Saturday, August 09, 2008


Singh is Kinng

Akshay Kumar may be ‘Kinng’ but the King (spelt right) is undoubtedly Frank Capra, the director of many a Hollywood heart-warmer, whose 1933 film Lady for Day remade by him as Pocketful of Miracles (1961) inspired Jackie Chan’s Mr. Canton & Lady Rose, which finds its way to 2008 Bollywood as Singh is Kinng. (There were other remakes too like Teri Maang Sitaron Se Bhar Doon, which have been forgotten).

Anees Bazmee has stolen a fine plot, cast two of the most popular stars today Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, got a budget big enough to shoot in Australia via Punjab and Egypt, and a promotion campaign so aggressive that the film is a hit before it actually opens.

There is a large section of the multiplex audience that wants just a little bit of entertainment, if it is senseless, chalega, as long as it is not too boring. Bazmee keeps the running time less than the customary three hours, so that the film ends before the audience starts to get restless.

Akshay Kumar is a hick villager, Happy Singh, whose antics annoy people so much they conspire to send him abroad, ostensibly to fetch Lucky Singh (Sonu Sood), who is disgracing the village and the community by his criminal activities abroad. So Happy with sidekick Rangeela (Om Puri, a bit too old for this) go to Australia with a stopover in Egypt for Happy to meet Miss Sonia (Katrina Kaif), who is a lawyer, writing a book on criminology – lest we think our heroines are bimbettes. She is never ever seen with a piece of paper, leave aside a notebook or computer.

Lucky Singh is ruling the underworld with a group of Sikh cohorts (turbaned, but curiously without proper beards, etc) and a half-blind-half-deaf brother Mika (Jaaved Jaaferi). How people become Dons with moronic henchman, only filmmakers can explain.

Somehow Happy finds himself as the leader of the gang—the Kinng—and also indebted to a kind flower seller (Kiron Kher), who happens to be Sonia’s mother. When a façade of wealth is to be created to impress Sonia’s fiancé Puneet (Ranvir Shorey), Happy orders all the gangsters to act as servants, and in the process some comedy is forcibly generated.

Some action is also pushed in, because Akskay Kumar is good at it—so assorted group of armed men (rival gangsters, cops, whatever) keep attacking him and getting thrashed.

It doesn’t really matter that the romance between Happy and Sonia doesn’t really crackle, that the foul Puneet (in a role that used be done by Pran in his heyday) never gets his just desserts; for some inexplicable reason his father resembles Mika, which doesn’t develop into a full blown gag. The Sikh gang members (Yashpal Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Sundhanshu Pande, Kamal Chopra) and one moll (Neha Dhupia) have vague back stories left dangling, probably lying on the editing floor.

Nothing really matters, as long as Akshay Kumar in fine designer togs gets to do his act unhampered by anything or anyone. That he does, no complaints on this front. At least some people will get their money’s worth. What are the others going to do after they’ve already paid for their ticket—there is no consumer court to decide on entertainment promised and not delivered.

Good Luck

Most romantic comedies are formulaic and predictable, and work well because of the cuteness of their lead pairs. Aditya Datt’s Good Luck lacks even likeable actors. Failed on the first count, this dreadful remake of mediocre Hollywood flick Just My Luck never really has a chance.

Vicky (Aryeman) is an aspiring singer who is particularly ill-fated, while Saba (Sayali Bhagat) has the sun shining wherever she goes. A chance meeting at a masquerade ball at which they kiss, transfers her good luck to him. While her life unravels, he gets a dream break with a music baron (Lucky Ali).

A tarot reader (Archana Puran Singh) tells Saba that she must kiss the guy again to get back her good fortune, but she doesn’t know who he was. In the original, the girl went around kissing all 20 men who were dancing at the ball, Datt draws a line at that, but makes up later when all the characters chase Saba to kiss her for her luck, and many end up kissing each other. Yuck.

The other people cluttering this luckless film are the clairvoyant and her sidekick, a gigolo (Ranvir Shorey), his lover, her husband, Saba’s female boss, and a music company minion. A kid gets a kiss smack on the lips too!

One of the worst films of the year so far, this one had a handful of people at the suburban cinema, and they seemed to have staggered in because Singh is Kinng running at the hall next door was full. Not so much bad luck as bad filmmaking.


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