Movie Review – Ishaqzaade (2012)

Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Gauhar Khan

Verdict: 2.5/5

 

After the astounding and surprising success of Paan Singh Tomar, it seems like Bollywood has taken fancy to the “small-town” stories.

Ishaqzaade is set in a small fictional town called Almor in UP. It’s the story of the hateful vengeance and subsequent love of two kids born in warring political families. And to throw in even more complications, they belong to different religions – Muslim & Hindu. Lo and behold! We have a recipe ready for fireworks and impending disaster.

Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) is a feisty young lady belonging to the Qureshi clan, who harbors the dream of becoming an MLA of Almor. And on the other side we have Parma (Arjun Kapoor), a rowdy fellow with devil-may-care attitude from the Chauhan clan, who does everything in his power to impress his MLA grandfather. With the elections drawing close, both the sides are busy campaigning and even busier maligning each others’ images. And our two youngsters aren’t far behind in the promotional race.

But soon we are taken from the barren land of hate and politics between the families to the beautiful sun-kissed locales of love and romance of Zoya and Parma. In case you’re wondering whatever happened to all the hatred, looks like a public slap and humiliation is all you need to love somebody, especially if you’re a twisted character like Parma. The slap acted as a catalyst in the chemical equation that led the lead pair loving each other with as much passion as they hated each other with. Yeah! I was surprised at the ease of it all too.

A whirlwind romance later we get to experience a twist in the tale, which will totally catch you unawares. The second half is a bit slower than the first (but isn’t that so with almost all the movies that have released lately?). The second instalment of the film takes us from emotions like grief and betrayal to ones like love, happiness and even more betrayal.

The story is predictable but the treatment of it isn’t. We have seen numerous movies on a similar subject, and this one surely won’t go down in history, but I’d certainly have to give it points for making an effort. Some scenes will elicit “what the what?” response from the audience and some other scenes, like the love-making scene, are stretched unnecessarily. But the movie did manage to get the finer nuances of a small town in UP right (like using guns as toys, the drinking, the dancing etc.). The songs are nice and are already popular; Amit Trivedi sure is someone to look out for.

Parineeti Chopra has once again proved that she isn’t just another pretty face; looks like Ladies vs. Ricky Behl wasn’t a fluke. She portrays even the smallest of emotions with ease. Though we are yet to see how she would fare in more serious roles but then it’s easy to forget that she’s just two films old. She acts well, looks great and unlike her cousin isn’t fake or overacts which lends her a very girl next door-ish quality. No wonder the guys are already swooning over her.

Arjun Kapoor, the supposed star of the film, makes his debut with this movie. Though he isn’t as versatile as the leading lady, he isn’t too bad either. He pulls the rowdy goon look and mannerisms with aplomb though you’re certainly left with a feeling that he could’ve done better. Gauhar Khan in a supporting role is okay and wouldn’t have been missed had she not been there. Though she certainly rocks the item songs!

This movie is time pass at best with a little sloppy and preachy ending. But with social issues being the flavor of the season (read Satyameva Jayate), this movie will surely get decent collections.

 

Trivia:

  • Parineeti Chopra got a bad viral attack while shooting in Lucknow. The doctors advised her not to shoot for at least three days due to severe weakness. But she insisted to shoot as she knew there were location availability issues. At last, Parineeti like a true professional finished all her shots for the day and only then went back to her hotel to rest.
  • There was a string of 5 days when shooting could not start on time due to excessive fog and bad light. The entire unit would reach the set on time as per the call-sheets, get ready and then wait. Quite a few of the unit members would channel their energies into cricket, others would break into songs. The fog delayed the shoot but brought the unit-members closer.
  • It was a joke on set that Habib Faisal‘s favorite on the set was Pradeep, who was playing Banwra, an accompanist in Chand Baby’s entourage. Whenever he was in frame with Arjun, Parineeti or Gauahar, Habib would first brief him, and then the rest. Also on the dinner table, Habib would be constantly talking about Banwra. Arjun would jokingly act very upset about this.
  • Arjun Kapoor had a love hate relationship with his bike in the movie. Habib Faisal wanted a Yezdi to be his character’s bike in the film. As Yezdi is an old bike, two replica bikes were searched for from all over Lucknow and matched with the original. Co-incidentally and for some strange reason, all the three bikes would act temperamental at the time of shooting. Arjun started hating the bike and was irritated with its tantrums. But towards the end of the shoot he fell so in love with the bike that he would be found riding it between shots just for the fun of it.
  • While performing a running sequence in Barabanki in UP, Arjun Kapoor suffered a very serious spasm in his hamstring muscle which caused him great pain. However, in spite of the severe pain the actor finished the shot in a jiffy after just five minutes of rest.
  • During the shoots of one of the songs titled ‘Chokra’, the temperature in Barabanki in UP dipped drastically.
    Actor Arjun Kapoor was to wear a wet vest and Gauahar Khan a tiny blouse. Everybody was worried as to whether they would be able to manage. But ultimately the duo completed the shoot on time and received a standing ovation from the unit.
  • The film was originally titled Tewar, which means attitude in Hindi. But, later the filmmakers decided to change it to Ishaqzaade to bring in the element of love story in the title, also.

Movie Review – Kahaani (2012)

Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Verdict: 3/5

When the biggest star of 2011 asks you to go watch a movie, you don’t question, you just do. That’s the effect Vidya Balan has on people these days. But in Bollywood you are only as good as your last movie, so let’s check out where does Kahaani leave her on the star-o-meter.

The film opens with a sequence where a toxic gas that’s released ends up killing people in a Kolkata Metro train. Wait, did you come to the right screening? Well your ruminations are put to rest when right in the next scene (which is 2 years later in the movie) a heavily pregnant Vidya (or Bidya as they would say in Kolkata) emerges from the Kolkata International Airport only to get hassled by the taxi guys haggling over getting her to take their taxi. The subtle yet powerful acting by Vidya in this small scene gets you glued already.

So Vidya has flown all the way from London to find her missing husband – Arnab Bagchi. Armed with her suitcase & a 2 kg. belly she heads to the police station to get an FIR filed. Thus begins her journey, through the sultry by-lanes of Kolkata, to find her missing husband. Spurned by the Police, she finds support & empathy in a rather naive but idealistic cop Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay). With very little information and not much help she sets out on a task that is a rather difficult one. During this expedition we get embroiled in government politics, secret agencies, underground network, contract killing; with each scene and link providing bits and pieces of information so as to keep us guessing the storyline further.

It’d be best not to give too much of the story away since the film’s a thriller where you are constantly discovering details and guessing how the movie will turn out and what the climax would be like. But no matter how much you rack your brains throughout the movie, you would never be able to imagine what turn the story actually takes. Yes! The twist in the story is THAT wild (in fact bordering a little on absurd)!

The performances by all the characters are commendable. But special mention should go to Nawazuddin Siddiqui for portraying the uncouth, bad-mouthing, stern government agent. He is a treat to watch and his bad-ass performance will find it’s own sweet corner in your heart. Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana is quite adorable in the role of a naive, idealistic cop who is yet to be corrupted by the system. You will give in to his simple charm. Saswata Chatterjee in the role of a weirdly funny psycho contract killer is good too.

Vidya Balan as always has done a lot of work and fits the bill perfectly of a pregnant woman – in terms of mannerisms, body language etc. Her dialogue delivery is subtle yet still packs punch.

But despite all the above things working for the movie, it lacks that zing, that special wow-factor. At the end of the movie you feel that it could’ve definitely been better although you can’t really place a finger on how or what. The pace could’ve been more slick.

Well, the movie works if you keep some of your logic aside and do not go with a lot of unnecessarily high expectations (which I made the mistake of doing). Kahaani with all it’s wonderful ingredients is a heavily pregnant movie which somehow fails to deliver (quite literally / pun intended)!

Trivia:

  • Vidya Balan’s pregnant tummy was made of rubber weighing 2 Kgs.
  • Vidya Balan made her debut in a Bengali movie, Bhalo Theko, which also starred Parambrata, her co-star in Kahaani.
  • Kahaani was shot in real time, during Durga Puja in Kolkata with real people who had no idea what was going on.
  • While filming a scene for Kahaani, Vidya almost fell onto the tracks of the Kolkata’s metro rail, but was saved by her director Sujoy Ghosh.
  • To promote Kahaani, Vidya embarked on a promotional tour with a pregnancy bump. She was seeing promoting the movie at public places like railway stations and buses in her character.
  • Amitabh Bachchan has lent his classic baritone voice to Rabindranath Tagore‘s epic song ‘Ekla Cholo Re‘ in the movie.

Movie Review – Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Paan Singh Tomar

Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill

Verdict: 4/5

“Beehad mein toh baagi baste hain, Dakait toh parliament mein hote hain”. This power packed line delivered by the performance powerhouse Irrfan Khan in the promos was enough to drive the audiences to the theater. And boy were they in for a joyride!

PST comes as a pleasant surprise; with it’s strong script, stronger dialogues, fabulous acting and wonderful direction; in midst of movies like Housefull being made which just bank on their star power and ridiculous item numbers to do well. While the recently released movies are cheap rehashed versions of hit Hollywood movies, PST is authentically desi. While the recent crop of movies are like caviar curry minus the spice, PST is authentic daal baati churma with tons of flavor.

It is an endearing story of an army man turned athlete turned dacoit. The legendary Chambal ghati forms the backdrop for the major part of the movie, an area that was once infamous for housing innumerable number of self-made dacoits & their gangs. The inability of food doled out at the army canteen to satiate Paan Singh’s hunger, leads to him joining sports so that he can eat as much as he wants. His innocuous innocence in all of this will totally get to you.

Thus begins the glorified story of how he becomes a name to reckon with in the Steeple chase race where he breaks his own records. But the turning point or a setback for his flourishing career comes when he learns of the family feud in which his land was illegally taken over by his cousin brother. Armed with his army background and sports credentials he sets out to achieve justice the right way. But when spurned and insulted by the system, he has no other choice but to turn into something he had been avoiding all along. There is only so much insult a male ego can suffer. Thereupon we get to witness the dacoit part of Paan Singh’s life which is as beautifully captured as his athletic days.

The movie definitely glorifies the life of a dacoit but also gets you thinking whether we can blame those who are forced to choose illegal or criminal paths by our very own system. A question everybody can agree is highly morally subjective.

Philosophy aside, the entire movie is a treat to watch. The director (Tigmanshu Dhulia) has taken care of the smallest details – the authentic dialect of the area, the non-dramatic and gradual aging process of Paan Singh, love-making scenes in rural India during olden times, Mahie Gill’s village belle avatar, Paan Singh’s attempts at getting privacy with his wife, his suppressed anger and frustration at being able to do nothing when outnumbered by his cousin’s men,  etc. The light-hearted moments peppered throughout the movie keep it from getting too serious or boring.

Though the local dialect adds an authentic touch, it might be a little difficult for people not familiar with it to understand. Also the second half of the movie sometimes drags in bits and pieces.

But apart from the above tiny glitches, the movie has proven yet again that the real hero is the story/script as it is the soul of the movie. This is the precise reason why this film has worked wonderfully without any hype or over the top promotions. And of course not to discount the brilliant performance by Irrfan Khan.

It’s about time that other filmmakers learn a lesson from Tigmanshu Dhulia and make films that have a story rather than churning out nonsense after nonsense starring the biggest stars. As can be learnt from numerous culinary contest shows; no matter how fancy a dish looks, it is only as good as it tastes.

Original interview of Paan Singh Tomar

Trivia:

  • Paan Singh Tomar won the steeplechase event at Indian National Games for seven years in a row. He gave up sports and became famous dacoit in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The makers of Paan Singh Tomar used real money worth Rs 3 Lakhs and hung it on a hoarding in Juhu, Mumbai as a part of a promotion. The hoarding was guarded by security personnels but the bag of real money had to be removed when cops intervened due to security threats.
  • Paan Singh Tomar’s nephew, Balwanta Singh lodged an FIR against the director Tigmanshu Dhulia in Gwalior for an alleged breach of promise. Balwanta claims that Tigmanshu had promised to pay him Rs 40 lacs to help him find details about the transformation of Paan Singh from an athlete to a dacoit.
  • The film Paan Singh Tomar was shot in Chambal. Since the area is bandit infested, the cast and crew were not allowed to venture out of their hotel after 5pm and there was security round the clock.
  • The film Paan Singh Tomar required the lead actor Irrfan Khan to be physically fit. Hence Irrfan used to go for regular jogs in the evening and also indulge in playing cricket with the cast and crew.
  • Irrfan Khan was not the first choice to play the dacoit, the director had Akshay Kumar in mind earlier, but later approached Irrfan Khan who fit into the character very well.
  • Irrfan Khan was not aware of Paan Singh Tomar although he was a National Steeplechase Champion. Only after he was approached by the director Tigmanshu Dhulia and later reading about him, did Irrfan learn of him and found his character very intriguing.
  • Apparently the final schedule of the film was delayed because Irrfan suffered an injury to his leg. Also while shooting in the jungles of Dholpur, the sultry weather caused Irfan a blackout and he even got dehydrated.
  • To essay the character of Paan Singh Tomar, Irrfan Khan dedicated himself 2 month before the beginning of the shoot to learn and train on Steeplechase. He took training from a Delhi based National level coach who trained Irrfan in the sport. Irrfan also undertook lessons on voice modulation and pronunciation as he had to speak in the local dialect.
  • To make the film look authentic, director Tigmanshu Dhulia shot the film Paan Singh Tomar in his village and in the house where he grew up.
  • Tigmanshu Dhulia shot the film in terrains of Chambal, Forest Research Institute in Dehradun which was converted into a sports complex and Ludki with army men.

Movie Review – Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl (2011)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Parineeta Chopra, Aditi Sharma, Dippanita Sharma

Verdict: 2.5/5

What do you get when you use the old ingredients to prepare a seemingly new dish? A dish that you think is innovative but the customers don’t. This is what has happened with Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl. You walk into the movie theatre expecting the spiciness & aroma of Band Baaja Baarat but instead get served a dish that is presented attractively but lacks that zing. None the less, the dish is definitely edible & quite palatable too.

This is the story of a con-man Ricky Bahl, who uses his charm, good looks & flawless impersonification of different characters to con attractive women. His fiendishly clever planning & execution always guarantee him a win, at least until the girl power decides to get the better of him.

Among the plethora of cons in his kitty we are shown three – 1. On a rich & gullible Delhi babe (Parineeta Chopra) as a gym trainer, 2. On a Mumbai lass (Dippanita Sharma) as an artist & 3. On a Lucknowi lady (Aditi Sharma) as a cloth merchant. These 3 distressed damsels are united by the media (thanks to channels like India TV who have nothing better to cover than topics like – the spot where cows commit suicide or apne bacchon ko chikni chameli se bachaayein) and decide to con the con-guru (or Bloody Kameena as they call him) himself. And just when you started wondering that you missed spotting Anushka all this while in the movie due to her excessive weight loss, she suddenly graces the screen with all her Jazba. As a salesgirl, she uses all her acting prowess to sell stuff to innocent shoppers. She is so good that anybody who she tries selling to, doesn’t leave empty-handed from the store. Given her innate talent, the 3 girls design a plan and decide to use her to get their money back from bloody kameena.

Although the schemes and plots used in the movie to con & fool women are clever, but what is unfathomable is that these otherwise daring & clever women trust him so easily with so much money and fall for the cheap tricks. It almost seems as if everything is ready in each sub-plot and the red carpet is rolled out for Ricky to come and conveniently con the ladies. But then if logic ain’t your thing then this makes for a nice weekend time-pass masala movie.

All the actors are good but Parineeta as the spoilt Delhi bimbette Dimple, outrightly steals the show. Her portrayal of a typical dumb, spoilt Delhi girl is absolutely spot on; including the accent, mannerisms & dressing sense. She lends that funny, light-hearted, innocent comic feel to the movie.

There is very little of Anushka (quite literally too) in the movie. Also the chemistry between the lead pair isn’t as sizzling as it was in Band Baaja Baarat. The director has definitely tried to capitalize on BBB’s success as evident from the last scene of the movie but it just isn’t the same.

Definitely an entertaining watch for the weekend but nowhere near the magic of Band Baaja Baarat.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 8.1/10
  • In a scene, Anushka is shown riding her scooter. It was in fact very ably executed by the direction team on what is a stationary scooter – where assistants are standing behind the scooter and pushing it to make it seem like Anushka is riding it.
  • During one of the shoots, a man arrived disguised as the late MF Hussain to attract Anushka’s attention. The real artist was a huge fan of the actor.
  • While shooting a scooter sequence, the bike skidded on gravel and fell on Ranveer. His foot was burned in the mishap. A doctor tended to him and Ranveer, being a true professional, continued to shoot to ensure that the schedule was not delayed.
  • A very pretty brunette was supposed to get on a jet ski with Ranveer for a shot, but she refused to do it out of fear – she was afraid of falling off the skis. Ranveer charmed her, and convinced her to get on, promising that he would ensure that she didn’t fall off. True to his word, he rode the jet ski with utmost care and caution, but the pretty brunette still fell off and poor Ranveer had to convince her to do the shot all over again. The second time around, all went well.
  • While shooting in Lucknow, Aditi slipped on a pile ofjamun fruits and even tore her costume. Ranveer tended to her and made sure she was perfectly okay before they started shooting again.
  • While shooting in Goa, director Maneesh showed Ranveer how to ride a bike. Ranveer proved to be a good student and confidently rode the bike for the film.
  • On the final day of the Goa shoot, the cast and crew decided to celebrate the wrap by organising a fun raffle. The raffle proved profitable for crew driver Edwin, who won a cash prize of Rs 5000, which was gifted to him by Ranveer and Anushka.
  • Ricky Bahl’s multiple unshaven and shaved looks in the film kept the cast and crew waiting for days to shoot – especially the looks that required the right amount of facial hair to appear.
  • Ranveer went on a strict 48 hours diet regime and stayed hungry for nearly two days to get the perfect six pack ab look.
  • During one of the shots on the jet-ski, a big wave hit Ranveer and Anushka and flung them in different directions in the middle of the sea. Yet both of them braved 20-foot waves, despite the jet-ski being capsized and gave the perfect shot.
  • While shooting in Lucknow, the entire Imambara area had to be cordoned off. Massive crowds appeared to watch Ranveer Singh shoot and kept calling him “Bitoo! Bitoo aa gayaa!” Rambo was a clear favourite and worked the crowd very well by obliging fans with waves, hugs and pictures! After pack up, the entire cast feasted at Lucknow’s famous “Tunda Kababi.”
  • Maneesh Sharma, the director of the film, decided to add boats against the beach in one of the shots to make it more interesting – this last minute addition made for a perfect shot and the boats became an integral part of a decisive scene in the movie that involves the entire cast.
  • The cast and crew’s favourite hangout joint in Goa was Cape Town Cafe located in Baga, North Goa. When not at the café they binged on mangoes and seafood especially prawn curry (which they had nearly every day)!
  • Ranveer is a big cricket fan and an even bigger fan of Dhoni. A few years ago Dhoni had shot with Shaad Ali on an ad (on which Ranveer had helped) and Ranveer and Dhoni hit it off really well ever since. While shooting in Delhi (just post India’s World Cup win) Ranveer heard Captain Dhoni was in town with his wife and invited him to come over to the hotel. They hung out all night and bonded over food and films and cricket. The entire crew joined the fun party!
  • Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl is reportedly inspired from the Marathi play To Mee Navhech(1968), which in turn has inspired a couple of  Tamil and Kannada films.
  • Parineeti Chopra, who makes her debut in LVRB, is Priyanka Chopra’s cousin.
  • Ricky Bahl’s caller tone in the movie is the famous dialogue from Shah Rukh Khan‘s Baazigar,”Haar kar jeetne waalon ko baazigar kehte hai.” In fact, Ranveer even mentions Shah Rukh towards the end of the film.

Movie Review – Everybody’s Fine (2009)


Year of Release: 2009

Stars:   Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell

Verdict: 3.5/5

The movie opens with the scene showing Robert De’Niro (Frank), who plays a retired widower, shopping and preparing for his kids’ visit. The  opening scene itself sets the tone of the movie. You can sense the retired man’s loneliness and see him dragging on with the daily chores around the empty house and his excitement over his kids’ visit after his wife’s death.

But all of kids cancel their visit citing different reasons. So he decides to surprise each of his kids by visiting them, despite his doctor telling him not to travel so much due to his lung condition.

Frank’s visit to the 1st (and his favorite) child David in New York ends up in disappointment. When he fails to turn up for 2 days, the father quietly slips in the letter he prepared for each child beneath the door.

Frank’s 2nd visit takes him to Chicago to meet his ad agency honcho daughter, only to discover that she had lied about the reason for not making it home for the get together. He senses something is off when she makes excuses about not letting him stay for another day or two, but decides not to pursue it.

The 3rd visit is to the son who had lied about him being a conductor while just being a percussionist in the orchestra. He is saddened by the fact that his son does not have ambitions to grow beyond playing the percussion.

Lastly he goes to meet his daughter in Las Vegas who claims to be an extremely successful ballerina but really isn’t.

All his kids had lied to him about something or the other as he had always pushed them to be perfect and they didn’t want to disappoint him by telling the truth about their actual professions. Due to this reason, the kids always talked to their mother and when she died, Frank felt really disconnected with his kids and undertakes the trip to reconnect with them and their lives.

Since Frank used to work in a telephone wire factory, the telephone conversations in the background as he travels from one destination to another, is a nice little touch. It also shows how much Frank’s work meant to him and how hollow he feels after retiring.

Towards the end of the movie all the lies and secrets are unraveled.

Everybody’s heart will definitely go out to Frank. Robert De’Niro has superbly portrayed the character of a retired widower and has wonderfully shown what the lonely existence, pain and a life that suddenly has stopped having any meaning, feels like.

It gives us an underlying message that being happy really, is all there is and should be to life. As long as everybody’s happy in their chosen paths, everybody’s truly fine.

A simplistically emotional movie!

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.2/10
  • During the film, the character of Frank, who made his livelihood in telephone wire, uses land-line telephones (payphones, etc). The children all use mobile (wireless) telephones.
  • Bradley Cooper put himself on tape to audition for a role as Robert De Niro‘s son (with his own mother playing the part of De Niro). He lost out to Sam Rockwell.
  • The movie was nominated for the Golden Globe.

Movie Review – The Dirty Picture (2012)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Haashmi, Tusshar Kapoor

Verdict: 3.25/5

Agar daag lagne se kuch accha hota hai toh daag acche hain“. And ‘Dirty’ picture is one of those ‘acche daags’ that have splashed Bollywood in quite a while. Unlike a lot of the recent movies, this one isn’t trying to hitchhike on the back of star cast (Rascals, Desi Boys et al) or incessant promotions (read Ra.one). It has a good story, power-packed performances and of course a lot of sleaze, titillation & double entendres.

The movie takes you through the rise and fall of a starlet whose sole claim to fame is her unapologetic display of sexuality both on and off screen. She knows what men want and uses that to achieve what she wants. Her motto in life is ‘You get only one life, so why think twice before living it’. But whatever goes up, has to come down sooner or later but it’s the journey that makes everybody’s trajectory different.

As Chanakya said, “There is no bigger power in the world than the youth and beauty of a woman”. Silk knows it and uses it to get a break in the Tamil movie industry. She realizes that in a male dominated industry she will need a godfather and uses the biggest star’s (Suryakant) lust for her to get ahead. Naseeruddin Shah as Suryakant, the aging but extremely narcissistic & egoistic super star, has delivered a good performance and is responsible for generating quite a few laughs in an otherwise serious movie.

The other man who comes in Silk’s life is Ramakant (Tusshar Kapoor), Suryakant’s introvert younger brother. He loves Silk but buckles under pressure when needed to stand for her. Tusshar is redundant in the movie and wouldn’t have been missed had he not been in it.

Abraham (Emraan Haashmi) is the guy who incessantly abhors Silk for what she does but is the one who stands up for her in the end. Emraan has also done justice to his role.

But if there is a ‘hero’ in the movie, it definitely has to be Vidya Balan. Her ‘bebaak’ & ‘bindaas’ avatar will make you see a side (or front, pun intended) of her that you haven’t seen earlier. She has totally embodied the character & in the age of svelte Sheilas & Munnis, she has proudly and unashamedly filled the screen with her rather fuller version. She has comfortably flaunted the paunch, the flab or anything else that isn’t contained in her itsy bitsy clothes. But it doesn’t look vulgar as the role justifies such portrayal of her.

The movie isn’t for the prissy & faint hearted with its bold scenes and even bolder dialogues. Although some of the double meaning scenes and dialogues could’ve been definitely avoided.

The 2nd half of the movie fails to pack as much punch as the 1st one and the movie loses its pace. Also the narration throughout the movie should have been a little more crisp than it was.

It definitely isn’t a path-breaking movie but Ekta Kapoor sure has got a hit in her hands.

Trivia:

  • The film is based on the life of popular softcore film actress Silk Smitha.
  • The song Ishq Sufiyana was shot at Golkonda fort in old Hyderabad.
  • Vidya Balan was initially skeptical about taking up the role, as she was uncomfortable with the kind of dresses she needed to wear for the film. It was producer Ekta Kapoor who persuaded hard to get her approval.
  • The first phase of the filming was done in Mumbai‘s Filmcity, where a set was made re-creating the Chennai of the 80’s. The next phase of shooting was done at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
  • In a scene, where Vidya and Emraan had to insult each other, was shot in promptu as the actors never rehearsed the scene before, and didn’t have any prior knowledge about the scene. Director Mithun Luthria later said that he wanted to catch the discomfort and awkwardness between them on screen, hence never disclosed about it before.
  • Producers of the film launched the trailer in a single screen (Galaxy theater) at Bandra in Mumbai. The theater was decorated to bring back the retro look of the 80s.
  • Vidya Balan had started her career with Balaji in TV serial Huma Paanch.
  • Vidya Balan watched movies like Chicago, Burlesque to prepare for the role and also took Salsa lessons.
  • Naseeruddin Shah has a dance number in this movie. Before this, he had danced in the song, Tirchi Topiwale from Tridev (1989).

Movie Review – Rockstar (2011)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri

Verdict: 3/5

Star, Yes; Rock, Not so much!

This, in a nutshell, is what Rockstar actually is. It is an out and out Ranbir Kapoor’s movie; his finest yet. The movie isn’t that much about the journey of a rock sensation than about his tragic love story.

The first half starts with our awkwardly cute Jaat, Janardhan Jaakhad (JJ). His typical antics and accented dialogues will surely elicit a good laugh out of you and make you adore him. Janardhan is fascinated with music and dreams of becoming a huge Rock icon on the lines of Jim Morrison. The only issue being that he doesn’t have the right ‘attitude’ one needs to become that kind of a star. Steps in our friendly college canteen owner. Talk about a better guy suited to teach the right attitude to a wannabe rock star. He tells him that in order to become what he wants to become he needs to undergo pain, a common thread that binds all the great artists. So JJ comes up with the idea of pursuing a Stephens hottie who is sure to reject him thus giving him ample pain and suffering to become a successful artist.

Enter Nargis Fakhri a.k.a. Heer. After initially ‘burger-ing’ JJ off, she finally decides to see Junglee Jawani with him. Rockstar has thus given hope to tons of Jaats and roadside romeos that if a guy as uncouth and uncool as JJ can score a ‘hot & cool’ Heer, then even they can try; and it can be safely assumed that they will.

Thus unfolds the same story about a girl wanting to unleash her inner demons and live her life fully before she gets married to some perfectly handsome and decent guy. The only thing that sets this oft-repeated story apart from others is its treatment, dialogues, breathtaking locales  and of course Ranbir’s portrayal of JJ. Leaving Nargis‘ “brilliant” acting aside for a moment, all this makes the first half really enjoyable and engrossing.

So armed with popcorns et al, we return with high expectations for the 2nd half. And our expectations fall to the ground with a thud! Or more appropriately fall in slow motion towards the ground with a thuuuddd…because the 2nd half just drags and drags and drags a little more.

In the latter part of the movie we are treated with our lead pair reuniting, rekindling their romance and finally the tragedy that ensues.

The movie spoils in the 2nd half what it set up to deliver in the 1st half. It could’ve been much better had it been a little more short and crisp and with a little more of rock than tragic romantic drama. Ranbir has shown his acting prowess which is evident even when he’s lip synching to the melodious voice of Mohit Chauhan. AR Rahman’s music as always is a class apart. JJ’s boss’ comic timing is good. Aditi Rao is wasted in the movie, seems like she is content being the ‘forever kissing’  lass.

The only thing that really really spoils the movie is Nargis Fakhri. She cannot act for nuts and is forever shouting in the movie and personally, she literally irritated the hell out of me. She seems awkward with her dialogue delivery as well as with her enactment of Heer. Katrina Kaif has given hope to all the ‘gori mems’ but then you need a little bit of inner talent to go with that outer beauty. Thankfully Ranbir has carried the movie through.

It goes without saying that Imtiaz Ali has not been able to repeat the magic he created with Jab We Met. Well there’s always next time. But despite all the loopholes, it is a good movie that has come in a really long time and seems like a masterpiece when compared to some of the recent movies like Bodyguard, Ra.one, Rascals, Singham…well you get my drift there…

A pleasant watch after quite a while.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.6/10
  • When Imtiaz Ali was putting together the script for his film Rockstar, he knew that the music will be an integral part of the film. He wanted a rock music score which was not  copy of Western Rock but stuck to the basic principles of rock and originated from our land. Imtiaz wanted the music to be organic to the character and yet have a universal appeal that could go beyond the boundaries of our land. Hence, the only name that came to Imtiaz’s mind to score the music was none other than A. R. Rahman.
  • When A. R. Rahman met Imtiaz Ali for the first time, he had not seen any of Imtaiz’s earlier films. Later Rahman watched Love Aaj Kal and really liked the film.
  • Nargis Fakhri was put under house arrest by director Imtiaz Ali to retain the mystery surrounding her as a part of the film’s promotion.
  • The song ‘Faya kun’ was shot in the Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi over 4 days and the shooting used to take place between 11pm to 10am, to not cause any inconvenience to visitors.
  • Director Imtiaz Ali, who loved Kareena Kapoor’s performance in his Jab We Met wanted to cast her in Rockstar. However, the script in Rockstar required some romantic scenes between the romantic leads. As Ranbir and Kareena happened to be cousins, this would have been a problem. She was replaced by Nargis Fakhri.
  • When Imtiaz Ali decided to get A. R. Rahman on board for the music, a lot of people warned him that he does not give the tracks on time. But Imtiaz Ali was very surprised when he got all the tracks much before time. Imtaiz wanted 9 songs for the film and eventually he got 14 tracks which are on the audio CD and around 6 extra pieces which are in the film.
  • Ranbir Kapoor plays Janardhan, a Jat boy in ‘Rockstar’ and to get into the skin of the character, Ranbir along with Imtiaz Ali actually went down to Punjab  and stayed with a Jat family to learn their mannerisms, gestures and how they interacted with their families.
  • For the song, ‘Sheher mein’, AR Rahman was asked to compose a mediocre number, probably a first for him as this track is an average music video, that Ranbir is forced to sing in the movie. The music maestro, Rahman took longer than an average song to come up with this ‘mediocre’ number.
  • For the song ‘Naadan Parinde’ , Ranbir tried different looks and almost 2 dozen wigs.
  • The film was shot in reverse as the crew didn’t want to break the continuity of Ranbir Kapoor‘s hairstyle. So the climax with long hair was shot first.
  • In the film Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor who plays the character of Jordon, had to learn to play guitar. Ranbir spent several nights at A. R. Rahman’s studio learning how to play the guitar so that he could enact the role of Jordan playing the guitar convincingly and had better ownership of the music while shooting on stage for the film and didn’t had to pretend to play the music.
  • Ranbir Kapoor shared the screen with his grand-uncle Shammi Kapoor for the first and last time in the movie, which will also be Shammi Kapoor’s last appearance on the silver screen.
  • The film was to be launched in 2006 with John Abraham, and was to be produced by UTV. Rockstar was meant to be Imtiaz’s second venture after his directorial debut Socha Na Tha. However, logistics failed to work and the project was immediately shelved. In the interim Jab We Met happened, and after multiple attempts, Imtiaz decided to revive Rockstar with Ashtavinayak. Before signing on Ranbir, Saif was in consideration for the movie owing to his known talent of playing the guitar and performing live with his band ‘Parikrama’.
  • To make his character look more convincing, Ranbir Kapoor, who plays a ‘Rockstar’ in the film, took  guitar classes two month before the film started. He  made sure that he was present at the recording of all the eight tracks of the film and also used to focus on the guitar and the chords that A.R Rahman would play.