India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

D-Day: Gripping enough

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

The search for India’s most wanted criminal and a fictitious operation to capture him in Pakistan is a great idea for a Bollywood movie. Filmmaker Nikhil Advani uses this premise in “D-Day” and exploits it to maximum effect.

Advani builds a gripping tale that chronicles a covert operation to bring back Goldman, a fictional mafia don undoubtedly based on Dawood Ibrahim. He lives in Pakistan, masterminds terrorist attacks in India, is protected by the government of the country and speaks to his henchmen in Marathi (The real-life Dawood Ibrahim is from Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra).

Told for the most part through flashbacks, “D-Day” has interesting characters and even though the 153-minute film has its sluggish moments, the plot is intriguing enough to hold the viewer’s attention.

Irrfan plays Wali Khan, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent based in Pakistan who is posing as a barber in a small town. Khan, along with the mysterious Rudra Pratap Singh (Arjun Rampal) and two other agents (Huma Qureshi and Aakash Dahiya) plot the kidnapping of Goldman (Rishi Kapoor in a flamboyant role) from Pakistan.

Inkaar: Just say no to this one

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

Sexual harassment at the workplace, office politics and the question of whether women can make it to senior management in misogynistic companies plague many professionals in India.

We are Family: Pretty shallow

- We are Family: Pretty but shallow Before I get to talking about the film, I have one question about “We are Family” and films like it — why is it that they are invariably based in foreign countries and feature designer clothes, homes and even designer deaths? To me, this film could well have been based in Mumbai, have had the same characters and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story or screenplay. Even a person in the last stages of terminal illness has full make-up on. Which is one of the biggest problems of the film — everything about it is so cosmetic, even the emotions, that it’s hard to be touched by anything. Based on the 1998 Hollywood film “Stepmom”, the only Indian-ness the script has is to insert clichés about what an ideal Indian woman should be. Kajol plays Maya, the “ideal Indian mother” who, besides a passing reference to her job in publishing, does nothing besides fuss around her three kids. Her ex-husband Aman (Arjun Rampal) is in love with fashion designer Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) but all attempts to get his kids to like her are in vain. When Maya discovers she has terminal cancer, Aman decides to go back to help her. Maya decides that isn’t enough and wants Shreya to help out with the kids, telling her that every Indian woman comes with a motherhood gene. If this motherhood gene means you take your pre-teen kids to a karaoke pub, where there are people drinking alchohol and the parents are on stage dancing to ‘Jailhouse Rock’ while the kids watch, who are we to question it? Director Sidharth Malhotra plays too safe and doesn’t explore any of the dynamics of a household that has two women fighting for a man and his children. Also, Rampal and the kids put in such a watered-down performance compared to the two women, you wonder why they are fighting for them in the first place. Both Kajol and Kareena Kapoor, however, are excellent in what can only be called stunted roles. Kareena especially brings such an energy to Shreya’s character that you immediately connect with her. “We are Family” is at best a pretty but shallow film.

WAFBefore I get to talking about the film, I have one question about “We are Family” and films like it — why is it that they are invariably based in foreign countries and feature designer clothes, homes and even designer deaths?

To me, this film could well have been based in Mumbai, have had the same characters and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story or screenplay. Even a person in the last stages of terminal illness has full make-up on.

Raajneeti: An epic nicely retold

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BOLLYWOOD/First things first, “Raajneeti” is not about the first family in Indian politics even though some characters might resemble familiar cardboard cutouts.

So don’t go expecting some dope on a reality which is much stranger than fiction.

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