Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood

Telugu star Rana Daggubati to make his Bollywood debut in Rohan Sippy’s film on the drug racket in Goa

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 02, 2010)


Producer-director Rohan Sippy’s gritty, hard-hitting film on the drug racket in Goa, inspired by Hollywood’s Traffic, has finally found a second hero.

The role, which was initially offered to Farhan Akhtar and Emraan Hashmi, has now gone to Rana Daggubati, the Telugu star-on-the-rise, based in Hyderabad. Abhishek Bachchan is playing the lead role in the film.

Rana is a rage in the Telugu film industry after he made his acting debut with the hard-hitting political thriller, Leader. He was chosen to play Abhishek Bachchan’s co-star because he fit the bill.

A source says, “It is the character of a Goan musician. When Rohan saw Rana’s picture, he was stuck by how Goan the Telugu actor looked. The Sippys saw Rana’s film, Leader, and knew he was right. The role is as powerful as Abhishek’s.”

The formalities were completed last week. Incidentally, Rana is not new to the film world. He comes from an illustrious film family. His grandfather is Andhra-based producer D Rama Naidu (who has produced 110 films including superhits in Hindi like Prem Nagar and Tohfa). His father is a distinguished producer Suresh Babu, while his uncle is the popular Telugu star Venkatesh.

Rana will now be another South Indian actor trying his luck in Hindi films after the likes of Kamal Haasan. Rajnikant, Chiranjeevi and Rana’s uncle, Venkatesh (who was launched opposite Karisma Kapoor in Anari by his father D Rama Naidu in 1993).

Rohan Sippy confirmed the casting, “Yes, I have signed Rana for the film I am directing.”

3 Idiots’ Omi is an established actor in the US, now in Bollywood

By Lekha Menon (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


His distorted Hindi speech is one of the biggest talking points in the recently released 3 Idiots. In reality, it was an almost similar monologue that fetched Omi Vaidya,  (who prefers to be called Omi) an LA- based actor, the role of Chatur Ramalingam in the Aamir Khan-starrer.

On a trip to Mumbai to check out the Bollywood scene, Omi was asked by a friend to appear for an audition. The first audition went off without a hitch, but at the second he was given a dialogue from Munnabhai… to mouth. “I just rattled it off without exactly understanding the words… almost like the speech scene in the film,” says Omi. The next thing he knew, he was pencilled in for the role of the accented, mark-obsessed NRI geek in the film.

The instructions he received from the makers were clear: Don’t take Hindi classes, stop watching Hindi movies and put on weight.

Omi followed them to the T and now of course, he is revelling in the compliments coming his way for his role in the blockbuster. “I am still flabbergasted by the response. I guess people have liked the character because he is so relatable. In a way, this character’s negativity brought out the essence of the message more forcefully,” says Omi.

Incidentally, he began his acting career at the age of six, performing for Marathi Mandals in the US (also the reason why his Marathi is much better than his Hindi). He pursued a serious acting career in his teens, graduated in film studies from NYU and did roles in  Bones, CSI Las Vegas, The Office and Arrested Development, besides ads.

But being Asian or Indian, it’s still a tough task to break into Hollywood,  says Omi. “It’s difficult for Indians to get into the mainstream. At the most, you might be cast as an IT professional or other stereotypes.”

Omi in 3Idiots

That’s when he thought of exploring Bollywood, though there were other apprehensions. “The Hindi film industry is still not taken that seriously in the West. There are myths that it is unprofessional, and is mainly about songs and dances.”

But all his fears were put to rest once he joined the cast. “Here, there is a personal touch, unlike Hollywood. Even if they don’t pay you by the hour and there is no extra time, there is warmth and care. I basically saw my Bollywood innings as a challenge. A lot of credit also goes to Raju and Abhijat Joshi for the way the character came across on screen.”

Not surprisingly, after the stupendous success and appreciation, he is here for the long haul. Omi, plans to divide his time between the US and India and work in films ‘that don’t necessarily typecast him as an NRI but are dynamic and enjoyable.’

And for the record, he has now started taking Hindi classes as well.

By Bollywood Hungama News Network, December 10, 2009 – 15:59 IST

After Amitabh Bachchan’s ground breaking transformation to Auro in Paa, its now the turn of daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan to undergo a drastic makeover.

Buzz has it that Aishwarya will be playing an old lady in a few scenes in Vipul Shah’s forthcoming film Action Replay, for which she will have intensive make up sessions with Hollywood make up artists.

Besides Ash, Action Replay also stars Akshay Kumar and Randhir Kapoor. The film is currently under production and is expected to release in April 2010.

By Joginder Tuteja, November 2, 2009 – 15:43 IST

Anthony D'Souza This has becomes a trend of sorts. No sooner does a film hit the screens or is ready for release, stories start floating around how its maker is ready with the plans of making his next. It may be mere speculation, a PR plug or a confirmed report but the fact that it does get the film (which is about to get released) noticed. In certain instances a filmmaker knows the origin of the news. However, there also have been cases where he himself is flabbergasted with such information floating around. What may just turn be a thought over a mug of coffee is elevated to the scale of being confirmed to such an extent that it appears as if the film would get on floors within a week of the news making headlines.

Diwali releases went through the same syndrome with glowing announcements around the next projects of Rohit Shetty (All The Best) and Prem Soni (Main Aurr Mrs Khanna). While Rohit was said to be caught in a dilemma of choosing his next film between the sequel to Golmaal and All The Best, Prem confirmed that Salman Khan had green lighted another project for him.

Something similar happened to Anthony D’Souza as well who happened to share certain thoughts about his next assignments with a few associates. The next thing he heard, there were projects like airborne thriller Aerial and a sequel to Blue all set to be kick started. What’s more, he had apparently also signed one of his favourite actors from the industry and close friends – John Abraham.

However, a fortnight after the release of Blue, Anthony D’Souza a.k.a. Tony is ready to term this information as sheer rumour that doesn’t come with any basis. He denies working on either Blue 2 or Aerial and also dispels the theory that he has signed John for his next.

“All of these are mere speculations and I have no clue from where have they originated. All I said was that I would love to work with John since he is a close friend. He is the one who got me in the industry and I owe him a lot. Tomorrow if a project works out well for both of us then we would be game for working together. However, this isn’t something that I am stating today after Blue; I have maintained this for a year now. If this admiration and gratitude of mine is sensationalised by some and posted as twisted headlines, then I can’t help it, right? On a lighter note, I have always been forthcoming in admitting my love for Hollywood. However, that doesn’t mean that Francis Ford Coppola has sanctioned a film for me”, jokes Tony.

There have also been talks that other than John, the principal cast of Blue is coming together with him again. What does the filmmaker has to say about that?

Anthony D'Souza “As much as I love John and would want him in my films, there is no project for which he has signed on the dotted line yet. Neither is that the case with Mr. Akshay Kumar, Mr. Sanjay Dutt, Zayed, Lara or Katrina. They are all great actors and I would love to work with all of them together again. But no, there is no film which is happening with them at the moment”, Tony sets the record straight.

Where does that leave so-called announcements like Blue 2 and Aerial? The moment Blue hit the screens and took a very good opening; a sequel seemed to be offering. Also, knowing Tony’s penchant for action adventure, it was being stated that he would now take his cast and crew in the air with Aerial. There have also been theories around him making a trilogy of such action adventure cinema.

“These are nothing but overzealous minds at work”, laughs Tony, “For the records, I am neither doing Blue 2 nor Aerial. These are all speculations. Yes, I have a penchant for making action flicks and my next would belong to that genre as well. However, it won’t necessarily have an adventure element to that. Whether it would be Blue 2 or something else? Well, for all you know, it could be Red or Yellow“, he laughs, “Seriously, it’s too early to be even talking about it. I am still in the process of fleshing out a subject. Let things take their due course and we would make the right announcements. Till then, let’s enjoy Blue.”

Well, with another rumour biting the dust, one looks forward to how the trend continues for weeks to come. Whether there would be more in the offering around adventures of Aladin? Whether London Dreams may lead way for New York Dreams? Would Ranbir have many more stories to tell after Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani? Or if Aamir Khan would be bringing in four idiots for his next assignment after Three Idiots?

Of course, we are waiting!

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Ritesh Deshmukh has worked his way up slowly from a five-hero film, to four, three, two and now as a solo hero. He has impressed everyone with his comic timing and hopes to continue to do so with a fantasy (Aladin), a serious film (Rann) and a romance (Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai)

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 29, 2009)

What gives you a high? When a family member wins an election or when you have a film doing well?

Undoubtedly, when a family member wins an election. That’s because much more is at stake in politics and it’s a once-in-a-five-year event. As an actor, you get three to four chances a year, but in politics you have to wait for five years for another chance.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

 

If I have a lamp that Amitabh Bachchan comes out of as a genie, I don’t think I want anything else. That itself is worth three wishes.

 

Will you ever play a woman again as you so successfully did in Apna Sapna…

It was very difficult playing a woman but if I got a lot of time to work on it, I would like to play it differently. I would really like to do it the way Hollywood does it, with prosthetics. If the script demands it, then I would push the envelope. The last time it was just about waxing and threading, this time I would do it better.

Your successes have largely been as a comic actor. Did you find comedy or did comedy find you?

What happened is that a few comedies that I did worked and then only comedies came my way. But, after doing comedies I have become funny in real life too. I’ve enjoyed doing them. And it’s even more enjoyable when people like your work. It’s like a pat on the back. But then there’s also a fear of overdoing it and it’s important to realise when you’ve crossed the line. When I read a comic script, I know that these are the scenes where I am supposed to ham and so I see to it that in a scene before and a scene after I underplay it.

What do you mean when you say that after doing comedies, you have become funny in real life?

Actually, the basic core of me is very shy, because that’s how I’ve been brought up. I was so shy, I didn’t speak to a single girl all through my school days. So at birthday parties at home, there would be only boys. We’re only three brothers. So the thought of a girl coming home was very odd. No one ever told us, it was all in our head. In college, I used to like this girl and I never had the courage to go up to her and tell her that I liked her. And by the time I decided to do that, she had already started seeing someone else. But I was just happy with the idea of being in love with her.

When I went to architecture college, probably because there were 28 women and 16 boys, and a lot of group projects, I really opened up as a person. I was funny in bits but I didn’t have the courage to just go up on stage and say something funny. But when you become an actor, you become shameless. And to be a good actor, you need to be very shameless. You really need to do anything and everything. That shattered all my inhibitions.

To have come from there and worked in so many comedies, I now know exactly how comedies work. I know exactly when to put in a punchline, which words to stress to make people laugh. And I think that eventually helped me in my personal life.

Do you feel like an outsider in the film industry?

For the first two years, I didn’t feel like a part of the industry in my own head. I had not achieved anything. It was not about how people reacted to me. It was about my own achievements. It was only after Masti was successful, Kya Kool Hai Hum and Bluffmaster worked and just before Heyy Babyy, Dhammal, and Apna Sapna Money Money, that I felt that I was a decent actor and could find my foothold in the industry. Then I stopped feeling like an outsider.

You’ve always been a big fan of SRK. If offered, which of his films would you do for free?

I would do a film for free, if he were in the film. I really don’t care what films he’s done because those films are not special without SRK. If I were to do those films, they wouldn’t be that great.

Is Genelia the woman in your life?

Not again! I am single. I am not seeing Genelia. We go back seven years, ever since we started working together. I’m glad to have a great friendship with her, she’s a wonderful person. The sad part is that sometimes you start pulling back from a friendship because people are talking. But as an actor, you learn to live with it.

Are you looking for love?

I am not exactly looking for love. Love is something that everyone wants, everyone needs, and love is most welcome. But it’s not necessary that if I find love, I’ll talk about it. I see couples out there holding hands, and it’s really great. Many-a-times, I wish I had that courage.

blue3

BLUE WILL GIVES YOU BLUES!!

No matter how grand a film is, how wonderfully it has been promoted or which big names associated are with it, if its content is bad, then nothing can save the film. Blue comes in this category. The film was so nicely publicized, the promos looked rocking, Akki-Sanju pairing seemed electrifying and Lara Dutta’s bikini scenes had sent the youth in frenzy. Unfortunately, the film’s story is pathetic and thus, the film disappoints…big time!

The story of the movie: Sagar (Sanjay Dutt) is an honest guy staying in Bahamas and has a girlfriend, Mona (Lara Dutta). His best friend is Aarav (Akshay Kumar), a rich and over ambitious businessman. One fine morning, Sagar’s younger brother, Sameer aka Sam (Zayed Khan) arrives at Sagar’s place after staying in Bangkok for 5 years. Sam hasn’t come there just to meet his folks for a few days-he had ran away from Bangkok after taking panga with a gangster Gulshan (Rahul Dev) there. On the other hand, there is a treasure lying deep under the sea, somewhere near Bahamas, and Aarav persuades Sagar to join him in finding the treasure. But Sagar has reservations about it which is connected to his past.

In just 15 minutes, you get a hint that the director is unfit and doesn’t know his job well. The opening credits scene was brilliant. But the following scenes and also the boxing sequence hold attention initially but the interest soon wears off. The movie then focuses on Zayed Khan which was the best part of the first hour. But the story hardly moves once Zayed comes to Bahamas and joins Sanju and his team and this happens till the intermission point. In between, there two songs are thrown in, ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ and Blue Theme, which serve no purpose to the main storyline.

The actual treasure hunting begins in the last 30 minutes and you expect fireworks right till the climax. But alas…it was plain lackluster. The director could have included added more thrills or at least some twists and surprises. Sure, there is a twist in the end but that doesn’t work big time. Also the climax was so lame!

Talking about flaws, there are plenty. What is striking is-the treasure is part of India’s wealth and was coming to India in a ship in 1949. But when the ship sank, no effort was made by the Indian Govt or for that matter, any adventurer to get hold of it. Although there were stories that the captain of the ship took away the treasure, still no one tried even investigating this case and that too for 5 decades! Very hard to digest!

However, the film scores at a few places. The bike race and the following chase scene involving Zayed Khan rocks! Another bike scene post-interval, which also involved a train, was also well-shot. And the best scene of the film was when the goons attack Sanjay’s place. Simply outstanding! So you can see, only the action sequences hold attention. And the film, overall, is a damp squib!

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It’s a treat to see Sanjay Dutt in every film and in Blue too, he does a great job. Although he looked a bit fat places, overall, he gives a smashing performance. Akshay Kumar steals the show. He also raises a few laughs in between and was perfect for this role. However, it’s really disappointing to see Akshay Kumar in pathetic films lately. Let’s hope De Dana Dan (his next with Priyadarshan) works. Zayed Khan looked dashing and charming. The world may denounce him but I feel that he has the potential and can reach the top, if given an opportunity.

I really feel bad for Lara Dutta. When she signed Blue, she didn’t know swimming and she dedicatedly learnt how to swim in just three months and became a pro. However, she hardly has any contribution to the main plot of the film. In fact, one can argue that there was no need for her character in the film at all! Really very unfortunate! Rahul Dev was okay and Kabir Bedi doesn’t have a single dialogue in the film. Katrina Kaif is stunning while Kylie Minogue oozes oomph!

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A R Rahman’s music was good, but nothing special. The Blue Theme, Chiggy Wiggy and Aaj Dil are the best songs of the lot. Rahman’s background score sounded modern and fresh.

Laxman Utekar’s cinematography was eye-catching. The underwater cinematography by Pete Zuccarini was outstanding and the underwater scenes really looked stunning. Oscar winner Resul Pookutty strikes a sixer with his marvelous sound designing. Fantastic job! The locales (Bahamas) are excellent.

Some of the dialogues (Mayur Puri) stand out. While the crew did their job wonderfully, the story and the script (Anthony D’Souza and Jasmine D’Souza) spoil and ruin the show. Same goes for direction by Anthony. He had everything-a producer who was ready to invest large amounts of money, top actors of the current period, an excellent crew (including some from Hollywood) and what not. But alas! Did Anthony feel that people are going to praise his film just by showing them some wonderful underwater scenes and handful of action sequences? The producer, Dhilin Mehta, is equally to blame. What was he thinking when he invested 90 crs+ on such a flawed script and on a debutant director? My blood boils to see huge amounts of money going waste, which could had been utilized in a better way. We are a pro when it comes to lifting/copying/inspiring from Hollywood flicks. Then why can’t we have a Hollywood-like terrific direction and screenplay? Really very very disappointing!

Some of the best scenes in the film:
1. Sam in Bangkok
2. Sagar and Aarav having a drink at the edge
3. Sam being chased in Bahamas
4. Gulshan’s attack on Sagar
5. Sam, Sagar and Aarav searching for treasure
6. The final scene

On the whole, Blue is a big time disappointment. The film’s cast and crew have done a brilliant job but the film fails to impress because of its faulty script. Blue should fail (and it will, for sure, keeping in mind its high cost) at the Box office so that it gives a lesson to all producers in Bollywood that investing large amounts of money on faulty scripts and taking audiences for granted will result in big losses and disaster.

My rating-** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Blue-177340-1.html

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COFFEE & CONVERSATION: Anil Kapoor. For more pictures of the actor, visit http://photogallery.indiatimes.com

Anil Kapoor, one of the best-known Indian faces on the planet, talks to BT about work in LA

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; July 28, 2009)

I don’t know how Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar are going to like this, but Hollywood seems to think that Slumdog Millionaire’s question master Anil Kapoor has become one of the best-known Indian faces on the planet. Anil himself is modest about the recognition. “Obviously, Slumdog changed my life,” he admitted, “but then it changed the lives of everybody connected with the film, including Danny Boyle.” This new global positioning has plucked him out of Bollywood and stationed him in LA, where his talents are being put to use on the Emmy and Golden Globes-winning American TV series 24. “It is an espionage and political thriller,” he explained, “it catches the highest eyeballs in the world. What Friends is for comedy, 24 is for drama and action.” He plays a Middle East President who is in the US for a peace treaty in the UN with the American President. “I won’t mention which Middle East nation,” Anil said apologetically, “but the series is contemporary and about what’s happening in the world… you will know.” This is the eighth season of the show, and perhaps its last, with our Anil having canned six episodes already. He’s about to start the seventh and eight, but the launch of his film Ayesha, which he is producing for daughter Sonam, brought him back to Mumbai for two days. I caught up with the old Bollywood war horse over breakfast on one morning.

He sprinted up two flights of stairs like a spirited young colt to scrambled eggs and multi-grain toast, yelling at me over his shoulder, “When your hands are full, you don’t need to work on fitness.” Then, over coffee, he talked about the Hollywood press’ glowing reports on his success. “This is… what… I… the whole thing is like getting an opportunity to learn so much… I feel like a newcomer, like I’m just
beginning. My daughter said, ‘You have a family, you have money, you have fame and the back-up of work at home, and here’s the opportunity to be there, to work with big players on a global stage. What more could anybody want?’ It is true. I was also offered a few studio roles in Hollywood. But I said no. I don’t need the money and I have enough work at home. My hands are full.” That is also true. He is launching Ayesha on August 2, and he’s already got No Problem, another film he is producing, happening in South Africa since July 11. As for being among the best-known Indian faces on the planet, Anil muttered uncomfortably, “I’m humbled by it. But better I be modest, down to earth and rooted, let my work speak… yet, in my own small way I feel I was a stepping stone, I’m convinced there will be another Slumdog, and there will be many Indians actors who will be ten times bigger than me… but I feel proud, I’m one of the first mainstream actors to do a film like this out of the box.”

He’s busy juggling two careers now (“let’s see where it takes me”), last week he travelled three continents, from LA to Durban and then Mumbai, taking advantage of one night in transit to meet film
makers in London for future international projects. “I love my work passionately,” Anil said. “Saturdays and Sundays in LA, I get restless, because everything shuts down. I just learned what a weekend is. In Bollywood, we work 24/7. There it’s bad manners to call up anyone for work on the weekend. Duniya ulti-seedhi ho jaye, but they remain shut. So I go hiking!” But his heart is still in India. “I’m doing a film for Anees Bamzee, there’s Ayesha, No Problem,
and if there’s something else that’s exciting, I’ll do it here,” he said, undeterred by the failure of his recent film Short Kut at the box office. “I’m ready to fail, I love it when people make fun of me, it makes me feel superior,” he said. “It means I’m up there. I get upset if people ignore me.” People, meanwhile, were not ignoring him at our breakfast table. They were looking at him curiously from afar, giving him space. Anil Kapoor, despite the burnished copper hair, spectacles, and tracksuit, still looks and behaves like a film star. “Being recognised anywhere in the world, that’s the most exciting part,” he told me. “Earlier, when I travelled, it was only the Air-India crew that knew me. Now on any airline, even in China, they come for autographs and pictures. I like that!”

WAY TO THE TOP: Govinda
A new, politically-free Govinda, looking fitter and younger, is breaking into Bollywood

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; July 27, 2009)

After Big B, it’s probably only Chi Chi who’s made a number of successful comebacks in Bollywood. Govinda’s been through his share of highs and lows and always risen like a phoenix. But this comeback of his, after quitting politics and returning to cinema full-time, is special, he says. “I feel like a changed man,” he admits. “Absolutely positive! I’ve met a lot of people from different walks of life in the last couple of years and they’ve had a good influence on me.”

In fact today, Govinda’s in a position of strength and the ‘lows’ in life, if ever, can no longer weigh him down. “I feel stronger than my problems,” he smiles. “Of course, that doesn’t mean problems are welcome! But I’m at peace and happy.”

This time around, the man is leaving no stone unturned, clearly evident from his
physical appearance. A fitter and younger-looking Govinda reveals he’s on a strict diet. “I eat less, but I eat healthy. When I started my career I had a good body. I was very much into exercising and yoga. Now when I planned to return from politics to films, I decided I had to make the physique of an actor.” So has he achieved his target? “Now I have to convert the actor into a star,” he says emphatically.

With some good films lined up in the coming months, Govinda is raring to go. There’s Abbas-Mustan’s Life Partner, David Dhawan’s Do Knot Disturb, Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai by Ravi Chopra, Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, Suniel Shetty’s Loot and another film by Jagmohan Mundra titled Not Yet 40. Most may be comedies, but Govinda says, “They are commercial films with all the ingredients, not just comedy.”

This is the best phase for actors in
Bollywood, whether the kind of films that are being made or the fact that there’s no more an age-limit! “We are going the Hollywood way. As long as we remain fit we can continue acting… actually as long as we look heroes. Today our actresses continue to do films after marriage and child-birth like Kajol, which is very good.”
In his new innings, Govinda would not want to repeat any past mistakes. The emphasis is going to be on the kind of roles and banners, he says. “I want to do good films and I’m very clear about that.” So is it a goodbye to politics forever? “Politics is always there in your life! Somewhere, somehow you are connected with politics and if you are not, then politics gets connected with you. I realised, after being there, that you have limitations to fulfill the promises you make to people. You are not the entire power, just a small part of it…”

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.

// // //

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

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was hugely awaited since the predecessor, Order of the Phoenix, hit the screens exactly two long years back. Like all other Potter films, The Half Blood Prince lives upto its expectations! Along with thrill and drama, it has a lovely dash of humour and teenaged romance which makes it an all-round entertainer.

The story of the movie: Strengthened by the return of Lord Voldermort, the Death Eaters wreck havoc in London and Hogwarts is no safer too. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is about to begin his sixth year and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) needs his help to in order to prepare for the fast approaching final battle. They visit an ex-potions teacher Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) and persuade him to join Hogwarts. Slughorn agrees, although reluctantly and Harry gets a chance to meet his buddies, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermonie (Emma Watson). At this point of time, Harry realizes his feelings for Ron’s sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). In Hogwarts, during Slughorn’s class, Harry comes across an old copy, belonging to ‘Half Blood-Prince’. The footnotes and ideas written in the copy help Harry to excel in Potions, leading him to win a vial of the luck potion. On the other hand, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is suspected of becoming a Death Eater. Harry and Dumbledore are trying their best to find what exactly happened when Tom Riddle aka Voldermort ask Slughorn about rare magic. To find out what happens later, watch the film!

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I have read only the first part of Harry Potter but have seen all the six parts of the film. I found the cinematic adaptation of all the parts very interesting. But many, unlike me, who have read the book, have always been disappointed with the Potter films due to several changes made in the narrative. Same happens with The Half Blood Prince too. So, those who have read the book get ready to be a bit disappointed but nevertheless, the film will be enjoyed!

The film is darker than the rest of the Potter films and manages to fully engross the viewers from the first frame right till the end. The beginning scene, where Death Eaters wreck havoc in London and harm the Millennium Bridge was electrifying! Also, the funny moments in the film are far more enriched than its predecessors. The wonderful direction and a gripping screenplay turn this film into a terrific ride!

The climax didn’t have much fight and conflicts as other Potter films but it was interesting enough. The tragedy that occurs towards the end was well executed. However, the fight between Potter and Prof Snape could had been a bit long…it would have surely taken the film to a high!

As for the performances, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are as usual perfect in their respective roles. In every Potter film, they have immensely impressed and The Half Blood Prince is no exception! Keep up the great work, guys!

Michael Gambon shines in the role of Dumbledore. It is indeed sad that we would no longer get to see him in The Deathly Hallows. Tom Felton has an important role in the film and was in terrific form. Same can be said for Alan Rickman who plays Prof Snape. Helena Bonhom Carter as Bellatrix performed as per her character’s demand. Jessie Cave as Lavander was hilarious. Robbie Cultrane as Hagrid was as usual.

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And finally, Jim Broadbent, the newest entrant in Potter films, gives an outstanding performance. He was extremely likeable and extremely impresses. Watch out for him!

Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography was brilliant. The lesman wonderfully shows his capability in the first scene. Editing was slick. Like all Hollywood fantasy films, the special effects of The Half Blood Prince was out of the world to say the least! The use of light sepia in some films to suit the dark mood takes the film to great heights!

This is the first time that screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates have come together and both succeed in coming up with a fine product. There are not much action packed scenes in this part but still it manages to keep the viewers on the edge of the seat at several points, notably during the climax.

Some of the best scenes of the film:

  1. Death Eaters wrecking havoc in London
  2. Harry meeting Slughorn for the first time
  3. Harry, Ron and Hermonie at the joke shop
  4. The scene inside the Hogwarts Express
  5. Harry winning the luck potion
  6. Dumbeldore and Slughorn’s flashback involving Tom Riddle
  7. The Quidditch match
  8. Harry spying on Snape and Draco
  9. Dark forces attacking Burrow

10. Ron in a ‘love’ mood (funny and well treated scene!)

11. Harry and Malfoy’s dispute in the bathroom

12. Harry and Slughorn at Hagrid’s place

13. The last 15 minutes

On the whole, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a great entertainer with some wonderful performances and execution. Although a little disappointing as compared to the book and lacks action scenes, it manages to keep one on the edge of the seat. It is a treat for Potter fans and all adolescent movie buffs!

(The newspapers and quite a few websites are filled with news as to how The Half Blood Prince took a phenomenal opening in India. This news is far from true. Hardly any shows are running house full and tickets were easily available, as on Saturday July 18!)

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com

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