Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

I wanted to like and love Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, but sadly I cannot. Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan star in this romantic-comedy from the Karan Johar camp. Imran Khan has led the clean and proper life his parents wanted him to lead for all his life. When he loses his job at Las Vegas during Christmas, he has a wild night out on the town with Kareena Kapoor. They become good friends, she showing him how to break out of his shell and live freely. He finally stands up to his over-bearing parents, but his feelings of love towards Kareena turn out to be misdirected.

EMAET is disappointing. It is created around what seems like a good idea, but the plot is tepid even in its best moments. Imran is flat and uninteresting while Kareena is over-the-top. Other than the title track, none of the music is memorable either. The camerawork is quite beautiful, evoking interest that is rarely satisfied by the characters or their predicament. There are better ways to kill your time than with Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Bachna Ae Haseeno (बचना ऐ हसीनों)

I watched Bachna Ae Haseeno (बचना ऐ हसीनों) recently though I have been listening to its songs for a long time now. On a trip in Switzerland (this is a Yash Chopra movie remember? 😉 ) Ranbir Kapoor makes the innocent Minissha Lamba fall in love with him, only to unceremoniously dump her after the trip. A few years later he is cohabiting with a model (Bipashu Basu). When she proposes they get married, he is unable to draw the courage to decline and finally leaves her at the altar. Later in Australia he really falls in love with a taxi driver (Deepika Padukone) but she turns him down. He then realizes the hurt he caused his former girlfriends and proceeds to win back their forgiveness.

The first half of the movie is fast and fun to watch. In contrast, the latter half where Ranbir revisits Lamba and Basu is slow, long, boring and pointless. The plot does not help either making no strong case for why he has to endure such hardship when his former friends have moved on with their lives. While Bipasha and Deepika are pretty enough, I liked the tender pairing of Minissha and Ranbir in the first half. The movie spans the world and the scenic backgrounds are a delight. The music is good, my favorite tracks being Khuda Jaane and Aahista Aahista. Bachna Ae Haseeno is a tad long but is a good romantic movie of Ranbir.

Race

Race is yet another thriller from the Abbas-Mustan stable. Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna play two brothers who have inherited their father’s vast property and stud farm in Durban, South Africa. Saif runs the business, while his younger brother Akshaye is a useless drunkard. Or so it seems until Akshaye turns the tables by hatching an elaborate plan to kill his brother and get the $100 million insurance policy in his name.

I cannot remember any movie as preposterous as Race! Every scene screams of unnecessary extravagant splurging, which only cheapens the feel of the movie. Most movies have a twist or two, for example the single twist (or reveal) at the end of The Sixth Sense. What Abbas-Mustan have done in Race is to throw in every single possible ridiculous twist into the plot! These twists are so hyperbolic and they are revealed with such regularity that Race reaches new heights of ludicrousness. Also, thrown into this melee is Anil Kapoor as a cop who spouts extremely poor jokes and double entendres. The acting and editing are unbelievably tacky for a movie of this budget. Music thief Pritam has stolen a few more Korean songs for Race and Pehli Nazar Mein is the one I like. There are too many songs and their videos are all similar: a guy and a gal dancing at a club. These songs have been literally thrown into the movie at random points. Race feels like a movie made by an amateur wedding videographer if you gave him 100 crores. No wait, even he would do a better job than Race! 🙂

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji (दिल तो बच्चा है जी)

Anyone who has checked out the stash of movies legally available on Youtube can see it is full of crap. Occasionally one finds something mediocre-to-good in it like Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji (दिल तो बच्चा है जी) for example. This is a romantic comedy directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. The movie puts three odd grown men under a single roof, united in their quest for love. Ajay Devgan is a dominated husband who has been divorced by his wife. Emraan Hashmi is looking for his next sugar mommy. Omi Vaidya (Chatur from 3 Idiots) is a romantic working at a matrimonial company. All three end up falling in love, but will it be reciprocated?

Despite some soppy parts, Madhur manages to squeeze out a good comedy in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji. What I cannot understand is why he needs to make stereotypical depictions of homosexuality in it! Ajay Devgan shines and the rest of the cast delivers. Music-thief Pritam has given some good tracks: Abhi Kuch Dino Se, Tere Bin and Jadugari are on my playlist. Though nothing like Madhurkar’s other controversial movies, Dil To is a good funny movie to see sometime.

What’s Your Raashee?

Ashutosh Gowariker seems to take his work seriously. That can be either a boon or a curse for the viewer. While Lagaan generated maniacal fervour, I was far more impressed by Swades. In What’s Your Raashee? he tries his hand at romantic comedy. Harman Baweja is given a task by his family that none can envy: he has to pick a girl and marry by the end of the month. Given the limited time he decides to meet one girl from each of the 12 Zodiacal signs. This leads to an interesting journey of meeting females of different backgrounds, aspirations and mannerisms. He is impressed by many of them, but who is the one for him?

This movie completely revolves around Priyanka Chopra. Given the impossible task of depicting 12 different characters, she pulls it off with aplomb and looks ravishing in many of those roles. I came away totally impressed with PC! While some of the 12 prospects are forgettable, some are quite funny. I am pretty sure PC had a blast playing the role of the first candidate (the Aries girl). Much like Gowariker’s earlier movies, the cinematography work here is lovely. The soundtrack is saddled with the weight of 12+ songs, one for each sign, but there are some lovely gems amongst them. My favorites include the jazzy title song, Jao Na, the sad Bikhri Bikhri, the cheesy Sau Janam, Pyaari Pyaari and Salone Kya. The biggest mistake Gowariker continues to make is in believing that his audience has the patience to sit through his creations. Raashee is 3+ hours long and I really pity the folks who had to endure it at the theatres. With a finger firmly held on the fast-forward button What’s Your Raashee? is a colorful movie to catch at home.

Don: The Chase Begins Again

The trailer for Don 2 is out and I was impressed enough by it to check out the earlier Don: The Chase Begins Again. Directed by Farhan Akhtar, it is based on the original Don starring Amitabh Bachchan. I had not seen that movie either, though I was familiar with the song Khaike Pan Banaraswala.

The movie is built around two rival gangsters Singhania and Vardhan who are into drug smuggling. No one has ever seen the face of Vardhan, but the cops know that Singhania uses Don (Shahrukh Khan), an infamous gangster working from Malaysia to get his work done. Cop D’Silva is hot on the heels of capturing Don, when he is injured in an accident. D’Silva uses this situation to inject a look-alike of Don named Vijay to infiltrate the drug network. Vijay successfully embeds himself into the gang and with his help D’Silva starts to kill off gangsters. All is not what it seems when Vijay and D’Silva start discovering each other’s identities.

For a Bollywood thriller, the story of (the original) Don is quite intriguing. Farhan Akhtar’s Don is shot completely in Malaysia and looks great. Playing the panache of Don is easy work for SRK. Boman Irani plays his role effortlessly, surprising the viewer with his twist. Priyanka Chopra and Isha Koppikar are mostly wasted in their roles. Don features songs from the original movie in addition to some new ones. The only song that really hooked me was Aaj Ki Raat, which I had loved on the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire. This one is a real earworm! Don has everything going for it, but fails miserably in its length and pace. 3 hours is too long for a 2006 Bollywood movie and the lethargic pace adds to the torture. If Farhan can edit this down to a tight 2 hour movie, Don will be an entertaining watch.

Dil Chahta Hai (दिल चाहता है)

“Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going” said Tennesse Williams. Dil Chahta Hai (दिल चाहता है) was released 10 years ago in 2001 when me and my friends were (finally!) at the end of our college days and our futures looked bright and happy. Colored by that lens, Dil Chahta Hai, or DCH as we came to call it, became the definitive movie for a lot of us. I watched DCH again recently and it was quite a different experience, though I could clearly see why DCH had felt like our movie in the past.

Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna play three rich kids caught in that carerfree twilight zone between college and real life. Aaamir is a prankster who is aloof of love. Saif is innocent and confused about love. Akshaye is the serious type and has fallen in love with an older woman. After a memorable Goa trip, the trio have a spat and Aamir moves away to Australia. Real life catches up with him and he discovers love in Preity Zinta, but is not able to express it. Predictably, his friends return to help him in the act.

Dil Chahta Hai was the debut for director (and now actor) Farhan Akhtar. Though dealing with a standard story, it is told remarkably well with flashbacks. Acting and cinematography are good, but the best memories from this movie are its music. Songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, spun around the poignant poetry of Javed Akhtar. Though Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe gets all the airplay, I personally love the depth of the lyrics in Dil Chahta Hai and Tanhayee. I only need to listen to the title track to open the dam of memories of carefree college days. Chamkeele Din indeed! 😐 In the 10 years since DCH, what has not really aged well is the length of the movie. At 3 hours, it now seems tortuously slow and unnecessarily long drawn out. Farhan should probably create a shorter director’s cut edition sometime. In the year of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a quarter-life-crisis-movie by Farhan’s sister, Dil Chahta Hai still remains a good movie to recollect those times! 😀