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Saturday, May 28, 2022

FLASHBACK | 27 May, 2022
(From our issue dated 31st May, 1997)

VIRASAT

M.R. Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Virasat (UA), remake of the Tamil film Thevar Magan, is the story of a village and two thakur-brothers staying in the village. The two brothers and their families are sworn enemies and their enmity starts affecting the normal lives of the ordinary villagers too, who, incidentally, are ever ready to lay down their lives for their masters (respective thakurs). The son of the elder thakur returns to the village after completing his studies abroad and has plans to start his business in leading cities of India and settle down in a city after marrying his foreign-based girlfriend. However, a slight mistake on the part of the educated son stirs a hornet’s nest in the village, and the two families as well as the entire village get entangled in a bitter battle. The educated son has a change of heart and mind and he decides to stay back in his village and cure it of all its ills and evils. He has to also don the mantle of his father who dies suddenly. Circumstances force the young guy to sacrifice his love and instead, get married to an uneducated poor girl of his village.

The story is quite unusual and has good sentiments for the ladies. The scenes between the two heroines as also between the father and his foreign-returned son bring tears to the eyes. Screenplay is well written, but what does jar is the atrocious editing. Scenes are so lengthy that some of them begin to bore and give the film a feel of a documentary on a village and its hardships! The enmity between the two families has not been shown as very bitter, which also makes the drama less exciting. Nevertheless, the film has quite a many brilliant moments, unexpected twists and turns, superb performances and excellent music.

Anil Kapoor literally lives his role. First, as the foreign-returned fun-loving boy and then, as a serious messiah of the village, Anil shines in scene after scene, delivering an award-winning performance. Tabu is the surprise packet of the film and is simply fantastic. As the uneducated girl, she endears herself to the viewer with a performance that is absolutely natural and truly extraordinary. Her gait, dressing-up, make-up, style of talking and acting deserve full marks and should fetch her awards and wide acclaim. Pooja Batra makes an impressive debut and comes like a whiff of fresh air. She looks pretty and acts naturally. Amrish Puri is extraordinary as the older thakur. Not once does he go overboard; his performance will be remembered for a long time. Milind Gunaji makes a weak villain. Govind Namdeo acts ably but his twisted mouth (unnecessarily so) makes his dialogues unclear and often difficult to follow. Satyen Kappu leaves a mark. Sulbha Deshpande is very effective. Tiku Talsania provides good relief. Neeraj Vora (as Sukhia) is terrific. His sense of timing and facial expressions are praiseworthy. Reeta Bhaduri makes her presence felt in a small role. Reena, Anjana, Dilip Dhawan, Darshan Arora, baby Rajeshwari, baby Sandhya, baby Namrata and the rest lend admirable support.

Priyadarshan’s direcion is admirable but he shouldn’t have gone so easy on the editing. His picturisation of the flood scene, Amrish Puri’s death scene and his recreation of the village ambience are fantastic. Anu Malik’s music is hit. ‘Dhol bajne lagaa’, ‘Payalay chunmun’ and ‘Taare hain baaraati’ are all excellently tuned. Their picturisations are also remarkable. ‘Ankhiyan mila ke’ is yet another beautiful number. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar and Nitin Raikwar) deserve special mention. Locations are heavenly, and Ravi K. Chandran captures them on celluloid just too marvellously. His camerawork is award-winning. Sabu Cyril’s art direction is excellent. Production and other technical values (DTS mixing etc.) are of a high standard.

On the whole, moderately-priced Virasat has good merits, diluted to some extent by loose editing. Further editing (of scenes like the lathi fight, of the double-role comedians, of sufferings of flood-affected villagers, of the panchayat scene before interval etc.) can help a great deal. Even without further editing, the film will fetch good returns on the strength of appreciation of class audience, ladies and families. The film deserves to be granted tax exemption for the message of peace and brotherhood it conveys.

Released on 30-5-’97 at Eros and 12 other cinemas of Bombay by Mr. India and Vimal Agarwal thru R.M. Ahuja & Co. Publicity: excellent. Opening: quite good. …….Also released all over.

INSAAF

Manish Arts’ Insaaf (A) is the usual and oft-repeated run-of-the-mill revenge drama. An honest and young police officer and an upright commissioner take it upon themselves to expose the murderers of a big group of school-going kids and their teacher (who is the sister of the young police officer). They realise, to their shock, that a timid minister, a police inspector and an underworld don are all hand-in-glove and directly involved in the multiple murders. One by one, the three villains are exterminated by the police officer. The twists and turns in the drama are most predictable. Screenplay is pathetically poor. Dialogues are witty at places.

Akshay Kumar, it appears, doesn’t even make an attempt to make some mark with his acting. All his efforts are directed in stunts and dances, in both of which he shines. Shilpa Shetty does a fair job. Paresh Rawal raises laughter as the comic Gujarati underworld don. Alok Nath is okay and so are Ranjeet and Mohan Joshi. Dinesh Hingoo, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Anjalika Mathur, Achyut Potdar, Rana Jung Bahadur and the rest of the artistes pass muster.

Dayal Nihalani’s direction is hardly any better than his scripting. He is content with giving stale fare to the viewers. Music is okay but song picturisations are all visually very appealing. ‘Barah aana de’ and a couple of other songs are musically quite good. Background score is dull. Action scenes are thrilling at places. Climax is long and repetitive. Camerawork is good. Production values are of a good standard.

On the whole, Insaaf is too poor a drama to make any mark at the box-office and will entail heavy losses to all concerned.

Released on 30-5-’97 at Alankar and 22 other cinemas of Bombay thru ABC Pictures P. Ltd. Publicity: quite good. Opening: average. …….Also released all over (except in C.P. Berar). Opening in U.P. was delayed by a day due to late arrival of prints. Opening was poor at most of the places including C.I. and Rajasthan.

‘BORDER’ RELEASE POSTPONED

The release of J.P. Dutta’s Border has been postponed by a week. It will now hit the screens on 13th June instead of 6th June, as scheduled.

The postponement has been necessitated due to a technical problem. A few reels have had to be remixed as the DTS mixing, done at Sunny Super Sounds, is said to have not yielded the desired results in those reels. The remixing has already begun in Madras.

Rumours were rife in the industry that the remixing would take more than a week and hence Border would be released only on 20th June. But, according to Bharat Shah who presents the film, “It will definitely come on 13th June.” Another big film, due for release on June 13, is Raj Kanwar’s Itihaas.

‘HERO NO. 1’ 100 DAYS

Vashu Bhagnani’s Hero No. 1is celebrating 100 days of its run all over today (May 31). Directed by David Dhawan, it stars Govinda, Karisma Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Kader Khan, Satish Shah, Himani Sivpuri, Tiku Talsania and others. Music: Anand Milind.

DO YOU KNOW?

* HMV is going all out in the promotion of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music of …AUR PYAR HO GAYA. It has announced 28 cash prizes for direct wholesalers, 130 cash prizes for direct retailers, indirect wholesalers and retailers, and a London trip for four direct wholesalers. It has brought out a dealer kit containing one …APHG T-shirt, a sampler cassette and different types of posters. The kit is being sent to around 800 music outlets across the country. Carry bags have also been made for display/usage at the outlets. As many as 50,000 …APHG paper caps were distributed at the venues of the cricket matches in the Independence Cup. Intensive publicity is being done on radio as well as television. In addition, two 30-minute capsules are being booked on DD for showing the making of …APHG.

* BORDER has already been booked on a fantastic MG amount at Rituraj cinema, Itarsi.

* HERO NO. 1 has completed 100 days today (May 31) in 4 cinemas in Nizam circuit: Hyderabad’s Parmeshwari 35mm (regular shows) and Ramakrishna 35mm (mg. shows); Secunderabad’s Anand 70mm (mg. shows); and Aurangabad’s Apsara (mg. shows).

*RAJA HINDUSTANI is the first blockbuster to have been released at Shri Krishna cinema, Seoni Malwa. Other blockbusters like HAHK..! and DDLJ were released in other cinemas of this small centre of C.P. Berar. Coolers had been specially installed at Shri Krishna for RAJA HINDUSTANI, to fight the summer heat.

YOU ASKED IT

Collections in Maharashtra are so poor even after 60% entertainment tax. Does it mean, even this tax rate is too high?

– Firstly, the benefit of reduction in entertainment tax from 100% to 60% has not been passed on to the audience, generally speaking. Secondly, collections are on the lower side not only in Maharashtra but all over because films released in the last six or seven weeks have been bad. And thirdly, and most importantly, any rate of entertainment tax is high. What is needed is its complete abolition.

Of Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, the two ex-superstars, whom is the craze greater for, today?

– Both are great actors but the current craze is naturally for the younger of the two oldies, Amitabh Bachchan.

Is the distributor a necessary evil between the producer and exhibitor?

– He is necessary but not an evil. He takes the risk and, very often, suffers losses, thereby shielding the producer.

‘Insaaf’: An Eye-Opener

The delivery drama in the case of this week’s release — Insaaf — should make all the industry people hang their heads in shame. Only thing, the reasons for hanging their heads would be different, depending upon whether they are artistes, producers, directors or distributors.

Since Insaaf has been in the making for years, its production cost crossed its budgeted cost by a couple of crores. Producer Jimmy Nirula had no option but to increase its price at the time of delivery. Almost every distributor created problems in taking delivery at the increased price. While the problems of some distributors could be tackled and solved easily, those of the Delhi-U.P. and C.P. Berar distributors took days to tackle. As a result, the film was released a day late in U.P. (on Friday instead of Thursday). And in C.P. Berar, it simply couldn’t be released. The C.P. Berar distributor of the film, Rajesh Jain, took the matter of the proposed price hike to court and obtained an order for delivery at the contracted price.

Akshay Kumar is one of our ‘hotter’ heroes. He charges about 1.5 per film. But distributors were reluctant to take delivery of his starrer for even 0.75, that is, half his price! And the film opened to 25% houses in C.I. on Thursday. This should make the artistes hang their heads in shame. Akshay Kumar happens to be the hero of Insaaf, but our other stars are all in the same boat, having over-priced themselves so much that a situation like this had to arise. Today, it has happened in the case of an Akshay-starrer, tomorrow could be another hero’s turn.

Director Dayal Nihalani took over 400 shifts to complete the film! Is he under the mistaken impression that raw stock comes for free or that the producer raises interest-free money to make a film? A director who shoots for 400 shifts needs to do some serious introspection before starting his next. And this director’s doing should embarrass the entire community of directors.

Producer Jimmy Nirula also cannot absolve himself of the responsibility for the pathetic state of affairs. Agreed, the producer more often than not finds himself in a helpless position. But Jimmy should’ve put his foot down when things began to go out of hand. It would’ve at least not been as worse a situation as he finds himself in today, with liabilities of crores. This case should make producers wake up to the fact that it is they who are the bosses and it just doesn’t pay to behave subserviently as if they were the servants. The word may sound too harsh but it is a fact that many producers behave like the servants and chamchas of the stars and the director. No producer should tolerate the cancellation of shooting by stars, on flimsy grounds. If stars are asking for the sky by way of remuneration, let them at least allot proper dates and stick to them so that films can be completed in a decent time schedule. Producers should be crying tears of blood today, after what has happened to the producer of a big-budget star-cast Insaaf.

Distributors should think twice before grabbing proposals. Film prices are so high today that a wrong decision could just wipe out a distributor in one stroke.

Unrealistic star prices, indiscipline, wasteful expenditure by directors are all killing the industry. These must be stopped. Or else, there’ll be an Insaaf every week, an Akshay Kumar every day, a Dayal Nihalani behind every film, and an unfortunate Jimmy Nirula bearing the brunt of every wrong person’s selfish moves.

– Komal Nahta

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Yash Chopra In New Territory

More and more producers are turning distributors too. The fancy business of some blockbusters in Bombay is prompting big producers to try their luck in distribution. The latest to turn a distributor for Bombay territory is producer-director Yash Chopra. His Dil To Pagal Hai will be distributed by Chopra himself who will soon be buying an office in Naaz building. Reportedly, a distribution manager has also been finalised.

Battling For The Price

After C.P. Berar, J.P. Dutta’s Border has changed hands for West Bengal too. The original distributors of the film, Musical Films, didn’t quite like the music which Dutta kept on playing — of increasing the price. After a lot of haggling, in which the Musical people reluctantly agreed to hike the price to 47, the position was the same. Dutta refused to budge from his increased price of 51. All negotiations broke down there and, with the intervention of Dinesh Gandhi, the matter was finally settled with the parting of ways — with Musical relinquishing the rights and opting for a profit. Dutta then sold the rights to Lala Damani. Thank God, a legal battle was averted since both, the Musical guys as well as Bharat Shah (who presents Border and who, incidentally, was on the negotiation table, and not J.P. Dutta) thought it better to settle it out of court. As it is, a battle film is enough. Who wants a battle for a film?

Holiday From Film Viewing

Barring Ziddi, no film released in April and May (till 28th May) has fared well at the box-office. Actually, ‘not fared well’ is an understatement, considering, we had such bombs as Mrityudaata, Zameer, Sanam etc. As a wag remarked, “Kehne ko toh, April aur May chhuttiyon ke mahine hain, lekin iss saal, nayee filmon ki chhutti ho gayee.”


FLASHBACK | 20 May, 2022
(From our issue dated 24th May, 1997)

MAHAANTA

Ayesha Films’ Mahaanta (UA) is a routine revenge drama laced with ingredients like friendship, love and sacrifice. Two bosom pals are separated when one of them is killed alongwith his wife. The murdered friend’s brother thinks that the other friend is behind the murders actually committed by a gang of villains. One by one, he seeks revenge on the villains and, in the end, is also convinced about the innocence of the friend.

Like the oft-repeated story, the film’s screenplay is also routine. Some twists and turns in the story look contrived and rather far-fetched. For instance, a police commissioner tries to save the life of his friend’s brother by putting him behind bars in the hope that he would be safe and secure there! What’s more, scenes are so lengthy that the drama loses a bit of its impact due to that. The second half, in which the hero kills the villains one after another, is better, although it could do with a lot of trimming. Emotions are totally absent. Dialogues (Talat Rekhi) are very good at places. The film has taken a number of years to complete and the time-gap shows.

Jeetendra does a fair job. Sanjay Dutt is competent. His stunts are very good. Madhuri Dixit looks young and pretty in some scenes and older in other scenes. Her performance, as usual, is good. Amrish Puri makes a terrifying villain. Paresh Rawal, as the other villain, evokes laughter with his dialogues and acting. Shakti Kapoor is okay. Mohsin Khan, Tej Sapru, Tariq Shah, Satyen Kappu, Sumalatha, Poonam Dhillon, Saeed Jaffrey, Kishore Bhanushali, Brijgopal and the others are alright. Commentary by Raza Murad is effective.

Direction is limited by the script. Director Afzal Khan has borrowed ideas from previous hits rather than offering something new. His shot takings are, however, good. Veeru Devgan’s action scenes have been wonderfully composed and they lend good thrill. On the music (Laxmikant Pyarelal) front, there are two good songs — ‘Tapka re tapka’ and ‘Chhoo le choo le’. A couple of other songs are rather dull. Background score is effective, the impact accentuated by DTS mixing. Camerawork is fairly good. Production values are rich. Special (computer) effects are fair.

On the whole, Mahaanta is too routine a film to be able to entertain and will, therefore, prove a costly proposition for its distributors.

Released on 23-5-’97 at Liberty and 26 other cinemas of Bombay thru M.V. Pictures. Publicity: very good. Opening: average (adversely affected due to excessive number of cinemas). …….Also released all over.

NEW CINEMA OPENS IN BOMBAY

A new cinema — King’s — opened on 23rd May at Kurla, Bombay. A mini cinema with 191 seats, it is housed in the same premises at Kalpana and Kamran cinemas. It is airconditioned and is fitted with Stereophonic sound.

The cinema has just one class with an admission rate of Rs. 32.50. Its nett capacity per show is Rs. 3,753.15 and for 28 shows, it is Rs. 1,05,088.70. It is owned by Agadi Seth and its booking is being done by Rajshri.

In recent times, this is the fourth new cinema of Bombay. The three other newly-opened cinemas are Sona (at Borivli), Madhuban and Pooja (both at Dombivli).

FIRST MARATHI FILM ACTRESS KAMALABAI GOKHALE DEAD

Kamalabai Raghunathrao Gokhale, the first Maharashtrian actress to have acted in a film, passed away on the midnight of 18th May at the age of 97. She is survived by her son, Chandrakant Gokhale, and grandson, Vikram Gokhale.

Kamalabai joined Marathi theatre at the age of five. She acted in just one Marathi film, Bhasmasur Mohini, produced and directed by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. In fact, Bhasmasur Mohini was the first film to have a female in the cast. Prior to that, it was the norm for male artistes to enact the female roles.

BETTER FACILITIES AT FILM CITY PROMISED

Govind Swaroop, secretary, cultural affairs, govt. of Maharashtra, and managing director of Film City, met film people in an informal meeting organised by G.P. Shirke on behalf of the Chamber of Motion Picture Producers, on 20th May. He patiently heard the various problems faced by the film industry at Film City during shooting and promised to solve these problems. He further informed that Film City had various new plans to give better amenities and facilities for filmmaking at Film City.

He said that Film City had already introduced a medical facility and insurance scheme, available for the benefit of the producers. When asked about the security at Film City, he explained that now, Film City had ex-army personnel on its security team, and security patrolling teams had also been introduced.

The film personalities present at the meeting were Sultan Ahmed, Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala, Ramesh Taurani, T.C. Dewan, Jagdish Sharma, Surjit Aujla, Mehul Kumar and Sushama Shiromanee alongwith representatives of cine workers.

DIMPLE KAPADIA BEREAVED

Chunibhai Kapadia, father of Dimple Kapadia, expired on 17th May in Bombay. Chautha was held on 20th.

BABY GIRL FOR ANAND

Music director Anand’s (Anand Milind) wife delivered a baby girl on 22nd May at Pushpa nursing home, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, Bombay. This is the first child of the couple in 17 years.

YOU ASKED IT

When does the Rs. 15 lakh subsidy become due to a Marathi film producer — during the making of a film or at the time of release of the second (next) film?

– Firstly, Rs. 15 lakh subsidy has been promised by the Maharashtra chief minister, it hasn’t been made a policy decision so far. Whenever the policy comes (expected in mid-June), the subsidy for a film will become payable at the time of production of the producer’s next film, that too, in four instalments.

What is the progress of Mehul Kumar’s Aey Watan Tere Liye? Will it be released on 15th August this year, as planned?

– Insiders reveal that the film has been postponed for the time being. It is rumoured that Mehul Kumar is toying with the idea of another film with Amitabh Bachchan and Nana Patekar together.

Why are other film associations not as strong as the CCCA?

– Because there’s no unity among members in the other trade bodies.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Jayshree Talkies, Bijapur, has completed a hat-trick of silver jubilees in 1997 with RAJA HINDUSTANI. The earlier jubilees celebrated were: RAJA in 1995, and DDLJ in 1996.

* A church set of Lala Damani’s SAAZISH, erected in Ooty, has become a tourist attraction. The set has people visiting it every day.

* Just a week before the release of J.P. Dutta’s BORDER on 6th June, his earlier film, KSHATRIYA, will be revived in Bombay under a new title, KHILADIYON KA MUQABALA. Incidentally, both are four-hero films.

Case For Collective Action

The scene in a magistrate’s court in Bombay earlier this week would agitate and shock any sensible person. A lady from Baroda had filed a writ petition in the court, alleging that heroines Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Pooja Bhatt, Tabu and Mamta Kulkarni were all indulging in obscenity in films. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the lady came with a whole gang of her relatives and friends of all ages, to the court, obviously, with the intention of seeing and showing the stars in flesh and blood! Of course, the lady and her entourage must have been disappointed on not seeing a single actress as the heroines were all represented by their lawyers. Anyway, their disappointment is besides the point. What is the point is: how long can the industry and its people continue to be dragged to the court by such self-proclaimed custodians of law who, more often than not, are actually least concerned about the aesthetics they say they are fighting for.

It is not rare for mahila mandals to take up such issues in courts of law, only because an actor or actress refused to show their face or talk to some mad member of the mandal. Sometimes, the mere kick of troubling a busy and famous artiste prompts an individual or an organisation to make a case out of virtually nothing, and drag a helpless actress to court. And, the person making such a hue and cry must, more often than not, actually be seeing films like a crazy film buff.

The industry must collectively take up this matter with the authorities concerned so that punishment can be meted out to the complainant if it is established that the intention of the complainant was to simply harass an actor/actress or if the complaint is ab initio weak/senseless/baseless. If such a precedent is set, ninety-nine per cent of the cases against stars and filmmakers will never come up. In a recent judgement, a person falsely holding himself out to be Priyanka Gandhi’s husband was sent to jail. A judgement on similar lines in fraudulent cases involving stars is what is needed.

Coming back to the complainants. What are they actually trying to prove with such crazy cases? Their senselessness? Or are they fanning their egos? If they have a grouse, the right body to be addressed, in case of an objection to scenes in a film, is the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). And if they are so concerned about India’s culture and the morality of Indians, why do they turn a blind eye to girls wearing skimpier clothes in real life than our heroines on screen? Is it because a case against a nobody will get them nowhere and no publicity, while a case against a celebrity will get them fame and recognition?

Such fame and recognition be damned. High time, an end was put to such games played with popular names on grounds that are lame.

– Komal Nahta

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Changing Luck?

Lady Luck seems to be smiling on Mushir Riaz who are known as unlucky producers in the industry. For one, the music of their Virasat has become extremely popular, which has made the film ‘hot’ among the city audience, at least. Their hero, Anil Kapoor, who wasn’t exactly going through a good phase of his career, has recently delivered a hit in Judaai. And their heroine, Tabu, has won a National Award for 1996. Mushir Riaz had better keep their fingers crossed so that these three lucky points translate into box-office luck for their moderately-priced Virasat.

Sorry, We’re Not In The Race

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the debut-making director of Khamoshi, may not have had a taste of success, but he felt, his film could have picked up an award or two at the National Awards. Even this became impossible because Sanjay realised (too late) to his dismay that Polygram (who presented the film) had simply not applied for awards in a single category. And this, despite the fact that the Polygram people kept telling Sanjay that they had sent the print of the film to Delhi for the jury to see it. Phew! Wonder, why anybody would be averse to winning awards?

FLASHBACK | 13 May, 2022
(From our issue dated 17th May, 1997)

‘JUDWAA’ 100 DAYS

Sajid Nadiadwala’s Judwaa has completed 100 days of its run today (May 17) at Liberty, Bombay, and other places. It stars Salman Khan in a double role with Karisma Kapoor, Rambha, Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor, Satish Shah, Kader Khan and others. It is directed by David Dhawan and its music is scored by Anu Malik. Purshottam K. Agarwal presents the film.

DISTRIBUTOR RAMBHAI MURDERED

Bombay and Delhi-U.P. distributor Rambhai Patel (Sheetal Films, Ahmedabad-Bombay-Delhi) was brutally murdered on the night of 12th May at Savli near Baroda. His partner in another business, Ramjibhai, was also murdered simultaneously.

Rambhai and Ramjibhai had a flourishing angadia business and had to reportedly recover several crores of rupees from the Somani brothers. When the latter went on postponing the payment, Rambhai and Ramjibhai had an altercation with the brothers a few days before the murders.

It seems that the murders were planned in great detail because Rambhai and Ramjibhai had been summoned by the Somanis to Salvi at the factory of Somani Cement to collect part of their payment. The Somanis, it is learnt, telephoned Rambhai on 11th May and asked him to come to his factory the following day. A reminder phone call was made on 12th too.

The two partners were taken to the godown of the factory on the night of 12th when they reached Somani Cement. By then, the goondas of the Somanis had taken their places in the godown and overpowered the two who least suspected foul play and, therefore, went unarmed. They were beaten with iron rods and wooden sticks, kicked and finally shot dead in true filmi style. Both, Rambhai and Ramjibhai, died on the spot as they could offer little opposition to the gang.

The dead bodies were put in their car and a goon of the Somanis was to set the car on fire at a distance from Savli. But even while preparations were being made to set the car afire at Parthampura village, a police van was passing that way. Sensing danger, the killers fled the scene. The police recovered visiting cards and diaries from the pockets of the two dead persons and, after investigations, arrested the Somani brothers on 15th May. The police suspect that three other persons were also involved in the horrendous murders, but they are still at large.

Rambhai had distributed Deewana, Bewaffa Se Waffa, Mehboob Mere Mehboob and Mashooq in Bombay circuit, and Phool Aur Kaante, Saajan and Sadak in Gujarat. He had also released a film or two in Delhi-U.P.

Rambhai was only 45 years old and is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters. His 13-year old son was away in Ooty on a holiday when the murder took place. The funeral took place at Rambhai’s native place, Balol, on 14th. A post mortem was conducted on 13th.

IN & OUT OF BOMBAY

Producer-director Indra Kumar is on a holiday abroad and will return in the first week of June.

Producer-director Rakesh Roshan left for a holiday abroad on May 13 and will return after a month.

Mr. Raman Maroo of Shemaroo Video will return to India from abroad on 27th May.

Mr. Rajesh Chowdhary of Modern Movies, Jaipur, returned to Jaipur on 16th May.

Mr. Baba Ramdeo of ABC Enterprises, Jaipur, is expected in town after a couple of days and will stay at Royal Inn (649-5151).

Producer Dinesh Salgia is in Indore and will return on 20th May.

Mr. Ashok Tharani of Ashoka Enterprises, Indore, will reach Bombay (634-2335) on 19th May.

Producer Mahendra Dhariwal, presently in Bombay, will leave for Jodhpur (46196) today.

Mr. Kamaldeep Singh Lamba of Kanwaljit Enterprises, Secunderabad, will be in Bombay (98200-74761) from May 19 to 23.

YOU ASKED IT

Jai-Kishen was released recently as Khiladi Hindustani. Anjaam has become Nafrat. Does this title-changing game help?

– In rare cases, it does. By the way, titles of only unsuccessful films are changed, generally speaking. Nobody has tried it with an old hit.

Video pirates have become super-active again. The latest Hindi films are telecast on cable TV channels all over, just two to four days after their theatrical release. Why doesn’t the industry take serious action against such pirates?

– The industry can do nothing till the government decides to help it. So helpless is the industry feeling that it has stopped contemplating taking any action whatsoever, which also is not right.

In 1995, when the government extended the benefit of 50% entertainment tax in Maharashtra for a further period of one year, it did so with the intention that the benefit should be passed on to cinegoers. Is there a similar intention in the current relief?

– No, this time, the government has reduced entertainment tax from 100% to 60% for the benefit of the industry only. Even then, where ticket rates are too high, it would be in the interest of all concerned to pass on at least a part of the benefit to the audience. If the industry does not do so, it may end up killing the hen that laid the golden eggs. For, if admission rates are not brought down in some cinemas, attendance, which is already low, may come down further.

Why? Why? Why?

Some stray thoughts have been crossing my mind for the past few days, which is good food for thought.

Like, why do distributors put the following line in their advertisements in newspapers: ‘To show or see this film on video/cable is illegal’. Has any distributor succeeded in taking action against anybody who shows or sees the latest films on video/cable?

Like, why do we refer to a film’s launching as its muhurt. A muhurt, by its very nature, must be held at the auspicious time. For film muhurts, the auspicious time is not that governed by the stars above but only that when the stars here on earth arrive for the launch. Then, what’s so muhurt-ish about the launching?

Or why do many producers ‘celebrate’ 100 days or silver jubilee of their films even though they run in deficit?

Why do producers flaunt the entry of their songs in countdown shows on the various television channels as a passport to success of their films when the two have no correlation whatsoever?

Why do distributors, when reviving old films, announce that the same have been revived ‘due to public demand’? Does any channel exist for public demand to reach the distributors?

Why, in the interviews on different satellite channels, do the producer/director/actor/ actress always harp on one thing — that my film/role is very different — when the fact is not so. Why can’t they just say that it is entertaining and leave it at that because nobody must be taking this “very different” bit seriously any longer.

Or why do music companies present Platinum and Double or Triple Platinum Discs to music albums when there’s no transparency at all about the album sales and when such Discs have become so common that they do little — or rather nothing — to augment the album sales or brighten up the prospects of a film if the album happens to be a film album?

Why do several producers announce that their films “can be enjoyed on the big screen only” and, yet, sell the video rights of such big-screen entertainers?

Why does the CBFC give ‘A’ and ‘UA’ certificates to films when practically all the films can be seen in cinemas by non-adults or by children unaccompanied by their guardians or without their consent? And these very adult films, after some days, are telecast on channels which have no censorship rules!

Or why do stars make the producers pay their personal make-up man, hair dresser, spot boy, driver? I’m sure, our stars are not so poor that they can’t afford to pay their personal staff adequately. No other profession provides scope for such payment from the person hiring the professional’s services to the professional’s servant, cook etc. etc.

Any why do distributors always cry that the industry is finished, that if prices don’t come down, there’ll be no buyers left, that times have never been as bad as they are today — and, after and in spite of all this, rush to buy films at fancy prices?

Or why do distributors crib that stars don’t run, rather, the film runs, but when it comes to buying films, they want only stars-cast films and will never touch a non-star cast project?

Why does everyone keep saying that the industry is fighting for its very survival even though this ‘dying’ industry has completed 100 years?

And finally, why am I writing all this? Is anything going to change?

– Komal Nahta

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Piracy Of A New Kind

The menace of video piracy has raised its ugly head once again. And this time, with more force than ever before. Although illegal, the latest films are telecast on cable TV throughout the country barely four or five days after their premiere theatrical releases. The video cassettes may be pirated and of poor quality but their telecast and wide reach do make a dent in box-office collections. This piracy is most pronounced in Delhi where pirated video cassettes are openly available. As if this isn’t bad enough, we now have cases of piracy of video CDs too. The pirated video CDs, like the pirated video cassettes of Raja Hindustani, are already available in the market. There is reliable information that due to be out in the market very shortly are video CDs of HAHK..!, DDLJ, Rangeela, Bombay and Judaai. Pertinent to note that official (legal) video cassettes of none of the above films have been released as yet. Piracy of video CDs has spread panic among legal video distributors who used to recover at least a lakh or two from sale of video CD rights. With pirated copies out, this market may be as good as lost now!

Quality-Conscious

The quality-conscious producers and directors taking personal interest in the production of music cassettes of their films is not new. But a music director doing so! Viju Shah deserves a pat on his back for the pains he took in the mastering and duplication of Gupt audio cassettes. He visited the audio plants of Tips outside Bombay and spent hours and hours till he was completely satisfied with the quality. All this, so that the public gets impeccable quality.

And if Viju Shah needs to be complimented for the above, Rajiv Rai also deserves to be congratulated. For, although Gupt is due for release on 4th July, its first copy will be out by the end of May. Reportedly, Rajiv wants that about 10 prints of the film be taken out daily so that complete check can be maintained on their quality. Compare this with the cases of 99% of the films released. Hundreds of prints of such films are prepared in one week!

Madhuri Magic Again?

For those who feel, it’s the end of the road for Madhuri Dixit who has had four failures in a row (Yaraana, Rajkumar, Prem Granth and Koyla), there’s news to the contrary. Madame Dixit, who has not been looking as beautiful as she used to earlier, is, it is heard, looking her glamorous and slim self in Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai. Maybe, Madhuri and Chopra’s magic will work, and this Diwali, the actress will have the audience go pagal over her all over again.

‘Sapnay’ Crushed

In Bombay, HMV had tied up with Crush (soft drink) for the publicity of its Sapnay. Hoardings, sponsored by Crush, sprang up all over the city, advertising both, Sapnay and the soft drink. Catchy captions caught the attention of the public. Captions like: ‘Love hurts but a little Crush never hurt anyone’ or ‘Bet you never had a Crush like this’. With the collections of Sapnay coming crashing down day by day in majority of the cinemas, Crush may now well put up hoardings with the following captions: ‘Love hurts but a Big Crash hurts everyone’ and ‘Bet you never saw a Crash like this’.

THE LAST LAUGH

** What are the distributors of Mrituydaata singing in chorus?

FLASHBACK | 6 May, 2022
(From our issue dated 10th May, 1997)

SANAM

Magnum Films International’s Sanam is a love story which has a disjointed script. The drama comprises scenes which often do not have any connection with the ones they follow or precede. There’s a nationalist angle too which has no relevance to the love story. The two tracks are sought to be juxtaposed in the climax but the result is pathetic. The first half deals with a girl unsuccessfully trying to woo a military trainee. The latter, after dodging her for quite a while, reveals why he is doing so. A fairly good part of the second half deals with his revelation. It turns out that he cannot love the girl because his elder brother was killed in an accident, which made him pledge to become a responsible and respectable military officer. This reason for his aloofness sounds strange but so do many incidents in the film. Actually, the love drama takes a backseat a little before interval, and for some reels thereafter, there is a bit of family drama. Then comes the nationalist part. Comedy falls flat most of the times.

If the story is childish, the screenplay is worse still. Dialogues are ordinary. The film has taken years in the making and the staleness shows.

Vivek Mushran does an average job. Manisha Koirala looks pretty and performs fairly well. Sanjay Dutt is okay in a brief and rather inconsequential role. Anupam Kher entertains at places only. Kader Khan is good. Shakti Kapoor and Gulshan Grover are alright. Dalip Tahhil, Harish Patel, Maya Alagh, Razzak Khan, Achyut Potdar, Dinesh Hingoo, Anjan Srivastava, Rami Reddy, Madan Jain, Aroon Bakshi, Ishrat Ali, Asrani, Usha Nadkarni and the rest pass muster.

Aziz Sejawal’s direction is unbelievably poor. Although the film seems to have lost its impact due to the undue delay in its completion, even its handling otherwise is bad. Anand Milind’s music is the only plus point of the film. ‘Kasam se kasam se’, ‘Ishq mein mere Rabba’, ‘Raks mein hai saara jahan’, ‘Aankhon mein neendein’, and ‘Khuda kare ki mohabbat mein’ are all very hummable numbers. But since the music was released years ago, it has become stale. Song picturisations are so so. Action is functional. Camerawork and other technical and production values are okay.

On the whole, Sanam is a weak fare.

Released on 9-5-’97 at Alankar and 15 other cinemas of Bombay thru VIP Enterprises. Publicity & opening: average. …….Also released all over except in East Punjab and C.P. Berar.

LATEST POSITION

Film after film is failing to make a mark at the box-office.

Sapnay (dubbed) has found very limited appreciation and proves losing. 1st week Bombay 20,25,277 (87.23%) from 5 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,16,970 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda 1,80,472, Rajkot 1,07,557, Jamnagar 87,628; Solapur 96,153; Delhi 13,59,488 (70.98%) from 5 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Kanpur 1,14,942, Lucknow 1,55,646, Agra 1,00,500, Allahabad 80,000, Varanasi 75,430 (27.19%), Dehradun 76,000, Gorakhpur 52,000; Amritsar 42,000; Calcutta 10,53,342 from 12 cinemas; Nagpur 3,71,128, Jabalpur 1,39,882, Amravati 1,49,606, Akola 84,500, Bhilai 52,045; Bhopal 1,73,023 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 2,22,377, Udaipur 87,870; Hyderabad 6,77,185 from 5 cinemas, share 1,27,322.

……….

Koyla 3rd week Bombay 6,13,041 (51.44%) from 3 cinemas (10 on F.H., 5 unrecd.); Ahmedabad 52,428 (3 unrecd.), 1st week Padra 88,591, Idar 75,500 (68.63%), 3rd Rajkot 1,01,025; Solapur 88,035; Dharwad 53,665; Delhi 19,15,256 from 10 cinemas; Kanpur 1,57,584 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,60,361, Agra 77,530, Allahabad 74,700, Varanasi 98,577, Meerut (35 shows) 94,781, Bareilly 79,466 (34.58%), Dehradun 65,535, Gorakhpur 84,000 (2nd 1,02,402); Calcutta 8,20,054 from 11 cinemas; Gaya 32,000; Nagpur 2,07,734 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 80,137, total 4,32,459, Amravati 1,04,481, Akola 84,074, total 3,03,682, Raipur 1,15,254, Bhilai 31,200, Durg 39,853, 2nd week Khandwa 55,713; 3rd Indore (14 shows) 62,990 (1 on F.H.), Bhopal 94,779; Jaipur 1,72,730, Udaipur 46,640; Hyderabad 5,17,674 from 2 cinemas, share 2,05,692.

Ziddi is still going strong. 4th week Bombay 5,97,781 (73.07%) from 3 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,38,750; Solapur 92,771 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Delhi 9,47,438 from 4 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,95,398 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,64,689, Agra 1,20,000, Allahabad 85,000, Varanasi 1,00,723, Bareilly 56,468 (29.37%), 3rd week Dehradun 72,000, 4th Gorakhpur 56,000 (3rd 61,700); Calcutta 2,62,324; Nagpur 1,24,285 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 89,144, total 5,47,358, Amravati 90,836, Raipur 1,09,875, Bhilai 43,564, Chandrapur 38,649 (3rd 37,609); Bhopal 1,13,630; Jaipur 2,16,014, 3rd week Jodhpur 1,56,000, 4th Bikaner 58,341; Hyderabad 5,75,898 from 4 cinemas.

Judaai 10th week Bombay 3,55,671 (60.66%, 3 on F.H., 1 unrecd.); Ahmedabad 1,71,129 from 2 cinemas, Baroda 1,03,296, Rajkot 52,000, Jamnagar 43,370, total 7,87,807; Solapur (matinee) 18,555; Delhi 82,312; Kanpur 85,399 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 48,289, Allahabad 41,000, Varanasi 52,560; Amritsar 12,160; Nagpur 1,54,960 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 40,779, total 5,74,216, 9th week Amravati 80,113, record, 10th Akola 81,601, record, total 9,15,150, Raipur (last) 49,367, 4th week Wardha (last) 30,937; 10th Indore 82,652, record, Bhopal 75,990, record; Hyderabad 1,77,047.

Hero No. 1 11th week Bombay 4,89,628 (63.43%) from 2 cinemas; Baroda 23,062, 10th week Rajkot 40,007 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); 11th Solapur (matinee) 28,222; Delhi 1,77,222 from 2 cinemas; Lucknow 55,442, Agra 45,500, Varanasi (shifting) 44,595, Gorakhpur (shifting) 15,000; Calcutta 86,689; Nagpur (shifting) 30,306, Jabalpur 54,609, total 10,09,311, 1st week Amravati 2,05,785, 11th Akola 46,403, total 6,50,175, share 3,65,140, 1st Khandwa 91,000; 11th week Indore 58,725, Bhopal 49,661; Hyderabad 3,02,940 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon).

CONTROL ON FILM PRICES: CCCA GETS STRICT

No distributor of C.P.C.I. Rajasthan will henceforth be allowed to offer to buy any film which has already been sold by the producer to another distributor. If a distributor makes a counter-offer for an already sold film, he will be liable to a penalty imposed by the Central Circuit Cine Association.

This decision was taken at the meeting of the executive committee of the CCCA held in Bombay on 5th May. The intention of the resolution passed is to avoid the artificial increase in film prices triggered off by over-enthusiastic distributors.

It was also resolved at the same meeting that the price of a film acquired for distribution will have to be fixed on the very day the deal is concluded by paying the signing amount.

The CCCA also resolved to take action against any producer who would make unreasonable demands on its distributor-members at the time of delivery (eg. unjustified dupe charges, price hike, etc.). The CCCA president would in such cases have a right to suo moto issue a circular, asking its members not to deal with the erring producer.

R.K. SORAL DRAGS DD TO COURT

The Bombay high court has admitted a petition alleging that Doordarshan broadcasts films at the instance of touts. Producer R.K. Soral has filed the petition, submitting that his Saveray Wali Gadi was not accepted for screening by DD as, according to DD, it was not found suitable for family viewing.

According to the petition, the Tamil version of the same film was telecast by DD. Soral has alleged that his film had not been accepted because he had not approached the authorities through touts.

Counsel for Soral, P.A. Sebastian, said that the film had been granted tax exemption by the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi and that it had been granted a ‘U’ certificate. Therefore, according to him, the film qualified for public viewing.

CINEMA COMPLETES 25 YEARS

Meghdoot Talkies, Vidisha (M.P.), which was opened on 7th May, 1972, completed 25 years on 7th May, 1997. Coincidentally, the opening film at this cinema — Mera Gaon Mera Desh — and the one being screened on 7th May, 1997 — Raja Hindustani — are distributed by the same distributor, Lalchand (Prem Films and Sunil Enterprises, Indore). What’s more, Lalchand has screened all his films in the last 25 years at this cinema only and in no other cinema of Vidisha.

The silver jubilee must be a joyous occasion then for the cinema owners as well as for C.I. distributor Lalchand.

44th National Awards

Swarn Kamal For ‘Lal Darja’
Kamal Haasan, Tabu Bag Awards For Best Actor, Actress

Lal Darja (Bengali) was adjudged the best film of 1996 at the 44th National Film Awards announced in New Delhi on May 6 by jury chairman T. Subbarami Reddy. Awarded for “poetic presentation and exploitation of the complexities of human relationships in a contemporary urban milieu”, the film has been produced by Chitrani Lahiri and directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta. It gets a Swarn Kamal, besides a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 each for the producer and the director. Maachis, declared the most popular film with wholesome entertainment, also gets a Swarn Kamal and Rs. 40,000 each for its producer, R.V. Pandit, and director, Gulzar.

Kamal Haasan won the best actor award for Indian (Tamil) while Tabu won the best actress award for her “sensitive portrayal of a woman trapped in vortex of conflicts” in Maachis. Nana Patekar was declared the best supporting actor in Agni Sakshi, and Rajeshwari Sachdeva, the best supporting actress in Sardari Begum.

Other award winners are:- Best director and best screenplay: Ahathian for Kaathal Kottai (Tamil) which is being remade in Hindi by Boney Kapoor in association with Neha-MAD Films Combine; best music: A.R. Rahman (Minsara Kanavu, Tamil); best choreography: Prabhu Deva (Minsara Kanavu); best male playback singer: S.P. Balasubrahmaniam (Minsara Kanavu); best female playback singer: Chitra (Minsara Kanavu); best lyrics: Javed Akhtar (Saaz); best cinematography: Mrinal Kanti Das (Adajya, Assamese); best audiography: Krishnanunni (Desadanam, Malayalam); best art director: Thotta Tharani (Indian); best special effects: Venki (Indian); and best costume designer: M. Dandapani (Kulum, Malayalam).

Best film on social issues: Tamanna, produced by Pooja Bhatt and directed by Mahesh Bhatt.

Indira Gandhi award for best first feature film: Raag Biraag (Assamese) by director Biddu Chakraborty. This film also won the best editor award for A. Sreekar Prasad.Nargis Dutt award for best feature film on national integration: Kanakkinavu (Malayalam) by Sibi Malayil.

Best film on family welfare: Laathi (Bengali) by Prabhat Roy.

The films awarded in the regional categories are: Gudia (Hindi); Sardari Begum (Urdu); Adajya (Assamese); Sanghat (Bengali); America America (Kannada); Desadanam (Malayalam); Rao Saheb (Marathi); Shunya Swaroopa (Oriya); Kaathal Kottai (Tamil); and Ninne Pelladutha (Telugu).

Raja Sen’s Damu (Bengali) won the best children’s film award, and Kumar Kavya and master Kumar jointly won the best child artiste award for their performances in Little Soldiers (Telugu) and Desadanam (Malayalam) respectively.

The Special jury award went to Amol Palekar for Daayra, and to Kiron Kher, for her performance in Sardari Begum. The jury also made special mention of the performances of Dolon Roy in Sanghat, and Bhagirathi in Adajya.

TV & VIDEO INFORMATION

BINDU ON SMALL SCREEN

Bindu will appear on the small screen for the first time in Kamroop Kanakhya Productions’ untitled TV serial. It will co-star Ajit Vachani, Bharat Kapoor, Suhas Khandke and others, and will be directed by Sanjay Upadhyay from a story written by S.P. Shrivastava and screenplay by M. Saleem. Producer: Bina S. Shrivastava. Regular shooting will begin from May 11.

YOU ASKED IT

What is the estimated loss likely to be in Mrityudaata?

– It would be in the region of 1.5 crore per major circuit.

Will Ishq be released in June? What is the delay?

– ISHQ will not come before July or August. Two or three days’ shooting remains to be done, besides picturising a song on Amitabh Bachchan (special appearance). All the artistes have finished their dubbing.

When vacations should prove beneficial for films, why have the releases of April bombed one after the other?

– Films have bombed because they weren’t good. Whatever business they’ve done, it’s partly due to the vacation period. ZIDDI, a good success, was also an April release. The vacation period is helping good films like HERO NO. 1, JUDAAI and ZIDDI.

MIX MASALA

VAASTU SET

The science of vaastu shastra has a good number of takers in the film industry. Film folk often build their houses and offices in accordance with the principles of vaastu shastra. But some art directors of the South take the cake. While constructing film sets also, they keep in mind the vaastu principles. One such set, constructed in accordance with the rules of vaastu shastra, is that for Tutu Sharma’s Gharwali Baharwali at Padmalaya Studios.

“It was an inner voice in me which kept telling me not to give up!”

– AFZAL KHAN on ‘Mahaanta

Mahaanta may have been inordinately delayed due to Sanjay Dutt’s arrest three years ago but the enthusiasm with which its director, Afzal Khan, has completed the film is admirable. Not just completed, he has actually re-shot about 60% of the film. Coupled with Afzal’s excitement in the project was Sanjay Dutt’s and the rest of the cast’s complete involvement. In this brief interview, Afzal Khan talks about his first directorial venture and how his distributors have stood by him. Excerpts:

Why did you think of re-shooting so heavily?

– After Sanjay Dutt’s release from jail, when I completed picturising a song on Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit, I saw the rushes, sat down and thought, and realised that if I didn’t re-shoot, there would be a lot of continuity problems and jerks. Ultimately, I realised, there would be problems at the time of delivery. Besides, I was too bothered about my name and respectability as a director. Secondly, I also feel that in a film, if there’s even a bit of upsetting of something, the final result can be disastrous. Also, when I decided to re-shoot, I got a chance to change the script a bit to reduce the footage of the stars who don’t run today, like Mohsin Khan.

How long did it take you to re-shoot?

– I re-shot during the period from July ’96 to October ’96, and then again in December ’96. In between, I completed the film’s background music in November.

Why did the background music recording take so long? And why have you gone in for DTS mixing — because it is the in-thing today or because your film needs it?

– We took Pyarelal-ji to Madras to record the entire background score. Everybody knows the perfectionist Pyare-ji is. And we didn’t use stock music at all. As for DTS sound, we realised that the film needed it. After all, we wanted Mahaanta to be today’s film.

When you took the decision to re-shoot, did you take your distributors into confidence or did you break the news to them gradually?

– No, we didn’t inform them before re-shooting. We involved them slowly, after re-shooting had started. We had to inform them sooner or later because they were going to bear the additional cost.

What has been the reaction of your distributors? What is the new ratio of your film?

– My distributors have been cooperating fabulously. When they saw excerpts from the film, they all were unanimous in their feelings about my work. They told me, it didn’t look like Mahaanta was my first film. We’ve re-fixed the ratio at about 1.75 crore to 2 crore.

How did your producer react when you told him of your plans to re-shoot?

– Producer Ayub Khan, presenter Nasir Khan and myself are all related. One sister of Ayub Khan is my wife and another sister of his is Nasir’s wife. Both, Ayub and Nasir, gave me the green signal without so much as even batting an eyelid.

How much was your film complete when Sanjay was jailed?

– 75% approximately. Had I thought like some other producers, I too could’ve completed the film by engaging the services of duplicates. But I had mentally decided not to complete it without Sanjay Dutt. He’s a genuine friend.

After the re-shooting and increase in ratio, will the producer be in the red or will he break even?

– No, it is a big setback for the producer. After all, besides the re-shooting, he has spent for 43 days for background music. DTS mixing has taken a month and ten days.

Who was your moral support during the time between the starting of MAHAANTA and its completion?

– No amount of external support can help until you yourself are convinced that what you are doing is right. It was an inner voice in me which kept telling me not to give up. That voice was my greatest moral support. Anybody else in my place would’ve broken down under the pressure, but I never looked back. The secretaries of my artistes also co-operated wonderfully and so did the stars themselves. Amrish Puri used to invariably joke with me and say, “You’ve taken so many of my dates, I almost feel as if I am the hero of the film.” The technicians also cooperated fabulously but I gave them extra remunerations. Here I must mention what (action director) Veeru-ji (Devgan) used to say. Looking at my unfailing confidence in the film, my undying spirit and my extensive re-shooting, he used to joke, “We should take out his heart and see the stuff it is made of.”

– Komal Nahta

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

The Hit Pair

Two films, the songs of which are currently very popular, are Virasat and Border. At least three songs of the former film have become the favourites of music lovers. And in the case of Border, the ‘Sandese aate hain’ song is quite a craze, more so in Punjab. The coincidence is that the music of both the films is scored by Anu Malik and the lyrics are written by Javed Akhtar. And before we know it, so many producers will rush to sign the lyricist and the music director that the hit pair will also become the ‘hot’ pair!

Enter The Ad Film People

Ad film people are entering the film industry. At least two leading persons from the ad world have already started their film projects in 1997. Shantanu Sheorey, ace photographer, is directing Kamal Haasan’s Chikni Chachi, the Hindi version of the English flick, Mrs. Doubtfire. Well-known ad filmmaker Kailash Surendranath also makes his bow as a feature film director with Ashok Amritraj’s Love You Hamesha. Who knows, as the year progresses, we may have a couple of more from the ad world come into this ‘mad’ world.

Of Luck — Good And Bad

There have been umpteen incidents of major losses being averted by sheer good luck, or windfall gains accruing due to plain luck. One such incident deals with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film, Iruvar. Before it was released, Jhamu Sugandh had finalised the negotiations for the Hindi dubbing rights of the film. Something went wrong between Ratnam and Sugandh, and the deal was cancelled. Reportedly, Mani Ratnam asked for a price higher than that committed earlier, which agitated Jhamu Sugandh and prompted him to call off the proposed deal. Mysore distributor N.R. Sudhir jumped in and clinched the deal at the enhanced price. A few days later, Iruvar was released in Tamil Nadu and it bombed miserably at the box-office. Jhamu Sugandh must be thanking his stars, and Sudhir, cursing his!

Involvement, Not Interference

Amitabh Bachchan has come in for a lot of criticism for Mrityudaata. But Bachchan has preferred to pass on the blame to whoever by saying that he never interfered during the film’s making and that he had seen it only in bits and parts and not in totality. What Amitabh fails to realise is that he is not just the hero of Mrityudaata but also its producer. So long as he was only an actor, the statement that he had seen the film only in bits and parts would have been understandable. But now that he has a dual role — that of a producer and a hero — making such comments does not behove Bachchan. He should realise that when a producer takes interest in his project or makes suggestions to his director or asks for changes to be carried out in script/
music/action etc., it is not called ‘interference’. The right word to describe the same is ‘involvement’. And a producer’s involvement is needed even if an actor’s interference must be avoided. And yes, even if Amitabh saw Mrityudaata only in bits and parts, he couldn’t have liked it. After all, other than the Daler Mehndi song, no bit and no part of the film could have appealed to him or to anyone else. Incidentally, Amitabh himself has said that including a Daler Mehndi number in the film was his (Amitabh’s) brainwave. While it must be said that it was a truly good idea, what should one call it — interference in Bachchan’s lingo, or involvement in ours?

Panic Everywhere…

There is all-round panic in the trade after Mrityudaata and Koyla. In Bombay trade circles, the panic is most pronounced among sub-distributors of Gujarat, Saurashtra, Thane and Karnataka. In the case of Koyla, Dilip Dhanwani acquired the aforementioned four sub-circuits at an unheard of MG price and stands to lose at least 1.5 crore. The sub-distributors of Mrityudaata for Gujarat and Thane will also lose heavily. These losses and the consequent panic situation have resulted in sub-distributors shying away from buying new films. But Bombay distributors have some reason to smile amidst all the panic. It’s because of the reduction in entertainment tax in the state of Maharashtra from 7th May.

…And Confusion At Places

While it was first reported that the new entertainment tax rate in Maharashtra would come into effect from 2nd May, it was later clarified by the authorities that the reduced rate would apply only from May 7. It is learnt that several cinemas of Bombay have refrained from making DCRs of May 7 and 8 (Wednesday and Thursday), awaiting a decision on whether to pay 100% tax or 60%. Some cinemas have prepared the DCRs showing tax calculated at 100% for May 7 and 8 too. But in some centres of Maharashtra, some exhibitors have prepared DCRs showing 60% tax from 2nd May itself.

In Defence Of ‘Border’

Even before Border has been released, all efforts are being made to seek tax exemption for the film in the various states. Towards this end, the film was shown to the defence ministry on 9th May in Delhi. With the Indo-Pak war as its base and the reported nationalist flavour of the film, J.P. Dutta shouldn’t find it difficult to convince the state governments to grant tax exemption to the film. Reportedly, Javed Akhtar, who has penned the wonderful lyrics of the film, is very close to defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Barter Exchange

J.P. Dutta’s Border has changed hands in C.P. Berar. The film, which was earlier with Raju Kothari, has now been acquired by the Kabras. As if to settle scores, Tutu Sharma’s new film, Gharwali Baharwali, has been acquired for C.P. Berar by Raju Kothari. The Kabras have been distributors of all of Tutu’s earlier films but his latest project has been bagged by Raju Kothari.

FLASHBACK | 29 April, 2022
(From our issue dated 3rd May, 1997)

SAPNAY
(Dubbed)

AVM Productions’ Sapnay, dubbed from the Tamil film Minsara Kanavu, is a love triangle with some difference. For one, two boys don’t love the same girl. One boy is in love with her but doesn’t know how to express his love, and so he takes the help of another boy to get the girl closer to him, but in so doing, the second boy and the girl fall in love. Another difference is that although the girl is the usual fun-loving kind, she is bent upon leaving the materialistic world and becoming a nun.

The unusual story is interesting, but showing too many Christian characters and too much of Christianity restricts the film’s appeal dramatically. Not only is the heroine brought up in a missionary school, even one hero is a Christian. The film has plenty of light moments but several of them are of the kind which would appeal immensely to the class audience but not at all to the masses. Further, since it is a dubbed film, the dialogues don’t come in a natural flow and, therefore, reduce the impact of the light scenes. This, coupled with the film’s mixing which is not proper, proves a handicap for the audience. Dubbing, in fact, is bad, and several dialogues are not easily comprehensible. The first half is dull.

What the drama definitely lacks in is emotions. The story had scope to accommodate emotional scenes but they are missing. An attempt has been made to infuse some sentiments in the climax but they don’t touch the heart. The climax, as it is, is over-dramatic and does not go well with the mood of the rest of the film.

Arvind Swamy acts with effortless ease. Although he gets lesser scope to entertain than the other hero (Prabhu Deva), he leaves a mark with his sincere performance. Although a bit fat, he looks very handsome. Kajol is excellent. She comes like a whiff of fresh air whenever she does on the screen. She looks pretty, dances beautifully and acts admirably. In fact, she and Prabhu Deva are the life of the film. Prabhu Deva endears himself to the audience in the role of a barber. His antics and jokes are very entertaining. V.K. Ramaswamy, Nassar, Prakash Raj and Girish Karnad lend good support. S.P. Balasubrahmaniam is good only at places; at other times, he tends to get boring and irritates.

Rajiv Menon has selected a fairly different story but his debut as a director leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than explaining things properly, he often leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination. His narration of the subject is of class appeal. Of course, his direction also has its brilliant moments but they are few and far between, and the overall impact isn’t too nice. A sensitive subject as this required a mature handling with a lot of emphasis on a tight screenplay. A.R. Rahman’s music is the biggest asset of the film. The songs are a treat for the ears and picturisations of most of them are superb. ‘Awara bhanwara’, ‘Chanda re’ and ‘Ho…. la la la’ are wonderful songs and their picturisations thrill the heart. Picturisation of ‘Door na ja mujhse’ is extraordinary. Background music is very effective. Camerawork is brilliant. Locations are beautiful. Dialogues could have been better. Editing should have been sharper.

On the whole, Sapnay is a film for select cinemas in select major cities only, where the class audience will like it. But as there’s less for masses in it, it will meet with a poor fate in the rest of the country, and keep its distributors in the red.

Released on 1-5-’97 at Metro and on 2-5-’97 at other cinemas of Bombay thru ABC Pictures Pvt. Ltd. Publicity: excellent. Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening was not upto the mark at many places.

LATEST POSITION

The debacle of MRITYUDAATA has sent shock-waves in the industry. …….This week’s SAPNAY has taken a poor start at most of the places.

Mrityudaata started dropping from 2nd day onwards. 1st week Bombay 40,98,434 (79.87%) from 14 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 14,15,389 from 8 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Padra 1,51,148, Bharuch (gross) 3,38,722, Rajkot 2,88,790 from 2 cinemas, Jamnagar 1,51,219; Pune 8,96,903 from 6 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 2,58,971 from 2 cinemas; Delhi 36,53,043 (81.44%) from 11 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,62,920 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,11,651, Agra 2,38,332, Varanasi 1,81,561 (89.21%), Dehradun 1,45,000 (69.99%); Calcutta 48,00,175 from 37 cinemas; Gaya 1,00,010 from 2 cinemas; Nagpur 5,40,069 from 6 cinemas, Jabalpur 2,24,873 from 2 cinemas, Amravati 1,79,808 from 2 cinemas, Akola 1,77,080 from 2 cinemas, Raipur 2,46,195 (50.38%) from 2 cinemas, Bhilai 2,62,620 from 3 cinemas, Jalgaon 1,00,034, Chandrapur 1,17,410, Khandwa 88,984 from 2 cinemas; Indore 3,41,270 from 3 cinemas (2 on F.H.), Bhopal 4,19,403 from 3 cinemas, Gwalior 1,16,000; Jaipur 11,60,803 from 6 cinemas, Ajmer (29 shows) 1,28,722, city record, Bikaner 2,65,909 from 2 cinemas, Udaipur 91,740; Hyderabad 33,94,977 from 22 cinemas, share 18,79,000.

……….

Ziddi 3rd week Bombay 10,12,806 (71.53%) from 6 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,88,034 from 2 cinemas (3 unrecd.); Pune 3,98,388 from 3 cinemas, Solapur 99,528 from 2 cinemas; Delhi 15,40,599 from 8 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,26,837 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,79,660, Agra 1,17,650, Varanasi 1,18,839, Dehradun 87,874 (2nd 1,36,081); Rohtak 26,034; Calcutta 6,39,526 from 8 cinemas; Nagpur 1,99,461 from 3 cinemas, Jabalpur 88,688, total 4,58,213, Amravati 90,707, Raipur 1,16,201, Bhilai 45,356, total 3,40,380, 2nd Jalgaon 95,900, 3rd week 4 days 38,000; 3rd week Jaipur 2,48,768, Bikaner 52,247; Hyderabad 3,24,238.

Judaai 9th week Bombay 7,40,593 (59.57%) from 5 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Baroda 1,06,768, Rajkot 58,725, Jamnagar 57,707; Pune 1,30,421 from 3 cinemas, Solapur 39,007; Delhi 2,77,835 from 3 cinemas; Kanpur 98,314 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 55,191, Agra 27,500; Nagpur 78,962 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 39,762, total 5,73,199, 8th Amravati 78,021, 9th week Akola 64,860, total 8,33,550, Raipur 53,711, Bhilai (6 days) 25,250, 4th week 6 days Wardha 27,548; 9th Indore 83,020, Bhopal 83,188; Jaipur 68,252; Hyderabad 2,07,199.

Hero No. 1 10th week Bombay 4,80,924 (69.71%) from 3 cinemas; Baroda 28,015, 9th week Rajkot (mat.) 8,200; 10th Pune 2,36,718 from 4 cinemas (1 in mat.), Solapur (mat.) 27,408; Delhi 1,81,741 from 2 cinemas; Kanpur 43,912, Lucknow 55,517, Agra 60,384, Varanasi 39,373; Calcutta 1,12,237; Nagpur 22,774, Jabalpur 50,643, total 9,54,702, Akola 32,007, total 6,03,772, share 3,44,506, 1st week Gondia 62,271; 10th Indore 52,810, Bhopal 57,348; Jaipur 1,21,219; Hyderabad 3,37,263 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon).

Raja Hindustani 21st week Bombay 4,09,531 from 4 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 23,675 (1 unrecd.), 25th week Baroda 41,488; 22nd Pune 1,65,088 from 3 cinemas, 20th week Solapur (7 shows) 51,689; 24th Delhi 85,054; 25th Kanpur 26,913, 24th Lucknow 56,853, 25th Varanasi 17,343; 3rd week Kampti 33,353, 3 weeks’ total from Balaghat 2,65,000; 24th week Indore 1,21,103, 23rd Bhopal 44,713; 25th week Hyderabad 1,97,875.

GRAND OPENING OF CINEMA AT DOMBIVLI, BOMBAY

The opening of Pooja cinema at Dombivli, a distant Bombay suburb, on 1st May at the hands of police commissioner O.P. Bali was a grand affair. The expenditure incurred by the owners, Morarji Vira, Meghji Vira, Mahendra Vira, Bhanu Vira and Kekin Vira, befitted that for a marriage.

Invitee shows of Sapnay were held at 6 p.m. as well as 9 p.m. at Pooja and the recently opened twin cinema, Madhuban. Both are equipped with Dolby Stereophonic sound system. The invitees in both the shows at both the cinemas were treated to dinner too.

The Vira family played perfect hosts, receiving the guests with pedas and thandai. Everybody associated with the construction of Pooja cinema was honoured on the occasion with trophies.

TAX EXEMPTION FOR MARATHI FILMS

Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane announced in the legislative council this week that Marathi films would be granted 100% entertainment tax exemption. Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi has also promised to increase the subsidy payable to Marathi film producers to Rs. 15 lakh.

FIRST AIR-CONDITIONED CINEMA IN BARODA

Vihar cinema in Baroda has installed an air-conditioning plant and becomes the only cinema in Baroda district with a full air-conditioning facility. Sapnay opened at the air-conditioned cinema on 2nd May.

KETAN ANAND’S WIFE COMMITS SUICIDE

Producer-director Ketan Anand’s wife committed suicide on 26th April at her residence at Chembur, Bombay. The reason for the suicide is not known.

‘SAPNAY’ PREMIERE

A premiere show of Sapnay was held on 30th April at Metro, Bombay. The three lead artistes of the film — Arvind Swamy, Kajol and Prabhu Deva — attended the show.

DTS SOUND SYSTEM FOR CINEMA AT AKLUJ

Dr. Sunil Patil, owner of Shriram cinema, Akluj (Maharashtra), has gone to Dubai and Singapore for buying DTS digital sound system for the cinema. The cinema is already equipped with Dolby SR sound.

DTS SOUND AT SMRITI, INDORE

Smriti cinema in Indore, owned by the Kasliwals, will instal DTS sound system. Border will be released at the cinema after the installation of the sound system. This will be the third cinema in Indore to have DTS sound system, the earlier two being Sapna and Sangeeta.

DTS AT NOVELTY, LUCKNOW

Novelty Talkies, Lucknow, has installed DTS Stereophonic sound system. It is the first cinema in Uttar Pradesh to have installed the sound system.

JAIPAL REDDY NEW I & B MINISTER

Sudini Jaipal Reddy is the new information & broadcasting minister in the government of prime minister I.K. Gujral. He was sworn in as cabinet rank minister on 1st May and succeeds C.M. Ibrahim.

O.P. GOYAL STABBED

C.I. distributor O.P. Goyal was stabbed on 29th April in Indore while he was leaving Sapna cinema for his office. He was dragged out of the car and stabbed at four or five places by unidentified persons. He is out of danger. Just recently, Goyal had met with a car accident.

YOU ASKED IT

Can a sequel of a hit film succeed in India?

– Why not? There’s no hard and fast rule that a sequel will not succeed. NIGAHEN, the sequel to NAGINA, may have bombed, but that does not mean, sequels can never do well.

After Mrityudaata and Koyla, what, according to you, should be a reasonable price for big films?

– 1.5 to 1.75 crore should be the upper limit for any film. If such films can take a bumper initial, the back-breaking losses will at least be averted.

When everybody says that the ‘film line’ is a ‘small line’, how is it that reports of big disasters don’t come in circulation before their release?

– Firstly, the correct judgement about a film can often not be made unless it is viewed in totality. Secondly, big filmmakers are extra-careful that their reports don’t leak out. And finally, the public is the best judge as far as reports of films go.

The Industry Must Give 5 To 10 Years’ Time To Judge ABCL

– AMITABH BACHCHAN

A day after the premiere of Mrityudaata in Jaipur, a group of Bombay journalists who had been there to attend the premiere, got some time to talk to Amitabh Bachchan in his suite at Rajputana Palace Sheraton. The comeback hero spoke on topics ranging from his comeback film, Mrityudaata, to corporatisation to stars of the day.

On ‘Mrityudaata’:

Amitabh Bachchan did not express his own opinion about the film as he claimed that he had not seen the whole film in one sitting, but had seen it in parts at different times. He admitted that he had liked the theme when it was being planned and had asked Mehul Kumar to go ahead. He said, he never interfered in Mehul’s work and he made it clear that Mrityudaata was, all in all, a Mehul Kumar film.

Amitabh clarified that only a few producers, and not many, as is generally believed, had approached him for making his comeback film, and of them, he selected two — Indra Kumar and Mehul Kumar — for ABCL productions. They persisted whereas others simply proposed, he explained. When it was time to launch the films, muhurt of Indra Kumar’s film was performed first. However, it couldn’t make any progress as Indra Kumar was busy in completing his Ishq. Thus, Mehul got a chance to launch and complete ABCL’s Mrityudaata at breakneck speed. One major point in favour of Mehul Kumar, according to Bachchan, was that he himself was a producer-director and so understood the problems of producers, which helped in economising production cost. ABCL being a new company, such a person was needed for its initial productions, said Amitabh. And Mehul had given no cause for complaint. Amitabh informed that shooting of Indira Kumar’s film would start in two months’ time and it would be completed within six months.

On ABCL:

Amitabh Bachchan said, he launched ABCL after giving great thought and studying the entertainment industries of the world. He agreed that only appointing MBAs to run his company was of no use, but, he felt, if they were given lessons in film business, they could be very beneficial to the industry. “It is a matter of give-and-take,” he added. “We have to learn something from them, and they have to learn something from us. Only then can the corporate body succeed.” Supporting his corporatisation, he said, “Corporate body is the need of the hour. Our Indian film industry is very small. In the age of globalisation, foreigners are ready to invest money in our country and if they get the opportunity, they will not hesitate to grab it. The American corporate bodies like 20th Century Fox, Paramount etc. are so rich that even one section of these companies may have more money power than our entire film industry. There was a time when, even in India, our major studios were running the film business like corporate bodies, but with the star system gaining popularity, the studios fragmented. Again, attempts are being made in India to progress with corporatisation. Like in Hollywood, in India too, producers-directors can make films under any corporate body in business-like manner.”

“ABCL is only two years old and it has spread its wings in audio, television, film production, distribution and some other branches of the entertainment industry. It has earned profits in some and incurred losses in others. At present, because of differences with Multichannel, with which ABCL was looking after the marketing of television programmes, this section is lying low, and efforts are being made to give it a new lease of life. As far as film productions are concerned, two films have been released, and one of these (Tere Mere Sapne) has succeeded. Naam Kya Hai and Saat Rang Ke Sapne are almost ready, with only two-three days’ shooting remaining to be done. Major Saab, another Amitabh Bachchan starrer, will be 70% complete after the current shooting schedule being held in Pune. All these films are likely to be released in 1997 itself. A turnover of Rs. 80 crore, just within two years, is not a mean achievement.” Amitabh, reacting to comments that ABCL was in the red, said, “People must give at least five to ten years to assess the success or failure of ABCL.”

Words of Appreciation:

Amitabh was very appreciative of another corporate body — Plus — and music business baron Gulshan Kumar. He said, the business acumen of Gulshan Kumar was masterly. He had captured the music market even in remote corners of the country through his ingenious method of handing over distribution to such people as bus operators, paanwalas and other people who are in contact with street people all the time.

On Current Stars:

Even while discussions were on, the television set in the room was showing the countdown show, BPL Oye. As Govinda appeared on the scene in a song from Hero No. 1, Amitabh remarked, “He (Govinda) is outstanding.” Soon after, when Kajol appeared in a song from Sapnay, he said, “She is the most natural actress.” About his own son, Abhishek, he didn’t say, he would take up acting. “He has just joined ABCL and is looking after some of the work.”

JAGAT GUPTA

Prices, More Than Films, Are Failing

The back-breaking Mrityudaata and the loss-making Koyla have shaken the confidence of the trade. It is not the first time that two big films, released one after another, have failed. But it is the first time that two highest-priced films of their times have flopped. Although the losses of the two films cannot be compared, what is similar in the non-success of Koyla and the debacle of Mrityudaata is that their prices were too high and did not match their costs of production. The repercussions of the flopping of these two films will be felt in the forthcoming releases when exhibitors don’t come forward with deserving MGs, having paid undeserving MGs or advances to the two films.

If producers have been unreasonable in demanding crazy prices, over-enthusiastic distributors have also been rather indiscriminate in acquiring films at unbelievably high prices. Agreed, everything, which is in demand, comes at a premium. But such a heavy premium?

Businesses of films like Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Raja Hindustani, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Karan Arjun are used as pointers by producers when they quote fancy prices for their films. But in the last almost four years, we’ve had just four such mega hits. It is not as if every second or third film is hitting the bull’s eye. Nor has cost of production gone up to such an extent that crazy prices should be demanded. It is actually the unsatiable greed of the producer to get quick-rich that prompts him to demand prices which have no relation whatsoever to the actual cost of production. Distributors also sometimes do not give proper accounts and the due overflow to the producers, which prompts the latter to sell their films at unrealistic prices. The logic of the producers is that they are collecting the potential overflow in advance. Assuming that their logic is not wrong, they must then willingly refund the excess price to their distributors if the film fails to cover the unrealistic part of the price. Then there are some producers who, in fixing the ratios of their films, unfortunately behave as if there will be no tomorrow or as if they will make no film after their current proposal. Yes, proposal makers they are, more than filmmakers.

It is shocking, to say the least, that distributors should be paying so much for films after losing so heavily in previous projects. The psychology of the distributors may be funny but it isn’t difficult to understand. A distributor is living under the constant fear that if I don’t buy this film, some other distributor might buy it. It is this fear of a film going to another which prompts a distributor to pay sky-high prices even while fretting and fuming at them. But why this insecurity? Why pay an unreasonable price not because you fancy a film but because you are scared that the film may catch the fancy of another? No sensible business can be conducted on the basis of what another thinks is the worth of a film. It never was and never can.

This is not to say that film prices can never be more than a given limit. No, each film is a project in itself and its price must be governed by the laws of demand and supply. But let not the distributors think that just because there is short supply of potential hits, any price is justified for such films, for the simple reason that it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict which film constitutes a potential hit. No banner, whatever its past record, and no director, whatever the business of his last film, can ever guarantee that his next film will be a super-hit or, for that matter, even a success. Then why charge the price of a blockbuster? As for demand, the same logic applies. There is definitely a demand for hits but can anyone guarantee even a success?

Then why should prices, said to be governed by the economic laws of demand and supply, be so unrealistic that in some cases, it is the prices which ultimately flop, not the films?

– Komal Nahta

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

One Man’s Food, Another Man’s Poison

A hit in one language does not guarantee that the same film will also click when dubbed in another language. This has been proved a number of times, and the latest example is that of Raja Hindustani. This super-duper hit was dubbed in Telugu as Premabandham but the dubbed version is as big a disaster as the original was a hit. Released on 21st March in Andhra, the Telugu version has left its distributors and others connected with it disappointed. Its dubbing is said to be of poor quality and so are the dialogues in Telugu. Even the lyrics are reportedly sub-standard. Now that the dubbed version has bombed, the objection which had been raised by the talented director of the film, Dharmesh Darshan, to its dubbing without his knowledge, makes sense. Dharmesh was apprehensive about the dubbing quality and had, even before the Telugu version could hit the screens, expressed fear that if it did not do well, it would spoil his reputation in the Telugu film market. Dharmesh’s fears have proved right and, if today, the film’s producers may be regretting their hasty decision, Dharmesh must be shedding tears at the fate of his ‘baby’.

Minor Change

A flop film brings out the bitchiest best of the trade people. And bigger the flop, bitchier the comments of the trade.

Like, for instance, a Gujarati film producer remarked after the bombing of Mrityudaata: “It wasn’t only Amitabh’s comeback film. It was also Mehul Kumar’s comeback vehicle. The director will now have to come back to making Gujarati films only.” Another wag bitched, “Looking to the cold response to Amitabh Bachchan in Mrityudaata and the not-so-exciting initial of the film, the title of ABCL’s next film should be changed from Major Saab to Minor Saab!”

Wetting The Wall

And this one, just for a laugh.

This was when Salim-Javed’s Deewaar, which went on to become a blockbuster, was being made. The title had not been finalised. When Deewaar came up as one of the suitable titles, somebody from the unit thought, it was too dry a title and expressed so. Writer Javed Akhtar, who has a wonderful sense of humour, said, “Title dry lagta hai? Koi baat nahin, film ka title Geeli Deewaar rakh dete hain!”

FLASHBACK | 22 April, 2022
(From our issue dated 26th April, 1997)

MRITYUDAATA

ABCL’s Mrityudaata (A) is too routine a film to be made for the comeback of an actor who has been the superstar for years. It has absolutely no novelty, either in content or in presentation. In fact, the story gives the impression that writer-director Mehul Kumar was bankrupt of ideas and did not even make an attempt to offer something fresh to the audience. Screenplay is as pathetic as the story. Dialogue writer Jalees Sherwani seems to have got so excited about his job that he has written long and unending lines of dialogues which sermonise, preach and bore more than anything else. Quite frankly, the film is so verbose that it gets on the audience’s nerves after a while, especially because subjects of this kind have been handled umpteen times earlier.

The story is about a middle-aged surgeon whose brother is killed by an evil politician and a don. The shock is too much for the doctor’s wife to bear and she, too, dies. This puts the doctor in such a state of depression that he drowns himself in alcohol everyday. Being a very skillful surgeon, he is extremely sought-after and, therefore, performs operations in an inebriated state! How the medical profession permits such doctors to even enter the operation theatre is conveniently not touched upon. When the surgeon is pushed against the wall by the politician and the don and he learns that they were responsible for the deaths of his brother and wife, the life-saving doctor dons a new mantle. He vows to wipe out the enemies of the country and becomes a life-taker.

The first half is shockingly dull and fails to evoke any interest or participation of the viewer. The pace picks up to some extent just before interval so that the second half is relatively better. But the sermonising impact is so great that the film turns out to be devoid of any entertainment value.

Amitabh Bachchan has done a good job but he has failed on two counts: firstly, his choice of subject to stage a comeback is wrong, and secondly, he looks fat, old and tired. Dimple Kapadia has no role worth her while and she does fairly well. The scenes and song of young Amitabh and Dimple are boring. Karisma Kapoor performs very ably but she suffers on account of poor characterisation — she is almost a vamp who walks out on the hero and marries the villain’s son! Add to that, she is made to become a widow soon after her marriage. Arbaaz Ali Khan is bad and neither looks nor acts like a hero. Paresh Rawal is effective. Ashish Vidyarthi performs well but has too much to talk and so tends to bore. Mukesh Rishi has been given a role longer than he can handle. Mushtaq Khan is extremely impressive and comes up with a truly free performance. Pran leaves a mark in a guest appearance. Deepak Tijori is alright and so is Asif Sheikh. Avtar Gill, Tiku Talsania, Dinesh Hingoo and Farida Jalal (in a guest role) lend good support. Vikas Anand, Mukesh Rawal, Dharmesh Tiwari, Mulraj Rajda, Namdeo Lahute and the others provide average support. Daler Mehndi appears in a song-dance which is excellent.

Director Mehul Kumar handles a poor story even more poorly. Anand Milind’s music is fair but a film of this canvas deserved a hit score. The Daler Mehndi song is superb and has also been picturised beautifully. It comes at the appropriate time to break the tension and monotony. Other song picturisations lack imagination. Camerawork is not up to the mark. Background music is alright and sound effects (DTS) could have been better. Action should have been more exciting and stylised.

On the whole, Mrityudaata, which has been sold at a prohibitively high price, may have taken a bumper start (at most places) but it will keep Amitabh fans sorely disappointed and, therefore, its distributors are bound to incur huge losses.

Released on 25-4-’97 at Eros and 23 other cinemas of Bombay by ABCL thru Shringar Films. Publicity & opening: excellent. …….Also released all over. Opening was bumper everywhere except, surprisingly, in East Punjab where shows were not full on the first day. The film dropped conspicuously on 2nd day in C.P. and C.I.

LATEST POSITION

The drop in collections of MRITYUDAATA on the first day itself at several places has baffled the industry.

Koyla, as expected, has recorded historic collections in the first week and, as predicted, began to slide downwards at most places, soon after the festival period got over on 20th. 1st week Bombay 42,65,879 (91.44%) from 13 cinemas (10 on F.H.), Vashi 2,50,445, record, Palghar 1,02,615; Vapi 2,90,834, Ahmedabad 16,38,960 from 8 cinemas, Bharuch 3,25,682, Ankleshwar 1,79,379, Palanpur city record, Rajkot 1,89,000, Jamnagar (14 shows) 43,739; Pune 9,20,782 from 6 cinemas (2 in matinee), Kolhapur 3,21,320 from 2 cinemas, Solapur 2,86,050 from 2 cinemas; Hubli 100%, Belgaum 100%, Dharwad 89,987 (97.83%), Karwar 100%, record, Nipani 100%, record; Delhi 50,28,023 (97.53%) from 12 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 4,97,960 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,15,982, Agra 2,35,380, Allahabad 1,90,000, Meerut 1,66,468 (100%), theatre record, Dehradun 1,69,279, theatre record, Gorakhpur 1,76,000 (82.24%); Amritsar 50,318; Calcutta 38,61,120 from 26 cinemas (14 unrecd.); Bihar extraordinary, share about 40 lakh; Nagpur 8,15,021 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 2,55,036, city record, Amravati 2,33,322 from 2 cinemas, Akola (31 shows) 1,34,504 (100%), Raipur 2,30,032 (94.99%), city record, Bhilai 2,21,395 from 2 cinemas, Durg 1,28,425; Indore 4,25,623 from 2 cinemas (3 on F.H.), Bhopal 4,28,615 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 11,72,007 from 5 cinemas, Bikaner 2,73,891, Udaipur 2,31,130 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 50,43,395 from 22 cinemas, share 27,64,495, share from circuit 31 lakh, exceptional.

……….

Ziddi is doing well. 2nd week Bombay 23,54,631 (75.02%) from 11 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 5,11,098 from 4 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Padra 2,00,549, Jamnagar 1,12,710, total 2,70,152; Pune 4,14,538 from 2 cinemas, Solapur 1,85,321 from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee); Delhi 32,12,256 from 12 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,67,082 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,41,379, Agra 2,10,500, Allahabad 1,54,000, Varanasi 1,82,416, Bareilly 1,15,659 (60.15%), Dehradun 1,26,081, Gorakhpur 1,16,000; Calcutta 15,54,589 from 19 cinemas; Nagpur 3,09,384 from 3 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,44,024, total 3,69,525, Amravati 1,11,590, Raipur 1,44,221 (1st 2,23,480), theatre record, Bhilai 61,868, Jalgaon (4 days), 64,471, Chandrapur 61,412; Jaipur 3,07,024, Jodhpur 4,82,000 from 2 cinemas, Bikaner 2,05,291; Hyderabad 5,34,186 from 2 cinemas, share 2,76,954.

Judaai 8th week Bombay 9,53,740 (70.07%) from 5 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,23,120 (4 unrecd.), Baroda 1,31,075, Rajkot 67,000, Jamnagar 71,750; Pune 1,94,075 from 3 cinemas (2 in matinee), Kolhapur 70,000, Solapur 48,424; Delhi 2,57,646 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,91,382 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 86,923, Agra 53,500, Allahabad 54,000, Varanasi 79,477, Gorakhpur 36,000; Nagpur 1,05,326 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 47,647, total 5,33,437, 7th Amravati 93,367, 8th Akola 83,600, Raipur 53,383 (7th 58,622), Bhilai 34,028, 3rd Wardha (6 days) 39,182, 5th week Yavatmal 37,154 (4th 46,821), total 2,63,947; 8th Indore 96,673, Bhopal 90,492; Jaipur (last) 91,973, 5th Ajmer 50,762; 8th Hyderabad 3,91,660 from 2 cinemas, share 1,78,654.

Hero No. 1 is class A1 in many circuits. 9th week Bombay 7,12,470 (74.99%) from 4 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Baroda 38,807, 1st week Jambusar 50,526, 9th week Rajkot 47,000; Pune 2,17,216 from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur (matinee) 36,309; Delhi 2,17,504; Kanpur 62,458, Lucknow 95,908, Agra 61,692, Allahabad 41,000, Varanasi 82,010, 8th Dehradun (last) 49,754 (7th 69,704), 4th week Gorakhpur 30,000; 9th week Calcutta 1,26,832; Nagpur 49,312, Jabalpur 55,503, total 9,04,060, Akola 48,663, Raipur 52,480 (8th 53,748), total 8,86,126, Bhilai 20,527, 5th Jalgaon (last) 43,415; 9th week Indore 60,483, Bhopal 67,789; Jaipur 1,47,885; Hyderabad 3,52,827 from 3 cinemas, share 1,45,161.

Raja Hindustani 20th week Bombay 1,67,602 from 2 cinemas (4 on F.H.); Pune 3,38,580 from 3 cinemas, 19th Solapur (7 shows) 56,020; 23rd week Delhi 4,78,583 from 4 cinemas (2 on F.H.); 24th Kanpur 41,992, 23rd Lucknow 84,398, Agra 55,400, 24th Allahabad 37,000, Meerut 89,198, 23rd Bareilly 30,735 (23.31%), 24th Gorakhpur 26,000; 1st week Kampti 42,336 (93.07%), 21st Jabalpur (last) 81,598, total 32,24,666, 6th week Gondia 42,158; 23rd Indore 1,21,103, 22nd Bhopal 58,016; 24th Hyderabad 2,17,980.

MURAD NO MORE

Veteran actor Murad expired on 24th April in Bombay due to old age. He was 86 and had developed complications in the lungs.

Hamid Ali Murad is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, actor Raza Murad.

He had acted in about 500 films out of which he played a judge in half of them! Among the many films he acted in were Anmol Ghadi, Andaz, Deedar, Mirza Ghalib, Do Bigha Zameen, Mughal-E-Azam, Yahudi, Taj Mahal etc. His first film was Mehboob’s Najma, released in 1942. Murad had given up acting since the last six or seven years owing to ill-health.

CHANDU PARKHI DEAD

Actor Chandu Parkhi expired on 14th April in Bombay at K.E.M. Hospital due to a heart attack. He had been admitted to the hospital for an operation for gangrene but suffered the fatal attack before surgery.

Chandu Parkhi had his individualistic style of acting and shone in comedy roles. He had acted in several television serials and Hindi as well as Marathi films like Nasheebwan, Ram Rahim etc.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Coal is a strict ‘no no’ for films and film titles, it seems. At least three films with an equivalent of coal in their titles or with stories dealing with coal have failed to click at the box-office. They are: KALKA, KAALA PATTHAR and now, KOYLA.

After Playing Raja, It’s Now Time To Play ‘Ghulam’

Raja Hindustani Aamir Khan has lost weight, nine kilos to be precise. The Raja was till earlier this week shooting for Mukesh Bhatt’s Ghulam which, in all probability, will be his first release now. Aamir was almost living at Film City since the last 40 days, shooting day and night for the film.

He used to often double up as the producer because Mukesh was down with malaria. The committed and involved actor that he is, Aamir used to give the daily report of shooting to Mukesh Bhatt on telephone when the latter was laid up in bed. “I was so touched,” is all that Mukesh can say about Aamir’s involvement.

Ghulam, informs director Vikram Bhatt when we visit the huge basti set at Film City, is a film about extortion (hafta) and subservience, about the tendency of humans to submit easily, to take things lying down, to become a slave of the system. This film is Vikram’s biggest assignment so far, and with all the confidence at his command, the young director says, “If I can’t deliver the goods with such a talented actor like Aamir, I’ll have no excuse.”

Aamir’s co-star in Ghulam is Rani Mukerji whom Mukesh Bhatt describes as “superb”. The producer sees a fantastic future for Rani. Mukesh Bhatt has opted for less busy artistes from the stage for this film. So he has people like Mita Vashisht and Rajit Kapur playing key roles. “They play the characters with more conviction, and the audience would not be aware of what’s in store for them because the artistes have no image,” explains Mukesh Bhatt.

The producer recalls another gesture of Aamir which touched him deeply. Aamir contracted conjunctivitis during the 40-day schedule and even while Mukesh Bhatt and Vikram Bhatt were contemplating cancelling the shooting for a couple of days, Aamir came up with the suggestion that they shoot the action scenes which, according to the script, required his face to be battered and bleeding and his eyes red and swollen. “That way, we did not waste a single shooting day,” said Mukesh with gratitude (for Aamir) writ all over his face. “It’s Aamir’s complete involvement that made him suggest what he did,” he said, adding, “Which other actor would have done this?”

Vikram cited another incident which revealed Aamir’s love for his work. “Aamir doesn’t shoot on Sundays, but I wanted him on one Sunday,” said Vikram, adding, “At first, Aamir was hesitant, afraid that his wife wouldn’t like him to shoot on a Sunday, but finally relented and agreed to come later in the day. On the appointed Sunday morning, he telephoned me and told me, he would like to come from morning itself so that the mood of the climax wasn’t lost. Can you believe it, he was here, on the set, giving cues to the co-artistes, something which anybody else from the unit could jolly well have done in his place.”

But then, Aamir is Aamir, not anybody, right?

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Novelty In Publicity

Another film that’s been well publicised is Mrityudaata. Despite wall posters being banned in Bombay, the film’s Bombay distributors (Shringar Films) have gone all out to reach out to the masses and inform them that the film is coming/has come. The novel idea of making boys stand at strategic points in the city and suburbs, wearing Mrityudaata boards on either side of their bodies, has attracted a lot of attention. It is the brainchild of Shravan Shroff of Shringar. Incidentally, reacting to the item printed in this column in our issue last week, Shyam Shroff of Shringar has clarified that the Mrityudaata boys were not at all hurling abuses either against Koyla or Rakesh Roshan, as alleged by the latter’s son, Hrithik Roshan. According to Shyam Shroff, the five boys stationed outside Minerva cinema were hired from a professional agency only for publicising Mrityudaata and they did their job professionally and quietly.

Hello Brother

Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol together? Seems like the two brothers will indeed come together. The film, titled London, will be made by their own production banner, Vijayta Films. As the title suggests, it will be shot in London. Reportedly, a London-based lady director will direct the two brothers and Karisma Kapoor who plays the female lead. Music, one hears, will be scored by Vishal Bhardwaj. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Even more exciting is the news that it will be completed in three months at a stretch this year!

Rajasthan Business: The New Formula

Every territory has a formula for calculating the expected business of films. In Rajasthan, the accepted formula for many years was: five to six times the business of Jaipur city would, generally speaking, be the business of the entire circuit. But the scene has changed in recent times. Veteran Rajasthan distributor and exhibitor O.P. Bansal opines that no longer can one say that five or six times the share of Jaipur would roughly be equal to the total share from Rajasthan. According to him, the new formula is to calculate the shares from eight centres and multiply the figure by 2. That is to say, the total business of Rajasthan can be assessed by doubling the total business from the following eight centres: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Kota, Udaipur, Sriganganagar and Alwar.

FLASHBACK | 15 April, 2022
(From our issue dated 19th April, 1997)

KOYLA

Filmkraft’s Koyla (A) is an action-filled revenge drama with a romantic track too. A money-hungry villain gets a labourer, working in a coal mine, and his wife killed for the lure of money. So that the only child of the victims should not identify the killers, the villain shoves burning coal down the poor child’s throat and makes him mute. The villain brings up the mute child (who is unaware of the fact that it is the villain who is responsible for his mute status) as his bonded labourer and the latter is ready to lay down his life for his master any time. The master is fond of girls one-third his age and his lust prompts him to marry one such girl. The mute boy rescues the girl from his master’s clutches when he realises the master’s fraud. The two then fall in love but are separated after a while. The mute boy gets back his lost voice and also gets to know that it was his own master who had rendered him mute. Obviously, he avenges the murder of his parents and the atrocities perpetrated on him and his beloved.

The story as such offers little novelty, and the screenplay is good in parts. At times, however, the writers have taken ‘convenience’ as the guiding factor and put logic or sound reasoning in the backseat. As a result, the film has some defects and flaws. For example, the child is rendered mute so that he may not give his witness in the court, but the same mute boy is asked to identify the killers, which he does! And this mute boy is the central character of the story, and his muteness, an important point in the story. The first half moves at a slow pace and it picks up well when the hero rescues the heroine. Even after interval, the really engrossing turns and twists are few and far between. Another drawback is that when the boy gets his voice back after years, there’s not much feeling of joy which the audience experiences, if only because they have not been made to suffer his pain. Comedy is crude and of the kind which would appeal to the masses but would not be quite liked by ladies and family audience. Romance has not been established. Dialogues lack the fire.

On the positive side are: excellent and abundant action, fantastic chase scenes (in particular, the helicopter scenes), beautiful locations, exceptional sound effects (in DTS mixed prints) and a good music score. Some comedy scenes are even hilarious.

Shah Rukh Khan has, no doubt, done extremely well as the mute bonded labourer but it must be conceded that the role of the angry young man does not suit his image. An action hero was the need of the story. Madhuri Dixit lacks glamour and looks fat. Her performance is, however, good, as usual. Her kotha scenes are in excess and don’t appeal. Amrish Puri has got an unduly lengthy role, something which does not appeal. He has performed ably but there’s too much of him. Ashok Saraf and Johny Lever evoke laughter at places. Deepshikha leaves a mark and lends oomph with her uninhibited exposure. Salim Ghose is average. Mohnish Bahl is good in a very brief special appearance. Ranjeet, Jack Gaud, Shubha Khote, Suresh Chatwal, Kunika, Ram Mohan, Himani Shivpuri, Vikas Anand, master Mohsin and master Vicky lend able support.

Rakesh Roshan should have opted for a more substantive plot. Although his direction is good, he ought to have gone easy on the crude comedy. Music (Rajesh Roshan) is very good but the absence of a super-hit and evergreen number is sorely felt. The ‘Bhang ke nashe mein’ song can be deleted. ‘Saason ki mala pe’ also needs to be edited. Picturisation of ‘Hosh na khode kahin’ is very good. ‘Badan juda hote hain’ is musically very good but a sensuous song of this kind deserved a more appropriate picturisaton — it is picturised on a girl who is sensuously dancing in front of her parents! ‘Dekha tujhe to’ is musically very appealing. Bhikoo Verma’s action is splendid and mind-blowing. Production values are good but not as much as the price for which the film has been sold. Camerawork (Sameer Arya) and the Arunachal Pradesh locations complement each other wonderfully. Both are exceptionally good.

On the whole, an unduly high-priced Koyla has an initial value which is simply mind-boggling, but it does not have matching merits and the fire in it. Since it has to depend only on the masses for patronage, it may not cover its high price on the strength of its opening. Even if some distributors do cover their price, exhibitors and third parties, who have paid phenomenal terms, would, in all likelihood, stand to lose. Business in North India will be better. Collections of the first week will undoubtedly be historic.

Released on 16-4-’97 at Madhuban, Dombivli and on 18-4-’97 at Minerva and 22 other cinemas of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: excellent. Opening: bumper. …….Also released all over. Opening was historic everywhere. 1st day East Punjab over-capacity in many centres, full in Delhi-U.P., Bengal, C.P. Berar, Rajasthan (approx. 12,50,000/- on 1st day on 32 prints), full in all 22 cinemas of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

LATEST POSITION

The phenomenal opening of KOYLA this week has surpassed all expectations… The week that has gone by was good for the box-office due to the various holidays.

Ziddi has done very well and although it dropped at some places mid-week, its first week’s shares are excellent. 1st week Bombay 46,77,874 (83.22%) from 19 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 6,24,674 from 3 cinemas (4 unrecd.), Vapi 2,95,462, Baroda 100%, theatre record, Padra 2,57,080, record, Bharuch (gross) 2,90,903, Jamnagar 1,57,442; Pune 11,44,928 from 6 cinemas, Solapur 2,72,771 (93.45%) from 2 cinemas; Delhi 46,19,166 (97.67%) from 12 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 4,76,223 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,46,603 (100%), Varanasi 1,89,156 (98.40%), Moradabad 1,91,932, city record, Bareilly 1,72,234 (87.31%), Gorakhpur 1,48,176 (100%), theatre record; Amritsar 54,165; Calcutta (6 days) 23,93,542 from 20 cinemas; Rourkela 1,50,000; Nagpur 7,03,340 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 2,25,502, theatre record, Amravati 1,27,865, Chandrapur 1,43,709; Jaipur 11,24,766 from 5 cinemas, city record, Jodhpur 7,29,426 from 2 cinemas, Bikaner 3,07,711, city record; Hyderabad 34,15,919 from 16 cinemas, share 16,26,688.

Kaun Sachcha Kaun Jhootha is a washout. 1st week Bombay 6,90,018 (33.03%) from 8 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,43,494 from 4 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Rajkot 36,536 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Pune 1,32,892 from 4 cinemas; Delhi 8,32,440 (22.64%) from 9 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 42,641 from 2 cinemas, Varanasi 32,138, Gorakhpur 36,000; did poor in Calcutta; Nagpur 61,860, Jalgaon (6 days) 23,849; Hyderabad 2,75,341 from 7 cinemas (5 in noon).

Dil Ke Jharoke Main is also miserable. 1st week Bombay 3,66,327 (23%) from 7 cinemas; Pune 69,878 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 34,780; Delhi 3,66,615 (28.24%) from 4 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 34,118; Calcutta (6 days) 2,29,224 from 4 cinemas; Bikaner 38,135; Hyderabad 2,95,087 from 5 cinemas (3 in noon).

……….

Himalay Putra 2nd week Bombay 5,40,081 (45.33%) from 4 cinemas (4 unrecd., 4 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 72,081 (2 unrecd.), Baroda 57,920; Pune 2,51,032 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur (matinee) 19,232; Delhi 10,42,168 from 8 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,24,303 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,70,440, Agra 88,790, Varanasi 66,705, Bareilly 55,400 (30.94%), Gorakhpur 53,000; Calcutta (6 days) 2,37,314 from 3 cinemas; Nagpur 54,369 from 2 cinemas, Amravati 45,240, Akola 38,628, 1st week Bhilai 1,13,720 from 2 cinemas, Yavatmal 41,303; 2nd Ujjain 20,200; Jaipur 1,54,005 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 3,56,599 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.).

Judaai 7th week Bombay 11,15,818 (77.06%) from 3 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 2,30,457 from 2 cinemas (2 unrecd.), Baroda 1,20,444, Rajkot 68,000, Jamnagar 78,739 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Pune 3,00,141 from 3 cinemas, Kolhapur 79,000, Solapur 82,948, 3rd week Miraj 40,186 (1st 51,613, 2nd 45,429), record; 7th Belgaum 59,874; Delhi 2,77,823 from 2 cinemas; Kanpur (last) 1,00,748, Lucknow 81,936, Agra 48,756, Varanasi 65,082, Gorakhpur 47,000; Nagpur 1,16,363 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 49,624, total 4,85,792, 6th week Amravati 1,02,150, 7th week Akola 95,703, theatre record, Bhilai 50,217, 2nd week Wardha (6 days) 52,856, 4th Yavatmal 46,826, total 2,21,735; 7th Indore 99,837; Jaipur 74,066; Hyderabad 2,57,851, share 97,196.

Hero No. 1 8th week Bombay 6,49,559 from 3 cinemas; Baroda 38,713, Rajkot 54,400; Pune 1,96,055 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur (matinee) 43,021; Delhi 4,49,102 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 88,505 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,02,233, Agra 80,735, Varanasi 31,982, Gorakhpur (shifting) 32,000; Calcutta (6 days) 1,13,754; Nagpur 1,28,685 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 56,885, total 8,48,557, Akola 61,285, theatre record, 7th Bhilai 33,678, 4th Jalgaon 65,568; 8th week Indore 69,760; Jaipur 1,39,090; Hyderabad 4,08,362 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon), share 1,38,962.

Raja Hindustani 19th week Bombay 1,66,960; 22nd week Ahmedabad 70,130, Rajkot (matinee) 13,930; 19th Pune 2,96,222 from 2 cinemas, 18th week Solapur (7 shows) 59,297 (100%); 22nd week Delhi 1,99,384; 23rd week Kanpur 51,341, 22nd Lucknow 84,606, Agra 53,481, 23rd week Varanasi 25,015, Meerut 52,250, 22nd Bareilly 35,628 (19.14%), 23rd Gorakhpur 28,300; 20th week Nagpur 49,005, Jabalpur 70,919, total 31,43,068, 1st Balaghat 1,11,365, 4th Gondia 50,200; 22nd week Indore, 1,16,570; Hyderabad 1,92,181.

MEHTAB DEAD

Mehtab, yesteryears’ leading star and widow of producer-director-actor Sohrab Modi, died in Bombay on April 10. She was 70.

Mehtab’s last film, Jhansi Ki Rani, made by Sohrab Modi in Technicolor, was released in 1953. She joined the film industry during the silent era. She starred in scores of films, prominent being Kidar Sharma’s Chitralekha made in 1941, in which she appeared nude in a bathing scene, Father India, Stree Dharm, Sharda and Sanjog.

PEN OFFICE SHIFTED

Jayantilal Gada of Popular Entertainment Network Ltd. (PEN) has shifted his office, ‘Pen House’, to Asha Colony, Bungalow No. 3, Opp. Sea Princess Hotel, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Bombay. A get-together was held on the occasion on April 16.

YOU ASKED IT

For English films, which territories are hot and in what order?

– The hottest territory for English films is Tamilnad-Kerala followed by Andhra, Bombay (excluding Karnataka), Nizam, West Bengal, Delhi, East Punjab, C.P.C.I. Rajasthan and Karnataka in that order.

Who has scored the music in the English film, Fire, starring Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Javed Jaffri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda?

– It is a songless film but its background music has been scored by A.R. Rahman. The film is being dubbed in Hindi and from the reports of those who’ve seen FIRE, it appears that the film, if properly exploited, can do wonders in Hindi.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Overseas distributor Kishore Lulla had no words to express how much he had liked the seven songs of Subhash Ghai’s PARDES when he heard them, so he sent Ghai a giant-sized bouquet of flowers. Lulla feels, all the songs are surefire hits.

* There are just 4 Telugu films which have grossed more than 50 lakh from one single cinema. The films are: PREMALAYAM which collected 54,91,762/- in 175 days’ run at Urvasi 70mm, Vijayawada, and 52,67,819/- in 175 days at Chitralaya 70mm, Visakhapatnam; PELLI SANDADI which collected 55,49,866/- in 301 days at Swarna Palace, Vijayawada; BHARATIYUDU which collected 55,02,912/- in 102 days at Venkateshwara Palace, Vijayawada; and NINNE PELLADUTHA which collected 56,64,774/- in 161 days at Raj 70mm, Vijayawada.

* KOYLA has taken a mind-blowing opening in East Punjab. It has collected almost double the house-full capacity on the first day at Friends, Jalandhar, Sangeet and Laxmi cinemas of Ludhiana, Shakuntala, Jammu, Rachna cinema in Faridabad and at Bhatinda.

* KOYLA has taken a historic start and has created city records on the first day at the following centres and cinemas of C.P. Berar: Raj, Raipur (50,008/-), Jeet, Bilaspur (41,668/-), Vandana, Jabalpur (48,235/-), Anjani, Khandwa (24,297/-), Rajkumar, Pusad (40,224/-, gross). It has also created theatre records at New Basant, Bhilai (36,036/-), Gajanan, Khamgaon (21,484/-) and Janta, Itarsi (25,115/-). It drew all shows full on the opening day at three cinemas of Nagpur, viz. Smruti, Panchsheel and Sangam as also at Vasant, Amravati.

* KOYLA has created theatre records on the opening day at all the five cinemas of Indore by collecting: 50,522/- at Sangeeta, 52,208/- at Neelkamal, 35,360/- at Devshri, 35,675/- at Premsukh, and 43,434/- at Smriti.

* KOYLA has created theatre records on the opening day by collecting: 55,000/- at Roxy, Gwalior; 30,000/- at Basant, Morar; 30,000/- at Metro, Ujjain; 30,000/- at Sundaram, Ujjain; 40,000/- at Bharat, Bhopal; 35,000/- at Jyoti, Bhopal; 28,000/- at Darshan, Ratlam. It has created a city record by collecting 38,000/- on 1st day at Jhankar, Rewa.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Playing Safe

If Bombay distributors V.I.P. Enterprises today prefer selling the distribution rights of their films to sub-distributors for Gujarat, Saurashtra, Karnataka and Thane district, it is thanks to Prem Granth. They had found Prem Granth so good that they decided to release it in the entire circuit themselves. Added to this were producer Randhir Kapoor’s instructions to V.I.P. to not sell any part of the circuit at anything but a really high price. They burnt their fingers and learnt their lesson. Had they sold the rights for the various sub-circuits, they would’ve covered their risk. Even if the film would have clicked in a big way, they would’ve got something by way of overflow. As Anil Choksey of V.I.P. says, “It is better to repent after selling than to repent without selling.” Another Bombay distributor, Vimal Agarwal, supports the system of covering one’s risk by selling the rights for sub-circuits, with the following comment: “A trader must always trade.” Vimal feels that to guard against errant sub-distributors, you can insist on foolproof and precautionary clauses in your agreements with them.

All The Trouble For Just One Week!

It would surprise many to know that Koyla will be screened at the main cinema of Indore — Sangeeta — for just one week, after which the cinema has booked Mrityudaata. Obviously, Rakesh Roshan is irritated with his C.I. distributor who had not informed him of the limited run. Instead, his distributor, Ashok Tolani, and the owner of Sangeeta cinema (Indore), Sanjay Tolani, prevailed upon Rakesh Roshan to anyhow facilitate the installation of DTS sound system at the cinema (Sangeeta). Without knowing that his Koyla would be discontinued from Sangeeta after just a week’s run, Rakesh requested Jaya cinema (Borivli, Bombay) to urgently transfer its DTS sound system (which was till then not installed) to Indore and instead instal another system after a couple of days. Jaya cinema obliged, but Rakesh Roshan now feels cheated. Understandably so!

This Is Not Done

Rakesh Roshan’s son, Hrithik, who had gone to see Koyla on the opening day at Minerva, Bombay, was shocked out of his wits with what he saw. There were several boys stationed outside the cinema, wearing Mrityudaata boards on either sides of their bodies. These guys were hurling abuses at Koyla and were passing derogatory remarks about the film. Whose brainchild this was, nobody knows. But whoever thought of this style of publicising Mrityudaata must surely be sick in the head!

FLASHBACK | 8 April, 2022
(From our issue dated 12th April, 1997)

ZIDDI

Ratan International’s Ziddi (UA) is an out-and-out action drama. A young boy is too practical to be true and cannot bear injustice of any kind; this quality of his often gets him into fights with people whom he interacts with. His simpleton father cannot tolerate the practical side of his son, and the conflict between the father and son takes a serious turn when the son is turned out of the house by his father, much to the sorrow of his mother, brother and sister. With the passage of time, the son becomes an underworld don but always helps the poor and needy, who dote on him and are ready to lay down their lives for him. A rival don and an old enemy of his (who poses to be his and the family’s best friend and well-wisher) exterminate his brother and sister one by one to teach the young man a lesson and to settle scores with him. How the young boy avenges all the wrongs forms the climax of the film. There is also an additional angle of the chief minister whose life is saved by the young man.

The story may be quite common but it keeps audience interest alive due to the fast-paced screenplay and some unusual twists and turns. The scene in which the true colours of the family friend are revealed comes as a veritable shock and is brilliantly canned. The climax is yet another high point of the film. Although lengthy, it has been executed with a rare brilliance and keeps the audience speechless for a while. The way in which the entire police force is overpowered by the hero’s men-in-hiding is truly enjoyable. The blasting scenes and destruction of cars and jeeps are breathtaking, to say the least.

But on the negative side is the excessive violence and gore, which will limit the film’s appeal for ladies. Emotions could have been better. Dialogues also needed to be more fiery. In the first half, several points are clarified through dialogues only and there are no scenes to establish the facts. Some scenes are predictable.

Sunny Deol excels in a role that’s tailor-made for him. He looks dashing, acts brilliantly and his expressions of anger are a treat to watch. His dance in the ‘Kammo’ song is superb and should have the audience, particularly in North India, go wild with excitement. Raveena Tandon has very little scope but does well all the same. Her ‘Kaale kaale baal’ dance is terrific. Anupam Kher is effective. Ashish Vidyarthi acts with effortless ease and carries off a difficult role with efficiency. Farida Jalal overacts in some comedy scenes but is spontaneous and entertaining in others. Raj Babbar deserved a better role. Sachin Khedekar leaves a mark. Beena, Sharat Saxena, Richa, Virendra Saxena, Suresh Chatwal, Harish Patel and Dulari lend the desired support.

Guddu Dhanoa’s direction is good. He, however, needs to take a little more care in emotional scenes and dramatic ones. Tinnu Verma’s action is the film’s mainstay. Sunny and Tinnu are actually the real heroes of the film. Not only has plenty of money been spent on the plenty of action scenes, but the results too are fantastic. Music (Dilip Sen Sameer Sen) is yet another major asset. The ‘Kammo’ and ‘Kaale kaale baal’ songs are hits and their picturisations are also remarkable. Editing should have been sharper. Camerawork (Shripad Natu) is of a high standard. Background music is very effective. DTS sound effects are very good in action scenes.

On the whole, Ziddi is a definite runner and earner with A class prospects. Business in North India will be the best.

Released on 11-4-’97 at Maratha Mandir (DTS) and 24 other cinemas of Bombay by Ratan International thru Mahalakshmi Film Distributors. Publicity: excellent. Opening: good. …….Also released all over. Opening in most other circuits was much better than in Bombay city and suburbs. In Delhi-U.P., East Punjab and C.P. Berar, it was mind-blowing.

LATEST POSITION

The extraordinary opening of ZIDDI this week has spread cheer in the industry… While HIMALAY PUTRA has been rejected, Vinod Khanna’s putra has been loved.

Himalay Putra started dropping from 2nd day onwards. 1st week Bombay 26,75,481 (71.75%) from 12 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,53,300 from 4 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda 1,27,035, Padra 87,553, Rajkot 1,16,605, Jamnagar 78,105; Pune 5,92,385 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 1,69,088, Solapur 1,07,724 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Delhi 26,43,179 (62.66%) from 12 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 2,43,270 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,47,308, Agra 1,85,640, Allahabad 1,24,600, Bareilly 1,26,138 (70.45%), Dehradun 1,06,800 (58.98%), Gorakhpur 1,19,000 (65.40%); Amritsar 42,000; Calcutta 9,26,954 from 19 cinemas; Nagpur 3,66,421 from 4 cinemas, Amravati 80,308, Akola 70,009, Raipur 1,24,659 (55.48%), Jalgaon 86,919, Bilaspur 93,194; Bhopal 2,60,314 from 3 cinemas, Ujjain 63,180 (1 unrecd.); Jaipur 4,73,893 from 3 cinemas, Bikaner 1,96,120; Hyderabad 18,88,571 from 9 cinemas, share (including fixed hires) 11,35,250.

………

Judaai 6th week Bombay 12,97,424 (73.46%) from 5 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 4,83,691 from 4 cinemas, Baroda 1,30,366, Rajkot 72,000, Jamnagar 84,641 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Pune 2,39,561 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 83,000, Solapur 83,376; Hubli 64,939 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Belgaum 67,949; Delhi 9,36,805 from 5 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,11,639, Lucknow 96,287, theatre record, Agra 62,500, Allahabad 44,057, 5th week Bareilly 29,254 (16.04%), 6th week Dehradun 45,069, Gorakhpur 54,000; Nagpur 1,35,162 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 61,495, total 4,36,168, 5th week Amravati 1,01,000, theatre record, 6th Akola 85,974, total 5,89,335, Raipur 77,731, Bhilai 50,217, total 4,73,856, 1st Wardha (6 days) 68,079, 3rd Yavatmal 48,048; 6th week Indore 1,03,390, theatre record, Bhopal 1,03,435, theatre record; Jaipur 1,05,385, 3rd Ajmer 78,298; 6th week Hyderabad 4,30,448 from 2 cinemas, 3rd Aurangabad 1,39,386, doing very well at Naaz, Parbhani.

………

Raja Hindustani 17th week Bombay 7,61,070 from 4 cinemas (2 on F.H.); 21st Ahmedabad 1,86,412 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Rajkot (matinee) 17,390; 18th week Pune 2,11,352, 16th week Kolhapur 56,588, 17th Solapur (7 shows) 54,345; 21st Delhi 4,26,085 from 3 cinemas (1 on F.H.); 22nd Kanpur 45,986, Lucknow 84,601, 21st Agra 65,781, Allahabad 52,200, Meerut 67,682, Bareilly 34,879 (18.73%), 22nd Gorakhpur 34,000; 19th week Nagpur 55,031, Jabalpur 86,031, total 30,72,149, 5th week Durg 39,735, 6th week Sagar about 46,000; 20th week Bhopal 54,349; 21st Hyderabad 2,16,731, completed 100 days at Naaz, Parbhani, all-time record.

……….

SHOW TAX IN RAIPUR TOO GOES UP

Close on the heels of the Aurangabad municipal corporation, show tax has been hiked by the Raipur municipal corporation too. The new show tax in Raipur is Rs. 25 per show or Rs. 100 per day (4 shows) with effect from 1st April. The tax prior to 1st April was Rs. 4 for matinee and noon shows and Rs. 7 for evening and night shows, totalling to Rs. 22 per day. This means, there has been a hike of more than 350%!

ILLEGAL PRINTS: A SERIOUS PROBLEM

Dr. Sunil Patil of V.N. Films, Miraj-Shrirampur, a sub-distributor of Judwaa in these two stations, conducted raids with the help of police at Satyam Talkies, Taharabad (dist. Nasik). An illegal print of Judwaa was seized and an FIR was filed.

The owner of the said Satyam Talkies, Subhash Motilal Kankaria, said that the print was supplied to him by one Usman Gani of Malegaon.

Dr. Sunil Patil told Film Information representative Vijay Deshmukh that the business of no. 2 prints was going on in full swing in Shrirampur-Malegaon area, due to which sub-distributors of Shrirampur were adversely affected. He also said that the no. 2 prints of films are obtained for as less as Rs. 200/- to 300/- per day. “This is a very, very serious problem we are facing,” concluded Patil.

EMPIRE AUDIO INAUGURATION

Empire Audio Centre, the recording studio of A.G. Nadiadwala and Yusuf M. Lakdawala, will be inaugurated on 13th April. The studio is located at 10, Shah Industrial Estate, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (W), Bombay. Phones: 633-0606/7/8. Fax: 633-0605.

SERVICE CHARGE DOUBLED IN GUJARAT

The tax-free service charge permitted to be levied by cinemas on every admission ticket has been doubled in the state of Gujarat with effect from 4th April, 1997. As against the Re. 1 service charge levied before April 4, cinemas are now collecting Rs. 2 by way of service charge. However, the rate of admission existing on 14th February cannot be reduced for this purpose.

HARISH PATEL ARRESTED

Actor Harish Patel was arrested by the Andheri (Bombay) police on 7th April alongwith two associates, Shakir Omar and Shabbir Patel of Oscar Builders, for allegedly assaulting a security supervisor. The supervisor complained to the police that the trio were under the influence of alcohol and had mercilessly beaten him up at a complex in Andheri (Bombay) on the night of 6th April and were planning to kill him.

The three arrested persons applied for bail on 9th April at the Andheri court but the application was rejected due to non-availability of the medical report of the supervisor who had been admitted to Cooper Hospital after the incident.

After the trio had a few pegs of alcohol, they had gone for a sauna bath and later for a swim in the pool. The three suspected that the security supervisor, Gopal Shukla, had stolen Rs. 55,000 from Shabbir’s clothes and beat him up with bamboos and iron pipes till he became unconscious. The police has not yet come to the conclusion that Shukla stole the money, as alleged.

MAVJIBHAI SHAH’S SON TO WED

Marriage of Bipin, son of Bombay distributor Mavjibhai Shah, with Heena will be solemnised on 13th April at Garware Sabhagruha, Worli, Bombay.

CENSOR NEWS

Film Kraft’s Koyla was given C.C. No. CIL/3/12/97 (A) dt. 7-4-’97; length 4661.76 metres in 17 reels (cuts: 82.33 metres).

ABCL’s Mrityudaata was given C.C. No. CIL/3/9/97 (A) dt. 31-3-’97; length 4547.95 metres in 18 reels (cuts: 82.39 metres).

Ratan International’s Ziddi was given C.C. (in Hyderabad) No. CIL/2/15/97 (UA) dt. 20-2-’97; length 4792 metres in 18 reels (cuts: 134.63 metres).

YOU ASKED IT

How important is pre-release publicity for a film?

– More important than the quantum of publicity is the kind of publicity. If the publicity is wrong, no amount of the same can help. Right publicity ensures a good opening.

What are the under-production reports of some of the forthcoming films?

– ITIHAAS and ISHQ are carrying very good reports.

Why do Bombay distributors these days prefer selling rights for Gujarat, Saurashtra, Thane district and Karnataka?

– Stakes are so high that it is prudent to cover the risk as much as possible.

Is it true that Pan Music made several crores of rupees from the sale of music cassettes of its own film, Maachis?

– It made hardly anything. It is the pirates who minted money out of the hit music score of MAACHIS.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Rakesh Roshan’s KOYLA has been booked at Janta Chitralaya, Itarsi, at an MG which is double that paid for his KARAN ARJUN. KOYLA will be released in Itarsi on 18th April (simultaneously with all India).

* MRITYUDAATA has been booked at Bharat, Itarsi, on an unheard of MG. The film is due at the cinema on 24th April.

* Although Chandra Talkies has the lowest seating capacity (566) in Muzaffarnagar (U.P.), it has paid the highest entertainment tax (Rs. 26,79,937/-) in the financial year 1996-97.

* Shashikant Chitra Mandir at Karanja (C.P. Berar) paid the highest entertainment tax (5,90,619/-) in the town in 1996-97. It collected a tax-free service charge of 4,56,096/- during the same period.

*ZIDDI has created a city record by collecting 48,433/- on first day at Prabhat, Raipur.

* JUDAAI has created a theatre record by collecting 96,287/- in 6th week at Leela, Lucknow.

* JUDAAI has created a theatre record by collecting 1,00,900/- in 5th week at Shyam, Amravati. This is more than the collection of the 4th week.

* JUDAAI has created a theatre record by collecting 1,03,435/- in 6th week at Lily, Bhopal.

*JUDAAI has created a theatre record by collecting 1,39,386/- in 3rd week at Abhinay, Aurangabad.

* HERO NO. 1 has created a theatre record by collecting 70,358/- in 7th week at Anand, Raipur.

* HERO NO. 1 has created a theatre record by collecting 28,122/- in 7th week at Laxmi, Bilaspur.

* HERO NO. 1 has created a theatre record by collecting 77,525/- in 7th week at Alka, Indore. 6th week was 54,902/-.

* HERO NO. 1 has created another record at Bhopal Talkies, Bhopal, by collecting 81,888/- in 7th week.

* HERO NO. 1 has created a record by collecting more in 7th week than in each of 4th, 5th and 6th weeks at Maheshwari, Hyderabad. The collections for 7th, 6th, 5th and 4th weeks respectively are: 3,33,000/-, 3,20,000/-, 3,14,000/- and 3,14,000/-.

* JUDWAA has created a shifting record by collecting 50,189/- in 4th week at Rangmahal, Bhopal.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a new record at Bharatpur (Rajasthan) by being booked at B.P. Palace cinema on a fixed hire of 3.61 lakh!

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has broken all previous records at Parbhani (Nizam) by yielding the highest distributor’s share from Naaz cinema. It completed 100 days at the cinema.

* JAI MAHALAXMI MAA is doing well in several centres of Rajasthan and C.I., like Ajmer (7th week), Bayra (8th week), Agar (6th week) and Devdhar (6th week).

BABA RE BABA!

* Rajasthan distributor Baba Ramdeo has offered an unbelievable Rs. 1 crore for the distribution rights of Baba Films’ ISHQ for Rajasthan. And if the deal is really clinched, it will be the highest ever price for Rajasthan. Baba re baba!

MIX MASALA

WAH MIYAN!

Trust Chunkey Panday to come up with this joke:

On spotting David Dhawan at a party, he announced: “Have you heard of a film called Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Mote Miyan? The mote miyan bit was said pointing towards mota David Dhawan.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Quite Unsound

While many filmmakers are going in for DTS mixing, there is not a single cinema in Bihar, Assam and Orissa which is installed with DTS sound system. Leave alone DTS, there isn’t even one cinema in these three circuits with Dolby sound system. Perhaps, the low admission rates discourage exhibitors from investing lakhs of rupees in installing the sound systems of today. Rajasthan is another state where, surprisingly, no cinema has gone in for DTS sound.

Sound Sense

While on DTS, a total of 31 prints of Ziddi are with DTS mixing. This means, more than 10% of the total number of prints (254) are in DTS. For next week’s release — Koyla — out of a total of about 325 prints, 47 will be with DTS sound. There are chances of a couple of more being added to the DTS list as cinemas are even now contemplating installing the new sound system. A small circuit like Tamil Nadu takes the lead as far as percentage of DTS prints goes. Of the 7 prints being taken by the Tamil Nadu distributor, six are with DTS sound.

Incidentally, it involves an additional expenditure of about Rs. 4 lakh to install DTS sound system in cinemas which already have Dolby sound system fitted. For such cinemas, the changeover also takes just some hours. Like at Maratha Mandir in Bombay, which was fitted with Dolby sound, the installation work for DTS (for Ziddi) started on the midnight of 9th April and was complete before 12 noon on 10th.

Of Roshan Sr. And Jr.

Rakesh Roshan’s son, Hrithik Roshan, has made a 23-minute film — The Making Of ‘Koyla’ — which is on air on the various satellite channels. If Koyla took Roshan Sr. 18 months to complete, it took Roshan Jr. two months to make and edit The Making Of ‘Koyla’. The junior’s work is good and has already come before the public eye. In a week, it will be Roshan Senior’s Koyla which will be judged by the public.

FLASHBACK | 1 April, 2022
(From our issue dated 5th April, 1997)

One Main Cinema, One Distributor, Two Films

It’s Problem Time

What happens when two big films, coming within a gap of two weeks of each other, are booked at the same main cinema in Bombay by the same (common) Bombay distributor? There’s tension, commotion, allegations and counter-allegations!

That’s exactly what’s there presently. The two films in question are Vinod Khanna’s Himalay Putra, released this week, and Rakesh Roshan’s Koyla, due for release on 18th April. The common main cinema: Minerva. The common distributor: Bharat Shah (VIP Enterprises).

Although the main cinema for Koyla was announced in trade papers before that of Himalay Putra, the tension started only last week. Vinod Khanna and Rakesh Roshan met at the CBFC office in Bombay where the actor-producer is said to have asked the actor-producer-director to shift his Koyla to another main cinema and thereby make way for a longer and uninterrupted run of his own Himalay Putra. Not the one to get into controversies, Rakesh Roshan matter-of-factly informed Vinod Khanna that Minerva had been finalised for Koyla several weeks ago and that the cinema had also agreed to install DTS sound system for the film. Anyway, it was a matter for the Bombay distributor to decide, felt Rakesh Roshan and told so to Vinod Khanna.

Obviously then, Vinod Khanna contacted his distributor, Bharat Shah, and told him, he couldn’t do injustice to his maiden film which was also his son, Akshaye’s launch vehicle. At the time of going to the press, the main cinema of Koyla in Bombay yet stands as Minerva although there is a chance of a change.

When contacted, Bharat Shah told Information, “The issue is not as big as the hue and cry over it in the trade.” Explaining how the mess arose, Bharatbhai continued, “Himalay Putra was to have released in February. In all, it has been delayed by seven weeks, and Minerva was the best bargain we could get for it. Rakesh Roshan, on the other hand, had planned the release of Koyla on 18th Apri, months in advance. So, he is absolutely not at fault.” When asked, how he would get out of the sticky situation, Bharat Shah replied, “Let us see, we will monitor the public reports of Himalay Putra till Monday and then take a decision. If the film does well, we will definitely change the main cinema of Koyla, and continue Himalay Putra at Minerva. We yet have time to decide.” But with Ziddi due next week at Maratha Mandir, Hero No. 1 running at Novelty, Judwaa poised for a 15-week run at Liberty (the distributor of Bombay has been sent the letter for 100 days to Liberty), Sapnay booked at Metro from 2nd May, Judaai running at New Excelsior, and Mrityudaata booked at Eros from 25th April, which main cinema would be available for Koyla? Bharatbhai is unperturbed and replies, “Some solution will emerge. It is not as if Koyla will not get a good main cinema. Everything will be alright by Monday or Tuesday.”

F.C. Mehra, owner of Minerva cinema, on the other hand, is eager that after Himalay Putra, his cinema should also screen Koyla. “Himalay Putra can be shifted in matinee shows at our cinema,” he said, “and Koyla can be screened in regular shows from 18th April. We’ve installed DTS sound system specially for Koyla.” Unlike Bharat Shah, who is confident of a solution to the problem, F.C. Mehra feels, there can be no solution for the simple reason that “there are no main cinemas available”. “Collections,” explained Mehra, “have picked up and are picking up further, due to vacations and so, nobody would like to discontinue his film from the main cinema.”

Confusion breeds rumours. One such rumour born out of the confusion prevailing over the matter of main cinema of Koyla was that Vinay Choksey of V.I.P. Enterprises was refused permission to screen the trailer of Koyla at Minerva earlier this week for exhibitor-friends, as F.C. Mehra demanded that the film’s publicity material be put up at the cinema before the trailer could be screened. When asked to explain, F.C. Mehra laughed and dismissed the rumour as “baseless”. He explained, “Vinay arrived 8 minutes late at the cinema, by which time our regular show had started. I and he did not think it fit to disrupt the just-started show for the trailer. Vinay immediately contacted the nearby Novelty cinema and since the main show hadn’t started there, the trailer was screened at Novelty. There was no question of not screening the trailer of Koyla due to non-arrival of its publicity.”

That explains about the trailer. But will Koyla come at Minerva? Or won’t it? And if it won’t come at Minerva, where will it? At Liberty? Or Novelty? Or Metro? The days ahead will tell.

– Gautam Mutha

NEW CINEMA IN BOMBAY

A new cinema, Madhuban, will open at Dombivli (Bombay) shortly. It is owned by Vira Theatres Pvt. Ltd. which also owns Tilak Talkies at Dombivli. A cocktail-dinner party will be held this evening (5th April) at the cinema to celebrate the opening.

ORIYA FILMMAKER DEAD

Noted Oriya film producer-director Banabihari Patnaik died of a heart attack this week at his residence at Puri. He was 67. He had been associated with the Bhubaneswar Centre of Doordarshan.

BHUSHAN JEEVAN DEAD

Actor Bhushan Jeevan, son of late actor Jeevan and younger brother of Kiran Kumar, died of heart failure on 2nd April at Hinduja Hospital, Bombay. He had been hospitalised over a month back for kidney failure and other complications. He had also slipped into a coma. Even as doctors had almost given up hopes, he came out of coma but soon passed away due to heart failure.

Bhushan had acted in several films. He was also acting in quite a number of television serials when the end came. Among the serials in which he played important roles were The Great Maratha, Tara and Sailaab. He was only 36 years old and single. He is survived by his mother, two brothers and a sister.

His funeral took place on 3rd. Chautha will be held today (5th April) between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at his residence (Jeevan Kiran, Bandra, Bombay).

FILM MUSEUM NEAR BANGALORE

Filmmaker M. Bhaktavatsala is planning a film museum near Hesarghatta on the outskirts of Bangalore. The Rs. 25-crore project has attracted the appreciation of Karnataka chief minister J.H. Patel, who has asked the departments of tourism and information to look into the project profile immediately. A 100-acre land area has been set aside for the museum which would take four years to complete. The Heritage Museum has been planned on the lines of the Museum of Moving Image, London, and the American Museum of the Moving Image, New York. It is expected to be a main draw for tourists.

CINEMA MANAGER, OPERATOR ARRESTED

The manager and operator of Laxmi Talkies, Navsari, were arrested recently for screening uncensored portions (bits) in the English Film Woman’s Play. The police also unearthed a racket of bogus admission tickets at the cinema. The management was also permitting non-adults for films which were meant for adults only. Investigations are on.

DTS IN C.P. CINEMAS

Five cinemas of C.P. Berar, viz. Panchsheel and Smruti in Nagpur, Prabhat in Amravati, Raj cinema in Raipur, and Abhay in Chandrapur will be installing DTS sound system for Koyla.

DTS SOUND

DTS sound system has been installed at Krishna, Padra (district Baroda). DTS sound is also being installed at Apsara, Baroda. Koyla is due at Apsara from 18th April.

In Bombay, Marathi Mandir cinema will instal DTS for Ziddi.

CINEMA OWNER DEAD

V.P. Dubey, proprietor of Shyam Talkies, Bilaspur, expired on 29th March at Delhi Hospital. He was 77.

YOU ASKED IT

Why have the South film actors — Chiranjeevi, Rajinikanth and Nagarjuna — stopped acting in Hindi films?

– Maybe, they’ve realised that they have limited appeal in North India. Incidentally, Kamal Haasan is acting in two Hindi films — LADIES ONLY is complete, and another has just started.

Don’t you think, the film industry should have its own film awards?

– It can have, but the awards would be worthwhile only if they are given on the basis of merit alone and without fear or favour.

Why has a new star-cast film, Himalay Putra, got a good opening all over when star-cast films like Judaai and Lahoo Ke Do Rang opened to dull houses?

– HIMALAY PUTRA has the advantage of starring a star-son.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Mani Ratnam’s wife, Suhasini, who had directed INDIRA (in Tamil), will play the title role in NANDINI (Tamil), to be directed by Manobala and produced by V. Natarajan of Pyramid Films International. NANDINI is a woman-oriented film.

* How strict contract laws in France are can be gauged by this instance. The Dior Fashion house has decided not to renew its contract with actress Emmanuelle Beart after she appeared in protests without make-up. Beart had joined in demonstrations against the conservative government’s new law aimed at limiting immigration. Although Dior did not object to her politics, it let her contract with it lapse because of her appearance in the news media ‘Au Naturel’ without having gone to the hair-dresser. Beart had recently starred in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

* It has become quite usual for Hollywood films these days to show executives working in tobacco companies as villains. A number of books and television series also threaten to plunge the corporate nicotine behemoths, collectively known as Big Tobacco, into the category of celluloid shame. In fact, there are few screen heroes who smoke, apart from Bruce Willis in the DIE HARD films.

* Plus Channel paid an annual telecast fee of Rs. 8 crore (net) to Doordarshan upto March 1997, perhaps, the highest paid by any independent production house in the country.One Main Cinema, One Distributor, Two Films

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

First 3-D Film In DTS Digital Sound

Navodaya’s Malayalam film, My Dear Kuttichathan, will be the first 3-D film in the world in DTS digital sound. The film, which was also the first 3-D film of India, will be re-released shortly. DTS and its agent, Real Image Pvt. Ltd., will present DTS plaques to the many cinemas releasing the 3-D film in digital sound in Kerala. Another Malayalam film, Chemeen, is being revived in Kerala in DTS digital sound. It wound not be out of place to mention here that DTS digital sound system was launched over four years ago with the release of the English film, Jurassic Park. Today, DTS has approximately 9,000 installations worldwide. DTS received a technical achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its contribution to the motion picture industry.

CVO, The Dangerous Movie Channel

CVO, the cable movie channel of the Hindujas, is giving the film industry sleepless nights. And if anybody is to be blamed for this sleepless state, it is only the producers themselves. For, the channel shows films after just six months of their theatrical release, that too with the legal rights to do so. Earlier, the channel had its reach only in metropolitan cities but its reach is now fast spreading to other places too.

Man Of His Words — In Gold

Bobby Anand, the Delhi-U.P., Rajasthan and Overseas distributor of Judaai, had promised gold chains to the staff of producer Boney Kapoor if the film clicked. Keeping his promise, he gave the staffers beautiful gold chains last week to celebrate the film’s success.

Bold And Beautiful

If novelty is the name of the game, producer-director Prakash Jha should be pretty excited because if his Mrityudand is anything first and foremost, it is novel. A preview of some scenes and portions of songs of the film gave the impression that the film is bold and blunt in its message, besides being new. It shows rather dramatically how women in an ultra-orthodox Bihari society revolt against the male domination and exploitation. To say that Shabana Azmi and Madhuri Dixit have excelled in their respective roles would be an understatement. Both the heroines vie for top acting honours in this purposeful film. The censors, one hopes, would not come down harshly on the dialogues in the film because the words used, though raw and hard-hitting, are too appropriate to be true.

Incidentally, Madhuri Dixit, who attended the special screening, has shed weight now and is looking slim and beautiful once again.

‘Border’ Brochure

Producer-director J.P. Dutta has brought out a beautiful brochure of his Border. It gives the film’s story in brief, illustrated by colourful pictures from the film. Incidentally, the Sandeshe song of the film is rising in popularity day by day and should become a hit soon.

Odd Man Out

This incident took place at Indore’s Regal cinema recently. A man who had taken a ticket for the balcony for Judaai, went and occupied his seat before the film could start. A couple of minutes before the show could begin, he went back to the manager’s cabin and requested him to take back the balcony ticket and issue him a stalls ticket instead. The manager found the request quite unusual and asked the gentleman the reason for it. The man replied that he was embarrassed sitting in the balcony because he was the only male. All the other seats had been occupied by ladies! The manager smiled and obliged. Maybe, the manager was reminded of the hit song from the old Judaai (starring Jeetendra and Rekha) — Charon taraf gopiyaan, beech mein Kanhaiya.

Exposing Reply

Here’s a contribution from one of our readers:

Mamta Kulkarni was asked to comment on her alleged involvement in the Bihar Fodder Scandal. Her assumed reply: “Where is Bihar, I don’t know. Fodder, I’m sure, means chaara and when main mere producers ko chaara nahin dalti hoon, where is the question of involvement in any other chaara. As for the Scandal, I am used to reading all sorts of scandalous writings about me by gossip magazines. And let me tell you, had I been involved, I would never have hidden the fact. The world is aware of my spirit of exposing all things which are close and personal to me.”

FLASHBACK | 25 March, 2022
(From our issue dated 29th March, 1997)

LATEST POSITION

While examinations in some parts are over, those in other parts should get over soon. Till then, collections continue to be adversely affected.

Lahoo Ke Do Rang has not been appreciated. 1st week Bombay (6 days) 25,65,689 (65.32%) from 15 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 8,86,208 from 8 cinemas, Baroda 1,42,922, Rajkot 1,79,100 from 2 cinemas, Jamnagar 1,01,469 (1 unrecd.); Pune 6,12,511 from 5 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 1,25,209, Solapur 1,09,188 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Hubli 1,73,865 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Dharwad 73,256; Delhi 34,45,078 (72.93%) from 12 cinemas (1 cinema unrecd. and 1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,37,217 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,53,932, Meerut 1,71,000, Dehradun 1,30,577, Gorakhpur 1,40,000 (79.17%); Calcutta (6 days) 22,30,134 from 26 cinemas; Nagpur 3,30,996 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur 1,38,639, Amravati (4 days) 85,835, Akola 93,062, Raipur 1,38,890 (59.33%), Jalgaon 88,671; Bhopal 2,39,430 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 4,98,779 from 4 cinemas; Hyderabad 28,50,857 from 19 cinemas, share 15,01,512; Vijayawada (nett) 1,45,385, Visakhapatnam (nett) 91,946.

Judaai is being patronised by ladies all over and continues to do well. 4th week Bombay 13,60,273 (64.09%) from 7 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 5,99,797 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda 1,45,374, 3rd Bharuch (gross) 2,17,784, 4th week Rajkot 78,000, Jamnagar 99,809 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Pune 3,03,688 from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 91,000, Solapur 77,947; Hubli 92,998 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Belgaum 97,249, Dharwad 27,214 (3rd 39,847); Delhi 11,42,081 from 5 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,47,271, Lucknow 1,18,140, Agra 1,00,172, Meerut 87,000, Dehradun 94,730, Gorakhpur 60,800; very good in East Punjab; Calcutta (6 days) 2,94,000 from 3 cinemas; excellent in Bihar; Nagpur 58,662, Jabalpur 62,333, total 3,09,250, 3rd Amravati 93,295, 4th week Raipur 75,049, Bhilai 71,277, 3rd Jalgaon 65,030; 4th Indore 1,18,256, Bhopal 1,14,321, record; Jaipur 1,14,181, 1st week Ajmer (29 shows) 93,956, 4th Sriganganagar 64,762; Hyderabad 3,01,586, share 1,40,930.

Hero No. 1 is going strong. 5th week Bombay 14,50,564 (79.08%) from 6 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,68,205 from 2 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda 1,07,866 from 2 cinemas, Rajkot 86,819; Pune 2,54,192 from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 60,000, Solapur (matinee) 33,063; 3rd Bijapur (7 shows) 26,079, total 2,23,442; 5th week Delhi 17,37,123 from 7 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,31,401 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,40,280, Agra 1,10,795, Meerut 1,11,224, total 7,36,120, 4th week Dehradun 1,14,000 (3rd 1,27,000), 5th Gorakhpur 50,000; Calcutta (6 days) 1,48,182; Nagpur 88,479, Jabalpur 91,873, total 6,30,173, Akola 46,791, Raipur 76,694, Bhilai 57,478, 1st Jalgaon 1,25,006; 5th Indore 2,22,329 from 2 cinemas, Bhopal 94,972, record; Jaipur 1,83,781, Bikaner (last) 51,575; Hyderabad 3,90,707 from 3 cinemas (2 in noon), share 1,20,929.

Raja Hindustani 15th week Bombay 8,05,207 (52%) from 4 cinemas (3 on F.H.); 19th Ahmedabad 2,18,368 from 3 cinemas, Rajkot (matinee) 25,123; 16th week Pune 3,79,819 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), 15th Solapur (7 shows) 53,115, 16th Satara (matinee) 12,660; 17th week Bijapur (7 shows) 23,732; 19th week Delhi 6,79,731 from 4 cinemas; 20th Kanpur 1,06,825 from 2 cinemas, 19th Lucknow 1,03,507, Agra 92,864, 20th Meerut 77,709, 19th Dehradun 15,000, 20th week Gorakhpur 31,000; 17th week Nagpur 38,142, Jabalpur 93,239, total 28,85,177, 15th Amravati (3 days, last) 23,688, Akola (last) 35,727, total 14,15,797, 3rd week Durg 70,349, 4th Sagar about 80,000; 19th Indore 1,34,635, 18th week Bhopal 59,200; 19th Jaipur 1,09,357.

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Prema Bandham (Telugu, dubbed version of Raja Hindustani) 1st week Vijayawada 1,55,254, Kakinada 1,32,754, Rajahmundry 1,20,305, Eluru 97,031, Bhimavaram 80,585, Palakol 51,954, Machilipatnam 74,129, Gudivada 67,375, Visakhapatnam 1,90,158, Nellore 2,06,168, Ongole 1,04,018, Guntur 1,67,071.

Entertainment Tax In Maharashtra To Go Down

New Tax Rate Is 60% On Nett Admission Rate

Tax-Free Service Charge To Be Allowed
To Be Carried Forward

Entertainment tax in Maharashtra will come down from the present 100% to 60% on nett admission rates. A proposal to this effect was presented in the Cabinet meeting in Bombay on 27th March. The new reduced rate of tax will come into effect only after the Cabinet’s proposal is passed by both, the Vidhan Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad. Since this would require a time of some days, it is not likely that the new tax rate comes into force from 1st April, 1997, as is felt. The government, it is learnt from reliable sources, may promulgate an Ordinance instead of passing the new tax structure in the Assembly, as above. The Ordinance, duly signed by the governor, may be made effective from May 1, it is learnt. The said Ordinance will not be for any specific time period.

The tax rate will be proportionately ascertained in places where the current rate of entertainment tax is 80% and 90% in place of the normal 100%. Thus, for example, the new tax rate may be 48-50% and 54 or 55% respectively in such places.

It is also believed that the Maharashtra government may permit exhibitors to carry forward the unutilised tax-free service charge for spending in the following year. Presently, the unspent amount has to be refunded to the government.

It may be mentioned here that cinemas all over Maharashtra had downed shutters for a month from 1st January, ’97 to protest against the doubling of entertainment tax to 100%. Despite the best efforts of the action committee of the film industry, formed for the purpose of interacting with the government with regard to this problem, the industry could not get the government to agree to restoration of the tax rate to the old 50%. This relief has, therefore, come as a shot in the arm for the action committee. As N.N. Sippy, a member of the action committee, said, “I am thrilled. It had become a personal issue for me.”

KARNATAKA BUDGET CAUSES PANIC

Panic has overtaken distributors and exhibitors of the Bombay-Karnataka region following the hike in entertainment tax proposed in the recent Karnataka state budget. The extent to which business is likely to be adversely affected due to the new tax structure can be gauged by the example of a cinema of Bijapur. The nett capacity per show of Dreamland cinema in Bijapur, which is Rs. 6,854/-, will become Rs. 4,152/- after the new tax structure comes into force. As against the Rs. 44,000/- entertainment tax paid by the cinema so far, it will now be required to pay Rs. 1,32,000/- per week by way of tax!

BABY BOY FOR BUNTY

East Punjab distributor Bunty alias Gurinder Singh (Narsimha Films) was blessed with a baby boy on 27th March in Jalandhar. This is Bunty’s first boy-child.

CAMERAMAN RAVI CHAVAN KILLED IN ACCIDENT

Cameraman Ravi Chavan was killed in a car accident on 22nd March. He was going from Bombay to Vapi alongwith four crew members of the unit of Gulshan Kumar’s serial, Shiv Maha Puran, when the car in which they were travelling collided with a tanker coming from the opposite direction. Ravi died on the spot. The other occupants of the car were seriously injured and are undergoing treatment at Nanavati Hospital, Bombay.

Ravi was Ken Ghosh’s regular cameraman. He was 46 years old and is survived by his wife and two children.

RAMAN PANDEY DEAD

Film publicist Raman Pandey expired on 24th March at his residence at Bhayandar (Bombay) due to a heart attack. He was 51 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Raman had also directed a film, Pathbhrashtha, which is still to be released.

CINEMAS INSTALLING DTS FOR ‘KOYLA’

Maheshwari cinema in Hyderabad and Amba, Aurangabad, are installing the DTS sound system. Koyla is due for release at both the cinemas on 18th April.

DTS AT MAHALAXMI, NASIK

Mahalaxmi cinema in Nasik is in the process of installing DTS sound saytem. It will also undertake heavy renovation work.

PRODUCTION NEWS

‘Barood’ 15-Day Schedule

A 15-day shooting stint of Pramod Films’ Barood commenced on March 26 in Bombay on sets at Film City, Kamal Amrohi Studios and in NSE Compound. All the artistes are participating in the picturisation of climax and other scenes. Being produced and directed by Pramod Chakravorty, the film stars Akshay Kumar, Raveena Tandon, Raakhee, Mohnish Bahl, Mohan Joshi, Aroona Irani and Amrish Puri. Music: Anand Milind. Co-producer: Bharat Shah.

‘Vinashak’ In Mahabaleshwar

Producer Xavier Marquis, director Ravi Dewan and the unit of Mark Films International’s Vinashak left for Mahabaleshwar on March 27 for a 9-day shooting schedule. All the artistes are participating. The film stars Sunil Shetty, Raveena Tandon, Om Puri, Tinnu Anand, Mukesh Rishi, Alok Nath, Disha, Harish Patel, Shivaji Satam and Danny. Its story is written by Ravi Dewan and screenplay is by Rajkumar Santoshi. Cinematography: Peter Pereira. Action: Ravi Dewan.

YOU ASKED IT

Who is the most highly paid actor today?

– Some of our directors are charging even more than our top actors!

Don’t you think, the production of small films has declined in recent years? Why?

– Production is a big game today. Cost of production and star prices on the one hand and theatre rentals on the other have gone up so much that it is neither possible nor feasible to make small films in toady’s time.

When producers spend crores to make films, how do they often take such thin story-lines?

– Basing a film on a thin story line is not alarming. It is finally the screenplay and the presentation which must be fresh, novel and proper.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Mukul Dev is winning rave reviews from his co-artistes and others. People who’ve seen the rushes of Umesh Mehra’s QILA, swear, he has stood out in some dramatic scenes. Alongwith the good reviews, he is also getting good films. He has replaced Anil Kapoor in N. Chandra’s WAJOOD. Besides this, he is working in one more film — JAI SURYA — with Nana Patekar.

* Three cinemas in C.I. territory — Sangeeta and Kastur in Indore, and Rambha in Bhopal — are installing DTS sound system.

* Bappi Lahiri’s 12-year old son, Bappa, did the arrangement for a computerised song for MILITARY RAAJ at B.L. Temptation on 25th March.

MIX MASALA

IN NEWS

Madhuri Dixit may be passing through a low phase as far as her career goes but the girl continues to remain in national news for one reason or the other. Barely has the news of the income-tax raid on her house been relegated to the sidelines than comes news that Madhuri is among the handful of persons who were allotted plots of land by former Haryana chief ministers out of their discretionary quota.

Novelty Is The Catchword

Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat. Then Maachis. Next, it was Tere Mere Sapne. And Aastha. The latest is Judaai. Although the range of success of all the five above-mentioned films is different (a couple of them are even losing propositions in a circuit or two), one thing common to them is that they all took a start which was far from satisfactory but picked up by word of mouth and went on to become successful earners. Yet another common factor in the films was their unusual story. Of these, Tere Mere Sapne may not exactly boast of a novel or unusual storyline but its presentation was, nevertheless, fresh.

Coming to Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat. The point in the story where the heroine, a victim of rape, pleads before the court that her rapist should be asked to marry her and look after her all her life found acceptance among the audience, if only because of its novelty value. The film took a disastrous start but as word of mouth about the newness in the story spread, collections picked up. Although it may not cover its distributors’ investments in some circuits, the film is a commission-earner/overflow in others . In Bihar territory, the film seems to have caught the fancy of the viewers so much that it is expected to do a business of over 75 lakh there. A terrific figure, considering that the film was a low-budget and new star-cast film.

Maachis dealt with the topic of terrorists and terrorism in a way different from the many films made with the theme of terrorism. It probably did not take even a respectable start because of two factors — new faces and lack of time for the music to grow. Of course, in parts like Madhya Pradesh (due to entertainment tax exemption), Delhi and Punjab, the film did open well. But where it did not, collections began to pick up as the weeks progressed and as the music became a veritable craze. Controversies surrounding the film also did help but the bottomline was that the film had been liked. Translated in monetary terms, it meant that the film brought returns to its distributors.

Tere Mere Sapne, like the two earlier films, didn’t do its makers proud, what with a lukewarm opening. And this, despite a hit music score, popularised thru various television channels! Was television then indeed the right medium to publicise a film? Anyway, what television couldn’t do, word of mouth did. The best publicity for the film were the words of appreciation of the people who’d seen it. Slowly but surely, collections shot up and today, Tere Mere Sapne is a plus fare in all the circuits. In Bombay, it is doing A1 business.

A small-budget and artistic film like Aastha may not have created any earth-shattering records. But its business in many ‘A’ class centres has proved a point — that a novel subject is today accepted with open arms.

To say that Judaai, a star-cast film, took an average initial would be an overstatement. If it did start reasonably well in Gujarat and Rajasthan and brilliantly in Bihar and Orissa, its opening in Bombay, Delhi, parts of U.P., C.P., C.I. and Nizam was shockingly low. Again, the novel subject of a wife selling her own husband for the lure of luxuries caught the fancy of the viewer. What appeared in the first week to be a subject which had been rejected, found acceptance, and collections showed a marked improvement. As against the trade pronouncement in the week of release of the film that it would entail losses of about a crore per major territory, there’s already talk of “overflow” today, in most circuits. In Overseas, it is already among the major hits of all time.

So what does all this prove? That novelty in writing and presentation is what the audience wants. It is tired of seeing the run-of-the-mill kind of cinema. Fresh subjects, if well presented, do have takers. The catchword is good presentation. Tamanna, too, had a novel story but if it did not click even after the benefit of tax-exemption, it is because its presentation was far from good. It left the viewer depressed. Otherwise, the audience of today wants something new all the time. For a film with a novel subject, they may come in late but they do come.

That’s good news for writers and directors, right?

SHOOT AT SITE

S. Raamanathan’s Film In Madras

Rajaji Hall in Madras is a picture of frenzied activity on Sunday, March 23. Almost a thousand college students are stationed outside the court (the exterior of Rajaji Hall), protesting against the arrest of their friend for murders he hasn’t committed. Not just arrest, the friend has been awarded the death sentence! Leading the protest are Karisma Kapoor and Rajesh (Rangeela) Joshi. The friend in question is Arshad Warsi. Even as the police commissioner, with his entire team of policemen, is trying to control the revolting and stone-pelting crowd, there appears on the scene a blind lawyer who fires at the commissioner for issuing orders to shoot down the students. He says, he is convinced about the innocence of the arrested boy because otherwise, such a huge force would not be standing behind him like a rock. Even as the police commissioner is left speechless by this least-expected intruder, the lawyer waves a vakalatnama in the air, asking Karisma Kapoor to get it signed by Arshad. It is now the slogan-shouting Karisma’s turn to be left speechless. The lawyer had come like a messiah in their lives when they had thought, it was the end of the road for their dear friend. The blind lawyer was Amitabh Bachchan, wearing a grey beard and, of course, dark glasses.

The film being shot is producer-director S. Raamanathan’s Prod. No. 9, as yet untitled. The 75-year-old Raamanathan could give any youngster a complex with his energy and enthusiasm. Although he has a microphone in his hand, he is issuing instructions on the mike with the same force as he would have, without a mike! And how many times he must’ve climbed up and down the 30-odd steps of Rajaji Hall, one doesn’t really know. It could’ve easily been 200 times!

‘MIKE’AL ACTION

Well, so charged is S. Raamanathan that when the press party reaches the venue, he greets them all with handshakes and shouts ‘Welcome, welcome’ on the microphone, forgetting that it wasn’t instructions he was giving. The college crowd (read that, junior artistes) is amused and so are we. At another time, the extra-particular film-maker shouts out for chairs for us (again on the microphone) while we are standing at a distance and watching the proceedings. The mike does its magic because the chairs arrive in a split second. Anyway, we decide to rechristen Raamanathan ‘Sir-ji’ as ‘Mike’al Jackson because his nervous energy reminds one of Michael Jackson’s!

OF WETTING PANTS & SWEATING SHOTS

After the chair, arrives Anupam Kher. No, not to participate in the shooting but to meet Bachchan. Anupam Kher plays Amitabh’s doctor-friend in the film. He is not required for the shooting that day and is, instead, shooting nearby for a Tamil film with Prabhu Deva. He jokes, “Looking at such a huge crowd, I thought, my fan following in Madras had increased.” Bachchan too is in a mood to joke. After giving the final rehearsal of his shot in the sweltering heat, which requires him to say long lines of dialogues, he plonks himself on the chair next to Anupam’s and confesses, “Patloon geelee ho gayee, yeh shot dete dete.” And before Anupam feels that the camera has made Bachchan so nervous in his comeback days, the star continues with a poker face, “Itni dhoop jo hai.” Anupam Kher has a different thing to say about the scorching heat. “I was shooting this morning at the beach and I had to speak my dialogues in Tamil. Iss liye, mere to do-do pasine chhoot rahe thhey. Garmi ka pasina toh thheek tha, Tamil ka pasina jaane ka naam hi nahin le raha tha.”

THE WATCHFUL ‘BLIND’ EYE

Amitabh is called to give the final take. Before this, there is discussion about the point at which the crowds should applaud him. There are two options and one is finally okayed. In between the rehearsals and discussions, a unit hand comes to clear off some pieces of paper and plastic bags lying as waste in the field. Amitabh’s watchful ‘blind’ eye falls on the dutiful unit hand and he asks him to let it be as it is, so that it looks natural. In the rehearsals, Amitabh, quite understandably, falters as he forgets his long lines of dialogues twice.

SLIP OF THE…

In the take, it is Karisma’s chance to falter. While she is climbing down two steps to reach out to the vakalatnama being held out by Amitabh, Karisma loses her balance, thanks to her high-heeled sandals and the small steps. “Now, that’s not a slip of the tongue,” says Anupam who has been watching the shooting, “It is a slip of the taang.”

Before we know it, Anupam has given us the slip as he is required for giving his shot in the Tamil film’s shooting.

BLIND MAN’S BLUFF

S. Raamanathan is quite secretive about his film’s story. “We will tell you the story at the appropriate time,” he tells the visiting party, “so that you can then convey it to your readers.” Sensing S. Raamanathan’s mood, Amitabh takes back his words. For, he has already informed us that he plays a blind lawyer in the film. “No, I’m not playing a blind lawyer,” he says, trying to keep a straight face while taking off the dark glasses he has worn. Of course, none in the press party is blind. And we all know, lawyers are liars. Amitabh, perhaps, takes his role too seriously even when not shooting and bluffs us when he says, he isn’t blind in the film. That’s what you call ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’! For, it’s there for all of us to see when Amitabh gives his first shot of the day, that he indeed does play a blind lawyer. In a nutshell, the story is about a young college boy who is framed for four murders and is ordered by the court to be hanged to death. A blind lawyer is convinced that the college student is innocent and takes up his case to finally get him acquitted in the court of law. Vijayashanti plays Amitabh’s heroine. Shivaji Satam also plays an important role.

Amitabh does not remain blind all through the film. His doctor-friend (Anupam Kher) operates on his eyes and restores his eyesight. After all, it’s the kanoon which is andhaa forever, not the lawyer who argues in front of the blindfolded statue…

– Komal Nahta

“We can camouflage his age
to quite a large extent”
Make-up Man Deepak Samant
Talks About Amitabh And Age

“I’m already 55 years old and I have wrinkles on my face.” This is the famous quote of the comeback-Amitabh. An honest confession this, but one which could shake the confidence of the distributors of Amitabh starrers. Although, of course, Amitabh is being careful about the roles he accepts in films and is happy playing his age. Still, the question haunting distributors, exhibitors and his legion fans alike is: Will Amitabh not look old now? Can he be accepted now?

Amitabh may be frank enough to himself declare that age is no longer on his side. Yet, his make-up man, Deepak Sawant, does not sound as if he has surrendered to Amitabh’s age factor. It’s his job to make Bachchan look fresh and he accepts the “55 years” as a challenge. “It is not as if Amit-ji will look old and tired on the screen. We can camouflage his age to quite a large extent,” he says with conviction and a confidence which bears testimony to his 23 years’ association with the man who has often been referred to as the no. 1 to 10 among heroes.

Explains Deepak, “We get different shades of make-up — there’s red, pink, brown, yellow, white, orange, etc. Now, I’ve got to be careful about the colour I use on Amit-ji’s face. Another thing I’ve got to take great care of is the oil and sweat. Oil is secreted from within the body, and sweat comes due to external heat. When the oil and sweat/water (artificial sweat) react with the make-up, the wrinkles on the face become more visible in front of the arc-lights.” Does that mean that one will never see Amitabh with sweat running down his face on the screen? “It’s not that,” clarifies Deepak, “but I will have to be extra-careful for such scenes.”

Deepak concedes that earlier, he used to take 20 to 25 minutes to do Amitabh’s make-up but now, it takes him about 35 minutes to do the job. “Some stars are very interfering, but Amit-ji lets me do my job without interference. He is a fabulous person to work with,” announces Deepak with pride.

The veteran make-up man laments that in an industry where make-up is so important, there’s no award for this craft. “How would you like if an actor plays a hungry beggar without make-up? However good an actor he may be, he will never be able to create as much of an impact merely by his acting talent as with a combination of his acting skill, make-up, hair style and costumes.” In fact, Deepak feels, an actor is 25% acting talent, 25% make-up, 25% hair style and 25% costumes. “If even one of them is lacking, he has to make up for it with the help of the other three,” explains Deepak, “but a good actor must have all the four in equal proportion.” To substantiate his point, Deepak cites the instance of the climax scene of Sholay. “Amit-ji is blown up with a bomb in that scene and is dying. The director told me, he wanted ‘blood’ coming out from the corners of Amit-ji’s mouth. I thought for a while, then I asked Amit-ji to give me the shirt and pant he was wearing for the scene. I took them and tore them with a stone so that they looked shredded. I asked him to wear them again and then I sprinkled ‘blood’ all over his tattered clothes as well as on his forehead. In the scene, after Amit-ji is blown up, his body is lying still when the other characters arrive at the place of the accident. During this time, the blood trickled down from his forehead and came to the sides of his mouth, as desired by the director.”

Coming back to the Bachchan of today, Deepak shuns all talk about his boss having gone in for facial skin treatment or a face lift, as baseless. “It’s just make-up and regular exercising,” he says. “We may have faulted a bit in the first couple of films but even those faults will not recur once we see the first film’s copy. The errors that may have remained in his make-up can be analysed and, thereafter, avoided in the future.”

So, all ye distributors of Bachchan starrers, let the wrinkles of tension on your foreheads go. For, Deepak Sawant assures that he is taking care of the wrinkles and the age of Amitabh Bachchan.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Sippy Surfaces Again

N.N. Sippy has finally decided to take the plunge into production once again, after a long gap. He plans to start his new film in June and complete it within six months. In place of a film with Rishi Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and Ajay Devgan, which he was earlier planning to produce, this project of his will star Karisma Kapoor and Chandrachur Singh. Raj Kanwar was to have directed the earlier film but this one will be directed by Shravani Deodhar. Informed Sippy, “The subject is so wonderful that dialogue writer K.K. Singh is too thrilled for words.” N.N. Sippy plans to have a third of the film shot abroad “because the story moves there and not just to picturise the songs, as is the fashion these days”.

Mauritius Indoors

Producer Yash Johar has lost count of the number of sets his art director, Sharmishtha Roy, has erected for his Duplicate, so many have there been for the film. One more was put up by the talented girl at Mehboob Studios last week, on which a song and some scenes were picturised on Shah Rukh Khan, Sonali Bendre and others. Before picturising the song, director Mahesh Bhatt had shot the film in Mauritius. But unlike other units which shoot on the beautiful landscapes of this picturesque place, the Duplicate unit was confined to the indoors only. It so happened that the (indoor) location required for the shooting was not available continuously in India as in Mauritius.

Pricey Reena

Reena Roy is acting pricey these days. Shocked? You needn’t be shocked because it isn’t for the big screen for which Reena Roy is acting pricey. She is doing so for a serial, Jung. Reena feels, the serial (produced by Pranlal Mehta) is enjoying popularity because of her presence in it. And so, she’s now demanding a price more than half as much as she gets for a film. This price is not for working in the entire serial, it is just for one episode!

Hero Mastana & Not-So-Mastana

All was not well on the sets of a comedy film starring two heroes and a heroine and nearing the completion mark. One of the heroes (who, incidentally, is the favourite of the film’s director) reportedly changed his dialogue in a scene (involving the two heroes together) at the time of its final take. This seems to have agitated the other hero so much that he charged into his hoted room and didn’t shoot… till the director and the errant hero went to his room and apologised!

Enemies Only

Can you believe this? Kamal Haasan’s Ladies Only is complete but all through its making, its director, Dinesh Shailendra, was barely on talking terms with one of the three heroines of the film, Seema Biswas. Dinesh, it is reported, was angry with Seema as she did not greet him when on the sets!