Category: Films


Film: Just Go With It
Director: Dennis Dugan
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman
Rating: Average

Imagine how wonderful or awful it feels, depending on which film industry you swear by, to see a Hollywood romantic comedy being ‘inspired’ by a Bollywood one. Remember Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, a romantic comedy starring Salman Khan, Sushmita Sen and Katrina Kaif, where Salman plays the doctor falling for the much younger bimbette Katrina and Sushmita plays the assistant who has to pose as his soon to be divorced wife- well, Just Go with It is a little less complicated and a lot more sexed-up version of the same. That’s what should strike the audience who don’t know that the Hindi film itself was ‘inspired’ by the 1969 comedy Cactus Flower. So there, illusions put to rest, let us proceed with the story.
Adam Sandler is a huge-nosed would-be cardiologist simpleton Danny Maccabee, who turns smart and sly, becomes a plastic surgeon and gets his nose in shape, after discovering that his is a marriage of convenience for his scheming bride. But the ring remains on his finger, drawing sympathy and favours of a physical nature alike, at the expense of an imaginary adulterous and shrewish wife, till he meets the right girl (Brooklyn Decker). To marry her he needs a divorce and to get a divorce he needs a wife. His long-time assistant plain-Jane Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) comes to the rescue. A regular comedy of errors ensue and yards of yarns are spun till a praise-each-other session and a passionate Hula dance competition brings the truth out.
Adam Sandler is the perfect choice for a role he has played so many times before that by now it must be difficult playing anything else. Brooklyn Dekker in spite of all her prettiness is bland as the good and kind-hearted girlfriend. One wishes her character wasn’t this flat. Jennifer Aniston clearly carries the film forward with her natural smartness and sparkling eyes. She does the ugly-duckling turning beautiful swan act gracefully but every now and then you spot good ol’ Rachel peeking out of the screen. It is no surprise that Nicole Kidman makes her presence felt even in a cameo. Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck are adorable kids, the former playing the role of a precocious little girl with elan.
Though the concept is cliché, there are some genuinely funny moments. However, most jokes are discriminatory, in bad taste and at the expense of people who have undergone and are suffering from the negative effects of plastic surgery. Sometimes the jokes and the acts, especially the ones by Nick Swardson are so gross that they are anything but funny. There is no chemistry whatsoever between Sandler and Brooklyn, but he and Aniston make a very warm, cute couple, past their prime. The comfort between the two that seems to reflect in the camaraderie they share on screen easily makes the film a one-time watch. — SD

Jaya Biswas

 
Film: Thank You
Director: Anees Bazmee
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Suniel Shetty, Irrfan Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Celina Jaitley, Rimi Sen
Rating: Average

Men hate him, women simply adore him. Anees Bazmee’s latest film, Thank You, sees Akshay Kumar playing a detective who specialises in extra-marital relationships. Akki tells heartbroken wives about their promiscuous husbands, enlightens them with signs of a cheating man and how to catch him red-handed. He educates women and makes them wiser. Well, now you know why!
The basic premise of the plot dwells on ‘Men are dogs’ and ‘Women are dumb’ philosophies. Raj (Bobby Deol), Vikram (Irrfan Khan) and Yogi (Suniel Shetty) are three married men trying to have some fun outside their marriage. Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor), Karthika (Rimi Sen) and Radha (Celina Jaitley) play their lovely wives.
All seems to go well until Sanjana senses something fishy about her hubby’s smooth-going life. On Karthika and Radha’s suggestions, Sanjana hires the perpetually flute-playing private detective Kishan (Akshay Kumar), who promises to teach the three philandering husbands a lesson that they’ll never forget. Sounds familiar? Thank You, sadly, comes across as a not-so-appealing concoction of erstwhile releases like Shaadi No. 1, Biwi No. 1, Masti et al. But most prominently, it is hugely inspired by Bazmee’s own film, No Entry.
While nothing significant happens in the first half, the storyline gets slightly better post interval. But just when you feel the end credits are about to roll, it starts stretching like a chewing gum with Raj’s ‘realisation’ phase in focus. That’s not all. It’s followed by an unnecessary and predictable flashback of Akshay and his wife played by Vidya Balan.
Pritam’s music is uninspiring except for Mika’s Pyaar do Pyaar lo number (from Jaanbaaz-1986), which is already climbing the music charts. The song sounds more like a remix and looks very much like trying a re-do of Apni To Jaise Taise from Housefull.
Akshay delivers an average performance; he does nothing that we haven’t seen him do before. One wonders if Akki doesn’t get tired of playing clichéd roles. Irrfan Khan is simply brilliant with his superb comic timing. Suniel Shetty’s character seems an extension of Hera Pheri. Bobby Deol is decent. As far as the leading women are concerned, Rimi Sen is good but not very different from what she did in Dhoom, Sonam Kapoor looks the prettiest of all. But that’s about it. As far as performance is concerned, this is certainly not one of her best performances. Celina Jaitley doesn’t really stand a chance as she remains absent most of the time. Mallika Sherawat with her item number fails to tickle you.
Annes Bazmee should perhaps say “I’m sorry” for directing Thank You. Watch it for Irrfan, if you must.

Sayandeb Chowdhury

 

 

Film: 7 Khoon Maaf
Director: Vishal Bhradwaj
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Naseruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Anu Kapoor, Usha Uthup, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Ruskin Bond, Vivaan Shah and Konkona
Rating: Excellent

Vishal Bhardwaj made Maqbool. And that was it. A new school of cinema was born in Bombay. Cinema that was tough, unrelenting, atmospheric, harsh and full of power. In case of Maqbool, and its successor Omkara, the author was none other than William Shakespeare (Macbeth, Othello). By the time he reached Kaminey, Bhardwaj had already acquired a kind of an unsparing vision of a life and its assorted idiosyncrasies that he had harnessed to remarkable effect. Kaminey, the gangster movie about Mumbai underworld and the horse racing mafia was but cool. In 7 Khoon Maaf, Bhardwaj manages to pull his aces together to create what is perhaps most Shakespearean of his films. In what is a virtuoso adaptation of Ruskin Bond short story Susanna’s Seven Husbands, Bhardwaj shows how he has internalised the Shakespearean eye for the imminent and the immanent, to what beauty he can build an atmosphere of genuine suspense even in the everyday, how premonition and clairvoyance resides in ordinary acts of human kindness and insight. And most importantly how behind chilling acts of crime are often the most tragic and lonely of human beings who are otherwise pilgrims of love.
Priyanka Chopra in what is an author backed role plays Susanna to almost perfect effect, falling for love every time when actually there was none. She lives and breathes her role as a love-seeking, vulnerable woman, who gets accosted by and seduced by six brazen men, who turn out to be different from who they were supposed to be. Her vulnerability is however her biggest weapon in her troubled life and as she grows old, she learns to use them more effectively than ever before. And like any woman who has passed not once but six times, alone, through the territory of impertinent men, she learns to use the craft of her sexuality too, even as her bones and skin turn thicker and thicker under her beauteous, if wrinkled skin. 
The story moves fast and uncontrollably towards its denouement, which is nothing short of revelatory. On the way, Priyanka changes her religion twice, visits Kashmir and Pondicherry, get’s married to a Russian attaché and a Bengali doctor apart from a Rajput rockstar, a Goanese General with one leg and a UP police inspector. Her milieu changes from the brazenly feudal world of the landed military, to that of an Urdu poet with special affection for sadomasochism, from the heroin-induced world of skirted rock singers of early eighties Goa to that of naturopathy of a bankrupt doctor. Her only witness and confidante is the narrator, Arun, who remains the distant young lover and the only normative influence in her mad life, perhaps the only one who could have survived her audacious search for love in a battered human landscape that includes her husband and her band of murdering minsters.
The film’s premise and period moves from the swinging ‘70s to 26/11 and beyond and the details are brought out with total attention and care. Ranjan Palit’s superlative, atmospheric photography is the highpoint of the film, apart from, of course, Bhardwaj’s superb ear for music which includes a rock ballad, a sufi lovenote and of course the Russian folk inspired Darrling, which remains the film’s chartbusting number. 
7 Khoon Maaf is vintage Vishal Bhardwaj, sensible, sensitive, powerful and sparsely illuminating of the darkness that we all carry inside.

AS you like it!!

Everything is fair in the game of love. If you are a man looking for a date on Valentine’s Day, a little act of indifference on your part will help to hook the woman of your dreams

Supreeta Singh
ere’s some interesting news for men on Valentine’s Day. A recent study reveals that a woman is seemingly more attracted to a man when she is uncertain about how much her man likes her. Conducted by experts at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, the study reveals that if a woman is left wondering about the degree of a man’s interest in her, it would improve his chances of grabbing her attention. In other words, ‘playing hard to get’ is a foolproof strategy to arouse a woman’s interest and keep her hooked.
 Among the many unwritten rules to be followed by both men and women during courtship could be a show of indifference. It really works since it triggers the instinct of chasing a possible partner and winning him/her over. Poonam Jha, a media professional, says, “It is human nature to pursue a thing more persistently, when it’s hard to get. If you get something served on a platter, you tend to take it for granted and soon lose interest. When you apply the same formula to romantic relationships, a man or woman’s apparent aloofness drives you crazy. In the initial stages, it can be an effective method to keep the person, especially women, guessing.”
 Dating has its own code of conduct which at times leaves men and women confused. But when a man plays hard to get, it adds an aura of mystery and charm that women find difficult to resist. According to the study, when a woman goes around with a man who is not forthcoming about his level of interest, then she spends considerable time thinking about him. The more she muses, the more attractive he becomes, at least in her imagination.
 Paromita Banerjee, a student, says, “This is a more subtle psychological tease. A man can easily woo his love-interest with more mushy things like chocolate, flowers or taking her out for dinner. But when a man makes me curious about him, I find it more captivating. It adds to his masculine magnetism.”
 Fed on a diet of amorous tales of passion, women find it a worthwhile pursuit of slowly discovering what teases men. However, an intelligent man would know where to draw the line. Asif Iqbal, a PR professional, says, “When dating a girl one must know that girls love attention but it is important to be careful so as not to drive her away. Change in your attitude will compel her to shift focus towards you as well as the relationship. But you must show your care  in a subtle way even while being indifferent because drastic changes in your behaviour will hamper the relationship.”
 So, is there any way to be appropriately indifferent? The measure of a man’s success with woman he is eyeing, depends on the perfect blend of cool reserve and friendly banter. Supratim Roy, an event oragniser, doles out the mantra, “When you are hanging out with your friends, take her out with you. Don’t show her that you are over-protective. Call her at regular intervals. Let her know that you enjoy her company without forcing yourself on her. Allow her to make moves too.”
 Try it!

 

Our Correspondent

 

Do you remember the beauteous bimbet of Om Shanti Om or the simple, small-town girl of Toh Baat Pakki? Well, Yuvika Chowdhury hasn’t exactly stormed Bollywood with these films but the pretty actress thinks she will make her presence felt with her latest film Naughty @40, where she will be seen with Govinda. She is no star kid and feels luck has played a big factor for her in getting a foothold in Bollywood. Excerpts:

Tell us something about the film…
It’s a comedy but not the slapstick kind. The film has a strong storyline, tight script and funny dialogues. It’s situational comedy and I can promise the audience that there won’t be forced laughs.

How did you bag the role?
Initially, Ayesha Takia and Amrita Rao were being considered for the role but later, I got into the scheme of things. I didn’t even have to audition for the role. The producer-director duo liked my performance in Toh Baat Pakki and I was finalised. The director (Jagmohan Mundhra) thought I suited the character.

Tell us something about your role…
I play a small-town girl who is very naïve and immature. She is like a child who looks at the world with rose-tinted glasses.

How are you feeling being paired opposite ‘comedy king’ Govinda?
Initially I was very nervous. But Govinda did everything possible to make me feel comfortable. He is very kind and humble. He loves to crack jokes on the sets and his presence makes a lot of difference. But when he is giving a take, he is a different person altogether. He never forgets his lines and is a through professional. I forgot my lines and fumbled a few times but he was very supportive. I am glad I got to work with him. It was a great learning experience.

Are you not worried about the age difference with your hero?
I knew this was coming. Yes, there’s a huge age difference but as I said before, he made things comfortable. After all, age is just a number. We actually behaved like kids and had loads of fun on the sets.

What are your favourite Govinda films?
There are so many it’s difficult to single one out. I loved Coolie No.1 and Partner a lot.

Mundhra is known for making hard-hitting films. But this time around he is doing a comedy…
Yes, you will get to see another side of him in this film.

What is your dream role?
I don’t have any dream role as such. Give me good banners and I am game for anything.

 

 

Jaya Biswas

 

 

Film: Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai Diaries
Cast: Aamir Khan, Monica Dogra, Prateik, Kriti Malhotra
Director: Kiran Rao
Rating: Good

That there is no interval in Dhobi Ghat… is good, for all the right reasons. You don’t really want to take a break expecting something more spectacular to happen. ‘Mumbai Diaries’, as debutante director Kiran Rao puts it, is just apt as the tagline. Watching it is like flipping through the pages of a diary. Rao’s film is indeed a loving tribute to Mumbai in all its teeming vitality.
Dhobi Ghat is not a film where you walk in expecting regular entertainment. It is a take on Mumbai; the city with its hustle and bustle and enough place for all its immigrants. It is about the sea that listens to your story, absorbs and keeps all your secrets — which becomes the ‘Mumbai Diaries’. With its key settings in crowded, largely old, congested yet beguiling portions of this city, it is like a rich embroidery, which interweaves the intersecting lives of four people.
The film actually marks a subtle and assured debut for writer-director Rao and its radiant leading lady, a rock star and stage performer Monica Dogra.
Arun (Aamir Khan) plays a painter, a man who is fond of his own space. A loner by choice, Arun is a divorcee who is constantly moving from one home to another in quest of something. He bumps into Shai (Monica Dogra) an investment banker at his painting exhibition and they have a one-night stand. Later, he tries to absolve himself from guilt and blames it on his drink, saying that he never meant commitment. Meanwhile, in the process of shifting houses, he finds a video of the former tenant. As he plays the videos, Arun is unconsciously drawn towards Yasmin Noor’s (Kriti Malhotra) story as he tries to paint something of what he understands from it. Though he tries to be indifferent, the video leaves him devastated.
The film has three heroes — Tushar Kanti Ray, the cinematographer, Gustavo Santaolalla, who provides the background sound and Prateik who shines through in every possible scene. As Munna, a young, good-looking washerman who dreams of becoming a Bollywood actor, Prateik offers an incredibly funny yet sensitive performance. This not being a marquee Aamir Khan film, the other three characters share fair screen time and it’s Prateik who ultimately emerges a hero in the true sense of the term. As a brooding painter, Aamir underplays his character as required. Newcomer Monica Dogra as Shai, fits the bill with her broken Hindi dialogues. Though we see Kriti Malhotra’s character far less than Dogra’s, her performance as a docile, naïve young wife is compelling.
The only drawback is the script or the lack of it. Albeit the film boasts of a few touching moments beautifully captured, absence of a powerful storyline makes it a tad boring. Perhaps it would be perceived differently by a non-Mumbaikar, but if you’ve lived in the city, even for a while, there ought to be mixed reactions. Either you get a bit nostalgic, raving about the city or get some shut eye. But you certainly wouldn’t want to be reminded how people travel in local trains, why people go to Marine Drive or why The Gateway of India is thronged by click-happy tourists. Haven’t we seen it all before?
Overall, this 95 minutes film is a one-time watch.

Ranveer-Anushka’s day out!

Siddharth Kak of Surabhi Foundation hosted the Dhamaka Art & Craft Festival at Urban Haat, Belapur recently. We spotted Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh (of Band Baaja Baarat fame) at the event trying a hand at pottery with child prodigy Priyanshu. The event reminded Ranveer of his school days when, while making a clay pot, Ranveer had fallen asleep. When he woke up, his teacher told him, that his pot was the best. Geeta Kak and Pamela Chopra the trustees of Surabhi Foundation were also present at the venue. For Anushka Sharma this was a completely new experience and she enjoyed every bit of it. It was altogether an evening to remember.

Diganta Guha
If everything falls into place, Amitabh Bachchan is likely to act in a Bengali film yet again. Talks of casting Bachchan in the role of a fakir, who revolted against the British during the Warren Hastings regime, are on, confirms the film’s director Ujjal Chakraborty. The film is an adaptation of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Anandamath.
“We have already had a talk with him, but things will be finalised once Bachchan is back from abroad,” informs Chakraborty who is somewhat reticent right now. Shooting for the film also starring Prosenjit and Arpita Chatterjee, begins on October 15. “We are working out the rest of the cast right now,” says Chakraborty.
Bachchan has shot a number of times in Bengal for films like Anushondhan, Do Anjane, Yaarana and The Last Lear. We tried to reach Bachchan on phone but to no avail.

 

 

 

Debutante director Kiran Rao talks about Dhobi Ghat and more…

 

 

Diganta Guha
How did the idea of Dhobi Ghat come up?
Initially, the story of the film revolved around the life of a dhobi or a washerman. That’s how the film was supposed to pan out. The entire story idea was borne out of experiences of living in a city like Mumbai where there are so many things happening all the time. A person living in this city cannot afford to waste time or energy. But everytime he leaves a place for another there is something he takes with him. That’s how the character of Arun (Aamir Khan) is born who stumbles upon ‘something’ that changes his world. 

Aamir is a perfectionist. How tough was it to convince him for the role?
I wouldn’t say he is just a perfectionist. I’d say he is extremely passionate about everything he does. I was initially nervous while narrating the script to him because there aren’t too many scripts that he ends up liking. But I’m glad he could relate to the stories of my script and his answer was ‘yes’. 
 
How was it directing Aamir Khan?
Aamir is a great actor, committed and extremely gifted. The rest of the actors were mostly first timers. With Aamir it was a different ballgame altogether. He kind of elevates your own skills while working. 
 
Some say, he interferes too much…
Honestly speaking, he didn’t give too many inputs on the sets. But yes,  during editing of the film, he was a great help. He is a very good editor and I sought his inputs on that.   
 
Tell us something about Prateik Babbar…
His character Munna has shaped up really well in the film. Prateik is so versatile he can get under the skin of any character. I find glimpses of Smita Patil in him.

Having stayed in Kolkata for a good period of time, would you be interested in doing a Bengali film?
Well it won’t be unusual if I say that I would love to situate a film in Kolkata because Kolkata has always been nostalgic for me. Kolkata is a photographer’s dream. And how can I forget the food!
 
Have you drawn inspiration from any Bengali director?
I am a great fan of Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. I have also seen some films by Tapan Sinha. I saw Unishe April and Bariwali directed by Rituparno Ghosh. I loved both. 
 
What’s your message to your fans in Kolkata?
I was brought up in Kolkata and I am really looking forward to getting a good response here.

Do you want people to go to theatres with a pre-conceived notion because of all the hype being created around the film…
Dhobi Ghat is a film for the common man. I am sure people would find some details of their daily lives reflecting in the characters of my film. My mission would be accomplished once the audience manage to relate to the film.

%d bloggers like this: