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Thursday, December 9, 2021

FLASHBACK | 3 December, 2021
(From our issue dated 7th December, 1996)

TERE MERE SAPNE

Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited’s Tere Mere Sapne is a fun film but with a subject which is far from novel. Inspired from the English film, Trading Places, it deals with the story of two boys, one filthy rich, and the other, poor. The rich guy detests the problems which come with being a big shot, and yearns for the freedom of a commoner. On the other hand, the poor boy has just one desire in life — to be a rich man. The two meet by chance and decide to trade places. What follows are comic situations. There are also the romantic tracks of the two guys and a crime angle to the story. While the comedy portions may not be new, they are at least quite enjoyable. The film’s first half especially is entertaining. But the romance and crime portions of the drama are not as clearly etched out. Editing is not smooth. Screenplay, especially after interval, is one of convenience.

Chandrachur Singh does a good job as the rich non-resident Indian who comes to India from London. He, however, is awkward in dancing. Arshad Warsi makes a commendable debut and plays to the gallery with a performance that is absolutely uninhibited. His dances are excellent. Simran only impresses in the ‘Aankh mare O ladka aankh mare’ song. Priya Gill is fair in her maiden film. K.D. Chandran, Sulbha Arya, Bal Dhuri and Pran lend adequate support. Yunus Perwaiz’s track is unnecessary. A.K. Hangal, Suresh Malhotra, Pappu Polyester and the others are alright.

Joy Augustine’s direction is good in parts, though not consistently so. The film holds more appeal for the city audience and especially the younger generation among them. Viju Shah’s music is one of the biggest plus points of this new star-cast film. ‘Aankh mare’ song is already a hit. Its picturisation is superb. ‘Kuchh mere dil ne kaha’, the title song and ‘Mera dil gaya’ are also very well-tuned. Picturisation of ‘Basti mein hungama ho gaya’ is enjoyable. Action scenes are alright. Camerawork is reasonably good.

On the whole, Tere Mere Sapne has sectional appeal. It should do well in the cities on the strength of its music and Arshad’s character. While business in Bombay would be the best, it would find the going tough in some other circuits.

Released on 6-12-’96 at Maratha Mandir and 13 other cinemas of Bombay by ABCL thru Shringar Films. Publicity: excellent. Opening: good. …….Also released all over. Opening was dull at many places.

LATEST POSITION

RAJA HINDUSTANI is still on a record-breaking spree. Its collections continue to amaze.

Rakshak has not been appreciated. It has, however, collected well in C.P. and Nizam. 1st week Bombay 33,83,841 (79.03%) from 12 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 9,22,422 from 7 cinemas, Baroda 1,49,652, Jamnagar 49,256 from 2 cinemas (both in daily 1 show); Kolhapur 1,34,000, Solapur 2,01,978 from 3 cinemas (1 in matinee); Delhi 26,45,661 (62.87%) from 11 cinemas (1 unrecd., 3 on F.H.); Lucknow 1,73,236, Agra 1,90,970, Meerut 1,38,869, Bareilly 1,09,625 (61.23%), Gorakhpur 1,21,000 (66.11%); Calcutta 27,50,829 from 29 cinemas; Nagpur 4,31,241 from 4 cinemas, Akola 1,31,668, Raipur 1,38,823, Bhilai 1,03,850, Jalgaon 1,36,825, Chandrapur 1,17,516; Indore 2,19,180 (3 on F.H.), Bhopal 2,46,259 from 2 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Jaipur 5,92,605 from 4 cinemas; Hyderabad 29,43,931 from 15 cinemas, share 14,29,318.

Dastak is dull. 1st week Bombay 23,44,783 (59.22%) from 12 cinemas (4 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,53,786 from 2 cinemas; Solapur 1,01,053 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Malegaon 67,478; Delhi 11,77,040 (57.59%) from 5 cinemas (2 unrecd.); Kanpur 1,04,442, Lucknow 97,295, Agra 87,852, Gorakhpur 43,000; Calcutta 7,10,152 (55.91%) from 7 cinemas (other cinemas unrecd.); Jabalpur 90,092, Akola 60,405, Jalgaon 56,200; Indore 88,728 (1 on F.H.), Bhopal 96,672; Jaipur 4,31,780 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 7,74,734 from 4 cinemas.

………..

Raja Hindustani is absolutely remarkable everywhere. Its upper limit is difficult to predict. 3rd week Bombay 37,95,217 (98.52%) from 10 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 10,71,867 from 5 cinemas, 4th week Baroda 84%, Padra 1,29,759, 3rd week Vapi 3,51,268, total 11,20,036, Mehsana 2,36,124, Valsad 2,54,339, 1st week Bharuch (gross) 3,07,608, full, 4th week Jamnagar 1,44,791 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.); Kolhapur 1,88,868, full, 3rd week Solapur 2,40,573 (100%) from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), 2nd week Barsi 74,901 (1st 75,544, full), total 1,50,445, Karad 96,390; 3rd week Delhi 25,49,473 from 7 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Kanpur 1,65,213 from 2 cinemas (1 for 3 days only), Lucknow 2,22,403 (100%), Agra 1,75,893, 4th week Meerut 1,72,671, 3rd Bareilly 1,51,725 (81.51%), Hardwar 61,552, total 2,02,623; 1st week Rohtak 67,181; 3rd Calcutta 22,88,484 from 21 cinemas; Nagpur 6,28,773 from 4 cinemas, 1st Jabalpur (32 shows) 2,43,544, 3rd Akola 1,41,790 (100%), 4th week 3 days 60,767 (100%), 3rd Raipur 1,51,321, Bhilai (6 days) 1,29,882, Jalgaon 1,60,580 (100%), Wardha 93,715, 4th week 3 days 37,879, 3rd Chandrapur 1,65,318 (100%), total 5,23,393, 4th week Yavatmal (3 days) 38,874 (3rd 90,707); 3rd week Indore 2,30,000, Bhopal 3,64,873 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 5,53,075 from 2 cinemas, Jodhpur (6 days) 2,67,745, Bikaner 1,70,362, Sriganganagar 1,25,000; Hyderabad 14,55,941 from 6 cinemas (1 in noon).

Ghatak 4th week Bombay 15,31,281 (56.74%) from 9 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,07,500 (2 unrecd.), Patan (gross) 1,05,038, total 6,59,244, 1st week Kalol (gross) 70,979; Kopergaon (gross) 1,30,240, 4th week Kolhapur 1,32,000, Solapur 89,662 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), 2nd week Barsi (gross) 51,270; 4th week Delhi 2,69,545 from 3 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,12,984 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,17,641, Agra 92,784, Bareily 27,369 (15%), Gorakhpur 46,000, Hardwar 12,000; Calcutta 1,17,347; Nagpur 1,53,191 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 62,246 (3rd 89,280), Akola 54,448, total 4,62,071, share 3,90,561, Raipur (6 days) 51,908, Jalgaon 51,459, Yavatmal 25,227 (3rd 38,246); Bhopal 1,02,768; Jaipur 1,57,884, Ajmer 63,435; Hyderabad 3,41,872 from 3 cinemas (1 in noon).

Maharashtra Film Industry Closure

Position Still Unclear

While the Maharashtra film industry is getting ready for a closure from 1st January ’97 in protest against the government’s refusal to reconsider its decision on entertainment tax in the state, it is simultaneously making all efforts to convince the government of the need to give the industry the benefit of reduced (50%) entertainment tax and thereby to avert the closure. The 50% entertainment tax benefit is effective only upto 31st December ’96.

Although no meeting with ministers was held this week, the industry leaders met officials in the secretariat to present facts and figures and discuss the issue. A consensus solution is not ruled out, by these leaders.

If the state government and the film industry do arrive at an amicable settlement, there would be no need to shut the industry from the new year.

If the meantime, the Supreme Court earlier this week ruled that cable TV networks were also liable to pay entertainment tax, like cinemas. According to the Supreme Court, 40% entertainment tax would be reasonable for cable TV networks. When the Court considers 40% as reasonable, one wonders why the Maharashtra government is not heeding the industry’s demand for continuing 50% entertainment tax on films, as at present.

ABDUL MAJEED’S DAUGHTER WEDS

The wedding reception of Heena Kausar, daughter of Abdul Majeed of Kohinoor Cinema, Jodhpur, with Mohd. Aslam was held on 30th November in Jodhpur.

WEDDING BELLS

Marriage of Shrikant, son of Jiwan Das Mohta of Shree Venkatesh Films, Calcutta, with Sarita will be solemnised today (7th December) in Calcutta at ITF Pavilion.

Salma Agha Turns Music Director

Playback singer Salma Agha has turned a music director and has been signed to score the music in Sanam Productions’ Vidhan. To be directed by S.U. Saiyed for producer Iqbal S. Khan, the film’s cast is not yet finalised.

JUHI NOT TO MARRY NOW

Juhi Chawla has clarified that her marriage to Jai Mehta has been postponed for the time being.

ANANDJI’S DAUGHTER TO WED

The reception to celebrate the wedding of Bhavna, daughter of music director Anandji (Kalyanji-Anandji), with Shakti will be held on 14th December at Hotel Horizon.

RAJSHRI LAUNCHES ITS WEBSITE

Rajshri has entered the world of cyberspace by launching its website at http:// www.rajshri.com on the Internet. The objective of the multimedia website is to target international distributors for the English and Spanish versions of its two blockbusters, Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!.

Besides Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Maine Pyar Kiya, the website will also feature a number of Rajshri’s older evergreen movies. Every week, one Rajshri classic will be reviewed on the website. Audio and video clips, which can be downloaded by the viewer, will be the highlight of the site. Special sections have been created on Tarachand Barjatya, the founder of the Rajshri organisation, and Sooraj R. Barjatya, the director of Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Maine Pyar Kiya. Every week, viewers will be able to know a little more about Sooraj and his way of working, through the special section about him. State-of-the-art animation and graphics have been designed for the Rajshri website. A business section has also been created for enquiries about the worldwide theatrical distribution of the international versions of Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Maine Pyar Kiya.

The site will be updated daily by Ravi Database Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Bombay, which also manages the popular website, India World.

USHA KIRAN IS NEW SHERIFF OF BOMBAY

Marathi and Hindi film actress Usha Kiran will be the new sheriff of Bombay. She will take over from the present sheriff shortly.

YOU ASKED IT

When most of the Hollywood films dubbed in Hindi are flopping, why does this trend of dubbing them in Hindi not stop?

– When so many of our heroes give flops one after the other, in a row, do they stop acting?

What is the ratio of Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra? Has it been censored?

– Mira Nair has sold the all-India rights of the film to producer R. Mohan. Its territorial rights are likely to be sold at fancy prices (much more than a crore). Mira has appealed to the Appellate Tribunal against the many cuts offered by the revising committee.

Are films released after Raja Hindustani not faring well because Raja… is such a runaway hit?

– RAJA HINDUSTANI may be making some difference to the businesses of other films but it is incorrect to conclude that it is only due to its runaway success that the latter releases are flopping. Obviously, the films themselves lack in something or the other.

PRABHAKAR REDDY NO MORE

Noted Telugu film actor Dr. M. Prabhakar Reddy expired in Hyderabad on 26th November following a heart attack. He was 61 and is survived by his wife and four daughters.

He joined films in 1961. He acted in 472 films as a character actor. He also produced 27 films and directed four. He was the story writer of 21 films. Among his well-known films as an actor are Teerpu, Nippulanti Manishi, Pachchani Samsaram Gandhi Puttina Desam, Gruhapravesam etc. His Pandanti Kapuram had bagged the National Award for the best regional film.

IN & OUT OF BOMBAY

Financier Bharat Shah is in London and will return on 11th December.

Mr. Bipin Shah of Hansa Pictures, Madras, will return to Madras today (7th December).

Mr. Dayanand Mandre of DRM Combines, Bangalore, is in town at Hotel Kemp’s Corner (363-4646/4655/4666) from today (Dec. 7) to Dec. 11.

Mr. Pramod Agarwal of Modern Film Distributors, Indore, is in town (551-2309).

DO YOU KNOW?

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created an all-time record by drawing all 56 shows in first 2 weeks full at Rupali, Panvel, Bombay. Gross collection: 5,42,522/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by collecting 96,390/- in 2nd week at Royal, Karad.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a new theatre record by collecting 1,20,855/- in 4th week at Jayshri, Jamnagar. Eighteen out of 21 shows were full. It has also created a theatre record by collecting 23,936/- in 4th week at Galaxy (matinee), Jamnagar. Total collections in 4 weeks from the 2 cinemas: 5,52,264/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI, which was released at Bharuch in 4th week, has created a city record by collecting 3,07,608/- in 1st week.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by collecting a total of 7,55,572/- in 3 weeks at Gopi, Mehsana.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created yet another record at Shree, Vapi, by collecting a total of 11,20,036/- in first 3 weeks.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by collecting 8,12,323/- in 3 weeks at Dreamland, Valsad.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by yielding a share of over 3,50,000/- in 3 weeks from Citylight, Palanpur. The total share of DDLJ from Palanpur was 3,25,000/- and that of HAHK..! was 3,00,000/-. 3rd week’s collection of RAJA HINDUSTANI is 2,05,000/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by collecting 1,72,671/- in 4th week at Apsara, Meerut.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a city record by collecting 8,85,538/- in 3 weeks at Smruti, Nagpur. Share: 6,50,000/-, theatre record. It has also created a theatre record by collecting nett of 5,02,693/- in 3 weeks at Jayshree, Nagpur. Share: 3,80,000/-, theatre record.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a theatre record by collecting 83,440/- (100%) in 1st week at Rajvilas, Nagpur.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created another city record by collecting 100% (1,65,451/-) in 3rd week at Prabhat, Amravati. Total share in 3 weeks: 3,80,000/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record by collecting 100% in 3rd week at Vasant, Akola. 4th week 3 days: 60,767/-, record.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a record in 3rd week also, by collecting 100% (1,65,318/-) at Abhay, Chandrapur.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a new city record by collecting 1,51,321/- in 3rd week at Babulal, Raipur.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has collected 100% in 3rd week too at Shyam, Yavatmal. It has surpassed the total share of JEET in 8 days, of GHATAK in 12 days, and of HINDUSTANI in 15 days.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created another city record by collecting 93,715/- in 3rd week at Durga, Wardha. Better than DDLJ. 4th week 3 days: 37,879/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created yet another Khandesh record by collecting 100% (1,60,580/-) in 3rd week at Natwar, Jalgaon.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a city record by drawing all 33 shows full in 1st week at Jyoti, Jabalpur. Collection: 2,43,544/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created one more record at Sapna, Indore, by collecting 2,30,000/- in 3rd week.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created a theatre record by collecting 1,74,668/- in 3rd week at Radha, Bhopal. It has also created a record by collecting 1,90,205/- in 2nd week at Goonj Bahadur, Bhopal. Total of 2 cinemas: 3,64,873/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created theatre records in 3rd week at both the cinemas of Jaipur: at Prem Prakash by collecting 3,68,601/-, and at Lata (1st week) by collecting 1,76,784/-. Shares: 2,47,601/- and 1,31,784/- respectively.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created anther record by collecting 2,67,745/- in 3rd week (6 days) at Girdhar Mandir, Jodhpur.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created another record at Suraj, Bikaner, by collecting 1,70,362/- in 2nd week. Share: 1,18,362/-.

* RAJA HINDUSTANI has created another record by collecting 1,25,000/- in 3rd week at Azad, Sriganganagar. Share: 70,000/-.

ALL-TIME LOW!

* NFDC’s NASEEM has created a new record in collections. It collected just 1,302/- in 1st week at Liberty (matinee), Bombay, against a capacity of 1,14,366/-. That makes it a collection of 1.14% of the capacity! If this doesn’t shock you, here’s more. The film has been extended in the 2nd week!! Does the NFDC think, the film’s collections will pick up now? If NFDC does think so, it sure deserves the award for the most optimistic producer-distributor.

MIX MASALA

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Has Mahendra Verma given up composing action scenes and instead taken up cinematography? The press handout of ABCL, which accompanies the music cassettes of Naam Kya Hai, would have one believe so. For, the name of the cinematographer in it has been printed as Mahendra Verma who is actually the film’s action director. Of course, it’s a printer’s devil. But then, you might ask, cinematographer ka naam kya hai? Well, it’s Najeeb Khan. And surely, ABCL mustn’t say, “Naam mein kya hai?”

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Dharmesh’s Dil Is In His ‘Dhadkan’

There were all sorts of stories about Venus’ Dhadkan, circulating in the Bombay trade earlier this week. It was reported that Dharmesh Darshan would not be directing it and that Rajat Rawail had come in in his place. But the latest news is that Dharmesh is back in Dhadkan. When contacted, the hotshot director of Raja Hindustani revealed, “Yes, it is true, I had decided to opt out of Dhadkan because I felt, I wouldn’t be able to do justice to two films at a time. I am making both, Mela and Dhadkan, for Venus and we mutually decided that I would give up Dhadkan. But I had to reconsider my decision when the Jain brothers prevailed upon me to continue with Dhadkan too. Although I’ve shot Dhadkan for just 10 or 11 days, I’ve now decided to complete it.” That must have definitely steadied the dhadkans of the hearts of Jain brothers because, after all, who wouldn’t like their film to be directed by a super-hit name?

Colour Of Popular Music

Colourful, tuneful and eye-filling! That’s how one would describe the songs of Saawan Kumar’s Salma Pe Dil Aagaya. The maker’s passion is all too evident in the song picturisations, a preview of four of which was held for the fourth estate earlier this week. The title song is already marching its way to a formidable place in the popularity charts. Another racy and hit number is the Zara dholki bajaao goriyon which should have feet tapping instantly. Phool main bhejoon has lilting melody. The film’s music is scored by Aadesh Srivastava. Both the lead players, Ayub Khan and Saadhika, have danced ably. A word of praise here for their colourful costumes too. Since Salma Pe Dil Aagaya is a Muslim social, Saawan Kumar has decided to release it on Idd day. There could be no better date for the film’s release, you bet. And a word of suggestion for the music company, Vatsa. Salma deserves to be publicised extensively.

Music Kya Hai!!

After Viju Shah’s hit music in Tere Mere Sapne, Anand Milind, too, have come up with an equally racy and hit score for ABCL’s second production venture, Naam Kya Hai. At least four songs, all penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri, are beautifully tuned and have already been on the popularity charts on radio and television. ABCL’s music division, Big B, released the film’s audio cassettes on 3rd December at Ambassador Hotel. The release was at the hands of Anand Milind themselves because, as Jaya Bachchan put it, “We decided to let the persons who’ve made the music, release its audio themselves, instead of having someone else do it, as is the norm.” The release function, compered by Pradeep Shukla, was preceded by a screening of the film’s songs. The title song, Yun to nazar baaz toone, Tere hothon pe and Laga nazariya ka dhaka, are all lovely songs and their picturisations (choreographer: Shankar) are also quite eye-filling. The other two songs may not be as popular but their picturisations are, nevertheless, good. Mukul Dev, it must be said, dances with grace. Naam Kya Hai introduces Sucheta Pawse opposite Mukul, and is directed by Sachin. Sachin’s wife, Supriya, and Marathi film and television actor Mahesh Thakur also play key roles.

If Rajini Can’t, Who Can?

Rajinikanth has started the shooting of his Tamil film, Arunachalam, in Mysore. Till the last minute, officials kept the superstar guessing about whether they would grant him permission to shoot his film which Rajinikanth is producing besides acting in it, in Mysore or not. The public works department officials first gave him permission to shoot in its spacious guest house, then withdrew the permission, and then again allowed him to go ahead with it. The withdrawal of the permission was a result of the Kannada lobby’s pressure, it is believed. The permission was again granted because it later dawned on the officials that Rajini hails from Karnataka. What’s more, the proceeds from Arunachalam are meant for artistes of regional languages who are in distress. Of the eight beneficiaries, Kannada film actress Pandaribai will be one, and she will receive Rs. 30 lakh.

‘Roja’: The Dubbing Story

Although the dubbed Hindi film, Roja, has come and gone, this incident was brought to our knowledge only recently and it goes to show how sometimes, artistes are blamed for something they haven’t done and, in fact, may not even be aware of. When Bipin Shah bought the Hindi dubbing rights of Roja and approached Madhoo’s father for getting her dialogues dubbed by her, the father quoted a price which was several times the remuneration the actress had received for working in the original Tamil version. After some haggling, Madhoo’s dad brought down the figure but it was still on the higher side, and Bipinbhai finally offered to pay her Rs. 20,000 for it. But the father refused the offer, and Bipinbhai had no other alternative but to get the voice dubbed by a dubbing artiste. As luck would have it, Madhoo was in Madras for another shooting before the Hindi version of Roja was released. She happened to see the Hindi version and was rather unhappy that Bipin Shah had not approached her for the dubbing although she could speak Hindi. When Bipinbhai told her of his meeting with her father, Madhoo was taken aback as she didn’t know about it. She requested Bipinbhai to re-dub her dialogues in her voice and even volunteered to do the dubbing for just Rs. 10,000. Bipinbhai obliged, Madhoo completed her dubbing in three days, and well… that’s that. Had it not been for her meeting with Bipin Shah, the latter would have always held it against her for acting too pricey. Incidentally, Madhoo spent the entire Rs. 10,000 she earned from dubbing Roja, in Madras itself before returning to Bombay. She went shopping with Bipinbhai’s wife and bought gifts for her near and dear ones.

Lifting Lyrics

So far, people blamed Anu Malik of pinching tunes. But lyricist Vishweshwar Sharma has complained to the Film Writers Association against Anu for having lifted the mukhda of his song. Vishweshwar Sharma had written one song in Namak, the music of which was scored by Anu Malik. During that time, he had narrated some seven or eight songs to Anu. The latter had liked one particular song and had even noted down its mukhda, telling Sharma that they could use it some time later. To Vishweshwar Sharma’s shock, Anu used the song in another film without so much as even informing Sharma. The lyrics of the song have been credited to Rahat Indori. In fact, this is the most popular song of GhatakKoi jaaye to le aaye/Meri laakh duwayein paaye/Main toh piya ki gali mein/Jiya bhool aayee re. Had the song been credited to its rightful writer, it may have made a difference to him, too. For, considering that it became popular, Vishweshwar Sharma may have got more writing offers. One hopes, now that Sharma is talking about this pinching of lyrics, he does get more songs to write. For, it’s too late for him to sing: Koi jaaye to le aaye/Meri laakh duwayein paaye/Main toh Anu ki gali mein/Mukhda bhool aaya re…

FLASHBACK | 26 November, 2021
(From our issue dated 30th November, 1996)

DASTAK

Vishesh Films Pvt. Ltd.’s Dastak (A) is the story of a mentally unstable genius and his obsession for the Miss Universe. His unparalleled obsession makes him so possessive about her that he begins to kill people around her so that he can come close to her. He succeeds in kidnapping her and keeping her in confinement but ultimately, she succeeds in getting herself free from his obsessive clutches.

Although the film has been well made, it reminds a great deal of earlier films like Darr, Agni Sakshi, Daraar and Fareb. The incidents in this drama may be different but the story is the same. As such, viewers will immediately remember having seen similar films, that too, in the recent past. Since the stories of this and the aforesaid films are very typical, the similarity works to the disadvantage of the one released later. Add to this is the high price-tag of the film, an area in which Fareb (which was released after Darr, Agni Sakshi and Daraar) scored.

On the positive side, the film has several points where it shocks the viewer. In fact, the shock value lends excitement to the proceedings and keeps audience interest alive, subject, however, to the basic drawback of similarity of the plot. Screenplay is tight and dialogues are appropriate. Climax is effective.

Performances of both the new heroes are brilliant. Sharad Kapoor looks handsome and acts with utmost confidence in a tailor-made role of an obsessed lover. Mukul Dev has a relatively lesser role but yet, in the role of the heroine’s beloved, does a splendid job and endears himself to the viewer. His cute and the boy-next-door looks will work to his advantage. Both, Sharad and Mukul, have bright careers ahead. Sushmita Sen is good in her debut attempt, especially in the second half where she gets more scope. She, however, needs to take a lot of care about her wardrobe as she is taller than an average Hindi film heroine. Vishwajeet Pradhan leaves a mark. Tiku Talsania, Manoj Bajpai, Sunil Dhawan and the others lend adequate support.

Mahesh Bhatt’s direction is good but his choice of subject isn’t right. What’s more, he has made the film more suitable for viewing by city audience and has forgotten cinegoers of smaller towns and villages. Mahesh Bhatt would do well to avoid too much usage of English words, especially in key scenes.

Music is quite good but a hit, racy song is missing. In fact, while the film moves at a good pace, the songs are slow and break the pace. Song picturisations, except for the first (which is eye-filling), are ordinary. There’s no choreography worth the name. Background music is effective. Camerawork is good but only in parts. Foreign locations are beautiful. Production values are appropriate.

On the whole, Dastak has taken a very dull start and has neither novelty nor hit music to warrant a sensational pick-up. Considering its high price, it will entail heavy losses to its distributors. Its business in cities, especially in the South will be somewhat better.

Released on 29-11-’96 at New Excelsior and 15 other cinemas of Bombay thru Madhuraj Movies. Publicity: good (but not sufficient for a new star-cast film of this price). Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was poor everywhere.

LATEST POSITION

The magic of RAJA HINDUSTANI continues to mesmerise the audience and excite the industry. It has recorded bumper collections from Chandigarh to Chennai and Kutch to Cuttack.

…………

Raja Hindustani is going great guns. This week too has started on a fascinating note. 2nd week Bombay 41,37,006 (99.72%) from 11 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 11,41,843 from 5 cinemas, Vapi 3,84,384 (100%), total 7,68,768 (100%), share above 5 lacs, Baroda 2,29,674, 3rd week Jamnagar 1,52,770 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Pune 9,43,082 from 4 cinemas, 2nd week Kolhapur 1,88,868 (100%), Solapur 2,40,573 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Sangli 100%, Nasik 3,10,008; Hubli 2,58,799, Belgaum 2,09,866 from 3 cinemas (2 in 7 shows each), 1st week Nipani 1,81,300; 2nd week Delhi 20,77,082 from 5 cinemas (3 unrecd.); Kanpur 4,25,305 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,22,403, Agra 1,85,789, Allahabad 1,52,893, 3rd week 4 days 81,000, 2nd week Meerut 1,83,340, 3rd week 3 days 79,105, 2nd Dehradun 1,72,600 (1st 1,91,000), Gorakhpur 1,45,716 (1st 1,56,980), Hardwar 61,199 (1st 79,871); doing extraordinary in East Punjab; Calcutta 26,03,512 (88.39%) from 22 cinemas; Nagpur 5,92,317 from 3 cinemas, Akola 1,41,790 (100%), 3rd week 3 days 60,767 (100%), 2nd Raipur 1,77,033 (1st 2,03,434), Bhilai (6 days) 1,79,107, Jalgaon 1,76,315 (100%), Wardha 97,577, 3rd week 3 days 41,526, 2nd Yavatmal 1,32,048; Indore 2,32,012 (100%, 1 on F.H.), Bhopal 3,53,371 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 5,72,918 from 2 cinemas, Bikaner 2,21,363, Udaipur 2,60,000 (1st 2,97,315), Sriganganagar 1,45,113; Hyderabad 10,92,349 from 5 cinemas.

Ghatak 3rd week Bombay 25,82,101 (70.09%) from 10 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 3,32,033 from 3 cinemas, Vapi 1,30,653, total 8,24,074, share 4,24,000, Himmatnagar 97,093, Baroda 1,82,452 from 2 cinemas, Bharuch (gross) 1,41,646; Pune 4,75,348 from 3 cinemas, Kolhapur 1,60,000, Solapur 1,31,988 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Nasik 1,59,870; Hubli 93,870 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Belgaum 73,914; Delhi 11,45,002 from 6 cinemas (4 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,96,266 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,59,061, Agra 1,39,000, Allahabad 72,500, Dehradun 62,000, Gorakhpur 77,000, Hardwar 15,000; Calcutta 3,35,354 from 3 cinemas; Nagpur 1,90,152 from 2 cinemas, Akola 89,077, total 4,07,623, share 3,53,813, Raipur (6 days) 80,348, Bhilai (6 days) 45,817, Jalgaon 78,085, Chandrapur 97,589, total 4,25,945, Bilaspur 73,310 (2nd 1,05,230); 2nd Indore 2,01,377, Bhopal 1,56,688; 3rd Jaipur 2,25,172, Ajmer 1,06,779, Bikaner (last) 1,44,742; Hyderabad 4,69,833 from 3 cinemas.

…………

Maharashtra Industry Readying Itself For
Total Bandh Fom New Year

The Maharashtra film industry is almost certain to down shutters from 1st January ’97 in protest against the state government’s refusal to extend the ordinance of 50% entertainment tax, after 31st December ’96. A joint meeting of Bombay distributors and exhibitors, held on 26th November, unanimously agreed that a bandh was the only answer to the government’s rigid stand. The meeting was also attended by producer Pahlaj Nihalani who suggested that in order to make the bandh a success, distributors and exhibitors should seek the support of producers, artistes and studios too, and impress upon all of them to join in the bandh.

A final and formal decision about the bandh, which would entail closure of all cinemas in the state, is likely to be taken later next week. But the stage seems to be set for an ugly fight between the government and the film industry.

If the bandh does come about, it would mean a rescheduling of all the releases after 13th December because no producer or distributor would like to release his film on or after 20th December.

K.C. BOKADIA’S DAUGHTER TO WED

Producer-director K.C. Bokadia’s daughter, Kavita, will wed Vimal Kumar on 7th December in Madras at MGR Film City.

WEDDING BELLS FOR KAMAL MUKUT’S SON

Marriage of Deepak, son of Rajasthan distributor and producer Kamal Mukut, with Krishna will be solemnised on 12th December in Jaipur. A reception to celebrate the wedding will be held in Bombay on 20th at Army Officers Club, Ruia Park, Juhu.

YOU ASKED IT

Does the poor opening of Dastak imply that films with newcomers should not be attempted?

– No, it does not mean so. What it definitely means is that new star cast films must be publicised extensively and intensively and should necessarily have popular music.

Why do film producers and directors not admit their failures easily?

– Film people are dream merchants and there is no place for nightmares in their scheme of things.

Will the Maharashtra government put an upper limit on admission rates in cinemas?

– It cannot, because it lost a case seeking to limit admission rates in 1994 when Bombay’s Liberty cinema dragged the government to court in the matter of HAHK..!. But what the government may be planning to do is to introduce progressively higher rates of entertainment tax for higher admission rates.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Yunus Perwaiz is acting with Manoj Kumar after a gap of 21 years. The two came together in 1975 in SANYASI. They will now be seen together again in Manoj Kumar’s JAIHIND – THE PRIDE. 

847 DAYS!

* HAHK..! was finally discontinued from Liberty, Bombay, on 28th November after a run of 121 weeks. It ran for 105 weeks in regular shows and for 16 weeks in noon shows. The total number of shows held in 847 days (2 years, 3 months and 24 days) was 2,341. Break-up of the shows: 2,199 regular shows and 30 extra shows (on Sundays) in 105 weeks; and 112 noon shows in 16 weeks.

‘Raja Hindustani’: Kingly Collections,
Majestic Records

* The current booking window at Sona, Borivli (a Bombay suburb) simply did not open in the first two weeks of RAJA HINDUSTANI as the film drew all shows full in advance for all the 14 days!

MIX MASALA

FILMI SPEECH

Once a film person, always a film person. Jaya Prada, the new MP, had the ministers in Rajya Sabha smiling this week when she ventured to make a speech in filmi style in Hindi which, needless to say, was rather difficult to comprehend. She started with a sher in her incomprehensible diction: ‘Doobne walon ko tinke ka sahara chahiye, dagmagati nao ko kinara chahiye’. The sher was met with wah-wahs from those present in the Upper House.

A BEAUTIFUL ROLE?

Do beauty title holders like to play themselves on screen too? It would seem so. For, Sushmita Sen plays Miss Universe in this week’s release — her maiden film, Dastak. And Namrata Shirodkar, ex-Miss World, will be seen as a Miss World in Boney Kapoor’s Pukaar.

To The Point

Making a film is only half the job done. Today, marketing and releasing a film are equally specialised jobs. Improper release or faulty marketing can sometimes adversely affect a film. In recent times, at least two films could have done much better at the the ticket-windows had they had better releases. Salim’s Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat, with no star cast to boot, should have come on or after Diwali. Why Salim chose a dull pre-Diwali period to release the film, one fails to understand. Gulzar’s Maachis is the other film. Its songs were beginning to get popular and they had the germs to be on top of the charts, but producer R.V. Pandit took a rather hasty decision to release the film so soon. Had he given the film’s music even a month more, the film would have taken a much better opening. As is said, haste makes waste.

* * *

The distribution and exhibition sectors of the Maharashtra film industry are decided on downing shutters from 1st January, 1997, in protest against the impending increase in entertainment tax in the state. So far, so good. But the two sectors must now elect one common leader to lead them in this tough battle with the government. It may not be an easy fight, and a leader who can inspire everybody’s confidence needs to be at the helm of affairs.

* * *

Vakil Singh, the East Punjab distributor of Barsaat, has given about 30 lakh overflow in this film’s account to Dharmendra!

* * *

It is learnt from reliable sources that Sunny Deol’s Indian will now be produced by another producer who has taken over the entire project. Sunny will, however, be its hero, as earlier. The other credits will also remain the same.

* * *

The producers of Raja Hindustani were on a tour of C.P. Berar this week, alongwith its distributor, Raju Kothari. What they experienced was heavenly. Crowds thronging cinemas screening the film in the different stations of the circuit had to be seen to be believed. In one cinema, hundreds of cinegoers were watching the film, standing on their feet, due to non-availability of tickets. Rathi, whose cinemas are screening the film, informed the producers that over-capacity was a rule rather than an exception in the case of their film. He also assured them that some of his cinemas would give shares more than those of even HAHK..! and DDLJ.

– Komal Nahta

PEOPLE
Are surprised that

* * Rakshak, a Sunil Shetty starrer, did not open to bumper houses despite the hit Shaher ki ladki song in it. While some say, it was a case of soft (musical) publicity for a tough hero’s film, others opine that the less-than-full opening was because of the current craze for Raja Hindustani. Then there are some who feel, Rakshak should have come some weeks earlier as its music was at the peak of its popularity before Raja Hindustani was released.

* * Dastak did not take even a face-saving opening. Actually, there’s nothing to be surprised. Those who assumed that Sushmita Sen would do the trick were wide off the mark. When established heroines don’t contribute to a film’s initial value, who is Sushmita? She may be the ex-Miss Universe but for the film-going audience, that means nothing — repeat, nothing. The producers may have thought highly of her (to have paid her so much for their films) but the audience will wait for her to prove herself. Besides, producer Mukesh Bhatt left something to be desired in the film’s publicity. Considering that it starred two new heroes and a new heroine, a concerted and massive publicity campaign was what was required. The actual build-up was 20% of what it should have been. Music was another area where the film couldn’t score — it just did not gain popularity.

PEOPLE
Are speculating over

* * What will be the business of Raja Hindustani. 6 crore or 7 crore per major territory? Or more than that? The coming weeks will tell.

* * Whether the releases of mid-December and thereafter will come on schedule. If the Maharashtra film industry downs shutters from 1st January ’97, the releases of December 20 and 27 will, in all likelihood, be postponed. But the makers of Judwaa seem to be keen to get it on 20th December, bandh or no bandh.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

History Repeating Itself?

If the Maharashtra film industry closes down in protest against the government’s stand to discontinue the benefit of 50% entertainment tax, history will repeat itself after 10 years. For, in 1986 too, the industry had downed shutters to demand reliefs from the government. The latter had to relent then and the film industry was granted several benefits including reduction in tax. The Diwali of 1986 was termed a ‘Black Diwali’ by the trade as all work in the industry was at a standstill following the strike. This time over, the bandh has come (if it does) after Diwali. And while talking about the historic bandh of 1986, one can’t help remembering the efforts of late leader Shri Ramraj Nahta who led the industry to victory at that time. His selfless and untiring efforts at that trying and testing time are remembered even today.

Of the Khan Khandaan

Here’s an interesting observation from Girdhar Duseja of Shringar Films, Bombay, which should do the Khan clan proud. The biggest hits of three consecutive years have been Khan starrers. In 1994, it was Salman Khan’s Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!. Shah Rukh Khan’sDilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was the biggest hit of 1995. And in 1996, it is Aamir Khan’s Raja Hindustani. The second biggest hit of 1995, Karan Arjun, also starred not one but two Khans, Salman and Shah Rukh.

Sushmita’s Emotional Appeal

Sushmita Sen wept bitterly on 28th November. No, not because Dastak took a disastrous start in U.P., C.P., C.I. and Bengal (Calcutta) where it was released that day. But because Sushmita was addressing a press conference at Hotel Sun N Sand that afternoon to clear “all the wrong things” that had been written about her in gossip magazines. The former Miss Universe broke down as she clarified that she was not involved with any married man nor had she married anybody, that she was not trying to break anybody’s home, that she had never had alcohol in her life, that she was not a girl of loose character etc. Sushmita said, she had to clear the matters because it was important to do so at this stage of her career and so that producers of her forthcoming films did not press the panic button. As Sushmita tried to clear the dust around every topic and appealed to members of the press to be more considerate towards her, tears rolled down her well made-up cheeks. It didn’t seem as if the former beauty queen was putting on an act. So much of crying couldn’t be fake. Considering for a moment (without alleging) that the crying was a piece of acting by Miss Sen, it must be said to her credit that she is a very good actress. But, as said earlier, the girl’s tears seemed too genuine to be made up. Anyway, either way, Sushmita stood to gain that day. She had cleared the terrible stories about herself. And for those who didn’t want to believe her, well, they had to at least admit that she was a good actress without doubt.


FLASHBACK | 19 November, 2021
(From our issue dated 23rd November, 1996)

CHHOTE SARKAR

Shivam Chitrya (Bombay)’s Chhote Sarkar aims to be both, a suspense film and an entertainer, but succeeds in being neither. It lacks the thrill of a suspense drama and does not have much of entertainment which could be termed novel. The story is about a young businessman who is under the impression that he has murdered his uncle when the fact is that he has intentionally been framed for the murder by vested interests. A lady inspector, pretending to be his beloved, comes in his life and the moment he decides to get married to her and confesses his crime, she shows her true colours and arrests him. It then falls upon him to prove himself not guilty when he realises that his confession is a result of his not knowing the truth. The first half of the film is relatively light. The post-interval portion is devoted mainly to solving the mystery of the real killer.

Till a suspense drama doesn’t keep the audience guessing, it cannot keep their interest alive. There is absolutely no scope for guessing in the film for two reasons — there aren’t too many characters whom one can suspect, and secondly, the identity of one person who is connected with the crime is revealed to the audience soon after interval. Nor is the customary fear/thrill associated with a suspense film there in this drama. The title has no specific relevance to the story. While a few comedy scenes do entertain, there are others which fall flat. Prominent among those which fail to evoke laughter are the court scene in which the hero likens the relationship between uncle and nephew to that between an underwear and its string, as also the take-off on a television programme. Overall, the story is a bit childish, and the screenplay is one of convenience. For instance, the hero escapes from the mental asylum (where he has been sent by the court after being convicted for murder) and does everything including dancing, without attracting the attention of the custodians of law.

Govinda acts very well in the first half but is not at ease when playing the role of a mad man. Further, he sometimes tends to forget the character he is portraying and plays Govinda instead. Shilpa Shetty is fairly alright. Aroona Irani is okay. Kader Khan is quite good. Sadashiv Amrapurkar does an average job. Divya Dutta, Tej Sapru, Guddi Maruti, Dinesh Hingoo, Bobby Saini, Asif Sheikh and the rest of the cast lend adequate support.

Direction is fair but, given the story and screenplay, one couldn’t expect more. Dialogues are ordinary. Anand Milind’s music is good. ‘Ek chumma’ is a mass-appealing song. ‘Ek naya aasman’ is melodious. Camerawork is good. Action is as usual.

On the whole, Chhote Sarkar lacks in merits. With the average opening it has taken, even its reasonable price and solo-release advantage cannot do much for it.

Released on 22-11-’96 at Dreamland and 23 other cinemas of Bombay thru Mahalakshmi Film Distributors. Publicity: good. Opening: average. …….Also released all over. Opening was quite good at a few centres but dull at majority of the places.

LATEST POSITION

As predicted, RAJA HINDUSTANI has created history all over with AA collections.

Raja Hindustani is expected to cross the 5-crore mark in every circuit. 1st week Bombay 38,42,661 (100%) from 10 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 11,88,745 from 5 cinemas, Palanpur 2,15,600 (100%), Mehsana 2,67,148 (100%), Vapi 3,84,384 (100%), 2nd week Baroda 100%, Padra 2,37,356 (100%), Anand 4,53,809 (91%), Asodar 1,88,509 (96%), Valsad 2,78,992 (100%), Rajkot 1,29,744 (100%), Jamnagar 1,60,563 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), 1st week Bhuj 1,50,633; 2nd week Pune 9,30,272 from 4 cinemas (1 in mat.), 1st Kolhapur 1,88,868 (100%), Solapur 2,40,573 (100%) from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Satara 1,43,031 (100%) from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Nasik 3,22,896 (100%); Belgaum 4,39,951 (100%) from 3 cinemas (1 in noon); Delhi 27,57,487 (99.41%) from 7 cinemas; Lucknow 2,22,403, Agra 1,95,789, Allahabad 1,49,801, 2nd week 4 days 91,000, 1st Meerut 1,85,620 (100%), Bareilly 1,84,137, Hardwar 79,871, 2nd week 4 days 35,359; 1st Amritsar 62,170; Calcutta 27,81,664 (95%) from 21 cinemas; Nagpur 8,53,308 from 4 cinemas, Akola (31 shows) 1,56,982 (100%), 2nd week 3 days 60,767 (100%), 1st Bhilai 2,62,248, Jalgaon 1,89,255, Wardha 1,00,321 (100%), 2nd week 3 days 42,686 (100%), 1st Chandrapur 1,92,758, Yavatmal 80,989 (100%), 2nd week 3 days 38,875 (100%); 1st Indore 2,32,696 (100%; 1 on F.H.), Bhopal 4,42,158 from 2 cinemas; Jaipur 10,81,656 (gross 13,13,488) from 4 cinemas, share 9,30,488, Jodhpur 4,54,084, share 3,77,000, Sriganganagar 2,03,374, share 1,45,374, Udaipur share 3,00,000; Hyderabad 19,01,439 from 9 cinemas, share 11,27,000.

…….

Ghatak maintains well at some stations and drops at others. Proves overflow in some circuits and class A in some. 2nd week Bombay 38,97,473 (79.38%) from 12 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 7,93,471 from 7 cinemas, Baroda 80% from 2 cinemas, Bharuch (gross) 2,45,880, Patan (gross) 1,91,125 (1st 2,14,886), Adipur 94,563, Jamnagar (mat.) 14,445; Pune 7,61,563 from 4 cinemas (1 in mat.), Kolhapur 1,80,000, Solapur 2,36,724 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Satara 1,36,019 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Nasik 2,00,822, Nasik Road 1,01,428; Hubli 1,23,862 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Belgaum 98,274; Delhi 25,81,930 from 13 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Lucknow 1,98,953, Agra 1,95,026, Allahabad 1,08,000, Hardwar about 40,000; Calcutta 10,94,279 from 12 cinemas; Nagpur 5,26,700 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 1,15,428 (1st 1,79,089), Akola 1,33,201, total share 2,82,576, Bhilai 71,252, Jalgaon 1,06,563, Yavatmal 57,600, 1st Khandwa 1,18,000; Bhopal 4,50,274 from 3 cinemas; 2nd week Jaipur 3,16,905 from 2 cinemas, Ajmer 1,17,770, Bikaner 2,28,842, Kota 1,19,780; Hyderabad 4,24,465 from 2 cinemas.

………

100% TAX COMING IN MAHARASHTRA?

The Maharashtra film industry is likely to down shutters from 1st January, 1997. An informal decision to this effect was taken on 22nd November when Pramod Navalkar, cultural affairs and transport minister of Maharashtra, told a delegation of the film industry the same day that it would not be possible for the government to extend the benefit of 50% entertainment tax beyond 31st December, 1996.

The delegation, comprising TOA president U.A. Thadani and CEAI president Pranlal Doshi, met the minister to apprise him of the urgent need to renew the benefit of 50% tax. But the minister informed them that 100% tax would be levied with effect from the new year. The two leaders told him that the industry would be left with no alternative but to close down in protest, to which Navalkar is said to have pleaded helplessness.

A meeting of Bombay distributors to discuss the course of action will be held on 26th November at 2 p.m. This will be followed by a joint meeting of exhibitors and distributors at 3 p.m. the same day.

In case the industry is actually forced to down shutters, it would mean that all releases of December 1996 and January 1997 would be rescheduled.

TWO PROPOSALS FOR MULTIPLEXES IN STATE

Zee TV and the Hollywood film company, United Artistes, the latter in collaboration with Modi Enterprises, have shown interest in constructing multiplexes in Maharashtra after Warner Bros. dropped its plans for the same. The two giants have submitted proposals in this regard to the state government.

S.P. MAHENDRA NO MORE

Producer and actor S.P. Mahendra died at a nursing home in Bombay on 16th November due to a heart ailment. He was 70.

S.P. Mahendra came to Bombay from Punjab at the age of 20 to become an actor. He acted in various dramas with late Prithviraj Kapoor. He produced five films including Waqt Ki Pukar and Angaare, and acted in more than 75 in a career spanning 50 years. He was also secretary to late actor Raaj Kumar years ago and was associated with Sunil Dutt too.

He was a member of the executive committee of the IMPPA and the Cine Artistes’ Association for several years. A humble person, he helped promote a number of stars. S.P. Mahendra is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and grand-children. The funeral on 17th was attended by several film people.

Pagdi ceremony will be held on 28th between 12 noon and 1 p.m. at his residence (Apollo Building, 14th Road, Khar, Bombay-52).

YOU ASKED IT

What is the progress of the studio which Anupam Kher is building? When is it likely to become operational?

– Not much headway has been made in that direction, according to a spokesperson of Anupam Kher’s company.

If the Maharashtra government increases entertainment tax in the state to 100% from the new year, will film prices come down?

– First of all, the industry should not accept this hike in entertainment tax, under any circumstances. If it doesn’t accept, why talk of falling film prices?

Now that we are coming closer to 1997, what do you foresee in the new year?

– There will be a clash of the Titans because a record number of big films (big banners, big directors, big star-cast, big price) will be released in 1997.

IN & OUT OF BOMBAY

Producer-director B. Subhash left on 19th November for London and Los Angeles to finalise the main cast and locations for his next English film, KILLING OF VALLEYS.

Producer Boney Kapoor is expected back from Madras tomorrow (24th November).

Mr. Manohar Kankaria of Musical Films Pvt. Ltd., Calcutta, presently in Bombay, will return to Calcutta today (23rd November).

Producer-director Sultan Ahmed will leave for the USA on 25th November to finalise locations for RAAMA. He will return on 18th December.

DO YOU KNOW?

* A reader writes to inform us that prior to the Pardesi pardesi song of RAJA HINDUSTANI, there have been several more Pardesi songs that have been super-hits. He cites the examples of AWARA (Ghar aaya mera pardesi), MADHUMATI (Aaja re….pardesi), PHAGUN (Ek pardesi mera dil le gaya) and JAB JAB PHOOL KHILE (Pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milana).

* Mahalakshmi Film Distributors has acquired the Bombay distribution rights of as many as 10 films of Plus Films. The contract for all ten was signed on 21st November. The films: GUDGUDEE, GUDIA, MIL GAYEE MANZIL MUJHE, SAAZ, SARDARI BEGUM, AUR EK PREM KAHANI and, the balance period rights of PAPA KAHTE HAIN, IS RAAT KI SUBAH NAHIN, BHAIRAVI and LAALCHEE.

* Tips will be releasing the audio cassettes of its AUZAAR in three varieties. Each variety will have a different inlay card and a different song (from the film, of course) at the start of the album.

ANNOUNCEMENT & LAUNCHING

Rekha Opposite Dilip Kumar In ‘Qila’

Rekha has been signed opposite Dilip Kumar for Eagle Films’ Qila. Mukul Dev, Mamta Kulkarni, Kiran Juneja, Smita Jaykar, Umesh Shukla, Avtar Gill, Tej Sapru, Sharat Saxena, Malay Chakravorty, Shahbaaz Khan and Gulshan Grover play other key roles. Being directed by Umesh Mehra for producer Parvesh Mehra, the film is written by Humayun Mirza. Cinematography by S. Pappu, editing by Kamal Saigal, music by Anand Raaj Anand, and lyrics by Dev Kohli are the other credits. It is presented by F.C. Mehra.

GRAFFITI

Hit the screens

this week:

CHHOTE SARKAR.

Waiting to hit the

industry in the

coming weeks:

MAHARASHTRA SARKAR.

3-E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Piracy In Hindustan

The pirated video cassettes of Raja Hindustani are out in the market. The producers, Karim Morani, Bunty Soorma and Aly Morani, had marked every copy of the film before delivering them to the various distributors so that if piracy took place, they could ascertain the source of the illegal copying. The pirated cassette has been made from copy no. 86 which was despatched to Dubai. It is common knowledge that Johny Lever is banned in Dubai and his portions in any film have to be deleted before a film can be screened there. But the video cassettes in circulation all over India have the complete film including scenes of Johny Lever. This would mean that the piracy took place before the print (no. 86) reached its destination, Dubai. In the alternative, the video copy was made before the print no. 86 was submitted for censorship in Dubai. Wonder how it happened. The producers of Raja Hindustani are convinced that it is due to the lack of care and caution by the film’s Overseas distributor that piracy has taken place.

Three Major Blockbusters

With Raja Hindustani poised to be a major blockbuster, Filmcenter has reason to rejoice. For, three super-hits of recent times have been processed at this laboratory. HAHK..!, DDLJ and Raja Hindustani have all been processed at Filmcenter. The other blockbuster of 1995, Karan Arjun, is a product of Adlabs.

Financier’s Favourite

For all those who’ve wondered how so many Mithun-starrers are on the floors and more and more are announced in spite of his films flopping one after the other, this may provide an answer. Believe it or not but financiers are keen to back Mithun projects because their money is not only secure but also comes back to them faster than if they finance films of other heroes. This is because not only does Mithun complete every film he signs but also completes them fast. So, the question of a financier’s money being blocked for unduly long periods generally doesn’t arise. As producer Surendra Bohra, who has just completed his Mithun-starrer, Kaalia, confirms, “I get offers from financiers who are keen to lend money because I am making a Mithun film. They invariably tell me, they are keen to finance a Mithun project because their turnover would be fast.” Bohra’s Kaalia had gone before the cameras in September ’96 and is complete (except for a song picturisation) in November. It is for the same reasons that distributors also like to buy a Mithun starrer.


catchline

Music Of

Yesteryears:

There

Was

Melody

Everywhere.

Music Of

Today:

There

Is

Malady

Of

Lifting

Tunes

From

Anywhere

And

Everywhere.

FLASHBACK | 12 November, 2021
(From our issue dated 16th November, 1996)

RAJA HINDUSTANI

Cineyug’s Raja Hindustani is a brilliant film with a very Indian story. A taxi driver-cum-tourist guide falls in love with a millionaire’s only daughter. The girl, much against her father’s wishes, spurns every one to get married to the driver. Her scheming step-mother, however, will not let the marriage succeed even though the father soon gives his acceptance to the marriage. All hell breaks loose in the happily married couple’s life as the wretched step-mother creates misunderstandings between the husband and wife. Things reach a stage when the two separate from each other. The step-mother tries her best to ensure that the separation gives way to divorce, but does not succeed. Ultimately, the misunderstandings are cleared after a bit of action drama, and the couple unites again.

The major part of the first half is light and fun-filled. A couple of reels before the interval, it takes a serious and dramatic turn and that’s where the film involves the viewer completely. Many of the light portions of the hero (Aamir Khan) are quite enjoyable, but if a couple of scenes lack in entertainment value, it is mainly because one has seen Aamir do similar things in Rangeela and not because of a defect in scripting. However, the initial two reels are quite routine. The second half abounds in emotions and histrionics.

Although the pre-interval portion reminds of Jab Jab Phool Khile and the post-interval portion, of Pyar Jhukta Nahin, there are some new angles to the story and the fresh presentation, all of which lend it the desired novel effect. Principal among the new angles are: (i) the hero’s refusal to sign the divorce papers supposedly sent by his wife, because of his firm belief that marriage is a sacred institution which cannot be broken with the stroke of a pen; and (ii) the heroine’s refusal to divorce her husband. These two scenes reaffirm one’s faith in the institution of marriage and are so reassuring that they will be fantastic scoring points to make the ladies audience love — no, adore — the film. The refusals, of the husband first and the wife later, come at moments when one actually expects that they would sign the divorce papers. The shock value, coupled with the heartwarming feeling one experiences after these two scenes, are enough to bowl the ladies audience over and make them patronise this film in a very big way.

Performances of at least three lead artistes — Aamir Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Archna Puran Singh — are award-winning. Aamir does a fantastic job, especially in the dramatic and serious scenes. His drunken scene, in which he is a picture of frustration, bitterness and confusion, is mind-blowing and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that few could have done it with so much finesse and restraint as Aamir. Karisma Kapoor is the surprise packet of the film. All awards this year for the best actress need to be reserved for Karisma who is simply superb in the film. Not once does she go overboard; she comes up with a truly mesmerising performance. Her histrionics are fantastic. With this film, Karisma makes a comfortable place for herself in the top bracket. That she looks gorgeous in her new hair-style in the first half is an added advantage. Archna Puran Singh, as her horrible step-mother, is wonderful. With her typical acting, she gives the role a different dimension. Suresh Oberoi acts extremely ably. Johny Lever brings the house down with his comedy. The guy makes every scene in which he appears, a thoroughly enjoyable one. In particular, the scene in which he prostrates before Archna is excellent.

Navnit Nishan is cute and makes her presence felt. Veeru Krishan is also very good. Farida Jalal acts with perfect restraint. Pramod Moutho is effective. Mohnish Bahl has very little scope but is, nevertheless, natural. Tiku Talsania and master Kunal Khemu lend admirable support. Kalpana Iyer and Pratibha Sinha leave a mark in their appearances in only one song.

If the performances are award-winning, so are the dialogues (Javed Siddique and Dharmesh Darshan). The brilliant performances and the hard-hitting dialogues combine together to make several scenes worthy of thunderous applause. Falling in this category are: (i) Karisma’s announcement that she could forgo not one but a hundred houses for the love of her husband; (ii) Aamir’s tearing of the divorce papers; (iii) Karisma complimenting her father for having cursed her; (iv) Aamir asking his father-in-law to shut up and not interfere between him and his wife; (v) Karisma making her step-mother feel guilty for having misused her title of mother, etc. etc.

Dharmesh Darshan scores in every department — direction, scripting and extracting performances. The best part of his story and narration is that it is totally Indian in content, feel and presentation. His understanding of the medium is masterly and he knows how to blend drama, emotions, romance, comedy and music fruitfully. Here’s another young director who shines on the film firmament and who will be extremely sought-after.

Yet another award-winning department is the music. Nadeem Shravan are in top form and their songs are a virtual delight. The ‘Pardesi pardesi’ number is already a rage and its tune and picturisation (the first version) should draw deafening applause in cinema halls, especially when Kalpana Iyer asks Aamir to sing so that she can dance. The other two versions of the ‘Pardesi’ song are also excellent. Its use in the climax is masterly. ‘Poochho zara poochho’ is also excellently tuned. ‘Aaye ho meri zindagi meini’ has lilt. The blending of ‘Pardesi’ and ‘Aaye ho’ songs at the time of the couple’s separation is intelligent. Sameer’s lyrics also deserve distinction marks. Song picturisations are beautiful.

Action scenes are well composed but, it must be said, the action climax looks a bit out of place. Another sore point is that Aamir Khan has no dialogues to utter in the entire climax. Production values are of a good standard. Background music is appropriate. W.B. Rao’s camerawork is of top class. Editing is sharp.

On the whole, Raja Hindustani is a confirmed super-hit. It has taken a mind-blowing start and, on the strength of ladies and family audience as well as heavy patronage by youngsters, it is poised to create history in the initial weeks — from North to South and East to West.

Released on 14-11-’96 at Metro and on 15-11-’96 at 14 other cinemas of Bombay by Tips Films P. Ltd. and Cineyug thru Shringar Films. Publicity: extraordinary. Opening: bumper. …….Also released all over with fantastic response.

LATEST POSITION

The fanciful and fantastic opening of RAJA HINDUSTANI this week is the best Diwali gift the industry could have asked for. Last week’s GHATAK has also grossed tremendous collections.

Raja Hindustani (released on 11th/12th/13th/14th) has created records almost everywhere. 1st week Baroda (4 days) 100%, Padra (4 days) 1,35,632 (100%), Rajkot (4 days) 74,000, Jamnagar (4 days) 95,136 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Bhuj (3 days) 100%; Pune (4 days) 2,62,704 from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Kolhapur (4 days) 100%, Nasik (4 days) 1,84,512 (100%), record; Allahabad (4 days) 85,020 (100%), Bareilly (3 days) 80,267 (100%), Gorakhpur (3 days) 68,800 (100%), theatre record; Nagpur 1st day 1,22,696 from 4 cinemas, Akola (3 days) 75,959 (100%), theatre record, Raipur (2 days) 65,391, Jalgaon (3 days) 1,06,110, Khandesh record, Wardha (3 days) 42,994, theatre record, Chandrapur (3 days) 98,290, city record, Yavatmal (3 days) 42,107 (100%); Bhopal (3 days) 1,96,000 from 3 cinemas.

Ghatak, after a somewhat shaky three days (of pre-Diwali), consolidated its position fabulously and went on to record wonderful collections in 1st week. The 2nd week has also started extremely well. 1st week Bombay 59,87,217 (90.97%) from 16 cinemas (6 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 11,67,218 from 7 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda 91% from 2 cinemas, Bharuch (gross) 2,83,612, Patan (gross) 2,14,886, city record, Jamnagar (mat.) 39,554 (1 in regular unrecd.), Adipur 1,35,251, district record; Pune 16,33,674 from 7 cinemas (1 in mat.), Kolhapur 1,83,078, Satara 1,56,982 (91.57%) from 2 cinemas (1 in mat.), Nasik 2,14,000; Belgaum 2,38,022 from 2 cinemas, record, Nipani 1,16,218; Delhi 44,70,594 (82.86%) from 14 cinemas (1 cinema on F.H.); Kanpur 4,05,691 from 2 cinemas, Agra 2,36,252, Allahabad 1,55,000, Meerut 2,14,007 (100%), theatre record, Bareilly 1,23,687 (67.83%), Gorakhpur 1,49,400 (70.70%); Calcutta 20,34,652 from 15 cinemas; Nagpur 5,61, 818 from 4 cinemas, Jabalpur (6 days) 1,51,039, Amravati 2,54,969 from 2 cinemas, Akola 1,85,444, Raipur (6 days) 1,49,112, Bhilai (6 days) 1,03,000, Durg 1,34,874, city record, Jalgaon 1,70,173, Chandrapur (29 shows) 1,84,191, city record, Yavatmal 1,04,045, Bilaspur 1,64,113; Bhopal (3 days) 2,52,791 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 6,36,555 from 3 cinemas, Jodhpur 4,24,339, Ajmer 1,22,845 (100%), Bikaner 3,00,541, city record, Kota 1,51,834, Udaipur 100%, Alwar (4 days) 1,34,048; Hyderabad 28,99,947 from 13 cinemas, share 14,91,311.

……….

YOU ASKED IT

Is the bumper opening of Raja Hindustani a result of the Diwali period?

– Only partly. The major credit for the almost unprecedented opening goes to the super-hit Pardesi pardesi song and the film’s promotion and publicity.

Why has Rakshak been postponed by a week?

– According to its maker, Ashok Honda, the theatrical trailers, which are being screened in cinemas from this week only, need to be screened for at least 2 weeks to create the desired impact.

Is it necessary to have a novel subject if the film is to be a hit?

– If there is no novelty in subject, even novelty in presentation/narration can suffice.

IN & OUT OF BOMBAY

Mr. Dayanand Mandre of DRM Combines, Bangalore, will be in Bombay at Hotel Kemp’s Corner (363-4666/4646/4655) from Nov. 18 to 21.

Mr. Omprakash Agarwal of Rekha Movies, Calcutta, will reach Bombay on 18th November.

Mr. Naraindas Mukhija of Shree Navchitra Distributors P. Ltd., Jaipur, is in town (626-0106).

CCCA president Santosh Singh Jain is in Jaipur to attend the meeting of the executive committee of the CCCA.

Mr. N.D. Kabra and Mr. Laloo Kabra of Vishwajyoti Films, Bhusawal, are expected in Bombay early next week.

Producer Mahendra Dhariwal (HATYARA) will reach Bombay (633-2496) tonight (16th November).

K. PAPPU, RAJ KANWAR BEREAVED

Jeet Singh Kanwar, father of producer-directors K. Pappu and Raj Kanwar, expired in Delhi on 11th November. He was 65 and is survived by four sons and a daughter.

WEDDING BELLS FOR PAWAN KUMAR’S SON

A reception to celebrate the wedding of Anil, son of producer Pawan Kumar, with Renu will be held on 26th November at Lokhandwala Garden, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri (W), Bombay.

GUL ANAND DEAD

Producer and Bombay and Overseas distributor Gul Anand passed away peacefully at his Pune residence following a heart attack on 12th November. He was 55. The marka ceremony was held on 15th at Peddar Road, Bombay.

Gul Anand had made films like Khatta Meetha, Chashme Buddoor, Jalwa and Hero Hiralal. He also continued the Overseas distribution business of his father. Gul considered Amitabh Bachchan his lucky mascot and made sure, his films had a fleeting appearance by the superstar.

Gul was both, a connoisseur of cinema as well as good food. His keen interest in healthy food prompted him to start a delicatessen at his office at Nana Chowk, Bombay. The delicatessen was very popular among the city’s elite. He also produced a serial on the royal dishes, Shahi Daawat, which is being aired on Zee TV. Gul also co-authored a book on food guide of Bombay and Nepal.

At the time of his death, he was producing a television serial which was not yet on air. He also had plans to start a film.

Gul was young at heart and fun-loving. He was very fond of inviting friends over for lunch or dinner which he would himself very painstakingly prepare.

SUBHASH GHAI, SUNIL BANSAL BEREAVED

Akhtar Farooqui, producer of Karz and father-in-law of Subhash Ghai and Rajasthan distributor Sunil Bansal, passed away in Bombay at Nanavati Hospital on 10th November after a brief illness. He was 72. He is survived by two daughters and five sons. The condolence prayers will be held at his Versova residence on 19th November from 7 p.m. onwards.

Quite ironically, his Karz was being telecast on DD-2 at the time of his death.

AKASHDEEP TO WED

Marriage of Akashdeep, son of producer-director Manmohan Sabir, with Sheeba, will be solemnised on 27th November at Hotel Horizon. A reception to celebrate the wedding will be held the same evening.

CENSOR NEWS

Shivam Chitrya’s (Bombay) Chhote Sarkar was given C.C. No. CIL/1/66/96 (U) dt. 14-11-’96; length 4404.97 metres in 18 reels (cuts: 61.82 metres).

Vishesh Films P. Ltd.’s Dastak was given C.C. No. CIL/3/37/96 (A) dt. 8-11-’96; length 4072.74 metres in 16 reels (minor deletion in sound only).

INDIAN ENGLISH FILMS

Mirabai Films’ Kama Sutra: A Tale Of Love was seen by the revising committee on 14th.

ANNOUNCEMENT & LAUNCHING

Salman To Start Film Starring Himself, Kajol, Arbaaz

Salman Khan’s production banner, G.S. Entertainment, will launch its first venture starring Salman Khan, Kajol and Arbaaz Khan in lead roles, on Nov. 19 with a song recording at Sunny Super Sounds. Sohail Khan directs the film which is being produced jointly by Guneet Walia and Sohail Khan. A Vashu Bhagnani presentation, it has music by Jatin Lalit. Lyrics: Sameer. Action: Mahendra Verma. Art: Sharmishtha Roy. Editing: Muthu. The first shooting schedule will begin from December 20.

Bokadia’s ‘Lal Badshah’ To Roll On 17th

Producer-director K.C. Bokadia’s Lal Badshah will mount the sets on Nov. 17 on a set at Film City. It stars Amitabh Bachchan, Manisha Koirala, Shilpa Shetty, Amrish Puri, Mukesh Rishi and others. Music is scored by Aadesh Srivastava.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Instant Reaction

Producers being producers, they will never miss an opportunity to hike the prices of their films even if the hike is merely in their thoughts. No sooner did Raja Hindustani release this week to bumper houses than one producer telephoned us to enquire whether he could get a price of Rs. 3 crore for his almost complete star-studded project. “2 crore is old story now. Business has increased so much so fast that films should now be sold at higher prices,” said the producer. Whether business has shot up “so fast” or not, one doesn’t know, but what definitely is “so fast” is the reaction of producers to any hit.

‘Kama Sutra’: A Tale Of Trouble

Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra: A Tale Of Love is in censor trouble. The examining committee of the CBFC offered a number of cuts which Mira reportedly accepted. But the committee had a change of mind and instead refused certificate to the film. In spite of Mira Nair’s acceptance of the cuts, the film was referred to the revising committee. Probably, the members of the examining committee developed cold feet because of the nature of the film and decided to play safe and let the revising committee take the decision. When CBFC chairman Shakti Samanta was asked to see the film, he is reported to have said, “I don’t see films as a matter of principle.”

Marital Problems? No Problem!

If you meet Boney Kapoor in the near future, don’t be surprised if you find him in his elements. Boney is thrilled because three major hits of this year — Raja Hindustani, Saajan Chale Sasural and Agni Sakshi — have one thing in common: problems in the married lives of the hero (heroes) and heroine (heroines). So why should Boney Kapoor be happy about this common problem, you might ask. Well, it’s because his forthcoming film, Judaai, is also the story of one man who has two wives, and the problems that follow.

Dancing Dames

Yet another common point — not in the three hits of this year but in two films released recently and one forthcoming film. They all have one song-dance number picturised on a well-known heroine who is seen in that film in just that song. Ghatak has Mamta Kulkarni dancing with dance director Ganesh in Maara re. In Raja Hindustani, one gets to see Pratibha Sinha in the Pardesi pardesi number. And in Rakshak will be seen Raveena Tandon in the Shaher ki ladki song-dance.

Mathematical Logic

When a film bombs, there’s no dearth of sarcastic comments which make the rounds in trade circles. But one got to hear some really good ones when Raja Hindustani proved a hit on day one itself. Said a smart Alec, “Raja Hindustani in Bombay will do business equal to that of Raja plus Hindustani.” Touch wood! An exhibitor, referring to the hit business of Raja Hindustani and Ghatak, remarked, “History is repeating itself. In 1990, it was Aamir Khan’s Dil and Sunny Deol’s Ghayal, which were released on the same day, and both went on to become hits. Now, six years later, it is Sunny’s Ghatak and Aamir’s Raja Hindustani. They were released almost simultaneously — the former on 8th November, and the latter on 11th.”

FLASHBACK | 5 November, 2021
(From our issue dated 9th November, 1996)

Dear Readers,

As you read this issue, you will realise that we have tried to tackle issues with have been a cause of much resentment and heartburn in the industry all through the last one year. Star prices have been the topic of endless discussions. When the hefty fees the stars charge are spoken about, the names of music companies invariably crop up. There are many in the industry who believe that it is only after the music companies started producing films that star prices shot up rather dramatically and beyond all logic and reasoning. And star remuneration is among the few things that defies the law of gravitation — it never comes down!

Yet another topic of discussion in trade circles was the entertainment tax in Maharashtra. Although the government extended the benefit of 50% entertainment tax with effect from 16th September ’96, it was for just 105 days. We’ve already exhausted 54 of these 105 days. How do we plan to convince the government of the dire need to continue the concession in the interest of the industry? There is tension, especially in distribution circles in Bombay, because if the tax concession is withdrawn, the fancy prices, which distributors have paid for forthcoming films, may prove to be too much now and these films may not all be able to bear the burden of the high prices. This is also a cause for concern for our producers because the ratios of their new films will also be governed by the government’s policy on entertainment tax.

The television industry is booming and we’ve often wondered how much more potential it has. Will it continue to compete with the film industry or will it overtake the latter by the turn of the century?

Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that our Associations in the production sector are sometimes failing their members. The root cause for this is lack of unity. It is a paradox that even as disunity is growing among producers, the distributors in the various circuits are coming closer and closer and uniting against what they term as “excesses of producers”. It is not that our leaders in the production sector are not concerned about the welfare of their members. They are. But what can a house divided do? It cannot at least provide a united opposition to outside attack. We’ve tackled this issue, too, in this Special Issue.

Everyone may not agree with all that we’ve written. But when controversial topics are tackled, you can’t please everybody. We’ve not meant to hurt anyone on this festive occasion. If somebody does feel offended by something written in this issue, let him be convinced beforehand that it has not been written with any malice. Our intention is singular — to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to the general prosperity of the film industry. If we’ve succeeded even 1% towards achieving this goal, we’d think, our Special Diwali issue has been worth the efforts of our entire Film Information family.

Finally, here’s wishing you all a very happy festival of lights and a genuinely prosperous year ahead, devoid of fights and ego problems, and full of hits and super-hits — bigger than all our egos put together.

– Komal Nahta

GHATAK

Santoshi Productions’ Ghatak (A) is an action film with a proper storyline and emotional content. A young man comes from Banaras to Bombay to get his foster-father cured of an illness. In Bombay, he sees that a don is out to usurp the land on which stand the shops of his brother and his friends. Not the one to bear injustice of any kind, the lad declares war against the don and his six brothers and finally wipes them out.

The subject may not be new but the writer and director’s presentation are definitely fresh. The hero’s character is etched out brilliantly and is so over-powering that it sometimes mesmerises the viewer. The first half is light and enjoyable, especially the portion of the lad (Sunny Deol) and his nagging father (Amrish Puri). After interval, the film takes a very serious turn. Not only is there excessive violence but the drama also becomes too tense. This may not appeal to womenfolk, generally speaking. Dialogues are powerful but they should have been even more fiery to match Sunny’s character. One weak point of the writer is that while he has made the hero’s character very strong, he hasn’t given as much attention to the villain’s (Danny’s) character. He is shown hankering after just one plot of land but his other activities are not shown or discussed at all. Nevertheless, there are some brilliant and clapworthy scenes — to name some, the confrontation between Sunny and Danny in the crematorium when Sunny splashes muck on Danny’s face; the little child’s attack on Danny; the scene in which Sunny asks Danny to bark like a dog, etc.

Sunny Deol does a superb job. His is an award-winning performance. He moves the audience to tears when he cries on learning of his father’s impending death. Not only does he excel in action scenes, he also breathes fire in dramatic ones. He is cute in light scenes. Meenakshi Sheshadri has a brief role and acts ably. Amrish Puri does remarkably well and evokes laughter at many places. His performance will be remembered for a long time. Danny Denzongpa makes an effective villain and acts with utmost confidence. K.K. Raina does a fine job. Mamta Kulkarni looks gorgeous in a dance number which she performs beautifully. Her co-dancer, Ganesh, is also very good. Anjan Srivastava and Viju Khote leave their marks. Harish Patel, greatly aided by witty dialogues, is effective. Amitabh Bachchan makes a very brief friendly appearance. Om Puri, Tinnu Anand, Mukesh Rishi, Ila Arun, Brij Gopal, Tinnu Verma, Deep Dhillon, Sheela Sharma, Rohini Hattangady, Suresh Bhagwat, Makarand Deshpande and Santosh Gupta provide very good support. Master Gaurav does a fine job.

Rajkumar Santoshi’s direction is excellent. He has extracted wonderful performances from his artistes. But he should have avoided making the drama so violent and tension-filled in the second half. Music is a letdown. In fact, hit music was the need of the film (to ease the tension). While Mamta’s song (‘Maara re Maara re’) is good, the other two are not of the kind which will appeal to today’s audience. Background music (Vanraj Bhatia) is outstanding. Photography is very good. Action (Tinnu Verma) is remarkable.

On the whole, Ghatak is a winner. It has chances of proving class A in some circuits.

Released on 8-11-’96 at Minerva, New Excelsior and 20 other cinemas of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: excellent. Opening: very good (would’ve been better but for pre-Diwali). …….Also released all over. Opening was adversely affected at several places due to pre-Diwali.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Late NTR’s Ramakrishna 70mm cinema in Hyderabad was sealed on 2nd November for showing blue films. The cinema is being looked after by NTR’s son, Jayakrishna. The paradox of it is that NTR was known for his portrayal of Lord Krishna and other Gods in a number of Telugu films! In another development, Jayakrishna was faced with an order from the commercial taxes department, seeking attachment of the cinema for failing to clear outstanding dues of a loan and non-payment of entertainment tax amounting to nearly Rs. 1 crore. A few months back also, the theatre complex of NTR (which houses three cinemas) had been in the news for showing blue films. This time, it was alleged that the English film, SECRET GAMES 3, was being shown with interpolation. The Andhra Pradesh high court has ordered suspension of the cinema licence.

* Plus Channel will be collaborating with ABCL in the production and marketing of the Miss World beauty pageant to be held shortly in Seychelles and Bangalore. The part of the contest which will be held in Seychelles between November 6 and 11 will be climaxed by a fashion show organised by Plus Events in association with ABCL. It was Plus Channel’s idea to have one part of the Miss World competition in Seychelles with the assistance of the Seychelles government.

* Irked by the non-inclusion of their films in the Panorama section of the IFFI 97, some Indian filmmakers like Amol Palekar (DAAYRAA) and Aruna Raje (BHAIRAVI) have decided to hold a parallel Panorama section during the tenure of the festival (January 10 to 20, 1997).

* Plus Films is both, happy and sad, with the selection of films for the Panorama section of the forthcoming International Film Festival of India, to be held in Thiruvananthapuram in Jan. ’97. Happy, because its SARDARI BEGUM (directed by Shyam Benegal) has been selected, and sad, because its BHAIRAVI hasn’t.

* Juhi Chawla will be getting married to her steady boyfriend, Jai Mehta, on 24th December ’96, it is learnt.

SHRINGAR’S DIWALI GET-TOGETHER

Bombay distributors Shringar Films hosted a Diwali party in their office in Naaz cinema building on 8th November. All people from Naaz were invited and made it a point to attend. The Shroff brothers (Shyam and Balkrishna) host a party on the eve of Diwali every year.

DIWALI TO DIWALI
(October 21, 1995 To November 8, 1996)

133 RELEASES

In a period of 55 weeks during the current year (1995-96), 133 films were released. Last year (1994-95), there were 132 releases in 51 weeks. The number of original films this year was 101 and that of dubbed films, 32.

INR HIRE ABOLISHED

The Indian newsreel hire (INR hire), which was being charged by the government of India since years, at the rate of 1% of nett collections, was abolished with effect from 1st November ’96.

DEBACLES

Trimurti topped the list of disasters in 1995-96. Then there were Khamoshi and Rajkumar too. Prem Granth failed to live up to the people’s expectations. Other noteworthy flops were Beqabu, Daraar, Vijeta, Papa Kahte Hain.

HITS & MISSES

Of the 133 films released, only 14 films proved to be successful/hits/blockbusters. The remaining 119 were either average, losing, flops or total disasters.

DIWALI BONANZA

Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which was released on last Diwali, kept the cash registers ringing for many weeks as it went on to do record business all over. In terms of revenue, it is the second biggest hit of India, next only to Rajshri’s HAHK..!. It celebrated 100 days on 27th January ’96 in more than 100 cinemas of India. It later bagged the National Award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment in 1995.

NEW BIG B

After Amitabh Bachchan, Bharatbhai Shah proved to be the other Big B for the industry. The most popular financier’s name adorned the credit titles of a number of released and announced films. The new Big B is financing a number of top banner and star-cast films, besides distributing them in Bombay.

THE HITS

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, released on Diwali last year, proved the biggest hit of 1995-96. The three other hits of the period were Agni Sakshi, Sajan Chale Sasural and Bandit Queen. Hindustani did extremely well in Bombay. Jaan, Jeet, Ram Jaane, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Loafer, Fareb and Masoom were the other successes.

SUPREME BAN

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, released in January ’96 after a lot of controversies and legal battles, was again in the midst of a controversy when the Delhi high court banned the film on 7th March. It was finally cleared by the Supreme Court without a single cut. The film later went on to bag the National Award for the best Hindi film. It also fetched a National Award for its heroine, Seema Biswas, as the best actress.

EVER-INCREASING

Film and star prices touched all-time highs without any sign of stopping anywhere. Films were sold at ratios of even 3 and 4 crores in some circuits. Artistes now talk in terms of crores when they discuss their remunerations.

Dream Merchant
Scam-Tainted Stars

I’ve got tired of reading about scams and scam-tainted ministers in newspapers. There’s one new scam every second day, and revelation of two new names every day! I feared, I would soon dream about scams and I sure did — as I slept for just an hour in my office on Friday (8th November) right while this special Diwali issue was being taken out.

I dreamt that after all the ministers, it was the turn of our industry people to be raided by the CBI in connection with different scams.

* Mamta Kulkarni, whom I had seen in a song-dance sequence in Ghatak only two days before this dream, had been raided by the CBI who had found that she had three huge cupboards which looked unused. Thinking that they would unearth crores of rupees (black money), they asked Mamta to open the cupboards. Mamta pleaded inability, saying that she had lost the keys of all of them, but the CBI sleuths threatened to break open the cupboards. They did exactly that even as Mamta burst into tears. As soon as the cupboards were broken open, it was the turn of the CBI personnel to cry. For, instead of currency notes, what they found inside were brand new costumes totally numbering 274 and collectively valued at Rs. 40 lakh (by the standards of our dress designers) or Rs. 8 lakh (by the actual market standards). The CBI men made a case against Mamta for stocking so many clothes and never wearing them. Mamta pleaded with them, saying, it would harm her sexy image if she wore clothes but they were in no mood to listen. They gave the sexy heroine a dressing down till Mamta threatened to take off her dressing gown. The CBI people left but informed her that they would book her in the ‘Clothes Scam’.

* Boney Kapoor was in Madras when the CBI decided to raid his house. They had reliable information that he was seriously involved — no, not with Sridevi, but, in a scam. They found about 4 diaries when they ripped open the walls of Boney’s bedroom. The diaries belonged to Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Sridevi and Rajkumar Santoshi. Boney had been caught! He was managing the dates of his two brothers and manipulating the dates of Santohi and Sridevi. On a further study of the diaries, the CBI people succeeded in deciphering the code language. To their shock, Boney was not giving dates of Sridevi to any producer.

* Next on the CBI list was Govinda. His case was quite peculiar. He was involved in Time Scam. The police found that he had a penchant for collecting watches and had a room which had 78 watches of different shapes and sizes. To their surprise, 39 watches were running 3 hours late, and 39 watches were running 3 hours ahead. Before they could interrogate the dancing hero, he himself blurted out, “I go by the time shown by these 39 watches (pointing to the late ones) when I have to go for shooting, and I go by the time shown by these other 39 watches when I have to pack up for the day.” He further confessed, “So, effectively, I go 3 hours late and return 3 hours early, and thereby shoot for only 2 hours in an 8-hour shift.”

* Ajay Devgan was involved in a scam of a different kind. In his office were found lakhs of cinema tickets of old dates. Was he involved in black marketing in cinema tickets? The CBI minds began to work at a furious pace. Trade paper files were opened, dates on the tickets were matched with the films running on those days in the concerned cinemas. After a hectic 19-hour session, they solved the mystery. The tickets were of Ajay’s own starrers — Diljale, Hulchul, Haqeeqat, Gundaraj etc. The CBI is yet trying to figure out why Ajay had stocked so many tickets. Reportedly, an anonymous caller informed the sleuths about the concept of ‘feeding’ in the film industry. The CBI is now trying to establish the veracity of the ‘feeding’ theory and has summoned Ajay with dad Veeru Devgan to its office on 10th November which is a second Sunday.

* Aamir Khan was shocked when he received a phone call from the CBI headquarters. Since he is so one-track minded, he immediately telephoned the Morani brothers to postpone Raja Hindustani by one more week as he would not be able to concentrate on the release plans since he would be busy with the CBI for full 15 minutes. When the police did come to Aamir’s home on the appointed day, they asked him for his dates diary and were shocked to see a majority of blank pages in it. “So you have so many dates but don’t want to give them to producers,” said one sleuth. “Do you know, you can be arrested for hoarding so many dates?”, thundered another one. “You’ve been booked under the ‘Hoarding Scam’, Mr. Khan,” declared a third one triumphantly. Aamir’s wife threatened to walk out of the house soon after the CBI people left. “What were they saying about your keeping so many dates?”, she asked Aamir. “Whom are you dating?” Aamir was in tears.

* Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala was aghast when the CBI men landed at his residence at 6 o’clock in the morning. “We want to see your son, Firoz Nadiadwala,” informed one of them. Firoz came, rubbing his eyes as he had been woken up from his sleep. He was dressed in a suit and was wearing a tie. “Mister, we’ve come to question you about your foreign ties,” screamed one sleuth. “Oh, I have 114 imported ties, so what?”, replied Firoz. “Shut up,” the sleuth countered. “We are not talking of these ties, we want to investigate into your foreign ties — ties with people abroad, like Steven Seagal etc.” Firoz shot back, “I’m tying up with Mr. Steven Seagal for my next film, you have any problem?” The CBI guy could take it no more. “Oh, tie him up and take him to our office. And be sure, he takes off that tie,” he added.

* The last one to be raided was Mahesh Bhatt. He had been booked for the ‘Maxtouch cellular phone Scam’. His bills for the months of August, September and October for his cellular phone totalled Rs. 27.73 lakh. The CBI person gave a dastak at Bhatt’s door. Bhatt himself opened it and was shocked to be questioned about his bills. “But I’ve cleared my bills,” he clarified. “No, you haven’t,” one policeman countered. “Well, it’s the same thing. The Seychelles government has cleared my bills. Let me confess, I’m sponsored by the Seychelles government for the next one year.” “But how is your bill so high?” Mahesh Bhatt looked to his left and then to his right. Then, drawing the CBI guy closer to him, he said, “Don’t tell anybody. But I directed an entire film through this cellphone. I did not visit the set even one day, and the film is complete. I gave all instructions to my assistants from this mobile phone. You must watch the film when it is released next month.”

My mobile phone rang. I woke up with a start. It was 4 a.m.! Oh God, I had to send my ‘Dream Merchant’ column to the press and I was already late. I pressed the panic button before I picked up the celltel. “Hello,” I said.”Hi,” came the voice from the other end, “This is Mahesh Bhatt speaking. How did you like my Dastak?”

– Komal Nahta

Crisis Due To Star Prices: How Much Are
Music Companies To Blame?

Gautam Mutha & Komal Nahta

Music companies have always been an important part of the film industry. And not just because music is an important and integral part of our Hindi films. In the last few years, music companies have not remained only music companies, acquiring audio rights of films and releasing their cassettes. They’ve diversified and entered the arena of film production and distribution also.

It is this spreading of their wings, which has spread so many stories about them. It has brought in its wake a whole lot of controversies regarding the role of such large music companies as Venus, Tips, Time, Polygram, HMV etc. in changing the way in which the industry functions. There are producers who claim that it is music companies who have spoilt the scenario by paying unrealistically high prices to stars to work in films. Once stars get an ‘increment’, their price gets pegged at that new level and it goes on like that every time a music company “throws money” at the saleable stars.

On their part, stars are keen to act in the films made by music companies because they’re sure that such films will not get held up due to lack of finance, and secondly, that they’ll be publicised extensively because music companies are known for their huge publicity campaigns which help their sale of music as well as selling the film to the audience.

N.N. Sippy minces no words to express his opinion on whether or not the music companies are to blame for the state of affairs in the industry today in general and for the escalating star prices in particular. “Music companies are very much responsible,” says the producer-director. Subhash Ghai who, incidentally, was given his break as a director by N.N. Sippy, also shares the latter’s view. “Music companies and ABCL are responsible for the increasing star prices,” he says thoughtfully.

Another Subhash — producer B. Subhash — opines, “Music companies must take the blame to a certain extent. They can afford to pay high prices and high signing amounts to stars because they have a much better liquidity position than the average producer. Since their cash flow is smooth due to sale of music cassettes, they can afford paying more to artistes. This then creates a problem for regular producers and real and genuine makers because they cannot pay such heavy fees to the stars. Such makers then get side-tracked.” B. Subhash is quite sober in his comments and criticism of music companies now. Two years back, he used to spit fire in accusing music companies.

K.D. Shorey even today spits fire. “No doubt, music companies are responsible. And because of them and their way of functioning, all producers are adversely affected,” he laments. “Only a handful of makers like the Rajshris or Yash Chopra can today make a film on their own terms because stars are keen to work in their projects,” he adds. Leading financier and Bombay and Overseas distributor Bharat Shah also feels, music companies have spoilt the market. “But,” he clarifies, “they’ve lost their heat now. Several music companies have suffered setbacks.”

According to Rajkumar Kohli, “The beginning of the avoidable situation in which the industry finds itself today, has been brought by music companies, no doubt. Thanks to them, genuine makers are suffering.” Adds Vimal Kumar, “I have nothing against music companies but I am merely stating what the factual position is. And that is that they are responsible for the mess in which we are today. Music houses have two sources of recovery — they get money from their distributors and they also have a steady flow of income from sale of audio cassettes. Because of this, they can even pay double the price to artistes.” Vinay Sinha sighs, “Small producers cannot compete with such big music industries and they are, therefore, suffering. Music companies want to capture the whole industry, it seems.”

It is not as if everybody is critical of the role of the moguls of the music world. If they have a hundred producers who are critical of them, there are also a few who don’t hold them responsible for any ill and, instead, pat them on their backs. One such producer is Jimmy Nirula who, before he turned a producer, was associated with the world of music for many years as the national manager (A & R) in HMV. He swims against the tide when he says, “No, music houses are not responsible in any way. It’s a free trade. Why blame only the music companies? There are a number of other factors also, which are responsible for the crisis in the industry.” Nirula who steers clear of controversies, does not specify the “other factors”.

Voicing similar feelings is Gordhan Tanwani. “According to me, music companies have improved the market, not spoilt it,” he says. “It is because of them that the industry has got a fresh lease of life for another 10 years, Some years back, it was only music houses and India video distributors, who used to rush their signing amounts when films were announced. Frankly speaking, the industry should be thankful to people like Ramesh Taurani, Ganesh Jain and Pravin Shah and even hold a function to felicitate them, such is their contribution. Music houses realised the true worth of artistes and technicians and paid them what they deserved. Today, ABCL is paying stars more than even the music companies. But why should anybody complain?”

What The Music Company Bosses Say

Ganesh Jain: “It is not the music companies but producers who can’t get stars to sign their films, who go and pay them fancy prices. Sometimes stars don’t want to work with a particular producer who then offers them unheard of prices which the stars accept. Even after that, they don’t give dates to such producers. As for us music companies, stars themselves are keen to work in our films because we make good films. Then, where’s the question of paying them fancy prices?”

Ramesh Taurani: “We’ve not paid the wrong prices to stars, as is alleged. Prices themselves have gone up. Business, too, has increased. HAHK..! showed the potential which film business had. Consequently, like the business, star prices, too, increased. So the complaint of producers is wrong.

“See, no star is a fool. Every star wants a good script. Otherwise, he won’t be interested in working in a film. My face is not made of gold that an artiste will blindly sign my film. Yes, an artiste knows that if he signs a film of Tips, it will be made well, publicised well and marketed well. Today, so many films suffer due to poor marketing. Sometimes, a film is not released even one year after its music release. At other times, a film is released so close on the heels of release of its music that there’s no time for the songs to become popular. These are faulty marketing strategies.

“The allegation that music companies pay heavily to artistes because they make money on sale of music cassettes is quite meaningless. Because if we make money from audio business, big producers also get huge money from the sale of their audio rights. So, there’s not much difference really. And finally, why grudge our earnings? We’ve also put in seven and eight years of hard work and we’ve suffered losses too in audio business. It’s not as if the business has been a bed roses all along. Finally, music companies must be lauded, not criticised, for their revolutionary changes in the industry.”

Pravin Shah: “Yes, we are responsible — but not for the crisis. Rather, we are responsible for the rises in the industry. Thanks to music companies, producers have started getting such high prices for their films.

“I’ll talk about Time’s film. For Vijaypath, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Gambler and Krishna, we paid our artistes (Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Govinda and Sunil Shetty) only reasonable prices. But we spent lavishly on the making of our films and sold them at the highest prices of their times. Thanks to these films, producers of other Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Govinda and Sunil Shetty starrers also started getting fancy prices for their films. So, should the industry crib about us or compliment us?”

Conclusion

The debate on whether music companies are or aren’t responsible for the sky-high prices of stars can be endless. While the music bosses will deny this allegation, producers (generally speaking) will always insist that it is they who have contaminated the market. But, of course, music companies are not wholly to blame. They did what they felt was the right thing — and, more importantly, succeeded in what they did. Or else, these music companies would not have been in business and as busy as they all are today. Yes, there are producers who have had to suffer because of the dramatic change which has come about after the entry of music companies in the realm of film production. But just because of that, music companies cannot be hauled up. Everybody has a right to do business — and to do it the way he likes, so long as he is not adversely affecting another’s business directly.

Who Is Worth His Price?

We often hear trade people say that stars are not worth their prices. So we decided to ask Bombay distributors which particular stars are not worth their fees. While some refused to comment and preferred to remain silent on the issue, there were others who openly took names. There were also some who spoke in general terms without taking names. Here is what the worthy people spoke about stars’ worth.

Balkrishna Shroff

In today’s time, hardly any artiste is worth his price. Star prices should be directly connected to the box-office performance of their films. The trend of raising prices indiscriminately started after the release of Maine Pyar Kiya. Stars started demanding crazy prices when they saw the phenomenal business of MPK. But the fact is that it is the maker who commands an opening, not the star.

N.N. Sippy

No artiste is worth his price. If he can guarantee even a day’s house-full opening, it would be alright.

Vimal Agrawal

All the artistes are worth their prices, that is why they get what they demand. Growing star prices is a worldwide phenomenon. So, why grudge our artistes?

P.M. Govani

Saif Ali Khan is not worth his price.

Naresh Mohnot

Many of our stars, who can’t even guarantee an initial for a film, are not worth their prices. In this category come Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor, Ayub Khan, Sanjay Kapoor, Salman Khan etc. Then there are newcomers who are demanding fancy prices without a single release. For what are they demanding so much?

Anil Thadani

It is the director who is worth his price. He is the heart and soul of the film. It doesn’t mean that stars don’t contribute anything to the film. But it is the overall project which counts. Today, I find Judaai a hot proposal but Mr. Bechara, released a few months back, was cold. Both the films star Anil Kapoor. So, it is not the star but the entire project which counts.

Harish Bhatia

Sunil Shetty, Ajay Devgan, and newcomers like Manek Bedi, Sharad Kapoor, Samrat, Mukul Dev etc., who have not even proved themselves as yet, are all not worth their prices. Sunil Shetty has given four flops in a row and yet, he is asking for such a high price. On what basis? If we compare the businesses of films and the prices of the stars, it would be clear that the stars are not at all worth their price.

Shyam Shroff

Everybody is worth his/her price provided the producer has the confidence and the capability to extract work from him/her.

Ashok & Nandu Ahuja

No artiste is worth his price.

Mavjibhai Shah

New artistes are not worth their price because they have not yet proven themselves. The burden of heavy star prices has finally to be borne by distributors. New entrants in the sphere of acting are always welcome. But even as they are entering the industry, they start demanding starry prices. That is not right.

Ayub Selia

It is the film which runs, not the artistes. No artiste is worth his price.

Devendra Shah

Whether a star is worth his price or not varies from director to director. There are five buyers for Govinda’s Coolie No. 1 but not a single buyer for the same Govinda’s Zordaar. However, there are some stars like Chunkey Panday and Saif Ali Khan, who are not worth at any price. Newcomers like Sharad Kapoor, Manek Bedi and Mukul Dev are better bets than them.

Vinay Choksey

Only a few are worth their price. For example, Amitabh Bachchan, Nana Patekar etc.

Vinod Kakkar

All artistes are worth their price, and none of them is worth his price. When a film clicks, they are worth their prices. But when a film flops, nobody is worth his price.

Ajay Chudasama

Newcomers like Akshaye Khanna, Sharad Kapoor, Mukul Dev and Puru are not worth their prices. What have they proved to demand such high prices?

‘Ghatak’ Deliveries: Tension, Tension, Tension

The deliveries of Ghatak, released this week, will be remembered by its distributors for a long time to come. They were anything but smooth. If there was no showdown created by the film’s distributors, it was mainly due to two reasons: (1) there was no time for it, and (2) the film’s director, Rajkumar Santoshi, who is also its producer, is a very successful name, and the pre-release reports of Ghatak were also very good.

It is common knowledge that Ghatak has taken several years in the making. Although this was no mistake of its distributors, they agreed to hike its price, not once but twice and, in many cases, even thrice and four times. Consequently, the ratio which was fixed at 36 lakh when the film was first sold, was finally increased to over a crore of rupees. Anyway, the distributors thought, it was the end of their tension once the final ratio was fixed.

The least they expected was that there would be additional demands by Rajkumar Santoshi at the time of delivery. There were demands on two counts: (1) payment for stopping the film’s video release (10 lakh per major circuit), and (2) Rs. 10,000 extra per print for Dolby sound mixing. These demands are not unheard of in the industry but what made them “unreasonable”, as a distributor of the film, wishing to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, terms it is that they weren’t mentioned when the final price was fixed after revisions and further revisions. “None of the distributors was prepared for the additional burden,” said another distributor of the film. “Producers do charge for delaying video cassettes or for Dolby mixing, but not when prices have been revised so often.” Another reason the distributors found the demand of the makers unreasonable is that they were kept in the dark about the additional payments till the eleventh hour and “asked to cough up the money only when we came to Bombay for delivery”. “Is every distributor expected to carry so much extra money with him when he comes to Bombay or have resources to tap at short notice?”, asked a hurt distributor.

As if that was not enough, there was tension in the physical delivery of prints too. Despite the best efforts of Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs, where the prints were made, most distributors were on tenterhooks till the last minute due to late preparation of prints. The delay was apparently caused due to the late receipt of the censor certificate. Santoshi got the certificate on Tuesday evening, just two days before the film’s release. “When the film took so long in the making, couldn’t they have waited for a week more to release it so that last-minute tension due to such problems could have been avoided,” said a disgruntled distributor of the film. “Thankfully, Manmohan Shetty had some part of the processing done at Filmcenter,” said another distributor, adding, “Otherwise, the position would have been worse.” The Bengal, Bihar, Nepal and Assam distributors, Musical Films Pvt. Ltd., had, till the night of Thursday (7th November), received only 15 of the 34 prints ordered. On the other hand, the C.I. distributors, Ashoka Enterprises, had got their deliveries much earlier although they will be releasing the film in C.I. only on 11th November.

INFORMATION MEETS
“I can do only one thing at a time…..
I’m one-track minded.”

– Aamir Khan

Komal Nahta & Gautam Mutha

Aamir Khan has always come across as an actor and person with a difference. He was among the first few heroes who chose to impose self-regulation, and work in a limited number of films even when most of the other stars were signing films indiscriminately as if there would be no tomorrow. He is also one of the few heroes who, besides being dedicated, is always completely involved in the films he works in. Although some would interpret his involvement as interference, most of those who’ve worked with this Khan swear, he can be an asset to the film in more ways than one. His association with a film is rarely, if ever, restricted to just acting; he takes interest in every other department too. All of which could be a thing of joy for the producer and director. Aamir is also one actor who, besides looking after his self-interest, also thinks of the interests of his producers and of the cinema industry in general. If some people criticise him for being very slow, there are others who love that because he is a stickler for perfection.

In this interview taken in two sessions (and this had nothing to do with Aamir being slow) — one in the afternoon and the other, the same night — at Aamir’s house, the actor talks on a variety of subjects including his career, his style of working, his likes and dislikes, his contract with ABCL, his views on star ceiling and on the ever-increasing star prices etc. Excerpts:

Why do you, at any given time, act in such few films?

– There are three main reasons for this. It is the only practical way of working. Today, to make a quality film, a director would require about 100 days of a lead artiste. In a whole year, there are about 300 shooting days, which means that the practical truth is that you can complete a maximum of 3 films in one year. If I wasn’t bothered about my producers and their financial equation, I could have also signed more films. Had I been doing 6 instead of 3 films at a time, I’d take two years to complete a film, and if I was working in 9 films simultaneously, it would be an average of three years per film. But I’m never in favour of a delay. If a film does not get delayed, the producer is financially secure, the director is charged, and the quality of the film is definitely superior. Besides, I don’t think I can mentally fit in more than 3 films at a time, I’m used to this style of working only. I also choose my directors carefully. My directors do only one film at a time. Dharmesh Darshan’s is the only exception — he is directing Dhadkan and Mela simultaneously. But, otherwise, most of my directors also believe in working with concentration, whether he is Indra Kumar or Mansoor Khan. After all, a director’s job does not end with completing the shooting, he is also responsible for the dubbing, mixing, sound effects recording, publicity campaign etc. There are so many directors who don’t attend their own music sittings, who don’t go for their song shootings and action shootings. I can’t work with such directors who, according to me, are murdering their own films.

If you are so particular about the directors you work with, how does Mahesh Bhatt, who is known for making four, five and six films at a time, fit in your scheme of things?

– No, he doesn’t. I’ve done Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin with him but I’ve realised, I won’t be comfortable working with him now. That’s why, when he and I came together for Mukesh Bhatt’s Ghulam, I explained my predicament to him. I told him, I wouldn’t be able to work in any way different from my style because it doesn’t suit me mentally. That doesn’t mean that I don’t respect Mahesh Bhatt’s style of working, everyone is entitled to work the way it suits him, I’m nobody to pass judgement on that, but I can definitely decide about whom I will be comfortable working with and whom not. Mahesh Bhatt saw my view point and he decided to hand over the project to Vikram Bhatt instead.

Aren’t you indirectly dictating terms to directors on how they should be working?

– No, I’m not. Believe me when I say, this is the only way in which I can work. I am from a film family and I’ve seen my uncle (Mr. Nasir Husain) and dad work. They were passionately involved in their films when they made them. My dad always made only one film at a time. Locket and Dulha Bikta Hai are the only two films which were on the sets together, but even there, he started Dulha Bikta Hai because Locket was stuck up. I’ve heard that our seniors like B.R. Chopra Sahab, Yash Chopra Sahab, Shakti Samana Sahab — all the greats — attended every department of filmmaking. I’ve grown on films and my honest feeling is that this is the way films should be made.

Is that the reason you cannot work in two-hero subjects? Because you may expect the same kind of involvement from your co-stars too.

– What you say is incorrect. I’ve worked in several two-hero or multi-hero projects like Aatank Hi Aatank, Parampara, Andaz Apna Apna and others. I have no qualms at all about working in such films. When I have to decide on signing a film, I hear the script, I don’t count the roles. Irrespective of whether there are two or more heroes or it is a solo-hero subject, if I like the subject, I don’t shy away from the project because I think, it is the film which is above all else. And why do you say this only about my co-hero, lack of involvement can come from a female artiste, any character artiste or even a technician of the film. And that’s precisely the reason why I choose my directors so carefully. Because it is he who has to captain the ship and lead us. We all have to obey him. As regards lack of interest of a co-star, how can I help that? That could happen at any stage of the film’s making because the system in which we make films is such.

Is that the reason why David Dhawan and you have never worked together? This question is being put up because David’s forte is comedy films, he is very successful and you, too, excel in light roles.

– At the outset, let me tell you that I think, David is a talented director. Yes, I may not agree with some of his films but that’s a separate issue. As to why we haven’t worked together, well, he has never approached me with a concrete film offer, though, whenever we meet, he tells me, “Let’s work together.” If and when he does come up with an offer, I’ll definitely work with him.

But David works on 8 films at a time. How will you work with him?

– In that case, I cannot work with him.

Don’t you think, you are too demanding?

– I don’t think so. After all, what am I demanding? I’m ‘demanding’ that the film’s director be its mother. And that’s no demand, if you ask me. All the great directors have been mothers of their films.

But a mother also brings up five and six children. So why not a director who can make 6 films at a time?

– Yes, a mother brings up six children but not all six at one time. Unless she gets a pair of twins, the children don’t come together. Coming back to your previous question of being too demanding, I’m only ‘demanding’ that the director should always be present on the sets and during the film’s post-production, that he should do his job. What is wrong in that? How would the director feel if I were to tell him to have a song picturised on my duplicate? What if I would refuse to give costume trials or time for rehearsals. See, these are normal demands of a director, and an actor is bound to carry them out. In today’s times, they may seem like abnormal demands but they are all part of an actor’s duty. They are no demands at all.

When you are so concerned about the film and its producers, can one say that you’ve never been responsible for delaying a film?

– Never! I say this honestly that I’ve never delayed a film. People have taken advantage of me, sometimes even made me the scapegoat for a delay, but, believe me, I don’t indulge in delaying tactics.

Do you suffer from a feeling of insecurity? At such times, don’t you feel, you should sign more films?

– Yes, I do feel insecure, at times. No artiste can escape this feeling of insecurity. Every creative person goes through these phases where he feels insecure because there’s no fixed formula for success in his case. But insecurity does not make me do anything which I may feel is not good for cinema or for me. For instance, no amount of insecurity can now prompt me to work in double shifts or do ten films at a time. Frankly speaking, even three films are too much to handle! See, a public personality does not think of just money, his image and the respect he commands are also of equal, sometimes of even more, importance. Then there’s also the question of the industry. I’m no great patriot but I genuinely believe that we must not take any step which can harm the industry. There are just few people in our industry who feel strongly for it. We must realise that even one wrong step from an individual’s side can bring in so much frustration in the industry.

With the kind of approach you have towards your films, don’t you feel frustrated when things go wrong?

– Yes, I do feel frustrated, but I don’t change because of that. I was the first actor who stopped signing films indiscriminately, much before the star ceiling system was introduced. I had announced in an interview in 1988 that I would not be signing new films till my old lot was cleared, and I stuck to my guns. I reduced my number of assignments and everyone thought, I was a fool, that I was committing suicide. But I firmly believed that somewhere, somebody has to take a stand. My stand brought about a change. Today, there are so many artistes who’ve realised the advantages of doing a limited number of films at a time.

What do you think of the star ceiling system which had been introduced some years back?

– You cannot impose anything on anybody. The realisation has to come from within. Legally also, the ceiling stood on shaky ground. It amounted to restriction of free trade. When the ceiling was on 12 films, I was doing 6 films; today I’m doing 3 films at a time. Maybe, tomorrow it will be only one!

Do you insist on bound scripts before shooting?

– I don’t, because I believe, every director has a right to his creative licence. Every director has his own style of working. What I do insist on is complete narration. If I were to sign a film which is to be completed in 3 months flat, I’d definitely insist on a bound script, not otherwise. Things change, ideas change, and the director, who is the boss, has a right to incorporate new ideas.

Why are you known as an interfering actor? It is believed that you love to interfere in the director’s work.

– This is the impression which was created by the media at the beginning of my career. You can ask the directors I’ve worked with, I’ve never over-ruled any of them. There are actors who over-ruled their directors but nothing is written about them. You will notice, I don’t work with directors who are weak. I work with people like Indra Kumar, Raj Santoshi, Mansoor Khan, Ram Gopal Varma and Dharmesh Darshan, who are all strong-headed. I do give suggestions but, eventually, do what the director wants. It is entirely up to the director to decide how much involvement of mine he would want.

What was the controversy about RANGEELA? Why did Ram Gopal Varma give an interview to say that you were not good in the film? Have you met him after that interview?

– No, I haven’t met him thereafter. Even if I meet him now, I’ll ignore him because I’m not a hypocrite. With that interview, he has made me realise what kind of a person he is. Of course, he is free to have his own opinion as I am to have mine. I still feel, he made a good film in Rangeela, that he extracted a good performance out of me, that he wrote a very good role for me. Let me tell you, my performance in the film was greatly helped by his clarity of thought. What has hurt me are his statements in that interview. I’m surprised because he had no grouses against me (just as I didn’t have against him) during the making of Rangeela. Ramu kept a celebration party at Sun N Sand three days after the film’s release, and he had tears in his eyes when we met there. He told me, “I’ve learnt so much from you.”

It is felt that you cannot take failures in your stride.

– On the contrary! I’m a very realistic person. I’m the first person to become aware of the faults in my performance, and the second person to become aware of the faults in the film — because the director is the first person in that case. I’m a practical guy. Others may be following the collections of their films for one or two weeks, but I follow collections of my films for 25 weeks. I talk to the distributors of my films, I see every film of mine with the public.

Then why couldn’t you accept that AKELE HUM AKELE TUM did not run?

– I admit, we went wrong in its scripting, and I’ve also said in my TV interview that the film did not run. But, believe me, there were some college guys, I met in Delhi, who said, they did not like my saying so on television because, according to them, the film did run and was very good. What I don’t agree with is the reason why AHAT did not run. It is generally believed that it did not fare well because it was a class film but I don’t think, that’s right. According to me, unlike in a class film, there was no horizontal divide for AHAT, there was a vertical divide. Some people from the classes loved the film, others didn’t like it. Similarly, some from the masses liked it, others didn’t. I was shooting for Mela one day near China Creek and I was surprised when a truck driver came up to me and said in Punjabi that he had loved my AHAT. When he complimented me before naming the film, I thought, he was talking of Rangeela or Dil! So even though the film may not have worked at the box-office, I feel, it has worked for me. My fans will remember this film for a long time. What also went wrong with the film was that the hangover of Rangeela was still very strong when AHAT was released, and my role in AHAT was a complete contrast from my role in Rangeela.

When you are so business-minded, how is it that you haven’t started a distribution office like some of the other artistes?

– I can do only one thing at a time. That’s my nature. I was a partner in the Bombay distribution of Damini but that was for different reasons. The Morani brothers and Raj Santoshi are my friends and secondly, Damini was a good social film which I was backing from outside. Otherwise, I can’t think of having a full-fledged office because I’m one-track minded. I can work only when I’m charged. And when I do get down to working, I get involved completely. Distribution is not an easy job, it also requires total involvement and devotion. When I do a job, it is important that I must have the satisfaction of doing it well.

When do you intend taking up direction?

– I will definitely turn a director but not for three more years, at least, because I’m committed to my acting assignments. I’m still thirsty as an actor. I feel, I’ve still got to prove a lot and learn a lot. When I do direct a film, I won’t be acting, at least not during the period my film is on the floors.

What kind of films would you like to make?

– I don’t know. Since direction is not on my mind for the present, I haven’t thought so seriously about it. Romance excites me, powerful social themes also excite me. A director should make what he feels strongly about.

There’s a general impression that you don’t give proper response to producers who approach you for signing you.

– I don’t know how you have got this feedback. I entertain each and everyone. You must have a look at my message diary. (Gets up to show it.) See, every telephone message is noted down for me. I either call back personally or have my secretary convey my reply. I have a different style of working. When I don’t want to sign a film, I don’t listen to scripts because there’s no sense in that. I explain that to producers who approach me and I tell them, whenever I am ready to sign a new film, we would get back to them. And we do contact them then. I like to concentrate on the films I am working in, and I don’t like my attention to be divided on a script narration of a film which I have decided, I will not be signing till my earlier lot is nearing completion. I’ve read the Mahabharat and am greatly influenced by it. In the Mahabharat, when Arjun is asked to shoot the eye of the fish, his concentration is cent per cent on the eye.

In the current scheme of things, where artistes and technicians give dates by the hours, don’t you feel like fish out of water?

– No. I feel like a part of the industry. What I am doing will surely contribute something to the industry, not take away anything from it. Yes, but I definitely feel that I’ve been born at the wrong time. I should have been born in the ‘fifties or ‘sixties when films used to be made the way I like.

What are the things that inspire or charge you?

– A good director charges me. I’ve enjoyed working with Indu, Raj Santoshi, Dharmesh and Mansoor Khan.

Tell us something about Dharmesh Darshan with whom you have worked for the first time in RAJA HINDUSTANI.

– Dharmesh Darshan is a very good friend of mine. But that apart, he has some really good qualities — he is disciplined, he comes on the sets on time and expects his artistes to do the same. If ever I was late on his sets, I had to give him a solid reason for it. I couldn’t get away without that. Dharmesh is very talented and very hard-woking. He is good with music, action, sound, just about everything. The best thing about him is that he motivates the unit and all his technicians and artistes into feeling for the film. If an action scene is to be picturised, he is after the action director for two days before the shooting, explaining to him what he wants, how he wants it. That’s how he has motivated choreographer Raju Khan too. Dharmesh is really in love with his film and he is even more concerned about it than me. He deserves all the credit he gets because he has put in a lot of effort in every department. He is very clear in his thinking but, at the same time, he is not autocratic. He is also very producer-loyal and even fights with his actors if there’s wastage. That’s a very positive thing for the industry. It was a pleasure and a memorable experience to have worked with him at this stage of my career. I’ve learnt a lot from him. So good is he that I feel, Raja Hindustani is totally his film.

What sort of a deal have you struck with ABCL for managing your career?

– The press has reported incorrectly about what ABCL will be managing for me. ABCL and I have entered into an agreement whereby they will only look after my merchandising and licensing contracts. Whenever someone approaches me for modelling for a product, ABCL will do the market research for me and advise me on whether or not I should do it. The final decision about signing the contract will be mine and only mine. Secondly, ABCL has nothing to do with my acting assignments or allotment of dates. I appointed ABCL to look after my merchandising because I felt, I was not giving it the attention it required, due to lack of time. But, besides merchandising and licensing, ABCL is not looking after anything else for me, not my film career at all.

Do you think, the sky-high prices being charged by you artistes are justified?

– (Looks thoughtfully) That’ a tough question. It is not as if we are totally unjustified in demanding the prices we do. Because even if we reduce our price, the producer is not going to sell his film for a lesser price. And when the producer recovers money on the strength of the names of his artistes, why shouldn’t artistes charge him their prices? Besides, business has also increased phenomenally in the last few years.

When a film flops, doesn’t it become an artiste’s moral responsibility to compensate the producer, especially in today’s times when he is charging so heavily?

– No, it doesn’t become my moral responsibility or that of any other artistes for two reasons. One, I’ve done my job and been paid for it. Secondly, my fees are not a percentage of profit. When actors don’t share in the profit, why should they be asked to share in a film’s losses.

When do you get tensed up about something?

– I am always tense before my release. Like I am now, before the release of Raja Hindustani. The tension starts three to four weeks before release and I lose my appetite completely. Like, I’ve eaten just one plate of bhel puri in the whole day (it is 10 p.m. when Aamir says this). I don’t get my sleep either. I keep awake for hours together, reading a book or watching television.

How do you react to your flops and hits?

– I cry. I cry a lot when my film flops. I lock myself in a room and weep. Even a hit makes me cry, but they are tears of joy. I begin to cry quite easily. Once, I even cried on a set. It happened when we were shooting for Dil and I couldn’t get a dance step properly. I was disgusted with myself and was sulking when Saroj Khan came up to me and tried to re-explain the step. That did it! I could control my tears no longer and there I was, crying in front of the whole unit…..

And we (Aamir included) begin to laugh….

3-E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Three Together

So finally, all the three films, which were being tipped to be Diwali releases, will come together on Diwali. No, not all over India, but only in C.I. 11th November will see the release of all the three films — Ghatak, Raja Hindustani and Sapoot — in C.I. While Ghatak and Sapoot, released in the rest of India on 7th/8th November, have been delayed in C.I. by four days and will now come only on 11th November, Raja Hindustani will be released in C.I. three days in advance — on 11th instead of 14th.

One’s Lapse, Another’s Loss

Ghatak could not be released yesterday (Friday) in a number of cinemas across the country because the prints did not either reach them on time or did not reach their destinations at all. The mess-up was created due to the delay in receiving the censor certificate. It is surprising that an important issue like censorship — that too, of an out-and-out action film — is treated so callously by producers that not enough time is kept between a film’s censorship and its release. The sufferers are the film’s distributors and exhibitors whole losses can sometimes run into lakhs of rupees due to the lapses on the part of producers.

FLASHBACK | 29 October, 2021
(From our issue dated 2nd November, 1996)

‘Himalaya Putra’ Audio Released
With Pomp And Show

The music release function of Vinod Khanna and HMV’s Himalay Putra on 31st October at the Turf Club was a grand affair indeed. The occasion was special for Vinod as he introduces his son, Akshaye Khanna, in the film.

It was a ‘Himalayan’ welcome which was accorded to the invitees that evening as Himalay Putra’s dad, Vinod Khanna himself, stood at the entrance, personally welcoming the large number of guests who came to wish both, father and putra, the very best.

Sunil Dutt had thoughtfully been invited as the chief guest for the function. It may be recalled that it was none other than Sunil Dutt who had introduced Vinod Khanna in films. At the cassette release function, Dutt Sahab recalled how he had had to convince Vinod’s father to allow him to come into films. “When I first saw Vinod Khanna, I thought to myself that here was the Kirk Douglas of India,” recalled Sunil Dutt. “Vinod Khanna’s father had wanted to send him abroad for training because he wanted him to look after his factory,” continued Sunil Dutt. “But I told his father that Vinod should be given one chance to try his hand at acting. If he failed, the factory would, of course, be there. I was confident that Vinod would make a place for himself in this industry and I told so to his father.”

After Sunil Dutt’s speech, Vinod Khanna introduced Akshaye to the gathering. He also introduced the film’s new leading ladies, Anjala and Shazia. Thereafter, Sunil Dutt released the music cassette of Himalay Putra.

Excerpts from four songs of the film were screened. It must be said that Anu Malik has done a wonderful job and it can safely be predicted that the music of Himalay Putra will soon become extremely popular. Director Pankaj Parashar and the choreographer have done a fantastic job of the picturisation of some of the songs. In particular, the ‘I’m a bachelor’ song will be widely discussed for its unique picturisation.

The dinner and decoration at the function made it appear like a wedding reception. The giant-sized statue of Lord Shiva, which has been used in the film, was put up at the Turf Club. There were any number of varieties of dishes for dinner and dessert.

TOLU BAJAJ RECUPERATING

Bombay distributor Tolu Bajaj underwent a minor surgery earlier this week at Jaslok Hospital (and not Breach Candy Hospital, as mentioned in our issue last week). He is recuperating at the hospital and is likely to be discharged from the hospital shortly.

BABY GIRL FOR ATUL AGNIHOTRI

Atul Agnihotri’s wife, Alvira, gave birth to a baby girl on 27th October at Breach Candy Hospital, Bombay.

YOU ASKED IT

What do you think of the decision of the producers of Raja Hindustani to postpone its release by a week?

– It is a sensible decision to not come in opposition of two big action films even though it is the Diwali week.

What is your opinion about the new trend of music directors taking contracts for song recordings from producers?

– It isn’t a very good trend because music directors invariably try to cut corners in song recordings when they are paid for the entire recordings, and all outgoings for the same are borne by them.

Who is the most in-demand newcomer?

– Seems to be Sharad Kapoor. He reportedly has over 20 films on hand.

‘MAACHIS’ TAX-FREE IN M.P.

Gulzar’s Maachis has been grated tax exemption by the Madhya Pradesh government for a period of six months with effect from 1st November.

PRIYA VILLAGE TO BUILD MULTIPLEXES

The joint venture between Delhi-based Priya Exhibitors and Village Roadshow Ltd. of Australia, Priya Village Roadshow (PVR), has nearly completed the first multiplex situated in south Delhi’s Saket area. It intends to set up more such complexes in Bangalore, Calicut and Bombay in the next couple of years. The Delhi multiplex, which houses four cinemas, will open on 15th December. While one cinema has a capacity of 380 seats, another has a seating capacity of 320, and the remaining two have 150 seats each.

‘GHATAK’ DISPUTE SETTLED

The dispute between the producers of Ghatak and its distributors of Eastern circuit (excluding Orissa) — Musical Films Pvt. Ltd. — over the issue of price has been settled out of court. The film will be released in West Bengal, Bihar and Assam by Musical on Diwali.

MIX MASALA

ANU JACKSON?

The whole of Bombay was in the grip of a Michael Jackson fever this week when the great singer performed live (on 1st November) at the Andheri Sports Complex at Andheri, Bombay. Music director Anu Malik made no effort to hide the fact that it’s not just tunes that he can copy, it’s music-minded people, too, who can inspire him to ape them, at least as far as dressing up goes. For, the music director came dressed quite like Michael Jackson at the music release function of Vinod Khanna’s Himalay Putra on 31st October at the Turf Club, complete with a black hat. But the trademark curls of hair that fall on Michael’s face were missing on Anu’s face.

DO YOU KNOW?

* C.I. distributor J.P. Chowksey, who has a penchant for releasing art films, has proved lucky with MAACHIS. It has yielded a share of 1.75 lakh in the first week in C.I. Chowksey also left no stone unturned to publicise the film extensively. He sent letters to teachers, doctors and engineers ten days before the film’s release. Handbills, printed in Hindi and Gurmukhi, were distributed outside all gurudwaras in Indore. A special show was held in Bhopal, which was attended by ministers and IAS officers, besides the film’s director, Gulzar.

* Although Shringar Films was exploiting MAACHIS in Bombay, it dissociated itself from the film from the second day of its release itself. The film is now being exploited by the producers themselves from their Andheri office.

* Producer Rajan Sharma, Bombay distributor Vinod Kakkar and Gujarat distributor Devendra Shah are all praise for CBFC regional officer Sanjeevani Kutty and members of the examining committee, who saw their SAPOOT, for going out of their way to speedily hold discussions, verify cuts, etc. and issue them a certificate. Incidentally, both the Diwali releases, GHATAK and SAPOOT, were issued certificates on the same day (1st November).

* DDLJ, being screened at tax-free rates, drew all shows full in its first week at Maratha Mandir (matinee), Bombay, in spite of the dull pre-Diwali days.

3-E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Censor Coincidence

It’s a strange coincidence that all the three films which had been planned for release on Diwali had to face some censor trouble or the other. Ghatak was offered many cuts, which prompted the producer to go to the revising committee. Although the revising committee did waive some cuts, they weren’t enough to satisfy producer-director Rajkumar Santoshi. It is presenter Bharat Shah who prevailed upon Santoshi to not go in for further appeal and that’s how the revising committee’s cuts were finally accepted by Rajkumar Santoshi.

The examining committee also offered very heavy cuts — 17, to be precise — to Sapoot, the maximum in the climax action, but the film’s producers were saved the trouble of going to the revising committee because the examining committee agreed, after personal hearing with the makers, to reduce/modify the cuts. The film will get its ‘A’ certificate on 4th November, and its Diwali release, alongwith Ghatak, is now confirmed.

The examining committee also offered several cuts to Raja Hindustani, which sort of shocked its makers who had expected a clean ‘U’ certificate for the film. Anyway, when the examining committee did not see reason in director Dharmesh Darshan and hero Aamir Khan’s arguments, the two decided to refer the film (after effecting some voluntary cuts) to the revising committee which saw the film on 1st November and has reportedly cleared the film for universal exhibition almost without cuts. In any case, Raja Hindustani has been postponed and will now hit the screens on 15th November — actually, it is available for screening on and from 12th November (New Year’s day).

Aamir’s New Residence

Aamir Khan, who lives at Bandra, Bombay, has purchased another flat in another block of the same building in which he stays. He is thrilled with the buy because it was in this flat that his “favourite director”, Raj Khosla, used to live before he passed away. The new flat of Aamir is being done up, after which the hero will shift there. The flat in which Aamir presently resides, will be converted into his office then.

Ten And Still Going Strong

Govinda and director David Dhawan have already worked in seven films together —Taaqatwar, Swarg, Shola Aur Shabnam, Aankhen, Raja Babu, Coolie No. 1 and Saajan Chale Sasural. Their under-production films together are Hero No. 1, Banarasi Babu and Deewana Mastana, which takes their total to 10. With several other projects in the pipeline, the hit team is poised to create a record of sorts, it seems.


FLASHBACK | 22 October, 2021
(From our issue dated 26th October, 1996)

‘Raja Hindustani’ To Be Postponed?

So there may be just two Diwali releases after all. In all probability, Raja Hindustani may be postponed by a week. Instead of 7th November, it may now hit the screens on 14th November. The decision for postponement seems to have been taken in view of the fact that three major releases on Diwali may be a bit too much. Besides, of the three, only Raja Hindustani is the non-action film, the other two — Ghatak and Sapoot — being action fares. The first three or four days of the Diwali week are pre-Diwali days which record poor collections, and this also seems to have prompted the producers of Raja Hindustani to come a week later, on 14th November.

Although producers Karim Morani, Sunil Soorma and Aly Morani are not as yet committing the rescheduled release date, it is quite clear that the film will be postponed by a week if both, Ghatak and Sapoot, make it on Diwali. And the chances of Ghatak and Sapoot coming on 8th November are very bright. Ghatak has been cleared by the revising committee, and Sapoot is likely to be seen by the examining committee on 28th October. Its first copy came out on 25th.

Raja Hindustani was seen by the examining committee on 23rd and has been offered ‘U’ certificate, with some cuts.

MIX MASALA

DANCING TO WEATHER GOD’S TUNE

The bad weather forecast on 25th October resulted in the cancellation of HMV’s audio release function of Vinod Khanna’s Himalay Putra, which was scheduled for that evening in the open at the Turf Club, Bombay. Paradoxical, because although the Himalaya mountains are a symbol of strength, it was Himalay Putra (son of Himalaya) which had to feel threatened by the cyclonic weather forecast! Anyway, the function will now be held on 31st October at the same venue, the weather Gods willing!

‘GHATAK’ DISPUTE: MATTER ADJOURNED

The dispute between the producers of Ghatak and its distributors for Eastern circuit (excluding Orissa), Musical Films P. Ltd., Calcutta, over the issue of price, came up for hearing on 25th October in the Bombay high court. The counsel for the distributor sought adjournment of the matter to 29th October. In the meantime, it is likely that the matter may be settled amicably out of court. A meeting between the advocates of the two parties, Bharat Shah (who presents the film), producer Rajkumar Santoshi and Vijay Ladsaria of Musical Films was held on 25th after the hearing. Lalit Kankaria of Musical Films is expected in Bombay today (26th October) and the matter, in all probability, should be amicably settled soon. Bharat Shah told Information, “I am a businessman and am never in favour of litigation.”

In the meantime, Bharat Shah dismissed rumours that the film was being referred by him to the Appellate Tribunal. “Rajkumar Santoshi was not willing to accept one cut offered by the revising committee but, I suppose, he is getting emotional since the film is his baby,” said Bharat Shah.

YOU ASKED IT

When is an artiste justified in hiking his price?

– When the increased amount of his price does not prove to be a burden either for the producer or for the distributor and exhibitor.

Is the workers’ welfare cess, collected at the time of film censorship, disbursed among cine workers?

– Yes, the CBFC disburses the amount to meet educational and other expenses of workers’ family members.

Why have films not been faring well, of late?

– The period is generally dull. Rains have also been adversely affecting the box-office. Then, the films, which have been released in recent times, have also not been good.

NEW CINEMA AT BETUL

A new cinema, Shivshakti, opened on 2nd October at Betul (in Madhya Pradesh) in the campus of Kantishiva cinema. Both the cinemas are owned by the same people. The new cinema has 500 seats and is equipped with Photophone projector.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Producer Salim conducted free shows of his RAJA KI AAYEGI BAARAAT for ladies only on 24th October (12 noon) at three cinemas of Bombay and some other cinemas in different centres of India.

* Bappi Lahiri, who has completed 25 years as music director, was felicitated by Bangla Desh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, on 15th October in Dhaka.

* Well-known Tamil film villain Mansoor Ali Khan will be launching a Hindi film, GWALA, in which he will be handling eleven departments. He will be its producer, director, music director, lyricist, editor, cameraman, dance director, action master as well as story, screenplay and dialogue writer. He has signed Divya Dutta, Alok Nath, Johny Lever, Laxmikant Berde and Anupam Kher for the film which will be launched next month.

* Two Rang films — RANGBAAZ and RANGEELA RAJA — are being distributed in C.P. Berar by Harnam Films. While the former has been released this week, the latter will open next week.

* Rajshris will be reviving HAHK..! on Diwali on a grand scale. It has been booked at as many as 300 cinemas all over. Of these, 150 cinemas in Maharashtra (Bombay, C.P. Berar and Nizam circuits), where the film is tax-free, will screen the film.

3E
Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Dedicated Aamir

Aamir Khan is one hell of a dedicated actor. He treats the films in which he acts as his own production ventures. Why else would he go to the CBFC office on 25th October to discuss the cuts offered to his Raja Hindustani? Yes, the CBFC staff in Bombay had an exciting time when Raja Hindustani Aamir made a special appearance at their office on the afternoon of 25th.

FLASHBACK | 15 October, 2021
(From our issue dated 19th October, 1996)

Raja ki Aayegi Baraat (1997) Bollywood Movie Poster

RAJA KI AAYEGI BAARAAT

Aftab Music Industries’ Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat (UA) is a purposeful social film. A girl with a high morale and a fighter by nature drags her rapist to the court and pleads for justice by convincing the judge of the pitiable condition in which a raped girl finds herself in society even if the rapist is punished for his misdeed. The court sees reason in her arguments and, instead of merely meting out punishment to the rapist, orders him to marry the girl whom he has raped. The girl is tortured by her husband’s family members after her marriage, but not the one to give up so easily, she puts up a brave fight and, with her utmost faith in the power of sindoor, she ultimately wins the love of the whole family, including her husband.

The film starts on a dull note and goes on like that for about two or three reels. It is after the girl is raped and the matter goes to the court that a tense and edge-of-the-seat drama keeps audience interest alive. Some bold and hard-hitting dialogues evoke claps and applause, for both, the written word and the dialogue delivery. But once the family torture begins post-interval, predictable scenes dominate the drama and while some of them do entertain, the others dilute the impact of the film considerably. The script is good upto interval point.

Ranee makes an extremely confident debut. She performs ably, looks good, dances well and delivers her dialogues with aplomb and utmost confidence. Shadaab Khan does not have the looks of a hero and gives an average performance. Gulshan Grover is superb as the noble Sardar. Saeed Jaffrey does well. Shashi Sharma, Arjun, Asrani, Mohnish Bahl, Goga Kapoor, Raza Murad, Divya Dutta and the rest provide average support.

Ashok Gaikwad’s direction is fair. Music (Aadesh Shrivastava) is nice. ‘Palkon mein sapne’ and the title song are the most appealing numbers. ‘Rab ka hoon banda’ and a couple of other numbers are quite well-tuned. But song picturisations definitely needed to be better and visually more appealing. Photography and other technical values are okay. Action scenes are alright.

On the whole, Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat has reasonable merits in the plot, but an ordinary second half and a weak opening coupled with the dull period will tell on its business. Even if it does pick up on the strength of ladies’ appeal, it will remain on the lower side.

Released on 18-10-’96 at New Excelsior and 11 other cinemas of Bombay thru Aftab Group. Publicity: good. Opening: poor. …….Also released all over. Opening was dull everywhere.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Kannada film actor Ambarish has refused to contest the Assembly election from the Ramanagaram constituency of Mysore. The seat is vacant due to the resignation of prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

* Cinegoers at Arun cinema, Belgaum have been given a Dassera bonus. Two films — EK BABY TEEN BADMAASH and EK BANDAR HOTEL KE ANDAR — are being screened in one show simultaneously at the cinema. While the former is screened before interval, the latter starts after intermission.

YOU ASKED IT

How does one get to know about the business of films in the Overseas circuit?

– One has to accept what the concerned film’s Overseas distributor says because there’s no alternative to that.

Is there a market for re-issue video rights?

– There is. Films which were sold for 7 or 10 years are/will soon be available for sale again.

On what basis do new actors, who are not even star-sons, command such heavy prices without a single release to their credit?

– Their prices are governed by the reports circulating in trade circles about their calibre and talent. They depend on how much confidence a producer is willing to put on a newcomer.

Is it proper for a film producer to repeat the title of an old hit for his new film?

– What choice does he have if his story demands that title?

‘HINDUSTANI’ TAX-FREE IN MAHARASHTRA

Hindustani has been granted exemption from payment of entertainment tax in Maharashtra for a period of one year with effect from 16th October, 1996.

‘INDIAN’ IS INDIAN ENTRY FOR OSCAR

A.M. Rathnam’s Tamil film, Indian, has been selected as India’s entry for the Oscar awards. A 15-member committee of the Film Federation of India, chaired by IMPPA president Sultan Ahmed, made the selection in Madras last week after viewing seven Indian films made in various languages.

AIFEC TO PRESS FOR HIGHER CESS
FOR WORKERS’ WELFARE

The National Executive of the All India Film Employees Confederation met in Bombay on 6th October and took note of the letter addressed by Raghu Menon, jt. secretary, ministry of information & broadcasting, to the president of the AIFEC that orders had been issued to the Central Board of Film Certification to collect workers’ welfare cess at the enhanced rate as notified.

Note also was taken of reports appearing in the press that a delegation of film producers had met the minister of labour in this regard, and he had stayed the order.

The representatives of film workers all over India deprecated the attempt on the part of film producers to crib about the payment of workers’ welfare cess which makes only an infinitesimal difference in the budget even of a small film. AIFEC resolved to take to agitational methods against procrastination by the government as also the negative attitude of the production sector for pressurising the government not to implement the Act passed by Parliament and which was gazetted and notified.

The National Executive Committee also decided to start an agitation to amend the Cine Worker’s Welfare Fund Act to raise the income ceiling defining a cine worker.

Members from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Western India attended the meeting.

CINEMA CLOSED DUE TO BOMB BLAST

A bomb blast near Grandlay cinema, Delhi, earlier this week killed one person. Fourteen others sustained injuries. The cinema remained closed for a day.

PAPPU VERMA ELECTED FWICE PRESIDENT

Pappu Verma was elected president of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) for 1996-97 at its annual general meeting held on 17th October at Famous, Mahalaxmi. He replaces veteran Chandrashekhar who had occupied the post for 14 years.

R.K. Handa was elected senior vice president, and Prabhakar Nikhlankar, vice president. R.C. Das was elected general secretary, and Mohd. Kasam and Earnest Menezes, joint secretaries. The election of the hon. treasurer, which could not be held due to technical reasons, will be held shortly.

K.K. RAAJ DEAD

Actor K.K. Raaj passed away on 12th October at Vankaner (near Rajkot) in Gujarat following heart failure. He had completed his shooting for the Gujarati film Raj Ratan just a day earlier and had decided to spend a free day at Vankaner before returning to Bombay, but death visited him in the early hours. He was 42 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

‘HIND KI BETI’ TAX-FREE

The Madhya Pradesh government has granted tax-exemption to Joginder’s Hind Ki Beti.

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Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

Hot Collections, Cool Reception

Jayshree Talkies, Nagpur, which is controlled by the Rathi group, has been fitted with air-conditioners in its Box (admission rate: Rs. 40). This is the first cinema in Vidarbha region to be installed with air-conditioners albeit in one class only. The cinema otherwise is air-cooled and is popularly known as a ‘jubilee talkies’, obviously deriving its coveted title because of the many films which have celebrated jubilees there. The longest run which any film has had at Jayshree is Muqaddar Ka Sikander (40 weeks). Qurbani had opened at the cinema in 8 shows on the opening day and it must have been a record of sorts that all eight shows were packed to capacity. Jayshree Talkies was started in 1947, and the first release there was Bhakt Dhruv. The owners also plan to install Dolby sound system in the cinema very shortly. Incidentally, the cinema got its name after late V. Shantaram’s wife, Jayshree. Shantaram was one of the founder-members of the cinema.

A Tale Of Two Baaraats

Alec Smart remarked, “This week, two baaraats have been released. One is Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat, and the other is buddhon ki baaraat or, in other words, Return Of Jewel Thief.”

No Liberty For Salman From Liberty

Salman Khan and Bombay’s Liberty cinema are made for each other, it seems. Since August 1994, Liberty is screening Salman starrers. It was HAHK..! for more than two years in regular shows, and it has now been shifted in matinee. Once HAHK..! was discontinued from regular shows, it was Salman Khan’s Khamoshi which was released at the cinema. Another Salman (double role) starrer, Judwaa, is due for release at Liberty on 6th December ’96.

Dullest Pre-Diwali Week

That pre-Diwali days are really dull for the box-office is common knowledge, and it is because of this dull period that producers and distributors avoid releasing big films a week before Diwali. But this pre-Diwali week will be one of the worst ever because there is not a single film, not even a small one, scheduled for release on 1st November. As against a no-release week beginning 1st November, there will be four or five releases on 25th October — Maachis, Rangbaaz, Phool Bane Patthar, Rangeela Raja (dubbed) and Jurassic City (dubbed).

‘Certified’ And Notified As Diwali Attractions

Producers generally avoid announcing their release dates in advertisements in daily newspapers before censor certificates are issued to their films as they are wary of inviting the wrath of censor officials. But at least two producers of films, slated for release on Diwali this year, are announcing their release dates even though both of them have yet to obtain their censor certificates. Of course, the advertisements of the two films — Ghatak and Sapoot — do not mention the exact date (8th November) but only proclaim them as ‘Diwali attraction’ and give the name/s of cinemas where they will be coming. While Ghatak has been referred to the revising committee by the producer (because it has been offered ‘A’ certificate with as many as 12 cuts), Sapoot has not even been seen or applied for censorship. Why, even its first copy is not yet out, but the producers are confident of being able to show the film to the censors on 25th October. The first copy of the third Diwali release, Raja Hindustani, will be out early next week, and it is likely to be seen by the CBFC on 22nd October. The producers and distributors of Raja Hindustani have not yet advertised it as a ‘Diwali attraction’, but, you never know, even they might be inspired enough to follow in the footsteps of the makers of Ghatak and Sapoot.

Busy As Bees

Two offices in Naaz cinema building in Bombay are buzzing with more activity than any other office these days. One is the office of Dilip Dhanwani (Dilsa Distributors Combine) and the other is that of Vinod Kakkar (Mahalakshmi Film Distributors). While Dilip released a line of films recently in Bombay circuit, he will be releasing Ghatak in Gujarat and Saurashtra on Diwali. Not only that, Dhanwani has also started film production in right earnest. Vinod Kakkar’s distribution office has its hands full in the forthcoming weeks. Due for release from the office are Sapoot, Chhote Sarkar, Dastak, Tamanna, Yashwant, Mr. Aashiq, Zameer etc. No mean list, this!

FLASHBACK | 8 October, 2021
(From our issue dated 12th October, 1996)


HAPPY DIWALI WITH ‘HAHK..!’ ON STAR PLUS

The greatest blockbuster of all times, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, will reportedly be telecast on Star Plus on Diwali day. The deal, it is reported, has been finalised by the Barjatyas for Rs. 5 crore!

A while ago, Sholay had been telecast by Doordarshan on a national holiday. It helped DD recover about Rs. 2.5 crore through the sale of 83 time slots to advertisers.

MALAYALAM FILM ACTOR SURRENDERS

Malayalam film comedian Jagathi Sreekumar surrendered before the judicial first class magistrate, Ernakulam, on 8th October in connection with the case of sexual exploitation of a minor girl a few months ago. The actor had remained in hiding for over a month. He is one of the 40 suspects in the serial raping of a teenager of Vithura. Sreekumar had a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him.

The court remanded him to judicial custody till October 22. The court had thrice rejected the anticipatory bail of the actor.

Incidentally, the actor has been put in the same cell in the Ernakulam sub-jail where he had been locked up a few months ago for a scene in Punnaram. In the film, he played an innocent man charged with a crime.

DIWALI HAT-TRICK!

Believe it or not, but all the three big films — Ghatak, Raja Hindustani and Sapoot — scheduled for release on Diwali are being distributed in Overseas circuit by Kishore Lulla. While the former two are his acquisitions, Sapoot was acquired by ABCL but will be released thru Lulla’s office.

DO YOU KNOW?

* Aamir Khan and Sunil Shetty’s careers will be managed by ABCL now. Into celebrity management now, ABCL has taken up the work of these two heroes as its first assignment. More actors are likely to hand over their careers for management to ABCL, it is rumoured.

* Johnny Walker campaigned for H.D. Deve Gowda’s party in Hardoi on 5th October and regaled the audience in his famous filmi style. He even delivered some of his famous dialogues from popular films of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies.

YOU ASKED IT

Will the Bombay distributor of Khamoshi lose money in the film?

– No way. The tax-free advantage will see him through. Even otherwise, the film did reasonably well in major cities of Maharashtra. The share from Liberty cinema (Bombay) alone has crossed 25 lakh.

When South films are being dubbed by the dozen, what is the point in buying their Hindi remaking rights at fancy prices?

– Sometimes, South film producers do not sell dubbing rights and offer only remaking rights. Then, a South film may need to be changed to suit Hindi film audience tastes. There’s also the fear that the South Indian artistes may not be accepted by the Hindi film audience.

What is the future of non-star cast films in general?

– Considering the high admission rates in cinemas and consequent high theatre rentals, it is rather difficult for completely new star cast films to be able to stand their own, generally speaking. Exceptions, of course, cannot be ruled out.

MIX MASALA

ZORDAAR IDEA?

Perhaps, with a view to making the film not appear as stale as it actually is, the makers of Zordaar did away with the faces of the heroines completely in many of the street publicities of the film. Govinda and Aditya Pancholi are shown prominently on the publicities but Neelam and Mandakini are conspicuous by their absence!

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Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

A Question Of Strength, Not Weakness

So, the question which still remains is: will they or won’t they? And, more important, should all the three films come together on Diwali?

While the benefit of the Diwali period doesn’t need to be emphasised, it is also true that if all the three — Ghatak, Raja Hindustani and Sapoot — came together, they would cut into one another’s revenues. The loss because of this may more than offset the gain due to the festival period. If this happens, the very purpose of releasing the films on Diwali will be defeated.

Besides, will the all-India distributors of all the three films get the requisite chains of cinemas for their films? What do they think of the triple releases?

Ideally, the producers of all the three films should do some rethinking. Ego hassles should take a backseat. One producer must definitely postpone his release by two weeks. He should not fear that his postponement will be misinterpreted as his film’s weakness. In fact, it should be interpreted as the concerned producer’s strength. Who will be the strong one? Or will there be one at all?

To The Point

The dispute over the price of Ghatak for the Eastern circuit defies solution. The producer has gone to the court (Bombay high court) and the hearing is fixed for 25th October.

* * *

Ram Gopal Varma, whose Telugu horror film, Dayyam, did not do well at the box-office, has reshot portions in the second half and dubbed the film in Tamil. Let’s see, how it fares in Tamil.


* * *

Ram Gopal Varma is leaving no stone unturned to make his Daud a worthy successor to Rangeela. A ‘hot hot’ song was being picturised for the film earlier this week at Mehboob Studios on a jungle set on Sanjay Dutt and a skimpily clad Urmila Matondkar. The Zahreelay Zahreelay song sounded like a hit. Yes, the music is by A.R. Rahman.

* * *

There’s high talk of the fiery dialogues in Ghatak. And of Sunny Deol’s role as well as performance. And yes, the folders of Ghatak, which came along with the copies of Film Information last week, were in news as well as in demand.

* * *

The Shaher ki ladki and Sundara Sundara songs of Rakshak are going great guns. Their popularity should ensure the film a terrific opening.

* * *

Yet another song that’s bound to top the popularity charts is Chappa chappa charkha chale from Gulzar’s Maachis. Not only is Vishal Bhardwaj’s music excellent, its picturisation is also wonderful.

* * *

– Komal Nahta

FLASHBACK | 1 October, 2021
(From our issue dated 5th October, 1996)

SHASTRA

Nariman Pictures’ Shastra (UA) is a usual vendetta film. It is the story of a young college student whose parents were murdered when he was a kid. He sets out to hunt for the murderer as he wants to seek revenge. After a lot of efforts, he finally learns who the killer was and kills him.

The story is not one bit novel, and the screenplay, too, is quite routine. The main drawback in the drama is that although the young lad comes in search of his parents’ murderer, he makes no conscious effort, after a point of time, to track him down. Of course, this realisation does dawn upon him, too, and it is sought to be passed off as proper through a dialogue, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Even when the identity of the killer is finally exposed, it is not because of any effort of the lad.

On the other hand, the comedy punches in the film are enjoyable. Dialogues add to the fun in comic scenes. Some action scenes are exciting. One important ingredient of a commercial masala film, which Shastra is designed as, is totally missing even though there was scope for it, and that is emotions. The pain suffered by the boy due to the death of his parents simply doesn’t come through, maybe, because there are hardly a couple of scenes of the boy with his parents. As a result, the audience does not feel sorry for the boy. The romantic track in the film is also not well developed.

Sunil Shetty acts quite well. He is very good in action scenes. Anjali Jathar looks ordinary, performs reasonably well and dances very ably. Anupam Kher seems totally disinterested in his work and is too mechanical to be true. His absence in some scenes tells glaringly of his date problems. Danny Denzongpa should have been given more scope. He does a good job in a relatively brief role. Mohan Joshi is alright. Mushtaq Khan is the surprise packet and shows a wonderful flair for comedy with his good sense of timing. Dinesh Hingoo, Kunika, Farida Jalal, Sanjeeva, Jack Gaud, Ankush Mohit, Achyut Potdar, Himani Shivpuri, Avtar Gill and the others lend good support. Ashwini Bhave lends sex appeal in a dance number.

Direction is okay. While the narration is fair, the director should have concentrated more on the scripting too. Aadesh Srivastava’s music is superb. ‘Kya ada kya jalwe’ is the best song and is super-hit. But it has been on the charts for so long that its popularity goes against it, as it gives the feeling that the film has been delayed. ‘Ladki deewani’ is also very well tuned and its picturisation is the best. ‘Kuchh hua re hua’ is sexily picturised. Camerawork is eye-filling. Editing leaves something to be desired, especially in the first half. Background score and sound effects are of a good standard. Action scenes are quite good. The climax fight (in the water pool), although visually very appealing, is not as exciting as a final fight should be.

On the whole, Shastra has a good musical score and appreciable initial value but ordinary merits to prove an average fare.

Released on 4-10-’96 at Minerva and 23 other cinemas of Bombay thru Tridev Movies. Publicity: excellent. Opening: fair. …….Also released all over. Opening was good in most of the circuits.

LATEST POSITION

Rains in many parts of the country affected box-office collections adversely. Elections in U.P. also affected collections there.

Diljale has not been appreciated except, to some extent, in the North. Its heavy price will see several of its distributors (except of East Punjab and Rajasthan) incurring losses. 1st week Bombay 40,23,817 (93.66%) from 14 cinemas (10 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 6,60,589 from 4 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Bharuch (gross) 2,13,368, Rajkot 1,76,310 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Jamnagar (matinee) 18,690 (1 in regular unrecd.); Pune 10,25,256 from 7 cinemas (1 in matinee), Kolhapur 1,88,000, Solapur 1,56,022, Nasik 1,82,736, Nasik Road 1,09,664, record; Belgaum 1,35,516 (100%) from 2 cinemas (1 in noon); Delhi 38,86,964 (86.98%) from 12 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,91,042 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,10,955, Agra 2,58,723, Hardwar 75,016, Gorakhpur 1,60,000 (82.01%); Amritsar 49,000; Calcutta 22,01,691 from 16 cinemas; Nagpur 5,73,629 from 5 cinemas, Amravati 1,90,391, city record, Akola 1,40,268, Raipur 1,31,355 (66.72%), Bhilai 1,05,174 from 2 cinemas, Jalgaon 1,37,025, Wardha (6 days) 72,612, Bilaspur 1,78,888 from 2 cinemas; Indore 73,287 (4 on F.H.), Bhopal 3,79,540 from 3 cinemas; Jaipur 7,79,200 from 5 cinemas, Ajmer (29 shows) 1,23,598, theatre record, Bikaner 2,73,217, theatre record; Hyderabad 24,07,531 from 11 cinemas (4 on F.H.), share 13,60,531 (including F.H.). Total: 1,96,89,074 from 106 cinemas. Average: 1,85,746 per cinema.

………….

YOU ASKED IT

At what ratio is Feroz Khan’s Prem Aggan selling? When will it roll and when will it be released?

– Between 1.75 and 2 crore. The film will go before the camera in December this year, and Feroz Khan wants to release it on Diwali next year.

Why did Ajay Devgan’s Diljale not take house-full opening at many places last week?

– Perhaps, because the trailers of the film, beamed on satellite channels before the film’s release, were musical trailers, while Ajay Devgan has an action image.

How big a hit is Khamoshi in the Overseas circuit?

A major hit! It is, perhaps, next only to HAHK..! and DDLJ there.

SARDARMULL KANKARIA RE-ELECTED
EIMPA PRESIDENT

Sardarmull Kankaria was re-elected president of the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) at the first meeting of its newly elected executive committee held on 1st October in Calcutta. L.C. Bakliwal and N.L. Bhalotia were elected vice presidents, and Raj Kumar Damani, hon. treasurer.

Earlier, at its annual general meeting held on 24th September, the following were elected to the executive committee: Pronob Kumar Bose, Kamal Kumar Bhalotia, Ajit Bhattacharya, Krishna Narayan Daga (chairman, producers’ section, West Bengal), Ashok Chakraborty, Shankar Kumar Dutta, Bhabesh Ch. Kundu, Sishir Kumar Dutta, Nawal Kishore Tharad, Rathin Majumdar, Janab M.A.K. Sayeed, Lalit Kumar Kankaria, Joy Bakliwal, Janab Md. Reyaz, Bikash Ranjan Chandra, Tapash Kumar Ghosh, Girish Mansata, Dipindra Krishna Mitra (chairman, exhibitors’ section, West Bengal), Paresh Parekh, B.L. Goenka, Pinaki Mukherjee (chairman, producers’ section), Rabin Chowdhury (chairman, distributors’ section) and Pradip Dey (chairman, exhibitors’ section).

DO YOU KNOW?

RELIGIOUS TOUCH

* The Telugu film, AMMORU, is creating havoc at Jayshree, Bijapur. The film has an aarti in the second half, which enchants the audience to such an extent that many among them start dancing to its tune. The screening invariably gets interrupted because the more devout among the viewers distribute prasad and kumkum in the auditorium. After this distribution, the screening begins again. What’s more, a special temple has been built in the cinema compound, where all cinegoers pay their respects before seeing the film!

HARISH SUGHAND HURT IN CAR ACCIDENT

Harish Sughand of Glamour, Bombay, met with a serious accident at Lokhandwala Complex on 29th September. A truck, coming from the opposite direction, rammed into the car Harish was driving. The accident could have proved fatal for Harish who had a Providential escape. His face was badly injured and he had to be rushed to Nanavati Hospital. He underwent surgery on 2nd October.

‘Shastra’ Released After Much Tension

How Shastra made it to the cinema halls all over India this week is an interesting story. Well, actually, it almost didn’t, thanks to the non-cooperative attitude of CBFC regional officer Sanjeevani Kutty. Ms. Kutty was to verify the cuts offered by the examining committee to the film but she was out of India for the whole of last week. Reportedly, she had made it expressly clear that she would personally verify the cuts. Even if she hadn’t made this clear, no official of the CBFC was ready to verify the cuts in her absence, which resulted in unnecessary delay of one week.

On Monday, September 30, the cuts and the video cassette of the film were submitted to her but the video cassette was not clear. A fresh cassette had to be prepared and some cuts weren’t executed as suggested. The producers were to submit the fresh cuts and cassette on Tuesday but thanks to lack of planning, they delayed the submission by some hours. This seems to have infuriated Ms. Kutty so much that she declined to see the cassette that day and asked the producers to come for the certificate on Thursday (Oct. 3) since 2nd October was a holiday (Gandhi Jayanti). No amount of pleading by the producers made Ms. Kutty change her stubborn stand. AMPTPP president Pahlaj Nihalani drove all the way from Film City to Liberty cinema, where Ms. Kutty was viewing a film on Tuesday, and requested her to sign the certificate that day as the producers had fixed their release on 4th, but Ms. Kutty failed to oblige. Incidentally, the producers of Shastra are not members of the AMPTPP, but of the IMPPA. Reportedly, CBFC chairman Shakti Samanta also spoke to Ms. Kutty but he did not meet with any success either. According to Bipin Savla, financial adviser to the producers of Shastra, when they approached Shakti Samanta last week, apprehending last-minute tension, he assured them of all help and even asked them to go ahead with their release plans of 4th October.

On 2nd October, the producers held a meeting with their all-India distributors, who were in Bombay for the film’s delivery, at Adlabs to decide on whether the release should be postponed. It was finally decided to release it on 4th. In U.P., C.P. and C.I., where films are released on Thursdays, Shastra was delayed by a day, and released only on Friday. Advance booking at cinemas of Bombay could start only on Thursday, a day before the release.

It took a lot of coaxing by Pahlaj Nihalani to make the Overseas distributor, Arjandas Lulla, agree to release the film abroad next week. It was also thanks a great deal to Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs whose ever-helpful nature made the release this week possible. Besides Pahlaj, others who were present at the meeting at Adlabs were Santosh Singh Jain, G.S. Mayawala and K.D. Shorey.

NEW FACES AT ZEE

Zee Network has appointed Dr. Chandra Prakash as its president – programming. He will be responsible to the CEO. Vishnu Patel is the general manager – productions and he will look after the in-house productions of Zee Network channels. Mrs. Karuna Samtani has been made director – events. Nayana Dasgupta continues to look after the creative aspects of El TV. Sunita Chaswal is the sr. manager – programming, and Rajesh Mishra, sr. manager – commercial.

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Education-Entertainment-Enlightenment

‘Fireworks’ Moranis’ Diwali Offering

The Moranis are famous for their fireworks. But this Diwali, it is not just with their fire crackers that the Moranis will want to make a mark. Their Raja Hindustani will also hit the screens on Diwali. So these rajas of fireworks are now praying that like every Hindustani is enthralled by their Diwali crackers, they also get mesmerised by the film.

Ramgopal Varma’s ‘Tamasha’

Imagine Urmila Matondkar and a youthful N.T. Rama Rao together. There are posters showing this pair, pasted all over Andhra. The colourful posters have been put up by Ramgopal Varma’s new music company, Varma Audio. The company’s maiden audio release is ‘Tamasha’, a compilation of rehashed old and new generation Telugu film songs, peppered with value-addition like digital sound. And that’s why the posters show NTR of the old generation, and Urmila, the current heartthrob.

Boney Bags Blockbuster’s Remaking Rights

There were at least ten producers from Bombay in the race to acquire the Hindi remaking rights of the latest Tamil blockbuster, Kadhal Kottai (which means Love Fort). Boney Kapoor finally managed to bag the rights from Ramu, son of Sivaji Ganesan and brother of actor Prabhu, at a phenomenal price — over 60 lakh! ABCL, Ketan Desai, David Dhawan, Sajid Nadiadwala, Venus, Mansoor Ahmed Siddiqui, D. Rama Naidu…. they were all trying to lure Ramu with fancy prices for the Hindi remaking rights but, as Boney Kapoor puts it, “my charm worked”. Adds Boney, “Many are apt to say that my manipulation did the trick, but that’s wrong. It’s my charm, I’m sure.” Kadhal Kottai will now be remade in Hindi by Boney Kapoor jointly with Gautam Kumar, Nitin Manmohan, Sunil Manchanda and Mukul Anand (all four represented by Neha-MAD Films Combines). Surinder Kapoor will present the film. Editor A. Muthu reportedly saw Kadhal Kottai at least four or five times. Its hero, Ajith Kumar, has shot to stardom after its release. College students and youngsters have taken a great liking to the film. Incidentally, Ajith Kumar’s earlier hit, Aasai, also gave him a celebrity status. Kadhal Kottai stars two heroines opposite Ajith. In the Hindi remake, it will be Sanjay Kapoor playing the male lead. His two leading ladies are to be finalised.

Superhit Muqabala?

In June 1990, it was Sunny Deol’s Ghayal and Aamir Khan’s Dil which were released on the same day. Six years later, the two actors will be pitted against each other once again. On Diwali this year, Aamir’s Raja Hindustani and Sunny’s Ghatak are due for release. In 1990, Dil had been released in Bombay at Novelty, and Ghayal, at Metro. Raja Hindustani will come at Metro, and Ghatak, at Minerva.

It Could Be You Tomorrow

What happened with the producers of Shastra earlier this week should shake each and every producer. And shock him too.

The obstinate stand of the regional officer of the CBFC, Bombay, who refused to sign the censor certificate of the film on 1st October even though its release was scheduled for 4th October, was totally uncalled for. Even if one were to agree that the producers, whose approach to the submission of cuts etc. was lackadaisical, were not free from blame, the ‘punishment’ meted out by the regional officer of the CBFC was far excessive than warranted by the ‘crime’. One doesn’t give capital punishment to a petty pick-pocket who flicks a 10-rupee note from somebody’s pocket.

Regional officer Ms. Sanjeevani Kutty closed her eyes to reality and seemed to be least concerned about the practical problems of the producers who had fixed their release for the immediately following Friday, of distributors all over India, who had booked their chains of cinemas, of exhibitors who would not have any film to run if the release of Shastra were to be cancelled at the last moment. And yes, in ignoring all this, Ms. Kutty seems to have forgotten that her absence from India had, in fact, started the delay, because while she was away for the whole of last week, nobody at the CBFC office was ready to verify the cuts of the film, offered by the examining committee. This, by implication, would mean that had Ms. Kutty decided to return to India one more week later, the producers would have had to, perhaps, postpone their release!

The regional officer might ask, why producers do not keep a fair margin between the censorship of their films and their release. The only reply one can give to that question is that by the time the producer has completed his film and readied it for release, he is exhausted of all his finances and his stamina. There may be exceptions among producers but we’re talking generally. The regional officer may say, that’s not her problem. Fine, let that not be your problem, madame, but please don’t create new problems for the poor producer.

There have been any number of instances in the past, of regional officers going out of their way to help a producer in distress, to meet his release schedule. Ms. Kutty could have signed the censor certificate on Tuesday. In the alternative, she could have volunteered to view the video cassette and sign the censor certificate on October 2, as a special case. If we can have vacation judges, expecting a regional officer to work for an hour on a holiday isn’t too much.

CBFC chairman Shakti Samanta could have asserted his position as chairman and made sure that the censor certificate was handed over to the producers on Tuesday or, at least, Wednesday.

The case of Shastra should make producers think. Today it was Shastra, tomorrow it could be somebody else. What is the guarantee that another producer will not be made to suffer like the producers of Shastra? And what a parodox. Shastra means ‘a weapon’! But its makers had no weapon to fight the avoidable delay.

– Komal Nahta