Sunday, June 19, 2005

3 This Week 

Bachke Rehna Re Baba

Of all the movies offered to her, Rekha had to end up doing this pathetic comedy!

Bachke Rehna Re Baba, a downmarket remake of Hollywood comedy Heartbreakers, is truly a heart breaker for Rekha fans, and as for Mallika Sherawat—this should teach her to stop shooting her mouth off and try to learn some acting!

In the original, a mother-daughter team of con women wrest hefty divorce settlements from men by flashing their ample charms to seduce them and then dump them. Now, a Hindi film can try to be ribald, maybe even get a wiling leading lady to kiss the leading men, but they can’t show Rekha actually in bed with Paresh Rawal. So with Govind Menon’s uninspired direction, the film isn’t witty enough to get even one teensy laugh, and not daring enough to be a really bawdy sex comedy. Just Mallika Sherawat walking around in skimpy dresses and push-up bras doesn’t mean anything, she does that off screen as well.

Rukmini (Rekha) and Padmini (Mallika) play an aunt-niece pair, who between them manage to attract two very easy suckers, over-the-hill Punjabi bachelor Monty (Paresh Rawal), and bronchial ‘gutka’ baron Mansukhani (Satish Shah). Padmini’s true romance with a young pub owner (Karan Khanna), and Monty’s dogged pursuit of Rukmini, finally puts an end to the duo’s cheating spree.

There is zero chemistry between Mallika and Rekha (dressed in heavily frilled and layered matronly outfits), no humour in their encounters with their suitors (one of the gags involves a naked male statue with an easily detachable body part!) and nothing, but nothing to induce anyone to sit through this insufferable movie.


In his third—and again woman centric—film Silsiilay, Khalid Mohamed, tells the stories of three women in love, facing crises in their relationships and emerging stronger after their ordeals. The stories are connected only by the loose thread a common theme, and Shah Rukh Khan’s expert (but unnecessary) narration.

In the first, Zia (Bhumika Chawla) an actress, is outwardly calm after her lover (Rahul Bose) ditches her for an heiress (Priya Badlani). Not only does she extract a delicious revenge from the cad, she also gets what she wants from him. A noticeable flaw in this story is that despite being a popular actress, she leads and amazingly serene and solitary life, when the constant glare of the media on a star’s personal life can be crushing.

The second story is about a small town girl (Riya Sen) working in Mumbai, living with a sexually uninhibited roommate (Natasha) and caught in the classic bad-guy-good-guy dilemma—she is in love with a rich philanderer (Ashmit Patel), while her gentlemanly office colleague (Jimmy Shergill) is in love with her. How she “finds” herself is the crux of this story.

In the third, a housewife (Tabu) is forced by her adoring stepson (Karan Panthaky) to face up to her husband’s (Kay Kay) affair with an air hostess (Celina Jaitley), something she was trying to ignore like his other infidelities.

All the three stories are real, with high erotic quotient and their resolutions are believable – except for the very contrived climax. The situations are dramatic, but treated with gentle understatement.

Mohamed gets really good performances from Bhumika Chawla and Tabu; while Riya Sen and Celina Jaitley rise much above their hitherto displayed potential; the women (all looking fabulous with Santosh Sivan’s camerawork) easily whip the males in the cast, who are all (with the exception of the Jimmy character) thoroughly despicable specimens.

A few of the songs (Himesh Reshammiya) are hummable and placed at proper intervals, though the choreography of the two dance numbers leaves a lot to be desired.

99.9 FM

Sanjay Bhatia’s first film 99.9 FM, is an interesting, jigsaw puzzle of a film, intricately structured and studded with a selection of fabulous songs.

Gautam (Shawar Ali) is a radio jockey, caught in an intense triangle, with girlfriend Sonali (Dipannita Sharma) pressuring him for commitment, and wife Kim (Raima Sen) refusing to divorce him. The only way out is to kill his wife, and he plans a perfect murder.

The film does not have a straightforward, linear narrative, but goes back and forth in time, a device that must have been killing for the editor, and it is a bit tough for audiences to follow the story, if attention wavers from the screen even for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, today’s audiences are getting used to easy to digest entertainment, and 99.9 FM is a bravely experimental piece of work. Bhatia is let down by his lead actor Shawar Ali, on whom the film rests, but both the actresses lend to the film its beauty and grace.

The OST with a great numbers by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Shubha Mudgal, Shaan, Zila Khan and others is a treat for the ears.


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