India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Love, Sex Aur Dhokha: Unsettling yet compelling

Dibakar Banerjee’s “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” isn’t an easy watch by any means. There are some deeply unsettling, stomach-churning moments in tlsd1he film that make you want to leave the theatre.

However, it is a very important film, one that reflects at least a part of the reality that we all currently inhabit and therefore, no matter how much you are disturbed by what you see on screen, it is important to sit through it.

Banerjee intertwines three stories within the movie, each of which is a tale within itself, but has a thread that connects the other two stories.

The stories are also told through an unusual medium — several types of cameras, including “sting cameras”, security cameras and movie cameras, all of which are as much a part of the stories as the characters themselves are.

Has Bollywood run out of heroes?

Javed AkhtarAt the ongoing FICCI Frames conference, during a very engaging debate on scripts in Indian cinema, writer Javed Akhtar came up with an interesting observation.

He said Bollywood had run out of heroes and therefore run out of villains as well, because contemporary Indian society had run out of morality.

Road, Movie: This trip is boring

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Road, MovieA road trip epitomises my idea of a good time and so does watching a great film. A combination of the two on celluloid is an exciting proposition.

Add to the fact that you have two young, promising actors — Abhay Deol and Tannishtha Chatterjee — and “Road, Movie”  had a lot going for it.

Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge: Contrived comedy

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Atithi Tum Kab JaogeA moustache. That was the basis for one of the best comedies of Indian cinema — Hrishikesh Mukherjee‘s “Golmaal” — made in the 1970s.

There were no overly dramatic situations, no comedians, no toilet humour and yet, there was so much laughter in that film.

Teen Patti: The game is over

teenpattiIf you’ve played cards or for that matter, any kind of game, you will know a good start is only half the battle won.

It is how you end it that determines the result and if director Leena Yadav had only kept this cardinal rule in mind before starting out to make “Teen Patti”, perhaps this would have been a very different film.

Karthik Calling Karthik: Farhan saves this insipid thriller

kckFarhan Akhtar has now come to be associated with a particular kind of cinema – slick production values, quirky characters and smart writing. So when I went in to watch his latest production, “Karthik Calling Karthik”, I was expecting something similar. While I got to see the first two aspects, the third, and the most important was gravely missing.

The film, a thriller about a meek, submissive man called Karthik, whose life changes when he gets phone calls from an anonymous caller who also calls himself Karthik, starts off well, and is engaging enough, but for some bad writing and corny dialogues, which take away from the edge-of-the-seat thrill that a film like this should give you.

Toh Baat Pakki: Crashing bore

tohbaatpakkiWhen you make a movie with two accomplished actors like Tabu and Sharman Joshi, the least you can do is make the best use of their talent. As you can guess, director Kedar Shinde doesn’t manage to do that all with “Toh Baat Pakki”.

Instead he puts together a dated, lame film that pretends to be a family comedy. This film doesn’t even have much you can talk about, so I will get right to the story.

My Name is Khan: Gimmicky, average cinema

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mnikThere is no easy way to say this. In spite of the hype surrounding it and for all the solidarity being expressed and the many, many hours of time and energy being spent  tweeting and talking about it — “My Name is Khan” is a very average, ordinary film that goes as haywire as the debate surrounding it has gone.

Subjects such as racial biases, the aftermath of 9/11 and war on terror are dicey topics to handle in real life, let alone on celluloid, and director Karan Johar falls in the same trap as films like “New York” and his own production “Kurbaan” — he oversimplifies the issue and overstates his message.

Is Bollywood’s unity a farce?

For more than a week now, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has been in the centre of a storm — after his comments supporting the participation of Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League.

In the same time period, we have BOLLYWOOD/also seen the half-hearted response that the Shiv Sena’s response evoked from Bollywood. Not a single producers’ body or any industry organisation has spoken out against the fact that the Sena might prevent “My Name is Khan” from being released.

Ishqiya: Raw, gripping cinema

ishqiyaEven if you didn’t know it before, the first few frames of debutant director Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Ishqiya’, will confirm that he has imbibed a lot of his skill from his mentor Vishal Bhardwaj. The look, tone and feel of the film are all very reminiscent of Bhardwaj’s films.

That said, Chaubey does bring his own sensibility to the film, depicting the arid, gritty landscape of Western UP and its people with a freshness that we haven’t seen very often on screen.

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