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Jun 172008

The bigger our Indian movie stars, the greater the bullshit that falls from their lips on occasion.

The latest to earn the title of BS King is none other than our Ulaganayagan (Universal Hero) Kamal Haasan, whose embarrassingly bad Dasavatharam is now running on movie screens in several continents.

Some of Kamal’s recent comical statements suggest that while he may not have done a great job with the story of Dasavatharam, he’s indeed suitable for writing dialogs for Vadivelu and Vivek (two popular Tamil comedians).

According to NDTV, here’s what Kamal had to say at the launch of the audio for the film Kodaikanal:

The day when Hollywood would yearn for awards from India rather than (us) running behind the Oscars is not far off going by the improving quality of our films.

What is Kamal smoking? 

If Indian films are improving, it must indeed be a closely guarded secret Continue reading »

Jun 162008

Sarkar Raj has crashed at the U.S. box office in its second week.

This trashy Bollywood movie’s second weekend gross was down by 73.8%. (Please click here for Sarkar Raj opening weekend gross collection data.)

Featuring the three Bachchans, Sarkar Raj is a piece of trash from Ram Gopal Varma, the director who last year brought us one of the ugliest films ever made in the history of motion pictures – Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag.

Starring Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Sarkar Raj has all the ingredients of a disaster – pathetic performances by Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, so-so performance by Amitabh Bachchan, mediocre story, cliched dialogs, pedestrian photography and music, and bizarre chants (Govinda, Govinda).

In the overall ranking at the U.S. box office, Sarkar Raj slipped to Continue reading »

Jun 072008

Click here for Sarkar Raj U.S. Box Office Report

You have to give veteran Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma credit for consistency.

After all, how many other Bollywood directors can you count on to unfailingly deliver one mediocre movie after another.

In his latest work Sarkar Raj, the dependably stupid Ram Gopal Varma once again delivers the goods – yet another boring dud.

Sarkar Raj featuring Bollywood’s first family (Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan) is a mediocre sequel to Ram Gopal Varma’s unimpressive Godfather-inspired 2005 gangster flick Sarkar.

Even after two decades in the film industry and 20 films under his belt, Sarkar Raj director Ram Gopal Varma is all at sea in the Bollywood ocean, rowing his way without the tiniest paddle of talent.

For a movie featuring a gangster theme and its inherent violence, Sarkar Raj is not a chilling movie but a boring movie.

A good gangster movie needs plenty of blood and gore, a strong, gripping story and intense performances by the dramatis personae (Think Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Viggo Mortensen or Denzel Washington).

Written by some deservedly-unknown fella called Prashant Pandey, Sarkar Raj completely fails in the story department.

Made worse by cliched dialogs (e.g. All My Life, I did what I thought was right; I lived life on my terms; I was never afraid of anyone), the effete story just does not Continue reading »

Jun 042008

Several Indian movie stars, singers and directors have fancy names that are often so different from their real names.

Why that should be so is not hard to fathom.

As a matter of fact, it’s so simple in the Indian milieu.

Indians with names like Gunasekhar Pandiarajan, Rajendra Prasad Purkoyastha, Badrinath Chattopadhyay, Sitalakshmi Ammal or Ritabadoornath Patel yearn for the ‘appeal’ of a Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Rekha or Sridevi to banish the monotony of their dreary existences.

Jatin Khanna – A Superstar?

Would Jatin Khanna have achieved super-stardom with that name?


Only with the name Rajesh Khanna did Jatin reach the stratospheric heights of success and super-stardom.

Would a big-bosomed Tamil girl have turned into a fantasy for young Indian boys bearing the name Bhanurekha Ganesan?


She needed to be Rekha to reach that high.

Here’s a brief list of Indian movie stars with their assumed names:

Movie Name - Real Name

Aamir Khan – Aamir Hussain Khan

Aditya Pancholi/Panscholi – Nirmal Pancholi/Panscholi

Asrani – Govardhan Asrani

Ajay Devgan – Vishal Devgan

Ajit – Hamid Ali Khan

Akshay Kumar – Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia

Ashok Kumar – Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly

Bhavana – Karthika Menon

Bobby Deol – Vijay Singh Deol

Chiranjeevi – Konidela Siva Shankara Vara Prasad

Dev Anand – DharamDev Pishorimal Änand

Dharmendra – Dharam Singh Deol

Dilip Kumar – Yusuf Khan

Gemini Ganesan – Ramasamy Ganesan

Guru Dutt – Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone

Jagdeep – Syed Jawaher Ali Jaffry

Jayant - Zakaria Khan (father of Amjad and Imtiaz Khan)

Jamuna – Jamuna Ramanarao

Jayalalitha – Jayaram Jayalalitha

Jaya Pradha – Lalita Rani

Jeetendra – Ravi Kapoor

Johnny Lever – Janardhana Rao

Johnny Walker – Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi

Kiccha Sudeep – Abhinaya Chakravarthy

Kumar Gaurav – Manoj Tulli

Mallika Sherawat – Reema Lamba Continue reading »

May 182008

May 18, 2008 will forever remain a dark day in Indian cinema.

After all, this is the day when Indian cinema made an ass of itself on the world stage.

If reports are correct, today is the market screening of that Tamil horror show Billa at the Cannes Film Festival.

No one in his right mind would ever allow Billa to be screened in the official Cannes competition.

So, Billa gets screened in the market screening category, which is primarily a vehicle for business development not a stage to showcase art or talent.

Starring that non-actor Ajith Kumar, Continue reading »

May 172008

Before the Rains
Language: English
Year: May 2008
Actors: Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Linus Roache, Jennifer Ehle
Director: Santosh Sivan
Producer: Mark Burton
Music: Mark Kilian
Screenplay: Cathy Rabin

When bimbos like Kareena Kapoor and Nayantara or buffoons like Abhishek Bachchan and Ajith Kumar show even a faint spark of acting talent, we are startled.

When talented artistes like Nandita Das or Rahul Bose fail to live up to the standards they’ve led us to expect from them, we are saddened.

And saddened we were with Before the Rains, the new English film featuring Nandita Das, Rahul Bose and Linus Roache.

Before the Rains has just had a limited release in the U.S. and is playing in few theaters across the country.

Faced with the choice this weekend between watching Jannat in North Brunswick (New Jersey) or Before the Rains in Philadelphia, it was really a Hobson’s choice for us – we opted instinctively for the latter having been exposed previously to the talents of both Nandita Das and Rahul Bose.

But Before the Rains fails at many levels.

The narrative is not gripping enough, the acting by the dramatis personae is less than impressive and the visual effects are nothing extraordinary except perhaps in a few stray frames.

Set in the lush green mountainside of Kerala in colonial India (1937, if you must know the exact date), Before the Rains is an effete story of romantic betrayal and its consequences.

Sajani (Nandita Das) is a maid in the home of an English planter Henry Moores (Linus Roache), who is building a road in the middle of the jungle.

But Sajani is more than just a maid to Moores (whose wife and son are in England): this young dark-skinned native – married and with a suspicious and violent husband in the village – also warms her fair-skinned master’s bed.

Sajani’s White master swears he loves her and Continue reading »