Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bollywood Break

Watching a handful of Bollywood films made for a good break between seeing Eastern European and South American films. It was also interesting to see what new trends were available from the Mumbai film machine. While there were films which showed plenty of promise and potential, the overall end product was infuriating.

Life in a Metro (2007, Director Anurag Basu): Rating 7.5/10

While I had the biggest hope from this film, it ended up being a major disappointment. Anurag tries to juggle multiple stories in the pulsating city of Mumbai but his stories are nothing but lukewarm. The stories are only preoccupied with love and sex -- who is getting it, who is not getting it and who is chasing it. From a strong cast of Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan, Dharmendra, Shilpa Shetty, Shiney Ahuja, Kay kay Menon & Kangana Ranaut, it is only Irfan Khan and Shilpa Shetty that shine. It is clear that effort is made to make Shilpa look simple and pretty in every frame. Her character's affair with Shiney's character had moments of tender seductiveness, while Irfan and Konkana put on the most humble love story. The rest of the stories artifically try to capture the modern beat of a fast paced society preoccupied with sex, money and power.

After four films it is becoming apparent that Kangana can't act. As much promise she showed in Woh Lamhe, she seems to be repeatedly playing a suicidal woman character. Anurag Basu directed her to fame in Gangster so he has decided to repeat some camera angles for this film as well. Unfortunately, they look fake and tired. And the most annoying aspect of the film are the annoying songs with the music band un-necessarily popping up in different street corner belting out tiresome melodies.

The biggest positive is Bobby Singh's beautiful cinematography. He has captured the beauty of the complex city in both night and day -- showing identical shots of certain streets fading from night time to morning look appealing. Also he has lit plenty of scenes effectively, especially the bedroom scene between Shilpa and Shiney -- Bobby uses bright neon red lights from outside to light up the room to frame the seductive scene.

Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007, Director Reema Kagti): Rating 6.5/10

Once Bollywood latches onto a trend, it keeps rehashing it for years on end. The current trend is showing multiple love stories in a single movie. While Life in a Metro & Salaam-E-Ishq tackled those differently, Honeymoon Travels.. is similar along the lines of Just Married in displaying multiple couples on a Honeymoon trip. Just Married focused on one main couple and had the other couple's stories as side interactions. Whereas Honeymoon Travels.. jumps in with 6 equal relationship tales.

A strong cast of Ranvir Shorey, Boman Irani, Shabana Azmi, Kay Kay Menon is never really given enough screen time to really shine. The only one who steals the show is Raima Sen whose perfect expressions are mesmerizing; also her character is the only who truly undergoes a major transformation. There are moments of brilliance in the film, especially with some of the flashback stories shot in black and white. While the film does a great job of incorporating a sci-fi super hero story in the mix, it cuts it too short to make a lasting impression.

Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007, Director Sanjay M. Kanduri): Rating 7/10

What a night Nilesh (Abhay Deol) has. He misses the last 1:40 am train, meets a pretty girl, accidentally kills a gangster, wins plenty of rounds in gambling, comes across millions in cash and then almost loses it all. Along the way, he is almost raped and even killed -- all in a span of 2 hour 30 minutes! But poor dialogue and stereo-typical characters ruin this film. The only positive is Abhay Deol who has this refreshingly innocent look which is convincing and works well for his character.

Kya Love Story Hai (2007, Director Lovely Singh): Rating 4.5/10

This love story has nothing new to offer. The story is set in South Africa which means the film-makers can include a few stereotypical South African characters and make fun of them. The acting is awful and the screenplay is non-existent. The only good thing is the catchy Kareena Kapoor song at the start of the film. It goes downhill from there. Tusshar Kapoor is a nice likeable actor and makes watching this film bearable in parts.

Salaam Namaste (2005, Director Siddharth Anand): Rating 5.5/10

Boy meets girl,boy moves in with girl, they fall in love and have sex. She gets pregnant and then complications start. While there are moments of humour in the film thanks to the cool acting of Saif Ali Khan & Arshad Warsi, overall this is an overly melodramatic flick. Virtually every dialogue is over the top and a majority of the scenes are forced to induce humour.

Neal 'N' Nikki (2005, Director Arjun Sablok): Rating 3/10

Seriously bad cinema!! Uday Chopra still can't act and newcomer Tanisha has nothing to offer except shots of her over-exposed body -- even when she wears a dress or a Sari, the director has ensured that we can still see everything through her thin clothing. The film gives the impression that every woman in Vancouver is dying to have sex and willing to throw herself at the first idiot, which happens to be Neal (Uday). Mercifully, the film is just over 90 minutes and not the usual 2-3 hour Bollywood film.

Shakalaka Boom Boom (2007, Director Suneel Darshan): Rating 3.5/10

A movie about talented music composers should atleast feature extraordinary music. Besides a decent catchy title track, the rest of the music is plain bad even by Bollywood standards. The acting is laughable and the story is plain silly.


Heidi B said...

I feel so bad for you...there is nothing worse than seeing one bad or disappointing movie after another. Painful.

Sachin G. said...

Actually a friend mentioned why I was torturing myself with a lot of this nonsense but I thought it was a good change. I won't be doing another run like this for another few months, so the pain was ok for now :)