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 – Men In Black 3 (2012)

Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson

Verdict: 2.5/5

Even before you hit the theatre, you know what to expect from the MIB series – weird looking aliens, memory erasing devices and some fine stunts. So how does MIB-3 differ from this staple diet? Read on..

Although I watched the 3rd part without having watched the 2nd, it wasn’t difficult to catch up. This instalment doesn’t only include aliens, some cool tech & incredible action but has an extra dimension thrown in; that of ‘time travel’ – a facet every human has been fascinated with since the beginning of time.

So we start with aliens (but of course) and some lovely banter between Agent J (Will Smith) & Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin) which shows how strong a bond both share without spelling it out in obvious words. K is embroiled in a plethora of secrets that J wouldn’t be let on (which are obviously revealed later in the movie). Anywho, a cool alien fight later we learn about an evil alien (Boris The Animal) who escaped from the jail on Moon to take revenge from Agent K for his broken arm. The very next day J wakes up and starts about his daily routine only to find that there is some lapse in his time line and that K has been dead over 40 years. He also discovers that the Boris’ race never became extinct and are planning to invade the Earth.

This is when he decides to go back in time to 1969 so as to save his partner and make sure that Boris The Animal dies and their race becomes extinct so that planet earth doesn’t face any threat in the future. It is now that the movie becomes exciting. We get to experience the olden days with some cool and funny quips thrown in by “J from the future”. We also get to see K and how different he was in the past. The rest of the story although predictable (good prevails, evil dies, secrets revealed, happy endings) is saved from boredom by some funny and witty dialogues and some cool action sequences. And as is the case with any sci-fi movie, the special effects definitely help.

When MIB originally came out it was a lot cooler since there weren’t that many other sci-fi cool movies releasing (at least in India). But now that Hollywood is queuing up to release their movies in Bollywood even before they hit theatres there, we are getting to see some much cooler and edge of the seat action movies than ever before. And honestly MIB-3 pales in comparison. Although the lead actors have done justice to their roles, the movie in general is just another passing affair. But you can definitely give it a watch since no other major movie has released this weekend – a big plus for MIB-3.

Trivia:

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 – 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 – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Imraan Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar

Verdict: 2.5/5

 

If only real life was like a movie; parents would be stupid, ridiculous plans would be brilliant and workable, arranged marriages would be a child’s play and all men & women would be absolutely hot. But real life is real life and that’s why we need movies to take us into that faraway land where everything is hunky dory.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan opens with Ali Zafar (Luv) breaking up with his girlfriend (Piyali) in London and then immediately calling his Asst. Director brother (Imraan Khan – Kush) in Mumbai to find a nice Indian girl for him to settle down. Next we see Kush meeting girls for his London returned brother and the comic drama that ensues (anybody remember Namaste London??). With double meaning jokes, several clichés and funny situations the movie makes you laugh. So far so good!

Enter Katrina Kaif (Dimple), a London returned desi. She lends a lot of sex appeal and style to the movie but when it comes to acting she puts nothing on the table or rather puts too much. With her over-acting some of the finest over-actors can be put to shame. But this doesn’t take away the fact that she is a perfect eye-candy and guys who love Katrina can watch the movie just to drool over her.

Anyway, what happens next is that Luv & Dimple say yes to each other and their marriage is fixed. The marriage preparations start and Kush is the one who takes Dimple out for all the shopping and takes the responsibility of making her live her life to the fullest before she gets married. And predictably, as given away by the title, both of them fall in love with each other and just so that the story can complete 3 hours, all this happens after Dimple & Luv get engaged.

What follows is a series of plans and plots to make Luv voluntarily get out of the marriage so that Kush & Dimple can get married.

As you can see the story isn’t anything that you haven’t seen before and cannot predict. But the movie manages to entertain you with its light-hearted jokes, funny situations, hummable songs and good looking leading actors.

The guy who plays Katrina’s brother Ajju will definitely get you to your wits end. Imraan though has done a good job & so have his side-kicks and Ali Zafar.

The only issues are the far-fetched story & some impractical plans. But go watch it if you want to see a light-hearted time pass movie on the weekend. Not as good as you would expect but not as bad either. Just a feel-good flick!

Trivia:

  • Katrina took 25 takes to get the scene where she slaps Imraan right.
  • Imraan’s great uncle, Nasir Hussain is from Dehradun (where a part of the movie is shot) and so is his wife Avantika’s maternal family.
  • As soon as fans heard that Katrina was shooting for DHUNKI at Agra Fort, a crowd of 1000 plus gathered within a few minutes! All the crowd and mob shots shown in the song are authentic – the only way Katrina could safely leave the venue at the end of the shoot was when a team of police was called to escort her out and take her away in a police van.
  • The Title Song of the movie is shot widely across India including Mumbai, New Delhi and Dehradun.
  • CHOOMANTAR was shot all over Delhi and a fun sequence was shot in the VIP area of South Delhi with Katrina riding an open rickshaw without support. A number of VIPs stopped in their tracks when they saw Imran and Katrina going wild and crazy while shooting for the song.
  • Ali Zafar taught Katrina to play the guitar while shooting for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
  • In a very important scene, Katrina had to slap Imran who insisted that she must genuinely slap him to make the scene look real. In the pursuit of the perfect take, Imran got slapped a dozen times and was left with a puffy red cheek. At the end of it all Katrina very sweetly got him a box of chocolates as she felt responsible.
  • In a funny and quirky scene between Imran and Katrina, director Ali Abbas found something amiss. He decided to add a gun as a fun and interesting element to the scene but while shooting, Imran accidentally hit the gun on Katrina’s nose and her nose started bleeding. Katrina was a very good sport about it all and continued shooting after she took a quick break in order to regain herself.
  • A huge crowd of Imran and Katrina’s fans and locals gathered outside the Pataudi Palace as soon as they got to know the actors were shooting there for MBKD. One particular scene by the palace pool required the actors to be quiet and serious but the crowds were a huge distraction and kept yelling out to Imran and Katrina – some people even started throwing stones to attract the attention of the actors. But Imran and Katrina remained focused and shot this moving scene beautifully.
  • Massive crowds appeared to watch Imran Khan shoot at Dehradun Railway Station. The public was uncontrollable and went wild – they only relented when Imran  took the mike and requested everyone to be quiet in order for the crew to be able to shoot.

Movie Review – Hereafter (2010)

Year of Release: 2010

Stars:  Matt DamonCécile De France and Bryce Dallas Howard

Verdict: 2.75 / 5

The biggest and the most primal fear that a human mind has is that of death. Despite it being a certainty we tend to put it off and not think about it which actually does us a favor: it helps us Live! As Matt Damon says in the movie – “A life all about death; is no life at all.”

Hereafter has parallel stories running that are bound by a common thread which is death. All the tracks have characters that have either experienced death or have lost close ones to death. The movie shows us that death isn’t as scary as believed to be and that one has to put it behind so as to move on and live life.

Track no. 1 is about a French couple who were a victim of the Tsunami in Thailand. The girl dies and miraculously comes back to life and has a vision thereafter. Track no. 2 is of two twin brothers who share an extremely strong bond. Their track progresses when the older brother dies and the younger one tries all the psychic means possible to talk to his dead sibling. Track no. 3 is about a blue-collar worker who was once a great psychic and has a gift (or curse as he calls it) to communicate with the dead.

All three of them are battling with their own issues, French woman with her vision and seeking answers for the same, the boy with moving on in life & the man with living his life and the loneliness his gift/curse has ensued.

But the central and the most important character is played by ‘Destiny’ in the movie. Nope destiny isn’t just a name of yet another character. The parallel stories are brought together at one place by the mysterious ways of destiny. This leaves you thinking that no matter what you wanted to do or intended to achieve, destiny takes you exactly where you are supposed to be. In the end, everything is ok and in its place. A beautiful Arabic worddescribes the phenomenon – Maktub : It’s all written!

Not a spectacular movie but a feel good time pass.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 6.7 / 10
  • Filming shut down for a month in December 2009, as Matt Damon was filming The Adjustment Bureau.
  • In a February 2010 interview with the UK’s ‘Daily Telegraph’, Clint Eastwood described “Hereafter” as “…three different stories with people who have gone through some sort of stressful time and it’s about how they sort of converge together. Much like a lot of French movies have been in the past, where the stories kind of converge together, and destiny drives each person towards the other.”
  • Supporting actor Sarah Jane O’Neill (Rehab Patient) claims to be a real-life psychic and a world renowned Paranormal Investigator.
  • Several biographies describe how Clint Eastwood was stranded offshore in the ocean several days after his Navy training plane crashed. The experience is probably what helped him film the tsunami scene in Hereafter.
  • Shipped to theaters under the title “Heaven’s Playground”.
  • The trailer for the film features the song Lullaby performed by Sia Furler – written bySamuel Dixon and Sia Furler
  • The movie was pulled from theaters in Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit in March 2011.

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.