Thursday, March 31, 2011

"I Am" Theatrical Trailer

Wow, is it just me or does this film already look amazing? The largely underhyped I Am stars such big-name actors like Juhi Chawla, Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri, Nandita Das, Manisha Koirala, and the list goes on. It's directed by Onir (who also directed the fabulous My Name is Nikhil) and addresses uncomfortable issues such as homosexuality, sperm donorship, Kashmiri pundits, and child abuse.

Originally released in film festivals in 2010, the movie takes on the format of four short stories (I Am Megha, I Am Abhimanyu, I Am Omar, and I Am Afia) where each segment is a separate, distinct short film. Therefore, if you weren't a fan of the format of something like Dus Kahaniyaan (which I thoroughly enjoyed), this film probably won't be for you.

Interestingly, in order to raise funds for the film, Onir used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to anyone interested in contributing as a "Co-Producer." In the end, 400 people from 45 cities across the world made this film happen. Many of the stars like Juhi Chawla, also did their work for free.

Now, on to the trailer. My first thought is that Juhi Chawla looks so elegant and mature. I really can't wait to see her work in this movie. Even from the trailer, I can tell that I Am will be a milestone in Hindi cinema, which is reinforced by the fact that the film is already an award-winner. Rarely do we see such bold and progressive issues handled in such classy ways (no, Dostana doesn't count!). And judging from My Name is Nikhil, Onir's directorial capablilities are a force to contend with.

Be sure to check this one out! For the open-minded viewer, I'm sure it won't disappoint. I Am sees it's Indian release on April 22, 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Movie Review: 7 Khoon Maaf

Starring: Priyanka Chopra (with Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Vivaan Shah, etc.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Original Release Date: February 18, 2011

*No Spoilers*

7 Khoon Maaf is an adaptation of a short story by Ruskin Bond called Susanna's Seven Husbands. While it technically stars various other actors, Priyanka Chopra undoubtedly steals the show in her portrayal of Susanna (aka Saheb), a woman who marries 7 times throughout her lifetime.

This movie is very different, but in a good way. If you go into it expecting a typical masala feature with songs and romance, you'll be greatly disappointed. But if you go into it with an open mind, you may be pleasantly surprised with what 7 Khoon Maaf has to offer. The movie is very dark and unusual. You're not getting your typical submissive wife, but the portrayal of a woman who challenges the men in her life in subtle, yet brutal ways. Let's just leave the plot at that.

Priyanka delivers an amazing performance. She fully embraces her character and its many, many dimensions, clearly overshadowing the rest of her co-stars. I'll be surprised if she doesn't get a Best Actress nomination for this role. Irrfan Khan's performance, however, was also commendable. To my personal disappointment, John Abraham was just okay and easily forgettable in the film. The movie also marks the acting debut of Vivaan Shah (Naseeruddin Shah's son) as the narrator. Unfortunately, his performance just didn't click with me (and neither did his hair).

7 Khoon Maaf isn't a perfect movie. It was often slow and dreary, which did match the overall style of the film. In addition, due to the arrangement of the film, the plot was almost entirely predictable. So be aware that you should watch this movie not for the suspense or the story, but for how that story unfolds. Music was another weak point for the movie. Darling was a fun track that went well with the context, but isn't one that I would listen to on its own. Oh Mama was quite possibly one of the worst songs I've heard in a while. Background score, on the other hand, was fairly effective.

As mentioned before, if you're looking for a light, fun movie then 7 Khoon Maaf isn't for you. It's an intense and unique film that Bollywood aficionados should enjoy. It's also a bold film with its multiple love-making scenes and semi-frequent usage of the "f" word. While the content and the movie itself won't suit all audiences, everyone should watch 7 Khoon Maaf at least once.

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top 5 Onscreen Bollywood Couples?

Some time ago, Bollywood Mantra published an article naming the top 5 onscreen couples of B-Town. Here's their list:

1. Raj Kapoor and Nargis
2. Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha
3. Shahrukh Khan and Kajol
4. Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif
5. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

While I personally feel that SRK and Kajol should have won that top spot, I can see the "old is gold" mentality here, so I won't argue too much. But, sorry Bollywood Mantra, I have a real problem with the rest of the list.

Akshay and Katrina? Really? Really?! Just because they have about a thousand movies together, do they really deserve to be on this list? And correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't both parties at least have some artistic talent (I'm looking at you, Kat) in order to be named one of the best onscreen couples of all time? Ok, sorry for all the rhetorical questions but this one just perplexes me.

Then there's Hrithik and Aish--who've done a grand total of three movies together and still landed on this list. And one of those three films was a total disaster (Sunehri, like, made me wanna cut my ears off). On top of that, I don't really feel they had much chemistry between them in their films.

Here are some couples that I feel were shafted from the list:

* Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla
* Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherji
* Govinda and Karishma Kapoor
* Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor
* Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit

Who do you think should've been included?


Song Review: Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo (Thank You)

Film: Thank You (Release Date: April 8, 2011)
Singer: Mika
Composer: Pritam

Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo from the upcoming comedy Thank You starts off, and I'm pumped for an exciting chartbuster that makes me wanna get up and dance. Well, that's pretty much the most excited I was throughout the entire song, as the energy just goes downhill from there.

Don't get me wrong--Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo is a pretty decent track, just not what I expected considering the song is supposed to be picturized on a club scene with the actors dancing alongside scantily clad women. Once I started listening to the song I realized that it felt rather dated in style. I felt like I was listening to something from the late 90s or early 2000s, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for some.

On a positive note, Mika does showcase some versatility through this song. His vocals sound quite different from some of his earlier Bollywood tracks like Mauja Hi Mauja, showing that Punjabi-type music isn't his only forte. But I wasn't a fan of that weird tribal-sounding noise that shows up around 1:18 and then comes up throughout the rest of the song.

The track is also considerably long at over 5 minutes long, which seems like an eternity for this particular song. Especially toward the end, the song just gets monotonous and repetitive and I had to resist pressing the "skip" button. In general, I was expecting much better from a Mika song in a multi-starrer Bollywood film.

Final Verdict: 2/5

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ra.One Teaser 2: 30 Second Promo!

The film isn't due until Diwali, and already another teaser is out! This one's longer than the last, but still doesn't reveal too much about the film. Regardless, here are some of my thoughts:

1. The movie looks surprisingly "adult" and hi-tech. Honestly, when I first heard about Ra.One I was expecting a child-like disaster like Krrish (2006). Thankfully, this looks nothing like that. The action sequences also look top-notch.

2. I'm loving the intro music. It fits the theme well and I'm eager to hear the rest of the soundtrack, whenever that comes out.

3. ...where's Kareena? You know, the other star of this movie? Though perhaps that's her hand at around 26 seconds? Hm.

4. Can anyone decipher what he says at the end?!

Let's wait and see what else Ra.One has in store for us...

Song Review: Mit Jaaye Gham (Dum Maaro Dum)

Film: Dum Maaro Dum (Release date: April 22, 2011)
Singer: Anushka Manchanda
Composer: Pritam

It took a few listens of this track for me to come to the decision that I like this song. It is obviously (and expectedly) a take on the original "Dum Maaro Dum" from the 1971 movie Hare Ram Hare Krishna. While nothing can overshadow the original, this new track has its own spice and flair.

First off, Mit Jaaye Gham is an item song and will be picturized on the lovely Deepika Padukone. Judging from this song's rough 'n tough style, I can predict that we'll be in for quite a show. The song itself is unconventional. It starts off with a fierce monologue by the singer then goes straight into a playful rhyme, then a rap, before the catchy chorus begins.

Somehow, even though so many different elements and song styles are combined and compressed into just under 4 minutes, the song still works. It's different and unique, but everything is tied together through the use of the original "Dum Maaro Dum" chorus, which sounds as catchy as ever. It also seems that, because of the modern techno feel to the song, it'll probably appeal more to the youth market.

Anuskha's vocals are perfect for this song. She does a great job with all the different styles and elements of the track. As for the lyrics, I'm still not sure what to think of them. They're interesting, to say the least (ex: "Uche se ucha banda, potty pe bethe nanga!"). But this song definitely breaks some rules, and the lyrics are no exception. All in all, this song has landed a spot on my current playlist--I always love a good item number!

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Possible SRK-Katrina Pairing?

There's current buzz going around saying that Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif may be seen opposite each other in Yash Chopra's next.

I have one word: NOOOOOOOOO!!!

Dear God, I hope this isn't true. Katrina is probably one of the worst actresses of our time, famous only for being another pretty face. She doesn't deserve nor can she handle starring opposite a brilliant veteran like Shahrukh.

Right now this is just mere rumor and speculation. Let's hope it stays that way. But, truth be told, if the pairing does turn out to be a reality, I'll still be first in line to watch the film. I just won't be very happy about it.


Ra.One First Look (Teaser!)

Finally! We're getting some real shots from the forthcoming Shahrukh-Kareena action flick Ra.One. The first official teaser (shown above) was released on Wednesday to us eager Bollywood fans. We're only getting a very slight peek at this much awaited film, with the trailer being a fast-paced 10 second long teaser. I've watched it at least a dozen times already, and still can't extract much from it except:

1. Shahrukh looks amazing, and that hairstyle is wow.
2. The movie looks surprisingly sleek and Don-esque.
3. We're in for a ton of action!

Can't wait to see more from this film! Apparently the first official trailer will be released sometime in July and the movie itself is due around Diwali.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Movie Review: Tees Maar Khan

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif
Director: Farah Khan
Original Release Date: December 24, 2010

*No Spoilers*

One thing about Akshay Kumar movies is that you never know what you're in for. Although Akshay is currently the highest paid actor in Bollywood, his films are either a complete hit, or a complete miss. Let's just say that I knew this film was doomed from the opening credits with the title track featuring an incredibly creepy baby-in-the-womb dance sequence. I was left horrified from the outset.

A remake of the Italian film After the Fox (1966), Tees Maar Khan is an utter disaster. The story lacked originality, with the second half of the film being largely reminiscent of the 2009 flick Billu Barber. Now, I'm a strong believer in the idea that a movie doesn't need to be original in order to be a success as long is it's well-made and entertaining. This movie is neither of those things. Marketed as a slapstick comedy, Tees Maar Khan just wasn't funny. At all. Akshay's one-liners had almost no comedic effect, his three "sidekicks" in the film were just plain annoying, and the "Johri Brothers" offered failed attempts and comedic relief. This movie tried really hard to be funny, but reverted to sheer buffoonery (think 1990s Govinda gone wrong) as an excuse for humor, making the entire film seem like a cheap comedy--minus the comedy.

As for acting, there weren't any memorable performances in the film. Akshay did a decent job and fulfilled his role as the careless conman Tabrez Mirza Khan adequately. Akshaye Khanna's cameo was interesting, but the role seemed beneath him. I will say that Katrina Kaif's character was a perfect fit. She played a ditzy aspiring actress who does nothing but overact--no role could be more true to life, don't you think?

Shameless attacks on Katrina aside, she did contribute to the one bright spot of the film-- Sheila ki Jawani. This item number, with all its glitz and glamor, lives up to the colossal hype surrounding it. The music is upbeat and catchy, the lyrics are memorable, and the choreography is impeccable. On top of that, Katrina looks simply ravishing with a body to die for. I would have liked to see more expression in her face, but the sheer spectacle of the song itself made up for that. Wallah re Wallah is also a memorable song, with a special appearance by Salman Khan being the cherry on top.

All in all, save yourself some time by watching Sheila ki Jawani on YouTube, and skipping Tees Maar Khan all together. Farah Khan attempted to make another formulaic masala film, which do usually work, but this one just doesn't leave a mark and is rather disappointing.

Final Verdict: 1/5 stars


So I've created a blog all about Bollywood--my great passion/obsession/whatever you wanna call it. Right now, this is just an experiment to provide a personal outlet for my obsessions and see if I can expand readership.

My plans? Well stay tuned for movie reviews, song reviews, movie previews, and of course my opinions on random Bollywood tidbits. I'll try my very best to stay up-to-date, but as a college student, sometimes that can be impossible.

Let's see what this turns into...

Welcome, and enjoy!