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Rediff.com  » Movies » NY Times praises AB Jr!

NY Times praises AB Jr!

May 26, 2004 14:05 IST

Abhishek Bachchan in YuvaSix years ago, Mani Ratnam's Dil Se... was one of the first Hindi films to figure in the UK's top ten.

Unlike in India, the film was a smash hit in North America and Britain, establishing Shah Rukh Khan as one of the more bankable stars outside India.

The film also brought A R Rahman to the attention of fabled composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who would subsequently present Rahman's music in Bombay Dreams.

While SRK continues to enjoy soaring popularity with many hits, including the recent Main Hoon Na, Ratnam's Yuva opened to an also-ran status.

The New York Times review of Yuva offered some consolation to Ratnam, Rahman, and actor Abhishek Bachchan.

It called Ratnam 'a dynamic, natural film-maker'.

Don't Miss: The Rediff Yuva Special!

The film did not make it to the top 10 in Britain. The No 10 film on the list, Secret Window, grossed about $180,000 over the weekend. Yuva is said to have grossed about $150,000.

In America, the film opened with about $210,000 on 30 screens, clicking at 21st position on the list. Given that its male stars have no substantial following in North America and Britain, its estimated three-day gross of $360,000 is rather decent.

If the film follows the usual path of box-office attrition for desi films (down by 50 per cent in the following weeks) on both sides of the Atlantic, it could end its run with about $800,000.

In North America, relatively new distributor Net Effect Media Inc released Yuva. Sensing that Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, and Abhishek Bachchan do not quite have a big following and the buzz on the film here wasn't hot, Net Effect opened it only on 30 screens. Half-a-dozen screens showed the Tamil version of the film, too. Normally, you would expect to see a high-profile film on about 45 screens.

Though major newspapers in a handful of American cities, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, have reviewed many big budget Hindi films in the last two years, Yuva was ignored by most of them.

But The New York Times ran a 400 word review on the film by its secondary critic David Kehr, who complained that director Mani Ratnam 'uses Bollywood conventions to get at a social reality'.

While Kehr acknowledged that Ratnam had tried to keep 'his lengthy film moving at a brisk pace', he added that the romantic subplots slackened the pace.

Calling the movie's music 'bouncy', Kehr also mentioned that Rahman's music is the basis of the current Broadway show, Bombay Dreams.

Among the actors, Kehr praised Bachchan for his 'simmering, charismatic performance'.

Arthur J Pais