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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.

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.

U Me Aur Hum April 13, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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It’s just a few months back that Aamir Khan debuted as a director, naturally Ajay Devgan’s plunge into the director’s seat will undoubtedly have to bear the burden of high expectations and comparisons. But if you actually look at it…Ajay is only the third person in his family to direct. Remember “Hindustan Ki Kasam – A dream by Veeru Devgan”? the unanimous verdict for which was that it should have remained a dream. Then came brother Anil Devgan’s “Raju Chacha” – one of the most expensive flops of Bollywood which wasn’t outrightly a bad film but a good concept squandered away. With “U Me and Hum” one can easily conclude that Ajay has lived up to the standards set by his family and dared not to go beyond.

But you still have to appreciate the bold choice of the story – a lady suffering from Alzheimer’s and the painful daily struggles she and her husband have to come to terms with. But then you should also know that “sometimes the greatest journey between two people the story and the movie is the distance screenplay between them”. The first half of this flick is as bad as a first half can get. The absolutely pathetic and cringeworthy dialogue/situations/conversations that I encountered made me forget all the bad films I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Believe me….it really is that bad – and if you liked it and thought it was cute and mushy then God save you! (You might want to blame Devgan for this but then you might recall that in the opening credits this department was credited to a certain Ashwini Dhir – this is the guy who’s receiving brickbats since last week for his directorial debut “One Two Three” and even this week’s other release “Krazzy 4” receiving equally bad reviews is a product of his pen). Only before the interval the actual story begins and gives you a ray of hope. I wouldn’t say that the rest of the movie is great but because I’d been through the previous 80 minutes or so, it did look like a masterpiece compared to that. Again don’t get your hopes too high…the movie tries to make a point but when you expect to see the actualization of that it rather abruptly ends.

Ajay and Kajol (who look good together for the first time on screen) have put in really earnest performances and despite the maudlin sentimentality which creeps in at times they did effectively convey the agony and anguish of someone in a situation like theirs. There are also a couple of noteworthy moments – especially the ones where Kajol has a blackout in rather dangerous situations. The same cannot be said of the horrible supporting cast – mainly Karan Khanna, Isha Sharvani and Divya Dutta. The only other person who stands out in this movie is Vishal Bhardwaj with his mellifluous tunes – the title track and “Jeele Ishq Mein” (wonderfully rendered by Adnan Sami) are the best.

There are far more negatives than positives in this film but Ajay and Kajol still manage to give it a certain amount of respectability and they are purely the reason you might want to watch this one…better sleep through the first half and wake up just before the intermission – am sure you’ll then have a much better experience.