Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rann - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Amitabh Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Paresh Rawal, Mohnish Behl, Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Rajat Kapoor, Gul Panag, Neetu Chandra, Rajpal Yadav, Prakash Trivedi, Sudeep, Rahul Pendkalkar, Neena Kulkarni,Simone Singh, Iklaq Khan, Alok Nath

Ramgopal Varma is itching to tell a new story in his movies. You may garland him for his efforts or loathe him if you feel letdown, but you need to hand it to him for picking up stories that defy stereotype.

This time, in RANN, the maverick film-maker does an expose on the games the heavyweights in the media play to further their interests. RGV goes into the newsrooms and also behind it and throws light on the politician-industrialist-media nexus. Also, it's an insider's account of how news channels that are greedy for ratings sensationalize stories to grab eyeballs.

On surface, you don't want to know what goes behind the scenes and how, at times, news are 'created' by vested interests. But RANN scratches the surface and opens a can of worms. RANN also mirrors the fact that just like there are good and bad people in every field, there're some rotten ones in the media too who succumb to temptations and create news to climb the ladder of success.

RANN is a serious film and RGV knows what he's talking this time. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that you recall RGV's SARKAR while watching RANN, even though the two films are as diverse as chalk and cheese. You recall SARKAR because RANN is an equally powerful film that shows a world we've only seen from the exterior.

RANN is for those who enjoy serious cinema. It's more for the intelligentsia, for the thinking viewer. Definitely not for those who seek refuge in frivolous masala capers.

Vijay Harshvardhan Malik [Amitabh Bachchan] is the founder of a private news channel, India 24/7. A upholder of journalistic ethics, his channel is battling for survival. Jay [Sudeep], his son, looks at his father's news channel purely as a business enterprise that must make profits to justify its existence. He hates that his competition [Mohnish Bahl] is doing better than him.

The story takes a turn when a corrupt politician, Mohan Pandey [Paresh Rawal], decides to use the channel to his advantage by using Vijay's son-in-law Navin [Rajat Kapoor]. Pandey aspires to be the Prime Minister and indulges in a vicious campaign against his political opponent.

Navin is the most insecure man on earth and won't rest till he becomes the number one industrialist in the country. He, in turn, involves his brother-in-law Jay in Pandey's game plan.

A film like RANN would fall into the pit if [i] its writing wouldn't be razor-sharp and [ii] the choice of actors would be incompetent. RGV's movies, generally, are embellished with competent actors who deliver super performances. In this film, every member of the cast shines in his/her role, the length of the role notwithstanding.

The writing is watertight and convincing. Besides, the subject matter has been presented in the most simplistic manner, which makes it easy to decipher. However, the episode showing Riteish's investigation tends to get confusing at one point, but the climax compensates for the minor hiccups here and there.

Amit Roy's cinematography is eye-catching. Dialogues are power-packed. In fact, one can identify with the well-penned dialogues. The background score plays a crucial role. It heightens the impact of various scenes.

Amitabh Bachchan is spectacular yet again, especially towards the finale. His speech and the way he delivers it are remarkable. Sudeep is terrific. To stand up to giants like Bachchan and Paresh Rawal is no mean achievement. Riteish is only getting better and better with every film. In fact, he surprises you constantly.

Paresh Rawal, seen in an RGV film after a long, long time, is at his vicious best. Rajat Kapoor is incredible. Mohnish Bahl gets the role of a lifetime and he sinks his teeth into it. This film should open new vistas for him. Gul Panag is natural and so easy on the eyes. Neetu Chandra does her part well. Suchitra Krishnamoorthy is too good. Rajpal Yadav contributes to some funny moments. Neena Kulkarni and Simone Singh are perfect for their parts.

On the whole, RANN is truly a well-made film. No two opinions on that. The film should be patronised by viewers of serious, sensible cinema. Recommended!

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01 -
02 - Gali Gali
03 - Kaanch Ke
04 - Mera Bharat
05 - Rann Hai
06 - Remote Ko Baahar
07 - Sikkon Ki Bhook (The Vande Mataram Song)

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Ishqiya - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Naseruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Anupam Kher

Get ready for tangy, pungent, sizzling and spicy stuff. Be forewarned, ISHQIYA isn't the fluffy, candyfloss, saccharine sweet story of lovers breaking into songs in mustard fields. In ISHQIYA, you just don't know what turn the story may take next. Not just the story, even the characters here are so impulsive and unpredictable.

You need to have a strong stomach to absorb ISHQIYA. It's high on drama, it's wild, it's real. But it's not dark, it's not sleazy, it's not crass. Frankly, you don't expect debutante director Abhishek Chaubey to make a stereotypical fare thanks to the tutelage by his guru Vishal Bhardwaj, who loves to swim against the tide and undertake risks in film after film.

You could call ISHQIYA a distant cousin of OMKARA. Set in Gorakhpur in North India, the film has a rustic feel, depicts characters that may make you uncomfortable and is laced with saucy lingo. Yet, it's different than OMKARA.

Final word? You can't help but fall in ishq with ISHQIYA. Tired of sherbat? Try this spicy jaljeera for a change!

Two thieves, Khalujaan [Naseeruddin Shah] and Babban [Arshad Warsi], are on the run from their boss, Mushtaq. They seek refuge at a friend's house, but instead meet his widow, Krishna [Vidya Balan]. The time spent together draws the duo to her, Khalu with his tinted vision of old-fashioned love and Babban with his lustful eye. But the past catches up with all three!

There's no denying that the promos had prepared me of the journey ahead, yet it took me a good 15-odd minutes to get into the world of Khalujaan, Babban and Krishna. But once you get sucked into their world, the blurred images start getting clearer and clearer and you become an active participant in their journey.

The first hour passes in a jiffy, but the story actually gets dramatic and volatile in its second hour. It's at this stage that things start getting more and more unpredictable. Thestory does a somersault every 10 minutes and by the time it reaches its finale, you're curious to know how the debutante director would conclude this saga. The end, of course, will have its share of advocates and adversaries, but the fact remains that it's offbeat.

Abhishek Chaubey is a welcome addition to the ranks of avid storytellers. His choice of the subject and also handling of the material is what makes this film so eminently watchable. Not once do you feel that ISHQIYA has been helmed by a first-timer. Note the change of events in the song 'Dil To Bachcha Hain Ji' or the kidnap drama and the heated argument that follows thereafter. Even the passionate lovemaking sequence between Arshad and Vidya has been dexterously canned.

However, Chaubey and his team of writers could've kept the writing simplistic towards the finale. It's complex and also lacks clarity. Yet, all said and done, screenplay writers Vishal Bhardwaj, Sabrina Dhawan and Abhishek Chaubey deserve kudos for coming up with a film that keeps you hooked for most parts.

Vishal Bhardwaj's musical score has his unmistakable stamp all over. The film is embellished with two lilting gems - 'Ibne Batuta' and 'Dil To Bachcha Hain Ji' - which are a rage with listeners already and have been juxtaposed beautifully in the plot. Mohana Krishna's cinematography is first-rate. Dialogues [Vishal Bhardwaj] are acidic and a few lines are indeed startling.

Every actor in ISHQIYA delivers a sparkling performance! Naseeruddin Shah is superb as a romantic. He is matchless in the sequence when he learns the truth about Vidya and Arshad. Arshad packs in a bravura performance yet again. Post MUNNABHAI films, Arshad should be liked in this one the maximum. Vidya continues to surprise. It's a dynamic performance undoubtedly. PAA and ISHQIYA are two landmarks in her career.

The actors enacting the role of Jijaji, the kidnapped victim and Vidya's husband are all perfect. The child, who interacts with Arshad, is natural. In fact, every performance in ISHQIYA is worthy of mention.

On the whole, ISHQIYA is definitely worth a watch. The film has a riveting plot, great performances, soulful music, an absorbing story and skilful direction to make the viewer fall in ishq with it.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Veer - Movie Review

Read more! Cast:: Salman Khan,Sohail Khan,Mithun Chakraborty,Jackie Shroff,Zarine Khan, YashodharaLisa Lazarus,Gita Soto,Neena Gupta,Aryan Vaid,Bharat Dabholkar,Bunny Anand,Shahbaaz Khan,Puru Raaj Kumar,Tim Laurence,William Chubb,Rajesh Vivek,Ashok Samarth,Vinay Apte,Yogesh Suri

Gadar fame Anil Sharma's latest venture 'Veer' starring Bollywood Machoman Salman Khan is all set to hit the theaters.

Beautiful model Zarine Khan is making her Bollywood beauty with 'Veer'. Zarine has already hogged limelight for her similar look with Salman's girlfriend Katrina Kaif.

The Bollywood "Wanted" boy has been returning to period drama, which is based on Nikolai Gogol's book, 'Taras Bulba'.

Interestingly, the story has been written by Salman Khan himself some 20-year-ago. The film has been completed at a huge budget of Rs 44 crore (Approx).

The story of the film 'Veer' is based on a love story between Pindari soldier and Rajasthani Princess in the backdrop of war of independence.

Salman plays a character of brave Pindari soldier named Veer. The Pindari community prefers death over dishonour and fights till last breath.

Zarine, who looks a like Katrina, plays the role of princess Yashodhara, who falls in love with Veer.

The movie starts with the colonial India of British rule. The Kings of India fall prey to Britishers' divide and rule policy. But there is a community, who proffered death to save the independence.

Set in colonial India, the film encapsulates a period when the British enslaved India with their divide and rule policy and kings and nawabs fell for it, except for the Pindaris who preferred death to dishonour and fought till their last breath. Salman plays one of the bravest and strongest Pindari soldiers named Veer.

As Veer takes on the might of the British Empire, he also has to fight the conniving King of Madavgarh as well as his own jealous tribesmen. The stakes are high as he has to avenge his father's dishonour as well as get over the hurdles in love as he romances princess Yashodhara, the daughter of his sworn enemy.

Shot extensively in Rajasthan, it is a story of bravery, treachery and love.

Also shot in Britain, it is also the first Bollywood film to be shot in the premises of Buckingham Palace.

Despite having the facility of special effects, the film also boasts of using thousands of real horses and other animals for authenticity.

You must watch Veer for to know at what cost Salman fight, at stake is his love for princess Yashodhara, daughter of his sworn enemy? or at stake is his thirst to avenge his father's dishonour?

The movie is all set to beat the records of Salman's last blockbuster Wanted. Salman looks awesome in a role of Pindari soldier while Zarine also proved her worth in the movie.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik - Music Review

Read more! Cast:: Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Ram Kapoor, Shefali Chhaya

Karthik calling Karthik is the new movie of Farhan Akhtar and Deepika Padukone directed by Vijay Lalwani. The music, composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The promos of the movie are already out and we already have good reviews on Hey ya, the first song out.

So here is a preview of the music album, with some guesses as to what it may have to offer.

Karthik Calling Karthik is an album with total nine tracks, that is five songs, one instrumental theme and three remixes. Interestingly though, the remixes are expected to be more than mere 1.2x original song as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s last remix, that of Wake up Sid title was at least as good as the original song. Also, the remix of thealbum’s opener Uff teri Adaa is sung by Loy and Clinton Cerejo with Shankar while the original song is sung by Shankar alone.

Sources say that the song is a wonderful one and hence I am waiting for it to arrive. The second song of the album Hey Ya is already up and running. Going by the song, the album has to be wonderful anyway. Third song of the album gets even more interesting as the singer’s name happens to be KK. The song is called Jaane ye Kya hua and is sung by KK as a solo. That makes me wait again as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy rarely bring in KK for their songs, in fact I don’t remember any of their songs together other than Koi Kahe, Jhoom Barabar and it’s the time to disco which all had him as part of group.

Kaisi hai ye udasi. What do the words remind you of? Nothing? OK. The song is sung by Kailash Kher. Now? Reminds me of Ya Rabba. I loved the song a lot. And I hope I get one more from KCK.

The fifth and the last original song of the movie is Karthik calling Karthik which should be a Rock inclined number as far as I can see since it’s the title song of a thriller kind of movie and the singers are Suraj Jagan and Shankar Mahadevan with Caralisa Monteiro. If you let me take another guess, Caralisa should be kind of backing in the song.

Besides, there is a Karthik theme which reminds me of Akash theme and I expect it to be the one for sad, simple Karthik. At least.

After that, as I said, there are three remixes of Uff teri adaa, Karthik calling Karthik, and Hey Ya. And yes, the lyrics for all the songs are written by Javed Akhtar, oops, Akthar. That is the spelling I have seen in all promos yet. Karthikized one, is it?

Having said this, I am waiting for the album as badly as you are now.

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01 - Hey Ya!
02 - Uff Teri
03 - Jaane Ye Kya
04 - Kaisi Hai Ye
05 - Karthik Calling
06 - Karthik
07 - Karthik Calling Karthik (Theme Remix)
08 - Hey Ya! (Remix)
09 - Uff Teri Adaa (Remix)

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Chance Pa Dance - Movie Review

Read more! Cast:: Shahid Kapoor, Genelia Dsouza

Sameer is the archetypal struggler who leaves his dad in Delhi and comes to Mumbai, chasing dreams of becoming a star in Bollywood. Does he manage to survive the bleak and gruelling rounds of endless auditions, broken promises and missed chances?

Begin the count....How many times have you seen and heard the story of the bechara struggler who leaves his home town with a tooth brush in his backpack and a bag full of dreams that can only be fulfilled in maximum city, Mumbai. And then, how many times have you seen him eventually rise like the Phoenix over a relentless period of struggle which has him being shunted out of producer's offices, battling with rejection slips, shedding a salty tear of desperation on the salty sea front or giving himself some pep talk when the going gets really tough.

Umpteen times. And that's where Ken Ghosh's film slips. For, it offers you nothing new in terms of the script which ends up as the weakest link in this entire show. Sadly, it follow all the predictable twists and turns that comprise the star-is-born story. Yes, super-talented Sam (Shahid Kapoor) does leave his dad (Parikshat Sahni) to sell saris in saddi Dilli, in order to become an actor in big, bad Bollywood, minus a godfather and a grand daddy. Yes, he bides his time making low brow lungi ads and pitching in as a courier boy, hoping the empty promises of stardom might just come true. And yes, they do come true, but only after a prolonged period of struggle which goes through the usual grind of hunger, a homeless and penniless state.

Yet, what makes this film watchable is the passion that Shahid Kapoor injects in his delineation of Sam, the struggler with stars in his eyes. May be, it's the autobiographical strains of the film -- the advertisements, the dance school, the chorus boy act, the no-godfather syndrome -- that stoke the fire in him. But there is a ring of sincerity and authenticityin his `Hi, I'm Sameer Behl and this is my number, Sir,' stuff during the sundry auditions that seem to be going nowhere. Also, the interactions with the school kids, when he tries to make a living as adance teacher, has a spontaneity about it. Again, perchance spilling over from his days with Shiamak Davar. The initial I-hate-kids attitude is absolutely delightful -- and refreshing -- too. Add to this the effervescence of Genelia as Tina, the scooty-riding choreographer who thinks from her heart and you have an adequate medley of some moments of fun, fuzz and fantastic moves on thedance floor. Although, we do confess the audio track (Pritam Singh, Adnan Sami, Ken Ghosh, Sandeep Shirodkar) isn't much to boast about, considering the film is actually conceptualised as a musical.

The film may not have the emotional quotient of Ishq Vishq, Shahid and Ken's first film that set the box office on fire, yet it does have its moments. A better scripted, less cliched second half would have surely given the film a betterchance to dazzle and shake.

Shahid has a ring of sincerity as Sam, the struggler, while Genelia is her usual ebullient self.

The plot is so predictable, it could put you to sleep. Now that's ironical at a time when Bollywood has so many new stories to tell.

Four music directors and not a single song to boast about. Sad, really sad.

The dances are supposedly choreographed by Marty Kudelka, the American who has directed the dance moves of stars like Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and N'Sync. Shahid does set the dance floor on fire in certain sequences.

Genelia smartly sports the sassy, singleton, scooty-girl look while Shahid goes casual with Ed Hardy.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pyaar Impossible - Movie Review

Read more! Cast:: Uday Chopra,Priyanka Chopra,Dino Morea,Anupam Kher

SHREK has been one of the most loved movies of our times. An ogre falls in love with a princess and after overcoming their share of obstacles, the couple live happily ever after. Most Hindi movies take a similar route, don't they? We love happy endings. We want the underdog to accomplish his dreams. We feel euphoric if he walks into the sunset, holding the hand of his beloved.

A love story works if you fall in love with the on-screen characters and also if it knocks on the doors of your heart. PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE does that. PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE may not be the ultimate romantic film, but you can't deny the fact that there's something about this film that stays with you, that you carry home... sorry, carry in your heart.

PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE also works because its protagonists, Uday and Priyanka, deliver sparkling performances. No wonder, you get drawn in their world in a jiffy.

Final word? Watch PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE if you are or even if you're not a romantic. It has its heart in the right place!

In a university in California, Alisha [Priyanka Chopra] is the name of that dream everyone wished came true. The most beautiful girl on campus, she makes hearts flutter like leaves in the wind. Everybody loves Alisha.

It is no surprise then that Abhay [Uday Chopra] loves her too. Abhay is a nerdy, awkward, bespectacled geek of the college who is so far removed from her world. She doesn't even know that people like him actually exist.

One day Abhay musters up enough courage to go and express his true feelings to her and realizes that it is never gonna happen. He comes to terms with the fact that Alisha isa Princess and he is just a Geek. That is when their ways eventually part. Later, their paths cross again, as Abhay is busy trying to launch his career. Fate again brings him face to face with the woman of his dreams, Alisha.

Will Abhay have the strength to believe in himself and attempt to achieve what he never thought possible?

You may draw parallels with Chris Columbus' I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER [2009], but the fact is that Uday Chopra's story in PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE [yes, he has penned the story, screenplay and dialogue] could be anybody's story. This is not about a nerd who wants his program back from a suave hacker. It's about a simpleton, his feelings, the complications in his life and the final triumph. Haven't we seen so many jodis in real life, who may not pair off well, but look compatible? Let's not forget, opposites attract!

You may also draw parallels with Aditya Chopra's RAB NE BANA DI JODI, but writer Uday Chopra and director Jugal Hansraj steer clear of anything that could be similar to Adi's film. The [sole] similarity starts and ends with a simpleton falling in love with an attractive girl.

Uday's screenplay remains faithful to the main plot, not deviating one bit. At the same time, it could've been tighter in the post-interval portions. There were ample occasions when Uday could've opened his heart, his motive of arriving in Singapore, that he's not a nanny, that he had been cheated by Dino. But he doesn't!

Thankfully, the writing is back on track towards its climax. Right from the kiddie song, to Priyanka realising that she loves Uday, to the press conference when Uday stands vindicated and Dino exposed, the penultimate moments are the mainstay of the enterprise.

Jugal Hansraj has the trappings of a competent director. He has handled several sensitive moments with dexterity. Salim-Sulaiman's musical score is pleasant, but it can do with that extra push [promotion] from the music division. Santosh Thundiyil's cinematography is top notch. Dialogue [also penned by Uday] are straight out of life.

PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE works largely due to the efficient performances by its principal actors - Uday Chopra and Priyanka Chopra. Both deliver sparkling performances. Priyanka has evolved into a fantastic actor and this film proves it yet again. Five minutes into the film and you realise that you are not watching Priyanka, but Alisha Merchant. That's what this fine actor does to you.

Uday gets it right as Abhay. Sure, the actor has been a part of several films in the past, but this one awakens you to this sincere performer, who, unfortunately, has never got his due. He plays the role of a Geek with astute understanding and it's thanks to his super portrayal that you feel for this character. This should be the turning point in his career.

Dino Morea springs a surprise and carries off his part very well. Anupam Kher is perfect in a brief role. Advika Yadav, the kid playing Priyanka's daughter, is adorable. And a terrific actor too!

On the whole, PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE is a feel-good film. If you are a romantic, this one's for you. Even if you're not, still watch it. Its one of those films that will bring a smile on your face - something that most Hindi films don't do these days!

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Dulha Mil Gaya - Movie Review

Read more! Cast:: Fardeen Khan,Sushmita Sen,Shahrukh Khan,Mohir Chadda,Tara Sharma,Johny Lever,Bina Kak,Suchitra Pillai,Viveck Vaswani,Howard Rosemeyer,Parikshat Sahni,Anushka Manchanda

DULHA MIL GAYA is a mix of films. Like they say in filmi lingo, it's old wine in new bottle. So what? How different can a love story be, since this genre has been done to death in Bollywood? Point noted, but the narrative ought to be engaging if it has to strike a chord and that's where DULHA MIL GAYA falters.

Merely assembling A-listers and filming the movie at panoramic locations isn't enough. The film ought to have meat and that's missing here.

Let me elaborate. Debutante director Mudassar Aziz, who has also penned the script, borrows from the past, going for the tried-and-tested stuff, but the narrative, already low on fuel, comes to a grinding halt by the time it reaches its finale.

Donsai [Fardeen Khan], a young commitment-phobic debonair, is petrified with terms like marriage and long-term relationships. Samarpreet [Ishita Sharma] is a quintessential Punjabi girl, for whom relationships are to be cherished.

Shimmer [Sushmita Sen] is a diva from the world of glamour for whom love and relationships aren't important in life as independence and success are. Pawan Raj Gandhi/PRG [Shah Rukh Khan] is a suave multi-millionaire whose heart still remains larger than his bank balance and for whom winning love is the only victory there is.

When paths cross for these four characters, they not only land up influencing each other with their outlook on relationships, but also get influenced themselves and learn a whole new meaning of the term.

Something that got ignited with D.D.L.J. continues to shimmer to this date. Our stories continue to travel from firangi land to the fields of Punjab. DULHA MIL GAYA too does that [initially], beforeMY FAIR LADY and RAB NE BANA DI JODI take over.

To give the credit where it's due, DULHA MIL GAYA has some interesting moments, but the problem is they are few and far between. One expects things to perk up when SRK's character is introduced [in the post-interval portions], but your hopes go crashing as nothing worthy of note occurs.

The writing has gaping flaws, which are difficult to absorb after a point. The girl travels all the way from Punjab to Trinidad and Tobago, but not once do her concerned parents call to enquire how she is. Strangely, even the girl doesn't feel the need to inform them. If that's not enough, Sushmita takes upon herself to tame Fardeen, giving you the impression that she thinks from her heart. But when it comes to her relationship with Shah Rukh, she behaves in a rather odd manner. SRK, on the other hand, seems completely besotted by her, even though she never reciprocates his feelings. Hence, her somersault in the end - just because Ishita has given her some bhashan - doesn't look convincing.

Mudassar Aziz's direction is a shade better than his writing. And that's not saying much. Given the fact that newer stories are being attempted in these fast-changing times and in view of the fact that he had some of the best talents on board, Mudassar should've seized the opportunity and told a refreshingly different and absorbing tale. But he doesn't. Sure, a few sequences are clever and smart, but that's not enough.

The music is of a mixed variety. 'Akela Dil' is groovy, while the title track is strictly okay. Cinematography is appealing.

Sushmita excels in a role that demands her to be hoity-toity. She enacts her part effortlessly. One wishes to see her more often on the big screen! Fardeen does a good job, especially towards the end when he's about to confess something vital to Ishita. Ishita delivers a sincere performance. It's a pity that a superstar like Shah Rukh is terribly wasted in an inconsequential role. It may not go down well with his fans.

Mohit Chadha has screen presence, but gets no scope. Johny Lever is wasted. Ditto for Tara Sharma. Suchitra Pillai and Howard Rosemeyer are passable. Parikshit Sahni, Bina Kak and Viveck Vaswani are as usual.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Sherlock Holmes - Movie Review

Read more! Cast:: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr John Watson think they have successfully resolved a case, when the murderer, Lord Blackwood is hanged for his crimes. But the black-magic practitioner returns from the dead to haunt London once again. Time to take up the case again.

Sherlock Holmes with a whole lot of hormones? Now that's not so elementary, my dear Watson! Specially, when entire generations of readers have grown up with memories of a vintage arm chair detective who never actually got his hands soiled, despite spending a lifetime tackling crime and criminals.

But here, there's not only a whole lot of bone-crunching and rib-busting that Holmes joyously indulges in, there's his perpetual grubby look, his overnight stubble, stained shirt and dissolute, world-weary attitude that totally reinvents the character, lock, stock and two smokin' barrels (read Guy Ritchie style). Add to this Robert Downey Jr.'s inherent edginess as reflected in his on and off screen personae and you have Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian hero give up his deerstalker hat for a rakish insouciance that doesn't make him the most popular inhabitant of 221B Baker Street. Add to this the slight hint of a bromance between the mercurial Holmes and the more grounded Watson (Jude Law) and you have a complete make over of the classic detective series that thrills but doesn't dazzle.

May be it's the shadowy figure of Holmes arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty, that creates somewhat of an unequal fight in this, the detective's first outing. The filmmaker does promise to bring us Brad Pitt in the sequel, flashing his brand of evil, as Moriarty. But for now, we must contend with a flesh and blood baddie who doesn't really bring out the chills: Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), the practitioner of black magic who dreams of creating a new world order, born out of fear. The trouble with Blackwood is he's too much a Dan Brownish character, a member of a special sect, worshipping ancient rituals and traditions, dreaming of world supremacy. This does fill you with a dense of deja vu and makes you long for Conan Doyle's mean criminals, minus the mumbo jumbo.

Holmes, sulking at the thought of being separated from Watson who's moving out and getting married, is forcibly drawn out of his isolation at the behest of a to-be-hanged Blackwood. The dark lord promises to return after his death and wreak havoc on London, like never before. And return he does, sending the city in a tizzy. Because, as they say, when the dead return, the living begin to die. Holmes' problems suddenly seem to multiply. He must not only contend with Watson's impending separation and Blackwood's evil second coming, there's also his former girlfriend, the delectable thief, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) tormenting him with her tantalising comings and goings. So much, while a French-speaking assassin insists on pummelling him to pulp, Scotland Yard declares him a fugitive and the occult-worshipping Blackwood threatens to clean up the British Parliament....

Indeed, the reinvention of Sherlock Holmes does work well, even as a testosterone-high Holmes dons the superman mantle with glee. Foggy London is vintage and winsomely captured by cinematographer Philippe Rousellot and Hans Zimmer's music score provides a perfect backdrop tenor. But it is eventually the chemistry between Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) that adds wit and sparkle to the film. Incidentally, it works better than the Holmes and Adler (Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams) romance.

Go, watch another of your heroes get in step with the times.

Robert Downey Jr. revisits his Iron Man charisma and creates a brand new version of the nineteenth century detective who gets airbrushed in the noughties' strokes. Jude Law complements him well as Watson, grappling with his desire to marry and settle down and yet remain loyal to his best buddy. Magical chemistry!

Arthur Conan Doyle does seem to take a back seat as writers Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg do a Dan Brown to the script.

The exchanges between Holmes and Watson are brimming over with witty one-liners minus the catch phrase: Elementary, my dear Watson!

Phillippe Rousselot deftly uses a judicious blend of long shots and close-ups to bring out the Gotham-city like characteristics of crime-infested London and the tempestuous nature of wide-eyed Holmes.

A great background music score by Hans Zimmer.

The film is based on the character created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes became an iconic literary figure ever since he took his first bow in 1887 with the publication of A Study in Scarlet.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Name Is Khan - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Shahrukh Khan ,Kajol,Soniya Jehan,Jimmy Shergill

Sufi being the flavor of most Muslim centric movies Dharma Productions My Name is Khan - a movie based on Muslims in the US sticks to it. The lyrics, vocals and the music blend perfectly to give some good Sufi tunes and with Sufi tunes you seldom go wrong with the listener. SEL do throw in some well disguised rock elements throughout, hence making their presence go unnoticed.

My Name Is Khan is Karan Johar’s latest flick starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. With this movie Karan Johar has bought back one of the most favorite on-screen Bollywood couples, of course King Khan and Kajol. My Name Is Khan has already made it to the news with it’s expensive worldwide rights being sold for a whopping amount. The music for My Name Is Khan has been composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, another Karan Johar favorite since Kal Ho Na Ho I believe. The My Name Is Khan promo was aired simultaneously on all Star network channels across the nation. The film is set to release worldwide come February 2010. For now let’s take a look at how the film’s soundtrack sounds like.

All Karan Johar movies have a special something in their soundtracks. Karan, I believe, understands how important a Bollywood soundtrack is and each time he personally makes sure there’s something in it for the millions of Bollywood lovers out there. In Bollywood if you’ll watch a movie or not, a lot of that also depends on how the particular movie’s soundtrack turns out. There have been times when simply good music took me to a theater to watch a crappy movie. Then there have been times when I made myself skip a movie due to a poor soundtrack. Does My Name Is Khan live up to the hype?

The soundtrack begins with Sajda featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Richa Sharma and Shakar Mahadevan. Now those are three very powerful names on a song’s credit listing. Sajda has a qawali feel to it. The music has Shankar Ehsaan Loy written all over it. It’s simple yet effective. And so are the lyrics. A pretty decent enough start to My Name Is Khan’s soundtrack. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan makes it all worthwhile for me!

The second song Noor-E-Khuda has been sung by Shankar Mahadevan, Adnan Sami and Shreya Goshal. They’ve got some good money spent on good singers. Karan Johar knows how important a Bollywood soundtrack is. Noor-E-Khuda is a slow, serious track with a motivational touch to it. I can almost imagine Shah Rukh crying all over the screen on this track. Eeew! Another decent enough track, you’ll love it the second time you listen to it.

Tere Naina
Just when I thought they were done with the big names, here comes Shafqat Amanat Ali with Tere Naina. Tere Naina is a soft romantic song that might be pictured on Shah Rukh and Kajol. A lot of their fans are really looking forward to it. Tere Naina’s got that qawali touch to it as well. The music is simple again and so are the lyrics. Right from the first track I can make out the extensive use of the tabla, claps and harmonium. This one passes the test as well!

Allah Hi Rahem
Allah Hi Rahem has been sung by Rashid Khan. Ustad Rashid Khan you mean? Well well well! My Name Is Khan’s soundtrack is gotta be a special one. Nothing commercial in it as yet. Zilch! Don’t look for a It’s Time to Disco here, Shankar Ehsaan Loy have dedicated the music right to the film’s core values and topics. Allah Hi Rahem touches your heart in a way. It’s a brilliant sufi track.

Khan Theme
Oh well it’s a theme what can I say? *giggling*

Rang De
Oh wait! Here’s a commercial track. Rang De, sung by Shankar Mahadevan, is the only track on the heavier side of commercialism. Rang De is a song that asks for peace all over. I however feel it’s a pretty ordinary track. The only loose string in the entire My Name Is Khan soundtrack. The track may appeal to a few of you but I think after such a good soundtrack this is just not acceptable.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ishqiya - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Naseruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Anupam Kher

With its Sufi elements, the mellow retro-styled Dil to Bachcha Hai will have you hooked right from the start, Vishal doing a magnificent job with the instruments, the claps, the accordion (or harmonium, I am not quite sure!) et al. And Rahat Fateh Ali sounds so beautifully at home rendering this track as compared to the songs he sang last year. The remix also has an alluring arrangement, but doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original. The English part sung by Clinton Cerejo doesn’t gel in with the actual lyrics. Ibn-E-Batuta starts off exuding a heady feel akin to Raat Ke Dhai Baje, Dil Haara and the likes. But somewhere along the course of the song the effect starts wearing off, in spite of the high energy vocals by Mika and Sukhwinder. The two remixes can be steered clear of, totally lacking the class or the charm that was there in the Dil To Bachcha Hai remix. The first remix in fact sounds more of a travesty with its annoying chipmunkish processing of Ibn-E-Batuta.

Rekha Bharadwaj gets behind the microphone to deliver Ab Mujhe Koi, a conventional ghazal set to a rather unconventional background consisting of guitars, keyboard and drums. Needless to say Rekha does a wonderful job of rendering the song. She returns to sing the last track of the album, Badi Dheere Jali, a track set to raag Miya Ki Todi I think. The arrangement sees a wonderful fusion of western and eastern instruments.

After giving a very massy soundtrack in Kaminey, Vishal this time opts for a mix of the massy and the esoteric. For that reason Ishqiya’s soundtrack is not going to enjoy the widespread acceptance that Kaminey’s did, barring the first two songs. Nevertheless Ishqiya once again demonstrates the class act that Vishal Bharadwaj is. And in Dil To Bachcha Hai I already have my first entry for the top 15 tracks of 2010!

Dil To Bachcha Hai
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's voice suits any song he sings, 'Dil To Bachcha' is also no exception. This is not the typical soulful track from Rahat but a complete different composition, much required for the singer too, as he was getting monotonous.

I don't understand what the title means but its a very catchy word. This is a rough song with music hitting straight on your face. The video picturization adds a lot of character to this song.

Ab Mujhe Koi
Music is simple and plain, only the basic guitar tunes are used. The singer Rekha Bhardwaj tries to connect with the audience but fails.

Badi Dheere Jali
This song is too depressing. Painfully slow accompanied by sitar music is a no show.

Ishqiya Music Album is half good and obviously half bad attempt. Importance to music is clearly not seen in the original tracks but remixes offer more then the required. First 2 tracks - Dil To Bachcha Hai and Ibn-E-Batuta are made for the crowds, absolute entertainers and the other 2 songs are painfully slow, dead beat tracks from Rekha Bhardwaj. The album offers us something new which was also necessary considering the theme of the film but no song can grasp your attention for long.

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