Contrary to popular belief (well, not really that popular considering it was only me) this is NOT the Part 2 or sequel of the Urmila Matondkar – Saif Ali Khan starrer Ek Hasina Thi!
Ek Deewana Tha is actually the Hindi remake of the Tamil film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa which had Simbu and Trisha in the lead roles. It was also simultaneously made in Telugu as Ye Maaya Chesave with Naga Chaitanya and Samantha innit. Though both movies became hits, their standout point was A.R. Rahman’s music – songs & tunes are the same in both versions. The Hindi version is directed by the same director – Gautham Menon and has Pratiek Babbar and Brit gal (A Miss Liverpool!) Amy Jackson & is said to have two completely new songs.
Though I’ve never been a fan of Telugu movies of this type, YMC registered a seismic presence around me coz of the incessant chatter about how good it was, how good the music was, how gorgeous Samantha was blah blah blah…couple of my friends were so hooked to the music, they had it as their ringtones as well as caller tunes! This post is dedicated to them…
Having had shunned movies for a while, I was waiting for a good one to break the self-imposed exile – and The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn was definitely a good choice to do that. Director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Georges Remi a.k.a Herge’s characters – the intrepid boy reporter Tintin, his dog Snowy and the foul-mouthed but likeable Captain Haddock – comes to life in an animated rollercoaster of an adventure.
I’m not a huge fan of Tintin and his adventures (well, there was the time when I used to diligently cut out the series’ pages from The Week and staple them to make a poor-man’s version of the comic book since the original ones were priced a bit high for my pocket money) but have read most of the works and also used to see the series on TV, even though the Hindi versions didn’t do justice to the characters or their utterances! The movie instalment, however, is an immensely enjoyable spectacle which brings out the comic world onto the screen in amazing vividity and vibrancy.
The movie follows Tintin and Snowy’s adventures as a wooden model of a long lost ship – The Unicorn – and the secret that it hides leads them onto a fascinating journey across the world. They come across Captain Haddock, whose ancestor the ship once belonged to and holds the key to unlocking the mystery behind it all. There are the bumbling cops Thompson and Thomson, the villain Sakharine, the mutinous former ship-mates of Captain Haddock, the singing lady Bianca Castafiore and a whole lot of fun, frolic and edge-of-the-seat thrills and spills.
The story is engaging and fast-paced and though it combines elements from three different Tintin books, the cohesiveness is there. Having the movie animated enables several scenes to be grandiose and large-scaled, something which would probably have been difficult to shoot the normal way, even with CGI. The animation also copies the look and feel of the original comic books and makes one feel that the books itself have come to life.
With a title like Lafangey Parindey one would expect the movie to be somewhat crass, riddled with street-gangs, brawls, bloody fights, bruises, cuss-words, the works. And maybe a love-story amidst all that disorder coz let’s face it – it’s a movie. And bang! the lead actors are Neil Nitin Mukesh and Deepika Padukone – two of the classier actors around. Totally out of place!
Lafangey Parindey is set in the Tilakwadi chawl in Mumbai, where Nandan Kamtekar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is known by the name of one-shot-Nandu - a loafer by day and boxer by night, winning fights for the local goon, Usman bhai (Piyush Mishra). As with any tapori, his role-model is another bigger one – Anna (Kay Kay Menon) and in helping him out after a hit one rainy night, he causes an accident which changes everything. Anna dies but Nandu escapes further punishment after the case is suppressed.
Pinky Patkar (Deepika Padukone) is a free-spirited girl in the same chawl, who aspires to raise above the muck around her by skating/dancing her way into a reality show and win it. But as fate would have it, she’s blinded in an accident and her dreams lie shattered. But around comes Nandu and he trains her to “see” without sight and nurtures her ambitions to win the competition as her dancing partner. Before long, friendship blossoms into love but the past returns to haunt them and threatens to wreck their relationships and Pinky’s dreams. Or does it?
Mani Rathnam’s magnum-opus Raavan hit the screens two days ago and I hit the plush chairs at PVR to catch it up on a drizzly Saturday afternoon. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve hit the sack and rested those wearisome muscles rather than risk a jaw-ache from all those yawns! Coz it wasn’t as high and mighty as its made out to be.
“Old wine – new bottle” is passé! Old wine, re-distilled (read re-interpreted) and served up in rustic yet beautiful khullads is the new mantra. Vishal Bhardwaj did it with Omkara. Prakash Jha did it with Rajneeti and now Mani does the same with Raavan.
Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) is the scourge/saviour of a fictitious place Laal Maati. He’s the son of the soil, who rights the wrongs of the law enforcement officers by killing them or burning them at a stake! Locals deify him and none dare defy him. SP Dev Pratap Sharma (Vikram) is the man set out to hunt him down, at any cost. The hunt becomes a personal one when his wife Raagini (Aishwarya Rai) is kidnapped by Beera and held hostage. The age-old good vs. evil struggle commences amidst the backdrop of jungles, waterfalls, caves, canyons and sleepwatching audiences!
Firstly, why the place is named Laal Maati is beyond me. Given there’s not as much as a sand dune but acres and acres of jungle, humungous waterfalls, ravenous canyons and caves, black rocky cliffs with an idol of Shiva atop and also what looked like a poor-man’s Angkor Vat in between! Agreed, the locales and picturesque and breathtaking but it scarcely looks like North India. It rains almost throughout the movie (Kerala?); there’s a huge river & a huger waterfall (Karnataka?); lots and lots of jungle (Madhya Pradesh?); we see tribal folk and sweater-wearing policemen (Bihar/UP?); rusticness & artistry abounds in the mud-walled villages and mountain-top temples (Rajasthan?). Clearly, Geography is not the movie’s strong point!
I normally don’t splurge on electronic gadgets. The HP Notebook and Sony Ericsson Cellphone were my only gadget-buys in more than five years. But seeing as Mr. EB was coming back from the Queen’s Land after a very long and fruitful stay, I thought to myself: “Ok. So the Pound Sterling is weakening each day. Let me get something via him and then pay back the amount when the Pound is at its lowest ”
Hence, got hold of him to get back two iPods (a 8GB one for moiself and another 32 GB waala for moi bro). Common sense dictated that an iPhone was a waste of money with all the jailbreaking involved and whatnot! And even though I listen to music on my notebook/phone usually, a touch device on which some gaming also can be done was appealing.
What sweetened the deal a bit more was that I got two iPod dockable speakers with inbuilt FM Radio worth £50 for Free . All of this for a little more than £350. Naaaice…
Having not liked Heyy Babyy one bit, I approached Housefull with skepticism and my doubts were seemingly coming true within the first hour of the movie! The goings on were so predictable and at times, so boring that I felt this was my second consecutive dud-movie-going (after Prince!). But director Sajid Khan salvages the movie majorly with the second half, as the goings on become much more hilarious and rib tickling. He blots his copybook a bit with a Priyadarsan-esque climax but overall, its a good watch.
Housefull revolves around bad-luck-struck Aarush (Akshay Kumar) who brings ill-luck upon himself and on others wherever he goes. So much so that he’s employed in a casino to repel the winning streaks of players! Fed up with the job and cast aside by his lover, he returns to London to his best friend Bob (Riteish Deshmukh) & his wife Hetal (Lara Dutta) but his bad luck follows him. In a bid to get rid of the ‘loser’ tag by finding true love, he marries Devika (Jiah Khan), gets jilted and then meets Soundarya a.k.a. Sandy (Deepika Padukone). Thrown into the mix then are Sandy’s possessive anna Major Krishna Rao (Arjun Rampal) and Hetal’s father Batuk Patel (Boman Irani) and the happenings just get crazy and crazier!
A ‘loser’ attracting more bad luck and compounding his situation further is nothing new and this stands out as a big deterrent in the first half, with some loud & awkward scenes not helping matters. Akshay’s and Jiah’s arranged marriage is without substance or background and that too stands out as a sore thumb. The movie picks up a bit with Chunkey Pandey’s irritating but comical Italian+Pathan character lending some relief. Deepika’s introduction is none too convincing either and by the time interval approaches, one wonders if its all going downhill. But the entry of Arjun Rampal and Boman Irani lend a huge boost and the ensuing mistaken identities and the confusions borne out of that are simply hilarious. An unnecessarily-included gay angle comes across as annoying but funny nonetheless. The fact that the movie All The Best had similar happenings kept on niggling at the back of my mind but I swatted it out anyway!
Atithi Devo Bhava. Guest is akin to God. Us Indians have been brought up on this adage…respect a guest and treat him nice. Easier said than done, isn’t it? There have been many an instances of an unwanted guest overstaying their welcome and becoming and unbearable PITA. And before long, we try to conjure up inane ways to get rid of them, as politely as we can and without appearing to really detest their presence!
Around such a mundane situation does revolve the latest movie to hit the marquee – Atithi…Tum Kab Jaoge? Into the lives of Puneet (Ajay Devgn), a script writer and Munmun (Konkana Sen Sharma), an architect, breezes in one Lambodhar Chacha (Paresh Rawal), ostensibly as a far off relative of Puneet. He is welcome initially but his rustic mannerisms, eye for detail and voracious appetite – among others – start irking the family slowly. Though he endears himself to the other inhabitants of the society and their son, Puneet and Mumnun are clearly fed up of this guest’s overstay. Out come inanely conjured plans and desperate manoeuvres to oust this “pest” but to no avail. I won’t spoil the fun by revealing whether they actually manage to get rid of him or not!
Even with a pretty thin premise and a none-too-unexpected outcome, ATKJ manages to hold your attention and probably does strike a familiar chord with the urban audience, who maybe have faced such a situation before. Most of the humour is situational and well woven into the storyline. One gets to see a multitude of characters as in Priyadarsan movies and they’re well etched at the outset before they make an eventual contribution at crucial junctures in the story. In fact, I half-expected to see something like Bawarchi where a complete stranger becomes such an influence that he becomes indispensable. But this one’s nothing like that!
Its not often that I watch two new releases back-to-back. I usually pick one, and ignore the other till it either receives an obscene amount of recommendations or it comes on cable. But with Rann yesterday and Ishqiya today, I had to break that habit…coz both looked extremely promising and paisa-vasool. And let me say it: Ishqiya more so.
A shishya’s work may not better the guru’s but this effort from debutante director Abhishek Chaubey can be a potent example that it can come pretty close. Vishal Bharadwaj being the guru here and his Omkara, the comparative benchmark. But in all fairness, whilst Omkara was a re-telling of a Shakespearean saga, Ishqiya is penned by Vishal Bharadwaj, Sabrina Dhawan and Abhishek Chaubey and the latter in the role of the director, brings it on-screen in a delectable manner.
Set in the bhayya belt of Uttar Pradesh, Ishqiya is the tale of two petty thieves – Khaalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) who’re on the run from a goon who’ve they robbed and end up in sleepy Gorakhpur, taking refuge in the house of their old friend. The friend is dead now but his widow Krishna (Vidya Balan) gives them shelter nevertheless and decides to help them out when the goons threaten them with a pay-up-or-perish deadline. The three put their heads together and plan a sinister coup & as the plot unfolds layer-by-layer, several hidden truths and stealth motives come to light.
The seemingly odd love triangle between Khalujaan – Krishna – Babban is the highpoint of the movie and is quite well handled. Khalujaan’s romance is old-school, clean, pure, delicately developed around tender talks, mundane kitchen-tasks and nuanced by some old hindi film music from S D Burman and Hemant Kumar. Babban’s is raw, bashful, physical and lustful in nature. And fitted to the latest & raunchiest filmy tunes – something that highlights the generational gap between the protagonists. Krishna plays up to both advances with aplomb and suavely manages to manipulate both to her advantage.