Posts filed under ‘3 Star Movies’

Bawarchi (1972)

Name: Bawarchi (Cook)

Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bachchan (Bhaduri), Harindranath Chattopadhyay, A.K Hangal, Durga Khote & Asrani

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Synopsis:

Bawarchi tells the story of a dysfunctional and bickering family – the Sharma family. The Sharma family also cannot seem to keep a cook because of the verbal abuse the cooks have to endure while working for them. Soon no one wants to work for the family. Then a young man called Raghu (Rajesh Khanna) comes to work for the Sharmas.

Soon Raghu works to keep peace in the house, he can sing, dance and use his words of wisdom to resolve the families issues.

Review:

Have you been watching a lot of 60s and 70s film? Bored of the same old boy meets girl storyline?

Then here is a movie that maybe for you!

Hrishikesh Mukherjee brings this adorabe film to the indian audiences to teach about family dysfunction and the virtues of patience and love all thanks to the words of wisdow of the family’s cook – Rajesh Khanna (or Raghu).

Bawarchi isn’t the wham bam action flicks of the 70s, nor is it the adorable boy meets girl flicks of the 60s. It instead finds its nieche in Bollywood as a non-romantic film that deals with the structure of families and hopes to teach us a little something about how to get along with our siblings and family members. As someone who comes from a family of 7 i guess i can relate highly to this kind of story, the dysfunction that the Sharma family is, i feel like too aswell. So i guess despite the lack of violence and romance i still was able to see this sweet film as something worth watching. Especially considering the film is under 2 hours long! I love that they didn’t try to extend it out with more and more songs and dances to fill in the normal 2.5 hour mould. But thats not to say the film isn’t without song and dances thanks to the very young Jaya Bhaduri (or to be later known as Jaya Bachchan).

For anyone who has seen the film ‘Pay it forward’ this film has a similar premise it tries to teach the audience, do one good deed and pass it on. Its idealistic sure, but sweet and definetly appliable to everyones life. Ever fight with your family? Then take home some of the points illustrated in this movie.

Rajesh does an endearing job as the house cook, teaching philosophy and most of all the family to love and cooperate. Its also one of his better films in the 70s and many see it as one of his best films.

Jaya performs naturally rarely going over board, she plays the family cinderella without being overly melodramatic or victimised. I guess thats why she is a perfect fit with many of Hrishikesh’s films (see Abhimaan and Mili).

The biggest threat to this movie is being able to keep the viewer interested all this time. There is not a great amount of plot development and is mostly character development based, which can hold some peoples interest and bore others. At times i was frailing a bit to keep interested, but overall definetly worth the watch and to hopefully teach you some lessons to apply to your family. I think i thought of the lessons for a good day before giving up and going back to yelling at my family – but still, that was a peaceful 24 hours!

Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall not the usual masala or romance film but instead is an adorable look at overcoming family dysfunction will teach any family member the importance of patience and kindness in a family. Idealistic? Sure, but still a nice lesson to learn for real life. Its under 2 hours and has Rajesh Khanna and Jaya Bachchan at their best, so your not losing much even if you end up feeling sickly sweet after the film.

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May 2, 2008 at 12:27 pm 6 comments

Life in a… Metro (2007)

Name: Life in a…Metro

Starring: Shiney Ahuja, Shilpa Shetty, Kay Kay Menon, Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan, Sharman Joshi, Kangna Ranaut & Dharmendra

Director: Anurag Basu

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis: 8 people living within Mumbai, all connected. Rahul (Sharman Joshi) is working as a call centre He silently loves his boss, Neha (Kangna Ranaut). A smart young woman who has made it up the ranks in a very short time. And hard work is not her only secret but her affair with her boss, Ranjeet (Kay Kay Menon). Ranjeet is married to Shikha (Shilpa Shetty). They decided Shikha she should stay back at home and take care of the house and the kid. So Ranjeet ventured out on his quest for money and success� and forgot his family somewhere on the way.

Neglected by an indifferent husband and bogged down by family chores, Shikha is soon attracted to a maverick in Akash (Shiney Ahuja). Akash is a struggling theatre artist and Akash and Shikha’s love blossoms. Shikha’s sister and Neha’s room-mate, Shruti (Konkona Sen Sharma) works in at Radio Mirchi. In her 30s and still a virgin, shes desperate to get married. She is dreamy eyed about her RJ, Wishy K. Her boss hooks her up with Wishy K. While she also meets Debu (Irfan Khan) through a matrimonial site. Hates him. But Debu, an ordinary man, is ready to marry her. Her affair with Wishy K blossoms. Amol (Dharmendra) is a 70 year old man who’s returned to India after 40 years to spend last few years of his life with his first love, Vaijanti. This a movie which looks at 8 peoples life, in a metro.

Review

I was really looking forward to seeing Life in a metro. Over the last year quite a few people have mentioned it as one of their favourite movies of 2007. For me it seemed original, contemporary and to be full of great performances by many stars i really love. In many ways I got my wish. It was very contemporary, I realised that in the first 10 minutes when i heard mentions of sex and the Mumbai city settings. I also got to watch some great performances and memorable scenes especially thanks to Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan, Kay Kay Menon and surprisingly Shilpa Shetty. In fact I could not say enough how much I loved Konkona and Irfan in this movie. Their scenes and characters were fantastic! Even the pop-rock music nicely flowed between the scenes of the city.

So where did it go wrong?

Sadly despite the movies merits, my love for this film gets bogged down by the fact it has a significant portion of the film copied directly from a previous film. Only two weeks ago I borrowed out a Hollywood classic called “The Apartment” (1960) with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. When i started to watch Life In a Metro i was very upset to discover that the Kay Kay Menon, Shilpa Shetty, Sharman Joshi and Kangna Ranaut stories were all ripped off from Apartment. When I say ‘ripped off’, I don’t mean “inspired by”. As having seen the Apartment only a few weeks before I can say that Life In A Metro ripped off almost completely the storyline and dialogue. Even some of the jokes were taken directly from the Apartment but Sharman Joshi is no Jack Lemmon. The only difference is they focused on the wife side of the marriage (Shilpa Shetty’s character). In the Apartment there was no focus on the Boss’s wife, but other then that the differences between the Apartment and Life in a Metro stop there.

*Sigh*…I really wished to get passed the fact it was a remake, but it was just so directly copied that i felt i was watching an inferior copy of the film. Not only that someone has also informed me that some of the music was copied. Which is no surprise considering its Pritam, but still it just aided in my disappointment finding out that the film was not as original as i hoped it would be. But luckily I haven’t heard the original music so I wasn’t so annoyed by knowing the music was copied. Also people have said one of the scenes was copied from “For Love or Money” but luckily I haven’t seen that film either.

But the film is not without merit, it was still overall a nice timepass thanks to the subplots and strong performances.

Leaving the unoriginality of some of the movie behind, it has several points that make this movie a nice timepass. For me the Konkona Sen Sharma and Irfan Khan storyline was the highlight of the movie for me. Debu (Irfan Khan) is 35, has been looking for a wife for a long time and is a bit wierd. Shruti (Konkona Sen Sharma) is 30 and desperate to get married. Although she meets Debu, she doesn’t like him – instead she dreams of an ideal man such as her boss is Wishy K.

For me Konkona and Irfan have an abnormal pairing which is why I think I liked it. Their storyline was different, humourous and I think also teaches a good lesson to us girls (that sometimes the right man for us is the ordinary man before us, not the dream guy as they don’t realistically exist). Their characters are so real and its just hard not to fall in love with Debu and Shruti.

There are several strong scenes between Kay Kay Menon and Shilpa Shetty that make me want to take back whatever bad things I have said about Shilpa in the past. Some of their scenes are the most believable and intense of the film and Anurag does a superb job extracting these performances from them. I also have to applaud Anurag Basu for being able to direct all the film’s stories together. Often with these multiple storyline movies that can fall flat due to the assembly of the stories together – either feeling rushed or too choppy. I didn’t feel any of the stories felt rushed, they just seemed to interlink and relate to each other with ease which i’m sure takes some effort. Also the technical elements of Life in a metro such as the cinematography is A-Class.

For me the weaker performances in this film were Shiney, Kangna and Sharman Joshi. I enjoyed Kangna Ranaut and Shiney Ahuja in Gangster but here i felt they were just bland. Also I’m yet to see Kangna where she doesn’t play someone mentally unstable, its starting to get boring seeing her play the same character all the time.

Overall Score: 3/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall Life in a Metro is a nice timepass. I loved watching the Irfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma storyline and also Kay Kay Menon and Shilpa Shetty put in some solid intense performance. Basu excels in the technical aspects of the film and manages to nicely balance all the storylines (which is a huge achievement). Problem for me and the movie lies in a significant portion of the film being directly copied from “The Apartment” and some of the bland performances by Kangna and Shiney. Basu also tries to hard to create some high drama, which doesn’t always pay off for him. But at 2 hours its a pretty good timepass to watch for some engaging subplots, pop-rocking music and some intense scenes.

April 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm 3 comments

Hum Dono (1961)

Name: Hum Dono (Both of Us)

Starring: Dev Anand, Sadhana Shivdasani & Nanda

Director: Amarjeet

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:Mahesh Anand is in love with a rich girl named Mita. After asking Mita’s father for her hand in marriage, Mita’s father reminds Mahesh how poor he is and unable to support his daughter with no job or ambition. So without informing Mita and leaving his ailing mother, Anand joins up in the fighting in WWII. There he meets Major Verma who is from a well-off family and both look-alike. When Major Verma is missing, believed dead during a war, Mahesh is asked to convey this news to his family. Upon arrival, he is mistaken for Major Verma. He meets with Verma’s mom, Mrs. Verma, as well as his ailing wife, Ruma. Unable to break the news of Verma’s death and shatter their fragile world, Mahesh gets mistaken as Verma and is welcomed home. This creates complications in Mahesh’s life as his sweetheart, Mita, thinks that Mahesh no longer loves her. Mahesh has trouble deciding what he shoud do.

Review

Hum Dono is the 1961 attempt by Dev Anand at a dual role. Although there will be many more golden oldie experts who can adequetely compare Dev Anand’s dual role performance, i have not seen alot of the great dual role movies to compare. But in isolation without comparison i think this is one of Dev Anands better films. I found the movie moving and engaging due to the screenplay and most of all the performances. I very rarely felt the actors over did the acting which is rare for the golden oldies. The movie had a more relaxed pacing and tone then a lot of the more dramatic films (more 70s era) where everyone screams their lines and every dramatic scene has the thunderbolts and drawn out close ups. It was nice to see this more nostalgic and relaxing movie where not every drama was played out so grandly.

Despite the fact i got caught up with the characters and liked the movie, the story itself was the biggest downfall in that it was utterly predictable. If it wasn’t for the scenes and characters being so engaging, then i probably would have been very bored by the predictable story. Even the occasional comedy of the lookalikes was so cliched that it didn’t bring any laughs. One thing that i was glad of was they didn’t draw out the drama involving the mistaken husband identity. I almost expected that to be played out for 3/4 of the film but luckily was only reduced to 45 minutes so then the ‘will he, won’t he tell the truth’ scenes were a bare minimum. So something i must commend about the film was the pacing in the second half was good, only the first half was dragging but i’ve almost come to expect that off all bollywood movies. If anything important actually happens in the first 45 minutes of the early bollywood films i almost die of shock.

Something that extremely adds to the relaxed yet emotionally moving tone of the film was the music. Never did i feel like the songs were just there for the sake of having more songs. Each song spoke about the characters feelings and interactions. Not just the normal comparing the girl to a flower, season or moon but something with a little more depth. “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” is my personal favourite. It is a duet with Mohammad Rafi & Asha Bhosle. Its light and melodic, but sad once you know whats about to happen. Also “Allah Tero Naam, Ishwar Tero Naam”, a devotional song that is aided emotionally by the concurrent scenes in the movie. Its beautifully moving when you watch it in the film and is supposedly still quite often sung by Lata in her concerts and one she herself is very proud of to this day after the thousands of songs she has sung. Prabhu Tero Naam is another song that adds the emotions of the character through song.

Now for the acting – I’m not much of a fan of Dev Anand. He seems a bit of a sleeze nowadays, but watching his B&W films House No.44 and now Hum Dono i must say he is absoutely fine in his 50s-60s film. While for Hum Dono despite the predictable storyline, i really think he did a good job as both characters in his dual role. I’m not in a position yet to judge him based on other dual performances (such as Hema Malini in Sita aur Gita or Amitabh Bachchan in Don) but from what i saw i think he was able to distinguish his acting between both and you can fall for both characters predicaments.

But despite the fact Dev Anand was definitely the star of this film, i have found a new favourite actress of sorts. After watching Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam there was something alluring about Waheeda Rehman that made me want to rush out and get all her other good films. The same thing i have felt about Sadhana Shivdasani after seeing Hum Dono. She plays ‘Mita’, the rich girlfriend of Mahesh who gives up all her riches to look after his mother while Mahesh is at war. Sadhana has beauty, charisma and presence on the film reminds me of Waheeda (although i must say Waheeda still beats her if there was a competition). She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, well of course the indian version. But in terms of the looks, class and elegance i would call Sadhana and Audrey very similar. I didn’t expect to be so taken back by Sadhana, considering her character doesn’t get a whole lot to do. Its my own opinion that Dev Anand’s character Mahesh does not treat her all that well in the film. She always seems to always come second on his priority list, despite the fact he says he loves her. But this love is rarely shown, which is a bit of a disappointment to me. But anyway i’m looking forward to seeing Sadhana eventually in ‘Woh Kaun Thi’ (1964) where she has a much bigger role and gets to sing ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ one of my favourite classic songs.

Although i prefer the love story between the husband and wife, Major Verma (Dev Anand) & Ruma (Nanda) there were some especially cute scenes. But i think Nanda performance has the personality of a wet mop in this film. Although i like the husband and wife scenes i feel she did very little to add to them. I know she is supposed to be the ailing devotional wife. I love how Major Verma is quite devotional to his wife (and of course vice versa) but i think in the emotional scenes or just the normal husband-wife discussion scenes she is missing something. be really emotional scenes but Nanda does not give back enough in the scenes. Its hard to explain what i found lacking in her performance, but she just does not give back enough in the scenes. Maybe i’m just badly comparing her to Sadhana, but even in the crying and whimpering scenes Sadhana wasn’t as boring as Nanda. I don’t know i just wasn’t feeling Nanda’s performance overall.

Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall it might not be an all time favourite because the movie is far too cliched and predictable to be special, but it was beautiful to watch it once thanks to the relaxing drama tone of the film, performance of the actors and music that only helps to add to the emotions of the scenes and characters.

Side note:

I love the cheap budget scenes for the WWII shots of Dev Anand. They took stock footage of WWII and inserted a face over with Dev Anand – a very funny cheap budget trick!

March 6, 2008 at 7:04 pm 7 comments

Do Anjaane (1976)

Name: Do Anjaane (Two strangers)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Prem Chopra & Pradeep Kumar

Director: Dulal Guha

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Amitabh Bachchan stars as the good-natured Amit, who falls for the gorgeous and ambitious dancer Rekha (played by you-know-who). Their marriage cuts short her career, which Rekha blames Amit for. Amit (coincidence or not) falls victim to a coma-inducing train accident, and Rekha, egged on by a conniving businessman who was also Amit’s best friend. The best friend could always tell Rekha’s weakness and exploits it from the beginning. So egged on by the best friend, Rekha begins to pursue an acting career. The now-amnesiac Amit vows to put the pieces of his life back together, an ordeal that will involve singing, dancing, deceit, revenge, and yet another bout of amnesia!

Review:

When i first read the synopsis for Do Anjaane I thought of it as nothing more than another 70s movie with groovy clothes and a WTF storyline. It does in some ways have the WTF storyline – a man losing his memory twice. Amitabh’s character in this (Amit) is a bit like a bad tv. One minute you bang the TV and it gets the channel reception and next time you bang the tv it loses reception. Same thing for Amit who after one accident loses his memory, but after the second accident gains his memory back. Comedic to be sure, but do not think the rest of the film is as flimsy.

The movie is more then just your average 70s soapie storyline. It actually deals with serious and relevant issues – while of course doing the usual push of indian values to the viewer. The themes and issues explored are relatively bold, mature and relevant to even todays society where Indian women are conflicted between career and family. But don’t think that it is a broad minded and even look at that debate. The career seeking Rekha is mostly portrayed as evil (and does some very evil things) because she wants a career and security over a son. The movie makes some very good points, but overall i think the issue was not played out even handedly. Oh well it is bollywood, i’m just glad they even tried to attempt this kind of issue.

The title ‘Do Anjaane’ or in english ‘two strangers’ most likely refers to the fact that Amitabh & Rekha married in the movie without really knowing each other. He sees her dancing and then decides he wants to marry her as a result of his first attraction. They soon discover as soon as the nuptial night occurs that they both have very different wants out of life – she doesn’t want to be married with children but wants to be a famous dancer, rich and with power. He wants nothing more then a wife and to have children. He is happy to be poor as long as his family is happy and loved. Because of not knowing this about each other in the first place, they are really two strangers who are now in a marriage where they both want very different things. This of course inevitably leads to future problems.

This film has a good social message and i think was a product of its time where India was trying to push socialism against western capitalism. You could view Amitabh’s character (Amit) as the good indian husband who is happy to work for 500 rupees a month in the same job till he dies. Then there is Rekha who is always obsessed with looks and money, “paisa, paisa, paisa” as Amit says. She should be the good indian wife, happy to just stay at home being a doting wife and mother to her son. But she has career ambitions – shes the new age western woman. She wants to live beyond her means just for the sake of looking good to others. But Rekha becomes so obsessed with money that she loses sight of what is important in her life – the love of her husband and son. She was so blinded by her ambitions she never saw what was right in front of her. As the beatles once wisely said ‘money can’t buy you love’. So in some ways i’m sympathetic, in most ways not. She did have to dance since she was young cause her family is so poor, so its only understandable she has a drive to be well-off. But the way in which Rekha tried to pursue her career and riches was in such a way, even in todays perspective you can’t pitty such a harsh woman who doesn’t even show love on her child.

I’m guessing by the fact the characters are called Amit (for Amitabh) and Rekha (for Rekha) that they were always the actors in mind to play the characters. Maybe thats why they are so believable together. Amitabh does a good job at playing the poor guy in love with his new wife, who would do anything for her. Rekha in the first half was mostly a bitchy character but there was splatters of sympathy for her character in some of the marriage scenes. Like when she fires her dancing instructor cause they don’t have enough money or when she wants to give the best friend back the pearls he bought her after Amitabh gets jealous over the present. But in the second half I lost all sympathy for her.

The biggest let down of this film for me was the ending. I felt the last 1.5 minutes was a major ‘cop out’, they should have left it at the airplane scene. I have a feeling the director changed it after fearing how audiences would act after a sad ending, cause it really feels like the other ending was quickly shoved in after. There were only a couple of songs and the only one that sticks to my mind is the father and son song. Other then that they are largely forgettable.

    Overall Score: 3/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall the film has an engaging and unconventional storyline. The movie attempts to address several social issues, but i feel they have not been even handed and have been weak in the delivery. Amitabh as the sympathetic protagonist is extremely moving (especially in his father & son scenes), but only Rekha could do such a convincing job as the emotionally devoid wife. Overall its a good attempt at the issues but the delivery is fairly weak especially due to the ending which annihilated any chance of providing a powerful social message.

    Couple more pictures:

    March 2, 2008 at 10:39 am 1 comment

    Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005)

    Name: Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (I Did Not Kill Gandhi)

    Starring: Anupam Kher, Urmila Matondakar & Parvin Dabas and Special Appearances by Boman Irani & Waheeda Rehman

    Director: Jahnu Barua

    Language: Hindi

    Did I watch this recently? Yes

    Synopsis:

    Uttam Chowhury (Anupam Kher), eminent author and professor of Hindi literature at the University of Bombay now lives the quiet serene life of a retiree with his daughter Trisha (Urmila Montondkar) and youngest son. Life was good until he gradually began losing his memory. At first what is described as ‘old age’ soon becomes evident is much more and is diagnosed with Dementia (a form of Alzheimers). When his dementia leads him into believing that he killed Gandhi drastic steps must be taken by his supportive family in an attempt to cure his delusion and keep him out of a hospital asylum.

    Review:

    Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara came out in 2005 with a whimper and left in silence at the box office but luckily this poignant film was not all forgotten. It still managed to receive critical acclaim with Anupam Kher winning a special jury award at the National Film Awards and Urmila Matondkar won Best Actress award for her performance. But somehow i wish the mainstream audience appreciated this film more, its truly original (especially for bollywood) and a quality movie that people should watch for Anupam alone. But be mindful, its not your every run-of-the-mill bollywood film. It has no music, its thought provoking (rather then just plain ‘feel good’) and most of the time realistic. But its exactly the kind of experimentation that is good to see once and a while in Bollywood especially considering its distributed by Yash Raj one of the most commercial powerful distributors and producers in Bollywood. This movie was definitely the starting trend of Yash Raj’s experimentation with niche cinema.

    Anupam Kher plays Uttam, the retired Hindi professor who does not know it yet but has succumbed to dementia (a form of Alzheimers which is a degeneration of the brain). His loving Daughter Trisha, played by Urmila Matondkar, starts to get worried when he begins to forget names, where he is, what happened the day before and even that his wife has died. Things go from bad to worse when Uttam starts to blur reality with fiction and believes that he killed Gandhi.

    The true strength of this film is Anupam. You can tell he has put so much love and effort into this film and character and it really comes across on screen. Its extremely rare to find an actor like Kher who has done 200+ films and who can do both comedy and drama with such ease. A truly powerful performance and one of the best i have seen him do. He really showcases his talents in this film from the confusion, to pleas of innocence, the loving father, the scared prisoner he really does them all with such passion its hard to forget his performance. I’m sorry to see he didn’t gain the award for best actor in 2005 which of course went to Amitabh Bachchan in a similar role in Black (2005) involving Alzheimers.

    Other strengths of this film lay in the cinematography and special mention for the background score. Considering the movie had no music, it was more then made up for by the score of the film. It just perfectly matched the ambiance and emotion of the scenes, so its good to see when they aren’t creating songs they are still focusing on the strength of the score to create emotion and add to scenes. Other mention I have to give goes to Urmila Matondakar. I’m not really at all a fan of Urmila but then i watch films like Satya (1998), Pinjar (2003) & Ek Hasina Thi (2004) and i’m reminded exactly why people consider her a good actress. I wish she gets better roles then Bas Ek Pal & RGV Ki Aag cause judging by this movie its a total waste of her talents.

    All performances in the film were outstanding with the one exception of the youngest son ‘Karan’ played by an actor called Addy. I’m not sure if its the character or the actor i dislike but i definitely got quite annoyed at times by the one note whiny acting. It could have been a character with alot of depth but instead was completely wasted. Checking by his filmography he has luckily not done a movie since. Bomani Irani also is over the top but then again he is playing an actor! Waheeda Rehman plays a small role that unfortunately was too small for her to show off her talent.

    There is heavy Gandhian symbolism in this film but i think in terms of executing the Gandhi messages it was not all that well done and was weakly integrated. I think if i had to choose a film that really tackled the Gandhian philosophy and trying to teach the audience about Gandhi, i would chose without question Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006). I know that it was a comedy and this is a drama so they are quite different in their premise, but as someone who is not that familiar with Gandhi I felt that Lage Raho Munnabhai taught me so much more about what he stood for and the issues associated with present day Gandhism. Though its a very good idea to show Uttam’s gradual erosion of his memory in the present like the erosion of Gandhi’s principles in todays society, but beyond that I feel i didn’t feel the full power of their intended message.

    There was strong emphasis on establishing the connection between Gandhi and Uttam that i feel they lost focus on what was truly good to see in this film. I mostly felt the film when they focused on the children and Uttam’s journey into dementia. The complex emotions of sadness, frustration, denial and confusion were for me the things that made this film, not the execution of the Gandhi issues. There is a court scene in the second half where the children and doctor try to stage a court room drama so Uttam can be convinced he did not kill Gandhi. This is where i kind of lost interest. It was too far fetched for me considering this is supposed to be a realistic take on the disease. But it was the strongest scene at least for conveying the Gandhi message but i wouldn’t miss it if the whole last half hour was cut and spent more time integrating the Gandhi message better.

    Last issue i had with the film was the length. The story was quite thin so i really didn’t think it needed to be 2 hours considering there wasn’t much to the story. It would have been much better if they kept it to the 1.5 hour mark. Or at least add a bit more to the story so the pacing didn’t feel so slow.

    Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – A very good watch if you want to see something different in Bollywood. Engagingly emotional scenes, Anupam’s fantastic portrayal of Uttam and Urmila touching journey to help her father all combine to give many viewers their dosage of realistic, thought provoking and quality cinema. However it experiences issues with slow pacing, i’m unsatisfied with the courtroom drama and not all the Gandhi messages were well executed. However the lack of attention this film received in 2005 means i encourage people to watch it for the growing trend of cinema in Bollywood and of course for Anupam Kher.

    January 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

    Abhimaan (1973)

    Name: Abhimaan (Pride)

    Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, G. Asrani & Bindu

    Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

    Language: Hindi

    Did I watch this recently? Yes

    Synopsis:

    Subeer Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is well on his way to becoming India’s top pop singer. He has no intention of getting married, but when he goes to visit his aunty he falls in love with religious, simple Uma, by whose voice he’s enchanted. He marries her and returns to Bombay where he announces that he will never sing without Uma again. However, Subeer encourages Uma to sing alone and when her popularity is soon greater than his own, the seed of jealousy begins to grow… The major difference between Uma and Subeer is that she sings for herself, whereas he sings for the public. It is the difference between geet and sangeet. The transition of Subeer from pop star to star husband forms the rest of the story.

    Review:

    Abhimaan (Pride) tells the story of the popular singer Subeer Kumar who after marriage soon is no longer the superior star in his household after his wife Uma (Jaya Bachchan) becomes the bigger star. Although a simple story, Hrishikesh has told a story that is very relatable and universal. In fact many people saw this movie as a reflection on Amitabh & Jaya’s marriage in real life because at the time Jaya was more successful then Amitabh. Amitabh still had 2 years till Deewaar, Chupke Chupke & Sholay came out and 4 years till Amar Akbar Anthony came out. While Jaya was already famous with hits such as Guddi & Bawarchi while Amitabhs hit Zanjeer was released later in the year. In fact Jaya received the Filmfare Best Actress award for her portrayal of Uma while Amitabh walked away with nothing.

    The movie tracks the career of Amitabh and his transition from star to star’s husband. At first Amitabh is easy going, joyful and very supportive of his wife. There is no trace of his ‘angry young man’ persona that Amitabh is known for. He even goes so far to encourage and support his wife by announcing he will only sing for her. Then of course the conflict occurs when Amitabh starts to get jealous of Uma’s new found success.

    Hrishikesh inserts scenes to demonstrate the growing pride and jealous of Amitabh. The transitions are slow but evident. Of a morning Subeer wakes and gives his wife a kiss every morning (which is a very cute scene) but then Uma starts to become more successful and people start asking for her autograph over Subeers. Then producers are willing to pay Uma 5,000 rupees so Subeer demands 6,000 rupees in order to reaffirm his superiority over his wife. However when he cannot receieve that much money he plunges into a jealous, stubborn and proud man begins despite Uma’s pleads to end her career when she notices how her success is affecting her husband.

    The changes can be seen in Uma as well. Special commendation should be paid to Jaya who goes from a smiling and full of life wife then to a dull, lifeless and utterly depressed shell of her former self. Watching the process of the characters transformations show just how good a director Mukherjee is and the caliber of his ability to bring out great performances by Jaya and Amitabh.

    But i did have some issues with this movie. If someone asked me if i liked this film i would say yes – its a good film. But i just couldn’t love it. I blame that most on the story and characters then the movie itself. Its a very good story to tell – but i would much prefer re-watching Mili many times before seeing Abhimaan again. Most of the sweet moments just after they get marriage i would rewatch, but i just wanted to strangle Amitabh in Abhimaan so it kind of makes re-watching it hard.

    I would say that Hrishikesh did a fairly good job at tackling this issue, of how a husband feels when the natural gender roles of society are turned upside down. I think nowadays this issue is especially important where women in India (and abroad) are given so much greater freedom to educate and gain jobs which might make them in a far better position then their husbands. So in this way its good that he can tackle such a universal issue. But i feel Uma took back Amitabh too easy. Plus she never confronts him about his own insecurity but instead flees the house and decides to quit singing. Very sacrificial subservient kind of character who i wish just once actually confronted Amitabh during one of his childish angry fits. But at least Subeer learnt he had to support not punish his wife in the end. So in this way i wish the issue was dealt with by a stronger female character. But its a good attempt and good to see Bollywood had such movies back in the 70s.

    The other problem i had was the ending. The ending kind of leaves you in a depressed state – call me lame but i like certain things to be nicely wrapped up when i’ve cried so much over an issue of the story. Its part of the healing process! I wanted to know a bit more of what happens to them after the ending. Also was good to see Bindu in a non-vamp role. For once she actually got a character who wasn’t a total bitch.

    Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Watch it for the cute after marriage scenes of Amitabh & Jaya but don’t feel alone if you think that one watch is enough for this movie.

    December 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm 3 comments

    Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007)

    Name: Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.

    Starring: Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Kay Kay Menon, Raima Sen, Amisha Patel, Karan Khanna, Vikram Chatwal, Sandhya Mridul, Diya Mirza, Arjun Rampal, Ranvir Shorey, Abhay Deol & Minissha Lamba.

    Director: Reema Kagti

    Language: Hindi

    Did I watch this recently? Yes

    Review:

    Want to see a superior product of Just Married (2007)? Want to fall in love with Abhay Deol and Kay Kay Menon more then you already have? Want to see an all star cast that has more personality and talent in their little hands then Fardeen and Esha combined? Then see Honeymoon Travels. It’s a timepass, but a fairy cute one which may leave, for some, a bad after taste. I personally thought it was worth the watch.

    So you basically have 6 couples each with their own story that unfolds as the movie progresses and of course ultimately reaches a climax. There is Shabana Azmi & Boman Irani who play the old newly married couple (who have both suffered tragedy and loss before), Amisha Patel and Karan Khanna play the arranged-cum-love marriage where Amisha is a talkative girl who lives her life like a movie, Abhay Deol and Minissha Lamba play the cutesy ‘all the same’ perfect in love couple. Kay Kay Menon and Raima Sen play the couple that has changed quite a lot after marriage from what they fell in love with when they were young. Vikram Chatwal and Sandhya Mridul play the recently eloped couple, Diya Mirza and Ranvir Shorey play the recent arranged couple where the bride just won’t stop crying. Of course Arjun’s character is more of a surprise!

    This movie could have easily fallen apart were it not for the actors. They give such life to their characters, that as viewers its easier to forgot the flaws of this movie as you just sit back and enjoy watching their performances. Of course if I had to pick a weak actor it would be Karan Khanna who plays Vicky. For a character who is dealing with some of the most complex emotions in the movie, Khanna totally makes it fall flat by his wooden expressions and in the end does not do justice to a potential complex character. He just leaves us with confusion. Also Ranvir Shorey’s short stint in this movie did nothing for me – which is a shame, i’m starting to doubt i like him after this and Bheja Fry.

    Towards the end of the movie you may find yourself going ‘What the??’. But I hope you don’t let these moments spoilt the other enjoyable parts of this film. Yes many parts are too contrived (I’m pointing to anyone who has seen this as the ‘Will & Grace styled storyline), the daughter in Goa etc. But some of the ‘what the’ moments are just part of the crazy tone of the movie. If you are easy going and get the tone of this film then some ‘what the’ moments might turn into ‘awww’ (for me thats the Minissha & Abhay story).

    A common complaint of this film is it lacks focus and depth. I can see where they are coming from, but how focused and deep can you get when you have to explore 6 couple’s storylines in 2 hours. I think Honeymoon Travel put in a good attempt considering how challenging it is. They provided their characters with back story in an inventive and time concise way, they used normal dialogue in a non-direct way to highlight the issues of the characters (Raima Sen’s character most springs to mind with this) and also managed to provide comedy as well. Looking at the Raima Sen and Kay Kay Menon scene when Kay Kay makes Raima take the wind glider despite the fact she has been advised against it in a sari. This scene shows both the freeing of Raima’s character when she enjoys the ride despite her sari coming off and demonstrates Kay Kay’s characters issues with trying to control and suppress Raima’s individuality and modernity. Plus they produced a very funny comedy moment in the process – the perfect combination and attempt to provide complex characterisation and story development that is fun to watch.

    But with that in mind there were problems with the story telling. Some of the other storylines could have been cut to focus more on the couples (such as the driver’s nephew and the westerner storyline and also cut the Boman Irani and his daughter storyline) which i doubt anyone would miss. Another issue was the resolution of the couples storylines. I know its silly to want everything wrapped up in a nice little parcel, but i really wanted to know what happens with some of the couples storylines that are left hanging in the air. Its like they introduce and finally tell the viewer of the problems, but only 3/6 of the couples actually have their problems resolved by the end of the movie. Which i guess is less contrived, but also is a bit annoying.

    Now my favourite people of this movie:

    1. Abhay & Minissha as Aspi and Zara. They are your most vomit worthy obnoxiously cutsey couple, they never fight and they do nearly everything the same. But for the few scenes they are in I found them absolutely hilarious – from the synchronised eating/swimming, the ‘Pyaar Ki Yeh Kahani’ spanish dancing and the dog/cat foreplay all of which brought a smile to my face. I wanted Abhay to take me for a dance after seeing him move Minissha around in Pyaar Ki Yeh Kahani.

    2. Kay Kay & Raima as Partho and Milly. They are the once romantic couple that has become boring once married. Milly also has comprised part of herself to become the good housewife while Partho doesn’t let himself have any fun anymore since being married. This couple utilises more subtle comedy but you love this couple not for their comedy, but how real and intriguing their story is. I’m sure there are thousands of couples who are suffering from the same problems as Partho and Milly. Lets hope they all resolve it over a cracktastic dance like Kay Kay (Partho) did (see the song Sajnaji Vaari Vaari).

    3. Shabana & Boman as Nahid and Oscar. The newly married couple at 50 something. Both have suffered losses and tragedy in their lives but have decided to try again with each other even at their age. Shabana and Boman are an odd pair, but its hard not to fall in love with this elderly couple. They are just effortless and natural with each other you could swear they have been married in real life for years. I wish they focused though on less of Boman’s daughter and more on Shabana and Boman themselves.

    Music on a small side note was melodic, toe tapping and an all round solid good album. Favourite songs are ‘Pyaar Ki Yeh Kahani’ and ‘Sajnaji Vaari Vaari’.

    Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Despite its flaws its a good timepass that is cute, funny and should have you so engaged the movie flys by in the 2 hours. Ending may leave you with a bad aftertaste, but hopefully a little of Abhay and Kay Kay sugar should not leave you with it.

    December 17, 2007 at 9:23 pm 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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