The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, March 19, 2000
Bollywood Bhelpuri

Rani’s balancing act
By Madhur Mittal

YOU know, the scribe in me cannot help but admire Rani Mukherjee for the cool attitude she’s shown towards the film Press... especially the journalists. Because, this consciously and deliberately maintained cordiality is despite the unfavourable stories written about her in many magazines, which make Rani’s ‘balancing’ act one of her best performances, to date!

She was cut to size by the print media in her very debut movie, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai for being "too artificial".According to some people in the film industry ,the critical comments were "planted" by co-star Kajol, who wanted to emerge the winner at any cost. Who knows? After all, you can pay for any perversity! Next, there was almost an unprecedented hoohaa about her "calves that look more like cows" in Hello, Brother!

And now, it’s the turn of Hey! Ram to be hacked! Ms Mukherjee’s detractors are "too upset for words" why the actress agreed to do "the lascivious, lingering and totally irrelevant" (do they actually mean irreverent?) kissing scene. Hey! Since Kamal Hassan is the writer and producer and director of the film, why don’t they ask him instead, I mean, to make such a senseless and inane film must’ve taken a lot of guts ... and a lot more nerve to expect it to be "a revolutionary landmark in Indian Cinema" .

  As for the beautiful and talented Rani, all she says is: "It was a role that I thought would be handled and presented aesthetically. I reckon I was very wrong. So the journalists and film critics are perfectly justified in writing what they, and innumerable viewers, felt spontaneously. I have no grouses..... "

Where are the Presswallahs?

Honestly, allow me to admit that, nowadays, it has become rather difficult, if not entirely impossible, to be ‘just’ journalist. Almost every producer thinks of calling in the photographers, scribes and the (primetime) electronic media only when : There is a lavish mahurat, or when a good, specially star-studded shoot is on. Or when the music company is footing the bill at the music cassette release. Or when there are pre-release promos to be shown in style with cocktails ‘n’ dinner and ice- cream!

And this is where the trouble begins. After all, for a three-hour moviethon, the 15 minutes or more scenes/songs/stunts flashed on makeshift (small) screens, is pathetic, to say the least. Yet, the ‘concerned’ filmmakers insist that the journalists invited should write about the movie in the most glowing terms...when we don’t even know what the complete ‘picture’ is like.

The Pukar of the painter

Do you know what has made Pukar such an awesome superhit? No, it isn’t Anil Kapoor’s histrionics. It isn’t even the glamorously negative characterisation so superbly essayed by Madhuri Dixit, nor have Namrata Shirodkar’s winsome wiles have nothing to do with it. If I’m to believe my insider source who declares that the cause celebre for the film’s box office commercialism is its repeat value, courtesy, Madhuri’s diehard fanatic fan, painter M.F. Husain...!

Apparently, he’s on his Madhuri mania trip once more! And, according to eyewitnesses, they’ve seen Hussain Saab attend virtually every showing of Pukar with at least a dozen of his cronies! Of course, with a repeat valuer like MFH, all the eyes are on Madhuri...and never mind if Kapoor thinks he’s pulling in the crowds!

Prodigal Sanju

Bollywood keeps having parties galore at the drop of a hat and many of them are for the most ridiculous of reasons! But the one hosted by Rhea (Pillai) Dutt to celebrate hubby Sanjay’s triumph at theFilmfare Awards ("Best Actor", no less) had to be attended to be believed, believe me!

Like, it had the best of everything — from liquor and food to filmdom VIPs and old friends — making it a get -together extraordinaire. And, while genuine compliments for Sanju were aplenty, the most touching one came from dad Sunil Dutt when the two hugged: "My son, you’ve done the family proud!"