Archive for December, 2012

Dabangg 2

Dabangg 2 poster
Dabangg 2
Release date: December 21, 2012
Directed by: Arbaaz Khan
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Prakash Raj, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Manoj Pahwa, Deepak Dobriyal

Before I start appraising/berating this movie, I’d just clarify that I am not going to waste any words and be all ‘straight to the action’ just like Bhai Salman or Salman Bhai.

Salman Khan’s character Chulbul Pandey is transferred from a small town to a comparatively larger town, and that’s what you expect from this sequel to Dabangg, to move to a higher level. But no. Director/actor Arbaaz Khan takes up the same mould as that of the first part and fills up the screen with almost repetitive gloss. There’s no room for the evolution of any of its characters, for example: Sonakshi’s still the same coy Indian bride, rather subsided, belittling everything that her “Thappad se darr nah lagta” line did in the prequel.

The plot is pretty much your standard 80’s ‘story’. Chulbul Pandey’s transfer to Kanpur ticks off the political bigwigs and goons alike, and a new ‘villain’ is born as Bachcha Thakur (Prakash Raj) and his brothers. One thing leads to another and just those two things happen and holy shit, you have the climax in front of you and you don’t even feel that major fight sequence brewing. There’s the shirt ripping too, but when you notice how desperately they’ve got to remove them, you’ll laugh. I laughed!

The only saving grace (?) could have been the lines and dialogue. But there’s not one memorable line that you’ll take along with you. So, a commercial entertainer without a thumping build towards the climax and all around short in most of the departments isn’t even a good ‘no-brainer fun flick’, right? Right!?

I know I am right. I leave this review the way I am leaving it so that you know how I felt when this film got over. INCOMPLETE. (Start singing this Backstreet Boys number, people)

P.S. Extra half star for the Fevicol item number.

My rating: *1/2 (1.5 out of 5)

The Last Act

The Last Act poster
The Last Act
Release date: December 14, 2012
Directed by: Asmit Pathare, Nitin Bhardwaj, Tathagata Singha, Nijo – Rohit, Tejas Joshi, Jagannathan Krishnan, Kabir Chowdhry, Nitye Sood, Varun Chowdhury, Anurag Goswami, Rohin V, Himanshu Tyagi

For the uninitiated, this film revolves around a murder and is directed by 13 first-timers, they build their own sequences and piece them together at the end. And as the poster suggests, the story starts from a dead body which is suspected to be of a murder victim’s.

There’s a trail of evidence that leads them to twelve different cities: Mumbai, Kalyan, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hissar, Chandigarh, Pune, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Gwalior and Delhi. Every city has a different flavor and a different story that leads to more revelations, related/unrelated to the main mystery. Each story shows the distinctive directorial approaches. For example, the running handheld camera in Hissar, the view from a scooter-rider’s shoulder in Ghaziabad, the simple hilarity of Pune, Kolkata and Kalyan, or the darker shades of Chandigarh. Bangalore and Chennai may seem like filler, but Gwalior, Lucknow and Delhi show us Indian Sherlock Holmes in their finite landscapes of police stations. Mumbai is where the Last Act unfolds and it surely leaves a mark.

Characterizations are near perfect with their realistic depiction of the Indian metropolitan and suburban working class. There are small moments and major hints all along the narrative, often disclosing other comparatively smaller crimes that go unnoticed under he roots of corruption and negligence. If you have the attention span of a butterfly then this won’t be easy viewing for you, there’ll be questions unanswered whenever you slow down and you better buck up for a lot of exhaustive storytelling.

The Last Act could set a standard or it could sink, but it’s unusually entertaining and fun in its own grimy way. The only nagging point for the casual viewer could be the questions that they don’t get exact or sufficient answers to.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

Talaash

Talash poster
Talaash
Release date: November 30, 2012
Directed by: Reema Kagti
Cast: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherji, Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shernaz Patel, Raj Kumar Yadav

Chronicling the length and breadth of Mumbai on a usual evening in the city, colourful shots of twinkling lights and sea waves and ending the opening titles with a junkie smoking by the roadside who looks on as an actor’s car has a weird crash. This is how Talaash’s pace is set right at the start.

From there on, the talaash (search) for the reasons that caused a freakish mishap begins. As pieces of the impending mystery start piecing together, Inspector Surjan Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) realizes it wasn’t just a one-off accident. There are no obvious pointers to the regular drunken driving incidents as well. There are a lot of layers on the entire case. Surjan has a few personal and family issues too. As he publicly accepts, his wife Roshni (Rani Mukherji) is inflicted by a problem, he doesn’t quite figure out that it’s he who needs to ease up his knots.

As his interrogation leads him to further witnesses and more evidence, he’s acquainted with Rosy (Kareena Kapoor) who is a prostitute. Her character is so well-etched (never mind a few cliche lines) it brings the required mystique and adds another dimension to the characters she interacts with, including the drab and dreary Surjan. It’s these interactions that hold and release much of the pressure, but the same distracts from the actual search into the inner battles of our protagonists.

Talaash depends on a strong belief of the writers and the director, but the same beliefs could not go down well with many viewers who are looking for a hard-hitting totally realistic thriller. Sure, the imagery with beautiful shots prove that the camera work is impeccable. The persistent problem is of the path that the makers have chosen to demystify the story. After a point, you realize what’s happening and you don’t have to wait anymore to hang onto the edge of your seat.

The music is exemplified by the opening and haunting Muskaanein Jhoothi Hain, there are two more full fledged songs, out of which one looks like a square peg in the circle hole. But it’s not too painful. Rani and Aamir bring the poised demureness needed for their characters, while Kareena is simply indulging and enjoyable in all her moments with her seductive charm. The ensemble cast of Nawazuddin as a crippled shady guy Teimur , Raj Kumar Yadav as a junior to Inspector Surjan and Shernaz Patel as the creepy neighbour are all good.

Overall, Talaash is an attempt at classic suspense but a bit lost in the shuffle of letting every character attain closure and answers to their inherent questions. It borders on being a smart film and a thrown opportunity.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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