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


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

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

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

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

On the whole, Sanam is a weak fare.

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

44th National Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


What is the estimated loss likely to be in Mrityudaata?

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

– AFZAL KHAN on ‘Mahaanta

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

Why did you think of re-shooting so heavily?

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

How long did it take you to re-shoot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much was your film complete when Sanjay was jailed?

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

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

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

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

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

– Komal Nahta


The Hit Pair

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

Enter The Ad Film People

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

Of Luck — Good And Bad

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

Involvement, Not Interference

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

Panic Everywhere…

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

…And Confusion At Places

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

In Defence Of ‘Border’

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

Barter Exchange

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