Saturday, September 11, 2010

Take a bow Salman

For once, I completely agree with Nikhat Kazmi –the movie critic of the Times of India. This film is seriously good, definitely not meant for fans of serious cinema and totally satisfying for those who enjoy the “silly” factor of bollywood. I was lucky to have watched Om Shanti Om in a single screen theatre in Jaipur. The audience reaction upped the experience considerably. But I enjoyed Dabangg despite watching it on a multiplex screen that was not even half full of the urban crowd who at best, are subdued in their reactions.

The movie is a well-budgeted, smartly helmed, typically bollywood, B film. It felt like a cross between Omkara and Om Shanti Om and is apparently aimed at the group that was till recently called the “front benchers”. Actually at the end of the film I wondered if the film will be a hit with the masses since I genuinely enjoyed it. I hope it is. Salman is the single biggest reason why this film works and probably the reason why the film got made. And no, am no fan of Sallu Bhai. But only he could have carried off so audaciously the character of Chulbul Pandey, the lovable corrupt cop (the promos are absolutely correct) who pauses to deliver macho dialogues in the midst of fights and breaks into gyrations too when the guy who is getting smashed by him suddenly gets a call. He quite likes the caller tune you see. “Wacky” describes the film. But where Tashan failed so miserably in being a celebration of mindless panache, this film succeeds brilliantly.
Abhinav Kashyap the director of this film, brings out the hinterland in a self-assured, knowledgeable manner, that neither glorifies it, nor makes any morbid statement about poverty. The family drama is really in the tradition of bollywood – brotherhood, revenge and the omnipotent presence of Ma. But it never bores you – the sense of déjà vu comes later. Sonakshi Sinha as the “heroine” is unusual by today’s standards. Unconventionally good looking, rather tall, and so not skinny. I found her interesting. The music is already a huge hit. And there are lots more songs than I was aware of in the film. That was one of the very few things I didn’t like. But Malaika Arora’s number would make for fantastic viewing with the “right” crowd.

Salman, his glares reflecting a neon heart shape has a whale of a time going about his role. He is in his element after quite a long time I think. And as the “shirtless wonder”, will amuse you in the climax. If you like bollywood for its uniqueness (though not quite in the tradition of films where chiffon-clad women are getting all weepy) you are more than likely to enjoy the film. For me, this is a cult film in the league of Om Shanti Om, Dev D, and even Kaminey.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It is all about sacrificing ji.

This is why I love the johar chopra itsallaboutlovingyourfamily brigade. Their ability to completely distort relations till you have no clue what being real means. Honestly, watching a skilled contortionist wouldn’t be half as thrilling. For those of you who have seen stepmom and cried, you can watch this and guffaw. Kajol as the ever suffering divorced mom of three kids is someone I couldn’t summon a shred of sympathy for. What a bizarre character! Stepmom was about dispelling the myth of a wicked stepmom and replacing her with a genuine person. But it never attempted to suggest that the ex-wife and girlfriend should now dance atop tables and find bonhomie! But then I guess from Bollywood’s POV, isme drama kidhar hai? Nobody is SACRIFICING anything!! A mother dying and leaving her three kids whom she has spent her life caring for is scarcely something that will arouse paroxysms of weepiness in the saas-bahu watching auntyjis. Still, Bollywood wanted to make this out-of-cultural-context movie by “tweaking” it to Indian tastes. Instead they just mauled it completely.

So the Husband, on hearing of his wife’s terminal disease, promptly dumps his girlfriend whom he is said to be in love with, to come and live with his wife. Offering support by being there is so bland you see. The girlfriend is one step ahead in this sacrifice ka imtihaan, and she smugly tells him – “Agar main tumhari jagah hoti toh main bhi aise hi karti”. Checkmate. The wife, not to be outdone, suggests that while she has her children’s past, her children’s future now lies with the girlfriend. When the girlfriend says that she is not the “mom-type”, the all-knowing motherindia pooh-poohs her dismissively saying every woman just is. Na ri Na ri …………….but who cares. This is pop-corn fun at its best.

The extraordinary situation is a first for Hindi cinema surely. Now that is what a situational comedy really means. If the audience did not seem so stunned (I think a lot of them were weeping and only very few were chuckling naughtily at the wrong places), I would have clapped and ceetee maaroed and thrown coins at the screen when all those tears were rolling down all those stereotype character’s faces. You have all the johar chopra accessories – pretty houses (pogen pohl kitchen FYI), very pretty clothes, scenic surroundings. Aur kya chahiye? There is comedy, there is rona dhona, there is a fashion show. Total family entertainment.

And really, you must pay special attention to the Jailhouse rock version that kajol sings. Hello ji let’s dance. Welcome to panjuland!