Movie Review – Shuddh Desi Romance (2013)

shuddh-desi-romance-2013

When I saw the trailer of this movie, I thought there was something rustic and peculiarly attractive about it. And since Parineeti Chopra was one of the leads, I hoped it’d be a fun watch.

But as most high hopes do, this too shattered.

Haruki Murakami in his book Kafka by the shore says “Nobody wants to read a book without a conclusion.” And this one line sums up the whole experience of watching this movie. There just isn’t any meaning, reason or conclusion to it. The inclusion of the song “Ati random” is probably totally justified.

We’re greeted by Raghuram (Sushant Singh Rajput) who’s a tourist guide but moonlights as a fake baarati. He mooches off of gullible tourists in the colorful markets of Jaipur and in his spare time, under the patronage of Goyal saab (Rishi Kapoor), he gatecrashes weddings. Life’s all hunky dory till he sets off to his own wedding. Once there, his jittery nerves get the better of him and then begins a roller coaster ride as we encounter his on again off again romances, his utter immaturity and his fear of commitment.

As the movie inches forward, whatever hopes you had of it, slowly start to fizzle. And as soon as the second half begins, even the fizzled out hopes turn in their graves. An illogical, impractical and a confused storyline makes you want to ask the director why exactly did he want to make the movie in the first place.

The only thing that salvages this “don’t-know-what-I’m-doing” saga is Parineeti as Gayatri. Even though she reprises her role of a bindaas babe from her earlier movies, she still has that effervescent charm about her. Sushant as Raghu in SDR hasn’t been able to cast the same spell as Ishaan in Kai Po Che did and his performance can best be described as passable. What sticks out as a sore spot though is Vaani Kapoor as Tara. Her role is unnecessary and her acting is disappointing and borderlines on irritating. She tries really hard to mimic the style of Parineeti Chopra & Anushka Sharma but the “i-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude just doesn’t suit her sophisticated model look.

Well, another movie added to the ‘disappointment’ list of 2013. Watch it only if your girlfriend insists or you have time on your hands that you need to kill.

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 – 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.

Movie Review – Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011)

This movie is a prime example of the power of positive word of mouth on social media. The movie didn’t quite get rave reviews from the professional critic circuit when it opened. But as more and more people discovered the movie, the social media was abuzz with people calling it a must watch.

And well they weren’t wrong either.

This movie depicts the sorry case of guys at the hands of evil, bitching and mostly scheming girls. It’s the story of 3 guys (Nishant aka Liquid, Vicky aka Chaudhary & Rajat aka Rajjo). Liquid is highly frustrated with his nowhere leading job and his inability to ‘patao’ girls. Chaudhary is the cool one of the trio who plays the guitar, sports funky looking hairdo and considers it cool & even normal to lounge around in his underwear for most part of the movie (which is really difficult to fathom). And as for Rajjo aka Rajat he has no specific character sketch until a woman comes into his life. It is then that his character starts taking shape and a good shape at that 🙂

The movie starts with Liquid mouthing filthy dialogues peppered with abusive words but which make sense once you realize that it’s the frustration of the guy that is actually being shown. The 3 guys break into a song “Life sahi hai, Tension nahi hai” depicting their single & free status.

And voila, just like the saas-bahu serials cannot take even 2 minutes of happiness, the vamps enter the scene. There is a girl for each of the guy and soon all 3 of them discover the joys of being with a woman. As Rajjo says, it makes them feel alive. But like all the good things, the honeymoon period soon gets over and that is when the REAL fun begins.

Liquid soon discovers that the woman he was considering to be his future Mrs. Liquid was just using him to get her work done in office, using all the help that she needed while keeping her boyfriend. Despite realizing that he has become just a “good friend” and a personal valet to the lady, Liquid still goes out of the way to help her and in the process become a doormat.

Chaudhary also isn’t faring any better as he realizes that his modern & forward sort of girlfriend has her feet in two separate boats. She enjoys being with him while keeping her boyfriend of 5-years in the sly.

And the funniest and the most amazing track is that of Rajjo and his live-in relationship girlfriend Neha. The dialogues and the situations have been scripted so beautifully that your heart actually goes out to Rajat. He is portrayed as the poor guy who does everything but is still blamed for doing nothing by his girlfriend. Neha hs been shown as the epitome of how a female mind works. They say it for a reason why it’s impossible to understand a woman. She makes sure that no matter what the situation or whoever’s mistake it is, she always ends up winning the arguments and has her way in the relationship. And Nushrat Bharucha (Neha) has brilliantly played the character and totally fits the bill.

The story unfolds beautifully and every person who has ever been in a relationship or hasn’t but has had an argument with a woman can totally relate to it. The script writer has done a commendable job writing all the dialogues since even females who have been portrayed as the enemies can relate to them and that, mind you is no small feat.

The only thing that doesn’t go down well is the extreme negative light in which females are shown. Their point of view and their side of the story hasn’t been shown at all but I guess that kind of works in the movies favor. The wife & girlfriend jokes have always been in and the situations created give the movie a full chance to capitalize on them.

If a movie were to be made about the girl’s side of the same story, am sure everybody would sympathize with them too. Though it wouldn’t be as funny.

The best dialogue/part of the film definitely has to be the long dialogue delivered by Rajjo when he comes back to his bachelor pad after a fight with Neha. Every single person can relate to it.

The only thing that didn’t work for the movie were the actors with their shoddy acting skills, Vicky wearing an underwear all the time in front of his buddies (I am sure most of the guys couldn’t relate to it either), the gay-ish scenes between Liquid & Rajjo and somewhat extreme behavior and meanness of Charu (Liquid’s advantage taker).

Totally go for the movie but not for the acting prowess or amazing songs or anything else but solely for the content and the dialogues as that is the only thing that will keep you glued for the entire 2.5 hours.

P.S. – If you liked the movie, you would enjoy watching a sitcom called ‘Coupling’. It is a British sitcom that shows how a same event is viewed differently from a guy’s and a girl’s perspective. Hilarious it is!

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 8/10
  • Director Luv Ranjan, who was on the look out for an actor (san a starry face) to play the lead role, discovered newbie Karthik on the social networking site Facebook.
  • Pyaar Ka Punchnama will make a record of sorts by launching six newcomers, a debutant producer and a first time director.
  • In the initial scene when Nishant is angry & all three start for a dhaba on Vikrant‘s bike but while returning they are seen to be climbing the jeep.

Movie Review – Dear Frankie (2004)

This is a beautiful and a heartwarming tale of a deaf boy and his yearning & quest for his father.

Frankie is a deaf 9 year old boy who lives with his mother & grandmother and frequently shifts places. He has been told by his mother that his father is a sailor and keeps away at sea mostly and that is why he is unable to see or visit him. Though she encourages him to write letters to his father which are duly answered.

But here is where a shocking revelation is made. Those letters are answered by none other than his mother since the truth is far from beautiful to be told to Frankie. But when Frankie becomes hell bent on meeting his father, then the story takes a turn and Gerard Butler enters.

The movie beautifully captures the sense & sensibility of the young boy and explores his love for his mother while keeping his yearning for his father alive. It also shows a single mother’s love, dedication & struggle to raise a child without a father figure and how it affects her personal life which has been amazingly portrayed by Emily Mortimer.

This movie will surely make you moist-eyed. It ends on a happy note but not as happy as you’d like it to be.

Initially difficult to grasp due to the heavy Scottish accent but 10-15 minutes into the movie and you get a hang of it.

Definitely worth a watch, Frankie will surely steal your heart 🙂

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.9/10
  • Jack McElhone (Frankie) is not deaf but worked with a speech coach so that his one spoken line would sound correct.
  • The song that plays while Lizzie (Emily Mortimer) is sitting on a bench crying after a fruitless attempt to find a “daddy” for Frankie, is written by one of the most famous contemporary Estonian composer – Arvo Pärt.
  • Gerard Butler does not have a character name in the movie and is known as ‘The Stranger’.

Movie Review – Being John Malkovich (1999)

I was really intrigued by the title of this movie and when I got to know the premise I knew I had to watch this one. And am I glad that I did 🙂

A bit of fantasy thrown in with some really good acting makes for a good watch. It is about a puppeteer who has no career and no opportunities to make one. He finally decides to join a company as a filer (largely due to insistence by his wife) on the 7 & 1/2 floor of a building. Herein he discovers a portal that literally changes his life. The secret door leads directly into the actor John Malkovich’s head.

It is definitely a one-time watch that will keep you glued till the end though the ending of the movie is a little disappointing. Good acting by all the actors.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.9/10
  • John Cusack actually took some marionette-puppeteering lessons in order to prepare for the film
  • John Malkovich‘s real middle name is Gavin – in the movie, his character’s middle name is Horatio.
  • According to the script, the song intended to be played over the closing credits was “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppethead” by They Might Be Giants.
  • Charlie Kaufman sent the screenplay to Francis Ford Coppola after he wrote it. Coppola liked it very much and showed it to his daughter’s husband, Spike Jonze. Jonze liked the screenplay so much that he approached Kaufman about directing the movie.
  • The original script has Kevin Bacon in place of Charlie Sheen, as Malkovich‘s actor friend.
  • A fictional behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of this movie appears in screenwriterCharlie Kaufman‘s subsequent movie, Adaptation. (2002).
  • Writer / director Spike Jonze claimed in an interview that when he was shopping the screenplay around Hollywood, at least one unspecified producer asked if he could possibly rewrite the film as “Being Tom Cruise“.
  • John Malkovich was approached about this film several times and loved the script, but he and his production crew felt that another actor would fit the role better. Malkovich offered to help produce the film, and aid Spike Jonze in any way, but refused to star in it. Eventually after a couple of years Malkovich’s will was worn down and he agreed to star in the film.
  • In a radio interview writer Charlie Kaufman explained that while pitching John Malkovichthe story, Kaufman was informed, much to his surprise, that Malkovich lived at the time in a Manhattan apartment located on the 7th 1/2 floor.