Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004



Cinema In General

Pans & Tilts…Krrish in Deauville, Irfan Khan, Rahul Bose, Kareena, Kajol…

Krishna has travelled to Deauville, that quaint Norman city on the French Atlantic coast. The last time he travelled, it was to Singapore, chasing his dream woman, Priyanka Chopra. Yes, indeed, I am talking about Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish. “Krrish”, which is part of the Panorama in the ongoing 9th Deauville Asian Film Festival (March 28 2007 to April 1 2007) Touted as the Indian Superman, Roshan’s son, Hrithik, donned a black leather skin-fit suit, and rose from a tiny secluded village – where his grandmother had kept him hidden from the malicious world – to save the world from evil. Just like our mythical hero, Krrish or Krishna also woos and weds (I suppose) Priyanka, a modern-day TV reporter, who meets the demi-god in the sylvan surroundings of India’s pastoral beauty.

The Deauville Festival has been quite fond of Indian cinema. In one of its very early editions, it carted our superhero, Amitabh Bachan, from the Arabian Sea to the Atlantic, held a retro of his movies and showed him off to the folks at Deauville. They were literally star struck looking at this dashing and debonair actor from Bollywood, and I remember my car driver could not stop talking about Big B when I landed at Deauville the following year for the Festival. Such is the magnetism of Bachchan Senior. So mesmeric is Bollywood.

However, Deauville has gone beyond Bollywood: The Festival screened Bengali director, Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s films a couple of years ago and had him on the main jury. I was talking to a Deauville Festival official the other night, and he told me that they were keen on inviting “some solid directors from India” and exhibiting some “serious Indian cinema”. Two names that he mentioned: Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who is now shooting his 10th and 11th movie – one after the other – in Kerala’s Allepey district, and Anurag Kashyap’s “Black Friday”. So, Deauville is not just about Bollywood and “Krrish’s” out-of-this-world antics. The Festival is also about sensible and sensitive cinema that wants to tell us something, give us something beyond mere entertainment.


After Deauville’s desire to have solid directors and sensible cinema on its repertoire, let us get down to talking about a couple of fine Indian performers. Irfan Khan is one, now quite busy with international movies. On a new high lately after Mira Nair’s “The Namesake”, Irfan is awaiting the release of “A Mighty Heart” (on the life of Daniel Pearl, the American Wall Street Journal who was murdered in Afghanistan, or was it Pakistan). We remember the drama surrounding the film when it was shot some months ago in and around Pune with Angelina Jolie. Irfan is doing a Wes Andersen movie, which has shades of Frank Capra. “I have an interesting role here”, Irfan says. I am sure he does, a good actor that he is. I was really impressed with him in “Maqbool”, and am now looking forward to seeing him in Nair’s work.


Another actor Indian producers and directors must watch out for is Rahul Bose. The latest feather in his cap is Aparna Sen’s “The Japanese Wife”. His third film with Sen (after “Mr and Mrs Iyer”, and “15 Park Avenue”), Rahul is turning out to be a multi-lingual talent. His parts in Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s “Kaalpurush” and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s “Anuranan – A Resonance” prove beyond doubt that Rahul is as good in Bengali cinema as he is Hindi or English. And, he has just completed a Santosh Sivan movie, “Whisperers”, not in Tamil though. Sivan, if I am right, is Tamil. A psychological thriller, this movie also stars Manoj Bajpai, another good artiste. Bose plans to direct his second feature after “Everybody Says I Am Fine”. It is a romantic comedy, chuckles Rahul. That is a relief after all the serious stuff he has been into. A bit of rosogulla after the heavy “mangsho” (mutton) is welcome indeed.


Why is poor Kareena Kapoor doing one cameo after another? Catch me for an answer. In “Don”, she did “Yeh Mera Dil”. In the about-to-open, “Kya Love Story Hai”, she has picturised a song, “Yara Kabhi Ishq To Karo”. Directed by Lovely Singh, the film has Tusshar Kapoor and Ayesha Takia in it. Kareena is stunning in the song. It is one of the highlights of the movie. All very true, but I hope Kareena does not end looking like some “extra”. That will be terrible.


Tailpiece: Kajol, a marriage and a baby later, is now all set to let the camera take over her. Admittedly, she did a movie last year, “Fanha”. It then seemed that she would do an occasional film. But now that she is starring in hubby Ajay Devgan’s home production, “You, Me and Hum”, it appears that Kajol will be seen more regularly on the screen. Ajay pairs opposite her, and they would be seen together after a long time. We saw them in “Raju Chacha” in 2000, but the movie sank. Will the latest effort give a new face and dimension to the star pair? Bollywood business mandarins are not predicting, the astros are not either. The critics are waiting. And as for me, I feel Kajol is a fine actress, and Bollywood needs women like her to inject sense and substance into our runaway cinema.

(Webposted March 30 2007)