Saturday, October 07, 2006

Zindaggi Sux 

Zindaggi Rocks

With its ‘trendy’ title (double ‘g’ and all) and characters wearing designer outfits, the film is supposed to be contemporary, but underneath it beats the heart of an ancient woman-is-mother-first-and-last melodrama. If a man had made it, he would have been accused of chauvinism, but since it comes from a female director (Tanuja Chandra) and female producer (Anuradha Prasad), it leaves you rather foxed.

Anyway, had it been well-made and engaging, the archaic plot of Zindaggi Rocks would still not offend so much. But after a fairly entertaining beginning, when an over-the-top singer Kria (Sushmita Sen) almost sandbags a reticent doctor Suraj (Shiney Ahuja) into falling in love with her, the film then pulls out all the disaster stops. Suraj’s wife is in a coma, Kria’s adopted son (the incredibly cute Julian Burkhardt) has a hole in his heart and, well, you don’t even want to know the rest.

Worse, Kria’s family—supposed to be madcap—is made up of a group of totally deranged women and one lunatic driver. The doc is infinitely tolerant, after all what does he have to go home to but an old male cook? But pity yourself for having to watch such idiotic antics as a burping contest in a restaurant; and having to listen to pseudo profound lines (the good doc compares Kria to the Bermuda Triangle—and no, it’s not what you think!)

Then thank the Lord for Shiney Ahuja’s sunny presence and the aforementioned cute kid, because Sushmita Sen’s overacting, magnified by close-ups that show all her facial flaws, has you begging for mercy. Anu Malik’s music (too many songs) is no balm and the length of the film criminal.


Considering it sprang up with little publicity and has no stars, Sameer Hanchate’s Gafla comes as a pleasant surprise.

The story of Harshad Mehta and the stock market scams of the last decade comes to the screen a bit too late—most people must have forgotten all about the Big Bull, who was once a media star and then died in relative obscurity. Hanchate also tends to portray the successful stock broker as a visionary and messiah of the poor, a point-of-view that can be hotly argued.

Subodh Mehta (Vinod Sharwarat) is clearly modeled after Harshad Mehta, an ambitious chawl boy, who tries to break the stranglehold of the traditional stock traders and is punished for his audacity. But while he is on a roll, Subodh loses and makes large amounts of money, manipulates the financial system, and almost gets away with it… but for equally powerful enemies.

Those who are informed enough and have good memories, will enjoy the film more, because they can compare the screen characters and events with real ones. Stock talk can get baffling for the layperson, and Gafla is very cut-and dry, lacking the human drama of, say, Wall Street. But good casting, competent performances and a brisk pace make it fairly watchable.

Mera Dil Leke Dekkho

If it weren’t for three optimistic (how bad can it be, huh?) press folks landing up at the cinema, the show would probably have been cancelled. There were five people in all in the empty theatre.

Punam Sinha’s (Mrs Shatrughan Sinha) first attempt at production turns out to be an unmitigated disaster. Rohit Kaushik directs this flat-as-a-skillet comedy about desperate-to-marry Archana (Koel Purie), who comes from London to Mumbai to hook Rahul (Punit Tejwani), just because he had a holiday flirtation with her.

Scared of facing his crazy parents (Jackie Shroff-Archana Puran Singh), Rahul hides her in his room, which for some strange reason, is already occupied by three of his buddies. And for no reason that you can decipher, everyone thinks everyone else is gay!

Trying for light farce, and constantly tripping on its own shoelaces, the film adds to the viewer’s woes, by making even a decent actor like Jackie Shroff behave absolutely loony. Archana Puran Singh sets a record for making ugly faces. Koel Purie, whose lipstick shades get more lurid as the film progresses, should have more sense than to do this film in which she plays a character who will marry just anyone – even a gay guy. Look up pathetic in the thesaurus and apply all the words to Mera Dil.. whatever.


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