On the tube...

With Christmas approaching dangerously fast, school concerts, Christmas parties, and trips to overcrowded malls have seem to taken over my blogging time. However, there's always time for movies, so here's a couple of quick looks at what I've been watching.

The Namesake
Mira Nair has created a fantastic slice of life film portraying an NRI couple as they create a life and raise a family in the US. The first movie I've really seen with Tabu in any kind of substantial role, I was blown away by her. I think I read once somewhere that Rani was considered for this movie, and, don't get me wrong, I love my Rani, but I can not see her in the role of Ashima for one second. Really the acting from the entire cast was genuine and believable, even Kal Penn (in a role that doesn't require finding White Castle).

fantastic script, fantastic cast, outstanding story. Nuff said.

Bhool Bulhaiyaa
The first Bollywood "spook" movie I've seen revolving around a vey superstitious community that believes the town's royal mansion is haunted by the spirit of a wronged Kathak dancer. The film houses a large ensemble cast, but the film clearly belongs to Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan. Shiney Ahuja, Amisha Patel, and a host of others have smaller roles.

What I liked: the suspense is believable, as is the explanation of it all. The soundtrack is a clear winner, with a good combination of love songs (Labon Ko) to upbeat dance numbers (Lets Rock Soniye, Bhool Bulhaiyaa title track), to classical fare (Mere Dholna), with picturizations that fit the movie very well (especially Vidya in Mere Dholna with it's fantastic dance sequence - quintessential Bollywood!).

What I didn't like: The movie feels like it should have ended a good 20 minutes before credits role, however, we do get to see a very creepy scene with Vidya that makes up for it, but then the actual ending seems both too neat and unfinished for me.

Chandni Chowk to China

I get a lot of flack for taking up space on the pvr with my movies, so I thought I may as well watch this one, which I recorded during Diwale. I seem to be on an Akshay kick lately, and even though I've heard not very many good things about this one, I invited my sister over and reved up to watch the East meet the South East.

For those people who enjoy action films (and I do), it definitely offers a fair amount right from the opening scene, whether it's a bit of kungfu or the all important training montage. Even the chicks get in on the action, however any kind of girl power exhibited by Deepika's Meow Meow character gets nullified by her ridiculous Miss TSM character. The title track is catch, and the beginning of the picturization is comical. Akshay tries his best to help the movie along, but his character is so completely hapless in the first half you just kind of shake your head. At least, once he begins to rise to his responsibilities, Kumar’s performance becomes more restrained and appealing and you get to see him without his shirt on for a while! ;)

Love the vamp look!

Completely all over the place, but enjoyable if you can manage to keep your brain turned off.

Life Partner

I bought this because of a song (big surprise), but what I got was a mixed bag of marital woes. It is a story of three men and the women in their lives. Fardeen Khan plays a man who wants to marry for love and has it in girlfriend Genelia D'Souza; Tushaar Kapoor belongs to a traditional family and thus, believes he'll find love in an arranged marriage; divorce attorney and self-proclaimed ladies man, Govinda is a commitment phobe who revels in procuring his next case. All is fun and games until "I do's" are exchanged and then all hell breaks loose.

Though the film does have some genuinely funny moments, the ignorance and selfishness of some of the characters was enough for me to rip out my hair. Genelia's character is 100% self-absorbed and clueless (a deadly combination and one that gives woman a bad name). I liked her in JTYJN, but in this film her irksome act irritates beyond the boundaries of her character and her nagging gets on your nerves. Poor Fardeen Khan looks literally harrowed. Tushar's character, while definitely sweet, is completely spineless and takes the side of his demanding father-in-law (Darshan Zariwala), who is not only chauvinistic but also has disparaging unapologetic opinions that include management graduates from IIM-Ahmedabad work as waiters in South Africa (though I bet had the graduate in question been a man his assessment would not have been the same).

Amrita Rao comes aboard with a snazzy item number, and the climax includes a bomb set to explode in 5 minutes, which is just about as long as it takes to set everything right in the world of love and marriage. Watch if there's nothing else available.

12 Response to "On the tube..."

  1. rhilex says:
    December 21, 2009 at 6:23 AM

    Yaaaaaay, I'm so glad you liked The Namesake!! It was also really my first Tabu film (Fanaa only half-counts), and right after this I put a few of her films on my wishlist! I also agree that the whole cast is fantastic. What a film!

  2. shell says:
    December 21, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    I don't count her in Fanaa simply because her role was complete filler and a total waste of her talent. I am eager to see more of her now as well. Have you seen any of the others?

  3. rhilex says:
    December 21, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    No, I haven't. But my mom just gave me Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities starring Tabu and Kunal Kapoor in his debut. Anxious to watch it! Maybe I'll watch it this week. I'll post a review when I do. =)

    Also, I recently read the book The Namesake, and it is amazing. One of the rare cases where the movie is just as good as the book! One of my favourites now, and also helps me appreciate the film loads more.

  4. shell says:
    December 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Meenaxi was on theBollywoodFan's list of best of 2000. I've heard mixed reactions to it so you'll have to for sure put up a review when you get to watch.

  5. Filmbuff Says:
    December 21, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    I too liked "The Namesake" very much. A lot of Indians who have migrated overseas can identify with something or the other in the movie.

    While I am no Akshay Kumar fan, I liked parts of CCC3T - i think the story let the film down. I especially liked the chinese actor who played Deepika's dad.

    I saw Life Partner last night. I actually liked the Tushar Kapoor story - while he does not have the looks or personality for a hero, he is a good actor and did well in this movie too. The irony in this segment of the movie is the hypocrisy of Tushar's father who claims to have retained his indian values despite living overseas yet he does not apply the same to his personal situation ie in the way he treats his son and DIL. On the whole, it is a breezy movie enjoyable in parts.

    I haven't seen BB coz I want to see the tamil version "Chandramukhi" if not the original malayalam version "Manichitratai"

    Yes Tabu is indeed an excellent actress. Watch her in the tamil movies - Kandukondein-2 and Kadal Desam, hindi movies - Astitva. I haven't seen Meenaxi yet

  6. Filmbuff Says:
    December 21, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    Forgot to add, there were lots of filmy references in Life Partner that were hilarious. For eg- Genelia in one of her arguments with Fardeen (after marriage) says "Do you expect me to transform from Geeta to Seeta? (ref to Hema Malini's double role int he delightful old film "Seeta aur Geeta", Tushar refers to Aamir Khan's movie "Joh Jeeta Woh Sikandar". The context in which these films are referred to are truly hilarious. There were some more references too. Don't know if these come through in the subtitles (I usually switch off the option as I am fluent in Hindi)

  7. ajnabi says:
    December 22, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Wait... rhilex and shell, you guys haven't seen Kandukondain Kandukondain? I second Filmbuff's recommendation with icing and cherries--do not stop go, get that movie! :-D I love Tabu in it, and Aish gives one of her best performances.

  8. shell says:
    December 22, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    Filmbuff - Maybe one day I'll have seen enough films to get all those references. I really don't mind Tushar Kapoor (especially in this film - however, I hated his character in Golmaal Returns), and I don't think he's that bad looking either.
    I'd read BB was a remake and the original was much better.
    Finally, I'm going to add more Tabu to my wish list for sure.

    ajnabi - Okay, okay, Kandukondain Kandukondain it is!

  9. yves says:
    January 3, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Hi Shell,

    Loved that cap with Aamir and Salman, they just look GREAT.
    And of course (my soft spot was pressed) the vamp photo you posted...

    Er: for Rhilex: don't watch Meenaxi (unless it's too late): it's just crap. There's nothing in it but arty disconnected flashes.
    Watch Tabu in Cheeni kum, that's good stuff!

  10. shell says:
    January 3, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I think, from what I've heard, Meenaxi is for die hard Tabu fans and is a love it or hate it type movie.

    Glad I could press your soft side!

  11. yves says:
    January 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    You can press it again if you like :-)
    Happy new year!

  12. shell says:
    January 4, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Happy New Year yves!