Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Friday, 20 December 2013

DHOOM 3: Aamir Macha Le

 Standing bare backed, a black hat on his head, Aamir Khan’s entry in Dhoom 3 is met with complete silence in the packed theatre. Unlike the whistles and hoots that normally greet a hero in an adrenalin racing, action film. After all, Aamir is no action hero. He knows it. So do the makers. Both end up taking a giant risk, riding overconfidently on Aamir’s histrionics ranging from a peculiarly over intense expression while racing on bikes to an extremely endearing smile to rolling his neck and widening his eyes saucer sized.Yashraj Productions and writer/director, Vijay Krishna Acharya are clearly placing all bets on the wrong horse. What a pity when they had the right bike oiled twice for a sequel.

Dhoom 3 rides on a very tightrope between its own stylised, action filled, cop and thief chase sequences and a story that appeals exclusively to Aamir fans. But before one talks about Aamir who is more than centrestage here, Dhoom 3 has three very pleasant surprises.

First, there is actually a decent story to this action sequel. (There is both a plus and a minus here.)
Second, Abhishek Bachchan is actually good.
Third, Katrina has just that much screen time as one can tolerably enjoy.

 Dhoom has always been about the clever thief who plays ‘catch me if you can’ with an equally clever cop who loves challenges. And of course, kick ass stunts on buildings, trains and hot bods and bikini babes. Dhoom had John Abraham on his bikes and Abhishek Bachchan. Dhoom 2 became bigger and better with the glamorous Hrithik and Aishwarya playing ‘crazy kiya re’ with Abhishek. Now,despite the very capable director, who takes us to a brilliantly shot Chicago, Dhoom 3 unfortunately fails to meet the biggest challenge of getting a ‘thinking actor’ like Aamir Khan to rob banks and ride swanky motorbikes larger than himself.

Cleverly adapting itself to Aamir’s softer, persona, the script makes the thief a charming clown in “The Great Indian Circus” in Chicago. A backstory involves a child watching his father (Jackie Shroff, better than usual) struggling with debt against ruthless bankers. The child, Sahir (Aamir) grows up to take revenge against the bank.

The film begins well with all the anticipated moves and stunts as Aamir ,Abhishek and Udya Chopra are introduced. Uday Chopra makes his usual, goofy entry, his silly grin his only acting prowess.Abhishek Bachchan ,surprisingly, does full justice to Pritam’s catchy background score of “dhoom macha le..” with his perfect tough cop gait and expression. The delightful action moment kicks in when he packs a punch while in mid-air.

Once the regular Dhoom cop-thief scenario is established and the heroine, Katrina Kaif is introduced in a scintillating dance number as a circus artist, the story changes gears and takes you completely by surprise at interval point. The director takes a huge leap of faith that relies completely on Aamir for the rest of the film. While the actor completely outdoes himself and keeps one engaged and enthralled, Dhoom 3 starts losing its essential value as the game it has been between cop and thief. What could have been a subplot involving Aamir, becomes the main plot and the usual Dhoom chase sequences take a backseat.

The end disappoints with its double dose of Bollywood emotional drama, with the film by now forgetting its core strength of  playing clever clever with the cop.No vroom vroom, no dhoom.

So will you enjoy Dhoom 3? Aamir fans are likely to be delighted after the twist at interval point. As for strictly Dhoom fans, tighten your seatbelts. Speed breaker ahead. As a line in the film goes, it seems the makers are telling the audience.."teri aisi ki taisi.”

Friday, 13 December 2013


The cards are as dicey as any gamble at a casino. A filmmaker, who has made Katrina Kaif strip in her debut film, got the most successful actor, Amitabh Bachchan to star in it; yet brought doom instead of boom both for himself and producer, Ayesha Shroff. A former porn film actress who fared her indecent best in Mahesh Bhatt’s Jism 2. An actor par excellence, who has always been a delight to watch, be it in the classic, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” or dancing to “Oye Oye”in Tridev. The trio: Kaizad Gustad, Sunny Leone and Naseeruddin Shah are a curious mix of cards; Shah, of course, being a trump card.As any gamble would play out, Shah, instead of lifting the other two, falls harder than the worst loser. The odds are definitely not in favour of Gustad’s Jackpot. After all, this is not about lady luck. This is about a story.

But then Gustad thinks it is about solving some kind of a puzzle. So we have 10 minute scenes or chapters (titles like ‘tedhi ungli’,’maza aaya’,’fullto bluff’) that go back and forth so many times that one is happy to give up and concentrate instead on Leone’s ample cleavage or Naseer’s long, white, knotted wig and his bright floral shirts. Incidentally, another character is constantly distracted by her ample assets.  She repeatedly tells him to look up instead into her eyes and focus. Gustad is apparently speaking to the male audience. Going back to the…story, the film is set in Goa. One star to the cinematographer( Artur Zurawski ) here for making it look stunningly beautiful. Except when he indulges in weird angles showing us Leone’s legs a la Ram Gopal Verma.

 Boss  (Naseer) runs a casino from his boathouse called,Jackpot.He  hosts a poker night, announcing 5 crores for the winner. The money goes missing. His ‘con artists’,Francis (Sachin Joshi) and Maya (Sunny Leone) are prime suspects. Boss in turn, plays his own con game with them.Makarand Deshpande,the local cop,investigates.The twists keep getting mixed up with every attempt at clever screenplay.

It is a marvel how Kaizad Gustad ropes in actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Naseeruddin Shah.Clearly,he is some sort of a bluffmaster. More so when his films have the story value of a Joker in a game of cards. Not that it would have been that hard to bring in Sunny Leone. It probably was harder to explain to her the meaning of her dialogue, “Sarkar aur underworld mein kya farak hai”.She says it in her flat firang,sweet voice like she is discussing onions and potatoes. Or perhaps, lacy lingeries. Watching her walk casually in purple lacy underwear or simply stripping and whispering,”where is the money”,may not be all that gratifying either for those who secretly watch her earlier films. Sachin Joshi,her partner in crime, doesn’t impress either, with his muscles and tattoos.

Naseeruddin Shah tries hard to pull along, clinging aimlessly to his flamboyance. Sadly, he is anything but the trump card in this bluff of a Jackpot.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Club 60: Old is not Gold

The only reason to be even remotely interested in Club 60 is not the pairing of Farroque Shaikh and Sarika as most would believe, but the strong presence of actors like Tinu Anand,Satish Shah,Sharat Saxena, Vineet Kumar and Raghuveer Yadav in the film. However,when you have such a colourful palette of talent and you get the dullest of canvases in the end, you might as well throw the brush away.

The film begins Farooque in the back seat of a car, going past busy Mumbai streets. The longest ever voiceover probably seen in any cinema ,tells us his depressive thoughts in bookish words like how he lives in his “kaano ko behra karne waala sannaata” world. Tragedy has struck his idyllic life with wife,Sarika.The two have just lost their son to a shootout in Denver. Farroque, who is a neurosurgeon, has stopped working and now wallows in his balcony all day. Sarika, also a doctor, puts her grief aside and continues to lead her regular life. Incidentally, it is her strength and her scenes, that create deeply touching moments as intended by the film. However, the inherent melodrama throughout the film that harps on the couple’s tragedy, invariably pulls the movie down under its own slow pace.

An annoying neigbour,overacted due to overwritten lines, by Raghuveer Yadav, introduces Farooque to Club 60 where he and his friends play tennis. Forced attempts at humour on the court, follow.Emotional Shayar, Tinu Anand’s loud farts on the tennis court; the lusty, retired army officer,Saxena’s frustration with Yadav’s teasing ;Vineet Kumar’s PJ smses; stockbroker,Satish Shah’s miserly ways; simply fall flat with every scene. The more Yadav talks and talks, the dialogues get longer, the voice gets louder. Predictably, through all this, Farooque discovers that life is not all fun and games for the club 60 members.

The most jarring part of the film is the overhyped lead actor, Farooque Sheikh, himself. Farooque has probably been luckier in his career than Jeetendra is perceived to be. His nondescript looks have brought him the most fabulous parts in movies like Chashme Baddoor,Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Katha.Post these highly acclaimed movies, he has never reinvented himself. In Club 60,he has very few lines since he plays a depressed character. He fails to rise above the clichéd scenes and does not move you in the least, despite the tragedy in his life.

Sarika is the only high point on the screen. She looks extremely graceful and dignified as the understanding doctor-wife and plays her character convincingly enough for one to overlook her somewhat childlike dialogue delivery.

Tinu Anand and Sharat Saxena are the most endearing of the remaining actors. Raghuveer irritates as he hams his way through his jovial antics. His T-shirts with funny one liners, bring more smiles than him. A brownie point to the costume designer and the director ,here .Zareena Wahab appears briefly in the most clichéd manner possible. Mona Wasu lights up the screen in  what seems like a wonderful 10 minute break from the tiresome oldie, not so goldie buddy affair.

Writer/director,Sanjay Tripathi,has made science shows for BBC,National Geographic and Discovery. While he definitely has a great message to tell through his story, he ends up being more preachy than entertaining.

Sadly, there is nothing ‘heartfelt’ about Club 60. More heart ‘failed’.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

R…Rajkumar: R..ridiculously G..gandi

What’s with roadside Romeos that fascinate Indian filmmakers so much? Prabhudeva’s Rrajkumar has not one but two Romeos in love with ‘khamosh’ Juliet. There is Shahid Kapoor,who calls himself “Romeo Rajkumar” and calls the girl “Lollipop”. Reason enough for this love story to end before it begins.

 But Juliet aka Chanda  (Sonakshi Sinha) has other concerns.  ”Teri height mujhse kam hai,”she tells him.”  wajan dekha hai?”, he shoots back promptly. Then comes the filmy declaration,”pyaar dil se hota hai, height, weight se nahin”. Naturally, a song follows…”touch kar ke dil attach kiya re,kabhi chod diya dil, kabhi catch kiya re, saree ke fall sa kabhi match kiya re..” Pritam’s music with whacko lyrics like these and the popular chartbuster rocking nightclubs these days, “Gandi baat”, actually make these songs more enjoyable than even a minute in the rest of the film.       

Now that Mr Shorty has wooed Miss Heavyweight, it’s time for the villain to enter. Only he happens to be a wannabe street Romeo. He is Shorty’s own drug mafia boss, (Sonu Sood),the ‘dabangg’ man as he calls himself. Mr Dabangg  declares he will marry Ms Heavyweight on Dusshera. Mr Shorty flexes his tiny muscles, grabs the girl’s hand and challenges his boss, “silent ho ja warna violent ho jaonga”.Not to be left behind, Mr Dabangg lets go of the knives and guns and rises to the challenge like the Romeo he is. He decides to learn an English poem to woo the girl. The English teacher teaches him, “I am your bull, you are my shit..together we will make bullshit”. Predictably, the film continues to produce more of the bull yarn.

Prabhudeva who is best remembered for choreographing the fabulous dance in Pukar’s “Que Sera Sera”, is now clearly settling for anything that is crass and crazy. After a 100 crore success like Rowdy Rathore, it has been assumed that the story, character, lines and actions have to get rowdier with every film. Pyaar pyaar” and “maar maar” as used by the hero here, are the new formula words
Shahid Kapoor,desperately tries to fit in the Akshay Kumar kind of  silly action-humour hero mould but falls flat on all the valiant ‘violent’ one liners.

Sonakshi ‘Khamosh’ Sinha apparently continues to ride on her dad’s popular one word, “khamosh’ fame, used in the film in the most hackneyed manner. She does little to add any weight to the jokes or the romance.
 If the film’s only saving grace can be song with lyrics like “Gandi baat… and its music, you can well imagine, how bad the film is. So bad that even 2 same alphabets in the title cannot help.

Friday, 29 November 2013


Bullet Raja packs in all the typical Tigmanshu Dhulia elements: rustic sprawling, terrain, hardcore native dialect, reminiscent of Paan Singh Tomar; long political gang wars as seen in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, entertaining dialogues full of humour and meaning. Yet, Bullet Raja carries just the whiff of gunpowder punch.

Like Saheb, Biwi, Gangster, there are too many characters and one can easily be lost in the steady stream of bullets and one liners for the first 40 minutes or so. Raja (Saif Ali Khan) is on the run from some goons. He gatecrashes a wedding. Rudra (Jimmy Shergill) becomes his best pal, overnight. Soon, they are ready to kill for each other. Apparently, that’s the only thing they know and the only kind of job they can get despite their reluctance.

They end up working for politicians. Now the story gets interesting. A corporate big wig, Bajaj, (Gulshan Grover) happens to call them ‘monkeys’. Raja and Rudra forget their deal with politician (Raj Babbar) and are out on a personal vengeance now. A clash of personal, political, business vendettas follow. What starts off as a hilarious kidnap scene with a bizarre, romantic spin, becomes a confusing tale of friendship, revenge, and political traps.

The main strength of the film lies in a wonderful and funny bonding shown between Saif and Jimmy. Saif seems to have a knack for being at his best when paired with any actor; be it Akshay Kumar in “Main Khiladi, Tu Anadi” or with Shah Rukh in “Kal Ho Na Ho” or with Amir and Akshay Khanna in ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. It does not matter if he is not made for action films like Bullet Raja or that when he says “Yeh gussa hai ki maanta nahin” and does not look angry at all. He is still fun to watch all the way through, especially in romantic sequences with Sonakshi who has a light and pleasant screen presence in the role of a Bengali girl, Mitali, who wants to be a heroine and does not mind the company of two men with guns, always on the run.

Mahie Gill and Vidyut Jamwal, make their presence felt with their special appearances. Mahie’s sizzling item number. “ ..Don’t touch my body..” displays her unlimited energy matching every beat of the music. Vidyut, clearly, has a blast and delivers every action scene with the smoothness of a ramp walk.

Bullet Raja is a film you don't take seriously but simply enjoy. Just like the sincere Saif.


Friday, 19 July 2013


 Iqbal aka Goldman, clearly modelled after Dawood Ibrahim, is the most wanted man in India. Well, one thing is clear now. After ‘D-Day’, Nikhil Advani is undoubtedly going to be the most wanted director in the thriller genre.

After directing a typical Joharesque film, ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and films like “Chandni Chowk to China”, Advani springs a surprise with a racy thriller packed with both edge of the seat anticipation as well as emotional drama.
Dawood has been a favourite Bollywood subject for years.This time, the script uses several interesting elements about him and weaves a clever, wishful, fictitious story that both thrills you and moves you.

The film opens to an action packed sequence playing to “Dumadum Mast Kalandar” ending in a stupendous shoot out that leaves you guessing the outcome. The entire first half leading to the interval is exhilarating as it takes you to each character’s life and well chosen locales of Karachi including the red light district of Napier Road, and the Empress Market lanes.

Four Indian R&AW agents are in Karachi on a mission to nab Iqbal (Rishi Kapoor) and hand him over alive to the Indian Government. Wali (Irrfan Khan ) runs a small barbershop as his undercover guise. He loves his wife and school going son and wants to whisk them away to London for their safety. Rudra (Arjun Rampal) chooses his hideout with a prostitute (Shruti Hassan) and ends up falling for her. Zoya’s (Huma Qureshi) marriage is on the verge of breaking down because of her work. Aslam (Aakash Dahia) has managed to infiltrate Iqbal’s circle as a driver.

The story deftly moves between what each one has on stake along with their own life viz a viz their strong allegiance to the country and their eventual deadly encounter with Iqbal.

The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Niranjan Iyengar’s lyrics simply enthrall and engage. One particular song,’Alvida’ stands out in its stunning picturisation on Arjun Rampal and Shruti.       

Amongst the actors, Irrfan stands out as usual. Aakash Dahiya is good and the rest are adequate. Rishi Kapoor with his Dawood hairstyle and pink glasses, manages to mould himself in his threatening persona but gets a little ‘filmy’ towards the end.

If for nothing else, watch D-Day for one dreamy moment of seeing ‘Dawood’ seated between R&AW agents in the backseat of a car.

Friday, 12 July 2013


Whenever Milkha Singh trains for his runs, he wrings out his sweat from his drenched banyan into a mug. As the races become more challenging, the mug graduates to a bucket. Like the protagonist, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ has plenty to sweat over. One is to be true to a real life hero and the other is to match the incredible track record set by Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. Eitherways, it does not quite break any records.

The film starts with an impressive first 5 minutes setting a grand camera, light and sound play capturing the introduction of the famous Sikh athlete, Milkha Singh at 1960 Rome Olympics. Milkha (Farhan Akhtar) enters the stadium, like a champion, his lean body, overtoned muscles, thick veins, telling a story of their own. Milkha kneels in the starting position along with other runners and breaks into a speedy run. He is no longer Farhan, the actor. He is an athlete, out to conquer. About to win the 400-meter race, he turns his head and slows for a second. A brief flashback shot of a small turbaned boy running in the rain, is seen. Milkha’s race is ruined. So is the rest of the film. 

The story goes back and forth constantly in a very stretched screenplay centering on Milkha’s past demons involving the India Pakistan partition.
Instead of dealing with the making of Milkha, the amazing athlete who earned the title of a ‘flying Sikh’, the story focuses on too many overemotional moments with his sister (Divya Dutta, excellent). A specific, powerful but entirely unnecessary scene shows Milkha as a child, being witness to a rough sexual act between her and her domineering, violent husband in a crowded refugee camp. More, heavy emotional moments are seen between Milkha, an army recruit and his first coach, (Pawan Malhotra, fabulous) which are more pertinent to the story. The film moves to a young, aimless Milkha who falls in love with a Punjab village belle, Bira(Sonam Kapoor) and walks around with her, carries buckets of water umpteen times, before he can ask her name.

Milkha’s journey from partition days’ trauma to knife wielding days in his youth to his running for a glass of milk as an army recruit, to becoming a celebrated Indian champion athlete, would have been much more engrossing if it wasn’t for the over the top, emotional treatment.

The director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who has given both a hugely successful, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and a mishap like ‘Delhi 6’, is clearly out to milk every aspect of commercial cinema, be it through too many songs or too many tear jerker scenes or stunning cinematography. Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics,”Zinda”, with Shankar- Ehsaan-Loy’s perfect music, create the right, inspirational impact. Mehra’s overambition and a sloppy edit almost ruins the apparent labour by the entire team.

Farhan Akhtar is admirable in his efforts, right from his evident hard work on his sinews, to his athlete posture to his Punjabi accent. But the supporting actors, especially Pawan Malhotra and Divya Dutta constantly out shadow him in their naturally, rustic appeal.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, may have some inspirational appeal as a Biopic. But it does not quite match the record that the real Milkha Singh set for India.

Friday, 28 June 2013


She is in a red polka dotted dress, a matching polka dotted fat hair clip, huge flower shaped earrings, eating with a flashy, coloured fork when we first see her. Authoritatively, she asks her husband, how is the food. He quietly eats it and doesn’t say much. His mother calls to ask if he has eaten. The wife makes fun of her. He ignores it.

She changes from loud attire to a flashier, tackier one from the latest Femina or Vogue magazine. He comments on it. She laughs it off and defends her garish style, calling it fashionable. At one point, she dons red horns, fish nets, a small, fake guitar, high heels and stands atop the bed with unabashed, horny flamboyance, a veritable delight to watch.

With all their quirks, they are like any husband (Emraan Hashmi) and wife (Vidya Balan) who bicker a little. The wife has an upper hand but is an adorable, loud mouthed Punjabi. The husband is a simple and obedient man who loves to watch TV and sip red wine.

Only he is not that simple. He is a skilled thief required for one last bank robbery. The wife is not any housewife fussing over food either. She wants the big moolah. So she does what she knows best. She throws a loud fit and turns over and sleeps. And of course, he goes and robs a bank.

Three months later, he has met with an accident, forgotten he has robbed a bank and where he has hidden the money.

He is still the simple husband who dare not offend his wife at the dining table when she asks him about the food. She is still the domineering wife who refuses to leave her fashion magazine even when she is kidnapped.

Yet, while the hilarious chase for the money and the husband’s memory continues, the screenplay very subtly plays with dynamics between the husband and the wife. Slowly, doubts and jealousy creep in and before you know it, you are witness to the best screaming match between a couple in a train across two compartments.

Few moments like these and a delightful characterization saves Ghanchakkar from its weak ending. The director, Rajkumar Gupta, has made Aamir and No one killed Jessica, both thrillers based on true events. Ghanchakkar displays his mastery over setting a certain tone and giving it a great build up, retaining lightness even in some serious moments.

Emraan Hashmi as the henpecked husband losing his memory, is most endearing in his innocent expressions and mild manners even when he constantly takes beatings at the hands of goons. Vidya Balan makes up for her weak accent just by having fun, making fat look cute and wearing her over the top Punjabi look with elan.

The second half makes up for a slow beginning marred by the most irritatingly bad acting by the two supporting goon characters (Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das) unfortunately present throughout the film.

Those waiting for the high point of the film- “Lazy Lad” song, a wonderful Amit Trivedi composition,written by Amitabh Bhattacharya, are in for a disappointment. It is purely for the promos.

Despite the flaws, Ghanchakkar is watchable for a good plot and the adorable Emraan and Vidya . Vidya’s hilarious costumes, a banana and a fork in the end, get a delicious brownie point each.