Thursday, October 07, 2010

Do Dooni Chaar

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 8th October, 2010
Time : ~100 minutes
Director, Co-writer : Habib Faisal; Co-writer: Rahil Qazi; Music : Meet Bros
Starring : Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh Kapoor, Archit Krishna, Aditi Vasudev

A lovely, humorous story which reminds us of the travails of middle class existence in Delhi. Excellent performances, nice dialogue complement the story and further charm is added by the novelty of seeing Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh back together again.

The Duggal family, living in a typical middle class neighbourhood of Delhi, comprises Rishi Kapoor (a maths teacher for ever 20 years, who’s desperately trying to make ends meet by also taking coaching classes), his wife Neetu Kapoor (upbeat housewife, who was forbidden to work by husband when they got married and still gently keeps reminding him about it), their daughter Aditi (v feisty, no-nonsense, college going girl with an attitude) and son Archit (quiet but dreams big, wants to buy an IPL team).

Chaos is thrown into their lives when Rishi’s sister invites them for a family wedding at her in-laws place. And insists that they all come in a car (not in their scooter, popularly named Duggal Express) as otherwise she has to listen to insults from her in- laws. Neetu commits that they will indeed arrive in a car, much to Rishi’s consternation. This unleashes a chain of events which includes car theft, borrowing, angry neighbours, a vow from Rishi Kapoor that he will definitely buy a car within fifteen days, bribery, a corrupt cop, a pawn shop, a betting scandal, a sting operation, a cash for marks offer and a lifetime supply of detergent. Sounds interesting ? It is…

What makes the film very interesting are the characters, each of whom is painted vividly and their relationship with each other. I loved the way Rishi counsels his son when there is trouble. And his attitude as a teacher (wish there were more like him). I loved the way Neetu takes charge when she senses things are amiss. I enjoyed watching Payal become protective of her father and joining him on a mission when she suspected he may not be able to cope. I enjoyed the fact that there were no stereotypes, ie no submissive wife, dominating husband, cardboard kids. Everyone just seemed normal, and faced issues which are normal. But it’s a tale told well and told humorously…

There is a message too. Again, told without being preachy, and told convincingly. This story seemed to take me back to my roots, the times when money was scarce, when luxury items had to be carefully thought through before being purchased, when you had to think before ordering aaloo (Rs 10) vs paneer (Rs 45). When life was simpler and in quite another way, a tad more fun ! When more than what was in your wallet, it was hope that sustained you….

Anjaana Anjaani

Rating : 4/10
Release Date : 1st October, 2010
Time : 150 minutes
Director, Co-writer : Siddharth Anand; Co-writer: Advaita Kala; Music : Vishal-Shekhar
Starring : Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra

Two strangers, a man & a woman, meet while attempting suicide. The woman believes in ‘signs’ from up above. These tell her that she needs to live for a few more days. She manages to convince the guy of the same as well and they decide to spend the next 20 odd days having fun, fulfilling their ‘bucket list’. Will they fall in love ? Or will they commit suicide ? And if you cant predict the correct end, you need serious psychiatric help !

Ranbir is charismatic. Priyanka is fun in her opening scene but then seems to taper off. Some of the gags are funny (Ranbir’s gay turn makes him a promising candidate for the next Dostana instalment), some moments iconic (Priyanka changing into shorts in the back seat of a moving car) and there are some interesting merchandising ideas (named helmets, for example).

The music and background score is v good, the scenery nice & fresh, the central premise interesting but then the rest is a silly story that is unable to hold attention, is unevenly paced, has two unreal characters doing things that are just plain unbelievable and is at least an half an hour too long !

This is one of the scripts that relies totally on star power to transform it into something barely watchable. And the producers seem to know this as on their official website, no one else apart from the lead pair are mentioned in the cast. It has its moments but too far and few in between.


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 1st October, 2010
Time : 180 minutes
Director : S Shankar; Co-writer: Sujatha Rangarajan, Karky Vairamuthu; Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Rajni, Aishwarya, Danny Dengzopa

You must only watch this film if you have a thing for Rajni or Aishwarya or special effects. My rating is purely driven by the latter two but if I’d used the principle of negative marking, then after deducting points for weak characters, weaker story and ditzy dialogue, the overall rating would also have been negative. But then, as most fans of Rajni say, if Rajni is there, who needs a story !

Rajni is a scientist who’s spent 10 years designing an android robot and succeeds (sources of funding not clear at all). He does it while ignoring the ample charms of girlfriend, Aishwarya. However, when she meets Chitty (the Robot’s name, a Rajni look alike), her anger vanishes and she is totally charmed. And so is the Robot. In an interesting development, and one which I wish had been developed better, the robot falls in love with his creators girlfriend and starts to compete with him for her attention. Thanks to a lightning strike, he also develops feelings and during an army testing scenario (apparently the purpose for which he was created), he starts spouting poetry instead.

Rajni, extremely upset, breaks the Robot up into pieces. Evil scientist / competitor, Danny, picks Chitty up and makes him whole again and also makes him a destructive machine. The evil Chitty now begins to hatch revenge against Rajni, kidnaps Aishwarya, blows up half the city and kills half the cops. What will happen next ?

I’m not even going to go into story flaws. They’re just too numerous and I could fill 3-4 pages just on them. The enjoyable moments, while not enough, are definitely quite a few. The first fight scene is really comic and entertaining, especially the whole angle of ‘Devi Ma’ and the women ululating. The song ‘Naina Mile’ made more sense in the film than just the video, particularly the shots of the inner portions of the Robot coming alive. Some of the locales were stunning with special mention for the desert scenes in the first song (along with the water bodies, it looked out of this world). And of course Machu Pichu, though, why they were singing ‘Kilimanjaro’ there, beats me.

The special effects at the end (in a very long drawn out climax) were fantastic. The different formations done by the robots were truly visionary, imaginative and never before seen in the best sci-fi movies.

With a little bit more effort, better structuring though, this movie could’ve become a worldwide phenomenon. It had one of the biggest stars of the Indian film industry, the world’s most beautiful woman and some brilliant special effects. With just a little more vision it could’ve been brilliant. As of now, it’ll have to just settle for being above average, but only just…