Bollywood Quarterly: July – September 2014

Who Runs The World?
Ok thanks guys, we can take it from here.

Let’s hear it for the ladies! Cometh the hour, cometh the actresses – this quarter was packed to the rafters with great female performances in quick succession, making what is an occasional treat into something that should have been the norm a very long time ago.
Are you doubting us? Doubt you.


So take a bow  Vidya, Rani, Priyanka, Bipasha and Deepika, all of whom brought their A-game to the marquee with some stellar on screen work. With films opening on the strength of their appeal with no unnecessary item number or throwing a bone guest appearance from a ‘top’ hero, it is content that is driving whilst star power begins to wane.

Yes, these films may not have done the massive numbers of a Kick or a Singham 2. But I would argue the films with a female protagonist at their heart were far more engaging and exciting to watch than watching cars being blown up (#insurancepremiums #FTW)  or a grown man jangling an over sized bracelet on his wrist when not scratching an itchy crotch.  And whilst there is no 100 crore in five days flat yet, it is only a matter of time before that ceiling is broken through and we get  our female superstars not only keeping credibility and integrity intact but also bringing in the moolah too.

Of course, someone had to spoil the party – step forward the Times Of India with their masterclass in misogny and crap journalism (see above). Perving on Deepika, then saying it was a compliment, then trying to say it was her fault? Clearly delusion is in no short supply at TOI HQ.  No doubt if the tables were turned and those pot bellied editorial woman hating types were photographed and had their pictures with a prominent red circle around their misshapen moobs/sweat patches/receding hairlines/chicken legs/awful dress sense (all compliments which they asked for by leaving top buttons undone) you can bet that they would think twice before subjecting women to such unwarranted attention.

It is this kind of regressive and unchecked stupidity that needs to be challenged and I certainly believe that film has a duty to use its influence to help challenge this kind of behaviour and give our amazing womenfolk the respect they deserve. So Bollywood,  more films with female protagonists please – we the male audience will be there to support them and hope these will effect the change in our everyday attitudes! #heforshe

Quarterly Catch Up

So here are the films to watch if you didn’t already:

Bobby Jasoos – Trust Vidya to be at the forefront of the revolution – this lovely film made no bones about using Vidya’s talent in the best way possible and was a better film for it. Also stands up to repeat viewing. See my review here.

Mardaani – No doubt Shivani Shivaji Roy would have slapped the screenwriter silly if she had time to for almost spoiling it but this is Rani Mukerji firing on all cylinders. Yes, it does have problems but the good far outweighs the bad. See my review here.

Mary Kom – All the controversy surrounding this film temporarily halted as Priyanka’s tour de force performance drove an average script treatment to a higher plane – that’s girl power for you. See my review here.

Finding Fanny – Yes, it is in English and not everyone liked it. But I loved it – quirky, charming and a refreshing antidote to the all the mod-cons multiplex fodder that we are used to, give it a chance if you haven’t already. See my review here.

Points to note:

Creature did not release in the UK so I have not seen it – however, I am a sucker for Bips fighting the supernatural so fingers crossed!

I did not watch Khoobsurat. I know I should have but I just couldn’t. I will atone by watching the original with Rekha.

I saw Qissa: Tale Of The Lonely Ghost at the London Indian Film Festival this quarter and it was superb! I reviewed it for Upodcast and you can see the review here.

See also my write up of a Q&A session with Farhan Akhtar at the BFI Southbank, London here.


Taz Chachu and The Rise Of Ko Na 

Taz update: So I was all set to release an exclusive extract (transcribed by an eagle eyed intern) of what happened when our favourite trade analyst Taz Adarsh went to LA for a meeting with Ari Gold from the US series Entourage. But then this happened:

Oh bae.

Despite my snark credentials, I find it difficult to kick someone when they are down. So I am adding  my get well wishes to Taz and hope he makes a swift recovery – our Twitter timelines are like austerely dressed Dharma films without his bombastic hyperbolic tweets – ALL TIME HISTORIC LOW!

Instead, I present to you a profile of Taz Chachu’s arch rival – Ko Na (also known as Komal Nahta).

An ambitious broad from Bombay, only Ko Na has been able to match Taz as the go-to trade pundit who can worryingly influence many perceptions of whether a film has done well or not.

With a Tyra-Naomi style feud between these two.  Yash Raj Studios is their catwalk and Business Of Cinema their Vogue covers. These bitches be cut throat when it comes to reporting box office collections that are CONFIRMED, EXCLUSIVE and FIRST. So we know all about Taz. But who is Ko Na?

Ko Na From The Block

My name is WHAT? My name is WHO...
My name is WHAT? My name is WHO…

Ko Na hails from Bombay and is the son of a film producer.  Attending South Bandra High *, if Taz Uncle was Normcore, then Ko Na was all about Grease and Saturday Night Fever.  Always on the periphery of the cool kids, Ko Na was forever the bridesmaid never the bride. However, his prowess for reporting gossip was noted and in a pre-mobile phone era, Ko Na was the go to Gossip Girl  for So Ba High* types.  So influential was his gossip that Ko Na’s watchman claimed to the Times Of India will claim to any old rag that  the popular US show stole the term “spotted” from Ko Na himself. Ex Oh Uh Oh indeed.

*So Ba High is like the Hogwarts of Bollywood. Go figure.

If You Had My Love

After college (where he shared a drunken kiss with Taz – a moment comparable to when Al Pacino and Robert De Niro meet in the film Heat), there was no Devil Wears Prada/Dostana style internship. Taking less time than a  Madhur Bhandarkar montage to establish himself as a top topper,  Ko Na  conquered the world of publishing and then the inter webs becoming the second most coveted go-to trade analyst for Bollywood.

Oh Ko na na, what's my name...
Oh na na, what’s my name…

But Taz was still Number One. With a taste for Gucci and jellabis, Taz was the luxury option. However, if Taz was East Coast, then Ko Na has fine fresh fierce on lock with his West Coast demeanour and what’s more, his love certainly didn’t cost a thing and his reviews were not for sale. #burn

He’s Real

It was when Ko Na replaced Taz as the host of Bollywood Business that shit went down. Everyone knew Taz was the go to girl when it came to the small screen. But Ko Na proved anyone can sport a bad weave and an ill fitting suit while being smarmy to women young enough to be their daughters. From then on, this cold war turned NUCLEAR. An understandably perturbed Taz was heard at an upmarket jellabi stand eatery bitching how Ko Na was chasing celebrity rather than collections thus bespoiling trade punditry benefits for all.

Not going to diss you on the internet cos momma taught me better than that!
Not going to diss you on the internet cos momma taught me better than that!

But Ko Na was not to be dissed.  He struck back at his rival by phoning up cinema owners on his actual show and asked straight up how much money was in the cash register – something he does to this day. Ko Na took it to the streets, finding out what the common man was paying to see and then basing his opinions on that. If a film had a high occupancy, then Ko Na explained it as the consumer knowing exactly what they wanted. And if it didn’t, well, Ko Na said the consumer didn’t want it. MBA students take note.

Ain’t It Funny

However, it was 2013, courtesy of Sanjay Gupta master transcriber/imitator  that relations hit an ALL TIME BOTTOM OF THE BARREL.

Well, not just that. Taz had been shooting his mouth off all around town and Ko Na had had enough of it. Not only had he filed a case against Taz but he also blasted him in this amazing blog post where he challenged his rival to a full on showdown and warned  Taz to face up or f*** off.


So what happened next? Er, nothing really. Taz has his space, Ko Na has his. Both sitting pretty, syrups weaves hair in place ready to cut the other down within moments of one tweeting something.

Since Taz Uncle has been ill of late, the sniping is at an apparent standstill. But the rise of Ko Na has been unstoppable in this time. Like a Meghna Mathur seizing a Panache contract, Ko Na has had a free run in his rivals absence.

"Oh nothing - fine fresh fierce, I got it on lock!"
“Oh nothing – fine fresh fierce, I got it on lock!”

But then this…

OMG – literally.

Get your popcorn and samosas ready and book those multiplex single screens now, looks like the battle has moved from the marquee to the streets – and only the last man standing will be declared an ALL TIME BALLBUSTER BLOCKBUSTER.


Who will be India’s Next Top Trade Pundit????


Fashion Quarters – 4 Looks I’ve Been Digging This Quarter

Priyanka Chopra at  the Mary Kom World Premiere TIFF in Gauri + Nainika

Just lovely. Source: Getty Images
Just lovely.  (C) Getty Images

Wow, what is not to love about this? The gorgeous monochrome, simple up do, red lip. In fact, it all looks deceptively simply and one suspects that a lot of thought went into this. In any case, looking beautiful and winning acclaim both home and away, PC smashed it out of the park – or keeping in tone with the film, a knockout. (Sorry).

Deepika Padukone at the Finding Fanny Premiere in Payal Singhal

The new dream girl.
The new dream girl.

Some people were going on about the lip colour not being right but do you know what? WE’LL LIVE WITH IT. Looking gorgeous from head to toe, I love everything about this look and can’t get over how beautiful this woman is, not to mention well dressed. And to think she has had stronger looks than this in the same quarter – I picked this as it was my favourite.

Anushka Sharma at Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2015 Presentation in Burberry


I almost fell off my seat when I saw Anushka arrive during the live streaming of the show – coupled with a loud exclamation of wow, I turned heads in the office. Enough about me though. Again, on the world stage, our girl looked smashing – even the big ol’ bag she was toting (get it?) was ok because I’m a sucker for a tote. Just a great covetable look but wearable in real life too – once Autumn hits, I’ll be wearing printed scarves like this. (Really, I will).

Huma Quereshi at Femina Style Diva Pageant in Bebe

Puh retty.
Puh retty.

Now this is another divisive look – I applaud it as I like that Huma took a risk here and to my eye, looks pretty darn good. I am guessing this may not have photographed as well as it appeared on the night plus Huma’s pose doesn’t do it any favours. Also, I would not have picked those shoes. And yet she looks coordinated, radiant and happy. So in my book, beautiful and stylish.


Final Quarter Preview 

Haider – I’ve seen 20 minutes of this and I was left wanting more at the press conference – a must watch!

Bang Bang – Oh look beautiful people grinding each other and jumping from great heights. Then again, released at the same time as Haider so brain will need a break.  This better be good – I DARE YOU DUGGU.

Happy New Year – Because Diwali without my now favourite Khan quite simply is not Diwali.

Ungli – This is either going to be dreadful or brilliant. With Kangana and Randeep, I am hoping it is the latter.

Kill Dill – If ever there was a film that doesn’t need any more crack cocaine on sets, it is this one – more kitsch and sync than a kitchen sink, all the feels already.

P.K – So Aamir Mamu, you destroyed a lot of goodwill with Dhoom 3. Time to either redeem yourself or forever be scorned. In other news,  is that your radio or are you just very pleased to be mentioned?

And that’s your lot! Have a great final quarter, see you for my end of year roundup in December!


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