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Friday, July 25, 2008

Golmaal and Bindiya Goswami

While not many of Bapu’s heroines made it big in their career, all of them had their fifteen minutes of fame in Bapu’s movies. There are some heroines in Bollywood too who were part of memorable movies and later disappeared from the screen. One such actress from my list of favorite heroines is Bindiya Goswami.

I watched Golmaal movie, many times till now. While the comedy track of Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar (as Ram/Lakshman Prasad) is the main attraction of the movie, equally entertaining frames are those of the innocent & chubby Bindiya (as Urmi). She was cute and lively through out the movie.

RD Burman’s ‘Ane Waala Pal, Jaane Wala Hain’ was the most popular number from the movie. But, I found “Ek Baat Kahoon Agar Mano Tum, Sapno Mein Na Ana Jano Tum” much more interesting. It’s your love, chiding you for continuously coming into her dreams and not letting her sleep!

Among other things ;) her big eyes get my full marks. The director captured her looks in many frames.

Phew! Not many knew that Rekha was the first choice for Urmi’s role. And after a lot of deliberation, director Hrishikesh Mukherji decided on Bindiya Goswami. I guess, that was on of the best thing to happen for Golmaal. However, Bindiya's career as a heroine was short as she married & settled down with J P Dutta.

If you haven’t watched Golmaal, its worth spending a lazy afternoon on this classic.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Connecting with audience

Continuing on my last entry, I think RGV and many other directors are increasingly getting disconnected with the audience. I pity all those who threw money into Aag like projects.

From my little knowledge, I opine that the disconnection comes from the over confidence of these directors on their assessment of what their audience want. One basic thing that they forget is the fact that the audience’s tastes change over time. In this regard, RGV’s flogging the same old dead horse of “Antham” like stories and remaking them with slight changes and releasing on to us is a criminal wastage of resources. Of late, this kind of disconnection is seen more with the RGV’s school. Or is it that I expect more from RGV’s school and thus am finding these faults?

I remember watching a dreaded movie called “Nijam”. I spent many sleepless nights trying to understand what that movie was all about. Director Teja cooked an unpalatable story and brings an angle of student power and a personal revenge and got lost in the process. This was followed by his next disasters “Jai” & “Oka Vichitram”. The movies are so pathetic that, I don’t want to waste my key strokes to write on them. These movies eroded all the impression that he created with his “Nuvvun Nenu” & “Jayam”. Remember the protagonist’s mother’s dialogue in Jayam that “If you get the girl, they will kill you. If you don’t get, I’ll kill you!” That is what connects with audience.

Same is the case with Krishna Vamsi. I don’t understand why he made “Chakram” and “Danger”. Even his Chandamama is a boring flick. He was lucky to get away with his HAHK like scenes in Ninne Pelladata & Murari. Most of the people are not convinced by the Attla Taddi celebrations shown in Ninne Pelladatha.

Another movie that comes to my mind is “Sye”. The director had to educate the audience about the Rugby game. Just because the sports related movies are making money, he went up and made a movie with Rugby as a central theme. I guess, in Chantabbai, Sri Lakshmi writes a story. The story is about how to make “Rasam”. Sye was like that.

It not just with new age directors. Even old timers and mavericks are failing these days. Ace director Raghavendra Rao’s last few flicks are flops. One of the very few sensible directors of Tollywood, Bapu dished out Sundarakanda, a flop. There were many such instances where the story has no relevance to the period.

Looking at the trend, I prefer Ram Narayana’s school to Ram Gopal Varma’s school! I’m sure that all my readers agree that Ram Narayana’s works like Gomatha Vratham are much more money spinning entertainer than the current duds :) :) They are like a circus on the big screen and value for money for many front benchers.

So, to conclude, I urge that our directors start connecting with the audience, so that the industry will see some meaningful pictures.

Trivia: Watch Donga Mogudu song “Nallanchu Tella Cheera”. The heroine Radhika sports all kinds of dresses but not a “Nallanchu Tella Cheera”.. Not even a Sari

Friday, July 18, 2008

More on RGV

No, I’m not saying that RGV is moron. Readers note the space between each of the three words :) It’s just that his recent movies are moronic!

Ram Gopal Varma and I have many things in common. We have links to Vijayawada. We are linked by our college (he happens to be a super senior). Our favorite heroine is Sridevi. We both liked her rain song in Mr. India. But the similarities end there. Ramu disappointed me by pampering Urmila & Nisha Kothari like heroines in his movies. I firmly believe that, they are the reason for all his flops. He’d’ve tried a Rambha or a Nagma for a change. :)

RGV can make an ordinary story into a gripping narration, coupled with a brilliant taking. It’s a gift that is demonstrated in Shiva, Kshana Kshanam & Gaayam. But the problem with RGV is that he is so obsessed with some themes, he ends up throwing the same story on to audience many a times. His Shiva, James and a future production used the same theme. His Gayam, Sathya loosely follow the same track. His protagonists in Gaayam, Antham & Satya don’t talk much.

Further, RGV is inspired by some specific movies, he ended up copying them frame to frame. Godfather theme is seen in Gaayam, Sathya, Company, Antham. His earlier movies Kshana Kshanam was a complete lift from a 1984 Hollywood movie “Romancing The Stone” (Michael Douglas, Catherine Turner). Sridevi’s shivering dialogue of “Devuda..Devudaa..” can be seen in Turner’s expressions in the first few scenes on her arrival in South America. The scene where a villager gets out of the bus with his Pig in hands, is a direct lift. The theme that a ransom is kept somewhere and the protagonists chase the ransom is retold in a desi style. The green woods of South America are replaced with a hyderabadi neighborhood. Some of the shots taken by Ramu were completely inspired :) by director Robert Zemeckis of Romancing The Stone. Watch it if you get a chance.

As I said earlier, RGV’s obsession with Romancing The Stone is carried into “Daud”. Rememeber, the “My father is a great hunter” dialogue in Daud? That is a character in Romancing The Stone, who is a south American villager who admires/loves the heroine and helps the heroine (and thus hero) to get out of the trouble in the locale. So much to creative/inspirational direction!

However, Ramu’s taking is really brilliant in some of his movies. Be it Antham, be it Anaganaga Oka Roju (they screened it special for us in Vijayawada – Urmila & RGV came to our campus). I love Gaayam so much that I saw it countless times. I never bothered about the story. I just loved the narration. The thoughtful songs penned by Sirivennela were an asset to the movie (will write on that some other time). The taking was brilliant.

Trivia: If my memory serves me right, the blooper in Gayam is that, the Hero & Villian uses the same car (or the taxi from same company). There will be one scene where the Hero is shown leaving in his car. You note the banner on the car. The next scene will have the Villain arriving from Delhi. He walks out of the airport and gets into his car. You will see the same banner on the car.

To sum up all my banter, I’d say, RGV & his students should start connecting with audience while making their films. We don’t want to throw our hard earned money into Aag!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

RGV’s new movies – Contract & Phoonk

Director Ram Gopal Varma started moving away from the under world topic and moved on to terrorism as a theme for his next movie Contract. The film casts newcomers Sakshi Gulati & Adhvik Mahajan.

I’d say, terrorism is not new to RGV. He’s been terrorizing the audience with his Kaun & Aag like flicks ;) His fetish for horror still continues, as he is about to dish out another horror movie “Phoonk”. It has the Kannada hero Sudeep in the leading role. This is one of the best selections that RGV made after his gimmicks with newcomers and his Matondkar & Kothari’s. Sudeep was famous for his neat action in Sparsha, Huccha & Ranga SSLC. I hope he will do good in this role.

Phoonk is a story on black-magic & witchcraft. All my Telugu readers can safely assume that the story could be on the lines of famous novels of Yandamuri Veerendranath. He wrote a series of horror novels in 80s – Tulasi Dalam, Tulasi, Ashtavakra, Kaashmora. All these were tried on silver screen and have badly fared in the past. I saw the Tulasi movie with Rajendraprasad playing the Kaadra role. I found it ok, but some how it didn’t connect with audience. Later the stories were tried on small screen with little success. Then they were tried on smaller screens (I mean, other regional language). All that reminds me the fact that, even RGV’s first attempt on horror theme was loosely based on these novels. Remember Raathri (Hindi: Raath) with Chakri & Revathi?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Songs of Babu

Babu movie, brings the lingering memories of a beautiful song. It used to come on Janaranjani on radio and was always an attention grabber.

It starts with heroine asking the protagonist Sobhan Babu, how she is looking in a dress. He says, his eyes were not enough to see the contours. She offers him to take her eyes too and enjoy! Here it is:

Ennenni Vampulu, Enneni Sompulu
NaakunnavEmo RendE Kannulu!!
Ela? Ela? Elaa ChoosEdi? Edi ChoosEdi?

Chalakunte, Kaavalante, Naavi Kooda Teesuko
Tanivi Teera Choosuko! Nee Tanivi Teera Choosuko!

And so on..
Now that we are in the re-mix era, I dont get surprised, if a Smitha re-mixes this sometime!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Director VVN Aditya, Ileana & Other thoughts

Director VN Aditya signs up Ileana to pair with Nitin for his next film. The film is about to start later this month after he is done with his current work “Rainbow”.

Talking about Aditya, I always wonder why this talented director is unable to get back on the success track that he promised with his first movie, “Manasantha Nuvve”. He was one of those few folks who planned his career in Tollywood and started his preparation from his college days at P.B. Siddhartha College at Vijayawada. He followed it up with apprenticeship under top directors. The notable one was as an assistant director under Singitham Srinivasa Rao for Bhairava Dweepam, which was a blockbuster hit.

He sure has a keen eye for beauty, as does his guru K Raghavendra Rao. It is amply displayed in “Sriram”, “Manasu Maata Vinadhu”, “Boss”. The picturization of “Tiya Teeyani Kalalanu Kandame Telusu” song on Anitha & Uday Kiran was brilliant and sensual. It was one such songs which makes us believe that he is one of the few sensible directors who pays attention to good and relevant lyrics in movies – I liked the feeling “Ennallaina NenundiPogalanu Nee Kougillalo!” that too coming from a heavy voice of Bombay Jayshree

Looking at all the five six movies that he did so far, I safely conclude that he better go back to the winning formula of cut n paste that he used for “Manasantha Nuvve”. The story of his first movie was loosely (or tightly?) based on the old Shobhan Babu, Lakshmi & Vanishree starrer titled “Babu”. In that movie, Shobhan Babu and Vanishree get separated when they were kids. The only memory that can join them was a rupee coin which they split into two parts ( a head & a tail of course) and keep one piece each. Now they get separated and grow up. Heroine Lakshmi, gets in to make it a triangle as she starts wooing our hero. Finally, somehow the childhood friend Vanishree comes in, lives with hero, gets to know him, tease him without revealing her identity and finally joins him.

That’s a cute story and lot of scope for romantic drama that Aditya created as Manasanta Nuvve. He added some more romantic interludes from other good movies in to his first venture. One that comes to my mind was when the hero Uday Kiran holds heroine Reema Sen’s hand and asks her to apologize. She teasingly threatens him – Ippudu vadalaka pothe, jeevithantham ilaage pattukovaali!!” (If you don’t leave my hand now, you will have to hold it forever = marriage). This was a fantastic scene which touched me, when I first saw it in a Vijaya Nirmala & Krishna movie – I guess that was a movie by name “Meena”.

So, my advice to Aditya is that there are many such romantic dramas that can be taken out from Tollywood history and can be retold to the current audience. Go back to the board, pl!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mallepuvvu blossoms again

The new Mallepuvvu seems to make news with its Tamil & Hindi rights already booked by Ilayaraja & Bhoomika Chawla. The movie takes its name from Natabhushana Shobhan Babu’s all time classic, Mallepoovu. Lets wait and see how much fragrance does this second mallepoovu brings to the Telugu Cinema.

While on that topic, Mallepoovu has a special place in my memories of Telugu Cinema.

When I was a kid, I was fond of the song “Zimbamba Zimbamba, Bomba Bomba Zim”. Whenever it came on Janaranjani I used to turn the radio full volume on. Whenever mom applied oil to our head, we used to imitate Malish Ramdoss, played by Rao Gopalarao in the movie. I guess R Narayanamurthy of Erra movies played as an assistant to Rao Gopalarao in that movie.

Over the time, when I saw it for the second, third & nth time, I started getting the fragrance of Mallepoovu. All the songs are great hits.

The title song of the movie: “Gagana Veena Sarigamalu Paadaga, Nee Jhaghana Seema swara jatulanaadaga… oho…Lalithaa, Naa Prema Kavitha”.

Then, many a times I lost my self, listening to Devulapalli’s “Chinna Maataa, Oka Chinaa Maata!.... Sande Gaali Veeche, Sanna Jaaji Pooche”. Lakshmi brought so much oomph to the vamp’s character, that the vamp became heroine of the movie.

Perhaps, it is the only tragedy movie that I ever watched for the second time. I normally avoid tragedy movies. As a middle class cine-goer, I believe that we have enough tragedy around us and we need to get the best ROI for the money that we are spending in a theatre. You might’ve noticed that the only fun part of the movie was in Malish Ramdass role.

But, Mallepoovu is different. Be it a helpless crying of the protagonist Venu in “Sakhiyaa! Neeventhati Vanchana Chesaavu, Siri SampadaKammudu Poyaavu,VidaNaaduta Neeku Sulabham, Ninu Viduvadule Naa Hridayam”

Or his desperation in “Evariki Telusu, Chitikina Manasu! – Jagatiki Hridayam Ledani, Naa Janmaki Udayam Lene Ledani”, it somehow connected with the audience and they watched the hero struggling all through the movie.

And then there are some melodies like “Chaka Chaka Saage Chakkani Bullemma” & “Nuvvostaavani Brindaavani”. The movie for sure is a land mark and must-see for all Telugu Movie Fans.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Gollapudi at Atlanta

The Telugu Association of Atlanta ( conducted some events over the weekend. While it is taking up initiatives to start a Telugu course at Emory University, I was more interested in the get-together with renowned writer, actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao.

Gollapudi as many Telugu cinema goers acknowledge, is a versatile artist. He had an illustrious film career as a villain, comedian and character artiste. I still remember his role in Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya. No one else could have played that role to that perfection. Another memorable role was that he played in Smasaram Oka Chadarangam.

However, I admire Gollapudi more as a writer than as an actor. In fact, he rose to stardom through his writings. Not many know that he was one of the best screen play writers of Telugu cinema. He won acclaims for his work in 1965 for the film Dr Chakravarty. He had many more popular films in his kitty as a screenplay writer.

His contribution to Telugu Stage is even more greater. Some of the finest stage plays were penned by him since his college days, and during his stay at Andhra Prabha and during his All India Radio career. He wrote the critically acclaimed “Kallu” which was later made into a movie.

I am a fan of the writer Gollapudi, who used to write a weekly column – Jeevana Kaalalm - in Andhra Jyoti. I used eagerly await to read his satirical writings on contemporary politics and social issues. It inspired me in many of my own writings. One of the characters of his column is “Om Namassivaya”. He brought subtle humor with the innocent ramblings of om namassivaya with the author.

With the demise of his youngest son, Srinivas, in 1992, Gollapudi’s career as an actor, as a writer has calmed down. He sounded more philosophical then on. The last I saw him was as an anchor in a TV show. I guess it was Praja Vedika on Gemini TV. He has a great voice and an exceptional ability of expressing his thoughts in lucid Telugu. I wish this great man lives a happier life and dishes out many more writings, acts that enthralls all of us.

For more on Gollapudi, pl visit his site