India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Luv Ka The End: Bumpy ride

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“Luv Ka The End” is Yashraj Film’s first foray into a genre they call “youth films”, or films they think are tailor-made for the under-25 audience. But as all teenagers will know, there’s a thin line between being cool and trying too hard. This film is trying too hard, and there’s no two ways about it.

Unfunny gags, over-smart dialogues and one-dimensional characters do not a cool film make. Nor do obvious product placements, for that matter.

Shraddha Kapoor plays Rhea Dialdas, a spunky teenager, in love with her boyfriend, who happens to be rich and the most popular boy in school. On the eve of her 18th birthday, while she is making plans to take their relationship to the “next level”, she discovers that the man of her dreams is actually part of a secret rich boys club which scores each member on how many girls they can sleep with. What’s more he puts up the evidence on the net for the whole world to see.

Seething with rage, Rhea, with the help of her two best friends, decides to get even with Luv Nanda. The trio then proceed to do a whole lot of blatantly illegal stuff, including pretty much stealing his car, smashing it with baseball bats and stealing his credit cards. Is this really what it takes to get over someone?

Shor in the City: Smart writing makes a smart movie

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It’s OK not to have too many expectations from “Shor in the City” — I know I didn’t. After all, it doesn’t have a great star cast, there hasn’t been too much buzz around it and except for the music (the lilting ‘Saibo’ number especially), the promos didn’t really stick in your mind.

The movie, however, is a whole other story. This is a smart film — one that hooks you from the get-go and doesn’t let up. Co-directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D K are sure of their craft and confident in their script and it shows.

Chalo Dilli…are we there yet?

As a wise man once said, it is the journey that matters, not the destination, and that certainly holds true for most road-trip films.

Think “Jab We Met” or last year’s “Road, Movie”. Shashant Shah’s “Chalo Dilli”, starring Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak uses the oldest cliché in the book – that of two entirely opposite personalities thrown together on a difficult journey.

I Am: Intentions good, not execution

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The one thing you must appreciate about Onir’s “I Am” is the attempt to do something away from the trodden path — India’s first crowdfunded film. Director Onir and his team invited ordinary citizens and film lovers from all parts of the world to contribute to the film by donating as little as 1,000 rupees in return for a mention in the film’s credits as a co-producer.

Onir’s intentions are also obviously in the right place when it comes to this film, but if intentions were the criteria by which we could judge films, there wouldn’t be a bad film in the world. Through four intertwined stories, he raises issues like child abuse, displacement of Kashmiri pandits and discrimination against homosexuals. Where he does go wrong is in the treatment of those issues and their execution.

Dum Maaro Dum: Wayward, but worth a watch

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Rohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist heaven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer. Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist Vishnu Kamat, a once-corrupt officer who mends his ways and is called on to “clean Goa of drugs” by an ailing minister. Sippy uses a non-linear mode of narration, zigzagging from one character to another, lending a zippy pace to the first half of the film. Part of the film’s landscape is Lorry (Prateik) a young student who is lured into the drug trade in exchange for the dream of a life in the United States. Also criss-crossing his paths are Joki, (Rana Daggubati), a laidback musician and his one-time girlfriend turned gangster’s moll, Zoe (Bipasha Basu). Thanks to some good writing and zany dialogues, Sippy manages to keep you engrossed in the first half of the film, even though he is let down by a some-what weak performance from his lead actor. Sridhar Raghavan’s dialogue is sparkling for the most part and you can almost forgive him some school boyish lines, like “aajkal criminals bhi Facebook aur Twitter pe hai” (These days, even criminals are on Facebook and Twitter), uttered by Kamath after going through a suspect’s phone. Sippy tries to pack in too much and ends up doing no justice any of the tracks in the film. His villain is named Biscuitta and there is a sequence in which Bachchan raps his way through a couple of police encounters, which looks ridiculous and far from cool. Abhishek Bachchan doesn’t bring anything new to his character, nor does Southern actor Rana Daggubati, making his Bollywood debut in the film. Nevertheless, this one is worth a watch for the great cinematography (Amit Roy) and some good writing. “Dum Maaro Dum” could have been much better had the director seemed more in control of the film, but it is better than most of what Bollywood has dished out this year. I suggest you give this one a chance.

Dum Maaro DumRohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist haven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer.

Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist Vishnu Kamat, a once corrupt officer who mends his ways and is called on to “clean Goa of drugs” by an ailing minister. Sippy uses a non-linear mode of narration, zigzagging from one character to another, lending a zippy pace to the first half of the film.

Teen Thay Bhai: No brotherly love

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At one point in director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s movie, “Teen Thay Bhai”, one of the protagonists wakes up in a police van, looks around blearily and asks his brothers, “Where are these police constipators taking us?”. Of course, he means constables. At that point, you will know, or at least I did, that this film was beyond redemption. Shreyas Talpade plays the offender, Fancy Gill, a small-time Punjabi actor who, along with his two elder brothers is forced to spend a couple of days in a deserted mountain home every year, as part of a condition in their grandfather’s will. Of course, the trio cannot stand each other and fight and claw their way through those two days, even tying up each other with rope and stuffing their faces down chimney’s. Om Puri and Deepak Dobriyal play the other two brothers – Chixi and Happy – and the film is essentially nothing but a long-drawn out, unfunny and ridiculous film that gets more and more ridiculous as the script wears out and the director resorts to gags and toilet humour to save the day. Eventually, the brothers end up getting arrested for possession of narcotics, beating up a police officer, escaping from jail, getting entangled with a group of foreigners who feed them paranthas and chasing random men around snowy slopes. By this time I had lost track. There really isn’t much more to say about this excuse of a film – except that Deepak Dobriyal is the only one who seems to be trying to make something out of his role as a meek dentist. Avoid.

Teen Thay BhaiAt one point in director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s movie “Teen Thay Bhai”, one of the protagonists wakes up in a police van, looks around blearily and asks his brothers, “Where are these police constipators taking us?”

Of course, he meant constables. At that point, you will know or at least I did, that this film is beyond redemption.

No, Thank You

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I’m going to keep this one short because there’s really not much I can say about Anees Bazmee’s “Thank You” that I haven’t already said about films of this genre – in other words, the “leave your brains at home” films that we seem to churn out with alarming regularity. This one seems to be a re-hash of Bazmee’s earlier “No Entry”, which at least had a couple of nice songs and some funny moments. This one has nothing but offensive dialogue, bad jokes and even worse acting. Akshay Kumar plays Kishen, a modern day love doctor who spies on philandering husbands and helps their wives take “revenge” on them. The film runs on the premise that men are sure to stray, but, like the men in the movie, if they catch their wives even pretending to have an affair, they can take the high moral ground and lecture them on the sanctity of marriage. Bobby Deol plays one of those men, Raj, while Irrfan Khan and Suneil Shetty play his friends. All three are having affairs with various women and get away with it by throwing flimsy excuses at their wives, which the women gladly gobble up. That is, until Kishen comes into the picture, ensures that their wives exact revenge on them and leave the men pining. Of course, the fact that he’s been caught cheating several times and doesn’t even seem to regret it doesn’t stop Bobby Deol’s character from delivering a five minute monologue to his wife Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor) on how she’s hasn’t respected their marriage by flirting with Kishen. “At least I did it on the sly, but you are doing it openly”, he tells her. Who can argue with such sound logic? Of the cast, only Irrfan Khan looks remotely comfortable in his role, while everyone else is rank bad. Special mention to Sonam Kapoor who looks lovely but cannot emote genuinely in a single scene – especially for a woman who is supposed to be going through the heartbreak of infidelity. If you liked “No Problem” “Housefull” and “Kambakkhth Ishq”, then this might be the film for you. Everyone else, run far away from any theatre showing this film.

thankyouI’m going to keep this one short because there’s really not much I can say about Anees Bazmee’s “Thank You” that I haven’t already said about films of this genre – in other words, the “leave your brains at home” films that we seem to churn out with alarming regularity.

This one seems to be a re-hash of Bazmee’s earlier “No Entry”, which at least had a couple of nice songs and some funny moments. This one has nothing but offensive dialogue, bad jokes and even worse acting.

F.A.L.T.U: Youthful but doesn’t deliver

The movie is about four friends, three of whom barely manage to pass in school and are not admitted into any college.

F.A.L.T.UTo fudge it to their parents, they create a fake university — Fakirchand and Lakirchand Trust University — and hence the title acronym – F.A.L.T.U

Game: This one’s a washout

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game1Everybody loves a good murder – and unfortunately, Bollywood doesn’t do too many of them. Abhinay Deo’s “Game” tries to fill that void, with a murder mystery about a tycoon who is shot dead on his private island.

Anupam Kher plays the dead man, Kabir Malhotra, one of the world’s richest men who mysteriously invites four strangers to his private island in Greece, because he believes they have something to do with the death of his abandoned daughter Maya (Sarah Jane Dias).

Tanu Weds Manu: Doesn’t soar, but will make you smile

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Director Anand Rai’s “Tanu Weds Manu” is a romantic comedy about a meek doctor who falls in love with a feisty, rebellious Kanpur girl, as a result of which he finds himself in the middle of what can only be described as sticky situation, and staring down the barrel of a gun. R Madhavan plays Manoj Sharma aka Manu, a sweet, docile doctor, who inspite of having lived alone in London for more than a decade, wants an arranged marriage with a girl from the Indian heartland and falls in love with the first girl he sees, at one glance, while she is asleep. Kangana Ranaut plays the sleeping girl aka Tanu aka Tanuja Trivedi, who is nothing like the simple village belle Manu imagines her to be when she wakes up. While smoking a cigarette, she tells him that she doesn’t want to get married to him because she already has a boyfriend and has no intention of marrying someone her parents have chosen for her. Disappointed, Manu returns home, but when he runs into her again at a friends wedding, a fledgling romance seems to develop between two people with absolutely nothing in common. Rai’s first half is a rollicking ride and you don’t find your attention wavering at all. The dialogues, by Himanshu Sharma,are sparkling and you will find yourself laughing out loud at several places. Also, it’s a refreshing change to see a heroine who is feisty and not afraid of taking risks, and Kangna pulls her off with some aplomb, bad dialogue delivery notwithstanding. It is in the second half that the film unravels – rapidly. Manu’s intentions become too unclear, there is too much of melodrama and the script is nowhere as tight as it was in the first half. What saves this film are the interesting characters that Rai develops, not just the lead pair, but even those around them. Special mention to Swara Bhaskar and Deepak Dobriyal who play Tanu and Manu’s best friends respectively and bring so much to what is essentially a side role. In the end, “Tanu Weds Manu” doesn’t reach soaring heights, but I’d recommend you watch it any way, because it will bring a smile to your face.

twmDirector Anand Rai’s “Tanu Weds Manu” is a romantic comedy about a meek doctor who falls in love with a feisty, rebellious Kanpur girl, as a result of which he finds himself in the middle of what can only be described as a sticky situation, and staring down the barrel of a gun.

R. Madhavan plays Manoj Sharma aka Manu, who in spite of having lived alone in London for more than a decade, wants an arranged marriage with a girl from the Indian heartland and falls in love with the first girl he sees, at one glance, while she is asleep.

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