Fenil and Bollywood

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HOT! Vivek Oberoi, Neeru Singh, Nandana Sen and (below) Aruna Shields
Meet Vivek Oberoi in his new avatar in Kumar Taurani’s action thriller

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 22, 2009)

It could well be Bollywood’s answer to Ian Fleming’s James Bond franchise said Kumar Taurani about his early 2010 release Prince — It’s Showtime. This action-adventure that has Vivek Oberoi as the Prince was shot extensively on foreign locales at a budget that can make you go ‘phew’. “It’s like Vivek’s comeback to mainstream commercial cinema. He’ll be in the super-league after this one,” promised Kumar. Prince is a “thriller with a heart’’ and has enthralling stunts and endearing music. “It has a very intriguing plot and, of course, bikini-clad women who are more than just eye-candy,’’ revealed Kumar. Vivek plays an espionage agent who’s suffering from memory loss and each of the three women he dates, tells him that she is his “Maya’’. So there’s Nandana Sen who has carved a niche for herse in Bollywood, Neeru Singh has done Punjabi films with Harbhajan Mann, and Arun Shields, an actress from the UK who’s making her Hindi film debut with Prince. “Ou script required glamourous girls,’’ said Kumar who feels that fresh talent adds novelty to the plot.
The filmmaker is also happy because those who have seen the theatrical promos have said that it reminded them of the Bond and Bourne Hollywood series. “There are unbelievable action sequences with Vivek hanging mid-air, heavy-duty combat scenes shot in an aircraft, fights on trains/planes and what-have-you. The film is one of those fast, furious, sleek affairs that take you on a ride of your lifetime,’’ added Kumar. “Like Tips’ earlier films, Soldier and Race, Prince — It’s Showtime will appeal to the audience who come to the movies for a rollercoaster ride of emotions and action,’’ said the filmmaker who hired some of the best foreign technicians besides Bollywood’s action king Allan Amin. “The title track sung by Atif Aslam is already a rage. My director Kookie Gulati certainly knows how to engage his crowds,’’ smiled Kumar.

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Since a couple of years, we are bombarded with adventurous reality shows, where contestants do dangerous stunts or stay for 3 months in an enclosed house equipped with video cameras or spend 2 months in jungle or reveal their deepest secrets in front of the family and also the entire country! The motive of all the participating contestants is to win and take home a big moolah. The film Luck goes a step ahead. No, it isnt a reality show but the setting reminds you of one. Except, that one small mistake by the contestant and he/she is dead! A saga of such an extremely dangerous game of death, Luck entertains and thrills fully! Unfortunately, it comes with its share of flaws too! More on it later!

The story of the film: Muusaa Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) is a big name in the world of gambling and betting. He has come up with the concept of human betting and assembles 15 ‘lucky’ people from all around the world to South Africa. Tamang (Danny Denzogpa) helps Muusaa unearth these ‘hidden treasures’ who are favoured by luck-Ram Mehra (Imran Khan) is in a debt of Rs. 20 crore, all thanks to his father who is no more. Retd Major Jawar Pratap Singh (Mithun Chakraborthy) urgently needs Rs. 25 lakhs for his wife’s treatment. Shortcut (Chitrashi Rawat) is a camel racer in Pakistan who has the ability to win in the race even though her camel has a limp! Serial killer Raghav (Ravi Kishan) wonderfully cheats death. And finally, Ayesha (Shruti Haasan) who has already won in the game of human betting once and is back again. In addition, there are some more from the rest of the world. All of them have one thing in common-they all possess luck. There will be only one winner and survivor in the end who’ll go home with 20 crores. Who will that be?

Luck has everything needed for an exciting action packed adveturous thriller-thrilling background score, top-class sound design, action sequences that are out of the world and outstanding sequences. The first scene of the film (see pic below) sets the mood wonderfully. In fact, the initial scene turns out to be one of the best shot scenes of Indian cinema!

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The first hour concentrates mostly on the background of all the characters. There was a possibility that the film would have turned boring at this point. However, the film has some interesting moments in this portion as well. The film takes a turn when the contestants reach South Africa. All the challenges given to them was well executed and keeps the viewers on the edge of the seat. The climax was brilliant and the surprise towards the finale was very interesting and witty!

However, unfortunately, the film has some glithces too, which could had been easily avoided by the screenwriters. The biggest goof was undoubtedly Ravi Kishan being released from the prison. What was funny and nonsensical was the reason behind his release-watch it and you’ll feel like hurling a shoe on the screen! Other glitches in the flm:
Tamang (Danny) in debt of Rs. 3 lakhs on one side and on the other, he is riding in an expensive SUV and daily spending 50 bucks on lottery!
-The real identity of Ayesha-the flashback didnt quite make sense
-The song ‘Aazma-Luck is the Key‘, sung by Shruti Haasan herself, missing from the film!

With so many brilliant performers, it becomes difficult to judge who was the best. Sanjay Dutt rocks with his brilliant performance! He has already an expert in essaying such ‘bhai’ roles and therefore, performs in Luck with ease. But one wont find him repetitive-everybody would love him for sure! Keep rocking Sanju Baba!

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Imran Khan is an actor to watch! He had already proved his worth in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na and also in Kidnap, he was brilliant. In case of Luck, he was impressive, especially in the beginning and in the climax where the focus was all on him. Debutant Shruti Haasan is here to stay. Along with good looks and great voice, she has the confidence and capability to carry off even the most challenging roles. She’s possibly winning Best Debut (Female) Award this time!

Chitrashi Rawat was a charmer! She had charmed everyone in Chak De! India (and also in Fashion) and now does it again in Luck too! Mithun Chakraborthy is natural as always. Danny Denzogpa turns out to be the scene stealer. He was completely in form and gives in an master performance! He’s also going to be seen next in Acid Factory, where he is expected to score another sixer. Danny’s back! Ravi Kishan gives a brilliant performance and does a perfect job.

Newcomer Snita Mahey is a perfect lookalike of Angelina Jolie! However, she hardly has anything to do in the film. Same goes for Rati Agnihotri. Others were good.

Salim-Sulaiman‘s music was catchy but could had been better. The best song was ‘Aazma‘. ‘Khudaya Ve’ is also a good composition.

Director Soham Shah hires the same crewman that he had for his debut venture, Kaal-cinematographer Santosh Thundiyil, composers Salim-Sulaiman, action director Allan Amin and sound designer Dwarak Warrier. None of them let Soham down and each of them excel in their departments. Santosh Thundiyil‘s cinematography was eye-catching. The talented lesnman’s last film was Krrish, 3 years back. I wonder where was he all these years! Dwarak Warrier‘s sound design was electrifying, especially in the initial scene. Allan Amin as expected did a fabulous job. The action scenes were no less than a Hollywood flick! Amar Mohile provided the background score, which hugely added to the thrill.

Soham Shah and Rensil D’Silva wrote the screenplay of the film. The screenplay was gripping at several places and helped in maintaining a steady flaw. But at times, the film also fell, thanks to the screenplay.

Finally, Soham Shah alone wrote the story and the directed the film. Overall, he did a great job. The film uses lots of effects and is loaded with style. And this at times took a toll on the proper execution of the film. But Soham surely has a long way to go!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. The first scene of the film
2. Ram taking up the ‘lighter’ challenge (brilliant scene!)
3. Shortcut and Ayesha’s entry
4. The first challenge
5. Raghav trying to strike a conversation with Ram and Major
6. The helicopter and underwater challenge sequence
7. The last 15 minutes

On the whole, Luck is a fabulous entertainer which works inspite of its flaws. It is made stylishly and has some thrilling and electrifying action sequences. If you are the kind who likes action dhamakas like Dhoom and Dhoom:2, Luck is for you! Go for it!

My rating-*** 1/2

This review first appeared first on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Luck-171841-1.html

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By Taran Adarsh, July 24, 2009 – 09:20 IST

Fasten your seat belts and get ready for hardcore stunts and thrills, Hollywood ishtyle. Come to think of it, Bollywood hasn’t churned out stylised action movies as regularly as it churns out comedies and rom-coms. There’s a vacuum for sure. But LUCK fills that lacuna. Be rest assured, you haven’t watched such thrills since DHOOM 2.

LUCK is more of a hi-concept film. Three decades ago, Krishna Shah’s SHALIMAR narrated the adventures of a billionaire who assembles/invites criminals/gangsters from across the globe to perform the heist of a precious diamond that he possesses. The concept isn’t similar here, but in this case too, a gambler assembles people from across the globe for a concept called human betting.

LUCK may not be high on story, but the concept and at least four stylised thrilling sequences make a big difference. Simply put, it makes LUCK lucky.

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LUCK may have loads of thrills, but director Soham Shah ensures that the grand canvas and stylised thrills appeal to every strata of movie-going audience. Only thing, had screenplay writers Soham Shah and Rensil D’Silva worked doubly hard to come up with a watertight script, it would’ve only worked wonders.

After weighing the pros and cons, it can be said that LUCK rides on star power, its concept and adrenaline-pumping thrills primarily. If you’re into thrillers or have been missing one, LUCK holds the key.

LUCK tells the tale of mafia kingpin Musa [Sanjay Dutt], who has one obsession: To revolutionize the betting industry. For him, life is a gamble and what better way to skew the odds than play with those with luck on their side.

Different characters from different parts of the world, each with Lady Luck in their favour, are brought in to play the game of death. With millions at stake, how far will each of them go in courting danger and deceit?

The very start of the film transports you to a different world. The viewer is drawn into a world where bets are placed on humans and death-defying stunts are the order of the day. The train sequence at the very start says it all. It’s a sequence that not only introduces you to the plot, but also makes a hammer-strong impact. You haven’t watched something like this on the Hindi screen before.

The game of death is far more dangerous than those witnessed in the reality shows. The revolver sequence [the first challenge], the helicopter jump, the underwater sequence with sharks and the train sequence in the climax give you goose bumps and remain etched in your memory. There’s a scene involving a lighter too, which is sure to draw whistles and claps.

But the film slips due its ineffectual writing. It gyrates from engrossing to bas-theek-hain towards the second hour. The romantic track, to be specific, is flaccid. Also, the climax should’ve concluded the moment Imran wins the jackpot money of Rs. 20 crores. Wasn’t that his motive when he entered the game with his eyes wide open? So why this sudden urge to confront Sanjay Dutt after the game is over? Had the prize money doubled to Rs. 40 crores, it would’ve made sense. Or, for that matter, if he had a personal score to settle with Sanju, the game of death would’ve looked plausible. There’s no motive in the first place.

Moreover, the sequence in the hospital, towards the end, may be true, medically speaking, but the question is, was it necessary in a film of this genre? Frankly, it robs the film of its seriousness and even compels you to break in a full-throated roar, a reaction that is completely unwarranted. Even Shruti Haasan’s double role doesn’t cut ice.

Soham Shah has made a stylish film and the fact remains that he has an eye for visuals. But Soham should’ve stuck to the spirit of the film, instead of getting into diversions [romance and the penultimate scene]. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is vibrant and ‘Aasma’ is easily the pick of the lot. The background score [Amar Mohile] is electrifying. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography matches international standards. Ditto for the sound design by Dwarak Warrier. Allan Amin’s stunts and thrills are a major USP.

Sanju is perfect for this part and enacts it with natural ease. Actually, here’s one role that only he could’ve portrayed so effectively. Imran is getting better with every film. Watch his helplessness at the start or his confidence when he takes to the stunts. Even towards the latter reels, he’s very much in sync with his character.

Shruti Haasan is a star, no two opinions on that. The confidence with which she carries off this role just cannot be overlooked. Ravi Kishan is another scene-stealer. You are under the impression that he may get lost in the crowd, but he stands tall. The masses will love him.

Mithun Chakraborty is controlled and delivers a truly fine performance. Danny Denzongpa is, as always, so perfect. Very few actors have that ability to stand out in a crowd. He’s one of them. Chitrashi is excellent. The sequence in the hospital is superb. Rati Agnihotri gets no scope.

On the whole, LUCK rides on star power, adrenaline-pumping thrills and a concept that’s novel for the Indian screens. Despite some loose ends, these three factors primarily would ensure a Lucky journey at the box-office.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Shilpa’s high-handedness on the sets of Sunny’s The Man is costing him much
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 14, 2009)

Shilpa Shetty at an earlier stage performance

Winning the Big Brother crown in 2007 has changed a lot for Shilpa Shetty. Sunny has worked often with Shilpa in films like Himmat (1996), Indian (2001) and Apne (2007), but currently, as the lead actress of The Man, Shilpa is giving producer-director Sunny a tough time.

Shilpa has been burning deep holes in Sunny’s pocket. For a song that involved a stage performance, Shilpa was supposed to be lifted by some junior artistes. But Shilpa demanded that they rope in professional fighters for the job.

Our source from the sets of The Man revealed, “When Shilpa is done with performing her song on the stage, she’s supposed to stage dive into the crowd. The people posing as audience in the front three rows were supposed to lift her in turns. But when Shilpa learnt that Sunny and Neeraj (Pathak, co-director) had called junior artistes for the job, she put her foot down and said that she wouldn’t have juniors lift and pass her around.”

Sunny and Neeraj tried their best to reason with Shilpa, but the actress was adamant and the duo had little choice but to succumb to Shilpa’s demands. Professional fighters were then called in and the junior artistes were bid goodbye. Our source added, “A professional fighter charges much higher fees than a junior artiste. And the song required nearly 150 professionals. As a result, the cost shot up considerably. It was rather unfair on Shilpa’s part to do this to Sunny.”

Sunny Deol

We have heard that Shilpa is giving the guys a touch time by not allotting dates when required. About 50 per cent of the film is complete. Neeraj said, “We haven’t shot for a while now and I cannot tell you why. Sunnyji would know that. As for Shilpa’s stage song, we did call in professional fighters. But that was because the scene involved a lot of action for which we required experts. Shilpa did not ask for the professionals. Sunnyji and Allan Amin, our action director, took that call.”

Shilpa said, “I am a very co-operative person on the sets. I don’’t do such things.”