Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Whether or not you want to sit through Farah Khan’s “Tees Maar Khan”, you should watch the end credits. The whole cast is shown “at the Oscars”, apparently getting Academy Awards for the film. The whole sequence is farcical and reeks of arrogance, especially when you consider the kind of film you have been subjected to.
Yes, I did say subjected to because one of the year’s most awaited and hyped films has turned out to be a dud of the highest order. Worse, a director who showed such a lovely, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek style in her earlier films is now resorting to offensive, crass humour that isn’t the least bit funny.
Khan has admitted that they have bought the official rights of the Peter Seller starrer “After the Fox”, but nowhere does it reflect in the credits. Instead, the story is credited to Shirish Kunder, who apparently can wear several hats at a time, given that he is also credited for editing, background music, screenplay, dialogue and producer of the film.
The story in question is about Tabrez Khan (Akshay Kumar) aka Tees Maar Khan, an “international criminal” and the world’s most ingenious crook. You would find that hard to believe, considering he comes across as someone who is rather dimwitted, and the gags he uses to escape from the clutches of law are hairbrained to say the least.
Shilpa Jamkhandikar looks back at the year that was and picks the 10 films that didn’t really do Bollywood any favours. And here they are in random order -
Salman Khan obviously hasn’t inherited any writing talent from father Salim Khan. The actor wrote the script for this excruciatingly bad film that had scenes like Mithun Chakraborty and Neena Gupta almost making out in front of their grown sons, some really corny dialogue and a not-so-good Katrina Kaif lookalike for a leading lady.
Anyone who has lived in New Delhi or been to a wedding in the city will immediately identify with the characters and milieu in Maneesh Sharma’s “Band Baaja Baarat”.
The chaos, the confusion and excitement that forms a part of every wedding in India is all part of this film, and if you revel in that atmosphere, then the film will suck you in from the beginning.
We are nearing the end of 2010 and everyone’s making their year-end lists. Thankfully, I haven’t made mine yet, because how on earth could I leave out Anees Bazmee’s alleged comedy “No Problem” from my list of the year’s worst films? Thank God for small mercies.
Akshaye Khanna and Sanjay Dutt play brothers who rob a bank and are on the run from both the police and the owner of the bank. Anil Kapoor plays a police officer, whose wife (Sushmita Sen) has a multiple personality disorder and periodically chases him with a knife/axe/gun for no reason whatsoever.
“Phas Gaye Re Obama” does not indulge in slapstick comedy, neither does it follow a formula. The beauty of this film is its storyline which is brought out impeccably as the plot unfolds.
During the film, there are several moments where it seems easy to guess what happens next, but admirably enough the film steers clear of stereotypes and heightens the mood, keeping the audience curious about its climax.
If you are willing to look beyond the gory death scenes, the deafening background music and crazy camera angles, there is an interesting story to be told in Ram Gopal Varma’s “Rakht Charitra 2″.
The problem is, like in the first part of the film, the actual story is buried deep within, managing to resurface once in a while.
Ashutosh Gowariker seems to have made a career out of period films – both “Lagaan” and “Jodhaa Akbar” told stories of our past, and in some way the fight for freedom. Gowariker touches on the same theme again in “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” but this time he chooses to tell a story closer to our times — just 80 years ago.
Based on journalist Manini Chatterjee’s book “Do and Die”, “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” tells the story of the Chittagong Armoury raid, led by school teacher-turned revolutionary Surjya Sen (played by Abhishek Bachchan) and his band of followers, the majority of which are teenage boys.
A day before watching “Break Ke Baad”, I heard director Danish Aslam say in a television interview that he and co-writer Renuka Kunzru worked on multiple drafts of the script, polishing it to such an extent that “there was no way we could make a bad film”.
I want to ask him, how bad was the first draft Mr Aslam?
Because even after multiple drafts, the script is shoddy, the characters are one-dimensional and every scene is filled with bad dialogue.
At one point in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Guzaarish”, the protagonist of the film Ethan Fernandes sings “it’s a wonderful world” while his mother is being buried. It’s a poignant moment, one where you feel the pain of the man. It’s also one of the very few genuine moments you will find in the film.
If you’ve seen the earlier two “Golmaal” films, you have a fair inkling of what the third one is about. These are custom-made films, tailored to the “festive mood” when filmmakers think audiences will laugh at anything and pay any amount of money if you promise them a fun-filled entertaining film.
If that means you have the customary toilet humour, so be it. If that means you have to fit in a criminal, a bumbling police officer and five songs in a two-hour film, so be it. And if it means replacing good writing with slapstick, crass humour, who cares? As long as you can disguise swear words ingeniously, get a dog to bite a man’s backside and bring in some emotion towards the end. The laughs will come because people are in a festive mood – at least that’s the formula.