Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum

Rating : 3/10
Release Date : 27th July, 2012
Time : Too long…
Director & Writer : Sachin Yardi; Music : Sachin-Jigar and others
Starring : Tusshar Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Neha Sharma, Sarah Jane Dias, Anupam Kher, Chunky Pandey

Our two lead actors, Tusshar and Ritesh, are down and out and sitting staring mournfully into the sky. One starts staring at a hoarding of a certain feminine hygiene ad. The other questions why he is looking at a woman’s product. Our hero responds “Main soch raha hoon main bhi le loon, mera bahut bura period chal raha hai”.

Imagine throughout the film there is a desperate attempt to convert everything into a double meaning. Imagine recycled jokes, which have been around since our school days. Imagine every supposed punch line preceded, punctuated and paired with extremely loud music, sound effects (in most cases the sound of a toilet flushing). Also imagine most lines delivered along with much lip chewing, hand gestures and supposedly sexy facial expressions. Imagine poor production values, cheap sets. Add unto all this some very poor acting skills. Now you have some idea of what this film is about.
Tusshar and Ritesh are friends and roommates along with the latter pet pug dog, Sakru. The first is a wannabe actor, the other is a wannabe DJ. The pug is a certified gigolo. Tusshar has reason to believe Neha is his soul mate and proposes within a day of meeting her. She, quite inexplicably, pretends to be a lesbian while obviously rejecting the proposal. Her room mate, Sarah, helps her ensure the gay perception is maintained, while falling for Ritesh at the same time when the boys land up in Goa chasing the two women. Her father, Anupam Kher is a billionaire and eccentric would be too mild a term for his antics (it was sad to see him in such a role). Many S&M scenes, gay misunderstandings and lets not forget the obligatory drag scene later the film reaches its predictable conclusion.
The positives are the two women, who I found nice looking. Ritesh has developed this sameness about his roles, which was almost comforting here as everything else was such a mess. Apart from the Garden, Garden song, the soundtrack has not much to offer.

Will leave you with two more jokes from the film. If you like either, you must go for it, as there are plenty more like these…
“Lets raise a toast”. Two glasses and a piece of bread go up. Tusshar protests “Not fair, baat to toast ki hui thi, tum drinks kyun le rahe ho ?”

“Hi ! My name is DJ. Whats yours ?” says Ritesh to curvaceous chick. “BJ” she replies, to the accompaniment of cymbals clashing, horns blaring and other assorted sound effects. “Kyun, mera naam sun ke, tumhara muh kyun khul gaya?”

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 27th July, 2012
Time : 88 minutes
Director : Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier; Writers : Michael Berg, Jay Fuchs; Music : John Powell
Starring (voices of): Ray Romano, Dennis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Kunal Nayyar, Wanda Sykes

Our herd is split. Ellie & Peaches, Manny’s ‘wife’ & daughter, are left behind as the continents begin to break up. The rest of the herd (Manny, Diego, Sid), along with Sid’s grandmother, is adrift on an iceberg. Manny has sworn to return and reunite. Storms, whirlpools, pirates, sirens and many other obstacles will test that resolve. Will he succeed ? And more pertinently, will Scrat ever get that goddamn acorn ?

A more complicated storyline, many new characters coupled with a greater reliance on slapstick humour makes this the weakest film in the franchise. There are fewer catchy one-liners. Its predictable and there are just too many threads to keep track of. Peaches juggling between her crush (Ethan, the mammoth) and friend (Louis, the mole). Diego’s new rival, Shira. The ruthless pirate Captain Gutt, with his bloodthirsty, yet bumbling, crew. Manny’s troubled relationship with his daughter thanks to his over-protectiveness. And last but not the least, Sid’s grandmom and her mysterious, invisible pet.

Having said that, its short, its fun, its breezy and keeps your attention hooked for its one and a half hour duration, making you laugh in a few places and smile in a lot more. Keeps the kids thoroughly entertained. Scrat and his fascination for the elusive acorn, continues to endear and provides for a lot of the laughs. I liked the way they’ve kept the characters consistent, in terms of the behavior, throughout the four films. They’ve developed nicely as the films have progressed.
With the continents breaking off, icebergs calving and the climate becoming increasingly warmer, it seems to be the end of the Ice Age. However, in true Hollywood style, there is always an opening left for another sequel…

PS : Historically, apparently the continental divide happened a couple of hundred million years prior to the Ice Age…

PPS : There is an Indian voice too, Kunal Nayyar (of Big Bang Theory fame). A skunk, no less…wonder if this will raise an outcry ?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Rating : 9/10
Release Date : 20th July, 2012
Time : 164 minutes
Director : Christopher Nolan; Writers : Jonathan & Christopher Nolan, based on on the character Batman, by Bob Kane; Music : Hans Zimmer
Starring : Christian Bale, Anne Hathway, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Matthew Modine

My first action on exiting the hall after the morning show was to book for another show in the evening and round up the entire family to join me.

There is an air of impending doom about the film, of heightened senses, pumping adrenalin, jaw dropping stunts, which is enhanced, impeccably, by a mouth-watering background score. Full of chants, and pulsating drum beats. With clear battle lines drawn between a larger than life villain and a hero, who, in the best traditions of action hero films, just refuses to fade away or die.

There is more than a touch of a Hindi film about it, as our hero battles with foes from within and outside. Foes, like Bane (Tom Hardy) who are well prepared, have planned their attack for years and will stop at nothing to fulfill the League of Shadows plans for Gotham’s ultimate destruction. Anne Hathway (Catwoman), Joseph Gordon Levitt (a police officer, Blake) are unlikely allies with Gary Oldman (the Police Commissioner) and Michael Caine (Alfred) providing the usual support cast for our nocturnal hero.

There is a beautiful symmetry given to the story, most loose ends tied up neatly towards the end, questions answered, doubts clarified and the film leaving a strong, central message. Hope never dies. And that the point of choosing a symbol like Batman, is precisely that anyone can be Batman…

There is so much to love and learn about the film. The sheer scale of the stunts, and the vivid imagination that goes behind them. The build up towards the climax, the battle royale as the forces of good line up versus the forces of evil. The delicate side stories weaved in so simply, with minimal diversion of attention and time, that help explain it all, humanize the characters. Hans Zimmer’s electric score, which falls to a pin drop silence at times, and builds to a heart pumping crescendo at others.

I loved the delicate messages thrown in. How the fear of death is possibly the most powerful impulse. That hope is necessary for despair. Of how our government can so easily be brought to its knees. How easily we can gravitate towards lawlessness, the rule of the jungle.

There are moments when you wonder ‘how’ ? There are clearly moments which defy logic. But that is when the spectacle takes over. You cheer for the good guys and hope and pray for them to win, against all odds. Wouldn’t want to have it any other way…

PS : I pity the poor guys who in ten-fifteen years will try to remake Batman and will have to top this. Mr Nolan & Mr Bale, salute !

Friday, July 13, 2012


Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 13th July, 2012
Time : 146 minutes
Director : Homi Adajania; Writers : Imtiaz Ali, Sajid Ali; Music : Pritam
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia, Randeep Hooda

It starts off as a Long Island Iced Tea (heady, potent), transforms into a Bloody Mary (traditional, boring) in the middle but ends as a Cosmopolitan (cool, delicious, enjoyable).
Light, breezy and very, very funny with fantastic performances, it loses its way momentarily during the second half for about 20 odd minutes by bringing in too much senti drama but then thankfully autocorrects and finds its way back with an appropriately funny closing sequence.
Saif is an incorrigible flirt, determined to bed every attractive woman he see’s. Diana is a typical Indian girl except she is stunning with legs that go on for miles and a pout which can make you walk for many. She prays everyday, wears appropriate clothing, drinks milk, doesn’t do too much alcohol and is rescued from being homeless by Deepika who is none of the above. Deepika is the other extreme, the type who is known to everyone in every nightclub, doesn’t believe in wearing pants if at home, drinks like a fish and dances like a dervish. And, like Saif, she doesn’t believe in all this marriage-sharriage kind of stuff. So when the two of them get together and start living, with Diana, in the same apartment, life couldn’t be too far from perfect. Until Dimple, Saif’s mom, walks in…
They got the characters and casting just right. Diana is the surprise package (Where does Saif find them ? Remember Giselle in Love Aaj Kal ?). She is gorgeous with a smile that radiates, looks sweet and shy and demure and all things that most prospective mother in laws would want. Plays her part perfectly. Deepika brings life and soul to her character, who is the anti-Christ for all moms seeking a match for their son. She is brash, brazen, leggy, openly sexual, in bikinis or something similar for most of the film and thinks she is stronger than she really is. Deepika gets it so right that I fear she is going to be given many more roles like this one, kind of what has happened to Kareena after Jab We Met.

Saif has made the ‘lovable ruffian’ his own exclusive territory for a long time and in this one he seems to really let his hair down and go the whole hog. He picks up women with the ease of James Bond but without the tux. He is funny, caring, sweet, loving, good looking and a blast to be with. That ‘Sheila ki Jawaani’ performance will longer in memory !
Most Hindi films suffer from verbosity. They lack the one liners, the pithy punchlines and the humour of the non slapstick kind. Not this one. You’re smiling most of the time, and laughing uproariously at least a few times. The repartee sizzles except for the brief twenty minutes when, again a malady afflicting most Bollywood movies, the makers feel compelled to introduce conflict and emotional drama. The music is excellent, enhancing the fun & moments of madness and going quiet when needed. Another thing to watch out for are the dresses, Saif & Deepika’s wardrobe in particular suits them perfectly. The love triangle could possibly have been shown better, comes as a little bit out of the blue. Why her and not me is a question that plagues not only the two heroines but also the audience as we’re not quite sure why Saif makes the choices he does.
Still when you walk out of the hall, what lingers is the fun, the frolic and a Hindi (well, 25% English) movie that stretches boundaries and traditional moralities like never before. This isnt a film that will last with you forever or has any deep lessons but neither is it mindless or crass. Saif is the guy we would all like to be, Diana the girl we’d all like to marry and Deepika the woman we would all love to bed. Endearing leads, good chemistry and generous doses of humour make it as heady a watch as a well-made example of its title.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Bol Bachchan

Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 6th July, 2012
Time : 154 minutes
Director : Rohit Shetty; Writer : Yunus Sajawal, remake of Golmaal (1979); Music : Himesh Reshammiya, Ajay-Atul
Starring : Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Prachi Desai, Asin, Archana Puran Singh, Asrani, Krishna Abhishek, Neeraj Vora, Jeetu Verma

To the old, sweet, amazingly funny, classic comedy, Golmaal (Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1979), apply the Higgs Boson particle ie attempt to make it a ‘mass’ film, an entertainer. So add liberal doses of silliness, unnecessary plot complications, shrillness, crassness, slow motion fight sequences and many, many blown up vehicles. Also add a few sequences & a few jokes that really make you laugh. Just pray the cringe-worthy moments don’t outnumber the LOL moments & that depends entirely on your sensibilities.

The broad outline of the original story is retained. Ajay Devgn, local tough & rich landlord, employs Abhishek as a supervisor. Unfortunately, Abhishek, a Muslim in the film, has to pretend to be a Hindu in front of Ajay. One lie leads to another and soon he has to invent a gay, Muslim identical step brother, a mother, the mother’s identical twin sister etc. Prachi, Ajay’s sister, is Abhishek’s love interest. Asin, Abhishek’s sister, is Ajay’s love interest. And Jeetu Verma is there as Ajay’s evil cousin only so that muscles can be rippled and bones broken. Neeraj Vora as Ajay’s sidekick and Asrani and Krishna as Abhishek’s uncle and son, respectively are there to attempt to wring a few more laughs from you.
Ajay’s character likes to speak English and mangle it beyond belief, and this ability provides many of the comic, funny moments of the film. You watch in awe, wondering what he will come up with next, a bit like when you watch Sidhu comment on cricket. It works in short doses and appears a bit stretched in the second half. ‘When elders get cozy, youngsters don’t put nosy’ or ‘Thank you for the Complan Boy’ (compliment) don’t seem rib tickling but given Ajay’s fulsome delivery and the situation, it does generate quite a few laughs.

Abhishek plays his two roles quite straight, pun intended. The sequence where the gay character has to dance to a medley of songs in unison with two of Ajay’s henchmen is crass but makes you laugh in parts. Asin is strangely muted in the film, while Prachi also has a small role, without much meat.
The movie is too long, the songs aren’t great, the fight sequences too similar to what we’ve already seen from Rohit Shetty’s earlier films. There is a vision here to make it a comedy for the masses and judging by the loud laughs from the audience, he’s got it right.

I feel, with the same cast, just keeping it along the lines of the original could’ve worked just as well, but I fear I would be in the minority in the industry. Would love it if there was a face-off between an intelligent, well made comedy (like a Vicky Donor, Khosla ka Ghosla) & a ‘mass’ one like this, with similar level of star power in both. I wonder which film would then have a bigger box office ?