Fenil and Bollywood

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Akshay Kumar and National Award winning director Priyadarshan prescribe a dose of comedy this season

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 27, 2009)


On the fateful night of 26/11, National Award winning director Priyadarshan, Bollywood’s Khiladi Akshay Kumar, and the prolific producer Ratan Jain launched their comedy De Dana Dan. “We were asked to cancel the mahurat, but we didn’t because it would seem like we had cowered under pressure. If we hadn’t shown the spunk, it would have been a victory for the terrorists,” recalls Priyan.


Now, a year later, Venus Productions’ De Dana Dan is releasing worldwide today. Akki’s all smiles because his producer just brought in the news that the film’s got a good advance booking all over India. “Comedies are the in-thing this season. Films like All the Best and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani have done brisk business. We too should have a winner in De Dana Dan,” says the actor.

Priyan thinks the film should work because it has got everything going for it — the jodi with the midas touch, Akshay and Katrina Kaif, and 25 of the best comic talent of the country.


Looking affectionately at his star he says, “Akshay is as dedicated to his work as Mohanlal. Both of them will go out on a limb for their craft. It is because of this trait alone, that I like working with Mohanlal in the South and Akshay in the North


Though Akki’s flattered with Priyan’s comments, he still ribs his director. “Sir, I’ve done only five films with you. If I’m your favourite, how come I was missing in so many of your films?” To which Priyan chortles, “Well, I offered you Hungama and Hulchul but you didn’t give me dates.”
Apparently both were brought together by Ratan for the blockbuster Garam Masala in 2005. “It was then that they rediscovered each other,” says the producer about the winsome twosome who did Bhagam Bhag and Bhool Bhuliya before they went on to do De Dana Dan. Candidly Priyan admits that sometimes comedies can fail (Dhol) because laughter is serious business, and film-makers don’t always get the formula right. However, Akshay feels that with terrorism and discontentment looming large over real life, a reel life comedy is what the doctor in him would prescribe. “Laughter is the best medicine,” he says to which Ratan adds, “If the audience take the prescription, then the producer can laugh all the way to the bank.”

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DE DANA DAN-COMBINATION OF SUCCESSFUL COMBOS!

This year hasn’t been great for Akshay Kumar as all his films have flopped at the BO, with an exception for Kambakkht Ishq which was average. De Dana Dan, which releases tomorrow, is the last film of Akshay in 2009 and it’s expected to be one of the biggest hits this year. The promos have been excellent, the film has wonderful star cast and is helmed by the comedy expert Priyadarshan. But most importantly, the film consists of all the hit combos which have worked big big time in the past! Let us have a look at these combos:

Akshay-Suniel-Paresh: The chemistry between the three actors worked wonders in Hera Pheri and also in its sequel, Phir Hera Pheri. The tigdi is super-hit and still in demand. In fact, any producer will be ready to pump as much money as needed if these three are ready to come together in a film!

Akshay-Katrina: They have been one of the most-popular jodis of Bollywood. Although their first film together, Humko Deewana Kar Gaye failed, their sizzling chemistry has worked in all other films. Even in De Dana Dan, both look wonderful together and they have also sizzling rain song in the film, Gale Lag Jaa, which is guaranteed to soar the temperature in the theatre!

Akshay-Priyadarshan: Akshay has till now worked on four films with Priyadarshan (Hera Pheri, Garam Masala, Bhagam Bhag, Bhool Bhulaiyaa) and all of them have been super hits at the BO. Even De Dana is expected to be another hit for the actor-director.

Priyadarshan-Venus: This is also a winning combination with 100% success rate. Venus produced Priyan’s Hungama, Hulchul and Garam Masala and all three proved to be successful. So there is little doubt that their fourth film together will work too. In Priyadarshan’s words, “I have always said that I am lucky for Ratan Jain (who heads Venus) and he is lucky for me

Thus, De Dana Dan with all these factors going in its favour will definitely take a huge opening and if the film turns out well, there would be no stopping it!
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KURBAAN FAILS


Last Friday’s spectacular release, Kurbaan, has flopped which has shocked one and all. The film didn’t even take a decent opening inspite of big names associated like Karan Johar, Saif-Kareena and UTV and inspite of critical acclaim. I feel the major reason could be excessive violence which put a section of audiences away. Another would be its serious theme. I don’t buy the point at all that audiences weren’t interested in watching terrorism films. Anyways, it’s disappointing to see sincere efforts not getting their due, and that film like Tum Mile getting better opening than Kurbaan!

With Kurbaan’s debacle, this year has turned to be disappointing for UTV. In 2009, only 2 films of the production-Dev D and Kaminey worked at the BO while the rest-Delhi-6, Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, Agyaat, What’s Your Raashee? and Main Aurr Mrs Khanna failed. UTV also distributed Johar’s Wake Up Sid which ran successfully only in big city multiplexes. Let’s hope UTV will spring back in 2010!

TOTAL DHAMAAL: Katrina Kaif, Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Suneil Shetty

The winning Hera Pheri team is ready to create a laugh riot… this time with Katrina Kaif

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 21, 2009)

Life’s a laugh riot, especially when you have the hit combination of Hera Pheri — director Priyadarshan, actors Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal — joining forces again. Ratan Jain’s De Dana Dan has an ensemble cast of 26 of the top leading comic actors of Bollywood. The film’s releasing on November 27 and promises to have people rolling in the aisles. For that the audience will have to wait for sometime but BT got to witness the funny side of Akki, Suniel and Paresh on the sets of the film itself.
At around 6.30 am on a November morning, these 40-plus men were horsing around like precocious school kids and using their finger tips to do some serious counting. “I’ve done 15,” said Paresh to which Suniel added, “I’ve done eight.” And when Akki said, “I’ve done just five,” Paresh and Suniel chorused, “Loser, we’ve beaten you hollow.” Wondering what they were counting? It’s the number of movies each of them has done with the National Award winning director Priyadarshan. Looking at the trio, Ratan Jain, said, “For most of the filmmakers of Bollywood, this is a dream team. The Hera Pheri combo is back to entertain after a gap of nine years. Of course, as a bonus, there is the hit jodi of Akshay and Katrina who have a magical romantic track in the film.” Jain is on a high because his banner Venus Productions has had a long-standing association with Priyadarshan — having produced Hungama, Hulchul, Garam Masala and now De Dana Dan. And Katrina, who has delivered some of her biggest hits with Akshay, like Welcome, Namastey London and Singh is Kinng, is also hopeful that their pairing will work this time around too.

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It was really disappointing to see the spate of comic flicks released in recent times. Some said that there have been an overdose of comic flicks and that’s why now each one of them is failing. However, the underlying truth was-those films flopped because all of them were plain bad films-as simple as that! Some producers had assumed that even if the script is flawed, their comic caper would work and audiences would accept. And when this didn’t happen, they came up with the explanation of overdose! All The Best breaks all these myths! The film is a laugh-a-minute riot and it works damn big time because of its wonderful performances, mind-blowing script and even better execution. This is the most satisfying comedy in a long time, in the lines of Hungama, Hera Pheri et al!

The story of the movie: Veer (Fardeen Khan), a singer, stays in Goa and has a car-expert friend Prem Chopra (Ajay Devgn) and a ‘vastu-expert’ girlfriend Vidya (Mughda Godse). Veer’s elder bro, Dharam (Sanjay Dutt) is a big businessman who stays in London and sends money to Veer each month. Dharam then starts sending ‘double pocket money’ to Veer after Veer falsely tells Dharam that he has got married to Vidya-an idea given by Prem to Veer! Unfortunately, Veer and Prem get into debt and have to repay Rs. 10 lakhs to a local goon, Tobu (Johny Lever) in a week. In the midst of all this, Dharam pays an unexpected visit to Veer! Due to some misunderstandings, Dharam mistook Prem’s wife Jhanvi (Bipasha Basu) as Veer’s wife Vidya! Watch the movie to see how the drama and madness unfolds!

All The Best takes some time to set the mood and once it takes control, it entertains and how! The real mazaa initiates when Dharam visits Veer. From here till the last frame, the film is abounding with outstanding hilarious moments!

With so many characters in the narrative, the film could have got confusing. But it doesn’t, even for a second! You understand everything that’s going on even in every scene! Kudos to the screenwriters and the director! Also, there is not a single vulgar or double meaning joke in the entire film! Thus, All The Best is a clean and uncomplicated film which can be enjoyed by everyone from kiddos to oldies!

The fun quotient at times gets a little low esp in the 2nd half. Also there are some flaws in the story too. But there’s so much funny things happening in the film that you just don’t care! The film gets a bit mellow only during the song ‘Kyun’. But even that is so wonderfully treated that you are left amazed!

The climax is chaotic but isn’t nonsensical like seen in some recent comic flicks. In fact, the climax entertains and it also has a twist, which brings the house down!

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From the promos, it seemed that Sanjay Dutt will steal the show. But surprise! It’s Ajay Devgn who comes up with the best performance! He showcases excellent comic timing and this is definitely one of the best performances of his career! With this film, he also turned producer and scores in it too!

Sanjay Dutt, like everytime, was just marvelous! He is an expert when it comes to comedies and gives a smashing performance. He was in much better form than he was in Blue and Luck! Watch out for his scenes with Ajay-both the talented actors steal the show! Just fabulous work!

Sanju and Ajay deliver such powerful performance that others get overshadowed, even though all were rocking. Fardeen Khan was brilliant although he had a better screen presence in Acid Factory and Life Partner. Bipasha Basu had an important role and does a great job. Mughda Godse looks charming but unfortunately doesn’t have much to do in the film, esp in the 1st half.

The film has lots of supporting actors who contribute a lot in making the film a hilarious caper. Johny Lever as the dumb goon was amazing. He rocks big time in 2 scenes-when the tyre of Ajay’s car gets under his feet and in the climax. Johny Bhai is back! Sanjai Mishra’s performance, too, was brilliant and he provides ample moments of laughter throughout the film. Asrani, Vijay Patkar, Atul Parchure, Ashwini Kaleskar and Mukesh Tiwari contribute well. The film also stars Shraddha Musale, who plays Dr Tarika in the weekly sitcom, CID!

Pritam’s music was in sync with the film. The title song and Dil Kare were the best songs. Haan Main Jitni Martaba was unnecessarily added but again, one doesn’t mind. Everything is so perfect in the film!

Dudely’s cinematography is as cool and stylish as his name! Jai Singh’s action and Rakesh Ranjan’s sound design works wonders in the car racing scene. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score was apt.

Finally, we come to the winners! Farhad-Sajid and Bunty Rathore’s dialogues are funny, witty and very impressive! Robin Bhatt and Yunuj Sejawal-the two experienced writers come up with a terrific screenplay. None of the scene seemed messy and this is how scripts should be in comic flicks!

And Rohit Shetty deserves nothing but applause! He has evolved wonderfully as a director. He knows what the audience wants and delivers everything perfectly! His first flick, Zameen was impressive. His popularity soared with his second film, Golmaal. But in my opinion, it fell at lots of places in the 2nd half. His 3rd film Sunday was disappointing while Golmaal Returns was as good as Golmaal. Thus, All The Best is undoubtedly his most accomplished work so far! Take a bow!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.   The ‘sauce’ sequence!
2.   The car race
3.   Dharam’s call to Veer informing about his visit
4.   The scene at the airport
5.   Prem gets to know that Dharam has mistaken Jhanvi as Vidya (outstanding!)
6.   The intermission point
7.   All scenes of Johny Lever
8.   The action scene at the beach
9.   Exchange of bedrooms at night (Oudstading!)
10. Prem taking Jhanvi to hospital and Dharam following him (Super-Duper!)
11. The song ‘Kyun’, ‘Dil Kare’ and the title song
12. The climax

On the whole, All The Best is a true winner in all respects! It is the finest comic flick to hit theatres in a long long time! It’s a must watch for audiences of all age groups! Go with your siblings or with your parents or with your friends or with your loved one or simply go alone-but do go for it…coz it’ll surely make your day! ENJOY!!

My rating-**** ½ out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com:

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