Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
“What is my soul trying to tell me?” Karisma Kapoor asks a character in ‘Dangerous Ishhq’. It’s a serious moment in the film, one that is expected to lead to a major plot point, but all you can do is try hard not to burst out laughing.
All the characters in Vikram Bhatt’s latest 3D project are trying so hard to “act” in a film that has inane dialogue, a ridiculous storyline and absolutely no honesty at heart — that their acting rings hollow.
Karisma Kapoor, in her comeback film, plays one of her most lacklustre characters, that of supermodel Sanjana who gives up a flourishing career (in Paris, no less) so that she can be with her boyfriend Rohan (Rajniesh Duggall), the son of a rich industrialist. When unknown men kidnap Rohan, Sanjana starts “seeing” incidents from her past lives (three of them), giving her clues to Rohan’s whereabouts.
With the help of police officer ACP Singh (played by Jimmy Shergill), she helps track down her fiancé, firm in the belief that events from past lives are still relevant. “Dangerous Ishhq” harks back to the tried and tested Bollywood formula of rebirth and reincarnation, but Bhatt attempts to give it a slick look with 3D.
Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar said during an interview that “Indian audiences don’t like to see reality on screen, they see enough of that in life”. Bhandarkar is known for making “real” films, but he might have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps that is why Indian TV doesn’t normally depict “reality” on screen — preferring instead to hide behind yards of brocade sarees and scheming mothers-in-law and coy brides.
On Sunday though, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan chose to tell the story of a different kind of Indian woman — one that doesn’t get to live. On the first episode of his new talk show “Satyamev Jayate”, Khan chose to talk about female foeticide, a rampant issue in India, where the sex ratio is currently at its lowest since independence.
In the first ten minutes of Kunal Deshmukh’s second instalment of the “Jannat” series, the director sets up his principal characters, establishes a romance angle and even adds a song for good measure. He also manages to inject no originality or freshness in any of these facets of the film, with the result that “Jannat 2” never really takes off, maintaining a staid pace throughout its two-and-half-hour duration.
The modern Indian youth has it easy. Very easy. They party, they romance, and they make marriage plans without ever having to worry about their careers and how they would pay their bills. Or at least this is the version Bollywood has been trying to shove down our throats since “Dil Chahta Hai“.
Rajat Kapoor’s “Fatso” is no different. Nandini (Gul Panag) and Naveen (Purab Kohli) are an urban, handsome, young couple. They are also very modern. Their modernity is depicted through public displays of affection, sex before marriage and English dialogue.
Film-maker Ram Gopal Varma, in a recent chat, said films are like products which have to be manufactured and treated accordingly. I’m sure Priyadarshan agrees. He certainly seems to make his films like assembly line products — all style, no substance.
“Tezz“, similar to the Japanese movie “The Bullet Train”, is supposed to be a high-speed action thriller about a bomb on a long-distance train. Ajay Devgn plays Aakash Rana, an illegal immigrant in London who is deported to India, along with his co-workers after he is found working without a permit.
from India Insight:
Indians woke up on Sunday to front page newspaper ads announcing the TV premiere of “The Dirty Picture”, a National-award winning film that was both critically acclaimed and successful at the box-office.
The film, based on the life of soft porn star Silk Smitha, was one of the most popular Bollywood movies of 2011, and its success catapulted lead actress Vidya Balan into the big league.
You have to hand it to Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi – the duo have made a Bollywood film about a topic like sperm donation without a double entendre. This also speaks volumes about Chaturvedi’s skill (she wrote story, screenplay and dialogue), because ‘Vicky Donor” is hands down the funniest film of the year so far.
Sircar and Chaturvedi, both from the advertising world, address issues such as sperm donation, infertility, stereotyping and even the aching loneliness that sets in after a spouse dies young, with such light-hearted humour and panache that you cannot help but applaud their effort.
Reviewing a movie like Sajid Khan’s “Housefull 2” is a futile exercise. In fact, I don’t think the makers of this film made it for creative purposes — this is a money-making venture, and going by the number of people who came to watch it at 9: 15 a.m. on Good Friday morning, I would say it’s well on its way to becoming a successful one.
Khan doesn’t take off from where the first “Housefull” left off — this is a whole other story. But he does keep the toilet humour, over-the-top acting and noise pollution that characterised the 2010 film. Instead of laughing gas at the Buckingham Palace, he adds a fake Prince Charles who attends a wedding at the end and persuades one of the characters to stop shooting people in the name of “the queen and the country”.
from India Insight:
The upcoming session of the Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s glamour-packed cricket tournament, will see a sartorial anomaly come to life -- cheerleaders wrapped in saris.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, has decided to cover their cheerleaders in one of the most traditional Indian outfits -- a marked departure from their 2008 wardrobe when a lot of skin, from midriff to thighs, was on display.
Instead of filming the scene like a regular action sequence, with lots of gunfire, smoke and action, Raghavan turns it on its head — filming the scene almost entirely in slow motion and to the tune of the “Rabta” song.