Saturday, April 14, 2007

3 This Week 

Bheja Fry

Sagar Ballary’s debut feature Bheja Fry is based on a French farce The Dinner Game by Francis Veber, cleverly ‘adapted’ with suitably Indianised characters.

Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak) is the annoying pest anybody can meet in a bus or train—one who will share his life story, demand to know yours and then sing aloud in a cracked voice in the hope of entertaining the listener. His love for music extends to trivia of the astounding kind—he know exactly how many times the word ‘aayega’ is repeated in the famous ‘Aayaga Aanewala’ song.

Ranjeet Thadani (Rajat Kapoor) is the rich, arrogant music company honcho, whose equally rich buddies amuse themselves by inviting the biggest ‘idiot’ they can find to dinner. The guest, of course does not realize what he’s there for and is flattered by the attention. Bharat Bhushan is Thadani’s prize find, but before he can take him to dinner, he hurts his back, his wife Sheetal (Sarika) leaves in a huff and he is at the mercy of this braying idiot, who messes up things in his eager desire to help.

The film was originally a stage play, so it is set mostly on one location (Thadani’s house) it picks up elements of the classic farce, mistaken identities, the wrong message given to the wrong person, lovers and ex-lovers turning up and a general air of mayhem—all in one night.

Reasonably funny, though not the laugh-aloud kind, the appeal of the film lies in the choice of actor to play the idiot and Ballary hits a gold mine with Vinay Pathak. Oily hair, battered brief case, bush shirt and an over-eager manner, Pathak evokes mirth with simple things – like proudly showing his precious scrap book to everybody, taking it out and unwrapping it from its noisy plastic bag with a precise ceremony. He is irritating but there is also a kind of innocence about him that redeems him.

In between the mad encounter between Thadani and his idiot, are his wife’s ex-husband (Milind Soman) who is hugely amused by his rival’s predicament; Thadani’s bimbo girlfriend (Bhairavi Goswami), and a mean-looking tax inspector (Ranvir Shorey playing him with a scrunched up face), all of who add to the man’s woes, though he never gets the audience’s sympathy. Unpardonable however, is the gags about the Muslim tax guy supporting the Pakistani cricket team.

For want of anything better this week, the bi-lingual multiplex crowd could catch this one. It’s not a total waste of money.

Life Mein Kabhie Kabhhiee

Five friends (none of whom look the requisite age!) get out of college after the mandatory dance number together and state their purpose in life. Rajeev (Dino Morea) wants success, Monica (Nauheed Cyrusi) wants fame, Ishita (Anjori Alagh) wants money, Jai (Sameer Dattani) wants power and Manish (Aftab Shivdasani) wants nothing but to keep track of everybody’s happiness metre, so that they can meet five years later and decide who turned out happiest.

Not bad as plots go—inspired by such Hollywood flicks as Big Chill and St Elmo’s Fire—but Vikram Bhatt goes about dealing with the stories of the five with a checklist, out to prove that ambition of any kind only causes misery and that “happiness is just the absence of sadness”. Indeed! And to get to this profound observation one has to watch all traces of the characters’ ambitions cruelly destroyed. Like career success means loss of love, power comes with guilt and so on… Humourless, badly acted, ploddingly directed and completely inane.

The amusement is delivered inadvertently – like in every scene Rajeev has with his brother, the wife stands around looking morose; in a scene where Manish is getting fired from his journalistic job, the boss is eating chips like he just came out of a drought stricken area. When Jai goes for counselling, the shrink is a weird mini-skirted specimen. What about the woman who complains that Rajeev just comes to her when he is troubled, and he later smashes her TV! Too many such clunky scenes to list.

Is it just coincidental that the actress who is forced to sleep around, the pushy girl who marries for money and the unscrupulous socialite are right out of Page 3, or does it have something to do with the fact that both films have the same writer Manoj Tyagi.

This Life… ain’t worth living/ watching!

Big Brother

Big Brother is one of those long-in-the-making films, dusted out of the cans, renamed and released, in the vain hope that Sunny Deol has some fans left. It started out being titled Deodhar Gandhi, which explains the bursts of ‘Hey Ram’ in the background whenever the hero goes on a goonda-bashing rampage.

This Guddu Dhanoa film almost makes you nostalgic for those uncomplicated action films of the seventies and eighties, when the hero’s sister got molested and he got an excuse to wipe out half the population of baddies in the city, with the cops looking befuddled as usual.

Deodhar Gandhi (Sunny Deo: standard scowl-funny wig) goes one step further, when his sister had acid thrown in her face, he forms a vigilante gang and goes about doling his eye-for-an-eye instant justice. Top cop Negi (Danny Denzongpa) launches a counter attack, at which Deodhar and his family migrate to Mumbai. He drives an autorickshaw and tries to live incognito, but there are hoodlums in Mumbai and there is the sister as catalyst, the same cop has been transferred to the city and it’s action time again.

If Big Brother weren’t so tacky it might have been okay for a few laughs—like when Deodhar hits anyone, the guy doesn’t just fall down, he goes flying miles into the air! Priyanka Chopra has the coy “suniye ji” wife role and a couple of songs early on--good thing this film did not get released earlier, or her career would have gone for a toss.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker