Posts Tagged ‘Hindi film’
BY SUBHASH K JHA
Raat Gayi Baat Gayi
Starring Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia,Irawati Harshe, Vinay Pathak,Anuradha Menon, Dalip Tahil ,Navneet Nishan, Aamir Bashir
Directed by Saurabh Shukla
Somewhere on the second-half of this slightly seductive jigsaw about a one-night scam, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra shows up as Neha Dhupia’s father who drops in to have a chat with his sullen sultry daughter on the way to the airport. Little does the stoic Mishra know beti-babe has two men stashed away in a cupboard in the living room that looks consciously like a prop on a stage- set.
Quirky sex comedies are allowed their moments of eccentricity. Last time we saw a benevolent patriarch stop over in transit was Sanjay Dutt in Rohit Shetty’s comedy All The Best.
Maybe at this point Shukla deliberately wanted to introduce an element of staged comedy.After all, isn’t the world a stage? Shakespeare got there first. But hell. Saurabh Shukla is panting from behind to catch Sheakespeare’s comedy of ‘eros’ in a modern context.
Saurabh Shukla(who can be quite a funny-guy on demand) has made a quirky sometimes-crisp sometimes-placid look-see at marriage and infidelity. The seductively – paced work is set at a party hosted by a loud Punjabi clueless woman(played with much gusto by Navneet Nishan) whose amiable husband Dalip Tahil we soon come to know, is cheating on his plump wife with the svelte seductress on the block played by Neha Dhupia who seems to invite more male attention than is healthy for any girl with a respectable appetite. And we aren’t talking about her tummy.
Tahil isn’t alone. Vinay Pathak(playing the goofy slightly stupid and undiplomatic regular guy once again) is cheating on his wife Anuradha Menon(the hilarious Veejay Lola trying hard not to be funny,and succeeding) by checking out porn on the internet.
“At your age?” tut-tuts Tahil before himself being caught with his pants down. Though nothing much up at his age.
But our main potential philanderer is Rahul( Rajat Kapoor,as suave in his sleaziness as ever), married to the sullen Irawati Harshe who befriends the all-round resident siren(Dhupia) at a party , gets drunk and then forgets whether he actually did anything naughty or not. Hangover, anyone?
“I can do it even when I’m drunk, no problem there,” Rahul (Rajat Kapoor)says vainly to his porn-fed pal.One of the problems here is that everyone speaks in Hindi because…well, they’re part of a Hindi film when they’re characters who would be comfortable in English. Having said this and that, the characters seem to be effortlessly conscious of their authentic bearings. None of the performers strays from the not-so-straight and borrowed path of betrayal, deception and infidelity.
The Rahul-Mitali marriage has a twist in its tail at the end. It doesn’t shock you. It just makes you sigh. Saurabh Shukla’s direction embarks on a journey through one night of steamy sensations. The revelations are hardly shocking, just diverting.
Stylishly cut(Sankalp Meshram’s editing is amazing in its austerity) the material’s chic movement doesn’t quite justify the content. But the narrative has moments that spill out the acerbity underlining urban marriages which are at best functional and at their worst, lies told to keep up an appearance of domestic smoothness.
The film exudes the scent of intelligence and competence. The actors all know their jobs. Most of them have earlier been through this kind of sexual-moral dilemma in some form or the other. The cutting edge is missing . But the proceedings never get cumbersome.
“The film industry tries to avoid releases in the first two weeks of January and also in March (exam season),” says an industry source. “The movie business really picks up during summer vacation time and the festive season. Big releases are reserved for Diwali, Eid or Christmas.”
Why this deviation from plan then? Trade analyst Amod Mehra blames it on the backlog. “The multiplex strike changed many a plan,” Mehra says. “Rann was meant to be a Diwali release but could not manage a clearance from the producers. Shah Rukh’s Dulha Mil Gaya was also marked for 2009 and My Name is Khan was rumoured to be a Christmas release. Veer is the only film that was planned for January 2010 and is on schedule,” he adds.
Producer Mukesh Bhatt has no reservations about time of release. “I released Raaz 2, The Mystery Continues in January and it was a hit. Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, another January release, was a superhit.”
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh explains that there has always been apprehension in the industry about releasing films in the first two months of the year. “They believe the audience doesn’t really want to start the new year watching films. Also, up north its too cold to get out and go to a cinema hall,” he says. Having said that, Adarsh thinks any month that provides the viewer with good content will be conducive for Bollywood. “Maybe early 2010 will break the jinx.”
About 25 films are releasing between December 4 and February 12. These which include many small-budget films such as the Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah-starrer Ishqiya, Chandan Arora’s Striker and MAMI-award winning Road to Sangam. Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan may clash at the BO with My Name Is Khan and Teen Patti likely to release on the same date. While some exhibitors feel that the release of big films are evenly placed, Mehra believes, “The audience will choose the film they want to watch. They cannot afford to make holes in their pockets and this will affect the fortune of some films.”
Of course, the fact that so many big names have releases within weeks of each other is another issue to contend with. Previously, producers have thrashed out their release dates in an informal manner to avoid overlap of big ticket films. But with the multiplex strike hitting the initial months of 2009 so hard, nobody is in the mood to wait anymore. Ranjan Singh, the marketing head of PVR Pictures is concerned that big releases may cannibalise smaller players. “But if this trend of back-to-back releases in a non-conventional period hits the high notes, all conventional jinxes will be broken and a new trend will be set.”
Director Revathy Sharma sacks her nearly bankrupt producers; to co-produce her directorial debut
Revathy Varma, whose first Hindi film Aap Ke Liye Hum starring Jaya Bachchan , Raveena Tandon, Madhavan, Ayesha Takiya and Ranvir Shorey has been grappling in troubled waters for almost a year now, is finally breathing a sigh of relief. Revathy has now decided to get the project going by producing the film herself.
Revathy said, “It was my producers who were actually responsible for all the trouble. However, I didn’t realise this initially because there were other matters like getting dates from actors and my leg injury, which made matters worse. It took months of harassment, schedules going haywire, and yes, bounced cheques to realise what the real hindrance was.”
“I was new to Mumbai and trusted my producers blindly. But soon it dawned upon me that they were with me only because I had people like Jayaji starring in my film,” she added. Ravathy first got an inkling of trouble when actress Urvashi Sharma’s cheque bounced. “Initially, I was upset with the girl for making a big issue because of the money. Later I got to know that Urvashi’s as well as many other people’s cheques had really bounced. I was horrified and embarrassed.”
Telling us about what really made her sit up and take action, Revathy said, “They made actor Swapnil Ralkar part of my film. I did not mind as he fit the role. But later they brought in another newcomer.” However, Revathy learnt that money was exchanged between the producers and the newcomer. That’s when she finally decided to part ways with her producers. “Schedule after schedule was getting cancelled and my producers always had some or the other excuse to hide their inadequacy. But when Jayaji allotted dates in January and February 2010, I had to take quick action,” added Revathy.
Revathy will now co-produce the film with a financer. A cautious Revathy said, “I checked his antecedents before partnering with him. Once bitten, twice shy. My financier will take care of the budget while I look into the creative aspects. I can finally make my film in peace.”
Acclaimed Hollywood singer and songwriter Lisbeth Scott who has sung for Hollywood films like Passion of the Christ, Pearl Harbour, The Mummy Returns, Star Wars, Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale and Hancock among others, has now lent her voice to an Indian film (Lahore) for the first time.
Lisbeth sang a long alaap in the film directed by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan. The director was keen to have Lisbeth’s voice for the alaap which lasts for 30 minutes. It plays at various intervals in the background.
Chauhan confirmed the news and said, “A long time ago, I had seen the film, Munich and Lisbeth’s voice in the film had haunted me since then. However, then I had no intention of making a film.”
He further added, “When I completed the film, Wayne Sharpe, who is doing the background score and I were discussing the score of our film. I suggested that it would be a dream come true if we got someone like Lisbeth to do the score. The chances were minimal, as she has worked with brilliant composers like John William and Hans Zimmer. Wayne tried, but initially she was not sure about singing for an Asian film. We sent her the script and since it was an honest film about the India-Pakistan relationship, she agreed. We got a call from her secretary to come to Los Angeles. When you see the visuals with her voice in the background, you will understand the impact.”
99 has been in the news for more reasons than one. It’s the first A-grade Hindi film to release after the producer v/s multiplexes tussle commenced. The promo aroused curiosity and with no other Hindi film in sight, 99 was the only option left for film-starved audiences. And fortunately, 99 entertains! The film with its wonderful story, screenplay and execution works big time!
The story of the movie: The film begins in the year 1999. Two small-time crooks, Sachin (Kunal Khemu) and Zaramud (Cyrus Broacha) run an illegal SIM card duplication business. When one day police comes knocking on their doors, they rob a car and escape. Unfortunately, the car meets with an accident. But the crooks escape with little injuries. But more bad news awaited them-the car they robbed belongs to AGM (Mahesh Manjrekar), a gangster-cum-bookie. He asks them to reimburse the amount of the car. They refuse as they couldn’t afford it. And then they had no choice but to join AGM’s illegal business and help him. Some months later, they are given a new ‘task’-recovering money from Delhi-based Rahul (Boman Irani) who owed 20 lakh rupees to AGM and had not returned a single paisa. This new ‘mission’ changes Sachin’s and Zaramud’s life as they meet the compulsive gambler Rahul. What follows is an unpredictable and hilarious roller coaster ride!
99 starts off amazingly and the witty screenplay makes sure the film doesn’t turn boring at any moment. The characters thrown in the narrative are very interesting. Right from the foul-mouthed gangster AGM to Rahul, his wife (Simone Singh), JC (Vinod Khanna), Kuber (Amit Mistry) and his ‘right hand’ Dimple-everyone manage to amuse and impress. And how can we forget the protagonists and also Neha (Soha Ali Khan)-they too rocked! The writers should certainly be appreciated for wonderful characterization.
Also, the film is set in the year 1999 and 2000. It was a time when metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi were still ‘mall-less’! Mobile Phones were still expensive and one was charged even for incoming calls. People still struggled with dialing, messaging and changing ring tones in their cell phones. Cyber Cafes proudly displayed on their hoardings that they have a high speed of 64 kbps! 99 wonderfully display all this and captures that period effectively!
The film falls in some places in the 2nd half, especially in Kunal-Soha scenes. These were very short scenes but still proved as an obstacle at times. Maybe, these scenes could have been chopped off. However, the last 25 minutes of the film were certainly the best part of the film. It was hilarious, unpredictable and doesn’t go over the top.
Directors of this film have succeeded in extracting fine performances from the entire cast. Kunal Khemu shines in his role. He looks great in trimmed hair and gives a great performance. Cyrus Broacha doesn’t mouth many dialogues but manages to raise many laughs throughout the film! Last seen in Little Zizou, he’ll be seen next in Mumbai Chaka Chak! Boman Irani is certainly the best performer in the film! He plays his role with aplomb. In every film, he plays a character different from the other and still manages to give an outstanding performance! Hats off to this marvelous actor!
Soha Ali Khan does a wonderful job and was exceptional in her final scene. Mahesh Manjrekar comes up with a hilarious performance. Watch out for him in the climax! Amit Mistry also entertains, esp when Kunal wacks him at Boman’s house! The guy enacting the role of Dimple was funny too. Vinod Khanna and Simone Singh were great.
3 songs of the film stand out-the theme song, ‘Delhi Destiny’ and ‘What’s Up’. Fortunately, the song ‘What’s Up’ is played when the credits roll. Kudos to the director duo/editor for not incorporating the song in the film as it would have reduced the pace of the film.
Background score elated the film at several points. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography was flawless. Cherag Todiwala’s editing was slick. Dialogues by Chintan Gandhi, Sita Menon and Raja Sen (the critic?) were amazing.
The story and screenplay is written by Raj Nidimoru, Krishna DK and Sita Menon. Story was inspired from the real-life events but was well-written. Screenplay was just amazing and certainly, one of the best of this year! They knew what they wanted to make and succeeded fully. They deserve maximum appreciation for those scenes where Kunal bangs the heads of so many throughout the film. The scene looked straight out of popular cartoons. Seems like the screenwriters were heavily inspired by comic series like Tom and Jerry!
Finally, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK do an exceptionally great job as directors. They surely have a long way to go. If they come up with such cool scripts for their directional ventures in future too, they’ll soon be the next Abbas-Mustan of Bollywood!
Some of the best scenes:
1. The first scene!
2. Sachin having a walk in South Mumbai and the titles rolling by
3. AGM’s meeting Sachin and Zaramud for the first time
4. Scenes of Rahul knocking at Jahanvi’s door
5. Sachin and Zaramud’s first meeting with Rahul
6. Sachin and Zaramud at Rahul’s office and the intermission point
7. Kuber getting wacked by Sachin at Rahul’s house
8. Sachin at Kuber’s suite (excellent!)
9. The final 25 minutes
On the whole, 99 is a smart, witty comic flick that would surely provide entertainment to the viewers. The film unfortunately hasn’t taken a flying start at the BO. But it’s a great film and with no other Hindi film running, 99 should be watched by all movie buffs. Recommended!
My rating-**** out of 5!
This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: