Saturday, July 29, 2006


What a fantastic visual feast....guys, i really loved the movie (well maybe the ending could have been different ?)...and will definitely watch it again when its out on DVD...

This is Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of Othello....a tough ask even if set in modern take it a few steps (no, make that leaps) further and set it in rural india (UP / Bihar)...take actors who are suave urbanites and convincingly transform them into country bumpkins..then, maybe then you start to get an idea of the task that Mr Bhardwaj is trying to accomplish...If this was a diving competition, he would get 10 straight away for degree of difficulty !!!

Omkara (Ajay Devgan) is head hooligan (bahubali) of corrupt politician (Naseeruddin Shah) in UP...he has 2 lieutenants, Langda Tyagi (an unrecognizable Saif) and Kesu Firangi (Vivek Oberoi). Omkara and his Desdemona (a fresh faced Kareena Kapoor) fall in love and elope on the day Kareena is to get married to someone else that her father had approved of. The first seed of doubt is planted by the father : 'Jo apne baap ko thag sakti hai, woh kisi aur ki sagi kaise ho sakti hai' he tells Omkara....The rest is vintage Othello, with Saif playing Iago and ensuring none of the others have a moments peace....

A few things really stood out in this movie
  • The Casting : I'm not talking here about the stars but about the extras...I don't know what Vishal and co did (hire all the Bihari's in Mumbai as extras ? Go to a UP village and lift them enmasse to the set ?) but everyone in the movie is picture perfect...right down to the goonda who frisks the cop before he can meet Omkara (hilariously executed scene) to the cop himself (who looks like the kind of guy who would get frisked) to the 'tai' whose comment when she first meets Kareena brings the house down...the people in Omkara's village etc ...everyone is faultless...picture perfect !
  • The Sets : I loved the little touches of authenticity in the movie...the hand pumps, the broken down coolers and rusted drain pipes jutting out of the house...the whole surrounding, the house, the set merged beautifully in its surroundings
  • The cinematography : As anyone who has visited UP / Bihar will testify, its very hard to make the countryside look beautiful...In this movie, you feel like shifting there straight away...forget holiday Etah...The colours, the great use of sunlight really was stunning

Next we come to the stars...

I didn't like Ajay Devgan in Golmaal but here he is in his element...with his slow, measured reactions, his deadpan expression, you couldn't have asked for more. Unlike the others in the movie, who looked like they had to dress up for the part, Ajay looked like he simply went to his grandfather's cupboard and borrowed his outfits...I think after Khakee, i really liked him here...he seems to bring an air of unpredictability to his actions...A top class performance...

And that brings me to Kareena...who brings a innocent, naive beauty to her role and actually seems to fit in with the surrounding...which one would never have thought possible after watching her Pepsi TV ads...this is as far removed from her normal on-screen persona as possible and I was really impressed.

Saif was very good as well - he was brilliant in Hum Tum for me but then my perception of Saif is that he is actually like that as a person - here he looked credible again as a scheming country bumpkin and i know for sure he is not that in real life, so i give him more credit here...

Vivek Oberoi was ok - hard to say whether anyone else could've done more with the role...same for Bipasha but someone else who really caught my eye was Konkana Sharma who really infused life and energy as Indu, Langda Tyagi's wife...she was really good and i will hope she gets more opportunities to show off her talents

What would i change in the movie ? Blasphemy for some, but possibly the ending...there is a certain ponderous inevitability to the climax which possibly could've been avoided with an unexpected last-minute twist or two. And also because I, like most Indians, am a sucker for happy endings...they uplift me far more than tragic ones....I mean I still believe Sholay (one of my all time favourites) would've been a better movie if they had not killed Amitabh ! So you get the picture ?

Finally, in case you're planning to watch with kids, there is a lot of good old-fashioned Hindi abuse / crude words...but it fits really well, is not excessive and there are a couple of excellent jokes around the words !

So all in all an excellent effort from Mr Bhardwaj...can't wait to watch it again and can't wait for his next one !

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Instructions for watching the movie

  • Detach brain carefully before movie begins
  • Leave brain at home
  • Commence watching

Warning : Any deviation from the above could result in an increase in India’s suicide rate

I think they should make this warning standard on all the movie posters / advertsing…

Ok – now lets be fair ! There are some great moments in the movie – there is a lot of laughter in different places. Some scenes really can cause you to roll down the aisle’s laughing (the Vande Mataram in the middle of the night and the one where they are trying to describe where in New York do they live come readily to mind). And I think if you follow the instructions above, then you can stand the movie once.

Its not really a movie – just a lot of jokes loosely knit together with an extremely thin, full of holes fabric of a storyline.

4 friends live together in a hostel, they get chucked out by the dean, while running away from some goons (whom they owe money) they stumble across a bungalow occupied by a blind couple who are pining for the return of their grandson from USA. One of them becomes the grandson and together they protect the couple from some other goons who are trying to steal from them. A pretty neighbour provides the eye candy and there is a predictable ending to round things off.

Throw in a lot of slapstick, a lot of scantily dressed white skinned extras, some (a few, not excessive) vulgar jokes and a lot of pranks – voila, we present Golmaal

One issue which bothers me about this movie and most other Hindi comedy’s is the need to make fun of physical disabilities – one of the 4 friends is dumb, the couple are blind…I mean why ? Surely there is a comedy possible without having to do this ? Take the original Golmaal for instance !

As for the cast, Arshad Warsi is his usual spontaneous self, Ajay Devgan better stick to action movies + the man really cannot dance so please stop trying to make him, Sharman Joshi was very impressive (good looking, emotive face, nice laugh) – I really tip him to go far (and not just in comedies). The rest were competent / made the best of the situation.

Watch it once, if you have nothing better to do…

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I have a 6 year old son and a wife who's between 30-35 (am not allowed to reveal exact age). They both loved Krrish. I kept waiting for the movie that could have been ! But then i am a very fussy watcher.

The plot should be quite simple but isn't
  • Krishna is brought up by grandmom (an over emotive Rekha) who realises he has the same superpowers which ultimately caused the death of her son, Rohit
  • Rekha's response is to hide him in a secluded hilly place where he grows up, superpowers intact, but with no materialism et all . She looks after his education etc.
  • Enter pretty woman, Priya (Priyanka Chopra - full marks for originality for this screen name) who makes Krrish fall predictably head over heels over her - there is a nice sub-plot here regarding ghosts which i wont give away
  • Priya leaves, Krrish follows her to Singapore (tearful separation from g'mom where she finally tells him the truth abt his superpowers / parents etc and she extracts promises from him to not reveal his powers etc). More sub-plots involving the tv-station Priya works in
  • Finally the metamorphosis of Krishna into Krrish with revenge for dad, obligatory villain holding heroine ransom scene (i wish i had the patent on this one), and a couple of predictable twists.
Whats great about Krrish are the action sequences - they are quite slick and definitely a notch above what is seen in bollywood movies so far. With direct lift's (or inspirations) from Matrix, Minority Report and Superman - they've done a great job.

I also really liked Hrithik - am not sure about the spelling of his name (is it one R or 2 ?) - he comes across very nicely as a superhero - mischeivous when he needs to be and serious when on the vengeance path. Having a body like his also helps carry it off. And his smile - very natural, a change from the rather wooden faces Hollywood seems to choose for its super heroes (Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton for Batman and Mr Routh for Superman Returns are cases in point).

I loved Priyanka in Bluffmaster - but here she was ok - still looks great (wearing dresses that show off her excellent bod without going too far - there was one scene with her in a wet white t-shirt tho, that went by too quickly for my liking - just kidding, i'm a married man !). But crucially for me she fails to inspire any emotion for her character - which comes across as weak, indecisive, selfish, confused. Too much in control of her friend, Honey (another ace in name generation from the casting team)

And now my fundamental issue - Krrish came across as a movie which couldn't make up it's mind as to what it wanted to be - a slick action movie, a kids adventure / super hero movie or a love story. True to Bollywood it tries to be all 3 and therefore loses its chance to become a really great movie.

My son loved the action sequences but the movie lost him for large chunks - they made the plot too complicated for him to really follow it. He would have wanted more of them - and a simple plot with a defined baddy who spoke in more simple language. Also, they took too long to introduce Krrish - i think he actually comes in only after 2 hrs or so are up ! Can you imagine a movie where the title character only really lands up for the last 3rd of the movie ?

They dragged the main plot a little too long, distracted you with too many sub-plots, spent too much time on the love story, build-up (past / background) and so lost the edge of the seat thriller that they could have made - one which kept you engrossed till the end, one which would've made the interval seem unneccessary or somethg where you just caught your breath.

For the sequel - and i would be disappointed if there wasn't one - i would have a simple storyline, lots of action, only a few characters (including the bad ones) whom then i can spend time building / giving depth and have the title hero right from the start

Its worth watching once but i would save the repeats for the sequel. Going though by the originality of the names, dont expect anythg more dramatic than Krrish2...