Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Ends With.. 

Return of Hanuman

In Return of Hanuman (not a sequel to Hanuman, the makers clarify right at the start) , Anurag Kashyap, mixes mythology with modern times to come up with a cheeky little comedy adventure.

There is a mythological lead-in with a story of a war between gods and demons, which is being narrated to a gap-toothed little kid called Minkoo by his mother in a village called Bajrangpur. Minkoo is a wimpy little fellow bullied by his classmates.

Hanuman up in heaven, wants to come down to Earth, so is born to a woman in the same village. The cute little baby, named Maruti, has a tail and an appetite that empties out refrigerators in the entire village!

Meanwhile, men from the area are vanishing without a trace, including Minkoo and Maruti’s fathers, and beyond a wall in the village is a den of villains, right out of Sholay. Maruti has superhuman strength, he beats up the bullies as well as the villains.

But there is a reason for the men’s disappearance, and Maruti lands up an underworld trap too, when all the primates of the world fly down to rescue him—including a superstar who sounds like Shah Rukh Khan.

It goes on in this loony vein, till the final battle between good and evil—and the villains are not so much the demons Rahu and Ketu, as human greed, dumping of waste and pollution.

Kids may not get the allusions to old films, and will get all mixed up with the convoluted plotting, but will enjoy the imaginative animation; adults will probably laugh at the ‘in’ jokes, and remember the mythological stories they must have read in Amar Chitra Katha comics in childhood.

Kashyap uses contemporary language, so the gods use words like contracts, graphs and general knowledge. This film is not meant to educate NRI kids about “Indian culture”, that’s for sure.


The symbiotic/cannibalistic relationship between showbiz and the media would make for a interesting film, provided the director knew what he was talking about—which would entail some research and understanding of how the two worlds function. Raju Khan’s Showbiz has all the power of kid throwing a stone at a window and running away.

The target of all the media frenzy is a singer Rohan (Tushar Jalota--pleasant looking, standard issue newcomer), the winner of some TV talent show that makes him a ‘superstar’. It’s not as if singers even get all that much of column space or air time, but for some reason, a gang of four thuggish journalists, led by the super creepy Sharad Rajpoot (Sushant Singh), seem to think newspapers and channels can thrive on stories of his romance with a stone-faced colleague (Mrinalini Sharma).

A channel head (Gulshan Grover), sets the pack on poor, insignificant Rohan, and their paparazzi antics lead to an accident in which he is injured, a mysterious woman with him wounded, and an innocent bystander killed.

Overnight, Rohan’s career is ruined, and he has dreams of avenging himself by beating the journalists to death. The ACP (Ehsaan Khan) is sympathetic, for some reason, and shadows Rohan to find out what exactly happened.

The climax that involves a sting operation by Rohan on the unscrupulous channel heads and journalists is too absurd to be true!

Fact is that the media is too hung-up on celebrities, but the problem is too much meaningless PR trash and not enough genuine exposes. And when a real-life sting operation (Shakti Kapoor-Aman Verma) did uncover some sleaze, it did not seem to have any noticeable effect on the career of the two so-called ‘stars’. So what is Raju Khan’s point?


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