Friday, 29 April 2011

Half Ticket

Directed by: Kalidas
Starring: Kishore Kumar, Madhubala, Pran
Released: 1962
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Why did my copy of this had to be SO bad? Not so much in quality (though even there was much left to be desired), but somebody mindlessly edited out many scenes and the rest was quite often cut in half, leaving the viewer puzzled. Thankfully even like that I managed to understand the story and the situations the main hero gets into.

Kishore Kumar plays Vijay, a completely useless son of a rich industrialist. He is sent to school (I´ll not comment on how ridiculous he looks as a student) but instead of studying he is creating riots among other students and every other day he threatens the authorities with going on strike, until his father finally decides to také him away from the college. But what to do with such a good-for-nothing person? Heading the advice of a friend Vijay´s father decides that maybe when he is married his son shall mend his ways. And so he starts looking for a suitable bride. But Vijay sabottages all the attempts and disgraces his family in the process. And then finally the cup of patience overflows and Vijay is driven away from home.
Adorable "Munna"
Not skilled in anything but clever enough Vijay decides to go to Bombay and start a new life, but at the station he finds out he does not have enough money for a ticket. After tricking a fat child he steals his clothes and manages successfullypass himself off as a child and buy a half ticket. Unknown to him he has got a diamond in his pocket. That was inserted there by a diamond smuggler (played by Pran) for „safe-keeping“, but the smuggler soon realizes it just might be the biggest mistake of his shady career. „Munna“ as Vijay now calls himself disappears from his sight as soon as they board the train. There Vijay runs into stunningly beautiful Rajnidevi (heavenly, heavenly Madhubala), and she, considering him a mentally ill but harmless person, offers her help.... And „Munna“ is sure to need it, because the diamond is still in his pocket!
Madhubala ( *sigh* )
One can only dream of such honest, nice comedy to be shot today. The humour is simple and pure, nothing forced or vulgar. The situations „Munna“ gets into while running away from „Chacha“ are hilarious, and though they fill pretty much the whole second part of the film, they do not bore at all. The film uses truly all possible means of comedy from sarcasm, irony, people being silly to people mistaking words etc. The king here is Kishore Kumar. His timing is brilliant and his expressions and dialogue delivery priceless. I was a bit bothered about him pretending to be a child, because he did no way looked like one, but fortunatelly later it turns out he did not pretend to be a „child“, but a mentally disturbed person, so it does make sense. Madhubala adds her incomparable charm to the film, and the comic scenes she is given are just as delightful, sadly there are not many.

Music is beautiful, my favourite song has to be hilariously (and beautifully at the same time) picturized Woh Ek Nigah Kya Mili, during which a very young, vivacious Helen makes a special appearance in the film.

The finale is completely over the top, action packed and hilarious – both intentinally and unintetionally, the latter because of „special effects“ that makes one smile benevolently when watched today. This was my first Kishore Kumar film, and I definitely am going to watch more in the future. I just hope they shall be as good as this one.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Directed by: Nikhil Advani
Starring: John Abraham, Vidya Balan, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Govinda, Shannon Esra, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takia, Sohail Khan, Ishaa Koppikar
Released: 2007
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Quite entertaining but without much impact. Non-demanding fun for everybody. Lots of great actors, lots of film references, lots of love and that of many forms. The six couples represent six stories that together have only one thing in common: being love stories in one way or another.

So we have:
  1. John and Vidya in a Venezuelan telenovela style story: He is a Hindu, she is a Muslim. But they love each other and just celebrated their wedding anniversary. But then Vidya suffers a serious injury in a train crash, after which she partly looses her memory (yes, that part which included her husband). And now John is sad and miserable and he does all he can to help his wife regain the memories of love......

  2. Salman and Priyanka in a typical Bollywood romantic comedy: She is a famous item girl desiring to be next Madhubala, a true heroine with memorable performances. And so she makes up a story about „Rahul“, her true love, to make herself interesting, gain attention and give an impression of her purity (fit for Indian heroine). But then a guy appears and claims to be her true love Rahul... and for the sake of fame she plays along....

  3. Anil and Juhi in westernized drama about a failing marriage: They are NRIs living in London with their children. She takes care of the family, he spends his days in the office, where he obviously does nothing but sitting and watching the clock. Then he travels by tube, and one day his eyes fall upon a young girl. And the middle-crisis stricken man begins an affair with her, deceiving his wife......

  4. Govinda and Shannon in a typical Bollywood romantic comedy no. 2: He is a taxi driver dreaming about one true love. She is a brash blonde American searching for a guy who promised to marry her, but now is in India to hunt for a nice India bride. Govinda and his taxi are more then helpful, but the groom is escaping all the time. And poor Govinda falls in love....

  5. Akshaye and Ayesha in a modernized Bollywood romantic film: They are about to be married, but then Akshaye gets really cold feet and does whatever he can to ruin the wedding. None of those work. And when he finally makes peace with his marriage, Ayesha finds out something that makes her call the whole wedding off. And Akshaye realizes what a fool he is...

  6. Sohail and Ishaa in south-indian-ish comedy: Just got married, both eager to make love..... and never succeding in it! First the house burns down, then some children disturb, then their car breaks give in...... Making love is not easy at all!

All the stories had a potential to be good movies on their own. They were funny when supposed to, they were sad when supposed to, they had beginning and end, they made sense. There was wit, fun, fluff, shirt-less Salman, some teary moments. But with six rather powerful plots full of wonderful chances there is hardly any time to explore them in depth. The actors did not really have a chance to show the real scope of the characters in the limited time they were given. Put all together they create a fun collage, but there is nothing truly remarkable about any of them. Pity. The editing was flawless though, practically seamless.

All the actors are good. Among the men Govinda with his perfect comic timing and priceless expressions stands out the most, among women it is Juhi Chawla with her sensitive approach who has the greatest acting proweness. Special mentions belong to Akshaye Khanna, who yet again proves his versatility, and to Vidya Balan. John, Priyanka, Salman, Ayesha.... all are more like an eye-candies (if they rock your boat, that is). Anil Kapoor without a moustache is a horrendous sight to behold. The most moving (read tear-jerking) story is that of John and Vidya, the funniest and cutest story is the one of Sohail and Isha, but sadly it is given the least footage and serves more like a fun cameo.

There is really not much to review. There are no strong ideas or innovative remarks that would rise in your mind. Enjoy and move on. That´s it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Directed by: Karan Johar
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor
Released: 2001
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

„Not-at-all-dear Karan Johar,

I hate you with passion. Because what you do is that you thrust your greedy hand into people´s chest, you rip their hearts out and then you dance tango over them in tapping shoes. You want them to cry. You want them to cry a LOT. You don´t want to give them anything. You only want to take. While your venture with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was watchable and Kal Ho Naa Ho quite fun thanks to Saif Ali Khan, your atrocious Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is the best example of a commercial crap that forces out tears, tears and more tears under a pretext of being a film about family values.

Worst regards

Not-ever-yours Hater.“

I have seen films that bored me to death. I have seen films that made me angry with sheer stupidity. I have seen films that left me utterly confused. K3G 1.) bored me to death 2.) made me angry with sheer stupidity 3.) left me utterly confused PLUS 4.) made me hate Karan Johar and Jaya Bachchan. Why did I watch it then? Because it sadly is one of the most famous films of the past decade and even more sadly it is hugely popular. I can positively say that the films I´ve seen so far and hated had at least one redeeming quality to them. But this has NOTHING, nothing at ALL!!! The story itself is not bad, though not the most exciting or original ever (that wouldn´t bother me one bit). The script though is TERRIBLE, performances bellow average at their best and direction shows a lazy approach with one aim only – to make a hit film. Not a film for someone. Film for money! That is what makes Karan Johar stand out among other directors. His unashamed hunger for commercial success. And he will use anything to get it. I don´t even know where to start with all the bashing of this waste of celluloid!

Amitabh Bachchan plays an elderly father of a family, that consists of his wife (Jaya Bachchan) and two sons, adopted Rahul (yeah yeah.... Shahrukh and who else. They run out of names for him a long time ago) and their own Rohan (some fat kiddo, then Hrithik Roshan). They are a PERFECT family. And I mean PERFECT (aka they have larger than life photos of themselves everywhere, including one really freaky family portrait). They love each other, they celebrate Diwalis in STYLE and they are DISGUSTINGLY rich. Their house was apparently imported from England and used to be a castle. They don´t usually use cars (those are apparently for poor), they prefer helicopters, and they have a garden of a size of central China. But then Rahul falls in love with a poor girl Anjali (Kajol). BOOM BOOM BOOM!!! Thunder strikes and it signifies Amitabh Bachchan is not amused. After Rahul hears out some abuses on the adress of a girl he loves, he does what every perfect son would – he begs on his knees for forgiveness. But duh! Anjali just lost her father. And so instead of dumping her Rahul marries her. BOOM BOOM BOOM!!! Amitabh Bachchan is like seriously pissed. So he says that from now on Rahul should get out. And Rahul goes. And because obviously India is way too small, he settles down in London. There his wife gets birth to a son and next ten years spends with xenophobic ranting against everything even remotely English. With them lives also Anjali´s younger sister Pooja (Kareena Kapoor), who grows up into a Paris Hilton-ish airhead and with her equally stupid friends rules the college. But then her heart is stricken with love as soon as a MUSCULAR guy gets out of his fancy red car. YEAH! Rohan, Rahul´s younger brother, lost the baby fat (but he still cannot do his shoe-laces) and now he set out to unite his family. And the best way to do so is to pretend you are a complete stranger and sneak into Rahul´s home. Wah Wah. Kya planning hai! By this time I was really thinking about killing myself and only finished the film because I found fascinating how BAD it actually was.
Absolutely typical Indian home.
Karan Johar says that „It is all about loving your parents“, but the film says that it is all about endless whining, weeping, sobbing, crying and being miserable. They are still talking about how they love each other, but NOBODY does ANYTHING to show that love. No. They prefer to call you a disgrace (Amitabh), sulk in London for ten years (Shahrukh), emotionally blackmail everyone (Hrithik) or bulging eyes while silently crying (Jaya). There is absolutely no love going on on the screen. You cannot feel any emotions. All the actors are like in their own vacuum, where they act, and they just happen to be in one frame together. There is nothing that could be called an interaction. Amitabh is highly unlikable as a stubborn aging father who loves his authority more then his family. Jaya Bachchan getting an award for looking retarded most of the time is an insult. Shahrukh Khan is looking unforgivably sexy, but is so clean and sweet and perfect that even he was a sore to look at after all that whining! Kajol, whom I finally started to like more then just tolerating her presence on screen, is made to behave like a drunken twit (I shall never forgive Karan for this). And since I am among the minority who does not really see what is THAT special about them, their jodi does not save anything for me. Rani is decent and wasted and forgettable. Hrithik is a goody goody with muscles and that´s where it ends. Kareena had no importance in the story at all.
Music, except for two songs, is very average. And there is one more thing about Karan Johar´s films: the main theme shall repeat again...and again.... and again..... until you feel like kicking into something every time it appears. I had the same problem with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai main theme. And when they inserted it into this film too, it just couldn´t get any worse.... I usually don´t mind mentions of other films and such, but here Karan was celebrating his own film, and that is cringeworthy to say the least. The visuals are terrible. When Yash Chopra makes an imaginary, utopistic clean world for his characters to live in, it is all just a background for feelings and there is honesty in his films. Karan Johar overwhelms you (and makes you practically sick) with the sheer opulence, that is kind of falling on you and you suffocate under it. The visuals are MEANT to overwhelm you. They are not a part of the story at all (as it is the case with Bhansali´s films). They are simply there and make you uneasy. And when a choir of English kids starts singing Indian anthemn, the patriotism is so forced down your throat it´s hard not to be almost physically sick. And just in case you are not moved enough, they will show you a disabled girl smiling happily during that.

Not moving, not appealing, not honest, not even cheesy. A cringeworthy documentary on „How to weep annoyingly and steadily“.

"Can we stop weeping now, please?"

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tanu weds Manu

Directed by: Anand L. Rai
Starring: Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill
Released: 2011
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Out of all the new movies this one was the one I was really looking for. The trailers and promo pictures were promising a colourful, masala comedy with some fluff and romance, exactly that kind I´m so missing in modern Bollywood. Add to it I was completely smitten by Kangana in Fashion and completely taken in by Madhavan in 3 Idiots and what have you? Something to be excited about. Sadly whatever was really good about the film was in the trailers and the film falls into the unfortunate cathegory of „don´t expect much and you might enjoy“.

Manu (meaning „Manoj“) is a young NRI living in London and being a heart doctor. But his own heart is still very much asleep, and only to please his parents he decides to return to India for a time and get married. The girl, of course, should be as traditional and desi as possible. Manu is a quiet type without much expectations and ready to settle down with any decent girl. Therefore he , his parents and friend Pappi set out to find this perfect match. The first girl to be considered is Tanuja „Tanu“. Her family is somehow nervous though, when it comes to introducing the girl. After he is explained Tanu is ill and has taken some medicaments so she is sleepy, Manu is taken to Tanu´s room and right after the girl falls flat on her back, completely asleep and completely uninterested, Manu falls in love (really). The family happiness over the engagement is short-lived, when Manu, the very next day, says he does not want to marry. And only he and Pappi know that the real reason is Tanu, who, after regaining her senses, bluntly told Manu she´s not in the least interested in him, she has a boyfriend – and she was smoking while saying that!
Chunari ke neeche kya hai?
Charming Princess?
Or a massive bitch? (answer 2 is right)
Poor Manu then absolves the searching for a bride trip, but no girl really makes an impression on him or his parents. Sick and tired of the futile chase Manu plans to return to London, when an invitation for his friend´s wedding in Punjab reaches him. Manu and Pappi arrive, and very soon arrives also the bride Payal with her best friend – yes, you are guessing right – Tanu! Manu´s hopes are slowly growing again. He and Tanu spend some time together doing a romantic girlfriend/boyfriend stuff (which does NOT include any dirty things, it consists mostly of going for ice cream together and him choosing and buying her jewelery), only to be stabbed in the heart as soon as Tanu tels him she came to Punjab not just for the wedding, but is planning to meet her boyfriend and they are going to be secretly married themselves......

The story had so much potential it is almost a crime how much of it was neglected. It provided wonderful possibilities for some truly hilarious situations, but practically none were taken. In the result Tanu weds Manu is more of a romance then comedy, and not even as a romance it is convincing. The first and the foremost problem is: Why on the earth Manu loves Tanu? There is nothing, absolutely no redeeming quality about the girl, and just like her friend tells her, she´s „no Madhubala“ to count on her beauty either. Maybe was Manu charmed by her energy and spirit, but there is really nothing that could possibly make any guy I now truly love her with devotion (as we see it with Manu). She is unnecessarily rude, shameless, over-confident, self-centered and irresponsible, not to mention very mean and deceitful. And even as the film comes to an end and she realizes the value of Manu´s love, you cannot see any real change in her, even though that might be given by a very little screen time she is given after being „reformed“. Kangana, who made me gasp with her acting skils in Fashion, got on my nerves terribly in this one. Tanu in her interpretation came off as even more arrogant and FAKE then she would be had any other actress taken up the challenge. Her smile, her laughter, even her anger, all was way too unnatural and made me cringe. Tanu is therefore the greatest flaw of the movie.

Madhavan makes up for Kangana a big time. He is very natural, very charming, very nice to watch on screen. Sure, he is not the handsomest sexy male beast out there, never was and never will be, but there is something truly endearing and honest about him. He is like a big teddy-bear and I wanted to throw myself at him and be his good wife till the rest of our lives as I watched him pine endlessly after such an unworthy tramp.
"Tanu is a bitch."

"Just what did I see in her?"

"I´m coming to the Czech republic to fetch you darling!"
Sadly Manu completely lacks any fire. He is believable as a character, but I wanted him to do more then just stand aside and help the girl he loved marry somebody else. No. He should have sabotaged the wedding attempts (one denial of having a pen at wedding registry does not count) and he should have been given some serious action. But the script fails and Manu, as cute and sweet as he is, does not have any lasting impact on the viewer.

The supporting cast is more interesting (except for Jimmy Shergill who is the exact type of guy I cannot stand) then the lead pair, which is in fact quite sad. The level-headed Payal and her way too eager for love making future husband are a rooted, real couple with wonderful chemistry, and Payal also shows us a woman can be a tough cookie with ideas of her own while at the same time hold some values and principles (unlike Tanu who takes her negativity to the extreme). Pappi is hilarious and unjustly wasted, I was hoping to see him romancing that one girl, but in the end it was a sub-plot that lead nowhere.
What is it about unatractive guys that you honestly want to see more of?
And why did Tanu take those sleeping pills and splashed them with vodka before meeting with Manu? What exactly did she want to do? Obviously not kill herself. And did she really think simply sleeping through the meeting will save her from unwanted aliance? I was more then puzzled.....

The ending did not really make sense. So Tanu´s family is worried about what Raj (her boyfriend) is going to do if they wed her to Manu and they decide to have him thrown into the lock-up for the wedding day, but as soon as the wedding procession arrives at the place where marriage is to také place, Raj is coming with his own baraat. Seems the police took the bribe for locking him up but then decided not to do anything. Kangana in the ending scene should have been given some space, after all the whole argument was about her, yet nobody even asks her to speak up, all she does is standing there with her mouth wide open.

There is some nice desi-ness involved though. The film is colourful, but not over the top, there are old Bollywood songs playing from the radio, there is a wonderful wedding happiness in Punjab..... Music and dancing are just above average. And I think that the same can be said about the whole film.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Celebrating the music of Dil To Pagal Hai

I heart this movie. Live with it. And one of the reasons it´s that absolutely wonderful soundtrack. I am NOT a fan of Lata Mangeshkar, it took me some time to get used to her voice, but as soon as I did there was not a single flaw in the musical part of DTPH. And since it clearly claims to be "Yash Chopra´s MUSICAL" there is a LOT of music. The film opening credits are one of the cutest ever, from the main message to the last couple shown, which incidentally is Yash Chopra himself, huging his wife.

And then we are given something about love too, but it definitely is nothing fluffy! Make way for energetic Karishma Kapoor and her - possibly best and most famous dance number ever!

Next there is Shahrukh sharing his fantasy about a girl with an innocent face, who has mischief in her eyes and shies away. It was his favourite song from the film by the way.

A song that set a trend of heart-shaped baloons for a Valentine´s day. I must admit some of Shahrukh´s choreography (left arm up, right arm up, left arm forward, right arm forward....) reminded me of some silly school dancing we did as kids, but in the end it´s SRK and nobody really cares, because even with silly moves he looks sexy. If you have not seen the film yet - no, Madhuri and Shahrukh don´t knoweach other yet. It doens´t stop them from singing songs about each other though. I love Bollywood.

The title song - favourite track for both Madhuri and Karishma. Shot in Germany, which I find terribly cute (and a relief after all the Swiss Alps Yash Chopra was serving us for years). Only Akshay´s ridiculous haircut spoils a bit the perfect picture.

But happy times do not last forever, do they? And so Nisha is injured and Rahul in need of a new dancer.... And then she just appears - like an illusion in a moonlight. Like a beautiful dream. Fortunatelly for us all, she is a human being, in real life going by the name of Madhuri Dixit.

My own personal favourite - Koi Ladki Hai. I already featured her on this blog in my "rainsongs list". Except for the "Maya´s dance" (right above) it has the best choreography in the film, and the one responsible is Shiamak Davar. But yeah, I never knew it is possible to dance like this with a broken ankle! Seems Lolo is capable of nearly anything.

By now Shahrukh and Madhuri are in love. But they don´t know it yet. Not even Karishma knows it, but she REALLY doesn´t like somebody like Madhuri dancing on HER stage. And so she decides to give her a lesson. People have been endlessly arguing about which of the ladies out-danced the other. My reply is: none. They both were amazing - and completely different. Madhuri as Pooja was full of grace and joy, simply enjoying the dance, while Karishma was more energetic, less graceful and full of anger. Both were superb.

They still don´t know they are in love. But to show the viewer they really are, Yash Chopra presents his favourite song Arre Arre. Brilliant picturization full of tender SRK/Madhuri moments that make my heart melt. And Madhuri just looks divine in white.

And the same melody is used to show us a moment when Madhuri realizes..... she is in love!

Guess what! Rahul knows he is in love too! And we have a PERFECT excuse for a absolutely delightful song with an amazing picturization!!! No words needed....

And in the end - a little sum up of the main songs, this time "live"! Long live DTPH!

Friday, 15 April 2011


Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Starring: Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayesha Kapoor, Shernaz Patel
Released: 2005
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

What comes to your mind when somebody says „black“? For me it used to be just a colour that helps one to look a bit slimmer, a colour of sadness, a dumb colour without a feeling. But now, now it became a certain space, which is calmingly empty and quiet, and at the same time filled with something wonderful but not yet seen. What caused this change in my perception was „Black“. Once again Sanjay Leela Bhansali had to face the negativity because many people didn´t like the fact he doesn´t make films out of completely original and new scripts. But in my opinion it is not the main storyline, which makes a good film-maker, it is the way he (or she) perceives the plot and hoe he presents it to others. And Bhansali may not be the original source of the tale, but he is possibly the best story-teller out there.

This time he decided to tell a story of a blind and deaf girl and her teacher. The inspiration for him was the famous history of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. In a way the film is a tribute to these remarkable women, as well as all blind and deaf people and those who help them find a way from a world that is black. Because after all, everything starts in darkness...
Magical moment...
 When she was a little baby, Michelle McNally just barely survived a severe illness. As a result she is deprived of seeing and hearing. Her loving parents are desperate, completely oblivious of what to do. Her mother refuses to admit her into an asylum and is determined to take care of her daughter herself. But how to raise a child who has no normal way of learning about the world around? Who does´t understand that everything has a meaning, a name. And so Michelle is growing more like a wild, uncontrollable animal and every day is a torture for her and her parents. After she nearly kills her baby sister, not even remotely realizing it, her father, whose grief turns into an unending frustration, is finally determined to send her away. Her mother begs for one more chance and this time she decides to call upon a special teacher for now eight-years-old Michelle. 
Ayesha Kapoor as little Michelle - possibly the best child performance I´ve seen.
Enter Debraj Sahai – a very unconventional (to say it mildly) teacher, who likes to drink, and who likes to create an image of a „magician“ in the eyes of others, because he is one of the few who really can break the black barrier into the world of deaf and blind children. In a very short time he becomes nearly obsessed with bringing Michelle out of her solitary, savage existence, but his harsh methods and stricktness meet with a great disapproval of Michelle´s father, who, after a while, asks Debraj to leave his house. But Debraj, knowing Mr. McNally is traveling for some time, manages to convince his wife to grant him more time with Michelle. 20 days pass and the girl shows no real progress. Debraj is running out of time, and if something doesn´t happen soon, not only he will be defeated, but Michelle will stay a dumb, wild and violent creature only outwardly resembling a human being.....
"Come into the light."
Black has a story as powerful as you can only wish. It is sad, and yet it leaves one with a feeling of something beautiful. It is a film that gives you something, enriches you. And it proves again, that no matter how spectacular and captivating the visuals are, what matters most in the end is the story. Yes, yet again Bhansali presents us with a stunning world full of unrealistic beauty. It is much more subtle then spectacular Devdas and is free of any blue extravagance of Saawariya, but still it pleases the eye and the visuals, sometimes even reminding medieval Gothic style, are as much part of the narrative as the characters. In Bhansali´s world everything finds its place and only all that together can create the final picture. A question where and when is this story taking place might cross your mind, because one cannot really tell from just looking, but in the end it is irrelevant – because even knowing when and where does not hold any importance to the story itself.
Rani in her life role.
Emotions are real. Anger is not over the top even at its utmost, love does not need to be put into words, and tears that he brings into your eyes are not a "duty" like in for example Chopra/Johar films. What I find incredible is how Bhansali exactly knows what the actors are capable of. He is a person who showed us brilliance of Aishwarya Rai, the intensity of Shahrukh Khan, the depth of Madhuri Dixit´s talent, he even made Sonam Kapoor act decently (!!!). And this time too he shows us the strength of Amitabh Bachchan and Rani´s unbounded versatility. These two actors, Rani in particular, made the film what it is. If there are any two actors, not paired as a romantic jodi, whose mutual interaction I absolutely love, it is Rani and Amitabh. The two of them almost seem to have some deep understanding, perfect timing, and in a strange way also intense chemistry. They are great to watch on their own, fascinating to watch together – be it here or even in such a mediocre flick like Baabul. 
My favourite non-romantic pairing.
All the other performances were nothing but amazing too. I was literally blown away by little Michelle played by Ayesha Kapoor, and when Rani continued to present the character after her, it was all so beautifully seamless one couldn´t help but wonder! Somewhere along the line I also couldn´t help but to compare the film with Bhansali´s yet latest movie Guzaarish (2010). The two definitely start with the same atmosphere. But where Guzaarish fails in charming the viewer, Black works magic. Where Ethan wants to die, Michelle unendingly searches for light.

Black is definitely a modern day classic.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Films I did not bother to finish

New York

Directed by: Kabir Khan
Starring: John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Mukesh, Irfaan Khan
Released: 2009
How much I could take: 48 minutes 17 seconds

New York the city is full of life, dangerous, fascinating, thrilling and engaging. New York the 2009 Hindi film is a total snooze-fest. What was it about? I´m not sure. I remember some police raid, Irfaan being a bad cop during some interrogation that lead to flashback to fluffy college memories full of parties and playing rugby, Katrina having atrocious red sections in her hair and then there was some attempt for a little romance..... Yeah – and then the tragic events from 9/11 are shown, but by that time my mind was so completely turned into a jelly I did not really get what it had to do with anything..... Performances do not save the day – on the contrary! John and Katrina combo sends „New York“ to the deepest hell, Irfaan lacks his usual grip and Neil Mukesh disappears from your mind the moment he lefts the screen frame. This film might be ideal for putting your kids to sleep, but at the same time it might have seriously bad effect on their mental health. It sure disturbed mine.

Tees Maar Khan

Directed by: Farah Khan
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Akshaye Khanna
Released: 2010
How much I could take: 36 minutes 14 seconds

Possibly the crappiest film of the whole 2010. There may be even worse ones, but they were not as half as hyped and talked about hence the disappointment and shock over the sheer stupidity was not THAT striking. After I was disgusted by the opening titles where some freaky dancing (and yet unborn) baby indulges in some serious adultery, I was offered a truly mindless and cheap humour which had me asking my own intelligence. I was never smitten by Akshay Kumar as an actor, but I always found him at least watchable, but here he annoyed me like hell from the first second. And when the groovy Sheila Ki Jawani (the ONLY good part of the film) ended and I was presented with Katrina Kaif whom my washing machine could give a lesson or two about natural acting my patience and good will waved bye bye and went to sunbath to Italy. The reviews were promising some hope in the form of my dear Akshaye Khanna, but all the idiocy going on completely killed any desire to wait for his appearance. Watch only if your IQ equals to the one of a wooden rocking horse or you´re on drugs.

Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji

Directed by: Madhur Bhandarkar
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Omi Vaidya
Released: 2011
How long I could take: 1 hour 34 minutes 36 seconds

What a MEH movie. It isn´t really anything - not a romance, not drama, not comedy.... in fact it is really just MEH..... It was supposed to belong to all the characters, but in the end it belonged to nobody. All the characters are very shallow and you don´t care one bit for any of them. I was waiting for some relationship development between the three guys, but there is none. They simply get introduced and are best friends the next second. The women they are chasing are meh. The music is meh. The jokes are non-existent. It terribly drags and you get the feeling you are still at the beginning, because nothing is really going on. It´s like three stories put together, but having absolutely nothing in common. Ajay and Emraan are totally wasted, even though Ajay again proves his versatility and Emraan his great charisma. Meh film. Not really worth it.


Directed by: Prakash Jha
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Nana Patekar, Arjun Rampal
Released: 2010
How long I could take: 49 minutes 3 seconds

Raajneeti is a probably a good film and it only appears here because I did not understand it. Not one bit. I´m completely untouched by my country´s politics, and to venture into the Indian one is not my idea of fun. I had the best intentions and was even willing to suffer Katrina Kaif on screen, because I LOVE Nana Patekar, really like Ranbir Kapoor and Ajay Devgan and do not mind Arjun Rampal. But the great actors were, sadly for me, involved in scheming plots and occupied by affairs that I had a very difficult time understanding or even remembering them all. I was not bored by this one, not at all. I was lost, completely lost like a puppy in the jungles of Amazon. And so I did not finish it, even though it probably is, as I have already mentioned, a good film.

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Directed by: Yash Chopra
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Sunny Deol, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kherr
Released: 1993
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

C-c-c-c-could somebody make Shahrukh Khan to play more villains? Don´t get me wrong, I usually adore his lover-boy image. But he is also the only one, who can play a villain and you´ll still end up rooting for him! Except for one case, but that´s not what we´re dealing with right now.

What we are dealing with is a girl named Kiran, who has (at least I think so) just finished her university studies. She is all that you can expect from a typical Bollywood heroine of the 80s/early 90s: wonderfully beautiful, angelic, nature-loving and sweet, and she wisely leaves all the action to her lover, army officer Sunil. He is all that you can expect from Sunny Deol: muscular, Rambo-ish, muscular, macho and muscular. And to make it all more obvious, his entry to the film is on BIG scale. He, completely single-handed, kills a group of terrorists (who really need a lesson on how to shoot a person who is completely uncovered with a machine gun) to save a little girl, while the rest of his team only joins him so they can raise a big „Hurray!“ when he hugs the child. The sheer naivity and the stolen music make that whole sequence one of the most ridiculous action scenes I´ve witnessed. But then again, this is SUNNY DEOL and we all know that he doesn´t need a commando behind him to annihilate a bunch of childish terrorists.
The presence of the guys in the background indicates there is nobody left to kill on board.
But even Sunny sometimes needs a breather so he takes a leave for few days and together with Kiran they enjoy some quality romance time together, dreaming about their future house that just might have magical door leading straight to the Swiss Alps. And from time to time Sunil, like any other guy, thinks it is funny to either 1. fake his own death or 2. to scare Kiran to death with fake murder attempts. But their personal paradise, just like any other paradise, does have a snake. Kiran gets startled by weird phone calls and even night encounters during which an unknown person is aiming a flashlight to her face, while stammering her name and something about loving her. And he also plays a harmonica under her windows. Yes! That is where our dearly loved villain SRK steps in and makes all the bubble-gum fluffiness interesting.
Perfectly beautiful. I expected talking animals to appear any second.
So who is this only interesting character of the film? Since Yash Chopra was always quite lazy when it come to names, he is called Rahul. He loves K-k-k-kiran, but has always been too shy to tell her when they were in college. So now he calls her every day several times to tell her, plus to make bigger impact he is haunting her steps, threatens Sunil, projects her photos on the walls of his room, tells stories about her to his dead mother and let´s not forget he carves her name into his own chest with a knife. I´m not a psychologist, but is Yash Chopra trying to imply that Rahul is mentally disturbed? Maybe he really is. And maybe he will befriend Sunil to get closer to Kiran. Maybe he will be helluva mad if Sunil marries Kiran. Maybe he will decide to kill Sunil. Maybe he will kill some more people in the process. And God only knows - maybe he will dream of having his own song with Kiran in the Swiss Alps.
"I´m too sexy for my shirt."
The film terribly drags at times and it would have been better if it lasted 2 hours instead of 3. It attempts to bring together romance and thriller, but only the thriller part somehow works – and that only because of Shahrukh Khan. Sure, we all loved Amrish Puri whenever he turned out to be bad (which was like 99,5% of the films he did), but did you actually want him to throw those kids into the acidic bath under his feet? No. But with Rahul you want Sunil to remain lying dead in the woods and you want Kiran to realize Shahrukh Khan is much more loveable then Sunny Deol. Plus even though they are paired as a jodi in only one, dream sequence song, Juhi has better chemistry with Shahrukh then with Sunny in the whole film. Sadly the filmmakers did not emphatize with my sentiments and we were forced to witness Sunil literally rise from the dead, without any information whatsoever to localize kidnapped Kiran, then swimming (!) several hours to reach the boat and finally killing Shahrukh, while Juhi is screaming “Kill him! Kill him!” (that alone indicates something is just wrong with the film – and it the look on Shahrukh´s face will break your heart).
This is just so wrong :-(
And just as his character is the only interesting one, Shahrukh´s is the only performance worth some serious praise. Sunny Deol comes off as stiff and cold, way too perfect to be real and way too macho to be loved. Juhi is one of the actresses who cannot act bad. Not ever. But her roles in the commercial cinema were never powerful, meaty ones and as Kiran all she has to do is to be scared and beautiful. She does both superbly, but there is nothing more to her. Special mention goes to Anupam Kherr in his comical role as Kiran´s cricket-obssessed brother. In this film he is genuinly funny without embarassing himself (which is always a relief in Bollywood films).

Not a bad watch, but no Magnum Opus either. After viewing you might feel a sudden urge to pack and immediately go to Swiss Alps.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Directed by: Kunal Kohli
Starring: Aamir Khan, Kajol, Rishi Kapoor, Tabu
Released: 2006
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

This film reminded me of something. I could not quite put my figer on it. But from the very start I had a feeling I have seen something similar, if not the same, before..... And only when it ended I realized it was one big mixture of DDLJ, Raja Hindustani, Fiza and Esmeralda (the first three being Bollywood movies, the last one a sickly sweet Venezuelan telenovela that plagued our screens several years back).

So we have Zooni, a simple, nice Kashmiri girl in love with her country. She is also in love with her dreams about the yet unknown to her Mr. Right. And she is played by Kajol, who doesn´t look a day older then what she did in DDLJ. So in result Zooni is actually Simran – with one difference only: she is blind (Esmeraldaaaaaa...... Esmeraldaaaaaa....lalala). After some convincing her parents decide they can let her go with her friends to go to Delhi and perform like a dance troupe in a ceremony for Independence Day. And since they are going to spend several days in the city, and they don´t want to just aimlessly walk around, they hire a tourist guide Rehan. And so Aamir Khan enters the film, lying lazily on his back and with an arrogant do-not-disturb attitude (that is the moment Pardesi Pardesi starts automatically playing in your ears). And guess what. He and Zooni fall in love almost immediately. Nothing wrong with that, but I must confess that I don´t find Kajol someone, who can stun you at the first sight with her appearance, and so it would have been better for me if Rehan actually took at least a little time before falling in love. Their bonding afterwards is done well, with Zooni leaving with him for a private sightseeing, him watching her performance with the dance troupe (in that song Kajol DID look beautiful) and finally getting drenched in the rain together and spending the night sharing a cot in not so completely innocent way. But by that time it is clear Rehan may not be who he seems (to the viewer, Kajol remains blissfully unaware). He receives a disturbing number of calls nobody talks about and he also occasionally mumbles something about himself not believing in romance, obviously trying (but not that hard as he could I must say) to shake off Zooni´s spell.
Best Kajol pairing - why couldn´t we see it before?
The love obviously cannot wait even for few days, and so Zooni makes a phone call to her parents that she fell in love and will be getting married. Oh, and by the way Rehan took her to a doctor (which obviously nobody else did before) and it seems she can be operated immediately (I want this kind of hospitals in my country!), after which she will regain her eye-sight! She undergoes the operation and when she finally opens her eyes, her parents are there, but Rehan isn´t. And the first thing they ask her to do is to identify the remains of a victim just killed in a bomb attack on a government building. And yes, she recognizes the sweater she made for Rehan herself.....

Something smells funny, nah? Especially because one remembers those mysterious signs pointing out that Rehan just may not be Rehan the poetry-loving tourist guide after all, and also because he is played by Aamir and you are just now in the middle of the film. While the first half is beautifully romantic and colourful, the second leaves the whole romance altogether and it turns into an attempt on a thriller. There are too many twists and turns to be described, but you can count on some not that exciting action scenes, some misplaced patriotism and an „unexpected“ reunion of the two main characters after years. And just like we have seen it in „Julie“, first sex equals to immediate pregnancy, so you can expect a mini-Rehan, who will give you some cheesy and annoying lines about trust and so on.
Knock, knock!
The film worked, especially the first part, mainly because of capable handling of the characters by the cast. The highlight is Kajol, who fits well into her Simran-mode, but her Zooni is more mature then Simran and also doesn´t have any pride. In the second half her role is, sadly, stripped of any real action (till the very end), but still she is the one who keeps the soul of Fanaa alive. Aamir is a good choice for Rehan, but one cannot help the feeling that the character is either badly written or wrongly understood by the actor. The best aspect about Aamir´s casting is his undeniable chemistry with Kajol, that for me is thousand times better then the one she reportedly shares with SRK. Who pleasantly surprised me was Rishi Kapoor. The fat guy in ridiculous sweaters romancing petite young girls disappeared and transformed into a big-hearted father – a role I completely loved him in. Tabu was a complete miscast. Her role had nothing to offer her and she was, honestly, rather unconvincing. The kid was terribly annoying. So yeah, it was mainly Kajol who found the best way among all the plot holes and at times rather bizzare situations that simply happen for the sake of something happening (even though I found her putting together bits of photos to create „Rehan´s“ face during her years of loneliness a big WTF moment). Aamir doesn´t raise any sympathy. He never seems to be sure of what he is actually doing, or even why. And he really annoyed me when he killed the only Rishi I ever loved (and the film-makers could have spared us him flowing under the ice. That was both over-creepy and hilarious.).
Here comes my favourite sentence: The visuals were beautiful. Be it sunny Delhi or snowy Kashmir (ehm..... Poland. But at least you cannot really tell from what is shown, unlike in some other movies, that will go to any length to convince you Budapest is actually in Italy.), everything beautifully underlined the scenes and the mood. The soundtrack is nice, with two songs being especially beautiful – both in melody and in picturizations. I have already mentioned Des Rangila, where Kajol dances with her troupe, and the absolute winner is Mere Haath Mein. Special mention goes to rainy Dekho Na. On the other hand Chand Sifarish comes off as rather ordinary and Chanda Chamke should have never seen the light of day.

It is a definite must see for any Kajol fan, and objectively speaking she couldn´t have asked for a better role as her comeback after motherhood. However the next time I want to watch a heroine shooting somebody she loves for the sake of higher good, I will choose Fiza.