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a shah rukh and juhi home production

Arctic winds and a cold winter blast did not dampen the enthusiasm of desi moviegoers in North America for director Aziz Mirza's musical comedy with a patriotic twist, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. The strong opening for the film also lifted the dark cloud that had hung over Bollywood films that have been released here since the last big hit of 1999, Rajshri Production's Hum Saath-Saath Hain.

In its opening weekend, Phir Bhi... grossed a respectable $ 367,000, with a high per screen average of $ 7,814. According to the Hollywood trade publication, Daily Variety, it ranked number 27 among the movies showing in the US and just a spot below last weekend's big Golden Globe winner, American Beauty. (Director Sam Mendes's American Beauty is on its last legs, being kept alive by its producers, since the film is expected to win several Oscar nominations next month).

REVIEW OF THE MOVIE : 'I love my car -- and my country' Swapna Mitter ( from )

Juhi Chawla in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani Remember the popular catchline of an ad for a paints company, "Whenever you see colour, think of us!"? Let's re-phrase hat and say, "Whenever you see colour, think of Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani."

Indeed, the 'dreamz' dreamt by Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Aziz Mirza are in vivid Technicolour. Phir Bhi... is a riot of colours, all bright and frothy, visually appealing and technically splendid.

Unfortunately, there's not much else. It starts out as a fun film and one wishes it had remained so till the end. But then, if only to justify the title, the patriotic element is brought in and things get serious, too serious, spoiling the fun.

And all those kids who are yet to decide what they want to do with their lives will surely give journalism a shot after watching this film. The world of reporting, or television reporting at least, has never looked more attractive. I mean, where else could young men and women get such a perfect work atmosphere -- funky offices, trendy designer clothes, fun-loving bosses? And a sparkling green, brand new Hyundai convertible, for doing an exclusive, albeit life-threatening story?

We agree, when the hero keeps saying, 'What a life!' And even as we aspire to that life, we rue the fact that, in reality and on a closer look, it does look very different.

Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani Welcome to the world of Ajay Bakshi (Shah Rukh Khan) and Ria Banerjee (Juhi Chawla), journalists working with rival television channels, K-TV and Galaxee, respectively. Encouraged by their bosses, Kaka Chowdhary (Satish Shah) and Mr Chinoy (Dalip Tahil), the two indulge in a game of one-upmanship, or one-upwomanship as the case may be. Which gives them a chance to break into a song every now and then, proclaiming 'I am the best!'

The plot takes a serious turn when the two get caught in an ugly political battle between chief minister Mushran (Govind Namdeo) and opposition leader Ramakant Dua (Shakti Kapoor). This is where the film gets enmeshed in cliches -- with portrayals of the predictable politician-journo nexus, the mandatory rape scene, the helpless police commissioner (Anjan Srivastava) and an innocent victim (Paresh Rawal.) And, finally, a belief in the power of the common man.

And yes, while all the good people realise their hearts still beat for India, the hero and heroine find their hearts beating for each other. So, rivalry and career be damned, it's time to get together and help the truth, and nothing but the truth, prevail.

Phir Bhi... brings back memories of several other films, Indian and English. Apart from the thematic influence of the Julia Roberts-starrer, Switching Channels, there are shades of Jim Carrey's The Truman Show, especially in the dream sequence where Shah Rukh and Juhi climb on to the steps in a surreal setting (art direction: Sharmishtha Roy) and walk out of the door.

Shah Rukh Khan in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani The scene where all of Shah Rukh's girlfriends land up at the same place at the same time, courtesy a little scheming by Juhi, reminds one of the Jeetendra-Rekha film, Judai where the heroine had resorted to a similar ploy. There's also a trace of Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja -- here, the lead pair do a Chinese act, similar to the Japanese one enacted by Sridevi and Anil Kapoor. Finally, the climax shot, with thousands of persons taking to the streets to save one man's life, is reminiscent of 1942: A Love Story. Agreed, that was 1942 and this is 2000, but the sentiment, you see, is the same.

This is probably one of Juhi's best performances. She has never looked better -- her outfits are credited to Manish Malhotra, the man known for giving new looks to several leading Bollywood ladies -- and once again, like Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, she shows a flair for comedy.

While it's certain that Shah Rukh will act in all future Dreamz Unlimited productions, the slot for the lead actress is apparently going to be open. After watching this film, one hopes Juhi will continue to get first preference.

Shah Rukh is his usual energetic self, portraying his role with his usual mannerisms, and then borrowing some from Jim Carrey's book. Frankly, it's high time he innovated his act a little.

The supporting cast is well-chosen and lives up to expectations. Particularly impressive are Haider Ali (as the hero's idealistic father), Namdeo as the scheming politician and Neena Kulkarni as the victim's wife. Johnny Lever, as the bumbling, publicity-crazy don, is as delightful as ever.

Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani Santosh Sivan's cinematography is brilliant. Whether it's Shah Rukh taking a jump from the 20th floor or the car chase or simply a rain sequence, Sivan proves he is one the best in the industry. Director Aziz Mirza probably had too many storylines for inspiration (story idea, dialogues: Sanjay Chhel) and too many people helping him out (the makers have thanked Aditya Chopra, Yash and Karan Johar, Khalid Mohammed, among others, for their dreams) -- leaving the end product a trifle confused and hackneyed, unlike his earlier Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss.

But he shows his touch in flashes, like the heart-tugging scene where Shah Rukh, the streetsmart and narcissist scribe, plays hopscotch on a deserted street in a dark night.

Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani Ironically, while Phir Bhi... makes a dig at sponsorships and how television has been taken over by multi-crore companies, the film itself is a platform for promoting various brands like as Swatch, Hyundai, VIP...!

Postscript: When we entered the new Premiere theatre in Bombay's Dadar suburb for the preview, there was a band playing songs from the film. The music started once again at the end of the show. For the sake of all those who have given shape to their dreamz, that the music plays on -- for a long time to come. We, though, are not too sure!

A remake of the Kathleen Turner - Burt reynolds film Switching Channels which was an adaptation of Billy Wilder's The Front Page, PBDHH promises to update Indian patriotism to Y2K. The film deals with two news anchors who try to outdo each other in sensationalism with disastrous consequences. They offend a prominent polititian who has named them as criminals on the run in the television programme india's Most Wanted and has the entire nation on their heels. With santosh Sivan's cinematography, Farah Khan's choregraphy and Aziz Mirza at the helm , this one's surely gonna be a hit !

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SYNOPSIS: AJAY BAKSHI (Shahrukh Khan) - A sharp and shrewd TV reporter works for Kaka Chowdhary (Satish Shah), owner of K-TV. Ajay - a star in his own right will cross all limits to prove that, he is the BEST. RIA BANERJEE (Juhi Chawla) - A beautiful women with an innocent face -camouflaging a sharp and intelligent mind. She is employed by Mr. Chinoy 
(Dalip Tahil), the CEO of Channel GALAXEE, to counter the burgeoning success of Ajay Bakshi and K-TV. She too goes all out to prove that she is the BEST. This is the beginning of a professional rivalry, and of a love hate relationship between the two. Each tries to outdo and outsmart the otherís efforts to promote their Channel. They both use an entire array of journalistic weaponry ranging from pampering and pandering to deception and deceit.

Suddenly, both of them are catapulted into the political spotlight when the Chief Minister Mushran (Govind Namdeo) and the opposition party leader Ramakant Dua (Shakti Kapoor) engage in a vicious political battle for power. The atmosphere is tense with the impending elections. In the midst of all this a simple common man, Mohan Joshi (Paresh Rawal), who gets entangled in the web of power hungry men. Ajay and Ria come together to help this common man and solicit the help of a softhearted under world Don Pappu Junior (Johnny Lever).

A spark is ignited which leads to a momentous chain of events that tests the integrity and character of all these people. Will this seemingly simple story of a simple common man change the lives of Ajay and Ria and of every other INDIAN?

Pyaar aur patriotism

It's about love, laughter and freedom. And about dreams unlimited.
 Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla play the lead roles in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani which is being produced by Dreamz Unlimited, the company set up by the two stars. The film's director is Aziz Mirza, who had earlier worked with the Shahrukh-Juhi pair in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss.

Ajay Bakshi (Shahrukh Khan) and Ria Banerjee (Juhi Chawla) are rival journalists, forever crossing each other's paths, in search of 'the big story.'

Their rivalry accounts for several hilarious situations in the film, with each trying to be one-up on the other. The duo gets entangled in a chain of events with politics serving as the backdrop and a common man trapped in between.


Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla have also shelled out almost Rs 150 million for Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, in the hope that the venture will establish their banner, Dreamz Unlimited. This is the first time director Aziz Mirza is working with such a huge budget. His first big-money venture was Yes Boss, the success of which helped him escape the bondage of the shoestring budgets he has always had to work with. In fact, the money that's gone into making PBDHH is more than double the amount that went into the production of Yes Boss. 

Over to Shah Rukh on his dream project.

On why he has floated a banner when he is among the top heroes
It was a sudden decision. One day, Juhi, Mirza and myself were discussing a plot. Then we thought why not we produce it through our own company. All the three of us had a flair for comedy. Remember Raju Bhan Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss?

On the choice of the title
It is inspired by Raj Kapoor's famous song Mera joota hai Japani... Beyond that, it has nothing to do with Raj Kapoor, whom I admire very much. We liked the Indian touch. No, it is not a patriotic film at all. Just a satire and a comic look at life around.

On the plot of Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani
shah rukh with juhiIt is about two media personalities who work for rival TV channels. They are busy trying to outwit the other by hook or crook. It is a sarcastic look at the crazy race for grabbing sensational bit of news and TRP rating. But it is also a love story. The treatment is light that should appeal to all types of audience. I'm pompous, arrogant and ready to lie, while Juhi is equally tough and competitive.

On whether there's a social message in the film
We've had international celebrities like a Shekhar Kapoor or Sachin Tendulkar. Despite their greatness, there's an Indiannness in them. The special quality of we Indians is goodness of heart. Our movie tries to highlight it. There's no value judgement on what's good or what's wrong.

On whether he worked harder for his own film
Yes. I definitely spoke faster, ran faster and applied more blood on my face! But don't forget. I didn't get paid for acting in this film.

On judging the pulse of the audience
 It's quite difficult. All one can ensure is to be entertaining , good viewing with all the essential ingredients. This film has tongue-in-cheek humour and also black humour. But the comedy never descends to crude level. There's also Johnny Lever for additional laughs.

On the music scored by Jatin Lalit

The songs are mostly situational. The catchy title song is already being beamed on the TV channels. The music reflects the fun mood of the movie.

On whether his company will also give a chance to new faces
Well, I'm still young enough to be a hero. I did try to find a fresh face . But no one could match my talent!

On the financial resources of Dreamz Unlimited
A veteran producer like Yash Johar and industrialist Jai Mehta are putting in the money while we three are the creative team. .

- Hindustan Times

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