Tag Archive: Irrfan Khan


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.

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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.

REVIEW: Hissstoric blunder!

Film: Hisss
Director: Jennifer Lynch
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Mallika Sherawat, Divya Dutta
Rating: Poor

Agnibho Gangopadhyay

 
Portraying India in an exotic way, specially in the West (literature, painting, film, play), is a practise with a long history. Hisss, an Indo-American film based on a myth of an Indian nagin (snake-goddess), because of its premise, could have been thought to belong to one of these categories. But after watching the film, one would realise that this film demands a new pejorative category, for it is so bad that it dodges any attempt of comparative taxonomy.
The film claims that the belief in a snake transforming into human form to take revenge on some miscreant or generally on a society that lacks respect for divine moral order, has been a dominant theme in Indian history. And the symbolic misdemeanor in this case, is separating the male snake from the female one. Men do that because the female snake possesses the nagmani (a precious stone) that can confer immortality to them, and get punished every time. In this facile take on myths, the makers remain ignorant about the fact that myths had complex functions in pre-modern and modern societies. Like in this case, conservation of nature is an important strand. But the film concentrates on this Indian myth as a means to decode the punitive goddess. 
In present day India, the villain or offender is a psychopathic American trying to cure his brain cancer using nagmani. He captures the male snake to lure his female partner. This unleashes Mallika Sherawat from within the female snake, who inexplicably slithers around a city adjoining the forest, naked and semi-naked, before she ultimately avenges the capture and ultimate death of her partner.
In the city Mallika is part an avenger, part a moral guardian and part the wish-fulfilling Goddess — in short a variant of serial killer. Sherawat carries this dialogue-less role with astounding expressionlessness, barring lip-syncing for the horrible cacophony that was meant to be her scream. She is neither convincing as a femme fatale, nor as the vulnerable nature goddess.
However the award for the worst bit of acting would go to Jeff Douchette, who plays the villain with preposterous excess and ludicrous gesticulation. Uneasily intertwined in this sick narrative is the story of an urban family, that of a cop, played by Irrfan Khan. Irrfan along with Divya Dutta playing his wife, Laxmi Bai as his cranky mother-in-law and Raman Trikha as his good-hearted friend are the sole redeeming aspect of this film. But even they look ridiculous amidst the ongoing absurdity.
The special effects and make-up make your stomach churn a bit, but fail to send a chill down your spine.
This film is a dishonest quest, then. The director Jennifer Lynch fails to capture the ‘real’ cultural sensibilities, while her film is extremely shoddy on the craft and execution front.
Do not be a part of this Hissstoric blunder.

Film: Knock Out
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan Khan, Kangna Ranaut, Sushant Singh, Gulshan Grover
Director: Mani Shankar
Rating: Good

 

 

Agnibho Gangopadhyay


Knock Out needed to be released. For the uncanny similarity of the promotional clips with the Hollywood psychological thriller Phone Booth is so glaring that 20th Century Fox Studio (makers of Phone Booth) unsuccessfully attempted to put a stay on the release of Knock Out.
Why did the Fox legal team fail? The answer is that Mani Shankar, director of Knock Out, has cleverly appropriated the setting of Phone Booth—well, a phone booth, sniper, the ethical crises in a hostage situation, moral vigilantism—but has magnified the scope of the original screenplay so much that it feels like a different film altogether. A difference of degree, if high enough, can amount to a difference of kind. One has to admire, however grudgingly, the director’s silken, evolutionary adaptation.
A top-ranked CBI officer, the patriotic Veer Vijay Singh (Sanjay Dutt) is peeved and angry about black money in India. Thousands of crores of taxpayer’s money, and from welfare expenditure for the poor and the underprivileged are diverted to the vaults of Swiss Bank by the corrupt nexus of political leaders, corporate giants and bureaucrats. He hatches a plan to make a start in reverting that money to India. A Batman-like grip on technology, a Steven Seagal-like mastery over martial arts and a Bhagat Singh’s heart helps him in this quest. This highly stylised role is essayed with panache by Sanjubaba. He acts really well and mouths the patriotic but edgy dialogues with effortless conviction.
Now on to his plan. Tony alias Bacchu (Irrfan Khan) is one of the cogs in the black market machinery in India. A trusted sidekick of a corrupt minister (Gulshan Grover, ever-dependable as a baddie) with the rather incongruous acronym Bapuji, he leads a dissipated life — cheating on his wife, bedding girls galore, buying super-expensive shoes and watches — while posing as an investment banker in the public eye. He knows the code to Rs 32,000 crores of black money kept in Swiss bank by Bapuji. Sanjay Dutt traps him in a phone booth operating from a nearby highrise, holds him hostage, makes him a ridiculous figure to the public (Irrfan is made to dance to a raunchy item number!) and awakens the cops to his dubious transactions. But he cocoons Irrfan too. Irrfan’s initial arrogance, the consequent vulnerability and the final remorse — these are brought out wonderfully well by the master actor that Irrfan is.
In supporting roles, Kangna Ranaut as the sassy reporter and Sushant Singh as the honest cop are adequate. This is a fast-paced, songless thriller with a social responsibility, in the ilk of A Wednesday. In the high-pitch of nationalist agenda, however, it loses the subtle nuances and the existential crisis that the film it was seemingly inspired from, Phone Booth, was replete with. However, this film tries to replace the individual predicaments explored in Phone Booth with a pertinent social issue. With its heart in the right place, this film will not disappoint you.

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