'Phillum' makers with funny stuff dial 'S'

Sahara is going all-out to woo audiences. Do you remember a year back Zee had the Thursday Premier when almost-new films were screened? What an uproar that TRP-grabbing movie- manoeuvre had caused!

Sahara has now gone even further. They‘re putting up unreleased films every Friday evening. And unlike Zee, Sahara ain‘t answerable to anyone. All the films are produced by them and were awaiting their turn in the cans.

In fact Tanuja Chandra, whose Film Star will also be premiered, is mighty miffed by Sahara‘s home-release strategy. She thinks a television premiere shrinks the impact of her film.


But Tanuja, think of it this way. Who would want to go and see Tum Ho Na (premiered this week) in a theatre? First of all, the star cast was extremely incongruous. Imagine Jackie Shroff being paired with Riya Sen! They looked         like a father and daughter more than a romantic couple.

Perhaps the story, trying to be fey and selfconsciously different, demanded a certain age lacuna between the main lead. Jackie was eerily silent in the first      half as Riya, playing a bohemian cross between Zeenat Aman in Hare Rama       Hare Krishna and Amrita Arora in Main Hoon Na, screeched and snarled her way through a series of misadventures with hard drugs.

After an accidental murder (the gun shot startled me awake) Jackie dumped the insufferable hippie and his Goan boat-bound lifestyle to get into a 3-piece suit    and marry Nehtra Raghuraman who suffers a flat tyre and a revved-up libido at    the same time.

"I‘ll marry you," she screams as Shroff repairs her punctured tyre (wish someone repaired the damaged script).

Just as we get some dopey bits of domestic harmony, Riya Sen screeches back into Shroff‘s life trying to get his sari-clad wife all red-faced with jealousy. Then the wife sees the secretary massaging her husband‘s neck. In anger she snips off her hair gets into a mini and stumbles into hubby‘s office on a stiletto abusing and swearing at her supposedly philandering husband.

Jackie Shrofff had a number of chances to prove himself, including a drunken monologue which, like Riya‘s whiny whimsy, went on forever and ever.
Thank God this film was never released in theatres! I‘d suggest other filmmakers with funny stuff that they call phillums dial ‘S‘ for Sahara.

I‘d rather suffer such starkly artificial films at home than brave them in theatres.



And let‘s have conventional soaps instead of pseudo-movies. I sort of like Sooraj Barjatya‘s Woh Rehne Walo Mehlon Ki, if for no other than reason then its stark conventionality.

This week Rani married and left for her sasural hoping to find a home away from home. If only wishes were horses!

The shock of finding her in-laws‘ place far less presentable than she imagined was juxtaposed with montages of happier times when she was the queen of her father‘s house.

Shots of the dingy stairways in her new house coalesced into flashbacks of the plaster-of-paris stairways into a filmy heaven… and so on… Now of course the avaricious in-laws have realized that the Rani whom their son has married isn‘t half as rich as they had imagined.

It‘s an excruciatingly filmic irony, done for television in that disarmingly artless way that the Rajshri Productions have patented over the years.


Will the Hindi correspondents on the news channels please improve their English language? On Channel 7, I was appalled to hear the female correspondent pronounce Marigold as ‘marry-gold‘. Maybe marriage was on her mind because of the company she kept that evening.

But why was Manoj Bajpai behaving so churlishly? He was almost snapping out the answers. When asked how much homework he did, Bajpai retorted, "I never prepare, never carry my characters home… I‘d rather stay home for months than do faltu roles.."

Sure, Manoj, we believe you. We‘ve seen you in Inteqaam and that other movie where a little girl is gangraped.

Ugh…and a double-ugh for Shweta Kawatra who went on and on bitching about Vivek Oberoi on Sony Max‘s film-news magazine-show Current Bollywood. Why must she bring her personal likes and dislikes into the discussion?

Our soaps are becoming progressively promiscuous. I don‘t know whether that‘s good or bad, because promiscuity is not really a sign of progressiveness. Hence the heroine Kripa in Sony‘s Kaisa Yeh Pyar Hai is pregnant with the child of her host‘s son who grimaces and swaggers like God‘s chosen one. For reasons too complicated to be gone into the swaggering hero has decided to spurn and abuse his beloved. He rolls his eyes, bares his teeth and makes rude gestures at her, driving her out of his life.

Baby‘s dad ouch?


Sony‘s CID Special Bureau is getting supremely swanky in mid-life. The mid-air stunts this were to die for. Fortunately no one died. But I must say, CID is the only show that makes a concerted effort to bring a certain professionalism and gloss into the presentation.

On a more grounded note, the ever-efficient Srinivas Jain walked the talk with Mumbai‘s top cop AN Roy asking the frankest of questions about the future of bar girls and underworld activities in Bollywood with minimum ostentation.

The same night I watched Mandira Bedi‘s tea-pot turn into a snake on Zee‘s Mano Ya Na Mono.

Makes you wonder which is more dangerous, cop talk or snake pots.

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