Planet Bollywood

Thums Up - Thums Down for the Week - 11 Oct 2010
  ‘Crook’ should be jailed and ‘Praying 4 Death’ is a heart wrenching must see!
  - Samir Dave
Selection based on Planet Bollywood critics recommendations           Let us know what you think about this

Mohit Suri, Emraan Hashmi and the Bhatt brothers fail to deliver as ‘Crook’ whimpers by on the silver screen. Sunil Brij Bhan tugs the spiritual heart with ‘Praying 4 Death’

Thums Up - Recent Films Worth Watching :-)
 Director: Mohit Suri  Producer: Mukesh Bhatt
 Music: Pritam  Lyrics: Kumaar
 Starring: Emraan Haashmi, Arjun Bajwa, Neha Sharma
 Genre: Thriller  Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
It was bound to happen wasn’t it? The brothers Grimm Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt were bound to offer up a turkey sooner or later. They have had a great track record recently with intriguing (“inspired” by other films) movies like, “Tum Mile”, “Raaz: The Mystery Continues”, “Showbiz”, “Dhokha”, “Awarapan”, “Woh Lamhe”, “The Killer”, “Gangster” and “Kalyug”. That’s a pretty impressive track record that includes some thought provoking films with great music. So, it makes it a double let down that not only is “Crook” a film that barely registers on the Bollywood film goers` psyche, the music (by a fading Pritam) is also a let down. When the biggest hit from the soundtrack is the track that basically copies a classic Punjabi folk tune, you can figure out that Pritam has fallen into the uninspired well of non-creativity.

It’s not that director Mohit Suri (“Kalyug”) isn’t talented. He is definitely one of the better directors out there, but he is let down by the dreaded Bollywood uninspired screenplay syndrome (by Ankur Triwedi). The topic is swell, focusing on racism in Australia; however the characters are not well developed enough, the plotting not tight enough, and the eventual climax not thrilling enough to propel the viewer along on an unforgettable (or even semi unforgettable ride). The film isn’t bad, but it’s just …there.

Emraan Hashmi fresh off of his cool performance in “Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii” gives his all as Jai, our hero against racism, but he can’t save the film. His co-star and love interest Neha Sharma plays the woman who Jai must have, Suhani. Neha and Emraan share some palpable chemistry. Emraan’s reputation as the serial kisser is intact as he locks lips in a steamy scene with Australian actress Shella Allen (who added to the controversy of the film with a topless scene that earned it an A rating by the censor board). In short, he is basically the only reason to watch this film.

All in all, I can’t give this one a THUMS DOWN, but I sure can give it a limp, weak THUMS UP. Watch it for some nice timepass moments, and then move on to the next Bollywood release.

 Praying 4 Death
Off the beaten path and definitely not a family film that will leave your heart cheering for joy, “Praying 4 Death” instead is a harsh look at the realities of a life that fate has steered into an unforgivable corner. This short thirty three minute film is worth your time and effort to see. What makes this film even more hard hitting is the fact that it’s real and not fiction. The story focuses on Gouri Amma in Khargapur, trying to survive and support her three daughters after he husband dies. How does she do it? She controversially takes over the Harish Chandra crematorium and performs sacred rituals that are usually performed only by males. Jack of all trades (director, writer, producer..etc), Sunil Brij Bhan delivers a short film that will truly make you question and appreciate your life.

 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.

 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.

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’
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