Friday, November 29, 2013


1 star

Dum Dum Bullet

Mini Review:

This color-by-numbers North Indian Goondas Are Cool movie is as teeth-gratingly predictable as the South Cool Cop remakes every Bollywood hero has made. Tigmanshu Dhulia misfires. Audience dies of boredom.

Main Review:

Take a little notebook and let’s make a checklist. It’s a Tigmanshu Dhulia film, so it will be set in Gawalier, ya phir Benaras, Kanpur ya phir Nukhlow (yes, we’re phonetically original like that).

Angreji will be spoken, and while the item number will be phor locals who spik englis with paan laced jubaan, the great director will surprise you with one goonda character who speaks English like he just had tea at 10 Downing Street. (Your mind’s eye can almost see members of the durbaar at the Director’s den rubbing their hands in glee for having 'ideated' such a character.)

Speaking of item numbers, please someone, hammer that last nail in the coffin of an actor who was considered to be spunky and brilliant when she showed up in Dev D and who is now reduced to pukeworthy gyrations in tacky costumes to lyrics like, ‘Don’t touch my bawwdy, o mor-e saiyyan’. Alas, you want to say, no one would want to touch it. Not even with a barge pole.

So we’ve ticked language, location and item number. Now for the cast. Every person you saw in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s earlier films has been given a part here. Jimmy Shergill, Vipin Sharma et al. Not a single surprise there. But yes, you’ll wonder as a fellow critic (must be a fan of Sonakshi Sinha) did. How can she not carry a plate of laddoos for the hero? It made me come back from the movie and check her other movies. He’s right. She does appear with a plate of laddoos in her other films. So half a star for doing something unexpected there.

But yes, why is Sonakshi Sinha accepting these vapid roles? Where she sings a romantic song in a garden to the hero and he keeps visualising his male friend smiling lovingly back at him? When you see the silliness of singing forgettable songs with yellow taxis of Kolkata (so cool in Kahani), you miss the tulip fields and chiffon sarees in Switzerland type songs.That romantic track was as pointless as the visit to Mumbai so they could tick-mark a disco song in the movie.

And apologies to the audience who might want to see wholesome on the screen. But it would be nice if the heroine was a tad slimmer. I mean, slim enough to fit into the cupboard, perhaps? And why is the audience expected to laugh at a hero who is afraid of flying when he is with the heroine but when flying alone, he has no such fears to be overcome?

So the predictability check list is growing. Add to that, the hairless cleavage of the hero. Here I must give half a star to the unpredictable bronzer the make up person has used on that cleavage. Saif Ali Khan’s cleavage was sometimes Fair and Lovely and at other times Florida Tanning-Bed Bronze. And with Jimmy Shergill, their joint hair lengths kept fluctuating so much it reminded me of Salman Khan’s hair in Veer.

Thankfully the bullets from goonda guns behave as predictably as if they were taught by Stormtroopers in Star Wars. You are subjected to the sound and fury of a blazing gun battle for fifteen minutes, and then the baddie says, ‘Hamare chaar aadmi mar gaye.’ Practically no one dies. Of course, there is a sleazy Chunkey Pandey who betrays the uncle. Could you get any more predictable than that?

And then the hero needs some same ole revenge thing. The audience would have been happier had the director killed the heroine instead of the hero’s love interest. The bromance has so much more chemistry, so many more possibilities…

But no one’s thinking. They just want the audience to whistle and clap (like the stupid construction workers who are all in the way of bullets, but not one gets killed) when the hero’s satin shirts never get singed even when he stuffs his gun into the front of his pants. Has no one ever fired a gun ever? Gun barrels get really hot to touch when they are fired as much as they are shown to do in these movies. You've seen smoke come out of barrels, yes? It’s a fact. Each time the hero pumps bullets into a hundred baddies, and then shoves his gun into the waistband, I cringe…

But most cringeworthy is the end of the film, where the director of a fine movie like Paan Singh Tomar begins to explain again and again who lives and who dies. 

'He rendered the audience stupid with the whole whole movie', my head says to my disenchanted heart, 'that’s why he needs to explain the twist naa…'

I can’t even kill myself with those guns that have been stuffed in those creepy crotches, I shudder as I emerge from the movie. And sigh as I realise that even if I did wipe the gun with a sanitizer, the dum dum bullets would not let me die. What tedium this has been…



3 and half stars

Frozen Will Melt Your Heart

Mini Review:

Watch this movie with people you love, it’s that good! Disney takes you on a snowflake filled adventure ride through smiles and sighs, sadness and joy...perfect for children of all ages!

Main Review:

Writing for children is not easy. You either end up making extremely silly movies where babies bawl for popcorn, or you put silly ideas in their heads where little girls pronounce their dads ‘not prince charming’ because ‘daddy doesn’t wear tights’... Either way, you have lost their attention.

Frozen captures your attention right from the word go. Normally I would hate to suggest that you take kids to a 3D movie because the glasses annoy the kids. But here, even before the opening credits show up, Disney manages to bridge the 2D - 3D gap, and wow us with the idea of how movies moved from black and white to color. I fell in love instantly because it was a very very clever thing to do: treat the grown-up audience as intelligent people, and make the kids say, ‘I want Mickey plush toy!’

Despite the annoying cartoon sounds of the little extra in the opening creds, I mentally made a note to buy a Mickey toy for myself.

Now Entangled was a new take on an old fairy tale, and Frozen is based on the classic ‘Snow Queen’. I settle down to expect a smorgasbord of Cruela and Cinderella’s stepmum, and I am happily surprised.

The movie starts with a little kid called Anna who is as awesome as Agnes from Despicable Me (remember ‘It’s so fluffy!’?) who makes you want to go out and play (to make a cynical hundred something year old like me to want to go out and play, is a super achievement for Disney!). That said, your jaw drops when Elsa, her sister, makes magic that Disney was once famous for.

After that it’s a rollercoaster ride that you do not regret for even one minute. I found myself sighing at the stunning visuals on the big screen, and mentally making a note that I must go on a snow-filled holiday next.

There is not a trick in the book that they miss. There are scary moments with the wolves, and also with the snow monster which you think might make kids cry, but then how they are dealt with is so much fun that you want to raise your fist in the air and cheer our hero! Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer are so cute, parents might as well give in and book the family holiday to the Scandinavian countries. And the trolls are so cute and so is big guy in the shop and the trading count is funny and Prince Hans is gorgeous and…You get the picture, eh?

Of course there is romance, but clever and funny so parents don’t raise eyebrows. And the songs are there too, but not annoying. The predictability of the song Now and Forever grated a bit on my nerves, but even then, it quickly becomes a visual spectacle, or this review would have added half a snowflake… erm… Star, surely.

Why does this movie get so many stars?

One: Olaf the snowman has the most romantic dialog of any film this year. In fact, his, ‘Some people are worth melting for’ is up there with ‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.’

Two: It does not a children’s movie with a couple of grown up jokes thrown in to make parents happy. It is a whole package. You can watch it with your kids, your lover, or your parents, and you will still come away with a smile on your face.

Frozen will melt your heart.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The world has changed, Lathi bhaiyya!

When Lathi bhaiyya, Vindi chachi and Bunny bua showed up at my doorstep bag and baggage, I was surprised. (Understatement of the year!) Chachi prefers my brother’s home because he is traditional (touches feet and is respectful). But it was their baggage that woke me up faster than any cup of tea.

Lathi bhaiyya - and everyone calls him that because he prefers to let his lathi speak for him - was selected to go abroad (don’t ask!) but with a caveat: he needs to learn the ways of the world before he is let loose upon unsuspecting firangs. And suddenly I realised that there is no finishing school for boys. Not even one that teaches them how sitting with their knees apart, shaking a leg impatiently is rude.

I spent a minute laughing to myself as the kettle whistled when I realised bua had followed me to the kitchen.

‘All the foreigners will be like Rambo naa, and you can’t take laathi on flight. That’s why he needs to learn manners.’

I so badly wanted to rant about how women need to teach their sons right from the start so this bizarre sense of entitlement would not take root in the heads. However, I stopped because I was glad my rough, lathi wielding cousin realised that he needed help.

How to Shake Hands

It’s like a namaste. You are expected to shake hands only once. The first time you meet someone formally.

If you are confused, wait for them to extend their hand. Otherwise a good morning/afternoon/evening’ should suffice. In case you are meeting co-workers, then a ‘hello’ is enough.

Yes, it is weird when you see men shake hands at McDonalds (or at CCD). For all his lathi wielding ways, Jagga bhaiyya had noticed that women rolled their eyes or clutched their bags, and phones tighter and said hello to avoid shaking hands in his office canteen.

Why? Because you guys either squeeze the heck out of their fingers as though there was finger juice to be extracted, or were just looking to touch a woman, even though it was her hand. Plus your palms must be sweaty, with all that chest thumping with fists…

‘So, I must not tickle her palm with my finger or rub my thumb in an arc of the top of her palm?’

‘No! What are you, Ranjeet or Amitabh Bachchan?’

My mistake introducing a filmi thread, because chachi adds a gossipy question, ‘Suna hai real life mein ulta hai, Ranjeet bhala aadmi hai aur...’


Bhaiyya was not distracted, however. ‘Ranjeet never shakes hands. He just pulls women to hug them.’

‘Speaking of hugs. There are rules.’

How To Hug

You are not a bear, neither is it Eid. You will not hug and lift up the person or twirl them round and round even if they are lighter than you. Everybody is lighter than you.

Lathi bhaiyya swells visibly with pride.

‘Hazar hazar dand pelte hain!’

That is good. But polite hugs mean lean from the waist and pat the other person’s back.

I look at Lathi bhaiyya’s expression.

And no. That hand on the back is not there to pat everywhere on the back to figure out if the lady is wearing a bra.

Lathi bhaiyya is upset that I think so poorly of him. he leaves the room. I guess lesson one is over.

Friday, November 22, 2013


one star

Let’s Play Village-Village

Mini Review:

A cowpat here, some dirt there, huts and buffaloes and a rickety rope bridge that prevents the perfectly made up heroine from leaving the village with the hero. Alas the audience is stuck too…

Main Review:

I tried to like this movie. I really did. But I loved Imran Khan’s eyebrows more. They act more than anyone else in the movie does. But even the most amazing eyebrows in Bollywood cannot help the movie where everyone’s playing ‘village-village’.

‘Oooh! Let’s put a cowpat in the hero’s way!’
‘Nooo! But his shoes are so expensive!’
‘Don’t worry, he will act like he’s stepped into that steaming putrid pancake.’ ‘Aah! Good!’

‘How about dirt?’
‘There should be dirt, of course!’

‘Farm animals?’
‘Yes! Buffaloes, Goats, Chicken..’
‘But… But… How did the buffaloes reach the village? That rope bridge is not meant for cattle...’
‘No one comes to cinema with much logic!’
‘Oh! So it’s okay to have chickens in the vegetarian village?’
‘Of course you need chickens! How else will villagers wake up in the morning?’

‘What about the heroine?’
‘As usual she will have endless ethnic wardrobe.’
‘And a tote that carries enough eye-liners to have lasted her for eleven months.’

So it’s a tale where boy tells girl she’s only playing at slumming, so she goes to a really far off village. It is so far away, the audience will not know why they speak UP style Hindi with a plate of dhokla thrown in to show us we are in Gujarat.

‘Don’t be mean, ya! Everyone will be wearing Gujarati mirror-work clothes.’
‘Oh, okay then. Erm… Will there be garba?’
‘No. Last week’s movie had enough garba.’

Remember how we laughed when Asha Parekh and co would wear Jean Paul Gaultier-esque conical cholis and applique skirts and their dupattas were more to cover their heads than their bosom? (I’ve always wanted those conical head thingys from where the dupattas billowed, as the heroine chased, and cuddled lambs!)

If you’ve ever spent time in your granny’s village, you would know that lambs smell like hell (like sweaters left out in the damp, really), and it smells so ghastly, you’d want to wear a clothes pin on your nose if there are buffaloes and hay around. The inspiration for this movie seems to be more A Simple Life than any reality, or the need to ‘save the villages’.

Anyway, had the chemistry been volatile, we would have loved the a year of simple living with gori ben and eyebrow bhai. But we loved eye-brow anna’s appa and amma more. And they are sidelined after intermission.

We happily forgave Bombay masquerading as Bangalore, because Sriram’s appa and amma are shown to be adorable. Loved the way appa said, 'Amrica se yaylien ban ke aaya hai!'. We wouldn’t mind being adopted by the family either (the maamis are dressed in Kanjivarams and really, really wonderful jewelery and the periappas and chittapas are dressed in veshtis)

We even loved Shraddha Kapoor and her Kammo Singh. But he runs away from this family, what to do, and plays village-village with belle with bedecked eyes. I wish there was a cavorting with lambs song (while carrying pot to the river) to show us how the heroine has been assimilated. But we get to see lots and lots of ACC cement bags and trucks… And you squash that nagging voice inside you which asks, ‘With only a rope bridge connecting them to the world, how did they get to the village?’

But eye-brow boy hums Lagaan songs, swings his tote bag over the shoulders like Shah Rukh does and we are distracted by his devotion to Sandy the crab.

What? have I lost it? Yes. I went looking for sanity that slipped out of my hands and under the seats of a practically empty theater (no more than 25 at this PVR ECX in Andheri, First Day First Show), and the bridge was still not built. Please save yourself some (sanity, money, time) and maybe watch it when it appears on tv. Suddenly eye-brow boy’s I Hate Luv Storys (despite the horrendous grammar) seems like an awesome movie. 

I am listening to my favorite song 'Bin Tere' from I Hate Luv Story. So apt for this movie: Koi Khalish Nahi Hoti Bin Tere...

Friday, November 08, 2013


one star

Time Traveling Turkeys

Mini Review:

The idea is fantastic, but the story goes on and on. Great for parents of little kids, as they will fall asleep watching this film.

Main Review:

The thanksgiving connect in India is completely wasted, and so is the idea of pardoning a turkey. Even then, little kids will enjoy the animation of turkeys comparing muscle, little kid clutching at Reggie the turkey, will laugh at the power struggle between Jake and Ranger, and will adore the baby turkeys. The grown ups will tire of the same ole voice of Owen Wilson who sounds the same, whether he is acting with Jackie Chan or he appears as a turkey who travels reluctantly through time…

The best, and most grown up line in the movie, and this is not a spoiler (grown ups will groan through the movie, since the animation is hardly up to par with movies like Brave or Despicable Me) is when Reggie is thrown out of the barn for telling the brainless turkeys of the flock to not eat corn. The fattened turkeys throw him out and say, ‘Anti-Corn!’

The humans depicted in the movie are scary, but the solution to not killing birds for thanksgiving is delightful. And yes, there’s a message of living in harmony and loving creatures… Just writing about the movie is like re-living the painfully long 91 minutes. Take your kiddies because you must… It’s a price we pay for procreation.


three stars

Loki Steals The Show

Mini Review:

It’s a Thor movie, but it’s his wicked brother who steals the show! You cannot miss this super sequel.

Main Review:

Yes, Thor is the cool dude (the women in the audience swoon upon sighting his abs!), and loves his Jane Foster like every woman dreams of being loved, but it is wicked brother Loki who actually makes you want to watch the movie again.

Even though Loki struggles to make a place for himself in Asgard, he clearly wins the hearts of the audience. He’s got a wicked shape shifting trick and a sense of humor. In the presence of scary villainous elves and dark monsters, he is so calm you have to become a fan girl, or boy.

The movie effortlessly takes us from Asgard to London and weird sounding realms and although the nit-picky part of you wishes there was a handy pamphlet to explain the complicated geography of the universe, the comic-book loving part of you will enjoy the craziness of it all.

The special effects are engaging and not once do you ever groan or disbelieve the physics. You even suppress a giggle and believe the gorgeous Natalie Portman - who goes into every scene as though she is a dimwitted heroine of a horror movie rather than a scientist - is worthy of love of a God.In the first movie you enjoyed watching heir to Odin eat pancakes, here get ready to enjoy the madness of Dr Eric Selvig. You enjoy Hemsworth’s rage and his skill with the hammer… The hammer moment will make you smile…

But wait. Why do you need any more in a review? Go book your tickets now.

One last word on Loki. He’s magnificent. Never before have you cheered for a villain like this. Go for Thor’s blonde awesomeness, come away after cheering for the dark Loki.

P.S: Do wait for credits to roll and watch the surprise.  

Thursday, November 07, 2013

SATYA 2: review

Half A Star

Funniest Gangster Film

Mini Review:

Spend two hours and thirty three minutes of your life vacillating between despair (because it isn’t anything like the original Satya) and unintentional humor from the verbal and visual vomit on the screen.

Main Review:

Such a relief that this was not anything like the original Satya. This is perhaps the funniest gangster film this year. Which other film dares to claim that it was inspired by Tom And Jerry cartoons? The gangsters actually discuss this:

‘Tom and Jerry dekha hai? Choohe aur billi ki ladai mein faayda hamesha kutte ka hota hai!’

Of course immediately after, the guy who wears maximum jewellery and overacts the most dies.

Well, these are gangsters. And our hero is creating a company with a structure that promises you an India within India, a business within all businesses, a system (pronounced ‘systim’ so many times, you will forget the original enunciation) within systems… His plan is so complex, it foxes the cops, and the filmmaker too (‘what his system is we will tell you that another time...’ they promise)

The hero wears sweaters in Bombay. As if that wasn’t an indication of his poor constitution, you discover that he is not even half Mohit Ahlawat. He has no oglable anything. No gluteus maximus, no strong legs, no six-pack abs, and no acting. You wish he'd bathe once in a while, though. Ram Gopal Varma claimed that he ‘acts with his eyes and screams with his whispers’ so we waited two and a half hours for that to happen…

The heroines… Yes, there are two. Equally jaw-droppingly hilarious. ‘My name is Special’ one says, ‘Who are you?’ lying down on the floor, her breasts heaving (her boyfriend actually wrestles her to the ground in order to make her stop her fake ballet type dance). The audience wants to offer a towel to wipe her sweaty cleavage (which we see all through the movie), but we are distracted by the second heroine: Duckface.

She’s poor man’s Nargis Fahkri, this Satya’s love interest. She has the funniest dance moves this side of Bollywood dance studios. She’s supposed to be the village belle fantasy, but the only thing she might ever do is cure men of amorous thoughts. She’s singing something apparently lustful as she comes at the hero on all fours, and all we want to do is sign her up for the local kindergarten where she can play 'horsie' with toddlers. She overdoes the bite-lower-lip-wide-eyed act so much that you pray a stray bullet should kill her.

When we speak about bullets, we must speak about cops. The cops in the movie (and there are many) are very fond of drawing guns, even on unarmed, wide-eyed belles (dressed so skimpily, she could not possibly hide her gun anywhere, and if at all, she wouldn’t be able to draw that gun quickly enough). If that wasn’t funny, the main cop is shown to clutch his back in agony and groan in pain in every scene and with every step he takes. Aargh! Uff! Aaargh! Ohhh!

But there’s another who overacts. His speech about how there’s a ‘soya hua puliswala jo jaagrut ho gaya’ is so convoluted and so badly delivered, it is worth two bullets. One for your own head (for trying to decipher this: when you came to me I was a cop who was tired of being a cop, and in that frustration I agreed to not be a cop, but the cop inside me was awakened and when a cop becomes a cop inside and out, then you must understand that an awakened cop is more than just a cop and he has to behave as though he was awakened…), and one for his trouble.

For those who love tear-your-shirt, kickass, dhaansu one liners, this movie is a feast of untranslatable laughs:

‘In sab ke badle mein milega aapko badla!’

‘Daddy, woh baharwala hai, use baahar hi rakho, daddy!’

‘Satya, yeh koi double role film nahi hai.’

‘Aur media baron Gurdeep Rajdesai ki maut bhi hogi.’

‘Company kaam aur paisa aisa banati jaaye ki kisi ko bhi pata na chale.’

‘Jo anyay kare, use nyay se maaro!’

Thankfully, there are no crotch shots, peek under the skirt shots, no look into cleavage shots, make audience dizzy with sudden dive shots, no snatch and jerk shots to make you want to chew your fingers off. But there’s eagle-vision camera (a camera that floats over Bombay) offering the audience a bird’s eye-view of the underworld that is Bombay. And that eagle-vision camera earns this movie the half star.

Thankfully, this is nothing like the original Satya, which is still a blueprint for many a crime movie almost 25 years later. 

As for the rest of the movie, if you’re not laughing at the convoluted dialog, then you must start a drinking game. Each time the voiceover (has more lines than all the characters in the movie) says ‘Underworld’ you drink. You’ll be drunk within the first ten minutes.

(our site is still struggling with crazy server issues. please read review here.)