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

October 1, 2011

Sanjay Dutt & Ajay Devgan on how to make people laugh

Filed under: Video Vault — Rajeev @ 12:36 am

In this interview, tough guys and longtime friends Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan discuss the challenges of doing comedy films, and reveal that improvisation and rapport play an important role in making people laugh.

(This interview first aired on CNN-IBN)

Brawn porn

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:22 am

September 30, 2011

Cast: John Abraham, Genelia D’souza, Vidyut Jamwal, Mohnish Behl, Sandhya Mridul, Mukesh Rishi

Director: Nishikant Kamat

John Abraham shows off his abs of steel playing a fearless cop committed to wiping out the drug mafia in director Nishikant Kamat’s Force. Judged scrictly by action-movie standards, this remake of the Tamil hit Kaakha Kaakha delivers the goods. After all there are some slickly edited hand-to-hand fight sequences, a few breathless chases, and a little too much blood spill. Yet, because of its cardboard characterization and a weak central performance, you’re emotionally disconnected from the hero, and never invested in his pain.

The film goes from a legitimate thriller to a typical revenge drama without much warning, when Abraham’s character, ACP Yashwardhan, and his anti-narcotics unit take out a major drugs kingpin in a carefully planned operation, but fail to account for his bloodthirsty brother. That vengeance-seeking sibling (played by an impressive Vidyut Jamwal) goes on an unstoppable killing spree, targeting not only the cops who finished his brother, but their wives as well.

Speaking of women, our hero initially resists the overtures of a sassy social worker (played by Genelia D’souza), but subsequently submits to her infantile charm. Like Ghajini, this film calls for you to invest in their romance so it can justify its bone-crunching, bloodsoaked climax. But unlike Tamil stars Suriya and Jyothika whose chemistry burnt a hole through the roof in 2003’s Kaakha Kaakha, John and Genelia at best muster up a cutesy, PG-13 romance.

The only moments that work in this film are the relentless action sequences; and while John Abraham looks good when he flexes, a little loosening up in the dramatic sequences might have helped.

I’m going with two out of five for director Nishikant Kamat’s Force. This film is brawn porn, at best.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Fatal attraction

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:15 am

September 30, 2011

Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Randeep Hooda, Mahie Gill,Vipin Sharma, Deepal Shaw

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

In a nod to the Guru Dutt classic from which it derives its title, director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster explores the premise of a married woman’s isolation in a sprawling estate, and the unlikely relationship she forms with a devoted male help. Sadly that’s where the comparisons must end. For where Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam was the poignant portrait of a complex friendship, Dhulia’s film is an over-simplistic and somewhat predictable tale of love and betrayal.

Mahie Gill is the mentally fragile wife of Jimmy Shergill, a former royal struggling to keep up appearances in hard times. Unloved and neglected by a husband who spends more time conspiring against his enemies or in the arms of his mistress, Mahie finds herself seduced by the charms of Randeep Hooda, her scruffy driver. Randeep, incidentally, is working as an informant for her husband’s rival, who is making plans to take down the royal.

The film opens intriguingly and maintains an even pace, but it’s betrayed ultimately by a confused script that hobbles around in all directions, never quite finding its rhythm. Dhulia knows the milieu, so the film has an earthiness that is attractive, and much of the dialogue is clever. Yet, key dramatic scenarios are handled amateurishly – like a sequence in which a simple misunderstanding causes Jimmy to cut off the mistress he’s so vulnerable to. Or one in which Mahie pours her heart out to her husband from the other side of a curtain; only turns out it isn’t her husband on the other side. It’s lapses of logic like these that are unforgivable.

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is ambitious in its idea, and the dynamics of the relationships between its central characters are nicely handled. But Dhulia slips up in the tiny details. An uncomfortable tension between Jimmy’s character and his step-mother is never convincingly justified, and no adequate explanation is provided for Mahie’s delicate mental condition. The film’s music score, attributed to as many as seven composers, is terrible to say the least, barring the spirited Jugni track.

The film is saved to some degree by the credible performances that Dhulia extracts from his lead actors: Mahie Gill, Jimmy Shergill, and particularly Randeep Hooda whose rakish charm is his character’s strongest weapon. The solid acting keeps your interest grounded in the film, despite the script’s shortcomings.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out five for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster – it’s inspired by a classic, but let down by its own triteness. Not a perfect film, but one that has its moments.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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