Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 3 Jun 2008
  Serial Kisser Emraan Hashmi fixes his match and takes ´Jannat´ to the top
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this
 

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Jannat
 Director: Kunal Deshmukh  Producer: Mukesh Bhatt
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri & Neelesh Mishra
 Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Samir Kochhar, and Sonal Chauhan
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt are known to have the uncanny ability of making low budget quality movies, with promising debutante directors as well as featuring incredibly melodious music soundtracks. The Bhatts in the guise of Vishesh Films have found their perfect niche in the Bollywood market and their formula works (except for the oddly flat recent flop, “Showbiz”). So, it’s no surprise that Mahesh Bhatt has taken two of Indian men’s most important past times (Cricket and gambling being two, with whiskey being the third. Perhaps the Bhatt’s will cover a scandalous whiskey alcoholic’s tale in a future film.) and made an intriguing movie that has become the sleeper hit of 2008. Not only is it a return to hit status for the Bhatt brothers, but it also marks the re-emergence of serial kisser Emraan Hashmi in the kind of role that he does best, that of the sleazy guy with a heart of perhaps silver, if not gold. Yes, he’s back in full kissing form and this time the object of his lip’s affection is newcomer Sonal Chauhan who has the generic model looks and a smidgen of acting talent as is the case with most new actresses entering the industry (she does an okay job with the lighter scenes, but is unable to convey the gravitas necessary for the heavy dramatic ones). Director Kunal Deshmukh is another talented find for the Bhatts, and ably handles each scene realizing the importance of building one scene on top of the other for a cohesive whole (something that a lot of the new directors coming into Bollywood seem to lack). I’ve got to say though; Emraan Hashmi truly shines in this movie, as you go from alternately hating the character, to sympathizing with him, to wondering whether he’s truly just misunderstood. The actor delivers his finest performance and carries the movie completely on his shoulders. The screenplay deftly juggles the main plotlines of cricket match fixing with gambling addiction and what it means to love someone who is involved with the dark side. Pritam’s music is a winner, but you won’t find any mega crore song picturizations, instead the music is for the most part integrated well enough that it carries the story forward and doesn’t pull the viewer out of the film. Mahesh, Mukesh and Emraan show that a quality film beats an overhyped and bloated mega project every time. Judging by the fact that the film is the biggest hit of 2008 so far, I would think that the audience agrees with me. Match fixing never looked so good, make sure you see this film and go to the dark side with Emraan Hashmi!

 Partition
Would you like to see a version of “Gaddar” (which starred Sunny Deol in what some believe is a career defining role) made in the style of a more Westernized Hollywood film? If the question intrigues you enough to say yes, then you should make sure you catch “Partition” which has just been recently released on DVD (it had a brief blink and you’ll miss it theatrical run). Like “Gaddar”, the film centers around the romance between a Sikh man (in this case, the character is a former member of the Indian army, who has seemingly retired and gone back to being a farmer in his village) with a Muslim woman (who is violently separated from her family by Sikhs attacking the Muslim families migrating to Pakistan in retaliation for attacks against Sikh and Hindu families). Their romance as you can imagine creates a lot of tension within the small village, but what happens when the two fall in love, get married, have a child, and the woman realizes her family is still alive in Pakistan? What happens when the woman’s family refuses to let her return back to her husband in India? What happens when her Sikh husband secretly enters Pakistan to get back his wife? All these questions are handled sensitively by the director, Vic Sarin. The movie is a more realistic approach to the story than its more super heroic Bollywood counterpart, which means no Sunny Deol as the invulnerable superman on a train back to India. Jimi Mistry (“The Guru”) as Gian Singh/Mohammad Hassan is excellent in a restrained but powerful performance as the lead character and successfully conveys all the subtle emotions that are called for by the well written screenplay. Kristin Kreuk (from the U.S. television show “Smallville”) is an interestingly odd choice as the lost and found Muslim girl Naseem Khan. One wonders why the producers did not go for a Pakistani or Indian actress, though perhaps the kissing/love scenes might have been a barrier for that. The half Dutch/half Chinese actresses does a fair job, and at least to her credit, after awhile you stop noticing that she doesn’t really look anything like a Muslim woman and begin focusing on her performance. For Bollywood fans, the movie also includes the always excellent Irfan Khan (“Life..In a Metro”) and Vinay Pathak (“Bheja Fry”) and both perform admirably. If you find yourself looking for something different, then you can’t go wrong with this movie that handles the varied emotions of Hindu Muslim racism and controversial love in a sensitive and thought provoking manner.

 Brick Lane
Novelist Monica Ali’s best selling novel, “Brick Lane” has now been made into an exceptionally well made movie by British director Sarah Gavron. The story centers on the character of Nazneen as a Bangladeshi teenager in England during the 80’s who is forced to marry an ogre of a much older man who she has nothing in common with. The husband who is fond of quoting classic lines from philosophy and literature is excellently portrayed by Bollywood character actor mainstay Satish Kaushik. If for nothing else, make sure you watch this film for his performance. By the time 2001 (and a post 9-11 world) comes around, she has two children and a completely unfulfilling marriage. Due to an interesting set of circumstances, she ends up having an affair with a younger man (in an interesting role reversal from her own marriage to a much older man). The screenplay and depiction is never heavy handed and the director is able to properly adapt the much more complicated nuances of the novel. Adaptations of best selling novels are always a tricky project, since the fans of the book always have their favorite parts, and not all of the scenes will fit in a two hour movie. The director and screenplay writers have no choice but to cut out what they deem to be unnecessary which can then lead to disappointment for the fans of the novel. Luckily Gavron retains the soul of the novel which deals with Bangladeshi culture, repression of women, an illicit (but understandable) affair, and racism against Muslims. The move doesn’t neatly answer all the questions raised by the book and the screenplay adaptation; however it does provide the audience with a thought provoking and warm movie that showcases the diversity of human emotion.

 Bhootnath
 PB Rating: 6.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Vivek Sharma  Producer: Ravi Chopra
 Music: Vishal-Shekhar  Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
 Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Juhi Chawla,Aman Siddiqui, with a special appearance by Shah Rukh Khan
 Genre: Family  Recommended Audience: General
This unlikely hit movie has turned out to be a hit for the produce, yet one can`t help but feel that Ravi Chopra is slowly but steadfastly losing steam. “Baghban” was a movie that struck a chord across generations and proved to be a hit. The much weaker “Baabul” suffered from lackluster direction and a weak screenplay that bored the audience resulting in a quick fade at the box office. Now, Ravi Chopra has turned the directorial reins to first time director Vivek Sharma and the product is a mixed bag, falling somewhere between “Baghban” and “Baabul” in quality the movie ultimately is simply a good timepass film. Is it a children’s movie or a socially conscious movie with a message? There are no clear answers, but in the wasteland of Bollywood releases in 2008, the movie proves to be fairly entertaining. Amitabh portrays the character of the ghost with his trademark style (one can almost say that he is the Teflon coated actor, since his performances are always a highlight of any film). The child actor Aman Siddiqui, acts well, but suffers from his character not being very well developed. Juhi Chawla proves again why she is such an underrated actress by providing a solid performance with the material she is given. The music is totally forgettable (a missed opportunity for Vishal and Shekhar to show their adaptability to different genre’s of music). Of course, none of these things matter. The majority of people will go to see this movie to see Shah Rukh Khan’s guest appearance and his performance is a highlight of the movie. It’s a testament to the superstar, that even though he is in the film for only a half hour at the most, his role/character is one of the most memorable. All in all, it’s a movie that is fairly well made, with fairly good performances. It’s a perfectly harmless movie to watch with the kids and though you won’t love it, you will come out liking the movie.

 Khuda Kay Liye
This one is technically not a Bollywood film as it is the first Pakistani film released in India in almost four decades, yet it deserves mention in the Thums Up section, due to its frank and realistic depiction of the conflicts that exist within Islamic culture. Debutante director Shoaib Mansoor deftly handles some very controversial topics such as forced marriages, forbidden relationships, and the use of the Islamic religion to wage terror arround the globe. In the vast vacuum of recent style over substance Bollywood fare (such as “Race” and “Tashan”), it’s refreshing to see a film maker use the potential power of movies in a way that gets an important message across. The director has gathered a stellar cast that includes famed veteran Naseeruddin Shah, model Iman Ali, Shaan (not the playback singer), and Fawed Afzal Khan. The clever screenplay gives each of these actors a chance to properly portray their well developed characters. Excellent direction, a wonderful soundtrack, powerful acting, and most importantly of all, a well written thought provoking screenplay all combine for a movie that will leave you with a clearer understanding of the powerful forces at play in the Islamic world.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Don Muthu Swami
 Director: Ashim Samanta  Producer: Shakti Samanta
 Music: Anu Malik  Lyrics: Amitabh
 Starring: Mithun Chakraborty, Hrishita Bhatt, Rohit Roy, Mohit Raina, Dolly Minhas
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Alas, to what levels has Mithun Chakraborty sunk to? The Chakraborty family seems to be in the dumps lately what with son Mimoh’s bomb of the year “Jimmy” and now this atrocious film (ripped off from the Hollywood flop, “Oscar”. Do I really need to go into the details here? Ok, maybe a little bit. The premise itself is an interesting one as Mithun plays a South Indian Don who wants to marry his daughter off to the son of another Don….but his daughter (the wasted Hrishitaa Bhatt) wants out and will do anything to get out of this proposal. For over two hours the audience has to suffer through Mithun’s heavily accented caricature of a South Indian Don. When will Bollywood writers and directors realize that comedy takes a lot of effort to properly convey on screen? It’s just as difficult to get the audience to laugh as it is to make them cry. Unfortunately this movie will make you cry for all the wrong reasons, mainly making you ask yourself, “How could I have wasted my time with this”? Mithun Da, you and your fans deserve better than this!

 Dhoom Dadakka
Run! Duck! Hide! It’s the invasion of the atrocious comedies! As if the previously mentioned “Don Muthuswami” was not enough, Bollywood unleashes another wasted comedic effort with “Dhoom Dadakka”. On paper it must have sounded really good for director, Shashi Ranjan, but the plot could not be expanded into a proper story by the screen writers. The convoluted story about gangster Bhais and lot’s of awful jokes set against the backdrop of Bangkok falls flat on every level. How can the producers have gone wrong with such an veteran comedic cast that includes the likes of Anupam Kher, Satish Kaushik and Gulshan Grover? You’ll be searching for the laughs in this movie that will have you running out of the theater or away from your television sets shortly after it’s started. There’s no Dhoom, there’s no Dadakka….there is only nothing but a lot of completely unfunny drama. Watch it at your own risk...and definitely don’t watch this while you are sober.

 Hastey Hastey
 Director: Toony  Producer: Ashutosh Bajpai & Shiv Ram Kumar (Go Cam Films Pvt. Ltd.)
 Music: Anu Malik  Lyrics: Sameer
 Starring: Jimmy Shergill, Nisha Rawal, & Rajpal Yadav
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Here’s another ho hum attempt at another low brow romantic (ahem) comedy that completely mis-fires into being neither here nor there. King of the B-Movies that are almost invisible at the box office, Jimmy Shergill returns to a lighter form of entertainment after portraying some heavy hitting characters in better films like, “Strangers” and “Dus Kahaniyaan”. It’s a shame that this talented actor is stuck doing a movie like this. I do hope that he at least got paid an astronomically high amount for this. Do you really want to know more? Okay, you asked for it. Director Toony (no, I am not making this up) mishandles what could have been a breezy entertainer. The two actresses, Nisha Rawal and Monishka Gupta are just about okay, but you’ll be straining to remember them after you’ve seen the movie. Rajpal Yadav is excellent as always and tries to make the best of it. The story centers about the lead character falling in love with a girl (SURPRISE!), then goes off to India where another girl falls in love with him (DOUBLE SURPRISE!) and doesn’t take no for an answer. When the girl from India traps poor unsuspecting Jimmy in a dastardly plot, true love is tested to the ever so ho-hum limits. I know, let’s put together Jimmy Shergill, and Rajpal Yadav in a movie together and let them play two men who search for love and a good film, while laughing all the way to the bank! Now, that’s funny.

 Woodstock Villa
 Director: Hansal Mehta  Producer: White Feather Films
 Music: Anu Malik, Shibani Kashyap, Bappa Lahiri  Lyrics: Virag Mishra, The Aryans, Manoj Muntashir
 Starring: Sikander Kher, Neha Oberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Sachin Khedekar, Boman Irani, Anupama Varma
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
I wanted to like this film, I really did. It comes from Sanjay Gupta’s stylish production house (White Feather Films) and is directed by the talented Hansal Mehta (“High on the Highway” from “Dus Kahaniyaan”). It features a really catchy soundtrack and has the debut of Anupam Kher’s wife Kiron’s son. It features promising newcomer actress Neha Uberoi (from the “High on the Highway” short film) and has the cult favorite Arbaaz Khan (best known for his music video for deep throated pop singer Shubha Mudgal and some smattering of movies here and there). A thriller has to be an edge of your seat thrilling experience. Sadly this film will make you start at the edge of your seat, quickly move to the back of your seat, and will leave you cringing in your seat. The story focuses around a dead wife, a replacement, and lots of money. I think that’s all you really need to know. It’s not a horrible film, just a perfect example of a film getting away from its director. Sikandar Kher is the highlight of the movie, as his debut performance is just about the only saving grace that will leave some kind of impression on you. It’s too bad that he didn’t get a better launch. Here’s hoping this talented star son get his dues in a better film. In the meantime, pop this one in during one of your insomniac fueled midnight hours, and you’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep by the second half. Not bad, at least it will keep you away from the sleeping pills.

 Jimmy
 Director: Raj N Sippy  Producer: Nawman Malik, Salman Malik
 Music: Anand Raj Anand, Bappa Lahri, Vijay Verma  Lyrics: Ranbir Pushp, Virag Mishra, Anand Raj Anand
 Starring: Mimoh Chakraborty, Zulfi Syed, Aashish Vidyarthi, Ehsaan Khan, Rati Agnihotri, Vikas Kalantri, Rahul Dev, Shakti Kapoor, Nilofer, Gargi Patel, Pooja Singh, Vallabh Vyas
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Jimmy…..Aja….Aja…Aja…..so I can slap you on the head and make this horrible movie go away! A launch of a superstar’s son should be grand in scope and dazzling to the senses. Sadly, this sorry excuse for a movie has none of that. Mimoh is woefully inadequate and needs to refine his acting…not to say that he doesn’t have potential, but I’m not sure if blatant attempts at becoming the next superstar will be his forte. The screenplay is horrendous and the writer should have gone back and copied…. I mean be “inspired” (to use a popular Bollywood term) by one of Mithun Chakraborty’s “classic” films (“I am a disco dancer” becomes, “I am a freestyle dancer” or something like that). The director, Raj N.C. Sippy fails to provide the visionary direction for the movie, and so it degenerates into a stereotypical masala flick style that was thought dead and buried a long time ago. Did I mention the leading lady, Vivana? No? Unfortunately, looks are not everything, as an actor should have some acting talent as well. Let’s see, a bad screenplay, a bad leading pair, bad supporting actors, horrible music. Better luck next time Mimoh, I hope that your nascent career survives this disaster of a debut. I’ll be dancing my way to the disco and praying for you. At least one thing is for sure, there’ll be no “Jimmy” part two in the near future.

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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