India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Murder 3: Doesn’t go in for the kill

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The latest addition to the “Murder” franchise is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is true to its name. Don’t expect a lot of shooting and slashing.

“Murder 3” is a Bhatt franchise, so the title hardly matters. All movies associated with them have pretty much the same structure and tone, a little bit of skin show, some nasal, high-pitch songs and the mystery element that forms the major chunk of the film.

Debutant director Vishesh Bhatt makes an “official” remake of the Colombian film “The Hidden Face” and doesn’t veer from the original story line at all.

Randeep Hooda plays Vikram, a photographer who shoots everything from calendars to wildlife (one of the opening shots shows Hooda shooting ostriches and zebras grazing peacefully near leopards in a meadow).

Special 26: The heist that almost worked

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

Bollywood hasn’t had an impressive track record with thrillers. Most have been slow and predictable while some were downright preposterous.

Vishwaroopam: Saga of faith in troubled times

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

For a spy thriller that has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, “Vishwaroopam” is surprisingly tame.

Race 2: Slow and unsteady doesn’t win this race

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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.

Inkaar: Just say no to this one

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

Sexual harassment at the workplace, office politics and the question of whether women can make it to senior management in misogynistic companies plague many professionals in India.

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.

Table No. 21: Passable fare

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

As thrillers go, Aditya Datt’s “Table No. 21″ isn’t likely to keep you on the edge of your seat, but you won’t be making a beeline for the exit either. This is one of those in-between films that won’t really make it to your list of must-see movies.

Rajdhani Express: The train wreck from hell

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

Ashok Kohli’s “Rajdhani Express” is one of those films which will force you to answer some existential questions. Questions such as “Why am I here?” “What am I doing with my life?” and most importantly, “How did a movie like this get made?”

Dabangg 2: A sequel that doesn’t take it forward

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

It seems unfair to devote a whole review to Arbaaz Khan’s “Dabangg 2″, given that this is hardly a film. As a friend said, it’s a collection of deleted scenes from “Dabangg” that have been put together haphazardly to make the skeleton of a film.

The best (and worst) Bollywood films of 2012

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

This is what it all comes down to — a year of watching movies and writing about them distilled into one post. Here are my picks for the best and worst of 2012 from the Hindi film industry.

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