Monday Morning Questions Post: Happy Dilip Saheb’s Birthday!

Happy Monday!  I did not get much sleep last night, and I have a long day today (Christmas party after work), so keep me awake by asking me questions!

You can ask me anything from the personal (“what was the first Dilip Kumar movie you saw?”) to the specific (“who is Dilip Kumar?”) to the general discussion (“Dilip or Dev or Raj, who was the greater star?”).

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  It just works better that way.  And once I have put up my answer, anyone else is free to jump in and join the discussion.

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50 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post: Happy Dilip Saheb’s Birthday!

    • I realized reading this book how weak I am on Dilip. But of the ones I have seen, Andaz was the one that most impressed me. He is the losing side of the triangle, but he makes his character so much more than just a plot device to cause issues between the hero and heroine.

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  1. I’m sorry to be so all Shah Rukh, all the time, but this made me sad. Especially hearing that he/RC also refunded distributors for Paheli and Ashoka (and Dilwale but I don’t care as much about that one).
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/shah-rukh-khan-refunds-distributors-for-jab-harry-met-sejal-s-failure/story-29oc7d2cWDDp3IVnNNMIaI.html

    Seems like whenever he makes a story that is a bit closer to his heart (also thinking of PBDHH), the Indian audience rejects it. Mind you, I can’t feel too sorry for someone who’s reached the heights of success, power, and wealth that he has, but it still must be an odd feeling that you’re not connecting with your home audience on some level. What do you think?

    On the other hand, initial reviews for Ted Talks are good, so that’s something. 🙂

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    • I think Shahrukh probably was sad in a different way when Happy New Year did well. He must balance a desire to do the best work he possibly can, with a desire forf popularity. With the films you list, at least he could look back and be proud of what he had created as an artist.

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    • Since Gauri Khan is one of the producers, does she ever refund money to the distributors? Or is it just RCE? Or is it just SRK? or does anyone really know the financial angles of this complex Indian film industry?

      I am still amazed that JHMS did not do as well as anticipated. I’m still wild about Harry aka Hari.

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      • My impression is that SRK (and Salman for Tubelight) pay the distributors back out of their own pocket. It’s not exactly a “refund”, because it’s not as corporate or official as that. It’s more like a note saying “sorry we messed up, here’s a check to try and make it up to you”.

        It gets messy because RCE and SKF are both privately held companies, so technically Shahrukh’s money is the corporation’s money and vice versa. So I don’t know if the check is from RCE or from Shahrukh Khan. But it is more of a personal thing than anything based on a contract with the production house. And it’s definitely voluntary, they decide to do this because they feel bad/they know it’s the only way to stay viable on the market. Really there is no reason for them to do it, it would be the same as a toy manufacturer selling a million units to Walmart, and then they end up not being popular and Walmart has to sell them at a discount, and turns around and demands its money back from the manufacturer. Walmart was the one who decided this was going to be the hot toy this year, why should the manufacturer pay for their mistake? I guess they might pay for their mistake for the same reason that Shahrukh does, it keeps goodwill in the marketplace and helps everyone stay in business by controlling the losses.

        Generally speaking the producer listed in the opening credits is more of a courtesy title. Gauri Khan being listed probably means she attended a few meetings and gave her input, but she wouldn’t really have gotten that credit if she hadn’t been married to Shahrukh.

        On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 12:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Interesting. So glad you are such a good resource to clarify just what is what. The business part seems as complex as anything else the Indian film industry does. I thought a producer was really a producer as I have seen some giving their input on what they want or see or wish to happen in the films they produce. Knowing some are just honorary positions is new to me. That’s why I like this blog. You all are so knowledgeable.

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          • The thing with Indian film is that the majority of production houses are still family owned, so they can hand out producer credits to whoever they want, and it’s sort of a judgement call for the audience to figure out which is a “real” credit and which isn’t. Gauri Khan, Pamela Chopra, Hiroo Johar, may not be “real” producers. Shilpa Shetty or Dia Mirza, who you see on sets and promoting the film and everything else, “real” producers. Which isn’t to say that Gauri, Pamela, Hiroo didn’t make contributions, just that they weren’t the guiding light of the film the way other producers might have been.

            On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 12:38 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Is Dilip Kumar’s Ram aur Shyam the first movie with the twins separated at birth trope? Have you ever seen something of yours in a Hindi movie? I was taken aback to see my favorite childhood bedsheet adorning Padmini’s bed in Hum hai Lajawaab. It’s an unusual pattern but the time period matches.

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    • Ram aur Shyam is definitely not the first children separated story, but it might be the first twins. Definitely it is the first to follow a particular pattern with the weak one being mistaken for the other and brought back to punish his evil relatives.

      I think what I have seen of my son would have to be just the entire movie of Dhoom 3! Every outdoor scene was shot somewhere I had walked a thousand times and had distinct memories of. It was very surreal seeing all those places on the big screen with Aamir in them.

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      • I will second Dhoom 3 being surreal. There are places like LaSalle Street (bank robbery in the fillm) thta have been used in many movies, it’s Wayne tower in Batman. But Millenium Park and Navy Pier have never looked as beautiful as they did in that love song. Also, the circus theater is actually the Shedd Aquarium.

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        • What really through me was the motorcycle chase on lower Wacker. Because they shot it at the exact intersection that I walk across to get to the River East 21 movie theater where I watch Indian movies, including Dhoom 3!

          On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 10:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • In KANK, the New Haven Train station never looked so good. The University of Connecticut football stadium surprised me. The snowy scene in the Grove street cemetery and the Green, all near Yale, were beautiful in the movie.

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          • I think sometimes it takes an outsider to see the real beauty of a place. Stuff we talk for granted about the US like snow, wood paneling, changing leaves, winter coats, lawns and houses and malls, it all turns magical when you see it in an Indian film.

            On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 12:17 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Some of the scenes in Swades were shot at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, which is about 5 miles from my house. I have half a dozen friends who work there. When one of them watched Swades with me, she yelled “I’ve been in that conference room!!!” And we all laugh at the scenes of the Capitol and the National Mall, which are nowhere near NASA.

          Liked by 1 person

    • As a person, Dilip. Besides a few oddities (like, the whole second marriage thing that I still don’t understand), he seems to never have caused harm to another person, always been gracious and kind and gentlemanly and a true mentor to everyone who came after him. But as an artist, Raj. He was a great actor, but also a great producer, a great director, so many Greats! And then Dev is a close second as an artist (love the films he made with his brothers), and a close second as a person (I think. Mostly it’s just that I know a lot more about Raj as a person thanks to his sons becoming famous and giving interviews and it wasn’t all good. Maybe if I knew as much about Dev, he wouldn’t seem that great either).

      On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 8:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Not a question but I found a Shashi Kapoor movie on YouTube, A Matter of Innocence, with Haley Mills and Trevor Howard and a) Holy crap, Shashi was soooooo handsome back in the day. The still photos don’t really capture it. b) He also had a wonderful voice and a sweet vulnerable quality that was super appealing. c) Haley Mills and Trevor Howard are both wonderful in the movie as well and the plot is surprisingly progressive–for example, Haley unapologetically loses her virginity to Shashi. d) I know Shashi wasn’t particularly interested in being a movie star but it’s too bad because he sure did have the looks and charisma to do it.

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    • a) yes indeedy! Everyone agrees he was the handsomest of the Kapoors. And I keep going back to Sharmilaji’s story about literally not being able to concentrate on her love scene with Shammi if Shashi was on set because he was too handsome.

      b) Yes! It’s this odd combination of confidence and vulnerability. Like, he feels things, but he doesn’t want you to worry about his feelings. This is why I love him soooooooooooooo much in Kabhi Kabhi, a situation comes up that any other man would either not even care enough to care about and just laugh off, or else make it all about “me me me”, and instead Shashi is like “I am a sensitive caring person so this hurts me, but at the same time I realize I shouldn’t just make it about myself so I am going to force my feelings down for the sake of everyone else involved”.

      c) One thing I am really impressed by with Shashi is the way he was able to keep his two careers so totally separate. The Indian public as a whole would FREAK OUT if they knew the stuff that went on in his English language films, so Shashi just went overseas and shot them and then came home and didn’t talk about them.

      d) Shashi was I think half a victim of circumstances, and half just not that interested. The problem was, he had his Indian career in the middle of the era of 3 of the most insanely charismatic actors in Indian history. He started out being “fine” but just a pale shadow of his brother Shammi. And then he was briefly a shadow of Rajesh Khanna. And finally had the majority of his career, and some of his biggest hits, going up against Amitabh. And when Amitabh is onscreen, you are just blinded to anyone else. If Shashi had really worked at it, tried to find his own gimmick and image (the way Shammi did, finally bursting out of Raj’s shadow), insisted on doing more solo hero roles instead of multistarrers, he could have still been a big thing. But with him not wanting to work at it, and the competition being so intense just then, he never had a chance.

      On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 9:21 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I don’t believe it yet, not based on one source. It could be along the lines of spreading the rumor, seeing if people react positively, and then moving forward.

      If it does happen, I think it is a very risky idea. Aamir essentially only has 10 years left as a leading man, if that. To devote it to one project is a huge huge gamble. If it pays off, it’s a great idea, he can end his leading man career with a nice finish flourish, and he can have a project that will work around his advancing age. And set himself up for retirement, I am picturing something where he is the lead for the first 5 years, and then slowly moves into a mentoring/guest star kind of character for the next 5 years, and finally the films can just crank out on their own without him having to be involved at all.

      But if it doesn’t pay off, there will be no recovering. Aamir got a lot of flak and lost a lot of respect when he made Mangal Panday and it flopped terribly. Same with Mela. And because of his filming schedule, he had to live with those failures as the most recent memory people had of him for good long while. He rebounded with his next films, but if this fails and he has a firm 10 year commitment, there will be no rebounding. The end of his leading man career will be failure.

      I was assuming that Thugs was going to be his finish film. If it was a huge huge hit, that is. And then he would move into more like his Secret Superstar stuff, smaller roles in films he produced. And if it failed, he would look for another huge hit film and then retire after that one. Sort of waiting for the peak moment instead of planning in advance.

      On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 12:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That’s what I was thinking too, that he will be 62 when it’s all over and it will define his career. Is he willing to roll the dice that way? Why? He doesn’t have a lot to gain but a helluva lot to lose, esp. since he’s so popular in Asia and seems like there’s still room to grow in that market.

        I wonder how all 3 Khans will go out. I hope Salman is breaking out his guns (literal and muscular) in his 60s, that would be embarrassing. And SRK, will he just transition to being a producer and only performing on stage or TV? And what comes after them?

        It seems like if Aamir plays things right he’s in the best position to transition to interesting character roles but his ego may trip him up.

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        • Except they all have the south stars’ example to follow. They can still be romancing married heroines half their age because those girls won’t have any other leading lady roles to do and they can all still do action films.

          JHMS and Tubelight prove that the Indian audience doesn’t want the same old same old anymore. If they can make fresh stories, the audience will stay with them. If not, they’d be thrown out of business by massive flops.

          Amir is being really smart. His last two massive hits didn’t have him romancing anyone AND he’s doing small roles in other home productions too.

          I don’t know what kind of franchise it would be, but if it’s true, this is the right time for him to jump into it. At 62, he can still do roles like PK and Dangal and Secret Superstar. NOW is the time for him to experiment.

          Salman and SRK on the other hand, have painted themselves into a corner. Neither can just begin to do character roles all of a sudden and not have it become the focus.

          But they should. They really should. Look at all the SRK fanfic Margaret comes up every Sunday. There are so many stories he can do IF he lets go of his insecurity with stepping out of his 90s romantic hero image.

          Same with Salman. He needs to start being an actor and less Salman Khan.

          Maybe we should all write a Salman fanfic this sunday or suggest remake ideas.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ignoring all the rest of your comment, you are right, I should do Sallu fanfic! At least for the next two Sundays, for his birthday.

            On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 1:10 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Anything that involves him playing his age with small children is golden. Think, Salman as a man whose wife and child died, and then he opened an orphanage.

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          • That’s him doing a do-gooder. Very Bajrangi. How about Salman doing a Cast Away? Him maintaining his physique can easily be explained with the all-fish diet and he can be shown building himself a gym with rocks on the island. Katrina can be the wife that remarried! 😂

            It can be a happy Cast Away!

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        • I thought that Aamir indeed might wish to create a kind of franchise where he can have the all-say about story and leading lady…I think he fully wants to work with Fatima or at least give her three movies that revolves around her.

          Through your post, Alisa, I realised that I had even watched three Western movies with Shashi…at a time where Indian Cinema wasn’t even remotely on my mind.

          As for Dilip Saab, I only had watched him in emotional dramas with Nargis (except Devdas and Mughal-E-Azam).

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  4. Could you review Kabhi Kabhi sometime? I was watching it again, to get over my Shashi Kapoor pangs. O Lord he was so handsome in it! I feel like this was one movie where he outshone Amitabh as well. And him playing Rishi’s dad – the genes just work so well. Ranbir looks just like Rishi did in the movie. You’re right the Kapoor lads are skinny in their 30s.

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    • Good article! Everyone was identified with the appropriate amount of fame and the stories were told simply but accurately.

      And you should really really watch Luck By Chance! It does an amazing job showing how this works through the female characters who are all used in one way or another by the men around them.

      Finally, small note, there was one major male Malayalam actor who spoke out loudly in support of the harassment victim. Supposedly he even threatened to quit all the industrial bodies and never work with anyone who refused to speak out again. And he has a really great and really sexy and female-positive role in the movie Aiyyaa that is on Netflix.

      On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 9:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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