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Kathanayakudu August 4, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It was hard to screw up a film like Chandramukhi no matter how hard one tried – the plot of that flick was attractive enough to hide the filmmaker’s incompetence. And to his advantage P. Vasu had already helmed the Kannada version before. However, this time he isn’t so lucky and what you see is the merciless slaughter of another Malayalam blockbuster “Katha Parayumbol”.

Agreed – a lot of people knew beforehand that Rajnikanth wasn’t the main lead (notwithstanding the deceptive promotional campaign) but nobody would have expected his role to be restricted to a couple of monologues, a couple of songs and some fleeting glimpses. But that could have been completely forgiven if the rest of the film had something interesting to say. Nothing of that sort happens either. The original flick was supposed to be about this poor barber and his family and how his life changes after the arrival of a “superstar” in the village since this “superstar” happened to be the childhood friend of the barber. From what I’ve read it was also supposed to be a satirical take on “Star Worship”. What you get in this remake is a cringingly good barber (reminds me of those protagonists in “Super Good Films” features) and a pathetic comedy track which never seems to end. Also, the supposed satire on “Star Worship” almost turns into a justification of the whole phenomenon.

The somewhat emotional climactic reels are one of the few redeeming factors. Another one being G.V. Prakash Kumar’s score. The songs come in as a welcome relief and the “Cinema Cinema” song especially gels very nicely with the situation. If there is one thing which prevents this film from being unwatchable it is Jagapathi Babu. Despite being saddled with an overly melodramatic role he still makes you root for him with his earnest portrayal. I hope this film would revive his career again. Meena, who is back in a Telugu film after a long time does a fine job too.

I only hope Priyadarshan’s remake Billoo Barber with Irrfan and Shahrukh would do justice to the Malayalam original. Watch Kathanayakudu if you have to only for Jagapathi Babu. As for Rajni fans, I’d suggest that they wait for Shankar’s Robot next year.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa October 29, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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First a bit of history for those who don’t know. Originally made by Fazil in Malayalam as Manichitrathazu, which was then remade in Kannada by P. Vasu as Apthamithra (still considered to be the biggest hit in Kannada cinema) who again remade it in Tamil/Telugu with Rajnikanth as Chandramukhi. Vasu was supposed to remake it again in Hindi with Amitabh Bachchan but Priyan finally ended up doing it.

If you have seen any of these movies previously then Bhool Bhulaiyya hasn’t anything more nor less to offer. Otherwise it’s a pretty interesting watch provided you don’t end up scrutinizing it for loopholes. A haunted mansion in some village scares everyone living around that place for it is supposed to be inhabited by the ghost of a court dancer who’s waiting to avenge the death of her lover by killing the king who happened to cause all her misery. Certain sightings by a few villagers and a few unexplained happenings strengthen the legend. Now arrives the new “king” Siddharth (Shiney Ahuja) with her new wife Avni (Vidya Balan). Avni, despite opposition from Siddharth’s family wants to stay in the mansion and even ventures out into the exact place where the ghost seems to reside. Again, a new slew of incidents begin to bother everyone around with the suspicion centred on Radha (Amisha Patel) – for she has to mend a broken heart owing to Siddharth’s unannounced marriage. In comes Siddharth’s friend and psychiatrist Aditya (Akshay Kumar) who finally solves the puzzle.

The best part of this film (or the other remakes) is that it tries to be lighthearted while taking the plot along which makes sure that people don’t end up analyzing it too much. Though the efforts to make you laugh by Priyan’s usual suspects fall flat most of the times the arrival of Askhay Kumar brings in the required relief. Akshay has been doing similar stuff for the past 2-3 years but I personally felt this to be his best in recent times. He really holds the whole film together. Vidya Balan is repetitive. She seems to be doing those same textbook “performance oriented” roles on her to way to becoming a big bore like Rani Mukherji. Her performance in the climactic portions will definitely not be remembered (and endlessly parodied) like those in the south indian versions (Jyothika, Soundarya, Shobana). Amisha Patel thankfully doesn’t have to act except for a couple of scenes which is good for the film. Shiney Ahuja seems to have been given a part written for Suniel Shetty.

The unprecedentedly popular and catchy “Hare Krishna Hare Ram” (Pritam) song which appears in the end credits has now been incorporated into the movie again before Akshay’s entry. The other song which is pleasing is “Allah Hafiz”. Priyadarshan’s comic capers have not been faring too well in the recent past and his attempts to make you laugh here┬ádon’t work much either┬ábut an engaging “psychological thriller” plot more than makes up for it. You can definitely watch this.