Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Friday, 20 April 2012

VICKY DONOR: Good News, Balle Balle

      With a title like ‘Vicky Donor’,you expect crass comic misfire in the movie. But here’s the good news. The sperm (plentiful) here not only meets the egg and  creates adorable children but  also a most delightful little story though slightly overstretched.

The premise is unusual. Vicky Chopra (Ayushmaan Khurrana), an aimless, unemployed 25 year old,5.10 ft tall(a plus for a donor), youth from Lajpat Nagar refugee colony in Delhi. is in demand for his highly bankable sperm. The connoisseur of this fertile, productive young man is Dr Chadda (Annu Kapoor) ,owner of a fertility clinic and a sperm bank. His reasons for settling in on this prize catch are simple. The cause of infertility on the rise is “strass”(stress) which Vicky does not have. He is a simple, “ happy, stress free,upjaao” full of life young man who doesn’t even stress over a stolen TV from his house or over his dog who he sells to get money or over a lack of a decent job. He has the looks and the brains of King Alexander’s lineage.. “Aryaputra” according to Chadda who tries to explain History and Biology parameters for a healthy sperm to a freaked out Vicky. Who better than him to give someone else a life?

But Vicky is happy to wander around shopping with his mother’s hard earned money from her beauty parlour where he is at home threading eyebrows and massaging tired legs. The determined doctor’s chase leads to this happy man’s stress when he meets a cute Bengali girl, Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam). He calls her fish, she calls him butterchicken.Now, how would the twain meet without creating strange flavours and ‘straass’ for both themselves and Chadda?

Written by Juhi Chaturvedi, the story of a sperm donor may not be an ideal one for an overpopulated country like India, but is an ideal example of a simple idea treated well with gentle humour ,warmth and understanding. Delicately handling it like a baby, the director, Shoojit Sircar, critically acclaimed for his first film, “Yahaan”; gives the simple script just the right feel good treatment. Filled with earnest moments from real family conversations amongst Bengali and Punjabi families, there are hilarious versions of Bhangra meeting Tagore scenes ending up in something less melodius, more balle balle.

The dialogues (Juhi) win your heart over even though they are laced slightly with much done to death Punjabi lingo. There is an honest appeal in Vicky’s character. His transition is aptly described by Dr Chadda from “heartless sperm” to “complicated sperm” to “greedy sperm”. His interactions with his mother, Dolly (Dolly Ahluwalia) and “modern as Metro” grandmother, Beeji (Kamlesh Gill) and their drunken bouts, tugs at the heartstrings more than a Karan Johar movie. The comic touch and the laughs generated by almost every scene comes as a pleasant surprise.

If one can overlook a few over the top, some mushy and some stretched moments in the latter half, the movie is full of several scene stealers. The script itself with a well crafted screenplay, great attention to fine detailing and funny, heartwarming dialogues steals the show. Next in line is Annu Kapoor who masters the act of making a point about the sperm’s job  with his two fingers in a way that’s funny but not crass. Ayushmaan  with his cute dimples, a TV Anchor till now, is a delightful find and plays Vicky so convincingly that you can’t imagine him as anyone else. Dolly Ahluwallia  and Kamlesh Gill  both deserve applause for  both their wonderful casting and their supporting performances. Debutant Yami  plays the next door sweet Bengali girl with aplomb and can teach Rani Mukherjee how to shed copious tears without irritating. Finally the best performance comes from John Abraham: both in his cameo dance and his debut as a gutsy producer to back an unlikely subject.

Music(mostly Abhishek-Akshay) is foot tapping, pleasant but average and doesn’t interfere with the story. “Rum and whiskey” has the techno  bhangra touch and  “paani da rang”, sung and co composed by Ayushman with Rochak Kohli, touches you with simple lyrics like “ Tu bhi aa…sabko chod ke..meri aankhiyaan jo anju rul de”(Kusum Verma). “Rokda” is the best song in the movie, written beautifully…”Yeh bhi laado woh bhi laado..paison ki yeh holi bhi laado kum padega..aasmaan se badi jholi hai”.
The only noticeable flaws lie in the camera work and the edit which give the film an incomplete feel.

Overall, skillfully written, directed and performed, here’s a movie that will make the weekend as fun as fish, butter chicken, rum and whiskey .

 No stress.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Bittoo Boss:Punju Video Tadka

With a liberal smattering of Punju shaadi vaadi,video shideo lingo as rich and indigestible as greasy parrrr-on-tha, Bittoo Boss smacks of a story with Punjab da puttar honest, likeable heart which lacks finesse in its storytelling.

Bittoo(Pulkit Samrat), a rugged, bearded son of truck driver from a  Punjab village,shoots “seski”wedding videos and dreams of making it big.Predictably,he falls for a girl at a wedding  and somehow(unconvincingly) finds himself  getting trapped  into a blue film making racket.

Co written with Gautam Mehra ,debut director, Suapavitra Babul’s good hearted story starts off at a painfully slow pace at a wedding that is at a standstill literally, with baraatis waiting for the famous videographer,Bitto Boss who makes a dream entry on a bright yellow scooter.

Bittoo is instantly likeable with his affable behavior and enthusiastic camera work. One wouldn’t mind the camera on him more than the documentary like real faces and dialogue that make the world very real. Enters a totally authentic Punjabi kudi(Amita Pathak) who makes you wonder why Bittu would follow her around with his lenses. But then, love is blind and so are you out of curiosity for Bittu’s future.

Yes, you care for Bittu. That’s the good part. Like he says in the movie, “emotion pakadna hai”,his character has got it. Here’s the bad part. The screenplay lacks pace and structure. It meanders with Bitto’s love story with the wedding belle and only gets interesting post interval,when it’s no longer about the girl but him losing himself in the big, bad,blue world.

The characters that come into play, get even more real, more documentary like, except for Mohan Kapur who plays father to a girl bent on losing her virginity. The story finally gathers both focus, pace and a decent style, only to get filmy and clich├ęd in the end.

The script, reminiscent of “Band, Baaja,Baraat”,“Love, sex aur Dhokha” and “Ragini MMS” in its style and authencity,had the potential of being almost as good.Dialogues are both the strength and the weakness of the movie. There are some good and witty  lines like “desh ki abaadi ki jad Simla mein hai” and philosophical lines on Honeymoon bedroom acts being “jismana action nahin, balki do dilon ka aur ruhon ka connection hai”. However the lines  take the Punjabi lingo so seriously that it irritates, just the way a nonstop family chatter would initially entertain, then rankle a bystander in a train compartment. There is a sudden change in tone from light banter to intense arguments between the hero and the heroine, that fails to get the desired impact.

Music(Raghav Sachar) is fun with controversial lyrics(Kumar) like “Bittoo sabki lega” and “kick lag gayi…ankha teri sheeshe si”,likely to be  popular at weddings, though not as catchy as “Ainwy ainwy” from Band Baaja Baraat.The song “Man jaaga” is poignantly written by Aseem Ahmed Abbasid.. Dhoke se nazar ke, Jhonke se umar ke, Ret ke mahal sa, Deh gaya hai bikhar ke...'').The title track,”Kabootar” is pretty apt with lyrics like “ tu kabootar main kabootar, duniya kabootar khaana..Apna apna daana chugke, sabne hai udh jaana..”. The camera work (Maneesh Bhatt) and edit (Abhishek Seth) are decent and in keeping with the story.

Amongst the actors, Pulkit Samrat rules as the endearing, good simpleton. The rest are passable except for good supporting performance from sidekick (Ashok Pathak) who loves grinning and repeating “shakal se dikhta nahin”.Mohan Kapur makes a welcome comeback to acting.Amita Pathak does little to add to both presence and performance.

All in all, Bittoo Boss is a good and bad but not ugly debut by director, Supavitra Babul. Overdose of Punjabi tadka, as unpolished as a shaadi video but all said and done, with decent emotional tug. Likeable.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Housefull 2: A Zoo and a Circus

                        (Also published in

The makers of Houseful 2, Sajid (Khan) & Sajid (Nadiadwala), clearly believe they can laugh their way to the bank as the audience is a fool. Funny. One wouldn’t be surprised if they are proved right. Not funny.

In Houseful 2, they merrily create a big, expensive zoo starting with a crocodile and a python, which quickly turns into a circus with several jokers who fail to crack you up. Dabboo and Chintoo (yes, Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor allow themselves to be called by their pet names) Kapoor are brothers in arms over Dabboo’s illegitimacy. Chintoo calls himself the ‘real ‘ Kapoor. The brothers swear that they will find the richest son-in- law for their daughters to spite the other.

Hatred runs in the family. Dabboo’s daughter, Bobby, (Jacqueline Fernandez) with a python, and Chintoo’s daughter ,Heena (Asin) with a crocodile make venomous eyes at each other and eventually at muscleman, John Abraham and heroic Akshay Kumar who prance around with the respective crotch biting python and bum biting crocodile and eventually land into a boat unconscious with the girls. They wake up on an island, have a hand to hand combat over a coconut and as quickly hug and make up.

The two hulky bulkies are hired by teeny weeny Riteish Deshmukh, son of rich JD (Mithun Chakraborty) to impersonate him since he cannot walk straight (literally) to his tycoon but simple, Maharashtrian father who is perpetually tending to a harmless, white horse.

So now, there is one ‘real’ JD’s son, and two fake ones created for the Kapoors’ benefit and 50,000 pounds. JD happens to have a shady background and Akshay is the only “kamina”, (son of a rapist, Ranjit) who can help solve the comedy of errors. A fourth comedian, Shreyas Talpade is brought in whenever the jokes fall flat, which happens most of the time. The circus ends up at JD’s palatial London bungalow, continuing to hoodwink the Kapoor brothers along with JD. When all else fails, item specialist, Malaika Arora is brought in to gyrate to ”Anaarkali disco chali” and add more confusion.

The concept itself that involves several lies to cover one lie, is usually not a bad one by itself and provides several situational areas to entertain. The genre of a slapstick comedy provides a large platform for taking liberties and have general fun and has plenty of scope here to be used. But in Houseful 2, the story (not bad, Nadiadwala) sticks to predictable situations, convoluted plot, too many caricature characters that have been done to death before. An unimaginative screenplay cluttered with too many subplots and back stories (Sajid Khan,Tushar Hiranandani) and silly, non funny dialogues (Sajid,Farhad) like “mere baap ki hat-ti hai toh meri phat-ti hai” and “langoors, have my angoors’ fail to add the mildest entertainment.

As far as performances go, Akshay and John try hard to look crazy and stupid. The ever jovial Rishi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor, who unfortunately could have been a big draw and might have shown potential to make a great pair for future films together, don’t succeed in lifting their characters much. It’s sad to watch the famous actors of yore dancing to Sajid&Sajid’s circus tunes. Mithun is neither convincing as JD, the tycoon nor Jagga the daaku. It’s sickening to see him chasing a dwarf woman around a tree in one sequence and falling all over Malaika in the next. Boman Irani ‘s usual squeal takes on various pitches that fall flat.

Shreyas and Riteish are the most natural of the lot and totally admirable for their effortless antics. The poor rich cousins - Jacqueline Fernandez and Asin don’t go beyond colurful contact lenses. Zarine Khan and Shazahn Padamsee simply need to look themselves to act sweet and dumb. Johnny Lever irritates more, performs less with his usual set of expressions. Chunky Pandey makes you laugh as little as his moustache can twitch. Ranjit as the famous rapist, is by far the most convincing, so established he is by his incredible and impressive past movies CV and consistent leer maintained in his brief appearance as his own spoof in Houseful 2.

The songs are better than the movie, with light music by Sajid-Wajid and decent, situational lyrics that do justice (Sameer Anjaan) like “Papa to band bajaaye” and “Anaarkali disco chali”.The cinematography and edit are pretty much functional. Costumes like hot pink and bright yellow shirts make their presence felt more than those sporting them.

A loud, fun and over the top masala entertainer is always welcome until it becomes a mammoth waste of megabucks on retard fare. This slapstick comedy slaps more, sticks less. A visit to a real zoo and a circus might provide more value for the money than the story of the ‘real’ Kapoor and the “real’ son of ….JD.