Chashme Baddoor. Or Bad Odour

The new Chasme Baddoor is so bad, that it makes you wonder whether David Dhawan has really seen the original one. Or, did someone just give him the script of the older one?

The classic. The one that Sai Paranjpe made. The one that had Farookh Shaikh, Dipti Naval, Ravi Vasvani, Rakesh Bedi, and Saeed Jaffrey. The one that had only a few songs but even that tiny number included two classics – Kahan Se Aaye Badra, and Kaali Ghodi Dwaar Khadi. The one that was so natural that it seemed like it was happening in your neighborhood. The one that featured one of the most iconic non-existent brands ever – Chamko – jhaagwala, khushbudaar Chamko. The one where the smallest of acts, like the one of sharing a cigarette, or going on a bike together was given a magical touch of endearment. The one… Yeah. You get it.

The one.. was subtle. This one is loud and juvenile. The one … was understated. This one is an attack on the senses. This one has pathetic and randomly thrown music, compared to the adequate and beautiful music of The One.
The only thing where I do not want to blame this one is that at least two of the four central figures have tried to act. And the peripherals show up with decent preparation. Remember Saeed Jaffrey. Remember the short powerful sequences at the Paan Bidi shop. This one has Rishi Kapoor running a bar in Goa. And because David Dhawan did not trust him enough, a Lillette Dubey is added as his romantic interest. And two Anupam Khers. And Bharti Achrekar. Not that they are bad, but it just tells you that some calculation has gone wrong, when one powerful Saeed Jaffrey cannot be sufficiently replaced by five good actors. And I can never get over the fact Directors like David Dhawan always reduce such a fine actor as Anupam Kher to such caricaturish characters. The most disappointing presence of the lot, though, is – not the leading lady (even though “dam nahi hai boss!”) – Ali Zafar. Even Arjun Rampal would seem to have more variety to his expressions. In comparison. If you want to. That is. But why would you!!

Long after it got over, I asked myself if my hatred is so high because of the comparision with The One. Yes. Halo effect did happen. BUT. Even if I try to think about the positives, to be honest, I can only think of two – my first experience of watching Siddharth act as a buffoon and a crass lad, and Divyendu Barua, quasi repeating his Pyaar Ka Panchnama act. They do try hard to salvage.
Please do not watch it. I implore you. Let’s not encourage such travesties as David Dhawan’s Chashme Baddoor and RGV Ki Aag.

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Special 26: Smart, Tight, and Busy

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When the previous outing of a Director is a movie like A Wednesday, you’re bound to have very high expectations. A Wednesday brought on screen the feelings of a large majority of people without making a political mess of it all.

Special 26 does not appear to be a moralistic or a social commentary. At its heart, it’s a heist movie. However, somewhere, there is a very strong comment on the Indian governmental institutions. About how a man with a gifted mind, takes on the system, cons it, uses it for his own benefit, but has an ethical aspect to his actions all the same. It’s a movie that makes you root for the conmen. And its comical in how easy, or ridiculously simple it might be to con the system. I am surprised that CBI endorses the movie in a way, through the opening disclaimer. Or, did Neeraj con them into not getting offended by the movie ☺

Simply put, it is one of the best heist movies from India. The Ocean series kinds. I don’t remember another one. Bunty Aur Babli? Not quite.

Airtight script leads the way. Set in 1987, with a good use of older parts of the cities, some digitally recreated/ superimposed shots, the movie is inspired by some true reported stories about how some conmen posed as CBI officials and conducted false raids on some businessmen.

Good no-frills editing keeps the movie well paced. The movie cuts between scenes quickly. The dialogues are short, crisp and witty. Barring that odd-ball Punjabi song in the first half, I am struggling to snip out any unwanted parts. The details of every city captured in that 1987 era are quite accurate. And to see Gyani Jail Singh on screen was a nice moment!

Acting nails it. Anupam Kher is mindbogglingly brilliant in the movie. Just watching his body language evolve from scene to scene should be good training for body actos. Here is someone who is a complete antithesis of Katrina Kaif who, for the records, looks exactly the same irrespective of the movie or the emotion or the occasion. This is the first Akshay Kumar movie that I have dared to see in a long time. I have skipped his last 10 movies I believe. And never regretted it for a moment. But this Akshay Kumar reminds you of the Akshay Kumar of Sangharsh, the time he did come across as an actor and not a buffoon. He is a revelation. Manoj Bajpayee, Rajesh Sharma, Jimmy Shergill are rocking. Jimmy is in a rehash of his cop role from A Wednesday. Grumpy, quiet and adequate. Manoj Bajpayee is leaner, meaner and awesome. Rajesh has a small role this time, but he scores. The one who outscores these guys with just 3 dialogues in the movie – Divya Dutta. I don’t know why Kajal Agarwal was needed for this movie. Waste of time. Now I know what I’d have snipped from the movie.SC2

The detail that did not always go right – Airport! ☺ With so many shots of the airport, having the current airport showcased as the 1987 version was a bit of a sadness.

And that’s all I will say without posting any spoilers.

The movie keeps you on the seat, and thinking. And it’s a very smart movie. And as most of the readers of this blog might agree, Bollywood has a serious dearth of smart movies. So. Go ahead. Enjoy the movie. Once the plot is revealed, I am sure it’d still remain a good second time watch. Why, you ask? The level of detailing for everything that you are going to notice in the second run, that’s why. Thank you Neeraj Pandey for another awesome movie.

Rating: 4 on 5.

Movie Review: A Wednesday

I saw “A Wednesday” yesterday. And here is what I think – its a superb muvee. And if better not wait till a wednesday to watch this movie. Watch it TODAY!

Its a movie driven by 2 big factors-  and I am counting some great acting by Naseer, Kher, Shergill and Bashir as just one of them. The other is some very tight editing. All of about 100 minutes, the movie keeps you with the motions all through. And there are these minor subtleties, attention to detail that you should/can not miss.

Coming to a detailed download of what I really liked –

Lead actors-  Nobody doubts their skills anyway. But Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher are talents that have been wasted more often than they have been utilized by mainstream bollywood. Some of their finest performances are relegated to the perjoratively called parallel cinema. But here comes a movie, where Naseer crafts yet another mindblowing performance. And needless to say, he does not need to Ham, speak too many dialogues, get into mindless histrionics, and break into a song and dance routine to do this. From the first shot, his body language is that of a frustrated common man trying to game the system. There is nothing about him that makes him stand out from the crowd. Anupam Kher, on the other hand, is the second in command here. A more routine role of a Police Commissioner does not stop him from acting his heart out though. You can see an officer worn with age and different frustrations, and who has started getting amused by the trivialities of a police job (such as an actor running for security at the first possible threat, or using the minority card for no reason or the innumerable times he might have been forced to submit under political pressure). I read somewhere that the only scene where these actors come together, Anupam wanted it re-shot simply because he felt that he did not play his part as well as Naseer played his. When you see the scene, you realize that there is nothing that either of the two could have done better in that shot.

Lest I forget mentioning Jimmy Shergill and Amir Bashir – these two have done a great job. Its good to see Jimmy Shergill stick to what he is good at. A restrained and angry role. With a bare minimum set of dialogues, you still see his screen presence. Amir Bashir is equally good as the dependable cop. The bus scene where the extremists are trying to instigate the two and bothe Jimmy and Amir are not speaking, their face expressions are wonderful.

Others are ok, and have carried the movie through. Because of these four, they largely becamme unnoticeable. Especially, Deepal Shaw.

Story – Refreshing, to say the least. The best thing – they never reveal the name of the commoner out to game the system lest it be construed as a religion sentiment. Because the movie, in my head, belongs to the genre of thrillers, and not as much to the genre of “serious cinema”. There are a lot of implicitly answered questions which a lot of movies spend too much time answering. Commissioner having clear ideas about an encounter, or him realizing that there are no bombs and yet ordering the final acquiescence. The entire room changing their personal stand on the situation without altering their professional stand.

Simplicity – the story is not about using too many gizmos and gadgets to befuddle the system. It uses basic information that probably is available on the internet to blow the daylights out of an outdated system. At some point, a young college dropout says as much to the commissioner of police. It treats the story like a common man’s set of questions – whats stopping the terrorists to bomb this particular local railway station? Where is the security? These fat hawaldars? What if I just leave a bag somewhere here? Can I hack someone’s cell? etc.

Editing/Direction – its all of 100 minutes long. And does not lose you at any point in the movie. Keeps moving. At quick pace. Its moving at such a pace that even Naseer looking at his watch looks like an aberration! 🙂 Neeraj Pandey – You rock!  Sorry – Pandey ji!! You rock!

Overall – please please watch it. It is shameful that we keep saying that bolllywood does not come up with good cinema, and let these occasional wonderful movies not become the commercial successes that they deserve to be!

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