Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 1 Sep 2011
  Sallu Bhai brings in the festive season with his garam masala performance in ‘Bodyguard’
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this
 

Salman Khan kicks, punches, and romances his way into the audience’s heart with his latest masala holiday blockbuster, "Bodyguard”!

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Bodyguard
 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Siddique  Producer: Atul Agnihotri, Alvira Agnihotri, Reliance Entertainment
 Music: Himesh Reshammiya, Pritam (Guest)  Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed and Neelesh Misra
 Starring: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Mahesh Manjrekar, Raj Babbar, Hazel Keech, Aditya Pancholi, Rajat Rawail
 Genre: Action, Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
To say that Salman Khan movies are an event unto themselves is an understatement. In this day and age where the superstar image is fast fading (with no one from the younger generation ready to take on that tag just yet), Salman has the charisma and chutzpah to bring in the crowds no matter what. Whether the film is good or bad, when Salman plays the masala character that he’s developed so well over previous films like “Dabangg”, “Ready” and “Wanted”, viewers swoon.

“Bodyguard” isn’t Shakespeare, and doesn’t pretend to be a high-class artsy schmartsy NRI geared desi film in disquise. Nah, it’s pure Bollywood masala magic, with a snappy screenplay and dialogue by Kiran Kotrial that brings forth the magic between the leads (Salman and Kareena). The two actors share a lot of chemistry, which is surprising considering their previous outings like "Main Aur Mrs. Khanna" suffered from a distinct lack of it. The direction by Siddique is spot on, as he knows this film inside and out having directed three previous versions of it. He’s also directed some interesting films like the amazing “Godfather” that are worth checking out. The cinematography by Sejal Shah is top notch and eye catching. The music by Pritam and long lost Gujarati bhai Himesh Reshammiya is average, though catchy in a mundane way. The CGI director Viral Thakkar has produced some eye-catching moments in the climax that will leave viewers breathless. The story is about…a bodyguard (surprise), who falls in love with the body, I mean, girl that he is guarding. To say anymore about the story would spoil the film. Just one thing that should be noted, the first half is so-so, but the second more than makes up for it. Watch the film, throw some money at the screen, and shout, “Sallu Bhai, zindabad!”


 Double Dhamaal
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Indra Kumar  Producer: Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria
 Music: Anand Raj Anand  Lyrics: Anand Raj Anand, Mayur Puri
 Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh, Mallika Sherawat, Kangna Ranaut, Ashish Chowdhry, Javed Jafferi, Satish Kaushik and others
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
“Mujhe Neend Na Aaye, Neend Na Aaye, Neend Na Aaye……”

“Mujhe Chain Na Aaye, Chain Na Aaye, Chain Na Aaye…….”

“Na Jaane Kahan Indra Kumar Kho Gaya…”

“Na Jaane Kahan Indra Kumar Kho Gaya…”

Ok, that’s a pretty corny take on the song, “Mujhe Need Na Aaye” from director Indra Kumar’s superhit first film “Dil” (starring Aamir Khan and Madhur Dixit). Indra Kumar started out with semi-serious dramedies as he moved from “Dil” to “Beta” to “Raja” to “Mann” and further along, until something snapped and uncovered his comedic flair. Ok, so “Masti” was so so, and “Pyare Mohan” imminently forgettable, but after that came a small little film called, “Dhamaal” and Indra Kumar went from border line passé to comedic relevancy. “Dhamaal” wasn’t a perfect movie by any means. It was funny, but in a crude base way. Yet, the film touched a nerve in the junta and became a hit (paisa vasool yaar). So is it any wonder that Indra Kumar decided to follow up “Dhamaal” with a sequel? Yes, my always laughing friend’s, the crazy crew of “Dhamaal” is back again with “Double Dhamaal”! Does it contain double the pleasure? Double the laughs? Double the excruciatingly corny jokes? In a nutshell, it sure does and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

2011 so far has been ruled by comedies from “Yamla Pagla Deewana” to “Ready”, it seems like comedy is King (or clown) of the box office. Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffrey, Reitesh Deshmukh, Aashish Chaudhary and Sanjay Dutt are back to drive themselves and us crazy. They are joined by Mallika Sherawat (who has slithered back to Bollywood), and Kangana Ranaut (she of the shrill voice). The cinematography (which is quite good for a comedy film) is by Aseem Bajaj. The film is edited succinctly with nary a dragging moment by Sanjay Sankla. Also the screenplay by Tushar Hiranandani is deftly coherent.

So, what’s the story? The boys are at it again! Riteish, Javed and Arshad find their old friend Sanjay Dutt (who played a corrupt cop in the first film) is now super rich (but still corrupt)and they want what he’s got (plus to strip him of any diginity). To say more would be to give away the element of surprise that should be experienced while watching the movie. The music by Anand Raj Anand (who appears after a seemingly long time), is by the books and fairly unremarkable. It’s the story that is the star here. The actors all do decent jobs, but won’t be winning any Filmfare awards, and it’s always nice to see that goofy grin on all of their faces as they seemed to have fun while filming this. All in all, you’ll squirm, you’ll frown, you’ll shout, you’ll scream, but most of all you’ll laugh while watching “Double Dhamaal”. That’s mission accomplished for Indra Kumar!


 Ready
 PB Rating: 2.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Anees Bazmee  Producer: Sohail Khan, Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar, Rajat Rawail, Nitin Manmohan
 Music: Pritam, Devi Sri Prasad  Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Ashish Pandit, Neelesh Misra and Kumaar
 Starring: Salman Khan, Asin Thottumkal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Manoj Joshi
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Ok, stop right here if you are looking for a Bollywood film that’s sleek, stylish and oh so cool in that ultra fab modern way that fans clamor for. “Ready” isn’t for one demographic, but rather is a throwback to the films that were popular in the late 80’s to 90’s. You know, the family drama with comedy and script that is totally senseless. Oh yeah, and some really foot tapping numbers to get your blood rushing and helping to beat you into a frenzy that makes you forget how nonsensical the screenplay is.

So are you ready or not, ‘cause here’s my review of “Ready”. In a nutshell, it’s the kind of film that is best viewed with lots of alcoholic beverages consumed by a rowdy crowd of people! Ahem, not that I indulged myself you know. Come on yaar, seriously!

Salman Khan’s trademark panache and attitude are what carries the film forward. Sohail Khan produces the film, but fails to achieve the same “quality” as his brother Arbaaz did with “Dabangg”. Sure, this is a pure masala film, but “Dabangg” was quality masala. “Ready” on the other hand, is slightly less spicy. Anees Bazmee is the madman responsible for the film, which is a remake of an older Telegu film. Music director Pritam hits the musical bulls eye with the incredibly catchy “Dhinka Chika” (which will have you sticking your hands in your pants and copying Salman’s signature dance move) and “Character Dheela”. What else do you need to know? It’s funny in parts, and painful in others. The movie will give you that feeling that you’ve seen a typical Bollywood masala entertainer and sometimes that’s all you need to be entertained. Don’t listen to the critics, watch this film and if you’ve seen it already, break out the beers and say cheers while Salman dances in the background!


 West is West
If you haven’t seen “East is East” (released in 1999), then you need to go and see it right away. Based on a play by Ayub Khan that first film in this series brilliantly introduces us to the Khan family (whose patriarch is played by the gruff Om Puri) in Manchester England circa 1976. That film showcased cultural clashes during the 70’s and the difficulties a “traditional” Pakistani father has in bringing up his children whom he has had with his second wife (who happens to be a native British woman played by Linda Bassett). It’s hard to measure up to an earlier film that was so good, but the sequel, “West is West” truly is a great film on it’s own. Ayub Khan has returned to pen this coming of age tale that focuses on the last and youngest child (brilliantly acted by Aqib Khan) left at home to be driven crazy by dear old dad. He is angry and culturally more British than Pakistani (at least in his heart). The poor chap is bullied at school for being too Pakistani, and bullied at home for not being enough of a Pakistani. After a particularly disheartening bout with shoplifting, dear old dad decides to whisk his son back to Punjab for some cultural lessons. What follows is a heartwarming and funny fish out of cultural water story with an unpredictable plotline. Warmly directed by Andy de Emmony, the film takes the viewer on an emotional roller coaster ride, with moments of pure comedy that organically rise from the situations in the film. “West is West” is pure film magic, that will make you appreciate quality cinema. Om Puri is perfect and takes cranky nirvana to another level while Aqib Khan as the son, steals every scene he is in. It’s a shame that the film was mostly overlooked, as it’s better than a lot of the recent pop culture Bollywood releases this year. It’s worth a watch, or two, or three…..

 Game
 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Abhinay Deo  Producer: Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
 Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy  Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
 Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Kangna Ranaut, Shergill, Sarah Jane, Gauhar Khan, Boman Irani & Anupam Kher
 Genre: Action  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Usually one can expect a top-notch cinematic experience from producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani (Excel Entertainment). They usually excel (pun intended) with slick and oh so modern stories that entertain from beginning to end. Well, their latest, “Game” certainly is slick and modern. Unfortunately it’s also quite a hollow film going experiencing. It’s as if director Abhinay Deol couldn’t quite gloss over the fact that the screenplay by Althea Delmas Kaushal, is full of holes. Even the dialogues by Farhan Akhtar seem…off, for lack of a better word. No amount of high production values (or foreign locales like Thailand), or catchy music (which I will get to in a moment) can cover up a weak screenplay (something I have mentioned over and over in this column).

I kept hoping the movie would pick up and blow me away, but alas that “blown away” moment is never truly realized. The cast does a decent enough job, led by Abhishek Bachchan (who scowls like no other), Boman Irani, Anupam Kher (who is completely wasted), Mohan Kapur, and Shahana Goswami (a great actress who is totally being ignored by Bollywood). The music by maestros Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is totally uninspired and a big let down coming from their other releases this year that include the immensely enjoyable “Patiala House”. The songs are highly derivative from James Bond type melodies to old sixties cabaret rip offs.

All in all “Game” is a film that is enjoyable for those not expecting much but some fun time pass moments. It’s forgotten the minute you walk out of the theater. I can’t give it a Thums Down since it’s worth a single watch, but it’s certainly a limp…Thums Up.


Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 F.A.L.T.U
 Director: Remo D’Souza  Producer: Vashu Bhagnani
 Music: Sachin-Jigar  Lyrics: Sameer
 Starring: Jackky Bhagnani, Pooja Gupta, Riteish Deshmukh, Angad Bedi, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Arshad Warsi
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
In the film “Accepted”, rogue students form their own university that focuses on having fun, and fooling the parents. The university turns into an actual educational experience for the miscreant students who form the student body. Blah, blah, blah…. and they lived happily ever after.

Wait a sec! Coincidentally, “F.A.LT.U” with a screenplay by Mayur Puri and Tusshar Hiranandani has almost exactly the same plot as “Accepted”! Now, how did that happen, I wonder?!? Ahhhh, you have to love Bollywood and such “inspired” film-making.

Okay, forget the fact that the film is a total rip off of a B-grade Hollywood film. If you can have that filmi amnesia for a moment and take this movie at face value than it’s not a bad film, but it certainly is far from good or great. First time choreographer turned director Remo D’Souza shows promise in his direction, but he is totally let down by the incredibly bad screenplay. It’s got holes so big in it that you can drive rikshaws through them. The characters are half-baked. Jackky Bhagnani inexplicably returns to the silver screen to deliver an okay performance (though he lacks in screen charisma). Arshad Wari and Ritesh Deshmukh look like they are sleep walking through the film. The jokes deliver semi smirks, and I guess the semi smirks kept me awake and watching the whole film till the end. The best part of the film is the hot music by Sachin-Jigar. The songs break up the monotony just enough to carry the film forward. Worth a single watch, “F.A.LT.U” is a faltu comedy at best yaar!


 Bheja Fry 2
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 403 unique users): 5.13
 Director: Sagar Ballary  Producer: Mukul Deora
 Music: Ishq Bector, Sneha Khanwalkar, Sagar Desai  Lyrics: Shree D, Sonny Ravan, Shakeel Azmi
 Starring: Vinay Pathak, Kay Kay Menon, Minissha Lamba, Suresh Menon, Amole Gupte
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
I love Vinay Pathak (in a buddy kind of way…high five dude), I really do. He’s a great actor and a true comedic talent. His work in “Bheja Fry” was truly sublime as his portrayal of wannabe singer Bharat Bhushan (the loveable buffoon) literally wormed its way into your mind. His scenes with Rajat Kapoor (who excelled as the cheating louse with the painful backache….Ranjeet Thadani) were an immersive experience to watch. The core of that superlative film were these two characters and the chemistry that they shared.

Unfortunately, in an effort to make the sequel bigger and better (supersized), Writer/Director Sagar Ballary (who also wrote/directed the first film), drops Rajat Kapoor and loses half the chemistry that made the first film what it was….a cult classic.

Instead in his place, we get a story that tries to tie into the current singing competition zeitgeist as Bhushan wins a singing competition and promptly heads off onto a 3-Day cruise. This time around Kay Kay Menon (as Ajit Talwar) is the lucky (?) soul who gets some one on one time with Bhushan. Oh, along the way we have Amole Gupta, Minissha Lamba, and Suresh Menon woven throughout the plot. Yet, the whole thing lacks charm. It’s just not….funny. Oh, you want to laugh so bad, you want to welcome back brother Bhushan with a pat on the back and a smile on your face, but this time around Bhushan is let down by the one weakness that seems to infect many Bollywood films….a weak script. I imagine that it must be difficult to write a follow up to such a quirky movie as the first “Bheja Fry”, but perhaps Sagar Ballary would have been better off keeping Rajat Kapoor’s character and setting the storyline in Mumbai…all the while keeping the story at street level. Beautiful scenery does not a movie make, and just because the film is a sequel, doesn’t always mean it has to be bigger. It just means it has to be better. Watch the film for a few chuckles, and then watch the first one to truly be entertained.


 Tanu Weds Manu
 PB Rating: 7.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Anand Rai  Producer: Sanjay Singh Films
 Music: Krsna  Lyrics: Raj Shekhar
 Starring: R Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhasker, Ejaaz Khan, Navni Parihar, K K Raina, Rajendra Gupta and Ravi Kishan
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
I love Vinay Pathak (in a buddy kind of way…high five dude), I really do. He’s a great actor and a true comedic talent. His work in “Bheja Fry” was truly sublime as his portrayal of wannabe singer Bharat Bhushan (the loveable buffoon) literally wormed its way into your mind. His scenes with Rajat Kapoor (who excelled as the cheating louse with the painful backache….Ranjeet Thadani) were an immersive experience to watch. The core of that superlative film were these two characters and the chemistry that they shared.

Unfortunately, in an effort to make the sequel bigger and better (supersized), Writer/Director Sagar Ballary (who also wrote the first film), drops Rajat Kapoor and loses half the chemistry that made the first film what it was….a cult classic.

Instead in his place, we get a story that tries to tie into the current singing competition zeitgeist as Bhushan wins a singing competition and promptly heads off onto a 3-Day cruise. This time around Kay Kay Menon (as Ajit Talwar) is the lucky (?) soul who gets some one on one time with Bhushan. Oh, along the way we have Amole Gupta, Minissha Lamba, and Suresh Menon woven throughout the plot. Yet, the whole thing lacks charm. It’s just not….funny. Oh, you want to laugh so bad, you want to welcome back brother Bhushan with a pat on the back and a smile on your face, but this time around Bhushan is let down by the one weakness that seems to infect many Bollywood films….a weak script. I imagine that it must be difficult to write a follow up to such a quirky movie as the first “Bheja Fry”, but perhaps Sagar Ballary would have been better off keeping Rajat Kapoor’s character and setting the storyline in Mumbai…all the while keeping the story at street level. Beautiful scenery does not a movie make, and just because the film is a sequel, doesn’t always mean it has to be bigger. It just means it has to be better. Watch the film for a few chuckles, and then watch the first one to truly be entertained.


 Tees Maar Khan
 PB Rating: 2.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Farah Khan  Producer: Shirish Kunder, Ronnie Screwvala, Twinkle Khanna
 Music: Vishal-Shekhar, Shirish Kunder  Lyrics: Shirish Kunder, Vishal Dadlani, Anvita Dutt Guptan
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, Katrina Kaif, Raghu Ram, Rajiv Laxman and Arya Babbar
 Genre:  Recommended Audience:
Somewhere while taking a bubble bath in his golden tub, Shah Rukh Khan is laughing his SRK off at the train wreck that is “Tees Maar Khan”. Farah Khan is talented, there is no doubt about that, but “Tees Maar Khan” is a perfect example of an artist whose ego told her that she could do no wrong. The film is lavish to a fault, but hollow, with a story by Farah’s husband Shirish Kunder, that just doesn’t take off. What starts off as a promisingly entertaining story falls flat on its face by the second half of the film. Akshay Kumar hams it up in every scene as the criminal who has been a thief since he was born and Katrina Kaif has nothing really to do but look “jawanilicious”. Vishal-Shekhar’s score has the mega but forgettable hit, “Sheila Ki Jawani”, but for the most part is a big let down considering how brilliant their music for “Om Shanti Om” was. All in all, “Tees Maar Khan” buckles under its own “look at me gosh darn it, I am funny” weight. You will watch this that’s a guarantee, but will you enjoy it? Back to the drawing board Farah, perhaps it’s best to stick with the chemistry you shared with Shah Rukh Khan. Still, regardless of what I write, the movie has and will make a bucket load of money. I just hope there’s no “Tees Maar Khan 2

 Action Replayy
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Vipul Shah  Producer: Blockbuster Entertainment, Hari Om Entertainment, PVR Pictures
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapoor
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Ok so, wasn’t this just an awesome movie. I mean, Michael J. Fox was great as the time traveling kid who has to save his parent’s relationship in the past. Oh, and Christopher Lloyd is a blast as the crazy (yet unbearably funny) scientist who creates the time machine. So awesome yaar! It feels like 1985 again! Woo hoo! What’s that? We’re not talking about “Back to the Future”? Why, when I saw “Action Replayy” it felt like I was reliving that Hollywood blockbuster. The stories are almost identical, though the Bolly-Regurgomatic machine has regurgitated “Back to the Future” into “Action Replayy”. In this Hindi version, we have nerdy Akshay Kumar whose son (played by Aditya Roy Kapur whose hair is almost a living creature) travels into the past to get his parents together and change his dad for the better. Boman Irani plays the mad scientist whose glassy glossy U.F.O. type time machine is the best part of the movie. The special effects for the time machine are outstanding. Yet Vipul Shah’s latest is a huge let down considering his past efforts with Akshay have been really good (“Waqt”, “Namastey London”). The one original (if you can call it that) part of the film is that instead of the fifties ala “Back to the Future”, the son goes back to the seventies in hypnotic Technicolor. Akshay is fairly ok in the film, Aditya Roy Kapur give it his all, but his magically changing hair is a distraction, Aishwarya Rai could do this kind of role in her sleep, Neha Dhupia is relegated to the background, Om Puri is simply shouting all the time, and Kirron Kher is just about there. The music by Pritam is a letdown except for the track, “Zor Ka Jhatka” which is insanely catchy. Watch this if you like to torture yourself for a couple of hours.

Previous Weeks Thums Up - Thums Down »
 • `Why "Krrish" 3 wasn`t so super!`
 • BWAHAHAHA….`Grand Masti`!
 • ‘Besharam’ is no ‘Dabangg’!
 • `Shuddh Desi Romance` Sheds New Light on Love!
 • Ranbir and Deepika ‘s chemistry burns up the screen in ‘Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewane’
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