Mini Reviews: The Next Installment

I'm sorry blog! I've kind of been ignoring you. Can we blame it on the super mega hype that surrounded the My Name is Khan release? Now that the dust is settling and I can breath again, let's take a look at some of the films I've seen lately. NOTE: I did see the aforementioned movie this past opening weekend, but am seeing it again with my sister this coming weekend and will post my thoughts after the 2nd viewing.

A very muscly masala flick chalk full of action, bad guys that make me want to vomit and Salman Khan wearing the most atrocious outfits. While I can say that the fight sequences were exactly the full throttle intense kind of action that one would expect in this type of film (and executed quite well I might add), it was one of those movies that I watched right until the end and then wondered why. I don't know why I keep putting on Sallu flicks. Obviously I don't care for him, but whether it's optimism or a sadistic curiosity, he keeps finding his way onto my dvd player. Production values are high, but the camera work left me dizzy and the music left me disappointed.

I liked Ayesha Takia in this though (it seems I see her everywhere I look these days), and the film houses a very noteworthy performance by Mahesh Manjrekar, who plays the despicable "make your skin crawl" inspector Talpade - you hate his character but love his acting. Wanted goes for broad humour and cheap thrills and is, at times, downright stupid and unapologetically excessive, but it is also a B-grade crowd-pleaser that knows exactly who its audience is, that audience just wasn't me. Watch it if you love extreme violence, juvenile comedy or just a dose of the always shirtless Salman Khan.

My favorite part of this 170 min movie is the first 30 minutes where we see Shah Rukh play the free spirited Hari Mayur, complete with gypsy style Indian garb and long hair. After that it's a long boring story about British India-loathing Vikram, who travels to India to retrieve his nephew Nandlal, who, incidentally was raised by his young aunt who was just 8 years old when she kidnapped him and is now grown beauty Bijuriya (Sonali Bendre). Nandlad refuses to go back with Vikram until his aunt is married and taken care of, and in true Bollywood fashion, Vikram slowly starts to fall for her.

The film has all the makings of a great movie, it's just too bad that it feels so drawn out. However it does have a few pluses. The costumes are fantastic, especially the ones worn by Bijuriya during her first dancing scenes. Shah Rukh is as adorable as ever. *mini spoiler* I don't think I'll ever forget Hari and Katariya's death scene. It's weird and slightly comical. *spoiler over* It was fun to watch Shah Rukh and Sonali together again, though I enjoyed them more in Duplicate (even though the interaction between them was less in that one). For the most part, the music is forgettable, although I liked Dhol Baje quite a lot.

As the movie played on I found that I cared less and less about how the story was going to end. I had to watch it though, just to cross it off the list. Mission accomplished.

Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit star is this atrociously bland story of jealousy and friendship. I tried watching this probably over a year ago and could hardly get past the opening sequence with Salman (a very famous musical performer) in concert. It hurt my eyes so I shut it off. Then my sister borrowed it and insisted it was worth a watch, so I tried it again. All it did was make me angry. Angry and sleepy (I think I fell asleep a good 5 or 6 times).

The relationship between Madhuri and Salman was so over-the-top obvious, I wanted to yell at Radha - how could she not see how her closeness to Suraj was eroding her relationship with Gopal? It is also very frustrating that Gopal doesn't speak frankly with Radha earlier in the movie about his jealousy. Add to the unrealistic story, some sub-par acting. Madhuri is gorgous as usual, as is Shah Rukh, but they left me all just feeling a little cold. Salman is his usual clueless baffoonish self. Aishwarya has a very small cameo towards the end as a blind girl who embodies the metaphor "love is blind" perhaps. I didn't see much point in her small role.

Probably the one and only part of this film I really enjoyed is Gale Mein Laal Taai, a comical look at Radha and Suraj's relationship through Gopal's eyes.

Sorry Julie, I just can't even like this film. I tried though, I really did.

Probably the best of the bunch in my eyes. Starring Emraan Hashmi and Soha Ali Khan as live-in lovers torn apart by "male insecurity syndrome", hereunto called M.I.S., who are brought together again 6 years later by water.

I've never seen Emraan in anything before and very little of Soha, so my expectations were very low. I actually enjoyed them both and think that Emraan is kind of a hotty, that is until we are hit over the head over and over again by his M.I.S. Thankfully, he redeems his character during the present day story line. We see their love story evolve through a series of flashbacks, from first meeting to consequent break up and you wonder if or how their reconciliation will occur. Watching Akshaye sabotage their relationship was painful for me though, and I wondered why she kept trying with him. Perhaps this is what makes the relationship believable. Couples fight over things all the time, sometimes they work it out, sometimes they don't, but at least it's a realistic kind of relationship.

I was quite excited to see this because of the disaster element, which is based on the 2005 floods in Mumbai. I was disappointed at the execution of the flood sequences though, and this is purely based as a spectator of the film (had I been part of the floods surely I would have reacted differently to this part of the movie). We see water levels rise amazingly fast until people are stranded in streets following cables that seem to have come out of nowhere and are attached to nothing. That is until they discover a bus which I guess serves as better shelter than any of the street lined buildings. Though to be fair Director Kunal Deshmukh the bus does serve a purpose, giving us a heart pounding action sequence that has people frantically trying to escape said bus as it turns sloooooowly on its side in a manner which defies the laws of physics, just because a tree branch has punctured one of its windows. Then our protagonists decide to leave their group (and Akshaye's best friend) in the street for shelter (duh!), but inexplicably buildings are not safe either as we see the the two get trapped in some sort of large broom closet by a towering tidal wave that appears on at least the 3rd floor of their building which is much higher than the level of water on the streets. They escape and head back to the street, face a completely unnecessary "blink and you miss it" tragedy and then all of a sudden Mumbai streets have miraculously cleared. Maybe that was what it was like, but I have a feeling that some creative license was used. Plus I kept thinking, why don't they just head for higher ground!

Despite all of this (and people said they had to suspend their disbelief for MNIK), I didn't mind Tum Mile and I enjoyed the music, especially the title track. If you're thinking of seeing this, watch it as a romance, not a disaster film and you might come away with an appreciation for it.

I just thought I would mention that I only kind of watched this. My copy has no subs and I was plenty distracted when I was watching, so I think it deserves a rewatch with subs.

Now off to place a bet....

14 Response to "Mini Reviews: The Next Installment"

  1. Bollyviewer says:
    February 17, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    lol at "Sadistic curiosity" about Salman! Are you moved to try Veer in the same spirit?

    I enjoyed watching Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam - not because its an entertaining film, but because I watched it with a bunch of friends and we had a lot of fun making silly comments and dishing out marital advice to SRK and Madhuri. :-)

    English Babu... had a song that got stuck in my brain for months. (I cant remember which one, and dont really want to, either, in case it gets stuck again!) All I remember about the film is that I liked Sonali in it, a lot.

  2. Anonymous Says:
    February 17, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    If there's one thing about Madhuri; no matter how bad the film, she sure is pretty to look at! <3 It's kinda sad how, if she looked just like that today, she'd be considered fat. =(

  3. shell says:
    February 17, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    I don't think I will ever see Veer - I think my brain would explode!

    I wish i'd had someone to watch HTHS with, it might have made it more bareable. At least I wouldn't have been shouting at the screen by myself.

    Sonali was much better in English Babu than Duplicate that's for sure, but that's the only movie I have to compare her in (with the exception of her small cameo in KHNH). Hmmm, wonder what song it was. Might have to send you mysterious clips!

  4. shell says:
    February 17, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    rhilex - She is always stunning, na? It's funny that you should mention the weight thing, because as I was just thinking that exact thing as I was rewatching Gale Mein Laal Taai. It's too bad that Bollywood's standards or ideals for beauty seem to be changing so drastically.

  5. Anishok says:
    February 17, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    Did you watch EBDM on FF? Cause I sure did.

    Wanted was my favorite movie of 2009. I don't even know why I love it. But I truly do! Even the part, when Sallu's shirt spectacularly burns off.

    I love the title song of HTHS (which, apparently, is plagiarized) and I love the dramatic violin music, when Aish shows up and says "I'm blind". That's about it.

  6. Erin Georgia says:
    February 18, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    OY! You got through ALL of HMHS?

    *bows down*

    That's amazing.

    It drove me INSANE, so I turned it off.

    ....But I was also watching it on YouTube... so it could have been a variety of things...

  7. shell says:
    February 18, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    Anishok - I lmao when Salman's shirt just kind of disitegrated off his chest. Truly one of the most fabulous "revealings" of a hero's torso that I've ever seen!

    I have to ask (because I'm still learning abbreviated comp lingo) what is FF? It's probably very obvious, but in any case, I own the dvd, so I'm guessing I didn't watch it on FF.

    The music in HTHS was very forgettable for me. Even know I can't recollect a single tune.

    Erin - It wasn't youtube, it's the movie. I had a very hard time getting through it, both times I tried to watch it. I'm sure I missed a good 45 min or so on the second viewing - the back of my eyelids were much more appealing. My least favorite Shah movie so far. Though I have to say that if I ever want a really good laugh I might stick it on and watch Salman dancing in his shiney silver pants for 15 minutes. LOL!

  8. Tady Rox! says:
    February 19, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    I Agree With EVERYONE here...HTHS was horrible!!!..I'm suprised this didn't turn me off Shahrukh...bacuse this was one of the first films a saw of his...I really liked English Babu..I LOVE LOVE LOVE the song Main Tera...And cannotany watch a film with Salman...unless Shahrukh is in the film it's not worth so much suffering...This is the one actor I truly have a problem with...How in the heck does he have so many fans!?!?! i really don't get it!....and Tum Mile..i haven't no comment! :-)

  9. Anishok says:
    February 19, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    Hehe, me and my assumption, that everyone abbreviates Fast Forward as FF :D

  10. shell says:
    February 19, 2010 at 8:15 AM

    Tady Rox - HTHS was one of the movies movies I bought of Shah's but it never made it onto the dvd player until I was already under his spell. I'm thinking though that I would have been enchanted enough just by his looks to see more of him.

    I do NOT get how Salman has such die hard fans. I disliked his acting immediately and I've never ever been able to warm up to him. I have no idea why I keep trying. I have heard that he's really good in Tere Naam so I actually bought it to see, don't ask me why.

    I'm finding that Shah's earlier films are really mixed for me. Some I really love (like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa and Darr), and some are very average. That's how I felt about English Babu Desi Mem.

    Anishok - LOL! I'm laughing at my comment now. The only movie I've watched on FF (see, I'm learning!) was Saawarya. Such a snore fest.

  11. theBollywoodFan says:
    February 22, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Yay, you saw Tum Mile! I'm convinced it's a combination of Soha Ali Khan, rain used to a decent effect, Bombay, an Audi convertible by the bay, that repairman critiquing a work of art, and mentions of Sholay and kabab, that make this a film I am absolutely fond of (darkness and that dumb incident during the climax notwithstanding).

    I enjoyed Wanted, but I do wish it were less brutal in its portrayal of action, perhaps closer to Ghajini (which was violent enough, LOL).


  12. shell says:
    February 22, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Actually, I bought it after reading the review on your blog. It was one of the more enjoyable movies I've put on lately that's for sure, despite it's short comings.

    Wanted was absolutely brutal, wasn't it. It definitely belongs in the same kind of category as Ghajini in that respect, though I thought that the later was a much much better film (though that could have something to do with Aamir's presence!). I keep trying Salman though, and actually recently bought Tere Naam. Can't remember who recommended that. Was it you?

  13. theBollywoodFan says:
    February 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Uh-oh, it was me with Tere Naam, yes. :) It has its share of moments best described as 'traumatic'...but I liked it overall.

    I found Ghajini a lot more emotionally engaging too. I guess because Aamir's held to a much higher standard of quality (which usually means many rewatches), the issue I have with Ghajini is that when I do put it on, I usually forward through the bits in which the metal rod is 'fun' as the climax is supposed to be (it is up until the point where the rod is used, isn't it?! Superhero-ish!), LOL.

    Look forward to your post on MNIK, I'm hopefully seeing it this weekend, finally!

  14. shell says:
    February 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    I'm trying to get MNIK up, but it's a movie that I've had to ponder for some time. I really hope that you enjoy it. I feel it's getting the bum's rush for sure.

    I've only watched Ghajini once, but I'd probably do the same thing as you! With so many movies, it seems I never get time to rewatch anything, unless it's on as background noise.