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’.

Band Baaja Baraat – Refreshingly Good

Yash Raj films have been known to produce romantic movies and musicals and NRI romances and wedding videos in the name of films since last few years. Since the advent of DDLJ some 15 years ago it has been doing so and it has been searching for its next DDLJ ever since. Exceptions to this theme have been far and few. Somehow in these last 15 years they have been making the same film over and over with different variations, stars and music. It was relying too much on big shot stars, big directors, big music to make their movies sail through which did work few times but bombed most times. The unreal world of YRF films was crashing and they were not realizing that. The premier bollywood studio, which once never failed at box office, was giving duds after duds and was considered no longer the same powerful studio it once was.

With Band Baaja Baraat, they have managed to break few shackles. The film is a surprise for everybody including I think the bosses of YRF. To begin with the film is set in middle class Delhi and not London or New York. The characters and settings of the film are real, believable and that is a welcome change from Raj and Rahuls we are used to see. The film has a definite story and a decent plot line moving the story. Above all the film has two really good actors who fit the roles perfectly. The movie is a model on a how a romantic comedy needs to be made.

The story is simple and is about a middle class Delhi girl and a roadside Delhi romeo coming togather as business partners as wedding planners. Their meeting is accidental however they join forces together to launch ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ a wedding planning agency set in middle class Janakpuri of Delhi. The initial part of film is breezy and takes you from one wedding to another and slow and steady rise of the duo’s company and making even the simplest of wedding as grand and memorable. The company grows and so does the dreams and the leads graduate from middle class low budget weddings to high society ‘farmhouse’ weddings as they call it in Delhi where budgets run in crores. They succeed with their zeal for hard work, honesty and dedication. Till about the midpoint of the film when the conflict arises the film is real fast moving. The conflict point is not a villain or money or fights but strangely it is love.  The romantic scenes and the love scenes are done in a very non-conventional way, which makes it look and feel real.When the leads fall in love they break the first rule of their ‘binness’ that to ‘never fall in love with your business partner’.  The 2nd half is bit slow as compared to the first and some of the things are quire predictable but still fun to watch. The fights, tantrums and problems which arises from the conflict continue right till the end where of course like true YRF style the leads make up and everything is hunky dory. The finale seems bit stretched but you never feel bored. Do not miss the end credits.

In spite of certain predictive nature of the story it makes you watch it and enjoy mainly because of real life situations, some original hilarious scenes, smartest dialogues you’ll see, wonderful and breezy direction, superb production values with an eye to detailing you are not used to see in mainstream Hindi movies and on top of all the 2 leading actors.  Anushka Sharma as ‘Shrutti Kakkad’ lives the character like she was born to do this. Its her third film, incidentally all 3 with YRF, and she is a revelation as an actress. She is uninhibited, can act well, dance like a breeze in most natural way and makes you feel for her in emotional scenes. Of  course the real surprise packet is new boy Ranveer Singh as ‘Bittoo Sharma’. The guy is unconventional in looks but is a sheer delight to watch on screen. His dialogue delivery, sense of comic timing, dancing and acting skills make you root for his slightly roguish but innocent character. He is the true blue Delhi boy we have been looking for. This certainly is a dream debut for him in a role tailor made for him and I wont be surprised if he wins the best debut actor prizes in most award ceremonies next year.

Before the film released when I saw the promos I didn’t think much of the new actor with his unconventional look but I have to say that I was wrong and I shouldn’t have been prejudiced. Incidentally last time I was prejudiced and then later changed my mind after a film released was during ‘Kaho na Pyaar Hai’ almost a decade ago !!

The film is a true representation of what North Indian weddings and the debut-ant director Maneesh Sharma has captured the true essence of both middle class and high society Delhi. Special mention to dialogues by Habib Faisal for capturing the Hindi tone and words that only Delhites would use. This is the kind of original earthy writing and detailing which has been missing from many of our recent films. The supporting actors are cast so well that they do not look like actors but straight out of a Delhi colony. The music by Salim-Suleimaan is apt and the numbers are foot tapping and makes you want to dance in the aisle. ”Ainvayi Ainvayi’ is for the song of the year and will be a surefire hit in every wedding from now on.

The film is made in very moderate budget and most of the money has already been recovered from Satellite an Music rights so whatever the film earns from box office is a bonus for the producers. The movie surely worked for me and we enjoyed the late night show in middle of a working week and were surprised to find the hall almost full. Nothing works like word of mouth publicity and positive critic reviews.

My Ratings – 9/10 for the sheer North Indian energy and the lead actors. Best rom-com of the year.

P.S. My only worry is that after the success of this film YRF has got enough money now to make few more Uday Chopra films !!!

Badmaash Company is nice- Review

A person’s film review is usually based on what you see in a film and what your expectations of the film were prior to watching it. Expectations are built mainly from the television promos, music, caste and the production house behind the film and mainly reviews by other filmgoers, critics, journalists, trade analysts and friends and family.

Thus when majority of the above give favorable reviews to a film there are more chances of you liking it as well ,atleast the layman in me would ‘try’ to like it and vice versa. Sometimes when the reviews are not so positive you expect to’not like’ the movie or get bored by it, however thats when a decently made film takes you by surprise.

I had close to zero expectations from Badmaash Company and expected to get bored especially in the 2nd half, as per most of the reviews but I did not feel bored. The first half I though was breezy enough and 2nd half although a bit repetitive didn’t feel bored much. The settings of Mumbai of the early 90s was quite well done. The story is quite ‘hatke’ from the regular stories you expect and the actors fitted the part , all the 4 including Shahid Kapoor, Veer Das, Meiyang Chang and Anushka Sharma were quite well suitable for the roles they enacted. Perhaps Anushka Sharma was the producer’s choice rather than the directors, but she looked good enough to be there, although needs serious improvement in her speech. The film has a simple story about those 4 guys who use their little tricks and con jobs to earn lots of money and then the money goes to their heads and ultimately they realize their folly and then all is well that ends well. Several sub-plots in between muddle the story a bit  but overall the message was quite clear and a bit obvious.

Anushka Sharma acts as a bindass north Indian girl and looks modern enough for the part, Pawan Malhotra is decent and the Jameel Khan as the ‘smuggler’ boss is very apt. Anupam Kher’s and Kiran Joneja’s plot acts as a bit speed breaker and is too cliched. Veer Das and Chang were apt for the kind of roles they were selected, Chang has a face and personality which can make him the modern day ‘Danny’ but he has to be careful with the roles he select. Shahid Kapoor is natural, hams a bit and sometimes is too eager to do something but overall is quite restrained and carried the film nicely on his shoulders.

Technically the film is quite glossy and ‘good looking’  thanks mainly to the yashraj banner. The cost of production is lavish and appealing.The film falters a bit in its direction and editing part a bit, perhaps due to the fact that the director Parmeet Sethi is new and is also the story and script writer and a bit overenthusiastic at times. But with right experience he would improve and hopefully his next film would be a much better polished product. The music isn’t the blockbuster kind but most of the songs fit the situation and has a youthful appeal. The entire film is targeted towards the youth and going by the decent box office performance the youth have liked it as well.

My Ratings 7/10. Watch it, you wont feel bored.