Friday, September 16, 2005

Aashiq and Others 

Aashiq Banaya Aapne

What are Emraam Hashmi, Sonu Sood and Tanushree Dutta doing in college? Shouldn’t they be out there in the real world, getting a life!

Not only does the idea of grown-ups cavorting in college put you off; what’s worse is the depressing fact that Aaditya Datt, a new filmmaker and from all accounts a young chap, chooses to make a really worn-out love triangle.

Good guy (Sood) can’t tell girl (Dutta) that he loves her and bad guy (Hashmi) sweeps the bimbette off her feet! But bad guy ain’t so bad, and good guy ain’t so good; bimbette has no two sides to her—her character is just plain boring.

Reminiscent of many films, mainly the underrated Amitabh Bchchan starrer Parwana, Aashiq Banaya Aapne offers nothing new… no surprises at all. Emraan Hashmi’s aggro lover part is already beginning to pall!

And, hullo, what’s the rumble-in-hospital all about, with the ‘triangle’ lying trussed up in bed, and tough female cop (borrowed from TV’s CID show) dropping red herrings all over the place?

None of the three lead players can act; what keeps the film afloat is the music (Himesh Reshammiya), and a couple of songs really well picturised. And yes, there is a generous show of skin—Dutta like most beauty queen/models getting into films, has no qualms about stripping!

Ramji Londonwaley

Kamal Haasan is credited with the story of Nala Damayanthi, the original Tamil version of Ramji Londonwaley, which in turn was a complicated version of Peter Weir’s sweet romantic movie Green Card.

From a Tamil cook lost in Melbourne, Madhavan is now a Bihari cook lost in London, and therein lies the problem. From Madhavan’s accent to Sanjay Dayma’s direction, everything is laboured.

The film starts on a regressive note-- a cook from a remote Bihari village is forced to go to London in order to pay the dowry demanded by his sister’s in-laws. Even inadvertent encouragement to such practices leaves one uncomfortable.

In London, Ramji’s employer dies, he is thrown out, his papers stolen, and then, in one of those impossibly filmi coincidences, the first Indian he runs into happens to be the owner of a restaurant! So Ramji has a home and job instantly, all that is needed is a work permit.

A slimy lawyer (Raj Zutshi), forces his own fiancée Sameera (Samita Bangargi) to marry Ramji, so that he can stay on in the UK. But to convince the immigration people that the marriage is genuine, they have to live together and sparks are bound to fly.

The portions that could have been comic – like the cultural differences and squabbles between Ramji and Sameera – are most unfunny! Imagine trying to force humour out of his penchant for oversized underwear! And the portions that needed an emotional touch – like Sameera’s growing regard for Ramji-- fall flat, mainly due to sloppy writing and ineffective performances.

A couple of laughs at cliché stuff like Ramji not knowing to use a Western loo, and the pretty London locales—would they be incentive enough to endure hours of hokiness? Maybe if you are a Madhavan fan.

Pyaar Mein Twist

The setting: urban, decidedly upper class. Still a mini cyclone takes place when two middle age people go on a perfectly harmless dinner and dance date! They are both—Yash (Rishi Kapoor) and Sheetal (Dimple Kapadia)—widowed, with grown-up children. But the way everybody goes on about them, you’d think two minor kids had done something terribly immoral.

In this Hriday Shetty film, Pyaar Mein Twist, not only does the innocent friendship cause a slanging match between the offspring of the two ‘delinquents’, they go about wringing their hands in despair, instead of telling every busybody to mind his/her own business!

Finally Sheetal’s sensible sister-in-law (Farida Jalal—terrific as usual) tells the two to run away and let the problem sort itself out, but it is all much ado about nothing to begin with. The changes in social and sexual attitudes of urban Indians seems to have passed Shetty by completely—the inspiration for this film, however, comes from a Kannada original Preeti Prema Pranaya. If the story had been set in a small town, middle class milieu, it might have made a little more sense.

Rishi Kapoor’s ineffable charm keeps some interest in the film alive—look at him dance to Khullan Khulla Pyar Karenge, and he lights up the screen. Dimple Kapadia is uncharacteristically subdued, as if she couldn’t believe what was going on. Sammir Dattani, Soha Ali Khan and Vikas Bhalla appear among the brood of kids, but leave no impact.


Kanika Verma’s Dansh is probably the only Hindi film so far that talks about the Mizo problem. The adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s play Death and the Maiden (made into a film by Roman Polaksnki) is rather unusual in that sense—it doesn’t take the easy ‘Kashmir’ route. It recognizes that there are problems in other parts of the country as well, and does well to highlight conditions in Mizoram.

However, apart from the offbeat setting, the film is unable to translate the chilling, understated terror of the original into Dansh. Sonali Kulkarni’s hysterical performance is not as disturbing as Sigourney Weaver’s nerve-wracking calm.

Mathew (Kay Kay), once a dissident, and now part of the peace process, brings home a doctor (Aditya Srivastav) one night. His wife Maria (Sonali Kulkarni), who was also part of the Mizo Liberation Front, is convinced that the doctor was the one who had raped and tortured her in prison. She ties him up and wants to kill him. Mathew is torn between his wife’s anguish and the desire to forget the past.

The films, is grim and verbose, but is unable to build up and sustain the tension required for it to work. The audience should also be see-sawing between points of view, and come out feeling disturbed or disoriented. Despite Verma’s sincere effort, the film gets tedious after a point. Kay Kay is excellent—the actor is now on a roll.


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