Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tanu Weds Manu: Listless Band Baaja And Two Baraats!

Tanu Weds Manu tries hard to ensnare you in its ’small town charm’ and ’shaadi waadi ka DDLJ type drama’ but the end result is a stale, odourless fare with a tame ending that will make you go yaaaaaaawwwwnnn. Director Anand L Rai starts off well and keeps it Real throughout. But beyond a point he loses the plot and it seems he himself didn’t know what he wants to do with a story that criss-crosses its way towards boredom.

Kangna Ranaut attempts an expletive-endowed version of Kareena ’Geet’ Kapoor (Jab We Met). The end result is 50-50. Sometimes-surprisngly-sprightly, baaki time ’Ainvayin’. She flirts luxuriously, shamelessly gulps neat Old Monk, dances uninhibitedly and unfurls the tattoo of his boyfriend’s name inked for ever on her bosom. Madhavan is a London returned Doctor who loves Kangna despite being rejected and how the twain of their love story gradually starts coming together. Where did we hear this story before? And yes, Madhavan is Manu and Kangna is Tanu. Whatever...

In fact, Madhavan’s too-foolish-to-be-true act, automatically qualifies him as a perfect brand ambassador for Sugar Free ’Natural’. He lived in London for 12 years. Had no close friends (read girl friends), led a boring life, parents wanted him married and he falls in love with the first girl he meets. What a story! The lack of story is the biggest downer in Tanu Weds Manu. The director somewhat compensates for it by showing the mischievously endearing bylanes of North India, some crackling dialogues and a couple of fun, boisterous numbers in Jugni and Sadi Gali.

The support cast is impressive. Deepak Dobriyal as Madhavan’s friend Pappi is superb. The subtlety in his body language and dialogue delivery is very impressive. He brings in some genuinely fun moments in the film. Swara Bhaskar as Kangna’s best friend Payal is an absolute natural. When she says "Ek lappad marenge abhi"....its a perfect intonation of someone from Bihar. The camaraderie-scenes between Kangna-Swara are highly watchable. Yes, girls do smoke and one shouldn’t cringe or pass judgments. Jimmy Sheirgill has a few notable dialogues while Ejaz Khan plays the Punjabi card with effervescence.

Writer Himanshu Sharma has penned sparsely-fine-dialogues and a few catchy scenes but you’ve seen most of them in the promos itself. Nothing much happens in the film that you haven’t seen before in earlier love stories. The ’surprises’ are not surprising enough. There’s hardly any feeling of wonderment. On the other hand you end up asking, why is Kangna shown so fickle and overtly expressive while Madhavan doesn’t seem real at all. Why are Madhavan and his family so desperate to accept a girl who drinks, smokes and has a string of boyfriends? Love-is-blind and all that jazz...but still...the audience isn’t blind not to notice gaping holes in the hackneyed screenplay.

If you have a lot of free time and half cooked cinematic masala is palatable for you as a moviegoer, then maybe you can give Tanu Weds Manu a shot. But I’d suggest not to waste your hard earned money on this mostly-listless Band, Baaja and two Baraats! Enjoy the cricket world cup instead.

Star Rating: **

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pankaj Kapoor's Bollywood Hungama Exclusive Interview

Pankaj Kapoor is one of the finest actors in India. I interviewed him in Bangalore recently. He talks about his directorial debut 'Mausam', how different is Shahid in this film, clarification on rumours surrounding his alleged differences with Sonam Kapoor and what are his forthcoming acting assignments.


Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Khoon Maaf: Art In Blood....

Relentless quest for ’Love’ or ’Need’ or whatever else, but still, the premise for bumping off husbands in 7 Khoon Maaf isn’t convincing and beyond a point, the film tests your patience. And you end up asking yourself, "Kab ’khatm’ hogi". On the positive side, the dialogues are superb, acting is brilliant by one-n-all and its been shot very well. In other words, the artistic merits are sound but the entertainment quotient strictly depends on your ’taste’. Not everyone’s cup of tea for sure.

Why would Susanna (Priyanka Chopra) go on killing all her husbands and why would anyone marry a mysterious woman at various junctures of her life in spite of knowing her enigmatic-n-ambiguous past? Alright, the attempts at reasoning out the murders have been made and almost every time, Susanna is pitched as the victim. She has a battery of trusted lieutenants who are partners in crime and who seem to have no ambition in life other than anticipating as to who’ll be the next husband and how they’ll finally make him ’rest in peace’. Hmmmm...

There are several merits in 7 Khoon Maaf. Lets check them out. Priyanka Chopra will always be remembered as Susanna for the rest of her career. This is her career best performance and it’ll be tough for her to match this role with any other prized roles that she may ever get. The vulnerability of Sultana suffering under the manic Wasi Ullah (Irrfan Khan), the bitch who ’uses’ Inspector Keemat Lal (Anu Kapoor), the spurned woman, spewing venom on Vronsky (Aleksandr Dyachenko), the humiliated wife who takes revenge on Edwin Rodriguez (Neil Mukesh), Jim’s (John Abraham) Suzy who can’t take the deceit beyond a stretch, the betrayed lover jolted by Tarafdar’s (Naseeruddin Shah) selfishness. Or her fantastic interactions with Vivaan Shah at various time frames in the film...Priyanka gives it her everything and etches her name amongst the finest actresses of all times.

The entire starcast puts in stellar performances. Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anu Kapoor and Aleksandr are excellent. Shashi Malviya as the midget jockey Goonga is very good while butler Ghalib (Harish Khanna) is brilliant and has some plum moments in the film. Naseeruddin Shah’s son Vivaan Shah makes a fantastic debut. His voice over is the link, the sutradhar that carries the story forward. Extremely effective voice with correct pitching and spot-on Urdu pronunciation.

Ranjan Palit’s cinematography is brilliant. The shots of Kashmir are exquisite. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is sloppy. The duration of the film is too long. In fact, someone rightly said at the press show, "its two husbands too long". Vishal Bhardwaj’s background score goes well with the mood of the film while the songs are a mixed bag. Darrling has a ready-made mass appeal while the rest of the songs cater to a niche market. Bekaran has been superbly sung by Vishal and picturised beautifully too. O Maama is a heavy duty rock number.

As is well known, 7 Khoon Maaf is based on a short story by Ruskin Bond (he is one of the husbands in the film), Susanna’s Seven Husbands. But the screenplay has been written by Vishal Bhardwaj and Matthew Robbins. Again, it has two sides to it. Dialogues are meaningful and sensible. The writing of the film also passes comments on the important events of various generations like India’s Nuclear Test, Babri Masjid demolition, 26/11 attack on Mumbai etc. This also conveys the aging process of Susanna as well in a subtle manner. On the flip side, as mentioned earlier, the premise for Susanna killing her husbands is not convincing. And that is the biggest flaw, for the viewer doesn’t connect with what’s happening after a point of time.

Director Vishal Bhardwaj revels in abstract symbolism and obviously he also has a wicked sense of humour smeared in blood-n-gore. He has made 7 Khoon Maaf for the classes who’ll have the patience to decipher the finer meaning hidden within the various layers of human drama. The aam janta will have to get ’bitten’ by this killer at their own risk. Take a pick for yourself as to which audience you comprise of.

Star Rating: ***