Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shahrukh in Farah Khan's next?

Well, clearly they've patched things up. 

I swear I've been hearing about Happy New Year! for at least five years, but if the rumors are true then it's finally happening. Five years ago, I probably would've been really excited by this news. Now I'm a bit uneasy. And skeptical.

I liked Main Hoon Na (2004) and absolutely loved Om Shanti Om (2007) but I don't think that was Farah Khan's doing. Shahrukh owned those films. Truth be told, Farah's movie style kind of blows. Especially judging from that complete mess of a movie Tees Maar Khan.

Farah relies on formula, masala, and over-the-top comedy. It worked in Om Shanti Om since the movie itself was a bit of a parody, it kind of worked in Main Hoon Na, and it was plain dumb in Tees Maar Khan.

To me, Shahrukh is way too established and mature to be doing cheap Farah films, even if it is for a "friend." Even the name of the movie itself sounds like a cheap comedy disaster waiting to happen. In my opinion, he should scrap this project and push for a Don 3!

Wise up, SRK.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mela's First Day First Show offers Bollywood films simultaneous to theatrical release

There are reasons behind why my movie reviews end up on this blog months after a movie's theatrical release. One is sheer laziness, but the other is lack of accessibility to new Bollywood films. I do have it better here in the U.S. than most other folks, but it's still difficult. There are movie theaters that will play Bollywood films, but only the big blockbusters and only for a very limited amount of time. I'm also completely against piracy, and will refuse to watch pirated DVDs.

So I simply have to wait for original DVDs or hope that some day a certain movie will end up on Netflix Instant. Clearly not the ideal way for a Bollyfanatic to live.

Thankfully, others are realizing this conundrum and things are being done to help remedy it. The recently introduced entertainment service Mela just launched a new initiative called First Day First Show which will release new movies on their platforms simultaneously with their theatrical releases in India.

Mela's current distribution platforms include the Roku streaming player, the iPad, and Mela's set-top box. Their movie streaming service is available for only $4.99. Unfortunately, I don't own any of the mentioned products that are compatible with Mela but the development in and of itself is a big one. Plus as Mela continues to grow, so could their platform selection.

The first movie Mela will be featuring in its new FDFS initiative is Chaurahen, starring Soha Ali Khan and directed by Rajshree Ojha (Aisha). Though the movie was completed in 2007 and was featured in various film festivals, its official Indian theatrical release is March 16, which is when it will also be available on Mela.

As Bollywood makes an effort to cater to a global audience through its content, it's only logical that those movies then be easily accessible worldwide. Netflix and Youtube have already made some headway with the Bollywood movies they've made available to viewers. Mela furthers the efforts by offering newer content. While the platform and movie selection may be low for now, we can hope the choices will continue to grow or, at the very least, that a new trend in Hindi film availability has begun.

Movie Review: Luv Ka The End

Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Taaha Shah
Director: Bumpy
Original Release Date: May 6, 2011

*No Spoilers*

Yes, you read that right. The director of this film was someone named...Bumpy. I have no idea who he (or she?) is, but I digress...

Luv Ka The End was the first production of Y-Films, a subsidiary of Yash Raj Films which caters to younger audiences. Because of the horrible reviews and the cheesy look and feel of Y-Films in general, I went into this with really, really low expectations.

This film is formulaic, cheesy, and the complete opposite of "deep" or "moving." It really has nothing new to offer--especially to an NRI viewer. But you know what? I actually enjoyed it! Sure, Luv Ka The End didn't explore some new unfound territory, but for a Bollywood movie it was certainly quite refreshing.

Let's backtrack. The movie is about a sweet girl named Rhea (Shraddha Kapoor) who basically gets duped by her creep of a boyfriend Luv (Taaha Shah). With the help of her friends Jugs and Sonia, Rhea plots revenge against Luv which all comes to a head on her 18th birthday at a big college party. As you can probably tell, the movie did take some inspiration from Hollywood films like John Tucker Must Die and even Mean Girls.

There were a couple specific things I liked about Luv Ka The End. First of all, the characters actually spoke Hindi. I know, shocking. The movie didn't follow the atrocious trend of showcasing India's youth only speaking really unnatural English. Also, the characters actually looked their age. Not too young, and not too old. Rhea looked 18, not 25 like in most American shows/movies I'm used to. Lastly, the movie portrayed youth and sex in a pretty realistic manner. Rhea wasn't afraid of putting her "izzat" on the line at the thought of losing her virginity at 18 years old. The movie even had a gay character. Sure, the situation was mostly comedic, but so was the movie.

Performances by the lead characters were only okay for me--nothing too memorable. Taaha is just really good looking. I'm not sure how I feel about Shraddha yet and if she really has what it takes to be an A level actress. I'd have to see her in a less juvenile role to be able to make a real judgement. The performance that did stand out to me was that of Sreejita De who played Sonia, Rhea's ditzy friend. She was funny, natural, beautiful, and someone I'd like to see more of in the future.

I'm not even gonna pretend the music of Luv Ka The End was any good. Although the "Mutton" song had me laughing out loud.

If you're looking for a fun, lighthearted flick then this movie's for you. I was impressed by the modernity of Luv Ka The End in terms of the themes it decided to explore (teen sex, partying, drinking, etc.) If nothing else, watch this movie for Ali Zafar's cameo at the end!

Final Verdict: 6/10

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Look: Yash Chopra's Next

Almost a full year ago, I expressed my great inner turmoil regarding this movie. It will mark the joining of two polarizing forces: my one great love, and my one great hate. A film with both Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif seems so unnatural. How can something so pure be paired with something so vile? I contemplated this and then decided to drop the matter. We'll cross that bridge when we get there, I thought.

This week, that bridge has come. My chilling fears were brought to life in the form of visual stills. A movie with Shahrukh and Katrina. It's really happening.  I must now face my fears.

For those unaware of the upcoming project, it's a movie starring Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, and Anushka Sharma and is Yash Chopra's first directorial venture after the brilliant Veer-Zaara (2004). It's said to be a romantic and emotional film (clearly this is assuming Kat knows how to express emotion on screen) and began filming on February 22 in London.It's set to release this Diwali.

Currently, I'm at a loss. A movie starring the king of romance, directed by Yash Chopra, produced by Yash Raj Films, and with music by A.R. Rahman is bound to be amazing. Anushka Sharma is also something to look forward to. But will it be possible to love a movie if you detest the heroine? Perhaps. After all, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan was one of my favorite movies of 2011 despite the Kaif.

Right now all I can do is believe that Shahrukh Khan will redeem this film regardless of Katrina's performance (or lack thereof).

And maybe one good thing can come of this. Maybe Katrina will learn how to act.