Posts Tagged ‘Puneet Rajkumar’

Everybody is a child to somebody or the other

9 January 2013

Photo Caption

At the inauguration of the 8th international children’’s film festival, the veteran actor, B. Saroja Devi, proceeds to give Puneet Rajkumar a nice little hug, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: An old flame ignites the media’s insensitivity

Corruption OK. Massacres OK. Romance, not OK?

All that glitters is a big gold scam about to burst?

13 October 2011

RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: Always never very stable, my blood pressure has been shooting up alarmingly over the last few months, and—surprise, surprise— poor Arnab Goswami is not even the cause of it.

Each morning when I skim the newspapers; each evening when I switch on TV; and all day as I go around town gawking at the hoardings or listening to FM radio, the sight and sound of gold has begun to have a disastrous effect on my BP—and all this before NewsHour starts at 9 pm.

Just what it is, I wonder, that has resulted in this sudden societal craze for the yellow metal that goes beyond Akshaya Trithiya.

Have we, as a society, become the wisest investors on the planet, or have we lost all sense of balance? Are we collectively saving for a rainy day, or have we suddenly become materialistic beyond belief? Are we showing our spending power without compunctions, or are we going down the sad road of Kerala?

(When I can’t quite decide, I also ask myself another question privately: have I, as a woman, become a bit of a freak to so loathe what most other women crave?)

***

Look around you to see what I mean: there you have Kannada filmdom’s ace brothers Shiva Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar falling prey to the lure of cheap lucre and endorsing this obnoxious phenomenon in a manner their father would never ever have.

The elder brother asking you on radio to get the gold you have at home tested at the Kerala jewellery store (Kalyan) that has paid him to say so; the younger one exhorting you on television to pledge the gold you have and take a loan from the Kerala gold finance firm (Manappuram) that has paid him to say so.

Look at the newspapers: most of the the large, lavish advertisements in our dailies are those of the Kerala jewellery stores that are all over town or are planning to open shop soon (Malabar and Muthoot, Joyalukkas or Jos Alukkas), rival firms from across the border (revealingly) separated by a mere letter or two.

Look at the Kannada television channels: smaller local firms like Shree Sai Gold Palace use smalltime actresses to tout their wares and announce their schemes and discounts. Some like RR Gold Palace narcissisitically flaunt their owners as models, like a latter-day Lee Iacoca.

Why, one of the gold dons even (K.P. Nanjundi of Lakshmi gold palace) even produces and stars in a Kannada TV serial, and am told hosted a conference of a conferences of the jewel-making community of Vishwakarmas recently with the who’s who of Karnataka politics in attendance.

And then you have sites like churumuri, publishing periodic pictures of the actress Ramya or Ainditra Ray, all decked up in gold and other metals.

I know the theory well enough to understand what’s happening: That India always has been a massive gold consumer if not the biggest; that gold has always been a great form of investment, far safer than real estate or stocks or bank deposits; that even at this value, it is a safe investment, and so on.

I am aware that this is not a phenomenon unique to Karnataka and is probably happening in most of the southern States, if not in the rest of the country. And I am aware that even in the days of yore, homegrown stores like C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons and Jewels de Paragon were the big advertisers.

And, anyway, if people are buying gold with their own money or pledging their own gold, who am I to complain?

Still, looking at the gold rush, looking at the manner in which film stars are being used to woo gullible masses, looking at the number of shops opening their doors, looking at the unrealistic levels gold prices are shooting up to, etc, I get the sneaking feeling that we have well and truly entered a giant bubble which might burst any day.

I won’t use the word “scam” yet—and the newspapers and TV channels and FM stations won’t for obvious reasons too—but my guess is we may not have to wait too long before do so.

***

Photograph: Actress and dancer Lakshmi Gopalaswamy at a press conference on the eve of the 13th Jewels of India show in Bangalore on Wednesday (Karnataka Photo News)

***

Also read: Surely, all that glitters is indeed gold?

Don’t ask us what it is, but it sure costs a bomb

Has Akshaya Thrithiya become a major scam?

5 lessons Bollywood can learn from ‘Paramathma’

11 October 2011

PRASHANT KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: As a film goer seriously allergic to the hype that accompanies Bollywood tripe, I approached the latest Kannada release Paramathma with plenty of trepidation.

For, the Puneet Rajkumar-starrer directed by Yograj Bhat seemed to suffer from an overdose of promotion that sends alert antennas up.

For more than a month before the movie’s release last Friday, the director, the “power star”, the music composer (V. Harikrishna) and the actresses (Deepa Sannidhi and Aindrita Ray) were happily plugging away on channel after TV channel, no questions asked.

On the basis of a few visuals made available to them, the news channels dropped all sense of disbelief and pumped up the film as if Bhat had made a modern-day version of Citizen Kane or The Godfather.

There were specials ad nauseam on “The making of Paramathma“. Bhat and Puneet spent one whole half-hour urging a TV film reporter (Ghoshal of TV9) to get married, and then spent another episode pulling Deepa’s legs (on Suvarna News).

Then to top it all, in a Bunty aur Babli moment, Bhat read the 9 pm news to “promote” the film.

It’s the kind of over-promotion that can cause nausea among the faint-hearted. And it’s the kind of over-promotion that will always have a mismatch in the expectation to delivery ratio (especially if you haven’t seen either Yograj Bhat’s or Puneet Rajkumar’s work before, as I hadn’t).

But, guess what, Paramathma turned to be mighty enjoyable and total paisa-vasool. It was the kind of mainstream Kannada film that should make Kannadigas feel proud especially given the kind of reasons Sandalwood has been making news lately.

1) The big reason Paramathma worked for me was that it was clean, which is really saying something these days. The story, the language, the comedy, the sets, the costumes, almost everything bears a stamp of on decency of the vanishing kind, almost bringing a tear to sore Kannada eyes.

2) Paramathma isn’t vulgar like most modern films feel they are entitled to be to get the cash registers ringing. None of those curvy mid-riffs on display. No raunchy item numbers with clothes held up by hope. No two-bit actresses thrusting their pelvis at you. And no crass, double-meaning dialogues in the comedy scenes that the likes of Rangayana Raghu are notorious for.

3) For a movie coming in the era of Singham and Force and Bodyguard, the surprising thing about Paramathma is the manner in which it eschews violence of the sort that south Indian cinema is now synonymous for. No machchu, no laangu. No vehicles rising up in thin air. No thundering dialogues uttered by the glowering star. And no torsos flying around.

4) Arguably, Kannada cinema now churns out the best music in India and Paramathma shows why. Jayant Kaikini‘s word wizardry (see YouTube video, above) stands out. But it is the “Kannada Rap” from Bhat and Harikrishna in two hit songs (Collegeu gate alli and Kathlalli karadige) that shows how well the American music form has been brilliantly incorporated to mirror local angst.

5) And, above all, Paramathma stands out for me because although it is an urban, urbane film of the SMS-internet era, it beautifully manages to give a feel of the rural and the rustic without banking on the feudal, retrograde and melodramatic elements that have become the hallmarks of Indian cinema trying to give the desi feel.

It isn’t as if Yograj Bhat and Puneet Rajkumar have come up with Casablanca or Ran. Far from it. Paramathma has its share of weaknesses, like over-romanticising academic failure; like needlessly employing Bollywood singers; like a rather wooden Kannadiga heroine (Deepa Sannidhi) who has only two expressions, a smile or a scowl.

Still, for a mainstream Kannada film to rise above abysmally low Sandalwood and Bollywood benchmarks and come up trumps (despite a trafic ending) is no small achievement. And M/s Bhat, Puneet, Harikrishna & Co can go to bed satisfied that even on a working day, the morning and matinee shows in the malls are running houseful.

Also read: At last, a ‘different’ film that’s actually different

Not if it will fly high, but how high it will fly

 ‘Bollywood: India’s most moronic cultural export’

‘Bollywood’s a scam. Farah Khan is a big, fat con’

Adoor: Do only Bollywood beauties possess glamour?

Mammootty: Is Hindi cinema Indian cinema?

Don’t ask us what it is, but it sure costs a bomb

15 April 2011

What is it with actors and actresses—Akshay Kumar in Hindi, Shivraj Kumar and his brother Puneet in Kannada, Prabhu in Tamil, etc—so readily endorsing jewel stores, exhibitions and exchanges? Is it just a gold and glamour thing? Or are they just unavoidably susceptible to the lure and lucre of the advertising rupee? Here, the actress formerly known as Divya Spandana, at the inauguration of a jewellery show, at the palace grounds in Bangalore on Friday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also view: One more example of commodification of women

Another example of commodification of women

Another example of commodification of examinations

Like, bombers get scared looking at bombshells?

Now, what will those fools do with these kids?

Surely all that glitters is more than just gold

The best ice-candy melts before nice eye-candy

What it takes to smoothen some rough blades of grass

Denims, diamonds, Miss India and the Mahatma

See, a brand ambassador always gets good press

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

You are almost tempted to say ‘Intel Inside’


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