Friday, February 26, 2010

Teen Patti - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Amitabh Bachchan, Madhavan, Siddarth Kher, Druv Ganesh, Vaibhav Talwar, Shraddha Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ajay Devgan, Raima Sen, Saira Mohan

The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. That's so true! Let's face it, money is the root of all evil. When we have more, it is never enough. This is exactly what Leena Yadav's TEEN PATTI tells you.

TEEN PATTI is not only about gambling on table, but all those gambles that we take in our life. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Hollywood film 21, TEEN PATTI is akin to a roller coaster ride; if there are highs, expect the lows too.

Leena Yadav's take on greed and deception has some defining moments, but the fact is that the writing lacks clarity. Let me explain. Probability is a very interesting theory in mathematics. But the problem is, is it easy to comprehend for the average viewer? Frankly, despite Leena's best efforts, only a handful of viewers will be able to comprehend the goings on and the theory of probability.

Besides, the narrative is such that it caters to the intelligentsia mainly. For the average moviegoer, thirsting for entertainment, it has little to offer.

The reclusive genius Venkat [Amitabh Bachchan] has cracked a theory that could redefine the principles of probability and randomness. Venkat is encouraged to test his theory in the real world by professor Shantanu [Madhavan], an ambitious colleague of Venkat.

Although Venkat has no interest in the money that could come from practicing his equation to crack 'Teen Patti', which could rake in all the moolah, he eventually succumbs to Shantanu's charismatic persuasion. Soon, with the help of a few students, they explore the underground gambling dens of Mumbai.

But what starts out as an experiment between a charismatic young professor and an eccentric older one soon descends into a game neither of them can control.

It takes time to get the hang of things in TEEN PATTI. But once the two professors and the students begin their sojourn to the dark alleys, the film comes into its own from thereon.

The story moves back and forth, with Bachchan narrating his side of the story in flashbacks to Sir Ben, which is well integrated in the narrative. The intermission point - when the mystery about the unknown caller deepens - only heightens the expectations from the post-interval portions.

But there're hiccups! The pace gets excruciatingly slow in this hour and also, it tends to get repetitive. Among the cameos - Jackie Shroff, Ajay Devgn, Tinnu Anand and Shakti Kapoor - only the ones featuring Tinnu and Shakti stand out, while Ajay's scene seems forced.

The writing is erratic [Shiv Subramanyam, Leena Yadav], with some portions touching the peak, while a few touching the ebb. The suicide of one of the students and how it puts an end to the game is a master stroke from the writing point of view. Bachchan's speech in the finale, when he's bestowed with the Sir Isaac Newton Award, moves you no end. But between the suicide and the finale, the film tends to get uninteresting.

Leena's direction shows maturity in her second outing. A number of sequences are deftly executed. But how one wished Leena would learn the art of narrating stories within commercial parameters. Aseem Bajaj's cinematography is striking. The visuals are simply incredible. Salim-Sulaiman's music has two catchy tracks - 'Neeyat' [the moves of the dancer are tantalising] and the track towards the end credits. The usage of B&W in this song is truly imaginative. The choreography of both these songs [Ashley Lobo] is superb.

Bachchan plays the role of a mathematician with remarkable ease. One cannot imagine anyone else in this character other than Bachchan. Especially noteworthy are the sequences between Bachchan and Sir Ben. Madhavan is excellent. The actor displays the grey shades most convincingly. The film introduces four new talents and each is confidence personified. Siddharth, Shraddha and Dhruv get maximum footage and they stand out. Vaibhav has tremendous screen presence, but his role lacks meat.

Raima Sen is alright. Barry John is first-rate. Anjan Srivastava is good. Mahesh Manjrekar is effective. Saira Mohan is hardly there. Sir Ben Kingsley is an amazing actor and expectedly, he's brilliant here. It's a treat to watch these two magicians - Sir Ben and Bachchan - perform on screen.

On the whole, TEEN PATTI is a fresh concept, made well, but limits itself to the intelligentsia and big city audiences mainly.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik - Movie Review

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

The idea of a mystical assistance to succeed through life's inevitable disappointments is quite a fascinating one. Genie in the lamp, Fairy Godmothers or any wish-granting medium is an upshot of this peculiar human fantasy.

Karthik Calling Karthik, too, stems from this deep-rooted desire.

Only our eponymous hero (Farhan Akhtar) isn't Aladdin, Cinderella or Bruce Nolan (of Almighty fame). A stereotypical weak geek at the receiving end of his scowling landlord (Vipin Sharma doing what he does best -- snap) and growling boss (Ram Kapoor with his snarling skills should sign up for Wolf Man), he's pretty much invisible for everyone else in the world, including, the leggy colleague in a pencil skirt (Deepika Padukone) to whom he's written a thousand plus unsent drafts of affection. Basically, he is Amol Palekar of Chhoti Si Baat, sans the goofy smile and mysterious past.

Dude seems to be in desperate need of Cinkara (Hamdard ka tonic, anyone?). But this is Farhan's production. And he's all about indelible charisma, hip aesthetics and urban wit. While the easygoing charm and wall decor is spot on, absence of crisp humour is conspicuously felt all through its loitering 16 reels.

Having said that, it's imperative to remember this is a Vijay Lalwani film. The first-time director is the strength or weakness behind its story, screenplay, dialogue and direction. If you view this with the expectations of a Farhan caper, you're doing both of them great disservice.

In other words, herbal tonic is out of question. Instead Karthik starts receiving strange calls from another Karthik who promises to help him attain everything that is rightly his -- power, money and love.

Desperate for comfort, Karthik doesn't need too much convincing before he takes up the seemingly unconditional offer. In no time, he's promoted from cabin to cubicle and single to boyfriend status.

No personality makeover in Hindi films is complete without a change of wardrobe. Even Sai Paranjape couldn't resist doing this to Farooq Shaikh in Chashme Buddoor. And so it's bye-bye Surinder Sahni and say-hello-to-Dil-Chahta-Hai.

Quickly enough, Lalwani runs out of ideas and till intermission KCK seems to be heading nowhere. Pace (editing by Aarti Bajaj) is one of the film's recurring problems. It's unnecessarily pensive and long-winded for its genre.

Even the romantic interactions are sluggish and uninspired. Although Farhan and Deepika are a cool couple to look at, you don't feel the vibe, mainly, because the conversations are just so 'meh'.

Their chemistry fares better against the breezy Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composition, Hey Ya, choreographed effectively around their courtship and dating in office, malls, coffee shops and Khandala.

Things get dark and creepy in the second half when the Karthik-Karthik pact takes a beating. This is when Lalwani comes in his element and shows a flair for gritty thrillers without resorting to cheesy exaggeration or relying on excessive technique (camerawork: Sanu John Varughese, background score: Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale).

At this point, the on-going events on screen lead me to construct a sort of Dr Faustus meets The Dark Half brand of murkiness. If only Lalwani was as ambitious as the sinister alternatives in my head.

He, to my disappointment, opts for a rather squishy third act as opposed to the threatening climax I had anticipated. While Lalwani deserves a pat for working around an unusual, intriguing plot, he fails to sustain the same with substantial meat or layers.

Also, why does he hint out the suspense so early in the film? It's a crazy move and ruins any hope of the obligatory 'Whoa, I didn't see that coming.'

What is remarkable, however, is to witness is Farhan's evolution as an actor. Despite being a fairly visible face in the media, there's something unpredictable about his aura. And so far he's worked it to his advantage -- never letting the audience know what else he is capable of till he actually does.

Unlike Luck By Chance or Rock On!!, which saw him play self-assured characters, he is surprisingly believable as a fraught loser as well. He conveys the anxiety, simplicity and frailty of Karthik even when the script isn't doing it for him. Perhaps it's his innate filmmaker instinct.

Clearly, Deepika Padukone doesn't have it. And while she looks every bit of the unattainable dream Karthik envisions her to be, she doesn't hold a single scene on her own. Whether she's cautiously lighting a cigarette, robotically slapping the office jerk in Del Italia or scoffing at Karthik's confessions, all you really see is, well, nothing.

Films like Karthik Calling Karthik are all about winding up right. This one fails to make a connect. Pity, it could have been that all important call you've always been waiting for.

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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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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Ajay Devgan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Paresh Rawal, Satish Kaushik, Akhilendra Mishra,Sanjay Mishra, Viju Khote

Amita Pathak, daughter of producer Kumar Mangat, has stepped into the shoes of a producer for the first time, with ‘Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?’ The movie has been presented by two banners, Warner Bros. Pictures and Wide Frame Films. Bringing 3 National Award Winners together for the first time, director Ashwani Dheer promises the flick to be a rip-roaring comedy.

Forming a married couple, Puneet (Ajay Devgan) and Munmun (Konkana Sen) are living happily in Mumbai. One day, a distant relative, Chachaji (Paresh Rawal) comes from a far off village and enters their household unannounced. The couple’s life takes interesting twists and turns from hereon. The unwanted guest overstays his welcome to such an extent that the frustrated couple has no other option, but to come up with various ideas to hasten his departure.

Atithi tum kab jaoge is not the music album you were expecting. But then, it gives you an idea of what you can expect from the movie. Before anything else, I would like to say one thing: Be it composer, lyricist or singer, they all know what they are doing. Something that is not very common if not rare.

Atithi tum kab jaoge has six songs out of which none is a ‘typical’ song. Here is a review of the album.

Aaja Aaja sung by Raghubir Yadav, Ajay Jhingaran and Rajneesh, you know about the song if you hear the first line properly. It goes like Jihva pe chhale pade panth nihar nihar, aankhon mein hai cataract aaya, aaja aaja pukaar. Clearly the making of a comic song. And then, the song goes on giving you some flavor of comedy in the song before you get it in the movie. The song is catchy and likable. Should be wonderful in the movie. Try this one for sure.

Next one, called Atithi tum kab aaoge, sung by Amit Mishra, is more of background music than song. Doesn’t mean much after the first song that gave music as well as comedy.

Dohay sung by Amit again are simply a selection of some Rahim and Kabir dohas from my Hindi syllabus during school. No words about them of course. Good enough music.

Jyoti Jalale is what you get everytime when you go to a pilgrimage or even the nearby temple sometimes. Completely on the music of Beedi Jalaile, and taking the same lyrics as base, a Mata Bhajan is created and then this one is sung by the singer of Beedi itself, Sukhwinder Singh. I am still wondering what the song is doing there, but it’s exactly what T-Series has been giving us for years.

Sukh Karta Dukh harta is a collection of some shlokas with some non-traditional instruments. Seems to be background piece again.

Overall, Atithi tum kab jaoge is something you never expected, or at least I did not. Anyway, don’t forget to listen to Aaja Aaja, and try even Jyoti Jalaile if you don’t mind a mata bhajan on Beedi tune.

One wondering whether Pritam has been declared the composer of the album for just one song Amit Mishra is the one who has sung all the Dohas and Shloaks. The official website of the movie declares Amit Mishra as the ‘composer of the title track.’

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01 - Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge - Atithi Tum Kab

Prince - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Vivek Oberoi, Aruna Shields, Nandana Sen, Niroo Singh, Isaiah, Sanjay Kapoor,Dalip Tahil, Manish Anand, Mayur Puri, Rajesh Khattar, Mohit Chauhan

Prince, a 2010 Bollywood Hindi movie, is a fast paced slick action thriller, starring Vivek Oberoi, Aruna Sheilds, Nandana Sen, Neeru Singh in lead roles.

Movie will keep you on the edge of your seat with its twists and turns. Throw in a conspiracy that will send thrills up your spine and you will be on a ride that will redefine the word extreme!

One of the savviest thieves in the world commits the biggest heist of his life. He wakes up next morning to realize he has a gunshot wound on his arm that he doesn’t remember getting.

In his quest to find answers he discovers his name is PRINCE, he used to work for a man named Sarang and his girlfriend’s name is Maya.

He is being hunted by the secret service of India- I Grip, the CBI and the biggest white collared criminals in the world. He is the most wanted man in the country because only he knows the whereabouts of the heist, which contains a secret that is linked not only to his loss of memory but threatens the future of the human race.

PRINCE can rely only on his razor sharp instincts to salvage himself. The web of deception spins and PRINCE gets even more entangled. Nothing and no one can be trusted.

1. O Mere Khuda
This song already became a hit before the official release. Can't decide what is better - Atif Aslam's voice or the music. Atif isn't winning any critic appreciation for his voice quality but this song is a charbusters without doubt.

2. Tere Liye
It isn't fair for any singer when paired with Atif Aslam, so is the case with 'Tere Liye'. Shreya Ghoshal can't match up and its a Atif song all the way. Music is not new but enjoyable.

3. Kaun Hoon Main
A soulful track, the title itself says a lot about its composition. Will leave you in a trance.

4. Aa Bhi Ja Sanam
Few seconds into this song you'll realize the unique way in which Atif have sung this song. Painful, heartwarming experience.

5. Jiyara Jiyara
This simply doesn't work. After listening to such good songs in a long time I felt this is song is misplaced but no, it comes with the album. A semi Punjabi song by Alisha Chinai and raps by Hard Kaur is a no show.

6. Ishq Mein
I am 100% sure that the theme of this song is copied but can't remember the song. If not the voice you will definitely love the music.

Overall Music Review of Prince
This is a complete Atif Aslam album and will cater to his fans only which by no means are small in numbers. His songs tends to be very similar but not in this case, all are very original backed with superb music skills from Sachin Gupta. Also, this could be Sachin Gupta's best work till date. Don't just listen to this album but also feel the emotions.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Name Is Khan - Movie Review

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

MY NAME IS KHAN makes two strong statements...

The first: B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (after death) are designations used to label years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. There's a third designation now - 9/11. Post September 11, the world stands divided. Terrorist outfits continue to strike in the name of religion and the common man, not even remotely associated with these groups, is bearing the brunt. The world is not a safe place anymore.

The second statement: There're two sets of people in this world - the good and the bad. No matter how strong the evil forces are, good always triumphs.

MY NAME IS KHAN mirrors the era we live in. Not a day goes by when you haven't heard/read/watched news of terror attacks and innocents being killed. We live in turbulent times. Also, the movie states - and states very strongly, without mincing words - Not all Muslims are terrorists.

Karan Johar's cinema got more real from KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA onwards. In MY NAME IS KHAN, the storyteller attempts to make a social statement and succeeds completely. At the same time, it takes no sides. If the protagonist says 'My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist', it also exposes those who misadvise the youth with inflammatory and rabble-rousing speeches.

Karan's take on the issue deserves the highest praise, since a subject like this is difficult to attempt. Final word? MY NAME IS KHAN is Karan, SRK and Kajol's best outing to date. Do I need to add anything more?

Rizvan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan)moves to San Francisco and lives with his brother (Jimmy Shergill) and sister-in-law (Sonya Jehan). Rizvan, who has Asperger's syndrome, falls in love with Mandira (Kajol). Despite protests from his brother, they get married and start a small business together. They are happy until September 11, when attitudes towards Muslims undergo a sea-change.

When tragedy strikes, Mandira is devastated and they split. Rizvan is confused and upset that the love of his life has left him. To win her back, he embarks on a touching and inspiring journey across America.

Let me alert you. The story unfolds feverishly from the very start itself. So if you miss a scene or two, chances are you would've missed some vital links in the story. The fact is, there's too much happening in the first half. Although the narrative tends to get leisurely-paced at times, the wheels continue to move from one episode to another.

A number of sequences are endearing. For instance, the romance between SRK and Kajol is subtle, yet charming. But it's SRK's relationship with Kajol and their kid that's one of the best parts of the movie. Your heart bleeds when an accident occurs and their lives are torn apart. Kajol's outburst - first, when her son meets with a catastrophe and second, when she confronts SRK - are truly shattering.

MY NAME IS KHAN's strength lies in the fact that you root for Khan all through. At the same time, you are weighed down when he's in a vulnerable situation, especially when he's labelled a terrorist and thrown behind bars. You don't realize it, but the fact is that you, as a spectator, have already got entwined in Rizvan and Mandira's lives.

There's a slight hitch in the second hour, when SRK returns to Georgia to save a hurricane-ravaged hamlet. Also, the media exercise tends to add to the length of the film. Nonetheless, it's a minor hiccup that doesn't rob the film of its punch.

There's just one word to illustrate Karan's direction - exemplary. One of the finest storytellers of our generation, he deserves brownie points for deviating from 'Karan Johar brand of cinema' and attempting a film that knocks on your heart and stimulates your mind. With MY NAME IS KHAN, Karan takes rapid strides as a storyteller.

Shibani Bathija's screenplay is truly arresting. Shibani and Niranjan Iyengar's dialogues are noteworthy and at times, applaud-worthy. Ravi K. Chandran's cinematography is awe-inspiring. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music gels well with the nature of the film.

When a film stars two of the finest talents of the country, you expect nothing but the best. SRK, well, how does one describe his performance? To state that this is his best work so far would be cutting short the praise he truly deserves. In fact, no amount of praise can do sufficient justice to his portrayal of Rizvan Khan , who has Asperger's syndrome. His latest work is several notches above anything he has done before. The only compliment that I can think of is, SRK has a new screen-name now. Raj is passe, Rizvan it is.

Kajol is pure dynamite and casting her for this character was the most appropriate decision. No other actress could've matched SRK in histrionics the way Kajol has. In fact, SRK and Kajol compliment each other wonderfully well and this film only proves it yet again. It's a powerhouse performance from this supremely talented actress.

The film boasts of a number of capable actors, but the ones who leave a rock-solid impact are - in this order - Zarina Wahab, Sonya Jehan, Jimmy Shergill, Arjun Mathur, Parvin Dabas and Arif Zakaria. Sugandha Garg is confident. Navneet Nishan supports well. Vinay Pathak leaves a mark in a brief role. Tanay Chheda (young SRK) and Yuvaan Makaar (SRK and Kajol's son Sameer) are excellent. The American actors, especially the kid who plays Sameer's friend, deserves mention.

On the whole, MY NAME IS KHAN is a fascinating love story, has an angle of religion and a world-shaking incident as a backdrop. It not only entertains, but also mesmerises, enthrals and captivates the viewer in those 2.40 hours. At the same time, a film like MY NAME IS KHAN is sure to have a far-reaching influence due to its noble theme. I strongly advocate, don't miss this one!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Teen Patti - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Amitabh Bachchan, Madhavan, Siddarth Kher, Druv Ganesh, Vaibhav Talwar, Shraddha Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ajay Devgan, Raima Sen, Saira Mohan

The ‘Teen Patti‘ album is dark, edgy and has all the makings of a soundtrack for a riveting suspense thriller. That said, the release of the album could not have come at a better time. The movie is only beginning to generate hype. With a star-cast like Amitabh Bachchan and Sir Ben Kingsley, you already have an ace up your sleeve. Speaking about aces, though very little of the film’s plot is know, it is said to revolve about a mathematician who has cracked a formula that is applicable to the card-game ‘Teen Patti‘. Thus, begins a journey of lies, deceit, betrayal and greed.

Teen Patti is a niche album because many of the songs are in English, but if you like it, you could listen to it all day. Among our favourites on the album are: Neeyat and its remix, Life is a game and Summertime and the living.

Life Is A Game‘ begins with Amitabh saying ‘Paisa kya ek number hai…bhook hai paisa‘. Those lines probably sum up the movie itself. The music is a little overdone and Big B’s interrupting baritone monologues do not exactly make for pleasant listening. All the same, its dark and eerie, like ‘Golden Eye’ from James Bond.

Summertime‘ is a lazy blues tune. This tune has some nice vocals and heavy up-tempo orchestration. ‘Neeyat Kharab Hai‘ is like ‘Tinka Tinka’ from Karam. It’s slow, deliberate and does get a little strenuous at four minutes, something only the visualization can ease. Its remix has elements of eletronica and is more groovy with rap vocals et all.

Title track ‘Teen Patti Ke Gulam‘ is upbeat and trancy, like something from the Acid Factory soundtrack. Its remix has different beats to essentially the same track. Both can easily pass of as lounge tracks considering they’re both brisk, trippy psychedelic songs.

The album concludes with ‘Intezar Me Chupa Kahin‘, which starts off slowly before picking up pace and culminating into a crash-driven rock anthem. At its peak, the drum-work is fluid, guitar solos are good and vocals are rough enough to pass this off as an out-and-out hard rock number. However the music oscillates between two extremities of the genre.Intezaar me chupa kahi is a rock song featuring Naresh Kamat who modulates his tone and pitch very well. The song builds up rather nicely and the guitars are impressive. There is an element of suspense in the song. A good rock song after ages! The remix is tolerable.

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01 -

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