Monday, April 09, 2007

Shakalaka Boom Boom 

Suneel Darshan has some nerve, he takes the story of Amadeus and sets in contemporary New York (and shoots it in South Africa), where two Indian singer-composers slug it out for the top slot.

In the first place, who in the American mainstream music industry would care about two guys doing some hybrid work and singing in Hindi. Forget cover stories and primetime TV, the media wouldn’t give them the time of day, and their ‘fame’ probably wouldn’t go past New Jersey.

Secondly, for a film about music wars, at least the music should be fantastic. The guy who is called a genius by everybody composes some junk like Shakalakalakalakalaka Boom Boom!

Thirdly, a film stuffed with non-actors struggling with badly written scenes and cheesy lines is bound to turn out ridiculous.

AJ (Bobby Deol) is a music star in New York (indeed!) and in love with aspiring singer Ruhi (Kangana Ranaut), when an arrogant, ambitious club singer Reggie (Upen Patel—odd oily look) crashes into the scene, showing up AJ for the mediocrity he is, while stealing Ruhi from him, in public.

In a jealous rage, AJ decides to wreck Reggie’s career, and succeeds with help of PR woman (Celina Jaitley) used and dumped by Reggie. Then a chance look at Reggie’s compositions (in Jodhpur his Indian father taught him western notations for songs like Thade Vaaste?) makes AJ aware of his own shortcomings and the fact that Reggie is truly talented. Then he comes up with an even more devious plan to destroy Reggie, which you have to suffer to believe!

Bobby Deol, playing the envious and evil older man is shot in unflattering close-ups, and his inner conflict is depicted through a series of conversations with his stoic guru (Govind Namdeo). Meanwhile Reggie’s problems are portrayed through his tantrums and rudeness towards Ruhi (who is quite happy being a sidekick) and his father (Anupam Kher).

Because the whole milieu and the plot seems so artificial, and Darshan’s style of direction so old-fashioned, the film is unwatchable. It could have been a fifties’ melodrama, but for the trendy costumes worn by the stars. If set in the Hindi film music industry, where an older singer would try to abort the career of a competitor, it might have made some sense; but portraying AJ as a one-man music industry in the US, and passing off Himesh Reshammiya’s tinny tunes as work of genius is stretching the audience’s credulity a bit too much.


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