India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

De Dana Dan: Entertainment of the lowest level


Watching a movie like “De Dana Dan” in a single screen theatre where people are hooting and clapping at crass humour on screen may give you an insight into Indian audiences.

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.

I am not judging that audience. After all, we all have our own tastes. I guess this is what they mean about Hindi movies that you have to “leave your brain behind and then watch”.

Akshay Kumar plays Nitin, a down and out young man who works as a servant with a rich woman in order to pay off his father’s debt to her. He is in love with Anjali (Katrina Kaif) but doesn’t have the money to marry her. He meets Ram (Suniel Shetty), a courier deliveryman who also needs money to marry his rich girlfriend (Sameera Reddy).

Can festivals escape popular cinema?


When Goa first hosted the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 2004, it seemed there was no escaping Bollywood and its glamour.

Vidya Balan, Salman Khan, and a host of Bollywood stars were part of the event.

It led to vehement protests from delegates and guests at the festival who felt “unnecessary importance” was being given to popular cinema.

Kurbaan: Old wine, better packaged


If you watched Kabir Khan’s “New York” this summer, you won’t find much novelty in Rensil D’Silva’s “Kurbaan”. The storyline is pretty much the same, except for a few cosmetic differences.

There is an educated, suave man living a double life as a terrorist, his beautiful wife who doesn’t know about his identity and the “third man” who tries to help the family.

Tum Mile: Be prepared to drown in boredom


Cyclone Phyan may have scared the wits out of Mumbaikars but it certainly provided a good enough platform to director Kunal Deshmukh for his film “Tum Mile”.

The rain scenes in the film and its reference to a similar tragedy could have hit home if it had been made compellingly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani: Ranbir saving grace


You hear the words Rajkumar Santoshi and comedy in one sentence and you immediately think — “Andaz Apna Apna”.

Fifteen years later, Santoshi is back with another comic caper, this time starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.  But if you are expecting another “Andaz Apna Apna”, you will be sorely disappointed.

Jail: Avoid this three-hour sentence


Fortunately or unfortunately, I rented a DVD of Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption” last weekend, watching this landmark film for the umpteenth time. So when I went in to watch “Jail”, expectations were high.

Obviously, Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Jail” is not a patch on Andy and Red’s story but it doesn’t even qualify as a gripping entertainer, mainly because of a sloppy script and characters who might as well have been caricatures.

Aladin: The magic fades away


Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Aladin’, a film that attempts to give a twist to the classic fairy tale, starts off well enough.

The protagonist is Aladin Chatterjee, an unassuming young man (Riteish Deshmukh), who is orphaned at a young age.

London Dreams: Falls short of promise


One of my favourite films from 2008 was Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Rock On’, the story of four rock band members who have a bitter fall out only to regroup years later.

It was a coming of age story that managed to stay in my heart for a while.

Vipul Shah’s ‘London Dreams’ has a similar storyline and a much larger scale and tone. Unfortunately, what it has in terms of budget and scale, it lacks in terms of heart.

What’s in a name? The truth about “Kaminey”


When a friend went to buy movie tickets for Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”, she felt uncomfortable.

She had never before used the word — Hindi slang for ‘scoundrels’ — and was embarrassed to utter it at the ticket counter.

Main Aur Mrs Khanna: A mindless romance


The other day a colleague asked me why I never seemed to like any film these days. I thought about it and wondered the same myself. Don’t they make good films any more?

Two hours after watching Prem Soni’s “Main Aur Mrs Khanna”, you realise the answer to that question is a resounding NO.