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Bollywood exposes: do they work ?

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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The often ironical and wickedly funny ruthlessness of Bollywood will form the basis of Zoya Akhtar's "Luck By Chance".

Contrary to popular belief, the film is neither about gambling nor about the life of actress Nargis.

The debut movie of filmmaker Farhan Akhtar's sister Zoya will actually take a scathing look at Mumbai's quirky and cruel film industry, warts, moles et al.

In fact, Zoya plans to cast real life filmmakers, journalists and other cinema-related personalities in cameos to enhance the feeling of authenticity in what promises to be the most hard-hitting take ever on showbiz in Hindi cinema.

Not since Nagesh Kukunoor's outrageously hilarious "Bollywood Calling" have we had a truly inspired satire on the inner working of the dream factory.

Inside stories on Bollywood have never really worked. Or maybe no one has tried hard enough.

Five years ago, Ram Gopal Varma's appalling "Mast" attempted to bring out the loneliness of an actress trapped between the avarice of her relatives and the constant demands of her fans.

One had seen Hema Malini do the imprisoned doll's act in Vijay Anand's "Tere Mere Sapne".

In "Mast", the ludicrous relationship between Urmila Matondkar and fan Aftab Shivdasani had distinct echoes of the Julia Roberts-Hugh Grant film "Notting Hill".

Now Pritish Nandy Communications is all set to do "Notting Hill". Entitled "Chalo Dildar Chalo", the film about a star-fan relationship will be directed by Tarun Mansukhani, the associate director of "Kal Ho Na Ho".

The producers were keen on Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapur as the star and fan. But the casting fell through. Now a search is on for another pair.

Will "Chalo Dildar Chalo" encore the warm tenderness of the star-fan relationship shared by Dharmendra and Jaya Bhaduri in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Guddi"?

So far "Guddi" and "Rangeela" - the latter wasn't really about Bollywood - are the only successful films about the workings of showbiz.

Noted failures in the genre include Guru Dutt's "Kaagaz Ke Phool" - the desperately unhappy director's self-searching autobiographical look at the sham behind the glam; Shahid Lateef's "Sone Ki Chidiya" - featuring Nutan as a star trapped in the glamour world; Meraj's "Sitara" - rustic belle Zarina Wahab becomes a big star with the help of boyfriend Mithun Chakbraborty; and Johnny Bakshi's "Khudaai" - where Rajesh Khanna-Madhavi-Deepika tried in vain to recreate the Guru Dutt-Waheeda Rahman-Geeta Dutt triangle.

Thereafter, most filmmakers shied away from Bollywood-centric themes. But now suddenly films about the Hindi film industry as seen from the inside are again coming up.

A remake of the Gloria Swanson classic "Sunset Boulevard", about a fading star with Rekha in the lead, is being planned.


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