India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Rascals: Too much torture

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David Dhawan must really hate us. Or maybe he wants to exact revenge on his audience. That must be why he subjected us to this three-hour monstrosity that is called “Rascals”.

At their best, David Dhawan comedies can be a little raunchy, but fun. This one is very raunchy, packed to the brim with provocative shots of women in bikinis and heaving bosoms, but there is no sign of fun. This is the kind of film that makes you wish it wasn’t your job to review movies week after week.

Dhawan hasn’t even bothered with a coherent script –- it’s almost as if everyone connected with the film landed up on sets and asked themselves, “now what juvenile gag can we come up with today?”

Starring in these gags are Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn, playing conmen who are called Chetan and Bhagat respectively. They spend most of the film trying to outdo each other in wooing rich heiress Khushi (Kangna Ranaut) while in Bangkok, where they’ve arrived hoping to avoid the wrath of a man they have duped.

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.

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.

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.”

Teen Thay Bhai: No brotherly love

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- 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 means constables. At that point, you will know, or at least I did, that this film was beyond redemption. Shreyas Talpade plays the offender, Fancy Gill, a small-time Punjabi actor who, along with his two elder brothers is forced to spend a couple of days in a deserted mountain home every year, as part of a condition in their grandfather’s will. Of course, the trio cannot stand each other and fight and claw their way through those two days, even tying up each other with rope and stuffing their faces down chimney’s. Om Puri and Deepak Dobriyal play the other two brothers – Chixi and Happy – and the film is essentially nothing but a long-drawn out, unfunny and ridiculous film that gets more and more ridiculous as the script wears out and the director resorts to gags and toilet humour to save the day. Eventually, the brothers end up getting arrested for possession of narcotics, beating up a police officer, escaping from jail, getting entangled with a group of foreigners who feed them paranthas and chasing random men around snowy slopes. By this time I had lost track. There really isn’t much more to say about this excuse of a film – except that Deepak Dobriyal is the only one who seems to be trying to make something out of his role as a meek dentist. Avoid.

Teen Thay BhaiAt 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.

No, Thank You

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- 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. Akshay Kumar plays Kishen, a modern day love doctor who spies on philandering husbands and helps their wives take “revenge” on them. The film runs on the premise that men are sure to stray, but, like the men in the movie, if they catch their wives even pretending to have an affair, they can take the high moral ground and lecture them on the sanctity of marriage. Bobby Deol plays one of those men, Raj, while Irrfan Khan and Suneil Shetty play his friends. All three are having affairs with various women and get away with it by throwing flimsy excuses at their wives, which the women gladly gobble up. That is, until Kishen comes into the picture, ensures that their wives exact revenge on them and leave the men pining. Of course, the fact that he’s been caught cheating several times and doesn’t even seem to regret it doesn’t stop Bobby Deol’s character from delivering a five minute monologue to his wife Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor) on how she’s hasn’t respected their marriage by flirting with Kishen. “At least I did it on the sly, but you are doing it openly”, he tells her. Who can argue with such sound logic? Of the cast, only Irrfan Khan looks remotely comfortable in his role, while everyone else is rank bad. Special mention to Sonam Kapoor who looks lovely but cannot emote genuinely in a single scene – especially for a woman who is supposed to be going through the heartbreak of infidelity. If you liked “No Problem” “Housefull” and “Kambakkhth Ishq”, then this might be the film for you. Everyone else, run far away from any theatre showing this film.

thankyouI’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.

Yamla Pagla Deewana: For Deol fans only

- There is some charm in watching Sunny Deol on screen — whether it’s an emotional hug with his father or a fight scene where he holds up the entire floor of a building with one hand. You realise his value even more when you see him alongside his brother Bobby Deol in “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. While Sunny is assured and warm, Bobby is awkward and bumbling his way through his role. As for their father Dharmendra, he is a pale shadow of his former dashing self. Of course, the charm is there but making him dance alongside skimpily dressed women in item numbers doesn’t help. Dharmendra plays Dharam Singh, a philandering conman who leaves his wife behind in Canada and runs away with his younger son to India. Thirty years later, his elder son Paramveer comes to Banaras in search of his father and brother Gajodhar. When his father refuses to acknowledge him, he joins them in their con jobs, hoping to win him over. When the girl Gajodhar loves is taken away to her hometown in Punjab by her dominating brothers, Paramveer devises a plan to get her married off to his brother. Though intended to be funny, these situations are far from comic most of the time, and the laughs are few and far between. The Deol chemistry is spoilt by Bobby’s acting and the shoddy script and the fact that Dharmendra isn’t even there for a large part of the second half. It is the second half that somewhat redeems this otherwise very mediocre film. If you can soldier through the half-hearted con attempts, two bad item numbers and a large number of shoddily acted drunken scenes, then perhaps you will find some salvation in the second half. Be warned though that it’s just marginally better than the first. “Yamla Pagla Deewana” is strictly for Deol fans. Everyone else can give it a wide berth.

YPDThere is some charm in watching Sunny Deol on screen — whether it’s an emotional hug with his father or a fight scene where he holds up the entire floor of a building with one hand.

You realise his value even more when you see him alongside his brother Bobby Deol in “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. While Sunny is assured and warm, Bobby is awkward and bumbling his way through his role.

No Problem: Avoid like the plague

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- We are nearing the end of the year, and everyone who’s anyone is making their year-end lists. Thankfully, I haven’t made mine yet, because how on earth could I leave out Anees Bazmee’s alleged comedy “No Problem” from my list of the worst films of the year? Thank God for small mercies. Akshaye Khanna and Sanjay Dutt play brothers who rob a bank and are on the run from both the police and the owner of the bank. Anil Kapoor plays a police officer, whose wife (Sushmita Sen) has multiple personality disorder and periodically chases him with a knife/axe/gun, for no reason whatsoever. Suneil Shetty plays a con-man who is out to recover some diamonds that he’s been duped of. All of these characters come together to form a semblance of a film. There is no story to speak of otherwise. Almost as a last-ditch attempt to save his film, Bazmee even goes back to his earlier hit, “Singh is Kingg”, in the climax of the film, where everyone is dressed in turbans and singing the title song of that film. It’s ridiculous to say the least. This 2 hour film, with gags like a farting gorilla, a seduction scene between Khanna and Kapoor and a whole host of others, is so excruciatingly painful to watch that even a dentist’s chair would seem like a more attractive proposition. I’m not expecting Hrishikesh Mukherjee style humour from today’s film makers, but the least they can do is keep it simple and real. This is not funny at any level. It’s not just that this is a bad film, what’s worse is that the makers themselves seem like they couldn’t care less. Bazmee and his crew go about the job as if they were making a home video. The reason the comedy doesn’t work is because the director doesn’t take his work seriously. This is haphazard filmmaking at its worst. Avoid like the plague.

NoProblemWe are nearing the end of 2010 and everyone’s making their year-end lists. Thankfully, I haven’t made mine yet, because how on earth could I leave out Anees Bazmee’s alleged comedy “No Problem” from my list of the year’s worst films? Thank God for small mercies.

Akshaye Khanna and Sanjay Dutt play brothers who rob a bank and are on the run from both the police and the owner of the bank. Anil Kapoor plays a police officer, whose wife (Sushmita Sen) has a multiple personality disorder and periodically chases him with a knife/axe/gun for no reason whatsoever.

Phas Gaye Re Obama: The kidnapping saga

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Phas Gaye Re Obama
“Phas Gaye Re Obama” does not indulge in slapstick comedy, neither does it follow a formula. The beauty of this film is its storyline which is brought out impeccably as the plot unfolds.

During the film, there are several moments where it seems easy to guess what happens next, but admirably enough the film steers clear of stereotypes and heightens the mood, keeping the audience curious about its climax.

Golmaal 3: Thrice as painful

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golmaal 3If you’ve seen the earlier two “Golmaal” films, you have a fair inkling of what the third one is about. These are custom-made films, tailored to the “festive mood” when filmmakers think audiences will laugh at anything and pay any amount of money if you promise them a fun-filled entertaining film.

If that means you have the customary toilet humour, so be it. If that means you have to fit in a criminal, a bumbling police officer and five songs in a two-hour film, so be it. And if it means replacing good writing with slapstick, crass humour, who cares? As long as you can disguise swear words ingeniously, get a dog to bite a man’s backside and bring in some emotion towards the end. The laughs will come because people are in a festive mood – at least that’s the formula.

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