Tanu Weds Manu

 

Bhai mazaa nahin aaya ji…

Pic: Viacom 18; source: Wikipedia

Hello ji, I am Manu Sharma (R. Madhavan) … I am a London returned doctor, looking for a bride in India. I land in Delhi and my parents directly take me to Kanpur to meet a girl and her family. The girl is sloshed and passes out when we meet but I am so desperate that I fall in love with her instantly. The girl’s name is Tanu ji… she is pretty, has collagen injected pout, drinks vodka or rum neat, smokes up and abuses in our mother tongue. I like her a lot as she reminds me of what I do not possess – a spine.

Hello ji, I am Tanu Trivedi (Kangana Ranaut)… I am a Delhi University graduate and think that I am the god’s gift to mankind. Please don’t mind the way I talk as I still do not have a diction coach. I love a contractor boy from Lucknow but flirting-shlirting with bakras like Sharma ji aka Manu ji is good for my ego. He seems like a little lost puppy, wagging his tail and following me in the hope of some affection; no harm in playing along, you see.

Director, Anand L. Rai’sTanu weds Manu’ doesn’t have a path breaking story-line but a safe plot which usually works for a rom-com. But what’s required is an exciting screenplay (story by Himanshu Sharma) and crackling chemistry between the lead pair; think ‘500 Days of Summer’ or closer home, ‘Jab We Met’… but ‘Tanu weds Manu’ falters on both. Of course, there are mandatory wedding in Punjab scenes and some genuinely funny moments but not enough to sustain the film. The first half is silly but interesting; the interval moment holds a big surprise but after that it’s a downward journey as Madhavan’s character starts becoming a door mat and Kangana gets more irritating.

In such films, a lot depends on the lead actors’ charm. Kangana looked promising in the promos but her diction fails her again as she sounds completely unconvincing. In fact, you end up laughing at the way she says her lines than what she says. Madhavan is nice in the first half but his character becomes so weak in the second half that you stop feeling sad for him. The supporting cast is more interesting with Deepak Dobriyal as Manu’s best friend Pappi; this guy steals the show whenever he comes on screen. Eijaz Khan plays Jassi, Manu’s Sardarji friend very well and Swara Bhaskar as Payal, Tanu’s childhood friend has more charm and talent than the leading lady. Jimmy Shergill is good in his few scenes but his character isn’t well written; Ravi Kissen is wasted in his two bit role.

Madhavan’s stylist should take note and give him clothes that do not highlight his… eh… man breasts! Kangana looks nice in some parts and scary in some with her bee-stung pout; her wedding look in the climax is ghastly. The film’s soundtrack (music, Krsna; lyrics, Rajshekhar) has some nice Punjabi songs like ‘Sadi Gali’ (RDB) and ‘Jugni’ (Mika); and some really bad ones like ‘Mannu Bhaiyya’. Cinematography by Chirantan Das is good and a little bit of brutal editing (Hemal Kothari) in the second half would have helped the film a lot.

Overall ‘Tanu weds Manu’ is just about average and can be watched once. Tip: go in a large group and you’d enjoy it more… preferably after downing Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka* like Tanu ji.

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

*Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka – borrowed from Anna Vetticad’s Tweets and Blog.

 

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Teen Patti

 

You’ve got a Joker…

Pic: Hinduja Ventures; Source: Wikipedia

You take first rate actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Ben Kingsley and waste them in a super boring copy of a super interesting English film (though the makers refute the claim but a lot of us have seen Kevin Spacey’s21’); that is what Teen Patti is, a boring film. It is director, Leena Yadav’s second film after Shabd, which didn’t work but was far superior to this dud.  

Teen Patti is about a Mathematics professor, Venkat Subramaniam (Amitabh Bachchan) who comes up with a card counting technique using the theory of probability. He wants to submit the same as his dissertation. He is convinced by his colleague, Shantanu Biswas (R. Madhavan) and a few students (Dhruv Ganesh, Shraddha Kapoor, Siddharth Kher and Vaibhav Talwar) to test the same through practical application. Since we do not have Vegas like casinos in India, the gambling scenes are either presented in dingy illegal gambling dens or at private parties. There are many gambling sequences in the film but none of them gripping enough to hold your interest (remember the card game in Casino Royale). Anyways, there are other twists in the film that becomes a whodunit in the second half. There are many forgettable and unimpressive cameos and actors like Jackie Shroff, Ajay Devgn, Mahesh Manjrekar, Shakti Kapoor, Raima Sen and Tinnu Anand are completely wasted.

Amitabh Bachchan does what he is asked to do in the film and so does Madhavan. Both of them are unable to save the film because of the lousy screenplay and poor acting by the new comers. Leena Yadav clearly made this film for the multiplex audience as an important part of the film is in English (AB’s interaction with Ben Kingsley), that too without Hindi subtitles limiting any chances in the smaller centres. She should have realized that the audience she is trying to reach out to have already seen 21, Casino Royale and the Ocean’s series. And why is Ben Kingsley there? Just because you got him to say yes! If you do not have a proper role for an actor of that caliber, please do not approach him.

Overall, Teen Patti is one of the lamest films I have seen lately and would not recommend it to anyone.

My Rating: * ½ One and a half star 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