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Blue October 19, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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250 feet deep lies the secret of Blue….100 minutes is what it takes to convince Sanjay Dutt to lead a quest to find that…18 minutes is what it takes for you to realize why Sanju Baba was being so difficult.

In the film, whenever anyone mentions the buried treasure in Sanju’s presence he automatically has these series of flashes about a wrecked ship and skeletons. Writer-Director Anthony D’Souza assumes that those flashes are enough to keep one awake and curious for most of the movie’s duration. Needless to say, the action sequences as well as the underwater stuff for all their finesse are extremely unexciting.

Even if you excuse the lame script, there is something fundamentally wrong here – it’s not just the buried treasure which is underwater….the overall energy levels of everyone and everything in the movie also seem buried 250 feet in the deep. You instantly know this because 1) Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif actually outshine everyone else in a multistarrer film 2) Lara Dutta in a bikini has just about the same sex appeal as an overweight Sanjay Dutt in a diving suit. (To add to Sanju’s woes he is made to fight on land wearing that thing). 3) You pray that Akshay Kumar actually switches back to doing one of his monotonous comedy films.

After last year’s Love Story 2050, comes another film where you have to observe a two minute silence in solidarity with the technical crew. A.R Rahman’s compositions are somehow salvaged mostly because the most energetic ones appear during the opening title sequence and the end credits. The buried treasure was unlucky enough to be found by the team of Blue – you could escape the same fate if you haven’t ventured out to watch this one.

Chandni Chowk To China January 19, 2009

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Exactly two years back Nikhil Advani came out with his magnum-opus bomb Salaam-e-Ishq. He seems to have done it all over again now with the much awaited and much hyped Chandni Chowk to China. The extremely well designed promos made CC2C seem like a crazy slapstick comedy with a liberal dose of Akshay Kumar’s martial arts skills thrown in. But one really finds it hard to believe that the writer-director team of Sridhar Raghavan and Nikhil Advani could end up with such an insipid boring film.

The plot which a masala mix of producer Ramesh Sippy’s own films like Seetha Aur Geetha and Sholay along with a dash of Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Hustle looks like a foolproof premise for a film in this genre. Sadly, apart from the intermittent laughs CC2C falls flat. Akshay Kumar plays a simpleton cook Sidhu who is mistaken (don’t ask how) to be the reincarnation of a legendary Chinese warrior Lu Sheng; who is now on his way to China to “fulfill his destiny”. Sidhu is fooled by his friend Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) about the reason he is being taken to China – which really is to get rid of the evil lord Hojo (Gordon Liu). Hojo is also responsible for the separated-at-birth twin sisters (Deepika Padukone).

Until everyone lands in China, things seemed to be going pretty well – the unfunny silliness at times still gels well with the tone of the film. But things go wrong only when we are expected to take the whole thing seriously. Like I said before, the film is absolutely boring for most of the time and that is its biggest unforgivable flaw. The only memorable parts of this whole (mis)adventure are those two hilarious sequences – one in the plane with Akshay and Ranvir; the other being Akshay’s initial training session with Roger Yuan.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Akshay but this is honestly the film where I really loved him. In his last few comedy flicks he might have come across as repetitive but here he shows a different slapstick side of his which really saves the film from sinking completely. Ranvir Shorey also has his moments but they are are far and few. Roger Yuan is also fine. Deepika apart from being good eye candy has nothing else to do. Unfortunately, Mithun Chakraborty is saddled with a rather loud role which he seemed clearly uncomfortable with. The action sequences have nothing new to offer if you have seen any Kung Fu flick before – the “cosmic” kicks and punches seem more like improvised flying people stunts from South Indian flicks.

The music is quite good – credited to Kailash-Paresh-Naresh, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Bhappi-Bhappa Lahiri (just remixing the old hit – Bombay Se Aaya Mera Dost). I loved the “Naam Hai Sidhu” track. It’s one of those simple and earthy numbers like Haule Haule from RNBDJ which makes the film come to life whenever it is playing in the background. The end credits feature Akshay Kumar performing a self-aggrandizing rap number and ironically CC2C has turned to be the flick which might potentially be his first Box Office turkey after a long time; unless the opening weekend collections save it to an extent. Catch it only if you are a huge fan of Akshay Kumar.

Singh is Kinng August 25, 2008

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There have been quite a few so called “comedies” which have bombed at the box-office this year which made me think that moviegoers have finally gotten tired of those not-so-funny blockbuster comedies which had a good time at the box-office last year. I was wrong because I forgot to take notice of the fact that none of those bombs this year featured any big stars. Singh is Kinng is the first one to feature a saleable star and (unsurprisingly) despite its content has gone on to become a blockbuster.

The filmmakers had quite an interesting concept on hand but they haven’t exploited it properly. Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) is a bumbling do-gooder who has his intentions right but always courts trouble with his actions. His village is fed up of him and they pack him off to Australia on the pretext of getting King (Sonu Sood) – an infamous Don in Australia – back to Punjab so that their community would no longer be badnaam because of his activities. Accompanying Happy is his friend Rangeela (Om Puri). However, in Australia things go haywire as King gets afflicted with a condition “which Shahrukh Khan had in Anjaam” and Happy has to take his place. And that’s when the fun begins (actually supposed to begin).

Coming from Anees Bazmee, whose last outing Welcome was quite inconsistent from being outrightly irritating to some hilarious laugh-out-loud moments, Singh is Kinng is consistently average – neither making you smile much nor making you feel why you actually paid to sit through this. The biggest complaint I have is how he could waste actors like Javed Jafferi (hardly comprehensible) and Ranvir Shorey (a role probably written with Sunil Shetty in mind). Akshay Kumar is a huge star so can afford to be repetitive but this trait of his doesn’t appeal to me much (I wouldn’t say the same about other “superstars”) but still good enough to carry the film through. The best perfomances come from the supporting cast of Om Puri, Sonu Sood (once he becomes paralysed) and Yashpal Sharma. Manoj Pahwa and Kirron Kher also lend good support. Katrina and Neha are just hanging around to look good.

Watch it if you’ve liked similar mindless (purported) comedy flicks before otherwise there is nothing you’ll lose by giving this a miss. The two title tracks were really the only things which I enjoyed the most.

Tashan April 27, 2008

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One of the most awaited films of this year – Tashan is being thrashed all over the place by most critics and audiences. On the face of it, it is yet another of those “guilty pleasure” flicks like Dhoom 2 or Race but rather than trying to pass off its stupidity as intelligence Tashan revels in its dumbness. That’s what probably put off our “high thinking” critics and audiences. Apart from the forced “coolness” at times, I enjoyed Tashan because it was an honest flick which had its intentions clear and doesn’t deviate too far from them.

Jeetendra aka Jimmy Cliff (Saif Ali Khan) is a call center executive who being taken in by the charms of Pooja (Kareena Kapoor) ends up as an English instructor to her boss Bhaiyyaji (Anil Kapoor). Pooja and Jimmy fall in love and now she wants to get away from Bhaiyyaji; for which these two plan to swindle his money. In comes local goon Bachchan Pandey (Akshay Kumar) hired by Bhaiyyaji to trace his money and wipe off Pooja and Jimmy. A few double crossing interspersed with a couple of filmy flashbacks later everyone’s loyalties fall in place.

Writer-Director Vijay Krishna Acharya (who wrote the Dhoom films before) takes an old fashioned revenge drama, gives it a generous Rodriguez/Tarantino coating and a lot of oomph. The end product is far from the perfect blend but it still works. The locales/set design, the styling of the actors and the music/background score dominate every frame and overshadow everything else. There are 2 major action sequences choreographed by Peter Hein but they fail to impress as he mostly lifts those from some of the more prominent South Indian films he has worked for. Interestingly, in a scene when Akshay sends 15-20 men flying around (Tamil-Telugu movie style) half of the audience started clapping. Special mention for Vishal-Shekhar’s rocking score. The theme song “Tashan Mein” which keeps popping up every now and then especially helps when you tend to get restless during the prolonged second half (trimming it definitely would have helped). Rest of the songs are thumping enough and lavishly picturized. Ranjit Barot is credited for the background score and there is one particular short piece which stays with you for quite a while.

But more than anything else what Tashan relies on are the performances of its lead actors. Akshay Kumar gets the most outspoken and in-your-face role and he does full justice to it. His intro was the best of all his scenes. I would say Kareena is really the surprize package because a role like hers comes with a lot of “irritation quotient” attached and in the past she has played parts where she made even normal characters extremely irritating. Somehow this isn’t the case here and she deserves credit for that (and yes…she does don a bikini too!) We don’t need to talk about Anil Kapoor. He’s mastered these supporting roles so well and and more than his crazy Hinglish it is his awestruck reaction to Saif speaking fluent English that is hilarious. Also, he looks great in the “Lakhan” get-up pulling a rickshaw in a few scenes. However, quite a bit of what he speaks is incomprehensible (should probably have been funny if understood) and I wonder how the filmmakers overlooked this aspect. Despite the pre-release hype of having his role being a secret, Saif is the most subdued of them all but nevertheless makes his presence felt.

For me, Tashan came close to the campy B-movie I was waiting Bollywood to make and it kept me smiling most of the time. Go for it only if you can watch it with this perspective.

Welcome January 7, 2008

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Feroz Nadiadwala probably makes his biggest sacrifice with Welcome….(thankfully) he doesn’t incorporate an action sequence in the desert featuring flying mobikes and hummers; also, there isn’t a song featuring Russian belly dancers (somehow compensated with a closely similar item number). Ok….there are some genuinely hillarious moments but otherwise Welcome joins the list of “blockbuster comedies” like Partner and Heyy Babyy which fail mostly in the laughs department.

The plot is inane enough not to merit description but that’s not my complaint if there were enough laughs packed in. Surprisingly, the guys who can be relied on the most like Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal get the lamest parts but unfortunately a longer screen time. The trump cards happen to be Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar who have the ability to bring cheer to your face even with the dumbest of situations. Nana, who showed his lighter side earlier in Bluffmaster does it again with fruitful results. Some of the best gags in the movie are centered around him – the acting/horse-riding sequence was the best. He should seriously look out for more lighter roles like this. But I loved Anil Kapoor’s performance more. He’s done comedies before I liked him here better than his similar previous outings like No Entry or Biwi No 1. Feroz Khan and Mallika Sherawat have much smaller roles and they are adequate for the part.

I don’t know why they needed three music directors (Sajid-Wajid, Himesh Reshammiya and Anand Raaj Anand) to create such a bland score which seriously hampers the movie a lot. I must say the movie would have been much better without those songs. Anees Bazmee’s previous smash hit No Entry was on the whole a better film (though it was mostly a scene to scene remake of the Telugu/Tamil original) than this one…..however this one’s is definitely worth a watch on DVD where you might want to fast forward to the good parts; otherwise nothing really great to look forward to.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa October 29, 2007

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First a bit of history for those who don’t know. Originally made by Fazil in Malayalam as Manichitrathazu, which was then remade in Kannada by P. Vasu as Apthamithra (still considered to be the biggest hit in Kannada cinema) who again remade it in Tamil/Telugu with Rajnikanth as Chandramukhi. Vasu was supposed to remake it again in Hindi with Amitabh Bachchan but Priyan finally ended up doing it.

If you have seen any of these movies previously then Bhool Bhulaiyya hasn’t anything more nor less to offer. Otherwise it’s a pretty interesting watch provided you don’t end up scrutinizing it for loopholes. A haunted mansion in some village scares everyone living around that place for it is supposed to be inhabited by the ghost of a court dancer who’s waiting to avenge the death of her lover by killing the king who happened to cause all her misery. Certain sightings by a few villagers and a few unexplained happenings strengthen the legend. Now arrives the new “king” Siddharth (Shiney Ahuja) with her new wife Avni (Vidya Balan). Avni, despite opposition from Siddharth’s family wants to stay in the mansion and even ventures out into the exact place where the ghost seems to reside. Again, a new slew of incidents begin to bother everyone around with the suspicion centred on Radha (Amisha Patel) – for she has to mend a broken heart owing to Siddharth’s unannounced marriage. In comes Siddharth’s friend and psychiatrist Aditya (Akshay Kumar) who finally solves the puzzle.

The best part of this film (or the other remakes) is that it tries to be lighthearted while taking the plot along which makes sure that people don’t end up analyzing it too much. Though the efforts to make you laugh by Priyan’s usual suspects fall flat most of the times the arrival of Askhay Kumar brings in the required relief. Akshay has been doing similar stuff for the past 2-3 years but I personally felt this to be his best in recent times. He really holds the whole film together. Vidya Balan is repetitive. She seems to be doing those same textbook “performance oriented” roles on her to way to becoming a big bore like Rani Mukherji. Her performance in the climactic portions will definitely not be remembered (and endlessly parodied) like those in the south indian versions (Jyothika, Soundarya, Shobana). Amisha Patel thankfully doesn’t have to act except for a couple of scenes which is good for the film. Shiney Ahuja seems to have been given a part written for Suniel Shetty.

The unprecedentedly popular and catchy “Hare Krishna Hare Ram” (Pritam) song which appears in the end credits has now been incorporated into the movie again before Akshay’s entry. The other song which is pleasing is “Allah Hafiz”. Priyadarshan’s comic capers have not been faring too well in the recent past and his attempts to make you laugh here┬ádon’t work much either┬ábut an engaging “psychological thriller” plot more than makes up for it. You can definitely watch this.