Friday, September 15, 2006

3 This Week 

Pyaar Ke Side Effects

Pyaar Ke Side Effects is a Men are from Mars- Women are form Venus kind of romantic comedy, that’s more irritating than funny; but still it’s a passable first film by Saket Chaudhary.

Inspired by Trust the Man, the film is about a commitment-phobic dude called Sid (Rahul Bose), who goes haywire when Trisha (Mallika Sherawat), his girlfriend of three years, proposes to him. Why would a pretty, smart, sexy, high-income babe want to marry the dorky Sid? This is definitely the Martian view, so even guys like Sid could get lucky. And even bright girls like Trisha, who ought to know better, would interrupt crucial cricket matches to throw tantrums! The assumption being that dumb chicks don’t care for sports—all that they want is marriage, kids, shopping and decorating.

However clichéd and Hollywood-imitative the relationship problems and gags may be, the film’s sexism, is not majorly offensive. The romance is meant to be frivolous, and the tongue-in-cheek quality is enhanced by Sid’s pieces-to-camera and cheeky inserts.

Sid’s roommate (Ranvir Sheorey, very funny) hits on anything that moves, his brother-in-law (Aamir Bashir) is henpecked and forced into fatherhood, his would-be father-in-law (Sharat Saxena) is out of Meet the Parents and his rival for Trisha’s love is Mr Perfect (Jas Arora). When Sid meets a sexy item girl Tanya (Sophie Chaudhary), he is unable to respond to her advances. The problem is elementary dear Watson, Sid’s dad had abandoned him and his mother, so he’s scared of marriage!

The dialogue sounds stilted, as if the actors wanted to speak in English, but Hindi came out. Rahul Bose acts like a dude from the ’hood; Mallika Sherawat is surprisingly cool and effective, she even gets to eye the cleavage-revealing item girl disapprovingly and say, “I could never carry off something like that.” With a lot of popcorn for fortification, this one would be tolerable for one viewing.

Bas Ek Pal

Realistic urban setting, bunch of characters who work and party hard, and a tragedy that affects them all. Without the requisite sensitivity and control, it can turn into pure soap opera. Onir isn’t Pedro Almodovar (from whose film Live Flesh he is inspired) yet, so Bas Ek Pal, keeps tipping over into bathos.

Nikhil (Sanjay Suri) gets into an altercation at a nightclub over Anamika (Urmila Matondkar), which ends with his friend Rahul (Jimmy Shergill) getting shot. Nikhil goes to jail, where he is treated horrendously because the guy he was fighting was the son of a top cop. Three years later, Ira (Juhi Chawla) the wife of another friend Steve (Rehaan Engineer) bails out Nikhil. He emerges to discover Rahul in a wheelchair, crippled for life, and worse, Anamika is engaged to him.

The film goes into their lives, loves, motivations and, finally a twist and a bigger tragedy. Shot on locations too opulent for Mumbai (everybody lives in candle-lit ground floor apartments with gardens!), the look is, however, the only saving grace of the movie. Since so much of it consists of stagey conversations in interior settings, at least the eye gets a treat from the props!

Among the actors, Jimmy Shergill and Sanjay Suri are mature and restrained, Juhi Chawla struggles with a thankless role, Rehaan Engineer looks lost and Urmila Matondkar overacts. Onir’s earlier film, My Brother Nikhil, equally mawkish, at least had a message; Bas Ek Pal is simply boring and pretentious.


Whether Ram Gopal Varma is making a gangster film or a cop film, a certain predictability has set into his style. The same gritty look, raw violence; many of the actors and locations repeated too. Plus, no matter what character his heroine plays in the film (she’s a crime reporter in Shiva), she will have a dance number writhing on the beach in skimpy clothes.

After producing films glorifying gangsters, Varma seems to be making amends by making his hero in Shiva, an honest and invincible cop. However much one respects Varma’s intentions and admires his technical mastery, there is a tired, ad hoc feel to Shiva.

Shiv Kumar joins the police force and finds his superiors in cahoots with criminals, and the home minister (Dilip Prabhavalkar) giving them his protection. When his uniform hampers him, he forms his own vigilante group of honest cops (and one crime reporter) to take on the Arun Gawli- like don Bappu (Upendra Limaye) and his gang of oddballs, including a knife-wielding imported-from-Malaysia assassin and twin hitmen.

Mohit Ahlawat still exudes sincerity he did in James, Nisha Kothari still can’t act and Shiva is just not worthy of the RGV stamp.


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