Thursday, March 31, 2011


This is my last Deol Dhamaka post, which makes me a little sad!

A stunning testament to just how much the Deols are loved in blogland, Deol Dhamaka has been a huge, rip-roaring success, and there are over 100 (posts) HERE to show for it. I have been having such a blast reading them all, and have learnt all kinds of cool/interesting stuff, so I would definitely recommend that you check the links out.

This post is in the style of my other elevator post, but this time everyone involved in the encounter is a Deol… so I think the answers will be a lot more obvious this time!

D1 (to D2): Hey, where are you going?

D2: My stylist called in sick this morning, so I have to dash out to the hair salon. There’s this place in Bandra that’s been getting rave reviews, so I’m going to try them out. Keep your fingers crossed for me; you know how much value I place on my hair. I’m hoping all goes well. Where are you off to?

D1: Where else? The gym. I’ve been slacking off a bit these days; I need to get back in shape.

D3: But I thought you weren’t doing action films anymore… does it really matter?

D1 (looking around in mock bewilderment): Did someone just speak?

D4: Gosh, no need to be so rude to D3!

D1 (laughing): Listen, as much as I love you, I don’t need a little kid telling me how to behave. Go back to your little island in the Mediterranean or wherever it is you’ve been shooting your cute little film.

D4: Hmmm… you sound a little… bitter.

D1: Well, that’s because I probably am a little bitter. Let me just make one thing clear to you, D4, no-one can look after your interests as well as family can, and…

The lift door slides open, and in walks D5. Everyone in the lift falls silent, except for…

D3: I am SO glad you’re here! D1 is being so rude to me! No one talks to me the way he does; I get respect everywhere I go because I demand it... but D1 is just SO disrespectful!! Arrgh!! What have I ever done to deserve this?

D5: You should all be ashamed of yourselves… you are all adults now and I expect you to act maturely.

D2: B...b…but I wasn’t involved!! I wasn’t mean to D3. I am just going to the salon. I didn’t say anything… I just want to go get my hair done… it’s... it’s just so stressful having it in this… unstyled state!!

D4 (laughing): Don’t be such a baby, D2!

D5: Yes, don’t be a baby! GROW UP!!!

D2 promptly bursts into tears. D1 tries to comfort D2…

D1: Don’t cry dear! I have just received a great new film script to produce, and I have cast you in the lead role. It’s a fantastic story – there’s action, romance, comedy… plus Anil has already agreed to direct. Come on, cheer up, cheer up!

D3: Is there a part in there for me?! My career needs revival too!!

D1: I’m sorry, did someone just say something?! D4, is D5 STILL TRYING TO SPEAK TO ME??!! I AM GETTING REALLY FED UP!!

Faced with D1’s frightening anger, D3 bursts into tears of distress, and is comforted by D5…

D5: Don’t cry dear, don’t cry… I will pay for you to take a shopping trip to Europe, and… and… I will also pay for you to take another romantic holiday with your… err… friend… look don’t cry, everything will be ok….

D4 looks at D1 consoling a sobbing D2, and D5 petting a weeping D3, and mutters in disgust:

D4: Damn... why the hell wasn’t I born into a cooler family?!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I really do wish that March could linger just a little longer... Deol Dhamaka, a month-long celebration of all things Deol, from Bobby's curls to Sunny's dancing to Esha's divatude to Dharmendra's kickass-ness to Abhay's edge (and everything in between)... has been absolutely amazing. If you haven't had a chance to catch up with all the Deol-related goodness, there are currently almost 90 posts (and counting!) that you can check out at Bollystalgia's links page. It's just been SO good to read great write-ups by brilliant bloggers on an wide variety of films and topics related to the Deols. I will have one or two more posts up for Deol Dhamaka before the month runs out, but for now, I would just like to thank Amaluu, Nesspi and everyone else involved in organising Deol Dhamaka for helping to make my March so memorable and fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Your Inner Deol – A Quiz

Disclaimer: This is just a fun quiz... nothing remotely serious intended.

So, which Deol do you identify with the most? Answer these simple questions to find out...

1. When it comes to romance, you’re mostly...

a. Passionate

b. Shy

c. Complicated

d. Affectionate

e. Uninterested

2. You would describe your dancing as...

a. Sexy

b. Light-hearted

c. Excellent

d. Clumsy

e. Fun

3. Your favourite movie genre is...

a. Romance

b. Drama

c. Action

d. Thriller

e. Noir

4. The first thing you notice about people is their...

a. Smile

b. Eyes

c. Physique

d. Accent

e. Energy

5. The word that describes your personality best (out of these options) is...

a. Independent

b. Stubborn

c. Proud

d. Aggressive

e. Self-assured

6. Family is...

a. A necessary evil

b. Everything

c. What you make of it

d. Important

e. Both a curse and a blessing

7. The decade you would most like to live in is...

a. The 1960s

b. The 1970s

c. The 1980s

d. The 1990s

e. I’d much rather live in the present

8. When choosing a life partner, the most important quality I will look for is...

a. All-consuming passion

b. Poise and confidence

c. Physical attractiveness

d. Companionship

e. Why on earth would I look for a life partner?

9. Love is...

a. Over-rated

b. Exciting

c. Private

d. Pain

e. Intense

10. What really attracts me to people is their...

a. Sense of humour... I love a sharp wit

b. Loyalty to family and friends

c. Physical appeal

d. Conversation... I have to enjoy spending time with them

e. Generosity and kindness

Scoring Guide:






Question 1






Question 2






Question 3






Question 4






Question 5






Question 6






Question 7






Question 8






Question 9






Question 10






If you scored:

10-17: You can relate the most to Esha. Fiery and headstrong, you have a mind of your own and aren’t afraid to speak it!

18-25: You are a lot like Dharmendra... you like to have fun, but you also have a deep appreciation for the simpler, more enduring things of life....

26-33: You can relate to Bobby – you’re honest, a great friend and fun to be with... and you like to do things with your own unmistakable flair!

34-41: Like Abhay, you pride yourself on being your own person and choosing not to go down the well-trodden path.

42-50: You’re like Sunny – large-hearted, trusting, but with a secret taste for the unknown.

I would love to know which Deol you ended up with!! (Apparently, Bobby is my soul brother!!)

Monday, March 14, 2011


This post is the third part of my ‘Decades of Dharam’ series – here are my posts on the 60s and 70s... this part has been a very long time coming because... the 80s were not at all the greatest period of Dharam’s career, in my opinion. I really think that he did his very best work in the 60s and 70s, and although there are some definite gems in his 80s filmography, there seem to be a lot of... less-than-stellar films there too.

Also, I have to say that I am, generally speaking, not a huge fan of 80s Bollywood. Growing up in the 80s in Lagos, Nigeria, I watched (and enjoyed) a few classic 80s Bollywood films... Disco Dancer and Mard are the ones I remember best... they were crazy and ridiculous, but also fun and entertaining. Since re-discovering Bollywood movies in 2005, though... I’ve definitely come across a good number of Hindi films from the 80s that I just adore (both loopy, fun films and more serious ones), but I’ve also seen many that have just... really, really annoyed me. And I’m sure that in seeking to avoid those bad 80s movies, I have also missed out on some of the decade’s better fare. This is why I love bloggers like Bollystalgia and Bollywood Deewana that celebrate a lot of the fun, freedom and entertainment that 80s Bollywood offers. (There’s a great post on this over on Shahrukh is Love, by the way).

All this means, of course, that I have seen only very few of Dharmendra’s 80s films (although I recently purchased a few more and will probably watch them sometime this year), and so I feel hugely unqualified to write this post (and so will really need you all to help me out in the comments section as always)... but anyway here goes....

The 70s ended fairly well for Dharmendra, as I noted in my previous post in this series... he finally married his paramour, Hema Malini, and although his output declined a little, the films he did make were modestly successful. He started out the 80s with 5 films released in 1980: Chunaoti, The Burning Train, Ram Balram, Shalimar and Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor. (He also made a special appearance in Insaaf Ka Tarazu.) Shalimar and Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor were lavish productions – Shalimar, famously billed as a Hollywood-Bollywood collaboration, featured British actor Rex Harrison, alongside Dharmendra and Zeenat Aman (Zeenat would turn out to be one of Dharmendra’s more frequent leading ladies in the early to mid 80s) in a story about international jewel theft. Despite the enormous expense that apparently went into making the film, it was very poorly received, but has since become something of a cult classic. Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor, based on the popular legend, was another international collaboration – this time with Russian partners.

Like Shalimar and Ali Baba..., The Burning Train (also known to me as The Film That Made Me Fall In Love With Dharmendra), was a massive production, an ambitious thriller about a train headed for the destruction and how the lives of 3 men are linked to the train and its fate. I LOVE this movie, and not just because of Dharmendra. It has EXCELLENT music (some of RD Burman’s best work, in my opinion), a great star cast (Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, Parveen Babi, Danny Denzongpa, Jeetendra, Neetu Singh, Vinod Mehra and others), and a really good storyline. Unfortunately, Indian audiences seem to have been less than impressed, as the film did not fare particularly well at the box office. It did very well elsewhere though... although I never saw it growing up, it was one of the more popular Bollywood movies in Nigeria back in the 80s – I knew the melody of ‘Teri Hai Zameen, Tera Aasman’, the schoolchildren’s prayer from the film, years before I ever saw it myself.

Ram Balram, another 1980 release, was notable for reuniting Dharmendra with his Sholay co-star Amitabh Bachchan in a film about two brothers, ‘ek chor, ek sipahee’. Dharam played the crook of course, and Amitabh the cop, while Ajit played their abusive and controlling uncle. Zeenat Aman (again) and Rekha co-starred as their love interests. Ram Balram is really not a good film in my opinion, but I found it watchable – mostly for Ajit’s camp performance and the way Dharam and Amitabh hilariously cower away from him at the slightest threat. Quite amusing. The film is a bit boring though, the storyline is full of holes, Dharam and Zeenat’s chemistry falls a little flat, and the attempt to recreate the magic of ‘Yeh Dosti’ was manful but just not good enough. For what it is though, it’s not too bad.

So, although a couple of Dharmendra’s 1980 releases did not live up to their blockbuster billing, it was a good year for him movie-wise – a good start to the decade. Moving on to 1981, and Dharmendra’s more notable releases included Aas Paas (one of his more noteworthy romances opposite Hema Malini – also notable for having Mohammed Rafi’s last recorded song on its soundtrack) and Professor Pyarelal, which Memsaab reviewed wonderfully here. He also had a fun, dance-y cameo in the ‘John Jaani Janardhan’ song from Naseeb (the inspiration for Farah Khan’s ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ number from Om Shanti Om).

In 1982, Dharmendra’s releases included the kitschy but very entertaining Ghazab (opposite Rekha), wonderfully reviewed by Bollywood Deewana here, the epic Rajput (with Rajesh Khanna and Vinod Khanna), and the dramas Teesri Aankh (with Shatrughan Sinha and – again – Zeenat Aman) and Badle Ki Aag (with Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra and Reena Roy).

Dharmendra’s first release of 1983 was Razia Sultan – notable for many things, one of which is the sensual Khwaab Bankar Koi Aayega’, picturised on Hema Malini and Parveen Babi with hints of same-sex eroticism. It was also the last film to be written and directed by Kamal Amrohi, who also wrote and directed the classic tragedy Pakeezah. In one of several films in which he had his skin darkened (I might do a post on that sometime...), Dharmendra played Yakut, the dark-skinned, lowborn love interest of Razia Bano (played by Hema Malini). It has been speculated that Kamal Amrohi cast Dharmendra in this role to humiliate him, as payback for Dharam’s treatment of Amrohi’s late wife, legendary actress Meena Kumari (I talked about this briefly in my post on Dharmendra’s 60s career). I have no idea how true or false this is (and I don’t really think Dharmendra was humiliated by his role in Razia Sultan), but I do know that despite the huge budget of this lavish production, and its truly magnificent music, Razia Sultan didn’t resonate with audiences, and was not a hit.

Jaani Dost, reviewed by Bollystalgia here, was also released in 1983, as was Naukar Biwi Ka, which I really dislike, but which has some really fun songs. I should also mention that in 1983, Dharmendra’s first son launched his career. With Betaab, Sunny had a very successful debut and went on to make loads of well-received movies.

In 1984, Baazi, a revenge/action flick with Dharmendra, Mithun Chakraborthy and Rekha, was released, and by this time, Dharmendra’s penchant for law enforcement roles in action flicks, which he would take into the 90s as well, was pretty well-established. In 1985, there was the star-studded and very successful Ghulami, in which Dharam, along with Smita Patil, Reena Roy, Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborthy and Kulbushan Kharbanda, sparkled in JP Dutta’s debut commercial production.

Sultanat, which marked Juhi Chawla’s debut, was released in 1986. Apparently, it’s not a great film (I refer again to Ness's awesome post), but I’d still like to see it, just to see Juhi in her first movie, and also because I love Sridevi, and she's in it too. As Dharmendra moved into the late 80s, director Anil Sharma (who would turn out to be quite the Deol favourite) gave him a hit with Hukumat (1987), and his other 1987 releases (including Watan Ke Rakhwale, which reunited Dharam with Sunil Dutt and Mithun) did quite well too.

I won’t bother talking much about Dharmendra’s 1988 and 1989 films, especially as I haven't seen them, but from all accounts, they were pretty standard 80s fare and not exactly riveting stuff. One must bear in mind though, that by the mid-to-late 80s our dear Dharam was well into his 50s... and still playing the action hero in many of his films... perhaps that says it all. I haven’t seen most of Dharam’s films from this period (the late 80s), and I really can’t confess to any particular longing to do so, especially since I still have quite a lot of his older work to look forward to. Being a little crazy about the guy though, I suspect that I will eventually get to even the most obnoxious 80s stuff, and I also suspect that I will even find a way to enjoy some of it, just because it’s Dharam. Not just yet, though.

So, we leave Dharam at the end of the 80s in his mid-50s, a little the worse for wear and rough around the edges, and possibly, finally (resilient though he was) starting to feel the after-effects of all that 'life'.... His loyal fans were still enjoying his movies, as shown by his hits in 1987, and he was still churning out movies that were very much in keeping with the cinematic style of 80s Bollywood.

In his personal life, his oldest child had joined him in the movie-making business, and his second wife, Hema Malini, had given birth to two daughters, Esha (born in 1981 – or 1982, depending on the source) and Ahana. By the way, Hema, interestingly, kept acting right through the 80s (unlike many other ‘star wives’) and had a very decent run that decade (especially with her successful, sparky jodi opposite Amitabh Bachchan in films like Naseeb, Satte Pe Satta, Nastik and Desh Premee) which was perhaps not all that surprising – she was still so young, vivacious and beautiful in the 80s, and plenty of people still wanted to watch her.

The film I’m picking as my Dharmendra-related reference point for this decade has to be The Burning Train, of course, with a fit, 45 year old Dharam looking years younger and saving lives with noble humility and all the calloused sensitivity of a broken heart. Such melodrama, such angst, such... Bollywood-ness. I love it!

As always, I would love to hear from you, especially if you have a different (and perhaps less bleak?) perspective with respect to Dharmendra’s 80s filmography. I would love to hear about which of Dharmendra’s 80s films you’ve particularly enjoyed (or not). As a matter of fact, one of the pleasant surprises I encountered when preparing this post was these comments on Bollywood Deewana's blog by Dharmendra fan GKK, who assures me that I'm totally wrong about Dharmendra's 80s films, and that he did some of his best work in the 80s. The truth is, as GKK rightly says, I really haven't seen enough of Dharam's 80s films to categorically dispute this. Perhaps I really am just parroting the conventional wisdom. And I am rather hoping that GKK is right, really... on this occasion, I would love to be proven wrong!

I’m taking another break from the Decades of Dharam series now, but I will be back soon with another Deol Dhamaka post. I am absolutely loving the month of March!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Questionnaires - Part 2 (Bobby, Abhay and Esha)

And here's the continuation of my Deol questionnaires…. Bobby, Esha and Abhay….

My favourite thing about Bobby Deol is: His smile – he has a good one, genuine and charming

My least favourite thing about Bobby Deol is: His hair (when it’s long)…. Not a fan. At all.

My 3 favourite Bobby Deol movies are: Tough. Because I haven’t seen most of his films (especially the older, more popular ones), and I am yet to see a Bobby Deol movie that I’ve liked wholeheartedly and without reservation. But I did like him in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Dostana (most of it) and Apne.

My 3 least favourite Bobby Deol movies are: Shakalaka Boom Boom was awful, and Barsaat (2005 – ridiculously tagged ‘A Sublime Love Story’) was pretty bad too. Dosti: Friends Forever was not terrible (mostly thanks to Bobby, actually), but it certainly wasn’t good either

I wish Bobby Deol would: Work with creative, original filmmakers more often

I wish Bobby Deol would not: Wear his hair long. Ever.
Bobby Deol’s best career move was: Nurturing a softer, more contemporary image

Bobby Deol’s worst career move was: Working with bad directors in low-quality productions

What distinguishes Bobby Deol as an actor: I’ve been thinking about this one for a while… maybe his generosity and willingness to share screen space and put his co-stars in the best light – something that has always struck me in his performances
My advice to Bobby Deol is: Obviously (as I’ve already mentioned it twice), I like you so much better with short hair, and I wish you would keep it short always. I also wish you would be more adventurous in your film choices and make an effort to work with better filmmakers.

And now on to Abhay....

My favourite thing about Abhay Deol is: His effortless confidence and cool... he wears it well

My least favourite thing about Abhay Deol is: Nothing really. Sometimes I think he tries a little too hard to be ‘different’ and ‘edgy’, but for the most part, I like him just fine as he is

My 3 favourite Abhay Deol movies are: Dev D, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!
My 3 least favourite Abhay Deol movies are: Ahista Ahista was so dull and ended so stupidly

I wish Abhay Deol would: Work with Mahie Gill again… and soon!

I wish Abhay Deol would not: Nothing really… I like the direction he’s chosen to go in

Abhay Deol’s best career move was: Seeking his own path

Abhay Deol’s worst career move was: I think he’s made pretty good choices so far… I’m not sure that Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was a great choice for him, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough

What distinguishes Abhay Deol as an actor: His willingness to take risks, try new things, work with new directors, and develop new ideas

My advice to Abhay Deol is: I really like your choices so far. You’re doing your own thing, but not in a predictable manner. I even like that you did Aisha, although I hear you're regretting that choice now. Just keep doing what you’re doing

And finally, Ms. Diva Esha....

My favourite thing about Esha Deol is: There’s something… hard almost, a little edgy, and restless about her that I really like. Her looks are unconventional, but I find them appealing. And I think there’s an opinionated, bold side of her that flashes out from time to time. Also something that approaches masculinity, which I find compelling (in a good way)

My least favourite thing about Esha Deol is: She seems…. self-entitled to me. Like she just expects to do well, almost without trying, just because she is Esha Deol. I never really feel any passion or real depth from her

My 3 favourite Esha Deol movies are: Just Married, Yuva, Dhoom

My 3 least favourite Esha Deol movies are: Kya Dil Ne Kahaa (atrocious!), Ankahee (which, it has to be said, she was actually pretty good in – absolutely nuts, but good. It was one of her best performances so far, in my opinion – but it just wasn’t a good film)

I wish Esha Deol had: Chosen more roles (even in smaller films) that really showcased her talents and helped her grow as an actress

I wish Esha Deol had not: Taken on cutesy, saccharine roles like her role in Kya Dil Ne Kahaa… totally the wrong fit – I don't think there’s anything sweet about Esha. Roles that are a stretch for her, and she's no great talent, so she can't make them truly believable.

Esha Deol’s best career move was: I don't know.... I think she could be a lot smarter career-wise... and I think her chances have really dwindled... it would take some real effort to rebuild her career and ignite some positive buzz about her work

Esha Deol’s worst career move was: Trying to be a conventional heroine… she would have fared much better with darker, edgier fare

What distinguishes Esha Deol as an actor: That harsh, restless quality I mentioned earlier… she took it overboard in Ankahee, but I really liked it in Just Married. With the right roles, she could really harness and showcase that unique energy… but first she needs to find the right roles… and I'm not sure she has it in her. I would love to be proved wrong.

My advice to Esha Deol is: Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the feeling you aren’t passionate about acting. Figure out whether you really want to be an actor or not. If you just want to be a star and enjoy the perks (glamour, attention etc), then you have to be prepared to really work on reviving your career and going after solid roles (even in smaller, more independent films). Otherwise, you will have to get those perks some other way, famous parents or not.