Jolly LLB on collision course with India’s esteemed legal Incs


Hello lawyers, lighten up! It’s just a comedy.

From the director/writer  of  the wonderful quirky movie Phas Gaye Re Obama,  where a bankrupt American gets kidnapped and devises a plot together with his kidnappers how to make money out of their failing plot,  comes a new film along, Jolly L.L.B. This time Subhash Kapoor ventures into the court system in India.

Lawyers filed a petition against the film claiming it undermines the dignity of lawyers and judges of India’s legal system. That’s funny already and should be incorporated in the film as a side-show. Look, I would think the dignity of Indian courts is in question when rapists get a slap on the hand, when VIPs, who trespass the laws, never serve a sentence…but no, a comedy, a satire apparently is more inflammatory and damaging. Okay.

 

Here is a good interview I found on TOI with Boman Irani, who’s playing a hot-shot lawyer in the movie, talking about his costar Arshad Warsi, children, and India’s New Wave cinema.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/entertainment/bollywood/Boman-Irani-talks-about-his-role-in-Jolly-LLB/videoshow/18746387.cmshttp://

 

 

 

 

Too bad Tha Tiger killed Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi


it’s really shame because Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is a charming comedy, one that makes the point that you don’t have to be young, look hip like a Bollywood star and be size 0 to fall in love.

Frustrated  45 yr old bachelor and Farsi mama boy Farhad (played by the lovable Boman Irani), seasoned lingerie salesman, who can tell your bra-size in the split of a second, is finally finding his match in zesty secretary Shirin (Farah Khan).

Romcoms for the 40+ gen are no rarity in Hollywood, but Farah Khan just set a benchmark for Indian films. If you are single in Indian films by age 40 you are either widowed or divorced but not single and looking!  Just like Vicky Donor surprised us with its topic of sperm donation, Shirin and Farhad are the new It in the mature & single department.  Not that they don’t exist in India, 40 and single, but they are frowned upon. A woman not married by the age of 30 is still the anomaly. I also know Indian guys in their forties who are still unmarried. but it’s true, they are made fun of very often.

The movie is fresh and uncomplicated and speaks right to the heart.  This movie is not flawless and some things might have looked better on paper but Farah’s fabulous choreographies come handy to bridge you any looming downtime. This girl can shake her booty all right! :-) She is full of life and utterly believable when turning sexy and  flirtatious, happy, angry and/or kicks balls in a man’s world.

And finally, we get to see the versatile Boman Irani as a romantic lead. I always loved him as an actor and often thought he is underutilized. I loved him in this role as lingerie salesman, trapped between his mom (Daisy Irani) and his love interest.

 

Nice job by first time director Bela Sehgal.

Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi: Let the fun begin…


I can’t wait for Farah Khan’s acting debut, what a treat! While the whole Indian subcontinent awaits impatiently  Ek Tha Tiger,  Talaash et al.,  I am excited about Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi.  I like movies about everyday people, their lives, their tribulations, their joys, their heartaches.  The trailer promises powerhouse performances by Farah and Boman Irani. Kudos to Farah for stepping out of her  comfort zone right into the limelight.

Tezz: fast and not so furious


I admit, I was prepared for the worst. In India, Tezz didn’t turn exactly into box office gold and I dislike 90% of action movies, unless they make me laugh and time zooms by fast.

India’s action movies until now unfortunately have been built largely around premises of older Hollywood productions, much like a dismantled Lego set, rebuilt with the same blocks, just reshuffled. Tezz was no exception. In the first hour of the movie, and if you know your american action flicks,  you’ll get hit by stonehenge-sized deja-vus. The flashbacks which should have brought the scattered pieces of the narrative together were clumsily spread throughout the movie, not answering the fundamental question WHY? what’s motivating the antagonist Aakash (played by Ajay Devgn) who wants to blow up a train between London and Glasgow… Who can stop him? Anil Kapoor by any chance? in his role as Arjun Khanna, from the anti-terrorism squad who doesn’t have to fight only terrorists but also racial biases on the homefront.  Boman Irani? who is playing the train traffic controller and pretty wasted in that role… Who can deactivate the bomb that was never installed?

Supporting cast Zayed Khan and Sameera Reddy. Poor Zayed Khan, who is trying so hard to make it in Bollywood and whose feet never seem to lift off the ground, career-wise, has a chance here in this movie to show how amble these feet can be.

Kangana Ranaut, as Aakash’s wife Nikita, shows none of her sexy assets that we came to love in When Tanu Weds Manu… She appears in the beginning of the movie but her fate is unknown til the last 15 minutes of the movie, when she reappears not to impress but to weep a lot.

Another big letdown were the extras, as usual. Could they have helped the movie? maybe a litte bit.  I mean, Bollywood, I beg your pardon,  CASTING DEPARTMENTS! Come On! isn’t it getting old that all the white dudes look like nerds and act like jerks? :-) they speak English with horrendous accents.

What is this movie all about, we ask. Turns out that the central idea is not hardened criminals keeping a nation in suspense by threatening to blow up a train with 500 passengers.

Latter yes, somewhat. We remain only marginally involved in what it means to the passengers, the train conductors to know there is a bomb threatening to blow them up. We get to know only the security officer on the train and a young girl who is the daughter of the central train traffic controller. Her role fizzles out in the end. We never see her happily reunited with her parents, which is a typical little BW glitch.. characters who have been built up all for sudden disappear in the frantic pace of the movie.

No, the central theme is deportation angst, a revenge drama, raging against daddy- in- law and the justice system that pushes illegal immigrants to the limit. Innocent  Indian ex pats with no recourse to legal naturalization procedures but who want to make an honest living in the UK are mercilessly chased and deported. Huh? and therefore building up enough stamina to want to cruelly blow up a whole train, to get money to start a new life, to pay for someone’s surgery.. (the poor blind guy tapping around his hospital bed and spilling out secrets, revealing the identity of Aakash, who is smart enough to have designed intricate Plan As, Plan Bs, Plan Cs… with none of them turning out so good, but who forgot to tell the guy to shut up.  Who was the blind guy anyway? I already forgot.  His and Nikita’s story remain a little foggy but does it really matter in an action movie?

so, okay, let’s recap.  You are a nice guy. You are smart. You are in love. Your father in law doesn’t like you. He makes your life miserable. He rats you out. You end up deported. Now you come back and want to blow up a train to get rich and you hate the country? Man, I don’t know…. :-)

I f you ask me if there is anything at all I liked about the movie… Hai. The chases were really well done and kept up the speed of the movie.  Indian villains are the best. In Hollywood productions a villain is usually a villain and will always be a villain. You are glad when the hand of justice grabs him by the neck and a million bullets pierce his chest at the end of the movie. Not so in India. Bollywood gives you the lovable antagonist. You don’t really hate him, do you? Yes, he might do wrong but his intentions weren’t all so bad, at least not sociopathic from the getgo. He went astray. He started out being a nice guy and he dies a nice guy. And who has it in his heart to hate Ajay Devgn anyway?

I love my Bollywood villains. They can be black and white in their actions but in between they come in all shades of grey. Before your Bollywood villain goes down  there is always the glorious moment of redemption. They always remain human. Aakash here is no exception.

Malika Sheravat lit up the screen momentarily with her item number.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s song Tere Bina, illustrating Aakash’s better days with wifie Nikita, was my favorite film moment and cut off too early.

 

 

 

 

Directed by Priyadarshan

We have seen better from him. Still, wasn’t that bad.

I still had a good time.

 

Filmography

2012 Tezz

2010 Aakrosh

2009 Billu

2007 Dhol

2004 Hulchul

2004 Vettam

2003 Hungama

1999 Megham

1997 Virasat(as Priyadarsan)

1996 Kala Pani

1994 Gandeevam

1994 Minnaram

1993 Gardish

1993 Midhunam

1992 Muskurahat(as Priyadarsan)

1991 Abhimanyu

1991 Advaitham

1991 Kilukkam

1991 Nirnayam

1989 Vandanam

1988 Aryan

1988 Chithram

1987 Cheppu

1984 Poochakkoru Mookkuthi

Rajeev Masand’s review of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu — and mine


… Rajeev Masand,  ( www.rajeevmasand.com),  notoriously feared and revered critic,  who looks a bit  like a pirate and writes with a pen in one hand and a swagger in the other,  for once, gives an uplifting review. He reserves the right usually to polished foreign movie productions, American, mostly. That is, for as far as I can think back, in my six years of Bollywood infatuation. So, as the movie opens  (unfortunately)  to a lukewarm response, his review looks pretty encouraging.

friends-and-lovers-2

Actually, his reviews are usually pretty much right on and it’s the first one I would turn to.

 

 

Here is my review:

So we watched EMAET this weekend with a group of Bollywood fans and we all loved it.  Most gave it an 8/10.  It’s light, breazy, and refreshing. With a bite. A nuanced look at the fringes of Indian society. We are not looking at India the way we know it, and so the story is placed strategically in Vegas, mostly. Even when it continues in India you feel you are looking at a different culture.  The movie doesn’t have a distinct Indian identity, I guess that’s why it’s not so warmly embraced at the box office in India.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is actually a wonderful character study with a hint of Oscar Wilde, if you consider what he poked fun of, and if he would have time-traveled to modern-day India.  Relationships can take all forms.  What is love anyway?  and parents come only in two garden varieties: those with rules and those without.

Riana Briganza and Rahul both need therapy and that’s where they meet:  at a shrink’s office in Vegas (btw, office that looks like more of an assembly-line of shrinks..) And when we get a (brilliantly picturized)  look at Rahul’s past, we  immediately understand why he needs therapy. Raised in a  top-dysfunctional  super wealthy Indian family, he is battling OCD and finding his own voice.  Imran Khan is a blast to watch!!  this is a genius performance on his part.

That the movie got just a lukewarm response in India just proves how conservative she still is at heart and I don’t think that will change so fast. Oh Karan Johar, my heart goes out to you. You are trying so hard to break the crusty shell of boy meets  girl, they fall in love, marry,  and will have at least two children.  And in this movie, they do marry, but it’s a mistake.

That’s not the way India likes it.  We want a traditional shaadi at the end and no promiscuity talk in families. We don’t like girls who go for what they want, or boys who don’t know how to handle love. Rahul is not exactly imbued with masculinity and Riana needs a break from love. On his journey to self discovery Rahul still remains the nerdy guy at the end, who women don’t take seriously, only in  a dost-dosti way.  But he is content, for the first time in his life.  His OCD falls off like a ripe plum…on his way to normality  (by the way, THAT doesn’t happen in real life…haha).  Is he perfectly average? I don’t think so. He comes with heavy baggage… but I guess, after the credits roll, he will be all right.

I also enjoyed Kareena’s performance in this movie.  Riana is the life of the party but she comes with introspection too, and her own little baggage. We learn a little bit less about her in the movie, her role more limited.  She is still the little steam engine from Jab We Met, but it’s hot HER story. So we get only glimpses of what her life is all about. Because of the unusual lenience of her parents, she was placed in a (pretty gross) Christian minority household in the movie so that people wouldn’t take offense at alcohol consumption and relaxed standards about how to raise a girl… That was a clever little touch, Karan :-)

the movie is wonderfully shot.  Rahul’s dysfunctional, ambitious parents were a joy to watch.  Boman Irani as strict and ambitous father is as funny as he is scary!  well done playing the father figure no one wants to have in life.

The last supper had me in stitches. Forks and chopsticks all have a place at the dinner table but can serve various uses. The movie is packed with clever situational comedy, which makes it so easy to watch.

One question I had at the end:  the haute volee in India,  is that a realistic picture? I am afraid yes..  it felt like watching a desi light-hearted version of a Fellini movie. and as such I kept thinking of these colorful characters long after the movie ended.

Bravo, Imran Khan. Thank you, Karan Johar, who might not have directed the movie but his signature is everywhere..