Saturday, December 10, 2005

Diwali Haul 

Garam Masala

It’s galling how women are seen as disposable commodities in a film—which is, of course, a male fantasy come true.

Priyadarshan, again goes the re-remake route – old Hollywood film Boeing Boeing, made into Malayalam film, warmed up again as Garam Masala.

Even the 1965 original (hopelessly dated now) had a silly, sexist plot about a man, juggling three air-hostesses, with the help of his housekeeper and buddy.

A photographer, Mac (Akshay Kumar), who is already engaged to be married (to Rimii), for no apparent reason but that the writer says so, not only gets engaged to three air-hostesses, he also has them living in his house, his rendezvous planned according to their flight schedules. Seems far-fetched that the women come home only to eat, bathe and sleep, don’t they expect some kind of social life?

Mac’s rival Sam (John Abraham) parks himself in Mac’s house, and helps him con the three women—not clear why, because the two hate each other. Also aiding Mac in his philandering is his stoic housekeeper Mambo (Paresh Rawal), and a neighbourhood mechanic (Rajpal Yadav), whose sole purpose in life seems to be warning Mac of impending glitches in his smooth running romances.

When the two men actually work for a living is not explained, since every waking moment goes in the scheming and plotting.

However, despite the incredible ridiculousness of the plot, parts of it work, because Priyadarshan faithfully follows the structure of a classic farce—entries and exits happening at a furious pace through a profusion of doors in a stage-set like apartment.

The hilarious bits are livened up by the high energy of the three male performers—the girls are interchangeable. Shot in Mauritius, the film looks bright and glossy too, and there’s plenty of skin on show. What more does the ‘tapori’ audience want?

Kyon Ki

Years after watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the memory of it can still evoke terror. How could Priyadarshan make such a tame, emotionally sterile film with that original as an inspiration? It’s unforgivable.

The director had already cannibalised One Flew… for a Malayalam film, Thalavattam, which, reportedly was far superior to this Hindi re-rehash.

Anand (Salman Khan) is brought to a private mental asylum, after a personal trauma has driven him “mad”. The asylum, run with military-like rules by Colonel Khurana (Om Puri doing the Louis Fletcher part, and ineffectually) and is peopled by the oddballs that pass off as “mad” in Hindi films—and hardly any take mental illness seriously, reducing all kinds of mental problems to cute quirks.

Anand is full of rebellion and mischief, and under the care of old friend Sunil (Jackie Shroff), who genuinely cares for him. He goads the solemn and strict Dr Tanvi (Kareena Kapoor) to take personal interest in Anand’s case. She reads his diary—and the film goes into a painfully long and dull flashback, of Anand’s romance with a would-be nun (Rimii), in a Romanian convent (where everybody speaks Hindi!)

The tragic end of the romance had driven him insane, and after reading the account, Tanvi promptly falls in love with her patient and this leads to more tragedy.

Despite so many awful and disturbing things happening in the film, so indifferent is the direction, that not for a minute does the viewer get involved with the troubles of the characters. There is not one emotionally stirring moment, in a film that should have been replete with melancholy. Maybe the actors are not mature enough, or the writing is lifeless—the story simply does not come alive. Except for the picture postcard visuals and a couple of songs, the film is a dud.

Salman Khan cannot but pile on the cuteness when he is playing mentally disturbed character, after a point this beings to annoy. Kareena Kapoor is miscast as the doctor, but if Om Puri can be made to give a bad performance, there is something seriously wrong with the handling of the film.

Shaadi No 1

Obviously made to cash in quickly on the marital comedy (Masti, No Entry) trend before it burns out, this David Dhawan film does not even bother to put together a half way decent plot. Shaadi No 1 is just a series of improbable situations strung out in a haphazard row-and, like a government form, everything seems to happen in triplicate, since there are three friends going through the same experiences.

Raj (Fardeen Khan), Veer (Zayed Khan) and Aryan (Sharman Joshi), married and living in the same studio row house complex, are about to commit suicide because their wives (Ayesha Takia, Esha Deol, Soha Ali Khan) are neglecting them.

They fail in the attempt, but get a strange assignment from their boss (Satish Shah)-- to woo his daughters (named Rekha, Madhuri, Dimple if you please!) and ditch them so they agree to arranged marriages.

The three girls have been chosen for their ability to fill bikinis well and look as dumb as humanly possible. They match the wives in the latter department.

For the three men having two sets of women is a dream life -- the only obstacle in their perfidious plan being an odd creature called Lucky Bhaiya (Sanjay Dutt) who appears to have no other pass time except minding the business of the three guys.

Made with half a mind, stuffed with moronic gags, dialogue slogging too hard be funny and a cast of driftwood, it's really tough to find any merit in Shaadi no 1. Not even Sanjay Dutt – given the most irritating lines—can do anything to make this film watchable.


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