Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
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.”
The rich hero in this case is Salman Khan, of course, who plays Prem, the scion of a rich family full of goofy uncles and aunts, all of whom want him to get married. They arrange to get him married to a girl of their choice, but thanks to a misunderstanding, he ends up falling in love with Sanjana, an orphan who has run away from her tyrannical uncles.
Sanjana’s uncles, we are told, want to get her married to a groom of their choice, so that they can lay their hands on her massive wealth. Prem, we are also told can buy them off “like that”, but “unless there are obstacles in the path of love, there is no fun.”
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.
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.
“Luv Ka The End” is Yashraj Film’s first foray into a genre they call “youth films”, or films they think are tailor-made for the under-25 audience. But as all teenagers will know, there’s a thin line between being cool and trying too hard. This film is trying too hard, and there’s no two ways about it.
Unfunny gags, over-smart dialogues and one-dimensional characters do not a cool film make. Nor do obvious product placements, for that matter.
It’s OK not to have too many expectations from “Shor in the City” — I know I didn’t. After all, it doesn’t have a great star cast, there hasn’t been too much buzz around it and except for the music (the lilting ‘Saibo’ number especially), the promos didn’t really stick in your mind.
The movie, however, is a whole other story. This is a smart film — one that hooks you from the get-go and doesn’t let up. Co-directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D K are sure of their craft and confident in their script and it shows.
The one thing you must appreciate about Onir’s “I Am” is the attempt to do something away from the trodden path — India’s first crowdfunded film. Director Onir and his team invited ordinary citizens and film lovers from all parts of the world to contribute to the film by donating as little as 1,000 rupees in return for a mention in the film’s credits as a co-producer.
Onir’s intentions are also obviously in the right place when it comes to this film, but if intentions were the criteria by which we could judge films, there wouldn’t be a bad film in the world. Through four intertwined stories, he raises issues like child abuse, displacement of Kashmiri pandits and discrimination against homosexuals. Where he does go wrong is in the treatment of those issues and their execution.
Rohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist haven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer.
Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist Vishnu Kamat, a once corrupt officer who mends his ways and is called on to “clean Goa of drugs” by an ailing minister. Sippy uses a non-linear mode of narration, zigzagging from one character to another, lending a zippy pace to the first half of the film.
At one point in director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s movie “Teen Thay Bhai”, one of the protagonists wakes up in a police van, looks around blearily and asks his brothers, “Where are these police constipators taking us?”
Of course, he meant constables. At that point, you will know or at least I did, that this film is beyond redemption.
I’m going to keep this one short because there’s really not much I can say about Anees Bazmee’s “Thank You” that I haven’t already said about films of this genre – in other words, the “leave your brains at home” films that we seem to churn out with alarming regularity.
This one seems to be a re-hash of Bazmee’s earlier “No Entry”, which at least had a couple of nice songs and some funny moments. This one has nothing but offensive dialogue, bad jokes and even worse acting.
Everybody loves a good murder – and unfortunately, Bollywood doesn’t do too many of them. Abhinay Deo’s “Game” tries to fill that void, with a murder mystery about a tycoon who is shot dead on his private island.
Anupam Kher plays the dead man, Kabir Malhotra, one of the world’s richest men who mysteriously invites four strangers to his private island in Greece, because he believes they have something to do with the death of his abandoned daughter Maya (Sarah Jane Dias).