Thursday, July 28, 2011

Forthcoming: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

I love love love YRF, but I hate hate hate Katrina Kaif. So. What do I do with this unfortunate combination? I grow up and accept the fact that Katrina's in the movie, try to ignore her as much as possible, and officially get excited for Meri Brother Ki Dulhan. After all, YRF rarely fails to disappoint me.

First of all, I love this title track. I don't really get the appeal for Imran Khan, but he's cute enough so maybe I'll come around after this movie. The song is fun and catchy, and I like the tributary "Khan" dance steps. He mimics Salman from Dabangg, Shahrukh's "Chaiyya Chaiyya," and apparently Aamir's "Pathshaala" (although I see more of a "Eh Kya Bolti Tu" inspiration?). As an ardent SRK fan I can say that Imran fulfilled the "Chaiyya Chaiyya" steps pretty well...he just doesn't quite have the hair for it ;)

The song promo for "Dhunki" was also released today and is causing quite a sensation:
Despite Katrina's played out New York look and vibe, I gotta say that I like this song. And she does look good. YRF sure knows how to make its promos. At first I was unsure of the picturization of this song vs the actual audio, but as the promo went on, I was sold. And considering I was watching Katrina on screen for almost a full 3 minutes, that's a big feat.

Other cool things about this movie? Ali Zafar! I haven't actually seen Tere Bin Laden yet, but I've known of Ali Zafar through his music--and he's such a cutie! I'm excited to see him on screen and in such a big name film.

Generally, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan looks like a played-out and formulaic story, with nothing new or particularly unique to bring to Bollywood. But, I think that's exactly what I'm looking forward to--a fun movie, with catchy songs, and an overall entertainer. And, I swear, I'll try really hard to look past...the Kaif.

Meri Brother Ki Dulhan releases September 9th.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Movie Review: Chalo Dilli

Starring: Lara Dutta, Vinay Pathak
Director: Shashant Shah
Original Release Date: April 29, 2011

*No Spoilers*

For me, Chalo Dilli was the surprise of the season. I wasn't expecting much from what seemed to be unexciting actors and a subpar storyline but what resulted was a light-hearted entertainer that kept the viewer fully engaged throughout.

Chalo Dilli revolves around hi-shi advertising executive Mihika Banerjee's (Lara) misfortunes as she tries to get to Delhi after a rerouted flight. She meets the annoying yet well-intentioned Manu Gupta (Vinay) who ends up becoming her "chipku" counterpart throughout the journey. What ensues is various mishaps putting Mihika in uncomfortable situations, unrealistic situations, and plain unfortunate events.

Lara's character, Mihika, didn't require much--it's nothing new to play an uptight, high class, modern woman. Somehow, Lara still manages to make the character likeable by delivering a favorable performance. Vinay truly shines in his performance. His comic timing was almost perfect causing multiple laugh out loud moments. The two were able to carry the entire film almost solely on their shoulders, which is a great feat. It was also fun to see Akshay Kumar in a small cameo.

The music was simply okay. The title track is actually quite catchy. Yana Gupta's item song "Laila O Laila" was a big disappointment. I really enjoyed the audio of the song (it grew on me after a while) and was excited to see the picturization of the song. Even for an item song, it was just trashy. Yana simply shook her goods and stripped (Seriously, Zeenat? You're offended by "Mit Jaaye Gham" but not this?). On top of that, a significant amount of the song was chopped off. Bad move for an item song.

For a comedy, Chalo Dilli was actually funny--which is refreshing. It did drag on for a bit (the portion with the bad guys and the jeep seemed unnecessary) but was overall able maintain it's comic pace. The movie also did a nice job of wrapping up literally every character's story.

Within the goofiness of the film was also a lesson in appreciating both rural and urban surroundings and stopping to enjoy the small joys in life. Chalo Dilli is a small gem hidden within a slew of mainstream blockbusters. Check it out if you're in the mood to be entertained by a simple, but sweet film.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Saturday, July 16, 2011

IIFA 2011- A Living Room Watcher's Perspective

I'm used to watching IIFA for free on StarPlus. It always aired a few weeks late, but aired nonetheless. This year, I didn't have any Indian channels, but heard that IIFA would be available on Pay-Per-View. I was super excited until I heard the price--almost $30. Yikes! I resolved not to watch and just catch the results/performances whenever they ended up online. Then it was confirmed that Shahrukh Khan would be attending and performing. That was my breaking point and I decided to shell out the cash. Was it worth it?

The event began with a live pre-show hosted by Lisa Ray. I have one word for the pre-show: unorganized. I expected green carpet glimpses and short interviews and sound bytes of celebrities in the pre-show. Instead, we mostly got reruns of past IIFA performances. You know, cause we can't just find those on YouTube. The whole time, Lisa looked confused about what to do, what to say, and would awkwardly stop in the middle of sentences to listen to her earpiece. When we finally got to the green carpet segment, they cut it off super early because they realized the show was actually starting.

Then the actual awards ceremony began, somewhat abruptly due to poor time management on the network's part I'm assuming. Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani were hosts...and fell pretty flat. They've hosted IIFA multiple times in the past, but the jokes just didn't seem as funny this time. I think part of the reason might've been that glimpses of the audience laughing or smiling weren't edited in (In fact, we didn't really see very many audience glimpses at all).

Everything just began to drag on. The first performance wasn't until a full hour into the show. It was Kangana Ranaut who looked beautiful, but pretty much just stood there while the background dancers danced around her. She's a good actress, but performing is clearly not her forte.

Honestly, after a while I just got bored. I have a way bigger appreciation for the edited version I'm used to watching, but this 6 hour long "real" version got old really fast. Organization, for one, was really lacking. They spent what seemed like 10 minutes looking for Priyanka Chopra to receive her green award, but she was clearly backstage getting ready for her performance. They really couldn't have planned that better? Then there was Dharmendra. Who spoke for, like, 45 minutes about God knows what (I really stopped listening after a while). I know he's respected and all, but learn to "play the music"! I felt really bad for the many non-Hindi speakers who were either in the live audience or watching from home.

Performances were also mostly lukewarm. It just seemed like there was a lack of energy within everyone. One performance which stood out to me was Ranveer Singh's. His energy, excitement, and dancing made me literally say "now that's a performance!" Priyanka's was also good, but the long awkward pauses in between her dancing segments took away a lot of the magic. The Deols were a hot mess. Just sayin

The winners were, for the most part, predictable. Shahrukh won for best actor for My Name is Khan, which I was definitely ecstatic about. Anushka Sharma's best actress win for Band Baaja Baraat was surprising, but well-deserved in my opinion--especially since Kajol wasn't even nominated! Dabangg, of course, won best film. I will never understand this.

If IIFA 2011 had a redeeming factor, it was one man--Shahrukh Khan (obviously). He hosted part of the show with Riteish and Boman, and that was honestly the only time I laughed. Shahrukh has amazing stage presence, which also showed in his "performance." SRK was all confirmed to do the finale performance for IIFA...and then he hurt his knee. But, for his fans, Shahrukh braved through it all and continued with a modified performance. He danced for a short segment, and then tried to engage the audience in the dancing. The effort he put into trying to put on a good show for his fans was heartwarming. At the end of his little gig, all the celebs came on stage to join him in some good ol' Bollywood matkas and jhatkas, making it one of the best award show endings in recent times.

So, what's the verdict? For me, IIFA 2011 was 5 hours too long. I ended up getting pretty restless, and probably only continued watching just because I paid so much for it. The organizers have a lot to learn about live telecasting and show organization in general. It was interesting to watch the show for the first time as it was actually happening, but next time I'll take an edited version!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don 2 First Official Teaser!

I'm baaaaack! And with a bang, considering that the Don 2 promo finally came out today! After watching it multiple times, all I can say right now is that SRK ain't called the King for no reason!

This teaser has pretty much everything I wanted for Don 2. It looks polished and chic, Shahrukh is embodying his evil character with amazing style, it looks action-packed without being cheesy, and King Khan looks smokin'! Well, minus that long hair, which I'm seriously hoping won't last through the whole movie. Shahrukh's dialogue delivery is impeccable. It's amazing how much he's able to convey simply through his voice. I gotta say, I love evil SRK.

Don 2 has a lot to live up to. One of the reasons why Don was so good was that Farhan Akhtar was able to take a supposed "remake" and put in a completely unexpected plot twist at the end. Don 2 is going to be a completely different story. Will Farhan be able to make it as engaging, thrilling, and unexpected? Judging from this trailer, I honestly believe so.

I only have one complaint about Don 2 and its trailer/poster so far. WHAT is up with that font? The original Don font was simple and sleek. This graffiti art looking font for Don 2 looks like stuff that boys in my 7th grade class used to doodle. What is this, 1995? Whatever, the rest of the trailer is so good that I'm willing to ignore this little hitch.

Even though SRK completely overpowered this teaser, I'm still excited to see what Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta are gonna bring to the story. First of all, how does Roma (PC) even factor in to the story considering the ending of the last film? Who's side is Lara on? So many questions--which will be answered once Don 2 comes out this Christmas. Have I mentioned how excited I am?