Posts filed under ‘2 Star Movies’

Mistress of Spices (2005)

Name: Mistress of Spices

Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Dylan McDermott, Nitin Ganatra, Anupam Kher & Zohra Sehgal

Director: Paul Mayeda Berges

Language: English

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Tilo (Aishwarya Rai) is an immigrant from India who runs a spice store in San Fransisco and is also the “Mistress of Spices.” She has the ability to see into customers’ lives and desires. As a mistress of spices, there are certain rules that she has to obey in order for the spices to work their magic on her customers. She must never leave the store, never touch another human, and love only the spices. When handsome American Doug – an enigmatic man with a secret past – enters her store, Tilo’s own desires for love and affection are awoken. She begins to fall for Doug and as she becomes closer to him, the spices her other customers have purchased become defective. The more Tilo falls for Doug and defies the rules, the worse the lives of her customers become. Tilo has to decide whether she will choose Doug over devotion to her spices and Indian traditions.

Review:

Don’t kill me. But I didn’t hate it.

I know i’m supposed to, but i found it overall not a bad timepass. It has its huge weaknesses sure, but i didn’t hate it as much as i thought i would.

I’ve read many complaints about this film – Aishwarya’s wooden acting (wow thats a new one) and the lack of chemistry between Aishwarya & Dylan Mc Dermott (Tilo & Doug). In fact one BBC review called Aishwarya’s acting ‘Wishy Washy’ which i have to semi-disagree and semi-agree about. Aishwarya’s acting was very subtle and a bit lifeless which i attribute to her characters repressed and sheltered nature and i think she could still emote in enough places of the film to do a passable job so she wasn’t as horrendous as other reviewers made her out to be. Any Aishwarya fans will know if anything her problem is with overacting, so for her to have a retrained and subtle performance i believe was on purpose. Mind you this wasn’t her best performances. As for the chemistry between Tilo & Doug i would have to disagree. I must admit i got sucked into wanting them together, in some scenes when they couldn’t touch I could feel some sparks – but maybe it was just me?

For me there are two big downfalls of this film. One is the climax. This movie really builds up for the review how catastrophic the result would be if Tilo (Aishwarya) disobeys the rules as the Mistress of Spices. Even after she disobeys some of the rules it really doesn’t live up to its promise. Its quite a weak climax overall and a too neatly tied up ending. Second is any message they really wanted to send i didn’t receive. The movie didn’t really have a strong message to convey, there were a couple of small messages that just weren’t executed strongly enough like the taxi-driver, school child and grandfathers issues involving Indians in a foreign country, issues of assimilation but all was not conveyed strongly enough. The issues/messages were kind of everywhere.

Something a bit offputting was the voice over of Aishwarya talking to the spices. It was a bit wierd, but i guess its hard to put on film her talking to the spices. It can also offer some good giggles of her constantly talking to the chilies, even fighting with them. As one viewer said the voice over is very ‘Animal Planet’ and i have to agree.

One other issue is its like the Indian version of Chocolat involving Spices instead of Chocolate. It didn’t really have anything to offer in terms of story that Chocolat did better.

Overall Score: 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall an O.K film that I believe is not as bad as people make it out to be. Passable acting by Aishwarya and Dylan McDermott. Strengths lay with the chemistry of Dylan & Aishwarya as Tilo and Doug and of course Aishwarya looking gorgeous. But the greatest downfall is the screenplay and thin story.

December 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

Ahista Ahista (2006)

Name: Ahista Ahista (Gradually, Slowly)

Starring: Abhay Deol & Soha Ali Khan

Director: Shivam Nair

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Synopsis:

Ankush (Abhay Deol) is aimless but friendly, making his living by acting as a witness in Delhi’s marriage bureau. One day while working he comes across Megha (Soha Ali Khan) who has run away from her home in Nainital to get married. However when her lover doesn’t turn up, Ankush helps her find a place to stay and eventually to get a job. As time passes she realises there is more to life than having a boyfriend and getting married. But as everything seems to be falling in place for Megha and Ankush, Dheeraj (Megha’s ex-fiance’) returns.

Review:

Shivam Nair (director of Ahista Ahista) makes his directorial debut with the film ‘Ahista Ahista’ but is no stranger to directing with 12 years experience in television. Nair has directed thrillers, supernaturals and adventures but never a movie based on relationships and unfortunately his weakness shows in his movie.

Like the title suggests, the movie is very slow. Rather then being plot driven, the movie is largely character driven. So really not much happens in the 2 hours that I watched the film for. But I can still enjoy relationship based films. Rituparno Ghosh’s film ‘Raincoat’ starring Aishwarya Rai & Ajay Devgan is another example of a relationship based film, where the interest of the film lays in the character interactions. Raincoat was a slow moving film that kept my attention, Ahista Ahista is a slow moving film that really made me keep looking at my watch for when its going to end.

Abhay’s character of Ankush is utterly adorable, just like Abhay. Abhay stood out and was the only really enjoyable aspect of Ahista Ahista. Soha’s subtle acting is a nice change from the normal hysterical actresses performances but her beautiful performance is stiffled by her character. Megha is a character that was relatively weak and two dimensional, there wasn’t much room for Soha to shine in this character. Dheeraj, played by Shayan Munshi, is extremely wooden and can not keep up to the standards of Abhay & Sohas acting. There is also little explanation or backstory to Dheeraj & Megha’s relationship, which ultimately affects how you feel about sections of the movie. A little more explanation into the backstory might have made me more connected or involved in their storyline.

The music is largely weak and forgettable. Ahista Ahista’s title track and the qawwali ‘Allah Kare’ are the only notable mentions of the soundtrack.
The biggest let down for me is the ending. It is such an awful, disappointing ending that it totally ruined the movie for me. The ending is not justified or explained well so when you get it, it will leave you either heartbroken or totally angry.

So the positive aspects of this film? Abhay Deol & Soha Ali Khan together make a very cute couple, there are scenes that are really sweet and you start to really enjoy Ahista Ahista. Considering it is a relationship based drama, it really helps that the relationship is so adorable. The main driver of this film is Ankush’s journey from being an unfocused man with no ambition in life then through the help of Megha realises he can be better then he is. In this way it was nice to see this journey of Ankushs, but unfortunately the ending doesn’t endure his positive transformation.

Overall Score: 2/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Not a bad film, but the inability of the movie to keep the viewer interested and engaged ultimately effects the viewing pleasure of observing this relationship based movie. The weakness of the ending is also a major downfall of this movie. Best thing about this movie is without a doubt the adorable Abhay Deol.

December 6, 2007 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

Umrao Jaan (2006)

Name: Umrao Jaan

Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Sunil Shetty & Divya Dutta

Director: J.P Dutta

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Synopsis:

Umrao Jaan (2006) is based on the Urdu Novel ‘Umrao Jan Ada’ by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. The story tells of an 8 year old girl called Amiran, who is kidnapped from her home in Faizabad by Dilawar Khan who wanted revenge upon Amiran’s father for imprisoning him. He then does not kill her, but sells her to a brother in Lucknow run by Khannum Jaan (Shabana Azmi). She is fortunate enough to have surrogate parents who care for her. Amiran then is taught in the art of a Courtesan – dancing and seduction.

Amiran turns into an elegant beauty by the name of Umrao Jaan (Aishwarya Rai). Her beauty and poetry catchs the eye of Nawab Sultan (Abhishek Bachchan) which begins a passionate love affair. But when his father finds out he disowns Nawab Sultan, pennyless Nawab goes to his uncle in Grahi to regain his fortune and Umrao prays everyday for his return. In the mean time Faiz Ali (Sunil Shetty), a bandit, falls for Umrao and wants her at all costs. The rest of the story tracks Umrao Jaan’s life, loves and losses.

Review:

Oh J.P Dutta! If i was the Prime Minister of India i would ban you from directing movies. Or at least make you realise when you have done something wrong – instead of blaming everyone else. We told you for L.O.C Kargill (2003) that it was far too long and boring and to embrace the editing machine. But no it was the audiences fault, not yours! So for Umrao Jaan i had hoped you had learnt your lessons, but no your same mistakes have been repeated.

Poor JP can’t balance the telling of the story with the execution of the story which eventually effects his editing. His passion is his main fault, i’m sure he thinks each scene was so important and didn’t felt it should be cut as it would change the ‘authenticity’ of the story.

The main USP of Umrao Jaan when being compared to its 1981 original counterpart, is Umrao Jaan 2006 was the adaption of the book, not a remake of the 80s version – so really that was his selling point of the difference. Still i think he needs to learn a directors job is to entertain among other things the viewer, not to just inform. Especially when the film is 3 hours and not that stimulating!

Abhishek as Nawab Sultan Khan has what is known as ‘stare acting’. He pretty much throughout the whole film just stares at Umrao Jaan (Aishwarya) dancing. Some scenes i thought he was good, like the drunk scene and the fight scene, but the others i felt he needed to show more emotion or affection to Umrao. No wonder why people said he and Aishwarya showed no chemistry, there was no emotion in his character. It wasn’t until Guru that they proved they could show chemistry.

Aishwarya carried this film all the way. I’ve sat through a lot of bad performances by her, but this one i think she has been the saving grace of this film. I could not think of anyone else who could be Umrao Jaan. She was far more expressive in her eyes and mannerisms (rather then just relying on dialogue) to convey what her character is feeling/thinking. Towards the end of the movie she is especially heartbreaking. In the emotional scenes she did not resort to hysterics which is what i think she would normally did her in emotional/dramatic scenes. So a good job by her all round. Although they over utilised the glycerine! Her eyes were bloodshot from it for most of the film!

So the strong points of Umrao Jaan had to be Aishwarya and the costumes. My the costumes were pretty – my person favourites were the white and purple dresses. All costumes were bright and striking so whenever you were bored with the movie you could at least stare at the beautiful sets and costumes.

Dancing however was more disappointing! The strengths of Umrao Jaan has to be Umrao, costumes, songs and dancing and unfortunately the songs and dancing are a let down. Alka pretty much sings all the songs and i’m not a big fan of her. At times with the sound up to high i felt as if my ears were bleeding with pain at her high pitch singing. Salaam, Pehle Pehel and Bekha Diya Humain are the more melodic songs to listen to. But its hard to remember which song is which because there are not many distinctive ones and the dancing could get boring at times. Aishwarya is a fantastic dancer so they really could have done a much more engaging choreography then they did. One thing to note is that Aishwarya isn’t just dancing but is also ‘acting dancing’. You can see her anger in Jhute Ilzaam or her sadness in Pooch Rahe Hain. But the best song and dance has to be ‘Salaam’.

Overall Score: 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall the movie suffers from lengthy non-engaging scenes due to the director’s inability to adequetely edit his movie. Screenplay also suffers from weak character depiction, editing, portrayal of portions of the story and at times weak songs/dancing. Despite this i still enjoyed the experience but it doesn’t have rewatch value due to its lengthy and for many people i’m sure boring portrayal. Strengths of this movie are Aishwarya, Shabana and quite a few scenes that are good enough to leave you feeling not so bad about the film.

December 4, 2007 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006)

Name: Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (You made me crazy [in love])

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor & Special Guest Star Helen.

Director: Raj Kanwar

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Aditya (Akshay Kumar) is an automobile engineer and engaged to fashion designer Sonia (Bipasha Basu). For Sonia career comes first and romance second. Aditya loves Sonia and tries to overlook the differences between them.

Aditya leaves for Canada there he meets Jia (Katrina Kaif), daughter of business tycon who was also engaged to be married to Business giant Karan Raichand (Anil Kapoor). Unlike Sonia & Aditya, Aditya & Jia are on the same wavelength and soon a friendship is formed between Jia and Aditya. Their bond grows closer, but their relations are soon cut by a misunderstanding. What is their fate?

Review:

Humko Deewana Kar Gaye is a movie that suffers from two extremes – when the movie is bad, its really bad. But when its good it is oh so good.

There are two major things i loved about this movie. First of all is the chemistry between Akshay & Katrina! You could really feel the growing attraction between the two of them and the chemistry between the two of them was undeniably good. I would recommend this film just for the scenes between the two of them. I really loved their tango scene, when they watch Junglee scene, their emotional scenes and their bonding scenes – hell i loved all their scenes together!

Second thing I loved about the movie was I admired how the screenplay actually gave the characters backstory and depth. That is one way in which this movie can be set apart from your average movie, it really helps the viewer to understand and feel for the characters more. Especially Katrina’s character. I think its hard not to like Katrina Kaif once you have seen Namaste London, Sarkar and Humko Deewana Kar Gaye. I totally disliked her after only seeing her in Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (with Salman Khan & her), but after seeing Namaste London and this I really like her. Can’t wait to see her in more. Akshay also is too cute in this movie, looking fantastic. He also has the soulful stare into Katrina’s eyes down to an artform.

However this movie has two main things going against it. At times it is the cliche cringe worthy scenes. One thing to say about this movie is it is nothing new. The storyline is fairly predictable bar the way the ending is played out. Another big issues i had with this film includes that we have direct rip offs from Wimbledon, a famous ad involving a house’s intercom between a girlfriend and boyfriend (which has done the rounds on youtube) and most of all Notting Hill. There were quite a few scenes that were directly ripped from Notting Hill. Basically I think Raj Kanwar (writer & director) is a major fan of Richard Curtis (writer of the movies he ripped off) because he does borrow from them. Other people have commented it borrows from The wedding planner, shall we dance and Just Married but i think those comparisons are less direct then the more obvious Notting Hill rip-offs.

Other cringe worthy scenes include the scene whereby Katrina was mugged and Akshay comes to her rescue, the drunk restaurant scene and the awful and totally pointless scene with Pammi and her football stadium scene. That scene had serious cringe reaction it was so bad. Plus the movie could have done with some chopping of scenes that were totally pointless scenes like the accident in the snow and the car rally. They just interjected the storyline and stopped the flow of the movie.

Bipasha is completely wasted in this film. Thank goodness since this movie she has immersed herself in quality roles that suit her talents (with the exception of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal). Helen is always fun to see onscreen, but her character was kind of crass but the following song she is in makes it for her in the wasted character. I think its totally unbelievable to see Anil Kapoor as Katrina’s finance’ but he does a good job of the characterisation of Richard anyway.

Music itself is ok, it has a couple of catchy numbers including ‘Mere Nazaron Mein’ and ‘Humko Deewana Kar Gaye’. Most of the songs though are plagued with the try hard american hip hop rap that just sounds wrong in a Bollywood song. But so many movies have it in their songs nowadays i’ve almost grown immune.

Overall Score: 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall the chemistry between Akshay & Katrina and their subsequent scenes are worth the watch. But the movie itself is plagued by a cliche ridden screenplay and some cringe worthy scenes, however it does attempt to give depth to their characters. To watch a good film with this pair stick to Namaste London!

December 3, 2007 at 10:08 pm 1 comment

Saawariya (2007)

Name: Saawariya

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Salman Khan & Zohra Sehgal

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Based on ‘White Nights’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the film tells the story of Raj the lead singer of a club in the Red Light District. He’s an idolistic person or as some call him ‘Angel’. He is coming home from work one day when he sees a girl crying on the bridge – Sakina. There is a mystery to Sakina but soon enough Raj & Sakina become friends and Raj falls head over heels for her. But before he can tell her he finds out Sakina is waiting for her love Imaan to come back, he left a year ago and has promised to return by Eid on that very bridge. The story of the four nights between when they meet and Eid forms the rest of the story.

Review:

Last night I went to the premiere night of Saawariya. Being one of the first people in the world to see it i came into the movie with nothing but my own expectations of an Sanjay Leela Bhansali film and how much i was looking forward to it from the promos i’d seen.

Some people don’t like Sanjay Leela Bhansali because they find his movies too over the top in terms of grand opulence and over the top dramatic performances. But i have loved SLB films – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Khamoshi, Black – i have loved them all. I find them beautifully mesmerising to look at and i get so caught up in the emotion of the film i often find i need a box of tissues next to me and at times a towel.

So of course there was a certain amount of expectation. I was cautious however that it was Ranbir Kapoor & Sonam’s debut film so if they weren’t that good i was prepared for it.

But overall i found myself very disappointed.

Saawariya is based on the short story ‘White Nights’ by russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. Now imagine taking this beautiful short story and streching it out to a 2.5 hour movie, its just too little spread too far. The screenplay creates these two dimensional characters with not very much interaction between characters or understanding of the characters compulsions – why they do what they do. They are not very ‘real’ characters, quite one dimensional in my opinion. I think when someone skims on setting up multi layers for characters for the viewer, the viewers find themselves less emotionally connected to the characters. Which is exactly what i found.

We are introduced to Raj (Ranbir), a singer with euphoric sense of life and being positive. Sakina (Sonam) is a more mysterious and ambiguous character, which helps to balance the over the top Ranbir character with the more subdued Sonam character. Raj falls madly in love with Sonam but before he can tell her his feelings he finds out she is in love with Imaan (Salman Khan) who has been gone for a year and she is waiting for him to return in 4 days. I think they give Salman Khan a total of 4 lines so its hard to understand the strong love between Sakina and Imaan and why she would wait a year for him among other things.

One thing about this movie is it feels its in another world – its not india, its not europe but its extremely beautiful to look at. Its like a fusion of India, Italy, Austria and Russia all in one. Even when your not getting into the characters you can just look at the cinematography and feel a sense of awe.

Another strength other then the cinematography, is the chemistry between Ranbir & Sonam. Its these few scenes between them when the chemistry is very strong and you start to think you might get more emotionally involved – but its too superficial i found to get too into it. Ranbir & Sonam were good in the film with only more room to grow as actors, there is definetely star quality in them with the looks to match. Jab Se Tere Naina with Ranbir and his bare butt cheek was certainly a suprise to say the least! Sonam had an etheral and more subdued quality to her character then Ranbirs who was very hyper 99% of the time. Quite psycho at times. I blame that on SLB though, not the actor.

Supporting cast I liked was Rani as Gulabji, i really liked her character and her in this. One annoying thing was she seemed to mimic the annoying hinglish Aishwarya’s character had in Dhoom 2. Zohra Segal as Lollipopji actually created quite a few laughs and her end scene was one of the few times i came close to tears.

Music wise i loved all the songs, but there is an insane amount of them. I think there is 9 or 10 in the movie and in the first 20 minutes its like 4 in a row. But they are beautifully shot so definetely worth the watch, it just interjects and disrupts the story at times.

Overall Score: 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – So much potential with this film. It could of been a beautifully moving film, but the lack of depth of characters and screenplay prevents viewers from forming a real attachment to the emotion of the movie. Beautiful to look at, but disappoints considering its Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

November 9, 2007 at 11:34 am 1 comment

7/G Rainbow Colony (2004)

Name: 7G Rainbow Colony or 7G Brindavan Colony (Telugu Title)

Starring: Ravi Krishna & Sonia Agarwal

Director: Selvaraghavan

Language: Tamil (7G Rainbow) and Telugu (7G Brindavan)

Remake? This movie is to be remade in Hindi and will star Vivek Oberoi

Did I watch this recently? No

Brief Synopsis:

Kathir (Ravi Krishna) is a young underachiever, living an aimless existence with no desire to change the way he has been living, helpless and frustrated he vents this through public outbursts. When a north Indian girl, Anitha (Sonia Agarwal) moves into his neighborhood, he falls head over heels in love with her, and aggressively expresses interest. At first Kathir provides a source of great vexation for Anitha but gradually her feelings change. She helps Kathir discover himself and spurs him to achieve something in life. Their love story provides the rest of the story.

Review:

By the time I had decided to try out South Indian films (despite the unattractive male leads and excessive hair by the leads) I was more then immersed in the sometimes odd nature of Indian cinema. So all ready to try some of the best that South India has to offer I ask my rental store owner what he recommends. After trying out several telugu and tamil films he liked (with no success due to none of them having subtitles) he then took out 7G Rainbow Colony saying ‘its a romance and was a blockbuster last year’.

Well that was good enough for me. I decided to give it a go. First thing to remember is South Indian films are quite different to bollywood! I thought they would be very similar. One thing i liked about 7G Rainbow colony first up was it was not as glossy as bollywood films – much grittier. I found the performances more raw then Bollywood. So aesthetically speaking the film is not for anyone who looks for anything polished in films.

That being said the story was thin and a bit disturbing at times. This can be a good thing in that you don’t forget the movie as soon as its over, especially the ending really sticks with you. The main male protagonist ‘Khathir’ (Ravi Krishna) is very obsessive and quite psycho in terms of his anger problem. Having now seen many South Indian films i realise its quite common and not seen in such a negative way, but i was quite put off by it. In fact alot of themes were overdone in the movie – the slacker son, abusive/pushing father, the doting mother, the obsessive lover and the meek shy girl. But the treatment of the romance is probably the only non-predictable part of the movie.

Number one thing i have against South Indian films is the excessive violence. I don’t hate excessive violence cause its offensive to me or anything but its sooo boring when its the hero just going round punching 20 men with the same fighting cheorgraphy with really fake punching sound effects. My thumb was stuck on the fast forward button during those scenes in the movie.

Overall though i wouldn’t put it as a hated experience. I did get involved in the romance and despite the wierd characters i did care what happened to them. I really felt for Khathir’s transition from aimless angry young man, to a man in love and has a purpose and future in life. The characters also have more depth to themselves then the average south film, most of the main characters aren’t one dimensional.

All in all its very easy for someone to get annoyed with and hate this film. I was able to ignore a lot of the issues that annoy people. Maybe cause i was so fascinated with my first South Indian film i didn’t realise its flaws. Ravi Krishna as Khathir plays his role realistically, from the way he eats, talks and dresses. While Sonia Agarwal (Anitha) is more subtle in the emotional scenes then alot of South India actresses who would play the part with theatrical hysterics. In terms of the music the background score is emotive but the songs are forgettable.

Overall Score 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – I wouldn’t recommend this as a first time movie to watch but you might not hate it after watching it, you might be moved or disturbed after the film has finished cause it can go either way. Best advice to this film is keep your mind open and your thumb to the fast forward button for action and slow scenes. At least its a break away from the coventional love story. Problem is many people find the lead actor Ravi Krishna very very annoying and can’t act to save his life – but its been about 1.5 years since i’ve seen this film so somethings have disappeared from memory.

October 21, 2007 at 10:00 am 2 comments


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