Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
There is a song in Sajid Khan’s “Housefull” with the lyrics “volume kam kar” (turn down the volume). Wouldn’t it be nice if the director and actors had imbibed this simple message? That would have made this alleged comedy easier to tolerate.
Instead every character in the film either screams, laughs or cries so loudly, and for seemingly no reason, that you want to hit the mute button.
Unfortunately, the noise pollution shows no sign of stopping and also puts an end to any hope of genuine comic moments. Director Khan sacrifices clever lines for loud and mostly unfunny gags, which if you saw his first film “Heyy Baby”, wouldn’t come as a surprise.
Akshay Kumar plays Aarush, who believes himself to be a human jinx, bringing bad luck to all around him. He quits his job at a casino in Macau and comes to London to spend time with his friend Baburao, better known as Bob (Riteish).
This audience doesn’t really mind that Archana Puran Singh uses foul language or that people randomly slap their husbands and wives or that there is really no logic to speak of. They found all of the above hilarious.
When a film is pitched as a big-budget, big-ticket film and is a Diwali release to boot, expectations do shoot up.
Anthony D’Souza’s “Blue”, starring Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta and Zayed Khan is supposed to be India’s first “underwater” film, has music by A.R. Rahman and is said to have a budget of 800 million rupees.
A feeling of numbness and disbelief is not uncommon after a movie-watching experience. Sometimes you are awed by the sheer vision of the director or the depth of a particular performance. Sometimes, it is a thought expressed, or an expression that stays with you.
There are films that grab you instantly and don’t let you go till the credits roll. There are those that start off on a great note but lose the plot midway. And then there are those which don’t start off on a good note, nor do they end on one.
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer” falls in the third category. The film starts off at a sluggish pace, but by the time the second half rolls in, it graduates into a half-decent thriller and you start to think that Kukunoor may be on to something after all. You are wrong. But we will get to that in a bit.
Ever looked at those picture perfect fashion models walking on the runway and wondered how they do it? Well, actor Shah Rukh Khan has the answer.
“I was told the secret was to suck your cheeks in, pout your lips and look really angry, when you walk the ramp,” Khan told a wildly cheering audience after he walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra at Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week.
If you are looking for intellectual stimulation at the movies, watch Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” or wait for “Slumdog Millionaire” — “Chandni Chowk to China” is definitely not what you are looking for.
It’s the first big release of the year, is produced by a big Hollywood studio looking to enter the Indian market and has one of India’s most bankable stars. But it also has a lot of Bollywood “formula”.
“Singh is Kinng”, which stars Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, epitomises the much used phrase for most Bollywood films — leave your brains behind. The director, writers and the actors in this film certainly did.