Archive for October, 2007

Don: The Chase Begins (2006)

Name: Don: The Chase Begins
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Arjun Rampal, Ishaa Koppikar, Om Puri & Kareena Kapoor

Director: Farhan Akhtar

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Remake from the 1978 Original with Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan stars in this version as Don. Don is a ruthless drug cartel member from Malaysia which is headed by Singhania. Killing anyone who gets in the way of his success has lead to enemies including Kamini (Kareena Kapoor), Jasjit (Arjun Rampal) and most of all Roma (Priyanka Chopra) who are all focused on killing Don.

The police force is hot on Don’s tail and after a police operation is seriously injured. Suddenly Don returns with memory loss – what has happened to Don? There are many more twists and turns along the way in this movie, but i’m trying to provide a spoiler free synopsis so as not to ruin the movie for any new watchers like me who do not know the storyline.

Review:

One thing must be noted before i give a review on Don the remake – i haven’t seen the first one! A grave sin i know but going from remake to original i think will also be interesting – so yeah this review is being made out of context about my feelings on the original.

As for whether i care if this is a remake of a 70s classic – meh! I don’t care unless they do a disastrous job e.g RGV Aag. There are certain things in life that are certain – death, taxes, fashion being reintroduced and movies constantly being remade.

I went and saw this movie in the cinemas at an indian film festival (a year after release) so there was 2 indians out of the 30 people in the cinema…as any self respecting indian would have seen it and owned a pirate copy of it already and would never pay $12 to re see it. So the rest of the viewers were 80% white. Which had amusing reactions at times from what i observed (but i’ll get into that later).

I’ve been avoiding Don for a year. The promos and tryhard cool lines of Shahrukh did put off the desire to see this movie. But then my sister (a big Shahrukh fan) saw that this film was being played at the festival so I thought why not and went along. The first 20 mintues was everything i expected. The one-liners by ‘Don’ were so cheesy and wanna be cool that i knew i was right. ‘Not only is it hard to capture Don, it’s impossible’ or something along those lines. Overall I just sat back and rolled my eyes. Then enter Kareena – ohh the dance scene with her. The bad fashioned dress, the same dance move over and over again – it was cringe worthy to see her perform that song and seduce Don. So after that everything felt forced and fake – bollywood trying some it isnt.

Then enters the a turn in the story and all of a sudden its wasn’t just another boring thriller it had a interesting multiple twist story to go along with it. That more like it! After that I really started to enjoy Don. I either was getting used to the one-liners or was getting more into the story i didn’t care about the forcefulness of the ‘cool’ factor. Songs improved too thanks to Ishaa and Priyanka – Maurya Re, Aaj Ki Raat and Main Hoon Don were my favourites.

I’m amazed myself i had not stumbled upon the Don spoilers before. I swear i must have read them before, but i thankfully forgot them. It made the movie all the more enjoyable. I could stand the 3 hours running time because the movie kept changing and kept the viewer guessing. I think some of the action scenes could have been trimmed and the wedding scene and song ‘Khaike Paan Banaraswala’ cut all together (as it had absolutely no point). When that Khaike Paan Banaraswala song came on it was reaching 2.5 hrs and when the audience suddenly realised SRK was breaking into song again i swear i heard half the audience groan hahaha. Additionally whenever romance suddenly broke out in the middle of a scene i heard some groans from the audience as well.

Priyanka was enjoyable in this film, i like it when she stays away from comedy and sticks to her dramas. I think thats her talent. She also more then proved herself in the action scenes. As for SRK although hes not exactly how i would picture a suave gangster, but he does have the charisma and moves that Don requires. The age gap between Priyanka and SRK didn’t really bother me as I thought it would. Ishaa is unfortunately forgettable in her role as Anita and will once again be relegated to supporting cast in her upcoming movies instead of a heroine like Priyanka.

Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Any Shahrukh fan will definetely enjoy it but for me thanks to the interesting storyline and sophisticated fight scenes I quite enjoyed Don, considering i was trying to avoid it. Worth the watch!

October 29, 2007 at 9:10 am 1 comment

Namak Halaal (1982)

Name: Namak Halaal (Faithful/ Loyal Servant)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman, Om Prakash, Shashi Kapoor, Smita Patil & Parveen Babi.

Director: Prakash Mehra

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Arjun Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) has been raised by his grandfather (Om Prakash). His grandfather gets worried when his Arjun doesn’t dream about girls, but about his love for his grandfather! So his grandfather feels Arjun is too simple and naive so he sends him to work in Mumbai to experience life for himself and ‘stand on his own two feet’. Arjun soon finds work in a 5 star hotel working for Raja (Shashi Kapoor). Someone is trying to kill Raja and Raja fears its his own mother Savitri (Waheeda Rehman). But the story takes a twist when it becomes apparent (to everyone but the chatacters) that Savitri is also Arjun’s mother. Arjun doesn’t believe Savitri would kill her own son so he pledges his loyalty to finding the person trying to kill Raja. More plot lines and eccentric bad guys to follow.

Review:

Namak Halaal is your typical masala film – full of action, romance, drama, intrigue, comedy and oh yeah the story rarely makes alot of sense. But just cause the story is everywhere doesn’t mean its not totally enjoyable to watch!

If i was to summarise and make a synopsis on all the plot lines and characters in this movie i would be writing for a while! There is so much happening all at once, its hard to seamlessly tie everything nicely together. One could describe Namak Halaal as ‘wacky’ and utterly nonsensical but despite the fact the viewer might be very confused at times, you can almost guarantee they will be at least entertained.

The movie can get a bit full on at times with all the melodrama and eccentric mad men, but the saving grace is the comedy brought by Amitabh Bachchan as ‘Arjun Singh’, the faithful and simplistic village boy in the big city. If anyone has seen any of Abhishek Bachchan’s comedic roles (Jhoom Barabar Jhoom & Bunty aur Babli in particular) they can see exactly where Abhishek gets his comedy style from. Seeing Amitabh in this hilarious role is such a welcome break from seeing his angry man persona in his classic films. I wish he did more comedy because from the ones i’ve seen (Chupke Chupke & Namak Halaal) he has such a great comedy style.

There are several classic comedy scenes in the movie. Amitabh’s classic long winded ‘I know english’ speech to his prospective employer, Amitabh loosing his shoe in the hotel’s water feature, where Amitabh gets everyone in the boardroom to repeat everything Shashi says and so many more.

As for supporting cast Parveen Babi plays the woman sent to kill Shashi Kapoor’s character but ends of falling in love with him (as you do), Smita Patil plays the hotel secretary who cannot resist the good natured Amitabh Bachchan and Om Prakash plays Arjun Singh’s lovable yet tough love approach grandfather. As a major Waheeda Rehman fan i always love seeing her in movies, but her character is the same old sacrificing loving mother, but as i said i would never complain about having her in a movie.

Songs are good in this film too. My personal favourites are the rain song with Amitabh and Smita Patil – Aaj Rapat Jaye To. Pagh Ghungroo Bagh a disco qawwali styled song and the fake drunk scene he does for his grandfather that i couldn’t find on youtube unfortunately. All the Parveen Babi and Shashi Kapoor songs were disco ‘groovy’ but i prefer the Amitabh ones.

A little bit of Trivia provided by Darshana of Bollywhat, Waheda Rehman, born in 1936, plays mother of Shashi Kapoor, born in 1938, and Amitabh Bachchn, born in 1942. Funny nah?

Overall Score: 3/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Despite the fact the story doesn’t really make sense and is the same old stuff you’ve seen before, you watch this movie for the comedy value and the entertainment value of seeing Amitabh Bachchan in one of his funniest comedic roles.

I went Screencap crazy with Namak Halaal, here are some more:

October 29, 2007 at 1:55 am 3 comments

Bheja Fry (2007)

Name: Bheja Fry

Starring: Rajat Kapoor, Ranvir Shorey, Sarika, Malind Soman & Vinay Pathak

Director: Sagar Ballary

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Ranjeet Thadani (Rajat Kapoor) is a famous music executive who, along with his friends, host a Friday night dinner to which they invite an aspiring but untalented singer to make fun of. Ranjeet soon strikes gold when he discovers Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak). On this occasion, soon before the Friday night guest (Bhushan) arrives, Ranjeet hurts his back and has to cancel the dinner, yet Bhushan is still on his way. When Bhushan arrives, a series of events occur which are made much worse by Bhushan – no matter how good his intentions are.

Review:

Bheja Fry is known as the surprise hit of 2007. Its a low budget type of film yet went onto become a huge hit thanks to its strong story, comedy and performances. Its rare to find a movie that has become a hit in India not due to star power or other USP gimmicks.

The film overall only runs for 90 minutes and there are no songs (shocker for bollywood i know). Even greater shocker is the fact the comedy doesn’t rely on slapstick physical comedy to make the audience laugh (yes the Bollywood foundations have been shaken due to Bheja Fry!!). What this movie relies on (and greatly succeeds on) is the witty dialogue, comedy of errors and comic timing of its actors. In fact not much happens at all, the movie almost entirely relies on its funny dialogue and bungles by Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak).

Its supposedly a remake of the French Comedy Le Diner de Cons, but I have not seen the movie so I can’t make any comparisons about how much of the story and comedy was ripped from the French original. But that being said comedy is very cultural centric so i don’t see French jokes working the same way in India.

I was a bit confused about what was happening for the first 15 minutes, but after Bharat Bhushan arrives at Ranjeet Thadani’s house the comedy and story starts.

Rajat Kapoor plays Ranjeet who is flawed by his selfish and arrogant character. Rajat creates this character well and even can make the viewer sympathise and feel sorry for him at times. But the star and source of most comedy is Vinay Pathak as Bharat Bhushan. His look, mannerisms, actions and dialogue all are the greatest source of comedy for the film. Most supporting actors (Sarika & Milind Soman) add well to the comedy of the situations, but there was a stupid and pointless entry of Ranvir Shorey (who plays Bhushan’s co-worker). The opposing personalities of Rajat Kapoor (Ranjeet) and Vinay Pathak (Bharat Bhushan) have a great comedy jodi (relationship) and i hope i see them in other movies.

Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall its a funny entertainer (a low-key comedy), nice to see something different in bollywood every so often. I don’t always find it hysterical and i rarely laughed out loud but it does have well integrated jokes and storyline which makes it an easy and seamless 1.5hr watch. Nothing magical – but its worth your time.

October 28, 2007 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

Aandhi (1975)

Name: Aandhi (Storm)

Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Suchitra Sen & Om Prakash

Director: Gulzar

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Aandhi tells the story of an Indian female Politician running for re-election – Miss Aarti Devi (Suchitra Sen). During the campaign there is immense pressure on her image due to her underhanded political opponent. On the election trail she stays in a hotel, it soon becomes clear Miss Devi and the Hotel Manager (Sanjeev Kumar) have a history. Devi has always had dreams to be a politician and one day run the country, what is her history and relation with this hotel manager? This relation with the hotel manager will provide an opportunity for her political opponents to smear Aarti Devi’s honour – will she be re-elected?

Review:

This movie was allegedly based upon Indira Ghandi’s life, although there are similarities there isn’t a direct story from her life. The story focuses on two aspects, Aarti Devi’s political struggle to reclaim her image and be re-elected. Other aspect focuses on the history and future of her relations with hotel manager Sanjeev Kumar.

The highlight of the film for me is to watch the history of Sanjeev & Suchitra’s characters slowly unfold. There are little clues here and there what happened between them, but its the steady flashbacks throughout the film that intertwines with the present that keeps the viewer guessing and intrigued. The memories are disjointed with flashback that do not play in sequential order but specific moments here and there – much like human memories. It’s also interesting to see how their relationship resumes after the many many years apart and all the events that happened between them – how some feelings just last.

Of course the impediment to their romance is the fact that Aarti Devi is a powerful politician who can face potential political disaster for her re-election if her history is fully known. So the fear of the public’s reaction is constantly pressured on Aarti Devi and her re-election storyline which helps to keep the viewer interested in something other then the romance history storyline.

Performance wise you can get no better from Sanjeev Kumar & Suchitra Sen then their powerful and emotive performances in Aandhi. Being able to portray the feelings of seeing a loved one after so long without much dialogue, only looks and the occasional one liner shows true talent by an actor I think. I think for anyone who is a fan of Gulzar, Sanjeev and Suchitra should put this somewhere up the top of their list. Especially i found Sanjeev Kumar immensely more charismatic and charming in this movie then in Mausam.

Other highlights for the movie are the poetic and soulful songs created by Gulzar. The songs aren’t just there to sell the movie or pass the time, but enhance the mood of the scenes and help the viewer to gain meaningful incite into the character’s thoughts through the meaningful lyrics. My personal favourites were ‘Tere Bina Zingadi Se Koi’ and ‘Tum aa gaye ho, noor aa gaye hai’.

So downsides? It was romantic & emotional, but i wasn’t entirely emotionally moved by their story. I also got bored at times of her re-election campaign, her wanting to be a politician cause her dad pushed her into it i think is not a good enough excuse to do what she did. I personally don’t understand why she sacrificed what she did, well i understand but i don’t like it i guess. Also due to the prevelance of the election campaign i feel they missed out on fully exploring other issues I wanted explored for example (VERY SPOILERY: they don’t even show Aarti devi’s daughter, she gives up her daughter for her career and they don’t even show her reunion with her daughter or anything – i would think that would be one of the first things a mother would want) END SPOILER.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – There is a certain beauty to watching the nostalgic exploration of the relationship between Aarti Devi and Sanjeev Kumar, however it might not leave you completely moved. A definite movie recommendation though.

October 27, 2007 at 11:06 am 3 comments

Aap Ki Khatir (2006)

Name: Aap Ki Khatir (For Your Sake)

Starring: Akshaye Khanna, Priyanka Chopra, Amisha Patel, Dino Morea & Sunil Shetty

Director: Dharmesh Darshan

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Synopsis:

Anu (Priyanka Chopra), a London based NRI who is living in India has just broken up with her boyfriend Danny (Dino Morea). Now, she’s to come back to London to be a part of her stepsister Shirani’s (Amisha Patel) marriage, to the New York-based, Gujarati businessman Kunal Shah (Suniel Shetty), who is also Danny’s best friend.

In a plan to get back to Danny and to make him jealous, Anu convinces her colleague Aman (Akshaye Khanna), who’s also a male escort, to accompany her to the wedding as her new beau.

The wedding date and what happens between Aman, Anu & Danny forms the rest of the story.
Review:

Aap Ki Khatir is a Bollywood rip off of the movie ‘The Wedding Date’ starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney. The Wedding Date to start off with is no Hollywood Blockbuster or A-Grade romantic flick like Sleepless in Seattle or the Notebook. It was a pretty average romantic comedy to start off with, so when i saw the Bollywood equivalent it went from average to disaster.

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of Hollywood movies that i think have been ripped but somehow doesn’t feel like i’m watching the same movie but an inferior version. Hum Tum takes alot from ‘When Harry Met Sally’, Chori Chori takes from ‘House Sitter’ and Ek Ladka Ek Ladki from ‘Overboard’. The point is these movies stole the story from hollywood, but made it their own – they made a right for bollywood remake.

Aap Ki Khatir has its moments with the highlight of this being Akshaye. I have enjoyed Priyanka in many films, but for me i feel she just cannot pull off Comedy. It feels forced and she just does not have natural comedy timing. Lara Dutta (Miss Universe 2000) and Priyanka Chopra (Miss World 2000) are forever being compared. If i was to compare them i would say Lara Dutta is much better then Priyanka at comedy, but Priyanka i feel can do the full on romance and drama better.
Overall I wouldn’t say Akshaye & Priyanka were bad as leads, they had their moments but viewers come to expect more from them. But i guess they are only as good as their script. As for the ‘supporting’ cast – Sunil = character came across as lecherous/creepy, Dino = wooden and Amisha = annoying. They try to make Amisha’s character out like this really simple faithful girl and then expect the viewer to believe her character did all these horrible things.

As for music i can like the occasional Himesh song, but the music was boring and uninspiring. You forget it as soon as the songs over. Plus if Himesh’s voice irritates you just mute/skip the songs entirely.

The problem with this film was it was boring and slow with little to fill in slow scenes for the viewer. There was so much potential for the romance story between Akshaye & Priyanka (which saved its Hollywood counterpart), but for me the central romantic plot fell flat. There were some cute bickering scenes and fake couple scenes, but they didn’t even really show Priyanka falling for Akshaye, its like she just woke up and went for him. So the romance storyline is unconvincing for the viewer. The 2nd half especially dragged and because the viewer doesn’t care much for the characters like me you might find yourself utterly bored and tempted to fast forward the weepy melodrama bits.

Overall Score: 1.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – 1 star for the Akshaye & Priyanka scenes that made parts of the movie interesting and an extra 0.5 star for Akshaye himself.

October 27, 2007 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka (1977)

Name: Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka

Starring: Rajesh Khanna & Zeenat Aman

Director: J. Om Prakash

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Ashok Sharma (Rajesh Khanna) gets an opportunity to travel to Switzerland for research purposes. Once there, he meets with Chandidas Rai, a businessman, who would like Ashok to work for him in his uranium laboratory, which Ashok accepts. Ashok meets with Chandidas’ attractive daughter, Veera (Zeenat Aman), and both eventually fall in love and would like to get married. While the two are busy making plans, Rai descends on them with the police and has Ashok arrested for stealing uranium, after seducing Julie, another employee of Rai. Did Ashok really steal the uranium? And what of his romance with Veera?

Review:

To understand my feelings on this movie it must be known – I LOVE Rajesh Khanna!

Since seeing him in my first classic film (Aradhana) i have been in love with this ultimate romantic hero. Amitabh has more style and is more fun to watch, but its Rajesh for me is the one who does the romance of the movie better.

So i see on IMDB that Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka (with Rajesh & Zeenat Aman) got 8.5/10, so i figure how bad can it be! But boy was this movie the biggest let down! My aim for this review is to prevent further people who are fans of Rajesh from making the same mistake as i by watching this awful movie.

The biggest victim of this movie was the story/screenplay. Disjointed, the story was a mess. Riddled with stereotypes and cliched events i see in so many 70s film. This movie offers nothing new. Second victim was the faith i had in Rajesh to somehow even redeem the worst films.

The romance between Rajesh & Zeenat is unconvincing. They make Zeenat’s character so bratty and annoying that even when they try to pair the two up, you want Rajesh to run as far away as he can from her. Zeenat’s bratty rich character ‘Veera’ is brought up in Switzerland so therefore the normal sterotype of her being devoid of all humanity cause she is angloised indian. Also shows alot of Switzerland men just wanting to rape the good indian girl (with thank goodness Rajesh coming to her rescue to save her sensibilities). So despite the writers efforts to make the viewer suddenly like her, they just went too far at making the character obnoxious and annoying.

Rajesh’s character is slightly better, but he’s a very one-dimension ‘hero’ type character with a mixture of annoying superiority complex. No other sides to this character other then his fight for good and justice, which for 2 hours + gets boring quick. Please writers tie in a story that we care about to his fight so we want him to win. The thing that made me most sad in this film was Rajesh’s charisma i usually enjoy in his films, was gone in this film. I’ve heard one should avoid his 1975+ films, but i’ve heard he still has some other good ones like Mehbooba, so i will not make a judgement on that till then.

Anyway this was also my first experience with Zeenat so i hope my other films i intend to watch with her improve my opinion of her acting after this.

Overall Score: 1/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – So we have learnt from the pictures Rajesh has a hair cut like Doctor Spock, Zeenat goes from drunken ‘pardesi’ to good indian girl — woops i think i just gave away the whole story by the pictures. Either way save yourself the disappointment and stay away.

October 26, 2007 at 12:45 pm 8 comments

Kamini Kaushal – Family, Fame & Facts

Name: Kamini Kaushal (Birth name: Uma Kaushal or Uma Sood)

Year of Birth: 1924

Sibling(s): Sister – died young

Spouse: Mr. Sood (Sister’s husband before death)

Affair: There is a rumoured affair with Dilip Kumar

Children: 2 daughters (cared for her sister’s 2 daughters)

Claim to Fame: Art film success Neecha Nagar (1946)

First Movie Success: Do Bhai (1947)

Movies to Transform the Career: Neecha Nagar, Shaheed, Aag, Ziddi, Shabnam, Arzoo, Biraj Bahu, Jailor, Godaan, Shaheed, Shor, Roti Kapada aur Makaan, Lagaan Chunari Mein Daag, Chori Chori, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega,

Family Connections: None.

Other Possible Careers: Radio Announcer, Botanist, Professor of Literature or Children’s Author

October 26, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

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Welcome to the Bolly Blog! The Bollywood Blog for New and Old Fans of Bollywood! This site is quite new so i'm updating profiles and reviews as i can. Check out the Excel God's Movie Reviews for random reviews on films from the 40s-now. Or there are the movie or actors index to search by. There are also profiles to help you know the facts about your favourite stars. I hope to add a news section to this blog in the upcoming year.

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