Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Subhash Ghai|
|Written by||Shiraz Ahmed
|Screenplay by||Shiraz Ahmed
|Story by||Shiraz Ahmed
|Music by||Himesh Reshammiya|
|Editing by||Hussain A. Burmawala|
|Distributed by||Mukta Arts|
|Release dates||12 November 2004|
|Running time||159 minutes|
|Box office||240 million (US$3.7 million)|
Aitraaz (Hindi: ऐतराज़, Objection) is a 2004 Bollywood romantic thriller produced by Subhash Ghai for Mukta Arts and directed by Abbas-Mustan. Loosely based on the 1994 Hollywood film Disclosure, it tells the story of a man accused of sexual harassment by his female superior. The film stars Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra and was the third film collaboration between Kumar and Chopra, after Andaaz and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. Aitraaz features Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal and Annu Kapoor in supporting roles. Its score was composed by Himesh Reshammiya, with lyrics by Sameer.
The film was released worldwide on 12 November 2004 to positive reviews, with praise for Chopra's performance. Aitraaz was noted for its theme of sexual harassment, a first in Hindi cinema. Chopra received critical acclaim for her role as Sonia Roy, an ambitious woman who accuses an employee of sexual harassment. The film grossed about 240 million (US$3.7 million) at the domestic box office, and was a commercial success. Aitraaz received a number of nominations, winning several awards (including an individual one for Chopra). At the 50th Filmfare Awards the film received two nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Chopra. The actress won for Best Performance in a Negative Role, becoming the second (and final) actress to win the award after Kajol; the category was discontinued in 2008. Aitraaz was remade in Kannada as Shrimathi.
Raj Malhotra (Akshay Kumar) is employed by a telecommunications company, Air Voice. Priya Saxena (Kareena Kapoor)—who is looking for a full-time job—goes to Raj's house for an interview, mistaking him for barrister Ram Chautrani (Annu Kapoor), a neighbour. Raj and Priya fall in love, marry and are expecting their first child.
Raj expects to be promoted to CEO when the company's chairman (Amrish Puri) arrives with his new wife, Sonia Roy (Priyanka Chopra) to announce the promotions. Sonia Roy is named the company's new chairman; after a discussion with her husband, she announces the promotions. The CEO position goes to Raj's friend Rakesh (Vivek Shauq), and Raj is named to the board of directors. At a party, Raj brings Priya and learns about his new boss, Sonia Roy. Priya is surprised that Sonia is the wife of the former chairman (and half his age). Raj and his colleagues talk about Sonia Roy and the age difference between her and her husband, and Raj jokes that his magnetic personality was responsible for his promotion.
A flashback explores Raj's previous relationship with Sonia. Five years earlier, Raj and Sonia (then a model) meet at a beach in Cape Town. They fall in love and move in together; Sonia becomes pregnant, but refuses Raj's marriage proposal and says she is going to terminate the pregnancy. She wants wealth, fame, power and status, and a child would be in the way; their relationship ends.
After the party, Rakesh tells Raj about a defect in the company's new mobile handset: a call goes to two people simultaneously—the intended recipient and another person on the phone's contact list. Raj needs Sonia's permission to halt production, and she invites him to her house to discuss the matter.
Sonia aggressively tries to pursue Raj, who resists. Although he repeatedly rejects her advances, Sonia continues trying to seduce him. As Raj leaves, she threatens to punish him for spurning her. The next day, he learns that Sonia has told her husband that Raj harassed her sexually. Since he has admitted finding Sonia attractive his claim of innocence is not believed, and the company pressures him into a reassignment.
Raj asks Ram Chauthrani to take his case; Chauthrani tells him not to resign, and to keep going to work. The case goes to court; Sonia and Roy engage a lawyer, Patel (Paresh Rawal). Although the bulk of the evidence is at first against Raj, his friend returns from Bangkok and gives him a tape which recorded Raj's encounter at Sonia's house. After the tape is proven genuine, Chauthrani is killed by a car driven by someone hired by Sonia and the tape is substituted.
When Priya asks Raj why he called their bank manager from Sonia's house, he replies that he had called Rakesh; the call went through to the bank manager as well. Priya (also a lawyer) continues the case after Chauthrani's death. She uses Rakesh's phone in evidence against Sonia, exposing her earlier relationship with Raj. It is revealed that Sonia married Roy for money, power and status; when he could not satisfy her sexually, she tried to resume her relationship with Raj. Priya wins the case, and Roy leaves Sonia. Guilt-stricken and humiliated, Sonia commits suicide by jumping from a building. The film ends with a song; Raj and Priya have a baby boy, and live happily ever after.
- Akshay Kumar as Raj Malhotra
- Kareena Kapoor as Priya Saxena-Malhotra
- Priyanka Chopra as Sonia Roy
- Amrish Puri as Ranjit Roy
- Anu Kapoor as Barrister Ram Chauthrani
- Paresh Rawal as Advocate Patel
- Vivek Shauq as Rakesh Sharma
- Preeti Puri as Jenny (Raj's secretary)
- Upasna Singh as Kanchan
- Dinesh Lamba as Choitrani's assistant
- Anil Nagrath as the magistrate
According to Abbas-Mustan, Aitraaz was inspired by National Basketball Association player Kobe Bryant (who was accused of rape by a fan); the film's development began when they read about his sexual-assault case in the newspapers. According to the directors, they were fascinated by the possibility of the situation in reverse. About the film's unusual title, they said the word "aitraaz" was colloquial and suited the subject.
In early 2004 the media reported that Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra were cast in lead roles, making it the third film collaboration between Kumar and Chopra after Andaaz and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. Kumar was cast as a working man accused of rape at his workplace; Kapoor is his supportive wife, who goes to extremes to defend him. According to the directors, Kumar was cast against type; an action star, they wanted him to underplay his character. Abbas-Mustan, known for stylish thrillers and intriguing antagonists (Shah Rukh Khan in 1993's Baazigar, Arbaaz Khan in 1996's Daraar, Akshay Kumar in the 2001 Ajnabee and Akshaye Khanna in 2002's Humraaz), cast Chopra in her first negative role. She plays a woman, married to a business magnate more than twice her age (played by Amrish Puri), who falsely accuses her ex-lover (Kumar) of raping her to seek revenge. Chopra was initially apprehensive about such a bold character, due to the controversial nature of sexual harassment. Abbas-Mastan and Subhash Ghai (the film's producer) convinced her to accept the role, assuring her that the film would not damage her career.
According to Kumar, Raj (accused of rape by his female boss) is realistic and could be described as a "new-age metrosexual" man. He enjoyed the strengths and weaknesses of his character, who is not afraid to show his feelings and does not feel emasculated by his situation: "There's a quiet dignity and heroism associated with my character. He doesn’t fight for applause. He fights for his convictions." In an interview with Tribune India, Kapoor described her role as Priya (Kumar's wife): "Every Indian women could identify with her character." She said her role (a woman whose husband is accused of rape by his former girlfriend) is supportive; she stands by him, as any Indian woman would.
Chopra described her character (Sonia, an ambitious woman who accuses her employee of sexual harassment) as "charming and focused": "Her philosophy is that she has to achieve her goals at any cost. She knows one thing: that nothing can come in between her desires and herself." She did not identify with the character, considering it a "man-eater role" because of her conservative real-life upbringing. Chopra found it challenging to play such an "extremely negative character", and had to mentally prepare herself for an hour before each scene to get inside her character. She improvised gestures and expressions; beyond actions and dialogue, her attitude was aggressive and bold.
The film was shot in Cape Town, Goa, Pune and Mumbai. During filming of the sexual-harassment scene, Chopra wept; it took the directors several hours to remind her she was only playing a character, and additional filming was postponed.
|Soundtrack album by Himesh Reshammiya|
|Released||24 September 2004|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Himesh Reshammiya chronology|
Aitraaz's soundtrack was composed by Himesh Reshammiya, with lyrics by Sameer. The album contains fifteen songs: seven original, and eight remixes. Most were sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. It was released on 24 September 2004 by Sony Music, topping charts on a number of platforms in India. The video of the title track with Kumar and Chopra was shot in one take with a steadycam.
The soundtrack was generally well received by music critics, who praised its lyrics and vocals. Planet Bollywood gave a rating of 7 out of 10, calling it a "good album". Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama rated the album 3 out of 5, praising "I Want To Make Love To You" (all three versions): "Sunidhi Chauhan is excellent in this wonderfully-composed track that shocks everyone with the intensity of the lyrics and the music". He concluded, "Except for two or three average songs here and there, the majority of songs in Aitraaz do keep you engaged".
|1.||"Aankhen Bandh Karke"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||4:41|
|2.||"Tala Tum Tala Tum"||Sameer||Alka Yagnik, Jayesh Gandhi, Udit Narayan||6:58|
|3.||"Woh Tassavvur"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||5:24|
|4.||"Nazar Aa Raha Hai"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||5:07|
|5.||"Gela Gela Gela"||Sameer||Adnan Sami, Sunidhi Chauhan||4:42|
|6.||"Aitraaz - I Want to Make Love to You"||Sameer||Sunidhi Chauhan||5:11|
|7.||"Yeh Dil Tumpe Aa Gaya"||Sameer||KK, Alisha Chinai||5:23|
|8.||"Aitraaz - I Want to Make Love to You (Male)"||Sameer||Kunal Ganjawala||5:10|
|9.||"Aankhen Bandh Karke (Close Your Eyes Mix)"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||5:00|
|10.||"Gela Gela Gela (The Dance on the Beach Mix)"||Sameer||Adnan Sami, Sunidhi Chauhan||4:00|
|11.||"Woh Tassavvur (Love is Forever Mix)"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||4:00|
|12.||"Tala Tum Tala Tum (The Cyclonic Dance Mix)"||Sameer||Alka Yagnik, Jayesh Gandhi, Udit Narayan||5:00|
|13.||"Nazar Aa Raha Hai"||Sameer||Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik||4:00|
|14.||"Yeh Dil Tumpe Aa Gaya (The Slip and Slide Mix)"||Sameer||KK, Alisha Chinai||5:00|
|15.||"Aitraaz - I Want to Make Love to You (The Passion Mix)"||Sameer||Sunidhi Chauhan||4:00|
Marketing and release
The first-look poster of the film, with the tagline "In the world of women, you either play by their rules or else...", was received positively by critics; the film's trailers were also well received. They and the film's music aided its marketing.
Aitraaz was released worldwide on Diwali, 12 November 2004, to positive reviews and moderate box-office success. It became the eleventh-highest-grossing film of the year in India, and a commercial success. The film was released on DVD 6 December 2004 across all regions in a PAL-format single disc. Distributed by Shemaroo Entertainment, it included a making-of-the-film segment and a photo gallery. The VCD version was released at the same time, and Zee Network bought the exclusive broadcast rights. Aitraaz made its Indian television premiere 30 October 2005 on Zee Cinema. The film was remade in Kannada as Shrimathi, starring Upendra, Priyanka Trivedi and Celina Jaitley.
Aitraaz received generally-positive reviews from critics, who praised its direction, cinematography, dialogue, music and performances (particularly Chopra's). Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama rated the film 3.5 out of 5, complimenting the directors' opting for a theme never seen on the Indian screen and the film's dramatic moments. He praised Chopra in particular: "Aitraaz belongs to Priyanka Chopra completely. No two opinions on that! Priyanka gets an opportunity to bear her claws and she does it with complete understanding of the character. She sneaks her way through the role like an expert, drawing audience hatred the way a magnet collects iron filings." He complimented other performances: "Kapoor does get the opportunity to display histrionics [climax], she doesn't let the opportunity pass by. Kumar underplays his character ably." The BBC noted the film's bold theme, good music and performances. It praised Chopra's performance: "Aitraaz is Priyanka Chopra's film. As the deliciously wicked, gold-digging, scheming seductress, she chews up every scene she is in with her magnetic screen presence." It also praised Kapoor's performance: "Kareena is good and shines in her one and only confrontational scene with Chopra and the final courtroom sequence."
Film critic Subhash K. Jha rated the film 3 out of 5, praising Chopra's performance: "A star is born! As the predatory social-climbing seductress who can go to any length to satiate her lust for life, Priyanka Chopra rocks the scene like never before. The film is undoubtedly a triumph for Priyanka Chopra. With half a smile, a twitch of her lip and a movement of her eyebrow she seems to slip into her man-eater's role with captivating ease." India Today film critic Anupama Chopra gave it a positive review, labelling Chopra's performance "impressive": "Bollywood heroines seem to be taking a page out of Mae West's book: when they are good, they are very good, but when they are bad, they are even better. So Priyanka Chopra, who until now was merely vacuous eye candy, chews up the scenery playing a vixen in Aitraaz." Rediff.com praised the film: "It has something different from the standard fare on offer right now", noting "the incredible audience response to the film: the public was clapping and whistling throughout the film's second half!" However, The Hindu criticized the film's second half: "Though the first half of the movie is well-paced, the second half sags with the songs and twists forced into the plot to buy time." Its review was lukewarm: "Aitraaz is passable with its slick production, a few funny lines, glam quotient and star appeal."
Awards and nominations
Aitraaz received a number of awards and nominations, particularly for Chopra's performance. At the 50th Filmfare Awards, the actress received two nominations for this role: Best Supporting Actress and Best Performance in a Negative Role. She won the latter, the second (and final) actress to win the award after Kajol; the category was discontinued in 2008. Chopra also won the Best Actress Award at the Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. The film received two nominations at the 10th Screen Awards: Jodi No. 1 (Best Pair) for Kumar and Chopra and Best Villain for Chopra, winning the latter. It received ten nominations at the 6th International Indian Film Academy Awards, winning three technical-category awards: Best Editing, Best Sound Recording and Best Sound Re-Recording.
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