Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy New Year 

Con Banega Crorepati

So Tees Maar Khan was the trailer and Happy New Year is the final result... and can we hope picture abhi baki nahin hai?

Farah Khan’s film is about a heist, but it is actually a gigantic con job on the audience; Bolly fans so pathetically easy to please, so eager to have a good time, that they pack their kids, water bottles, tiffins and fill up movie halls to see such dross.

What’s sadder still is that our biggest stars participate in such stupidity instead of helping to take Bollywood cinema forward.  What can one say when throughout the film the director and her star Shah Rukh Khan keep referring to their own films, and also play guess-the-movie with the audience because they are such buffs, no? Hero called Charlie, villain called Charan, bar dancer heroine called Mohini, location where priceless diamonds are kept is Shalimar. 

Five second revenge plot, but given throw-money-at-it, over the top treatment; you can predict each scene way before it happens and silently say the lines before they are spoken, with a sense of déjà vu. (The phrase is actually used by a character in the film, so there!)

Okay, so Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) gets his star entry—in a boxing ring. Water jets wash the mud of his body and reveal his eight (ten? twenty?) pack abs. Now Charlie is all set to put a team together to steal 300 crore diamonds from evil Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff), who played dirty with his dad-- “Emotional Appearance” Anupam Kher.  (Really!)

His Ocean’s 5 consists of half-deaf, explosives expert Jag (Sonu Sood—also flaunting his abs every chance he gets), ace safe-cracker Tammy (Boman Irani), computer hacker Rohan (Vivaan Shah), and Nandu (Abhishek Bachchan), a drunk who can barf on command; he also happens to be a dead ringer for Grover’s son. Since the heist depends on a dance competition that is happening at the Dubai venue at the same time, the crew of left-feet gets a bar dancer Mohini (Deepika Padukone) as a teacher.

 Of course, they pull it off with some footage-wasting longeurs. But there is not one moment in the film that is subtle, silent or tasteful.  Some funny scenes, yes.  Like when Mohini looks at Charlie, flames literally rise around them; her passion for film sizzles so, because he speaks English! Or Tammy’s controlling Parsi mother (Daisy Irani), whose voice can cause him to collapse in a seizure. But cringe at the sight of Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Dadlani cavorting in feather boas.

There has be a dose of patriotism in the end-- even it’s just over some silly dance contest where they beat the robotic Koreans--so the tricolour can erupt everywhere. 

What’s really sad about the endeavour is that it’s a me-too film. One of Bollywood’s biggest star plays a super thief because his two closest Khan rivals did.  Happy New Year will make the requisite crores, but take the cause of quality cinema back by that many steps.


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