Tag Archive: Hindi film


 

 

Diganta Guha

 

 
Film: No One Killed Jessica
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Vidya Balan, Myra Karn, Rajesh Sharma
Rating: Average
 
No One Killed Jessica being the first big release of the year, with Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan in the lead, the anticipation level was sky high. The film is based on the real-life incident when model cum bartender Jessica Lall (Myra) was shot dead by Manu Sharma, son of a high-profile Haryana politician. The film narrates the story of Jessica’s sister Sabrina Lall (Vidya), her fight for justice and the nation’s fury at the blatant use of money, muscle power and political influence to manipulate the investigation.
The problem with films inspired by real-life incidents is that viewers always end up comparing them with what really happened. And there lies the challenge for a director. Sadly, Gupta fails to dramatise the incident in a way that intrigues the audience.
Considering it’s a sensitive plot, the film ought to have won your sympathy, if not move you to tears. Director Raj Kumar Gupta actually explores the flaw in our legal and political systems. They say, justice delayed is justice denied, and Gupta through his film underscores it perfectly well.
Gupta, who has made a film like Aamir, had a perfect subject to make a hard-hitting film. But No One Killed Jessica lacks punch. An incident that rocked the nation could have been
portrayed in a much more aggressive manner.
The first half is rather slow; especially the way Sabrina Lall tries to get justice for her sister has not been highlighted appropriately. Vidya’s subdued act doesn’t portray the ‘firebrand’ woman the audience was expecting to see in Sabrina. Agreed, a director is allowed a few cinematic liberties, like tweaking the script or adding or substracting a few characters, but, he is not expected to change the plot in a real-life adaptation. That’s where the film falters. The film sees Rani doing what Sabrina should have been doing.
One positive aspect of the film is the performance. If the first half belongs to Vidya who excels with her subtle act, the second half is Rani’s. As an aggressive journalist, Rani delivers one of the most power-packed performances of her career. But the way Vidya reacts to Rani’s aggression is worth a mention. She doesn’t try to score over Rani, but plays second fiddle to perfection. Some of the sequences involving the two ladies are indeed worth remembering.
The script is inconsistent. A right balance between fiction and facts would have had a better impact. Gupta takes the liberty of including choicest of cuss words including the ‘four letter word’ quite often but that doesn’t add value to the story.
To conclude, No One Killed Jessica is worth a watch but it certainly could have been better.

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PostScript caught up with the model-turned-actor, Indraneil Sengupta, on the sets of Riingo’s System, an underworld saga…

 

Diganta Guha

He has made a mark as an actor in Bengali films working with directors like  Buddhdev Dasgupta, Kaushik Ganguly and Anjan Das. Excerpts:

Have you managed to settle down in Tollywood?
I don’t know whether I have or not but yes, I am working here.

Aarekti Premer Golpo is going places…
I am elated with the response. When we were making the film, I was under the impression that the film would go to various festivals, win awards, receive critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally. But I am amazed that it has also got such a good response from audiences. People are buying tickets in black, and those who are unable to see it are going back home disappointed. It was a bold subject, alternative sexuality, and we never thought the public would accept it so freely. The movie is being watched by one and all. This isn’t exactly the commercial everyday love story that you see on-screen and people appreciate the difference.

How was Rituparno Ghosh as an actor?
Rituda is brilliant. As an actor he is absolutely amazing. Working with him gave me the impression that he must be a great actor-director. He is very patient and his acting style is completely different. I learnt a lot from him…..
 
Did he guide you on the sets?
To a certain extent he did, but when you are acting yourself, it is not possible to guide your co-actor constantly, because you are busy with your own lines and parts. But yes he did help me with a few things. The character that I played was very complex. I am looking forward to working with Rituda, the director because then he would have the luxury to guide his actors.

You have done very meaningful films in Tollywood and not just run-of-the-mill stuff. Was it a conscious decision?
It’s a two way process. I have been choosey with my films, and I have got offers for certain kind of films only. I am really lucky that such scripts have come my way. Tollywood had a good run in 2010. Many small and medium budget films did very well. There are many talented, creative people in the industry. We have brilliant actors and directors. For me as an actor, Tollywood is important because of the kind of characters and scripts that I get. Hopefully, 2011 will see Tollywood doing even better.
 
Your wife Barkha is also working in Tollywood…
Barkha is hosting a show on Zing and doing a lot of live shows in Mumbai and Kolkata. She is consciously avoiding daily soaps because it takes up a lot of time. Even I suggested that she should skip daily soaps at the moment. In Tollywood she has done a cameo in Dui Prithibi which won her a best debutante award. She is also doing a full-fledged role in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Aami Subhash Chandra Bolchi with Mithun Chakraborty. She is very excited about it. Language is not a barrier for Barkha. She loves acting. If she gets more opportunities in Tollywood she would definitely work here more frequently.

Do you get time to meet each other?
When I am not working here, I am in Mumbai. When I am shooting in Kolkata, she makes it a point to take some time off to be with me. So, in a month we are together for about 15-18 days. 
 
What are your current projects?
I have just finished a film called Uro Chithi. Only the dubbing is left. I have System which is an action film, so if you think I haven’t done any mainstream film, here it is. I have also signed a comedy called Le Halwa. Bedeni is going to release soon. In System I play an underworld guy.
 
Do you have any projects in Mumbai?
No. I think I am too occupied in Kolkata to market myself in Mumbai.

 

 

Diganta Guha

 
Veteran playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy was in town recently to perform at a concert organised by the Saradha Group of Companies. Excerpts:

There is no dearth of item songs now in Bollywood, but you are the pioneer of such numbers…
I wouldn’t call myself a pioneer. Yes I did sing songs like Hawaa hawaai, Jumma Chumma and Tu cheez badi hai mast mast. I believe those songs had better lyrics. Today’s songs just come and go, at least I can’t recall the lyrics and the antaras. 

How do you see the playback scenario these days?
Well, it’s always important for a singer to walk with time. I am not the type that says, “Oh! The old songs of my generation were far better.” You have to accept what we have today. But I do concede that there has been deterioration in terms of lyrics. We have grown up listening to Majrooh Sultanpuri and many other fabulous writers. Now we have just Gulzar Saab and Javed Akhtar. There is too much orchestra used nowadays. 

You have sung a number of Bengali songs. You should be happy to know that songs of Bengali films are again becoming popular.
That’s very encouraging. The songs are much better and more meaningful. I recently sang for a Rabindrasangeet album called Bhalobashi. It’s doing well and I have plans to sing a lot more in Bengali. 

What keeps you busy nowadays?
I am doing a lot of projects that are ‘non-filmi’. The film offers I get are all inconsequential songs. There are lots of new music directors and lyricists who have come up, but their offers are not interesting enough. But music is an integral part of my life and I am keeping that alive by singing in concerts and  for projects like spiritual albums. 

I know it’s tough, but if you are to list three of your favourite numbers, which ones would those be?
My selection doesn’t depend on the song’s popularity. It has something to do with my sentiment. There are certain songs that changed my career graph and I am very sensitive towards them. I like       Hawaa hawaai, the songs of 1942 A Love Story and of course the numbers in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. I would rate the songs of HDDCS as really special because they were so different and there was so much of variety in them.  
 
Who are your favourite singers from the current crop?
They are all good individually. I like Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and KK.

What is it like to perform in Kolkata?
It’s always a wonderful experience because there is a strong culture of music here. Kolkata genuinely loves good music. It is always heartwarming to perform here.

 

 

The latest Coke ad, with the classic track, Aaj Ki Raat… has caught the imagination of Gen-Y

 

Ashok Chatterjee

Retro ads are gaining popularity with the Indian marketing gurus. Songs from the 1970s and 1980s are making a comeback in Indian commercials. Vintage is special. Success of Akshay Kumar with his printed shirt and big collars in Action Replayy and Ajay Devgn in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai are enough evidence of the retro making a big comeback in our lives. Advertising is known to capture the pulse of the people. So, the numbers Jata Kahan Hai deewane for the Coca Cola ad, Aaj Pehali Tarikh Hai for the Cadbury Dairy milk chocolate ad or Genelia D’Souza’s New Fanta ad surely grab eyeballs. The latest Coke ad, with the retro number, Aaj Ki Raat… has caught the imagination of gen-next.
The advertisers are not only scoring high with the catchy songs but also leaving no stones unturned in recreating the perfect look and feel. Take for example the Vivel Deo ad, which shows a boy and a girl playing badminton in whites, recreating the song, Dhal Gaya Din, from the Jeetendra-Leena Chandravarkar starrer Humjoli or the Himalaya Face Wash ad where the girl dresses up in retro style or even the Biskfarm cookies ad, where a strong retro concept of patriarchal society comes across with the famous dialogue ‘Pran nath, aap kya kha rahe ho?’.
Shah Rukh Khan has also changed his looks for Dish TV advertisement. He is seen as a 75-years-old man in the ad. He looks cool with a stick.
The ads of the late 70s or 80s still have their brand recall. It is hard to forget the Bajaj bulb ad with the jingle, Jab main chota ladka tha, badi shararat karta tha. Meri chori pakdi jati, Jab roshan hota Bajaj — now, there lies the charm. When ad agencies create ads, their goal is to make a commercial that is catchy and memorable. The use of jingles is to make it linger in your head and remind you of the product.
Another television commercial, which is still fresh in our memories, is the Vicks ki goli lo khich khich door karo number. The ad caught on with the audience so much that it led to a rise in sales of Vicks cough drops. If these were the ‘funny’ ads on TV, the classic Raymonds ad which showed the ‘complete man’ still rings in our head. Advertisers feel the same old magic can be recreated with the new products as well. As ad-man Prahlad Kakkar explains, “I’ve been observing this trend for some time now. It all started with the Close-up toothpaste ad, followed by Fevicol ads and the Cadbury ads. The retro theme breaks the clutter. But if the theme is used in abundance, then it becomes a clutter in itself,” he says.
“In advertising, we have been neglecting the Silvers (the silver jubilee club). Since a healthy 35 per cent of the elderly are the target audience, these retro ads not only make the elderly nostalgic but also get the youngsters notice it. We must always remember the moot point of selling a product is to hook the viewers. And these ads are doing it fine,” Kakkar adds.
But senior account executive, Versus Communications, Rahul Mehra, who also is the manager of music band, Insomnia, begs to differ. He says, “Corporate houses are trying to woo the youth. The IT industry has altered the audience base for products. Youngsters, just out of college are earning high salaries these days, working in BPOs. They constitute a major segment of the Indian population. And this population still loves to listen to ABBA and the Final Countdown for entertainment.”
If Jumping Jack Jeetendra once ruled the popularity charts, today Imran Khan is ruling the roost. The latest Coke shadow ad, features the Break Ke Baad hero Imran doing funny act with the classic Aaj Ki Raat playing in the background. No surprises, it is the most downloaded ad today. The song takes you back to the 1973 film, Anamika.
Talking about the success of the jingles, music composer and audio producer, Drono Acharya, says, “One of the major reasons for the success of these songs is the melody. But the advertisements can go wrong if they make mockery of these golden classics.”
Bollywood singer, Kailash Kher, who has many popular jingles under his belt, refuses to believe that retro is the latest craze for ad filmmakers. “I cannot endorse the view. In order to be different, some advertisers go back to the past for inspiration. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t,” says Kher. 
The person behind successful ad campaigns like the Kamasutra condoms and Emami Fair & Handsome, Alyque Padamsee sums up the phenomenon. He says, “It is just a fad. Agencies copy any success formula. The industry is full of copycats. If one retro-themed ad clicks with the audience, everyone follow suit. Personally, I want to be original,” he clarifies.
Fad or not, retro ads surely have got everyone talking.

Supreeta Singh
Imran Zahid is the latest blue-eyed catch of the Mahesh Bhatt camp. The owner of a media academy in Delhi, Zahid’s Bollywood debut will see him playing the role of assassinated political leader Chandrashekhar Prasad in Bhatt’s next venture Chandu. The film is supposed to hit the floors next month and is scheduled for a late 2011 release. Excerpts from a telephonic conversation:

Tell us something about your background. How did acting happen?
I am originally from Jharkhand. I came to Delhi in 1996 to study at  Hindu College. As for acting, it came naturally to me. I was always   interested in acting. In fact, theatre is my passion. While In college, I acted in a lot of street plays and have also trained under veteran theatre director, Arvind Gaur. The whole idea of a nine to five job never appealed to me.

How did you bag this role?
I was in Dubai for a media workshop when I met Mahesh Bhatt. This was four years ago and our rapport grew over time. Mahesh Saab wanted a new face for the role of Chandrasekhar Prasad and he chose me. Although I have always wanted to be an actor, I could never allow myself to go begging for roles. So, when Mahesh Saab offered me this role, that too without even an audition, I had to grab it. Otherwise, I was happy running my media academy.

Chandrasekhar Prasad was a Marxist leader in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who was brutally shot in Bihar’s Siwan in 1997. How did you prepare for the role?
In recent years, there have been very few leaders with such charisma as Chandrasekhar Prasad. As I researched about him, I was impressed by his resolve to bring about social change in Bihar. Hailing from Jharkhand myself, I could immediately relate to him and his predicament. He was shot dead while delivering a speech in his native town, Siwan, and till date his murderers have not been brought to book. Cases like those of Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo are freak accidents but there’s such hue and cry over them. On the contrary, Chandrasekhar’s death  was a deliberate attempt by some power clique, which has recieved no attention. Today, the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, and Sania Mirza are crowned youth icons. But Chandrasekhar is no less an iconic figure because he fought against all odds and gave up his own dreams for the cause of his state and country.

How are you preparing for the role?
Chandu is not a period film at all, as it is rooted in the current political scenario and that is what makes it different. It was only 14 years ago that Chandrasekhar Prasad was shot dead. His friends and relatives are still there. I often visit JNU and spend time with his friends and colleagues. The interesting thing is that the man still has a presence in the university. Students have not forgotten him. Besides, I am reading books on Communism and sifting through Prasad’s personal letters and writings to gain an insight into his psyche.

This is your first film and that too with Mahesh Bhatt.How is he as a person and as a director?
Mahesh Saab is the only person I am comfortable with in this industry. He is my friend, philosopher and guide. I was an ordinary person hailing from a small city. Can you imagine what I must be feeling now? I am indebted to him for giving me such a break. People are already talking about me. I am in the limelight. I have surrendered myself to Mahesh Saab. I will always follow his advice.

Live and let love

In a world torn by violence, does the credo of baul philosophy show a flicker of hope?

 

 

Supreeta Singh

 

 
Against the backdrop of environmental hazards, physical threats and emotional depletion, the quest for spiritual freedom stands tall. If a man’s ultimate aim is self-realisation, then the need to find meaning in life becomes monumental. Unfortunately, today the concepts of peace, liberty and equality have been stripped of their essence and reduced to a mere lip service at best or buzzwords at worst.
 However, a small sect in West Bengal has a different tale to tell. They are above any organised religion, caste and creed or gender discrimination and completely shun orthodox rituals.
Spread across Murshidabad, Nadia and Birbhum districts in Bengal, Sylhet, Bikrampur and Kushtia in Bangladesh, Baul singers and poets practice an egalitarian philosophy preached by ‘exponents’ of world peace and love. 
Thanks to Gautam Ghose’s film Moner Manush, there has been a reawakening of interest in one of the prominent baul exponents, the iconic figure Lalon Fakir. A Hindu-turned-Muslim fakir, who flouted all established norms of society in his exploration of self, Ghose’s film pertinently makes Lalon’s philosophy embedded in his lyrics seem relevant. 
Gautam Ghose says, “Lalon is contemporary. Bauls are not just performers; for them it’s a way of life. Today, not everyone is a performer but they practice devotion nonetheless.”
 For young folk singer Anusheh Anadil of Bangladesh, bauls uphold a philosophy that is eternal. An ardent fan of Lalon songs, she claims that songs give her a glimpse of reality. “The need for self-realisation does not disappear with time. I am in love with the bauls and fakirs specially because here there is no duality of ideas. It is about learning to be empty and embodying that love which is making creation possible. For me, it’s always been about the message these songs convey. I try to pass it on to my audience in whichever way they may listen.”
 The growing popularity of baul songs and tunes in popular culture also stand as a testimony to its revival among the youth. The lyrics, strains and compositions touch a chord infusing a listener with a sense of unbridled joy. Percussionist Tanmoy Bose whose projects Taal Tantra and Baul and Beyond, where Anusheh is one of the contributors, says that baul philosophy is the best example of unity, brotherhood and friendship. According to him, youngsters must go through the lines of poems crafted by bauls to understand their import. He adds, “Baul does not just mean smoking weeds and singing songs. It’s a way of life that needs total devotion. For me, the most heartwarming and urgent message of bauls is the principle of guru-shishya (disciple) parampara or tradition that it upholds. Every day we read about student and teacher conflicts. The basic foundation of the baul philosophy lies in total surrender to your guru, who will lead you through the tumultuous hurdles of life. It says that you have to know your guru to complete yourself. This is opposite to the language of aggression youths display. In any situation of dispute and disagreement, baul philosophy can teach you to cooperate.”
 In the same vein, Bangladeshi singer Latif Shah says, “When the desire rises in you to merge with the ‘Supreme Soul’, no matter what your age is, you will be drawn to it like bee to a flower. My disciples are as young as 12 years. That’s an impressionable age and therefore they understand all about bauls with ease.” 
Bose is amazed by the fact that our own indigenous baul philosophy finds resonance in African-American blues and jazz entrenched in socio-political revolutions. “I have been to so many countries and everywhere I have found that the native form of music has sprung out of some kind of protest. Both music and baul philosophy are universal. They are deeply rooted in selflessness. Hence, there is much to learn from them.”
 One of the strongest elements of Baul is the way it embraces everyone irrespective of religion, community, class, economic background and gender. At a time when world leaders at large fail to do more than initiating peace-talks between warring nations, bauls talk about forging ties. “Baul is a secular philosophy. Although fundamentalists attack them in many pockets of Bengal and Bangladesh, yet they promote love and compassion. Men and women, who have been ostracised by society, find solace and acceptance in the company of bauls. Many of them come from poor families and have nowhere to go. Earlier, the urban and rural divide was not as marked as it is today. Now, bauls flock to cities to participate in fairs and festivals giving city slickers an opportunity to learn from them.”
 Interestingly, Baul songs are engaged in a conversation with the body. For them, human body is the most intricate and elaborate vehicle where universal truth lies hidden. The body is a means to an end – the final reunion with the ‘Supreme Being’ who resides in all of us. Human body is sacrosanct, a symbol of divinity. From novice to advanced baul singers, meditation and yoga are a must every day – exactly what health experts urge people to do.  
 “Physical exercise or shadhon-bhajon is as crucial to bauls as singing. All baul songs are centered on the body, which is a metaphor for leading to higher states of existence. A good guru will always decode the songs and explain its meaning to his disciple,” says 30-something Sanjay of Baul band Brahmakhyapa.
 Bauls believe in the principle of ‘here and now’. There is no concept of reincarnation or idol worship. Free of dogmas, it stresses on body and mind to find all answers. “What attracts me to baul philosophy is it’s scientific nature. To develop the inner psyche, you must reach a level of control that is achieved only when you are physically, mentally and emotionally fit. There is neither any sudden anger nor any sudden joy. Isn’t this what any spiritual guru would advise? Today, people earn bushels of money, but are they really happy?” asks Sanjay. 
 The prominent place of women in baul communities is another stellar aspect. While conservative religions put women on the pedestal and worship them, domestic violence continues unabated. Bauls are routinely dismissed for their apparent sexual proclivities, their lifestyle often dubbed as ‘free sex in a free society. Yet rising statistics of divorce and separation speak about the lack of respect and love in urban couples. Tanmoy Bose is aggrieved by such misinterpretations. “It’s an injustice. You have to look beyond the physical intercourse and discover the epitome of love in your partner. And it’s not as if bauls indulge in indiscriminate sexual orgies. They too have fixed mates,” he fumes.
 Echoes Sanjay, “My partner Malobika and I live together. We have a daughter too. As in tantra, baul philosophy too believes in the union of male and female and only the union of the two can lead to creation. There are so many married couples in the society who are miserable. Does the ‘married’ tag stop them from abusing each other? So, how is it different for the bauls?”
 Kartik Das Baul of Santiniketan, who is married with a son, says, “Bauls are not separate entities outside the purview of society. Lalon advises us through his songs to be free of restrictions. In India and abroad, we have finally got our due recognition and things look brighter for the future. As long as I can connect with myself, nothing can dampen my spirit.” 
 Golam Fakir, a noted baul from Nadia, observes that bauls as a sect will always remain a little mysterious and unfathomable to laymen. “Only those who come with a sincere heart and thirst for knowledge are able to apprehend the true essence of bauls. Yet for a world whose heart is bleeding, he shares a snippet from Gita  — Whatever has happened in the past, happened for the best. Whatever will happen will happen for the best too.”

Jaya Biswas

Film: Tees Maar Khan
Director: Farah Khan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Akshaye Khanna, Ali Asgar, Apara Mehta, Aman Verma, Murli Sharma, Sachin Khedekar
Rating: Poor

As the title suggests, the film is about the sharpest conman of all Tabrez Mirza Khan alias Khanon mein Khan’ Tees Maar Khan (Akshay Kumar). Here Akshay is a master criminal who learns to steal even before he is born, the foetus fed on crime thrillers his pregnant mother watched.
What begins as a regular comedy gradually becomes the story of the great Indian train robbery undertaken by Tees Maar Khan for the conjoined conmen, played by MTV’s twin baldies, Raghu and Rajiv. They assign Khan to retrieve their loot which the government has seized. Khan pretends to shoot a patriotic train robbery film, Bharat Ka Khazana, while managing the act for real. He also picks a village and casts its inhabitants to act in his film; bluffs them into participating in a crime.
And in all this, Tees Maar Khan deceives the audience by claiming to be a funny movie. If you’ve seen the promos, you know the brand of humour (or the lack of it). And when it comes to the business of conning, it’s only talk and no shock! Though the first half is bearable, the second half becomes Tashan — Part 2, if you know what I mean.
The film’s story, put together by Farah’s husband Shirish Kunder, is a complete mess. But you can’t blame him either. After all, he had to take care of background score, screenplay, story, editing to refreshments on the sets and God knows what else, evident from the credits.
The dialogues written by Shirish Kunder and Ashmith Kunder desperately try to be humorous but fall flat at most instances. Sample this: Tube se nikli huyi toothpaste aur Tees Maar Khan ki di huyi zubaan kabhi wapas nahin jaati or Mere nange haath tumhare nange gaal par — you don’t expect such scary lines in a Farah Khan film.
There is a lot of screaming, grimacing and heaving. Here is an example of the level of the jokes — Khan as Hollywood director calls himself Manoj ‘Day’ Ramalan (Grrrr…)
The eponymous role is custom-made for Akshay Kumar and while he plays it effortlessly, he is clearly getting repetitive in his comic act (a concoction of Hera Pheri 1 & 2, Tashan, Khiladi series et al).
Akshaye Khanna as Aatish Kapoor, an Oscar-hungry actor, whose only mission in life is to groove on the Day-Ho number (akin to Anil Kapoor’s joyous leap on Jai-Ho when he was called to receive one of the Oscars for Slumdog Millionnaire), is brilliant. He is expected to act terribly and he does that with such perfection, that it gets on your nerves.
Farah’s fascination for Manoj Kumar (remember Om Shanti Om controversies?) continues in this one too. It’s high time the filmmaker realises that spoofs don’t work — not always!
Composer duo Vishal-Shekhar’s music has mass appeal. As Khan’s girlfriend in the film, Anya (Katrina Kaif) is categorically roped in only for her sex-appeal and she has oodles of it. Anya, a struggling actress is also cast by Khan in his fake film and her role in it is as questionable as her role in TMK. But Farah Khan’s raunchy choreography of the item number, Sheila Ki Jawani, portrays Kat at her sexiest best. Apara Mehta is a cheap imitation of Kirron Kher in Farah’s previous film Om Shanti Om.
Sachin Khedekar, Aman Verma and Murli Sharma as police officers are hardly amusing on screen. Salman Khan shows his ‘jalwa’ yet again in a cameo. TMK may take a smashing opening at the box office, courtesy Sheila and her jawani, but there is every chance of it fizzling out soon.
Though funny in bits and pieces, too much of hamming makes it a boring watch.

ALSO READ REVIEW: BAND BAAJA BAARAT

 

Jaya Biswas

Film: Band Baaja Baaraat
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh
Rating: Very Good
 
There is a lot to like in this new Yash Raj venture. The story about two wedding planners, Shruti Kakkar (Anushka Sharma) and Bittoo Sharma (newcomer Ranveer Singh), has a natural charm and sweetness that’s been missing from YRF movies for a long-long time.
Debutant director Maneesh Sharma, who has also written the story, takes us out of the artificial studio settings into the lanes and by-lanes of the national capital. The dialogues and screenplay have been written by Habib Faisal, who directed the charming Do Dooni Chaar.
Set in Delhi, Band Baaja Baraat (BBB) is all about two 20-years-old young graduates set to enter the real world. Shruti and Bittoo are as different as chalk and cheese. Shruti hails from a middle class background. She is ambitious, determined and focused and has set goals for herself as she reaches final year of college. On the other hand, we see Bitto as a freeloader with no aim in life. He is more interested in having fun with friends than attending classes.
This rom-com revolves around these two characters as they meet by chance and happen to become business partners. No, BBB has nothing to do with Jennifer Lopez starrer The Wedding Planner.
At first they hesitate to work together considering the complications, as Shruti aptly puts it, Jisse wyaapar karo usse kabhi na pyaar karo (you shouldn’t fall in love with someone you do business with). But they can’t resist taking the plunge, however, pledging that they would never mix business with pleasure. Will they or won’t they is for you to find out…
What makes BBB worth a watch are believable characters and a milieu exuding authentic Delhi texture. When Bittoo speaks of reaping sugarcane in Saharanpur, he plays the character to the tee. The actor is just perfect as an uncouth but good-hearted small-town loafer, who doesn’t have any qualms speaking with his mouth full or pronouncing business as ‘binness’. But when it comes to managing business deals and convincing his clients, he is better than many. As a newcomer, Ranveer is not at all camera conscious.  In fact, at times he reminds us of Ranbir Kapoor in Wake up Sid!!
The first half, in which Bittoo and Shruti set up their company, Shaadi Mubarak, is great fun. In terms of performances, Anushka, who has been ‘okay’ in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Badmaash Company, finally comes into her own as the ambitious Delhi girl, who can take on the world.
Unlike other Yash Raj films, the music is average in this one. Save for the song Ainvayi Ainvayi, sung by Salim Merchant and Sunidhi Chauhan, rest have little recall value. Ainvayi is pacey and totally ‘Punjabi’ in essence. This song is sure to have you tapping your foot.
Sadly, the second half drags with too much of altercations between the protagonists, stretched-out wedding sequences and even an item number where Bittoo and Shruti fill in for Shah Rukh Khan!! Can you beat that?
Overall, Band Baaja Baaraat is entertaining. It’s definitely one of the best films you’ll have in theatres this weekend.

ALSO READ:  REVIEW: Watch it for Ranbir-Priyanka’s awesome chemistry

Film: Khichdi

Director: Aatish Kapadia

Cast: Supriya Pathak, Anang Desai, Nimisha Vakharia, Rajeev Mehta, JD Majethia, Kesar Majethia, Markhand Soni

Rating: Good

 

Supreeta Singh

It’s a laugh riot. Even if you are not a huge fan of Khichdi the television series, the endearing and funny Parekh family in the film will win your heart. Their outrageous characteristics, hilarious conversations and crazy shenanigans will crack you up every minute of the two-hour long movie. This is the first time that a popular television sit-com has been adapted for the big screen and producer and actor JD Majethia must be applauded for accomplishing it without many hiccups. Khichdi: The Movie is a clean family entertainer rarely seen on Indian screens. Although it does not have a strong storyline to recommend it, what makes the film work is the way it is executed. It is a twisted tale of romance where all that goes well is turned into a mess. Himanshu (JD Majethia) wants to get married but his wants that his should be a legendary love story that has all ingredients of a masala film, like family objection, separation and final union of the two lovers. Unfortunately for him, when he meets the girl of his dreams everything falls into place smoothly. There is no family feud, their marriage gets fixed and everyone is happy. How Himanshu fulfills his dream of a dramatic love story with the help of his family is the film’s main story. The strongest points of the film are its script and acting. Director-writer Aatish Kapadia has enough one-liners and jokes that will keep the audience rocking in their chairs. There are no obscene dialogues, no sexual puns or innuendoes that are liberally used in some of the recent Bollywood comedy films. Even Gujaratis and Punjabis who are the butt of many of the jokes, will enjoy the film immensely too. Supriya Pathak as Hansa and Rajeev Mehta as Prafull share a chemistry that will give many established couples a run for their money. Anang Desai as the frustrated Babuji and Nimisha Vakharia as the comparatively more sensible Jaysree are perfect in their acts. Kesar Majethia and Markhand Soni (as Jacky and Chukki) who narrate the story are delightful. Watch out for the 50 Parminders, one of whom (Kirti Kulhari) becomes the beau of Himanshu. Their romantic exchanges consist of food and masala while the background music plays typical Bollywood strains. It is very cleverly done. Two incidents that stand out are when Satish Shah’s Ishwar arrives at the Parekh family’s house and the court scene where Hansa defends Himanshu. The most interesting thing about the film is that it does not have a single big star who supposedly draws big money. The film rides entirely on the shoulder of all the actors who are character artists. Cameo appearance by Farah Khan, Deven Bhojani and Paresh Ganatra are noteworthy. In any other mainstream Bollywood film they would have been relegated to secondary positions but here they prove their mettle with aplomb.

REVIEW: Gekko never sleeps

Shauli Chakraborty
Film: Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Micahel Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Lagella
Rating: Very Good

What is a moral hazard?” asks one of Gordon Gekko’s (Michael Douglas) admirers as she lines up for his autograph on a copy of his book Greed Is Good. That is also the time when  Jacob (Shia LaBeouf), the guy who is dating his daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan), hurries in with some crucial information. Gekko smiles at both and replies, “Moral hazard is when somebody takes all your money and is not accountable for it.” A line that haunts you throughout the movie and even after.
Gordon Gekko is back—with a bang! The unrelenting Wall Street legend who simply cannot stay away from trouble is more like a creature in the dark, waiting to strike at the first opportunity. He is manupilative, wicked and ungrateful. But this time Gekko has a heart. Not that he likes it, but something that he cannot keep buried anymore.
The film begins with Gekko stepping out of jail after serving a sentence of 8 years. Later he remarks, “Jail is the best thing that happened to me. It set me thinking about my life.” Once out, he is looking for two things — to resurrect his career and set things straight with daughter Winnie. Jacob too is out for revenge after his mentor is forced to commit suicide by the Wall Street bullies. He strikes a deal with Gekko where the latter would advise him on the markets and he would try to convince Winnie to forgive her father. When Jacob suggests a family dinner as a first step towards the much-needed reconciliation Gekko quips, “At my age I’ll settle for anything.” This is quality Gekko in his younger days, dare not bare. Here he manages to win few hearts, breaks them with unabashed arrogance only to make a comeback later. The film is more of Gekko’s journey to the realisation that, “Time is more important than money.”
Both Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan put in restrained and mature performances. They look good as a couple and complement each other totally. Josh Brolin and Frank Lagella make recession-hit Wall Street politics more credible. This time too director Oliver Stone has hit the bull’s eye and the film is sure to go a long way. Allan Loeb’s screenplay has sketched every character with surgeon-like precision. Another important feature is the camerawork. Wall Street never looked this sinster before and with recession as a backdrop the omnipresent lens of Rodrigo Preito is the king of all it surveys. The camera works wonders when it zooms in on Jacob’s office at the beginning of the film and later, when Gekko meets Jacob at a water park to discuss money. The scene when Gekko welcomes Jacob to his rented apartment that has no walls is a masterpiece. Once in a while we come across films like Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps. Even rare are instances when each character artiste is at his best. Go make yourself part of history.

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