FLASHBACK | 9 February, 2024
(From our issue dated 13th February, 1999)


Inderjit Films Combine’s Daag The Fire (A) is the story of a criminal lawyer who uses his intelligence to shield and save criminals from the clutches of law and judiciary. He uses his legal prowess to support the evil designs of his father-in-law and his cronies. In one such case, he proves in court an honest municipal commissioner to be corrupt and has him imprisoned. His father-in-law then has the municipal commissioner killed in jail. This infuriates the son of the deceased and he sets out to kill the lawyer. But instead, it is the lawyer’s beloved wife who falls prey to his bullets. The lawyer loses his mental balance and it takes a nautch girl, who is a look-alike of his wife, to bring him back to normalcy. The lawyer takes her to be his wife but soon learns of his real wife’s death and he gets married to the look-alike to repay her for her sacrifices to cure him. What’s more, the lawyer, after treatment, becomes a noble soul and sets out to correct the wrongs done by him earlier. So while the municipal commissioner’s son is thirsting for the lawyer’s blood, the lawyer himself tries to prove, in the court of law, the late commissioner not guilty. Ultimately, the son and the lawyer join hands to eliminate the lawyer’s father-in-law and his evil friends.

The film has an unusual story coupled with incidents that’ve been seen earlier. But it must be said to director Raj Kanwar’s credit that his narration is fresh and the film’s tempo is so fast that it doesn’t give the audience a chance to think. It is because of this that several cinematic liberties are overlooked by the audience. The portion in which the lawyer loses his mental equilibrium is, however, a bit loose but the comedy scenes there save the film from falling too much.

The film has all the masala for every class of audience — there’s romance, sex, emotions, action, comedy and hit music. Further, all these ingredients are quite well balanced to make the film a truly enjoyable fare. Dialogues (Jainendra Jain) are very good at many places. Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana’s screenplay is good.

Sanjay Dutt shines in action scenes and draws loud applause in several of them. His entry is superb. He acts quite well. Chandrachur Singh impresses a great deal in the first half and is fair after interval. Mahima Chaudhry is first-rate in a double role. She gets into the skin of both the characters and delivers a performance that’s remarkably brilliant. As the nautch girl, especially, she is superb, never once going overboard. Considering that this is only her second film, Mahima deserves to be applauded for such excellence. Her confrontation scene with Raj Babbar is clapworthy. Raj Babbar makes an effective villain. Mohan Joshi, Deepak Shirke and Harish Patel lend just  about average support as the other villains. Shakti Kapoor is so-so. Sushma Seth is lovable. Himani Shivpuri impresses in a brief role. Sachin Khedekar is very appealing. Shivaji Satam excels as the municipal commissioner. Neena Kulkarni is natural to the core. Vishwajeet Pradhan, Achyut Potdar and Arpita lend able support. Johny Lever and Kunika’s comedy is entertaining and provides wonderful relief.

Raj Kanwar’s direction is intelligent. Not only has he extracted excellent work from his main cast, he has also balanced the script ably and given plenty of masala to the audience. Rajesh Roshan’s music is hit. ‘Pyar humein pyar tum’, ‘Dil deewana’, ‘Dil dhadke’, ‘Pardesiya’ and ‘Lucky kabootar’ are all hit/above average numbers. Song picturisations are pretty lavish. Both, Chandrachur and Mahima, have danced gracefully. Editing is crisp. Sets (R. Verman) are eye-filling. Action (Bhiku Verma) is superb. Background score is very effective.

On the whole, Daag The Fire may have quite a few oft-repeated incidents but its music, performances, action and wonderful narration will see it fetch bountiful returns to its distributors and producers. Class A.

Released on 12-2-’99 at Eros and 17 other cinemas of Bombay by Inderjit Films Combine thru Shringar Films. Publicity: bumper (and very appropriate). Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening outside Bombay was extraordinary.


Film Works India’s Bombay Boys (A; dubbed from the English film of the same name) is the story of three guys who come to Bombay — one to become an actor, the second, to make it as a musician, and the third, to look for his lost brother. The film deals with their experiences in this crazy city. The drama is an exaggerated account of the happenings in the lives of the three guys. The story moves on three different tracks and skips between them at irregular intervals. The treatment is of the kind which would appeal to the class audience in big cities only. Obscenities are liberally thrown in and they could tickle the audience. The film is raw and that’s its biggest plus point. Comedy is subtle at times and hilarious at other times. The flavour of the film is totally ‘Bambaiya’.

Naveen Andrews is excellent. Rahul Bose, too, does a superb job. Alexander Gifford is quite nice. But Naseeruddin Shah takes the cake. As a film producer, he is splendid and immensely likeable. Tara Deshpande is natural to the core. Roshan Seth does fairly well. Other artistes lend good support.

Kaizad Gustad’s direction is excellent, given the theme he has selected. Music is appealing, again more for the Bombay audience. Camerawork is fantastic. Dubbing is very appropriate.

On the whole, Bombay Boys is good for Bombay, Maharashtra and Southwards mainly, but has dull chances in Northern and other parts of India.

Released on 12-2-’99 at Sundaram cinema of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: so-so (for dubbed version). Opening: weak. …….Also released in Delhi-U.P. and Rajasthan.


The bumper opening of DAAG THE FIRE this week has spread joy in the industry. Heavy rains in some parts of Maharashtra adversely affected the box-office.


Aa Ab Laut Chalen picked up in Delhi after tax-exemption. It is good in Nizam. 3rd week Bombay 22,78,564 (64%) from 7 cinemas (5 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 2,46,691 from 4 cinemas, 1st week Patan 1,43,507, 3rd week Jamnagar 77,890, total 3,30,385; Pune 6,36,627 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 93,908; Delhi (tax-free from 8th Feb.) 18,40,558 from 6 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,11,681 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,02,229, Agra 85,250, Varanasi 81,676, Allahabad 68,600, Meerut 1,04,947, Dehradun 1,28,000, Hardwar 25,218; Calcutta (6 days) 4,15,709 from 5 cinemas; Nagpur 1,30,182 from 2 cinemas, Jabalpur 82,280, total 2,04,446, Amravati 1,01,751, Raipur 89,049, Bhilai 36,063, Jalgaon 64,048, 1st week Chandrapur 1,50,170, 3rd Bilaspur 52,424; Indore 85,000 (1 on F.H.), 1st week Bhopal 1,21,000; 3rd week Jaipur 1,64,773, 2nd Bikaner 26,370; 3rd week Hyderabad (gross) 9,25,969 from 6 cinemas (2 in noon); 1st week Guntur (gross, 5 days) 95,866.

Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain is class A1 in Bombay and ranges from BB to A in other circuits except in Rajasthan where it is losing. 3rd week Bombay 36,36,373 (78.05%) from 10 cinemas (6 on F.H.); 1st week Vasai (gross) 3,08,329; 3rd week Ahmedabad 5,71,074 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.), Jamnagar 84,721, total 3,08,864; Pune 8,23,093 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 1,90,788; Belgaum 87,968; Delhi 19,25,519 from 7 cinemas; Kanpur 2,65,855 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,25,080, 2nd week Agra 2,10,000, 3rd Varanasi 1,14,776, Allahabad 1,12,216, Meerut 1,47,040, Dehradun 1,46,002, Hardwar 44,104, total 1,96,667; Calcutta (6 days) 6,37,611 from 5 cinemas; Nagpur 4,02,733 from 3 cinemas, Jabalpur 90,401, total 3,67,665, Amravati 1,40,290, Akola 1,05,577, total 3,87,440, Dhule 76,151, total 2,98,017, Bhilai 1,11,826, 1st week Jalgaon 1,60,047, 3rd week Gondia (gross) 74,240, Chandrapur 1,09,193, total 4,37,501, Bilaspur 1,07,015; Jaipur 2,25,152, Ajmer (gross) 1,03,984, 2nd week Bikaner 93,914; 3rd Hyderabad (gross) 6,79,357 from 4 cinemas (1 in noon).


Tej Raftaar (dubbed) ran for 1 week at Dombivli (Bombay), now opened in city; doing well in Gujarat and Saurashtra; 1st week Dharwad 41,957; Delhi 2,77,435 (59.78%); Kanpur 71,953, Agra 1,02,000; Nagpur 1,05,972, 2nd week Amravati 38,328, 1st week Akola 1,32,850; 2nd week Indore 94,000; 1st week Jaipur 1,90,831.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 17th week Bombay 13,41,995 (43.59%) from 5 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 1,48,203 from 2 cinemas, Baroda 88,507, 3rd week Cambay 79,543, total 2,52,232, 1st week Deesa 82,602; 17th week Pune 5,57,508 from 4 cinemas (1 in matinee), Solapur 33,553; Delhi 1,97,296 (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 1,28,125 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,25,455, Agra 38,872, Allahabad 34,800, Dehradun 45,436; Calcutta (6 days) 1,37,310; Nagpur 68,491, 4th week Kamptee 38,282, total 2,38,533, 12th week Jabalpur 97,137, total 21,17,289, 17th week Amravati (6 days) 49,355, Akola 49,105, total 17,14,827, 4th week Durg (5 days) 33,082, 5th week Balaghat 40,384, total 3,16,206; 17th week Indore (6 days) 55,000; Jaipur 4,02,677; Hyderabad (gross) 4,40,999 from 3 cinemas (1 in noon, 1 on F.H.).


Rishi Kapoor’s Aa Ab Laut Chalen has been granted exemption from payment of entertainment tax in Delhi. The collections in the capital city have shown a marked improvement following the tax-free rates of admission.


A new cinema, Shivalaya, opened at Anand (in Gujarat) on 12th February with Tej Raftaar (dubbed). Air-conditioned and equipped with Dolby Stereophonic sound system, the cinema has a seating capacity of 391.


What, according to you, contributed to the bumper opening of Daag The Fire this week?

– Excellent promotion, hit music and Sanjay Dutt. The last few films of Sanjay Dutt may not have worked but if you remember, even his DAUD had taken a very good start.

Will Kajol continue to act in films after becoming Mrs. Devgan?

– Kajol is definitely committed to doing Rahul Rawail’s film. It will start some time in April.

Will Sarfarosh definitely be released in April? Any under-production reports?

– SARFAROSH is being readied for April release. John Mathew Mathan, an ad filmmaker of Bombay (not Delhi, as mentioned in an item in the 3-E column in our issue last week) has made a very good film, insiders say.


* This is a strange coincidence. The Tamil film, UNNIDATHIL YENNAI KODUTHTHEN, was directed by Vikraman. And now its Hindi remake will be directed by Vikram Bhatt.

* For the first time in the history of Punjabi films, as many as 14 prints of a film — Manjit Maan’s SHAHEED-E-MOHABBAT BOOTA SINGH — have been released this week in Overseas (by Jupiter Enterprises). The film is doing very well in Punjab.

* The Gujarat-Surashtra distributor of TEJ RAFTAAR has been adding a fresh print every week. He started out with 7 prints, had 8 in the second week, 9 in the third week, and 10 in the fourth week. A rise every week with tej raftaar!

* Chandan cinema, Juhu, Bombay, has become the first cinema in India to install a 3-way Dolby digital sound system. It has been fully renovated and now has plush cushioned seats.


‘Kachche Dhaage’, Pucca Record

Ajay Devgan’s distribution office in Bombay has plans to release Kachche Dhaage next week in a total of 101 cinemas simultaneously in the entire circuit. If the target is met — and it seems very likely that it will be — this would be the highest number of cinemas in which a film is released in the first week. Incidentally, Ajay Devgan has his hands full for 1999, as distributor. Besides Kachche Dhaage, he will be releasing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, his own Dil Kya Kare, Nitin Manmohan’s Chal Mere Bhai and Aankh Micholee and J.P. Dutta’s Refugee.

Lucknow Exhibitors Trying Luck Now In Distribution

Two big-time exhibitors of U.P. have become distributors and have jointly acquired two big films for Delhi-U.P. The two exhibitors are Ajay Gupta of Novelty cinema, Lucknow, and Vijay Kumar Sahu of Sahu cinema, Lucknow. They’ve purchased the distribution rights of Venus’ Shah Rukh starrers, Badshah and Josh, in their partnership concern, A.V. Films Combine. Let’s hope, these two exhibitors of Lucknow prove lucky now in distribution too.

‘Daag’: A 100% Spotless Record

With Raj Kanwar’s Daag The Fire having opened to full and over-capacity houses this week and the reports also being extremely encouraging, the title Daag has proved to be lucky for the third time. The first time a film of this title was made was in 1952. Directed by Amiya Chakraborty, the B & W Daag starred Dilip Kumar, Usha Kiran and Nimmi. Like its music (Shankar Jaikishen), the film, too, was a runaway hit. The second Daag (in colour) was made in 1973 by Yash Chopra. It too proved to be a blockbuster. This one starred Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Raakhee, and had hit music by Laxmikant Pyarelal. While the earlier two Daags had two heroines each, the new Daag has one heroine (Mahima Chaudhry) but in a double role; heroes are two — Sanjay Dutt and Chandrachur Singh.