Saturday, 21 January 2012

U, Me aur Hum

Directed by: Ajay Devgn
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Divya Dutta, Sumeet Raghavan
Released: 2008

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Though we can doubt Ajay Devgn´s good taste when it comes to atrocious Hinglish title (which could very easily turn into a nice Mein, Tum aur Hum), his ambition to stamp his authority on all branches of cinema is nothing to be dismissed easily. U Me aur Hum is a proof of this. From direction, to acting as the male lead, scripting the story and production he has the power over all, the film apparently being a cherished baby of his. However though giving it absolutely all (including his own wife), this off-spring does not turn out what the parent has once imagined.

It all starts highly simply. Ajay meets Piya (Kajol) on a lavish sea cruise and it is a love at first sight for him, while she finds him kinda creepy. To win her over Ajay chooses one of the safest ways – he reads her scrapbook/diary and immediately takes advantage of knowing her preferences – without being told. And isn´t every girl´s dream to find a guy who can read your every wish in your eyes? So Ajay turns a dog-lover, a dance champion and many others things in mere days, in spite of never being a single of those things before boarding the ship. But his love is true, you see, and finally he confesses to his deed to Piya, who is naturally very disappointed and asks him to leave. He does, but makes her promise to think about their relationship and leaves her his phone number. It takes some time, but because this is a love story movie she of course calls. And they get married. Just like that. Ther life could not be more happy actually. True, Piya gets rather forgetful, but otherwise nothing spoils the joy, especially when she gets pregnant.
"I luv uuuuuu!"
"Creepy is the new sexy."
But what if a mere forgetful was to turn out to be an a slowly advancing Alzheimer? Because that actually is what her occasional, but still more frequent and serious blank outs of memory are. And even thought you have suspected nothing something is wrong, this definitely comes as a nasty surprise. Up until that moment a highly boring film speeds up and I had to witness Kajol forgetting the most basic things. That she is married. That she is pregnant. That she has given birth. That her baby in in the tub full of water!!! Her black outs get more and more serious and scary as the disease is rapidly progressing. And there is more uneasy to watch stuff in store. Ajay suffering. Ajay admitting his wife into a medical center. Ajay wanting to take her home again. Kajol screaming. Kajol screeching. Kajol crying. Ajay weeping. You can be 100 % sure you shall feel next to physically sick by the end of the film – that ironically (and illogically) returns to the blissful pinky coloured mood of the beginning.
To watch this woman loosing her mind at times was just too painful.
More then sad I found the movie incredibly disturbing, and that in a very unpleasant manner. The great performances by both Ajay and Kajol, and equally as great Divya Dutta and Sumeet Raghavan in supporting roles, nothing could justify for me the terrible pointlessness of the suffering described. Don´t get me wrong - I think they did a very good job portraying such a serious illness (though I´m sure some of it was not really accurate), but at times it was all just way too much - especially since the only possible message (of not leaving your loved ones alone when they need you) was rather too subtle and came too late in the film. Several times I considered not finishing the movie not because it would be bad, but because I felt sick watching it. The absolutely unbearable scene is the near drowning child and even though it´s clear the kid survives I could not watch that.
Chalo darling. You have Alzhemeir so let´s admit you into.... an aquarium!
Music was terrible, no plus points there, and the background score during the first hour was annoying.

Performances deserve a high rating, but I could not enjoy this film and I´m sure I don´t want to see it ever again. „Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance of all people“ claims the official motto. And sometimes the greatest distance is between beginning of the film to its end.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Starring: Jaya Bhaduri, Dharmendra, Utpal Dutt
Released: 1971

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

We have all been there. At one point or another. For some of us it lasted a long time, some snapped out of it rather quickly. But I have yet to meet the person who would not be familiar with it (and if they are denying it, they are still doing it). Fangirling. When liking a celebrity grows and grows until it becomes sort of an obsession. And especially young girls take it to a whole different level altogether. They not only draw the names of their favourite on their exercise books and they don´t only dream with open eyes about meeting their idol. They actually think that the tingling around their hearts upon seeing him is love, that feelings they have been hearing about since forever. How many times have you read comments by girls screaming they want to bear their idol´s babies, how many times have you come across girl crying over their idol having a girlfriend, how many times did you roll your eyes out of sheer frustration over the girls confessing their undying and eternal passion for celebrities. With the invention and still growing popularity of the internet it may seem fangirling of this kind is a matter new age, but Guddi shows us that it is not at all a new concept.
Fangirls. They all look innocent from the outside.
Guddi is an ordinary high-school girl bored with homework and devouring film news, loving short dresses and fangirling Dharmendra (I sincerely cannot blame her). Almost daily she sneaks out of school with her friends and they attack the local cinema, just to watch his movies over and over again. Being motherless, brought up by her father, brother and his wife, Guddi is given a lot of personal freedom, which she cleverly uses, and no wonder she is not too happy once they all suddenly start to treat her like an adult (which basically means her nickname is immediately forgotten, she becomes Kusum, she is forced to change her short dresses for a saree and most importantly her sister-in-law turns into a matchmaker). Once her bhabhi´s brother Navin appears on the horizon, apparently quite taken by the girl, Guddi is highly alarmed, but hoping she´s imagining things just yet. No doubts however, are left once Navin takes her to Mumbai to stay with her uncle for a time, and at the first opportunity asks for her hand. However Guddi shatters his heart with a confession – she is already married!
Now try to top that.
Or rather – she has entered into a spiritual relationship with.... Dharmendra (who knows about it just about much as Shahrukh Khan knows he is MINE.... you get the idea). And she is ready to nourish this impossible love til her death, because he is already married (huh.... I guess Hema Malini took fangirling to even greater heights....). While Navin is frankly baffled by all this and apparently completely unfamiliar with the concept of worshiping film heroes as he pours out his wounded heart into a diary and decides to grieve for the rest of the film, Guddi´s much smarter uncle decides to actually contact Dharmendra, who, after some convincing, agrees to play a part in showing Guddi that all is not gold that glitters, or to be more precise – that there is more difference between real and reel world than just mere play of letters....

The film is incredibly simplistic in both narration and picturization, which gives it both realistic feel and endearing charm. The rather unglamorous heroine is a perfect representation of millions of teenage girls on their way to adulthood and understanding of true values that goes hand in hand with it. I may severely dislike Jaya Bachchan in most of her films and off-screen, but she was the best possible choice for Guddi, looking and acting without much drama or attempts to go over the top. I actually liked her more as a Dharmendra-bessoted fan than a matured ready-to-become-a-dulhan woman from the second part of the film, and it would seem the makers did too, because that is where other characters, namely her uncle and Dharmendra, mostly take over and draw your full attention to themselves.
As charming as the movie is the rather monotonous narrative makes it seem lifeless at parts. There is hardly any music – and out of the three songs the best one is actually the one originally from Madhumati (Aaja re pardesi), that just sounds wrong coming out of anyone´s lips but Vyjayanthimala´s. The character of Navin is highly unimpressive, not to say he lacks some common sense of an adult man.

In a way the movie reminded me a bit of Om Shanti Om (that of course came much much later), thanks to quite a large number of star cameos from Amitabh Bachchan and Mala Sinha to Pran and Om Prakash, as well as attempting to show not too exciting and far less dreamy reality of the film-making, in which uncomlicated Guddi of course does actually better job than loud, colourful and over the top OSO, but still the feeling of similarity was there. Guddi seems to be a little tribute to all those who help to create the film fantasy for others to enjoy, be it the producers, script writers, stuntmen, but also electricians, spot boys and even journalists. Interestingly enough as Guddi grows more and more tired of all the make-believe stuff that once she held for real and admirable, the more I was falling in love with the art of film-making....  At the same time though, there was a nagging thought if this was the real, actual state of things or did the maker painted it still more pink than the reality?
Don´t worry. You are the one who gets her for real.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The big 2011 overview

2011 was kinda meh for Bollywood. True enough, there were blockbusters, there were expectations, there were hypes and there were big stars shining. But overal the quality/entertainment level of the films was rather low, performances except for few nothing amazing and music was mostly forgettable. During the year I watched exactly 157 movies, out of which only 35 were 2011 releases (as I write I am still yet to watch The Dirty Picture and several more films like Shaitaan or Shor in the city).

The year started for me with No one killed Jessica, followed by the Deol opus Yamla Pagla Deewana. I have tried to give a chance to Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji – and you can read in this article how it ended. Next on the list was a film that sounded interesting...

Directed by: Kiran Rao
Starring: Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

The last of the January releases I chose to sit through was Aamir Khan´s Dhobi Ghat....It is not a bad film... but nothing that I would label good either. Somehow it refuses to fit into such cathegories.  There is not much of a story and ending is apparently missing. I did like the overall atmosphere though, without ever being to Mumbai or India it engulfed me and let me with an illusion I actually, for a few minutes, understood. All other three actors (playing Shai, Munna and Yasmine) were great. Especially "Yasmine" touched me. In fact her "letters" were the most interesting and engaging part of the movie. Until Aamir discovers them, nothing makes much sense really. As for Mr. Perfectionist himself, he disappoints big time. Maybe because one would actually expect him to act, not just smoke and watch TV.

Directed by: Nikhil Advani
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Dimple Kapadia

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

As February came it was Akshay Kumar´s turn to arrive on the screen with his first release of the year called Patiala House (just another in a long list of English titles that decorated the posters in 2011 – from already mentioned No one killed Jessica to Ready, Rockstar, Rascals, Desi Boyz and of course The Dirty picture just to mention a few). A heck lot of nonsense and unrealistic conspiring almost completely killed off a promising family drama with decent performances – notably from Rishi Kapoor AND Akshay himself, who has laid off his comedy king image for a while and regained some of the respect as an ACTOR (only to loose it again few weeks later.....). The film  didn´t really give me anything, but it captured some part of human relations well. Especially loved how everybody was urging Akshay to stand up to his father, but when he did they were all cowards and nobody supported him. How very human.

Right behind Akshay it was Priyanka Chopra´s first 2011 release 7 Khoon Maaf that hurriedly followed. It flopped. But to me it was one of the best films of the year, even though I´m aware that is a rather unpopular opinion. If nothing Priyanka truly impressed me – unlike her co-star from Fashion Kangana Ranaut, who messed up completely in Tanu weds Manu. It is truly unfortunate when a lead actress is the greatest weakness of otherwise enjoyable movie. March did not bring any great pleasant surprises either. You can read here what I thought of some of the releases, however one of the films originally scheduled for March I´ve only managed to watch much later, so it is missing from the article.

Directed by: Rohan Sippy
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Aditya Pancholi, Prateik Babbar, Govind Nameo

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Now this is a movie definitely worth seeing. I really liked the way the narrative was done in the first part, the editing was very clever and in spite of various flashbacks not confusing at all. Performances are very good from everybody, but Abhishek is a miscast. Not because he would act badly, but because he is plain boring in the cop roles. Boring boring boring. It was during his scenes that the film would occasionally run short of breath. The guy needs to stop being a cop or a cool dude or a cool cop which is what he´s been trying to make his niché of, and find something else soon. Basically everybody else was more interesting. Deepika´s item number, which was so heavily propagated, is completely useless and not even well shot. Showstealer is none other than Aditya Pancholi, whom I used to hate in his 90s movies, but is growing on me more with advancing time.

Together with Dum Maro Dum Lara Dutta´s heartwarming, uncomplicated Chalo Dilli was the saving grace of April, which was also the month responsible for possibly the WORST of all 2011 releases. Yes, I´m talking of none other than Thank you, an Anees Bazmi film that could be used anywhere in the world as an example of how not to do cinema. Fortunately the month of May was more merciful enough to wipe Thank you and Anees Bazmi from my mind, even if only for a while. One of the best movies of the year was for me Stanley Ka Dabba. Rather unglamorous title is hiding a heartwarming, moving story, so full of love for life! Speaking about love, I´ve quite enjoyed two romantic comedies released the same month.

Directed by: Bumpy
Starring: Sraddha Kapoor, Taaha Shah

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

I loved the girl! She had so much energy and I think she´s REALLY talented. She emoted terribly well. Plus she has nice voice. Plus she looks good. The pace it´s even throughout the film, it doesn´t slow down, it´s never boring. The music is catchy. And from beginning to end there was no place for any unrelated subplots that would slow it down. The special appearance by Ali Zafar, however brief, was a VERY pleasant surprise... However the revenge the girl took was far too drastic and violent for my taste. I would have preferred something more subtle. Also the use of swearing words was completely unnecesarry. Overally I really enjoyed this, even though sometimes against better judgement.

Directed by: S. Manasvi
Starring: Tusshar Kapoor, Amrita Rao

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Lot less impressive than Luv Ka The End, rather nice, "normal" film. Nothing wrong with it. Nothing outstanding in it. Some clichés, some plotholes, more clichés. No surprises, no big twists. Watching it however I realized how much I miss intensity in romantic films like this. There used to be so much intense emotions in older films about young people. Now... it´s just not there. Sad. Amrita Rao looks gorgeous and acts well, I wonder why is she seen so little and why is she not sought out for projects with actors like Imran Khan, Ranbir Kapoor? Instead she is stuck with Tusshar, who acts OK and has a charisma of a banana peel.

Directed by: Sunny Bhambhani
Starring: Sahil Mehta, Mannat Ravi, Vikay Katyal, Priyam Galav

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

And on a love note we have breezed into the month of June, riding the Love Express with a debutant director and debutant actors in four main leads. A simple story about two days spent in a train filled with two families going for a wedding, while the engaged couple is just not interested in each other, and trying to find a way out of the planned relationship. Perhaps predictable, but very sweet, and although one wasn´t exactly having fits of laughter, I had a smile plastered on my face throughout.

However at this content moment Anees Bazmi decided to attack again, even more agressively than before with the mess called Ready, for which I definitely was not ready. Salman Khan  not acting while Asin was being wasted and everybody swinging their hips in a terrible choreography while the unbearable Dhinka Chika was screaming from the amplions was more than I could digest. And the trend of lame comedies did not end there. Indra Kumar served us his Double Dhamaal (review coming eventually) and had us questioning our own intelligence once again. The two films releasing on the same day - 1st July, were both heavily propagated and especially the second one raise a lot of questions, expectations and curiosity. But before that just a few words about the first one.

Directed by: Puri Jagannath
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Sonu Sood

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

I didn´t really know how to watch this, how to treat this. I did get it was supposed to be a overview of sorts, a tribute to the body of work of Amitabh Bachchan, bringing out of the wardrobe his image of an angry young man.... with the difference this was an angry old man. And somehow, angry old men are not cool. And wearing what Big B was in the film, the way he behaved, made the character completely cringeworthy. None of the storylines did really capture my attention or stood out. One of those films I have forgotten as soon as they ended.

Directed by: Abhinay Deo
Starring: Imran Khan, Vir Das, Kunaal Roy Kapur

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Shit happens. Yeah, it does. I was not sure what to expect from this one either. I thought that I will be either hilariously entertained or utterly disgusted (the promos suggested the latter). Well, the film surprised - I was neither. In fact I don´t recall a film that would leave me so completely unmoved (into any direction). Several times I smiled. Several times I didn´t like what I saw. Overally the film seemed like a background score for me thinking about completely different things! Imran suffers the fate of Aamir in 3 Idiots - meaning he is completely overshadowed by his two friends, who steal the show and actually provide the laughter. I cannot help but shake my head in disbelief over the claims this is a movie that shall take Bollywood into a new direction. There really was nothing that revolutionary or different from other half mindless half witty comedies, except for the overuse of swearing language, which by the way has no point, and it´s offensive for the pure sake of being offensive. It doesn´t hurt to see the film, but it´s nothing not-to-be-missed either. The best thing about it is actually a quick pace and quick changes of situations.

After Stanley Ka Dabba another movie that really impressed me was highly praised Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (where for the first time I ever I did not feel the need to strangle Katrina Kaif on the spot). However Ajay Devgn´s Sigham  left me mostly unimpressed from a single reason only – throughout the movie I´ve had a feeling I have seen it all. Just last year in Dabangg. There was hardly anything different about it. And July was ended on a very low note with an attempt at historical drama that went just all wrong. Gandhi to Hitler can be considered the biggest joke the filmmakers played on us last year, at least I hope it was meant to be a joke. And then June turned into July.

Directed by: Prakash Jha
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

I liked this. Well, not all, but most of it. My liking doesn´t really have much to do with the cast or performances (which were all good), more with the topic and me being a university student just realizing how great business education really can be. In fact there were several lines in the films I´m definitely noting down, because there was so much blunt truth in them. Aarakshan is basically a one man show and that one man is this time charismatic and not ridiculous Amitabh Bachchan. Saif goes out of mind as soon as he leaves the screen. Deepika has great expressions. All she needs to work on is the intensity of her voice and some modulation, but she proved again to be my dark horse for the future years. First part was more tight and exciting then the second and to cut the film´s length down to 2 hours would have been a good idea as well.

And then of course Bodyguard came along.

Directed by: Siddique
Starring: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Blockbuster after just few days, it was promoted as an epic love story that gives Kareena Kapoor her best role ever and Salman Bhai bhi. If there is one thing that I loved, really, really loved, it was Teri Meri. That song is awesome, full of feeling, very dramatic and yet not over the top. The picturization was good too, though Salman did way too much unnecessary running. I´m not going to say he cannot act, that wouldn´t be true as he used to act in good old days, but past few years he really doesn´t bother at all. Kareena, whom I learned to adore on screen, acts, but has nothing to work with really. Other characters are so completely sidelined it´s not even worthy talking about them, and poor villains had TWO scenes.... The fat guy trying his luck at being the new Johnny Lever annoyed the heck out of me, though I agree I loved his T-shirts stating "Six pack coming soon" and "Looking good is not a crime". The two main characters are very poorly drawn and basically boring, they don´t really go through any development - and neither does their relationship. In fact I still keep wondering where did the love came from? And similarly so I couldn´t feel for them as a couple, because the script and story simply didn´t give me a chance to feel for them, feel their love, nothing. The action was ridiculous. I can take a lot, but there is limit to everything. Way too many cheap computer effects. It was definitely better then Salman´s previous release Ready, but very overrated as far as box office goes still.

The second half of the year was considerably better, even if it held some real crap together with real gems. The better times were heralded by sweet, simple, predictable, but still highly entertaining Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, which in spite of starring Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif in the leads (none of them being a mind-blowing performers) was fine to watch.

Directed by: Ali Abbas Zafar
Starring: Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

While on one hand Mere Brother Ki Dulhan definitely belongs to the better films of 2011 and offered me a pleasant enough watch, on the other hand it is one of those completely predictable films that need something special to make it work also on a second watch – a memorable performance, a smashing soundtrack, a write-it-into-stone dialogue.... and that this film does not really provide. The title itself pretty much gives away the the plot too.

Ali Zafar, an NRI settled in London, breaks up with his girlfriend (or rather – she breaks up with him and since we´re on a breaking spree also breaks his HD TV). Mere minutes later he phones his younger brother Imran Khan (living on the other side of the planet in India) and insists his brother finds him a bride (yeah, really). And Imran starts searching. After many crazy girls lining up he of course discovers THE one in the form of lovely but boring Katrina Kaif, who is boring even while doing illegal rock concerts at Agra, but to Imran she does not seem boring at all and soon enough he decides she is the right match for his brother. The criminally side-lined Ali Zafar was the best performer of the three main leads, the most natural and charming one, but he only gets some space in the second half, when he comes to India to get married. What is unknown to him is that Imran has managed to find himself in love with future bhabhi and now is not exactly keep to simply hand her over to his brother....

Nice and sweet, yet without repeat value. Mere Brother Ki Dulhan makes everyone in it likeable, but does not rise up above a standart colourful Yashraj romcom that the production house in question loves to churn out time and again.
At the other end of movie entertainment John Abraham´s Force gave us some serious chills as well as the most menacing new villains and in yet a different field Shahid Kapoor tried to sell his romance with Sonam Kapoor titled Mausam (review coming eventually) to the audience – unfortunatelly and deservingly he did not succeed. However by that time, having a Double Dhamaal hangover, Sanjay Dutt has sent his new baby into the world as well....

Directed by: David Dhawan
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Kangana Ranaut

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Throughout I kept having Deewana Mastana flashbacks, however one would be looking for the same light-heartedness, same charm or level of performances in vain in Rascals. Sanjay and Ajay were wasted, which is sad, because they really work as a male jodi and both have great comic timing. However the OTT acting is not Ajay´s cup of chai at all. Kangana needs to stop doing comedies right NOW! She was awful from beginning to end. She did not share any chemistry whatsoever with either of the two main protagonists, so even their pursue of her was not really interesting to watch. I did not like at all the way women were portraited, if that is even the word for nothing but a vulgar flesh show. Sanjay Dutt should either stop criticizing actresses for what they wear or stop producing films like Rascals. The film is also a proof that David Dhawan has completely lost his touch.

I am no fan of romantic comedies, even less of teenage romantic comedies, and although I liked Luv Ka the End, it is really an exception. Because of that I was quite surprised that another film of the same genre was pleasant as well.

Directed by: Nupur Ashtana
Starring: Saqib Saleem, Saba Azad

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

With romantic teenage comedies it is never really about story, but about concept and form, the way the script is presented. MFK is presented well. Not as energic as Luv ka the end, not as funny either, but unlike Luv Ka The End, it has a nice romantic feel, nothing goes over the top. The performances are all natural and pleasant, music, though not groundbreaking ads nice atmosphere. A good timepass.

After MFK I watched mostly older movies, waiting for more new DVDs to come out, and trying luck with several more new films. However My neither Friend Pinto nor Tell me o Khudda or Always Kabhi Kabhie held my interest for longer than 15 minutes and so I really don´t have much to say about them, except maybe that Esha Deol totally falls into the clichéd cathegory of untalented star children. Sadly enough Shahrukh Khan, whom I love so much, did not really impress me (or anyone really) with his heavily promoted Ra.One (review coming eventually), but he got back on the right track later with Don 2 (of course full review is in store). However not even he gave a better performance than Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar (a long review so coming soon), that for me became not only the most intense love story of the year – and the best film of the year, but also a modern days classic. As I have said at the very beginning, I have not yet seen The Dirty picture, and so here got the  last two films I´m going to mention in here.

Directed by: Maneesh Sharma
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma Dipannita Sharma

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

LVRB takes place in some weird alternative reality where Ranveer Singh is for every girl an irresistable sexy beast and from that moment on I was a bit wary because I find him neither handsome nor hot, or even interesting. The casting of the girls was much more spot on from demure Aditi to loud-nouted Parineeti, and of course very natural Anushka. Somehow however, Anushka did not matter to me in the movie. I couldn´t care less for her feelings and actually enjoyed the three other ladies in the first half of the movie much much more. Anushka´s entry into the film however, is brilliant. The story gets rather boring in the second half and climax is predictable, though not completely justified. I truly didn´t see where the love was supposed to come from or how, in matter of few days, it could have changed one´s personality completely. Ranveer has not much to work with really, except walking around showing off his body and being supposedly sexy. He was much less impressive than in BBB. His pairing with Anushka is highly praised all over the place, but to be honest they do not really "do it" for me. Music was blah, choreography bad. An OK film, but not much more than that.

Directed by: Rohit Dhawan
Starring: Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Chitrangda Singh

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

For me personally the most enjoyable comedy of the whole 2011. In spite of the things that kinda sucked, it was still so enjoyable and fun! What I truly appreciated was the absence of cheap and vulgar jokes that are such a rage these days, and even though there definitely are several "sex related" scenes the soul of the film remains quite innocent. The highlight performances for me were John (whose comedy had me in splits), Anupam Kher (whose every scene had me in splits) and Deepika (who just really needs to work more on her dialogue delivery, but looks drop dead gorgeous and acts brilliantly in several scenes and is good in the rest). Chitrangda looks beautiful and does well in whatever she´s given, but I did not like her character, that indeed seemed somehow desperate and well, unneccessarily horny. I´m not really a fan of Akshay´s, but he was fine - and his "job interview" was perfect. Sanjay Dutt looked really bad and apparently the composers can take a rest while writing music while he´s on screen because they can always throw Khalnayak main theme out there and everyone is happy. The emotional scenes were unimpressive.

So that was the year 2011 in Bollywood through my eyes. Thank you if you managed to read through this loooong post. ;)

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Directed by: Rensil D'Silva
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Kirron Kher, Vivek Oberoi, Dia Mirza
Released: 2009 

Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Why do I choose to watch and review so many dark films lately? Maybe the annual winter depression is settling in and results in my need to watch some grim films and review other grim films, which give you nothing but grim feelings and eventually some sickening tightness in your stomach area as you watch the actors suffers, bleed, suffer, weep and suffer. Kurbaan is one of these films. Just like „New York“ before it and „My name is Khan“ after it Kurbaan uses the tragedy of the 11th September 2001 as its background and also a point from which the story goes.

Avantika is a college teacher living in Delhi. Young, unattached. Up until the moment a new teacher Ehsaan appears in school and since the first minute is making passes at Avantika in a manner that would earn him a sleazy stalker label in my book. Fortunatelly soon enough he turns all that into coffee breaks and more regular stuff... and ultimately wins his prize when Avantika, her head and heart all messed up, not only gives into the relationship in spite of everything, including knowing him for a short time and religious differences. Because she is a Hindu and he is a Muslim... suspicious yet?
I am a nice guy who wears make up and I shall love you forever.
Avantika used to teach in the US and only returned to India because of her father´s illness, but now her American university is wanting her back. But she is in love, nah? How can she just leave India for her career now that Ehsaan is busy romancing her day and night? And so Ehsaan does a oh-so-noble gesture and declares his love is more important than his job and he is more than willing o relocate to the US with Avantika. They get marry and he thus gets a right to live and work in America..... suspicious yet?

Ehsaan starts teaching at the university, together with Avantika  they find a house in an Indian (mostly Muslim) neighbourhood.... life is perfect, nah? Up until the moment one of the neighbours, Salma, reveals to her that the people around may just not be as peaceful and nice. Her husband does not want her to leave the house. And he has a secret. And Salma asks Avantika to contact a journalist Rihana and ask for help, because she herself cannot do anything.... Avantika is disturbed. Even more so when Salma disappears the very next day... Now pregnant and very much bewildered Avantika is suddenly finding out the horrifying truth. Her neighbours are terrorists. She needs to tell Ehsaan! And so she runs into his arms only to realize he already knows. And what more. He is one of them.... now – which one of you have not seen that coming?
Me and my buddies are literally a mind-blowing gang!
The predictability factor is one of the main weaknesses of Kurbaan. There are too many things and details introduced with an intention for things to look normal, but hey, we are watching a film. We know that 99% things that happen are not unintentional, that almost everything is supposed to be remembered because it is coming to our attention later. The whole plot is of course sickening, just like any kind of terrorism. But there is hardly anything that would surprise you. And considering Saif Ali Khan is the main lead, it comes as no shock that they tried to make him a „likeable terrorist“, who is only a terrorist because he lost his family, and who now loves Avantika, and basically we should feel pity for him. I cannot say I did. True enough there are likeable villains in the reel world that one feels for – from Shahrukh Khan in Baazigar, Amitabh Bachchan in Agneepath to most recently Priyanka Chopra in 7 Khoon Maaf, but the difference between them is that they do not kill hundreds of innocent people. Even a through and through evil character like Don, who doesn´t forgive and is a complete Kamina is more likeable than Ehsaan!That said Saif acted brilliant and looked hot, in spite of wearing a heavy make-up, looking almost girly at times. Overall the performances are really the only thing that keeps Kurbaan above the water and saves it from drowning.
And my eyelashes. Don´t forget my eyelashes.
Kareena may not really look convincing as a university professor, but vulnerability she displays makes her a perfect choice for Avantika. Since the first part of the movie is mostly told through her point of view (her settling in the new neighbourhood and slowly unveiling the secrets had a funny X-files vibe by the way), it makes one sorry that the other half focuses more on Saif and his „friends“ planning an attack while she is mostly just lying in bed and crying. The other couple that impresses with their screen presence and commendable acting are my very much adored Om Puri and not-sure-what-I-feel-for-her Kirron Kher. They are menacing, just one look at them teaches you about respect. And they are so damn good.

All that said the final word that can describe Kurbaan would be „boring“. Except for two or three thrilling sequences (Avantika finding the truth, Rihana on the plane, the climactic chase against the time) the film feels never-endingly long and the snail pace is sure to wear one out soon, especially since there are no changes in the settings, music or anything else that would demand full attention. The terrorists are ultimately evil, their women ultimately innocent and Ehsaan, being a „likeable“ terrorists, is allowed to promptly die with Avantika crying her eyes out before him. And sadly the boring factor of the film is so high it lowers the rating considerably.
Your eye-liner is gone!
No point in living now.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Directed by: Nishikanth Kamath
Starring: John Abraham, Genelia D'Souza, Mohnish Behl, Raj Babbar
Released: 2011
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

In spite of uninteresting angrez title and downright sleazy and hideous poster (that is definitely not the safest way of wearing a gun) „Force“ is a fairly well made action film, that at times felt like John´s attempt to turn super-salman-ish (the chest-baring anyone?), but unlike in most of Salman films the action is really hardcore and real. So real that at times a sensitive person will have to look away from the screen and will only look at it again once the noise stops. I am not over-familiar with John´s body of work, I´ve only seen him in Baabul, Jhootha Hi Sahi and Salaa-E-Ishq so far and in all three he played a mellowed lover-boy, so I cannot really tell how unusual (if even) is Force for him as a performer. All I can say is he definitely fits my idea of a rough police officer with sharp mind and effective muscles more than for example Abhishek Bachchan, who has tried to make the genius police walla his signature role by doing films like Dhoom or Game, but failed in my eyes rather badly.
John was quite upset to know he was being compared to Abhishek.
Yash Chopra is a a tough guy working as an ACP of anti-narcotic squad, and despite being the sexiest, handsomest and awesomest guy for miles around he is a bachelor by choice. This brave officer is not ready to endanger anyone by being linked to them, and also protects himself from being vulnerable in this way. Throwing himself into the most complicated tasks he keeps himself busy fighting the drug lords – and one by one Yash Chopra and his team of loyal buddies manage to catch them all based on information received from a source, which a bit later turns out to be somehow unreliable. Apparently all the information were given out for police to clear the field and make space for a new, more powerful drug lord....

Meanwhile Yash Chopra´s bachelorship is endangered after several encounters with a vivacious, pretty Maya, who finally manages to get some feelings out of him by getting herself run over by a car (pretty stupid move to get a guy if you ask me), and Yash, after some more convincing from his friends and their wives decides that maybe he was over-reacting and perhaps he could get married. In time before the wedding, however, he and his friends are forced to kill a dangerous drug smuggler, and without being aware of it at first, there is going to be a real hell to pay, because his brother Vishnu, the new drug lord of India, is planning a bloody and unmerciful revenge aimed at all of them and their loved ones.
You would not jump under a car to make me cry.
Wanna bet?
The filmmakers succeeded in creating a thrilling film, but somehow they did not manage to underline all that awesome (and gruelsome) action with emotional depth. At the base of everything there is supposed to be Yash and his fear of loosing his loved one, but not enough attention is paid to this aspect. It could have been portraited better. I also think more insight into the life of all four heroes would be in place, like this one didn´t really even feel for them – or for Maya, which is a bit of paradox, but channeling the heroines of the 80s she dances into the film as an obligatory love interest and draws back into shadows of oblivion as the story progressed beyond the romance bit. In the end you are shocked, but not really moved, which would definitely ad to the film´s appeal and it would earn it more points in my book.
Alrigh.... now this song was just awkward...
Performances are just fine, nothing really stands out and nothing really disappoints in this department. If somebody really captures your attention, it is the evil Vishnu – a model-turned-actor Vidyut Jamwal, who looks slick, stylish – and actually dangerous. For once I was excited (though in this context it will sound weird) to see a villains who does not have a need to explain everything to his victims and actually kills them. It made him so freaking scary!

I also had very mixed feelings about the approach of John and his partners during the drug cases investigation and later also while trying to find Vishnu. Sure, one feels that law is not always right and at time is causes more damage then good, but as somebody wise once said "eye for an eye make the whole world blind".
Alright... now this moment was just beautiful.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Directed by: A.R. Murugadoss
Starring: Aamir Khan, Asin
Released: 2008
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Once I finished this film I was not sure if I should feel guilty, because I thought it was actually quite good, but had only read negative comments so far. Maybe low expectation and the fact I have not seen Memento (of which this is a remake) helped, I don´t really know, but yes, I enjoyed the movie, except for the sugary ending.

But first things first. A rather nosy medicine student girl makes us aware of an existence of certain Sanjay Singhania (Aamir). He has a really cool macho hairstyle (caused by circumstances) and rather rare kind of amnesia – he is incapable of remembering anything for more than 15 minutes. The question naturally arises in everybody´s mind – how can such a person live – and that alone as he does? What keeps him going? Sanjay himself is painfully reminded of this everyday – revenge. Using elaborate system of paper notes, photo notes, map notes and not to forget body notes (from „Kalpana was killed“ spread proudly over his muscular chest to „take camera“ on his toe) he lives from fifteen minutes to another fifteen minutes, having nothing but the sense of pure hate for somebody named Ghajini. He knows he wants to kill this person (and few others). The problem is he has no idea who he is – or why exactly.....
Damn. I need a new tattoo so I´ll remember to buy toilet paper,
Through another nosy person – a policemen investigating one of the murders Sanjay has already committed, we are introduced to that reason, when he enters his flat without invitation, beats him up and reads his old diary (before Sanjay regains consciousness, chases him out of his flat and right under the wheels of a bus that is).

Once upon a time Sanjay Singhania was a successful businessman and Kalpana (Asin) was a good-hearted girl working as a junior artist in B-grade TV ads. They probably would have never crossed paths if Kalpana, to make herself interesting and seeing all the advances that it offers, starts spreading rumours about having an affair with him and their wedding being imminent. The news spreads like fire and becomes the talk of the town – and naturally reaches to respectable suited up Sanjay, who immediately decides to go and meet the girl whom he´s supposedly marrying. When they come face to face he is basically charmed off his pants, and eager to get to know the girl closer he gives her a false name and identity. And while he´s trying to figure out how to tell her he lied to her without risking loosing her love, Kalpana gets involved in a rather ugly matter of girl trade run by somebody named Ghajini. Who exactly Ghajini is, how big he is or what he does that makes him so powerful is never really explained, but you are given the idea when police covers up for him and his dark deeds. And Kalpana is soon going to suffer a sad fate of those who cross his path.
Today we offer you...
...three for the price of one!
The film is centered on and around Aamir in both timelines (present and past), with the rest of the cast being just shadowy figures, the way the character himself probably sees them. Except for Asin as Kalpana, who stands up greatly to both Aamir´s screen presence and talent, and fills the „past“ line with freshness and charm. As much as I have failed to see her appeal in Ready, where she was unforgivably wasted by a different Khan, that much I loved her here. In some of the scenes she actually reminded me a lot of another southern star Sridevi with her looks and cute expressions with slightly bulging eyes while quickly speaking. Kalpana, in spite of the first impression I had of her (silly, silly attention seeker) turned out to be actually very likeable and provided the only light and bright moments in such a dark film.

The „present“ time was considerably violent, sometimes perhaps unnecessarily so. Lingering on the details of Kalpana´s death was, I guess, meant to bring tears to my eyes, but the way it was presented actually made me sick and not teary. Aamir for once lets go of his boring subduedness (is that even a word?) and does well as a cute loverboy, but is excellent in his a half-mad, plotting and suffering avatar. His scenes did give me chills.
I wanted Chinese. You sent me Thai.
Music by Rahman failed to impress though, it wasn´t a disaster either. The play of colours used by cinematographer was interesting. While the „past“ was filled with colours reminding me a lot of Yashraj films, the „present“ was happening mostly in the night or in the darkness of Sanjay´s flat, where sun apparently has no place. The ending returns to vibrant colours and romance, but by that point I was disappointed with the climax, and I strongly felt that they should have let Sanjay die. Ghajini is basically a masalla, because it contains everything from comedy, romance to action and thriller, all in reasonably balanced doses. Just maybe the vial filled with violence slipped out of the cook´s hand and we got to see a lot more of it than most of us could digest.