Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
After last year’s clever and heart-warming comedy “Vicky Donor”, filmmaker Shoojit Sircar switches genres with “Madras Cafe”, a thriller about the Sri Lankan conflict, India’s role in the civil war, and the repercussions of that war on India’s politics and history.
To try and deal with such a controversial subject is commendable and Sircar and co-writer Juhi Chaturvedi should be complimented. Unfortunately, intentions aside, “Madras Cafe” doesn’t deserve too many compliments.
John Abraham stars in this leaden film as an army officer sent to Sri Lanka at the height of the civil war to launch covert operations targeting the leader of the biggest Tamil separatist outfit (called LTF in the film).
Vikram Singh walks about Jaffna with a swagger, sporting a Ray-Ban and looking completely out of place. He somehow visits a top guerrilla leader deep in the jungle, pretending to be a reporter even after his cover is blown, and turns to an actual journalist (Nargis Fakhri) to extract the smallest bit of information.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
I have to confess I didn’t go into Kapil Sharma’s “I, Me aur Main” with too many expectations. The posters certainly did nothing to pique my excitement. But 30 minutes into the film, I was intrigued. This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill story; the protagonist was someone you would want to hit on the head within the first half-hour.
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.
Reviewing a movie like Sajid Khan’s “Housefull 2” is a futile exercise. In fact, I don’t think the makers of this film made it for creative purposes — this is a money-making venture, and going by the number of people who came to watch it at 9: 15 a.m. on Good Friday morning, I would say it’s well on its way to becoming a successful one.
Khan doesn’t take off from where the first “Housefull” left off — this is a whole other story. But he does keep the toilet humour, over-the-top acting and noise pollution that characterised the 2010 film. Instead of laughing gas at the Buckingham Palace, he adds a fake Prince Charles who attends a wedding at the end and persuades one of the characters to stop shooting people in the name of “the queen and the country”.
When a movie has at least three prominent product placements in the first ten minutes of a film, you are bound to cringe. Nishikant Kamat’s “Force” will make you wince, at least in the first half of the film, and not just because of the product placements. Thankfully, unlike most films, this one gets better — so there is hope yet.
Kamat, who earlier directed “Mumbai Meri Jaan” — on the Mumbai train blasts and its aftermath — now turns to the essential cop film. You know the drill — honest, upright police officer, out to finish the bad guys (the drug dealers in this case), falls in love with bubbly girl whose only actual function is two songs and being kidnapped by the bad guys, and lots of action scenes in deserted warehouses.
I have a serious complaint against lovers in Bollywood films. Even if they know where the other person stays and can easily deliver the “I love you” speech at the lover’s house, they insist on hanging off a cliff or climbing atop a bridge from where they can declare their undying love for each other. Don’t they realise how ridiculous it looks?
As you can guess, the above rant is inspired by a scene in Abbas Tyrewala’s “Jhootha Hi Sahi“, a dreary and dull rom-com that features perhaps the most wooden performances by a lead pair that I can remember and a lot of inane situations like the one described above.
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Aashayein” is one of those films that you will forget the minute you leave the theatre – there isn’t much in the film that will keep you gripped from start to end, but it isn’t so repelling that you want to get out of the theatre and leave.
For a film that is supposed to tug at your heartstrings, this one barely manages to touch them and except for a few moments, hardly any of the characters or their stories make an impact on you.
Football fever is taking over the world and Bollywood’s glamorous brigade hasn’t been left untouched.
Film 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.
As one of India’s most eligible bachelors tied the knot late on Sunday night, you could almost hear the sound of a million hearts breaking.
But along with that, you could also hear the sound of a million fingers typing furiously on their phones, so that they could tweet their best wishes to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his bride.
Coming as it does nearly three months after a big-ticket Bollywood release — Kabir Khan’s “New York” is a relief.
The story of three friends whose lives change in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York, the film manages to hold your attention for the most part, mainly because of some astute direction and its performances.