Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004

 

INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…The Gandhi wave, Marigold, The Voyeurs, Mallika Sherawat, Katrina Kaif…

The Gandhi wave continues. After Munnabhai’s Gandhigiri in the latest Sanjay Dutt starrer, it is now the turn of Anil Kapoor, whose “Gandhi My Father” opens this week in India. Helmed by the well-known theatre director, Feroz Abbas
Gandhi My Father
Khan, and starring Akshaye Khanna, the film seems promising. Watching the clips, I felt that its production value and treatment of the subject were of a high order. But, of course, unless one sees the movie, it is difficult to judge by the promos alone.

“Gandhi My Father” is son Harilal’s look at one whom India fondly called, and still does, Father of the Nation. Harilal, played by Khanna, wonders whether Gandhiji could play father at home, even while he performed that role to perfection outside in the wide-open world. Harilal was obviously unhappy with his father, and perhaps even his philosophy. Later, Harilal became a Muslim.

Many, including Joy Augustine and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, have toyed with the idea of making a film on this father-son relationship, but I suppose it had to be Kapoor-Khan, who finally got to the top of idea.

Khanna, who is usually quiet and prefers to let his cinema do the talking, has not bee able to stay still. He is obviously excited about his role, and describes it as once-in-a-lifetime part. Which offers a rare glimpse of Harilal, who was Gandhiji’s most trusted lieutenant in South African and has even been credited with using for the first time ‘fasting’ as a weapon. But somewhere, the father and son began drifting apart and into an area of tragic no return.

Kapoor and Khan must have had a trying time getting to know Harilal better. There is such a dearth of information on him. While a lot is known about Gandhiji and wife Kasturba, hardly anything has been recorded or written about their son.

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Willard Carrol’s “Marigold” – with shirtless wonder Salman Khan (maybe we should call him the 8th New Wonder) – is also set for an early release. Touted as the first Indo-U.S. joint production, the movie looks at Bollywood, and aims at an American audience. Carrol, who watched 150 Hindi films before making “Marigold”, says it is not a “parody”. His basic idea is to try and change American perception of Bollywood. “Hindi movies are not just songs and dances. There is a lot of affection in them”, Carrol comments. What is even more interesting is his conclusion that Khan and Sean Connery have much in common! This has certainly floored me. Some admiration for Salu, and some love for Bollywood. So what if it blind. I must add here that the Mumbai Mandarins have been smart enough to make Bollywood synonymous with Indian cinema (It is not, we all know.), and, hold your breath, get the Yankees to love Salu and the cinema he represents.

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Buddhadeb Dagupta’s latest Bengali film, “The Voyeurs”, will be part of the prestigious Toronto International Festival in early September. Dasgupta, also a renowned poet and novelist, will be honoured in the section, “Masters of World Cinema”. The auteur told me from his Kolkata home: “Our world has become obsessed with security, and ordinary human values such as love and kindness have been mechanised and are reinterpreted as dangers by the masters of our advanced technology. But do the web-cams and CCTV that are constant witnesses to our lives make us any less vulnerable to terrorists than we are to ourselves? Are police and security forces really our protectors? These are the central issues of my seemingly light-hearted movie”. The subject is apt for the times we live in, and Dasgupta tackles it through what appears like a love story in which the camera plays the intruder, the “woh” factor.

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Mallika Sherawat has slashed her fee (not her wrist) for Aamir Khan’s remake of Tamil hit, “Ghajini”. With saucy numbers in “Guru” and a cameo in “Aap Ka Surroor”, Mallika could have asked for the moon, which she normally does and gets. But for Aamir Bhai, she just cut her fee down. Over to the readers for their inferences.

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Tailpiece: Katrina Kaif has one great feather in her cap. Industry sources tell me that the pretty damsel has rescued her handsome hulk from a suicidal run. Salman Khan has considerably mellowed down, a far shot from the days when he drank silly and played with his car and people’s lives.

(Webposted July 25 2007)