Super filmi week: Power of Pink!

Pink, Penaz Masani and a precious picture of Nirupa Roy in and as Superman, a low-down of my fully filmi week!

Oh look, a picture of Bhagyashree and Sheeba celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in Sangli, Maharashtra.

Their BFF fervour may not be as famous as Kareena Kapoor Khan and Amrita Arora or Sonam Kapoor and Swara Bhaskar but the duo’s Instagram feed is ample proof of their attachment.

Now for some useless trivia, what do these two actresses from the 90s bandwagon share in common besides colourful attire and closeness?

That’s right, Salman Khan! Except one starred opposite him in one of his best movies (Maine Pyar Kiya) and the latter his worst (Suryavanshi).

Sheeba and Bhagyashree

Photograph: Sheeba Akashdeep/Instagram

Embarrassingly late to the party but happy to discover the splendour of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, thanks to my Netflix subscription.

Earlier I was so consumed by Igor Maslennikov’s Russian adaptation of the legendary sleuth, I didn’t want to dilute the impact of its traditional telling by immediately switching to the contemporary tone of the new BBC series.

My deductions: Apart from the brilliant bit of casting — Cumberbatch’s lucent face and extraordinary energy articulates the infinite aptitude of his brain in words and silence, the unassuming Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson adds up as the perfect foil and second fiddle — I am floored by its audacity, imagination, sophistication, wit and layers mixing up Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless mysteries into modern-day politics and crime yet having a ball with it.

Although the developments in the follow-up to a crackerjack season two puzzled me a bit. Like compromising on Sherlock’s unfailing conceit for a sentimental rendering, especially to accommodate Mary Watson felt somewhat unnatural. Perhaps this shift in behaviour isn’t as obvious when watching an episode after a year’s anticipation but back to back, the discrepancy is too noticeable to overlook.

All the same, my mind palace is choc blocked with too many thrilling memories of the high-functioning sociopath living in 221B Baker Street to make a fuss.Sherlock

Woo hoo, mail just arrived and it’s my complimentary copy of a book on Indian Cinema.

Published as a collector’s volume by Federation of Film Societies of India (FSSI), the 17th edition of the ‘Indian Film Culture’ features writings on a wide range of subjects concerning the said theme by eminent film critics of English, Hindi and regional cinema.

One of the essays includes a humble contribution — Is Old Always Gold? Looking at the good, bad and ugly of Hindi cinema– by yours truly.

“As someone regularly focusing on old Hindi movies, I sense a strong need to acquaint the younger generation about the feats (and foibles) of India’s cinematic past in order to be a better judge of its present.”Indian Film Culture

It’s my darling nephew’s first birthday! All the more reason for his super filmi aunt to behave even more filmi?  No, I didn’t inundate him with ‘Jug Jug Jiyo Mere Laal’ but it’s certainly reflected in my choice of gifts.

Last week, I wrote about his obsession for Masoom’s Lakdi Ki Kathi so I promptly ordered a rocking horse, er, dragon actually, because I am so big on Smaug, Haku, Mushu, Pete and Toothless.

The other gift I picked is a hilarious and charming graphic novel Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown, which imagines what it would look for the Sith Dark Lord like to raise an offspring.

Still some time before he can enjoy the book but, hey, the force is with him already.
Darth Vader and SonFriday
Amazing how social networking websites can turn a drab day into a delightful one.

On Twitter, a fellow movie enthusiast shows me a picture of Nirupa Roy and, man, it’s the mother of all surprises. Long before she was crowned Bollywood’s indispensable Maa, Roy starred in and as Superman. She resembles a closer cousin of Phantom actually.

Nevertheless, it’s exciting to see Hindi cinema’s most lachrymose character aiming a dagger at her opponent in a badass bodysuit. Although she played the lead in plenty films before graduating to mommy roles in a majority of Amitabh Bachchan vehicles, nothing so feisty.

My friend Pavan Jha, a treasure trove of knowledge on Hindi cinema’s little-known facets tells me he’s seen the film, currently unavailable for viewing. There was a surge of Superman films in Bollywood at that time, he adds. Indeed, there’s one called Return of Superman that came out the same year and also stars Nirupa Roy but Jairaj in the titular avatar.

I am at Mumbai’s Terminal 2 to catch a flight to Delhi only to discover the entire airport has been cordoned off. The car drop off point is completely blocked forcing travellers to drag their luggage all the way to the building and wait indefinitely until entry is permitted.

Worst part is no one has a clue on what’s going one. A fella rerouting the traffic blames it on some ‘VIP’ presence whereas a porter offhandedly mentions the possibility of some unclaimed, suspicious object. Turns out it’s a mock drill that takes place once in a year and the crowd of us is eventually let in.

Hassled by the long queue for security check, I turn around to see who’s laughing so whole-heartedly despite the likelihood of missing her flight. It’s ghazal singer Penaz Masani.

The gorgeous lady is all sunshine and radiates so much positivity, I immediately forget all about my irritation. After all how many people can promise ‘you’ll love our country’ to a dazed tourist with a conviction like hers so soon after the pandemonium outside the airport? Masani also gives her some tips on shopping and Indian fashion before the camera phone brigade entreats her for selfies.
Penaz MasaniSunday
Watching a housefull show of Pink in a Delhi theatre, where folks think it’s perfectly normal to tag their excessively chatty tots along. Grrr.

Minor quibbles aside, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s first Hindi film, also set in the capital, regrettably synonymous with misogyny and male chauvinism, should be watched by everybody and everywhere because it’s not so much about an incident as it is about judgement, assumption, conditioning and limits around something as basic as decency and as unacceptable as force.

It treads on grey areas yet adheres to a strict black and white code of characterization, the courtroom scenes sometimes oscillate between stagy and unrealistic and the add-on arcs hold little weight. Projecting itself as a thriller, revealing very little and leaving the viewer to pick details for cinematic effect is a splendid idea but when the focus is on something as serious as the one in Pink, it eventually conflicts with the enormity of its disclosure. But the performances are so remarkably solid and real, the connection it sparks so hard-hitting and on point, it goes without saying Pink is the need of the hour.

The message is effective and, more importantly, essential and that’s why the film succeeds even where the filmmaking does not.A still from Pink
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Also read:
The irrepressible cuteness of Pooja Bhatt
Indradhanush was our Stranger Things
When Saif Ali Khan wore Rishi Kapoor’s sweater
Getting nostalgic about the 1980s, Winona Ryder & Kishore Kumar
Rediscovering Gulzar’s Ghalib & finding Free Love
Applauding NTR’s Superman on screen!
Tripping on A R Rahman
A millipede and Kimi Katkar’s monsoon romance
Udta Punjab, worst casting decisions, and naheeee…!
Of warring Khan bhakts and meeting Mogambo!
Ranbir’s forgotten romance in Bachna Ae Haseeno
Funnier than Aishwarya’s lips
Clashing superheroes and crying Khans
OCDing on Neetu Singh’s LPs!
Garam Dharam, Mantrik Origins, Rockstar Cruise

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