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Rann February 5, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Ramu’s take on the media looks more like a Bhandarkar-esque affair – still it works because the film doesn’t compel you to take it seriously. This is a theme whose Bollywoodization was long overdue and even if the end result seems inexcusably dumbed-down, it is still fairly engaging. I actually loved Paresh Rawal as the vile politician – it’s been so long since he has played a role like this. Even though it is hands down the most throwback eighties character you’ve probably seen on screen these days.

My favorite nevertheless was Mohnish Behl – as the scheming head-honcho of a news channel he is top class – would love to see him more on the big screen. Sudeep, Suchitra and Rajpal Yadav are also impressive. Surprisingly the lead characters – Amitabh and Ritesh are the most uninteresting characters of the entire enterprise. The latter especially plays the dumbest investigative journalist ever – somebody please tell him that there is a silent mode on a cell phone, a rear view mirror to a car and that it is possible to make copies of DVDs.

Rann is far from being among RGV’s better films, still it makes the cut when you compare it with his more recent ventures. Worth a look.

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! November 30, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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After the wonderful Khosla Ka Ghosla in 2006, director Dibakar Banerjee returns with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. Revolving around the life of a thief – supposed to be inspired from a real life character called “Bunty”, OLLO traces the story of Lucky (Abhay Deol) who effortlessly steals cars, usual stuff from rich homes and um…pretty much everything actually. We catch glimpses of his not-so-happy childhood barring his teenage love, his never ending exploits as a thief – involving his sidekick Bangali (Manu Rishi), forced Godfather Goga Bhai (Paresh Rawal) and new-found love Sonal (Neetu Chandra). There are two more Paresh Rawals who Lucky has to deal with elsewhere in the film.

This film is more like a semi-biopic of Lucky and in this regard I think the promos were a bit misleading in suggesting it to be somewhat a comic thriller. Though it isn’t one there is enough happening so that you never get bored at any point of time. Like his previous film OLLO relies mostly on its colorful characters and understated humor – in fact the humor here is far more subtle and that’s the reason it takes some time before the film starts growing on you. On the flipside, I thought the social satire aspect didn’t work too well. Also, the ease with which Lucky robs stuff seems too far-fetched. A couple of instances are funny and believable but then it is suggested that he is successful umpteen times using a similar bunch of tricks.

There’s a scene here about handling a watch-dog which apart from being quite informative was a genuine ROFL moment I’ve had in a long time. Also, check out that equally funny scene when Paresh Rawal is trying to hit Lucky and in the background Lucky’s little brother gets into the mood with some hilarious air-moves. The film has a strong Punjabi flavor accentuated by a jarring musical score but thankfully it doesn’t creep too much into the dialogue; otherwise I surely would have missed some of the humor.

Abhay Deol adds another impressive film to his already super-impressive filmography. As usual he is a complete natural and absolutely at ease with his character. In the film, it might be hard to believe his robberies but there’s no wonder why his victims and even the police seemed to love him. Though it’s high time he got his due in mainstream cinema, I’d still love to see him continue doing what he’s been at till now. Neetu Chandra is wonderful yet again. I was quite impressed by her in Traffic Signal and Godavari; and once again she puts up an extremely convincing act. Her’s is quite a short role but it’s one of the very few instances in films where you get to see in a very believable way how a girl is attracted to someone when commonsense should suggest otherwise. Paresh Rawal and Archana Puran Singh are the only other known faces and they are quite good too. I couldn’t get the significance of having Paresh in three different roles – maybe it was supposed to mean that each was an unpleasant father-figure in different phases of Lucky’s life.

There’s a big list of highly impressive debutants here. Topping the list is the greeting card shop girl (I couldn’t figure out her name). Manjot Singh who plays Lucky in his teens is also too good. Ditto for Manu Rishi (as Lucky’s sidekick) and Dolly Chadda. Dibakar Banerjee doesn’t try to make OLLO a crowd pleaser like Khosla Ka Ghosla. Though it is more flawed it is actually a much smarter film than the latter. If it’s something you like then there’s also a Johnny Gaddaar like homage to vintage slapped all over it. I think I missed a few things in the film on first viewing, so would definitely be catching it once again after a few months on TV or DVD. Go and watch OLLO with an open mind – it’s a nice addition to the list of genuinely hatke films we’ve had this year.

Welcome January 7, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Feroz Nadiadwala probably makes his biggest sacrifice with Welcome….(thankfully) he doesn’t incorporate an action sequence in the desert featuring flying mobikes and hummers; also, there isn’t a song featuring Russian belly dancers (somehow compensated with a closely similar item number). Ok….there are some genuinely hillarious moments but otherwise Welcome joins the list of “blockbuster comedies” like Partner and Heyy Babyy which fail mostly in the laughs department.

The plot is inane enough not to merit description but that’s not my complaint if there were enough laughs packed in. Surprisingly, the guys who can be relied on the most like Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal get the lamest parts but unfortunately a longer screen time. The trump cards happen to be Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar who have the ability to bring cheer to your face even with the dumbest of situations. Nana, who showed his lighter side earlier in Bluffmaster does it again with fruitful results. Some of the best gags in the movie are centered around him – the acting/horse-riding sequence was the best. He should seriously look out for more lighter roles like this. But I loved Anil Kapoor’s performance more. He’s done comedies before I liked him here better than his similar previous outings like No Entry or Biwi No 1. Feroz Khan and Mallika Sherawat have much smaller roles and they are adequate for the part.

I don’t know why they needed three music directors (Sajid-Wajid, Himesh Reshammiya and Anand Raaj Anand) to create such a bland score which seriously hampers the movie a lot. I must say the movie would have been much better without those songs. Anees Bazmee’s previous smash hit No Entry was on the whole a better film (though it was mostly a scene to scene remake of the Telugu/Tamil original) than this one…..however this one’s is definitely worth a watch on DVD where you might want to fast forward to the good parts; otherwise nothing really great to look forward to.

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.