Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Dirty Picture

Directed by: Milan Luthria
Starring: Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Tusshar Kapoor
Released: 2011
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

What Bhandarkar attempted to do with „Heroine“ (and messed up), Milan Luthria did before him (and did not mess up). No matter if present or the past, the message is clear: it sucks to be a female filmstar. We all know that. It has been talked about for decades. And nobody is doing anything about it, not even The Dirty Picture. After all, as long as we get such tragic and sad stories of lives ruined in a pursuit of stardom, there will be material for film scripts. A story like that of the 80s actress Silk Smita, on which is the film based, though it doesn´t religiously follow her life or characteristics.

A village girl Reshma runs away from her home and mother to pursue her filmi dreams. However she faces rejection on all sides and with every rejection her enthusiasm dies a little and her frustration grows. Until she decides to go „dirty“ - taking up a highly suggestive dance number and completely knocking breath out of everyone. Sex sells and she quickly becomes a sensation. However after some time of doing raunchy, meaningless roles, it all becomes the same to her. Success is no longer sweet and Reshma, now known as Silk, is hoping to branch out of her sex Goddess image. And suffers a nasty blow upon realizing nobody cares for her in any other than her dirty avatar....

The transformation....
It is all definitely dirty, the first half more than the second, but the second actually shows dirtiness of human soul, which is ultimately much more vulgar than dirtiness of showing off of flesh. There is a definite feeling of sadness from the first moment, because you just know it is not going to end well. Somehow it just cannot. But all the sadness feels rather superficial, as way too much time is spent on lingering on the nastiness, and way too little time is given to the actual character of Silk. We see what is happening to her, but we have no idea how she feels, why she feels that way. There is no real contact between the viewer and the character.

The film does great on the visual level. The 80s are bright and alive and you would expect Jeetendra in white shoes prancing around Jayapradha to appear at any moment, and it wouldn´t look out of place. Especially the picturization of the famed Oh La La song (the best track of the album by the way) is bit of an visual orgasm with all the pink vermillion and painted pots and shirtless Naseer and drenched Vidya for me. It represents Indian cinema of the time perfectly – with all the over the top and larger than life factors. It is so much fun, yet never feels like disdainful scoff.

Vidya was excellent and owned the film completely. She was Silk and made her a truly 3D character, not a caricature. I appreciated that she was so real, with all the rudeness and boldness, but in the end just a normal woman with in need of appreciation and solid emotional ties. And some basic respect, which she did not get, because audience, back then and even now, has a difficult time understanding that a woman enjoying and displaying her sensuality does not equal a classless prostitute.

Emraan had really nothing to do and in what he had he seemed incredibly wooden, his voice over throughout the film was atrocious and without any change of intonation whatsoever. Him looking like Anil Kapoor and having pretty much same mannerism do not help him in my eyes. Naseerudin Shah is a pure gold as ever, and a wonderful cast choice for an aging 80s hero who is accepted as forever young, while his heroines are turning into „mothers“ after few years in business. The biggest surprise has to be Tusshar Kapoor in a role of his younger brother, who too has a thing for Silk (only up until the moment he realizes she has no intention to sacrifice everything for him and become a „decent“ woman).

Good, but still overrated picture, at least as far as awards and critical appraisal goes.

Friday, 21 June 2013


Directed by: Mahesh Bhatt
Starring: Rahul Roy, Anu Aggarwal, Deepak Tijori
Released: 1990
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

There is nothing particularly great about Aashiqui in terms of plot, direction, visuals, story-telling or performances. Yet it still manages to be enjoyable, even though it probably won´t leave you awed and amazed. It is easy to see why the movie would appeal to young people who were coming of age and falling in love in the early 90s, and the characters may very well be relatable to many. In a way it reminded me of much more recent Ishaqzaade – a forbidden, seemingly impossible love, and most importantly two leads who are always high on emotions and not using their brains too much. Young, foolish and obstinate. Yes, definitely something to relate.

The love between Rahul and Anu, who come across each other all drenched from the rain at a police station (where one was brought in for creating a ruckus at his father´s new marriage and the latter tried to run away from a hostel for orphans) happens, because it just does. That forever-wala pyaar, for which you are willing to randomly burn yourself with a candle or cut your wrist with a piece of glass. That pyaar where you have absolutely no idea who the other person is (like what if they kill puppies for fun? Would be actually interesting to see a Bollywood film where the two falling in love are actually anything but good and honest people with understanding for each other). But whatever. Even without reason, this love does look passionate and convincing on screen.

The two halves of the film actually feel like two different films. In the first it is all about getting Anu out of grasp of her hostel manager, who seems to think that all the girls in his custody are his property, and he treats them like it, lowering their self-confidence, threatening them with the nasty world outside the hostel walls and being simply a tyrant. The lengths to which this character goes to to keep Anu under his control are just too unbelievable and way too obviously thrown in to show us the madness of the two young lovers. And so they run and they sing and run again, until we reach the second half, which completely abandons the previous plot and moves onto more mature goal – Anu wants to prove herself and become something instead of just marrying Rahul and settling down – something I appreciated. However her independence and success (which comes as she glides through a modeling competition draped in stunning Indian attire while everybody else is given fugly 80s frocks) become yet another obstacle in the relationship, because you know, male ego is a stupid thing.

I am a successful model. I love you.
I love (it pisses me off that you make more money) you too.
As unattractive and awkward looking as Rahul Roy is, he doesn´t make a bad pairing with Anu Aggarwal, who, unlike him, is dusky and with unique, sharp features. Both were average performers, she, again, slightly better. The fire-breathing, saliva-spitting, permanently immagonnahaveaheartattack looking white hostel manager is completely over the top and maniac, of whom nobody would ever approve as a person who should run anything, forget a string of orphanages. Deepak Tijori is as adequate as in any other of his films. It really seems he has done one sole character in his whole career and just smuggled it into every film possible.

Correction. He was not white. For most of the film he was red.

There is one great thing about Aashiqui though. The soundtrack. Extremely melodious and pleasant, with fitting lyrics. And the songs are plenty – the film is pretty much just the characters mouthing few dialogues and starting singing at every occasion possible. Happy song, sad songs, songs about longing and song to defy all odds – every kinds of a song you can think of, Aashiqui has it. The film is strictly average, but the soundtrack itself raises it a few levels up.

Can I be a heroine, please?

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sequels and more sequels

Since it is latest fashion in Bollywood to turn films into a franchise or at least make a sequel or two, here come my thoughts on three of them....

Directed by: Sanjay Gandhvi
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Uday Chopra, Esha Deol, Rimi Sen
Released: 2004
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

At first I thought it was a film made for less talented star relatives, but thankfully it turned out quite well. Abhishek was really good, which in his case is rather rare, but I just did not believe John to be the bad guy. He is a chocolate boy who looks like a lollipop macho, but he is as evil as a tomato soup. This was my first encounter with Uday Chopra, and he suited the role perfectly, and it was also my first encounter with Esha Deol. In her case all Hema Malini´s genes concentrated on making the daughter looks like an exact copy of her mother, but failed in transferring charm and screen presence (forget talent). What I liked the most was probably the editing (except for the scene near the end when Abhishek and John are coming out of the casino when the constant "BOOM and close up on them looking at each other" was used annoyingly often). The story lacked both the investigation process and the planning of the cons, which quite frankly bothered me a bit. I was always just presented the final result without seeing any development - which in cop films like this one are just necessary. Dhoom is primarily a guy´s film - by guys for guys. Full of motorbikes and skinshow

Dhoom 2

Directed by: Sanjay Gandhvi
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu
Released: 2006
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

From the first second it was clear that this Dhoom is more polished. More fancy. And much, oh so much more stupid. I have a great tolerance to the physically impossible displays of awesomeness, but what is much is too much as we say in Czech. Abhishek and Uday are still both very much stuck in the first Dhoom and have not made any progress altogether on any level at all. Hrithik didn´t have any impact on me – his Filmfare for this reamins the biggest Filmfare joke ever. Bipasha - why was she in this film? She has TWO roles and both are absolutely needless. I was sorry for Aishwarya, because she was just bad, and I know she can do so much better. Her beauty was burried under a THICK layer of very unflattering make-up and Crazy Kiya Re has to be the most overrated song in history of Bollywood. "Why are you wasting your incredible dancing skills?!" line was swirling in my head all the time watching it. The music overally is pretty weak (excep tfor the Dhoom theme which has already appeared in the first film) and the final nail into its coffin hammer the English lyrics, that in this case just do not work. Whatever the suspence in the first Dhoom, there is absolutely none in this. And I cannot help but wonder WHY in the world is this going to have another sequel.


Directed by: Sajid Khan
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Riteish Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Arjun Rampal, Boman Irani, Chunky Pandey
Released: 2010
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

I can´t believe I´m saying this but most of it I actually enjoyed. Not liked. Enjoyed. Anyway it is definitely a bad film, and though the skin show is not ever present it has a somehow sleazy feel throughout. The showstealers were Boman Irani and Chunky Pandey, and I one of the reasons I enjoyed the movie was Lara Dutta (the woman is just not in enough films!). The story is next to none, there is just one big mess of a confusion given by switching multiple partners according to situation.

Housefull 2

Directed by: Sajid Khan
Starring: Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborthy, Riteish Deshmukh, Asin, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shreyas Talpade, Zarine Khan
Released: 2012
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Indeed the house was full from basement to the roof. Sequels are rarely met with such a good response, but Housefull 2 did more than well and after a series of flops Akshay Kumar returned from the oblivion. There is not much different from the first film. The plot and the jokes are yet again based on loads of lies and partner changes, just unlike last time Akshay is not an innocent fool but a cunning kamina. Truly, housefull 2 brings nothing new to town, except a really delightful on screen meeting of Rishi and Randhir Kapoor as two brothers who hate each other, but have many things in common. There are way too many damn characters to remember and way too many damn deceptions to really keep a track, but to be honest I found the over the top unlikely situations absolutely hilarious – and credit goes more to the art of the actors than anything else. Seven women in the story (two mothers, four girlfriends and a dancer) have absolutely nothing to do, and womenfolk is pretty much presented as kind of dumb, but all the men are just splendid in their comedy (I especially need to mention to I-am-a-joking Chunky Pandey as Aakhri Pasta). More than a sequel it is a upgraded version of the previous movie and definitely the funniest film of the whole first half of 2012.


Directed by: Indra Kumar
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Javed Jaffrey
Released: 2007
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

The OTT is so Indra Kumar... However in all that OTT there is heart somewhere. True enough, I was not able to finish this at one go, because it would give me headache after a while, but I kept returning to it till without regrets. It was amusing, though not exactly hilarious. I could have done without the stupid souds indicating that "this was funny", seriously in a film like this (meaning FULL of silly jokes) we wouldn´t have missed that the joke already happened. I must admit I was genuinly teary-eyed in the end.... Sanjay Dutt was made for such roles. He was awesome and by far the most funny of them all, without making faces and talking rubbish. My love for Riteish was justified yet again, loved him as well. Fine timepass.

Double Dhamaal

Directed by: Indra Kumar
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Javed Jaffrey, Mallika Sherawat, Kangana Ranaut
Released: 2011
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Yet another story of four not that brilliant guys trying to get rich quickly and without work. As much as I enjoyed the first one, this one is not as half as funny and also lacks all the heartwarming moments. In fact the only fun and simles I had came in the last hour. This time it´s not Sanjay Dutt, but Ritesh Deshmunk who takes the cake for the best performance, his "Tukya" was purely hilarious! I´m almost ashamed to say I found Mallika Sherawat much more natural and bearable then Kangana, who, to be honest, is starting to annoy me really bad. All in all there is LOTS of OTT Indra Kumar style (as usual and expected), and way too many references to other films actually take away from the wit.  

Saturday, 1 June 2013

God Tussi Great Ho

Directed by: Rumi Jaffrey
Starring: Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sohail Khan
Released: 2008
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

God Tussi Great Ho. And forgiving also. Otherwise You would have struck down the makers of this film with ten plagues of Egypt. There is no justification whatsoever, no excuse great enough, for the existence of this movie. A blunt remake of Hollywood film „Bruce Almighty“ is even more appalling than the stupid, but still enjoyable in bits, original with whacky Jim Carrey in the role of an ambitious, but unlucky TV journalist. Indian version gives us Salman Khan in his stead.

Arjun (Salman) is not only poor and unsuccessful, but he also doesn´t get along with his father, his sister is considered ugly, and his gorgeous and popular female colleague Alia has no incling whatsoever he is hopelessly in love with her. This young and healthy man, who has a house, family, 5 meals a day, a job and a potential girlfriend, however considers himself extremely unlucky and stubbornly believes God is against him in every way and plays His dirty games with poor Arjun for His own amusement only. Arjun curses God, calls Him names at every opportunity, and even more so after a new guy appears in the office and soon takes over not only his job but also steals his ideas and potential girlfriend. Now, wouldn´t that make you angry? Damn.

Ironically the best part of his wardrobe in the film.
God finally decides to give Arjun a proper lesson, and hence He has a personal talk with him and gives him all His powers, to make the world better according to his own judgment. Need I say that within days Arjun majorly screws up? And realizes God is right? Who is surprised raise your hand.

As I said before, the original film too was anything but great. But it was reasonably well acted, and most importantly.... it was here first (I dare not call it an original because my experience taught me very few things in the world are actual originals....). There is little to no difference between storyline, except of course Bruce made Jennifer Aniston´s boobs grow, and Arjun, being a nice Indian ladka (sporting shirts that would make Rishi Kapoor´s sweater collection proud) he makes his potential girlfriend a future bride.

How is that song again?
I´m walking on sunshine! Whoooo hoooo!
God Tussi Great Ho is extremely poorly executed. Salman is just pathetic, going through his dark phase between excellence that was Tere Naam and reinventing himself with Dabangg. His brother Sohail is, ironically, better in this (not a great deal considering how horrible everyone was in this film), then again he really isn´t someone you´d want to watch on screen. Priyanka Chopra is breathtakingly gorgeous, yet annoying and unconvincing. Then there is God playing Amitabh Bachchan.... I mean Amitabh Bachchan playing God, but apart from his amazing voice there is little that would make you go wow.

"You did not just say that!"
"I wanna report a Bollywood blasphemy that just occured in this review!"
The most cringe-worthy thing were definitely cheap CGI effects, that looked like a video game from the early 90s. Nothing looked real (or even pretty), and truly all was so artificial I started to doubt the film actually released in 2008. The only bearable bit of the whole film was Laal Chunariya song, which at least took the advantage of Priyanka´s beauty.

A comedy that is not funny is one of the most painful cinematic experiences one can endure. Looking back I can´t believe I actually sat through this movie, which easily ranks among the worst I´ve seen in my life. Spare yourself the pain. It is not worth it, not even if you are a fan of the actors. Unless you want to see God pulling off some bad Bollywood moves.

This is approximatelly how I felt when the film finally ended.