February 25, 2008

A Triple Whammy

I really do not appreciate Emran Hashmi. And therefore it seems a little evil to be regaling you with not one, not two, but three movies starring him. However, not all 3 were as awful as expected, plus I want you to recognize this as a true act of love for Bollywood :D

The Good:
Title: Aawarapan
Year: 2007
Cast: Emran Hashmi, Shreya Saran.

This is a really well shot movie- borrows heavily from Hong Kong-style gang movies, while shooting at some beautiful locales in Rajasthan as well.

Emran plays a small-time gangster from India, who left the country for Hong Kong when his girlfriend's dad killed her (rather than let her go on seeing Emran- honestly, I'd be tempted to do the same :D)

Emran blindly follows his boss's wishes in Hong Kong, until one day, the Boss gets a mistress. The girl wants to run away back to Pakistan with her lover, and Emran loses his life in helping them successfully escape.

1- Slick Camerawork.
2- The very beautiful Ms Saran.
3- Emran dies! I don't want to be mean, but the movie actually works, and I was wondering if his dying had some hand in that...:)

The Boss' moll and her boyfriend do not encourage any empathy whatsoever. Which kind of kills it, since she is central to the plot.

The Bad:
Title: Zeher
Year: 2005
Cast: Emran Hashmi, Udita Goswami, Shamita Shetty.

Emran is a police officer (hah), married to Shamita, also an officer (they seem to be working in the same offices- can a married couple do that legally??)

Emran and Shamita's marriage is on the rocks, and he begins an affair with Udita. Udita also happens to be married; to a abusive man who beats her up while she herself is slowly dying of cancer.

Emran steals some money from his offices to lend to Udita for her medical treatment. She dies soon after in a bomb blast, or so it appears.

Turns out Udita had been playing Emran all along; she and her husband were simply out to cheat Emran (how did THEY know he had access to any money? oh whatever). Shamita drops in to help Emran save the day, so that they can live happily (?) ever after.


1- Why do all the women in all his movies consider Emran so hot that they have these urges to jump into bed with him????
2- Emran just looks sorry for himself all the time, when it is HE who is cheating his wife- seriously! And Shamita takes him back! With hardly a question or two!!! Yikes!
3- Udita is wasting her time. Seriously. She should become a model or seek an alternative career.

Aside: Why am I wasting my time even writing this???? ah yes- Bollywood- love Bollywood- write what I saw- eehhhhh. help!!!!

The Ugly- truly ugly
Title: The Train
Year: 2007
Cast: Emran Hashmi, and a bunch of other folks.

Emran is a married executive, living with his wife and daughter in Bangkok. A rocky marriage and a daughter requiring a kidney transplant have made Emran's life pretty tough.

Does that make him a serious man sticking to his job and making things work? Nope. He meets up a woman on the train (hence the title), and begins an affair. They check into a hotel room, where a man breaks in, raping the woman, and blackmailing Emran into the bargain. Emran decides to grab all the money he and his wife have saved for their daughter's treatment, and give it to the blackmailer.

Yes really! At this point I was truly aghast. Regardless- Emran wises up soon after to the fact that the woman was in cahoots w/ the blackmailer, and decides to get his money back.

And does he get the money back- of course! Not only that, the daughter gets well, the wife is forgiving, and all is good in the movie world again....


1- This was truly a atrocity. Rape is treated as a plot device of the most vile kind.
2- Lots in common w/ Zeher- this "forgiving wife" syndrome seems to be following Emran in every movie.
3- The man steals the money meant for his kid's treatment! seriously! AAAgh! and then he gets back everything! wth!!!!

In conclusion:
Its done. I am glad. Also very tired now.

February 22, 2008

Jodha Akbar

Title: Jodha Akbar
Year: 2008
Cast: Hritik, Aishwariya, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Sonu Sood.

During the course of watching this, I found myself comparing it to "Lord of The Rings- The Return of the King," as opposed to any other movie. Perhaps because one thing "Jodha Akbar" does successfully is bring the historical epic back to Bollywood, with the best execution that the industry has ever experienced.

The historical facts are there, if a little twisted., and that should be attributed to the poetic licence granted to any artist, and surely Ashutosh is one. The movie opens with Akbar in the battlefield as a child, being introduced to the vagaries of war by Bairam Khan- his teacher and guardian...

While Akbar learns to rule, Jodha is in Amer, getting engaged and learning to sword fight with Sujamal, her cousin (a rather handy, old-time Bollywood plot device- show a character doing something well, and then use it at various times in the movie).

Akbar grows up into a surprisingly impressive Hritik, and quickly establishes himself as a secular ruler, bringing Bairam Khan to book fo attempting to kill off a captured ruler. (I agree w/ Sanket that Bairam's character is not explored properly- more screen time would have helped for sure, but there is only so much u can squeeze in to even 3.5 hrs).

Akbar was set to conquer the Rahjputana, the areas in Rajasthan ruled by the Rajputs. While many Rajput kings struggled and died in war against him, the king of Amer (Kulbhushan) decided to make peace with the Mughal king. This bought the king of Amer derision from all Rajputs, and as a matter of fact, till this day, Amer is looked down upon as betrayers of the community in Rajasthan (something I learned during my conversations w/ the locals this past year). Worsening his image in the community, but making his political future safe, Amer went off to Akbar, accepted his rule and offered him his daughter, Jodha, in marriage (since the Rajput she was engaged to wouldn't marry her now after Amer's treachery.

Akbar is taken aback, but then accepts the offer, accepting Jodha's wishes to follow Hinduism and have a small temple in her palace. The wedding is done, with Aishwariya looks appropriately ethereal.

There is a Sufi song and dance at the wedding, and while the song is beautiful, I am inclined to think that the dance should have picked up speed- every time I have seen it on the Travel channel, it seems to me that that particular style of dance moves to a crescendo before ebbing to become slow and then stop. Ah well. Still mindblowingly pretty.

Jodha begins to settle into her new home, and it was actually a rather clever plot point to bring in the consensual celibacy if you will. It introduced a definite sexual tension in the movie.

And the film progresses on to address various sub plots with Akbar proving himself as an able ruler and a good man, until he and Jodha finally fall in love.

(Sonu Sood) had taken off from Amer when the King had decided to hand over the rule to his own son Mansingh, rather than Sujamal, though the latter was a better candidate for the job. Sujamal was pretty mad, and had joined hands with Akbar's brother in law Sharifuddin (name means "decent"- hah) to plot against Akbar himself. Once the battles would be won, Sujamal would get Amer, and Sharifuddin Delhi and the rest of Akbar's holdings.

& Sharifuddin ride into battle against Amer, with Akbar riding in to save the day from the other side.

While the armies are camped and readying themselves to fight, Sujamal overhears Sharifuddin explaining, in classic Bollywood villain style, the details of his deviousness to his henchmen: After defeating Akbar, Sharifuddin would kill Akbar, and Sujamal wouldn't be spared either.

Not wanting his cousin Jodha's husband to die, Sujamal decides to alert Akbar. He is however found out, but somehow makes it to Akbar, spilling his guts and dying while apologising to Jodha.

From the point onwards, the movie kinda went downhill for me- the pace somehow flagged. Akbar and Sharifuddin have hand-to-hand combat, Sharifuddin loses, but Akbar forgives him, and everyone lives happily ever after (another old Bollywood device- the hero wins against in enemy in single combat, but forgives etc.)

1- Hritik acts- he CAN actually act. It amazes me no end. And Hritik's Urdu diction- he rolls his Rs, and gives appropriate depth to words, without affectation. His speech was the only part in the movie that reminded me of Prithvi Raj Kapur from Mughal-e-Azam- as effective. So good job sir: well played and well spoken.
2- Aishwariya wasn't shrieky! She is as graceful as needed - it was surprisingly easy to enjoy watching her. So well played too madam- just don't shriek anymore, don't laugh too much either- just look awed/dismayed/perplexed, and you will come through just fine, like you did here
3- The locales and studios- Mr Gowrikar, your set designer rocks (much as I dislike that word).
4- The epic itself- it was SO good to see a proper historic battle- the whole sense of grandeur was just so well captured.


Not so sure about the editing; Some scenes are just abrupt: After Akbar's return from Amer to get back Jodha, the scene just switches back to Agra without a by-your-leave. 2- The various Akbar-Jodha montages from the movies that are played back at the end of the movie with Amitabh's voiceover- just didn't cut it for me. 3-Bairam Khan appears in the beginning, and then in the very end.

Was it just me who was reminded of the messenger-thrown-in-the-well scene from 300, when Hritik had Mahamanga's son thrown down the palace roof?

February 21, 2008


Title: Sunday
Year: 2008
Cast: Ajay Devgun, Ayesha Takia, Irfan Khan, Arshad Warsi.

If you have visited here often, then you have to know that I adore Irfan Khan- I try to watch all his work, which is always entertaining- whether he is being goofy or serious. I first fell in love with him in "The Namesake," and since then have sat through even crap like "Charas" and "Rog" for his sake :D

And Sunday doesn’t disappoint- not in the least. Aside from Irfan, every one else puts in very decent performances as well.

What it is:

Ayesha is an animation dubbing artist blessed with a terrible memory, living in New Delhi. One Saturday night, she returns from a club- when she wakes up it is Monday- she has lost one day in between, and cannot remember where Sunday went...

On top of it, goons seem to be following her everywhere, with intent to murder. The local police inspector, Ajay comes to her rescue, and in a true Bollywood-style coincidence, also just happens to be the guy whom Ayesha's mom wants her to marry.

By the time this crazy ride ends, we find that Ayesha had been up to quite a bit Saturday night- escaped date rape by the breadth of a hair, copped a ride on Arshad's crazy red taxi, danced w/ Arshad and Irfan (a struggling actor who hitches rides w/ Arshad in costumes ranging from Ravan to Don) and been a witness to a murder- which she does not remember. The highlight of most of this madness turns out to be Irfan's many costume changes:

The murderer is obviously the man who has sent hired goons to kill her, and the rest of it is Ajay's investigation zeroing in onto the man, with Irfan and Arshad's bumbling assistance.

Alls well that ends well: Ayesha and Ajay end up married, Arshad ends up with a travel agency w/ red cars all around, and Irfan finally becomes a star- of Bhojpuri movies :D

In conclusion: This was really quite entertaining- a fairly engaging murder mystery that manages to be light-hearted and comic and fun all at once. The climax is a bit of a let down, but no serious complaints.

1- A movie shot in Delhi- I have a weakness for my old stomping grounds, so I love to watch any movie with Delhi in it.
2- Ayesha, Arshad, Irfan- adorable, wholesome, fun- I can watch these three forever. Irfan constantly pokes fun at himself as well as the Bollywood fraternity, and ...oh haven’t I said I love him? :D also liked the guy who plays Ajay's sidekick- he usually appears in villainous roles, and here he exhibits some very good comic timing. Ajay just needs to get a decent hair color- seriously.
3- The murderer IS NOT obvious- unlike 90% of Bollywood mysteries- so the suspense quite sustains through the end.
4- And I like the songs...my car blasts Sunday everyday...
Quibbles: Nothing really- it delivers way more than the promos promise.

February 20, 2008


Title: Mithya
Year: 2008
Cast: Ranvir Shorey, Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay, Saurabh Shukla, Neha Dhupia.

Mithya: false/unreal/fake/untrue.

I saw this movie simply by chance, and once I did, I was truly very impressed by it. It’s a black comedy, one of the many inde-style movies that are coming out of Bollywood in recent years.

Ranvir plays a down-beat actor struggling in Bollywood, living alone in Bombay. One day, he is kidnapped by Naseer and Saurabh (who are underworld dons)'s goons. He has an assignment- he happens to look exactly like another Bombay don, Raju, and must learn all of Raju's mannerisms. Naseer and Saurabh plan to bump off Raju, a rival ganglord, and replace him with Ranvir. (Shades of Don, anyone?)

The replacement happens. and Ranvir manages, precariously, to act out Raju's "role." One day, as he is sharing his fears and apprehensions with Naseer's girlfriend Neha (who is secretly in love with Ranvir, and therefore very sympathetic), he falls off a 5-storey building and loses his memory...

When Ranvir now rewakes at Raju's house, he has amnesia. He begins to truly believe that he is Raju, and begins to care for Raju's wife and kids like his own.

Angry with their plans being upset, Naseer and Saurabh reveal to Raju's family and gang Ranvir's truth.

Kicked out by Raju's family, Ranvir is reduced to a complete sense of suspension. He loses a sense of reality, attempts to kidnap Raju's kids, believing them to be his own. Finally, Neha rescues him from the streets, and attempts to flee with him, escaping her own existence.
Unlike a typical Bollywood movie, this doesn’t turn out well: Naseer, Saurabh and Raju's Brother join hands and track the two down, and kill them brutally. In his last moments, Ranvir's memories finally come back to him.

1-It is funny, painful and very rough at times. It’s a very good piece of art- some fine acting, especially by Ranvir who is absolutely brilliant. Neha Dhupia acts very well, for once, and, so does the actor who plays Raju's wife.
2- A different story! which works, though I have a quibble about it too (see below). There was almost a falvor reminiscent of "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron"- maybe good movie days are truly here again!

1- Vinay Pathak and Naseeruddin come off a bit underused. I love these two actors, and the movie just doesn’t focus enough on them- not that it needs to honestly.
2- I don’t necessarily see the point of the movie- what it was precisely trying to say..... that it is a fake world and we are all actors? mmm- still thinking...

Pure Speculation:
Vinay and Ranvir seem to have done a lot of work together- TV shows, Talk Show hosting, movies- are they "just friends" or lovers? (We have since changed our minds- see Memsaab's comment on this post)

Useless Information:
Saurav Shukla has acted as well as co-written the script with Rajat Kapur, who also directs the movie, and was seen in "Monsoon Wedding" and "Dil Chahta Hai."

February 15, 2008

I need to see this....NOW

I am getting good vibes about Jodha Akbar-

Normally I do not like either Aishwariya or Hritik, I found 'em intolerable in Dhoom II, but somwhow, I am fairly convinced that Ashutosh has done a brilliant job in the movie, and so I am dyyyyying to watch it! ...like now....

February 11, 2008

Not dead- just lagging

February is a pretty horrible month for me.
I am out of town, working in the most luxurious offices I have ever seen, right next to the sea shore- however, for the entire period, I neither see the bright sunshine, nor smell the ocean breeze, since we work from 7am to 9pm daily. To add pain to misery, even my desk faces away from the picture window's really amazing view.

That said, posting is difficult, though I have seen some pretty glorious movies over the weekend- soon- I promise (said promise is being made at 3:oo am at night/morning).

February 1, 2008

Dance Dance (nope I wont- sorry)

“Atlantis is calling…SOS for love” got turned into “Zubi Zubi Zubi,” and became the theme song for this enchantingly idiotic sequel to 1985’s “Disco Dancer.”

If "Disco Dancer" was 10 years behind the disco craze, this was 15. Do we care? Not at all- therefore let us jump whole heartedly into this insane atrocity. During the course of this review, I will be pointing out similarities from Disco dancer....so beware! :D

Title: Dance Dance
Year: 1987
Cast: Mithun, Mandakini, Amreesh Puri, Om Shivpuri, Shakti Kapur, Smita Patil.

Shyam and Sita have a band!

They also have 2 kids: Radha and Ramu, and are poor as churchmice, but still insist on feeding halwa (a Indian sweet) to Ramu (a very annoying kid- as bad as the one in Disco Dancer).

The parent's get a offer to sing in another town, and take off, leaving the kids behind. Keep in mind that the girl child, Radha, is barely a year older, but must still take care of Ramu and feed him in the parents' absence. (Someone call social security! NOW!)

On their out-of-town engagement, the father is killed off and the mother abducted by AM Singh (Amreesh), our villian of the day. Amreesh decides to keep the mom with him, and bother her with hideous music tht he insists on entertaining her with.

The kids grow up by themselves and exhibit terrible fashion choices....

Radha is played by Smita Patil, a very talented actor- I have no idea why she agreed to this movie, cos she gets a really bad deal on costuming. Also she is the "mother figure" for Ramu (Mithun) with echoes grounded in "Disco dancer." (DD from here on)

Radha anad Ramu also have a band- apparently their parents doing badly in entertainment didnt stop them.

They become fairly popular, and even wear worse costumes, if that is possible...

Ramu falls for Juanita (pronounced Jaanita in the movie for some reason), as played by a fairly beautiful Mandakini.

Radha marries Resham (Shakti Kapur) who beats and tortures her to the extent that she dies on day.
This leads to a prompt embrace of alcoholism by Ramu, who becomes completely socially inept and refuses to perform (more DD anyone?), despite much singing by Juanita.

Juanita keeps performing, and one day goes to the same town that Ramu's parents did when he was a kid. She too is seen performing by AM Singh- the guy does nothing but watch TV or go to shows, still playing the ol' trumpet.

AM Singh's attempt to kidnap Juanita is thwarted by Ramu's mom, who saves the day with a machine gun!!!!

Back in Bombday, Ramu is finally reunited w/ him mom, gets a automatic punch of confidence back, and swears to avenge himself on AM Singh. Also note how the mom-son duo have completely forgotten Radha and avenging her death...tsk tsk.

Juanita and Ramu perform, AM Singh attacks, and all hell breaks loose...and Mithun fights the baddies in a women's flashdance costume.

Resham dies saving Ramu (I guess that somehow makes it OK for his having killed Radha- snort), and AM Singh is taken off by the police, and they keep dancing happily ever after.

  1. TONS of DD references in the movie- the manager is again called "David Brown", which is played by Om Shivpuri, also in DD.
  2. The songs are terrible. Truly terrible. Especially the 1st one "Aagaya Aagaya"- ughhh.
  3. Love the 80s fashions. Here are some screencaps of the super mad ones...

    men in white mini skirts (:O)