Thursday, December 17, 2009

Radio - It is complicated!!!

Himesh Reshammiya is back in his new avatar – weight loss, no cap, neat hairstyle and no nasal twang. The result is seen in Radio, whose story revolves around Gen X, which takes its relationships and online life with equal seriousness.

The movie opens with the divorce of Vivaan (Himesh) and Pooja (Sonal Sehgal). At the end of the fateful day, there is a clown at Vivaan’s door singing “Happy Anniversary”, and he is not amused, since the sender’s name shows as Pooja. He then drives the clown (Shania – Shenaz Treasurywala) across Mumbai to make her realize her immaturity on the gesture. But the flowers were to be delivered elsewhere…(why is this predictable in the land of misunderstanding).
In the next few days, RJ Vivaan keeps bumping into Shania through sheer coincidence and they strike a friendship, to the extent that she suggests a new angle to make his radio show more interesting.
Parallely, Vivaan allows us to be introduced to the funny family of Shania which is a Punjabi Parsi household. They even have a lassi called as Paranjaabi lassi(heaven knows what went into making it. The movie is all done in a chapter by chapter version (for a the much deserved break for the viewers)
While we go back to the Radio show, Shania and Vivaan come up with a “Mystery Girl” idea and that’s where this whole movie resembles the relationship status of Vivaan – “Complicated”. On the other hand, Pooja is in a damsel in distress mode and calls her ex-husband at the slightest hint of trouble even though she had claimed that she cannot live with him. He helps her out like the knight in shining armor and the sparks continue to fly, even buying a Karva Chauth lamp (what on earth is that, and who’s bright idea was it?) To the extent that one night she calls him and asks him on his relationship with Shania, after downing quite a few drinks.
So, now there are 3 equations in this complicated triangle:
Pooja still cannot let go of Vivaan, but thinks that he will be happy with Shania and tries to get them together.
Shania thinks that Vivaan cannot forget Pooja and tries to bring them back together
Shania and Pooja strike a friendship which does not let them talk about their feelings for Vivaan honestly
While the women are shopping and bonding, Vivaan is busy trying to fix the Dish antenna in Shania’s house so that they can watch TV.
The three of them believe that breaking crockery is a sign of good luck, while Shania, provides an update oh-so regularly on Facebook on her relationship status but cannot tell Vivaan that she is in love with him. Her family though believes and treats Vivaan as her boyfriend.
And then we come back to the subject of this movie, Radio, which by now has been relegated quite obviously to a second-grade status. The show that they are doing is obviously fiction based but it is said “Fact is stranger than Fiction” and a few complications later, which has been the bloodline of this movie, “all’s well, that ends well”

This movie was so tiringly boring and inanely silly, that it is best to give it a miss. No Himesh’s trademark music/songs to look forward to and nothing really worth remembering it for, except for some mistimed “Ghanta Singh” rip offs by Paresh Rawal. And for the women, looking pretty is not quite sufficient, acting is a pre-requisite to be called an actor.

Friday, December 11, 2009


As the pre-release publicity has suggested, Paa deals with a rare condition called Progeria, which is caused due to a genetic defect. The condition causes the body of the person to age 5-6 times the actual age, making the constitution of the person go hay-wire. Mentally the person would still have the brain functions and development of the actual age. The life span of Progeria patients is not beyond 13-14 yrs with a maximum of 20 yrs.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Paa has its opening credits narrated in a very artificial way by Jaya Bachchan (the only missing person in this movie was the Bachchan Bahu, to complete the family participation) – found it mistimed.
The movie is set in a school which has Auro (AB) being brought into frame with a bathroom accident and happens to be the winner of the prize for the best “Vision of India” depiction. The judge for this contest happens to be – no prizes for guessing – AB Jr, whose looks have been modeled on Sachin Pilot.
With a politician visiting a school, there is bound to be media coverage…and Auro’s condition is splashed across national television. Only to be noticed by Vidya, Auro’s mother (played by Vidya Balan – without being a fashion disaster this time around)……n then Flashback
(Med student)Girl bumps into (Political Sc student) boy…sparks fly….and poof …she’s pregnant. And typical situation, they can’t get married now, since studies and career are more important than the relationship. Boy asks Girl to abort the baby, but she doesn’t want to…goes home to mom…..crying obviously. Here comes the kahaani mein twist…mom is not the type cast Indian mom, who says “ Beti, yeh tune kya kar diya? Hamari izzat ko mitthi mein mila di….main kisi ko moonh dikhaane layak nahin rahoongi”. She takes care of the daughter and the grandson.
Enter Auro as a child whose condition of Progeria is confirmed to have no cure. Then starts the engaging Auro, who would need hospitalization since his body cannot take the stress of school, n then mom, has to drop him off every morning, which he finds very embarrassing. Meanwhile as a make-up for the media disaster, AB Jr, promises him a trip to Rashtrapati Bhavan. But due to unavoidable political circumstances, he stands Auro up, is not forgiven easily,
In a totally filmi moment, mom reveals who the dad is, on his b’day. This strengthens Auro’s resolve to meet the politician father.
And then the trip happens, with a bonding session. On return, Auro violently falls sick and requires hospitalization, paving way for a predictable climax.

The movie has its highs and lows.
The highs being: Auro’s matter of fact dialogues and good performance by Vidya Balan & Amitabh Bachchan. Just 2 songs which are pleasant
The lows being: a lil dragged out storyline in patches and a typical political father act by Paresh Rawal, which can border on the lines of insensitivity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 States - Chetan Bhagat

2 States is the Diwali gift that Chetan Bhagat gave his readers worldwide. Like all his previous works, this also in the in-between area of fact & fiction. To say that he is a writer who draws his inspiration from life itself would be an understatement.

The book opens with male protagonist Krish, visiting a psychotherapist. He has paid the therapist, Dr. Neeta Iyer for an hour of therapy and the choices that he has is to either talk about what is bothering him or keep silent, either of which is inconsequential to her. Krish decides to start talking about what exactly is bothering him and why he was pushed to seeing her on the day that he has. And so he starts…..The problem is Ananya Swaminathan.

Before the question mark erupts on your forehead, let me set a li’l bit of the background … The story starts out in IIM-A, where Ananya has already been rated as the prettiest girl of the batch, beauty with brains (since she is a student of IIM-A).
In true filmy style, Krish is positioned two steps behind her in the lunch line. What catches his attention is the argument that Ananya has with the preparations at the mess, and gallantly offers her his share of the dessert in an attempt to catch her attention. But she is not happy with the food and suggests stepping out for lunch, much to the seeds of jealousy she has sown in the rest of the students at IIM-A. She then reveals that 10 guys have already asked her out and Krish is hoping against himself that he doesn’t become the 11th. Well, that was not to be.
Soon, they hang out together, and are labeled a couple. And then a bonding moment…. One fine day, at an Economics class, Ananya is told to get her basics in Economics right, before contributing to the class. And a tear escapes from her eyes, but not before Krish notices it from his seat in class. Ironically, Ananya was the Economics topper during her graduation and this upset her. She then decides that they would study together since he is the geek from IIT and better equipped to solving numerical, but Krish quite obviously had other plans in mind.
In India, a marriage cannot exist only with a girl & a boy, whether it getting married or being married. So Krish & Ananya had to take the next logical step in their relationship. “Meet the parents” or rather “Meet each other’s parents”. This was planned during their convocation and without any surprises the 2 families do not hit it off on meeting. To the extent that they refuse to even share the cab when they go sight seeing and a cold war starts.
Post convocation, they go to their respective homes, Chennai & Delhi and quite obviously miss each other and are formulating plans to get together soon. Ananya was placed with HLL while Krish was yet to start his employment with Citibank. While Ananya has no option to change her work location, Krish can choose and is tempted to write Chennai as his preferred location, but the standard “Maa ka dil” leaves him on a guilt trip, to stay in Delhi.
While still in Delhi, he tries communicating his stance that Ananya would be the girl he will be marrying. To which his mom in her style replies by taking him to a friend’s house who has a supposedly stunning daughter, and also shows him the picture that he is eligible for half their property since the friend had only 2 daughters. Only that he has to listen to her. With that Krish decides to be posted in Chennai.
Chennai is a different world to him and he learns to deal with auto drivers, strict landlord (& rules of no alcohol, no meat & no girls) and indifferent housemates. He has a totally Tamil-speaking team and has to live with a chip on his shoulder of being an IIM grad. His boss Bala shows his bossgiri that Krish should come in early and leave only after he does. This is equivalent of a sure shot method to climb the corporate ladder and for a long tenure at Citibank. Poor guy, little did he know why Krish was the only north Indian trainee at the Chennai branch; all matters pertaining to the heart have their own ways of attaining their goal.
Meanwhile, Ananya’s family have started looking out for a match for her as per their criteria of well educated (meaning a Master’s in the US of A), settled in the USA, the kind who wear sunglasses even when not sunny and trips around the globe (temperature and climate details included). In short, the geek category.
In an effort to make Krish get to know her family better and approve of him, she hits upon the idea to get her kid bro coached by Krish for his IIT-JEE every morning. During one of those tutoring sessions, does Harish, the ideal match according to the Swaminathan clan (barring Ananya of course), turn up for the customary bride seeing session and all hell breaks loose in Krish’s heart. Few hiccups and pages later, Harish rejects Ananya, but at a cost that she has to bear. Parents, so good at causing children guilt trips give her a hard time of rejecting the so-called perfect match. But every cloud has a silver lining, and this gives Krish an opportunity to befriend the dad. So Krish’s scoreline soon looked 2 down and 1 to go (pataofying mom). It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but for a woman it can be anything close to her heart. Krish figures out this and he has the green signal from Ananya’s family but the “*Conditions Apply” stays – only if Krish’s parents also agree.
Mission Delhi for Ananya: Tries cooking but not impressive enough for his mom, after all “Mum is the best cook in the world”. Krish’s dad is not the world’s friendliest person, even to his own family, so no brownie points there. Eventually, there is a heroic deed that Ananya executes, which make her the ideal bahu for Krish’s extended family, but the hitch in the form of DAD still remains.
Then with a befitting twist in the tale, Krish and Ananya get married in Chennai, in south-Indian tradition & a few adventures in the run-up to the wedding.
So what was the psychotherapist doing in the story? How does the wedding take place? – These are the questions that will make you read the book for the answers.