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By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:31 IST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sometimes, the expectations from a movie are zilch, but what unfolds on screen is beyond expectations. It surprises you, to put it simply.

On face-value, BOLO RAAM looks like it’s straight out of 1970s cinema. A movie with predictability written all over it. A movie that carries zero hype and matches it with zero content. But BOLO RAAM isn’t archaic, isn’t the usual masala, isn’t zero content.

A remake of the Tamil film RAAM [2005; starring Jeeva, Saranya, Rehman, Murali], BOLO RAAM has an interesting plot with an engaging screenplay that compels you to look at the screen for most parts of the movie. But, of course, there’re hiccups. A few non-actors and a done to death climax could’ve been avoided.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Raam [Rishi Bhutani] is charged with the murder of his mother Archana [Padmini Kolhapure]. Raam falls into a state of shock, brief psychotic disorder, after his mother’s death and becomes silent, refusing to talk or react in any manner.

The investigating officer, Indrajeet Singh Rathi [Om Puri] is puzzled and unable to make Raam speak. He consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Negi [Naseeruddin Shah], to determine the cause of Raam’s state of mind and the reason for his silence.

Rathi interrogates various personalities for the case, questioning Raam. Every possible motive that Raam might have for murdering his mother is explored. Furthermore, Raam’s neighbours, Sub-Inspector Sajid Khan’s [Govind Namdev] daughter Juhi [Disha Pandey] and son Sameer [Krishan Khatra], are summoned by Rathi for interrogation. Will his silence solve the puzzle?

Without wasting any time, BOLO RAAM takes off from its opening titles itself. The story goes back and forth, several new characters are introduced, but the narrative stays faithful to the main plot. The best is reserved for the second half. Layer after layer is peeled with expertise. The viewer is keen to know the identity of the killer and that’s when the film fumbles and tumbles.

The culprit’s track is sloppy and a major put off. In fact, the circumstances that lead to the murder are quite amateurish and look far from convincing. Surely, the writer could’ve thought of a better culmination. Also, the one-sided love affair is functional.

Debutante director Rakesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’ makes a confident debut, although he should’ve cast some better actors for key roles. There’s not much scope for music [Sachin Gupta] in the film and hence, just one song merits mention – ‘Maa Tere Jaisa’. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] deserves special mention.

Newcomer Rishi Bhutani does a commendable job. He oozes confidence, despite sharing the same frame with accomplished actors. Om Puri gets into the skin of his character and is impressive, while Padmini Kolhapure is a pleasure to watch after a long gap. She is beautifully restrained. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief role and the veteran does it well. Govind Namdev is very good.

Rajpal Yadav is wasted. Both Disha Pandey and Krishan Khatra are non-actors. Manoj Pahwa does his usual act.

On the whole, BOLO RAAM has decent merits [hence those 2 stars], but the problem is its wrong release timing. It won’t stand a chance in front of a hurricane called 3 IDIOTS.

BOLLYWOOD CALLING: Rishi Bhutani
Rishi Bhutani will be making his Bollywood debut with Shree Keshav Films’ Bolo Raam which is releasing this New Year eve — December 31. The new kid on the Bollywood block is pretty sure that everyone’s going to love his acting skills. “Acting is in my veins,” says Rishi. Rishi promises that Bolo Raam will be a gripping thriller.

Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure, the film’s being produced by Rishi’s elder brother Goldy, and has been written and directed by debutant director Rakkesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’, who is a well known theatre artist. “After reading the script and knowing the cast, I felt that this is that character with which I want to start my career,” says Rishi.
Rishi plays Raam in the movie. Speaking about the movie, Rishi adds, “It’s about a mother and son. The mother is mysteriously murdered leaving the son in a cage of silence.” Rishi, of course, plays the quiet son, Raam. He credits his brother, Goldy for pushing him into it. “He was the one who said I had the talent, and motivated me to be an actor,” says the actor who used to bunk classes to take part in school theatre.

Rishi admits that he was a bit nervous when the shooting began. He says, “But Naseer Sir, Om Puri Sir and Padmini Maa’m made me feel comfortable. I would say it has been a dream role for me as I got an opportunity to work with legends of our industry and that too in my first film, I had never thought about it. I hope that audiences like the film.”

Producer Goldy Bhutani adds, “I thank Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure for coming together for this project and would say that Rakkesh has done some excellent work as a director. It is a must watch film for everyone to know how circumstances take over the good times.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 30, 2009)

In the process of eliminating handful of terrorists, we end up creating many more-this best describes the policies of Western developed powers who are hell bent on making the world more democratic but adopt inhuman ways to achieve the end point. Kurbaan throws light on this sensitive topic and thankfully treats it well. The flick throws a spate of questions and forces you to think, discuss and debate. But it doesn’t get preachy and hence it’s not like one of the several films on terrorism that are made for a niche audience. The film is thrilling, has some wonderful twist-n-turns and includes some moments of love and passion too. All this make Kurbaan one of the finest films of the year-one that can’t be missed!

The story of the movie: Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) takes the job of a teacher in a university in Delhi where he comes across a psychology teacher, Avantika (Kareena Kapoor). He instantly falls in love and she also ends up liking him. But unfortunately, she’s called back to New York where she originally belongs. Realizing that it would be wrong to have a long-distance relationship, Ehsaan also moves to NYC with Avantika. But before that, they marry. After moving to New York, they buy a new house in a neighborhood full of Asians, conservative Muslims to be precise. The neighbours invite Ehsaan and Avantika for dinner so that they can get familiar with each other. Soon, Avantika realizes that things are not fine in the neighbourhood as they seem and finally, realization dawns upon her-she has been as used as a pawn in a dangerous game.

The beginning 20-25 minutes focuses on Saif-Kareena’s courtship and may not impress. It was the weakest part of the film and wasn’t treated well. But thinks take a good turn with the song Shukran Allah and when the couple shifts to New York. The film engrosses from the scene where the neighbours invite them for dinner. From this sequence, the film turns into a roller coaster ride with lots of unpredictable turns. The entry of Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi) in the narrative adds to the icing on the cake.

The intermission point was brilliant and fortunately, unlike other films, Kurbaan doesn’t fall or gets slow in the post-interval portions. In fact, the 2nd half also keeps you hooked onto your seat. A number of sequences are memorable in this hour. Kirron Kher sharing the tragic story astonishes you and Kher’s mind blowing performance only enhances the impact. Same goes for the scene where Saif is nursing the wound with little help from Kareena after getting hit by a bullet. The way the blood tickles down and the way Saif screams-man, it gives goosebumps!

The last 30 minutes of the film is undoubtedly the best portion of the film. The tension that is created in the climax and the engrossing and captivating direction is truly appreciable. The film ends on an acceptable note.

Regarding the flaws, as mentioned before, the first 20 mins doesn’t work. Also, the film is full of violent and gory scenes which might not be liked by some sections. And the editing wasn’t upto the mark. More about it later!

Kurbaan is a rare film where the cast and most of the crew have worked exceptionally well in all respects. Saif Ali Khan was outstanding in his role. He looked dapper in his new look and performance wise, doesn’t provide even a miniscule chance of complain! Thus, Kurbaan can safely be added to the list of ‘finest performances of Saif’. This year has been particularly lucky for Saif with his home production Love Aaj Kal being a super hit and now even Kurbaan has been appreciated. His next Agent Vinod with Kareena is also expected to rock! Way to go Saif!

Kareena Kapoor has exposed as minimal as possible and still managed to look stunning. She’s always been delivering fine performances and in Kurbaan too, she does a perfect job. Watch out for the scenes where she discovers that she has been used and in the climax. She proves once again as to why she’s one of the top actresses today! Great going!

Vivek Oberoi steals the show with his wonderful act. In fact, his acts impact more than Saif-Kareena at several points in the film. Audiences as well filmmakers would surely sit up and take notice of this highly talented actor who was neglected in the past due to many reasons. He is expected to shine in his next films, Prince and Rakta Charitra too!

Kirron Kher, like Vivek, leaves a mark in several scenes. For a change, it was good to see her in a different kind of role than her usual stereotypical ones. Om Puri performs with ease. Dia Mirza looked charming and impresses with her special appearance. Nauheed Cyrusi does a fabulous job. Asheesh Kapur, who plays her husband, was great. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Aakash Khurana and others were good.

Salim-Sulaiman’s music was haunting and songs suited the film well. Shukran Allah, Ali Maula and Kurbaan Hua are the three best songs. Ali Maula leaves a mark. The duo’s background score was electrifying and they may bag the Best Background Score award this year.

Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues were sharp and top notch. Best dialogue of the film was, “Ek minute ke liye bhi ye mat sochna ki ye allah ka kaam hai!Parvez Feroze’ gory action enhanced the reality of the film. Asif Ali Shaikh’s editing wasn’t upto the mark. One can notice that desperate attempts were made to haphazardly cut down mini portions of scenes to reduce the duration of the film as much as possible. Not good!

Rensil D’Silva, the screenwriter-director scores in his dream debut. Although the direction wasn’t perfect, the film managed to make an impact and give out a strong message. The screenplay was undoubtedly intriguing.

And finally, kudos to Karan Johar for writing the film and also for producing such a hard hitting flick. KJo was criticized for making lovey-dovey films only. But with his last two films and Kurbaan, he has proved that he’s here not only to rake in moolah but also to provide fresh and interesting flicks! Hats off!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.       The songs Shukran Allah and Ali Maula
2.       Ehsaan and Avantika at the dinner in the neighbour’s house
3.       Avantika meets Dia
4.       The plane bombing sequence
5.       The intermission point
6.       Riyaaz at the Saif’s lecture
7.       Riyaaz’ quick conversation with Avantika at the mall
8.       The scene at the sandwich parlour
9.       The coffee scene
10.     The climax

On the whole, Kurbaan is an engaging and thrilling film that impresses and engrosses thoroughly! Go for it and have 160 minutes of captivating and thrilling time!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Kurbaan-180014-1.html


By Taran Adarsh, November 19, 2009 – 15:14 IST

Post 9/11, there’s anger, distrust, suspicion, uneasiness all around. Not a day passes when you don’t hear of terrorists killing civilians in the name of religion.

Many storytellers have, in the past, narrated stories about terrorists and their nefarious and despicable plans. But let me state one thing categorically. You haven’t watched a more profound, a more thought-provoking, a more dramatic story on this subject before KURBAAN. It’s not just the most powerful film to come out of Dharma Productions, it’s the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry this year, thus far.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

KURBAAN tries to penetrate into the psyche of not just the terrorist, but also someone who has been a helpless spectator all this while. This film is sure to spark off discussions and debates, although it must also be noted that it doesn’t take sides or gets preachy.

Rensil D’Silva has chosen a burning issue for his directorial debut, which is a complete departure from Karan Johar’s earlier films. For some inexplicable reasons, parallels are being drawn with FANAA [Aamir Khan, Kajol] and NEW YORK [John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif], but the fact remains that barring the backdrop of terrorism, there’s no similarity with those films.

I’ve often felt that certain films are beyond box-office. Movies are not meant to merely entertain, but enlighten and educate as well. They need to prick your conscience and in the process, make an attempt to make this world a better place. KURBAAN does just that and for this very reason, it deserves a double thumbs up.

Final word? Drop everything else you’re doing to watch KURBAAN. Movies like these need to be made, encouraged and lauded.

Avantika [Kareena Kapoor] is a teacher at a university in Delhi. She has come back from New York where she teaches, because her father [Aakash Khurana] has suffered a heart attack. During this period, she meets a Professor called Ehsaan Khan [Saif Ali Khan]. Soon, they begin seeing each other and love blossoms.

A few months later, Avantika receives a call from her university in New York, asking her to come back. Avantika breaks the news to Ehsaan. He, in turn, tells her he doesn’t mind coming to the States with her. But first they need to get married.

Soon after the marriage, they leave to start a new life in New York. They buy a house in an Indian neighbourhood and move in. Just as they are setting up home, their conservative Muslim neighbours invite them over for dinner. The next morning, Salma [Nauheed Cyrusi], one of the women Avantika met the night before at the dinner, visits her under the pretext of gifting her sweets.

When Avantika invites her in, Salma tells her that she is in grave danger. Nothing is what it seems. Salma pleads with Avantika to help her. What follows next is a series of incidents that sucks Avantika into a vortex of danger and intrigue. As her life spirals out of control, Avantika realizes that she is a pawn in a huge game.

KURBAAN has two stories running concurrently – the love story between Saif and Kareena and the story of Islamic terrorists. Rensil sets the stage in the initial 15 minutes itself, after which there’s a twist in the tale every 15-20 minutes, which catches you completely unaware. Rensil doesn’t borrow from the past, which makes the proceedings thoroughly captivating.

The highpoint is the 35-minute climax, which leaves you spellbound. The culmination to the story shakes you completely, largely because it’s pragmatic and has been executed most logically as well. In fact, filming the climax at the various underground tube stations must’ve been the toughest challenge for the director.

On the flip side, KURBAAN caters more to the intelligentsia or the thinking viewer and might not be lapped up whole-heartedly by those who survive on the staple diet of hardcore masala fares.

Some of the finest technicians in the business are associated with KURBAAN. Hemant Chaturvedi’s cinematography is super. The film bears an international look all through. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is well integrated in the narrative. At least two tracks merit a mention – ‘Shukran Allah’ and ‘Ali Maula’. Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogue are superb. The lines enhance the impact of several sequences. Thrills are, again, in sync with the mood of the film.

KURBAAN is embellished with superlative performances. Saif is extra-ordinary in a role that only proves his versatility once again. If he won your heart with a winning performance in LOVE AAJ KAL a few months ago, you need to watch this supremely talented actor underplay his part so beautifully in KURBAAN. As for Kareena, KURBAAN reiterates one fact yet again: She’s the best in the business. No two opinions on that! Watch her get those emotional sequences right, it’s incredible. Here’s a performance that truly merits the highest praise and admiration, besides fetching her awards and accolades.

Vivek Oberoi is fantastic. Matching Saif and Kareena at every step, KURBAAN should be the turning point in Vivek’s career. It’s a difficult role to portray and only an actor with a wide range could’ve portrayed this part so effectively. Om Puri is top notch and so is Kirron Kher. Kirron is marvellous, especially in the penultimate scene. Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda lend credibility to their brief roles.

On the whole, KURBAAN is the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry in 2009, so far. The film has a captivating plot, gripping screenplay, super performances and a climax that shakes you up completely. Watching this movie should be on top of your agenda this week.

ON AIR: Kareena at the Radio Mirchi Studios. Tune into 98.3FM for the songs from Kurbaan and Kareena’s interview

Kareena Kapoor talks to Radio Mirchi’s listeners about the initiative and her new film

REAGAN GAVIN RASQUINHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 16, 2009)

While last year’s terror attacks during 26/11 left us dazed and confused, stories about acts of outstanding bravery, kindness and generosity also abound. Acts that make us proud to be from this city. Highlights in a cloud of grey, that let us know that humanity shines through no matter what. Mumbai will never forget the bravery displayed by the NSG, the policemen or the firemen.

To honour these heroes, Radio Mirchi has organised a special screening of the film Kurbaan. Kareena Kapoor was recently on Radio Mirchi’s Sunset Samosa with RJ Suren to talk about this initiative and her upcoming film. Visiting the Radio Mirchi studio after a gap of six years, the stunning actress spoke about her role in the film. She said, “I think this is one of my best roles after Jab We Met, so I am very excited about it. Karan came up with ‘Some love stories have blood on them’ because the film is very intense; blood here refers to the pain.”

Produced by Dharma productions and directed by debutant director Rensil D’Silva, Kurbaan stars Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Kirron Kher and Om Puri. Salim-Suleiman who are the music directors have given a fantastic score for the film which can be heard on Radio Mirchi. Suleiman’s favourite here is a song called “Rasiya, as it is has dark undertones and really sets the mood for the images it accompanies in the film.” On her part, Kareena continues, “The lyrics of all the songs are beautiful. Ali Maula is a very gripping song; the film comes to life in this song.” The popular Shukran Allah is already climbing the charts.

Pleased with the special initiative take by Mirchi, Kareena asked Radio Mirchi listeners to nominate those people they know who helped out during 26/11. The nominees will be able to attend the special screening of Kurbaan where the lead star Saif Ali Khan will also be present.
reagan.gavin@timesgroup.com
Om Puri now directs his anger at wife’s publishers

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 13, 2009)


 

Nandita & Om Puri

Om Puri blasted his wife Nandita through this paper for exposing some of his most private and sexual experiences in her biography, Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri.

However, Om, now regrets his decision to have spoken out so bitterly against his wife and her book.

“I was very angry and admit that I said things that I shouldn’t have said. I deeply regret my impulsive nature. It has hurt my wife and my son Ishaan.” While Nandita has been angry and grief-stricken, Om, who is still in Chandigarh said, “Nandita has been bombarded with calls, messages and visitors inquiring about what I said.

What’s worse is that my son Ishaan too has come under scrutiny. I’m not in Mumbai to protect them from the damage I’ve caused. I can’t sleep or focus on my work. I don’t want our child to suffer for the mistakes I have made. I therefore sincerely apologise to my wife and to my son for being so rash.”

Om is livid with the book’s publishers and says that they are to be blamed for sending out such sensitive aspects about his sexual encounters to the media. Om said, “My anger should have been projected at the publishers for trying to pre-sell my wife’s book by leaking out only the sexual episodes. My story doesn’t need this kind of publicity.”

It was coincidentally Nandita’s birthday yesterday and Om felt miserable. “My son has been crying over the phone. I beg my wife and son’s forgiveness.” Well Om, your life is certainly an open book now. You and she have said it all indeed.


By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 11, 2009)


Acclaimed actor Om Puri is enormously upset with his wife, journalist-columnist Nandita for highlighting some of his most private sexual incidents to market her biography, Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri. A discernibly upset Om said, “I don’t care  if she’s my wife. I won’t let her get away with it.

I am in Chandigarh shooting for a film. On Monday I heard Nandita speaking about the biography she has written on me. I was shocked by her revelations. It was so cheap. She was talking about my sexual encounters as though those were my biggest achievements!”

Om’s main reason for being upset is Nandita’s revelation that he had sex with his maid Shanti at the age of 14. She has also exposed Om’s longstanding liaison with a woman named Laxmi with whom Om was sexually and emotionally involved.

Om is livid. “My wife has reduced a very important and sacred part of my life to cheap and lurid gossip. I had shared these dark secrets with my wife as all husbands do. If she chose to make them public at least she should’ve made sure to maintain a dignity about experiences that are a valuable part of my life. Has she forgotten that I have a standing in society and I’ve worked hard to achieve all that I have today? I won’t allow her to throw it all away for the sake of sensationalism.”

Om says that Laxmi was one of the most important women in his life. “This lady whom Nandita talks in such an undignified manner was Laxmi, who raised me and my brother’s orphaned children. My relationship with this wonderful woman was a homage to her loyalty for looking after me unconditionally.” Om doesn’t deny he had sex with Laxmi. “But it was not  a furtive and sleazy experience. It was beautiful. Why make such a tamasha out of these very sensitive moments? Mahatma Gandhi spoke of his experiences with sexuality in The Story of My  Experiments With Truth. But was that all there was to his life? Why highlight these aspects when there’s so much more to me? Do you know, when I was a child, I was travelling by train with my destitute mother. The entire compartment collected money to feed us. That incident remains etched in my mind. I was working in a teashop when I was seven years old. When I came to  the FTII, Pune I didn’t have a decent shirt to wear. I had to borrow one  from Naseeruddin Shah. I had hoped when my life was chronicled it would be an inspirational story.”

Om says his wife insisted on  writing his biography. “I was aware that another lady (Aparajita Krishna) was writing my biography. When Nandita expressed  a desire to write about me I couldn’t stop her because she’s my wife but she has forgotten who she is,” added Om.

The actor complains that Nandita didn’t allow him to read the  manuscript. “Not once did she let me read even one page of the manuscript. How was I to know how she would use the incidents from my life to sell her book?”

When we promised to be discreet in putting forward his anguish and humiliation, Om retorted, “Please don’t be discreet. Has she exercised any discretion in talking about my personal experiences? The final decision to put my life up as a tamasha was Nandita’s. I can’t forgive her.”

Om and Nandita Puri

When we asked Nandita for her side of the story, she said, “This is all such a mistake. My book on  my husband is a biography, not  bl***y pornography. The book is about Om, the man and the actor. Om has all the human foibles, just like all of us. He had sex as an adolescent with his maid and then he had a long liaison with the other lady who was also a maid. This was his way of coming out of his other relationships and demolishing class differences. If Om has any objection to her being called a maid he’s just being unrealistic.”

So are his sexual experiences an integral part of the book? “They are,” admitted Nandita. “But that’s not all.” Apparently, the broadcast journalist who interviewed Nandita picked up excerpts from a weekly news magazine. “She called me on her show and for 20 minutes she spoke only about Om’s sexual escapades. When I thought she’d  question me about other aspects of Om’s life in the book, the show was over. I was horrified. I was even more  horrified when I saw the show,” added Nandita.

Yesterday morning, Nandita received a very angry call from Om who is in Chandigarh .“He was livid. The double escapades with the two maid servants has made Om feel he’ll be compared to Shiney Ahuja. Now my husband is angry, my publishers are upset and so  am I,” said Nandita.

By Taran Adarsh, October 30, 2009 – 08:26 IST

In real life, if you feel your colleague is far more superior to you in intelligence, talent, charisma, efficiency, chances are you might feel the heat. Jealousy, generally, stems from there. In the process, the best of relations get strained. LONDON DREAMS, directed by Vipul Shah, talks of two musicians, thick pals actually, and how jealousy drives a wedge in their friendship.

Let’s clear a few myths before discussing the positive and negative factors of this film. LONDON DREAMS is not BAIJU BAWRA. LONDON DREAMS is not ROCK ON!!, ABHIMAAN, YAARANA or SAAJAN either [a section of the industry wants us to believe that]. The truth is, LONDON DREAMS borrows from Milos Forman’s brilliant film AMADEUS [1984], which was based on Salieri and Mozart’s life. In fact, Suneel Darshan too had made a film based on AMADEUS called SHAKALAKA BOOM BOOM [2007; Bobby Deol, Upen Patel].

BY BOLLYWWOD HUNGAMA.COM

LONDON DREAMS is a complete departure from Vipul Shah’s earlier outings, AANKHEN, WAQT, NAMASTEY LONDON and SINGH IS KINNG [produced by Vipul, directed by Anees Bazmee]. This film is about relationships and tends to get very real and intense, in the post-interval portions specifically. The scale of LONDON DREAMS is gigantic and the execution of concerts [it's about a band] sweeps you off your feet.

//

In terms of execution, it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that LONDON DREAMS is amongst Vipul Shah’s most accomplished works to date. Also, it boasts of incredible performances by Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn. But there are hiccups too and it’s these deficiencies that bog the film down!

They were childhood friends. But they had little in common except their family’s connection with music. While Arjun’s [Ajay Devgn] life was consumed by a passionate drive to get on stage and realize his grandfather’s unfulfilled dream, Mannu [Salman Khan] was content with remaining a child at heart with no higher ambition than enjoying the good things in life.

As Arjun forges a band with Zoheb [Rannvijay Singh], Wasim [Aditya Roy Kapur] and Priya [Asin], a music enthusiast from a conservative South Indian family, far away in Punjab, music becomes a survival tool for Mannu, who takes to playing in wedding bands in his village.

Arjun gets Mannu to London and makes him a part of the band, but soon realizes he’s created the biggest threat and obstacle to his own ambitions.

Mannu, with his inherent musical gift, becomes an instant darling of the crowds. Arjun’s unbearable pangs of jealousy and insecurity only worsen when Mannu also unwittingly woos and wins his secret love, Priya. As he battles his inner demons, Arjun slowly devises a sinister plan to destroy his best friend.

It takes time to get into Ajay’s world [its Ajay who's narrating the story here]. The film moves back and forth and it’s only when the two buddies, now adults, meet that you realize where the story is headed. The first hour depicts the two extreme characters – Ajay, who’s an introvert and who cannot think of anything but his goal and Salman, a happy-go-lucky guy, laidback and fun-loving, least focused.

The narrative has some interesting moments in the first hour, but the actual story unravels only towards the second half. The first half, frankly, only sets things up for the explosive drama that is to follow. The wheels start moving when Ajay plays a vicious game and hatches a conspiracy to ruin his buddy’s career.

It’s the second hour that does the trick. You can’t help but carry several sequences in your heart, even after you’ve made an exit from the auditorium…

  • Note the scene when Salman makes four different tunes from the original tune created by Ajay.
  • Note the scene when Ajay meets an inebriated Salman and professes revenge, while Salman is completely clueless about Ajay’s sinister plans.
  • Note the scene when the band arrives in London after a 3-city concert and they’re received by aggressive mediapersons.

But there’re roadblocks too. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is a downer. LONDON DREAMS is about a rock band, about music, about concerts and the music had to be the soul of the film. Unfortunately, it’s not! The songs have been filmed in the most energetic fashion, but how one wishes the music was one of the strengths of the film.

Also, the film could’ve concluded when the two friends re-unite at the station. Adding one more song thereafter only dilutes the impact of the emotionally correct sequence that has just been witnessed. Besides, the song in question hasn’t been promoted either, so it only comes across as an aberration.

Prior to that, Ajay’s outburst at the end of the concert is far from convincing. The film has a real feel, real characters and real situations, but the outburst looks unreal and is one of the drawbacks, from the writing point of view. It’s just not convincing!

Besides, Ajay’s childhood character is shown fleeing from the airport and making it big in a foreign land [London], without any support whatsoever. It’s unpalatable!

Vipul Shah has handled this intricate subject well, but the writing could’ve been tighter. Sejal Shah’s cinematography is super. Brownie points for capturing the concerts brilliantly. Salim-Sulaiman’s background score matches international standards.

Both Salman and Ajay vie for top honours. Salman has a role that the junta would take to instantly and the actor too endears himself to the viewers. He’s stupendous. When it comes to displaying intensity on screen, very few can live up to the standards set by Ajay. To state that he packs in a power-packed performance would be an understatement. They, in fact, compliment each other wonderfully well.

Asin is admirable and pairs off very well with Salman. She is sure to have a new name after this film – Chennai Express [that's how Salman addresses her affectionately, all through the film]. Om Puri has a brief role. Aditya Roy Kapur is very good and registers an impact. Rannvijay Singh doesn’t get much to do, except throw nasty looks at Salman. Manoj Pahwa provides some funny moments. Brinda Parekh is okay.

On the whole, LONDON DREAMS has superb performances from its principal cast and several emotionally-charged sequences as its two trump cards. But its biggest drawback is its climax and also the music, which is the weakest link of the movie. At the box-office, the film should appeal more to the multiplex audience than the masses. Business at big centres, especially at metros, should be better, but mini-metros and towns will be a contrast.

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Parinda, Satya, Vaastav, Company and Gangster-these are handful of Hindi films which were based on the mafia/gangster menace and also very well executed. Now Baabarr should be added to this list of ‘finest gangster films of Bollywood’! The film is violent, gory and raw but at the same time, it’s thoroughly engrossing packed with award-winning performances and amazing execution! It was a must-watch but unfortunately, was missed by many!

The story of the movie: The film is based in Amarganj, the Uttar Pradesh town where criminal incidents occur daily and has become a part and parcel of the residents. In one of its dingy lanes, Baabarr (Sohum Shah) emerges as a ruthless gangster. Working with his 5 brothers, Baabarr runs an extortion racket and doesn’t think twice before killing. The govt entrusts the task of eliminating Baabarr and his gang and all their activities to S P Dwivedi (Mithun Chakraborthy). How Dwivedi, along with corrupted Daroga (Om Puri) go about doing their duty is what follows next in the film.

Director Ashuu Trikha may not accept, but the truth is that Baabaar, undoubtedly, is based on dreaded UP gangster, Rafiq Qureshi’s life. The director and the screenwriter (Ikram Akhtar) wonderfully trace Baabarr’s journey from his first murder at 12 years to his death at just 22 or 23 years. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat right from the beginning and has several high-voltage shocking scenes which give goosebumps.

One of the four factors that make Baabaarr stand out is that it takes us to a world which we are ignorant about. The film throws light on Amarganj where murders take place casually, where people have more guns in their houses than chairs, where people are never ever given lessons on good manners and where people are addressed as ‘Oye Pehelwan’ instead of ‘Hey Dude’! However, the setting doesn’t look unrealistic at all (it isn’t actually) and the viewer absorbs everything that is projected in the film. Secondly, every character in the film is added with a purpose and each of them is damn interesting. My 5 favourites were Baabarr, Daroga, Maamu (Tinnu Anand), Sarfaraaz (Shakti Kapoor) and the sexiest one in the film, Tabrez (Sushant Singh)!
Thirdly, everything that happens in the film has a purpose. Meaning, none of the scenes were unnecessarily added-it was all connected to the main plot. For instance, one may feel that grown-up Baabarr’s intro scene where he kills a businessman named Jilani was just added to project Baabarr’s ruthless and merciless nature. But the scene is well connected to the next one and also to the storyline. And lastly, the climax of this film is shocking! There is an excellent twist that takes place which catches you unawares! It doesn’t spoil the film at all and also looks justified. In short, a great work by the writer-director duo!

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Some scenes of the film are memorable. Baabarr’s first murder at 12 and Baabarr killing Jilani in his own factory set the mood. Tabrez finishing Akram in a cow slaughter house is gruesome scene but clapworthy. The intermission point was easily the best scene of the film!

The only glitch in the entire film is that it gets a bit slow in the 2nd half.

Every actor in the film has pitched in a fabulous performance-in fact, much much better than their other films in recent times. Newcomer Sohum Shah rocks with his finest performance. Since it his debut, he doesn’t come with the baggage of any past significant performance and thus, one connects to his character instantly. Also, the actor wonderfully exhibits the ruthlessness that his character needed. Even his dialogue delivery rocked. This year, except Raj Singh Chaudhary of Gulaal, none of debutants have managed to impress and hence, Sohum has high chance of bagging the Best Debut award next year!

However, the question arises that based on his appearance and the kind of character he played in Baabarr, will he be offered other types of roles in future? I hope he gets as he’s a truly a gem! Best of luck! (P.S.: Is Sohum Shah Mukesh Shah’s son who is the co-producer of the film?!)

Mithun Chakraborty does his job with élan. His meeting with Sohum is an explosive scene! Om Puri rocks and this was certainly one of the finest performances of his life. The way he changed his mannerisms, walking style and accent for this role and did a great job is definitely praiseworthy. Same goes for Sushant Singh who delivers phaadu performance! I have loved this talented actor since 16 December and am impressed to see him in such an interesting role. Here is an actor who deserves to be a superstar!

Urvashi Sharma was fine but one may argue that her character was unnecessary. Mukesh Tiwari was brilliant, esp in the pre-climax scene inside the prison. Ditto for Tinnu Anand, who shows his extremely talented side in the pre-climax. Shakti Kapoor is surprisingly, extremely likeable! Govind Namdeo was as usual. Kashish Khan as Baabarr’s wife gives a nice ‘Kaminey’s Charlie-type’ performance! Abbas Ali Moghul, the action director of the film, is there for a scene and plays the role of Akram Qasai. He’s a great actor! Pratima Kazmi plays Lilavati, a character based on Mayawati. Shockingly, a beep tone is inserted whenever her name is mentioned in the film! Others also do a great job.

Anand Raj Anand’s music was alright. The title song is impressive. Suhass Gujarathi’s cinematography is brilliant and the dingy by-lanes of Uttar Pradesh towns are well captured. Abbas Ali Moghul charms as the actor and also as the action director! Although some scenes had too much bloodshed, it was needed. Sunil Singh’s background score was in sync with the film’s mood.
Vikram Misra and Ikram Akhtar’s dialogues were one of the best things about the film. The best dialogue of the film (and one of the best in recent times) is: “Gas khatam ho gayi hai…tujhe jalakar chai banayenge tujh pe!” Absolutely rocking!

Ikram Akhtar has also written the story and script of the movie and he excels thoroughly! The film keeps you on the edge of the seat and doesn’t bore even for a moment! Great job by Akhtar, who has scripted some contrastingly light films like Nayee Padosan, Joru Ka Ghulam, Chal Mere Bhai etc!

Finally, Ashuu Trikha is a revelation! The director has always done a fine job in his past films (Deewanapan, Sheesha, Alag) but was let down by faulty scripts. In Baabarr, however, he is armed with a flawless script and he does a brilliant job. He succeeds in exposing the gangster-police-politicians nexus that is rampant in the interiors of the country and where lawlessness prevails. Hats off to Ashuu and hoping to see him with such nice films in future!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.   Baabarr’s childhood
2.   Baabarr finishing Jilani
3.   Tabrez’s entry
4.   Baabarr and Tabrez’ confrontation during the tender meeting
5.   The intermission point
6.   Baabarr shot
7.   Dwivedi teaches Daroga a lesson
8.   The last 25 minutes

On the whole, Baabarr is surely one of the best gangster films that has come out from Bollywood. Although it has excessive violence, it manages to impress with his intriguing execution and performances. The film wasn’t publicized well when it released in September this year. But now, all movie buffs, do catch it on DVD! Don’t Miss It!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Baabarr-178084-1.html

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Cast: SAIF ALI KHAN, KAREENA KAPOOR, VIVEK OBEROI, OM PURI, KIRRON KHER

Producer: HIROO YASH JOHAR, KARAN JOHAR

Director: RENSIL D’SILVA

Source: BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM



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