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August 2005
Update & Review

MOVIE UPDATE

Indian production house Percept Picture Company has reportedly signed Hollywood actors Mel Gibson and Colin Farrell for its forthcoming production Tree Of Life. The $145 million project, to be directed by Oscar-winner Terence Malik, will be extensively shot abroad. Some portions will be shot in India.

Mahesh Manjrekar has two films lined up for release ? the Amitabh Bachchan-Sharmila Tagore starrer Viruddh (which also stars John Abraham) and the Sanjay Dutt starrer Life Ho To Aisi. Meanwhile, Mahesh's one-act film Struggler has finally been cleared by the Censor Board.

Director Rajiv Rai is planning to shoot his next film ? a period film based on a true story in London in the 1930s ? with a Hollywood cast and crew. Rai, who is half way through the script, has even found a working producer in the U.S. associated with a major production house. But he is not willing to divulge details of the project till October.

After Kareena and Sushmita, it is the turn of Rani Mukherjee to play a prostitute. The versatile actress will be seen in the role of an 18th century prostitute called Heera in the most awaited film of the year, Ketan Mehta's The Rising which stars Aamir Khan and Amisha Patel. Rani and Aamir were last paired in Ghulam seven years ago. Rani has another film lined up with Aamir. Titled Mr Mehta and Mrs Singh, this romantic comedy is being directed by Vishal Bharadwaj.

Ram Gopal Varma has now moved to comedy with Mr Ya Miss starring Aftab Shivdasani and Ritesh Deshmukh. To be directed by Satchit Puranikand and Ramu's discovery Antara Mali, Mr Ya Miss also has Antara as its scriptwriter. The story is about a man's mind trapped in a woman's body. "It is a very unique concept and has given us another opportunity to deliver a distinct look to the art of film making. The audience can look forward to something different and exciting," says Varma.

Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut which was held back for more than a year for want of suitable stars, has finally taken off. Titled Udaan, the film stars Konkona SenSharma, Arshad Warsi, Ayesha Takia and Paresh Rawal.

MOVIE REVIEW

Sarkar

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon

Producer: Ram Gopal Varma

Director: Ram Gopal Varma

Sarkar, as is well known now, is inspired by Francis Ford Copolla's classic The Godfather with Big B doing a Marlon Brando as Don Corleone and Junior stepping into Al Pacino's shoes as Michael Corleone. The outcome? A taut, happening and yet controlled film that is compelling, yes. Historic, no.

Ramu's stamp is all over Sarkar, though in this one there's a hint of softening. Emotions get as much weightage as the crescendo music used to highlight tension. And violence in this one, unlike Satya, remains an electrically charged undercurrent that imparts a chill to the proceedings. It never really explodes. Sarkar is also different to Ramu's other films in that he gives very few dialogues to his characters, letting eye and body language do most of the talking. It works perfectly for the cast right from Big B and the chhota B down to the prop cast. So we get Amitabh in extreme close-up. The actor uses his eyes, his facial muscles and his gnarled hands too, to express a gamut of emotions ? anger, anguish, affection and gratitude.

As for Abhishek, it is undoubtedly his most restrained, intense and mature performance. Having said that, it is also true that in a film touting the young Bachchan as the best thing to happen to acting, his character is too thinly etched to allow him any real scope for histrionics. His character, Shankar, toes dad's line with fierce loyalty. That's it. A special mention here for Kay Kay Menon as Sarkar's elder son Vishnu. The guy with his villainous grimace, has a terrific screen presence. The women, of course, have very little to do.

Amit Roy's sepia-tinged cinematography is brilliant, so is the background score by Amar Mohile.

Sarkar abounds in brilliantly executed individual moments of drama and technical gloss. Don't miss them. But don't expect anything special just because of the celebrated father-son combo.


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