M.R. Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Virasat (UA), remake of the Tamil film Thevar Magan, is the story of a village and two thakur-brothers staying in the village. The two brothers and their families are sworn enemies and their enmity starts affecting the normal lives of the ordinary villagers too, who, incidentally, are ever ready to lay down their lives for their masters (respective thakurs). The son of the elder thakur returns to the village after completing his studies abroad and has plans to start his business in leading cities of India and settle down in a city after marrying his foreign-based girlfriend. However, a slight mistake on the part of the educated son stirs a hornet’s nest in the village, and the two families as well as the entire village get entangled in a bitter battle. The educated son has a change of heart and mind and he decides to stay back in his village and cure it of all its ills and evils. He has to also don the mantle of his father who dies suddenly. Circumstances force the young guy to sacrifice his love and instead, get married to an uneducated poor girl of his village.
The story is quite unusual and has good sentiments for the ladies. The scenes between the two heroines as also between the father and his foreign-returned son bring tears to the eyes. Screenplay is well written, but what does jar is the atrocious editing. Scenes are so lengthy that some of them begin to bore and give the film a feel of a documentary on a village and its hardships! The enmity between the two families has not been shown as very bitter, which also makes the drama less exciting. Nevertheless, the film has quite a many brilliant moments, unexpected twists and turns, superb performances and excellent music.
Anil Kapoor literally lives his role. First, as the foreign-returned fun-loving boy and then, as a serious messiah of the village, Anil shines in scene after scene, delivering an award-winning performance. Tabu is the surprise packet of the film and is simply fantastic. As the uneducated girl, she endears herself to the viewer with a performance that is absolutely natural and truly extraordinary. Her gait, dressing-up, make-up, style of talking and acting deserve full marks and should fetch her awards and wide acclaim. Pooja Batra makes an impressive debut and comes like a whiff of fresh air. She looks pretty and acts naturally. Amrish Puri is extraordinary as the older thakur. Not once does he go overboard; his performance will be remembered for a long time. Milind Gunaji makes a weak villain. Govind Namdeo acts ably but his twisted mouth (unnecessarily so) makes his dialogues unclear and often difficult to follow. Satyen Kappu leaves a mark. Sulbha Deshpande is very effective. Tiku Talsania provides good relief. Neeraj Vora (as Sukhia) is terrific. His sense of timing and facial expressions are praiseworthy. Reeta Bhaduri makes her presence felt in a small role. Reena, Anjana, Dilip Dhawan, Darshan Arora, baby Rajeshwari, baby Sandhya, baby Namrata and the rest lend admirable support.
Priyadarshan’s direcion is admirable but he shouldn’t have gone so easy on the editing. His picturisation of the flood scene, Amrish Puri’s death scene and his recreation of the village ambience are fantastic. Anu Malik’s music is hit. ‘Dhol bajne lagaa’, ‘Payalay chunmun’ and ‘Taare hain baaraati’ are all excellently tuned. Their picturisations are also remarkable. ‘Ankhiyan mila ke’ is yet another beautiful number. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar and Nitin Raikwar) deserve special mention. Locations are heavenly, and Ravi K. Chandran captures them on celluloid just too marvellously. His camerawork is award-winning. Sabu Cyril’s art direction is excellent. Production and other technical values (DTS mixing etc.) are of a high standard.
On the whole, moderately-priced Virasat has good merits, diluted to some extent by loose editing. Further editing (of scenes like the lathi fight, of the double-role comedians, of sufferings of flood-affected villagers, of the panchayat scene before interval etc.) can help a great deal. Even without further editing, the film will fetch good returns on the strength of appreciation of class audience, ladies and families. The film deserves to be granted tax exemption for the message of peace and brotherhood it conveys.
Released on 30-5-’97 at Eros and 12 other cinemas of Bombay by Mr. India and Vimal Agarwal thru R.M. Ahuja & Co. Publicity: excellent. Opening: quite good. …….Also released all over.
Manish Arts’ Insaaf (A) is the usual and oft-repeated run-of-the-mill revenge drama. An honest and young police officer and an upright commissioner take it upon themselves to expose the murderers of a big group of school-going kids and their teacher (who is the sister of the young police officer). They realise, to their shock, that a timid minister, a police inspector and an underworld don are all hand-in-glove and directly involved in the multiple murders. One by one, the three villains are exterminated by the police officer. The twists and turns in the drama are most predictable. Screenplay is pathetically poor. Dialogues are witty at places.
Akshay Kumar, it appears, doesn’t even make an attempt to make some mark with his acting. All his efforts are directed in stunts and dances, in both of which he shines. Shilpa Shetty does a fair job. Paresh Rawal raises laughter as the comic Gujarati underworld don. Alok Nath is okay and so are Ranjeet and Mohan Joshi. Dinesh Hingoo, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Anjalika Mathur, Achyut Potdar, Rana Jung Bahadur and the rest of the artistes pass muster.
Dayal Nihalani’s direction is hardly any better than his scripting. He is content with giving stale fare to the viewers. Music is okay but song picturisations are all visually very appealing. ‘Barah aana de’ and a couple of other songs are musically quite good. Background score is dull. Action scenes are thrilling at places. Climax is long and repetitive. Camerawork is good. Production values are of a good standard.
On the whole, Insaaf is too poor a drama to make any mark at the box-office and will entail heavy losses to all concerned.
Released on 30-5-’97 at Alankar and 22 other cinemas of Bombay thru ABC Pictures P. Ltd. Publicity: quite good. Opening: average. …….Also released all over (except in C.P. Berar). Opening in U.P. was delayed by a day due to late arrival of prints. Opening was poor at most of the places including C.I. and Rajasthan.
‘BORDER’ RELEASE POSTPONED
The release of J.P. Dutta’s Border has been postponed by a week. It will now hit the screens on 13th June instead of 6th June, as scheduled.
The postponement has been necessitated due to a technical problem. A few reels have had to be remixed as the DTS mixing, done at Sunny Super Sounds, is said to have not yielded the desired results in those reels. The remixing has already begun in Madras.
Rumours were rife in the industry that the remixing would take more than a week and hence Border would be released only on 20th June. But, according to Bharat Shah who presents the film, “It will definitely come on 13th June.” Another big film, due for release on June 13, is Raj Kanwar’s Itihaas.
‘HERO NO. 1’ 100 DAYS
Vashu Bhagnani’s Hero No. 1is celebrating 100 days of its run all over today (May 31). Directed by David Dhawan, it stars Govinda, Karisma Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Kader Khan, Satish Shah, Himani Sivpuri, Tiku Talsania and others. Music: Anand Milind.
DO YOU KNOW?
* HMV is going all out in the promotion of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music of …AUR PYAR HO GAYA. It has announced 28 cash prizes for direct wholesalers, 130 cash prizes for direct retailers, indirect wholesalers and retailers, and a London trip for four direct wholesalers. It has brought out a dealer kit containing one …APHG T-shirt, a sampler cassette and different types of posters. The kit is being sent to around 800 music outlets across the country. Carry bags have also been made for display/usage at the outlets. As many as 50,000 …APHG paper caps were distributed at the venues of the cricket matches in the Independence Cup. Intensive publicity is being done on radio as well as television. In addition, two 30-minute capsules are being booked on DD for showing the making of …APHG.
* BORDER has already been booked on a fantastic MG amount at Rituraj cinema, Itarsi.
* HERO NO. 1 has completed 100 days today (May 31) in 4 cinemas in Nizam circuit: Hyderabad’s Parmeshwari 35mm (regular shows) and Ramakrishna 35mm (mg. shows); Secunderabad’s Anand 70mm (mg. shows); and Aurangabad’s Apsara (mg. shows).
*RAJA HINDUSTANI is the first blockbuster to have been released at Shri Krishna cinema, Seoni Malwa. Other blockbusters like HAHK..! and DDLJ were released in other cinemas of this small centre of C.P. Berar. Coolers had been specially installed at Shri Krishna for RAJA HINDUSTANI, to fight the summer heat.
YOU ASKED IT
Collections in Maharashtra are so poor even after 60% entertainment tax. Does it mean, even this tax rate is too high?
– Firstly, the benefit of reduction in entertainment tax from 100% to 60% has not been passed on to the audience, generally speaking. Secondly, collections are on the lower side not only in Maharashtra but all over because films released in the last six or seven weeks have been bad. And thirdly, and most importantly, any rate of entertainment tax is high. What is needed is its complete abolition.
Of Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, the two ex-superstars, whom is the craze greater for, today?
– Both are great actors but the current craze is naturally for the younger of the two oldies, Amitabh Bachchan.
Is the distributor a necessary evil between the producer and exhibitor?
– He is necessary but not an evil. He takes the risk and, very often, suffers losses, thereby shielding the producer.
‘Insaaf’: An Eye-Opener
The delivery drama in the case of this week’s release — Insaaf — should make all the industry people hang their heads in shame. Only thing, the reasons for hanging their heads would be different, depending upon whether they are artistes, producers, directors or distributors.
Since Insaaf has been in the making for years, its production cost crossed its budgeted cost by a couple of crores. Producer Jimmy Nirula had no option but to increase its price at the time of delivery. Almost every distributor created problems in taking delivery at the increased price. While the problems of some distributors could be tackled and solved easily, those of the Delhi-U.P. and C.P. Berar distributors took days to tackle. As a result, the film was released a day late in U.P. (on Friday instead of Thursday). And in C.P. Berar, it simply couldn’t be released. The C.P. Berar distributor of the film, Rajesh Jain, took the matter of the proposed price hike to court and obtained an order for delivery at the contracted price.
Akshay Kumar is one of our ‘hotter’ heroes. He charges about 1.5 per film. But distributors were reluctant to take delivery of his starrer for even 0.75, that is, half his price! And the film opened to 25% houses in C.I. on Thursday. This should make the artistes hang their heads in shame. Akshay Kumar happens to be the hero of Insaaf, but our other stars are all in the same boat, having over-priced themselves so much that a situation like this had to arise. Today, it has happened in the case of an Akshay-starrer, tomorrow could be another hero’s turn.
Director Dayal Nihalani took over 400 shifts to complete the film! Is he under the mistaken impression that raw stock comes for free or that the producer raises interest-free money to make a film? A director who shoots for 400 shifts needs to do some serious introspection before starting his next. And this director’s doing should embarrass the entire community of directors.
Producer Jimmy Nirula also cannot absolve himself of the responsibility for the pathetic state of affairs. Agreed, the producer more often than not finds himself in a helpless position. But Jimmy should’ve put his foot down when things began to go out of hand. It would’ve at least not been as worse a situation as he finds himself in today, with liabilities of crores. This case should make producers wake up to the fact that it is they who are the bosses and it just doesn’t pay to behave subserviently as if they were the servants. The word may sound too harsh but it is a fact that many producers behave like the servants and chamchas of the stars and the director. No producer should tolerate the cancellation of shooting by stars, on flimsy grounds. If stars are asking for the sky by way of remuneration, let them at least allot proper dates and stick to them so that films can be completed in a decent time schedule. Producers should be crying tears of blood today, after what has happened to the producer of a big-budget star-cast Insaaf.
Distributors should think twice before grabbing proposals. Film prices are so high today that a wrong decision could just wipe out a distributor in one stroke.
Unrealistic star prices, indiscipline, wasteful expenditure by directors are all killing the industry. These must be stopped. Or else, there’ll be an Insaaf every week, an Akshay Kumar every day, a Dayal Nihalani behind every film, and an unfortunate Jimmy Nirula bearing the brunt of every wrong person’s selfish moves.
– Komal Nahta
Yash Chopra In New Territory
More and more producers are turning distributors too. The fancy business of some blockbusters in Bombay is prompting big producers to try their luck in distribution. The latest to turn a distributor for Bombay territory is producer-director Yash Chopra. His Dil To Pagal Hai will be distributed by Chopra himself who will soon be buying an office in Naaz building. Reportedly, a distribution manager has also been finalised.
Battling For The Price
After C.P. Berar, J.P. Dutta’s Border has changed hands for West Bengal too. The original distributors of the film, Musical Films, didn’t quite like the music which Dutta kept on playing — of increasing the price. After a lot of haggling, in which the Musical people reluctantly agreed to hike the price to 47, the position was the same. Dutta refused to budge from his increased price of 51. All negotiations broke down there and, with the intervention of Dinesh Gandhi, the matter was finally settled with the parting of ways — with Musical relinquishing the rights and opting for a profit. Dutta then sold the rights to Lala Damani. Thank God, a legal battle was averted since both, the Musical guys as well as Bharat Shah (who presents Border and who, incidentally, was on the negotiation table, and not J.P. Dutta) thought it better to settle it out of court. As it is, a battle film is enough. Who wants a battle for a film?
Holiday From Film Viewing
Barring Ziddi, no film released in April and May (till 28th May) has fared well at the box-office. Actually, ‘not fared well’ is an understatement, considering, we had such bombs as Mrityudaata, Zameer, Sanam etc. As a wag remarked, “Kehne ko toh, April aur May chhuttiyon ke mahine hain, lekin iss saal, nayee filmon ki chhutti ho gayee.”