Aa Dekhen Zara: The title says it all

March 27, 2009


Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bipasha Basu, Rahul Dev, Sophie Choudhary, Bobby Vats, Shrivas Nydu, Deepak Dhariwal, Biswajeet Chatterjee, Sameer Siddiqui

Producer: Viki Rajani

Director: Jehangir Surti

The peppy dance number from Sanjay Dutt’s debut film Rocky lends its name to Neil Nitin Mukesh’s second film – Aa Dekhen Zara. The pair of Neil Nitin Mukesh and sexy Bong bomb Bipasha Basu will be seen on the screen for the very first time in Jehangir Surti’s venture. Produced by Viki Rajani, the film is launched under the banner of Eros International.

The story of ‘Aa Dekhen Zara’ revolves around the life of Ray Acharya (played by Neil Nitin Mukesh). Ray is a photographer by profession and is struggling to establish his name and identity. Nothing seems to go in the right direction for him, until he comes across a ‘special’ camera which he inherits from his grandfather. The camera is ‘magical’ and adds the missing ‘luck’ factor in his life.

The camera brings an overnight transformation in Ray’s destiny. From being an ordinary guy, Ray turns into someone who has loads of money and power. The camera also helps him meet the love of his life, Simi (played by Bipasha Basu). Simi is a DJ by profession. She believes in doing what she wants and allows no one to dictate her life.

Life is going on smooth for Ray, but it doesn’t take long for the greedy conmen to arrive at his doorstep, desperate to lay their hands on the magical camera. But that is not all, Ray feels that he can escape the shooter (played by Rahul Dev) and the corrupt RAW agents, but how will he escape the camera’s prediction of his all-black future.

The concept of the movie is smart and new and Jehangir Surti has done a good job. Jehangir is able to maintain the thrill of the plot till the end of the movie. He is also able to make his characters enact what their roles demand. Moreover, all the characters are well-suited in their respective roles. Neil, who had already grabbed eyeballs in his debut venture, Johnny Gaddar, once again displays charm and an effortless grace before the camera. And Bipasha too is excellent in her acting.

The music of the movie is catchy and innovative. It will make you sit up and take notice of the composition. What adds to the score of the move is that Neil Nitin Mukesh also exercises his vocal chords. He lives up to legacies of his predecessor’s in rip-roaring title track ”Aa Dekhen Zara”.


Aloo Chat:Old wine in new bottle

March 20, 2009


Cast: Aftab Shivdasani, Aamna Shariff, Linda Arsenio, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Manoj Pahwa, Dolly Ahluwalia, Meenakshi,Sanjay Mishra

Producer: Anuj Saxena, A. P. Parigi, Gary S

Director: Robby Grewal

Music Director: Samirrudin, Rdb

The movie Aloo chat has all the ingredients of a perfect masala movie. Directed by Robby Grewal, the movie offers a liberal dose of fun and laughter, but at the same time leaves a pertinent question regarding discrimination of people on the basis of caste and creed.

The film, set in Delhi, has all the trappings of a middle class Punjabi household. Nikhil (played by Aftab Shivdasani) belongs to an orthodox Punjabi family. He falls in love with a Muslim girl Aamna (played by Aamna Shariff — Madhuri Dixit of the small screen) while studying in US. On his vacation back home, Nikhil is in a fix about how to disclose the truth to his family of having fallen in love with a Muslim girl.

His family comprises a ‘generation gap’ father, Purshottam (played by the seasoned actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda), his typical housewife mom Seeto (played by Meenakshi), a grandma “Beeji” (played by Dolly Ahluwalia) and an overenthusiastic uncle Chaddami (played by Sanjay Mishra).

Nikhil, finally seeks help from his father’s best friend Hakim (played by Manoj Pahwa), a sexologist by profession. Hakim devises a smart plan with the help of an American girl Nikki’s (played by Linda).

Director Robby Grewal deserves a huge applause for his treatment of the subject and his narrative structure. Even though the subject is not novel, he has treated it in a witty manner. As a reason, the film is devoid of the Bollywood melodrama. The witty one-liners in the movie make it interesting from the first till the last frame. Some subtle messages are nicely incorporated within the film.

The actors in the film have also suited their characters perfectly well. Aftab is successful in showing his natural flair for comedy. A big name on the Indian television, Aamna Shariff is looking very beautiful in the movie and manages to pull off her character well. Even though Kulbhushan Kharbanda plays a serious character, sometimes even his expressions have you in splits.


Straight and loving it

March 20, 2009


Cast: Vinay Pathak,Gul Panag,Siddharth Makkar,Achla Sachdev,Daman Baggan,Ketaki Dave,Anuj Chaudhary,Rasik Dave

Producer: Shripal Morakhia, Charlotte Wontner

Director: Parvathi Balgopalan

Music Director: Sagar Desai

Parvati Balgopalan who gave us the delightful romantic comedy, Rules-Pyar Ka Superhit Formula has now come up with the movie Straight. Produced by Shripal Morakhia and Charlotte Wontner, Straight is not another Dostana. In fact, it is the story of a man who discovers a totally new fear in his life – he might be a Gay.

Straight’ has been set against the backdrop of central London, where Pinu — a Londoner of Indian origin — (played by Vinay Pathak) successfully runs an Indian restaurant – ‘Gaylord’. A very simple man at heart, Pinu is happy with his life. However, Pinu is devoid of any real friends as no one can understand him. And Pinu always looked upon Rajat, (played by Siddharth Makkar) his foster brother, for advice.

One fine day, a stand up comic artist, Kamlesh ( played by Anuj Choudhary ) lands up at Pinu’s restaurant. Pinu hires him as a cook who can also do a stand up comic act to entertain the guests. Also, the very same day, Pinu hires Renu (Gul Panag) as the hotel’s cashier. These two new employees change things for the better for Pinu and his business starts soaring.

The three of them become very good friends and start hanging out together. Just when everything was going right for Pinu, certain situations make him believe that he might actually be having Gay leanings. In a daze now, he looks upon Rajat for advice. Rajat advices him to have fun with a woman. Now, Pinu has a new mission in his life – finding a woman for him. All the hell breaks loose and Pinu ends up getting involved in many tragicomic situations, one after the other.

Parvati has done a good job. She efficiently handles the comic portions and keeps the narrative engaging. Vinay once again manages to capture the attention of the audience. Gul Panag looks extremely hot and puts in a good performance. Newcomers, Anuj Choudhary and Siddharth Makkar are also good in the movie. Real life couple, Rasik and Ketki Dave are a fun to watch.

Music director, Sagar Desai has composed a peppy score for Straight. The film’s peppy lyrics and catchy chorus sets the movie apart from other Hindi movies.


Gulal: A vibrant mix of emotions

March 13, 2009


Star rating:

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Shrivastava, Piyush Mishra, Deepak Dobriyal, Ayesha Mohan

Producer: Zee Limelight

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Music Director: Piyush Mishra

Lyricist: Piyush Mishra

After making films like No Smoking and Dev D, director, Anurag Kashyap has come up with the movie Gulal. The movie can be related extremely well with today’s youth. Gulal is based on the current political system of the country. Though, there have been a number of movies based on the political system, such as Gangajal, Mrityudand and many other, Gulal is different because it targets the political system of Rajasthan, unlike its counterparts which are based on the political system of states like Bihar or Uttar Pradesh.

Gulal, the socio-political film is a story about the member of a royal family who stakes claim to his land in Rajasthan. The story of the movie revolves around Dilip Singh, (played by the debutant actor Raj Singh Chaudhary) a member of a royal family who comes to Rajpur to study law. He, however, gets embroiled into local politics. Dukey Bana (played by one of the finest actors of Bollywood, KK Menon) is one of the protagonists who masterminds a Rajputana movement in order to have a separate state ruled by Rajputs. He compels Dilip to contest in the college elections and makes him win. Later, they plan for a revolution, challenging the democracy.

Bollywood gets, yet another talented actor in Raj Singh Chaudhari. He is also the co-writer of the film. The acting of Kay Kay Menon is simply superb. His expressions in the film do most of the talking. Another show stealer is Deepak Dobriyal who plays his loyal assistant in the film. Mahie Gill also showcases tremendous screen presence.

While making this much awaited film, Anurag has undertaken an extensive research on the history of Rajputs and their stories of the formation of Republic India. He spent a lot of time with the royals of Jaipur and read history from Sharda Dwivedi to Romila Thapar to the Patiala Report to pen down the story of Gulal. Gulal is also Anurag’s tribute to poets like Sahir Ludhianvi’s and others who wrote aspiring and inspirational poems.

Extremely well directed, the movie consists of sarcastic one liners, making it hard hitting. Besides, the music of the movie is a perfect blend of hard hitting lyrics and melodious tunes. It is the film’s lyrics and music that make the film an extraordinary experience.


13 B: Vikram K Kumar Succeeds in Scaring You With His Spooky Story

March 7, 2009


Star rating: 

Cast: R Madhavan, Neetu Chandra, Sachin Khedekar, Murli Sharma, Poonam Dhillon

Director: Vikram K. Kumar

Music Director: Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca

Cinematographer: H Laxminarayan, P.C. Sriram

Editor: Sreekar Prasad

13 B is one of the most intelligently made thrillers in the recent times. With the title of the film focusing on a number considered ominous, the movie builds a scary premise right from the very beginning. Directed by the debutant director, Vikram K Kumar, a National Award winner for his short film, Silent Scream, this bilingual movie is released in Hindi as 13B and as Yaavarum Nalam in Tamil.

Contrary to most Ramsays (who hold the horror genre monopoly) movies who scare through shabby masks, Sanskrit shlokas, and badly made-up ghosts, 13 B scores on many counts. The setting of the movie is very real and anyone staying in urban cities can identify with the script as it makes good use of every day life happenings. The urban story setting of the movie is similar to Ram Gopal Varma’s, Bhoot. The movie also depicts a family shifting into their new apartment, 13 B in a city high-rise. The big joint family comprises Manohar (played by R Madhavan, Hrithik Roshan of South), his wife (Neetu Chandra), mother (Poonam Dhillon), sister, bother, sister-in-law, and their kids.

From day one, Manohar experiences strange occurrences in the building, but keeps ignoring them until he happens to watch a daily afternoon soap on his TV that his family is hooked on. Soon he realizes that the script of the serial coincides with the screenplay of his life. The characters in the soap correspond to that of his family and the events of the show run parallel to his real life. Like most horror films, 13 B’s protagonist’s is not shown disbelieving in the supernatural. Rather, Manohar comes to terms with the horror in his house pretty soon and probes into the puzzling past. The end of the film is equally interesting.

Vikram V Kumar succeeds in offering the audience the right chills and thrills just when they do not expect them. Even things as simple as a lift and mobile phone are smartly used as a prop to scare the audience. This gripping thriller also succeeds in scaring the daylights out of the audience. The background music by Tubby-Parik succeeds in elevating the tension.

The film is a must see for Madhavan’s superb act. He brilliantly conveys the dilemma that he faces and his vulnerability in handling the bizarre situations around him. Neetu Chandra in a less make up look gives him good support. Poonam Dhillon, who has made comeback after over a decade, is good too. The music of the movie by none other than the trio: Shankar, Ehasaan, and Loy, also offers a wide variety. The item number ‘Oh Sexy Mama’ not only catches the attention, but also maintains a dark and edgy touch to suit the theme of the movie. 13B promises big entertainment and is successful in keeping you glued to your seat.


Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge: Made To Be A Flopbuster

March 6, 2009


Star rating:

Cast: Kunal Khemu, Paresh Kumar, Soha Ali Khan, Zayed Khan, Sonu Sood, Deepal Shaw, Johny Lever, Asrani, Razzak Khan, Avtar Gill

Producer: Ronnie Screwvala

Director: Umesh Shukla

Music Director: Sajid, Wajid

Lyricist: Jalees Sherwani, Shabbir Ahmed

Following the footsteps of the movie ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, which introduced the concept of movies based on swindles and cons, is the movie Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge. Directed by Omesh Shukla, the movie is produced by Ronnie Screwvala and is released under the banner ‘ UTV Spot Boy’.

The con of the movie is very simple. Anand Pawar (played by Kunal Khemu, who is still trying to find a foot hold in the industry) and Raj Chopra (played by the comedy king Paresh Rawal) look forward to become millionaires in the shortest time possible and so they raise Rs 100 crores from various financers to make a movie in a budget of mere 5 crores only. They wanted the film to be so pathetic that it gets chucked out from the theaters on the very first day and is termed as one of the biggest flops ever made in the Bollywood. And, once it so happens, they would run away with the remaining 95 crores.

In order to make a flopbuster, they rope in Aryan Kapoor (Sonu Sood) as the lead actor, and Parvez Asharraf (Johny Lever), a Pro-Pakistan person, is hired as the writer. However, somewhere down the line, Anand becomes greedy enough to cheat on his own girlfriend Neha Chattopadhayay (Soha Ali Khan), a small time theatre actress, by casting her as the main lead in his film to get her over the acting bug. However, the premier show, which was supposed to be a tryst with tomatoes and eggs, turns out to be a heavily applauded affair. Audience get to have a hearty laugh at the ungodly mix of Sholay, Gadar and Lagaan.

Director, Omesh Shukla has managed to carry out the spoofs quite convincingly, and the actors have done their best to capture the expression and style of the original actors. The movie offers a much needed break from the stress and strains of out daily lives.

The movie Dhoondte Reh Jaoge offers few comic numbers that would keep popping up through the narrative. Sajid-Wajid kick start the album with the title song Dhoondte Reh Jaoge. This is the best song in the album and does boast of a fun quotient. The lyrics of the film has been provided by Jalees Sherwani and Shabbir Ahmed. The song has been composed in a style that is synonymous to that of Lakshmikant-Pyaarelal.


Slumdog Millionaire Sweeping the 81st Oscars

February 27, 2009

Oscar Award

The 81st Oscar Academy Award ceremony was special for all Indians. The first reason was that Slumdog Millionaire, based on Mumbai’s Dharavi-Asia’s largest slum, was the major contender for the Oscars. Most of the star cast of this globally acclaimed movie were Indians, including its leading lady, Freida Pinto. The second obvious reason was the 10 nominations for this film at the Oscars, which include 3 Indians-A.R Rahman, Gulzar, and Resul Pookutty. On the morning of 23rd February, India rejoiced at Slumdog Millionaire’s win at the 81st Oscars. Bagging 8 Oscars, the film turned the global spotlight on the talent of Bollywood.

The person who made us proud the most was none other than A.R Rehman. This music maestro from Chennai bagged two Oscars- one came for the best music score and the second for the best song “Jai Ho” which he shared with the lyricist Gulzar. Although, Rehman is one of the world’s best-selling recording artists, his win at the Oscars will take the Indian music on the international stage even more prominently than before. Another Indian who made us proud the same day was Resul Pookutty who won the Oscar for the best sound mixing. His win further emphasized the fact that there is no dearth of talent in Bollywood. If given a chance, Bollywood too can make a deep impact on the whole world.

The global acknowledgment of the excellence with which Slumdog Millionaire has been made changed the lives of all the people associated with the film. While Anil Kapoor and Irfan Khan walked the red carpet at Oscars for the first time in their lives, the leading lady, Frieda Pinto got the opportunity to be the cover girl of Vogue Magazine. Labeled as the new style sensation, she has also bagged a role in Woody Allen’s next film. The success of the film also changed the lives of two child artists- Azharuddin Ismail and Rubiana Ali Qureshi. Both, presently, live in Garib Nagar Slum, an area surrounded by open sewage, rubbish and narrow alleys of shanty homes. While Rubina lives in a small room, Azhar lives with his family in a makeshift cloth shelter. They both can now hope for a better living as the Maharashtrian Government is planning to give them apartments from a specially reserved batch of government properties.

However, the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars may prove to be a threat for the Bollywood producers. Like Danny Boyle and Christian Colson, there are many big Hollywood production companies that have already expressed their eagerness to make films in India. The presence of extraordinary talent coupled with low cost may prompt many international producers to try their luck in India. This could be a major blow to the Indian producers who may not be able to shell out as much money as their counterparts.