Sunday, January 27, 2008


THEY too hopped onto the bandwagon, only to fall flat on their faces. The initial success on the BO of two reigning themes in Bollywood – Retro (OSO) and Sports (Chak De! India) – had other filmmakers too wishing to ride the wave. But while both OSO and Chak De... were highly ap preciated, the subsequent flicks in the respective genre – Khoya Khoya Chand and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal – failed to make the same impact, despite a competing publicity blitzkrieg. LT analyses the contrast between the movies of these two genres, which rocked 2007 and those which were docked.
Shall cinema stick to sticks? Those hockey sticks wielded power and scored maximum points on box office scoreboard, while the (foot)ball was not on roll.
Juxtapose Chak de! India and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, and you'll find a number of similarities, except their ultimate fate. Imagine a country that worships cricket accepting it's stepbrother, hockey. To the bad fortunes of its director Vivek Agnihotri, Goal came when people were already in awe of Shimit Amin's baby. The regionalism of Chak de! India was far more understandable than the racism of Goal. Rivalry between team members was more of a treat to watch than the white and black difference. While Chak De... flowed with the kudis from different regions who united on the field, Goal was stranded in the field of cinema. Despite the common thread run ning in the plot where the teams are lurking in darkness, sans sponsers and boosters, Chak de!... clicked, while even Billo couldn't play a supporting role to sell bad direction or the weak plot of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal.

Khan we say Khan sells? Whether it was his item number powered by six pack abs, or the 31 stars who descended on the dance floor, the rocking 70s of Om Shanti Om had the box office tinkling more than the golden era of 50s Bollywood in Khoya Khoya Chand. While Sudhir Mishra's moon got lost in translation, the intricate weaving of contemporary starlet Deepika Padukone's role with the stars of yesteryears Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt and Jeetendra in OSO was accepted with open arms. Asking for alms was Khoya Khoya Chand, which stood out for its staginess and clueless characters. OSO, on the other hand, was overflowing with energetic and vibrant performance. It is an irony that a superstitious belief like reincarnation was a hit, while the much-castigated casting couch failed to grip attention. Khoya Khoya Chand left us conjecturing whether the film was a replay of instances from Meena Kumari, Madhubala or Guru Dutt's life? On the contrary, King Khan's OSO made sure you got the 70s dose in plenty, with the quintessential gestures of Manoj Kumar and Dev Anand's swagger along with Mithun da's jiggy moves.
eram agha
(This piece appeared in Lucknow Times, for those who missed it there catch up here.)

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