Production Houses and their Blue-Eyed Boys: In-house directors likely to stick with their Production Base Camp

The film industry does not guarantee any permanent relationship, similar how it does not guarantee success or even failure for that matter. For years, we have seen such relationships within the industry either built on complete trust or even out of complete fondness. For such filmmakers, its good to have a backing force to see eye to eye on a similar vision, what is eventually projected on celluloid. In most cases, a filmmaker’s journey begins from their conviction of the portray of their world – finding an similar eye and a backing of course is a blessing but in some cases can be a bridge falling.

In the Hindi film Industry, many producers which over a course of time established their so called ‘camps’ sticking around with their trustworthy pillars – their directors. Leaving their directors to their devices with the trust of winning gold. At the same time, many directors being the minds behind establishing the production house – some of which have branched out but many feeling comfortable in their producer’s shower of facilities during their journey.

A few directors now mentioning are those who have repeatedly have churned their work with the same production house establishing their relationship and to some extent mostly giving success. These are few directors who likely to stick with their camps in the coming years. As far we can establish for now!

Homi Adajania – Maddock Films


One of the key directors for this article after seeing the recent Angrezi Medium. Honestly speaking, Angrezi Medium for me was a complete disappointment with a lot basic flaws regarding the British Law, British immigrancy and the student life in Britain. Either it was the writer’s ignorance, or the lack of effort by the director or a team with zero research done. And of course the wastage of Kareena Kapoor adds to the tasteless cake. But coming back to Homi Adajania – which myself has never regarded as a good director but his career has had the fortune with the backing of people like Imitaz Ali, Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan who have taken forward his projects – Angrezi Medium being one of them – where one had completely did it out of their relationship with him. Ideally, it would be foolish for the non-Hindi speaking director to branch out or make anything outside of Maddock after the complete backing Vijan has given him, as it seems, only they have somewhat confidence in him.

Siddharth Anand – Yash Raj Films


This director is a little exception here, as Siddharth started his career with YRF as an assistant director for Kunal Kohli’s Hum Tum. Many wondering how did Siddharth get such fortune – well it happens to be that Siddharth is the grandson of late writer Inder Raj Anand and the nephew of actor/director Tinnu Anand also went to school with many established names one of course one being Ranbir Kapoor, so he already was an industry kid. He started his directorial career with YRF, later branching out but like they say “the best journey always leads us to home”, similarly with Siddharth he came back home. Last year, one of the highest grossing films of the year being YRF’s War which established Siddharth’s ability of action but also packaging his products to fit Pan India. Anand’s next two projects, the one in talks, is an action film with Shahrukh Khan as well as working on the sequel to War. Why would one want to go elsewhere?

Farhad Samji/Ahmed Khan – Nadiadwala Grandson


Sajid Nadiadwala being one of the most successful producers we currently have – known for his confidence and going ‘all-out’ for his directors. We are all aware that Nadiadwala truly believing in his commercial cinema, his products are even usually money spinners and even confidence in his products is what sells. Nadiadwala recently shared his concern with how there are not many commercial directors around to deliver, so it could that Nadiadwala is backing those who are capable. Farhad Samji, being around at Grandson for some time recently took credit for Housefull 4 and now Nadiawala has already trusted him with three projects, Bachchan Pandey, Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali and Housefull 5 working with stars like Akshay and Salman respectively. Ahmed Khan, giving two hits continuously with Baaghi 2 and Baaghi 3 is already working with Tiger again with Heropanti 2 and Baaghi 4.  

Shashank Khaitan – Dharma Production


Dharma has a reputation of launching a lot of new talent, especially new directors and writers.  Many of them have been repeated – a lot of lost out due to disastrous results but very few stick with the company but not everyone takes along a producer credit. Khaitan, who started with the ‘Dulhaniya’ series later going on to establish his presence in the production house, went on to bringing other assistant Directors from Dharma into the limelight. Currently, Khaitan is co-producing most of the products coming out of Dharma as well as directing on the side. Khaitan will be next taking the director’s cap with Mr Lele with his favourite Varun Dhawan and then will start working on his big scale venture RannBhoomi, which apparently is a reworked or reimagined version of Karan Malhotra’s Shuddhi which was shelved way back 2014.

Rajkumar Hirani – Vinod Chopra Films


This has to be a team who do not necessary seek out commercial vibes for their films but make the cinema they desire. Hirani, known to be a taskmaster who spends years on his scripts and time on his production. Hirani, earlier an editor for VVC had narrated an idea about a fake doctor spreading joy and since then there was no looking back for Hirani. Chopra, arguably is the definitive producer for any director, with his confidence and never turning away a demand, surely shows his faith in his relationship with Hirani. Even recently, during the #MeToo movement when Hirani has found himself in a soup, Chopra had backed him and refused to accept any of the allegations till a proper trial was to take place – the accuser went missing and so did the accusations. This is a relationship completely built of trust.


Contrarily, in the other ‘Direction’…..


Sajid Khan – Nadiadwala Grandson

sajid khan

Once upon a time, being a blue-eyed boy of Grandson. It’s no state secret that Sajid Khan was seen as obnoxious, egocentric and over-confident in the public eye. It was said post the Housefull success stories, he became too proud giving all credit solely to himself and even claiming to be the reason of the resurrection in Akshay Kumar’s career. He offended many which caused a big fallout with most people responsible in making him filmmaker from host. The last nail in the coffin, was during the filming of Housefull 4 when the stories of the victims in #MeToo movement came forward about Khan. Forcing the production house to remove his credit as director and even replaced him. Despite being best friends with Sajid Nadiadwala, there is no way this repeated director at the production house will be apart of any of their future projects.

Sabbir Khan – Nadiadwala Grandson


The director behind taking on a responsibility for launching one of the country’s sensations – Tiger Shroff. Sabbir Khan had earlier had hard luck at Grandson but it seemed to have found a new lease of life in Tiger Shroff with Heropanti, going down as one the most successful debuts in recent times. The confidence he had in Shroff went on for him to work on Baaghi, which began the a new successful franchise for the production house. So where did it all go wrong? Well – his feeling of ownership over Shroff. His spat with Nadiadwala over a project left him leaving the production house and making his next feature outside with Tiger. Sadly, no one really saw Munna Michael and Nadiadwala was not hesitant in passing on the Baaghi franchise to Ahmed Khan, who also now seems to helming the Heropanti franchise too.

Tarun Mansukhani – Dharma Productions


We all saw the fate of Mansukhani’s last venture Drive, a few of us even had the misfortune to even watch the film. The director who returned after a decade to the production house, after his previous success Dostana, ideally, the producers would consider his next venture after giving the house a merit. According to sources, the dispute behind Drive was quite heated, where the producer was not too impressed with the final outcome resulting to constant delays and the director fighting for his chair at the editing table. Things got so out of hand that the producer released the film straight to Netflix – a win-win situation for the producer but no such much for everyone else. Sadly, this state of conflict doesn’t seem that Dharma would be backing another venture from the director again.

Habib Faisal – Yash Raj Films


No fight, no dispute was ever mentioned between either parties. Faisal being great talent especially with his first film, then leading to his name joining with YRF. Being an asset as a writer, giving some great work to the house. His last two features. Daawat-E-Ishq and Qaidi Band bombed at the box office, one wonders where the director went wrong. But possibly a safer option for Faisal is to stick to the writing and maybe take a rest with direction?


10 Underappreciated Films of Recent Times which we all Missed

Going by the current global climate and the pause a virus has made on our daily busy lives has made us been cautious and lead to the wise decision of staying at home – many still wondering how use this period in attempts of being productive or to make use of this time creditable. But there is nothing like staying at home and catching up on all of them flicks we had either missed at the cinemas when we were busy or just didn’t find spending X amount on a flick was really worth it. Now that you have the time – here is a way you can use it wisely – catch up!

Many films recently have passed our eyes either because of the overflow of films, lack of publicity or thanks to many fellow critics who now tend to feel their opinion is our decision of rather watching the film or not, tend to trash the film on Day one. Sadly, the efforts behind such filmmakers misses the spectator’s eye and we tend not to hear about these films till the power of word of mouth.

So now we have time – here are bunch of films recommended by myself which you can see on most major streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee 5 etc) to sure let you pass your time efficiently!


  1. Jawaani Jaaneman (2020)


Firstly, the entire recommendations are not all parallel cinema/Indie Based or even as many of our audience would say in India ‘Oscar deserving cinema’, there are all a mixed bag especially the entertainment/commercial based cinema. This Saif Ali Khan starrer released earlier this year and was rubbed off maybe due to being lost in the stampede of releases. Saif also not having the greatest run on recent at the box office, this was the bounce back to what he plays best – the playboy. JJ is actually an extension of Saif’s character from Yeh Dillagi where now he’s a 40 something-old-man still trying his way not coming to terms with his age – finally finds out he has pregnant 21 year old daughter and his denial in growing up.  The film is indeed entertaining, filled with laughs with no over the top humour and of course – Saif shines.


  1. Vodka Diaries (2018)


A small town murder mystery, set in the snow glad area of Manali is about a bunch murders that connect to one party ‘Vodka Diaries’ where one after the other the murders have a connection in between. Kay Kay Menon – playing a cop who is traumatised by his ‘vodka’ based past sets out to unravel the mystery but later taking over his mental stability. Fitted in the ‘mind-messing’ genre which makes the audience a little unbalanced between the real world and the idea of illusion – the on-going events make it clear it’s more psychological to the protagonist which makes one wonder – what is actually happening. The film boast a great performance by Kay Kay Menon who after a long time goes solo.


  1. Made in China (2019)

made in

A recent film which also got lost in the stampede of releases, released on Diwali with big commercial releases like Housefull 4 and Sandh Ki Aankh, this film somewhere got lost – in the eyes of the public and of course screens in cinemas. This Rajkummar Rao starrer is a witty comedy about entrepreneurship, where a failed entrepreneur goes to China only to find a cure for the needy husbands in India with the help of sexologist Boman Irani – they touch the soft corner which makes them huge but the trouble begins when the Indian moral police get involved. Witty, funny and indeed an interesting watch. Don’t expect a Rocket Singh but yes – this one is one to look out for.


  1. Hamid (2019)


Very many are not aware of the issue in Kashmir of ‘half-widows’, well it’s about the political issue that stood during a period of time (to some extent still exists) where husbands have not arrived home in years in which gave the tag to their wives as ‘half-widows’. In this sweet simple story about a young Hamid, who tries to get in contact with Allah by his phone number (786) which leads him to contact a frustrated, tired-of-the-system Army Soldier who plays along with the child’s wish. The plot develops to the faith one has in each other and how the innocence of trust in god improves the way we live in a society. Hamid went on to where the lead actor won the National award for best actor but sadly the film is still unseen by many.


  1. Laal Kaptaan (2019)

maxresdefault laal

Navdeep Singh who earlier has helmed critical acclaimed films like Manorama Six Feet Under and NH10 teamed up with Saif Ali Khan which ended being his least successful film – critically and commercially. The film is about a bounty hunter in a form of a Naga Sadhu played by Saif during the British Raj who gets the bounty who always was looking for. Many misjudged and didn’t actually get the film – the film lies in a world possibly never created by a Hindi film director before –  a world that is non-existent but living in a non-fictional world. Many criticised the film for its length and its pace – which is subtly of the film. It’s not loud, it’s not daunting yet the pace builds the establishment of the characters. The uncertainty of Saif’s character and who he stands for – is he the righteous or the wrong is not clear till the end which the one of the standing pillars of the film. One has to the see film without any comparison as its thriller of its own kind and a possible wave of new genre.


  1. Kaalakandi (2018)


Mentioned in one of my earlier articles – this Akshat Verma film, of Delhi Belly fame who makes his directorial debut, set on a monsoon night in Mumbai, dealing with various characters and plots that brings together a wacky black comedy about greed, lust, love and hope. This being another Saif starrer which went unnoticed was of course due to the mammoth Padmaavat at the time – very few had seen this in the cinema and it gained somewhat life on the OTT platforms. This hilarious black comedy with its individual wacky plots which are almost absolute random surely entertain and do bring a smile to your face – especially Saif’s high and tripping scenes. One is reminded of Delhi Belly during sequences but the highlight of the film boasts of Saif’s comic timing and his various shift of his character during stages of the film.


  1. India’s Most Wanted (2019)


Rajkumar Gupta who was recently riding high on the success of Raid, gave his next outing quite sooner than expected. A smaller budget film yet high on content which he finished in a quick span of time. The film deals with India’s Osama Bin Laden – if many are not aware this is Yasin Bhatkal who was involved with 10 separate blasts in India these include the 2008 Delhi bombings and the 2010 Varanasi blasts. The film is about the small team who went with a zero budget and no arms for protection captured this demon from his own home and how the team till now is still unnamed while other seniors took their credit. The film missed the bus due to two reason – the negativity surrounding Arjun Kapoor and the huge amount releases at the time which was followed by Salman’s Bharat one week later. Surely, the film does guarantee a good thriller with engaging climax.


  1. Soni (2019)


First premiered at MAMI 2018, the Indie film deals with the issues women police officers in Delhi and how they are treated by the public and their respective seniors in the police department. Delhi for years being known for its unsafe conditions towards women, Soni is a critique towards the issue of how even being in the police force the issue of safety is still existent. The lead character Soni, who has a temper issue tries to deal with the issue and prejudice towards women in her own manner but upsetting her seniors – she is occasionally made aware that it’s not her space, continuously being reminded that it’s a male driven society. Soni works on many levels and proves the strength of storytelling without a commercial set up, Soni is a thought-provoking film neatly packaged boasting performances by both female leads Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra.


  1. Section 375 (2019)


Going by the recent controversial issue of #MeToo, Section 375 takes a story of a costume assistant being molested by a film director and how it leads to a courtroom drama. Lawyers played by Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chaddha follow a dispute between right and wrong, the issue of consent and the power and the weak. The dispute in this courtroom drama throws away the typical response of who ‘usually’ is in the right but deals more with the idea of the misuse of the law during such circumstances and the idea of ‘justice’ and how it’s can occasionally fail. Khanna says ‘Law is actually our business. To prevail justice is not our job’. The film eye opener of issue of misconduct of the suit of law during such cases but at the same time how such a movement in the public has made and broke prominent careers.


  1. Laila Majnu (2018)


Finally, my topper of the list. It came a shock to me that during the time of the release it bashed by a majority – neither no major film has eclipsed it but neither did anyone back the film. This Imitaz Ali film which is directed by debutant brother Sajid Ali is a contemporary adaption of the Arabian story Majnun Layla, which means ‘Layla’s Lunatic’, the unfortunate infamous story of the separation between Qays and Layla. The Alis have based the film in a modern Kashmir with the same characters just fitted a little more towards the time but with the same emotions, at the same time dealing with the issues raising in Kashmir. The debut couple in the film excel by far and surely leave a lasting impression but the film makes it real mark in the final 45 minutes of the film – where the protagonist actually becomes Majnu. The detail and depth to the character – the unspoken issue and lasting happiness adds such depth to the plot of what actually is the ideal way one sees love – what does one expect? Majnun Layla was a story about loss, grief and love but the Ali’s version elaborates as a story of illusion, madness and hope. One has to hand it to both brother of pulling off such an adaption which lasting in the mind – it would be hard to live up to such an adaption in years to come. Highly recommended.

JIO MAMI 2019: What went down, what went right and what is out there to see…

Like every year, before the crackers and festive activities of Diwali, we see the festive occasion of joyous filmmakers and film buffs rejoicing the week of the emergence of domestic and international cinema in Mumbai. Its that time of the year when the average common viewer can mingle with other unknown film buffs in ques and share their expertise and viewers on a particular film or topic openly  – with the balance of absorbing knowledge with a touch of networking.

Amongst the selection every year – MAMI celebrates films that may never see the light of the commercial Indian screen and some which do not get a generated OTT presentation. MAMI gives the platform for the new generation of Filmmakers from all around the world showcasing fresh talent from the heartbeat of India to the citylights of the Metropolis.

The opening film this year – which was quite surprising was Malayalam film Moothon which must be first that an opening film was a non-Hindi film. The closing film – quite surprising again was Sandh Ki Aankh, surprising because the commercial release was one day after the closing ceremony – so it wasn’t a big miss for the delegates.

So lets take a look at some of the films which I saw, some recommendations (films I didn’t not see but heard about from fellow delegates will be featured in the honourable mention section)


Aamis (Assamese)


One of the most talked about films at the festival, this Assamese film which is presented by Anurag Kashyap tells a story between a young meat-loving student and a married doctor in which they bond over their fascination of meat – the twist of the film takes a drastic turn for the worse for both when their fascination for food goes overboard. The film got a complete mix reaction at the screenings with some people either loving it and making others vomit – personally it didn’t really suit my ‘taste buds’ and did sense a little discomfort, nevertheless everyone can give it one taste – I mean one try atleast.


Roam Rome Mein (Hindi/English/Italian)


Tannistha Chatterjee makes her directional debut with Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead – about the brother’s quest for his missing sister in Rome, as people called the film ‘an exploration of feminism in modern India through the male gaze’. Exceptionally shot in Rome, the film brings across a lot of mix emotions but also keeping intact the suspense till the last frame. Many at the screening were a little confused going the title thinking it maybe a Rom-Com, but no actually it’s a semi-physiological drama that’s speaks on tones of Modern Indian Culture crossing over to the Western World. Would be interesting to see how people react when it commercially releases – recommended.


A Thing of Magic (Marathi)


This one was an interesting one – kept in a similar zone as the famous Village Rockstars, tells a story about a village and its connection towards cinema. Two girls become fascinated with the idea of 3D Cinema after a villager tells his experience and gifts the two a pair of 3D Glasses. The film speaks about how the village combine this art of films to magic – for them in which they believe works wonders but in the possible form of luck. Simple, sweet and innocent is way to explain the film – made by a group of young dedicated filmmakers – proves how a simple film can be larger than life. Rima Das also being present at the festival showed praise towards the film.


The Illegal (Hindi/English)


Danny Renzu’s tale about a young filmmaker wanting to study in America, explores the hardship and struggles of Indian citizens living abroad trying to achieve their dream. Sooraj Sharma playing the protagonist, the film shows a detailed struggle of an ambitious achiever who battles with daily struggles with his illegal immigrant tag as well dealing with his family back at home realising the sacrifices he has made. An eye opening film for many – showing how its not that easy to be established abroad. Renzu’s direction and Sharma’s performance are the highlights of the feature.


You Will Die At Twenty (Arabic)


Just after being born, Muzamil’s parents are told their child will not see a day after the age of 20 leading to his father leaving the village because of the curse, the rest of the film shows the life of Muzamil just before reaching 20. He befriends an elderly village outsider, who tells the real value of life and how he should spend his day not in gloom but in joy. The film is impressively shot and does showcase the root of villages in Egypt – an interesting watch being a new viewer to Arabic cinema.


Midnight Traveller (Farsi)


Fun fact – but the entire film was shot on three mobile phones! A documentary about an Afghanistani married couple, both documentary filmmakers, documenting  their real life tragedy after they receive a threat from the Taliban and have to leave their home seeking asylum in different countries. The film covers their travel and hardship in finding a roof over their head and food for their children – but the film is not told in a pessimistic or serious fashion but actually documents the family’s time during their struggle. The film truly is must watch for everyone.


Hail, Satan? (English)


Did you know that there is religion called Satanism? Quite a recent made religion actually and one would think it’s connected to evil and devil worshipping? Devil worshipping yes – and evil no. The purpose of the religion being to prove to the world that Satan is misunderstood as his portrayal of evil was only made by Christianity but Satan actually wants equality and rights for the common man. The documentary speaks how the religion is trying to get a stance in the world while being beaten down by Christian obeying countries like America.


Sindhustan (Hindi/English/Sindhi)


Hairstylist Sapna Moti Bhavnani directional debut brings a documentary about lost Sindh, attempting to get together with her roots which see feels are almost on the verge of being lost – she explores the true essence of Sindh and what it was and what it stood for before the partition of India. Bringing together a lot of people from Sindh who currently stay in Mumbai post the partition, the documentary explores how different Sindh was to traditional India or Pakistan we currently know. Told in a very interesting narrative manner – the film forms an avant-garde style in the form of history lesson well told.


A Son (Arabic/French)


During a family trip, a child shot by terrorists leading to his parents rushing him to hospital in hopes of his survival. The twist leads in the story when the child being in lead of blood begins to the raise the question about who are his biological parents, leading to tension between the couple while the child is in the last few hours to be saved. An interesting take on parent’s and parenting which the film purpose is highlight the difference between the two.


Slow Burn aka Ranj (Punjabi)


Sons of farmers in the Punjab sector are aware that farming doesn’t have a prosperous future for the current generation – their future is the midst of the city. The film deals with the migrants from Punjab moving to the bigger cities to find work for their families only to find that they themselves getting lost in translation and lost in the fog of the capital city. This off-beat Punjabi film deals with the real issues not just in Punjab but the issues that the current generation around the country are suffering.


Deerskin (French)


A man’s obsession with a designer deerskin leads him to travelling solo, leaving behind his world and family for the jacket –  later which the jacket becomes his alter ego. The jacket slowly taking over the mind, makes the man do some of the most bizarre things one can imagine – to the extent of murder. Selected at Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the comedy film has an essence of the Tarantino meets Kubrick feel – merging humour to brutality baring sense to the plot – which marks where Deerskin actually finds its niche in.


Shut Up Sona (Hindi/English)


Singer Sona Mohapatra has a problem, creating controversies but also making a regular practice in raising her voice where needed. The documentary follows Sona’s recent controversies and its backlash but also her battle with the Hindi Music Industry and the prejudice system it has towards women – where she refuses to ‘shut up’. The documentary ticks the boxes in being informative of the history of Women singers in the Indian society but also thought-provoking mixed in with the candid humour of Mohapatra which brings the dose of entertainment. One of the better documentaries from India this year.


The Kingmaker (English)


The politics and the current situation of the Philippines, a documentary that discovers most famously extravagant women in recent history: Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines. When Marcos and her husband, Dictator Ferdinand Marcos, were driven into exile in the United States in 1986, Imelda left behind a stash of more than 1,000 pairs of shoes. And that might be the only thing a lot of people know about her. But the family bounced back to power taking the practice into power of helping the people – but within the nexus of the family its darker than it seems.


Chivati (Marathi)


About generations of a closely-knit, humorous community of sugarcane labourers who have been migrating yearly in search of work, a satire take on the struggles of farmers who besides educating their children eventually get lead into the vicious farming cycle in which they return home to continue the family legacy of farming. Entertaining yet engaging in narrative with a strong yet a strong disturbing end.


Sandh Ki Aankh (Hindi)


The two shooter Daadis from Uttar Pradesh who won Gold on many occasions on a national level where refused to represent India internationally thanks to their respective husbands and the male chauvinist society they belong to – leading them to train their children to take the game further. Performances are strong – with Bhumi Pednekar stealing the show by far but only issue the is the make up – like really? People calling them thaiji seem elder! Edit could have been tighter but overall not a bad watch. Certainly one will see echoes of Dangal.




The Industry Children Film Launches: The Successful and Unsuccessful

Nepotism has become such a venomous word for the industry especially to the media and outsiders. But one rightly can ask, if a parent, who has established themselves in an industry which granted them success and respect would want their offspring one chance within the film industry. Similarly, a businessman who would hand down his empire to his family, ideally the same case applies but its matter of chances and of course the lasting talent. Just because they bare the same genes would not rightly say they bare the same attributes, just like Guru Dutt had said “The public is the enforcer, judge and executioner of your career in the film industry. They decide it all”

This coming Friday, the son of veteran actor Sunny Deol, Karan Deol makes his debut in Vijayta Film’s Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, the public will run towards the cinemas of course to see if the boy is here to stay or not with obvious comparisons to his father. But before this star kid being launched, lets take a look to the past star launch vehicles that were either successful or unsuccessful over the years.


Bobby (1973)


In the year 1970, Raj Kapoor was a broken man. His ambitious dream project Mera Naam Joker had released and bombed at the box office in which Raj Kapoor had mortgaged all his assets. Mera Naam Joker was way too expensive of a feature to recover its money and broken Raj Kapoor not losing hope one night picked up an Archie comic from his middle son, Rishi Kapoor’s room and decided his next feature would be a quick young romantic film launching an entire team and two newcomers. Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia debuted which became a storm at the box office. Raj Kapoor eventually had recovered from his losses; Rishi and Dimple became the country’s heart-throbs and the film became one the most successful films for a debut couple.

Rocky (1981)


For many who have already seen Sanju, will know already a lot about the film. Launched by Senior Dutt, known in the industry as Dutt Saab was a strict father and director to Sanjay Dutt while making Rocky. Even though battling with drugs and his mother’s illness, many critics had leaped at the film saying it was success because of sympathy, the film of course had a weak lead cast and poor screenplay but one could also say that Rocky connected to the youngsters at the time plus it was out of the norm than the usual revenge dramas at the time. Sanjay Dutt even though going through his phase still returned to Hindi cinema becoming a better actor than he was in Rocky.

Betaab (1983)


Dharmendra even though still being a lead hero and at fruitful stance of his career, Papa Deol launched his eldest son Sunny when he was in his early twenties. Rahul Rawail, Raj Kapoor’s assistant had helmed being the director which formed a relationship in the coming years with Sunny. The film was not just successful for the Deol’s debut but the music score had played a huge role, ‘Jab Hum Jawan Honge’ still being a popular track amongst listeners today was rage and scoring card for the film. Sunny however was little slacked off because of the comparisons made to his father but thanks to Rawail, who gave Sunny’s first recognition as an actor in 1985 with Arjun, helped him break out of the mould.

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)


Nasir Hussian was not exactly too keen on launching his nephew Aamir Khan when he was to helm the direction of QSQT, he was actually going to approach Sunny Deol or Rajiv Kapoor who he had earlier worked in Zabardast, which Aamir was an Assistant Director his uncle. Nasir was hospitalised due to his health and gave the project to his son, Mansoor Khan, to helm the project. Mansoor had updated the father’s script and was convinced that his cousin, Aamir is capable enough to make his debut with this project. Aamir not only acted but even helped with production and remained around for hours for the direction team to be ready, even on release Aamir was a promotional head for his own film! But as we can see, it was all destined making Aamir a star overnight.

Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)


Speaking about destiny, the original lead actors who were considered for the film were Armaan Kohli, Sanjay Kapoor, Vindu Dara Singh, Faraaz Khan, Deepak Tijori, Deepak Malhotra, Kunal Goswami,  Piyush Mishra, Deep Raja Rana (Phew!). Eventually a young mode and writer Salim Khan’s son was selected at the last moment because Vindu Dara Singh had not been coming on to the sets and the rest was of course history. Associates of the Barjatya shared how they felt Salman was bad choice for the film and they should have him replaced but Sooraj Barjatya stuck to his guns and proved everyone wrong when he gave India one of the biggest superstars. The film was always remembered for its reopening theatres across the country which took a hit because of the VHS phase.

Phool Aur Kaante (1991)


Ajay Devgan isn’t exactly a star child, but like Aamir Khan and Salman Khan he was the son of a very prominent individual from the film industry – Veeru Devgan. Veeru Devgan had come to Bombay from Punjab in hopes of becoming an actor, those dreams were fulfilled in the form of his son. Ajay before becoming an overnight star, was a slight popular rowdy Juhu boy where his gang would hang every evening on N.S Road 10, until the taskmaster father saw his charm in him and recommended him to debutant director Kuku Kohli. Phool Aur Kaante on release faced completion with Ramesh Sippy’s Akalya and Yash Chopra’s Lamhe on the same day, but the winner was the guy who rode two bikes simultaneously – Devgan became an overnight superstar.

Barsaat (1995)


The younger Deol that was launched by Papa Deol, a film that took a while in the making after the maestro Shekhar Kapoor at the last moment had put up hands and left the project. Originally, the film was to launch Karishma Kapoor but after she lost patience with Shekhar Kapoorand walked out and entered Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia’s daughter Twinkle Khanna. Rajkumar Santoshi being the blue-eyed boy for Dharmendra at the time, helmed the project while finishing the over-delayed Ghatak for Sunny. Not exactly Santoshi’s best work, but the film was popular for its music and Bobby becoming a rage amongst the youth for his western look and hairstyle.

Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (2000)

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Rakesh Roshan not exactly going through the best phase of his career with the loss of Koyla and his Karobaar which had stuck for several years – he decided to launch his son. Hrithik himself not exactly being too confident with his looks as apparently he was often called ‘lanky’ and ‘geeky’ in his college days, was then groomed by Salman who he bonded with on the sets of Karan Arjun. Ironically, the same Hrithik became an overnight star and became a rage amongst the girls all over the country. The KNPH mania made Hrithik such a craze where he was being compared to stars like Shahrukh and Salman after his debut film – he did become a threat to his contemporaries after bagging the Best Debutant and Best Actor award in the same year – a first and only time to happen for any newcomer.

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na…(2009)


Only an Aamir Khan can pull off something like this. A simple romantic film made on a shoestring budget with such high content that goes on to make four times the budget. Aamir launched his nephew Imran Khan and Smita Patil’s son Pretik Babbar in this college/young story about confused relationships. The film went on to become one the biggest hits of the year – putting both actors on the map. Though both actors had their fair share of success post the release – sadly both of them have been missing recently. Either because of the lack of work or personal reasons.

Student of the Year (2012)


Karan Johar post making his typical popcorn cinema had gone into a trance of attempting to put himself in the niche crowd with films like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and My Name is Khan, Johar realised as a director he should return to what is he is good at – commercial Hindi cinema. SOTY launched the son of David Dhawan, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and well….one outsider was kind of required. The success proved that Johar still knew how to entertain but at the same time brought three newcomers to show to the world they are here to stay. The three have become assets to Dharma Productions, Varun Dhawan now being one of the top lead actors and Alia Bhatt being one of the saleable actress of now. Guess Johar knew and went along with his instincts.

Honorable mentions

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The Unsucessful ones


Kalakaar (1983)


Kunal Goswami, the son of Manoj Kumar was launched and even relaunched by his father on a few occasions. Kalakaar being the his official debut and not even accepted on screen as full grown adult by many. He made his debut with a newly-Sridevi who at the time was testing waters in the Bombay sector, sadly Kalakaar failed without a trace. Years later, after the horrific Clerk, Manoj Kumar relaunched the grown ‘adult’ version of Kunal in Jai Hind. Manoj Kumar’s final jingoistic hammy ensemble cast failure which eventually took Kunal off the map completely. Also – Ranbir Kapoor stated Jai Hind is his least favourite film which his father had starred in – goes without saying.

Anand Hi Anand (1984)


Very many are not aware of Suniel Anand, well hes to be the son of legend Dev Anand who did not really stick around as an actor for very long. In the same year as the craze of Betaab, Dev Anand launched his son Suniel in which he produced and directed himself. The film didn’t work and well, people did not accept Suniel as an actor. After several other attempts, Dev Anand attempted to relaunch him which didn’t word and the young Anand began to handle Senior Anand’s work at Navketan (Dev Anand’s production house) in production when he saw things as an actor were not working out. The acting bug bite Suniel again when he left the country to learn martial arts and returned to make Master which he directed himself about martial arts. The film failed and Suniel again, left the country.

Bekhudi (1992)


The film was the grand launch of Kajol – but also launched Kamal Sadanah. People who don’t know Kamal Sadanah, he is the son of the yesteryear established filmmaker Brij who on a drunken night had shot down his entire family but Kamal being the only survivor from the attack. Sadanah being brought in the industry found sympathy from and was known as the industry’s Bruce Wayne. Similarly, Rahul Rawail had casted him after throwing the obnoxious Saif Ali Khan from the film, he casted Sadanah straight away. Thought the film had melodious music it failed to gather an audience and of course Kajol became Kajol, Sadanah later had found his path.

Parampara (1992)


The odd combination of Yash Chopra and Firoz Nadiadwala came together to make this odd film about the fight of traditions between two families – the rich and the poor but two children having the same father. After being thrown out of Bekhudi, Saif Ali Khan debuted with Parampara in this ensemble cast which he shared the screen with Aamir Khan – had a lot of issues in production since the beginning. Anil Kapoor’s rejection, Ashwini Bhave’s fight, Vinod Khanna’s reshoots and of course Aamir not exactly being happy with the way his role shaped out. Being anticipated, it shocked the industry when the collapsed at the box office leading to Saif going to a temporary depression. His friends of the industry helped him during the time which eventually turned tables.

Daraar (1996)


Director duo Abbas – Mustan wanted to launch Arbaaz Khan earlier in Khiladi and then in Baazigar, but the younger Khan felt he wasn’t just ready. Arbaaz before becoming an actor was an assistant to the Director duo as well other such as Mahesh Bhatt, Raj Sippy etc. When the time was right, Arbaaz gave a fine performance as the menacing obsessive husband in his debut film winning praises for such offbeat debut but Daraar went wrong as film on many levels. For starters, the film was the third remake of Sleeping With The Enemy (1991) after Yaarana (1995) and Agni Sakshi (1996) which all released close together. Rishi Kapoor was repeating his act from Yaarana and eventually it just made the public pretty sick of the repeated story.

Himalay Putra (1997)


Akshaye Khanna in his teen days was known as the badboy of Bandra, if he stepped onto a court or field – the people would clear it knowing he had arrived. Gaining such a reputation and being such a confident boy, he always knew that acting was his forte. At a mere age of 18, he told his dad he wanted to become an actor in which senior Khanna being confident fulfilled his youngest son’s wish by launching him first. Other filmmakers had signed Junior Khanna quite quickly after some had saw the rushes of Himalay Putra but Vinod Khanna had strict rules that Himalay Putra had to release first. The film released and bombed being criticised as ‘rushed star kid launch’ which suffered to a weak plot and Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini had big portion focusing just on them. It wasn’t gloom for Akshaye, in the same year he had Border and Mohabbat in which he matched his act with seniors like Sunny Deol, Madhuri Dixit, Sunil Shetty, Jackie Shroff etc. Akshaye walked away that year with the Best Debutant and Best Supporting Actor.

Prem Aggan (1998)

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Feroz Khan was set to make a film with his friend’s son, Akshaye Khanna post his debut until his own son shared his desire to act. Khan had scrapped the idea and decided to launch his son with Prem Aggan. Khan’s films are usually dosed with three elements – drugs, violence and sex tried avoid the latter and concentrated on sex and rich and poor love story. The film bombed so badly that it took Khan years to recover from its financial loss. Khan defended the film saying people did not accept the film as they could expect a romantic film from the brand ‘Feroz Khan’ – we could also argue that the film was pretty damn bad and is still remembered for its unintentional comic dialogues and hammy performances.

Saawariya (2007)


One of the biggest downfalls of Saawariya, was the ego behind the film. The ego war between Bhansali and Shahrukh/Farah Khan did not go down with good taste with many with both spatting bad about each other in this game of one-man-up-ship. Bhansali made a grand dream-like romance set in a world which no one from India could relate to, its scale was set very high for newcomer launch vehicle that neither the Hollywood studio backing could recover from. Even though Bhansali introduced industry his protégé – Ranbir Kapoor, later was hesitate to work with Bhansali after being apprehensive about his mounting. Either way, Bhansali recovered from this disaster but what it take way of the style of mounting Bhansali followed which he not willing to go back to.

Mirziya (2016)


Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra when giving a Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was very keen on making a Mirza – Sahiban with Sonam Kapoor’s brother Harshvardhan Kapoor. After persuasion, he got him on board with a script written by the maestro Gulzar who was returning to scripting after 11 years. The film bombed, confusing the audience between the two timelines of the past and present with lacklustre performances that even Gulzar’s script could not save this dud. To place the icing on the cake, Harshvardhan  attacked the film saying it ‘wasn’t nothing special’ and the performance were ‘very ordinary’.

Honorable Mentions:

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The Reinvention of Akshaye Khanna: The Roles That Made Him Relevant Today



Akshaye Khanna recently mentioned in an interview “I am at the happiest peak during the moments between action and cut. When I arrive to a film set I feel at ease, no worries and peace with my inner-self. Being an actor for so many years, I have realised my life is not in the outer city but inside the studio”.

Son of yesteryear star Vinod Khanna, Akshaye Khanna, the middle son of the Khanna family grew up in the industry being extremely close to his father and saw his father grow into the actor he became – Akshaye was fond of following his father’s footsteps. Akshaye grew up in the posh Malabar Hills – he was known to be a Bandra brat where he did most of his education. At a young age, Khanna would make his peers nervous because of his towering personality and self-confidence that he had a big reputation amongst the local youngsters and they knew he was not be messed with.

Khanna always had this attitude of not giving a damn, being laid-back, fearless and to some extent anti-social. He is still known as an ‘odd-ball’ amongst people in the industry as usually does not do anything to please others or give a damn of what people think of him, he is a very reserved person who feels that his work comes first – attending premiers, trials and parties are a rarity for the actor.

Akshaye Khanna has been constantly appreciated by the audience as well as critics for his substantial performances and extra-strong screen presence. Debuted at the age of 21, Akshaye was one rare few confident newcomers to stand up to his seniors in his welcoming year, achieving Best Debut and Best Supporting in the same year.

From 2012 to 2016 – Akshaye had mysteriously vanished from the Bollywood scene. The talk on that block was that he was fed up with acting and had isolated himself in a farmhouse in Alibaug, rumours also said he had an alcohol problem and had shifted to rehabilitation to recover. Many rumours which had floated, Akshaye had not expressed the reason for his sabbatical.

Akshaye Khanna bounced back in 2016, the death of his parents in years following only made him stronger and more innovated. This Friday we see Khanna doing a courtroom drama in Section 375, but before then lets take a look into the roles that made Junior Khanna a senior in eyes of many.


Border (1997)


A few months before the release of Border, Akshaye Khanna’s launch vehicle Himalaya Putra had bombed at the box office, but lucky for Akshaye he was praised in his debut film and hope was seen in his coming ventures. Originally, JP Dutta was to launch Akshaye in a solo release but when Vinod Khanna came to find out he was being launched in a ensemble cast, he felt that a solo release for Akshaye was needed. Akshaye arguably had the better sketched role in Border – the young underestimated fuming soldier who was out to prove himself and to live up to the expectations of his Major dad – at the same time trying to support his blind mother with his fiance (played by Pooja Bhatt) acting as his backbone. The character of Dharmveer was tailor-made for the young Akshaye as the convincing act he pulled off without any clichés with the entire mother scenario touching a nerve which played the trump card for Akshaye in the film. Akshaye proved to the industry and the media – that this 21 year old boy is here to stay – he’s travelled back from the ‘Himalayas’.


Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

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Farhan Akhtar’s new age story of friendship is still relevant today when we repeat to see it, the 2001 film being a complete game-changer about three friends and their lasting relationship in the real world – the film certainly had many imitations after and even popularised Goa for a lifetime. Many are not aware but the role of Sid was originally offered to Aamir Khan and Hrithik was to do Aakash. The film in early stages, changes were made where even Hrithik and Abhishek Bachchan were even considered before landing in Akshaye’s lap. Akshaye had a string of potboiler failures behind him – had his  hesitations initially but being struck by the writing he went along with his instincts. Dil Chahta Hai not only being remembered for the crux of friendship but even Akshaye’s relationship with the older woman played Dimple Kapadia (who was once his dad’s co-star). The fresh touch of romance between a young artist and an alcoholic divorcee stood out for its innocent love angle with the age gap which was a first on the big screen.  Prior to Dil Chahta Hai, Akshaye Khanna and even Saif Ali Khan were both going through a lean phase of doing routine potboilers – Dil Chahta Hai proved to the audience that theses boys not just ‘heroes’ but actors.


Humraaz (2002)


This 2002 sleeper hit took many by surprise by the interval point when we see the dramatic twist in character shifts of Akshaye Khanna and Ameesha Patel. At a time when Akshaye and Bobby Deol (ironically both childhood friends) were at a similar stance of stardom – Akshaye agreed to take on the negative role of Karan Malhotra – an evil selfish musician who will go to any cost to be rich even if it means sacrificing everything. Prior to Humraaz, Abbas Mustan had made Ajnabee where Akshay Kumar played the negative role – Akshay Kumar again offered the negative role felt it was too evil to play. The role was later offered to Arjun Rampal and Abhishek Bachchan but both having their doubts refused the role. Akshaye, though playing the role with such ease as well being the sterling performance of the film, won the hearts of the audience and his performance was raved about. The intimidating act highlighted Akshaye’s diversity as performer in which he being offered work he preferred.


Gandhi, My Father (2007)


Unfortunately, no one really went to see the film in the cinema of the time of release but the film won hearts at festivals and got an audience on satellite. The film explored the troubled relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his son Harilal Gandhi, Akshaye playing the role of Harilal with the vengeance of disgracing his dad at any cost, goes on to convert to Islam to get back at his dad. Based on Feroz Abbas Khan’s play Mahatma vs Gandhi, seemed to have not got the recognition he required for the feature and the theatre director returned to the stage. Akshaye and producer Anil Kapoor being upset with all the effort that had gone into the film, attempted to take international curve but the plans were scrapped. Akshaye in many interviews, which is agreed by many in the industry, that this was his personal favourite and best performance – the one that is the closest to his heart.


Dishoom (2016)/Ittefaq (2017)


These two films had to placed in a similar bracket – on elaborating – firstly both films were not path-breaking films and neither did they set the box office on fire. Dishoom was Akshaye’s comeback film after almost 5 years. Rohit Dhawan, who Akshaye has known since he was a child, pitched an idea and convinced Akshaye to return. Akshaye had convinced Sajid Nadiadwala about the film and was on board before the leading cast. The film brought back Akshaye in a stylish avatar as the match fixing, country selling bookie who goes to all lengths to get his work done.

Ittefaq on the other hand, being a remake of the 1969 thriller, again showcased Akshaye in style – but as a tough, no nonsense cop. Both films had proved that Akshaye was the USP and the best thing about the film – showcasing that he may have stayed away from the limelight but this iron is not rusty just yet. Both films set a new innings for Akshaye’s career and made the audience realise that they had missed Akshaye and even made the industry realise that there is far more work coming this guy’s way.


Roles wrote for Akshaye which he Rejected 


Kaante (2002) (Role went to Lucky Ali)


Akshaye Khanna and Sanjay Gupta formed a relationship with the film ‘Fighter’ which got shelved but later down the line Gupta had the desire to work with Akshaye again and offered him the role of the eventual snitch. Akshaye was little hesitant of his screen time, he had far less dialogues than most of the cast and his only moment to shine was the pre-climax. Akshaye opted out and suggested a newcomer for the role. Gupta later got the role to be done by Lucky Ali but one can see where Akshaye may have felt a little uncomfortable, but Akshaye’s interpretation of the role would be interesting.

1947 Earth (1999) (Role went to Aamir Khan)


Deepa Mehta wanted both the Khanna brothers together for her tale about the cruel circumstance during the partition and how it effects three indiviuals. Akshaye’s first hesitation was that his elder brother was being launched and did not to take the light away from his brother – as his role of the Candyman was very well written over Rahul’s role. His second doubt was playing a negative character so early in his career – so he let go. The role eventually was bagged by Aamir Khan who fantastically portrayed the role flawlessly and possibly one the better performances of Khan from the 90s.

Taare Zameen Par (2007) (Role went to Aamir Khan) 


Yes, you read it right. Amol Gupte wrote the role of Ram Shankar Nikumbh with Akshaye in mind from start to finish during the scripting stage. Akshaye was even approached but delays occurred for the film to take off. The script eventually got into the hands of Aamir, who eventually decided to direct the film. Aamir wanting to portray the role of the teacher, spoke to Akshaye and Akshaye not wanting to dampen his friend’s vision was happy to step down and let Aamir continue to take on the role.

Sanju (Role went to Paresh Rawal) (2018)


Rajkumar Hirani knew that Sanju would be a film with a lot of prosthetics with characters playing a graph of age throughout but he wanted the best actors he could find. He approached Akshaye for the role of Sunil Dutt (ironically Akshaye’s dad, Vinod Khanna was launched by Sunil Dutt)  – Akshaye loved the script and the character but felt he did not want to play a father to the main lead actor, so he suggested to Hirani to approach Paresh Rawal. He even called Paresh Rawal and told him that the role suited him more and he would script – adding it would be Rawal’s standing performances of his career.





Sacred Games 2: What actually happened at the end?

Goes without saying people, this feature does contain SPOILERS. Do continue to read if you want to rush through the entire season.


Hi KT followers, yes been a long time but surely had to comeback in full form of course.

So, the talk of the town and on whats everyone’s mind even though it’s been a few weeks (dropping the article late because myself and others are still trying to catch up and to finish the series of course) is the second season of Sacred Games. Memes and the trolling from binge watchers from the premiere night have either ruined the ending or spoiled the season for many but the rest of course still had to see the season who have religiously followed the first.

The second season picks up straight from the previous with Gaitonde escaping prison and Sartaj still trying to save the city thumb-less. Season two more focuses on the sacred element of the plot with establishing characters such as Guruji with also bringing new characters to the plot such as Batya (played by Kalki Koechlin) and Shahid Khan (played by Ranvir Shorey) expanding the nexus behind the D-Day attack.

Gaitonde and Sartaj in this season find a common practice – Guruji’s ashram. In which they begin to release their traumas to feel lighter to function, accepting their own flaws which they both slowly become devotees to the same ashram in their perspective timelines. Which becomes the crux of the story, two people trying to save the city but falling into Sacred trap they find hard to escape while fighting their own demons.

The biggest question since ‘Katappa ne Bahubali ko kyu maara?’ is ‘Did Sartaj save Mumbai or not?’ . In the final episode which we all saw,  while attempting to defuse the bomb they are stuck with pattern password where they are struggling to deactivate the bomb. You know – the similar pattern passwords we have on our Android phones – yes the same is on this nuclear bomb.

A very strange senior official women tries 2 attempts thinking she’s trying to access her child’s phone but then realises – “oh damn, I’ve tried this before. It’s not happening let’s run”. Shahid Khan beaten and threatened to spill the password but unfortunately he takes it to his grave. Sartaj on the other hand who just luckily happens to bring the latest granth ‘Kaal Granth’ along with him figures that there could be a connection and it might work. On the final attempt, he tries his father’s handprint pattern to defuse the bomb which we get a 3..2..1….Blank Screen. Great.

So did Sartaj save the city? Did the city blow? According to the writers (even the creators who are possibly are planning a third season) have left the ending purposely ambiguous. But there are certain theories that point out what might and what might not have happened. Let’s take a look.

Theory 1:

Gaitonde chose Sartaj as a saviour for the city. Remember during the development of the bomb? Gaitonde was there along with Malcolm and Shahid Khan so there could be a possibility he knew what the pattern or password was. Out of thousands, Gaitonde mentions that he could only trust Sartaj to save the city. But could there be a possibility that Gaitonde knew that Dilbagh’s handprint being the password for the bomb could only be deactivated by his son. Hence he purposely called him, killed himself and purposely left the ‘Kaal Granth’ there? Possibly.

Does one remember the one who was one who the most hesitant when giving his hand for Satya Yug? Dilbagh Singh. Do you remember, when Dilbagh Singh was attempting to leave the Satya Yug meeting, Guruji signalled him to sit down (as the others who left were killed) this could mean that Dilbagh Singh was the chosen one. Guruji could see the goodness in his eyes but possibly to make the plan ‘fail-proof’ they had him killed so that he or no one else would know what the password was.

Theory 2:

The pattern Shahid Khan and Sartaj enter are two different patterns. Take a look:

Shahid Khan’s pattern:


Sartaj’s Pattern:


This means that Sartaj having the blind faith in his father’s handprint made him fail meaning the end of the city and the end of well….everyone.


Theory 3:

There is a possibly that the pattern to active and deactivate the bomb could be DIFFERENT. Doesn’t necessary mean both are the same. So quite possibly Dilbagh’s handprint could have been the password to deactivate the bomb and Sartaj has saved the city.

Theory 4:

Not many had noticed at the beginning with the Shahid Khan’s mother requesting him to take her to the Golden Temple and 1947 Partition flashback revealing that Shahid Khan’s mother is actually a born Sikh who was kidnapped and forced into a Muslim family. Later also revealing that the small girl in the front of the car is actually Sartaj’s mother, making Shahid Khan and Sartaj first cousins. (Eventualy leading for Sartaj to kill his own brother)

Shahid Khan promises his mother that he will take her to the Golden Temple, maybe because he knows she is a Sikh and is aware of her background. This is the only point where we see a more softer human side to a monster like Shahid, where his emotions begin to run. Possibly, Shahid also knows that his Uncle, Dilbagh Singh is also a part of the movement. Possibly, while creating the bomb he created the deactivating password as his Uncle’s handprint. Possibly.

Theory 5:

Things could have also gone completely the other way round. There is a possibility that Sartaj and Gaitonde have been sucked into Guruji’s cult so much that they are ensuring D-Day to happen. As much as Gaitonde wanted to be away from the cult but for him it’s too late to realise that he’s a complete convert – the voice in his mind will not go. Gaitonde informs Sartaj about the plan and tells him to save the city, he later hears Guruji’s voice of saying ‘Balidaan dena ho ga’ – you realise Guruji had appointed Gaitonde to sacrifice himself with Bombay. When going to the new yug, you have to sacrifice the most dearest thing, in this case the dearest thing Guruji sacrificed with the city was Gaitonde.

On the other hand, Sartaj slowly now becoming the new convert sees Batya similarly how Gaitonde sees Guruji. In this timeline, Batya is pretty much the new Guruji. So the dearest thing to Batya is Sartaj, which means another sacrifice to go to the Yug which is why she tricks him into going to the bomb and we see Sartaj’s feel for her for sparing her alive.

Which explains Sartaj’s final words ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. Why would he say this when he has abandoned the cult? It’s because he has realised he has given himself up to the cult and he is become the sacrifice to the next Yug. Hence why he sees the ghost of his fellow ‘comrade’ Gaitonde telling him they are successful.


Theory 6:

As the name of the eighth episode is Radcliffe, those who don’t know about Radcliffe, The Radcliffe Line was the boundary demarcation line between the Indian and West Pakistani portions of Punjab and the other one is East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) Bengal provinces of British India. Now have a look of The Radcliffe Line (Yellow Colour) on the map which resembles the two pattern drawn as passwords for Nuclear Bomb.



This of course seems like a deliberate attempt of bring the two patterns together making one seem as Active and the other as a possible deactivate password from the end of the border.

Theory 7:

Guruji narrates the story of the war between Demons and Demigods wherein Indra sends Kacha to spy on the Demons. Kacha who is tasked with retrieving the Mrit Sanjeevani from Shukracharya falls in love with his daughter but ultimately uses it to retrieve the Sanjivani.

Similarly, Sartaj’s father could be the Kacha in this situation who was a spy in the ashram all along. Even Sartaj plays out this story to some extent in the present timeline where he enters the ashram with a hidden motive, eventually stealing the ‘Kaal Granth’ from Batya. What could explain that actually Dilbagh and Sartaj were born destined to save the city similar to Guruji’s story as Demigods, Dilbagh not exactly being successful but him telling his son in vision that ‘you can try your best’.


Theory 8:

Funny enough a possibility that the patterns in the book had nothing to do with the pattern passwords for the bomb but more to do with their Star Signs. Look at the following:

Trivedi’s pattern – Scorpio

Gaitonde’s pattern – leo

Malcolm’s pattern – Sagittarius


This completely changes the theory of Dilbagh’s handprint being the password but just happened to be in the ‘Kaal Granth’ as his star sign.


If the creators do not decide to conclude the story by making a third season, we can honestly say it would be the most talked about open end plots for years to come and even more theories will be figured. As the creators are currently saying, all their energies went towards making the second season and currently they don’t have any idea if they want to continue or not, but if the time and plot is right they certainly will. Lets see. Either we will see an apocalyptic Mumbai (which would be interesting) or Sartaj trying to deal loose ends as many things needed to be tied up.






The Most Anticipated Films of 2019 To Look Forward To!


The Year of 2018 just about ends with the last few releases are dropping just before the festive season begins. Christmas preparations and New Year resolutions have begun to come in place, but before we wrap up for the year, let’s take a look into the year 2019 and what is has in stall for us. A little sneak peek to what the prominent filmmakers, actors and producers of the industry have install for the public in 2019!

Gully Boy (Expected 14th Feb)


Zoya Akhtar known for her conventional story telling about relationships is back with her current new favourite actor Ranveer Singh in her latest outing based on the lives of rappers Vivian Fernandes aka Divine and Naved Shaikh aka Naezy known for their song ‘Mere Gully Mein’. The film mainly explores the underground talent of Mumbai, the rise from the slums to gaining an international recognition to the music they naturally compose.  Ranveer Singh in preparation for his role has also been spotted around town attending rapping workshops and jamming with real-life street rappers.

Total Dhamaal (expected 22nd Feb 2019)


Indra Kumar returns with the third instalment to the Dhamaal series. The original leads Ritiesh Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jafferi (Minus Ashish Chowdhury) return to the series they are also joined with new additions Ajay Devgan, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The film was originally to release in December 2018 but due to the overflow of films at the end of the year, the producers felt it was wise to shift the film. Indra Kumar promises it to be thrice the fun as the last two films as well as it being family friendly unlike his Masti series.

Kesari (expected: 22nd March 2019)


Remember years ago when the industry all began to make Bhagat Singh biopics? Well similarly here we have several makers going after the subject of the Battle of Saragarhi. Kesari seeming to be the first in line out of the race. Based on the real life account of an army of 21 Sikhs who fought against 10,000 Afghans in 1897, the project is back by Akshay Kumar (playing the commander of the force in the film) and Karan Johar, directed by Punjabi renowned director Anurag Singh of Jatt and Juliet fame. Let hope that we also see the other takes of the encounter in Rajkumar Santoshi version (The Battle of Saraghai) and Ajay Devgan’s version (Sons of Sardar) in 2019 aswell.

Kalank (expected: 19th April 2019)


Post K3G and around the time of Kal Ho Naa Ho, Karan Johar had planned this project with his father during the years of 2003-2004. The film was conceived by senior Johar but due to not getting the correct dates from the actors and delays in production and the eventual death of his father, Karan had shelved the project. Now, in 2019 he has revived the project now being helmed by his protégé Abhishek Verma. Sridevi was signed to the film but sadly due to her death it was confirmed that Madhuri Dixit would be stepping into her role. Now the cast includes, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha. Let’s hope no more issues will be occur for this project and releases on time!

Student of the Year 2 (expected 10th May 2019)


The students returns this time with Punit Malhotra, of I Hate Luv Storys, fame who takes the director’s chair with the sequel to Karan Johan 2012 film. Tiger Shroff now leading the students alongside with debutants, VJ turned actress Tara Sutaria and Chunkey Pandey’s daughter Ananya Pandey. So expect a light hearted Archie’s-like romance with of course stunts by Tiger Shroff! The exciting part of the feature is that Will Smith makes a cameo in the film during a song sequence which he did during his visit to India expressing how he always wanted to make a cameo in a Bollywood film, well that now completed for the Fresh Prince!

Bharat (expected: Eid 2019)


Salman Khan returns to woo the audience with his Eid festive release returning with director Ali Abbas Zafar and brother-in-law producer Atul Agnihorti. Said to be a remake of Korean film Ode To My Father, which will show Salman in three different looks over three different time spans in the film. The film fell into controversy before the production had begun when Priyanka Chopra had walked out of the film 10 days before the shoot of the film, hurting the sentiments of Salman Khan and on short notice had brought in a Katrina Kaif to fill in her shoes. Who made the better decision, let’s find out Eid 2019!

Kabir Singh (expected: 21st June 2019)

kabir singh

Shahid Kapoor back on a roll, stars in the official remake of the Telegu hit Arjun Reddy which is about an alcoholic surgeon with anger management issues going on a self-destructive path after his ex-lover marries someone else. The film brings the original director, Sandeep Vanga to the film who made this modern day take on Devdas which raised eyebrows in the south for its bold contemporary theme and explicit language without the usual cheesy dialogues and over the top drama, Arjun Reddy became a cult and well as a well-received film by the youth in the south. Shahid, now with a lot of baggage stepping into the shoes of Vijay Deverakonda, lets hope justice is delivered.

Good News (expected: 19th July 2018)

good news

Karan Johar never any less of productions for a year, this one starring Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani. Good News is said to be a laugh riot, family drama in which Akshay and Kareena Kapoor play a slightly mature married couple who are trying for a baby, while on the other hand we also have Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani, playing a young recently married Punjabi married also trying for a baby. Debutant Director Raj Mehra, Karan Johar’s newest protégé stated that the film has no social message, but a complete fun entertainer.

Mission Mangal (expected 15th Aug 2019)


India’s first space film which bring an ensemble cast of which stars Akshay Kumar, , Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Kriti Kulhari, and Sharman Joshi. The film is about India’s 2013 Mars Mission in which cast play the team behind the mission, coincidently the film was launched on the day of the launch of the mission 5th Nov and is planned to be released for India’s Independence Day.

Batla House (expected 15th Aug 2019)


John Abraham had blast of a year in 2018, as both producer and actor with back to back successes. Returning back to the producer’s table, John also stars in the ‘been long in talks about’ Batla House which is based on Batla House encounter, officially known as Operation Batla House. The incident took place on September 19, 2008, against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. The movie will be helmed by Nikkhil Advani and written by Ritesh Shah of Pink fame. Nikkhil had previously directed John in Salaam-E-Ishq. Seems like John is taking the patriotic genre quite seriously!

Chhichhore (expected 30th Aug 2019)


Nitesh Tiwari, of Dangal fame returns and joins hands with Sajid Nadiadwala in which he has roped in Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor in lead roles. Set against the backdrop of an engineering college. It is also being said that Prateik Babbar will essay the key role of an antagonist while other actors such as Varun Sharma, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Naveen Polishetty add to the supporting cast. If reports are to be believed, the film keeps shifting between the past and present and gives out the message about how to tackle success and failure.

Tiger vs Hrithik (expected: 02nd Oct 2019)


Two of the brightest energies from the industry, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff both known for the style of dance, action and physique come face to face in Siddharth Anand’s action entertainer which is yet untitled. Both actors already keeping a ‘hush’ on the project , there has already been news that the two play rivals in the films and there will be a dance off between the two guys. Said to be shot in 6 countries and 14 cities, the action and the scale of the budget is almost heading with any average Hollywood film, we have seen Anand’s action efforts in Bang Bang, so lets wait and see!

Housefull 4 (expected Diwali 2019)

housefull 4

The Housefull gang of returns for the fourth instalment to the franchise, this time the cast and the scale being a lot larger. Akshay Kumar, Ritiesh Deshmukh return with Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde, Kriti Kharbanda being the latest additions to the cast. Said to be based theme of Reincarnation and said to be Nadiadwala’s comic take on Baahubali with him claiming it to be the most expensive Hindi comedy film ever. Controversy came around when Director Sajid Khan was accused of sexual assault and misconduct to three different women hence he stepped down as director and Farhad Samji had taken over the project. As reports are believed the film is completed and things worked out smoothly post the second director had taken over.

Taanaji: The Unsung Warrior (expected November 2019)


Ajay Devgan takes a historical route in Om Raut’s film about Taanaji Malusare, a Maharashtrian Koli military leader in the Maratha Empire. Devgan will now be seen taking up a sword, shield and heading out to the frontline for his role as the unsung warrior who fought alongside Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. It is also said his wife Kajol joins the cast as the Warrior’s spouse and Saif Ali Khan is rumoured to be playing the main antagonist.

Panipat (expected 6th Dec 2019)

panipat 2

Ashutosh Gowarikar’s last outing Mohejo Daro went so disastrous that it put a company Like UTV in jeopardy but one cannot doubt Gowarikar’s vision when it comes to history, even a Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey didn’t set the box office ablaze but still was a decent outing. Gowarikar has researched on the famous third battle of Panipat for almost 5 years, the infamous battle of the Marathas and Moughals for the time is going to be showcased on the big screen. The film stars an interesting cast of Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon.

Bhramastra Part 1 (expected: Christmas 2019)


Ayan Mukerjee brings his latest offering, an ambitious fantasy drama which is intended to be a trilogy. Each part being said to be released every year, Ayan claims the film will be a contemporary film with ancient elements. Many may not know but Bhrastmastra is the weapon of Hindu God Bhrama, the lead hero Ranbir Kapoor is said to be playing a modern day superhero but having a connection with ancient wisdom.  The film also features Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Mouni Roy, Dimple Kapadia and Nagarjuna Akkineni

Kick 2 (expected Christmas 2019)

kick 2

Sajid Nadiadwala who cashed in and made a decent debut as a director with Kick in 2014 returns to the director’s chair with the sequel. Bringing back the modern day Robin Hood, Salman returns as Devi Lal Singh aka ‘Devil’ and the adventures of the daredevil continue. Currently, it is said the plot is still being worked on by Nadiadwala’s best writers and the lead actress is yet to be confirmed. Ironically, the Telegu remake also had a sequel in 2015 which actually sank without trace. Let’s hope script wise and technique wise we get a better sequel!

Rejects from the list:

Super 30

super 30

Hrithik Roshan playing the role of Mathematician Anand Kumar, things began to go wrong for the project when the Mathematician was accused of fraud results, the makers decided to not call their film a biopic anymore, the second downfall for the film was Vikas Bahl being accussed of Sexual harassment which not only fired him from the film but even blacklisted him from the industry. The liquidation of Phantom Productions began from the director being accused, so currently the film is left not an appropriate production house and also director-less. It has been said that Kabir Khan will be taking over the project but it’s said he is currently not keen in taking over someone’s project, who know. Currently, the state of this film doesn’t look right.

Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar


Arjun Kapoor seems more interested in this love life than his actual career, giving importance to a particular someone then the scripts being offered. Kapoor’s career and approach is taking a professional hit with his last few films not reaching the mark. Namaste England this year really hit below the belt with some critics and cinemas rejecting to give it any importance, now the same leading pair return for this venture. The chances are not looking too good, only a director Dibakar Banerjee really has to save this film and the careers of both Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.

Jabariya Jodi


Not to sound too harsh but a majority of Parineeti Chopra’s choices either sound unappealing or get straight out rejected on release (barring Kesari as that’s an out-and-out Akshay venture) to top off the icing we have Siddharth Malhotra, the kind of wooden acting. The fact that the film is based in Lucknow and neither of them can pull of a small town look or even act like Desi’s, this one just looked out of place from the first teaser posters. The only audience one can see watching this are the fans of Hasee Toh Pasee and let me ensure, that’s a very small minority.


The 20th JIO MAMI 2018: What went down, what worked and why should you check out these films!


The MAMI and Diwali season has just blown over (apologise for the lateness of the article, one can understand how swept away we can get during the season) and the season of Film Festivals will continue till the end of the year in India. MAMI like every year showcases the work of the regular directors, the newbies, the shorts, the internationals with a dose of panel discussions. So how did this year fare?

Firstly, it was evident that the industry has recently been blown over with the #metoo movement in with a lot prominent names from the industry being named and shamed. Due to the movement, quite possibly many not wanting to be questioned about their colleagues or make a statement which can be taken in the wrong context, many industry people stayed away this year.

Many mentioned that was a ‘quiet’ MAMI this year with not very many arrivals and the occurring cancellations from the industry people, the movement certainly had made a difference. Panel Discussions were held as usual, with one consistent topic, take a guess – #metoo. The entire schedule was covered with discussions of the #metoo movement with the power women in the industry such as Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra, Swara Bhaskar etc. Only one gentleman made it present – Kabir Khan, which was maturely and respectfully handled.

The movement even began to find space in a big majority of the Q & A discussions of almost every film even if your film had nothing to do with the movement. If your casting director by chance was a Mukesh Chhabra, you were by certain going to get the question bullet. Quite obviously, the question was dodged by the director, producer, team etc in the Q & A as you would expect. I mean, come on delegates, were you expecting a clear cut answer?

A good thing that did take place in India was the dismissal of Section 377 which pleased very many filmmakers of the LGBTQ community. Very many films in the selection this year gave the platform to the filmmakers and who can openly expose their creativity a little more openly this year around. Many films had brought the issues a little more upfront to be broadened for discussion.

There was also a tribute to actors Shashi Kapoor and Sridevi who had recently parted us in the past year. Shyam Benegal’s films were also digitally restored and showcased for the first time at this year’s event.

How about the audience? Well the audience rejoiced. The price dropped to Rs.500 marking the cheapest yet it’s been in years, which of course lead to almost, every show having 70% plus occupancy. Rejoiced the audience, and the filmmakers will rejoice at a housefull auditorium.

So how was for it for myself? Sadly due to the scheduling conflicts, I could not see all the films from my last article, nevertheless. Attempting to keep it to the Indian region, there were a lot interesting films out this year and wow, some which have blown my mind. So below is my little insight and a small little review of each film I saw at this year Mumbai festival.

Happy reading!

Maharashtra Gold

Bhonsle (Hindi)


Devashish Makhija (of Ajji fame) returns to MAMI this year with his yet another dark venture about a recent retired police constable (played by Manoj Bajpayee) who begins to witness the growth of problems is his chawl between the Maharashtrians and Biharis during the festival of Ganpati. Leading him to make a decision of dealing with the problem either with or without an uniform. Bhonsle represents the honourable and thankless constables of Mumbai who acknowledge and cleanse the lanes and corners of the city.

Makhija, quite honestly has made a very thoughtful yet dusky tale which is shot incredibly well portraying the dangers of claustrophobic areas of suburban Mumbai. Manoj Bajpayee, with hardly any dialogues aces as the 60 year old tired yet loyal to the force broken old man. The film rides high on a superbly thought provoking driven narrative with an extensive tight canvas behind a dark light silent Bhonsle.

Verdict: Makhija’s sober attempt at the handicaps and accuracy of the lone common man in a large city with grave-digged voice. Don’t expect an Ajji, because it goes beyond that.

An Essay of the Rain (Short – Marathi)

an essay

Based in a small Maharashtrian Village, a school boy and his sister are told to write an essay on rain – not knowing that their day will lead to a saga itself when their drunk father and helpless mother lose an entire day battling with the severe weather conditions in the village, leading for the child maturing and becoming the adult of the family.

Nagraj Popatrao Manjule of Sairat fame, returns with this grounded yet sweet short film about the conditions of rain and its effect on the less fortunate, mentally and physically. The short holds the attention throughout, mixing emotions of helpless, destruction and a slight comic release. Something to keep out for sure.

Verdict: A nice, short sweet story of the forces of nature and its consequences with circumstances of poverty.

Ashleel Udhyog Mitra Mandal (Marathi)


During the growing years of a teenager and peak of his puberty, a boy goes through a lot physical changes, attempting to explore experiences and the mind begins to ask questions through the overdrive of his hormones. Ashleel… is film that tries to speak about the division of natural changes and vulgarity. The film’s protagonist speaks to his complexities through an imaginary ‘Savita Bhabhi’ (played by Sai Tamhankar).

Director Alok Rajwade making his debut certainly had a lot of ‘Kashyapism’ influence in his film, the film begins with an innovative idea certainly dealing with a tricky subject but sadly the film loses its track in the second half where it seems that the director has lost track on what he had begun with. The second half tries to lead to the standard commercial viable cinema that it didn’t start out to be.

Verdict: Weak. Possibly the weakest film I saw in the entire festival. A promising venture that eventually falls flat on its face. (P.S this is was the only Q & A I had walked out of!)


The Winners

Jaao Kahan Bata Aa Dil (Hindi) (Winner: Young Critics Choice Award)

jaao kahan

A story of a couple roaming around the streets of Mumbai on a Saturday after finishing work, starting from Marine Drive their journey begins travelling the city but also taking a turn in their relationship. The couple discuss their future, politics, the country, Hindi Cinema, sex and the concept of marriage. Eventually leading their relationship turning a little soar and puts them in a situation that changes their lives forever.

Two actors, a Steadicam, one sound recordist and a director calling the shots. This is all what went behind the film and proves, director Aadish Keluskar told such a simple story in such a phenomenal manner with each scene becoming 15-20 minutes long without an cuts. Keluskar uses the unpretentious daily conversation as the crux of the film simultaneously playing with around with the emotions of the audience like a Rubik’s cube, questioning such issues as hope, faith and the concept of monogamy.

Verdict: A revolution. Possibly one of the best films to come out India in recent years with such an impact through the subconscious, playing with minds physiological on a small scale. The film proves we have some damn great talents in India yet to explore. (P.S people who live or come from Mumbai will definitely connect with the film on larger scale)

Mehsampur (Punjabi/Hindi) (Winner: Grand Jury Prize)


Punjabi folk singer Amar Singh Chamkila, who was attempted to be silenced for years because of controversial lyrics was assassinated in 1988. For years in Punjab, as apart of the culture people do not include him in their conversations or play his music. Mehsampur (film is named after the village he was assassinated in) is about a filmmaker’s struggle to make his independent documentary on Chamkila but then a big film crew arrives in the area to make a commercial biopic on the singer, leading to the filmmaker’s attempts to get violent and forceful.

The idea of a film being a film in a film is what draws the attention to the film dark voyage, panelling lines between fiction and non-fiction, good and bad. Mehsampur shows the dark underbelly of Punjab in a realm of it being in the past, present or even a possible future. Kabir Singh Chaudhary’s efforts of building an aura around the singer which sounds almost non-existent, has not even opened chapters to the singer’s life yet leading chapters of a possible doom for the future of the unemployed of the state.

Verdict: Do not expect a bio pic, documentary, exploration on the singer because it’s neither of these. In fact, one cannot say what Mehsampur actually is…? But beauty of the film lies in its Avant-garde film making style. A complete new game changer and possibly the most original concepts coming from India.

Bulbul Can Sing (Assamese) (Winner: Golden Gateway Award)


About a teenage Bulbul (meaning Nightingale) and her two friends, Bonnie and Sumu, growing up in rural Assam in which about them discovering their sexual identity at the age of 15. The film tells the journey of these three on the edge of innocence and growing up to face the harsh realities of the big wide world.  Before they find inner-peace, tragedy strikes leading to the lives of three never being the same again.

Rima Das, the one woman army, who leads almost every department single handed, makes an innocent portrayal of innocent lives despite her technical imperfections which add to the beauty of the film, she succeeds in delivering a tale of purity being lost in a harsh world.

Verdict: Do not expect a Village Rockstars but certainly does deserve the one time watch without the baggage.


The LGBTQ Movement

Udalazham (Malayalam)


Exploring the life and tussles of a tribal transgender, Udalazham tells the story of Raju who was born and brought up in Theekkadi tribal settlement located deep inside the Nilambur valley forests. A member of Aranadan aborigine community, Raju’s life was a constant battle against humiliation and abuse by a parochial racist society.

The film is an extreme in-your face of the severe conditions a transgender has in the tribal areas of India and the escape to a ‘non-existent’ place of respect and love. The film also deals with issues such as adultery, racism and oppression of the lower caste.

Verdict: A sincere attempt, by a new-age film making team of discovering an unknown area of India and dark reality.

A Monsoon Date (Short – Hindi)


Konkana Sen Sharma haunted by her past rejected relationships, tries to make one more attempt at being honest with her current partner. A secret which she has held throughout her life, now feels she has to clear the air once again. Only this time, she is stuck in the traffic of Mumbai during the evening of the monsoon period where the traffic hardly moves. Delaying the process, her mind begins to play games with her.

Tanuja Chandra tackles a bold and brave subject in such a blossom manner, a subject waiting to be told of an issue that should be normalised in current society, a tricky subject with a known name is indeed tricky and Chandra handles it quite well making Konkana completely fit in the role.

Verdict: Do give you 30 mins to this beautiful narrative with an offbeat topic film. A story that should be seen, told and heard.


Beyond Conventions

Ma-Ama (Garo)


Ninety-year-old Philip Sangma begins a quest for answers about his past, reconciliation with his memory of Anna, his late first wife and the inevitability of death. On the quest, he is confronted by various questions about his own life and dedication towards god, making him doubt his efforts as a father and a husband. Later he is confronted with the uncomfortable truth about his wife’s life before her death.

Apart of last year’s Work-In-Progress at NFDC’s Film Bazaar, young filmmaker from Meghalaya, Dominic Sangma directs this documentary-yet-feature like film with several scripted and unscripted moments about his father and the mystery about his mother, which he does not have recollection of. Ma.Ama is a complete universal one, where one can relate to the filmmakers emotions on his family through the lens of the camera.

Verdict: Conventional, different, emotional and new curve to use of the camera. Dominic Sangma’s effort truly hits the right notes.

Jonaki (Bengali)


Jonaki, or firefly in Bengali, is inspired by Sengupta’s grandmother. Lolita Chatterjee plays the octogenarian. The film is about Sengupta’s ode to his late grandma and his feelings and memories about her during her life and the dreams he had post her death. Jonaki tells the story of the life of his Grandmother through his eyes, meaning the characters including his Grandmother neither age or artificially look younger throughout the narrative, it’s a sparkle of his imagination with only set source of vision in a world of his dreams.

We could say Jonaki is basically Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro get together for a  drink before having dinner with Rituparno Ghosh. The film is as bizzare as bizzare can get, the entire auditorium was left speechless with yet confusion but spellbound by the production design. Jonaki is a mind bender, Sengupta claiming it being a simple story but the film lies between his own dream world and a strange voyage.

Verdict: Take up at your own risk. You will either really like it or simply….well fall asleep.


Salute to Shashi Kapoor

Junoon (Hindi)


My first viewing of this film which I got in by fluke because of the overcrowd of another screening, but thank god that happened. Got the chance to see Shyam Benegal’s classic film newly restored version which won the National Award for Best Film in 1980. Set in 1857 during the British Raj, about Javed Khan (played by Shashi Kapoor; also Producer of the film) the chief of the Pathan Nawab heritage takes capture of the last three remaining Britishers of the area, a grandmother, mother and the young daughter. Things take a toll when the Nawab begins an obsession for the young daughter desiring to marry her, which causes conflict and questions who is the ruler and who is the oppressed.

One is reminded in the current era of the recent Padmaavat, a Muslim ruler and his obsession for a princess behind enemy lines and his quest of taking her at any cost. One can say that Shyam Benegal’s direction and narrative, especially when a full house auditorium react to the film, its certain that its still relevant even today, possibly more than Bhansali’s narrative. One can certainly Benegal’s reversal of the stereotype of the British being the victim and the barbaric ways of the Nawab’s is surely one of its kind.

Verdict: Classic. Remains a relevant today even, and thank god I caught the restored version. Do catch this one as soon as you can, if the genre does not appeal, do it as a tribute to Shashi Kapoor.


Commercial Appeal

Rajma Chawal (Hindi)


A boy leaves his world and settles with his Dad (played by Rishi Kapoor) in Old Delhi which he cannot stand. After weeks of his isolation, his Dad attempts the idea of connecting through to his son with a fake Facebook profile, only catch is, faking himself as a girl (played by Amyra Dastur) but things get a little tricky for the father and son when the girl is noticed running around Delhi, being protected by her over-possessive boyfriend (played by Aparshakti Khurana)

Leena Yadav, of Parched fame, returns with a very breezy Delhi flavoured dramedy with the commercial spices and youthful seasonings, Rajma Chawal has a complete comic yet emotional take on the dysfunctional relationship between a father and son without being preachy but being very comfortable with the audience. And of course, nothing like beats being Rishi Kapoor as the orthodox Punjabi father who leaves Twitter for Facebook (I know, bad joke)

Verdict: Enjoyable. Unlike Parched, do not take it seriously but with a pinch of salt. Or Rajma for that matter.

Bornodi Bhotiai (Assamese)


Originally was a play now blown up to the big screen, the film is about the place Majuli in Assam, the world largest river island, and the Majulian people. What leads is the hysterical events about a girl who is ‘jinxed’, her four admirers and her eventual husband. What later unfolds are some wacky incidents such as a sneeze which kills, a useless singer becoming the nation’s pop star, four boys raising a farm for meat and an incurable flu which happens to the form of love. The writing is absolute random, but we can you will fall laughing at the random yet warm humour.

The film is said to be about the life of the people in Majuli, the dying traditions and the aimlessness of the youth. As well as introducing the audience to the landscape, it shows us a detailed route to the life of the people of Maujli. The use and the form Anupam Kaushik Borah of the big screen uses is quite witty yet clever, like the use of the local radio to update the village of the status of the four admirers while chasing the girl of their dreams.

Verdict: Witty, fun, entertaining and definitely will never let you check you phone or watch during its 140 minute run of the film. New wave of Assamese films has definitely arrived.


New Wave Malayalam

Light in the Room (Malayalam)


A woman-hating mountain based engineer marries a young shy girl but his obsession with electronics and mechanics take his attention towards his married life. His only relationship with his wife is abuse by beating and raping her on a regular basis. Relatives at home turning a blind eye and a wife trying to find a cure for the mood changing light in the room, she is left with no choice of taking matters into her own hands.

Director Rahul Riji Nair picks up the subject about the horror of the home, the violence and oppression of powerless behind closed doors with the advantage of the victimiser being proud of his masculinity and power over being the bread winner. Light in the Room is reasonable cut, engaging film with powerful performances by the lead pair broadcasting two sides of so-called mutual marriage.

Verdict: Interesting attempt for a touching subject by first time director. Nair gives a new meaning to the idea of light being a sign of blindness and hopelessness.

Bilathikhuzhal (Malayalam)


Young Kunhambu is fascinated with the local larger than life hero, Chindan Muthapan, his neighbour and the village hero in which he hears tales told by his grandmother and the locals of the village. The boy has an obsession with his English Barrell, showing his status in the village because the weapon, Kunhambu grows up with the obsession and attachment to the gun without learning its basic consequences and its affect to his personal life.

Director Vinu Kolichal speaks a story of how the gun for the young minded becomes a source of development to maturity and masculinity. The protagonist’s attachment to the gun and not letting go till certain age shows, the film deals with the male and defiance over power and letting it go so fast, power in the form of a gun.

Verdict: Debutant Kolichal takes a subtle and slow attempt on the film rather than the subject being such aloud. Kolichal takes its smoothy yet so gracefully in telling a story of such.


Western Appeal – The Closing Film

Widows (English)


Steve McQueen (of 12 Years a Slave fame) brings this heist film about four women carrying out a heist job which was left incomplete by their late husbands in order to pay the damage they had caused in the heist that caused their death. What leads is dirty game between politicians, dangerous mobsters, families falling apart, deceives lies etc, you may have already been there.

McQueen brings to life the ITV British Series from the 80s taking its basic premise and adding the little life of slickness to it with Bond-like gadgets, gun down chases and twists that could have been somewhat predictable. The performances and presence of stars like Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell do bring a sense grandness to the film, otherwise it’s a film not to take too seriously and guilt-driven action flick but this time maybe roles are little reversed.

Verdict: The routine Hollywood heist film we have seen time to time before, not exactly a festival film. Purely check it out for entertainment but do not expect anything new…because well….there isn’t.

The Digital Factor: Where does this lead the future of the Hindi Film Industry?

So currently the nation is not having a single conversation without starting with ‘Have you seen Sacred Games yet?’ or even social media posts where people are sharing how they are also a part of this trend and not left behind, the question a

Saif-Ali-Khan-Nawazuddin-Siddiqui-Sacred-Games-FI-Bollywormrises is, seeing this is the first time a nation has gone hoo-haa over a web series, can we say these are going to be a new form of entertainment for the regular entertainment consumer? Reason why I say entertainment consumer is that in a country where Film and Television already have their loyal audience can this be a form of merging the two audiences together?

Not exactly film, Not exactly television

Just recently Saif Ali Khan was interview in which interestingly mentioned that “Web Series is not a form of either television or film. But more of graphic novel” and I couldn’t agree more. The usual norms of Indian Film or Television have not been visible in Sacred Games or haven’t been sustainably used. The scale of the production is almost on the level of a huge blockbuster film but there certainly some dynamics of the show that cannot be used in a big Hindi film blockbuster, certain techniques and certain overdoes for example the violence and sex being so exposed.The television shows we get available on cable TV do not appeal to the young audience, shows we see regular on Colors or Star Plus cater mainly to the family audience. The shows still have that fixed premise which has been going on for years, and the youth have simply….well moved on! It’s actually an interesting concern with the rise of the web series will the future audience still take to shows such as Naagin 3 or Ye Hai Mohabbatein, which could actually be a relief if such get replaced.


Interestingly years ago, Anurag Kashyap’s Yudh was huge let-down despite the amount of hype when it premièred on Sony TV and the show was cancelled after the first season. It didn’t find an audience and it was critized for being too ‘odd’ for the regular Sony audience. Some people from the film fraternity expressed how they did not like how Amitabh’s character was shaped out. Who knows, maybe people were just not this convention.

Sacred Games being in such hype and being the first Netflix web series of India, no stone was left unturned for its publicity campaign. Hoarding from South Mumbai, to Juhu to Goregoan were placed all over just like another big screen event was being released. The audience now already prepared after a lot of the youth have spent a substantial amount of time of binge watching Netflix shows that the format, the concept of an average web series has become clear.

The quintessential Hindi Hero

We can say that Sacred Games has given Saif Ali Khan a new lease of life, he has actually made a comeback without actually going anywhere. Sacred Games was as needed to Saif as desperately as the village priest needed a local church in order to preach and practice. Let’s take a look at Saif’s last few films that have released recently:

Kaalakaandi (2018) – 3.85 Crores (Opening Weekend) – 6.34 Crores (Total Collection)

Chef (2017) – 4 Crores (Opening Weekend) – 6.37 Crores (Total Collection)

Rangoon (2017) – 14.5 Crores (Opening Weekend) – 20.68 Crores (Total Collection)

Phantom (2015) – 33.18 Crores (Opening Weekend) – 54.19 Crores (Total Collection)

Humshakals (2014) – 40.13 Crores (Opening Weekend) – 63.72 Crores (Total Collection)

So just going by these numbers we can say that things for Saif since 2014 has just gone bad to worse. His last three films we can say are not just flops but termed as disasters as these films have barely even had an opening weekend. Saif who clearly stated, his films recently have been nothing but dismals and has stuck to this 2014 film Humshakals and repeated claiming ‘it did 63 crores at the box office’. Ironically, Humshakals being his last highest grosser was a film which he had gone against at the time claiming ‘The film was a mistake. I surrendered to the director without an actual script’.url.jpg

Despite of Humshakals’s flaks, negativity and Saif going against the film the film still made the famous ’63 crores’. Saif’s unprofessional attitude of going against your own film on the opening weekend must have sent out more negativity for Saif in the industry than Humshakals had did in the papers. Producers had become a little sceptical about his involvement with any project.

Phantom (the 2015 Saif film, not the production house) was already delayed, went into production in 2013 and had numerous delays that by the time it released it was over-budget. Similarly with Rangoon, even though being backed by one of the biggest producers in the business, Sajid Nadiawala, spending 80 crores for him to sponsor the vision of Vishal Bharadwaj isnt really a financial issue for him. But when that film doesn’t make more than 21 crores as the box office, it can only spell one word, D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R!

Maybe Saif should have put his foot in his mouth during the time, or even that he was being offered nothing but medium budget films that he had to take on. The question is for Saif now – how has he changed post Sacred Games? Firstly the success has put a smile on his face a little bit of maturity in his mind, where we can say that playing the overweight police officer, which no one would have thought he would have pulled off, he truly deserves the success as Sartaj Singh.

Sadly, in Hindi Cinema when someone does something in the west this herd mentality comes in as ‘if a Brad Pitt can do it, then why can’t I?’ not understanding that actually Brad Pitt has an sustained audience in 34 different countries and Netflix is something yet to establish in India, then maybe can actually afford to do it. But one can say, it was a risk that paid off for Saif. A commercial Hindi film actor making his way to the digital side is indeed a bold step but was desperately needed.

Even though Saif has films like Hunter in the pipeline, what could say about their outcome? Firstly a possibility of these releasing directly to Netflix if the producers crack the deal, if we remember earlier this year Kaalakaandi was supposed to be a direct to digital release, but due to the ego of some cast members it had to get theatrical release (wonder who right?).


But maybe Saif has actually opened a void for the mainstream Hindi cinema actors that digital actually is a promising and possibly profitable if you are in the right project. Earlier it was an eye opener for Vivek to be a part of Inside Edge, but we can say Saif’s approach opened both eyes and ears for the digital consumer. Just his casting has brought in so much attention that no film of his has maybe since Race 2. So what Saif, another web series? Another Sartaj?

Liberation for the generation

The biggest problem we have with our Indian cinema are the Nihalani’s or Joshi’s of the censor board. The liberation of certain filmmakers gets certainly ‘cut’ where a language we use in our daily lives cannot be shown in a film because it’s not a part of our ‘culture’. Our censor board yet need to understand that Sooraj Barjatya makes one film every 10 years, Karan Johar has changed his outlook to the vision, Aditya Chopra’s last film was a sex comedy, so who is left?

Those days have gone when our soothing filmmakers would cater to the NRI audience, with their ‘thali’ and ‘sindoors’ waiting for son to arrive through the door from London because well, Ekta Kapoor killed it off. Vomit bags were even handed out to people during the screening of Rajshri’s last film, so which exactly culture are we talking about?

The youth of the nation, over the age of 18, are exposed to possibly thing that can corrupt a mind and a body. Drugs, porn, alcohol, violence (especially if you live in Punjab or Delhi), so what is exactly left? The World Wide Web and Martin Scorsese has given enough to say, ‘yes, I have seen it’, so what exactly are we not supposed to see in the cinema?

Given to the fact that the last three popular web series (Inside Edge, Breathe, Sacred Games) have exposed violence, have used bad language and of course scene of very open sexual nature. These web series have been given a certification of Adults in India, R in America and 18 to the UK audience. Which is, the way censor should work right? A child cannot access this material.

I remember years ago watching a film in the cinema called Aan – Men at Work (2004), it was certificated at PG (Parental Guidance) but one could quite obviously tell when Sunil Shetty would walk into a bar with a gun then suddenly second later he would have a second gun in his hand covered head to toe in blood in a white T-Shirt. The DVD released weeks later certificated at 18 with almost 35-40 minutes extra footage from the theatrical cut, it was basically like watching two different films.

So removing, muting, making the film half as what just really kills what actually we wanted to see the director attempting to say. But maybe things are getting better, we do get an Udta Punjab and Veere Di Wedding that have raised eyebrows but are youth really getting what they want from the cinema? Are those big commercial films still sticking to the same formats which are still use to?

Familiarity with Continuity

If something keeps us hold to a web series is the curiosity of its writing, we want to see the development of the show and such shows like Inside Edge, Breathe and Sacred Games have done that an extent where the audience is hooked by the second episode. What has already attracted us to these shows is how a Vivek is pulling off an IPL tycoon, Madhavan becoming a monster for his child and Saif saving Mumbai from the claws of Nawazuddin.

The familiarity lies within the stars. The stamp of the authorship is the faces, faces we have been familiar seeing on silver screen for years to say that maybe newer cast members would not set the authorship tag on the series. It raises an awareness when we hear that ‘Oh Sanjay Suri is also a part of the show’ it simply adds the icing to the cake.sacred-games-2.jpg

It wouldn’t also be wrong to say that even some of the newer faces in the web series have been given pad too, actors like Jitendra Joshi (Constable Katekar from Sacred Games) and Amit Sial (Devender Mishra from Inside Edge) have done commendable jobs in both shows. Especially Amit Sial, who mark my words, would be apart of the elite actors in the coming years. His performance in Inside Edge and the latest Damaged have already put this guy on the map.

But to bring to the show is the actors but the writing is the only drug that can get us addicted to the show and it’s the continuity. The continuity builds this loyal set of audience who would not fail to see the next episode in which we become familiar with the characters and would want us to continue to the extent that if the show is good.

Keeping the web series short, basing them only on 8-10 episodes is a decent attempt fpr the first season is still indeed in trial rather than the other TV shows which have 20-24 episodes per season could take out the steam of these shows. Which could have been one of the biggest reasons why Yudh failed to take off (40 episodes for the first season, so no wonder). The audience just need to take it slow to gain momentum with the show. Inside Edge had released an episode a week to build momentum for its audience, Breathe had interesting formula of first releasing 4 episodes first then releasing the other 4 episodes a month later, keeping the curiosity intact and giving it a little Hindi cinema ‘Interval’ feel to the show. Sacred Games had already built their confidence with the promotions, the views on the teaser and trailer were good enough for Netflix to make the decision of releasing all 8 episodes on one day, plus the audience had waited long enough.

Bigger Budget = Higher Footfalls?

There is nothing like for a Hindi film producer to get the reputation of his film making 100 Crore or 200 crore and to brag to the other industry members that his film has made this number, but recently a critic had mentioned that a very good web series with a very good engagement could actually be like 100-150 crore grosser at the box office. But do this kind of number exist now for the web series?

The most comfortable part of the web series factor is that it’s being backed by a Amazon Prime and Netflix who may not produce these shows but certainly can promise footfalls for the producers. Encouraging the producers of making their shows bigger by the scale day by day, we can say that the content and writing is better when the production value is increasing.


Many have criticised that the Hindi market does lack decent writers, it could be that our Hindi films have always been made in a certain formula that in which we becomes fixed way of writing. Writers since the 90s who have got so use to writing ‘Interval card’ or ‘song placement here’ in the Hindi commercial screenplays. But we can say a new brigade of young writers are coming to the forefront who are understanding the format for what is needed to make a web series that clicks with the audience.

It seems the current favourite genre with the Indian web series currently is the thriller genre (Inside Edge, Breathe, Sacred Games), it could also be that the ‘slice of life’ genre web series that are available on TVF or Voot are getting numbers but in minimal. But the thriller genre from India is giving the audience the big screen medium at a streaming format, hence the attraction.

Not only stars have come on board but even the content are becoming ‘cinema-like’ (Breathe and Sacred Games were originally planned as big screen ventures). So we could say the big screen, larger than life canvas is becoming successful for web series and we know we will see more of this kind of material in the future.

So happens next?

There are various projects lined up in which Netflix and Amazon Prime have proudly signed on with various different producers. We will get to see some great directors making their web series debuts (lets say, a little birdy had told me) Deepa Mehta, Kabir Khan, Homi Adajania, Bejoy Nambair, Rohan Sippy etc just to name a few have currently signed on projects or are currently in talks.

We will get to see a lot of seasoned actors also making their way to Web Series by at least by 2019, in which are lot are in talks, preparing or even shooting these shows currently. Actors such as Irfan Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Sharman Joshi, Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur etc as well as seeing some of the newer talent like Kunal Kapoor, Arunoday Singh, Amyra Dastur, Isha Talwar etc.

Not every web series can be Sacred Games, Inside Edge or a Breathe some can also become a Bose: Dead/Alive where despite the great reviews and anticipation by the media it didn’t find many takers. Possibly the period dramas have not found an audience yet or even the existing audience did not paved a path for it, who knows.

But we can certainly say, the future is looking bright for the Web Series. And let me just tell you guys, the little birdy also has told me that some the best writers we have had over years, the writers from the new wave of Hindi cinema, some of them have shifted to the web series side. So lets hope and lets watch this space!

Films you Cannot afford to miss at the 20th JIO MAMI Festival 2018

Its Indie season! From now till the end of year we celebrate the sincere efforts of the independent film makers who use this platform of showcasing pure talent. This year we have a very interesting variety of underground to commercial minds participating in the competition. Lets hope for the best and begin to write your Q’s for the maker’s!



Devashish Makhija who shocked the audience last year with his outing Ajji is back with Manoj Bajpayee, Bajpayee plays a terminally ill, retired cop living in a chawl, where a local goon is trying to intimidate a handful of Bihari residents. Said to be kept in the similar tone as Ajji, said to be Bajpayee’s highest ranking performance to date which is going to be a delight for his loyalists!



Is it a documentary or fiction or a docu-fiction? The film is a film within a film exploring the controverial life of legendary Punjabi folk singer Chamkila and his mysterious death that took place in Mehsampur. In finding details of Chamkila’s life, who was gunned down in 1988 at the age of 27, Film maker Kabir Chowdhry sets out another director (Devrath Joshi, perhaps playing himself) on the course of the story.It gets out of hand when as Devrath encounters a range of peculiar people on this journey, but its intriguing structure will keep the viewers fascinated.

Bulbul Can Sing


While Village Rockstars is enjoying its joy of success being India’s entry to the Oscars, Rima Das’s latest offering makes it to MAMI. Bulbul Can Sing has a lot in common with Village Rockstars — both films are set in a village in Assam, and are coming-of-age stories shot in a quiet poetic style. Bulbul Can Sing follows Bulbul and her two friends Sumu and Bonny, all on the cusp of becoming independent and modern in their thinking as they confront challenges from traditional views in their village. The film presents a sense, possibility and reflection of a part of India that few of us experience.



Winning all the praises last year from NFDC’s Film Bazaar and containing represent Inida internationally, Ere Gowda’s film film about A village bangle seller and his wife cannot conceive a child; the villagers gossip. In this close-knit patriarchal community in Karnataka, hidden desires and relationships find a way to exist.

Mard Ko Dard Nai Hota


The opening film for the festival, Vasan Bala directs his second feature about A boy suffers from a rare disorder called congenital insensitivity to pain — the condition is life threatening but he tries to survive life by trying to fulfill his Kung Fu-VHS-filled day dreams.

Light in the Room


First-time film-maker Rahul Nair’s Light in the Room swept the Kerala state film awards earlier this year.  A film deals with the sensitive issue of domestic violence, there are some harrowing scenes of a crazy husband physically abusing his new wife. Nair places his characters in a remote mountainous part of Kerala with breathtaking views.



Director Ivan Ayr’s Soni was declared the best film in the Roberto Rossellini Awards section at the Pingyao International Film Festival. Soni is the story of female cops in Delhi.  Soni (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) and her superior Kalpana (Saloni Batra)  both dealing with sexual harassment, patriarchy and being pushed into traditional roles at home and even at work, when they are in the presence of male bosses and colleagues.

The Sound Man Mangesh Desai 


Once upon a time, no Hindi language film could be ready for release in theatres without the magic touch of sound designer and mixer Mangesh Desai. In the pre-digital era, Desai enhanced the moods of films made by a number of film-makers including celebrated masters like V Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy and Shyam Benegal. Subash Sahoo’s wonderful documentary The Sound Man Mangesh Desai is not just a tribute to a genius, but also a celebration of Indian films.



The Kashmir conflict has generated quite a few political films, including strong documentaries. Aijaz Khan’s film is a sweet story narrated from the point of view of an innocent child who wants to talk to Allah to find the whereabouts of his father. Beautifully acted by newcomer Talha Arshad Reshi, who plays Hamid, and the lovely Rasika Duggal, who plays the child’s mother Ishrat.



Aditya Vikram Sengupta, after Asha Jaoar Majhe returns with his latest offer about a Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, searches for love in a strange world of decaying memories, her lover, now old and grey, returns to a world she is leaving behind.