Almost every producer talks of 'crossover' cinema these days. But very few are able to narrate a tale that would appeal to both the Indians in India and the Indian diaspora + the Asians + the Westerners.
iDream's KING OF BOLLYWOOD, directed by Piyush Jha, is a sincere take on Bollywood through the eyes of an ex super-star who refuses to believe that he is a 'has-been'/spent force.
A work of fiction, KING OF BOLLYWOOD is an ideal multiplex fare that bares, to a large extent, the way Bollywood thinks. It's refreshing, it's enjoyable, it's entertaining. And for those who aren't aware of the behind-the-scenes functioning of the industry, it's a revelation.
Put your hands together for one of the best multiplex films made on this side of the Atlantic. In all likelihood, this 'king' should find a place in the hearts of the youth/multiplex-patronizing viewers of metros.
KING OF BOLLYWOOD tells the story of an aged star Karan Kumar [best known as KK; enacted by Om Puri], who, in his heydays, was the top star in Bollywood. He was once referred to as the 'King of Bollywood', not anymore.
KK is a narcissist - completely in love with himself. And even though he is no longer in the running, he still feels that he's the biggest star the country has ever produced.
Enter Crystal Chaurasia [Sophie Dahl], a documentary film-maker in U.K. As a child, Crystal's favourite Bollywood hero used to be KK [her grand-mother used to show her videos of KK's films]. She comes to Mumbai to make a documentary on the life and times of KK.
Eventually, KK realizes that he is past his prime and tries to convince his son Rahul [Diwakar Pundir] to be launched as a hero. But Rahul is averse to Bollywood and has no intentions of becoming an actor.
Crystal's presence triggers off KK's latent ambition and starts a chain of events that eventually lead to comic chaos.
KING OF BOLLYWOOD is a spoof on the Hindi film industry, but it seems straight out of life. For those who've been associated with Bollywood and know the ins and outs, it's easy to identify with the goings-on. Those who aren't would still enjoy being a part of this joy ride for the simple reason because it's genuinely humorous and amusing.
Writer-director Piyush Jha and writer Deepa Gahlot have packaged the film with an assortment of characters - there's KK's wife [an actress herself], a gangster who's funding movies, the gangster's moll, the moll's aunt, an astrologer who decides the 'shubh mahurat' at every step, the ever-faithful secretary, the clueless writer, the buxom heroine from South India, Mr. Moneybags [who wants his son to be launched in movies] and the Man Friday [spot boy in filmi lingo]. Of course, there's the faded super-star's reluctant son and the nosey Indian and British press as well.
Plus, there's a spoof on award functions, the first-day-first-show reactions by the viewers and comments by a trade analyst on television vis-?is the b.o. performance of KK's new film.
It is these characters and the scenes surrounding them that make KING OF BOLLYWOOD a film worth carrying home even after the show has concluded.
Any loose ends? Yes, the pace slackens towards the latter reels, but thankfully gathers momentum the moment KK launches his son as a hero, the documentary film-maker as the heroine and his wife [comeback] in his new film. That was the ideal way to wrap up the film, for sure!
A film like this relies heavily on witty dialogues and performances by the cast and in both the departments the film earns lots of browny points. More on these two aspects later!
Director Piyush Jha's storytelling is different from most makers. The film has a number of spycam shots, which gel truly well with the content of the film. Besides, Jha has successfully managed to keep the viewer's interest alive right till the closing stages, despite an offbeat plot.
Jha and Gahlot's scripting is the other 'hero' of the enterprise, besides Om Puri. The witty one-liners and the comic scenes are simply howlarious. Music [Smoke] suits the mood of the film. Cinematography [Hari Nair] is first-rate. The spycam shots as well as the overall look seem first-rate.
Om Puri delivers one of the finest performances of his career. An actor with an amazing range to deliver, KING OF BOLLYWOOD would seem incomplete without the actor's presence. A fabulous performance that merits an award!
Sophie Dahl looks the character and enacts her part with complete understanding. Kavita Kapoor [KK's wife] is superb. Diwakar Pundir is a revelation. The young actor manages to make his presence felt despite sharing screen space with an actor of calibre, Om Puri. Manoj Pahwa [secretary] is terrific. Here's an actor who should be lapped up instantaneously. Murli Sharma is efficient.
On the whole, KING OF BOLLYWOOD is an ideal multiplex fare that will be loved for the unadulterated entertainment it has to offer. At the box-office, films like KING OF BOLLYWOOD cater more to the multiplex audience and it should be able to strike a chord with the youth in metros. A must-see for cinema lovers!