcchan’s Sarkar 3 failed to create any impact. Shahid Kapoor delivered a flop in Rangoon. Ranbir Kapoor came up with the super flop Jagga Jasoos.

Hrithik Roshan had an average KaabilNawazuddin Siddique was brilliant in Raees and Mom but delivered flops in Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Haraamkhor, Monsoon Shootout. Farhan Akhtar had an average Lucknow Central

Varun Dhawan- He had two releases Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and Judwaa 2 and both were ‘100 crore’ blockbusters. Siddharth Malhotra was appreciated in Ittefaq but could not create even a ripple in A Gentleman. Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor managed a hit in Mubaarkaan.

Rajkumar Rao : This youngster who has always been known for his versatility continued his spree by being part of unusual cinema and playing unique characters. On the one hand, he gave a commercial super-hit in Bareilly ki Barfi and on the other hand his critically acclaimed Newton was chosen as the official entry for the Oscars in the category for Best Foreign Film. In Trapped he brought out the extreme fear, frustration, desperation and helplessness of a man who gets locked in his own apartment by mistake. He played a typical romantic hero in Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana and Behen Hogi Teri and was seen in a cameo as a 300 year old man in the reincarnation saga Raabta.

Ayushmann Khurrana delivered two hits in Bareilly ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Savdhan and had a tiny appearance in Tumhari Sulu. But his Meri Pyaari Bindu was a big flop. Sushant Singh Rajput had a bad year with the flop Raabta. Akshaye Khanna had a good comeback with Ittefaq and Mom.

A few character artistes made their presence felt- Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub in Raees and Tubelight, Ronit Roy in Sarkar 3, Raj Arun in Secret Superstar, Atul Kulkarni in The Ghazi Attack and Raees, Manav Kaul in Tumhari Sulu and child artist Martin Rey Tangu in Tubelight.


Whether their films flopped or became hits, our actresses embraced a variety of roles with great panache and did not hesitate to tread the road less-travelled. For instance Sridevi turned a revenge seeking mother in Mom, Vidya Balan turned into the head of a brothel in Begum Jaan and a housewife turned radio-jockey in Tumhari Sulu, Shraddha Kapoor dons the role of Dawood’s sister in Haseena Parkar, Bhumi Pednekar walks out of her husband’s house because there is no toilet in Toilet-Ek Prem Katha and Taapsee Pannu and Katrina Kaif turn into agents of secret services in Naam Shabana and Tiger Zinda Hai respectively.

While Alia Bhatt was effortless in Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, Kriti Sannon was brilliant as the small town girl in Bareilly Ki BarfiKangana Ranaut had two superb performances in Rangoon and Simran but sadly both films flopped so badly that her performances remained unnoticed. Maybe when it is telecast on Television of when people watch on Netflix, YouTube, etc., they will realize the power of her performances.

Little Zaira Wasim was outstanding in Secret Superstar while Meher Vij who plays her mother turned out to be a scene stealer! Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkana Sen , Plabitha Borthakur were all superb in Lipstick Under My Burkha and Anushka Sharma was amazing in Phillauri. Newcomers Saba Qamar in Hindi Medium and Parvathy in Qarib Qarib Singlle were perfectly cast. Tabu tried a different kind of role in the spooky comedy Golmaal Again.

Veteran film, theatre and television actress Seema Pahwa  was outstanding in Shubh Mangal Savdhan and Bareilly K i Barfi.



Compared to 2016, the music of 2017 was a disappointment. Barring a few exceptions most of the songs were quite dull and forgettable. When there is so much talent available, sadly we had many remixed versions of old original songs in films like Raees, Kaabil, Golmaal Again, Badrinath ki Dulhaniya, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, OK Jaanu, etc. and in Judwaa 2  and Tumhari Sulu same songs from the originals were retained …

Judwaa 2

However,some good solos and duets did make their mark! Here are a few of my favourite songs which I felt were catchy and melodious:

Jolly LLB 2


Naam Shabana

Lucknow Central

Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya


Bareilly Ki Barfi

Hindi Medium


The year exposed some unbecoming behaviour of some of the stars and directors. Karan Johar created an unnecessary brouhaha over the topic of ‘Nepotism’ and showed his class when he targeted Kangana Ranaut and even made fun of her along with Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan at a public awards function is New York which was in bad taste

Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut continued to wash dirty linen in public with the issue crossing all limits when media turned their personal battle into a national topic. While he appeared on Republic TV with Arnab Goswami, she was interviewed in Aap Ki Adalat by Rajat Sharma! Somehow these stars think the public has no brains. Everybody can see through all their gimmicks and irrespective of the legal outcome everyone knows the truth.

Star kids of some of our popular stars garnered too much media attention and publicity. Some have already started behaving like superstars even before signing any film! Suhana Khan, Aryan Khan, Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi , Khushi Kapoor, Navya Naveli Nanda, Shanaya Kapoor, etc. are mini stars of social media. But the one who beats everyone hollow and continues to be the real heart-stealer with an extraordinary fan following has been the adorable little Taimur Ali Khan who just turned one!

THOSE WHO LEFT US…                                                                    

We bid farewell to some of our beloved stars- Om Puri, Vinod Khanna , Reema Lagoo and Shashi Kapoor who will be dearly missed by one and all…


The year starts yet again with a clash on the Republic Day weekend with two promising films releasing on the same day- Akshay Kumar’s Padman directed by R Balki based on Muruganathan’s real life story (the man who made affordable sanitary napkins for village women) and director Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary starring Manoj Bajpaye , Anupam Kher, Naseruddin Shah and Siddharth Malhotra. 

ak padman.jpg

In all probability, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmavati which seems to have been cleared by CBFC will be released much to the delight of the eagerly waiting fans. The title may now be changed to Padmavat as the film is based on the poem by the same name. John Abraham will be seen in in the interesting action drama PARMANU-The story of Pokhran, Anushka Sharma has a thriller Pari.

While Ranbir Kapoor will be seen in the Sanjay Dutt biopic, Alia Bhatt will have Raazi opposite Vicky Kaushal. In this film she marries a Pakistani  officer to act as a spy for the India. Varun Dhawan has two very interesting films lined up-October directed by Shoojit Sircar and Sui DhaagaMade in India opposite Anushka Sharma. Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan will come together in Thugs of Hindostan.

There is already a lot of buzz surrounding Veere Di Wedding starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Swara Bhaskar and Kangana Ranaut is also creating a stir with her role as Rani of Jhansi in Manikarnika . Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Rajkumar Rao will be seen in Fanney Khan and Salman Khan will have Race 3. Nawazuddin Siddique will be playing the role of Balasaheb Thackerey in an upcoming biopic. Akshay Kumar has Gold and 2.0 with Rajnikant . Baahubali star Prabhas makes his Bollywood debut with Saaho opposite Shraddha Kapoor!

Some interesting new faces will be launched- Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara Ali Khan will be seen in Kedarnath, Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi and Shahid’s brother Ishan Khattar will be launched in Dhadak. Sunny Deol’s son- Karan Deol will make his debut in Pal Pal Dil Ke Pas.



As the masti and the magic of the movies continue, we gear ourselves for some amazing films lined up for next year. It would be interesting to see which of them manages to hit the jackpot and how many of them would end up winning our hearts…



The Tiger roars at the box-office with staggering collections


Sharada Iyer

‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ -the visually stunning and spectacularly mounted sequel to the brilliant ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ has Salman Khan in full form once again catering to his large fan base and doing all the antics and gimmicks which will turn the film into another blockbuster!

tiger 6PLOT

‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ takes off from where the 2012 prequel ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ had ended. The prequel had him playing a RAW agent and Katrina playing an ISI agent and the film was packed with excellent action scenes and interesting twists and turns. The two agents who had gone off the radar voluntarily at the end of the prequel are back in action in this film when their services are required by their respective countries.

This time the setting is in Iraq where a terrorist organization called ISC has taken over a hospital in a place called Ikrit and is holding 25 Indian and 15 Pakistani nurses as hostages. The Americans who have planned to aerial bomb the place to kill the ISC leader decide to wait for seven days to give India some time to rescue  their nurses. RAW then decides to give the mission to Tiger and it is now up to him to spearhead the rescue operation and get them back to safety.

tiger 2

After his disastrous attempt at trying his hand at something different in ‘Tubelight’, Salman Khan has taken no chances this time and stuck to his ‘typical’ image performing all the entertaining antics and gimmicks (including a shirtless scene!) for which his fans love him…

To be honest, he has done a brilliant job! Not only does he look very handsome in the bearded look, he has managed to do some superbly choreographed fight sequences which make the action scenes highly interesting and engrossing. From fighting wolves to horse-riding to firing bazookas and mouthing interesting one-liners, he does them all with panache.

His scenes with Katrina are charming and only accentuate the special chemistry he shares with her. Though they don’t get to share as many scenes as in the prequel, they do leave their stamp with their magic.

Tiger has his own group of trusted comrades who are called upon to help him in the mission. How he goes about his task , how far does the gang succeed in their plan, what all obstacles they face and how Katrina comes to his rescue …all these in effect form the essence of the film.

The film also takes a unique angle of humanity by showing Indian and Pakistani agents uniting against a common enemy! 


At 52, Salman Khan’s charisma shows no signs of decline. He has really worked hard on his looks, fitness and his character and the results are there for all to see. He weaves his magic once again and his fans seemed very happy in the cinema hall. His critics may question the logic in his films but then which hero is known to act only in logical films in our industry! In fact, he is the only Bollywood star who still elicits whistles, claps and cheers from the audience whenever he appears on screen! (Having watched the first day first show of all the stars, I must admit that the kind of reaction from the crowd for Salman is unbelievable…)

tiger 4

Katrina Kaif in an action ‘avatar’ is a pleasure to watch! After ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and ‘Phantom’, she dons the action image yet again! She goes about her fight sequences absolutely effortlessly, gracefully and convincingly! Maybe someday some director would have the courage to cast her in a full-length action film where she gets to play a character like the ‘Avengers’!

Paresh Rawal was a delight to watch after ages. What an amazing actor indeed! He makes the screen come alive with his superb acting and has a wonderful role.

The actors who play Salman and Katrina’s gang members are also good especially Angad Bedi.

Fast-paced chase sequences, well choreographed fight sequences and high octane drama are a big plus point.

Salman-Katrina’s romantic song sequence is charming to watch.

In spite of the intense scenario of the story, the director manages to infuse some lighter moments in the narrative which are enjoyable.

Instead of the done to death angle of India vs Pakistan, for the first time the two countries are shown uniting and bonding as one team against a common enemy. After seeing the two countries always at loggerheads with each other, this was indeed a new angle and thus the film preaches us to rise above border politics to fight for the betterment of the human race.

The movie also makes us ponder over the thought-provoking statement which the ISC leader makes about ‘War Profiteering’ where he mentions how wars have also become akin to business in today’s world politics.


Though the film boasts of superb fights and action, it lacks the suspense element and novelty factor of the prequel.

The film could have been trimmed a little which would have made it tauter.

Katrina also being an agent was given equal footage in the prequel but in this film sadly she has been denied her due. Considering the fact that she looked so good in the action sequences, one wonders why this director relegated her to a secondary status.

In the prequel, both of them are shown to be brilliant secret agents yet in this film, their son only looks upon his father Salman as his hero… Is it because she is shown from a domestic angle while he is busy fighting wolves? Either the son has no idea how brave his mother is or it is a typical sexist idea by the director in keeping with the ‘norms’ of our society…

Though the nurses are held captive as hostages, there are hardly any scenes which tug our hearts and make us understand their plight or feel the terror experienced by them.


With the onset of the year-end ‘holiday mood’ and in the absence of any other big-budget release before or after this film, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ is doing very well and is expected to cross Rupees 100 crores in the first weekend itself. The film is definitely a big boost for Salman’s career and his fans are absolutely  delighted.

If you are in a mood for an action-packed drama with a different story-line, don’t hesitate… just go for it!

tiger 3