Bollywood Grooves Movie Reviews

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					Bollywood Grooves Movie Reviews


Welcome to the Bollywood Grooves Movie Reviews page! This
month, we ask: is Jaideep Sen right in saying no current
Bollywood heroine can dance? Also, the monthly box office
report, a preview of the upcoming Bhootnath and we review
the latest release to hit the marquee, Tashan. Enjoy!




Bollywood Girls Can’t Dance?


To become a successful Bollywood actress, not only does one need to be able to
act (!) but also, the individual must be a competent dancer. Hindi cinema’s history
has many examples where a heroine was chosen for her dancing ability rather than
her acting capabilities. Never mind if the hero of the film has two left feet and
dances like a drunk uncle at a family wedding, the Bollywood heroine has always
had to be able to dance a range of styles, from classical to modern, whilst looking
beautiful and not breaking a sweat. Even in today’s times, where the heroine’s
contribution to a film has moved on from the two songs and four scenes routine to
fully fledged woman centric films, she is still required to shake a leg when duty
calls.




                                   Sridevi performs at last year’s Filmfare Awards




But despite this inherent need to be able to dance, according to Jaideep Sen,
director of Krazzy 4, most heroines these days just don’t come up to scratch. In a
recent interview with Bollywood gossip site indiatarget.com, he said:




“It is unfortunate that no actress in the present league is as good as dancing
queens of yesteryear, like Madhuri Dixit or Sridevi. We have a serious dearth of
quality dancing actresses now.”
                                   [Source: www.indiatarget.com, 16/04/08]
                      Madhuri Dixit in last year’s Aaja Nachle




Clearly damaging some fragile egos in the process, it would seem Jaideep has a
point. Even twenty years on, a Sridevi or Madhuri Dixit dance number passes the
test of time, whilst few numbers of recent years have really remained in the film
viewing public’s imagination. This can largely be put down to a change in the
industry with many dance numbers or “item numbers” (songs which usually feature
the flavour of the month in a dance number added into the film to help it fetch a
higher selling price and used as a major marketing point in the film’s promotion)
flooding the market, quickly dating in terms of content and look, only to be replaced
by the next big number.




                      Urmila in the Chamma Chamma item number from the film China Gate
                                      Preity Zinta (in red) dances in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom




In addition, some actresses may not be able to dance as they are too busy
concentrating on erm, actually acting. A case in point is Preity Zinta – starting as
an outsider to the industry, Preity’s rise to the A-list is marked by the quality films
she has done rather than any outstanding dance number. This is not to say Zinta is
a terrible dancer – indeed, her energetic Tera Rang Balle Balle in the film Soldier
was a huge hit – but it is her acting that makes her stand out from her
contemporaries and whilst dancing is essential to a Hindi movie, it is heartening to
see that good old acting skills have not been forgotten.




Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s dance numbers include Ishq Kamina, Kajra Re, and Nimbooda




But at the same time, one wonders if Jaideep Sen has ever heard of someone
called Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Right from her first ever scene in a Hindi movie,
Ash has proved she can dance and it was her dancing abilities that sustained her
career until she was able to prove herself as an actress. What’s more, her dancing
has gotten better as she goes along – watch her item number Ishq Kamina in the
film Shakti, her Nimbooda in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or even matching Madhuri
in the marvellous Dola Re from Devdas, and you’ll see a wonderful dancer who is
relevant for today’s times. Of course, it was in the now legendary Kajra Re number
from Bunty Aur Babli alongside husband and father in law Abisheikh and Amitabh
Bachchan that Aishwarya really came into her own.




But aside from Aishwarya and perhaps a few others (for example, Sushmita Sen or
Kareena Kapoor) it is a true fact that many of today’s heroines simply do not meet
the gold standard when it comes to dancing and this is a shame, not just for the
viewers but also for the history of Hindi cinema, as songs in films are one of the
main reasons Bollywood is such a unique industry and one hopes the current trend
for aping hip hop and gangsta rap videos (which are entirely inappropriate for
Bollywood) will pass and a return to the glorious dance numbers of yesteryear will
come around again.
Check out these dance numbers on www.YouTube.com or www.dailymotion.com
and decide for yourself whether the standard really has slipped. (Song titles in
italics, film name in bold).




              Sridevi
Mere Haathon Mein – Chandni
Hawa Hawai/ Karte Nahin Katay - Mr India
Chudiyan Khanak Gaye – Lamhe




                        Madhuri Dixit
Ek, do, teen – Tezaab
Choli Ke peeche – Khalnayak
Didi Tera Deva - Hum Aapke Hain Koun
Aaja Nachle - Aaja Nachle
And from today’s actresses:




                   Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Nimbooda - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Ishq Kamina – Shakti – The Power
Kajra Re - Bunty Aur Babli
Daaiyan Daaiyan – Dil Ka Rishta




                   Sushmita Sen
Mehboob Mere – Fiza
Chilman – Kisna
Laga Prem Rog – Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya




                  Kareena Kapoor
It’s Rocking – Kya Love Story Hain
You Are My Soniya – Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham
Yeh Mera Dil – Don – The Chase Begins (2006)




 Monthly Box Office Report




Films at the box office in April: U, Me aur Hum, Khuda Ke Liye, Tashan, and Race




After a quiet few months at the box office, April finally saw the release of a number
of films, with quite a few big budget films hitting the marquee. First off, was the film
One, Two, Three, a brainless, tiresome comedy that actually scored at the box
office, thanks to no competition and the audience’s penchant for comedy at the
moment. Two weeks later, there was a clash between the Ajay Devgan-Kajol
starrer U, Me Aur Hum and Krazzy 4, with the former being marketed as a more
quality product while the latter was another comedy aimed at the masses. Whilst
Krazzy 4 scored in the domestic market, it was U, Me Aur Hum that did well in the
overseas, including the UK, though neither film managed to meet expectations
overall.


April also saw the release of Khuda Ke Liye (For God’s Sake), a sensitive
Pakistani production about fundamentalism. The film received a great deal of critical
acclaim and met with a decent response at the multiplexes, which is quite
heartening and exciting for Bollywood as a whole, as it could see other Pakistani
films released in the Bollywood market and even lead to some more creative
collaborations between the two countries.


Meanwhile, March’s big release Race did very well, securing one of the biggest
opening weekends of all time and despite a drop in takings from the second week
onwards, has become the hit of the year so far, and has been classed as a super
hit. Race has also overtaken Jodhaa Akbar, which is still doing steady business,
though this is expected to finish up soon as the official DVD of the film hits stores
in India.




Finally, the biggest release of the month is Tashan, which so far has met with a
mixed response and has also been hampered by an argument between Yash Raj
Studios and some of the owners of India’s multiplex chains. However, there are
hopes the film will recover and given its red hot star cast and the Yash Raj banner,
there is every chance Tashan may just give Race a run for its money.




Film Preview


Bhootnath
Directed by: Vivek Sharma
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Aman Siddiqui, Juhi Chawla and Shah
Rukh Khan in a guest appearance


Who remembers Casper, the friendly ghost? No? Well, it looks like it’s time for a
refresher with the release of Bhootnath next month. Produced by Ravi Chopra who
made the excellent Baghbaan and the not so great Baabul, this family film has
started its promotional campaign and is being marketed as a family film, an often
neglected area in Bollywood but as some children’s films have hit the mark at the
box office, Bhootnath may just be the crossover film to satisfy all markets.


Bhootnath is the story of Banku (Aman Siddiqui) a young boy who moves into a
new house, only to discover it is haunted by a ghost called Bhootnath (played by
Amitabh Bachchan) a grumpy old ghost who doesn’t take to kindly to people
moving into the house and tries to scare them away, only to end becoming friends
with Banku, and they embark on a quest to help Bhootnath find salvation.
                               Amitabh Bachchan and Aman Siddiqui in Bhootnath.




Amitabh Bachchan is one of those actors (in the proper sense of the word) who
can always be relied upon to give a good performance, and certainly the promos
show he has been cast well. What has also interested the industry is Shah Rukh
Khan doing a guest appearance alongside Juhi Chawla. Juhi and Shah Rukh share
a great on-screen chemistry and certainly add to the star power of the film. After
his last production Baabul failed to connect with either the audience or critics,
despite being on a worthy subject (widow remarriage), Ravi Chopra will be hoping
for another hit. With no other big budget film releasing till June, Bhootnath may just
pull it off.


Bhootnath is on international release on 9th May 2008
(Scroll down to read the review of Tashan, the must
see film of the moment!!!)
Film Review


Tashan


Directed by: Vijay Krishna Acharaya
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and
Anil Kapoor.




The Ishtyle…The Good Luck…The Pharmoola…The Yash Raj
effect…The not making sense promotional strategy. If you’ve
been confused by the marketing for the latest Yash Raj
offering, you’re not alone. With perhaps one the most stealth
like PR campaigns seen in Bollywood, Tashan needed no
hype generated to whip Bollywood fans into a frenzy – but
does it score in tashan (style)?


Tashan has been making news a long time whilst it was in production and even
now it’s released, it continues to cause controversy as Yash Raj and the
multiplexes battle over who gets to make the most profit. As Yash Raj’s first
release of the year and the most unusual, there is a lot riding on Tashan. And to
start with, it looks like the clever but confusing marketing may just pay off.




Tashan is about a young call centre executive called Jimmy (Khan) who lives to
party and in his spare time teaches English to other aspiring call centre execs. He
meets Pooja (Kareena Kapoor) a young girl who convinces him to teach English to
her boss Bhaiyaji (Anil Kapoor), an aspiring mafia don who wants to learn to speak
English fluently. As Jimmy falls head over heels in love with Pooja, he is oblivious
to her real intentions until she goes on the run with Bhaiyaji’s money. Incensed,
Bhaiyaji hires Bachchan Pandey (Kumar) to go and find Jimmy and Pooja and
bring his money back. And so begins a road trip which changes everyone’s life.




Right from the stylish opening credits, it is clear director Krishna Acharya loves
films and everything to do with them. Whether it is the crazy action films Bollywood
produced in the 90’s with large action set pieces, the numerous references to older
films, Acharya not only pays homage to these but goes ahead to spoof them as
well. The film manages to create a world of its own, with highly stylised characters,
songs and sequences. The Yash Raj influence is also clear in the film – the clever
cinematography, the careful use of colour and the odd reference scattered here and
there to their previous work, the end result is just as slick and smooth as one
would expect. It will come as no surprise that Krishna Acharya wrote the screenplay
for the film Dhoom and the film is very much an entertainer.
This is not to say the film is without its flaws. The first half starts very well,
establishing the characters, setting up the story and moving briskly, to an interesting
interval. But the second half becomes bogged down by back story and too many
action sequences, which means the audience is exhausted by the denouement of
the film, and the film loses its impact at the end as a result. In addition, some of
the characterisation is inconsistent which affects the film’s credibility –in particular
Kareena’s character which switches from fly kicking gun toting femme fatale to
damsel in distress when attacked by a hose pipe (go figure) but also the others,
who seem to be given character development a little too late.




Performance wise, Saif Ali Khan is wasted in a role he could do with his eyes
closed – womaniser with a conscience. But he does show spark when in his
scenes with Akshay and Kareena, and one wishes he could have had a grittier role.
Kareena looks amazing, very much the Yash Raj heroine, even sporting regulation
bikinis and hot pants but whilst her sultry action girl is good, her more subtle
scenes lack that edge. Anil Kapoor also turns in an uneven performance, with his
performance veering between caricature and comedy. At some points of the film, he
is actually quite annoying whilst others he is funny but his role could have done
with tighter direction. It is Akshay Kumar who emerges triumphant – whether
playing the straight man to the comedy track, showing off his parkour (free running)
skills in the action sequences or revealing the shy side to his character, he easily
steals most of the scenes he is in and this film certainly will please Akshay’s fans
as well as the general audience.




Despite its flaws, Tashan is definitely worth a watch. The songs are well picturised
and the set pieces and sequences and editing also merit a mention in making the
film look amazing on the big screen. Also, this is one of those films that when it
gets it right, it really is a pleasure to watch. Whether the film will be the jinx
breaker for Yash Raj remains to be seen but if their other releases this year can
match Tashan, then Bollywood fans are certainly in for a treat.


BTW – You’ll notice the confusing promotional strategy hasn’t been explained. The
best way to try and understand it is to first think of Brad Pitt’s character in the Guy
Ritchie film Snatch. Then imagine him speaking Hinglish – a mixture of Hindi and
English. Now apply this profile to Anil Kapoor’s character, speaking in barely
comprehensible tones and convoluted English. From this, you get a language of its
own (a style if you will – ironic as Tashan means style (.)) And this is the film’s
USP. Geddit? No? Thought not. Just go and see the film and all will become
clear…
Visit the official website at www.yashrajfilms.com

				
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