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Kaminey August 18, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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As the end-credits rolled, I was thinking hard if Kaminey was the best Bollywood flick I saw in the last ?? years. I can’t figure out that number yet but if I had make my own top 10 list for the decade, I shouldn’t have much trouble sneaking this one in. Kaminey is just awesome – and this pure awesomeness can unarguably be attributed to the genius of Vishal Bhardwaj – who has concocted a hands down masterpiece.

If you notice, this is the first time that Bhardwaj moves his turf to a city. I’ve always thought that his previous films – no matter how good they were – lost a bit of appeal because of the milieu in which they were set. In interviews about this film, he has mentioned about the Tarantino and Guy Ritchie influences one is likely to find – I think he was being too humble. The beauty of Kaminey is the way it seamlessly subverts and pays tribute to so many genres both Indian and Foreign. It has been misleadingly promoted as a smart crime caper – one of the possible reasons a considerable portion of the audience haven’t really taken to it. Actually, it is a dark crime drama with multiple threads filled with black humor and when you least expect – is emotionally powerful. This is the reason it is hard to label the film.

The first thing which struck me about this movie was the inventiveness of every scene; it gives you an idea about the effort which went into conceiving this. The added technical brilliance – be it the cinematography (Tassaduq Hussain), the score and even the sound recording is something which takes this film to new heights. On top of everything, you have a superb ensemble cast who create memorable characters. Shahid Kapoor is lovable in both the roles – irrespective of how well the film does his “f”-words already seem to be a rage. Priyanka (who is the only female character in the movie to my recollection) gets a great part once again and she does full justice to it. Among the supporting cast, Amol Gupte is superb. Though early on he doesn’t have much to do but at the end of it turns out be the best performance of this enterprise. Tenzing Nima and Chandan Roy are a few of the other characters who make a strong impression.

Bhardwaj’s score has always been the best thing about his earlier films and Kaminey is no exception. This time he and Gulzar come up with the current rage “Dhan Te Nan” among others, which is used to maximum effect. My favorites are “Fatak” and the title track which incidentally come at the beginning and towards the end respectively. After watching the film when I thought writing about it here I wanted to begin by saying – How can one not love Kaminey!!! But looking around a bit made me realize I was too optimistic. For me this was one of those films which reminds why we all love cinema so much.

Jab We Met October 27, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Imtiaz Ali’s highly underrated debut feature Socha Na Tha brought a certain freshness to chiche-ridden Bollywood romances….with Jab We Met he has mastered the genre completely.

The plot is the typical tried and tested romcom formula. The basic premise (more specifically the part until the protagonists meet) seems to have been a bit inspired from Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (another underrated romcom). Aditya (Shahid Kapoor/Kapur – no idea about the correct spelling after he split with Kareena) is a failed businessman who on being dumped by his girlfriend ends up in a train with the intention of jumping out of it and ending his life. On the same train is the motormouth Geet (Kareena Kapoor) who ends up sitting next to him trying to strike a conversation. In this process she ends up missing her train multiple times at various stations and he is now given the responsibility of transporting her safely to her destination. Actually, she is on her way to meet her parents for one last time before she secretly packs off to get married to her boyfriend Anshuman (Tarun Arora). How Aditya and Geet’s journey finally gets them together forms the rest of the story.

As in Imtiaz’s previous film the thing which stands out is the brilliant characterization of the protagonists and the dialogue. Kareena’s lines are absolutely hillarious (some of which you might have seen in the promos). The scenes between Shahid and Kareena will have you in splits throughout. The emotional moments are expertly handled too. Though the purpose here is to thoroughly entertain this is not a dumb comedy. The interactions between the lead pair do make you think at times. The screenplay is so good that even the regular “highly irritating Bollywood Punjabi household” charms you.

Pritam’s score is situational and suits the mood of the film. I especially likes the song “Yeh Ishq Haae” for its interesting musical arrangement. Shahid and Kareena deliver their career-best performances. Kareena’s reputation as an actress has been marred by the kind of roles she’s done in the past but this performance of hers shows why she is one of the best actresses we have. Despite not having the best lines, Shahid holds his own with his nuanced performance and never once do you feel that he is overshadowed by Kareena. It is ironical that their pairing which has finally clicked with this film comes immediately after their break-up.

Jab We Met is one of those few flicks in which everything seems to have worked perfectly; you wouldn’t want to find any flaws because it does so well a job of regaling you….whether you are a serious moviegoer or someone just looking out for some timepass. Go watch it!