I am absolutely excited that The Sunday Indian is now 11 years old! I can’t get into my editorial of this issue till I thank everyone who made it possible! First and foremost, to my dad, Dr. Malay Chaudhuri. Without his fearless commitment to alternative news, this alternative news magazine would have never been possible. From teaching to media to movies, he is the inspiration behind everything that I have done professionally. A. Sandeep, hats off! Editor par excellence, and hard-working genius who would take out 14 issues every week in 14 languages for years! Sutanu Guru, intellectual par excellence, who made sure that each issue was intellectually stimulating! Saibal Chatterjee, who stood by us through all the ups and downs. Prashanto Bannerji, who made the back of the book most classy and educative. Prasoon Majumdar, who kept the economics section philosophically correct. Satyajit and Manish, who kept the design rocking all through! Saurabh Shahi, who said, “Come what may, I am there behind you”; and who is still there! Gurudas, who got the magazine out in time every week and made sure it was there in stands all over India – in 14 different regions! And above all else, our editor, Pramod Kumar, for being there rock-solid and personally making sure The Sunday Indian survives all odds; and it’s due to his support and passion and belief that you still have this copy in your hands.
My edit, however, is an excerpt from a book – Bollywood’s 70 Iconic Power Brands – that my wife Rajita and I have written, which is to be launched alongside this 11th anniversary issue of The Sunday Indian!
Excerpts from the preface
Cinema is a passion. I dig offbeat films and celebrate when they break new ground in Bollywood. Recently, I watched Lipstick Under My Burkha three times in the span of a week! And I am an unapologetic fan of mainstream Bollywood movies! I love them for all that they stand for, including their song and dance sequences. I enjoyed Dabang so much so that I wanted to stand up and dance like many others were doing, and that too in the posh south Delhi multiplex where I was watching the movie. I have absolutely lapped up every scene of Karan Johar’s movies, including the ones in Aye Dil Hai Mushkil… and even loved the four-minute appearance of SRK as well as the glamorous Shayra played by Aishwarya, while my five genuinely intellectual friends – with whom I had gone to watch the movie – ripped it all apart. I called Jab Harry Met Sejal ‘paisa wasool’ simply because it made SRK finally kiss on screen and break the pretentious stereotype that good men don’t kiss… on Indian screens at least; just the way I felt Aishwarya’s coming out of the good girl mode and doing the kissing scene in Dhoom 2 made the film doubly worthwhile. I cried freely in all films of Sanjay Leela Bhansali – from Black to Guzarish. Deepika hardly spoke in Om Shanti Om, but I loved her in every shot and found the film to be one of the best commercial entertainers ever made.
After watching Mithun in Disco Dancer and Pyar Jhukta Nahin, I grew my hair long… And still keep it that way! And wished that I could dance like him (which I still can’t). My wife had to literally remove the innumerable collages of Sridevi from my walls and replace them with hers before we got married; and my dad had to bribe me with 50 videocassettes of Mithun films to keep me away from buying a motorbike, which he thought was unsafe for me. My two best friends from Delhi Public School – Manish and Dhiraj – still think that the two or so marks less than me that they got overall in their 12th board exams was because they, leaving me behind, went and watched Mithun’s Guru in-between the board exams!
And like a typical star-struck Delhi boy, I took a photograph with Aamir and Juhi’s sunset scene of QSQT playing in the background on the TV screen of my room – and this after having watched the movie on each of the first eight days after its release.
Around the same time, I climbed the back gates of Siri Fort Auditorium and entered the inauguration ceremony at the Indian Film Festival, and then pretended to be an usher and took Anil Kapoor and Rekha inside the auditorium before I was asked to buzz off!
My son Che, to whom this book is dedicated, has been such a diehard fan of Hrithik that as a five-year-old, he even prayed for a sixth finger. I have grown up seeing my dad watch Sholay every day he was in a good mood, without getting up at least till the scenes of Asrani got over. Hundreds of times!!! And I have seen my friend name his younger daughter Anjali because his sweet little elder daughter wouldn’t settle for anything else after watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai!
I have been awestruck by Amitabh Bachchan’s personality and communicating skills, blown away by SRK’s intelligence, been a blind fan of Mithun; and now I love Ranbir’s innocence! I can say I have rarely come across a woman more inspirational than Sushmita and anyone more beautiful than Sridevi… much later Aishwarya and now Deepika! I have laughed out loud at Karan Johar’s jokes on nepotism because I do think those are in good humour; and I totally adore Kangana’s grit and acting prowess! I have been critical of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna; and yet, have never been able to get up from in front of the TV every time it’s played. And I have ended up doing the same with Ray’s Pather Panchaali. It is the only film I have dreamt of remaking one day (though I know – thankfully – that I never will)!
I have released eight films, out of which six have been highly acclaimed, five have been award winning, four have got national awards, three have won BFJA awards, two have won Star Screen awards and one got a whopping four Black Ladies at the Filmfare Awards! I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan and have worked with SRK on different projects. And I have had the honour of launching the autobiography of the dream girl of Bollywood, Hemaji, and I have had the honour of having the Indian dream girl in Hollywood, Priyanka Chopra, launch my own book! So I have experienced first hand, the highs of Bollywood! At the same time, when the designated director left me two weeks before my second film was going on floor, I directed the film with totally no experience but a lot of passion! It didn’t do well despite huge hype… so I have experienced first hand how it feels when films bomb and have felt the lows of Bollywood too. I love the “art” of cinema; at least six – three of them with the legendary late Rituparno Ghosh – of the nine movies I have produced (one yet to be released) can be termed offbeat! And yet, I realize that without grandeur and showmanship, cinema remains incomplete!
This book is An ode To The power And grAndeur of bollywood, To Those ringing in money AT The box office!
I love the word Bollywood, and however much I know the importance of good acting, I love the power that iconic individual brands wield at the box office! I have rarely seen someone wield that power without being a really good actor. This book is an ode to that… the power and grandeur of Bollywood! This book is an ode to each such individual who rings in money at the box office and for the brands they endorse! They are the research-based, top-of-the-mind, living, individual, Iconic Power Brands of Bollywood! The business of cinema can’t do without Power Brands; Iconic Power Brands to be precise!
As they say, there is no business like show business! By bringing to my readers the power, style and mass appeal of these living brands in this first-of-its-kind book, I salute the entire gamut of show business in India and the people who make it such a craze!
(SMS your views with your name and topic to
Connect with the author
or tweet him at https://twitter.com/Arindam_IIPM
or follow his articles at http://arindamchaudhuri.blogspot.com