Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
“What is my soul trying to tell me?” Karisma Kapoor asks a character in ‘Dangerous Ishhq’. It’s a serious moment in the film, one that is expected to lead to a major plot point, but all you can do is try hard not to burst out laughing.
All the characters in Vikram Bhatt’s latest 3D project are trying so hard to “act” in a film that has inane dialogue, a ridiculous storyline and absolutely no honesty at heart — that their acting rings hollow.
In the first ten minutes of Kunal Deshmukh’s second instalment of the “Jannat” series, the director sets up his principal characters, establishes a romance angle and even adds a song for good measure. He also manages to inject no originality or freshness in any of these facets of the film, with the result that “Jannat 2” never really takes off, maintaining a staid pace throughout its two-and-half-hour duration.
The modern Indian youth has it easy. Very easy. They party, they romance, and they make marriage plans without ever having to worry about their careers and how they would pay their bills. Or at least this is the version Bollywood has been trying to shove down our throats since “Dil Chahta Hai“.
Rajat Kapoor’s “Fatso” is no different. Nandini (Gul Panag) and Naveen (Purab Kohli) are an urban, handsome, young couple. They are also very modern. Their modernity is depicted through public displays of affection, sex before marriage and English dialogue.
from India Insight:
Indians woke up on Sunday to front page newspaper ads announcing the TV premiere of “The Dirty Picture”, a National-award winning film that was both critically acclaimed and successful at the box-office.
The film, based on the life of soft porn star Silk Smitha, was one of the most popular Bollywood movies of 2011, and its success catapulted lead actress Vidya Balan into the big league.
Instead of filming the scene like a regular action sequence, with lots of gunfire, smoke and action, Raghavan turns it on its head — filming the scene almost entirely in slow motion and to the tune of the “Rabta” song.
If you go by the Bollywood formula, Sujoy Ghosh’s “Kahaani” doesn’t tick any of the boxes. It’s a thriller — a genre Bollywood usually stays away from; it’s got a female lead, hardly any songs and no distractions in the form of a comedy/romance track.
It does tick one crucial box though — it’s a well-made film, with some great characters and powerful acting, and if you are willing to ignore some plot holes and go with the flow, this is a very satisfying watch.
from India Insight:
Pow! Biff! Bang! Dishoom! Real life action by Bollywood celebrities has caught the nation’s eyeballs. Shah Rukh Khan was accused of roughing up Shirish Kunder some days ago and made ripples as he brought the media’s gaze from corruption scams and the election circus to the one thing that never fails to draw attention -- a spicy brawl.
Now, Saif Ali Khan diverts attention from Vijay Mallya’s king-size woes for beating up a certain businessman in Mumbai’s Taj hotel. Saif was booked for assault, arrested and later bailed -- insisting that he was only defending himself.
Sometimes even the worst films can redeem themselves with a moment of lucidity. Just as you are struggling to make sense of Gautham Menon’s “Ekk Deewana Tha“, the heroine — in a fit of emotion — tells the hero “there is nothing here, no chemistry or anything at all. Nothing”. And just like that, she hits the nail on the head.
This almost three-hour romance is the cinematic equivalent of listening to someone scratching their nails on a blackboard. You want to pull your hair out and tell them to stop it already. Unfortunately, Menon seems to be in no mood to listen. Just when you think it’s all over, it goes on for a little bit more.
Through the first half, Shakun Batra’s romantic comedy “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” follows an entirely predictable path — boy and girl meet, get drunk, get married and realise they don’t want to stay married. Circumstances dictate they must spend time together while waiting for their marriage to get annulled. At the interval, one of them even has the “I’m in love” epiphany.
Of course, you don’t mind the predictable storyline because there is zippy dialogue, some great writing and the performances are in tune with all of the above. So far, so good. But we all know the second half is where it gets tricky, and not too many film-makers know how to end well. Well, clear all doubts now. Batra is not one of them.