Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blue+ 2 


There is a scene in Blue, in which a bunch of gunmen start shooting into the house of the character played by Sanjay Dutt, and the first thing he does is put on his sunglasses. It’s a just an indication of the fact that a lot of money (Rs 80-120 crores, depending on the source) has been spent on a film, but no thought has been put into it.

Anthony D’Souza’s film is about an underwater treasure hunt, but by the time it actually arrives, you have lost interest; and then that underwater action sequence is finished before any excitement has been generated. It’s like being promised a feast and being served potato chips... after the appetite has been whetted.

Blue is reportedly the most expensive Indian film ever made, the first shot in the Bahamas, the first with extensive under water shooting—it’s okay to have all that garnish, but doesn’t a film need the usual ingredients too… like a story to begin with? Without that, the stunning shots of marine life are just Nat Geo videos.

Aarav (Akshay Kumar) and Sagar (Sanjay Dutt) live in the Bahamas, and seem to have a good life. Aarav is a womanizer (he actually says ‘Can I ride you?’ to a woman he is asking for a lift and she lets him into her car!), Sagar is devoted to his wife Mona (Lara Dutta).

Sagar’s brother Samir (Zayed Khan) runs up a fifty million dollar debt with a gangster (Rahul Dev) in Bangkok, and comes running to “Bhaiya.” There is, it seems, a sunken treasure in a ship called Lady in Blue, that only Sagar knows about, and he reluctantly has to lead Samir and Aarav to it.

There is no great sympathy for the wimpy Samir, who blows up dozens of cars racing mobikes, causes many deaths and mixes up with thugs, then whines, “I am going to die.” There is no great mystery to Sagar’s brooding, and the twist when it comes in the end is laughable.

The actors got free scuba-diving lessons, a paid-for Caribbean holiday, no acting required – Akshay Kumar has a piece of grey rug stuck on his chin and Sanjay Dutt has a paunch that sticks out into the frame. They certainly seem to have more fun than the audience does.

The treasure chest under the sea has a some cheap tinsel jewelley…as for the house that the gunmen attack, when it blows up a few planks fly into the air—so much money drowned and cutting corners on props and FX. Tsk!

All The Best
A rarity for Bollywood—to credit the source, if only in a blink-and-miss flash; Rohit Shetty’s All The Best is based on Neil and Caroline Schaffner’s play Right Bed Wrong Husband, Indianised with some desi ‘tadka.’ It also pays tribute to Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s two ‘deception’ comedy classics – Golmaal and Chupke Chupke, but learns nothing from the master.

It is a simple idea of deception again, stretched to breaking point, but on the plus list—it is set in Goa (not in some foreign location with Hindi-speaking locals), it has some really funny in-jokes, a few laugh-aloud lines and Ajay Devgan in his element. In Shetty’s films (Golmaal, Golmaal Returns), the actor sheds his serious, intense persona and has a blast.

Veer (Fardeen Khan) lives off his rich brother Dharam (Sanjay Dutt), who sends him pocket money from abroad. Veer’s buddy Prem Chopra (Ajay Devgan) is a racing driver, and in the process of trying to win a race, owes money to a mute gangster (Johnny Lever), who communicates by tapping a spoon on a glass.

Dharam thinks that Veer is married to Vidya (Mugdha Godse), so when he lands up unexpectedly and she can’t be found, Prem’s wife Jahnvi (Bipasha Basu) is presented as the wife. It is a small misunderstanding that could be cleared in a minute, but a whole film is built up on it. Naturally, when Vidya appears, she is passed off as Prem’s girlfriend.

The gags include a hysterical Malayalee maid (Ashwini Kalsekar), a potential tenant called RGV (Sanjay Mishra), who can’t move into Veer’s bungalow because Dharam is stranded in Goa, due to a coup in the country where he was headed. Everybody runs about in a state of agitation, thinking up increasingly outrageous lies to prevent Dharam from catching on.

Sanjay Dutt plays the beefy ‘Bade Bhaiya’ so his flabby appearance doesn’t matter as much as it does in Blue. While bashing up goons he says, “I have just started on comedy, but I have been doing action for 30 years.” Right!

Main Aur Mrs Khanna

The only purpose of making this film seems to be promoting Sohail Khan’s career. He produces it, gets his star brother (Salman Khan) to walk on. Kareena Kapoor must have been enticed with a designer wardrobe.

In Prem Soni’s Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, the marriage of Melbourne-based Sameer Khanna (Salman) and Raina (Kareena) goes through a rough patch, when he loses his job. It must be something important, since the local paper gives it front-page coverage. Odd that Mr Financial Hotshot’s wife works as a waitress, but let that pass.

Sameer, who has been sulking and growling all along, now practically dumps Mrs Khanna at the airport, telling her she must return to India, while he goes too to seek his fortune in Singapore. Luckily for Raina, Akash (Sohail Khan), a waiter at the airport café falls in love with her, and goes all out to help her. Her friends get her a job as a salesgirl in the airport store also run by an Indian (Bappi Lahiri) and a swanky apartment. She is, of course, always togged out in perfect outfits and accessories; emotional distress does no damage to her perfect make-up and perfect hair.

At some point her work permit runs out, and the solution she is given, is to apply for marriage with Akash. The Australian authorities are deemed too dumb to check on her previous marital status. Then Sameer returns, Akash makes some half-hearted attempts to break up the marriage… the film is neither serious, nor comic, and not even close to examining the problems of modern-day marriage or the nature of love.

Raina comes across as ditzy, Sameer grumpy, Akash buffoonish (but the producer of the film can at least get others to call him handsome a few times!) and the friends around then, are just noisy props. Preity Zinta appears for a really bad ‘item’ number. There is silly reason why Akash runs around Raina calling her Mrs Khanna, anyone who sits through the film will find out, and also get to see the ‘guest’ star in the end. But, watch at your own risk.


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