India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: A rom-com that “gets” it

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Through the first half, Shakun Batra’s romantic comedy “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” follows an entirely predictable path — boy and girl meet, get drunk, get married and realise they don’t want to stay married. Circumstances dictate they must spend time together while waiting for their marriage to get annulled. At the interval, one of them even has the “I’m in love” epiphany.

Of course, you don’t mind the predictable storyline because there is zippy dialogue, some great writing and the performances are in tune with all of the above. So far, so good. But we all know the second half is where it gets tricky, and not too many film-makers know how to end well. Well, clear all doubts now.  Batra is not one of  them.

The second half of the film is even better than the first, because it adds an element of unpredictability to the mix of great dialogue, writing and acting — and what you have is a Bollywood rom-com that is funny, romantic and mature enough for today’s audiences.

Imran Khan plays Rahul, a poor little rich boy in Las Vegas, cowering from his overbearing parents and too “uptight” for his age, as a family friend tells him. He bumps into Riana Braganza, a scatter-brained, effervescent hair stylist, and on a drunken night out, the two get married. Of course, they wake up the next day with a massive hangover and the realisation they have made a huge mistake.

Gali Gali Chor Hai: Well intentioned, badly made

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Given that director Rumy Jaffry’s film “Gali Gali Chor Hai” deals with the burning issue of corruption, one would assume there would be no lack of material. Jaffry concentrates on corruption at the lower level and the everyday struggle of the common man who has to deal with this malaise as he tries to get on with life.

Akshaye Khanna plays Bharat, a meek bank cashier who lives in a dilapidated house with his wife, father and a pretty paying guest. When he rubs off a local politician the wrong way, trouble starts.

Agneepath: Revenge re-packaged

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While watching Katrina Kaif gyrating to “Chikni Chameli”, more than halfway through Karan Malhotra’s “Agneepath”, I couldn’t help but wonder about the similarities between the song and the film. Both are adaptations of an original product (“Chikni Chameli” has been adapted from a popular Marathi song), both have ample production value and some great moves, but they are also ample proof that remaking an original may not always work.

Malhotra’s version of “Agneepath”, to be fair, is not a direct copy and is quite different from Mukul Anand’s 1990 version. A lot of the plot points of the original film have been swapped for newer stories, but the gist of the story remains.

from India Insight:

Indians furious at Jay Leno joke on Sikhism’s holiest shrine

By Ariana Wardak

American host Jay Leno has sparked anger among Sikhs with a joke about their holiest shrine and the Indian government is making its displeasure known.

In his 'Tonight Show' last week, the comedian poked fun at the wealth of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, suggesting that Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, was his vacation home.

Good Night Good Morning: Talk isn’t cheap

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It’s not easy to sustain interest in a film that is about two people talking on the phone all night long. The characters have to be interesting enough, the dialogue has to sparkle and the length has to be just right.

In “Good Night, Good Morning”, director Sudhish Kamath manages to tick off most boxes, producing a film that will mostly keep you engaged and entertained, thanks to the two leads and some fresh writing.

Chaalis Chauraasi: Stellar cast, not-so-stellar film

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The one thing director Hriday Shetty’s film “Chaalis Chauraasi” can boast of is a stellar cast. With actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni and Kay Kay Menon as his leads, and a story idea with lots of great possibilities, it’s safe to say this film sounds great on paper.

Of course, most films must sound good on paper or else no one would make them, but that’s another story (or a blog). “Chaalis Chauraasi” is fashioned as a caper film, in which four small-time crooks plan on getting their hands on a huge sum of money that is lying in a deserted house in the middle of nowhere.

Players: Good action, bad acting

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You cannot help but compare the last film of 2011 with the first film of 2012. Both have a lot in common — “Don 2″ and “Players” are both heist films, both borrow heavily from Hollywood movies and have their share of over-the-top cheesy moments. There is just one thing that sets “Players” apart — there’s a lot more action in this one.

Director duo Abbas-Mustan make sure there’s plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat, and even though the film drags on longer than it should, you are still not looking to bolt from the hall.

Wishlist 2012: What would you like to see at the movies?

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It’s the time for new beginnings and new resolutions, and for someone who covers the entertainment industry, it’s time for yet another year at the movies. Here’s a list of wishes I have for 2012. They may not all be possible, but hey, that’s why they’re called wishes right?

NO “LEAVE YOUR BRAIN BEHIND” FILMS: Let us get the seemingly impossible one out of the way. Can Bollywood please leave mindless comedies and crass humour involving genitalia, toilet humour and sundry other staples behind? There were too many “Rascals” and “Thank You” movies this year for my comfort. My number one wish is that Bollywood gets a real sense of humour.

Don 2: Don’t expect too much

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It’s been a while since Bollywood dished out a slick, fast-paced action film. Wait, who am I kidding? Bollywood doesn’t do fast-paced action films any more, we just turn to Hollywood to get our share of those. So kudos to Farhan Akhtar that he thought of attempting it — not once but twice.

While the first was a remake of the 70s hit “Don”, the sequel is an entirely new story, and doesn’t have too many connections with the previous film, except for some of the characters who make a comeback.

Happy Birthday Rajnikanth

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Blame it on “Robot“. Last year, when Rajnikanth’s film opened in cinemas, not only did it become a huge hit, it also unleashed another pop culture phenomenon on the rest of India — Rajnikanth jokes.

Soon, it was all you would hear — in local trains, on your Facebook feed, over lunch in the office cafeteria and in your SMS inbox — each instance starting with: this is the best Rajnikanth joke ever.

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