Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Darsheel Safary, Big B trouble, Abhimaan remake, topless Kangana Ranaut…

Nine-year-old Darsheel Safary has broken an Indian cinema record. For the first time ever, a child has been nominated as Best Actor in a leading role category.

Darsheel Safary
India’s premier fortnightly movie magazine, “Filmfare” – run by the Times of India group of publications in collaboration with the BBC – organises annual movie awards that are often compared with the Oscars. “Filmfare” awards are arguably the country’s biggest and most glamorous talent recognition event.

“Filmfare” has nominated Safary for his brilliant performance as a dyslexic schoolboy in Aamir Khan’s (of “Lagaan” fame that was nominated for the Best Foreign Picture Oscar in 2002) directorial-debut Bollywood feature, “Taare Zameen Par” (A Star on the Earth).

Darsheel will be competing with some of Bollywood’s biggest names like Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Shahid Kapur for the best actor title.

As Ishaan in “Taare Zameen Par”, Darsheel essays the pain and pathos of a child misunderstood by his teachers, rebuked by his parents and ridiculed by his friends. And, all because the boy is confounded by “dancing alphabets and numerals”, a classic symptom of dyslexia. A natural to the core, Darsheel completely overshadows a veteran actor like Aamir Khan, who does the role of a teacher.

In January, Darsheel was nominated for and won the Screen (another movie magazine) award for the Best Child Actor. He was upset and said that he had played the lead role in the film, and, therefore, should have been considered a lead actor, not a mere child artist. “Filmfare” has set this right, and if he wins this time, he would create history, literally.

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Bollywood’s first family is in trouble. Big B has been hounded out by Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray, who called the actor useless and questioned his loyalty to Maharashtra. “Bachchan is more loyal to his native State of Uttar Pradesh”, Thackeray said. However, Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray has tried to pacify Bachchan by asking him not to get unduly perturbed by such comments.

Bachchan seems to be having a handful of trouble: At Jaipur to celebrate son Abhishek’s 32nd birthday, he fell ill with a severe throat infection and was advised complete bed rest. The birthday bash was called off.

If this was not enough, a section of the Rajput community is angry by what it terms distortion of history in Ashutosh Gowariker’s new movie, “Jodha-Akbar”, to open on February 15. It stars the Bachchan bahu, Aishwarya Rai, as Jodha Bhai. The Rajputs have been demonstrating outside the Jaipur hotel where the Bachchan clan was holed up claiming that Jodha was never Akbar’s wife. Who then was she?

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Abhishek and Aishwarya have refused an offer by director Rajeev Menon to remake the 1973 Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic, “Abhimaan”. Amitabh and wife Jaya starred in this. And I think Abhishek has been wise enough to say no, for a remake of this kind would have certainly attracted comparisons, and naturally criticism. And let me tell you, Aishwarya can never be Jaya.

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Tailpiece: Kangana Ranaut will appear topless in Madhur Bhandarkar’s new film, “Fashion”. That is if the buzz is to be believed. She might get past the ramp, but what about the censors?

(Webposted February 7 2008)