Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 19 Aug 2008
  Ranbir, Tussi Great Ho, Salman Tussi Ok Ho, but Akshay Tussi Kinng Ho (of the Thums Down Section that is)!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Bachna Ae Haseeno
 PB Rating: 5.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Siddarth Anand  Producer: Yash Raj Films
 Music: Vishal & Shekhar  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan
 Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Bipasha Bashu, and Minissha Lamba
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Let’s put on our special rose-colored Bollywoodasize-oh-perfecto ™ glasses as we look at this beautifully filmed, sporadically well written, imperfect offering from the ailing Yash Raj camp. Director Siddarth Anand is talented, there’s no doubt about that (see "Salaam Namastey" or "Tara Rum Pum"), but even he can’t overcome the dreaded poorly written screenplay syndrome that seems to be the bane of Hindi film existence this year. That’s not to say that the film is bad, it’s not. In fact, it’s probably Yash Raj’s best offering of the year (though that’s not saying much, after the God awful “Tashan” which is mainly remembered for Kareena Kapoor’s anorexic size zero body in a bikini than for anything else and the Mary Poppins rip off “Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic” which is known for Rani’s awful skirt). Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Ranbir Kapoor is perfectly cast, and works wonders for the film. It’s his movie all the way and he exudes a charm and charisma on the silver screen that is rare to find. He fits the mold for Indian male superstars. Handsome, but not too handsome? Check! Able to dance well and go topless (yet doesn’t require a bra like Govinda)? Check! Able to overcome a badly written film and still come out on top? Check! Throws guys into fits of jealousy and women into fits of erotic yet totally prohibited behind closed doors excitement? Check! Yes dear readers, Ranbir is the next superstar (sorry Shahid, you come in a close second). Now that we get that out of the way, let’s talk about the women. Bipasha Basu is excellent in the film (looking every bit the superstar sex symbol that she is), Minissha Lamba does well in her “crying” emotional scenes (somebody please tell the costume designer that Hammer pants went out of style many moons ago and are not to be used simply to cover up a girl’s obviously curvy hips), and Deepika Padukone is just about ok (though to her credit, she has the weakest character treatment of the lot and is the one actor who truly suffers from the poorly written screenplay). The story of a man who breaks hearts left and right, then has an epiphany when rejected and goes back to apologize for his sins, has been told before, yet there’s a freshness in the way Siddarth Anand presents the material. Compared to most of the current crop of releases, this is one of the few films that will leave you with a mostly paisa vasool (though don’t expect the film to be completely worth the money). It’s a harmless film, and one that is perfectly enjoyable on a lazy summer afternoon (or to get out of the monsoon downpour).

 God Tussi Great Ho
 PB Rating: 5.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Rumi Jaffery  Producer: Afzal Khan
 Music: Sajid-Wajid  Lyrics: Jalees Sherwani, Shabbir Ahmed, Sajid Farhad, Deven Shukla
 Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Manisha Koirala, Sohail Khan, Satish Kaushik, Anumpan Kher, Dilip Tahil, Sanjay Mishra, Beena Kak
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
How one wishes that “God Tussi Great Ho” was truly a great movie, but unfortunately it isn’t. Still, I found it more enjoyable than the bombastic vacuum like comedy of “Singh is Kinng”. Whereas the Akshay starrer ground to a halt whenever he wasn’t on screen, this film retains the viewer’s interest mainly due to the excellent ensemble performances by Salman Khan, Rajpal Yadav, Amitabh Bachchan who gives Morgan Freeman a run for his money and the always-enjoyable Anupam Kher. If you’ve seen the Hollywood flick, “Bruce Almighty” then you know the basic premise of this film. Man complains to God, God actually listens, Man gets God’s power for a little while and mayhem ensues! If ever there was an actor suited to this kind of role, it’s Salman Khan who gives an energetic and manic performance as the lead character. Honestly, I think that he’s just playing himself on screen, and it’s sad in a way that he is seemingly most comfortable in comedic light hearted roles than serious ones (for a real laugh, watch Salman’s “hilarious” crying scene towards the end of “Khamoshi”). Priyanka Chopra once again misfires and is just about ok in the film. Her performance showcases the exact reason why this actress has not achieved more success than she has. She really needs to work hard at polishing her acting skills. Forget the music, because I already have. The movie looks like it’s ghost directed by David Dhawan and perhaps that because it’s directed by his main writer, Rumy Jafrey. He does a capable job, but hopefully the roughness that is evident with this film will smoothen out by his next. So, why does this squeak by into the Thums Up section? Though it’s not perfect, this film is thoroughly enjoyable light entertainment that ultimately leaves a pleasant impression on the viewer. In other words, it’s harmless and not annoying in the least, a nice change from the other rather loud and obnoxiously mindless blockbuster that’s raking in the money currently (hint: initials SIK).

 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. Your mission should you choose to accept it? Enjoy that rare Bollywood creature: A well done action movie.

 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.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Singh is Kinng
 PB Rating: 7.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Anees Bazmee  Producer: Vipul Shah
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Mayur Puri
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Neha Dhupia, Javed Jaffrey, Kiron Kher, Ranvir Shorey, Kamal Chopra, Yashpal Sharma, Om Puri, Sonu Sood, Sudhanshu Pandey
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Be aware, the age of marketing and hype is in full Bollywood swing, as this train wreck of a movie really shows. It doesn’t matter if the movie is good or not as long as the promos are slick and you have the man with the Midas touch (Akshay Kumar) as the lead actor. Regardless of what kind of bullet review I write for this film, I know that you are going to see this movie, as you should, but be warned, that you will leave the theater with a migraine instead of a warm fuzzy feeling inside. There’s no doubt about it that Akshay Kumar is very good as Happy Singh. His comic timing is impeccable and his likeability is at an all-time high. What is most painfully annoying is that he’s the only good part of this film. Director/writer Anees Bazmi has taken the Bollywood mindless comedy genre to new heights of witless stupidity. When you can count the number of funny lines/situations on one hand for a two and a half hour supposed laugh riot blockbuster of the year, you know there’s something really wrong. Katrina Kaif sure is one lucky actress. All she basically has to do is look beautiful (as glossy as the film itself), and spout dialogue in stilted Hindi. I can’t help but feel that she is capable of better, but she delivers what the screenplay requires of her (which is not much). The music by Pritam is peppy and the videos are shot well. Other than that, the film is a vacuum with supporting characters like Ranvir Shorey (in a rare poor performance), Javed Jaffrey (who is just annoying), and Om Puri (who seems like he just showed up to collect a paycheck) providing more groans than chuckles. I wanted to like this film, I really did, but it simply hurt to watch it. Thankfully Akshay partially saves the day; otherwise this would have been a more painful experience than it was. I like a mindless film as much as the next person, when it’s funny and keeps the viewer’s interest, but this film tries too hard to be a blockbuster until it almost becomes a parody of itself. Lavish sets! Beautiful women! Punjabi Pride! Bhangra dance music! Just enough laughs to keep you from walking out of the theater! If that’s your cup of tea, then by all means go for it. Watch out for the inevitable sequel. Perhaps they should call it: “Singh is Kinng 2: Happy go Lucky all the way to the bank!”

 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…

 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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