India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Ghanchakkar: Not crazy enough

Photo

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

There is nothing ostensibly wrong with Rajkumar Gupta’s “Ghanchakkar”. The filmmaker builds a story about a bank robber who loses his memory and cannot remember where he stashed the booty from a heist three months ago.

Emraan Hashmi plays Sanjay Atre, a seemingly mild man who is an expert at cracking bank vaults and lives with his garrulous and gaudily dressed wife Neetu (Vidya Balan). In what he decides will be his last crime, he pulls off a 350 million rupee heist with Pandit (Rakesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das).

The trio decide to lie low for a while. Sanjay is asked to keep the money safe but three months on, when the other two arrive to claim their share, much has changed. He’s lost his memory in an accident and is unable to recognise them, let alone remember where he hid the cash.

Gupta builds his story very well – you are sufficiently intrigued by the characters and their intentions by the time half the film is over. You are never certain what the two main characters (Balan and Hashmi) are thinking and Gupta tries to add a Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of humour in some scenes.

Ek Thi Daayan: It’s the witching hour

Photo

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

At the end of the first half of Kannan Iyer’s “Ek Thi Daayan”, you may be forgiven for harbouring an unnatural dread of elevators or old abandoned buildings. Except for a few scenes, director Iyer keeps you on the edge of your seat with the spectre of a witch seen through the eyes of a child.

Raaz 3: Horror gone bad

Photo

An ageing actress, her almost obsessive desire to stay at the top and destroy her rivals – all of this sounds like fodder for a good drama, and it is a theme that has been explored several times. Trust Vikram Bhatt to add ghosts, flying cockroaches and strange graveyard rituals to that concoction to give you the horror that is “Raaz 3“. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } Bipasha Basu Emraan Hashmi Esha Gupta

Bipasha Basu plays Shanaya Shekhar, a top actress who is so obsessed with her success she will do whatever it takes to hold on to it. When a younger actress begins to upstage her, she gets desperate. And by desperate, I mean really desperate. So much so, that she agrees to enlist the help of a spirit, who promises to torture Sanjana (Esha Gupta).

Shanghai: The story of India

Photo

There are some films that you watch, not because you want (as Vidya Balan claims in ‘The Dirty Picture’) “entertainment, entertainment, entertainment”, but because they are a reflection of the times we live in, and if these movies didn’t get made, these chaotic times wouldn’t be chronicled for eternity.

Dibakar Banerjee certainly seems determined to be that chronicler for India. In his fourth film “Shanghai”, Banerjee keeps the grittiness of “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” or “Khosla Ka Ghosla“, but gets more ambitious, with his canvas, dealing with murkier issues like urbanisation, development and the politics of today’s India.

Jannat 2: This sequel is not paradise regained

Photo

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.

Deshmukh borrows nothing from the original “Jannat”, except for his lead hero and the vague notion of a protagonist who seeks heaven on earth — mostly in the arms of a coy lady.

Murder 2: The bad guy makes it good

Photo

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.

Tum Mile: Be prepared to drown in boredom

Photo

Cyclone Phyan may have scared the wits out of Mumbaikars but it certainly provided a good enough platform to director Kunal Deshmukh for his film “Tum Mile”.

The rain scenes in the film and its reference to a similar tragedy could have hit home if it had been made compellingly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.

A House for Mr Hashmi

Photo

When you are a Bollywood actor in Mumbai, doors open automatically — or at least so you would think. But as Shabana Azmi, Aamir Ali and now Emraan Hashmi have discovered, there are some doors which remain shut.

Hashmi has complained to the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra that he and members of his family were not allowed to buy a flat in the posh locality of Bandra — because of his religion.

  •