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Dostana November 24, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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I wasn’t surprised at the hype this film generated before and after its release. After all, isn’t it coming from Karan Johar’s stable? As you might be familiar, anything closely resembling “bold” from there (or YRF for that matter) is sanctified by the media to the level of national debate. This time it is about the “mature handling of gay relationships”. Yeah right! if making a compendium of Hollywood and Bollywood’s gay jokes till date and using it in a single film means that. Though repetitive most of these gags do make you laugh; especially when you are watching this in a packed auditorium you tend to laugh even at some not-so-funny stuff just because everyone else is.

Sam (Abhishek Bachchan) and Kunal (John Abraham) bump into each other while they are looking for an apartment; however the existing occupant Neha (Priyanka Chopra) needs female roommates but since these guys are desperate for the house, they pretend to be gay in order to bypass the “girls only” clause. The usual gay jokes follow and the tempo hits an all time high with the arrival of Sam’s hyper Punjabi mom (who else but Kirron Kher). Once the jokes run out, the guys decide to fall in love with Neha. But since this is a two hero film where both the heroes are on equal footing when it comes to wooing the girl, it is obvious that a third guy (Bobby Deol) is required to come and take her away. The mush which we are treated to for the next 30 minutes or so is quite irritating – especially since it follows a fun-filled first hour. However, things get back on track as Sam and Kunal try to sabotage Neha’s new found love. The scenes featuring the kid in this part are too good.

Though I mostly enjoyed this flick I wouldn’t call it a great comedy. Like I said before it only works when you are watching it in a packed auditorium. The performances are uniformly good. Abhishek, Kirron Kher and Shrey Bawa (who plays Bobby’s son) stand out among the rest. Priyanka’s outfits are as skimpy as it gets but (as always) I don’t find her hot. Sorry, it’s actually John who wears the skimpiest costumes – during the first few minutes into the movie he seems so desperate to show a glimpse of his butt. But definitely, this is the first film where he actually performs well and is likeable.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music is no great shakes except for the “Maa ka Laadla” song – which works mainly due to the picturization but I find that “Desi Girl” number highly irritating. The film is entirely shot in Miami so there’s lot of eye candy to catch. Tarun Mansukhani – who has been assisting Karan right from KKHH inherits the same style and sensibilities as his mentor. On the whole, Dostana is a timepass fun watch which just entertains as long as it lasts but is nowhere great as described in some glowing reviews.

Heroes October 27, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Heroes has a huge cast to boast of as its USP – a closer look and you’ll realize most of them are non-happening ones. That’s not really the issue if the film had something really nice to offer. Conceptually, it sounds quite good. A group of guys have to submit a film to get their graduate film degrees and they end up choosing their subject as “Why not to join the Army!”

As they begin their research, Saand (Sohail Khan) and Nawab Saab (Vatsal Seth) are advised by a war reporter (Mohnish Behl – on screen after a long time) to deliver the last letters of three slain Jawans to their respective families. How this journey changes their mindset is what this film is supposed to be. From each of these trips all they (and we) really get to hear trite desh-bhakti and “national pride” dialogues from each of the families. Initially our protagonists intended to hear dukh-bhari stories and laments from their hosts which they thought would buttress the point were trying to make through their film…..but on hearing the contrary their whole viewpoint changes suddenly. In fact years later they end up running a “national pride” school – whatever that means!

If this film was intended to be the director’s personal tribute to the army then maybe it works but as a viewer I had an absolutely bland cliche-filled experience. The only person I was really feeling sorry for was Sunny Deol who gets to do the most cringeworthy role in his career. It’s a classic case where an attempt to get the audience pumped up turns laughably ridiculous (more so because poor Sunny goes through the whole thing with such sincerety). Even the Mithun-Dino thread which seemed to be promising (and expectedly Mithun is in great form) is woefully underdeveloped. It’s only the piece featuring Preity, Salman and the kid which fits in well and that too mostly because of their performances. The only notable song in the movie “Mannata” (which is basically a typically Salman Khan Chunari number retrofitted to new lyrics) is also part of this thread. Preity especially is top notch.

As for the main protagonists Vatsal Seth has pretty much nothing to do except accompanying Sohail while the latter as usual shines in the comic moments (no matter how silly they might seem) but nothing much to write home about elsewhere. Before its release, the stars and filmmakers were talking a lot about how this film is absoultely not jingoistic unlike others in the genre. It’s true to some extent but that is compensated for in other ways.

Samir Karnik’s third attempt is a much better effort than his first (which I had the misfortune of watching three years back) but there really is nothing much to look forward to unless you are someone who believes that a film about “patriotism” is intrinsically good.