Voyeurs have it good from Bollywood this week
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
A women's film by a woman director and a mainstream flick will fight it out at the Bollywood box-office this week, both promising to give the voyeur his money's worth.
While last week Bipasha Basu got an oil massage from Sanjay Dutt in "Rudraksh", this week's two films promise more skin show from two of the loveliest actresses.
Both Manisha Koirala and Priyanka Chopra, who star in this week's "Tum" and "Kismat" respectively, however, protest strongly to their films being designated as peep-shows.
Chopra says she plays a simple middleclass girl who moonlights as a night club crooner, hence the item song "Mahi mahi". Manisha Koirala is a housewife and a mother who slips into a one-night stand after getting drunk.
But the most interesting aspect of this week's releases is the comeback factor. While "Kismat" sees the return of Bobby Deol, who has gone missing from the screen during the last one year, "Tum" marks the return of director Aruna Raje.
Raje has been missing from the marquee for years now. Her last directorial venture came several years ago. Raje is clearly seeking a place under the sun. Considering the fate of other female directors, it seems like a tall order.
Raje's colleague Kalpana Lajmi somehow managed to complete and release "Kyon". The film bombed badly and left Lajmi shell-shocked. After three consecutive flops, Tanuja Chandra is ready with "Film Star", which features Mahima Chowdhary in the title role. Other films made by female directors like Shrabani Deodhar and Paravathi Balagopalan are barely in the picture.
Actress Revathi has just completed a film with Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan and Abhishek Bachchan in the lead. She's among the rare female filmmakers to be able to make projects on her own terms.
Raje apparently had to compromise on everything, including the cast. She wanted someone suave and magnetic to play Manisha's seducer. She had to settle for Karan Nath apparently under pressure from her producer.
Will "Tum" break the current jinx on women directors? Its impact is expected to be limited to a discerning, mature audience.
Rather the public is expected to make a beeline for Guddu Dhanoa's "Kismat".
Bobby, who stars in "Kismat", has been out of circulation for quite a while. His two recent releases "Humraaz" and "Kranti", incidentally featuring the same leading lady Amisha Patel, swung from hit to flop status within a year.
In between there was David Dhawan's comedy "Chor Machaye Shor", which sank without a trace. What's kept Bobby away from the marquee for so long? Just wrong release timings perhaps.
No one is expecting miracles from "Kismat", not with Guddu Dhanoa at the steering wheel, not when Dhanoa has delivered two flops last year, one of them being "Jaal: The Trap" with Bobby's big brother Sunny in the lead. But everyone hopes it will work for Bobby's sake.
Patna exhibitor Roshan Singh says: "We haven't had a full-blown mainstream film with fights, drama, blood and sex in a long time. The recent films have all tried to play around with the formula. 'Kismat' plays it straight. That's its USP."