Review: NEWTON

Can You Be Patient With Mr Honesty?

4 stars


Mini Review:


A stickler for rules, Newton Kumar can make things really tough for himself and the others. He’s now presiding election officer in the jungles of Bastar infested by Maoists. Under the protection of the army he hopes the reluctant voters will cast their ballot. His stubbornness and reality clash beautifully in this wonderfully written film.


Main Review:


When a film tackles Political themes it needs to tread gently. When the setting is Chhattisgarh, the film needs to be even more careful. Newton manages to make a political statement without annoying any side and it’s fabulous when the writer manages to walk the line without ever stepping on a land mine.


The director manages to offer us a smorgasbord of delight – fuse being blown, embroidered cushion ‘bitiya ne banaye hain’ (our daughter has made this), training of election officers, dad getting mad at Newton in the bus, Sanjay Misra (who appears briefly but happily) training the election officers, Sanjay Misra saying, ‘Don’t wear your honesty like a burden on your back’ – just to name a few shining moments.


Even when politics of elections takes over, there is oodles of humor too. The local girl Malko (Anjali Patil) shows up to a very jumpy army captain. Raghubir Yadav as Loknath and Mukesh Prajapati as Shambhu are Newton’s assistants who promptly fall asleep once the election paraphernalia is set up. How Loknath’s cynicism simply bounces off Newton. How the army unit and the election officers walk through the forest. There’s so much more, you’ll be able to piece the plot together. Not.


This movie surprises you at every point. And even though the movie is called Newton, the movie would be nothing without Aatma Singh. He is short on patience, and even less able to hide his frustration. It is hugely comical to watch Aatma Singh and Newton interact. Suddenly you realise that you want to pierce the screen and join Aatma Singh and…


Aatma Singh is played by the phenomenal Pankaj Tripathi. He is the head of the army unit, responsible for the safety and security of the election team and also responsible for getting the villagers to the election booth. From his quiet offer of lunch to a sulky Newton Kumar to the hesitation to wear sunglasses when his boss (A small sweet cameo by Danish Husain) shows up with foreign journalists, Pankaj Tripathi is simply superb.


Just because you begin to take the side of Aatma Singh, it does not mean Newton Kumar does not steal your sympathies. You must know at least one person like Newton – stubborn and honest to a fault. And he exasperates you, annoys you, makes you smile, makes you wish you could… You could… You could…

Watch the film and find out. This is perhaps the best film of the year, a film made with heart and soul.



(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: HASEENA PARKAR

Haseena Bronzer More Like. And A Story Covered In Silly Wigs
1.5 stars


Mini Review:


How does it feel to be the sister of the most wanted man in India? A man who is responsible for deaths of over 300 people in a series of bomb blasts? A man whose network is so strong he could orchestrate crime in India while being holed up in Dubai? Is Haseena Parkar guilty of colluding with her brother or is she guilty by association. The courtroom drama helps you decide.


Main Review:


It’s brave of a really young actor Shraddha Kapoor to want to play Marlon Brando in The Godfather. And full marks for effort.


Not easy wanting to wear jowls a la Brando and wear a burkha that is tightly fit around the face. Jowls need room to be, you know, jowly. They need to hang about your jaw and look at the world with despair because the person who wears the jowls (as Brando did) has seen and done it all. The young actor mostly looks like a balloon animal gone wrong and you feel bad for her. She deserved better.  


The film is based on the single court appearance of the original Aapa (older sister, everyone addressed Haseena Parkar as Aapa). But were the court proceedings at the time so ridiculous? Why was the prosecution so strident, piling on accusations after accusation without proof? All on the basis of one FIR registered for something not related to Dawood, the brother of Aapa? How does a judge sitting there simply allow so much leeway that the prosecutor asks the accused about everything to do with her brother?


Let’s say the filmmakers used the court as a device to tell us the story of the journey of a young girl who turned into Godmother.  But then should they not do a little bit of research into how the courts work? The prosecution (played by stage actor Priyanka Sethia) is allowed to rant away as if she were acting for a prize in a high school one-act play. Was the real life Roshni Satam really that over-the-top dramatic? A little bit of search on Google would have been helpful. But no! The proceedings get sillier and sillier and you are forced to turn to other things you would have ignored had the story kept you hooked.


For example, Haseena’s make up. Now jowls we understand. All actors take pride in pre-release press coverage about how they lost or gained weight for the role or how they sat for the three hour make-up process every day, or how they had to bear the intense heat of the body suit. But the audience cannot be fooled into judging the film if the story is weak and the storytelling is just silly.   


In Haseena’s case, they use a bronzer to make her look darker than she really is. But the effect is more yellow than brown and the skin looks more like a mask than real. The other actors are there as well: the angry dad, the rebellious brothers (one of them being Dawood!), the poor Muslims, the husband of Haseena, assorted gunmen, policemen and women, and yes, the defence lawyer Keswani (who was supposed to be a brilliant man) and the last but not the least, the judge presiding over this hotch-potch case being presented. But all these actors are cardboard cutouts, including Dawood, who is supposed to be a quiet, fearsome creature. He is played by Siddhant Kapoor (Shraddha Kapoor’s brother in real life) who is just the opposite. He calls his sister, ‘Beta’ (child) when he looks like he is one himself. The fact that he looks like one himself, and is set in seriously terrible idea of a gangster (you will drown in laughter when you see him answer his phone while sitting in a bathtub, or dining with his ‘foreigner’ wife…


You end up laughing when you should be reacting like when you watched The Godfather for the first time. And so many terrible wigs have been used in the film, take care or you might dislodge your own while guffawing in disbelief at the film.   

(This review appears on nowrunning dot com)

  

Review: THE FINAL EXIT

I See Dead People In Ladakh. And Red High Heeled Shoes.


1.5 stars


Mini Review:


A photographer who is never short of female company suddenly finds himself seeing a shadowy woman who appears and disappears from his home at will, scaring him because she can be seen on camera but not when you actually look. His friend and then doctor advise him to lay off the weed. But can he? Is what happens in the film a drug induced seduction by the ghostly woman or is it for real?


Main Review:


It’s a creepy video which shows photographer Vidyut (Kunal Roy Kapoor) getting off the bed and coming to the computer, watching the shadowy figure of the woman sitting on his bed and then swiftly leaving his house.  


His confusion and fear reach out to the audience. And unlike other Indian horror films (which are mostly hilarious), this strange video, the actual woman are really scary. You want to say, ‘Look behind you!’ to Vidyut, even though he seems pretty misogynistic and a cad.


For an Indian film in the horror genre, to step away from the usual – haunted havelis, ghost revenge for murder, sudden noises of anklets echoing in a palace, crows that are harbingers of evil, sorcerers and black magic – and get into the realm of ‘is it hallucination, or is it real’ is quite good fun.


Of course they overdo it. The blingy red high heeled shoes that show up unannounced are not something to fear but the director assigns fear at their appearance and keeps showing them in the oddest of places and the sequence in the empty hotel corridor where the shoes come at you as if walking is hilarious not fear-inducing.


So Vidyut is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl posing for him in a strange yet peaceful place and decides he needs to find it. He finds himself driving on a lonely highway surrounded by beautiful mountains (Ladakh) even though he doesn’t know where this place is or how to get there. There are mysterious things happening around him…Navigation map suddenly appears on his phone, the Solar Eclipse, a tavern, a hotel… all creepy sequences in themselves, but we don’t know why. He meets passengers that have strange tales to tell but by now we are saying, ‘I see dead people!’


Because the writer-director chooses to show many people asking him for a lift on what was supposed to be a lonely highway, and each has a story of death, it gets tedious. You do start wondering about hallucinations and hope the story either kills him or the audience. The worst part of this deterioration is the hotel manager who speaks in such a ridiculous manner, you wish the red shoes would kill him instead of trying to scare the photographer. Hotel California, anyone?


The film rapidly descends from the really scary high into nonsensical mumbo jumbo about souls spouted by a priest. The film does get to you, the story begins as eerie and scary, the landscape of the lonely highway is beautiful and metaphorical, but the length of the film and the silly conclusion (‘Go into the light!’) leave you frustrated.





(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: BHOOMI


Omung Kumar Time Travels To Bring Back Violent Revenge Film.
Sanjay Dutt Deserves Better


1.5 stars


Mini Review:


This version of avenge-your-daughter’s-rape film is so gory and violent, you wonder if they’re all living in some time warp: A pretty girl getting married to her doctor sweetheart is kidnapped and raped the day before her marriage by a lad (and his cronies) she has spurned. The father and daughter seek justice but get none, and then dad finds each one of them and kills them all. Who makes such films? And why should we watch such blood and gore?


Main Review:


Even the hugely popular Liam Neeson Taken that released in 2008 is over ten years old. It’s sequels turned out to be tiresome. But Bollywood has for some reason remained in the era of revenge dramas where blood was spilt easily and honor was a thing to die for. For the purpose of violent thrills, everything from sickles and flick knives, from swords to homemade guns and spears and saws have been used. And no one cares to tell the filmmakers and their cronies that this thirst for gore is no longer the cinema that people care for. Even the hugely touted Kaabil showed a lot of violence for revenge, the box office failed to ring in the cash.


Here too, the film is set in small town Agra and everything seems to be a-ok with Bhoomi’s life: her dad loves her, and she is happy, getting married in a couple of days to a chap she likes… Until the friendzoned lad turns rapist. And since she’s lying there practically unconscious, his friends also rape the girl.


The practice, according to the rapist Dhaulia (Sharad Kelkar in yet another bad guy role), the girl would not say anything about the rape because she’s about to get married and her family’s honor would be shattered if she spilled the beans. The friendzoned boy is terrified because the Bhoomi (played by the eternally doe-in-headlight Aditi Rao Hydari) calls off the wedding. The third rapist is a goon who works with Dhaulia who kidnaps the bride once again. Why? Because she should not have told everyone about the rape. This time the three brag about raping her. She runs, they chase. They then push her off the bridge into the river. Just imagine and insert the choicest of abuses, insults to womanhood and other assorted aggressive dialog.


She survives of course, and then we see Bhoomi and her dad in court being insulted again and again by a woman lawyer for the defence. Bhoomi’s dad cannot take the insults any more, he stands in the middle of the court and rants about a system that rapes the victim once again. The dad, of course is Sanjay Dutt. Still fit, still able to turn a mean dialog like he means it, in the role of the father of the bride. He asks the court to forgive him. Then her broods and broods for the next two months. Sanjay Dutt still has the menace to be Khalnayak and has eyes that melt when he sees his daughter hurting. It’s the second half of the film that has all the action. The father daughter duo then systematically get rid of the four rapists. Four did I say? Yes, the chap who calls Bhoomi ‘didi’ and picks and drops her from her workspace is the fourth one. His mother and sister discover he filmed the whole rape on his phone and also when he rapes her.


With each of the rapists being killed, Omung Kumar tries to justify the violence and gore by making Sanjay Dutt mouth dialog like, ‘In India they won’t convict a rapist if he is juvenile. I won’t kill you until your birthday which is in three days’, ‘Justice system in our country will find its hands tied about every rape, and they are too lenient. Death is the only punishment for rape’ and so on and o forth.

Sanjay Dutt manages to add menace to his walk as he slowly terrorises the rapists by finding them when they least expect it. The last fight is so brutal, you begin to avert your eyes from the screen. I wish Sanjay Dutt has been offered a better action film for a comeback. The violence in this throwback to the 90s will most likely make you throw up.



(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: SIMRAN

Run, Run, Run Far Far Away From This Indulgent Nonsense


1.5 stars


Mini Review:


Based loosely on the story of the Bombshell Bandit – Punjabi girl Sandeep Kaur – who lived a double life as a nurse and as bank robber, Simran ends up being tedious. She robbed to fuel her gambling and shopping habits, and the film could either be a great comic caper or a tragic story of greed gone wrong. It’s neither.  


Main Review:


An angry Gujarat dad who looks like he’s going to bust a nerve because in every scene he’s shouting at his wife and daughter wishing they were back in India and complaining that he’d being paying for the two of the women for over 30 years.


A long suffering mother who shouts back some times only to ask her husband to stop shouting.


A daughter who works as housekeeping staff at a hotel who wants to move into her own apartment (they keep saying ‘house’!) laughs and boasts about her many conquests at work, and comes home to shout back at her parents.


It’s a relief when her cousin invites her over to Las Vegas for a bachelorette weekend. Here’s where you have begin to suspend disbelief. A girl who not a scene ago boasted about men, is suddenly moralistic about her cousin wanting to spend time with her ex before marrying someone else.


Suddenly the girl turns into Kangna Ranaut. It’s an acting monster unleashed upon Las Vegas.
She acts the bargaining Guju with the hat guy, then turns into Julia Roberts when she tries to shop at the expensive shop where like Pretty Woman she is turned down. She’s then cute with the bartender. She brings on the awful accent of someone who has just learnt English when flirting with man at the bar, then turns into a gambling monster who laughs when she wins and begins to cry like a little girl (‘You cheated! You are all bastards! I want to talk to the owner!’)
   
This is just the beginning. And she’s hyperventilating in every scene.


Does she get that from her dad? Is the dad justified in yelling at her? Making her pay the electricity bill. Why is she so entitled? Does she have a head for numbers because she’s Gujarati? Baccarat is made to look so easy, you can picture Ian Fleming turning in his grave.  


So she takes to gambling and goes back to buying clothes from the same shop a la Pretty Woman. And comes back to a blustery dad.


And you’re hoping something more would happen.The story comes back into focus when she begins to rob banks. But when you want her character to grow – either into this wild child who just wants the money to shop, or someone dark and negative – she just remains sullen and entitled. You think she’s schizophrenic when you see her play the fool in the wig shop and finds a spot of quiet spot by the lake. The young earnest lad who wants to marry her does not seem like a Spendthrift Guju at all (he gives her money!), and why does he want to marry her when she’s rather mean to him?

And why are cops and American bankers so inept? Why were the Vegas moneylenders so generous to her? A country that prides itself in surveillance it seems rather dumb for them to not recognise her car, and her. This is so implausible, you wonder if the director was absent because Kangna is an award-winning actor? Shahid, made by the same director was also carried by one actor, but you do not see this kind of indulgence in that movie. This film is all over the place, the audience had best run, run, run far away from Simran.


P.S.: Kangna claims she’s vegetarian and happily eats prawns at the restaurant with proper cutlery when she wins money. But when she’s eating noodles with the lad who wants to marry her, why does she eat with her fingers? Because she’s cute?

And yes, I say Kangna in the review and not her screen name Praful Patel, because she’s not really Praful Patel. She’s all Kangna, acting…



(this review sans the postscript appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: LUCKNOW CENTRAL

Prisoners With Conscience And Music


2 stars


Mini Review:


Kishen, a lad with only music on his mind crosses path with the law and is jailed for the murder of an IAS officer. He hears about a jail band contest and offers his services to the lady from the NGO. At Lucknow Central prison, he finds a tailor, an engineer, a key maker and a procurer to make a fake band and makes a plan to escape. The jailor though is always one step ahead of them. The story of their great escape is a decent watch because of the supporting cast.


Main Review:


Farhan Akhtar does not seem to get out of ‘singer’ role, whether he is a ‘has been’ or is a ‘Rockstar’. In this film he plays Kishen, a lad who writes songs and wants to record them and become famous. His dad (a very affable Robin Das) encourages him. Kishen records his music with the help of his friends, on a CD and decides to take it to a famous singer Manoj Tiwari (who plays himself). In his enthusiasm to hand the CD to the famous man, Kishen’s CD is stomped upon by an IAS officer. Kishen threatens him, and of course when the officer is killed, he is caught and jailed by the cops.


Kishen is transferred to the high security prison, where he hears about the contest of the Jail Bands. The lady who helps him is Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty, hair not out place is mostly expressionless) who works to rehabilitate the prisoners. The Jailor (as always, played with a brilliant mean streak by Ronit Roy) hates anything that lessens his stern rule over criminals. The Chief Minister is Ravi Kishan who is delightful and thwarts all the manipulations of the cops to stop his plans of having a prison band contest.


This brings us to the band. How Farhan’s simple singer manages to figure out where all the guns and patrol cops are located and where the electrical switches as though he were James Bond is not explained. How he manages to find out which prisoner is good at what skill is a puzzle too. But we suspend our disbelief and watch Farhan survive bullying by the prison heavy Tilakdhari (a scary Manav Vij), and collect his crew, both for the band and the escape. Deepak Dobriyal, Imamulhaq, Rajesh Sharma and Gippy Grewal are a motley crew, and it’s a miracle they manage to crack a tune.


The bonding between the criminals pays off, but the jailor gets madder and madder. Especially when the IG Police (Virendra Saxena) agrees to let each band member go for a little while on parole. Implausible, because they know these prisoners (killers all) are never going to come back to a high security prison on their own. But you watch as they do and see the dream come true. They are a band in the true sense of the word. Unlike the recently released Qaidi Band, this film is grittier and thankfully fewer songs. The young heroine was the saving grace in Qaidi Band, but here, the band members are great characters. Each vicious and yet vulnerable. The feel of the film is gritty and grimy, the hero is limited by his acting chops and strange scraped by sandpaper speaking voice, you like all the characters on screen. You smile at the cops who can be bribed easily, cops who bet money on the band, the friend who betrays, the heavy in the prison… The empathy quotient is greater than the implausible liberties taken in the script. A decent watch.

P.S.: Why does Farhan Akhtar want to play a non-urban person? Nothing in his demeanor or speech says that he’s someone who would pronounce ‘zero’ as ‘jero’, especially because he says, ‘Zindagi’ and ‘Manzil’ correctly in the Rangdari song! He’s more Krish than Kishen. Sigh!

(this review sans the postscript appears on nowrunning dot com)    

Review: BA PASS 2

Not Qualified For Anything? Become A Bollywood Star!


1.75 stars


Mini Review:


An arts graduate needs to prove to her father that marriage isn’t everything and she moves to Bombay. She meets really nice people who help her find her feet in modeling, tv and films. But she’s not good at anything. And neither is she willing to work hard. Soon reality catches up with her. The premise is good, but the film goes all over the place.


Main Review:


Have you ever found a bunch of wires and phone chargers entangled so much that it is a smarter decision to simply throw it all away than try and un-entangle it? Well, this film is somewhat like the jumbled up wires. Instead of watching the plot points come together as a story, you don’t know why all characters fall apart one by one.


Kritika Sachdeva plays Neha from Bhopal who has graduated in English Literature, and her stern dad (Saurabh Dubey) wants her to get married to an NRI groom. But Neha is wary of marriage because her sister’s is broken and she lives with her child at home. The mother does not have much of a role except make tea for the husband. It’s a well-to-do family, and they let Neha go to Bombay, the city of dreams, to figure out what she wants to do in her life.


A real-estate chap Vijay (played by Sasho), brings her to a plush apartment, saying, ‘This is temporary’. He asks her where she works. Neha laughs and replies, ‘I’m not qualified for anything!’


That laugh shows up in many more inappropriate scenes. Vijay is an optimist. He says, ‘You are beautiful. You could be a model or an actress. Many people come to Bombay and get a break if they work hard.’


He introduces Neha to Manorama, a cigarette-smoking (their moralistic characterization) lady who indulges in casting-couch tactics with young men and ‘introduces’ young women to sleazy producers and rich men.


Neha takes a liking to a smart young man (Aarav Chowdhary) who has been a model and an actor, and says he will help her if she worked hard. She gets a commercial thanks to his recommendation, but turns out that she just cannot pronounce a simple word like ‘Tvacha’ (skin) right. She loses the chance here.


Neha begins to take a romantic interest in Aarav and then she and Manorama laugh hysterically because he turns out to be gay. And before you wonder why they would laugh or why his character had to be gay, you are dragged through a rich man (Indraneil Sengupta) who falls for her, decides to cast her first in a TV show where she is a disaster, and then in a movie, where she is happier seducing him (in a sports bra! Bleaaarghh!) than working. When he asks her why she’s not working hard, she just behaves like she’s some diva.


The audience is so befuddled, they wonder why she’s so entitled. Suddenly from the sleazy casting couch lady, Manorama turns out to be a reluctant mother who could be suffering from a cyst, and turns into an almost servant to Neha, living in her home, being treated like trash by Neha.


Oh yes, there is copious amounts of alcohol being consumed because life is so unfair, and daddy keep saying, ‘Disgusting!’ with every loss of face he suffers as their neighbors comment on Neha’s life. You facepalm when you see Neha get married to the seemingly decent Vijay one drunken night and Vijay then turns out to be a psycho. Wait, what? Is the story changing? It’s over two hours, and you are happy when the psycho slaps her hard. When the camera shows you a bottle of drainex in the corner prominently, you know how the film will end.



(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Review: DADDY


The Reluctant Gangster


3 Stars

Mini Review:

The king of Dagdi Chawl is Arun Gulab Gawli. God to the people around him and a gangster to the cops of Bombay. Brilliantly shot, the film gives us a great insight into the gangs that ruled Bombay during the seventies and eighties. The biopic of the reluctant gangster who managed to eliminate the other gangs, earn a reputation and respect of his gang, and win an election. In 135 minutes the movie crams a whole life and even though it is the biopic of a gangster, you don’t like the cops chasing him either. A decent watch.

Main Review:

Arjun Rampal, once reviled as a man with a wooden face, manages to give a marvelous performance of the quiet gangster who was reluctant to first, become a baddie, and second makes the best of the situation when the mantle of ‘boss’ is thrust upon him. Since he is quiet, he observes. And in his observation he manages to catch those who betray.

This is a tale of cops and gangsters and you watch in awe because they manage to capture the look and the feel of the era brilliantly. Arjun Rampal plays Arun Gawli, who is pursued relentlessly by the cop Vijaykar (played marvelously by Nishikant Kamat). We watch Arun the chawl lad get dragged into a life of petty crime by his friends Babu Reshim, Rama Naik and Vijay. As they learn to make their first kill, and steal money off Matka scammers, they get an invite from the Bhai from Dongri.

Even if you have no idea of the hierarchy of Bombay gangsters, you know that the Bhai is someone really bad. The four friends show up at Bhai’s home, and see only a little bit of him. Those in the know about crime families of Bombay, will know and see the incredible likeness of Dawood in Farhan Akhtar, who plays Bhai. While everyone is willing to take the pennies offered on the dollar they steal it is Arun Gawli who refuses to bow down. If they are going to steal and kill the men who cross Bhai, then they should be given adequate compensation, and even be treated as partners and minions, says Arun. That is how his life in crime begins.

There are guns and molls and betrayals and sex and violence. But it is surprising that you don’t flinch, not even once at the violence on the screen. You are not put off even when a man is being stabbed again and again and when a bad gangster is being bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

The transformation of the quiet lad into a gangster is amazing and Arjun Rampal has done a great job. The mood and the feel of the film is visceral, and you can feel the cramped spaces in the chawl. You also understand why he wears the white of the politician and wears it well. There is also a brilliant character of lawyer and friend called Sada (played with sass by Shrikant Yadav). Even though he enters late into the film, you like him instantly. You begin to care about what happens to him, and when the events avalanche, you realise you have found empathy.

The movie feels like they have crammed too many things into the movie, but you know that the filmmaker is being clever by not giving you time to think. There is action, action and more action, even though Gawli himself is laconic and deliberate. This film is different (and is not just the strange prosthetic nose which makes the gorgeous Arjun Rampal look scary) and you will enjoy the difference.

(the review appears on nowrunning dot com)

 

Review: POSTER BOYS

Hyuck! Hyuck! Groan! Hahaha Heeheehee! Groan!


2 stars


Mini Review:


A remake of the Marathi film with the same name (it’s ‘Poshter Boys’), Shreyas Talpade take the story to a North Indian town called Jamgheti and adds a whole lot of silliness that is enjoyable. Three men from the village are featured on the government poster on the vasectomy program without their knowledge and it causes huge confusion and trouble for the three men. The comedy of errors gets really funny in places, and sags in others. It makes for a one time watch.


Main Review:


Sunny Deol of the ‘Dhai Kilo Ka Haath’ fame is Jagaavar Singh, a retired armyman, getting ready to get his sister engaged to a suitable family, when the father of the groom calls the engagement off claiming an ‘insult to honor’.


Bobby Deol is Vinay Sharma ‘Masterji’, teaches at a local school, and troubled and puzzled at his wife who wants a male child because ‘a boy carries the family name forward’ and suddenly dumps their two daughters on him and leaves him.


Shreyas Talpade is Arjun Singh is a local debt collector who wanders about with two violent sidekicks, threatening to beat up people if they did not pay up. The two sidekicks are really funny, and the trio is dressed in the most weird clothes (shiny glittery fake Ed Hardy type tees) and Arjun gets to wear the oddest jackets (a Michael Jackson poster pays tribute and we know about his choice of clothes). He’s in love with Riya, and his parents meet her family, but Riya’s father unexpectedly begins to yell at Arjun saying, ‘Why do you want to get married, you’re a gun without bullets…’


The three men realise that their photos have been photoshopped on a government poster on vasectomy.


The fun begins when they have to figure out why everyone in town is laughing at them. Initially the ‘gun without bullets’ metaphors get a tad grating, but the fun is how each man reacts to the situation. The fun is knowing the movies the actors have starred in: Bobby Deol’s phone ringtone is the title song from his film ‘Soldier’, Sunny Deol faces a baddie called Balwant Rai, who has a sidekick, and the famous dialog from ‘Ghayal’ is used really really well. Shreyas Talpade has the funniest ringtone ever:  a song where the lyrics are something like ‘I was missing you so i dialled my phone, I am your ice cream, you are my cone’…


But the best, the funniest role goes to Ashwini Kalsekar who plays a gynaecologist. She has the most spontaneous funny parts in the film. The others have to bank on their previous films and clothes (you will want to dress your whole family in the cute cat nightwear the way Bobby Deol and his family wears!). Ashwini Kalsekar has the funniest bits of the film, beginning with ‘Where have I seen you?’


The story takes you giggling to its most weird end, but it would be a shame to explain the situational comedy of men who have low sugar being threatened to be buried in a sugarcane farm, crowds chanting, ‘let him go!’ and the man pleading, ‘No, please don’t let me go!’


The comedy is not highbrow, but everyone has awesome comic timing. Go for the laughs. Be silly.


(the review appears on nowrunning dot com)

 

Review: MR. KABAADI

Junk Or Shit? Both Descriptions Would Be Apt.


1 star


Mini Review:


Om Puri, Annu Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Brijendra Kala and Sarika come together in a film about shit and junk and despite their collective talent, the film is could be described as either. It is about junk collectors called Kabaadi wallahs who become rich by investing some inheritance into public toilets. The essence of the film: respecting your work, no matter how lowbrow gets lost in the sounds of diarrhoea, farts and jokes on shit. This film is so lowbrow you should hold your nose and step away from it. What a shame.


Main Review:


If you wish to gawp at usually decent actors (award winning even) at their worst, hamming and farting and crapping on the screen then this film is for you. The language is a tad confusing, they speak in the manner of people in Bhopal do (aa riya hai, jaa riya hai), but they’re located in Lucknow. Even if you agree that Bhopali people could be living elsewhere, and their accent and manner of speech would be confused (is it Punjabi?). But their speech is the last thing you’d worry about. The bigger problem is that the film is visually mind-numbing.


Except for Sarika, you see each of the famous actors in the loo, with their pants down, from a camera set above their heads. And the once svelte Sarika, making up the vomit-at-sight scenes by the men in the film makes it up by saying ‘Tattiyaan’ (shitter/shit) again and again to make everyone cringe.


So Kallu Kabaadi’s (Annu Kapoor in the most disgusting ‘wannabe rich’ role) tale of wanting to rise up above the scum of junk is told by Channu Khan Surma or Suhaagraat wala itarwale – Om Puri with kohl lined eyes, hot pink hair, moustache and beard and a waistcoat with hearts made with glitter – who plays the ‘sootradhaar’ (storyteller or narrator). If you get over the bizarre get up, you begin to puke at Sarika spitting tooth powder everywhere in the bungalow they move into after an inheritance. No? Then there’s Vinay Pathak, who for some reason tends to cross his eyes when the camera is on him (accompanied by a comic sound). If the filmmaker wants to say that you cannot buy class even though you move into a posh bungalow with a swimming pool, they show them washing clothes…


The family owns public toilets, but tell everyone they own a chain of restaurants, and each time people ask them what is the best dish they serve, someone says, ‘Whatever goes in, is served in our restaurants.’


The victims of this film isn’t the audience, but the young lad (rather presentable, but what a sad debut), his love interest and his sister. The sister is in love with a lad from the North-east of India (people from that part tend to have Asian features) and to our collective horror, not only is he called Chinese, but the background music begins to imitates Chinese song.


There’s more, the fine actor Brijendra Kala is reduced to saying ghastly casteist things, stopping his daughter and yes, he’s shown taking a dump too. The movie is produced by Anup Jalota who is known for his bhajans (religious songs) but this film is so godless and humorless you begin to find junkyard shots better than the people.


There’s not a single frame that makes you think this film could have been redeemed, or that it is a fitting finale film for Om Puri, who is no more. The final nail in this proverbial tale of shitty coffin is Vinay Pathak who asks his family to save water: ‘Everyone in the family should do their business in the same potty, and then flush once.’ Enough said.


(the review appears on nowrunning dot com)

Close