Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Farhan Akhtar has now come to be associated with a particular kind of cinema – slick production values, quirky characters and smart writing. So when I went in to watch his latest production, “Karthik Calling Karthik”, I was expecting something similar. While I got to see the first two aspects, the third, and the most important was gravely missing.
The film, a thriller about a meek, submissive man called Karthik, whose life changes when he gets phone calls from an anonymous caller who also calls himself Karthik, starts off well, and is engaging enough, but for some bad writing and corny dialogues, which take away from the edge-of-the-seat thrill that a film like this should give you.
Akhtar plays Karthik Narayan, a mousy MBA grad who is bullied by pretty much everyone around him, including his tyrannical boss, and pesky landlord. He is secretly in love with Shonali Mukherjee (Deepika Padukone), who works in the same office, but is unable to muster up courage to talk to her, instead writing her an email everyday and then saving it in his drafts folder.
Fired from his job, and with no friends to turn to, Karthik is on the verge of suicide when one phone call changes everything. The caller always calls at 5 am and identifies himself as Karthik. He instils confidences in Karthik, exhorting him to set his life right. After the initial apprehension, Karthik actually looks forward to the calls, and egged on by the mysterious caller, sets about reclaiming his life.
Suparn Varma’s “Acid Factory”, which releases in cinemas this week has a unique feature — that of having the biggest ensemble of bad actors on a single screen.
Fardeen Khan, Aftab Shivdasani, Dino Morea, Dia Mirza, Danny Denzongpa and even the usually dependable Manoj Bajpai put in such atrociously bad performances that you wonder how they got away with it.
In spite of an interesting storyline and a reasonable screen time, you are never hooked to the events on screen, and even during the climax of the film, I was tempted to whip out my mobile and recheck my messages for the day — they would have provided far more entertainment.
Fardeen Khan plays Romeo, a cop who has “applied for an undercover assignment” (didn’t know that happened) to uncover dreaded don Kaiser (Irrfan Khan).
There are films that grab you instantly and don’t let you go till the credits roll. There are those that start off on a great note but lose the plot midway. And then there are those which don’t start off on a good note, nor do they end on one.
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer” falls in the third category. The film starts off at a sluggish pace, but by the time the second half rolls in, it graduates into a half-decent thriller and you start to think that Kukunoor may be on to something after all. You are wrong. But we will get to that in a bit.