Tag Archive: Mumbai


Pop! goes my heart…

There was a time when popular music in India also meant Indi-pop, with its own star system and billboard chartbusters. But no sooner was the genre coming of age, it vanished into oblivion, writes Jaya Biswas

Those in their late twenties or early thirties surely wouldn’t have forgotten those evenings when we would it take a little break in between our homework and dinner to watch Chitrahaar, on Doordarshan on Wednesdays at 8:30 in the evening, which was popular because it aired a bouquet of songs from both old and upcoming films. There were no trailers or teasers back then on television so an odd song was often the only sneak peek at a forthcoming film, a peek that the nation seemed to wait for.
Every Wednesday, with baited breath we waited for Chitrahaar. Like much of the offerings on the state run channel, it was shoddily produced and often half-a-song would be edited out to make way for adverts/ news bulletins. But in the difficult and oh-so-far-way 1980s Chitrahaar, since it didn’t have to match steps with satellite music channels, was oh-so-very welcome.
But the early 1990s were a defining period for the Chitrahaar generation. We witnessed the emergence of yet another musical countdown show which made an entire generation dance to its tunes. Our loyalties almost unflinchingly shifted to Superhit Muqabala, aired on the newly launched DD Metro which promised to be more urbane than the staid and Bharatiya DD National. And it was here, in this show, more brazen than DD and more slickly produced that we first caught Alisha Chinai crooning to a shrill Made in India for a breathtakingly handsome Milind Soman. The song caught the generation as if by the collar and became the unofficial anthem of young India.
The story of the ascent of Indi-pop would remain incomplete without mentioning Biddu Appaiah, more popularly Biddu. An Indian-British music producer, composer, song-writer and singer, he not only produced and composed many such hit records worldwide, the credit goes mostly to him for managing to create a non-filmi niche in the 1990s. It was Biddu who made the Indian audience savour the real taste of pop with Pakistani singers Nazia Hassan and Zoheb, a sibling duo whose records, produced by Biddu, sold millions of copies. Nazia and Zoheb were Pakistani singers from Karachi. The group initially gained prominence with their single Aap Jaisa Koi was then featured as a soundtrack for Feroz Khan-Zeenat Aman starrer Qurbani. The song was also part of the group’s debut album Disco Deewane, released in 1981 by Biddu. The album became a best-seller. It also changed trends of music in Pakistan and was the first South Asian album that was also a hit in Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Indonesia. The duo released their second album Boom Boom in 1982 which was also the soundtrack for the Bollywood film Star, made in 1982, starring Kumar Gaurav, Rati Agnihotri, Raj Kiran and Padmini Kolhapure.
Made in India (1995), composed by Biddu, went on to become one of the highest selling pop albums of its times and Alisha, who had made some name years ago singing in Tarzan, became a household name. Biddu, also composer of the Boom Boom track, featuring the then newly minted Anupama Verma made many a heart go aflutter.
Indi-pop or Indian pop music, notwithstanding the distaste that lovers of western pop showed for its denizens, had started taking shape as a subculture. Bollywood was of course there while a singing culture with pan-Indian appeal, started to evolve outside it and very quickly too. 
Next, Biddu turned his attention to Hindi vocalist Shweta Shetty, both writing and producing the Johnny Joker album in 1993. In 1996, Biddu backed another brother-sister duo with Shaan (Shantanu Mukherjee) and Sagarika Mukherjee, producing the album Naujawan. Biddu spent the rest of the 1990s working with various musicians. Into the new millennium, he produced two hit albums with Sansara, Yeh Dil Sun Raha Hai and Habibi.
Biddu was almost a one-man army for the first few years when Indi-pop gained in prominence. But more than just the score, other factors also came into making it popular — creative videos, peppy music, pretty girls and a new group of talented singers. One must remember that Bollywood was on an overdose of Bappi Lahiri and late Laxmikant-Pyarelal, both insufferably kitschy, throughout the late 1980s. While Bollywood turned a new chapter with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Maine Pyar Kiya, Indi-pop emerged as the music for the nightlife — groovy and clever melange of Indian folk and popular tunes with peppy beats and often heady rap especially of the Baba Sehgal variety in Thanda Thanda Pani. Pop music had arrived and by the time satellites TV invaded the drawing rooms, India finally had its own divas and icons slowly but steadily eating up most of Channel V and MTV’s airtime.
In fact, music videos in the country made a splash with Indi-pop. Film music gave little scope to do videos and Indi-pop took the opportunity to make expensive and often experimental (by Indian popular standards) videos, thereby managing to hold on to the increasingly remote-happy, diminishing attention induced viewership.
Indi-pop soon, perhaps too quickly, touched its pinnacle with artistes like Anaida, Lucky Ali, Mehnaz, Daler Mehndi, Leslie Lewis, Raageshwari, Ali Haider, Ila Arun, Shaan, Anaida, Asha Bhosle, Anamika, Sonu Niigaam, Shubha Mudgal, KK, Babul Supriyo, Shankar Mahadevan and bands such as Euphoria, Silk Route, Stereo Nation, Aryans making Indi-pop a convenient money-minting option with albums sales soaring higher and higher.
Anaida’s ouvre was in churning out a strong storyline in the song, well-choreographed sequences, and tight editing with an eye for the over-all impact. Even ace choreographer Shiamak Davar and superstar Amitabh Bachchan joined the league with their songs Jaane Kisne and Ek Rahein Eer Ek Rahein Beer… respectively, also remembered for the brilliantly choreographed videos. Another big hit on the small screen was Malaika and Jas Arora in Malkit Singh’s music video Gud Naal Ishq Mitha.
Actress-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi doled out hit albums like Dole Dole and Dum Tara. Ghazal singer Hariharan and singer-composer Leslie Lewis joined hands to form their unique band Colonial Cousins, in 1996. They fused Indian and Western musical genres which were instantly lapped up by the listeners. Their eponymous debut album broke all records including hitting platinum sales in India. The duo also won the MTV Asia Viewer’s Choice Award and went on to bag the US Billboard Viewer’s Choice Award. The album had two major hit singles, Krishna and Sa Ni Dha Pa; their videos repeatedly playing on various music channels.
Shweta Shetty came up with another one in the year 1998 named Deewane To Deewane Hai. Her album became a huge success and her gravel voice and come-hither-sexiness seem to spill out of the television. 
Siblings Shaan and Sagarika hit the jackpot with the remix of Disco Deewane, followed by Roop Tera Mastana and Love-o-logy. Sagarika released her solo albums Maa and It’s All About Love. Few years later, Shaan scored big with Tanha Dil and Tishnagi.
Baba Sehgal, who is credited as the first Indian rapper, shot to fame with Manjula, Thanda Thanda Pani and Aaja Meri Gadi Mein Baith Ja in the mid-1990s. But he went on a world tour and by the time he settled down again no Indi-pop was left. He turned to playback singing and acting.
Around the same time we saw yet another bunch of singers like Daler Mehndi and Sukhbir who made us sample the heady flavours of Punjab. Daler Mehndi switched from classical music to pop, and in 1995 his first album Bolo Ta Ra Ra… was the best selling non-soundtrack album in Indian music history. He received the Award for Voice of Asia International Ethnic and Pop Music Contest in 1994. He earned Channel V’s Best Male Pop Singer Award, which he received in 1996 for Dar Di Rab Rab and in 1997 for Ho Jayegi Balle Balle.
Sukhbir’s unique Bhangra songs were a fusion of Bhangra with rap, techno and reggae. In Oi Triesto (2002), his music was complemented by Spanish and Portuguese rhythms, while he also uses instruments like tablas, congos, guitars and keyboards. He also stated once that Daler Mehndi and Malkit Singh were his biggest competition in the Punjabi music market.
In 2000, Asha Bhosle teamed up with Adnan Sami to release a collection of love songs named Kabhi To Nazar Milao. The music was also composed by Adnan. The album became an instant blockbuster and topped the Indipop charts for most of 2001. Two songs from that album — Kabhi To Nazar Milao, whose music video featured model Aditi Gowitrikar and Lift Karaa De whose music video starred Amitabh Bachchan — became immensely popular.
Sonu Niigaam was perhaps the only singer who could successfully juggle between film playbacks and private albums. His list of non-film popular albums includes Deewana (1999), followed by Jaan, Mausam, Kismat, Yaad and Chanda Ki Doli (2005) — most of which topped the charts.
But sooner than later Indi-pop came to an abrupt, and as we now know, a definitive end. Actress-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi had even said that the decline of pop spelled the death of her music career.
Mohit Chauhan, now a popular playback singer and once a part of music band Silk Route, rues, “Music companies are to be blamed which simply refuse to produce Indi-pop albums in fear of incurring huge loss due to piracy. Otherwise, there is no dearth of talent or listerners.”
Suneeta Rao, once famous for her Pari Hoon Main, released her last album Waqt in 2008 which sank. Alisha, like Shweta Shetty tried making a comeback to the Indi-pop scene with Vouz Soulement in 2003. But after that failed, she went back to doing film playback. And then she struck gold with Kajra Re (Bunty aur Babli in 2005). Alisha won several awards for this song and has since scored several hits.
So, what really went wrong? According to music critics and singers, film music itself went pop and Indi-pop lost its musical exclusivity, definition and identity. Almost 20 years down the line, the concept of Indi-pop may sound worn-out and overdone, but we do carry its essence in our hearts! Those who were better performers in the Indi-pop genre — singers, video-makers, arrangers and choreographers — made a quiet but effective move towards Bollywood. And those were there for publicity and money, faded away.
Indi-pop had a short life. Perhaps because Bollywood proved to be too big to take on! Perhaps Bollywood itself accommodated that kind of music. The item number for example, remains a kind of an offshoot of Indi-pop. Many films now shoot promotional videos to go with promotional music. Is it not a legacy of Indi-pop? Perhaps it is. Or may be with the coming of a new breed of talented and smart musicians — from AR Rahman to Santanu Moitra, from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to Pritam — Bollywood music itself became varied, tracing influences to not only music forms in India but often outside. Somewhere down the line, Indi-pop lost the plot.
Though choreographer-singer Ganesh Hegde claims to have brought the pop music scenario with his latest album, Let’s Party, could we really forget Lucky Ali’s O Sanam Mohabbat Ki Kasam… or Pankaj Udhas’s Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein… or Ali Haider’s Purani Jeans aur Guitar? If not, then that’s the take away from a decade of what was born and died young as Indi-pop!

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.

 

 

 

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.

POWER DRESSING

 

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In today’s corporate world, one shouldn’t feel trapped in a basic-black-and-pearls dress code. There are too  many options now. Power dressing at work is emerging as a key factor in climbing the ladder of success

 

 

Supreeta Singh
Corporate culture in India is fast evolving. There is increasing demand for competent professionals triggering competition between the many deserving candidates. It’s important to set yourself apart from the crowd and you have to dress sharply to make your presence felt in office. While intelligence and efficiency are essential, what really clinches the deal is power dressing. If clothes communicate your aura, then you can imagine what a sloppily dressed person declares to the world. A well-groomed man or woman sends a subtle message that he or she means business.
Moushumi B Ghosh, a senior marketing professional, agrees, “Power dressing conveys that you are serious about your work and careful about details.”
Possible clients and employers are as impressed by an extraordinary CV as a neat outfit. In boardroom politics, a well-turned out person can dominate  proceedings. Ranju Alex, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi observes, “We need to portray professionalism and yet be comfortable enough to be in those clothes for the entire day.”
When it comes to choosing what to wear, care must be taken of the occasion, because an employee represents his company and its image. Vipin Bhatia, marketing executive, McCain Foods India Pvt Ltd says, “On some occasions like formal functions or meetings, formal dressing is required, otherwise smart casuals or business casuals work.”
While Ranju loves to drape sarees at work, Moushumi is comfortable in dresses and salwar kameez.
Pushpesh Baid, managing director, Baid Group, reflects more sartorial styling. “My clothes range from formal to semi-formal, according to the day and the occasion. You have to look your best so that your employees and co-workers take you seriously. With split-second decisions in vogue, your appearance is critical,” he says.
Fashion designer Nida Mahmood has a few suggestions about power dressing. Sharp silhouettes, deep sombre colours, the right kind of footwear, matching accessories can do the trick. She recommends, “Bold and strong are the key words. Look for checks or solid colors for suits. For women it is a good idea to throw in colour with a scarf. Androgyny works well for women in terms of sporting jackets with pants. It is a good idea to team it with coloured blouses to bring in the strong and yet feminine feel. Men can play with ties. Slim fit jackets and trousers, button down shirts and the perfectly suited ties make a striking combination.”

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

 

 

Sudipta Dey

 

 
Film: The Tourist
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Rating: Good

What would you expect from a romantic thriller that has two most popular actors of all time as the lead, an Academy award winning director and Paris, Italy and Venice as the backdrop?
The Tourist has Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp pitted against each other, where the former plays an under-cover agent (again) and the latter is a Maths teacher from Wisconsin, an average Joe.
The plot revolves around Jolie’s character, Elise, who is apparently chasing her former lover, who also happens to be an elusive gangster, Alexander Pearce. On his instructions sent through a letter, she picks up a random tourist who looks somewhat like him to evade Interpole, and that’s when the real story begins.
The film revolves around the same plot that we have seen in many such films about mistaken identities (like the more recent Knight And Day). Jolie, like most of her films, has the action-seeking streak in her, and Depp is the victim of circumstances.
The plot has nothing great to it. It has a lot of flaws, that could have been avoided. But the massive starcast makes up for it. Apart from the two American superstars — Jolie and Depp, the film has Paul Bettany as Inspector John Acheson chasing the duo, Timothy Dalton as the Chief Inspector Jones who only appears in phases, Rufus Sewell as the mysterious man who claims to be Alexander Pearce on the insistence of an unknown man.
British actor Paul Bettany, who is more popularly known for his characters in The Beautiful Mind, A Knight’s Tale and Da Vinci Code, has done a decent job as the frustrated inspector chasing Pearce for over two years. His character could have had more meat, if the director (who has also co-written the film) paid a bit more attention to characterisation, something which is expected from a director who won the best foreign film in 2007 for Lives of Other.
Though the film has a mixed starcast, it has a distinct European romantic vibe to it, with most of the beauty lent by the picturesque setting of Venice and Paris.
Jolie looks simply gorgeous is her diva avatar, as she is seen mostly in gorgeous designer dresses throughout the film unlike in her other action films. Depp is his usual suave self.
The script should have given more time to make the love angle between Jolie and Depp a bit more convincing. There are a few witty dialogues exchanged between the two, which are crisp and at times funny, but those could only be credited to Jolie and Depp’s acting prowess.
If you don’t pay too much attention to the story and script, the film is worth a watch, specially for the actors and the beautifully captured Venice, the city of lovers.

Shauli Chakraborty
Film: Arekti Premer Golpo
Director: Kaushik Ganguly
Creative Director: Rituparno Ghosh
Cast: Rituparno Ghosh, Indraneil Sengupta, Chapal Bhaduri, Raima Sen, Churni Ganguly
Rating: Very Good

First things first — the film is not just a gay love story. It is more of a love story between two human beings with a strong message. A path breaking film, Arekti Premer Golpo makes you sit up and question if all that you perceive is actually, all that there is to perceive.
Here, Rituparno the actor is faced with his sole competitor — Rituparno the director. It isn’t necessary to choose one or judge both. For a fulfilling cinematic experience you only have to sit back and take note of art for art’s sake. Only then can you come out as a viewer unscathed from social constructs and box office gossip.
Whatever Rituparno’s reasons for choosing Chapal Rani as a subject, the film surely isn’t an explanation. Nor is he using it as a shield. The director makes this point in a scene where Momo (Raima) talks to Basu (Indraneil) about her reservations of Roop’s (Rituparno) intentions. Basu replies, “Nobody knows Roop more than I do…he is anything but a coward.”
The narrative has several layers to it — something that is so characteristic of the film’s creative director. Chapal Rani plays himself and is perhaps one of the lucky people to see his autobiography filmed in his lifetime. Several scenes from his childhood leave a mark. Like the one where Chapal is asked to shave his head after his mother’s demise. He questions, “Why am I the only one who has to shave? Just because I am her son? Why doesn’t Shejdi need to do it?” Later we see a parallel when Roop shaves his head and his unit offers condolences. Roop exclaims, “Nothing has happened. Everybody is fine at home. This is just my new hairstyle!”
There is another scene which depicts Chapal taking a dip in the Ganga and refusing to step out of the water without covering himself. Only his sister seems to understand his plight and throws a gamcha into the water. Chapal’s love for bisexual Kumar is as similar and dissimilar to Roop’s love for a much-married Basu. Also Chapal’s close realtionship with Kumar’s wife (Churni) is a very different one from the disturbing one between Rani (Basu’s wife) and Roop. There are a couple of other parallels as well, but I don’t want to give away the plot.
The film is full of symbolism and imagery. It is also poetic in places. Like the scene where Uday and Roop discuss Abanindranath Tagore’s painting titled ‘Shondhyer Pakhi’ or ‘Bird Of Dusk’ is brilliant. Similarly, music by Debajyoti Mishra is haunting. Bonomalee re…. poro jonome hoyo Radha… has been used all through the film. However, in each sequence the background score has symbolised different things.
When a reporter asks Roop whether his film is about Chapal Rani’s career or his sexuality, Roop retorts, “If I were making a film on Amitabh Bachchan would that have been relavant?” Need I say more?

Diganta Guha
Film: Toonpur Ka Superherro
Director: Kireet Khurana
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Tanujaa, Raza Murad and Mukesh Tiwari
Rating: Good

Ajay Devgn is an actor who is never short of energy. If on one hand he tries a Golmaal, he is not scared to be the maverick gangster in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. It is not at all surprising that his zeal and hunger for variety continues even after spending 17-18 years in the industry. 
In Toonpur Ka Superherro, he takes to animation. He is a superhero who fights for a cause on behalf of the residents of Toonpur. And guess what: all the residents are animation characters. Toonpur… is a brave effort on the part of Devgn and director Kireet Khurana.
And it certainly has a lot in it to attract kids. The best part of the movie is that even elders can enjoy it even though it tends to get stereotypical at times. And when it is an animation film obviously it will have a lot of humour and innocuous spoofs on Bappi Lahiri and Kareena Kapoor are worth mentioning.
More than the performances of the actors, it is essential to talk of the technical aspect of the film which is the most noteworthy feature of Toonpur…. In terms of plot (Khurana and Raagi Bhatnagar), it is simple and all about the good vs bad. But, the glossy look of the film and the animation techniques used are worth remembering. The action sequences are the best part of the movie thanks to action director Jack Gill. The stunts and fights are depicted with perfection, specially when a human character (Devgn) is in the thick of things along with animated characters.
An animation film depends a lot on dialogues and a screenplay that the audience can relate to. In this case dialogue writer Farooqi and Bhatnagar deserve a mention. Devgn does a decent job as does Kajol. It is also great to see Tanujaa back on screen after ages.
So, what are its chances at the box-office? The much-hyped Tees Maar Khan can cut into Toonpur…business. The two films are entirely different and so is the audience each is catering to.
Sounak, a six-year old boy was all smiles after coming out of the theatre. “Maa, I will watch the film again. Let’s watch it today only.”
Overall, the film should do decent business at the box-office, if it doesn’t then our indifference towards unique attempts will be vindicated. It’s funny and worth enjoying.

 

 

 

Supreeta Singh

Film: No Problem

Director: Anees Bazmee

Cast: Anil Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Dutt, Suneil Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, Sushmita Sen, Kangana Ranaut, Neetu Chandra

Rating: Poor

The first thing that would come to your mind after watching No Problem is a series of questions. For example, why did Anees Bazmee make this film? Why was it released for public viewing? And if it was released for public viewing, why did I have to go and torture myself with such utter nonsense? The film is an absolute no-brainer which is sure to win the ‘worst film in 2010’ award. It falls under the category of ‘comedy’ and it will make you laugh due to its incomprehensible sequence of events. The plot is as convoluted as its execution. Yash (Sanjay Dutt) and Raj Ambani (Akshaye Khanna) are two small-time thieves who rob a bank in a remote village of South Africa and flee to Durban. The bank manager, Jhandulal (Paresh Rawal) is forced to follow them. In Durban, there is a nincompoop senior inspector, Arjun (Anil Kapoor). His wife suffers from split personality and therefore has two names, Kajal and Kamini (Sushmita Sen). She hates her husband because he is such a dim-wit. There is an international criminal, Marcos (Suneil Shetty) and his team of dumb crooks. There is also a corrupt politician. The story revolves around robberies, murders and a spate of unnecessary confusions that would make you lose the thread of the plot. Anees Bazmee has been able to deliver a film that has nothing going for it. The script is inane and dialogues are meaningless. There is not a single joke or incident that would tickle your funny bone. Although the film boasts of a huge star-cast, yet none of them make an impact. Sanjay Dutt and Sushmita Sen look old and tired. Sushmita’s Kajal and Kamini are both forgettable. Bazmee has failed to tap Suneil Shetty and Paresh Rawal’s comic timing and acting prowess. Anil Kapoor is silly to the core. Kangana Ranaut provides the only comic relief with her tasteless styling and costumes, atrocious expressions and incorrect pronunciations. Neetu Chandra as the hot arm-candy and companion of Marcos is perhaps the only bright spot. Neither the music nor the cinematography lifts the mood. If you are unfortunate enough to watch this film, then a couple of things will make you suspend your disbelief. In random order: there are two talking gorillas in the film who come to Durban all the way from a South African jungle to save Yash and Raj in the middle of a fight. Suneil Shetty’s name Marcos is pronounced differently by the different characters in the film which seems to test your hearing ability. During an encounter with the criminals, Arjun is shot seven times. Two bullets get lodged in his stomach. Doctors warn that they will roam around his body and make him laugh anytime anywhere. The film’s title is nothing but an irony.

 

Jaya Biswas

Film: Break Ke Baad
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Imran Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Shahana Goswami, Yudishtir Urs, Lilette Dubey, Naveen Nischol
Director: Danish Aslam
Rating: Poor
 
Break Ke Baad, co-written and directed by debutant Danish Aslam starts off well. Over a long title sequence a la Main Hoon Na, we are introduced to the lead characters — Abhay, played by Imran Khan and Aaliya, played by Deepika Padukone — both Hindi film buffs who share their first kiss while watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The first hour-and-a-half goes off like a breeze. But that’s about it.
Imran Khan re-enacts a character he’s essayed quite effectively in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. Here too, Abhay Gulati is a chocolate-faced epitome of patience. He is sensitive; the quintessential Mr Right putting up with his insolent, spoilt, self-centred childhood sweetheart, Aaliya. Imran is charming, but his character — that’s supposed to manipulate the audience into agreeing with him —doesn’t quite work.
Aaliya, who aspires to be an actress, calls her mom (Sharmila Tagore) by her first-name. She’s smart and manipulative who knows how to work her way to get what she wants. Aaliya’s ambition to follow her passion has everyone tied up in knots. Abhay’s mental conflict of working in his father’s business, despite hating it forms another angle to the story. So far, so good. 
Danish has tried too hard to be cool but the effort is glaring. The film’s weak foundation and lack of fun moments make it tedious. The concept of breaks-ups and relationships have been dealt with in far  more mature way in Love Aaj Kal (also starring Deepika Padukone), where the film starts with a break-up and then goes on to focus on the metamorphosis of the couple meeting new people, and so on. At least, it was entertaining, and the conflict in the film proceeded with ease.
The second half, where Aaliya enjoys her time at the university, making new friends and her over-protective boyfriend follows her to woo her back is too much to handle. Tired of a claustrophobic relationship, Aaliya wants space and a break-up! Abhay on the other hand disagrees.
The two friends (Shahana Goswami and Yudishtir) — the owners of the house where both Aaliya and Abhay put up in Australia, are just okay.
There is an overload of content advertising (Kit Kat chocolates, Volkswagen Beetle, Zen mobile). Nothwithstanding the mandatory big, fat Punjabi wedding, clips incorporated from Bollywood rom-coms like DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and other films, Aslam maintains a mellow vibe and concentrates on establishing the close friendship between Abhay (Imran Khan) and Aaliya (Deepika Padukone). And thank god for small mercies, their Hindu-Muslim status is never a subject of concern or speculation here.
It’s always nice to see veterans like Sharmila Tagore and Naveen Nischol lending some warmth to the otherwise insipid surroundings.
Lillete Dubey, as the coquettish single aunt with her tongue-in-cheek repartees, is too good.
The storytelling is superfluous, barely scratches the surface of the characters’ conflicts, preferring not to delve deeper and is unconvincingly served to the audience.
Watch it if you haven’t had enough of rom-coms already.

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