Friday, August 15, 2008


Bachna Ae Haseeno

If vanity is a word that can be applied to production houses, then Siddharth Anand’s Bachna Ae Haseeno is an extravagant tribute to Yash Raj Films—the producer of this one.

The 1995 hit Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge runs thorough BAH (unfortunate acronym) like a refrain, and there are nods to Dhoom, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Salaam Namaste (also directed by Anand). The title comes from a song in Hum Kisise Kam Nahin—non YRF.

The other thing: this film is meant for an audience of teeny-boppers, for whom moviegoing is an exercise in giggling, imbibing huge tubs of popcorn and shrieking “so cuuuute, ya” at regular intervals. Terms like political correctness, sexism, intellect, etc are beyond their radar. So those who think Ranbir Kapoor is cute and Bipasha Basu is hot, this film is for you.

Ranbir plays Raj (Sharma not Malhotra), first at age 18, on a holiday to Switzerland, where he and a movie-struck idiot Mahi (Minissha Lamba) do a train-missing, road tripping DDLJ romance. For her, it’s the experience of a lifetime, for him a chance of boasting of all going ‘all the way’ with her.

Leaving her shattered, five years later, he is in a live-in relationship with Radhika (Bipsaha Basu), and ditches her at the altar to go off to Australia, because he doesn’t have the courage to tell her he doesn’t want commitment.

Five years later, in Sydney, he meets taxi-driver Gayatri (Deepkia Padukone), the brainy, independent one, paying her way through B-school. When he proposes marriage to her, she drops him. In remorse he goes back to apologise to the two women whose hearts he broke callously, and who, it turns out, were so shattered by his betrayal, they need major damage control—by Raj, of course. The scores of white women he (and his sidekick, Hiten Paintal) bed and dump don’t count, because ‘women like that’ supposedly have no feelings.

Annoyingly what the film says, is that women stubbornly cling to men or their memories, and become emotionally sterile, while men can get away with anything. And then, the independent girl, who doesn’t believe in marriage, also turns out to want the ‘old-fashioned’ thing. Just by the way, people still slip handwritten notes under doors? Whatever happened to smart phones and email? And why does the background ‘haha’ track have the sound of a toilet flushing?

The first half of the film (inspired by High Fidelity, Broken Flowers, Teen Devian, etc ) is still somewhat cool and humorous. The second half is mawkish and ludicrous, leading to a total cop-out ending.

Still, it is Ranbir Kapoor’s freshness (one more ‘cute’ role and he is in trouble), and Bipasha Basu’s sex appeal that carries BAH through. And yes, some of the gorgeous Italian locations –makes you want to start saving up for a holiday to Capri. Put the ticket money meant for this film into the piggy-bank first.

BAH’s biggest contribution will be the addition of the word “Rajgiri” to teen slang— the hero uses it to mean ‘pataoing’ girls.

God Tussi Great Ho

Rumi Jafry claims his God Tussi Great Ho is not a copy of Bruce Almighty, but he doesn’t even bother to change the profession of his lead character Ajay Prajapati aka AP (Salman Khan).

Like in the original, he works for a TV channel, but his shows don’t work, while Alia (Priyanka Chopra), has better luck. He is in love with her, but is unable to express it. To make things worse, Rocky (Sohail Khan—still can’t act), a rival in love and at work, arrives to extend AP’s list of woes.

At home, he has a nagging father (Anupam Kher—hilarious), a loving mother and an ugly unmarriageable sister. When Rocky steals his job and his girl, AP rants at God, and gets a face to face meeting with Amitabh Bachchan—great bit of casting, though why does God have to wear a white suit? Rishi Kapoor did too in Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.

God—who lives in a place that looks like a kitschy computer screensaver—offers AP his job for ten days to see if he can run the world more efficiently.

It gives Jafry a chance to run riot with special effects—there has to be a sequence of rescuing kids from terrorists, so that kids and objects can fly around in the air—tiresome.

AP then plots to get rid of Rocky, improve the appearance of his sister and woo Alia, but when he tries to set the world right, by granting everybody’s wishes, he ends up with unmanageable chaos on his hands.

Jafry belongs to the David Dhawan school of juvenile comedy, and is obviously not interested in a discussion on theology, but then he should have at least got better performances from his cast, and much, much better special effects.

Salman Khan is no Jim Carrey, but gamely carries the film on his shoulders—in spite of weird dialogue delivery, ghastly wardrobe and ever-changing hairdo. He keeps his shirt on, and well, it’s hard to believe he is such a loser; but with a dad like that (who keeps offering him a municipality job), who needs Satan to mess up a guy’s mind?

Tacky, but still better than expected; mildly amusing, fine for a long holiday weekend with nothing to do. But really, Salman ought to get out of this ‘demented’ rut, and just grow up. Akshay Kumar has already beaten him (and Govinda) to the comedy czar throne, why (sorry for the mixed metaphor) continue to flog a dead horse.


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