India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Kaminey: The director is the real star


Sometimes you get the best insights from the most unexpected sources. Like my mother for instance — she isn’t much of a movie person but asked me how “Kaminey” was.

“Is it like ‘Omkara’? Because I didn’t like that movie at all at first, but now that I think about it, I think it’s a great film,” she said.

And that’s when it struck me. It’s the same thing with “Kaminey“, except that you don’t dislike the movie at first watch. You just realise how brilliant it is a few hours after you’ve watched the film and then ruminate over it.

On the face of it, director Vishal Bhardwaj gives you a fast-paced, thrilling caper film littered with twists at every turn. So gripping are the happenings on screen that it’s only later you have time to marvel at the director’s attention to detail, his mastery over the craft and also the immense skill it must have taken to shoot a film like this in real time locations.

Agyaat: You really don’t want to know


Right at the end of Ram Gopal Varma’s “Agyaat”, there comes a moment that scared me more than any scene in the film. As the credits rolled, it said “Agyaat 2, Coming Soon.”

As if it wasn’t enough that I had to bear the ordeal that is “Agyaat”, I would now, at a later date, have to endure a sequel. Yes, this two-hour comedy badly disguised as a horror film is not worthy of a second look, let alone a sequel.

A House for Mr Hashmi


When you are a Bollywood actor in Mumbai, doors open automatically — or at least so you would think. But as Shabana Azmi, Aamir Ali and now Emraan Hashmi have discovered, there are some doors which remain shut.

Hashmi has complained to the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra that he and members of his family were not allowed to buy a flat in the posh locality of Bandra — because of his religion.

Love Aaj Kal: Not very original but it works


There’s one thing about an Imtiaz Ali film — it may not have the most original storyline or cutting-edge techniques, but it sure has the best dialogues. And that, in my opinion, is the USP of his films.

Director Ali is telling you a regular love story, where you know immediately that the two lead characters are going to end up with each other, but his treatment is fresh and the people in the film don’t act filmy (which sounds like a paradox, but isn’t).

It’s the reel deal for Karisma


I remember Karisma Kapoor, wide -eyed and beautiful in the wedding scene from “Raja Hindustani” many years ago.

And then I remember her from a picture taken at her own wedding, looking equally elegant and glowing.

Luck: Don’t stretch your luck with this one


Sometime in April, I wrote an entry on this blog, lamenting the dearth of movies at the theatres during the producer-multiplex row. Fridays for me were just not the same without films.

But three months later, I want to eat those words.

Following duds like “Kambakkht Ishq”, “Short Kut”, “Kal Kissne Dekha” and now “Luck”, the movie going experience for me is becoming less enjoyable than ever.

Help! I haven’t been paid


This was going to be a blog on a totally different topic, but Facebook changed it all.

A friend pointed out to a group on the social networking site which lists Indian media companies that refuse to pay people on time.

‘Short Kut’ takes the long, boring route


Somewhere in Bollywood, there has to be a movie-making machine.

All you do is insert a reel, change a few specifications (perhaps the hero’s name and occupation or the reason for a romantic obstacle with his leading lady) and wait for a “masala” movie to pop up, fresh and ready to hit unsuspecting audiences.

How else do you explain a movie like “Short Kut: The Con is On“?

This one is supposed to be a sometimes funny, sometimes emotional comedy about a struggling filmmaker and his double-crosser friend. It turns out to be neither.

Kambakkht Ishq: You have to see it to believe it


A feeling of numbness and disbelief is not uncommon after a movie-watching experience. Sometimes you are awed by the sheer vision of the director or the depth of a particular performance. Sometimes, it is a thought expressed, or an expression that stays with you.

But after watching “Kambakkht Ishq”, I was left numb at the thought someone could make such a bad film.

from India Insight:

Star seeks groom on TV and other soaps

A new reality show in which a bunch of suitable men vie for the hand of Bollywood starlet Rakhi Sawant is an interesting twist on the prevailing custom of Indian men choosing their brides.

"Rakhi Sawant ka Swayamvar", which harks back to the ancient tradition of princesses choosing a groom from a line-up, began airing on Monday night, pitting more than a dozen men from varied backgrounds -- and with varying singing and dancing abilities -- wooing Sawant, a colourful personality known more for her antics off camera.