Top 10 Bollywood headlines in 2013

My family and friends know me as the source for gossip and I take my responsibility seriously! As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to take over the job of newspapers, and list the Bollywood news that grabbed headlines.

(Please note: The view expressed in this blog are mine and for information purposes only. I make no representations on accuracy or completeness of any information on this site).

1) Hrithik and Suzanne Break up

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Boy meets girl as a teenager, and get married just after his first movie- sounds like a fairy tale but ended as a disaster. Hrithik and Suzanne’s marriage was on the tabloids since his movie Kites and the rumored affair with Barbara Mori, but the separation announcement was a shocker. There are stories about Suzanne’s closeness to Arjun Ramphal, issues with in-laws- Hrithik’s statement suggested it was initiated by Suzanne. Fans are hoping for a reconciliation, but according the Bejan Daruwalla (Times of India astrologer) , he will get re-married in 2015.

2) Salman opened up

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Salman surprised everyone by appearing on Koffee with Karan- what did we find out? He has learnt to lie and that he is a virgin!

3) Shah Rukh Khan had a son, and was in the middle of controversy

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Shah Rukh Khan had a son- Abram, through a surrogate. But he landed in hot soup with the authorities, after there were stories about him conducting a sex determination test (deemed illegal in India). After an inquiry, he was given a clean chit; but the story made headlines the world over.

4) Ranbir and Katrina are a couple (we think!)

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Bollywood’s favorite bachelor is dating Katrina- at least based on tons of stories, vacation pictures, and set visits. Of course, there are no confirmations from either of them but we are safe to assume it is true (at least based on Ranbir Kareena Koffee with karan episode).

5) Aamir Khan danced, rode bikes 

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As the new villain of the Dhoom franchise, Aamir Khan rode bikes, tap danced, even gymnastics. Suddenly he was all over the media with his fedora. My expectations were sky high, but the movie did not live up to the hype. Maybe he couldn’t fill in John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan’s shoes as ultimate anti-heroes.

6) Sanjay Dutt goes to jail, but keeps finding ways out

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Sanjay Dutt was convicted to 5 years in prison for his involvement in TADA case- he went to prison to complete the remaining 42 months. There was a wave of sympathy- Bollywood put up messages supporting him. He came out first for ill health in October, and now for his wife’s health problems. Of course, there were headlines about all of this- was Sanjay’s issues serious? would other prisoners have received the same treatment? Was his wife really ill, after all she was spotted at premiers and parties)?  My 2 cents- he committed the crime, he should do the time (without any special treatment).

7) Farhan Akhtar outruns Bollywood, Mikha Singh style

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In one of the best movies of the year, Farhan Akhtar showed us what real acting is about- no styling and props, he was just all about the character. He took 2 years to get in shape and look like MIlkha Singh. In my opinion, it is one of Farhan’s best performances in his career, and helped launch the movie in to the list of top 10 hits for 2013.

8) Priyanka sings with Pitbull

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Priyanka showed us she can sign by launching a single ‘In My City’. She went on to sing with Pitbull, and gave dozens of press conferences about it. Frankly, the song was very average- she sounded affected and fake, and she looked like a mash of music video outfits of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears,etc. Not memorable at all!

9) The story by numbers

Top 10 movies in 2013 by collections: Krrish 3, Dhoom 3, Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ramleela, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Grand Masti, Race 2, Aashiqui 2, Special 26.

As a trend, I look at this and one thing stands out- 5 out of the 10 movies are sequels. We seem to love reinventing the same stories! Another point to note, 4 out of the 10 movies have Deepika Padukone- no need to guess who is the top top actress!

10) Continues stories that make headlines

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Will John Abraham get married to Priya?ImageWill Rani Mukherjee marry Aditya Chopra?

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When will Aishwarya make a comeback to movies?

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Will Salman stay single forever?

So many questions, so little answers. Maybe 2014 might offer some!

Drop a comment if you agree, disagree…..

Happy New Year!

Ra One Movie Review

I went to watch Ra One yesterday, and the movie really disappointed me. The promos and marketing was so extensive, it was touted as one of the most expensive movies ever made in Bollywood. I went in with really high expectations. I appreciate the effort by Shah Rukh Khan to go beyond his typical role, and enter the realm of science fiction. But a huge problem with science fiction in Bollywood-too unreal and no plot!

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Ramphal, Armaan Verma

Directed by: Anubhav Sinha

Review: The first weakness of the movie is the lack of a strong story plot. As a nerdy Tamilian Shekhar Subramaniam, Shah Rukh Khan was utterly cringe worthy, reaching for every stereotype about Tamilians like eating noodles with curd using hands. I am sure the director assumed it would be funny, but such humor is really not funny. His wife Sonia, played by Kareena Kapoor is working on a thesis on re-coining swear words. The only adorable part of the first half, is their son Prateek, who is embarrassed by his father’s antics and dreams of his dad being a hero. In order to fulfill his son’s wishes, Shekhar designs a game with the ultimate super villian-Ra-One (Ravan) and a hero G-One who looks a lot like himself!  Its Artificial Intelligence meets Terminator, where the villain can change form and learn more moves. After Prateek beats Ra-One and has to leave the game mid-way, the blood thirsty villain follows him to finish the game. The movie’s second half is full of Matrix-style fight sequences, cat and mouse chases leading to the ultimate fight between good and evil.

Strengths:

  • Ultimate super villian- Arjun Ramphal. He looks incredibly hot,although his role is very superficial
  • Prateek- The adorable kid Armaan Verma is endearing and touches your heart with his sincerity
  • Kareena looks incredible in all her scenes
Weaknesses:
  • Dialogues- The story is full of crass and vulgar jokes, even though the market is targeted for a younger audience
  •  Screenplay- The story is weak and inconsistent, it starts off with a long tacky dream sequence with cameos by Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt. Some scenes are unbelievable, like G-one trying to understand about Karva Chauth and God.
  • The sci-fi scenes looked far-fetched, especially the Matrix style sequences
  • Shah Rukh Khan looks all over the place. It is hard to watch him act as a nerdy Tamilian.
I have always enjoyed watching Shah Rukh Khan movies, but this movie fails in so many places. I wasn’t a fan of Robot (which is remarkably similar), but the cameo by Rajnikanth as Chitti reminds you of how sci-fi movies should really be done.
NOT WORTH A WATCH!

Bollywood effect

When I was in Prague, I was checking the tv, and I found a German television channel that was showing Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in German.  I was amazed at the power of Bollywood.  It has reached corners of the world you cannot even imagine!  In Turkey, I met people on the street who could sing “Chhaiya Chhaiya…”!!  While doing my undegrad, I knew this girl who could recite lines from a Shah Rukh Khan movie even though she could not speak Hindi! And even in my class now, I have a classmate from Sudan who loves Bollywood, sarees and songs.

Bollywood has given a global face to India, it works almost like a cultural atmosphere. People who aren’t Indian love the positive feel good movies, which are peppered with songs. They love the sarees, mehendi, and the wedding customs.

It makes me feel proud to Indian!