Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Deepika Padukone has obviously never gone on a trek before. Why else would she be wearing a mini-skirt and fur boots on the Himalayas? She’s also got perfectly set, blow-dried hair during these treks, and even after a day of playing Holi during the festival of colours, which would render most of us looking like something the cat dragged in, Padukone looks radiant. But that is the world she and other characters in Ayan Mukerji’s “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” inhabit.
These are pretty people falling in love, travelling to picturesque locations, having epiphanies while attending expensive destination weddings and following all the clichés Bollywood loves to propagate. And yet, you cannot help smiling as you leave the cinema hall.
Mukerji makes a candyfloss romance with the most unoriginal storyline ever – there are no surprises along the way. But there are tender moments, playful banter and some crackling chemistry between the two leads that overshadow the other flaws.
Ranbir Kapoor plays Bunny, the rebel full of wanderlust. Padukone is Naina, who appears to be meek at first but emerges as the stronger of the two. The characters are brought to life by Kapoor and Padukone, both of whom are excellent in their roles. Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapur play their friends, to form the film’s quartet.
In the world created by Abbas-Mustan, if you are a multi-billionaire who wants to build a casino and are refused permission by the government, you invite the official responsible out for drinks, dance with him and then shoot him in the middle of a crowded discotheque and walk out without batting an eyelid.
In this world of “Race 2”, you can get away with stealing the Shroud of Turin with something as simple as a decoy bomb and people use “sensor technology” to play card games and spy on their loved ones. It may have looked cool 20 years ago, but now it’s just a tad ridiculous.
You know that time when you chance upon this new product at the supermarket? Maybe it’s a new drink or a bottle of jam — it comes in a really nice looking bottle and looks so enticing that you have to pick it up and bring it home. And then you open it and realise it only looks good on the outside. The product is past expiry, the fizz has gone out of the drink and all you are left with is a nice looking bottle. Yes, that.
Homi Adajania’s “Cocktail” is definitely one of those films you shouldn’t judge by its cover (or poster). This is supposed to be a light-hearted attempt at tackling the oldest trick in the romantic comedy book — the love triangle, but Adajania forgets to infuse any freshness into the story.
Ashutosh Gowariker seems to have made a career out of period films – both “Lagaan” and “Jodhaa Akbar” told stories of our past, and in some way the fight for freedom. Gowariker touches on the same theme again in “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” but this time he chooses to tell a story closer to our times — just 80 years ago.
Based on journalist Manini Chatterjee’s book “Do and Die”, “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” tells the story of the Chittagong Armoury raid, led by school teacher-turned revolutionary Surjya Sen (played by Abhishek Bachchan) and his band of followers, the majority of which are teenage boys.
There are some actors who can elevate a mediocre movie to great heights just on the strength of their craft. And there are some who will plunge their films into further depths of mediocrity. Pradeep Sarkar’s “Lafangey Parindey” falls in the second category.
If last week’s “Peepli (Live)” was the best cast film of 2010, this one is definitely a candidate for worst cast ever. Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh do not look remotely convincing in their characters, speaking Mumbai’s “tapori” language with as much panache as a penthouse-owning, six-figure salary earning South Mumbai resident might be expected to speak. (For those out of Mumbai, these two worlds are poles apart).
Farhan Akhtar has now come to be associated with a particular kind of cinema – slick production values, quirky characters and smart writing. So when I went in to watch his latest production, “Karthik Calling Karthik”, I was expecting something similar. While I got to see the first two aspects, the third, and the most important was gravely missing.
The film, a thriller about a meek, submissive man called Karthik, whose life changes when he gets phone calls from an anonymous caller who also calls himself Karthik, starts off well, and is engaging enough, but for some bad writing and corny dialogues, which take away from the edge-of-the-seat thrill that a film like this should give you.
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).
I have spoken to her several times and she has always been extremely polite, composed and not given to overt displays of emotion.
That is why, at a Mumbai event to unveil the first look of her forthcoming film “Love Aaj Kal”, I was surprised to see the 21-year-old at a loss for words.
“We are just good friends” has to be the most overused phrase in Bollywood (or even Hollywood) for that matter.
A couple of years ago, each time rumour mills started working non-stop about a “friendship” between celebrities, the two concerned parties were sure to come up with a statement about how they were just good friends.
If you are looking for intellectual stimulation at the movies, watch Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” or wait for “Slumdog Millionaire” — “Chandni Chowk to China” is definitely not what you are looking for.
It’s the first big release of the year, is produced by a big Hollywood studio looking to enter the Indian market and has one of India’s most bankable stars. But it also has a lot of Bollywood “formula”.