Thursday, July 28, 2011

Singham Review

** This is a repost from the Singham Review at Bollyspice**
Yet another remake hits Hindi screens and tries its hand with lady luck. This time it is hit combo Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn in the action avatar,Singham. But it’s not the fact of being a remake that sets a film a part or be detrimental to any film. In the scheme of the things, the audience has somewhat gotten used to every third film falling into one of the categories remake, sequel or second episode. The challenge is making it enjoyable for even the select section of the audience that has seen the original, no matter the language or the period. For this hit jodi, the need to go a step forward and bring out something bigger and better than the Tamil Blockbuster starring Suriya Sivakumar and Sweety [Anushka] Shetty, is far greater with the memory Ghajini so strong even now. Considering the statement made by director Rohit Shetty that their version will be fierier in the action, the confidence the makers displayed added to the expectations.
Yet, is confidence enough to win over the audience. After all, the story of an up
right police officer becoming the thorn in the eye for a powerful criminal and their showdown isn’t exactly pioneer story-telling. With that said, this isn’t just about an honest cop. Its about a small town Shivgad’s sub-inspector, Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn), fierceful yet faithful to his roots, his family and his town. For him, criminals like Jaikant Shikhre (Prakash Raj) are unheard of. But when the Goan Kingpin tries to pull a fast one over the sub-inspector, Singham sets him straight and unknowingly gets on his bad side by hurting Shikhre’s ego. Do what you will but hurting Jaikant Shikhre’s ego is a no no with dire consequences. What happens when Singham gets transferred from his hometown to big city Goa, the kingdom that Shikhre has ruled with his smuggling, extortion and drug trafficking for so long forms the crux.
It has been a while since seeing Ajay Devgn in an action based masala flick and he tries his best to deliver however, doesn’t quite make it. On one side the action is powerful, but when it comes to the emotive side, a normally free-flowing Ajay seems a little stiff. But he does well regardless. However, with a villain like Prakash Raj in front of you, it is tough to stand out. Prakash seriously goes to town in this film and what’s more he maintains his sinister side while appealing to the audience with his quirky lines. Debuting in Hindi as Ajay’s ladylove is Kajal Agarwal who looks pretty but is not only disappointing in her portrayal but the character itself is weak, a stark difference from the original in Tamil. In fact the whole ‘love story’ lacked any connection to the story and remained just as an extra fitting that took up time. Govind Namdev, Sudanshu Pandey and Sonali Kulkarni work effectively and play their parts. The rest are ok.
On the technicals side of things, Amar Mohile’s background helps the proceedings by giving the much needed punch. Camera work by Dudley is nice and editing by Steven Bernard could have been crisper. Music Ajay-Atul worked well for the title track but the rest don’t mesh well with the screenplay. Rohit Shetty has designed some eye-popping action for the film, making it a tough challenge for Jai Singh to execute, but it works nonetheless.
While the dialogue by Farhad-Sajid is phenomenal is most situations, there are some that lack the punch they require. Screenplay writer Yunus Sajawal has made his intentions clear in the beginning itself, so it would be futile to think otherwise. But you can’t help but think the slow-motion button was permanently stuck on for a good portion of the second half. After delivering a exhilarating first half, this becomes a damp squib only revived by Prakash’s presence on screen. Even with all the masalafied drama inserted for the masses, the intensity dwindles because of it too.
So while Singham does roar his loudest, it doesn’t always frighten.
Our Rating: 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The BLOGUE

There some people we meet that we forget instantly. No apparent reason, no obvious causes, just a clear crack in the memory circuit that they fall through. It is sometimes sad when this happens especially when you reconnect with them. And there are others that no matter where you end up, whom you've met or what you have accomplished, you NEVER forget. To me, Louella is one of them. A girl that compels me to think about what skill I have gained and boundaries that I push, she is an abundance in talent. And she proves it again and again with her Tumblr posts and most of all, her BLOGUE e-magazine. Dedicated to bollyblogger alone, up until now, I have been a part of her independant emag as a feature writer. But for her 10th benchmark edition, she has given me the opportunity to share the platform with an amazing writer Hemanth Kumar as feature blogger. Considering the effort she puts in and the distance she has travelled with it, I really do feel honored to be gracing the covers of her creation, let alone an achievement like 10th Edition. 


Now I maybe sounding a little sappy but I really would like to thank Louella for considering me for her mammoth tenth issue. For someone that often questions herself and her capability, this is really special. But more that than, this is testimony to the fact you dont really know how far you can go until you try. Personally, I am looking forward to many more issues from my bangaram and I'm she will amaze not only me, but everyone. Please do take a moment to check it and her blog out. Its worth the read.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Venghai Review

Its not wise to expect science fiction from a children's book writer so while I was hesitant about what Hari had to offer with Venghai, I put my masala cap on to go with the flow. Plus I was enjoying a few songs from the soundtrack and considering Dhanush is always dependable on a good performance even in masala flicks, I thought why not. Suffice to say I wasn't entirely disappointed. Well, almost.

So with Hari making an open statement that his films are all about having huge families with a village backdrop and showing the human side to the ruffians with sickles, Venghai beings with the intro of the cast, backdrop and most importantly, the three pivotal characters, Veerapandi [Raj Kiran], his son Selvam [Dhanush] and Rajalingam [Prakashraj]. With Veerapandi being the do-gooder of the town and Rajalingam his nemesis whom is struggling to get out from under his thumb although he is the town MLA, Selvam becomes the target in a behind the scene revenge plot. But when Rajalingam is publicly humiliated by Veerapandi, the gloves are off and the war public. His target shifts from son Selvam to Veerapandi himself. How father and son escape from Rajalingam's ploy forms the crux. Oh and Tamannaah adds in the love angle with a bit of a flashback as well.

Seriously speaking, there isn't much point in thinking with this film. It is a typical Hari film from start to finish. Not many changes and a serious case of old wine in new bottle. The sentiments, the flashback, the rivalry, even to the extent of how the rivals challenge each other has been seen before. So while I'm all for the masala format, sometimes churning out the same stories with different faces doesn't work, Hari. Yet I can't say I didn't enjoy it and the main reason is the performance. Especially that of Dhanush and Prakashraj, who are as always top notch. Although some may feel Dhanush doesn't emote extensively, I felt given the circumstances and the character's backdrop, Dhanush goes for a more subdued version of a ruffian with brains. All in all, Dhanush cakewalks through the film and really goes the distance to perform within his boundaries. Tamannaah looks like a village belle and although fine in the first half, becomes repetitive and irritating towards the end. However, her character does go through some random and haphazard emotional changes so this may not be her fault entirely. Raj Kiran is dignified as the father while Urvasi is a little over the top. Prakashraj is really scoring brownie points with the funnies he pulls out even while he is the bad guy and I for one, am loving it. Kanja Karuppu needs new writers for his comedy if he thinks crass jokes with blatant physical humour will get him far. Double meaning dialogues are bad enough but this was a pathetic excuse for comedy. Livingston was ok while Charlie touched the heart [p.s. welcome back Charlie :)]. Y.G.Mahendran is wasted after an outstanding performance in Yuddham Sei.

On the technical front, Vetri's camerawork is fine and editing by V.T. Vijayan could have been a little crisper. But in Vijayan's defence, Hari's screenplay and story didn't offer much in the first place. Devi Sri Prasad's music isn't at its best although Kalangaathale and Enna Solla Pore are definitely enjoyable. Pudikalai has his usual mass touch to it and will surely make it to a few iTunes lists. Action sequences for the film start off interesting however lose momentum quite quickly to become overdone and long-winded. Which leave us to the real culprit, the writing.

Is there a point in questioning the skill or sentiments of a director who makes statement like the one mentioned? Not really. So while the ill-sketched characters, long winded dialogues, repetitive screenplay and general done to dust feel of the story is most apparent, the director made the right choice in actors for the pivotal characters. The three men work their characters to best they can. Certain dialogues do have merit but they are few and far apart. Now, while I do not agree that a director should stick to one way of filmmaking, if he is good at a particular style or his signature works for him, there is little reason for him to change beyond his own desire to. As an audience member for Hari's latest film, I simply request he become more innovative in rehashing his own films.

Rating: 2/5 -Keeping your thinking cap off and far, far away. You might just like it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap Review

This is a repost from the Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap review for Bollyspice

From a generation’s point of view that has heard the stories and scavenged around for the DVDs of the original “Angry Young Man”, Amitabh Bachchan was and is always regarded with respect as an actor several classes above the rest, acting royalty even if you will. But in his latest venture directed by Puri Jagganath, that iconic character played by Big B is back on the big screen, unperturbed and angry as ever, if only with a touch of grey. Does he pull it off and re-instate his ferocious reign? Will the director that wrote the smash hit Pokiri which was remade twice, once in Tamil with the same name and then as Wanted in Hindi, be able to make his mark on the Hindi audience? Read on to find out.


To begin with we see the streets of Mumbai, busy and bustling with people. The dark cloud over the compact but fair city is Kabir Bhai [Prakashraj], a don that works his underworld web from Dubai. A contract killer, his contacts and clients sit in highly political and high up seats in Delhi. His latest planned bombing however, gets him aggravates the keen eye of ACP Karan Malhotra [Sonu Sood], who’s determined to keep the streets safe and mafia-free. Already unhappy with the ACP, Kabir willing to give in and looks for a hit man to get rid of his headache. But when his men drop like flies and two important members of his gang get arrested, Kabir realises he needs no ordinary man. He needs the baap of all hit men. Enter Vijju [Amitabh Bachchan]. Suave, cool and utterly unorthodox, he dares, does and walks away smiling what most can only think about. Vijju is a man on a killer mission but while focus maybe on what his going to do, the questions will rise on who he really is.

My oh my how do I begin. Let’s just say Amitabh Bachchan isn’t called Big B for just his height. The almost 70 year old [okay so he’s 68] is nothing short of King Size on screen. Clearly aimed at the fans of that infamous Angry Young Man character desperately want to see him back in theatre halls, he brings the whole kit and caboodle and showcases to all why the craze started. Even when a fine actor like Sonu Sood is on screen with his fair share of depth and space, Amitabh looks amazing and dominates like nobody’s business. On his part, Sonu is sincere and honest, with not even an iota of his previous bad guy roles coming to the foreground. Prakashraj is definitely the baddest bad guy on the block in the film but it is great to see him bring out the funnies as well. Hema Malini is elegant as always, although a tad on the rhona-dhona side. Sonal Chauhan is confidant while Charmee Kaur is bubbly and infectious. Raveena Tandon adds in some overdue quirkiness and so does Makrand Deshpande and Subbaraju for their small roles. The actress that plays the nosy landlord and the actor that plays Sonal’s father definitely give you the giggles although they seem like add ons.
Music by Vishal-Shekhar is topping the charts as it is and works extremely well on screen too. The title track BHTB in acapella has been cleverly inserted at regular intervals and is sure to be on your lips as you walk out of the theatres. Editing by Shekar is crisp while the cinematography by Amol Rathod is top notch, staying in sync with the story and surroundings. But now to the main man behind the camera, Puri Jagganath. Masala films are not new to the established director from the south but when you’re catering for a different language and type of audience, there are still chances to fail. However, Puri has made a cohesive script with a some great dialogue to carry the film forward. The story itself may not boast of originality or depth but it sustains interest and is woven in such a way that you don’t immediately notice the flaws. And yes, they are there. As stated Amitabh is all over this film but it does seem that at one point no one else is visible. While it may be a treat to see the actor sparkle, it would also have been nice to have a proper ending to the Raveena-Charmee-Big B track and for that matter a little more support from the supporting cast. Add in the logic factor that flutters haphazardly like the sequencing and some may feel there is little substance to the film. Yet BHTB’s biggest plus point is that this is not supposed to be an intellectual fair and it doesn’t claim to be one. It is a complete and unabashed masala roller-coaster ride, out to do one thing. Entertain. And that it does very well.
BHTB is a chance for Amitabh Bachchan to prove to the younger generation how he did it once and, also how he can still do it again.
Our Rating: 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Double Dhamaal Review

This is a repost of the Double Dhamaal review from Bollyspice.
When you get a hit film out of a jodi, you are bound to see them again on screen. In some cases, the magic returns in abundance and sets a new standard for the said jodi. But sometimes it doesn’t, leaving you with mixed feelings. With Dhamaal, it was a hit combo of 5 actors, Javed Jaffrey, Arshad Warsi, Ashish Chaudary, Ritiesh Deshkmukh and Sanjay Dutt, tickling the funny bone in a mad-fun game of cat-and-mouse. So doesDouble Dhamaal, the sequel to the 2007 hit flick, bring back the madness? Read on.
We begin with brothers Manav [Javed] and Adi [Arshad], Roy [Ritiesh] and Boman [Ashish] back to their good-for-nothing ways, still dreaming of the good life without a care in the world. They are still together and still trying to get rich fast and failing miserably each time until they run into their old foe Kabir [Sanjay Dutt]. Now an ex-cop, he is living the life they want, with Mercedes cars, mansions and a missus to boot. All too familiar with their antics, Kabir promptly gets rid of them when they approach for positions in his company; only to be followed by them straight home. Here the quartet find out Kabir isn’t the straight shooter he seems to be. So in a game of double cross, the quartet devise a plan to blackmail Kabir but little do they know, they are on Kabir’s court and he is the master of the game.
There’s no denying the lead cast and their capabilities of acting, especially in a comedy, but this is definitely not their best. Taking into consideration that this is a gag based comedy film, the quartet try their best to bring back the giggles in an over-acting fashion. But in all honesty, potty jokes, mimicry and even their multiple get-ups don’t work this time around. At the same time, due credit must be given to their multiple gettups, since each actor shines more in their act within an act than their “normal” selves, with Ritiesh leading, Arshad following and Ashish and Javed tying at the end. However, one doesn’t fail to notice that Javed has a less meaty role in the film. Sanjay Dutt plays Kabir like cakewalk but even he isn’t able to lift the film. Of the leading ladies, Mallika Sherawat makes an effort and creates an impact. Kangana isn’t in her element and really struggles after Tanu Weds Manu and Game.
The music by Anand Raj Anand is plausible. Cinematogrpahy by Aseem Bajaj is fine, but how one wishes Sanjay Sankla had a little more control over his editing. It’s only natural for a sequel to have a few gags from the first film to be inserted just to tie the films together. But when you have them repeated as much as they are in Double Dhamaal, your patience is tested to maximum capacity. You may get the giggles initially but in no time, boredom seeps in. Indra Kumar tries desperately to make a somewhat cohesive script within this comedy caper but he fails at the hands of screenplay writer Tushar Hiranandani where even the gags are drab. Add to that, the hint of a third instalment and we already dread what may come. Coming from a director that has undercurrent comedies like Ishq under his belt, this is a poor show and major disappointment.

Yes, you laugh at some instances but when you’re expected to turn off your brain and relax to a nice guffaw fest film, you know you’re heading the wrong way if your brain switches on again.
Our Rating: 
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