Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bidai: Ravi Kishan's Bhojpuri hit

Bhojpuri film industry is 48 years old (first film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Charaihbo). Its growth has been phenomenal. And the credit for it largely goes to superstars Ravi, Manoj and Naghma. Singer Udit Narayan is producing hits in Bhojpuri. .
LET ME make it clear at the very outset. The government of India considers Bhojpuri to be a dialect of Hindi. But they are now preparing to grant it statutory status as a national scheduled language. Bhojpuri is spoken in Bihar, Jharkhand and UP in India. Abroad it is spoken in Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Surinam and Trinidad and Tobago. Wonder when the matters would speed up officially for Bhojpuri.
Some notable Bhojpuri personalities are freedom fighter Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, first president of India Rajendra Prasad, former Indian prime ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Chandra Shekhar, folk singer Bihar Kokila Padma Shri Sharda Sinha, actor Manoj Bajpai, superstar Ravi Kishan and singer/actor Manoj Tiwari Mridul.
Bhojpuri film industry is just 48 years old (first film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Charaihbo, 1961). But its growth has been phenomenal. And the credit for it largely goes to superstars Ravi kishan, Manoj and Naghma. Singer Udit Narayan is producing hits in Bhojpuri. The lavish budgets now make it possible to shoot these flicks overseas.
It is the only regional cinema that has stood against Bollywood movies and made Hindi actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Ajay Devgan, Jackie Shroff, et al act in it willingly. Subhash Ghai and other producers are willing to invest in it. It has beaten Punjabi and even Tamil cinema in coming close to Bollywood flicks. Cash rich and going strong, it is running parallel to Bollywood.
Made on small budgets, these films do bumper business and are lapped up by viewers even in Punjab and Maharashtra. Desh Drohi (2008) was a hit right from the day one since it dealt with Bihari/UPites migration to Mumbai and bias against them in jobs.
Bhojpuri actors are not only welcomed open armed in Bolly flicks, they are given meatier roles too. The prime examples are again Ravi and Manoj; more about Ravi later on.
Coming to Aslam Sheikh directed Bidai, the movie was released in November 2008. It has already celebrated silver jubilee, a rarity nowadays even in Bollywood. The movie is still going strong. The story is about a young bride Sugandha (Rinku Ghosh), whose poor dad, a court clerk Shivdayal (Prithvi Singh), couldn’t provide adequate dowry. (And I thought dowry was streedhan gift for brides alone and not their in-laws!).
That becomes a causa majoris in her in-laws’ home. As expected, she is ill-treated and is sent back to her dad’s home. While in college, Sugandha was in love with Suraj (Ravi Kishan), who belonged to a different caste. So, she gets married in her own caste to Rahul (Avinash Shahi). Rahul is a security guard for MLA Jagdamba Prasad (Mohan Joshi).
When Suraj sees Sugandha’s ill-treatment, he decides to act. In comes Jagdamba. A tug of war goes on. Will Sugandha fight for her own cause? Some of you may have guessed the ending. Good for you!
Frankly, this movie is not my cup of tea. I thought dowry, etc were a thing of the past. But you know what, in rural India this and other evils still exist and fill the village gossip corners. I had a hard time keeping awake despite the viewers’ seeties (whistles, claps) around. I wanted to kick myself. But I had decided to watch it and if I suffered for a few hours, that’s my fate.
I can’t write any further on this. The movie is a hit and there ends the matter. The village gauris are ineffective against dowry. Matters have gone awry. Can anything be done to save these pyari, dulari, nyari, sansari.
Let’s end on a happy note and that is the movie’s hero Ravi Kishan (38). He is a phenomenon, whose reach remains unmatched. Belonging to Jaunpur, he has seen a rapid rise in Bhojpuri cinema. He is the Shahrukh Khan there. His popularity has reached such levels that foreign media courts him.
Hindi movies are offered to him on a platter. He will soon be seen in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan (2009). He has acted in about 30 Bollywood flicks and countless Bhojpuri runaway hits. He makes a hit pair with Naghma. He is the only actor to have a film named after him that was a super duper hit.
Earlier he was written off and had no work. Later his rise was meteoric. He didn’t forget his earlier times and now actively gives back to the Bhojpuri community. Recently he walked the ramp at IITC Fashion Show 2009. In his case I must quote, “whom God chooses, nobody disposes”.