Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – A Review

Sooraj Barjatiya reunites with Salman Khan in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo this time wooing Sonam Kapoor. Barjatiya and Salman have had a very successful run at the box office with movies that were milestones in Bollywood with Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hai. Barjatiya movies aren’t known for their path breaking storytelling or film making – he is known for his wholesome family friendly albeit slightly cheesy song and dance filled capers.  But then again Barjatiya also made the dastardly Mein Prem Ki Deewani Hoon.

With PRDP we are introduced to the Ram Leela actor Prem Dilwale who is the epitome of the typically Sanskaari Prem that we have come to expect from the Barjatiya camp. He is besotted by Princess Maithili who he saw once when she came in a helicopter to a flood relief camp nearly blowing off all the tents that were created on the banks of a river. Yep logic is nowhere to be found in this movie but bear with – maybe the earnestness that seems to have suddenly possessed Salman may help us tide over this minor mis-giving.  Enter Princess Maithili aka Sonam Kapoor.

Sonam Kapoor is pretty as a picture all through the movie – the self-proclaimed fashion icon dons many a beautiful looks. But Sonam Kapoor’s acting skills are non-existent.  Her eyebrows seem to have a life of their own and seem to doing all the acting for her. Sonam’s face seems to be permanently stuck in a worrisome look. Her lackluster dialogue delivery compounds the problem.  Speaking of pretty faces there is the actor with three names and zero talent – Neil Nitin Mukesh. His role in the entire enterprise isn’t exactly clear. Then there is the evil scheming Armaan Kohli who plays the estate’s CEO which is as absurd as it sounds.  Anupam Kher plays the trust worthy diwan of the royal family and carries the entire burden of the old and wise that was usually shared by Him, Alok Nath and Reema Lagoo.

Sooraj Barjatiya was all about a huge ensemble cast with simple stories which would be told with a firmly grounded moral compass which often veered very close to male chauvinism but still managed to pull it off. He was never the big set pieces and opulence guy and his attempt at the same this time around seems halfhearted with no real thought being put in to the outfits for most of the male cast. It seems like Ajay Arvindbhai Khatri regurgitated all over the cast with clothes that are on the clearance rack.  What Barjatiya manages well is the music – the songs are all memorable and hummable. But their dance sequences leave a lot to be desired. While Jalte Diye is a beautiful song the song sequence which tries to marry the Mughal-e-Azam scene with the feather with the color scheme of Chand Chupa Badal mein falls flat and it doesn’t help that Sonam lacks the sensuality of either Madhubala or Aishwarya.

Salman Khan tries his hardest to infuse some fun with his role of a simple village bumpkin pretending to be a prince trying to woo a princess while working to uncover the sinister plot that put him in this predicament in the first place.  The whole climax at the sheesh mahal seems pointless and completely out of place in a Barjatiya movie. The second half of movie seems to be entirely unnecessary just as the football match before the intermission.

Memorable songs, an earnest Salman make this a slightly enjoyable time spent at the cinema but it by no means is a movie I have any inclination to revisit this movie unlike other Barjatiya capers.

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Singham Returns – A Review

 Rohit Shetty directs Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor Khan in Singham Returns would be an overstatement as he doesn’t do much directing but instead decides which corny dialogue to be delivered in the worst possible way by which of his comically stereotyped characters along with which of India’s social woes as the background.

Not having seen the 2011 blockbuster Singham, but having heard rave reviews about the same and also having been recently enjoyed the guilt trip that was Kick I decided to give this one a try. Very few movies have the ability to make me feel physically sick and Singham Returns manages to do just that. The only actor not hamming it is Anupam Kher who decides very early on that this is too messy even for him to be a part of and decides to off himself.

Amol Gupte who is quickly losing all credibility as an actor (and a director) plays a nirmal-baba like character who needs a few laxatives thrown in with his mugs of beer because he seems severely constipated while trying to deliver lines that give Anu Malik’s shayaris a run for its money in terms of how badly constructed they are. Zakir Hussain as Prakash Rao is ridiculously caricatured politician who verbalizes every thought that crosses the peas in his head that he calls brain. Ashwini Kalsekar as the Barkha Dutt wannabe journo with a penchant for being as loud and intolerable as Arnab Goswami has more of a role to play in the movie than Kareena Kapoor Khan but is in equal parts annoying. Speaking of Kareena Kapoor Khan the superstar who can only be afforded by masala blockbusters; she has played the same annoying character in numerous other outings and the results are entirely banal. KKK (if your brain grey matter is the racial minority then Kareena Kapoor Khan is the violent assault on it) has lost the size zero look, the pout and all semblance of being a perfect bimbo which is what got her so far – she literally has nothing going for her here – might as well retire to the Pataudi Palace.

Ajay Devgn shows signs of being a tolerable actor when he looks all grim and speaks minimally but then loses all his marbles the minute he has to do his signature “aata maazi satakli” and other moves. He is ridiculous. Mahesh Manjarekar does the impossible – in this ham-fest he rises above and refuses to ham and comes off looking as the better actor amongst all. The only redemption to be found is towards the end where Dayanand Shetty AKA Daya-the-darwaza-todoing-expert is asked to break the doors down – I’ll admit I clapped.

Daya Breaking Doors in Singham Returns 3

Rohit Shetty tries to make a bullet point presentation of all of India’s woes and all of the current affairs news blimps :

  • Corruption in the political system
  • Communal tensions
  • Black Money
  • Introduction of fresh blood in politics inspired by a saintly figure hell-bent on fixing points 1 & 3
  • Judicial impotence
  • Media overreach

The one news item he misses out on is that of sexual assault – but he achieves that by assaulting the audiences’ intelligence in the most horrific of ways.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that there is absolutely no reason why you should want to go watch this movie. There is nothing to be gained by subjecting yourselves to such an unevolved attempt at movie making. If you need alternative ways to kill time consider these : watch kick instead, watch CID on TV Daya breaks more doors there, Knit – winter’s coming or at least it feels so here.

Chashme Baddoor – A Reivew

Fiurst-Look-Poster-Chashme-BaddoorDavid Dhawan the maker of all the No.1s with Govinda returns to Bollywood after a long hiatus with his attempt at remaking the classic Chashme Baddoor and it appears the laziness in the remake isn’t limited to the unoriginal title.

Not having seen the original which everyone who I spoke to remembers fondly I went in as a blank slate ready to be transported to the typically David Dhawanian utopia where pelvic thrusts are a professional qualification second to none. In that aspect I wasn’t disappointed there are pelvic thrusts and then some and most of them come courtesy Siddharth who plays the wannabe actor Jai

Pelvic thrusts aside there is very little that is reminiscent of the David Dhawan of the past. Dhawan specializes in mass-appeal, loud, self-deprecating humor that is at times annoying but mostly enjoyable fare with not a lot of grey-cell workout required.

The three friends are played by Ali Zafar, Siddharth, and Divyendu Sharma and object of their affection is played by newcomer Tapsee Pannu. Ali Zafar who ruined a perfectly enjoyable “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” is relentless in his endeavor of ruining another movie here. For someone as good looking and talented (in my books if you can sing you are talented) he is wooden and unlikeable in every shape and form as Sid. He tries to channel everyone from shah rukh khan to dev anand and the end result is less than successful. Divyendu who shot to fame with his angst-ridden Nishant in Pyaar ka Panchnama is equally annoying as the shayaari spewing Omi. Neither of his 50000000 Shayaaris is funny. The southern superstar Siddharth who garnered favorable reviews in Rang De Basanti manages to expunge the last of the carried forward good-will with this role. New-comer Tapsee is thinned down version of Zarine Khan in both size and talent and that is saying something for Tapsee’s talent as Zarine is practically size-zero in the talent department. Everything is loud and crass and thoughtless.

Why does Anupam Kher do movies like these? There are surely better things that are offered to him as the premiere character actor of Bollywood but for every Wednesday he does another 50 Chashme Baddoor. Here in a double role which serves no purpose he is doubly wasted. The only bit of charm and genuine warmth to be sought comes from Rishi Kapoor and Lillette Dubey as the past-prime singletons they are charming in the limited time they spend on screen but again it begs the question what purpose do these characters serve other than the mandatory Chamko reference which also seems as out of place as the hair-do on Zafar’s head during the final song.

Speaking of the music – it is mostly unintelligent noise which assaults your eardrums with the power of a super-sonic jet. The editing is non-existent and the entire movie seems like a giant puzzle which a 2 year old put together trying to force pieces where they don’t belong. Continuity is left in the cold storage on the same shelf as coherence and consciousness – sample this – in each of the flashbacks – the girl’s clothes don’t change but the guys are all wearing different outfits, as the forlorn lover when Zafar walks in with a bottle of alcohol it is clearly a screw-top bottle but when they pop it its magically turned into a bottle of champagne.

The anti-Tobacco PSA which played at the starting of the movie and during the intermission were more enjoyable than the entire movie and that is the final insult I can hurl at this waste of time and money.