Saturday, July 22, 2006


Yun Hota To Kya Hota

There is no rule that says a great actor has to turn into a great director, but you are eager to see Naseeruddin Shah makes that transition smoothly. That Yun Hota To Kya Hota, a pointless film with too many jagged edges has been directed by him, is doubly disappointing. Any other debut director making this film would have got at least a “good effort” pat on the back. But coming from Naseer it’s… Et tu Brute?

The idea of four different stories moving towards a common destination is fraught with problems, more so since three of the four stories are hopelessly clichéd, and the climax, too abrupt to be taken seriously.

New bride Tilottama (Konkona Sen Sharma), whose husband (Jimmy Shergill) returns to the US the night after the reception, is faced with a mean American mother-in-law and her hysterical daughter. She has to go to the US in a desperate hurry.

A brilliant student Rahul (Ankur Khanna) agrees to go to the US reluctantly when his friend (Ayesha Takia) forces him to. Small time gangster and stockbroker Salim (Irrfan Khan), obsessed with an older woman (Suhasini Mulay—spectacularly miscast) has to flee to America with brother Javed (Salim-Javed, get it?) after a fracas involving a cop.

And finally there’s show organizer Rajubhai (Paresh Rawal, so brilliant, he’s almost blinding), who runs a racket taking performers abroad and letting them vanish (were the US Immigration people so lenient even pre 9/11?). His smooth operation goes for a toss when his former flame Tara (Ratna Pathak Shah-- terrific) turns up begging him to take her daughter to the US.

The stories crisscross, though the characters have no connection with one another. Except for the Raju-Tara story, which has maturity and poignancy, the other three are not in the least engaging. The most irritating is the one involving a bunch of youngsters, one of whom is visiting from the US and makes it out to be a land of opportunity, when his own truth is too sordid to reveal. Their conversations are weirdly off the mark, like a chaste Hindi spotting dude (Imaad Shah) taking about the bowel problems of people.

The Salim-Javed episode is flat—despite the brief intervention of a competent Boman Irani, and the Tillotama story has just one little twist, that the bitchy ma-in-law is American (Karla Singh). The characters are cardboard, the storytelling too simplistic. And the whole endeavour has a feel of incompleteness, leaving the viewer with that odd sensation of having got up from a banquet hungry.

The Killer

The latest from the Bhatt camp has the appearance of a potboiler, or a ‘filler’ between two bigger projects. The Killer, directed by Hasnain S Hyderabadwala & Raksha Mistry, lifted from Hollywood thriller Collateral, looks like a hastily put together film, starring in-house actors like Emraan Hashmi and Irrfan Khan, and some stragglers from Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster films.

Vikram, a hired killer (Irrfan Khan), lands up in Dubai, to kill a bunch of people who are to testify against expat don Jabbar (Zakir Hussain). His modus operandi is to hire a cab, hit all his targets and finally kill the cabbie before leaving the country.

The cabbie to fall into his net is the garrulous Nikhil (Emraan Hashmi). A sort of easy camaraderie develops between the two men, and the lines are witty. Then Nikhil realizes what his passenger actually does (“kaam tamaam” as Vikram jocularly puts it), and now he has to save his own life and that of his ladylove, a bar dancer Riya (Nisha Kothari).

Meanwhile, Indian and Dubai cops (unidentifiable actors) are on the heels of the killer, and, Nikhil is suspect, since it's his cab spotted on the crime scene.

For a film set in a few hours of the night, The Killer does not have the kind of pace required, and far too much dialogue. The scene in which Nikhil has to pose as Vikram and go into Jabbar’s bungalow, should have had nerve-wracking tension, instead the two characters exchange leisurely dialogue.

Both Irrfan Khan and Emraan Hashmi play pretty much to type—they could have done their roles in their sleep; it is to their credit that they try to add some sincerity to their parts. Nisha Kothari is added for the glam quotient—which means bar dances, and dream sequences in which she is skimpily dressed. Quite missable, this movie.


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