Friday, 25 July 2014

Dishkiyaoon is more of a comeback vehicle for Harman Baweja than an earnest effort at making a good film

Film: Dishkiyaoon
Cast: Harman Baweja, Sunny Deol, Ayesha Khanna, Prashant Narayanan and Aditya Pancholi
Director: Sanamjit Singh Talwar
Rating: **
What's it about 

Viki (Harman Baweja) has had a hard childhood. The only child facing bullies in school and having to fend for himself after his mother passes away, he looks to gangster Mota Tony (Prashant Narayanan) for support. Working with him and his team of crooks he lands up in jail only to meet an ageing don Lukwa (Sunny Deol) who transform him from Viki to Viki Kartoos.

What's hot 
Harman Baweja makes a decent comeback. He's not only worked on his physical appearance and is in his best form but he's also studied on how to use his body language to make Viki Kartoos stand out from the other gangsters. There are some engaging moments between Sunny and Harman that are smartly written. Deol fans will get a different sort of treat from their favourite actor who puts on a Haryanvi accent to play the part.
What's not 
There should have been more suspense and intrigue in the story. Also the chemistry between Harman and Ayesha is quite thanda! Songs are passable and there isn't a single tune that actually stands out as you leave the theatre. The dialogues are corny and over the top lacking any sense of realism whatsoever .
What to do 
Dishkiyaoon is more of a comeback vehicle for an actor than an earnest effort at making a good film.

O Teri emerges as a breezy entertainer

Film: O Teri 
Director: Umesh Bist 
Cast: Pulkit Samrat, Bilal Amrohi, Sarah Jane Dias, Mandira Bedi, Anupam Kher, Vijay Raaz

Rating: **1/2 

What's it about 
A comedy of errors based around the premise of a political scandal, O Teri is a light-hearted film about two individuals who get caught in the treacherous web of lies, deceit and double crossing only to expose one of the biggest scams of the country. 
PP (Pulkit) and AIDS (Bilal) are two news reporters desperate to get their hands on a breaking story. Destiny plays a cruel game and puts them right in the vortex of a big cyclone that is hitting the capital in form of a sports event where the unholy nexus of politicians and media houses has joined hands to con the common people. 
What's hot 
O Teri has a few funny moments, even though they might seem inspired! The track where Pulkit and Bilal have to drag a corpse around and avoid tricky situations is well put together. While the first half takes a while to settle in, the story picks up pace post interval. 
The director does a decent job of tying up all the loose ends and put up a climax that puts a spin on the current socio-political situation in the country. The songs are picturised well and the styling of the boys is quite fresh. 
Pulkit has an impeccable comic timing and he uses it to his advantage. He is effortless in most of the scenes and showcases his versatility with ease. Bilal is confident given that it is his first film and there's ample scope for his improvement. 
The fact that these guys get along works in creating a good banter and camaraderie between them. Also it was a smart move to keep the film under two hours. Salman fans can stay till the end credits to watch not one but multiple avatars of the actor in the end credits. 
What's not 
The writing of O Teri is majorly flawed. Given the genre it is a difficult act to merge humour with political satire, yet we wish the concept could have been better explored. 
Naming your lead character AIDS was a bad idea! I doubt this attempt would tickle anyone's funny bone. Also given the fact that the film is set in Delhi, the language and feel of the characters might seem a bit alien to those coming from another part. 
Vijay Raaz's accent and mannerisms are a bit tough to comprehend at times. The first half is full of sub plots and too many characters that we often get distracted by. Also the songs pop out of nowhere, jarring the flow of an otherwise tight film. 
What to do
Despite its  flaws, O Teri manages to come off as a breezy entertainer that works in the space of its genre largely because of its two lead actors. 

Gang of Ghosts will haunt you, and not in a good way

Film: Gang of Ghosts
Director: Satish Kaushik
Cast: Anupam Kher, Mahie Gill, Sharman Joshi, Meera Chopra, Asrani, Jackie Shroff, Saurabh Shukla, Rajpal Yadav
Rating: *1/2
What's it about
A remake of an acclaimed Bengali film Bhooter BhabishyatGang of Ghosts is an attempt at social satire through the eyes of the deceased and their struggle to be able to retain their land and house in a time when every inch of property is worth a pot of gold. The film begins with a director (Parambrata Chatterjee) planning to shoot a commercial in what is believed to be a haunted mansion. He meets a budding writer (Sharman) who has a story that involves the spirit of the owner (Anupam Kher) who still haunts the mansion. We are the introduced to a bunch of ghosts who have different personalities and background. However, they are all working towards one motive of keeping the house and not facing eviction. There is a failed attempt to make commentary on current social trends and topics but the writing is so poor that the effort never takes off.

What's hot
The premise is definitely exciting and with a better script and direction the film would have definitely been a different story. There are a few scenes that might tickle your funny bone in the first half as we are introduced to the quirky traits of these ghosts. Anupam Kher is the only actor who manages to stand out in an otherwise crowded affair.

What's not
Just when writers are experimenting and trying to move ahead, Satish Kaushik has to deal with a script that borrows every tried and tested formula of the last few years and rehashes it with his over the top style. The special effects are below average, and the songs a total distraction from the main plot. Instead of giving us an insight into the times we live in, we are battered with cheesy, double meaning dialogues and garish loud scenes that are supposed to be funny!

What to do
A feeble attempt at remaking an interesting story, these ghosts will haunt you and I don't mean it in a good way!

Sunny Leone's 'Ragini MMS 2' stays true to its g

Film: Ragini MMS 2
Director: Bhushan Patel 
Cast: Sunny Leone, Parvin Dabas, Sandhya Mridul, Karan Mehra, Saahil Prem 
Rating: ***
What's it about 
Early on in the first half, we are told that Ragini MMS 2 is a 'horrex' (horror+sex) film! And the makers leave no stone unturned to make sure it proves to be one. 
Picking up from its prequel, the second chapter begins with Ragini being locked up in an asylum. Parvin Dabas plays a director wanting to make a film based on her story with Sunny Leone as the lead. 
His idea is to shoot at the same location where the supernatural incident took place. A writer working on the project senses something is wrong. What follows is lots of skin show, some genuinely spooky moments and a climax that surprisingly doesn't fall flat!
What's hot 
Thankfully Ragini MMS 2 has a solid backstory to fall back on which plays itself quite well in the second half. Not falling in the trap of letting the cliches get the better of them, the writers have managed to put together an interesting history to the happenings in the house. 
Also the references to the first film and characters help in setting up the right mood. Production values in terms of paying attention to the make up and VFX are top notch. 
Despite the inspiration from Western horror shows and films, Patel manages to make those scenes his own. Those wanting to see Sunny in all her splendour and 'more' won't be disappointed! 
Surprisingly Leone manages to show a spark of brilliance in a scene where she parodies herself and fakes an orgasm! The idea of letting her play herself as opposed to someone else works in the film's favour. 
Baby Doll and Chaar Botal Vodka have already topped the charts and add to the sizzle quotient on the big screen. Karan Mehra as a self-obsessed TV actor is hilarious! 
Using sarcasm and letting the characters have a laugh at themselves was a wise move in bringing in the humour in an otherwise dark plot. Also fans of American Horror Story will be pleasantly impressed by the opening credits which have been majorly inspired by the cult mini-series.
What's not 
Creaking doors, muffled voices in the corridor and jarring background music might work in a Ramsay film, but it only stifles whatever little progress Ragini makes on the scare-o-meter. 
Sandhya Mridul's caricature act of playing a C grade starlet gets annoying after a while. Also Sunny's track with Saahil seemed abrupt, especially when the need to break into a sultry rain song arises out of nowhere! 
Divya Dutta's doctor act falls through in the climax when she, like every other catalyst in a horror film, resorts to chanting some mantras to resolve the possession. 
Dialogues aren't written to win a Pultizer so expect to be baffled at some of the lines! ('tum porno se Rituporno kab ban gayi?')
What to do 
Whether you are a Sunny Leone fan or not, Ragini MMS 2 still manages to raise a few scares and stay true to its genre.

Bewakoofiyaan plays it too safe to rise above the ordinary

Film: Bewakoofiyaan 
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor 
Director: Nupur Asthana
Rating : **1/2
What's it about
Love in the time of recession! Bewakoofiyaan is a simple love story about a couple that has to battle not one but two villains to make their relationship work. Mohit (Ayushmann) is a senior sales executive in an airline company who wants to marry his successful and fashionable girlfriend Myra (Sonam).
Their romance hits a major bump when Myra's father retired IAS officer VK Sehgal (Rishi Kapoor) decides that his daughter deserves to be married off to a millionaire and not some middle class employee. However, the bigger jolt in this love story comes when Mohit loses his job and has to figure out a way to convince his to be father-in-law that he's bringing home a fat paycheck.
The second half is a cat and mouse game between Rishi Kapoor and Ayushmann as both try to outsmart each other. Unfortunately there isn't much for the actors to chew on with a wafer thin plot that offers very little scope to grow.
What's hot
Nupur Asthana makes an effort to make these characters likeable from the very beginning. The dialogues are smart and the conversations seem real. Rishi Kapoor brings the right amount of color and life to his character and his introductory scenes with Sonam and Ayushmann are hilarious.
The writers tackle the issue of unemployment with a sense of believability bringing a sense of realism to the changed dynamic and equation between the couple. Borrowing money from your girlfriend and living off her might seem an alien idea,
but the film smartly uses the track to bring a dramatic twist to the climax. Sonam and Ayushmann might not have great chemistry, but their banter manages to keep you entertained. However, Ayushmann needs to work towards not getting stereotyped with this lovestruck Delhi boy image.

What's not
The story takes a tumble as soon as we get into the second half. Mohit losing his job and then eating a humble pie much later on to accept a job at a junior position seems a bit too contrived.
There was scope to explore the humorous side to Sehgal and Mohit's odd bonding, but instead we skip that and get into a parallel track that doesn't really benefit the film much. By the time we hit the predictable climax, there is a sense of deja vu to what we have watched. Music is average except for the Gulcharre track that adds some spunk to an otherwise ho-hum soundtrack. Most of the humor is written about Rishi Kapoor and that too gets monotonous after a certain point.
What to do
Bewakoofiyaan had the opportunity to be smarter and funnier, unfortunately it plays it too safe to rise above the ordinary.

'Gulaab Gang' strictly for Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla fans

Film: Gulaab Gang
Directed: Soumik Sen
Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla Tannishtha Chatterjee, Divya Jagdale, Priyanka Bose
Rating: **1/2
What it's about 
First things first, it has not been based on Sampat Pal's life or her Gulaabi Gang. The co-incidence being pink sarees and their fight for women's rights somewhere in the north India. Rajoo (Madhuri Dixit) runs a ashram/gurukul that teaches girls and women how to fight. Madhuri has a gang of women who have been wronged by men. Juhi Chawla plays an evil politician. 
What's good
There's the nostalgia factor  — Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla who reigned in the 90s and who never came together for a film actually share the screen space for the first time. And both the actresses bite into their roles with gusto. It is impressive that Sen chooses a women-centric subject that too based in the rural setting and tells an important story. But then fails to acknowledge the fact that he was inspired by Pal, thereby making it just another fictional story.Theatre actress Priyanka Bose's portrayal of her character is applaud worthy.  
What's not
The film has a seen-that feel. Haven't there been enough films about rape, corruption, poverty and drama with villains, cops and politicians. Except that this time, it is a woman unleashing the hell and another women slicing and dicing the culprits. The song and dance in a film like this, was it really necessary? It could have become a memorable film like Mirchi and Mrityudand but in trying to be commercial, the film loses it's flavour. 
What to do
Strictly for Madhuri and Juhi fans.

'Total Siyapaa' is a wasted opportunity

Film: Total Siyapaa
Cast: Ali Zafar, Yami Gautam, Kirron Kher, Sara Khan, Anupam Kher, V M Badola
Director: E Niwas
Rating: **

What's it about 
India v/s Pakistan has often been the subject of cricket matches and fiery debates. E Niwas tries to use this backdrop for a romantic comedy about cross-border romance. However, there is very little romance and the comic timing between the leads Pakistani Aman (Ali Zafar) and Indian Aisha (Yami Gautam) is mostly off. Set in London, the supporting cast consists of a loud Punjabi woman which has become Kirron Kher's niche, an elder sister (Sara Khan) , a grandfather (VM Badola) and a father (Anupam Kher) who is mostly missing in action. 
What's hot 
The premise is actually quite interesting giving rise to situations and scenes that are well conceived, but badly executed. The fact that the leads come from different countries that have such diverse cultures, but a common bond could have been explored in detail. The writing is average mostly relying on dialogues that are often heard on late night comedy shows. Yami has a breath of fresh air about her which helps her stand out in an otherwise heavily hammed up ensemble. 
What's not 
Ali Zafar looks miscast despite the fact that the role suits him perfectly. Unlike his previous work he seems subdued and morose in most of the scenes. Anupam Kher's character is super annoying and gets on your nerves each time he pops up on the screen. Music is strictly okay. We wish there was at least one strong hummable tune on the album.  
What to do 
A wasted opportunity, Total Siyapaa never goes beyond the ordinary and expected.