Friday, February 6, 2015

Baby Review

** This is a repost of my review on Bollyspice.com **
 
Picture this. An elite team who target, intercept then either eliminate or bring to justice terrorists and criminals. Whilst on an operation to save one of their own, information is obtained (read smacked black and blue out of) from a criminal of a major attack. Travelling from country to country, now begins the chase to take out the masterminds behind it. Sound familiar. Well it should. You’ve seen it more than a million times, with one of the latest being Akshay Kumar’s Holiday. However, coming from the National Award winning Neeraj Pandey, you would think Baby would blow your mind. Yet the mind is not blown enough.
 
Right from the actors to the action, Baby was never meant to have the usual tone for a CIA-in-combat-fighting-against-terrorism storyline. It was more gritty, more swift, more dark. This isn’t about the patriot that screams his passion filled anthem at the top of his lungs. The unit of Baby are crazy, persistent and willing to go ahead with anything for their nation. All this even with the knowledge their government has plausible deniability up their sleeve for the rare occasion they get caught.
 
At the helm of the team, we have our martial arts master of screen Akshay Kumar. As Ajay, a paramilitary recruited under Feroze Khan played by Danny Denzongpa and his man at the forefront for the important covert ops, Akshay delivers and gets the most exposure. His collaborations with Anupam Kher the few comical scenes in the film but he sticks to his characterisation throughout. He himself strolls his way into our giggle bone and does his magic, wig and all. Rana Daggubati gets about 3 lines to say, is built like a tank and is aptly referred to as Hulk. At the same, you don’t really get a chance to see the actor enough to think he’s dopey also. Another character with not enough footage is Taapsee Pannu. In a short role, the lovely lass packed quite a punch, literally. Hopefully we will see more of her. Off the field, we have Danny Denzongpa who is forever reliable to be suave and oh so cool. Murali Sharma gives you the giggles everytime you see him on screen and Karan Wahi doing the backend hacking/paper trail/call interception is just okay. K.K. Menon is reliable for instilling fear without the extra bad guy buffoonery and does his bit while Rasheed Naz exhibits a cunning sinister character aplomb.
So what brings down this almost brilliant story? Well, a few things. For one, the blatant obviousness of the screenplay. Yes, having a cryptic script isn’t good but for a suspense action film, its kinda vital and the action can only do so much. What you end up with is somewhat a bedtime story. The climax is about the only time you are on the edge of your seat and it wasn’t the most exhilarating setup either. Then there is the lack of connection to the characters. Whether is Rana, Tapsee or Madhurima Tuli who plays Akshay’s wife Anjali, the loose ends and lack of depth couldn’t be covered.
 
Now we all know its the movie business, and while you can swallow the political smothered all over the place, you don’t really know what writer Neeraj was intending.
 
Baby is not path breaking, nor is it a commercially spellbinding film. The heroism is evident and yet, the music is lacking in feel. So is it’s lackluster affair, in Bold and Capital.
 
Rating: 1/5 

Action Jackson Review

**This is repost of my review on Bollyspice.com**
 
Whichever way you look at Action Jackson, the puns, the slapstick and the lack of plates for everyone to eat on in beginning is all synonymous with a particular kind comedy action masala. The little touches of style maybe what Prabhudheva is famous for and the leading ladies Sonakshi Sinha and Yami Gautham might add eye candy, but there is nothing new nor entertaining for this Ajay Devgn starrer. Besides Ajay of course.
 
In most cases, you would start with a story. Two guys, AJ and Vishy (Ajay Devgn) both look alike, no relation. One is a small time yet high powered thug. The other doing a runner from his Mafia Boss. Its all comedy and action with a dash of semi-nudity and lots of mini skirt/ghagra thumkaas till the duo join hands for… wait for it… more comedy and action. But would you call it comedy if it was unintentionally humourous like Kunaal Roy Kapoor foodie performance? I guess it’s not meant to be taken seriously. Why else would the Mafia Boss (Anantharaj) have orange suit wearing goonies to do his yes sir and still expected to be ruthless and menacing.

 
Chalo, maaf kiya. The back up isn’t that great either. Vijay Kumar Arora’s cinematography could only make up for so much of the shortcomings of A.C.Mughil’s story. The screenplays gapping holes seemed to have missed the eyes of Prabhudheva, Shiraz Ahmed and Mughil. With misfortune at hand, you can’t really blame Bunty Nagi for his editing but you do wish he had used his scissors more on the 145minute feature. Not really worth mentioning the music since Himesh Reshammiya  is hell bent on slapping his music to your ears or making you pick your own as to where you heard the original from.
 
So Ajay isn’t backed by the legendary story telling he has won awards for. Even Bajirao Singham had more snap the second time than Aj and Vishy put together. Sonakshi my darling, too much masala isn’t good for anyone. But keep up the workout. Yami needs a new manager if this was supposed to be a stepping stone for her into the big leagues. Manavsi Mamgai looks like a million bucks but you don’t need me to tell you that. Anantharaj hasn’t been seen in Hindi cinema for a while but somehow the actor who has had his fair share of stardom in the South doesn’t bring the pizzazz with him this time.
 
Normally turning off your thinking cap and going with the flow would work when you have films like Action Jackson. In fact it has most aspects from Prabhudheva’s previous films including a leading lady, Sonakshi. Yet, the ace choreographer and director has fallen short this time. No Action, No Jackson. Only an urge for extraction. From the theatre halls. ASAP.
 
Rating: 0.5/5

Happy Ending Review

**This is repost of my review on Bollyspice.com**
 
The duo that brought Shor In The City and Go Goa Gone have shifted gear with their latest offering of Happy Ending, starring Saif Ali Khan, Ileana D’Cruz, Kalki Koechlin and Ranvir Shorey. But don’t worry, Raj and DK have their message clear. You can’t make a difficult film for the aam janta (common people). How that would amount to an amalgamation Richard Curtis filmography is a different question altogether. Yet its not all bad.
 
Yes we see Saif Ali Khan for the umpteenth time as a playboy charmer man-child Yudi Jaitley, profession this time a writer. And yes, we have some very beautiful women including leading ladies Ileana D’Cruz and Kalki Koechlin falling for him. There’s also the easy drunk-married-yet-regretting-it friend Monty played by Ranvir Shorey. Lets add Priety Zinta in a special appearance and NOT a song, and our beloved Govinda to add some more flavour. Other than that, simply take the blueprint from any Hugh Grant film of the 90s and Voila.. Happy Ending.
 
Credit must be given though. Making fun of itself while being ironic about the fact that its copying does work for the film in parts. Defeating the critics ridicule as the writers know and acknowledge the spoofing has been done before but the film does flow through smoothly. At some stage, you may start trying to pick out the spoof as it isn’t slap-your-face-spoof.
 
Performances too will have you questioning yourself. Saif plays for us 2-4 minutes worth of Yogi and his wackiness, and this is not including Paahi, Tussi such a pussycat. However if the spoofism extends to roles, then what better way work Saif in and a dual role without the usual twin/cousin/magic explanation Ranvir Shorey is perfect as the married-but-regrets-it Montu, Yudi’s best friend and perfect example of his worst fear. Kalki Koechlin has slotted herself as the counterpoint but not used enough which is a shame. On the other hand, Ileana D’Cruz brings out a conventional and flirtatious modern woman on screen. It was nice seeing Preity Zinta on screen and I hope she comes back more often. No major histrionics required from her as the voice of reason though. Govinda has some great lines about the aam janta as Single Screen Superstar Armaan looking for a smash hit film.
 
Now its understandable the director duo were trying to implement the “Love is not a four letter word” concept. At the end of the day, it is very true that practicality has taken over our existence with everyone running after something. So the theme fits into the little bit of reality you will find in Happy Ending. Maybe you could add in the music by Sachin Jigar. But at the end of that  same day, you aren’t going to remember much more than the spoofed scenes, ‘G Phaad Ke’ hook reference and Yogi.
 
Maybe the cinematography will entice you enough to finally make the trip to the U.S. of A. Maybe you fall for ‘Mileya’. As you walk out of the halls, whichever way you fell, Happy Ending wasn’t matched up to what Paaji advised nor was it a comedy about romantic comedies. But you laugh, on occasion because you were warned.
 
Rating: 2/5
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