Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
By Urjita Patil
When I was asked if I wanted to go watch Nupur Asthana’s “Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge”, I cringed, not just at the title but even at the fact that it was promoted as “not another formulaic, generic, yuppie, teenage, wannabe cult movie” which meant it was definitely going to be “just another formulaic, generic, yuppie, teenage, wannabe cult movie”.
But after a few minutes of sitting through the movie touted as “this season’s most screwed up love story”, I could actually feel myself enjoying it.
This wasn’t a bad movie at all, I could even go to the extent of saying it was refreshingly cute (except for the title — what’s up with that?) And who better to show you the lighter side of love than the King of Romance, Yash Raj.
So what’s the story? Well, it’s your usual romcom against the backdrop of your very own favourite social networking site — Facebook. There’s a boy, Vishal, a writer. And there’s a girl Priety, a photographer. Now ordinarily, you would expect the two to meet, fall in love, a little drama, a lot of songs and a twist or two if you’re lucky.
Jagjit Singh and my iPod elevated my mood during many an unending traffic jam. And it wasn’t just Mumbai traffic — you could trust Singh’s voice to make most situations better.
At their best, David Dhawan comedies can be a little raunchy, but fun. This one is very raunchy, packed to the brim with provocative shots of women in bikinis and heaving bosoms, but there is no sign of fun. This is the kind of film that makes you wish it wasn’t your job to review movies week after week.
When a movie has at least three prominent product placements in the first ten minutes of a film, you are bound to cringe. Nishikant Kamat’s “Force” will make you wince, at least in the first half of the film, and not just because of the product placements. Thankfully, unlike most films, this one gets better — so there is hope yet.
Kamat, who earlier directed “Mumbai Meri Jaan” — on the Mumbai train blasts and its aftermath — now turns to the essential cop film. You know the drill — honest, upright police officer, out to finish the bad guys (the drug dealers in this case), falls in love with bubbly girl whose only actual function is two songs and being kidnapped by the bad guys, and lots of action scenes in deserted warehouses.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a little background. Paris Hilton, American socialite and reality TV star is in India to launch her handbag line.
Hilton arrived in Mumbai on Friday and was supposed to make an appearance at a press conference at a suburban Juhu hotel at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Of course, as with most celebrity events, things didn’t pan out as planned. Here’s what happened –
Robert Lieberman’s “Speedy Singhs” is a feel-good movie that surprises you with an actual story and one that doesn’t leave the same bitter aftertaste as recent mindless comedies.
The story revolves around an Alladin-faced Rajveer Singh (Vinay Virmani) and the Sikh community he belongs to in Canada. He dreams of playing ice hockey professionally instead of working in the family truck business his father (Anupam Kher) wants him to join.
If director Pankaj Kapur hadn’t gone to pains to establish that “Mausam” plays out between the mid-90s and the early years of this century, you’d be forgiven for thinking this film takes place in the 20s — when there was no internet, no phones and no technology. Why else would two, reasonably well-off, intelligent people who obviously have access to technology be unable to trace each other? It makes no sense, and instead of feeling sad for them, you feel frustrated.
That, in a nutshell, is how you feel about “Mausam” anyway. The promos describe the film as an “epic” love story, but the only thing epic here is the running time. The film runs for almost three hours, during which Kapur plays out the same meet-separate-meet-separate theme till you tire of it.
Ali Zafar’s “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” is a slightly mindless but mostly funny rehash of an old romantic movie theme. Two guys, one girl, a wedding, lots of impossible situations and lots of songs are what make up this film.
Imran Khan plays Kush, a young Bollywood director entrusted with finding a bride for his London-based elder brother Luv (Ali Zafar), after the latter breaks up with his long-term girlfriend and decides he has had enough of relationships and wants to “settle down.”
Anurag Kashyap’s “That Girl in Yellow Boots” is an unsettling tale of a girl in search of the father who walked out on her as a child. Kashyap holds back very little in his narration of this tale, portraying Mumbai as a ruthless city that makes her search even more difficult than it should have been.
Kalki Koechlin plays Ruth, a British girl who comes to India hoping to find her father. She struggles in Mumbai, living as an illegal immigrant, working in a shady massage parlour, living in squalid conditions, driven only by her quest for a parent she yearns for.
Watching a Salman Khan film ‘first day first show’ is an experience in itself. I watched it in a multiplex, where there were snaking queues full of excited fans, hoping they’d get tickets for the first show of “Bodyguard”. They were hooting, cheering and screaming in the aisles even before the movie started.
When Khan made his appearance on screen a few minutes into the film, grown men were dancing and cheering him on. This is clearly a star with ample charisma and a fanatical fan following who don’t care for technicalities like good cinema. “Bodyguard”, written and directed by Siddique, is in the same mould as Salman’s earlier Eid hits “Wanted” and “Dabangg”, showcasing the star’s romancing, fighting and comedy skills, thus rendering things like the story and screenplay useless.