Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 25 Jan 2010
  ‘Veer’ (Salman Khan) – Champion of India proves that the sword is mightier than the pen, as fans rush to see the film and ignore the lukewarm reviews…..
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Arre Sallu bhai! You have proven to be a warrior with a heart as your swordplay thrills ‘n’ chills audiences all over!

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Anil Sharma  Producer: Sunil Sharma, Pratik Galani, Kamlesh Kumar
 Music: Sajid-Wajid  Lyrics: Gulzar
 Starring: Salman Khan , Mithun Chakraborty , Sohail Khan , Jackie Shroff , Bharat Dhabholkar , Zarine Khan , Neena Gupta
 Genre: Historic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Ahh, I have grown my hair long and worked out my feeble biceps in order to stand tall with Sallu bhai as a barbarian! While some went for Aamir’s “Ghajini” hairdo, I have gone all out…even though I look rather ridiculous! Any other actor would look ridiculous as well, but Salman Khan has proven time and again that he can carry off a look like no other actor in Bollywood. He’s also perceived as the crazy guy with a heart, who tells it like it is…and of course, he is the beloved people’s champion!

Yet, to say that I was not looking forward to this film is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve followed Salman’s career for the last twenty plus years, and even have most of his movies on DVD (yes, that includes such “classics” as “Jaagruti”). So, I do appreciate his rather eclectic style of acting (or charismacting as I like to call it as it’s mostly charisma that holds the audiences attention). He’s had his moments though, and recently it seems that he’s been putting more of an effort into the films he is in.

Still, from the author of “Chandramukhi”, one doesn’t expect much. If you’ve seen that movie, I feel bad for you. If you haven’t, then you are one lucky soul. That movie came from Salman’s creative side and was a mish mash of the Hollywood film “Big” and every mystical mumbo jumbo Bollywood cliché you can think about. Oh, and did I mention that it also featured Sridevi?

So, when I heard that Salman had the story of “Veer” burning within his creative soul for decades, I at once shuddered and was curious. Would this film, be “Suryavanshi” part 2? If you recall, in that film, he famously said, “Goodbye, Namaste, Salaam…..Sat Shri Akal”, as he donned the barbarian costume and looked absolutely ridiculous.

Well, I grabbed on to my sword (no pun intended), and as the lights went down in the jam-packed theater I let out a barbaric yell in anticipation. Then the movie began and the crowd was (for the most part) mesmerized. There were cheers, some jeers, some laughter, and more. So read on, for the TUTD, action/reaction to “Veer”.

The concept of the film is based on Salman Khan in his avatar as a writer, but Shailesh Verma and Shaktimaan Talwar (dialogues) write the screenplay. Though the idea for the story/plot is intriguing the leaden pacing and dialogue hamper what could otherwise have been a gripping story. It’s not often that Bollywood is capable of producing a non-cheesy variety of period movie (with “Jodhaa Akbar” being a recent exception), and the story borders on campy at times, which isn’t helped by actors hamming up in certain scenes (Mr. Shroff, I speak of you). If there’s one thing that you can’t go wrong with, it’s bashing the British in apna films. There’s a built in cheer factor in any movie that covers that ground, and that is here as well. Added to that foundation is a love story between the children of two mortal enemies. Salman Khan is Veer; the barbaric yet cultured hero and rebel rouser hero of the Pindaris. Zarine Khan (who purely by chance, looks a bit like Katrina Kaif), plays Yashodhara, the daughter of the Pindaris hated (and stereotypically eeeeeeeevil) enemy Madavgarh (played by Jackie Shroff). Mithun Chakraborty is Veer’s dad, whose dishonor by Madavgarh has to be avenged by his heroic and muscular son.

The story takes the audience from the hallowed halls of London, to the blood soaked battles of India and in between is a bittersweet love story wrapped in a sweet roll crème gone bad. What were you expecting? A classic? No, “Veer” is not a classic, but it’s not that bad either. It’s got the right amount of masala to hold onto the viewer’s interest and cheer for Salman’s heroic avatar.

The film suffers not only with its labored screenplay, but also by the lackluster direction by Anil Sharma. Sharma (“Gadar”) is quite heavy handed and shows a lack of fluidity that hurts the choreography of the fight scenes (though that is not completely the director’s fault, but rather of his and the fight choreographer). The director also shows a distinct lack of ability in being able to bring forth the best from the cast. Jackie Shroff is decent, but in a non-threatening love to hate me kind of way. Mithun Chakraborty has a moment to shine, but I wish he had been given more to do. Sohail Khan is simply the court jester that he always is, though the actor has talent if given the right kind of director. Zarine Khan, is a better actor than Katrina Kaif in terms of expressiveness, but is hindered by her having her dialogue dubbed by another actress, which always takes away from a performance.

Now, let’s get to Salman Khan. His performance is not perfect, but his acting’s flawed facets pull the viewer into the character he is portraying. The silver screen sizzles every time he appears, and he is able to make one believe that he is the title character. It’s not a performance that will win awards for best actor, but it is one of his best and one that will appeal to a lot of people as the hero who will win no matter what the odds. Many critics love to trash him, but no one can deny that the man has a lot of charisma, and is able to carry off revenge tales like no other.

The music by Sajid-Wajid is beautiful and engaging, with the highlights being “Taali” and “Surili Akiyon Wale”. The melodies are beautiful (with mood setting lyrics by famed poet Gulzar) as is the musical arrangement (very tricky with a period film as you have to be careful that the instruments fit in with the time period). Monty Sharma composes a thrilling background score, which should be released as an album that could stand on its own. The cinematography by Gopal Shah shows an adept hand at using the right kind of film filters to emphasize the moods of varying scenes. The fight choreography Tinu Verma is interesting when focusing on Salman, but sloppy when focusing on the larger soldier (army) clashing scenes.

So what’s the final say? The movie is better than a lot of films that Bollywood has released, but doesn’t rise to any form of excellence. Salman Khan has to be respected for putting so much into a genre that doesn’t always do well at the box office and it takes guts for the producers to spend so much money on a film that had so much going against it even before it was released (if the rumors of creative differences between Anil Sharma and Salman Khan are true). Yet, the film should be given a chance to live or die on its own sword (merits). It’s enjoyable, with a performance by Salman that will thrill the audiences, and irritate the would be thespians providing critiques. “Veer” is a flawed but entertaining film that is far more enjoyable than it has a right to be, just don’t go in expecting a richly classy film that emphasizes substance over style and you won’t be disappointed. The film is crassly entertaining…and certainly paisa vasool. As the gladiators used to say, those who live by the sword die by the sword, and so it is Salman’s fans that will prove that the sword is mightier than the critic’s pens (or keyboards).

 Chance Pe Dance
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Ken Ghosh  Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
 Music: Adnan Sami, Sandeep Shirodkar  Lyrics: Kumaar, Irfan Siddiqui, Amitabh Bhattacharya
 Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Genelia DSouza
 Genre: Musical  Recommended Audience:
I know, I know, what’s this film doing in the Thums Up section? Well, why don’t you stop dancing in front of the mirror for a second and read on dear reader. You can yell at me afterwards.

The film is by no means a masterpiece, nor is it remotely coherent as the screenplay teeters between "Indian Idol" and "Dance India Dance". Is it about an actor trying to break into Bollywood? Is it about a dancer trying to break into Bollywood? Is it about a reluctant dance teacher finding his calling and inspiring the kids in his class to rise above to win a dance competition? Is it a love story between two unlikely people struggling to find love? Or is it a sequence of brilliantly executed music videos (the highlight being the one with the lead pair as giants towering over Mumbai) thrown together between pearls of an idea that fail to coalesce?

“Chance Pe Dance” is all of these, and yet on a strange level is enjoyable in a frivolous “I don’t care yaar” kind of way. Director Ken Ghosh ("Ishq Vishq") brings us his latest starring his friend Shahid Kapoor. On paper, the story probably sounded good, after a few shots of tequila that is. To add to the curious factor, Genelia D’Souza is cast opposite Shahid in what is a rare same age pairing (since most of the lead actors nowadays are much older than the actresses they act with). The two look adorable together in a “cho chweet” kind of way, as Shahid dances like a panther and Genelia drools away. Adnan Sami is brought in to compose the imminently forgettable music (I honestly can’t remember a single tune). It’s a far cry from his excellent music for “Lucky: No Time for Love”. One gets the feeling that he is at creative ebb right now, as he hasn’t been delivering any really good music lately.

But I digress; you are probably wondering why the film is worth watching? Well, it’s not for the story, and not for the direction, and not for the music. This film is worth watching for Shahid’s acting, his dancing (which proves he is the best dancer in Bollywood…sorry Hrithik), Genelia’s wonderful emoting, and the chemistry the lead pair share. These two deliver a performance that carries the entire film through one viewing (and only one). So, if you find yourself plopped in front of the telly one fine night, you could do a lot worse than watch this film to kill a couple of hours before something really interesting happens. Or, you could go back to dancing in front of the mirror and dance the night away…

 Pyaar Impossible
 Director: Jugal Hansraj  Producer: Aditya Chopra
 Music: Salim-Sulaiman  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan
 Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Uday Chopra, Dino Morea
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: General
Ahhh…. it really touches my heart to know that my favorite thespian Uday Chopra has gotten another lease on his acting life after the marvelous treat that was “Neal ‘N’ Nikki”. This time around, Uday has also produced the film (along with writing the story and dialogues) showing that the apple has not fallen far from his father’s tree. I love you Beth Cooper! Er, I mean Yash Chopra…yeah, that’s it. So what if the film is inspired by the Hollywood fillum, “I love you Beth Cooper”?

So, after playing a notorious skirt chasing hormone addled young man in “N ‘N’ N”, what else could he do? Why play a stereotypical hormone addled young man who is (wait for it)…a geek! Yes, it’s pure genius! Bwahahahahaha! Let’s add some more depth to this character, he’s not only a geek, but in love with (wait for it)…. the most beautiful girl in school! Bwahahaha<>hahaha<>!

Well, Uday plays the role of the geek well, and for the role of the girl who is a perfect 10 (the script says so right on page 1), Yash Raj Films has roped in Priyanka Chopra. Yes, it’s the tale of the Geek ‘n’ Piggy Chops.

But how is the film itself? Well let me tell you, it’s definitely geek chic. Uday Chopra and Priyanka Chopra (no relation) share a certain je ne sai quoi kind of chemistry. By all accounts it shouldn’t work, but it does. Not only that, but you wind up rooting for Uday’s geeky character in a classic tale of the underdog winning the day. That the conclusion is inevitable is not important, it’s the journey in getting there (cliché alert).

By all accounts the film doesn’t tread any new ground, yet everything is presented in such a fresh and youthful way, that you can’t help but get swept along with the characters. Uday and Priyanka have done a commendable job, the music is cringe worthy but manages to wrap itself around your brain (just like the most annoying commercial jingle you can never forget) and it’s all fun with a capital F.

Close friend of the Chopra family Jugal Hansraj does a commendable job rebounding from, “Roadside Romeo” and should be credited with not only the freshness of the film (with the help of cinematographer Santosh Thundiyil) but also for getting very good performances out of his two leads. This could be the film that finally makes it for the seemingly bad luck prone Hansraj who has been trying to break into the Bollywood big leagues for a while. Throw in Dino Morea as the eeeeevil foil for our geeky hero, Anupam Kher (doing what he does best), and Advika Yadav, and you have an ensemble that elevates the film higher than it should be. All in all, it’s fluff ‘n’ fun, and what’s wrong with that? We all need that once in a while.

 3 Idiots
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Rajkumar Hirani  Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
 Music: Shantanu Moitra  Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
 Starring: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani, Mona Singh, Parikshit Sahani, Javed Jaffrey
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience:
What’s that you say? Aamir Khan can’t top himself anymore? He won’t be able to deliver another hit or new performance? I think not!

What’s that you say? Rajkumar Hirani can’t break out of the Munnabhai series to deliver something new? I think not!

It is in this atmosphere of pessimism that a little movie like “3 Idiots” (produced by the always black t-shirt clad Vidhu Vinod Chopra) has come along to deliver a film that you can laugh along with, and not simply at. It’s a comedy and drama that has been fused together to provide a dramedy that will make you laugh one moment, while you wipe away the tears with the next. A big piece of cinema with just the right amounts of fiction melded with beyond belief ideology (vacuum cleaner births being a prime example of cinematic license). A word to the wise, this is not a film that the viewer needs to over analyze or critique. It’s a movie that is meant to make you remember what it’s like to live for your dreams as experienced by your rogue avatar Aamir Khan.

The story is fairly straightforward. Three men go to one of India’s elite engineering schools all under different pretences. One idiot (Madhavan aka Maddie) is forced to go by his father, who coerced him to be an engineer since the day he was born, though he wants nothing more than to be a wildlife photographer. The second idiot (Sharman Joshi) has a paralyzed father and crying mother (plus unwed sister naturally) at home that are relying on him to bring in the extra paisa paisa, by becoming an engineer. The third idiot (Aamir Khan) is an avante garde genius who bucks the system and pushes beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior to move dreams closer to reality.

Along the way they bump heads with the principal Viru Sahastrabudhhe (Boman Irani), his daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) and the Ugandan student from hell, Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya in a scene stealing supporting role). All through the film, the 3 idiots in question follow the basic principle that no matter how bad things get, “All Izzzzzzz Well”!

Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijit Joshi have the unenviable task of adapting Chetan Bhagat’s best selling novel, “Five Point Someone” for the big screen. It’s unenviable, because translating the written medium into the film medium is not always easy, resulting in films that are poor versions of the original novel (ala “One Night @ the Call Centre” which resulted in the disastrous film, “Hello”). Hirani and Joshi do the novel justice and have written a screenplay that in the words of Chetan Bhagat, “retains the soul of the book”. Having read the novel, I have to say there are significant differences in characterizations, and narrative flow; however, one must realize that you can never directly adapt a novel without changes and transform it into a film. Certain changes have to be made, and luckily the screenplay writers of “3 Idiots” have made the necessary changes to ease the transition from one medium to another.

Hirani wears another bigger cap, and that is as director of the movie. He uses innovative points of view, angles, and use of breathtaking locales with some digital effects used subtly to immerse the audience in the world of these idiots (four if you count Omi Vaidya’s character). Along the way, we are treated to the hard facts of life on how parents push their children away from their dreams, how the current educational system stresses learning about what has already been done rather than being innovatively looking towards the future, and how material happiness is not everything.

We move from the future and the disappearance of Rancho (Aamir Khan), to the past and how the characters meet, and ultimately part. Like the winding roads that Farhan (Madhavan), Hari (Sharman), Pia (Kareena) and Chatur (Omi, the over achieving silencer whose bodily excretions can bring tears to anyone’s eyes) drive on, the story twists ‘n’ turns to keep the viewer off balance enough to be interested, yet comfortable enough to be entertained.

The music by Shantanu Moitra, is perfectly utilized by Hirani (though it doesn’t stand up well without seeing the film first). It’s interesting to note, that in the current world of made for promos music, Moitra has actually composed music that supports and moves the narrative forward. He is a true composer, and unfortunately a dying breed in the current world of Bolly music where the culture is to churn out a few promo songs that do nothing for the movie in question. Watch out for the 60’s inspired “Zoobie Doobie”, it will have you moving along in the popular puppet without a string dances of that time.

Cinematography by C.K. Muraleedharan (“Lage Raho Munnabhai”) is excellent as he uses just the right filters to bring out the emotions in various scenes.

The excellence of the film ultimately boils down to is the fact that Aamir Khan makes one believe that he is Rancho, the eccentric super genius who can literally change the world (and people) around him with his approach to life. He simply shines and proves that he is the best actor of this generation (Ranbir better take some notes). He becomes Rancho and you smile when he smiles, and cry when he cries. It’s as simple and complicated as that. Sharman and Madhavan each get their moment to shine. Especially hilarious is the commentary with black and white imagery that is associated with Sharman’s family, the quintessential suffering Indian family from 50s films. Kareena Kapoor delivers an excellent performance as Pia the doctor who is the kind of glamorous nerd all guys would like to meet. Boman Irani is especially funny in a nasty sort of way as the VIRUS. Omi Vaidya (seen on the American T.V. show, “The Office”) steals each scene as the Indian from Uganda whose Hindi is not up to par, resulting in a drop to your knees with laughter scene during his character’s speech to the student body.

Finally, the narrative is a bit uneven at times, and certain scenes (like delivering a baby with a vacuum cleaner) stretch realism, but let’s face it, this isn’t a hard-hitting reality based film. It’s a feel good entertainer that is allowed to be just that. Too many times people start overly philosophizing and try to find hidden meanings of life within apna Bollywood films. Why not just enjoy the amazing performances, sweet music, and witty dialogues. So, dil pe mat le yaar, and enjoy a fun film full of harmless idiots that will have you laughing and crying all the way to your heart. In the end, just put your hand on your heart and repeat after me: All izzz well! All izzz well! All izz well!

 Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
 PB Rating: 5.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Rajkumar Santoshi  Producer: Ramesh S Taurani
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
 Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Upen Patel
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Yesterday we spoke about Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Jail” which really takes Bollywood to another cinematic level, and today we talk about Rajkumar Santoshi’s latest film (his first out and out comedy since the classic “Andaz Apna Apna”) "Ajan Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani". Just when you think the rotund director has fallen by the pop cultural wayside, he comes back with a youthful comedy that basically laughs in the face of all the naysayers who had written him off.

The most difficult part was finding the right cast, and Mr. Santoshi did it right by casting Ranbir Kapoor (currently on top of the Bollywood hero heap) and Katrina Kaif (currently on top of the Bollywood heroine heap) as the lead pair. This automatically ties in to the college going zeitgeist and ensures a built in audience. The second intelligent thing that the director has done is rope in the king of youthful music,Pritam to deliver a rrrrrrrrrrocking soundtrack that is youthful, soulful and playful in all the right places.

With those choices set in stone, the rest of the pieces can either measure up or be less than the sum of their parts. More on that a little later, but for now let’s jump into the madcap story by writers Rajeshwar (story), Rajkumar Santoshi (story and screenplay), R.D. Tailang (dialogue). The basic premise is that Ranbir plays Prem. A side note here, but don’t you think that Prem is the most over used name in Bollywood cinema? Perhaps it’s time to retire the name and place it in the Bollywood Hall of Fame. But I digress. As, I mentioned, Ranbir plays Prem and Katrina portrays Jenny. Prem loves Jenny. Jenny loves (though I can’t fathom why) the character played by Upen Patel (he of the magically enhanced cleft chin). Upen is the son of a corrupt politician, Prem is the crazy slacker with a heart of gold (and a wonderful father portrayed by the excellent Darshan Jariwala), and Jenny is the cho chweet girl adopted by crazy parents who don’t care for her.

So, does Ranbir try to steal her away? Na, our pure hero realizes that the girl he loves, loves someone else and does his best to make sure the two are together. Unfortunately, no Bollywood film (or for that matter a Rajkumar Santoshi film) is complete without a corrupt politician. In this case, Upen’s dad Govind Namdeo. So that’s the story in a nutshell. Of course there’s another villain who should have been edited out (though actor Zakir Hussain tries his best to be eeeeeeevil).

So how’s the film? Well, you know the feeling where you want to laugh so badly, that you laugh and stop and laugh and stop and then laugh some more? That pretty much describes the film. It’s light and breezy, the mood is just right and the first half is pretty funny, if not outright hilarious. Unfortunately it suffers from the same choppy quality that “Andaz Apna Apna” suffered from, in that the film simply goes on a bit too long resulting in a trite climax that one can see is clumsily put together in order to tie up all the loose ends.

Still, nothing I say will keep fans of this genre away, or the college kids to whom this film is clearly aimed at (ka-pow). Ranbir Kapoor is the shining knight of Bollywood who can do no wrong, and he deserves the recognition he gets. In the hands of another less talented actor, the film would have gone horribly wrong, but he knows just how to emote and convey comedy whether it is through expressions or the physical use of his body. Katrina Kaif, does her best to fight back that wooden quality in her dialogue delivery and acting, resulting in a fairly decent performance. She’s no super powered actor, but she’s good enough for the role. The two share a great chemistry, and it’s because of that, and some really funny moments that the film succeeds(plus Pritam’s foot tapping music).

Santoshi’s direction is as usual up to the high standards he has set with his previous films but one wishes the editing were a bit tighter. Ah well, you can’t have it all. If you are thinking about asking that cute girl or guy you know out on a date, then this is the perfect movie. You can watch the parts that are funny, and perhaps entertain yourselves in other ways during the parts that are not (don’t tell mummy and papa that I said that though). Check it out, take it for what it is, and admire Ranbir Kapoor, for he is definitely headed towards super stardom.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Dulha Mil Gaya
 PB Rating: 4.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Mudassar Aziz  Producer: Viveck Vaswani
 Music: Lalit Pandit, Pritam  Lyrics: Mudassar Aziz, Kumaar
 Starring: Fardeen Khan, Sushmita Sen, Shahrukh Khan (Guest Appearance), Mohir Chadda Ishita Sharma, Johny Lever, Bina Kak, Suchitra Pillai, Viveck Vaswani, Howard Rosemeyer Parikshat Sahni, Anushka Manchanda, Tara Sharma
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: General
Ahhh, what can a nubile young woman want, other than to meet the man of her dreams so that she can shout out loud, “Dulha Mil Gaya”!?!? For that matter, you know that for Indian men, Indian wife is Indian life yaar!

So let’s make another movie on (you guessed it) finding the ultimate soul mate and the hoops we jump through to do that. Director (and writer) Mudassar Aziz drops the ball all the way down with this mess of a film that is tedious and unrelenting in its lack of creativity.

Hear that sound? It must be that truck of cash backing up to Shah Rukh’s house for appearing in a film like this. For SRK fans that are used to his appearance in high caliber films, this will go down like a rock in water. His character (the millionaire with a heart), appears after the interval and he looks like he has sleep walked through the movie.

The film centers around Fardeen Khan, Sushmita Sen, Ishita Sharma (with a literal screeching howl moment featuring Johnny Lever), and Shah Rukh Khan as fireworks fail to ignite when their crosses path.

The only saving grace of the movie is the excellent performance by Sushmita Sen who shimmers. It’s worth watching the film with one eye open just to see her act, she’s that good. Alas, one actor cannot save an entire movie. It’s better to stick with the real life dulha/dulhan dreams than the reel life dream, “Dulha Mil Gaya”. Accident on Hill Road

 Accident on Hill Road
The story in a nutshell: woman hits man, man gets stuck in windshield, woman’s boyfriend is a drug thug, they decide to park the car (with the man in the windshield) in the garage and leave him there. Will the man in the windshield wiggle his way to freedom amidst bone crushing injuries? Will Celena’s character cower and scream in terror? Will her boyfriend simply get high? Stay tuned my friends…if you dare.

What’s that you say? The above synopsis doesn’t excite you? Well what about the thought of ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO…P list movie actress Celena Jaitly in the role of her career? She’s got a sexy scene for all you horndogs out there, plus you can hear her scream (stop those dirty thoughts) for terror as director Mahesh Nair tries to give the audience the extreme case of the heebie jeebies.

The sad part of this, is that with a better screenplay, the film could have been a nice little dark trip into the recesses of the human psyche, but instead what we get is a half baked film that is heavy on the blood curdling…..and light on any actual thrills.

If you are still reading this, the film also stars Farooque Shaikh as the windshield man (sadly there is no song pictured on him while he is trapped in the windshield) and Abhimanyu Singh as the boyfriend who is into drugs more than he is into his girlfriend.

Apparently adapted from Hollywood horror flick “Stuck”, “Accident On Hill Road” leaves you shaken by its gore-quotient… but not quite stirred. Watch out for the sequel, “Accident on Underpass Road”!

 Bolo Ram
Because no one demanded it! Here we have a remake of a Tamil film titled, “Raam”. The story of the Hindi version is taken page for page from the original. A man is arrested for supposedly murdering dear old mom. Now the shock of her death has silenced his voice, but the mystery behind who murdered her hangs over everyone’s heads.

The premise is interesting, and it’s frustrating to watch the film totally go off the rails by the final act in a climax that destroys any enjoyment prior to it. Director Rakesh Chaturvedi isn’t bad, though he is unable to weave a tight visual narrative to match the inherent suspense of the screenplay.

The film stars siren of the 70s Padmini Kolhapure as the unfortunate mother whose murder launches a bizarre series of events. Rishi Bhutani plays her son and does a fair job in his first film. Om Puri and Naseerhuddin Shah are classic as always. It’s too bad that the viewer has to hold their ears and say, “Ram Ram” by the end of the film. Watch this one at your own risk or you might be shocked into silence as well!

 Raat Gayi Baat Gayi
Wow, talk about a film that should have been excellent and turned out to be a damp squib! Director Saurabh Shukla (often seen as a rotund gangster/fool) is a favorite of this writer, as well as team “Bheja Fry” (Rajat Kapoor and Vinay Patak). The movie’s premise had piqued my interest as well, as it dealt with the taboo of one-night stands.

Have you ever woken up after a drunken stupor next to a girl or guy that you don’t remember meeting the night before? Two drunken people get together and the morning after is when the guilt starts hitting. Perhaps you remember a night of wild desire, and the other person doesn’t (ouch, blow to the ego)? Rajat Kapoor’s very married character does just that, when after a night of drinking he wakes up next to Neha Dhupia. Unfortunately, neither can remember if they gave in to their carnal desires (hint: if you have very little or no clothing on, then yes yaar, it did happen). What’s a guy to do? While trying to avoid his wife, Rajat retreads the steps of the night before in the hopes of discovering the truth. Along the way he meets people like Vinay Pathak who is brilliant as always.

This should have been a really perversely funny movie looking at adult situations in a humorous way right? WRONG! Though Sarabh Shukla does a decent job with the direction, it’s the screenplay written by him and Rajat Kapoor that simply does not gel. Talk about all foreplay and no action, the film maddeningly teeters on brilliance, but fails to capitalize on anything, in the end leaving the viewer with a hollow empty feeling inside (hmmm…just like a one night stand).

 De Dana Dan
 PB Rating: 3.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Priyadarshan  Producer: Ganesh Jain, Girish Jain, Ratan Jain, Sunil A. Lulla
 Music: Pritam Chakraborty, RDB  Lyrics: Irshad Kamil, Sameer, Ashiesh Pandit, RDB, Sayeed Qadri
 Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Neha Dhupia, Sameera Reddy, Archana Puran Singh, Aditi Govitrikar, Asrani, Chunky Pandey, Johny Lever, Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Supriya Karnik, Tinu Anand, Vikram Gokhale, Sharat Saxena, Shakti Kapoor, Ratan Jain
 Genre: Comedy  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
I think I had more fun during my root canal than watching this painful moviegoing experience in torturous tedium by a director who has long run out of interesting ideas (Priyadarshan). This one should have been great. It had the director of what is probably the most beloved comedy film in the last decade, “Hera Pheri”. It reunited the three main leads (Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty, and Paresh Rawal) from that film. It should have been everything that “Hera Pheri” was and “Hera Pheri 2” wasn’t. Yet, the film fails on every level.

Hear that buzzing? That’s the dentist drilling through my tooth. OUCH!!!! Do you think that’s fun? Then you’ll love this film whose story is not even worth mentioning. Akshay looks lost and tries his best to elevate a film that must have known wasn’t working out. One can only imagine that he took a lot of money to sign for the film, for it certainly (hopefully) wasn’t based on the poor screenplay. Katrina Kaif does not act, and her dialogue delivery is atrocious. Paresh Rawal has been neglected by Bollywood this year, and unfortunately ends the year on this stale note. Suneil Shetty, is forgettable. Archana Puran Singh will make you want to scream in agony. All in all, getting a root canal is more fun, so do yourself a favor and save yourself some paisa, go watch “3 Idiots” instead.

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