Friday 28 September 2012

Novel concept

Film: OMG Oh My God!
Producer: Akshay Kumar, Ashvini Yardi, Paresh Rawal
Director: Umesh Shukla
Cast: Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Mahesh Manjrekar
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Good
Novel concept
by Bhawana Somaaya
Inspired from a popular Gujarati play Kanji Virudh Kanji enacted as Kishen v/s Kanhaiya in Hindi, the film tells the plight of Kanji bhai (Paresh Rawal), a shopkeeper. When a tornado destroys his store and the life insurance company refuses to compensate his damages, Kanji turns rebellious and takes on God and all the Godmen. Kanji is an angry atheist determined to fight the world alone until a miracle happens. Lord Krishna (Akshay Kumar) visits Kanji and thus begins a conversation between man and the supreme.
What works about the film?
Is that the idea is original and the writing refreshing. The film raises a debate on the existence of God.  The narrative is linear and has two protagonists - the harassed human Kanji bhai and the Almighty portrayed as a contemporary Krishna in designer suits and goggles doing stunts on his motor bike.
Mithun Chakraborty as the Godman, who sing-songs his lines, is a caricature and least appealing. Paresh Rawal as the angry, exasperated and amusing Kanji bhai is convincing and speaks his lines with a facility that comes out of internalizing the character. Akshay Kumar as Krishna Vasudev Yadav from Gokul has a difficult part of balancing the believable with the surreal. Akshay plays Krishna with restrain and mischief. He polishes off all the butter from the refrigerator, wakes up playing  the flute, adorns a peacock feather and works miracles at his will.
What does not work?
Is that it is too verbose which usually happens when films are adapted from plays. For those accustomed to a diet of song and dance there is just one Sonakshi Sinha’s item number. The production values are below average and most important, Kanji’s conversations with God even though laced with great humour and drama, after a point become rhetoric.
Umesh Shukla tries to earnestly do something different and to an extent succeeds. His desire to initiate a dialogue between the atheist and the believer is intriguing.
   Some montages in the film stay with you, for instance when Akshay steps on the streets and watches his many idols on sale. There is just one scene presenting him in the Vishnu avataar and it is effective.
The film reminds you of Nagi Reddy’s Yehi Hai Zindagi where Vikram Gokhale played God and Sanjeev Kumar the common harassed man. In Yehi Hai Zindagi, Lord Krishna in his original avataar visits Sanjeev Kumar from time to time until Sanjeev, an atheist transforms into a believer.
It is brave of Akshay Kumar to play a part which is in complete contrast to his image. It would be interesting to watch how his fans accept him in this new avtaar. 

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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No fireworks

Film: Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal
Producer: Percept Picture Company
Director: Priyadarshan          
Cast: Nana Patekar, Shreyas
Talpade, Paresh Rawal,
Madhurima Banerjee, Om Puri
Genre: Comedy
Ratings: Rhetoric
Bakri Johny (Shreyas Talpade) is a terrified soul and has done nothing in life other than buying lottery tickets every week. He is obsessed with Maria (Madhhurima) daughter of the village don and sworn enemy of his father, David...Peter (Paresh Rawal) who makes certain that his daughter stays away from Johny. Hope comes in the form a silent but very hungry man Sam (Nana Patekar) who is determined to bring the lovers together.

What works about the film?
Nothing. Not the director nor his brand of comedy. Nana Patekar is a new addition in the old camp and comes as a breath of fresh air but even he cannot salvage the film. The actors have a good time but not the audience.

What does not work?
There are no surprises. It is one more meaningless comedies from the Priyadarshan stable.

Difficult for the film to break even but Priyadarshan has a track record of surprising! 

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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Tuesday 25 September 2012

BIG FM Movie Review- Heroine

UTV produced aur Madhur Bhandarkar directed Heroine - kahani hain film abhinetri Mahi Arora ki - uski chamakti lok priyata - aur zyaati zindagi mein bikharte rishton ki.
Ye kahani hain sitaron ki duniya ki…kalakaron ki…jasbadon ki aur sabse zyada- kismat ki…!
Jiss tarha se film ke promotion – endorsements – aur anginnat interviews kiye gaye thhe - aisa lagta hain jaise director Madhur Bhandarkar aur leading lady Kareena Kapoor kuch naya lekar aaye hain.
Afsos aisa bilkul nahi hain. 
Aisa nahi hain ki iske pehle - cinema jagat par filmein nahi bani hain - magar zyadatar aisi filmein ubharte sitaron ke bare mein thi.
Heroine ek superstar ki kahani hain jo real life superstars se inspired hain – iske bawajood na hi kahani rasilli hain – aur nahi kirdaar.
Aisa lagta hain jaise saare kirdaar aur saare rishte khokle hain.
Mana ki show business opportunities ki duniya hain - magar ye zaroori nahi ki film ka har kirdaar negative ho.
Yahan par producer nirdayi hain- director kamzor - journalist bikau - starlet lalchi – pracharak chaalbaaz aur electronic media besharam!!.

 2 ghante aur 30 minute ki film mein na koi surprises hain aur na hi entertainment.

Director Madhur Bhandarkar- jinhone ab tak bohat saare professions par filmein banayi hain – iss baar - apne hi profession ko prastit karne mein nakamyaab rahe.

Film ki likhawat khokli aur banavti hain – aur kahin se bhi humare dil ko nahi chhooti balke ye kehna galat nahi hoga ki Heroine cinema jagat ka exaggerated, unrealistic aur gairrzimmedar ka portrayal hain.
Ye saari khamiyaan maaf hoti - agar film ke performances lajawab hote – aur iski kahani mein sambhavna thi -  
Magar Shahana Goswami aur Divya Datta ke sivay - ek bhi kirdaar sacha nahi lagta. Arjun Rampal kuch scenes mein effective hain - magar film ki sabse badi disappointment – film ki heroine - Kareena Kapoor hain.
Mahi Arora - khush ho ya uddas- hasse royye- nache ya gaye – aap ke dil mein nahi utarti.
Uski  paristhitiyaan bad se badtar hoti jaati hain iske bawajood audience ko character se sahanubhuti nahi hoti.
Iski wajah ye hain - ki Mahi khud apne problems ke liye zimmedaar hain.

Heroine unn saare formuon ka mishran hain – jo box-office par chalti hain -jaise alchohol, abuse, brothel,  cigarettes, drugs, item number, sex aur gaali galoch – iske bawajood- baat nahi banti.
Aur iski wajah hain film ki niyat – Director sirf sensation – sensation aur sensation chahta hain!
Heroine ko Big Entertainment ratings milte hain 2 stars.
The above review in Hindi features on 92.7 Big Fm over the weekend. Suno sunao life banao.

Friday 21 September 2012

Superficial and Fake

Film: Heroine
Producer:  Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Sanjay Suri.
Genre: Drama
Ratings: Disappointing
by Bhawana Somaaya

Set against the backdrop of show business, the film tells the story of superstar Mahi Arora and her battle to sustain her fading career and relationships. 
What works about the film?
Everything off the screen – The hype and the aggressive pre-release promotions, the innumerable endorsements, the various controversies related to the film and leading lady Kareena Kapoor’s personal life specifically, her impending marriage. 
What does not work?
Everything on the screen – All the characters are caricatures and their interpersonal relationships, fake. The screenplay is a cluster of scenes and devoid of any complexities or insights. The film is apparently borrowed from personal lives of many actresses but not a single moment rings true! It is too long – 2 hours 30 minutes and presents an exaggerated, cynical image of cinema world where everyone you are introduced to is ruthless be it the scheming producer, submissive director, abusive hero, unethical journalist, ambitious starlet, manipulative PR machinery and invasive electronic media.
All would have been forgiven if the performances were sparkling and there was ample opportunity for the supporting cast to shine but none, except Shahana Goswami and Divya Datta make an impact. Arjun Rampal is effective in parts but the biggest let down is Kareena Kapoor. Galloping through an incoherent script that fails to define stages and phases in the actor’s career, Kareena plays Mahi Arora on an even keel without any dramatic fluctuations. We don’t know how old she is and for all that she goes through, she is well preserved without any signs of ravage or degradation.
There are few spunky moments when she comes alive like when she lashes at the media in a press conference or when she is mechanical in conversation with her mother but besides that, Mahi leaves you cold and untouched!
What is upsetting about the film?
It is an unrealistic, exaggerated, negative and irresponsible projection of the film world. For a filmmaker who has made an identity of setting his characters in various professions and exploring their worlds, Madhur Bhandarkar goes completely off the mark about his own world. There is no layering in the characters or the ambience, no efforts to portray them as people.
The film will grant a good opening but the audience will see through the dishonest packaging. Alcohol, abuse, brothel, broken homes, cigarettes, drugs, item number, police, politician, homosexuality, sex, skin show and swear words don’t guarantee hits and particularly when everything is projected for sensation!

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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Friday 14 September 2012

This Barfi is Delicious!

Film: Barfi!
Producer: Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Ronnie Screwala
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’cruz
Genre: Romantic comedy
Ratings: Outstanding
by Bhawana Somaaya

Set in the 70s in a pretty corner of India in Darjeeling the film tells the story of three people who learn that love can neither be defined nor contained.
Barfi is deaf and mute but that does not come in the way of his enjoying his life. He is full of pranks and has a way of charming everyone he meets.
Shruti is visiting Darjeeling where she meets Barfi and though she is engaged to be married, falls in love with the simple small-town-boy who makes her laugh and live life to the fullest.
Jhilmil is mentally challenged and has known Barfi since childhood. They meet again as adults and though a lot has changed, a lot remains unchanged.

What works about the film:
Is that it is a refreshing story and completely unpredictable. To all those cynics who feel, so what’s new about love – travel into the world of director Anurag Basu and watch him unfold a stirring tale of three extra-ordinary characters. Shot in breathtaking locations with minimum dialogues, Preetam’s music fills in the blanks for the emotions that characters cannot express to each other.

Ranbir Kapoor’s Murphy/ Barfi is a feast to the eyes and leaves you awestruck in every frame.  He is flawless, be it in the Chaplin act, romance, chase or even the most ordinary scene, conveying more with expressions and body language than words.  What’s endearing is that Barfi is spirited despite his impairment.
Priyanka Chopra’s Jhilmil is a role to remember and her best so far. Chopra plays the awkward, autistic, overgrown woman without vanity or a false chord.  
Ileana Dcruz’s Shruti is a beautiful presence – sensitive and delicate and it is evident that the camera simply loves her.

What does not work:
It is too long – 2 hours 30 minutes to be precise, and has a non-linear narrative that gets complicated. The frequent flashback forwards are unsettling but barring that there is nothing to criticize about the film.

What is special about the film:
The characters and the relationships, the star-cast and the performances, the magic of the lead pair but most important is the film’s director Anurag Basu. After Gangster (2006) and Life In A Metro (2007), Barfi is, in the true sense, a cinematic experience and Basu is the only director in present times who understands the power of silence.

 Barfi will determine if the audience has matured to accept the artistic as commercial. Something tells me they are ready for the change.

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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