View Full Version : Welcome to Sajjanpur *ing Amrita Rao and Shreyas Talpade
09-02-2008, 05:36 AM
Cast & Crew
UTV Spot Boy
September 19, 2008
Mantra @ SDS
09-02-2008, 05:37 AM
They say, laughter is the best medicine; they also say good films help producers laugh all the way to the bank. But here's one filmmaker you would have least expected to see to make comic capers.
Yes, it is Shyam Benegal who now seems raring to attempt a genre he's hardly ever ventured into during his illustrious career. "This is the time when people seem to appreciate comic satires and all that. It appears to be the right kind of time to make a comedy," said Shyam Benegal.
And his directorial first in comedy will be "Welcome to Sajjanpur"--a movie thats rather high on some heavy duty rustic humour.
"I think you better see the film. It's going to take another 2 and a half weeks to get it released. That's not long to go", Shyam Benegal.
For Benegal who is better known for his films like Manthan, Sardari Begum and ZUbeida, films that are a tad removed from commercial sensibilities and compromises. Welcome to Sajjanpur is indeed a huge deviation.
Clearly the lines that divide parallel and mainstream cinema is blurring and considerably at that!
09-02-2008, 05:39 AM
Look who's getting into comic zone these days!!
Yes it's none other than Bollywood's prolific filmmaker Shyam Benegal who is rightly called as the 'Pioneer of Parallel Cinema'.
Nobody would ever forget about his ground-breaking contribution towards Hindi Cinema. The man who created altogether a different genre by giving some of the remarkable films like NISHANT, ANKUR, SURAJ KA SAATVA GHODA, MANDI, ZUBEIDA, etc...has step his foot into comedy first time ever with WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR, his upcoming release.
Since comedy has become the new flavour of Bollywood, seems like this veteran is setting himself in the flow of the stream.
WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is an unusual mix of a satire & a romantic comedy set in rural India, starring Shreyas Talpade & Amrita Rao in the leads. The promos of the same are looking great with an amazing introduction video.
09-02-2008, 05:41 AM
When master filmmaker Shyam Benegal announced his first plunge into comedy with Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur starring Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao, little did he know that he will land up renaming the same as Welcome To Sajjanpur. For starters, the film has Shreyas playing 'Mahadev', the only literate person in a village called Sajjanpur.
Not many know that it's actually the sets of Ramoji studios that was converted into the land of no books. And whenever the cast used to report on sets, it had almost become a ritual that they used to greet each other by saying Welcome To Sajjanpur. That's when Shreyas hit upon an idea and requested Shyam Benegal to rename the film as Welcome To Sajjanpur, a suggestion that Shyam loved so much that he immediately renamed the film from Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur to Welcome To Sajjanpur.
09-02-2008, 05:44 AM
Has Shyam Benegal been lured by the item song?
The legendary director of classics like Ankur, Nishant, Bhumika and Manthan will apparently feature Amrita Rao in what looks like an item number in his latest film, Welcome To Sajjanpur.
Initially titled Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur, the film also features Shreyas Talpade, playing a letter-writer in a village of uneducated people.
A set on Ramoji Studios in Hyderabad was converted into a small village called Sajjanpur. When the cast reported on the sets each day, they used to greet each other thus: "Welcome to Sajjanpur".
Talpade then suggested to Benegal that he consider renaming the film Welcome To Sajjanpur; the director agreed.
Amrita is said to feature in an item song, part of a dream sequence. Quite a change from the previous roles the demure lass has essayed and quite a change from Mr Benegal's films too!
09-02-2008, 05:54 AM
Shreyas Talpade :
09-02-2008, 05:57 AM
Sita Ram (Welcome To Sajjanpur)
Dildara (Welcome To Sajjanpur)
Totally digging the Dildara song !.. and Amrita looks gorgeous !.. Also the Sita Ram song is quite catchy !
09-02-2008, 06:03 AM
Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao take the Bindaas cab ride to promote Welcome Ka Sajjanpur
09-02-2008, 06:04 AM
In the Indian cinema, Shyam Benegal is renowned for creating masterpiece films on serious genres. He has been actively associated with the parallel cinema for past many years. But this time, the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee is all set to make an explosion of laughter on the silver screens with his maiden comedy flick titled, Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur.
As the name suggests, this movie would be a hilarious one which is entirely set within a rural backdrop. According to the filmmaker, this movie is an attempt to peep into the modern rural society which is no more alien to the technological advancements. Benegal, through his creation also attempts to arouse the interests of the urban society towards the present day rural life.
The ‘Iqbal’ fame Shreyas Talpade and ‘Vivaah’ fame Amrita Rao are playing the lead roles in Mahadev Ka Sajjanpur. Treated with a potion of rib tickling humor, the entire story is knitted around the life of a freelance letter writer employed in the village post office.
Besides, movie also casts the illustrious Bhojpuri actor, Ravi Kishen playing the role of a compounder and Rajeshwari Sachdev as a widow, casted opposite to him. This flick has also been said to comprise of a total of six soothing and funky tracks.
Expected Release Date
Are you wondering about the expected releasing date of this maiden comedy flick by Shyam Benegal? Relax, you don’t have to wait for long because the shooting of this film has been completed and it is going to be released very soon in the theaters.
09-02-2008, 06:12 AM
August 28, 2008 (Sawf News) - Amrita Rao charmed on a special episode of SET's Comedy Circus, which airs on Saturday 30, 2008 at 10.00 P.M. She appeared as a special judge along with Shreyas Talpade, her co-star in the upcoming film Welcome To Sajjanpur.
Talpade and Rao, who appeared on the show to promote their film, started the show with their outstandingly funny act and set the mood for the evening. After this special performance it was time for our infamous Jodis to take centre stage and enthrall the audiences with stomach-aching acts.
The evening for "Uniform Special" unfolded something like this:
Kamya - Rajiv : Kamya Sherawat and Kkrish Rajiv gang up together to take a dig at yes, Mallika Sherawat Krushna - Sudesh : Chacha Sudesh is looking for his new assistant Sabu but indeed has Superman as a candidate for his helper.
Juhi-VIP - VIP plays Shahenshah whose nagging wife Juhi just can't stop irritating him.
And in the other half of the episode all the jodis perform but one of them plays the mute partner as the theme is "Mute Partner", and all the jodis performed something like this…
Juhi - VIP : Juhi plays the host of a TV sky shopping show where VIP is the subject and has taken treatments right from his dark complexion to extra weight, giving a performance par excellence.
Krushna - Sudesh : Sudesh plays a reporter who has come to a filmy party way ahead of time and in the meantime keeps on bumping into faded film stars all played by none other than Krushna.
Kamya-Rajiv : This remarkable pair put together a performance that received the perfect 30 on 30 score from the judges.
The pairs rolled out some real humorous act and host Shruti kept asking Shreyas and Amrita about their take on the performance and they just had one word for them…."dhamaal".
Shyam Benegal's Welcome To Sajjanpur, produced by UTV Spotboy, revolves around a young man who becomes extremely popular in his village Sujjanpur because he is the only educated person around to help illiterate people to write their letters. It's a satirical take on a contemporary Indian village.
09-02-2008, 06:13 AM
Shyam Benegal's forthcoming release WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is creating quite a stir in the B-town. The movie is under constant news for numerous reasons. One of which being widely talked about is the first time pairing of Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao. Their on-screen chemistry looks amazing.
It is learnt that the duo had a great time during the shooting. They bonded big time on the sets over Marathi language. Apparently Amrita is quite fond of Marathi language and loved interacting in Marathi with Shreyas. Shreyas who is a Maharashtrian helped Amrita with the language. He used to teach Marathi (vocabulary) to Amrita in between the shots. The pretty lass Amrita is glad with her new learning and according to her she now can very well converse in Marathi with anyone.
So the next time when you meet the sizzling lady you may end up interacting in Marathi lingo.
09-02-2008, 06:22 AM
Kunal Kapoor will now been seen in a cameo role in Shyam Benegal's forthcoming venture Mahadev. This will be Kunal's fifth venture after Yash Raj Film's Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. The film is based on the story of a writer who becomes a letter writer outside the post office of a small village named Sajjapur.
The lead roles are played by Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao. Kunal incidentally plays the role of Amrita's husband in the film.
Kunal is one actor who has never been in the Bollywood rat race and has been looking for new dimensions to be highlighted in his roles.
09-05-2008, 05:58 AM
Noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal is back, this time with a comedy, Welcome to Sajjanpur starring Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao. A 360 degree shift from his socially conscious films, Benegal quips its time to indulge in some lighthearted cracks. And he promises the audience a lot more.
1. Tell us something about your film Welcome to Sajjanpur .
It's a comedy dealing with illiteracy, wherein the central character is the only literate man in the entire village. What are the issues faced by him, the kind of day-to-day pressures he braces up to, form a part of the film's comic element. Shreyas has done a brilliant job. There was only one name in my mind when I thought of the character and none could understand the character better than he has.
2. Your stories have always revolved around issues that plague society. How were you inspired to take up illiteracy?
The film is not entirely based on illiteracy. There are a lot of other issues like, political, social, gender empowerment and so on. I have tried to portray all this with a comic angle. It was actually a real life issue that triggered it off.
One of the peons in my office is illiterate. He recently got married, but is living alone in Mumbai. Now, his wife keeps sending him these very passionate letters (she is the literate one of the two) and he has to get it read by someone else. The first time he did that, he literally turned beet red. Since I was a witness to these episodes frequently, it set me thinking in terms of a full-fledged film.
3. The film marks your maiden foray into comedy. Why the sudden shift?
I thought it was the time to do something radically different from the general perception about me. Also, it's like a new thing I wanted to experiment with. I have always wanted to do all kinds of cinema and thought that probably now is a good time. It helped me to see a lot of things in a lighter vein.
4. Your films are unique by the kind of message they lend to the audience...
I don't think so. I don't believe in giving forth any kind of messages through my films. Yes, it deals with a certain kind of subject, but that doesn't mean that I would like to pass any kind of judgment.
I think films are a means to mass entertainment and it should strive only towards that. Audiences should feel involved with it and take away some element of the film with them. I make films because I am passionate about seeing a particular story in reel. I would like to see it in a perspective that is only mine and hope that the audience would like what I show them.
5. There was a major gap between mainstream and art films. But off late, the lines are getting blurred. Do you think that the acceptance level of the audience has indeed widened?
I think people were always an accepting recipient of any kind of film. However, till now only mainstream films with big names and backed by a lot of money elbowed out the smaller ones. There wasn't much choice given to the audience. Now due to the spurt in multiplexes, audiences have a variety of films and can savour the kind of films they like. There are all kinds of films happening and this is a great time for experimentation.
6. What are your current projects?
I am working on two untitled films, one a comedy and the other a melodrama. I think it will be comedy that will take precedence as of now.
09-06-2008, 12:59 AM
Amrita Rao takes her work really seriously and her dedication to her profession was clearly visible during the shooting of the Shyam Benegal’s Welcome to Sajjanpur in which the pretty actress plays a village belle for the first time.
Amrita was required to speak in Baagelkhande — a dialect of Hindi — and to get the right accent Amrita not only practised during the shooting, but also practised long after the entire unit had wrapped up work.
“Amrita really took it up as a challenge. She would sit with the film’s dialogue-writer Ashok Mishra and practise to get the right accent,” revealed a unit hand. “Well, when you work with a veteran like Benegal sir and a talented actor like Shreyas, you have to push yourself to do the best and I wanted to give in my best, so I really didn’t mind the extra efforts at all.” Well, and we’re sure the effort won’t go unnoticed either.
09-06-2008, 01:04 AM
09-06-2008, 01:17 AM
09-15-2008, 05:33 AM
Welcome to Sajjanpur is Shyam Benegal’s foray into the comedy genre that’s so IN these days in bollywood. Welcome to Sajjanpur is a spoof on a contemporary Indian village and tries to present the daily life in an Indian village from a humorous angle.
This movie which will be releasing on the 19th September, is produced by UTV spotboy productions which is targeting the multiplex cine-goers with low budget yet innovative cinema. Welcome to Sajjanpur stars Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao in the lead. It’s reported that it’s the sets of Ramoji studios that got converted into a small village called Sajjanpur.
The story of the movie goes like this …
Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) is one of the few educated people in Sajjanpur, though he wishes to be a novelist, he finds it easier to making pennies out of writing letters on behalf of some of the non-literate folks in the village. He becomes quite popular amongst the village folk and soon discovers that he could manipulate the trust of the villagers. With this background, Welcome to Sajjanpur depicts the life of a traditional Indian village in a comic way.
The movie does not have a king size star cast nor does it have big budget to harp on, but it does have a great script, atleast that’s what Shreyas believes, this is what he had to say about working in this movie ‘Working with Shyambabu is like going to a film school and learning the nuances of filmmaking. As an actor, I want to experiment and do something different from the run-of-the-mill. At the end of the day, all that matters is a strong script, not how good you look on the screen etc’
Shyam Benegal is the director of hard-hitting films like Ankur, Junoon, Mandi, Suraj ka Satvan Ghoda, Mirch Masala and Mammo, given Shyam Benegal’s illustrious career and track record of making stimulating movies, Welcome to Sajjanpur does appear to be a great watch. Lets hope it lives us to our expectations.
09-15-2008, 10:00 PM
This is definitely a film worth to wait for.. I'm sure Amrita's performance will be once again highlighted... Shyam is a wonderful director, I loved his Zubeida... :heart: :heart:
09-17-2008, 03:01 PM
The story sounds cool!!! And I love Amrita's natural-village-girl-look!!! It's beautiful and she always looks the best with a little make up!!! :heart: Thanks Eviie
09-19-2008, 06:14 AM
Welcome to Sajjanpur - Emotional Comedy
Welcome to Sajjanpur was previously titled Mahadev ka Sajjanpur because it is Mahadev's (Shreyas Talpade) story of all the people residing in Sajjanpur.
Mahadev wants to be a writer but ends up writing emotional letters for all and sundry. He also reads the replies to those letters and sometimes messes around with the content, especially when it comes to the object of his affection, Kamala (Amrita Rao) whose husband Banshi is trying to eke out an existence in Mumbai. The two develop a special bond but Kamala is devoted to her husband and Mahadev realizes his modified letters have almost put Banshi's life in danger. Meanwhile, his letters help Ramkumar (Kissen) express his love for widow Shobhaa (Rajeshwari) and Pannawali( Ila Arun) find a suitable groom for her rebellious daughter Vindhya (Divya Dutta). What's more he also writes letters to the Collector on behalf of election candidates, local goon Ramsingh's wife and eunuch Munnibai.
For the most part, the film is a laugh out loud comedy. I loved the chain-letter-with-death-threat scene wherein a villager is willing to spend 200 rupees on forwarding those letters, like the threatening emails and messages we forward. I also liked the street play scene, Ila Arun's woes about her daughter's wedding, the chase between the Subedar and Ramkumar, the letter reading between Kamala and Mahadev, the mobile chitti and Munnibai's entry. The scene where she begs him to write a letter to the Collector for her protection is very touching and sensitive.
The sets, clothes and language lend authenticity to the film. The language is slightly hard to understand; you get the gist of the dialogue but not every line. There are plenty of jokes on politicians. On the whole Indian village life has been realistically portrayed, including politics, illiteracy, discrimination and superstition.
The entire cast has acted really well. Ravi Kissen and Rajeshwari make a mark in their cameo. Divya Dutta is extremely believable as the independent, scooter driving Vindhya. Yashpal Sharma adds another feather to his cap; you hate him as he commits crimes and walks away freely. As the crying-through-her-nose mother, Ila Arun is hilarious and excellent. Amrita Rao is sensitive and expresses through her eyes. She looks very pretty too. Shreyas Talpade is clearly the star of the show. He is adorable as the clever, fun loving, sometimes selfish yet caring Mahadev. This is his best performance since Iqbal. You salute Munnibai's spirit.
Shyam Benegal's is funny and touching ; taking you back to the joy of writing and reading letters. Go for it!
Janhvi Patel, Hill Road Media
09-19-2008, 06:17 AM
Welcome to Sajjanpur – a small village in Northern India where letters are still the only mode of communication, power cuts are a part of daily life and riding a two-wheeler is like a distant dream.
An aspiring novelist Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade), earns his living by reading and writing letters for the illiterate villagers. Through these letters one gets to know the life stories of the film's dozen odd characters.
And in these often-satirical stories, director Shyam Benegal chooses to touch upon rural India's topical issues such as widow remarriage, caste politics and superstition. But after a point he establishes just too many sub-plots in a case of biting off more than he can chew. So while you have the protagonist's love story developing in one scene the next one shows him caught between two rival politicians. This goes on right till the end where a good ten minutes are utilised to explain what happened to the various characters who were forgotten in the course of the film.
What remains with you through and after this movie is its authentic rural setting. After a long time we have had a film set completely in the Hindi heartland (the only other recent examples being Maalamal Weekly and Omkara). In fact the dialogue is so deep rooted in the local dialect, it might require more than decent knowledge of Hindi to really enjoy the film's humour.
Welcome to Sajjanpur totally rests upon Shreyas Talpade's shoulders. The actor's comic timing is getting better with each film and it's his performance that makes up for the film's many flaws. Seen in almost every frame of the film Shreyas is the hero of the enterprise in every sense of the word. The 'stand out' Shreyas moment would be his spoof on SRK's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 'Maa' speech. Talpade is here to stay and is far more watchable than many other overrated so called serious actors.
Amrita Rao doesn't have much of a role but continues her coy Vivah act. And is actually very likeable. The rest of the supporting cast stay true to their characters with each actor delivering spirited performances. Kunal Kapoor seems to have become a guest appearance specialist in a cameo similar to his Bachna Ae Haseeno act as the good-natured husband.
But as they say too much of a good is bad – That's exactly the problem with this film. Without much of a plot this character driven film clearly overstays its welcome. Why did an experienced filmmaker like Benegal fall prey to the trend of dream songs? Not only is the song placement flawed the soundtrack is a big bore as well. What could have been a simple, short story is unnecessarily stretched to almost three hours. So even though it is far superior to most films you see week after week once the end credits roll you are kind of thankful it all got over.
Verdict: Shreyas Talpade is the life of Welcome To Sajjanpur. The rest of is like a DD TV serial that doesn't know when to end.
09-19-2008, 06:19 AM
Welcome to Sajjanpur
Director: Shyam Benegal
Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ravi Kishan
Rating: *** and a half
'Welcome to Sajjanpur', or 'Mahadev ka Sajjanpur', the earlier title of the film (the censor certificate has retained the original too). Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) is a wannabe novelist and is among the more literate, educated folks in Sajjanpur, a village in North India.
Not inclined towards menial jobs like running his family vegetable shop, Mahadev opts for a more interesting career choice: Writing letters for the village-folk, most of who are illiterate, and others who are unable to express their feelings in writing as well as Mahadev can.
So, a village goon (Yashpal Sharma), who is supporting his under-trial wife to win the panchayat elections, strong-arms Mahadev into writing to the village collector and falsely implicating the opposition candidate to have a link with Pakistan's ISI. A village majnu (Ravi Kishan) is in love with a widow, and coaxes Mahadev to write a love letter in which majnu can express his feelings to her.
A eunuch, who eventually fights the elections against the goon, forces Mahadev to write a song that the eunuch can use as a slogan to win the elections. Among other such village bumpkins is Kamala (Amrita Rao), whose husband Banshi has left to earn a buck in Mumbai four years ago, soon after the wedding, and hasn't returned since then. Mahadev falls in love with Kamala and starts manipulating the letters to ensure that Kamala and Banshi never meet again.
Too many plots, you would think. At the interval point, I thought so too. Till then, the journey has been breezy. As each plot unfolds, you are left amused at the antics of Mahadev and other villagers, the fresh, witty dialogues and double entrendes that are presented in a sophisticated manner that's hard to find when the 'S' word pops up.
So far so good. But how will it go from here? Will all opened knots be closed once again? Will each story reach a fulfilling end? I wasn't disappointed. In the second half, the film goes about closing each chapter intertwined with the main story, in a beautifully thought-provoking manner, the humour undercurrent present throughout.
The seamless script (Screenplay, Dialogue: Ashok Mishra) keeps the pace intact, and the songs (Music: Shantanu Moitra) actually further the story. In the end, the film achieves much more than it sets out to. It amalgamates hard realities (honour killings, political manipulations, superstition etc) with a feel-good setup, leaves you entertained and somewhere a little touched too.
The performances needn't be classified. They are all exemplary. Shreyas Talpade, of course, needs to be mentioned. To carry the film on his shoulders, like only an actor of high caliber would, is indeed praiseworthy. And Talpade achieves that effortlessly. It would also be nice to see some more of Ravi Kishan in Hindi films.
Shyam Benegal, who promised Welcome to Sajjanpur to be a political satire and a romantic comedy at the same time, manages to do justice to both aspects of the film. The veteran shows deftness in both the emotional scenes, which is his forte, and the comic scenes, extracting great performances from the entire cast.
Pay a visit to Sajjanpur at the nearest multiplex this weekend. You won't regret it.
09-19-2008, 06:24 AM
Director: Shyam Benegal
Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ravi Jhankal, Ila Arun, Ravi Kishan
In an age when even emails are considered outmoded and communication connotation are restricted to social networking on Orkut and Facebook, Shyam Benegal has the simplicity to correspond and connect with such antique elements like a postcard or an inland letter.
Welcome to Sajjanpur village where Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) desires to be a novelist but ends up writing letters outside the post office earning his daily bread thanks to the illiterate population. Whilst scribbling postcards for the villagers, he plays a spectator to almost every interesting escapade in Sajjanpur. His clientele includes a scheming politician kin (Yashpal Sharma), a Compounder (Ravi Kishan) crazily in love with a widow (Rajeshwari Sachdeva), a superstitious mother (Ila Arun) desperate to get her daughter (Divya Dutta) married, a eunuch venturing into politics (Ravi Jhankal) and a married woman (Amrita Rao) longing for her husband to return from city. The film unravels each character’s unique story and attempts to positively solve most of them.
Shyam Benegal’s unsophisticated story is skillfully scripted by Ashok Mishra who comes up with a character-driven screenplay laden with refreshing individual episodes. But most importantly his dialogues deserve a special mention for an authentic rustic feel of the countryside and simultaneously having a witty punch in almost every second line. Despite its rural setting, the timing of the story is contemporary and Benegal justifies it through his postgraduate protagonist, conversant with the modern world and by positioning the village at the brink of development.
Shyam Benegal also has a strong and subtle hold on humour which arrives in his film through spontaneity and slice of life situations. Notably he has a restrained control of not stretching the humour beyond its expiry date, so very lacking in today’s self-proclaimed comedy-kings. Any other director could have made the eunuch go boisterous in inducing slapstick humour but Benegal extracts a refined act from Ravi Jhankal. Note the finer nuances when he shows the eunuch literate enough to inscribe his signature while the contending minister resorting to thumb-impression.
The rural recreation in Samir Chanda’s art-direction is accurate. Rajan Kothari gives life to the pastel shades of the village through his easygoing cinematography. Shantanu Moitra’s undemanding music is in sync with the mood of the film. The film opts for an unconventional climax and what stays with you long after is it’s unadulterated simplicity and sincerity.
Of the minor blemishes, the romance track between Shreyas and Amrita tends to get slightly stretched in the second half. A song on democratic rights sounds preachy and the political drama is kind of predictable. One of the subplots has a tragic termination, but with the optimistic end that the film opts for, the despair could have been avoided. Nevertheless, you don’t leave the hall without a sense of contentment.
Performances from any Shyam Benegal film are no less than superlative and this one has a long list of achievers. Shreyas Talpade as the central character and a part of every episode of the film is confident, natural, spontaneous and effortless in his impeccable act. Yashpal Sharma is enormously effective in the brazen dialogue delivery of his introduction scene. Benegal’s favourites – Ravi Jhankal and Ila Arun come up with thoroughly engaging acts. Despite just two-scenes, Divya Dutta has immense screen-presence. Amrita Rao, as the village belle, is gracefully endearing. Ravi Kishan shows considerable restrain over his blatant Bhojpuri histrionics.
Shyam Benegal has always been accredited as a mesmerizing storyteller known for making ‘meaningful’ cinema. This time he also caters to commercial consumers, coming up with his most ‘entertaining’ attempt, by far. Take the invitation earnestly. Do pay a visit to Sajjanpur.
09-19-2008, 06:29 AM
Years ago, a popular TV series MALGUDI DAYS left an indelible impression on the minds of viewers. Now Shyam Benegal's WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR takes you back to a hamlet that has its share of assorted characters: a letter writer, a power-hungry goon, a eunuch, a short tempered army man and his widowed daughter-in-law, a compounder, a house wife who's husband, working in Mumbai, hasn't showed up for four Diwalis… These are characters you've seen, witnessed, might even relate to.
Actually, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is more on the lines of a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. It's not heavy on your mind, even though there's ample drama happening every now and then. But everything is presented without going overboard.
WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR works because of its simplicity. Expect no glitz-n-glam here. In fact, it doesn't even have a strong plot since it's a character-driven film. Yet, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR keeps your interest alive in most parts.
Final verdict? Watch WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR for its simplicity. Its strength lies in its story and how well a seasoned director like Shyam Benegal narrates it. Let's just say, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is certainly welcome!
Mahadev [Shreyas Talpade] is one of the few educated young men in Sajjanpur. His ambition is to be a novelist, but finds it easier to make a living by writing and reading letters sitting next to the post office. His ability to write persuasive letters makes him popular with the largely non-literate population of the town.
Aware of this power, he soon uses his talent to manipulate people with amusing and sometimes not such amusing results.
Shyam Benegal may be best known for intense films, but as you watch WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR, it dawns upon you that he's equally proficient when it comes to light entertainers. The character portrayed by Shreyas and his interaction with various people make the proceedings exciting.
Note his scenes with the goonda who's aiming to be a politician [Yashpal Sharma] or one of the orthodox ladies of the village [Ila Arun]. Even the romantic scenes with his childhood sweetheart [Amrita Rao], now married to someone else, are cute. The twists and turns in the second hour are the best part of the enterprise. Also, the end is very novel.
On the flip side, the unwarranted songs in the narrative spoil the show. Ideally, the film could've done without any song. Besides, the length should've been controlled.
Every actor in WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR delivers a sparkling performance, but the show belongs to Shreyas Talpade. This is his most accomplished performance since IQBAL. Amrita Rao is admirable. It's at par with VIVAH. Yashpal Sharma [terrific], Ila Arun [superb], Divya Dutta [effective], Ravi Kissen [wonderful], Rajeshwari [nice] and Ravi Jhankal [exceptional] are delightful. Kunal Kapoor's presence comes as a surprise.
On the whole, WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR is an interesting watch. At the box-office, the film has the potential to go from strength to strength with a positive word of mouth.
09-19-2008, 06:31 AM
:lol: Are we the only people that knew Kunal Kapoor was making a special appearance in the film??..
09-27-2008, 10:04 AM
Welcome to Sajjanpur, which released on September 19th is creating raves all around with starry reviews and critics who cannot stop praising Shyam Benegal intelligence. Welcome to Sajjanpur brings together the fresh pair of Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao as Mahdev and Kamla.
Bollywood Hungama spoke to the talented Shreyas Talpade about the venture and his experiences working with Mr Benegal. He firstly clarified the change in title from Mahadev Ki Sajjanpur to Welcome to Sajjanpur explaining that the team felt the latter was far more catchy.
Then he answered the question most fans were dying to know, how was it working with Amrita Rao? The coming together of a new jodi in Bollywood is always exciting. The actor had only one word to describe her. Superb. He continued to praise her dedication, focus and talent. Apparently Miss Rao was very nervous about speaking in the Bhojpuri dialect used in the movie however she practiced for hours on end after pack up to get it down to perfection, which is very much apparent on screen.
Working with Shyam Benegal is every actors dream and Shreyas clarifies that it was a life long dream of his to work with Mr. Benegal that finally came true. He also defies the myth of Shyam Benegal being a total serious task master but says on the contrary he’s one of the most chilled out guys on the sets. Perhaps being the genius he is does help! Shreyas was absolutely thrilled to have gotten this honor being so young in the industry.
Sitaram, the track that’s topping charts happens to also be Shreyas’s favorite from the album and he also sounded rather proud that the movie did encompass an item number!
It’s no hidden secret that the movie based on urban India and according to Shreyas the urban audiences will surely find a special place in their hearts for this one. Shreyas refused to reveal too much about all the surprises in the film waiting for audiences, saying his lips are sealed, so only way to get your curiosity satisfied is to rush to a cinema near you now to catch this very promising adventure.
Shreyas promises that you will leave the show with the biggest smile on your face and to confirm this, be sure to check out the exclusive review of Welcome To Sajjanpur right here at Bollyspice!
09-27-2008, 10:05 AM
Upon walking out of Shyam Benegal’s Welcome to Sajjanpur you will not be able to contain the smile on your face. That's the experience of this great film! Mr. Benegal graces Indian cinema with one of the best films this year and analyzing this exhilarating experience will be both enjoyable and immensely difficult at the same time. This is mainly because the movie is so impressive as a whole that it makes it very difficult to pin point the exact thing or things that make it impressive.
To begin with, let me tell you what to expect when you walk into a cinema near you to experience this masterpiece. Firstly, like I’ve just stated, expect to walk out with the biggest smile. Secondly, expect a truly genuine gesture by a filmmaker to explore and display a meaningful genre of cinema. Lastly, expect the unexpected. That is because Welcome to Sajjanpur is not an ordinary experience. It has a coating of a comedy but is essentially a satirical take on rural India. This lays the foundation for Benegal to tackle some of the most contemporary issues and to top it all off the conveys a few extremely valuable lessons.
Mr. Benegal returns to comedy after perhaps two decades and returns to the silver screen after the Karishma Kapoor starrer and critically acclaimed Zubeidaa which struck chords all over. He’s known to make socially relevant movies and rumour had it that Welcome to Sajjanpur would be an out and out comedy. However, because the movie has so many layers, even Benegal's trademark genre is incorporated. This time joining him on this adventurous journey is the immensely talented Shreyas Talpade and the inimitable beauty Amrita Rao.
Welcome to Sajjanpur is the story of a gaon (village) by the name of Sajjanpur, as you may have guessed. In particular, it is the story of Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) who is the letter writer of the gaon. Mahadev is very intelligent and well-educated but as fate would have it, he was never able to find the job he's most suitable for. Thus, he soon became the letter writer for his village. But Mahadev doesn't just write the letters. He indulges in people's secrets, controversies, and most importantly, their emotions. With his magic words and desire to write novels, Mahadev entwines his emotions within the letters and leaves a piece of his heart with each person's problems. Unconsciously or conciously, he begins to manipulate and influence the situations that he handles within the letters. The consequences of his actions are what Welcome to Sajjanpur is all about!
In a day and age in cinema where it is considered a virtue to tackle difficult subjects, Shyam Benegal goes beyond the regular 'art house' style of cinema and brings us an experience that is more than eye-opening. He challenges a wide range of issues, ranging from democracy to freedom and even homosexuality. To everyone’s surprise, he pull this off with unimaginable élan. What's even more impressive is that nothing is tackled directly, but the issues arise from the dialogues and situations in the movie. The various complexities of the new age comes onscreen through the double meaning of dialogues and Mahadev's interactions with his customers. It's quite common for a filmmaker to fail when dealing with a film that has many tracks or issues, but Shyam Benegal proves that with his passion for cinema and caliber of experience, this feat is quite possible to achieve.
Dialogues by Ashok Mishra are perhaps what make this movie what it is. With a movie set in such a village setting it is crucial for the dialogues to be natural, realistic and effective and Ashok Mishra achieves this very well. In addition, he gives double meanings to all the dialogues which adds several layers to the film. He also deserves credit for the well arranged screenplay. There are portions where you are slightly lost but it's quickly followed by a thorough analysis of the meaning behind the scene.
There are many scenes that strike you throughout the movie however in particular the performance of Mahadev’s ‘krantikari’ or freedom fighter street play is of particular significance. The climax is what makes this movie a winner all the way with a shocking twist and some very eye opening revelations. This is highly effective because with such an impressive climax you walk out feeling absolutely satisfied and blown away! Despite being unconventional, the climax is remains utterly satisfying.
Songs are impressively incorporated and very well picturised. Some may think they are unnecssary because the movie would have been just as brilliant without them. The choreography and set designs of 'Ek Meetha Marz' deserve a special mention. The song is very intelligently crafted to incorporate the two couples (Shreyas/Amrita and Ravi Kishan/Rajeshwari Sachdev). 'Sita Ram' was a hit upon the film's audio release and it’s a pleasure to witness it in the background of the opening credits, especially since it follows the introduction scene of Mahadev in which he explains the importance of Lord Ram’s adventures to the village of Sajjanpur.
Moving on to the performances is perhaps both rewarding and overwhelming because there were just too many that exceeded the ‘outstanding’ mark! To begin with, words are not enough to describe Shreyas Talpade's talent. He outdoes himself with such a natural and heartfelt performance that you can’t imagine him as anyone else but Mahadev. Yet again, Amrita Rao proves that she is one of the best we have! The actress is just so natural in such an unusual role that anyone who saw her in Main Hoon Na or Ishq Vishk couldn’t possibly have imagined she’d ever succeed in such a role. Divya Dutta has very limited scenes but is very likable and finds a special place in your heart after the climax. Ravi Jhankal also excels, as does Yashpal Sharma who’s a complete natural as always. Kunal Kapoor is a very pleasant surprise and because you know so much about his character before he appears on screen you are instantly in love with him even though he’s been in front of you for barely a few minutes. Also, the entire cast must be commended for pulling off a rural Indian accent with such aplomb. Many times in the past I have seen fine performances that are flawed only because a particular accent was required for the character. Thankfully, none of the actors in this film fell into that trap. It's obvious that great time and preparation went into each role and this is visible on-screen.
Summing up the experience of Welcome to Sajjanpur is absolutely impossible. The movie is just jam packed with too much talent and sincerity. Shyam Benegal gives cinema back its true meaning and it’ll be a very long time before any movie reaches this mark. What makes the movie a winner all the way is how Shyam Benegal uses a comic front to present some crucial complexities of our world. Only a cinematic genius like him can achieve this and you will only understand this once you see the film. One hopes that the unconventional appearance of this movie doesn’t take a toll on its performance because if this year has a release that is truly worth two and half hours of your time, it is Welcome to Sajjanpur!
Rate : 4/5
09-27-2008, 10:48 AM
This film seems to be really interesting and i see it has a lot of good reviews! I don't know the story yet but i think i will buy it!
At least, it's different from very big productions which have all the same story!
12-04-2008, 07:00 PM
Today I watched the film and didnt come to my expectations that much... Any how, I will give 3/5... :hmmm:
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