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Shaikh Ayaz

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

On Madhubala’s 85th birth anniversary, we revisit Mughal-e-Azam, a classic that truly belongs to the ‘Venus of Indian Cinema’
Wed, Feb 14, 2018

Madhubala’s powerful and confrontational scenes with Prithviraj Kapoor and romantic and tender moments with Dilip Kumar tie Mughal-e-Azam together.

Pran’s 98th birth anniversary: The man who gave the Bollywood villain a stylish makeover
Mon, Feb 12, 2018

Pran 98th birth anniversary: One of Indian cinema’s greats, Pran may have personified evil on celluloid (such was his reputation that new-borns weren’t named after him) but off screen, many vouch for his self-respecting ways and generosity.

Does Akki have a ‘Dharmendra problem’? The dazzling and unsurprising reinvention of Akshay Kumar
Thu, Feb 08, 2018

Here’s exploring the Padman star’s consistency and box-office bankability and why, just like Dharmendra in an earlier era, fellow Punjabi Akshay Kumar had to wait for years before, at long last, proving that he matters.

Love or hate it, 90s Bollywood is a goldmine of sweet nostalgia for a certain generation
Thu, Feb 01, 2018

In the fifth of our on-going ‘Hindi classics that defined the decade’ series, we go down the memory lane to examine the 1990s Bollywood hits and why they matter.

The music of Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinematic world
Thu, Jan 25, 2018

For a man whose childhood was spent listening to radio and whose first major assignment as a filmmaker was to be a “song director” on 1942: A Love Story, it is hardly surprising that music dominates Bhansali’s cinema – and life.

Is Mukkabaaz a return to form for Anurag Kashyap? More importantly, will it wipe out the bitter aftertaste of Bombay Velvet?
Thu, Jan 11, 2018

Anurag Kashyap’s latest, Mukkabaaz, is already being hailed as a winner. Perhaps, then, a good time to revisit Kashyap’s cinematic work, which is a fine balance of holding-mirror-to-society realism and Bollywood-style songs.

Om Puri: Unlikely hero who straddled twin worlds of Ardh Satya’s Anant and Narsimha’s Baapji
Sat, Jan 06, 2018

Great star of the parallel cinema movement, a character actor who did mindless movies, controversy’s child – Om Puri’s life was as colourful as his work. This unlikely hero, as his wife Nandita's biography, called him, took an unlikely exit from the world too.

1980s in Bollywood: The decade offered a dizzying array of cinematic delights
Sat, Dec 30, 2017

The 1980s didn’t really suck, as it has been made out to be. There’s no doubt that the decade offered a dizzying array of cinematic delights. Umrao Jaan, Ardh Satya, Khubsoorat, Arth, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Mr India are among the kaleidoscopic treats that the Eighties gave us.

From Toilet: Ek Prem Katha to Newton, a roundup of the best Bollywood films of 2017
Fri, Dec 29, 2017

In a not-so-great year, there were nevertheless a host of ground-breaking films (one celebrating toilet humour, the ultimate idealist Newton, and two death-haunted family dramas) that reaffirm your faith in good and entertaining cinema.

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