Macho thrills clash with HIV/AIDS this week
After two weeks of real-life couples trying to woo the audiences, it's time to swing away from romance into unexpected territory this Friday with Revathi's "Phir Milenge" and Sanjay Gadhvi's "Dhoom".
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Both Revathi and Sanjay are second-time directors.
Sanjay's first film was "Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai" starring Uday Chopra, Jimmy Shergill, Bipasha Basu and Sanjana, a not very successful remake of the Julia Roberts starrer "My Best Friend's Wedding".
Revathi scored a critical success with "Mitr My Friend", a NRI tale about a neglected wife trying to find her bearings that won the amazingly talented Shobana a National Award for best actress.
Pundits are already predicting a National Award for Shilpa Shetty in "Phir Milenge".
She plays an HIV positive patient and so does Salman Khan... a fact that's being conveniently tucked away from the moviegoers' attention so that they rush to see a typical Salman Khan starrer with Shilpa Shetty as the just desserts.
Would a Salman starrrer where he plays an HIV positive patient, and that too in a role secondary to his leading lady, be acceptable to the audience?
A moot point, and one that needed to be seriously addressed before the film's release. It has been seen that issue-based films that turn apologetic about their concerns and use stars as bait to get audiences into theatres tend to backfire badly.
Let's hope for the sake of quality cinema that "Phir Milenge" gets the audience it wants and deserves, though those looking for the chest-thumping flamboyant super-hero Salman will find it hard to digest his new subdued avatar.
Abhishek Bachchan, who plays a lawyer fighting Shilpa Shetty's right to work in "Phir Milenge" (shades of Denzel Washington in "Philadelphia"), will also be seen in "Dhoom" as a cop hunting down a criminal (John Abraham).
Thanks to the producers Yashraj Films tremendous publicity (remember how the banner rightly projected the comic, romantic caper "Hum Tum" earlier this year), audiences know exactly what to expect in "Dhoom" -- a revved-up roaring, sinewy, macho tale with guns, girls, kicks, groans and skids thrown in for good measure.
Says an official from Yashraj Films: "Our audiences know exactly what to expect from 'Dhoom'. And we're in no mood to disappoint them. The film offers their money's worth. As for those who say we shouldn't release another Abhishek Bachchan flick on the same Friday as 'Phir Milenge', all we'd like to say is that we always plan our releases well in advance.
"The film that Mr Yash Chopra is directing will be released on Nov 12, come what may (Abbas-Mustan's 'Aitraaz' and Priyadarshan's 'Hulchal' are being planned for release the same day). Likewise, 'Dhoom' and its release were chalked out long before. Besides, aren't 'Phir Milenge' and 'Dhoom' supposed to be entirely different experiences?"
Other than Abhishek, the one factor common to this week's two releases are appealing music scores. While Shankar-Ehsan-Loy emerge with a subdued and appealing musical prop for "Phir Milenge", Pritam has pulled out all stops for "Dhoom" to create a chartbuster score.
Trade experts expect "Dhoom" to get a better opening than "Phir Milenge" although Salman Khan is a bigger star than Abhishek, Uday Chopra and John Abraham.
"That's because the audience wants to be told the truth about what it's going to see in a film. 'Dhoom' lays the cards out on the table," says Arjun Sablok who directed the popular "Dhoom" music video featuring Tata Young.