Saturday, March 18, 2006



It’s all very well to talk of looking after senior citizens, but hardly any film does justice to the cause. Even the better ones (like Baghbaan) go all out for heavy-duty melodrama. It’s the same with Karan Razdan’s Umar, which could be said to be an improvement on his last few sex films, but only in the choice of subject.

The location is London, where three old friends Chandrakant (Prem Chopra), Iqbal (Kader Khan) and Rajpal (Satish Kaushik)—a Hindu, a Muslim and a Sikh in case anyone missed the point—are lonely, broke and neglected by their children. They keep running into a student from India, Shashank (Jimmy Shergill), who gives them the respect they don’t get from anyone else. So when he is framed for a murder he did not commit, the three old guys are galvanized into action. They help him escape the cops so that he can prove his innocence.

Running alongside is Shashank’s love story with rich girl Sapna (Shennaz Treasurywala, who gives wooden a new meaning), who joins in to do the singing and dancing while her father (Shakti Kapoor) frowns. And he has reason to—picking the famous scene from Jawani Deewani, all three seniors turn up claiming to be the orphaned Shashank’s father.

With the cops looking for the fugitives, they prance around all over the city and are actually pleased to see their pictured in a ‘Wanted’ ad in the papers, because that is their claim to immortality.

Despite the screaming and ranting, Umar lacks in real emotions, and it gives up its slim comic potential for a needless murder mystery. In the end the characters are actually asked to give a message to poeple, and they all make statements for the care of the aged. As if all that sermonizing in the film was not enough!

The acting is mostly over the top, and the locals hired in the UK, must have been at the bottom of a casting agent’s list—a worse lot could not have been assembled.

Banana Brothers

If Girija Shankar’s Banana Brothers could be described in one word, it would be ‘huh?’

After wading through a plotless film with clunky dialogue, bad performances and girls in abbreviated costumes, it would be tough to figure out what the heck was happening.

There are two unemployed ‘desis’ in San Francisco—Ketan (Anupam Kher—really, really awful) and Baldev (Gurusewak Maan--blank), who want to do ‘something’ but don’t know what or how. Not the best of ideas for a full length feature, unless it had a brilliant script, witty lines and a great cast. Banana Brothers has none of the above. And to make it worse, the comic timing is consistently off. Would you feel like laughing if a female in a tiny bustier, pushed herself at Anupam Kher and said she desired him because he was so handsome! You’d probably react with complete, jaw-dropping disbelief.

There’s another soggy romance happening in the background (Seema Rahmani puts on an authentic accent, at least). But mostly characters pop in and out without reason. At some point, the story of two buddies moves a gear when they team up with Johnny Lever (as himself) to teach Baldev’s cousin, a slimy show impresario (Gulshan Grover) a lesson, but things don’t improve much. Even with a gun to your head, you couldn’t get a single chuckle out of this movie. The title is actually the best thing about it.


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