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April 24, 2014 Thursday     

Gangs of Wasseypur - Book Review By Bobby Sing

Anurag Kashyap’s exceptional two part classic GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, with a massive five hours & thirty minutes long duration, received two kinds of extreme responses from the critics as well as the masses when it was released in the year 2013. Where a particular section simply rejected the film and called it nothing, there for many it was an epic creation by all standards giving them a new high in Hindi cinema as witnessed in many westerns classics made on the similar theme of gang-wars. Incidentally I belong to the second group mentioned above and really loved watching the movie in its entirety, especially its second part with Nawazuddin taking over the reign in style.
Now coming to this recently published material on the making of the film, obviously it is going to be of no use whatsoever for the ones who simply hated the final product and considered it crude. But for friends who really liked it, the book does have many valuable, worth reading chapters talking about the various troubles the crew had to face while shooting in all those unexplored remote areas, among the local people. Assuming that the reader has already seen the movie, the book comprises of much detailed information on its behind the scene activities, beginning right from the day Anurag started finalizing the basic idea. Hence in short, writer duo Jigna Kothari and Supriya Madangarli have really done a good job documenting it all for the passionate fans of Anurag Kashyap & his distinctive kind of cinema now being recognized as a reputed brand.
Having said that, the book still cannot be appreciated whole heartedly since it simply goes off-track in its second half, which features the detailed screenplay of the complete 2 part movie, along with the dialogues. To give you the details, its first half has seven interesting chapters (related to its conceptualization, writing, shooting, music-composing, song recordings and the post production process) which are surely a treat to read. Plus there is a lot to be learned by the emotional experiences shared by the key members and Anurag Kashyap himself in the seventh chapter titled ‘In First Person’. Especially the director simply wins over the reader, when he emotionally remembers the dear member who unfortunately lost his life in an accident while shooting a scene and how he found it extremely difficult to continue after that sudden, tragic incident affecting him severely. Further, Anurag talking about his own journey in the industry and the transformation phases he had gone through since his first unreleased movie, turns the book into a truly inspiring read offering a friendly warmth.
But surprisingly, the second half of the book fails to generate any similar impact and in fact is not worth reading too, except for those friends who do not understand Hindi, and wish to read the whole screenplay of the film in English only.
Actually the problem is that in this second section, the complete screenplay of the two part GOW is entirely presented in English along with the dialogues translated too, making them lose their actual charm and pull as enjoyed in the film. So in case you wish to read many of those impressive lines as delivered by the characters in their various sequences (in the local accent), then you are not going to find any of them in the book, since they all have been translated and now miles away from their original feel in the film.
Frankly, this wasn’t there in the earlier published scripts like 3 IDIOTS and more, which included the dialogues both in Hindi as well as in English simultaneously. Therefore I was really shocked and couldn’t find any reasons that why Jigna Kothari and Supriya Madangari opted for this translated screenplay instead of the original, ignoring the fact that it was the language in the film only which successfully added a lot to its overall ecstatic impact on the viewers unarguably. On second thoughts if printing in Hindi was a problem then they at least could have given the exact dialogues in Roman English form too in order to keep their immensely likable feel intact.
Anyway as a conclusion, it is no doubt a well-researched and intelligently written book on the making of this new age classic of the present era. But with the screenplay not having the dialogues in their exact form (i.e. in Hindi) it loses half the value for the money paid as I see it, particularly for those friends who are actually more interested in the screenplay itself.
GANGS OF WASSEYPUR : The Making of a Modern Classic – Jigna Kothari and Supriya Madangarli
Published by Harper Collins (2013) – Pages 458 (Paperback – Small Size)
Tags : GANGS OF WASSEYPUR The Making of a Modern Classic by Jigna Kothari and Supriya Madangarli. Book Review By Bobby Sing, Books on Hindi Cinema, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Books on Hindi Classics, GOW Making, GOW Book Review by Bobby Sing
23 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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Balraj-Sahni - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

Reading articles in film magazines penned by renowned artists themselves and listening to their personal interviews sharing a unique vision of life, indeed used to be an enriching experience, equivalent of going through some rich literature, back in time before the 80s. The views expressed in those articles/interviews had many great insights to share which could also enlighten the reader about many relevant unknown truths of life not exactly related to cinema.
Admittedly I realized this fact while going through many old journals and other valuable stuff of that golden era for a personal assignments and was literally taken back seeing the amazing quality of thoughts shared by many industry veterans like some revolutionary thinkers caring about their society around. One of those most important and must read documents happens to be the convocation speech by writer-thinker-social activist Balraj Sahni, the most natural actor of Hindi Cinema, speaking on his visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in the year 1972. And I am sure many of the friends reading it, would feel pleasantly shocked knowing the vision of this immensely talented artist, who liked to say the truth as it is without any hidden fear and therefore is considered as one of most respected names of our Hindi Film Industry unanimously.
Now looking at the 11 page long document, many might try to avoid it taking it as irrelevant or talking about something which might not be interesting enough. But for those friends, I would simply like to add that the long speech is unarguably going to change your whole outlook towards the actors of that Golden Era and perhaps your whole perception about ART, CINEMA and SOCIETY too in all possibilities. So to miss this, would be a major sin if I may call it in my humble opinion and if you still don’t feel like convinced then do read this small paragraph taken from the long text and then decide on your own.

Our little film world either offers the actor too little work, forcing him to eat his heart out in idleness; or gives him too much --so much that he gets cut off from all other currents of life. Not only does he sacrifice the pleasures of normal family life, but he also has to ignore his intellectual and spiritual needs. In the last twenty-five years I have worked in more than one hundred and twenty five films. In the same period a contemporary European or American actor would have done thirty or thirty-five. From this you can imagine what a large part of my life lies buried in strips of celluloid. A vast number of books which I should have read I have not been able to read. So many events I should have taken part in have passed me by. Sometimes I feel terribly left behind. And the frustration increases when I ask myself how many of these one hundred and twenty-five films had anything significant in them? How many have any claim to be remembered? Perhaps a few. They could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And even they have either been forgotten already or will be, quite soon.”
For online reading, the speech is available at the following official link of JNU website.
And For friends who wish to have it as a PDF format, then the same can be downloaded to read at your own convenience from the following link.
Have a good time reading & contemplating!
Tags : Balraj Sahni's remarkably inspiring speech at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1972!, Did You Know Know Facts about Hindi Cinema at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Unknown Bollywood Trivia by Bobby Sing, Balraj Sahni at JNU in 1972
08 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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Bobby - The Complete Story by K.A.AbbasFor friends who are well familiar with the works of legendary showman Raj Kapoor, the facts related to RK Banner going through an extremely tough time after the big debacle of MERA NAAM JOKER are quite well known. Plus the way Raj Kapoor bounced back like a Phoenix with his youthful BOBBY in 1973 is also a widely famous fact for every true lover of Hindi Cinema.
However, one interesting information which might not be known to many is that at the time of release of this youthful trendsetter, its reputed writer K.A. Abbas also introduced a new concept in the trade circles, of coming up with a English book based on his original script of the film like a romantic novel aptly titled “BOBBY – The Complete Story”. The step was no doubt ahead of its time (which was received well) and the publishing world later adapted the same as their regular feature too.
Now thankfully after almost four decades, the same book has been re-published by Harper Collins again in most probably the same format and size (pocket form) with the original preface by K.A. Abbas as it is (with many unknown trivia about the film like its initial idea coming from Archie comics & Neetu Singh also considered for the lead role), along with a new foreword by the editor Suresh Kohli. An engaging read just like the film (with some exclusive photographs in its mid), the novel makes you understand the process of how a story gets transformed into a script with some necessary changes made for the screen. And for all the young friends who somehow still haven’t watched BOBBY, this would be a lot more than a loving Mills & Boons romantic novel, written with a pure Indian heart. So do give it a try and have a good time with both Bobby and Raja.
BOBBY The Complete Story - By K.A. Abbas
Published by Harper Collins (2012) – Pages 154 (Paperback – Small Size)
Tags : BOBBY The Complete Story By K.A. Abbas, TTP (To the Point) Book Review By Bobby Sing, Did You Know Facts about Hindi Films, Vinatge books on Bollywood, Rare Books on Hindi Cinema, Bobby Script by K.A. Abbas, Nostalgic Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
02 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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