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I’m back with a review of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania!

It’s been more than a year since I have written a post but I finally decided it is time to get back to it.  I love Bollywood and I love writing about it too.  With my school life finally settled down I can devote some time to the blog again.

Tonight my mom and I enjoyed a girls’ night out and went to see “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.”  Bollywood churns out a lot of good movies, there is no questioning that.  However, as much as I love movies like “The Lunchbox,” “Queen,” and “Dhoom 3,” sometimes I crave for the quintessential 90s Hindi film.  Raj and Simran putting their families before their own love, Rahul’s gang of friends in “Dil To Pagal Hai,” and the naughtiness but chivalry of Rahul in “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.”  “Humpty Sharma” made me reminisce about the movies I love while thoroughly entertaining me.  There are not many movies that can do this.  In the recent past the last movies that did so were “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan,” “ZNMD,” and “Hasee Toh Phasee.”  These movies all have the charming and noble hero, the slightly dorky best friend, the quirky and independent heroine, the loving family worthy of respect and sacrifice and the grand songs. “Humpty” has earned its place amongst these movies.

What makes “Humpty” an excellent movie is not its story.  The story is pretty standard, boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love but girl is getting married to another.  It is the quirks in the storyline and the character development that make this film extremely entertaining.  The hero meets his heroine while she is on a quest for a designer lehenga.  He is naughty but when it counts he is chivalrous and respectful.  Other than his odd name and small budget lifestyle, Humpty is just like the 90s hero that every bollywood loving girl dreams will walk into her life.  Varun is infectious as Humpty and I can imagine no other actor playing this part.  He is his charming self but the glamour of his first two films is missing.  He is an ordinary joe so his hair is mostly gel-less and his duds are not designer.  Varun’s dancing is flawless and his he is a natural comedian.  The only criticism I have is he needs to work on his crying.  Kavya (the female lead) is gorgeous, spunky and loyal to her man.  Alia plays her well.  I am not Alia’s biggest fan but I have to say she is fabulous in this film.  Her films this past year have proven she is an excellent actress.  The only complaint I have is that she did appear too young in some scenes (her baby-ness comes out if that makes sense).  The scene stealers of this film are Humpty’s two best friends Shonty and Poplu (especially Poplu).  They are super hilarious and endearing.  I really want to see more of these guys.  This film marks the hunky Siddharth Shukla’s acting debut and he is irresistible as the perfect Angad.  I am so glad he has a three movie deal with Dharma.  I also want to mention Ashutosh Rana who plays Alia’s father.  He is good as the typical macho but soft hearted punjabi daddy-ji.

This is a Dharma movie so the production value is great as expected.  This is Shashank Khaitan’s directorial debut and he is clearly talented.  He has really pulled the film together well.  The music is good and the songs are placed well in the film.  

“Humpty” is a movie you can go see with the whole family.  There is a kiss and a love scene but it is short and sweet, and done tastefully.  So it is not too uncomfortable to watch with the family.  

I can confidently recommend “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.” Go watch it this weekend you will be entertained I promise! I watched it in a half-full theatre that was filled with laughter through most of the film.

Rating:  **** (4 stars)

I promise to write more frequently!

bollywoodaddict

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Movie Review: Kai Po Che

I know it has been awhile since I reviewed any films because of school.  However, “Kai Po Che” made me want to post.  I just got back from the film and I am still numb.  

I read “The Three Mistakes of My Life” in grade twelve.  I loved it so much that I pushed my English teacher into allowing me to write my book report on it.  The book report entailed writing an essay on a passage from the book which the teacher would choose.  My teacher chose the love scene between Govind and Vidya.  The political scientist in me was disappointed because the political undertone in the novel are a goldmine for essay writing.  Still, the romantic in me was happy.  Not to brag but I kicked that report out of the ballpark or should I say the cricket field?  Okay, okay I will stop trying to use clever metaphors.

When I heard that the book was being adapted into film by the director of “Rock On!” I was psyched.  Initially it was said that actors like Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal were cast to essay the leads.  I got even more psyched.  Then, I read that the guy from Pavitra Rishta (Sushant Singh Rajput) and two other unknown actors (Amit Sadh and Raj Kumar Yadav) had been cast.  I was kind of disappointed and I knew I would still go and see it.  That was if it even played. I was doubtful that without any stars the one theatre in my city that plays Hindi movies would even bother.  However, I am glad to report that it did play and I LOVED it!

The casting of this film is very close to perfection.  I say very close to perfection only because I was disappointed by the casting of Ali’s father.  In the book he is a strong character with strong beliefs.  He inspires Ishaan’s respect and is a worthy political opponent of Ovi’s Mama.  In the film, none of this came across.  It may not be the actors fault and it may just be the screenplay writers/director who are to blame.  This being said the rest of the casting is FLAWLESS! Yes I was doubtful at first but the three leads won me over and how! Sushant is so natural that it seems as if he was born to play Ishaan.  The character requires a charisma but also a reflection of pain that his dreams of playing for India remain unfulfilled.  Sushant embodies all this in his portrayal of Ishaan.  Bravo Sushant!  Meanwhile, Raj Kumar Yadav plays Govind spot on! The way he walks, talks when he is nervous is superb.  The earthquake seen is all his.  He shines.  Lastly, Amit Sadh is marvellous as Omi.  The change from the innocent Omi to the politically corrupted Omi is a joy to see on screen because it is so well done.  Omi’s blood shot eyes and expressions stay in your mind even after the scene is over.  I really cannot see anyone else as Omi.  The supporting cast all give great performances.  The actor who plays Mamaji is wonderful.  Moreover, Amrita Puri as Vidya is so natural.  You would never guess a Punjabi girl is playing the Gujrati Vidya.  The scene between her and Sushant is especially moving.

No review is complete without taking of the technical aspect of a film.  The cinematography is not lavish as is common in Hindi films.  It can’t be because that is not what the film needs.  Still, the DoP makes the setting look beautiful when it needs to be beautiful and terrifying when it needs to be terrifying.  The music is perfection and blends so well into the narrative. The editing is flawless as one scene transitions to another with ease.  The screenplay, which is as mentioned earlier, an adaptation of a novel is good.  I say good because I didn’t completely like the way the flashback comes about.  I wish it had been Govind reminiscing while on his way to pick up Omi.  Secondly, while I understand the film cannot encompass the whole book, I wish they had retained the scene when the three friends go to the party event.  I loved that scene from the book.

Director Abhishek Kapoor proves yet again that he is very good at what he does.  We should all be thankful that this guy gave up acting and pursued direction because otherwise we would not have gotten to see gems like “Rock On!” and “Kai Po Che”.  It’s not everyday that a director coming off a film that was both a box office hit and a critically acclaimed film, choses to do a film like Kai Po Che.  Firstly, it has political undertones.  Secondly, it has a cast of all newcomers.  Thirdly, it is neither a full on bromance like ZMND or Dostana nor does it revolve solely on a love story.  The love story is there but it is secondary to the story of the three boys.  I salute Abhishek Kapoor for taking the risk and not only that but also hitting a sixer with this film.  I know a film is good when during that 1-2 minute walk out of the theatre I am still thinking about the movie and not where I parked my car or what time it is.  I just get this feeling of numbness.  I remember my film studies teacher and I both had a discussion once about what makes a film good.  I said then that it is good if it makes you feel something.  That something could be making you cry or it could be making you laugh.  “Kai Po Che” made me feel so for me it is a good film.  A film that deserves to be seen.  I like films with political undertones so it made me think, ALOT.  Still if you aren’t like me and hate such films you will still like this film because the story of these boys is beautifully touching.

Rating: **** (4stars/5stars)

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If You Love Cinema Take a Bite of Barfi!

I’ve been watching Hindi movies my entire life pretty much.  I’ve been mocked because of my deep love for them but that didn’t lessen my love of them.  Do you know why?  It is because of films like Barfi.  Barfi in no way fits the stereotypical view of Bollywood.  It is not a movie consumed by song and dance numbers or totally unrealistic action sequences.  Not that there is anything wrong with those films.  In fact, I love those kinds of Hindi movies, just refer to any of my previous posts.  It is just that the next time someone says “Oh you like Bollywood?  Those are the movies where the actor and actress dance and sing for the whole movie right?” I can internally laugh at them because Barfi is not that at all.

Barfi is NOT a sad movie overall.  It is a movie about loving life.  It is about appreciating what God has given you instead of complaining about what he has given others and not you.  Barfi teaches this lesson not through melodrama or tears but through humour.  I watched the movie in a relatively full theatre and I cannot tell you how many times the theatre burst into laughter.  There are some scenes in the film that are just so adorably humorous you wish you had a remote so you could rewind and watch it again.  There are some sad portions as well but soon after you will find yourself laughing again.

Director/writer Anurag Basu most definitely deserves a standing ovation.  He has written a superb story.  It is a simple one but it makes you laugh and cry.  His direction of the film is outstanding.  Every single character is memorable and the little moments in the film stay in ones mind even after the film is over.  In an interview Ranbir Kapoor said for this film Priyanka, Ileana and himself completely relied on Mr. Basu.  Thus, their amazing performances are in part credited to this genius of a man.

My entire family loves Ranbir Kapoor.  We eagerly await all his films and we all wish him the best.  However, I have always held a special place for Shahrukh Khan in my heart.  I never thought I could love anyone more than SRK until today.  After watching Barfi, Ranbir Kapoor is my most favourite actor without question.  The man has no dialogues in the film yet I have never found a character so endearing!  I totally agree with Anurag Basu, NO ONE ELSE COULD HAVE BEEN BARFI!

Priyanka Chopra has given several noteworthy performances in her career like Aitraaz, Fashion, Kaminey and Saat Khoon Maaf but Barfi is her best yet.  Jhilmil is a tricky character to portray.  If portrayed incorrectly, Jhilmil could come off as a silly character or a pathetic caharacter for whom we feel nothing but empathy for.  Thankfully and incredibly, Priyanka’s performance ensures neither of the above happens.  Rather, you find yourself falling in love with Jhilmil’s spirit.  You don’t feel sorry for her.

Ileana’s role is substantial but it is not as interesting/meaty as Ranbir and Priyanka’s roles.  She does a good job though and was an apt choice.

All in all, Barfi is my favourite film of the year thus far.  I won’t at all be surprised to see Ranbir walk away with all the Best Actor awards this year again.  Nor will I be surprised to see Anurag Basu walk away with best director (though he may have to compete with Yash Chopra and Reema Katgi).  Priyanka will most definitely be nominated but I will have to see Heroine first before I can say with certainty that she will win.  So far, for me it was the best performance by an actress this year.

I will give one warning though, if you only like fast paced masala movies then Barfi may not be for you. As critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh aptly put it:

“On the whole, BARFI! is unusual for Bollywood. You don’t formulate movies like BARFI! targeting its box-office potential or its commercial prospects. You create such films for the passion of cinema.”

So, if you truly love cinema and do not only go to movies to help pass the time then Barfi is most definitely one film you should not miss.  Even if you are one of those movie-goers I would say give this movie a chance.  It is a happy story.  Though for some strange reason I found myself getting teary eyed at the end even though the ending is such a happy one.  I think that is why I loved this movie so much, it invoked something in me that I still don’t understand.  That has never happened to me before.

Rating: 4.5/5

bollywoodaddict

Teri Meri Kahaani: Movie Review

It’s been a while since I wrote a movie review and though I’m rusty here goes…

Hearing Teri Meri Kahaani had under-performed at the box office and had failed to impress critics made my fear that a movie with three love stories was just a bad idea even greater.  Fortunately as is often true the critics got it wrong! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this film.  Here are a list of pros and cons.

Cons:

1. The film starts in 1960.  This is confusing at first since you expect it to start off in 1910.  After the film was over I realized it may have been for the purpose of having an interval.  You see, the 1910 portion is longer than both the 1960 and 2012 stories thus  for purposes of having a break half way between perhaps director Kunal Kohli decided to save 1910 for last.  However, I don’t think an interval was necessary and having the film go in chronological order would have enhanced the final product.

2. The ex-girlfriend Meera.  In 2012 Shahid’s ex-girlfriend is just irritating.  In todays world relationships face so many diverse obstacles (as we saw in Love Aaj Kal, Socha Na Tha, Hum Tum, I Hate Luv Storys) that I felt the ex-girlfriend obstacle was too superficial a choice.  Still for time purposes I guess the choice makes sense.  That being said I would have preferred a longer film if it tacked something more substantial.

Pros:

1. Shayanka – the chemistry between Shahid and Priyanka.  Kunal Kohli brought us the Rani-Saif jodi in Hum Tum and we will eternally be grateful.  He does us another favour by casting Shahid and Priyanka as Krish/Radha, Javed-Aradhana and Gobind-Rukhsar.  These two set the screen on fire with their crackling chemistry.  They adapt to their roles amazingly well.  Especially in the 1910 love story.  Shahid’s shers would make any girl melt because not only are they beautiful but also because of the charm and confidence with which he recites them.  Priyanka excels too by adding that typical punjabi accent to her hindi.  I’m punjabi myself and when I speak Hindi that exact accent comes into it!

2. The sets.  Whoever made the sets should take a bow! Kunal Kohli you are a man of fantastic vision to pull this off! The setting of 1910 is Sargoda (a village in pre-partition Punjab) and it looks amazing! My mom tells me my grandfather’s family was originally from Sargoda so that makes me happy too haha!  I am contemplating taking my grandpa to see the film so he can tell me if it’s accurately designed or not.  The 1960 set is created digitally and you can tell in some parts but it is mostly done very well.

3. The film is what it promises.  I read a couple reviews saying Mr. Kohli was trying to make an epic romance but I don’t think that was the intention.  I think he meant the film to be a romantic film that when you leave the theatre you leave happy and hopeful that you too can find love.  If I’m right he succeeded.  Reading the reviews after having seen the film I can’t help but think that one of two things must be true. One the critics don’t believe in love. Two the critics are too old to remember how they dreamt of love when they were in their late teens and early twenties.  This movie made me say “aww” or “that’s so sweet” so many times.

To conclude, if you are young and love to fantasize about your mr.right or miss right then this movie is a must see.  Ignore the box office numbers and the critics and have a good time!  It was my last day as a “teenager” and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend it!

Rating: **** (4/5 Stars)

bollywoodaddict

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: An Unexpected Surprise

Going into Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu I was expecting a mushy, feel good rom-com that makes you believe in a love not possible in the real world. However, coming out I found myself reflecting on things I had never considered before. More than a rom-com Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is a story of self discovery. Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful and romantic moments in the film but that is not what the point of the film is.

Imran and Kareena do a fine job. Kareena’s character resembles that of Geet from Jab We Met. A girl who knows how to live life and is unapologetic for her pizazz/bold nature. So, the terrain is not unfamiliar for the actress who has already proven her talent in many films. However great Kareena is, Imran is the scene stealer of the film. His portrayal of a twenty five year old man who is living a suffocated and repressed life is spot on. Especially those of Indian ethnicity will relate to his portrayal of an aaga kari/parent respecting son who lives his life the way he does to please his parents. I could not help but relate to him. His eyes (which are beautiful) say so much. The scene in which he confronts his parents is one of the best examples of catharsis or release of emotions I have seen (except Rockstar which had many such moments). No one could have done this role better. Imran makes the character come alive. You never question that he is a rich, proper, intelligent architect with obsessive compulsive disorder (he irons his socks and underwear and cannot tolerate untidiness). His understated performance makes the film come alive. Had this role gone into the hands of anyone else, the film could have well fallen flat.

The script gets it right, there are millions of kids out there that feel stifled by parental expectations. Like Rahul (Imran’s character) they let the purpose of their life become pleasing their parents. After all, their parents have done so much for them. In fact Rahul’s dad (played by Boman Irani) never let’s him forget that he was always given whatever he wanted.

The supporting cast is outstanding. Boman Irani can never perform badly and this is no exception. He is fabulous as Imran’s business minded father. Ratna Pathak Shah is very funny. Though she played Imran’s mother in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, her role in this film is very different but she makes you believe she truly is a materialistic and controlling mother. Kareena’s character’s parents add masala to the narrative especially the dad. Riana’s granny is the cutest of them all though! Watch out for her when you go to see the film. Ram Kapoor is hardly there but whatever little screen time he has he uses it effectively. He is such a fine actor and has great screen presence.

This film is RELATABLE. It is realistic. It is VERY likely you or me have felt the way Imran’s character Rahul does. There is a point in the film when Kareena’s character Riana tells him that being perfectly normal is a blessing. During that scene I felt as though I was standing in Imran’s shoes.

The music complements the film nicely and contributes to the narrative nicely. A unexpected cameo by choreographer Bosco (from Bosco-Caesar) and Avantika (Imran’s real life wife) in the song Auntie Ji brings a smile to your face. Aahatein is a beautiful song and brings tears to your eyes. The title track is fun and youthful.

Dharma Productions always produces good quality films. You never get the feeling of cost cutting when watching a Dharma film. It is made as the script demands. Giving new directors a chance is risky but Dharma proves it one risk worth taking as long as you believe in that new talent.

First time director Shakun Batra has made a light, unusual and a good film. It is not conventional as one expects it to be but this is a pleasant surprise. There is humour, romance and enlightenment in this film. It is short and you feel sad that it is over so soon. He also shows how innovative he is by adding titles to every scene (ex. back to school, chopsticks, etc.). These are the signs of a good film. I cannot wait to see more films from him.

I am going to give EMAET 3 1/2 stars. Give this film a chance, you won’t regret it. You may just realize something about yourself. I know I did.

bollywoodaddict

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan: Movie Review

I LOVE hindi cinema.  That is no secret.  If you are like me and you love hindi cinema for its vibrance, songs and larger than life feel, you will LOVE “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”.  It is a culmination of all I love: beautifully choreographed songs, lots of laughs, great costumes, mushy romantic scenes, family drama and outstanding cinematography.

The story is not unique but it is the way the story is told that is the new twist to an old story and what makes the movie work.  The director, Ali Abbas Zafar knows what he is doing.  He draws brilliant performances from all the cast members and tells his story well.  He chose great locations and a great editor!

The cast is the shining glory of this film.  Katrina Kaif looks fabulous as usual. Her acting skills are improving with every performance and she is very loveable as Dimple.  This girl deserves all the fame she has achieved because she is clearly hard working.  Her hindi diction is much approved, it is hard to believe she did not know Hindi till a few years back!  Katrina’s expressions are also wonderful.  I think she learned much from her previous film “Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani”, where she played a girl somewhat similar to her character in “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”.  Imran Khan is spectacular.  His character, Kush is every girl’s dream (good looking, supportive, creative, responsible, family loving, spunky and fun) and the brother everyone wants.  Imran breathes life into his character and makes Kush exactly what the story calls for.  The brother is portrayed by Ali Zafar (previously seen in Tere Bin Laden).  I can say one thing with certainty this film would not have been half as entertaining if the casting of the brother was not so good.  Ali is fantastic.  The way he speaks, his facial expressions and his comic timing all make it impossible to take your eyes off the screen.  I really hope we get to see more of this delightful talent from Pakistan.

The first half of “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” is a fast paced, fun filled ride.  The second half is also very entertaining.  There is only one flaw in this film and that is that the ending is dragged a bit.  Just when you think all is well, an unexpected plot twist comes into place.  It is not that the plot twist is totally unrealistic, it makes sense considering what happens in the film.  However, the problem is solved in too short a time span, making it a bit redundant.

I was having a very stressful week but “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” provided me relief from all the stress.  If you like to laugh or need a laugh, this film is for you.  Yashraj Films are always quality products and this film is no exception. You won’t be bored for even a second!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

bollywoodaddict

Double Dhamaal Movie Review: Double the Fun!!!

When I heard that the sequel to Dhamaal was being made, I to be honest, was not too excited.  Dhamaal was funny but I did not see anything in the film that warranted a sequel.  It was only after reading Taran Adarsh’s review on bollywoodhungama.com that I decided I wanted to see it.  I finally got the chance to see it tonight.  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Most sequels are not as good as the first film but Double Dhamaal is not one such case.  In fact, Double Dhamaal is true to it’s name because it is doubly funny than Dhamaal.

The performances are commendable, but some stand out more than others.  The best of the bunch is Javed Jaffery, who especially in certain portions is very funny.  He really manages to instill a child like innocence in his portrayal of Manav.  He is especially endearing in the scenes where he shows up unannounced despite being forbidden to by the other three.  Ashish Chowdhry is also very good.  He looks great (very handsome and hilarious looking in the portions in which he dons the appearance of a woman).  I really think he would be great in a romantic comedy.  Arshad Warsi is funny but he is a bit over the top in certain parts.  He is at his funniest best during the song Jalebi Bai.  Double Dhamaal succumbs to the sardar stereotype so often seen in hindi cinema.  However, Arshad’s disguise as a sardar does bring a smile to your face and so, one forgets about the stereotype.  I was slightly disappointed by Riteish Deshmukh, not because he is not funny but because of his look in the film.  This is understandable when he is in his many get ups but his long hair drove me insane.  After seeing Riteish in Housefull (where he looked the best he has till date), I had developed a bit of a crush on him.  In comparison to his look in Housefull he looks like a completely different person in Double Dhamaal.  That being said, he is still really funny.  His comic timing is improving with every film.  In my opinion, it is easier to be funny in a solo performance than be funny in a multi-star film.  You have to find that chemistry with your co-actors and then co-ordinate the comic timing.  So the foursome do manage to create quite a Dhamaal keeping this in mind.  Sanjay Dutt, while this is not anywhere near his performances in the Munnabhai series, is decent.  He does well with the role he is given.  The worst performance is by far Kangna Renaut.  She looks great (Uff her and Mallika’s clothes! They are to die for!!!) but she shrieks throughout the film and has bad comic timing.  On the other hand, Mallika is good and looks the best she has ever! I watched an interview in which she says she signed Double Dhamaal because of the way Indra Kumar showcases his heroines (Madhuri in Beta for example).  A noteworthy performance is also Satish Kaushik, who plays a gullible gangster.

If you need a pick up after a bad day, week or even month go watch Double Dhamaal.  However, as people in hindi cinema love to say about such commercial pot boilers, “Leave your brains at home bhai!”.  The one hole in the script I noticed is at the end when one of the bad guys preeminently chases the foursome (he has not yet been shown evidence or told that the four are the ones who cheated him).  All in all, Double Dhamaal is a fun movie.  It is fast paced and as the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun.  I hope the next film in this franchise, Total Dhamaal, is three times the fun because this time I won’t have any doubts but rather will have high expectations!


P.S. I’m told that after Ready, Double Dhamaal has taken the biggest opening of 2011 so far.

Rating: 3 stars — ***

bollywoodaddict