Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Friday, 31 May 2013


A hug can speak volumes. Especially when a well-guided camera slowly moves in to two people going through a mixture of emotions ranging from uncertainty to overwhelming love to the need to hold on forever. More so when Ranbir Kapoor almost rocks himself like a baby in a warm embrace.

Writer/director, Ayan Mukherjee knows how to orchestrate this wonderful moment in ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’. This simple scene makes up for an otherwise overcrowded plot full of some good, some contrived dialogues including the once famous Rooh Afza.

When Karan Johar, Ayan Mukherjee and Ranbir Kapoor first got together, they gave us a wonderful coming of age film, ”Wake up Sid”. Besides the warm and simple story, there were several interesting factors that reflected Ayan all the way. Like the unlikely pairing of Ranbir and Konkona in a fresh and endearingly simple, honest story.

With “Yeh Jawani hai Deewani, Ayan has has taken almost the same elements of love, friendship and growing up and now added several layers to each character with a double dose of Joheresque production values.

 Konkona from ‘Wake Up Sid’ is now Naina (Deepika Padukone); the simple, good, levelheaded girl .She discovers how to have fun with Bunny aka Kabir (Ranbir) who is a wanderer at heart. Ranbir and his friend in ‘Wake up Sid’ had a lovely, bonding moment when the two have a scrap and later come together, laughing their heads off over an engagement ring.

In Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, the bonding is so good that it touches you more than the romance. The credit goes partly to Aditya Roy Kapur for a fabulous performance and partly to a very well written scene in which the two friends come to blows and later hug.

The two friends, Abhi (ARK) and Bunny along with their third friend, Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) leave for a trek in Manali. Naina, who has grown up with her nose buried deep in books, joins them. In the midst of rollicking fun in the snow capped beauty and colorful gulal filled romance, she falls in love. Eight years later, it is Aditi’s wedding and the four meet again. The rest of the screenplay, surprisingly, moves into some serious territory. The conflict is relevant but comes across as somewhat forced.

Since the narrative is focused on Deepika’s point of view and keeps moving to the other two friends, Ranbir gets centrestage only in the song and dance scenes. One of them, is by now famous dance to “Ghagra’ with Madhuri Dixit who looks more alluring than ever. The sizzling chemistry between the two calls for another film altogether. Pritam’s ”Badtameez’ and ‘Balam Pichkari’ are typically top of the chart numbers, all written by the versatile Amitabh Bhattacharya.

It is no surprise that Ranbir excels in every emotional scene and plays his vagabond character with ease (a tattoo of ‘awara’ on his wrist shows off his great genes). However it is Deepika Padukone who continues to surprise and delight after her noticeable performance in Cocktail. Her dimpled charm is beautifully highlighted in several close ups. These incidentally gave rise to several gasps of admiration in the packed theatre.

Aditya Roy Kapur is on par with Ranbir, both in screen presence and acting. Kalki as a mad cap who hides her true feelings, is just perfect for the role. She charms, emotes and entertains effortlessly.
In one scene, that shows their essential conflict, Deepika and Ranbir debate over Mumbai and exotic international locales. Deepika says, “DDLJ and popcorn at Maratha Mandir.”

That’s going a bit overboard. So does Yeh Jawani hai Deewani. 

Friday, 24 May 2013


 Ten years ago, the gorgeous French-American actress, Julie Delpy acted in a film written by herself and co-star, Ethan Hawke. She went on to receive an academy award nomination for the best-adapted screenplay. This was a sequel “Before Sunset” to an equally popular ‘Before Sunrise’.

“Before Sunrise” had just two characters - a boy and a girl who meet in a train and spend an entire night together, walking around in Vienna, knowing that their most romantic time will end by sunrise. There was no story throughout, no sense of ‘and then what happens’ right until the end. Yet the film compels you and sucks you in. You simply enjoy following these two good looking stars, exploring their own chemistry, their worldviews and the developing connection.

Preity Zinta is obviously inspired by the film. She has co-written ‘Ishkq in Paris’ with Prem Raj, the director. The film begins in a train going from Rome to Paris. Boy meets girl and the two walk around the beautiful city, talking.
The similarity ends there.

She (Preity Zinta) is Ishkq with both ‘q’ and a ‘k’. Yes, that is actually her name. He (Rhehan Malliek alias Gaurav Chanana) is Akash and pronounces his name like A-cash ‘with a k’. She likes chatting up strangers as she knows there is no chance of meeting again. He likes ..well…that aspect is never mentioned, really. So he likes going along with all she plans. Which is nothing different from partying at a pub, having dinner and coffee. But then it is Paris -“the city of love…jahan pyaar karna asaan hai par pyaar karna mushkil.”

The idea like “Before Sunrise’ is to have a stimulating conversation. Instead it is boring and contrived. Any attempt at a joke falls flat. There is zero chemistry. The conflict brought out at interval point tries to create some intrigue but by then it hardly matters one way or the other. Ishkq has some past baggage (what’s new) which drags and stretches into one heavy cloud of boredom. Paris does little to rescue despite the picturesque beauty.

The acting by the duo doesn’t help either. Rhehan is strictly okay. His dull looks don’t work either. Preity like always, plays herself. If only she looked like herself too. Her apparent nose job has taken away the vivaciousness from her charming, ever brimming smile. The only thing commendable is her spirit and effort towards producing and writing a film for herself when the industry has all but forgotten her.

French actress, Isabelle Adjani plays a dismal role. She only has one moment to speak of and that lies in her beautiful portrait at a museum. The rest is a badly dubbed voiceover in Hindi.

If you are a Preity Zinta fan, hoping to get a glimpse of the innocence seen in her first film ‘Dil Se”, you may fall out of  ishq with her.

If you are not a Preity fan, you may as well look at prettier postcards of Paris. Or wallpaper.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


QUESTION: What can be more sick than a sex MMS circulated around?
ANSWER: A film based on the scandal. Worse, it has a silly title, "I don't luv u".

"I Don't Luv U" adds idiocy to the sickness and serves it in the garb of loud, moral preaching.

Sample these scenes:

A college classroom is all about eyeing a girl's cleavage or her legs. Random, badly shot, close ups of both are seen to show what the boys have on their minds.
The hero, being the silliest prankster of all, scribbles something on a piece of paper and passes it to his friend to hand it to a girl in a skirt. The teacher notices this and orders the friend to read it aloud. The note says, "Get your legs waxed." Everyone laughs at this awesome joke. Sick. Check.

A girl walks up to a guy and says hello. He can't recall her name. Miffed, she turns to walk away. The guy sets his eyes on her jeans clad butt. The screen shows.. "new entry...adding new data.." And of course he recalls her name. Sick. Check.

One of the hero's friends, a Sardar, is in love with a girl. To woo her, he climbs up to her bedroom, dressed like Spiderman. The girl's Sardar father walks in, shouts 'freeze' and vanishes. He comes back, armed with an album. They all pore into his yesteryear pictures of him as a child, dressed like Spiderman. He reveals he gave up that dream because he got married! Idiotic. Check.

The boy (Ruslan Mumtaz-- insipid) is introduced to the girl ( Chetna Pande --not bad) by a class friend. The hero says, " you believe in sex at first sight..I at first sight?" This happens to be his idea of an opening line every time he meets a girl. Sick. Check.

Despite the horror of an introduction, the girl smiles at him the next time she meets him. And then she tells him,"Chalo,time pass karte hain....but remember we are not a couple..because I don't luv U." Idiotic. Check.

The two do their "time pass" in a song  routine.

 One day, the girl calls up the boy and tells him she is alone at home. He promptly goes over. She is dressed in a sexy, black number. He pounces on her. She is shocked. She tells him she wants to show him what she has prepared for a dance show. So she dances. He watches. He pounces again. She is shocked again. Idiotic. Check.

Somehow, a sex MMS video of the two gets circulated. A news channel head tells a reporter," Welcome to the world of Prime Time." Really?

At one point , the girl tells the bewildered boy, "It's not about what you do. It's about how you do it."

Someone please tell that to the writer, director, Amit Kasaria, who has also written the controversial lyrics, "Ishq ki  maa ki..." 

Friday, 17 May 2013


Firstly, the title, Aurangzeb, is misleading.

Any resemblance to the character of Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, is simply non-existent. It appears in the form of very lack lustre dialogue delivery by Rishi Kapoor. .."Aurangzeb ka naam suna hai..Mughal badshaah.."

The rest is one big mish mash of the new and the old. More old.

Gurgaon is the empire here. "Gurgaon,mera gaon. Mera shaher.Mere zakhmon mein chipakta mere baap ka namak." The son narrating this filmy part  is Arya  (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and the father is a disgraced, dead cop,(Anupam Kher).

Arya and his chachaji, a police commissioner, Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) want to absolve Arya's late father of a wrongly alleged charge. Kher had a history with old enemy, real estate mafia lord, Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff).Yashwardhan's wife, Tanvi Azmi and her son Vishaal (Arjun Kapoor)are part of the history; best not revealed .

In Yashwardhan's family, Vishaal's look alike, Ajay is the 'kamzor nalayak' who lives on cocaine, beats up his girlfriend,Ritu (Sasha Agha)and resents his father's illicit relationship with Neena (Amrita Singh) and her son.

 In the cop's family, one son, Arya, resents the other. Though, technically Vishal is not Kher's son.

Rishi Kapoor also has a son and a wife (Deepti Naval). But they are additional pawns in the complicated chessboard of family charts.

Written and directed by Atul Sabharwal for Yashraj Films, the long and tiresome introduction is just the backstory. Now comes just the beginning of the story.

 Arya and Chachaji decide to replace the lookalike brother, Ajay  with Vishal as the rat in his own father's household in order to get the necessary information and proof against Yashwardhan's activities. Ajay is kidnapped. Vishal moves into Yashwardhan household.

But Aurangzeb is no 'Don'. Neither is it "The Departed”. It would have been more tolerable if it was.

The headache of a drama begins. A never ending tale of twists and betrayals that sets off with the intention of planting an 'Aurangzeb' in his father's house, turns into  one messy, plot heavy saga of fathers, sons and brothers in arms. Despite a complicated screenplay , it gets resolved rather easily too.

Every character is one dimensional and predictable. Many shades could have been explored in the characters of Vishal-Ajay duplicates as sons who exchange places and loyalties.

Arjun in a double role,is quite good. But it is Prithviraj who  out shadows him with a very confident screen presence and underplayed performance. Debutante Sasha Agha (Salma Agha's daughter)  as the seductive girlfriend is quite refreshing. Despite close ups in bikini and bare skin most of the time, she manages to look and behave a helpless victim in a criminal household. Rishi Kapoor is not as impressive as the villain he was in Agnipath. Amrita Singh is a welcome change but her earlier fiery energy is missing.

Aurangzeb may fascinate those who like drama for the sake of it. Mostly forgettable.

Friday, 10 May 2013


When you see two school girls stressing over their growing boob size, you think this is going to be a somewhat realistic and funny take on the pains of growing up. Unfortunately, this turns out to be just a scene probably meant to merely grab attention.

 Yellow and orange feathers, bright , big yellow rim sunglasses and teenage girl dancing on her bed to Shammi Kapoor's hit,"piya tu ab to aaja".This opening shot plays out loud 'Karan Johar".Produced by him and written and directed by Sonam Nair, Gippi is cool in premise but uncool in storytelling.

The film has a few pluses. There is an attempt to tackle a new genre for Hindi cinema: a coming of age in the teen’s story. It sticks to simple and tries to be sweet. Most importantly, it does not have Karan Johar's la la land.

The rest goes a long minus way.

Gippi aka Gurpreet Kaur (Riya Vij) talks in the most irritating and monotonous way possible. That's the first put off. Some better casting here might have helped. But then, weight and Punjabi looks were probably the only consideration.
Gippi is 14,a standard nine student who lives with her single mom called Pappi and brother nicknamed Booboo. She is rude and grumpy both at home and school. It's the misery of teen years.

Understandable until the clichés begin.

Cliché 1. The lead girl is clumsy and falls off classroom chairs. The hottest topper Shameera ( Jayati Modi ) in school taunts her.
Cliché 2. A good-looking boy is the hot girl's best friend. There is also a hot high school boy who smokes non-stop.
Cliché 3. Biology teacher in class teaches the reproductive system and the students giggle.
Cliché 4.  Fat girl is always the butt of classroom jokes.
Cliché 5. Hot girls torture themselves and don't eat ice cream.
Cliché 6. There are only Punjabi families in India.
Cliché 7. Achievers are vamps or villains.
Cliché 8. Perfect and imperfect are the only character types in the entire school world.
Cliché 9. Head girls have to be hot.
Cliché 10. A story has to be a moral science lesson in the end.

By now you get the gist. The film has good intentions but is zero on imagination.

To see good acting, watch the mom in the film, Divya Dutta. To see the story of Gippi, watch the promos.

Yet, the teenagers are likely to enjoy this anyway. Parents will tolerate. As always.


The first poster of'Go Goa Gone' has a golden haired Saif Ali Khan pointing a gun at a huge hole in a topless girl. And it looks neither vulgar nor horrifying. It simply looks fun.So is the film. Good fun. Funny fun. Trippy fun. Zombie fun. However, some gore and fear would have been triple fun.

An entire scene in the film is devoted to explaining what a Zombie is.
"India mein bhoot pret hote hain. Zombies kahan se aa gaye?"
Globalisation. Phirangiyon ne vaat laga di hai. Pehle lekar aaye HIV, abhi zombie."
"Hollywood ke bhoot"
This along with some dim wit characters high on "Delhi Belly' lingo sets the tone of the film clearly as a zombie comedy.

Hardik.."Har.. what?....Dik"(Kunal Khemu)tells an office colleague that he has just one goal in life. To smoke in non-smoking zones like the Parliament. He loves to imagine how all smokers together will make "Bhartiya Joint Party". When his buddy, Luv (Vir Das)lands up with a broken heart, the jobless Hardik teaches him,"Ek ladki ne dil toda to doosri ilaaj hai." Inevitably, the two pile on to their third hardworking friend, Bunny (Anand Tiwari) on a trip to Goa.

Turns out they end up at a hell of a trippy place. A hot girl called Luna (Puja Gupta) invites them to a rave party hosted by the "Russian mafia". Enters a golden haired Saif after a full 45 minutes of the film, swaying to the most rocking party song playing "..raat hai ek whore..hai maange more..tu lut jaa slowly slowly" (lyrics by Priya Panchal). The music (Sachin-Jigar) will have your adrenaline racing quickly quickly.

The pumping pace continues with the partygoers ending up as zombies chasing the four for their flesh and blood. Zombie killer,Borris..'.B-u-r-ee--z" (Saif) teaches them a thing or two about how "I keel dead people". Apparently the zombies have dead bodies but have mildly functioning brains which sense hunger.

But that hardly matters anymore. Everyone is having too much fun here. Especially the filmmakers (Raj and DK), the actors and most of all the dialogue writers. If you have seen the promos showing Saif defining a Delhi guy, you know how a single expletive can be a hoot and a riot.

Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. (Raj & DK) are engineers turned filmmakers who write, direct and produce films together, along with their creative partner, Sita Menon. Their last two films, '99' and 'Shor in the city' were quite original, funny and refreshing.

 Kunal Khemu and Sita Menon, dialogue writers with additional lines by Raja Sen obviously go wild on paper.
The story and screenplay writers (Raj, DK and Sita Menon) don't bother much with the plot. They simply create likeable, hilarious characters and let them do the entertaining. Somewhere along the way, it gets slightly repetitive and forced but the actors come to the rescue.

Kunal Khemu is in his element here. Both in his acting and his contribution in the dialogue writing. Saif is a real good sport and a support for Khemu, both as Borris and a producer. Just watch him mouth in desi Russian accent "I will be back" and it is paisa vasool. Vir Das and  Anand Tiwari  are okay with their comic timing. Puja Gupta as Luna is hot and sweet.

The trance soundtrack used really well, especially during the final shootout with the zombies; builds upon the totally whacky mood.

Dope has an interesting role and the story tries to sell a moral too..."what do we know, what did we learn".... Well we know that "Go Goa Gone" is watchable quickly quickly.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


 Dear Karan Johar,

I love the way you choose the most haunting song, an ideal location, and unlikely characters to create the most poignant moment. Your hitherto closet hidden voice that tells a new age story, is music to my ears. Come, lag jaa gale...

Dear Madan Mohan, Raja Mehdi, Lata Mangeshkar,

Without you all,I would never have known the headiness of melody and melancholy.

Dear Rani Mukherjee,

The sex appeal in your talented eyes is more seductive than any deep neck blouse on the best of knockers. I really wish you had starred in 'The Dirty Picture'.

Dear Nawazuddin Siddique,

You are a deadly magician and magnet combined. You make me fall in love with the art of acting like none other.

Dear Dibakar Banerjee,

Your understanding of the visual medium teaches me a lot. I love the way you shoot long, silent scenes and let the camera tango with the actor. You prove what fine writing is too; through the use of a single alphabet and how.

Dear Sadashiv Amrapurkar,

Thank you for the most applause worthy display of what a school of acting should be. Your delivery of a single Hindi alphabet is outstanding.

 Dear Zoya Akhtar,

The joy, positivity and simplicity in your theme and character are charmingly infectious. Please stay as perceptive and inspiring always. You make me appreciate the song and dance routine more than ever. You are my celluloid dream princess now.

Dear item song writers, singers, music directors, choreographers,

Thank you for every 'Sheela ki jawani'. Please ignore all the prudes who cry rape at every shimmy and a shake. Hope you bring back "mehbooba mehbooba "days too.

Dear Anurag Kashyap,

Your love and understanding of your roots as well as cinema is more than obvious. May that out rule everything else.

Dear Amitabh Bachchan,

You don't need to be blessed with 'Vijayi bhava'. You have blessed millions with your mere on screen presence.

Dear Javed Akhtar urf Jaadu,

You are the God who created Vijay and gave us conversation with God too in Deewar. And then you created a devil like Gabbar!!
Aapke syaahi ke jaadu ne kiya hai kamaal hi kamaal...hamari duniya ko diye alfaazon ke sitaare hazaar.

Dear film stars who come together in the end,

You are the best and the brightest dream merchants of all.
SRK, a flying kiss for that trademark half blushing, half cheeky expression.

Yours truly,