Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi: The film that pulled the mask off Bollywood’s star culture

It has been 50 years since the doe-eyed Guddi (played by a luminous Jaya Bachchan) turned up on a film set to meet her hunky idol (the He-Man Dharmendra, playing himself). The Hrishikesh Mukherjee film, released in 1971, with the message that ‘not everything that glitters is gold’, remains as relevant today for its hard look at life when the arc lights are switched off and red carpets are rolled up. Guddi is a star-struck young girl who admires Dharmendra to the point that she refuses the wedding proposal of…

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Naseeruddin Shah as Bollywood’s most blistering polemicist: Hate him, love him, you can’t ignore him

Naseeruddin Shah ko gussa kyun aata hai? Plenty of reasons. In no particular order, his pet peeves include the hypocrisy of parallel cinema, mediocrity in Hindi films, Bollywood’s sycophancy towards the powers-that-be, a tense communal climate, the Taliban’s rise, Anupam Kher and Virat Kohli. Shah, who was hospitalised with a bout of pneumonia earlier this year, certainly knows how to cook up a storm. In better spirits now, the 71-year-old thespian has gone out on a limb to reflect on the central issues of the day, both relating to his…

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‘Raj Kapoor told me to say Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra’: Bollywood’s iconic villain on his innings

‘Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra’. The dialogue itself was enough to send shivers down the spine of a generation of filmgoers, and also give them their money’s worth. The veteran actor who turns 86 today, has acted in almost 380 films over six decades and enjoyed fan mania that was normally accorded to the top stars of the day. Those were simpler times too. Away from social media scrutiny and 360 degrees of coverage, stars were magical beings for the ticket-paying audience. A film ticket brought you three hours…

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