India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Khap: Good intention but fails to register

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There is much to be said about “Khap”. Let’s get to the story first. The movie is about a village which adheres to the khap panchayat system under which two people from the same khap or clan cannot marry each other.

Whoever goes against the khap rule is killed to keep the gene pool from being spoilt and to keep the honour of the clan and tradition intact. The audience knows them as honour killings.

Sajod village falls under this panchayat and is home to the khap chief, played by Om Puri. The movie begins with a couple trying to elope and shows their bloody end when villagers catch and kill them.

From here the movie migrates to another space and time disconnected from the former world. A young girl and guy, who are chat buddies but do not know each other’s identity, go to the same college (which looks like a shopping mall). They eventually fall in love and through the course of the film find themselves not only closely connected to the Sajod village but also land on the wrong side of the khap panchayat after marriage.

Singham: Ham, beef and not much else

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Rohit Shetty’s “Singham”,  a remake of a Tamil film, is a cop movie that is perhaps meant as a tribute to the 80s “angry young man” and the theme of the lone, honest police officer taking on the rotting system.

Ajay Devgn plays that honest cop — Bajirao Singham, a police inspector in a remote village in Goa who maintains peace and calm in the village by using his goodwill with the villagers. When he is transferred to “Goa city” (I always thought it was a state) after crossing paths with a don-turned-politician, Singham is confronted with a corrupt system, cynical co-workers and threats from the politician.

Murder 2: The bad guy makes it good

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Mohit Suri’s “Murder 2” may sound like a sequel to the Mallika Sherawat starrer “Murder” but believe me, it is nothing like the earlier film.

While that one had what was at best a wishy-washy murder, this one goes all out — there is blood, sadism, a twisted mind and one of the most sinister villains you have seen in Bollywood in a long time.

Delhi Belly: You need to have the stomach for it

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Abhinay Deo’s “Delhi Belly” isn’t your average Bollywood film. For one, it can hardly be called a Bollywood film, because the primary language isn’t Hindi, it’s English. Like most Bollywood films, this is also not a “family film”.

All those cuss words and toilet humour would be tough to endure with your parents or kids sitting next to you — with friends, it might be funny though.

Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap: Sometimes old is not gold

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Anyone who has grown up watching Amitabh Bachchan during the 70s and 80s will either go all nostalgic on watching Puri Jagannadh’s “Bbuddhah Hoga Terra Baap”, or will cringe at the way your memories have been distorted with this new, technicolour version of the angry young man. In my case, it was the latter.

During one of the funnier scenes in the film, Bachchan tells a character that he’s the ‘original”, and that kids today are doing nothing but imitating him. He then proceeds to sing a medley of most of his hit songs, including “pag ghungroo” and “mere angane mein”, except this new modern version has English rap songs, skimpily clad foreign extras dancing around him and Bachchan himself dressed flamboyantly (some would say garishly), gyrating to the song. At that point, you wonder, should you really mess with a classic, even if it’s your own?

Double Dhamaal: Twice the agony

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Indra Kumar’s “Double Dhamaal” is a sequel to the 2007 comedy “Dhamaal” and tells the story of four men whose plans to make a quick buck are foiled by their arch nemesis.

The story takes off from where the four, after having donated all the money they won to charity, are back to being jobless and penniless. But when they come across their arch nemesis Kabir Nayak (Sanjay Dutt) and see that he’s rich and successful, they decide to feed off his wealth. Riteish Deshmukh, Ashish Chowdhry, Arshad Warsi and Jaaved Jaafery play the roles of the four friends.

Shaitan: The devil is in the details

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Director Bejoy Nambiar’s debut effort “Shaitan” is not your typical Bollywood film, so if you are the kind that enjoys that kind of fare, let me warn you at the outset this may not be the film for you.

However, if you keep an open mind and go into the theatre, believe me you will be rewarded. Here is a film that is unabashed, cool and made by a director who knows his craft.

Ready or not, here comes mindless cinema

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I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before, but there really should be a template created just for the kind of cinema Anees Bazmee’s “Ready” represents, because having to find something to say about a film that seems like the exact replica of ten other films you have seen recently, is a very tough job.

There is always a rich hero, an airhead of a heroine, long-haired, weird looking villains who make sporadic appearances and brandish guns, bumbling aunts and uncles and loads of toilet humour. You can also call it mass cinema, formula films or the oft-used “leave-your-brains-behind-cinema.”

Kucch Luv Jaisaa: Not a fun ride

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A bored, under-appreciated housewife, who decides to break out of her monotony, meets a stranger and spends a day with him — not knowing who he is, or what his motives are and discovers a different side to her personality.

To her credit, director Barnali Ray Shukla does have an interesting premise at the heart of “Kucch Luv Jaisaa” but a good idea doesn’t always translate into a good film and this is the perfect example.

Ragini MMS: Scary stuff

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If you’ve watched Hollywood horror flicks like “Paranormal Activity”and “The Blair Witch Project”, you will find the narrative style in Pavan Kirpalani’s “Ragini MMS” very familiar.

The camera is the narrator; you see the film through its eyes and that adds to the fear factor. Even the most innocuous of objects looks scary in pitch dark, with just the camera’s lens providing illumination.

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