Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 19 Dec 2011
  Make some noise for the ‘Desi Boyz’ all while being naughty with the ‘Dirty Picture’, and screaming at the sheer tedium of “Loot”!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

From the male gigolos of `Desi Boyz`, to the jiggling antics of `The Dirty Picture`, to the dying laughter of `Loot`, this week`s TUTD will leave you laughing, ogling, and scratching your head in mind boggling numbness!

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Desi Boyz
 PB Rating: 5.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Rohit Dhawan  Producer: Krishika Lulla, Vijay Ahuja, Jyoti Deshpande
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Kumaar, Irshad Kamil, Amitabh Bhattacharya
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Chitrangda Singh
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Though “Desi Boyz” is no “Garam Masala”, the movie leaves a warm-hearted fuzzy gigolerrific feeling inside once it’s over! Yes, the story falters at times and doesn’t make sense. Yes, narrative flow is uneven. Yes, the climax makes absolutely no sense whatsoever other than attempting to set up a sequel. Yet, the chemistry between John Abraham and Akshay Kumar is absolutely insanely entertaining.

Rohit Dhawan (son of comedic director David Dhawan) makes his debut as director and writer of this film, which focuses on the antics of two desi boyz who are hit hard by the recession. Well, one of them is at least. You see, Nick (John Abraham) loses his job as an investment banker, and Jerry “Jiggu” (Akshay Kumar) doesn’t really lose anything as he’s lost his job for reasons other than the recession. The two guys are desparate for cash, Nick to wed Radhs (Deepika Padukone) and Jerry to hold onto his orphan nephews custody rights. So, what do you do when you have nothing to lose? Why you madcap zany guys, you become male who…er…gigolos. Enter Sanjay Dutt as the don badshah of male prostitutes and get ready for the..ahem…ride of your life, so to speak.

Look, those looking for a perfect film that is expertly written with equal doses of plausibility, melodrama, and comedy better move on. You’ll be better off rewatching, “3 Idiots” or something like that. For those that simply want to be entertained for a couple of hours and laugh in just the right amounts, “Desi Boyz” delivers. The direction by Rohit Dhawan, shows that he’s learned well from his dad, though his writing needs some work. The second half of the film tries too hard to wrap everything up in a neat little bow, which requires some suspension of belief. Deepika Padukone is great in the few scenes she has. Chitrangda Singh looks just naughty (and that`s a compliment) and it’s nice to see Anupam Kher’s goofy side again. The best part, by far in the second half is the rip-roaring appearance by Omi Vaidya whose nerdy lawyer is the perfect foil for both Akshay and John. He literally steals the show. Music by Pritam is just as catchy as the soundtrack he provided for “Garam Masala”. Props to Pritam for roping in Sonu Nigam for the excellent, “Allah Maaf Kare” and Shaan for “Let it Be”. Those are two playback singers who are criminally neglected in recent years. Sandeep Shirodkar scores the catchy background score. The cinematography by Nataraja Subramanian is slick. The choreography by Caesar Gonsolves, Farah Khan, and Bosco Martis keeps the guys looking cool without being cheeeeeeezy. All in all, “Desi Boyz” is an above average debut for Rohit Dhawan, and a nice showcase for the chemistry between the always-funny Akshay Kumar and the getting better with each film, John Abraham. Make some noise for the desi boyz indeed!

 The Dirty Picture
 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Milan Luthria  Producer: Shobha Kapoor Ekta Kapoor
 Music: Vishal Shekhar  Lyrics: Rajat Aroraa
 Starring: Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Saksham Malhotra, Tusshar Kapoor
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Adult
Yikes, I feel so…dirty after watching this film, and in a good way. The movie harkens back to a more simple time, before women had abs of steel, and were slightly more curvaceous than the exercise driven women of modern times. These women fueled the adolescent’s ahem “dirty” dreams for those growing up during that era. It’s a tale inspired by Silk Smitha (aka South Indian actress Vijayalaxmi), who along with peers like Nylon Nandini, Polyester Padmini, Disco Shanti, and Flare Bottomed Parveen (ok, so I made that last one up), sublimely fought for equal rights for women, all while being exploited by the male dominated film industry in India. If you were looking for a sequel to “Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii”, this aint it, instead director Milan Luthria goes for another period piece with a different sort of semi-biographical tale. Upon first glance it seems like another offbeat film of the kind that producers Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor are known for (“Love Sex Aur Dhoka” for example), but the film is surprisingly good due to the direction, music, strong screenplay/narrative, and excellent performances by the lead actors.

Writer Rajat Auroraa’s excellent screenplay gives Vidya Balan in the title role a brilliant sand box to play in. Vidya soars in a performance full of bravado and pain. The actress remains faithful to the look of the original actress on whose life this film is based. That means being brave enough to recreate the kind of full-bodied look that these actresses of the 80’s were known for. Naseeruddin Shah is wonderful as always as the aging actor who refuses to let go. Tusshar Kapoor proves that he can portray much more than the comedic buffoons he is known for. Emraan Hashmi is in full quirk mode and shines bright as the wild director who is a rebel without a cause. Vishal Shekhar’s Bappi Lahiri revival “Ooo La La” celebrates the inherent cheese factor in the songs from that era, and I dare it not to creep into your bran and enslave you with it’s nostalgic sounding melody. The cinematography by Bobby Singh keeps the viewer immersed in the 80s. All in all, the film is one of the best of 2011, and is not to be missed. It’s daring where it needs to be, and Vidya Balan proves once again that she is not merely eye candy, but a female actor on par with any other male contemporary in Bollywood today.

 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 410 unique users): 5.11
 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.

 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 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!”

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
Loot Gaye! Loot Gaye! Loot Gaye! Hum sub loot gaye! At least that’s what I felt after watching Govinda’s latest comedy (and I use the term mildly) caper. “Loot” is a poorly directed film by Rajnish Thakur (director of the forgotten “Amar Joshi Shahid Ho Gaya” and writer of films like “Darna Marna Hai”, “Road” and “Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega”). The story is another Bollywood masala film whose lynchpin is a big huge samosa sized misunderstanding! You see, Govinda, Sunil Shetty, Javed Jaffrey, and Mahakshay Chakraborty rob the wrong place! Bwa hahahahaha! Can you believe it!?!?! Now, they’ve got this don played by the ever so creepy evil doer director turned actor Mahesh Manjrekar after them. Oh, and don’t miss poor Mika Singh’s debut as an actor. As for the gals, well, you’ve got Kim Sharma and Shweta Bhardwaj…’nuff said. The cinematography by T. Surendra Reddy is a highlight of the film. All in all, only watch this film if you are in the mood for a bad 80s comedy caper. If you want to revisit the 80s, you’re better off watching “The Dirty Picture” instead. Forget this, I am outta here!

 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.

 Director: Remo DSouza  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 411 unique users): 5.1
 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.

 Tees Maar Khan
 PB Rating: 2.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 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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