Posts filed under ‘4 Star Movies’

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

Name: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (Straight from the heart)

Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Zohra Seghal & Helen

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Review:

Please be mindful of spoilers. So if you really don’t want to be spoiled about the film, just skip to the end overall score

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (straight from the heart) is a movie which resembles Bollywood closest to its purest form. I say purest form in the way that Bollywood is known for, in terms of colour, dancing, songs, heightened emotions, extravagant costumes and jewellery, 3 hour long films, parent drama, love triangles, manly heroes and pretty heroines. It is Sanjay Leela Bhansali at his best and it was this movie that set the standard for his future magnum opus Devdas.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is the story of Nandini (played by Aishwarya Rai). Nadini is a fiercely independent and beloved only daughter of a famous folk singer. One day a half-indian boy called Sameer (Salman Khan) comes from Italy to their house in Rajasthan to learn singing off her father. Sameer is joyful, fun, romantic, good looking and soon Nandini and Sameer fall in love. But little do they know while they keep their love secret, Nadini’s parents have already arranged her marriage to a quiet and dark man named Vanraj (Ajay Devgan) who falls for Nadini during one of her dancing performances. Sameer is soon banished from the house and leaves for Europe where he hopes one day Nadini will follow him. Vanraj and Nadini marry but she is so depressed during their marriage that Vanraj takes Nadini to Italy to reunite her with her past lover Sameer. Soon Nadini must choose between her youthful lover and her dutiful husband.

I’m writing this review after seeing Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam for the third time. Twice, a couple of years ago, and now this time. I am STILL conflicted who i think she should have chosen in the end or which long guy i like best. The two relationships are very different. In fact they probably juxtapose each other as they both are almost opposite. Sameer (Salman) is joyful, fun, the life of the party, good looking, great singer – everything one could want in a lover. But Nandini (Aishwarya) and Sameer (Salman) relationship is filled with immaturity. After she accidently slaps him she apologises and apoligises but he stamps off to his room and locks himself in it like a little boy. But their relationship is full of energy, chemistrty and fun. While Vanraj (Ajay) and Nandini has a more mature relationship. Vanraj is dark coloured (and not the best looking), a bad singer, quiet but something he has in common with Sameer is he is a very nice man. When Vanraj finds out that Nandini has another lover he doesn’t get in a huff and lock himself in a room, he deals with the problem head on and makes a decision. Their relationship is alot less joyful and eventful but they still appreciate each other on a more mature and developed level then the gayity and fun of Sameer. She would probably find joy and love in conversations with Vanraj, seeing how he acts rather then how much fun she can have with him.

Either way because they are both so nice (no clear bad guy) it makes me conflicted. I like how Sameer seems like alot of fun and Vanraj seems boring. In fact first time i saw it i cried my eyes out cause of the ending. But this is probably my youthful outlook on it. I originally didn’t like Vanraj at all but the couple of years since i last saw this film i’ve been swaying more toward Vanraj and finding Sameer’s youthfulness more exhausting and annoying.

But now looking back at the two relationships i think Vanraj gets it right when he tells Nandini “you don’t know what love is”. Was what Nadini and Sameer had infatuation or love? I still don’t know. I think that both relationships are love, but are different types of love. Which is the right love – the arranged and mature or the joyful and youthful? I’m sure there is cases in the world where both have worked very well for couples. I guess its up to the individual viewer which they prefer.

Nadini’s end choice between Vanraj and Sameer some see as a message of choosing between between youthful infatuated love or her duty as wife. In some ways the film supports the duty vs love theory when Nandini says to Sameer that she must go back to her husband to fulfil her duty. In this way she is giving her reasoning of choosing Vanraj as a sense of duty rather then love for her husband. But i believe her choice is more then a sense of duty and i don’t believe it when people simply say that it was just duty vs love. I think its more then just a choice between society obligations vs writing her own destiny. I believe its more a choice between her 1st love vs 2nd love then duty vs love. She loves both Sameer and Vanraj in very different ways and is conflicted who to chose. But it can be easily seen by the end she definitely has love for Vanraj that moves beyond purely dutiful love. Its like choosing between your first love and second love – which was real love? Its impossible to be able to say which one was real, but it can be clearly seen by the end that Nandini has made the decision of Vanraj based on her duties as a wife and falling in love for a second time. But people are more then free to disagree with me.

Even though Sameer and Nandini had a more immature love, it certainly shared a lot better chemistry then Nadini and Vanraj. You cannot escape how good the chemistry is between Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan. Is it a result of their real life love life? The 1st half you get through because their chemistry is so believable you can’t help but cry in the end of the first half and second half for Sameer and Nandini. Although when Nandini and Vanraj are on the train together and have to snuggle to get past the ticket collector – that too is pretty steamy.

In terms of acting Aishwarya manages to have moments of acting talent in many of the scenes most of them include her post marriage scenes where her character shows maturity and depth. The ones that springs to mind is her first married night, the Tadap Tadap song, some of the later scenes when they are trying to find Sameer etc. In fact its mostly only the really emotional scenes where she screams her head off (when Sameer is leaving and just after flying the kites) that she really hurt my ears and where i cringe at the loudness of the acting. But i think she shows greater maturity in her acting (then her previous movies of that time being Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya & Jeans) when she has to demonstrate a subtle emotional scene. I think its when she has to go big with her acting is when she gets in trouble.

I think out of Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai, that Ajay had the best performance amongst them. He could be venerable and lovable to his wife, he could play hurt and angry. The character of Vanraj could have easily looked like a simple fool but Ajay manages to combine the venerability of Vanraj but also insert strength and dignity in the character where he doesn’t look like a total idiot for what he does. I must admit i have to give Vanraj respect for resisting the urge to slap Nadini during the beginning stages of their marriage and search for Sameer. She never showed any appreciation for what Vanraj was doing for her and really was only acting like a spoilt little girl. But luckily as they start to spend more and more time together her character really matures and becomes much nicer to Vanraj. I’m glad they did that so as to redeem her character for the audience.

Very special mention has to be made towards the music and choreography of this film. From the sultryAnkhon Ki Gustakhiyan‘, to the devastating ‘Tadap Tadap‘ (i encourage non-hindi speakers to get the song with subtitles), to the flamboyant dance number that showcases Aishwarya’s dancing talents ‘Nimbooda‘, the romantic duet ‘Chand Chupa Badal Mein‘ and lastly the other great dance number with Salman and Aishwarya which just makes you want to get up and dance ‘Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje‘. The music is literally up there in my top 10 favourite albums of all time and the choreography, costumes and picturisation does not let it down. All the songs, sets, costumes etc are done to grand opulence in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film and it was Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that set this future standard.

Editing could be much tighter. The first 1 hour is extremely drawn out with not alot happening in them other then showing the family fun moments. The one song i would cut would be the kite song, it added nothing to the movies but an extra 6 minutes.

Amongst all the drama though there were some light comedy moments. Zohra Seghal provided alot of the humour for me as the loveable grandmother. Other funny bits included when Nandini thought she could get pregnant by a kiss, Sameer always annoying her and Vanraj trying to do uncoordinated hungarian dancing (sorry italian dancing).

This is not a perfect movie – by a long shot. The theme is not anything new and the movie has many imperfections and problems with it. But in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali presentation i get so caught up in the drama and beauty of this film that I forget a large amount of things that might annoy me as the movie progresses.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is classic purest Bollywood. It has the drama, heightened emotions, grand costumes, dancing and one of the best musical albums. It even has a love triangle where three watches later i’m still trying to figure who i want her with. But of course with this type of movie the over the top experience may give many a headache, especially at times the characters of Sameer and Nandini. Another big boo boo for the movie is the fact their ‘Italy’ looks nothing like Italy but was in fact shot in Hungary. But hopefully despite its many flaws, you will walk away from this film with a couple of used tissues and a sense of grandeur and emotion about the film.

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March 23, 2008 at 6:42 pm 8 comments

Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

Name: Jodhaa Akbar

Starring: Hrithik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar is the untold love story of the greatest Mughal emperor who ruled Hindustan (now India), Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, and a fiery young Rajput princess, Jodhaa.

Set in the sixteenth century, this epic romance begins as a marriage of alliance between two cultures and religions, for political gain, with the Hindu King Bharmal of Amer giving his daughter’s hand to a Muslim Emperor, Akbar. When Akbar accepts the marriage proposal, little does he know that in his efforts to strengthen his relations with the Rajput, he would in turn be embarking on a new journey, the journey of true love?

From the battlefield where the young Jalaluddin was crowned, through the conquests that won him the title of Akbar the Great (‘Akbar’ in Arabic means great), to winning the love of the beautiful Jodhaa, Jodhaa Akbar traces the impressive graph of the emperor and his romance with a defiant princess.

Review:

Jodhaa Akbar – its finally arrived! Prepare yourself for a very long 3.5 hour grand cinematic experience. It has action, espionage, deception, romance, sensuality, grand sets and costumes to die for. But please keep your historically accurate mind at home. This is a movie which on the outside has historical real life events that happened to Akbar but most of the inner workings of the court and the Jodhaa Akbar relationship has been based largely on the imagination of Ashutosh Gowariker. Although i must admit, i like where his imagination takes him!

I remember first hearing about the Hrithik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai movie all the way back in July 2006 and was at first unsure about how successful the pairing was (Dhoom 2 would cure that) and whether the Bollywood audience would find a historical long and boring.

So after greatly peaking my interest it was a very long wait till October 12 2007 when the film was to be released. As we all know now the trailer, music release, promotions and eventually the movie was delayed by another 3 months to January and then later February. So by all the delays my mind has resolved itself to thinking the film musn’t be very good and its doomed at the box office. So going into the film I must say that my expectations were quite lowered.

But I was very, very wrong!

At 3.5 hours a director has to be very sure that the film can sustain the audience’s interest for that long otherwise they will come out hating it. But luckily for me Ashutosh largely fulfills this requirement. The fight scenes, the romance, the espionage was all very interesting to me. There are enough plot lines and characters for it to endure for 3.5 hours without repeating itself. Although I can’t guarantee everyone will find the movie of interest, if you don’t mind sitting down for 3.5 hours the story should keep you there long and interest enough for you not to regret watching it. Or even better the story should have you enthralled for the 3.5 hours and keep you highly engaged for the large portion of it.

So what kept me interested and what do I think he should have cut?

The Good:

  • You forget the actors and believe the characters – you forget that its Hrithik Roshan playing Akbar and Aishwarya Rai playing Jodhaa. Their performances are so convincing you easy forget its them and can easily believe they are in fact Akbar & Jodhaa. This especially applies to Hrithik as Akbar who gives a commanding and balanced performance for Akbar.
  • The development of the romance – I love how Ashutosh has set up and developed the romance of Jodhaa and Akbar from marriage to love. The definite strength of the film for me was the romance. It was endearing and the chemistry was definetely there.
  • The amazing chemistry of Aishwarya & Hrithik
  • Cinematography/Visuals – whether it was the grand sets or the grand battle scenes, i guess there is no other word to describe the cinematography other then grand and breathtaking. I encourage if you can to see this movie in the cinema for at least the visuals.
  • Sets – they look like they were real, straight from the Mughal ages. Colourful, fine delicate detailing, extremely large – exactly why everyone loves Mughal architecture and unbelievable to think someone created them recently.
  • Costumes – Everyone knows that a historical nearly always has to have costumes as a strength of the film, luckily Gowariker does not disappoint! I almost wished i was a Mughal Princess just so i could wear Jodhaa’s costumes and jewellery.
  • Some favourite scnees – Hrithik doing a sword skills workout with Aishwarya watching near by, the fight scene at the beginning, the sword fight between Hrithik & Aishwarya, Azeem-O-Shahenshah song scene & In Lamhon Ke Daman Mein song scene. Plus some others but they are far too spoilery to give them away.
  • Clear characterisation of who Akbar is, what he stands for and how he thinks. Same thing goes for Jodhaa. Only issue is whether he has over simplified the characters and of course the question over the accuracy of his characterisation.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Editing & Lack of clear direction with the intended theme– the inner workings of the court and all the characters trying to take down Akbar becomes confusing and long. I think the lack of a clear theme meant that Gowariker attempted many different themes in the movie and as a result didn’t know what was relevant to what he was trying to say and what could be cut. He should have stuck to the court intrigues and betrayals that related back to Akbar’s alliance with the hindu rajputs or religious differences. It was confusing because is it an analysis of his rule? His relationship with his wife? A cross-religious look? But if it was just Hindu Vs Mughal Muslim alliance then quite a few of those intrigue and deception scenes could have easily gotten the chop. By looking at Gowariker’s last films (Lagaan & Swades) it is evident that editing is his continuing weakness. Lagaan, although long, at least had a tight script to support the length – Jodhaa Akbar does not.
  • Historical inaccuracy – the most prevalant being there is no mention of any other wife. Plus any scenes involving Jodhaa and Akbar talking has all been made up, there is no way any historical book has recorded what a husband and wife did and said 500 years ago.
  • At times there are cringeworthy over the top dramatic sound effects. They are just a bit too loud and bad soapie type sounding for my liking.
  • Scripting is weak in sections of the film – this of course luckily is not seen that much on first viewing. However with later reflection and more watches the weakness of the script becomes more clear.
  • Somewhat flat ending

There is also a controversy going on in India at the moment about who Jodhaa Bai was and what her real name was. So to all those people I say who cares! Its a movie. Ashutosh when making the film took the name and story of the Princess that the common man knows about. No one said a thing about Mughal-E-Azam and Jodhaa’s status and name in that. He is not writing an encyclopedia, he is making a movie. So to all the controversy over the name and status i say there are more important things to campaign and protest about in India then that. They should divert their energies elsewhere!

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall its strength lies in its actors, chemistry of Hrithik & Aishwarya, visuals and fight scenes. However Ashutosh’s vision suffers from poor editing which i attribute to his lack of focused themes and troubled scripting. Go see it because its a good film, but after a while the movie can leave you feeling on later reflection somewhat unhappy with the editing, script and maybe some other issues. But when that happens, just flick back to the scenes with Hrithik and Aishwarya that you loved and you will soon hopefully forget its problems! Plus a Bollywood historical doesn’t come around all that often, so make this one special while its still in the cinema.

February 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm 5 comments

Jab We Met (2007)

Name: Jab We Met

Starring: Shahid Kapoor & Kareena Kapoor

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) is heart broken after the girl he loves is getting married. Depressed and dejected he can’t return home so he drifts aimlessly aboard a train in the middle of the night. On the train he meets Geet (Kareena Kapoor), a beautiful but annoyingly talkative girl who is leaving Mumbai to go to her hometown in Punjab where she later plans to elope to her boyfriend Anshuman.

Geet irritates Aditya to the point of getting him to leave the train but as she tries to get back on the train she ends up missing the train and the two find themselves stranded on a desolate station. Aditya must now put up with Geet as they travel to Bhatindra to drop her at her families. However things do not go according to plan when they return home together. The rest of Geet & Aditya’s journey forms the rest of the story.

Review:

For the last couple of years Bollywood has tried to get away from the same old ‘boy meets girl’ simple storylines. Every movie has to have a USP or some complex storyline in order to be a success as many people were sick of the same old storylines. Jab We Met however is a nice return to the simple boy meets girl storyline. It really is only a re-package of the same old storyline but its packed with such great dialogue, scenes, banter, chemistry and songs that it could almost trick you to believing its new.

Director Imtiaz Ali returns with his second directorial since Socha Na Tha (2005). Even in that movie he took actors who had good chemistry together and dumped them in a simple boy meets girl storyline with a twist and a good screenplay and somehow that as well succeeded (although not commercially). Jab We Met is very similar.

Shahid Kapoor is Aditya, a quiet and depressed boy who one day aimlessly gets onto a random train after seeing the love of his life marry someone else. There he meets Geet played by Kareena Kapoor. A punjabi girl who is bubbly and just doesn’t know when to shut up. Geet feels a need to help out Aditya with his problems. But she has problems of her own as she has not told her family yet that she is eloping to marry Anshuman.

Something I’ve loved about Ali’s films is that he gives nearly all his characters a distinct personality. Aditya is very serious about life, mature and quite depressed at the beginning. While Geet doesn’t take life serious enough, can be a bit immature but she is very infectiously happy. Geet is exactly what Aditya needs at the beginning as she balances out his own personality and although he is annoyed by her at first, he soon learns the virtues of how she treats life.

Shahid does a wonderful job at balancing out Kareena’s high pitch loud acting in the beginning. I think Geet could have really gotten on some peoples nerves if it wasn’t for Shahid’s sarcastic quips at Kareena. A transition of the characters takes place in the second half of the movie and Kareena is no longer the loud bubbly character. I think Kareena does such a good job of this transition from bubbly to the dejected upset Geet of the 2nd half. Plus in the 2nd half it is Aditya who is positive and upbeat about life and is able to help out Geet when she is low on life in the 2nd half. This of course shows that the characters are well matched as they balance each other out in life.

After about 20 minutes into the film you know the movie isn’t going to be totally predictable. I could probably name about 5 movies that aspects of the movie could have been taken from, but it didn’t feel like deja vu or heavily one film. Its not your average boy meets girl, its just that much more enjoyable and the story really lets the viewer get attached to and love the characters of Geet and Aditya. Plus there are some very funny scenes including the ‘Hotel Decent’ scene and ‘Elopement Debacle’ scene. Anshuman in the second half also has some very funny reaction shots and is quite funny – but i’m not entirely sure he was meant to be so hysterical.

Another strong aspect of this film is the songs. They are extremely catchy especially Mauja Hi Mauja, Ye Ishq Hai & Nagada Nagada. Luckily also the picturisation only adds to how much i liked the songs.

Biggest downside of this film is it is perhaps too slow and could have done with a good edit in the 2nd half. It personally would feel hard to cut any of the scenes cause i really enjoyed them, but it can feel a bit repetitive nearing the end of the 2nd half. So if anything Jab We Met could do with some improved editing. Also there were many illogical points that you could easily forgive, but it was a bit too far when Aditya starts guitar singing to his employees in the office. Why doesn’t my boss sing to me!

Its sad to know that this will be one of Shahid & Kareena’s last films together (after the release of Milenge Milenge). After their breakup in real life there is little chance of them starring together, which is a shame because they finally get credibility for their chemistry here. I thought they had chemistry in 36 China Town and luckily a lot more of the audience is seeing it now. I know some people find Kareena very irritating and annoying – i used to be one of them. But since Omkara, Jab We Met, 36 China Town and Yuva i’ve come to like her. Jab We Met just reaffirms my opinion of how much she has matured as an actress. Shahid has always been a favourite of mine so no big changes after this movie, just always love to see him in a good film that showcases his romantic talents.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – A extremely enjoyable timepass that has great re-watch potential. You fall in love with the characters, many funny scenes and it has everything to be a very nice repackage of the boy and girl dramas. Luckily also has just the right dosage of songs, comedy, drama and melodrama. Only downside is the length as second half could do with a trim and some illogical parts of the movie that are easily forgiven.

December 30, 2007 at 9:38 pm 17 comments

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007)

Name: Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (Dance, Baby, Dance)

Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Lara Dutta, Bobby Deol & Amitabh Bachchan

Director: Shaad Ali

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Synopsis:

Rikki Thukral (Abhishek Bachchan) born in Bhatinda, living in London; and Alvira Khan (Preity Zinta) more British then indian meet in a crowded cafe while they wait for their respective fiancés to arrive at the station. The train is soon delayed and these two unlikely pairs have two hours to kill. To kill time, they end up telling each other their “how I met my fiancé” stories. Rikki met his fiancé Anaida (Lara Dutta) at The Ritz (Paris), Alvira, a princess by nature discovers her prince at Madame Tussaud’s. Steve the Prince (Bobby Deol), a lawyer by profession saves her life and steals her heart! Soon after their stories end, Rikki and Alvira’s story has just begun!

Review:

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is an all out entertainer with little room for a story or sense. But i’m totally shocked that IMDB gave it 4/10! Were we watching the same movie! I think the biggest problem is people don’t ‘get’ the comedy. You look at the trend of Indian hits this year – mostly physical Akshay Kumar staring comedies. Heyy Babyy a big hit, is literally full of fart, poo and pee jokes. So when a smart comedy (that parodies Bollywood style cinema) isn’t a success, i tend to blame the fact people don’t ‘get’ the comedy.

It took me a while myself to enjoy the movie. I got to intermission feeling utterly let down and disappointed! It’s not that the movie was bad, but this is Shaad Ali film! The director who brought us Bunty Aur Babli! Its got Abhishek in it! How could the movie not have that certain magic i was after.

The story is a bit odd and moved slowly. 1st half of the movie is pretty much Abhishek (Ricki) and Preity (Alvira) telling a disjointed tale of how they met their respective finaces. Abhishek had funny mannerisms and i enjoyed Preity’s nonscreaming mad character…but i just felt let down, it felt forced/corny and my friend who was also looking forward to this film felt the same way i did. I also think you have to understand its a total parody on Bollywood, in a more subtle way then Om Shanti Om was.

But then something changes in the second half and it managed to make the oddities of the first half justified. The second half was total fun, everything seemed to jell together after that. By the end i felt vindicated for having faith in Yash Raj and *gasp* i actually liked Bobby Deol. He is quite hilarious in his mumma’s boy role and doesn’t play half dead which is my biggest criticism of him earlier. Lara was a good addition too in my opinion, i felt she deserve to be in those leagues and i hope that in the future she gets put in more worthy movies for her. She can be annoying in the 1st half, but i think you may love her in the 2nd half. Lara & Preity’s fight in the second half are one of the highlights of the film for me.

Music is of course one of the highlights of the film. These songs had chart busters written all over them. But then again the music is mostly the song ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ played in 4 different ways in the movie! Either way i loved the music before hand so it just multiplied my love seeing it on screen. I felt Amitabh at times was sluggish in choreography and the Jhoom Barabar Jhoom songs at the end dragged on but i still loved them.

The same way Om Shanti Om had filmi references, there are quite a few cute filmi and indian references if you can catch them…especially Abhishek’s phone that answers to *ey handsome* from Kajra Re.

For anyone who thinks this is a family entertainer, you are quite wrong. I wouldn’t bring small kids to it. It has sexual references, swear words and other things considered inappropriate for a bollywood family entertainer. But for anyone like me trying to learn hindi, it is a good film for learning those swear words you normally wouldn’t hear in the movies!

If your looking for deep storylines, lots of deep emotion this film isn’t for you. Actually to think of it there isn’t much of a storyline, just lots of disjointed entertainment moments sown together with one thin lingering storyline. But i find the premise interesting enough, and easy to sit through after an while. Its an easy movie to watch again and i feel if you had fun watching Dhoom 2 or those movies that make little sense but are fun to watch then I think you will like this film.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – You may think i’m crazy for rating it this high, but i enjoyed it and its got definiete re-watch potential so its going to get a higher score then usual. Don’t put your expectations too high and just sit back and have fun.

November 30, 2007 at 11:33 am 2 comments

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

Mausam (1975)

Name: Mausam (Weather or Season)

Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Sharmila Tagore & Om Shivpuri

Director: Gulzar

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Dr Gill (Sanjeev Kumar) is an unmarried gray-haired man who has become successful through discovering a useful medicine, is spending a holiday at Darjeeling alone. Over twenty years before he had visited the same place, and fallen in love with the daughter of a local doctor (Sharmila Tagore). He did not keep a promise to return for her, and when he learns on holiday what had become of her as a result of his non-return he feels guilty and spends the rest of the film trying to rectify his mistakes. I could say more but i feel it would be spoilery.

Review:

If you have it in your mind that Mausam is another product of the 70s – a whining and pining love story well your wrong, well at least half wrong. For half the movie you might be feeling the tedium of the love story (despite the existence of nice songs). For me though it was not until Young Sharmila Tagore showed up that I suddenly realised this wasn’t going to be another average film. Its always good when a film catches you off guard, especially about your perception of what type of films bollywood will only do.

It was a beautifully touching film to watch.

Although Sanjeev Kumar is not that convincing as a young hero, he does play the part well as the older Dr Gill. Additionally I think he plays these more subtle roles so well because of his impeccable emotional timing. He knows just when to show what face, whether its remorse, empathy or straight out crying he knows just how to play the scene. Overall I don’t really think of his as much of a romance lead, but he doesn’t really have to be that great at that in this movie.

But overall Sharmila has to be the star. The way she could play the naive innocent mountain girl and then transition to the Young Sharmila prostitute (Kajili) is true acting talent on her part. Playing a prostitute (especially in bollywood movies) is along the lines of ‘a hooker with heart’ stories and there is a thin line between disliking Young Sharmila’s character or loving her. Thanks to Sharmila she embeds vulnerability and empathy into this character so its easy to love even this flawed character. I couldn’t imagine many actors being able to pull off the sweet and innocent then play a convincing gutter mouth prostitute. I guess the most recent example is Lara Dutta in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom but then again there is more comedy then emotion in that role.

Favourite song has to be ‘Mere Ishq Mein’, it is so hilarious to watch. Usually the dancing is so perfectly executed I found it amusing to watch Young Sharmila’s character badly dance and even gets dizzy after spinning around on the spot too much.

A point that many might find ‘icky’ (and the ending confusing) is the Lamhe styled story of Dr Gill and Kajli. Is it father and daughter styled love or romantic love? Everybody has their own interpretation of the love story, you can make your own conclusions.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Another Gulzar favourite of mine. Like most Gulzar films it is slow and thin in story but its not too long so most people should be able to sit through it and at least think the 2 hours was well spent. Others maybe less emotionally touched by the storyline, but I liked it.

Special thanks to Darshana from Bollywhat for the screencaps and synopsis!

Anyone else seen this movie? Overrated or underrated? Drop a comment below.

October 23, 2007 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

36 China Town (2006)

Name: 36 China Town

Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Ishaa Koppikar, Upen Patel, Johnny Lever & Paresh Rawal

Directed By:Abbas Alibhai Burmawalla & Mastan Alibhai Bumawalla

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? No

Brief Synopsis:

Sonia Chang (Ishaa Koppikar) a casino owner, lives in her huge mansion 36 China Town. When her son goes missing, she becomes distraught and offers 25 lakh rupees as a reward. Raj (Shahid Kapoor) and Priya (Kareena Kapoor) stumble upon each other and come across the missing child. They decide to split the reward money. They catch a bus to Goa in order to return the child. Upon reaching 36 China Town near midnight, they call Sonia Madam, but getting no reply they decide to investigate the house and search for Sonia. Inside they find Sonia Chang’s dead body. When police inspector Karan (Akshaye Khanna) comes to investigate the murder, he has evidence against all the different suspects, but doesn’t know who really committed the murder. The suspense comedy of who murdered Sonia form the rest of the movie.

Good Points

  • Many critics stated that the film suffered from lack of suspense – but i think they were looking at this movie the wrong way. Its an entertainer with a good mixture of comedy and suspense. Its more of a ‘whodunit’ then action packed suspense. I think the entertainment value of this movie far exceeds the problems with the thriller value of the movie.
  • There are several catchy songs to keep your toes tapping including the expensively shot ‘Ashqui Mein Teri’ with Ishaa Koppikar & Upen Patel and my own personal favourite ’24 7 I think of You’. Both very catchy.
  • Cinematography is top-notch in the film.
  • You may not fall in love with Upen Patel in the movie but he has an awesome pick up line his sleazy character ‘Rocky’ uses – “Is your father a terrorist? Cause it looks like he made a sex bomb”. That pick up line is so cheesy it cracks me up everytime.
  • For me Shahid & Kareena had more chemistry in this film then the criticsgive them credit for. In fact you can ask anyone i was a die hard Kareena hater up until this film. I saw 36 China Town, Omkara & Yuva all within a couple of weeks which changed my mind forever. I thoroughly enjoyed her in this movie and i think its a good kareena converter movie.
  • The cigarette gag in the movie. Soon before this film was made the Indian Censors Tribunal created a law saying that people could no longer be seen smoking in the movies. In order to get around this problem for their Noir Styled Cop Character, Akshaye Khanna, there is hilarious cigarette gags. Finding different ways each time for the cop not being able to light his cigarette.
  • Most of the time the movie’s comedy does not rely on physical comedy, which is so common in alot of Indian comedies.

Bad Points

  • Despite all the good points I have outlined, don’t expect big. The trick to this film is to have low expectations and be suprised when your so entertained by the film. For many people this film might not be enjoyable/work for them.
  • Think of it as a timepass
  • Weak suspense aspects for people expecting a good suspense thriller. Cliched at times and predictable.
  • Some might find it disconcerting how light they treated the death of the mother (Sonia) for the little boy.
  • Upen Patel, although easy on the eyes, in my opinion is a terrible actor.
  • PARESH RAWAL IN A GREEN SPEEDO!

Overall Score 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – It’s Great Entertainment but limited to timepass!

October 20, 2007 at 12:06 pm 3 comments


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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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