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July 24, 2014 Thursday     


Subhash Ghai’s KARZ which was a mixture of more than one specific genres (namely a musical, murder-mystery, suspense or family drama), was declared a semi hit in certain regions as it was considered to be ahead of its times and unconventional too by many trade analyst of that era in 1980.
But interestingly if we look back then KARZ enjoys a rare two way inspirational status like very few films do wherein at one end it is supposed to have a hugely inspired script as well as an identical soundtrack borrowed from the west. There on the other the film went on to inspire more than 10 Hindi and regional films in the country itself taking evident clues from its storyline, execution and lyrics quite frequently.
Talking about the borrowed concepts first, though Hindi Cinema had already made successful films on the subject of reincarnation like MADHUMATI way back in 1958 but still KARZ was supposed to be heavily inspired from the English flick THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD released in 1975. But anyone who has seen this English original would readily agree that Ghai’s version was a much more polished and entertaining film for sure if compared to its source material. Apart from the basic plot its melodious soundtrack composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal, had a highly identical number “Ek Hasina Thi” (including its famous signature tune) straight away taken from George Benson’s “We as Love” which was a part of his album “Weekend in LA”. Besides the track “Om Shanti Om” was again a quite intelligent rehashed work of Lord Shorty’s “Shanti Om” released in his 1974 album “Endless Vibrations”.
Now conversely coming to the films inspired by Subhash Ghai’s KARZ itself, firstly it was officially remade as YUGA PURUSHA (1989) in Kannada, ENAKKUL ORUVAN (1984) in Tamil and AATMA BALAM (1985) in Telugu along with the most recent adaptation being the Hindi film KARZZZZ (2008) starring Himesh Reshammiya & Urmila in the lead. However before Himesh, Farah Khan also came up with her own re-worked version of the same theme in OM SHANTI OM (2006) and for that she even planned a respectable tribute by beginning the film with a restored song footage of original KARZ featuring both Rishi Kapoor and Subhash Ghai dancing along (made possible through the digital revolution & computer graphics). Plus she also got a new track specially arranged by Pyarelal to honour his majestic contribution to Hindi cinema as an appreciable nice gesture indeed.
Later the film’s name and few key phrases of its various songs inspired seven films in all. Including ‘KARZ- The Burden of Truth' (2002) re-using the same title with a new tag line and "Ek Hasina Thi" (2004), "Aashiq Banaya Aapne" (2005), "Dard-e-Dil" (1983), "Om Shanti Om" (2007), “Main Solha Baras Ki" (1998) and "Paisa Yeh Paisa" (1985) borrowing their titles from its various song’s mukhdas or lyrics.
But other than this rare two way inspirational status, KARZ had some unique special points in its execution too as mentioned below:
1. It was a project based on upbeat, trendy Disco music which was the forte of then immensely popular R. D. Burman. So many were shockingly surprised when Ghai chose Laxmikant Pyarelal as his music directors who were more known as the masters of Indian musical arrangements and instruments. However what LP did for KARZ proved Subhash Ghai right strongly without any doubt.
2. Similar to his odd choice for the music directors, another unusual casting option made by Ghai was of roping in Simi Garewal in the major role and that too of a killer woman or a deadly vamp which she had never played before.
3. Despite given a powerful persona as the Villain, Prem Nath didn’t have a single dialogue in the film and he only conveyed through a tapping sound made on various things like a glass, phone receiver and more.
4. With KARZ, Subhash Ghai also introduced a pretty useful concept of brand promotion on the screen and promoted the music company HMV boldly by some innovative stage designs. For instance just watch the whole dance sequence of Rishi Kapoor in his opening song wherein he is dancing on a giant record and the music company’s name is written in big letters all over in the background.
5. The soundtrack had its all songs sung by Kishore Kumar as he was a perfect choice for the particular genre suiting Rishi Kapoor. But Laxmikant-Pyarelal were too keen for using the voice of Mohd. Rafi for one soulful ghazal “Dard-e-Dil” in the film. And later both Kishore Kumar’s “Om Shanti Om” and Mohd. Rafi’s “Dard-e-Dil” got nominated for Best Male Singer and Best Lyrics category in the Filmfare awards of 1981. However Kishore Kumar won the award that year for “Hazaar Rahein” from THODI SI BEWAFAI.
Hence though KARZ did manage to achieve only moderate success at the box office in its year of initial release, yet the film rightly deserves to be rated as a cult path-breaking entertainer of the 80s and a must watch film too unarguably.
Tags : Karz and its two way inspirational status, Subhash Ghai's KARZ and its unique features, Unknown facts about Karz, Did You Know facts about Karz (1980), Most Resued film in Bollywood, Karz inspired music, Karz Inspired Theme, Unknown facts about Bollywood, Rare unknown facts about Hindi Films.
22 July 2014 / bobbysing /
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Utpal Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan Interlinked CareersThe veteran thinking artist Utpal Dutt has been a part of few Amitabh Bachchan projects right from the beginning in 1969 to the late 80s. But interestingly there exists a quite unique kind of inter-connection between the two stalwarts which has not been noticed by many (as it seems) stated below.
To begin with, the millennium star Amitabh Bachchan had two kinds of debuts in Hindi films. One when he was introduced as a narrator with his famous baritone voice in Mrinal Sen’s BHUVAN SHOME in the year 1969. And two, when he was introduced as a young energetic actor in K. A. Abbas’s SAAT HINDUSTANI (1969 only), playing one of the seven key characters in its script. Now the first and the most significant point to be noticed is that in both these prestigious projects the lead role was played by none other than Utpal Dutt.
Secondly, Dutt played the unusual negative role of the main villain in very few Hindi films wherein again the two key ventures happened to be Amitabh starrers  i.e. THE GREAT GAMBLER (1979) in which the Bengali veteran played the smuggler/gangster. And other being the controversial INQUILAAB released in 1984 wherein Dutt portrayed the character of a corrupt politician cum businessman.
Thirdly Utpal Dutt probably gave his only screen (cameo) appearance as a Sikh Military officer in a Hindi film IMAAN DHARAM (1977), which again had Amitabh playing one of the lead characters along with Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar. A simply outstanding act worth watching, in which Dutt suddenly interrupts a politician’s speech and sings a stage song along with his whole military jawaans group, spiritedly. And the song sequence honestly gives you goose bumps even today, as Dutt loses his artificial leg while dancing on the energetic ‘Dhol’ beats and then goes crawling all the way to pick it up on his own with Sanjeev Kumar sportingly playing the ‘Dufli’ to inspire him.
Incidentally, Amitabh too made a cameo appearance in Utpal Dutt’s GOL MAAL directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee two years later in 1979.
However, amazingly this hidden relationship between the two veterans continued post Dutt’s sudden demise too when Amitabh Bachchan featured as the lead actor in Rituparno Ghosh’s THE LAST LEAR in 2007 which was an English film based on Utpal Dutt’s play AAJKER SHAHJAHAN talking about an eccentric Shakespearean actor.
Plus as destiny had planned, the film won the National Award for Best Feature Film in English in 2008, completing an evident circle of Karma after almost four decades since their first film together BHUVAN SHOME was also awarded the National Award for Best Hindi Film in 1969. In addition where Utpal Dutt won the Best Actor National Award for BHUVAN SHOME, there Amitabh won the Most Promising Newcomer National Award for SAAT HINDUSTANI in the same year.
Hence the two did have an exceptional connection between their individual careers undeniably.
Tags : The amazing connection between Utpal Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan, Unknown Facts of Hindi Films by Bobby Sing, Did You Know Trivia about Bollywood at bobbytalkscinema.com, Utpal Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan Debut Hindi Films
15 July 2014 / bobbysing /
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Utpal Dutt - Bobby Talks Cinema,comUtpal Dutt, whom the Hindi film viewers largely remember for his famous comical acts in cult comedies such as GOL MAAL, LAKHON KI BAAT, RANG BIRANGI, SHAUKEEN and many more was actually a multifaceted personality with some lesser discussed but astonishing capabilities, more known to the Bengali films and theatre audiences. Putting it honestly, it’s really a pity that the Hindi belt mostly knows this great thinker as a mere comedian saying “Achhaaaaa” in his own impeccable style in all those entertaining comedies and only a few really know about his great insightful works and background of an eminent theatre activist, film-maker & writer in Bengal.
Living his given creative years between 1920 and 1993, Utpal Dutt was not only a remarkable actor but was also an inspirational writer-playwright and director too beginning his ‘Little Theater Group” as a contributing step towards the growth of Modern Indian Theatre in the late 40s. Later his writings and plays started depicting the political state of the world/country full of Marxist ideologies and revolutionary ideas challenging the system itself, for which he even had to go underground and was also jailed in those evolutionary years of Indian theatre history of the last century.
As an actor, Dutt acted in over 100 Bengali and Hindi films in his noteworthy career and gave many splendid award winning performances in classics like Mrinal Sen’s BHUVAN SHOME (1969 – National Award for Best Actor), plus GOL MAAL, NARAM GARAM, RANG BIRANAGI & SAHEB (winning Filmfare Awards for Best Comic Actor & Supporting role). The Sangeet Natak Akademi awarded him the reputed Fellowship for Lifetime Contribution to Theatre in the year 1990 and apart from the plays, Utpal Dutt also directed more than 6 Bengali films and one Hindi project too in the mid-80s.
As a prolific writer, he wrote numerous articles, reviews & seminar papers in a career span of around four decades and at present his five compilation books are available for all interested friends, published by Seagull Books of Kolkata with the following titles:
1. Towards a Revolutionary Theatre
2. Three Plays: Hunting the Sun, The Great Rebellion, Nightmare City
3. Rights of Man
4. On Theatre
5. On Cinema
Utpal Dutt on Cinema - Book ReviewNow from the above five, one book which tells you a lot about the astonishing knowledge, a keen eye and the impressive analytical vision this creative man possessed in his powerful identity is the book ‘On Cinema’ in particular, which introduces the reader to a completely different Utpal Dutt who has an amazing understanding about all kinds of cinema & its maestros known in the other parts of the world too. And a person who has got a lot to talk about the personal, social and moral responsibilities of a creative artist, other than just enjoying the riches coming along with the success achieved in his respective field.
The book is a collection of his fiery writings on cinema, few brutally truthful reviews of important films, personal letters to Ray, some insightful pieces on Sen’s MRIGYA & GENESIS along with two individual chapters on Chaplin’s autobiography and Kurosawa’s cinema to sum it all. In addition the compilation also has the telefilm script by Dutt titled “In Search of Theater” probably written in the early phase of his career. The writings are deep, thoughtful and potent enough to generate a new respect for the veteran, especially in the case of Hindi film viewers who just know the actor Utpal Dutt as a mere comedian with some exceptional gifted skills and hilarious mannerisms.
In fact at times such is the passionate honesty in his chosen words that it surprises you about how rebellious he used to be in his seminars and public meetings without any fear of a controversy or any government action against him for his expressed thoughts. For instance the following excerpt would clearly convey the same taken from the time period when Ray was given an OSCAR by the Academy of Motion Pictures in 1991 in the hospital itself.
“The Government of India, as usual, woke up later, after a night of revelry, discovered a genius in Calcutta and hastened to confer something called the Bharat Ratna upon him – only because the Americans gave him the Oscar. Of course, Ray had previously won every prize the film world has to offer – at Cannes, at Venice, at Berlin………….!
But an American award is a different thing altogether. So the game of sharing in Ray’s glory began in great haste in New Delhi, and, since the man was already in Coma, it was safe to heap the Bharat Ratna on him. Men in coma cannot refuse awards.”
                                                                             (In a seminar on Ray in Delhi in 1992)
In another chapter Dutt even goes further and says,
“In this country especially – a bunch of unscrupulous and thoroughly cynical tycoons control all resources, all production, all circuits of distribution and profits. They claim to entertain the masses, and the morality of their means is no consequence to them whatsoever. If opium gave them easier profits, they would trade in opium.
That’s the way they speak, openly and unashamedly. If a film is a hit, it’s a good film. And if a Ray film flops or a Benegal film doesn’t do business at the box office, then those films are bad films – period.
In Bombay they make films as a factory makes soap and sells it, wholesale or retail. The masses want them that way, they say. In reality, they have manipulated the masses into a state of cultural prostration.
You have to see the shit they churn out to believe it – pardon my expression”.
               (In a keynote address at Delhi’s International Film Festival of India in 1979)
This was the original UTPAL DUTT, the true artist........ and I bet almost ninety percent of the Hindi movie watching population would be unaware of this more important and powerful persona of the thinking actor-writer-director, who flawlessly played Bhawani Shanker, the moustache loving employer of Amol Palekar in GOL MAAL.
However I am sure after reading this article, no one (among the Hindi films viewers) would ever treat the veteran creative genius as a mere comedian alone in the future.

(Note : Coming next another rare article about the unique relationship between Utpal Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan illustrious career…….So Stay Tuned)
Tags : Utpal Dutt the theater activist and writer, Utpal Dutt the author, Utpal Dutt and his book on Cinema, Did You Know facts of Hindi Films by Bobby Sing, Books on Cinema at bobbytalkscinema.com, Books on Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Utpal Dutt on Cinema by Seagull Publications.
12 July 2014 / bobbysing /
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