India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Chashme Baddoor: The remake from hell

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

Himmatwala

seemed to be the clear contender for the worst film of the year so far. Who’d have imagined it would have such strong competition so soon? David Dhawan seems determined not to let Sajid Khan get away with the honour of the worst botch-up of a remake.

So he takes what was a genuinely funny and memorable film and “remakes” it into a crass, unfunny and offensive film that serves just one purpose — it speaks volumes about the sharp decline in our sense of humour in the last three decades.

To be fair, “Chashme Baddoor” is barely a remake of Sai Paranjpe’s classic. Taking one iconic scene and the hint of the storyline doesn’t mean that Dhawan has ripped off a classic film.

Barring skeletal details such as three friends who fall for the same girl and the “Miss Chamko” scene, Dhawan’s comedy has no story to speak of and hinges on a flimsy plotline to keep the film going.

Himmatwala: Do not step into this time warp

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

At the end of a long monologue in “Himmatwala”, where Ajay Devgn rattles off the same sentence in five different languages, he turns to the camera and asks “mazaa nahi aaya na?” (That wasn’t fun, was it?) It’s almost as if director Sajid Khan knew what a bad film he was making, but went ahead and made it anyway.

What they say about the past being viewed through rose-tinted glasses must be true, because if this is what our films were 30 years ago, we should all be glad we’ve moved on. But not Khan. He wants to take us back to corny dialogue, garish sets and the lack of absolutely any logic in the story whatsoever.

Aatma: No soul in this horror flick

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

The real test of a good horror movie, at least in my book, is when you can’t stop thinking about it and feel a shiver down your spine at night. All the great horror movies do that to you.

Suparn Varma’s “Aatma”, about a violent man who abuses his wife in life and in death, is one film that doesn’t scare you most of the time. Instead, there is much twiddling of thumbs as you wait for the next predictable twist and yet another person to die on the way to the climax.

Does Sanjay Dutt deserve sympathy?

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

First, the facts — the 1993 Mumbai blasts killed 257 people, more than 100 people were convicted, and it took more than 20 years to deliver justice in a case that has all but faded from the nation’s collective memory.

And yet, if you looked at the headlines on Thursday, you would be forgiven for thinking the Supreme Court ruling was only about actor Sanjay Dutt. And the only tragedy was the one that had befallen Dutt and his family members.

from India Insight:

Fashion Week: A splash of Kumbh on the runway

While millions washed away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges, some people brought back interesting things from the largest religious congregation on earth - the Maha Kumbh Mela. Designer Tarun Tahiliani brought back ideas for his latest collection.

More than 2,000 years old, the festival is a meeting point for Hindu sadhus, some of whom live in the forest or in Himalayan caves. The sadhus at the Kumbh can be quite a spectacle - some are ash-smeared, some naked, sporting dreadlocks and beads, while some wrap themselves in saffron clothing.

Jolly LLB: Little justice in this legal tale

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Subhash Kapoor’s “Jolly LLB”, about a small-town lawyer who dreams of fame and wealth but develops a conscience along the way, is the film version of the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

From the cover (or in this case, the trailer), “Jolly LLB” seemed like a smart, snappy film about the David who takes on Goliath and comes away a hero. The musty, crowded corridors of the lower courts and the machinations that take place there are characteristic of the Indian judicial system and all its pitfalls are an ideal backdrop to this battle.

from India Insight:

Fashion Week: When in doubt, wear a sari

Just when you think that there is nothing more that you can do with a sari, someone will prove you wrong. On the first day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi, we saw saris with lipstick prints and telephone booth imprints, a sari wrapped around a bikini top and hot pants, and Peter Pan collars on sari blouses.

“It’s sexy, it’s a sari, it’s comfortable, but it is hot.” said designer Anupama Dayal, who brought her collection "Ishq-e-Dilli" ("Delhi Passion") to the show.

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns: Rerun of the quirky and violent

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

A politician learning to video chat, a man trying to draw blood with a rusty knife and a newbie MLA who doesn’t know what a police FIR is - moments that make Tigmanshu Dhulia’s “Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns” a film that successfully marries the quirky with the violent.

I, Me aur Main: Let down by inconsistencies

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

I have to confess I didn’t go into Kapil Sharma’s “I, Me aur Main” with too many expectations. The posters certainly did nothing to pique my excitement. But 30 minutes into the film, I was intrigued. This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill story; the protagonist was someone you would want to hit on the head within the first half-hour.

The Attacks of 26/11: Revisiting the ghosts of Mumbai

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Just before the intermission in Ram Gopal Varma’s “The Attacks of 26/11“, a police constable stumbles around with a rifle, searching for the two gunmen who had just wreaked havoc at Mumbai’s busiest train station. He slumps to his feet on the blood-stained floor and lets out a cry of anguish.

There are prolonged shots of a dead dog, fake blood squirting out of people, and much gore on screen as Varma recreates the horrifying events of Nov. 26, 2008. If the aim of the film is to chronicle these for posterity, this is certainly not how the story should be told.

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