Shaikh Ayaz


Ayaz is a contributor based in Mumbai. He writes about Bollywood.

Rajinikanth in Bollywood: Despite his lackluster outings, Thalaivar is still the most famous Tamilian in Mumbai
Tue, Dec 12, 2017

A look back at Rajinikanth’s Bollywood years and how the Amitabh Bachchan-inspired scripts helped him gain superstardom in Kollywood.

Dharmendra at 82: The five essential performances that prove Dharmendra’s versatile range
Fri, Dec 08, 2017

In the literary hands of Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Dharmendra delivered some of his most outstanding work. But no matter whatever character he was playing, Garam Dharam was always pure entertainment.

A Bollywood icon, champion of alternative cinema and theatre doyen, Shashi Kapoor was more than just “Mere paas maa hai”
Tue, Dec 05, 2017

Shashi Kapoor was dashing and classy, in an old-world sort of way. Born into the distinguished Kapoor family, he followed a different path than his famous brothers and father. His commitment to theatre equalled that of his father Prithviraj while his passion for meaningful cinema remains unsurpassed in the Kapoor clan.

1970s revisited: A decade that belonged to Amitabh Bachchan but equally to Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha and Salim-Javed
Tue, Nov 28, 2017

A decade of huge cultural significance, the Seventies foisted the tag of ‘angry young man’ on Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor shot to overnight fame with RK rom-com Bobby and not to mention, Sholay – a curry Western that embodied everything that Bollywood stands for.

Zeenat Aman: Happy birthday to one of the sexiest, boldest and chicest leading ladies to ever grace Hindi cinema
Sun, Nov 19, 2017

Touted for her liberated and forward characters – she was a badass, mind you – Zeenat Aman was among the few actresses of the 1970-80s alongside Parveen Babi and Tina Munim who helped usher in a new kind of urbane heroine.

On Amjad Khan’s 77th birth anniversary, a tribute to the star whose portrayal of Gabbar Singh remains Bollywood’s pop-cultural apogee
Sun, Nov 12, 2017

For much of his life, Amjad Khan was branded as Gabbar Singh from Sholay – that ultimate personification of cinematic evil. But he was also a sadistic smuggler, a friend’s friend, a gum-chewing cop and a poetic Nawab. His colourfully kitschy characters made Hindi cinema of 1970s and 80s both memorable and enjoyable.

Hindi classics that defined the decade: 1960s Bollywood was frothy, perfectly in tune with the high spirits of the swinging times
Tue, Oct 31, 2017

Apart from timeless classics like Mughal-E-Azam, Bandini and Guide, the 1960s was also the era of Junglee, An Evening in Paris and Teesri Manzil. Buoyant in tone and light-hearted in mood, 1960s was made even more fun by the arrival of a livewire star called Shammi Kapoor.

Amitabh Bachchan at 75: Exploring Big B’s enduring popularity
Wed, Oct 11, 2017

One advantage Amitabh Bachchan, or Big B, has had over others is that he’s forever with the times. For years, he has embodied the classic Indian hero, inventing and reinventing, branding and un-branding himself miraculously as and when the need has presented itself.

For the Chaplin-loving Kundan Shah, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was both a boon and bane
Sat, Oct 07, 2017

Kundan Shah, who died today at 69, was known for his gentle comedies made for Doordarshan and the SRK starrer Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. But, over the years, he had become inextricably linked with the cult Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Unfortunately, he could never match the greatness of that first film.

Remembering Vinod Khanna on his birthday: The legend who was a quintessential male eye candy but also that rare star who thumbed his nose at filmy frills
Fri, Oct 06, 2017

If Vinod Khanna were alive today, he would have been 71. In his heyday, he was the only solid contender to the lone ranger might of Amitabh Bachchan. Off screen, the two were great friends though. When Khanna renounced films in 1982 at the height of his popularity to join Osho’s Oregon ashram he proved that he was truly a seeker and a “sanyasi,” albeit a sexy one.

Tom Alter, a veteran of film and stage, was a gora sahib with a desi heart
Fri, Oct 06, 2017

Bollywood typecast Tom Alter as an India-hating British colonial but theatre redeemed him by offering him a chance to play patriots (Gandhi and Maulana Azad) and poets alike (Ghalib and Sahir).

Lata Mangeshkar turns 88: The nightingale, with 25,000 songs in over seven decades, is a gift that keeps giving
Thu, Sep 28, 2017

She’s Hindi cinema’s greatest playback singer and even today, though she playbacks ever so rarely, Lata Mangeshkar’s melodious voice, as Dilip Kumar rightly put it, resides in all of us.

Hindi classics that defined the decade: Shree 420 to Pyaasa, 10 immortal gems from 1950s Bollywood
Fri, Sep 15, 2017

Hindi cinema of 1950s – or Golden Age, as it has been labelled – reflected the social and political changes sweeping across the newly independent India. With their strong social themes, films like Shree 420, Naya Daur, Do Aankhen Barah Haath and Mother India went a long way in nudging audiences, and especially critics, to take popular cinema seriously.

Asha Bhosle at 84: The Bollywood legend who was once the perennial ‘Number 2’ (after Lata Mangeshkar) is second to none today
Mon, Sep 11, 2017

Happy birthday Asha Bhosle: As the evergreen singer turns a year “younger,” a look at her legendary musical journey, the famed rivalry with elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, the men in her life (O.P Nayyar and RD Burman) and her love for cooking.

Remembering Hrishikesh Mukherjee on his birth anniversary: The gentle and professorial auteur of warm-hearted comedies
Sat, Sep 30, 2017

Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s (Hrishi-da to friends and acquaintances) films were simple but never simple-minded. The much-loved director of Satyakam, Anand, Chupke Chupke, Bawarchi and Gol Maal was a father-figure to a retinue of stars of the 1970s, including Gulzar, the Bachchans, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and Amol Palekar.

Remembering Shammi Kapoor’s rich musical and dancing legacy
Tue, Aug 15, 2017

Most Hindi movie buffs know that it was Shammi Kapoor, along with Dev Anand, who set the template for your typical Bollywood hero. But few know that the Yahoo star, who died on August 14, 2011, had a great ear for music. As Ranbir Kapoor once declared, “Music was a big theme of his life.”

Sridevi birthday special: Why her non-Bollywood work, especially in Tamil cinema, is ground-breaking
Sun, Aug 13, 2017

Sridevi birthday special: Before Bollywood appropriated Sridevi, the multilingual MOM star who has acted in over 300 titles was a major tour de force in all regional cinemas of the South including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Watch Moondram Pirai and you realise how comfortable the Sivakasi-born actress was in her mother tongue.

Akshay Kumar: Bollywood’s poster boy of patriotism is also the most under-appreciated star of our times
Wed, Aug 09, 2017

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha star Akshay Kumar has been the most bankable star at least in the last five years. Working mostly with new directors, he’s one of the few top stars who can open a film. Read about the patriotism of Akshay Kumar’s brand of cinema and why despite being so consistent at the box-office he remains a Bollywood underdog.

Priyanka Chopra’s American Dream: On her birthday today, a low-down on how the Quantico star became America’s sweetheart
Tue, Jul 18, 2017

Birthday girl Priyanka Chopra’s Hollywood rise began with the popular TV series Quantico. As the West embraces her, there’s no stopping Piggy Chops now.

Will Jagga Jasoos silence Ranbir Kapoor’s critics who complain that he does the same film again and again?
Thu, Jul 13, 2017

Recently, Jagga Jasoos director Anurag Basu said about Ranbir Kapoor, "He’s raw, organic and might surprise you anytime." And surprise is exactly what the audience is expecting from this fourth generation representative of the Kapoors, who will complete a decade in Bollywood later this year.

Pyaasa Meets Parichay: Remembering Guru Dutt and Sanjeev Kumar on their birth anniversaries today
Sun, Jul 09, 2017

Guru Dutt and Sanjeev Kumar birth anniversaries: Guru Dutt and Sanjeev Kumar, two very different stars from vastly different eras who nevertheless left behind rich legacies, have a few things in common. For one they died tragically young and were unlucky in love.

At 53, MOM star Sridevi is the rare middle-aged actor that Bollywood loves to love
Thu, Jul 06, 2017

Sridevi has bashfully emphasised in promotional interviews for MOM, her much-awaited crime thriller that hits theatres on July 7, has helped her understand the pain of her on-screen character Devki. What is it about Miss Hawa Hawai that makes her so attractive to both young and old alike?

RD Burman’s 78th birth anniversary is a perfect time to revisit the classic Gulzar-Pancham combination
Tue, Jun 27, 2017

RD Burman and Gulzar were more than just friends. They were soul-mates. Their friendship sparked what would become one of Hindi cinema’s greatest creative partnerships. On Panchamda's 78th birth anniversary, here's a look at some of their best works together including the classic Mera Kuch Samaan.

As Salman Khan’s Tubelight shines bright, here’s looking at mystery and myth of Bollywood’s biggest star
Sat, Jun 24, 2017

Salman Khan’s simpleton characters, whether in Bajrangi Bhaijaan or Tubelight (and Baghban, if you want to go that far back in time) are a variation of Prem. In them, you see the man-child that the 51-year-old superstar actually is.

Revisiting Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer: The film that made Amitabh Bachchan
Wed, Jun 21, 2017

Amitabh Bachchan’s Zanjeer not only introduced a new hero to Bollywood (displacing reigning king Rajesh Khanna) but also brought with it a new phenomenon called the Angry Young Man. The film, directed by Prakash Mehra, also starred Pran, Jaya Bachchan, Om Prakash and Ajit.

Border at 20: The JP Dutta war epic and how it launched a wave of war films
Tue, Jun 13, 2017

Border at 20: The multi-starrer Border recently celebrated 20 years since it first hit theatres in 1997. Among other feats, it gave Sunny Deol the ‘jingoistic Jat/tormentor of Pakistan’ image.

Pankaj Kapur birthday: 5 performances that prove he’s India’s most gifted actor
Mon, May 29, 2017

Whether as a dreaded don Abbaji, evil shopkeeper wanting to steal an umbrella or the common man Mussaddilal, Pankaj Kapoor is a master of the deadpan and understatement

Karan Johar birthday special: Here’s why the life choices of Bollywood’s Unsuitable Boy are unconventional and brave
Thu, May 25, 2017

He’s famous but lonely. He is obsessed with love (and unrequited love). He is a single father. He’s Bollywood’s Godfather. Yet, the real Karan Johar remains a mystery.

On Nawazuddin Siddiqui birthday, a review of how this Superstar of Strugglers conquered a behemoth called Bollywood
Fri, May 19, 2017

From junior artiste to leading man - how did Nawazuddin Siddiqui, initially mocked for not being “hero material,” come this far? Here’s exploring the Budhana boy’s underdog appeal on Nawazuddin Siddiqui's birthday today.

Sarkar 3: Inside the world of Amitabh Bachchan’s Subhash Nagre
Thu, May 11, 2017

Ahead of this week’s big release Sarkar 3, here’s a flashback to Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan’s popular franchise that began way back in 2005

Baahubali 2: SS Rajamouli and other south directors have reinterpreted epics. Why Bollywood lags behind?
Thu, Apr 27, 2017

Baahubali The Conclusion, or Baahubali 2, is reinterpreting grandeur, scale and vision in Indian cinema. But before SS Rajamouli took it on, the term ‘epic’ has taken on multiple and varied meanings in Bollywood.

Raveena Tandon’s Maatr: The April 21 release is just one among the many powerful subjects she has in her film arsenal
Mon, Apr 24, 2017

An integral and glamorous part of the 90s Bollywood, comeback star Raveena Tandon moved towards more serious films late in her career. A look at her trajectory over the years.

Vidya Balan hasn’t had a hit in a while. Can Begum Jaan break the jinx?
Sat, Apr 15, 2017

The Vidya Balan story is not yet over. As first reactions for Begum Jaan trickle in, a look at the long and arduous journey the Chembur girl has struck.

Was 1957 the greatest year in Bollywood? These immortal classics definitely prove so
Sun, Apr 09, 2017

It was 60 years ago that unforgettable classics such as Mother India, Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Naya Daur, Pyaasa, Paying Guest and Shammi Kapoor’s frothy Tumsa Nahin Dekha released, making 1957 the Golden Year of Bollywood.

Was Meena Kumari born to suffer? Understanding the Meena Kumari paradox on her birthday
Tue, Aug 01, 2017

On Meena Kumari's birthday today, as we recall the turbulent life and times of the legendary actor, we do wonder how the tragedy queen was received and seen in her own time. Was she born to suffer? And did she only suffer – was there nothing else to her life?

Happy Birthday Kangana Ranaut: Bollywood’s queen is also its fiercest critic. Solving the Kangana puzzle
Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Happy Birthday Kangana Ranaut: In Kangana ‘Queen’ Ranaut, the industry has found its most trenchant critic. She operates within it and yet, retains the freedom to show the mirror to showbiz