Saturday, 25 January 2014

JAI HO :: Movie Review

Although,much was expected from Jai Ho but unfortunately it has turned out to be an outdated, cliched, ham fisted attempt at a hero fighting for the common man. Salman, plays an Hulk Hogan version of Arvind Kejriwal who bashes up corrupt politicians, saves damsels in distress, writes exams for amputees, helps injured beggars, restores lost children to their parents. Jai Ho has tried to reach a new milestone in marriage between boredom and non-sense. It is strictly hackneyed fare about a wronged man who goes berserk in his mission to rid his own life – and that of the nation – of a very powerful tormentor. He growls at the film’s halfway point: the aam aadmi is a sleeping tiger; don’t provoke him or else…Should we say jai ho to that? We might have felt inclined to lend our voices to that cry of jubilation if only the film had a little more to offer by way of common sense. Jai Ho is a sluggish film with a preponderance of action sequences thrown in at regular intervals. It also has a painfully pedestrian romantic track (involving a girl whose unmentionables form an integral part of the storyline). But a superstar vehicle that runs on a single wheel – even if that wheel happens to be box office dynamo Salman Khan – cannot go very far. The other three wheels of Jai Ho – story, screenplay and characters – are terribly wobbly.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                              :          The story for the movie has been penned down by A. R. Murugadoss but i was unable to figure out a storyline throughout the movie's playtime. It is only an armory of characters, situations and fight scenes that compile the whole movie.  The male protagonist of Jai Ho, suspended army officer Major Jai Agnihotri, is a comic-strip superhero that resembles a runaway armoured tank rather than a recognizable human being. But he is no ordinary do-gooder. He doesn’t take a mere ‘thank you' for a response. He exhorts the grateful beneficiaries of his acts of bravery to keep the spirit going by helping three other people each. Make no mistake, Major Jai Agnihotri is no Gandhian crusader, and the only method that he is comfortable with is sickeningly violent. Evil is rife in the form of bad politicians, policemen and goons and hell hath no fury like a Salman Khan scorned.  The Jai Ho plot has one upright policeman, one well-meaning politician, one henchman who has a change of heart, one auto-rickshaw driver who goes out of his way to be of help, a reformed alcoholic and, of course, an prim and proper elder sister who espouses all the right values.  Even, die hard Salman fans will be bored to death with the painfully drab romantic subplot  between Sallu Bhai & Daisy Shah. Apart from this we have jokes about women's underwear, horny neighbourhood MILF'S and excessive usage of Gujarati word Gando. As if not enough, you have to suffer artificial emotional wrangling and above all even Army tanks come on streets to save Bhai. That is when you begin to say, " God save us from Boredom ". 

STARCAST                                                    :         As a casting director Mukesh Chhabra has made Jai Ho a virtual parade of actors whose movie careers are in desperate need of assistance – Ashmit Patel, Yash Tonk, Mohnish Behl, Nauheed Cyrusi, Tulip Joshi, Bruna Abdullah, Sana Khan, Aditya Pancholi, Sharad Kapoor, Varun Badola, Santosh Shukla,Sudesh Lahiri  and the like. Each of them gets his or her few flashes of fame in the film. But eventually none of them rises above the din to be seen and heard which is expected as its Salman's movie, after all . When Salman Khan flexes his muscles and bellows with all his might, nobody stands a chance in hell of standing out. Undoubtedly,this is one of Salman's better performances and if the movie fares well, it will be cause of him only. As the female lead, Daisy Shah has played the pesky girl next-door who keeps barging into Salman’s sprawling household comprising of any number of kins and their visitors/lovers/associates and has given very average performance. Tabu, whom we have seen onscreen after a while has fared well as per her character. Mahesh Thakur as Salman's bro in law has done well and so has Mahesh Manjrekar as an auto driver. Danny Denzongpa has been wasted and could have been utilized more. Mukul Dev has looked good in his brief appearnce as a baddie and gets to hit all over by Salman. But two actors stand out : One is Nadira Babbar as Salman's mother who has delivered an outstanding performance and other is Pulkit Samrat as a honest cop. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                    :      The credit for the music of this flick has been given to Sajid-Wajid, Amal Mallik and Devi Sri Prasad. The irony is that despite of so many music composers having composed the songs are close to being unbearable - it seems as if they are punching our ears with cactus embroidered gloves. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography and Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score are almost affable extensions of Salman’s messianic hero-giri. The visuals and the sound nail his crusade down to a cohesive if not comprehensive cinematic statement. The movie has been edited by Ashish Amrute who has kept the run-time to 2 hours 23 minutes which seems a bit too long. To his credit director Sohail Khan has spun a credible and often compelling anti-corruption yarn that succeeds in justifying the need for Salman’s stardom to monopolize the entire length and breadth of the footage but His rhetorical rowdyism brings the house down. There is an unmistakable sense of desperation in Jai Ho as if the the director has tried to put in every available commercial trick including characters to hold on to audience's interest.

CONCLUSION                                              :          Jai Ho tries to make for an engaging if somewhat incomplete view of present-day corruption-ridden India. Seize the moment, and you’ll probably make a difference to society...This is the mantra Salman adopts in Jai Ho. This formula of instant socio-political remedy seems quite appealing, though the vigilante insinuations are also dangerous. So, overall it comes out as a very inconsistent piece of cinema.

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, Jai Ho time travels back to the ’80s and delivers an outdated, clichéd and ham-fisted attempt at showing a hero fighting for the common man. Bhai plays Jai, a Hulk Hogan version of Arvind Kejriwal, who fights corrupt politicians, saves damsels in distress; helps injured beggars, amputees write exams; restores kidnapped children to their parents and beats up goons who dare to lay a hand on his sister (Tabu).

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Jai Ho time travels back to the ’80s and delivers an outdated, clichéd and ham-fisted attempt at showing a hero fighting for the common man. Bhai plays Jai, a Hulk Hogan version of Arvind Kejriwal, who fights corrupt politicians, saves damsels in distress; helps injured beggars, amputees write exams; restores kidnapped children to their parents and beats up goons who dare to lay a hand on his sister (Tabu).

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Saturday, 11 January 2014

DEDH ISHQIYA : Movie Review

Dedh Ishqiya is one of those rare movies that genuinely engulfs your mind and grips you into the cinematic proceedings right from the word go & the first shot. Thematically, the movie casts its net far wider and comes up with striking insights into the flaws and foibles of people who haven't lost their flair for the flashy despite their lives having hit the skids. When i personally am despirited by the crassly sexist ethos that governs Hindi films today, Dedh Ishqiya is one of the films i like to think of as out of the blues.  Just to hear the roguish, duplicitous characters walk the talk in this flick is a pleasure beyond the ordinary. Make no mistake, Dedh Ishqiya walks many extra miles beyond expectations and negotiates a nawabi era long gone. And, it does so with a bracing bewildering beguiling blend of aristocratic arrogance and ironic humility. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                     :       The credit for writing the story and screenplay has been shared by Abhishek Chaubey, Vishal Bhardwaj & Drab Farooqui. Each neatly constructed sequence leads unto the next flawless sequence without leaving any creases behind. Rarely is a Hindi flick as mischievously besotted with wordplay. Chaubey has master word smiths Vishal Bhardwaj & Gulzar alongside him, making for a script that balances words as deftly -- as a knife-juggler with a case of hiccups. Coming to the storyline, In this sequel, Vidya Balan is history and the two men, Khalujaan & Babban have new targets, Rather Khalujan has set his sights upon Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), the gorgeous widow of a nawab. Begum Para has announced her intention to remarry. It's a swaymavara with a difference and Khalujan shows up as a contender,pretending to be a poetic nawab. There is also another serious contender in the form of Jaan Mohammad (Vijay Raaz) who is a local politician and is ready to do anything to marry Begum including kidnapping a poet and killing Khalujan and Babban. Fluttering through this central plot are a prized necklace worth a fortune, a plot to abduct begum, the sly stratagems of Begum's companion Munira (Huma qureshi) and a shayar named Italvi played by Manoj Pahwa. Not to forget, Babban who gets smitten by Munira and falls for her. There are no ingenuous twists and the screenplay keeps you hooked till the very end.

STARCAST                                                       :       One must give due credit to the casting director i.e. Honey Trehan as one of the reasons the movie works wonderfully well is because of the consistently high order performances delivered by the cast. Naseeruddin Shah is great, wistful, dreamy and unashamedly wicked, chewing luxuriantly on the dialogues as if they came wrapped in betel-leaf. He captures the essence of worldly wise Khalujaan with the kind of acuity that only an actor of his proven calibre could have. It is difficult to take one's eyes off -screen when Madhuri Dixit is on it. She has played the part of Begum with exemplary ease and finesse and has proven why she is considered to be one of the finest actresses of Indian Celluloid. Arshad Warsi has always been instantly loveable, but he equips his character with a flammable fury that makes him very compelling indeed. He has again acted like a livewire who injects full-on-fizz into the proceedings without breaking into sweat. But it is Charming Huma Quresshi who once again steals your heart not only with her beautiful looks but her fiercely intelligent eyes which she uses to great effect as she keeps things unpredictable. And then there’s Vijay Raaz. Too often do we Hindi cinema audiences unfairly sideline villains and comedians, but here is a gem of a part, a truly meaty role -- the kind of character that, in a Hollywood film, would have been played by Christian Bale or Javier Bardem -- and Raaz sinks his teeth into it magnificently. Amongst the ensemble cast, Manoj Pahwa and Salman Shahid make themselves impressively indispensable with mere scraps of screen-time. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                      :        Undoubtedly, the pastiche that encompasses all the lunacy and decadence in Dedh Ishqiya is complemented by its splendidly evocative music by Vishal Bhardwaj. He has woven some real melodious tunes ranging from Honey Singh's rap song " Horn OK Please" to the enchanting " Dil Ka Mizaaz ".  Much of the credit for the dusky visuals of the film must go to the cinematographer of the movie i.e. Setu who has done his job exceedingly well. Working primarily with natural sources of light, Setu composes some truly remarkable images whose glow lingers long after they have played themselves out. But along with him, equal amount of credit must be given to Subrata Chakrabarty and Amit Ray for giving authentic nawabi and textured look to the movie. A. Sreekar. Prasad, as the editor of the movie has kept the proceedings real tight and keeps you engrossed in the proceedings despite a little stretched out ending. Kudos to Writer and director Abhishek Chaubey for following up his rompy revenge caper Ishqiya (2010) with a sequel like Dedh Ishqiya, a terrific entertainer about friendships and the ways in which human beings bind for solace and dreams.

WOW MOMENTS                                                :              The duel between Kanpuri poet and Jaan Mohammad, a man with Nawabi aspirations, is one of the best motifs of the movie, climaxing in hillariously campy sequence that could be titled " Vengenance of the poet ". Movie is filled with many delights : the repeated banters between Khalu & Babban, Khallu's efforts to woo Begum, Babban's typically brazen attempts to win Munira over, and of course the dangerous cat-and-mouse game that they all play with the unrelenting Jaan Mohammad.   

CONCLUSION                                                      :           The one thing that can be said with supreme certainty about Dedh Ishqiya is that you've never seen such a marriage of old-world charm and new-world subterfuge before. Dedh Ishqiya ia at least Dedh times more delectable, saucy, audacious and amorous than Ishqiya. It constructs the dynamics of love and redemption from the rubble of a lost world. 

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