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All the Best November 6, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Rohit Shetty’s fetish for car porn just got worse, his gags have become a lot more sillier and predictable – yet All the Best makes you laugh-out-loud for a satisfactory duration of its run-time enough to make you leave the theatre with a smile on your face.

This one’s a very traditional comedy of errors (supposed to be based on the play “Right Bed Wrong Husband” and also with a strong resemblance to the Kamal Haasan starrer Navvandi Lavvandi/Kadhala Kadhala) with the usual mix-ups and the ensuing mayhem – which is so unoriginal that you can correctly guess almost every forthcoming situation. Still, the actors seems to get their timing right most of the time and do succeed in tickling your funny bone. But beware that a film like this only works when you watch it in a theatre with a large crowd.

For me the best part of this movie is to see Sanjay Dutt back in form – especially after that horrendous Blue. He doesn’t do comedy much but has always delivered the few times he’s tried. As always Ajay Devgn manages to be very funny in Rohit Shetty’s films. Fardeen Khan and the girls have nothing much to do. Johnny Lever is quite impressive and he actually gets a meaty role after a very long time. Another surprise is Sanjay Mishra who brings down the house every time with his one note “Just Chill”. The rest of the supporting cast also delivers mostly.

If Rohit Shetty could have let gone of those unbearable car, action and song sequences All the Best could have been a memorable comedy; but I am sure he is so addicted to them that wishing something like that is a big joke. In any case this one works just fine for a lazy weekend watch.

Blue October 19, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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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.

Short Kut – The Con is On July 13, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Lately, Neeraj Vora and Anees Bazmee have been behind some blockbuster not-so-funny comedies but both of them coming together for a film did raise my expectations a little – especially given this was produced by Anil Kapoor. The promos also looked very promising and that’s why I picked this over other recent “blockbusters” like New York and Kambakkht Ishq to watch this week.

Yet again, I seemed to have made a wrong choice. I would atleast have been satisfied if this was in the league of the filmmakers’ previous flicks but that’s expecting too much now. Based on the Malayalam hit Udayananu Tharam, Short Kut has an interesting plot – whose basic core is derived from Sai Paranjpye’s “Katha” with a dose of “Bowfinger” towards the end. Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) is an assistant director who finally completes his script and aspires to start directing. In comes his long time friend Raju (Arshad Warsi) who by any means wants to become a “star”. Raju believes in shortcuts to achieve anything in life and not surprisingly he ends up stealing Shekhar’s script and is catapulted to success. Shekhar is devastated and begins to lose control over his life but finally he gets a chance to redeem himself by directing a new film. The glitch however is that his film would now have to made with Raju.

Beyond the story, almost everything is Short Kut fails miserably. The most irritating aspect of this movie is the supporting cast; even if the movie were a lot more better it still could not have risen above the din created by those obnoxious characters. Their effect also seemed to have rubbed off on seasoned performers like Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi who look quite tired and have great trouble getting their comic timing in place. Amrita Rao and Chunky Pandey don’t impress much either. In fact, the parts which I found funny in the trailers don’t work at all in the actual film.

Anees Bazmee and Neeraj Vora – who seem to love bombarding the message several times that “Shortcuts do not work” need to do some introspection and figure if they haven’t done the same with their own product. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s score doesn’t have any instant chartbusters but for me that was one of the few things which provided some relief in this dreary experience. In line with the film’s message please do refrain from this “Short Kut”.

Dus Kahaniyaan May 8, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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“Six Visionary Directors. Ten Spectacular Stories. One Cinematic Journey.” claims the poster of this film. I believe they’ve used the wrong words. So here is my correction.

Six ordinary directors (nothing visionary about them).
Ten unconnected short stories (nothing spectacular about them).
One cinematic experience (not a journey since it doesn’t really take us anywhere).

Ram Gopal Varma’s portmanteau films, Darna Manaa Hai and Darna Zaroori Hai, had to face flak for their weak connecting threads. Sanjay Gupta (producer and director of 4 segments in this film) decides that his attempt will keep the stories unconnected. Now that raises the question, “Why is this considered a film?”. This could easily have been a television miniseries. I would have thought that something should have been common to the various pieces, even if it was very vague or abstract (location, character, theme, event, message, genre, anything!). But to the best of my knowledge, nothing, except the fact that they are short stories, links them together.

This anthology is aimed at providing a novel cinematic experience for Hindi film lovers but is it good enough to warrant a watch?

One story definitely makes the cut. Written by Gulzar and helmed by Sanjay Gupta, Gubbare featuring Nana Patekar and Anita Hassanandani (wasn’t she called Natassha for a while?) stands out. This is a lovable piece about relationships between couples and how they don’t make the best use of their time together. Gulzar’s dialogue is the strength of this story and Nana Patekar does a super job enacting his part. Anita isn’t bad either.

Rice Plate (written by Sanjay Gupta and helmed by Rohit Roy) is a simple tale of a misunderstanding that has been used for comic effect elsewhere. Here Gupta intertwines it with religion using a bigot as the main protagonist, making the message more pertinent. Shabana Azmi is brilliant but Naseeruddin Shah gets little to do. Meghna Gulzar’s Pooranmasi (written by Meghna based on a story by¬† Kartar Singh Duggal) also has an interesting storyline and is well executed.

The segments helmed by Sanjay Gupta (who is also credited for writing most of them) are stylishly shot and are moderately watchable. Matrimony (apparently inspired by Roald Dahl’s short story Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat), Zahir (written by Rajiv Gopalakrishnan) and Strangers in the Night (story by Gupta and screenplay by Sudipto Chattopadhyay) depend almost entirely on their final twists (meaning that you either chuckle at the irony and think it is amusing or deplore it completely) while Rise and Fall (said to be inspired by Ching Po-Wong’s Blood Brothers) has some interesting moments, mainly the Rise part of it.

Jasmeet Dodhi’s difficult to digest Lovedale (written by Kamlesh Pandey), Hansal Mehta’s pointless and uninteresting High on the Highway (written by him) and Apoorva Lakhia’s awful B-grader Sex on the Beach (written by Shibani Tibrewala) fall on the lower end of the spectrum.

The problem with a majority of the stories is that they lack the appeal, identification, observation or irony that could make them memorable. Some of them could easily have been formulated in an ill-conceived minute or two. The good thing about the film is that the stories are short (ten stories in two hours – you do the math) and finish before any of them can truly irritate you. Hence, this collection of short films might just have enough to satisfy you if you are looking for something different from the average hindi film.

Dhamaal September 20, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Indra Kumar’s latest offering is inspired from Stanley Kramer’s overlong and overcrowded slapstick comedy, Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The plot is simple. A dying man reveals the secret about a ton of money hidden in Goa to a bunch of bumbling friends. A policeman is after them for the secret. They manage to give him the slip and now all of them are on the run trying to uncover the money. The friends are divided midway and the chase is on to get to the money first. What ensues is a sidesplitting set of events giving the audience enough laughs for their money.

Director Indra Kumar has always shown some flair for slapstick and he does an adequate job here. Comic fare needs a capable person at the helm and Kumar is up to the task here. A lot of gags in the film are inspired from different sources (the writing is credited to Balwinder Suri, Paritosh Painter and Bunty Rathod, all of whom have very limited experience) but they still need to be executed well.

The cast is quite good. With actors like Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey, Ritesh Deshmukh and Sanjay Dutt, you can’t go very wrong. Javed is the pick of the lot here with his body language, diction, expressions and timing working just right. He is one actor with so much untapped potential and he once again shows what he is capable of. Ritesh comes a close second and his Sanjeev Kumar imitation is superb. Surprisingly though, Arshad is average while Sanjay is disappointing. Aashish Chowdhary (Qayamat, Girlfriend) and Asrani do well as father and son while Vijay Raaz (Raghu Romeo, Run) is quite funny in his cameo.

The film has no love angle and that means there is limited scope for music. A couple of numbers are included nonetheless and done away with early in the film. Adnan Sami’s compositions don’t make an impression.

Overall, this film succeeds in making the audience laugh. Kids should enjoy this. There is nothing intelligent about it and the climax doesn’t gel with the rest of the film. However, I still enjoyed the film and if you really like slapstick, you should check this out.