Posts Tagged ‘ Saif Ali Khan ’

Phantom

Phantom_Hindi_Poster

Phantom
Release date: August 28, 2015
Directed by: Kabir Khan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Katrina Kaif

Phantom, as a film, could have been categorized as a political thriller, instead it has tricks rolled up its sleeve to make it look more like a con film. Right from the start, it shows us a drawn-out action sequence with two cars and their respective drivers accelerating and ramming their cars into each others’. The sequence, filled with fast action and a cool slow-motion fall off a bridge in Chicago, is just that. The audience isn’t even involved in the film yet, but it’s a cool hook.

The cool hook then propels the story in a flashback to the origins of Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan), a former member of the Indian armed forces. A young rookie, at the Indian intelligence agency RAW, proposes the idea of sending a suicide mission man to Pakistan to wipe out Hafiz Saeed, David Coleman Headley and a few more perpetrators of Mumbai’s 26/11, just how the mighty Americans did in 2011. Except, this isn’t a SEAL team dropping in from a chopper.

Optimism is not a bad concept, unless you force a hundred contrivances and co-incidences. Then it’s just a manufactured copy of how a child’s perception of optimism is; naive and too idealistic. Since the film belongs to the pseudo-thriller genre, it indulges in numerous cheap thrill scenes. Picture this, guy ‘A’ is taking a swig of a drink he’s not supposed to. There’s no one at home and no one in a mile near him because he’s in vacuum hole. And even then, you’ll get to see a person who can stop him, out of nowhere, appearing in the close proximity of ‘A’. Now take this approach, and visualize it at least 7 times. This is what Phantom does to desensitize you. It induces an overdose of too many cringeworthy coincidences.

What’s appreciable is that the film doesn’t always stop to explain things and slow everything down. This trend goes to the extent of focusing too less on the reasons for the characters’s actions. It deprives you of empathizing with the people on the screen, which again makes you just an outside spectator. The makers try to counter these flaws by invoking jingoistic moments, and some of them, to their credit, are subtly entertaining.

Phantom oscillates between being good and “Um, okay.” It’s an ambitious effort all round, only it falters too often.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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Go Goa Gone

Go-Goa-Gone-Poster
Go Goa Gone
Release date: May 10, 2013
Directed by: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.
Cast: Anand Tiwari, Vir Das, Kunal Khemu, Puja Gupta, Saif Ali Khan

Ever since the initial trailer, Go Goa Gone aimed at being India’s first ever “zomcom”; bewildering for many, but nonetheless amusing on paper and in the rushes too.

Three friends who liberally consume marijuana and alcohol, at least two of them do so even at the workplace that they share. The two being Luv (Vir Das) and Hardik (Kunal Khemu) and Bunny (Anand Tiwari) being the hardworking misfit who’s pretty high only on preparing pretty presentations.

As things fall into place the trio is on their way to Goa. None of this happens in the way I’ve typed out until here. Once there, Luv is acquainted with Luna (Puja Gupta) in a hilarious fashion. Hilarious is the underlying adjective in every paragraph here, the film remains endlessly laughs-inducing.

The introduction of the zombies makes you cringe for a while, fearing the generic shifting of gears into a sad usual horror film. But they aren’t ghosts! And this film isn’t sad! There are so many lines that are simply great, with the peppering of SMS slang and the bashing of stereotypes.

I’d point out individual scenes and piece of dialogue that stood out, but I’ll just ask you to keep an eye out for the condom purchasing scene and the line where one of the character asks aloud, “Who do Russians worship?” only to get an insipid “Stalin?” in response.

The individual performances justly add to the overall goodness of the screenplay. The camaraderie among the male leads looks enjoyable and not forced. There’s a very subtle social message that runs through right till the end. If anyone tells you its about showing Goa in a bad light, extend your virtual killstreak by bringing them under the headcount.

Also, I appeal for a special award be dished out to Saif Ali Khan for attempting to put up a phony Russian accent and converting his famous arm-tattoo to something in Russian, as method as an actor can get! The visuals can’t get any better without Dan Macarthur’s flashy camerawork.

To add to the infinite praises for Sachin-Jigar’s music score, I’ll unabashedly just state the obvious; the tracks are a bonus feature on the entire film. Go Goa Gone is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining films that you’ll see this year.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Bombay Talkies

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Bombay Talkies
Release date: May 3, 2013
Directed by: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Rani Mukherji, Randeep Hooda, Saqib Saleem, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Shubhangi Bhujbal, Naman Jain, Ranvir Shorey, Vineet Kumar, Sudhir Pandey

To type a personal paragraph(s) on what I love about films or not to type: that is the question.

Indian cinema, since its inception in 1913 has come a long way. Be it technically or professionally, whether it has made advancement in telling contemporary stories in a hard hitting fashion is not to be passed upon here. Bombay Talkies tries going in for the latter parameter and that is why you should love the film in its entirety for.

There are four directors with their own separate films, not all of them exactly revolving around cinema’s impact on us, but taking on different characters’ struggles and individual tales of varying emotions. The first one is Karan Johar’s film hedlining Rani, Randeep and the fresh Saqib from Mere Dad Ki Maruti. It starts off with a pumped up confrontational opening and his camera chasing Saqib.

With a style uncharacteristic to his, Johar maneuvers a telling tale of dysfunctional relationships and the society’s collective inability of accepting things as they are. He operates in a urban setting with the idealistic middle class mentality and equates it to the high classes’ apparent double standards. The actors save the plot from becoming clunky at times.

Dibakar Banerjee explores the chawls of Mumbai, where his protagonist (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) has a pet emu named Anjali. Oh how I love his subtle comedy! Nawazuddin plays an uninspired actor and a failed businessman (sic) with limited means to support his family. It’s his apparent gumption and the inner battles that form this amusing feature.

Sadashiv Amrapukar comes out of his spiritual and literal dumpsters to give him a reality check, obviously laced with good lines. It’s the ending that simply transcends into another dimension of its own. It is divine, fulfilling and succulent. The detailing is so brilliant along with Nawaz’s simmering performance, you rejoice every moment of his swaggering presence.

Post interval, Zoya Akhtar follows up with her story of a small family whose patriarch wants his son to get ‘tough’ by making him attend football sessions in school by sacrificing the daughter’s allowance for a history trip. The boy is enamored by Katrina Kaif and wants to emulate her dance performances in his fantasyland.

The approach for establishing plot devices is a bit faulty and rushed at times, but what Akhtar captures beautifully is the sibling’s relationship. It’s a simple I-look-your-back-you-look-mine one, but it’s charming, delightful and uh, heartwarming! Kaif delivers a special message in a fairy outfit and that is an added incentive to the joyful end of this film.

Indians love their films and they worship their actors with reverence and treat them as an abstract family member. Kashyap’s film is just about that. A son carries a jar of Murabba for his father’s idol (Amitabh Bachchan) to Mumbai. The reasoning for this task is what crazy fan fictions are made up of. Vineet Kumar plays the Bachchan obsessed Sudhir Pandey’s son Vijay.

He makes his trip to Mumbai from Allahabad to realize there are just a two dozen strong other Vijays hanging outside Bachchan’s house, awaiting their chance to have a few moments with The Man. Again, the finish scene with Kumar’s return to his father is purely frolicky.

Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap work a dark and cheery screenplay respectively; not their customary styles, which could cause some disappointments or surprise among their loyal viewers who could be expecting something more of the usual. I count it as one of the film’s strengths and a welcome change.

Altogether, Bombay Talkies is a great tribute that doesn’t focus on being one. And that is why it turns out to be so good.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars) 

Race 2

Race 2 is awful.
Race 2
Release date: January 25, 2012
Directed by: Abbas-Mustan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Anil Kapoor, Ameesha Patel

While the filmmakers unite for more creative power and liberalization against the tyrannical censor boards and innumerable religious/ethnic groups, Race 2 comes as a breath of fresh, sorry, stale air. Race 2 should have been bludgeoned by the censor board for its bordering obscene (and cliche) lines and by the other social watchdogs to prevent the masses from being subjected to continuous nonsensical  exhibition of in-your-face trash.

Rather than specifying the non-existent ‘plot’ and the other painful details I’ll just tell you why Race 2 should be abhorred and detested as a piece of cinema, writing, acting, skill or any goddamn thing.

Race 2 sucks at all levels because:

  • A sharpshooter has a sniper rifle and he doesn’t shoot his target (Bipasha Basu) instead he shoots a bullet on the petrol tank lid. Lamborghini explosion, you see?
  • Saif Ali Khan’s character Ranveer Singh has blonde highlights and long hair in his entry scene and one song, while he continues to have completely black hair gelled back for the rest of the film.
  • Everyone looks like a million bucks. That’s not a bad thing, given that million bucks is the actual budget of each character’s costumes and appearance.
  • The usual complaint of “women being reduced to objects” doesn’t stand true, because every actor is objectified and specifically ordered to not act.
  • Anil Kapoor’s character Robert D’Costa answers Ameesha Patel’s “Tum ladki mein sabse pehle kya dekhti ho?” with a “Wo depened karta hai ladki aa rahi hai ya ja rahi hai.” Lifted. Boring. Stupid. Ancient.
  • The ladies have been asked to maximize on their assets. That means, each woman has her own USP body part. For example, Deepika Padukone’s legs in dresses with long cuts, Jacqueline Fernandez’s abs and butt and Ameesha’s breasts. Not that I am complaining, but after a point even that gets monotonous.
  • The dialogue is as predictable as a, I’m falling short of comparisons here. It’s hauntingly reminding of the 80’s vague lines. With bits of English peppered, it still remains drab and seriously underwhelming.
  • A ‘street fighter’ Armaan Malik (John Abraham) becomes a billionaire out of nowhere. BILLIONS FROM NOWHERE. And his step-sister – what would a Race film be without foster siblings who double-cross each other – Elena (Deepika Padukone) claims she’s helped him get those billions.
  • The twists are just like a children’s fantasy game, where everyone gains an upperhand continuously by claiming their weapon is more powerful. There’ an Audi with parachutes installed in it, more parachutes, CCTV footage, and at the end, ‘tere glaas mein zeher (poison) mila tha’.
  • And to top it all, last but not the least, a locker’s password at the St. Turin’s Church is ‘OBEYGOD’. Obey God. Are the nuns allowed to have a Facebook account?

But credit must be given where it’s due. Race 2 brilliantly carries forward the legacy of Race 1 with its incredibly stupendous amount of belief in the directors’ conviction to deliver a preposterous lump of shit. Race 2 also joins an elite class of worst films of all times.

My rating: * (1 out of 5)

Cocktail


Cocktail
Release date: July 13, 2012
Directed by: Homi Adajania
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Saif Ali Khan, Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia

The film is set in London, and we do get the stereotypical wide shots of the city that help us to know, nothing. Sorry. But the long shots and extensive coverage of the picturesque landscapes and swish streets get a tad too imposing. Yes, they so first-world and we so third-world.

For the plot: Meera (Diana Penty) is our grief-struck damsel stuck in a foreign land with nowhere to go. Veronica (Deepika Padukone) lives alone in an expensive row house with endless nights of partying and more partying. She’s a photographer by profession, but all her demands are met by her invisible parents. Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) is approaching his thirties with no stable relationship around him. He likes to get laid, easily. Meera and Veronica are poles apart, in every parameter that counts. Yet, Veronica befriends Meera and tries getting her into the party loop.

And mind you, Veronica always gets by the bouncers at the local nightclub & all the patrons know her! Yay! Alright, that is a bit cliche. She dances her ass off while everyone cheers for her and two party numbers go by. Gautam, who had tried his ‘charm’ over Meera right at their first incidental meeting now gets served by Veronica and soon they are an item. They even share a toothbrush. How cute. Boman Irani plays Randhir, Gautam’s uncle and calls himself his guardian when his sister Kavita (Dimple Kapadia) calls him to coax Gautam to get married.

Soon things start mixing up when Kavita shows up at Veronica’s house where Gautam is swaying wildly to Sheela Ki Jawaani and is heavily cross-dressed. Meera pretends that she is Gautam’s fiance and Kavita takes an instant liking to her coy and sweet future daughter-in-law. They go on a vacation and hormones start to run haywire. Gautam and Meera get close and realize that they are in love. Meera tries to suppress her feelings and Veronica also realizes her feelings for Gautam. Love triangle commences.

The three protagonists go through longing and a throbbing pain in the absence of their crossed-up lovers. Veronica ends up on a self-destructive path, while Meera tries running away and Gautam is stuck between the two. The film’s first ‘artistic’ or emoting sequence shows up in the form of a lash-out by Veronica at Meera in an inebriated state. The second half of the film tries making more sense than the first, actually making some sense.

Things get completely sorted out over the course of two sad songs playing in the background. Disappointing. But the overall product doesn’t bear a stale stench, thus keeping it fresh and somewhat touching. We’ve seen better romcoms & we’ll see more (hopefully) but this one isn’t too bad either.

Cocktail proves to be entertaining and enjoyable while it lasts. You won’t regret going to this movie even if you aren’t a mushy romantic film-buff.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

Agent Vinod Review

Agent Vinod
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Directed by: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Ram Kapoor, Shahbaz Khan, Ravi Kissen, Prem Chopra, Dhritiman Chaterji, Adil Hussain.

As the film starts to roll, you get a quote from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: One name is as good as another. Not wise to use your own name. One more reference to the mother of all classics drops by as a character’s ringtone is Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece. That was enough to get this viewer hooked on for the next hint of excellence. Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) is a secret agent (I hope I get the prize for being Captain Obvious here) he tries to be a turtle that doesn’t seem to be affected by the water on his back.

He cons his way out of tricky situations dangerously with all the oomph that James Bond could propagate with all of his arm-candy. There are a lot of charming beautiful women, one in Afghanistan, another one in Russia but their Hindi appears a few notches better than most of our current semi-Caucasian imports. Vinod is out to avenge the loss caused by Abu (Ram Kapoor) and his henchmen. Vinod disguises himself to find gateways into what appears a major threat to multiple nations’ security. The obvious loopholes start appearing. Not too cringe-inducing though. Yet.

Dr. Ruby Mendes (Kareena Kapoor) is a very complicated character, never really revealing what/whom she is working for. The first half ends at a point the viewer is bound by a clingy loose thread. That thread keeps breaking as the story advances. Sriram Raghavan constantly uses that odd old Hindi song that he always does, but doesn’t quite get the same magic of Ek Haseena Thi or anything closer to Johnny Gaddar. The movie pulls itself into a partial abyss, making it very difficult to ever come out of it. There’s a monumental feat that Vinod pulls out, a few thousand feet up in the air, but everything becomes insignificant.

Raghavan always gets his cinematography right, he does that this time as well. Sadly, that cannot hold the film string with its plot getting weaker as it progresses. The climax of a thriller film has to be a major draw, this is where this viewer stops caring altogether. Everything reduces to caricatures of all sorts. All potential for a slick & quick paced action film is totally down the drain.

Agent Vinod comes out as an avoidable film. If you have nothing to do this weekend, and you’ve already seen Kahaani and Paan Singh Tomar, I advise you to stay at home or catch Agent Vinod for Kareena and the few foreign import beauties along with the varying exotic locations.

My Rating: ** (2 out of 5)

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