Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Deepika Padukone has obviously never gone on a trek before. Why else would she be wearing a mini-skirt and fur boots on the Himalayas? She’s also got perfectly set, blow-dried hair during these treks, and even after a day of playing Holi during the festival of colours, which would render most of us looking like something the cat dragged in, Padukone looks radiant. But that is the world she and other characters in Ayan Mukerji’s “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” inhabit.
These are pretty people falling in love, travelling to picturesque locations, having epiphanies while attending expensive destination weddings and following all the clichés Bollywood loves to propagate. And yet, you cannot help smiling as you leave the cinema hall.
Mukerji makes a candyfloss romance with the most unoriginal storyline ever – there are no surprises along the way. But there are tender moments, playful banter and some crackling chemistry between the two leads that overshadow the other flaws.
Ranbir Kapoor plays Bunny, the rebel full of wanderlust. Padukone is Naina, who appears to be meek at first but emerges as the stronger of the two. The characters are brought to life by Kapoor and Padukone, both of whom are excellent in their roles. Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapur play their friends, to form the film’s quartet.
Even before you see a single frame of Anurag Basu’s “Barfi!” you will get a sense of the movie, thanks to a quirky song which calls on you to switch off “both your mobiles and kids”. It also promises that the film will give you no “gyaan” (expressing opinion) and that it will tell you about “saccha pyaar” (true love).
You could either be charmed by this unusual beginning or be put off by it, as I was, especially because it feels like overstating the tone of the movie and making a judgment for you about its content. But you might soon forget that and a lot of other things. The very first scene, a Chaplinesque chase through narrow streets is shot expertly by Ravi Varman, and will give you a sense of the old-world charm that pervades the film.
If you want to watch the rockstars in action in Imtiaz Ali’s “Rockstar“, look out for the “Kun Faya Kun” number in the first half — both A. R. Rahman and Ranbir Kapoor are at their best here — the lilting melody of the song and Ranbir’s range of expressions remind you of how good the two are at what they do.
They are the stars of “Rockstar” — the reason why you leave the movie with a somewhat positive feeling. Everything else, including the script, the direction and other performances are found wanting, much to your disappointment.
Making a film with just two characters and about their journey towards love is a concept that has worked quite well in the past.
The Ethan Hawke starrer “Before Sunrise” and its sequel “Before Sunset” come to mind immediately. These films had at their centre a great love story between two very interesting people and their interaction with each other itself was enough to take the story forward.
We all know that feeling. When you are just out of college and fresh into a new job with no experience whatsoever, just a burning desire to do well.
Ranbir Kapoor captures a bit of all of us in Harpreet Singh Bedi, the protagonist of “Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year”.
He is wide-eyed, eager and flabbergasted, all at the same time, as he tries to negotiate his way around the snake pit that a corporate office can sometimes turn into.
Fifteen years later, Santoshi is back with another comic caper, this time starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. But if you are expecting another “Andaz Apna Apna”, you will be sorely disappointed.
Bollywood has always survived on the formula — the elusive secret to making a successful film that combines elaborate sets, melodrama and of course, dancing around trees. Then multiplexes arrived and we were told it was the era of niche films, ones that didn’t go by the formula.
Films like “Wake Up Sid” are well on their way to becoming a meeting point between the old and the new, and becoming a whole different genre of films — the formula multiplex film.
“We are just good friends” has to be the most overused phrase in Bollywood (or even Hollywood) for that matter.
A couple of years ago, each time rumour mills started working non-stop about a “friendship” between celebrities, the two concerned parties were sure to come up with a statement about how they were just good friends.
Dreamy locales, designer threads, wedding sequences, racy numbers and a happy ending — Yash Raj Films finally got the formula right.”Bachna Ae Haseeno” has all this and more. It’s a formula film no doubt, but it has its heart in the right place.