Movie Review: Toh Baat Pakki (2010)

    

February 19, 2010 (Sampurn Wire):Toh Baat Pakki: A clean family entertainer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5*

Starring: Tabu, Sharman Joshi, Vatsal Seth, Ayub Khan and Uvika Chaudhary

Director: Kedarh Shinde

Rajeshwari (Tabu) stays with her hubby Surendra (Ayub Khan) and two kids in small town Palanpur. Within her Saxena community, she aspires for a perfect well settled match for her younger sister Nisha (Uvika). She wants someone who will be also against dowry system. When she encounters an engineering student, Rahul (Sharman) at first she ends up arguing with him over a trivial matter but soon realizes his goodness and also the fact that he is a Saxena too. She looks at him as a perfect prospect for her sister. She then even convinces him to stay with them as a paying guest. After bringing Nisha to stay with them too, Rajeshwari succeeds in Rahul and Nisha falling for each other. As she gets his marriage fixed between Rahul and Nisha in comes Yuvraaj (Vatsal). Yuvraaj is a Saxena too and well settled in his job and is also about to get his own official bungalow. Rajeshwari then immediately dumps the prospect of having Rahul marrying Nisha and decides to go after Yuvraaj instead. What mess it all leads to forms the second half of the film.

Toh Baat Pakki comes in the tradition of Hrishikesh Mukherjee entertainers. Pure clean comedy mixed with emotions and a happy ending for all concerned. Vibha Singh in her script blendes both comedy and emotional sequences well. While the portions leading to Sharman and Uvika getting their baat pakki from Tabu are amusing, the ones in the second half where the film takes a bit of a serious turn when Vatsal and Uvika’s marriage is fixed are equally entertaining as well. Sharman’s attempts at sabotaging their marriage never go over board. However, the unwanted multi character confusion could have been avoiding in the climax as it only ends up prolonging it.

Back on screen in a big role after a long time, Tabu dominates the film completely and is a treat to watch. Sharman never disappoints and is extremely lovable in this one. Vatsal Seth gets less screen time compared to Sharman but he still manages to impress with his charm and underplay acting. Ayub Khan complements Tabu well. Uvika Chaudhary is cute and does well. Sharat Saxena brings on many laughs. Suhasini Mulay is good. Himani Shivpuri fits the part. Both the kids are cute.

Debutante director Kedarh Shinde has handled both the comic and emotional sequences with equal panache. He is a very big name in the Marathi film industry and looking at his Hindi debut he is all set for a longer innings here as well. Pritam’s music is good with Ek Din Mera Byaah Hoyega by Mika being the pick of the lot.

After a long time, a clean heartwarming family entertainer has hit the screens. Don’t miss it for its small town charm and wonderful acting.

-Sampurn Wire

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Narayani Shastri makes a comeback in B-town

    

Actors striking a balance between big and small screen has become a trend now. Narayani Shastri of ‘Kesar’ and ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ is not a latest entrant though as she stepped into Bollywood with Madhur Bhandarkar Chandni Bar and later did couple of Marathi films too. But she has come back on big screen after a very long time and now will balance it between television and movies.

Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke is the titled of the film in which she has been roped in. She essays a role of shy Indian village girl and has gone completely de glam for it. Being her first film she is all excited about her role and says, “While shooting for the film I thought I am leading two different lives as the role required me to go completely de glam which is so contrast to what I am in real-life.”

The rib tickling comedy Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke also stars Om Puri, Paresh Rawal, Ravi Kisen and Rahul Aggarwal is due for release in February 2010.The film marks the debut of producer’s T.P Aggarwal’s Son Rahul Aggarwal as an actor, director, and producer.

-Anil A Kanojia/Telly café

R. Madhavan

    

If Madhavan is being smart by making slow and steady grasp over Bollywood with short but significant roles and you think- nobody can be smarter than him then think again. Maddy’s four year old kid is a step ahead of his father and how? Let’s hear it from horses’ mouth.

“I have been living in Mumbai since quite a long time now so my son Vedant knows Hindi, English and Marathi but he is not versed with his mother tongue Tamil. Some years ago, my parents insisted me to teach Vedant Tamil,” shares Madhavan.

He further adds, “So, when I was to shoot outdoors for three months I left him at my house in south so that he could pick up the language from people around.” So, did this trick work? “When I returned after three months and went to see him I was shocked to observe that all the people and domestic helps in my house had started speaking in Marathi but he did not learn much Tamil,” exclaims shocked Madhavan.

Well, this handsome actor’s son surely has an upper hand in smartness after all son takes it from his father as they say ‘Like father like son’.

-Chandana H Buch/Sampurn Media

    

Road to Sangam marks the debut of Amit Rai as a director in. A television report in a leading news channel had caught his attention. Later, he developed the same into a feature film approached his name sake Amit Chheda and had his first film on floors with the ensemble of best of the performers in it. Road to Sangam, a film inspired from Gandhi Ji and his principles, has already bagged three awards in three different international film festivals, including Viewer’s Choice Award at ‘MAMI’. Latest in the Awards galore are three awards at Los Angles Reel Film Festival. Categories are Best Foreign Film; Best Foreign Film Original Score and Best Foreign Film production Design. It received thunderous applause at Cannes. In conversation with Amit Rai, he talks about the making of his first feature film.

What made you ink upon Gandhiji as a subject of your film?

A television report about Allahbad museum going to restore an old vehicle by repairing inspired me to make a film. This was the same vehicle in which Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were carried to Sangam. I found the thought very symbolist with our country where people of different religions are staying together. Like the engine of any vehicle where different nut and bolts have to work in tandem to make it work, likewise in a nation like ours, all have to work together to take the country ahead. If any parts (religion) are not working properly, it can damage whole system. We used clippings of Gandhiji’s procession of last journey.

How did you manage to recreate a replica of the original vehicle or did you manage to get the same one from the museum?

No, we do not have the original vehicle, it is a national heritage. We made a replica of the original vehicle which is their in the museum. We took help from same person who has repaired the original engine. He helped our art director. We struggled a lot for the same 48fordV8 engine as well which we found finally at Lucknow. This all took around one and half year. Because of such a perfect replica of the vehicle, people of Allahabad tried to stop shooting, they thought filmmaker took historical car for shoot and accused museum people of this irresponsible behavior.

Is this the movie based on Gandhiji or Gandhigiri?

We have Gandhiji in story but it’s not a story about Gandhigiri or Gandhiwad. It’s a story of any normal person and how he can simply apply his ideology in real life even today and how it affect society and people around him. It’s not the story against any particular community but it’s their point of view to see the situation, and how they react to it.

What kind of research did you do for the movie?

Gandhiji was so religious in his personal life but he always put nationalism above religion. After the death of Gandhiji no one from that particular community (Muslim) talked about it. In the film Road to Sangam we have tried to portray their point of view in all honesty. In fact, we have dialogues in which the Muslim community leader acknowledges that Gandhiji had died for us.

What is role of Paresh Rawal in the film and how you convinced him to do the film?

Paresh Rawal is playing the character of Hashmat Ullah Khan, the person who was responsible for repairing the original engine. I had thought of only three people for this role but once we narrated the script to Paresh ji, he immediately agreed. In fact, so impressed was he with the character, that he did his own research for it.

Would you call it a hard-hitting film?

No, the film is not hard hitting. It’s a feature film which will definitely leave everybody thinking. In fact, who so ever has seen the film at various festivals, have been all with praise. Even younger generation has been very positive about this film. Since the film is a mix of real incidents and fiction, we have characters that are actually there. We have shot the film in Allahabad at actual locations. We do have some hard hitting dialogues but the entire community supported us during the film making because there is nothing malicious or wrong.

What was all going on in your mind while writing script of Road to Sangam?

I always used to think about family’s property dispute, disputes in religions-state, country. That’s what I have tried to put in the mind of my protagonist. He feels strongly about his community but he does not separate from the country. His belief is to come together to make it into a stronger country. I also specially feel people who stayed here during the time of partition are not just vote bank. They are the citizens of the country and hence its strength. They should not allow anybody to use them as one and instead become part of the mainstream growth and ignore minor irritants. Before making film I had studied all the documents of Muslim community from the time of partition and then have tried my best to do justice to their psyche. While reading all those documents I also got to know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was always more interested in Waziristan more than Pakistan.

What were you doing before making Road to Sangam?

I have done my best plays in Marathi thought I am a non-Maharastran. But to do my first love theatre, I had to learn the language and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Some of my award winning plays is ‘Hai Wadan’ with Girish Karnad, Aashad Koirin, Mahabhooj, Chokat Vihiri and Dagad Aot.

-Sampurn Media

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With awards raining at the 8th PIFF, 2010, curtains come down

    

By Jyothi Venkatesh

The curtains came down on the 8th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) 2010 at Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir with Dr. Jabbar Patrel, director of the festival declaring that PIFF which is the official film festival of Maharashtra government has finally grown by leaps and bounds. Lara Dutta was seen at the concluding function and Arjun Rampal was seen at the lavish party hosted by Suresh Kalmadi , Chairman of Pune International Film Festival at the Foodlink Court were the only two who represented Bollywood in Pune, besides Atul Kulkarni, Nagesh Bhosle and Renuka Shahane

Though Yash Chopra, Hema Malini, Manmohan Shetty, Shyam Shroff and Subhash Ghai are on then advisory board of Pune Film Foundation, only Subhash Ghai was present all through the Pune Film Festival this year. It was surprising The Best Marathi Film award was bagged by the film Natrang produced by Zee Talkies and directed by Ravi Jadhav at the recently concluded Pune International Film Festival. The cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs and a trophy were shared by the director as well as the producer. The trophy for the Best Director award as well as a cash prize of Rs 25,000 went to Umesh Kulkarni for his film Vihir while Atul Kulkarni bagged the trophy for the Best Actor as well a cash prize of Rs 25,000 for his performance in Natrang.

Renuka Shahane bagged the trophy for the Best Screenplay award as well as a cash prize for the film Rita. Special mention was made by the Jury for Kishore Kadam for his excellent performance in the film Paangira. The Jury also recommended a special mention for Sudhir Palsane, for cinematography for the film Vihir. The cash awards were given away by Akhil Bharatiya Chitrapat Maha Mandal.

The award for the Best Animated film-International initiated by the Whistling Woods International Student Film competition went to Inka Bola made by the students of Gobelins Lecole de Limage, Paris. Subhash Ghai and Varaprasad, a member of the Jury gave away the award to De Melody Cisnski, Jacques Jarczyk, Vincent Garcia, Floriane Marchix, Gwenole Oulchen and Patrick Pujalte. It is interesting to note that the Student Films Competition this year received over 350 entries from over 50 film and animation institutions from over 30 countries. These were evaluated down to 16 live action films, three cinematography award nominees and 25 animated films by an independent jury comprising of filmmakers, critics and leading professionals in the film and animation industry, like Marc Barb, Andreas Strohl and Deepa Gahlot for live action and Irina Saakian (of Tata Elexsi), Kedar Raut (of Rhythm and Hues) and Varaprasad (of BIG Animation) for animation.

The award for the Best Animated Film-Indian went to the film Bejinxed made by the students of the Whistling Woods- Aditi Lakhotia,Ankita Prasad, Ankur Bansal, Jason Lawrence, Nishant Tripathi, Pankhi Mahajan, Prashant Golani, Sahil Israni, Supreet Singh Anand and Udit Panjwani. Special Jury mention went to Bob and In the name of God both incidentally made by Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany and Nanhi Chidiya (MAD Arts Jaspal Bhatti School of Filmmaking).

The ARRI Young Cinematographer of the year award went to Shubham Kasera for his work as the cinematographer in the film Mai from the Whistling Woods International. Incidentally ARRI and Whistling Woods International have come forth this year onwards with a special award that would not only reward him or her for his work but also play a big part in kick starting his or her career. The winning student was also awarded the use of ARRI’s latest HD Camera, the Alexa for a period of 150 days over the next two years. Not just that, but the student will also have Rohan Sippy as his mentor. This will go a long way in jumpstarting a young cinematographer’s career, said Subhash Ghai while giving away the award.

In the International Competition section, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs each went to the producers Mike Downey and Sam Taylor and director Dominic Murphy for the film White Lightning. The Best Director award and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs went to Maria Prochazkova for the film Who Is Afraid of The Wolf. While a trophy for Special Jury award went to Ms Paprika Steen, the actress of the film Applause (Denmark), a special mention was recommended by the Jury to The Happiest Girl In The World (Romania) and Forbidden Fruit (Finland).

Ashok Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra who was the chief guest on the occasion declared that Maharashtra government would never censor a film which ahs already been censored by the Censor Board, because all said and done, he is of the opinion that films reflect society and play a vital role in reforming society by pinpointing loopholes. After handing over a cheque to Suresh Kalmadi since the government had agreed to hike the funding by the government to Rs. 1 crore from the earlier promised Rs 50 lakhs, in a lighter vein, he also said that he had made it a point to retain the culture portfolio with him instead of giving it to any one else because he has been told that it has always been the norm in Maharashtra to make any Minister who has the culture portfolio as the Chief Minister. He also added that Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) deserves to be called Maharashtra International Film Festival (MIFF) because it is the official film festival which is being organised by Maharashtra government along with Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of Pune Film Foundation.

-Sampurn Media

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Directors pick their hot favorite film of the year 2009

    

By Subhash K Jha

It was the year of the alien. When an American film ‘Avatar’ completely took over our Bollywood filmmakers’ psyche, making them feel small inadequate and incompetent. Luckily ‘Paa’ and ‘3 Idiots’ came along at year-end to give back the industry and our filmmakers their self esteem. Almost every director and producer in Hindi in one voice, singled out ‘Paa’ , ‘3 Idiots’ or ‘Avatar’ as the film of their choice.

Karan Johar: “I actually have four favorite films this year. ‘Kaminey’, ‘Paa’, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Avatar’. All four raised the bars for filmmaking. But while the first three were for me an aspiration, ‘Avatar’ was unachievable.

Imtiaz Ali: “‘Avatar’ is my favorite film of 2009. It made an important point about our civilization in a subtle manner and with the most powerful audio-visual.”

David Dhawan: “‘3 Idiots’ is the best-written and best-directed film of the year. Great entertainment value!”

Rajkumar Santoshi: “My favorite film of 2009 is ‘3 Idiots’. Good entertainment with a strong message. Fantastic performances, excellent script and direction.”

Anees Bazmee: “‘Paa’…For Amitji’s ageless and flawless performance. For Vidya Balan, Abhishek Bachchan and for the director Balki’s craftsmanship.”

Sriram Raghavan: “‘3 Idiots’ . Maybe because I’m an idiot myself.”

Raj Kumar Gupta: “’Rocket Singh- Salesman Of The Year’. It proves what a brilliant writer, a gifted director and an extremely talented actor can create- a gem of a film!”

Nishikanth Kamat: “‘3 Idiots’. Never seen such a rollercoaster of laughs and sobs before. It’s simply an amazing work.”

Sanjay Gupta: “This question is redundant for anyone who has seen ‘Avatar’.”

Tony D’Souza: “‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’.”

Sujoy Ghosh: “‘Paa’, because of Bachchan Saab’s stupendous performance. Also Vidya Balan. It’s a brave film which says being different is absolutely normal.”

Kunal Kohli: “Without a doubt, ‘3 Idiots’. It is one of the best films I’ve seen in recent times. I love its simplicity, subtlety and impact.”

Santosh Sivan: “‘Paa’…Mr. Bachchan has set new standards in acting.”

Mani Shankar: “‘Avatar’, for its pantheism, its special-effects and soul. And ‘Love Aaj Kal’ for its screenplay and performances.”

Hansal Mehta: “‘Avatar’ is my favorite film of the year. With this film the awe of the big screen returned for me. I felt like a wonder-stuck kid all over again. It’s been a great year for Hindi cinema too. ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Dev D’, ‘Rocket Singh- Salesman Of The Year’ and ‘Wanted’ were my favorites.”

Sanjay Gadhvi: “‘Paa’….because I’m probably Amitabh Bachchan’s biggest fan. I admire him even more now because he had the courage and conviction to do ‘Paa’. Also superlative performances by Abhishek and Vidya. A brilliant film!”

Apoorva Lakhia: “‘Avatar’. It was just an out-of-the-world experience. ‘Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’. It was simple, unpretentious and Shimit Amin worked wonders with the characters.”

Sajid Khan: “‘Avatar’. It wasn’t a film. It was an experience. I’ve seen it five times already. Going back for it.”

Paresh Mokashi (director of Oscar entry ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’): “The best film I saw in 2009 was ‘Turtles Can Fly’, an Iraqi film by Bahman Ghobadi. Impressive performances by children and seamless screenplay.”

Govind Nihalani: “‘Gabhricha Paus’ in Marathi for its simple and effective style, originality of screenplay, humor steeped in pathos, deep compassion and humanism, it is an ode to the spirit of struggle to survive with dignity in the most hostile circumstances. ‘Paa’…for being a deeply moving experience, sensitively directed avoiding mushy sentimentality and an unforgettable performance by Amitabh Bachchan. ‘Avatar’ for its game-changing technology and good theme.”

Milan Luthria: “‘Paa’ for the mighty Amitji. And I love ‘Love Aaj Kal’ because it had the best music of the year.”

Mohit Suri: “‘3 Idiots’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘3 Idiots’!”

Rensil D’Silva: “‘Dev D’. Anurag Kashyap did a fresh take on a story I’ve always disliked. ‘Dev D’ made me fall in love with the story!”

Abhinay Deo: “Without a doubt, ‘3 Idiots’.”

Tigmanshu Dhulia: “‘Dev D’. It made Devdas who is otherwise such a boring character so interesting. It was young and unpredictable. Great acting by all. Great music. Superb production design, and all this at such a low budget.”

Rohit Shetty: “‘3 Idiots’ for sure. There’re very few films that make you feel good and happy. This is one of them.”

Tarun Mansukhani: “‘Wake Up Sid’. An actor was discovered, a writer-director was born and a great story was told. What more could be asked for?”

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: “’Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’…Though it had a weak screenplay, it was deftly directed and attempted to comment on our moral values. And Ranbir gave a flawless performance. Wish they had worked a bit more on the script, though.”

Kunal Deshmukh: “It would have to be ‘3 Idiots’. I haven’t felt so positively about a film in a long time. It taught me how far ahead we filmmakers are when it comes to putting heart into our themes. I also thought ‘Avatar’ was awesome. Just like ‘Star Wars’ it ushered in a new era in special effects. No one would ever want or dare to watch ‘Avatar’ on a DVD, let alone a pirated DVD. Both ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Avatar’ made me think about what I should make next. I can’t dare jump into anything half-baked.”

Prakash Jha: “I haven’t had the time to watch any of the films this year.”

Vashu Bhagnani: “‘Wake Up, Sid’. It’s a simple and beautiful effort by a young and fresh director. The young identified with the characters.”

Navdeep Singh: “‘Kaminey’…Great performances. Great energy. Witty and clever entertainment.”

Firoz Nadiadwala: “‘Paa’….for Amitji’s performance and conviction.”

Ram Gopal Varma: “‘Avatar’ is by far one of the best films I’ve seen in my life. James Cameron is God. In fact he has gone a step ahead of God by building a world that even God couldn’t imagine. After watching ‘Avatar’ I felt I belong to a primitive filmmaking world.”

Amole Gupte: “‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ was obviously the pick of the lot.”

-Sampurn Media

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Natarang to hit screens on 1st Jan 2010

    

Zee Talkies’ eagerly awaited Marathi film ‘Natarang’ is releasing on 1st January, 2010. Creatively stimulating, entertainingly enlightening and beautifully arresting, ‘Natarang’ is a cinematic canvas with just the right strokes of acting talents, story, music, cinematography and but of course path breaking direction.

Director Ravi Jadhav promises to encapsulate the heart of Maharashtra’s cultural mélange- the tamasha through this debut film of his. Set up in Maharashtra’s rustic hinterlands, the film bears the dust of its rural life, and treats you to some beautiful film-making there within. Starring Atul Kulkarni and Sonalee, the film compels you to reflect on the simplest desires of life. As Guna Kagalkar, the lead character of the film, played by Atul Kulkarni inspires you to do just that. The passion, obsession, zeal and undying desire to set up a tamasha theatre company, leaves you completely spellbound.

Natarang’s colorful palette of talented cast and crew adds to its excitement. Based on a story by the same name by veteran Marathi author Dr. Anand Yadav, it credits its cinematography to Mahesh Limaye (famed for his work in ‘Fashion’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Traffic Signal’ etc) , screenplay to Ravi Jadhav and dialogues and lyrics to Guru Thakur. ‘Natarang’s music, by famed duo Ajay-Atul too is soulful, melodious, and rhythmically rural and touches just the right chords.

Right from the time ‘Natarang’ went on floors it has been enveloped by curiosity from film critics and cinema lovers alike. It has been showered with applauds from not just Indian but also international film critics. It’s screening and subsequent honors at the 11th international MAMI film festival, the 8th Asian Film Festival etc is a definite proof of its cinematic prowess. In fact in the MAMI film festival, it became the only Indian movie to be selected in the 14 ‘Above the cut’ category films, for its outstanding cinematic merit.

Even at the Asian Film festival held at Kolhapur and Mumbai, it was chosen as the opening film of the festival at Kolhapur, which is a very genuine applause given the fact that Kolhapur is the city where Maharashtra’s cultures thrive and cherish, tamasha being an important part of them.

So get all set to be enlightened this New Year, as the most awaited film across Maharashtra- ‘Natarang’ knocks on your nearest cinema screens on January 1st, 2010.

-Sampurn Media

Shah Rukh Khan

    

Can you believe it? India’s current nomination for Oscars 2010, the Marathi film, Harishchandrachi Factory would have been produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s production house, Red Chillies Entertainment. But then fate had other plans!

Reveals an insider source, “Paresh Mokashi, Harishchandrachi Factory’s director, had approached Juhi Chawla hoping a backing for his debut project. Doing the needful, Juhi forwarded this project to her ex-partner, Shah Rukh Khan’s company, Red Chillies Entertainment. But a fact that Shah Rukh Khan may not be aware of back then was that his creative team didn’t even consider the film because it was to be made in Marathi, and Marathi films were not exactly on their agenda at that point of time. So naturally, Paresh had to face rejection yet again like he was facing everywhere else. This then lead him to finally sell his house to make his dream come true.

A friend of Juhi reveals to us, Juhi still can’t forget the passion Paresh had back then in his eyes. "He was so charged that it should be no surprise for anyone that he has made the film the way he wanted it to be." the source concludes.

-Sampurn Media

Mahesh Manjrekar as a judge

    

Mahesh Manjrekar, Bollywood’s versatile personality who is an actor, director, writer as well as producer will be now be marking his presence in Zee Marathi’s new reality talent hunt show.

Our source from the production house informs, "Mahesh Manjrekar will be spotted in Zee Marathi’s reality show ‘Maharashtracha Super Star’ as a judge. He will be the one who will judge the acting talent from across the state and will finally declare who will be the Superstar of Maharashtra."

"The audition for the show is on full swing and the show will launch soon. The show which will be telecast for two days in a week i.e. Wednesday and Thursday will see Manjrekar judging the contestants," adds the source.

Get ready to watch Mahesh Manjrekar’s comments with a Marathi tadka on the small screen!

-Tejashree Bhopatkar / Sampurn Media