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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movie Review : One Two Three

One Two Three
Cast : Suneil Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Tusshar Kapoor, Esha Deol, Sameera Reddy
Direction : Ashwani Dheer

PLEASE dad, call it lingerie, not bra-panty, insists a harassed son to his father. Yes please, you feel like crying out on behalf of the harassed viewer who is saddled with a film that shows, mentions, waves, peddles, juggles female underwear in the name of cinema; for the sake of comedy. Krazzy! For surely, hooking a few laughs on this brand of female apparel may have been one of Bollywood's oldest tricks. But to booby trap all your laughs on D-cup is neither chic, nor funny. So are you ready for a bagful of stringy things being passed around a bunch of oddball characters and wonder what's so funny about an itsy bitsy piece of cloth.

Now this is quite a disappointment, coming from a director who has already proved his forte with comedy on the small screen. Ashwani Dheer's popular satire on babudom and bureaucracy, Office Office, has quite a fan following. Diehard fans refused to give up their tryst with the harried common man (Pankaj Kapoor) who tries to wade through familiar corruption and red tape, despite the advent of the sundry comedy shows and the barrage of stand-up comedians. One Two Three however lacks both the finesse and the humour and you manage a smile only rarely: when Sanjay Mishra imitates vintage villain Jeevan. The rest is one long comedy of errors caused by three people having the same name, Lakshmi Narayan. Lakshmi one (Paresh Rawal) sells lingerie in a car, Lakshmi two (Sunil Shetty) is an executive with a mean boss who wants to buy a car, Lakshmi three (Tusshar Kapoor) is a small time Bhai on his first assignment as a hitman. Trouble begins when the three Lakshmi Narayans land up in the same hotel and their tasks -- and identities -- get mixed up. Add to this an underworld war between two gangsters, a stolen diamond, a lingerie designer (Esha Deol) who dreams of marrying a don, a car salesgirl (Sameera Reddy) who poses in bikinis in front of the cars, an oversexed Haryanvi cop (Neetu Chandra) who imitates a TV character, and you have a gag bag with no laughs.

And hey, was that Upen Patel and Tanisha in the credit list? Count one two three, and they're gone!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Wall-Paper : Bipasa


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bips don’t lie

Bollywood babe Bipasha Basu was the shining showstopper for Neeta Lulla’s grand finale at the Dubai Fashion Week on Saturday.

She was all aglow in a lovely creation from India’s celebrated couturier to the stars. The collection was a tribute to the immortal love of a woman and Bipasha seemed the right choice, baby!

Sheer grandeur cascaded across the catwalk. Love is the language of the heart, it is innocent, yet ardent, devoted yet wild, submissive yet youthful... so said the designer. And you saw this in the many creations with the colours that symbolise love in full flow. There was burgundy that epitomised the passion of a woman in love, igniting those magical moments, bringing out her sensuality.

Enhancing the subtlety was a rich touch of brown that brought out the depth of the intensity of the realms of the heart. The colour tan portrayed her submission and her complete surrender, while cream symbolised the colour of eternity. Antique gold woven into the flowing pieces of georgette and organza accentuated its every nuance. Post-show, Bips was still glowing, happy to be dressed up in a Neeta Lulla creation. "I’m a complete clothehorse," she said. "Fashion has been part of me, I have been a model, I’m a girl at heart. Any woman would love to dress up, I’m no exception." The first part of the finale featured styles from Walid Atallah from Beirut. And, surprise, surprise, Neeta herself was a showstopper at Jasbir Jamani’s show, part of the emerging talent collection with corsets in full flow.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Saif’s chemistry...with SRK, not Bebo

Saif Ali Khan loves responding to questions like, ‘Hi, handsome, how are you?’ “I would definitely respond to that one!” he laughs. “I am fine, doing really good. I was a bit nervous when I saw the crowd outside, but now I’m fine.” Saif was on a recent visit to Delhi, and the venue where he was present saw a large number of fans waiting to get a glimpse of him.

He’s not so cool about questions pertaining to a certain Miss Kapoor, but that’s not the only person he shares good chemistry with. His chemistry with SRK turned out to be quite entertaining at the recent Filmfare awards.

Laughing, he replies, “Oh yes, I knew that would happen. But we have gotten better since we’ve been doing it for some time now. And it is not just the sense of humour... we also understand each other very well. And that is very essential to get the comic timing right. It showed in Kal Ho Na Ho . Hope Kantaben is not reading this, she would freak out yet again!” he says with a straight face, and laughs as he clarifies, “Just joking”. And then adds, “Honestly, I think Shah Rukh and I enjoy each other’s timing. I think SRK writes most of the script of those pieces that we rattle off so seemingly effortlessly, himself. This time, I could not write much of the script because my thoughts where some place else.” And this is accompanied by a shy smile from the Hum Tum dude.

Aha. Would his thoughts be with someone special, by any chance – a girl called Bebo? “Well, that’s private,” he says, and smiles again. But since we are talking about her, did he find it tough to work with her in Tashan? “Initially, it was tough, because off screen, our equation had completely changed by then. But eventually, we became comfortable on-screen as well,” he says.

His sis Soha, however, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past few days. “I know everything is going to be fine,” says Saif. “I think there is just a little extra excitement that certain people have caused, but I think that will fizzle out soon. Soha is by far the most law-abiding citizen I know, so I don’t see any problem coming her way. At least I hope not!”


Monday, March 24, 2008

Is Amrita Rao in love?

Rumour has it that the girl has a boyfriend at last! Amrita Rao, who always has mommy for company, seems to have grown up.

The girl has lost her heart or nearly lost it, to a guy called Farhan. And no, Ayesha Takia (whose boyfriend’s name is also Farhan) need not worry. We are talking about a certain Farhan Saeed who replaced Atif Aslam in the Pakistani band ‘Jal’. Apparently, Amrita was shooting for a music video for their new album, and in the process bonded with Farhan. Apparently, Farhan has been frequenting Mumbai and is not missing any opportunity to spend time with Amrita.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Review : Race

RACE (thiller)
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif
Direction: Abbas-Mustan

THE Baazigars are back. Once again, the Burmawala brothers (Abbas-Mustan) dig deep into the darker side of the human psyche and come up with another thrilling study of wickedness. Ever since Shah Rukh Khan made a virtue of vile and guile in Baazigar, the director duo seemed to have specialised in a certain kind of cinema. One, where all the beautiful people are bubbling over with the beast within. And what makes their films interesting is the fact that this beastliness is born out of circumstances -- a childhood grudge, a blow of fate -- rather than being a case of pathological evil. Hence, the viewer always seems to `understand' and `empathise' with the anti-hero. As Saif Ali Khan confesses in Race: he is only scared of honest people. The rest, he can handle and outrun, in any and every race. Ethics, anyone?

The story can't get darker than this. Two brothers begin by racing bikes in childhood and end up running a race for life itself, with each trying to kill the other. Younger brother Akshaye hates big brother Saif, who not only won all the kiddy races but also managed to walk away with the family fortune, leaving kid brother completely dependent on his generosity. Under the veneer of pyar-mohabbat and traditional bhaichara , kid brother weaves a complicated plot to get rid of Bade Bhaiyya and walk away with the millions. And he's got a tantalising weapon to deliver the final blow: the sultry and super-sensuous Bipasha Basu who plays her charms against Bhai-Bhai . But it isn't Bipasha alone who keeps you guessing about her loyalties. In this gritty game of death, loyalties are as slippery as quicksand and it takes just a flick of a pretty head for a sweet simpleton to turn into a pucca predator. End result? Twists, turns, twists that keep you on the edge and leave you unblinking for most of the film.

The film boasts of a super cool look, testosterone-high action sequences, a lively music score (Pritam) and some classy performances from Akshaye and Saif as the bloodthirsty bhais . But the film does get staggered in the second half with the Anil Kapoor-Sameera Reddy track being the weakest link. Amongst the girlie brigade, it's Bipasha who adds glitz with her dangerous liaisons. Sameera too articulates the busty bimbo act with elan, reminiscent of TV's super-sleuth Karamchand's Kitty. Katrina however is too pale as the blousy secretary who comes into her own only when she gets seductive with a `Touch me, kiss me' tenor. Time for some paisa-vasool entertainment.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Review : 10,000 BC

10,000 BC (action)
Cast: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle
Direction: Roland Emmerich

PRE-HISTORY pre-supposes loads and loads of super special effects and high octane action with quixotic characters that are bullish, bearish, bindaas folks who have more to distinguish them from their modern cousins than their animal skin underwear. Does Roland Emmerich's blast from the past pass this litmus test and give you the mandatory masala? Only partially.

You have the regular loin-cloth hero battling the woolly mammoths, the gigantic sabre-tooth tigers and sky-high grizzlies; and you have the humans feasting on mammoth steaks, like quintessential cannibals. You also have wispy witches and shamans and gibberish-speaking rival tribes raising their ugly spears in naked conflict. And you have the conflict: a simple tribe of mammoth hunters being raided by evil intruders who ride four-legged demons (read horses) and take away their women and children, including the blue-eyed talisman of luck (Camilla Belle) who must be saved if civilisation has to progress. And the only guy who can save her is her boyfriend D'Leh (Steven Strait), even though it means walking up to the end of the world and battling a fearful entity, venerated as the Almighty.

Ironically, the story is more exciting to read than to see, for although the canvas is large, the thrills are not larger-than-life. And D'Leh's transition to heroism has nothing wild and pre-historic about it. Even the recreation of the evil empire, where the venal Almighty runs riot over his battery of human slaves, evokes a sense of deja vu. As for Omar Sharif's narration, it's too low key to build up the drama. What remains is the nostalgic flavour of those good old period epics that the Hollywood factory once excelled in. Recreate the nostalgia and capture a fragment of pre-history.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wall Paper : Mallika Sherawat


Monday, March 17, 2008

Wall Paper : Shahrukh Khan


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Review : Black and White

Black and White (drama)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Anurag Sinha
Subhash Ghai

FOR a filmmaker who scaled Bollywood's heights as the quintessential Sapnon ka Saudagar to suddenly shift gear is indeed a valiant bid. And Subhash Ghai deserves kudos for daring this switch in the high noon of his career, since experimentation is generally the forte of GenXers and Bratpack dreamers. Suddenly, and surprisingly, Ghai sets aside the grandeur of films like Ram Lakhan, Khalnayak to step into the difficult terrain of cinema verite. And no, he doesn't flounder and fall flat, despite a few loose strands and false notes that hold back the film from becoming a searing document of our tumultuous times. Black and White is a thought-provoking film that challenges the state's stereotypical formula to combat terrorism. And somewhere between its moments of light and shade, it holds a glimmer of hope and humanism: yes, fanatics can be cured, terrorists can be tamed, secularism may live long.

The story is ostensibly based on the headline-grabbing case of the terrorist attack on Parliament, when a Delhi University professor (SAR Geelani) was held responsible for his links with the terrorists. Like Geelani, Professor Rajan Mathur (Anil Kapoor) too teaches Urdu in Zakir Hussain College and unwittingly becomes associated with a suicide bomber (Anurag Sinha) who comes all the way from Afghanistan to blow up the Red Fort on Independence Day. Nomair Qazi, the bomber, poses as a victim of the Gujarat riots and wins the sympathy of the professor and his activist wife (Shefali Shah), as he takes up residence with his supposed grandfather (Habib Tanvir) in the bustling by-lines of Chandni Chowk. The jehadi has fourteen days to plan his suicide mission and conveniently uses the simple professor and his emotionally exuberant wife to gain entry in the high-security environs of the Lal Qila. But before that, he must learn the more important lessons of life:

Incredible India's all-encompassing Indianness (read bhangra, bhaichara, bonhomie). And what better place to experience the highs of a syncretic culture than Chandni Chowk, a standing testimonial to India's tolerant tehzeeb.

Cut out the clumsy climax, the awkward activism of Shefali Shah, the fumbling romance with an all-eyes, duppata -laden student, the incoherent black and white birth-of-a-jehadi sequences in a shadowy Afghanistan and you'll end up with a stellar show by Anil Kapoor (completely restrained) and Habib Tanvir (veteran histrionics). Add to this the delicious smells and sounds of Chandni Chowk, deftly captured on camera by the director, and you might just believe the filmmaker when he says the world doesn't exist in black and white; there are colours -- and ideologies -- beyond extremes. A word about debutant Anurag Sinha: too linear a performance to impress. Surely, a terrorist doesn't wear a permanent scowl, specially when he is ostensibly trying to hide his antecedents and blend in with normal people.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Free Bollywood Ringtones

India’s answer to the Hollywood is its own movie producing industry, popularly known as Bollywood. A typical Bollywood films features song and dance routines. Most Bollywood films have at least 3-5 playback songs, which become immensely popular amongst the audience. At one time, Bollywood films were restricted to India alone, but with the world becoming more of a global community, Bollywood films are shown and enjoyed everywhere!

To target this huge population of Bollywood music listeners the world over and of course in India, mobile phone companies developed ringtones based on Bollywood music and films. Ringtones, as we know, are the alert sounds produced by the mobile phone at the time of an incoming call. Ringtones can be a distinctive tone, sound or even an actual song. Most phones have monophonic and polyphonic sounds but some more modern phones also feature real sound tones, which means you can use the actual song as your ringtone.

Free Bollywood ringtones are available from many Web sites and service providers. They are mainly targeted at Indians, Indians living abroad and of course those who simply enjoy Bollywood music. You need to register at these sites and select the Bollywood ringtone that you like. The portal will send you the ringtone via SMS text messaging, which you can then save as your personalized ringtone. You could also save songs from your computer’s hard drive directly onto your phone and use it as a ringtone, as long as your phone is compatible with polyphonic tunes and real tone sounds.

With the vast popularity of Bollywood songs and with the rapid growth of mobile phone coverage in the Indian Sub-continent, most ringtone providers are offering mobile phone ringtones totally free of cost. So make a public style statement about your musical preference by selecting a Bollywood ringtone and stand out in the crowd!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gossip : Dia Mirza's mysteries lover!

Well, guys in the week's roundup of who's-seeing-whom...we have stumbled upon Dia Mirza's secret man. We shall defer from taking his name online, for obvious reasons, but tongue has already been wagging about Dia's tryst with this man who happens to be a filmmaker, who has two successful series of films to his credit ...Anyways why should we play kabab mein haddi? Let them enjoy the bliss as long as it lasts!


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Review : Jodhaa Akbar

Jodhaa Akbar
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai
Direction: Ashutosh Gowariker

FIRST things first. This is more fiction than history. So don't blame yourself if you've never heard about most of the key characters in this drama. Don't blame yourself if the history books you read never told you about a Ms Maha Manga (Ila Arun) who was ostensibly Akbar's governess and ran the imperial household like a thoroughbred evil 'saas' (stepmom-in-law) straight out of Ekta Kapoor's stables. Nor did they throw light on some badmash called Sharif-uddin (Akbar's brother-in-law) who plotted relentless intrigue against the Emperor and even sent a terrorist to kill him in the streets of Agra. This one being the Godfather -like twist, where Mikey Corleone had to fight his own brother-in-law-turned traitor for the sake of the family honour. And then, there's no mention too of the final man-to-man Brad Pitt-Eric Bana style encounter (remember Troy ?) that Akbar had to engage in to safeguard the Mughal Empire....

No, we aren't going to quibble with history here because Jodhaa-Akbar is a plain and simple love story between a man named Akbar and a girl named Jodhaa who tried to come close together despite the sundry barriers of religion and culture. And instead of the car chases and the roller-blade rides that pepper modern-day romances, you have mad elephant tamings and sword-and-sandal battle sequences to rev up the dramaaaa. If you are willing to shed off all the trappings of history, only then will Jodhaa Akbar work for you. Because, despite the millions spent to create period and pomp, the film only works when Hrithik and Aishwarya try to find romance in an archetypal arranged marriage that was solemnised for everything but love.

It is only when an iridescent Jodhaa shows nakhra on her wedding night, declaring 'no sex please, until I know you', or Akbar stares at her longingly, passionately, on the distant parapet, while his governess instils state craft into his inattentive head, that the film really works. Then again, when Jodhaa stares out lustily -- from behind the curtains -- at her bare-bodied, abs-o-lutely oomphy husband practising the sword on the terrace, or does some more nakhre-baazi when Akbar dozes off unspent on her bed, that sparks fly and chemistry crackles.

Yes, Jodhaa Akbar works only because its heart is in the right place. The film talks about a love that transcends all barriers -- gender, religion, culture -- and dreams of an India where secularism and tolerance are the twin towers that should never ever crumble. And Akbar and Jodhaa are the alluring exponents of this dream. Beyond that, the film has nothing much to boast of, except a few interesting song and dance set pieces where dervishes whirl, drums roll and doves fly. The battle sequences are unimaginative, often tacky, the length inordinate, the political intrigue comic, the editing extremely loose and the narrative does test your patience. What carries the film through is the performances and bits of the music (AR Rahman). Both Aishwarya and Hrithik complement each other once again after ending up as one of the most sizzling couples of contemporary cinema in Dhoom 2 . There is an elegance and a fine restraint in their falling-in-love act, even as some of the fringe players -- Sonu Sood, Ila Arun, Yuvi -- add character and form. Be very patient, sidetrack history, don't look for the artistry of Lagaan , and you might just like this 'Shahenshahji' (that's what Jodhaa calls Akbar) and his missus who doubles up as a crouching tiger to the hidden dragon.


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