Anthony Kaun Hai?

A mistaken identity, hit men, murder, petty thieves, a diamond heist, romance! Raj Kaushal's Anthony Kaun Hai? promises to be a non stop comic thriller, according to it's dvd sleeve, but I'd have a hard time categorizing it as such. To me, it plays out more as a comedic crime drama with romantic undertones. Certainly there doesn't seem to be any real elements of the typical thriller, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean that this movie isn't worth your time because there are so many things that work for it.

The film is told in a series of flashbacks as Champak 'Champ' Chaudhary (Arshad Warsi) attempts to convince the cool and stylish Master Madan (Sanjay Dutt) that he's been the victim of mistaken identity. Champ, a small time crook specializing in documentation fraud, is arrested the day of his nuptials and spends 6 months in a prison where he meets a supposedly dumb and deaf inmate, Raghuvir Sharma (Raghuvir Yadav), serving a life sentence of stealing diamonds. The two hatch a plan to spring Raghuvir from prison, reclaim and split the stolen gems, and live their lives in splendor, Sharma with his daughter Jia (Minissha Lamba) and Champ with his lost love Rosa. However, as it usually goes, life has other plans when a series of hit men derail the two's plans.

While this movie was most likely marketed on the existing comedy genius of Arshad and Sanjay as a pair, this film belongs solely to Arshad. I mentioned recently that I enjoy Arshad's comedy, but was more directly drawn to those roles of his where the comedy is more subtle. Rather than the in your face physical haha's or overblown laughs that seem like they try to hard, I much prefer the subtle, more realistic comedy, and that's what we get from him here (aside from the hair and beaded beard that is!). Because the basis of the film revolves around his story and how he becomes mistaken for Anthony Gonzalves, Arshad has plenty of screen time to fill, and his recounts are compelling to watch. The thing about Arshad is, even if he's playing a small time crook and deadbeat, he is always still so likable. Now that is a quality you can't fake! Also I think I am officially turning watching Arshad's films into my very own drinking game. Is there a single film of his where he's not chugging back a beer, a shot, a jigger of some sort? I'm beginning to think not, but that's okay - I'm all for method acting!




A shout out to Sitaji - I'm not sure if this is Johnny Walker, but it is for sure whiskey and it has a black label, so I'm entering it into the Sitaji collection of JW sightings (though it could also be JD?)

Sanjay Dutt features prominently in the film as the suit wearing, wine drinking, Ferrari driving hitman Master Madan. Apparently the only thing he likes more than money is film (aaah, an assassin after my own heart), which is ideal really, otherwise there would have been no story! He is all business when it comes to dealing with those in his way, but he does it in such a refined manner. Yes, there is a place in this world for the gentleman killer after all.

Minissha, Raghuvir and Gulshan Grover as Inspector Suraj Singh round out the cast. As the love interest, Minissha does a good job and gets a chance to actually act rather than just look good. There's something about her eyes that are kind of mesmerizing. Raghuvir and Gulshan serve as just filler to me. Not bad, but not great.

Like most films, there are flaws in Kaushal's film, but the biggest for me was the music which was helmed by Himesh Reshammiya. A strong effort I suppose, but even now, thinking back to the songs, I can't recall a single one which is strange because the film is chalf full of them (seven to be exact). I do, however, remember one song only because it includes a wet Arshad frolicking in water. I know, but what's a girl to do?

One last tidbit, specifically for Sitaji again, a variation on the "tight slap"....

Who exactly is Anthony Gonzalves? Well, I guess you'll have to watch to find out, but at least it will be an interesting ride!

Top 5 Thursday - Favorite Ladies of Film

I haven't done a top 5 Thursday in a while, so today I thought what better than showcasing my top 5 favorite actresses of all time. There are so many talented females out there, and lots of them come and go, but then there are those woman who continue to prove themselves on and off the screen continually making quality films. Though no one's repertoire is without the occasional flop, what defines a true actress to me is what comes next, that she continue to stretch herself and try new things, even if they don't work. Beauty, brains and passion define my top 5 ladies.

Preity Zinta

So much more than just dimples, Preity remains consistent on my blog and in my heart as a favorite actress. Though her filmography has lessened over the years, some of her work in the early 2000s lands on my list of favorites. Kal Ho Na Ho, Veer Zaara, KANK, Salaam Namaste, even Jhoom Barabar Jhoom - all movies enhanced by her beauty, tone and delivery. Cute, yes, but also brassy and socially conscious. See my previous post on all the reasons I love her here . Preity is the quintessential girl next door, and someone I could see being BFF's with!

Audrey Hepburn

When I think of classic and ethereal, Audrey comes to mind. She, quite simply, is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen grace the silver screen. While I haven't seen all of her movies, Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady remain constant favorites and continue to stand the test of time even now. Also I'm pretty sure she is responsible for my fascination with large brim hats! What Audrey left was a legacy, one that would try to be replicated (I see bits and pieces of her in Natalie Portman every now and then), but can never be reproduced. Timeless and sheer perfection!!

Rani Mukherjee

Rani was my first. She helped introduce me to this wonderful world of Hindi cinema, and so she will always have a special spot in my heart. No matter what silly irreverent tabloid newsbits she comes up against, I will always hold Rani in a position of class. To me she comes across as a very soft but determined actress capable of doing both the romantic lead and the more serious stories. While some would argue she is past her prime, I think she's only getting better with age. The sweet little girl we saw enter the screen in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai has grown into a stunning woman. They say good things come in small packages, don't they!?

Kate Winslet

Kate has been my longest female crush. I first saw her in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (which also launched the amazing Melanie Lynskey), the true life story of two best friends who lose themselves in a fantasy world and end up committing murder. It was the beginning of what would be a filmography chalk full of every kind of movie imaginable. Kate has done the blockbuster (yes, I admit I am a Titanic fan and saw the movie 8 times in theatre), the arthouse film, the serious drama, the crime thriller, the romantic comedy. She's pure theatrical gold and is one of the few actresses today that isn't scared to take anything on, including nudity. Not only is she ballsy, but without a doubt a stunningly gorgeous girl.


Arguably my favorite Hindi actress, there's nothing I don't love about Kajol. Not only do I think she is stunningly beautiful, but she has a fierce wit that can challenge anyone (I've seen her spar with the best and win). Her role as Mandira in last year's My Name is Khan, is one of my favorite female roles ever (as a mother it shakes me to my core everytime I watch her break down). Whereas some actresses decide to live a life as wife and mother when they get married, I applaud Kajol's decision to stay in the industry despite being a married mother of two. She brings so much richness to the screen even now, whether playing the blind girl, the terminal ex-wife, the distraught mother, Kajol's acting has matured just as she has. I hope she continues for a long long time. Plus we're the same age, so I consider her my Indian soul sister!

Upon searching youtube I stumbled across this song from the movie Yeh Dillagi, which I've never seen, but it's apparently a remake of the Audrey Hepburn film Sabrina, so now I must find it. Very cute song with Akshay Kumar. If anyone has seen it let me know how it is.

So there you have it. My top 5 leading ladies. Long live the strong female actress!!!

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II

"This a mindless work of fiction, the characters happen to be fictional, despite our sincere efforts. The locations, however, are real. The story has been plagiarised from several films"

When a movie starts with such a comically inspired declaration and ends giving sincerest thanks to such prolific American directors like Quentin Tarantino and Joel & Ethan Coen, you know you are in for an interesting ride. Director and writer Shashanka Ghosh has, not too delicately, given us a slightly dark, definitely satirical look at the battle between two Mumbai (not Bombay!) crime lords.

Generally, this is a genre that I steer clear from. I'm more prone to put on the fluffy, popcorn pieces that tackle such serious topics like will they or won't they, but after reading FilmiGirl's review during Arshad Week, and being a new avid Arshad Warsi fangirl, I bought this film and finally found the time to put it on. What it delivered, despite it's original mindless admission, was an unusual and engaging story.

Arshad Warsi plays Puneet Sayal. He has a job as a copywriter, he lives with his girlfriend, Angi Sinha (Sandhya Mridul), and puts in about as much effort into each of them as one would tying a shoe. Like a lot of us, he dreams of a day when he will have earned enough money to leave his job and live a life of peace. It's the kind of life that you live, day be day, because there's nothing else to do. Then, one day, news brings disturbance into Puneet's otherwise prosaic life and he finds himself in a position to directly upset the balance in the city's ongoing gang war. What follows is the birth of a friendship that not only propels the story forward but changes the lives of everyone involved in some way or another.

There are a lot of players in Ghosh's story. Anant Jog and Pratima Kazmi play dominant kingpin Ganpat and ambitious runner-up Gangu, who sit comfy in their homes while they demand loyalty from their minions who do their dirty work for them. While I found Anant slightly disconnected, Pratima does an excellent job playing the female don counterpart with all the manipulating tactics one would expect from a Maa type character. "Go and eat, son", "yes, Maa". "Cut off your own finger for me", "yes, Maa". Insidiously fiendish!

Sandhya Mridul, as the lady cop love interest fits the role perfectly. Having seen Sandhya recently in Hum, Tum Aur Ghost, I love the girls no nonsense, plucky, spunky (insert more adjectives here) attitude. HTAG, however, gave more scope to work with, and as Agni, her role wasn't nearly developed enough for me. Give the girl some good roles and she could be the next big Bollywood vixen! And a perfect addition to my James Bond girls post I did this summer I might add.

The real relationship in this film, however, is that which is forged between Puneet and Vishnu, and the two characters are played perfectly by Arshad and Prashant Narayanan. I've never seen Prashant in anything before, but I found his portrayal of Ganpat's #1, appropriately restrained. His is a solemn character, for sure, which plays nicely off of his counterpart. Arshad, who is almost always used as the one character who supplies the comic relief, does just that, but with an edge of realism and honest emotion. I can't express how much I prefer these roles of substance of his over the low brow strictly comic ones. I'm really looking forward to the cop drama he's going to be filming on the west coast of Canada where I will most likely be stalking him planning a family vacation.

The film, while it is riddled with the type of violence one would expect in a gangster drama, is also punctuated with loud bursts of comedy brought to you by the Bazpur Boys, a loud boisterous bunch of Punjabi vacationers out looking for a good time (they play an integral role in the open ending of one of our main characters). We also get treated to several songs, none which are situational but that doesn't mean they don't add a little spice to the narrative. Watch for Maria Goretti sizzling in an item number and my favorite song of the bunch Allah Ke Bande.

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II is Shashanka Ghosh's answer to Bollywood. It was my answer to a boring Monday afternoon.

Trailer Tuesday

So even though I haven't been able to watch many movies lately, the desire to see what's coming up is still there. Here's a look at some of the film's coming out that I am looking forward to seeing.

Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey
Release Date: December 3

There's going to be big buzz surrounding Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, I can just imagine. Ashutosh Gowariker, who is to me one of Hindi's best directors - certainly he has the midas touch after such completely brilliant films like Swades and Lagaan and the ethereal beauty of Jodhaa Akbar. My only concern is, no matter how good the director is, the sum of the parts equal the whole and if he couldn't make a film with Harman Baweja work, I don't know if I should hold my breath for Deepika. However, I have always liked Abhishek and it will be interesting to see what Ashutosh can bring out of him.

Action Replayy
Release Date: November 3

Vipul Amrutlal Shah heads back to his Akshay roots for this fun and visually stimulating comedy set in one of the best eras ever - the 70's! The hair, the fashion, the music - I ADORE it all, plus we get a bit of Back to the Future vibe with this, so the possibilities for hilarity are endless. Also any movie with the absolutely amazing Kirron Kher wins points automatically in my books. Can not wait!!!

Break Ke Baad
Release Date: November 26

I'm not sure if I'm a bit of a masochist, and god help me, but I am a romantic comedy junkie. I'm fairly certain this movie isn't going to have much of a story, and Deepika looks like she's rehashed her Love AajKal 2-dimensional insipid avatar, but I have a small soft spot for cutie Imran Khan, and there are moments in the trailer that look so awwwwwww worthy. Besides if I can sit through such Hollywood junk like All About Steve, Break Ke Baad deserves my attention.

Release Date: November 13

The thing about initial trailers is that they are so vague. What is this movie about? Some say a remake of Prestige (which is a bunch of bunk. Except for the magical elements I don't see the resemblance at all). It looks like the love story of a retired magician (due to an accident caused by an illusion gone wrong?) with his nurse. There must be more, but love stories on their own are enough sometimes for a great movie. I have to admit, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is not one of my favorite directors, and Devdas remains at the bottom of my fav Shah movie list *insert gasp here*. However, Aish and Hrithik are pure magic together (someone please PLEASE for the love of god to a Mr. & Mrs. Smith remake with them), and I expect that they will not let their fans down this time ether. And if all else fails, Bhansali always gives us beautiful looking movies, so it will be a feast for the eyes nonetheless.

Well, that's it for now. Now that Christmas designing is done, I can finally breath again and a movie night (or two) is definitely in order. Somehow I need to make a dent in this pile of movies on my shelf.