Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
It’s not easy to sustain interest in a film that is about two people talking on the phone all night long. The characters have to be interesting enough, the dialogue has to sparkle and the length has to be just right.
In “Good Night, Good Morning”, director Sudhish Kamath manages to tick off most boxes, producing a film that will mostly keep you engaged and entertained, thanks to the two leads and some fresh writing.
Seema Rahmani and Manu Narayan play two lonely souls who meet each other at a bar in New York on New Year’s Eve. She goes back to her hotel room and he’s driving back with his friends when, on a whim, he calls her room. They get talking and the conversation doesn’t stop.
There isn’t a story beyond that except that the two talk about everything from movies, men and life, and in the process exorcise a lot of demons in their life. Both leads, Rahmani and Narayan, are very very good in their roles and if you didn’t know you were watching this movie in the theatre, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking you were looking in on two people talking.
If director Pankaj Kapur hadn’t gone to pains to establish that “Mausam” plays out between the mid-90s and the early years of this century, you’d be forgiven for thinking this film takes place in the 20s — when there was no internet, no phones and no technology. Why else would two, reasonably well-off, intelligent people who obviously have access to technology be unable to trace each other? It makes no sense, and instead of feeling sad for them, you feel frustrated.
That, in a nutshell, is how you feel about “Mausam” anyway. The promos describe the film as an “epic” love story, but the only thing epic here is the running time. The film runs for almost three hours, during which Kapur plays out the same meet-separate-meet-separate theme till you tire of it.
There is much to be said about “Khap”. Let’s get to the story first. The movie is about a village which adheres to the khap panchayat system under which two people from the same khap or clan cannot marry each other.
Whoever goes against the khap rule is killed to keep the gene pool from being spoilt and to keep the honour of the clan and tradition intact. The audience knows them as honour killings.
A bored, under-appreciated housewife, who decides to break out of her monotony, meets a stranger and spends a day with him — not knowing who he is, or what his motives are and discovers a different side to her personality.
To her credit, director Barnali Ray Shukla does have an interesting premise at the heart of “Kucch Luv Jaisaa” but a good idea doesn’t always translate into a good film and this is the perfect example.
“Luv Ka The End” is Yashraj Film’s first foray into a genre they call “youth films”, or films they think are tailor-made for the under-25 audience. But as all teenagers will know, there’s a thin line between being cool and trying too hard. This film is trying too hard, and there’s no two ways about it.
Unfunny gags, over-smart dialogues and one-dimensional characters do not a cool film make. Nor do obvious product placements, for that matter.
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.
Watching “Milenge Milenge” is like finishing an entire bottle of tomato ketchup. Ketchup that was manufactured a decade or two earlier. So eating it/watching this movie will ensure that a) you won’t enjoy it and b) it will be harmful to your health because the product is long past its expiry date.
This is one of those films that didn’t get released at a time when it should have — that is when Kareena Kapoor’s peroxide hair was in vogue, landlines were more in use than mobiles and sequined dresses were considered fashionable.
It has been such a long time since Bollywood has made a true-blue romance that purely on that merit alone, “Kites” is worth a watch.
Passion, chemistry and the cruel world against true love have become secondary when it comes to matters like reforming our education system or discovering new worlds.