Bollywood – What next in 2011?

The year 2010 is gone, well almost. The films have come and films have gone , some have succeeded and many have flopped. The latest release ‘Tees Maar Khan’ did get a big opening weekend but then audiences saw through it and the movie failed from the 4th day and it would barely manage to cover its huge investments of 65 Crores knocking the poor distributors and  taking with it the reputations of its director Farah Khan and actors Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. Many of the small films released this year have done lot better than many big budget disasters.

2011 has quite a few big films releasing in first few weeks itself mainly to avoid the World Cup Cricket to be held from February 2011. First of its release would be Rajkumar Gupta directed thriller ‘No One Killed Jessica’ based on the infamous Jessica Lall murder case starring Rani Mukherji as the firebrand journalist following the case and subtle Vidya Balan as Jessica’s sister. The film does have quite different music loved by many and the promos of the films are quite a Hit with people. The  film does have lot of potential and is eagerly awaited.

Next up is the mad-cap Deol trio comedy ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana‘ starring the 3 Deols. The film’s promos are loved by all and the film promises to be a laugh riot. The music is quite popular and the dialogue promos make the film an exciting prospect. This film releases on 14th Janury.

21st January sees perhaps the biggest film if this half of the year, although not a conventional movie but a movie starring Aamir Khan is always a big proposition. ‘Dhobi Ghat‘ directed by Kiran Rao starring Aamir and Prateik Babbar promises to be a great film and based on early reviews from Toronto Film Festival where this film was shown, this one could perhaps be the best film to come out in a while.

‘Dil toh Baccha hai Jee’ starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Vaidya is another comedy releasing this month in the last week. Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar this film does look different from regular slapstick comedies we have been watching.

Early February also looks busy with Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ staring Priyanka Chopra and ‘Patiala House’ starring Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma releases. There are many other smaller budget and medium budget films releasing as well.

Let us see if any of the above big budget films succeed in first couple of months of the year 2011 or the trend of small films doing better continues in 2010.

My Bet for the first 2 months – Dhobi Ghat would be the best of the lot,  Yamla Pagla Deewana to collect good box office money and No One Killed Jessica to be the ‘dark horse’.

First Trailer – Dil to Baccha Hai jee

Maybe its because Monday but when I saw the trailer of this film , my first impression was to Like it. I could be wrong and this film could be another slapstick comedy but somehow I think this might be different comedy.

The film is ‘Dil to Baccha Hai Jee’ by Madhur Bhandarkar starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Shukla. Maybe its just another rip-off from some hollywood film.

Here is the promo..

Toonpur ka Superhero – Trailer -What is this?

One look at trailer of ‘Toonpur Ka Superhero’, the animation film from Ajay Devgn’s production house and you know that Indian animation have a looooong way to go and reach the standards of Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks or even Japanese animation films.

Have a look at it and you decide, would you watch this mish-mash of cheesy animation , weird music, bollywoodish dialogues and unwanted live action scenes ??

Golmaal 3 – Whats goin on?

Whenever a supposedly comedy Bollywood film releases we get to hear statements like ‘leave your brain behind at home and come’ , ‘do not use logic’ , ‘mindless comedy’ and so on… Why does the comedy in Bollywood films have reduced to collection of gags, cliched jokes, hyper acting, fair amount of slapstick, vulgar double meaning dialogues, lead characters mouthing obscenities and weird action scenes full of crude humor. Why not intelligent comedy with a little bit of wit or smart situations is ever produced in Bollywood is a question to be asked.

However Diwali is not the time for such questions as we have seen over the years. Come Diwali and you have a dose of mindless comedies like ‘Golmaal’ or ‘All the Best’ invading theaters and people watch them to get ‘entertained’. And going by box office results majority in India like such kind of mindless entertainment, so who are we to argue !!

Golmaal 3
is from the same genre of mindless Comedy from the makers of…Golmaal 1 and 2 of course. There is no connection between the 3 films if you discount the lead actors, director, location of Goa, same co-stars, same character actors and similar sounding plots that is. Basically the director Rohit Shetty and producer Ajay Devgn have a set formula for such films. Have the scenic beaches of Goa as backdrop, have co-stars who can produce slapstick humor, yell and scream and dance to the beat, create some mindless plot about absolutely nothing, have paperboard villain characters with even bad sidekicks and thrown in customary stupid cop guy , equally stupid Don characters and then just make them run around from one place to another in the name of a story.

Golmaal 3 takes its basic plot from Basu Chatterjee’s  1978 classic ‘Khatta Meetha’ starring Ashok Kumar and Pearl Padamsee. Here good old Mithun Chakravorty and Ratna Pathak Shah are the ageing parents who get married and forces the fighting batch of siblings that is Ajay Devgn, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Arshad Warsi and Tushaar Kapoor to stay in one house. The first half of film basically leads to this situation. The 2 factions of warring brothers fight and run around doing practically nothing else.

In the 2nd half the family contnues to fight and unite and fights again. In between there is plot of Don Pappi -Johnny Lever who keeps forgetting every 5 minutes ( reference- Ghajini) and his 2 stupid sidekicks ‘ Daga aur Teja’. Then there is stupid cop and stupid don doing their useless acts. and then there is Kareena Kapoor, almost the 6th brother , as the tom-boyish Dabboo ( reference her father Randhir Kapoor) who unites the aging couple and warring brothers and hams to the hilt and a Rohit Shetty film is incomplete without blasting cars, flying jet-skis and everything that comes in a way getting destroyed.

Nothing more can be said about the movie which is full of references to all kinds of movies of the past, actors of the past including a cover version of disco dancer by Mithunda himself but has nothing else or original to show. The movie has almost non-existent storyline or script and is collection of gags at its best. Some of the gags are indeed laughworthy but when you expect people to laugh at a dog named facebook biting Mithunda’s backside then you really have hit the bottom.  The film lives upto its stupidity by constantly making fun of a person who cannot speak and another who stammers.

Ajay Devgn if were not the producer of the film is a misfit for such kind of films but must admit that he does play his slightly ‘director-backed’ role quite well , the grungy look goes with his character but why does he has to walk in slow motion every time he enters the screen ? Kareena Kapoor is decent at times but most times she hams and overdoes her tomboyish act. Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu and Arshad Warsi fit their role and Tushar Kapoor again gets maximum footage with his mute guy act. What on earth made Mithunda do such a role and such a movie, no idea. I am sure Ratna Pathak Shah did this film only for money. This is nothing but a brain-dead movie to say the least.

The box office might give this film a thumbs up and give truckloads of money to the producer mainly because of the Diwali season and lack of much competition for entertainment in the market. The 9 am show on Diwali day was packed and most shows for weekend were sold out. I am just worried that this might inspire the makers to make a 4th part of this series !!

My Ratings –  5/10 Only for some jokes which worked. Watch it as I am sure most of us have nothing better to see.

Aakrosh – Something’s Burning

Aakrosh stars Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna 2 CBI officers sent to a small village in Bihar to investigate mysterious disappearance and possible murders of 3 Young Delhi men. Investigating possibly a case of caste related murders the 2 cops encounter corrupt local police, corrupt politicians and a village largely divided by caste.

The movie directed by Priyadarshan has all the right intentions. The film reflects the condition of ‘inner’ India we generally do not get to see but just hear about in television channels and read about them in newspapers. It also bears resemblance to ‘Khap’ murders in Haryana which recently shocked the nation. The film has all the right intentions,  a serious enough topic and decent acting from the leads. But the film has one major flaw and that is that it is a frame-by-frame copy of Hollywood film ‘Mississippi Burning’ starring Gene Hackman and William Defoe. The problems between black and white in rural southern America is replaced here by divide between upper and lower castes. The Ku Klux Klan is replaced by Shool Sena and burning Trishuls replace burning crosses and you have a perfectly valid Indian Bollywood film.

Of course, being a Bollywood film it has more flaws then you can count. The love story track involving Bipasha Basu is absolutely needless and somehow Bollywood always manages a space  for unwanted ‘item numbers’ involcing Sameera Reddy. The film is also way too long and is never ending. Some of the portions are also inspired from other Bollywood films including one scene straight out of ‘Mirch Masala’ starring Naseeruddin Shah.

Ajay Devgn looks convincing as the hot headed officer and Akshay Khanna hams a bit as the logical one. There are far too many action scenes and chases sequences and stunts in this serious topic based film diluting its impact. Some of the stunts like Ajay riding on top of the car and jumping from one tree to other and sliding under a  moving express train and park-our type chase are totally misfit in this kind of film. Akshaye Khanna has horrible wig and Paresh Rawal as corrupt Bihari cop is nice and has done an out an out negative role after a long time. Bipasha Basu as Presh Rawal’s wife cannot much act and looks unconvincing. The entire issue of caste based divide in Indian Society is such a serious issue but it seems to have been trivialized a bit and the makers have made an action film out of it.

You can watch this film as it has the right intentions but couldnt the makers have made a serious film on serious topic like this more imaginatively and without copying the Hollywood film so blatantly ?

My Ratings –  5/10 –  Watch it for the serious issue

Which of these year end Bollywood movies would be successful at the Box Office ?

Which of these year end Bollywood movies would be successful at the Box Office?

First of the block is Anjaana Anjaani – Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra crisscrossing across American Highways, directed by Siddharth Anand. The films release was pushed back by a week ancipating the ‘Babri’ trial verdict, but now even the verdict has been postponed. Lets see if the film is able to weather this storm and also Rajnikanth’s mega blockbuster Robot (dubbed in Hindi from Tamil original Endhiran) also starring Aishwarya Rai, releases on the same day.

Then there is Aakrosh starring Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna about the ‘honour killing’ issue directed by Priyadarshan. This movie has been postponed till 15th October and is currently battling the Censor Board about the sensitive issue it is tackling. Jhootha Hi Sahi starring John Abraham directed by Abbas Tyrewala releases the same day as well. In between Emraan Hashmi’s Crook about racism problems with Indian students in Australia and Knock Out starring Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan and Kangana Ranaut which seems like inspired from Hollywood movie ‘ Phone Booth’. Then there is Raktha Charitra – I by Ramgopal Verma starring Shatrughan Sinha, Vivek Oberoi and Surya about the noted gangster Paritala Ravi.

Diwali in early November sees two big releases confronting for the box office success. Golmaal -3 stars the usual Golmaal gang of Ajay Devgn, Tushaar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi along with Kareena Kapoor as one of the ‘boys’ this time. This film clashes with Vipul Shah directed Action Replayy starring Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai going back in time with the retro 70s look. 19th November sees Hrithik Roshan as paraplegic with nurse Aishwarya Rai in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much awaited Guzaarish. There is also Break ke Baad starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone directed by Kunal Kohli

December sees Ashutosh Gowariker’s  Khelein Hum Jee Jan Sey based on Chittagong Mutiny of 1930 starring Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone. End of December sees probabaly the biggest film of the season Tees Maar Khan directed by Farah Khan starring Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna and Katrina Kaif.

Apart from these big films there are many small films, medium films, art-house films all set to unfurl on the Box office during this end of the year period. Let us see which one amongst them are successful.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai – That 70s Show

Its time to rewind to the 70s.  When it was fashionable to smuggle gold and ‘imported’ swiss watches were in demand. The era when gangs ruled  Mumbai. Once Upon a time in Mumbaai creates that age and time. It presents to us the Mumbai of 70s or Bombay as it was known then.

The disclaimer says that lead characters are  ‘NOT’ based on any person living or dead but we all know that Ajay Devgn’s Sultan Mirza is based on Haji Mastan and Emraan Hashmi represents the menacing Dawood Ibrahim. The movie shows the rise and fall of Haji Mastan and subsequent rise of his protege Dawood through the eyes of a Police Officer. It depicts how the gangs worked, how smuggling was carried out and empires were built. How one man’s greed and immoral nature splits the Bombay gangs and leads to the situation that is now. Its also a movie about ‘generation gap’ between father and son, an older wiser don and his rogue younger protege.

Director Miltan Lutharia in past has made some interesting films like Taxi No. 9211 and Kachche Dhhaage but this one would perhaps be his best work so far. Technically the film is well shot and the 70s era, the costumes, the cars and generally the city of Mumbai are authentically shown. Ttoally ‘filmi’ Dialogues are the best part of the film. Music is good enough but according to me the background score of the film is KILLER, whoever has done it has done it wonderfully to elevate the mood of the era, it binds the film at times. If it was possible to buy just the background score of the film, I would buy it. Background score is what you take home, although the songs are nice and well fitted. ‘Duniya Mein’ remix has some bad choreography though, just like the good old days.

Acting wise, Ajay Devgn lives the role of Mastan nicel, he has done it all in past, he has played Dawood in RGV’s Company where he was the undisputed Don, here he plays a similar character of Haji Mastan, but a don with a different morality and sort of robin-hoodish nature,  Emraan Hashmi fits his Dawood role even better as he resembles the look of Dawood as we know, but he is okay in certain scenes and looks bit confused in some. Kangana Ranaut and Prachi Desai follow the tradition of heroines of the 1970s, they have hardly anything to do. Kangana plays a ‘normal’ woman for a change and doesn’t say ‘Bastard’ even once !! Prachi Desai looks a bit misfit on the big screen and why her character likes the rogue Emraan Hashmi is anyone’s guess. Randeep Hooda playing the Policeman, whose story is this, looks well fitting in some parts and awkward in some, but overall he is nice in smallish role, although he could do well with few more expressions on his face.

The movie is good entertainment and watching it in packed hall reminds you of that long gone era when watching a movie in theaters was an event in itself. But the movie is not a great one, it reminds you of Ramgopal Verma’s far superior ‘Company’ and not-so-good prequel ‘D’. You tend to compare it with ‘Company’ every time. This film doesn’t have much of action or violence and deals more in drama of the era. The romantic parts also do not fit in with the mood.

Incidentally now all the 3 leading actors in the film have played Dawood Ebrahim’s role in 3 different films.  Ajay Devgn in Company and Randeep Hooda in D played the role which Emraan Hashmi played in this movie. Dawood himself is a more a myth than real for most of us in India, but now we can safely he must be looking like Emraan Hashmi, acting and behaving like Ajay Devgn and hopefully falters like Randeep Hooda, pretty soon.

My Ratings :  6.5/10 – Worth taking a trip back to that era.

Raajneeti is Powerful – Film Review

Prakash Jha’s multistarrer Rajneeti released to packed houses last weekend. It boasted the starcase of Nana Patekar, Naseeurrudin Shah, Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Ranbeer Kapoor and Katrina Kaif amongst others. The story is inspired from the greatest epic Mahabharata and set in todays’ times amongst the dirty world of state politics.

I found the film very interesting to begin with. The first half is very riveting and keep you hooked when every character is introduced. Of course you have the Mahabharata story at the back of your mind so you kind of know how each character is going to turn out to be. Although there are quite a few surprises as well. The movie gets more and more interesting as it progresses however in the last 30 minutes it becomes highly predictable and bit weak. The 3 hour length is not at all a problem as it keeps viewers engrossed throughout even though there are no songs to break the monotony of serious scenes. The film depicts the behind the scenes working of a party and politics within the party and a family. It reflects todays’ times and happenings very aptly. The election rallies, the slogan chanting, the crowd scenes look quite genuine and gives you a real feel of what elections are like in India, especially in rural and semi-urban India.

I do have some issues and questions with the film like what happened to Naseerudding Shah’s left- wing character, surely making 1 woman pregnant did not force him to leave his politics and life. I was hoping for that character to be back at some stage in the film. Also Katrina Kaif is truly expressionless and one things is sure that she was not selected for the role  for her acting skills or her Hindi speaking skills. Her character was not even foreign-returned or of a foreginer then why the silly accent?  Why couldn’t the director chose anyone else?  Maybe because she looks beautiful when she doesn’t speak and is a salable name at the box office !! Also the film has no real central character with whom you identify. All the characters have grey shades, which is good to see but you need to have one central figure with whom you want audience to empathize, here that was missing.

One big logical error which has mostly gone unnoticed is that the initial rally is shown to be taking place in the year 1983. Assuming that Ajay Devgan was concevied the very same night, he couldnt havt been born before 1984 and that would make him about 25 years old in 2009 and since he was the eldest amongst all, the other characters like Arjun Rampal, Ranbeer Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee  and Katrina Kaif all have to be under 25 and as far as my Civics knowledge goes one has to be 25 years to fight an election in India !!!  Did the story writer and the director miss this point ???

Acting of the leading characters is top-notch and Nana Patekar as Brij Gopal of course has the best character although I think that character is bit restrained and needed to have lot more witty dialogues. Ajay Devgn suits perfectly well in the role of Suraj/ Karna but again his character needed lot more depth. He looked confused in quite a many scenes. Arjun Rampal is perfectly cast as Bhim/Yudhistir combo and looks good and surprises us by acting decent enough as well. Ranbeer Kapoor’s ‘Arjun’ shoulders the film completely in 2nd half and his character is lot more like Abhishek Bachchan’s character in first Sarkar movie. Although it goes without saying that both Sarkar and this movie are inspired from Godfather. Manoj Bajpayee acts very well and his mannerisms perfectly suit his character. Finally he has a got a role worth his talent. Shruti Seth in a tiny role was a surprise too and she looks good enough for slightly lengthier roles in future. Even Sarah Thompson acted quite well and much better than plasticky Katrina Kaif, who I think should have been replaced by an actress with better acting skills. Also the lady playing ‘Kunti’s role was not so effective.

Technically, I wouldnt comment much but editing seems to be sharp and kept the viewers hooked for the entire duration of 3 hours. I missed some of the songs especially Aadesh Srivastava number  ‘Mora Piya Mosse..”, but the film didnt require any songs and am glad that the director stuck to his conviction. The film had quite a few crowd scenes and it must have been some effort to pull them off convincingly.

The film could have been much much better but I guess in today’s times of Houseful and Kites this film comes as a welcome relief to all cinegoers. The Box office performance of the initial weekend suggests that the film is bound to recover all its cost and make some good money for its makers. This is definitely a good news and films with better content need to do well on box office so as to inspire other makers to make films with even better content. Its not the stars and the marketing gimmicks that make a film work but a well written story and novel concept in story telling that does.

My Ratings : 7.5 /10 –  Do Not Miss