Khichdi – The Movie

Laughing from TV to the Big Screen…

Pic: Khichdi The Movie; Source: glamsham.com

The success of Khichdi: The Movie is important for any future TV to big screen adaptations in India as the trend has just about taken off. And if such a popular series is unable to make it big as a movie then what will? Thankfully, the film is made on a small budget and from what I saw today, the film should make a neat profit. Congratulations J D Majethia (Producer) and Aatish Kapadia (Director) for delivering a clean comedy that can be enjoyed by the whole family. However, it may not become a big hit as the audience would be limited to the series’ fans and there are two big ticket competitors in cinemas this week (Robot and Anjaana Anjaani).

Khichdi: The Movie is a situational comedy just like the series and its strength lies in its clever writing – the characters and the deadpan humour. For those not familiar with the series, Khichdi is about a middle class, Gujarati joint family in Mumbai. Tulsidas Bhai (Anang Desai) is the head of the Parekh family – a frustrated old man who is fed up of his son Praful’s (Rajeev Mehta) stupidity. Praful is not only stupid but is madly in love with his lazy and equally dim wife, Hansa (Supriya Pathak) who is obsessive about matching her sarees and accessories. Jayshree (Nimisha Vakharia) is Tulsidas’ widowed daughter-in-law who loves to gossip and is gifted with a sharp mind. Then there is Himanshu (J D Majethia) who is Hansa’s brother with similar mental prowess and the two smartest members of the family, the kids – Jacky and Chakkhi.

The film’s story takes from a thread tackled in the series earlier – Himanshu’s love story and wedding with neighbour, Parminder Kaur from the Parminder family (yes, all 65 members of the family are called Parminder). All actors are good in the characters they made famous but a special mention for Nimisha Vakharia who managed to play Jayshree well despite it being a strong character played by Vandana Pathak in the series originally. As usual, Hansa and Praful steal the show with not only their hilarious lines but also their mannerisms. Supriya Pathak who plays Hansa is easily amongst the finest actors and I’d be disappointed if her performance goes unnoticed at the film awards. Nobody else can make these lines sound so funny but her – “Hello! How are? Khaana Kha Ke Jaana…” or “Hello! This is a Hansa speaking…”

There are not many songs but a romantic number between Himanshu and Parminder stays with you for the way it is shot (silly, of course) and the lyrics that go ‘Chal Chal Bhosle Market Chal…’ The film celebrates stupidity and there is not a single dull moment (caution: if you’re not a Khichdi fan, it may not be the case for you). Whether it is Jayshree’s maid troubles or Hansa’s grand court room performance, Khichdi is a laugh riot.

I hope to see the cast return with a sequel and the producers adapting another of their hit series, Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai for the big screen. While these two are on my wish list, a movie that is certainly coming out is Pankaj Kapur starrer Office Office that traces a common man, Musaddilal’s troubles with bureaucracy and corruption in India.

My rating: * * * ½ Three and a half stars on five

– Shrey Khetarpal


ROBOT

For Rajni Fans Only…

Pic: Robot; Source: bollywoodworld.com

10:30 pm: Excited about watching Robot, have heard so much about the special effects and of course the Rajni mania surrounding the film…

10:35 pm: At Big Cinema’s IMAX theatre in Mumbai, now super excited about watching the film on the gigantic screen…

10:40 pm: The movie begins with big alphabets appearing on screen one by one to form the words – ‘S.U.P.E.R.S.T.A.R’ ‘R.A.J.N.I.K.A.N.T’. Though the theatre is half empty but two groups of boys are cheering… I point out that Aishwarya’s full name is spelt wrong (Bachan instead of Bachchan) in the credits; get told off by a friend to stop proof-reading. Okay! Ready for ROBOT to activate.

11:40 pm: Funny, ridiculous, endearingly tacky… am having fun!

12:40 pm: Ok, another hour to go… seems like a task, can we fast forward the songs please?

1:15 am: Very nice fight, not 1, not 2, not 10, hundreds of Rajni Robots getting into a sphere formation. Wait a minute, they are in snake mode now.

1:30 am: Ok! I want to go home NOW…

1:40 am approx: Yay! Movie over, I am tired…

Pic: Robot; Source: endhiran.org

First things first, I am not a Rajnikant fan but am always game for a good film… Was pretty excited about Shankar’s Robot; however, was left disappointed with what I saw last night. I was not looking for logic here and was expecting a lot of silliness but it was funny and enjoyable in parts only. The film was largely disappointing due to its tiresome length, over the top production design and special effects that get tacky and amateurish at times, patchy writing, forced songs with below average music and lyrics.

The film is about a humanoid Robot that is developed for military purposes but develops human feelings (Iron Man meets Bicentennial Man meets I, Robot). There is a lot of masala in the film with romance, action, comedy all thrown in together, unfortunately the final product is not that tasty. Rajnikant as the robot, Chitti and his creator, Prof. Vasigaran;is no doubt good but I’d like to see him in roles that suit his age and stature. I usually like Aishwarya Rai but I have nothing to say about her shockingly ineffective performance in this film; she was so much better in her debut film, Iruvar back in 1997. It was good to see Danny Denzongpa playing a baddie once again.

Robot is the most expensive film made in India, then why wasn’t any attention to detail paid? Rajnikant’s beard and wig look… fake! You can actually see the edges peeling slightly. The robot in the film is shown to know all languages that are programmed by his creator. I want to know how he could understand what the mosquitoes were saying, certainly no human knows that. Yes, you read it right there is a sequence where Chitti talks to a colony of mosquitoes.

Talking about the special effects, there are some impressive sequences especially in the climax where there are hundreds of lookalike robots. However, there are many poorly executed sequences that can only be termed, shoddy. The film could have been a good half hour shorter (editing – Anthony Gonsalves) as it gets really boring in the second half. Regarding make up and costumes, the less said is better; maybe going ‘over the top’ was the brief but it shouldn’t be at the cost of making your actors look silly. Mr. Manish Malhotra didn’t expect this from you…

Music by A. R. Rahman is below average but I will not give up hope and wait for the maestro to come back with another rocking album (after Jhootha Hi Sahi of course). Lyrics by Swanand Kirkere are bizarre and I prefer ‘Telephone Dhun Mein Hasne Wali’ from Hindustani to his ‘Neutrons, Electrons’ in Robot.  In true Shankar style, the songs are shot at exotic locations and the song, ‘Kilimanjaro, Mohenjadaro’, which incidentally is shot in Macchu Picchu, looks nice. The ‘Neutrons, Electrons’ song that is shot in a Brazilian desert could have looked breathtaking if the makers didn’t decide to ‘enhance’ the visuals with so called ‘special effects’.

Overall, Robot is a very average film that doesn’t really live up to its promise of being a complete masala entertainer. Ask Rajni fans and they would trash this post citing the author’s lack of understanding of Tamil cinema or specifically Rajni cinema. I understand their point of view as even I was criticised for overlooking My Name Is Khan’s flaws and going simply by what I felt after the film in my review. Robot is for Rajni fans and they will love it. If you are not a fan, don’t go with any expectations and you may like it.

My rating: * * ½ Two and a half stars on five

– Shrey Khetarpal