India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara: All talk, no action

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

Milan Luthria’s tongue-twister of a movie “Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!” is a hark back to the gangster films of the 1980s, the ones with mafia dons, their tempestuous love lives and all the complications that came with it.

But director Luthria and writer Rajat Arora are apparently convinced that they’ve come up with something original and clever. Their smugness shows on screen and gets on your nerves. For a gangster film, “Mumbai Dobaara” has just about three action scenes and even in the most crucial action sequence, the characters are busy delivering long-drawn-out homilies on loyalty and friendship. That is what this film is, really – all talk and no action.

And as for the talk itself, Arora’s dialogue has all the creativity of the quotes that appear on Facebook feeds. They are meant to be profound. But in the film, each character talks and talks and talks some more, until you want to hit the mute button – but there isn’t one.

Akshay Kumar plays the dreaded gangster Shoaib who orchestrates cricket matches in a Middle Eastern country. Shoaib flirts with his friend’s wives, wears dark glasses all the time and keeps repeating how he intends to rule Mumbai. (What that ruling may involve, we are never told).

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: Done in by half measures

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

You know it’s a bad omen when a scene in a Vishal Bhardwaj movie reminds you of one in Shirish Kunder’s last film. I felt the dread creep up on me as I watched a scene where a breathless reporter reports a UFO sighting in an Indian village — reminding me of a similar scene in “Joker”, a film that ranked as one of the worst of 2012.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: A rom-com that “gets” it

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Through the first half, Shakun Batra’s romantic comedy “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” follows an entirely predictable path — boy and girl meet, get drunk, get married and realise they don’t want to stay married. Circumstances dictate they must spend time together while waiting for their marriage to get annulled. At the interval, one of them even has the “I’m in love” epiphany.

Of course, you don’t mind the predictable storyline because there is zippy dialogue, some great writing and the performances are in tune with all of the above. So far, so good. But we all know the second half is where it gets tricky, and not too many film-makers know how to end well. Well, clear all doubts now.  Batra is not one of  them.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan: Fun one-time watch

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Ali Zafar’s “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” is a slightly mindless but mostly funny rehash of an old romantic movie theme. Two guys, one girl, a wedding, lots of impossible situations and lots of songs are what make up this film.

Imran Khan plays Kush, a young Bollywood director entrusted with finding a bride for his London-based elder brother Luv (Ali Zafar), after the latter breaks up with his long-term girlfriend and decides he has had enough of relationships and wants to “settle down.”

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.

World Cup mania hits Bollywood brigade

Football fever is taking over the world and Bollywood’s glamorous brigade hasn’t been left untouched.

Football World CupFilm stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Imran Khan and Lara Dutta are either headed to or are already in South Africa to catch a glimpse of football heaven.

IHLS: I hate boring love stories

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At one point in Punit Malhotra’s “I hate Luv Storys” one of the characters tells another “just follow all the clichés and go for it”. That could well have been Malhotra’s motto while making this run-of-the-mill love story that drags on for what seems like forever. Malhotra seems to take every single cliché you can think of and insert that into his film – while pretending that this is a different love story. Boy who is commitment phobic – check; girl who has an overdose of pink in her bedroom and believes in love at first sight – check; Hate turns to love – check; Boring boyfriend – check. IHLS is definitely not big on the originality factor, and you know how it is going to end. You just wish the journey to the end was pleasanter. Imran Khan plays Jay, a young man who doesn’t believe in love stories, and cringes at the slightest hint of mush, but ends up assisting a maverick director who only makes love stories. Forced to work with art director Simran on a film, he pooh-poohs her ideas of romantic and ideal love, and her “perfect” relationship with her boyfriend, appropriately named Raj (Sameer Dattani). You don’t really need me to tell you how it goes from here. Jay and Simran spend time together, fall in love, one of them realizes it, but the other doesn’t, and so most of the film is spent trying to get through situations that wouldn’t have been necessary if only the duo had had a heart-to-heart chat with each other. Along the way, there are a lot of really inane dialogues (“Women are like buses, if one leaves another one comes along, but ultimately there is only one bus which can take you home”), some awkward acting and a lot of rich, pretty people and palatial homes. In fact some of the best lines in the film are not spoken, but printed on the t-shirts that Jay’s friend wears. Malhotra spoofs movies like DDLJ and “Dil to Pagal Hai” and “Dil Chahta Hai”, but fails to rise to the standard that made these films the cult films that they are. The direction is amateur, and the pace of the film could have been shortened considerably without hurting the plot. There are some moments that make you laugh in the first half, but the second half is just downhill. By the time the climax rolls in you don’t care what happens to the two protagonists. Imran Khan tries to make the best of his role and succeeds to a large extent, but Sonam Kapoor is stuck with such a one-dimensional role that she can hardly do much. Simran, it seems has nothing else in her life except for the idea of love, and a great taste in clothes. ILHS is ultimately a very ordinary and boring love story. Go if you have the patience for it.

Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor smiles during a promotional event for her film "I Hate Luv Storys" in Ahmedabad June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Amit DaveAt one point in Punit Malhotra’s “I Hate Luv Storys” one of the characters tells another to just follow all the clichés and go for it. That could well have been Malhotra’s motto while making this run-of-the-mill love story that drags on for what seems like forever.

Malhotra seems to take every single cliché you can think of and insert that into his film – while pretending that this is a different love story. Boy who is commitment phobic – check; girl who has an overdose of pink in her bedroom and believes in love at first sight – check; Hate turns to love – check; Boring boyfriend – check. IHLS is definitely not big on the originality factor and you know how it is going to end. You just wish the journey to the end was pleasanter.

Luck: Don’t stretch your luck with this one

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Sometime in April, I wrote an entry on this blog, lamenting the dearth of movies at the theatres during the producer-multiplex row. Fridays for me were just not the same without films.

But three months later, I want to eat those words.

Following duds like “Kambakkht Ishq”, “Short Kut”, “Kal Kissne Dekha” and now “Luck”, the movie going experience for me is becoming less enjoyable than ever.

Salman not Pappu, he can dance – Aamir Khan

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It’s official. The ‘Pappu can’t dance’ number in the latest Aamir Khan production wasn’t meant to poke fun at actor Salman Khan.

Aamir, Salman and ImranAamir, with nephew Imran Khan in tow, set the record straight on Salman’s television gameshow ‘Dus Ka Dum’.

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