Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 8 Sep 2009
  YEE HAW! `Kaminey` and `Quick Gun Murugan` win the TUTD award for most entertaining of the week!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Thrill to the dosa loving South Indian cowboy adventures of `Quick Gun Murugan`. Gasp at the incredibly entertaining and complex `Kaminey`. Scream with joy as `Life Partner` delights in life after marriage. In other words, it`s just another crazy fun filled week on Planet Bollywood`s Thums UP `n` DOWN !

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 PB Rating: 8.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Vishal Bhardwaj  Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
 Music: Vishal Bhardwaj  Lyrics: Gulzar
 Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Amole Gupte, Deb Mukherjee, Rajatabha Dutta
 Genre: Drama  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Ah, I can see it now my fellow kaminey……I mean friends. Vishal’s “Kaminey” will start a craze. Perhaps other producers will start throwing the word kaminey into their titles, like Kaminey ki Raat.. or Kaminey ki Kasam, or Chak de Kaminey! Ahhh, the possibilities are endless. But what about the movie you ask?

Well, in short, Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey” is a perfect example of the crazy cool greatness that Bollywood is capable of delivering once in a blue moon. It’s not for the feint of heart, nor is it for those who want to compare it to Vishal’s previous masterpieces like “Omkara”, “Maqbool”, or the fascinating fable “The Blue Umbrella”. He breaks away from his recent fascination with Shakespeare, but keeps the Shakespearean pathos of morality, sadness, and lost love alive.

Of course Vishal is a complete artist, what with his contributions not only as director, but as the music director (with “Dhan Te Nan” becoming the rage), and also as the writer of the screenplay/dialogue of the film. It’s a powerful combination of talents all within one man, and the film is elevated above the rest of the recent releases due to that.

Shahid Kapoor (Charlie and Guddu) is perfect in the film, and has come a long way from his days as the new kid on the block. It’s obvious that he is a director’s actor, and Vishal shapes his performance in a dual role masterfully. It’s not the usual stereotype set of twins that we find in apna Bollywood films (wherein the only difference is a change of clothing and attitude), but rather a complete essay in two personalities by Shahid that makes the silver screen sizzle each time either of the characters he portrays come into view. That sweety who plays a sweety, and is the sweety of many a man’s dreams, Priyanka Chopra is opposite Shahid as, ahem, Sweety. This isn’t your run of the mill girl in distress;however, as this “sweety” has teeth that can bite.

The story about twins caught up in the underworld, betrayed by people they trust and forced to run for their lives will touch the chord strings of any viewer with a heart. The soul of the film is the screenplay that once again proves how powerful the written word is to the world of the moving image. Also, I have to mention the fantastic cinematography by Tassaduq Hussain who makes the world of “Kaminey” grim, gritty and believable. It’s a highly stylized world that makes the viewer curious and uncomfortable at the same time. It’s the world of the “Kaminey”, and you will gasp as you fall into it. A must watch film and probably one of the best of the year so far. It erupts in a blast of violence and sets the stage for a human story that will move you.

 Quick Gun Murugan
Madness! Insanity! South Indian Cowboys! Dosa Wars! Crazy cool fun. Do you find yourself interested by any chance? If you are looking for a highly entertaining movie that takes all the wonderful cliché’s of apna desi films and turns them around fast and furiously, then look no further than “Quick Gun Murugan”. This insanely entertaining Tamil film, deserves to be mentioned in this week’s TUTD, simply for the sheer bravery displayed by director Shashanka Ghosh.

KA-POW! Beware the dastardly villain, Rice Plate Reddy (Nasser), who in his quest to serve the best dosas in the world, decides to kidnap beautiful dosa making women. Mwahahahahaha!

DISHOOM! Enter our hero, the South Indian cowboy Quick Gun Murugan (Dr. Rajendra Prasad), who still stop at nothing to bring the evil Rice Plate Reddy to justice (but first, let’s have some idli and dosas please)! He’s quick, he’s deadly, and he’s innocently kitschy. The kind of man they don’t make anymore!

WHAM-BAM-COWBOY SLAM! From a small South Indian village, to the streets of the metropolis known as Mumbai, good fights evil and the fate of dosas around the world hang in the balance!

YEE-HAW!! So, if you’re looking for crazy insane fun from a screenplay that not only celebrates all the campy goodness of apna Desi films of yore, but also delivers all the excitement you can hope for, then look no further pardners! get on yer high horses, shoot your guns in the air and ride along with “Quick Gun Murugan”.

 Life Partner
There’s something bwa ha ha funny about the married life. While dating someone is considered cool ‘n’ hip, marriage seems to be a different matter altogether. First smile, first laugh, first kiss, first misunderstanding (well misunderstandings are a constant that carry on throughout a relationship), and the anticipation of what is to come fuel the sunset fury of romantic first love, but what about after marriage? What makes a life partner, a partner for life? Well, if you are looking for answers to those questions, then don’t look here buddy! “Life Partner” is directed by the ever dependable yet kinda worn Rumy Jaffrey and thoughtful is one thing that this film isn`t.

Let’s get one thing straight here, this isn’t edge of your seat cutting edge cinema, this is more like sitting on couch, wrapped in a warm blanket, cushy for your tushy safe cinema. Now that we have that clear, let’s talk about the film shall we?

“Life Partner” stars a proverbial A list of B movie stars that include, Fardeen Khan (whose career seems to be stuttering to a halt), Tushar Kapoor (relegated to the odd comedy film here and there), Prachi Desai (following up her well performed act in “Rock On!!”), Genelia D’Souza (still trying to establish herself after her well received performance in “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na”), and the only almost A list actor Govinda (who has yet to deliver another comeback after his “comeback” film “Partner). The performances are what you would expect in a film like this, and the most that can be said is that the actors are funny, with Genelia D’Souza really standing out amongst them all. It’s like a breath of semi fresh polluted Mumbai air, every time she is on the silver screen.

The story focuses on an arranged marriage vs. a love marriage with Govinda literally playing the devil’s advocate (and doing it quite well). While the first half is wild and breezy, the second half of the film ultimately gets down to tackling some serious less than heart-warming topics. All in all, this one is a little less mindless than the usual standard mindless comedies we see in this genre, and that’s due to the actors doing a memorable job in essaying their roles. Watch it for the actors, with your life partner and you just might have a ha ha hee hee time at the movies!

Ahh, there’s nothing like the quintessential story of a faded actor from yesteryear redefining himself as a politician for the new generation! How many of our favorite actors have dabbled in politics only to find themselves in over their heads and coming back to good ole Bollywood?

First time director/writer Ranjit Kapoor brings audiences an excellent film in the aptly titled “Chintuji” starring Rishi Kapoor in the title role. The story about a star coming back to his home town of Hadbahedi in the hopes of using that move to attain his political dreams could have been boring, yet in the capable hands of Ranjit Kapoor, becomes something else entirely and that is a very good little film.

You dear reader, may have been one of those that has followed Rishi Kapoor’s twilight years as an actor with a bit of a chuckle, given his cringe worthy performance as the mad bomber in the the super flop, “Kal Kissne Dekha”, but lets not forget his stellar performance as the elder Sardar with a heart in, “Love Aaj Kal” or the crazy producer in "Luck by Chance". It’s the latter film`s Rishi that we get in “Chintuji” as he delivers what is probably his best performance in many a year. It helps that he is supported by the very under rated and talented actor from “Tum Bin” Priyanshu Chatterjee. You might also want to watch out for the quirky Saurabh Shukla and the oddly cast Sophie Chaudry.

The movie is not without faults, as the writing during the second half is a bit uneven and the pacing is off, but on the whole, it’s a welcome change that is off the Bollywood beaten path. Ah, Chintuji! Welcome, welcome to the world of quality ‘n’ quirky cinema. Don’t forget to take apna Bollywood audiences along for the ride!

 Road to Ladakh
You may have missed this film when it originally came out, and even if you’ve seen it, perhaps it’s time to see it again. Every now and then I like to shine the Planet Bollywood TUTD spotlight on movies that may have slipped between the silver screen and off everyone’s radar, “Road to Ladakh” is just such a film.

The story of how Ashwin Kumar got the film made is amazing in itself, as most of the contributors including the lead actors Irfan Khan and Koel Puri worked for free, as did the film crew/unit. The 45 minute short film that has resulted is gripping due to its intimate intensity as well as the acting of the lead pair. Focusing on a story that tantalizingly shows us the sensitivity of human emotion, the film is noteworthy for the excellent direction by Kumar, the beautiful cinematography by Markus Huersch and the nuanced performance by Irfan Khan. Come and hit the road, the “Road to Ladakh” of course!

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Aagey Se Right
 PB Rating: 7.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Indrajit Nattoji  Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
 Music: Amartya Rahut, Ram Sampat (Guest composer)  Lyrics: Hitesh Kewalya, Munna Dhiman, Shadab Akhtar and Manish Hariprasad
 Starring: Shreyas Talpade, Mahie Gill, Soniya Bhatt, Kay Kay Menon
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Unfortunately, “Aagey Se Right” is just so wrong. What should have and could have been a really interesting movie focusing on two quirky characters (and a gun) turns into a mish mash of different underwritten characters that fail to capture the attention of the audience. I feel bad for Shreyas Talpade, who is the only saving grace in the film. We all know that he’s an excellent actor, but he can not save this film by himself. If he doesn’t stop this downward spiral in his career, he won’t be around much longer.

The director Indrajit Nattoji shows promise, but where this film fails is at the screenplay level. The story just does not work. Even the usually dependable Kay Kay Menon fails to deliver a noteworthy performance. As for the rest of the cast, Mahi Gill does well, as does Bharti Achrekar, but that’s simply not enough. If you think about seeing “Aagey Se Right”, then perhaps you’d be better off turning left and up towards one of the films in the Thums Up section!

 Director: Deepak Tijori  Producer: Deepak Tijori
 Music: Monty Sharma  Lyrics: Sandeep Nath
 Starring: Sunny Deol, Arjun Rampal, Udita Goswami, Sagarika Ghatge
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience:
Are you crazy like a fox? Feeling foxy tonight? Want to dance the fox trot? What does this have to do with the movie, “Fox” directed by Deepak Tijori (the actor turned director)? Absolutely nothing, except they might all be more entertaining than the film, “Fox” which tries too hard to be a thriller, but lacks the snap crackle pop needed and instead turns into a mediocre mish mash of infinite proportions.

Unfortunately for Arjun Rampal, the film will do absolutely nothing for his career, and breaks his recent winning streak at the box office. His acting is wooden, and he seems to have drifted through the film. That’s probably the fault of the director and the fact that the screenplay is poorly written. You see, Rampal plays a ruthless lawyer who wins every case until he develops a heart and changes his mind. He wants out, but the classic Hindi villain of the film (cue evil laughter in Hindi), has something else in mind. Now Rampal’s character is on the run and can only be helped by super cop Sunny Deol (pulled out of semi-retirement for this poor film). Udita Goswami returns to the screen because nobody demanded it. She does her usual distressed sex appeal show. The music by Monty Sharma, is so forgettable that I can’t find the words for it. Just goes to show that Sanjay Leela Bhansali is perhaps the only one capable of bringing out the talent in Monty, who just can’t live up to expectations with other directors. All in all, this fox goes nowhere fast. Perhaps Deepak Tijori could revive his acting career? Direction just doesn’t seem to be his forte.

 Daddy Cool
“Death at a Funeral” directed by Frank Oz is a weird little movie with weird little characters. Wait a minute. What’s that you say? We’re not talking about the 2007 Hollywood film?? Oh wait a sec, we are talking about “Daddy Cool”! Right! “Daddy Cool” is apna Bollywood remake of “Death at a Funeral”.

Rajpal Yadav is gay. Now, I’m not spreading any rumors here, I’m strictly talking about the character he portrays in the film. The premise of the story (if you can call it a story) centers on a funeral in Goa, and many quirky family members who struggle with trying to be funny. I mean, struggle with petty emotions that should make the film ripe for comedic situations. Alas, the film is unfunny to the max. Oh and Rajpal Yadav is gay, or is he? Perhaps you’ll have to suffer the torture of watching this film as I have in order to find out.

K Murali Mohan Rao, the man that brought us films like “Prem Qaidi” and “Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye”, poorly directs the movie. This marks another film in his kitty that misses more than it hits. The humor barely comes out of the toilet, and instead begs to be flushed out of the viewer’s memory. Suniel Shetty makes his comeback into films with a whimper, Jaaved Jaffery makes a fool of himself, Chunkey Pandey is the king of weirdo characters, and Prem Chopra shouldn’t bother with films like this. Oh yeah, and Sophie Chaudry fizzles with her sizzle. Daddy is totally uncool…..perhaps Daddy Fool would have been a more appropriate title. Miss it at all costs.

Anil Kapoor’s production house previously brought us the incredible “Gandhi, My Father”, in which Akshaye Khanna proved that he is one of the most talented actors of our generation. Please tell me that you’ve seen that movie? If you haven’t, go watch it right now; I’ll be here waiting for you when you get back.

Welcome back! Now, you’ve seen “Gandhi, My Father” and are fully aware of what Anil Kapoor is capable of producing. So, what went wrong with his latest, “Shortkut”? I don’t know if he got burned (in terms of profit, or lack of it) with his first home production, but it seems like this time around Mr. Kapoor decided to play it safe, and what safer way can there be then making one of those mindless comedies that are the rage these days? Well, I hate to burst the bubble here, but even mindless comedies take a lot of effort to be so effortlessly mindless. A great story (ok, even a so so story) is needed, but what you also need are those madcap misunderstandings that make the audience chuckle so much, plus some cringe worthy dialogue. “Shortkut”, directed by Neeraj Vohra (who is capable of being funnier), somehow falls short though everything and the kitchen sink is thrown at the audience.

The plot (which is based on a Malayalam film “Udayananu Tharam”) centers on a wannabe actor (Arshad Warsi), a totally hot ‘n’ happening starlet (Amrita Rao), and a frustrated director (Akshaye Khanna) whose script has been stolen by the wannabe actor inciting tons of ludicrous poses. When put together on the same film project, egos clash, tempers flare, and hilarity ensues…. or does it?

Who better, to star in Priyadarshan like comedies than Akshaye Khanna? To give him credit, he does a decent job. Joining him is the ultimate (and unfortunately typecast) sidekick Arshad Warsi. Put two and two together and you don’t have Munnabhai and Circuit…you have Akshaye and Arshad. I feel bad for these two talented actors who quite obviously are not getting the type of roles that can allow them to really shine. Amrita Rao sheds her clothing and girl next-door image leaving “Vivah” far behind (a pre-requisite for any actress who wishes to succeed in Bollywood) to try to provide the oomph to the limp script.

I really wanted to like this film, I truly did, and it had all the right elements, but those elements simply didn’t come together. Not a bad film by any means, just not good enough to get into the Thums Up section. Kick back a couple of beers, hold that someone special close and watch the movie through the corner of your eye…!

 Morning Walk
 Director: Arup Dutta  Producer: Tapan Biswas
 Music: Jeet Gannguli  Lyrics: Sanjeev Tiwari, Dibyendu Mukherjee, Nida Fazli, Shaan
 Starring: Anupam Kher, Sharmila Tagore, Rajit Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Shayan Munshi, Nargis, Avika Gor
 Genre: Emotional  Recommended Audience: General
On the surface, when first hearing about this movie, I thought that it might just be surprisingly good. Then I heard the soundtrack that though overlooked by mostly all the music charts, is truly one of the best of the year. Suddenly the prospects for the film itself started looking even better. Then I heard about Anupam Kher playing the lead opposite Sharmila Tagore and thought that this might turn out to be a refreshing adult romantic film (a rarity in the youth oriented Bollywood culture that is so prevalent today which is ironic since most of our male superstars are in their forties).

Alas, my hopes were completely dashed as the film turned out to be a damp squib. Director Arup Dutta is unable to rise above the weak script or coax his actors to deliver the performances they are capable of. The story that focuses on Anupam Kher’s character finding a long lost love on Facebook, and then friending her, only to find that she is tweeting someone else on Twitter. Okay, that’s not the story, but that would have been interesting, no? In reality, what we get is a conniving daughter in law (Divya Dutta), a weak son (Rajit Kapoor), and a emotional grand daughter (Avika Gor) whose lives are turned upside down with Anupam Kher discovers his lost love and more. What could have been a decent film instead turns into a contrived one. In place of watching this let down, it’s probably best to stick with the excellent soundtrack and hope that there isn’t a sequel called, “Evening Walk” or even the equally banal, “Day Walk”, or “Afternoon Walk”. In fact, let’s skip this walk all together shall we and see a film from the Thums Up section, while having a nice cool bottle of…. you guessed it….Thums UP!

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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