Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 19 Nov 2012
  `Jab Tak Hain Jaan` we will never forget the creative force that was Mr. Yash Chopra
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

I wanted it to be a classic in every sense of the word. The kind of film that took me to another place (Switzerland), with a beautiful woman in a white sari (in the rain) and mystical romance permeating every frame of film. "Jab Tak Hain Jaan" is enjoyable in parts, but the sum of the whole falls short of Mr. Chopra at his classic best.

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Jab Tak Hai Jaan
 PB Rating: 6.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.1
 Director: Yash Chopra  Producer: Aditya Chopra
 Music: A.R. Rahman  Lyrics: Gulzar
 Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
Alas, another legend along the lines of Raj Kapoor, has passed away. Perhaps Mr. Kapoor, and Yash Chopra are kicking back a few pegs of Johnny Walker blue label and watching everyone from heaven with a smile on their faces. It’s ironic that Mr. Chopra announced his retirement from films with “Jab Tak Hain Jaan”, and then unfortunately passed away shortly after that announcement and right before the release of his final film. So, it was with mixed feelings of sadness and trepidation that I went to see this last release from a master filmmaker. Going into the film, it struck me at how mundane sounding the music was, especially considering that Mr. Chopra (and his wife who has a superb ear for music) had joined forces with A.R. Rahman and Gulzar. Music has always been a highlight of every single Yash Chopra movie, yet each track on the soundtrack was good, but not great. Some tracks even flirted with greatness, but just couldn’t get there. So, prior to watching the film, I was hoping this was one of those instances, wherein after seeing the way the music is presented in the film, I would appreciate the music more. So how was the film (and the music presentation) you ask?

Well, the film`s story is certainly interesting. It focuses on Samar and Meera falling in love, then joining the army, then getting amnesia, all the while losing his love, gaining another love, and trying to get back his original love that he left behind. Whew! Got it?

First things first, “Jab Tak Hain Jaan” is an entertaining if somewhat uneven film. It doesn’t reach the heights of Chopra’s classics and certainly will not drive anyone to watch it repeatedly. It’s basically a one and done film, and how unfortunate is that? I wanted to love it, I really did as I am sure many who flocked to theaters to watch this movie did. After the showing, I asked some people around me what they thought and the common answer was that it had its moments but that it wasn’t great. There seems to be a distinct lack of the old Yash Chopra magic in the film.

It’s that certain sense of hopeless bordering on mystical romance that positively saturates his earlier efforts that is here only at certain parts as the reels unfold. Who is to blame here? The story by son Aditya Chopra (along with Devika Bhagat) is a bit uneven, though the premise is satisfying enough. The acting by SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) as Samar Anand is his usual in terms of effort. People either love his style or hate it. I would say that he does a really good job here though. The real star of the film is Anushka Sharma, and would that Bollywood operated purely on talent and not just connections, then perhaps she would be given more opportunities. She is effortless in her portrayal of Akira and truly steals the film out from under the lead pair’s proverbial filmi feet. Katrina Kaif as Meera, looks beautiful, but the problem with her is that she is unable to emote to the fullest degree of the character’s heart. She does her best, but something rings hollow with her performance. Unfortunately though the songs are presented beautifully (with cinematography by Anil Mehta that is just picture perfect), the music still doesn’t have the visceral impact of other Chopra films like “Veer Zaara”.

All in all, regardless of what I write, or what anyone writes, fans of Yash Chopra (and Bollywood in general) will see this film. Oh, you’ll enjoy it in parts but then you’ll be left reminiscing about his previous classics and wonder where the magic went. Nothing can take away from Yash Chopra’s contribution to Bollywood and his talent. He was one of the greats, and even though “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” falls short of being a classic, it’s still better than the average Bollywood film out there. Mr. Chopra, I raise my glass to you and thank you for all the wonderful years of entertainment bliss you have given us.

 PB Rating: 3.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.1
 Director: Madhur Bhandarkar  Producer: Ronnie Screvwala, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar
 Music: Salim Sulaiman  Lyrics: Various Artists
 Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutta, Lilette Dubey
 Genre: Social, Drama  Recommended Audience: Adult
Like it or not director Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest film is worth a watch for the sizzling performance by Kareena Kapoor and the continued exploration into Bhandarkar’s delving into the multi-faceted media industry. Yes, while watching the film, one can’t help but think about “Page 3” or “Fashion”, but perhaps that is intended. It probably helps to think of the other two as the first parts of a trilogy exploring the underside of each film’s respective industry. This one delves into the world of Bollywood, and it turns out it’s not all smiles and cheeky dance moves! The film centers on lead character Mahi (Kareena Kapoor), who seemingly has it all down pat. She’s got the moves, the attitude and the mental disorder to match. The film’s screenplay by Madhur Bhandarkar and Niranjan Iyenger is not perfect by any means, with some story tracks that bring the film to a standstill, but credit has to be given that the two writers do not shy away from delving into the controversies of the movie industry in India. So, back to the story, here’s all you need to know. Mahi loves superstar Aryan (played robustly by Arjun Rampal). How she goes about trying to get him and getting caught in uncompromising positions all while maintaining her super star status, makes up the backbone of the film. The music by Salim-Suleiman is catchy, with “Tujphe Fida” being a highlight (along with the par for the course masala track, “Halkat Jawani”). Watch “Heroine” for the hard hitting performance by Kareena Kapoor, who in the past may have been guilty of hamming things up a bit too much, but in this film, gives a strong and memorable performance. A personal favorite of mine, Shahana Goswami (a seriously under rated actress) does a remarkable job. One thing’s for sure; “Heroine” will make every woman who has had a dream of being a famous Bollywood actress, think twice.

 Ek Tha Tiger
 PB Rating: 6.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.1
 Director: Kabir Khan  Producer: Aditya Chopra
 Music: Sajid-Wajid, Sohail Sen  Lyrics: Kausar Munir, Neelesh Misra, Anvita Dutt Guptan
 Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Shorey
 Genre: Romantic, Thriller  Recommended Audience:
You hear that? It’s the sound of Sallu bhai (aka Salman Khan) roaring in the face of his critics as he delivers a smashing performance that finally takes him out of the good hearted buffoon mode of his recent comedies into the world of the action hero. By now, probably everyone has seen the video for the superhit song “Mashallah”. Well my friend, that video is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, “Ek Tha Tiger” is an entertaining super agent action film, wherein Sallu bhai dishum dishums his way into Katrina Kaif’s heart (much like he probably did in real life). The movie’s tight and streamlined screenplay by Kabir Khan (who also expertly directed the film) and Neelesh Misra zips along this way and that, always keeping the viewer on the edge of his or her chair. There is nary a dull moment, in what could have turned into a very cliché spy vs. spy (love that MAD reference), love/hate story. Instead Salman gets a fully developed character in the form of Tiger (aka Manish), whose life is basically one mission after another as an Indian superspy, until he meets the beautiful Pakistani superspy Zoya. As always, we get an allegory for the conflict between India and Pakistan and how we should all just get along. Well, Tiger and Zoya certainly want to get along, it’s just their respective governments that want to hunt them down. The film truly picks up speed post interval, as the chase begins. The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is stunning considering that he had a chance to frame beautiful locations in Turkey and Cuba. The editing by Rameshwar S. Bhagat is picture perfect (ouch, pun intended). I for one would like to see a sequel to this film. The music by Sohail Sen and Sajid Wajid is cool yaar (and thankfully placed very carefully in the film so as to not rip the viewer from the chair to the bathroom). Finally the performances are top notch. Ranvir Shorey as Salman’s fellow agent is superbly natural. Katrina Kaif not only looks great, but acts well. Yet, this is Salman’s film, and he lights the screen on fire with his presence. Though I love the dinka chika dinka chika (stick hands in pants and point this way and that) avatar of Salman, I really enjoy his forays into the world of more serious acting. Plus, here’s one Bollywood star that you can believe can beat up the bad guys. Go, Tiger, go!

 Bol Bachchan
 PB Rating: 5.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.1
 Director: Rohit Shetty  Producer: Dhilin Mehta; Ajay Devgn
 Music: Himesh Reshammiya; Ajay-Atul (Guest Composer))  Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire; Shabbir Ahmed; Farhad-Sajid
 Starring: Ajay devgn; Abhishek Bachchan; Asin; Prachi Desai; Asrani; Archana Puran Singh;
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience:
Ok, what do you want from Rohit Shetty, my friends? Surely not Shakespeare, as in, “to laugh or not to laugh, that is the question”? ‘Bol Bachchan slides into the Thums Up section by the slightest of margins. This film is certainly no “Singham”, nor is it even as good as “Golmaal 3”. Yet, one cannot deny the charming appeal of the lead actors, Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgan (the original spelling of the actor’s name, though he’s probably been advised by the astrologer to the stars to drop the “a” as a way to get/be lucky). Simply put, though it’s getting tiresome seeing the same action slow-mo scenes all over again, the two lead stars are very likable, saving the film from free falling without a parachute into the Thums Down section. I think, after this one, Rohit Shetty and gang, need to recharge their batteries, especially with his upcoming “Golmaal 4” in pre-production.

You are probably screaming by now, “DID YOU LIKE IT YAAR!?!?” The answer to that is, yes, I did slightly sort of enjoy the film. It’s a remake of…wait for it….”Gol Maal”. Wow, isn’t that great? Yet, it doesn’t have the original’s entertainment punch. The story in a nutshell is that Abhishek portrays Abbas Ali who is pretending to be…wait for it…...(building up the suspense with more periods)…Abhishek Bachchan and also…another Abbas Ali. Bwahahahahahahaahaha(cough)hahahahaa! What dishum dishum originality yaar! Add to this the English/Schminglish mangling Ajay Devgan aka Ajay Devgn as, Prithviraj Raghuvanshi who hates liars, and you have the basic ingredients of the story of the film. Finally, you have Asin as basically window dressing. Ekdum exciting right!?

Anyway, the screenplay by Yunus Sajawal (with dialogues by Farhad) is uneven, with high points, low points and somewhere in between points. This is what keeps the film from really being better than it is. The uneven screenplay turns the film into a kichdi of entertainment and tedium. The cinematography by Dudley is a strongpoint, as are the krazy kool stunts by Jai Singh Nijjar. So, sue me, I love the original “Matrix”, and I always get a kick out of the “all the villains pile up on the heroes and have the heroes rise up from the center as everyone falls all around them in slow motion”…whew…scene. The music by Atul Gogavale and Himesh (bhai) Reshammiya is totally bakwas. I mean sure, “Bol Bachchan” is intriguing due to the appearance of Amitabh Bachchan in the video, but the tune is imminently forgettable. I’m still waiting for Himesh Reshammiya to come back and kick our derrieres with some excellent music. Oh yeah and back to Rohit Shetty for a moment. His direction is as always dependably good.

All in all, this one is a quarter paisa vasool. You’ll leave the theater, or fall asleep on that comfortable sofa, or on your downy pillowed bed, or at your computer desk (say no to piracy), with half a laugh on your mind. “Bol Bachchan” is not bad, it’s not great, it’s simply middle of the road. It’s like fairly good lukewarm chai, you just wish it was a bit…hotter. So let’s see, if this film does great at the box office, I am fairly sure that Rohit Shetty will not change his modus operandi one bit, but if it doesn’t, then perhaps he will. Hopefully even if this is a mega hit, Mr. Shetty starts thinking about breaking a few new slow motion fresh story beats for his next film, or he’ll find himself with a remote controlled audience that is just going through the laughing motions.

 Gangs of Wasseypur
 PB Rating: 8.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 412 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Anurag Kashyap  Producer: Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra
 Music: Sneha Khanwalkar  Lyrics: Piyush Mishra and Varun Grover
 Starring: Jaideep Ahlawat, Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chada, Piyush Mishra, Reema Sen, Nawazzudin Siddiqui, Jameel Khan, Pankaj Tripathi
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Adult
Why hello again, dear faithful readers of Planet Bollywood! Welcome to this page, and join the “Gangs of TUTD!” Ahem, ok, so maybe I’m daydreaming again, but now it’s time to wake up and smell the chai as I begin to sip it from a saucer (slllllurrrrp), put my leg up and begin talking about Anurag Kashyap’s “Gangs of Wasseypur”. Let’s face facts, he’s certainly one of Bollywood’s most talented directors, but he’s also one of the best writers out there (aside from the perplexingly LSD influenced, “No Smoking”). Mr. Kashyap has written and directed cult classics like, “Black Friday”, “Dev D” and “That Girl in Yellow Boots”. He’s also written (either screenplay or dialogues) for movies like “Satya”, “Shool”, and “Guru”. The man can direct, and he can write, plus he doesn’t shy away from delving into the deep dark soul of the human mind. So, it was with great expectations that I sat down to watch his latest, “Gangs of Wasseypur”. Anurag Kashyap certainly doesn’t disappoint, for the film is a hard hitting, character driven ambitious piece of cinema that deserves repeated viewings and doesn’t take the viewer’s intelligence for granted. The screenplay by Akhilesh Jaiswal, Anurag Kashyap, Sachin K. Ladia, and Syed Zeeshan Qadri is absolutely engrossing in its setup/depiction of two families and the ghost of vengeance between them. Keep in mind that this film was originally five hours long (the lucky folks at the Cannes film festival were able to see the entire cut), and it has been sliced/diced into two parts (part two is scheduled to be released in early August).The film is raw and unsettling as it is meant to be. Kashyap doesn’t hold anything back in terms of language or violence. The cinematography by Rajeev Rai is amazingly gritty. The music by Sneha Khanwalkar is hypnotic. Once again Manoj Bajpayee proves just what a great (and grossly underappreciated) actor he is. His performance is outstanding and should be remembered when the train of yearly awards shows hits town. Also, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Piyush Mishra provide soulful performances. All in all, this film is a showcase of the cutting edge of Bollywood cinema. It’s haunting and will grab you by the…shoulders, to shake you this way and that. “Gangs of Wasseypur” is must see cinema, and you better watch it…or you’ll miss out on viewing a film that is simply mind blowing.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
Arre yaar! No amount of Johnny Walker Red or Black Label can make this “Joker” of a film paisa vasool in any way. The dictionary defines the word joker as: “a person who jokes in an obnoxious manner”. That’s the best way to describe this film. What was director Shirish Kunder thinking or smoking for that manner? Bhai, let’s make a film about aliens….and a village….and pelvic thrusting! Smash hit bhai! Smash hit! After watching this film, I truly felt like I took a trip to hell or Paglapur and back. The story is completely nonsensical. Take “Koi Mil Gaya” and mash it up with equal parts “Lagaan” with a splash of “Swades”, but with quarter of the entertainment and you get this completely “THUMS DOWN” film. It’s no wonder that Akshay Kumar did nothing to promote the film, he had to have known how bad it turned out to be, though why he picked this film to star in is anyone’s guess. Certainly it’s not due to the “excellent” screenplay. Perhaps as a mark of desperation, Shirish Kunder engineered the “accidental” controversy of the song, “I want Fakhta you” (which was eventually changed to the more pc “I want just you”). It’s about the only thing that got people interested in the movie. Sonakshi Sinha is wasted, as is Shreya Talpade. The storyline focuses on a village lost in time, Pagalpur. Founded by the inmates of an insane asylum, the village doesn’t appear on any maps. Somehow we have aliens mixed into this…and really, shall I go on? Please, please, if you have any sense of reason, avoid this film at all costs. Not even multiple glasses of alcohol can save this film. Watch it at your own risk! After seeing this, I truly felt, “fakhta-ed”.

 Bittoo Boss
 Director: Supavitra Babul  Producer: Kumar Mangat Pathak; Abhishek Pathak
 Music: Raghav Sachar  Lyrics: Kumaar, Luv Ranjan; Aseem Ahmed Abbasi
 Starring: Pulkit Samrat; Amita Pathak
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
What to say about this film? I am rarely at a loss for words (as my lengthy TUTD diatribes can attest), yet this film leaves me totally flabbergasted (now there’s a word you don’t hear every day)! “Bittoo Boss” is like an itchy rash that won’t go away for a couple of hours. The film could have been a smart, funny small romantic comedy, but instead is just grating to sit through. The direction by Supavitra Babul is so-so, and nothing out of the ordinary. The screenplay by the director and Gautam Mehra rings hollow. The music by the once promising, Raghav Sachar is so mundane that it drags the film even further down the drain. The story itself focuses on Bittoo (played by small screen star Pulkit Samrat of “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”), the videographer that everyone wants at their wedding. The girl of his dreams Is Mrinalani (Amitha Palak who is wasted here). Bittoo will do anything to prove he is the man of his girl’s dreams. Honestly, I thought the film would have been much better, I usually enjoy films like these, and who doesn’t love weddings? Yet, from the first reel to the last, I kept hoping for something that would make this worth watching. Though the lead pair try their best, with a particularly strong performance by Pulkit Samrat, the film unfortunately sinks the both of them. “Bittoo Boss” is definitely not a career notch on anyone’s belt. Thums way down for this one.

 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.

 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!

 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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