Bollywood-ish

Monday, 21 April 2014

Yaariyan

Directed by: Divya Khosla Kumar
Starring: Himansh Kohli, Rakul Preet Singh, Deepti Naval, Gulshan Grover
Released: 2013
My rating: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing – experience 


Mothers are saint. And girls exist to wear bikini and let random guys drool over them. Also, if you are a principal in need of saving your college, you should totally make a bet with nasty white man and send five most unlikable, lazy, undisciplined and just rubbish students you can find to fight a seriously stupid contest, because one of their fathers gave his life for Hindustan. Also, since the competition has some life threatening tasks, it´s fine not to have a single safety measure taken.

I expected this to be bad and stupid so you could say it exceeded my expectations. It was beyond dumb, dumbest film I have seen in a while. There is difference between taking some liberty as a filmmaker and making a film that is just RIDICULOUS STUPID and illogical.

Yaariyan stands for everything that is regressive, lazy filmmaking, and if indeed this is Divya Khosla´s first attempt at it - well, I hope she is not making another film ever again, not if she wants to exploit stereotypes, drive them to extremes and insult me as a woman, as a student and as an audience.

Cliché upon cliché, the whole plot is ridiculous and forced, and it would be a waste of time to try point out all the nonsense involved. Unlikeable lead actors (with one exception only) do not show any spark of talent or screen presence, none of them is a lead role material. Boys are sex driven machos and girls are annoying, affected and with no soul (and yeah, their dorm look like a barbie house.) It just felt all so terribly degrading it might be the most awful film to women since last year´s Shootout at Wadala. Just puke-worthy.

I thought Student of the Year was BAD, but Yaariyan is much, much worse. I still don´t understand how an adult woman could pen down a story in which every single woman except for the saintly Maa is nothing but a sexual object. And it ends with a close-up of a girl´s ass being – surprise surprise – stared at by a boy who is at the same time busy kissing a girl he supposedly loves. And bam. Closing title are showing Divya Khola´s baby boy and her boasting how awesome she is to be both director and a mother. W-T-F woman!

The only better point goes to catchy music, which at few points acts as a saving grace (I unashamedly loved Baarish). A flickering light of hope in all the darkness is Deepti Naval in a short, ungrateful and unimaginative role, in which she still manages to overshadow all the unworthy younglings. Hell, even Gulashan Grover annoyed me because his character of the school principal was so in need of a shrink and nobody in their right mind would ever appoint him to be responsible even for a cat.

And why the hell was it named "Yaariyan"? It has nothing to do with bonding or friendship! Those are just superficial terms never explored in this superficial movie. Don´t watch this film unless you are brave enough to discover some real lows of Indian cinema.


(I accidentally deleted the film before writing the review hence I did not have an oportunity to take screencaps to go along with the review. Here: have the only bearable bit of the film instead)


Hasee Toh Phasee

Directed by: Vinil Mathew
Starring: Siddhart Maholtra, Parineeti Chopra
Released: 2014
My rating: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing – experience


She is supposed to be a genius, so it is a pity we are only told that but never really shown. She is also supposed to have big trouble, but we are never shown the final solution. And him? He is marrying her sister. And just really wants everything to go smoothly. Which turns impossible with her around. That is Hasee Toh Phasee in a nutshell. Not free of the predictable factor, it still deserves some slack for trying to dress the romcom with some new and unusual ideas and twists. Most notably the girl is not „Bollywood beautiful“ and even though she dons a gorgeous saree or two at some point there is never a „make over“ needed for the guy to fall in love with her.

Parineeti doesn´t have a good start in the movie. And even when you realize she is on some strange mix of medications, and not in a regular human mode, it doesn´t really make the impression of her acting any better. She goes over the top a lot, but as the film and story progress, she slowly comes to her own and really becomes the character of Meeta. By the end of the movie she will have sold it to you completely. Her scene at the airport is brilliant. She is not crying. She is bawling, sobbing and all those emotions the pills would always put under control just overflow. (but WTF that lady in the bathroom did not see her her taking all those pills and throw up later? If this happened in front of my eyes I would at least ask if everything was OK).


Even though Meeta is a more complex character (she displays both determination and utter vulnerability all wonderfully blended in one) Siddhart Malhotra, who is either all drenched from the rain or his own sweat, yet not once does he take off his shirt (take notes Karan Johar!), is more than what he seemed in his debut film, I am pleased to say. He actually has potential and does very commendable job. He remains subdued, yet convincing. The performances by both Siddhart and Parineeti, as well as their interaction (which however isn´t full of crackling chemistry) are the highlight.

As are dangerously catchy songs. I still maintain that NOBODY can "shake it like Shammi" (and picturization of the song proves me only rights), but one is really tempted to try when the tune begins to play. Zehnaseeb is lovely and so is Ishq Bulaava. The Punjabi wedding song is no great shakes, but looks good on screen. The only song I could have done without was the Drama Queen, but since it plays during the closing titles, it doesn´t disrupt the flow of the film and can be skipped.


You may smile but it won´t really "catch" you in the end. Hasee Toh Phasee makes for a nice watch and has some strong points, overall it doesn´t emerge as a memorable film though. The entertainment is cleverly served to the audience throughout, so it never really feels boring, however the bits in between are hastily filled in with some really weird nonsense gravy. For example I did not understand the need for the whole tamasha with a stolen necklace. It did not show anything about any of the characters, neither it was funny – and in the end it remain unresolved, with the real thief never being discovered or punished. Also, the „peeing“ scene was awkward and random (if you need to go and are locked in a room, how about doing it in some corner instead of right under you and sitting in it?). It also feels weird to see someone exchange a girlfriend of seven years for a girl of seven days.


Hasee Toh Phasee is a film of a promise of future actor Siddhart and possibly also of more interesting romcoms to come.


Friday, 4 April 2014

R... Rajkumar

Directed by: Prabhudeva
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Sonakshi Sinha
Released: 2013
My rating: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing – experience


It goes without saying that Prabhudeva the director is stuck somewhere in the 90s and he seems to be immensely happy there. Which explains why, much like his previous movie Ramaiya Vastavaiya, R... Rajkumar doesn´t bring anything new or unexpected to the table. That in itself doesn´t mean that much, after all even movies that take a tried and tested formula can manage to be entertaining, and that, in the end, is really what counts. R... Rajkumar is good and enjoyable in bits, but overall I felt it was extremely random. In fact, it reminded one of those (in)famous Bollywood subplots that hop along the main story, just the main story here was completely edited out. You are left with comic sidekicks and romantic flavouring, but the great conflict that would be the driving machine of the film is omitted.


Stuff just happens in this story. Whatever little of actual motivation and reason is there gets introduced way too late for you not to question it. Who is this Rajkumar dude for the starters? He just randomly appears among two mortal enemies (one of whom is my favourite Sonu Sood) who try to dominate the trade of opium in some rural area, joins the gang of one and falls for the niece of the other (and since we are technically in the 90s this is the eternal and solid love at the first sight). Trouble only starts when the two gang leaders join hands and decide that the niece be shaadied to Sonu. After beating up all his goons our Rajkumar then declares he is "asli mard" who could take the gal away immediately but instead decides to marry her on the day decided for Sonu´s wedding. (aka he is a douche who doesn´t wanna pay for the wedding. So manly, yo.)


There is lots of beating goondas up and lots of threats that nobody cares for and the finale is over-dragged festival of (actually pretty gore) fighting between the hero and the villain while Sonakshi gets to stand aside and cry without a sound the whole time. The end is as random as the rest of the movie. What happened to Rajkumar and his lady love? From what I understand he is in drug business and just killed his boss. And she is a niece of a drug dealer too. Like... do they take over now, move to Kuala Lumpur, sell opium and drink champaigne with Russian mafia or what?


The stronger points of the movie are Shahid Kapoor and Sonu Sood, and - if you manage to surpress your frustration over such voluntarily waste of talent - Sonakshi Sinha. Soundtrack is good with already notorious Saree Ka Fall Sa being the best of the lot and mad fun to watch on screen. Shahid and Sonakshi are not at all a bad couple. While he seems quite natural throughout (and shows why he is the best male dancer in the industry), Sonakshi is slowly killing herself with her pathetic movie choices. Whatever she shows we have already seen, and not just once. The girl has it all and yet, she is now so incredibly boring to watch I could cry. I cannot even tell her characters apart (with the exception of Lootera) anymore. She is utterly gorgeous, but I wonder how long that will be saving her. Sonu Sood is a darling and proves yet again both his awesome physique as well as good comic timing. I would have married him.


R... Rajkumar is a timepass you cannot take seriously, and as such it can fulfill the ultimate goal of any movie: to entertain. If you love it, good for you, just don´t try to pass it onto others as great and quality cinema.