Saturday, 19 October 2013 time watch yaar!

Hailed as India’s first war comedy, War Chhod Na Yaar stars Sharman Joshi, Jaaved Jaffrey and Soha Ali Khan in lead roles. War films in Bollywood have meant overtly emotional, serious tales of soldiers dying, tanks firing, and mothers and wives crying. But, this one is a breeze of fresh air with puffs of nose tickling comedy.
A poster of the film. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Under the watch of Captain Raj (Joshi ) of the Indian army and Captain Qureshi (Jaffrey) of the Pakistan army, the brave-hearted men do what the army is supposed to — follow orders to protect their country and in between sneak in ample time to play cards in the middle of the night across the barbed wires. The most claps and whistles came across in the first half where the two sibling country’s soldiers are pitted against each other in a competition of Antakshari. And Pakistan ends up singing the hit 1997 song from Pardes, I Love My India, only to send the audiences rolling with laughter.
The film does not wastes a single second to dole out satires on China’s ever non-durable goods, India-Pakistan’s everlasting war, Army General of Pakistan who has no time to look up into the camera as he is too consumed in playing mobile games, and China’s Defence Minister who switches into Navjot Singh Siddhu’s trademark style of talking when using a translator. The humour is mostly neat and doesn't take a derogatory dig on either country. It is hard to make a film of this flavour without taking sides, but Faraz Haider, the debutant writer-director has successfully avoided any controversies. 
Mukul Dev as the Afghan ghuspethia along with two other low-IQ Afghan mercenaries is quite a hoot to begin with. Sanjay Mishra is flawless in the role of senior Pakistani soldier. He does his bit with effortless ease adding that extra spice to his role, than it originally had. Speaking of Dalip Tahil, the actor plays four different roles - the Defence Minister of Pakistan, China, the USA and India, as conspirators of the war and manages to amuse the viewers. Soha’s character, the only girl among the khaki men, is plain and dull.
We also witness the running gag about the poor Pakistani soldiers not getting enough gosht in their dal. Complaining about the quality of food served to his men, Jaffrey remarks, "Humaare afsar aajkal intelligence se zyada gas pass kar rahe hain (Our officers are passing more gas than intelligence these days).’ But soon the whole thing loses steam. Later Pakistan’s Army general is shown sitting on a pot playing mobile games, and simultaneously complaining about how nobody allows him to defecate in peace. After, Besharam, I can’t take any more of toilet humor. Talking of Besharam, Jaffrey who was the only good thing in that movie is again a delight to watch in a comic role with Joshi and Mishra giving him tough competition. Together they put on a cheerful swagger. Easily the most underrated actors in the industry today.
A still from the film. Photo Courtesy: Internet

Towards the end, the film begins to fizz out and gets preachy almost like they didn't know what to do with the film anymore. It undergoes a disappointing lull due to the makers’ patronizing ideas of a positive change brought on by an over-night revolution. Indeed pity, because the theme, had the potential to launch the movie as a sparkling ‘newclear’ missile. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Many Milestones Besharam crosses

Milestone 1: “Besharam” title track

A still from the song " Besharam". Photo courtesy: Internet
You are just 5 minutes into the movie and have been introduced to the villain and subsequently the hero. Hero’s entry comes through with a long, ‘never ending’ car stealing sequence. Title track is essential since it showcases the hero’s inherent ability to make every possible part of his body dance in ‘Jadoo’ (shiny golden in colour) like clothes. This track, according to the director, should be enough to establish the character Babli, or so I should believe. People with good observational skills can spot the director himself doing the ‘rubbing-the-thighs-with-a-sense-of-opulence’ steps joining the hero in a desperate attempt to make it look all lustrous and fun. It fails.

Milestone 2: “Tere Mohalle”

This one is essential too since it’s the heroine’s friend’s wedding and the heroine is the apple of everyone’s eye, so going by Bollywood’s old ritual, she has to perform to a song to which the hero joins in. It’s still better. My only favourite from the lot. I personally liked the choreography and costumes.

A still from the song “Tere Mohalle”. Photo courtesy: Internet

Milestone 3: “Love Ki Ghanti”

This one marks the celebration of coming across the heroine’s house and the hero spreads merry all around the mohalla. It is sung by Ranbir himself who also manages to jump, crawl and perform other circus stunts in the ‘not-so-spacious’ mohalla amidst the overcrowded back dancers. Of course the policemen come in to show their solidarity towards the hero.

Milestone 4: "Dill ka joh haal hai" 

Sung in the mesmerizing voice of Abhijeet, the track proves out to be saviour when the hero falls short of tactics to irritate the heroine. the track has no tune, no great lyrics. just two people on the road in an open jeep trying to pass time. Good for them, but, sadly not for the audiences.

Milestone 5: "Tu Hai"

A sad song is vital to the plot and goes without saying that such sad songs make it easier for the couple to make the viewers believe that their love is true.
Milestone 6: "Aa Re Aa Re"

Sung by Mika Singh and Shreya Ghoshal, the song is extremely essential to the plot as it shows the vibrancy and colourfulness of Punjab. With bright colours and sarso ke khet, the song gets complete when the lead pair dress up in traditional Punjabi costumes as though they are participating in some random school's fancy dress competition. One song on the way to Chandigarh, hence a song, on way back makes absolute sense. -_-

Milestone 7: "Chal Hand Uthake Nachche"  
A still from the song "Aa Re". Photo Courtesy: Internet

This proves out to be the most historic event in the history of Indian cinema. All the three Kapoors of the family come together in this song spreading the message to ‘raise your hands and dance’ (at least this is what the translation of the lyrics say : P )

Milestone 8: Ranbir’s the most embarrassing movie of his career

His motivation is an uninspiring mix of Lage Rao Munnabhai (unknowingly hurting his lady love due to his unlawful acts) and his Granduncle Shammi Kapoor's classic Bhramachari (taking care of an orphanage). He tries hard to engage the audience with his silly at times vulgar humour, but fails miserably. I can do better comedy than you, any day. :/

Milestone 9: Pallavi Sharda’s not-so-impressive debut as the lead

She has, maybe, just 2 expressions to throw throughout the film.  For the love story of a 'Besharam' character like Babli to work, it is important to have a girl who is totally out of his league. Only then will one be convinced about his sudden vulnerability and change of heart. Pallavi Sharda's look is ordinary and she comes across as very bland, making it difficult to believe that a shameless and self-centred bloke like Babli would flip each time he sees her. I can’t stop wandering in despair what was she thinking when she was delivering her dialogues in the second half while slowly getting inclined towards the hero. Somebody tell her, showing your cleavage in fully Indian clothes won't help much.

Milestone 10: The curious case of the Kapoor clan

One of the biggest blunders in Besharam is the poor characterization of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor's roles. The most loved couple of Indian cinema, Rishi and Neetu symbolize 'all things beautiful' in our movies. However in Besharam, a legend such as Rishi Kapoor has been reduced to doing toilet humour, while Neetu Kapoor is shockingly given a shabbily-written, bitter role that evokes zero sympathy. With the Kapoor trio in their cast, the makers of Besharam had a golden chance of giving us a memorable film or at least some delightful scenes featuring the three - But like Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, the opportunity is blown-up completely due to pedestrian writing. Truly a wasted chance!
I so wanted to talk about the holes in the story but the climax left me all the more flabbergasted. I am saying no more.
A still from the movie. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Foresight 1: The genuinely gifted Lalit (of Jatin-Lalit fame) serves up left over tunes that are just a rehash of the composer duo’s memorable work in films like Sarfarosh and Yes Boss. Even the sound and playback feel stale. Hence, Pandit, will be thrown out of the industry after this.

Foresight 2: Anurag kashyap will throw brother Abhinav Kashyap out of their home and subsequently ancestral property for throwing their family name in the gutters.

Foresight 3: While Besharam does have an amusing first half (I am being generous here), the movie hits a dead-end soon after interval, and becomes a tiring slog. By the end of the film, even the talented cast seems to stop caring and looks completely disinterested in the proceedings. Abhinav, feeling guilty for putting a halting stop to Ranbir’s speeding career and his subsequent dismissal from his family, may contemplate going underground.

Photo Courtesy: ME
All my hopes went into trash when not a single soul could be seen in or around the theatre on a fine Saturday afternoon to catch the latest rising superstar Ranbir’s much awaited movie. Huge crowds of young girls, couples and teenagers was what I expected. Instead, the theatre wore a sulking, dull, deserted look. Seems like I should have taken the cue and not willingly submitted myself to the torture.