Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 9 Apr 2012
  ‘Housefull 2” is missing part of its FUNNY bone!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Throwback comedy in a film that entertains sporadically enough to watch at least once, “Housefull 2” is derivative and uninspired, but funny in a nonsensical way. Worth a watch today, to be forgotten tomorrow.

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Housefull 2
 PB Rating: 6.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Sajid Khan  Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
 Music: Sajid-Wajid  Lyrics: Sameer
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, Asin, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ritesh Deshmukh, Zarine Khan Shreyas Talpade, Shazahn Padamsee
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Boy, Farah Khan’s brother Sajid Khan is quite a polarizing figure isn’t he? The director is more well known for his skewering (and on the spot) commentary as host of almost every award show in the UNIVERSE (add echo effect here), yet his work as a director contains perhaps only 25% of the wit he has shown as a host. Why is that? Yes, I get the fact that he wishes to make entertaining films for the whimsical and more tolerant (of mediocre films) masses, and doesn’t quite care for the nose in the sky “elite” filmgoers who prefer comedies like” Munnabhai” (both films) and “3 Idiots”. Yes, I get that he blatantly makes his films as middle of the road as possible. It’s almost certain that his films will have nice locales, a multitude of pop culture stars, sexy women showing off their curves, silly minor characters that pratfall into silly comedic routines, foot tapping music, all wrapped in a nice silk red bow. So, based on all of this, let’s look at “Housefull 2” as what it really is. It’s not an attempt to make a better film than the original, but more of a “to be continued” continuation of the first film in thinking only. So, you’re probably wondering what all this gibberish and gobbledygook talk actually means? Well, it’s that if you think “Housefull 2” is going to be the absolute best comedy you have ever seen in your life, well…hate to break this to you, but that’s not going to happen. If you want to have some mindless fun (preferably after throwing back a half dozen shots), then this film is for you yaar!

So, let’s get to it, “Housefull 2” is a film that is half “housefull “ and half “houseempty”. First let’s analyze the housefull part. The movie itself is more fun than it has a right to be given the considerably weak screenplay/story/plot. The fun resides in the charisma of watching the cast interact. By that, I mean the male cast, as the female cast is basically window dressing (aside from Asin, who makes a commendable effort). Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Ritesh Deshmukh , and Shreyas Talpade are all fun to watch. They are utter goofballs, and their chemistry works. The older cast that includes Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Boman Irani (who is not that old), are also fun to watch…sharing a goofy but endearing chemistry. The first half of the film has the trademark “housefull" humor. The direction by Sajid Khan is his usual, he’s got that certain style that fits in with the kinds of films he makes. Let’s face it, it’s probably easier directing action that trying to direct a spontaneously comedic scene and Mr. Khan knows what he is doing in that regard. Note Mr. Khan, next time try an action film, something different to keep your creative juices flowing. Yeah, right. I know that’s not going to happen, instead we will probably get “Heyyyyyyy Babbbbbbieeeeeeeeee 2 ½”.

Now, the “houseempty” half: The female cast is disappointingly hard to watch (other than Asin, who is the only saving grace). Jacqueline Fernandez, Shazahn Padamsee, Zarine Khan do not emote. If you take away the, “I’m leering at you as a male audience member in a creepy manner” effect their “beauty” has in the film, there is a palpable void in terms of their acting. The music by Sajid-Wajid is thoroughly disappointing. Yeah, yeah yaar, I know…others will say that it fits the scenes. I won’t. The music is atrociously bland. This is especially disappointing considering that Sajid Khan’s previous films had really fun music. To be honest, I can’t even remember a single tune…it’s all one big generic mess. The screenplay by Sajid Khan, Tushar Hiranandani, and Farhad Sajid has the potential for a wittiness that is never fully realized. The cinematography by Manoj Soni is fairly nondescript. Finally, the second half barely turns the film into a cohesive whole.

So, to summarize, “Housefull2” is a fun if flawed film, about four men marrying four girls, whose four fathers will clash with everyone to generate comedic scenes of laughing power. Or something like that. It’s worth a single watch, just to see the spectacle of it all and you will find yourself chuckling against your will. In the end, I can’t give the film a Thums down, as it fulfills its mediocre challenge, which is to be as general of a comedic film as possible. Fluffy and fun like a cloud that floats away at the slightest breeze, “Housefull 2” will keep you entertained and smiling for the most part. Just don’t expect it to rock your world yaar!

 Agent Vinod
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Sriram Raghavan  Producer: Saif Ali Khan, Dinesh Vijan
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nilesh Mishra
 Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Ravi Kissen, Ram Kapoor, Anee Lee Roberts, Malika Haydon
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: General
Blah, blah, blah…India’s James Bond…blah…blah..blah…India’s Jason Bourne…blah…blah…blah….India’s the Saint...Look, let’s drop all the comparisons from the onset of this review shall we? Let’s go into this with a clean slate. Saif Ali Khan has worked hard to make “Agent Vinod” a big testosterone fueled action movie, and for the most part has succeeded splendidly. He is extremely likable as the title character, Vinod in a film that is expertly directed by Sriram Raghavan ("Ek Hasina Thi"). It’s the kind of film that guys can latch onto and cheer all the way through. The script by the director and Arijit Biswas is a bit convoluted at times, and the only drawback of the film is that the editing (by Pooja Ladha Surti) could have been a bit tighter so that the high octane momentum was retained all throughout the film. With indirect ties to the old 1977 film with the same name character, we are led to believe that Saif is simply the latest top agent to be called, Vinod. This Vinod is a super spy who can dodge bullets, make witty comments, and sweep women off their delicately high heeled balanced feet. Saif is simply too good yaar! He is a man’s man in this film as an agent on the trail of a weapon of mass destruction all over the world. While he goes on his “travels” around the world, he meets interesting characters like Mafiosi Khan (a non cheesy Prem Chopra) and Vinod’s unfulfilled love interest Dr Ruby (played by real live love, Kareena Kapoor). The cinematography by Muraleedharan C.K is sexy. The music by Pritam is well placed and hot. The action by Peter Heins is dishum style in a great way. You have to see this film, and by the end of it, you’ll need to apply another roll of scented deodorant, because you will SWEAT! Vinod…out.

 Don 2
 PB Rating: 6.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Farhan Akhtar  Producer: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Shahrukh Khan
 Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy  Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
 Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Boman Irani, Om Puri
 Genre: Action  Recommended Audience: General
Watch as tendrils of smoke escape the flaring of my nostrils to slowly envelope my face in wicked coolness. See the way my hair is gelled up oh so right so that it spikes up and can be used as a lethal weapon. Hear the way I give my dialogue in that staccato rhythm that SRK is kn-kn-known for. Who am I? Main hoon DON! Ok, so I’ve always wanted to say that, but in reality I am just your friendly neighborhood TUTD critic who absolutely enjoyed watching the glorious shallowness of Farhan Akhtar’s “Don 2” unravel reel by fun reel. “Don 2” is like a James Bond movie on acid, and I mean that as a compliment. I’ve watched many a reviewer and fan strike the film down in the weeks since its release, and I have to disagree with all the negative naysayers. From the opening James Bond like sequence in Asia, to expansive regions of Europe, ‘Don 2’ absolutely does what its creators set out to do, and that is to create a film that rivals any of the best popcorn films of Hollywood.

Free from the confines of the original films storyline and plot, this sequel takes the character one step further in a logical direction, that of the anti-hero you love to hate. Don is still out for himself, but there’s also a bit more depth to the character. So, what’s the story about? All you need to know is that Don (SRK) wants to take out the leaders of the Asian drug cartel, and steal not just money, but the plates that can be used to make money. Along the way, there are superbly choreographed fights, car chases and lots of explosions.

If you are looking for deeper meanings, loving relationships, and Bollywood style drama, then you need to look elsewhere, for this film doesn’t have that. What it does have is a strong screenplay (by Farhan Akhtar, Ameet Mehta, and Amrish Shah) that linearly progresses the story logically from the first film and builds upon the mythology of the narrative in a natural way. One of the weaknesses of the film is that the editing by Ritesh Soni and Anand Subaya could have been tightened up for the first half of the film. Also, the music by Shanker, Ehsaan and Loy is probably one of their most forgettable soundtracks, showing a big creative decline in the otherwise talented trio. I understand there’s really no scope for the music, but the tracks that were composed, could have been of higher quality. Simply put, “Don 2”’s music is pretty much sidelined. The cinematography by Jason West (“Rock On”) captures each locale and set perfectly. A special note regarding Farhan Akhtar’s direction, he’s shown that he has not lost his knack for directing. I for one would much rather see more directorial efforts from him in the near future.

What about the actors? This is SRK’s film all the way, and he makes the most of the annoying but charming larger than life persona that he has cultivated all these years in Bollywood. He is the star of the show…period. The fight choreographer (Matthias Barsch) gives SRK some crazy moves, and SRK carries all of them out with grace. Shah Rukh also delivers each and every line with aplomb. Priyanka Chopra’s character of Roma is greatly underwritten, but fulfills an important role towards the final reels of the film. Boman Irani is back as Vardhaan and almost steals the show. Om Puri is disappointing, but that’s due to his barely there role. Kunal Kapoor plays a pivotal role. Nawab Shah does really well as the muscle man Abdul Jabbar. Yet, there is no doubt that Farhan Akhtar has wrapped the film around his leading man…SRK.

Are you looking for Bollywood romance? Shakespearean acting? Reality? Then “Don 2” is not for you. If you are looking for story twists ‘n’ turns, excellently choreographed fight/car chase scenes, and a plot twist that truly hits you like a brick, then this film is the perfect entertainer. ‘Nuff said.

 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Imtiaz Ali  Producer: Dhillin Mehta
 Music: A.R. Rahman  Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
 Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Shammi Kapoor
 Genre: Musical  Recommended Audience: General
Saaaaaaaadda Haaaaaaaq! Start the wind machines, catch my weeks old stubble in the right light, wherein the dark circles under my eyes give me that menacing disturbed look that can inspire a new generation. Saaaaaaaadda Haaaaaaaq! Look at the way my long uneven hair flies in the face of revolution against the establishment. Marvel at the way my clothes are the very definition of the word….. “ROCKSTAR”. Finally, watch the pain filled expression within my eyes that betray the agony of a lost love that can never be reconciled! Saaaaaaaadda Haaaaaaaq! Who am I? I am Ranbir, I am Imtiaz, I am Rahman. I am me. I am you. I am the voice of unreason. I am a….ROCKSTAR!

Ok, does that set the mood for you? Not yet? Well grab your air guitar and sing along with me that, “Rockstar is a flawed yet entertaining film that delves into some more psychological depth than we are used to from the standard Imtiaz Ali film”. That about sums up this film that has patches of brilliance, followed by a infuriating unevenness to the plot, but pulled along by the brilliant performance by Ranbir Kapoor, pulled down by the vacuous performance of Nargis Fakhri, pulled up by the amazing music by A.R. Rahman, pulled down by the uneven story beats by Imtiaz Ali, and pulled up again by the innovative framing of shots by the director…Imtiaz Ali.

The story itself focuses on Ranbir’s character going through a self-realization that in order to truly ascend to rockstar Godhood, one needs to go through the tragedy of a broken heart. Thus begins his descent into rocking madness. That’s all you really need to know, the rest as they say follows the rise and fall of many a rock star (Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison to name two). All in all, you’ll feel equal parts exhilarated and infuriated while watching this move, yet still, like all our favorite rock stars in real life, this rock star in reel life… mystifyingly captivating.

 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 Bell 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.

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!

 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 412 unique users): 5.09
 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

 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.

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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