Fenil and Bollywood » External Reviews http://fenilandbollywood.com Where Bollywood Comes Alive Sun, 10 Oct 2010 08:56:47 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.1 Movie Review: DO DOONI CHAAR by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/10/07/movie-review-do-dooni-chaar-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/10/07/movie-review-do-dooni-chaar-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 16:08:55 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=15028

By Taran Adarsh, October 8, 2010 – 08:29 IST

The highpoint of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies was the simplicity with which he narrated the story of ordinary people. Soaked in humour with an undercurrent of emotions, the films made by Hrishi-da are fresh to this date, inspiring the present-day film-makers as well. DO DOONI CHAAR, directed by debutant Habib Faisal, could easily pass off as a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. A simple plot involving simpletons and straight out of life situations makes this one an extremely watchable experience. The casting of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor in pivotal parts is, without doubt, the icing on the cake.


Come to think of it, DO DOONI CHAAR is a complete contrast to what’s being made these days. It’s far from glossy, the setting is a middle class house in a tiny colony of Delhi, the characters are far from classy, the problems are very, very real and yes, there’s a message towards the final moments of the film. But it’s these factors that make DO DOONI CHAAR a notch above the commonplace. Most importantly, this film has soul, which most films lack these days.

Final word? The life of the ordinary is presented most extra-ordinarily here. DO DOONI CHAAR is a little gem that should not be missed!

Life can be tough for a man who teaches at a school for a living, lives in a tiny flat in Delhi and is coping with the double digit inflation rates and single digit increments in his salary. Add to that, a teenage daughter, a fast-track son and a wife who loves the good life. The life of the Duggals is passing by in simply taking care of the basics. Until one day, they decide to dream.

Their ticket to dreaming comes in the form of a wedding invitation. What follows is a journey of chaos, realizations, calculations, confrontations and bonding. This crazy Duggals will fight it out at home [and the neighborhood] for what they think is a ‘good buy’ for the family: a four-wheeler.

DO DOONI CHAAR works for a number of reasons, the prime reason being its tight and interesting script which abounds in real-life situations that have been presented with utmost conviction. Desperately wanting to possess a four-wheeler, the story unfolds beautifully and the characters, each of them, only enhance the impact. Even the individual stories of the two kids are wonderfully presented.

Any hiccups? No really, but the pre-climax tends to get unbelievable when the free for all takes place in a fast food joint and the chase that ensues. However, the conclusion carries a strong message, which registers a strong impact.

Habib Faisal is a director to watch. His writing is the highpoint and his handling of the subject is top notch. He has executed the light moments as well as subtle emotions amazingly well. The songs are smartly placed in the narrative, with the title track topping the list.

Rishi Kapoor is the lifeline of the film, he delivers a sparkling performance. The veteran has delivered incredible performances in the past and his work in DO DOONI CHAAR is at par with those terrific portrayals. Neetu Kapoor is admirable. A complete natural, she adds so much to a scene, which otherwise would’ve fallen flat had a lesser actor been cast in that role. More than anything else, it’s an experience watching this real-life jodi together after a hiatus. The two kids – Archit and Aditi – are excellent in their respective roles. Akhilendra Mishra is first-rate. Supriya Shukla is fantastic.

On the whole, DO DOONI CHAAR is a delight to watch. Just don’t miss this one!

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Movie Review: CROOK-ITS GOOD TO BE BAD by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/10/07/movie-review-crook-its-good-to-be-bad-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/10/07/movie-review-crook-its-good-to-be-bad-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 16:07:58 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=15029 By Taran Adarsh, October 8, 2010 – 11:28 IST

Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt have often admitted that newspaper headlines citing a burning issue have sown the seeds of a film in their minds. And CROOK, directed by the talented Mohit Suri, deals with one such issue: Racism in Australia. Well, depiction of racism on the Hindi screen isn’t entirely new, since I – PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN explored the issue several monsoons ago. In fact, the issue has only got aggravated across the globe post 9/11. A film like CROOK holds a lot of significance also because the plight of Indian students in Australia continues to hit headlines to this day.


Known for high concept films, Bhatt brothers’ new outing CROOK, unfortunately, tackles the issue half-heartedly. Sure, you expect more from the Bhatts since the makers of repute are known to call a spade a spade, but the problem with CROOK is that the message doesn’t come across strongly. That’s because it tries to strike a balance between a love story and the racism issue. In fact, it takes a really long time to catch the bull by the horns [read the racism issue] and when it does, it doesn’t leave a stunning impact. In fact, it’s all superficial. Also, the Bhatts are synonymous with lilting music in film after film, but unlike their earlier attempts, the music of CROOK lacks the quality to linger in your memory.

In a nutshell, CROOK comes across as a half-hearted effort.

CROOK tells the story of Jai [Emraan Hashmi], who has a knack of getting into trouble. His father was a gangster who wanted to reform, but was killed by the cops. When Jai grows up, Joseph [Gulshan Grover], a friend of his father, sends him to Australia – a land far away from his past.

Almost immediately after landing, Jai meets Suhani [Neha Sharma], an Indian Australian. Her elder brother Samarth [Arjan Bajwa] is convinced that Australians have a one-point agenda to bring Indians down. Jai finds accommodation with a group of youngsters [Mashhoor Amrohi].

Jai knows that if he can make Suhani fall in love with him, he could eventually attain permanent residency by marrying her. Jai also flirts with Nicole, the stripper from a strip club. However, her brother, Russel, is against Indians and attacks them for a reason. Jai had left India to lead a hassle free life, but finds himself in the heart of a racially disturbed city.

Frankly, you expect the writer to come to the point at the very outset. Instead, he tends to focus on the [lackluster] romance between the lead pair, songs and [forced] comedy, while the core issue [racism] takes a complete backseat towards the first hour. The writer ought to know that this one’s an issue-based film and the romance-song-comedy routine cannot be the priority. However, the point that both Indians and Australians are racist and both sides need to introspect is indeed novel.

CROOK redeems itself in the second hour, but it has more to do with Mohit Suri’s handling of the subject than the subject itself. However, one fails to understand why the Australian guy has a change of heart, when he zeroes on Neha towards the end. There should’ve been at least one sequence to clear things up. But in this case, no explanations are forthcoming.

There’s no denying that Mohit Suri is capable of much more, but the ordinary script doesn’t really provide him the wings to fly. Pritam’s music is of the run of the mill variety, with ‘Chhala’ being the pick of the lot.

Emraan Hashmi is competent, giving his all to the role. He looks aggressive when required and expresses helplessness well, when he turns his back on Neha at the interval point. Neha acts very well. The confidence is visible in several sequences. Gulshan Grover is hardly there. Mashhoor Amrohi leaves a mark. Arjan Bajwa is fair. Smilee Suri appears in a cameo. The Australian actors are nice.

On the whole, CROOK has its moments, but they’re few and far between. It lacks the power that one associates with an issue-based film.

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Music Review: ACTION REPLAYY by JOGINDER TUTEJA ../../2010/10/07/music-review-action-replayy-by-joginder-tuteja/ ../../2010/10/07/music-review-action-replayy-by-joginder-tuteja/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 09:03:46 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=15007 By Joginder Tuteja, October 7, 2010 – 11:01 IST


There are good expectations from the music of Action Replayy. After all more often than not, music of Vipul Shah has been popular with the masses. Though London Dreams couldn’t find a wider audience, music of Namastey London, Waqt as well as Aankhen had worked with the audience. Even otherwise, his production Singh Is Kinng boasted of chartbuster music. With Pritam at the helm of affairs who pairs up with his lyricist partner Irshad Kamil all over again, you do expect a good soundtrack. However, you are not quite sure about the genre it would belong to. Whether the music would turn out to be out and out romantic or would it have a strong element of fun to it? Let’s find that out.



What catches your attention even before you play on the album is the sheer number of songs that have been included in Action Replayy. Really, after the likes of Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani or a Love Aaj Kal [incidentally both of them have Pritam as a composer], Action Replayy has to be the heaviest album around. There are as many as nine distinct songs with remixes of four of them. For an Akshay Kumar starrer, this has to be the biggest musical album ever since one can remember.

First to arrive is ‘Zor Ka Jhatka‘ and call it incidental but the song indeed leaves a ‘zor ka jhatka’ from the very first note. This one is a thumping hit for sure, as evidenced in the manner it keeps a relentless pace right through its four minute duration. Indian in appeal and carrying a theme (evils of marriage) which is not hard to relate, ‘Zor Ka Jhatka‘ is a fun track that has Daler Mehndi pairing up with Richa Sharma. Both the singers thoroughly enjoy their stint behind the mike and this is visible in the energy that comes along. A sure shot chartbuster which has Master Salim singing for the ‘remix version’. However, it is the Daler Mehendi version you want to go back to.

A complete mood shift is enabled with ‘O Bekhabar‘ which has a distinct Yash Chopra feel to it. Swiss Alps and chiffon sareers aren’t difficult to be visualised in this romantic track where Shreya Ghoshal gives yet another good account of herself. This one belongs to the kind of Bollywood tracks that have never failed for decades. Pritam along with Irshad Kamil grasp the ‘pyaar mohabbat’ theme well and present a melodious song to the audience that they won’t mind listening on a repeat mode.

If you have seen the promos of Action Replayy, you wouldn’t have missed listening to the sound of ‘Nakhre‘. A fun celebration track that brings on a carnival affect, ‘Nakhre‘ is a true blue retro track that has singer Francois Castellino getting the Elivs Presley mood recreated. While the intentions are noble here and the core tune right as well, it is the singing that makes one a tad dissatisfied. In an attempt to recreate the Elvis magic, the final result isn’t as desired that makes one feel that ‘Nakhre‘ (which also appears in a ‘remix version’) could have been far better.

However, the disappointment doesn’t stay on for long as Sunidhi Chauhan and Ritu Pathak come together for the ‘holi’ number ‘Chhan Ke Mohalla‘. Really, this one turns out to be as instantly catchy as ‘Zor Ka Jhatka‘ and turns out to be yet another chartbuster knocking on the doors. With a Laxmikant Pyaarelal flavour to it, ‘Chhan Ke Mohalla‘ reminds one of their 70s compositions and is instantly likeable. Also, there is an instant element of seduction to it, something which is expected from a ‘holi’ number, which further makes one listen to the ‘remix version’ with added anticipation.

What comes next though is a song straight out of Pritam territory with ‘Tera Mera Pyaar‘ turning out to be a song that would have been gladly picked up by Bhatts or Imtiaz Ali. A soothing love song with Karthik, Mahalakshmi and Antara Mitra doing quite well to get the lovey-dovey mood on, ‘Tera Mera Pyaar‘ (also arriving later in the ‘remix version’) continues to add on to the different moods of Action Replayy. By this time around, one is sure that the soundtrack is a mix of love songs as well as fun numbers which leads one to check out what next is in store.

This is the reason why one is not surprised when it is a fun dance number that comes in immediately. ‘Dhak Dhak Dhak‘ has Mika going ballistic and after hearing it a couple of times, you too join all the fun. With a core Indian feel to it, ‘Dhak Dhak Dhak‘ – a dance number – never really rests and maintains its tempo right from start till the end.

Next to arrive is ‘Luk Chup Jaana‘ which is yet another track that has the potential to make it into the charts. This one again requires just half a listening to realise that it has a Pritam stamp all over it. In fact one is surprised that this well orchestrated and arranged dance number sung by Tulsi Kumar and KK hadn’t arrived in the album a little earlier. It really deserved to and if promoted well, could be one of the highlight tracks in the film.

Even with so much to offer, the platter doesn’t get empty with Pritam churning out yet another number – this time a rock track – ‘I Am Dog Gone Crazy‘. Though the lyrics suggest an out and out whacky number, which is not really the case as singer Suraj Jagan keeps his vocals under control. Rather than turning out to be hardcore rock that leads to a restricted audience for itself, it stays within boundaries to auger well with the quintessential Bollywood followers as well.

Shreya Ghoshal, the only singer in the album to enjoy two solo tracks for herself, returns with ‘Baki Main Bhool Gayi‘. A love song that has a definite tempo to it and moves ahead with some racy beats, ‘Baki Main Bhool Gayi‘ may not be the chosen one from the crowd. Still, as a part of the package in Action Replayy where there is no full moment, this last song in the album as well manages to make its own contribution.


Action Replayy is a fun album and better than what had initially expected. In fact while it is ‘Zor Ka Jhatka‘ followed by ‘Nakhre‘ and ‘O Bekhabar‘ which are being currently promoted, there are quite a few other songs that deserve to find attention for themselves. With exactly a month to go for the release of the film, one would definitely want to see more of ‘Chhan Ke Mohalla’, ‘Luk Chup Jaana‘ and ‘Tera Mera Pyaar‘ at the least. An entertaining album that doesn’t have a single dull moment.


Zor Ka Jhatka, Chhan Ke Mohalla, O Bekhabar, Luk Chup Jaana, Tera Mera Pyaar

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Movie Review: BENNY AND BABLOO by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/10/01/movie-review-benny-and-babloo-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/10/01/movie-review-benny-and-babloo-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Fri, 01 Oct 2010 08:49:56 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=14778 By Taran Adarsh, October 1, 2010 – 12:00 IST

Madhur Bhandarkar’s body of work boasts of two prominent films – CHANDNI BAR and PAGE 3. CHANDNI BAR was the first film that made the viewer peep into the lives of bar girls, while PAGE 3 exposed the shallow lives of the glam brigade. Director Yunus Sajawal combines CHANDNI BAR and PAGE 3 in BENNY AND BABLOO. The film looks at the lives of bar girls and concurrently, talks of the dual standards of the elite, who often masquerade as moral guardians of the society.

The question is, since we’ve seen it all in the past, does Sajawal go beyond CHANDNI BAR and PAGE 3? BENNY AND BABLOO tells the story from a bell boy [Kay Kay] and waiter’s [Rajpal Yadav] point of view and though the story isn’t innovative, it has its share of absorbing moments. Also, it tells you in very clear words that bar girls shouldn’t be ostracized because of their profession. They’ve a responsibility to fulfill and a family to support. It also states, very coherently again, that the glam brigade is a sham. They’ve far more skeletons to hide in their closet.


Final word? BENNY AND BABLOO may not be path breaking or innovative as such, but it keeps you hooked in most parts, especially the finale.

The story is about two good-hearted samaritans Benny [Kay Kay Menon] and Babloo [Rajpal Yadav], who, like the any other Indian, are smitten by the glamour of Mumbai. After a brief stint as waiters in a typical Mumbai-style Irani restaurant, the two land up in distinctly different jobs. Benny takes up the job of a bell-boy in a suburban five-star hotel, whereas Babloo lands up as a waiter in a ladies bar.

Benny considers his job to be far superior to Babloo’s and ends up making fun of him more often that not. Both gradually realize that they were actually in similar professions with two different exteriors, but the same interiors. Benny witnesses innumerable social evils at the five-star hotel, right from drug abuse to political fiascos, while Babloo meets the more human side of the otherwise condemned part of the society.

Yunus Sajawal is best known for scripting comic entertainers and in BENNY AND BABLOO, there’s an undercurrent of humour in most parts. But he could’ve conveyed what he intends conveying in a concise format. Too many characters, too many sub-plots and the culmination to each story/character only add to the length of the film.

As a first-time director, Sajawal is in comfort zone handling the light moments well, but the impact of some dramatic sequences isn’t as strong. One of the reasons, perhaps, could be because the writing banks heavily on been-there-seen-that kind of situations. Yet, it must be said that the film doesn’t seem like it has been helmed by a first-timer, since a number of sequences are very well handled. Music is dull. Cinematography is alright. Dialogues [Farhad-Sajid] are wonderful.

Kay Kay does well, as always. Rajpal Yadav is natural to the core. Rukhsar is efficient. Abigail Jain [the girl in need of payment for her father's illness], Anangsha Biswas [plays Sony] and Richa Chadha [as Fedora] stand out with confident portrayals. Kiran Janjani is fair. Anita Hassanandani is good. Riya Sen leaves a mark. Anant Jog enacts his part convincingly. Kishori Shahane Vij is effective. Shweta Tiwari doesn’t get much scope. Hiten Paintal is confident. Aasif Sheikh is adequate. Hussain is excellent.

On the whole, BENNY AND BABLOO is a decent effort, but what goes against it is the fact that it has been released alongside hi-profile movies.

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Movie Review: ROBOT by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/30/movie-review-enthiran-the-robot-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/30/movie-review-enthiran-the-robot-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 09:28:24 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=14749 By Taran Adarsh, October 1, 2010 – 10:12 IST

Two things…
One, it’s difficult to conceptualize and execute a film like ROBOT.
Two, when Rajnikant’s name comes in the credits, one cannot hear anything for the next two minutes. His name is greeted with a thunderous applause, whistles yells and cheers. Such is the charisma of this superstar. Rajnikant is the Boss. The real Badshaah.

ROBOT, directed by Shankar, is a Rajnikant Express that transports you to a world you can’t envision. Rajnikant’s feats are legendary by now. In ROBOT, he goes a step further. The Robot in ROBOT not only follows orders of his creator, but also cooks, fights, romances and wonder of wonders, has a lengthy conversation with a mosquito and scan loads of books/magazines and an entire telephone directory in a second. Yes, you read it right!


That’s not all, this Robot is Superman + Spiderman + Terminator + Godzilla, all rolled into one. There’s more to this Robot. It can replicate itself, wage a vicious battle, turn into an Anaconda or a monster ball and wipe off an entire army. Whew! Known for larger than life canvas, ROBOT is Shankar’s most expensive and if I may say so, his most imaginative film thus far. And who better than Rajnikant for the pivotal role!

Final word? A Rajnikant film is an event and this combo’s [Shankar - Rajnikant] new outing ROBOT is sure to strike like Tsunami. Let me make it short-n-sweet. If you miss ROBOT, it’s YOUR loss!

Location: Chennai 2010. Mission: Creating a robot Chitti. Purpose: To help the society. Development time: 10 years. Special Features: A human who is not born, but is created. He can dance, sing, fight, is water and fire resistant. He can do all that a human can and more. He feeds on electricity. He takes instructions literally. Where a human can lie to save himself, this robot cannot lie.

Where he has a razor sharp memory and can memorize an entire telephone directory by just running through the pages, he cannot understand human emotions. Dr. Vasi upgrades Chitti’s processor and simulates human emotions without realizing the repercussions. Chitti gets transformed. He can now feel and the first feeling that he discovers is Love. Will this love come in the way of Dr. Vasi’s purpose of creating Chitti? Will Dr. Vasi’s own creation destroy him?

A title like ROBOT automatically puts tremendous responsibility and pressure on the director’s shoulders. And ROBOT is not merely a display of VFX, but it also has soul, a story to tell. At first, ROBOT comes across as a clash between the virtuous [Rajnikant] and wicked [Danny Denzongpa]. But ROBOT changes gears in its post-interval portions as the focus shifts to the creator [Rajnikant] and his creation [Rajnikant].

It’s a Rajnikant film and it would be incomplete if his loyal fans don’t get to watch his stylish actions and feats. Thankfully, ROBOT showcases it all. He can glide on the railway tracks, run horizontally on a moving train, transform into an Anaconda, can swallow helicopters and even fire at people with his fingers, without using a pistol. These are truly clap-trap moments!

Even otherwise, the screenplay is really well penned and absorbing. While the film is a super ride from start to end, it’s the penultimate 25 minutes that leaves you awe-struck and speechless. You can’t imagine a Hindi film having such an out of the world climax. There will be pandemonium inside theatres when the climax unfolds, I am sure. Let me confess, it’s the mother of all climaxes!

Only thing, Shankar could’ve controlled the length of the film. It could’ve been shorter by at least 10 to 15 minutes, which includes doing away with a song or two. Of course, like all Shankar movies, the songs are filmed most imaginatively on exotic locales, but what’s the point of having songs if they act as speed breakers?

That Shankar ranks amongst India’s best directors is well known by now and ROBOT only cements the fact. His vision and execution of the difficult subject deserves the highest praise, in fact distinction marks. He not only dreams big, but the outcome is incredible too. A.R. Rahman’s music doesn’t compliment the content of the film, but like I pointed out earlier, every song has been filmed exquisitely. The action and chase sequences are outstanding [Yuen Woo Ping, action choreographer in the MATRIX and KILL BILL sequels, was the stunt coordinator]. Visual effects are spectacular [Stan Winston Studio, the studio behind JURASSIC PARK, PREDATOR, TERMINATOR, IRON MAN, AVATAR, provided the animatronics technology]. Cinematography captures the grand production values with precision. The locations of Austria, Machu Picchu in Peru, U.S.A. and Brazil only enhance the visual appeal of the film. The sets are mind-blowing. Dubbing is near-perfect.

ROBOT is a Rajnikant show from start to end. And no other actor, not from Bollywood at least, would be able to do what he does with such amazing ease. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks stunning and acts most convincingly. Danny Denzongpa is efficient, as always. The remaining actors enact their parts well.

On the whole, ROBOT is a crowd-pleasing and hugely mass appealing tale of android revolution with a thrilling plot, rich and imaginative screenplay, super action, astounding effects and most importantly, Rajnikant, who is the soul of the film. It’s the Big Daddy of all entertainers. Miss it at your own risk!

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Movie Review: KHICHDI-THE MOVIE by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/29/movie-review-khichdi-the-movie-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/29/movie-review-khichdi-the-movie-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Wed, 29 Sep 2010 09:27:10 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=14686 By Taran Adarsh, September 29, 2010 – 14:40 IST

I must admit, I am no couch potato. I find it difficult to stay glued to television for hours, surfing channels randomly. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why I never watched an episode of this hugely popular TV show called KHICHDI. But, of course, I had heard of its popularity, about its comic quotient, about the zany characters…

KHICHDI – THE MOVIE borrows the characters from the show, but the movie has a new story to offer. In the West, popular shows are adapted on the big screen, but the trend is in nascent stages here. For someone like me, who was absolutely clueless about what to expect from the big screen adaptation, I’d say KHICHDI – THE MOVIE vacillates between absurd and ridiculous, but the fact remains that it makes you laugh at most times. KHICHDI – THE MOVIE may not push the envelope as far as the written material is concerned, but you exit the auditorium with a radiant smile, which most laughathons promise, but don’t deliver.


Final word? I haven’t laughed as much in weeks as much I did in those 2 hours. Do pay a visit to this mad family if laughter is what you seek in a movie. This khichdi is appetizing, for sure.

Hansa’s [Supriya Pathak] brother Himanshu [J.D.] has a ridiculous ambition: to have a memorable, legendary love story. Parminder [Kirti Kulhari], Himanshu’s neighbour, falls in love with Himanshu for no logical reason and the two get engaged to get married. That’s when this ridiculous story takes a ridiculous turn. Himanshu realizes on the eve of the wedding that the impending ceremony would mean impending doom to his desire to have a legendary love story. For, nothing interesting ever happened in his love story to make it memorable.

No resistance, no conflict, no separation, no sad song, no climax, nothing. So the dumb family sets out to stall the wedding. Thus begins their journey to create all those missing stages in Himanshu’s love story in order to make it legendary.

Even if you’re clueless about the characters in the story – like I was – it doesn’t take time to know that the family has its brains in its knees. At the very outset, the Almighty [Satish Shah, in a cameo] arrives at the doorstep to distribute akal ke laddoos, but the family will have none of it. From this point onwards, the characters get into weird and outlandish situations and the humour gets bizarre and wacky.

There’s hardly any serious moment in the film. Humour has been injected even in serious situations, like the death of a parent [Supriya and J.D.'s father] and the condolence meet thereafter, where a parody of ‘Beedi Jalaile’ and ‘Bheege Honth Tere’ are rendered for the grieving family members.

However, writer-director Aatish Kapadia’s screenplay has its share of potholes. The love story isn’t convincing at all. Also, the crime angle [the suicide portions] doesn’t cut ice. However, the courtroom sequence in the climax salvages the show and is, in fact, the highpoint of the enterprise. The entire sequence is so funny that you’ve to see it to believe it. It’s nothing short of a mirthquake!

Aatish Kapadia, the writer may not be in complete form, but Aatish Kapadia, the director knows his job well. His choice of actors, who’ve the right comic timing, comes handy at most times. Also, like I said, his handling of the courtroom sequence especially is noteworthy. Music is a sore point, but I am not complaining. I was not expecting musical gems either. Sanjay Jadhav’s cinematography is full of vibrant colors.

Every actor works in tandem with each other, instead of trying to have a game of one-upmanship and that’s what makes every single character stand out. Supriya Pathak is splendid. Anang Desai is top notch. Rajeev Mehta [as Supriya's husband] is fantastic. Nimisha Vakharia is first-rate. J.D. is excellent. Kirti Kulhari looks good. Girish and Keith are alright. Kesar Majethia and Markand Soni are cute. Farah Khan, Satish Shah, Deven Bhojani and Paresh Ganatra are lovely in cameo appearances.

On the whole, KHICHDI – THE MOVIE is a fun-ride that tickles your funny bone from start to end. Do visit this mad Indian family and get thoroughly entertained. Logic be damned, laughter is what matters. This one’s a great stress buster!

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Movie Review: ANJAANA ANJAANI by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/29/movie-review-anjaana-anjaani-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/29/movie-review-anjaana-anjaani-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Wed, 29 Sep 2010 08:56:15 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=14670 By Taran Adarsh, September 29, 2010 – 14:21 IST

Till a few years ago, if a director approached a producer with a script that had just two characters from Scene A to Z, the producer would scoff at him and show him the door. After all, devoting an entire film on merely two characters is nothing short of a risk. That’s not all, for the two characters aren’t friends, acquaintances or lovers. They are strangers who meet accidentally on a bridge, since both have decided to commit suicide. If that’s how your film begins, it’s akin to taking another [giant] risk by Bollywood standards.

Okay, okay, before I begin dissecting ANJAANA ANJAANI, I need to clear a few misconceptions pertaining to this film. It’s not a copy or adaptation or remake of Patrice Leconte’s 1999 French film LA FILLE SUR LE PONT/GIRL ON THE BRIDGE, which starred Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis. The Twitterverse is also crammed with tweets speculating that ANJAANA ANJAANI bears a striking resemblance to the Telugu film ITLU SRAVANI SUBRAMANYAM [2001]. The only similarity between these three films is that two strangers meet on a bridge to commit suicide, that’s it! ANJAANA ANJAANI is as diverse from these films as mangoes, apples and peaches. Now let’s move ahead…


With ANJAANA ANJAANI, director Siddharth Anand accepts a big challenge. This one’s a love story, but it doesn’t follow the beaten path. It doesn’t follow the rules laid out by the romantics in Bollywood. And that’s where its strength lies. Generally, couples in love commit to die for each other, but in this film, romance blossoms much, much after the two meet at the bridge for the first time, when they are about to commit suicide. From strangers to lovers to strangers again is how the film explores the relationship between this couple.

ANJAANA ANJAANI works for two major reasons. The first being the powerhouse performances by its lead pair. Having watched their careers from the very onset, I would like to state that the two actors deliver career-best performances in ANJAANA ANJAANI. The second reason why ANJAANA ANJAANI works is due to the terrific moments in its second hour.

Final word? ANJAANA ANJAANI is worth a watch. If you are a romantic, or even if you are not, ANJAANA ANJAANI is a must-see for its interpretation of modern-day romance. Recommended!

ANJAANA ANJAANI is the story of Kiara [Priyanka Chopra], based in San Francisco, while Akash [Ranbir Kapoor] is a New York City boy. Akash has had a failed business, while Kiara has had a failed relationship. Fed up, they both decide to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. However, both land up on the same bridge at the same time.

One thing leads to another and Akash and Kiara decide to end their lives on 31st December. With 20 days to go, they decide to fulfill their unfinished wishes and thus begins their journey.

Director Siddharth Anand has a fine sense of story and how to present his characters well. ANJAANA ANJAANI is no different. Of course, you don’t take to the film instantly, primarily because it’s not the usual prem kahani. In fact, there’s hardly any movement in the story in the first hour. It’s a collage of some wonderful, some okay moments, frankly. The sequence at the bridge and the various attempts at committing suicide stay with you and so does the sequence in the sea, when they go sailing and decide to swim. Also, the first hour unwinds at a leisurely pace and that’s bothersome.

However, story writer Mamta Anand and screenplay writers Advaita Kala and Siddharth Anand reserve the best for the post-interval portions, when the story moves from New York to Las Vegas to San Francisco. The road trip and the varied experiences and emotions they share make it a compelling watch. Of course, the story tends to get a bit predictable towards the end, but come on, don’t we like our love stories to have happy endings?

Siddharth Anand has handled the subject with flourish. Besides, the film is not merely rich in substance, but is equally alluring when it comes to style and overall look. The DoP [Ravi K. Chandran] plays a major role here. The film bears a magnificent look all through and the panoramic and exotic locales of America only make every frame stand out. The costumes – Mamta Anand for Ranbir and Manish Malhotra for Priyanka – are trendy.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music has a lot of heart. Again, it won’t be wrong to state that their compositions take the movie forward. The background score [Salim-Sulaiman] is top notch. In fact, the rich score compliments the mood of the characters beautifully. Dialogues are wonderful.

When two of the film industry’s finest actors meet, it puts more pressure on the film. Ranbir is an actor with an infinite range and his dedication to his work is evident in every film. I have often stated that he is the finest actor of his generation and the fact comes alive yet again as you watch him donning a new character in ANJAANA ANJAANI. Priyanka sinks into the role beautifully, so much so that she forgets herself and starts becoming Kiara. When an actor kills his or her eminence and surrenders completely to the role is when the film really takes off. Priyanka has this unique quality. Zayed Khan is likable in a cameo. Tanvi Azmi is wonderful.

On the whole, ANJAANA ANJAANI is an unpretentious romantic saga that revels in the exuberance of newly found love. The film has everything going for it: top notch performances by two super-stars, good music, a sensitive director with a good track record, a simple yet absorbing story and of course, terrific moments [emotional as well as humorous]. Don’t miss this one!

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Movie Review: LIFE EXPRESS by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/17/movie-review-life-express-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/17/movie-review-life-express-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2010 10:01:45 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=14257 By Taran Adarsh, September 17, 2010 – 12:17 IST

I’ve often been asked, what makes a film different from another film bearing a similar storyline? My reply is, the execution of the subject makes all the difference. Recall DOOSRI DULHAN. Now recall CHORI CHORI CHUPKE CHUPKE. The issue – surrogate motherhood – isn’t new, but if handled expertly, it would make for an interesting viewing. Sadly, LIFE EXPRESS fails and fails miserably.

The serious issue has been tackled carelessly, callously and amateurishly and for this reason, it comes across as an exercise in boredom. In fact, the film falls flat at the screenplay level itself and since the direction [Anup Das] is equally unimaginative, even the talented actors in the cast fail to redeem the enterprise.


LIFE EXPRESS tells the story of an urban couple, Tanvi [Rituparna Sengupta] and Nikhil [Kiran Janjani], who have no time to spend with each other or start a family. It also tells the story of Mohan [Yashpal Sharma] and Gauri [Divya Dutta], who lead a poverty-ridden life in a village.

The ambitious Tanvi aborts the plans of having a baby since she feels that the impending pregnancy will make her skip her job for a few months and in turn, she would lose out on the golden opportunities in her career. Subsequently, a common friend suggests the concept of surrogate motherhood and they decide to go for it.

Just when you thought that Hindi cinema is evolving and first-time directors are ready to experiment with hitherto untold stories, a film like LIFE EXPRESS makes you change your opinion. The director had a solid plot on hand, but first the writer ruins it with an impoverished screenplay and subsequently, the director wrecks it by showing no maturity, as far as execution of the material is concerned. In fact, barring the sequence in the end – when Divya makes Rituparna realize the importance of being a mother – the writing is lackadaisical and boring at most places. Besides, the story also unravels at a snail’s pace. Who’s got the patience? The songs are also a sore point.

Rituparna Sengupta is a fine actor, but is bland here. Kiran Janjani is miscast. Divya Dutta is the sole actor who acts convincingly. Yashpal Sharma, as Divya’s husband, is okay. Dayashankar Pandey provides some comic relief. Vijayendra Ghatge, Anjan Srivastava and Alok Nath are wasted.

On the whole, LIFE EXPRESS is a lifeless experience.

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Movie Review: DABANGG by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/09/movie-review-dabangg-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/09/movie-review-dabangg-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Thu, 09 Sep 2010 10:23:04 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=13927 By Taran Adarsh, September 8, 2010 – 15:04 IST

The fight between good and bad has been the fodder of many a Hindi film of 1970s and 1980s. In fact, it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that these films dominated the cinema of yore and a lot of us, who have grown up on masala films/wholesome entertainers, will vividly recall the serpentine queues outside cinema halls and a mad scramble to book the tickets of those films. Hardcore masala films were relished with glee by the audience then.

However, for some inexplicable reason, masala films became extinct or should I say, disappeared from the face of Hindi cinema over a period of time. GHAJINI and WANTED revived this genre, bringing back memories of the bygone era. Now DABANGG takes this genre one step ahead.


Be forewarned. DABANGG is rustic, has loads of action, harps on the age-old mother-son and varied relationships [half-brother, step-father], eventually turns into a vendetta fare, has a number of songs placed smartly in the narrative [including an item number]… but the packaging is slick and polished. Sure, it’s old wine, but packed in a brand new bottle, with a new brand ambassador [Salman Khan] endorsing this masalathon.

Most importantly, it has Salman like never before. Breathing fire and venom, Chulbul Pandey aka Robinhood Pandey taps Salman’s star power like no film has and the result is sheer magic. In fact, DABANGG stands on three pillars – Salman’s star power, smashing stunts and super music.

Final word? Salman fans, rejoice! You walk in DABANGG with 100% expectations and you exit with 200% gratification. Entertainment guaranteed. This film will create a pandemonium of sorts, a mass hysteria, crushing old records and setting new benchmarks at the box-office.

Set in Uttar Pradesh, DABANGG is a story of Chulbul Pandey [Salman Khan], a totally fearless but corrupt police officer with unorthodox working methods. But even the most fearless at times face a tough fight with their innermost demons. Chulbul has had a bitter childhood. His father passed away when he was very young, after which his mother [Dimple Kapadia] married Prajapati Pandey [Vinod Khanna]. Together, they had a son Makhanchan [Arbaaz Khan].

Prajapati favors Makhanchan, which does not go down well with Chulbul. He decides to take control of his destiny and detaches himself from his step-father and half-brother. His sole attachment is his mother. However, after his mother’s demise and an unsuccessful attempt to mend wounds, Chulbul snaps all ties with his step-father and half-brother.

Rajo [Sonakshi Sinha], with her unique perspective of life, enters his world and turns life upside down. Chulbul starts to see life more positively and also gets sensitized to the value of a family. But his detractors, especially the dubious Cheddi Singh [Sonu Sood], have their own vested interests and emerge as spokes in the wheels, putting one brother against the other. Makhanchan ends up carrying out an act oblivious to the consequences.

When Makhanchan realizes he has been used, he turns to Chulbul. Will Chulbul take his extended hand? Will the brothers be able to thwart their detractors?

The job of a promo is to give a gist of the film and prepare the audience well in advance about what to expect when they saunter into an auditorium. The promos of DABANGG have sent the right signals to the audience about it being a paisa vasool entertainer. Let’s face it, DABANGG has nothing ground-breaking to offer as far as its plot is concerned. We’ve visited similar stories in the past, but what makes DABANGG shine, and shine brightly, is Salman’s star power, which camouflages the aberrations wonderfully. The darling of the masses has been cast in a role that his fans love to see him in, which explains why this film works from start to end.

Like I pointed out earlier, DABANGG is special for two more reasons: S. Vijayan’s stunts and Sajid-Wajid’s music, with an additional song by Lalit Pandit. Talking of action scenes, Salman’s introduction at the start and the fight-to-finish in the climax will send the masses in frenzy. To state that the action scenes are outstanding, especially the fight in the finale, would be an understatement. In the finale fight, when Salman’s shirt tears apart and the rippling muscles and the bare-chest fight ensues, mark my words, it will lead to chaos at mass-dominated centres, especially at single screens. The climax will be one of the prime reasons for repeat viewing, for sure.

It’s difficult to accommodate music in an action film, but Sajid-Wajid come up with a melodious score. The title track, ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ and ‘Munni’ [composed by Lalit Pandit] are the icing on the cake.

Director Abhinav Singh Kashyap is in his element. He’s made an out and out entertainer with an eye at the masses and he succeeds in his endeavour. Doing justice to vintage formula is no cakewalk, let’s not forget. Besides, the director stays away from going overdramatic while handling the dramatic and emotional moments. This explains why you don’t exit the theatre with a spinning head. Mahesh Limaye’s cinematography is perfect. I’d like to make a note of the editing [Pranav V. Dhiwar], which is super-slick in action scenes. Dialogue, especially those delivered by Salman, will be greeted with claps and whistles. Especially the one ‘Itne chhed karunga’.

Salman Khan is the boss, when it comes to playing to the masses. This film reaffirms this truth. The role provides him ample opportunity to prove his star power and he does it with remarkable ease. Let me put it on record. DABANGG is yet another landmark film in his career, besides MAINE PYAR KIYA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN, JUDWAA [tapping the funny side], TERE NAAM [tapping the emotional side] and WANTED.

Sonakshi Sinha looks fresh, acts confidently and pairs off very well with Salman. Most importantly, she delivers the right expressions and is not overpowered by the galaxy of stars in the cast. Arbaaz Khan is efficient. He underplays his part well. Sonu Sood is electrifying, matching up to Salman at every step. In fact, the fight in the finale between Salman and Sonu is awe-inspiring.

Vinod Khanna is excellent in a role that has grey shades. Dimple Kapadia is truly wonderful. Anupam Kher is, as always, good. Ditto for Om Puri. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn’t get ample scope. Mahi Gill is alright. Tinnu Anand is effective. Murli Sharma is nice. Malaika Arora Khan sizzles in the ‘Munni’ track.

On the whole, DABANGG is a full on entertainer with three aces – Salman Khan like never before, stylish action and super music. It’s a foregone conclusion that DABANGG will open huge. As far as the business prospects are concerned, the film will set new benchmarks, so much so that DABANGG will be one of the yardsticks to gauge the level of business in times to come. Sure to fetch an earth-shattering opening, the film will create a pandemonium at the box-office, cementing the status of Salman Khan as the darling of the masses and making the distributors laugh all the way to the bank. It has Blockbuster written all over it!

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Movie Review: MALLIKA by TARAN ADARSH ../../2010/09/03/movie-review-mallika-by-taran-adarsh/ ../../2010/09/03/movie-review-mallika-by-taran-adarsh/#comments Fri, 03 Sep 2010 12:50:47 +0000 Fenil Seta ../../?p=13749 By Taran Adarsh, September 3, 2010 – 11:07 IST

Certain stories that the Ramsay Brothers attempted a few decades ago are being rehashed and packaged in new avtaars to this date. The revenge of the restless soul, the reincarnation bit, the spate of murders, the decomposed dead body coming to life… haven’t we watched it all in the past? MALLIKA is hackneyed, uninspired and clichéd from start to end. Also, there’s nothing in the film that would make you jump out of your seat or give you sleepless nights at home. On the contrary, the film is unintentionally funny and also makes you chuckle at the absurdities at several points in the story.


In today’s times, when storytellers are daring to break the shackles of stereotypical cinema, MALLIKA comes across as an obsolete fare that offers nothing new to the viewer.

Final word? One of the cheesiest films of all times!

Sanjana [Sheena Nayyar] is haunted by nightmares and vivid visions of a murder that took place in her house. Unable to take it any longer, Sanjana decides to go for a vacation, hoping that those visions will stop chasing her. She lands up at a fort cum resort in Rajasthan. However, little does she know that things are going to go from bad to worse at the fort, which holds a dark secret deep inside its chest.

MALLIKA holds a new record in recent times: Practically every woman in the film goes for a shower or heads for a bathing tub every 10/15 minutes. If that’s not enough, the women wear the skimpiest of outfits, which makes it looks like a skin-fest of sorts. Besides the aatma seeking revenge, there’s a half-baked love story, a weirdo cop and a couple of songs thrown in to complete the package.

The writing is shoddy and the direction, non-existent. In fact, director Wilson Louis ought to know that skin-show cannot substitute for a riveting story. The music is of fast-forward variety as well, barring the remix of the yesteryear hit, ‘Woh Bhuli Dastaan Lo Phir Yaad Aa Gayee’. Visual effects are tacky.

The performances are below par. Sheena Nayyar can’t act. Sammir Dattani sleepwalks through his role. Mamik wears one expression all through. Himanshu Mallik gets no scope. Rajesh Khera is stereotypical. Suresh Nair hams. The remaining actors are a bunch of non-actors.

On the whole, sitting through MALLIKA is an exasperating experience!

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