Black…

A girl who can’t see or hear is brought into the light by an dedicated teacher who in an ironic reversal of life is in turn rescued from darkness by her.

It is very difficult for us to even close to experiencing the world of a deaf, mute and a blind person no matter how hard we try. Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as close as it is possible to tell us beautifully what it is like to be in little Michelle McNally’s universe.

Black is an extraordinarily moving film, full of moments which feel so real, and amazing performances. Rani Mukerji is brilliant as the grown up Michelle.

Advertisements

Hera Pheri…

Two unemployed tenants and a landlord, in desperate need of money, chance upon a ransom call via a cross connection. They hatch a plan to claim the ransom for themselves.

Hera Pheri, a remake of the malyalam original, revived the middle class comedy movie in Bollywood.

The plot is basic and streamlined with three unlikely conspirators set out to make a fortune through fair means or foul.

Paresh Rawal’s performance, the landlord with perfect comic timing is marvelous. As Baburao Apte, the short-sighted owner of a garage-sum-house with a fondness for drinks, Paresh is full blooded and rounded.

Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty play the two unemployed and poor guys who are drawn to the idea of money, are both credible in their performance.

Tabu as always is a delight. Right through the movie she’s seen in simple saris and thick glasses which draws attention not to the way she looks but to the way she fills the part of a spirited working girl.

Border…

Based on the Battle of Longewala, full of rousing battle scenes and strong performances, this has been Bollywood’s best known war film.

Border is a memorable movie in its own right because it gives us war with a degree of detail and authenticity unmatched in Hindi movies previously. Most of us might not remember this war. However, the vivid colours and textures of battle recreated by Border’s scenarists is so real and life-like that all previous efforts pale in comparison.

The movie is a tribute to the soldiers who were martyred in the 1971 war  and clearly reflects how serious business it is for the brave men who guard the country. A soldier’s courage in the face of the relentlessly advancing enemy is most amazing. It makes him defy death with unbelievable acts of valour.

Border is based on a real-life incident at Longewala, when Kuldip Singh Chandpuri and his band of 120 men held at bay Pakistani tanks and scores of soldiers. Although they were order to retreat to saftey because the nearest air base could not give them covering fires as the planes at the fledging base could not fly at night, they refused to abandon their post and fought through the night, losing several lives. They emerged victorious with the dawn of morning, bloody but unbowed and proud!

Its all present in the movie – the macho soldierly things, the heavy-handed humour, the backslappings, aggression towards new recurits, the daredevilry and the do-or-die attitude. The sequences where the soldiers are waiting for the war, have a slice of life quality in them.

The music in the movie also very nicely and effortlessly displays the loneliness of the long-distance soldier who’s only link to home and loved ones who pray and long for their safe return is a precious letter.

 

 

 

Zakhm…

Zakhm is about the personal and political conflicts reflecting the anguish of the film-maker and the people impacted and divided by communal friction.

Zakhm is about Hindus and Muslims, communal divide and divisive politics, love and longing, life and death. It is remarkably one of the best movies of the year. It has the courage to address the issues which most of us prefer avoiding.

The protagonist, Ajay Devgan, as he watches his mother take her last breath, flashes back to the past. Even as a boy, he has known that religion kills. His mother, a Muslim lived a half-life, because his father, a Hindu, could not legalize the relationship. Even in death she is nearly denied dignity because her other son, oblivious to her identity, involved in a fundamentalist Hindu organization, insists on having her last rites as a Hindustani aurat.

The conflicts are real. So are the concerns. The drama ensures that we have a Muslim woman in a Christian hospital surrounded by Hindu activists.

With Zakhm, Mahesh Bhatt proves conclusively that he is talking about life as he has lived it.

Hum Tum…

‘Hum tum mein sirf ek hi problem hai…

ki tumhare bina hum adhoore hai’

Hum Tum is truly Bollywood’s first rom-com. Unlike Hollywood, the idea that a boy and girl could meet, have their own unique form of attraction and think about their future together was unknown to Bollywood. After having hundreds of Hindi movies in which love at first sight was the only time the couple exchanged few stolen glances before being led to the mandap and take the customary path there on, Hum Tum comes as a refresher where the boy and the girl don’t jump from like to love in a flash.

Rhea and Karan are at the centre of the narrative in the movie. They’re given their own time, just the two of them to do stuff that regular people do – chat, flirt. And the movie keeps steering plot points for them to keep meeting, leaving and coming back again.

The actors chosen for the lead have done a brilliant job playing their parts. Saif is perfectly cast as the spoilt brat wannabe cartoonist Karan, who thinks playing silly pranks is the best way to get a girl’s attention. And Rani Mukherji as Rhea, who first chases him off, then blows him off again and then takes a long, considering look at him is a great fit and is a complete natural. The two play their parts well together. Its like they’re not just mouthing their dialogues at each other; they’re talking to each other.

Although the cartoon characters who keep popping up every now and then get irritating after a while, you can still crack a smile when you see Rhea and Karan do their thing in a cute manner.

The locations add to the high visual appeal of the movie.

Dil Chahta Hai…

Dil Chahta Hai, Kabhi Na Beete Chamkeele Din
Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Na Rahein Kabhi Yaaron Ke Bin

Dil Chahta Hai has been a first for many. It was Farhan Aktar’s directorial debut. DCH also was the first movie to change the perception of wealth in Bollywood. The rich in Bollywood before DCH were rich because they were bad people making money off illegally. Here there were three boys comfortably at home in their classy elegant rich homes, playing with their expensive gadgets or hopping into a Mercedes coupe for an impromptu weekend in Goa where the party continues.

The movie also refashioned the potrayal of young urban love. Samir’s inclination to falling for whoever hoves into view is made fun in a gentle and accepting manner. He is not dubbed a ‘womanizer without any morals’. Sid falls in love with an older woman who is divorced and has a weakness for alcohol is perhaps the most radical stand. Aakash likes to love ’em and leave ’em. While his friends are not exactly ecstatic at his ways, they’re hopeful that he will mend ways. And he does, by falling in love with the same girl he had once made fun of.

DCH is a feel good movie setting up its characters and us for a happily ever after.

 

Dhoom 2…

Mr. A, a fearless thief, steals valuable artefacts. He teams up with a girl he is attracted to yet who can’t be trusted. Close on their heels are three police officers trying to capture them.

Straight out of those good old James Bond films, the thief in question Hrithik Roshan is a cucumber cool conman who uses everything from fancy gadgets to unique disguises to get his job done.

Hrithik Roshan is the only reason for the movie doing as well as it did in the box office. He holds the film together and even manages to take your attention away from its many flaws.

Hrithik is one of those rare actors who is not only abundantly talented, but is also blessed with a presence that’s electrifying. With the grace of a dove he throws himself into the film’s many challenging stunt scenes – skydiving, sand-surfing, scuba-diving, roller-blading, bungee-jumping – and he does it all so well.

Hrithik Roshan has never looked sexier, with his sheer attitude, cutaway jackets,curly blond tipped hair and his chest all ripped and rippled! Whether it’s in the action scenes, or the songs, whether he’s romancing Aishwarya or jumping off a cliff, it’s hard to take your eyes off him. He is, quite simply, the heart, the soul and the spirit of Dhoom 2.

It was also the beginning of a new kind of Bollywood franchise in which some elements would remain the same, some would change but the idea remains exactly the same.

With magnificent locations and brilliant stunts, Dhoom 2 is designed expressly to not strain the brain.

 

 

Jab We Met…

A Richie-rich, deeply depressed after being dumped, bumps into a high spirited chatterbox. And love blossoms

She’s a full of life chatterbox whose favorite pass time is running away. He’s a poor little rich boy who’s been dumped. They meet on a train. She’s off to Bathinda, he has no clue where’s he going nor does he care, and they instantly get into the squabbling strangers mode.

Jab We Met (JWM) also gave us a director with a fresh voice, with an ability to refashion romance. The movie had a right mix of good looking leads, the obligatory ‘cute meet’ opening followed by a most entertaining breaking the ice sequence between the soon to-be lovers. Both the leads, fashioned as the proverbial chalk and cheese, are very attractive rooted characters. After being dumped, he’s in a state of self pity which might be very familiar amongst the target audience. She’s running away simply for no other reason than that she thinks its a good idea and its fun. And when a girl like Geet thinks its a good idea, there’s nothing on this earth that can distract her from it.

This is the first time Shahid and Kareena have been convincing as as young lovers. It also gave us a Shahid who has realized the value of less is more and hence lets his eyes do most of the talking. Although kareena justifies the character of over bubbly Geet, she is much better in the second half where she’s quiet and simple.

Johnyy Gaddaar…

A bunch of con men get together for a job which goes horribly wrong as one of them turns a traitor and thus begins a dark spiral of deceit and betrayal.

A character in the movie is shown reading a James Hadley Chase novel. The book represents both an apt metaphor and a notifier which tell you exactly the kind of movie you are getting into.

Johnny Gaddaar is a thriller but not gangster or a murder mystery although there is a murder which sets the movie going. The characters are con-men but they cannot be called goons.

Five cons get together for a big job- each has to raise a huge sum of money and put it together to make a handsome kitty. One of them turns traitor leaving a bloody trails of bodies in his wake.

The movie also was a debut for actor Neil Nitin Mukesh who gave a memorable and promising performance in the movie. Dharmendra also plays and interesting character who is a thief but not a cheat. His gang respects him immensely. Every character in the movie is given an interesting quirks, habits, companions. They are who they are because they like the color of money and not coz of any mitigating reason for being the way they are.

The movie nails the feel of a James Hadley Chase novel where everyone is either bad, greedy villainous, plain amoral or simply a combination of all of them. It is Neil Nitin Mukesh who stands out in the movie by blending innocence with a chilling gift for killing, making it one of the most memorable debuts of its time.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai…

A modern day college romance with designer sets, preppy jokes and brightly colour coordinated clothes. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (KKHH) gave the film industry a director/producer who changed the course of film making – mixing old with new, blending traditional with modern, exotic locations, hummable music, catchy youthful dialogs and introduced trend setters.

KKHH was a movie that could be watched with friends and family…which made you happy and sad equally. KKHH changed the manner in which friendships were forged and created a fashion wave every college goer wanted to ride. Friendship bands were a rage post the release of the film and have since then become symbolic of Friendship Day. Shah Rukh Khan’s T-shirts inscribed with the words ‘POLO’ and locket that read, ‘COOL’ flooded the markets. Kajol’s short blunt cut also became a trend and stylists had to style thousands of mane in the same style post the release of the film not to forget the hair bands.

The good part of KKHH is that there are some true moments in the movie while the three friends fall in love.