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Veer January 28, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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You might have seen the savage bashing this flick has received till now, so I’ll skip that part and write about a few redeeming things about Veer. For starters, when he isn’t sleepwalking through a movie Salman can pull off just about anything and Veer is a perfect example of that. No, it’s far from being a good film but ironically it’s camp quotient works to an extent to make it to the watchable category.

Honestly, I don’t know how Anil Sharma’s Gadar became such a huge hit but the only thing which I actually liked about the film is that one song (Udja Kale Kawa) – which keeps popping up at crucial moments and somehow (unintentionally) seemed to capture the true essence of the film (which was non-existent in the first place). Anil Sharma successfully repeats that in Veer with a couple of numbers – Surili Akhiyon Wali and Kanha – and that’s why I actually liked the film more than I had wanted to. Indeed, the surprise really are Sajid-Wajid who come up with an overall winning score. Apart from the two numbers mentioned before there’s the wonderful “Meherbaaniyan” track – equally well filmed (isn’t is unthinkable not to have an energetic Salman dance number!!!).

Well…that’s pretty much what I liked about the film. Coming to the performances, except for Mithun and Salman none make an impact. I would love to see both of them together again in a better film. I wouldn’t really recommend this film to anyone – except maybe for a Salman Khan fan (or if you happen to share to my quirks for Anil Sharma’s musical money-shots).

Main aurr Mrs Khanna October 19, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Prem R Soni is credited for the Story, Screenplay, Dialogues and Direction for this film. After conceiving the film, at some point of time he seems to have come to the conclusion that a movie with all the four aspects might be very complex. To keep it simple, he decides to do away with most of the aforementioned details. When the movie ends, you practically keep scratching your head wondering if something really happened in the film and if it did how come you didn’t spot it.

Mr. Khanna (Salman Khan) loses his job in Melbourne. To recoup, he plans to move to Singapore but unceremoniously tries packing off Mrs. Khanna (Kareena Kapoor) to India. Shocked by this harsh move Mrs. Khanna sets up shop in the airport until her husband’s return. In comes Akash (Sohail Khan) who is instantly smitten by Mrs. Khanna and slowly they become close to each other. When Mr. Khanna is back Akash wants to discredit him in Mrs. Khanna’s eyes tries but fails. Inevitably Mr. Khanna confronts Mrs. Khanna about Akash but Mrs Khanna is too dumb to believe that Akash could be love with her. She then decides to confront Akash with the same question – Akash responds rather diplomatically and has an inexplicable change of heart….and the movie ends. There is a so called twist in the end which is supposed to justify Akash’s behavior – but that actually only serves to finally convince Mrs. Khanna (who still can’t believe it!!!) about Akash’s love.

The most bewildering thing about this film is that you have no clue what it is trying to say (or is trying to say something in the first place?) Why does Akash change his mind out of the blue? What about Mr. Khanna who is portrayed as a rather eccentric and unpleasant person for most of the film but towards the end he seems to be exonerated? What exactly is going on in Mrs. Khanna’s mind? What is Bappi Lahiri doing in the film? Why did Preity Zinta have such an awfully bad cameo? In a way Main aurr Mrs Khanna is the most thought provoking film of the year since the number of questions you might want to ask Prem Soni could easily exceed the size of his script.

On the brighter side, this is not really a bad watch if you discount the B-list supporting cast (and promise not to ask too many questions). Sajid-Wajid come up with a pretty good soundtrack which is quite refreshing compared to their usual dance numbers.  All the lead actors perform well but how do you rise above the script when there isn’t one. Main aurr Mrs Khanna is a one-of-a-kind movie which just seems to exist because it has to – it’s your call if you want to watch it for that.

Wanted October 6, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Wanted might not have turned out that huge a huge blockbuster as it seemed poised to be prior to its release – the most probable reasons being that – for our “intelligent” audiences that Salman isn’t the right “Khan” and the production house “BSK” doesn’t exactly rhyme with a certain “YRF”. Never mind because Salman Khan is back and how!

Given the long tally of flops credited to his account – most being inconsequential cameos, the biggest attraction of Wanted is that Salman is really in there all over the place. Wanted is a pretty faithful remake of Pokiri in terms of the plot but it really feels more like some South Indian superstar’s over-the-top masala flick. And that works here quite well because we don’t get to see such stuff nowadays – more likely because there aren’t too many stars around to pull off such a thing; which posits the obvious question to Salman – Why haven’t you done something like this until now? Apart from its leading man, Wanted has almost nothing to offer but then who cares. On the whole, Wanted will obviously draw unfavorable comparisons to Pokiri but Prabhu Dheva’s intentions are pretty clear from scene one – which is unabashed superstar worship.

Salman Khan is definitely having a ball – be it fighting, dancing or romancing. Needless to say I cannot think of any other actor who could manage all this with such elan. Ayesha Takia even in such an insubstantial role is very impressive and her chemistry with Salman is crackling. Prakash Raj actually gets quite a meaty part when compared with the original and he’s a lot of fun. Mahesh Manjrekar is also very effective. Salman Khan seems ready to break into a dance at any moment but barring a couple, Sajid-Wajid’s tracks lack the required steam. The solid action sequences (Vijayan) are definitely the best part of this enterprise.

If you are a fan of Salman, then Wanted is the movie you’ve been waiting for; but if aren’t one then do remember you were warned!

Heroes October 27, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Heroes has a huge cast to boast of as its USP – a closer look and you’ll realize most of them are non-happening ones. That’s not really the issue if the film had something really nice to offer. Conceptually, it sounds quite good. A group of guys have to submit a film to get their graduate film degrees and they end up choosing their subject as “Why not to join the Army!”

As they begin their research, Saand (Sohail Khan) and Nawab Saab (Vatsal Seth) are advised by a war reporter (Mohnish Behl – on screen after a long time) to deliver the last letters of three slain Jawans to their respective families. How this journey changes their mindset is what this film is supposed to be. From each of these trips all they (and we) really get to hear trite desh-bhakti and “national pride” dialogues from each of the families. Initially our protagonists intended to hear dukh-bhari stories and laments from their hosts which they thought would buttress the point were trying to make through their film…..but on hearing the contrary their whole viewpoint changes suddenly. In fact years later they end up running a “national pride” school – whatever that means!

If this film was intended to be the director’s personal tribute to the army then maybe it works but as a viewer I had an absolutely bland cliche-filled experience. The only person I was really feeling sorry for was Sunny Deol who gets to do the most cringeworthy role in his career. It’s a classic case where an attempt to get the audience pumped up turns laughably ridiculous (more so because poor Sunny goes through the whole thing with such sincerety). Even the Mithun-Dino thread which seemed to be promising (and expectedly Mithun is in great form) is woefully underdeveloped. It’s only the piece featuring Preity, Salman and the kid which fits in well and that too mostly because of their performances. The only notable song in the movie “Mannata” (which is basically a typically Salman Khan Chunari number retrofitted to new lyrics) is also part of this thread. Preity especially is top notch.

As for the main protagonists Vatsal Seth has pretty much nothing to do except accompanying Sohail while the latter as usual shines in the comic moments (no matter how silly they might seem) but nothing much to write home about elsewhere. Before its release, the stars and filmmakers were talking a lot about how this film is absoultely not jingoistic unlike others in the genre. It’s true to some extent but that is compensated for in other ways.

Samir Karnik’s third attempt is a much better effort than his first (which I had the misfortune of watching three years back) but there really is nothing much to look forward to unless you are someone who believes that a film about “patriotism” is intrinsically good.

Hello October 13, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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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.

God Tussi Great Ho August 16, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Salman Khan has this uncanny ability to be a part of B-grade projects which end up lying in the cans for years (needless to mention producer Afzal Khan is one up on him in this issue). If there is one thing he should be happy about it is that God Tussi Great Ho was the last one in his most recent set of backlogs. And going by the very unusual dedication to the hero at the beginning to the film, it looks like Sallu had something do with the film seeing the light of the day.

Writer-director Rumy Jafry has written most of David Dhavan’s hits so you wouldn’t be at fault if you thought it was David’s film….the catch is – despite using the plot of 2003’s smash hit Bruce Almighty it looks like a nineties David Dhawan film which err…doesn’t work today. But to be honest, if you accept the Blast from the Past experience which this film gives you it is a pretty okay flick (barring those jokes involving Rukhsar). Salman, Sohail and (unexpectedly) Anupam Kher still manage to make you sit this through this one. Amitabh has more like a guest appearance so don’t watch this if you expect to see him do something exciting. Sajid-Wajid’s numbers are tailor made for Khan and hence only work when viewed with the video – there are some unintentionally funny moments in the “Let’s Party” song when poor Salman is made to do more than his fair share of jhatkas. The visual effects – well like everything else are from the nineties.

None of the people involved even bothered to promote the film so that pretty much tell you what they were expecting. I like everyone else had low expectations and hence whatever good is there in this film was like a bonus. But save yourself the trouble and check out Ranbir Kapoor’s Bachna Ae Haseeno – the other Hindi release this weekend which is receiving better reviews than this one.