India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Gippi: The pains of growing up

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

Handout still from "Gippi"Sonam Nair’s “Gippi” is the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who stumbles through life dealing with the typical crises of adolescence. Boys, parents, body image, acne and Shammi Kapoor come together to form the crux of this story, one that was probably written with the help of a handbook on how to script a teen movie.

Nair’s film is predictable and devoid of any surprises but also charming in parts. Gippi’s relationship with her mother (Divya Dutta) and brother are where the charm kicks in and Nair deals with these moments well.

But, like a bad driver, she also careens into clichés, using them in plenty while telling her story. There is the bad boy who spells trouble, the good boy who appears meek but turns out to be a hero, the unglamorous but loyal best friend and the mean but pretty rich girls who exist just so the heroine can make them feel small in the climax.

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.

The Attacks of 26/11: Revisiting the ghosts of Mumbai

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

Just before the intermission in Ram Gopal Varma’s “The Attacks of 26/11“, a police constable stumbles around with a rifle, searching for the two gunmen who had just wreaked havoc at Mumbai’s busiest train station. He slumps to his feet on the blood-stained floor and lets out a cry of anguish.

There are prolonged shots of a dead dog, fake blood squirting out of people, and much gore on screen as Varma recreates the horrifying events of Nov. 26, 2008. If the aim of the film is to chronicle these for posterity, this is certainly not how the story should be told.

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.

IHLS: I hate boring love stories

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At one point in Punit Malhotra’s “I hate Luv Storys” one of the characters tells another “just follow all the clichés and go for it”. That could well have been Malhotra’s motto while making this run-of-the-mill love story that drags on for what seems like forever. Malhotra seems to take every single cliché you can think of and insert that into his film – while pretending that this is a different love story. Boy who is commitment phobic – check; girl who has an overdose of pink in her bedroom and believes in love at first sight – check; Hate turns to love – check; Boring boyfriend – check. IHLS is definitely not big on the originality factor, and you know how it is going to end. You just wish the journey to the end was pleasanter. Imran Khan plays Jay, a young man who doesn’t believe in love stories, and cringes at the slightest hint of mush, but ends up assisting a maverick director who only makes love stories. Forced to work with art director Simran on a film, he pooh-poohs her ideas of romantic and ideal love, and her “perfect” relationship with her boyfriend, appropriately named Raj (Sameer Dattani). You don’t really need me to tell you how it goes from here. Jay and Simran spend time together, fall in love, one of them realizes it, but the other doesn’t, and so most of the film is spent trying to get through situations that wouldn’t have been necessary if only the duo had had a heart-to-heart chat with each other. Along the way, there are a lot of really inane dialogues (“Women are like buses, if one leaves another one comes along, but ultimately there is only one bus which can take you home”), some awkward acting and a lot of rich, pretty people and palatial homes. In fact some of the best lines in the film are not spoken, but printed on the t-shirts that Jay’s friend wears. Malhotra spoofs movies like DDLJ and “Dil to Pagal Hai” and “Dil Chahta Hai”, but fails to rise to the standard that made these films the cult films that they are. The direction is amateur, and the pace of the film could have been shortened considerably without hurting the plot. There are some moments that make you laugh in the first half, but the second half is just downhill. By the time the climax rolls in you don’t care what happens to the two protagonists. Imran Khan tries to make the best of his role and succeeds to a large extent, but Sonam Kapoor is stuck with such a one-dimensional role that she can hardly do much. Simran, it seems has nothing else in her life except for the idea of love, and a great taste in clothes. ILHS is ultimately a very ordinary and boring love story. Go if you have the patience for it.

Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor smiles during a promotional event for her film "I Hate Luv Storys" in Ahmedabad June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Amit DaveAt one point in Punit Malhotra’s “I Hate Luv Storys” one of the characters tells another to just follow all the clichés and go for it. That could well have been Malhotra’s motto while making this run-of-the-mill love story that drags on for what seems like forever.

Malhotra seems to take every single cliché you can think of and insert that into his film – while pretending that this is a different love story. Boy who is commitment phobic – check; girl who has an overdose of pink in her bedroom and believes in love at first sight – check; Hate turns to love – check; Boring boyfriend – check. IHLS is definitely not big on the originality factor and you know how it is going to end. You just wish the journey to the end was pleasanter.

Road, Movie: This trip is boring

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Road, MovieA road trip epitomises my idea of a good time and so does watching a great film. A combination of the two on celluloid is an exciting proposition.

Add to the fact that you have two young, promising actors — Abhay Deol and Tannishtha Chatterjee — and “Road, Movie”  had a lot going for it.

Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge: Contrived comedy

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Atithi Tum Kab JaogeA moustache. That was the basis for one of the best comedies of Indian cinema — Hrishikesh Mukherjee‘s “Golmaal” — made in the 1970s.

There were no overly dramatic situations, no comedians, no toilet humour and yet, there was so much laughter in that film.

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