jump to navigation

Blue October 19, 2009

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

250 feet deep lies the secret of Blue….100 minutes is what it takes to convince Sanjay Dutt to lead a quest to find that…18 minutes is what it takes for you to realize why Sanju Baba was being so difficult.

In the film, whenever anyone mentions the buried treasure in Sanju’s presence he automatically has these series of flashes about a wrecked ship and skeletons. Writer-Director Anthony D’Souza assumes that those flashes are enough to keep one awake and curious for most of the movie’s duration. Needless to say, the action sequences as well as the underwater stuff for all their finesse are extremely unexciting.

Even if you excuse the lame script, there is something fundamentally wrong here – it’s not just the buried treasure which is underwater….the overall energy levels of everyone and everything in the movie also seem buried 250 feet in the deep. You instantly know this because 1) Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif actually outshine everyone else in a multistarrer film 2) Lara Dutta in a bikini has just about the same sex appeal as an overweight Sanjay Dutt in a diving suit. (To add to Sanju’s woes he is made to fight on land wearing that thing). 3) You pray that Akshay Kumar actually switches back to doing one of his monotonous comedy films.

After last year’s Love Story 2050, comes another film where you have to observe a two minute silence in solidarity with the technical crew. A.R Rahman’s compositions are somehow salvaged mostly because the most energetic ones appear during the opening title sequence and the end credits. The buried treasure was unlucky enough to be found by the team of Blue – you could escape the same fate if you haven’t ventured out to watch this one.

Advertisements

Yuvvraaj November 25, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

I wish I could exclaim – Subhash Ghai is back! It was my sincere belief that the showman would finally redeem himself with Yuvvraaj. Looks like redemption is another film away. Yuvvraaj is Ghai’s most disappointing film till date – if not his worst (that honor arguably goes to Kisna). A story about estranged brothers coming together would probably not be touched by any director in this day. But given Ghai’s expertise at handling these kind of themes in the past, I was expecting an old school classic from him and since it was also supposed to be an A.R. Rahman “musical”, my expectations soared.

Assuming that the rest of the film stays the same, it still would have made the cut if the director actually delivered a musical as he promised. The first frame of the film opens with Katrina playing the much publicized cello in a grandiose setting. A few other frames featuring people holding/playing musical instruments plus the usual songs are what constitute the “musical” part of this flick. A film like this filled with campy situations and (even more horrible) dialogue almost completely dispenses off with a background score and uses sombre looking sets (despite being opulent) – which undoubtedly gives the impression that this is supposed to be a film to be taken seriously. And this proves disastrous for it as there is no way any sane viewer could do that.

It is all the more surprising because Ghai is one filmmaker who knows (or rather invented in Hindi Cinema) how to incorporate a score to maximum effect. That skill of his was the primary reason his last success Taal survived. Another memorable disaster in this film is the dialogue. If you had seen the dialogue promos you should definitely have noticed Katrina’s “…..woh sirf ek hardcore anti-family man ho sakta hai”. There are equally bad gems like these (if not equally funny) but the pick of the lot is the scene where Salman gives an explanation for Anil’s altruistic actions to a policeman that it’s because he’s not just any other brother but an “Indian Brother”.

Except for Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor who provide the film’s only redeeming moments everyone else is a letdown – thanks to their lame characterizations. Zayed Khan especially needs an acting class. His character seems to have been written as an afterthought just to make it a 3-brother story. The straight from the eighties villains-vamps could have caused further embarrassment if not for their short insignificant parts. For all the talk about Katrina overshadowing everyone else on the posters, she hardly has anything to do. Many reviews have criticized Salman’s performance but I honestly feel that if it weren’t for the lighthearted feel he brings to the proceedings this film would have been unwatchable. Anil Kapoor should have had a longer part to play because it is only when he and Salman are together that the film stops from sinking further. I don’t know if his take on an autistic person is authentic or not but it is highly consistent and in tune with the plot. Mithun also appears in a brief role.

A.R Rahman would be the person to be disappointed the most out of this venture – it is the second time in a row that Ghai has squandered away his tunes. The very popular “Dost” and “Tu Muskura” absolutely make no impression in the movie. It is actually the less publicized “Mastam Mastam” which is the pick of the lot. For once the vibrant choreography does justice to the song. There’s also a short song called “Zindagi” which I liked very much. The climax song “Dil Ka Rishta” doesn’t create much of an impact but a couple of short pieces used from here in other scenes are really good.

Mithun ends the last scene of the film with the adage “Independent we live but United we stand” following which (to my utmost surprise) there was a standing ovation from the audience!!! whatever they were clapping for! As a last ditch attempt the Farah Khan style end credits are brought in but that can’t make you like what came before it. Yuvvraaj could have been a nice old-fashioned campy musical melodrama but is nowhere close. Watch it only if you are a fan of any of the big names associated with this film because even though it was below average I didn’t find it hard to sit through.

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.

Singh is Kinng August 25, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

There have been quite a few so called “comedies” which have bombed at the box-office this year which made me think that moviegoers have finally gotten tired of those not-so-funny blockbuster comedies which had a good time at the box-office last year. I was wrong because I forgot to take notice of the fact that none of those bombs this year featured any big stars. Singh is Kinng is the first one to feature a saleable star and (unsurprisingly) despite its content has gone on to become a blockbuster.

The filmmakers had quite an interesting concept on hand but they haven’t exploited it properly. Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) is a bumbling do-gooder who has his intentions right but always courts trouble with his actions. His village is fed up of him and they pack him off to Australia on the pretext of getting King (Sonu Sood) – an infamous Don in Australia – back to Punjab so that their community would no longer be badnaam because of his activities. Accompanying Happy is his friend Rangeela (Om Puri). However, in Australia things go haywire as King gets afflicted with a condition “which Shahrukh Khan had in Anjaam” and Happy has to take his place. And that’s when the fun begins (actually supposed to begin).

Coming from Anees Bazmee, whose last outing Welcome was quite inconsistent from being outrightly irritating to some hilarious laugh-out-loud moments, Singh is Kinng is consistently average – neither making you smile much nor making you feel why you actually paid to sit through this. The biggest complaint I have is how he could waste actors like Javed Jafferi (hardly comprehensible) and Ranvir Shorey (a role probably written with Sunil Shetty in mind). Akshay Kumar is a huge star so can afford to be repetitive but this trait of his doesn’t appeal to me much (I wouldn’t say the same about other “superstars”) but still good enough to carry the film through. The best perfomances come from the supporting cast of Om Puri, Sonu Sood (once he becomes paralysed) and Yashpal Sharma. Manoj Pahwa and Kirron Kher also lend good support. Katrina and Neha are just hanging around to look good.

Watch it if you’ve liked similar mindless (purported) comedy flicks before otherwise there is nothing you’ll lose by giving this a miss. The two title tracks were really the only things which I enjoyed the most.

Sarkar June 6, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

In anticipation of the release of Sarkar Raj this weekend, I watched Sarkar once again.

Director Ram Gopal Varma’s tribute to The Godfather isn’t his first film inspired from that source. He earlier made Gaayam (co-written by Mani Ratnam) in Telugu (and even his debut film, Shiva had some traces of inspiration) where many commercial constraints were adhered to but the film was good in its own way and was a success at the box office too. He reuses some parts of that film here but makes a more intense and largely superior film.

Though the content might have been inspired by The Godfather (and Bal Thackeray), this is a completely different and much more taut film. A few scenes and some themes may be similar but this isn’t a faithful remake. And anyone who wishes to judge this film by comparing it to The Godfather or its various inspirations should strictly sit out.

The screenplay of the film is credited to Manish Gupta but Varma, no doubt, had considerable inputs here. But it isn’t so much the script as it is the direction that defines this film. Ram Gopal Varma’s genius is visible in every frame that is so meticulously shot and his style is what makes this film remarkable. And he is greatly helped by his technicians (cinematographer Amit Roy and editors Amit Parman and Nipun Gupta).

The most striking aspect of this film is the brilliant use of extreme close-ups. A large part of the film doesn’t have any dialogue. Varma uses the expressions of the actors captured so minutely through these close-ups to convey the emotions as well as the subtext. The film depends on it completely. And when the characters do speak, they deliver some zingers.

The accompanying background score by Amar Mohile, tries to elevate every important moment and succeeds (some might not care for such dominance by the music but I do). It is interesting that the Govinda chant that has become quite synonymous with this film was originally composed for Varma’s telugu film Govinda Govinda, which belonged to a completely different genre.

With such close scrutiny of the actors in close-ups, acting becomes an extremely important part of the film and each actor needs to deliver. RGV extracts the required performances from Amitabh to Kay Kay to Katrina Kaif and Tanishaa. Amitabh Bachchan, in the titular role, brings out the required intensity with the right expressions and tone. You can almost feel the same reverence towards his character as his supporters in the film show. On the other hand, he makes the vulnerable side of his character thoroughly identifiable in the scenes in the hospital and home after the attack on him. The way Abhishek is portrayed as an obedient son who does not speak out of turn when the family is discussing business matters in the first half and his transformation when he takes the responsibility upon himself to fill in for his father and take over (note the black shirt that Abhishek wears when the transformation is complete towards the end) is superb. And Bachchan Jr is spot on in his portrayal of Shankar. Kay Kay is possibly the best actor on display in this film and he brings out the vices of Vishnu, the bad son, to perfection.

The supporting cast is great too. Despite many supporting players and limited scope, everybody gets noticed. Supriya Pathak is the best choice for the role of Sarkar’s loving, caring and reticent wife. The little known Rukhsar is very likable in a role where she has almost no dialogue. Even Katrina Kaif and Tanisha who, at the time (or even now) had not delivered any noteworthy performances slip nicely into their roles. Zakir Hussain makes a capable antagonist. Kota Srinivasa Rao, who brings out the sliminess of Silver Mani (or is it Selva Mani?), also serves as the comic relief in the film’s most loquacious character. Ravi Kale, who plays Sarkar’s right hand man also impresses but the same can’t be said about Jeeva’s performance as the wigged over-the-top Swami.

Another interesting aspect is the love triangle. The same triangle was also part of Gaayam as also another film inspired by The Godfather, the Kamal Haasan penned Thevar Magan (Kshatriya Puthrudu in Telugu, remade in Hindi as Virasat with Anil Kapoor). All three films have similar characters involved in a similar conflict (the situation is somewhat different from The Godfather) but each gets its own treatment in keeping with the setting, regional and commercial aspects as well as the focus of the respective films.

This is probably the closest RGV has come to making a family drama. The overachieving father who wonders, like any normal father would, what sins he might have committed to have borne a kid that has taken the wrong path. The bad son, whose need to come out of his father’s shadow ultimately drives him down a path that leaves no redemption. The good son, whose respect and trust in his father bears more importance to him than anything else and his willingness to follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the family’s responsibility. The obedient and caring mother, who easily melts over her son’s apparent repentance, like any average mother, and asks her husband to let her son back into the house. The daughter-in-law who has become such an integral part of the family that she prefers to stay with her in-laws instead of her wayward husband. There is so much here that makes this as much a tale about a family as it is about politics (or politricks as Silver Mani would say). Varma clearly conveys to the audience that this is a family like most others. I especially loved the use of the kid (playing in the background, asking for an ice cream) to bring in the aspect of normalcy. A similar effect is achieved through the game of Carroms, the dinner table conversations, the discussion in front of the television and more.

Different individuals might find different flaws in this film. Some might even hate the very things that I’ve loved. Nevertheless, this is definitely a film that is worth watching multiple times to observe the minutiae. It is the detail that makes this film special. It is the interpretation, focus and execution that makes this film different from the others based on similar material. Watch this once if you haven’t yet. If you have, watch it again to observe the detail that you missed out the first time.

Race March 22, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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.