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All the Best November 6, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Rohit Shetty’s fetish for car porn just got worse, his gags have become a lot more sillier and predictable – yet All the Best makes you laugh-out-loud for a satisfactory duration of its run-time enough to make you leave the theatre with a smile on your face.

This one’s a very traditional comedy of errors (supposed to be based on the play “Right Bed Wrong Husband” and also with a strong resemblance to the Kamal Haasan starrer Navvandi Lavvandi/Kadhala Kadhala) with the usual mix-ups and the ensuing mayhem – which is so unoriginal that you can correctly guess almost every forthcoming situation. Still, the actors seems to get their timing right most of the time and do succeed in tickling your funny bone. But beware that a film like this only works when you watch it in a theatre with a large crowd.

For me the best part of this movie is to see Sanjay Dutt back in form – especially after that horrendous Blue. He doesn’t do comedy much but has always delivered the few times he’s tried. As always Ajay Devgn manages to be very funny in Rohit Shetty’s films. Fardeen Khan and the girls have nothing much to do. Johnny Lever is quite impressive and he actually gets a meaty role after a very long time. Another surprise is Sanjay Mishra who brings down the house every time with his one note “Just Chill”. The rest of the supporting cast also delivers mostly.

If Rohit Shetty could have let gone of those unbearable car, action and song sequences All the Best could have been a memorable comedy; but I am sure he is so addicted to them that wishing something like that is a big joke. In any case this one works just fine for a lazy weekend watch.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi December 15, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Blame it on Rab! – Easy isn’t it? That’s what Aditya Chopra pretty much does in every phase of what probably is the most moronic offering from Yash Raj Films in recent times. It’s a pity because the film starts off so well and I was wondering why on earth was it getting mixed reviews. Twenty minutes or so into the movie I started to know why.

RNBDJ is about this average-looking and shy Surinder Sahni (Shahrukh Khan) who happens to get married to the bubbly Taani (Anushka Sharma) unexpectedly after her fiance dies in an accident followed by her father. Both know that this is a marriage of compromise and Taani makes it clear to Surinder that she would never be able to love him. Big hearted Surinder seems completely reconciled to this fact and is happy enough to have received Taani’s promise of being a “good wife”. A few days later Taani expresses her desire to join a reality dance show and Surinder agrees. Now Surinder is happy to see Taani happy and decides to undergo a complete makeover (also rechristening himself “Raj” – what else!) just so that he can sneak into the dance rehersals to watch her “be happy”. Dumb Taani can’t figure it out because the moustache is missing. Raj and Taani slowly become friends and “kyonki ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte” Raj proposes to Taani.

Some explanations are needed here to figure out Surinder’s state of mind. Initially he seems to be an introverted guy with the usual insecurites unable to express his love to his wife. Somehow, after an image makeover all that seems to disappear. Later he wants to test Taani if she loves “her husband” or “Raj”. The answer is obvious to him but now he is kinda adamant that she love Surinder and not Raj. And this is the same man who at the beginning of the movie doesn’t object to his wife telling him that she cannot love him. At the end of all this Surinder comes across as a person who loves to indulge in a lot of self-pity and nothing else. It is even harder to understand Taani. She spends all of her time with Raj and it’s only when he proposes to her that she remembers “Oh…I forgot to tell you that I am married!”. Coming back to the dilemma – who and how does she make her choice? Raj gives the ultimate solution – Choose the one “Jisme Tumhe Rab Dikhta Ho”. Dumb Taani again takes this line literally. Because, next day she is at the Golden Temple with Surinder earnestly begging God to make an appearance in some person – guess whose face Ravi K. Chandran’s camera is focussed on when Taani opens her eyes…problem solved! Thank You Rabji!!!

Apart from this uplifting story you also get to learn a couple of brilliant insights about women like (i) The only thing which any woman wants in life is that someone love her as much as it is possible for one person to love another (ii) A woman recognizes her partner more effectively through his dance moves than his facial features and voice. Shahrukh and Anuskha are very appealing as Surinder and Taani until our lady spots the dance competition poster. From thereon I found it hard to empathize with any of them and especially towards the end I felt like pushing both of them off a cliff. Vinay Pathak as Bobby seemed like the only sane character in the film and one hopes if Surinder actually listented to what he said.

The dialogue apart from being bad has an insanely high overdose of “ji” splattered in every line which gets on to your nerves. Among the few redeemable moments are the beautifully filmed songs “Haule Haule” and “Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke”. The prelude to the “Haule Haule” number which keeps appearing in the background is too good. The film is shot extremely well but the small town setting which was supposed to be conveyed doesn’t work because everything you see in the movie is a set piece except for the title sequence and one scene at the Golden Temple.

In RNBDJ, there are some movies which Surinder takes Taani out for. It is tough to find out whether those were meant to be a parody or not because at the end RNBDJ looks exactly like one of them. One more note to Adi: Please stop referencing Dhoom in your movies as if that is some cult flick which needs to be paid a tribute every time. Aditya Chopra was the creative brain behind a lot of much maligned YRF products in the last few years. When you watch his unadulterated crap in the form of RNBDJ you can guess the amount of influence he might have had in those other films.

All said and done, RNBDJ also has a large share of emotionally manipulative moments (the Sumo Wrestling scene tops the list) which should appeal to a sizeable section of the audience – and may end up becoming a money spinner. I actually would have recommended everyone to watch this one because it genuinely qualifies to be a “so bad it’s good” flick but it requires that you invest a huge amount of patience which is totally unwarranted. You might probably want to give this a try for the aforementioned reason when it comes out on TV or DVD.

Bachna Ae Haseeno August 18, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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As Ranbir Kapoor kick-starts the proceedings with his dad’s energetic title song you can’t help but acknowledge again (if you have seen Saawariya) that this guy is absolute star material. And if you thought he showed some promise in his debut what you’ll see him doing here is miles ahead. Also, YRF seems to have made a conscious effort here to project him as their successor to Shahrukh Khan. Alas, one only wishes if the film could have been as good.

Bachna Ae Haseeno is about the quintessential playboy Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) who with his “Rajgiri” gives a massive heartbreak to two women at different times in his life. The first one – Mahi (Minnisha Lamba) is a DDLJ freak who is on the lookout for her “Raj” in Europe and finds one in our Raj. But Raj leaves her after a night’s fling. The second one – Radhika (Bipasha Basu) is an aspiring model who has a live-in arrangement with Raj but is ready to give up everything and get married to him when Raj has to relocate to Australia. But he gets the jitters and slips away on the day they were supposed to get married. Years later when he’s truly fallen in love with Gayatri (Deepika Padukone) and proposes to her, he is rejected (and extremely dejected)….and then he realizes what the other two girls might have felt. Following which he sets out on a redemption tour asking the earlier women in his life for forgiveness. Seems that both ladies haven’t yet gotten over him and as a result screwed up their lives in different ways. Would Raj’s forgive-me mission set things right for them and will he win back the love of Gayatri? – Of course yes! What else can you expect from a Yash Raj Film.

The good things abruptly come to an end once Raj reaches out to Radhika in the second half. Whatever happens from thereon till the end is pretty silly. The most glaring flaw however is the inconsistent handling of Gayatri’s character. In one scene she claims she doesn’t believe in marriage and doesn’t need a man in her life, a few minutes later she is singing a duet with Raj and then when Raj proposes to her she rejects him saying that she won’t marry because he might not let her drive a Taxi during nights to pay for her B-school expenses! And as we come to know towards the end she immediately realizes that rejecting him was wrong and instantly reconciles….how convenient! Looks like Aditya Chopra and Siddharth Anand just wanted to say “When good people dump someone they start feeling sorry asap and try to bring them back into their lives”.

I am pretty sure no one is going to come out this film satisfied but there are lots of factors which still make it worth a watch. For once, the casting and performances are perfect – Minnisha stands out among the ladies more so because hers seems to be the only well-defined character and she has this very cute Punjabi accent. Hiten Paintal as Ranbir’s sidekick is also impressive (apparently both their dads had similar roles in the original film featuring the “Bachna Ae Haseeno” track). Kunal Kapoor (quite unrecognizable at first) appears in a nice cameo. Vishal-Shekhar’s score is apt. The “Khuda Jaane” track stands out and works very effectively when used as part of the background score. Ditto for the trumpet piece from the title track. The foreign locales are exploited quite well too.

Bachna Ae Haseeno could have been a great flick but fails to reach its potential due to some uninspired writing in the second half. But I’d still recommend it to anyone looking for a light-hearted entertainer.

Race March 22, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Director duo Abbas-Mustan (Baazigar, Khiladi) are famous for their thrillers. With their latest (and biggest) film, they have created a new genre. And I’d like to call this “twister”. Remember, you read the term here first!

Jokes apart, Abbas-Mustan seem to be intent on delivering a blockbuster after their recent flops. Along with writer Shiraz Ahmed (Aitraaz, Humraaz), they fill this film with everything. Stars, style, action, humor, a bit of raunch, sexy girls gyrating to foot-tapping numbers, and most of all – the largest serving ever of twists, turns, surprises and whatever else you want to call them.

Nothing is what it seems in this film. Actually, if you pay close attention, you might be able to guess most of the twists because the directors try their best not to confuse any section of the audience. But that doesn’t necessarily spoil the fun. Because even as you guess it, the surprise is upon you and its time to figure out the next one.

Now, in case you are still wondering, the story and all its glorious twists are pointless. This isn’t something that would happen anywhere else except an Abbas-Mustan film (or its imitations, depending on the success of this film).

The film has star power to bring the audience to the theatres but the acting isn’t special. Anil Kapoor charms his way through the second half and he makes you laugh. Sameera Reddy doesn’t do a bad job with her comic timing as his dumb assistant. Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna tread familiar terrain (the latter has been in too many Abbas-Mustan films) and don’t do anything different to stand out in particular. Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif are passable. Johnny Lever shows up after a long time in one scene.

The film does start off at a slow pace (editor Hussain Burmawala, the brother of the directors, might have been sleeping while editing the first 20 minutes or so) and just when it begins to seem uninteresting, the first surprise spices up things. The dialogue in the first half of this film isn’t impressive. This half lacks humor but the second half fills that void. Pritam provides some hit dance numbers but the theme piece and the romantic Pehli Nazar Mein stand out (and I quite liked the Mujhpe To Jadoo number which wasn’t used in the film). The song visuals aren’t all that impressive and they seem one-dimensional. Allan Amin’s action sequences are good for the most part but a couple of them do fall short. But the action isn’t the prime focus of this film. Remember, this is no Dhoom 2 and anyone who expects it to be might be disappointed.

After reading all this, anyone should be clear that terms like sense or logic do not go well with the description of this film. Questions like “Why did he do that?” and “What was the necessity for that?” are counterintuitive. The number of surprises may numb your senses and vex you. But it can all be fun if you prepare for it. Films like Dhoom 2 and Om Shanti Om are not enjoyed for their stories or realism or character development and neither is this movie. This is an upmarket Abbas-Mustan thriller that has enough masala to go with its shortcomings and it can be a guilty pleasure.