Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 4 Dec 2008
  ‘Yuvvraaj’ hits a sour note, while ‘Dostana’ flies FABULOUSLY high but ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is the slummy best!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this
 

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Yuvvraaj
 PB Rating: 6.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Subhash Ghai  Producer: Subhash Ghai
 Music: A.R.Rahman  Lyrics: Gulzar
 Starring: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani, Aushima Sawhney
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
I really wanted this film to be Ghai’s comeback. I was hoping to see the kind of film that a director who has fallen from grace with disasters like “Yaadein” and the totally wretched “Kisna”, would create to redeem himself in the eyes of not only his peers but also his loyal audience. Though he has directed, the smaller “Black & White” this year, “Yuvvraaj” is the true test to see if this once obviously talented director could rekindle his creative fire. Sadly, this film is not the comeback he was hoping for and if this is as creative as he can get, then I think it’s time for him to call “pack up” for the final time as director. I don’t even know where to begin. The screenplay is poorly written with no memorable dialogues or dramatic tension. The plot is wafer thin and fails to hold the audience’s interest leading to a climax that is totally anti-climactic. The set design and costumes are a throwback to the 80’s and shows a director whose vision is still stuck in a time warp. Ghai has unfortunately not been able to keep up with the times or re-invent himself. He’s still prone to have stereotypical villains who clownishly threaten the hero of the film. There’s the turbo charged wheelchair uncle who wants the wealth no matter what the cost and a plethora of other stereotypical Bollywood villains whose job is to mainly sneer at the camera (let’s not forget the scantily clad vamp who tries to distract the hero with her bare cleavage and the vicious aunty with the purple hair). Also, could someone please tell Subhash Ghai that he should tone down his cap/hat fetish? He seems to love to adorn his heroes with caps or hats, getting to the point of looking absolutely ridiculous. I kept being reminded of Dr. Seuss’ the “Cat in the Hat” every time I saw either Salman or Zayed with a goofy hat on their head. Mr. Ghai does a big disservice to A.R. Rahman’s beautiful music as not one of his songs is showcased in any way that is memorable. What about the actors you say? Well, Salman never succeeds in conveying the intensity of his character’s emotions. One begins to think that this actor who once could act very well in dramatic roles in past films (“Jaan-E-Mann”, “Garv”) has now lost the ability to emote without making everything into a joke. He looks tired in some scenes, and the only thing noticeable about his performance is that his hair changes in every shot (like some big hairy chameleon sitting on top of Salman’s head). What can I say about Zayed Khan? Not much, as his performance just comes off as artificial. Katrina Kaif in the miniscule role that she has is given no chance at acting, thus failing to prove (even after all these films) whether or not she can really act. All she basically has to do is look at the camera with a painfully perplexed expression. Boman Irani plays Katrina’s dad as an eccentric over the top fellow, the type of caricature that we have seen too many times from this talented actor and his performance falls flat. Mithun Chakraborty is in this too, as the lawyer whose hairstyle reminds you of Snoopy’s ears. At this point, you must be looking up at the title of this section to see if you have mistakenly jumped to the Thums Down section! The sole reason that this film is worth a watch and has made it to the Thums Up section is Anil Kapoor. His portrayal of the mentally challenged eldest brother Gyanesh is wonderful. He plays this simple yet pure hearted character so naturally, and with so much sensitivity that every time he is on the silver screen (or lcd monitor), true movie magic is created saving the film from being a total disaster. Ghai seems to have lost his touch as a director of the big budget films he used to be so adept at. Caught in a time warp in looks, set design, costume design (look at the lamb like pants for the male dancers in the song, “Shano Shano”), and storytelling ability, “Yuvvraaj” is a sad example of a director who has lost his way. Yes, I am a “bad” boy for writing this scathing review, but I know that Mr. Ghai is capable of much better, after all, once a showman always a showman.

 Dostana
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Tarun Mansukhani  Producer: Karan Johar / Hiroo Yash Johar
 Music: Vishal & Shekhar  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan, Kumaar, Vishal
 Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol, Shilpa Shetty
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Don’t let the name fool you; this film has nothing to do with the old classic film of the same name. Instead we are presented with a light airy movie in the guise of a pink flamingo. I think that this film presents us with the best on screen couple since Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Yes, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham share a sizzling chemistry on the screen and they are the sole reason that this film leaves the viewer with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Credit Karan Johar, for trying to push the gay theme to the front of the Bollywood psyche, but doing it in such a way as to not upset the general movie going public. If you liked Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan’s over the top comedic portrayal of a gay couple in “Kal Ho Na Ho”, then you’ll like this film, as it takes that concept one step further. The screenplay, deals with two straight guys needing to find an apartment right away, then posing as a gay couple in order to live with a beautiful girl who they both lust after. Hmmm, I see all the girls reading this don’t really care about the plot or that Priyanka Chopra sizzles in a swimsuit. No, what has female hearts fluttering worldwide, is John’s rising out of the water wearing an itty-bitty teeny-weeny speedo. Forget the plot, forget the direction, forget Priyanka, a half naked buff John Abraham rising out of the sea like a modern day male venus is what this film will be forever remembered for. Ladies, please wipe the drool off your face, and let’s talk about the rest of this film. Let it not be said, that Karan Johar doesn’t understand what the Bollywood audience is looking for. He’s not about pushing the envelope, for him it’s all about making that commercial hit. His marketing strategy is first class (as the promos of the film were polished bait for the audience), but marketing will only get you so far. It doesn’t hurt that “Dostana” is a welcome relief from not only the mindless comedies that we have had to suffer through in 2008, but also a respite from the doom ‘n’ gloom of most films nowadays. There are no killings, terrorist attacks, dramatically creepy relatives, or fashion models gone bad. Instead, we get a fun movie that mostly relies on witty dialogues, smooth editing, and the chemistry between the two lead male actors. One could argue that the film makes fun at the gay stereotype, but nowhere during the movie, does one feel that gays are being made fun of in a mean spirited way. There are no heavy handed lisps, or overtly wild hand gestures. Credit the director, Tarun Mansukhani for bringing forth some very natural performances from the guys and Priyanka. The jokes directed at homosexuals stay clear of the usual painfully prejudiced jabs we usually see in Bollywood films. On a technical standpoint, the lighting of the film is bright `n` joyful, the music by Vishal-Shekhar is light ‘n’ frothy, and the use of synch sound is so much better at conveying the subtle emotions during various entertaining scenes. All three lead actors needed this film to prove that they are still able to deliver a commercial hit. Abhishek is wonderfully natural as both straight and gay. John works his body for all it’s worth, but still delivers a fairly decent performance. Priyanka acts well in a role that is a supporting character for the main leads as she is caught in a three-way love triangle. Bobby Deol makes a surprise quest appearance and gives his usual slightly wooden performance. Special mention must be made of Kirron Kher as Abhishek’s mother. The scenes in which she finally accepts the fact that her son is gay (much to Abhishek’s dismay) and the subsequent scenes of John walking into the home as if he is a blushing bride are hysterical. In the midst of all this mayhem, issues regarding how painful it is to come out of the closet are presented to the audience in a very smart way. There’s a message in the film of tolerance wrapped up in a humorous storyline. It’s too bad that Karan Johar didn’t make John and Abraham an actual gay couple (ala the Hollywood film, “The Birdcage”), but sadly the film might not have been as big of a hit it if he did. India and Bollywood still have a long way to go in terms of portraying homosexuality on the big screen. This film takes some small baby steps in breaking Bollywood out of the typical gay stereotype. Beyond all of that, it’s just a plain fun movie that will leave you laughing and feeling fabulous. Do yourself a favor and watch it, as it will teach you all about what “Dostana” is all about.

 Slumdog Millionaire
 PB Rating: 10.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Danny Boyle  Producer: Christian Colson / Fox Searchlight Pictures
 Music: A.R. Rahman  Lyrics: Raquib Alam, Gulzar, Blaaze, Wendy Parr, M.I.A., A.R. Rahman, & Tanvi Shah
 Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Rajendranath Zutshi, Freida Pinto, Jeneva Talwar, Irfan Khan
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
I had to give off a chuckle when one Western media reviewer said that the actor portraying the game show host looks like Omar Sharif (the Arabic actor). The actor in question is of course Anil Kapoor, and though I fail to see the resemblance (perhaps the moustache and hair), the film doesn’t belong to apna hero Anil, but rather rests brilliantly on the thin shoulders of the young man who plays Jamal, the “slumdog” in the film, Dev Patel. The British actor totally immerses himself in the role of the poor boy who goes on a game show and wins, only to be thrown into the shadows of doubt and suspicion by those thinking that he has cheated. Director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”, “28 Days Later”) has given a kinetic style and structure to the film as it flashes from the present to the past and back to tell a story that is as much a tale of human perseverance as it is of love and the vibrant city of Mumbai. Based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup, the clever screenplay (adapted by Simon Beaufoy) retains the frantic pace of the book and the blissful innocence of destined young love. The attention to detail in the film is amazing and that’s not only thanks to Danny Boyle, but also to his Indian co-director Loveleen Tandan (assistant director for “Monsoon Wedding”). She really brings forth the essence of Mumbai, while Boyle makes sure the gritty undercurrent of danger is retained within each frame of the film. Frieda Pinto plays the love interest for Dev Patel’s character. Originally from Mumbai, the actress brings a beauty to the ugly surroundings of various scenes throughout the film. Irrfan Khan once again proves to be a true crossover artist. While other “major” actors claim to be courted by Hollywood, Irrfan has quietly made the transition and brings his talented acting to a Western audience. His role as the inspector, who investigates Jamal’s surprising and seemingly suspicious win, is picture perfect. A.R. Rahman shines with the soundtrack, breaking the bonds of Bollywood restraint to add an amazing musical soundscape to the visuals of the film (M.I.A. fans take note, her collaboration with Rahman results in an amazingly innovative track that will leave you breathless). The tale of the two lost loves; coming together via Jamal’s appearance on “Kaun Banega Crorepati?” ("Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" is what holds the movie together. I don’t want to say more as that would dampen the thrill of seeing this movie, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat and then feel an incredible joy as you see the brilliant ode to Bollywood “dancing” during the final credits. Run, don’t walk to see this film that will reinvigorate not only your heart, but also is one of the finest films of the year. In a month where the brutal terrorist attack of 11/26/08 is bearing down on everyone’s thoughts and souls, this movie is a nice ode to the human spirit and how we should never give up and let anyone knock us down. Hope is eternal, and so is the Indian spirit.

 Fashion
 PB Rating: 7.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Madhur Bhandarkar  Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
 Music: Salim-Sulaiman  Lyrics: Sandeep Nath and Irfan Siddhique
 Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Mugdha Godse, Samir Soni, Arbaaz Khan, Arjan Bajwa, and Arbaaz Khan
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Walk the ramp and face the very much real life stresses that face apna Indian fashionistas in the wonderful world of modeling! The latest offering from Madhur Bhandarkar (“Traffic Signal”, “Corporate”, “Chandni Bar”) is a visual and intellectual delight that blows the lid off the scandals that plague the fashion industry. From the casting couch (something the director has first hand familiarity with) to the rise and fall of a supermodel, “Fashion” is a film that is not afraid to show it all. If anyone could have brought forth a great performance from actress Priyanka Chopra, then that is Bhandarkar. He finally proves to the audience that Priyanka can act. It’s this movie that provides her not only with a talented director, but also with a well-written screenplay featuring well-developed characters that any actor would love to bring to life. The film itself outlines the rise and fall of Priyanka Chopra’s character Meghna, who fights her way to the top only to find herself in a deadly freefall that she is desperately trying to escape. Along the way, we are treated to an insider’s view of the fashion world that includes wardrobe malfunctions, illicit affairs and enough cattiness to last a lifetime. Kangana Ranaut shines with her tinny vibrating voice, and fragile china doll looks. She may not look like your typical model, but she has enough chutzpah to carry the role. A revelation is model turned actress Mugdha Godse, who burns up the screen each time the camera lens focuses on her. The music by Salim-Sulaiman is okay if nothing too memorable. Poetic, controversial and chaotic, “Fashion” is the type of rare Bollywood film that is both entertaining and thought provoking. Prepare to walk the ramp, deal with that wardrobe malfunction, and sleep your way to the top as you watch this memorable movie.

 Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 400 unique users): 5.17
 Director: Kaushik Ghatak  Producer: Rajshri Productions Pvt. Ltd.
 Music: Ravindra Jain  Lyrics: Ravindra Jain
 Starring: Sonu Sood, Isha Koppikar, Alok Nath, Smita Jaykar, Anang Desai, Vishal Malhotra, Chhavi Mittal, Amrita Prakash
 Genre:  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Trust Rajshri films to pop up every few years to remind the multiplex jeans ‘n’ miniskirt crowd that Indian traditional values still exist. If you are expecting a cutting edge MTV style homage to Western degradation, then move along, this film will not (and probably never will be) your cup of chai. In a world of fast cars and even faster men/women, “Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi” reminds you that there’s something special about the anticipation that is felt in the longing Desi heart. Sooraj Barjatya, who is known as the king of sugary family entertainers (“Vivah”, “Hum Saath Saath Hain”, “Hum Aapke Hai Kaun”, “Maine Pyar Kiya") moves from the director’s chair to the producer’s, but there’s no doubt about it that Sooraj’s stamp is all over this film. Debutante director, Kaushik Ghatak, shows a nice sense of maturity and the ability to frame nostalgic shots very well, seemingly under the careful eye of the veteran Barjatya. What we get is a film that is unfortunately a throwback to seemingly simpler more traditional times, and though it’s worth a watch, will probably find very few metro filmi fans that can relate to not only the story but also the presentation of the film. Dealing with a pure love, extreme responsibilities, and Desi style dramatic tears, the movie will take you through the various passions of the human heart. This movie is almost the anti-Bollywood movie, in that inexplicably Rajshri has chosen a debutante director, for a remake of their classic film, “Tapasya”, have hired a lead pair that is arguably not known for their abilities to headline a film, and given the musical reigns to the all but forgotten Ravindra Jain. First up, I dare anyone to not think of a young Amitabh Bachchan when watching Sonu Sood portray the lead character Prem (there’s that name again). Sood delivers a nuanced performance that is the centerpiece of the movie. Also, in a seeming makeover, the usually sexually charged Isha Koppikar delivers a heartfelt performance as the traditionally strong Indian woman torn between love and responsibility. With this film, she proves that she is more than capable of playing a role that doesn’t require flashes of leg. The lead pair are a joy to watch, but watch out for Alok Nath! The veteran actor, who is reborn as the kindly father in each Rajshri film, is again wonderful to watch. Sad, that only Sooraj Barjatya primarily employs him, as he deserves more diverse kinds of roles. Finally, the music, which is normally a major selling point of a Rajshri film, is unfortunately quite bland. It seems that music director Ravindra Jain has literally run out of creative juice and it’s hard to believe that this is the same music director that brought us such hit soundtracks as “Ram Teri Ganga Maili” and “Chitchor”. That a director like Sooraj Barjatya is incapable of inspiring better work from the talented music director is disappointing. The mediocre music comes at the viewer every couple of minutes and totally breaks the narrative to pieces. Memo to Mr. Barjatya: Enough with the mega song soundtrack, it’s time to focus on quality rather than quantity. In a sea of sex and sin, “Ek Vivah Aisi Bhi”, will take you to back to your Indian roots, and remind you that sometimes being traditional is not such a bad thing. The movie is far from perfect, but worth a watch. Rajshri’s values are good, but Sooraj Barjatya needs to catch up with the times, or else he and Rajshri will be left in the proverbial westernized dust.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Golmaal Returns
I’m at a loss to explain how this film could possibly endear itself to anyone’s heart. It takes the kind of mindless comedy patented by the recent “Singh is Kiing” and takes it to another spectacularly unfunny low level. Misunderstandings and physical buffoonery are the order of the day. Pity that Ajay Devgan is not getting the right kinds of roles, as he is woefully miscast. Kareena Kapoor (who has yet to deliver a decent film after “Jab We Met) is riding a vacuous wave of popularity that is not backed up by her actual acting talent. She’s capable of so much more, yet someone needs to steer her away from her poor choice of films. In this one, she seems to be sleepwalking through the movie, waking up once in a while to look glamorous during the songs. Celena Jaitley, is, well Celena. There’s not much to say about her acting, as she primarily relies on her looks to carry her through the film. The only bright spots to this dreary affair are Shreyas Talpade who has a proven track record playing humerous characters (“Dor” and “Welcome to Sajjanpur”) and the always under appreciated Tusshar Kapoor. While Shreyas has had a chance to branch out into different kinds of films, Tusshar has been relegated to starring in at least one mindless comedy each year. These two share the only real chemistry in the film, and the characters should be spun off into their own movie. Director Rohit Shetty does his best, but perhaps the pressure to deliver a sequel got to him, as he fails to prop up the weak storyline or focus on any kind of character development. As to Arshad Warsi, the unfortunate actor only gets to shine in the Munnabhai films, as it seems that no director really knows what to do with him. Let’s pray that Golmaal doesn’t return again, but judging by the bumper opening, I’d bet that we haven’t seen the last of these crazy goons.

 Roadside Romeo
Pity poor Jugul Hansraj. The “Masoom” lad has not had much luck in the grown up world. Though he tasted success as a child actor, not even Aditya Chopra’s “Mohabattein” could give him the boost he needed in Bollywood. Luckily for him, the Chopra family are close friends, and he has been given a second chance as a director. Even luckier for him, Disney Pictures decided to partner up with Yash Raj Films to produce what can only be called India’s first big budget computer animated film. Unfortunately for him, Yash Raj has been truly hurting this year, with flop after flop indicating that the production house is severely out of touch with what the audience truly wants to see. Into this climate comes, “Roadside Romeo” and honestly, it’s not that bad, but the problem is, it’s not that good either. Now you might say that’s a contradiction, but let’s look at the bad first. When thinking of a loveable ruffian of a dog, the first thing you might think about is Saif Ali Khan, but though that may look good on paper, the fact of the matter is that his voice doesn’t really fit the lead character in the film. Voice acting is different and more difficult at times then live acting, and Saif’s vocals fall a bit flat. You never quite disconnect that this is Saif Ali Khan’s voice, and it pulls the viewer out of the film. I understand the need for a big marquee name, but in the future it would probably be better to cast an actor whose voice would be a better fit. In this case, perhaps Salman Khan’s voice would have provided the necessary playfulness. The same holds for Kareena Kapoor’s voice, as the poodle who get’s Romeo’s caboodle into gear. For lack of a better word, there’s just no vocal chemistry between the two. Also, the animation for some reason is not too fluid, as character movements come across a bit stiff at times, particularly during the dance scenes. Third, the music by Salim-Sulaiman is pretty mediocre, and quickly forgettable. Fourth, the screenplay isn’t witty enough to appeal to adults, and isn’t cute enough to appeal to the kids. The best children’s movies are the ones that are smart enough to appeal to both adults and youngsters. It’s very hard to toe that line, but Disney has done it with their and Pixar’s releases. So what’s the good you ask? Well, that would have to be the excellent Jaaved Jaaferi as the don of all dogs, Charlie Anna. This talented actor is the only one who seems to understand what it means to act vocally, and modulate his voice to match his animated character. The result is a melding of his vocals to the animated dog on screen, immersing the viewer in the character and laughing along with him. I was hoping that this film would knock one out of the park, but at the most it’s barely fun enough to kill a couple of hours. Sadly, this romeo has fallen by the roadside!

 Hello
 Director: Atul Agnihotri  Producer: Percept Picture Company
 Music: Sajid Wajid  Lyrics: Jalees Sherwani
 Starring: Salman Khan, Sharman Joshi,Sohail Khan,Katrina Kaif,Isha Koppikar,Amrita Arora,Gul Panag
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Just say Goodbye, to Atul Agnihotri’s second film “Hello”. Though his first film, “Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha” was enjoyable in parts, it was obvious that there was room for improvement in Agnihotri’s direction style. This time around, he’s roped in author Chetan Bhagat and attempted to adapt the writer’s best selling novel, “One Night @ the Call Centre” (his recent “3 Mistakes of My Life” also looks very promising). The main problem with “Hello” is the screenplay (written by Bhagat and Agnihotri). What could have been an excellent adaptation of a well-written novel instead is turned into a boring movie that never quite gels enough to leave an impact on the audience. Multiple storylines are always tricky to handle in an ensemble film. Anurag Basu did an excellent job at this with the wonderful, “Life in a Metro” last year, but for every good multiple character driven film, we get a dozen that just fail due to the screenplay and direction. “Hello”, unfortunately suffers from not only a poorly written screenplay, but also lackluster direction. Don’t have any high hopes that Salman or Katrina have substantial roles in the film. They don’t. Salman looks like he’s got a killer hangover from having too many whiskey shots, and Katrina Kaif plays an otherworldly character in an obvious promotional ploy (Salman is the director’s brother in law and…Katrina is for lack of a better description, the girlfriend in law) to bring audiences to the theater. Pity the actors who have really put their all into the film, specifically Gul Panag, Sharman Joshi, and Sohail Khan (yes, believe it or not the youngest Khan brother acts quite well). Isha Koppikar, Amrita Arora, Arbaaz Khan, and Sharat Saxena, all of who are just about ok, round off the cast. Perhaps, in the hands of a more capable director, the film could have turned out to be a crowd pleaser. The topic is definitely current and there’s an extreme curiosity about call centre culture. It’s too bad the director dropped the ball. Don’t say “Hello”, just say “GOODBYE”!

 Kidnap
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 401 unique users): 5.16
 Director: Sanjay Gadhvi  Producer: Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Pvt. Ltd.
 Music: Pritam, Sanjay and Sandeep Vyas  Lyrics: Mayur Puri
 Starring: Imran Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Minissha Lamba, Vidya Malvade, Rahul Dev, Malaika Arora, Amrita Arora, Reema Lagoo, Raj Zutshi
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
I wish that I was kidnapped while watching this film, at least that would have broken me out of the dazed glaze of boredom that I felt throughout this tedious exercise in Bollywood excess. First off, the king of empty style over substance, director Sanjay Gadhvi shows that he is unable to deliver the goods outside of the Yash Raj camp. There’s certainly a lot of style ‘n’ sass in this film (as evidenced by the clever storyboard drawings at the beginning of the film), but the screenplay by Shibani Bathija is not well written enough to keep the audience’s interest. A movie like this should have non-stop thrills and a feeling of rollercoaster like movement to what should be a climax that leaves the audience breathless. Instead we get a film that has a few excellent sequences but is for the most part vacuous. Can someone tell me who in their right mind thought that casting Vidya Malvade (who was just seen as a young woman in last year’s Chak De India) as the mother of an eighteen year old would be believable? In that same vein, in whose eyes does the mature faced Minissha Lamba look like a vivacious teen? These two are woefully miscast and though Bollywood films always require a certain suspension of disbelief, it is hard to believe these two in their respective roles. Sanjay Gadhvi tries his best though; as he basically strips Lamba down to get the juices flowing for all the frontbenchers as she traipses through the film showing her sinfully toned body (here`s another starlet that has joined the bikini brigade). He’s done it successfully before with the “Dhoom” films (specially with the sexing up of Aishwarya Rai), but it’s getting to be a gimmick that fails to cover up that the character is not well written. The saving grace of the film is Imran Khan, who in his sophomore effort (after the excellent “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”) shows that he is a talent to watch out for. The film is worth viewing just for his performance. As to Sanju Baba, he basically coasts his way throughout the film, as if he’s dialed in his performance via long distance. Let’s make a special mention of Pritam’s music; then again, the less said about it the better (other than the excellent “Mit Jaaye” by the brothers Vyas). It’s a shame that this film will be gone and forgotten soon, for it had the potential to be a really good action thriller. Instead we get a film from a director who really needs to reinvent himself. Perhaps Gadhvi will try again to “Kidnap” audiences with “Dhoom 3” next time.

 Drona
 PB Rating: 6.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 401 unique users): 5.15
 Director: Goldie Behl  Producer: Shrishti Arya, Sunil Lulla
 Music: Dhruv Ghanekar  Lyrics: Vaibhav Modi
 Starring: Abhishek Bachchan,Priyanka Chopra,Kay Kay Menon,Jaya Bachchan
 Genre: Action  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Drona-Man, Drona-Man…. does whatever a Drona can. Swings his sword, everytime. Catches Kay Kay with this rhyme. Hey there! There goes the Drona-Man! Perhaps for a moment I thought that Goldie Behl (director of “Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai”) would actually surprise with a genre-busting trail blazing film with mythological elements and a smattering of sci-fi, opening the doors for more films in this genre. Alas, that is not the case as this train wreck of a film completely derails the audience’s good mood. The special effects are top notch and are truly groundbreaking (though the sandstorm face scene is a complete rip off of a similar shot in the “Mummy”). Yet, like the sporadically good “Love Story 2050”, the screenplay for “Drona is its biggest weakness. The story is lacking as it feels like the director/producer poured all the money into the special effects when they should have been investing in a good screenplay. Why is it that apna Bollywood honchos don’t realized that a well-written script is the best special effect money can buy? Instead we are treated to a by the books storyline whose predictable ending is telegraphed a mile away. They say that the measure of a true hero is the villain/challenges he/she faces. Yet, the villain in this film, played by Kay Kay Menon is laughably corny. Again, Bollywood fails to realize that a villain should be powerful, perhaps even more powerful than the hero for that is what would push the main character to beat the odds. We get the usual, “Bwahahaha, I am going to conquer the world starting with India while I make cheesy jokes and parade around with my ridiculous hairstyle”! Kay Kay, do you need the money that bad? As for Abhishek, he delivers another weak performance. I do give him kudos for keeping a straight face while wearing that ridiculous Drona costume. Let’s just say, it doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of evildoers. It almost looks like Elvis Presley’s patented white costume. Priyanka Chopra as the tough broad, who can fight as well as the guys, yet has a heart that is soft and tender just doesn’t work. Another flop for this unlucky actress makes this reviewer say, “Oop Cha”! Jaya Bachchan steals the show in the few scenes she has. The music by Dhruv Ghanekar makes me feel like I am watching a T.V. commercial. Again, what could have been a powerful mythological/sci-fi/fantasy tale instead has been ground through the Bollywood cheese-o-matic machine to create a boring and ultimately waste of time film. You’d need to be a hero to have the courage to watch this film. Just pop it in the good old DVD player and skip to the chapters with the special effects, but stay away from the rest.

Previous Weeks Thums Up - Thums Down »
 • `Why "Krrish" 3 wasn`t so super!`
 • BWAHAHAHA….`Grand Masti`!
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