Saturday, May 16, 2015

Aur Ek Prem Kahani (released in 1996) - Starring Ramesh Aravind and Revathi

Once in a while a movie comes along, that is forgotten by most people after it has come and gone, but something remains in the memory. I had seen the movie, but had forgotten the details of the story; what I remembered was this lovely song, "Naina Bole Naina". This was a delightful song, sung by the melodious voice of Asha Bhosle, and with music by Ilayaraaja. I am sure that a number of people would remember the movie for this song (although the proportion of people who would also remember this song would not be too high though, since it has been almost 20 years since the movie and the song, and even though it is a delightful song, it did not get very very popular even then).
This was a movie that saw a number of South Indian stars, such as Ramesh Aravind, Revathi Menon, Heera Rajgopal and Sudhir Ahuja. The movie was directed by another South Indian director, Balu Mahendra, who also made the original Kannada movie 'Kokila' on which this movie was made. The movie was produced by Mahesh Bhatt and Amit Khanna and the music for the film was not original music by Ilayaraaja; he instead took tunes from other movies of his as the tunes for these songs.
The movie is a love triangle, with the sharpness of reality thrown into the cauldron, The responsibility that a person has to bear for his actions is also highlighted in the movie.



What is the movie about ? In the southern city of Madras, there is an engineer Ranganathan (played by Sudhir Ahuja) who lives with his wife Kamala (played by Sushma Ahuja) and his college going daughter (medical student) Kokila (played by Heera Rajgopal). And they have a maid Manga (played by Revathy). A sudden shock comes to the family  when Kamala suffers a stroke (mild stroke, but it can still be a calamity). Since Ranganathan has to travel frequently, this is a problem. Somebody is needed in the house just to ensure that if there is some problem, it can be handled. So they decide to get a tenant, a male tenant, who can be asked to help in case of some emergency.
They finalize on Sathyamoorthy (played by Ramesh Aravind), he seems dependable. And life continues; but a make entrant to the house can change conditions. And they do change. Kokila and Sathya fall in love, and decide that they will seek consent of her parents to get married. But, things change (or maybe just a single incident happens). On a night where only Manga and Sathya are in the house, it so happens that they make love; but this was a one-off incident. Kokila and Sathya are still in love, and Kokila of course is not aware of this incident. Manga knows about this love, but nothing more. However, one fine day, when Kokila is away on a college trip, Manga breaks the calm around Sathya and tells him that she is pregnant, and she expects that he will do what is right.
He of course looks rationally, and thinks that maybe her getting an abortion is the right next step. This was not what she was thinking in terms of the right step, and she leaves the household. When Kokila comes back, she sees Sathya missing, and he remains missing. Years later, when she is a doctor and goes to some village as part of her medical duties, she comes across them. They have a daughter, whom they have named Kokila.

Aur Ek Prem Kahani (released in 1996) - Starring Ramesh Arvind and Revathi

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mere Baap Pehle Aap (Released in 2008) - Trying to get Dad married - Can be missed, even though from Priyadarshan

It was a good cast, starring Akshaye Khanna, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Genelia D'Souza and Shobhana, out of whom almost all are known for good performances. And Priyadarshan has made some good comedies in the past, so it was a bit surprising that one good into such a non-interesting movie. The concept can be pretty good, with a great father-son partnership, the father trying to get his son married to the beautiful girl, while the son is trying to get the father married off to the mother of the girl, who is also coincidentally his old girlfriend. Can be interesting, right ? Well, not quite. Modern comedies try to put a lot of different incidents into a movie, hoping that the series of gags or incidents eventually ensure that the audience likes the movie and feel satisfied.
Now to the reality of the movie - this movie attempts to get a bit serious, or so the story tries to do in between. And in between, there are some sort of gags - but imagine wasting such stars such as Om Puri (portrayed as a comic skirt-chaser - why did he take such a role?), Sobhana (restricted to wearing good sarees and sniffing or making faces), or even Paresh Rawal (who has played comic roles in a great way in movies such as Hungama, but who does not get any comic roles in this movie); you get the idea. Maybe the idea was to change their personas in the movie, different from how they are regularly portrayed; would have been appreciated if the movie had worked, but it did not. It did not earn much at the box office either. The movie has music by Vidyasagar and Tauseef Akhtar.




So what is the story about (spoiler alert) ? Well, there is this widower Janaradhan Wishvanbhar Rane (played by Paresh Rawal), he has 2 sons Chirag (Manoj Joshi) and Gaurav (played by Akshaye Khanna). Janardhan has played a good father to his sons, bringing them up in a good manner; and over a period of time, his son Gaurav has gone to become very protective of his father; to the effect that it seems that Gaurav is the father, not his father. He is extra protective because of the presence of his father's dear friend, Madhav Mathur (played by Om Puri). Madhav, in the search for a bride who is not yet over-the-hill, gets into regular escapades and Gaurav has to get them out of trouble.
Gaurav now gets in touch with a lady, an old college friend Sheekha Kapoor (played by Genelia D'Souza), who in turn is staying with her guardian Anuradha (played by Shobhana). When Gaurav and Sheekha see Janardhan and Anuradha meeting, it seems strained, and they find out that both were in an old relationship; with this, Gaurav changes his mind and decides that his father should get married to this old companion; it also seems to his father that Sheekha is an ideal bride for his son; and so it gets confused. Who gets married to whom ?

Mere Baap Pehle Aap (Released in 2008) - Trying to get Dad married - Can be missed, even though from Priyadarshan

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Aamir (Released in 2008) - Starring Rajeev Khandelwal - A serious movie about a terror attack

Once in a while a movie comes along that is gripping. You have these romantic comedies that are released in thousands of theaters and go on to make hundreds of crores in revenue, but those movies leave you unsatisfied. And then you get a movie, made low budget, with unknown characters, that leaves you thinking, that grips you during the movie and you start thinking for the character in terms of what will happen next. Aamir is one such movie, a movie about terrorism, but an angle that is different from other movies. It is a simple story, but does not pull any punches, and makes you think about the tragedy that happens to the hero of the movie. Rajeev Khandelwal was not unknown before the movie, since he had made a name for himself in TV serials, but a movie is a different ball-game all together.
The movie started out slowly, since there were no major stars, but when a movie is good and is also praised by critics, it starts getting good word of mouth, and that ensured that the movie went on to earn a good profit and created a good name for Rajeev. The movie was directed by Raj Kumar Gupta (who later went on to direct the hit and serious, No One Killed Jessica). Music for the film was given by Amit Trivedi, lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and the movie was produced by UTV.




A man is returning from Britain, back to his family, and suddenly, his life is turned upside down, thrown into a mix that will eventually take his life. Dr. Aamir Ali (played by Rajeev Khandelwal) is returning back to Mumbai, when he is given a cellphone by a stranger and told to wait for further instructions. The video in the phone scares him, since it is clear that his family has been abducted, and he has to now wait for further instructions. Further instructions make it clear to him that he has been caught in the trap of an Islamic terrorist who urges him to do something for his religion rather than the work that he is currently doing, and plays upon his name (Aamir means a leader).
From then on, it is a frantic series of movements, a lot of them over a red suitcase that has been given to him, and which gets stolen from him in between. It is full of cash, but when he finally gets to sit in a bus and is told to leave the suitcase under his seat and move out, he realizes that the suitcase contains a bomb, and the intention was to use Aamir to cause mayhem in a bus through the bomb. He finally makes a choice, deciding to ensure that no one else gets caught up in the bomb blast, clearing an area, and dying in the bomb blast - and all his tension, his sacrifice, is unknown to people around him, since he is suspected of being the bomber who died in the blast.

Aamir (Released in 2008) - Starring Rajeev Khandelwal - A serious movie about a terror attack

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Woodstock Villa (Released in 2008) - Suspense film, but can be missed

Suspense films have several criteria that they need to meet. They should have great performances, they should be taut and with a quickly moving story, the scenes in the movie should make sense (even though the story and occurrences in a suspense movie will be out of the ordinary), the music and background score should make sense, and at the end, the viewer should feel that the story progression made sense. If a movie fails at several of these points, then it is difficult to praise a movie, but at the same time, the performance by the lead actor (played by Sikander Kher) is creditable and one of the few plus points of this movie. The movie stars Arbaaz Khan, Neha Oberoi, and a few other stars such as Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor, Sachin Khedekar, etc. The movie had music by Anu Malik, and Virag Mishra.
The movie is made by the White Feather Films and is directed by Hansal Mehta, but suffers from problems such as a loud score, and the biggest problem being the story that does not seem to make sense through the movie, especially post the interval (and the interval is interesting, given that the movie is only 90 minutes long). This is the undoing of the movie, especially the fact that viewers do not appreciate the movie - and the reviews by critics at the time of the release of the movie were pretty harsh.



So what is the story of the movie all about ? Well, you have this down on luck guy, Sam (played by Sikander Kher), who is without a job (you don't far if you sleep with the wife of your boss), who owes rent on his flat and also owes money to a bad guy (Gulshan Grover); he needs a lot of money. And what does he find ? He meets this lady Zara (played by Neha Uberoi) in a disco, who tells him that she wants to test her husband's love for her, this husband being Jatin (played by Arbaaz Khan). So she tells Sam to kidnap her and demand a huge ransom. Now, since he so much needs money, Sam decides to go ahead, and that is where things start to go wrong.
He goes with her to a place called Woodstock Villa, and when he is out, Zara gets killed in the meantime; something that Sam comes back and sees, and is panic stricken. He gets a phone call that he has 30 minutes to clean up the mess, and so he buries the body in the forest and cleans up. It is later that he sees Zara in a video and comes back to the city to know the truth. He finds Zara and gets the truth from her, and the truth is very different from what he had experienced so far. There was a Zara and there was a Jatin, but the body he had buried, and the girl he was in touch with, one of them was Zara and the other was somebody forced to step into the role. How does he resolve this ? There is suspense, but some of the parts of the story are not so readily believable; and that loud score in the movie ? It needs to be done well to work well, but really does not.

Woodstock Villa (Released in 2008) - Suspense film, but can be missed

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Anamika (released in 2008) - Starring Dino Morea, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra and Gulshan Grover

Rebecca is an incredible novel and an incredible movie. So, when you start making a movie that seeks to draw inspiration from (or rather take the entire concept from). And when start comparing this movie to the original 1940 movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock, there are very few movies that will come up to the standard; and to tell the truth, Anamika is not even a superb Hindi movie, so any comparison with Rebecca will be far from fair. However, reading the book Rebecca or seeing the movie Rebecca can prove interesting, because it provides an important context to this movie. The movie is made by Anant Mahadevan who has directed a number of movies in the past, but this once cannot be said to be his best movie. The movie slips a bit, but is still watchable to some extent. Need to give some marks for trying, although it might have been better if he had taken some better actors - this after all is a movie that can provide some great acting parts (one after can pretend that it is the next Rebecca). Music directed by Anu Malik, but really no great shakes.




So what's the movie about ? There is this rich guy from a Gajner Palace in Rajasthan, who is a rich and successful industrialist. He comes to Bombay for a convention, with plans for doing what so many other people in Rajasthan have done - convert his palace into a posh heritage resort. However, being a young man, he hires from an escort service, and gets Jia Rao (played by Minissha Lamba), who does not exactly do great service to the work of an escort. He teaches her how to be an escort, and also falls in love with her (shades of Pretty Woman, maybe). They marry, and she comes back to his palace in Rajasthan. And that is where the inspiration from Rebecca happens.
The caretaker is this lady Koena Mitra, and how along with other members of the staff, keep on referring to the first wife of the industrialist, to the point that it starts to bother Jia. Jia decides to convert herself into the proper wife, and becomes more and more like the first wife, but this also bothers her husband who did not want his second wife to become like the first wife. And then, Vikram (played by Dino Morea), the rich industrialist, is accused of the murder of his first wife, things get more complicated. And then the body of his first wife gets found in the desert. What does all this lead to ? Is Jia herself in danger ? Watch the movie.

Anamika (released in 2008) - Starring Dino Morea, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra and Gulshan Grover

Saturday, October 19, 2013

U Me Aur Hum (released in 2008) - A tearjerker starring Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Divya Dutta, Isha Shervani, and others

U Me Aur Hum is a romantic movie, although one with a difference. The movie takes a look at what love means, and how does love deal with a case where a person loses their memory, cannot even remember basic details, and what that does to the person who is living with them. The movie was the first movie made by Ajay Devgn as a director, and was also the last one. The movie did okay the box office, but gained more through word of mouth where people liked the story. Critics however had a mixed tale; they liked the story, they liked the performances, but found the direction and the progress of the movie somewhat weak, with the movie getting slow in certain parts. The music for the film won some praise, but nothing outstanding, with music by Vishal Bharadwaj, and lyrics by Munna Dhiman. Some of the other actors in the movie besides Ajay Devgun and Kajol were Karan Khanna, Isha Shervani, Sumeet Raghavan, and Divya Dutta.
The story of the movie is being done as a flashback, where a middle aged Ajay Devgn is on a cruise ship. His son is with him and likes another lady. Ajay pushes him to go talk to her, and his son asks him to first go and find an old lady to charm, and as a result, Ajay goes to an old lady and starts telling his story, with this story drawing in more crowds all around them. The story is from 25 years back, from a cruise again, where Ajay is enjoying a cruise with his friends. One of the couples with him are having some tension in their marriage.




At the bar, Ajay meets Kajol and falls for her. In the morning, when they meet, out of his booze, Ajay tells her that he still loves her. She does not tell him yes, so he pursues her by trying to find what she likes. He even manages to read her diary and from this learns that she wanted to dance. So he learns enough that he can give her training in dancing, and this makes the position better. However, she finds out that he had seen her diary and is upset. However, he still believes that things will work out the way he wanted.
He calls his friends over, and they learn to their surprise that she accepted his efforts and they finally got married. But their romantic life suddenly starts getting into problems - she starts forgetting things. When such incidents happen, they consult and find out that she has a disease, Alzheimer's, and her current pregnancy will cause more problems. He manages to handle the situation, but after the baby is born, he has to worry that if she forgets who the baby is, this can cause harm to the baby. He decides that it is best if she is put in a place that handles people with such problems, although this decision hurts him a lot.
But, then does he get her back ? Watch the movie to find out.

U Me Aur Hum (released in 2008) - A tearjerker starring Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Divya Dutta, Isha Shervani, and others

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Krazzy 4 (released in 2008) - Starring Juhi Chawla, Arshad Warsi, Irrfan Khan, Suresh Menon, Dia Mirza and Rajpal Yadav

Rakesh Roshan has produced and made many great movies over the past decades, but sometimes even a guy like him can slip up. You have to be somewhat crazy yourself to like such a movie, although there are some parts that make you laugh. The cast of characters are all great character actors, and that helps the movie somewhat, and the same with the concept, where they take 4 people who have been locked up in a hospital for various mental illnesses and the mess which ensues when they are outside the hospital, and how they help their doctor though all this, the same doctor who has been kidnapped right in front of them.
In order to get some more star power, the movie had guest appearances from some superstars and others - Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Rakhi Sawant.
The movie was directed by Jaideep Sen, with the story by Ashwni Dhir, making this a rare movie, a movie produced by Rakesh Roshan, and not directed by him. There was some controversy related to the music of the film, with music composer Ram Sampath filing a case that a couple of the songs were essentially copied from work that he had done, and finally the case was settled out of court (with the court however ordering the producers to delete these songs from the movie).




So what is the movie all about ? It is about these 4 patients of the mental hospital, all of them with different illnesses (although why all of them need to be admitted is not clear given their problems):
Raja - Gets very angry (explosively angry) - Played by Arshad Warsi
Gangadhar - Obsessed with the freedom struggle and has friendships with long dead freedom fighters - played by Rajpal Yadav
Dr. Mukherjee - Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a cleanliness freak - Played by Irrfan Khan
Daboo - A man capable of speaking, but has not done so for many years - Played by Suresh Menon
In addition to this, Juhi Chawla plays their married doctor who wants to take them out for a day to get them to see a cricket match between India and England, and who gets kidnapped right in front of one of them, as a part of a serious plot.
Dia Mirza plays the role of a journalist who was in love with Raja, but left him. She runs the news for a TV news channel.
Overall, the movie deals with the time when she takes them out of the hospital for the break, but when she leaves them in the van outside for some work, one of them steps out and sees her being kidnapped, and motivates the others to find her. They run into a whole host of issues but try and determine who has kidnapped her and why, and since they are inmates from a mental hospital, have to get her convinced when they tell her about the reasons why she was kidnapped.

Krazzy 4 (released in 2008) - Starring Juhi Chawla, Arshad Warsi, Irrfan Khan, Suresh Menon, Dia Mirza and Rajpal Yadav