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

January 15, 2011

Old whine

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 12:11 am

January 14, 2011

Cast: Gul Panag, Purab Kohli, Siddharth Makkar, Tillotama Shome, Sameer Malhotra

Director: Alankrita Shrivastava

Turning 30 suffers from an incurable Sex and the City hangover, but it’s neither as smart nor as spunky as that popular television show.

Naina (played by Gul Panag) is two weeks away from her thirtieth birthday when the boyfriend she was looking forward to marrying dumps her for a loaded heiress. Things aren’t much better at work either, where her boss repeatedly promotes a colleague over her. Her two closest girlfriends try to distract her with spa treatments and lingerie shopping outings. A college sweetheart (played by Purab Kohli) shows up out of the blue and wants to rekindle their romance. But Naina can’t stop pining for her ex, whom she makes several desperate and embarrassing attempts to win back.

The film is unintentionally comical in its portrayal of the urban middle-class, and debutant writer-director Alankrita Shrivastava reduces most characters to caricatures because she appears unfamiliar with the world she’s set up and the people who inhabit it. An assembly line of stereotypes surround the protagonist including her happy-to-be-married friend who turns a blind eye to her cheating husband, the bohemian art gallery owner who reveals she’s a lesbian during a game of truth-and-dare, the bisexual copywriter who sleeps with the boss to get the best campaigns, and the photographer ex from London who’s sporting a different scarf around his neck each time we see him.

Turning 30 might have been less frustrating if it weren’t for the amateurish writing. The film is accompanied by a grating voice-over by Naina that’s so banal, you find yourself rolling your eyes each time she whines about her “man-less”, “jobless” life. The dialogues between characters is equally infuriating. When asked by a common friend how he feels about Naina, Purab’s character Jai says: “I can sink into her dimples.” When the lines aren’t corny, they’re plain embarrassing. On showing up at her ex-boyfriend’s engagement, Naina corners his fiancĂ©e and says to her: “Rishabh can be quite a pain in the ass. And I mean, literally.”

There is much swearing, and constant talk of sex, sagging breasts and vibrators. When Naina isn’t groaning about ageing, everyone from her domestic help and a masseuse to a colleague in the ladies room is advising her on how to prepare for her thirties.

Gul Panag approaches the film earnestly, but turns it into a charmless take on Bridget Jones’s Diary. Indeed, even Meryl Streep would find it hard to rise above such uninspired material. Purab Kohli, however, gets away unscathed, turning Jai into an eminently likeable fellow despite his puppy-like devotion to the confused protagonist.

The film takes a promising premise and fails to realize its potential because it’s trying too hard to be cool. I’m going with two out of five for writer-director Alankrita Shrivastava’s Turning 30. I think I can safely say I wouldn’t want to meet a girl like Naina when she’s nearing 40!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the review, Rajeev. Quite similar to what I had expected the movie to be. Will still give it a shot.

    Comment by Gaurav — January 15, 2011 @ 1:42 am

  2. totally agree!! such movies are such a f***king load of crap!! of course, everything works out perfectly in d heroine’s life!! of course d man of her life walks in just 2 days after she breaks up with her earlier boyfriend, waits around while she is “sorting” her life, a book publishing offer automatically falls into her lap as soon as she quits her job, her ex is there just @ d right time for her 2 get closure. she is the perpetual drama queen who constantly whines about how her problems are so much bigger than everyone else’s, valiantly declaring “no one understand me!” while everyone else seem to be dealing with their own life shits with seamless ease and are constantly devoted to the heroine. all characters are such caricatures from the arty lesbian (who shudders at the thought of having a kid- like of course how can a gay person also want to be a parent!) to the friend who is happy to turn a blind eye to her husband’s serial adultery since she is obsessed with her baby!. to the for people looking for life answers in this shit movie, grow up & welcome 2 the real world!

    Comment by pia — June 11, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

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