Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 14 Sep 2010
  Fresh ‘n’ Breezy, with Bollywood’s macho hits and floppity flops…this time around…Sallu Bhai’s magnum masala opus ‘Dabangg’, plus a small quiet film called, “The Shades of Ray”!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Where have I been? Traveling the world and watching Bollywood movies in the grand majestic theater of the mind….Ok, maybe not, but TUTD is back and better than ever!

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Abhinav Kashyap  Producer: Arbaaz Khan
 Music: Sajid Wajid, Lalit Pandit  Lyrics: Faiz Anwar, Lalit Pandit, Jalees Sherwani
 Starring: Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Vinod Khanna Dimple Kapadia
 Genre: Action  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Do you like your food with a lot of spicy chutney on it? How about your films…. do you want watered down quasi western juicy couture Hindi films or the kind that relish the dishum dishum mera bhai mera dushman kind of film wherein there’s song, dance, some lustful naughtiness and songs galore? The kind of film where the actor is a man’s man, a macho mucho gusto blowhard of a man that rocks till all night long and puts the villains to rest during the day? Don’t give me those namby pamby designer dressed sensitive males of the current set (cough..Ranbir…cough), it takes a real man like Salman to portray a real man on screen.

If you grew up on Hindi films, and I mean real Hindi films like Sholay, Don, Naseeb, Karz, and even Karan Arjun, then you will love Salman Khan’s latest brain freeze flick, “Dabangg”. Just like the actor’s previous masala only flick, “Wanted”, this one takes every masala rule in the Bollywood handbook, puts it in the blender and remixes it for a new generation. Don’t give me that NRI stare yaar! Just because a film is not nuanced, not intricately plotted, and relishes in oddball corniness, doesn’t mean it’s not a really cool engaging film.

“Dabangg” is what it is. Salman Khan warps the mind in every scene as Chulbul Pandey, the corrupt cop (heart of gold a prerequisite), with a hated step brother (Makhanchan aka Arbaaz Khan), a beloved mother (Dimple Kapadia), a doubly hated step father (Prajapati aka Vinod Khanna), a woman that turns a corrupted heart into gold (Rajo aka daughter of classic Masala film actor Shatrughan Sinha), and a eeeeeeevil villain (Cheddi aka a buffSonu Sood) to drive a stake through the gold heart.

The film is well directed by Abhinav Singh Kashyap, with fairly catchy music by Sajid-Wajid and Lalit (though nothing that will stand the test of time), and chest-thumping testosterone loaded fight scenes by S. Vijayan. The story by the director and Dilip Shukla is perfectly spiced with masala. The rich colors of classic Bollywood films is brought to life by cinematographer Mahesh Limaye and the editing is tight and muscular by Pranav Dhiwar.

All in all, the film is a rocking roller coaster ride that will have your boxers tied up in knots (whatever that means). “Dabangg” would win every masala award out there (if there were masala awards), and any faithful fan of classic Bollywood should check this film out. Salman is simply in his element and plays up to his strengths. Now…let’s follow this up with “Wanted 2”…..

 Shades of Ray
Hey, did you hear about “Shades of Ray”? No? Are you sure? No clue? Well, what are you waiting for!? The film is available for download at the ITUNES store, and is well worth a watch. I know, you’re not too thrilled at the prospect of yet another romantic comedy, but rest assured, this film is truly a breath of fresh air and will leave you with a smile on your face.

The film originally made its rounds on the festival circuit, with unanimously good reviews, but had a marketing budget of what seems like zero, and so fell to the wayside of attention deficit pop culture viewing.

The story centers around a man who has a Pakistani father and a Caucasian American mother. The screenplay sensitively bounces around the whole confused aspect of children of mixed marriages. Ray, is actually Rehman (portrayed oddly enough by non South Asian actor and star of the television show “Chuck”, Zachary Levi”. Ray moves away from his Pakistani culture and proposes to Noel (Bonnie Somerville), but doesn’t get the yes answer from her right away. Enter his dad Javid (Brian George) who is fleeing his “non-understanding” Caucasian wife, and now coming to live with his son. He wants his son to marry a Pakistani girl and so introduces Ray to Sana (Sarah Shahi), who it turns out shares much in common with Ray. They connect, they fall in love, but wait…Noel shows up and says yes. What’s an engaged man who is in love with another woman to do?

I have to make a special mention about Ray’s friend Sal (Fran Kanz) who is absolutely hilarious in the film. The dialogue between him and Ray is crisp and cool. The film itself is directed with light handed sensitivity by Jaffar Mahmood who pulls double duty by writing the fresh script.

If you have any kind of romantic bone in your body, and want to see the kind of romantic comedy that has that minty fresh kind of feeling, don’t miss out on this wonderful little movie that deserves to be seen.

 The Japenese Wife
Yes sir…I have a Japanese wife you see, who I have never met. She lives in another country and we only communicate through letters. What’s that you say? That’s insane? Why sir, you do not know the meaning of true love! It is a connection of minds. It is the act of falling in love by sharing the details that most of us overlook.

Thus sets the stage for the fascinating film, “The Japanese Wife” directed beautifully by Aparna Sen. The director has tenderly painted a picture of a man named Snehamoy (the excellent Rahul Bose) who meets, falls in love with, and marries a Japanese woman (Chigusa Takaku) solely via the letters they send back and forth to each other. Fifteen years pass and Snehamoy balances his life between the love of the mind and the physical “love” of domesticity that he shares with the widow (Raima Sen) and her young son that come to live with him. Rahul Bose and Moushumi Chatterjee (as his aunt) make every frame they are in a delight to see. The movie’s screenplay by Aparna Sen (based on a short story by Kunal Basu) is clever and sensitively written. The cinematography by Anay Goswami is beautiful as is the original music by Sagar Desai. This one is a must see for fans of emotionally powerful cinema. Don’t miss out, go see it, and then come back and read the rest of this column. I’ll be right here waiting for you.

 PB Rating: 7.5 out of 10  Public Rating (by 410 unique users): 5.11
 Director: Anurag Basu  Producer: Rakesh Roshan
 Music: Rajesh Roshan  Lyrics: Nasir Faraaz and Asif Ali Beg
 Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana Ranaut, Luce Rains, Kabir Bedi
 Genre: Romantic  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Kites in the sky…strangely look like Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori with their strings cut. Though the film is directed well by Anurag Basu, the cinematography by Ayananka Bose is topnotch, and the acting by the lead pair is combustible, the film fails to leave you gasping for more. Neither a complete Bollywood film (there is no masala), nor an out and out Hollywood film…the film finds itself in an unfortunate gray zone. If the screenplay (credited to Anurag Basu, Robin Bhatt, and Aakash Khurana) had just a little bit more oomph to it, this one could have been a winner. As it stands, it’s an interesting film worth watching once, but afterwards you’ll find yourself cutting this “Kites” free…. and letting it soar away.

 Badmaash Company
 PB Rating: 7.0 out of 10  Public Rating (by 411 unique users): 5.12
 Director: Parmeet Sethi  Producer: Aditya Chopra
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Anvita Dutt
 Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang, Vir Das
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: General
So, let’s see….Shahid Kapoor has followed up his excellent performance in “Kaminey” with the lukewarm “Paathshala” and now the so-so “Baadmash Company”. One would have thought that he would be a top headliner now with some really quality projects, as he is quite the talented actor.

It’s not that “Baadmash…” is a bad film (and heaven knows, I’ve seen a lot of bad films to know), it’s just that it could have been better. It’s got a unique concept, but is hindered by the first time direction of Parmeet Sethi (evil Kajol stealer from “DDLJ” and real life husband of Archana Puran Singh). He does a good job, and shows potential, but the film gets out of his control by the second half, resulting in a limp crawl to the finish line.

Set in the 1990s, the film is an interesting retro piece focused on four friends who start an import business that quickly becomes a bag of scams. Get your friendly neighborhood bag of scams before they sell out!. Shahid Kapoor is imminently watchable, Anushka Sharma gets to shine in a more modern avatar than her debut in “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”, Meiyang Chang is excellent and Vir Das holds his own. The music by Pritam is instantly forgettable (see that…I forgot it already). All in all, “Baadmash Company” is an interesting diversion for a few hours…. but come on Shahid…we’re still waiting for the killer blockbuster…. we know you have it in you.

Thums Down - Recent Films that Disappointed :-(
 Bumm Bumm Bole
Paging Priyadarshan…is there a Mr. Priyadarshan in the house? You know the director who at one time could be relied upon to provide fans with memorable films? Where are you? Please report to the “revive your creativity” lounge.

All joking aside, the fire seems to have left Priyadarshan as his last few films have been downright turkeys. Here’s another feather to add to his turkey hat, “Bumm Bumm Bole”. No, it’s not two and a half hours of someone’s “bummmm” talking away. Rather, it’s the second film to feature child star Darsheel Zafary (the boy who captured your heart in “Taare Zameen Par”). His toothy charm is still present in this remake of the film “Children of Heaven” (a far better film), but he can’t carry the film on his own cuteness

Priyadarshan seems to have run out of South Indian films to remake, so now he’s branched out into foreign films. Sadly, this film just doesn’t work, story wise or direction wise. The story about two poor children who share a pair of shoes is just eccentric enough of a concept to have an appeal to viewers. Unfortunately this film misfires. Where oh where has our Priyan gone? Oh..where…oh where can he be?

I feel mildly disturbed in a sleaze infested grimy way, but this pseudo psycho sexual film that tries so hard to be effectively arty, that it drowns in it’s own bloated sense of worth. Bipasha Basu must have been out of her mind when she signed this bizarre film that focuses on the confused sexuality of a young boy (played by Maradona Rebello). I like art film’s like everyone else, hell, I’m a fan of the pseudo hallucinogenic art films that leave you with a question of, “What the!?!” after seeing them, but there’s no way that I can recommend director Sudipto Chattopadhyay’s irredeemable film. I’m off to try to wash off this grime…

This could have been a charming underdog zero to hero film featuring the long lost Rajpal Yadav and WWE wrestler Khali (aka Dalip Singh). The story about a puny man challenging the giant for the hand of his beloved could have been made into an endearing film in the right hands. Unfortunately the direction by T.K. Rajeev Kumar is lackluster, the screenplay has no charm, and the film simply is not worth watching. You’d be better off switching on the WWE and watching some wrestling…at least their storyline’s are better.

 Director: Chandan Arora  Producer: Indian Films-Studio 18
 Music: Amit Trivedi, Shailendra Barve, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Swanand Kirkire  Lyrics: Various
 Starring: Siddharth, Aditya Panscholi, Vidya Malavade and Padmapriya
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Hmm…at first thought a movie centering around the “exciting” world of carrom competition and the devious forces at play doesn’t seem very…well…. exciting. I am sure there are fans of the board game around the world (I am one of them), but do we really need a movie about this?

Well, in the hands of a good writer, this could have been a cool film about a new topic that hasn’t been really covered by Bollywood before; however, what we get is a story that falls apart from the first reel onwards. The film is named after the heavy piece on the carrom board that is used to strike the other pieces into the corner pockets.

Honestly, the best part of the film is the eclectic soundtrack that is well worth a listen or three. The movie itself is a bit of a mess, with a story that fails to strike a viewer’s heart in any way.

It seems the director Chandan Arora wanted to strike gold with a unique story, that ultimately fails due to the way it is presented to the audience. Siddarth plays the title character who is hooked on carrom and winds up facing his arch nemesis Aditya Pancholi. The two leads do a really good job, and perhaps the film is worth wasting a couple of hours to watch them, but ultimately “Striker” fails to win your heart over. If you really want to have a great time, play the game of carrom instead and shout, “ribbon it off the wall, and pocket the queen!”

Smile for the camera and say cho chweet! Ho hum, another day, another remake of a Hollywood film Bollywood ishtyle. This time around it’s a remake of a remake of an Asian film that has a cool premise. Man with a secret past takes pictures that when developed (or digitized) shows the ghost of a tragic figure from his past. Interesting right? Sure, for the first few minutes, but then director Sangeeth Sivan can’t quite figure out how to keep the sense of horror going.

Instead we get cheesy clichés, with some fairly good acting by Shreyas Talpade that is not able to hold the film together. Chalk faced ghosts and a story that just doesn’t hold any punch leaves the audience with a feeling of fright all right, as the realization sinks in that they have spent their hard earned money on a bogus film that should never have been developed. Shreyas, this can’t be the only films that are coming your way. You’ve proven that you are better than this! Boo-yah!

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 ...

Comments Contact Us Advertise Terms of Service Privacy Policy
Copyright © Indolink All Rights Reserved
"Planet Bollywood", "Best of Both Worlds", "Linking Indians Worldwide" are trademarks of Indolink