Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
There is nothing ostensibly wrong with Rajkumar Gupta’s “Ghanchakkar”. The filmmaker builds a story about a bank robber who loses his memory and cannot remember where he stashed the booty from a heist three months ago.
Emraan Hashmi plays Sanjay Atre, a seemingly mild man who is an expert at cracking bank vaults and lives with his garrulous and gaudily dressed wife Neetu (Vidya Balan). In what he decides will be his last crime, he pulls off a 350 million rupee heist with Pandit (Rakesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das).
The trio decide to lie low for a while. Sanjay is asked to keep the money safe but three months on, when the other two arrive to claim their share, much has changed. He’s lost his memory in an accident and is unable to recognise them, let alone remember where he hid the cash.
Gupta builds his story very well – you are sufficiently intrigued by the characters and their intentions by the time half the film is over. You are never certain what the two main characters (Balan and Hashmi) are thinking and Gupta tries to add a Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of humour in some scenes.
from India Insight:
Indians woke up on Sunday to front page newspaper ads announcing the TV premiere of “The Dirty Picture”, a National-award winning film that was both critically acclaimed and successful at the box-office.
The film, based on the life of soft porn star Silk Smitha, was one of the most popular Bollywood movies of 2011, and its success catapulted lead actress Vidya Balan into the big league.
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.
It does tick one crucial box though — it’s a well-made film, with some great characters and powerful acting, and if you are willing to ignore some plot holes and go with the flow, this is a very satisfying watch.
In one scene in Milan Luthria’s “The Dirty Picture”, the protagonist, determined to make life miserable for one particularly pesky journalist, stages an impromptu dance performance in front of the journalist’s house — gyrating atop her car and biting her lip suggestively. Soon, a crowd gathers, there are wolf whistles and catcalls, and the police are called in to control the chaos that ensues.
Wearing nothing but a skimpy, midriff-baring blouse, pants and over-the-top sunglasses, Silk, as she’s called in the film is all smiles, and it’s obvious she’s loving every moment. You could say the same about Vidya Balan in the film. She’s having a blast playing Silk and it shows in every frame of the film.
Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” is based on the very gripping saga of the Jessica Lall murder case, one that captured the collective conscience of India at a point in time, and galvanised a dormant middle-class into taking action.
A young model shot dead because she refused to serve a powerful politician’s son a drink at a party. The murderer gets away because of his connections, but when an aggressive reporter takes it upon herself to solve the case, things change.
Even if you didn’t know it before, the first few frames of debutant director Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Ishqiya’, will confirm that he has imbibed a lot of his skill from his mentor Vishal Bhardwaj. The look, tone and feel of the film are all very reminiscent of Bhardwaj’s films.
That said, Chaubey does bring his own sensibility to the film, depicting the arid, gritty landscape of Western UP and its people with a freshness that we haven’t seen very often on screen.
First things first. “Paa” belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. And Vidya Balan. Or actually it belongs to Auro and his mother. Because that’s who you really see on screen and that is the hallmark of a great performance.
For this reason alone, R Balkrishnan’s “Paa” is worth watching. There are some hiccups (or hickis as referred to in the film) but on the whole, this film should leave you with a lump in your throat and nothing but admiration for Amitabh Bachchan.