India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Go Goa Gone: Die laughing

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

A handout still from "Go Goa Gone".To enjoy Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK‘s “Go Goa Gone“, you have to ignore the tacky effects and the bad make-up and concentrate on the wisecracks and repartee between the main characters. Once you’ve done that successfully, get ready to buckle in for what is an unexpectedly fun ride.

One of India’s first zombie films, “Go Goa Gone” relies heavily on excellent dialogue and some great chemistry between the main leads to make a comedy that will leave you laughing for quite a while.

Replete with plenty of cuss words and the kind of snarky conversation you are likely to hear among friends, the zombies seem just a device to move the story forward, rather than the centre of the story, which is a good thing.

Son of Sardaar: Calculated entertainment

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In a recent interview, a film-maker described a movie as one “made with a calculator”. He might just have been talking about Ashwni Dhir’s “Son of Sardaar”. For a film that talks of heart and emotion, this is a movie made with cold-hearted calculation.

“Son of Sardaar” is a Diwali film, made with the sole intention of making money during the festival of lights, and stuffed with what Bollywood thinks is the complete package — romance, comedy and action all in one movie. But what is it they say about being a jack of all trades?

Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana: A dish with heart

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The Punjabisation of  Bollywood has meant that on-screen depictions show a very polished version of Punjab. Fluttering dupattas, lush fields, glitzy weddings and lively dancing are what Punjab is all about, but Sameer Sharma’s “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana” doesn’t stick to any of the stereotypes, which is a relief.

The streets are bumpy, the women aren’t flawlessly dressed and the men do not break out into bhangra or slap each other on the back at every given opportunity. Sharma’s film is simple and shorn of any plasticity, and even though the recipe does go haywire a couple of times, Sharma manages to salvage the dish in the end.

Robin Hood: This Robin is more Gandhian

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Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood and Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood are looking over the shoulder of Ridley Scott’s Robin Longstride.

So rather cleverly, the movie is a sort of prequel to these and may justly be titled “The making of Robin Hood”. It ends at the beginning.

A year at the movies

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At the beginning of the last week of every year I head to my neighbourhood DVD store to follow a long-standing tradition of mine.  I review my favourite films of the year and then buy DVD’s of those films.

INDIA-CREDIT/BOLLYWOODThis year my shopping list had only two names – Zoya Akhtar’s “Luck by Chance” and Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”.

‘Short Kut’ takes the long, boring route

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Somewhere in Bollywood, there has to be a movie-making machine.

All you do is insert a reel, change a few specifications (perhaps the hero’s name and occupation or the reason for a romantic obstacle with his leading lady) and wait for a “masala” movie to pop up, fresh and ready to hit unsuspecting audiences.

How else do you explain a movie like “Short Kut: The Con is On“?

This one is supposed to be a sometimes funny, sometimes emotional comedy about a struggling filmmaker and his double-crosser friend. It turns out to be neither.

Is “New York” a balanced film?

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By international standards, Kabir Khan’s “New York” is an extraordinarily ordinary film. It hasn’t impressed critics abroad and reviews in international media haven’t been very charitable.

But even if you were to ignore the mediocre performances and shallow characterisation, “New York” does raise several issues about life for South Asian Americans after 9/11.

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