Monday, June 16, 2008

Daddy Uncool

Mere Baap Pahle Aap
I would not say I was disappointed. I was pretty much expecting something like this. Especially after seeing Dhol, Garam Masala and “the brutal murder of Manichitrathazhu” called Bhool Bhulaiya. Welcome to the Priyadarshan factory, he churns more films than any other filmmaker – once he had two releases on the same day. Remember Garam Masala and Kyon ki. One was a supposedly a comedy and other was supposedly a tear-jerker. It was for you to find out which one was what!!
In MBPA, we are supposed to laugh. We are informed that it is a comedy and be prepared to laugh. Especially, when the film starts with Om Puri prancing with bikini babes and you come to know that it was a dream sequence – you better laugh. When he selects bride on a matrimonial website – why aren’t you laughing yet? When he requests Paresh Rawal to accompany him to the Arts College – you should be in splits, what are you doing with that serious look on your face. When Archana the supercop arrests them and decides to book them for all sort of crimes – you should be rolling in you seats laughing. But you aren’t???
The film has many scenes that could have been funny but they aren’t. In fact, there are unnecessary serious elements like Akshaye had cut a girl’s long hair as a part of ragging and that girl had left the country crying. She comes back and what does she do? She troubles him over the phone in some silly way. Why keep that ragging part as a reason? Something funny could have been thought of!!! Then Paresh-Shobhna love track. Why make it so sad? Families accusing him and guest appearance of Naseer Saab and several unnecessary scenes that follow will make you fully aware that it is a two hour and forty minutes film.
Everyone speaks in one tone and one language – that of the dialogue writer. Heavy words decorated with idioms. Right from the hero to heroine to father to father’s friend to cop to salesman, everyone talks the same. And yes, there is Rajpal Yadav too. Terribly wasted in a miniscule role, even he fails to make you laugh! If you can laugh at seeing him beaten black and blue, you’ve got a laugh riot here.
Most of Priyadarshan’s films have been remakes of south-indian films directed by other directors. The producers should get the same directors to make it in hindi too. May be then, we will get better remakes.
Before signing off, here is the list. Happy Watching!

Billo Barber
2008 - Irfan Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amisha Patel
[ORIGINAL: Kadha Parayumbol
2007 - Sreenivasan, Mammootty, Mukesh, Jagathy, Meena.
Director - R.Mohanan]
Mere Baap Pehele Aap
2008 - Akshay Khanna,Paresh Rawal
2001 - Dileep, Nedumudi Venu.
Director - Sibi Malayil]
2007 - Tusshar Kapoor, Kunal Khemu, Rajpal Yadav, Sharman Joshi
[ORIGINAL: In Harihar Nagar
1990 - Mukesh, Siddique, Jagadish, Asokan. Director - Siddique-Lal]
Bhool Bhulaiya
2007 - Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja,Amisha Patel
[ORIGINAL: Manichitrathazhu
1993 - Mohanlal,Suresh Gopi,Shobana Director - Fazil]
Bhagam Bhag
2006 - Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Paresh Rawal, Lara Dutta
[ORIGINAL: Mannar Mathai SpeakingNadodikkattu
1995 - Mukesh, Saikumar, Innocent, Vaani Viswanath. Director - Mani C kapan]
Chup Chup Ke
2006 - Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor
[ORIGINAL: Punjabi House
1998 - Dileep, Mohini. Director - Rafi & Macartin]
2004 - Akshay Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Amrish Puri
[ORIGINAL: Godfather
1991 - Mukesh, Kanaka, N.N. Pillai. Director - Siddique & Lal]
Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar
2001 - Sunil Shetty, Mahima Chaudhry
[ORIGINAL: Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam
1986 - Mohanlal, Karthika. Director - Satyan Anthikad]
Hera Pheri
2001 - Sunil Shetty, Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal
[ORIGINAL: Ramji Rao Speaking
1989 - Mukesh, Saikumar, Innocent. Director - Siddique & Lal]
Doli Saja Ke Rakhna
1998 - Akshay Khanna, Jyothika
[ORIGINAL: Aniyathi Pravu
1997 - Kunchako Boban, Shalini. Director - Fazil]
1997 - Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Pooja Batra
[ORIGINAL: Thevar Magan (Tamil)
1992 - Kamal Haasan, Revathi, Gauthami. Director - Bharathan]
1993 - Jackie Shroff, Amrish Puri
[ORIGINAL: Kireedam
1989 - Mohanlal, Thilakan. Director - Sibi Malayil]

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Once upon an era…

It takes a vision to create an epic. When I came out of the theatre, all I could say was Salute to Ashutosh Govarikar for making this film. The hard work shows on screen.
We’ve all studied about Jodha Bai and Akbar in our history textbooks but we have never known it as a love story. But even after watching Jodha-Akbar and getting completely awed by the scale, I still don’t see it as a love story. Jodha-Akbar for me was a great cinematic experience and a good historical film.
In the first fifteen minutes itself, the battle of Panipat blows your mind. As the story progresses, you come across interesting characters and intriguing sub-plots. A political marriage of a Hindu Rajput Princess and a Mughal Emperor is a nice plot but not necessarily a good story. Still, you feel hooked to the screen because of a good screenplay, wonderful performances and amazing production value.
Whether it’s Jodha practicing sword-fight with Sujamal, or Akbar taming an elephant or the Akbar-Jodha sword duel or the wars shown or the final Akbar-Sharifuddin fight, it’s the camera-work, production, sound design, art-direction, action-design, performances and direction that mesmerize you. Don’t go expecting a love story between Jodha and Akbar otherwise you’ll be heavily disappointed. In fact, to cut the length, the song that needs to go out of the film is the duet “In lamho ke daaman mein”.

Story wise, there is nothing that I can summarize in a line or two. Think of it as a section of time from the Mughal Era, which actually changed the political scenario.
Of all the performances, Hrithik Roshan shines as Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar. His sincerity shows in each and every frame. It’s difficult to imagine any other actor as Akbar. Aishwarya looks gorgeous and acts well. Though I had problems with her pronunciation of simple words like Parajay and Mrityu. Of the supporting cast, Sonu Sood and Niketan Dheer stand out amongst the male lot and Ila Arun amongst the female ones. In a film like this, characterization tends to look a bit sketchy but it’s the performance of these actors which makes a mark.

Songs “Kahne ko jashn-e-bahara” and “Azeem-o-shaan Shahenshah” are wonderfully picturised. The song “Khwaja mere Khwaja” is good but hampers the flow of the film. The Krishna Bhajan has been used well in the film.
The film is lengthy and you may feel that few scenes were a bit stretched. In fact the beginning and end titles together are some fifteen minutes long. But the way the film progresses from one scene to another, it is very unlikely that you’ll feel bored.
So enjoy the film, appreciate the vision, marvel the scale of the film, and admire the performances. Happy Viewing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


A film that holds your attention within the first two minutes itself promises to be an entertainer. And this film manages to keep its promise. A very crisply edited film, well directed and well enacted.
The story remains true to the one line you must’ve read on the posters. Destined to be a nobody, an accident made him a superstar. That’s the story of Kunal, who bears a striking resemblance to the superstar in making Karan Saxena. Kunal always wanted to be a star but when he achieves it, he has to understand what was it about stardom that he wanted? Was it the money, the fame, the name or an artist’s satisfaction? And once this realization happens, he has to make a choice.
Why the film works for me is because of – a, the characters that’ve been created; b, the way the story has been told; and finally, because of the way it has been filmed. Subtle metaphors at the right places, intelligently woven seed-ins and seed-outs and wonderfully played out silences are things that make this film different from a regular masala film.

Kunal Khemu has really done in a role which seems to have been tailor-made for him. He has grown as an actor and does justice to both his roles. I am sure, many people will like his “Karan Saxena – the star who cares a damn” role better than the “Kunal Mehra – struggler turned star” role. Sharat Saxena gets to do a very good part after a long time. Reema Lagoo is extremely good as the understanding mother. Darshan Zariwala might seem a bit loud at the start but as the film proceeds, you begin to understand the layers of his character. Its good to see Vrijesh Hirjee under control. Zafar Karachiwala and Rushad Rana leave an impact in small roles. Tulip Joshi is loveable as Mausam and Ashima Sahni gets to play a better role than what she did in her debut Dhoka. Its hard to say who is the main heroine of the film because one gets the hero and the other gets a better length in the film.

Rohit Jugraj is definitely a director to watch out for. He has indeed bounced back with full force after the debacle of James. He has handled the complex scenes really well and has managed to extract good performances out of everyone in the film. He has been ably supported by a very nice screenplay by Sudip Sharma and Rahul Singh. Some digs on the industry might not go well with the pseuds but hey, just take them sportingly.
The film does suffer from the most dreaded word for any film – predictability. But since the whole film travels on a uniform pace, you actually don’t try and guess the next scene. You just enjoy the scene that is going on. I am sure, the film will gets its due because the movie-goers are dying to see an entertainer where they don’t actually need to leave their brains home. So go and enjoy the moments.

Friday, January 25, 2008

No big deal about the missing Sunday!

I’d like to title this film – How to kill an interesting plot!
To write anything about suspense thriller means giving away the suspense. But then, believe me, when you’ll come to know of the suspense, you’ll be disappointed anyways.
The film is based on a runaway telugu low budget hit film that was shot in 90 days and went on to win many awards for best screenplay and best actress. The film was “Anukokunda Oka Roju” and was appreciated a lot. Go to mouthshut dot com and you’ll understand what I am saying.
I don’t know what they have changed in the hindi version but the hindi version seemed like a bland cocktail where the ingredients are right but may be the quantity is not.
Sahar (Ayesha Takia), a dubbing artiste, goes to attend a wild party on a Saturday and wakes up Monday morning. Almost two-three days later, she comes to know that she has missed a Sunday. That means almost till Wednesday, she was thinking that everything is fine. Her best friend Ritu (Anjana Sukhani) also doesn’t ask her any question like – why did you leave the club without telling me? Or what did you do on Sunday? She doesn’t receive any missed calls or messages that Sunday that’d tell her that she has indeed missed a day. It takes many goons and an accidentally recorded conversation to make her realize that.
Then there’s a corrupt cop Rajvir (Ajay Devgan), a cabbie (Arshad Warsi), a struggling actor (Irfan Khan) and many others who are suppose to provide one missing clue, one missing link. And then suddenly, almost like magic, the case is solved. A case about missing twenty eight hours had to be much more interesting and eventful.
Few scenes evoke laughter but those are the scenes you’ve already seen in the trailers running on all channels. Action sequences do not engage you either. Characters are ill-baked and their presence uncalled for. I felt the problem lies in the screenplay which doesn’t try to tie any loose ends. The bigger problem lies with the direction which was all stylization and no substance.

Ayesha looks pretty and does what the role demands. Ajay Devgan is okay. Anjana Sukhani is just there. Arshad and Irfan are really good and only saving grace. But alas, even they fail to save.
Irfan and Arshad provide you with few gags but that can’t be a good reason to watch this film in the theatre. There is show on filmy called “Meri bhains ko anda kyon mara” which shows comedy scenes from films. You’ll soon see the Arshad-Irfan scenes from Sunday in this program. So wait till then and spend your weekend money on some other film.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Name is XYZ

Reviews had already started pouring in and the comments were not at all positive. But the idea of watching a film in a recliner chair for seventy bucks, ten in the morning, is that however bad the film might turn out, you’ll still like it.
So, there I was ready to watch E-Niwas’s My Name is Anthony Gonsalves. The film was predictable and full of clichés right from the word GO. Now, I have seen GO too, but I am still trying to erase that terrible experience from my memory. Coming back to MNIAG, what really bothered me was the lethargic pace. I have generally liked E-Niwas’s work – I’ve seen Shool, Love ke liye kuchh bhi karega and Bardaasht. But MNIAG was not what I expected from him.
It starts off as story about a bartender who wants to become an actor. Then you come to know that he is mentored by a gangster. Then you come to know that he was brought up by a padre. Then he sees a girl in the cemetry and falls in love with her. Then he finds her as an assistant director in a production house. Then he sees his mentor trying to dump a body. Then he fights with his consciousness about sticking to truth or being loyal to his mentor. In between he overhears his mentor’s sidekicks plotting against the mentor and then draws comparision with the story of Julius Caesar for which he is auditioning. Just when you thought, the plot cannnot get any thicker, the film resolves by itself and ends on a happy note. So well, that’s all I can tell you about the storyline.

Several taps were opened like the Julius Caesar comparison, Saurabh Shukla angle, and several characters that come and act as if they are so important to the main story-line. But most of these taps are not closed and the film ends.
Nikihil Dwivedi is certainly not what you’d call “new kid on the block”. He has been presented as the next star but doesn’t work. In the bar song, when everyone cheers for Anthony to perform, you expect him to break into an amazing dance jig; but instead, you see him rapping in few successive wide shots. And then at the end of the song, you have people appreciating his “dance”. Whom are we trying to fool?
Amrita Rao, a pretty face with nothing to do. Lillete Dubey in a role that any junior artiste could have done.

It feels sad to see actors like Anupam Kher and Pawan Malhotra in good but badly executed roles. The storyline was good and am sure the film could have been much much better. I guess, Mithun’s judo in the climax was the only “paisa-wasool” thing. A scriptwriter friend of mine felt that “Apun Mumbai to kya, bandra chhod ke bhi nahi jayega” was also a paisa-wasool line.
All said and done, the film was neither in the category of meaningful cinema nor an entertainer. It was something that made me realize that a 2-hour film can also seem like a really really long film.