August 3, 2009
I can’t deny that when I was going to watch this movie, I had expected a soppy love story or a friends realizing they have fallen in love with each other kitsch. That was my first mistake. Going by the immense marketing around this film, and the stars attached to it, I was prepared to accept huge doses of lavish settings and plenty of cinematic license. There again I was confounded. So what is Love Aaj Kal all about?
I remember the first time I had seen a movie called Socha Na Tha, I was left thoroughly confused and frustrated. It seemed like a mockery to my senses, which were attuned to watching either happy endings or tragic ones. But here were some characters that seemed normal like any of us, yet were highly temperamental. I had to actually see it a few more times to catch if I missed anything, and am still not totally sure. Yet the protagonists in that movie seemed strangely understandable over time, and the essence of the film lay within the eccentricities of those characters.
Some years and a hugely successful hit later, Imtiaz Ali has revisited Viren and Aditi in their more stylish versions Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone). The young couple goes by common logic, which says that even in a relationship one should ‘Live and let live’, a thought accentuated by Jai’s pickup line: “Dekho main pile on nahi karna chahta”. They separate mutually when their respective careers take them to different shores. Quite practically, they say the relationship won’t last. In their respective spaces, they are most comfortable and keep tabs on each other. It is only when circumstances force them to take decisions that they start realizing a sense of loss.
Parallel to this story, Imtiaz also introduces the same scenario as it played out some 30 years back in the form of Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor). A time when love meant revolution, and sacrifice. As we see Jai laughing at this very thought, I could not help noticing how everyone (including me) guffawed at the emotional lines, which emphasized the way a relationship is viewed today. The male protagonists by nature are shown similar however their mindsets are as opposite as the past and present. For Jai, marriage is not something to be taken seriously, but he realizes the importance of commitment through his own weaknesses and stupidity.
The locations, lavish as they are lend a flavour to the screenplay. I was glad to see there was no compromise in that respect. There is a visible sense of importance given to detail, whether it was the Uttam Kumar movie poster of yester years Calcutta, or the raucous wedding celebrations with a bar-in-the car dickey, of Modern Delhi. Of the performances, Saif was commendable in his twin roles of Jai and the young Veer Singh. Deepika looks stunning and impresses in a few scenes, on the whole however the role warranted a much more experienced actress to achieve its potential.
Love Aaj Kal is certainly not flawless, and there are several aspects which might have been better. I do not expect it to appeal to everyone, much like Socha Na Tha. The key to understanding a movie is to interpret its protagonists. And thankfully for once, this movie allows you to do just that, for good or for worse.
- Suprateek Sinha
March 4, 2009
“Emotional atyachaar” is the work of a genius. Such has been the popularity of this phrase that I can expect this song from bandwallahs at most weddings now (very inappropriate song for the occasion, but who cares!). The phrase also forms the essence of the movie, directed unabashedly with an “I don’t care what the &@!* you think about me” attitude by Anurag Kashyap, that you can’t help applauding even if at times the movie dangerouly treads into the parallel cinema path.
Anurag’s Devdas 3.0 is on a deadly cocktail of Vodka and Coke – the drink as well as the substance – and is a bigger loser than his earlier versions. The ladies are modern fiery versions of the demure black and white era ones. Paro, for instance appears to have had an overdose of Spanish fly. She is gutsy enough to email her nude pic to Dev in London enticing him to come home. Whoa!
In a strange Omkara kind of twist, Dev diches Paro – apna Devdas 3.0 falls for rumours in a jiffy. However, he doesn’t mind taking that cute girl – who was robbed off a decent blouse by her ladies tailor – for a chicken farm visit. Cock-a-doodle-doo! With the self inflicted emotional atyachaar, he hits the bar baar-baar lagataar. Devbabu’s booze buddy Chunnilal, a suave pimp in this version, introduces him to Chanda who’s inspired by Madhuri’s Chandramukhi. Kalki’s Chanda is a resultant of the infamous MMS scandal and social abandonment. Her new profession helps her pursue higher education.
Abhay Deol pitches in a flawless performance which can rival even the earlier Dev babus. Paro and Chanda have definitely made their mark and Anurag has finally emerged out of the No Smoking zone! The music is largely experimental but superlative, to say the least, and is a reflection of the movie in totality. It appears Anurag has depended more on the songs to take the movie forward than dialogues.
The movie succeeds in conveying its recklessness, which by all means is in sync with the theme. The setting of the movie is realistic; devoid of any gloss. If only the ending was not so abrupt, but what the heck; it’s emotional atyachaar afterall!
February 24, 2009
Billu reminds me of the cultural fest I took part when I was in college. The play we presented had a simple (rather stupid!) story with some songs thrown in. Our USP was our star dancer and his meticulously choreographed dances. The only glitch was the story had nothing to do with the dances – it was put up just for an individual award in the best choreography category ‘cos we all knew that we couldn’t sell the play solely on its merit!
I’m a bit puzzled by Priyadarshan’s decision to remake the Malayalam hit Kathaparayumbol – a movie which appeals more to the sensibilities of the rural junta than the average multiplex hopper.
What were they thinking when they made this movie?
Priyadarshan: I yaam tha most succesful director from south… Ah! Forget Murugadoss, he is still a kid. Aye bachu, hehe. If I can make hits out of Bhagam Bhag and Malamaal Weekly, why not Billu? But whom will I cast to turn the fate of this trash around? Hmm…. Why not SRK? After all he has successfully sold craps like Om Shanti Om & Main hoon naa. Saar, will you do my filam?
SRK: (characteristic) hehehehehehe…… Only I can turn trash into gold, not even Salman can do that now, you see. But I wont play the second fiddle…..sorry….. I wont let anything overshadow me……NOT EVEN THE SCRIPT!
Priyadarshan: Dont worry, saar. Irrfan will be the hero, but in a deglamorised role – anyways we wont have to work hard on that, hehehe. You will get all the songs, get to groove with the top heroines and also get a chance to steal the climax with an Obama kind of speech, and we will call it an “extended special appearence” so that you can wash your hands of the film if it flops. What do you say now, saarey?
SRK: You sound better than Karan! Let’s roll.
Irrfan: Damn! Just when the scene was buiding up, this stupid song cropped up. Who the @’&! put that song there? Oh! SRK, was it you? Sorry, please dont throw me out, Danny hasn’t paid me well.
SRK: Hey! Deepika, if you have sulked enough on that B-grade Chinese movie, will you do an item number for me?
Deepika: Why not? After all that martial arts, I have developed a six-pack just like you. And where else could I showcase that? I am fit-fit and lets make it a hit-hit. Now thats a pretty good line, na?
Kareena: Help! Tashan, Golmal returns…..
SRK: I’m your saviour, Bebo.
Priyanka: Love Story 2050, Chamku, Drona……
SRK: Stop whining! You’re in, mutton…..errr…. Piggy Chops
Priyanka: Wow! God tussi great ho……… Arrrgh, Damn it!
Pritam: (@ Planet M) where is the hip-hop section? Ah! At last, Timbaland.
Irrfan: Arrey bhaiyya, I was supposed to do the snip-snip in the movie. Who snip-snipped my role? Damn! I was better off scaring people in Chandrakanta and insurance ads!
SRK: Enough! I’ve given enough footage to this Billu chap now. It’s time to show who’s the real hero. It’s me, me….. I’m the best. Time for my Obama speech – “Yes we can” is passe, “Billu mera dost” is the in thing.
Priyadarshan: (sniff) very touching saar! But where is the audience?
Akshay Kumar: Mera bhi flop, tera bhi flop – Oye! I’m still in the race.
SRK: (characteristic) hehehehehehe………… it was just an “extended special appearance”. I’m the best…….. I’m still the best.
Priyadarshan: Hello! reception?
When is the next train to Kerala?
February 5, 2009
When Jim Carrey was an aspiring to be an actor, he had once written out an undated cheque of one million dollars in his name. This same cheque he carried in his pocket everyday, with a dream of encashing the same one day. Today we all know he can write dozens of such cheques for himself. Was it his destiny or determination, or a bit of both? There are many such examples in every field whether it is business, politics, sports or cinema. The successful ones are those who have a vision they can turn into reality. In Luck by Chance, the main protagonist has one such vision and is undeterred in achieving that. Yet the movie is not so much about him as it is about choosing your life.
This is certainly not the first movie to be made on such a theme in Hindi cinema. The last two attempts being Superstar and Om Shanti Om. While the first was a suspense drama, and the second a fantasy and parody of the industry. In some respects, Luck by Chance is similar to OSO in the digs it takes at the industry insiders. However the screenplay does not revolve around the self indulged jokes. Sure there are some clichés like the diva who was exploited during her teens by her parents, for stardom and money. But the focus is on the ordinary hard working individuals who toil hard behind the scenes waiting in the wings for their big break.
The film follows the lives of two struggling actors, Vikram (Farhan) and Shona (Konkona). While Vikram is a acting school graduate, Shona takes on bit roles in big and small budget films hoping that the producer would give her a lead role one day. They go through a share of disappointments till Vikram’s life changes when he gets a call from Romy Roli Productions for audition. They are one of the biggest producers in the industry, and have been left in the doldrums when their lead hero ditches his mentor to sign another project. Vikram manages to charm the leading lady’s mother (Dimple) and gets his chance to live his dream. What effect this development has on his personality, his relationship with Shona and the decisions they take form the crux of the story.
To her credit, Zoya Akhtar has shot the movie in her own perspective, rather than trying to emulate her brother’s filmmaking style, proof of which can be found in the way the last twenty minutes of this movie unfold. It is a conclusion which might puzzle some; thankfully Zoya did not choose a typical ‘everyone lives happily ever after’ ending for this one. The pace of the movie does drop in the second half. The music is a big letdown, and even though there are a few nice songs, none of them catch your attention. This was Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s follow up to Dostana and Rock On, both of which had a number of chartbusters.
Farhan does justice to the role that (as is commonly reported) was one of the least desirable given the number of people who rejected it. He conveys the intensity required in the character and also has some lighter moments here, something which made his portrayal different from Rock On. Konkona shares her screen space with a lot of smaller characters yet makes an impression being a stalwart. Rishi Kapoor is thoroughly enjoyable in his role of the over-the-top producer and his mannerisms, though borrowed seem well timed to bring in all the laughs.
The makers of this film have spoken about the struggle they had to undergo to complete this project. If you notice carefully, the film in several places portrays those struggles, a poignant reminder that sometimes you need to be lucky to get a chance to prove yourself on center stage.
- Suprateek Sinha
December 20, 2008
It is an entirely heart warming movie. It is lovable because of its simplicity in presentation, complexity of emotions, natural human insecurities and above all a different kind of humour – that looks underplayed but is sure to catch you smiling.
Having all those, the presentation, wonderful scenery of Mauritius’ locales, just-right performances by everyone, smart-jolly dialogs etc, would not have mattered if it didn’t have a, an equally heart warming but not a very straight, simple love story, that is quite involving.
It is about the change of heart and the torn between emotions. The development of the story, events and a good depiction of the same – especially the torn emotions, with decent humour gives the movie a good balance.
Many dialogs cracked me up …and some of them were not meant to – like when Sanjay says “Are tum to mere shaadi mein aya tha”.
As in some movies, your heart goes out to every character. I wonder if anyone could be as cool as cucumber like Boman Irani’s character. But there sure are quite a many annoying-at-the-outset but warm and loving moms like Shabana’s character. Also there are quite a few guys like Harshvardhan – Sanjay Suri’s character, who has got their priorities misplaced. Nothing wrong with that, but when it starts affecting other people, it is high time to make mends.
The chemistry between Boman-Shabana reminded Honeymoon Express Pvt Ltd.
Alia(beautiful Chitrangda Singh) is a typical confused girl who is torn between her wishes, her career and a undeserved faith/loyalty in a relation that was surviving only for survival’s sake, much after the fire had been extinguished. The see-saw confusions of this character are wonderfully displayed.
And there is Sid(Sharman Joshi), who is immediately lovable as a character with his forgetfulness, no-frills simple character who is just involved in his own world. Not to say, he is any less in emotions, he packs quite a bit and tender to everyone and vice-versa, very typical of an younger son! Its hard not to like this character.
There were some eccentricities like maa-kasam or the stockmarket crash affecting marriage next day, but it works out nice at the end.
I can’t resist wondering the treatment the subject would have got in the hands of SLB (he would have made it unbelievably melodramatic) or Bhatt camp ( Emran Hashmi smooching away and a drunken-drug addict Kangana, plus lot of bed scenes).
It is interesting to note the planting of crucial elements early in the movie, but not very prominently and its recurring. For example, the maa kasam was there in first few scene, and (in the same scene) Harsh recieves a call of Marco. Or even the occurance of a live-in. Or the concerns of Sid about her studies/career in unassuming scenes. Or a mama’s boy image thrown in.
It was only right, if not natural, that she finds her interest shifted to a person who tastes matched with hers (jazz for eg), whose priorities match her needs etc. After all, what’s love and relationship if it sapped the energy and worked against the daily life,is one way, instead of fuelling and enriching life.
November 17, 2008
Dear Tarun & Karan (in case you ghost directed the movie as I could see your elements in it),
Revenge is in the air!
No this isn’t about Ghajini - it’s about me, my money and my time which I wasted on your over-rated movie. Once again you, Mr. Johar, the marketing genius, created enough buzz about the movie and promised the viewers to expect something hatke – the first of it’s kind story with a gay touch (which I thought could be an autobiography, ouch!). But then all we got was another version of Kal Ho Na Ho + glossy version of Deewana Mastana + dash of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. So let’s get under the skin of Dostana or should we say Dost-aana?
Your movie starts with a gyrating Shilpa Shetty and muscle flexing John Abraham putting their only marketable strongpoints on display. Thank you for not letting Shetty to mouth inane lines like “chakkar pe chakkar pange pe panga, yeh picture tumko padega bahut mehga”. Anyways after that that song (which ofcourse has nothing to do with the movie), which only served the purpose of enticing the front benchers to howl like a pack of wolves, we were introduced to two perfectly straight men. They fake to be a gay couple, get to share the apartment with Priyanka, fall in love with her (together) only to lose her to Chamku boss. The end.
What? That’s it? Some funny lines, songs, skin show and Miami. Is that what we expect from the man who believes “sapnon ka canvas chota nahi ho sakta”. What about the content? What about such a promising premise which could be exploited to make a true laugh riot? All you could get out of me was a couple of laughs – a couple of laughs for 300 bucks? I reckon that’s a bad deal!
Basically the movie was so shallow in content that it was banking heavily on the gay jokes and the chemistry between Abhishek and John. Sadly they couldn’t emulate the success of SRK-Saif gay act in Kal Ho Na Ho as the surprisingly funny and spontaneous Abhishek was paired with a finely chiseled piece of teak wood. Abhishek, the ‘no-body’ among ‘heavenly bodies’, is a treat to watch here, especially in the dream sequence. John surprisingly sails through the movie with his patented twin expressions – the surprised one and the annoyed one. In between them, he smiles and flexes his biceps. Wow! That’s enough to send the desi chicks drooling, right? What an idea, sirjee!
Priyanka looks like a million bucks – wonder who was her god-damned stylist in Fashion! She doesn’t have to display any histrionics, mostly smiles, some tears, killer clothes and a lotta skin -bhailog khush. Kiron Kher as the eternal filmy Mummy is perfectly cast. In fact the other lol-ing scene involved her. Ah! I almost forgot about Mr. Chamku, who was the surprise package of the movie. Surprise? Huh! I know it’s your evil marketing mind at work again, Karan. You didn’t want to spoil the prospects of the movie by showcasing Bobby. Bravo.
So what else is bothering me after watching this uber cool movie of yours?
Well, to start with the caricatures in your movie are becoming so predicatable and unfunny – Ms Briganza in KKHH, the English neighbour in K3G, Rajpal Yadav in KHNH, Black Beast in KANK (oh save me!) and now Aunty in Dostana – how amateurish. Tarun boy, like a perfect disciple you paid rich tributes to your master by showing KKHH as a masterpiece. You will definitely go places. And pray, what was the hype surrounding the first man to man kiss in Hindi cinema? If you really want to see something outrageous, check out Tallediga nights: The Ballard of Ricky Bobby in which Will Farell kisses the daylights out of Sacha Cohen in the end. And what about the desi girl song, it crops up out of nowhere. How did the extremely conservative Mummy Kher accept her gay son and his partner with 5 second pravachan from Priyanka? Even if I ignore these facts, I can’t help notice to what depths the movie falls in the 2nd half. All said and done, you will still mint money because of the hard sell and lack of competition. People who saw Drona, Kidnap, Karzzzz and the workssss will accept this with open arms.
“Sapnon ka canvas chota nahi ho sakta”
But if you wipe your bum on it, it doesnt make a pretty picture.
September 7, 2008
At the beginning of this movie, Purab’s character reminiscences that “At the age of 20, all of us think the world is going to dance to our tunes”. Something similar to Aamir Khan’s ‘DJ’ in Rang De Basanti. There is something about growing up; it is a sobering process and a reality check. On ourselves and the world around us. With additional responsibilities, come the compromises. The dreams and passions of youth fade away into oblivion, and so do the relationships. Unless you are Joe Mascerenhas, the lead guitarist in this film, who never stopped believing in his passion, while he watched the world speed by in front of his eyes.
Unlike what the promos and theme might suggest, Rock On is actually mature cinema. The prime hazard in making such a movie in Hindi cinema is that it eventually ends up being a wannabe. A case in point is the last film on rock, (Zindagi Rocks), where the lead protagonist did not even know how to hold the instrument properly. That’s where this film truly Rocks! Where the music is a way of life for the players, rather than an embellishment.
So we have a talented bunch of friends, Adi (Farhan), Joe (Arjun Rampal), Rob (Luke Kenny) and KD (Purab Kohli), who have a rock band called Magik. This foursome complements each other perfectly, and set the stage on fire in all their local performances. Obviously, they want the big break and therefore enter a competition where the winners get to cut a private album with a music video. Though they win this competition, the guys realize that all is not as rosy as it seems. The compromises start and the relationships go sour. 10 years later, each is carrying on with their own lives until Adi’s wife, Sakshi (Prachi) chances upon some old pictures of the group. Feeling that it might refresh his morose existence, she seeks to reunite the group. After a lot of hiccups, the band gets together to rekindle an old friendship with the same ‘Magik’.
This is Abhishek ‘Gattu’ Kapoor’s second round after the abysmal ‘Aryan’. I would not even go into a comparison between the two, as I am not sure how many saw his first movie, but his name would be heard a lot in times to come. The narrative is similar to DCH, involving plenty of flashbacks and fast forwards. The music had to be special for such a theme, and sure enough the songs lend lot of dimension to the screenplay. Teemed with the easygoing lyrics and Farhan’s coarse voice, it sounds like a typical college rock band. Farhan himself, gives a convincing performance, and looks the part as well. Purab and Luke lend plenty of support with heartwarming lines, as do the ladies who play a perfect foil to their husbands. But it is Arjun Rampal (yes, you read it correct!) in an understated but strong portrayal of the guitarist, who leaves behind an impression even after the movie.
‘Live your dream’ is what the tagline says. Many people do not have the courage, luck or drive to do that. Yet somewhere deep down, most of us are like Joe, wanting that chance to prove what we can really be…
- Suprateek Sinha