Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Aishwarya, Raghuvaran, The Love Guru

Sometimes, even often, the media makes and mars celebrities. I have always felt that Aishwarya Rai, for instance, has been the creation of the media. She is undoubtedly very beautiful, but not a good actress. Or, to be fair to her, she has not yet proved herself. I am yet to see her talent, that is, if it exists. She has been in the news lately. First, for a topless picture of hers, taken long ago, that was widely circulated. The Bachchans, who have been extremely protective of Rai, are furious, and have said that their “bahu” could have never done such a thing. I do not know, for we all do many foolish things in the flush of our youth.

Second, with Rai carrying home a pay packet of Rs 40 million for her coming film, Tamil superhero, Rajnikanth’s “Robot” (to be directed by Shankar), she is reportedly the highest paid actress in the industry. But will this movie go through? I am told she has a problem allotting bulk dates to coincide with those of Rajnikanth. But with the runaway success of her “Jodhaa Akbar”, she can command what she wants to, I suppose.

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Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Jodhaa Akbar” is making money. It has grossed Rs 1.2 billion in 31 days, Rs 900 million coming out of India alone. I wonder what gets audiences to cinemas. Is it merely pretty faces and handsome bodies? For, that is just about what “Jodhaa Akbar” offers. There is not much beyond this, though admittedly it works as a movie as long as it stays with the royal couple. But the moment it goes out of their private chambers, “Jodhaa Akbar” fails.

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Two time Filmfare award winner, Tamil star Raghuvaran, died in Chennai on Wednesday. He was only 49, and a superb character actor. A fine gentleman too, from the same village in Kerala that former U.N. diplomat Shashi Tharoor hails from. Raghuvaran began with “Ezhavathu Manithan” (The Seventh Man) in 1982, and shot to fame with the Tamil soap, Oru Manidhanin Kathai” (One Man’s Story). He essays an alcoholic. His roles in “Sivaji- The Boss” (Rajnikanth’s blockbuster) and “Sila Nerangalil” have been talked about.

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Tailpiece: Paramount’s comedy, “The Love Guru”, helmed by Mike Myer, has displeased at least two Hindu groups. To open on June 20, the work stars Ben Kingsley, and Jessica Alba and the real life new age guru, Deepak Chopra. The groups are angry that “The Love Guru” makes fun of Hinduism. I say, have people lost their sense of humour?

(Webposted March 20 2008)