The OPEN Magazine News
Salman Khan’s ‘Bodyguard’: An easy escape?
Is going to the movies the same as going to a nightclub?
It’s that time of the year again. A Salman Khan movie has been released and we are playing out a familiar ritual. The film is a blockbuster— Bodyguard has had the highest grossing first week in the history of Indian cinema. But critics have panned it, earning the predictable battering from legions of Salman fans. My Twitter timeline is filled with abuses—from ‘sadistic’ and ‘witch’ to unprintable epithets (and this when I didn’t even review the film; I just wrote a column positing Salman as Bollywood’s last rockstar). Click here to read more
Vidya Balan in ‘The Dirty Picture’: Will Bollywood have more ‘real women’ like her?
It’s naive to believe that the success of The Dirty Picture will radically enhance female clout in the Hindi film industry
Game-changer. That’s the word I’ve heard most often with reference to the Ekta Kapoor-Milan Luthria-Vidya Balan juggernaut, The Dirty Picture, which steamrolled the box office, making over Rs 52 crore in week one. Incredibly, the film opened better than hero-led projects such as Singham and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Vidya oozing sexuality 1980s-style got more first-day, first-show viewers than Hrithik Roshan’s chiselled many-pack abs.
The Dirty Picture is a woman’s story. It has a superb lead actor, old-school dialogue-baazi, and, critically, no A-list male stars to prop up the narrative. Yet, it defied Bollywood naysayers and became one of the year’s biggest successes. Which has led many industry observers to ask: does the film pave the way for more women-centric stories? Is Bollywood going to create more fleshed-out female characters? Are we going to see more ‘real women’ and fewer assembly-line Barbie dolls? Click here to read more
Kancha, Mogambo, Gabbar, Shakal…the greatest villains of Bollywood cinema
Bollywood’s bad guys have better lines, better outfits, better babes, more gadgets and way more fun before they go out in the climax reel with a bang
Agneepath, the first success of 2012, firmly establishes the return of that Hindi movie staple—the villain. For almost two decades, the director trinity of Sooraj Barjatya, Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra, who championed family values and pretty people in love, had effectively banished the baddie from Bollywood. But Agneepath’s Kancha, played by a manically grinning Sanjay Dutt, a hairless man given to reciting the Gita as he hangs people, has brought the over-sized, over-wrought villain centrestage. Raavan is back (ironically, midwifed by the same Karan who had helped oust him). Click here to read more
My undying love affair
Why, after so many years, am I so in Bollywood’s thrall? It’s the stories, really. The ones you never see turned into films
Last week, a journalist asked me why, after nearly 20 years, I was still so enamoured of Bollywood. What was so compelling about the Hindi film industry? It’s the films, of course, but it’s also the outsized personalities, epic egos and the sheer, beguiling insanity of the place. Bollywood has the best stories—and I’m not talking about the ones on screen. Here are a few tales that I love to tell again and again. Click here to read more
Karisma, Madhuri, Sridevi: The comeback girls
Bollywood no longer sees a heroine’s advancing years as a liability. This should let older actresses break the glamour mould and take on edgier roles
This month, Madhuri Dixit was the cover girl for Vogue and Sridevi for Marie Claire. These are somewhat unusual choices for fashion magazines—both women are over 40 and neither has had a successful film in almost a decade; in fact, Sridevi’s last major release was in 1997. But both were the Number One actresses of their time. They continue to be sparkling and attractive, and are now on the comeback trail. Sridevi is returning to films with English Vinglish. Madhuri is judging reality shows, endorsing products and a food channel, and presumably scouting for a film that can do justice to her talent. Click here to read more
Salman Khan: Bollywood’s rockstar
What makes Salman Khan such a force to reckon with? Asks Anupama Chopra, in a column written just before the release of Bodyguard
The week Bodyguard opens seems like a good time to ponder the paradox that is Salman Khan. This is his 83rd film in 23 years. And until Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One or Don 2 or Aamir Khan’s yet-untitled cop movie shifts the box office scales again, Salman is arguably Bollywood’s No 1 star. His last two films, Dabangg and Ready, were both Rs 100 crore-plus grossers. Click here to read more