Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004

 

INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema in General

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Pans & Tilts…Rekha, Suchitra Sen, Khoya Khoya Chand…

Rekha is 53. She has always been a diva. But when I saw her in the 1970 “Sawan Bhadon”, I could never guess that she would turn into not just a
beautiful swan, svelte and seductive, but also one of the finest actresses the world has ever knew. Her varied roles in films like “Umrao Jaan”, “Silsila” and “Khubsoorat” – just to name three – were exceptional. If she was intense as a courtesan in “Umrao Jaan”, she was bubbly, witty and winsome in “Khubsoorat”. Torn between a lover and a husband in “Silsila” (considered a true story of the actors in the movie), Rekha conveyed the agony and ecstasy of a woman in pain and pleasure. In fact, she stole the show from Jaya Bachchan and Big B. The only performer who could match her was Sanjeev Kumar.

For some years now, Rekha, who is the daughter of Tamil cinema’s “Kadal Mannan” (King of Romance), Gemini Ganesh, has been keeping away from the public eye. I wonder why. Maybe she wants to fade away. Anyway, people would remember her as an exceptionally great actress, a fitness freak who put Jane Fonda to shame and, above all, a fine human being.

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Another renowned actress, Suchitra Sen, is now in hospital. She is in her mid-70s, and has also been leading a reclusive existence. Known as the ideal Bengali woman, Suchitra gave sterling performances in films such as “Aandhi” and “Shaat Pake Bandha”. In “Aandhi”, she portrayed a character closely resembling Indira Gandhi, and the movie, starring Sanjeev Kumar, was banned for a while. “Shaat Pake Bandha” was remade in Hindi from its original Bengali version, and titled “Kora Kagaz”, with Vijay Anand and Jaya Bachchan. They were remarkable, though the climax here was different. However, it was Uttam Kumar that Suchitra hit it off with, and their on-screen chemistry was often magnetic. Her daughter, Moon Moon Sen, highly educated and extremely articulate, somehow failed as an actress, but her daughter, Raima Sen, is talented and very good, only that she is yet to get a role befitting her calibre and potential.

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I am told Sudhir Mishra’s “Khoya Khoya Chand” may not after all premiere at the Rome Film Festival, beginning October 18. The movie’s producer, Prakash Jha, a director in his own right, feels that since “Khoya Khoya Chand” would open in India only in December, the gap after Rome is uncomfortably long. Besides, he fears that any negative reviews of the film at Rome can spoil its box-office prospects at home. Be that as it may, I cannot understand why the Mishra-Jha combo should be so sensitive and scared of what critics have to say. And can their opinion make or mar a movie?

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Tailpiece: Malaika Arora and Jiah Khan have refused to romp the ramp in a bikini for a coming fashion show. Suddenly, these actresses have turned coy after all the playgirl photos they posed for.

(Webposted October 11 2007)