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
July 19, 2008
After a hiatus, I am back. KK has definitely inspired me enough to write again!
Well, actually I couldn’t have allowed this movie to die a peaceful death – I am perverse enough to give it a painful farewell. As always, the quality of a movie is inversely proportional to the temptation of reviewing it!
Kismat Konnection – Seems like Aziz Mirza has been watching a lot of “K-soaps” of late. What else could have prompted him to replace the ‘C’ with ‘K’? He must be under the impression that “success” must have that mandatory ‘K’ in it – only this time it totally “sucks us”!
Okay Mr.Director, so why on earth is the story set in Toronto, Canada? It could have well been our very own Mumbai or NCR; at least you could have cut down on the production costs (and losses). And why did you choose to pair Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan? When the promos were aired, it gave me an impression that it’s a “mature” love story – remember the Akshaye Khanne-Dimple Kapadia bit in Dil Chahta Hai (ouch!) Anyways, its beyond the scope of this review to discuss the story (don’t want things to get ugly here) but one thing’s for sure – such a story in the 80’s would have made a blockbuster. You know what I am talking about – the neglected dada-dadis in old age homes, loud fortune-tellers, rich corporates v/s the poor, morality over materialism, overweight and badly dressed heroine … oops! Mr. Director, the times, they sure are changing.
Your heart bleeds for Shahid Kapoor; he was brilliant in Jab We Met and this movie was supposed to take him even higher from where he left off. Sadly it seems he is back to the Fool And Final days! I have nothing against Vidya Balan, she gets the expressions right almost everytime (check out the Airtel ads) but with a body and fashion sense like that, she tends to shower motherly love on her co-star. She will have to put her act together, fast. The dudes are getting leaner, meaner and fitter each day. And Suniel Shetty is out of business!
To sum up, KK has turned out to be one of the most boring movies of this year so far. There is nothing in the movie to lift it up even momentarily – the music is a big let down, the songs keep cropping up every now and then giving you enough time to pick and choose that combo meal at leisure. While leaving the movie hall, all one can think of is dedicating the title track to the director – “Aye paapi, aye paapi oye…”
June 9, 2008
The opening scene of Ram Gopal Verma’s Sarkar showed an old man talking to the patriarch figure about the brutal murder of his young daughter by some young goons. As the aggrieved father breaks down and pleads for justice to Sarkar, the camera suddenly focuses on the latter’s enraged face. The expression of outrage written on it underlined the ideals and authority practiced by the man who everyone fears and reveres. No slow motions or lingering close-ups, just one swift camera shot conveyed it all. The same poignancy for which Ramu was respected as a filmmaker till some time ago. However post a certain RGV Ke Aag and numerous ‘James’ clones, the audience expectations from him are low, notwithstanding the celebrity star cast in his latest venture, Sarkar Raj. And perhaps this time, Ramu has introspected like never before to redeem his name and credibility.
Sarkar Raj, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Sarkar carries forward the legacy of the Nagre family. Unlike the last time around which dealt more with gang wars, the focus here is mainly towards political gamesmanship. Subhash Nagre (Amitabh Bachhan) continues to be the messiah of the masses, this time however it is his son Shankar (Abhishek) who takes center stage as he takes over the reins of the business, ala Michael Corleone. The resemblance to Godfather ends there. Shankar is convinced that a power plant project planned by an international company is the need of the hour for the state and citizens. There is only one hitch as the CEO of the project, Anita (Aishwarya) puts it: the project site is designed to be set up in place of five villages which would mean rehabilitation of all the villagers. There are the usual hurdles in the path; the unscrupulous businessmen and slimy politicians and a vociferous rabble rouser who threaten to disrupt the project. Taking it as a personal responsibility, Shankar overcomes all of them with the support of Anita till tragedy strikes. And a much bigger conspiracy is revealed.
If the highlight of the last film was the chemistry between Big B and Junior B, this one is another first with the addition of the Junior Mrs. B. The producers and Verma himself would have considered it a recipe for success, but it is the characterization which is the winning formula here. The villains on the other hand look juvenile and idiotic, instead of menacing which makes the protagonists look slightly larger than life. The second half of the film does get gruesome, perhaps required by the subject. The film is shot in sepia tone to maintain the continuity. A mention has to be made about the background score, and the ‘Govinda’ chant which seemed overdone for the most part and ultimately creates more noise than effect.
At the end of the day, it is Amitabh who breathes life and soul into the central character. Having aged a few more years and acquired a stoop, his expressions speak more than his dialogues. Whether it is sizing up a wily henchman or coping with his personal losses or simply that cold blooded stare in the closing moments of the movie, he conveys it all through his eyes. Abhishek picks up from where he left of in the last installment, only this time his character has matured much more than earlier. For the first few sequences, it seems though he wears the same thinking expression every time but the development of his character is one of the highlights here. Aishwarya carries of the business woman look with élan, but her relationship with Abhishek could have been better explored.
Notwithstanding his curiosity in mafia and underworld themes, Ramu surely know the difference between megalomania and sticking to one’s basics now. As Sarkar put it, “Janta aasman par nahi, zameen par rehte hai.”
- Suprateek Sinha
February 10, 2008
Rajat Kapoor, the actor. Best remembered for his performance as the paedophile in Monsoon Wedding and giving creditable performances in Corporate, Bheja Fry, Khoya Khoya Chand… the list goes on. Last seen in Anuranan in another intense role (actually this one was made much before the others mentioned, but released only recently in India), he is not a star by any standards. Yet he is an actor who can lend a lot of strength to the casting credits. Rajat Kapoor, the director. Not so well remembered, is it. Not surprising giving that his last two ventures were Raghu Romeo and Mixed Doubles. Both these had unusual concepts, and tried to look at the lives of ordinary people in a humourous light. Both were rejected by the audience and critics. To his credit he has been directing since 1994. Which begs the question: Is Rajat Kapoor a better actor or a director?
Mithya has the age old theme of the underworld’s obsession with cinema as its backdrop. VK (Ranvir) is a small time actor who leads an oddball existence trying to make his career in Bollywood. His life changes when he is picked up by some goons and taken on a secret mission. After a lot of dilly dallying we are told his mission is to replace the top don of a rival gang Rajebhai, who is his look alike, once the don is bumped off. Though initially scared, VK takes up the challenge as an actor and gets into the character. The plan goes off perfectly till VK has an accident and he loses his memory. Thereafter he begins to search for his identity and confusion reigns all around.
Much as the storyline sounds interesting here, it falters in execution. The movie follows its on languid pace and seems to lose its purpose several times. The editing is quite shoddy and destroys the flow of the plot. The love story between VK and the actress/moll (Neha Dhupia) seems stretched as there is zero chemistry between them. The movie does have its good moments towards the beginning. For example when VK rehearses in his room to the irritation of his neighbors and when he is drinking his ‘quarter’ by the seaside.
The movie quite visibly belongs to Ranvir Shorey who proves his worth once again in a role which requires an entire range of emotions. Along with his friend Vinay Pathak, he is one of the most under rated actors of recent times. Vinay, though is wasted in this movie which is sad to see as audiences expected to see the Ranvir-Vinay camaraderie sparkle once again. Neha Dhupia does what she is supposed to here: look pretty, though the cinematographer seems obsessed with her curves and legs. Among the others, Iravati impresses in her small role as the don’s wife.
Hindi cinema goes through phases where movies with similar themes are released simultaneously, the recent being of aspiring actors wanting to make it big in movies. One gets the feeling that Mithya would have been wonderful to watch had it been made differently. Because the biggest mithya was marketing this as a comedy movie when there was very little to laugh about.
- Suprateek Sinha
December 22, 2007
In Hindi Cinema, one of the signs of how big, a star is, can be determined by the position his/her name holds in the opening credits of the movie. Conventionally the order is determined in terms of seniority or by the saleablity of a particular actor. This order has also been sometimes controversially disputed in some cases. So when the opening credits of Taare Zameen Par started rolling, I actually sat up when Darsheel Safary’s (the child actor) name appeared before Aamir Khan. Undoubtedly Khan is the biggest star in the movie, yet it seemed to be an indicator of the intention of the movie. Often these days, the movies become self promotional exercises for the stars. Not this one though.
Aamir Khan’s directorial debut is a heart touching story of a dyslexic boy and his aspirations. Ishaan (Darsheel) is mesmerized by the colours and scenes of nature but cannot fathom the letters and numbers (which to him seem to dance) of his daily studies. Pushed constantly by the expectations of his father of excelling like his illustrious elder brother, he faces humiliation and further failure due to his learning disability. As a result his father takes matters into his own hands and Ishaan is packed off to a boarding school. The experience is a harsh shock for the little boy and he withdraws into his shell. His art teacher Ram, (Aamir) brings back the sunshine in his life and shows him his true value.
Aided by a strong script by Amole Gupta, it focuses on the mental condition of such children, parental pressures, apathetic teaching culture and acceptability among peers. But above all it highlights the intense competitive pressure and mindset in a society where a child’s worth is measured by test scores and academic distinctions. Earlier films on differently abled people like Black, Koi Mil Gaya, Sadma were mainly centred around a single character. TZP portrays the cause through the protagonist rather than vice versa. The opening shots show the innocence and curiosity in the boy’s eyes much like in Little Miss Sunshine.
Among the songs, the title track and Maa are the best. Shankar Mahadevan’s soulful rendition takes them to another level. The pace of the narrative could have been faster and the editing crisper as it slows down in certain portions. Darsheel Safary as an actor is much more mature than his age. Whether it is due to the intensive training he was put through or his natural talent is immaterial. He walks straight into the hearts of the audience with his performance. For Aamir this is merely an extension of his immense range, here under playing himself and providing the requisite comic relief as well. The audience would not have expected anything but a gripping performance on his debut in direction. Tisca Chopra also leaves a mark with her stoic performance as an anxious housewife- mother.
The locales of Panchgani provide a picturesque playing ground for Ishaan’s imagination and are captured beautifully. As in the case of Chak De India the sincerity of this effort needs to be lauded. In the times where juvenile cinema involving mature characters are common, TZP is mature cinema involving children. Thank you Aamir Khan and Amole Gupta for taking us back to our childhood.
- Suprateek Sinha
November 11, 2007
As a child I loved visiting fairs. The variety enthralled me: roller coaster rides, the bumping cars, the clowns, and the cave of horrors. Welcome to the Farah Khan fair, Om Shanti Om. This one should be subtitled, ‘For the love of Hindi commercial cinema.’ Continuing in the Main Hoon Naa mould, Farah Khan makes a typical Bollywood blockbuster complete with action, emotion, romance, comedy and horror. Taken with liberal doses of cinematic licenses. Her films would classify as a new genre called fantasy.
The film opens grandly with a junior artiste Om Prakash (SRK) grooving to the beats of the original Om Shanti Om from Karz, as part of the studio audience while Rishi Kapoor goes round and round the famous silver record. Om has two dreams, to be a famous actor some day and being with the woman of his dreams, Shantipriya (Deepika) a top actress of the 70s. The latter gets fulfilled when he rescues Shanti on one of her outdoor sets. He woos her with the help of his best buddy Pappu (Shreyas). However Shanti has a secret which leads to her murder and Om dies attempting to save her a second time. He is reborn as the son of a famous actor and the superstar of the current era. Old memories catch up with him and he sets about seeking retribution for his dead love.
The movie is replete with references and asides to the film industry, actors and technicians. The most interesting task must have been the dialogue writers, having to string together the most heard and clichéd lines throughout Hindi cinema. While the first half in the 70s has the top actors or their duplicates acting with Shanti, the second half in current times looks at starry tantrums, item numbers and even the casting couch. But some things never change: the storylines and dialogues of both eras are similar, so are the background dancers and Om hams in both his avatars. Infact there is a justified sense in the over the top performances as it is another dig at the actors.
While the first half is entertaining, the story starts going downhill in the second half. Most of the plot in the second half borrows from Karz, as stated even in the movie by Shreyas. The climax requires you to suspend all logic The all star cast song resembles an extended awards ceremony and is a bit too stretched. Out of the two looks, the 70s certainly is more visually appealing though showing the old songs in clear digital quality takes away a bit of authenticity.
In this movie, SRK does everything he has ever been criticized for; overacting, repeating himself and hamming. All this being built into the role makes it seem he plays his natural self. Deepika exudes both the charm and dignity of a yester year’s actress. Besides her looks, her performance leaves an impression though one wishes she had more to do in the second half. Kirron Kher plays the quintessential ‘Ma’ to the hilt.
Farah Khan is certainly a better choreographer than a director. Do not expect subtlety and you shall not be disappointed. But she knows who her audience is and what they want. Mind It!!
- Suprateek Sinha
November 10, 2007
While coming out of the theatre after the show of Saawariya, I overheard two viewers sharing their views on the movie. The first said “Why did Sanjay Bhansali have to shoot this movie in blue?” The other person replied dryly, “Even if he made it in any other colour, it still would not make sense!” Bhansali’s latest enterprise though being a visual treat is a test of patience for the audience. Like his earlier movie Khamoshi, this one claims to be a musical. Music proves be one of the redeeming factors of this kitsch tale. But more on that later.
The story is set in a imaginary town which looks like a combination of the rooftops of Gotham City and the neon signs of Moulin Rouge. Ranbir Raj, a singer and dreamer is a newcomer in this town. He sings at the local bar where he befriends a prostitute Gulabji (Rani). Gulab is smitten by his innocence and serves as his advisor and guide. Raj’s life changes one night when he spots a mysterious girl Sakina (Sonam). He is besotted by her beauty and after some reluctance she accepts his friendship. However Sakina is committed to wait for her secret love to come back and accept her. She confides in Raj who is stuck in an awkward situation of losing her love and friendship by helping her.
The plot moves along this single path at an extremely slow pace, perhaps the attempt was to make a theatrical drama. And the weak screenplay does not help matters either. There is only one sequence which has a touch of vintage Bhansali; Gulabji’s rejection of Raj’s offer. True to most of his previous films, the sets are opulent and tasteful. Beyond a point however the dark settings add to the gloomy mood of the narrative. A lot of sequences are inspired by Bhansali’s own Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam especially the conversation in front of the half blind mother. As mentioned earlier, the music score deserves a mention not only for its appeal but the fact that the songs provided relief from the dreary proceedings. The title track, already very popular, is the best of the lot. Masha Allah is one of the most beautiful romantic songs in recent times though it sounds like Bairi Piya in parts.
Among the performers, Ranbir Kapoor stands out distinctly as the happy-go lucky lover who believes in constantly ‘boxing’ with grief. He has the boyish charm of Kumar Gaurav and the mannerisms of his grandfather complete with the hat, and the simplicity of Raj Kapoor in Shree 420 and Awara. Watch out for his tribute to his father here. One question which crossed my mind several times during the course of this movie was regarding the brief Sanjay Bhansali must have given to Sonam for her role. Her portrayal looks convulated and is hampered by a lack of character development. Still she gives a decent performance overall and is quite natural in the lighter scenes. The chemistry between the two sparkles in the aforesaid portions. Rani as the vivacious Gulab plays a vibrant version of Chandra Mukhi here.
The last time two star children were launched in the same movie was in Refugee. Though the film did not fare well, the actors have come a long way and have established themselves. Heres hoping Ranbir and Sonam build a niche for themselves in future times.
- Suprateek Sinha