Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
This year my shopping list had only two names – Zoya Akhtar’s “Luck by Chance” and Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”.
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.
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.