Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
At the “Dabangg” screening, someone sitting a few rows behind me would scream hysterically whenever Salman Khan came on screen. She would cheer, shout out encouragement when he was beating up the bad guys and wolf-whistle when he was romancing the heroine.
In the beginning, it was endearing. But then it began to seem contrived, forced and totally unnecessary — just like the film. Unless you are a Salman Khan fan like her, because then you would be able to forgive anything.
This two-hour film looks like it was meant to be a successor to Khan’s 2009 hit “Wanted” and unfortunately, the makers decided to go about doing that in a somewhat calculated manner — ensuring the film looks like it is trying too hard to be “cool”, several times.
The writers try too hard to be clever with the dialogues and the characters seem to go more over the top than they should have. I am not going to talk about the story or screenplay, because I don’t expect that in a film like this, those two aspects would be given much importance anyway. This is a “mass” film you see.
When Freida Pinto made it big on the international stage with “Slumdog Millionaire“, there were quite a few who couldn’t quite believe her success.
While she was feted all over the world, found herself on prestigious magazine covers and on high-profile red carpets, in the country of her birth, there was some reluctant praise and a lot of silence which is unusual for a country that “adopts” anyone who sounds remotely Indian and is a success in the West.
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.
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Aashayein” is one of those films that you will forget the minute you leave the theatre – there isn’t much in the film that will keep you gripped from start to end, but it isn’t so repelling that you want to get out of the theatre and leave.
For a film that is supposed to tug at your heartstrings, this one barely manages to touch them and except for a few moments, hardly any of the characters or their stories make an impact on you.
There are some actors who can elevate a mediocre movie to great heights just on the strength of their craft. And there are some who will plunge their films into further depths of mediocrity. Pradeep Sarkar’s “Lafangey Parindey” falls in the second category.
If last week’s “Peepli (Live)” was the best cast film of 2010, this one is definitely a candidate for worst cast ever. Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh do not look remotely convincing in their characters, speaking Mumbai’s “tapori” language with as much panache as a penthouse-owning, six-figure salary earning South Mumbai resident might be expected to speak. (For those out of Mumbai, these two worlds are poles apart).
There are a lot of nuances in Anusha Rizvi’s “Peepli Live” that you may not get at once. There will be a comment on the health system in villages or the lack of hygiene but they are so subtle that it may escape the notice of the less attentive viewer.
It will be your loss if you do miss out on these small details because this film thrives on subtlety — something we aren’t too used to as viewers.
As the end credits rolled in “Aisha”, I noticed that the credits for stylists/designers and clothes sponsors never seemed to end. That should tell you something.
This is a film that is a lot like the characters in it – very very pretty, but, as a character in the film says “very shallow”.
Milan Luthria’s “Once Upon A Time in Mumbai” is a mostly-gripping, but dumbed-down mafia thriller that focuses on two men who dominated the Mumbai underworld for the most part of the seventies and eighties.
Despite denials from the makers of the film, it is easy to see that the story is based on underworld don Haji Mastan and his one-time protégé Dawood Ibrahim.
from Photographers' Blog:
I first encountered the 52-year-old Maratha Mandir movie theater while I was on one of my walks to explore Mumbai. Being new to the city, I do this often. It was just a casual walk down the lanes of the city when I saw a huge billboard promoting a film outside the cinema. The billboard proudly advertised it as the longest-playing film in Indian history.
The film "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride), starring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, is a simple romantic film shot in Europe and India, where a boy meets a girl and falls in love with her - girl is about to get married in India - boy takes the journey from Europe to India to win her over.
Abhishek Sharma’s “Tere Bin Laden” is a sporadically funny but badly made film that tries a little too hard to draw out laughs from the audience and fails for precisely that reason.
The plot revolves around a young Pakistani reporter Ali whose biggest dream is to go to America and make it big but after an incident on a plane involving a knife, he is deported back to his homeland.