The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The Bolly bloodline

Dugna Lagaan

Set in mid-19th century, it tells the story of Elina (Alice Patten) who is the new tennis sensation on the ATP tour. On her 18th birthday, she is conferred all the treasures of her late grandmother Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley). Among the golds is a letter addressed to Elina revealing that her father was actually the son of an Indian farmer named Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), whom Elizabeth had met on a trip to India.

The British girl comes to India in search of her grandfather. But there’s no Champaner anymore and after a lengthy search in the villages of Gujarat, she gives up and decides to start a tennis coaching centre to introduce the sport in one of the villages called Chinnar. Her effort to inspire the local girls to take up tennis is seen as the invasion of Western culture by the people around her.

Elina strikes a deal with the locals. If any of them can beat her in a game of tennis then she will leave. Otherwise, she stays and so does the game. One man steps up to the serving line. He is Arjun (Kunal Kapoor), a strapping 20-something who starts learning to serve and volley from the girls trained by Elina. The climax is the heart-stopping tennis match which Arjun, of course, wins.

After his last ace, Arjun tells Elina that she can stay on as he believes in her commitment to the place and the girls. In a rousing speech, Arjun explains to the villagers how Elina has changed the lives of girls in the village. He is joined by the village’s eldest member Gauri (Gracy Singh), who urges the villagers to look beyond Elina’s white skin just like her late husband Bhuvan had done 50 years back. Elina finally finds her family and Chinnar its new queen.

Iqbal II

Deaf and mute Iqbal (Shreyas Talpade) is the new fast bowler in Team India and he has had a glorious debut season. The simple village boy is not only the toast of the nation but also the hero of brand endorsements. He wants his parents and sister to join him and be part of his new world in Bangalore but the modest family refuses, choosing to stay on in Kolipad.

On his first overseas tour, Iqbal is the man to fear on the English greens. But he fails to get a single wicket in the three-Test series. Murmurs of ball-tampering in home conditions grow loud. Next up, the Champion’s Trophy. Here too, young Iqbal fails to provide any breakthroughs. India is knocked out before the knockout stage, Iqbal is dropped from the team.

His life hits a cruel spiral. His coach Mohit (Naseeruddin Shah) dies of liver cancer. Iqbal hits the bottle. He loses his endorsements and his bank balance. An ailing Iqbal is packed off to his village. His family, too, is facing a crisis as two dry seasons have pushed them into a debt trap. Sister Khatija’s (Shweta Prasad) marriage could be called off because of bankruptcy.

In a dream sequence, the ghost of Mohit returns to inspire Iqbal to take up cricket again. Rising from the ashes, the Kolipad Express marks his run-up once again. This time, not for his dreams but those of his beloved sister’s.

Fighting off alcoholism, Iqbal returns to prime form, with the help of coach Guru (Girish Karnad), who has gone from team-maker to a has been. The flaw in his action — dropping left arm — rectified, Iqbal is unstoppable. A surprise selection for the World Cup squad, Iqbal wins the trophy for India — which he receives from Kapil Dev — and ensures a happy marriage for his sister.

B & B

Hanging up their con gloves, Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) and Babli (Rani Mukherjee), now well past their prime, are whiling away their days in Fursatganj.

They send their son Bablu (Abhishek, again) to study in Mumbai. In college, Bablu starts fooling his classmates and professors. He falls in love with Bobby (Rani, again) and makes her his partner in the grand con plans. Their targets and their loot grow bigger and bigger, catching the eye of veteran cop Dashrath Singh (Amitabh Bachchan). Reminded of Bunty and Babli, the lonely old man decides to come out of retirement and follow the trail of the trademark “B & B” signs posted at every con site.

First stop, Fursatganj. But Bunty and Babli are surprised to hear of the new kids on the con block and assure the maverick lawman they have nothing to do with the crime trail.

Suspicion aroused, the original con couple heads to Mumbai to confront son Bablu and fiancee Bobby. GenX’s next target: the Kohinoor diamond, passing through India on a three-day trip. But they can’t do it alone.

Cause enough for the return of GenEx. They tell Bablu about their past exploits and agree to help their son on the condition that this will be his last and final ‘job’.

In a grand climax, the two B & Bs get together to grab the Kohinoor — nestled in Kajra re girl’s (Aishwarya Rai) you know where — from under the eagle eye of Dashrath Singh. What next' Find out at the theatres, someday in the future.

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