India Masala

Murder 3: Doesn’t go in for the kill

February 15, 2013

The latest addition to the “Murder” franchise is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is true to its name. Don’t expect a lot of shooting and slashing.

Race 2: Slow and unsteady doesn’t win this race

January 25, 2013

In the world created by Abbas-Mustan, if you are a multi-billionaire who wants to build a casino and are refused permission by the government, you invite the official responsible out for drinks, dance with him and then shoot him in the middle of a crowded discotheque and walk out without batting an eyelid.

Kahaani: Vidya’s latest is a taut thriller

March 9, 2012

If you go by the Bollywood formula, Sujoy Ghosh’s “Kahaani” doesn’t tick any of the boxes. It’s a thriller — a genre Bollywood usually stays away from; it’s got a female lead, hardly any songs and no distractions in the form of a comedy/romance track.

Murder 2: The bad guy makes it good

July 7, 2011

Mohit Suri’s “Murder 2” may sound like a sequel to the Mallika Sherawat starrer “Murder” but believe me, it is nothing like the earlier film.

Dum Maaro Dum: Wayward, but worth a watch

April 22, 2011
Rohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist heaven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer. Abhishek Bachchan plays the protagonist Vishnu Kamat, a once-corrupt officer who mends his ways and is called on to “clean Goa of drugs” by an ailing minister. Sippy uses a non-linear mode of narration, zigzagging from one character to another, lending a zippy pace to the first half of the film. Part of the film’s landscape is Lorry (Prateik) a young student who is lured into the drug trade in exchange for the dream of a life in the United States. Also criss-crossing his paths are Joki, (Rana Daggubati), a laidback musician and his one-time girlfriend turned gangster’s moll, Zoe (Bipasha Basu). Thanks to some good writing and zany dialogues, Sippy manages to keep you engrossed in the first half of the film, even though he is let down by a some-what weak performance from his lead actor. Sridhar Raghavan’s dialogue is sparkling for the most part and you can almost forgive him some school boyish lines, like “aajkal criminals bhi Facebook aur Twitter pe hai” (These days, even criminals are on Facebook and Twitter), uttered by Kamath after going through a suspect’s phone. Sippy tries to pack in too much and ends up doing no justice any of the tracks in the film. His villain is named Biscuitta and there is a sequence in which Bachchan raps his way through a couple of police encounters, which looks ridiculous and far from cool. Abhishek Bachchan doesn’t bring anything new to his character, nor does Southern actor Rana Daggubati, making his Bollywood debut in the film. Nevertheless, this one is worth a watch for the great cinematography (Amit Roy) and some good writing. “Dum Maaro Dum” could have been much better had the director seemed more in control of the film, but it is better than most of what Bollywood has dished out this year. I suggest you give this one a chance.

Dum Maaro DumRohan Sippy’s “Dum Maaro Dum” attempts to take a hard look at the drug mafia in the tourist haven of Goa through the eyes of a ruthless police officer.

7 Khoon Maaf: Enticing premise, lacklustre execution

February 17, 2011
The basic premise of Vishal Bhardwaj’s enticingly titled “7 Khoon Maaf” is enough to generate excitement about the film. A woman marrying several times and killing off each of her husbands is the kind of story you don’t get to see too often in Bollywood, and if anyone can do justice to that kind of a dark theme, it has to be Bhardwaj. There wasn’t much that could go wrong with this one. That’s exactly what I thought when I entered the theatre, more than seven months ago, to watch a movie called “Raavan”. And we all know what happened with that one. I might be accused of being a little harsh here but this film might be Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Raavan”. In what is his weakest film yet, Bhardwaj takes the tantalising prospect of a “black widow”, and turns it into a haphazard story of a woman who seems to have a fetish for murdering her husbands, even when just leaving them would have been enough. Priyanka Chopra plays Susanna Marie Johannes, going from a coy-20 something to a crazy-50 something during the film. As she tells one of her husbands, there’s no worse accident than marriage in a woman’s life. But she herself suffers that accident several times and when she tires of each of her husbands, she kills them off without batting an eyelid at times, and flits to the next one within the blink of eye. Bhardwaj skims the surface of each of the characters, and we never get a sense of the desperation, and later the madness that Susanna’s character should have displayed to be capable of multiple murders. In the end, you don’t feel for her character or any of the men she killed. There is not much action and the murders get repetitive, especially because you know they are all going to die in the end. In fact, the last one seems hurriedly inserted just to make up the right number. Of the performances, Priyanka Chopra tries her best to be Susanna, but is hampered by a lacklustre script and even worse make-up. Her face in the last few scenes looks like a wall with peeling paint. That is not how women look in ther 50s. Vivaan Shah, as her admirer is restrained and does his part well. What is it with some of our best directors making such duds these days? There was Mani Ratnam, Ashutosh Gowariker and now Vishal Bhardwaj — the latter being someone who has always delivered brilliance in almost all aspects of storytelling. We should perhaps overlook this one as a weak link in an otherwise great career and move on. ‘Ek film maaf’.

7km2The basic premise of Vishal Bhardwaj’s enticingly titled “7 Khoon Maaf” is enough to generate excitement about the film. A woman marrying several times and killing off each of her husbands is the kind of story you don’t get to see too often in Bollywood, and if anyone can do justice to that kind of a dark theme, it has to be Bhardwaj. There wasn’t much that could go wrong with this one.

Yeh Saali Zindagi: Too many twists

February 4, 2011
Watching Sudhir Mishra’s “Ye Saali Zindagi”, you get the distinct feeling that somewhere there’s the germ of a great movie in here. The problem is that Mishra burdens the film with so many subplots and assorted characters that it’s difficult to rummage among them and come up with the main plot of the film. The film, which revolves around three characters and the events leading up to one day of action, stars Irrfan Khan as Arun, a fixer who works for a money-lender, and must save Priti (Chitrangada Singh), the woman he loves, from the clutches of a kidnapping gang. But things are not as simple as they seem at first glance. Priti is involved with another man, who is engaged to a minister’s daughter and is kidnapped in the hope of ransom by Kuldeep, who wants to quit his criminal ways after this one last kidnapping, because his feisty wife won’t take him back otherwise. How the three of them and their lives intersect is what most of the film chronicles. Mishra manages to keep the pace taut and the dialogue, co-written by him and Manu Rishi, has plenty of swear words and is racy enough to keep you interested. The two big flaws in the film are the presence of too many characters and subplots. Somewhere in the middle, you might find yourself wondering “who’s that guy, what’s this relation to this other guy, and how is it essential to the story?” The other problem is with the watered-down performances. Except for Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla who plays his boss, both the other main actors, Chitrangada Singh and Arunoday Singh are inhibited and awkward, unable to invest enough in their characters for you to be invested in them. In the end, “Ye Saali Zindagi” isn’t the kind of film that makes for easy watching. If you are willing to pay enough attention, and forgive the somewhat indulgent pace, you might find yourself enjoying it.

ysz1Watching Sudhir Mishra’s “Yeh Saali Zindagi”, you get the distinct feeling that somewhere there’s the germ of a great movie in here. The problem is that Mishra burdens the film with so many subplots and assorted characters that it’s difficult to rummage among them and come up with the main plot of the film.