Varma Corporation Ltd.’s Daud (A) is a film which has a thin story but more of anecdotes, incidents and items. The hero is a criminal, and the heroine — a club dancer — joins hands with him in his criminal activities. They begin to love each other even as they are on the run from the police who is chasing them for the theft of a box of gold biscuits (which ultimately turns out to be a box containing a neutron bomb). The story writer and director have taken the audience too much for granted in assuming that enjoyable comedy punches can make up for a poor story-line. But the fact is that while the comedy is entertaining at several places and even hilarious at some, the lack of a proper story as also weak characterisations are too big a drawback to be overlooked or compensated. In fact, the whole drama starts looking farcical, more so in the second half, due to the abovesaid shortcomings. Even the comedy itself is not throughout of the kind which can be understood and enjoyed by the masses. At times, it has a flavour which would appeal only to the elite audience.
While the first half is fairly good, especially the scenes in which the hero and heroine play the game of one-upmanship, the portion after interval has some silly twists and turns which make the screenplay look like a childish attempt. The policemen are often shown as idiots, incapable of achieving anything. The revelation of the suspense towards the end does not create the desired impact (of shock or bewilderment). Climax is too weak to be true. There is also too much repetition, especially after interval. Scenes are also lengthy and that sometimes dilutes the impact of the humour.
Sanjay Dutt looks superb (his physique is mind-blowing) and also performs excellently. He springs a pleasant surprise by doing a swell job in comedy. He has also danced very well. Urmila Matondkar is sexy as ever, exudes glamour and oomph and acts just too wonderfully. Her dances are a delight to watch. In fact, Sanjay and Urmila make a good pair and both lend more credence to the otherwise unbelievable story, with their natural performances, although their characters are quite sketchy and ill-defined. Paresh Rawal plays the eccentric villain with effortless ease and deserves distinction marks for a job ably done. Neeraj Vora is natural to the core but he has been given an unduly lengthy role which can be easily trimmed. Ashish Vidyarthi is sincere although it must be said that he deserved a better role. Manoj Bajpai, Sumukhi Pendse, Ram Mohan, Rana Jung Bahadur and the others lend adequate support.
Ramgopal Varma has made a technically outstanding film, his shot takings being remarkable. But he has relied too heavily on comic incidents but has overlooked the value of a good and coherent script and strong characterisations. As a result, the film looks like a body beautiful in which the soul is missing. Sanjay Chhel’s dialogues are brilliant, and some scenes are also remarkable (for instance, the one in which the hero and heroine fool each other by giving false names, the one where they go to shop for clothes, the one in which they spin a yarn to Chacko to hide their identities etc.). But then, the story, screenplay and overall impact leave a lot to be desired. Obviously, incidents and individually good items cannot act as a proxy for a plausible script.
A.R. Rahman’s music is good but since several songs are either dream sequences or without proper situations, their appeal on screen does not match their intrinsic worth. Song picturisations are lavish and a couple of them are extremely sexy. Musically, the title song, ‘Bhanvre’ and ‘Shabba shabba’ are the best numbers. Picturisations of ‘Zahreela’, ‘Saiyan’ and ‘Bhanvre’ songs are a visual treat. Background score is fabulous. Foreign locations are heavenly. and the camerawork is simply splendid. Sound effects in Dolby digital are fantastic.
On the whole, Daud is rich in technical aspects and poor in script and content. It has a tremendous initial value but not the potential to sustain. Its comedy, sex, grandeur, photography and Dolby digital sound will appeal to the city audience (that too, mainly to the youth and front-benchers), but it has precious little for the ladies and families. Considering its fantastic initial on the one hand and its high price on the other, it can be expected to sail safe in Bombay and South but will not find the going as smooth in other circuits.
Released on 22-8-’97 at New Excelsior and 23 other cinemas of Bombay by Varma Corporation Ltd. thru Shringar Films. Publicity and opening: excellent (adversly affected in central suburbs due to torrential rains). …….Also released all over. Opening was excellent all over (at places, it was historic, being better then even Border) despite heavy rains at many places. However, a noticeable drop (partly due to rains) was observed on the second day at several stations of C.P. and C.I.
DAUD has taken a flying start this week everywhere. ….Heavy rains in different parts of the country are playing havoc with the collections.
Nobody seems to have fallen in love with …Aur Pyar Ho Gaya which has, therefore, been rejected almost everywhere. It has done quite well initially in cities like Bombay, Delhi and Hyderabad. 1st week Bombay 31,98,294 (83.77%) from 8 cinemas (7 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 10,19,193 from 9 cinemas, Baroda 1,67,053, Jamnagar 72,456; Pune 7,79,654 from 5 cinemas (2 in matinee), Solapur 1,89,241 (58.49%) from 2 cinemas; Delhi 38,39,198 (85.16%) from 10 cinemas (1 unrecd., 1 on F.H.); Kanpur 3,27,642 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,56,410, Allahabad 1,50,500, Meerut 1,43,424, Bareilly 1,03,413, Dehradun 1,47,342, Hardwar 35,000; Calcutta 16,11,929 from 13 cinemas; Nagpur 3,29,464 from 5 cinemas, Bhilai 1,80,133 from 2 cinemas, Khandwa 49,862; Indore 2,14,307 (4 on F.H.), Bhopal 2,44,876 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 6,00,184 from 4 cinemas (1 in noon); Hyderabad 25,40,223 from 16 cinemas (3 in noon), share 18 lakh (including MGs).
Mere Sapno Ki Rani meets with a nightmarish response almost all over. It is somewhat okay in Maharashtra. 1st week Bombay (6 days) 16,29,802 (67.88%) from 8 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 3,31,684 from 4 cinemas, Rajkot (mg. shows) 58,532, Jamnagar 84,000; Pune 3,19,299 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 1,39,304 (47.97%) from 2 cinemas; Delhi 7,83,760 (39.08%) from 7 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 67,672, Lucknow 79,728, Allahabad 63,500; Calcutta 5,29,351 from 6 cinemas; Nagpur 2,98,110 from 4 cinemas, Akola 1,00,070, Raipur 1,12,235 (51.68%), Bhilai 82,030, Durg 70,487, Jalgaon 1,19,275, Wardha 50,539; Indore 2,45,253 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 2,06,520 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 8,42,906 from 6 cinemas.
Pardes is steady at many places and is the only new film reaping the advantage of the holiday period. It is being liked by the families. 2nd week Bombay (6 days) 23,63,825 (85.36%) from 8 cinemas (9 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 6,15,159 from 3 cinemas, Padra 1,25,031, Bharuch (gross) 2,61,722, Rajkot 1,45,552 (1st 1,59,055), Jamnagar 61,687; Pune 10,15,526 from 3 cinemas, Solapur 1,80,000, Satara 1,35,154; Delhi 29,63,857 from 9 cinemas; Kanpur (6 days) 3,02,790 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,64,785, Allahabad 1,27,950, Meerut (6 days) 1,74,000, Bareilly (6 days) 1,16,036, Dehradun 1,56,000; Calcutta 15,63,531 from 19 cinemas; Nagpur 2,84,685 from 2 cinemas, Akola 1,50,380, total 3,29,109, Raipur (6 days) 1,31,502, Bhilai 1,06,800, 1st week Jalgaon 1,61,775; 2nd week Bhopal 2,49,050 from 2 cinemas, Ujjain 76,000; Jaipur 2,72,603; Hyderabad 7,20,474 from 3 cinemas; Vijayawada 2 weeks’ total 6,01,118.
Border 10th week Bombay (TF) 11,05,818 (74.03%) from 3 cinemas; Ahmedabad (TF) 3,05,435 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Baroda (TF) 64,318, Rajkot (TF, 14 shows) 1,12,629; Pune (TF) 4,60,972 from 3 cinemas, Solapur (TF, matinee) 38,095; Delhi 27,06,883 from 11 cinemas; Kanpur 1,44,842 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,61,677, Allahabad 75,000, Dehradun 83,370; Calcutta 68,314; Nagpur (TF) 1,29,697 from 2 cinemas, 1st week Kampthi (TF) 46,144, 10th week Amravati (TF) 1,18,037, total 15,88,116, Akola (TF) 66,372, total 11,76,129, Bhilai 53,053, 5th week Bhusawal (TF) 52,000, 3rd Gondia (TF) 60,620, total 2,26,890, 1st week Balaghat 90,713, 4th week Sagar (5 days) 48,558; 10th Indore 1,10,500, Bhopal 90,888; Jaipur 2,47,843 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 4,07,227 from 3 cinemas (1 in noon); Vijayawada 3 weeks’ total 6,40,089.
PRODUCERS INVITED TO SHOOT IN U.P.
Kalraj Misra, minister for tourism and PWD, Uttar Pradesh, and S. Shekhar Singh, principal secretary tourism & civil aviation, government of Uttar Pradesh, were in Bombay earlier this week and they hosted a dinner party on 20th August at Holiday Inn. The aim of their visit was to invite Bollywood producers to shoot in U.P. While details of assistance that would be extended to those shooting in the state were not given, it was emphasised by the hosts that producers would be extended all help for shooting in Uttar Pradesh.
STILL PHOTOGRAPHER GOES TO COURT
A still photographer has filed a suit for recovery of dues (of Rs. 3.46 lakh) and for damages (Rs. 4.5 lakh) from producer-director Ramgopal Varma. He has alleged that two cheques, given to him by Varma, had bounced. The photographer has also alleged that his still cameras were damaged while shooting stills of Daud in Australia and New Zealand.
‘MRITYUDAND’ GOING PLACES
Prakash Jha’s Mrityudand, presented by Manmohan Shetty in association with G.S. Mayawala, is going places — literally! An abridged version (115 minutes’ duration) of the film has been officially invited for participation at the following international film festivals: London International Film Festival (to be held in November this year), Bite The Mango Film Festival, Bradford (October). It has also been entered at Mar Del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina (November) and Viennale, Vienna, Austria (October).
NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN NO MORE
Famous Pakistani singer and composer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan expired in London on 16th August due to a heart attack. He was 49 years old and had not been keeping well since quite some time.
Nusrat, who had recorded some private albums in India, had scored music in …Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. By a quirk of fate, …Aur Pyar Ho Gaya had released just a day before his death. He had also composed the music for Bandit Queen. At the time of his death, he was scoring the music for Tips’ Kachche Dhaage and Firoz Nadiadwala’s Kartoos. In the last-named film, he was the music composer alongwith Anu Malik and Bally Sagoo. He had recently recorded the ‘Vande Mataram’ album with A.R. Rahman on the occasion of 50 years of India’s Independence.
EXTRA WIDE SCREEN AT NEW EXCELSIOR, BOMBAY
The wide screen at New Excelsior cinema, Bombay, where Daud opened this week, has been further widened. It has now, perhaps, become the widest screen in India.
YOU ASKED IT
Why has Sanjay Dutt starrer Daud taken a fantastic start while his earlier releases (after his release from jail) like Vijeta and Mahaanta did not take such an initial?
– The audience was aware that both, VIJETA and MAHAANTA, were among his stale films while DAUD is his first fresh film after his release from jail. Besides, DAUD has bewitching Urmila Matondkar, RANGEELA director Ramgopal Varma, A.R. Rahman and ultra-sexy promotional trailers to its credit.
No big film has clicked universally in a big way after Border. Will this see film prices come crashing down?
– It doesn’t seem likely that prices will come down in the near future. Yes, they won’t go up either.
What should be the ratio of an Akshay Kumar starrer, a Bobby Deol starrer and a Sunny Deol starrer?
– A Sunny Deol starrer can fetch 2 crore easily. A Bobby Deol starrer and an Akshay Kumar starrer can hope to fetch about a crore and 60 lakh respectively. But ratios also depend on other factors like director, banner, etc. Akshay’s MR. & MRS. KHILADI is selling for over a crore-and-a-half.
DO YOU KNOW?
* The holiday of 15th August is generally considered to be one of the best holidays of the year for the box-office, but collections on Independence day this year, generally speaking, weren’t too exciting. In a town like Jamnagar where collections on Fridays and Sundays are usually outstanding, both the releases of Independence Day (Friday, 15th August) did not draw full houses on Friday and Sunday. The low collections could have been due to the telecast of hit films on Doordarshan and the various satellite channels, which kept the audience at home on Independence Day. Sunday collections were low because by then, the reports of the two new releases (…AUR PYAR HO GAYA and MERE SAPNO KI RANI) had spread. In fact, PARDES recorded better collections on its 8th day than …APHG and MSKR on their first day at several places!
* DAUD has created a new record by collecting 39,946/- (100%) on the opening day at Uday, Akola.
* PARDES has created another theatre record at Apsara, Meerut, by collecting 1,74,000/- in 2nd week (6 days).
HERE & THERE
Heartburn In Pakistan Over Award To Dilip Kumar
The Pakistan government’s announcement on the eve of its 50th Independence Day to present India’s top star, Dilip Kumar, the Tamgha-e-Intiaz in recognition of his accomplishments, has caused heartburn among Pakistani stars and filmmakers. Some of them bitterly criticised the government decision openly. “The award should have been given to a Pakistani actor,” opined well-known Pakistani actress Mediah Shah. Actress-producer Shamim Araa was very angry and condemned the idea of giving the award to “an Indian”. A number of stars asked the government to admit the mistake and withdraw the award. However, poet Qatil Shifai was an exception who defended the choice of Dilip, saying, “I think, actors cut across the barriers of boundaries.” It is well-known that a number of songs written by Qatil have been used in Indian films.
In India too, a number of people and organisations are not happy with this award and they have asked Dilip Kumar not to accept it. The organisation working for Kashmiri Pandits, Panun Kashmir, has urged Dilip Kumar to refuse the award as Pakistan is responsible for their sufferings. However, Dilip Kumar has not heeded any such requests.
Controversy Over Film On Mother Teresa
A film on Mother Teresa, which was shot in Sri Lanka and not India as the government was not happy with the script, has now landed in a controversy. The Missionaries of Charity, with which Mother Teresa is attached, has officially denied giving permission for making the film as the permission given earlier was withdrawn in 1990. But author Dominique Lapierre insists that the contract is valid. The contract states that Mother Teresa granted “exclusive permission to undertake a motion picture which will portray my life and the work of the Missionaries of Charity, in the service of God’s poor.”
The controversy has arisen on two counts. First, the film, Mother Teresa: In The Name Of God’s Poor, is based on an unauthorised biography as the permission given first by Mother Teresa was withdrawn before the filming started, and second, the film, which is total Hollywood-ish, seems to be a blot on Mother’s life. Mother Teresa’s friends in America feel that the gushing, sentimentalised portrayal of her remarkable life is an attack on her dignity. This 10-million dollar film is expected to fetch over 40 million dollars to the makers, Hallmark Entertainment of producer Kevin Connor of America, famous for making unauthorised docu-dramas for the last 20 years. The film is scheduled to be released on American TV later this year and in Britain next year.
Doordarshan-STAR War Starts
Doordarshan, which never considered the popular Zee TV or rising Sony or Home TV its rival, is worried over STAR TV’s game of employing DD’s high profile employees though the viewership of STAR is negligible as yet. STAR TV is increasing the duration of its Hindi programmes every few months and has lapped up some famous producers and directors who made profitable projects for DD earlier. STAR has employed DD’s top employees like R. Basu and others on such high salaries that they voluntarily retired from government of India services without even taking benefits of pension. Now, the ministry of personnel, government of India, has issued a notice to R. Basu to resign from STAR within three days, and to STAR to relieve Basu within a fortnight. According to government rules, a retiring employee cannot join any commercial organisation of the same nature immediately without government’s permission. Basu is in no mood to resign from STAR and is set to fight it out. However, STAR is in an awkward position as it does not want to spoil its relations with the government. STAR is unable to understand why the government has taken such a step now though Basu joined a year earlier, and no notices have been issued to other employees like former additional director, I & B, G. Guha, former additional secretary, RAW, Bimal Bhalla, ex-DDG, Urmila Gupta and Indira Mansingh, and additional secretary, dept. of telecommunications, Som Chaturvedi, all of whom have joined STAR TV on high salaries. All the above people were ‘star’ employees of the government, who knew the in and out of government working.
If star prices and film prices have reached phenomenal heights in recent years, so have publicity budgets. Time was, not many years ago, when publicities of big films used to cost some lakhs. But today, publicity bills can run upto even a crore and more. Distributors too have started spending a lot more on publicity, like producers. In the case of recent releases like Pardes and Daud, the respective Bombay distributors spent about 30 lakh each towards pre-release publicities alone! Budgets for publicity have gone up despite so many television channels airing film trailers and other publicity programmes (like interviews of producers, directors, stars, technicians, shooting coverages etc.) free of cost. Alongwith rising expenditure on publicity have come newer forms and formats for the same. Backlit hoardings, which cost a heavy packet, are a recent trend, of the past two years to be precise. Decorating bus-stops in Bombay is the most recent concept. For Rangeela, Bombay distributors Shringar Films had arranged a laser show at Eros, Bombay, at the start of every show. For Daud, there is a live dance recital on the film’s title song before every show at New Excelsior, Bombay. With producers’ profit margins being so high, one can expect more innovative forms of even more expensive publicity in the days to come. After all, as the saying goes: ‘The more you yell, the better you sell.’
Two As From Two Disasters
It is a coincidence and a strange one at that. Among heroes, it’s Akshaye Khanna who has won people’s hearts, and among heroines, Aishwarya Rai has endeared herself to the audiences. But while both have been loved, their debut-making films have been resounding flops. Akshaye’s Himalay Putra bombed and so has Aishwarya’s …Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. Even if one were to consider the Tamil film Iruvar as the ex-Miss World’s first film, that too was a bomb. So we’ve got two brilliant talents out of two big bombs.
Two forthcoming films which give an exciting feeling to the public are Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai and Indra Kumar’s Ishq. Promotional trailers of both the films on satellite channels are being widely discussed in trade circles and among the public alike. Both are scheduled for release on Diwali.