Saturday, February 20, 2010


Toh Baat Pakki

The intention may have been to make an old-style family comedy-drama of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind, but everyone who starts out trying to ape the master, just trips himself up.

Kedar Shinde’s Toh Baat Pakki, with its overdone sets and garish costumes, looks like an episode of a TV serial—where women stand around dressed like Christmas trees. And Tabu, who claims to be selective, thought this would be a good film to do? Just shows how limited the choices are, even for talented actresses who have crossed the bimbette age.

Tabu plays Rajeshwari, a shrewish Palanpur housewife, with a browbeaten husband (Ayub Khan). She wants her sister Nisha (Uvika Chaudhary) to marry well. When she comes across a suitable ‘prospect’ from the community, in the form of engineering student Rahul (Sharman Joshi), her mind starts ticking and she practically pushes the sister at him.

When their marriage is fixed, a better prospect turns up—Yuvraj (Vatsal Seth), who has a steady job and company bungalow-- so she callously cancels out Rahul and pitches Nisha to Yuvraj and his mother (Himani Shivpuri). But Nisha has fallen in love with Rahul, who he comes up really convoluted plans to disrupt her wedding —including ingratiating himself with the in-laws.

Badly acted and not remotely funny, the film ends in a messy heap at the wedding ‘mandap’. The detailing is such that Rajeshwari is a bank cashier’s wife, who thinks Rs 1000 is a huge sum, but the mansion they live in and the costumes they wear don’t exactly look middle class. How Rahul has an unlimited source of wealth to fund his plan is not clear either.

If this is what cinema comes up with, why not just sit home and watch TV?


Sangeeth Sivan, director of Click, says in his Note, that he “happened to get a few emails depicting pictures of spirits captured in a photo… being an avid photographer myself, the idea intrigued me and set me thinking…. Keeping this in mind, we set out to write a script.”

What he doesn’t say, is that they just put a DVD of Masayuki Ochiai’s Shutter into the player and simply copied it. But then why copy a bad film? Horror films from Japan and other Far Eastern countries, had their moment of glory and a cult following for a while. Hollywood picked up some of them (legitimately, one might add) like The Ring and The Grudge. But the formula has worn thin now, like the American slasher movies that all look the same, and have been moved to the bottom of the genre. Paranormal Activity has changed the rules of the horror game. The same old schlock elements don’t work any more.

However, horror fans with low expectations might be able to sit through Click. Avi (Shreyas Talpade), a photographer and his model girlfriend Sonia (Sada) run over a woman on a deserted highway, but drive away, for fear of the law.

Sonia feels guilty about not helping the victim, but there seems to be no trace of her. Then eerie things start happening around them, and both are plagued by nightmares. The pictures that Avi clicks also have strange white streaks. Sonia tries to find out more about the girl and discovers that Avi used to know Aarti (Sneha Ullal) in the past, and the accident didn’t happen just like that… there was a motive.

Anyone who has seen a few of these B horror films would know exactly how the plot unfolds, and those who have seen Shutter, can see a straight lift. Sivan doesn’t add any of his own touches to the genre—the usual loud noises and weird happenings, the scariest of which turn out to be nightmares. Use this device more than once, and it seems like cheating.

In this kind of film, the actors have nothing much to do, except look baffled or terrified, which Shreyas and Sada do adequately. Poor Sneha Ullal has to wear fright make up and hang upside down—you feel sorry for anyone who has to do this as a career move! The music is ordinary, but the set are truly bizarre, and not in a nice way.


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