Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Two Three

Rating : 3/10
Running Time : 137 Minutes
Release Date : 28th Mar ‘08
Director & Writer : Ashwini Dheer ; Music : Raghav Sachar
Starring : Suneil Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Tushar Kapoor, Isha Deol, Sameera Reddy

An interesting premise, unnecessarily dumbed down and converted into brainless slapstick in the vain hope of being a ‘mass comedy’.

Three people, all named Lakshmi Narayan, check into the same hotel and receive instructions on what they have to do next. Suneil Shetty, an employee of a car dealer, has to buy a car. Paresh Rawal, a retailer of ladies undergarments, has to see some new designs. And Tushar Kapoor has to kill someone. The three instructions get predictably mixed up and mayhem happens. The director / producer / writer could have now chosen 2 routes
• making a comedy (like Khosla ka Ghosla) which all could have enjoyed
• making a timepass movie by making everything slapstick (like Dhamaal), with generous dollops of crude, sexist humour and brainless fun.

To be fair to them, seeing the commercial success of Golmaal, Welcome and Dhamaal, you can’t argue with the financial part of their reasoning. Suneil, Paresh and Sameera were as good as they could be. The rest were one cacophonic blur…

My kids loved it, there were a lot of people laughing in the audience but I was only weeping at the loss of 1600 bucks and the wasted time…a lot of my family members also felt I was being over-generous with a 3 rating. Guess it takes all sorts to make a world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Black & White

Rating : 4/10
Running Time : ~120 Minutes
Release Date : 7th Mar ‘08
Director & Writer : Subhash Ghai ; Music : Sukhwinder Singh
Starring : Anil Kapoor, Anurag Sinha, Shefali Shah, Habib Tanvir

There is something about religious fundamentalism which is so alien to my constitution that this movie made me uneasy – it wasn’t pleasant watching. It traces the story of Nuwair, a muslim fundamentalist, raised in Afghanistan, who has come to India to be a suicide bomber at the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort on 15th August and stays with some sympathizers / ‘relatives’ in Chandini Chowk (area in Delhi, near Red Fort).

One day, in a chance encounter, he meets Professor Mathur, renowned professor of Urdu in a university and a well respected and well connected personality of the area. Due to various reasons, Numair realizes he has to make friends with the professor and needs his help to make his plan successful. What happens, how does his plan fructify and how does his relationship develop with the professor and his firebrand wife, is the focus of most of the movie.

One thing that comes through quite clearly is how lucky we are that most Muslims living in India are not fundamentalists. Numair, shown to be a quiet, intense and very narrow minded in his thinking is quite perturbed to find music, dancing, drinking and even mixing with Hindu’s, quite common amongst his support group. I was lucky to experience this close-hand in Bangladesh as well – to find most Muslims there very chilled out, relaxed unlike the rabid fundamentalists of the Gulf.

I think where the movie really lets itself down though is in its overall amateurnishness. There is a lack of slickness, its jerky, the acting of most of the people is either over the top or very B-grade. And the sets are almost laughable (especially the Afghanistan bits). The dialogue is quite ordinary, again doesn’t flow smoothly with very few exchanges sticking in your memory – there was a real opportunity missed here to have some philosophical exchanges between the professor / his wife and Numair. The songs are good, some quite hummable.

So, a movie which makes you squirm, made me uneasy for most parts. The ending is quite irrational, a bolt from the blue. Something interesting conceptually but it fails to fulfill its true potential. Noble intentions, but there was something amiss in the overall package…

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Rating : 8/10
Running Time : 154 Minutes
Release Date : 21st Mar ‘08
Director : Abbas-Mastan ; Writer : Shiraz Ahmed ; Music : Pritam
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif, Anil Kapoor and Sameera Reddy, Dalip Tahil

One non stop adrenalin rush….more twists and turns than the crookedest street in the world (San Francisco)…a plethora of pretty, skimpily clad (young ?) things…a horde of handsome hunks and highly strung horses …and full of fast cars and even faster double-crosses … kind of like ‘Wild Things’ on skates…

Life is not easy for Ranbir Singh (Saif), elder brother and primary heir of a large horse racing empire. He is ruthless and plays hard but fair (unlike the Aussie cricketers who only pretend to do so). He is saddled with a few double crossers, an alcoholic good for nothing younger brother Rajiv (Akshaye) and some unidentified people trying to kill him…but he’s indestructible and aided by a gorgeous girlfriend (Bipasha) and sexy secretary (Katrina) he’s not doing too badly, despite the evil machinations of rival horse owner (Dalip Tahil)….

Now, that’s all I can reveal about the story – else I will start giving away key plot elements…suffice to say that the next 150 minutes go very easily in one breathless rush, hardly giving pause for air, in a very slick, sensational mix of cross and double cross…

Its very nicely done. The key characters are sufficiently built, they (and some of the stunts) are definitely over the top but not beyond the point of losing credibility or stepping into the territory of ridiculousness. And its very slick, very heady and you’re begging for more when it ends (I really hope they’re thinking of a part2).

Star of the movie, beyond a doubt was Saif. The man has reinvented himself so many times that you’ve run out of counting fingers…this is a new, lean, mean, muscular action hero. Looking every inch the part…no more adorable, boy next door, no more the lovable rogue. This is a serious, restrained, brilliant performance. And he looks every inch the part – in fact the only time he looks out of sorts is when he is dancing some silly steps in one or two songs. Akshaye was good – he’s got a meaty role and does enough with it to make it credible. Bipasha was hot as ever as was Katrina (in a slightly smaller role). Sameera and Anil Kapoor come on as detectives in the second half – I thought some of the humour here was out of place, not needed – too slapstick and unnecessarily crude / sexist. Both did their roles justice though and I really admire the way Anil has managed to reinvent himself as well. Sameera also proves she can act if you can look beyond her more obvious assets.

It was a very enjoyable experience and having it set in one of the most beautiful countries in the world (South Africa) helps add to the glamour quotient. Like this review, most of the movie is about hyperbole but there are enough thrills and spills to make the price of the entry ticket worth it ! a very well spent three hours…beautiful people, beautiful places and some very evil thoughts and devious plans…I’ll fall for it hook, line and sinker every time…

Friday, March 21, 2008