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I Hope, No, I Am Sure “Malaal” Will Not Be An Experience To Regret (Malaal) For Any One


Ali Peter John

Throughout my 48 year old career, if there is one thing I have been endlessly surprised, it is the way I get some of my most choicest stories, especially stories about who is making what film, who is making whose film and who is being cast in which film to come….

This is an unusual story about knowing all about a film called “Malaal”. I was one of the many patients of one of the best and youngest physiotherapists in Mumbai, Dr Indu Tandon who is the daughter of the award-winning sound recordists and a prominent leader of the industry, Mr Madan Prakash. Dr Tandon was treating some of the best known celebrities of the industry and had the knack of guaranteeing complete heeling to the most desperate cases, the greatest ‘miracle’ I saw her working was when she took on the challenge of putting the well-known filmmaker, Harry Baweja who was completely parallelised and could not even speak and after a few months of her treatment, he could not only stand or try to walk, but could also try to sing!

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I was going through treatment for my broken foot for which I and even my best well-wishers, admirers and even the doctor who operated my foot twelve times had seen no hope, but Dr Indu Tandon had not only seen hope, but had also promised to make me walk. The other most difficult cases I was witness to every evening are too difficult to describe in words.

It was during one of my sessions that I had the pleasure and the privilege of meeting the seventy-eight year old Mrs Leela Bhansali, the mother of Sanjay Leela Bhansali who I had met more than ten years ago in her house at ‘Magnum Opus’ where she lived with her son Sanjay, but she recognised me when Mr Madan Prakash introduced me to her. She had a number of problems with her bones but was always cheerful with one and all and brought a flask of hot tea for all the therapists and all the patients and sometimes even brought some delicious snacks….

Sanjay had just got over one of his major controversy over the release of “Padmavat” and had to go through a short course at Dr Tandon’s clinic to rejuvenate himself and get ready to put up a new fight..

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I got to be a very good friend who was turned into a ‘brother’ with Mrs Leela Bhansali tying a raakhi around my wrist and we could talk about any subject and even laugh in the midst of pain. It was during one of these talks that I asked Mrs Bhansali what her son Sanjay was planning to do next after “Padmavat” and he said he had enough after the last two films he made, “Bajirao Mastani” and “Padmavat” and taking it easy before going out into the battlefield again. But she said he was very active as a producer and was planning to keep the Sanjay Leela Bhansali banner flying high….

It was then that the grandmother who seemed to be very aware of every step her son was taking, told me that he was planning a love story with two newcomers, with the film to be called “Malaal”. It took me quite some time to know what “Malaal” meant in spite of all my so called knowledge of languages like Hindi and Urdu… But as I kept taking to Mrs Leela Bhansali I not only came to know what the word meant but also knew that Sanjay was launching two new faces, one was Meezan who was the son of the multi-talented Javed Jaffrey and Sharmin Segal who was his niece, the daughter of the well-known editor Bela Segal. He also told me that Sanjay was not directing the film and that he had signed one of his assistant to helm the film. She had given me more geniune information than any magazine or any film expert or filmy Jasoos could give me….

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I had then to only follow what was happening on the Sanjay Leela Bhansali front and found out that the film was being directed by Mangesh Hadawale and was not a copy but an inspired film based on a Tamil film “7G Rainbow Colony” made in the South years ago…

And as the shooting of “Malaal” went on without any major breaks, I had all the time to think about how time had passed. Javed Jaffrey was the son of the veteran comedian, Jagdeep who had been given a break as a child artist by the great Bimal Roy and was best known for his role as Soorma Bhopali in “Sholay”,a scene in which he held on to his own even though he had to face giants like Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan. His performance became one of the landmarks of Hindi Cinema. He had tried to cash in on the popularity of Soorma Bhopali and had launched his own film with the same title to launch his son, Javed who was by then known as one of the greatest dancers and with a very good knowledge of acting and especially comedy and comic timing. He had also been launched as a parallel hero in N.N Sippy and Subhash Ghai’s “Meri Jung” but had gradually preferred to be a star on the small screen more than the large screen. He had seen signs of talent in his son Meezan and felt it was his duty to help him as much as he could and then leave him to face his own fights against fate. Sharmin was the daughter of Bela Segal who was married to the son of the veteran filmmaker, Mohan Segal who had made several hits, including “Saawan Bhaadon” which shot Rekha to stardom and who was one of the director who refused to even audition Amitabh Bachchan….

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“Malaal” is more of a lower or slightly upper middle class based story with the boy and the girl belonging to two different classes and ideologies. It is a love story which also turns into a hate story but ultimately lives on as a modern day great love story.

The shooting of “Malaal” mostly done in actual chawls in the heart of Maharashtra and the ambience of the realities of life today and above all the music scored by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself are other highlights, which has the dialogue and songs which are a blend of the common rising to the real and the poetic with Hindi and Marathi making an interesting blend.

With this kind of a backdrop, there may be a tendency to just call it another love story or to compare it with other love stories like the last big hit of a love story, “Dharam” which also saw the launch of Jahnvi Kapoor and Ishan Khattar, but with a man like Sanjay Leela Bhansali in charge, there are all the chances of there being a big difference between this kind of love and that kind of love, I am sure..

And as D-day draws closer, I can feel so many heart beats losing their rhythm and leading them all will be Mrs Leela Bhansali, Jagdeep, Javed, the family of Jagdeep and above all the two lovers who will have to give love a new meaning and save love in these troublesome times when love is being threatned by hate on all sides, the country and the world which stands in need of liberation which can only come with love.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Malaal, Malaal Movie Story, Meezaan Jaffery, Sharmin Segal, Sanjay Leela Bhansali

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