Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 6 Aug 2008
  The Good, The Bad & the Ugly at the Multiplex!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Ugly Aur Pagli
 Director: Sachin Khot  Producer: Pritish Nandy
 Music: Anu Malik  Lyrics: Amitabh Verma
 Starring: Ranvir Shorey, Mallika Sherawat, Zeenat Aman, Tinu Anand, Sushmita Mukherjee, Priyanka Sharma, Vihang Nayak, Bharti Achrekar, Payal Rohatgi, Sapna Bhavnani, Manish Anand,
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Producer Pritish Nandy attempted to capitalize on the success of his, “Pyar Ke Side Effects” by producing another romedy (romantic/comedy). Unfortunately, this time around, even the chemistry between the two leads (the talented Ranvir Shorey and the full bodied part time actress and full time sex symbol Mallika Sherawat cannot completely save the film. The music is pretty much forgettable (except for the blink and you’ll miss it hit, “De Talli”). The screenplay’s second half fails to keep the actors’ or the audience’s interest. What could have been a naughty and playful romp through the underside of romance instead becomes a sado masochist viewing experience. Now, you must be wondering what this film is doing in the Thums up section? Well, as all of you are well aware, Bollywood fans expect that some movies are going to be tedious and trying; however, we always seem to look for a kernel of goodness within each bad film. In the case of “Ugly Aur Pagli”, the kernel of goodness is the excellent performance by Ranvir Shorey (who deserves better parts than this). It’s not easy to portray a man who goes against the typical Hindi film male stereotype and Ranvir deserves much credit for his “worth a watch” performance. Mallika Sherawat also delivers a fine performance as the crazy, kinky and somewhat masculine romantic interest. She’s not your typical “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai” heroine. There’ll be no dancing around trees this time, instead we get ninety nine slaps, some sporadic laughs, and one kiss. Don’t expect another “Pyar Ke Side Effects”, and you’ll find that this film is a decent timepass; however, it won’t leave any lasting impact on the history of Bollywood cinema. So revel in the good (Ranvir Shorey, Mallika Sherawat), the bad (poor direction by director Sachin Khot), and the ugly (directionless screenplay with a nonsensical ending). A slaphappy barely there Thums up for this one!

 Mission Istanbul
 Director: Apoorva Lakhia  Producer: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Sunil Shetty, Shabbir Boxwala
 Music: Anu Malik, Chirantan Bhatt, Shammir Tandon, Mika Singh  Lyrics: Sameer, Virag Mishra, Shabbir Ahmed, Hamza Faruqui, Ishq Bector, Mika Singh
 Starring: Zayed Khan, Sunil Shetty, Viveik Oberoi, Nikitin Dheer, Shabbir Aluwalia, Shreya Sharan, Abhishek Bachchan (Special Appearance)
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Director Apoorva Lakhia (“Shootout at Lokhandwala”) returns to bring “Mission Istanbul” to the big screen. The promos for this film exuded a certain “sexy cool sleekness” that let the audience know that this is simply an action film through and through. Like a breezy summer Hollywood blockbuster, the prerequisite for this film is to check your mind at the door, don’t be logical in any way, and throw out any sense of realism. If you follow those three simple rules, you’ll find that this movie is just plain fun. It’s a roller coaster ride that will take you along through some excellent action pieces throughout the film. The stand out performance in this film is Zayed Khan, who has simply stolen the show. Viveik Oberoi is perfect as the Turkish Commando who tag teams with Zayed to bring down the evil “Al Johara” gang of terrorists. Lakhia knows that this type of film shouldn’t spend too much time with the set up and that the action should quickly build within each scene to lead to an entertaining climax. There are two actresses in the film (Shriya Saran and Shweta Bhardwaj), but really this one is a testosterone fest as the movie’s focus stays on the two male leads. This one is strictly for the guys, and the gals who love their guys enough to watch this film. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to watch “Mission Istanbul” and be prepared to be thrilled.

 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.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Money Hai To Honey Hai
My oh my, how the comedy genre has fallen in 2008. It seems like the Planet Bollywood Thums Down section has been populated mostly by bad comedy flicks this year. Everyone loves a “check your mind at the door” brainless comedy every once in awhile. After all, you really don’t want to strain your brain on serious dramatic subjects all the time, do you? A nonsensical comedy can be fun, fun, fun! Let me tell you a joke, because I have a better chance of making you laugh than this entire two and a half hour waste of time film. Director Ganesh Acharya has probably realized that while David Dhawan and Priyadarshan seemingly make the brainless comedy look effortless to create, it actually requires a good amount of serious work. It seems like the first thing that most Bollywood screenplay writers do when writing a comedy script is to see how many inane misunderstandings they can use within the film. Once they’ve identified these, the entire movie is built around misunderstanding upon misunderstanding. This film is no different. Sadly, one hoped that Govinda’s follow up to his stellar “Partner” (2007) would have been equally funny, but this film doesn’t showcase the actor’s talent, but rather his weaknesses. Number one amongst those is the fact that he has a tendency to ham it up without strong direction from the director. Acharya repeats his “Swami” lead actor as Manoj Bajpayee returns to the silver screen. Surely he deserves a better film than this, as his acting is completely without impact. Add a veritable giggling gaggle of bad B movie actors like the mono syllabic Celena Jaitley, the stone faced actor who annoys more than entertains Upen Patel, the dull middle aged bimbo schtick of Archana Puran Singh,the non existent acting of Hansika, the fading fast at the multiplex Aftab Shivdasani and you have the makings of a rather big disaster. I know, I mention this a lot, but can we have a decent screenplay? Not here certainly. The entire film is pointless and it looks like Govinda will have to rely on David Dhawan to resurrect his career again. This film is neither worth the “Money” nor will it leave you with the sweet taste of “Honey”. Spare yourselves a headache and watch “Raja Babu” again if you want to see Govinda in a funny movie.

 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.

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’
Archives of all Thums Up - Thums Down ...

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