Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 16 Sep 2011
  ‘Airwaves, Coffee and a Second Chance’ deserves your attention, while ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’ is bland yet entertaining Bollywood fun, and ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ is psychedelic!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this
 

Ankit Ojha’s short film ‘Airwaves, Coffee and a Second Chance’ shows promise for the future of Bollywood, while ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’ is firmly rooted in Bollywood old fashioned love ishtyle, ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ is the kind of film that will disturbingly entertain you and `When Karen met Kiran` will have you howling at the moon in anguish (and not in a good way).

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Airwaves, Coffee and a Second Chance
Every now and then you need a palate cleanser of a film to shake the “been there, done that” feeling that pervades most of the mainstream Bollywood hits. It’s no wonder that most of the time, the true entertainers can be found within small-undiscovered gems that deserve more of the spotlight. Newcomer Ankit Ojha’s short film, “Airwaves, Coffee and a Second Chance” is certainly rough around the edges, but it has what most mainstream films lack…and that is heart. The film wears its heart on its proverbial sleeve. The strength of the film is within its screenplay by Ankit Ojha and Areeba Hanif. Three stories are deftly handled and not a moment is wasted in the short twenty-eight minute running time. In fact there is more character development in the precious few minutes each actor is given, than in most three hour Bollywood films! The storyline focuses on three couples that are each in a unique state of separation. It takes the airwaves to give them a chance (or not) at reconciliation.

The direction by Ankit Ojha uses quite a lot of close up shots and split screens to show progression from one scene to another. It works due to the short length of the film, allowing the director to pack in as much as possible, instead of wasting time cutting away from scene to scene. If there’s one thing that takes away from the film, it’s the lack of continuity in terms of lighting from one scene to another. The cinematography suffers due to that. Also, the soundtrack is at times too loud, and doesn’t fit the scene, as in the first few minutes of the film when the piano solo is way too loud, and the flippant use of synth during the scenes after which do not effectively convey the emotion of the scene. The music that plays during the end credits (by Mahesh Raghavan) is amazing and should have been used within the film.

The cast which includes Arjun Ramanand, Andria D’Souza and Nirmal Singh, Aditi Jajal, and Tia Singh delivers fine performances with Tia Singh as the effervescent RJ standing out with her performance that holds the narrative together. All in all, this is a must see film, that stands tall with any other film out there. Heartfelt, raw, and in your face, Ankit Ojha’s “Airwaves, Coffee and a Second Chance” bodes well for the future of film.

So, how do you catch the film? Unfortunately, you won’t find it at a theater near you…yet, but you can watch it for free (yes free) on YouTube at the following link: The Film . So what are you waiting for? Go, watch it! It’ll be the most entertaining twenty eight minutes of your life that you’ve had in a while.


 Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Ali Abbas Zafar  Producer: Aditya Chopra
 Music: Sohail Sen  Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
 Starring: Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar, John Abraham
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
It looks like 2011 is the year for formulaic but entertaining films! From “Ready” to “Singham” to “Bodyguard”, we have been literally bombarded with films that do not deviate too much from the Bollywood norm, but are entertaining nonetheless. Throw “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” on that list of unobtrusive but entertaining films!

Yes my friends, it’s another love triangle from the king of love triangles, Yash Raj Films. So what’s the story about? Well, see, there’s this guy (Imran Khan) and his brother (Ali Zafar) and this girl (Katrina Kaif) and they are all a bit insane. Basically, Imran Khan’s character is introduced to Katrina Kaif’s character, by Ali Zafar’s character, resulting in a lot of characters! Those who read my TUTD columns, know that I don’t like to map out every little story detail, so you can enjoy the film better, so this is all you’ll get from me.

So let’s run down the plus points of the film. Imran Khan shows his versatility as an actor (when given a chance), coming from the superbly avante garde “Delhi Belly” to a more mainstream film like “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”. Ali Zafar who was immensely likeable in “Tere Bin Laden” shines and threatens to steal the film away from from Imran and Katrina is absolutely rocking. Someone in Bollywood needs to give this man a leading role fast; he’s too good yaar. Katrina Kaif looks pretty, but also delivers the goods. The music by Sohail Sen is fun and catchy, with “Dhunki” being the best of the playlist. Direction by debutante Ali Abbas Zafar is good, though uneven at times. Cinematrography by Sudeep Chatterjee gives the film the gloss we expect from a Yash Raj Film. The screenplay by the director is interesting enough, though suffers from the dreaded, “don’t know what to do next, so let’s add in some filler to fill out the running time” syndrome. So, go ahead, watch another love triangle wish a new look, and enjoy it like the kind of guilty pleasure that only Bollywood can give us.


 That Girl in Yellow Boots
And now…for something different, disturbing, dark, surprising, and shocking! What’s that you ask? There’s a Bollywood film that deals with incest, child abuse, massage parlors, deviant sexual acts and drugs (to name a few of the dark elements in this film)? Thankfully all Bollywood films don’t simply deal with love and shaadi, but rather try to deal with the dark aspects of life around us and “That Girl in Yellow Boots” is one of those films. The movie is directed by the master of darkness himself, Anurag Kashyap (director of the upcoming anticipated “Gangs of Wasseypur” and past films like “Gulaal”, “Dev D”, “No Smoking”, and “Black Friday”). Mr. Kashyap’s wife Kalki Koechlin (“Dev D) co wrote the film with him, and plays the central character. The direction is suitably dark dealing with the adult subject matter. Kalki plays Ruth, an illegal immigrant in India who is searching for her long lost father. While the search goes on, she works at a massage parlor and associates with various twisted characters (including her drug addled boyfriend played by Prashant Prakash and Naseeruddin Shah as one of her customers). This is not a film for the squeamish or anyone who prefers their films sugarcoated with subtle imagery/messages. This is a hard-hitting film that is at time unpleasant to watch as the dark character of the city of Mumbai disturbs the souls of the characters and the viewers watching them. Direction is superb, but it is the acting by Kalki Koechlin that really elevates the film to another level. The cinematography by Rajeev Ravi is the unsung hero of the film as he paints Mumbai in the drab colors of raw human emotion. Watch this preferably with both eyes open, or one eye closed…if you can’t stomach the harsh truth of reality.

 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!


Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 When Kiran Met Karen
Ah yes, what a splendid film starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The orgasmic diner scene is a veritable classic of Hollywood cinema. What’s that you say? That’s not this film? Er…oh yeah, this is something different. You see, this is the story of when Kiran met Karen and how they sort of, kind of fell in love in a tragic lovers kind of way. This very raw film focuses on something that is usually missing or overlooked by mainstream Indian cinema and that is a story involving a lesbian relationship. Yes, it’s a controversial subject in some areas, but it’s commendable that director Manan Katohara was willing to tackle this subject. Unfortunately what could have been an interesting film is strongly let down by the weak screenplay by S. Dwaipayan, Manan Katohara, and Sumita Sheth. The main story beat takes forever to get to point (the point being a Bollywood actress played by Chriselle Almeida is fed up with life, and meets a reporter played by Kelli Holsopple and sparks fly thereafter). The premise is a good one, but the actual visualization of the film, the less than stellar direction (with strange otherworldly visuals), and the at times muddy cinematography by Punit Chhabra just doesn’t gel into a good or watchable film. The lead actors fail to leave a mark or even hold your attention. You know you are in trouble when halfway through the film you wonder if you will be able to get through the whole movie without falling asleep. Watch this at your own risk…and don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

 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 405 unique users): 5.11
 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 401 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

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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