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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Big B - The Biggest Star Of The Decade!

In July 1999, Amitabh Bachchan was named the "Greatest Star of stage or screen of the Millennium" by BBC online poll where he defeated many Hollywood legends such as Alec Guinness, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier and Charlie Chaplin. On Dece 31, 2010, he was declared “Best Actor of the Decade” at the Big Star Entertainment Awards, telecast worldwide by Star-plus. As one of his millions of big fans, I'm proud to present here his top ten movies of the decade with comments taken from reviews of the respective films by renowned film critics:

1. Mohabbatein (2000)

Directed by Aditya Chopra, the movie stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan in pivotal roles, along with six young debutantes. Aishwarya Rai appeared in flashbacks as Khan's lover. The movie was filmed at Oxford and Longleat. The film went on to do well both critically and commercially. It became the second highest grossing film of the year and won two Filmfare Awards, given to both Bachchan and Khan for their respective roles.

Mohabbatein has all the ingredients peculiar to Yash Raj films that also the audience seems to like forever, but the one ingredient that dwarfs everything else in this three and a half hour Diwali treat is Amitabh Bachchan. As a strict disciplinarian, a stern man, a patriarchal figure, Amitabh strikes just the right note. On seeing the film, you realize that nobody but nobody else could have been Narayan Shankar. The story is okay, but it is Amitabh and Shah Rukh, who rise above their roles and give the film an altogether different feel, height and look. And if you must know that one person who stands out in the crowd and gets the maximum applause on his entry, the answer is, Amitabh Bachchan.

2.Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)

Director Karan Johar's second movie (after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai), it was the highest grossing Indian film in the overseas market until 2006, when its record was broken by Johar's third film, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, another Amitabh Bachchan movie. The film also broke the American box office top 10, and was the first Bollywood feature to see a theatrical release in Germany (with German subtitles, a dubbed version was produced too). The film received fifteen nominations at the Filmfare Awards and ultimately won five awards, including the Best Supporting Actor award for Amitabh Bachchan.

In the most attractive star-cast in the Bollywood, the scintillating pair of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan (onscreen after such a long gap) engages the viewer considerably. While Jaya Bachchan looks unmatchable in the role in which she has seldom been seen, Amitabh's role of a stern patriarch (who demands strict principles and morals from his children) is reminiscent of the one he did in �Ek Rishta and Mohabbatein.

3. Baghban (2004)

B.R. Chopra's BAGHBAN, directed by Ravi Chopra, is a healthy family entertainer that takes a look at the lives of parents who are left in lurch in their old age to fend for themselves by their children. BAGHBAN works, mainly because of the rich emotional appeal it has to offer. The film is rich in emotions and a couple of sequences linger in your memory even after the show has concluded. Amitabh Bachchan delivers a wonderful performance. Although the veteran had enacted the role of the family head in the recent past [EK RISHTAA, K3G], this one towers above the rest. It's yet another memorable performance in his illustrious career.

On the whole, BAGHBAN has strong emotions as its trump card, which appeal to the family audience. At the box-office, as the word of mouth caught on, this 'gardener' [BAGHBAN] was rewarded with fruits, like its predecessors.

4. Black (2005)

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Black revolves around a blind and deaf girl, and her relationship with her teacher who himself later develops Alzheimer's disease. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and eleven Filmfare Awards, an all-time record at the Filmfare Awards, beating the previous record holders: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Devdas (2002) with ten wins each. Time Magazine (Europe) selected the film as one of the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2005 from across the globe. The movie was positioned at number five. Amitabh Bachchan received Best Actor award at the 53rd National Film Awards.

5. Sarkar (2005)

Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, it is a dramatic thriller set in the world of politics and crime. It stars Amitabh Bachchan in the title role alongside Abhishek Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon, Katrina Kaif, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak and Tanisha Mukherjee. Sarkar was an above average success at the box office and was greeted very well by critics. The actors, particularly the trio of Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Kay Kay Menon, were lavished with praise for their controlled yet intense performances. Abhishek Bachchan in particular, was rewarded for his portrayal as a son who is inexperienced but enters an unknown world so as to save his father. He won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.

THE GODFATHER may've inspired a number of films in India, but RGV takes the essence from the classic and narrates the games political heavyweights play, besides focusing on the politician-underworld nexus in Mumbai. SARKAR is without doubt an interesting film. The story, its execution, the performances, the drama... The outcome leaves you spellbound.

Subhash Nagare [Amitabh Bachchan] is Sarkar, the man who rewrites the law. He possesses the magnetism, aptitude and power to control the workings of the city. He even metes out justice when the common man does not get it from the law keepers. Amitabh Bachchan has portrayed diverse roles in his illustrious career. Some of his landmark performances include those in ZANJEER, SAUDAGAR, ABHIMAAN, DEEWAAR, TRISHUL, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, DON, AAKHREE RAASTA, AGNEEPATH, BAGHBAN and BLACK. Now add SARKAR to this impressive list. The veteran is in complete form this time around and even his harshest critics will have to admit that there's none in the industry who can match the versatility of Bachchan Sr. The veteran is not only getting the best roles now, even his performances have been scaling greater heights with each release.

6. Cheeni Kum (2007)

Made by advertising executive and debutant director R. Balki. it is an unconventional love story between a 34-year-old woman and an older man of 64. CHEENI KUM talks of two consenting adults wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. But there's a hitch The groom-to-be is elder than the prospective father-in-law. This relationship is highly objectionable to the bride's father! In a nutshell, a film like CHEENI KUM signifies the winds of change in Bollywood. An effort like this is sure to find its share of bouquets and brickbats. The elite wouldn't mind the film, the commoners might.

Amitabh Bachchan proves his supremacy yet again. Playing an arrogant chef, the actor is natural all through, but his performance in the finale makes the character all the more believable. Tabu stands on her feet despite a formidable co-star's domineering presence. She's excellent. Paresh Rawal is only adding to his credibility with every film. Zohra Sehgal is adorable. Swini Khara is supremely confident.

On the whole, CHEENI KUM is absorbing. The film gets a boost with a much energetic second half and that elevates the film to the watchable level. At the box-office, feel-good vibes ensured a positive run at the multiplexes.

7. Sarkar Raj (2008)

Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, it is the sequel to Sarkar (2005), the dramatic thriller film set in the world of politics and crime.The primary cast features three members of the Bachchan family - Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, who reprise their roles from the prequel, and new entrant Aishwarya Rai. Supriya Pathak, Tanisha Mukherjee and Ravi Kale also reappeared in their respective roles from Sarkar.

Sarkar Raj grossed almost Rs. 34 crores in India in its first two weeks and over $1 million in the USA. The Filmfare Magazine (August 2008 issue) and other media declared it to be among the only four hits in the first half of 2008 (along with Race, Jodhaa Akbar and Jannat). The producers retorted that the movie had earned more than the entire grossings of its hit prequel in its first two weeks itself. The movie has mostly garnered a positive critical reception, stating it was eons better than its prequel and took the series to a whole new level. There was unanimous praise for the relevant premise of development politics, the numerous plot twists (especially the final one) and the histrionics of Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Prabhavalkar, debutante Rajesh Shringarpore and Ravi Kale. The performances of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan received special mention, with most critics praising their performances. Many labeled it as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's best performance till date. Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, once again, employ the intensity of their piercing eyes to give sight to Ram Gopal Varma’s distinctive vision. The critically and commercially successful movie had many nominations and wins in the awards season.

8. Bhoothnath (2008)

Directed by Vivek Sharma and produced by Ravi Chopra, the film is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short-story The Canterville Ghost. 'Bhoothnath' is not a horror film, but is a bonanza for kids. The winning point for Vivek in this film is that he has made it a point to stick to the basic soul of not only his story but to his narration style as well. There are no major special effects; no background score gimmicks and no major masks or getups. The story is about a relationship between a kid Banku (Aman Siddiqui) and his friend Kailash Nath (Amitabh Bachchan). Bhootnath is an absolute fun movie that holds the attention of both children and adults. It shows a never seen before amazing relationship between a kid and a ghost. It's a must watch movie.

Director Vivek Sharma is lucky enough to get not one but two super stars -- Amitabh and Shah Rukh Khan, and that too in his debut film and he has not let this golden opportunity slip from his palms. Good work! Amitabh Bachchan keeps on coming up with surprises -- surprise of making a character like Kailash Nath so lovable. His bag of experiments still has some more to come out with. And, if Aman Siddiqui could really understand as to who this Amitabh is, with whom he is sharing the frame, he would have never been able to give such memorable performance. There is not even a single sign on Aman's face in any scene that he is working with The Super Star. Juhi and SRK who just come in to oblige friend Ravi Chopra end up doing some good job.

9. Paa (2009)

Can you ever imagine watching an Amitabh Bachchan film and not watching Amitabh Bachchan in it? Seems impossible, isn’t it? The towering persona and the rich baritone just cannot be overlooked. But R. Balki transforms the legendary actor into Auro, replaces the rich baritone with the voice of an adolescent [who's neither grown up, nor a kid] and taps the hitherto untapped talent of the icon. 10 minutes into the film and you forget you’re watching Amitabh Bachchan. For, Auro takes over the moment he is introduced to the viewer.

PAA is a simple film told in the most simplistic manner and that’s one of the prime reasons why this film works big time. The emotions would’ve fallen flat had the writing been sub-standard or the execution of the material been humdrum or the actors been inferior. But, thankfully, PAA scores in all three departments. PAA is an outstanding film. A film for every paa, every maa… for everyone with a heart. Take a bow, Auro!

Director R. Balki deserves a salute for thinking out of the box and also presenting Amitabh Bachchan like never before. No amount of praise, no amount of adjectives and personifications would do justice to Amitabh Bachchan’s performance as Auro. Sure, the icon has enthralled us with superlative performances in his four-decade career, but PAA is something else. The icon keeps surprising you at regular intervals and PAA is one of those beautiful surprises, which will remain etched in your memory forever.

That doesn’t mean that the remaining performances get dwarfed by Auro. Sure, PAA belongs to Auro, but not once does Abhishek Bachchan dither from his position or seems less inferior. This is the hallmark of a tremendous actor, which Abhishek is. Vidya is another surprise of PAA. She takes giant strides as an actor and proves yet again that given the right roles, she can match up to the best in the business. Paresh Rawal is effective. Arundhati Naag is amazing. So is the kid, Pratik, enacting the role of Auro’s best buddy. His telephonic conversation with Auro is superb. Jaya Bachchan’s presence is lovely.

On the whole, PAA is an amazing experience. It makes you realize two things. One, the Hindi film industry is also capable of narrating fresh stories. Two, Amitabh Bachchan is truly the most accomplished actor this side of the Atlantic.

10. Rann (2010)

Ram Gopal Verma, the maverick film-maker, does an expose on the games the heavyweights in the media play to further their interests. RGV goes into the newsrooms and also behind it and throws light on the politician-industrialist-media nexus. Also, it's an insider's account of how news channels that are greedy for ratings sensationalize stories to grab eyeballs. RANN is for those who enjoy serious cinema. It's more for the intelligentsia, for the thinking viewer. On the whole, RANN is truly a well-made film. No two opinions on that.

RGV's movies, generally, are embellished with competent actors who deliver super performances. In this film, every member of the cast shines in his/her role, the length of the role notwithstanding. Amitabh Bachchan is spectacular yet again, especially towards the finale. His speech and the way he delivers it are remarkable.

Indeed, this blog is dedicated to Big B – the biggest star of the decade.


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