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

June 18, 2011

School’s out!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:13 am

June 17, 2011

Cast: Ali Fazal, Satyajeet Dubey, Giselle Monteiro, Zoa Morani, Satish Shah, Lilette Dubey, Navneet Nishan

Director: Roshan Abbas

Set on a sprawling Delhi campus where students spend the bulk of their time attending drama rehearsals or dancing merrily in the corridors, Always Kabhi Kabhi directed by Roshan Abbas channels those breezy High School Musical movies…but alas this film doesn’t have the infectious charm of those feel-good Disney entertainers.

The kids in this film are your usual stereotypes: you have the resident nerd (played by Satyajeet Dubey), the firebrand (played by Zoa Morani), the charmer (played by Ali Fazal), and the pretty new head-turner (played by Giselle Monteiro). There’s little by way of plot here – the school’s putting up a production of Romeo & Juliet, and our four leads sign up for assorted duties. Alongside we get a glimpse of their troubled home lives. The nerd is under pressure from his overbearing father to get admission into MIT, the short-tempered, snappy one longs for the attention of her busy parents, the pretty one is being bullied into realizing her mother’s unfulfilled dreams, and Mr Popular has a strained relationship with his worrying father.

Much in the same sloppy vein as Faltu recently, the larger theme that’s addressed here is the lack of communication between adults and their children. Pretty much all parents are painted as villains, while teenagers are dubbed the misunderstood generation. Some of this might have worked if the characters or their situations felt authentic. But very little feels real or relatable in this film, aside from the sporadic use of status updates to take the narrative forward, and the exasperation of parents watching their kids spend so much time texting on the mobile phones.

The real problem is that the film neither feels accurately representative of this generation and its lifestyle, nor does it have an aspirational quality to it like those campus portions of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai did all those years ago. As a result it feels very boring, and a closing-credits item-song featuring Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t redeem it in any way.

Of the cast, Ali Fazal has a likeable presence, and Zoa Morani is blessed with abundant confidence. The clumsy script however, which throws in everything from a teenage pregnancy scare to a drugs bust, is limp to say the least despite the involvement of four writers.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Roshan Abbas’ Always Kabhi Kabhi. Watching this film is like attending a concert put up by ten-year-olds. It’s amateurish, and tedious to sit through, and the only thing you can appreciate in the end is the earnestness behind the effort.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. The movie which not even deserves a rating you have given 1 1/2 stars and the movies which are entertaining to the indian audiences are also being rated the same way. You seriously change your profession or mass audience of this country will through out of this profession.

    Comment by ANKIT — June 18, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  2. Hopeless movie…

    Comment by Arjun — June 18, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  3. I dont wht the hell people have problem with your reviews. I think your reviews are great. And those who dont know wht cinema actually is will always bark their head off for nt giving dud like “Ready” 3 or 4 stars.

    Comment by sumit — June 18, 2011 @ 9:49 am

  4. thats true i remembr on of d movie last year u gave zero n that to did well at box office thank god audience is smart enough to decide by own otherwise bollwod would be dissloved from ur reviews…

    Comment by alkaf — June 18, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  5. @ankit -I dont understand one thing why do people like you visit this site when they have so many complains. I personally feel that its bcoz of people like you that Indian cinema is not progressive and big as other platforms in the world. Its time to grow buddy,Stop complaining

    Comment by Anubhav — June 18, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  6. I pity your job when you have to watch these kind of films!

    Comment by Kamaksh — June 20, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  7. pride in my institution makes me point out to you that the ‘sprawling campus’ is not in Delhi..it is the La Martiniere College campus in Lucknow..

    Comment by Kopal — June 21, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  8. ur reviews r for mature people not for stupid and non sence people, i really like ur reviews a lot and i follow them a lot

    Comment by rahul sondhi — June 24, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

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