I’ve kind of slowly withdrawn my name from the Amitabh Bachchan fan club over the last couple of years. I understand he had financial difficulties and that he was only emerging from personal issues. He also did some fine work in movies like Black.
In fact, he was about the only thing apart from the set design that I liked in Black. He was occasionally over the top but I think that was an artistic decision on the part of the director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose predilection for high drama is fairly evident in his other work.
But there is only so much I can take of the Angry Old Man. For a while there he was in every single movie made by Bollywood. Maybe that’s not factually correct but it definitely felt like that to me. He played father, cop, mentor… anything and everything a man his age could play, he played. In a way it was better than that disastrous stretch of movies he did pre-KBC when Brand Bachchan was in the doldrums and he played hero opposite a truckload of cookie-cutter South Indian actresses.
Then came the Ram Gopal Verma stretch and frankly I wasn’t impressed. Sarkar was a good thought that stopped halfway. Nishabd was a declawed cat and left about that much of an impression. This Sholay remake that’s in the works sounds so extremely gimmicky that I have grave doubts as to the final product.
But here are two forthcoming movies that I’m reluctantly interested in:
Cheeni Kum costars my favorite underused actor, Tabu. Zohra Sehgal plays chef Big B’s mom and Paresh Rawal is Tabu’s dad. The story is a June-December romance and unlike other efforts I can think of (Guddi and that Salman starrer with the Aishwarya lookalike set in Russia, whose name I can’t remember right now) the trailer suggests a degree of realism. The woman is not an ingénue struck by the glamour of an older man – they’re two adults who’re attracted to each other but have a hurdle to cross. Best of all – music by Ilayaraja!
Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, on the other hand, is a movie that could be about anything at all. I sincerely hope it isn’t. Yashraj has already tried that out with Ta Ra Rum Pum and we all know how that turned out. This is a movie by Shaad Ali, whose last movie, Saathiya, was a remake of a Mani Ratnam film. If he sticks to that sensibility then this should be great! Starring son Abhishek, Priety Zinta, Bobby Deol and the immensely likable yet consistently miscast Lara Dutta, it seems to be some sort of Indo-Pak immigrant-class mishmash of a comedy. Bachchan dresses up like Johnny Depp crossed with Bob Dylan and plays a guitar. Coolness. I love a masala movie that isn’t apologetic about its masalapan. “Aap dono ka sex ho gaya?!”