News round-up! With NO SHAHRUKH STORIES AT ALL. Truly, we are in a new era starting today. (and then I immediately mention him in the first paragraph of an unrelated story. But it was RELEVANT!)
Thugs of Hindostan Will Be a BIG BIG Deal
I don’t know if this is a good idea or not. Reports are coming out that Yash Raj is breaking it’s budget barriers for Thugs, going up to 90 crore instead of the usual 80 crore budget for a big film. Fan, for instance, was an 80 crore film with 20 crore publicity. It made back it’s budget barely, through the opening day Shahrukh bump and the huge satellite sale (made before it came out and everyone learned what a flop it would be).
On the one hand, Aditya Chopra is a superhuman genius who always always ALWAYS makes a profit. He could be counting on a satellite and merchandising profit that will off-set this budget easily. On the other hand, Befikre was a terrible decision, maybe he has lost his touch. On the mutant third hand, Befikre still made a money, and a whole year before it came out he announced that he knew it would not be a hit.
Rumors are out that Yash Raj is looking towards something like Pirates of the Caribbean. So big stunts, ridiculous period costumes, adventurous plot. Which might be a good idea, there’s a reason Pirates did well, it was a great fun rich movie to be enjoyed by children and parents. And it felt “full” in a way not a lot of Hollywood movies do, an over two hour run time, dozens of characters, complex backstory, etc. etc.
But then, there’s also a reason that movies like The Lone Ranger failed. That combination of period costumes and big plot, it is very very hard to pull off. Especially without tipping too far into cynicism and laughing at it, instead of embracing it.
This movie, we have 4 stars, two of them all time huge stars (Amitabh and Aamir). We have a director with a spotty record (Tashan, too odd for the audience to embrace. Dhoom 3, less smart but more embracable). And now there are stories coming out of big action scenes never before attempted. And big dances.
(Not saying I don’t enjoy it, just saying I was in the minority)
That’s the other story today, Prabhudeva is confirmed to be doing a song, with both Aamir and Amitabh. Poor Prabhudeva!!!! Two of the WORST dancers in the industry!!!
But also, this makes me worried for the film in general a little. Prabhudeva is a huge name, and deservedly so. But I doubt that he is the right choice for this particular song. I don’t see Amitabh or Aamir being able to pull of Prabhudeva type moves, they might do better with a less ambitious choreographer like Vaibhavi Merchant or Bosco-Ceaser. It feels like hiring the name just for the sake of the name, not because he can actually contribute to the quality of the film.
(Mudassar Khan, small name choreographer, did great work with Amitabh in this song)
And this could be what it is like for everything in the film. Starting with the cast, hiring Amitabh and Aamir not just because they are hugely talented, but for the names, even if someone else like, say, Sanjay Dutt and Sushant Singh Rajput might be better fits for the role. Bringing in Katrina Kaif instead of Diana Penty. Spending crores on costumes so they are “original” and “authentic” instead of just using the old stuff in the warehouse. And all of it ending up adding only 3% to the film, or maybe even making it worse, while it drives the budget up and up and up.
Or maybe it is actually a brilliant film and Adi and Vijay Acharya know exactly what they are doing and I am just feeling pessimistic today.
Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu and the Kishore Kumars
This is an odd story mostly because of the tone of it. Here is the original link. It starts with Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor really really wanting to make a Kishoreda biopic. For years, since Barfi! And that’s nice I guess. But then it jumps over to Kishore’s widow and sons as late arrivals in this story who are trying to take over the project.
But surely, even before Anurag and Ranbir decided they wanted to make this film, Kishore’s family knew and loved him? Aren’t they the start of the Kishore story? Why SHOULD Anurag and Ranbir have ownership of the story? Why is there this whole resentment of his family stopping production?
(Is it because Ranbir’s own family worked with Kishoreda so much and have that long relationship with him that he thought would trump his relationship with his own family?)
Especially because there is a whole lot his family might want to have input on how it is presented! Kishore had 4 wives, for one thing. A fellow singer Leela, Madhubala, the wife who left him for Mithun Chakraborty, and his last wife who was already a widow when they met and much much much younger than him. Depending on how you look at the marriages, they could all have been “good” things. He stayed friendly with his first wife, Madhubala lived out her last years in comfort thanks to his support, he wasn’t at fault in the break up of his third marriage, and his last wife loved him deeply and is still beloved by both her biological son and her stepson, the three of them as a unit are protesting this film. And I am sure his family would prefer that version of his life to be presented or at least acknowledged, rather than an out of control womanizer bouncing from romance to romance. And that’s not even getting into the question of showing Kishore as an irratic irrational angry man, or as an artist who insisted on getting his due and made strides that playback singers to this day benefit from in terms of adequate compensation.
I think it is completely fair for the family to want to make sure the man is presented as they knew him. I don’t really see why it is so “wrong” for them to insist on involvement. Maybe it’s because biopics are so new to the Indian film industry? There isn’t a full balance yet of what belongs to the filmmaker who loves the story versus what belongs to the family who loved the man.
Or maybe it is just because it feels like Kishoreda belongs more to the film industry than to his own family? Like Ranbir and Basu feel the have the right to use his story because it is such a part of film history? Whereas his family feels like he belongs to their personal history more than the whole history of film.
Sadak 2 IS HAPPENING!!!!
Not much of a story here, the Bhatts have confirmed that Sadak 2 (Sadak 1 review here) is happening, Sanjay and Pooja will be together again, and there will also be a young couple (yet to be cast). And they are using a new composer, Jeet Gannguly who started out working with Pritam and is now off on his own. He’s been crawling his way up from doing the less notable songs of a film (everything in Aashiqui 2 that wasn’t “Tum Hi Ho” or “Sunn Rahe Hai”), to finally doing the title song of “Hamari Adhuri Kahaani” and getting his own hit.
(Bad movie, catchy song)
The release date is also announced, August 31. Which would make me nervous, but it’s the Bhatts, they do stuff fast but they also do stuff well. And if Mahesh is letting his own property be remade, using his own daughter, he is going to have a higher standard for it. I hope.
Ittefaq Release Delayed in UAE
This is the most important part of the “no spoilers” campaign. NOT releasing on a Thursday in the UAE. This is standard practice, because of the theaters often being closed for religious reasons on Fridays/audiences staying home. But it also means that disgusting sluglike human beings such as KRK can build a reputation based on flying to Dubai, watching a movie a day early, and spewing reviews on the internet. And it means that regular audiences who live in the UAE can innocently send messages to family members elsewhere giving opinions and revealing plot points on the film.
This also means the filmmakers are taking a bit of a gamble. The UAE market is huge, and they are giving it up in order to save the other markets. Proof that this “no spoilers” plea isn’t just a clever promotion campaign, it is something they are really serious about and believe their film rises and falls on it.
Which brings me to Anupama Chopra and a question! Reflects on Life just alerted me/us in the comments that Anupama Chopra spoils the ending of the movie in her video review. I can kind of understand where she is coming from, just that it is hard to talk intelligently about a thriller or a mystery without including the resolution in your discussion.
But then, this is HER JOB to find a way to intelligently discuss it without giving away the ending. And she was specifically asked to do that both in a professional appropriate way, and in a personal way by people who are her close personal friends. And it’s not like “I am providing clearly labeled spoilers”, if she is putting it in her video review, it is something anyone could just stumble on by accident, even if they intended to be unspoiled. So I am going to warn you away from her review, because if the filmmakers are giving up tens of thousands of dollars to keep the ending secret, the least we can do is not watch a review.
Oh, and this brings me to my question! I always put up two reviews, one with and one without spoilers, to keep the SPOILERS both in my content and in the comments firmly segregated. And I also put up a SPOILER review not just to spoil the film, but so I can talk in depth about how the whole arch of the narrative plays out and so on, there’s a reason for it. Which normally seems like a good enough rationale.
However, I also know that (without this being my main purpose) loads and loads and loads of strangers on the internet track down my review just to have the film spoiled and then never comment or read the rest or do anything else.
In courtesy to the filmmakers, this one time, should I hold off on the SPOILER review so those strangers don’t find it? Or should I still post it, so that us nice people here can have an intelligent discussion? And so that my non-spoiler review remains clean and untouched with all the spoiler comments moved over to the other one?
What do you think?