Ashdoc's Bollywood movie reviews

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Gulab gang ( Gulab means pink )---





Gulab gang has something new in it---both the hero and villain are women , and that too not young but older women .

Yeah , hero is the right word for Madhuri Dixit ; because heroine merely means ' love interest ' of the hero . The leader of the good people who fight against villainy is ' hero ' to me , even though she is female....

The villain is played by Juhi Chawla , and that immediately will draw comparisons between the two yesteryear's rivals....

So who looks better in this movie , Juhi Chawla or Madhuri Dixit ??
At least to me , plain jane Juhi cannot match the raw sensuality of Madhuri Dixit , especially because Madhuri plays a rough hewn village woman and by her body language exudes a coarse sexuality especially in her backless blouses . Her whole gulab gang is full of such women---users of rough language and therefore exuding a coarse sensuality especially by showing their navels and backs . Their bodies look sweaty and dusty , their blouses stick closely to their bodies , and they have dusky complexions---all exuding oomph...

Coming back to Juhi , she is simply not cut out to play a bad person because she has the look of a ' oh so nice ' person on her face . One cant imagine her doing bad things and she has to twist her face to look bad---unsuccessfully of course....

On the other hand , Madhuri looks older than Juhi . But like old wine she has aged gracefully .

Other than the fact that both hero and villain are women , there is nothing much to crow about in the film . The fights show the same kicks and somersaults that male heroes do , but this time they are done by saree clad women using long stout bamboo sticks and sharp sickles .

What about women's rights and all that ?? Yeah , at the start Madhuri is majorly into women's rights and teaches many male oppressors of women a lesson they would not forget . And her gang solves other problems too , like a government officer cutting off electric supply to her village or a rapist who has raped a girl . In solving all this , violence is the key---violence done by tough village women , known as the Gulab gang because they wear gulabi ( pink ) sarees....

Of course , the gang makes many enemies along the way---all seething for revenge....
And the evil persons seething for revenge turn to cute looking villain Juhi for succor .

Madhuri's one dream is a school for girls in the village , a dream that she is willing to compromise for .

All this leads to one high road---politics....
As Madhuri and Juhi stand against each other in elections , the face off begins....

So what's new ?? Nothing , the same old good versus evil but between women . Yesterday was women's day after all !!

So does evil get demolished and does good become victorious ?? watch the movie for that....

Or better , watch some other movie instead cos I didn't like this one....

Music of the film is not anything to write home about , and if you didn't like this review don't complain because the movie didn't enthuse me to write a good review , nor was it bad enough for me to give you some entertainment by bashing it .

Verdict---nothing special....



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Race part 2





This is the good life....

......All fast cars and faster women.....

No ordinary stuff....

Yeah , snazzy cars giving hot chases to each other on mean streets......

Cars twisting diving ramming into each other at breakneck speed......

....Cars reminding you of Ferrari and Porsche and Mercedes and Rolls Royce....

And women in dare bare clothes.....

.....All cleavage baring and deep cuts showing and bare thigh flashing and sumptuous boob exposing.....

.....And in clothes like these---arching their backs , curving their bodies and striking sexy poses....

Hard muscled men hitting blows at each other and gnawing and tearing each other apart....

And them using guns of all kinds---long range ones with telescopic sights as well as latest pistols....

And gambling with obscene amounts of money in foreign casinos.....

And living in 7 star hotels in superposh rooms.....

Swimming in huge swimming pools with crystal clear water.....

And vacationing in superluxurious yatches in the deep blue sea.....

Partying with champagne in expensive restaurants.....

Dancing in cool discotheques as if there is no tomorrow.....

Going for holidays in exotic destinations....

Signing multimillion dollar deals with branded fountain pens....

Having one night stands with no inhibitions.....

Making love with beautiful women on satin sheets.....

Flying in and out of jet planes....

This is the life.....

.....The life you can only dream of....

And this is what you get to see in this film.....

The women ( Deepika Padukone , Jaqueline Fernandez and Ameesha Patel ) look sizzling.....

Their clothes are dazzling...

The men ( John Abraham looking all brawn and muscle , Saif Ali Khan looking dapper and Anil Kapoor looking fit as ever ) pack a punch , and a mean one....

The sets are super hi fi...

The colours are stunning....

Photography superb.....

Fights well orchestrated.....

Dances excellently choreographed.....

And a plot with all twists and turns as none of the characters can trust each other.....

All that the movie lacks is a soul , a real storyline.....

Above all what it lacks is real emotion , real passion.....

The acting and atmosphere is all superficial and sentences like ' I love you ' or even ' I want to take revenge ' lack any real meaning....

All good only for timepass....

But what time pass....

All edge of the seat action....

Never a dull moment....

Events occurring at rapid pace and shown in style....

And style is what I want....even though it is without substance....

.....And style is what I got to see.....

And when I get to see what I want to see I return home a satisfied man....

And satisfaction is all that counts in this world....

Verdict---Good enough for some entertainment.



I have watched certain Bollywood movies like The Namesake but only a few, since we can't find good quality dubbed movies easily. Those with subtitles are there but then more than half the fun is taken away when subtitles come in and you spend all your time trying not to miss out what is written at the bottom of your screen, unable to pay that much attention to the visuals. Any idea where I could find proper dubbed movies? Wanted to watch a couple of big names like Karan Johar (if I am right, not very sure of the name).



Karan Johar (if I am right, not very sure of the name).
yeah , name is correct . he is a gay director who specializes in sentimental movies . about the dubbed movies---i will have to find out .



The xpose---





It's the swinging sixties and a producer originally from south India ( director of the film Ananth Mahadevan playing the role of Subba Rao ) decides to introduce India's first sex symbol as India has never had one before .

Two babes are in the race for bagging the role . Interestingly both began their careers living in the same house as paying guests . But one of them ( Zara ) is ready to sleep with producers to get roles . The other ( Chandni ) is not . But naturally Zara bags the role of sex symbol .

So one of them is good and the other is not . No prizes for guessing then as to who gets murdered ( Zara of course ) and who wins the heart of the hero ( Chandni ) . The director could have hardly shown Zara as the heroine after she compromised herself for success by sleeping with men for roles . The heroine ( Chandni ) has to be pure and virginal even though she does show her sizzling body to us in bikinis . Inspite of this Zara looks better than Chandni---she simply is very stylish . Only in the bikini scene I found myself lusting for Chandni . Other wise Zara scores over her any day .

The hero---Himesh Reshamiyya is a man from UP who did well in south . Now he has been roped in Chandni's film as hero .
About Himesh---He looks leaner than before . But acting has not improved---presumably , because I didn't bother to see any of his films before and haven't seen him acting before . Delivers his dialogues with a deadpan expression throughout the film . Above all in the fight scenes it seems he is not moving his arms at all . Fights with only his legs like a robot or automaton without expression or feelings . Simply looks unconvincing because he hardly looks or acts like the invincible superstar he is supposed to be , and does not look like a man who can beat several men at a time or even one man . Yet he is supposed to be a police inspector in the past who has killed a corrupt politician and so lost his job , thus turning him to acting . He and Chandni fall in love with each other but their romance lacks soul and substance .

Anyway Chandni gets a role in a film by a rival producer and her film does well at the box office , while Zara's film gets a bad start---thanks to the dirty tricks played by Chandni's film producer . Serious catfights erupt between Zara and Chandni and Zara falsely accuses Chandni of sleeping with men for success .

There is the character played by Yo Yo Honey Singh who marries an older woman , but he does not act great either .

In the midst of all this Zara gets killed by falling from the top of a building . So who is responsible for the murder . Watch the film for the answer if you can....

The whole way the film has been directed seems to be odd and different . Himesh shows attitude with some genuinely cheesy dialogues---so cheesy that they gave some entertainment to the audience , who laughed at the sheer stupidity of such an unfit character as Himesh bragging about his so called 'invincibility' in those dialogues .

Music is nothing to crow about and I was unimpressed . No work has been done on making the sixties era look authentic . Instead of sarees which were in vogue with actresses in the sixties we have both actresses and other women parading in modern western clothes .

But the film does get better towards the end as the murder mystery deepens and the director has some interesting answers as to who murdered the actress .

Verdict---okay film .



Heropanti ( Heroism )---



The jats of Haryana---stuck in the medieval age of caste and class and rules descended from ancient times.....

And also stuck in archaic marriage laws---of not marrying a person descended from the same gotra ( linage ) calling such a marriage marrying ones own brother and sister...

And the position of their women---not allowed to get education , to work in offices and sometimes not even allowed to live , for female infanticide is most common in Jatland....

Above all these rules are enforced by violence , by gangs of men roughing up any person daring to break the ancient codes and carrying out honour killings of those couples who dare to free themselves of the shackles of primitive bondage....

So when one woman ( jat headman Chaudhary's elder daughter) elopes with her lover in defiance of the barbaric mindset of honour , the jats unleash mayhem---they kidnap her and her husband's friends and keep them locked up among savage beatings hoping to force them to reveal the couple's whereabouts....

But they have made one mistake---big mistake....they have also kidnapped the Tiger Shroff ; and he is in one sided love with the Chaudhary's younger daughter( Kriti Sanon ) ---a cocktail for explosion , given the violence her kinsmen are likely to unleash if this fact becomes known to them....

But fortunately , we have hero fully capable of contending with violence , for he is a fighter himself---yeah Tiger Shroff can throw punches and kicks and somersaults like there is no tomorrow....
All the stunts and flying kicks he carries out are authentic , and can rival those of our very own desi Bruce Lee---Vidyut Jammwal....

Looks wise , Tiger's face has a feminine aura about it---and his appearance reminded one of Danny Denzogpa when he was young . Tiger in fact looks like he has arrived from the northeast or Ladakh....
And he has a chiseled hardened body with real muscles . He can dance okay---when he dances , he does not sway like other heroes but his whole body swings....

The girl he has fallen for---Kriti Shanon , the Chaudhary's younger daughter....She looks good enough , and I found myself staring and looking at her slim white waist with it's deliberately exposed navel---a treat for the eyes....

The movie has two dimensions in the first half---the Tiger dimension and the JAT dimension....
When Tiger is on the screen the background music is lighthearted and the proceedings frivolous---to the point where they seem like a farce....and Tiger doesn't have much acting talent....
But when the Chaudhary and his jats enter the screen , the mood of the film turns dark and sombre with sinister music and an atmosphere of violence....
And the two dimensions constantly overlap each other with alternate scenes of laughter and tension and tension and laughter---and the whole film looks corny for a while....

But the second half turns serious with Kriti discovering a new freedom in Tiger's company---freedom she has not had in her father's tradition bound household , freedom which makes her fall in love....

And as Chaudhary and his goons continue their search for Kriti's eloped elder sister and her husband wanting to finish their lives for sake of family honour , they have to face the storm unleash by Kriti's newfound love for Tiger and it's consequences....

But what about the millennia old customs and traditions of the land ?? What about the father's ( Chaudhary's ) love for his daughters ?? His missing them after their elopement ?? What about the fact that he cares for them deeply and wants the best for them ?? What about the fact the daughters' husbands cannot keep them in the luxury the father gave them and that hurts the father deeply ?? After having raised them for years and given them guidance does the father have no say in their future ??

So can a compromise be worked out between the aspirations of youth and the wisdom of old age ?? Are the lovers right or is Chaudhary's stand correct?? Watch the movie for the answers....

The movie is not so great in the first half but gives us some emotion in the second half , and I found myself interested....

Music is decent enough and I found myself humming some of the film's songs....

The movie gives a menacing impression of Jats in the first half but softens up towards them in the second . Acting by everyone is not fantastic--It can be called okay though .

Verdict---Decent .



Shanghai---





This film is one which is on the border of parallel and commercial cinema---the pace and story of the movie is that of a commercial film but the acting and the lack of background music harks to art cinema .

In fact the film tries to straddle both sides---art and commercial cinema.....and the triumph of the director lies in the fact that it successfully combines both types of cinema . Without losing out on those aspects which will win it critical acclaim it also keeps the suspense alive and the pace fast , thus keeping the audience interested throughout .

Dr Ahmedi comes from the USA full of idealism to stop a state govt's pet project---a business park which will be built by removing the slums and shanties of people inhabiting the land earmarked for it .

Dr Ahmedi does not want the land to become another Shanghai.....
So what's the connection with Shanghai ??
For those who dont know , China's premiere port city of Shanghai was a city full of slums in the 1980s when China still practiced communism . When the Chinese govt decided to turn capitalistic , it decided that the rundown city needed a makeover . A gleaming new city was built on the former shantytowns---a city that was the envy of countries mired in socialism like India.....a city of glass towers , elegant roads , crisscrossing flyovers , shopping malls , business centers , restaurants , cafes , residential towers and whatnot . But what it hid was an ugly reality . Some 3 million of poor people formerly living there had been removed by brute force to the faraway countryside where they were forced to lead their uprooted lives by a brutal govt . They were forbidden to ever return to their ancestral Shanghai for fear that the presence of these poor dirty folk would make the city unclean and not only deter away foreign investors but would expose the harsh reality of the Chinese economic miracle .

But China is an exceptionally bloodstained communist dictatorship while India is a democratic nation where the poor man's voice can be heard.....or so Dr Ahmedi thinks......
How wrong can a man be ??!!
He has irked the powerful establishment which sees profits in billions of dollars endangered by his fiery speeches and his organizing of common people against the project---and pays for it with his life in the end.....

He leaves behind two women---his wife and another woman who loves him madly ( Played by Kalki Koechlin ).....and rather than the wife it is the woman in love who sets off in pursuit of those who tried to kill him . Its a pursuit which pits her against a range of powerful people and inevitably puts her own life in danger . And its only the mad passion of her love that sustains her in a mission that would have weakened the resolve of the fainthearted......

But those who dare to help her like a video film maker who has a damning tape of those planning the murder are swiftly killed by the all-powerful establishment....and so she has to turn to an unlikely character for aid---the video film-maker's assistant , a bumbling buck toothed character played by Emraan Hashmi . And she has to hope that Krishnan ( played by Abhay Deol ) , the officer assigned by the govt to investigate the murder of Dr Ahmedi has a little bit of conscience---so he would resist the tremendous pressure on him to close the case and find out the real culprits . Kalki and Emraan themselves are hunted down by the goons who want them dead and have to run from pillar to post in dramatic chases to save their skin .

So does Kalki succeed in finding out the killers of the man she loves so much ?? And what about the task of saving the poor peoples' houses for which Dr Ahmedi sacrifices so much ?
The movie has different answers for both.....

I for one found it to be a decent watch......



Ek main aur ek tu ( Just me and you )---





With this movie producer Karan Johar takes us back to the world he's familiar with ; indeed , the world he's lived in and still lives---the world of high class high brow people whose lives are sheltered by money , who live prim and propiah lives , and for whom things like regular foreign travel , cutting big deals and attending society parties are day to day affairs .

And into such a family is born hero Imran Khan---our poor little rich boy....

Poor little rich boy's life is utterly controlled by his parents , who decide everything from his haircut to his career choice to the type of daughter-in-law they have in mind to what kind of job he will do in the US of A......

Needless to say , its a stifling existence which needs a breath of fresh air , and it needs it pronto.....!!

And what better than a beautiful girl like Kareena Kapoor to lease some fresh air to a dull existence.....

And what a touch of colour to a colourless life !!---She's a kiristao ( christian ) girl , drinks alcohol till she pukes , has had multiple relationships with men , and the icing on the cake is that she's not a virgin.....

Yippeeeeee !!! Just what the doctor ordered to bring disorder to Imran and his parents over-orderly existence !!!

Yeah , a free spirit whose high spirits and vivacious conversation brings light to our hero's life !!

And as I watched the movie I wished I was in the hero's shoes.....

And when I was in the hero's shoes Kareena married me while she and I were in a drunken stupor.....

.....And next day I woke up to see Kareena Kapoor lying on my bed......

And she took me back to India to meet her her equally free sprited parents......

.......And they were wonderfully understanding about the whole thing---the father even asking whether we were sleeping together ( blush blush ).......

And she took me to her former school and talked about her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer.....

......And then she took me to the spot where she and her first boyfriend used to kiss in school.....

But when my lips rose to kiss her on that very spot , I was in for a shock !!

But never mind , she had given me the courage to fight my parents and change my life.....

But just after I had changed my life , the lights in the theater came on.....

The movie was over......and I had only been dreaming of romancing Kareena when the actual romancing had been done by the hero Imran......

For me , it was back home to my dull colourless existence.....

But wait !!! There was still this review to be written.....

And while I write this review I will remember every moment of this movie and will relive all the time I dreamt of being with that lovely girl....

In fact , at exactly this moment , I am doing just that......

Verdict---good .



London Paris New York---





London....Paris.....New York.......Three of the world's great megacities.....

But if you are thinking of getting an epic love story spanning three megacities and two continents , something on the lines of Casablanca---well ,then you are not gonna get it......

Instead what you get is a lot of yak yak between hero Ali Zafar and leading lady Aditi Rao Hyderi---and yeah , you get it in all three megacities and both the continents.....

They first meet in London in 2004 when both are young and Aditi has missed her flight to New York , and hit it off instantly . They decide to take a day off seeing the sights of London , but instead of getting to see the sights of London with them , the audience gets to see ( or rather hear ) endless yak yak between the two.....

She's an intellectual and a feminist while he's a creative sort ( thats what all people in the film line call themselves ) , and so they are opposites---and opposites attract , dont they.....

So they fall in love , and they kiss in front of the big ben on the thames river---but....but.... the day is over and Aditi has to leave to New York......

But they cannot forget each other , and meet again in 2007 in Paris.....

AAHH.....Paris in spring......nothing is more fit for romance.....
But what we get again is endless yak yak between the two---yet again.....

This may be so , but by now we are used to the tone of the movie---all talk and less action---and the crisp dialogues and brainy retorts by the two have an endearing quality of its own by now.....

However Aditi has a grudge with Ali for ignoring her all these years , and leaves him after a night of passion to be hurt and dejected and above all rejected.......

But behold the passion of true romance---years down the line , Ali decides to meet Aditi once more to persuade her to lead her life with him.....in the third megacity , New York where else......

And this time its almost too late---for Aditi is about to get married to a American man the next day.....

So Ali asks her to do what with him what they did in London and Paris---spend a day seeing the sights of the city.....actually endless yak yak , but as I said the audience is beginning to quite like it by now......

But this time round Ali is a man on a mission---He wants to get his girl for good.....

So does our young man get the woman of his dreams ?? Does he manage to stop Aditi's marriage in Saint Mark's cathedral the next day ??

Go and find out in the movie theater for that ( Though I suspect anyone who watches hindi films already knows the answer )......

Verdict---I found the movie to be just about okay but who knows , if you are a die hard romantic you may find in it a rich vein indeed.....
But that you will find only if you are a die hard romantic.....



Diary of a butterfly---



The promos of the film promised that Udita Goswami would do all the things she promised her mother she wouldn't do.....

When a girl decides to do this , but naturally a line of lustcrazed men will line up at her doorstep.....

And when a movie's promos promise something like this , a line of sex mad men will line up to the theater....

The list of such men this time included yours truely---your very own ashdoc......

Like a fool I actually went to see this movie !!

And what do I get......

With a begging bowl in hand I had gone to see some sex scenes and some naked shots of young women.....

And all I get is one measly shot of Udita in a bikini !!.....that too with her lower half inside the swimming pool and therefore invisible !!

Yeah the shot also had Sofia Hayat in full bikini---but who wants to see her ( of sagging breasts fame ) !!

And just one sex scene WITHOUT any kissing or passion or anything......

Thats all !!

Nothing else !!

What else you want ?? The story !!

Well whatever is dished out as a story consists of a girl coming from Jaipur to Mumbai leaving her parents and heartbroken boyfriend behind.....

The unabashed quest of the girl---to reach the top of her profession by hook or crook.....actually more by crook as she is ready to sleep with all those men who form her ladder to success......

But as I said---no sex scenes.....

And after having reached the top by these methods she feels hurt by taunts about the way she reached her position.....

So she tries to change herself , including asking her boyfriend to come down to Mumbai to give her company.....

But everybody disappoints her , including her boyfriend who has his fun with her and dumps her.....

So she decides to become mistress of a tycoon and sleep on the side with his business clients......

End of movie.....

And I came back home with empty begging bowl ( and unfulfilled desires ) in hand......

Verdict---probably the worst movie I ever reviewed.....

P.S.---But the review isn't so horrible ( I hope ).....probably the only good thing to have come out of the movie ( again I can only hope ).....



Chakravyuh ( The maze of war ) ---

This movie is a fictional story based on a real life communist rebellion in central India






While newspapers and television blare out visions of ' India shining ' and people like me go to watch movies like Chakravyuh in posh multiplexes eating chicken sandwiches along with cappuccino coffee , there's a rebellion smoldering in the heart of rustic India....Its the cry of the havenots who are demanding their share of the pie which has been unjustly taken over by haves like me....

....And director Prakash Jha is the person fittingly capable of giving voice to this cry---for he among all the film makers of Bollywood is the one who knows the rustic heart of India too well , having filmed it brilliantly in films like Gangajal and Apaharan and many others....

.....And as the communist rebels run amok in central India under their leader Rajan ( played by Manoj Bajpai ),police officer Adil Khan ( played by Arjun Rampal ) is posted in their area to try to curb the problem.... The reason for this---big industrialists have one more plan to loot the mineral resources of the rebels' region in the name of development ; but they cant do it unless the rebellion is crushed....

Arjun's maverick friend ( played by Abhay Deol ) has a brainwave---he volunteers to become a Trojan horse among the rebels who will bring the Naxalite leader played by Manoj Bajpai into police custody.

But predictably he develops a sympathy for the communist cause when he sees the terrible conditions under which the people whom the communists protect are living and the way they are being exploited by the rich....and he thinks he has begun to find love for a woman among them....

But he does not change sides until a terrible incident involving the woman he likes forces him to....

So does Arjun Rampal's plan to catch Manoj Bajpai succeed ?? And how will Abhay's decision to change sides affect their friendship ?? Go and watch the movie for that....

To those who have a yen for romance---Prakash Jha is at his best when he is showing the understated and never-to-be-fulfilled romance between Abhay and his love interest ( played by Anjali Patil ). Its a romance that springs up while playing with death together and is shown in subtle undercurrents rather than moments of passion or expression . And newcomer Anjali Patil puts up an authentic performance as the girl who joins the communist rebellion to escape the lustfilled clutches of landlords---but only to tragically suffer the same fate that she wanted to escape....

And to those who have a tilt towards action---the action scenes are well executed too , with hordes of communists and policemen attacking each other with a hailstorm of automatic rifle gunfire in several well crafted sequences....INSAS rifles , Kalashnikovs and self loading rifles fire in tandem with latest guns having laser dot markers....

But why does Arjun's wife Esha Gupta hang about half naked in sexy clothes in the middle of rebel country in a couple of scenes?? Does she think its a metropolis like Mumbai or Delhi ?? And do even communist leaders have time to watch Item dances by hotties like Sameera Reddy ?? In reality these was no need to bring such aspects of commercialism in the film .

Manoj Bajpai's role is not that big and he is his usual self but it is not his film really....The film belongs to Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol but their acting cannot be called fantastic...Om Puri is just about okay....

These glitches should not take away from the commendable performance of the director who seems to have recovered from the debacle of his earlier film---Aarakshan .

Verdict---I would give it a thumbs up...



Table number 21

( film against the practice of hazing in universities , which takes gruesome forms in India . Hazing is called ragging in India )






Trouble in paradise---thats table number 21.....

And everytime Bollywood has to discover a new paradise to keeps its viewers interested , so this time its Fiji---the island half populated by those denizens of western India called Gujjus , and only half populated by its native population.....

And what about paradise as in candy for the eyes---an attractive woman who reveals her lovely figure in teeny weeny bikinis on the beach and kisses her partner with abandon ??
---Thats Tena Desae ( I hope I got the name right ) , the better half of a couple who have won a free vacation to Fiji ; and the the other half of the couple is Rajeev Khandelwal......

Aaaahh !! Youth , lovely beaches , romance and a beautiful woman.....what else can you want.....

Well , the viewer wants some trouble to break out in this paradise to get the movie going along

And trouble comes along in name of Mr Khan.....( dont we have enough troublemakers by this name already )

This Mr Khan ( played by Paresh Rawal ) gives the couple a tantalizing offer---to play in a reality show called table number 21.
The task seems simple enough---answer 8 questions and do 1 task for each question making a total of 8 tasks....
But the answers to each question must be true---if you lie you die....
And you cant walk out of the show in between---if you want to be free you have to complete the game....

The prize for winning---210 million rupees ( indian currency )

Now if an offer is too good to be true it probably IS too good to be true---obviously the game has a catch that would make the tasks too difficult and the money not worth the risks involved .But the couple is overcome with greed and is ready.....

And as the game unravels the couple is put through physical harassment and mental anguish beyond their wildest imagination.....
And Khan is not what he seems to be---he knows too much about their past lives....

Of course Khan is not a villain---can anyone with this famous surname be anything but a good person if not a hero.....given the current appeasement tendencies of Bollywood and the hold of the mafia based in a certain neighbour of ours on the film industry it would take a brave man to say " His name is Khan and he is a terrorist ( or bad guy at least ) '' .

So who is he ??

And does the harassment the couple goes through remind you of things we participated in the bygone days ( assuming you are in the thirties like I am ) ??

The film ends with a powerful social message that hits hard with a surprise---and that's the best part of the film.....man , I was impressed by the climax....

Now only if the other parts of the film were as good as the climax---sadly they aren't , and do not match upto the standard of the climax .

Performances wise Paresh Rawal takes the acting honours---these Khans cannot be ignored even if the names are not real ....but the rest of the actors dont meet the standard....

Verdict---okay.....



Rowdy Rathore---





Devgad is crying out in pain in pain.....

Because Baapji and his evil minions are ruling the land.....

And if they dont even hesitate to kidnap a policeman's wife to satisfy their lust , what can be said about the condition of the common man.....

And their goons are everywhere in Devgad perpetuating Baapji's tryanny , even on the raliway station where they bully the passengers into paying huge amounts of money after first taunting them with lewd jokes of course......

The situation yearns for the arrival of a messiah , a protector---who will protect the weak and the meek and deliver justice Akshay Kumar style...

And hey presto !!...... even before the fast train coming into Devgad station comes to a halt the deliverer of justice jumps from it ,and his name is police officer Vikram Rathore aka Rowdy Rathore.....

He immediately shows the whole town his mettle by beating the goons on the railway station with sugarcane sticks after stripping them till they beg to him for mercy.......but before that he puts earphones on his daughter's ears so that she hears sweet music while he punishes the goons.....very caring of his daughter our Rowdy......

And then Rowdy Rathore uses some matrix like special effects fights to bring to book Baapji and send Baapji's cruel son into the clouds.....but not before the director has first shown us an item number in Baapji's den with three delicious babes gyrating in tandem......ah ha !!

But Baapji has a powerful protector in the govt minister who helps him and eventually Baapji gets the better of Rowdy and kills him , or so he thinks.....

Rowdy has only one wish in life---to die smiling while doing his duty tweaking his mustache on and on......and so he dies as he wishes tweaking his mustache on and on , but not before he has sent a few bad men to hell where they belong......
So his wish is granted.....

But who will take care of the daughter who cries out for her papa ??
No worries , in the big city is his lookalike Shiva who may be a thief but is going to leave thievery ( already ?? so early in his thief's career ?? ) because he loves the lovely damsel of saris fame and backless blouses fame and above all exposed navel fame---Sonakshi Sinha.....
......And Shiva and Sonakshi will take care of Rowdy's daughter.....

But the audience demands more fights and more entertainment.....

So Shiva steps into Rowdy's shoes and jumps from the train coming into Devgad station just in the same way as Rowdy does before the train stops.....

......And voila !! The terror of Rowdy's name is such that the moment Baapji's goons on the railway station see Rowdy's lookalike stride majestically out of the station , they themselves strip down humbly for a repeat sugarcane beating......whistle anyone ?? no the multiplex I had gone to see the movie in has decent crowd and whistling is not allowed.....

And Shiva sets out to finish Rowdy's task of cleaning the town off Baapji's men.....but not before he and Sonakshi do a vigorous song and dance full of jhatkas and matkas---now thats a must.....

And clean the town Shiva does ; in true khiladi style.....blowing up Baapji's illegal factories boom boom with bombs before delivering the killer punch......

But this does not happen before Sonakshi is kidnapped by Baapji's sidekicks and brought to his den.....
What disappointed me here was that she was not made to dance here----

But never mind......Sonakshi has already shown us enough of her navel and back to make us forgive the director for this perfidy.....

And Shiva has delivered enough jokes comedy action romance emotion ......

Verdict----Third rate



The world before her---



The modern Indian woman---the world is before her....

New career choices have opened up for her....

From being a lowly ticket checker in public transport bus in Bombay to being a CEO of a corporation , she can try to become what she is capable of....

But not all women have got this choice---some are still not allowed to work outside home , while others are not even allowed to show their face which is supposed to be covered...

So a film titled ' The world before her ' should show the contrast between the two Indias isn't it...??

But isn't showing a covered woman's life and contrasting with that of a woman who works in a plush office a little mundane ?? Who is going to watch such a boring movie ??

So the film goes the path of sensationalism---it shows the life of girls who work for a hindu women's fundamentalist organisation and contrasts it with the life of girls who participate in a beauty contest....

Now that is spectacular and fit for making a film---one path has the chance for showing violence or at least the potential for violence , and the other gives the chance for showcasing glamour and women's bodies....

These above two choices are supposed to be the choices for today's Indian women according to the film---either you follow modernity whose ultimate high is become a model sashaying on the ramp , or else ( if you don't follow modernity ) you will become a gun toting militant of a hindu fundamentalist organisation.....

And this is the image of India that has been shown by the film to international audiences , for the film has been extensively showcased in foreign film festivals and presumably lapped by the foreign crowd---Indian women who don't follow modernity become hate spewing terrorists whose goal is violence and mayhem . There is no middle path like doing a job at an office....

Problem is---I had heard and seen plenty of the beauty contest that the film shows ( the Miss India contest ) , but I had never heard of the hindu fundamentalist organisation that the film talks about---an organisation known as the Durga Vahini . The contrast between the Miss India contest ( which is something that is very famous thanks to television ) and Durga Vahini ( which I had never heard of before ) is too much---not because they represent two extreme forms of lifestyle , but because the film's makers were presenting a totally unknown fundamentalist organisation as something equal in popularity to a well known beauty contest....

While Miss India contest influences minds of women all across urban India , Durga Vahini will have to first make itself known before it starts to influence women in rural India....

That is the film's greatest hypocrisy---lying to foreign audiences that Durga Vahini has huge influence over women in India when actually few if any have even heard of it....

And Durga Vahini is supposed to be the ' Hindu taliban '.....

So what weapons is the ' Hindu taliban 'shown to be carrying in the film ?? Some antiquated rifles probably fit only for shooting balloons at the local fair !!

Of course , the difference between the Durga Vahini girls and the Miss India girls is plentifully brought out---the Durga Vahini girls are given lectures asking them to marry as early as possible , are told to maintain their good character , and not to dream of equality with men . They are given training in physical combat , and taught to hate muslims and christians . Their leader has a father who beats his daughter with a hot iron rod if she lies to him , and he does not believe that she should have a mind of her own .

On the other hand , the Miss India contestants wear revealing western clothes and their bodies are taken care off to enhance their beauty . Their lifestyle is glamorous and their behavior oozes sex appeal...
Some of them go on to win laurels in foreign lands and become famous .
Above all ,their parents are proud of their daughters' freedom to choose their paths and are shown to be large hearted and modern .

But is not the contrast between a beauty contestant and a ordinary Indian woman woman who is forced to cover her face more real and correct ?? For forcing women to sit at home covering their face is somewhat more common in India....

How many Indians send their daughters to Durga Vahini camps anyway ?? How many women get military style training to do physical combat ??
The answer to this question is---very few .
At the risk of repeating myself , I will say again---how many Indians have even heard of Durga Vahini ??

Then why does the film raise hell over an obscure group or indeed even give publicity to it ??

The answer to this question is elementary---the Durga Vahini is incapable of doing any harm to the film's makers , and demonising them does not carry any risk .

Since the Durga Vahini is being called ' Hindu taliban ' , it might be interesting to speculate if a film on the real taliban is made . Not only would such a film be banned due to huge protests by the real taliban's co religionists , but the taliban or some other terrorist group can retaliate to cause physical harm to the makers of the film . For the real taliban does not have the museum piece rifles of the Durga Vahini , but has real weapons like AK 47 , RDX filled explosives and hand grenades .

On the other hand , it is so so easy to make a film on the Durga Vahini---little risk of the film being banned , for it is not easy for the co religionists of the Durga Vahini to get their act together....

Their are some funny moments in the film---like the father of the leader of the Durga Vahini seeing the Miss India beauty contestants parade on TV and exclaiming " See these half naked contestants , is this our culture ??!!'' , while himself sitting half naked in front of camera . The audience genuinely laughed at this point....

Of course , the real taliban would have scoffed at the freedom given to the Durga Vahini girls---freedom to wear western clothes and go unveiled and with uncovered hair in public , freedom to ride horses and parade on streets without covering their faces or hair , freedom to see the half naked contestants of Miss India on TV ( wouldn't that pollute their minds ?? ) and comment upon them , freedom to breath the fresh air without the encumbrance of a veil....
Maybe the Durga Vahini girls should be sent to the REAL taliban to get real lessons in fundamentalism , I thought....
For their fundamentalism was the juvenile fundamentalism of beginners....
And for that very reason , I was less afraid of them than I would have been of Mullah Omar and his real taliban....

The film has some saucy real life shots---of Miss India contestants parading in bikinis , something that is done in closed doors , and honestly shows their discomfort at wearing bikinis . And them wearing makeshift veils !!---for at one shoot the judges only want to see and evaluate their legs with the rest of the body covered....

And the film has graphic shots of real life too--of the men's hindu fundamentalist organisation Ram sene attacking women in pubs in Mangalore .

But then why no real life shots of Durga Vahini women indulging in real violence ( not just training ) ?? Probably no such shots are available and the organisation may be just a paper tiger....

As I said , the film reeks of hypocrisy as it equalizes an unknown outfit like Durga Vahini ( even my knowledgeable friends had not heard of it ) with an infamous but widely known terrorist organisation like taliban and contrasts an obscure outfit ( Durga Vahini again ) with the popular Miss India contest .

The film is more of a documentary with interviews of the main protagonists , but those who have a yen for movies made with real life politics in mind will like this film . Particularly emotional is the interview with Miss India winner Pooja Chopra's mother about how she was forced to walk out of her house and raise Pooja alone by her in laws because she had given birth to a female child , and about how she promised her in laws that the female child will become famous one day....

Verdict : If you don't mind your country being shown as a land where women are killed at birth and you don't mind seeing shots of the few lucky girls who survived being thankful before camera that in such a land they were at least given a chance to live , and don't mind the impression created in foreign minds that India has the worst women's rights record of all places ( no , the film makers haven't heard of Saudi Arabia )---then you might even like the film.....



Players---



Go for gold !!---says one of the promos of the movie......

Thats what the moviegoer goes for---to the theater , I mean.....

Hyped and overhyped movies come and go---hyped movies sink fast and overhyped movies sink faster......

And the bechara moviegoer---he is in search of a good movie , only to be disappointed time and again.....

Only once in a while he strikes gold......

Thats what I did too---searching for a good movie among the mediocre stuff I was being forced to watch , Ashdoc finally struck paydirt.....!!

For this is a movie that lives upto the expectations created for it , and its publicists wont have to run away to Lonavala or wherever they are said to run away to escape from the uncomfortable questions posed by the press after their overhyped movie expectedly flops.....

So what gold are these players after ??
Its the gold owned by Romania being shifted back to its home country after being given to the Russians for safekeeping long ago .
......And the players mean to strike it on the train that carries it from Russia to Romania .

First lets make good and evil clear.....
Actually none of the players are good.....
For they plan to snatch the gold belonging to a sovereign nation......
But above all they kill ( or have to kill ) innocent Russian guards whose only mistake is to be guarding the train carrying the gold......
For example , Bobby Deol , who is supposed to be a nice guy who is stealing the gold only for raising money to make his paralysed daughter's life more comfortable actually coldbloodedly shoots a Russian guard trying to stop the robbery.....

But directors Abbas-Mustan pull off a coup by convincing the audience that some of these players are nice guys....
This is of course something they have pulled of even more successfully in the past , when in their movie Baazigar Shah Rukh Khan goes on a spree of killing innocent people in his quest for revenge and yet wins the sympathy of the audience .

The filming of the robbery is a coup in itself , for it has some genuine heart-pounding nerve-wrenching moments as the players bring another train parallel to the gold carrying train and steal the gold while both trains are still moving fast.....

......And the photography is excellent throughout as the movie moves from the icy winter of Russia to the warmer climes down under in New Zealand......

For the movie doesn't end with the heist in Russia , as predictibly there is a twist....
Typically for a crook , the bad guy then reveals himself , raking the moolah all for himself and leaving the others high and dry while he scampers off to New Zealand.

Thats not gonna stop our intrepid players---they track him down and plan to steal what the director has led us to believe is rightfully theirs ( all stolen gold belonging to someone else , but sshhh....its just a movie....) .

Not so easy, guys---the bad player has an accomplice working for him among the good guys ; an accomplice telling him the good guys' every move.....
.......All twists and turns as the movie goes along.....

And the twists and turns do deliver the surprises at key moments , giving some sound entertainment.......

So go watch it......

Verdict---good.



Agyaat ( The unknown )---



Today---or should I say tonight---I decided to give myself a hair raising experience.....

.....Decided to watch a horror movie alone in the late evening ( from 8.30 PM onwards on enter10 channel) when everyone else was out of the house.....

.....And to double the fun that comes from fear I decided to watch it with every window and door of the house closed and every light off.....

And boy !!! You see an ordinary movie become a fear raising experience in such conditions....

As the screen darkens and the horror in the movie starts and shadows begin to play on the walls then the mind comes alive.....

Yeah alive.....alive to every small sound coming from dark corners of the house.....

Every gust of wind hitting the window chills the senses....

A feeling of impending doom and danger clouds the thinking....

You constantly look behind to see if anything is standing behind you....

Ordinary sounds you would ignore at other times grab your attention and fill you with apprehension.....

Unlike in a movie theater there is no one to reach out to when something terrifying happens on screen.....

All stuff that doubles the entertainment.....

So on to the plot of the movie.....

A film crew moves into the jungle to shoot a film....

The hero of the film being shot is a super haughty guy named Kapoor ( forgot the first name ) who constantly shouts and berates everybody showing off the his star status at every opportunity.....

So that confirms one thing.....he may be the hero of the film being shot in the movie , but he's not the hero of the movie

In fact his insufferable temper is more likely to make him main villain....

But in fact he's not that too....

The main villain is in fact the mysterious power that controls the forest---agyaat, the unknown.....

As the crew lands in the forest , the guide suggests that the shooting of the film be done in a spot of scenic beauty deep into the core of the forest....

He's a strange one , this guide....looks in a strange way and speaks even strangely.....

Yet the gay sounding director of the film agrees to go with the guide....

So off they go---deep inside the forest , in the realms of agyaat the unknown....

The first to be bumped off is the guide , at the scenic spot where the shooting was to take place.....

As everyone screams and howls in terror , the differences in status slowly begin to unravel.....people who are underlings begin to shout at the hero of the film being shot without caring for his star status.....

And relationships begin to reveal themselves---the real hero of the movie ( assistant director of the film being shot ) confesses his love for the heroine of the film ( who is also heroine of the movie ) the role of whom is played by the sexy Nisha Kothari....

....But before that , a girl from the unit reveals her love for the assistant director....

But it is a hell of a time to fall in love.....

.....For with the death of the guide the only person knowing the way out of the forest is gone....

And the unit is receiving daily doses of horror---they encounter a hot spring oozing blood instead of water and hear sounds all around them that fills them with terror....

And as one by one each one of them is dragged to death by the unknown powers their numbers begin to dwindle and the remaining members fight between themselves.....

So who will come out of the forest alive ?? And who will not ??

Watch the movie for the answers....

As far as I am concerned , the other members of my house are back and the fun filled night of horror is over---I have survived....

Next stop ?? watching a horror movie in a cemetary at night ?? Naah---not gonna push my luck ; better quit while you are ahead....

Verdict---just about okay.



Mirch ( Red hot chilli )---



This is one unabashedly feminist film.

A struggling scriptwriter tries to convince a producer to make a film based on his script , which consists of four separate stories, and the film shows the stories unfold on screen as he tells the producer .

All four stories are of women who unabashedly cheat on their husbands and have sex with other men , but in most cases the husband's deserve the treatment they get . If you really got a heart ( and most males dont , when the topic is of women's rights ) , its not difficult to sympathise with those women ....

One is a beauty married off to a short , ugly man ; second is a youthful woman married off to an man old enough to be her grandfather ,presumably against her wishes , who has no capacity to satisfy her ; third is a loving , caring wife whose husband suspects her to the point of testing her loyalty by coming disguised as another man to her and trying to entice her ; fourth is the wife of a man who regularly visits prostitutes .

Mind you , all this is attempted to be shown in a entertaining manner , and the tone of the film is of light-hearted entertainment......much of the audience was laughing and sniggering through the movie , as the women use their wiles to lure other men into bed , and make fools of their husbands.

Amazingly ,all stories are claimed to be lifted from the ancient Indian book of knowledge called 'panchatantra'.......I really did not know that India had reached such high heights of wisdom in ancient times.......

Raima Sen looks sensuous , especially as it is she who has done all the exposing and love-making in her scenes ,while konkona sen is not so good as she has exposed less......well ,to be frank , she doesn't look as good as Raima anyway........

Where the director fails is the ending ,where , as the producer tells the script-writer ( and the director seems to remind himself ) , the four stories need some point where they connect with each other ........but the connecting point is so weak , that you feel disappointed......

I read somewhere that people remember a novel if it has good opening chapter , and a movie if it has a good last scene......if that is true , then inspite of some good parts ,people wont much remember this film.....

However , the director can take satisfaction in the fact that he has made an ' adults ' film ( yeah , it has an A certificate , I saw two kids being barred from seeing the film ) without any vulgarity

Verdict--okay to watch , if you are in a naughty mood



Antardwand ( Dilemma )---



How would you feel if one day you wake up from a daze to be told that the decked up girl you have never even heard of before ,but sitting on the bed in front of you, is your newly married wife ...........

............and on refusal to sleep with her , are taunted about your ' impotency ',and are drugged and forced to rape her practically at gunpoint.......

And how would you feel if your father is confronted during his morning tea ,by a procession bringing along with it ,a girl 3 months pregnant , whom he has never seen before ,and is told that unborn child in the girls womb is his grandchild........

Thats exactly the situation a handsome and bright young man ( a would be IAS officer )finds himself in this movie which is situated in .........where else.........bihar.......

It is about the custom known in the hindi language as pakdau shadi , in which if your daughter is not good enough to get a suitable groom , the groom is kidnapped and beaten and forced to marry her in a hooch-drunk stupor.......

And if you feel that its all a nightmare ,you can pinch yourself and find yourself in reality.....

Its a movie that certainly should have been made ,given the awesome reality of the topic........

And happily ,the director has done justice to the topic ,as he has made a movie on a real topic look very very real......

The ending is insipid though , and is the only ' bollywood ' touch in the film.

That should not take the credit away from the performances of akhilendra mishra ( father of the girl and kidnapper ) , and swati sen ( the bride ) ,who put heart and soul in making the film eminently watchable.......

The director keeps the film's twists and turns churning with skill ,and fails only at the end ,as if he does not know how such a sordid tale can be completed.......

Its not regular bollywood fare however ,and is only for the art-movie lovers

And for them , its a must see...........



James---



A straightforward action film from the Ram Gopal Verma stable---even though he is not the director .

Mohit Alhawat plays the hero with a deadpan expression in the film throughout.....and does not change expression at all , even in scenes which require some acting--and this is the film's biggest drawback .
......For a hero with an expressionless face can take a film only so far....

But the villain is terrific , with loose hanging hair and an uneven beard , looking like a wild dog on searching for his next meal , and showing all the expressions of a brute hunting for his prey....

And his prey is the supersexy Nisha Kothari , the bombshell of the town , who sashays in discos with mouthwatering ease--only to come within the sights of the villain and his horde.....

The hero is without question the one who has to save the damsel in distress ,for its his job as a bouncer of the disc, and his prize for doing so is the love of a beautiful girl....

But the hero is new to town , and does not know that he has offended the mob that rules the city.....

.....And the mob now is searching for the young lovers....

The lovers elope to escape the clutches of the mob , but their pursuers are unrelenting , and literally send dogs to hound the young couple out....

As the howling dogs chase the lovers endlessly , and the mafia applies its endless resources to capture them and fulfill the lust of the villain , its a love story that has to end in tragedy.....

.....But tragedy also brings out revenge that is destined to end the mob's rule over the metropolis.....

True to Ram Gopal Verma's style , the fights and the nastiness on the villains' faces are truely real.....

And the action is really really RAW.....

I liked one dialogue of the film--when the hero arrives from Goa to take up the job as bouncer of the discotheque , the owner of the disc tells him '' Those who say India is a poor country , they haven't seen Bombay's nightlife . Money flows like water here....''

I also liked the zany music that plays whenever the villain makes his entry.....anyway , whats that actor doing nowadays ?? Haven't seen him lately.....

Verdict--good .



Go Goa gone---



Goa---the haven for pleasure , for parties , for bold babes in bikinis and drinks and drugs....

So three friends ( including Soha Ali Khan's boyfriend Kunal Khemu ) drive to Goa to partake in all this . Problem is---except one , all are bankrupt and have no money.....

But a sexy girl ( played by Puja Gupta ) lures them to an underground party organized by the Russian mafia on an island where drugs and babes are going to flow freely and with abandon....

Thats where the fun starts---and the movie starts to look good....

Frankly , I was not impressed by the done-to-death jokes about screwing multiple girls and condoms and whatnot at the beginning of the movie and was getting a little bored---though only a little.....

But once they get to the island and to the party , then the jokes suddenly seem more intelligent and funny and perk up your sense of humour.....

And to add to the fun is the element of horror....

.....For a new and formerly untried drug is distributed at the party which turns people into bloodsucking zombies the next morning---and soon everyone is sucking the others' blood and infecting more people and leaving them useless for further life except for killing people....

That where the bankruptcy of the heroes helps---for because they have no money to buy the drug , they remain uninfected in an island full of infected and biting people .

But the catch is---they can get infected if they are bitten , and running away from zombies in an island which is full of them seems to be an impossible task....

They are joined by Saif Ali Khan , who is a drug smuggler and organiser of the party and also by the lissome Puja Gupta---all of whom have the task of escaping from the island ahead of them....

So do they escape ?? Watch the movie for that....

The triumph of the director lies in the way he has effortlessly blended comedy with horror.....

While a horrific situation unfolds ( like a group of bloodlustcrazed zombies on track of the heroes trying to bite them ) , the characters still pepper the situation with cheeky oneliners that keep us in splits.....

.....But still there are some situations where the horror sinks into you and you feel the chills....

Its funny to see the heroes try to have one night stand in a house with Puja Gupta even with zombies searching to kill them outside.....
......and the directoral ability of the director makes this situation believable.....

There are practically no songs but acting by everyone is above par....
....And the zombies look real too.....

Verdict---Thoroughly entertaining .