Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Xposé  

Bollywood Gupshup

Why was this film advertised as being set in the 1960s and based on real incidents?  Because then you look for both in Ananth Narayan Mahadevan The Xposé and find nothing but anachronisms.

Since nobody was really bothered about details or research, the story (written by producer and lead actor Himesh Reshammiya) could well have been set in the present. There is rivalry between actors and filmmakers even today, but then, the narrator could not have been an all-powerful blackwallah (Irrfan), who can make or break a film.

The two films vying for attention and box-office success are Subba Prasad’s (Mahadevan) Ujjwal Nirmal Sheetal and Bobby Chaddha’s (Ashwin Dhir) Reena Mera Naam. Both star sex symbols who are bitter rivals—Chandni (Zoya Afroz) and Zara (Sonali Raut).  (By the way, actresses, in the 60s did not wear strapless, backless gowns to parties and would never be seen smoking or drinking in public.)

The star of this film is Ravi Kumar (Reshammiya) modelled on Raaj Kumar and Rajinikanth, and without the charisma of either. He falls in love with Chandni, who is in a relationship with her co-star Virman (Nakul Vaid), so the arrogant, swaggering, wise-cracking, scene-stealing Ravi worships her from afar.

When Zara is killed, other murder suspects and redundant characters are a music director (Honey Singh), his art filmmaker girlfriend (Jessy Randhawa), a slimy businessman (Bharat Dabholkar) and others who do nothing but crowd the frame.

There is a whodunit built in, but the suspense isn’t killing, because the first half of the film is stuffed with random scenes, mostly putting Ravi Kumar on a pedestal—he actually says lines like: I don’t need make-up God sent me down with make-up on!  Some of his dialogue is hilarious and he is consistently deadpan. 

As a cop sacked after he shot an MLA, Ravi Kumar is offered a film, and puts forward his conditions—he won’t get beaten by the villain and he will shoot in Paris.  This allows Mahadevan to shoot several scenes of a fancily togged up Reshammiya striking poses in Paris.

The production design is over the top and the costumes bizarre.  The music—not bad.  This could have been a thriller with a retro look, but it ended up as a as an unintentionally amusing comic caper. But to be fair, it wasn’t boring.


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