Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004

 

INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Halla Bol, Spring of coupling, Salman Khan, Kajol…

I saw Raj Kumar Santoshi’s latest “Halla Bol”, and what I liked best in it was its social message. Inspired by the Jessica Lal episode in New Delhi – where the murder case of a model was reopened after massive public protests – the film focuses on a movie star, played by Ajay Devgan, and his dilemma. Witness to the murder of a starlet, he is too frightened, too conscious of his status and stardom, to disturb the apple cart by identifying the villains. But it takes wife (Vidya Balan) and a mentor (Pankaj Kapur) to shake him out of this irresponsible state. Devgan and Kapur perform street plays to arouse public consciousness and ire.

The movie’s high point is a superb piece of acting by Kapur, who as a reformed convict is miles ahead of Devgan, who continues to be his old wooden self. There is one great scene where Kapur mollycoddles a man trying to bribe him. It is really brilliant. Balan is not too bad either.

I have, however, one quarrel with this film: it is badly scripted. Can anyone imagine, for instance, a superstar being beaten black and blue on a public beach with the crowds mutely looking on? Does Mr Santoshi seriously believe that viewers are so dim witted?

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This appears to be the spring of coupling. Soha Ali Khan and Siddharth have announced that they are together. Saif Ali Khan is flaunting his newfound love, Kareena Kapoor. Both have emerged from disappointing affairs of the heart, and I hope that this is not something on the rebound. John Abraham and Bipasha Basu are tightly together. Salman Khan is going strong with Katrina Kaif, and Sanjay Dutt appears to have married Maanyata. What else? I am waiting.

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Now Salman Khan the painter is getting to become a health freak. He is planning a book on body building and sculpting. It is rumoured that the moment Khan knew John Abraham was about to write a book on the same subject, he got his act together to pip the other guy at the post. Silly and juvenile, I think.

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Tailpiece: Kajol is content being wife and mom. I have achieved all that I had to, she says. Has she? A wonderful actress needs to give something more to cinema, I feel.

(Webposted January 24 2008)