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Arundhati February 2, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Sometimes you just can’t explain why a film is successful. The slick poster campaign and promos might have caught everyone’s eye but is Arundhati really the blockbuster masterpiece it is made out to be? At this point of time there is no doubt that it has gone on to become a blockbuster but I really wonder how it became one. A major reason could be some of the extremely glowing reviews it got because atleast from the murmurs I heard most of the audience didn’t seem too impressed.

Arundhati is quite a misleading title in the first place. It should actually have been called something like Jejamma Mahatyam. Honestly, this movie is more like an upgrade to SFX filled semi-devotional flicks which have been helmed by Shyamprasad Reddy and Kodi Ramakrishna in the past. And before you get gung ho about “SFX filled” let me remind you that the implicit assumption here is: “more SFX” = “great SFX”.

Once upon a time there lived a great lady called Arundhati (Anushka) – who is reverred as “Jejamma”. Her brother-in-law is this sadistic sex maniac called Pasupathi (Sonu Sood) who’d rather stab and rape a woman if she’s causing trouble to him performing the act in normal circumstances. Once he’s banished by Jejamma from that place, he joins/becomes an Aghora which kinda makes him immortal. Poor Jejamma is only left with the option of burying him alive and three generations later when Arundhati is reincarnated again, buried-alive-in-grave Pasupathi wants revenge. Can Arundhati survive the onslaught? Watch the film if you really want to find out.

Supernatural tales like these more or less have a similar plot so everything depends on how you can make the ongoing events engrossing. Atleast for me an overload of crazy mindless visual effects doesn’t do the trick. To give credit where it is due, it doesn’t make you sleep either. However, all said and done I did enjoy some part of it purely because of the craziness and (un)intentional funniness. I couldn’t stop laughing whenever Sonu Sood’s character lets out an “Aaeee Bomali!”. In fact he is the best part of the film. Anuskha is fine but just because she is the main protagonist it doesn’t automatically translate to an exceptional performance. Sayaji Shinde is highly irritating along with a bunch of other characters.

It is more or less confirmed that Arundhati will be remade in Hindi – I wonder if those who are keen are buy the remake rights actually saw the film or are just going by its phenomenal success. In my opinion, Arundhati is the most overrated Telugu film in recent times – it is too illogical even if you give some consideration to the fact that it is based on a supernatural theme. Still the mindlessness provides for some fun and that might be the only reason one might want to watch this. In any case, I am sure the curiosity factor would draw you to the cinemas (if you haven’t seen it yet).

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Love Story 2050 July 7, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Ladies and Gentlemen…..take note – Harry Baweja has set a new benchmark for cinematic realism. Just a couple of instances if you find it hard to believe me. There’s a scene where the time machine takes off for the year 2050. But it’s not just Harman and gang which takes off….you yourself feel that you’ve lived through 42 years on your seat until that scene finally comes. Also, towards the end our hero is supposed to come back to the time machine before a certain deadline so that he’s safely returned to the present otherwise he’s supposed to actually grow 42 years older. A significant proportion of the audience seem to have felt the same would happen to them also and not convinced that Harman would make it in time, they started to leave the auditorium hurriedly.

In between those two events unfortunately you get to see what is undoubtedly most flawless VFX work ever accomplished in Indian Cinema. I said unfortunately only because I feel sorry for those guys at Prime Focus and Weta Digital whose effort in all probability will remain unseeen by those it was intended for. They can thank Harry Baweja for this. It really takes lot of imagination to make such an uneventful and boring film when the theme you are dealing with it time travel and reincarnation. In fact this film is so boring that you won’t even know it is about time travel and reincarnation unless you knew beforehand.

Here is Love Story 2050 compressed for you so you can avoid a trip to the theatre. Guy love girl…girl love guy (repeat cycle till 5 minutes before interval). Then girl die…guy remember girl say she want to travel to “Mumbai 2050”. Guy get brilliant idea that girl will reborn in “Mumbai 2050” and he start time travel to “Mumbai 2050” (Simultaneous, Harry Baweja start throwing 60 crore in drain). “Mumbai 2050” largely consist firangs and rule by gay fashion designers and their creation. Guy find red hair girl who look exactly like her 2008 girl. Finally, red hair girl remember 2008 duet (really nice tune by Anu Malik) and 2008 personal diary and decide to come back 2008. Story End (Simultaneous, Harry Baweja also stop throwing money in drain).

Harman Baweja has to live with being called a Hrithik clone for a while. He does show promise and it is unfair to judge him based on this film….but check out his “Milo na Milo” moves. Priyanka is borderline irritating (more to do with her 2050 costumes). The only time when you actually smile during the movie is when Harman says “I don’t need luck, I have love”. It’s funny because when Daddy Baweja might have thought of that line, he never would have guessed how wrong it would prove for him. Watch this one only if you want to show some solidarity with the VFX team.

Om Shanti Om November 12, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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I knew this would be an entertaining film but it exceeds my expectations. Choreographer turned writer-director Farah Khan outdoes herself this time. If she displayed her love for Bollywood in her debut feature Main Hoon Na, that affection takes center stage this time around. This film not only belongs to the seventies masala genre that she loves so much but it also features the seventies, pays tributes to various stars and films of the time as well as the current generation and then also pokes some light-hearted fun at the film industry and the actors, all in the same film!

Farah Khan might not be an encyclopedia on Hindi films like her brother Sajid but clearly, these films have become a part of her being. The theme she selects this time is reincarnation, something that hasn’t been visited in recent times (the last I recall was Sanjay Gupta’s flop film, Hameshaa). I won’t even try to describe the story of this film because anybody who has seen a couple of films on this theme in the past can figure out the basic outline. However, Farah and co-writer Mushtaq Sheik do spring a surprise with the climax, especially once you start believing that the film is quite predictable.

The story is set around the film industry and it works as an excellent placeholder to display her love for films of two generations. This is in fact the primary reason that this film works. The best moments in the film are all woven from this aspect (and they are neatly integrated with the main storyline too) and there are some extremely howlarious moments here. The Filmfare awards sequence with the spoofed film trailers (reminded me of Grindhouse), the fake interviews and the actors’ responses is a comic gem. The Sooraj Barjatya piece is just priceless. The Manoj Kumar bit was side-splitting fun. And thats not all. There’s Mohabbat-Man, the Dhoom Tana song reliving songs from the sixties and seventies, a small bit on the entry of the Virar-ka-chokra Govinda, Shahrukh pretending to be a South Indian superstar shouting out “Enna Rascala” and “Mind It” and much much more to keep you laughing. And she makes Shahrukh poke fun at himself too.

Yes, Farah Khan clearly know how to have fun and she also understands how to show the audience a good time. In doing that, she ropes in almost all the big stars (Amitabh Bachchan and Son, Hrithik Roshan and Dad, Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, Saif Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Mithun and many more biggies) in the film industry. The great-grandmother of all item songs, the Deewangi number has twenty odd superstars (including some not so super, not really stars like Dino Morea) walking in and out of frames, doing their most popular steps and a few more stars show up in the Filmfare awards sequence leaving the star-struck audience wanting more. It is nice to see the camaraderie among the film fraternity (even if pessimists might call some of it artificial).

Farah also deserves special kudos for the end titles. She ropes in most of her crew members, including spot boys, to be on screen for a few seconds of fame. The generally neglected folks who work behind the scenes are made to feel special. And this was the first time that I’ve seen the entire audience stay back till the end of the titles.

Shahrukh Khan carries the film on his shoulders. He does all that is asked of him (though this isn’t the role that critics will admire). He acts, he cries, he mouthes poetry, he wears his underwear over his tights, he romances Deepika, he dances, he shows off his six pack and he also overacts as per the requirement. The debutant, model-turned actress Deepika Padukone (daughter of Badminton champion Prakash Padukone), is a real beauty. In fact, she is so good looking that she will get enough offers even if she was wooden. However, she does acquit herself well and is set for a promising career. Shreyas Talpade is good and Kirron Kher is super, especially in the scenes where she overacts. Arjun Rampal does fine as the bad guy of the piece.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music doesn’t appeal as much in the soundtrack but the songs suit the film well. Ajab Si is clearly the best of the lot and KK does a great job singing it. However, it wasn’t really a part of the film and hence gets used only in the background. Sandeep Chowtha is roped in to do the background score and he doesn’t disappoint. Farah Khan’s choreography isn’t her best work though she does a couple of songs well. The cinematography (V. Manikandan) is good and the sets (Sabu Cyril gets to design quite a few here) fit in with the film.

If it is not clear yet, I will reiterate that this film is not one that revels in being realistic, sensible or novel (though it is novel in certain aspects). As long as you are willing to not take it seriously, this will thoroughly entertain you. This film gives you your money’s worth and then some and it also makes you laugh much more that most films masquerading as comedies.