Posts Tagged ‘Abhishek Bacchan’

 With the World Cup holding back Bollywood releases, and nothing decent coming out thereafter too (I safely passed the ThankYous and the Faltus!), the storyline of Dum Maro Dum was tempting enough to go back to the cinema house after a long time. And I was glad that it turned out to be decent fare, after all.

Rohan Sippy, the new gen Sippy, has been making reasonably good cinema, although nothing close to iconic status just yet. So I guess, he’d be among the good young directors of today, but not quite in the class of a Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra or a Raju Hirani or Farhan Akhtar.

And Dum Maro Dum again fits into that slot. A good movie. You’d feel like money well spent. But not something that would get into any all-time top 100 lists or anything of that sort 🙂

The story is set in Goa, in the backdrop of the drug mafia, international drug cartels operating there, and about how innocents have been getting trapped into becoming unwilling carriers!

Abhishek playing the Inspector on special duty, with full powers to clean up Goa, off the drug menace, does a credible job. The film have a good pace. There are things happening all the time. Few characters are introduced, and their stories are told well.

Assuming the story comes with good research, it tells a worrying tale of how Goa has been made into drug heaven, along with its sun and the sea, especially by foreigners.

The music is very typically Pritam, and suits the story well.

Bipasha Basu and Prateik have small roles, and they do good justice to those. Aditya Pancholi makes a come back as the bad man! And looks like the part!

Abhishek finally has a good performance, and for his sake, I also hope the film does well. He needs that little bit of luck now!

Rana Daggubati got more pre-release publicity for his Bipasha connection, and not as much for his acting. Just as well. He is okay. In a role where we could have seen him do a lot better, he does an okay job. Not perfectly convincing.

And which brings me to Dum Maro Dum. The song. The item number performed by Deepika Padukone.

Well, the late R D Burman does not need to feel threatened about his legacy (not that THAT could EVER happen!). For that matter, Asha Bhosale or Zeenat Aman also have little to worry.

Dum Maro Dum will always till be about the original Hare Rama Hare Krishna!

The song depicted here, does not measure up.

Let’s consider Deepika first.

When in a dance number of this kind, the camera has to shake a lot to give the desired effect, it is obvious that the actor is not able to do her part, and the camera has to come to the rescue.

When shots are short, and there are more close ups, again, it is again only because she is NOT able to deliver long shots, and the camera finds it easier to show her face and body, rather than her dance moves.

They used to do this for Sunny Deol too.

Deepika Padukone seems to be belong to that same league. I guess, it was only for her glamour value, and in spite of not being such a good dancer, that they got her to do this dance, I suppose. And to that end, she might be just fine. But seriously, otherwise, the dance is nothing great.

Kareena, Mallika, Katrina, Priyanka.. can all do a far better job of shaking their hips and moving their legs, and looking good doing so, than Deepika!

All in all, Rohan Sippy has created a good film, and I would recommend that you see it.

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I have too much respect for Ashutosh Gowariker’s work, to let his latest film pass. I mean, he’s the one who gave us excellent films like Lagaan, Swades and Jodhaa Akbar. So I was keen to check out Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.

Which is why, when on the first weekend of the film, for a Sunday evening show, I found the theatre very sparsely filled, I realized that this one’s not working for him. At least at the box office.

And when in the first few minutes of the film, you see a two long pig tailed Deepika Padukone and her friend, singing a song, that looked like it came straight out of Ashok Kumar’s days (Ashok Kumar as a HERO, mind you!), I had my worst fears confirmed. That Ashutosh has probably got it wrong this time around. At least from the box office point of view. This is not going to work with today’s audience, for sure!

So before I write more about KHJJS, let’s take a quick peek at AG’s earlier work.

Lagaan was also a period film. BUT it had Aamir Khan’s magic. It had awesome music from A R Rahman (which was NOT period music!), and it had a sports story, where India beats England. This works! As a fictional piece of period movie, AG had the opportunity to use cricket for one, and let India win, for another. Those were great winning points, and which is where Lagaan went on to become the great hit that it became.

Swades was a great story too. Tugged the hearts of modern day India, and especially NRIs. SRK magic, this time. And it worked again.

Then came Jodhaa Akbar. Again a period film. Large scale sets. Phenomenal work by Hrithik and Aishwarya. Some romance, good songs again. All in all, impressive enough to score big. Very big.

Now coming to KHJJS, it is closer to Lagaan than any other of his previous work. But the story is real. Not that much drama (perhaps because it is real – you can dramatize fiction, but facts are to show!). And unfortunately, amongst all the actors AG has worked with, Abhishek is truly not in the same class. So the draw is not there, from the star’s point of view then.

The fact that it is a real story, one of the many in India’s struggle for independence, it is also a story where the Indian protagonist does NOT win (we don’t win, till we actually win in 1947 – all others were only attempts). So that is again what Indian audiences do not really like to see. Losing to the British!!

In the backdrop of these challenges – and I am sure AG would have appreciated these, even as he took on this project – it is a brave effort for AG to take on a story and a subject line of this kind. I would appreciate AG for this effort, then.

The story itself is amazing. From being a chapter in India’s long struggle for independence. A small city in Bengal, creating a serious revolt, with help of highly motivated school children and ladies. It was an outrageous attempt, in which they almost succeeded to win freedom, for that city at least! Would have been a fantastic victory.

Amongst other things, the film reinforced my respect for Bengalis, and their involvement in India’s freedom struggle. That the Bengali kids took umbrage in the British coming and taking over their football ground, and that hurt them so badly that they were willing to join the activists fighting for freedom, shows to me that character of Bengalis. One that takes no-nonsense, and fights for the things that they believe in!

Like I had mentioned after seeing The Japanese Wife, I love seeing the real small town India, its culture, its language, etc.  And especially Bengal. Like in case of The Japanese Wife, here too, it is a pleasure to see the life of old time, small-town Bengal. I especially loved all the names, with the typical Bengali sounds, and the general language itself, with its Bengali style.

I am not sure about the new new generation in India, for whom independence is far away. Whether they will appreciate this story or not. But we are the generation that did not have much TV in our childhood, history then was part of our entertainment dosage, especially the kind that was fed to us via Amar Chitra Kathas. For us, this story, a part of that Indian freedom struggle, should definitely be of interest.

I found the film to be thought provoking in that sense. Thoughts about how such revolutionaries emerged in various parts of the country. How the British abused power and gave birth to such rebellion. About the mind of a freedom fighter, and how he manages to rally people around him. How thankful we as a country are, to have had such rebellions, that ultimately created enough pressure, to lead us to our independence.

The film is long. Yes, AG falls too much in love with his work and his raw footage. And cannot make himself to cut out more of his work. And ends up making long films. This one is no exception. This could have been a little shorter though.

The music is purposely made to look old fashioned, like it is actually from the 1930s. That makes it tough for people to be attracted to it, today!

The support cast of the kids and other actors is fine. They do a sincere job.

The challenge is with the lead actors. Deepika does not have much to do. And she does not do it! She hangs around – she does not even have any seriously significant scenes, where she has to emote strongly!

Abhishek on the other hand, disappoints. In a good role, and a perfect platform to show his prowess. But he delivers a very average performance. He had a chance to showcase for example, how he has a magnetic effect and why followers throng to him. Well, followers do throng to him, but that is as per the story. We do not see why – he does not show us the reasons. In fact, he is very subdued. Even in crisis, when the entire band of his people are crestfallen, and have their heads hung down, he does not demonstrate any serious leadership, nor show the path and the hope for a better tomorrow.

Even if Surya Sen in real life was quiet, some dramatic liberties could have been taken here, by AG, and brought out the character to be a little more aggressive than what he has done here, with Abhishek.

In fact, to put it simply, and to compare, Hrithik had acted better with his face and head, in Guzaarish, than what Abhishek has done with his entire body, in this film!!

At this point, just to compare KHJJS with a classic from the same genre, in a way. Lets consider 1942, A Love Story. That was also set in the background of the Indian freedom struggle, but based in north India. The difference there was the fictional aspect, which allowed Vidhu Chopra to play around. To introduce the romance, the brilliant songs and music from R D Burman! And the great visuals of the hills. And most importantly, being fiction, it could again show a win, even if a limited type, against the British! Which liberty, a true story like KHJJS did not have.

With all that, for the lover of Indian history, for one to appreciate what our forefathers did and how they fought for us to get our independence, and for a generally decent film made by Ashutosh Gowariker, I would still recommend seeing it once!

The film has provoked my thoughts around freedom fighters in general, and I may share those in a separate post.

There are some great performers in Delhi 6 – on-screen and behind it too. Before sharing my impressions on the film itself, I thought I would touch upon these.

On screen, Abhishek has the longest role, of course. But there is nothing much to write about him and his role. I mean, he does a competent job, but no huge scenes, nothing fantastic, considering that he was the absolute and complete hero!

Sonam Kapoor had a small role. But she did that well. And also came out looking extremely pleasant on screen. I repeat myself when I say that she looks like the Juhi Chawla. Especially that effervescent smile of hers. So much like Juhi’s. I would love to see her in longer and meatier roles in future.

I noticed that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was born in the same year that I was born! I know a few people from our generation who have a Waheeda Rehman fixation. I don’t. But I know others who do. Perhaps Rakeysh has one too. Waheeda Rehman, for her age, puts in an extremely credible performance. She did that in Rang De Basanti too. I am sure she has maintained her health well, and she has put in hard work to execute the role.

Likewise, amongst the older folks who come for character roles every now and then, Rishi Kapoor is one who again manages to leave a mark, even in smaller roles. In Delhi 6, he has a very small role. And he does a good job of it again.

Three very talented actors make their presence felt in small essays here. Vijay Raaz (who can forget his Monsoon Weddings character?!), Divya Dutta and Atul Kulkarni. All of them have good characters written for them in Delhi 6, and perform well.

Om Puri, Supriya Pathak and others do a fair job.

Among the behind-the-scenes acts, there are 4 outstanding performers.

First of course, it’s the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself. I have paid a separate tribute to him. That he has also written the film makes for special mention. The heart of the film is in the writing. And more of it, when I cover the film itself. But suffice it to say that it is a great job of writing and direction that Mehra has done.

Then there is the cinematography of one of India’s best cinematographers, Binod Pradhan. Coming from the Vidhu Vinod Chopra stable, Binod has fabulous works like 1942 a Love Story, Mission Kashmir, Parinda, Devdas, Munnabhai MBBS, Rang De Basanti and others to his credit.

In Delhi 6 also, Binod leaves his magical touch. The camera panned across a nearly 360 degrees to capture the Friday prayers at the Jumma Masjid is breathtaking. Even the scenes capturing nightime life and lights in old Delhi are very well captured.

Then, there is lyricist Prasoon Joshi. Who comes up with some great lines once again. Considering his advertising industry exploits, he must rank as one of the most creative and talented persons in India. Period.

And of course, finally, you have to salute the master, A. R. Rahman. By tomorrow morning, he might have become an Oscar winner too (he has 3 nominations for Slumdog Millionaire, and the Oscars happen in about 12 hours from now). In Delhi 6, he delivers some great numbers.

The best and most hummable is Masakali. Check it out here:

My other two favorites are Rehna Tu and the title song, Delhi.. or Dilli.. whatever!

Rakeysh has managed to get some great performers together and they have delivered a fine result in terms of Delhi 6!!

While seeing Luck By Chance yesterday at the PVR Phoenix, there were two film trailers that I saw, Billu Barber and Dilli 6. The former releases next Friday. A Friday, the 13th release – wonder how that will affect its fortunes! The latter releases a week later on Feb 20th. A week’s gap is enough between two big releases, as really, the first 4-5 days are the defining days, to see if a movie succeeds or not.

Purely based on these previews, my call is that Billu Barber will be an average film and Dilli 6 will be another big winner.

Billu Barber comes from Shah Rukh Khan’s Red chillies entertainment. So the full force of the SRK publicity machinery is behind it. Also because of this reason, the film has been propped up (out of insecurity, I suspect) with a whole host of special appearances from stars.

When a film needs to do this, and then of course, give that little time and presence to these stars on the screen, it obviously deviates from the core story. Its a first indication to me that there isn’t enough core strength, and these props have become necessary to support the film. There is Irfan Khan, and he is an undoubted talent. So the film will rise and fall with him. The glamorous Lara Dutta has been ruralized to a village housewife. What a waste. None of the songs have stayed in my head. Priyadarshan, who loves to work with Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and the kind, has been given charge of this film. Might be out of place, to an extent. So an early prediction on this film is that it will be average, perhaps disappoint considering the extent of expectations.

And then there is Dilli 6. From the absolutely awesome talent which is Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra. The one who made the classic, Rang De Basanti. And an interesting experiment Aks before that.

Well, Dilli 6 looked good in the trailer. A classic capture of old Delhi life. Amazing cinematography by the best in the business, Binod Pradhan. One scene of prayers at the Jama Masjid is absolutely breathtaking. Sonam Kapoor is actually looking good.. like an early days Juhi Chawla. Very pleasing to the eyes. The music by none other than the maestro, A R Rahman, is so much fun. Check out this song to sense the energy of the kind last seen, only in RDB, I guess. Abhishek can deliver with the right directors, as we have seen in Guru, Yuva, etc. I think Mehra would have also got the best from Abhi and this should be one good movie to see. Waiting for Feb 20th now.

Here are my preview rating for a change.. Billu Barber: 2.5/5.0, Dilli 6: 4.5/5.0.