Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Gossip!

There is nothing more satisfying than a strong cup of black-as-doom coffee while sitting here and typing up the morning's gossip for you lovely people out there in the Internets.

Just a note, there is SO MUCH out there about the Bachchan-Sea Link flap but none of it seems important. Well, nothing except Shotgun Sinha's
comments (via @daddy'sgirlali) on the matter which, as always, are hilarious. Can we just get the guy a talk show and be done with it?

Sinha, who is apparently not on good terms with Bachchan despite the two working together in many a box office hits like Dostana, Kala Pathar, Shaan, and Naseeb, said "it is not a national duty of Amitabh Bachchan to propagate and promote, become brand ambassador right from digestive pill to hair oil or opening Bandra-Kurla sealink express.

* You know what story I'm all over, though: the one where Arshad Warsi does stuff! He
talks about his upcoming film.

"My next step will be direction. I am working on a script," said Arshad. "The film will be a quirky, action comedy. It will be a Guy Ritchie kind of film with effective one-liners and stuff."

Dude, I have so many ideas for this - all excellent, of course, you know I have great taste - so hit me up!

Also, apparently
Shortkut 2 is go. I can only hope that it's better than Shortkut 1, which was abysmal. I couldn't even finish watching it and I'm probably as big a fan as they come. Also, I could never finish Goal.

* See, this is why I loathe most critics: they hated Ranbir's Youngistan Ka Wow commercials! Who could hate this?



Thankfully not the public, who embraced Youngistan and now Ranbir is doing a super-pricy
Pepsi ad which we all already knew about but it's still fun to see "Youngistan Ka WOW"!

Indian ads really are the best.

* Mumbai's gay community applauds Ricky Martin's decision to come out of the closet.

Make-up artiste Cherag Bambboat agrees. "I see so many people in the entertainment industry who are gay, but secretive. Though, now, things are changing. This gives Ricky so much dignity and self-respect, I am sure he would be more at peace now," he said.

* Shahid Kapoor travels back in time with
school memories!

Remember any girls from your school days?

Yes. There was a girl in my school when I was in Standard 8 whom I had a crush on and I used to go to tuition class only because she went there but she was also keen on another guy and dhokha happened!


* Deepika Padukone is trying a new acting style in
Housefull and believe me, I am excited to see it. Also, how did I miss that Housefull opens April 30th and not this weekend like I thought it did.

Clearly, I am in need of a professional scheduler. Any takers? I can't pay much (or anything) but I promise you that most of my life revolves around knowing things like when the new Akshay Kumar film opens.

* I love
this story from Gurrinder Chadha:

"Sendhil flew to London and we had lunch," informs Chadha. "He said he was determined to be in one of my films and happily he was perfect for the role; a good-looking out of towner who has not been in touch with Roopie and her family for a while. Sendhil was great on set, extremely disciplined and conscientious, and he made many a female heart flutter when he did a take - and some guys too!" she laughs.

And read an interview with
Sendhil!

How’s your on-screen interaction been with Shabana Azmi?

I didn’t have too many scenes on camera with Shabana. The only dialogues that we have were limited to me saying, ‘Hello Aunty’ and she saying, ‘Hello Raj’. Off-screen, we had a good time. When I was in Mumbai to shoot Shor [note from FG-Ekta Kapoor's film], we had exchanged text messages. Someday, I’d want to do another film and even, a play with Shabana.


* Bebo is going to be playing a role based on the
Marilyn Monore in Madhur Bhandarkar's next film. If I trust anybody to get the tragic life of Marilyn right, it's Bebo. Well, Kangana, too, but Bebo is a great choice.

* Jacqueline Fernandez didn't want to
dub for herself in JKSAH.

"I am new to Hindi and this is why I was relieved when someone else dubbed for me in my debut flick ALADIN. For obvious reasons, I was always under the impression that same would be repeated in JAANE KAHAN SE AAYI HAI as well since my Hindi still hadn't reached perfection while I was shooting for the film."

But if she's an alien, then her Hindi wouldn't have to be perfect! Score! Maybe all aliens sound like they are from Sri Lanka... I mean, we can't say for sure that they
don't...

* Bipasha Basu threw a
temper tantrum at a promotional event and it sounds pretty bad. I wonder what happened to make Bips so upset...

The source adds that because Bipasha had come in late, she could only meet half the contest winners. The event had started without her, She refused to wait for an hour saying she was in a hurry and had to leave. The event managers and the brand folk refused. The actress got up, almost rudely ticking them off and stomped out to her car. In fact, she was so upset that she even left her managers behind before anyone could even react!

* Ranvir Shorey is going to be in a
new movie!! Hooray!

The story talks about a group of people who find themselves in various situations that threaten their survival and when they try to get out of their respective mess, their greed and karma takes over them. The mixture of funny yet real life gives you a full dose of entertainment and comedy.

And one man who can easily handle a mixture of 'funny yet real life' is Ranvir Shorey!

Speaking of the man, I wish WISH I could go see his
new play.

Based on "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" (the book recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders; patients who have lost their memories) by Oliver Sacks, the play saw temperatures soaring inside a city auditorium, even as Kolkata experienced thunder showers on Saturday evening.

* Oh, I love Miss Thing! Katrina is only going to do
solo-heroine films from now on.

"I am not saying I won't do films with other leading ladies, but for now, I'm happy in the space I am. Why should I unnecessarily rock the boat? And yes, I am finally about to lock the deal to produce my film. It's a fabulous role and I've been angling for the remake rights for quite some time. I'd like to get down to it as soon as possible."

This had better be the remake of
Hors de Prix that we I have been angling for!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Gossip!

Good morning, all! Another yucky, rainy day here - I wish I was soaking up the summer heat in Bombay but I'll just have to put another sweater on and deal with it.

Okay!

Let's hit the gossip!

Actually, let's start with this interesting piece that went back and spoke with some of the
African American actors who were in My Name is Khan.

In the bigger picture, Lee said his perception of the way African American people were shown in the film’s landscape changed the way he saw the impact of his character: “After watching the film there’s a homeless black dude and then there’s the whole Wilhemina Georgia scene with the mammy ['Mama Jenny'] and the picaninny ['Funny Haired Joel'].

"I think the only Black character of any status would be the president, which is based on reality, that’s not something they made up, that already existed. If the president were still George Bush, then George Bush would have been the president. If McCain had won, the president would have been McCain. So we have the heroic black president because that’s what reality is right now. But based on the Wilhemina scene and the homeless black dude, I don’t think that there would have been any heroic black character in the film [if Obama weren’t president].


* Trisha thinks Akshay Kumar has been a
good teacher for Bollywood acting.

* Priyadarshan must be glad that he has seasoned professionals like Trisha and Akki in
Khatta Meetha because he is doing four films this year and I can only imagine how tiring it must be to work with newcomers.

* Read about how Dia Mirza thinks her link-up rumors
are good publicity.

But then doesn't all of this come with the territory of being an actor?

Ok, so all of this does come with a territory and as actors you have to get used to it. But then in a lifespan of being an actor, for how many times can you continue to defend yourself? It does hurt after all when you hear about your untrue romantic tales.


Well, it's not so much what she says as the fact that she gives an entire interview about it.

* Speaking of link-up rumors, Sussanne is accompanying Barbara Mori and Hrithik on their
promotional tour of the US.

* Abhay Deol wants to
Save the Bears!

* SRK and Hrithik are now
BFF according to the author of this article.

Now both the actors are the best friends and confirming the buzz Hrithik says, “We have our wives to thank for this. Gauri and Sussanne are very close. And yes, in a way they have brought Shah Rukh and me closer. Shah Rukh has always been extremely warm even when we were not so close. I have come to respect him for that.”

Slow news day?

* This is the sweetest and saddest thing you will read all day: Ricky Martin inspires Nepal's
gay community!

"We are absolutely joyous that Ricky Martin has honestly revealed his sexual orientation," said Sunil Babu Pant, the Himalayan nation’s only openly gay celebrity who is now also an icon for the sexual minorities in South Asia. "The coming out of celebrities helps the cause of grassroot lesbian, gay and third gender people. It raises their self-esteem and makes society regard them with a more positive attitude."

Are you listening, closeted Bollywood stars?

* Mumbai seems set to capitalize on Bollywood as a source of
tourism. And about time!

* Cutie Aarya Babbar got
carried away on the sets of Tees Maar Khan!

* Bebo has lost out on a role in the Kishore Kumar biopic because they've cast
Ranbir!

* Sonam and Shahid are going to be
shooting in Scotland - but also, hilariously, the producers didn't realize Sonam is taller than Shahid.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Love Times Seven: A Love Poem to Bollywood!

At the intermission of Love Times Seven, the new Bollywood inspired play from Arpita Mukherjee, my mother turned to me and asked, "Is it supposed to be funny when people die in Bollywood movies?" She had been confused by the loud guffaws coming from the couple sitting behind us since to the uninformed viewer there really isn't anything funny about a 1970s era shoot-out between policeman Ravi and gangster Vijay, brothers eternally on opposite sides of the law. But I had been giggling, too, as the body count ratcheted up in this delightfully over-the-top tribute to classic Bollywood fare. Death can sometimes be funny, sometimes cathartic, and sometimes it's just the way things have to play out in Bollywood.



The story of
Love Times Seven begins in the dusty black and white 1940s with a couple of star-crossed lovers (Arpita Mukherjee and the play's co-writer Sharath Parvathavani). The pair are crossed in love again and again every decade, in period appropriate ways, until we reach the present where they are united in the grand finale. The earlier decades are marked by an earnest tone, appropriate to the socially aware tone of the films, but by the time it gets to the go-go 1980s, both the cast and audience are having a blast and enjoying the campiness of it all, cheering as "Jimmy" shakes his booty to "Disco Dancer."



Arpita and Sharath clearly know their filmi history and the script skillfully glides along the major themes of each decade, with perhaps the exception of the 1960s and the 2000s. The 1960s piece felt too tied to the iconic but hardly prototypical Padosan while the 2000s seemed distracted - but then trying to rope a single theme out of the decade that opened with epic period piece Lagaan and ended with the modern college fable of 3 Idiots might be too much to ask of anyone. The real fun of the Love Times Seven homage to Bollywood is in the details: the overwrought "Hai Bhagwan" from the 1940s, the booze-swilling capitalist fat cats of the 1950s complaining about the poor, the Laxmi Chhaiya shimmy in the 1960s, an ominous bracelet in the 1970s, the fantastic 1980s hip thrusts, and, of course, the endless wedding songs from the 1990s.



Just like in a
Bollywood film, the hero and heroine took center stage for much of the show but we were also treated to a variety of scene stealing villains, vixens, comedians, and parental figures. Among the audience favorites were the spot-on 1970s era mob boss named Teja-saab (Sagar Kiran Patel), who delighted this reviewer with his navel plunging red smoking jacket and villainous smirk, the 1980s policewallah (Amish Singh), whose dialogue delivery got more laughs than almost anything else that night, and the jealous 'other woman' (Sheena Luke) from the 1990s segment. There was even a Helen-inspired item number, featuring the voluptuous assistant director (Chandani Chandekar).

Among the other treats in
Love Times Seven were the delicious costumes and choreography, all period specific. From the glittering black and white sari Arpita wears in the 1950s piece to the silver lamé jumpsuit Sharath dons as "Jimmy" in the 1980s, everyone looked amazing. The choreography was also fantastic, I already mentioned the incredible Laxmi Chhaiya shimmy from the 1960s piece but the 1990s segment deserves mention for all the dancers that needed to be moved around stage for those big family numbers.



For a
Bollywood lover, Love Times Seven is a real treat. There is something magical about being in the theater with the lights dimmed and classic scenes being played out before your eyes. If you are a film buff here in Washington, DC and have the time this upcoming weekend, please go and check it out!

Check the
Love Times Seven website for tickets and other information.

Monday Gossip!

I'm sure it's not a good sign that I woke up this morning both unsure of where I was and what day it was. The answer to those questions is a) in my bed and b) Monday.

The day can only go up from here!

* TRAGIC RAIN SONG INCIDENT mars
Tees Maar Khan! Poor Katrina's head somehow collided with Akshay's face. And then he bit her. Or something.

This article wins for most ridiculous tag of the day. After basically rehashing the fact that Kat is doing an item song in Tees Maar Khan the author chooses to end it this way:

Wonder how Salman Khan will react to Katrina's latest move!

Gosh, I don't know! Will he punch her?

Oh, for the love of Sarcasm, never change, gossip writers!

* More information on
Arshad's cop movie!!

This film by Bejoy narrates the tale of an out of job cop (played by Arshad) who is brought into a case when a few drunk rich kids run over pedestrians. The incidents don't just shock the nation but also snowball into something bigger in days to follow.

That sounds really, really good! I wonder who Kalki will play - one of the rich kids? And then she falls in love with Arshad's cop?!

(Can I be watching this movie already, please?)

And check out his
Celebrity Diary from miday.com. Our boy is looking so thin!! It must be all that stress - have something nice and fattening for lunch, Ashu-ji!

* I genuinely think Riteish Deshmukh is one of Bollywood's great and underused talents. He has such a natural charm about him. He talks about
his upcoming films.

"Comedy in HOUSEFULL is completely whacked out. It is over the top where things would be really on your face at one moment and then suddenly, the next scene would be far more subtle. There is a fine balance. On the other hand JAANE KAHAN SE AAYI HAI follows a romcom mood throughout. It is extremely youthful though the subtlety element is prevalent right through its duration."

* Nana Patekar is one of the more interesting actors in Bollywood - read
a new interview with him promoting Tum Milo Toh Sahi!

When you were offered this role in Tum Milo Toh Sahi, of a south Indian middle aged guy, did you ever consciously feel like doing something different with this one?

This one is interesting; you can figure that out from the get up itself. He is a meek guy, a complete loner. According to me, he has his share of eccentricities, and he is extremely whimsical. This is an outcome of the fact that he is all by himself. When his loneliness passes him by, he is a different person. Like some people forget to laugh, it's not like they don't know how to or they have never laughed in their life, but they get used to not laughing, especially such events are happening in their life that they never find the opportunity to do so. He is like that.


* Piggy Chops will be in
Brazil for filming of Katron Ke Khiladi 3. It won't be the same without Akki... he's moving into producing television.

* Poor Kangana Ranaut injured her foot while shooting for
Tanu Weds Manu.

* Pratik Babbar shot for Dum Maro Dum with the chickenpox!

* Interesting look on who is
to blame for poor box office showings this past weekend.

Seriously, can one blame the makers of the films, especially in cases like ‘Hum Tum Aur Ghost’ and ‘Well Done Abba’, when buyers like Studio 18 and Big Pictures apparently didn’t even go all out in their marketing and promotional campaign. Ok, so these were not masterpieces in the offering but then they deserved much more than approximately 20%-30% opening that they fetched. As for the remaining three films, well the shoddy production values and treatment made them just the right candidates for an early exit from theaters.

* And finally, more spillover from the
Big B attends Sea Link Ceremony scandal:

In his latest blog, Modi strongly defended Bachchan's right to be at the ceremony.

Bachchan's presence at the function had triggered resentment among some Congressmen, as he is the brand ambassador for Gujarat and said to be close to Modi.

"These Talibans of Untouchability have lost all their sensibilities in their pursuit of anti-Gujarat attitudes," Modi said.



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Gossip!! Rainy Day Edition!

Hello, all! Are you ready for another week? Me neither! Let's just enjoy the time we have left of Sunday...

First up, I'm
already tired of articles formed around celebrity tweets that are not by Veraciously.

Riteish Deshmukh wasn’t the most comfortable in the darkness but he did manage through it. He tweeted, “The only light tht helps me is d Black berry screen. This earth hour definitely feels like the longest hour.EDISON tera lakh lakh shukr hai”

If people wanted to know what Riteish said on Twitter, they can look it up themselves!

* Bollywood is back in Kashmir - and it's not the ill-fated
Lamhaa, either! Saat Khoon Maaf, the Priyanka Chopra Marries Seven Husbands film, is shooting there!

* Rahul Bose talks about
Aparna Sen:

So do you think this film by Aparna will impress the audience?

Definitely, without a doubt yes! This directorial venture is a completely different one from what Aparna had done before. If the audience liked the love story in
Mr & Mrs. Iyer then the double the amount of people will love The Japanese Wife.


* Dia, Dia, Dia... never say
this:

"I'm in a position today that if I don't get the right role, I can sit at home for six months and not do a film that I don't believe in."

Translation: Nobody is offering me anything but Bikini Girlfriend roles.

Find yourself a play or an indie film, darling...

* As we all know, I adore Arshad Warsi. You should, too, because he says stuff
like this:

"I'm ready to direct. It's a film called Akadd. It will be a very realistic, quirky action comedy. I won't be beating up 25 people in the film. The style of acting, dialogue delivery, the actors' body language would all be life-like. The heroine's role is very very important."

Did you catch that?
"The heroine's role is very, very important."

(Dude, if you need somebody to, for example, document the process of making the film a la "Confessions of a Bollywood Love Thief" just let me know... *waits by phone*)

Also, Amitabh Bachchan gracefully turns a compliment about Arshad Warsi into a delightful
compliment to himself.

Observe:

“[Hum Tum aur Ghost is a] delightful film beautifully made, and exceedingly well performed by Arshad. Many are perhaps unaware that Arshad Warsi is an AB Corp discovery and got his first film with us. He has, to his credit, never ever forgotten that and continues to acknowledge and express his love for the family always, particularly Jaya whom he continues to address as his Mother.”

And as long as I'm fangirling Arshad-ji again, let me also add this hilarious exchange from Twitter about my one of my favorite Bollywood aunties.

arshadwarsi2010:

HTAG is out 2moro, Mr n Mrs Bachchan love d movie n r proud of me :o)-Dia n i worked for 36 hrs with 2 hrs nap-what a girl-was my strength

fizah02:

@arshadwarsi2010 hey so hw hapi n proud of u!n big b likd it! thts th seal of approval ryt thr! :) jus curious,wud he say if he ddnt lyk it?

arshadwarsi2010:

@fizah02 Mrs Bachchan would

L.O... and might I add L. Yes, yes, she would. Thank you fizah02 for helping to clarify that for us.

Dudes, I totally love Twitter! It's like one big public chat room!

*
This Malayalam film sounds amazing!

The buzz is that the thread of Amal’s Anwar is based on “Love Jihad” with Prithviraj playing a Muslim youth Anwar who lures Mamta a non-Muslim and converts her and later makes her join his terrorist outfit.

We all know I love films about terrorism... (and I'm not being sarcastic, the terromance is one of my favorite genres.)

* Read an
interesting conversation with Pooja Bhatt!

She was the darling of the gossip columnists, her openness about her personal life sparking many a feeding frenzy. "I remember Shah Rukh calling me and saying 'Pooja, you're on 11 magazine covers. What are you doing? It's a bit ridiculous.’ I said, 'I'm not doing anything, I'm just speaking my mind'."

* You know else is pretty awesome:
Neha Dhupia.

'People asked me backstage, 'when are you getting married?' But I was like, marriage is way too far in the future for me to even think about it,' Neha told IANS in an interview.

'In fact, the thing that made me nervous the most about walking the ramp is that I was looking like a bride. What makes me nervous is the thought of marriage, what makes me even more nervous is walking the ramp... So it was a very bad combination,' she said.


A woman after my own heart! Commitment = not for me.

* Shruti Haasan is doing her next film with....
Suriya!!! AR Murugadoss is directing!

I'm actually looking forward to Shruti's next films. I know
Luck tanked but there was definitely potential in Shruti - I don't blame her for the poor writing of her character.

Good luck, Shruti!!

PICTURE TIME!

Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia on a location shoot for
Paathshala!



If she retires from movies, I'm going to cry!







Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Gossip!

So... last night I showed a friend - total Bollywood virgin - the one and only Jab We Met and she loved it!

I then showed the infamous (around my house) "Naach Meri Jaan" which took her from "FG, you're kind of weird" to join me in "I wish he grabbing
me like that" territory.

Finally, there was The Screening Of The Songs from
Dhoom 2, which I had to preface by saying that I didn't think Dhoom 2 was a good movie. I just like it.

Verdict: Hrithik is hot and Uday Chopra needs to DIAF.

Verdict for entire evening: SUCCESS!

Verdict for May 7th: I have somebody to go see
Badmaash Company with!

Moving on to news that is not about my (amazing) life...

* Hrithik Roshan is singing a song for
Kites (song debuts March 29th!) and talks about it:

How much did you enjoy singing and will you be singing more for your films?

I think yes, I enjoy singing. But then there are so many people who enjoy singing even though they can't sing. Everyone likes to sing, it's something natural in all of us. I have been singing myself to sleep whenever I am stressed out. I just sing any song like a broken record and keep going till I feel some relief. Then I go to sleep. After listening to this entire story, Anurag Basu has sort of shown it to the world.


Hands up who would like to be present at the daily performances of the Hrithik Sings Himself to Sleep Variety Hour?

* Oh, Bollywood - you give and give and give. Today's amazing gift comes in form of
this story about Salman Khan personally supervising Sonu Sood's abs.

Says Sonu, "Everyone knows when two guys do an action scene especially if they're bare-chested, they work out harder before the sequence to make sure each one's body is in the best shape."

Salman has not only exercised rigorously for the climactic fight but he has also made sure Sonu Sood looks his best on camera.


* Rekha-ji will be
returning to the big screen.

* Sharman Joshi has finally hit the
big league: ubiquitous ads.



* A discussion of the
Indian models currently in vogue, laughably refers to Lara Dutta as 'fuller figured.' If Lara Dutta is fuller figured, then I must require a fork lift to be removed from my apartment.

For the love of Namitha, what is wrong with people?



This is called 'oomph' factor, folks.... *drool*

*
I Hate Luv Stories: releasing July 2nd!

* Bips is pulling a Katrina and doing a
make up free role in a film about honor killings in Bihar.

* Karan Johar says some stuff about
LSD but more importantly, the article refers to Taran Adarsh as 'an acclaimed critic.' Really? Wow! I had no idea the Golden Kela was considered so prestigious!

* Aw! Kangana Ranaut is middle class enough to be
shocked by the prices of designer goods.

* And, apparently, Jaya Bachchan proclaiming Dilip Kumar to be the
last great superstar is more important than the event she said it at. I sorted through a few news stories to find that this remark was made as Jaya-ji was talking to a group of female reporters about the Women's Reservation Bill. She is skeptical about it, in case you were wondering what her thoughts about things besides Dilip Kumar were.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Arshad Warsi Week Index

Just in case you want to come back and read the reviews again:

Ishqiya and from Anishok

Sehar

Munnabhai MBBS

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II

Kabul Express

Sunday

Shortkut: The Con is On (from Shell)



Here is a nice contemplation on Arshad Warsi from Bollythoughts.

And the Live Chat from Bollywood Hungama transcript in which he is annoyed at stuff!

Please note that I got up at 5:30 am to bring you such interactions as this:

Filmi Girl : What has been most surprising about reaction to HTAG?

Arshad Warsi : filmi, nobdy could guess the climax


Oooo! Kya repartee!

Arshad Warsi Week: Sehar

Since it's the last official day of Arshad Warsi Week, I thought I would go out with a bang!

Don't forget to go and support Arshad by seeing
Hum Tum aur Ghost if you are able to! Sadly, Studio 18 has not given him the support the film deserves and declined to do an Internet release or release the film in North America, which means I will not be able to legally watch until the DVD comes out.

So, while it's always Arshad Warsi Week in my heart (like I would ever stop fangirling), this is the last day of the dedicated week> Please consider this both a look at
Sehar and my final (for this week) tribute to the wonderful and talented Arshad Warsi - the man who inspired me to write possibly the longest sentence I've ever written. (See if you can pick it out of the review!)

If you have Arshad Warsi Week related posts, send me the links and I'll put up a final master post as an index to everything!

And here we go to
Sehar...




Due to my voracious reading habit and tendency to Bring My Own Subtext (BYOS) I often let whatever book I'm reading at the moment color my impressions of whatever film it is that I happen to be watching. Serendipity brought together "Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil" by John Ghazvinian with
Sehar.

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

The riddle the Mad Hatter asks Alice has no answer and neither does the riddle shown in Kabeer Kaushik's
Sehar.

While Uttar Pradesh cannot be accused of having
Dutch disease, a concept I was introduced to in "Untapped," I saw some surprising similarities between the politics depicted in Sehar and the disconnect between the political class and the general public in countries like Nigeria as described by Mr. Ghazvinian. When the habit of treating government as a source of handouts and paper-pushing jobs becomes entrenched in society, it can take generations to change. If you remove one corrupt politician, there is another Goodluck Jonathan waiting to take his or her place. And in Sehar, a similar question is posed early on to our intrepid hero SSP Ajay Kumar. He replies with something to the effect of: "If one gang boss falls, another will be right behind him to take his place. This is how the world works."



All of this is a long-winded way of telling you that SSP Ajay Kumar (Arshad Warsi) is kind of a noble masochist. He knows in the long run that he can change nothing and yet he is determined to try anyway. He is the original
Nicholas Angel (from Hot Fuzz) - to such an extent that I think Simon Pegg and Kabeer Kaushik must have at least a few of the same classic cop movies. He jogs, enjoys treating women with respect, and has had fourteen transfers in eight years because he refuses to compromise. "It's the principle of the thing," may as well be his middle name.

We're entering Prakash Jha territory (and will be revisiting this terrain in
Rajneeti - a word I heard a lot in Sehar - later this year.)

Because it's best to let these things play out on their own, and I don't think I could give a concise version anyways, I won't be giving away any plot spoilers. Needless to say, SSP Ajay Kumar navigates his way through the maze of Lucknow politics and the UP underworld with all the grace of, well, Nicholas Angel.



I'll be honest:
Sehar isn't the type of film I usually watch and I wouldn't have watched it once if not for the promise of Arshad Warsi and I saved it for last to re-watch for Arshad Warsi Week because it is a tough slog all the way through. Sehar takes concentration. It's not a film you can watch with one eye on the TV and the other scrolling through one of Veraciously's hilarious Bolly-celeb Tweet posts. But, if you can gather the mental powers to sit through and give a film your undivided attention, Sehar yields some worthy treasures.



At the top of the list today is, of course, Arshad Warsi. In all the interviews I've read this week to aid in my championing of
Hum Tum aur Ghost, a couple of things have stood out. Arshad has said numerous times that he does not find acting difficult. At the same time, he is slightly bitter that the world hasn't sat up to notice his prodigious talents.

Now, never having met the guy, I have no idea if the first is true or a piece of false modesty but having read all those interviews with him, I get the feeling that the words 'modest' and 'humble' do not come up much in conversation around the Warsi household and am inclined to believe what he says, which is why I understand the bitterness when tour-de-force performances like SSP Ajay Kumar are totally overlooked because when you see SSP Ajay Kumar, that cocky, sexy, "let me sing you a couple verses of Kanye's 'Amazing' and then impress you with my awesome jazz dancing skills" badass named Arshad Warsi is nowhere in sight and in his place is a small, careful man.



Take a look at this screencap of his first meeting with love interest (and economics professor) Anamika (Mahima Chaudhry). That seat, that stance are SSP Ajay Kumar - a reserved man would have sat in the far chair and confident one directly next to her. SSP Ajay Kumar is more complex than that and sits with a little distance between them but his legs spread wide. He looks away - shy but trying not to show weakness. Even if this comes easy... no,
especially if this comes easy to Arshad, I am firmly on his side in not understanding why he doesn't get more recognition for his badass talent.

Consider me firmly on Team Hubris.

Sehar was Kabeer Kaushik's first film and judging from the direction style, he must have worked in theater before because much of the film deals in static, stagey scenes that reminded me a lot of 1940s films, which were heavily influenced by the theater. Then again, perhaps it was a deliberate style choice. Either way, it works well because when action does come, the frames flicker to life and burst the carefully composed set-ups, scattering gangsters, cops, and politicians around the screen like carrom-men.



And speaking of gangsters, I don't believe I've mentioned SSP Ajay Kumar's nemesis in all this: Gajraj Singh (Sushant Singh). Sushant seems to have taken all his cues on how to play a gangster from that Master of the Hastily Exchanged Briefcase named (simply) Don. And not the new "cool" Don, either. Sushant takes it old school with some vintage Amitabh Bachchan-style Don. He may not have the same swanky wardrobe but Gajraj is also creepily emotionless. Much like SSP Ajay Kumar, he is unwilling to play by the stated rules of the game: they both want to cut through the tangle of complicated lines of influence that layer Lucknow.



(I'll take the time now to give a shoutout to the guy in glasses who was Gajraj's right hand man. He was super-fly and drew my eye whenever he was onscreen! Can anybody identify Glasses-wallah for me?)



As is usual for cop dramas, the ladies who populate the film are limited to Mother and Future Wife. (Not the same person, just so we're clear.) The Ma is the usual Saintly Ma but Mahima Chaudhry's character Anamika is a welcome change from the devoted females one usually sees. She is an economics professor and definitely has a life outside of her relationship with SSP Ajay Kumar. All of this makes it kind of a shame that Mahima is not quite up to the acting standard of everyone else in the film. It makes you wonder how many talented female actors are out there who do not get jobs
even in realistic films because they aren't as pretty as Mahima Chaudhry. I've said it once and I'll say it again: smiling beatifically and posing pretty are not the same thing as acting.

There isn't much more I can say without getting into either a political discussion or spoiling the plot so I will close Arshad Warsi Week with a promise to do another one as soon as everybody is ready!

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl