Fenil and Bollywood

Archive for the ‘External Reviews’ Category

By Taran Adarsh, January 22, 2010 – 10:44 IST

VEER drives home a few hard facts…

  • No amount of gloss can substitute for an engaging story.
  • Not all directors are capable of pulling off a period film.
  • No star – howsoever strong his rankings are – can infuse life in a comatose script.

Everyone’s awaiting VEER with bated breath. The film industry will get another breather if VEER goes the 3 IDIOTS way at the box-office. The junta will have one more fascinating genre to look forward to, if VEER appeals to them. But your hopes go crashing as reel after reel of VEER unfurl.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Salman Khan [who has been credited as the story writer of VEER] takes TARAS BULBA, adds GLADIATOR, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, TROY, TITANIC and even KRANTI [the end is a straight lift of Manoj Kumar’s Dilip Kumar starrer] and comes up with this khichdi which gets unpalatable after a point.

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VEER is about a warrior and at the same time, it’s a love story too. Sadly, neither does it evoke any patriotism, nor does the love story make your heart go dhak-dhak.

The writing [screenplay: Shaktimaan Talwar, Shailesh Verma] is so fragile that one is mentally exhausted by the time this marathon movie finally reaches its finale. Of course, Salman’s star power tries hard to salvage the situation, but window dressing doesn’t help if the store has nothing to offer.

Final word? You have to be a veer to sit through VEER. Colossal disappointment!

As the British enslave India with their devious Divide and Rule policy, kings and nawabs fall to their guile and cunning schemes and entrust their precious kingdom to the foreigners. Except for the brave Pindaris, who prefer death to dishonour and will fight to their last breath to save their land.

The bravest, the toughest, the strongest of the Pindaris is Veer [Salman Khan]. As Veer takes on the might of the British Empire, he also has to fight the conniving King of Madavgarh [Jackie Shroff] as well his own jealous tribesmen. At stake is his love for princess Yashodhara [Zarine Khan], daughter of his sworn enemy. At stake is his thirst to avenge his father’s dishonour.

VEER has it all – great stars, opulent and majestic sets, adrenaline pumping action scenes, but no soul [read script]. The movie begins with a bang, but the moment the story shifts to London, it crashes!

Frankly, it’s a screenplay of convenience. Salman meets the woman of his dreams within minutes of reaching London and that looks so unreal. You try to digest it and move on to the next scene and lo! The damsel studies in the same college that our hero has enrolled in. Now that looks fake!

The sequence at the interval is interesting, although it remains a mystery how Puru Raaj Kumar gets to know of Salman’s identity. At this point, Salman becomes a killing machine, slaughters more than a dozen people in the hostel campus [including a few gora soldiers] and conveniently escapes from London with a badly injured brother [played by Sohail]. Now that is taking it too far.

The second hour goes on and on and on, emphasising on unfulfilled promises, seething anger and revenge, love and freedom and frankly, you are least bothered by now. In fact, you lose interest in the proceedings. Period. The climax is so long drawn and more of an anti-climax, while the ending is bizarre and unintentionally funny.

Director Anil Sharma fails to deliver. That’s the bitter truth. The project had everything going in its favour, but alas, Sharma and his writers make a complete mess of the story. Sajid-Wajid’s music is melodious, but why repeat one song [‘Surili Ankhiyon Wali’] again and again? The background score [Monty] is top notch. Gopal Shah’s cinematography is splendid. Tinu Verma’s action scenes are dynamic and in fact, the saving grace of VEER. The production design [art: Sanjay Dhabade] give an authentic feel of the bygone era.

VEER rides on Salman’s star power, but even his hardcore fans will be disappointed by this movie. Zarine Khan resembles Katrina Kaif, but wears one expression all through. Mithun is okay, while Jackie does his bit well. Sohail Khan irritates. Puru Raaj Kumar and Aryan Vaid get no scope. Neena Gupta is as usual. The English actors are stereotype.

On the whole, VEER proves the age-old adage true: All that glitters is not gold. The film may open very well at single screens thanks to Salman’s popularity and the hype surrounding the film and may also enjoy a healthy extended weekend [Tuesday, 26th January is a holiday], but given its exorbitant costs and poor merits, VEER will face an uphill task to recover its costs. This one’s a monumental disappointment!

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By Taran Adarsh, January 15, 2010 – 11:10 IST

The film industry attracts thousands of hopefuls every single day. Most don’t make it. But the struggle continues… CHANCE PE DANCE tries to present the story of a hopeful – his dreams, his aspirations, his struggle and his eventual triumph.

Last year, Zoya Akhtar’s LUCK BY CHANCE depicted the struggles of an aspirant most effectively. CHANCE PE DANCE tries hard to present the story of one such aspirant, but fails miserably. However, a few clarifications before we delve deeper. It’s not derived from STEP UP [2006] or Ram Gopal Varma’s NAACH [the similarity starts and ends with the male lead being a wannabe actor and the female lead being a choreographer], although a significant track of the movie bears an uncanny resemblance to Jack Black’s SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003].

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

What bogs the film down is that it’s too predictable from start to end. However, predictability is not the sole hitch here. The story doesn’t have the zing to keep you hooked to the screen for most parts and also, it unravels at such a lethargic pace that you break into a yawn at several points of the narrative.

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The sole aspect that you carry home is Shahid Kapoor’s earnest performance, who has consistently taken one step ahead with every film. This time, unfortunately, the shoddy script makes the actor’s efforts null and void.

Final verdict? A chance lost! Come to think of it, most dance-based reality shows on television these days promise far more entertainment, excitement, drame-baazi and those euphoric moments than the one you see in CHANCE PE DANCE.

CHANCE PE DANCE tells the story of a talented and passionate guy named Sameer [Shahid Kapoor]. Positive and brimming with energy, Sameer juggles various jobs to keep him afloat while pursuing his one dream to get a break on the big screen.

In his quest, Sameer has a lot of ups and down, hopes and disappointments. Not the one to be disillusioned and armed with a ‘Never-Say-Die’ attitude and dynamic talent, Sameer fights every hurdle that comes his way because achieving your biggest dream is never easy.

In this journey, he is helped by a spirited choreographer Tina [Genelia D’Souza] and eventually, Sameer realizes that sometimes life gives you that one chance.

The problem with CHANCE PE DANCE is its writing, which is tacky and bland at the same time. In today’s times, when every film-maker is striving so hard to narrate a new story, CHANCE PE DANCE harps on the same-old mundane, cliched, tried-and-tested stuff that you’ve watched again and again and again. The journey of the protagonist is so lifeless that you don’t feel for him when he loses one battle after another. Conversely, during the climax, when he eventually emerges a winner, you don’t feel euphoric either.

Had the story remained faithful to the main plot – the struggles of an aspirant – it may’ve cut ice with the viewer. But the track of a dance teacher doesn’t work. Also, the sequences with his father – right from the time his father’s shop is demolished, to his father prodding him to chase his dreams – appears phony. The Mohnish Bahl track is also contradictory. At first he signs Shahid, later dumps him, but much later screams on TV channels that he always knew Shahid was a star… weird, isn’t it? The ending is equally tame.

Director Ken Ghosh has filmed a few individualistic scenes well, especially the one at the interval point when a heart-broken Shahid finds solace in his students, but one sparrow does not a summer make. Adnan Sami’s music is strictly okay. The movie clearly lacks a hit number to take it to dizzy heights. However, the choreography is top notch [Ahmed Khan, Marty Kudelka].

Shahid makes a sincere effort and the honesty shows in a number of scenes. But let’s not forget that the best of actors cannot rise beyond a pitiable script. His dances, expectedly, are exceptional. Genelia looks cute and provides some pleasant moments, but the role doesn’t demand histrionics. Mohnish Bahl is alright. Parikshit Sahani is getting typecast as the father.

On the whole, this dance stands no chance!

By Taran Adarsh, January 8, 2010 – 17:00 IST

SHREK [and its instalments] has been one of the most loved movies of our times. An ogre falls in love with a princess and after overcoming their share of obstacles, the couple live happily ever after. Most Hindi movies take a similar route, don’t they? We love happy endings. We want the underdog to accomplish his dreams. We feel euphoric if he walks into the sunset, holding the hand of his beloved.

A love story works if you fall in love with the on-screen characters and also if it knocks on the doors of your heart. PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE does that. PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE may not be the ultimate romantic film, but you can’t deny the fact that there’s something about this film that stays with you, that you carry home… sorry, carry in your heart.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE also works because its protagonists, Uday and Priyanka, deliver sparkling performances. No wonder, you get drawn in their world in a jiffy.

//

Final word? Watch PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE if you are or even if you’re not a romantic. It has its heart in the right place!

In a university in California, Alisha [Priyanka Chopra] is the name of that dream everyone wished came true. The most beautiful girl on campus, she makes hearts flutter like leaves in the wind. Everybody loves Alisha.

It is no surprise then that Abhay [Uday Chopra] loves her too. Abhay is a nerdy, awkward, bespectacled geek of the college who is so far removed from her world. She doesn’t even know that people like him actually exist.

One day Abhay musters up enough courage to go and express his true feelings to her and realizes that it is never gonna happen. He comes to terms with the fact that Alisha is a Princess and he is just a Geek. That is when their ways eventually part. Later, their paths cross again, as Abhay is busy trying to launch his career. Fate again brings him face to face with the woman of his dreams, Alisha.

Will Abhay have the strength to believe in himself and attempt to achieve what he never thought possible?

You may draw parallels with Chris Columbus’ I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER [2009], but the fact is that Uday Chopra’s story in PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE [yes, he has penned the story, screenplay and dialogue] could be anybody’s story. This is not about a nerd who wants his program back from a suave hacker. It’s about a simpleton, his feelings, the complications in his life and the final triumph. Haven’t we seen so many jodis in real life, who may not pair off well, but look compatible? Let’s not forget, opposites attract!

You may also draw parallels with Aditya Chopra’s RAB NE BANA DI JODI, but writer Uday Chopra and director Jugal Hansraj steer clear of anything that could be similar to Adi’s film. The [sole] similarity starts and ends with a simpleton falling in love with an attractive girl.

Uday’s screenplay remains faithful to the main plot, not deviating one bit. At the same time, it could’ve been tighter in the post-interval portions. There were ample occasions when Uday could’ve opened his heart, his motive of arriving in Singapore, that he’s not a nanny, that he had been cheated by Dino. But he doesn’t!

Thankfully, the writing is back on track towards its climax. Right from the kiddie song, to Priyanka realising that she loves Uday, to the press conference when Uday stands vindicated and Dino exposed, the penultimate moments are the mainstay of the enterprise.

Jugal Hansraj has the trappings of a competent director. He has handled several sensitive moments with dexterity. Salim-Sulaiman’s musical score is pleasant, but it can do with that extra push [promotion] from the music division. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography is top notch. Dialogue [also penned by Uday] are straight out of life.

PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE works largely due to the efficient performances by its principal actors – Uday Chopra and Priyanka Chopra. Both deliver sparkling performances. Priyanka has evolved into a fantastic actor and this film proves it yet again. Five minutes into the film and you realise that you are not watching Priyanka, but Alisha Merchant. That’s what this fine actor does to you.

Uday gets it right as Abhay. Sure, the actor has been a part of several films in the past, but this one awakens you to this sincere performer, who, unfortunately, has never got his due. He plays the role of a Geek with astute understanding and it’s thanks to his super portrayal that you feel for this character. This should be the turning point in his career.

Dino Morea springs a surprise and carries off his part very well. Anupam Kher is perfect in a brief role. Advika Yadav, the kid playing Priyanka’s daughter, is adorable. And a terrific actor too!

On the whole, PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE is a feel-good film. If you are a romantic, this one’s for you. Even if you’re not, still watch it. Its one of those films that will bring a smile on your face – something that most Hindi films don’t do these days!

By Taran Adarsh, January 8, 2010 – 10:28 IST

The recipe is simple and uncomplicated…
Take MY FAIR LADY.
Add DULHAN WAHI JO PIYA MAN BHAAYE.
Spray NASEEB APNA APNA.
Sprinkle DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE and RAB NE BANA DI JODI.
Hey presto, DULHA MIL GAYA is ready to serve.

In fact, MY FAIR LADY has been a hot favourite of Bollywood. Recall MAN PASAND [Dev Anand, Tina Munim] or HUM TERE AASHIQ HAIN [Jeetendra, Hema Malini]. Similarly, a number of storytellers have rehashed Rajshri’s all-time hit DULHAN WAHI JO PIYA MAN BHAAYE [Prem Krishen, Rameshwari] in various avtaars, over the years.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

DULHA MIL GAYA is a mix of the above-named films. Like they say in filmi lingo, it’s old wine in new bottle. So what? How different can a love story be, since this genre has been done to death in Bollywood? Point noted, but the narrative ought to be engaging if it has to strike a chord and that’s where DULHA MIL GAYA falters.

//

Merely assembling A-listers and filming the movie at panoramic locations isn’t enough. The film ought to have meat and that’s missing here.

Let me elaborate. Debutante director Mudassar Aziz, who has also penned the script, borrows from the past, going for the tried-and-tested stuff, but the narrative, already low on fuel, comes to a grinding halt by the time it reaches its finale.

Donsai [Fardeen Khan], a young commitment-phobic debonair, is petrified with terms like marriage and long-term relationships. Samarpreet [Ishita Sharma] is a quintessential Punjabi girl, for whom relationships are to be cherished.

Shimmer [Sushmita Sen] is a diva from the world of glamour for whom love and relationships aren’t important in life as independence and success are. Pawan Raj Gandhi/PRG [Shah Rukh Khan] is a suave multi-millionaire whose heart still remains larger than his bank balance and for whom winning love is the only victory there is.

When paths cross for these four characters, they not only land up influencing each other with their outlook on relationships, but also get influenced themselves and learn a whole new meaning of the term.

Something that got ignited with D.D.L.J. continues to shimmer to this date. Our stories continue to travel from firangi land to the fields of Punjab. DULHA MIL GAYA too does that [initially], before MY FAIR LADY and RAB NE BANA DI JODI take over.

To give the credit where it’s due, DULHA MIL GAYA has some interesting moments, but the problem is they are few and far between. One expects things to perk up when SRK’s character is introduced [in the post-interval portions], but your hopes go crashing as nothing worthy of note occurs.

The writing has gaping flaws, which are difficult to absorb after a point. The girl travels all the way from Punjab to Trinidad and Tobago, but not once do her concerned parents call to enquire how she is. Strangely, even the girl doesn’t feel the need to inform them. If that’s not enough, Sushmita takes upon herself to tame Fardeen, giving you the impression that she thinks from her heart. But when it comes to her relationship with Shah Rukh, she behaves in a rather odd manner. SRK, on the other hand, seems completely besotted by her, even though she never reciprocates his feelings. Hence, her somersault in the end – just because Ishita has given her some bhashan – doesn’t look convincing.

Mudassar Aziz’s direction is a shade better than his writing. And that’s not saying much. Given the fact that newer stories are being attempted in these fast-changing times and in view of the fact that he had some of the best talents on board, Mudassar should’ve seized the opportunity and told a refreshingly different and absorbing tale. But he doesn’t. Sure, a few sequences are clever and smart, but that’s not enough.

The music is of a mixed variety. ‘Akela Dil’ is groovy, while the title track is strictly okay. Cinematography is appealing.

Sushmita excels in a role that demands her to be hoity-toity. She enacts her part effortlessly. One wishes to see her more often on the big screen! Fardeen does a good job, especially towards the end when he’s about to confess something vital to Ishita. Ishita delivers a sincere performance. It’s a pity that a superstar like Shah Rukh is terribly wasted in an inconsequential role. It may not go down well with his fans.

Mohit Chadha has screen presence, but gets no scope. Johny Lever is wasted. Ditto for Tara Sharma. Suchitra Pillai and Howard Rosemeyer are passable. Parikshit Sahni, Bina Kak and Viveck Vaswani are as usual.

On the whole, DULHA MIL GAYA doesn’t work!

By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:32 IST

After almost five years, accomplished actor Saurabh Shukla returns to the director’s chair with RAAT GAYI, BAAT GAYI?, a film that’s making the right buzz. Making an adult comedy that talks of one night stand is tough. But giving the serious issue a humorous take is tougher.

RAAT GAYI, BAAT GAYI? is about relationships and also looks at the philanderers, who, despite being committed, don’t mind having a PYT in a closet, for no strings attached fun.

You may draw parallels with THE HANGOVER because the protagonist can’t recall anything that happened the previous night. But it must also be said that the film throws a few surprises, which makes it completely different from any film, past or present.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

But there’s one factor that throws a spanner. There’s not much meat in the story. Also, it unravels at an excruciatingly slow pace. In fact, the wheels start moving only towards the penultimate 20 odd minutes, when the answers start coming.

In a nutshell, RAAT GAYI, BAAT GAYI? offers a few laughs, not laughter unlimited!

Rahul [Rajat Kapoor] wakes up with a bad hangover after a party the night before. There, he had met a sexy young woman Sophia [Neha Dhupia]. They got drunk and there were sparks flying. But Rahul doesn’t remember what happened after that. Did they go all the way?

His wife Mitali [Irawati Harshe Mayadev] is in a particularly bad mood and Rahul suspects that she might know about his little escapade last night. Rahul starts chasing his night, trying to retrieve it, trying to find out what really happened.

His friends Saxena [Dalip Tahil] and Amit [Vinay Pathak] are going through their own marital crisis of sorts. Driven to his wits end, he realizes that he must meet Sophia again to get the answers.

Almost three decades ago, Basu Chatterjee made an adult comedy called SHAUKEEN, which told the story of three men who eye a pretty girl, who’s completely oblivious of their intentions. In this film too, director Saurabh Shukla looks at three men with a roving eye.

Sadly, the screenplay [writers: Saurabh Shukla and Rajat Kapoor] falls woefully short in terms of generating interest. In fact, till three-fourths of the movie, there’s not much movement in the story, except for a few humour-laden sequences. It also moves lethargically and is unnecessarily slack.

Ankur Tewari’s music is strictly functional. Fuwad Khan’s cinematography captures the varied moods well.

The film scores in the performance department. Every member of the cast – Neha Dhupia, Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Dalip Tahil, Irawati Harshe Mayadev, Anu Menon, Navniit Nisshan and Aamir Bashir – deliver fine performances. Especially Rajat and Vinay. Ranvir Shorey, Makrand Deshpande and Sudhir Mishra appear in cameos.

On the whole, RAAT GAYI, BAAT GAYI? doesn’t work.

By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:30 IST

What do you do when you, accidentally, bang into someone on the road? Flee from the spot? Call for help? Dial the cops? Rush the victim to the hospital?

Pick up a newspaper and chances are you might glance upon a hit-and-run case only too often. ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD, a remake of STUCK [Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea], raises a few questions in its own way. Perhaps, the intentions were right, but what eventually unfolds on screen isn’t.

The problem with ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD is that it loses focus after a point and that takes away the seriousness from the issue.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Sonam [Celina Jaitly] is a nurse who accidentally steers her car into the harmless Prakash [Farooque Shaikh], sending him flying through the windshield. Not wanting to jeopardize her future, Sonam, along with her drug-peddling boyfriend Sid [Abhimanyu Singh], chooses not to get him medical help, leaving him clinging to life in her garage.

But soon her psyche begins to unravel as the captor and captive are pitted against each other in a battle for survival.

ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD had the potential to be a thought-provoking film that pricks your conscience, but what comes across is a half-baked attempt that runs out of steam soon after the intermission. In fact, the film begins quite well and a few moments as well as the twists and turns in the first half do keep you on the edge.

But the writing [screenplay adapted by Mahesh Nair and Siddharth Parmar] is shoddy in the second part and does not yield the desired outcome. The sequences prior to the climax are a complete downer, while the climax is the worst part of the film. The drama fails to become the nail-biting one that it ought to be.

Also, the assorted people that flit in and out of the story [the kid and his mom, the cabbie and the nosey neighbour with a dog] are half-baked characters as well. Pray, why were they included in the first place?

Mahesh Nair’s direction is a shade better than the poor and sketchy script. Also, he is unable to involve the audience in the drama. Ravi Walia’s cinematography is ordinary. The film has just one song [music: Raju Singh] – ‘Nasha Nasha’ – which is quite erotic.

Farooque Shaikh doesn’t get any scope, frankly. One definitely expected more, since the veteran returns to the big screen after a hiatus. Abhimanyu Singh enacts his part well. But it is Celina Jaitly who pitches in a commendable act and catches you by complete surprise.

On the whole, ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD will fail to make any headway.

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.