Cocktail

Neither shaken nor stirred!

Pic source: Wikipedia

Beautiful people in high fashion labels, partying at the most happening places do not make a good film. Unfortunately, the makers of Cocktail think otherwise. The film is dull, boring and predictable; there is neither smart writing nor great performances to engage the audience. Director, Homi Adajania has failed to live up to the high expectations that were set with the slickly cut promos and the dazzling visuals. Unfortunately, the best parts of the film are there in the promos only and one keeps waiting for some more excitement in the film.

**Some spoilers ahead**

The film is written by Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali but there is nothing new in the story. Protagonists indulging in casual sex, drinking and partying hard may have been novel ideas for Indian cinema in the last decade but not in 2012. Even from the love triangle point of view, there is nothing new… there are no surprises on who gets the guy – the girl who wears short dresses and drinks or the girl who worships and puts a blanket on her friends when they sleep.  Your guess is as good as the makers’.

Cocktail is about three friends – Veronica (Deepika Padukone), a rich party girl with parent issues; Gautam (Saif Ali Khan), a Casanova from Delhi now in London; and Meera (Diana Penty), a newly-wed girl from India who comes to London to be with her husband (Randeep Hooda), who had only married her for dowry (though he gets her a resident permit in the UK, which she uses quite well!) The writers’ have shown the most amount of creativity in showing how these characters meet – but nothing really seems believable. Anyway, after two-three party sequences, one friendship song and a fancy weekend break in Cape Town (very efficient Visa service in the UK I must say for an impromptu holiday plan); the awesome threesome get in a love triangle (yawn!) From this point onwards you can actually predict the next scene; if you’re going in a group, it can also become a game.

One thing I quite liked about the film and also got a bit miffed with is the styling. Indian Vogue’s Fashion Director, Anaita Shroff Adajania has styled the film and the three lead characters do wear good clothes. Deepika is styled well throughout and carries the look of a London based fashionista quite well. Saif as usual is well turned out and you cannot miss the Burberry jackets and trench; he only needs a little more lip balm. Diana looks pretty and her styling follows her BTM (behenjiturned-mod) story. This is where I have a complaint with Anaita – when Meera lands in London, she has no sense of style and even lesser money; even after she finds a job as a graphic designer, I am assuming she doesn’t earn loads; but the stylist thinks it is ok for her to sport luxury labels – a Tod’s bag for instance.

In the acting department, I am quite impressed with Diana as she has delivered an above-average performance in her first film. I just wasn’t convinced with the way her character shaped up; we are supposed to like her and she is supposed to be the conscientious one but then she does betray her best friend (Tequila shots cannot be blamed for it Mr. Director). Deepika still needs diction lessons but she did go beyond her usual range. Regarding Saif, he was mostly irritating and I mainly blame the character; also he is no longer convincing as a 32-year old! My favourite was Dimple Kapadia as Gautam’s mother who essentially did what Kirron Kher usually does as an aggressive Punjabi lady. Boman Irani was good in his short role and Randeep Hooda was completely wasted.

The film’s music by Pritam is nice and adds a dash of fun (lyrics by Irshad Kamil). I enjoyed ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’ (vocals – Neeraj Shridhar & Kavita Seth) and ‘Daaru Desi’ (vocals – Benny Dayal & Shalmali Kholgade) tracks. But my favourite song in the film is not an original one but borrowed from another album; it is ‘Angreji Beat’, sung by Gippy Grewal and Yo Yo Honey Singh. I liked the way they introduced Deepika’s character with this fun song. Cinematography by Anil Mehta is brilliant (as expected); London looks even more inviting through his lens and Cape Town simply gorgeous. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is ho-hum; the film just goes on and on in the second half making you crave for a real cocktail!

Overall, the film leaves you cold and disappointed. This Cocktail is not mixed well; watch it if you don’t mind predictable but good looking stuff.

Advertisements

Ferrari Ki Sawaari

An Aww-ful Film…

A simple plot, likeable characters and a lot of ‘Aww’ moments make Ferrari Ki Sawaari a must watch summer film for families. Indian cinema has always celebrated the mother-child bond but this film focuses on the father-son relationship. It is a story about a single father’s determination to make his son’s dreams come true.

Rusy / Rustom Deboo (Sharman Joshi) is an honest government employee who always sees the brighter side of life. He loves his 12-year-old son, Kayo (Ritvik Sahore), a talented cricketer, more than anything in the world. Kayo also understands and appreciates his Pappa’s efforts to support his passion for cricket, despite his small income. The real challenge arises when Kayo gets an opportunity to go to a cricket camp at the iconic Lord’s ground in London, which has a fee of Rs. 1.5 lacs. After being denied a loan from the bank, Rusy has only two choices – break his son’s dream or take a path that is against his values to get the money. No prizes for guessing, he chooses the latter in desperation and starts a mad chain of events involving none other than Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari.

Writer-director, Rajesh Mapuskar manages to beautifully portray the relationship between Rusy and Kayo which is based on mutual understanding, love and respect. On the other hand, the relationship between Rusy and his bitter-old father or Mota Pappa, Behram Deboo (Boman Irani) is a little strained and we get to slowly peel the layers as the film progresses. All actors have done a good job and in this male dominated cast, a firebrand female wedding planner, Babbu Chanchal (Seema Pahawa) also manages to deliver laughs.

It is a heartwarming film that brings together emotions and comedy with an almost fantastical premise (written by Mapuskar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra & Rajkumar Hirani). I wish the film was a little shorter though (editing – Deepa Bhatia) and the music a little better (Pritam).  The prayer song, ‘Ae Mere Mann’ is very nice but does not stay with you; ‘Mara Re’ and the title track are peppy but that’s about it; the most popular track ‘Mala Jau De’ is popular mainly because of Vidya Balan’s guest appearance.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari is a feel good film and I recommend you take some time out from all the negativities and stress to just relax and enjoy Kayo & Rusy’s adventures.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

Average is Good…

Pic: Dharma Productions; Source: Wikipedia

“Average is good”, says Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor) to Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan) and that line sums up the film for me. Shakun Batra’s Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is not a brilliantly made film, nor is it bad. It is average and average in a good way. The film manages to entertain but not delight; people wear good clothes, look good and deal with day to day issues of life, except they deal with it by getting drunk and getting married in Las Vegas!

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET) is not like What Happens in Vegas, except the getting drunk and marrying a stranger part. It is also not like 500 Days of Summer, except the day-wise narrative style (linear here though). It is also not like Jab We Met, except the full of life female lead who teaches the guy how to live… EMAET is all this strung together in an interesting screenplay (Shakun Batra, Ayesha Devitre) and a refreshing treatment for a Hindi film.

Rahul is a young architect who works in a leading firm in Las Vegas; despite staying in one of the most exciting cities in the world, he leads a dull life. Riana on the other hand likes to live life on her own terms; she is a hairstylist by profession and a serial dater. Both of them meet one day, get drunk and married. As expected, cupid strikes while they help and sort out each other… this is where the director does something different (and makes the film interesting) by taking the road less travelled.

The film’s supporting cast entertains the most… Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah and Kareena’s family members (whose names I do not know) are brilliant. I am usually not very impressed with Imran’s acting skills but he does well in this film as a tedious guy with parent issues. Kareena is good but I am surprised with how much more attention the director has showered on Imran as compared to her. Amit Trivedi’s music goes well with the film but nothing memorable. EMAET looks good, thanks to the cinematography by David Mac Donald, production design (read great looking houses and locations) by Shashank Tere and fabulous clothes by Manish Malhotra and Shiraz Siddique.

The film works on the rom-com meter and has some fun moments. It is short and crisp with under two-hours running time that keeps it from dragging. Go watch it for some light entertainment…

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Don 2

The King is back… or is he not?

Don 2; Source: Wikipedia

Shah Rukh Khan’s second outing as Don may not be an edge-of-the-seat thriller but it has enough action and style to qualify as an average entertainer. Directed by Farhan Akhtar, Don 2 suffers from the same old Bollywood problem – a weak script (story & screenplay – Ameet Mehta, Ambrish Shah and Akhtar himself). Instead we are offered fancy locales, exciting stunts and oodles of style… oh, and of course, King Khan.

While the first Don (2006) was a remake of Amitabh Bachchan starrer of the same name (1978); it packed a lot more punch and a killer twist in the end as compared to its sequel. The biggest strength of the film is SRK who seems to enjoy playing the bad guy. He is effortlessly cool and sinister in most sequences but has some cringe-worthy moments towards the end where his ‘love-interest’, Roma is involved. Priyanka Chopra reprises the role of Roma, the tough Interpol cop who is still licking her wounds after being fooled by Don in the first film. She has nothing much to do in the film except being called ‘Jungli Billi’ (wild cat) by Don and a little am-a-cop-and-I-can-kick-ass sequence towards the end. Lara Dutta in her brief role steals Ms. Chopra’s thunder in the glamour department and sheer screen presence. Newcomer, Saahil Shroff sadly doesn’t get enough scope and other actors including Om Puri, Boman Irani and Kunal Kapoor are fine in their respective roles.

The film’s other strength is its style quotient for which the Akhtar siblings are well known for. Don 2 is the first Hindi film to be shot in Germany (Berlin) and naturally the locales look refreshing. There are some interesting stunts including SRK’s 300 metre jump from a skyscraper (though it pales in front of Tom Cruise’s Burj Khalifa adventures that we recently witnessed in MI4) and an elaborate car chase sequence where sponsor, Hyundai’s cars prove to be the best. There is an elaborate bank robbery meets 26/11-style hostage crisis sequence that forms the second half of the film. The actors’ styling in the film is quite impressive including Don’s menacing long-haired and un-kept look in the Malaysian jail, followed by well fitted jackets and over coats. Lara looks stunning while Priyanka has some off moments, including one where she chases Don in a slinky designer gown (costume: Jaimal Odedra; hair: Walter Dorairaj, Diane Commisariat). Cinematography by Jason West is also first grade with fantastic aerial shots of Berlin, Thailand and Malaysia.

While the film scores high on style, its slow pace and the length prove detrimental (editing: Anand Sobaya). Despite borrowing heavily from the first film’s soundtrack, music director trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy deliver a below average music score.

Overall, Don 2 disappoints and is certainly not a fitting return for the King. However, it is also not a bad film and is definitely a one-time watch for fans of the franchise and SRK.

My rating: * * * Three on five

– Shrey Khetarpal

Well Done Abba

 

 Well Done Benegal…

Pic: Reliance Big Pictures; Source: Wikipedia

 

Shyam Benegal was never known for comedies but for meaningful cinema that was labeled art-house and alienated mainstream audience. Films such as Ankur, Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, Mandi, Mammo, Sardari Begum and others may have been extremely good but not money spinners at the box office. Even Zubeidaa featuring Karisma Kapoor, which was almost a mainstream Bollywood flick, pleased only the niche Benegal audience and not the masses.  However, with the evolution of the multiplex audience, Benegal has started dabbling with a genre that he hasn’t attempted before – comedy. Well, actually it is satire and he touches upon a lot of relevant issues through his latest films like Welcome to Sajjanpur and Well Done Abba. This new Benegal brand of cinema is extremely refreshing when all we get today are sexist and vulgar jokes in the name of comedies.

Well Done Abba is set in a village called Chikatpalli, somewhere near Hyderabad and focuses on a number of issues such as corruption, water shortage, illiteracy, emancipation of women, amongst others. Boman Irani plays Armaan Ali who is concerned about his daughter, Muskaan Ali’s (Minisha Lamba) marriage and wants to get a baori (well) dug in his fields under a new scheme by the government. The film traces Armaan’s journey as he struggles with the corrupt government machinery and later his battle against the same, which is master-minded by his fiery daughter.

Boman Irani is simply outstanding in the film and proves that the character and the actor playing it are more important than the star. Minisha Lamba is the film’s surprise package and is extremely confident even with the Hyderabadi accent. Other supporting actors like Samir Dattani, Ila Arun and Ravi Kissen are good but fine actors like Rajit Kapoor and Sonali Kulkarni are not given substantial roles.

The film’s strength is its simplicity and situational comedy while its length is its weakness (nearly two and a half hours). The first half of the film moves slowly establishing each of the numerous characters and the film picks up post interval. The editing could have been much better to make the film crisp and more impactful. Music by Shantanu Moitra is nothing great and the songs were not required at all; why couldn’t they just stick to only background score?

Overall, Well Done Abba is a delightfully refreshing film but requires a little patience due to its length.

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

Shrey Khetarpal

 

3 Idiots

 

Smile, laugh and cry with these idiots…

Pic: Vinod Chopra Films

3 Idiots is easily one of the finest films in the last few years and what makes it special is its unabashedly commercial style. It is a film that everyone would like, just like Manmohan Desai’s films that made us laugh, cry, sing and dance, all in one go. Despite being a paisa-vasool entertainer, the film also carries a message – a message about our education system and the rat race we all are a part of. With this film, the director, Rajkumar Hirani has got a hat-trick of relevant yet commercially successful cinema; the first two being Munnabhai MBBS, which was a comment on the medical profession and Lage Raho Munnabhai that made Gandhi cool.

Loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel, Five Point Someone, 3 Idiots is about three engineering students and their tryst with the archaic education system. While the issues raised in the film are serious, the treatment is extremely fun without losing the message. The film is hilarious for most parts but also brings tears in your eyes at one point. Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijit Joshi’s script is the real winner here; of course credit also goes to Chetan who came up with the idea and wrote the book.

Aamir Khan (Rancho), R Madhavan (Farhan) and Sharman Joshi (Raju) play students at Imperial College of Engineering, a fictitious institution that is supposed to be the best in the country. The villain in their life is the director of their college, Viru Sahastrabuddhe aka Virus (Boman Irani) who thinks life is a race and there is no place for number 2. Kareena Kapoor as Virus’ daughter, Pia adds the romantic angle to the film while Farhan and Raju’s family add the melodrama. Actually, Raju’s family adds more comic element than melodrama, do watch out for them. All actors have done a fantastic job in the film and are convincing as college kids despite the actual age difference. While the film focuses a lot on Aamir’s character; Boman Irani and Sharman Joshi shine with their stellar performances.

Technically also, the film is perfect with fine editing by Rajkumar Hirani and cinematography by C. K. Muraleedharan. What disappoints a bit is the music (Shantanu Moitra), which is not exactly memorable but it does sit well with the situations in the film.

Apart from all the masala in the film, what works well for 3 Idiots is the fact that it is so relatable and youth centric, the largest demography in India… from ragging to nagging parents; drinking with buddies to the stress brought by exams; 3 Idiots borrows heavily from the real life and presents it in a light hearted manner. Go watch it with your friends, family, teachers or whoever you can catch hold of… you’d regret if you miss this one.

My Rating: * * * * ½ Four and a half stars (on five)

Shrey Khetarpal

 

Kambakkht Ishq

 

What were they thinking?

Pic: Eros Entertainment; Source: planetbollywood.com

Pic: Eros Entertainment; Source: planetbollywood.com

Montage of Hollywood stars on the red-carpet (courtesy the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards), second grade stunts, Brandon Routh as ‘Mr. Brandon’, Akshay Kumar as a star stuntman, Vindu Dara Singh as a sidekick, dumb chicks dying to sleep with Akshay, Aftab Shivdasani and Amrita Arora at the altar, Kareena Kapoor in a micro-mini, forced kiss, wedding reception, Viagra joke, bad song (actually a very bad song), silly fight (actually it was beyond silly), cake on the bride’s face, fart on the bride’s face… OK! These were not random words but the exact screenplay replication of Kambakkht Ishq’s first fifteen minutes.

Let me tell you the rest of the story in fast forward (those who still want to watch the film please do not read beyond this point). Stuntman, Viraj (Akshay) hates the supermodel-surgeon, Bebo aka Sim (Kareena) (yes! I am not lying about the profession); supermodel-surgeon hates the stuntman; negligent supermodel-surgeon operates the stuntman and leaves her silly watch inside his intestines; silly watch alarm makes noise inside the stuntman’s tummy, please note the alarm tune here, ‘Mangalam, Mangalam’ (wedding mantras); supermodel-surgeon seduces the stuntman; supermodel-surgeon operates the stuntman to recover the watch; supermodel-surgeon dumps the stuntman; stuntman decides to marry Hollywood starlet, Denise Richards; supermodel-surgeon sings a sad song, reaches the wedding to profess her love; stuntman dumps the Hollywood starlet; supermodel-surgeon and the stuntman get together.

If you think this is the worst written film review/article ever, you are right; I am supremely inspired by the film at the moment. My heart goes out to the producers of the film, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Sunil Lulla and the distributors, Eros Entertainment for the crores they will lose (but they claim to have got the biggest opening in the history of the Indian Box Office, so my sympathies with the audience only). Director, Sabbir Khan who also shares credit for the screenplay has done an extremely bad job by trouncing previous Akshay Kumar duds like Chandni Chowk To China and Tashan.

Performance wise both Akshay and Kareena did what they were asked to, mouth sexist dialogues and look glamorous. I understand that it was not a performance oriented film but it doesn’t even rise to the level of Singh is King (which by the way was quite enjoyable).  Good actors like Kirron Kher, Boman Irani and Javed Jaffrey were wasted with under-written characters. So called actors like Aftab Shivdasani and Amrita Arora hog too much screen space (I wonder why). Kehkashan Patel (I don’t blame you if you don’t remember her) and Vindu Dara Singh (Dara Singh’s son) were taken out from the deep freezer but were not allowed to thaw before being put in front of the camera (their frozen expressions said it all). Now for the much talked about Hollywood stars in the film, Sylvester ‘Rambo’ Stallone, Brandon ‘Superman’ Routh and DeniseBondgirl’ Richards; they all had poor cameos and I sincerely hope they do not think that all Bollywood films are like this.

Technically too, I am not impressed with the film; the much talked about stunts are all stale, editing is patchy and the background music is mediocre (Salim Sulaiman). Anu Malik’s music is not memorable at all and the ‘Bebo’ song is simply unbelievable (what were they thinking?) Finally, about the much talked about styling in the film. Aki Narula does a good job of making Kareena look like a supermodel (cannot say the same about the surgeon part) in the shortest of dresses and the tallest of heels, all sourced from Italy apparently. Shabina Khan sourced the trendiest clothes and footwear for Akshay from the biggest brands worldwide but it all just doesn’t seem right. The actor seems a little too old for a skinny and printed pair of jeans with golden sneakers or just incorrect while sporting a white jacket shirt-less at a formal awards ceremony.

Overall, two thumbs down for Kambakkht Ishq!

My rating:  * One star (on five)

– Shrey Khetarpal