Watch NH10 for Anushka

This scene is not in the movie. Not exactly like this, at least
This scene is not in the movie. Not exactly like this, at least

There are many things that need to happen in the right amount for a movie like NH10 to work. And history suggests that Bollywood has a knack of screwing those many things many times over in many movies.

For instance, in a thriller, should the lead actors necessarily sing and dance around the trees? Or, in a rather dark movie, should the protagonist emerge as a larger than life person taking on some 20-goons at the same time? And beating all of them to an unrecognizable color (black/blue/white/gold)? Or, should a story that can be told in 90 minutes be told in 150+, so that the audience feels that they have got their money’s worth?


Thankfully, NH10 manages to avoid most of these pitfalls. It’s a superbly edited edge of the seat dark thriller, elevated a few notches solely by Anushka Sharma’s performance (despite her disconcertingly gone wrong lip job).

Running at an approx. 2 hours length (probably lesser), NH10 moves at a hectic pace almost all through. And not because there are too many characters and too many sub-plots (like Gnags of Wasseypur), but because, for a change, someone hired an editor who knew what editing should do to a movie.

Anushka Sharma hits this one out of the park. Make no mistake, it’s her movie. All the way. Right from having football field size cojones to put her movie in a script like this, to acting out of her Band-Baaja-Baraat-ki-saddi-dilli-wali-bubbly-kudi skin, this is her show. Meera (Anushka) is a better symbol for gender equality than Deepika Padukone’s or Twinkle Khanna’s open letters. Definitely more than Shobha De’s columns.

In a particular scene, a police inspector remarks that “ye shehar ek badhta hua bachcha hai, koodega to hai hi”. The disgust on Meera’s (Anushka) face speaks volumes about how much she has matured as an actor.

The transformation of Meera in the second half of the movie is somewhat heroic and filmy, maybe, but it isn’t a hyperbole of Salman-ian Radhey standards. Her methods, but for the one scene where she climbs the walls of a construction quarry, are more real than Vidya Balan’s last scene transformation in Kahanii. The climax seems a minute too longer and a conclusion too exaggerated, but is probably one of the most lucid and definitive conclusions I have seen in similar bollywood fare. Remember Mardaani? And how the end seemed a little too much? Even for a cop? This one doesn’t. If at all, I expect many women to want to learn driving (really well and not just a car), and working on. You know, it might come handy some day without things really having to become that bad. By the way, let’s be real here. Bollywood finds it natural to have a male actor kick 40 bad guys in a climax. How can you expect them to find credible endings for female protagonists?

Movie has a fantastic cast overall. Neil Bhoopalam is someone I have been wanting to see in a big role. Unfortunately, in this one, he looks and acts more like Rajkumar Yadav (heard he’s changed his name?). That is not bad, but that is not the Neil Bhoopalam I have come to expect from his theatre circuit performances. The villain dudes are pretty good. The cops, better. The creepy guy in Meera’s office – fits. They even have a Deepti Naval thrown in for artistic effects.

The background score is excellent. It helps maintain the tautness of the movie.

If you remember Manorama – Six Feet Under, you can see Navdeep Singh’s imprint all over again. The movie has that shadow almost all through the movie, and you’re almost always on the edge of your seat waiting for something to happen. There’s a point in the movie where Meera stops at a water tap and is splashing her face. It’s the middle of the night, and you spend almost the entire fifteen seconds wondering if something’s about to happen. I won’t throw too many spoilers like these your way.

The music is not meant to be consumed without the movie. And there isn’t much of a distraction. No song and dance sequences to take you off the main course. The mood – continuously sombre.


The movie has its share of flaws and generalizations. The good people (Meera and Arjun) are educated, drive a Fortuner, speak English, and go to swanky parties. Interestingly, they have a licensed gun. The bad people, however, are the rural folks/ honor killing kinds, drive around in a trademark Mahindra (Scorpio) vehicle, speak in  colloquial Haryanvi, and watch Ramleela/Nautanki equivalents in their village for entertainment. Oh, and they kill with sickles and iron rods. Fifty Shades of Grey, not! Almost every thing is black and white. Much as the police inspector tries to explain to Meera, the obviousness of certain things is unmistakable.

Deepti Naval is a forced distortion in a movie of this genre. It’s a hat tip to our habit of trying to include every possible dimension. It would not have made any difference if Deepti Naval was replaced by an unknown person of any gender.

Anushka-NH10Some of the page 3 discussions early on in the movie seem forced. But they help establish the characters Meera and Arjun. And thankfully, not a lot of screen time is wasted on that. If I could, on hindsight, I would take out about 10 more minutes from the movie.


Overall, highly recommended movie for the week. Watch it to encourage more such movies. Watch it for Anushka.



(image courtesy – ibnlive and filmibeat)

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.

Jolly LLB – What The Brilliance Shuklaji

jollyThere is a sequence in the movie where Guruji (Sanjay Mishra), a hawaldar, is auctioning the post of SHO Sadar Bazaar to several police inspectors. His condition, in addition to the bid, the person needs to have a clean image. And the inspector who wins has only got an eve-teasing case from Delhi University pending against him. Suitably lauded, he wins the post for 65Lakhs only. Aap sabhi bade afsaron ko hawaldar ka namaskaar”, that’s how he begins the auction.

The simplicity of the proceedings is the heart of Jolly LLB. Jolly LLB is a rather simple movie with a simple idea and a simple script. And simply put, it’s a simple and enjoyable movie.

The movie has its fair share of flaws. Amrita Rao would stand out as the primary. She is not needed. Due to her, there are three songs in the movie and they waste time. And they slow down the movie intolerably. The first half of the movie hence, is slow. You get thepoint of the struggling lawyer, the success of a PIL, a case too strong to hit the headlines, a judiciary so weak that the criminals walk scot free, and a very successful lawyer who’s methods are questionable but his success is not. The part that takes about an hour, could have been done in about 20-25 minutes. Especially because the movie does not mope about anything. It does not over-dramatize anything.

Second half of the movie is much better paced. And with a lot of oddities being there, Subhash Kapoor leaves it to one of the most talented character actors of the industry to seal the case. Saurabh Shukla as the Judge Tripathi. An absolutely brilliant performance that outshines the other two excellent performances from Arshad Warshi (Jolly/ Jagdish Tyagi) and Boman Irani (Rajpal). Towards the end, as he takes subtle control of his courtroom and his bellowing “baith jaiye tejpal sahab. Ye mera courtroom hai” contrast to the burping and conniving judge when he’s introduced, are a joy to behold. It was also softly pleasant to see Ramesh Deo on screen, the man I most remember as Anand and Babu Moshai’s friend.

The other two flaws – Arshad Warsi is good, but is good doing what he has done too many times. His acting/style is not very different from his last few roles. I wonder when he will do another Sehar kind of role. More understated and intense than his lathering blabbering self. The second – here you have a young lawyer who is struggling and unmarried and is dating a school teacher. And Arshad Warsi does not look young. Not in one frame of the movie.

But he compensates for it. Still. It’s a nice movie. Not awesome. But nice.

Special 26: Smart, Tight, and Busy


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.

ABCD – Anybody Can Dance. And boy oh boy, did they!


I walked in with not too many expectations. I was expecting a bad copy of the Step Up series. I was expecting worse because the attempt was to get a 3D movie going, and I am not a fan of 3D for the sake of 3D. And I came out pleasantly surprised. I had a great time watching ABCD.

The movie does not begin that impressively. The first sequence featuring a couple of dances are not very impressive. And the stage is set with a showdown between Vishnu (Prabhu Deva) and Jahangir (Kay Kay Menon). Enter the bastis and chawls of Mumbai and the talented bunch of rowdy kids that most TV watchers would remember from Dance India Dance – Dharmesh, Salman, Punit, Vrushali, Mayuresh, Prince and co. Laurenne Gottlieb of So You Think You Can Dance fame is introduced almost uncermeoneusly in the beginning – her real introduction reserved for much later. The movie trudges along with songs and dance.

But just before the interval, we are treated to a ‘Down Under’ sequence which features a street/betting based series of dances ending with Prabhu Deva showing us why he is considered one of the best dancers of India. Even at his age. And from hereon, there is one brilliant choreographed sequence after another. And whatay fun it becomes.

There isn’t much to worry by way of the story. As expected. There is a twist towards the end, and there is an inspirational dance performance in the end to win the finale of the championship – Dance Dil Se. Typical underdog story.

This movie is meant for, and only for, those who love to see good dance performances. If you’ve enjoyed the Step Up series or Dance India Dance/ So You Think You Can Dance, you’d love ABCD. The dance sequences are more, almost as good if not better, Indianised enough to not seem like a direct aping of Step Up series, and the acting skills of these dancers is bad, but not as horrible as it is in Step Up series. Acting has primarily been left for Kay Kay Menon, and he acts and overacts at the same time. Ganesh Acharya scores in his role. Prabhu Deva is the pivot that holds the movie together. The other actors are only given a few dialogues, and mostly inane ones.

A big shout out to the music directors Sachin-Jigar who have come up with a truly danceworthy soundtrack. There are two ganpati tracks in the movie, strategically placed, they make you feel rightly pumped up (like the popular Deva Shree Ganesha track from Agneepath), and are not soppy to make you feel overtly religious.


The 3D need not have been used.  There are a few frames where the finished products looks tacky. Especially the crowd shots. But in certain sequences, the depth of the frame helps you appreciate the choreography a lot more.

There isn’t much to tell you about the movie otherwise. The fact that the movie is not very long helps. And the movie is a “definitely watch” for those who enjoy dances. And support India’s first contemporary dance movie by watching it in theaters. You won’t be disappointed. I want to give  a big round of appreciation for Remo’s debut attempt – there couldn’t be a better tribute to dancing. And a very small piece of detail that he gets perfectly right – he does not give in to the temptation of having trained dancers dancing like trained dancers from the first sequence itself. His dancers evolve with every dance. And his choreography too.

Just for the choreography, the movie has a 4 on 5 from me. Overall, 3 on 5.

Top 10 Bollywood Movies of 2012

It’s been long due. But, thankfully done before the rounding off takes us to 2014.

I saw a total of 26 movies out of the 102 that I have the list of. There were 14 that I kinda missed out on. Which means that I might have seen them when they released, but haven’t for one reason or the other. Sometimes, too much negative sentiment in the first week itself. There are 17 that I had not even heard the name of. And 45 that I couldn’t be bothered about.

Of the 26 that I saw, two get combined into one. Yes. Gangs of Wasseypur. Though, if you ever ask me to compare, I like GoW I more than GoW II. And I am still not sure if there is a way to compare Nawazuddin’s performance with Manoj Bajpayee’s. Both were insanely brilliant.

I wanted to do a top 10, but I will do 11. *Drumrolls*

#11: Arjun – The Warrior Prince
The reason I extended the list to 11. This movie deserves a mention for, finally, doing some good animation work in Hindi. There are parts of movie which are breathtaking and with excellent animation qualities. But it seemed like a case where the budgets ran short at some point, and the quality of animation and editing too. But, I was still very happy to see this movie. The creative interpretation of some of the scenes is wonderful in this one.

#10– Talaash
Aamir Khan’s supernatural suspense thriller had pace issues, but compensated with excellent performances from the entire cast. A wasted Nawazuddin shines in that tiny role (probably the last we see him being so insignificant). A grumpy Aamir does not hog the limelight more than he needed to. Reema Kagti had a winner with this one. (Review)

#9 – English Vinglish
Sridevi had an excellent comeback with this movie. The movie is soppy at its worst, and very light at its best, but managed to keep me entertained for most of the movie. The soundtrack was good. And the support cast was able.

#8 – Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana
With the most known actor being its biggest weakness (Kunal Kapoor), the movie is an endearing watch. Basesar brings back memories of a long gone era, Huma Qureshi is exceptional, and Mamaji owns the movie.

#7 – Shanghai
Dibakar Bannerjee’s latest moved from Delhi and NCR region to Mumbai and Bharat Nagar. Emraan Hashmi was playing way outside his comfort zone, and the movie has the usual DB quirks that we have all come to love.

#6 – Barfi!
For all the DVDs that were contributed for inspiration, Barfi! Is an excellent piece of entertainment. Ranbeer, PC and Ileana keep you rooting. My most difficult moment – should I root for Ileana or should I let Barfi go with PC? (Review)

#5 – Kahaani
An excellent thriller. I am not sure if too many people saw the suspense coming, I did not. And I enjoyed it till the end. Vidya Balan deserves the best actress awards for this one. And Nawazuddin – what an year he’s had. Or, probably, it was long time coming.

#4 – Vicky Donor
Who’d have thought that Baldev Chaddha’s infertility clinic will give us so many laughters. Ayushman Khurana, one hopes, will do justice to his debut. I don’t have much hope from Yami Gautam, though. Pani Da continues to be one of the best songs of the year. And lastly – Tathastu!

#3 – Malegaon Ke Superman
The plight of our multiplexes. Thank you PVR Rare. What A Movie. I would probably have missed this one completely. But was I happy after seeing this movie. It was one of the most honest pieces of brilliance in the cinemas this year. (Review)

#2 – Gangs of Wasseypur
Insanity. Anurag Kashyap gave us something totally unexpected. This was earthy to the core, had minute long characters with week long impact on your mind, a mindboggling soundtrack by Sneha Khanwalkar, phenomenally brilliant performances from Tigmanshu Dhulia (who shall forever be known as Ramadhir Singh – rehne do beta, tumse na ho payega), Manoj Bajpayee (and that moment with Rimi Sen at the pump), Nawazuddin Shaikh (and the rooftop scene), Huma Qureshi (Permission nahi lena padta hai kya) and Richa Chaddha (Ae faijal, khoon nahi khaulta hai re tera). Oh, and Wasseypur. (Great Bong’s Review)

#1 – Paan Singh Tomar
The modha modhis may not remember this movie for the struggle it went through (its release was delayed by a few years), but it is difficult to think of another deserving best actor performance after watching Irrfan Khan here. One of the best screenplays in the recent years that I have seen, superlative cinematography, and top class performances. Paan Singh Tomar was my favorite movie of the year, not by a mile but clearly so.

02 0310 04 05 0601 07 08 09  11

And since I am picking the top 10, a special mention must go out for “Heroine” – for helping me appreciate almost every other movie that I saw this year.

Akaash Vani – Good Premise, Extremely Boring

AkashVani hits at an important issue  – a small town issue. The one that revolves around parents demanding a sacrifice off their children when it comes to matters of marriage, and the apparent sacrifice that some children do make and regret/ hold their parents guilty for. It also touches on the more serious issue of marital rape. Yet, all that is good about the story is undone by the weird snail pace and extremely meandering screenplay.

The first half holds better than the second half. First half takes you through the juvenile and teeny bopper affair of Akaash (Kartik Tiwari) and Vani (Nusrat Bharucha). Barring the inane and randomly corny dialogues, the chemistry of the lead pair keeps the first half together. Towards the end of the first half, the twist is introduced. Vani’s sister elopes on her wedding night, and vani is left to deal with devastated parents being preached at from every possible social angle, a phenomenon very common to urban and semiurban middle class families. With their world devastated, Vani makes the only clichéd compromise she could – she agrees to get married as per her parents’ wishes.

Except that the marriage is a bad idea, and the husband is an educated prick of the worst kind that all real and pseudo feminists would love to hate. He expects the wife to cook, not work, not study further, submit to his carnal desires at night (willingly or otherwise), takes jab at her for everything, and so on and so forth. This is the point where you can witness the quiet marital rape that an entire section of Indian women submit themselves to. Why? Because a divorce would further devastate their parents – ek bhaag gayee aur doosri ka divorce ho gaya! What should Vani do?

The movie just goes on and on and on and on by this time. The entire second half is a disaster in that sense. The same thing, if said, in less than two hours would have been excellent cinema. But by the time its done, you hate the movie for being so bad that you lose your appetite for even Chicken Momos.

Quite like Pyar ka Punchnama, this one loses momentum the moment it decides to move from quips to sentiyapa. Luv Ranjan has to figure out his ability to edit sentimental moments. There is a 5-10 minute capsule which is beautifully cut, but badly edited. It takes you through the life of Vani immediately after marriage. Moving from one day to another and back, and one scenario to another and back, it’s a beautiful scene. Except, that you get the point in the first 2-3 minutes and the rest of it is just excess baggage.

He reminds me of a different version of Sudhir Mishra, whose movies would be a different thing altogether, if he finds himself a good, ruthless and independent editor.

The other sore thumb was the music. All the songs should have had one stanza less. If not in the album, then at least in the movie.

The movie has a few positives – The story does not take the usual course, and in that sense, the script/ central theme is good. The only action sequence is the way Nusrat slaps the prick. It deals with small town sensibilities and the “love marriage issue” in these setups quite well. And also, the end scene is quite brilliant, I’d think.

The lead actors have acted very well. There are times whenImage Kartik Tiwari is not adequate for the intentisty the scene demands, but he holds quite well otherwise. Nusrat Bharucha is quite brilliant this time round. I was not convinced with her in PkP.  The friends and support cast is ok. I hated the entire love-senti section of PkP, and I am convinced now that Luv Ranjan should stick to fun moments  and jabs in his movies.

Overall, extremely passworthy movie. If you have downloaded a copy, keep skipping every now and then and finish the movie in about 45 minutes. You may actually like it then.

I am going with 1 on this one. Its closer to 1.5, but then, why be generous on this one?

Movie Review: Inkaar

Long long time ago, there was a screeching song – Inkaar nahi karna.. hadh se bhi jyada tum kisi se pyaar nahi karna.

The crew that went for the show loves Chitrangada, and there is a general belief that the ravishing babe knows how to select good scripts. The other factor in consideration was the Director, Mr. Sudhir Mishra, who has traditionally delivered interesting movies based on interesting pretexts – Hazaron Khwahieshin Aisi, Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi, Khoya Khoya Chaand, Chameli, Ye Saali Zindagi, etc.

The movie starts with a sexual harassment case brought upon by Maya (Chitrangada) on Rahul (Arjun Rampal), with Dipti Naval playing Mrs. Kamdar (social worker brought in to help resolve the conundrum). Except that it isn’t as black and white as you would imagine. Arjun ain’t ready to accept, and he is a glib talker. And Maya has too many skeletons in the relationship closet as well. The thin line between “favors are fine” and “you’re harassing me now” is what the movie keeps revolving around.

The goods – Plotline. So, to set the score right, the script is interesting. Yet again, Mishra does it right. Office culture, flirtatious relationships, office romance, sexual favors, harassment suits, etc. have been depicted once by a gentleman with a Bhandarkar surname. Yet, this one is closer to being, rather than the gloomy picture that he loves to showcase. And it is, unlike most trash that wants you to take side, this one is balanced.
The soundtrack is quite good as it gels with the movie, and there are a couple of very good songs. The couple of Kanwaljit scenes are actually brilliant and key to understanding the movie. The climax is good, but could have been better. The first half, where it ends, could have just added 15 more minutes to wrap up the movie. The way the relationship between Maya and Rohit is unveiled is interesting. And rather than show a Maya, Rahul and true version of everything, they’ve kept things reasonably ambiguous throughout.

The bads – First up, horrible editing. The movie should have been at least 40-45 minutes shorter, and it would have been an awesome crisp movie. But then, we haven’t known Mr. Mishra’s movies to be well edited. Read the list again. Then comes the dialogue. The movie has some hilariously bad dialogues that I don’t want to get into. Better dialogues could have saved the movie. Third, the waste of two glam ladies- Dipti Naval and Chitrangada. Dipti Naval almost isn’t herself. She is bad in this movie, which she has never really been anywhere else. Not in my memory. Chitrangada looks as gorgeous as she always does, but she is off color in the acting department this time. No one expects anything, so why waste e-ink on him. Though, to be fair, he is actually decent. Or, maybe its my lower expectations and some halo effect. Even Shivani Tanksale is wasted. The best guy is Vipin Sharma as Guptaji. And lastly, while the movie is setup quite well over a lot of rapidly moving scenes that alternate between versions of the story, the damn things goes on a tad too long before it gets anywhere. The suspense is interesting to start with, but you need newer conflicting angles for things to stay interesting. Not a cat fight. Unless you are into LOLCAT videos.

Endnote – 2 of the 4 enjoyed the movie. 1 is coming around, and saying it wasn’t that bad. And me – well, I wouldn’t have missed not watching it. But it ain’t the too bad. It’s a 2.5 on 5.

Review: Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola. Mera Man Nahi Dola

The movie reminded me of Harishankar Parsai’s brand of satire. Or, Orwellian Animal Farm. Where probably every prop symbolizes something bigger, something political. But that and Pankaj Kapoor are the only two saving points of the movie.

The movie is a classical proletariat vs. bourgeoisie setup, with significant doses of leftist sentiments, political buffoonery, and enough set pieces to navigate from one subtle comment to another. The everyday references galore. The dual personalities within most – one that does what seems to be “success” and the other that lives to uproot it all to find true happiness (especially after being a few drinks down). The JNU educated leftist who’d use Mao as the symbol for his revolution, the red color for his flag and messages. The commentary on media that talks about UFO sightings and highlights “pet mein murge baang de rahe the” kind of breaking news journalism, the daaru brand, the pink buffalo, the money taken for education loan from the village biggie, the Zulu tribe slaves who don’t realize they are slaves, and so on. MKBKM’s pink buffalo reminded me of the Kala Bandar of Delhi 6. A prop with great possibilities. And this time, it’s executed much better than the Kala Bandar. Vishal continues to project his love for Shakespeare with lines from Macbeth thrown in for good measure. Fair is foul and foul is fair! That being said, you can see general doses of smartness thrown, rather wasted, on this movie.

Because, in short, the movie is extremely slow and patchy in its execution. The songs end up being troublesome the way they pop up. That’s one that that you wouldn’t have blamed Vishal Bharadwaj for in his earlier movies. While Khamakha, Badal Utheya are brilliant vishal-ish composition, Oye Boy Charlie has the raat ke dhai baje feel. Vishal’s music, brilliant though, is becoming predictably formulaic. You can draw parallels between Kaminey and MKBKM track by track. Special mention for Prem Dehati’s rustic voice must be made.

The thing that raises this movie from being a well below average affair is Pankaj Kapoor. He lights up every frame that he’s present in. It’s a shame we don’t see him in more roles. This gentleman is worth more than half the actors in the industry. Maybe more. If there’s one reason why you may come out of the theater not feeling bad, it will be Pankaj Kapoor.

Vishal’s movies have had some amazing moments in the past. There are these moments where two of the actors get to show the world how brilliant they are. Even Shahid Kapoor managed to fool us. Remember “hum mein gooda hai” or the Konkona-Saif scene from Omkara. Or the tiny little scenes in Maqbool – miya pyaas nahi lagti tumhe aajkal kinds. And Vishal has set the bar on those critical relationship moments so high, that anything that tends to take the essence away, seems like that leering paunchy desi on a south goa beach. In this movie, you can blame it on Imran and Anushka.

Both of them have upped their game considerably. But Anushka is not a good serious/troubled weeper. She cannot get the nuance of that father-daughter moment before the wedding. And not surprisingly, Pankaj Kapoor nails that scene without saying much.
Shabana Azmi is good, goes without saying. And wonderfully self-deprecating. The others are adequate. The eunuch in the movie is another standout act, and the little blind kid.

In summary, the movie has an insanely brilliant premise, and a storyline that seemed worthy of Vishal’s direction, yet the editing and the screenplay fails the movie. Too many loose ends, and too much of indulgence. But Vishal will be back, one hopes! I will recommend that you wait for the DVD/ TV screening of this one.

Dabangg2 – Shamelss Fun With Salman At His Best

Dabangg2 – is not like the last 3-4 movies of Salman. But it is exactly like Dabangg. Where it all started. While, like many, I consider Wanted to be the real turnaround of Salman Khan, I believe that Dabangg has created a juggernaut of sorts in the industry. Singham, Khiladi 786, Rowdy Rathore, etc. are branches of that same formulaic execution. A larger than life hero, punchlines, slo-mo action sequences, item numbers, a villain who’s good for punchliners and has perfected the art of looking menacingly at the camera, a few comic actors thrown here and there. That’s it. The big difference between 70s-80s and these ones right now is slo-mo action sequences, IMO. And a thought must be spared for Abhinav Kashyap who made the first installment, but will not be missed this time round.

Now that I have classified the movie, let me tell you that Dabangg2 is a brilliant Salman Khan movie. Right up there with Dabangg. I am actually inclined to say that it’s better than D1. So, it’s a 10-salman rating kind of movie.

The setting/story is as simple as it should be – Pandeyji takes a transfer to Kanpur (to earn more and play a bigger role). Someone kidnaps a school kid. Cut to the grand entry of Pandeyji. Cut to slo-mo fight with enough comedy moments as well. Cut to product placement. Cut to more slo-mo. Villain/Big Brother of town is worried. Run in is unavoidable. And one thing leads to another. Till such time that Salman Khan’s shirt is off. You know that the end is near if Salman has had to reveal his dashavataram/noshirtavataram roop.

Salman stays true to the Salman image. Buffoonry, Fights, Angry Eyes, “apparently” witty repartee (and its “apparently” because he is the first one to start laughing at his jokes, like a true PJ God). He is his best when the humor is self-deprecating. And Salman wins hands down in that genre. Since Govinda is not fighting fit anymore. The most endearing comic moments, however, are his prank calls to his father, Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna). Salman, yet again, carries the movie. And his beefy self will deliver, yet again.

Vinod Khanna has more screen time (if we take out the songs) than Sonakshi Sinha in the movie. That should be considered good news. But the bad news is that one item number features Malaika (but Sonakshi joins in too soon to let it be an item number) and the second features Kareena (with due respect to the Nawaaban of Pataudi, Kareena should not take up pure dancing assignments).

It’s sad to see Deepak Dobriyal play the role he did. And as badly as he did. After Omkara, Dilli 6, etc. one always waits for him to leave his imprints on a small enough character in the movie. Sadly, not this. He is a flunky who acts like a flunky.

Prakash Raj, the veteran menacing guy, has not been able to better his Singham act this time. Or, the Wanted act. Bollywood has reduced him to a unidimensional character, while we all know that he is capable of this and much more. He is good. He is fine, actually. Because this is stuff that he can do sleepwalking, most likely.

The poor guy who took his shirt off in Ready is the third villain, and takes off his shirt in this movie as well. He is the same guy who had a pretty impressive antagonist role in Jodha Akbar. Now, you remember?

Chaubeyji, Tiwariji and Siddiqui and others along with Mathur saab (the Bhatia saab of office office fame) support adequately. They are the equivalents of Mahmood, Asrani, Keshto and co in the modern era.

The opening sequence is a montage of well remembered scenes from the previous installment, sans the dialogues.

The music is not Munni-esque but is good enough to be chartbuster. Fevicol, Seeti bajaye, Dagabaz, etc. are all just about there to make it to the charts. And stick on long enough to make the movie work.

The movie has some very (seemingly) force-fitted scenes to project Sonakshi as ‘sexy’. Jeans on a bike, backless blouses, a morning-after scene , etc. Maybe not a big personality, but she has a face big enough to fill an entire screen. You’ve got to give her that much. She continues to be a well cast bad actress.

In short, it’s a great Salman movie. Enjoy it if you know how to enjoy it. By the way, did I tell you watching Salman’s movie with his real fans at single screen theaters is the best way to watch his movies. And because it’s true, the number of fake whistlers is going up, sadly. When you watch a movie at Chandan, it’s very easy to distinguish between those who love Salman, and those who want to project that they love this Salman-ism . You know that point where doing rusty stuff is the ubercool chic thing? So, it would be typically be – “Oh my god, did you see that Versace bag ya? Ooh. I am like soo going back there after the movie. You know what. We should learn how to do these whistles ya. It’s so much fun. Oooh.” And at this point, I leave you with King Julien and his whistling skills.

Watch from 0:20 till 0:48

“The Last Act” is a well-intentioned Sunday afternoon watch

At the beginning of The Last Act, you wonder why it was intentioned to be such a low key release under Director’s Rare, so strong is the initial spell. You are spellbound as the movie builds momentum in the first couple of acts. Yet as the spell fades, the movie meanders and flounders, and another promise remains unfulfilled. You realise a lot of things that are wrong with the movie.

The movie has everything right about its description – A dead body with unknown identities, 12 clues found on the body, each leading to a different city. 12 directors have directed individual sections (cities) and one of them also tries to bring the conclusion together. The plot is conceived by Anurag Kashyap. And all of these are the right reasons why the movie keeps you on the seat.

The plot is intriguing, and as an afterthought, I must say that the conclusion is a very interesting one too. I have no intentions of revealing any of the spoilers.

The twelve cities, and sub-plots, are presented in uniquely different styles, ranging from simplistically linear and effective presentations to queasy metaphorical representations. The actors, barring a couple (like Saurabh Shukla and Asif Basra) are new names and new faces. Yet, most of them are effective in their miniature roles. Hardly anyone has more than 5 minutes of screen presence, which helps you not dwell too much on their shortcomings. So, your entire focus on plot inconsistencies, and quality of story telling within each section. And it is here that the movie flounders.

There are far too many loose-ends (and I mean loose-ends, not incidents/events open to interpretation) in the movie. Also, from a narrative standpoint, some of the details seem way too coincidental, too-far fetched, or two creative. And the most baffling of them is the missing sense of timelines from any of these events. The Pune and Chandigarh sequences are a little too esoteric, while the Hissar sequence hardly adds anything to the story anyway. Take these three out and you’d still have a very intriguing movie, I’d guess.

Yet, the movie still offers a lot of high points in the way the story is told and the plot is brought together. Some of the actors are top class in their performances. The cops in the Ghaziabad and Delhi stories, Ameena in the Delhi story, the psychotic cop in Pune, the khaini eating cop from Mumbai, and a whole bunch of others stand out. The calcutta sequence is delightful. The background score of the movie is quite good. The dead body in the opening scene is a little too flimsy and hence the impact of the blood and gore is not as hard hitting as it could have been. You can clearly see the outline of the puppet. Occasionally, the camera guys are visible in mirror reflections as well. But those are minor flaws considering the kind of forum Anurag has provided to these budding film makers. And on that, given the budget on which the movie is made, and the overall entertainment value of the film, I’d give it a big thumbs up. It’s better to support these movies than ridiculous movies like JTHJ or SOTY or …

Endnote: Watch it at home on a Sunday afternoon. Or theater (this week) if you want to support more such movies.

Talaash can be watched. But only once

** No Spoliers **

There are several well constructed and bewildering moments in Talaash, the stand out being the introduction of Shernaz Patel as Feni Mistry . The queerness of her personality in her introduction scene is quickly replaced by a reasonably mature albeit abnormal personality, sadly.

Let that not deter you because Talash is a very well made movie. Slowly brewed, gripping, especially in the first half, the movie is carried forward by Aamir Khan’s intensity more than anything else. The movie is also a very gentle reminder of how good an actress Rani Mukherjee is and how she has wasted her career. The movie further reminds you that Kareena is beautiful, has oodles of expressions, and is extremely lazy about acting. The others are props. Much as is being said about Nawazuddin (it’s fashionable to talk about him), he is just about fine in the movie. And if you set the bar by his recent performances, below average. Shernaz is a disappointment, unexpectedly. Rajkumar Yadav – good but wasted. Almost everyone else exists to give Aamir a chance to act some more.

In a world where bundling is becoming a common phenomenon, Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar have managed to compensate for the discounted script with some good background score (Ram Sampath) and good camerawork. The movie maintains the feel and the ambience and the colour pallettes of a good suspense thriller. The music is good and maintains the pace of the movie. Songs are not distracting. One of the full-length songs (“jee le zara” in the background) could have been trimmed for the movie.

The last 10-15 minutes of the movie are an unqualified torture on your senses. One thing that I am strictly against  is thrillers trying to round off everything and then continuing on for some more.  Simplicity is such a difficult thing.

You cannot avoid getting pissed at the gaping flaws in the script. And it’s very difficult to unleash your fury at Reema and Co unless you are allowed to criticise most of the focal diversions in the movie. So, I will skip to the biggest problem with the movie. It’s a movie that can not be watched twice, much as it is a movie that you would not mind watching once.

So, go for it. Before someone as idiotic as Kamaal R Khan spoils the movie for you.

Bollywood Titles: What’s In A Name!!!

Every time I hear about a bollywood movie launch, I try to imagine what the movie would be all about. Old hobby. Not one I’ve consciously thought about, but its there somewhere in the back of my head. And quite often, I am disappointed because the movie is nothing like the title. Or even related to the title. Worse still, there is a very low amount of creativity in this department. These days, we have resorted to making movie titles out of old hindi movie songs, for heaven’s sake. I mean the only thing that comes close to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is Love Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana or Matru ki Bijli Ka Mandola.

So, I thought I would pick 10 recent names and re-imagine their stories.

  1. 1. Ek Tha Tiger – A quality sports movie on a fictionalized version of Dhyan Chand’s story and the peak of Indian hockey.
  2. Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Just renaming Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna would do. But an alter version has six people signing a pact in blood in the opening sequence and this pact is given to a “protector”. Twenty years later, the world is divided into two. A self sufficient city run by these six families and a larger powerful adversary With the protector being the force that keeps utopia intact.
  3. Kaminey – An adaptation of 100 bullets for cinema. The families are easy to pick – Gandhis, Ambanis, Tatas, Kalaignars, etc. One thing I know is – Abhishek Bachchan will not be one of the minutemen. Nor Bobby Deol. Amitabh as Graves – that sounds right.
  4. Son of Sardar – A sequel to Sholay, where the son of the ultimate sardar – Gabbar comes back, kills Veeru and Basanti in the opening credits, and Radha plots the ultimate strategy to save the son of V-B. Jai is dead. Thakur is dead. Veeru is dead. Basanti is dead. Can Radha save the son? From the son of sardar. And yes. Sambha’s son will be there too.
  5. Student Of The Year – I’d get inspired from “The Great Debaters” for this. Show the legacy in the opening credits. And then, a quintessential underdog story.
  6. Talaash – Going in with the flavor of the season, this should be a sequel to Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron featuring the search for Dmello’s dead body. While Sudhir and Vinod are being convicted, they furnish the evidence (pictures, cufflinks), but the critical evidence is the dead body which Tarneja (thinks) has hidden somewhere. But this time, Anurag (Kashyap) and Imtiaz (Ali) are two small-time journos who decide to stand for their cause. And this time, we will have the twitter, facebook and blogworld involved too. Public opinion vs. Politics.
  7. Dabangg – The story of Vallabh Bhai Patel and the Bhoodan initiative. Fictionalized to some extent, but that should be interesting.
  8. Chakravyuh – I’d want someone to be able to tell a fictionalized but epic retelling of the Abhimanyu tale. Just that. I think the war strategies, what chakravyuh was, why it was so difficult for anyone but Arjun/Karna to be able to break it, why it required archery skills of the highest level, etc., will make for some amazing story-telling.
  9. Barfi! – The indian version of Chocolat. That brief should be sufficient 😉
  10. 20 Saal Baad (this is in lieu of 1920 Evil Returns – I have no opinion on that movie)– Art-house cinema about an aging couple. 20 years after they first met each other, are married, and apparently, happily settled.

Does it ever happen to you? I mean what emotion does a bloody title like Jab Tak Hai Jaan evoke?


Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Bachaa Ke Bhaago

I dont want to say that Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a bad movie. That would be too generous on the man who gave us Kabhi Kabhi and Silsila. I don’t want to pity him after his death. I do feel bad though. His last outing was Veer Zaara, which even at an indulgent pace, and with extreme hyperbole, had traces of Yash Chopra that made it tolerable. And it had a bunch of good actors playing their part, including the music department.

JTHJ is a finely crafted bouquet of mediocrity from one of the most resourceful production houses of the country. Yash Chopra can rope in exotic locales, big actors, expansive sets, color coordinated choreographed sequences, so his is not the story of someone having to make intellectual compromises because he ran out of resources. His is a case of either dying at the wrong time (which meant that he did not look at the last version of his product) or a case of blatant idiocy. Given the extremely emotional end-credits footage, I will go with the latter.

For those who prefer short reviews, summary reasons why I disliked the movie (detailed later)-
1. Bad Script
2. Horrible acting
3. Ridiculous pace
4. Painful set pieces
5. Murder of some good music
6. 45 year old SRK as a 28 year old street singer
7. End of debate about Anushka’s “potential”

The good thing was that there were some 7-8 trailers – Race2, Talaash, Dabangg 2, Mere Dad ki Maruti, Khiladi 786, Twilight, and a couple I am forgetting. Also, the 5-10 minutes of banter between SRK and his friend in the second half is better than the rest of the movie (its a pity that IMDB or several other sources do not identify his friend’s real name). And yeah, one stand out dialogue, which comes from Rishi Kapoor – “Har ishq ka ek waqt hota hai!”
I want to spare SRK a bit on this movie. He is the only one who holds this movie together, despite not being the best suited for the role.


Side story: Someone asked how do I end up watching these movies (SOTY, JTHJ, kinds) – and a conjecture is that biwi says we are going, and I say yes ma’m. However, as you know, life is more complicated than that. It will be unfair to blame the biwi completely. I should rather blame it on my undying optimism. That some day, that one day, that once in my lifetime, someone in this industry would actually spend money on a good script and then back it up with insane amount of funding to create an end product that I’d fall in love with. So much so that I would come out of the theater only to walk right back in for another show. Philosophical shite aside, this is how it happened –

Mom-and-dad (biwi’s parents) are in town for Diwali. As I was leaving for the station to pick them up, biwi casually mentioned – “before I forget, and in case I haven’t told you, we are watching JTHJ tomorrow. 11 AM. So, if you were making any plans…”.
I said – “OK. By the way, is the ticket for today or for tomorrow? Since today is a chutti as well.”
Next day morning 10AM. “Shit! The ticket was for yesterday”.
“Shit. I asked you to check”(laughing heartily inside my head).
“Shit Shit Shit!”.
“We can’t book online now. Less than an hour left. Lets go to the theater and check”.
“Hmm. I think we will get it. Morning show hai yaar.”(Wildly happy by now, in the hope that there are enough idiots out there who would want to watch this one, and the show would be sold out. And then, we would watch Son of Sardar) (NO! You cannot ask me why SOS would be any better!)
Happily drives for the next 20-25 minutes. Asks biwi to go get the ticket while parking, hoping to get a call announcing the inevitable. Call happens. Tickets have been procured.
“Ticket mil gayee. Kahaan ho?”, she says.
Sends a curse up the air. Parks, throws a few curses under his breath, and the house-band marches on to Screen 7 of PVR Cinemas, Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla (the one which announces – learn to say Kurla with an accent- yep- that one).




Now then, the detailing –

1. Bad script. The number of loopholes being what they are, and historically, not a real problem for someone like me, the number of idiotic things that happen in the movie are mind boggling. A man with a case of retrograde amnesia walks into a cordoned off area because of a bomb scare starts saying something about the bomb and the Brit cops are more than happy to let him touch the bomb and go about detonating it. Obviously the fact that its a train station is not so important. And that guy is a brown guy in a white country isnt either. In a separate scene, a chick strips down to bare essentials and doesnt feel the sting of cold air in Leh. Another man is sitting in a t-shirt. And when she jumps into water, the cold water numbs the senses of a national level swimmer within 5 seconds to such an extent that she drowns. But the other man manages to get her out of water, and comfortably drive away in his wet suit. Well! The bomb diffusion scene (first one) seems like a straight lift from The Hurt Locker.
2. Horrible acting – Katrina Kaif, by herself, is usually good enough to take care of the acting problems. The others, by halo effect, look like good actors. In this movie, Anushka and Katrina are fiercely competitive. Katrina wins by one expression. That is, she has one, while Anushka has two. Expressions.
Katrina has an amazing happy expression, where she is romantically running around or dancing or whatever with some good or average music in the background. Her second expression is one of extreme disinterest. No expression at all. She mouths dialogues, but the face remains the same, and as the biwi points out – her eyebrows dont move at all. At all! Now, pan the camera (slowly and romantically) on Anushka. She is better. She has two expressions. One that classifies her as the true born of a Punjabi family. Everything is – O Teri kinds! And the second is when she is the true born Punjabi who is trying to hold her emotion back but a traitor tear finds its way out. You know the happy sad tragic kinds. There is no third expression really that comes to mind (or screen) when you think of her.
3. Ridiculous pace – The movie moves at a pace which is in line with the old age parable involving a hare and a tortoise where eventually the slow and the steady wins the race. Unfortunately, no one in that parable defined till what speed can it be considered “slow” and for what duration can it be called “steady”. The movie makes you check your watch so often that if you carry a set of dumb-bells to the movie and wear a watch on both your wrists, you will surely come out with Arnie – biceps.
4. Painful and inappropriate music set pieces – This one is a traditional strength of YR. Remember “Aaya tere dar pe deewana” from Veer Zaara. Ridiculous scene but music used well. Ends with Shahrukh wearing a black shawl and looking on with intense eyes. Yeah. This one, however, sets up a dance sequence where KK will dance to her hearts glory (on the streets, true Step Up style) and discover her inner peace. Way I see it, the sequence features some good dancers as extras/foils who are relegated to the background, to highlight an amazingly un-graceful dancer (KK) and an otherwise extremely energetic dancer (SRK) who has a broken back and who is well past his expiry date when it comes to dancing. So, it looks comical. And a wasted opportunity. Maybe, then, that was the idea. And it bloody goes on for close to ten minutes with the Ishq Dance followed by Ishq Shava. Phew! So much for a generation which is fed Jhalak Dikhla Ja and Dance India Dance and similar shows at least 4-5 days a week (and with multiple reruns across channels, including news channels)
5. Death of some good music – Heer is a brilliant track. I loved playing it on loop. Sadly, once you’ve seen Katrina emote that one on screen, it loses all emotions. She spoilt the song for me. Thankfully, not so much that I can’t listen to it anymore. Likewise, Challa is a good song where the chosen voice does not sound like it belongs to SRK. And once you see SRK on the screen jumping on the song, it becomes worse.
6. End of debate around Anushka’s potential – Now I am convinced that she is not good for anything else but playing the happy punjabi kudi. That, thankfully, she does quite well.
7. SRK as a 45 year old 28 year old guy – PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK, will you? Wasn’t it enough that Aamir Khan was playing a gyaani 17 year old guy in 3-idiots? That guy at least tries to look more earnest about getting his walk,talk right.
8. The movie is a barrage of set pieces where the lead actors (or supporting cast) have the opportunity to deliver some amazing cheesebally suger coated syrupy inanities. The kinds that when spoken in real life, amongst good friends, especially when you’re young, are bound to draw guffaws. Imagine you talking to your girlfriend, and saying things like – “meri aur xyz ki kahaani us adhoori kitaab ki tarah hai jinke panne umr ke thapedon mein dhundhle se ho gaye hain. kuch harf nazar nahi aate, kuch sirf khayalon mein hain!” I mean, really, do you expect your friends to empathise with this profound statement. Most likely, they will hold silent for, exactly, maybe, 5 seconds. And then, hell shall break loose. But anyway, YR is known for getting away with those profound moments, making generations of women believe that true love happens when there are roses blooming, people standing on the alps in nothing but a t-shirt, and people narrating love poems in uber cool baritones – jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan.

Last thought – Jab tak hai jaan… bachaa ke bhaag lo. OR, if there was a positive spin to it – “Dekh lo. iske baad sab kuch acha lagega, jab tak rahegi jaan”

Movie Review: Student Of The Year

Now, now! Don’t get me wrong. I was scared. Scared out of my wits. But I knew I had to do it. It’s one of those things you do for love. True love. And so, I did it. And to my surprise, I came out alive. And quite well, if I may add.

Student Of The Year, or SOTY as it has become, famously paraded for the gaana wala song, isn’t half or or one third as bad as I expected it to be. It’s breezy, designer led, well-edited, and with a heavy dose of skin show and brawny muscular aspirational crap. And it’s watchable. No, its not Heroine. It’s not Kuch Kuch Hota Hai either.

The first fifteen minutes of this movie are crappy. Really crappy. I have heard people review the introductions of these bozos with aplomb, but they suck. But thankfully, the rest of the movie is not as bad. Once the grand introductions where the under-age lady pouts with all her colors, the first dude murders a guitar (what’s the guitar murder count of bollywood btw?), and the second dude goes on to prove why we are such a wannabe soccer country.

After that, thankfully, KJo moves on to school antics, banter, reasonably immature doucheness in a mega-douche school, group of friends-turned-enemies, school stuff, and finally, dumbledore’s triwizard tournament opens up.

To be fair, both the actors (Siddharth and Varun) have acted well, Siddharth acting a touch better than Varun. For all the Alia conversations, she is what our industry has reduced most actresses to – a showpiece. She pouts, sings, dances, sheds a tear here and there, and gets a total of 90 seconds of acting time in a 150 minute+ movie. And yeah, she does not act that well. But that hasn’t been a deterrent in bollywood either.

The support staff is actually better than the core, and have a reasonably high amount of screen presence. The start is a little off-key for Kaizaad (played by Kayoze Irani, son of Boman Irani) but he comes back very strongly. Manjot Singh is kinda wasted. Rishi Kapoor has not been used to the max, but is good in limited doses. Ronit roy and Ram Kapoor hang in there. Everyone else (including Farida Jalal) has a 1 minute deal in the movie and they’ve all done their bit to keep the movie interesting.An extremely interesting sidenote is the behavior of families behind these students who study at this insanely posh school. In a brilliant 2 minute window, KJo smartly demolishes a lot of the glitter that went into the school.

The music did t really work for me as much. Surprisingly, Gaana Wala Song is still the best song of the movie, followed by Radha/Ratta Maar. The remixes of old songs is fine, but only so much. But there are a few songs too many. But then, KJo indulges himself when he directs, and accepts so.

Everything else is irrelevant. It’s a long movie which does not bore you. You may hate the idea of watching it, but most likely you won’t hate watching it. It’s KJo’s bollywood grandeur at display. And it’s a movie that will make serious money, esp. overseas.  I am not exactly recommending you watch it, but I did come out not hating the movie.


Oh, by the way, the movie has too many bloopers. So. don’t bother thinking about them.

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