Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

“It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it”

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani;
Pic Source: Wikipedia

Writer-Director, Ayan Mukerji has done something interesting with his second film, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (his first was the lovely coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid); he has used everything that a typical Bollywood preppy romance has and still managed to keep the film fresh and entertaining. With a predictable screenplay, he has made a film that the country is falling in love with. Partly, the credit goes to the film’s leading man, Ranbir Kapoor who is finally filling the gap left wide open by the erstwhile King of Romance, Shah Rukh Khan. A line in Ayan’s film describes the young Kapoor scion perfectly… “yeh andar se jitna kameena hai, shakal utni hi shareef hai” (he is a roguish devil with an innocent face). He is a perfect mix of talent and other star qualities, just what the Cine-Doctor prescribed for Bollywood. Coming back to the film, it works at many levels and you are able to forget about something called a new story!

Roger Ebert once said, “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it”, and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a perfect example. It is a rom-com with a story-line we have seen in many Bollywood films, especially the ones featuring Shah Rukh… heck, we have also seen similar locations and styling. But Ayan’s film shines as it has heart and you don’t mind tagging along with these good looking youngsters in gorgeous designer clothes as they discover themselves, realize their dreams and fall in love. The film looks at first-world-problems that the affluent urban youth face, which proves why the film is doing roaring business in multiplexes and even in the international markets. It offers three-hours of escape from work, studies and the other big issues like “he/she-never-called-back”… isn’t that what most people look for in entertainment? A part of me says no but a bigger part crushes that and says, “Hell YES!”

Despite all the gloss and filmy formulas, Ayan succeeds in building likable characters and creates moments with the right amount of sweetness. That’s what differentiates Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani from other cookie cutter romances. Bunny aka Kabir Thapar (Ranbir Kapoor) is an ambitious youngster who wants to see the world and has no time or inclination to settle down; geeky Naina Talwar (Deepika Padukone) discovers her inner heroine, falls in love but wants a simple, rooted life; Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) is spunky, behaves like her guy friends but is a romantic at heart; and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) doesn’t want to grow up. These four take a trip of a lifetime and we just enjoy a memorable holiday with them in Manali (shot in Gulmarg, Kashmir actually) till the intermission.

What next? A wedding, of course. Designers, Manish Malhotra and Samidha Wangnoo bring out the best of Spring Summer 2013 wedding collection – their clothes worn by some of the best looking actors in Bollywood. This display of couture takes place at an equally lavish setting, the Udaivilas Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Party after party, ceremony after ceremony and song after song, we proceed towards the climax. Am I complaining? Not at all! In between all this, the director manages to sneak in lovely moments about friendship, loyalty, romance and heart-break.

Songs in the film are beautifully choreographed (Remo D’Souza, Farah Khan) and well performed by the actors. Pritam’s music is good and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are catchy… watch the film and try getting “Balam Pichkari” and “Badtameez Dil” out of your head. Talking about the look of the film, full-crowd-applause for cinematographer, V Manikanandan, and Amrita Mahal Nakai with Rajnish Hedao for production design. Akiv Ali (editor) could have chopped the film a bit more, especially the serious part towards the end (ok, ok I enjoyed the song and dance much more), but it’s not an issue. The film has its flaws but I had so much fun that all those small issues can be ignored.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a fun film, it is not great cinema but is a good entertainer. I promise, you’d come out smiling from the theatre.

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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.

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

 

Ladies vs Ricky Bahl

This is no Band Baaja Baaraat…

Pic: Yash Raj Films; Source: Wikipedia

From the makers of the super-fun, Band Baaja Baaraat (BBB) comes a not-so-fun film, Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl (LVRB). The latest Ranveer SinghAnushka Sharma starrer promised the same energy, attitude and excitement as the last year’s surprise hit, BBB but sadly failed to do so. It is certainly not a bad film but disappoints by being mediocre, coming from the same team that presented a crackling entertainer not so long ago. I hate to compare the two films but that’s how this film was promoted.

Directed by Maneesh Sharma, the film has an interesting first half where the stories of three women getting conned by the same guy are presented (story, Aditya Chopra; screenplay, Devika Bhagat). However, the second half gets predictable as these three hire another girl to con the original conman. While the plot is nothing new, the treatment could have made the film more engaging and fun. Ranveer Singh as Ricky Bahl who appears in the film in many other characters is good and his hard work shows on screen. Anushka (as Ishika Desai) is her usual confident, bubbly self but needs to break out of this mould in her future films as we’ve seen her do the same thing many times now. The supporting characters include three other actresses who have been cast well. Dipannita Sharma as a successful career woman, Raina Parulekar from Mumbai is good and so is Aditi Sharma who plays a soft spoken widow from Lucknow. But the real star of the film is Parineeti Chopra who owns every scene she appears in; she plays Dimple Chaddha, the spoilt daughter of a rich estate agent from Delhi. Habib Faisal (dialogues) has given her the best lines and she says them in an endearingly tacky manner (what we loved about BBB). I can promise you that the internet term for laughing out loud, ‘LOL’ will not remain the same for you once you’ve seen this film.

Another thing that does not work for the film is its music (Salim-Sulaiman). None of the songs are above average and act as good concession stand / loo breaks. Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl is a half baked attempt at a con film as the love angle ruins it. Bollywood or Yash Raj Films, can we not have a mean con artist film that is funny but without a sappy love story?

My rating: * * ½ two and a half on five

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Like Flat Cola…

MBKD; Source: Wikipedia

Let me begin by confessing that I have been a big fan of Yash Raj brand of cinema with beautiful people dressed in designer wear, great locales, melodious music, large family celebrations and of course a love story somewhere in all this. Having said that, I also applaud the innovative ideas and fresh concepts they’ve been presenting on-screen over the last decade. However, their latest offering Mere Brother Ki Dulhan doesn’t live up to the high standards of Yash Raj romances, nor it stands out based on an innovative concept.

The film’s title gives away the basic plot, the leading man falls in love with his brother’s bride-to-be; which is something we have seen earlier in Sorry Bhai (2008) and The Family Stone (2005). Of course, all three films are different in their treatment and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (MBKD) appeared to be a light entertainer; it is light, yes; but entertainer? No.

MBKD is a story about two brothers, Luv (Ali Zafar of Tere Bin Laden fame) who is based in London and Kush (Imran Khan), an Indian film maker. The two brothers love and understand each other so much that the elder one, Luv asks the younger one to find him an Indian bride. Here we are treated to Tanu Weds Manu style scenes where Kush and family go from town to town meeting weird girls and their families over samosas and jalebis. Finally he’s able to find a suitable match for his brother, the beautiful and rebellious, Dimple (Katrina Kaif). Luv and Dimple approve the alliance after a short video chat and the two families move into a guest house in Delhi to simultaneously plan and celebrate the wedding. Kush and Dimple immerse themselves into the wedding preparations and having loads of fun before Luv arrives. You can easily guess what happens next so I will stop here with the plot.

The problem with the film is not only the predictable story (writer, director: Ali Abbas Zafar; not the actor) but lack of any excitement and fun. The crackling chemistry we saw between the lead pair in Yash Raj’s last shaadi style film, Band Baaja Baaraat is completely missing in this one. There are good looking actors in the film but they don’t light up the screen together; plus they all appear to be trying too hard to be funny. Even the songs that usually set the tone for a wedding themed film are completely flat and boring (music: Sohail Sen).

Watch it if you are a Katrina fan as she gets maximum scope in the film; though I’d recommend watching Band Baaja Baaraat again on DVD.

My rating: ** Two on five

 

Ready

It’s so bad that it’s funny…

Ready; Pic: T-Series; Source: Wikipedia

What do you do when you realise after the first few scenes only that the much anticipated film (for which you booked your tickets in advance) is really bad?

  • Option 1: Sulk and feel bad for the wasted money and time (in which you could have done some useful research on Facebook or bathed your Pomeranian)
  • Option 2: Just give in and try to laugh at the audacity of the filmmaker who thinks the audience is stupid (well, in reality the audience is stupid when Salman Khan is involved these days)

I watched ‘Ready’ with a dear friend and we decided to choose option 2 as that had helped us survive the disaster called, ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’. R (my friend) thoroughly enjoyed the film as she seems to be in love with Salman and the two popular songs; ‘Character Dheela…’ and ‘Dhinka Chika…’ were enough to keep her in a cheerful mood. These were actually the best things about this Anees Bazmee directed flick (if you can call it direction).

‘Ready’ is a remake of a Telugu film of the same name, which was also remade in Tamil and Kannada. What amazes me is the weak script (Gopimohan) that did not deter four directors from making films on it. But as long as they rake in the moolah, film-makers will continue to unleash such travesties on us. And we, the audience are to be blamed for supporting films like this… yeah, yeah I know it has Salman Khan and that’s why even I went to watch it. If you still plan to watch the film (Sallu fan, right?) then here are some tips to survive it and things you can make fun of:

  • Go with friends who are not cine-snobs… avoid those who look down on Bollywood, those who seek intellectual entertainment and those who do not like Salman. Gather a gang of friends who are willing to leave their brains out and will not blame you for wasting your time.
  • Go with sub-zero expectations… ‘Ready’ is not ‘Wanted’ or ‘Dabangg’… does not even come closer; it is however a notch above ‘Tees Maar Khan’.
  • Respect the makers’ callous attitude… lip sync and the lines do not match in many sequences; the film’s location is not clear as Sri Lanka, Thailand and India are all same-to-same.
  • Admire the way Asin T (I am not going to bother with searching and copy-pasting her second name) aspires to become Sridevi of this decade. Sadly, she doesn’t have the comic timing or the charm of the 80s’ ruling diva.
  • Appreciate the value of friendship in Bollywood… a host of Bolly stars make guest appearance in the film, including Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Arbaaz Khan, Zarine Khan, Kangana Ranaut and Chunky Pandey (ok, ok, not all are stars).
  • Have a discussion on Zarine Khan’s weight and thunder thighs after the ‘Character Dheela…’ song.
  • Practice your South Indian dance moves on the ‘Dhinka Chika…’ number while seated.
  • Appreciate the innovative use of colours – one gang of goons wear all whites in the film and the other gang wears all blacks. Their cars match the colour themes and move in V-shaped formations (attention to detail).
  • Understand the deep romantic meaning of the film’s dialogues such as, “Main Kutta Hoon… Tum Kutiya Ho… Tum Aayi Toh, Sach Kehta Hoon… Ke Aaya Mausam, Bhonkne Ka…” (I am a dog, you’re a bitch… since you’ve come; I can say honestly that it seems like the weather to bark). Yes, that’s what Salman says to Asin, homage to his original Prem character from ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. Please do not try this with your girlfriend, she may not appreciate being called a bitch like the way Asin does and you’re no Salman.

To sum up the post, I can only say that ‘Ready’ is so bad that you can end up enjoying it… watch it at your own risk.

My rating: * * Two stars on five (1 for Salman, half each for the two fun songs)

– Shrey Khetarpal

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.

 

Band Baaja Baaraat

 

Shaadi Mubarak –Wedding Planners of the Year

 

Pic: Yash Raj Films

Super bored of the designer romantic comedies released this year (read my earlier column, Rom Com Gone); I was looking forward to Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baaraat (BBB) as the promos looked tacky (in a nice way) and fun. The film thankfully lived up to its promise of ‘Fultoo Dhamaal, Mother Promise!’ Yes, that’s the copy they’re using in the film’s promotional material. And that’s the kind of writing the film has, which makes it enjoyable. Written by director, Maneesh Sharma (story) and Habib Faisal (screenplay), the film’s strength lies in its middle class Delhi feel and the lack of polish making it so endearing.

About the lead pair, BBB has Anushka Sharma who reprises the simple yet feisty girl character again, two years after her debut as Taani in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. She plays Shruti Kakkar, a middle class girl from Delhi who has the dreams and the drive to make it big. Opposite her is Bittoo Sharma, played by newcomer, Ranveer Singh; a student in Delhi’s North Campus who wants to do binnesse (business) so that he does not have to manage his father’s sugarcane fields in Sahranpur. Shruti and Bittoo start a wedding planning binnesse in partnership called Shaadi Mubarak and achieve great success by leveraging each other’s strengths. However, the dream run does not last long as they break one major rule of binnesse, mixing vyaapar (business) with pyaar (love). Just like the plot, the film is great fun in the first half but loses steam towards the second only to have a predictable ending.

Anushka is impressive and appears extremely confident, while Ranveer nails the character of Bittoo with his look and mannerisms; Bread Pakore Ki Kasam like he says in the film. A special mention for the supporting cast, mostly unknown actors who fit the characters well; a flower vendor who looks like a flower vendor and not Anupam Kher type actor in bad make-up.

Coming back to the writing, the dialogue is sharp, witty and colloquial; all Dilliwallas can relate to the wrong use of English and Punjabified pronunciation. A large part of the film is shot in Delhi’s residential areas, making it look more relatable. Come to think of it, this kind of depiction of the city is not new but we have loved it again and again in films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Do Dooni Char and now Band Baaja Baaraat. Special mention for the production designers, Sonal Choudhry and T P Abid for retaining the Delhi feel and designing the kitschy wedding sequences, the USP of Shaadi Mubarak. Camerawork by Aseem Mishra is nice and some of the wedding sequences look like actual shaadi videos only. A big disappointment is the music by Salim Sulaiman, which fails to match the film’s energy.

Overall, Band Baaja Baaraat is a fun watch and if you’re looking for a light entertainer this week, then go for it.

My rating: * * * Three stars on five

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Rom-Com Gone

 

Bollywood’s Romantic Comedies fail to impress in 2010

Romantic comedies or rom-coms have worked well in Hollywood and in the recent past the trend has taken off in Bollywood also with movies like Hum Tum, Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal. With young directors at helm, the concepts are more urbane, the look more stylish and the issues more inane in these films. They have the potential to work as they provide two things to the young audience today – relatable themes, “oh! This happened to my friend” and escapism in the form of beautiful people in designer clothes at fabulous locations; however, this year has seen a spate of disappointing rom-coms. This is what I think of Bollywood’s rom-coms in 2010, starting with this week’s release, Break Ke Baad:

Pic: Kunal Kohli Productions

Break Ke Baad

The girl, Aaliya Khan (Deepika Padukone) is more believable than the guy, Abhay Gulati (Imran Khan)… she is independent, headstrong, enjoys attention but no intervention; the guy is sensitive, caring, packs her undergarments neatly in her bags and has no life other than her. Childhood romance wanes off for the girl but not for the guy; she dumps him but he follows her to win her back. From being every girl’s dream guy, Imran’s character slips into this spineless creature who is described as an ATM machine in the film as machines only give not ask for something. Deepika’s character earns the title of a cold heated b*tch (courtesy: my fellow movie watchers) to a chudail / witch (courtesy: Pammi Bua played by Lillete Dubey). Both actors try hard but their limited acting abilities and a lacklustre script don’t help; the fun elements in the first half appear repetitive and boring in the second.

The world is a ridiculously nice place in this Danish Aslam directed rom-com, where Abhay gets visa on arrival in Australia and stays on to build a chain of successful restaurants from scratch in a couple of months. On the other hand Aaliya comes armed with a full scholarship to the University of Goldcoast; checks into a sea-facing resort like accommodation for just 600 Australian Dollars for six months, gets noticed by a casting director in a college play and becomes an international movie star (really now!)

If the girls watching the film with me found it cute in the beginning, the climax disappointed them also in a big way. Break Ke Baad has a lot of smart lines, some good clothes (and some bad), good locations and an average music score (Vishal Shekhar); the film falters with a thread-bare script, the lack of crackling chemistry between the lead pair and the lamest ending in the recent past. The film has an interesting supporting cast featuring Sharmila Tagore, Lillete Dubey, Shahana Goswami and Yudhishter Urs but that’s not good enough to hold the film together. I won’t write off the film completely as the three girls who watched it with me seemed to like it but it certainly isn’t a film that can make it to anyone’s must-watch list.

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

Pic: Dharma Productions

I Hate Luv Stories

Well what do I say… doesn’t the film’s title says enough? Boy meets girl, girl believes in candy-floss-romance and the boy hates luv stories (please note, he doesn’t hate love stories, smart!) Directed by Punit Malhotra, the film was produced by Dharma Productions and worked well on the box-office, however I am yet to meet anyone who luved this film. Sonam Kapoor plays Simran, a die-hard romantic whose clothes match her boyfriend Raj’s (Samir Dattani) shirts or vice-versa; she is an art director working on a big ticket romantic flick, directed by a Karan Johar like film maker. Jay (Imran Khan) hates such cinema but is still assisting on the film; he also shows off his newly acquired abs to Bruna Abdullah in a song, to make us believe that he is the new age Casanova. Opposites attract and Simran falls for Jay but Jay hates luv stories, end of chapter one. In chapter two, Jay realises his mistake as he luvs love stories but Simran goes back to Raj who buys her white gerberas daily (remember, daily one red balloon in Dil Chahta Hai?) Chapter three… you know what happens. Punit Malhotra and Sonam Kapoor’s twitter squabble with Shobhaa De after she ripped apart the film in print was more interesting than the film itself.

My rating: * * Two stars on five

Pic: Cinergy Productions

Jhootha Hi Sahi

It was Abbas Tyrewala’s next directorial after the hugely successful, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na; John Abraham’s first production with music by maestro, A R Rahman. The expectations were sky high with an interesting working title, 1-800-LOVE. The film eventually came out as Jhootha Hi Sahi and all the expectations came crashing down. The music did not work very well (though I like the Cry Cry song) and everyone wondered who this mature actress opposite John is? She turned out to be the director’s wife who was also credited for the script – Pakhi Tyrewala. After all, it is all about loving your family, eh… wife. The film tried to recreate the magic of American sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother but somehow couldn’t manage to get the same chilled out feel on-screen largely due to the weak screenplay. Having said that, I love the way London’s beautiful summer is captured in the film.

My rating: * * Two stars on five

Pic: PVR Pictures

Aisha

Fantastic promos, an interesting cast, great publicity stills and a peppy soundtrack… Aisha looked like it is going to be the ultimate chick-flick to come out of Bollywood. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, the film ended up to be more like a documentary on the lifestyles of the rich and famous young Delhites. The film surely has great clothes on showcase but one can go to Delhi’s Emporio or Select Citywalk mall to see that or can watch The Devil Wears Prada again. Sonam only looked good and Abhay Deol was wasted in this Rajshree Ojha directed film. Producer, Rhea Kapoor is now thinking of desi Alice in Wonderland with sister Sonam and more fabulous clothes. Hmm…

My rating: * * Two stars on five

Pic: Eros International

Anjaana Anjaani

Two suicidal protagonists, Aakash (Ranbir Kapoor) and Kiara (Priyanka Chopra), who decide to have some fun in the last few days of their lives and end up falling in love. They are both poor but wear trendy clothes, visit hep night clubs at New York’s Times Square and Las Vegas… I quite like their lifestyle actually! They try to die by wrapping cling-wrap around their faces (now you know why it isn’t a toy, keep it out of reach of children) and jumping off a bridge, but they don’t. Fifteen minutes into the film, you start praying for them to die so that the film gets over but they don’t; instead Zayed Khan is also unleashed by director, Siddharth Anand on us to increase the Chinese torture. Both Priyanka and Ranbir are good actors and promising stars but they should look hard at the scripts they choose. Siddharth Anand on his part is creating a library of mediocre rom-coms.

My rating: * * Two stars on five

Pic: Yash Raj Films

 

Pyaar Impossible

As a policy I cannot comment on a film I haven’t seen; and I could not drag myself to the theatre for this one after watching the trailers only, despite all my love for Yash Raj Films.

Pic: Yash Raj Films

 

Band Baaja Baaraat is the last rom-com to hit the screens before the year ends, am hoping the year ends on a bright note for this genre.

 

Shrey Khetarpal


PS: Don’t think that I don’t like romance / rom-coms as a genre; I am just a disappointed film buff. Click here to read my earlier post on the best romantic films according to me.

It’s Complicated

 

It’s enjoyable…

Pic: It's Complicated; Source: Wikipedia

It is always a joy to watch Meryl Streep on screen; she defines what we call ‘screen presence’. An otherwise average film, It’s Complicated depends heavily on this talented actor to make it good. Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, it is a romantic comedy that tackles subjects like marriage and divorce in a light hearted yet sensitive manner.

Jane (Meryl Streep) is a divorcée who runs a successful bakery and has finally come to terms with her divorce with Jake (Alec Baldwin), a lawyer. She stays alone happily with her grown-up children away, and bitches about her ex-husband’s much younger wife, Agnes (Lake Bell) with her bunch of girl-friends. Everything is fine till she goes to New York to attend her son’s graduation. She ends up getting into an affair with Jake and secretly enjoys being the other-woman.  To add to the complication, there is another divorcée, Adam (Steve Martin), Jane’s architect who also likes her.

The film has some genuinely funny sequences including one where Jane goes to a plastic surgeon and smokes a joint before attending a party thrown by her children. Though funny, Alec Baldwin’s stripping scenes are not a pleasant sight. Performance wise, Meryl does not disappoint; she is charming, believable and genuinely funny. Steve Martin in a somber character is very good; you empathise with him and want him to get the girl. Somehow, I am unable to digest Alec Baldwin opposite Meryl Streep; while he suits the character well, he is just not charismatic enough to match up to her.

It’s Complicated is smartly written and beautifully shot (Cinematography: John Toll). Special mention for the production designer and the stylists who make the film look great. Overall, it is quite enjoyable and if you like Meryl Streep, you won’t be disappointed…

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

Shrey Khetarpal