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Run Happy, Run!

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Happy likes to run. She’s not an athlete. She just likes to run. She ends up in Pakistan as a result of her “hobby”. [*]

 

Happy Bhag Jayegi is a simple film, with a simple message. That message is nothing. Hold on, the message here is, if there is one, have fun. You’re in a theatre to relax, so relax. Forget the facts, the border clashes and the quagmire that is Kashmir. In fact, leave your beliefs out the window and just go watch a film that is what a film should be, a stress buster.

 

Happy (Diana Penty, aka Punjabi Kudi) lives life to the fullest. In fact, Happy is so happy that she leaves her fiancée, Bagga (Jimmy Shergill, aka Tera Bhai) for Tun-Tuna maestro Guddu (Ali Faizal, aka Dil-Jala Ashiq) by jumping from a window into a flower truck waiting to whisk her away to his loving embrace. In her happiness, she lands onto a truck bearing gifts (fruits, mangoes from Ratnagiri, basically the greatest hits of the Indian fruit scene) to Pakistan (haw!). The truck’s end destination is Bilal Khan (Abhay Deol, aka Jinnah 2.0, but less lying and more friendly), a rising politician who would rather play cricket. Who wouldn’t?

 

IF you think you know where the plot is headed, no cookies for you because the movie knows it too. What it wants from you is attention, what it promises (like a certain someone in 1947) is a few laughs. What is delivers is a lot of laughs. Moving from one set piece to the next and crossing more borders than a Dan Brown novel, it delivers humor in spades! Everything from the writing, to the dialogue, to the nuances of the characters is aimed at making sure you laugh.

 

Piyush Mishra excels at doing what my college professor failed at; he gives you a KG level crash course in Urdu. (respect for calling ‘music’, ‘mausiki’ and ‘siesta’ is ‘kailulla’) I feel bad for Jimmy Shergill, like really bad. Every movie he is in these days, guy gets left on the altar (no worries, Jimbo. You and I are in the same boat) but he makes sure you laugh at his misery. He is a bro in the movie, no seriously, he calls everyone he meets for two minutes bhai and refers to himself as ‘tera bhai’. If I’m ever in Amritsar and need someone to bail me out, I’m calling mera bhai, okay?

 

You know how in chess, you can play certain moves exclusively on a particular piece? Like, you cannot under utilize, say your rook by making it move like a pawn. This is Abhay Deol’s dilemma. He is a Rook being made to move at a pawn’s pace. But like the Rook, he slays everything in his path, while moving one square at a time. The movie rests on his shoulders, but the focus is on Diana Penty. By putting the focus on her, Abhay doesn’t get time to really fly-fly-fly. A little more should have been put onto his plate. It would have also given Momal Sheik’s character (Zoya aka Bilal’s Old Lady) a platform to sound off on. This lack of characterization makes her feel a little restrained. However, in the space that they have, they shine and their chemistry is like a promise of spring that never really comes to fruition.

 

Rustom and Mohenjodaro were duds and the audience has been clamoring (without them knowing they need it. It’s like Batman. You never really need him, but you’re happy if he’s around) for a palette cleanser to get rid of their clammy embrace. Happy Bhag Jaygei is that palette cleanser. Go watch it, laugh and have a good time. And before our senses were jaded by too much content, isn’t that what films were all about? Abhay Deol is firmly back and I’m desperately waiting for the Dev-D sequel (in SPAAACE!)

 

Like the say at MI6; welcome back, Mr. Deol. You’ve been missed.

 

 

 

 

 

[*] All the views in this review are mine. Any and all disputes will be settled by the time honoured tradition of a duel at high noon. Sword or pistol, the choice is the challengers’.

Mohenjo DarOH..

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Oh, hey didn’t see you there. Oh what’s in my hand you ask? Why it’s bhel puri, of course. Oh you mean that paper I’m eating it on? That, amigo is my Masters degree in Archaeology. Because after seeing Mohenjo Daro, that is exactly what it is worth. Don’t get me wrong, Ashutosh Gowariker is a brilliant director and I cried like a baby when Captain Russell got what was coming to him. I felt like Akbar as I watched Jodhaa Akbar in silk pyjamas drowning in attar. Never in a million years would I have thought Mr. G could come up with this.[1]

So. My first question in the labyrinth of questions that is Mohenjo Daro is this; Mohenjo Daro means “Mound of the Dead Men”. It was named so in 1922. Why would the people of 2016 B.C. (Ah, I see what Mr. G did there, umm.. brilliant?)call it that? And that folks, is my degree at work. Now that I have harped on about my degree, let’s get down the meat and bones.

 

Mr. G gets scale. Let it be known. If anyone today has the sensibility to shoot an epic, it is this guy! The set design is brilliant and costumes really nail down the aesthetics of different civilizations (twirly beards for the Sumerians, Funky Egyptian animal caps for the Egyptians, the mongoloid peoples look like 12th Century Mongols though, trust me, I’m an expert. I have a degree in this.. I’m doing it again, aren’t I?). But sets and dresses make not a watchable film, my friend. It’s like cereal. If you don’t have crunchy, fluffy chocolatey bits to munch on, you’re just drinking a bowl of milk. Man, I’m hungry. Time to ask my non existent intern to get me a double shot, skimmed milk, soy latte with a flowery arrangement on top. And that guy better not mess it up.

 

Look, I get it. It is difficult making an epic film and there’s a very thin line between a Gladiator and the madness that was Apocalypse Now. Mohenjo Daro toes that line and doesn’t stop. No matter how hard the actors try to steer it, like the Hindenburg, it was destined to fail. It could have been an epic, it could have even been an epic love story, God knows we need those. What it does is something else entirely and by the end, Hrithik Roshan becomes less like an average Joe wooing his lady love and becomes pseudo Moses leading his people across a land in search for a new home.

 

Hritik Roshan (let’s call him Golden boy, because damn son, the dude looks like Alexander the Great!) shines in whatever scene he is in and does not disappoint. Dude calms the first horses brought into India and doing so wins the attention of Pooja Hegde, who looks stunning as a princess but does little else than look pretty. Kabir Bedi plays the villainous patriarch of Mohenjo Daro who wants to wage war on Harappa because he was apmaanofied in a bhari sabha, but unlike Chanakya fails spectacularly because plot armor. His son looks like your typical “tu jaanta hain mera baap kaun hai” guy and that guy needs to cover up his legs man, he’s making me feel fatter than I am. Where’s that latte?!

 

One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the CGI. Did they get artists from the 90s? Because the CGI looks, sorry to say, pathetic.

 

This week, both films have been lackluster. Don’t waster your time on this. Save your hard earned money for a proper history textbook.

[1]  All the views in this review are mine. If you like it, by all means indulge. But it’s not for me, bro. Any and all disputes will be settled by the time-honored tradition of a duel at high noon. Sword or pistol, the choice is the challengers’.

Rustom: What Could Have Been..

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Rustom had so much potential. It could have been a spy movie. It could have been a courtroom drama. Like a salad with sweet and salty dressing, it fails miserably.

 

Clocking in at nearly two and a half hours, Rustom is not an easy watch. There is so much of nothing happening on screen that you feel sleepy and that, is a feat few movies achieve. Things do pick up in the second half but by only so much, by the time things get interesting, the viewer has already lost interest in the movie. Based on the Nanavati Case, the movie is loosely based on real life events.

 

And that is where the problem lies. Rustom tries to be a thriller and a courtroom drama at the same time. In doing so, it loses steam and the viewer. The concept is intriguing. A decorated Navy officer shoots a man thrice in the chest, calmly surrenders to the police. The resulting hullabaloo is usual nowadays, but back then it was a media circus. Rustom is afforded the same love and adorations reserved for rock stars, what with men wanting to be him and women wanting to be him. Makes one wonder how many roses did they throw at him, and isn’t that littering? Or did that just happen recently? Like the assassination of JFK or the Moon Landing, we’ll never know. In many ways, this mirrors our world today, where literally everything is breaking news (complete with red alert flashes and the accompanying ticker that is way too fast to read). But that is where the thematics end. And you go for a movie like Rustom to relax and see Akshay Kumar blowing up ships (except for a random canon shot from the side, no canons were shot, which is sad) and just be himself. You don’t go for a lecture on the condition humane of today.

 

The production and set designs really nails the vibe of Bombay back in the day. With costumes and set being topnotch, no expense was spared to make the film rock the 50s look. However, due to a weak story, the former takes a backseat. Had the director, Neeraj Pandey stuck to one aspect, Rustom would be different, and perhaps would not be the jumbled mess that it is.

 

Akshay Kumar has recently been doing the roles where he plays the patriotic Indian hero and he does not disappoint here. He looks brilliant in his Navy uniform. But like his uniform, the story doesn’t have any color and his presence cannot help things further. Illeana D’Cruz plays Rustom’s wife, Cynthia who is at the center of this matter. Esha Gupta plays rich Bombay Girl (“Tu Janta hain mera baap kaun hain?”) and looks really good with her Classic Mild Cigarette (didn’t know they had those in the 50s) whereas Arjan Bajwa plays her creepy brother in a velvet smoking jacket (brrr!). Pawan Malhotra channels his inner cop and does not disappoint.

 

Now that we are done with the extras, we come to real stars of the film, Kumud Mishra shines as a slimy paper owner, fanning the flames of Rustom’s case for his paper sales (see? Told you the films lays it on thick) and Usha Nadkarni plays Rustom’s maid. There is a monologue of hers that had the cinema in stiches. It can be safely said that all humor in this movie stems from the clever use of secondary and tertiary characters. However, story story story, the prime component is missing.

 

Neeraj Pandey, and Akshay Kumar have had some wins in the past, but just like how not every ball can be a six (unless you’re Yuvraj Singh) not every collaboration is a hit. This one is a miss and you should treat it as such. However, since it’s a weekend and it’s Indpendence Day, you might as well go for it with the family and indulge your inner patriot. Your chest will swell with pride every time Akshay Kumar comes on screen in a crisp Navy uniform and the accompanying orchestral suit makes him look cooler. And it today’s day and age, that much patriotism is enough.

 

And with that, we come to and end. Happy Independence Day everyone! And I have wanted to say this since I was little kid.. God Bless India.

 

 

[*] All the views in this review are mine. If you like a sweet and salty salad, by all means indulge. But it’s not for me, bro. Any and all disputes will be settled by the time-honored tradition of a duel at high noon. Sword or pistol, the choice is the challengers’.

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