Monday, May 29, 2023

FLASHBACK | 26 May, 2023
(From our issue dated 30th May, 1998)


Pooja Bhatt Productions’ Dushman (A) is the story of a girl who avenges the rape and murder of her twin sister. While her family is too scared to confront the rapist-cum-murderer, and the police plead helplessness is arresting him, the girl decides to finish the villain off. She is aided in achieving her goal, by a blind army officer.

The film, inspired from the Hollywood film Eye For An Eye, has an exciting and interesting first half. The audience keeps getting more and more involved in the drama as it unfolds. Some scenes (like the girl’s rape even while her sister is aware that something terrible is happening but finds herself in a helpless situation) have such a lovely impact that they even shock the viewer. But the drama becomes dull after interval as the story tries to accommodate the romantic track. Besides, there are far too many convenient twists and turns in the story post-interval. For instance, although the police keep a close vigil on the villain, he refuses to mend his ways. In the end, he even walks into the trap laid by the girl, without so much as even bothering about verifying if he was being trapped.

Kajol gives an award-winning performance in a double role. She is simply splendid as the shaken sister (after her twin’s death) and the avenging angel. Not once does she go overboard and she carries the film on her shoulders with effortless ease. Sanjay Dutt, in a guest-like appearance, is average. Jas Arora looks good but gets very little scope. Ashutosh Rana is marvellous as the villain. He delivers a performance that is mind-blowing. Tanvi Azmi acts ably. Pramod Moutho is fair. Kunal Khemu leaves a mark. Baby Varsha, Naresh Suri and the others lend good support.

Tanuja Chandra makes an impressive debut as a director; her shot takings are like those of a seasoned director. But the screenplay (by Mahesh Bhatt and her) is not very consistent. Girish Dhamija’s dialogues are lovely. Music (Uttam Singh) needed to be more peppy and much better. ‘Awaz do humko’ and ‘Pyar ko ho jaane do’ are the better numbers. Song picturisations are ordinary and a couple of them even break the flow of the story. Camerawork (Nirmal Jani) is excellent. Action scenes are well composed. Climax is not very exciting. Technically, very good. Background music is appropriate.

On the whole, Dushman has a tight first half but a dull second half. It has excellent performances by Kajol and Ashutosh Rana but it gives no scope to the hero. With average music and lack of repeat value, the film finally emerges as one mainly for cities, that too, of Maharashtra and South. It may, however, find the going tough in U.P., East Punjab and Rajasthan. Tax exemption can help.

Released on 29-5-’98 at Novelty and 19 other cinemas of Bombay thru Veekay Enterprises. Publicity: very good. Opening: good. …….Also released all over. Opening was quite good in Delhi, Nizam and Mysore, below the mark in U.P. and rather dull in Rajasthan.


Suneha Arts’ Sham Ghansham is the story of two boys who are not brothers but are brought up by the same woman, the mother of one of the two boys. The other boy is the son of the villain who, incidentally, is the murderer of the first boy’s father. The villain is unaware that his wife had delivered a baby boy before dying in the hospital and had given the new-born’s custody to the other woman, asking her to keep the child away from the murderer. The villain is daggers drawn with the two boys (when they grow up) and even wants to shoot them (for a reason which is not very strong). It is then that the mother challenges the villain to shoot the boys dead and reveals that one of them is his own son. The villain then yearns to know which one of the two boys is his. His wish is fulfilled when he is dying. But before that, the two boys attempt to seek revenge on the villain for having murdered their mother/guardian’s husband. That is to say, the son of the villain is also out to seek revenge.

Although the story is new, there’s no meaning to the novelty because the audience isn’t really interested in knowing who is who’s son. A major reason for this lack of interest is the uninteresting turns and twists in the story and the conscious, though feeble, attempt to make the drama look like an exciting suspense drama. Even after the suspense is revealed, no major purpose is served. Screenplay is quite weak. What’s more, either the editor seems to have forgotten his job or the director seems to have not allowed the former to use the scissors judiciously. Scenes are lengthy and repetitive. Some emotional scenes touch the heart. Comedy is dull.

Raakhee does a good job. Chandrachur Singh is average and so is Arbaaz Khan. Priya Gill hardly leaves a mark. Pooja Batra is worse still. Amrish Puri performs with conviction. Bindu is fair. Bhupinder Singh passes muster. Gufi Paintal, Vikram Gokhale, Rohini Hattangady, Raju Kher and the rest lend average support.

Direction is ordinary. Director Ashok Ghai has been able to neither make the drama exciting nor involve the audience. Of the songs, ‘Aandi ae jaandi ae’ is quite well-tuned. ‘Mitwa re’ is alright. Song picturisations are routine; none of the four lead players can dance even reasonably gracefully. Camerawork is good. Production and technical values are alright.

On the whole, Sham Ghansham has hardly any merits and, given the dull start, it may remain a non-starter.

Released on 29-5-’98 at Minerva and 15 other cinemas of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: fair. Opening: poor. …….Also released all over.


It was a normal week, but the heat is adversely affecting box-office collections.

Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai has done well mostly in good cinemas of major cities only. 1st week Bombay 38,01,506 (82.80%) from 9 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 91,717 (4 cinemas unrecd.), Jamnagar 1,24,169 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Adipur 1,16,857; Solapur 2,14,390 from 2 cinemas; Delhi 26,91,955 (86.02%) from 7 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur (6 days) 2,65,669 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow (6 days) 2,44,601, Allahabad 1,04,500, Bareilly (6 days) 1,22,126 (63.30%); Calcutta (6 days) 17,55,199 from 11 cinemas (19 cinemas were either on F.H. or their collections were not revealed); Nagpur 4,40,441 from 3 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 1,24,135, Akola 1,26,660, Chandrapur 1,73,804; Bhopal (6 days) 2,53,286 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 6,83,827 from 4 cinemas, Udaipur 2,10,215; Hyderabad 25,30,438 from 14 cinemas (1 in noon), share 12,70,088.

Mard is poor at most of the centres. 1st week Bombay 18,55,792 (52.52%) from 12 cinemas (5 on F.H., 3 unrecd.); Ahmedabad 1,92,990 from 3 cinemas (3 cinemas unrecd.), Rajkot 51,000; Delhi 19,09,183 (49.56%) from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,33,272, Lucknow 79,896, Allahabad 56,000, Varanasi 64,782, Bareilly 85,161 (39.41%); Amritsar 54,540; Calcutta (6 days) 7,84,498 from 11 cinemas (11 cinemas were either on F.H. or their collections were not revealed); Gaya 65,000; Nagpur 1,65,749 from 3 cinemas, Amravati 1,12,942, Dhule 59,552, Raipur 1,13,003; Bhopal 1,08,708 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 2,90,318 from 2 cinemas, Jodhpur 2,23,000; Hyderabad 7,02,927 from 9 cinemas (3 in noon).


Jeans (dubbed) 2nd week Bombay 12,29,732 (57.69%) from 4 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Baroda 1,07,967; Solapur (14 shows) 1,18,110; Delhi 4,58,802 from 2 cinemas; Kanpur 32,658, Lucknow 99,603, Allahabad 32,500, Varanasi 20,252; Calcutta (6 days) 1,22,328; Nagpur 93,677, 1st week Jabalpur (25 shows) 89,511, 2nd week Amravati 56,666, Akola 92,560, total 2,05,500; Indore 71,253 (1 on F.H.), 1st week Bhopal 62,948; 2nd week Jaipur 1,37,069; Guntur 3 weeks’ total 5,37,200, Tenali 3 weeks’ total 3,84,125, Ongole 3 weeks’ total 4,18,000.

Duplicate 3rd week Bombay 16,08,945 (44.26%) from 9 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,18,772 (2 cinemas unrecd.), Rajkot 93,493; Solapur 60,764; Delhi 8,67,606 from 5 cinemas (1 on F.H., 1 unrecd.); Kanpur 1,41,114 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,98,585, Varanasi 95,868, Bareilly 26,311 (13.23%), Hardwar 20,000; Calcutta (6 days) 4,78,975 from 3 cinemas; Nagpur 59,895 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 75,055, total 3,91,403, Amravati 71,986, Akola 41,244, total 2,94,618, share 2,12,000, 1st week Dhule 72,675, 3rd Raipur 51,011, total 3,47,730; Indore 1,33,045, Bhopal 50,532; Ajmer 51,867; Hyderabad 5,52,238 from 3 cinemas (1 in noon).

Chhota Chetan (partly dubbed, revived, 3-D) 6th week Bombay (TF) 19,79,761 (92.85%) from 3 cinemas (3 on F.H.), excellent; Ahmedabad 1,45,927, Rajkot 82,910; 4th week Solapur (TF) 69,967; 6th Delhi (TF) 14,41,154 from 3 cinemas; 1st week Amravati (TF) 1,69,476; 2nd week Hyderabad 4,24,552.

Titanic (English) 12th week Bombay 24,54,685 from 6 cinemas (3 on F.H.); 5th week Ahmedabad 1,88,710; 11th week Delhi 9,06,489 from 3 cinemas; 3rd week Kanpur 1,24,895, 5th week Lucknow 1,99,271; 12th week Calcutta (6 days) 3,37,707; 4th week Nagpur 2,12,083, 1st Amravati 1,56,144; Indore 2,29,682 (1 on F.H.), Bhopal 1,98,428; 2nd week Jaipur 3,68,213.


Subhash Ghai’s shooting and post-production studio, Audeus, will be inaugurated on 31st May. Located at plot no. A/18, off Link Road, opposite Laxmi Industrial Estate at Andheri (W), Bombay, it is equipped with state-of-the-art Fairlight MFX 3 Plus Digital audio workstation. The entire studio, including the shooting floor, is air-conditioned. Phone no.: 632-0937.


Noted singer and music director Aparesh Lahiri, father of music director Bappi Lahiri, expired on 28th May in Bombay at Jaslok Hospital. He was 74. He had scored music and rendered songs for about 100 Bengali and Hindi films. The first Hindi song he rendered was for Kathputli. His most popular number was the Bengali national song, Ek baar biday de ma, sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

Aparesh Lahiri had bagged the government’s Rajat Kamal award for his music in the Hindi-Bengali film, Subhas Chandra Bose. He is survived by his son, Bappi, his daughter-in-law, grandson and grand-daughter.

Shradh ceremony will be held on 7th June (Sunday) at 10 a.m. at Lahiri House, plot no. 4, Hatkesh Nagar, JVPD Scheme, Bombay.


Director Rajesh Vakil, son of late producer-director Nanubhai Vakil, passed away on 22nd May in Bombay following an illness. He was 49.

Rajesh had worked as an associate director in films like Aaj Ka Arjun and Teri Meherbaniyan. He had directed Mere Sajana Saath Nibhana, starring Mithun Chakraborty and Juhi Chawla.

He is survived by his wife and a son.


Smita Thackeray inaugurated Nupur Cinetorium in Aurangabad on 22nd May. Guardian minister Chandrakant Khaire, Jackie Shroff, commissioner of police of Aurangabad, Joshi, and ex-MP Pradeep Jaiswal, besides distributors of Nizam and local exhibitors, were present at the opening of the fourteenth cinema in the city, with Jeans.

Rajesh Patel and Sushma Patel, directors in the cinema, welcomed the guests. The cinema has 1,130 seats and is equipped with DTS Ultra Stereophonic sound system.


Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai, which won the award for the best popular film of 1997 providing wholesome entertainment, has been granted perpetual tax exemption by the Maharashtra government.


On the same day and around the time music maestro Laxmikant breathed his last was scheduled the first trial of the first copy of one of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s last films, Manoj Kumar’s Jaihind. The trial, scheduled for 2.30 p.m. at Sumeet, started a bit late. And even as the viewers enjoyed the melodies of L-P inside the preview theatre, little did they know that one of the two geniuses behind the lovely tunes had passed away a little while ago.

Laxmikant Bids ‘Bye

Even six days after music maestro Laxmikant bid farewell to the world, the news of his death seems unbelievable. Maybe because the composer, who scored music with Pyarelal in over 490 films, is still alive through the great legacy of almost 5,000 songs he has left behind. Or maybe because Laxmikant-Pyarelal were like one single person, the one inseparable from the other. Or because Laxmikant’s smiling face is almost impossible to wipe out from the memory, and it comes before your eyes the moment you think of the music wizard. But the fact is, the great music director is no more. He breathed his last around 2 p.m. on 25th May at Nanavati Hospital in Bombay where he had been admitted a few days back for cancer of the prostate and kidney failure. His condition continued to cause concern to his near and dear ones and a slight improvement on 24th was hardly any consolation.

Born in 1934 on Diwali day, Laxmikant got his name from the festival of lights on which day the Hindus pray to Goddess Laxmi. For many years till the Diwali of 1997, Laxmi-ji, as he was fondly called, used to throw a party on Diwali night, inviting his friends to enjoy with him.

The first film for which Laxmi-Pyare scored music was Parasmani, released in 1963. Both, the film and their music, became big hits, and the music duo became overnight celebrities. With a sound training in music and having assisted Shanker-Jaikishen, Naushad and Kalyanji-Anandji, the team churned out one captivating melody after another. If their songs Bindiya chamkegi from Do Raaste or Saawan ka mahina from Milan could gladden the heart, their melancholic numbers like Jaanewalon zara from Dosti or Khilona jaan kar tum to from Khilona could also moisten the eyes of the listener. Whatever the mood of the song, the duo came up with brilliant tunes and remained the undisputed kings in the music world for three decades.

Hansta hua noorani chehra (Parasmani), Jyot jagate chalo (Sant Gyaneshwar), Suno sajna, papeehe ne (Aaye Din Bahaar Ke), Mast baharon ka main aashique (Farz), Dil vil pyar vyar main kya janoon re (Shagird), Maar diya jaaye ki chhod diya jaaye (Mera Gaon Mera Desh), Vaada tera vaada (Dushmun), Patthar ke sanam tujhe humne (Patthar Ke Sanam), Jhilmil sitaron ka aangan hoga (Jeevan Mrityu), Aap aaye bahaar aayee (Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee), Chal chal chal mere haathi (Haathi Mere Saathi), Dheere dheere bol koi sun na le (Gora Aur Kala), A B C D chhodo (Raja Jani), Ek pyar ka naghma hai (Shor), Hum tum ek kamre mein bandh ho and Jhooth bolay kauva kaate (Bobby), Ab chahe maa roothe ya baba (Daag), Kabhi khole na tijori ka taala (Bidaai), Gore rang pe na itna gumaan kar (Roti), Main na bhooloonga (Roti Kapada Aur Makaan), My name is Anthony Gonsalves (Amar Akbar Anthony), the title song in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Chalo re doli uthao kahaar (Jaani Dushman), Dafliwale dafli bajaa (Sargam), Sheesha ho ya dil ho (Aasha), Om Shanti Om (Karz), Tere mere beech mein kaisa hai yeh bandhan anjaana (Ek Duuje Ke Liye), Tu mera jaanoo hai (Hero), Tumse milkar na jaane kyon (Pyar Jhukta Nahin), Chitthi aayee hai (Naam), Main teri dushman (Nagina), Kaate nahin kat-te (Mr. India), Ek do teen char (Tezaab), My name is Lakhan (Ram Lakhan), Jumma chumma de de (Hum), Illu illu (Saudagar) and Choli ke peechhe kya hai (Khal-nayak) are only a few of the super-hit songs of the duo.

Laxmikant was a talented mandolin player. He teamed up with Pyarelal, whom he met during his struggling days, and thus began a golden chapter in the history of Hindi films. Being more vocal of the two, Laxmikant lit up the atmosphere wherever he went. “He was a damn confident person,” said Boney Kapoor, adding, “He was never unnerved and he had this knack of putting his producers at ease.” This unshaking confidence in his abilities was, perhaps, the reason why Laxmikant never thought of calling it a day even when Laxmi-Pyare’s popularity began to decline in the nineties when younger music directors came on the scene.

The under-production films of L-P are Manoj Kumar’s Jaihind (ready for release), Aabroo, Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin, Maha-Yudh and Rishta Ho To Aisa.

Music director Kalyanji said, Laxmikant’s biggest strength was churning out numbers which catered to popular taste. Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar described the late composer as “a member of our family”. Naushad described Laxmikant as the “last” chirag (lamp) of the golden era of Hindi film music.

Laxmikant was cremated on the night of 25th at the Vile Parle crematorium. His funeral was well-attended. The condolence meeting on 28th May at his bungalow, called Parasmani after L-P.’s first film, was very largely attended.

And so, even though Laxmi can’t give us more hits, his legacy of songs will continue to entertain the world for years and years…..


What is the biggest malady in the film industry today?

– Lack of good, sensible and original writers. Second on the list is star prices which are too high.

Which was the first music director duo in Bollywood?

– Phirozeshah H. Mistry and B. Irani, who played musical instruments for ALAM ARA in 1931.


* Manoj Kumar’s new film has been re-titled JAIHIND. As this title was earlier with Anand Balraaj, Manoj Kumar had decided to call his film JAI-HIND – THE PRIDE. BUT Anand graciously decided to forgo the title in favour of Manoj Kumar and, therefore, the latter’s film is now JAIHIND once again.

* Goldie Behl, the 23-year-old son of late Ramesh Behl, used to sport long hair (almost touching his shoulders), but he has cut them short as an astrologer told him, this would be good for the box-office performance of his film, ANGAARAY. Incidentally, Goldie has made a good teaser trailer of the film, which will soon go on air on the various satellite channels.

* M.F. Hussain, whose painting of Goddess Sita had him in the midst of a terrible controversy, finally tendered an apology to Shiv Sena Chitrapat Shakha president G.P. Shirke. The latter had threatened that he wouldn’t allow Hussain’s GAJ GAMINI to be shot unless Hussain apologised for the painting which had hurt Hindu religious sentiments.

* Raj Karan Palace in Allahabad is the only cinema in Delhi-U.P., where ISHQ has had a 25-week run. This is the second jubilee at the cinema, of the same distributor viz. Mukta-Shakti Combines, Delhi. The earlier silver jubilee was of RAJA HINDUSTANI. …….Raj Karan Palace is the first cinema in Allahabad district to be equipped with Dolby Ultra Stereophonic 4-track sound system. CHHOTA CHETAN has opened at the cinema this week.

* Bengal-Bihar distributor Dr. Sunil released MARD last week in West Bengal, and DUSHMAN this week in West Bengal and Bihar. In the coming days and months, he has the following line-up of releases for West Bengal as well as Bihar: GHULAM, MAJOR SAAB, SATYA, DIL SE (only West Bengal) and ZAKHAM.

* Cinemax cinema has recorded all shows house-full for the past 11 weeks! CHHOTA CHETAN drew all shows full in its 6th week, too. Before CC, TITANIC had had a 5-week run at the cinema, with cent per cent collections every week!


Beautiful Flops

Films made by reputed directors from the South have in recent times failed to woo Hindi film viewers, primarily because of the directors’ concern more for the ‘form’ than the ‘substance’. The ‘form’ seems all too important in films like Priyadarsan’s Saat Rang Ke Sapne and Kabhi Na Kabhi, Sangeet Sivan’s Zor, Shankar’s Jeans, among others. A heavy overdose of aesthetics is what the viewer gets in these films, when all he is looking for is a good drama/story. This undue emphasis on visual appeal often means that the content takes a back-seat in such films. One can attribute this overly conscious sense of aesthetics to the fact that the South Indian directors are, perhaps, more technically aware than their Bombay counterparts. It is also understandable that they should apply these new techniques in their films as soon as they have mastered them. But in doing so, they often go overboard and reduce their films to merely attempts at showing off their technical prowess.

Moreover, undue insistence on mood lighting, use of bounced light almost uniformly throughout the film, extra-artistic (and sometimes, even bizarre, as in Priyadarsan’s Kabhi Na Kabhi) settings and unnecessary use of special effects distract the viewer from the subject matter of the film. These props irritate the viewer when the script does not match the form. A producer has rightly said that Priyadarsan makes even poverty look rich! But, jokes apart, it does look like the director is trying too hard to woo the viewers who, as a result, end up suspecting the director’s intentions. It is a proven fact that a film with good subject matter appeals more to Hindi film audience everywhere than films with extra-technical finesse but which lack in subject matter. It is about time Priyadarsan, Sivan, Rajiv Menon and company paid heed to this simple truth.

FLASHBACK | 19 May, 2023
(From our issue dated 23rd May, 1998)


Tips Films (P.) Ltd.’s Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai is a love story but with a difference — here, the lover boy, who is a Casanova, is already the father of a child although he hadn’t married the child’s mother who has since died. The story reminds of Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom but the sensitive handling of the drama, as in Masoom, is missing.

The first half is light and has several comedy scenes which entertain a lot and make the audience laugh. The real drama begins after interval and it is this drama which should have been tear-jerking but which remains superficial and even appears farcical at times. There are several reasons for this, all concerning the scripting (Honey Irani). For one, the concept of a bastard child is treated too lightly, and the portion of the child’s mother romancing with the hero is shown only in flashback, thereby adding to the lack of seriousness. Secondly, the child comes across as an over-smart and ultra-confident kid, thereby not winning the viewer’s sympathy. He should have been shown as a lovable but scared and timid child to drive home the point of his loneliness. Thirdly, the interaction between the hero and his child is not heart-warming. Fourthly, the end is too simplistic and convenient to be true. The ending drama is also a bit absurd when the heroine’s father asks the hero to choose between his daughter and the bastard child. The problem point is not so much about the child staying with the hero as about the hero having fathered a child before marriage and that too, from another girl.

As a result, the story-based film appeals more for the frivolous incidents and less for its story. The pace is quite slow. Climax, as mentioned above, is ordinary. Dialogues are good and natural.

Salman Khan looks very handsome and does a splendid job, both, in light as well as dramatic scenes. Twinkle Khanna looks pretty but her acting is ordinary. She needs to improve in emoting and voice modulation. Johny Lever is marvellous and provides a number of comic moments. Master Aditya Narayan acts very confidently but this very confidence was what was not required. Anupam Kher is good. Farida Jalal, Saeed Jaffrey and Himani Shivpuri lend able support. In a special appearance, Namrata Shirodkar has been wasted. The others are okay.

Director Deepak Sareen falters in the handling of the drama although he shows a flair for visual beauty and is good with comedy scenes. Jatin Lalit’s music is refreshing and melodious. The best number is ‘O jaana na jaana’. But there isn’t any racy song for youngsters and masses who form the major clientele of Salman-starrers. Song picturisations are not as good as the music although the locations on which they’ve been shot are beautiful. The picturisation of ‘Chal pyar karegi’ has family appeal. Camerawork (Manmohan Singh) is excellent. Production and technical values are very good.

On the whole, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai has not taken a very good start and it doesn’t have the substance or novelty to pick up phenomenally. Even otherwise, it has more appeal for the balcony-class audience as masses (which constitute a large part of Salman’s fans) may not quite appreciate seeing Salman Khan as a father in the post-interval portion. An average fare, it may even find the going tough where its opening is dull.

Released on 22-5-’98 at New Excelsior and 15 other cinemas of Bombay by Tips Films (P.) Ltd. thru R.G. International. Publicity: very good. Opening: quite good. …….Also released all over. Opening was below the mark at many places.


Roopvati Pictures’ Mard (A) is a routine story of good versus evil, the former being represented by an upright and honest police officer, and the latter, by a corrupt chief minister and a gang of a don and his henchmen. The police officer is often transferred from one place to another, under pressure from the underworld. But finally, the new chief minister, who is an honest man, gives the police officer a free hand to wipe out all evil from society. Shortly thereafter, the chief minister is killed and the officer finds himself alone once again. He is even framed for a crime he hasn’t committed, but he manages to get his act together and avenges all the wrongs by finishing the villains one by one.

The story is oft-repeated and the screenplay, at several places, is one of convenience. Although the comedy track has no relevance to the main story, the director has sensibly put in comedy scenes at regular intervals, and they sometimes come as fairly entertaining diversions. Dialogues are alright.

Mithun Chakraborty looks quite fresh and does well. Ravali is average. Kader Khan disappoints with a disinterested approach to his performance. Shakti Kapoor is average. Gulshan Grover is alright. Pramod Moutho does an ordinary job. Raza Murad is fair. Johny Lever is quite nice. Vishwajeet Pradhan, Ashwin Kaushal, Adi Irani and Jack Gaud lend the required support. Altaf Raja and Pinky Chinoy are fair in a solitary dance number.

Direction is routine. Music is not up to the mark. Except for the Altaf Raja song (which is reasonably alright), the other numbers just about fit the bill. Action scenes lack novelty. In fact, if Rambo Rajkumar does not change his repetitive stunts in film after film, he is in for trouble. Camerawork is fair. Technically, it leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Mard is a dull fare, for ‘B’ and ‘C’ class centres only.

Released on 22-5-’98 at Dreamland and 19 other cinemas of Bombay thru A.B.C. Pictures Pvt. Ltd. Publicity & opening: fair. …….Also released all over.


Collections are generally dull all over.

Jeans (dubbed) is a disaster. 1st week Bombay 20,20,247 (69.43%) from 4 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,70,720, full, Baroda 1,42,869; Pune 3,04,058, Solapur (14 shows) 1,43,928; Delhi 7,28,752 (61.53%) from 2 cinemas; Kanpur 70,941, Lucknow 1,53,452, Allahabad 55,800, Varanasi 55,221, Meerut 1,01,225, Dehradun 60,000; Amritsar 51,500; Calcutta 2,32,335 from 1 cinema (collections of other cinemas were very poor); Nagpur 3,09,670 from 2 cinemas, Akola 1,13,000; Indore 1,23,000 (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 2,85,250, Jodhpur 1,75,000, Udaipur 1,75,000; Vijayawada (Telugu) 4 weeks’ total 12,81,168, Machilipatnam 4 weeks’ total 3,37,012.

Hitler is dull. 1st week Bombay 18,08,108 (44.45%) from 14 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Pune 3,45,800 from 4 cinemas; Delhi 13,73,669 (31.70%) from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Lucknow 41,482, Allahabad 56,100, Varanasi 94,062; Calcutta 12,74,756 from 24 cinemas; Nagpur 2,72,357 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 50,834, Akola 70,714, Jalgaon (6 days) 61,752, Yavatmal 62,988; Bhopal (6 days) 86,053 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 2,85,667 from 3 cinemas, Udaipur 98,840; Hyderabad 8,04,345 from 9 cinemas (2 in noon).


Duplicate has dropped considerably in its 2nd week. 2nd week Bombay 35,19,315 (67.34%) from 13 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Rajkot 1,39,277 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Jamnagar 91,513; Pune 7,88,164 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 1,10,506; Delhi 24,79,431 from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,67,217 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,13,715, Allahabad 1,30,000, Varanasi 1,61,565, Meerut 1,24,191, Bareilly 63,719 (32.05%), Dehradun 1,25,774 (1st 1,79,000), Hardwar 30,000; Calcutta 9,85,127 from 7 cinemas; Nagpur 1,08,675 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,22,558 (1st 1,93,888), total 3,16,446, Amravati 1,15,704, total 2,98,157, Akola 77,939, total 2,53,374, 1st week Chandrapur 1,55,132, 2nd week Yavatmal 61,366; Indore 2,29,010 from 2 cinemas. Bhopal 2,56,420 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 5,50,798, Ajmer 81,469 (1st 1,43,402), Bikaner 1,57,185, Udaipur 68,485; Hyderabad 8,95,034 from 4 cinemas (1 in noon).

Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya 8th week Bombay 4,95,666 (53.66%) from 4 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Rajkot (matinee) 14,836; Pune 2,50,008 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur (7 shows) 74,059; Delhi 1,87,120; Kanpur 68,066, Lucknow 2,07,183, total 24,43,705, Allahabad 55,800, Varanasi 75,600, Bareilly 43,000 (22.96%), Dehradun 66,755 (7th 69,000); Calcutta 1,89,822; Nagpur 99,497, Jabalpur 77,765 (7th 74,056), total 9,90,571, Akola 68,707, total 8,68,101, share 6,28,196, 5th week Wardha 37,276; 8th week Bhopal (6 days) 1,09,859; Jaipur 72,566; Hyderabad 6,74,342 from 4 cinemas (2 in noon).


Chhota Chetan (partly dubbed, revived, 3-D) is super-strong wherever it is tax-free. 5th week Bombay (TF) 20,34,917 (95.44%) from 3 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Rajkot 88,960; 3rd week Solapur (TF) 93,751; 5th week Delhi (TF) 15,88,902 from 3 cinemas; 4th week Kanpur 59,194; 1st week Hyderabad 5,59,757, good.

Dildaara (Punjabi) 1st week Amritsar 49,460, entered 2nd week in Ludhiana.


Titanic (English) 11th week Bombay 26,33,202 (85.52%) from 6 cinemas (4 on F.H.); 10th week Delhi 13,88,752 from 4 cinemas; 2nd week Kanpur 1,54,643, 4th Lucknow 2,49,598; 11th week Calcutta (6 days) 3,19,934; 3rd week Nagpur 2,26,352 (95.38%); 1st week Jaipur 5,56,428 from 2 cinemas; Vijayawada 10 weeks’ total 32,76,898, Visakhapatnam 10 weeks’ total 31,39,008.


Producer-director Shakti Samanta took unwell last week and has been advised rest. He is recuperating at home.


The government of Maharashtra has amended the provisions of the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act by an ordinance promulgated by the governor on 1st May. The ordinance empowers the cinema proprietor to carry forward the unspent amount of tax-free service charge for expending in the two immediately following financial years. Earlier, the proprietor was required to spend the entire amount of service charges collected, in the same financial year in which it was so collected. But by the amendment of 1st May, 1998, the cinema owner is allowed to carry forward unspent amount of service charges for two financial years immediately following the financial year in which the amount has remained so unspent.


A new cinema, Nupur Cinetorium, opened on 22nd May in Aurangabad. Owned by Rajesh Patel of Raj group, it is equipped with DTS and Ultra Stereophonic sound. The cinema is air-cooled and is located near the fire station on Jalna Road.

Producer Smita Thackeray formally inaugurated it. Chandrakant Khaire, minister for forest and environment, Maharashtra, presided over the function.


DTS sound system has been installed at Panchsheel cinema, Amravati. Titanic opened there on 21st May.


Music director Laxmikant is seriously ill and has been admitted to Nanavati Hospital, Bombay, for cancer and kidney failure.


Kannada film actress Nivedita Jain suffered severe head injuries after she fell down from her second floor house in Bangalore on the night of 17th May. She was trying to relax on the three-foot parapet wall on her terrace when she lost her balance and fell to the concrete floor 36 feet below. She was injured in the face and head and also fractured a hand. She was rushed to a nursing home from where she was shifted to a hospital. Nivedita slipped into a coma but her condition improved three days later.

According to a report, she opened her right eye on 20th and even recognised one of her friends.


The Film Federation of India has convened a meeting on 26th May at IMPPA House in Bombay to discuss the film industry’s views on I & B minister Sushma Swaraj’s proposal to set up red and green channels of film censorship. Sushma Swaraj had, in the film industry and FICCI’s national conference on 10th May, expressed a view of having a green and a red channel of censorship. She invited view points on the subject from the industry. After the meeting of 26th May, the FFI will hold discussions with the government and present its views on the issue.


Khalid, son of late singer Talat Mahmood, has clarified that his father never suffered from Parkinson’s disease nor was he ever paralysed, as mentioned in press reports covering the news of Talat Mahmood’s death on 9th May. He has also made it clear that Talat did not suffer a stroke or, for that matter, had not contracted any other kind of illness. Advancing age and an aversion to any kind of physical exercise regime (like daily walks etc.) was what had made the singer frail, slowing him down considerably and making him withdraw from public appearances in later life.


What is the rough estimate of losses the industry has faced in the first four months due to the line of flops?

– Approximately 50 crore!

Which film of Amitabh Bachchan will be released first — Major Saab or Lal Baadshah?

– MAJOR SAAB may come before LAL BAADSHAH. Although the post-production work of LAL BAADSHAH is in progress, shooting of six to eight days still remains to be done.

What are the ratios of Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se and Yash Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?

– 2 crore each.


* With I & B minister Sushma Swaraj having expressed a desire to have a woman as chairperson of the Censor Board, speculations are rife in the industry that it may be Asha Parekh who will now occupy the post.

* A trial show of Ram Gopal Varma’s SATYA was organised at Famous-Mahalaxmi earlier this week, specially for top police officers of Bombay. Reportedly, they loved the film.

* Deepa Mehta’s FIRE, which has a very bold subject, has been passed by the CBFC’s examining committee, without a single cut. It has, of course, been certified for adults only.

* Two forthcoming films — KAREEB and SATYA — will be released with limited prints in Bombay city and suburbs as well as Maharashtra.

* Raju Mavani’s IMTIHAN (Sunny Deol, Raveena Tandon and Saif Ali Khan) will be revived by Dilsa Distributors Combine in Bombay under a new title, AASHIQ BANA GHATAK. The title has its origin in Saif’s successful starrer, AASHIK AAWARA, and Sunny Deol’s GHATAK.

* The first few reels of MARD (released this week) are technically faulty. The sound is not clear in those reels.

* Bombay distributor Sanjay Chaturvedi had to personally fly on Friday with four prints of MARD to Rajkot, for release in Saurashtra, because of the cancellation of Thursday’s train (which would have otherwise carried the prints).

* Cinemagic, the third cinema owned by the Kanakias (the first two being Cinemax and Cinestar), will open in Andheri (Bombay) in June-July ’98. This mini cinema has come up where earlier stood Darpan cinema. It has a capacity of about 350 seats.

* Following the popularity of Mukesh Khanna’s TV serial, SHAKTIMAN, especially among children, some gutka and supari manufacturers have launched their products under the name of ‘Shaktiman’. Mukesh Khanna has decided to move the court against these manufacturers.

* So moved was Katita Krishnamoorthy by the song she lent her voice to recently for the mentally handicapped children of Thakur Hariprasad Institute in Hyderabad that she donated her remuneration for the song to the Institute and also promised to visit the Institute. The song was recorded in Bombay at Inderjeet Singh’s Innovision Studios.

* JAB PYAAR KISISE HOTA HAI opened at Abhishek Talkies, Khandwa yesterday (22nd May) with prizes in a lucky draw scheme announced by the cinema management. The prizes for the holders of the lucky tickets included a refrigerator, a mixer, a TV set, etc. Unfortunately, the opening show recorded only 35% collections. At Smruti cinema, Nagpur, where JEANS was released last week, the cinema management and Arvind Mills Ltd. joined hands and organised a lucky draw in which 28 lucky winners were given a pair of Ruf-n-Tuf jeans each.

Star? But Where’s The Pulling Power?!?

The unexpectedly unexciting opening of Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai this week has sent shivers down the spines of trade people. Salman Khan has had a hit in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, and this is his first release after that. One would have expected JPKHH to open to bumper houses. Why, PKTDK had had a fantastic initial. But JPKHH did not draw full houses on the opening day or even in the opening shows in Bombay, parts of U.P., Bengal, C.P.C.I. and Nizam. In East Punjab and Rajasthan, even the main cinemas weren’t full! The opening of JPKHH once again underlines the fact that today, no stars — repeat, no stars — are worth their prices. Two weeks back, Duplicate had opened to houses which were way below expectations. The high expectations were born out of the super-success of DTPH and the success of Pardes, the two releases of Shah Rukh Khan prior to Duplicate. So, the conclusion is: no star deserves the price he is demanding, whether he is Shah Rukh or Salman or Sunny Deol. The second conclusion, which is a corollary to the first one, is: producers are pricing their films too much on the higher side, on the assumption that stars sell. But the openings of the recent releases show that stars do not sell as far as the paying public goes. The importance of both, super-hit music and ‘hot’ titles to ensure good openings, cannot be under-estimated.

Problem Of Strictness, Not Of Time

I & B minister Sushma Swaraj has suggested the formation of two channels — a green and a red one — of censorship on the lines of the green and red channels for customs. When a passenger coming to India from a foreign country does not have any imported  goods to declare (and, therefore, has no duty to pay), he can pass through the customs’ green channel and thereby save time. The red channel is for those who have to pay customs duty.

But one wonders what purpose the green channel of censorship would serve. The industry does not feel that film censorship takes too much time. What it definitely feels is that censorship is too strict and also futile in today’s times. So what the industry is looking for is complete abolition of censorship or, if that is not possible, leniency in censorship. The green channel would not serve either of the demands. Besides, with the producer passing through the green channel being prone to be severely punished if his film is found to have flouted the censor guidelines, one wonders whether any producer would in the first place opt for the green channel. After all, if a producer is so confident of getting an all-clear certificate, why would he go through the green channel? He would, obviously, opt for the red channel so that he doesn’t have to fear being penalised in future if something objectionable is found in his film at a later date.

The Film Federation of India, which will meet on 26th May to discuss the feasibility of the green and red channels of censorship, may well realise the futility of such channels to solve the real problems of censorship.

– Komal Nahta


Trailer Tattle

Distributors in Delhi are an enterprising lot. As soon as they receive the trailers of their due-for-release films, they hold a screening of the same for the trade people. If the trade-wallahs vanish from the scene quickly after the screening of the trailer, the interpretation is that the trailer has been disliked and, therefore, exhibitors will not be too ‘hot’ on the film. But if they accompany the films’ distributor to his office after the screening, it means, the film is ‘hot’! The distributor, in this case, can heave a sigh of relief.

Delivering Bombs

It hasn’t been a very rosy career for both, ex-Miss Universe Sushmita Sen and ex-Miss World Aishwarya Rai. Films of both the beauties have bombed. Not just that, the cinegoers haven’t really gone ga ga over their performances, too. When the audience refused to hear Sushmita’s initial knocking at the box-office with Dastak, she bravely tried to make a forceful comeback with Zor. Sadly for her, the film proved too weak to stand on its own feet, what to talk of supporting Sushmita. Aishwarya’s first film, …Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, was such a disaster that the public anything but fell in love with her. Her second feature film was Mani Ratnam’s Tamil Iruvar and it proved to be such a big disaster that all plans to dub the film in Hindi had to be shelved. Now, with her recent release in Hindi, Jeans (dubbed), proving to be too ill-fitting for the distributors, it is evident that the public has once again ignored her graceful beauty. Wonder, whether these beauties charge bombastic prices for delivering beautiful bombs?

Many Firsts

The Gujarati film, Mara Saayba Ni Chundadi, which rolled on 15th May in Ahmedabad, has achieved a number of firsts for Gujarati films already. It is producer Rajendra Butala’s first production venture. Butala is one of the leading figures of Gujarati stage with a number of successful stage-plays to his credit. His dramas have run to packed houses even in the USA. Director Arvind Vaidya, too, makes his debut with this film, after a long and successful stint as an actor on Gujarati stage and in TV serials. In fact, the career track record of the producer was so impressive that Mehboob Shaikh and Yusuf Shaikh of Yen Movies, Ahmedabad, bought the film’s distribution rights for Gujarat territory on the day it was launched. This is the first time they will be distributing a Gujarati film. This is also, perhaps, the first time a Gujarati film has gone on floors with a bound script. The film was scheduled to be completed in one month, but going by its progress in the first week of shooting, producer Butala is confident of winding up three days ahead of the schedule. Incidentally, the film is based on one of Butala’s ultra-successful plays.

Favouritism In Andhra

The Telugu Desam government in Andhra Pradesh has been accused of bias and favouritism in the grant of subsidy to Telugu films produced in the state. The state government has a policy of paying a subsidy of Rs. 3 lakh in order to encourage the local film industry. However, the state’s Film Development Corporation, which makes the subsidy payments, has reportedly been facing a financial crunch and has not paid any subsidy for the past three years. As a result, a large number of producers are waiting to receive their subsidy, and the government’s dues on this count total a whopping Rs. 3 crore. In this scenario, the payment of Rs. 30 lakh by way of subsidies to each of two producers, Doraiswamy Raju and M.S. Reddy, for their films made in 1997 throws up a number of allegations of governmental bias. The government policy allows payment of a maximum subsidy of Rs. 30 lakh for “good films”. Pertinent to note that while Raju is a sitting MLA of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, Reddy is perceived to be very close to chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. It seems obvious that the Corporation was pressurised by the chief minister to make the two payments. The proximity of the two producers to the ruling party apart, it does seem improper on the part of the government to pay Reddy in full even when he is reported to owe the government more than Rs. 30 lakh as interest on the amount he had taken for the construction of his recording studio. The directors of the Film Development Corporation, including well-known producers Suresh Babu, K.L. Narayana and T. Bhardwaj and managing director Kishan Rao, are reportedly considering conveying their protest to the chief minister soon.



FLASHBACK | 12 May, 2023
(From our issue dated 16th May, 1998)


Amritraj Solomon Communications P. Ltd.’s Jeans (dubbed from the Tamil film of the same name) is a love story. A girl falls in love with one of a pair of twins, but the father of the twins will hear nothing of getting his son married to her because he is adamant that his twin sons must be married to twin sisters only. The father, who himself has a twin brother, is fooled by the girl’s grandmother into believing that the girl, too, has a twin. The girl, in keeping with her grandmother’s wish, pretends, she has a twin sister. But finally, the truth is revealed, and the boys’ father refuses to relent. Ultimately, the aunt of the two boys steps in to convince the father of the futility of his adamant stand.

The film may have a novel story-line but the director has neither been able to make it a comedy nor a tear-jerker, although he attempts to do both. As the drama progresses, it appears as if a David Dhawan kind of a subject was being given an L.V. Prasad kind of a treatment. The humour is too South Indian to be lapped up by the Hindi film audience. As for the emotions, they simply don’t touch the heart and look too synthetic. Computer graphics (done by Pentafour) are brilliant but they will be appreciated only in cities. The track of the twin heroes is somewhat interesting but that of their father and his twin brother is too lengthy and boring.

Prashant is too fat but acts well in a double role. In dramatic scenes, he needs to improve. Aishwarya Rai would do well to give up her Miss World (and model) hangover because of which she is too stiff to be true. She looks pretty in some scenes in which her costumes (Neeta Lulla) are attractive. But her acting leaves a lot to be desired. Both, Prashant and Aishwarya, dance well. Nasser is good in a double role. Laxmi is quite natural. Radhika does a wonderful job. Senthil and Raju Sundaram do not appeal to the Hindi film audience. Janaki Sabesh is quite nice. S. Ve. Shekhar is so-so.

Shankar’s direction is average. A.R. Rahman’s music is very good. ‘Hai re hai re hai rabba’, ‘Ajooba’ and ‘Columbus’ songs are appealing. Song picturisations on foreign locations, including the wonders of the world, are breathtakingly beautiful. Photography is top class. Technically, brilliant. Production values are very good. Dubbing is okay.

On the whole, Jeans has a body beautiful (locations, photography) but not a matching soul (story, screenplay, emotions). It will, therefore, not appeal to the Hindi cine goers and, except in select cinemas in a handful of cities, it will fail to create any mark.

Released on 15-5-’98 at Metro and 6 other cinemas of Bombay thru Metro Films. Publicity: excellent. Opening: fair. …….Also released all over. Opening was poor at most of the places.


B.M.B. Productions’ Hitler is a tale of brotherhood, betrayal and the bad world. It is about an IPS officer who is posted as a jailor and who earns the nickname of Hitler because of his strictness. He has an educated but unemployed younger brother who almost worships him for his principles, an advocate-wife who has given up her practice, two younger sisters and a son. The jailor and the city’s high-profile don are in conflict with each other because the former does not succumb to the pressures of the latter. To teach the jailor a lesson, the don frames his (jailor’s) brother for a murder. While the jailor believes that his brother may have committed the crime, his wife wears the lawyer’s gown again, to prove her brother-in-law innocent. But when the jailor also realises that his brother is not the murderer, he tries to convince the police commissioner about his brother’s innocence. The commissioner’s unrelenting attitude, thanks to the don’s influence, forces the jailor to give in his resignation. Thereafter, he and his brother (who escapes from jail) alongwith a friend get the don arrested.

The revenge story is routine and there’s not even an attempt to offer anything new, neither in content nor in presentation. The first half is dull and boring. The film becomes a bit interesting after interval. Dialogues are ordinary. Emotions fall flat.

Mithun Chakraborty does well. Manik Bedi acts freely. Raghuvaran does alright as a sophisticated don. Hemant Birje is fair. Shilpa Shirodkar acts ably. Dipti Bhatnagar is passable. Johny Lever is funny at places. Mohnish Bahl, Shiva, Satyen Kappu, Aroon Bakshi, Sanjeeva and the others lend adequate support.

Direction passes muster. The film does not have the support of good music. Two songs have a bit of appeal but that’s about all. Song picturisations are routine. Photography is quite nice. Action scenes are not very thrilling.

On the whole, Hitler is an ordinary fare for small centres only. Its low price is about the only redeeming feature.

Released on 15-5-’98 at Alankar and 18 other cinemas of Bombay thru Dilsa Distributors Combine. Publicity: so-so. Opening: average. …….Also released all over.


It was a normal week with an additional holiday for Buddha Poornima.

Duplicate has done well in most of the ‘A’ class centres. It should fetch commission in many circuits. 1st week Bombay 55,55,786 (90.89%) from 13 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 10,63,323 from 6 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda about 94%, Padra 1,95,288, Rajkot 1,74,535, Jamnagar 1,30,768 (1 in matinee unrecd.), Adipur 1,13,055; Kolhapur 1,80,000 (1 unrecd.), Solapur 1,61,744; Hubli 3,11,255, Belgaum 3,89,833 from 3 cinemas, Dharwad 1,46,831; Delhi 47,21,500 (75.94%) from 12 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 4,92,002 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,67,603, Agra 2,75,365, Allahabad 2,00,000, Meerut 1,76,262, Bareilly 1,34,292 (67.56%), Dehradun 1,75,000; Amritsar 52,156; Calcutta 20,22,553 from 12 cinemas; Nagpur 8,61,482 from 6 cinemas, Amravati (30 shows) 1,82,453 (93%), Akola 1,76,234, Bhilai 2,23,125, Yavatmal 1,82,422; Indore 4,06,038 from 2 cinemas (2 on F.H.), Bhopal 5,61,633 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 12,55,375 from 4 cinemas, Bikaner 2,75,542; Hyderabad 37,40,023 from 14 cinemas, share 20,14,320; good in Mysore where it is expected to yield overflow; Vijayawada 3,07,050 (98%), Visakhapatnam 2,10,398 (98%).

Aunty No. 1 2nd week Bombay 14,83,014 (44.99%) from 8 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 83,416 (1 unrecd.), Rajkot (matinee) 17,796, Jamnagar (matinee) 8,175 (1 in regular unrecd.); Solapur 42,933; Hubli 98,374, Belgaum 97,814; Delhi 15,91,074 from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,81,235 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,45,860, Allahabad 71,800, Bareilly 65,329 (30.23%), Dehradun 51,295; Calcutta 2,76,927 from 3 cinemas; Nagpur 1,10,179 from 2 cinemas, Akola 49,868, total 1,56,483, Dhule 70,352, Durg 58,604 (1st 98,679), Jalgaon 76,404, Yavatmal (4 days) 10,679; Bhopal 1,43,494; Jaipur 2,44,204 from 2 cinemas, 1st week Jodhpur 1,99,000; 2nd week Hyderabad 3,35,751 from 3 cinemas.

Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya 7th week Bombay 8,80,808 (49.38%) from 6 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 98,451, Baroda (6 days) 78,744, Rajkot (mg. shows) 6,846; Kolhapur 63,000, Solapur (14 shows) 1,02,706, 1st week Barsi 62,369; 7th week Delhi 6,37,769 from 4 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,04,282, Lucknow 2,30,841, Agra 82,500, Allahabad 56,000, Bareilly 50,000 (26.21%), Dehradun 69,000; Calcutta 1,73,196; Nagpur 97,909, Akola 70,394, total 7,99,394, share 5,88,946, Bhilai 50,762, 4th week Wardha 38,340, 7th Chandrapur 66,143, total 8,00,360, 1st week Sagar 93,144; 7th week Bhopal (6 days) 1,13,420; Jaipur 1,91,216; Hyderabad 4,79,061 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon).

Chhota Chetan (partly dubbed, revived, 3-D), 4th week Bombay (TF) 20,95,391 (98.28%) from 3 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,62,073; 2nd week Kolhapur (TF, 6 days) 1,42,400, Solapur (TF) 1,29,390; 4th week Delhi 12,56,722 from 3 cinemas; 3rd week Kanpur 61,615, 4th Agra 67,000. Opened this week in Nizam (opening was very good in Hyderabad).



Parsram Shewakramani, father-in-law of Ramesh Taurani (Tips), expired on 11th May in Bombay.


Producer-director Subhash Ghai will soon launch a studio with post-production suites and a shooting floor in Bombay. The studio, located at plot no. A-18, New Link Road, Oshiwara, Andheri, is called Audeus and it is equipped with state-of-the-art equipments like Avid Media Composer 8000 with Film Option. Another plus point of the studio is its dubbing suite which boasts of Fairlights MFX3 Plus Digital Audio Work-station. Among the studio’s other features are an 8-track recording facility on MO disk, a single dedicated keyboard which controls both, audio and the Beta recorder, a non-linear editing system which allows single track on 8-track editing features, a Beta projection on 10′ X 7′ screen via Barco projector, an online UPS with 1-hour battery back-up, and a sound transfer room equipped with 35mm, DA 98, DAT, CD, etc.

Apart from these, Audeus also features an air-conditioned shooting floor that can be instantly converted into three to four types of offices, bedrooms or conference rooms. The floor has a ceiling with concealed lights.


Marriage of Bombay distributor and exhibitor Manoj Khivasara (Mahalaxmi Film Distributors, Bombay, and Mahalaxmi Theatre, Nasik) with Neelu will be solemnised on 22nd May in Nasik at Nasik Club on Nasik-Pune Road.


Prem Janiani, son of Kishinchand Janiani of Prem Films, Jaipur, was blessed with a baby girl on 7th May.


Geeta Palace Cinema (previously known as Madhuban) is due to reopen shortly in Bareilly. The cinema has a seating capacity of 704 and a nett capacity of Rs. 3,409.38 per show. Its capacity for 28 shows is Rs. 95,462.64.


What is your personal opinion about the film industry being granted industry status by the government?

– It is not clear how many benefits of industry will accrue to the film industry or how much the film industry will be able to advantageously use the industry status. Power tariff for cinemas and studios will go down and that may be a great saving. Frankly speaking, ever since the government granted film business the status of an industry, it has become a fashion with the film industry people to simply express joy and excitement over the issue without really knowing what’s in store for the film industry.

What is the price at which Ramgopal Varma’s Satya is being sold?

– The producers expect 1 to 1.25 crore per major circuit.

Is it true that Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala have been paired in Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria’s new film?

– Yes, they’ve been teamed together in Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria’s new film, titled MANN.

Delhi HC Restrains Cable TV Operators From Telecasting Vinod Chopra’s ‘Kareeb’

Producer-director Vinod Chopra is leaving no stone unturned to protect his Kareeb from the menace of cable piracy. He recently filed a civil suit in the Delhi high court and has succeeded in obtaining, even before the film’s release, an ex parte civil injunction which presents Indus In Media and Siti Cable Networks Ltd. from telecasting Kareeb in any form till 22nd July, 1998 (the next date of hearing).

This is, perhaps, the first time a producer has attempted to restrain cable TV operators from telecasting his film illegally. Cable TV operators usually show new films just days after their theatrical release although they do not hold the rights for them.

Golden Voice Talat Mahmood Is Dead

Aye mere dil kahin aur chal
Gham ki duniya se dil bhar gaya
Dhoondh le ab koi ghar naya

Renowned playback singer of the forties, fifties and sixties, Talat Mahmood’s hit song from Daag rings true today after the death of the singer on 9th May at 8 a.m. at his residence in Bombay following a heart attack. He was 75.

Talat had been struck with Parkinson’s disease some years ago and he was in hibernation for almost a decade. He is survived by his wife, son Khalid, who is a singer, and a daughter.

Trained in music in the Morris College of Music in Lucknow, Talat had a penchant for singing right from his adolescent days. He was picked up by HMV and he recorded private songs in Calcutta. One such number, Tasveer teri dil mera bahala na sakegi, written by Faiyyaz Hashmi and composed by Kamal Dasgupta, sold over one lakh copies in the late 1940s and turned Talat into a singing sensation.

Music director Anil Biswas gave Talat a break in Bollywood in Arzoo in 1951. Aye dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal, which he rendered for Dilip Kumar in Arzoo, marked the beginning of his long association with Biswas and Dilip Kumar. It also made him a sought-after name in Bollywood with music directors like Naushad, Sajjad Hussain, Shankar Jaikishen, S.D. Burman, Khayyam, Salil Choudhury and others recording songs in his voice. His speciality was love-lorn and melodious songs.

Tasveer banata hoon, tasveer nahin banti, Mera jeevan saathi bichhad gaya, Jaltein hain jiske liye, Itna na mujhse tu pyar badha, Shaam-e-gham ki kasam, Phir wohi shaam wohi gham, Aahaa rimjhim ke yeh pyare pyare geet liye, Rahi matwale, Man dheere dheere gaye re, Husnwalon ko dil na do, Shukriya aye tera pyar shukriya, Aisi chali hawa ki khushi dukh mein dhal gayee and Mitwa nahi aaye were some of his hit numbers. He also sang geets and ghazals with unparalleled skill. The beauty of his voice was the quivering silken touch.

Talat also acted in some films like Waaris, Tu Aur Main, Samapti, Dak Babu, Ek Gaon Ki Kahani, Malik and Sone Ki Chidiya. But he wasn’t successful as an actor as he was as a singer.

Talat Mahmood’s funeral was a private affair. Manna Dey and Naushad’s son, Raju, were among the few outsiders who were present.

‘Thai Saheb’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ Bag Swarn Kamal

Girish Kasaravalli’s Thai Saheb (Kannada) has won the Swarn Kamal for the best film of 1997 in the 45th National Awards announced in Delhi on 9th May by jury chairperson B. Saroja Devi. Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai also bagged the Swarn Kamal for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.

J.P. Dutta’s Border has won the Nargis Dutt Award for the best film on national integration. The Indira Gandhi award for the first film of a director has gone to A.K. Lohitdas for his Malayalam film Bhoothakannadi. Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa has won the National Award for the best Hindi film.

The best director award went to Jayaraaj for his Malayalam film Kaliyattam. The best actor award was shared by Balachandra Menon (Samaantharangal) and Suresh Gopi (Kaliyattam), both Malayalam films. Even the best actress award was shared by the two heroines of Dahan (Bengali), Indrani Halder and Rituparna Sengupta. The best supporting actor award went to Prakash Raj for Iruvar (Tamil). Karisma Kapoor won the best supporting actress award for Dil To Pagal Hai. Javed Akhtar won the award for the best lyricist for his song Sandese aate hain in Border.

Winners in the regional films category were: Dahan (Bengali) by Rituparno Ghosh, Shesh Drusti (Oriya), Main Maa Punjab Di (Punjabi), written and directed by Balwant Dullat and produced by Devinder Walia, Mangamma (Malayalam), Terrorist (Tamil), Moongarina Minchu (Kannada) and Sindooram (Telugu).

Other award winners were: best screenplay – Rituparno Ghosh (Dahan, Bengali); best music – M.M. Keervani (Annamayya, Telugu); best cinematography – Santosh Sivan (Iruvar, Tamil); best editing – Sreekar Prasad (Terrorist, Tamil); best audiography – Sampath (Ennu Swantham Janakikutty, Malayalam); best art direction – Ramesh Desai (Thai Saheb, Kannada); best costume designer – Vaishali Kasaravalli (Thai Saheb, Kannada); best choreographer – Shiamak Davar (Dil To Pagal Hai); best male playback singer – Hariharan (Mere dushman mere bhai in Border); best female playback singer – Chitra (Payale chun mun in Virasat).

Ramaayanam (Telugu), directed by Guna Shekhar, won the best children’s film award. Dhanraj won the best child actor award for his performance in Dhanna.

Jury’s special award for the best actress went to Jayamala. Deepa Gahlot won the award for the best film critic.


* Lata Mangeshkar had never rendered a song under the direction of composer A.R. Rahman until recently. She has now sung under him for three films — Boney Kapoor’s PUKAAR, Nazir Ahmed’s Jackie-Shah Rukh starrer, and Mani Ratnam’s DIL SE.

* DTPH is the fourth film of Yash Chopra to bag the National Award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment. His three earlier award winners were CHANDNI, DARR and DDLJ. A great feat indeed!

* Javed Akhtar has won the National Award for his lyrics for the second consecutive year. He won it last year for SAAZ, and this year for BORDER.

* Following some differences between producer K.C. Bokadia and his financier, the deliveries of his HITLER this week could be effected only late. As a result, the film could not open on Friday in some circuits. In Bombay too, matinee shows of the film were cancelled on Friday. Bombay distributor Dilip Dhanwani had to reportedly pay more than his contracted amount for the delivery.

* Tips has decided to have a Friday release for its JAB PYAAR KISISE HOTA HAI all over. Even in U.P., C.P., C.I. and Orissa, the film will not open on Thursday, as is normal.

* While there’s no system of advance booking in Jaipur (or, for that matter, anywhere in Rajasthan), distributor Sunderdas Sonkiya tried it with an English film, TITANIC. He opened plans for the film at Prem Prakash cinema, Jaipur, on Wednesday and the response to the advance booking was very good! The film has opened this week at Prem Prakash and Mayank.

* It is noteworthy that a Gujarati film, Amar Kumar Jadeja’s BENI BAAR BAAR VARSE HUN AVYO, has been sold for Gujarat and Saurashtra on announcement itself. Its audio rights have been sold. …..The theme song for the film was recorded on 13th May at Ajivasan Sound live — that is, tracks and the voices playing simultaneously. The unusually long song has a duration of 24 minutes.

* Distributors of Bihar are seriously contemplating taking deliveries of films on Fridays and releasing them in their circuit on Sundays. This idea is the result of exorbitant film prices, poor fate of recent releases, and the invariable delay in the arrival of prints in Bihar.

* The Kannada remake of the Tamil super-hit KAATHAL KOTTAI, titled YARE NEENU CHALUVE, is dong very well in Karnataka and is poised to be a hit. It has been produced by Rockline Venkatesh and directed by D. Rajendra Babu.



At the national conference on ‘Challenges before Indian Cinema’ on 10th May at The Leela Kempinski, Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde referred, in his speech, to star-MP Vinod Khanna as “Vinod Kumar”. Later, Dilip Kumar, in his speech, inadvertently addressed Gopinath Munde as “home minister”. A case of tit for tat? Well, that wasn’t all. FICCI chairman K.K. Modi addressed I & B minister Sushma Swaraj as “Shri” instead of “Smt.”!


Mr. Ashok Tahirani of Ashoka Enterprises, Indore, is in town (634-2335) and will return to Indore on 17th May.

Producer and director Rakesh Roshan will leave for Australia to scout locations for KAHO NAA…PYAR HAI, on 20th May and will return after 10-12 days.

Mr. Balkrishna Shroff of Shringar Films, Bombay, will be back from Singapore on 18th May.

Mr. Ravi Machhar of Abhinay Cinema, Aurangabad, left Bombay for Bangalore today (16th May) and will be back tomorrow.


It was like a typical Hindi film. The best part came in the climax. Before that, the national conference on ‘Challenges before Indian Cinema’ had its highs and lows. But its climax was absolutely unexpected and unpredictable. Perhaps, it was because of that that the conference, organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FICCI) and the Film Federation of India (FFI) on 10th May at The Leela Kempinski Hotel, was such a grand hit.

The climax comprised the new BJP government’s I & B minister, Sushma Swaraj, granting industry status to film business. Amidst a standing ovation, Sushma Swaraj announced that she and her government had accorded the status of industry to the film business.

The film industry had been fighting for this status since years. In fact, so concerted had the fight become in the last few years that FFI president Santosh Singh Jain said, after the industry was granted recognition as an industry, that May 10 should be celebrated as the film industry’s Liberation Day. However, FFI general secretary K.D. Shorey felt, it was too premature to celebrate the industry status. According to Shorey, “The day even 10 producers can get finance from banks due to the industry status, will be the day for celebration.”

Although it may take some time before the actual benefits of an industry accrue to the film business, once that starts, it may be possible for film producers to borrow money from banks and financial institutions. What’s more, the power tariff of cinema houses may be brought down at par with the tariff of other industries. Besides these, a whole lot of other advantages will also accrue to the industry once the modalities are worked out. But there may also be some disadvantages attached to the industry status.

Sushma made it clear that the decision to grant industry status was not a momentous one or to win any applause, but that it was a well-thought of decision because it was needed for the betterment of cinema and for promoting good films. She informed that she had discussed the matter with finance minister Yashwant Sinha before attending the conference, and the modalities would be worked out soon and a notification, issued.

Sushma Swaraj, who had come well prepared for the conference, in a very business-like talk, dealt with every point raised in the earlier sessions of the conference. She said that the industry would be put on the concurrent list, and an amendment bill would be placed in Parliament in the next session for that. That would help the government tackle the thorny issues of the industry, she added.

On the demand for forming an export council for promotion of films abroad, she readily agreed to form a Film Export Council, considering it a necessary step to increase the export earnings from films, which had grown from a meagre Rs. 15 crore to Rs. 150 crore in the last five years, just on the industry’s own efforts.


Sushma refused to scrap the Censor Board as demanded by many members of the industry. However, she put forth her own idea of a green channel and another red channel of censorship, if the industry agreed to have self-censorship as it was doing in the case of film posters. She explained, “If the producer considers his film fit for universal screening and feels, it does not violate any censor guidelines, he can go through the green channel, which means, he can release the film without going to the Censor Board. In other cases, he can pass through the red channel, which means that he would have to obtain a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification. But she warned that if anything objectionable was found in the films cleared through the green channel, stringent punishment would be imposed on the producer. She asked the members of the industry to think over it and discuss the matter with her.

On her own, the I & B minister also mooted the idea of forming a development council for films, under her own ministry. The council, she added, would also have leaders of the film industry as members. The council will discuss industry problems on a quarterly basis and thus, the industry would not have to run after the ministers, but would rather be invited by the ministers themselves, she explained. In this way, efforts would be made to solve the industry’s problems as soon as possible. She also said, she wanted to form a group of key advisors from the film world, and the advisors so selected would have to be ‘spotless’ people.

Earlier, welcoming the minister, FICCI president K.K. Modi repeated FICCI’s decision to accept filmmaking as an industry and to take the film industry in its fold.

He urged the government to change those policies which were not beneficial for the industry and remove all the impediments in the growth of the film industry. He said, finance was the life-blood of business, and the doors to get finance from banks and financial institutions should be opened for the film industry by recognising it as an industry just like FICCI had recognised it. He lamented the gross violation of intellectual property rights by indiscreet cable TV operators, as well as the other problems of the industry which needed urgent attention.

Shabana Azmi, tracing the history and development of the film industry in brief, right from the days of Dadasaheb Phalke, said that Indian cinema was the only cinema in the world which had not been affected by Hollywood films because “Indians love Indian films wherever they are”. She emphasised that the National Film Development Corporation had been established with the idea of promoting good films and it had done a lot of good work but it was changing track under some compulsion and that it should redefine its role now to make a fruitful contribution in the development of the film industry. She condemned the flogging of Hindi cinema by people from different walks of life, politicians included, without any rhyme or reason, just to get some publicity. Shabana urged the government to look into the problems of the industry urgently and sympathetically. She also emphasised the need for some soul-searching by the industry people.


Shatrughan Sinha, in his forceful address, said that the major need of the industry was finance (and not lectures from ministers) for the promotion of the film industry, and even the fate of good films hung in mid-air for want of finance. He said, the film industry’s greatest contribution to the country was the Hindi language which had not only helped in national integration but had also attracted people of the other parts on the world to India. He urged the government to check piracy of films and also asked Indians not to copy films and music of other countries.

The representative of South Indian films, Gangadharan, presented a shawl to the I & B minister.

Inaugurating the conference in the morning, thespian Dilip Kumar lamented the conditions of the film industry due to cancerous taxation and lack of clean financial resources. He said, multi-taxation had killed about 25 great film institutions like Bombay Talkies, Prabhat Theatres and New Theatres and today’s filmmakers were suffering because of non-availability of finance from banks and financial institutions.


In his welcome address in the morning, FICCI president K.K. Modi first recognised filmmaking as an industry and the film industry as a partner of FICCI. Concluding his address, he announced that during FICCI’s annual awards function from this year onwards, a special award would be given to a person in visual media, for creativity.

Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, Gopinath Munde, announced that if the Union government created a kitty of Rs. 1,000 crore for financing films, the government of Maharashtra would contribute Rs. 100 crore in it as its share. Regarding tax concessions, he invited a viable proposal from the film industry.

In his keynote address, former chairman of the National Film Development Corporation, D.V.S. Raju, said that with this national conference, the film industry had opened a new chapter in its history. He pointed out the need to get financial support from banks and financial institutions, saying that till now, the film industry was depending on the resources generated internally for producing 850-900 films every year in 14 languages to cater to millions of audience through a network of about 12,000 cinemas. Finance was also needed to construct more theatres, he added. He pleaded for the abolition of entertainment tax or at least for bringing it down to normal sales tax level and for stopping illegal screening of films on cable.

Raju commented that AIR’s royalty being paid to Indian film songs was not only the lowest but also discriminatory because an English song was paid Rs. 10 whereas Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and other Indian songs were paid only Rs. 2 per song. He wanted it increased to Rs. 25 per song.

Shyam Benegal blamed the present system of film financing as being responsible for pushing cinema into today’s pathetic situation. Professionalism and creativity in filmmaking had had to take a second place to ensure the security of investment against risks, he added.


“Film industry is taxed in a manner that suggests that these are punitive in nature, designed, perhaps inadvertently, to discourage cinema rather than encourage the industry,” said Benegal and asked the government to be rational. He also said, filmmakers saw censorship as a needless sources of aggravation, unnecessary and undeserved, while the Censor Board looked at the filmmaker as some kind of a subversive, intent on polluting the cultural landscape. “A cat-and-mouse game is played between the censors and the filmmakers and that had made censorship infructuous and meaningless,” he concluded.

Vinod Khanna, now a member of Parliament too, in his volatile speech, pleaded to the government not to give a step-motherly treatment to films. He emphasised on the role played by the film industry in national integration. He pointed out some ways to get finance and develop the film world. He also emphasised the need for self-retrospection by the film industry.


Presenting a vote of thanks, FFI president Santosh Singh Jain hoped “the new government will not lack the necessary political will to study and understand the perpetual problems of the film industry and take suitable steps to solve them.” Jain pointed out that inadequate market was the greatest hurdle in the development of even regional films and thus more theatres were needed to be constructed in most parts of the country. Jain called entertainment tax a malady which was the mother of all ills, and termed it ‘extortion money’ rather than entertainment tax.

The first session of the conference was devoted to ‘Industry status for film industry’. P.G. Mankad, secretary, I & B, chaired it. Co-chairman Amit Khanna said that some states had granted a partial industry status to films, but not the government of India. Recognition as an industry was just the first step towards an organised growth of film entertainment business. Institutional finance on reasonable terms would go a long way in relieving the film industry which provides direct employment to 10 lakh people and indirect to 20 lakh others, he said.

Khanna suggested that a methodology be developed to value the intellectual property rights so that producers could offer these assets as collateral security for raising money from banks etc. He asked the government to involve industry professionals in all decisions which affected the smooth functioning of the film industry and to put the industry on its concurrent list. He also suggested that a Film & TV Promotion Council be established by the government.


Subhash Ghai pointed to the insecure position of filmmakers who are affected more by loose perceptions and biased government officials. Until and unless the filmmakers were made secure, to expect good films from them would be futile, he explained. Film business was a serious business and it needed industry status for its survival, he added.

Arijit Dutta, an exhibitor of Calcutta, was critical of the government for using the film industry as the proverbial golden goose. In a well-worded speech, he said, the industry deserved to be given the status of other industries.

Mankad assured that he would put the industry’s viewpoint before the government.

P.R. Dasgupta, secretary, education, ministry of Human Resource Development, chaired the second session, on ‘Intellectual property rights and Indian film industry’. Speaking as co-chairperson, K.D. Shorey threw light on the Copyright Act and said, despite the Indian Copyright Act being one of the most comprehensive and fair pieces of legislation, copyright holders were suffering because of the utter apathy, indifference and, sometimes, the callous attitude of the executive, both, in the states and at the centre, and the enforcement agencies. He insisted that it was the duty of the state to ensure with diligence the protection of the arts and inventions. During the last 10 years, some 800-odd cases were made against pirates but even a minimum punishment had not been granted in a single case, the lamented.

Mrs. P.V. Valsala G. Kutty, registrar of copyrights, presented a paper on copyrights.

P.R. Dasgupta agreed with K.D. Shorey and assured help in the best possible manner.

The third session was devoted to ‘Taxation issues related to the film industry’. Former I & B secretary P. Murari chaired the session. Yash Chopra, dwelling on section 80HHC of the Income-Tax Act, said that with the introduction of the section in 1983 with the object of giving incentives to exporters of films, 100% exemption on export earnings was allowed. As a result, there was a remarkable jump in software exports from about Rs. 20 crore per annum to Rs. 150 crore per annum. However, suddenly, the I-T department changed its stand and held that export of software was not entitled to deduction under the section as films were not ‘goods’ or ‘merchandise’. The entire film fraternity had become the victim of a rather fanciful interpretation of the said section by a couple of assessing officers in the I-T department, he sighed.

Yash Chopra requested for a complete abolition of countervailing duty on import of raw stock and the unreasonable restrictions imposed on film producers for film shootings abroad.


South’s L. Suresh informed that section 285B of the I-T Act, which makes it compulsory for the producer to file a statement containing particulars of payments of over Rs. 5,000 in the aggregate made by him or due from him to each such person as was engaged by him in the production, within 30 days of the completion of the film, was only for the film trade. It was highly discriminatory and should be removed, he added.

Sv. Rm. Ramanathan from South presented the entertainment tax structure in the various states and appealed to the government to abolish entertainment tax.

The chief commissioner of income-tax, B. Mishra, assured that he would look into the matter and do the needful.


In the final session on ‘Institutional financing for film industry’, chaired by V. Subramaniam, executive director, Reserve Bank of India, and co-chaired by K.G. Dossani, problems in bank financing for films were discussed. Dossani pointed out that there was no National Film Policy till today though a working group on National Film Policy had made various recommendations in 1980. He said, banks treated film production as a low-priority and high-risk activity. Film industry needed concessional finance from institutions, for which appropriate surety in the form of pledges of Intellectual Property Rights could be provided. He said, insurance facilities must be made available, covering risk, as was being done in the cases of other industries.

K. Kannan, deputy chairman, Indian Banks Association, put forward the banks’ difficulties in providing finance for films.

Chairman Subramaniam informed that the Reserve Bank had not put any restrictions on banks for providing finance for films. When a suggestion was made that a committee should be formed to study film financing, he readily agreed.

FFI treasurer N.N. Sippy proposed the vote of thanks. FICCI general secretary Dr. Amit Mitra conducted the programme very efficiently.

Mixed Reactions To Industry Status


I am more than happy with what we have achieved so far. The whole demand for the industry status was to gain respectability as far as film finance is concerned. Now that this demand is granted, we must show, by our future doing, that we deserve it.


I think, the move will only benefit five or six people in the industry. The change will remain only symbolic in nature as it will fail to achieve anything practically. The banks will only grant finance to those producers who can provide some kind of security. Very few producers will be able to do that. Hence some may bribe a bank official to get a loan approved. However, when the banks will be unable to recover such loans, they will become stricter and the whole scenario will revert to what it is today.

RAMESH SIPPY (Bombay distributor)

It is definitely a move in the positive direction, but how much it will achieve remains to be seen. We should be happy if we are able to derive even 10% of the total benefits expected out of this measure.


It is difficult to say that the change will be for the better. In my opinion, the exercise will only help four-five people at the top. For the rest, it will not make any difference whatsoever. Of course, some producers will go on to bribe the bank managers to get loans approved and, as a result, the industry will earn a bad reputation. In a nutshell, the move will make the rich richer while the poor will remain as they are.


All are very happy. Something will surely come out of it.


Figures Frighten Him; His Figures Frighten All

It does look like Dilip Kumar was not briefed properly before he delivered the opening speech at the National Conference on ‘Challenges before Indian Cinema’. How else could one explain the faux pas he committed during his speech? Dilip Kumar claimed that out of every Rs. 100 collected by a film at the ticket window, only about Rs. 4 or 5 comes to the producer! Such an erroneous remark leads one to wonder whether he meant that the rest of the earnings go to fill the government’s coffers? We do not think so. Maybe, he meant that the exhibitors/distributors take away a very large part of a film’s earnings as compared to the producers. But even if Dilip Kumar thinks so, what was the necessity to bring up this issue at the conference with the government. After all, the issue (of sharing a film’s earnings) is an internal one. Why drag the government into it? And Mr. Dilip Kumar should know that if the distributor keeps his share, it is because he has already given the producer an MG royalty amount even before the film has been released. It would have been wiser for Dilip Kumar if he had taken his self-confessed fear for figures more seriously and stayed away from playing with them. For, at the same conference, he revealed that Mathematics was his weakest subject and he used to score just 4 marks in a paper of 100!

Rather Funny

Distributors in Amravati are governed by a different Income-Tax Act, it seems. Although the income-tax rules provide that amortisation of MG royalty and cost of prints and publicity is allowed if the film is released at least six months prior to the year-ending, in reality, the Amravati income-tax office does not allow the amortisation if a film has not realised its cost, even if it is released 6 months prior to the year-end. In such a case (when a film does not recover its MG royalty, cost of prints and publicity), the I-T department allows each print cost to be allowed only if that print (the cost of which is claimed) has been screened for a stipulated number of weeks, which is too high. There’s no such provision in the Income-Tax Act or the Rules, and it is only the Amravati distributors who have to maintain a record of the print utilisation. Distributor Pramod Munot has won in the appeal against the department, before the CIT (A) as well as the Appellate Tribunal. But the department has now appealed to the high court.

‘Double Role’ Party

The Hindi dubbed version of Jeans was premiered at Metro Cinema, Bombay, on 14th May. The film’s all-India rights holders, Metro Films, also organised a grand party at the Taj Mahal Hotel after its premiere. Now, call it a coincidence or whatever, the wedding anniversary of Tolu Bajaj (who is one of the major partners in Metro Films) fell on the same day. In fact, he was married 23 years ago at the very venue of the Jeans party — that is, the Ball Room of Taj Mahal! And no, the party on 14th May, 1998 was not at all a planned coincidence. In keeping with the film’s ‘double roles’ flavour — it has double roles of hero Prashant as well as of Nasser — the premiere party had a double significance.

FLASHBACK | 5 May, 2023
(From our issue dated 9th May, 1998)


Dharma Productions’ Duplicate (UA) is a comedy film. It is the story of two guys, not related to each other but who look exactly similar. While one is a simpleton, the other is a crook and a killer. The police is after the killer but they arrest the simpleton twice by mistake. Ultimately, the crook is killed by his own girlfriend. The simpleton also has his girlfriend and the comedy of errors makes the two girls romance with the wrong partners at one point of time.

The film has a number of cute and light moments which make the viewer laugh. But like too much of anything is bad, even too much laughter gets tiring after a while. There’s just no romance, not much seriousness in the drama, and the comedy, at times, looks far-fetched too. After a point of time, even the crook and the police begin to behave like comedians. Nevertheless, for the class of audience, which doesn’t look for a well-defined story line but can do with good comic punches in its place, the film does afford good entertainment. Of course, some of the jokes are of the type which can be appreciated only by the educated/class/city audience. Climax is weak.

Shah Rukh Khan is splendid. As the simpleton, he shines with a perfect sense of timing and a performance that requires the greatest skill. He is not as good in the role of a crook, though. In fact, there’s so much of Shah Rukh in the film that his fans will take it as a feast but too much of Shah Rukh may irritate the ones who aren’t crazy about him. Juhi Chawla looks pretty and does a fantastic job. Her sense of comedy, too, is absolutely praiseworthy. Sonali Bendre looks glamorous and acts ably. Farida Jalal is excellent as the simpleton Shah Rukh’s mother. Mohnish Bahl is truly restrained and effective. Tiku Talsania lends good light moments. Gulshan Grover leaves a mark. Sharat Saxena, Rana Jung Bahadur, Vishwajeet Pradhan and the rest provide adequate support. Kajol’s friendly appearance is too brief to register in the viewer’s mind.

Given the comedy subject, direction is very appropriate. But the more discerning audience would have expected a more well-defined story and more variety of masala. Music is below the mark. Although the ‘Mere mehboob mere sanam’ song is well-tuned, there’s no hit number and some of the other songs are slow. However, song picturisations (Farah Khan) are eye-filling, and the foreign locales, on which most of them have been shot, are a treat to watch. Special effects and computer graphics (showing two Shah Rukhs even touching each other) are splendid. Photography is of a very good standard and so are the other technical and production values. Sets are opulent. Action scenes are so-so. Dialogues are very witty at many places.

On the whole, Duplicate will appeal mainly to kids and youngsters but there will be a section of the audience which will find so much comedy too difficult to digest. At best, it will remain a city fare which will do well in ‘A’ class centres, especially in Bombay, Maharashtra and South.

Released on 8-5-’98 at Liberty and 20 other cinemas of Bombay thru Modern Movies. Publicity: excellent. Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening was a little below the mark in Delhi, C.P. and C.I. 1st day Jaipur 2,39,670/- from 4 cinemas.


It was a normal week. However, collections were adversely affected at several places on 7th due to Mohurram. On the other hand, collections were good on 1st May owing to Labour Day holiday.

Aunty No. 1 did well in the first 4-5 days but once the decline in collections started thereafter, it dropped rather badly. 1st week Bombay 33,19,247 (64.68%) from 13 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,42,138 from 5 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Rajkot 73,957 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Jamnagar (matinee) 14,242 (1 in regular unrecd.); Pune 8,47,510 from 5 cinemas, Kolhapur 1,63,514, Solapur 1,33,598; Hubli 1,29,986, Belgaum 1,37,645; Delhi 29,31,904 (59.59%) from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H., 1 unrecd.); Kanpur 2,81,136 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,75,772, Bareilly 91,266 (42.25%); Amritsar 52,156; Calcutta 14,06,880 from 14 cinemas; Nagpur 5,92,665 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,18,453, Amravati 1,43,102, Akola 1,06,615, Dhule 1,06,013, Raipur 1,57,181 (57.91%), Jalgaon 1,39,395, Chandrapur 1,17,300; Indore 2,95,161 from 2 cinemas (4 on F.H.), Bhopal 2,71,565 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 7,61,508 from 4 cinemas; Hyderabad 20,85,007 from 11 cinemas.

Salaakhen crashed further in 2nd week. 2nd week Bombay 23,21,905 (61.11%) from 10 cinemas (9 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 58,227 (2 unrecd.), Rajkot 1,06,750, Jamnagar 59,390; Pune 5,38,516 from 5 cinemas, Kolhapur 1,06,000, Solapur 1,51,348; Delhi 13,66,374 from 8 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,04,015 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,13,330, Bareilly 51,834 (23.20%), Hardwar 42,000; Calcutta 6,15,698 from 6 cinemas; Nagpur 1,33,162, Jabalpur 1,48,345, total 3,80,406, Amravati 1,34,963, total 3,80,922, Akola 80,042, total 2,86,017, Raipur 81,870, Jalgaon 1,13,442, Chandrapur 83,604, total 2,73,101; Indore 1,27,000, Bhopal 1,63,616 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 2,90,129 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 6,35,522 from 3 cinemas (1 in noon, 1 on F.H.); 1st week Vijayawada 1,93,186.

Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya 6th week Bombay 10,33,977 (46.11%) from 6 cinemas (9 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,07,828, Rajkot 59,611, Jamnagar 32,845, total 4,59,548; Pune 4,27,174 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 77,600, Solapur (14 shows) 1,13,947; Delhi 5,21,013 from 4 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,26,520, Lucknow 2,28,042, Bareilly 42,153 (18.73%); Nagpur 1,80,167 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 80,696, total 8,38,749, Amravati 1,03,304, Akola 90,037, total 7,29,000, share 5,48,026, Raipur 82,904, Wardha 45,868, Chandrapur 63,184; Bhopal (6 days) 1,29,993; Jaipur 2,04,027; Hyderabad 5,32,194 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon).


Chhota Chetan (partly dubbed, revived, 3-D) 3rd week Bombay (TF) 21,32,004 (100%) from 3 cinemas; Ahmedabad 1,81,483, Rajkot 1,32,742; Pune (TF) 4,05,411, 1st week Kolhapur (TF, 6 days) 1,49,772, Solapur (TF) 1,85,193; 3rd week Delhi 9,14,840 from 2 cinemas; 2nd week Kanpur 62,871.


Lakhtar Ni Laadi Ne Vilayat No Var (Gujarati, TF) 1st week Ahmedabad 2,22,791 from 4 cinemas (2 unrecd.), dull.

Shandhyug (Marathi, TF) 1st week Bombay 1,57,848 (36.01%) from 3 cinemas.

Tu Tithe Mee (Marathi, TF) 2nd week Bombay (matinee) 90,133 (65.54%).

Jeans (Tamil) is steady in Tamil Nadu and collected very well in 2nd week.

Jeans (Telugu) 2nd week Hubli 98,365, Dharwad 37,914 (1st 69,387); 1st week Tenali 1,40,750, Ongole 1,73,800, 2 week’s total from Vijayawada 8,84,461 from 3 cinemas, Machilipatnam 1,98,854.

Titanic (English) 9th week Bombay 38,70,042 (84%) from 8 cinemas; 2nd week Ahmedabad (14 shows) 2,94,204 (1 unrecd.); 8th week Delhi 14,38,640 from 3 cinemas; 2nd week Lucknow 2,80,434; 9th week Calcutta 3,50,210; 1st Nagpur 2,37,300 (100%); 8 weeks’ total at Vijayawada 26,37,140.


A new luxurious cinema house, Movie Time, opened on 8th May at Malad (West) in Bombay with Duplicate in two shows and Titanic in two. Situated at Jagdamba Complex, Kanchpada, the 330-seater has a beautiful exterior as well as interior and is equipped with imported Christie projectors, Xenon illuminator, QSC Dolby digital amplifier and 12 JBL speakers of 800 watts each. The seats are cushioned and comfortable and are fitted with cup-holders. There is only one class in the cinema.

Admission rate is Rs. 70. The capacity per show is Rs. 14,231.25, and the capacity for 28 shows is Rs. 3,98,475. Telephone nos.: 880-4022/4023/2164.

For booking tickets in advance, arrangements for telefax system upto Lokhandwala Complex and online booking on internet have been made.

Movie Time is owned by Lalit Kapur.


Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and the story writer, director and producer of Ram-Jaane have been directed to appear in the court of the senior chief magistrate (1), Kota, Brijmohan Bansal, on May 21. The order was issued by the magistrate, rejecting Shah Rukh’s appeal to dismiss the case filed against him in 1997. The case was filed by pleaders of Kota — Mohammed Akram, Meghraj Singh Shaktawat, Kailash Bamania, Satyanarain Dhaman, Satyanarain Goel and others — objecting to the derogatory remarks against the pleaders in Ram-Jaane. Earlier, on an appeal by the defendants, the Jaipur high court had directed them to file their objections in the court of the magistrate, which was ultimately rejected by the magistrate.

Even Shah Rukh Khan Is Incomplete Without Hit Music

Everyone in the trade had expected Duplicate to take a bumper opening. It had Shah Rukh Khan, after all. And Shah Rukh had DTPH and Pardes behind him.

However, the opening of Duplicate on Thursday/Friday was anything but bumper. At places, it was good or very good, at other places, it was not even good.

What went wrong? Well, nothing actually. The only wrong thing was the industry’s assumption that Duplicate would command a fantastic initial. What the industry got taken in by was the presence of Shah Rukh and the excellent publicity. But what the industry forgot was that Duplicate did not have hit music. What it also forgot was that even Shah Rukh Khan must have the advantage of hit music to command an initial draw.

The music of Pardes became a rage only after the film was released. Therefore, despite the presence of Shah Rukh Khan and the name of Subhash Ghai, it didn’t open to bumper houses at many places. On the other hand, Shah Rukh’s DTPH and Koyla boasted of hit music, and both the films, therefore, recorded phenomenal opening day collections.

So, it is a fallacy to think that Shah Rukh alone is enough for a bumper initial draw. What is needed is Shah Rukh Khan plus hit songs. Without the latter, you can definitely hope for a decent opening but not a crazy opening.

Telephone Calls For Trustworthy Confirmation

Our office telephones rang endlessly yesterday (Friday, 8th May). Not as much for the reports of Duplicate, as for knowing which of Hitler and Mard would make it to the cinemas on 15th May, that is, next week. The reason for the hundreds of calls was the uncertainty over the release of Hitler and Mard. Both these films were scheduled to be seen by the censors on the same day (8th May). At around 2.30 p.m., news poured in that Hitler had not only been seen by censors in Madras but had also been cleared for universal exhibition. The other bit of news was that Mard would not be seen by the censors that day.

Desperate distributors and exhibitors all over India wanted to know the correct position from us. While it was certain in the afternoon that Hitler had won the race to the box-office over Mard, by 4 p.m., there was a rumour that Mard was also being seen by the censors in Madras. This brought the film back in the race. Matters became more complex because many exhibitors had booked both the films, assuming that they wouldn’t be released simultaneously. While distributors of both the films in almost every circuit claimed that it was their film which would come, and not the other, exhibitors didn’t know whom to believe and whom not.

Why, producer K.C. Bokadia, stationed in Madras, made it a point to himself telephone all his distributors and inform that Hitler had been censored and would be released on 15th. In the meantime, by the evening of Friday, it was clear that Mard had not been seen by the censors, as rumoured.

As one rumour led to another, the level of desperation of distributors and exhibitors went up. This became evident to us when we began to receive the strangest of all requests. Like this distributor of Mard, who literally pleaded with us to do anything within our powers, but to get Mard released first! “Aap kuchh bhi kijiye, lekin Mard ko 15th ko le aaiye!”, the distraught distributor said.

But no, Mard will now be seen by the Madras regional office of the CBFC on 12th May. The released date will be finalised only thereafter. It could be 22nd or 29th May or even 5th June.


When Chhota Chetan, in its 3-D version, is doing well in its repeat-run too, why did the 3-D technology not catch on in India?

– Because of the headache involved in distributing 3-D spectacles to cine goers. Literally also, the wearer of 3-D spectacles complains of a headache after a while!

When did the levy of entertainment tax on films begin in India?

– The first tax was levied in 1922 in Bengal, followed by Bombay in 1923. The rate was 12½%.

What is more important for a film — a hit star or hit music?

– Both are equally important for ensuring a bumper opening.


Varma Corporation Ltd.’s Satya was given C.C. No. CIL/3/22/98 (A) dt. 5-5-’98; length 5017.14 metres in 17 reels (cuts: 10.96 metres).

Jeans Productions’ Jeans (dubbed), seen on 8th in Madras, has been issued C.C. No. CIL/1/0422/98 (U) 8-5-’98; length 4746.38 metres in 16 reels (no cut).

B.M.B. Productions’ Hitler, seen on 8th in Madras, has been passed with U certificate, without cut.

Roopvati Pictures’ Mard and Makewell Films International’s Hatyara will be seen on 12th in Madras.

P.M. Films’ Sar Utha Ke Jiyo has been offered A certificate, with cuts.

Deepak Arts’ Iski Topi Uske Sarr has been offered UA certificate, with cuts.

Samna International’s Zanjeer – The Chain has been offered A certificate, with cuts.

Tips Films P. Ltd.’s Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai (length 4633.26 metres in 16 reels), applied on 6th and seen on 8th, has been reportedly okayed.

Pooja Bhatt Productions’ Dushman (length 4262.93 metres in 15 reels) was applied on 8th.


Mr. Vinay Choksey of VIP Enterprises, Bombay, is expected back from Australia after two weeks.

Mr. Ramdhan Mamoria of Shreedhan Enterprises, Jaipur, and Mr. Kishanchand Jain of Rekha Films, Jaipur, are at Hotel Neelkanth (649-5566/7/8).

Mr. Ajay Chudasama of Rajshri Cinema, Gandhinagar, left for Gandhinagar this morning (9th May).

Mr. Mohan Kasat of Mohan Chitra, Amravati, is in town.

Mr. Ravi Machhar of Sahyog Films, Hyderabad and Abhinay Cinema, Aurangabad, is in town.

Producer Mahendra Dhariwal will leave for Ooty on 10th for the shooting of his DADA and will stay at Hotel Monarch (44408).


* Rival exhibitors of Baroda don’t seem to be too happy with the good collections at Sagar cinema, Baroda. Perhaps, that is why every time a new film is due for release at Sagar, either a rival exhibitor puts some legal or other hurdle in the way or ensures that the print to Sagar reaches late. One or the other problem cropped up at the time of release of ZIDDI, DEEWANA MASTANA, PKTDK. On 8th May, when DUPLICATE was due to open at Sagar, a rival cinema served Sagar a show cause notice and tried to obtain a stay on the film’s release. But the court dismissed the case, and the film opened to full houses in 5 shows!

* Producer-director Ratan Irani is shooting his MERE APNE in Kashmir. It is after nine years that a film unit is shooting there. A lot of film shootings used to be done in Kashmir till 1989 when militancy started there. After that, there was shooting in Kashmir but of a different kind. 


* One Gujarati blockbuster, DESH RE JOYA DADA PARDESH JOYA, has given such a boost to the Gujarati film industry that there are about a dozen films either in the making or in the planning. These include films of Mundra brothers, Bhavchand Patel, Rambhai Bhimani, Dablabhai Tanna, Ashok Patel, Govindbhai Patel, Atul Rawal, S.J. Talukdaar, Rajendra Butala, Amar Kumar Jadeja etc. And the most-in-demand hero and heroine are Hiten Kumar and Roma Manik. Incidentally, DRJDPJ is expected to do a business of 10 crore!


Despondent Exhibitors

Despite the regular flow of releases, exhibitors all over the country are panicking. Reason: no film is sustaining at the box-office. In the first four months of 1998, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya is the only film which has done great business. No other film has so far really made any impressive mark at the box-office. Rather, some releases have put exhibitors to horrifying losses. Like, for instance, Salaakhen. It nose-dived in the second week and collected 50% of the first week’s collection or even lesser! Exhibitors, who had booked the action film on fancy terms, are still rubbing their eyes in disbelief. For, they stand to lose heavily, very heavily. With films falling like nine pins, exhibitors (and even distributors) are looking up to the heavens. For, it seems, only God can help this industry. Did you say, even God cannot?

‘Hitler’ Wins The Release Race

The race between the three Mithun starrers — Hitler, Mard and Hatyara — has finally been put to an end by the Central Board of Film Certification. While K.C. Bokadia’s Hitler was censored in Madras on 8th May, Surendra Bohra’s Mard could not be seen that day by the Madras regional office. Obviously, therefore, Hitler will hit the screens next week, while Mard will come later. Mahendra Dhariwal, the producer of Hatyara, had earlier last week decided on postponing his film by some weeks. Incidentally, all the three producers of the Mithun-starrers — Bokadia, Bohra and Dhariwal — hail from Rajasthan. While Bokadia is from Merta, Bohra and Dhariwal are from Jodhpur.

Professional Low

It’s a strange coincidence that whenever producer Sajid Nadiadwala starts a film, his director is, at that time, passing through a low in his profession. His Judwaa, directed by David Dhawan, went before the cameras on the day Yaraana, also directed by David Dhawan, was released and declared a loser. His Jeet (Raj Kanwar) had barely started than Kartavya, directed by Raj Kanwar, bombed. Now, Sajid will shortly start the Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit, Chandralekha, with Priyadarsan whose last two films (Saat Rang Ke Sapne and Kabhi Na Kabhi) have bombed. The remake will star Anil Kapoor, Tabu and Mahima Chaudhry.

Mithun’s Mantra — More The Merrier?

While there is an increasing breed of stars who prefer doing fewer films at a time, Mithun Chakraborty seems to tread a different path. He remains, so far, the star with the most number of releases in 1998. The year is only in its fifth month and already, six Mithun-starrers have seen release. These are Sher-E-Hindustan, Saazish, Military Raaj, Chandaal, Ustadon Ke Ustad and Gudia. While the next few weeks await the release of his Hitler, Mard and Hatyara (all ready for release), another lot of Mithun-starrers like Goondagiri, Sikandar Sadak Ka and Do Numri are being readied for release in the coming two months. Moreover, it is certain that Mithun’s Devta, Sabse Badhkar Kaun, Yamraaj and at least five or six of his other under-production films may be completed in time for release this year. Thus, if all goes well, Mithun’s tally of 1998 releases will add up to a whopping 15 or even 20 films! Among his other under-production films are Mafia Raaj, Aag Hi Aaag, Agni Putra, Arjun Raaj, Jaan Ki Bazi, Jwar Bhata, Phandebaaz, Balram, Sautela, Waqt Ka Faisla, Warrant, Dada, Love Station, Deepak Pawar’s Prod. No. 1, Sipahi Hindustan Ka and Balidaan. Well, didn’t we say, more the merrier?

Incidentally, South films’ hero, Prem Nazir, perhaps, holds the record for the maximum number of releases in a single year. He had — hold your breath — 39 releases in 1979! Prem Nazir may also be the hero with the maximum films to his credit. He has acted in 450 films.


Satya can make an intellectual mind think but it also has the substance to shock the masses.”



That Ramgopal Varma has an eye for technical brilliance was evident in his very first film, Shiva. Of the ten Telugu and Hindi films which followed Shiva, some clicked and some bombed, but they were all technically far superior than many other films of their times. Ramu, as Ramgopal is affectionately called, has surpassed all his technical brilliance, in his latest film, Satya. We recently had an occasion to see the stark Satya which deals with the Bombay underworld — how it functions, the personal lives of gangsters, their humane side. The film is so realistic (it even has four-letter words being mouthed by the characters) that it leaves the viewer shocked; for the thinking mind, it provides good food for thought. Its principal artistes — Chakravorty, Urmila Matondkar and Majoj Bajpai — have performed so wonderfully that you can’t help singing their praises. Satya also boasts of excellent sound effects, of the kind not heard earlier in Hindi films. All said, it definitely leaves you with a hangover. Our hangover prompted us to sit with Ramu and get him to talk more on Satya. The engineer-turned-filmmaker answered all the questions except the one about, what we think, is too heavy a price fixed for the film (“that’s Bharatbhai Shah’s department,” he laughed), in an informal chat a little before his departure for Panvel (near Bombay) for the shooting of his next film.

What was the inspiration to make a film like SATYA?

– I was toying with the idea of making an action film, something like my first film, Shiva, but on a much larger scale, when I happened to meet a gangster. When I interacted with him, I was touched by the human element of a guy from the underworld. I discovered that we generally tend to treat them as gangsters and nothing more than that, but when you interact with them, they too come across as human beings. One is horrified when one reads headlines in newspapers about underworld dons and gangsters being shot dead or shooting others dead, but when the human element of these gangsters comes in, the whole perspective changes. You then start looking at these people as human beings. My film, Satya, is more about the psychology of gangsters, it tackles the human side of the strata which society shuns and is terrified of.

Having made the film, how far do you think, you’ve succeeded in striking a balance between commercial and good cinema?

– The clichéd definition of good or art cinema is that the narration should be very slow and that it appeals to the thinking mind. Whereas, commercial cinema is something which appeals to instinct rather than intelligence. I would say, in a commercial film, you try to give the audience what it wants. What does the audience want? Violence, sex, fear and emotions. These four ingredients in a film are bound to affect the cine goer, whether he is in Hollywood or Bollywood. In Hollywood, the line between commercial and good cinema has been removed. A film like Godfather offers a lot to the viewer to think about (like an art film would) but it also has the capacity to move him emotionally (like a commercial film would). Satya, too, can make an intellectual mind think, maybe raise an issue, but it also has the substance to shock the masses. They (masses) would feel for the characters even if they may not understand the intricate details and the film in its whole context. What I’ve basically done is to take the characters and locations on the realistic level and give the film a very real look but I’ve given it the pace of a mainstream cinema film. I’ve used the background score to dramatise the whole thing. The background music, sound effects and the cutting (editing) style are all of the kind used in commercial films. Art filmmakers have a very detatched way of showing things because of which the audience doesn’t feel involved.

How real have you tried to keep the characters of your story?

– As real as possible. I heard a lot of real-life incidents before beginning to shoot. But here I must add that a lot of credit for the realistic characters goes to my actors. For instance, Manoj Bajpai looks like a real gangster in the film. But I cannot deny that we also definitely had role models before us.

Except for Urmila Matondkar, there aren’t really well-known faces in the film. Why only Urmila among so many fresh faces? Or alternatively, why aren’t there other equally well-known actors, like Urmila?

– Right from the beginning, I had wanted to cast only new faces in the roles of gangsters. Had I shown known faces, it would have acted against the film’s authenticity. I also thought that if I would not include a love angle in the story, it may start looking like a documentary on the underworld, which my film isn’t. On the other hand, since the film basically deals with the underworld, I did not want to devote too much time to the love story. Since Urmila is the one in love with my hero, I could say a lot without giving too much footage to the love track. Besides, Urmila’s is the only character which is not from the police force or from the underworld, where I’ve used lesser known or new faces.

This brings me to my next question. Why was Mahima Chaudhry replaced by Urmila?

– When I signed Mahima for the heroine’s role, my script wasn’t complete. Once it was more defined, I realised that I needed a more established heroine. So, I wrote a letter to Mahima, explaining her the actual position and situation and informing her that I would want to replace her. Mahima wrote back to me to say that she, too, was not interested in doing my film.

How did you think of using four-letter words at so many places in your dialogues? Were you not scared of the censors or….

– …..Did I have an advance understanding with the censors, do you mean?

No, no, what I mean is, did you shoot with alternative dialogues too?

– No, I didn’t shoot the scenes with alternative dialogues. Right from the beginning, I and all the persons involved with the film were convinced that we were making an honest film. The four-letter words, used by the characters who mouth them, are a part of the language of such characters in real life. They (swear words) were never included to titillate the viewer. We were sure, our sincerity would be appreciated by the censors, and that’s what has happened. The censors have passed most of the four-letter words.

Where you somewhere driven by the fact that Shekhar Kapur got away with four-letter words in BANDIT QUEEN?

– I wouldn’t deny that this fact did cross my mind. I’m sure, Bandit Queen has influenced me as far as the four-letter words go, because I was also making a genuine film like Bandit Queen.

Who do you think is your target audience for the film?

– I sincerely feel, Satya will appeal to all. Its intellectual content may appeal only to the intelligentsia but its emotional appeal will be universal. I wouldn’t call it just an action film. It is also about what prompts the gangsters to take to action. In a film like Ardh Satya, there was a curiosity among the general public to know how the police functions. Satya takes a close look into the lives of gangsters. So the people will be curious to know about the functioning of the underworld, which they will be able to see in my film. Moreover, the love story in the film makes it one of universal appeal.

Notwithstanding the four-letter words?

– Yes, in spite of the four-letter words, the film has universal appeal.

What special care did you take for the fantastic sound effects in the film?

– We worked a great deal on the sound. I give a lot of credit for the excellent sound effects to Media Artistes. Shridhar and his team at Media Artistes have done a splendid job. Most of the sound effects in the film have been recorded specially for it, we haven’t used stock sound. Because the film is so realistic, the impact of sound gets enhanced. That is why the sound also looks so real in the film. We worked for a whole three months on the sound.

After taking so much pain on the sound, don’t you feel frustrated that many cinemas in smaller places do not have even reasonable sound facilities, what to talk of modern sound?

– Yes, it is frustrating, but that cannot be the reason for not working on sound. In our industry, people adopt new things, only after somebody tries it and proves successful. Like, Dolby sound became popular after Rangeela and DDLJ. If Satya becomes successful, more producers will insist on the sound effects of Satya. Without change, there can be no progress in any field.

Aren’t you scared of inviting the wrath of the underworld once your film hits the screens?

– No. I’ve neither glorified nor demeaned the underworld and so, I don’t think anybody should be angry after seeing the film. My effort is to make the underworld guys look inside themselves.

Did you have to show your film to the police?

– Not at all. The film doesn’t side with anybody — neither the underworld nor the police.

What is your next film?

– My new film will be a suspense thriller starring Manoj Bajpai and Urmila Matondkar. It is about a psychopath killer and a woman who is alone at home. The entire film has only two characters. It isn’t titled as yet. I’m planning to complete it in one schedule of less than a month. Mukesh Udeshi is presenting it.

FLASHBACK | 28 April, 2023
(From our issue dated 2nd May, 1998)


Lata Films’ Aunty No. 1 is the story of an aspiring film actor who has to don the get-up of an aunt of his friends to not only help them but also save his skin from the villains whom he has seen murdering someone. The story is quite childish and the comic situations are not really funny because most of them are contrived. The writer and director seem to have decided to offer a funny fare to the audience and, in the process, dish out sub-standard comedy. Screenplay is so routine that one wonders whether any serious effort has gone into the film at the scripting stage. Even the dialogues lack the punch of a comedy.

Govinda is the only one who tries to rise above the script and he succeeds. His performance is consistently good, whether as the aspiring hero or the aunty. Raveena Tandon gets limited scope and is average. Raza Murad and Mohnish Bahl come up with ordinary performances. Kader Khan, too, is not in his elements. Sadashiv Amarapurkar passes muster. Harish and Rohit Kumar are so-so. Karina Grover and Mitra Joshi are insignificant. Bindu does a fairly good job. Reema and Saeed Jaffrey are okay.

Kirti Kumar’s direction is hardly any better than Sachin Bhaumick’s script. No attempt has been made to provide hilarious situations or even something that would keep the audience in good spirits. Rather, the feeble comedy begins to jar after a while. The title song and ‘Bul bula re bul bula’ are well-tuned numbers and their picturisations are quite nice. A couple of songs are weak. Action scenes look forced. Camerawork is average.

On the whole, Aunty No. 1 will neither make the audience laugh nor the distributors smile. Despite its reasonable price, it cannot be expected to turn out to be an earning fare.

Released on 1-5-’98 at Minerva and 19 other cinemas of Bombay thru VIP Enterprises. Publicity: quite good. Opening: very good (due to Maharashtra Day holiday on 1st May). …….Also released all over. Opening was satisfactory at some places but below the mark at others.


On 10th April, a musical night with Arjun (of Mahabharat fame) was organised at Birla Matushri Sabhagriha, Bombay. The show was a tribute to the legendary singer, Mohd. Rafi, and was attended by a number of celebrities like Jackie Shroff, Namrata Shirodkar, Shahbaaz Khan, Ranee Mukerji, Milind Gunaji, Ayub Khan, producer Sudhakar Bokade, producer-director Ravi Chopra and Naushad Ali. Arjun impressed the audience with a soulful rendition of a number of Rafi hits.

During the programme, Athar Nabi, chairman of Avadh Ratan Committee, announced that Madhuri Dixit would be honoured with an Avadh Ratan very soon. He also mentioned that they had earlier decided to felicitate her during a Kumar Sanu nite, but Arjun’s voice had so impressed him that they had now decided to have a musical nite with Arjun instead.

Past recipients of Avadh Ratan include Kaifi Azmi, Naushad Ali, Lata Mangeshkar and Dev Anand, who were felicitated during musical nites with Jagit Singh, Asha Bhosle, Mohd. Aziz and Udit Narayan.


A total of 300 cinemas in India have been installed with DTS sound system in the last two-and-a-half years. This was revealed by Jim Murray, director of worldwide sales and exhibitor relations, Digital Theater Systems, at an informal get-together hosted by him on 30th April at Ramada Inn Palm Grove. Murray also said that it was the target of Digital Theater Systems to instal the sound system in 300 more cinemas in the next three years. He was especially happy about the maintenance and sound system of Cinemax in Bombay.


The birth anniversary of Dadasaheb Phalke was celebrated by the Western India Film Producers’ Association on 30th April at Citizen Hotel. Dev Anand was the chief guest and he released an informative directory brought out by the WIFPA.

WIFPA president G.P. Shirke, Sultan Ahmed, Santosh Singh Jain, Shakti Samanta, Yash Chopra, Janki Dass, actress Nimmi, Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala, Chandrashekhar, Ramanand Sagar, S.K. Kapur, K.D. Shorey and Anil Ganguly made speeches, paying tributes to Phalke.

It was decided that the industry should ask the Maharashtra government to give it land in Bombay for constructing a huge Dadasaheb Phalke Film Bhavan in memory of the late filmmaker. The Film Bhavan would house a laboratory, recording rooms, preview theatres and even rooms for lodging and boarding of distributors who come to Bombay from other parts of the country.

Vrinda Pusalkar, the 75-year-old daughter of Phalke, was also present at the celebration function, alongwith her son. She is the only living child of Dadasaheb Phake, all the others having expired.

Dinkar Chowdhry compered the function. The vote of thanks was proposed by Mahavir Jain.


Sanjay (UTV), son of director Ashim Bhattacharjii, will wed Geetanjali on 4th May. A reception to celebrate the marriage will be held the same evening at Khar Gymkhana, Khar, Bombay.


You always complain that stars are charging exorbitantly but when it comes to your reviews of non-star cast films, you write that the film has dim chances due to lack of face value. Why this contradiction?

– A non-star cast film has dim chances if the content is not good. But a strong script can offset lack of face value. The bottomline is, good scripts always work — something which I’ve always been writing about. Besides, look at the fate of some big star-cast films which flop because of their high prices (which, in turn, are due to sky-high star prices).

Which was the first colour film of India?

– Imperial Film Company’s KISAN KANYA, produced in 1937. Minerva Movietone’s JHANSI KI RANI (1953) was the first technically perfect Technicolor film. SAIRANDHRI, made in 1933 by Prabhat Film Company, was also a Technicolor film but its colour quality was not satisfactory.

When will Sooraj Barjatya commence the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain?

– On 18th June, 1998. The film will be released in 1999-end.


‘Bade Dilwala’ Complete

Action and climax scenes were picturised for Noorani Film Corporation’s Bade Dilwala in the film’s last week-long spell till April 29 at a cafe, Churchgate, Mantralaya and other locales of Bombay. Sunil Shetty, Priya Gill, Archna Pooran Singh, Ranjeet, Satish Kaushik, baby Erum, Raju Kher, Guddi Maruti and Paresh Rawal participated. The entire shooting is now complete. Dubbing is in progress at Anand. The film is written, produced and directed by Shakeel Noorani. Music: Aadesh Shrivastava. Action: Raam Shetty.


Rajshri Launches Music Company With Love Album

The Barjatya family has added one more dimension to its Rajshri empire by launching a music company — Rajshri Music. The first non-film album of the new company is ‘Yeh Hai Prem’, containing ten songs penned by Shyam Anuragi and composed by Milind Ingle. They’ve been rendered by Milind Ingle and Shikha.

The unique feature of the album is that a whole love story is sought to be narrated through the ten songs. A video of the first song has been shot by Kunal Kohli. Abbas (Tamil film hero) and Preeti are the lovers in the song choreographed by Saroj Khan and cinematographed by Basha Lal.

Rajshri Music has entered into a manufacturing and distribution arrangement with Sony Music.

Rajshri has also tied up with Hallmark Cards & Gifts which will manufacture and distribute ‘Yeh Hai Prem’ posters, greeting cards, coffee mugs, letter pads and several other stationery items.

The ‘Yeh Hai Prem’ album is the baby of Rajat Barjatya, son of Ajit Kumar Barjatya. The young boy addressed the press conference on 27th and fielded the questions from the press, with maturity. He revealed that it was his late grandfather, Tarachand Barjatya’s dream to start a music company. He also informed that the ‘Yeh Hai Prem’ team had worked on the album for a year-and-a-half.


Producer-director Subhash Ghai left for Khandala on 1st May and will be back on 4th.

Mr. Pramod K. Gupta of Rangbhumi and Jyoti Publicity, Delhi, will be in Bombay from May 5 to 9 at Hotel Kings International (618-4381/82/83, office no.: 646-4055).

Producer Yash Johar left for Delhi on 1st May and will return this evening (2nd May).

Producer Tutu Sharma is in Delhi.

Madhuri’s Gratefulness & Goodwill

Rarely, if ever, does a heroine throw a party where the who’s who of the industry is invited. Hosting parties has long been the domain of film producers. If not film producers, it is always the male species in the industry that spends money on lavish parties.

Madhuri Dixit’s party then on 30th April at Holiday Inn came as a surprise. Even more surprising was the fact that the super-successful heroine didn’t have any specific reason to throw a party. She was neither announcing a film nor celebrating her birthday nor even planning to get married. Since 1997 has been a particularly good year for Madhuri, what with the runaway success of Dil To Pagal Hai and her bagging all the awards, it, perhaps, could have been her reason for celebrating.

And celebrate she did but even as every one of the invitees asked Madhuri what the occasion was, the girl simply smiled and said, “There’s no occasion.”

Very thoughtfully, Madhuri and Rikku, her meticulous secretary right from the time she entered the industry almost 15 years ago, had extended invitations to all Madhuri’s producers, directors and co-stars — right from her first film to the ones she is currently acting in. Some producers/directors have almost retired from the industry and even their whereabouts was not known, but Madhuri and Rikku managed to trace them and yes, they were there at the party.

The attendance was solid proof of the goodwill Madhuri has built over the years in the industry. Everybody had a great time celebrating….. well, nothing actually! It was just Madhuri’s way of saying “thank you” to all those who’ve been responsible for her rise to the no. 1 position. And her timing couldn’t be more correct. After all, Madhuri’s dil to khush hai…..

– Komal Nahta


Mithun Film Festival

Believe it or not, Mithun Chakraborty has been giving sleepless nights to many a distributor and exhibitor. Reason: three Mithun-starrers viz. Mard, Hatyara and Hitler have been announced for release on the same day, 15th May. Common sense would convince anyone that three Mithun starrers cannot hit the screens on the same day, but the question that is being asked is: which of these three will come and which won’t? Exhibitors all over have distributors of all the three films booking the films at their cinemas but they (exhibitors) don’t know whom to oblige and whom to refuse. The position this week is no better than it was last week, with producers and distributors of all the three films claiming that irrespective of the other films, their film is “definitely coming on 15th May”. The copies of Hitler and Hatyara should be out in a day or two at Vijaya Vauhini Lab in Madras. The copy of Mard will take three to five days to be out. All the films are yet to be censored.

Century For ‘Duplicate’

That Shah Rukh Khan is the hottest hero in the Overseas territory is common knowledge. But how hot? Well, the number of prints of Shah Rukh’s Duplicate being taken out by ABCL and Arjan Lulla, the Overseas distributors of the film, should give an indication of how very hot the guy is with the ‘phoren’ world. A total of 97 prints are being taken out for Overseas alone. With one more week still to go for the release, the figure of 97 may go up further as the craze continues to mount. You never know, the number of prints finally taken out could be 100 or even more! Earlier, DTPH and Ishq have had over 90 prints of theirs taken out.

Similarity Breeds Contempt

The recent failures of Salaakhen, Zor, Aflatoon and Keemat once again underscore the fact that people want to see Sunny Deol and Akshay Kumar do something different, for a change. That Sunny still suffers from the hangover of his earlier films like Arjun and Ghayal is amply evident from his recent releases viz. Ghatak, Ziddi, Ajay and, now, Salaakhen. The question being asked is, how long can one go on performing the same kind of roles in film after film? More importantly, how long will the public tolerate an actor doing this? Sunny’s recent failures (Zor and Salaakhen) make the public verdict crystal clear, and he must take note of it. Being a talented actor, it shouldn’t be difficult for him to convincingly portray roles that are at least a bit different from his trademark one-man-taking-on-the-big-bad-world roles. Remember Damini?

Another star who is sailing in the same boat is Akshay Kumar. Insaaf, Tarazu, Aflatoon, Keemat and even his earlier films, all depict him performing the same old dance-routines and wearing (or rather, taking off) the same type of costumes. Action has always been Akshay’s strong point, but now, you cannot help but notice that a dull routine has crept in even in his action sequences. These being the main reasons for his recent failures, Akshay, too, needs to take stock of the situation and introduce a great deal of freshness in his performances.

Punjab Government Harassing Producers

Although producer-director B.S. Shaad’s Punjabi film, Laali, has been released and has also done well, Shaad has no laali on his face these days. Reason: the Punjab government is playing games with him. Shaad had applied for Punjab government’s subsidy for his film and had also completed all the required formalities in this regard. Since the script of Laali had been approved by the committee set up for the purpose, Shaad thought, he would have no difficulty in getting the subsidy amount from the government. Although he was sanctioned a subsidy of Rs. 12 lakh, months have passed since the release of his film in January this year, but the government has not paid him the money. An exasperated Shaad has now served the Cultural Affairs department of the government a legal notice, claiming the subsidy due to him. It also appears that his is not a solitary case. Dalwinder Sohal (Ishq No Poochhe Jaat) and Priti Sapru (Muqaddar) are two more producers who are contemplating similar action against the Punjab government.

FLASHBACK | 21 April, 2023
(From our issue dated 25th April, 1998)


Cinema Arts’ Salaakhen is a revenge drama with a difference. It tells the story of a man who dares to raise his voice against the crimes committed by an influential person who is actually an underworld don but who wears the garb of a social worker. Since the police are hand-in-glove with the don, they make life miserable for this man, an honest teacher, who pledges to give witness in the court and who thinks he is, therefore, helping the police. The torture gets too much for the simpleton teacher and then, his son, an angry young man, decides to take law into his hands. He breathes fire and, one by one, kills all those responsible for torturing his father. A major part of the film is in flashback.

The opening couple of reels (before the flashback begins) are stunning because the drama is absolutely unusual. Once the flashback begins, the film has some highs and also some lows. The plus points are the arresting second half, especially the long climax, the performances of the main characters, and the action. The lows are that the film has less relief and the ending is not as effective as it should have been. Since the hero is a criminal in the eyes of law but a true hero in the public eye, greater participation of the public in getting justice for the hero would have had a more hair-raising impact. Nevertheless, the climax action (Tinnu Verma) is simply astounding and keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. The murder of the police officer in the dhobi ghat and the car stunts and explosions are breathtaking. Too much footage has been given to the hero’s father, and his death in the court looks contrived. The first half is dull at places but the second half is good.

Sunny Deol does a remarkable job as the angry young man. He breathes fire into his character and performs brilliantly. As a result, all his action scenes and otherwise unbelievable dare-devilry look absolutely believable. Raveena Tandon has hardly any role but she is good in whatever little she has to do. Her dances are appealing. Anupam Kher is simply fantastic as the simple teacher who takes on the don. His little nuances are proof of how much pains he has taken to portray his character. In one word, he is superb. Farida Jalal, playing his wife and Sunny’s mother, also gives a memorable performance. Her scenes when she curses the evil-doers is stunning. Amrish Puri plays the don with conviction and with the ease which he has mastered. Mohan Joshi is good. Mahavir Shah leaves a mark with an able job. Harish Patel provides a couple of light moments with his natural acting. Deven Varma has a brief role and is good. Rummy Dhillon is average. Ravi Patwardhan acts ably. Dinesh Hingoo is okay. Manisha Koirala appears in just one dance number but her presence is not electrifying.

Director Guddu Dhanoa has extracted superlative performances from his cast. Although he has not let the action fare remain just that and has handled the subject with reasonable confidence, providing some emotions too, he has not balanced the tension with light scenes or refreshing romance. Dilip Shukla’s screenplay is good and his dialogues are also very nice. But it must be mentioned that Sunny’s character is such that his dialogues should have been much more fiery. Dilip Sen Sameer Sen’s music is catchy but the absence of a hit number is felt sorely, especially because there’s not much relief otherwise. ‘Pichhu pade hain’, ‘Dhak dhak’, ‘Punjabi kudi’ and ‘Zubaan pe jo nahin aaye’ are the better songs. Song picturisations are not novel. Camerawork is quite good. DTS mixing is very effective. Other technical aspects are proper. Production values are grand.

On the whole, Salaakhen has appeal for the masses. Despite a heavy price, it has the merits to keep everybody satisfied.

Released on 24-4-’98 at Novelty and 21 other cinemas of Bombay thru A.B.C. Pictures P. Ltd. Publicity: very good. Opening: good (affected due to Sharjah Cup cricket match finals). …….Also released all over. Opening was excellent in U.P., C.P. Berar and Orissa (in all these circuits, the film opened on Thursday) but not as good in C.I.


Mystery continues to surround the death of producer Vijay Sippy, son of G.P. Sippy and brother of Ramesh Sippy, whose body was found lying in the building adjacent to the one in which he used to stay, on the morning of 17th April. Police investigating the case are confused about whether the death is a case of suicide or murder.

Vijay Sippy was 52 and a law graduate. He joined his father’s business when he was 22 years old. Starting as a trainee, he went on to eventually run the company.

Vijay was a private person by nature and, therefore, socialised very little. He is survived by his parents, two wives and a son.

A condolence meeting will be held on Sunday, 26th April, between 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. at the residence of G.P. Sippy, Shree Vijayaa Bhavan, Altamount Road, Bombay.


Satyamma, mother of veteran actor Chandra Shekhar and grandmother of television serial producer Ashok Shekhar, expired on 22nd April in Hyderabad after a prolonged illness.


H.D. Mistry, senior sound recordist, expired in Bombay on 8th April after a brief illness. He was 84 and active till the end. He was president of the Western India Motion Picture & Television Sound Engineers’ Association and chairman of WIMPSE Welfare Trust.

Before turning a freelance sound recordist in 1969, Mistry was attached to Ranjit Studios. He recorded the songs of late singers K.L. Saigal and Khursheed at Ranjit with only one microphone for both, the singer and the musician. The famous Vande Mataram song, rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar and chorus for Anand Math, was recorded by H.D. Mistry in 1950 with just three microphones in a non-airconditioned and non-sound-proof shooting stage of Filmistan Studios.

Mistry had recorded the sound for 100 feature films.

He is survived by his wife, son and three daughters.


Beginning this week, films are being released in C.I. on Thursdays again, instead of Fridays. The system of releasing films on Thursday was discontinued from 13th November, 1997, as a result of a decision taken by the Indore Distributors Forum. But the system of releasing films on Fridays did not find favour with distributors and exhibitors alike. The trade has, therefore, shifted to the old system of releasing films on Thursdays.

In C.P. Berar, it had been left to the discretion of the distributor to release films on Thursdays or Fridays. But now, even the C.P. trade has decided to stick to the Thursday release pattern.


Hindi films have been ‘banned’ in Manipur with effect from 25th April by extortionists who were demanding protection money from cinemas screening Hindi films. When the cinemas refused to oblige, the extortionists ordered an unofficial ban on Hindi films.

The ban has spread panic among Assam distributors who fear, they will face a loss of at least 20% in their revenue.


With star-cast films like Qila, Kabhi Na Kabhi, Zor, Yugpurush and Keemat flopping, will film prices come down?

– They may not come down but they surely won’t go up indiscriminately.

Which was the first cinema to be built in India?

– It was Elphinston Picture Palace, built by J.F. Madan in Calcutta in 1907. The first cinema show was arranged by the Lumière brothers of France at Watson Hotel in Bombay on 7th July, 1896.

What is essential for a non-star-cast film to click?

– Novelty in subject or presentation or hit music or all three.


Lata Films’ Aunty No. 1, seen by the revising committee on 21st, has been issued C.C. No. CIL/1/25/98 (U) dt. 24-4-’98; length 3933.90 metres in 16 reels (cuts: 158.81 metres).

M.V. Gopalram’s Mera Desh (dubbed) was given C.C. (in Madras) No. CIL/3/0099/98 (A) dt. 27-3-’98; length 4013.31 metres in 15 reels (no cut).

Venus Corporation Ltd.’s Satya (length 4999.19 metres in 17 reels), applied on 17th and seen on 20th, has been offered A certificate, with cuts.

Sarav Productions’ Dhadak was seen by the revising committee on 20th.

P.M. Films’ Sar Utha Ke Jiyo was seen on 22nd.

Promise Pictures’ Jungle Love Story has been offered UA certificate, with cuts.


Mr. Sunil Bansal of Jai Pictures P. Ltd., Jaipur, is in town (630-2376).

Mr. S.M. Kothari of Indore will reach Bombay today (25th April).

Producer N.N. Sippy, associate producer Pravesh Sippy and cameraman Debu Deodhar left for France and Czechoslovakia on 23rd April to scout locations for SILSILA HAI PYAR KA. They are expected back after a fortnight.

Mr. Sunderdas Sonkiya and Mr. Ramavtar Rana of Jaipur Films P. Ltd., Jaipur, are in town (611-5808).


* Three Mithun starrers are ready for release. All the three — MARD, HITLER and HATYARA — might hit the screens in May.

* The Aati kya Khandala song, rendered by Aamir Khan (and Alka Yagnik) for GHULAM, should soon become very popular. It has endearing lyrics by Nitin Raikwar and soft music (Jatin Lalit).

* M.F. Hussain’s GAJ GAMINI has taken off with song recordings.

* A.R.B. Arts, the East Punjab distributors of SALAAKHEN, have released as many as 28 prints in the circuit. Two prints were added to the original 26 on Friday itself. 

* The US assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, Karl Frederick Inderfurth, saw DTPH on 22nd April at Bombay’s Liberty cinema. Persis Khambatta was his interpreter. Inderfurth could see just 45 minutes of the film as he had to keep another appointment, but he said, he was dying to know the ending of the interesting film.

* Rajshri’s MAINE PYAR KIYA has been revived in Bihar this week with six prints. …….At Chitrabani, Begusarai, it was PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA which was booked from 24th April but due to the print not reaching the cinema on time, MAINE PYAR KIYA is being screened there for a week. PKTDK will open next week in continuation to MPK. That’s MAINE PYAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA, then!

Dream Merchant

‘Titanic’ Fever In Bollywood

It’s Titanic fever all around. Whether at parties or other social gatherings, the film being discussed is the 11-Oscar winner. So, it was natural for me to dream about the film industry in Bollywood trying to ape Titanic. Bhed chaal, you know.

I first dreamt about Mahesh Bhatt who told me that after the super-success of Titanic in India, he had decided to postpone his retirement by one film. “I’ll quit direction after I’ve made a Hindi Titanic,” he said. “What Hollywood can do, Bollywood can do better and with double the results and efficiency. My film will start after the release of my Duplicate and it will be called Duplicate Titanic. There will be not one but two Titanic ships in the film, and catastrophe will strike both of them at the same time. That would mean double the thrill for the price of a single ticket.”

David Dhawan was busy on the sets of Smita Thackeray’s Haseena Maan Jayegi. Without giving much thought, he told me, “My next will be titled Haseena Teri Jaan Jayegi. In that film, it will be the heroine who will die due to the cold waters the lovers will land themselves into after the ship tragedy as in Titanic. Karisma will play Kate Winslet’s role and, of course, Govinda will be her hero. Govindo Di Virario.”

Subhash Ghai had not yet recovered from the blacklash of the “nasty journalists” who had been “writing nonsense” about his legal battle with Mahima Chaudhary. About Titanic, he said, “I plan to make a sequel to Titanic. It will be called Titanic Chali Pardes. My film will start where the Hollywood film ended. I will show the ship-owner taking the ship-builder to court for breach of his contract. How could the ship sink like that?” Then, sensing my bewilderment, he added, “Don’t worry, I may have lost in a real court of law, but that doesn’t mean, I don’t know to direct a courtroom drama. Coming back to my film. It will be so titled because the Titanic will be shown heading for pardes when calamity will strike. Since I’ve got a contract with Mahima, she will have to play the heroine in the film. The boy? It could be anybody. But not a newcorner. I don’t want more courtroom dramas in real life!”

Umesh Mehra was still trying to figure out why Qila bombed so miserably, when I met him. “See, we Indians have got a Hollywood complex,” he thundered. “Why should I make a Titanic or a sequel or an inspired version of it? If Titanic was a disaster film, so was my Qila. But nobody praises me as they praise the Titanic director.”

Vashu Bhagnani was not in his office when I reached there. His peon told me, he had gone to IMPPA to register a line of titles like Ship No. 1, Disaster No. 1, Iceberg No. 1, Love Story No. 1, Titanic No. 1, Luxury Liner No. 1, Water No. 1, Sea No. 1, Samudra No. 1, Accident No. 1…… I excused myself to use Vashu’s toilet to do what they call ‘no. 1’.

Randhir Kapoor said, he had finally been inspired to start a film. “It will be called Ram Teri Ganga Phir Maili Ho Gayee because the ship disaster will take place in the Ganga in my film.”

Yash Chopra and Rajkumar Barjatya, being the most forward-looking producers in India, told me, they had decided to join hands for the Titanic film in India. “Oh, like Paramount and 20th Century Fox joined hands in Hollywood,” I exclaimed excitedly. “Yes,” nodded Barjatya. But the two pillars were undecided about the title. While Barjatya wanted the film to be called Nadiya Ke Paar because it would be the endeavour of Titanic to go nadiya ke paar, Chopra suggested that more prominence should be given to the romance portion of the story and preferred the title Dil To Saath Saath Hai. “This film,” revealed Chopra, “will be longer than even the Titanic. It will be of 21 reels and saat-saat-saat reels will be directed by me, Sooraj Barjatya and Aditya.”

Ram Gopal Varma scoffed at the idea of being inspired from Titanic. “This is not Hollywood,” he said. “Special effects don’t work in our films,” he sighed, adding, “Remember my Daud? It had so many special effects, still it bombed.” I had half a mind to tell him, his film had flopped not because of the special effects but rather because of the special defects!

Pranlal Mehta was despondent. My Yugpurush has put me to such major losses, I can’t dream of starting my next so soon. But yes, I’ve thought of a title. If I could make Jeeo Shaan Se, I can also make Doobo Shaan Se. And yes, if I do make this Titanic-inspired film, it will be directed by…….” “Ramesh Sippy,” I interrupted him.

B.R. Ishara was in a dubbing studio. He told me, “If Hollywood can send a Titanic to India, so can I send a film to Hollywood. I’m dubbing my old film, in English, and just wait and watch, it will give Titanic a run for its money. “Which film?”, I queried. “Of course, Kaagaz Ki Nao,” he announced.

The last on my list was Priyadarsan. “I’m no less than James Cameron,” he said with unmistakable pride. “Saat Rang Ke Sapne and Kabhi Na Kabhi have given me more confidence than ever before. Cameron only made the ship sink. I’m capable of drowning the entire Bombay film industry, just you wait.”

I woke up with a start. I didn’t want to drown.

– Komal Nahta


Colleagues Before Becoming Man And Wife

Before Shravani Deodhar got married to cameraman Debu Deodhar, she used to be Amol Palekar’s fifth assistant. In fact, the two met each other when Debu was Amol’s cameraman, and Shravani, his assistant. Being the fifth assistant, she used to sound the clapper-board before every shot but since she used to be a bit slow in moving out of the frame after sounding the clap, Debu used to get irritated and often chided her for wasting precious raw stock. He used to tell Shravani to move out of the frame quickly and used to advise her to decide beforehand on the place where she would run after giving the clap. Those were the days when Shravani and Debu were just colleagues. Shravani ultimately did find the right place — in Debu’s heart. This was revealed by Shravani recently.

A Promise Fulfilled

Late actor Yeshwant Dutt, perhaps, had a premonition of his death. After completing the shooting of Ajey Jhankar’s Marathi film, Sarkarnama, he had been hospitalised for an ailment. When the film’s director, Shravani Deodhar, and cameraman, Debu Deodhar, went to visit him in hospital, he told them not to worry because he wouldn’t die before completing his dubbing. When he was discharged from hospital, he dubbed for Sarkarnama at Film City from morning to 2.30 in the night. Only after completing his dubbing did he return home. The following day, Yeshwant Dutt breathed his last. But he had kept his promise to the Deodhars about completing Sarkarnama before dying.

Thoughtful Gesture

Vinayak Mayekar, the controller of Plaza cinema, Bombay, where Marathi film Tu Tithe Mee opened this week, was so impressed with the film when he saw it that he agreed to forgo one show’s rent (approximately Rs. 10,000) at Plaza. It’s not the amount but the thought which counts.


After late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, it is Pakistani singer Ataullah Khan who has lent his voice to a Hindi film song. And this Pakistani has sung for a film with a title no less than Hero Hindustani! Which makes it: Film Hindustani, singer Pakistani.

The ‘D’ Factor

‘D’ has been a particularly lucky alphabet for Yash Chopra. Some of the biggest hits of his, either as director or producer or both, have had their titles beginning with ‘D’ — Dhool Ka Phool, Daag, Deewaar, Darr, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Dil To Pagal Hai.

FLASHBACK | 14 April, 2023
(From our issue dated 18th April, 1998)


Shogun Films Ltd.’s Kabhi Na Kabhi (UA) is the story of two young men, both involved in the underworld, whom destiny brings together. The two guys become great friends and also love the same girl but both of them do not know about the other’s love. One of the two guys is also in search of his father’s killer and he does not know that the one who he is searching for is none other than his best friend. The host of misunderstandings between the two friends (Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor) are finally cleared in the climax.

The story and screenplay are hackneyed and do not provide a single scene which can be said to be novel or original. The romantic portion of Javed Akhtar’s story reminds of his earlier film, Saagar. There is no proper build-up to many scenes, as a result of which nothing creates an impact. For instance, Anil Kapoor’s search for his father’s murderer has no emotional appeal because the base (Anil’s relationship with his estranged father) is weak. Anil saving Jackie’s sister looks like a contrived link in the story. Dialogues, too, are ordinary. Showing Jackie and Anil romancing does not suit their image today; they are quite old for it.

Jackie Shroff does an average job and also looks odd in some scenes. Anil Kapoor is alright. Pooja Bhatt hardly looks like a heroine, thanks to her size; her weight notwithstanding, she does a fair job. Paresh Rawal is quite good but his gait and mannerisms remind of his character in Raja. Tinnu Anand, Alok Nath, Rohini Hattangady, Darshan Bagga, Mac Mohan, Suresh Menon and the rest fill the bill.

Priyadarsan’s direction is average. It almost appears that he has tried to camouflage the defects in the script by showering too much attention on the visuals, lighting etc. But Priyadarsan would do well to realise that no amount of gloss can ever make up for weak content. Editing is one more department the director should pay attention to. The film is very loose and scenes, unduly lengthy. In fact, so poor is the editing that one is left wondering whether editor Gopalakrishnan fell in love with Priyadarsan’s work.

A.R. Rahman’s music is good but the songs have been playing since so many months, there’s a certain amount of staleness that’s crept in. The title song, ‘Tu hi tu’, ‘O mere yara dildaara’ and ‘Jo maanga tha’ are well-tuned, and the picturisation of ‘Tu hi tu’ is absolutely fantastic. Ravi Chandran’s camerawork is brilliant and so is Sabu Cyril’s art direction. The film has taken several years in the making and the time-lag shows.

On the whole, Kabhi Na Kabhi is a weak fare and a lengthy one too. It will entail heavy losses to its distributors despite its low price.

Released on 16-4-’98 at Metro and on 17-4-’98 at 13 other cinemas of Bombay thru A.B.C. Pictures Pvt. Ltd. Publicity: good. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was dull everywhere.


Both the new releases of this week have opened to truly poor houses. …….PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA in Hindi, TITANIC in English and DESH RE JOYA DADA PARDESH JOYA in Gujarati are doing fantastic business.

Qila has fared miserably all over. 1st week Bombay 18,41,518 (50.73%) from 9 cinemas (4 unrecd., 8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,81,099 from 3 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Rajkot 37,210 (1 in matinee unrecd.); Solapur 77,575; Belgaum 64,129; Delhi 18,89,780 (37.48%) from 10 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,29,681 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,82,567, Agra 1,19,176, Allahabad 83,000, Varanasi 1,44,000, Bareilly 54,623 (27.48%); Amritsar 60,365; Calcutta 9,59,124 from 13 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Nagpur 2,55,760 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 41,929, Amravati 72,861, Akola 49,284, Raipur 54,079, Jalgaon 42,524, Yavatmal 66,298; Indore 54,508 (3 on F.H.), Bhopal 1,58,411 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 6,94,244 from 3 cinemas, Bikaner 98,525; Hyderabad 10,12,751 from 8 cinemas.

Keemat, after a good start, dropped quite badly from 4th day onwards. 1st week Bombay 24,48,886 (64.16%) from 11 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 5,38,186 from 5 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Vapi 2,72,078, Rajkot 1,36,158; Kolhapur 1,72,032, Solapur 1,16,921; Hubli 1,73,214 (88.21%); Delhi 26,74,323 (55.34%) from 11 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,53,104 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,56,599, Allahabad 1,20,000, Varanasi 1,61,483, Meerut (31 shows) 2,11,829, Bareilly 1,21,966 (56.46%), Hardwar 60,713; Amritsar 52,354; Calcutta 16,24,834 from 13 cinemas (12 on F.H.); Nagpur 3,92,791 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,12,536, Amravati 1,51,543, Akola 1,31,253, Raipur 1,43,051, Jalgaon 1,21,001; Indore 2,51,457 from 2 cinemas (3 on F.H.), Bhopal 3,69,077 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 6,93,632 from 5 cinemas, Udaipur (4 days) 92,000; Hyderabad 22,84,785 from 14 cinemas.


Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya 3rd week Bombay 37,01,045 (80.73%) from 11 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 2,98,120 from 2 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Vapi 2,59,886, Jamnagar 82,198; Kolhapur 1,56,473, Solapur (14 shows) 1,40,082; Belgaum 98,572; Delhi 22,52,775 from 9 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,22,115 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,91,071, Allahabad 1,18,520 (2nd 1,35,000), Varanasi 1,60,242, Bareilly 1,20,668 (53.61%), Hardwar 45,000; Rohtak 8,519; Calcutta 5,73,023 from 2 cinemas; Nagpur 3,05,484 from 3 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,67,157 (2nd 1,53,431), total 5,30,976, Amravati 1,26,188, Akola 1,27,990, total 4,23,234, share 3,31,628, Raipur 1,44,783, Durg 87,125, Chandrapur 1,30,067, total 4,66,322, Yavatmal 36,284 (2nd 49,430); Bhopal 2,58,967, total 7,11,735; Jaipur 3,30,073, Bikaner 1,45,832, Udaipur 82,985; Hyderabad 6,06,954 from 3 cinemas.


Sarbans Daani Guru Gobind Singh (Punjabi, TF) has been rejected. Discontinued after 3/4 days from 3 cinemas in Delhi; entered 2nd week in Ludhiana.

Desh Re Joya Dada Pardesh Joya (Gujarati, TF) 14th week Ahmedabad 4,51,961 from 4 cinemas, 10th week Baroda 1,22,954, 4th Padra 1,45,721, 2nd Himmatnagar 1,24,460, Kadi 1,37,950, 12th week Jamnagar 1,27,626, 14th Rajkot 1,77,000; 1st week Bombay (with tax) 3,64,649 (38.76%) from 3 cinemas.


Titanic (English) 6th week Bombay 18,52,307 (100%) from 2 cinemas; 5th week Delhi 19,53,769 from 3 cinemas; 6th Calcutta 3,50,210; Vijayawada 5 weeks’ total 16,88,217 (100%), Visakhapatnam 34 days’ total 16,24,686.


The revised version of Chhota Chetan (3-D, partly dubbed) has been released this week in Bombay and Delhi-U.P. Several new characters have been added to this 1984 film but the charm still is of the 3-D effect only. The ultra-modern sound does add to the 3-D effects (which are truly excellent) but the new portions in the film don’t really go well with the contents of the old film. Newcomers Urmila Matondkar, Harish, Shakti Kapoor, Satish Kaushik and Ravi Baswani look as if they are on a different track.

The high points in the film are still the three-dimensional figures and the performances of the four kids. Which makes one wonder whether the makers wouldn’t have achieved similar results had they released the old Chhota Chetan only. Music should have been better.

Opening response is fantastic in Bombay. Children (a whole new generation of under-14s) will love the experience of seeing a 3-D film.


CBFC chairman Shakti Samanta resigned from his post on 13th April. The resignation has not yet been accepted. He, therefore, continues to occupy the post.

When contacted, Shakti Samanta told Information, “My first stint as chairman was for three years, it was renewed for a further three years, and again for three years. I’ve completed two years of my second extension, and I think, eight years is a long enough time to be in this post.” Samanta denied that there was any political reason for his resignation.


Renowned art director R.K. Handa expired due to heart failure at his Juhu (Bombay) residence on 12th April. He was 62 years old and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Besides being an art director of repute, Handa was also actively involved in the film trade union movement. At the time of his death, he was the president of the Association of Cine & TV Art Directors, senior vice president of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, senior vice president of the Film Studio Setting & Allied Mazdoor Union, and general secretary of the All India Film Employees Confederation.

Handa’s organisational capacities were too well-known in the industry. The cause of cine workers, especially casual workers, was always dear to him.


Shirin Bhatt, wife of producer-director Nanabhai Bhatt, mother of director Mahesh Bhatt, producer Mukesh Bhatt and writer Robin Bhatt, mother-in-law of C.I. distributor and producer Darshan Sabharwal and grandmother of Pooja Bhatt, producer-director Suneel Darshan and director Dharmesh Darshan, expired on 12th April in Bombay. Chautha was held on 14th and was attended by many people from the industry.


President K.R. Narayanan presented the Padma Shri award to Mammootty along with other winners of this year’s Republic Day honours, on 12th April at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.


Have the censors become stricter these days?

– Yes, they have. According to the new guidelines, the censors even have the right to delete scenes showing characters smoking or drinking liquor, if they think fit.

Which was the first 3-D film ever produced?

– It was Warner Brothers’ BWANA DEVIL, released in Hollywood in November 1952. The film had an African jungle story and was a huge success.

If story/script is the backbone of a film, why are writers paid so less compared to, say, artistes?

– The script may be a film’s backbone, but how many writers are really worth even the mediocre price they command? A good many writers are not even original.


Dharma Productions’ Duplicate was given C.C. No. CIL/2/15/98 (UA) dt. 17-4-’98; length 4519.62 metres in 18 reels (cuts: 82.67 metres).

Sahni International’s Jaane Jigar was given C.C. No. CIL/2/14/98 (UA) dt. 16-4-’98; length 4209.36 metres in 17 reels (cuts: 170.47 metres).

Columbia Tristar Films of India Ltd.’s Qatil Kaun? (dubbed), seen on 15th, has been issued C.C. No.CFL/3/41/98 (A) dt. 17-4-’98; length 2690.76 metres in 5 reels (no cut).

Lata Films’ Aunty No. 1 has been passed with U certificate, with cuts.

P.M. Films’ Sar Utha Ke Jiyo (length 4368.70 metres in 16 reels) was applied on 17th.

Varma Coporation Ltd.’s Satya (length 4999.19 metres in 17 reels) was applied on 17th.


Cinegoers’ Comfort

The accent these days is on wooing cinegoers to cinemas, looking after their comforts, giving them value for money. Cinemax at Bombay, which is screening Chhota Chetan (3-D) from this week, held a magic show on the opening day (Friday) as Urmila Matondkar plays a magician in the film. At Eros, Bombay, which is screening the same film, there’s a fat guy in an animal suit moving in the foyer, to impress children. In Ahmedabad, the owner of Roopam cinema, where the all-time Gujarati blockbuster, Desh Re Joya Dada Pardesh Joya, is running, has very thoughtfully put up a tent in his premises. The tent has swings for tiny tots so that ladies waiting for the tickets of the following show (in case the show for which they’ve come is house-full) can relax in the tent alongwith their kids. What’s more, biscuits and milk are provided free of cost for those who prefer to wait — and watch the film.

Foreign Shooting Schedule Cancelled At Short Notice

The dancing hero did the ‘slip dance’ this time. That is to say, he slipped out of a commitment to go abroad for a shooting of his film which is nearing the completion mark. The unit was to shoot in a pardesi territory — Holland, to be precise — but this hero babu played truant and cancelled his trip at the eleventh hour. So what if the producer had done all the ticketing and hotel bookings  in Holland? The hero couldn’t care less, what say?

‘Titanic’ Controversy In Scotland

The all-Time English hit, Titanic, is in the midst of a major controversy in Scotland. In the film, the first officer of the ship is shown as a cowardly murderer, but official records show that when the real Titanic collided with the iceberg, the bridge officer acted promptly to deal with the emergency and selflessly helped passengers onto lifeboats before himself going down with the ship. In the film, the officer is shown accepting bribes and killing two passengers who are fighting to get on to a lifeboat. He is then shown putting a gun in his mouth and killing himself. The makers of Titanic personally apologised for the gaffe, in the Scottish town of Dalbeattie. They also contributed $8,000 to a fund commemorating William Murdoch, the real bridge officer who died in the Titanic. But some locals felt, the apology and contribution weren’t enough. They wanted Twentieth Century Fox to amend the credits to reflect the truth when the video version of Titanic is released. The makers, on the other hand, insisted that the film was never intended to portray him as a coward and said, any implication otherwise was “inadvertent”. They said, it was neither feasible nor necessary to change the Titanic video, as demanded by some locals. In the meantime, Murdoch’s 80-year-old nephew, Scott Murdoch, said, he was very pleased with the apology issued by the producers of the film.

Horror Galore

The months of May and June may be quite horror-filled at the box-office. No, no, we aren’t predicting doomsday for the film industry due to the recent debacles nor are we insinuating that forthcoming films are carrying bad reports. What we imply is that in May and June, there are several horror films lined up for release. They are Purani Kabar, Khofnaak Mahal, Maut, Bhayaanak, Chudail No. 1, Daayan and Khoon Ki Pyasi Daayan.

FLASHBACK | 7 April, 2023
(From our issue dated 11th April, 1998)


Eagle Films’ Qila (A) is a murder mystery in which a judge, who is the head of a family, suspects that one of his own family members has committed the crime. The person murdered is his own brother who is a tyrant, debauch and cruel thakur. The tyrant has rejected his wife and son. He has also raped a danseuse who then gives birth to a child born due to the rape. The judge not only comes to know the truth about the murder but also saves the family honour by shielding the murderer in court, but only after resigning from the judge’s post and becoming a defence lawyer. His sole aim is to keep the hitherto fragmented family together.

The first half is generally quite interesting but it does have some dull moments. The characters take too long to be introduced and their introductions take a while to seep inside the mind. The second half is quite dull because the courtroom drama is devoid of the fire it should have had. The revelation of the murderer comes slowly and by the time the complete identity has been revealed, the audience has either guessed the name or otherwise lost interest in knowing who is behind the murder. Besides, the retired judge does not use his skill to unearth the mystery, he uses it only to get justice (though poetic) to the murderer by withholding the truth from the court. Another minus point is that most of the characters in the film are subdued and suppressed.

Dilip Kumar is quite good as the judge first and lawyer later. But in the double role of a villain, he doesn’t impress one bit. Dilip Kumar also looks tired and his dialogue delivery does not have the fire of yore. Rekha does a fine job. Mukul Dev gives a good show of his talent. He is natural in most of the dramatic and emotional scenes and also dances well. Mamta Kulkarni has thankfully improved  on her dialogue delivery and now doesn’t rush like a speeding train. She has performed quite well. Smita Jayakar is effective. Gulshan Grover does an able job. Kunika is very good as Gulshan’s wife. Malay Chakravarty is quite effective. Satish Kaushik’s comedy is not up to the mark. Shahbaaz Khan, Avtar Gill, Umesh Shukla, master Sahil, Rajeshwari and Pramod Moutho lend the desired support.

Umesh Mehra’s direction is good at places but falls short of expectations at other places. He has especially not been able to handle the complex second half of the drama effectively. The film’s pace is terribly slow at places. Dialogues, which are a strong point in Dilip Kumar starrers, are ordinary for a major part of the film. Two songs — ‘Wah bhai wah’ and ‘Kurte ki bahiyan ko’ — are well-tuned and also effectively picturised. ‘Prem hai Radha’ and ‘Malika hai tu’, on the other hand, are dull songs. Action is routine. Camerawork is okay. Other technical values are fair.

On the whole, Qila lacks in merits. Besides, it does not have popular stars of today and has, therefore, taken a shockingly slow start. It will entail heavy losses to its distributors.

Released on 10-4-’98 at Minerva and 20 other cinemas of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: good. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was below the mark everywhere. 1st day Jaipur about 1,40,435/- against a capacity of 2,01,397/- (70%, good in Raj Mandir, dull in other cinemas), Ajmer about 70%.


United Seven Creations’ Keemat (UA) is about two young orphan boys who are good for nothing and who dream of making it big one day. One idea in this direction, which occurs to them, is to hook a rich girl and get married to her. One of them succeeds in wooing a girl but, contrary to their belief, she is not a millionairess but rather a small-time thief like both of them. During one of their many pick-pocket episodes, they get involved indirectly in a murder when the lad, whose pocket they’ve picked, is knocked down by a van while he is chasing them. They learn that the boy was on his way to his village and he was carrying cash with him, which was of utmost importance to his family in the village. As a token of repentance, the two boys go to the village to hand over the money they’ve found, to the deceased lad’s family. They do not tell the family members anything about the accident. By the by, they endear themselves to the family and the as-yet-single boy also falls in love with a village belle. To their surprise, they realise that a scheming industrialist is out to vacate all the villagers from the village in order to set up industries there. The two good-for-nothing guys then vow to rescue the villagers from the clutches of the evil industrialist.

The story is a mix of Sholay and Dushmun but is a poor cousin of both these films. Screenplay is ordinary but what really saves the film from falling flat on its face are the witty dialogues (by Madan Joshi). Actually, the film loses its charm once the focus shifts to the village because from that point, not only are most of the incidents predictable, but the drama is also drab.

Akshay Kumar looks handsome (with short hair), acts very well and shines in action scenes. Some of his fights are lovely. Saif Ali Khan is really cute and he too entertains ably. Raveena Tandon looks pretty and performs sincerely and with conviction. Sonali Bendre has hardly any scope. She is average. Dalip Tahhil does a fair job. Anupam Kher is good. Moushumi Chatterjee is efficient in a small role. Johny Lever lends some hilarious moments. Avtar Gill, Kiran Zaveri, Sheetal Suvarna, Ravi Kishan, Chhotu Dada and Mukesh Khanna (in a guest role) provide adequate support.

Direction is average. No attempt is made by director Sameer Malkan to give something new to the viewer. Rajesh Roshan’s music is an asset. ‘De diya dil piya’, ‘Koi nahin tere jaisa’ and ‘O mere chhaila’ are good songs, and the picturisation of the first-named number is superbly sensuous and eye-catching. The ‘O mere chhaila’ number is also very well picturised. Action scenes lend good thrill and have been effectively composed. Camerawork is of a good standard and so are the other technical values.

On the whole, Keemat has some truly good moments but not a matching script and, considering its price, will not find the going very smooth.

Released on 10-4-’98 at Maratha Mandir and 16 other cinemas of Bombay thru Shringar Films. Publicity: good. Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening was good at most of the places. 1st day Jaipur about 1,71,500/- from 5 cinemas (all in 5 shows), fair.


PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA is continuing its victory march everywhere.

Aakrosh has not been appreciated. 1st week Bombay 27,41,852 (52%) from 17 cinemas (9 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,47,978 from 6 cinemas, Bharuch (gross) 2,31,846, Rajkot 1,75,890 from 2 cinemas, Jamnagar 1,23,234; Pune 5,78,335 from 6 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 1,34,434, Solapur 2,44,057 (58.44%) from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee); Hubli 57,819, Belgaum 1,37,318; Delhi 18,26,329 (35.40%) from 11 cinemas (1 unrecd., 2 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,68,252 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,28,031, Dehradun 85,000, Hardwar 44,947; Calcutta 4,41,129 from 2 cinemas (did poor at other cinemas); Nagpur 3,12,971 from 4 cinemas, Akola 79,748, Raipur 56,668 (22.50%), Bilaspur 67,404; Bhopal 1,69,703 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 3,93,614 from 4 cinemas; Hyderabad 16,52,716 from 13 cinemas.

Deewana Hoon Pagal Nahi is terribly poor. 1st week Delhi 66,812 (35.33%, 1 cinema discontinued the film after a day’s run); Lucknow (4 days) 10,714; Calcutta (6 days) 1,82,337 from 7 cinemas.

Pyasi Chudail (dubbed) 1st week Delhi 4,47,777 (50.14%) from 3 cinemas; Lucknow 89,016; Nagpur 79,244 from 2 cinemas, Akola 51,046, Raipur 24,881; Hyderabad (noon) 32,713.

The Blue Lagoon (dubbed) is also poor. 1 week Bombay 12,500 (25.55%, 1 cinema was on F.H.).

Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya is doing fantastic in Bombay, Delhi-U.P., C.P., C.I. and Nizam. 2nd week Bombay 47,12,601 (87.09%) from 12 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,63,024 from 3 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Rajkot 1,84,187 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Jamnagar 1,18,851; Pune 9,36,139 from 4 cinemas, Kolhapur 1,98,000, Solapur (14 shows) 1,40,110 (95.71%); Belgaum 1,13,629; Delhi 41,90,001 from 11 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,58,141 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 4,00,107, Bareilly 1,49,189 (66.28%), Dehradun 1,78,500, Hardwar 60,292 (1st 83,286); Calcutta (6 days) 14,06,645 from 12 cinemas (1 in noon); Nagpur 4,60,083 from 4 cinemas, Akola 1,38,093, total 2,95,245, Raipur 1,61,704, Durg 1,06,775, Chandrapur 1,42,353, total 3,35,357; Bhopal 3,82,706 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 4,80,938 from 2 cinemas, Bikaner 2,05,260; Hyderabad 15,16,612 from 7 cinemas (2 in noon).

Yugpurush 2nd week Bombay 9,25,100 (34.61%) from 6 cinemas (4 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 83,738 from 2 cinemas; Pune 3,22,082 from 4 cinemas, Solapur 44,070; Hubli 83,418, Belgaum 76,817; Delhi 2,18,360 (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 64,340 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 89,898, Bareilly 26,399 (11.81%), Dehradun 51,000; Calcutta 1,50,280; Nagpur 87,490 from 2 cinemas, Akola 42,214, Raipur 41,401, Wardha (6 days) 20,234, Bilaspur (6 days) 37,164; Indore 65,427, Bhopal 65,120 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 1,13,108; Hyderabad 1,06,745.


Desh Re Joya Dada Pardesh Joya (Gujarati, TF) is absolutely mind-boggling. 13th week Ahmedabad 5,03,672 from 4 cinemas, 3rd week Idar 79,432, Asodar 64,700, Himmatnagar 1,22,141, Kadi 1,31,870, 11th week Jamnagar 1,59,026, 13th week Rajkot 1,90,000. Opened this week in Bombay city & suburbs to ordinary houses.


Titanic (English) 5th week Bombay 16,46,148 (100%) from 2 cinemas; 4th week Delhi 21,78,341 from 3 cinemas; Calcutta 3,50,210; Vijayawada 3,53,318 (100%), Visakhapatnam 3,57,177 (100%). Extraordinary.


Natraj Studios will soon be demolished. This studio at Andheri (East) in Bombay also houses several production offices and a preview theatre, besides shooting floors.


Films must be acquired for distribution either on outright basis or advance basis only. This and several other decisions were taken at a meeting of Indore (C.I.) distributors on 8th April at Film Bhawan, Indore. All the decisions taken at the said meeting will be considered and discussed at the meeting of the executive committee of the CCCA, being held in Jaipur today (11th April).

Ramesh Surekha, Vinod Malhotra, Uttam Nahar, O.P. Goyal, Anil Rathi, Jitendra Jain, Harish Janiani, Vedprakash Mendiratta, Aditya Chowksey, Jagdish Advani, Yogesh Syal, Sunil Chowdhary, Jagdish Sharma and Satyanarayan Gupta were the distributors present at the Indore meeting, besides CCCA secretary C.V. Kavisher.

The other decisions taken at the meeting were: (a) no producer should assign the satellite rights of his film to CVO as telecast of films on the said channel very adversely affects business of distributors; (b) producers should be restrained from levying unwanted charges such as dupe charges, DTS charges etc., on the distributor at the time of release, that too using coercive methods; (c) the ratio for C.I. should not be more than 20% of a major circuit as the business potentiality is not more than that.


Actress Ruhi, wife of comedian Laxmi Kant Berde, expired on 5th April at 11 a.m. at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, Bombay, due to brain haemmorhage. She was 49. Ruhi had acted in a number of Hindi and Marathi films as also in Marathi stage-plays. She had been hospitalised nine days before the end came.

Ruhi was cremated the same day at the Oshiwara crematorium. Her funeral was largely attended by persons from the Marathi and Hindi film industry. Among the Marathi films she had acted in were Ovalte, Bhauraya, Pandu Hawaldar, Aaram Haram Aahe, Galli Te Dilli, Zakhmi Waghin, Mumbaicha Fauzdar, Dhakti Soon, Mazha Ghar Mazha Sansar, Mamla Poricha, Doctor Doctor etc. She had also acted in Manmohan Desai’s Aa Gale Lag Jaa.


Kiran Parekh, younger brother of leading Orissa distributor Ramesh Parekh (Parekh Traders, Cuttack), expired on 6th April in Calcutta. He was 44. Chautha was held on 9th.


Jitendra Dave (Kannu), partner in Ganesh Talkies, Calcutta, expired on 2nd April. He was 57.


What do you have to say to the fact that a film like Qila, with stars like Dilip Kumar and Rekha, did not take even a decent opening?

– That old is not always gold!

How was the first quarter of 1998 and how do you expect the second quarter to be?

– The first three months were quite bad. The current quarter can be expected to be much better.

What is the ratio of Rakesh Roshan’s Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai?

– Between 1.75 and 2 crore.

Is it a fact that Sunny Deol is on a signing spree?

– Yes, he has signed quite a few films of late.

What is the progress of Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala’s Raftaar?

– It is racing towards completion. Its title will be changed soon.

The Subhash Ghai – Mahima Controversy:
Court Grants Mahima Permission To Go Abroad; Admits Ghai’s Case

The controversy about Subhash Ghai and his protégé, Mahima Chaudhry, whom he introduced in Pardes, has not only been making headlines in the last few days but has also been distorted as much as it could and at least a hundred times more than it should have to keep the rumour mills and gossip mills grinding.

First things first. Ghai dragged Mahima to court to restrain her from going abroad to perform stage-shows as he had a contract with the actress, under which, to quote from the duly signed contract (dated 19th February, 1996), “the artiste (Mahima) has irrevocably agreed….. all the rights for her services as a model for any advertising company or product or any stage show or TV show in India or abroad is assigned to the producers (Mukta Arts Pvt. Ltd.) or to their nominees and such assignments shall be dealt directly by the producers or their nominees for the period of five years from the date of release of the first film titled Pardes and 35% of the benefits and compensations or its kind for the said services shall go directly to Mukta Arts Welfare Trust whatsoever they deem fit and the artiste shall not have any claim on this amount and/or benefits while the rest 65% shall be paid to the artiste within 15 days on receipt basis.” Ghai alleged that Mahima had not sought his permission to perform abroad and had thereby committed breach of contract.

Subhash Ghai sought an ad interim injunction from the Bombay high court, restraining Mahima from participating in the show abroad. The court rejected the prayer and permitted Mahima to perform abroad because restraining her would adversely affect the organisers of the stage shows, who were financially involved. Besides, the court felt that the relief sought by Ghai lacked urgency. This is the essence of the court order. But the court has not rejected Ghai’s suit for due performance of the contract, which is the impression given by press and other media coverage. On the contrary, the suit was admitted by the court and it will be heard in the days to come.

No sooner does any private understanding or contract (between two or more individuals or parties) become public (as Ghai and Mahima’s contract in the present case), we Indians have a habit of giving unsolicited and misdirected opinion on the same. That’s exactly what is happening in the Ghai-Mahima case and that’s one major reason why so much hue and cry is being made over the issue. Industry people are already sitting on judgement over such issues as to why Subhash Ghai should demand 35% from Mahima. This never was the issue before the court and this is not the issue which needs discussion. If Ghai and Mahima entered into a contract, that’s it. Nobody has a right to comment on it because Mahima has not disputed the fact of her signing the contract. Whether Ghai’s contract asked her to pay 35% or 95%, it was between him and his heroine, and after the contract is signed, sealed and delivered, nobody has the right to cast aspersions on anyone. The tragedy is that the issue has become more emotional than legal now, and the press must take a large part of the blame for this. Another factor responsible for giving the issue an emotional twist is that Mahima is a girl and a newcomer while Ghai is a man. But it must be realised that in the eyes of law, the two are merely parties to a contract, nothing more, nothing less. Further, the press and people alike love to pull down a famous and successful person who, in the present case, happens to be Ghai. For the press, they sell more copies when they can criticise a celebrity, and for the general public, it gives them the feeling that the mighty are also capable of falling. Both are crazy reasons but the truth is that they are there.

The problem began when, as alleged by Ghai, Mahima failed to honour the contract. In all fairness, therefore, all discussions must be limited to this aspect only.

Where Ghai, perhaps, erred is in seeking an injunction from the court, restraining Mahima from participating in the shows. The show organisers had nothing to do with the dispute between Mahima and her mentor, Subhash Ghai, and so it would be ridiculous to expect the court to grant Ghai’s prayer which, if granted, would have put the organisers to loss. The relief Ghai should have sought from the court is performance of the contract by Mahima and, therefore, obtaining his 35% share. Performance of contract would also include Mahima working in, to again quote from the contract, “any of the three future ventures to be produced and/or directed by producers (Mukta Arts Pvt. Ltd.) or any of its directors or their nominees like Suneha Arts or under any banner they may deem fit”. The contract also adds that “the artiste has irrevocably agreed and confirmed to act in such other three feature films as and whenever required by producers or their nominees”.

Now to come to Mahima’s press statements. The actress has alleged that since Ghai did not sign her for Taal, she, too, was free to work in other films without informing Ghai. Mahima should realise that it is Ghai who has bound her by a contract, and not she who has bound him. The contract clearly mentions that Mahima would act in such other three feature films as and whenever required by the producers or their nominees. There’s no clause in the contract which would make it binding on Ghai to sign Mahima for Taal or any other film.

Mahima has also said that she and Ghai had orally decided to call off the contract. But the court would want proof of this in writing and with Ghai denying the cancellation, Mahima’s claim may not hold water in the court of law.

Another childish remark by Mahima is that Ghai had hurt her by not casting her in Taal, by dragging her to court, by issuing notices (in trade papers) against her and by maligning her. Regarding Taal, as said above, it was Subhash Ghai’s prerogative alone to decide whether or not Mahima suited the role. There was no written commitment from Ghai to sign her for Taal. And so the question of being hurt can never arise. Mahima  can then even say, she is hurt for not being signed by Rakesh Roshan, Yash Chopra, Sooraj Barjatya etc. As regards her allegation that she was hurt because Ghai had dragged her to court and he had issued notices in trade papers against her and he had maligned her, Mahima would not have spoken about being hurt if she had only asked herself one question: why did Ghai drag her to court, why did he issue notices against her, and why did he malign her? The obvious answer to all the three questions is: because she committed breach of contract. Ghai’s actions are actually reactions to Mahima’s one action — that of breach of contract.

Actually, not only Mahima, even Subhash Ghai should stop talking about emotions, now that the matter is in court. Somehow, emotional talk does not sound honest in view of the fact that the matter is already in court. Especially, Subhash Ghai should refrain from indulging in such talk because it is he who has chosen to go to court. The matter is now a court battle, not an emotional tiff.

Mahima appears to be an intelligent girl otherwise. The actress seems to have been misled by people who may be calling themselves her well-wishers but are actually not so. She may have emerged victorious in the controversy and in the court case for restraining her from performing abroad, but one is not sure whether she will also emerge victorious in the suit for due performance of contract. And that suit is what is really important. Or maybe, the case is withdrawn after an out-of-court settlement between the two warring parties.


FLASHBACK | 31 March, 2023
(From our issue dated 4th April, 1998)


The success of PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA has brought some life in the industry.

Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya has done very well despite examination period. Is poised to become class A in Bombay. Is a commission-earner in East Punjab, Bengal and Rajasthan and overflow in the other circuits. It is also doing very well in Overseas. 1st week Bombay 48,07,493 (92.88%) from 13 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 12,06,439 from 5 cinemas, Rajkot 2,16,780 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Kolhapur 2,22,634 (98%), Solapur 3,09,999 from 2 cinemas (1 in 14 shows), Nasik 1,64,934 (100%); Belgaum 1,16,508; Delhi 49,71,705 (91.31%) from 11 cinemas; Lucknow 4,13,599 (100%), Agra 2,70,938 (94.52%), Allahabad 1,61,000, Varanasi 2,41,279, Meerut 2,32,373 (98.28%), Bareilly 1,96,079 (87.11%), Dehradun 2,07,764 (100%), Saharanpur 1,76,454 (83.26%), Moradabad 1,71,836, Gorakhpur 1,73,235, Aligarh 1,85,568; Calcutta 26,21,229 (91.32%) from 16 cinemas; Nagpur 6,71,138 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 2,00,382, Akola 1,57,151, Raipur 2,00,580 (82.82%), Bhilai 1,47,674, Durg 1,35,530, Chandrapur 1,93,004, Bilaspur 90,177; Indore 2,98,560 (4 on F.H.), Bhopal 5,43,684 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 10,77,188 from 5 cinemas, Bikaner 2,76,828; Hyderabad 40,72,338 from 15 cinemas, share 23,19,117; Visakhapatnam 2,06,131, Kurnool 1,85,857.

Yugpurush is dull everywhere but slightly better in Maharashtra. 1st week Bombay 20,57,508 (52.12%) from 10 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 3,59,606 from 4 cinemas, Rajkot 91,000; Solapur 1,53,919 from 2 cinemas; Hubli 1,48,267, Belgaum 1,87,349; Delhi 11,25,119 (37.34%) from 6 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Allahabad 1,02,000, Bareilly 44,858 (20.08%), Dehradun 77,305; Calcutta 7,17,427 from 6 cinemas; Nagpur 3,63,589 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 89,166, Akola 81,035, Raipur 67,853 (31.24%), Bhilai 83,778 from 2 cinemas, Jalgaon (6 days) 66,290, Bilaspur 68,852; Indore 99,000 (2 unrecd.), Bhopal 1,18,231 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 2,48,177 from 2 cinemas, Bikaner 67,371; Hyderabad 9,05,976 from 10 cinemas.



Titanic (English) 4th week Bombay 16,46,148 (100%) from 2 cinemas; 3rd week Delhi 25,71,324 from 4 cinemas; Calcutta 3,50,210; 3 weeks’ total Vijayawada 10,49,951 (100%), Visakhapatnam 10,71,537 (100%).


Many film producers personally received Vinod Khanna at Bombay’s Santacruz airport on 3rd April. He came to Bombay on 3rd for the first time after his election to the Lok Sabha and was garlanded by many of those who were present to receive him.

Among those who greeted the star-MP at the airport were IMPPA president Sultan Ahmed, IMPPA vice president Sundeep Sethi, Shakti Samanta, Saawan Kumar Tak, Mehul Kumar, Surendra Mohan, Surinder Kapoor (FMC chairman), Anil Ganguly, Jimmy Nirula, Satish Khanna, Anand Girdhar, S.K. Kapur, Surjit Aujla, K.K. Talwar, Vinay Kumar Sinha, Johny Bakshi, Kant Kumar, Madan Mohla, Vinod Chhabra, Firoz Nadiadwala and Dinkar Chowdhary (IMPPA secretary). Vinod Khanna said, he was touched by the love and affection of the industry. He promised that as a Parliamentarian, he would try to do something to solve the industry’s problems.


Subhash Ghai’s Pardes has been granted tax-exemption in the state of Uttar Pradesh for a period of 1 month from 9th April.


Thirakalkappuram, starring Suresh Gopi and Manju Warrier, is the first Malayalam film in DTS. It is produced by Guru Pavana Films (P.) Ltd. and is due for release all over Kerala on 9th April. This maiden film of Guru Pavana Films is a sequel to the President’s award-winning film of 1964, Chemmeen. It is directed by debut-maker Anil Adityan. Music is scored by Johnson.


Devika Kent, wife of producer Bubby Kent, sister of Overseas and Rajasthan distributor and producer Bobby Anand, and daughter of producer-director Suraj Prakash, expired on 2nd April in Bombay at Kothari Hospital due to a heart attack. She was only 30 years old. She is survived by her husband and a daughter.

Chautha will be held today (4th April) from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Panchtantra building, Yaari Road, Versova, Andheri.


Manakchand Barjatya, father of Padam Barjatya of P.B. Pictures, Jaipur, and Jaikumar Barjatya of Rajshri Pictures (P.) Ltd., Patna, and uncle of producers Kamal Kumar, Rajkumar and Ajit Kumar Barjatya, passed away on 21st March in Jaipur. Shanti Vidhan pooja was held on 2nd April in Jaipur.


Shah Rukh Khan fractured his leg on the sets of Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se a few days back in Madras.


Noted writer of yesteryears, Agajani Kashmiri, who wrote several hits like Anmol Ghadi, Taqdeer, Love In Simla and Junglee, died in Toronto on 27th March. He was 89 and is survived by two sons and grandchildren.


J.P. Dutta’s Border, Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai and Boney Kapoor’s Judaai have been nominated for the National Awards of 1997, by the Film Federation of India.

The regional language films nominated are: Sarkarnama (Marathi), Sedin Chaitra Maas and Vidroho (both Bengali), Suryavamsam (Tamil), Annamayya (Telugu), Aniyathi Pravu (Malayalam) and Ulta Palta (Kannada).


Director Sohail Khan got married to Seema on 29th March at a hurriedly called ceremony in Bombay.


Leading model and hero of Shantanu Sheorey’s Jadh, Arjun Rampal, got married to well-known model Mehr Jesia in Bombay earlier this week.


The Prasar Bharti Corporation’s recent decision to discontinue telecast of regional language films on Doordarshan’s national network has made the Film Federation of India take a decision to boycott Prasar Bharti till the decision is reversed. The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce has accused Prasar Bharti CEO, S.S. Gill, of taking a unilateral decision and has threatened that unless the telecast of South Indian films was restored immediately, it would stop supplying film-based programmes to Doordarshan.


Seema Deo and Ramesh Deo celebrated triple occasions on 27th March at Rang Sharda — birthday of Seema Deo, the release of her autobiography, Suhasini, and the launching of their film, Waghnakh (Marathi). The film is being produced by Ajinkya Deo (elder son of the couple) under the banner of Ramesh Deo Productions, and directed by younger son Abhinay Deo whose debut-making film this is.

The event was presided over by Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi who announced the muhurt of the film and also released the book. Cultural affairs minister Pramod Navalkar, mayor Vishakha Raut, municipal commissioner Girish Gokhale, director Raj Dutt, Sulochana and many others from the film and stage industries felicitated the couple. Pradeep Bhide was the compere.

There was a display of fireworks, followed by cocktails and dinner.

Waghnakh will roll on April 20 and it will be completed in two months in Kolhapur. Starring Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo and Ajinkya Deo as the leading man, its leading lady and other cast and credits will be finalised soon.


What is the business of Titanic expected to be in India?

– Sky is the limit for the film and it is almost impossible to predict a logical estimate. In the USA, people are repeating the film 10 and even 15 times and one can expect such things to happen in India too.

Can the levy of abnormally high entertainment tax be challenged in court?

– It can, and it should be challenged. Expenditure of some lakhs in fighting out the issue in court could result in savings in crores because there are all chances of the tax being abolished or, at least, drastically reduced.

When should one ideally do a film’s casting — when a story-line is finalised or when the complete script is ready?

– When at least a major part of the scripting is complete.


* Subhash Ghai is helping Jackie Shroff with his first production venture, GRAHAN. Ghai is reportedly re-editing the film.

* The Advanis of Shri Bableshwar Films, Indore, have completed a hat-trick of successful releases with PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA. The earlier two successes were DEEWANA MASTANA and ISHQ.

* Of the 11 Oscars bagged by TITANIC, two were for the best sound track and the best editing. The sound track was done in DTS, and the editing, on Avid. Both, DTS and Avid, are distributed in India, exclusively by Real Image Pvt. Ltd.

* Rishi Kapoor, the director is no different from Rishi Kapoor, the actor. Proof: as an actor, Rishi does not shoot on Sundays. Now, as director of AA AB LAUT CHALEN too, he does not shoot on Sundays. So what if his artistes and technicians are ready for a Sunday shooting, Rishi says, “no”. And so, it’s a holiday for the entire team.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record at Novelty, Bombay, by collecting 5,68,801/- (100%) in 1st week.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,64,934/- (100%) in 1st week at Mamta, Nasik.

* PKTDK has created a new city record in 1st week at Delhi’s Vishal cinema by collecting 7,17,617/- (against a capacity of 7,60,714/-) in 1st week. No film in 4 shows daily has collected so much earlier. 

* PKTDK has created theatre records in 1st week at Delhi’s Moti (2,49,037/- against 2,72,098/-), Rachna (4,60,195/- against 5,13,335/-), Batra (4,33,505/- against 5,05,422/-) and Chaudhry, Ghaziabad (2,32,284/- against 2,57,056/-).

* PKTDK has created a new record at Novelty, Lucknow, by collecting 4,13,599/- (100%) in 1st week. All 4 shows on the opening day of 2nd week were also full.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 2,32,373/- against a capacity of 2,36,439/- in 1st week at Nandan, Meerut.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,98,058/- in 1st week at Prabha, Bareilly.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 2,70,938/- (against 2,86,643/-) in 1st week at Shree, Agra.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,85,568/- in 1st week at Surjit, Aligarh.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record at Raj, Gorakhpur, by collecting 1,73,235/- in 1st week.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 2,41,279/- in 1st week at Natraj, Varanasi.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,60,482/- in 1st week at Sangeet, Allahahad.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,71,836/- in 1st week at Kunwar, Moradabad.

* PKTDK has created a city record by collecting 2,07,764/- (all shows full) in 1st week at Prabhat, Dehradun.

* PKTDK has created a theatre record by collecting 1,76,454/- (against a capacity of 2,11,930/-) in 1st week at Kalpana, Saharanpur.

* PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA has created a theatre record by collecting 1,93,004/- in 1st week at Abhay, Chandrapur.

Peep, Don’t Sleep

Nana Patekar gave three hits, Tirangaa, Krantiveer and Agni Sakshi, and increased his price by 400%. Now, after an average to below-average Ghulam-E-Musthafa and a disaster, Yugurush, he should reduce his price to 20% of what he is currently charging. That is, if Nana believes in fair play.

Sunil Shetty’s Aakrosh is a non-starter all over India. His previous release, Vinashak, too fared badly and entailed losses to most of its distributors. Sunil Shetty should, therefore, reduce his price to 50% of his present price. That is, if he believes in the policy of live-and-let-live.

The list of Akshay Kumar’s failures, debacles and disasters is long. To cut matters short, I can only say that instead of counting his flops, he should rather count the huge losses which distributors of his starrers have suffered in the past two years. He will then automatically feel inclined to slash his price by 75%. That is, if Akshay has a heart which beats for his producers and distributors.

Urmila Matondkar should be honest to herself and compare the number of producers who queue up at her house these days with their number in the post-Rangeela days. She will realise that life after Daud is not so rangeeli after all — for her producers, that is. With this realisation, Urmila herself will feel obliged to slash her price by 50%. That is, if she has foresight and is concerned about the future — of herself this time, more than of her producers.

Jackie Shroff should try and recall when his last solo starrer hit the bull’s eye. I say, try, because it may not be easy for him to remember the number of months since the release of his last hit, and the name of the film. Maybe, he will then reduce the remuneration he charges by, say, 2 lakh for every month he counts. That is, if he believes that the trade is already making such calculations about his career.

Amrish Puri should do some rethinking on his fabulously high price. Although he is undoubtedly the numero uno villain/character artiste, he should appreciate the fact that films sell on the names of heroes and heroines. Thus convinced, he will find it easier to convince himself that his price needs a revision in the downward direction. That is, if the screen villain is a hero in real life.

Sanjay Dutt should open his eyes to two facts — that he hasn’t delivered a hit for a long time and that he hasn’t still completed some of his very old starrers. He may then feel like hurrying up — as much to complete the old stock as to price himself more realistically. That is, if Sanjay can change.

Nana, Sunil, Akshay, Urmila, Jackie, Amrish, Sanjay — all just need to peep into their own conscience. The rest will follow.

– Komal Nahta


Twentieth Century Craze

Imagine, the producer or distributor of a film not being entitled to the tickets of his own film. Well, that’s exactly the position of Twentieth Century Fox which has released blockbuster Titanic in Bombay — at Regal and Cinemax. So much is the demand for seats that some irate members of the public complained to the police that they weren’t getting tickets at Regal due to block bookings at the cinema. As a result, the police has asked Twentieth Century Fox to refrain from doing block bookings for friends/trade people and others. Resultantly, even Twentieth Century Fox has to obtain police permission for reserving too many seats together at Regal! That’s the twentieth century craze for the Twentieth Century-Paramount co-production!

Maximum Planning, Minimum Wastage

Viveck Vaswani’s Sar Ankhon Par is in its last lap of production, and before the month comes to a close, the film will be complete. A major part of the film has been shot in much the same way as Hollywood films are shot, in the sense that detailed call-sheets are handed out to every unit member even before a shooting schedule actually begins. The call-sheets give the exact time when each artiste is required, for which scene/shot he/she is needed, the props and articles required, the scene number, shot number etc. etc. That way, there’s little room for confusion and minimum wastage of time and money. This style of functioning is courtesy executive producer and writer Sunjiv Puri who has used his vast experience of English productions (he has been involved in the production of several English films shot in India) in Sar Ankhon Par. That’s also the reason why the bound script of the film is ready unlike in the case of most films! Incidentally, SAP will be complete before the month-end.

All Set

There’s a new kind of set designing in Bollywood. Suren Gurbaxani is basically a wedding decorator who erects wedding mandaps, reception stages and does the other decoration too for weddings. He has branched out into set designing for films. The advantage of getting sets erected by Suren’s team is that once they have to be dismantled, there’s no worry for the producer to pay the wooden planks supplier, property supplier and other set materials suppliers. That’s because Suren takes back all the set materials after the set is dismantled. That way, the charges for his services and goods are reasonable too. Why, even some art directors prefer sub-contracting work to Suren who has constructed sets for some films like Dil To Pagal Hai (not all the sets).

BJP Sore

The scene in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, involving duplicates of film stars Shatrughan Sinha, Rajesh Khanna, Rajinikanth, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt, has not found the approval of the BJP’s film wing. In the scene in the film, the star look-alikes are shown fighting among themselves and even calling each other names. This hasn’t gone down well with the political party’s film wing which has asked the makers to delete the said scene from all the prints running.


The public in general and the film trade in particular are hereby informed that our M/s. MUKTA ARTS PVT. LTD., Mumbai-50 had given a break to M/s. RITU CHAUDHARY alias MAHIMA CHAUDHARY in their latest film PARDES. The said Mahima Chaudhary had entered into an Agreement with our said clients dated 19-2-1996 whereby she has agreed to work for our clients in their 3 further films.

The said Mahima Chaudhary is thus bound with our clients for a period of 5 years from the release of their film PARDES i.e. till 9-8-2002. The said Mahima Chaudhary has irrevocably agreed with our clients that she shall not render her services as a model for any advertising company or product or any stage show or TV show in India or abroad without the written consent of our clients. The said rights are assigned to our clients who alone are authorised to deal directly with any such party who opts to have the services of Mahima Chaudhary. Mahima Chaudhary has further irrevocably appointed, nominated and constituted Shri Subhash Ghai or his nominee as the authorised person to act, represent, select and negotiate any outside assignments of feature films shooting and/or advertisement films, TV programmes or stage shows etc. on behalf of Mahima Chaudhary and to decide the terms and conditions thereof during the period of the said Agreement. Mahima Chaudhary does not have any right to negotiate any terms and conditions with any party directly.

The said Mahima Chaudhary is also bound to work in our clients’ 3 further films and allot to them preferential shooting dates.

In view of the above, any party or person desirous of dealing with Mahima Chaudhary shall have to deal through our clients only. In case any party or person directly deals with Mahima Chaudhary, they shall so do entirely at their risk, and our clients shall proceed to take suitable legal action against the said errant party.

Tel.: 640 6410


FLASHBACK | 24 March, 2023
(From our issue dated 28th March, 1998)


G.S. Entertainment’s Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya is a youthful love story. A young village girl, who has an over-possessive brother, falls in love with a city-bred boy, but her brother won’t dream of giving the nod for their marriage. The boy tries to impress his girlfriend’s brother in all ways so that he would give them the green signal. Love ultimately triumphs — of course, after the mandatory hurdles are crossed. There’s a track of the boy’s father and step-mother, who have a change of heart in the climax. There’s also another track of a greedy family in the village, which is trying to usurp land not belonging to it. There’s a third track of the girl’s loving uncle whose joy lies in the happiness of his nephew and niece but who, for an inexplicable reason, panics terribly on learning about the love affair of his niece and the city boy whom, incidentally, the uncle adores.

The film has generated immense craze, thanks to its hit music and the presence of heart-throb Salman Khan. Fortunately, it is the songs and Salman, which are the two major plus points in the film. In fact, so good are both that the high expectations of the audience (due to the publicity hype) are met in these two respects at least, the other drawbacks, therefore, being relegated to the background. For, otherwise, the scripting is poor and also not original, and the direction is ordinary.

There are several scenes which can be easily trimmed, either because they are unnecessary or because they do not come in the sequence they should be coming in. While several individual comedy scenes are very enjoyable, there are some which do not tickle the ribs. The city audience, especially, will appreciate the humour in the film. Climax is quite tame. Dialogues are witty. Emotions are sorely missing in this love story.

Salman Khan is the life of the film. It is one of the best performances of his career and he endears himself to the audience as soon as and everytime he appears on the screen. He looks terrific too. Kajol does a fairly good job. She should, however, check her weight. Arbaaz Khan is alright as Kajol’s no-nonsense brother but since the reason for his weird behaviour is not explained, one is left wondering what his problem is. Dharmendra is fair. A bulky Anjala Zaveri gives an average performance. Kiran Kumar, Kunika, Tiku Talsania, Dinesh Hingoo, Ashok Saraf, Nirmal Pandey, Asif Sheikh, Razak Khan, Anand Balraj and Ashish Balram Nagpal lend ordinary support.

Direction is functional. Director Sohail Khan has not been able to make a cohesive drama and the discredit for this should also be shared by writer Sanjeev Duggal and editor Yusuf Khan. Even an obvious slip like Arbaaz Khan asking Nirmal Pandey whether he was new to his (Arbaaz’s) city (when, all his life, Arbaaz has been actually living in a village!) has escaped the director’s attention. There’s no consistency in Kajol’s style — she uses Main and Hum (while talking of herself) as she pleases.

Music (Jatin-Lalit, Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid) is hit. O O Jaane jaana (lyrics: Sameer) is the best song and its picturisation is also wonderful. Odh li chunariya (lyrics: Sudhakar Sharma) is musically very strong but its picturisation should have been better. Tum par hum hai atke has an interesting picturisation. Sun o deewani teri jawani is yet another well-tuned song.

Action scenes are okay. Camerawork is very good. Other technical and production values are of standard. DTS mixing, however, leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya has hit music, cute Salman Khan and a holiday period ahead as the biggest advantages to ensure returns to distributors. While business in Bombay and South should be very good, that in North and Eastern India can be expected to be just about fair since intrinsic merits in the script and presentation are missing.

Released on 27-3-’98 at Novelty, Metro (matinee) and 18 other cinemas of Bombay by Vimal Agarwal thru R.M. Ahuja & Co. Publicity: bumper. Opening: excellent (despite examination period). …….Also released all over to very good houses (except in C.I. where opening was a little below satisfactory).


Prathima Films’ Yugpurush (A) is a tender tale about worldly exploitations. Inspired from Dostovski’s Russian novel and film, The Idiot (on which was based the Bengali film Aparichito made more than three decades back), it has an unusual story which touches the heart but which has very limited appeal. It is for the elite audience only.

A young boy, who gets a shock when his parents are killed in an earthquake, is sent to a mental asylum and he comes out of it after 25 years. Although he has immense vision (he can tell a man’s character simply by looking at his face), is pure at heart and extremely simple in looks, he is not one bit worldly-wise. Once out of the hospital, he meets some interesting people. One is a woman of disrepute on whom her aged lover (a politician) spends crores but she is disillusioned with her life. Another is the son of another politician, who detests his father but is madly in love with the lady of disrepute. The third is a family which has taken care of him and his property all these years. The head of this family has his eyes on the mental patient’s wealth, but his daughter is in love with him (the patient). The fourth is a man who is so greedy that he can even sell himself for money.

The woman of disrepute also falls in love with the mental patient; he, too, loves her. But the politician’s son makes the woman his wife and, in a fit of extreme possessiveness, kills her and is jailed for it. This mentally disturbs the mental patient again.

There are several heart-warming moments in the film, such as the scene in which he innocently signs his property papers to give the power of attorney to his manipulative caretaker guardian, and then, the guardian has a change of heart because of his innocence and himself tears off the papers, or the scene where the woman of disrepute is being auctioned, and the simpleton agrees to marry her. There are also many light scenes, mostly in the first half, which regale the audience.

But the drama moves at a slow pace. The second half is grim and too tense to be enjoyable. Besides, the central character in the film is of the kind a layman cannot identify with. Several other characters in the film also are not the kind which one can identify with. That’s a major drawback of the film. Dialogues, by Hriday Lani, are simple and excellent and some touch the heart.

Nana Patekar endears himself to the viewer instantly with his simpleton looks and innocence. In a role that’s different from what he is used to playing, he delivers an award-winning performance. But while he may get awards for the performance, this itself could go against the film — for, his fans will not get to see what he is famous for i.e. bad words, loud delivery of dialogues etc. Manisha Koirala also does a fabulous job which could fetch her some awards. She is especially superb in the agonising outbursts and the tender moments she spends with the simpleton hero. Jackie Shroff looks the character he plays and does justice to his role. Ashwini Bhave is fair. Shivaji Satam impresses a great deal as the lecherous aged politician. Jayant Savarkar, in a mass-oriented role, is very natural. Mohan Joshi is quite good. Mohnish Bahl, Sulbha Deshpande, Yeshwant Dutt, Ravi Patwardhan and the others lend good support.

Parto Ghosh’s handling of the ‘class appeal’ subject is equally class appealing. There’s hardly anything for the masses. Music in this kind of a film needed to be of the hit genre. Although ‘Bandhan khula’ and ‘Chale hum do’ are well-tuned, they are not the type of songs which can be hummed. Song picturisations are quite eye-filling. Camerawork (K.V. Ramanna) is very good. Other technical aspects are of standard.

On the whole, a sensitive Yugpurush is for the sensitive viewer but unfortunately, there aren’t many of this class. Therefore, although it will win critical acclaim, it will bring heavy losses to all distributors. Its heavy second half, to an extent, even offsets the impact of the enjoyable first half. Tax exemption can help the film. Business in Maharashtra, where Nana is the most popular, should be somewhat better.

Released on 26-3-’98 at Metro and on 27-3-’98 at 15 other cinemas of Bombay thru Apollo Enterprises. Publicity: good. Opening: average. …….Also released all over. Opening was poor in most of the circuits.


The Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-Town on 21st March felicitated Subhash Ghai and the unit of his Pardes at Hotel Centaur at a charity dinner in aid of cancer patients. Besides Ghai, there were Shah Rukh Khan, Alok Nath, Himani Shivpuri, Renu Saluja, Shravan, Anand Bakshi, Javed Siddiqi, Neeraj Pathak, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamoorthy and Hema Sardesai. They were all presented trophies as well as gifts prepared specially for them by cancer patients. The trophy to Subhash Ghai was given by Mrs. Subhash Ghai. Others who handed over the trophies were Anil Kapoor, Govinda and Aishwarya Rai.

Mahima Chaudhry and Apoorva Agnihotri were conspicuous by their absence.


The CCCA has started a charitable dispensary in Jaipur in its office premises. The dispensary is for members of the CCCA, their office staff and their family members. Consultation will be free and so will medicines.

The dispensary was inaugurated on 16th March. Trustee members of the CCCA, Nandu Jalani, Kishore Kala and Satyawan Pareek, attended the inaugural function alongwith other trade persons.


Kamla Pandit, mother of music directors Jatin-Lalit, Sulakshana Pandit, Vijayta Pandit and Mandheer, and wife of music director Pratapnarayan Pandit, expired on 21st March in Bombay. Chautha ceremony was held on 24th at IMA, Juhu, Bombay.


The Amravati film trade held a meeting on 16th April in the office of the CCCA, Amravati, to condole the death of Dada Kondke. Glowing tributes were paid to Kondke at the meeting chaired by Vijay Rathi. Two minutes’ silence was also observed to pay homage to the departed soul.


Why do foreign production companies normally talk of business in terms of grosses?

– Because the world over, there’s either no entertainment tax or, if it does exist, it is negligible. It’s in India that the government is a partner in film exhibition without investing anything.

In your opinion, should Titanic have been dubbed in Hindi?

– Of course, it should have, because it had the potential to do great business in Hindi too. Given the number of people who understand English in India, you cannot expect the English film to do as much business as the Hindi version would have done. Of course, on its own too, the English version is all set to prove to be the biggest Hollywood hit so far in India.

What is the scope of a Tamil or Telugu film dubbed from a Hollywood film?

– If the film is good, the Tamil/Telugu dubbed versions do very big business.


G.S. Entertainment’s Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya was given C.C. No. CIL/1/17/98 (U) dt. 23-3-’98; length 4466.12 metres in 18 reels (cuts: 22.57 metres).

Eagle Films’ Qila was given C.C. No. CIL/3/19/98 (A) dt. 23-3-’98; length 4507.49 metres in 17 reels (no cut).

Triple Aar Trinetra Combines’ Aakrosh was given C.C. No. CIL/3/20/98 (A) dt. 26-3-’98; length 4315.26 metres in 16 reels (cuts: 72.65 metres).

Divya Films International’s Kanyadaan was given C.C. No. CIL/1/18/98 (U) dt. 26-3-’98; length 4593.77 metres in 16 reels (cuts: 13.26 metres).



James Cameron, the director of Titanic, will be presented a cheque of $100 million by 20th Century Fox, one on the two distributors of the film. Cameron had given up much of his fees when costs for making Titanic began to soar over budget. To placate studio executives, Cameron surrendered all his remuneration except for a $1.2 million writing fee.

The new deal for restoring his pay must first be approved by Cameron and then agreed to by Paramount Pictures, the film’s other distributor.


Titanic hero Leonardo DiCaprio sued Playgirl magazine on 27th March over unauthorised nude photographs it plans to publish of the actor. He filed the suit in Los Angeles superior court, seeking unspecified damages from the magazine and an injunction to prevent publication of the photographs.

DiCaprio said in the suit that he suffered “shame, mortification, hurt feelings, emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and injury to his privacy and peace of mind.”


Delivery Dramas

Both the deliveries of this week were Caesarean — that is to say, there were problems and tensions, and it wasn’t smooth sailing. While in the case of Yugpurush, the tensions had started months back, with several distributors asking for a price reduction, in the case of Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, the tension was only between the Bombay distributors (Vimal Agarwal and Ashok and Nandu Ahuja) and their sub-agents for Gujarat, Saurashtra and Thane district. What surprised the Bombay trade, when all the three aforesaid sub-distributors pleaded inability to meet their commitments, was that this was happening in the case of a film which boasted of hit music, a terrific hype and an enviable advance booking! Is the money market so tight? Ultimately, the film’s delivery for all the above sub-circuits was taken by the Bombay distributors only. This, of course, resulted in a lot of quarrels and heartburning. Prints of a couple of stations of Gujarat, like Baroda and Nadiad, also reached late. Yugpurush changed hands earlier this week for Bombay city-suburbs and Maharashtra when Apollo Enterprises stepped in and Shringar Films (on behalf of ABCL) stepped out. The prices of several other distributors of Yugpurush had to be reduced by producer Pranlal Mehta.

More Value For Money

As people in Bombay must be aware, the Shroffs (Shringar Films) have specially appointed a violinist at their Cinemax cinema at Goregaon to play the theme music of Titanic (which is showing at the cinema) in the interval. Well, like the film itself, this novel idea is also being appreciated by the audience. Why, one Sarita Almeida, who happened to see Titanic at Cinemax, wrote a letter to the Shroffs to express how happy, “amazed and thrilled” she was “to see such a good violinist performing during the interval”. The letter further adds, “The last hymn, ‘Nearer my God’, he played so well, I may say, better than those performing in the picture. We were humming all the time after the picture and discussing how well the violinist played the same. Thanks, we shot two birds at a time — the picture and the live music.” The idea of keeping a violinist to play in the interval, it may be mentioned here, was Shravan Shroff’s.

Film Industry Problems

The seminar of the film industry, scheduled to be held on Saturday, May 2, at Bombay’s Leela Kempinski, has come like a God-sent opportunity to the industry to focus the government’s attention on its sorry plight. Being held under the guidance of the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry), this seminar will be attended by the finance minister, I & B minister, finance secretary, I & B secretary, industries secretary and other government officials. Industry people will read papers on subjects like grant of industry status to the film line, finance to film industry, taxation in film industry (both Central and State), copyright laws vis-à-vis the film industry, etc. One hopes, the industry’s problems get a sympathetic eye and ear of the government.

Striking The Right Note

Rakesh Roshan has started the launch vehicle of son Hrithik and Kareena Kapoor on a wonderful note. The very first song of the film, recorded last week, is a lovely number — lovely in all respects. It has been beautifully penned by an inspired Saawan Kumar Tak, excellently tuned by Rajesh Roshan, and ably rendered by Kumar Sanu with a couple of aalaap by Priti Singh. That’s good team-work, then.

Shah Rukh, His Favourite?

Mysore distributor R.N. Mandre seems to be too fond of Shah Rukh Khan. For, he has three films of the actor, for distribution in his circuit. One is Parvesh Mehra’s Shah Rukh-Karisma starrer, the second is Moranis-Bunty Soorma’s Shah Rukh-Karisma starrer, to be directed by David Dhawan, and the third is Nazir Ahmed’s Shah Rukh-Jackie-Juhi starrer, being directed by K. Shashilal Nair.