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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Movie Review : Mission Istaanbul

 Mission Istaanbul (action)

Cast: Zayed Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Shreya Saran

Direction: Apoorva Lakhia

Critics rating:

APOORVA Lakhia simply got carried away by the bang-bang of Shootout at Lokhandwala . But whilst the earlier film was a high testosterone action flick which clicked simply because it didn't compromise on its emotional quotient, Mission Istaanbul sees Lakhia concentrating on action alone. End result? A cold, clinical drama, spilling over with gun fights, fist fights, car chases and stunts that have no emotional bedrock. The characters fail to connect with each other and the audience and the good versus evil war against terrorism remains thanda at the core. Once again, it's the lack of a story that sorely lets down the actors who try hard to get the adrenalin pumping with their guys-and-guns lore.

The director chooses a topical theme: terrorism, but loses the plot midway and blames a media channel for creating most of the terror in the world. Osama has been conveniently bumped off in his bunker by Turkish commando, Rizwan Khan (Vivek Oberoi), yet his tapes keep appearing on the popular Al Johara (Al Jazeera, did you say?) television network. The doctored tapes have been created by the media mogul (Niketan Dheer) who is in league with the terrorists and is spearheading mayhem, the world over, only to raise the TRPs.

This time, the target is India, but for the brave Indian television anchor, Zayed Khan and his Turkish comrade-in-arms, Vivek Oberoi. Of course, they manage to find a third partner too in the desi Lara Croft (Shweta Bhardwaj) who has the uncanny knack of jumping in whenever the stakes are low. Quite a distraction, actually, especially since Hunk No. 1 (Zayed) is newly divorced from wife Shreya and Hunk No. 2 (Vivek) has lost his wife to the terrorists.

The film has been shot well in the exotic locales of Istanbul, but there isn't much that Vivek's long hair and Zayed's serious be-spectacled look can do to save the film from ending up as a thriller that doesn't actually thrill. Even Abhishek Bachchan's item number fails to garner applause this time. The only time the film perks up is with the Bush humour. The American President wonders what's the problem with Turkey? Are the birds in short supply? he asks. And if that's not enough, he warns his aides to `leave those Indians alone with their pen drives' since all the call centres are in India and he must learn how to pronounce Man-mo-han, before he visits India. Ha!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Movie Review : Money Hai To Honey Hai

Money Hai To Honey Hai (comedy)

Cast: Govinda, Aftab Shivdasani, Hansika Motwani, Manoj Bajpai

Direction: Ganesh Acharya

Critics rating: /photo.cms?msid=3281082 

HARD to understand why Govinda needs to be so desperate? After all, he is the uncrowned king of comedy in Indian cinema, having created a staunch fan following of his own. Naturally then, the fans and the aam janta cringe when he dons the greasepaint in senseless films like this. Surely, he needs to be more choosy now after having successfully accomplished a second comeback with David Dhawan's Partner . Here, as a pampered rich singleton, he's neither fit nor funny.

It's a silly story, from start to finish, with a cranky old millionaire (Prem Chopra) selecting six losers as his legal heirs, before hitting the bucket. The odd assortment of thakela folks includes an out-of-work model (Upen Patel), a film-crazy starlet (Hansika Motwani), a bleeding-heart fashion designer (Celina Jaitley), a bumbling copywriter (Aftab Shivdasani) and a rustic entrepreneur (Manoj Bajpai). Not forgetting fat and unfit runaway son, Govinda who tries to become the manager of the vela bunch. Add to this a lusty Archana Puran Singh and a scheming villain and you have a comedy that doesn't make you laugh. It makes you cry with the sheer inanity of the proceedings.

It's disturbing to see actors like Govinda and Manoj Bajpai plunging to such depths. Not justified. Neither for money, nor for honey.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie Review : Contract

Contract (crime)

Cast: Adhvik Mahajan, Sakshi Gulati, Prasad Purandare

Direction: Ram Gopal Varma

Critics rating:

DEJA vu! Ram Gopal Varma may insist that he's trying to take the underworld drama of Satya and Company forward by focusing on its link with terrorism, but the truth is that Contract breaks no new ground. There is the same inter gang rivalry between gangsters who are clones of Dawood Ibrahim and Chotta Rajan, with one gang reporting to the government and the other to a terrorist who plans mayhem in Mumbai. Sadly, the film lacks the chutzpah of Satya and Company and ends up as a pale shadow of Ramu's finest works.

The film lives only through the performances of some of its character actors: honest cop, Prasad Purandare, menacing terrorist, Zakir Husain and gangster, Upendra Limaye. Debutant Adhvik Mahajan who plays the army man who infiltrates the gang to nab the terrorist is himself a pale shadow of Abhishek Bachchan. He does try hard to portray the anguish of a man who loses his family in a bomb attack and undertakes a diehard mission to rid the world of all the bombers and terrorists. And there are a few gripping encounters to shake you out of your stupor. But by and large, there is a been-here-done-that feel throughout with the camera, the soundtrack and the narrative following Ramu's usual bidding. Also, most of the action seems to happen off screen: the assassination of the corrupt home minister and the gang overlord.

Final verdict? RGV desperately needs to chase some new Satyas and break free from the company of the underworld. Most of it's been said and done. And seen.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Movie Review : Kismat Konnection

Kismat Konnection (romance)

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Om Puri

Direction: Aziz Mirza

Critics rating: Kismat Konnection 

FIRST things first. It's actually quite hard to believe that this is Aziz Mirza's film. Aziz Mirza? Remember, the man who gave us great TV soaps like Nukkad and sensitive films like Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman , Yes Boss . The qualifying characteristic of all his work was the celebration of the underdog as hero and the undercurrent of pop socialism in the drama. Kismet Connection has neither. On the contrary, it ends up promoting all kinds of mumbo jumbo - lucky charms, lucky stones, crystal ball gazers, kismet ka khel - in this lack lustre love story which takes a bit from Yes Boss and a whole lot from Lage Raho Munnabhai . And if that's not enough heartbreak, the filmmaker suddenly remembers his commitment to causes. Bingo! Out of the blue, the hero starts rambling about global warming, imperialism, exploitation and the rest. No connection at all!

Shahid Kapoor plays Raj Malhotra (the SRK hangover, it seems), an architect in Toronto who is jobless not because he isn't skilled; only because he is luckless. Desperate for a breakthrough, he visits Haseena Bano (Juhi Chawla), an irritating soothsayer who tells him to find his lucky charm if he wants to get rid of the negative vibes in his life. He accidentally bumps into Vidya Balan, reprising her Munnabhai role as an activist, and life's suddenly on song. The only jarring note? Sweet and ill-dressed (again!) Vidya already has a boyfriend.

No prizes for guessing who gets the girl. But what's even more depressing is the complete paucity of a sensible plot, the plodding narration and the thanda connection between Shahid and Vidya. Also, there isn't much these two proficient actors can do to save the script, although Shahid does try to liven up the drama. Doesn't work. Specially not after Jab We Met .


Friday, July 25, 2008

'Wearing a bikini is no big deal'

Smart, sexy and sultry... these words can very well define model-turned-actress Mugdha Godse who is all set to make her debut in the film industry with Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion.

Having begun her journey with the ‘Miss Beautiful Body’ title at a mega model contest, Mugdha has since been seen in lot many advertisements and music videos sharing space with stars like Shah Rukh Khan.

“From mega model hunt to advertisements and now a Bollywood flick, everything is going the way I wanted,” says Mugdha who will play the role of a model in her upcoming movie.

We asked her why she chose a Madhur Bhandarkar film to begin her innings in Bollywood. “I got many offers but none of them were interesting. Besides, the production house and the director you work with are also very important these days. After rejecting so many offers I got this opportunity to work with such a prominent director and such good co-actors that I didn’t even give it a second thought,” informs Mugdha who has also signed three more movies recently.

Further she says, “Not many people get a platform like this to make a first impression. Since the movie is based on the life of models, it was easy for me to relate to the character which I am playing.”

Talking about the initial jitters, Mugdha says, “In the beginning I was not very confident and wondered if I would be able to do justice to this role, but Madhur had complete faith in me. He convinced me that I would be able to play my role easily and he made me act exactly the way he wanted. For this I attended a 10-day workshop at Anupam Kher’s acting school which too helped me a lot.”

Quiz her about skin show and lip-locks in movies and she replies, “Wearing a bikini is no big deal today. In this movie itself, I am there in a swimsuit. And as far as lip-locking is concerned, it depends upon the storyline. If the movie demands it, I won’t hesitate to go for it.”

Recently the hot model got an offer to work in a French movie, where she was supposed to go topless. Confirming this Mugdha says, “Yes, I did get that offer, but wearing a bikini is much easier than giving a topless scene in a movie. So I rejected the offer.”

Following in the footsteps of model-turned-actors like John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone and Arjun Rampal, Mugdha feels, “Modelling does open the doors of Bollywood but it is quite difficult for a model to act in movie. Acting in movies is tougher than walking on the ramp. Besides, models can do only certain roles that suit their personality. See, exposure to the modelling world makes one’s personality so glamorous that they can only do justice to glamorous roles in movies.”


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I rarely talk to Kareena: Shahid

That Shahid Kapoor is a man of few words is fairly well-known. After maintaining a dignified silence over his much-publicised break-up with longtime girlfriend Kareena Kapoor, the only thing he wants to talk about is work.

To begin with, after a six-month stint away from the media, the reclusive Shahid, who’s not really basked in the success of Jab We Met, finally has plenty to look forward to.

And we are not talking about his ‘friendship’ with Sania Mirza, Vidya Balan or Amrita Rao, which has ensured he’s got reams of printspace. Shahid’s got a brand new film (Kismet Konnection), what looks like an image makeover and a cheerful attitude about life in general.

His character in KK is a lot like the real Shahid. “Much like him, during my struggle days, I have spoken white lies just like we all do in our quest for success,” he says.

Quiz him about those rumours linking him with Vidya Balan, who’s rumoured to be ‘close’ to him and Shahid firmly admits that while shooting, “Vidya and I have become good friends. It was fun working with her as she is a great actor and an easy person to work with. We look good together on screen and I hope people like us”. A gentle query about his one-time friend Kareena Kapoor, and Shahid sounds diplomatic and cagey, “Kareena and I rarely talk. Beyond that I would not like to talk about it.”

In fact, even though he has been spotted watching Sania Mirza’s matches at Wimbledon and the two are reported to be serious about each other, Shahid

doesn’t seem to be in a tell-all mood. Not that he denies his liaison with Sania, but he doesn’t seem keen on talking about his love life at this point. “I am a normal 27-year-old guy. But honestly, there’s no romance

brewing in my life. I don’t want to hide the details, but I don’t want to talk about them either. I believe some things in my life are personal and I would like to restrict information on my personal life. Eventually, people will know what the truth is.” he says.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Review : Mehbooba

Mehbooba (romance)

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Manisha Koirala

Direction: Afzal Khan 

SANJAY Dutt looks young and natty. Manisha Koirala is slim and trim. Kader Khan is still around. And Ajay Devgan is callow and boyish. Well, it doesn't take long for you to guess the time period of this of the film. Neither through the characters nor through the plot which is older than the formula itself.

Sanjay Dutt is the immoral playboy who wants a one-night stand with the virtuous Manisha Koirala who teaches him a lesson. She slaps him, not once but twice, in full public view, and ends up being slapped, duped and dumped by the raging tycoon who's still lusting. This time, for revenge. Enter brother, Ajay Devgan, who rescues the damsel and offers her marriage, only to find out that his brother is still longing for the crying girl. Only this time, it's love not lust.

So who gets the girl? Game to find out? Guess the time's over for these treacly tales by now. Specially when all the actors have aged and progressed to more meatier roles.


YouTube - 2 New Hannah Montana Songs


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Movie Review : Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (romance)

Cast: Imran Khan, Genelia D'Souza, Paresh Rawal

Direction: Abbas Tyrewala 

IT'S the frivolity of the tale that does it in. Yes, Jaane Tu...could actually have been paisa vasool fare with it's coming-of-age tale of two college friends who discover they can be lovers too. In fact, the film has its moments: great restraint, some funny sit-com, a pleasant and youthful lead pair (Imran-Genelia), peppy music (AR Rahman) and riveting cameos by the character actors. But the kahani mein twist is so silly, it makes you want to cry over all the spilt milk.

Jai Rathore (Imran) is a polite, peace-loving, almost cowardly Rajput who doesn't take offence even when he is humiliated by best friend Genelia's brother (an interesting debut by Prateik Babbar). His mom (Ratna Pathak Shah) loves him this way and has specially brought him up to be placid and pliant, to protect him from his violent family history. But deceased dad Naseeruddin Shah, who talks from a photo frame, knows his son will reclaim family legacy and become a true Rajput someday. He does, and manages to win his girl friend too who dreams of a beau who will beat up all the guys who trouble her.

The film works well in the first half, where the archetypal college group prepares itself for life after college. Everyone thinks Jai and Aditi (Genelia) will end up happily-ever-after, except Jai and Aditi. They spend half of the film proving everybody wrong by finding a suitable match for each other. That's the fun part. And then, spend the other half, trying to come to terms with their more-than-friends feelings for each other. That's the unfunny part, especially since it is too prolonged.

Although it has a similar story-line, this one isn't in league with the Shahid Kapoor-Amrita Rao film, Ishq Vishq or Karan Johar's iconic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai . A word about Imran Khan: he begins on unsure footing and gradually slips into the role of Mr Nice Guy with consummate ease. Watch out for a great act by Ratna Pathak Shah as the new age mom and Naseeruddin Shah, as the dancing dead thakur who's left waiting for a certain Mr Godot, in the end!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Movie Review : Love Story 2050

Love Story 2050 (romance)

Cast: Harman Baweja, Priyanka Chopra

Direction: Harry Baweja 

PRIYANKA Chopra makes a promise to boyfriend Harman Baweja in India's first full blown sci-fi film. She promises to give him a thandi-thandi kiss after feasting on some strawberry ice cream. Well, the kiss never happens -- the ice cream's bumped out of her hands -- and all that we are left with is a thandi-thandi film.

There is no passion, no action, no jaadu in this mega-budgeted futuristic love story. Even the special effects are more of the picture postcard variety -- vignettes from the future, where the Mumbai skyline is dotted with pink and purple highrises, flying cars, sky buses, shell houses and the sci-fi menagerie comprises a pink teddy bear, a female robot, a Harman-look alike evil android and a poor cousin of Darth Vader (was that Gulshan Grover behind the iron mask?). Of course, there's the old-fashioned oval time machine, chauffeured by a buffoonish Boman Irani with a bad hair day, as he push-buttons our hero to Mumbai 2050.

And thank God for that! For the only thing that works in favour of the film is the gawk factor. Curiosity about the futuristic vision does make for a few compelling moments, post-interval. Specially since the first half is a soppy tale of two lovers who swear eternal love that is abruptly cut short by a banal accident. Desperate lover boy follows his dear departed into the next janam where she's a red-haired diva, with a terrible dress sense, entertaining the world from the Mumbai skies. Of course she's forgotten him, but he's brought her old janam's diary along. So that, all it takes is a few flips of the dog-eared pages to rekindle the thanda-thanda flame.

Harman may have hogged the headlines for his Hrithik-like dance moves and resemblance. Ironically, he doesn't seem to have a Hrithik-like dream debut ( Kaho Naa Pyar Hai ). The actor actually struggles in the small emotional bits, while Priyanka Chopra displays nothing of her characteristic on-screen verve. Finally, it's the zero storyline that works against this sigh-fi film. 


SRK Konnection

 Shah Rukh Khan may not be starring in Aziz Mirza’s Kismat Konnection, but he’s invisibly there in the project alright.

This Shahid Kapur-Vidya Balan starrer has inputs galore from Mirza’s dear friend SRK. Said a source close to the film, “Shah Rukh and Juhi Chawla share a special bond with Aziz Mirza. They are like family to the Mirzas. Aziz considers them lucky for him”.

Added our source, “Going by the comfort level and the rapport that the two share, Mizra had several meetings with Shah Rukh at his place, Mannat to discuss the script of Kismat Konnection .”

Mizra’s directorial debut Circus starred Shah Rukh when he was a newcomer and since then, Mizra has worked with Shah Rukh films like Raju Ban Gaya Gentlema n (1992), Yes Boss (1997), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000) and Chalte Chalte (2003).

When contacted, Mizra said, “Shah Rukh and I go back a long way. We always discuss ideas with each other. And so he gave me feedback on this film too. It is not a big deal.”


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