Running on mostly empty (GF on Paan Singh Tomar)


It’s now pretty much a cliché to note that the best thing in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar is the performance by its leading man. But in a film culture where talking heads that pass for actors regularly come in for superlative praise by reviewers, it’s not too tasking to add to the chorus on Irfan Khan. Always a magnetic and rather singular presence, Khan forcefully holds Dhulia’s film together, so much so that the story becomes secondary to watching the actor work. And this isn’t only because of Khan’s nuanced, expressive work but because Dhulia’s film needs this kind of performance to give it the sense of dramatic heft it lacks in its storytelling. This is a flawed film and the kind of flawed film that frustrates you not because it’s a bland story with a strong performance in it, but because it is, quite the contrary, a very unique and almost unbelievably true story that isn’t given the kind of treatment it deserves. To put it simply, Khan does more service to Tomar’s story than Dhulia.

A regular criticism I’ve noticed on this film is that it’s too long. I didn’t quite feel that it was a slow film, but there was a sense that, as with many by-the-books biopics, the film after some time was simply going through the motions of telling its story without really taking the time to make any commentary or offer any kind of perspective on the part of the filmmaker. And that’s a shame because Tomar’s story as a national hero turned criminal leader is the kind of material a more interesting filmmaker could have translated into a serious look at political corruption and the effacement of history—something one could reasonably expect when the film begins with Tomar saying he was essentially a child of his nation’s independence. One could posit that Dhulia saw enough inherent political charge in the story here to avoid making things too heavy-handed, but this to me is a weak line of argument because of how evasive a gesture it seems. There was potential to tell this story with some interest in examining the obvious themes, but Dhulia doesn’t seem to care to push the envelope too far here and one can’t necessarily blame him for this but even if he wanted to simply tell Tomar’s story in a straightforward manner one would then want a filmmaker who was more cinematically interesting than is the case here. Because even viewed as a plain biopic, there isn’t anything particularly unique about the filmmaking here.

In this sense while watching this film I kept considering Michael Mann’s Ali—a film about a remarkable athlete who went from being a celebrated national treasure to a maligned enemy of the state. Mann’s film is fully aware of its political charge and it is deeply connected to its protagonists’ ideas on race, history and the basic inequities of the state. But beyond this Mann also makes a movie that has a compelling, breathtaking style and it recreates history in ways that are transporting and that seem to be informed by a filmmaker’s knowledge of his character’s inner journey. In an Indian context, there is of course the peerless example Ratnam sets in his Iruvar biopic, which again tells an amazing true story, but does much more than this and does it in a way that is always cinematically interesting. Dhulia is of course not to be compared to masters and even if he hasn’t made a film here that is some kind of masterpiece, his is still a noble effort for telling the kind of story we don’t see enough of in Hindi cinema, and of course because of its central casting choice.

I’ve liked Irfan Khan more in other films but this is a unique moment in his filmography, in that he’s never before felt more like a proper lead in an Indian film, and he’s never had as much of a character’s life to work with. It makes sense that Khan’s first breakout moment occurred in Asif Kapadia’s quiet, mini-epic The Warrior: this is an actor who can do more with silence than most actors can accomplish with a monologue. In Paan Singh Tomar, his challenge is something different. He has to work against a script that often seems to recoil from really saying something. It’s a different kind of “silencing” that Khan faces here and he meets the challenge admirably. Sometimes it almost seems like there’s another, more provocative movie happening inside the actor—one that we see in fragments here. This is a film that deserves viewership for the story it tells, but also and perhaps even more to spread the gospel on the rather singular powers of Irfan Khan.

179 Responses to “Running on mostly empty (GF on Paan Singh Tomar)”

  1. Re: in that he’s never before felt more like a proper lead in an Indian film, and he’s never had as much of a character’s life to work with.

    As somewhat of an ardent fan of Kahn,am happy for this.
    Another cause to smile is the rather surprising results at the turnstiles.
    An interesting piece on the fortunes of PST:

    BTW, great piece from you GF. As usual.

    • THe article was superb Rajen. Learnt what the acronym WOM stood for!! Loved the last line,”The truth is that Paan Singh Tomar is running a real race at the movies this March. So be prepared for many medals!”

  2. thakursingh Says:

    Thanks for the review GF. I remember being compelled by Irfan’s silence in The Warrior. Interestingly, Tigmanshu Dhulia was the casting director on that flick. I was a bit disappointed with his Saaheb Biwi Aur Gangster – the story kind of goes haywire towards the climax. I will check out Paan Singh Tomar for the sake of Irfan alone.

  3. Nice article GF, though I don’t agree you comparing the movie with Ali or this sentence,”He has to work against a script that often seems to recoil from really saying something”, I personally I don’t think it is supposed to be that way but….

    • The Ali comparison isn’t one I’d push too far but it doesn’t seem misplaced to me. Because in both movies you essentially have a “two-halved” biopic that begins by telling the story of a celebrated athlete and then, in the second “half”, shows this same central figure entrenched in a personal and political rebellion vis a vis the state. To my mind one of the central problems of Dhulia’s film is that he doesn’t sow the seeds of this “second half” very well in the initial portions of the film. So in the earlier, formative scenes while we do sense that Paan Singh butts heads with his superiors and even on principle supports rebels who fight against local corruption in his home state, this to my mind could have been more fully fleshed out. One feels that Paan Singh’s fight with the government is less a rebel’s struggle and more that of a fugitive. The kind of vague explanation that he’s fighting against general corruption (namely venal cops and ineffectual bureaucrats) is adequate but not much more than this. And ultimately there’s a sense that Paan Singh is representative of a certain kind of frustration stemming from entitlement – in other words it feels a bit like Paan Singh is thinking along the following lines: “It’s sad but simply a fact of life that cops and politicians can be bought, until even great sportsmen like me are directly victimized by the same institutional corruption. Then it’s truly a problem that must be dealt with.”

      One way this problem could have been solved is if Dhulia spent less time detailing the athlete’s biography and focused his efforts on the rebel’s side of the story. Certainly I found that Paan Singh’s exploits on the track were far less interesting to what he did in the Chambal valley.

      • “One feels that Paan Singh’s fight with the government is less a rebel’s struggle and more that of a fugitive”
        Hadn’t read your response GF.
        I disagree. I think the biggest achievement of the movie is not making PST a “hero” and mouth piece of someone who is fighting the “system”. He is simply a common man who is pushed against the wall and becoming a “bagghi” is not a choice for him. He is indeed a fugitive and man on the run and that is the scene where he confronts his uncle (that because of you I have to hide and run around in chambal…where as he was indeed a family loving man who loved his wife/son, very well-establised in the movie).
        I would have walked out of theater if Dhulia had made him into a demi-god, glorifying his *achievements* in chambal instead of staying true to the character and the biopic. If I wanted to watch another hero (heroic daaku) taking on the system, I would go to singham or dabaang or some such movie.

        • We’re talking about different things, or you’re not quite understanding my train of thought here. Because I certainly don’t think Dhulia’s alternative was to “glorify” the violence perpetrated by Paan Singh!

          What I’m saying is that Paan Singh’s politics and his perspective with respect to his state and its ineffectual, even brutally corrupt manner seemed to occur without real thought and more time to make the transition from proud patriot to armed rebel feel plausible. And again I think my problem stems from the amount of time Dhulia spends in detailing these two phases of Paan Singh’s life. I think the first half involving his racing exploits and his time in the army got repetitive after a point, and as a result the true drama of the film – when the state he loyally served turned its back on him – was shortchanged.

          • “occur without real thought”
            Maybe I don’t understand you at all? Does becoming a baagi/rebel a premeditated task? Has bollywood view of world corrupted our thoughts on what a dacoit/rebel is really all about (“kitney aadmi they”)? How many options do you have when your son-old mother is beaten up and “enemy” enters your home such that it is impossible to go back to your village and be alive? I don’t think Paan Singh is part of that intellectual tribe of people who plan and plot their future. He enters military as mean to support himself (and he is also desh bhakht like most people in village) and enters sports because there is no food rationing there and happens to have more stamina/talent than most when it comes to running that got noticed and cultivated by Army. There is no “real thought”. That is his story. Paan Singh’s politics is what we all grew up with (in India–even in 80s). Govt is corrupt but military (army/navy/airforce) is #1, one of the best. It is/was common knowledge even to us little kids. Now of course the youngsters in India also know that military is also corrupt and they buy defective fighter planes etc.
            Paan Singh’s cousin was maybe evil dominating brother the whole time (while Paan was in military) but it may have not bothered him so much as he was earning member and his family was safe. It would be utterly ridiculous to show that he was planning his “baaghi career” the whole time he was in military!!!! Even when police is not doing anything, he doesn’t take law in his hands. So much so that his cousins keep taunting him. 2 years pass by AFTER his retirement. Knowing that Paan won’t do anything, the “enemy” gets stronger and attacks his family. I think it is quite logical and works. If it didn’t, the movie wouldn’t have been hit. If the movie was ALL about the “baaghi” part, it would have been so boring and uninteresting. In fact the first half where he is sportman is the most interesting part (for me) and also the most funny part of the movie, full of light moments. The rebel phase is bit sad and depressing. I think devoting more time to this phase would have made this movie a flop.

          • Di, I’m clearly miscommunicating – because if you genuinely believe that the film I’d like to have seen here entails seeing Paan Singh “plan his baaghi career while in the military”(!) you are deeply, deeply mistaken.

            I simply find the the character’s transition from one extreme to another somewhat undercooked. We’ve seen countless stories of people taking the law into their own hands when the system fails them – that’s actually precisely what the masala cinema you reference and ridicule does more often than not! One expected something a bit more unique in a film that’s otherwise not built in the commercial mold. The central fight we see here is the revenge story – we almost never see Paan Singh as the political leader that some reports indicate he was. Someone who served the villages that are otherwise ignored by the system. I consider that a missed opportunity especially given Tomar’s previous background as someone who served the system. And in terms of whether the film had to make certain commercial decisions is frankly a worthless line of argument because I doubt anyone involved in making this film did so with those kinds of considerations!

            This may be a true story, but I find it very hard to believe that Dhulia didn’t take liberties given his film is preceded by a title card telling us that the story itself isn’t entirely factual! I personally think that Dhulia could have fashioned a more convincing political leader out of Paan Singh rather than telling another story about a guy who isn’t served by the system and so goes about taking matters into his own hands…last time I checked that’s what Singham and Dabangg was all about!

            Finally I won’t argue too much against this film. It’s better than 99% of what’s out there in Hindi cinema. Just think that a film being good doesn’t make it immune to criticism. The best films invite a critical perspective because there’s actually enough thought put into them to get people thinking about them. And in considering PST I couldn’t help but see the potential missed in certain areas…

          • “Dhulia could have fashioned a more convincing political leader out of Paan Singh rather than telling another story about a guy who isn’t served by the system”
            I feel you didn’t find anything to do critical appraisal and just picked something for sake of it :-)
            They actually spent 2 years researching. The guy who was informant (which led to encounter and ultimate killing of PST) never agreed to interview. When you make a biopic, there has to be some “fiction” like the delivering/eating icecream scenes or you have to translate what you get from interviews (like he had really sweet/special relationship with his wife) into scenes that take place in the movie with Mahie Gill and in that there is “fiction”. HOWEVER you cannot add fiction/masala such as make him into angry/passionate/champion of causes and fighter (aka singham), when he was not such kind of a person in real life. You can take some liberties while making a biopic but liberties cannot be such that they are complete work of fiction. The director does plant enough seeds in the beginning to movie, what PST’s world (view) is all about. He is familiar with guns, he knows how to operate them even before joining army; however in personal life he doesn’t carry it around or use it as tool to intimidate others. He is just ordinary, regular (illiterate) villager-farmer (who happens to be a national champion in steeplechase) who faces lots of (steeple=metaphor) “baadha” and trys to overcome all of them, the best way he can and your analysis (review) didn’t even mention those layers AT ALL!!!!

          • @GF
            If Paan Singh was sitting on horse and had flared his nostrils…and maroed dialogues such as “kitney aadmi the”, right in the first scene (to portray the characters gentle transition from “extremes”), to show how he become baaghi slowly, slowly… you would have been very happy, I guess. Lolz

          • Not sure where you’re getting the idea that I wanted a masala film here when most of what I’ve been discussing is politics and character development. I didn’t say anything about this in my piece nor in any of my comments. But somehow you’ve inferred that I’m looking for Singham meets Sholay meets Dabangg which I can only guess points at some reading deficiency on your part. Wish I could help with that.

            And as I said, the real Paan Singh according to certain reports was a kind of “mukhiya” who did involve himself in local politics and land issues. It wouldn’t have required much stretching of the truth to see this side of the man. I’m sure you’re not interested in seeing this kind of thing but it certainly would have made things interesting for me. I guess I’m just less interested in seeing ice cream melting on screen than you are.

          • ” I guess I’m just less interested in seeing ice cream melting on screen than you are.”
            Lolz. I didn’t care for the whole icecream scene either. Chalo hugs kar kay peace kar lay te hai. I have a feeling that you are Anupama Chopra (Vidhu’s wife). Your writing style is same as hers.
            I wish you had written better review than picking on seeing him as “mukhiya”. That would have converted the movie into Paar and then Rajen/Rocky and co. would have cried murder ;-)

          • ” But somehow you’ve inferred that I’m looking for Singham meets Sholay meets Dabangg”
            Only in masala feelims you have such things…dekha mera paap nay mera haath may chor likkha…sau mai bada ho kay chor baan gaya. Taaliya. Sometimes you may have normal life, grow up normal and happy and things are not premeditated (like getting admission into a dacait school). And janta or critics find it a hard bite to digest. There is a scene in the movie. Where Paan Singh confronts his “enemy” chachera bhai after shooting him…why you did THIS to me….meaning that running around in chambal…as a baaghi (which is also fugitive) is NOT the most romantic thing in life. It is not a gabbar running around on horse, intimidating people as we know our daku-s in bollywood. It is 100+ degrees. It is constant fear, no family, no freedom. It is not a preferred lifestyle. Even as a rebel/baaghi/daaku you are man who has lost his freedom to live life normally and has to be a fugitive.
            If there was any loop hole, then they should have actually focussed a bit more on that aspect….how he is suffering as a baaghi…how his wife is also missing and suffering…how he is missing all his family events. That would have added a certain poignancy to the whole movie (not that it lacked without those extentions).

          • ” I can only guess points at some reading deficiency on your part.”
            hmmm. I think I can read you little bit more than I can Sattu. Uska writing toh pura upar say jata hai. Only you, Qalandar and Ami can read and debate with him. He is like 4th degree black belt :-)
            I normally run away…why get beaten up. :-)

  4. Thanks GF — will check this out over the weekend…

  5. alex adams Says:

    Bachchan has really added value to this already elegantly rich song
    must say bengali is a naturally sweet language (though dont know it)

    ps–vidya balan looks really poised for a v good role in kahaani

  6. alex adams Says:

    The intoxicating magic of amitabh bachchan

    i am moved somewhat VVVVVVVVVV
    not only by this exquisite song
    but the intoxicating rendering by amitabh

    Moreso–some of the amitabh stills here are magic
    plus the remix isnt bad here

    one of the stills i love is around 2:10 mark
    plus there are loads of vintage amitabh stills

  7. alex adams Says:

    ^^^^Dedicated to the FIRST person who drew me to bollywood
    amitabh bachchan
    not into nostalgia easily–but this one is too good

    thanx moses sapir for this outstanding montage–seems an encapsulation of a remarkabe innings

    love the one with dharmendra, m desai/p mehra,

    some of the still i loved here –1.25
    1.35, 1.40, 2.10, 2.25, 3.03, 3.28, 3.41, 3.47,

  8. alex adams Says:

    0.25, 0.30, 0.35 as well ^^

    when i look at this, have no doubt that his last few years have somehow not done justice to this bewildering legacy–by his high standards-(and abhishrek hasnt helped)

    my roving eye caught this

    an israeli home

    and closer home ;-)
    the grumoy old man is back !!!

  9. alex adams Says:

    the acerbic old grumpy man is real entertainment
    like the inherent paradox here

    check out the rastafarian look

    hohoho–someone save me

    ps–di–did u like any bachchan stills in the moses shapir link? oh, u r not a bachchan fan

  10. alex adams Says:

    lol @ old patriarchs

    naseers interviews are probably the most fun imo
    luv em
    rotflol—plz check this out folks

    by the way–did NOT like his ‘a wednesday’ performance .
    infact find his interviews much more fun than some of his performances

    • lol..Great actors doesn’t mean they are good judge of acting or movies :) Jordan woud have been greatest coach or owner! It is just an opinion. He use to criticize Aamir then he suddenly started liking him after Peepli Live and Jaane Tu…

  11. alex adams Says:

    ^^^now satyam, gf, di and others–

    what are your comments on his quips on ‘dev’ 2;60-2.80ish
    scathing attack on nihalani
    also about om being a ‘far superior actor than the other gentleman’

    • Forget the interview..who is that smarty/handsome fellow taking that interview..chikna hai..thoda idiot bhi hai.. ;-)
      P.S: what naseer is saying takes lots of balls…its a free country…people should be allowed to express their opinions. Personal opinions don’t change facts (if they are facts), do they?

  12. alex adams Says:

    .”.chikna hai”– “lots of balls”
    haha di in form ;-)

  13. Ami (formerly 'Annoyed') Says:

    Thanks for all the links Alex- Naseer’s interviews are always entertaining.

  14. It is a sad call for attention from a delusional,frustrated soul. Making ridiculous claims when one has nothing to lose is hardly a sign of balls
    One is free to say what one wants but only the most intellectually bankrupt would not be bothered. It is like Santorum saying Obama is a snob for wanting everyone to be able to get higher training but it is hardly a sign of cojones.It is nothing but a desparate attack. It is no secret that Mr.Shah has awlays felt that he has not received his due from commercial Bollywood. One cannot but feel pity for Naseer because gifted as he is , he has an unwarranted high opinion of himself and not enough critical or commercial acclaim ( atleast not enough for him ). Amitabh was somewhat of a contemporary and while he has never allowed an oppurtunity to make a snide remark at Amitabh pass him by, his desparation seems to be seeking new highs or lows.
    Also deserving of pity and scorn in equal measures are those who encourage this or regard this as a sign of valor or who justify or condone it. Alas, intellectual honesty doesnt come easy to some.

    • his situation is like Shatrughan Sinha…begging for Big B’s attention by constantly poking him….ek din aayega jab Big B ko gussa aayega and Naseer will get such a response kee unkee boltee band ho jayegee……..

    • I guess Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute can be condoned as it is a ‘free country’. Because it doesnt make it a fact! Perhaps a sign that Mr.Limbaugh has balls??
      Because it was very obvious that he was going to get it from all quarters except the most partisan.

      • “a slut and a prostitute”
        All he said was sholay was not a gr8 movie…he didn’t call anyone slut. He did say that bigb was good actor. He also think Om Puri is better than the “other fellow”.
        None of this statements are akin to calling someone gaalis…these are HIS personal opinion.
        It is like SRK fan bashing up others when they hear criticism of SRK!
        Naseer is not the only one. If interviewer was to ask,”WHat do you think…” lot of people will be diplomatic and or go in “no comments” territory. There will be very-very-very few who would express their opinion…Naseer happens to be innocent enough to fall prey to such scheming journos. I truely believe that.

    • “sad call for attention”
      Honestly he doesn’t give interviews or doesn’t care to be interviewed!!
      “most intellectually bankrupt would not be bothered”
      I guess he is not intellectually bankrupt. He was clearly asked a question and he responded.
      “he has not received his due from commercial Bollywood……desparation seems to be seeking new highs or lows.”
      He is ABOVE commerical cinema…if you cannot understand this concept than it is not worth arguing. He literally looks down upon it and it doesn’t satisfy him creatively (even though he has always acted in commerical hindi cinema as much as poor guy can tolerate it!!). How many true BW artists you know who are ALSO doing theater? Name me ONE mainstream hero/actor who is doing theater still! I don’t think lot of your arguements hold any water.
      There are actors and then there are true, blue artists. I believe Naseer, Irrfan fall in that category. And yes, they will have lot of cojones to say things that lot of people in BW will not. What you WILL certainly find is class less back biting, bitching, manipulations that will put any desi mother-in-law to shame (look at kjo/srk/salman). When they meet each other at parties, they will even hug each other as if they were long lost friends. And then peeth kay pichey churra.
      So yes, I love my Naseer and his cojones too!!!

      • Di, what a foolsih statement – “He is ABOVE commerical cinema…if you cannot understand this concept than it is not worth arguing. He literally looks down upon it and it doesn’t satisfy him creatively (even though he has always acted in commerical hindi cinema as much as poor guy can tolerate it!!). How many true BW artists you know who are ALSO doing theater? Name me ONE mainstream hero/actor who is doing theater still! I don’t think lot of your arguements hold any water.”

        No One is Above commercail cinema even better actors then Naseer do crappy movies to pay the bills.. He is just a bitter old man – jealousy and envy are not attractive traits. I have heard he is difficult to work with which may be why he gets less offers than he expects. Hell not even HW is knocking on his door.

        BTW he is not innocent in answering those questions. Anyone is free to say next question and move on. There is nothing honorable in denigrating members of your fraternity. Fans are free to do so but peers should not. I always wonder about people who praise bad behavior. Would you enjoy it if your peers started bad mouthing you? Would you see it as just an opinion? I bet you would find it hurtful.

        • Chalo..we will now “forgive” him ;-)

          Naseer insists he’s now become politically correct when critiquing colleagues, and has brought his infamous temperament under control. “It’s a cry of agony really. And I realise this, having done it many times, as an actor and as a director in the theatre. It’s completely destructive, and one indulges in it as an outlet,” he says.
          He adds, “I don’t do that anymore because I realised it is doing me a lot of harm. Since I started working with student actors, I realised it does them a lot of damage as well.”

  15. Ami (formerly 'Annoyed') Says:

    Rajen- you’re making unwarrantedly hyperbolic statements. I was hardly encouraging his snide remarks at BigB or justifying them as being a sign of valour- I don’t particularly care either way about what he says about Bachchan. He is a little arrogant and frustrated- and that is what makes him entertaining! There are worse crimes than being a grumpy old man. I can understand why they upset you- but just because we don’t condemn him it doesn’t mean that we are ‘deserving of pity and scorn’.

    Naseer hasn’t committed any kind of crime- nor has even hurt the feelings of those whom he talks about- these are hardly the kind of sentiments that are going to cause any reaction in Bachchan other than perhaps a dismissive amusement. It would have been different if he were attacking an upcoming actor who looks upto him- but Bachchan is hardly likely to be perturbed by these silly digs at his celebrity. It is then bordering on fanatic to so harshly condemn those who do not condemn Naseer’s harmless curmudgeonliness.

    It’s all relative- there have been far more pitiful calls for attention from several of Bollywood’s infinitely less talented wannabes and far more offensive statements made and actions committed by those much less deserving of their stardom than Naseer- so forgive us if we’re not all as enraged by this as you are.

    • Ami,Our comments crossed. Mine was not a response to your comment! Based on what I have seen, I dont think I could ever accuse you of things I have said in the comment.

      • Ami (formerly 'Annoyed') Says:

        My apologies then- it was a misunderstanding. :-P

        • No problem. I understand that everyone doesnt have to share my outrage. Your response is perfectly fine. My ire was directed at comments like – he was goaded by the interviewer or that somehow this was a display of courage that got my goat.
          However, I would not charactarise these remarks as harmless.
          BTW, I do plead guilty to the charge of being an AB fanatic- shamelessly so!

          • Rajen, lets replace Amitabh with SRK, in Naseer’s interviews. And lets say you are beating up Naseer for being critical of SRK…than the bigb fans will call you yet another delutional/crazy SRK fanatic fan lolz ;-)
            In a sycophantic, incestuous world of BW, to exprerss your (critical) opinion with so much bindas-ness, is to a breath of fresh air and he didn’t just “pick” on bigb. There were actually many-many critical statements he made (nandita das movie instead of firaaq and obviously he is not proud of that movie, it seems) during entire interview or maybe the whole interview was nothing bet various artistic “pet peeves” he has (this is how moody artists are in real life, if you don’t know…even bigb is very mooody). To just pick his comments on bigb and get all “hurt” is ridiculous! Truth be told, true artists (and I have been watching old Irrfan interviews of late) don’t care for fact they won’t even charge for a good acting roles. They don’t care for fame (critical acclaim is different)…they would starve for their art. Naseer is among those, for which Ihe has my respect. Lot of artists, after getting name and fame, forget the art and just keep running after that 100 crore hit and do mindless cinema!
            An really speaking, inspite of all this “drama/nautanki/nakhras” it is he who starred in 100 crore movie (TDP) and is still going strong JUST LIKE bigb. That says something. So when 2 gods are having disagreements or “fights” maybe lesser humans should not jump in ;-)

          • “Rajen, lets replace Amitabh with SRK”

            but that changes everything! You can’t have the same sort of discussion once the ‘terms’ of the debate are so radically different. It’s like I might get very upset if I feel someone’s not giving Sachin his due. Might be far less upset with Ganguly not getting his. not just because I’m a Sachin fan but because certain legacies have to be engaged with seriously. One can be a critic by all means but not by reducing the whole discussion to a farce.

          • ” I understand that everyone doesnt have to share my outrage”
            True. Even bigb doesn’t share your outrage!! HE will totally accept all the “Criticism” Naseer has for him, humbly. You should have read his blog piece on it (if you were a true “fan”)…it was simply fabulous!

          • I am not sure if there is a serious discussion to be had here with you,Di.
            If you cant fathom how replacing SRK with AB in the crticism alters things, what can one say. It is like replacing Snooky for Sandra Fluke in Limbaugh’s attack and expecting the same outrage! For the record, I am not for demeaning any woman by publicly calling them sluts but I hope you get the point. Regarding the bindaas attitude and breath of fresh air, I am sorry but talking trash out of deep rooted envy is not a sign of either in my books.
            Regarding AB’s response, thats is precisely one of the reasons why I admire the man.
            And , loose talk of any kind ( regardless of the players involved ) is something I find bothersome and glorifying those with meaningless platitudes is something even more deplorable.
            People who resort to or encourage iconoclam – I find them incapable of achieving anything meaningful in life.

          • @Rajen: with your logic and philosophy, people shouldn’t have personalities and they shouldn’t express their opinions and shouldn’t be critical of someone successful ever. If SRK fans are crazy and delusional (when people criticise SRK) then at least bigb fans should rise above, just like their idol.
            The reason Naseer can and will critise who ever he pleases, because he is successful and has merit to do so. This aspect of him makes him who he is. He is fearless.
            The blog admin oftens tell bigb that he is too humble. Prolly he thinks that bigb doesn’t call spade a spade, bends down too often. When you call spade a spade, people will still criticise you. You have to be true to yourself and shouldn’t mold yourself based on “log kya kahengay”. Vidhya Balan can give finger to the three khans because she has tasted the success…otherwise people will say “sour grapes”. I think Naseer is being himself instead of a cheap suck and he doesn’t need to be a bigb fan like rest of us. While the world cannot critisize tendulkar another cricketer of same calibre can express his negative opinion on Tendulkar. All Naseer is saying is that Tendulkar was is good player but that particular game wasn’t all that great. Maybe someother player doesn’t have so much success but is superioer player. I think that is reasonable comment. When I praise Ishkiya, bliss calls it a “chaff” and asks me to watch Haasil instead. I agree with him 100%. So what? I STILL like Ishkiya a lot. And bliss has right to express his/her opinion(s) as well. The whole world doesn’t have to be fan of bigb or tendulkar. If you show the whole body of work to some american, he may not think bigb is awesome actor. Would you then say that they are “jealous” of bigb!!!
            While Naseer’s reaction is sensible, I find your reaction to Naseer’s opinion a complete over-reaction, to put it gently.

          • I think you’re conflating a number of different things here Di. First off in cricketing terms Naseer is precisely dismissing Sachin’s career and not just one game or two. But his obsession with Bachchan also reveals the ultimate anxiety. And the anxiety here in my view isn’t about how successful Bachchan has been while he hasn’t got his due. I think the real anxiety here is that Naseer realizes just how good Bachchan is and THIS deeply unsettles him. As a matter of cultural prejudice and as a matter of just how history has worked out for the most part in this sense the biggest megastars are usually not the finest actors. The Rajni/Kamal divide is in many ways much more the norm even in industries where there isn’t such a bi-polar division of the spoils. Tamil cinema of course also had the MGR/Sivaji couple before this. But this is a very ‘satisfying’ structure. The purer actor can never become the biggest mass entertainer and vice versa. Sure, all fans think they’re favorite stars are very good actors but I’m referring to some index of serious criticism being part of the equation. In Kerala you have two very great stars who are also great actors. Mohanlal and Mammootty are not national figures but nonetheless this is the Bachchan model, not the Kamal one. Which is to say the biggest box office force twinned with the most esteemed acting talent. Dilip Kumar on the other hand is more the Sivaji model. While he was in many ways ‘first among equals’ (Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand completing the trio) he was never the kind of mass megastar that Bachchan was or that Rajni/MGR were or that the two Ms are/were. Bachchan or the two MS are exceptions to the rule. Even in Hollywood you generally have, and historically speaking, either a bunch of top stars and no clear box office favorite, or else a division between the greater actors and the box office forces. The De Niro/Stallone divide if you will.

            This structure is not a coincidental one. To be a great star requires mostly a very different toolkit than the one required to be a great actor. To combine the two requires that one do double duty — develop a very strong signature and at the very same time allow the actor to breathe freely and create ‘pure’ moments of performance. In the greatest star-actors these two aspects are seamlessly mixed. You can’t really separate where one begins and the other ends. And so to say that in one scene Mohanlal is only being a star whereas in an other he is only acting is quite meaningless. But in each such great-star actor’s career you can always spot the points at which the two sides of the coin, as it were, did not come together. Mostly this happens when the star is evolving but sometimes later one when the star is trying to reinvent himself. So with Bachchan one could look at some early films but also something late like Main Azaad Hoon. The later stuff is more interesting in this context because it points toward a deliberate ‘unhinging’ or a moment when the star tries to ‘uncouple’ that star-actor bond or even tries to erase that hyphen.

            To get back to Naseer I think he could breathe easier if Bachchan were just a great star without being a great actor. He could ‘account’ for this at a psychological level. But Bachchan presents an embarrassment of riches that is a great challenge for such structures. This is incidentally something that Kamal has always intuited. He forever tried to become Bachchanesque within his contexts but overtaking Rajni was always a bridge too far for him. The difference is that he has never been bitter about this (obviously unlike Naseer his ‘second best’ is still the stuff of legend!), wistful perhaps but not more than this. Life would be easier for Naseer if Bachchan were either less successful or were a far weaker actor. I think he’d prefer the latter scenario but he could compromise with the former. However Bachchan offers neither opportunity.

          • Finally the zone of ‘undecidability’ in this sense (when is the great star-actor more ‘star’ or more ‘actor’?) does not imply something totally unknowable. Why? Because the overall ‘effects’ unleashed by that ‘hyphen’ (that connecting bond between the ‘star’ and the ‘actor’ in a seminal figure) are far in excess of those that anyone else is capable of. In other words John Wayne is very effective on screen but as a star with whom the ‘acting’ is completely cannibalized by the ‘star-ing’. In Brando on the other hand (even if I’ve never been much of a fan) the ‘tension’ of that hyphen is preserved. De Niro simply creates a wider universe of ‘meaning’ and ‘expression’ than Stallone ever can. Better still one could compare Pacino and Eastwood in the same ways. Nonetheless very effective cinema can be produced with a Wayne or an Eastwood as long as (and this is crucial) the directors understand this and create films that are anchored simply in those star signatures and do not require great performances in the ‘puristic’ sense of the term. Whereas with a De Niro or a Pacino a ‘deeper’ cinematic space is created to ‘house’ the greater talents of these actors.

            It is absolutely true that one couldn’t imagine De Niro in a Leone Western anymore than one could visualize Eastwood doing Raging Bull or King of Comedy (incidentally my favorite De Niro outing) but this should not obscure the fact that the great films of a De Niro are so by incorporating the actor’s skill set while those of an Eastwood are so simply by using his signature in a much more superficial sense. To get a bit more theoretical here Eastwood operates as pure ‘effect’ in his films. He doesn’t have to co-produce the ‘meaning’ of his work. He simply becomes the greatest ‘signpost’ in the overall signification universe that Leone employs. On the other hand the opposite is true for De Niro who has to carry a very significant load of the ‘meaning’ of his film. If he does not act in certain ways the film just collapses. Eastwood can stay on the surface of things, De Niro has to embody them. which is why one can go from Good the bad and the ugly to Once upon a time in the West and not feel that the later film really ‘lacks’ anything but one cannot easily imagine even Pacino doing De Niro’s great parts. Because though Pacino would be capable of this the ‘meaning’ of those films would be completely different without De Niro. Perhaps better, perhaps worse but different at any rate. In Ford’s Westerns however a number of stars could be effective doing what Wayne did without having to change anything else in the film. Again the difference between a great ‘surface star’ and the a great star-actor who alters the entire process of signification in a film with his (or her) presence.

          • In contemporary ‘Bollywood’ terms Salman is the Wayne kind of star. He is pure ‘effect’. Hrithik is in the same mold though a much more ‘polished’ version of the same. Abhishek is someone who constantly tries to unhinge the ‘actor’ from the ‘star’ and hence perplexes his audience at both ends. Aamir has better worked with the same tension over time by ‘crediting’ the actor side of the equation with enough populism and sheer emotional appeal (by way of the characters he plays or the films he chooses, quite often both) in the exact magnitude that he debits the star side of the very same equation. In other words he’s very skilfully brought about this transformation over the last decade or more without anyone noticing! But it’s fair to say that like Abhishek he too has been a bit of a reluctant star in some ways. Abhishek comes at it the other way and how resolves this tension in ways that reward him at the box office consistently while also retaining the actor who is capable of great surprises remains one of the fascinating stories to behold. Shahrukh meanwhile is also an Aamir-like star-actor in the sense that the star-actor proportions in him are probably comparable but where Aamir has erred on the latter side of the equation Shahrukh has done so on the ‘star’ side. Aamir’s choices have magnified him as an actor, made him vastly better at his craft while the opposite is true for Shahrukh. So again how one chooses enlarges or diminishes one. These are not static things. One has to learn to be a great star and similarly one has to learn to be a great actor, assuming that potential in either case. All of Aamir’s choices don’t make him a very rare actor in that sense of excellence nor does the same happen with Shahrukh on the star side of the equation. Finally, and to use one more example here, Ranbir is a star-actor who is not yet ‘enough’ of the former or the latter. There is more promise here on the ‘acting’ side of things than the ‘star’ side. However the danger is that he can become a half-way point between his current self at its best and Hrithik Roshan if he plays it too ‘safe’. I do not see him as becoming an iconic star like Shahrukh but the Aamir possibility is open to him. Abhishek is just the superior actor here which is why the greater director will always be tempted to push him in riskier directions much as the star himself will often succumb to the very same temptation.

            All of this is not meant to be judgmental in any sense (at least not today!) but it’s always interesting to see how even in the most commercial industries there are some ‘basics’ that very much define star careers through all the ups and downs. Yes actors do shape their careers with their choices but certain ‘essentials’ are very hard to radically transform (Aamir’s ‘evidence’ was there early on as well.. there was no point in their respective careers when Salman was ever considered Aamir’s equal as an actor). There can always be the ‘event’ film that changes everything but even this sort of seminal moment very rarely reshapes perceptions of an actor as much as it alters the box office trajectory of the same. Even when Abhishek does a Yuva there is always the ‘pre-ordained’ sense to this moment. One can debate why this is so but that’s a different story.

          • Satyam; these last three comments are excellent; the middle one, in particular, is permanently useful in helping one think about this problem.

            An interesting variant on the star-actor hyphen is introduced when we speak of the star-progeny, an inheritor. Here, the level of over-determination is that much greater, adding to the difficulty in navigating the hyphen between “star” and “actor.” I could go on about Abhishek, but a more mundane example will illustrate the point. There’s an Axis Bank advertisement that’s currently being aired quite a bit on Indian TV, featuring Neetu Singh as a bustling, self-important shopper who keeps saying “I know everything”; ultimately she lands in a jam and has to call her son, thereby spoiling the surprise of the gift she is purchasing for him. The son is played by…Jimmy Shergill.

            This ad is remarkably imbecilic, because it is “off”: the level of over-determination is such that the moment we see Neetu Singh, we expect the Kapoor signature to be deployed; I was sure the ad would feature either Rishi or Ranbir, and when she says “beta” on the phone, I felt it had to be the latter. Shergill’s appearance, to put it bluntly, makes no sense here (I can only believe that Ranbir was the original choice and that fell through at some point). Re-casting this in Satyam’s terms, this ad is made by someone who doesn’t “get” what the signature/effect is, what it means.

            The ad may be seen at:

            The point is a broader one: the sign of the dynasty reduces one’s scope of action, in that one is already inscribed in the dynasty’s signature. It is childish to think of this merely in terms of “advantage” or “disadvantage.” The only thing that may be said is, the heir must navigate this, and I would submit it is a bit easier to navigate if one is consciously privileging the “star” side of the equation (assuming that’s the dynasty’s calling card; it need not be thus: Naseer’s kid cannot simply be a star the way Akki is without vitiating a signature, since the audience is already conditioned to expect some acting aspiration from him). The Abhishek example illustrates this: his problem is precisely that he seems to want to deploy the “actor” side in a universe where meaning is lent him by the “star”/Bachchan signature. In terms of two lineages, he seeks to deploy Jaya Bhaduri before an audience that is eager to consume the “Sarkar” signature. Perhaps nowhere is this more clear than in Delhi-6 — the effect is, weird in an interesting way; I feel a bit unsettled, in a way I do not when it’s a question of Bunty aur Babli, or Yuva or Guru.

          • Hadn’t seen that ad.. very useful for the discussion in the ways you’ve outlined..

            and completely agree with your final paragraph..

  16. Haven’t read this piece yet but after Bachchan’s exuberant praise for it here’s Rohan Sippy:

    Rohan Sippy ‏ @rohansippy

    Paan Singh Tomar- best Hindi film I’ve seen in a LONG time, brilliant writing & directing by Tigmanshu. A must watch!

    • It’s a good film but not one for which I share this level of enthusiasm. But, of course, as a great fan of Irfan and as a moviegoer that certainly has an interest in this subject matter and the seriousness of the themes here, I really celebrate this reception.

  17. Ami (formerly 'Annoyed') Says:

    I really wanted to watch this- it’s not playing anywhere near me though. :-( But it’s good to see films like this succeeding while films like Jodi Breakers fail. Now if only Housefull 2 would flop and Talaash would become a super hit. :-) -wishful thinking-

  18. Re: Now if only Housefull 2 would flop and Talaash would become a super hit. :-) -wishful thinking-

    LOL. Little chance of that happening. I would be surprised if HF2 doesnt make twice as much as Talaash.

  19. @Satyam: Loved reading all three pieces. Will come back and re-read to absorb better (western cinema part. Heavy stuff.)

  20. “I think the real anxiety here is that Naseer realizes just how good Bachchan is and THIS deeply unsettles him.”

    Dont agree with ya on this one Satyam.

    But lets just to humor you (and others) and for sake of continuing this (circular) debate, say that Naseer is indeed “unsettled”. Even if that was true, it STILL takes lot of courage to say what he says in a country like India, where 100s of people (still) stand at the gates of this mega-star/actor. Forget Naseer, if you were to read some interviews of Jayab….
    Blowing Naseer’s statements out of proprotion gets these channels trp or cheap publicity.
    World might worship prophet, but the day (few courageous) critics of the prophets are ridiculed and not allowed their say, would indeed be a very fanatic day in this world. You cannot always bully the critics with labels of “jealousy” or “being unsettled” or “anxiety”. Sometimes their criticism is worth reflecting upon for they are powerful enough to bring the gods/prophets down.

    • Not sure Di.. he’s not in the running as a commercial star so really he has nothing to lose. It’s not as if he’ll offend folks who then won’t give him roles! Also given his own acting prestige he is almost uniquely placed to be able to say some pretty outrageous stuff and still be taken seriously. More than anything else it’s unfortunate that an actor with his history cannot contribute to the discourse in a more meaningful, sensible way. Much as I dislike the Bollywood ‘usuals’ who say inane stuff for the most part it is even worse when someone like Naseer decides to be ‘silly’ as well. One can be a severe critic (sound like Romney here!) of Bachchan or anyone else if one likes. But things should be framed far more seriously. But he’s also done the same with some films. Dissing Sholay (maybe it’s the Bachchan connection again!) and so on as examples of mediocrity (paraphrasing him) being celebrated by Bollywood. This is utterly ridiculous. Sholay is an extraordinary commercial film by any standard. One doesn’t need a qualifier here as one often needs for very many ‘classics’.

  21. Dr shaurya Says:

    i saw an interview of Mr bachchan where he said…’ When someone like Naseeruddin shah says something about u… u have to listen and except the flaws he is pointing to.’

    Naseer has also said that Aamir is an over rated actor… May b being a great actor he is Naseer has higher bar for excellence then ours..

    And one point he has made in past to which even i agree that Mr bachchan’s acting had more innocence before he shattered the world… but then it is true for almost every actor… even for Naseer

  22. All I will say is, I had misjudged the extent of Aamir’s contribution to Sarfarosh.”

  23. Since we haven’t seen too many item numbers off late here is another one:

  24. Alex adams Says:

    Just skimmed thru the responses to the ‘Naseer interviews ‘ haha
    The reason I put those up was that they are unadulterated emtertainment
    Sometimes irrespective of the content
    Check his facial expressions change when mentioning nihalanis Dev, food friend om and the ‘other gentleman’

    Hav been quite busy but may expand on this later

    By the way- Di -like your spirit ;-) in naseers defence

  25. Alex adams Says:

    Now that I have started this topic of Naseer interviews
    Folks -which performances of his are your favorites

    Must say: I enjoy his interviews more than his movies lol
    Few I can think of right now
    I haven’t seen many of his ‘poor/ labourer’ routines aka akrosh etc

    • 1) Paar
      2) Aakrosh
      3) Sparsh
      4) Monsoon Wedding

      I tend to like him a lot in smaller roles like Ghulami, Ardh Satya, Omkara and such. The best work from Om Puri though to my mind is more resonant than Naseer’s.

      • Re: The best work from Om Puri though to my mind is more resonant than Naseer’s.

        Om Puri and Irfan ( till his recent spate of interviews including the GQ one) have been more media shy and more appropriate with not much if any bitterness.
        Even if I do concede Naseer’s talent, in general I tend to not think much of people who are dismissive or overly critical of hand that feeds them.

      • My favorite Naseer parts (though I could be forgetting something) are in the commercial Bezubaan and then in Masoom. Did like him in Aakrosh a lot. In art cinema Naseer’s greatest strength is also sometimes his greatest weakness. He has great intensity but he can be guilty of not toning it down when required to.

        • ” He has great intensity but he can be guilty of not toning it down when required to.”

          major eye roll here. Whatever.

          My fav Naseer movie/character is Pestonjee, paar, katha, bhavni bhavai, spaarsh…and actually the whole body of work. I like all movies Naseer is acting in!

        • I liked him in Masoom,Iqbal and A Wednesday quite a bit. Otherwise have liked him more as a part of an ensemble cast- Junoon, Kalyug and Ghulami. If used properly he is a tremendous talent and a foil. He could have had a much better career had he been born 10-15 years later than he was born. He has also done a lot of stage wrok. Would have loved to see him do more comedy.

  26. With the conflation of all these names – Naseer, Amitabh, the two Ms here, I was reminded of a comment Mammootty once made in an old interview:

    This is especially interesting in the context of what’s being discussed here:

    “Q: An actor like Naseeruddin Shah in his early days acted only in the parallel films. But now that he is acting in commercial films, people criticise him as if he is committing a sin. While in Malayalam, yourself and Mohanlal could manage a fine mix of commercial and art films. Do you feel yourself lucky?

    Mammootty: Naseer is very sad about it. He once told me we were lucky to have struck a balance….”

    This is of course a passing comment, (though I don’t doubt its veracity) but Mammootty’s answer kind of suggests that Satyam’s on to something: because Naseer sees the two Ms as fortunate for being able to take on dual identifies as both superb actors and accomplished stars. Satyam’s certainly right that Bachchan is also in this mold. I suspect Naseer was always interested in trying to achieve this specific kind of double success…and in his industry, among his contemporaries Bachchan was the only example of such. It’s hard not to think that some of the commentary, then, isn’t a mark of resentment or regret.

    • that’s a rather succinct comment from Mammootty..

      with Bachchan an argument could of course be made that he didn’t need to go quite as aggressively commercial as he did after the late 70s. In some sense the megastar signature just took over or perhaps the the force of that logic would have been hard for anyone to resist. Either way it’s hard to look at many of the 80s attempts and not feel that somewhat better vehicles could have been employed even in the service of the ‘one man industry’. This is more akin to Mohanlal’s dilemma and less so to Mammootty’s who’s been more on Kamal’s side of the equation beyond a point.

      Here though Rajni’s own megastar trajectory offers an interesting counter-point. Because the tongue-in-cheek persona he so often employed on and off screen or at least that whole attitude of ‘hey let’s not take it so seriously’, that whole deconstructive stance rescues even his most outlandish attempts. with Bachchan you have the ‘I am so good at it that even the worst film will seem ok’ posture that obviously works. With Rajni it’s the opposite — he’s constantly winking at you in some way or the other! and this is where his gesturality from the cigarette tricks to the exaggerated body movement in the action sequences is crucial. In these moments he in a sense exposes the artifice. These are periods of suspension that create a kind of gap between the performer and the representation. If you think the latter is a little ridiculous the performer thinks so too! Shankar understood all of this and employed this entire dynamic extraordinarily well in Enthiran. So again the robot’s stilted action sequences pay homage to Rajni’s own ‘normal’ ones in some of his very iconic films. And there’s an East Asian element here as well (which is why the Japanese love him!). For example he hits someone who’s trying to creep up on him using his right arm but then that arm freezes for just an extra second or two in mid-air even after that bit of ‘action’ has actually been completed. So in that ‘pause’ the star’s ‘commentary’ is in a sense inserted. This is where one must look for the ‘wink’. And Rajni frequently smiles impishly in these moments. Rajni isn’t a great acting talent by any means but he’s still remarkable at deploying a star signature. And perhaps better at intuiting its enigma more than most others of his breed.

  27. Alex adams Says:

    Naseer is actually a psychoanalysts delight
    His interviews are fun projects IMO

    They are actually ‘case studies’ of the various defence mechanisms and the ‘inner compulsions’ being ‘spoken out loud’ in a rare articulate manner. H a guy who is creditably relatively fearless (not bcos only he is relativley incorruptible but morsel bcos he has no other option)

    May dissect these in more detail someday of time (& memory ) permits

    Ps-even Njoy Srk interviews but for different reasons lol

  28. Alex adams Says:

    Haha Di
    Why ;-)

  29. Alex adams Says:

    Try guessing if I’m praising Nasser &/or SRK in the above post or the other way around? :-)

  30. Dr shaurya Says:

    i also liked naseer in Katha…(paste we garnish on pan leaves)..
    it was an innocent and decent comedy with Deepti naval and Farookh shaikh.
    I also loved him in TV series ‘Ghalib’… Which was planned earlier with Sanjeev kumar… but due to his demise…. Naseer was roped in… Strange people r discussing Naseer here without discussing ‘GHALIB’….

  31. Dr shaurya Says:

    What suprises me even more is that when u discuss Naseer u can not ignore movies like..1.’ Albert pinto ko gussa kyun aat hai ‘

    2. Janey bhi do yaaron (it is a Cult movie)

    3. Manthan

    4. Mirch masala( he was stupendous in it)…

    And if one choses to ignore them…
    well… Ignorence is a bliss and let it remain so…

    • Put Naseer in a movie, and movie shines.
      Trivia: Naseer got major depression after acting in Ghalib.
      Another interesting trivia, during making of the movie spaarsh (I believe) where Naseer is blind, Shabana used to actually go try to “help” him after the shot was completed..forgetting that he was not really blind in real life…lolz
      Such are our actors. Our Naseer will give Pacino run for his money (scent of a woman), I bet!
      I bet this will unnerve certain mega star fans to no end!! ;-)

      • Re: “Another interesting trivia, during making of the movie spaarsh (I believe) where Naseer is blind, Shabana used to actually go try to “help” him after the shot was completed..forgetting that he was not really blind in real life…”

        Do you really believe this? I find it hard to do so.

        Personally, I think Naseer is a fine actor, and especially fine in negative roles; but on balance I would prefer (from what I have seen) Kamal over him any day. The latter has much much greater range (won’t even get into Mohanlal or Mammooty, both of whom I would take over Kamal).

        • I would only compare Mohanlal with Naseer. I would put Kamal and Bachchan in same category. My personal take!

        • “Do you really believe this? I find it hard to do so.”
          Yes Q. I am not making it up. This was in one of Shabana’s own interviews. If I can find link or something to prove it to you, I will post it. Thx

        • Dr shaurya Says:

          If Mr bachchan can behave like a child on the sets of Paa…. and if Shaban Azmi can cry for half n hour after the famous scene of Arth movie coz she was so feeling the pain of her character…
          It is not something unbelievable… If naseer got into the character..

          • “It is not something unbelievable… If naseer got into the character..”
            Sometimes they have trouble getting rid of the character even after movie ends. ;-)
            They say SRK is permanently acting in a movie….reel-real fused together.

    • These days I love his Khalujaan in Ishquiya…he is unstoppable. Still getting meaningful roles. Still starring in hit movies.

  32. Dr shaurya Says:

    some of the other movies of Naseer which i liked are ‘Bazaar'( unfortunately bazaar was could not b released properly in India)….and
    ‘Ijazaat’…( in which the focus was on female leads)… love the music of Ijazzat… every song is a gem by RD burmen…

    ‘Mera kuch saman tumhare paas pada hai’ song which is one the most acclaimed song Gulzar has written has a very interesting story attached to it…
    When Gulzar sahab came with the lyrics… RD burmen said ‘it is getting very difficult to work for u…. Someday u will walk in with a news paper headline asking me to create a tune for it…’

  33. Really didnt care for a lot of Naseer’s off beat/art/parallel films. Most of Benegal’s early films, I fiound it hard to sit through.
    And, I would repeat again, I found JBDY very, very mildly funny. Could never understand what the fuss was about. And, that too after multiple viewings. It toally escapes me what the big deal here is.

    • I would say agneepath of bigb and paar of Naseer…watch it (watch at least for 20-25 minutes)…you will see what I am talking about. You won’t be able to sit thro’ the whole of latter, I bet. ;-)

    • “I fiound it hard to sit through.”
      (As someone told me not to long ago) my commiserations.

      Since you like muhavaras so much, one from me,”bandar kya jane adrak ka swad”

    • Totally agree on Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. At best a diverting little comedy.

    • Agree on JBDY in every sense!

    • bachchan1 to 10 Says:

      Agreed on JBDY, Tried watching it again. Didn’t really appeal to me. Not really funny anymore. I do like Naseer in some of his earlier outings. And as someone mentioned here I would take Kamal over him anyday. Some of my favs of Naseer.
      1. Sparsh
      2. Masoom.
      3. Mirch Masala (oneo of his underrated performances i think)
      4. The Perfect Murder (a soft corner for it, maybe cause I was one of the crowds in the scene where he corners Samir Kakkar (Khopdi from Nukkad) for murder in an alley.
      5. Pestonjee.
      6. Katha
      7. Mandi ( a very small but nicely done role – though like Om here more)
      8. Ghulami

    • Dr shaurya Says:

      But then there r people who couldnt sit through Agnipath(older one)…. and Mera naam jokar…. Pyasa… but still there is a fuss about them…. Bcoz they indeed r cult movies…

  34. When Naseer looks back, he should be satisfied looking at his filmography, the acclaim etc.
    Yes, he never touched the dizzying heights of success and reverence that AB did but he has a lot of ardent fans and is regarded as a great talent. Probably, he thinks not enough pay back but such is life. The most self defeating way of dealing with this is to harbor resentments and exhibit pettiness. At a personal level, Naseer seems very complicated.

    • blah..blah..blah..blah…

    • It could be otherwise also… he may be speaking his Mind and some unpleasant things which fans dont like and may be he is less diplomatic than Big B…. When Big B, or Kjo or some other stars from BW praise irrationally any movie or star than they belong to same Clique …. Just Fans find it difficult to digest and absorb….

    • ” Probably, he thinks not enough pay back but such is life.”
      Deep inside, one mega star of india worships Naseer and wishes he could have filmography like Naseer’s and regrets being trapped inside commerical cinema.
      I think that is what you are really trying to say, right? ;-)

    • well-summarized..

  35. saurabhtheminorthreat Says:

    Well as much as I like naseer I must say that he needs to practice certain restraint while talking about people. and when compared with bachchan, i will take bachchan over him any day. regarding the fact that naseer was not able to create a good enough space for himself in the commercial cinema, we also need to see that at the time(in the late 80s) when naseer started his tryst with the mainstream stuff, the so called masala films being churned out by bollywood were too tripe. i mean one does not need to know that something like ‘tehelka’ is not going to gain u too many fans even among the masses.even in viju shah’s films, he was always relegated to playing the third lead. i mean yes we can say that naseer did not have the full trappings of a star but his failure in this sphere also has to do a lot with the films he was a part of. (digressing a bit from the topic discussion, i found naseer superb in mohra which was one of the smarter action-thrillers of that time, the scene in the pre-climax where he takes on both suniel and akshay in a hand-to-hand melee is one my favourite masala moment of those times.mohra was easily his commercial zenith in my view)

  36. saurabhtheminorthreat Says:

    Also, one thing which keeps coming to me is that srt cinema never utilized the talent of bachchan. Yes he did some great film with mukherjee and one with basu chatterjee (manzil, incidently has one my my most beloved performances of a.k. hangal, the guy never got his due) but they were not typically side-stream films.the fact is that is the films made by nihalani and benegal, great as they were, could never change the path of indian cinema. One can just imagine what could have happened if these auteurs would have utilised bachchan’s skills when he was in full swing( nihalani did make dev later but i found it a weak film on alot of grounds).the fact these directors never cared to step out of their comfort zone by casting sumone like bigb actually robbed us of seeing potentially great films(though one reason for this can also be that bachchan went too commercial later as satyam rightly pointed out).

    One of naseer’s most intense performance is in junoon(which is easily one of shyam benegal’s best works and also has shashi in full glory- i find the best indian adaptation of any novel/story, have a personal llking for flight of pigeons )

    Satyam, ami and other peolpe, what do u guys have to say on this topic and also on junoon.

    • “One can just imagine what could have happened if these auteurs would have utilised bachchan’s skills”
      I was just reading mamooty interview (someone posted link here) and he says somewhere in the interview, that you have to engineer these roles…YOU as an actor have to knock on the doors of these * auteurs* dudes and tell them you are available..and not charge for the roles (the same way you do for commerical). I indeed feel sad that someone like bigb got only very few movies like black to showcase his talents and was trapped in his “signature” for his whole life.

  37. saurabhtheminorthreat Says:

    @Di- I feel that it isn’t that bachchan did not get enough films to showcase his talents(he did get get a lot of lot of premier projects). one can easily see his talents in a lot of films( and i do not consider the masala films of bachchan which he did with the likes of desai,sippy , mehra, mukul anand etc. any lesser than the films of benegal. i consider them as prestigious and i believe these films, on a different level, showcase much more of an actor’s skills than the ‘arty’ ones). But yes, bachchan not being the part of the films of these auteurs robbed us of seeing sum of the “other” set of ab’s skill.The fact with black is that, even though ab gave a bravura performance in the film, we cannot deny that such kind of a film happened too late in the day for him and henceforth, the performance was devoid of the ‘effortlessness’ which was so characteristic of bachchan in his heydays. regarding knocking on the doors of these directors, not casting bachchan has also proved to be their loss. I mean if sumone like satyajit ray decides to especially manufacture a role of a narrator for bigb in shatranj ke khiladi when he couldn’t find a suitable role for him, this clearly shows that even these people should have undestood bachchan’s calibre.

    • ” i consider them as prestigious and i believe these films, on a different level, showcase much more of an actor’s skills than the ‘arty’ ones). ”
      Ask bigb in an interview and he will say Black was his best role.
      Something you would want to be remembered by. There is cinema for tummy and then there is cinema for the soul.

  38. saurabhtheminorthreat Says:

    @satyam- really liked ur lines on ‘star signature’ and how one employs it. on the same lines, wanted to bring the name of one my favourite movie stars from hong-kong, chow-yun-fat. Chow, as u know, has always had this entire signature style which has become sort of legendary-dressed in trench-coats, the slo-mo shootouts holding guns in both hands, silent, tough-as-a-nail image of a loner which was characterised in those great ‘heroic bloodshed’ films of john woo and ringo lam etc.But the fact is that when chow decided to use the advantage of same stylistic image during his forays in hollywood(corruptor, replacement killer), the films flopped dismally. Finally, it was only in ang lee’s crouching tiger hideen dragon that chow tasted success and that coincided incidently with him dopping that entire signature of a ‘man with unlimited ammo’.yes, this film being a wuxia epic was markedly different from chow’s previous efforts, but one will not be see any trace of his typical style even if one examines his performance microscopically. and the fact that he was able to do shed this image in his first martial art epic itself, is commendable.

    i got his name into the discussion because however big a star u r, it is sumtimes beneficial to drop your patent siganture stuff. Rajni has never even attemped to do it once. Even the greatest of them all, bachchan, is sumtimes culpable of not been able shed to that that completely(though i also believe his ‘signature’ is written to big a font to be removed by anyone, even himself).

    • “beneficial to drop your patent siganture stuff”
      Dhulia summs it up nicely. “apni hi nakal karna chalu kar de tay hai”. Lol

  39. Dr shaurya Says:

    I m finding this discussion a bit funny….
    We all are behaving like Karan kumar and King khan…. even Satyam is…( i m sorry but this is true )….

    Can we compare Jagjit singh to ghulam ali….. Jagjit is the king of melody… ghulam is sultan of classical essence
    no we cant…
    Can we compare Sachin with Gavaskar…. no we cant

    In the process of comparing and defending our favourts we are insulting the two greats of Indian cinema…

    If whole world calls Mr bachchan the greatest star to walk this planet… there is a reason behind it…
    And if whole world calls Naseer an actor par excellence( some call him the best in bussiness)… there is a reason behind it…

    PS- Janey bhi do yaaron is a cult movie… and one of the best in dry humour… if u didnt laughed… its tym u start takin anti depressents

  40. Dr shaurya Says:

    And please get a life…. Naseer is not frustated with anything….
    He is just eccentric… like most of the creative persons..

    VS naipaul , Arundhati rai, Pandit ravi shankar, Elvis, John lennon, Salman khursheed…… they all are and were eccentric…. and gave controvertial statements on there peers …. does that that everybody in this world who is more Art driven and less commerce driven frustated….

  41. Dr shaurya Says:

    At the end i will say only one thing…

    Critics are the people who dont have Wings but comment on the flight of an eagle…

    • “Critics are the people who dont have Wings but comment on the flight of an eagle…”

      That’s a fine bit of criticism.

      • (H)…none of us are actors….we can only judge how good or bad others are. lolz
        I think we give way too much importance to actors. In hindi movie setup actors are gods. It is like praising a dropplet (actor) to the skys and forgetting all about rain (movie) and about god (director) who created the rain in the first place.
        Even in the mohanlal clip above, there are long shot, close ups, aerial shot. actor can act his life out but if he is not in close up or the camera is on someone else or if camera doesn’t linger long enough or camera angle is all wrong or if “cut” is announced too soon…so many things in making a perfect movie. So many times even bigb has stated in his blogs how a terrific shot gets completed wasted due to many factors and in the end results is totally different etc.
        In the end the actors like Naseer/bigb are only as good as their filmmakers/story-writers/dialogue-writers/camera man/makeup man, allowed them to be.

        • Dr shaurya Says:

          Well said…

          meat should be fresh and tender for a delicious feast… but so important is that fire should be kept low…. cook is dedicated to his art…. and the plates r clean with dish served with elegence

          • Doc, am vegetarian, so won’t know.
            also..the dish/plates doesn’t matter…as long as the food is good.
            lolz. I am in masti mode today. Its international women’s day tomorrow ;-)

  42. Alex adams Says:

    Congrats on ‘intnal women’s day’
    What are u up2in ‘masti mode’ ;-)

  43. bachchan1 to 10 Says:

    In lieu of all the Naseer Interviews, Here is a one hour interview from Bachchan. It contradicts almost all the “phillosophy” that naseer has towards Indian Cinema and in acting in general. Never heard Bachchan going in details with his thought process while performing and clarifying why he did such an act. A must watch for all Bachchan fans. (for those not interested in politics, the interview really starts from 20 mins onwards )

  44. I find this thread to be a fascinating read on many levels. Not only is the review quite enlightening to read, but also the follow-up comments on stars, actors and those who fall in between.

    The subject of ‘acting’, the choices faced by an intelligent (or smart/aware) actor, the overall ‘effect’ on the viewer etc are not trivial topics to be discussed without proper elaboration. One could argue at length and find that in the end, one has only touched the surface.

    Having said that, what I find to be a near-universal trait among great actors (Amitabh, Naseer, Om Puri — just to name three actors from Hindi cinema whom I admire the most) is that they control their ‘voice’ (or speech patterns) in a way that separates them from the rest. It’s not just about the quality of voice either (Amitabh’s baritone can be rarely matched on that front), it’s also about the pauses, the diction, the overall rendition of lines that would mean so much less when spoken by lesser actors.

    This is where I go into a wild conjecture mode — the control over speech also naturally affects their facial expressions 90% of the time. It’s a natural consequence of the neuro-muscular activity that they so finely control. One thing feeds into another, but essentially since they just know how to deliver lines better than anyone else, they automatically have a head start over their peers.

    There are other choices adopted by ‘smart’ actors — the getup, primarily, as a means to ‘internalize’ a character, but to my mind, nothing beats the ‘effect’ of a beautifully orchestered and perfectly pitched line. So, in a nutshell, to become or be recognized as a good actor, one needs to master dialogues.

    Aamir, who’s another favorite of mine, is a ‘smart’ actor in the sense that he at least attempts to ‘internalize’ a character. His only failing that stops him from elevation into the ranks of the greats is that he’s pretty average when it comes to rendering lines.

    That’s my $.02 hypothesis anyway…

  45. Jitesh Pillaai‏@jiteshpillaaiReply
    Aamir khan’s definitely doing raju hirani’s next. It’s tentatively called “PK”. Aamir’s damn excited with script.

  46. Kahaani reviews have started pouring in and aftr PST, getting excellent reviews

  47. This is great to hear. The trailers for this one seemed truly strong and I was waiting for reviews before I pulled the trigger to check this out. I’ll try and get to it this weekend.

  48. Some Twitter responses

    ‘Kahaani’ is a crazy mixture of gripping utter brilliance and laughable ludicrousness. But Vidya is great.

    Your balls will stay firmly in your mouth while you watch the film. Before it leaves you stunned


    it borrows a bit from ‘The truth about Charlie’

  49. Saw the movie but I don’t agree with your criticism. The story could have been turned the way you want but then it would have been a fictional story. Why protogonist took gun is very plausible IMO and it happens in villages . Only problem I have with the movie is Hrithik Roshanish slow motion scene of Irfan Khan with a gun.

    ps – Language and milieu was very original.

  50. Alex adams Says:

    Well kahanis promo itself shows vidya in multiple moods-demean she is in for another awardy perf!!

    Cineworld will release the new spiderman on 4D
    Seats MOVE in response to the film

    Guess simulated ‘porn’ is not far it seems :-)


    In the above clip, Irrfan Khan talks about his favorite performances. It’s interesting to note that he has a great eye for detail about his own scenes that serves to build an even greater impact than initially imagined.

  52. This is an excellent read GF. You’re on the money here in most ways. I too didn’t find it long at all. But Dhulia treats his fairly explosive material in strangely cursory fashion. Almost as if these were just pathmarks to get through to reach the end!

    Irrfan Khan, whom I’ve admittedly taken time to warm upto and still don’t admire as much as you do, is in fine form here. I too have liked him more elsewhere but the ‘muteness’ if you will of this character suits him. He has always struck me as being the sort of actor for whom ‘mood’ is everything. Or better still one cannot quite ‘get’ him if one doesn’t understand this aspect of his craft. He’s in a sense like Brando (another actor whom I’ve always had some trouble with). The latter was always much more quick and just operated at a much faster pace than Irrfan does but both marry a certain physicality with a predominant ‘mood’ in every part. Obviously Brando was a lead star and had all those magnetic physical attributes but Irrfan is equally effective in lead parts. Which is why Paan Singh is an important moment for him. In many of the supporting parts he’s done in other films he’s not quite given the opportunity to take over even when he clearly is the show stealer (the director’s Haasil comes to mind). To extend the analogy I think Irrfan much like Brando always gives the sense of something very repressed.

    This is I suppose something Asif Kapadia always realized which is why he works with this ‘muteness’ in the Warrior. The entire film revolves around this. And again I don’t just mean literal muteness but also a certain muteness of expressiveness. One can never completely fathom the character. However the risk that Irrfan runs to my mind is that in some of his parts that enigmatic quality he imparts to his characters can seem ‘obscurantist’. So one is not sure whether the actor completely intends that effect or not. Brando once more used his ‘sexuality’ for want of a better word (but what better word is there?!) and sheer physicality to make up for his own brand (!) of muteness.

    An instructive contrast here is provided by Nana Patekar who too aims for a certain mood. But in Nana’s case this quality is always ethnically or ‘sociologically’ indexed. He’s meant to be a certain type in an identity sense. Of course he probably says more in one film than Irrfan will in his entire career (!) but more to the point here Nana’s ‘mood’ is never mysterious. Or I should say he’s mostly comprehensible. with Irrfan on the other hand things are always more ‘existentially’ indexed. There is something in his mood that transcends whatever he might represent in terms of identity. Nana is quite identifiable, Irrfan always retains a certain oddness.

    Ultimately I am still not completely decided on his ‘worth’ even though I have as I said learnt to like him a lot more and I assuredly find him interesting on screen. I actually think (and picking up on the earlier comment a bit)he would have made a very fascinating Gabbar, in a less theatrical key.

    • So you finally watched PST? Where is the detailed review? Did you like it?

      • liked it overall.. don’t think I’ll be doing anything more detailed on this other than my comments here..

        still hope to say something on Agneepath only because I find this film rather ‘strange’ or ‘interesting’ in a certain way.

        • alex adams Says:

          would be interesting to hear your new agneepath views
          and how u frame/ rate hritiks performance here
          chikcni chameli to gun guna
          also the final combat scene

          • alex adams Says:

            think it is time to ‘squeeze’ out an authentic piece from u not only on agneepath
            Uve been quite ‘dormant’ lately
            and hav been watchin passively somewhat while the ‘kids play’ ;-)

          • here’s a preview (part of a comment I left on Bachchan’s blog the other day):

            [The agon with the past is not won or even conducted simply by exercises in propaganda or by ‘asserting’ one’s right to a place. One has to earn it and the struggle is never easy. Because in the bargain one can not just lose but also suffer a mortal wound! If one aims for a certain transcendence the price of failure is that one’s own hollowness is completely exposed. One cannot then even return to the more limited space one earlier occupied. Notice how Agneepath is a rather ‘sad’ exercise for Hrithik in this sense. Notice he doesn’t quite seem celebratory about it despite all the media narratives hyping the ‘success’ and so on. There’s a precise reason here. Agneepath (the remake) might well have been titled ‘How to Avoid Vijay Deenanath Chauhan’! Here the transcendence rests with Dutt or Rishi Kapoor. The Vijay character is almost sneaked in! Below the radar! No one should notice him too much! The game lost, conceded.. before it has even begun. Even if Hrithik is not a great ‘theorist’ about all of this he can certainly intuit this reality. This applies to Johar as well. If he were given truth serum I think he’d admit he might have done better here! But that itself is an illusion. The whole point about Don and Agneepath is that these films and certainly their lead roles cannot be better. You can hype things, make the films qualified successes but at the end you have the feeling that you’re holding an empty shell.]

            and for the larger contexts check out # 52 here:


            actually haven’t updated my comments from that blog here in several weeks and now it will take quite some work to do so. I will get to this but I’ll have to do so gradually otherwise everything else in the blog will get buried under this.

          • by the way I’m not saying that Hrithik is ‘bad’ here. He manages what he can as well as he can. But in some ways it’s a more pointless film than even Don. Because at least there SRK took the whole structure head on. Here it’s about complete avoidance. But in which case why bother?! Not sure what the more watchable film between the two is though. Would probably take the new Don over the 2006 one and this new Agneepath. Which is hardly saying much.

          • Satyam,
            Thats a rather brilliant comment on Agneepath. You have summed it up quite well. It was an unfair ask of Hrithik. And, Kjo and co tried to solve the problem simply by ducking!

    • satyam, nice note there. another irrfan performance which i really liked was in ‘road to ladakh'(also stars koel puri)- a film set in the moon-scape of ladakh where the psychedelic kinda atmosphere provides a dramatic backdrop for the chance encounter between 2 strangers who r on a road-trip. i brought this film, because it highlighted the same ‘reticent and mysterious’ feature of irrfan’s acting as u mentioned in the warrior and pst

    • “But Dhulia treats his fairly explosive material in strangely cursory fashion. Almost as if these were just pathmarks to get through to reach the end!”

      Totally agree with this. A fine note, especially on Irfan. I also tend to rate Brando a bit more highly than you but I also would never shortlist him as a favorite. My thought on Brando is that he is that father whose sons have surpassed his legacy.

    • Excellent piece Satyam, to add to GF’s very fine one. It’s one of the frustrating things of the multiplex dispensation that, because I couldn’t watch Paan Singh Tomar for a week or two due to work and a parental visit, next thing I knew it was barely playing anywhere…I’m afraid I’ll now have to wait for the DVD…

      Re: “…in Nana’s case this quality is always ethnically or ‘sociologically’ indexed…”

      This cracked me up…you can be oh-so-cold sometimes…but I know exactly what you mean. Stated differently, if one can guess how a character would vote, (s)he ain’t mysterious enough!

  53. alex adams Says:

    v good post there satyam
    must admit havent seen most of irfans work
    But just on the basis of a few scenes in namesake-know hes really good
    Incidentally theres an undercelebrated film called “billu’
    saw bits of it and kept thinkin -what the heck!!
    BUt in the LAST scene, irfan khan shows what he is
    He totally overpowers srk there, puts him a gunny bag and no, doesnt kick his butt—just leaves him there….
    And mind u, even srk isnt bad there!

  54. alex adams Says:

    Actually Nana Patekar is a misunderstood sort of actor where is ‘exterior’ has often trivialised his ‘interior; not only in his ‘madness’, ‘shouting’ etc but also his capabilities

    He has/had tremendous capability
    Not sure if many have seen “prahaar’
    was impressed not only by his acting but also his direction and overall ‘grip’
    a rare combination

    • Watch opening scene of Shagird (just watched the movie yesterday) and he (Nana) is fantastic and what a gr8 opening to the movie this is (compared to say AV).

      • Di- AV ne aapka kya bigaada hai, har jagah aap uski burai hi karti phir rahi hain. (lol). yes, nana was brilliant in this smart little thriller.(the film was let down by the weak performance of othee lead ahlawat). i luved the way acp hanumant singh(nana) quotes the songs of old hindi films. but the entire angle of rimi sen getting kidnapped and subsequent revelation looked forced and the way anurag kashyap(his character is similar to a up politician raja bhaiya) as bunty bhaiya was superb

        • “har jagah aap uski burai hi karti phir rahi hain.”
          Theek hai..aab akela chodey deti hun aapki AV ko..bekar mai aap pareshan ho jatey hai..apki chuttiya kab khatam ho rahi hai ;-)

          • the fun gets over on the 15 th of this month. and then i am back to the same mundane routine-studying and slogging my ass off like a dog.i had a vacation after 1 1/2 yrs and it’s not even going to last a month.(though will thankfully be able to attend my sister’s bday).aur aap bataiye,in dino kaha busy thi aap? alex ne aapko kitna miss kiya. and ‘dimple didi’,i am sure before getting married u must be quite a head-turner like mrs.kapadiya (LOL)

          • “alex ne aapko kitna miss kiya”
            Kaha, kabi, kaisey.lolz. Oh No on holiday over business. That sucks (how would you say that sucks in hindi?). koi baat nahi..todey salo ki hi toh baat hai; phir toh aap Rajenbabu ki tarah movie pay movie dekh sakangey. What is up with Doc’s and movies? Their profession must suck royally to try escape into make believe world…hai naa? Saberey say shyam tak pas rotey hui logo ko dekho..must be very depressing.

  55. have seen prahar, a brilliant film in all respects. nana not only acted but also did a credible job as a debutant director. by the way another of nana’s uncelebrated role is in ‘wajood'(also stars madhuri). he was also excellent in ‘thoda sa roomani ho jaye'(dir-amol palekar)

  56. alex adams Says:

    yes minor
    think people do get misled with certain ‘sociocultural’ coding and a loud manic vibe he exudes–and rightly so
    Since he never seems to learn to correct it
    and perhaps is a difficult actor to work with

    NOw this is probably something NOBODY wouldve seen
    There was a small little film of patekar and rishi–hum dono
    didnt mind it

  57. have seen hum dono- a stupid film where both the actors play brothers who can’t stand each other. i remember it has has an action scene in the climax. rishi looked fat and unhealthy in the film

  58. alex adams Says:

    actually didnt mind their banter- a harmless film with some moments-atleast both can act

    Incidentally another film in this space that i like quite a bit
    Perhaps the first film where i saw potential in saif-
    Finally showed some comic timing and devgun was goodish
    Kachche Dhaage

  59. it was saif’s first hit after a never ending barrage of flops. here too he was completely overshadowed by devgn. the film is quite enjoyable.the climactic action set-piece is well done. the film also had one of the last songs of nusrat fateh ali khan. saif’s best performance in the 90s(where he was plain awful most of the times) was in ‘yeh dillagi'(a romantic drama with akshay and kajol-ole ole became a rage).another good film of his is ‘love ke liye kuchh bhi karega'(it came in 2001).

  60. alex adams Says:

    yes saif was overshadowed but did have a few ‘saif-isms’

    out of all luthria films, have liked this most
    The ‘train scene’ and the bgm was good

    Like this song- gets my tick

  61. I think Luthria’s best film was probably the Changing Lanes adaptation, Taxi No. 9211. Even an early John Abraham’s forced performance couldn’t harm that movie. As (I think) Satyam once noted, though, the effectiveness of this movie probably has more to do with Rohan Sippy than Milan Luthria.

  62. my fav luthria film is easily ‘once upon a time’. apart from superb acts by devgn and randeep hooda, i especially the colourful palette used in the film. bgm has been luthria’s strength, especially the theme tune here. another film of luthria which i enjoyed was ‘taxi no. 9211′-john and nana made a rather fine pair- sum of the songs were catchy. i have also liked his much derided ‘deewar:let’s bring our heroes back'(bachchan,akshaye khanna,dutt). i think akshaye is one of the most natural actors around

  63. While Lutharia is not a tremendous talent, his work has a stamp of individuality as opposed to a host of cokkie-cutter directors being hired by the likes of KJo and the Chopras. I think Kachche Dhage, Taxi No 9211, OUATIM, TDP are all watchable films.

    • completely agree to ur point rajen. i also believe most of his films(kachche dhaage, ouatim, taxi) have masala elements.and i believe apart from santoshi and to an extent rohan sippy, he is the only current director who understands masala.

  64. alex adams Says:

    havent seen TDP, OUATIM
    but its quite evident from just ‘kachche dhaage’, that luthria knows the “grammar’ of film making well

    His new “deeewar” promo was mind blasting (though the film wasnt)
    As for the John-nana film, think was a lesser film-Actually i dont consider John as poor an actor as many feel.
    As for Nana, he is an actor who can ‘explode’ given the right chance (or implode as in prahaar)

    btw-minor-what do u think of manisha koiralas (ex)bazookas (and also in the infamous ‘dil se re”-maybe yu didnt notice……

  65. alex adams Says:

    Santoshi is head n shoulders above these others….(when he is working properly)–interms of the bread n butter ‘hard hitting dialogue’ and taut screenplay etc
    Though interms of ‘technique’ etc, he isnt as ‘updated’ as rohan or even luthria..

    Even now—if santoshi does a film properly with Sunny deol– mayhem is not impossible..

    Khaki, Ghayal…dont need much else on the cv…

  66. well if u really want to see nana explode implosively, u should check out his ‘anna’ act from that outstanding vidhu chopra film, parinda(it is easily nana’s best till now alongwith yugpurush,wajood and prahaar). regarding koirala’s bazookas, alex i have always seen her as a ‘cold beauty'(similar to meenakshi).even her infamous act in ‘chhoti si luv story’ could not change my view

  67. bachchan1 to 10 Says:

    Speaking of Meenakshi, What did she do? Arggh..This is worst than Boney Kapoor – Sridevi jodi. Really depressed today. :-(

  68. bachchan1 to 10 Says:

    Sorry here is the link to her Pic with Husband and Kids.

  69. omrocky786 Says:

    Saw PST and while GF has made some great points , I tend to agree more with Di.. I think it was pretty balanced film, and since PST was not from backward class, Dhulia could not make a Bandit Queen out of him…he did show the killing of unarmed men and PST tells the journalist- woh Nihatthe( unarmed) they lekin Nirdoshh( Non Guilty) nahee they…..Agree on GF’s point that Irfan Khan took the movie to another level and did more justice to the film than even Dhulia. The language and the acting of even the support cast was simply superb…..

  70. omrocky786 Says:

    Di- re.- That would have converted the movie into Paar and then Rajen/Rocky and co. would have cried murder

    Just saw this …LMAO….

  71. JBDY might have some forced humour but the novelty / innovativeness in creating hilarious situations cannot be denied.
    The Mahabharat sequence remains my most-watched snippet of a film ever

  72. Good News: Pan Singh might still be alive:

    If one is to go by Sarwan’s account, Pan was not killed in an encounter in 1981 with the Madhya Pradesh Police. Sarwan next met Pan in 1982-83 at the Delhi-Ambala national highway. “At that time I used to drive a taxi and one day a group of sadhus was passing by when someone called out chacha ji. It was Pan. He told me that he had become an ascetic and was proceeding to Nainital. After that, I never heard from him,” said Sarwan.

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