Friday, July 30, 2010

Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut, Prachi Desai

The fascination with gangster movies has been immense worldwide. On this side of the Atlantic, several gangster films have left giant footprints on the sands of time. Films like DEEWAAR [Yash Chopra], DHARMATMA [Feroz Khan], NAYAKAN [Mani Ratnam], ANGAAR [Shashilal Nair], PARINDA [Vidhu Vinod Chopra], AGNEEPATH [Mukul Anand], SATYA and COMPANY [Ramgopal Varma], VAASTAV [Mahesh Manjrekar], GANGSTER [Anurag Basu], D [Vishram Sawant] and SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA [Apoorva Lakhia] have tremendous recall value to this day.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI recreates an era that so many of us have left behind and for those who arrived on this planet post 80s, I am sure, they must have visited the era through some medium or the other, mainly movies and internet or during their academic careers.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not part of history, but it attempts to portray on celluloid tales that are now considered legendary, that continue to make news to this date. Of course, the disclaimer claims that it bears no resemblance to a particular person, but you can't help but draw parallels with real-life characters. It could be a coincidence, though!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is a fascinating story that talks of how the mafia came into force for the first time in Mumbai. A thriller that depicts the crime scenario in Mumbai during the 70s and 80s. The rise to power of two young boys, in different age-groups, who grew up to 'rule' the streets of Mumbai.

Since there's tremendous speculation in the media that ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI chronicles the lives of Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim, the curiosity to watch the film increases manifold. Of course, I am no one to comment if it's actually based on their lives or merely borrows a few incidents from their lives or is pure fiction, but as a cinematic experience, I couldn't help getting transported to the bygone era, getting sucked into a world I had no clue of.

Besides the gangster chapter, one enjoys this film also because of its riveting drama and the power play. It could've been set anywhere, in the corporate world, in politics, in the film industry. Anywhere. The rise and subsequent fall of the King and the emergence of the Prince as the super power is what makes this film a compelling watch. The icing on the cake is the magical and lilting song compositions that are juxtaposed so beautifully in the goings-on. On the sidelines of the power play, a game of hearts is being played and that's what makes ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI a wholesome movie experience.

Final word? ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not to be missed. Set everything aside this coming weekend and watch this one. Strongly recommended!

The film, set primarily in 1970s Mumbai, follows the rise of Sultan Mirza [Ajay Devgn] and the conflict that ensues, when his protégé Shoaib Khan [Emraan Hashmi] challenges his supremacy and usurps power to rule the murky underbelly of Mumbai.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is a power-packed drama that makes you thirst for more. You rewind to an era of romance, smuggling, cabaret and mafia, but director Milan Luthria and writer Rajat Aroraa ensure that there's no sleaze or bloodshed-n-gore. In fact, there's hardly any violent sequence in the movie, except for one when Ajay hammers a cop during a naaka-bandi.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is not a biopic, but narrates the story through the eyes of a police officer [Randeep Hooda], who traces the changing face of the Mumbai underworld. The screenplay encompasses several moments that may compel you to draw parallels with real life, but talking strictly from the movie-going point of view, it satiates you completely. In fact, the writing is cohesive, smart and watertight and there's never a dull moment. Besides, there's no time to think whether it's factual or loosely based on someone's life or a work of fiction.

As I look back and recall the movie, a number of sequences flash across my mind. Note the sequence when Ajay divides the city amongst gangsters... The train sequence at the very start... The introduction of Emraan Hashmi's character... Randeep Hooda's landing on a film set and confiscating the equipment... The subsequent sequence, when Randeep is framed for accepting bribe... The romantic moments between Emraan and Prachi in the jewellery shop... Emraan starting his business and the confrontation that ensues between Ajay and Randeep... The showdown between Ajay and Emraan, with Ajay slapping Emraan in full public view... The conclusion to the story is equally novel. It stays in your memory and sets you thinking.

On the flipside, the story begins with Randeep attempting suicide, but the writer should've cited the reason that prompted him to take that drastic step. Sure, there's a mention at the start, but it doesn't register well. Also, you are keen to know the chain of events that drove Randeep to suicide. Also, the pace slackens in the middle of the second hour, but picks up dramatically when Ajay returns from Delhi and confronts Emraan. Besides, how I wish the film had a shorter, mass appealing Hindi title to attract more eyeballs and a big jump in footfalls [at single screens and smaller centres mainly] for a mass appealing subject like this.

This is director Milan Luthria's best work to date, no two opinions on that. Recreating the bygone era is tough and the director, the writer and the art director [Nitin Chandrakant Desai] deserve brownie points for giving the film that authentic feel. In fact, the film wears a chic retro look throughout. Even otherwise, Milan's handling of the subject material is exemplary. This film is sure to catapult him to the top league. Rajat Aroraa's screenplay is powerful and engaging. The writer marries heavy-duty drama and subtle and delicate emotions beautifully. I would like to make a special note of the dialogue, also penned by Rajat Aroraa, which are simply fantastic. In fact, the dialogue writing is such it elevates even an ordinary sequence to great levels. One rarely comes across such potent dialogue in today's times.

Pritam's music is another ace. Injecting songs and that too a terrific soundtrack in a gangster film is tough. He did it in GANGSTER. He does it again in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. 'Pee Loon', 'Tum Jo Aaye' and the remix of APNA DESH track are super compositions, which are also placed appropriately in the plotline. Cinematography [Aseem Mishra] captures the look to perfection. Akiv Ali's editing is sharp.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is embellished with fantastic performances. Ajay Devgn is splendid as Sultan. The actor had enacted a similar role in COMPANY, but it must be said that his interpretation is so different in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. He adds so much depth to the character, which only goes to prove his range and versatility. This is, without a trace of doubt, Ajay's finest work so far. Emraan Hashmi is brilliant as the power greedy, wildly ambitious rebel. He plays the dark character to perfection. He's incredible in the penultimate moments of the film in particular. Besides carrying the look to perfection, Emraan is sure to break-free from the lover boy, serial kisser image with this film.

Kangna Ranaut is extremely natural and performs very well. Also, she brings so much of sensuality and glamour to her character [an actress of the 70s]. In fact, Ajay and Kangna make a wonderful on-screen pair. Prachi Desai is a bundle of talent who proves her mettle yet again. She's proficient in emotional scenes and sizzles in the BOBBY song-sequence. Besides, the chemistry between Emraan and Prachi is exciting. Randeep Hooda is top notch. Even though the film belongs to Ajay and Emraan, Randeep makes his presence felt with a powerful performance. This film should prove to be the turning point in his career.

Avtar Gill [as Home Minister] is good. Naved Aslam [as Patrick, Ajay's trusted lieutenant] is perfect. Mehul Bhojak [as Emraan's friend Javed] is competent. Ravi Khanwilkar [as Vardhan] is satisfactory. Gauhar Khan sizzles in the remix track.

On the whole, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is an extremely well-made film that lingers in your memory. The realism coupled with stellar direction, power-packed writing, exceptional performances and ear-pleasing tunes are its trump cards. An outstanding cinematic experience!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hello Darling - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Celina Jaitly, Gul Panag, Eesha Koppikhar & Javed Jaffrey

It is ironical that despite the name Pritam attached to the soundtrack of Hello Darling, you play on the album with minimum expectations. There are couple of reasons for that. First and foremost it is not a quintessential romantic tale where one can expect the composer to come up with some of his best tunes. Secondly, the film has been in the making for quite some time now and due to the rapidly changing musical scene, one is apprehensive about what Hello Darling would have in the offing. Add to that the fact that it has been a while since one heard a popular soundtrack coming from the house of Subhash Ghai. Due to this, one doesn't get overtly excited to know what is in store from Hello Darling that has Shabbir Ahmed contributing with most number of songs (three) as a lyricist with Ashish Pandit and Kumaar coming up with a song apiece.

It was four decades back when 'Aa Jaane Jaan' was heard first in Inteqam. While there have been countless 'remix versions' that have been made in the last decade, it is for the first time that a new version has been created for a film. Just as has been the case in 'Aapka Kya Hoga - Dhanno' [Housefull] and 'Parda' [Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai] where new lyrics were added to the original tracks with just the 'mukhda' kept intact, the same holds good for 'Aa Jaane Jaan' too with Shabbir Ahmed adding his own words to the song. While Akriti Kakkar and Antara Mitra are fine behind the mike, the interspersing rendition by Javed Jaffery is totally 80s. Also, the sound of 'aau' a la Michael Jackson is totally passe. The song doesn't quite have in it to cover much distance here.

Thankfully, Pritam gets into his zone, well to some extent at least, with a 'dholki' driven 'Band Baaja' that hints of Imtiaz Ali school of music. Written by Ashish Pandit, this is a fun celebration number about a guy bringing himself to his bride's place with full arrangement of - as the lyrics suggest - 'Band Baaja'. Rana Mazumder, who has been working with Pritam for a while now, gets a major song to his credit as he goes full throated in a manner similar to that of Neeraj Sridhar and Mika and does a rather good job. Richa Sharma and Ritu Pathak bring in a folksy flavour to this song as well which is instantly likeable and is foot tapping. The song rightfully gets a 'remix version' for itself and one doesn't mind hearing it all over again.

It is time to hear something trademark Pritam from the very opening note of 'Dil To Saala'. Of course the song does seem 3-4 years late in the day but one doesn't mind that, courtesy the kind of spunk that Sunidhi Chauhan brings in her rendition. Foot tapping from start to finish, this number written by Kumaar has lyrics that go like 'Dil To Saala Ullu Ka Paatha Hai'. Well, all that one thinks at this moment is that after Kaminey, Lafangey Parindey and 'Ullu Ka Patha', what next could possibly be in store? Nevertheless, the number works as instant coffee and should be a fun watch on screen.

However, what follows next is barely passable as 'Attrah Baras Ki' makes one immediately feel that this could well be a song entirely designed by Subhash Ghai himself. Stuck in a time warp, right from Shabbir Ahmed's lyrics, Suzzane D'Mello's singing and of course Pritam's composition, there isn't much that makes you feel that the song has been created in the current decade. Until and unless the three leading ladies of Hello Darling sizzle on screen during this song, there isn't much life that can be expected for 'Attrah Baras Ki'.

Shabbir Ahmed also writes the last song in the album, 'Working Girls', which has Shweta Pandit, Ritu Pathak and Priyadarshini coming together as the women force. This has to be one of the weakest songs in the album as it doesn't go beyond sounding like an ad jingle. There is a Westernized treatment to the song but all it does is reminding one of the kind of title sequence songs from TV serials around women power.

There were never many expectations to begin with from Hello Darling so there is no disappointment as well after one is through hearing the entire soundtrack. In fact it is just fair that eventually there are at least a couple of songs that still turn out to be reasonably entertaining - 'Band Baaja' and 'Dil To Saala'. However, with the limited promotional window that Hello Darling has, it would be difficult for the album to sustain itself on the power of just these two songs, which by themselves are not exceptional to begin with.

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01 - Aa Jaane
02 - Band
03 - Dil To
04 - Attrah Baras
05 - Working
06 - Band Baaja (Remix)

01 - Aa Jaane
02 - Band
03 - Dil To
04 - Attrah Baras
05 - Working
06 - Band Baaja (Remix)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Aashayein - Music review

Read more! Cast :: John Abraham, Anaitha Nair, Sonal Seghal & Farida Jalal

Since Aashayein is not a regular comedy or a boy-meets-girl film, one is at the least sure that the music too won't belong to the regular category. Not that there are hopes of anything extraordinary in the offing, more so because emphasis on music isn't quite high in Nagesh Kukunoor's films. While one is more or less sure that there isn't any chartbuster track that would be put on display in this soundtrack that has songs by Salim-Suleiman, Pritam and Shiraz Uppal, one still plays on 'Aashayein' to hear something striking that may just be round the corner.

It's a soft beginning for 'Mera Jeena Hai Kya' that has Pritam's brother-in-arm Neeraj Shridhar coming behind the mike. The mood is totally different from what one has heard of this combo in the past as the composer-singer 'jodi' gets into a lovey-dovey outing that has a soft rock base to it. Written by Sameer, the song sees an interspersion of English lyrics as well. A song about a protagonist who is looking forward to a better life due to arrival of his loved on, 'Mera Jeena Hai Kya' (which also appears in the 'remix version', just as most of the other songs in the album do) just about manages to be passable.

There is something peppier that comes along in the form of 'Dilkash Dildaar Duniya'. Even though the beginning is a little 90s with hint of Kumar Sanu/Babul Surpiyo tracks from the era gone by, 'Dilkash Dildaar Duniya' settles down to an extent once the song title makes an appearance. Yet another love song with an urban base to it, this one does have good energy that ensures that Aashayein manages to hang on. With Tulsi Kumar as the female voice behind the song, this Kumaar written track (appearing later in the 'remix version) too doesn't turn out to be that one chartbuster which could have helped Aashayein cover some distance.

It was just a few weeks back when a song titled 'Rabba' had arrived as a part of a non-film album. The same song is now heard in 'Aashayein' with Shiraz Uppal singing as well as composing it. The song sticks to the mood of the album and turns out to be one of the better numbers that one has heard so far. Of course this song too doesn't belong to the world of Bollywood and continues the non-filmy flavour of the album. A Shakeel Sohail written track, it makes for a decent hearing but that's about it.

The soft rock flavour continues with composers Salim-Suleiman and lyricist Mir Ali Husain taking over the album from this point on. First of their compositions here is 'Ab Mujhko Jeena' which reminds one of the non-film songs from the 90s. A song about looking up in life, it aims at being spirited and hence reminds of the sound of Iqbal, a film which again had Nagesh Kukunoor at the helm of affairs. As one realises by this point in the album, the songs are mainly meant for adding on to the background score rather than being the kind that would be chartbusters in isolation.

Next to arrive is Shafqat Amanat Ali who sings yet another solo track which goes as 'Shukriya Zindagi'. Just like most of the other numbers in the album, this one too is about thanking life for being beautiful, something which is the core essence of Aashayein. This time around, the song moves at a relatively slower pace and is far more attached to the Indian roots. No, you can't be heard singing around this track or dancing to its 'remix version' but its 'sad version' may just work for those who like their films to over overtly emotional.

The saddest song in the album is 'Pal Mein Mila Jahan' which reminds one of the kind of compositions that were created in the 60s. This song about finding happiness and loosing it subsequently comes in two versions - one by Shankar Mahadevan and another by Shreya Ghoshal. However, yet again the song is only for the film's narrative. Also, its inherent sad appeal means that it would find very few takers and that too only after audience has seen the film.

Last to arrive is Mohit Chauhan's 'Chala Aaya Pyar' which carries on the sad mood that has been created in the album. In fact one realises that while the start of Aashayein was still on a relatively happier note, the latter part takes a pensive route; something that doesn't quite end the album on a happy note.

Aashayein was never meant to be an album for the quintessential Bollywood music followers. However, even otherwise it just about manages to pass muster. It has its chances to find some takers only if the film succeeds at the box office.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Khatta Meetha - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Akshay Kumar, Trisha Krishnan, Rajpal Yadav, Johnny Lever

When Priyadarshan and Akshay Kumar join hands, you expect the cineplex to reverberate with laughter. Let's not forget, the team has regaled us with some terrific entertainers in the past. Naturally then, you expect KHATTA MEETHA to take the legacy forward.

Unfortunately, KHATTA MEETHA is noise [the actors scream a lot in this movie], more noise [the great promotion] and only noise, while the content takes a complete backseat. Although KHATTA MEETHA shouldn't be compared to this combo's earlier works, since this one's a satire, I have to add that this is their weakest film to date.

The first question I asked myself once the movie got over was, what's the story? Okay, okay, neither did Priyadarshan's last few films had a story to tell, but when you attempt a satire, when one talks of the hardships faced by the common man, when one talks of corruption in society, there HAS to be a story in place. That goes without saying!

KHATTA MEETHA raises a finger at the corruption in government establishments, but what it tries to say, or expose, has been witnessed over and over again. In fact, it's the writing -- sorry, the absence of it -- that makes matters worse. The beginning is good, the middle falters and the end is exasperating.

Struggling road construction contractor Sachin Tichkule [Akshay Kumar] is doomed. There is no chance that his dreams will ever come true, simply because he has no money to bribe. To make matters worse, the new Municipal Commissioner turns out to be his ex girl friend [Trisha], who now hates him.

The film reveals the extent of corruption and bribery rampant in the system and the ingenious means you have to adopt if you want to survive in today's times.

KHATTA MEETHA attempts to say a lot many things in those 2.40 hours. Oh yes, its running time is a problem, more so because the narrative lacks the power to keep you hooked to the proceedings. Okay, coming back to what I wanted to say, KHATTA MEETHA is more of a collage of isolated incidents encompassed in those 2.40 hours. The collapse of the bridge, the consequent murder of Tinnu Anand, the constant bickering in the house, the tu-tu-main-main between Akshay and Trisha, the sister's track, the corrupt netas and government babus, the payment issue of workers... several sequences are a repeat of what's you watched barely minutes ago or an hour ago.

While the romantic track is the weakest link [half-baked; the songs are forced down your throats, without valid situations whatsoever], the flashback portions, depicting Akshay Kumar as a college student, is just hard to digest. Even the end is worn out and doesn't give the feel of contentment that one expects at the conclusion of a film.

Priyadarshan's handling of the comic sequences is noteworthy, especially in the first half of the film. The repair-and-paint sequence at Asrani's mansion is sure to bring the house down. Ditto for the conversation that Asrani has with multiple people, in person and also on phone. Also, the road roller sequence is a laugh-riot and prior to that Johny Lever's sequence of repairing the road roller is truly funny. But a few isolated sequences aren't enough. The veteran storyteller ought to know the importance of a watertight screenplay by now.

Cinematographer V. Manikandan's lens captures the exteriors with flourish. Pritam's music is easy on the ears and at least two songs are extremely popular as well, but the placement of songs in the narrative acts as a roadblock. Dialogues are funny at times, especially the one-liners.

Akshay Kumar plays the common man with gusto. He looks his part and more importantly, not once do you feel that he's repeating himself. However, he goes over the top in a few sequences. Trisha carries the Plain Jane look well, but fails as an actress. The fiery attitude, so vital when you're enacting the role of the Municipal Commissioner, is missing. Rajpal Yadav is in terrific form yet again. What a splendid actor!

Urvashi Sharma is awkward. Makrand Deshpande is wasted. Tinnu Anand is hardly there. Even Aroona Irani is sidelined. Kulbhushan Kharbanda is first-rate. Asrani is excellent. Manoj Joshi screams so much. Ditto for Neeraj Vora. Milind Gunaji is okay. The actor playing the role of Urvashi's husband does a good job.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Lafangey Parindey - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Neil Nitin Mukesh & Deepika Padukone

It is a clear Tarantino influence in the way title song 'Lafangey Parindey' begins. As the song moves ahead, one realises that this influence continues for a good duration of the song. Well, till the 100th second before the song takes an Indian route. However, except for the brief chorus period where 'Lafangey Parindey' gets into 'masti' and 'dhamaal' mood, the song stays on to be Western in its treatment with a soft rock mood prevalent throughout. A song about high attitude, this Ronit Sarkar sung number has an edgy feel to it though made strictly for the situation in the film. Given an extra push, it could have been yet another 'Dum' [Dum] or 'O Mera Khuda' [Prince].

It's the sound of guitar with a country feel to it that kick starts yet another song that has 'Lafanga' in it's lyrics. Titled 'Man Lafanga', this one brings in a new high in the album, something which is expected from Mohit Chauhan in each of his outings. Really, just the way Rahat Fateh Ali Khan brings in a different dimension to a song, same is the case with Mohit Chauhan as well who more often than not has something exciting to offer every time. No wonder, 'Man Lafanga' (pretty much carrying the same theme feel as in case of title song of Kaminey), makes a quick impression as well. Hear it on a repeat mode and it's easy on ears appeal would ensure that you won't be bored. A 'club mix' version - the only remix in the album - arrives later in the album as well but one would prefer the original any time.

The song which is all set to be chartbuster though is 'Dhatad Tatad'. If you have liked 'masala' songs from the 80s, you would be able to grab this one pretty quickly. On the same lines as the lesser heard track 'Aanan Faanan' (from Govinda's 'Hathkadi'), 'Dhatad Tatad' is a full-on-pace track that doesn't have a single dull moment. Lesser exposed singers like Shail Hada and Anushka Manchanda come together to get the mood right for this rooted number which is purely for the masses. If picturised well (which it promises to be), 'Dhatad Tatad' should be picked up by those who have loved Govinda songs from the past.

This time around, it is the word 'Parindey' which is extracted from the film's title and woven into a new song - 'Nain Parindey'. Shilpa Rao is known for her unconventional yet so-very-impressive voice and that is used to it's fullest in 'Nain Parindey' which offers some truly different lyrics. Ironically, the song is written for a girl (Deepika Padukone) who is blind and hence the very theme of 'Nain Parindey' holds even more significance. Expect the song to make an impact in the narrative of the film.

The name Suraj Jagan pretty much ensures that the outing to follow would be high on beats and tempo, what with his rock star image preceding him since the days of Rock On. Just like the title song 'Lafangey Parindey', this one too is basically a song about attitude and is pretty much about the gang of boys out there to rule the world. With a rock feel to the music here, 'Rang Daalein' sticks to the theme and aims for the target audience as youth.

Last to come is an instrumental 'Born To Fly' which has a truly international feel to it for most of it's part. With the sound of violin continuing to dominate for the first 50 seconds, it is a pensive outing before happiness seems round the corner due to guitar coming in. There is some fun in store a few moments later with the sound of 'Dhatad Tatad' coming in. High voltage and ensuring some good thrilling moments throughout the narrative of 'Lafangey Parindey', 'Born To Fly' is one of those few instrumentals that truly sum up the mood of the entire film in a matter of few minutes.

The positive factor about the album is that it stays on to young and urban throughout and brings to fore an entirely different sound that hasn't been heard in Pradeep Sarkar's Parineeta or Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Add to the fact that 'Dhatad Tatad' truly rocks the show while 'Man Lafanga' and 'Nain Parindey' bring on a certain subtle mood to the proceedings and you know that it would be a good outing after all with Lafangey Parindey.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lamhaa - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Anupam Kher

Lamhaa opens in the year 2009 and talks about the separatist protest movements that initiated in Kashmir which (it repeatedly claims throughout the film) had started ‘18 years’ back in the year 1989. Not only does the film goes appallingly wrong with elementary mathematics, but also adds to the audience ambiguity through its constantly changing geographical boundaries and jumbled history.

Lamhaa mercilessly doesn’t deal with the Kashmir issue in an outright jingoistic approach like those countless formula films that have been made on the theme that show India as a clear-cut hero and Pakistan as a definite villain to exploit patriotic sentiments. This film highlights several discrepancies in our own country from corrupt army officers, conniving politicians to scheming businessmen. But beyond that when it attempts to fit in a clichéd conspiracy theory within the preset political premise, it falls flat on its face.

Officer Vikram (Sanjay Dutt) is sent on an undercover operation to Kashmir when the Indian intelligence gets information of a probable big terror attack in the valley. There a separatist leader Haji (Anupam Kher) has been fighting against the Indian government since 1989 for Azad Kashmir. Haji’s protégé Aziza (Bipasha Basu) supports her mentor in his mission. Haji’s other ex-protégé Aatif (Kunal Kapoor), who is now a reformed militant, wants to contest elections from the valley to win his people and province.

For Vikram, spying seems to be a child’s play. He sneaks into the police commissioner’s office in broad daylight as if playing hide-and-seek with him. He walks into a seamster’s shop who gives him ‘tailor-made’ tips and tracks terrorist identity by just having a look at their jackets. (Was the writing conveniently inspired by the investigative tele-series CID?) For no good reason Vikram keeps stalking and supporting Aziza in her attempts. Thankfully (though the background score gives a slight hint) a romance track is averted.

Through all his lackadaisical spying, Vikram finally learns that the neighbouring country is going to repeat the assault of 1989 on a larger scale. So as you look forward to a striking climax, you are sorely disappointed to discover that the supposedly colossal conspiracy merely ends up being a bombing plan on a political rally, seen for a zillion times in Hindi films. The intended twist in the plot is predictable and the convenient culmination is void of any dramatic moments.

It takes time to absorb the wide-ranging characters and their varied conflicts in the film and yet you do not understand all of them. Vikram is specifically chosen for the Kashmir operation though he doesn’t belong to the region. Yet there is no background account to justify his character, making him look shallow. In the initial reels, one tends to get confused if Anupam Kher’s Haji is a protagonist or antagonist as he keeps juggling between the two identities through the film. His fallout with Aatif is merely mentioned in a flashback scene. And then there is Mahesh Manjrekar playing Peer Baba in a cameo who remains quite undefined through the film.

The screenplay by Raghav Dhar and Rahul Dholakia appears disjoint with constant unconnected scenes and subplots. Though the writing attempts to touch several related concerns from the half widows of Dardpura village, victimized prostitutes to the psychosis of the border security soldiers; these works only peripherally without being plugged into the core narrative. Bipasha Basu’s public humiliation scene seems to be distinctly derived from Monica Belluci’s Maléna . Nevertheless the actress is poignantly effective in her outburst.

The pacing seems too hurried and the restless editing by Ashmith Kunder and Akshay Mohan barely allows you to breathe, gasp, feel, absorb, react or relate. The incessant disturbing camera movements by cinematographer Jamie Fowlds annoy you more than having an effect. Mithoon’s soothing musical score has its charming moments.

The performances are not bad but don’t rise above the script. Sanjay Dutt plays his age but his character seems half-baked. Bipasha Basu is decent in a different role. Kunal Kapoor adds grace to his character but sounds meek in delivering political speeches. Anupam Kher is effective.

For the common man, the politics of Kashmir has often been a complicated topic. This film doesn’t make it any simpler. Lamhaa doesn’t enthrall beyond a few interesting moments.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peepli [Live] - Music Live

Read more! Cast :: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghuveer Yadav & Malaika Shenoy

You don't quite know what to expect from the music of Peepli [Live]. Actually, to be honest, you don't really have much hope either. After all, the factors are not quite conducive to a popular soundtrack being in the offing from Peepli [Live] . Rural base, largely unknown actors, offbeat theme, first time director, an unusual set of composers (Ram Sampat, Indian Ocean, Nageen Tanvir) - you name it! But then (and this is a big 'but' by the way) there is a name called Aamir Khan involved with the film. Frankly, if not for him, the film as well as music would have largely gone unnoticed. He is the sole reason why one still feels that there may well be a surprise round the corner. Let's check out to see if there indeed is one!

There is a rustic sound associated with the music coming from Indian Ocean. It could be Western or Indian based but one can't take out the rustic element from the music that this band creates. This is the reason why ' Des Mera' does carry an individuality around it as the band comes together to make a song which talks about the uniqueness of India for all the mishaps or goodness that it boasts of. Written by Sanjeev Sharma and Swanand Kirkire, ' Des Mera' is a theme track that has a feel good factor about it, keeps its tempo high and goes well with the rural background of the film. However, given the theme, ' Des Mera' (which arrives in an added version) has it's shelf life restricted to the play of the film.

Once the sound of harmonium fills up the first couple of seconds of ' Mehngai Dayain' and Raghubir Yadav begins his rustic rendition, you know that there is one song which is going to stay totally true to the background that the film carries. A track which gives the feeling of a 'live on location' recording, courtesy the way Raghubir along with a bunch of other singers go ahead with their rendition, ' Mehngai Dayain' is as topical as it gets due to the statement it makes against price rise. However, all of this is said in a lighter vein which ensures that the message is conveyed without it being thrust down the throat. A track that comes with traditional lyrics, it has Ram Sampat keeping it totally folksy in nature without any touch up.

What is a killer track though is the 'remix version' of ' Mehngai Dayain' which is a sure shot chartbuster that has been placed in the album. With a Western base to it, some English lyrics, added beats and the thump which the song carries, this version turns out to be a track which will make its presence felt all the way. Whether clubs, campus, hostels or even other family celebrations - the remix version of ' Mehngai Dayain' is such that it won't be ignored at all. A fun track, this one will go a long way. Go for it!

There is immediate 'thehrav' with the arrival of ' Zindagi Se Darte Ho' which is yet another track by Indian Ocean. Written by Noon Meem Rashed, this is a dark and haunting song about being courageous, standing up and life and fighting for oneself. With a seven minutes running length, expect the track to play in the film's background during a few dramatic points in the narrative. A soft rock track that has a Western base to it, ' Zindagi Se Darte Ho' comes with a philosophical bent and is strictly situational.

Another folk track in Peepli [Live] is ' Chola Maati Ke Ram' which is sung and composed by Nageen Tanvir. If hearing something which is totally non-Bollywood excites you most, ' Chola Maati Ke Ram' is the one for you. Coming together of devotion and philosophy along with a definite folk flavour means that the song would do well in the context of the film. However, there is a very niche market for this Gangaram Sakhet written track and comes with the possibility of having a run beyond the movie's run only if Peepli [Live] turns out to be a success at the box office.

As mentioned earlier, if not for the name Aamir Khan attached to the film, the music here would have gone totally unnoticed. However, with the kind of marketing and promotion that one can expect from the man here, rest assured Peepli [Live] will find it's fair share of attention. While the entire album will find a larger audience only after the release of the film, what should set the ball rolling is ' Mehngai Dayain' which is a chartbuster waiting to happen. Don't miss that one.

Download MP3 Songs
01 - Des
02 - Mehngai
03 - Zindagi Se Darte
04 - Chola Maati Ke
05 - Des Mera (II)
06 - Mehngai Dayain (Remix)

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Milenge Milenge - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Aarti Chhabria, Satish Shah

The lead pair of the film is isolated for years and suddenly wants to find each other frantically without having any contact details of the other. Had there been a similar scenario in the current context they could have effortlessly found out each other through social networking websites. In that sense, this film delayed by almost half a decade appears unbelievable.

Amit (Shahid Kapoor) and Priya (Kareena Kapoor) meet at a Youth festival in Bangkok. The attraction is instant and they spend days together cavorting around Bangkok City together. At the end of the festival when they are preparing to come back to Delhi, Amit loses Priya’s trust and she decides to end the relationship. Amit tries to regain her trust by telling her that are destined to be together and Priya decides that if it is fate that they should be together, they will find each other Delhi again, Although both do not know each other’s whereabouts in Delhi.

Years go by and both of them are about to be married, but each still has this nagging feeling that the other was his/her one true love. Of course fate conspires to bring them back together (after about a dozen very interesting near misses) as they each simultaneously undertake one last attempt to find one another just before they get married to someone else.

So is all of life pre determined, even who our soul mate is? That's the theme explored in Milenge Milenge , a delightful fairytale of a romantic comedy that makes you fall in love all over again

This time Satish Kaushik doesn’t seek inspiration from his regular South territory but opts to remake the Hollywood film Serendipity (2001). The continuous attempts of the couple to find each other in the second half also reminds of Boney Kapoor’s earlier film Sirf Tum .

Both Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor are earnest and their chemistry is credible. But why do every other character artist from Satish Shah to Delnaz Paul end up hamming. Panini Rajkumar (Rajkumar’s younger son) is plastic personified. Aarti Chhabria and Sarfaraz Khan lack screen presence.

Watch it only if you are just interested to see Kareena when the term size zero wasn’t coined. Else Milenge Milenge doesn’t score much above zero.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aisha - Music Review

Read more! Cast :: Abhay Deol & Sonam Kapoor

Aisha is an upcoming romantic comedy Hindi movie of Bollywood starring Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol and Arunoday Singh. Music of Aisha movie is composed by Amit Trivedi. Lyricist of the film is Javed Akhtar.

Amit Trivedi is here again. I was not even done with listening to his awesome Udaan, when he came back with Aisha. The good thing is that unlike Udaan, Aisha is not all typical Amit Trivedi in his favorite rock mood, but much more versatility. In fact with the present variety, you may count it as, something like half a Dev.D.

Aisha has fresh faces, not only on the screen but behind the screens as well. With Aisha, Sonam Kapoor is ready to strike the second time as well after her recent Hit. The movie also has Abhay Deol in the lead and Amit Trivedi is the Music Director. Abhay-Amit combo brought one of the biggest musical successes Dev D, which not only established Abhay as a rising star but also Amit Trivedi became a rage with Emosonal Atyachaar topping all charts.

Hence, although with new talent the music of Aisha has reasonable expectations due to Amit's previous works. Sprinkling a bit of experience with his talaffuss is Javed Akhtar, and boy, does he rock big time or not, well you will surely get to know when you hear the soundtrack of Aisha.

The album opens with Suno Aisha, something which offers freshness and has a beautiful melody. The crisp vocals by Amit Trivedi, Aditt, Nakash Aziz and Ash King offer an edge to this song as finally, you come across something different. The trumpet has not been so marvellously utilized in any hindi song of the recent times, yeah we had the Emotional Atyachaar but this time the it is used more towards creating melody. Suno Aisha is catching up the rage and is a sure shot sucess from the time it starts, you can hear this song again and again.

The second track Gal Mitthi Mitthi is an a hands on Competition to the popular Emosonal Atyachaar. If any song can break records of the previous landmark of Amit Trivedi, this song definately has the potential. Basically, a new-age shaadi song starts with a shehanaayee and the beats of this song somewhat take you back to Pardesi from Dev D. The vocals are by Tochi Raina, again a fresh voice, take this song to a high level moreover hindi-punjabi lyrics with a western arrangement leave a great impact the first time you hear the song. You cannot help yourself but listen this song again and again. And if you thought this song cannot be are wrong. There is a bombay bounce dhol remix version with dhol beats, which turns this song into a complete bhangra dance number, leading to a high adrenaline number. A Sure shot Hit, the one song which can re-create the Emosanal Atyachaar effect both in its original as well as remix version.

After some happy and enjoyable racy tracks, the album changes tracks to a rather slow Shaam again sung by Amit Trivedi, where the song heavily rests on guitar arrangements, makes you suddenly realize the word power of Javed Akhtar. This song will catch up with the youth as time progresses. A good change of pace of the Album.

Behke Behke Nain has a blend of international music and Hindi lyrics. The international feel of this song right from the start catches you with its beats. The arrangement is somewhat similar to Zinda hai hum to from Josh but Amit trivedi has really brought yet another ace up his sleave with this track. The vocals by Anushka Manchanda, Samrat and Raman Mahadevan
add to the zingness of this song. Another jewel by the music director.

Lehrein, sung by Anusha Mani is a soothing melodious number follows after behke behke, shows you the versitality Aisha has for you. One thing you notice again, in this song will surely be the Javed Akhtar's lyrics. The other tracks are quite racy and peppy which does not make you focus more on lyrics but Shaam and Lehrein surely shows the magic of Javed Akhtar's tallafus..... The remix version of this song is also worth a listen.

Download MP3 Songs
01 - Aisha - Suno
02 - Aisha - Gal Mitthi
03 - Aisha -
04 - Aisha - Behke
05 - Aisha -
06 - Aisha - By The
07 - Aisha - Gal Mitthi Mitthi (The Bombay Bounce Dhol Mix)
08 - Aisha - Lehrein (The Bombay Bounce Lounge Mix)

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Hate Luv Storys - Movie Review

Read more! Cast :: Imran Khan & Sonam Kapoor

The first thing that attracts you to (I Hate Luv Storys) is its title. Let's face it, we adore love stories... at least I do. We idolise the characters decades after the movies have come and gone. The songs that come on our lips instantly while playing a game of antakshri are romantic songs as well. In fact, the biggest moneyspinners, let's face it, have been love stories, right? So how can we 'hate' a love story?

No matter how mushy or cheesy they are, we find love stories irresistible because of the tremendous rush we experience at the end. Some of us are big suckers for love sagas, aren't we? That's precisely the reason why this title (I Hate Luv Storys) nagged me no end every time I watched the promo of this film.

Helmed by first-timer Punit Malhotra, (I Hate Luv Storys) is typical candyfloss romance with a story that's not jaw-droppingly different, let me forewarn you. But if you're young at heart or a diehard and hopeless romantic, you'd lap up (I Hate Luv Storys) like a kid laps up his fav candy.

Now to the vital question: If (I Hate Luv Storys) rests on a thin plot, what is it that drives the film for the next two hours? My answer to that is, four factors: The fresh pairing and chemistry between the lead cast, tremendous youth appeal, terrific music and magical moments that make a love story work.

The makers have never claimed that (I Hate Luv Storys) will change the face of Hindi cinema. Nor did they ever claim that (I Hate Luv Storys) will change the mindset of the viewer towards romantic films. So let's sit back and enjoy the fun ride. This one's by the youth, for the youth. It's this age-group that would come out smiling, cheering and rooting for this prem kahani.

'I hate love stories' is the maxim Jay (Imran Khan) lives by. But as an assistant director to Veer (Samir Soni), the most famous romantic film-maker of Indian film industry, Jay has little option but to live with larger than life, glossy, cinematic love on an everyday basis. Things only get worse when he is made to work under the new production designer on the film, Simran [Sonam Kapoor], with whom he shares the strangest first encounter.

Simran loves love stories, so much so that even her life has begun to resemble one. With her ideal job and the perfect boyfriend Raj [Samir Dattani], she lives a blissful, dreamy life. One that is rudely interrupted by Jay's cynicism.

Writer-director Punit Malhotra wins Round 1 by casting the right actors in the roles of Jay and Simran. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that the casting is the trump card of this film. But what Punit ought to know by now is that every story ought to have a strong grip to keep your attention arrested for the next two hours. In this case, the film rests on a waferthin plot, with not much movement in the story in the first hour. In fact, the story barely moves in the first part.

Yes, post-interval, the story does gather momentum and though you're well aware of the journey and what the culmination will be like, you don't mind the ride because you can't take your eyes off Imran and Sonam. Also, a love story works if one pines for the on-screen lovers and in (I Hate Luv Storys), you genuinely want the duo to sort things out, which means that you're involved in their lives. Even the finale - it won't be fair on my part to reveal how this movie concludes - may be filmy or cliched, but let's face it, it works.

Let me draw parallels with another love story, also starring Imran Khan. Recall the finale of JAANE TU YA JAANE NA, which had Imran riding a horse to reach his sweetheart [Genelia] at the airport. I distinctly recall, a lot of people found the end bizzare and rightly so. Can you imagine anyone galloping to the international airport in Mumbai? But I was truly surprised when I learnt that the youth were whistling and clapping all through. The finale is different here and you exit the auditorium with a smile on your face.

Director Punit Malhotra is heavily inspired by Mills & Boon novels and several Bollywood films... love stories all. But like I pointed out earlier, Punit needs to polish his writing skills, although the director in him bails the writer out and takes the film to a different level. The sequences between Imran and Sonam are well penned, but the ones between Sonam and her parents or Sonam and Samir Dattani are half-baked. Directorially, Punit shows super-confidence in moulding the two actors in their respective parts, so much so that you get sucked into Jay and Simran's world after a while.

A love story ought to be embellished with a lilting score - that's a compulsion - and Vishal-Shekhar are in true form this time. The score is trendy, energetic and beyond fantastic and what's more, it's already a rage. In fact, the musical score only takes the movie a step ahead. Ditto for Salim-Sulaiman's background score, which matches the mood to the T. Ayananka Bose's cinematography is awesome. The ace DoP proved his credentials in KITES recently and with (I Hate Luv Storys), he should find himself entrenched in the top bracket. The styling [Manish Malhotra] is top notch.

Imran enacts his part effortlessly. Though the role doesn't demand histrionics, you keep reacting to Imran because of the magnetism he radiates. The devilish streak in his character is sure to appeal to the youth. Besides, Imran has been photographed and presented very well. Sonam is a revelation. Sonam finally gets a role that does justice to her as an actress. The ease and class with which she carries off the glam look is fantastic. She's like a whiff of fresh air and you actually wonder, is she the same girl from SAAWARIYA and DELHI 6? In fact, (I Hate Luv Storys) will only multiply Imran and Sonam's fan base manifold.

Samir Dattani is decent, although his role gets sidelined as the story moves forward. Samir Soni's character reminds you of a certain hi-profile director and he plays the part extremely well. Kavin Dave, as Imran's buddy, is first-rate and steals the show in several scenes. Aamir Ali is perfect, while Pooja Ghai doesn't get scope to deliver. Bruna Abdullah looks sensuous and adds to the glam quotient. Ketaki Dave [Sonam's mother] is wasted. Anju Mahendru [Imran's mother] is adequate.

On the whole, (I Hate Luv Storys) is a young and vibrant love story with tremendous appeal for the yuppies. The fresh pairing and the on-screen electrifying chemistry, the lilting musical score and the magical moments in the film should attract its target audience - the youth - in hordes. If you're young or young at heart, this one's for you!

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