jump to navigation

Fashion November 2, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

The best thing about Madhur Bhandarkar’s films is that as long as you don’t belong to the group of people he is caricaturing – it is a no-holds-barred guilty pleasure trip for the viewer who gets to see folks on high pedestals being brought down mercilessly. Bhandarkar has successfully used this formula in each of his three previous films (Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal). This time his focus is the “Fashion Industry” which no doubt provides ample material (probably more than all of this previous films combined) which Bhandarkar is an expert at handling. And yes…he leaves no stone unturned as he throws light on the troubled souls, depraved lifestyles and what not! The director also could only sneak only at most a couple of gay characters in each of his previous films but it’s a dream come true for him and except for Arbaaz Khan (who plays the head honcho of a leading Fashion firm), every designer (without exception) is a homo.

Fashion traces the story of a highly ambitious girl Meghna (Priyanka Chopra) from Chandigarh, who against the wishes of her dad (Raj Babbar) comes to Mumbai with the dream of becoming a supermodel. As expected she finds out everything isn’t so rosy but still the whirlwind success she has goes to her head until everything comes down falling like a pack of cards.Through her journey we also witness the lives and troubles of other people she comes in contact with.

The biggest USP of Fashion is that a lot of real life incidents/people where it takes inspiration from – is the stuff which makes TRPs on news channels hit the roof. No wonder it is all the more interesting when you see it unfold on the big screen. And before you get all too enthused let me warn you there is a big BUT – I still find it hard to digest how the director absolutely loses track about what he wants to convey through the film. A litte comparison with his other films would do good here. Each one (Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal – to an extent) involves the journey of the protagonist through a certain industry/lifestyle who ends up completely disillusioned/victimized while the industry/lifestyle in question is laid threadbare. The way these films end was the most appealing part to me (but I know lot of people who aren’t comfy with abrupt, inconclusive and bleak endings).

At the beginning of Fashion you see that Meghna’s father is opposed to her being a model (which we assume is for the usual reasons) but when she ruins herself and comes back home the same guy is now encouraging her to not lose hope, take up the profession again and “fight back”. Almost all through the movie you see the Fashion Industry being ridiculed but the moral of the story at the end seems to be – as long as you don’t take success to your head everything is pretty much fine here – talk about U-turns! Even if you cannot ignore this hard-to-ignore fact Fashion still has Bhandarkar’s masala-realism stamped all over it and except for the somewhat prolonged penultimate portions it keeps you entertained.

There’s a huge cast (with known and unknown faces) but it’s the ladies who rule the roost. Priyanka gets a powerful author-backed role and she does full justice to it. Definitely should be the first choice of this year’s awards simply going by the screen time alloted to the protagonist. Kangana was born to play Shonali. I cannot imagine anyone who can come close to her with a role like this. There are a few sequences where even Priyanka gets to do a similar act – compare her and Kangana and you’ll know what I am talking about. Debutant Mughda Godse is very impressive. Given this is a Madhur Bhandarkar film – the over-the-top gay portrayals are expected and shouldn’t be a reason to cringe. The short background piece (Salim-Sulaiman) which keeps playing throughout is nice.

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed watching this flick even though at the end I came out with a strong tinge of disappointment at the back of my head. Keeping this aspect in mind, go watch Fashion and I promise you won’t regret it.

Hello October 13, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

The good news first – In an interview prior to its release Atul Agnihotri promised to stop making films if Hello doesn’t work. So, I do assume he’s going to stand by his word. After the rocking “Bang Bang” number a sleepy Salman Khan is shown waiting in an airport lounge when from nowhere Katrina Kaif turns up and offers to narrate a story provided he makes a film on it. Since Sallu had a bad experience with his brother-in-law before he is absolutely hesitant to commit initially and even when he does later you can’t help notice the boredom on his face and wonder if he actually saw it coming. Even at the end of the narration when Katrina asks if he liked the story, out comes an embarrassing “yes”.

I haven’t read Chetan Bhagat’s novel but I remember a few of my friends telling me a couple of years back that it was one of the most overrated books they ever read. I think they were pretty much right. Even if you account for all the writing and directorial flaws, you still have to acknowledge the crappy source material which was the inspiration for this movie. We have two guys, three girls and one uncleji who are having personal issues which have taken a toll on their life. We are supposed to believe that these problems are so unique which no one on earth has had to endure before. After enough frustration in the office they decide to take a break and go chill out for a while when their car swerves accidentally and they are caught in a life or death cliffhanger situation. Just in time God makes a call on their mobile and gives them a pep talk (mostly made up from motivational self-help posters you’ll generally see in office buildings and hospitals). Following which everyone follows the never-before-heard advice and….miracles happen!

The most irritating aspect of this movie is the writer and director’s sense of misplaced superiority and partiotism. On the first day of a call-center training class people are taught (by presumably an American instructor) that an average 35 year old American has the intelligence of a 10 year old Indian kid. To prove this you see employees attending queries where a lady complains that her laptop isn’t working because she didn’t switch it on, someone can’t turn his vacuum cleaner off and another one is surprised that she can’t wash her bra in a dishwasher! The icing on the cake comes at the end when our call-center employees try to increase their call volumes to save their jobs – the less said about that instance the better! There are a couple of instances when Sohail Khan talks about how they are doing a favor to America by taking a call-center job. People actually working in call-centers should take extra precaution to make sure that none of their overseas employers watch Hello.

Despite being mostly moronic, the only thing which makes you sit through Hello are a few comic moments generated by Sharman Joshi (the pick of the lot), Sohail Khan and Suresh Menon (quite hilarious as the rapping “systems guy”). Sajid-Wajid’s tunes are good but they don’t help make the movie any better. Beware of Hello – you are better of without taking this call.

Jaane Tu…ya jaane na July 5, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

It’s a safe bet to define something as a “genre” when you’ve seen at least 3 films dealing with the same theme. Going by that Jaane Tu…ya jaane na very suitably falls into one I’d call the “Pyaar Dosti Hai” flick (courtesy: Karan Johar).

Call me immature if you want but I seriously cannot digest it when a guy and a girl who are “inseparable best friends” get the shock of their lives when someone suggests/suspects that they love each other. And then every few years comes a filmmaker who takes just about 180 minutes or so to make these “friends” realize that they really “love” each other and in the process (almost always) reaps rich harvest at the Box Office. For me, these really are pointless films but who cares as long as they entertain – and Jaane Tu… does a really good job at that. Abbas Tyrewala is probably the only screenwriter in recent times who many viewers actually recognize by name and he proves again why that is so. With a clever screenplay which makes use of every cliche in the book yet manoeuvring it around to deliver what undoubtedly is the smartest feel-good flick in a very long time.

Now let’s talk about Imran Khan….wasn’t all the hype around this film about him anyways! Again smart is the word to describe his debut. For someone like him, a mega-budget solo hero flick showcasing every ability he has would have definitely bombed. Imran much like Ranbir Kapoor has such a pleasing screen presence that you instantly take a liking to him. His deep voice is his biggest asset. Like every debutant, there are some raw edges but in a film and role like this they only serve to give that natural touch which is so essential.

The biggest shock I got in the movie was when Genelia utters her first lines. Since so many years, we’ve been used to seeing her regularly in Telugu flicks so getting to hear her real voice was quite unnerving at first. She does well though it comes across as a bit repetitive if you have seen her before. Among the other young cast Manjari Phadnis and Prateik Babbar are great. But on top of my list is Ratna Pathak Shah. It’s been ages since I’ve seen such a loveable on-screen mother. Also a huge round of applause for those very sportive cameos from Naseeruddin Shah, Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan. And we all know what A.R Rahman brings to a film…it’s redundant writing about it so I’ll skip that part except that new-find Rashid Ali is someone we’ll surely get to hear more.

For all its pointlessness and silliness Jaane Tu…ya jaane na made me leave the theatre with a big smile. Needless to mention producer Aamir Khan has another winner on his hands.

Dus Kahaniyaan May 8, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

“Six Visionary Directors. Ten Spectacular Stories. One Cinematic Journey.” claims the poster of this film. I believe they’ve used the wrong words. So here is my correction.

Six ordinary directors (nothing visionary about them).
Ten unconnected short stories (nothing spectacular about them).
One cinematic experience (not a journey since it doesn’t really take us anywhere).

Ram Gopal Varma’s portmanteau films, Darna Manaa Hai and Darna Zaroori Hai, had to face flak for their weak connecting threads. Sanjay Gupta (producer and director of 4 segments in this film) decides that his attempt will keep the stories unconnected. Now that raises the question, “Why is this considered a film?”. This could easily have been a television miniseries. I would have thought that something should have been common to the various pieces, even if it was very vague or abstract (location, character, theme, event, message, genre, anything!). But to the best of my knowledge, nothing, except the fact that they are short stories, links them together.

This anthology is aimed at providing a novel cinematic experience for Hindi film lovers but is it good enough to warrant a watch?

One story definitely makes the cut. Written by Gulzar and helmed by Sanjay Gupta, Gubbare featuring Nana Patekar and Anita Hassanandani (wasn’t she called Natassha for a while?) stands out. This is a lovable piece about relationships between couples and how they don’t make the best use of their time together. Gulzar’s dialogue is the strength of this story and Nana Patekar does a super job enacting his part. Anita isn’t bad either.

Rice Plate (written by Sanjay Gupta and helmed by Rohit Roy) is a simple tale of a misunderstanding that has been used for comic effect elsewhere. Here Gupta intertwines it with religion using a bigot as the main protagonist, making the message more pertinent. Shabana Azmi is brilliant but Naseeruddin Shah gets little to do. Meghna Gulzar’s Pooranmasi (written by Meghna based on a story by¬† Kartar Singh Duggal) also has an interesting storyline and is well executed.

The segments helmed by Sanjay Gupta (who is also credited for writing most of them) are stylishly shot and are moderately watchable. Matrimony (apparently inspired by Roald Dahl’s short story Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat), Zahir (written by Rajiv Gopalakrishnan) and Strangers in the Night (story by Gupta and screenplay by Sudipto Chattopadhyay) depend almost entirely on their final twists (meaning that you either chuckle at the irony and think it is amusing or deplore it completely) while Rise and Fall (said to be inspired by Ching Po-Wong’s Blood Brothers) has some interesting moments, mainly the Rise part of it.

Jasmeet Dodhi’s difficult to digest Lovedale (written by Kamlesh Pandey), Hansal Mehta’s pointless and uninteresting High on the Highway (written by him) and Apoorva Lakhia’s awful B-grader Sex on the Beach (written by Shibani Tibrewala) fall on the lower end of the spectrum.

The problem with a majority of the stories is that they lack the appeal, identification, observation or irony that could make them memorable. Some of them could easily have been formulated in an ill-conceived minute or two. The good thing about the film is that the stories are short (ten stories in two hours – you do the math) and finish before any of them can truly irritate you. Hence, this collection of short films might just have enough to satisfy you if you are looking for something different from the average hindi film.