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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Review : I am Legend

I am Legend (sci-fi )
Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga
Direction: Francis Lawrence
Critic rating: /photo.cms?msid=2623174

NEW York's tale of woe goes on and on. This time, the world's most talked about city hits the headlines when a deadly virus wipes out the entire population, leaving just two survivors: Will Smith and his dog Samantha. Well, it's two normal, recognisable survivors, because the city does have many more creatures and beasts....These are the rest of the humans who have mutated into flesh-eating vampires that hunt in packs when night falls. End result? You get one of the most outlandish scenes where lions hunt deers at Times Square and human beasts slip in and out of Central Park, in search of their khana-khazana .

Everything's okay till here. Will Smith's lone ranger act is quite watchable, specially as the camera tries to capture his routine as the last man on earth talks to his dog, takes him out for a ride, talks to mannequins in shops and uses the book stores as his personal library. All this, while he conducts his own research to find the cure for the mutant virus which has vanquished mankind. In between, he also tries to reach out to others like him through the radio and combats the predators who keep attacking him, now and then. But suddenly, the film maker brings God into the proceedings and the religiosity angle tilts the film off balance. A young woman comes out of nowhere and saves Smith from the marauders, telling him about God's grand design and all that stuff....

Oops, when did God have to make a guest appearance in science fiction! So let's just approach this as a horror film and assure you a few jumps out of your seat when the mutants attack.

From : The Times of India


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Audiences find acting a let-down in "Khoya Khoya Chand"

Bollywood director Sudhir Mishra's "Khoya Khoya Chand", with its plot set in the 1950s, opened to a mixed response from audiences, with some saying the acting was a let-down.

The film, a tale of politics, corruption and exploitation of women in the film industry of that time, narrates the love story of a writer-turned-director and a junior actress who is catapulted to stardom.

"The trauma of a woman is very nicely presented but the acting could have been better,” said Akangsha Agarwal, a college student. “The acting has been a let-down."

"Khoya Khoya Chand" opened on Friday with Soha Ali Khan, Shiney Ahuja and Rajat Kapoor playing the lead roles.

"Soha is only okay in the film. The others are fine in only a few shots. The film should have had a good star cast," said 33-year-old housewife Neelam Mehta.

But the film’s unusual storyline seemed to have clicked with some viewers.

"Sudhir Mishra's films are always a little bit different, bit heavy and this time too the story is very interesting," said 32-year-old businessman Rohit Gupta.

"We know what goes on in the film industry, I didn't know the corruption and exploitation was there in 1950s."

The director's attempt to recreate the look and feel of the era through set decoration, costumes and song-and-dance sequences also fascinated viewers.

"I felt I was really in the 1950s," said 48-year-old Chetan Rai. "The saris and the hair was something I could relate to. I have seen my mother's pictures with similar saris and exact hairstyle as Soha's."


Friday, November 30, 2007

REVIEW : Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
Cast: John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Bipasha Basu
Direction: Vivek Agnihotri

HANGOVERS are always bad. And this one is like a staggered hangover of Chak De India . It takes the body and rips out the soul. So that, you have one more sporty spiel about desh-bhakti.

Only, this one hums and haws about Hum Hindustani and Hamari Hindustaniyat, unlike the earlier one which was truly Chuck-de, when it comes to clichés. Here, it’s a bunch of Southall Brits who are hellbent on proving their Bharat belongingness and they do it so predictably, you can almost see the tricolour painted on their face.

And if that’s not heavy enough, there are the other mandatory sporty metaphors - primarily, the importance of team spirit - steaming out of the mirchi-less broth. End taste? Mazaa nahin aaya .

Arshad Warsi is the archetypal Asian in Britland. He sells chicken tikka to the goras and dreams of beating them at their own game some day. He dreams of building an Asian Man U that can grab the numero uno spot in the English Football league. But all he has is a rag tag team of ill-assorted desis who just can’t bind. He hires a disgraced ex-soccer star (Boman Irani) as coach to resurrect the Southall United club. But what he really needs is someone who can truly bend it like Beckham.

In short, he needs super star Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham) who needs to stop breaking his window panes, stop playing for the rival gora teams, and stop thinking he is a gora as well. And of course, he needs to stop teasing the Captain’s sexy sis (Bipasha) who happens to be the team’s physio too.

But before Sunny can find his spot under the sun, he needs to discover his own self and shake off the label of the BBCD (British born confused desi). Now, that’s quite an arduous journey which means he shares a bed with Warsi, indulges in verbal bouts with a hostile dad, gets his nose broken again and again and makes you wince with pain. Ugh! Why can’t he just Be Indian-Bye Brit without the battering nose job.

Get the point? Goal is actually a case of Dhan Dhana Dhan deja vu, where everything that you’ve ever seen in any and every sport film finds a dekko. The script simply doesn’t rise above the clichés and lets down the actors who just can’t bend your emotions.

Arshad tries hard, John is naughty, only in places, Boman is boring, Bipasha is bechari eye candy. Poor girl, she doesn’t even get to play the item girl Billo Rani, who obviously has been inspired by Beedi Jalai le . Nope! Unlike saddi hockey chokris, the soccer boys may not be serenaded by flag-waving crowds.


Deepika’s pricey act

OSO is a hit and everyone is thrilled, right from Shah Rukh Khan, Farah and other cast down to the spot boys.

But the one who has had the last laugh is debutante actor Deepika. We heard that the success of the film has done wonders to her career and reportedly she has now upped her market price (well, she never had any before OSO) and is demanding a cool... well, lets not disclose the amount. It’s called making hay while the sun shines.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Film Review: Dil, Dosti Etc

Film: Dil, Dosti Etc

Banner: Holi Cow Pictures

Producer: Prakash Jha

Director: Manish Tiwary

Star Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Nikita Anand, Imaad Shah, Smriti Mishra, Ishita Sharma, Dinesh Kumar

Rating: 2.5/5

Director Manish Tiwary’s maiden venture is perhaps the second film this year to have a stark take-it-as-you-see-and-judge-it-for-yourself tone (The first being Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Black Friday’). All the more satisfying because in the real world there are no easy answers and there is no black and white. His maiden venture ‘Dil Dosti etc.’ captures these truisms well albeit a bit amateurishly.

‘Dil Dosti Etc’ is not exactly a story but an episode in the life of the lead character played by debutante actor Imad Shah that does not necessary elevate or resolve his existential angst but incites one in the audience. The film revolves around the lives of a variety of youngsters all representative of today’s generation Y. Two of them, hostelites at a Delhi college, belong to two completely different worlds. One, Sanjay (Shreyas Talpade) is a deeply rooted Bihari and a student-politician embracing his middle-class values as his identity and the other Apurva (Imad Shah) is an upper-class Delhi-ite full of his aimlessness and lack of stolid values. Then there is Prerna, (Nikita Anand) a rich South Delhi-ite who aspires to be an international model. There is Kintu (Ishiita Sharma); a schoolgirl who though caught in her black and white world-view is already a perfect coquette. Completing this ensemble of characters and social backdrops is Vaishali, (Smriti Mishra), an almost aging prostitute fearing emotional involvement in her insecure life.

Through the actions, reactions, search, solutions, problems and choices of these characters the director weaves a world of today’s generation juxtaposing the values of time, class, culture and situations that make the youth of today. What transpires is a tale revelatory in its spirit of its effort to lay bare the essentials of Gen-Y.

The film is exploratory in nature and hence is experiential. It puts forward facts in the choices its characters make leaving us to understand why he/she did what they did. Here is a film that prods its audience to think and whether it succeeds is a question of individual appeal. It embraces realism in its treatment and does the cinematic technique no injustice. The screenplay falters at a number of points where it dilutes the flow with insignificant events or events incompletely unfolded. Nevertheless, it remains an imaginative work created with a sound knowledge of its purview.

The limitations of the film are as much in its mode of telling as in the handling of the rich variety of emotional and social milieus it inhabits. The direction is telling of a debut effort and so is the writing of the film. But it is not inept just trifle inexperienced. One of the best features it offers is a ringside view of student lives, loves and aspirations, a rarity to watch in today’s times.

The director has managed to extract some good performances from its lead cast. Imad Shah is interesting to watch as he plays his character, guiltless, aimless and cool. Nikita Anand does a much better job here if compared to her wooden act in (the now-forgotten) Life Mein Kabhi Kabhi though she has lots to learn about actingg. Ishiita Sharma thoroughly impresses in her precocious schoolgirl-playing hard to get role. Smriti Mishra’s character lacks the supposed punch and acridity of a prostitute that would have added the necessary tanginess. We see certain stiffness and a distinct discomfort in getting under the skin of her role. Sadly, even Shreyas doesn’t quite impress. All throughout he plays the confident student leader and man of his values well but fails to sustain it in the most crucial parts.

Cinematography is well-done and helps the film in creating the various moods of fun, debauchery, softness, camaraderie as it captures Delhi’s student life. Editing is paced but could have been smoother in easing out a couple of jerky cuts. The music especially of ‘Dum Laga’ is distinctly hummable but may not top the charts.

A good part (and some crucial dialogues) in the film are in English which alienates a large section of the audience. But since it is the student community the film will be understood by best, maybe it is as well to stick to the nitty-gritty realities of life in the fact that most students converse more comfortably in English today.

By no means a sit-up-and-take-notice film, Dil Dosti Etc., is still a watchable fare just for the excellent evocation of student life, male bonding and stark portrait of what makes up the youth of today. Don’t miss it if you have a choice.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When Preity was tense about speaking in English!

What am I doing in these arty films?"
asks Preity Zinta a few hours after her English language film The Last Lear had a red carpet premiere at the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival.
"I had thought for a long time that you get so poorly paid doing these films that you ended up not just being poor but starving," Preity says with a mischievous smile. "And I thought I would kill myself overworking under horrible conditions. Finally, there would be just two people seeing the movie."
Well, there were over 1,000 people for its Toronto premiere. The film travels from this film festival to half a dozen prestigious events including one in Rome.
It was one of the half dozen films from South Asia shown at the festival, which would have unveiled some 250 films from 60 countries by the time it ends on September 14.
Preity smiles broadly just as Rituparno Ghosh, the director of The Last Lear, passes us by at the penthouse conference hall of Royal York Hotel, for yet another interview.
"I call him Bikshu," says Preity, referring to his tonsured head and the kind of clothes a monk wears, except that the clothes must have cost him a small fortune. "But he is a monk who gives giving," she chuckles. "And he asks very little from you. He allows you a lot of space. He told me not to do much preparation before the shoot. Learn your lines, he said, and come ready to be surprised." She also calls him Rituda.
Compliment her heartfelt performance in The Last Lear, and she replies, "I have been lucky to work with some of our finest directors. But Last Lear holds a special place in the heart because this is very new to me."
But she has not renounced the masala films, she adds.
"I enjoyed working in so many of them especially Jaan-e-Mann and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom," she says. "But now I am confident of doing other kinds of films. If they are going to shoot all of Shakespeare's works, I want to be in them. Like many literature students, I too read his work extensively during my English Honours studies."
She refers to her multi-layered and complex character whose suspicious husband never allows her peace of mind. Her entanglement with a veteran Shakespearean actor who is making his movie debut makes her life interesting but complicated.
"I don't like dark films, and characters with dark impulses," she says. "But here I fell in love with all the film's characters because Rituda has crafted them so well. They are not just black and white characters. There is a lot of grey area too."
She was expected to work on the film for 15 days. "But everything was going so well, my work was over in just nine days."
She has worked with Amitabh Bachchan in three films (and two more films in which she did not have scenes with him) but working on The Last Lear was a unique experience, she says.
"He is one star who gently takes you up, makes sure you give out your best," she says. "Working with him is like learning one's craft and improving oneself in film after film."
She had been concerned about speaking her lines in English, throughout the film. "In real life, we use English all the time," she says. "But saying it on screen was going to be a very different experience. So I was tense, and I guess everyone else was too. Mr Bachchan told me at one point that he too was scared but there was nothing to really worry about. We should be able to do justice to our parts, he assured me. Even then I wondered how we, who happen to be hardcore Hindi film actors, would meet the challenge."
On the first day of the shoot when she heard Amitabh Bachcan say his lines, she was astounded. "I admired the way he pronounced the words," she admits. "His diction was wonderful too. I felt confident that I can learn from him, and that I would be alright. He made it sound as if it is the only language in the world. His help during the shoot was immense."
She also signed Toronto-based Deepa Mehta's Heaven On Earth in which she plays an abused arranged marriage bride from India who decides to take destiny in her own hands.
Like The Last Lear, Mehta's project could also be considered arty, though her last film Water grossed over $5.5 million in North America making it the highest grossing Hindi language film. Worldwide, it has grossed over $10 million.
Heaven On Earth will be shot in India and Canada especially Toronto.
"This role is even more complex than my most complex roles," she says. "I will be challenged every moment I am working on that film."
She won't discuss the role further. "I am secretive about what I am doing in a film," she says.

source : rediff news


Monday, September 3, 2007

Review : Victoria No. 203

Victoria No. 203 (comedy) Cast: Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Sonia Mehra Direction: Anant
More stills from Victoria No. 203
HERE'S another re-make that makes you wonder why it was made. The '70s thriller that become a runaway hit due to the buffooning blast by Ashok Kumar and Pran and the leggy show of seduction by Saira Banu resurfaces as an ekdum thanda affair. Anupam Kher and Om Puri are the two golden-hearted goons who fling themselves earnestly in a diamond hunt, once they realise the diamonds will save a poor little girl's (Sonia Mehra) life. But there are a bunch of crooks too chasing the bling-bling things which have been hidden in the eponymous buggy. Leading the brat pack is mysterious babe, Preeti Jhangiani and ham-ster Jaaved Jaafrey who's just not there in the role. The gags are silly, the pace soporofic and the fun element pure fiction. This Victoria is definitely off the rails.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

'Heyy Babyy' is a special film for me: Akshay Kumar

He is the one actor in tinsel town who has always proved his critics wrong. When he was labelled as an action hero with his 'Khiladi' series films, he did romantic films, negative shade characters and comic roles and proved everyone wrong by his acting and always added feathers in his cap. Now, Akshay Kumar who has been doing consecutive hits is all set with his latest comic film 'Heyy Babyy' which according to him is a very special film.
At Rajasthan's Jaisalmer city shooting for Yash Raj film's upcoming film 'Tashan,' Akshay spoke on various issues candidly with PTI exclusively over phone from Jaisalmer despite his hectic schedule.
'Heyy Babyy,' he said, it is a very special movie for me, because i have done this film only for my little son Aaarav. And i did this because I had never worked with a child artiste, and with this film i have learned that how difficult is this to shoot a film with a child artiste," he said.
They (producer and director) ensure everything for the baby Juhaina who has played vital role in the film. Mind you this baby is only star in the film and we had three doctors and three nurses round the clock for the baby, he said.
"At this stage of my career, working with the child artiste taught me that they are big stars," Akshay Kumar said.
There was no shooting when the baby was sleeping, we were instructed not to disturb the mood of baby when he was having food. All of us (Ritesh Deshmukh, Fardeen Khan, Akshay Kumar) had to wait on the set to get his mood right for the shoot.
It was also heard that during the shooting of the film, Akshay proved to be the best babysitter as whenever the baby got into restless mood on the sets, Akki used to take baby onto his lap and soothe her. Up to some extent that's true. Not only me but Ritesh too had looked after the baby well. It was a memorable experience that would not be forgotten, he said.
On the storyline of the film, Akshay, said, "Main kuch nahien bataoonga (I will not tell anything)." All what I can tell you is that people of every age especially kids, parents and grandparents are going to enjoy the film. It is the funiest film that would also make people cry."
Is it true that the film is based on famous Hollywood film 'Three men and a baby?' No, only similarly in our film is that we too have three men and a baby but it is an altogether different film in terms of story telling and direction," he said.
Akshay recalls how he called his costar Vidya Balan up and pretending to be an Australian journalist requested for a interview. She agreed and I interviewed her for about 20 minutes, I had switched on the speaker of my cellphone and let other crew members listen to our conversation. She did that interview so seriously."
'Heyy Babyy' is the directorial debut of anchor Saajid Khan (Farah Khan's brother). Akshay Kumar said he " I know him for the last 20 years.
With this film I can say confidently that film industry has lost a comic actor but we got a good director who would be appreciated for the work he has done in Heyy Babyy." On his stunts and actions the actor says he is ready with Nikhil Advani's 'Made in China' in which he would be seen with all stunts and action.
"I have done action again almost after five years. And when I was doing such film after a long time I thought I should do something special to the audience, and people would definitely love the action and stunts of this film," he said.
Akshay is presently wrapping up the shooting of Yash Raj productions 'Tashan' where he has teamed up with Saif Ali Khan almost after 10 years. He said, "I cannot say much on this film. All what I can tell you is that I am with Saif after 10 years and he is the best co-star to work with."



Saturday, August 18, 2007

Buddha Mar Gaya Movie Review

There was a time throughout the 80s when films starring Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor in comic roles were big hits. While most of them had Jeetendra (and later Govinda or Jackie Shroff as the heroes), the right spice in the form of comic duo only added on to the flavor.

Most of the jokes used to be below the belt with a holds-no-bar approach. Later, emergence of films like ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ and ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ proved to be a spanner in making of such films though David Dhawan had his occasional stint with such cinema with films like ‘Raja Babu’ and ‘Andaaz’.

Multiplex boom more or less killed this kind of cinema which was more prevalent in small cities and towns with some audience in single screen cinemas of big cities still showing their loyalty. Yes, there have been an occasional all over hits like ‘Masti’, ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum’ and ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ as well but they have found their own share of detractors.

Rahul Rawail can expect the same with his ‘Buddha Mar Gaya’ as well which just doesn’t total up the risqué humor of the three films; it in fact multiples them and raises it by the power of 2!

Picture this. A young ‘main-bhi-banoongi-starlet’ Rakhi Sawant comes with a unique trait of killing people on bed, although unintentionally, as they try to struggle with her. In the end, she does adopt ‘sanyaas’, though not before being responsible for a dozen off corpses on the stairs up to the temple.

On the other hand an old business tycoon (played by Anupam Kher) has enjoyed life to the fullest. He has not just amassed immense wealth and given birth to two good for nothing sons, he has also been ‘responsible’ for the birth of his grandson!

Not just that, he has slept with the movers-and-shakers of the city who have been responsible for the law and order of the city. Watch the film to know how one of them finally reveals his identity!

But the cake is taken by the character played by Om Puri. Probably the most original character ever written for a mainstream Bollywood film, his ‘baba’ act is to be seen to be believed. No, he doesn’t go ‘Hari Om’ for religious reasons. It is his contribution to all the ‘tension’ in the house which makes him utter these words, so much so that one fine evening he even bows down before God to ‘relieve’ him of all the ‘tension’. Yet again, check out the film to know more about his own problems!

Dying of ‘buddha’ results in trouble for all who were closely and not so associated with him. His sons, sister, daughter-in-laws, grandchildren, loyal servant, political contacts, business partners, investors – everyone seems to be worried more about their own share of pie than him going away to heavenly abode. The mayhem which follows is entertaining enough to keep the audience laughing along for next 100 minutes that follow.

Rahul Rawail adopts the approach of filming BUDDHA MAR GAYA as if the scenes were unfolding as a theater play. This is the reason why most of the scenes appear as an act with dozen odd actors sharing screen space and getting a chance to mouth a dialogue or two without scenes being jumping too frequently.

Does the experiment work? Yes, it does as such cinema is hardly being made currently. Also, to add authenticity to the film making style, majority of it is shot in synch sound which gives an impression of a scene being enacted live in front of you.

With all these characters on the frame, none would feel let down since Rawail does well to give each of them good platform to act well. In fact none of them disappoint as they all act loud, but are competent as required by the genre of the film.

What works in the film’s favor is a definite characterization of each and every actor in the film. In spite of a dozen odd characters around, you take home each of them while remembering their distinct traits. There is a ‘gharelu bahu’ [Mona Ambegaonkar] who shows her true colors later on, another ‘bahu’ [Mannat Kaur] who was once a bar dancer, an intimidating ‘bua’ [Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal] who was once a beggar, a ‘baba’ [Om Puri] who used to be a ‘madari’, a grand daughter who lives her passion of being a surgeon by cutting off dead Kher’s body into parts, another one who would go any distance to be an item girl, a grand son who finds out that he is his own nephew (check this one out) and a son [Mukesh Tiwari] who detests his wife due to his ‘extra marital affair’!

Apart from the immediate family, there is also a servant [Paresh Rawal] who is no more loyal, ‘sadakchaap munnabhai’ [Ranvir Shorey] who deals in corpses, a music company owner [Prem Chopra] who announces the world ‘mera naam hai Prem Chopra’, a duo of investors who get their piece of action from a local hooker even as they attend a cremation and a doctor [Vinay Pathak] who is willing to take a risk while struggling with his patient Rakhi!

Does all this makes you turn away from the screen as the film is on? No, but then you are required to be open to watch such cinema and come with an ability of laughing at the jokes, howsoever below the belt they may sound. There is no visual vulgarity for sure but the ‘sex’ word streams across the film’s narrative in some format or other.

Be prepared!



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Untold tales of the MAHATMA

An unruly mop of hair covers his face. His clothes are torn. He lies abandoned in a hospital bed. When prodded, he utters his famous father’s name—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—in a voice heavy with agony.

This promo of Feroz Abbas Khan’s forthcoming film, Gandhi, My Father, is a pointer to a fresh attempt to humanise the Father of the Nation, who struggled to rescue his son from the vortex of alcoholism and bring him back home. The film, inspired by Chandulal Bhagubhai Dalal’s book Harilal Gandhi: A Life, talks about Gandhiji’s relationship with his troubled son, and, in the process, reintroduces Bapu as a father and a family man.

“It is very comfortable to place him on a pedestal and forget him,” says Khan, who also directed the critically-acclaimed play Mahatma Vs Gandhi, based on the same theme. “Gandhiji’s values had a deep impact on his family life. My film portrays the clash between the aspirations and expectations of a son and the principles of a father,” he adds.

Over the years, intermittent attempts have been made through films, plays and books to give Gandhiji’s demi-god persona a human touch. Yet, the preacher of non-violence has never been seen as an ordinary father or husband. There have been noticeable references to Gandhiji in Hindi films like Hey Ram, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Mara and most significantly in Lage Raho Munnabhai.

The Sanjay Dutt-starrer simplified Bapu’s principle of non-violence and truth and made Gandhigiri fashionable. The mass response that this popular film garnered was similar to what Richard Attenborough’s multiple Oscar-winning Gandhi (1982) had received decades ago. But these movies have presented Mahatma as one of the greatest leaders of the world, without providing much insight into the tangible human being behind the undeniably great soul.

Ace director Shyam Benegal points to a plausible reason for this failing. “Gandhiji was a man of such a complex personality that it’s not possible to feature everything about his life in one single film. It’s logical for filmmakers therefore to focus on only selected aspects of his life in each film,” he says.

Benegal’s The Making of the Mahatma (released in the mid-’90s), set in his early days in South Africa, touched upon Gandhiji’s personal relationships, particularly with his wife Kasturba, to trace his evolution into the ‘Mahatma’. “Gandhiji’s relationships don’t form the central theme of my film. But it’s true that he had a somewhat functional relationship with his children,” adds Benegal.

Indian theatre, too, has seen some stray but significant efforts to ‘demystify’ Gandhiji in the recent past. Sammy, a hugely popular play by Lilette Dubey, shows how ‘Mohan’, an ordinary man with his flaws and weakness, comes to terms with his ideology and emerges as the Mahatma. Mahadevbhai, a play based on Gandhiji’s letters to his long-time secretary Mahadevbhai, and the Marathi play Gandhi Virudh Gandhi,too, deserve mention in this context.

“In the case of Gandhiji, it is very difficult to separate the real person from the historical figure. That’s one of the reasons why most films or plays prefer to deal with his political life,” says Jaimini Pathak, actor-producer of Mahadevbhai.

Recently, Rajmohan Gandhi’s book, Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, had its first few pages dedicated to his great grandfather’s “spiritual relationship” with Tagore’s niece Saraladevi. It triggered a series of discussions on unexplored aspects of Bapu’s character.

These efforts haven’t raised the hackles of Mahatma’s countless admirers. Instead, they have been hailed by Gandhiji’s relatives and Gandhian scholars. “Any responsible attempt to demystify the Mahatma is welcome. Gandhiji was a transparent person and welcomed scrutiny of his actions during his lifetime. Such initiatives will encourage people to respect him more and follow his ideals,” says his great grandson Tushar Gandhi.

Agrees Pratap Sharma, who researched on Gandhiji for 20 years before coming up with the script of Sammy. “Much of Gandhiji’s efforts were dedicated to improving his soul and spirit, which at times were not practical in terms of leading a normal family life. It deserves to be stated that Gandhiji was a difficult person to live with,” he adds.

Researchers also point to those aspects of his life that can lend themselves to fascinating screen adaptation, but these have so far been overlooked by filmmakers. “His relationship with women has been intriguing. He encouraged women to come to the forefront in public life though he was known to be quite tough with Kasturba,” adds Sharma.

“From his childhood days to his youth, his days as a student in London to his relationship with Kasturba, his famous march in Noakhali to the mystery of his murder—there are so many untold stories about him,” adds Gandhi’s great grandson. It’s time for a long-overdue revisionist thrust.

News from :


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shilpa's S2 rises to No 3 in UK Fragrance charts

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty's Fragrance, S2, has risen to the Number 3 spot in the UK Fragrance charts, within a fortnight after it was launched in London.

Shilpa has beaten off stiff competition from the likes of other international stars such as Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez and Paris Hilton, as her inimitable S2 perfume has proved itself to be a cut above the rest, amid the sea of other celebrity fragrances to have been launched on the lucrative perfume market, sources said on Sunday.

Describing the popular fragrance that has been created by the oldest French perfumer, Robertet, Shilpa said: "The perfume is truly unique because of the whole edge we have with the ethnic aroma. We have an amalgam of jasmine and citrus and it's a very strong aroma."

Shilpa made a guest appearance at the UK Daytime television's biggest ever show 'Loose Women' on Friday. She joined the panel of fema and has gained a cult following among viewers.

source : dna india


Sunday, July 15, 2007

REVIEIW : Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Ever since his encounter with Voldermort in the last film, The Goblet of Fire , life has never been the same for the boy wizard.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (drama)
Cast : Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Direction : David Yates

What's happening to me? yells Potter, sending the avuncular Dumbledore and his faithful friends, Ron and Hermione into a tizzy. Why am I always angry? I feel I'm turning BAD!, he exclaims, setting the undertone for his fifth year at Hogwarts. Ever since his encounter with Voldermort in the last film, The Goblet of Fire , life has never been the same for the boy wizard. He not only lost his friend in the last episode, but also his boyishness. Welcome to Harry, the harried teen, who knows it's not going to be easy any more. No more quidditch, no more carefree wanderings with Hagrid, no bindaas buddy business with Ron and Hermione and no private concerns of problems at Privet Drive. Family problems are hardly the concern now when the entire wizard world is threatened by You Know Who and his horrid army. Harry knows his destiny: it's either him or Voldermort in the epic battle of good against evil, and he doesn't need the prophecy to tell him so...

So what do we have here? A darker, more grim, quite bleak vision of the world we have come to know so well. There is no fun left in the corridors of Hogwarts as the young wizards and witches try to empower themselves for the grand battle that lies ahead. And the fact that the friendly Professor Dumbledore has been ousted by the venal new head, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) only adds to the young students' woes. Professor Umbridge is the stuff nightmares are made of. Despite her powder pink attire and her room full of kitties, she is a regular terror who tortures the students with painful tasks and a rigid discipline. More importantly, she fails to tutor them in the defense against the dark arts, leaving the students to form a covert student's body, the Dumbledore Army, which holds secret classes under the tutelage of who else, but Harry.

It's virtually a divide between the believers and the non-believers: those who believe Harry when he tells them that Voldermort is back and those who brand him a liar. The film has its usual fare of charms, spells and special effects, but the tenor is menacing throughout, with the evil Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) making intermittent appearances (too short) to thrill and scare. Harry, plagued by chilling nightmares, is allowed just one fun moment, a momentary kiss with Cho Cheung. But the romance is short-lived too, as death steals away another of his loved ones.

The film may not be as enticing as the Goblet of Fire, but nevertheless, it sets the tone for the Final Encounter. Ironically, most of the favourite Potter characters have little to do here, including the rumbustious Ron and the affable Hagrid. The scene-stealer in this film is undoubtedly Dolores, the devilish new teacher who puts up a scintillating show of meanness. Get ready for the Deathly Hallows and the Harry Howdunnit!



Ticket to Bollywood...

One could have easily mistaken this Friday night (very late) bash to have been a film awards show, or some other filmi function, what with the stream of Bollywood biggies strolling in (almost at the midnight hour) at an extremely relaxed pace. The occasion was the 're-launch ' of this Juhu restaurant and lounge bar, and a decadent mood prevailed as the guests ate, drank and made very merry amidst candles

and silken drapes. But while Bollywood faces were predominant, the do had an eclectic mix of crowd, with some from society and the worlds of fashion and television also walking in after another bash that was taking place just around the corner. Karan Johar might not have party-hopped but at this party he certainly group-hopped , first talking to Yash Birla, and then catching up with Kunal Kohli. Zayed Khan and Sunny Dewan had obviously found something extremely entertaining; the two simply couldn't stop laughing! Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta caught up with Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan. The siblings who made the most of the evening were Amrita Arora and Malaika Arora-Khan , who enjoyed the evening with Sohail Khan and Kim Sharma. Dino Morea was in a jolly mood, as he caught up with Gauhar Khan and VJ Gaurav. Vandana Sajnani and beau Rajesh Khattar seemed to be in their own romantic world, enjoying each other's company. They spoke excitedly about their upcoming vacation to Thailand and Singapore. Very late comers included Mandira Bedi and Raj Kaushal, who, even at that hour were having trouble finding parking. After patiently waiting for Raj to park and come, Mandy decided to walk in by herself. Kanchi Kaul bonded with "best friend" Arzoo Govitrikar. Shonali Nagrani came along with boyfriend Ashish Raheja and her brother, who she was introducing to one and all. Sikander Kher, Sanjay Suri and a host of others also partied the night away.


Early (by Mumbai Standard Time at least!) to arrive were mom-to-be Suchitra Pillai and Lars Kjeldsen with Suchitra's best friend Sandhya Mridul. When Suchi was asked whether she wanted a girl or a boy, she replied that it was a girl she was looking forward to because, "In the recent past, all my friends have had boys. There is a dearth of girls and I wish to fill that void."


Even as news of the Lara Dutta-Kelly Dorji split is still topmost on everybody's minds, Kelly seemed unfazed by it all as he made his first solo appearance post the break-up . What's more, he seemed to be enjoying himself in the company of the many glamour dolls present.


It was quite a surprise to see Prashant Raj and Mohit Ahlawat, both from the Ram Gopal Varma camp, (one his present find, the other his former muse) bond sans their mentor.



Monday, July 9, 2007

Mallika gets thumbs up from Sushmita

The intrepid Mallika Sherawat has an unlikely supporter in Sushmita Sen who is quite impressed with her "spirit and spunk".

"I really think she has a lot of spirit and spunk and tremendous audacity," Sushmita said.

"To have come from where she has and to establish her own identity, and to have that kind of spirit couldn't be easy. But she has done it," she added.

Tell her Mallika speaks of Sushmita as some kind of a role model, and the actress smiles.

"Really? I haven't met Mallika but the little that I know of her, I like her."

Mallika, who is transcending borders with Bill Bannerman's "Unveiled", seems to subscribe to Sushmita's school of thought.

"I don't know what Mallika's thoughts are. But I feel every role I've played so far has been a stepping stone towards the goal that I've set for myself. To get to a summit you need to climb step by step. I think I've been climbing the stairs very steadily."

Talking about her journey in Bollywood, Sushmita said that she knew she would have to work hard to reach the top since the beginning. She never expected instant success.

"Not for a minute did I believe I had to be Madhuri Dixit just because I came into the film industry as Miss Universe. I knew I had to work hard to get there. Some people get there more easily than others. But that's life. Maybe I've made some major mistakes in my career. And I continue to make them even today. But that's part of the growing experience."

So what keeps Sushmita going and growing?

"The one thing that nourishes me constantly is my self identity. I'm very comfortable with who and what I am. I am an actress only when the camera is switched on. The minute it's over I go back to being myself.

"I don't make an effort to make other people comfortable. I feel I can't be an image for people. I have to be a real person. I have to be absolutely me."

Ask her what 'absolutely me' is, and she said: "Absolutely me is tonnes of contradictions. It's being an enigma even to myself at times. It's someone only I knew, and that too once in a while."

New From : The Times of India


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Review : Bombay to Goa

MONUMENTAL WASTE : Imagine having all the stars of the Great Indian Laughter shows at your disposal and yet not managing to elicit one full-throated guffaw ( Agency photo )

Bombay to Goa (comedy)
Cast : Raju Srivastava, Ehsaan Qureshi, Surendra Pal
Direction : Raj Pendharkar

What a monumental waste! Imagine having all the stars of the Great Indian Laughter shows at your disposal and yet not managing to elicit one full-throated guffaw. May be, if our stand-up comedians had been left to themselves, minus a bungling director, they would have delivered the gags better.

All the funsters are bunched together in a crumbling bus that is heading towards Goa. And the bus keeps getting its intermittent load of hitch-hikers, which include the Indian cricket team (all lookalikes) that is currently doing some military training under coach Chappel’s expertise. The passengers get their chance to avenge the World Cup debacle, but the humour is completely flat. This is one jolty ride we would not recommend.

Source : the times of india


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Rani stuck in 'morality' debate

RANI PLAYS SEX WORKER AGAIN!: Aditya Chopra and director Pradeep Sarkar are hesitant about Rani Mukherji's portrayal of a sex worker in Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag (TOI Photo)
If sources are to be believed, thinking heads at Yashraj Films are facing 'a moral question'. Aditya Chopra and director Pradeep Sarkar are hesitant about Rani Mukerji's portrayal of a sex worker in Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag .
Going by the plot, Rani hails from a respectable middle-class family living in a small town. City life lures her and eventually, falling on bad times, she turns to flesh trade for a living . The makers feel that Rani's journey, from a middle-class woman to a sex worker (in the film), may not go down well with the audiences. In fact, a middle-class woman being portrayed as a sex-worker has always been a strict no-no.
Also, recent box-office letdowns (read Tara Rum Pum and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom ) has prompted Aditya to mull over the script yet again before the film makes its way to the editing table. Says our source from the production house, "We don't know how kindly the viewers are going to take to the fact that a woman from a middle-class family becomes a sex worker in times of crisis. Surely, we are giving it a thought. After the Jhoom Barabar Jhoom debacle we want to play it safe."
Although a good measure of mother-daughter relationship has been thrown into the film, it doesn't solve the problem. The plot essentially focuses on Rani's predicament in a big bad city. Adds another source, "The basic premise highlights Rani's plight after she leaves her home town in hope of a better life." The creative team behind the film already has had a few meetings.
Says a crew member on condition of anonymity, "Yashraj films are always meant for family viewing. We don't want to outrage our viewers' sensibilities. Saying so, we can't have any last minute changes as the film has been mostly shot. We intend to release the film in September." Incidentally Rani Mukerji plays a sex worker in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya too. So, there is also that question of repetition, which Yashraj Films is not too happy about.
The team may or may not make changes in Rani's character, but, they are definitely trying to change the look of the film. As Yashraj production has always come up with different concept in each of their films, they plan to do it this time too



Friday, June 22, 2007

Review: Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis
Direction: Tim Story

The superheroes are back and what a homecoming! In a post 9/11 world, when all our superheroes — Batman, Superman, Spiderman — are becoming philosophical, introspective and moody about their magical powers, the Fantastic Four are still fun-loving and untroubled by existential woes.

Thank God for that! To be or not to be: no Hamletian dilemmas for this foursome that knows it has to save the world from the inimical Dr Doom with its special powers of stretchy limbs (Reed), electrical force fields (Storm), human torch infernos (Johnny) or just sheer power (Ben). And no cerebral debates on good versus evil or the evil within in this high octane drama, laced with state-of-the-art special effects. Enough to give the kid in you chills, thrills and marvels.

This time, the threat is doubled. On the one hand, there is old foe, Dr Doom (Julian McMahon) who is desperate to unleash his reign of evil; and on the other hand, there is the bigger enemy, Galactus, an intergalactic force that wants to gobble up the planets. Weird changes in weather patterns and radioactive fields around the earth cause a flutter, the world over. They even manage to disrupt the wedding of the century between super scientist Mr Fantastic (Gruffudd) and the Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba).

When the world begins to fall apart, the couple have no option but to postpone their wedding and get down to the business of saving the world. Their only hope: the silver surfer who has actually been sent to destroy it. They must bring out the man in him and appeal to his humaneness. Do we see a tear on his cold, steely cheeks?

Grab your popcorn, round up your neighbourhood kids and gatecrash for your share of gape-and-gawk gizmology.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Review: The Train

The Train (thriller)
Cast : Emran Hashmi, Sayali Bhagat, Geeta, Basra
Direction : Raksha Mistry
A film that copies another film, scene by scene can only be described as brain-dead. Come on guys, credit yourself with a pinch of originality at least. Why cut, copy and paste a recent Hollywood flop, Derailed, and call it The Train.
For those who still remember the last Jennifer Aniston release, this one truly is deja vu all along the insipid tracks... Even the tagline — Some lines should never be crossed — is the same. Tch tch! The film flounders in usual Emraan territory: Bangkok, a bored marriage, an extra-marital affair, blackmail, murder, treachery and a bunch of hummable songs.
Add to this, a kid who needs a kidney transplant and you have the usual Fatal Attraction funda of a good wife (Sayali Bhagat) and dull domesticity threatened by the over-sexed one-night stand (Geeta Basra).
Emraan, the harried husband-father, finds a delectable bit on the side during his daily metro ride to office. But the bit turns out to be indigestible and it's left to the troubled man to flush it out from his life... not until a few guns explode and some tears are shed. Emraan is Emraan: okay and average. The girls are waxen: cold and oomph-less. And the film is forgettable: not even a cover version of the original.
Source : tThe Times of India


Review: Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar

Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar (romance)
Cast : Hazel, Ruslan Mumtaz
Direction : Robby Grewal

it's been a long 'Samay', but Robby Grewal, who made a fine debut with the Sushmita Sen thriller ends up dabbling with popcorn romance this time. Nothing wrong with that. Only here, the popcorn seems to have lost its crackle and what should have been a sizzling teen affair, turns out to be soggy and listless.
The film begins well and the first half does have an innocent charm to it. Crafted as a school romance, it features a bunch of teens who take pride in tearing up the rules' book. The lingo is smart and snazzy, the boyz and girlz are familiar public school bandaas and the pranks and prattle is nostalgic.
The high school romance is fine too — gawky, awkward and clumsy — but only in the beginning. Once the mushy notes begin and the boy decides to follow his girlfriend to Paris for their Eiffel Tower tryst, it gets downhill all the way. The plot gets unrealistic, the drama goes out of hand.
But more than all this, the bachchas (the lead pair) just can't handle all this adult drama-baazi .Time-pass fare for teens, MP3 could have been imbued with more masti and masala to make it a fun-filled desi Grease.

Source : The Times of India


Review : Fool 'N Final

Fool 'N Final (comedy)
Cast : Shahid Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Viveik Oberoi, Ayesha Takia
Direction : Ahmad Khan

They both may have been on a high after the success of their last films, but they both come tumbling down from the pinnacle they had reached post Vivah and post Shootout at Lokhandwala . Yes, Fool ‘n Final brings down the career graph of Shahid and Viveik with its insipid script and its no-laughs comedy which provides no room for histrionics.
The first half of the film is a complete washout as it trudges lethargically through a series of misadventures that try to establish the identity of the lead players. Sunny Deol makes his debut with the usual punch and blows as he tries to save distressed damsel, Sameera Reddy, as she cowers behind a batata basket in a crowded subzi mandi in not-so-distant Dubai. Shahid rollercoasts across the highrises on a toddler’s bike, trying to play the perfect stuntman-chor, a la our rollerblading Dhoom ll baddie.
Ayesha Takia suggestively sucks a lolly, and then stays silent for the rest of the movie. What a waste! And Viveik Oberoi begins with a Himesh Reshammiya number and then strangely chooses to ape his look for the entire length of the film.
What a fate! And if that wasn't desultory enough, there’s a talent like Om Puri hovering on the fringes; Paresh Rawal playing a predictable Bihari; Chunky Pandey trying a comeback with another strange avtar (remember his Nepali act!); Jackie Shroff surfacing in the closing moments as the yawnsome hitman; and Arbaz Khan wilting as Moscow Chikna, the infamous Dubai don who actually has nothing to do.
The only saving grace in this listless laugh show is the banter between Johnny Lever and Paresh Rawal which, once again, occurs in the dying moments of the film. Till then however, you’ve already died of boredom. Sad! Because the summer months are perfect for unleashing the Great Indian Laughter Show on the big screen.

Source : The Times of India


Review: Dharm

Dharm (drama)
Cast : Pankaj Kapoor, Supriya Pathak
Direction : Bhavna Talwar

Anyone who makes therapeutic cinema in choleric times deserves a kudos. Dharm is a film that needs to be made mandatory viewing in all schools across India if we really want to build a secular nation, without giving up on our traditional heritage.
More importantly, it needs to be screened — free public viewings — for each and every fanatic organisation that exists within our country and in every communally sensitive town, kasbah, colony. Finally, it should be made compulsory viewing for some of our political leaders — and we won't take names — who have made a killing out of orchestrated communal frenzy and caste violence. Dharm is not an ordinary film.
Its power lies in the fact that it gives us a progressive interpretation of religion, straight from the head pontiff who has pursued a life of misconstrued religiosity. A respected Brahmin priest, Pandit Chaturvedi (Pankaj Kapoor) has dominated the spiritual landscape of Benares with his strict adherence to the traditional tenets of practised Hinduism.
Like all conventional priests, he believes in caste and communal differences and his world almost falls apart when he realises he has adopted a Muslim child.
The foundling who became Karthik for him was actually Mustafa, a child lost in the communal carnage that had ripped the city apart. When the child's mother returns, the Pandit not only hurriedly gives him up, but also undergoes days of penance to purge his home, mind, body and soul, supposedly defiled by the presence of a non-believer.
Is this the true essence of Dharm? No, declares the Pandit, when the city begins to rage once again in the communal cauldron and his followers brandish their sharpened swords in half-burnt colonies. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Benares ghats, the film ends up equating Dharm with its true tenets: the world is one big family; any discrimination on the basis of colour, caste and community is anti-dharm.
Pankaj Kapoor towers like a colossus amidst the dying social fabric and what could have been a didactic sermon on spirituality, turns up as uplifting soul curry.



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Review: The Hills Have Eyes

The Hills Have Eyes (horror)
Cast: Kathleen Quinlan, Aaron Stanford
Direction: Alexandra Aja
Hollywood's currently on this great re-make trip, picking up trendsetters from the 60s-70s and remixing them with 21st-century tricks. This one's a re-creation of Wes Craven's 1977 horror flick which became some kind of a cult film for gore guzzlers.
A good old American family takes a trailer-trip through the expansive western desert and soon sees it's holiday turning into a nightmare. Hungry, blood thirsty mutants creep into their van and begin to feast upon the young and beautiful ones.
Terror reaches a crescendo when one of the mutants runs away with the family bachcha and it's left to the battered dad to rescue his infant from the soulless creatures. Soulless, did we say? Nah! These are a product of state-sponsored terror: miners who were genetically altered when the government surreptitiously conducted nuclear experiments on them.
Another allusion to the out-of-control Bushfires? Could be, but The Hills Have Eyes is the third consecutive — after Apocalypto and 300 — gore fest from the West. Good feast.


Review: Cheeni Kum

Cheeni Kum (romance)
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu, Paresh Rawal
Direction: R Balki
Truly, it's age no bar for Amitabh Bachchan. The actor lends a whole new meaning to vintage romance as he tries to serenade a woman (Tabu) who is half his age and convince her father (Paresh Rawal) who is younger than him about his suitable boy status.
He's angry, bitter, cynical, awkward, arrogant, egotistical and irresistible all at the same time. And yes, he wears a pony tail with pizzazz too! The high-point of the film is its screenplay, laced with witticism, and the warm and winsome relationships that the director succeeds in sculpting. Nothing's stereotypical and no one's a stock character.
If Amitabh shares a buddy bond with his impish mother (Zohra Sehgal in impeccable form), then his bonding with the neighbour's dying daughter is no less spicy. The kid seems to be his soulmate and offers him the sanest advice when things seem to get unstuck. Of course, she wants her pound of flesh too which essentially means some adult DVDS! Then again, the chef has struck a fine balance with his staff as he tries to serve the most authentic Hyderabadi zafrani biryani in Old Blighty.
He berates them, bellows on them, bugs them but more than all this, he towers over them like a benevolent big daddy. And finally, his affair with London tourist Tabu is tantalising and tadka maar ke. The two actors complement each other beautifully as they build up the unconventional attachment. The only weak link in this drama seems to be Paresh Rawal, Tabu's Gandhian father who refuses to accept the romance.
But that's more because the director fails to conceptualise his character in a better light. The film suddenly loses its drive when the dad goes on a silly satyagraha to drive home his protest. Poor Paresh Rawal; the king of comedy has no comic lines to regale the audience. But remember, there's Mr Bachchan, boldly romantic like never before. Not since he crossed fifty.


Review: Shootout at Lokhandwala

Shootout at Lokhandwala (thriller)
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Viveik Oberoi, Suniel Shetty, Tusshar Kapoor
Direction: Apoorva Lakhia

One thing's for sure: Viveik is best when he is wicked. Give him the chocolate-hero roles and he flounders and fumbles. He just can't seem to get the popcorn romance crispy and crunchy. But give him Company, Omkara and now Lokhandwala and his eyes begin to flash with meanness, his body language becomes brattish, his lips twist into a natural snarl and the screen lights up with the antics of an anti-hero who makes bad good.
With his enunciation of the role of Maya Dolas, the real-life gangster who dared to raise his head against the D-Company, he effortlessly buries the baggage of a dead past: all the forgettable flops that seemed to be to taking his career nowhere.
Yes, Shootout at Lokhandwala is primarily Viveik Oberoi's coming-of-age film. And the fact that all the other actors create unforgettable characters only makes his job simpler. The wild and wicked nuances of Viveik's character are highlighted only because they are juxtaposed against the more restrained and sleek meanness of Sanjay Dutt, the encounter-friendly cop who believes the only way to clean up his office clutter is to kill the criminal and close the file.
It is the fragile balance between the cops and robbers' gangs that lends this film its chutzpah. So that, eventually, you really do not know where your sympathies truly lie. Sometimes, you want the vardiwallahs to score in the incessant shootouts and sometimes you wish the dashing devils get their due and walk away with the taalis and seetis .
Mostly, it is evil which has an upper hand and the allure of the Gang of Five, headed by Viveik, seems to overpower the muscle of the law, represented by Sanjay Dutt's three-man army. It is here the moral ambiguity — that director Apoorva Lakhia succeeds in giving Bollywood its first real desi Tarantino where the reservoir dogs truly have their day.
The city of Mumbai, once again, plays a pulsating, live entity in the film as the gangsters and the cops wage their relentless war for supremacy. The film is a potboiler, with the director never really letting go his grip on the medium; except in the song-dance sequences where the wild bunch live out their fantasies with the bar girl (Aarti Chabria).
Only one song actually adds to the flavour of the film: the Ganpat rap number, exquisitely sung (Mika) and choreographed, reminiscent of Satya's Goli maaro bheje mein . The pace is relentless, the performances are memorable (Tusshar too finds his groove), the tenor is dramatic, yet realistic and the violence hits hard and proper. Go, get your thrills.



Sunday, May 20, 2007

Review: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 (action)
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco
Direction: Sam Raimi
Three villains, a doubting girlfriend, a hard-to-resist seductress and some evil alien goop: Spider-Man has too many troubles to let him free fly and free fall in this prolonged (139 minutes), pricey third instalment. Spidey 3 , they say is the most expensive film of the trilogy, but does it give you more bang for the bigger buck? Poor guy, he's hardly the Superhero he used to be.
And he's even made to confess that he can't battle all the bad guys alone. Will one of the bad guys (old friend Harry, now the Green Goblin) turn good and help Spidey save the world from this multi-pronged evil? And believe it or not, the Green Goblin ends up even more endearing than our webbed wonder, with more people — including Spidey and Mary Jane — shedding tears on his save-Spidey mission.
That's only the first misconstrued bit of the plot. And there are many more where Spidey ends up a lesser hero than what we've loved him for. Again, while his tryst with his evil side does give him a swagger and a sheen as he jives down the mean NY streets, it robs him of all the goodness that is a quintessential part of all Superheroes.
Nah! We know the world is getting a bleaker place, but let's not compromise on the quality of our Marvelous men. Gotta believe in some goodness at least! Naturally, we feel better when Spidey tears off the black latex costume, made of a mysterious extra-terrestrial chemical, and dons his red rubber again, righteously ready to save the world once more.
Then, all that much-ado business by Mary Jane is quite vexing. The girl's not only a bit jealous of her boyfriend's success, specially since her singing career ain't going anywhere, she even ends up doubting our hero's devotion to her. And eventually, she becomes the most distressed damsel of them all, hanging on for dear life in the New York skyline, while the good and bad guys battle it out for her.
Did this wailing, whining waitress actually deserve all the attention? Debatable. So what's right with Spider-Man 3 . Simple. It's still larger-than-life when the action cuts begin. The CGI stuff is nail-biting even now.
The Sandman, Spidey's new enemy, is awesome with his post-particle physics body that alternates between a sandstorm and a human form with perfect ease. The King Kong kinda climax is blockbuster stuff. And Spidey still sends a thrill down your spine as he dizzily bungee jumps across the Manhattan skyline.
But when he cries, and when he bleeds, and when he lets down friends and lovers, he makes your popcorn soggy and your fantasy quotient weak. Where's all the fun gone from Superman, Batman and Spiderman? Why have their stories turned into heavy morality plays about right and wrong, revenge and forgiveness? Can't we have them back as plain and simple comic book heroes, please!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The pivotal role of Aishwarya Rai in 'Sarkar 2'

The pivotal role of Aishwarya Rai in 'Sarkar 2'
10th May 2007 14.00 IST
By Agencies

The gorgeous Aishwarya Rai reportedly has a pivotal role in Sarkar 2 .

After marriage, Ash will face the camera for Ram Gopal Varma 's ambitious sequel of Sarkar . Reports are that Ash will be playing the pivotal role of a manipulative daughter-in- law of the Nagre family.

The plot of 'Sarkar 2' will have Abhishek Bachchan assuming the position of the patriarch, while an aged and feeble Amitabh Bachchan keeps himself to the house.

Varma shifts the focus to the daughter-in- law – played by Ash – who eventually, evolves as the matriarch in the family.

The film will have Ash masterminding strategies to retain the family's monopoly in different underworld businesses. Abhishek will be shown falling back on his wife in times of crises.

The reports quote a source from the production house as saying, "Aishwarya's character holds a lot of importance in the sequel. Amitabh Bachchan will be reduced to being a helpless old man who has only his experiences to share with his son, the new godfather. Abhishek, along with his wife, will run the business and sort out problems of the people. Aishwarya will be seen as a shrewd woman."

Another source added, "She is not an out-and-out negative character. She strikes a balance between her household work and the family business. She loves her family, at the same time she can be ruthless when it comes to dealing with wayward characters."

Reportedly, Ash will sport minimal make-up in the film.

Another source said, "She is quite excited about the film. The plot is quite close to real life. She will play bahu to the family."

The film is scheduled to go on floors in June.



Sunday, May 6, 2007

Review: Yatra

Yatra (drama)
Cast: Nana Patekar, Rekha, Deepti Naval
Direction: Gautam Ghosh
This one's not quite the comeback film for Rekha, our perennial diva. Of course, she gets to reprise her Umrao Jaan adas and nakhras all over again. But alas! The courtesan days are long over and the 21st century has no time for what transpires in the dim-lit kothas of Mehndi Gali that celebrates an old-fashioned romance in the shadow of the Charminar.
Nor does it have patience for postscripts on Pyaasa, where Nana Patekar chooses to transform Guru Dutt's lament (and Sahir's poetry) into prosaic prose.
The problem with Yatra lies more in its post-dated script than in its performances. Both Rekha and Nana Patekar lend an integrity to their roles as the courtesan and the teacher-writer who nurture a lifelong relationship, despite social and familial constraints.
Structurally too, the film moves at multiple levels and re-tells a fact & fiction story with finesse. Patekar, on his way to receive a literary award, re-visits his fictional heroine, Lajwanti (Rekha) as he shares his reminiscences with a co-passenger who happens to be a young filmmaker too. But Lajwanti isn't merely a figment of the writer's imagination...or so it turns out as Patekar retraces his steps to his muse after the felicitation ceremony.
It's a slow, elegiac film, where the director chooses to make too many comments on too many things. So much so, they mostly end up as cursory criticism of a society that's supposedly hurtling towards doom. We'll all be monkeys again in the next century, forewarns a bitter Patekar and makes you wonder why!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

REVIEW: Ta Ra Rum Pum

ON TRACK: Be it Saif's live-in-the-present effervescence or Rani's till-death-do-
us-part devotion, Ta Ra Rum Pum tangos off to a high simply due to their chemistry
(Agencies photo)

Ta Ra Rum Pum (drama)

Cast : Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Javed Jaffrey

Direction : Siddharth Anand

Is it Cinderella Man? Is it Life is Beautiful? Or is it simply a fairy tale, told in Bollywood ishtyle ? Honestly, it's a mix of all three, heavily inspired by the Russell Crowe-Renee Zellweger film about James Braddock, a washed-out boxer who reclaimed his title — and his family's future — to become an inspirational figure in the 1930s.

And then again, you have dad Saif doing a Roberto Benigni ( Life is Beautiful ) to his bachchas by transforming their turn of fortunes (read garibi ke din ) into a reality show called 'Don't worry, be happy,' where the premium is on smiling, come what may.

Trust Bollywood to equate a Nazi concentration camp with a downmarket New York existence! But who's complaining. Not the archetypal family audience that has become the mainstay of the Indian multiplex boom.

For them, this film about a bindaas racer, his beauty-with-brains wife and their cute little cherubs could end up as perfect holiday fare, despite the trivialisation and the cloying story-line. Plot-wise, the film has all the cliched ploys that traditional cinema uses. Once the racer dad has an accident and develops race track phobia, the family undergoes all those thakela trials like joblessness, no food on the table, sacrifice and the final sickness, where death looms large unless the dollars pour in...

Yet, all this familiarity fails to breed contempt because there is Saif and there is Rani: two consummate actors who squeeze out the ordinariness from any role and make it extraordinary. As the young NRI couple who dare to dream the American dream, the two lend a spiritedness to their characters which somehow makes them the most lovable mom-dad/husband-wife duo in town. Be it Saif's live-in-the-present effervescence or Rani's till-death-do-us-part devotion, Ta Ra Rum Pum tangos off to a high simply due to their chemistry.

Quite, quite reminiscent of Hum Tum. Of course, the film lacks the originality of Salaam Namastey , where director Siddharth Anand scored with the sheer novelty of the no-holds-barred relationship between Saif and Preity. And Javed Jaffrey is truly the most under-estimated actor in Hindi films.

Yet ...Rum Pum is the right get a fix for the Great Indian Family.



Review: Shakalaka Boom Boom

Shakalaka Boom Boom (drama)
Cast: Upen Patel, Bobby Deol, Kangana Ranaut, Celina Jaitley
Direction: Suneel Darshan
Completely convoluted, quite-quite crazy, Shakalaka Boom boomerangs miserably with nothing to save it at the box office। Ostensibly a film about music rivalry, there is neither music nor a rivalry that is credible enough to hold the film together। Bobby Deol is AJ, reigning rock star who just can't handle competition। And when it comes in the form of Reggie (Upen Patel), the new age composer who has a natural talent for music, our curly-locked hero gets all green with envy। He forgets his own music and pledges himself to just one mission: Operation Reggie ka destruction।
Okay, understandable। But what’s not acceptable is the way he goes around destroying the poor bloke. Almost like an overgrown kid, he stamps his feet, hollers and screams and even sets his home on fire. And when that doesn't work, he tries to transform his rival into some kind of a devdas, hoping hell simply drink himself to death.
Poor, poor Upen! He is allowed some screen time this time, but there's nothing really there for him to do, because Bobby Deol develops a death wish: he suddenly decides to undo the little that he has done in screen history.
It's a miserable performance from all the lead players, including the new Bhatt girl, Kangana Ranaut.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Madonna to direct comedy

Pop superstar Madonna is following in the footsteps of her husband and is set to direct a film.
Madonna's first directorial venture is a comedy titled 'Filth and Wisdom' and she will start shooting the film in London towards the end of this month, reports
This will be Madonna's first return to film since 2002's 'Swept Away', which flopped badly. She played a snooty socialite in the film, directed by her husband Guy Ritchie.
"Madonna has Ritchie's full support. She told him, 'Anything you can do, I can do better, honey'," said a friend of the couple.



Monday, April 23, 2007

John’s playing games with Bipasha

QUIT PLAYING GAMES: Word has it that John is
games with
Bipasha,but only the game of

The generous man
actually took time
out to teach his lady love the moves of
football to prepare
her for
their upcoming movie Goal (TOI Photo)


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Aishwarya and Ahbishek to visit Tirumala temple on Sunday

Newly-wed couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai will offer prayers at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala on Sunday.

Temple sources said that a party of about thirty family members and friends of both Abhishek and Aishwarya would also accompany them on a two-hour pilgrimage in the forenoon to the hill temple.

Their visit is a closely guarded secret and the Tirumala Tirupati Dewasthanam (TTD) that manages the shrine did not want to reveal more details.

However, it is believed that superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya Bachchan and industrialist Anil Ambani may also be coming along with the newly wed couple.

It is not clear if Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh would also accompany them.

Tight security arrangements are being made at three TTD's palatial guest-houses for the visitors.

Ahead of his son's Abhishek's marriage, Amitabh Bachchan accompanied by Anil Ambani and Amar Singh offered prayers at the hill temple on Sunday last. The trio also offered Rs 51 lakh each to the temple.



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