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Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi December 15, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Blame it on Rab! – Easy isn’t it? That’s what Aditya Chopra pretty much does in every phase of what probably is the most moronic offering from Yash Raj Films in recent times. It’s a pity because the film starts off so well and I was wondering why on earth was it getting mixed reviews. Twenty minutes or so into the movie I started to know why.

RNBDJ is about this average-looking and shy Surinder Sahni (Shahrukh Khan) who happens to get married to the bubbly Taani (Anushka Sharma) unexpectedly after her fiance dies in an accident followed by her father. Both know that this is a marriage of compromise and Taani makes it clear to Surinder that she would never be able to love him. Big hearted Surinder seems completely reconciled to this fact and is happy enough to have received Taani’s promise of being a “good wife”. A few days later Taani expresses her desire to join a reality dance show and Surinder agrees. Now Surinder is happy to see Taani happy and decides to undergo a complete makeover (also rechristening himself “Raj” – what else!) just so that he can sneak into the dance rehersals to watch her “be happy”. Dumb Taani can’t figure it out because the moustache is missing. Raj and Taani slowly become friends and “kyonki ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte” Raj proposes to Taani.

Some explanations are needed here to figure out Surinder’s state of mind. Initially he seems to be an introverted guy with the usual insecurites unable to express his love to his wife. Somehow, after an image makeover all that seems to disappear. Later he wants to test Taani if she loves “her husband” or “Raj”. The answer is obvious to him but now he is kinda adamant that she love Surinder and not Raj. And this is the same man who at the beginning of the movie doesn’t object to his wife telling him that she cannot love him. At the end of all this Surinder comes across as a person who loves to indulge in a lot of self-pity and nothing else. It is even harder to understand Taani. She spends all of her time with Raj and it’s only when he proposes to her that she remembers “Oh…I forgot to tell you that I am married!”. Coming back to the dilemma – who and how does she make her choice? Raj gives the ultimate solution – Choose the one “Jisme Tumhe Rab Dikhta Ho”. Dumb Taani again takes this line literally. Because, next day she is at the Golden Temple with Surinder earnestly begging God to make an appearance in some person – guess whose face Ravi K. Chandran’s camera is focussed on when Taani opens her eyes…problem solved! Thank You Rabji!!!

Apart from this uplifting story you also get to learn a couple of brilliant insights about women like (i) The only thing which any woman wants in life is that someone love her as much as it is possible for one person to love another (ii) A woman recognizes her partner more effectively through his dance moves than his facial features and voice. Shahrukh and Anuskha are very appealing as Surinder and Taani until our lady spots the dance competition poster. From thereon I found it hard to empathize with any of them and especially towards the end I felt like pushing both of them off a cliff. Vinay Pathak as Bobby seemed like the only sane character in the film and one hopes if Surinder actually listented to what he said.

The dialogue apart from being bad has an insanely high overdose of “ji” splattered in every line which gets on to your nerves. Among the few redeemable moments are the beautifully filmed songs “Haule Haule” and “Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke”. The prelude to the “Haule Haule” number which keeps appearing in the background is too good. The film is shot extremely well but the small town setting which was supposed to be conveyed doesn’t work because everything you see in the movie is a set piece except for the title sequence and one scene at the Golden Temple.

In RNBDJ, there are some movies which Surinder takes Taani out for. It is tough to find out whether those were meant to be a parody or not because at the end RNBDJ looks exactly like one of them. One more note to Adi: Please stop referencing Dhoom in your movies as if that is some cult flick which needs to be paid a tribute every time. Aditya Chopra was the creative brain behind a lot of much maligned YRF products in the last few years. When you watch his unadulterated crap in the form of RNBDJ you can guess the amount of influence he might have had in those other films.

All said and done, RNBDJ also has a large share of emotionally manipulative moments (the Sumo Wrestling scene tops the list) which should appeal to a sizeable section of the audience – and may end up becoming a money spinner. I actually would have recommended everyone to watch this one because it genuinely qualifies to be a “so bad it’s good” flick but it requires that you invest a huge amount of patience which is totally unwarranted. You might probably want to give this a try for the aforementioned reason when it comes out on TV or DVD.

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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.

Heyy Babyy September 12, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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This film deals with the life of three bachelors who seem to have no other job except to bed one woman after another. Their life suddenly changes when a baby girl is left at their doorstep with a claim that one of them is their father. They spend their time taking care of the kid and end up losing their jobs/money. They decide to abandon the child. A near-death experience for the baby brings about a change in them and they start developing a strong bond with her. At this point, the mother takes back her child. Now the guys try everything they can to get the child back. Will the baby help unite their parents?

Akshay Kumar and Ritesh Deshmukh do fine as expected but Fardeen Khan, who I used to consider a bad actor, seems to have improved over time at least as far as comedy goes. Vidya Balan, who has made an impression with all her previous roles, doesn’t come up trumps this time. The baby is cute but has little else to do except being herself. There are a host of guest appearances from a ton of actresses who are trying to make it in the industry. And good friend Shahrukh throws in a special appearance. Composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy deliver a first-rate soundtrack that includes foot-tapping numbers like Hey Baby and Jaane Bhi De as well as the lilting Meri Duniya. These certainly add to the film.

Like sister Farah Khan and brother-in-law Shirish Kunder, well known anchor Sajid Khan too jumps onto the directorial bandwagon (he did direct an episode in the Ram Gopal Varma production Darna Zaroori Hai earlier). Though it has the ingredients to be a box office hit, this isn’t a good film by any stretch of imagination. Going by his efforts in television, one had hoped for a much better film from Sajid Khan but he disappoints.

The first half of this film is filled with mostly childish humor. It does bring about a few smiles but largely it didn’t work for me. The emotional aspect did not make an impression on me either. However, there was an improvement in the second half of the film and it did make me laugh. Overall, this is only an average film that is not to be taken seriously and could appeal to those who have enjoyed recent comedies like Partner very much.

As I see it, this is an eighties film with a stylistic upgrade. The writing by Sajid is amateurish and anyone whose seen a lot of hindi movies can predict what is going to happen next. Most of the emotions are conveyed through dialogue and not really developed or felt. Such a lack of subtext is a clear indication of poor writing and direction. I had expected a much better film from Sajid Khan but he makes the kind of films that he has criticized in the past (maybe a little less over-the-top). Give me Shirish Kunder or Farah Khan anyday. Shirish Kunder’s superior grip on technical aspects was clearly on display in Jaan-e-mann while Farah Khan succeeded in her aim of making a masala seventies style film that walked the tightrope between laughing at itself and making the audience laugh. I liked the episode directed by Sajid in Darna Zaroori Hai but this film is a disappointment. This film has an audience but I am not a part of that audience and I hope Sajid makes a better film next time.

Lastly, a note to Sajid: “You may like the great Hrishikesh Mukherjee and might have been acquainted with him but please Sajid, stop using his name in reference to this film”.