Topic started by Are Yaar (@ 18.104.22.168) on Thu Oct 10 08:44:25 EDT 2002.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
For many days, I felt that I should have a thread to share some of the articles about ARR in desi and international press and website. I intend to start this thread and expect others also to post some articles about ARR here.
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- From: Are Yaar (@ 22.214.171.124)
on: Thu Dec 19 02:42:48 EST 2002
When Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he was going to be producing
a musical inspired by Bollywood no one knew quite what to make of it.
It has now been running a few months and people still don't know what
to make of it! While Bombay Dreams has been very successful at the
box office the jury is still out on whether it is a 'good' thing. One
potential problem with this musical is who is it trying to appeal to?
Will Asians find it patronising? Will non-Asians be put off by the
Hindi? Well, I shall attempt to answer these questions...
BACKGROUND - Bombay Dreams is basically inspired by, and about, the
Indian film industry, better known as Bollywood. Andrew Lloyd Webber
has produced it, Meera Syal wrote the book and the legendary
A.R.Rahman provided the music.
(VERY BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE) STORY - The story involves around Akaash,
a boy bought up in the slums of Bombay. He dreams about one day
becoming a Bollywood star (don't we all!). He does eventually get his
big break and becomes a huge star and also falls in love with Priya,
the beautiful daughter of a movie director. Unfortunately she is
engaged to a slimy lawyer called Vikram. The musical revolves around
this story as well as Priya's attempts to make a movie that is about
real life and not the artificial world of the Masala movie. The end
of the musical involves Akaash having to choose between fame and the
people he left behind in the slums. Throw in some eunuchs, the
underworld, corruption, a `Smita Smitten' style reporter and lots of
gorgeous gals in wet saris and there you have it.
THE MUSIC - The music is by A.R. Rahman who is revered by Bollywood
fans (Don Black supplies some of the lyrics). Most of the songs used
in Bombay Dreams are from films so there is a danger that Bollywood
buffs will feel they've heard it all before. I don't think this is
necessarily a problem as it is great hearing these songs 'live' (some
involve the actors miming in true Bollywood style). Chaiyya Chaiyya
is as stunning on stage as it was in `Dil Se' (they even try and
recreate the train scene!). Shakalaka Baby is great fun and very sexy
and the Wedding Qawwali is stunning. I wasn't as keen on the more
Western numbers, although they are needed as this is, of course,
first and foremost a West End musical. Some of the songs are in
Hindi, but it doesn't matter as it's not necessary to know what is
being sung. Plus they wouldn't sound half as good in English. The
dancing is fantastic and I would go and see Bombay Dreams just for
the dancing. The moment in Shakalaka Baby when the fountains come on
and soak the sari-clad dancers is wonderful (wet Sari scenes are very
popular amongst male Bollywood fans!).
THE CAST - I have seen this musical twice and had my doubts about the
casting the first time round. I saw it early in it's run and some of
the main characters were not managing to hit their notes during the
songs. Andrew Lloyd Webber has very admirably used an all-Asian cast,
but the problem is that they do not have the training that your
experienced West End star has. I'm glad to say that by the second
time I saw it they had improved considerably. Raza Jaffrey and Preeya
Kalidas are a believable hero and heroine, although I didn't think
Raza had the charisma of your average Bollywood heartthrob. Ayesha
Dharker is stunning as the Bollywood diva and got tons of wolf
whistles from the men in the audience (if you have a daughter who is
obsessed with her weight take her to see the curvacious Ayesha
looking scrumptious in her soggy Sari). Raj Ghatak is wonderful as
the kind-hearted eunuch and Shelley King is excellent as the show biz
reporter, although Meera Syal has rather lazily just recreated her
Smita Smitten character from `Goodness Gracious Me'. The supporting
cast are all very good, although I wish Ramon Tikaram (who you may
remember from `This Life') had a larger role.
THE CRITICISMS - There have been many criticisms of Bombay Dreams and
I would agree with some of them. Meera Syal's book has come in for a
lot of flak which I think is justified. The dialogue did seem
terribly stilted and the whole thing didn't gel too well. I love
Meera's writing so I was expecting greater things. Some people feel
that the story is outdated and cliched which I would also agree with.
Bollywood films have changed a great deal and this musical only
really focuses on your stereotypical Masala movie. The portrayal of
Bombay has also annoyed some Indians, I've never visited Bombay so I
cannot comment. I also understand that some Asians feel that this
musical stereotypes the Asian community. I have to admit that I feel
torn over this argument. Yes, it probably does to some extent, but
musicals are not documentaries. I don't think anyone goes to see `Les
Miserables' to learn about French history! I think that the fact this
is the first musical of this kind in the West End has made people
oversensitive (and I don't mean that in a bad way).
ALL IN ALL - Yes, it's flawed, but I really enjoyed it. The cast
really throw themselves into it and it's definitely a high-energy
musical. The music and dancing is wonderful and I really felt that
the audience got into it. I had an America guy sitting next to me who
asked me what Bollywood is and was surprised to hear that there is a
film industry in India (!?). During one scene he just leapt up and
started dancing! The price is a bit off-putting as I paid about £35
for my ticket, but you expect that in the West End. Plus you really
need a good view of the stage. I would recommend this to anyone, just
don't expect a perfectly polished West End musical. You won't know
whether you like it until you try it!
P.S. If anyone can tell me what 'Shakalaka' means I'd be most
Chaiyya Chaiyya Meera's Syals book
Singing and Dancing Stereotyped portrayal of the Indian film
Enthusiastic cast Expensive tickets
- From: Are Yaar (@ 126.96.36.199)
on: Thu Dec 19 23:01:24 EST 2002
`It is make or break for me'
By: Udita Jhunjhunwala
The quiet, neat and serene interiors of his Juhu home stand in
contrast to the nerves Shaad Ali is feeling on the eve of the release
of his directorial debut.
A bright poster of his film Saathiya in the window is the antithesis
of the stark posters of Wild At Heart and Taxi Driver on the living
Son of filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, Shaad first worked with his father
before moving to Chennai to work with Mani Ratnam.
Excerpts from an interview with Shaad Ali, director of Saathiya:
Saathiya is a remake of Mani Ratnam's Alai Payuthey. Why choose a
remake as your first film?
It wasn't a choice, I wasn't even thinking of it. I was writing my
own first script, and though being Mani sir's assistant helped, I
wasn't getting a break.
Then Mani sir offered me the film. He had the confidence in me. I
have treated Saathiya as my own first film - with honesty and
So did you have much to do, since you had a ready screenplay?
Yes, it was easier because the script was in place, and Gulzar-saab
worked fast on the dialogues. Then it was a question of getting the
What is important is what you are going to remake and how you are
going to adapt it. There are several remakes today, but attention to
detail is lacking in films and so they are unable to convince the
You cast Vivek before even Company released. What was your casting
decision based on?
I knew Vivek and thought that if Ram Gopal Varma has taken him then
he must be good. I didn't want someone with an image.
I felt he could perform and didn't even need to see any of his work.
Vivek was shooting Company at the time, but more than anything, he
was a friend.
As for Rani, I knew her from before too and I think she is tailor-
made for this role. I didn't want a new face and especially after Hey
Ram, I felt she could handle any complex role.
Didn't you want to be an actor first?
Everybody has a hidden actor. I did a lot of theatre and it was big
high. But a director's kick is more internal and bigger. Also I
couldn't survive the struggle of being an actor in Mumbai.
How do you feel about the competition from the other releases of the
I am very excited that I have a release the same day as an Amitabh
Bachchan film (Kaante). He has been my biggest inspiration and my
reason for coming to the industry, even more than my father.
It is also the same day as a Bond film (Die Another Day) and the same
year as a Mani Ratnam film. So I am excited.
Are you feeling any pressure and from who?
There is pressure from all sides - from my friends, family,
audiences, anyone who's worked with me.
It is make or break for me, more than anyone else connected with this
film. Mani sir is happy with the film. He said it didn't look like a
Saathiya releases in Mumbai tomorrow
- From: Are Yaar (@ 188.8.131.52)
on: Thu Dec 26 03:55:36 EST 2002
One For Love
Director : Shaad Ali
Producer : Bobby Bedi
Music : A R Rehman
Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Rani Mukherji, Sharat Saxena and Tanuja
Rating: * * * *
By Parag Maniar
A remake of Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Alai Payuthe, Saathiya brings back the good old middle class family to the glossier world of cinema. It's a refreshing change.
Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) a collegiate meets Suhani (Rani Mukherjee) a medical student at a marriage and falls in love with her. When she rebuffs his advances he is undeterred. He follows her in local trains and soon she can't continue to say no to him. But when she agrees, their parents form an opposition. The couple separates, as Suhani doesn't wish to hurt her parents. Eventually love triumphs and they get married secretly.
The story doesn't end here... it begins. The toll life and love takes on this newly married couple forms the crux of the film. How they fall into petty arguments, which build into huge fights. How egos rule their world instead of the pre confessed love. How they almost lose each other ...
The story is as clichéd as it gets but the dialogues, setting in a middle class family and fresh performances make it worthwhile to watch the film. Shaad Ali has done a good job albeit stuck to the same Tamil version. He could have tried a bit something different. But then maybe he felt it was required to be safe than sorry.
Shahrukh Khan and Tabu have guest appearances, which don't lure you to the theatres. The Shamita Shetty song though is ok.
A R Rehman's music as usual doesn't register at first but when it does it gets into your blood. The haunting music of the title song, fun and frolic of Udi Udi and rap tune of Humdum suniyo re is a booster for the film.
Vivek Oberoi has proved he can act and act with a difference too. After Company and Road, Saathiya is definitely in the proper commercial slot and shows how well he can deliver.
Rani Mukherjee has given a real good performance. Compared to her last two three films she has definitely improved and this film will be an important one in her career.
A film which is a refreshing change is worth a watch.
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