Archive for the ‘Hindi Movie Reviews’ Category

January 25th, 2010

Movie Review – Chance Pe Dance – Shahid Kapoor, Genelia Dsouza

The film industry attracts thousands of hopefuls every single day. Most don’t make it. But the struggle continues… CHANCE PE DANCE tries to present the story of a hopeful – his dreams, his aspirations, his struggle and his eventual triumph.

Last year, Zoya Akhtar’s LUCK BY CHANCE depicted the struggles of an aspirant most effectively. CHANCE PE DANCE tries hard to present the story of one such aspirant, but fails miserably. However, a few clarifications before we delve deeper. It’s not derived from STEP UP [2006] or Ram Gopal Varma’s NAACH [the similarity starts and ends with the male lead being a wannabe actor and the female lead being a choreographer], although a significant track of the movie bears an uncanny resemblance to Jack Black’s SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003].

What bogs the film down is that it’s too predictable from start to end. However, predictability is not the sole hitch here. The story doesn’t have the zing to keep you hooked to the screen for most parts and also, it unravels at such a lethargic pace that you break into a yawn at several points of the narrative.

The sole aspect that you carry home is Shahid Kapoor’s earnest performance, who has consistently taken one step ahead with every film. This time, unfortunately, the shoddy script makes the actor’s efforts null and void.

Final verdict? A chance lost! Come to think of it, most dance-based reality shows on television these days promise far more entertainment, excitement, drame-baazi and those euphoric moments than the one you see in CHANCE PE DANCE.

CHANCE PE DANCE tells the story of a talented and passionate guy named Sameer [Shahid Kapoor]. Positive and brimming with energy, Sameer juggles various jobs to keep him afloat while pursuing his one dream to get a break on the big screen.

In his quest, Sameer has a lot of ups and down, hopes and disappointments. Not the one to be disillusioned and armed with a ‘Never-Say-Die’ attitude and dynamic talent, Sameer fights every hurdle that comes his way because achieving your biggest dream is never easy.

In this journey, he is helped by a spirited choreographer Tina [Genelia D'Souza] and eventually, Sameer realizes that sometimes life gives you that one chance.

The problem with CHANCE PE DANCE is its writing, which is tacky and bland at the same time. In today’s times, when every film-maker is striving so hard to narrate a new story, CHANCE PE DANCE harps on the same-old mundane, cliched, tried-and-tested stuff that you’ve watched again and again and again. The journey of the protagonist is so lifeless that you don’t feel for him when he loses one battle after another. Conversely, during the climax, when he eventually emerges a winner, you don’t feel euphoric either.

Had the story remained faithful to the main plot – the struggles of an aspirant – it may’ve cut ice with the viewer. But the track of a dance teacher doesn’t work. Also, the sequences with his father – right from the time his father’s shop is demolished, to his father prodding him to chase his dreams – appears phony. The Mohnish Bahl track is also contradictory. At first he signs Shahid, later dumps him, but much later screams on TV channels that he always knew Shahid was a star… weird, isn’t it? The ending is equally tame.

Director Ken Ghosh has filmed a few individualistic scenes well, especially the one at the interval point when a heart-broken Shahid finds solace in his students, but one sparrow does not a summer make. Adnan Sami’s music is strictly okay. The movie clearly lacks a hit number to take it to dizzy heights. However, the choreography is top notch [Ahmed Khan, Marty Kudelka].

Shahid makes a sincere effort and the honesty shows in a number of scenes. But let’s not forget that the best of actors cannot rise beyond a pitiable script. His dances, expectedly, are exceptional. Genelia looks cute and provides some pleasant moments, but the role doesn’t demand histrionics. Mohnish Bahl is alright. Parikshit Sahani is getting typecast as the father.

On the whole, this dance stands no chance!

January 25th, 2010

Movie Review – Veer – Salmaan Khan, Zarine Khan

VEER drives home a few hard facts…

* No amount of gloss can substitute for an engaging story.

* Not all directors are capable of pulling off a period film.

* No star – howsoever strong his rankings are – can infuse life in a comatose script.

Everyone’s awaiting VEER with bated breath. The film industry will get another breather if VEER goes the 3 IDIOTS way at the box-office. The junta will have one more fascinating genre to look forward to, if VEER appeals to them. But your hopes go crashing as reel after reel of VEER unfurl.

Salman Khan [who has been credited as the story writer of VEER] takes TARAS BULBA, adds GLADIATOR, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, TROY, TITANIC and even KRANTI [the end is a straight lift of Manoj Kumar's Dilip Kumar starrer] and comes up with this khichdi which gets unpalatable after a point.

VEER is about a warrior and at the same time, it’s a love story too. Sadly, neither does it evoke any patriotism, nor does the love story make your heart go dhak-dhak.

The writing [screenplay: Shaktimaan Talwar, Shailesh Verma] is so fragile that one is mentally exhausted by the time this marathon movie finally reaches its finale. Of course, Salman’s star power tries hard to salvage the situation, but window dressing doesn’t help if the store has nothing to offer.

Final word? You have to be a veer to sit through VEER. Colossal disappointment!

As the British enslave India with their devious Divide and Rule policy, kings and nawabs fall to their guile and cunning schemes and entrust their precious kingdom to the foreigners. Except for the brave Pindaris, who prefer death to dishonour and will fight to their last breath to save their land.

The bravest, the toughest, the strongest of the Pindaris is Veer [Salman Khan]. As Veer takes on the might of the British Empire, he also has to fight the conniving King of Madavgarh [Jackie Shroff] as well his own jealous tribesmen. At stake is his love for princess Yashodhara [Zarine Khan], daughter of his sworn enemy. At stake is his thirst to avenge his father’s dishonour.

VEER has it all – great stars, opulent and majestic sets, adrenaline pumping action scenes, but no soul [read script]. The movie begins with a bang, but the moment the story shifts to London, it crashes!

Frankly, it’s a screenplay of convenience. Salman meets the woman of his dreams within minutes of reaching London and that looks so unreal. You try to digest it and move on to the next scene and lo! The damsel studies in the same college that our hero has enrolled in. Now that looks fake!

The sequence at the interval is interesting, although it remains a mystery how Puru Raaj Kumar gets to know of Salman’s identity. At this point, Salman becomes a killing machine, slaughters more than a dozen people in the hostel campus [including a few gora soldiers] and conveniently escapes from London with a badly injured brother [played by Sohail]. Now that is taking it too far.

The second hour goes on and on and on, emphasising on unfulfilled promises, seething anger and revenge, love and freedom and frankly, you are least bothered by now. In fact, you lose interest in the proceedings. Period. The climax is so long drawn and more of an anti-climax, while the ending is bizarre and unintentionally funny.

Director Anil Sharma fails to deliver. That’s the bitter truth. The project had everything going in its favour, but alas, Sharma and his writers make a complete mess of the story. Sajid-Wajid’s music is melodious, but why repeat one song ['Surili Ankhiyon Wali'] again and again? The background score [Monty] is top notch. Gopal Shah’s cinematography is splendid. Tinu Verma’s action scenes are dynamic and in fact, the saving grace of VEER. The production design [art: Sanjay Dhabade] give an authentic feel of the bygone era.

VEER rides on Salman’s star power, but even his hardcore fans will be disappointed by this movie. Zarine Khan resembles Katrina Kaif, but wears one expression all through. Mithun is okay, while Jackie does his bit well. Sohail Khan irritates. Puru Raaj Kumar and Aryan Vaid get no scope. Neena Gupta is as usual. The English actors are stereotype.

On the whole, VEER proves the age-old adage true: All that glitters is not gold. The film may open very well at single screens thanks to Salman’s popularity and the hype surrounding the film and may also enjoy a healthy extended weekend [Tuesday, 26th January is a holiday], but given its exorbitant costs and poor merits, VEER will face an uphill task to recover its costs. This one’s a monumental disappointment!

November 12th, 2009

Movie Review: Jail (2009)

Madhur Bhandarkar is synonymous with thought-provoking, hard-hitting films. Right from CHANDNI BAR to FASHION, the expert storyteller has made movies that hold tremendous shock-value. In turn, Madhur has cultivated a rich fan-base for his films.

With JAIL, Madhur not only makes you visit a prison, but also makes you peep into the psyche of a prisoner. In the recent past, Sriram Raghavan’s EK HASINA THI [2004; Saif Ali Khan, Urmila Matondkar] and Nazim Rizvi’s UNDERTRIAL [2007; Rajpal Yadav] narrated the travails and anguish of innocents who were falsely implicated in a case. Besides, Nagesh Kukunoor’s TEEN DEEWAREIN [2003; Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Nagesh Kukunoor] too narrated the story of three convicts. But JAIL is different from the above-named films.

Besides watching a thought-provoking story on celluloid, one has also come to expect incredible performances in a Madhur Bhandarkar movie. And JAIL too is embellished with superb performances from its key actors.

JAIL transports you to a hitherto unknown world that most of us haven’t seen and if this is its USP, it’s also something that might go against it. Irrespective of how strong its merits are, a section of moviegoers [read families/kids], who generally tilt towards feel-good/sunshine/entertainment-filled cinema, might skip this film due to its dry [and at times depressing] theme.

In a nutshell, JAIL mirrors a reality in true Madhur Bhandarkar style. It’s hard-hitting, it’s compelling, it’s thought-provoking. The efficient storyteller has the courage to speak a new language in every film and for that very reason, JAIL should be on your agenda.

Parag Dixit [Neil Nitin Mukesh] is living a dream life — a great job and a loving girlfriend [Mugdha Godse]. However, things take an ugly turn when, after a series of unfortunate events, he suddenly wakes up in jail. Parag is perplexed. The only salvation he finds is in Nawab [Manoj Bajpayee], a convict, who believes that Parag is innocent.

Soon, Parag is left with a choice, to either live a life with hordes of broken hearts and shattered souls amidst the prison walls or hope to see freedom some day.

JAIL involves you from the very start. The inmates, their crimes, their individual stories… you get drawn into a world that’s very real. So real that you feel it’s happening right in front of your eyes.

Madhur has a knack of narrating stories and he narrates the story of Parag Dixit with razor-edge sharpness. Besides, JAIL also enlightens you of the legal process, which also acts as an eye-opener.

At the same time, the legal procedures and also the behavioural pattern of the inmates tend to get repetitive after a point and that’s when you start feeling restless. Nonetheless, the post-interval has some interesting twists-n-turns, like the convicts’ escape from the police van; prior to that Neil and Manoj exchanging stares before Neil perches himself in the van; Neil getting thrown in a dark cell, spending the next few days in solitary confinement; a convict using the garbage van as the means to escape; another convict realising that his wife is now a cop’s mistress. Also, the climax is touching and moves you.

Madhur hits the right note yet again. Madhur, Manoj Tyagi and Anuradha Tiwari’s script involves you in most parts. Raghuvir Shekhawat’s dialogues are true to life. There’s no scope for music in a film like JAIL, but the three songs are smartly integrated in the storyline. Kalpesh Bhandarkar’s cinematography is top notch. Special mention must be made of Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s prison set, where the film is entirely shot.

Not only does Neil Nitin Mukesh deliver his finest performance to date, but the performance would easily rank amongst the finest this year. He conveys the pathos and helplessness that this character demands with amazing understanding. He deserves all praise for his extra-ordinary portrayal.

Manoj Bajpayee pitches in a memorable performance. In fact, the supremely talented actor is in form after a long, long time. He’s subdued all through, which only goes to prove that he knows the craft so well. Mugdha Godse underplays her part beautifully. Also, she carries the non-glam look well.

Aarya Babbar is fantastic. This film should make people sit and notice this young actor. Chetan Pandit is first-rate. Rahul Singh is excellent, especially in the sequence when he confronts his wife. The actor who plays the part of Joe D’Souza is effective.

On the whole, JAIL is a well-made film from an expert storyteller. At the box-office, the film will appeal to those with an appetite for hard-hitting, realistic fares, but its clash with AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI will affect its business to an extent.

November 12th, 2009

Movie Review: Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani

By Taran Adarsh, November 6, 2009 – 09:40 IST


Rajkumar Santoshi has changed lanes. Known for intense, hard-hitting movies [with the sole exception of ANDAZ APNA APNA], Santoshi now attempts a rom-com in AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI, his new endeavour. That’s something we all know by now, right?

But not many of us know that Santoshi is equally at home handling a comedy. And AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI proves it.

If you’re attempting a rom-com, you need to get a few things right…
One, the romance should be livewire. Ditto for the chemistry between the on-screen pair.
Two, the film should make you laugh. As simple as that!

In AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI, the romantic moments are endearing. Most importantly, the on-screen chemistry is electrifying. Ranbir and Katrina look great together!

I’ve often said that comedy is serious business and the audience has moved over from banana peel humour in movies. The comedy in AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI – though it borders on absurdity – is funny in most parts. Sure, there’re times when you feel that the humour looks forced [climax fight especially], but you don’t grudge it since Santoshi’s intentions are crystal clear from Scene 1 onwards: Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega.

Another factor that goes in its favour is Pritam’s music, who belts out a couple of lilting tracks.

On the flip side, the film could’ve done with a fresh plotline. When you talk of ‘Ghazab Kahani’, it has to be ghazab by all means. It shouldn’t fall prey to predictability, but the second hour succumbs to mediocrity occasionally.

Yet, despite the blemishes, AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI is a full-on entertainer. One thing is for sure, you’d fall in prem with Prem and his antics. An ideal date movie that should connect with the youth.

Prem’s [Ranbir Kapoor] fundas in life were very simple – be happy, make others happy. A case of mistaken identity leads Prem to almost kidnap Jenny [Katrina Kaif], who was brought up by indifferent and uncaring foster parents.

Prem falls in love with Jenny, but realizes gradually that Jenny is in love with someone else [Upen Patel], the son of a conniving politician [Govind Namdeo]. Prem decides to sacrifice his love and get the lovers married.

In the first sequence, Santoshi makes it loud and clear that AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI is very unlike his previous ventures; this one harbours on illogical situations. Right from the time Ranbir sets his eyes on Katrina [the yellow outfit episode], the film is a roller coaster ride.

A few sequences entertain you thoroughly. Sample these: Katrina slaps Ranbir when he stammers as well. She feels he’s imitating her; Ranbir’s sequence in the church; Salman Khan’s cameo; the love-hate relationship that Ranbir and his father [Darshan Jariwala] share; the sequence at the party; the interval point when Ranbir falls on the ground literally… the first hour of the film simply rocks!

But the second hour makes you a little grumpy. The third angle of the triangle [Upen Patel] isn’t convincing, while his father’s [Govind Namdeo] track is beaten to death. Even the villain [Zakir Hussain] is a sore point.

Watching the second hour makes you feel that the film may’ve had a longer running time and in order to bring down the length, a number of scenes must’ve been chopped off, which, in turn, must’ve resulted in continuity lapses. For instance, Katrina’s kidnap by the villains looks too sudden. When and how did it occur?

Yet, there’re two sequences in this hour which are remarkable and which should bring the house down. One, when Ranbir wears Katrina’s top to hide her presence in the house and the climax fight, when Katrina mistakenly bangs Ranbir a couple of times.

Directorially, Santoshi proves the naysayers wrong and bounces back with a film that the youth would relate to. You can’t write off the maker and AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI proves it. Pritam’s music has ‘Hit’ written all over it. S. Thiru’s cinematography is first-rate.

Ranbir Kapoor is the next big thing and AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI proves it yet again. He’s charismatic, emotes exceptionally well and tickles your funny bone without making faces. It’s a fantastic performance all the way. Katrina Kaif continues to surprise. She surprised you in NEW YORK. She surprises you again in this film. She scores in both emotional and light scenes. Also, Ranbir and Katrina make a wonderful on-screen couple.

Darshan Jariwala is exceptional. Smita Jaykar is very good. Upen Patel is decent. Govind Namdeo is getting typecast. Zakir Hussain is fair. Navneet Nishan is alright.

On the whole, AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI entertains majorly. At the box-office, the fantastic pre-release campaign coupled with the terrific chemistry between Ranbir and Katrina, excellent music by Pritam and tremendous appeal for youth should ensure a big start for the film at the ticket window. The business prospects seem excellent, thus ensuring handsome returns for its investors.