Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 7, 2010

In the company of fools!

Filed under: Our FIlms — admin @ 2:58 pm

May 07, 2010

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Vir Das, Meiyang Chang
Director: Parmeet Sethi

Parmeet Sethi, writer-director of this week’s “Badmaash Company” has been quoted as having said that he took all of six days to hammer out the script of this film. Well, guess what? It shows!

Set in the early 90s, in a pre-liberalized India when foreign brands were expensive and hard to get your hands on, “Badmaash Company” is an outrageously silly story of four middle-class friends who accumulate much wealth when they figure out a perfect con that involves selling imported sneakers.

Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Vir Das and Meiyang Chang star as the bore-some foursome who are shown repeating this con over and over and over again till it begins to feel like a tutorial guide. Greed takes them westwards, and next thing you know they’re in New York repeating the exact same con with leather gloves.

Like those melodramatic buddy movies of the 80s, the friends fall out over ego clashes and disagreements, but are reunited in the end, when — believe it or not — they repeat a similar con with a range of defective shirts that they label ‘The Bleeding Madras’, whose sales go through the roof when they somehow manage to get Michael Jackson to wear one.

Packed with lazy clichés and convenient plot-holes, “Badmaash Company” is unforgivably long and insufferably boring. The acting — from all four leads — is nothing to speak of, and Sethi’s direction is amateurish to put it politely.

The funniest scene in the film takes place in an airplane when an oversexed Vir Das appears to be talking to Anushka Sharma, but his eyes are fixed on her chest. Pulling up her blanket to hide what he seems so distracted by, she says: “These don’t speak.”

This scene appears within the first 15 minutes of the movie, and it’s the only time you smile.

Flogging the infamous Yash Raj Films formula of stylish costumes, gorgeous foreign locations and hip dance numbers, Sethi delivers a film that is entirely superficial and staggeringly dull. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Parmeet Sethi’s “Badmaash Company”. Unless you enjoy being punished, stay far away from this one.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

May 3, 2010

Six degrees of separation

Filed under: Have you seen this? — Rajeev @ 9:30 pm

The Squid And The Whale is the coming-of-age story of two bright boys whose parents are going through a messy divorce.

Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney play a married couple whose break-up affects their sons deeply and in a manner really that no one might have imagined. Grappling with growing-up issues of their own, the boys find themselves taking sides, and reacting dramatically to the changes in their lives.

Now, divorce and its effect on children is a subject that has lent itself to so many films, but seldom has this subject inspired such a realistic yet deeply disturbing film.

It works because it’s completely unsentimental, it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings in the way that most films of this nature invariably do, and yet you can’t deny the impression it leaves on you and the sense of sympathy you feel for all its leads.

If you’re wondering about the title of the film, it refers to a famous exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, which depicts these warring sea creatures. It’s an image that is ingrained in one of the boy’s minds since childhood because of how frightened he was by it. And if you can do the math, there lies the significance of that title.

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