Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Director Tigmanshu Dhulia tries to answer that question in his biopic of Indian athlete Paan Singh Tomar, a seven-time national steeplechase champion. Tomar turned into an infamous dacoit in his later years, terrorising entire villages in the Chambal valley of central India.
Irrfan Khan plays the protagonist, an impoverished small-town boy who joins the Indian army just after the country’s independence from Britain. Tomar’s supervisor recognises his talent for running and transfers him to the sports wing. Tomar shines, breaks national records and competes in international meets, all the while running barefoot.
His career comes to an end when a family feud forces him to retire from the army and return to his village. When his mother is killed and his son brutally assaulted, Tomar seeks help from the police, identifying himself as a former athlete. But the local police refuse to help, telling him his medals and certificates are of no use.
Watching Sudhir Mishra’s “Yeh Saali Zindagi”, you get the distinct feeling that somewhere there’s the germ of a great movie in here. The problem is that Mishra burdens the film with so many subplots and assorted characters that it’s difficult to rummage among them and come up with the main plot of the film.
The film, which revolves around three characters and the events leading up to one day of action, stars Irrfan Khan as Arun, a fixer who works for a money-lender, and must save Priti (Chitrangada Singh), the woman he loves, from the clutches of a kidnapping gang. But things are not as simple as they seem at first glance.
Suparn Varma’s “Acid Factory”, which releases in cinemas this week has a unique feature — that of having the biggest ensemble of bad actors on a single screen.
Fardeen Khan, Aftab Shivdasani, Dino Morea, Dia Mirza, Danny Denzongpa and even the usually dependable Manoj Bajpai put in such atrociously bad performances that you wonder how they got away with it.
In spite of an interesting storyline and a reasonable screen time, you are never hooked to the events on screen, and even during the climax of the film, I was tempted to whip out my mobile and recheck my messages for the day — they would have provided far more entertainment.
Fardeen Khan plays Romeo, a cop who has “applied for an undercover assignment” (didn’t know that happened) to uncover dreaded don Kaiser (Irrfan Khan).
He gave me a refreshingly honest answer – “I am here to be a successful commercial film maker, and those are not the kind of films I will make. I want to play it safe for now.”