Movies to stir both heart and mind

Jan 28, 2007 Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) On the heels of "Salaam-E-Ishq", a glossy concoction of Bollywood's all-time favourite, most profitable and largely superfluous love stories, come movies that will hope to stir both heart and mind.

This February, films by independent filmmakers, social documenters, path-breakers and activists will attempt to rule the marquees while most Hindi film industry moneybags sit back and hopefully take some notes.

Films reportedly lined-up for release include "Traffic Signal", "Black Friday", "Water", "Undertrial", "Provoked", "Eklavya - The Royal Guard", "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd." and "Nishabd".

Each movie seems more different than the next, giving movie connoisseurs enough reason to rejoice. The fact that film distributors and exhibitors are picking up movies by independent filmmakers that are unlikely to attract viewers in hordes, is a heartening sign.


"Traffic Signal", which is set for Friday release, is Madhur Bhandarkar's yet another tryst with realistic cinema after "Chandini Bar" and "Page 3", which garnered critical acclaim and even turned into surprise box-office hits in multiplexes.

The filmmaker has floated his own company in order to be able to make the kind of cinema he believes in and "Traffic Signal" is produced under his banner. The apparently starkly realistic film talks about the lives of people staying in the slums of Mumbai and the industry that has spurted around traffic signals, feeding many mouths.

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra stars in "Traffic Signal" as a mafia overlord, Kunal Khemu who gave an inspiring performance in "Kalyug" is seen as a slum dweller and a small-time goon, Konkana Sen Sharma plays a prostitute with that excess lipstick smeared on her face and Ranvir Shorey essays the role of a pimp.

Percept Pictures, a corporate house eager to promote good cinema and cash in on demand from multiplex viewers, has joined hands with Bhandarkar for promotion and distribution of "Traffic Signal".


Much delayed and controversial, "Black Friday", is finally expected to be un-canned in February. The release of the film by Anurag Kashyap has been delayed allegedly due to its graphic detailing of the events that led to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts and the investigation that followed.

The film has been propped up by support from producer Arindam Mitra, media house Midday and Adlabs Films Ltd. The star cast includes Kay Kay Menon, Pawan Malhotra and Aditya Srivastav.

Controversy seems to be Kashyap's middle name. His sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll cocktail of a directorial debut, "Paanch", never made it to the marquee. His next movie, "Black Friday", had been bogged down with a stay order from court.

The petitioners had alleged that the movie passes a judgement on the accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. But now it seems that it will finally see the light of the day.

The box-office fate of last Friday's release "Parzania", a touching film based on a true-life story set during the Gujarat communal riots, will give some indication of how "Black Friday" will perform on the marquees.

"Parzania" has received rich laurels from critics. The release of the film, which is in English, has been hailed as an important step towards freedom of cinematic expression.


"Water" by internationally renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta will be finally released in India. The film has been nominated in the Best Foreign Film category in Oscars as Canada's entry. "Provoked", about domestic violence starring Aishwarya Rai and Nandita Das among others, is also likely to be released in February.


The big ticket film releasing in February is "Eklavya - The Royal Guard" starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Vidya Balan. As the name suggests the film is not the usual Bollywood fare. Bachchan will also be seen as a cynosure of a teenage girl in "Nishabd".

The other film to watch out for will be "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.," from the stable of Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. The film is directed by Reema Kagti and stars Abhay Deol, Minissha Lamba, Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Kay Kay Menon, Raima Sen, Amisha Patel, Ranvir Shorey and Dia Mirza.

All in all, seems like a very interesting month ahead.

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Traffic Signal


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