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NO MORE EASY STARS! WE WILL MAKE PEOPLE READ WORDS.

Generally fed up of being asked KITNE STARS DIYE.

I mostly want to land one on their noses so they see stars. Thankfully I’m a pacifist.

After taking a break from the ‘give stars business’, I’m back changing the format a bit and offering you words to read instead.

Make up your own mind if I’m asking you to watch the film or not.

See y’all at the movies!

NO MORE EASY STARS! WE WILL MAKE PEOPLE READ WORDS.

Generally fed up of being asked KITNE STARS DIYE.

I mostly want to land one on their noses so they see stars. Thankfully I’m a pacifist.

After taking a break from the ‘give stars business’, I’m back changing the format a bit and offering you words to read instead.

Make up your own mind if I’m asking you to watch the film or not.

See y’all at the movies!

NO MORE EASY STARS! WE WILL MAKE PEOPLE READ WORDS.

Generally fed up of being asked KITNE STARS DIYE.

I mostly want to land one on their noses so they see stars. Thankfully I’m a pacifist.

After taking a break from the ‘give stars business’, I’m back changing the format a bit and offering you words to read instead.

Make up your own mind if I’m asking you to watch the film or not.

See y’all at the movies!

Review: WAR

SHREDDED ABS, SHREDDED SCRIPT. YOU CHOOSE. WILL MAKE MONEY.

Phir na kehna bataya nahi… 

Mini Review: 

Sweaty heroes. Check. Walking away from explosion. Check. Gaddar to ‘vatan’. Check. Fast cars. Check. Babes, combat guys dancing. Check. Last point nahi samjha. Watch the Sequel…

Main Review:

HOT SWEATY/SMOLDERING INTROS

Hai hai! Hrithik kills good guy who looks more Kapoor than Naidu (plus he ate North Indian food at dinner!) instead of obviously Paki villain (mullah type beard and robes). Hai! Hai!

Action then takes us to another location.

Woah! Baby Tiger all grown up kills seven men rolling and punching breaking stuff. It’s drug dealers in foreign lands who wanted to sell drugs in India, so it’s okay I guess. I feel bad for the briefcase full of Indian cash he leaves lying there though. Why foreigners want Indian cash? I squash that thought because Baby Tiger is smoldering at the camera. But he fell into swimming pool… he’s steaming hot…

Then super sweaty guy in torn tee and combat cargoes (read Military green) emerges from military helicopter with others similarly clad. But he’s got sunglasses. So he’s hero. And he emerges last… So he’s a polite dude. Niice. He’s hot.

Ashutosh Rana has to eat humble pie in front of over-dramatic Raksha Mantri who asks him, ‘Main PMO ko kya jawaab doongi?’

GIRLS IN AN ACTION FILM? WHY?

We’re Indian. So we have to tell action dudes, ‘Family honi chaahiye.’ So one hero has Vani Kapoor, and the other has dukhi mom. 

And the third woman is in military tank top briefing hot sweaty men. We even see her in burqa with a machine gun walking from left of screen to right during a mission, without ever using the gun. 

And who will dance with hot dudes after the mission is successful? 

HOT, SWEATY, SMOLDERING DUDES IN ANY SETTING

The film takes these hot guys to everywhere from Delhi to, Morocco to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Arctic Circle, Kerala, Sydney.

Also unlabeled locations such as abandoned stone (not wood) church near Arctic Circle, super secret commando training on top of a mountain far away from civilization, hospital. morgue that looks like a locker room, bar with dance stage, beaches, boat, shacks.

But no matter where you put them they look hot, sweaty and smoldering.

GOOD ACTION SET PIECES. LEKIN KYON? 

That Hrithik and Tiger Shroff can haz action is a given. But the sameness of their moves is boring. The same use wall to climb and then smash head of opponent happens at least five times. Same with Hrithik. His duck from a swinging punch and then smash opponent gets tiresome too. 

Why on earth is a villain carrying two supercars in an icebreaker up in the Arctic circle? Oh, for the chase sequence of course! 

The motorbike chase sequence in the city is terrific but when a good guy is chasing a bad guy, on a bike, and you can see both of them, how in a split second or two or even three does the bad guy manage to install a tripwire strong enough to trip a bike?

But the chase is fun. But Manoj Bajpayee in The Family Man chasing a running baddie as a pillion rider on an aunty’s scooter is smarter.  

WHEN HEROES ARE HOT, SCRIPTS DIE.

Why is there a holi dance to celebrate their victory over a man mountain type villain who is dressed perhaps should be in a Bahubali type movie than here.

How did a remote commando type training center on top a mountain turn into a venue for a disco holi party? Where did all the blingy girls and men with drums come from? 

Who made one hero lieutenant in one scene and captain in the next? And what a strange salute he has…

How did hero manage to get cameras inside the accountant’s home in every place like Big Boss house? What was his security doing at that time?

Have the filmmakers not seen Mission Impossible? Smarter to use prosthetic make up rather than give scars to hero? Best doctor in the world leaves such scars? Even local surgeons are proud of sutures that dissolve and barely visible scars these days… 

Who cares? The heroes are hot.

A SEQUEL? YEH IDEA HAI BHAYANKAR…

The hero does not hint at sequel any more, but says blatantly. I will continue working like this…

This idea of scriptless action movies is an idea that is bhayankar…

I am horrified at lyrics like, ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar, Aaj Mood Hai Bhayankar’ but get really pissed off at fake operatic music being used everywhere. Bas karo yaar…

Of course the movie will make money. Hot men who chase one another on bikes and cars and planes rakes in moolah. I’m hoping next time they use some of that money to buy a story…





   

  


      




Review: Chhichhore


Tiresome Nostalgia Trip

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Why is it that men cannot get over ‘hostel life’? Kya dost thay, yaar! Kya din thay! And it’s bleddy annoying because these films come at you again and again in the form of Hyderabad Blues, Rockford Files, Faaltu, Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots… Same chaddi buddies thing all over again…

Main Review:

The movie begins with Varun Sharma in his chaddis. 

Not fat shaming, but this is hardly something you’d want to see at ten in the morning! (Mera FDFS wala problem hai!) But it got me mad thinking how much achiever dads expect out of kids. Very obviously these guys have not read Harry Potter’s Cursed Child because they’re still living the dream all Indian dads dream: My son will go to my college and live my life.

Blecchh!

Of course Sushant Singh Rajput’s son cannot deal with the burden of his expectations and…

Bleddy, dad has to then rope in his hostel guys to save his child. They have cute names: Sexa, Acid, Derek The Baap, Bevda, Mummy…

Of course they are stereotypical friends: the oversexed one, the drunk, the sporty one, the mama’s boy and of course the hero who gets the girl.

Blecchh!

The girl is Shraddha Kapoor in curls. Looks quite nice, and says mean things to husband quite nicely. But then, she has the role of a girl in engineering college. Not exactly Hermione there… 

But she loves her son and makes bhindi ki subzi for him. She’s also engineer like her husband, but son goes to her house for food, not math.

Blecchh!

The hostel stories are so tired, even good writing brings not any lump to the throat. You can see manipulative writing a mile away: Usme itna acid bhara tha… (goodlooking lad this Navin Polishetty)

The story they’re telling the child in the hospital is so unoriginal, I’m sure if I were that kid listening to these stories, I’d want to pull my life support off all by myself when hearing about ‘being losers’. 
But when all seems to be lost, Sushant Singh spouts off a line I have yet to hear a dad say in Hindi cinema:

‘We are prepared for successes, but never for failure.’

That shook me up. Could there be something to this movie after all. Perhaps the four stars other reviewers have chipkaoed on this film is jaayaz…

But Prateik Babbar happens. And there’s a Student Of The Year type challenge shield that will help this bunch of losers prove that they are not that. I facepalmed so hard, it resounded in the theater populated not too well with older Bandra folk. I pretended that it was my umbrella falling down…

And just like Lagaan we watch the ‘losers’ take on the Maradona of Hostel 3 in football. They win by taking the fall like real footballers to send the competition off the field and other Tikdams. You wonder why Shraddha Kapoor does not dump this guy the moment Varun Sharma tells her ‘Usne tumhe daanv pe laga diya. (because you are his dearest thing!).

Blecchh!

Of course daddy-o and his now cool pals suddenly look like winners and child wants to be like dad again… I cannot pretend I hated it completely, but dammit… kuch toh original hota! I mean Legally Blonde had more original writing than this pathetic nostalgia trip!

The clothes retrofitted on the bunch are very, very well done. Thankfully there are no songs to annoy us, a couple of funny moments (Varun Sharma’s gladiator skirt falling off on stage, the canteen guy pretending to be Kabaddi coach) are funny in passing, but they get cancelled out because the other ‘funny’ moments are used undies being put on another person’s face. Ugh! 

I know two things for sure:

One. Never, never ever sign up for a class reunion. 

and two: 

Run far, far away when men begin to talk about ‘Woh bhi kya din thay, yaar?!’ 



Review: SAAHO

350 Crore Ki Jyaadati, Kyon Saho?!

1 star

Mini Review: 

Cool dude saves a baddie in a gareebon ki The Raid: Redemption style fight. Cool dude turns out to be super cop. He’s invited to solve strange robberies and chooses a woman in his team and behaves outrageously with her. The rest of the team is too enamoured with him to scream sexual harassment. Turns out robber wants to rob ‘black box’ type key to billions stolen from crime boss from some foreign shores. After many convoluted, windy events later when you are bored out of your wits at the slow pace of the film you see the end: Saaho sit down on a big chair in a blue leather suit. 

Main Review:

From Game Of Thrones to The Matrix to every other cop show on Netflix offers the story of Saaho conceived perhaps by a committee. Or should I say, there isn’t a single original thought in this 350 crore 175 minute mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Prabhas since his Chakram days, and I loved him in Bahubali. But this film is not his fault, especially because he looks uncomfortable in many scenes.  

The film begins with a bunch of bad guys sit around like the Yakuza Council from Kill Bill as the head guy announces he’s going legit. Before you can say The Godfather he’s killed by a truck ramming into his car when he’s talking to someone. Dammit! That was Jackie Shroff! How can you kill him so quickly?!

Cut to Prabhas the super cool dude going into a building full of baddies to save someone who looks like a failed GOT baddie about to be hung if he isn’t saved by the time five seetis blow on a pressure cooker full of khichadi. Should have taken that as a hint of the fight where he fights baddies like The Raid: Redemption and has a Harry Potter dog. 

Turns out he’s a super cop sitting in a super cool car asking the GOT baddie for information. 

Cut to super cop forming a super team that includes a woman cop – believe it or not – Shraddha Kapoor. All because super cop is enamored by her naak-naksh. Sad to report that her casting is as sad as putting Shahid Kapoor in the role of Mohammed Ali. Her role is so badly written, you want her to die by a stray bullet or something. And you wonder why Prabhas is attracted to her. She’s got sex appeal of a leaky tap. To her credit, she doesn’t even try. 

Then there’s Neil Nitin Mukesh who is the thief who has been behind all those robberies. Apparently the clue to his identity is that he wears matching clothes. Facepalm!

In the meanwhile, back in Baddietown, Arun Vijay shows up at the baddie council meeting as Jackie Shroff’s son and heir. There is Tinnu Anand and Chunkey Pandey, Mahesh Manjrekar, and others who are being gleeful about Jackie Shroff’s death. By this time you have stopped caring about why they’re all cackling even though the money is missing. All you remember is a shot of watery soup swirling and how Arun Vijay’s pants (all of the costume changes) are two inches too short and that he’s not wearing any socks. Odd design choice, you think…

Then you see our hero too wearing pants that seem to have shrunk by two inches… Could they be related? Perhaps it’s a clue…

Lots of convoluted things happen. Everyone is after a ‘black box’ but not before Shraddha Kapoor gets to wear Rang De Tu Mohe Gerua type costumes which have long flowy, floating in air type pointless extensions and the hero and the heroine sing a Punjabi song and pretend to dance on top snowy mountains on neat wooden platforms to stand on and railings to lean on. Thankfully there is a car chase across a bridge. 

And yes, the hero is really the villain and the villain the hero. The shock should have killed the heroine, but she too looks as comfortably numb as the audience. But the Villainous Hero sings, ‘I’m a bad boy be my bad girl’ type song with many girls and Jacqueline Fernandes convulsing as if under the influence of some Baba Bangali black magic.

Oh yes, Mandira Bedi is also there and she’s called Kalki. But she really wants to be Trinity from The Matrix but with a saree. There’s a scene where Kalki… I mean Mandira walks as she shoots like she were auditioning for Hindi Matrix… She wants to double cross the boss with funny pants but the photos of Jackie Shroff in the vault scare her to death. 

Our hero does a Fast & Furious chase through baddie town with a bank vault within a truck and he’s on a motorbike. There are Robocops too and they think they’ve got the hero but they haven’t. But Chunkey Pandey captures hero and gets all the GOT Russian extras to beat up the hero with medieval weapons. Hero beats them all up slowly. And we see last of our collective strength leave the theatre when the hero opens one glorious eye and stares into the camera hoping to gain your approval for the sequel. 

That’s how you spend 350 crores, folks. They forgot of course to pay the CGI guy to cover mistakes, or the screenwriter to come up with a new story and dialog. They probably were too drunk or scared of Bahubali to direct him. Perhaps the burden of shooting every scene three times in three languages made everything trite.

I so wanted to see Prabhas in something other than an outfit made for Bahubali. But we ended up seeing him in dated cargo pants and an ugly blue leather suit. His voice gets the half star this film deserves. And the other half for his beautiful hands.  


(watched Saaho at Movietime Suburbia in Mumbai, FDFS )


Review: KHANDANI SHAFAKHANA

It’s Sex Ed Gone Bad

2 stars

Mini Review:

Sonakshi Sinha does it again! Carries a film on her able shoulders, even though the script for a sex ed comedy goes from ‘could be interesting’ to ‘jeez wtf just happened’ in real slow motion. The nudge-nudge wink-wink subject of a girl running her uncle’s sex clinic goes on and on and ends limply…

Main Review:

That Sonakshi Sinha is a good actor is of no doubt at all. Even if she’s pulling faces at everything around her. She plays Baby Bedi who is a medical representative, taking care of her mother and brother and is under debt to an uncle from her sister’s wedding.

Now the lad who plays brother seems to be unabashedly the same in every movie. Every. Single. Time. He’s the asshole sidekick in Arjun Patiala, the asshole friend in Fukrey, Fukrey Returns… He’s turning into the Omi Vaidya of small town movies. And he’s gotten simply annoying. 

Nadira Babbar plays the mom, aggrieved, widowed, and debt ridden after the older daughter’s wedding. 

Annu Kapoor is a lawyer called Tagra, and he is redeeming in his Punjabi-English dialog where he often quotes himself by saying, ‘Tagra says…’  He’s the genuine comedic thing.

So Sonakshi inherits a sex clinic owned by her uncle Kulbhushan Kharbanda who shows up ever so often as a ghost who guides her… She needs the money but can only do so if she stays there for six months and dispenses the Unani powder medicine mostly to his patients of ‘wiggly wiggly’ problems. 

Trouble is, beyond the ‘nudge-nudge wink-wink’ part there’s a problem here. Sonakshi has learnt from her unc and his copious notes symptoms of other diseases like liver and thyroid problems, piles and so on. Then why is the clinic called ‘Sex Clinic’? For ‘respectability’s sake’ couldn’t they just call it a ‘ Unani clinic’ and shown shady clients visit regularly?

Of course there are so many quacks who practice this kind of dispensing of herbal powders that the legitimacy of this kind of medicine is suspect. 

The encounters with patients of erectile dysfunction and other male libido oriented problems and Sonakshi are funny enough, but how long can you keep them funny to keep the narrative going? I imagined all kinds of bad whatsapp jokes about meds being accidentally so strong that the man is ‘up all night’ but complains to the doc that he’s not getting enough sleep… And so on. Alas, the jokes are a bit tacky whatsapp forward like and the cringe factor grows and grows as the movie seems to slow down to a crawl.

There is a great germ of an idea in ‘Baat toh karo’ (talk about it) that Sonakshi says when it comes to sexual ‘problems’, but it is frittered away and how.

The best part of the film came out of nowhere in the form of Badshah who plays a rap star Gabru Ghattak. (last name pronounced like ‘attack’ rather than the hindi word for lethal).

He looks great, acts well and is a completely natural. Iloved, loved, loved the elevator which has a giant poster of Gabru plastered…

Anyway, the film goes on and on and just when you think it is happily over like some bad sex ed class, they have sort of an epilogue/outtakes where Sonakshi Sinha has to offer sex advice: Agar soup bahut garam hain use phoonk phook ke phir piyo. Only when you are comfortable.’

I was rooted to the seat for five minutes. Jeez. Jeez. Jeejus!



Review: JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA


Faaltu Paise Hain Kya?
or
Chu**** Hai Kya?


1.5 stars


Mini Review:


Bobby is a dubbing artist, suffering from childhood trauma, is obsessed with murders and has a violent streak. But we’re supposed to think it’s cute because she is quirky and has a weird outlook on life. Keshav is her tenant with a new wife (lots of PDA), and is now the focus of Bobby’s obsession. Their encounters are funny up to a point. Then comes murder, and idiotic interpretations of mental health issues, Ramayana… don’t ask! Waste of time…

Main Review:

Quirky Ki Maa


The film opens to Bobby (played by Kangna Ranaut) dubbing for a film. It is delightful to see her literally get into the roles she is playing. She also plays hard to get with her agent cum boyfriend (played brilliantly by Hussain Dalal). Everything about her is quirky: from her funny sunglasses, to her clothes and decor in the house. She sees a man with a sign (which is fine a couple of times, but every single time? It’s an overkill). Even her cat is called ‘Panauti’ (bad luck)…


When she is dubbing for a policewomen, a producer gets fresh with her and she injures him with an exacto knife. We know what she will choose when the lawyer offers her a hefty fine or three months in a mental asylum. Of course in the asylum she plays pranks on the Super and throws away the medication. We know she is traumatised by her childhood, and she has a roach infested home. Before you can say ugh, you are told that she is imagining roaches. 


The dubbing part is delightful but goes on an on. Each time she gets a picture taken as if she were the heroine. Stops being fun and you want to say, ‘Get on with the story!’

Obsession, She Said

Thankfully she gets new tenants – a loving (read: lots of PDA) couple – Keshav (Rajkummar Rao) and Smita (Amyra Dastur).

Bobby is dubbing a murder mystery and she begins to obsess over Keshav imagining that he is going to kill his wife. Bobby stalks the two through the curtains and even enters their apartment through a connecting door when the two are not there.


He obsession grows so much that when the wife dies after a gas cylinder explosion, she tells the cops that he is responsible. She just comes across is crazy, and he is exonerated. 


By the way, the cops are quirky too.

Two years later she is on medication for imagining the roaches and obsessing over that man, and seems to be okay when she goes to London to be with her pregnant cousin (Amrita Puri) who finds her a job as an understudy in a play. Of course she comes face to face with Keshav again, except this time his name is Shravan. Her obsession becomes horrifically real and alarming. So much so that it could harm her cousin. 


If you’ve watched enough shows about serial killers and stalkers, you know what happens next. It’s just that a 121 minute film feels like it is longer simply because of a repetitive part when setting up her character, and his creepiness. Rajkummar Rao has to match her kookiness with menace but the constant, ‘Let’s see who’s crazy now!’ also becomes unbearable.


The editing is so choppy, you wonder why certain scenes just spring up as explanations (for example, her cousin’s broken engagement scene appears out of nowhere?). And no matter what the disclaimer says about treating mental health issues delicately, it is very obvious that the subject is treated flippantly (‘She’s crazy! She’s nuts!) and that she’s not really getting any real help. If someone is suffering from ‘psychosis’, I doubt the docs would let her consume medication on her own. But who cares, Bobby whacks the cockroach crawling on the doc and everyone in the audience laughs happily, ‘She’s such a cute paagal yaa!’

This ‘acting’ just gets annoying after a while. And don’t get me started about Ramayana Redux. It is insulting to all professionals trying to help patients in real life when they treat the ‘mental’ part of the title as if they meant ‘demented’ instead. The result is that people laugh inappropriately at her ‘madness’, and your popcorn loses its pop because the film is tiresome..  



(a kinder version of this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: SUPER 30


Gamchhe Ke Peeche Kya Hai…


Two stars


Mini Review:


A story about a free school for the poorest of the poor IIT aspirants run by a maverick mathematician should have been a hugely inspiring film. It starts out to be fabulous, introducing us to a bright mind and his yearning to become someone. The film crash lands and how! You hate everything about it, especially the brownface that Hrithik applies on his face to look like a small town lad. 


Main Review: 

Bihar Does NOT Mean Everyone And His Uncle Sports A Gamchha

I’ve lived in Patna, and what they showed in the film is not Mithapur (where the real Super30 school is located), neither is it Patna. It’s an urban idea of poor small town and their ‘sad’ lives where mother is forever making rotis and dad has a rickety bicycle and spouts homilies. Fuck the facts. They even claim the original teacher Anand Kumar has helped with the script. Did he forget to tell the filmmakers that he is a civil servant? An IFS (Indian Forestry Service) officer? Obviously it was easier to show dire poverty to make it more filmi, more melodramatic.

Also because they’re Bollywood’s idea of poor, they will all be:
1. Brown and dirty all the time (gag!),
2. Won’t have food but have big hearts (barf!) and
3. It will rain over their proverbial parade/adding to their woes all through the movie (puke!)

But Why Ruin Hrithik Roshan For Fans

I understand why everyone and their uncle wants to be politically correct and show ‘desh ka vikaas’ and all that, but why turn a gorgeous leading man who can out dance any hero that claims to know how to dance and give him a role that need him to downplay his assets? And NEVER break into a dance? Kya faaltugiri hai!

No one can deny that Hrithik Roshan is a good looking man. Then why does he have to tone it down by liberally applying the bronzer to look like he is a very poor, small town lad? Can someone tell filmmakers that ‘brownface’ might be insulting?

And what’s with the eternal hangover with the ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ mentally challenged act? That run, that confused look when he’s concentrating on the math is just wrong when repeated so many times…I did puke inside though when they made him look at his dad – awed by the homilies – like he was a ten year old instead of someone who had solved the most unsolvable math problem!

A Teacher To The Underdogs… Bollywood Ruins That Trope Too!


Hrithik still works in the first half of the film where plays the role of Anand Kumar, a math genius, doing the Good Will Hunting write on the blackboard thing. He hits sublime moments too, but the dirty gamchha gets in the way…

Alas he doesn’t have Michelle Pfeiffer of Dangerous Minds or Vind Khanna of Imtihaan to support him or inspire him he is going to be that prof himself…

But if Hrithik insists on being Koi Mil Gaya, it falls on the character actors to who win your heart.
His dad Eeshwar, played by Virendra Saxena is rather sweet and inspiring postman.

His brother Pranav played by Nandish Sandhu (great casting, looks like Hrithik’s brother in real life) is a great support for his school.

Pankaj Tripathi is flawless as the local politician who has his paws deep in the dirt of the business of education.

Even Hrithik’s dialog coach for the film Manish Kumar Singh has a one minute scene as a policeman who is unable to help protect the brothers against the threat to their lives.

Vijay Verma whom you saw in Gully Boy shines in this film as well as the award winning student of the Super 30 program reminiscing about Anand Kumar, a genius who could not make it to Cambridge because of poverty. 


The best act of course is by the villain. Aditya Srivastava plays Lallan Singh who runs a successful coaching class which becomes even more successful when Anand Kumar begins to teach there. When Anand realises that the coaching classes are only for the very rich, and that he is contributing to the scam by teaching there, he gives it all up and decides that he will coach 30 poor but bright kids for free. 


So far so good. You even hope that you will see something like Stand And Deliver where students from the wrong side of the tracks learn high math by teacher Edward James Olmos… But no! The filmmaker chooses what he thinks is going to work commercially and you facepalm when you see the students turn the film into a hospital version of Home Alone with many stupid baddies out to assassinate the teacher as well as the students. That half an hour spent on using math to defeat men with guns is perhaps the worst one has seen. It squanders all the goodwill Hrithik and the kids earned in the first half of the film. Of course all 30 students make it to IIT. But you are so disappointed, you want to drown someone in a vat of bronzer… 

(Why haven’t I mentioned the romance angle? Because it was dumb to show a heroine who only dances and then gets married off to an IAS officer. That made me chew the handle of my Gucci bag to bits. That Mrunal Thakur was sweet in the role fails to count)

P.S. Biharis will be grateful that they didn’t show the chhath puja to make the film ‘look and feel’ authentic!


(a sanitised version of the review appears on nowrunning dot com)


Review: MALAAL

Dekhne Walon Ka Bura Haal!
1.5 stars
Mini Review

Meezaan and Sharmin Segal offer the same ole love story, a mish-mash of every love story since Bollywood began making romances. The film is executed so poorly, you wonder why it is under the Bhansali banner. It’s plain excruciating to watch predictable romance movie tropes go on and on for 136 minutes.

Main Review:

Who would’ve thunk, Bollywood would fail at romance?
A remake of Selvaraghavan’s Tamil film ‘7G Rainbow Colony’, Malaal attempts to make magic with two newcomers Meezaan (Javed Jafferi’s son) and Sharmin Segal (Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s niece, not related to Steven), but falls flat on its unoriginal nose. It’s sad because the two are quite promising, the girl more so than the boy who comes across as a poor man’s Ranbir Kapoor. The girl is rather attractive, but has limited acting chops.

And the story does not help. Not at all. He’s Shiva, the no good lad from a chawl (housing project like rooms connected with a common balcony, for common folk, unique to Mumbai), where his dad comes home to beat his mom who makes chaklis (Marathi savoury snack). Sharmin plays Aastha, who has just moved in next door with her parents – dad (two heart attacks, so you know he’s going to be villain) and mom (attempts to play martyr) – because her dad was once rich but has lost all the money at the stock market. By the way, this film is set in 1998 and tries hard to play the communal card (he’s Marathi, a local, and she is a North Indian, a Tripathi) but it peters out rather early in the film because lack of courage to make something courageous as love between different communities. 

And that’s just the beginning. Shiva has a temper, but he won’t turn into Sanjay Dutt of Vaastav. She’s all Simran of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge but doesn’t have the sass that Kajol’s character had in the film. Neither are her parents Amrish Puri and Farida Jalal. There are some songs that happen and the dance moves (Javed Jafferi’s son has an additional burden of dancing as good or better than dad) are tired. Not the lad’s fault. You just wish his hair wasn’t so carefully casual.
IRL, Stay away from such gals!
Aastha is scary when she does the very tiresome girlfriend thing: If I take one puff of that cigarette you will stop smoking, And if I drink one peg of whatever you are drinking, then you will stop drinking… You groan! Is she his girl or his mom?! Lads should swipe her left if any girl should  say something this bizarre!

The weirdness does not stop there. ‘Walk behind me or ahead of me because no one should know we are together’, she says, and he obeys. She’s basically Taliban. He counts the number of steps she walks every day. So he’s Fitbit. She plays more paper messages from one balcony to another, and when he asks her if she loves him, she tears the paper and throws it down the balcony. And after a bit when she’s sitting on the rocks by the sea (couples go to canoodle there) she produces an account opening form for him to fill. Before you go whaaaa… She has got him a job at a stockbroking firm as an office boy who gives tea to the brokers and carries messages. She is still playing his mom. Especially because she knows he has 12 shirts and 3 tees and some ganjis (undershirts) and one of them ganjis has holes (she knows exact location of the holes). This is how much she loves him. He preens. The audience has hurt itself facepalming. She sounds more like his laundry lady than lover. 

Neverending groanfest…

A Sanjay Leela Bhansali production usually boasts of fabulous sets, This film went super low budget with location that look tacky. Even the birds in the cage look fake. There is not a single original thought in the script. Why bother to make a film that is careless? Why don’t star kids study hard at school and become something else rather than star in these pointless movies?
Back to the groanfest. Aastha tells her mom that she wants to be with Shiva because she would soon be married to Aditya (please don’t ask who this sleazy Mercedes driving foreign returned creep is, but he’s the Parmeet Sethi from Dilwale Dulahniya without the charm). Mom is ineffective and let’s her go. They make out (thankfully they don’t show us sloppy kisses) but they wake up fully clothed. When walking home from friend’s apartment, she crosses the street without looking and yesssss! Relief! She dies, and he’s injured. She has been telling him that he needs to make something of his life… Alas the movie does not end there. While you have finished your neighbor’s popcorn out of sheer boredom because he has fallen asleep, Shiva has grayed and predictably heads Aastha Wealth Management, and is still talking to the dead Aastha… 

You discover that you have aged too. You reflect at the paucity of ideas in the film industry today and wonder why the once hugely popular romance genre is not even pulling 20 couples to the first day first show.

(this review sans rant about star kids, appears on nowrunning.com)



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