India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: Done in by half measures

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

You know it’s a bad omen when a scene in a Vishal Bhardwaj movie reminds you of one in Shirish Kunder’s last film. I felt the dread creep up on me as I watched a scene where a breathless reporter reports a UFO sighting in an Indian village — reminding me of a similar scene in “Joker”, a film that ranked as one of the worst of 2012.

Thankfully, that was the only UFO scene in the film, but there was one which involved cow dung being flung across fields, as well as a long-drawn-out scene where two men try to pull a bucket out of a well.

If all this is making you wary, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Bhardwaj’s film starts off funny and his trademark style is evident — from the brilliant “cigarette smoking is injurious to health” message at the beginning to the Tarantino-esque first scene.

Table No. 21: Passable fare

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

As thrillers go, Aditya Datt’s “Table No. 21″ isn’t likely to keep you on the edge of your seat, but you won’t be making a beeline for the exit either. This is one of those in-between films that won’t really make it to your list of must-see movies.

Rajdhani Express: The train wreck from hell

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

Ashok Kohli’s “Rajdhani Express” is one of those films which will force you to answer some existential questions. Questions such as “Why am I here?” “What am I doing with my life?” and most importantly, “How did a movie like this get made?”

from India Insight:

Responsibility or censorship: why Bollywood should pick

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

The mother and father of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim were cremating their daughter's body around the same time I discovered Honey Singh, now lately known for his notorious song, "Ch**t," or "Cu*t." The song revolves around the singer's vision of satisfying a woman's lust, followed by beating her with a shoe and then moving on to other things.

from India Insight:

Banning Bollywood item numbers is no solution

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

The gang rape and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi last month has made many Indians take a hard look at how they behave as a society.

Dabangg 2: A sequel that doesn’t take it forward

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

It seems unfair to devote a whole review to Arbaaz Khan’s “Dabangg 2″, given that this is hardly a film. As a friend said, it’s a collection of deleted scenes from “Dabangg” that have been put together haphazardly to make the skeleton of a film.

The best (and worst) Bollywood films of 2012

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

This is what it all comes down to — a year of watching movies and writing about them distilled into one post. Here are my picks for the best and worst of 2012 from the Hindi film industry.

Khiladi 786: The other ‘Son of Sardaar’

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

If it wasn’t for the chorus of “Khiladi Bhaiyya” that accompanies Akshay Kumar each time he makes an entrance on screen, I would’ve forgotten I was watching Ashish Mohan’s “Khiladi 786″. I might as well have been watching “Singham” or “Golmaal” or any of the comedies earning a box-office billion that dot our cinematic landscape these days.

Mumbai’s Oktoberfest takes place under the stars

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

It wasn’t Munich, but try telling that to the hundreds of Mumbaikers and expats (including some wearing lederhosen) who gathered at Mahalaxmi Race Course on Friday night, sipping imported Bavarian brews from hefty beer steins, determined not to let geography get in the way.

Talaash: Searching for the perfect whodunit

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

The worst thing to happen while watching a murder mystery is someone telling you the twist in the tale even before the movie began. The second-worst thing is when you figure out the twist yourself, halfway through the film.

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