India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Veer: Epic disaster

veerThis has got to be one of the most difficult reviews I have ever written. All I have done so far is stare at a blank word document for more than 15 minutes. Words fail me, but I will have to do it, because I will not allow those three hours of my life to be in vain.

Perhaps I am being a little overdramatic here, but this drama is nothing compared to the extremely loud, jingoistic and nauseating drama that Anil Sharma’s “Veer” indulges in, so kindly bear with me.

This three-hour film is nothing short of an ordeal to watch and the fact that it is laden with bad performances, tacky make-up, some really corny dialogues and the fakest blood and gore you have ever seen, means that at the end of the movie, you are willing to pull your
hair out in frustration.

If you have seen earlier films by director Anil Sharma, you will know that subtle is not his style, and in “Veer” he makes sure he lives by that credo.

Chance Pe Dance: Fails to rise above ordinary

cpdKen Ghosh’s “Chance Pe Dance” is not what you would call an original
film, choosing to tell the age-old tale of a struggling actor looking
for a chance to make it in Bollywood. From the first scene, you can
predict exactly how the story is going to go.

That said, a lot of films do tell oft-repeated tales. But many of them
do it with such panache and imagination that you are hooked all the
same. Like last week’s “Pyaar Impossible”, “Chance Pe Dance” doesn’t
pass this test.

Dulha Mil Gaya: Excruciatingly bad

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How long does it take you to decide whether a movie is going to appeal to you or not? It didn’t take me longer than the opening credits of Mudassar Aziz’s “Dulha Mil Gaya“.

Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen poses for a picture during the premiere of "Dulha Mil Gaya" in Mumbai January 7, 2010. REUTERS/Manav ManglaniCall me judgemental, but when you see a rather chubby Fardeen Khan attempting to woo a pretty young thing in the most half-hearted way possible and Sushmita Sen referring to everyone in sight as “daaaaahling” even before the opening credits have rolled, you cannot help but cringe.

Spoof cinema of Malegaon

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Spoof cinema of MalegaonShaikh Nasir is one of several makers of low-budget, spoof movies set in the industrial town of Malegaon, around 300 km from Mumbai, and a world apart from the glitzy sets, big-name stars and lavish productions of Bollywood.

For 10 years, Nasir has made films with local actors and almost no equipment, often on a budget of a little more than $1,000. Many are parodies of Bollywood hits. His latest though is a parody of Hollywood’s Superman.

A year at the movies

At the beginning of the last week of every year I head to my neighbourhood DVD store to follow a long-standing tradition of mine.  I review my favourite films of the year and then buy DVD’s of those films.

INDIA-CREDIT/BOLLYWOODThis year my shopping list had only two names – Zoya Akhtar’s “Luck by Chance” and Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”.

My favourite Bollywood anti-heroes from past decade

They have great style, be it over-the-top dialogues, pulling off a perfect rape sequence or sheer physical intimidation.

ENTERTAINMENT BOLLYWOODThere is something so alluring about Hindi cinema’s bad boys, or anti-heroes as they now prefer to be called, that a post on our stereotyped evil geniuses was long overdue.

3 Idiots: Lacks punch, but feels really good

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3idiotsI must admit I had apprehensions going in to watch Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘3 Idiots’, inspite of the immense buzz that has surrounded the film.

One of my biggest qualms was how the director could hope to get away with casting middle aged men as college going boys.

Rocket Singh: Underdog does win but barely

rocketWe all know that feeling. When you are just out of college and fresh into a new job with no experience whatsoever, just a burning desire to do well.

Ranbir Kapoor captures a bit of all of us in Harpreet Singh Bedi, the protagonist of “Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year”.
He is wide-eyed, eager and flabbergasted, all at the same time, as he tries to negotiate his way around the snake pit that a corporate office can sometimes turn into.

Paa: Flawed but gives us a whole new Bachchan

paa1First things first. “Paa” belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. And Vidya Balan. Or actually it belongs to Auro and his mother. Because that’s who you really see on screen and that is the hallmark of a great performance.

For this reason alone, R Balkrishnan’s “Paa” is worth watching. There are some hiccups (or hickis as referred to in the film) but on the whole, this film should leave you with a lump in your throat and nothing but admiration for Amitabh Bachchan.

IFFI 2009: Makrand Deshpande on “Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu”

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Filmmaker Makrand Deshpande’s new film “Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu” is about a flower girl in Mumbai whose life changes after a chance meeting with actor Shah Rukh Khan who tells her that she is beautiful.

Khan plays himself in a two-minute cameo in the film, which is a sort of tribute to the Bollywood superstar.

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