Give us this day our daily 'dread', say moviegoers
Seems like no one wants to see routine love stories any more. They want it either with a dash of humour ("Mujhse Shaadi Karoge") or erotica ("Julie") or spiced up with some thrills like this week's release "Fida".
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
That's where directors with a twist in their tale are likely to score over their more strait-laced peers. Ken Ghosh whose "Fida" releases Friday and Abbas-Mustan whose "Aetraaz" is just about ready are two hi-tech filmmakers ready to wow audiences with their hot-hot thrillers.
Ghosh's "Fida" is the first of the star-studded erotic thrillers this year. A complex wheels-within-wheels triangle, its plot is being carefully concealed by its makers. The cast has been asked to reveal nothing.
What can be said without being sued for breach of confidentiality is that Kareena Kapoor plays the most seductive role of her career. As a woman on the go who shares more than smiles and drinks with Fardeen Khan and Shahid Kapur, she's an unlikely candidate for the kill.
But that's the mood of the movie-going public now. Give us this day our daily dread, and we forgive you your trespasses.
If "Fida" gives Kareena an all-new image of the femme fatale she isn't worried. For right after "Fida" she'll be seen as a housewife fighting an intense court battle on her husband's behalf in "Aetraaz". The husband, played by Akshay Kumar, is falsely accused of sexual harassment by his boss Priyanka Chopra.
Abbas of Abbas-Mustan says: "Yes, 'Aetraaz' is quite a bold subject. But there's no attempt to sensationalise the theme. Sexual harassment is a sensitive issue, and we've handled it that way. Earlier, we had put Akshay Kumar in a film about wife-swapping ('Ajnabee')."
Abbas-Mustan have always believed it's imperative for directors to use stars in unexpected ways. In "Humraaz", Akshaye Khanna and Amisha Patel played lovers who conspire to steal Bobby Deol's millions by making him marry Amisha. The film clicked, and the stars were game for erotic thrillers. Priyanka Chopra, who had turned down "Humraaz", had no objection to "Aetraaz".
The unusual aspect of the erotic thrillers lined up for this year is the star presence. While for some time erotic thrillers have featured newcomers or non-stars like Mallika Sherawat ("Murder"), Meghna Naidu-Shawar Ali ("Hawas") and John Abraham-Bipasha Basu ("Jism",), now big names seem game too.
Deepak Tijori, who made his directorial debut "Oops" with newcomers, is now directing Shilpa Shetty in the thriller "Khamosh". She plays a smoking, smouldering siren. "The film is set in real time and involves real characters. We had to attend a workshop before getting into it. I've seldom been so charged about a role. Enough of the goody, goody stuff," says Shilpa.
Soon after "Khamosh", we'll see Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty and Sameera Reddy in another hyped erotic thriller, "Musafir". Inspired by Oliver Stone's "U-Turn", the thriller finds Reddy playing Jennifer Lopez's sexually liberated role of a housewife who has all out affairs with strangers who visit her town with super-cool Úlan.
And then there's Ram Gopal Varma's November "Naach" where Antara Mali weaves a web of deceit, fascination and sexual attraction around Abhishek Bachchan. The no-holds-barred feel of the product grips you from the first frame -- to lust!
Says Varma: "I don't think Indian audiences have been treated to a film like 'Naach' before. It's very erotic and seductive in mood. People who have seen rushes say it's very European in look, though I don't know what they mean."
As image-fixated, glamorous stars break free of their sexual inhibitions, one thing is for sure -- our cinema will never be the same again. But what happens to the new breed of wannashines who found their fame by appearing in these erotic shockers with the barest of clothes?
With the re-invention of the big stars, the aspiring wanna-strip brigade will just have to find other ways of attracting attention.