January 31, 2008

And Southwards we go.....

I have been won over by Tamil and Telegu movies. A few months ago, I chanced upon a copy "Operation Duryodhana," which had NO subtitles, but was very easy to understand and so crazy that I decided to find some more...I next saw "Bomarillu"- and am very possibly the last person on the planet to have caught this very frothy pic. As a geenral rule I stay away from romances, but "Bomarillu" sold me on them....to the extent that I sat through the last movie we shall be covering today- "Unnale Unnale."

Title: Operation Duryodhana
Year: 2007
Cast: Srikanth, Nagendra Babu, Mumait Khan.

What its about:
Operation Duryodhana was the code name for a sting operation in India which resulted in a bunch of MPs going to jail. This movie is NOT based on that incident, but is nevertheless a spoof on current regional political issues. Srikanth is a police officer, whose entire family is killed by the local political heavies since he refuses to assist them in their illegal activities. Beaten almost to death, he cuts his hair and wear blue contacts, to turn into a political heavy himself (!!!!!) :D How he extracts revenue from the goons who ruined him, and how he goes back to being a regular police officer is the rest of the story. The movie is absolutely unreal, with insane situations- for example, Mumait plays a woman who is a politician by day and a bar dancer by night....(wth???)

All the oozing machismo- it was parodied to the point of hilarity! The testosterone on the sets must have been crazy :) On the otherhand, I may have completely misunderstood, and they may have simply been unintentionally funny(!) :D

Didn't like the part w/ Srikanth's kids dying- maybe the director wanted to show extremities because of the spoof factor, but kids dying , however improbably, doesn't work for me.


Title: Bomarillu
Year: 2006
Cast: Siddharth, Genalia.

What its about:
Siddu (Siddhartha) has a problem- his dad, a rich businessman, adores him! The over-protective father drives Siddu crazy, but he bears it all, until the day his dad fixes his marriage with a girl of his own choice. Siddu himself falls soon enough for Hasini (Genalia), and begins to realize the importance of asserting himself and letting his dad know about his likes and dislikes. The dilemma of introducing Hasini to the family, and coming into his own is the rest of the movie. The subtitles rocked, and it was very easy to love this movie, which I do!

1- EVERYONE in this movie tries hard- and it works!!! aside from Siddharth and Genalia, the entire supporting cast is amazingly charismatic, and the movie benefits by it.
2- Even though I couldnt understand the songs- they did not come w/ subtitles- but they were still pretty catchy and fun.

Quibbles: None!


Title: Unnale Unnale
Year: 2007
Cast: Karthik, Sadha, Tanisha.

What its about:
This was hard to watch, 'cos there were no subtitles in my copy. It seems that Karthik and Sadha have a relationship, but Sadha doubts Karthik's eveyr move. Karthik cheats on her once too many, and she dumps him. Despite him changing his ways, she cant reconcile herself to trust him. They both move to Melbourne (separately), where Karthik meets Tanisha. Tanisha happens to be Sadha's personal assitant, and tries to help Karthik get back together with her, but begins to develop feelings for him anyways. Despite many efforts it doesnt work out, and Karthik ends up with Tanisha!

1- The story! I was rather surprised to find a romance where love doesnt conquer all, and people do have issues with each other and themselves.
2- This has to be the first time I do not dislike Tanisha- she should stick to movies in the South- does much better there.

1- Ummm...Sadha's character is fairly unrealistic- sure she isnt given a very sympathetic character to play, but her behavior doesnt make sense either. This may also be because I do not understand the language.
2- The movie gets too much into Melbourne- felt like I was watching the Travel Channel at times. :D

January 29, 2008

Making up for lost time....

Here are snippets on two movies I have seen in the past few months, but havent had a chance to blog about....

Title: Welcome
Year: 2007
Cast: Nana Patekar, Feroz Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Khanna, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal.

The long and short of it: Truly not a bad movie. Nana is looking out for a groom for his sister katrina, but cannot find any matches in town- everybody is terriefied of him since he is a gangster. When Akshay does fall in love with Katrina, the road to the altar still requires some clearing- since his uncle Paresh is a honest man who cannot bear criminals.

High points:

  1. Nana Nana Nana- its him all the way for me- he finally gets a chance to display his comedic skills, and he goes to town with it. Very controlled, and very uncontrolled too- as needed.
  2. Katrina still cant act- but at least she manages to look ravishing- should keep the boys happy.
  3. Anil looks good, and delivers the goods- I cannot beleive this man has hit 50!
  1. Paresh does not live up to his comedic potential at all.
  2. Very uneven: The movies starts off well, then flags, then picks up towards the end....
  3. Akshay looks plain tired doing the same 'ol comedic-hero-type....someone give him a decent role!

Title: Aja Nachle
Year: 2007
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Akhshay Kumar, Konkana Sen, Kunal Kapoor.

The long and short of it: A huge let down. Madhuri runs out of a Shayamli, a village in India to the US with her beau. She comes back years later when she gets a call from her dying dance/theatre teacher. She come back, and faces the social stigmas of having run away, divorce and being a single parent, while saving her teacher's theatre from being demoilshed. And of yes- did I mention she also finds time to ensure that Konkana and Kunal fall in love, and herself nabs Akshay Khanna (swoooooooon) while bringing the community closer? :D

High points:

  1. Akshay Khanna just kills me with hotness- if he got any cuter, I am certain I'd faint.
  2. Madhuri's charisma, Konkana's acting and Kunal's good looks.


  1. The movie just isnt a adequate vehicle for Madhuri to show her talents. She dances throughout the movie- but so what? There are about 20 million young women out there dancing as well, and they are pretty too. She gets little opportunity to show off her acting skills, which are certainly commendable, from what I recall of them.
  2. Its quite rediculous that a village has a theatre that is supposedly falling apart- and in 1 month, Madhuri performs a miracle of set deisgn and has a put up a Broadway-level production. We arent clued in as to exactly how this is accomplished...
  3. Akshay Khanna (he plays the local MP) plans to demolish the theatre and build a mall- mmmm... as much as the country has advanced, I am not certain what use a mall would be in a village. Are people from other villages/towns/cities supposed to visit? Not sure how it will raise the village's income...mmm...

January 28, 2008

This past weekend- 2 movies

We are inserting a Hollywood piece in here, since we at Apni are equal opportunity movie lovers…:D

Title: Meet the Spartans
Year: 2008
Cast: Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian, Method Man and a bunch of others that don’t matter too much.

This is a really hilarious spoof of last year’s “300.” Carmen Electra seems to get some bit part in any spoof made in Hollywood for the past few years (why??? how???), and here she probably has the longest screen time in any of her movies even, playing King Leonidas wife, Queen Margo.

Leonidas is the king of Sparta. When Persian king Xerexes (Ken Davitian, the sidekick from “Borat”) attacks, instead of accepting his rule Leonidas defends his country with 13 (the number was shortened in the spoof) handpicked warriors. With no cooperation from his countrymen, Leonidas and his soldiers fight on, and die in the battlefield, brave and proud.

Thoughts: I had not expected the movie to be a entertaining as it turned out to be; just keep in mind that you have to have seen “300,” and have a good sense of American pop culture (at least in the past 1 year) to get “Meet the….” It uplifted the rainy weekend for sure.


Title: Cloverfield
Year: 2008
Cast: Doesn’t matter very much.

Basically, this movie is the love child of “Godzilla” (1998) and “The Blair witch Project” (1999), had those two movies ever mated together.

It’s Rob’s farewell party in a NY loft, hosted by his brother Jason, Jason’s gf Lily and his best friend Hud, who is also the primary cameraman of the movie. Shot in the tradition of “The Blair Witch Project,” we are treated to almost 2 hours worth of a shaking camera.

In the middle of the party, there is what the friends assume to be a earthquake. They run out of the building, and find that NY has been attacked by a skyscraper-sized monster. The rest of the movie involves them trying to escape the city with their friends- who survives and who doesn’t is really the crux of the remaining hour of the movie, which you must see to find out.

Important points:
1. For God’s sake- if you have even slightly prone to motion sickness, do not watch the movie. I mean it. I puked.
2. Why do all monsters come to NY?? (case(s) in point: Independence Day, Godzilla, King Kong, etc. etc.)


Other notes: I have a huge Bollywood backlog to blog (almost poetic, ain't it?). But busy season is all around me, and therefore I beg you to perserve…..

January 25, 2008

The end of Dune

This is so completely out of context- but Frank and Brian are two my favorite writers with their "Dune" series. And it is now official- the Dune website (http://www.dunenovels.com/) proclaims that the series is finally over.


I feel a little bereft....need to go buy the last in the series "Sandworms of Dune" tonight.

January 24, 2008

Marine Drive

Title: Marine Drive
Year: 1955
Cast: Ajit, Bina Roy, KN Singh, Uma Devi (Tun Tun), Johnny Walker.

Mr. Khanna (K.N.Singh) is a criminal in operating on Marine Drive (a very populous part of Bombay- dunno how he managed it), and has a group of sidekicks, chief amongst whom is Ajit (Ajit). Most of his schemes go haywire, including the last where he was trying to smuggle gold, but the entire consignment was confiscated by the police. Cut to a chase scene on location, in Marine Drive (the director does this all the time in the movie, showing a stock picture of the area iver and again, so I will do the same.
Heavily under debt, he hits upon the idea of going to his brother who lives in a high rise in....you guessed it, Marine Drive again (how do the 2 brothers exist in the same area and one doesnt know that the other is a criminal???)

Khanna plans to murder his brother, while Ajit must woo, marry and murder Bina (Bina Rai). This way, Khanna will become the sole owner of his brother's millions. Insert chance meeting of Ajit and Bina in.....Marine Drive again!

Wasting no time Ajit and Khanna immediately become regulars at Khanna's bros's house....

Also to plan, Ajit successfully woos Bina- they sing a song or two...

Khanna in the meantime throws his brother off the roof (yup- right on to Marine Drive :D)

However, by this time, Ajit is truly in love w/ Bina, and wont go further with Khanna's plans. The latter is much displeased, and has him imprisoned (why not murdered??? cos he is the hero???) in his hideout.
With Ajit out of the picture as well, Khanna establishes himself in his brother's house, and slowly begins to drive Bina nuts- don't ask me how- its a bunch of nonsensical psychobabble.

Ajit is let off his chains by a sympathetic moll of Khanna's.

He immediately sings a song of repentence (!), tracks down Bina's whereabouts, changes into a nice suit (!!!) and runs to Khandala (mountains outside Bombay) where Khanna has taken Bina to kill her (and yes, he does pass through Marine Drive along the way- heeh). He finds a faint Bina in the woods- it is miraculous how he of all people must come across her when she has obviously fainted in a verrrry secluded place.

They try to run for the police, but are cornered once more by Khanna's thugs and imprisoned separately in his den (why the heck doesnt Khaana kill 'em off??? He has said tons of times he wants Bina dead- but whatever).

Bina tricks her captors, and runs off (leaving the hero behind???? This must be a Bollywood first!)

Ajit runs off too- and becomes a police witness right away (this is surprising common sense for a bollywood movie hero- anyone else would have gone to seek "revenge," or at try to figure out where the heck his girl went).

But just as Bina has been re-caught (another new word) by Khanna, and is about to being finally murdered by him, Ajit rescues her (in yet another new suit- this guy has lots of costume changes). And of course they live happily ever after (with him in yet another suit), on Marine Drive (:D).


While this is the primary story, there has also been a "side" story running parallel to this. Aficionados will recognize that up to the seventies, a typical Bollywood movie would have a resident comedian, whose paths would cross with the hero's several times. The comedian however would have his own little love and anguish story going on parallel to the hero's.

In this movie,, we have Johnny (Johnny Walker), who is one of the many folks cheated by Khanna's sidekicks.

Once he loses money, he marries Uma (Uma Devi/Tun Tun) for her money, but his dreams are shattered when he finds that not only is she poor herself, she also has about 6 kids (this was always considered funny by movie makers in the 50s-60s- dunno why....).
Once Khanna is done in by Ajit, the police advises Johnny to appeal to the courts to get the money he has been cheated out of. This sounds good to Johnny, and this is the supposedly happy ending of his lil story as well.

  1. I lovvvvvvve film noir.And I am happiest when I find Indian film noir. So "Marine Drive," despite lack of much substance, I adore, simply because it dares to push the envelope. At a time when there was much emphasis on social and religious drama, making a movie with smugglers and motor-bike riders must have been pretty cool for GP Sippy, who wrote and directed this.
  2. I love the way Mr. Sippy kept the names of the characters after the real names of the actors themselves. Makes so much sense!
  3. I am not sure I understnad the "Marine Drive" motif. The stock footage shows up every 10 minutes or so, but has little to do with the actual content. He may as well have called it "Chicago" and been done with it. I understnad he was at that time a new director/producer (this was only his 2nd movie), and was probably making the best of whatever resources available to him.

January 23, 2008

Aakhiri Gulam

Title: Aakhiri Gulam
Year: 1989
Cast: Mithun, Sonam, Moushimi Chatterjee, Raj Babbar, Anupan Kher.

Here again, is a decidedly terrible Mithun movie- I have again forsaken the names of characters, and am opting to use the names of the actors themselves.

A poor man and his young son are slaves to a rich landlord, Anupam Kher. The boy and the landlord's daughter are friends, and we are subjected to an idiotic pre-adolescent romantic song as the movie opens. Much to our confusion, the same female singer provides the score for both kids- but what the heck....

The landlord of course doesnt like this, and has the kid beaten up on the pretext that he has stolen his daughter's anklet.

Further, he sends his daughter to study abroad, simply to keep her away from the boy, who by now has found the darned anklet.

Soon, the boy's dad also dies, leaving him a slave to Anpuam, who is also to bring him up (the boy, not the dad- the latter is dying! heeh)

Fast forward 10-ish years...even though the boy has grown to be Mithun who looks about 35. Mithun still has the damned anklet and looks at it obsessively whenever he has a chance. Look at this carefully now, since it'll come in handy as the movie progresses.... :)

Pretty soon, he kills a few people while saving the landlord's life, and lands in jail, where the other prisoners don't like him too much. Even though he murdered 2 people, he gets only 3 years (huh??), since it was in self-defence.

While he is in jail, the landlord's daughter comes back to India. She has grown into a rather pretty but fuggly Sonam, and meets her brother enthusiastically at the airport....looks like he is trying to feel her up really....eugh.

Mithun gets out of jail, and is next ordered by Anupam (the landlord) to kill Raj Babbar, the union leader at his factory. Unfortunately for him, Mithun himself gets in trouble, and is rescued by Moushami, Raj's wife. Soon enough, Sonam also comes by, and the 2 couples share a Diwali song...(how come we never had Diwali songs? how come we still don't have Diwali songs??? who the heck does have Diwali songs??? Count the number of times "Diwali" is used in this paragraph!)

Anupam is properly mad, and has Raj killed anyway..

And has Mithun framed for the murder, with---- you guessed it-- the damned anklet being found in the dead body's hand. Now right away this makes no sense. If Mithun did kill Raj, why would they be playing with an anklet before the murder???? Ughhhhh....

Mithun runs off, faster than any police jeep, jumps into the local river and is presumed dead by all and sundry.

However, he is in fact rescued by a random saint who is made up to look like Jesus (!!!) and sings songs about equality and love etc.

Mithun's eyes are finally open to the injustices meted to him, and he sets out to seek his revenge....but before that he calls up Sonam and makes out with her a little...(!!!)

Romance can wait- he dons some pretty fuggly outfits, and bashes guys wearing outfits as bad as he does...

Its like all parties concerned are trying to compete as to who can possibly look worse....a guy dies wearing Michael Jackson's jacket....

It all works out with Mithun finding that Anupam was truly the man behind Raj's murder (you'd think he know it already- since Anupam had himself asked him to kill the guy- but- I repeat, again- whatever).

Just as Anupam and Mithun are having a face off, the other villains arrive- the plot takes yet another 90-degree turn with the other goons now threatening to rape and ravage Sonam and take off w/ Anupam's wealth.

In another heartbeat, Anupam appears to be cradling the tied-up Mithun in his arms, begging him to save his daughter (Anupam's).

Mithum pulls a Samson,


Rofl....check out the cardboard pillars behind him....

And by the end of the ensuing fight, Anupam dies saving Mithun from a random bullet. Of course he betroths Sonam to Mithun before he dies off completely (!!!).

In conclusion: Breathless and unintentionally hilarious, this is truly a 80's Bollywood mayhem masterpiece- nothing makes a whit of sense, but then- you don't really want it to!

PS: Who wants to bet that the police actually returned that funky anklet to Mithun? :D And he lived happily ever after- with the anklet and the girl?