Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 22 Jul 2008
  Audiences sign a “Contract” with “Kismat Konnection”!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Kismat Konnection
 PB Rating: 4.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Aziz Mirza  Producer: TIPS
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed and Sayeed Quadri
 Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla, Om Puri, Vishal Malhotra
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Director Aziz Mirza brings you entertainment old school style. In many ways the film is a throwback to the breezy romantic comedies of yesteryear but with a more modern sheen to it. Among the strengths of the film is the chemistry between the lead pair, the editing, and chartbusting music. If ever there was a doubt that Shahid Kapoor is a superstar and worthy successor to Shah Rukh Khan, then this movie will dismiss that thought right away. Shahid carries this film on his shoulders and it is his extreme likeability as the architect without any Kismat that lets the viewer gloss over the weaknesses in the script (mainly the been there done that feel to the entire story). Vidya Balan’s acting is excellent and she proves yet again that she has what it takes to go the distance. King Khan makes an appearance in voice only as the omnipresent narrator and Juhi Chawla channels the goofiness of Whoopi Goldberg from “Ghost”. If you are looking for another “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na”, move along, as this movie doesn’t strive to be as cutting edge fresh as that recent flick. Instead what you will get is two and a half hours of romantic breezy fun Hindi film ishtyle that will leave a smile on your face. Given the state and quality of most recent releases, it’s becoming harder and harder to have a good time while watching a Bollywood film, so it’s probably Kismat that you make the Konnection to this fun loving movie.

It seems like Ram Gopal Varma has retreated into the relatively safe genre of gangster/underworld films after being burned by “Aag”. It’s a pity that the talented director is not branching out into other genres hat would bring the audience something new. That’s not to say that his latest, “Contract” is a bad movie. It’s actually fairly good, but therein is the problem. The film treads on all too familiar Ramu territory. It’s almost like this innovative director is playing it safe to avoid another flop. One cannot fault the direction of the film, as it has the trademark creative angles that Varma likes to use and is worth seeing simply for his command over the art form; however, the screenplay lacks the punch a movie like this should have. The storyline ties the underworld with the terrorist world and that sets the stage for some excellent acting by the lead, Adhvik Mahajan as well as actress Sakshi Gulati, but it’s Zakir Hussain who makes a huge impact as the terrorist leader. Watch this one for the excellent direction by Varma, cinematography by Aseem Mishra and some decent performances. As it is, you’ll be quite reluctant to sign on the dotted line for this “Contract”, but it’s worth it, just barely.

 Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
 PB Rating: 8.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Abbas Tyrewala  Producer: Aamir Khan, Mansoor Khan
 Music: A R Rahman  Lyrics: Abbas Tyrewala
 Starring: Imraan Khan, Genelia Dsouza (Special apperance by Ratna Pathak, Naseerudhin Shah, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan, Arshad Warsi, Paresh Rawal, Manjari Phadnis)
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Make a note of it here amidst all the “excitable” cheering from girls all over the world; a brand new star in the form of Imran Khan has been born! “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na” doesn’t have a surprisingly fresh story/screenplay, nor is it groundbreaking and avant-garde. What it has is a lot of heart and a new spin by first time director Abbas Tyrewalla who manages to breathe life into an old tale. Too often the further we get from our college days, the more we forget about how that very important point in our lives has shaped the people we are today. From first love…. to first heartbreak…to friendships that we think will go on forever…and worries about whether we will ever find our true selves, all these warm emotions/feelings are discovered during the pivotal time between college and our entry into the “real” world. This film will make you relive all those wonderful emotions. A truly talented director should always be able to take even a mediocre screenplay and turn it into a visual treat. Tyrewalla has succeeded in giving the audience something fresh. He owes a big part of that achievement to producers Aamir Khan and Mansoor Khan who seem to have taken great pains to make sure this movie is not just another run of the mill Bollywood film. If the first step is getting a good director, then surely the second is getting a good ensemble crew that can play off each other. Chemistry is very important, and it’s nice to see that the lead pair (Imran Khan and Genelia) shares a lot of that not only between themselves but also with the supporting cast that includes the excellent Ratna Pathak, Karan Makhija, Ayaz Khan, Nirav Mehta, Alishka Varde, Manjari Phadnis, Paresh Rawal, Naseerhuddin Shah, Sohail Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Pratiek Babbar (son of the late Smita Patel). I have to say that Pratiek’s acting is superb and wish that Bollywood would give this young actor a bigger break. The veterans like Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah perform flawlessly as always. The less said about Arbaaz and Sohail Khan the better. Make no mistake though, the film belongs to Imran Khan who shows that he has the potential to be a major player on the Bollywood scene and Genelia whose playful spontaneous acting reminds one of a nascent Kajol. The music by A.R. Rahman is perfect, with “Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi “ and the riotous “Pappu Can`t Dance “ the highlights of a top-notch soundtrack. What “Dil Chahta Hai” was for the twenty five plus set, “Jaane tu…” is for the college going early twenties set. a film that captures the innocent and sometimes not so innocent special time in our life. Watch this one for a fresh breath of youthful air on the Bollywood silver screen.

 Love Story 2050
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Harry Baweja  Producer: Pammi Baweja
 Music: Anu Malik  Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
 Starring: Harman Baweja, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Archana Puran Singh
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
“Star Wars” director George Lucas and “Fifth Element” director Luc Besson would be proud of director Harry Baweja, as both have created state of the art films that attempt to cover up weak screenplays with the glitz ‘n’ gloss of special effects. The best sci-fi blockbusters are the ones that rely first and foremost on the story. It is the story that dictates the use (and often times over-use) of special effects, not the other way around. Sure, “Love Story 2050” is pretty to look at, and the director should be admired for having the courage to make a film in the non-existent Bollywood sci fi genre; however, the movie simply falls short of being truly memorable. Here’s the reason why: If you are going to make a copy of the Hollywood movie, “The Fifth Element” (everything from the cityscape, to the model of flying car, to even the red wig worn by Priyanka Chopra), then make sure to really do it right. That is, pay careful attention to the convoluted story of that film. Then mix it in the top-secret special Bollywood Indianization Blender ™…and replace American sensibilities with Indian sensibilities. Harry Baweja has attempted that, but somehow lost his way, instead providing audiences with a film that is only partially satisfying to watch. Of course, everyone knows that this is the debut vehicle for Harry’s son Harman Baweja and you are probably wondering how he has done. His acting is impressive and his dancing rivals the grace and fluidity of Hrithik Roshan. Harman definitely has potential to be a superstar some day. Priyanka Chopra gives her usual phoned in “bored” performance. She’s one of those actresses you wish would get her act together (pun intended). Boman Irani plays the quirky mad scientist with his usual manic quirkiness. Also, can someone please tell me why it seems to be beyond the capabilities of Bollywood directors/screenwriters to come up with truly nuanced well thought out villains for our heroes? The cheesy and kitschy villain of this film, Dr. Hoshi, plays to the weaknesses of every goofball villain in Bollywood history. When faced with a weak villain, the hero of the film comes across as less of a valiant character. It’s a shame really, had the material been presented properly, this could have opened up a whole new genre of film in Bollywood. As it stands, the movie is worth watching and makes it to the Planet Bollywood Thums Up section for one thing and one thing only, the birth of a new Bollywood star, Harman Baweja who tries his best to carry this film on his shoulders. Now, if that’s not a special effect, I don’t know what is!

 Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Kunal Kohli  Producer: Aditya Chopra, Kunal Kohli
 Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy  Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
 Starring: Saif Ali Khan,Rani Mukherjee,Rishi Kapoor,Baby Shriya Sharma, Sharat Saxena, Razzak Khan,Mahesh Thakur,Amisha Patel (and introducing Rachit Sidana, Akshat Chopra, Taranna Raja Kapoor)
 Genre: Family  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Come one, come all! Children of all ages! Adults who have lost touch with their inner child! Filmgoers who have forgotten that Yash Raj Films once used to stand for quality! You knew it was bound to happen, apna Bollywood films have been notoriously based on Hollywood films for decades and now it’s time for apna desi version of the classic Walt Disney Pictures all time hit, “Mary Poppins”. We’ve got Rani as the angel “Didi”. We’ve got Saif as the stepfather who doesn’t know how to deal with the instant gaggle of children he is now responsible for. We’ve got Amisha Patel trying to resurrect her career by going the Kareena route and posing in a bikini (Now, now…. this is a family movie, so no sinful thoughts from the adults in the audience). We’ve got Kunal Kohli behind the camera to try and recreate that “Hum Tum” magic at the multiplex. In a Bollywood sea of sex and sin, it’s rare to find an intelligent well written film that one can take the entire family to. Kunal Kohli has succeeded in bringing out excellent performances from Saif Ali Khan (memo to Saif: Please no more handlebar mustaches and “Tashan”) and a return to glory of sorts for Rani Mukerjee. The two leads share a unique chemistry that elevates the material to another level. The children (Akshat Chopra, Rachit Sidana, Ayush Berman, Shriya Sharma) are excellent without the obnoxious “cuteness” syndrome that most children in Bollywood movies are stereotyped as. Cameos by God (aka Rishi Kapoor) and dancing CGI characters/environments add to the fun. The screenplay is simple and goes to show, that with a talented director, even the simplest concept can be a winner. The only disappointing aspect of the film is the music by Shanker Ehsaan and Loy. I’m sure Kohli misses his usual cohorts Jatin Lalit who provided the unforgettable soundtracks to his past efforts (“Hum Tum, “Fanaa”). It’s a credit to the director that each of his films has been different and memorable. Yash Raj Films which has lately been synonymous with sex and skin surprises by producing a clean family film. Worth braving all the crying babies to go to see this one on the big silver screen, just make sure you bring along plenty of samosas.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Director: Afzal Khan  Producer: Afzal Khan
 Music: Ismail Darbar  Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
 Starring: Ajay Devgan, Sanjay Dutt, Manisha Koirala
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Hey Bolly fans, let’s hear it for “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” part II! If ever there were a film that had a HDDCS hangover than its “Mehbooba”. From the color saturated hues, to the lavish sets, to Ajay Devgan, to music by Ismail Darbar (some of the songs sound like lifts from his own HDDCS album), to the queen of the nineties Manisha Koirala, to a thinner younger looking Sanjay Dutt (as a fun loving casanova) and a love triangle to thrill viewers of all ages, it’s a veritable homage to HDDCS for the most part. This one will test the patience of even the most die-hard of Bollywood fans. Let’s forget the fact that the film was canned yet sitting on the shelves for many years, it’s simply totally dated. To be fair, any film that is delayed by so many years has zero chance to connect with the audience at the multiplexes and that’s what has happened with this movie. This one has it all, from annoying relatives, to funky hairstyles, to overly dramatic chest thumping (“Hai, Hai”!) drama. Wish I could tell you about the strengths of this film, but there really aren’t any, because there’s nothing new to be seen. Save yourself the trouble, and go see "Kismat Konnection" or "Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na" instead, as you kiss this “Mehbooba” goodbye.

 De Taali
 Director: E Niwas  Producer: Ravi Walia
 Music: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani  Lyrics: Vishal Dadlani, Abbas Tyrewala
 Starring: Aftab Shivdasani, Ritesh Deshmukh, Ayesha Takia, Rimi Sen, Satish Shah, Saurabh Shukla
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Whatever happened to the talented director E. Niwas who brought us the mind blowing classic “Shool”? He seems to have disappeared completely what with his disastrous, “My Name is Anthony Gonsalves” and now “De Taali”. This could have been one of those small budget gems that surprise the viewer with quality and memorable performances. Alas, nothing can save the audience from going totally insane by the end of this movie (break out the straitjackets)! The screenplay is a complete mess centering around a love triangle (I think) a kidnapping (for sure) and broken hearts (watch out) all around. The cast which includes the better than this Riteish Deshmukh who tries his best to inject some soul into his performance, Ayesha Thakia who seems to be the reigning queen of B movies right now, and Rimi Sen who has different variations of the same pouty face in each frame all fail to leave any kind of lasting impact. Is this a love story? A comedy? A drama? Who knows what the original intent was, but in the end we are left with a movie that will leave all the “Taali” behind. As for E. Niwas, perhaps you’d be better off directing “Shool 2” next…

Straightforward love stories seem to be a dying breed in Bollywood. You’ve got thrillers, comedies, dramedies, love triangles…etc…Yet, the sweet straight forward love story that used to be a staple of Hindi cinema is a genre that is withering on the cinematic vine. “Jab We Met” was an exception from last year that showed that this genre still has some life in it. It was only a matter of time before someone else tried to recapture the love in a bottle for the audience again. Unfortunately, those looking for their love fix will leave this film with their flaming desire doused with the water of boredom. What is the best part of the movie? It would have to be the infinitely listenable soundtrack by Adnan Sami whose melodies stay with you even if the film does not. The love story centers on a South Indian boy and a Punjabi girl. Culture clashes abound as dosas try to mix with makki ki rotis. There was a lot of potential with this film; however, once again the dreaded poorly written Bolly screenplay syndrome strikes. There are moments that shine, and that is mainly due to the very likable lead pair of Rishi Rehan and Avantikka, but one wonders if either of these newcomers will be seen in another film again. Still, the movie has a chance at becoming a cult hit, I guess, after all it stars that mysterious oddity Chankey Pandey who is the king of oddball films. If you are really in a funk, break out the Chankey, I say. How do you do that? Why break out a hit of Chankey’s films and blast your mind to oblivion. Watch this movie when you are home one evening right before the midnight hour, then go to sleep as you forget the film and daydream about true love.

 Director: Anil Devgan  Producer: Kumar Mangat
 Music: Vishal Bhardwaj, Anand Raj Anand, Raghav Sachar, Pritam  Lyrics: Sameer, Aditya Dhar, Munna Dhiman, Shabbir Ahmed
 Starring: Adhyan Suman, Nakuul Mehta, Amita Pathak
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
Another day in Bolly land another love triangle. Is it a lack of imagination on the part of screenplay writers, that they can not come up with anything other than trite comedies and misunderstood love triangles. Don’t get me wrong, I love a juicy love triangle as much as any viewer does, when it’s done right. Unfortunately the only good thing that I can say about this film is that the music by Vishal is really catchy. Other than that, director Anil Devgan really fails to provide the audience with a well-made movie. The horrible senseless screenplay is partly to blame, but one can’t excuse a director who apparently lacks any sense of structuring his story properly. No matter how much gloss you drip into each frame, you can’t cover up the fact that this is just a bad movie whose story meanders along until the inevitable tidy conclusion. The lead actress Amitha Pathka does not have the proper dramatic weight. The two male leads, Nakuul Mehta and Adhyayan Suman do their best, but ultimately are bogged down by a ridiculous script and the dreaded newcomer syndrome (you know, the one where they look and act like any number of various newcomers that have been pouring into Bollywood lately). Not much to recommend here, just move along to one of the movies in the Thums Up section instead.

 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!

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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