Bollywood wakes up to the power of Digital as SonyLIV rolls out a new format of storytelling titled-‘Once Upon A Time with Vikram Bhatt’

Stories are more than just entertainment – they are a reflection of the cultures they come from,they can impact and alter the very way societies operate.It is to showcase the power these new-age stories through a video-based format that SonyLIV, the complete digital entertainment platform with content for audiences across genres,has partnered with acclaimed storyteller and director Vikram Bhatt for its latest offering, ‘Once Upon A Time with Vikram Bhatt’. Scheduled to go live on September 8, the 104-part web series will seevVikram Bhatt narrate some of his most popular self-written short stories on camera. Through this initiative, Vikram Bhattvwill be able to create relevant short-format content and strike the right chord with the millennials.Continue reading “Bollywood wakes up to the power of Digital as SonyLIV rolls out a new format of storytelling titled-‘Once Upon A Time with Vikram Bhatt’”

Hate Story 3 Movie Review: This One Deserves all the Hatred in Your Heart

There are some films which are so bad and unpalatable that you want to find the makers, hold them by their collars and whisper in their ears, “Thank you! That was so disgusting, I actually kind of liked it!” Hate Story 3 falls under this rare, coveted category – nauseating and headache-inducing to such an extent that you want to thank God for all the good things in your life.Continue reading “Hate Story 3 Movie Review: This One Deserves all the Hatred in Your Heart”

Mr. X (2015) Movie Review: Invisible Script

Emraan Hashmi is one actor who can do both an A grade film and a B grade film with ease, very few actors can do that. Emraan has been experimenting with his roles over the last two years, but the results have not been favourable. Hi last two films despite being what you’d call as typical commercial films, failed to garner moolah at the box office.

Most of us are familiar with H.G.Wells novel (The Invisible Man), it remains a perennial favourite among generations, and Bollywood has already made a few as far as I know in which the leading man turns invisible. Of these my personal favourite is Gayab, I prefer it over the much loved Mr. India.Continue reading “Mr. X (2015) Movie Review: Invisible Script”

Hate Story 2 Movie Review : Inconsistent, But Better Than You Expect It To Be

I did not like Vivek Agnihotroi’s Hate Story (produced by Vikram Bhatt), which came a couple of years ago, largely because the film looked like a massive exercise in selling shock and sleaze, making the revenge saga go tediously trashy and unbelievable. Vishal Pandya’s Hate Story 2 is only a sequel by virtue of its brand name, but tells a new story all together with a new cast. But the covert revelation is that this one is not half as bad. Yes, contrary to the popular belief, Hate Story 2 is not easily hated, despite being an old concoction served in a new glass. Continue reading “Hate Story 2 Movie Review : Inconsistent, But Better Than You Expect It To Be”

Ragini MMS 2 Movie Review : A Moronic Film Sold to the World Like Gold

Ekta Kapoor’s Ragini MMS 2 is a very smart film. Smart not because it is made like one, but it is sold like one. What does a child do when he has to face his parents after making a mistake at school? He tries to pretend that nothing ever happened and behaves extra sweet to his dad or mom. But Balaji Telefilms/ALT Entertainment completely forgot that the dads may not always be that naïve. And I am the worst dad possible, the one who calls up the teacher every day to check up what the kid did in school. So yes, the two promotional songs became a raging success and I was promised double the fun of the first film, hereby accepting that I did like the first film in parts. But hey, this one is a bunch of junk, and even showing Sunny Leone’s junk cannot redeem it.

Continue reading “Ragini MMS 2 Movie Review : A Moronic Film Sold to the World Like Gold”

Insidious: Chapter 2 Movie Review: Breaks the Horror Sequel Myth, Well Almost

It was supposed to be a wonderful weekend for horror/supernatural thriller enthusiasts in India with James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2,Priyadarshan’s Geethanjali (Malayalam) and Deepan Chakravarthy’sPizza II: The Villa (Tamil), all in theatres right now. James Wan who shot to fame with Saw has been in great form of late with Insidious (2011) and this year’s surprise hit, The Conjuring. This is a space where typically with the success of a film the makers tend to think of extending the success further by going in for a sequel and/or developing it into a franchise of sorts. Unfortunately like the 2nd half syndrome that we all are aware of, there is also the sequel syndrome that very few filmmakers, especially those working in the horror/supernatural thriller are able to escape from. So how well then does Insidious: Chapter 2 (Insidious 2 from hereon) fare and does it extend the successful run of James Wan at the box office is what I set out to look at while watching Insidious 2.Continue reading “Insidious: Chapter 2 Movie Review: Breaks the Horror Sequel Myth, Well Almost”

Race 2 Movie Review : Is it Race 2 or Race Thoo?

Race 2 - Hindi Movie PosterNot being content with making a terribly clichéd and Indianised version of The Italian Job called Players, Abbas Mustan felt that they needed a film much more worse, which would give them the personal satisfaction of having sunk into abysmally low depths of creativity. Hence they return with Race 2, a film that makes Players and Race seem like classics in comparison. Sure, originality has never been a USP of their films, but their films did make for fun-viewing in the past, with movies like Baazigar, Khiladi, Soldier et al.

In an Abbas Mustan universe, rooted far away from reality, anything and everything is possible as shown in Race 2. The characters are living a life any Indian would dream of while living abroad. In Abbas Mustan’s universe, Indians have captured Europeans and other foreign nations and the local residents of these countries are being subjected to a life of slavery by Indians. That is the prime reason why every other extra you see in Race 2 is a firang. These foreign extras clap, smile, walk stiff, gush on seeing John Abraham, act scared and do whatever they are instructed. Perhaps their biggest USP is they also dance quite well! Now that also takes care of the issue of background dancers for the songs.

Now this really tempts me to make Pakya Unchained: A film based on slavery of the fair-skinned foreigners by Indians.

And guess what, it seems like Hindi has been a part of the curriculum of these foreign nationals since adolescence and hence they possess a very good understanding of the language. Which is why you see them clap, get excited and go ooh, aah & wow  when Deepika announces in Hindi that she and John have acquired a chain of casinos.

In the 70’s, you had vamps such as Bindu who seductively emerged out of a pool clad in bikini, mingle among champagne-sipping goons, look focused during an important discussion and look forward to give her valuable inputs. Nothing much has changed, Deepika still surfaces from water clad in two piece. sits with John and Saif during an important conversation with an I-pad for company, all the while looking for a chance to make intelligent contributions to the discussion.

People still live in palatial houses, which could easily accommodate 2-3 suburbs of Mumbai. Moreover, these houses have installed more than a dozen display monitors and cameras for surveillance. From this day on, I have sworn to target such places. For they shall help me achieve the “sales target” for my entire office in a snap (we’re in the business of display monitors).

When Manmohan Desai’s films of yore such as Parvarish had scenes showing people  cheat in card games with the help of X-ray goggles and other tricks, we mere mortals laughed blatantly at its absurdity. Yet, only technology whizkids like Mustan brothers and the writers of Race 2 had the farsightedness to understand the futuristic vision of Manmohan Desai. This is why you see Deepika sporting glares which scans the opponent’s cards for John Abraham during a game of poker. Of course the micro chip sensors and other technical jargon makes it seem more relevant. I am sure the makers of the film must have taken the help of Google, Dell Intel and other such industry giants to display this scene of pure technical genius.

Saif Ali Khan has still not recovered from the failure of Agent Vinod. Which is why you see him in Race 2, doing what could be extending his role from Agent Vinod. He is a master in archery, boat riding, fencing and every other sport imaginable under the sun. Oh, did I forget to mention that he also transforms into a master thief in this film?

John Abraham is, well, just John Abraham and does an efficient job of looking angry, intense and cunning. All of which seem similar and resembles his trademark look (or rather, the constipated look). He also pays homage to Robot, Hulk, Iron man and other such characters during the song sequences with his stiffness and robotic movements. The only time he appears natural is during the end scene – (Spoiler alert for those still interested in watching this film 🙂 ) when he justifies his motive for killing Bipasha Basu (yes she has a silly cameo in the film). John incorporates quite an amount of anger and pain while enacting this scene, which he must have experienced after his very public separation from Bipasha Basu.

Jacqueline Fernandez and Deepika Padukone do nothing much in the film apart from looking hot and mouth inane dialogues throughout. Whenever a movie requires an actor to play the role of a don who has nothing to do, Aditya Pancholi is there.

Amisha Patel’s desperation to salvage her nonexistent career post some really forgettable films and a failed love affair with Vikram Bhatt is quite visible. If her role and exposure of skin in the film is an indication, then she is ready to pop her cherry with anyone provided she is offered a film in exchange.

If you thought Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol saw Anil Kapoor at his worst, then you are wrong. Race 2 tops Kapoor’s hall of shame in recent times. His narration in the beginning of the film only adds to the misfortune of watching this film and his atrocious performance. For the sake of the viewers’ sanity and his own reputation, Anil Kapoor seriously needs to re-strategise his career.

Writer Shiraz Ahmed and dialogue writer Kiran Kotrial need to find a place in the Indian hall of grindhouse fame for the absurd screenplay and the cheesy dialogues. Kotrial surely owes his talent to the Kanti Shah School of Filmmaking which is very much visible in the dialogues he has penned for the film.

Sample these – ‘ Cherry, I don’t have the time to pop your cherry’

‘Hai toh Half sister, but hai wohh full shaani’

‘Wohh gayi tel lene – yaane ek Arab ke saath bhaag gayi’

In fact, all the dialogues of the film would make for a fun read if compiled in a single book- preferably a toilet paper edition. The Indian censor board which deems The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo unfit for a theatrical release in India despite an Adults certificate seems no harm in giving Race 2 and other such films a U/A certificate despite the crude content in it. Clearly some foul play is at work here.

Much like the well starched white shirts, Abbas-Mustan surely need to cleanse their minds before they venture to make their next monstrosity of a film.

I don’t make any resolutions for the New Year as I generally don’t believe in it. But, I am now making a resolution of staying away from watching every other potential 100 crore mindblaster this year in theaters like I used to do earlier before the beginning of MAM, as it very essential for the sake of retaining my sanity and for the cause of good cinema.

The Worst of Bollywood: 2012

Frankly, this is one article I look forward to writing each year. It takes a great deal of patience and hard research to compile this list, but in the end it’s all worth it. Just in case you are wondering, a few Hall of Famers do not qualify. That includes RGV and other Jokers. They transcend all such lists. Hope you enjoy reading about the others, as I have enjoyed writing about them.

Kachche Players

Abbas-Mustan, who have made a career out of borrowing from Hollywood, make their first ‘official’ remake – of The Italian Job. The budget seems to be in place, but the execution is crappy. A bunch of bad actors, who keep calling each other “Player” to justify the film’s title, combine their individual expertise to rob a moving train. This movie is a prime example of why Indian thrillers are ages behind their Hollywood counterparts.

Ugh-neepath

Although there is no ranking, I would rate this one as the worst of the lot. In the limited space provided, I wonder if I’ll be able to do sufficient injustice to it. To begin with, the story itself is flawed. In the first scene, the villain kills the hero’s father. In the last scene the hero avenges his death. He does this single-handedly and without any special aid. Then why was the rest of the movie made? Horrible, hammy performances grate on the nerves and script inconsistencies, make you, the viewer, look like a fool. I barely liked the original Agneepath, but this one gives commercial cinema a bad name.
Interesting, this film also revealed the hypocrisy of our Health Ministry in one stoke. Whenever, Katrina Kaif smoked during the Chikni Chameli song, there was a statutory warning at the bottom of the screen. No such caveat when Sanjay Dutt merrily puffed away a chillum in the same song.


Jism Thoo

I can’t decide which is more funny, the preposterous story or the bad acting. In order to spy on a rogue police officer, his former lover is ensnared. Another officer on the trail and the lover hire an apartment bang opposite where the rogue is staying hoping he will notice. He doesn’t. So finally, the lover has to walk up to his door and knock. Sheesh. The story is just an excuse to ‘show’-case Sunny Leone. But audiences have already seen more of her in her earlier, errr, features. An early Pooja Bhatt shows no signs of being an early Mahesh Bhatt.

Weak Tha Tiger

The mindless Salman Khan entertainer attempts to do something intelligent and fails. Primarily because then Salman does not fit the bill. A RAW agent falls for an ISI agent and they plan to elope and settle in marital bliss. Sounds like an interesting premise, but the film is far from it. Totally unimaginative and boring. Hard to believe this is coming from the director of Kabul Express.

Bore Bachchan

Bol Bachchan ke actors…..characters!
Bol Bachchan ki story…….chori!
After using the title for three films, Rohit Shetty finally decides to use Golmaal’s premise as well. The trouble is both Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan are bad at slapstick. In recent memory, Anil Kapoor has already used the faulty English routine in Tashan to disastrous effect. Why repeat that silly formula again? OK, I did smile a couple of times but that’s about it.

Raaz Cheee
Another lame attempt by Vikram Bhatt to scare you. This one is so bad I don’t even think it’s a copy. Bollywood horror films are stuck in a rut using same old themes of vengeful spirits. Why, one of them even enticed Aamir Khan this year.

Son of Sardard
This is a remake of a Telugu film, Maryada Ramanna which itself borrows its story from Our Hospitality, a Buster Keaton classic. While the mindless Salman Khan film provided bang for the buck early on, the Ajay Devgan counterpart has already run out of steam. And Sonakshi Sinha better contemplate a career more meaty than acting as the foil in most of them. This one also has the worst choreographed action scenes of the year.

Kab Tak Hai Yawn
8 years ago, Yash Chopra announced his retirement with Veer-Zaara and I was saddened. A brilliant career had come to an end with a whimper. So when he came out of retirement (they all do) for JTHJ, my hopes were up again, and were dashed with equal force. This is a bad, bad movie. And the de facto retirement will ensure that this remains the swan song. Shah Rukh Khan does odd jobs in London where he falls for Katrina. Due to reasons too childish to explain, he has to abandon her and return to India where he becomes a bomb disposal expert. A job he presumably found on naukri.dom. Enter Anushka Sharma, still bubbly hence annoying as the documentary film maker making a film on our bomb disposer. Circumstances lead him back to London and then, the ultimate film cliché…a convenient memory loss. If it’s a YashRaj film, SRK will be SRK. Be it anyone’s film, Katrina will be Katrina. Her lips will move, eyes blink alone and neck won’ tilt at all. That’s her acting for you. But the No. 1 disappointment – the Gulzar / A. R. Rahman combination does not give you a single song worth remembering.

DaJunk 2
For me, the year ended with this monstrosity of a movie. Critics often dismiss bad movies saying that it has no story to speak off. It has never been truer than it is for this one. Just stock chracters – hero, heroine, villain, supporting characters, an item girl and their interplay. Plenty of effete action and dumb comedy. After watching this, if you are still a Salman Khan fan, all I can say is…his 100 crore plus career has a bright future.

Bollywood Double Bill – Raaz 3 – 3D and Joker Movie Review

When the Bhatt’s had released Raaz in 2002, the horror genre was nearly defunct in Bollywood. The movie which was a lift of Hollywood hit What Lies Beneath, featured Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea and it was the second biggest hit of the year. Vikram Bhatt who directed the initial Raaz has continued to find success in this genre with movies such as Haunted and 1920 doing well at the Box Office. The second installment of Raaz franchise was directed by Mohit Suri and featured Emraan Hashmi in the lead and interestinglyContinue reading “Bollywood Double Bill – Raaz 3 – 3D and Joker Movie Review”