It’s been 20 long years since the movie released, and the trio made a trip to Goa. But the characters are etched in our minds forever. And I was just thinking about everyone, especially the character Sameer.
Welcome was a superb movie, a lovely entertainer. Probably the main reason for that being the impeccable comic timing of all the actors. Is the sequel as good a laugh riot as the first one was? Read on to find out.Continue reading “Welcome Back Movie Review: Is It Really Welcome Back?”
Let me start this review by making a candid confession. I liked Anees Bazmee’s 2007 Blockbuster ‘Welcome’ to a great extent. The gangster duo Uday Shetty and Majnu bhai, played by a remarkable Nana Patekar and an ever-dramatic Anil Kapoor respectively, were etched in my mind for long. Add to it Akshay Kumar’s gifted sense of humor, Paresh Rawal’s impeccable comic timing and the iconic “Aloo Lelo, Kanda Lelo” sequence – Welcome had some genuinely uproarious moments. No wonder, the film was not just a huge box office success but also went on to become one of the most loved films on television that continues to garner great TRPs till date.
Eight years later, Bazmee comes with an absolute charade in the name of a sequel. There seems to be no genuine creative impetus or even an honest motive behind making Welcome Back, apart from the obvious urge for financial windfalls. Welcome Back has a plot that is so hackneyed, loop-ridden and even ridiculous at places that it makes a motley bunch of talented actors look like buffoons. Imagine yourself silently cursing Naseeruddin Shah towards the end because he and his uninspiring portrayal of ‘Wanted Bhai’ does nothing apart from stretching an already dreadfully boring film. Ditto for someone like Dimple Kapadia who does not know what she is supposed to do or the poor comeback man Shiney Ahuja who is put into a predictable and pointless role.
Poor Story, Screenplay and Direction:
The film’s story itself is a spin-off from its prequel’s plot with a couple of inexplicable son and daughter discoveries being used to repackage the old, worn-out drama. This time around Uday and Majnu bhai (Nana Patekar and Anil reprising their roles) take up the task of marrying off their yet another sister (Shruti Haasan) to a seedha and shareef man as the gangsters themselves have become good guys and settled down in Dubai. In their quest for a perfect groom, they yet again cross paths with Dr Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal) who has his own ‘son discovery’ to deal with. Ajju Bhai or Ajay (John Abraham) is Dr. Ghungroo’s step-son and a dreaded Mumbai gangster. Uday and Majnu themselves are in awe of a petite young thug (debutante Ankita Shrivastava) who along with her mother (Dimple Kapadia) pose as princess and queen of Najafgarh.
Welcome Back’s screenplay is over-complicated and overcrowded to a point that it annoys you. There are too many worthless sub-plots in the film and actors come into and go out of the frame on their will (you can’t imagine what they do with Rajpal Yadav’s character). Anees Bazmee is not an auteur in the genre of comedy but Welcome Back definitely pitches him at par with someone like Sajid Khan and his brand of intelligence-insulting humor. I am all game for lowbrow and leave-your-mind-at-home kind of comedy but a film like Welcome Back takes the audiences for granted and only tries to cash in (and eventually destroys) the existing goodwill for its prequel.
Wasted Ensemble Cast:
The biggest disservice by Anees Bazmee is probably how he assembles such fine actors and lets that advantage fritter away. Not just that, he replaces the very likeable lead pair of Akshay-Katrina from the prequel with an odd and insipid jodi of John Abraham and Shruti Haasan. John Abraham tries to bulldoze his Shootout at Wadala act here but fails miserably. His contributions to the film end with his 10 packs, a good-looking face and a new found, weird baritone during dialogue delivery. Shruti Haasan, on the other hand, delivers such an amateurish performance that you wonder why is she in the film, or worse why is she into acting.
Ankita Shrivastava, the debutante who is there in the film to wear skimpy clothes and deliver dialogues like a 10-year old, is a bizarre choice for the role of a temptress. She tries too hard but does not achieve an iota of what Mallika Sherawat did effortlessly in Welcome. And also, the girl is way too young to be singing tacky songs with Nana and Anil who look like her granddads. Dimple Kapadia is cast in a role that gives her no scope whatsoever. Shiney Ahuja makes an entrance post interval and does a few predictable screechy scenes before falling in line with the film’s overall tediousness. Naseeruddin Shah fails to be a worthy replacement for the Late Firoz Khan and I will not mince words in saying that he is plain bad in the film. He might be a great actor otherwise but there is no harm in calling a spade a spade when there is a need.
Nana and Anil Salvage Some Pride:
Welcome Back’s only saving grace is the delectable duo of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor. The two veterans are in the same old form and try hard to salvage the pride despite being handicapped by poorly-written dialogues (Raj Shandaliya). Despite all the lacuna, there’s a memorable sequence in a graveyard where Nana and Anil play Antakshari with the ghosts. This one scene underscores the incredible chemistry that the two share as affable goons and makes you wonder how a good script would have allowed these two to come into their elements. It’s a shame that Anees Bazemee wastes the potential of two fine characters and two great actors by making what is easily a lesser of sequel. Similarly, Paresh Rawal, who sparkled as Dr. Ghungroo in the previous installment, is undone by sheer lack of witty one-liners that were a trademark of his character.
Outrageous Music and Tacky VFX:
Welcome Back perhaps features the most outrageous songs that I have had the misfortune of hearing to in recent times. Songs pop out of nowhere through the film and they are resplendent with horrible lyrics (Band kamre mein 20-20 hua!), suggestive dance moves and horrendous choreography. You would want to close your eyes and ears in disgust while these songs are bombarded on you without any prior warning. Do I need to say more?
As if the entire, almost 3-hour long film was not torturous enough, Welcome Back also has an inexplicable climax featuring hordes of camels, choppers, dessert gypsies, aircraft bombs and a sandstorm. The CGI of the sandstorm is a throwback to the 80s and it makes the special effects of a film like Hisss look good.
Welcome Back is an unbearable film that mocks your intelligence, breaches all the thresholds of stupidity and redefines the contempt with which many mainstream filmmakers treat their audiences these days. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor try hard but fail to save this sinking ship and you dearly miss the good old Akhsay Kumar who was the rock-solid anchor of Welcome.
Do yourself a favor and do not watch Welcome Back. You, I and all of us deserve much better.
Rating: * (1/5) – Poor
Finding Fanny is an English language film, and I am always suspicious and wary of such endeavors where characters speak ‘well-written’ English dialogue. The dialogues always try to be natural, but unless actors are adept enough, the movie becomes a tedious watch. I am sure more than half the scripts of Bollywood are written originally in English, and then translated to Hindi. Few of them like Delhi Belly and now Finding Fanny manage to come out in their original intended form, but still I always prefer the Hindi.Continue reading “Finding Fanny Movie Review: Finding Fantasy”
Language : English | Running Time : 93 Minutes | Director : Homi Adajania
In the middle of a Goan village that you can’t find on a map, we have mavericks living life like in a R.K. Narayan story but with an oddball twist to it. Homi Adajania, whose first film “Being Cyrus” shouted “Look, I am different” returns after the more typical Bollywood box office venture “Cocktail” and “Finding Fanny” is as unconventional as his debut feature was.
Finding Fanny breathes with eccentricity. This time Adajania creates a typical Bollywood comedy and sets it in English and that too in a remote Goan village. These are enough to set apart his film from the rest and he rides the coattails of language, the R.K Narayan environment of his characters and village to give Finding Fanny its “I am different” call.Continue reading “Finding Fanny (2014) Movie Review: Finding Love, Bollywood Style”
Note– This happens to the 500th Post on MAM. We at MAM thank all our authors and readers for their support and look forward to your continued patronage.
After moving in and out of the hospital in recent weeks Rajesh Khanna aka Kakaji finally passed away earlier today (18 July). Ever since the recent Havells commercial came out there has been a lot of talk about Rajesh Khanna. Everyone had a word or two to talk about the ad and as to whether R.Balki had done the right thing or not in making the commercial. Continue reading “Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin: R.I.P Rajesh Khanna”
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia
Directed by Homi Adajania
Cocktail plays out every bit like an Imtiaz Ali film. The characters strike an unlikely friendship only to realize by mid-way mark that they have come tumbling a flight of stairs falling in love. Now they need to win the love, even if it requires a certain amount of air miles to go globetrotting. In fact I am not even sure whether Imtiaz did write anything here. Producers Saif and Dinesh, for all you know, may have just borrowed the director’s work from Socha Na Tha and framed a script around it.
Though in theory Cocktail may be just another Bollywood love triangle, by roping in director Homi Adajania (Being Cyrus), there is certainly a difference in the treatment. It maybe foreign shores, but out goes the Karan Johar style eye candy treatment and in comes a more Indie approach. Scenes play out with hardly any background score. The initial scenes where we are introduced to the characters are also off beat as they all are just thrown into the turmoil from the word ‘go’.
Obviously the plot is a no brainer. But anyways, here goes.
Meera (Diana) lands up in London in search of her husband (Randeep Honda) but soon learns that she is a victim of a ‘hoax marriage’. In comes rich clubbin’ partying Veronica (Deepika) who feels sorry for this poor thing and decides to bring the stranger home and share the apartment with her. The two contrasting personalities gels real well until a one night stand with super flirt Gautam results in all the three now under the same roof.
Now Gautam, the bloke who can woo any lady with the cheesiest of lines, have managed to keep his pestering mother at bay by convincing her that he has found a perfect ‘bahu’ types in London. The trouble starts when his mother (Dimple) herself lands in London to check the girl out. Given the situation on hand and knowing the mother will be displeased with Veronica, Gautam declares that Meera is the girl he has chosen.
The lies come thick and fast, but everyone plays along. And then, as is the norm in these flicks, the games get serious. Gautum now finds Meera to be ‘the one’, and expects Veronica to understand. Despite sleeping with a load of them, little does he know women!
Though the first half starts off shaky, it manages to get some steam and by interval, it finds its own rhythm. However in the latter half, the comic moments take a back seat and emotions and melodrama is thrust ahead in full gear. It is here where the film begins to take a beating. The plot points are the usual and though the characters are given a different shade, it still ends up too predictable. So eventually you are watching the same ol’ melodramatic episode play out.
The heavy second half also turns to be the movie’s biggest folly because it does not turn out to be ‘safe’ with this Khan. His strength lies in his impeccable comic timing, but as he tries to steer himself into the lover boy territory, of say Shahrukh Khan, he is found wanting. Irrespective of the tears he drains, one finds it hard to buy the character and its genuineness. When you do not feel for the central character, it becomes difficult to stay engaged in his sufferings. And the lack of chemistry between Saif and Diana also adds to the woe.
However Deepika Padukone is going to walk away with the applause. Not only does she look hot, but for the first time, she actually manages to perform in a rather complicated role. This film shows that she has improved by leaps and bounds. Though may not be as strong, Diana Penty looks and plays the part mighty impressively. The gals bond quite well and it is their chemistry that eventually stands tall. And you do realize how little of ‘girl bonding’ we get in Bollywood flicks. Not the kind of glossy ‘Aisha’ types but something more heartfelt.
Scenes are unevenly played out, and the tempo sags every now and then. However the first half plays to the strengths of the performers and therefore manages to keep the audience hooked. Saif’s Sheela Ki Jawani act is sure to bring the house down. Boman Irani as his uncle and Dimple Kapadia as the mother are both a hoot! In fact, the superb comic timings of the actors ensure a smooth flow of things. Randeep Honda is a much better actor to be wasted in an insignificant role as that.
Pritam’s music is another important ingredient in this cocktail mix. The tracks are already a hit and are effectively used in the film as well. One is sure to enjoy ‘ Daru Desi’ and ‘Tum hi bandhu’ on the big screen, it is ‘Jugni’ that really makes a lasting impression.
The film will stand apart though for its treatment. Homi does give the film a bolder voice and approach. It is a welcome change to the age old formula, no doubt. And it is one of those rare flicks of this genre that has some well defined female characters, who get ample scope to evolve while the guy takes the back seat. And thankfully, both the DPs does not disappoint there.
With the movie heavily promoted as a feel good romcom, one may find Cocktail suffering from not being that. A heavy and dreary second half pulls down the film and makes it a rather average fare. Yes, it does have its moments. But it all never really adds up. But if you do watch, do stay on for the outtakes as the credits roll. They do make up for it to a certain extent.
Director Homi Adajania and Saif Ali Khan had worked together in a rather interesting but experimental film, Being Cyrus which released in 2006. Now 6 years later they re-unite to come up with Cocktail, a tale of 3 friends played by Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and newcomer Diana Penty. C0-starring Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia ( as Saif’s parents ), Cocktail has music by Pritam and is produced by Illuminati Films ( run by Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan ).
Cocktail is due for release on July 13th and till then do check out the interesting trailer of the film. And do let us know what you think about the trailer in the comments section.
Rajesh Khanna has undone himself long back. He had no pressing need to do the new Havells ad and cut the sorry figure yet again for himself. Yet the evanescent sense of erstwhile glory prompted him to appear in his werewolf avatar in the latest TV commercial. He looks a wreck, almost dinosaur in his relevance, at best an object of abject ridicule.
There seems no pressing financial need to do the same. His son in law Akshay Kumar is one of the biggest present stars in the Hindi film firmament. Yet he could not say no to the allure of limelight, however, ludicrous and ephemeral it is. The icon of yesteryears failed to realize that he was being used as a spoof of his former image. The first authorized superstar from this continent despite his failing health and ‘Hagar the horrible’ looks thought he could woo his fans back with this ‘fan’tastic excercize.
There was a time, women across the nation swooned at the very mention of his name. Guys used to emulate his Guru shirts and all mimics make a living simply by miming him. He had many choices after he had faced a string of flops. He was given a ticket by the Congress Party in 1992 for the Lok Sabha. He defeated the formidable rival L.K. Advani of the B.J.P to secure this seat. But to what avail. He remained ensconced with his retinue of time servers, and never took Parliament seriously. His films and TV shows bombed in a row. He caused consternation within his family. Dimple had not formally divorced him. Though she was in a relationship with Sunny Deol, Dimple took care of her ex husband in times of need, helping him to over-ride the pressing high expectations imposed by his misconstrued perception of ground reality.
Rajesh Khanna’s era was over with the rise of the Amitabh Bachchan persona. The others in that age group had their backbones broken. Ideally, the old star should have chosen to walk away into the sunset. But he wanted to hold on to a non-existent glory. As a consequence, he did a spate of meaningless failed TV shows and even a semi-porn film ‘Wafaa’ that was slated to be his umpteenth comeback vehicle. He never seemed to have realized the adage that “the good get interred with the bones”. There have been PH.D dissertations trying to deconstruct the myth of Khanna. Now he was allowing social commentators to sublimate him into the complete spoof space. He openly was displaying visible signs of neurosis. The supreme irony is none of his friends stood by him in these trying hours of his life. Though Dimple did try but to no avail. His family now stands with their heads hung hanging in shame seeing the circus clown act of the fallen man.
Stardom creates delusions of grandeur. But not all stars end up to such a bathetic scrutiny. Today all those who fanned his ego and created this phenomenon have disappeared. All that remains is a skeletal man lost in a hell of his own making.
It is indeed tragic to witness this spectacle. For the first time in my life I cried for a Hindi film hero was as a child seeing his immortal classic Anand. Kaka, as his fans and family called him, I truly wish you were gone.