Thursday, January 27, 2011

Turning 30!!

Bollywood’s attempt of coming-of-age film, is what Turning 30 is all about. Think the director took the description quite seriously and makes the whole aging, youth, singlehood and homosexuality a big farce.
Naina Singh (Gul Panag) lives in a perfect world. Creative Head at an ad agency, adorable boyfriend Rishabh (Sid Makkar), gal pals- Rukhsana and Malini. Parties, late nights and a doting mother on the telephone. And she is 2 weeks from her 30th b’day. She has planned it all…Rishabh will propose to her, she will bring in her b’day at the Lonavla cottage owned by him, maybe have a party in Mumbai and her creative ideas are the best.
Alas, all that planning was in the head. Rishabh decides to marry Yamini, a family friend’s daughter just back from the US. Jamie, her rival at work takes the credit for her hardwork ,her creative ideas for a campaign fall flat and her boss is all set to fire her (since he likes his pumpkin Jamie than Naina).
She is now depressed, has only her mum n gal pals to cry to – who think a haircut helps you get over a breakup effectively. She drinks and smokes like Kal Ho na Ho… keeps telling herself that she needs to put on a brave front. What follows her recovery from the disaster she goes through, is suppose to be hilarious but fails to strike a chord with the audience, age be damned. Her masseuse thinks that she needs vibrators, and her bai is concerned that she’s single again. Mom takes her to the astrologer to find out if she will be getting married in the near future.
Enter Jai,or rather re-enter Jai(Purab Kohli) into Naina’s life. He had parted ways 4 years ago and now is a hot-shot photographer. Looks charming that Naina is attracted to him and even sleeps with him. Like a typical Indian guy, he even asks her to marry him after a night together. But she needs time to get Rishabh out of her system, poor baby. She keeps trying to call him, text him, seduce him and guilt trip his parents, just to win him back.
Finally she turns 30, and her b’day party becomes a session of all skeletons in the closet to tumble out. Rukhsana’s husband Saahil accepts he has been philandering but will give it all up for their baby. Malini confesses Ramona is her girlfriend (Malini looks very unconvinced about this scene and it shows). Jai claims to be able to sink in Naina’s dimples all over again. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnn!!
One fine day her boss decides that she cannot understand the pulse of youth and makes her work on a post-30 campaign, befitting her age. She works hard for it, only for ideas to be turned down citing risk propositions. She then quits in a huff and in a moment as pathbreaking, Malini discovers Naina’s writing abilities. Things change for the better, including where Naina sues her ex-employers for copyrights and ethics. She even completes her book and it is launched – named so predictably – Turning 30!! And she lives peacefully after. So do we!!
Director Alankrit wrote the script and directed it while he was at his creative lowest. It really is a no-brainer. You can find a Naina all over Mumbai and miss her completely…so why make a movie about it. Clich├ęs work if presented well, not in a tacky way – booze, sex,smoking, single girls, big bad city, weird working hours, lack of family, advice from all corners of your life on settling down, the list is endless.
The only silver lining was the charming Purab Kohli as Jai with his scarves….!!
My rating: 2/5 – Wont miss much if you give this movie a miss (It may not be telecasted on Satellite TV due to its explicit adult content)

Dhobi Ghat

Aamir Khan’s yet another home production. This time it is for wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut. Dhobi Ghat is a film set in the lanes and bylanes of Mumbai portraying its true flavor, very unlike the usual gloss that we get to see. This movie is more an arty movie with a slight attempt at being commercial.
Movie has 4 central characters, who lead you through the familiar locations in Mumbai with calculated presence. Arun (Aamir Khan), a painter who comes to Mumbai and wants to be alone post-divorce. He also ensures any interactions he has will be without any strings attached. Enter Shai (Monica Dogra), an investment banker from New York on a sabbatical, wanting to explore her passion for photography. Munna (Prateik Babbar), a washerman by day,rat killer by night and an actor by ambition/aspiration. Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), a young Muslim home maker, whose home videos chronicles her life in the new city,post marriage.
Arun meets Shai at an art exhibition showcasing his paintings. They spend the night and before Shai gets any ideas, Arun curtly informs her that he doesn’t want any kind of relationship. Heart broken, she return home, and Munna turns up at her house with her laundry. Coincidence that Arun and Shai share the dhobi’s services. This gives Shai an opportunity to approach Arun, but very stealthily and through Munna. The curiosity in Arun makes him find some discarded video tapes in the cupboard. Curiosity makes him watch it which leads him to discover the earlier tenant of the house. She is narrating her experiences of Mumbai for her brother back home, but looks like, it never got sent. Arun is extremely inspired by the home video for his artwork.
Munna and Shai discover each other’s company, soon Munna falls for her, but never reveals it. She helps him shoot his portfolio for his acting career. Together they sightsee Mumbai without the touristy attractions. In what we would call a predictable twist, Munna realizes that Shai likes Arun and he was probable just an acquaintance/friend on the way. He decides to keep his silences and gives her Arun’s address.
What works:
Well thought out script and screenplay
Truth in depiction of Mumbai
Kriti’s innocence
What doesn’t
Takes time to grow on you – typical cinegoer looking for masala and melodrama will not appreciate it
Aamir Khan’s constant brooding doesn’t strike a chord

Lacks the edge that could have taken it to the Oscars
My rating: 3/5 – the pace allows you to watch it once

The Green Hornet

Based on the comic series, Green Hornet, another 3D movie looks like a feeble attempt at silly heroics for the sake of getting attention.
Britt Reid (Seth Rogen – rather a strange choice to play the protagonist), is the only son of a media magnate but has been neglected all through his childhood. He continues into adulthood, seeking the very same attention that he has been deprived of and hating his father & his successful newspaper business. In order to give semblance of a track to the story, Reid senior (Tom Wilkinson) passes away. Britt is so bitter that he fires every servant employed by his father. Only to realize that he would not be getting his cup of cappuccino the way he knows and likes it.
This leads to the mechanical genius Kato(Jay Chou), who can design n make any kind of machinery in the most innovative way. He has never had an opinion of his previous master, but loves to hate him now that he befriends Britt. One evening of stupidity makes them realize that they can be superheros to fight crime, just like Superman/Spiderman. But those guys had genuine superpower. These have to invent something..
Kato gets to his drawing board and creates the most amazing machinery to attack and dazzle. Britt meanwhile names himself as the Green Hornet. He even persuades his office to dig up the dirt on this character to keep them busy. They are happy-go-lucky about their fights until they run into mafia represented by Chudnofsky(Christopher Waltz) and also a political mess with Scanlon (David Harbour).
For some strange reason, this movie has Lenore Case(Cameron Diaz) expressing her age, and trying to look hot. She looks totally clueless about her role in the company and does not allow Britt or Kato to hit on her. Why was she there in the movie? Don’t know…Can’t say.
Finally, they beat up all the bad guys with some gravity and death defying stunts and peace returns to the world. To the relief of the audience as well.
What works:
All the hi tech toys that Kato builds
What doesn’t:
Attempt at super heroics
Why did Cameron Diaz agree for a 2-pence role? No one would’ve realized even if she wasn’t around
My rating: 2/5 – Pretty avoidable

Monday, January 10, 2011

Band Baaja Baaraat

One more outing from the Yashraj camp, this time though…no big names and no claim to fame of size zero and appearance changes. Stars Anushka Sharma as Shruti Kakkad and New-boy Ranveer Singh as Bittoo Sharma.
The movie starts with Bittoo gate-crashing a wedding which has Shruti supervising the catering. A slightly heated argument and he’s head-over heels in love with her (How predicatbaly Hi-Fi - Hindi Film Industry). She shares her ambition to start “Shaadi Mubarak”, a wedding planning Buinness (business). When asked to return to his village, he quickly decides to partner with her, just to avoid going back home to grow & harvest sugarcane. She is reluctant, quite obviously.
They start by assisting an established wedding planner, only to realize that they’re better off, being their own bosses. Buinness is set up and Bittoo conveniently has his living quarters right above the office. He lovingly makes adrak ki chai for his partner, orders dinner for both of them and even drops her home when they’re working late. He cannot reveal his feelings to her at any point as Shruti has already laid the ground rule “Jisse vyapaar karo, usse kabhi na pyaar karo” (You cannot be in love with your business partner). They soon fall into a comfort zone, organizing small budget weddings…and move onto the big league ones.
On the successful execution of their first big budget wedding, they celebrate with champagne and get drunk .At this stage, Shruti breaks her own laid rule,but a dilemma arises since he’s not sure if she’s in love with him. He attempts clarification and all hell breaks loose.
It goes to the extent where they break the partnership and openly tarnish each other’s reputation until a mega project forces them to work together. They do so despite their differences, with a promise that they will not tread on each other’s departments.
In this so called love story, the love declaration happens only in the end…with a confrontation and a confession..Yawn….. !! and obviously they live happily ever after.
What works:
Low-budget movie
In your face and raw dialogues…some that you would catch while walking in Delhi
No usual YRF candy-floss, Switzerland, chiffon sarees
What didn’t work:
Maybe the audience is not restricted to only one part of India
Music not very catchy, except one (Ainvayi Ainvayi). I don’t know why the item number was needed though
2nd half could’ve done with some crisp editing
Rating : 2.5/5 – One time watch only