India Masala

Talaash: Searching for the perfect whodunit

November 30, 2012

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

Heroine: The Bhandarkar school of cliches

September 21, 2012

Bollywood has always it’s own genre of films – masala entertainment, the re-birth saga, etc. “Heroine” belongs to the “Madhur Bhandarkar” genre of films. Pick any field, or place (Corporate, Jail, Fashion), stuff it with every cliché you can think of and more, add a gay character (irrespective of whether the story needs it or not), throw in some over-the-top dialogue, and of course, package the whole thing as “realistic cinema”.

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

February 10, 2012

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.

Bodyguard: Protect yourself

August 31, 2011

Watching a Salman Khan film ‘first day first show’ is an experience in itself. I watched it in a multiplex, where there were snaking queues full of excited fans, hoping they’d get tickets for the first show of “Bodyguard”. They were hooting, cheering and screaming in the aisles even before the movie started.

Golmaal 3: Thrice as painful

November 5, 2010

golmaal 3If you’ve seen the earlier two “Golmaal” films, you have a fair inkling of what the third one is about. These are custom-made films, tailored to the “festive mood” when filmmakers think audiences will laugh at anything and pay any amount of money if you promise them a fun-filled entertaining film.

We are Family: Pretty shallow

September 2, 2010
We are Family: Pretty but shallow Before I get to talking about the film, I have one question about “We are Family” and films like it — why is it that they are invariably based in foreign countries and feature designer clothes, homes and even designer deaths? To me, this film could well have been based in Mumbai, have had the same characters and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story or screenplay. Even a person in the last stages of terminal illness has full make-up on. Which is one of the biggest problems of the film — everything about it is so cosmetic, even the emotions, that it’s hard to be touched by anything. Based on the 1998 Hollywood film “Stepmom”, the only Indian-ness the script has is to insert clichés about what an ideal Indian woman should be. Kajol plays Maya, the “ideal Indian mother” who, besides a passing reference to her job in publishing, does nothing besides fuss around her three kids. Her ex-husband Aman (Arjun Rampal) is in love with fashion designer Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) but all attempts to get his kids to like her are in vain. When Maya discovers she has terminal cancer, Aman decides to go back to help her. Maya decides that isn’t enough and wants Shreya to help out with the kids, telling her that every Indian woman comes with a motherhood gene. If this motherhood gene means you take your pre-teen kids to a karaoke pub, where there are people drinking alchohol and the parents are on stage dancing to ‘Jailhouse Rock’ while the kids watch, who are we to question it? Director Sidharth Malhotra plays too safe and doesn’t explore any of the dynamics of a household that has two women fighting for a man and his children. Also, Rampal and the kids put in such a watered-down performance compared to the two women, you wonder why they are fighting for them in the first place. Both Kajol and Kareena Kapoor, however, are excellent in what can only be called stunted roles. Kareena especially brings such an energy to Shreya’s character that you immediately connect with her. “We are Family” is at best a pretty but shallow film.

WAFBefore I get to talking about the film, I have one question about “We are Family” and films like it — why is it that they are invariably based in foreign countries and feature designer clothes, homes and even designer deaths?

Milenge Milenge: Outdated and unwatchable

July 9, 2010
Watching “Milenge Milenge” is like finishing an entire bottle of tomato ketchup. Ketchup that was manufactured a decade or two earlier. So eating it/watching this movie will ensure that a) you won’t enjoy it and b) it will be harmful to your health because the product is long past its expiry date. This is one of those films that didn’t get released at a time when it should have — that is when Kareena Kapoor’s peroxide hair was in vogue, landlines were more in use than mobiles and sequined dresses were considered fashionable. Unfortunately, like all of the above, this film is way past its “best before” date and hence almost entirely unwatchable. Kareena Kapoor plays Priya Malhotra, an incredibly gullible girl who decides she wants to spend the rest of her life with a boy based on the three days she spends with him. Shahid Kapur plays Immy, an incredibly arrogant young man, who thinks he can get a girl to fall in love with him by lying to her and pretending to be holier-than-thou. Somehow, the two fall in love but when it becomes clear that Immy is a drinking, cigarette-smoking liar (all qualities Priya hates), she dumps him. When he pleads with Priya to get her back, she decides to let destiny decide their fate. This somehow involves a 50-rupee note and a 30-rupee book on numerology. Don’t ask me to explain further. Immy doesn’t agree initially, pointing out their meeting is destined because they meet at a mall which is called ‘Destiny’. It gets better but don’t let me spoil the fun. In short, this film has hardly anything going for it and it is obvious why the makers didn’t release it for almost three years after it was made. If you want to see the Shahid-Kareena chemistry on screen, it exists for all of two minutes and nothing else in the film is notable. Avoid.

milengeWatching “Milenge Milenge” is like finishing an entire bottle of tomato ketchup. Ketchup that was manufactured a decade or two earlier. So eating it/watching this movie will ensure that a) you won’t enjoy it and b) it will be harmful to your health because the product is long past its expiry date.

3 Idiots: Lacks punch, but feels really good

December 23, 2009

3idiotsI must admit I had apprehensions going in to watch Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘3 Idiots’, inspite of the immense buzz that has surrounded the film.

Kurbaan: Old wine, better packaged

November 20, 2009

If you watched Kabir Khan’s “New York” this summer, you won’t find much novelty in Rensil D’Silva’s “Kurbaan”. The storyline is pretty much the same, except for a few cosmetic differences.

Main Aur Mrs Khanna: A mindless romance

October 16, 2009

The other day a colleague asked me why I never seemed to like any film these days. I thought about it and wondered the same myself. Don’t they make good films any more?