Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Rating : 5/10
Running Time : ~150 Minutes
Release Date : 25th April ‘08
Director : Rajaatesh Nayar ; Writer : Santosh Saroj ; Music : Sohail Sen, Shibani Kashyap
Starring : Kay Kay Menon, Manisha Koirala, Parveen Dabbas, Rituparna Sengupta, Ranvir Shorey, Sonali Kulkarni, Ankur Khanna and Nauheed Cyrusi
I’m going to give this one 5 cause of what they attempted, the messages they sought to give. They didn’t tie it all up as well as they could, it lacked finesse, the production values were poor and the songs were terrible / misfits. But it was decent and very realistic.
Its about four couples and each one is shown facing different issues, have different things on their mind. Also, each one envies the other couple who reside slightly above them on the social ladder (their names of the couples are given above in order of social hierarchy). There are one or two characters who weren’t fleshed out fully – for Kay Kay and Manisha, I struggled to pin point the key issue, as the main problem they showed was too trivial, could’ve been solved quite easily. Key messages of the film
1. Most humans truly think the grass is greener on the other side, especially if the object of their envy is wealthier. Even the wealthy ones yearn in some ways for the simplicity of life when they were not so wealthy. And neither truly comprehends exactly what the other couple’s are going through.
2. We sometimes postpone what is truly critical (in personal life) for some ‘crisis’ or the other at work. As someone said, no one died regretting that ‘he didn’t spend enough time at the office’. Yet, one of the sad facts of life is, the rat race seemingly magically compels us to do so…
3. Indian couple’s are terrible at communicating with each other. I think most of us get so dragged in the routine ‘who’s doing what, when, how’ that we forget the why, the big picture. Half the problems shown amongst the couple’s could’ve been solved by better communication
The acting was good overall, with Ankur probably being the weakest link. Dialogue was reasonable, quite true to life without being mundane. Its pretty interestingly set-up at the interval but definitely had some issues, none more glaring though, than whats mentioned in the first para. I would also have handled the ending differently – I would’ve preferred the points to come across without some of the drastic steps taken by the script writer. Also, I wish they’d not made the stunning Rituparna look as terrible as she did – she fit her role perfectly, but I wish they had cast someone else instead.
Depends on your mood this one, depends on how your relationship with your spouse is placed on the day you watch it (you’ve had a fight, are making up etc) to determine what you make of the movie. Its not going to change your life but most couples can probably pick up a thing or two from this bittersweet movie.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 94 mts
Release Date : 10th Feb ‘06
Director : Rajat Kapoor ; Writer : Rajat, Anurag Kashyap ; Music : Sagar Desai
Starring : Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Koel Purie, Saurabh Shukla
An old release that i finally managed to get hold of. Its an interesting one, touching a topic that not too long ago was taboo, would’ve had people from assorted minority groups protesting in front of cinema’s screening the film, breaking windows etc. Probably the fact that it was not a big banner and therefore wouldn’t have made the news prevented them from doing so. Its another Rajat Kapoor film, starring his usual suspects (Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla) and one unusual one (Konkona Sen)
The movie deals with ‘swinging’, the type of parties where a couple go together but come back separately (if you still don’t get it, the movie is definitely not for you). The plot is simple enough with Ranvir Shorey being the middle-class husband who is having middle-age problems in terms of being able to keep it up. He loves his wife (Konkona Sen) but wants something to spice up their marriage and once he hears of this concept, he cannot get it out of his mind. After a lot of effort, he manages to find a like-minded couple (a suave Rajat Kapoor and a slightly ‘wonky’ Koel Purie), finds a devious, underhand way to get his protesting wife to agree and soon its time for the big night…
There are certain truths which are established in the movie quite clearly
1. Males are still hypocritical when it comes to the topic of sex, especially the extra-marital variety
2. People in Rajasthan eat rabbits
3. There is still a class-divide prevailing, and we mercilessly make fun of people who cant speak English properly
4. Don’t trust everything NRI’s say. They aren’t always as cool as they pretend to be.
Konkona looks lovely in a short bob-cut and effortlessly slips into character. The others are good, as always. The movie, however, doesn’t quite scale the heights of greatness. It’s the type which is pleasant to watch, makes you smile in a few places but never makes you laugh out loud (nor is it trying to). I wish they had made more of the ending, it was pretty interestingly set-up when it ended and I was hoping for more. It’s a nice, realistic, slice-of-life view of suburbia and is content to be a hill without any aspiration to become a mountain. Please also read Rajat Kapoor’s hilarious commentary on his life and also about marriage on his website.
Rating : 3/10
Running Time : 160 Minutes
Release Date : 25th April ‘08
Director & Story : Vijay Krishna Acharya ; Music : Vishal - Shekhar
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor
This is a film about cheap thrills. A flat-stomached Kareena in a bikini and other skimpy little nothings, who’s hour glass figure had even the women raving, was undoubtedly the highlight of the movie. Everything else didn’t really measure up, pun intended.
Its more Cash than Dhoom2 (or even Race). It’s a movie that tries very hard to be cool, which is why it fails. Its more about hype / style than strong intrinsics or substance. The plot is laughable, thinner than a Pringles. The characters are all caricatures with Anil Kapoor’s one-joke, ultra-hammy ‘Bhaiyya ji’ probably being the worst. The twists / turns would have been better off in another movie. The ending is farcical, the fight / action sequences are so over the top, they make Everest seem like a mole-hill. And there are several pathetic sub-plots, with the whole ‘gudiya’ angle however, easily taking the cake and all other party foods in its sheer terrible-ness. The songs are all forced and mostly tasteless. Kareena looks gorgeous, overdoes the pout a bit, but no complaints overall. The rest were terrible.
This is nothing but a three hour extension of the two-minute Akshay action sequence that was shown in Om Shanti Om. Its likely to be his first film in quite a while which is not a major hit. As one of my friends remarked, this just proves that Yash Raj films has officially lost it. I, however, understand why they were having yet another battle with the multiplexes about the share of spoils in the initial weeks – they knew that its highly unlikely to be running after that !
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Rating : 3/10
Running Time : 165 Minutes (in India), 150 mts internationally
Release Date : 11th April ‘08
Director : Ajay Devgan ; Writer : Ashwani Dheer ; Music : Vishal Bhardwaj
Starring : Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Isha Sharwani, Divya Dutta, Karran Khanna, Sumeet Raghavan
Its more fun watching paint dry. Or watching grass grow. At least that doesn’t make you feel icky-yucky all over. I think a good comparison would be hearing nails scratched over a blackboard.
Ajay woes Kajol on a cruise ship. A very predictable love story (including some pathetic pick up lines that would normally merit a cold shoulder at best or a call to arms at worst) becomes a descent into psycho-medical mumbo jumbo and then becomes predictable all over again. We know nothing much about the two lead characters (how do they think, what are they looking for in their soulmate) apart from the superficial ("I like white", "I don’t like salsa" etc). The camera angles are way too close and slightly wonky, some of the songs are forced, and the role requires Ajay to be way too expressive. I think he’s much better in dead-pan, brooding sort of roles.
Some much needed comic relief comes from Karran Khanna (the 'Pushpa' one deserves special mention), one half of the 2 couples/friends Ajay’s character has. Ajay’s directors note on the official website is actually quite a good read, but he doesn’t manage to translate his thoughts in his debut directorial venture, like ‘a film should entertain’, into reality.
The restlessness in the audience while watching was palpable and the most common sight around the hall was the good old yawn. The predominant thought people walked out with here was ‘where can I get a drink to help me forget this’? I blame this movie for being directly responsible for the three pitchers of cocktails that my group consumed during lunch and for being generally low-key through the rest of the day. It was too obvious and too painful.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Rating : 3/10
Running Time : 130 mts
Release Date : 11th April, ‘08
Director : Jaideep Sen ; Writer : Ashwani Dhir ; Music : Rajesh Roshan (with a little help from Ram Sampath)
Starring : Arshad Warsi, Irfan Khan, Juhi Chawla, Dia Mirza, Rajpal Yadav, Suresh Menon
Imagine 4 mental patients are taken for a day out by their doctor. En-route, the doctor stops for an errand and then disappears. Now the four are left by themselves and have to figure out where their doctor is. Interesting ? I thought so too…
However, then the producer / director and scriptwriter conspire to ruin the movie by dumbing it down, adding every single PJ they could think of, throwing in every emotional trick in the book to vainly spice it up including lost love, cute daughters, villainous husbands etc and force-fitting numerous songs which totally break any momentum the movie starts to build, including pathetic item numbers (there’s one with Rakhi Sawant flashing abs which put Shahrukh to shame. As an aside, can anyone think of any other woman on the silver screen who looks more sluttish than Rakhi ?). Finally, the performances were highly ordinary, with all the actors entering ‘sleepwalk’ mode.
Why then did I give it 3 ? Because it made me laugh a few times. There is an imminent threat of a part2 as this one ends with a ‘to be continued...’ but I will enjoy skipping that one. And that my friends, is that.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Rating : 8/10
Running Time : < 120 mts
Release Date : 4th April, ‘08
Director : Samar Khan ; Writer : Jaydeep Sarkar, Aparna Malhotra, Samar Khan ; Music : Adnan Sami
Starring : Rahul Bose, Kay Kay Menon, Minissha Lamba, Amrita Rao, Deepak Dobriyal
This is gripping, intense stuff, definitely not for those looking for light hearted entertainment alone. Its clearly inspired by ‘A Few Good Men’, but its better in most respects except at the end, in terms of how it brings it all together. AFGM had a more logical connect, carried the audience with it a bit better.
Javed Khan (I’m terrible with army ranks so wont even try) is accused of killing his peer officer, Rathore while on a search operation in Kashmir. He is maintaining a stoic silence, refusing to speak to anyone. There are quite a few witnesses, so it seems like an open and shut case. Since he is a Muslim, there is also the inevitable talk of him being a terrorist supporter. Also, since their unit reports in to Brig Rudra Pratap Singh, the self styled Lord, God and master of the area, who is destined for a big promotion shortly plus since Rathore was one of his favourites, the case is a very high profile one. Jaaved Jaafri and Rahul Bose are both great friends, employed in the army as legal officers. While Jaaved is about to get married, and is a more serious, stable kind of guy, Rahul’s life is all about adventure sport, dating etc. They get appointed on opposite sides of the case, with Rahul getting the unenviable job of defense. One of the people he meets in Srinagar is Minissha Lamba who is a journalist who wants to make it big. How the case fares, how the different relationships get on is the focus of most of the movie.
I don’t think I have seen a better performance than Kay Kay as Brig Pratap. He was awesome, roaring vitriol in one second, calmly discoursing on the merits of single malt in another.
Rahul Bose was very good as the defense lawyer, his role also required him have a Jekyll and Hyde personality. To be a good for nothing frivolous guy yet introspective. Be disinterested one moment, but willing to put his job on the line in another. It was refreshing to see Jaaved Jaafri doing a role of substance as well. The last couple of times I saw him he was doing a caricature in one movie (a Crocodile Dundee rip off in Salaam Namaste) and a cartoon in another (Dhamaal). Minissha Laamba was good and Amrita Rao made a positive impact in the few scenes she had. And a special mention of Deepak Dobriyal who played Javed Khan, he was almost unrecognizable from his earlier role in Omkara and was very good as well.
Where the movie was very good was Indianising the plot, making it very credible and keeping the interest going throughout the movie. They built the climax up very well, and towards the end, there was hushed silence as the audience watched the drama unfold. Also, what they managed very nicely was keeping the tension going but not letting it get too heavy with some very nice humorous touches. Where it suffered was at the editing table, where I really feel with some minor changes, the end could’ve been made even more exciting, things explained more clearly.
However, let nothing detract from the sheer watchability of the movie. It has some excellent performances, brilliant dialogue and lovely humour. And it builds up beautifully to an explosive, emotion charged climax. I really enjoyed this one, a good movie at last that is cerebral, requires you to use your brain and is very intelligently made. Samar Khan, in a very refreshing Director’s note on the official website, stated that he doesn’t care about the box office success but if only 40 people saw it, he wants 39 to say it touched them. By that criteria, on the basis of the group I saw it with, the film is a roaring success !
Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 113 Minutes
Release Date : NA
Director & Story : Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury ; Music : Tanmay Bose & Aashis Rego
Starring : Rahul Bose, Rituparna Sengupta, Raima Sen, Rajat Kapoor
I saw this little gem of a Bengali movie yesterday night. Hard to describe, since most of the beauty lies in the dialogue, the relationships and the breathtaking cinematography of the Kanchenjunga mountain range.
Rahul Bose is an architect / project head of a company that transfers him from London to Kolkatta, where he has to execute an eco-tourism project overlooking the Kanchenjunga for a company headed by Rajat Kapoor. Their wives are Rituparna Sengupta and Raima Sen respectively and most of the movie focuses on the inter-relationships between them – more specifically Rahul’s relationship with the two of them.
He is a mischevious, creative, artistic person, prone to making observations on life on his Dictaphone, uneasy at parties or on a dance floor but happy reading / conversing or just watching people / life go by. He makes friends easily and his friendship with Raima reminds her forcefully of what her life has become, stuck in a marriage with a dominating husband obsessed with making money, wishing she can be a bird in her next life. Rituparna is shown to be a sensual, loving, slightly temperamental wife who can’t get over the fact that she can’t have kids.
The ending is slightly jarring. Probably, like the relationship between Akshaye Khanna and Dimple in Dil Chahta Hai, it was the directors way of showing that some relationships are never meant to be understood. I also feel that some more time could’ve been spent on some of the relationships / conversations – which were easily the best part of the film.
The movie is a reminder of the beautiful, lyrical quality of the Bengali language – it was lovely hearing the words roll of the characters tongues. Rahul Bose was very good – I don’t know why but he seems much stiffer in Hindi films, while here he was relaxed, bringing life to most scenes featuring him. Rituparna looks and acts stunningly – very very sensuous and sultry, she is a treat to watch and I can't fathom why is she not appearing in Hindi movies ? Raima’s is very good as well, slightly restrained, as befitting her character but making her emotions come through nonetheless.
Anuranan means resonance and the movie is all about trying to find people with whom you resonate…what a beautiful thought to end the day with….