Saturday, February 12, 2005

Pointless Stuff! 


It is obvious the makers of Sheesha had a single point agenda—cash in on Neha Dhupia’s Julie reputation and her willingness to shed more clothes and inhibitions. So in this Ashu Trika film, there are two Neha steaming up the screen, which mean a double dose of the actress who can’t act to save her life, and could do with a wardrobe consultant and image makeover!

But if audiences were so easily conned there would been a riot outside the cinema showing Sheesha, but there was just a small desultory group of first day first show regulars. Some of them tried to whistle tiredly during the movie when Neha appeared in yet another bikini top, to seduce Sonu Sood showing his gym toned bod.

Fashion designer Sia (Dhupia) falls in love with Raj (Sood), not realising that her deaf-mute twin Ria is also lusting after the same guy. Sia is so blinded by her affection for her sister, that she doesn’t spot Ria’s jealousy at once. Ria, on the other hand, plots and schemes to get Raj, pretending to be handicapped even when an operation cures her.

It sounds corny, but Sia marries Raj just before a trip to the US, so that he can move into her house and look after Ria. The sister, of course does everything she can to seduce Raj, including impersonating Sia, who refuses to believe her sister could be do any wrong.

Vaguely based on Single White Female, a chilling story of a woman’s obsession for a man, Sheesha concentrates so much on the skin show that it drops the psychological/horror aspect of the story out altogether. After a while, it’s ridiculous watching a blank-faced Neha Dhupia trying to play femme fatale – the scene in which she washes a car and herself at the same time is a hoot!! There are plenty of kissing scenes, and at least that the actors got right—no shamefaced pecking on the lips, they go at it with passion. If only actors would spend as much time exercising their facial muscles as they do on their bodies, they might be able to act some day!

Chaahat Ek Nasha

Since director Jai Prakash had one sordid Market behind him he tried to sell Chaahat Ek Nasha also as a sleazy film, but this ploy is going to backfire, since this one is a plodding romantic melodrama that never quite takes off.

It must be quite a while since such an ‘ensemble’ of lousy acting was seen in a Hindi film—sad to see Manisha Koirala go to seed like this. ( Why is she given a wardrobe of dowdy, unflattering kaftans?)

Manisha plays Mallika, a pop singer, who is in love with Rahul (Aryan Vaid), owner of a music company. Her albums are flopping and she is on her way out when Rahul discovers Rashmi (Preeti Jhangiani), strangely, on the basis of a fuzzy home video showing her dancing in skimpy clothes, but not singing. This was probably a comment on how music is ‘seen’ these days, not just heard.

Rahul not only dumps Mallika professionally, he also moves his romantic attentions to an adoring Rashmi, which turns Mallika into an alcoholic wreck. Smouldering in the background is Mallika’s bodyguard (Sharad Kapoor), who is in love with her, but obviously cannot admit it. (Why a fading singer needs a bodyguard is not clear!)

Mallika’s anguish and jealousy is shoved aside as the director shoots songs and love scenes between Rashmi and Rahul, in which both wear as little a possible. Aryan Vaid has a Salman Khan-like aversion to shirts, maybe because his six-pack abs bear showing off more than his expressionless face.

Towards the end, when you are despairing of anything moving in this old-fashioned yarn (inspired by The Bodyguard and probably All About Eve), the bodyguard wakes up and decides to push the film towards a climax, in which the redundant characters are got rid off.

For a film set against the music industry, Anand Raaj Anand’s music is very mediocre. Boring, painful and tacky Chaahat is worth a few laughs—which is definitely not what the director set out to do.

Kaya Taran

One can imagine that Malayalam writer N S Madhavan’s When Big Trees Fall must have been a moving story about a group of old nuns sheltering a Sikh child during the 1984 riots. But director Sashi Kumar has simply not been able to turn it into an absorbing film.

It is well-meaning and earnest, but unlike the recent Amu about the same shameful chapter in recent history, Kaya Taran is just so dreary that it leaves the viewer cold.

Jagpreet (Angad Bedi), a journalist goes to Meerut to do a story on conversions, meets a nun (Seema Biswas), who bravely runs a retreat where old nuns come to spend their last days. A flashback reveals the nuns’ involvement in saving the life of a Sikh woman and her child during the riots.

The child (Neelambari Bhattacharya) seems curiously unaffected by the murder of his father and brother and howls more when his hair is chopped off, than in memory of his family!

Newcomer Angad Bedi is stiff and awkward, but then none of the cast is any good except Seema Biswas. It’s really sad that a film so sincere does not work, but then cinema is more than just a heart in the right place.


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