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My Name is Khan March 12, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Along with rom-coms, movies with the backdrop of “terrorism” have in general been on my must-not-watch list – I hate both genres for similar reasons….unbearable cliches to be exact. Though Karan Johar has not lost his knack to entertain his second directorial foray into “serious” cinema slowly and regrettably turns laughable and cringeworthy like his previous flick. MNIK is still a very watchable film purely because of Shah Rukh Khan but his magic too wears out towards the end.

When I saw the first look of the film a couple of months back, the fact that the story and screenplay are credited to a certain Ms. Shibani Bhatija made the alarm bells in my head work overtime. In the past even seasoned film-makers who have handled “terrorism” haven’t moved beyond the stereotypes so it is wrong to expect K Jo-Shibani to do something groundbreaking. Surprisingly, the protagonist’s condition is not used to manipulate the audience and that’s just the one commendable aspect of the film. There are also a few well crafted moments when the film has to say something about discrimination but mostly goes overboard.

Most people have gone way out praising the movie – at least during the time of its release but now that the film has been reduced to a “medium hit” from “blockbuster” you know better. Still, watch MNIK for Khan.

Dus Kahaniyaan May 8, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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“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.