Browsing "Salman Khan"
Dec 22, 2012 - Salman Khan    2 Comments

From Robinhood Pandey to Kungfu Pandey – the Dabangg journey

One of the reasons I write film reviews is that it gives me an opportunity to mock the actors, the director, the story and the plot. It is almost impossible to do that with Dabangg2 not because it is a great piece of cinema with gripping plot, great direction or stupendous acting display, it is because the film mocks itself and its characters to no end, which does not leave me with much. 
Let me start with the confession that I am fan of bhaiyya speak. Whether it is Arjun Rampal in Rajneeti,  Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Gangs of Wasseypur, our apna Salman Khan in his Chulbul Pandey avatar, bhaiyya speak always wins it for me. May be it is my bhaiyya roots – I am from Karachi – or my bhaiyya pedigree – my grandparents were from the Ganga Jamuna land – but I always fall for characters from the Indian heartland and Chulbul Pandey is no exception. He is hilarious when he insults the goons in the respectful bhaiyya speak ‘kar deejiye, beth jaiyee, naha leejiye’ – it just makes everything all the more comical. 

There is no storyline or plot per se in Dabangg2, there are a lot of scenes – some funny, some over the top and some downright ridiculous – and the only common thread among them all is Chulbul Pandey and his histrionics. One never expected Dabangg2 to make much sense but the minute you find out that the trio of villains is named Baccha Bhaiyya, Gainda and Chunni (there was a whole sequence where Chulbul discusses it with his minions whether Chunni is a feminine name or a masculine one) you know that film is all about Salman Khan and it actually works for the film.

This film has taken product placement to the next level.Not only the characters were using a phone/cellular service brand, Chulbul Pandey tried to sell it with a spiel about its worthiness. Similarly, a money transfer service was not just in the background, the viewers were told that it works within 24 hours. The viewers wanted to tell Arbaz Khan the producer in the film’s lingo “ke bhaiyya, zara shant ho jao.”

Sonakshi Sinha is yawn inducing and it was evident from the number of ceetees that came in the wake of Kareena’s entry with her item song. In fact public was so enamored with the latest Mrs Khan that it was almost impossible to listen to the song amidst whistles, claps and shouts of appreciation. She did look quite stunning though but then she always looks pretty special.

The film belongs to Salman Khan the star with minimal contribution from anyone else. The rest of the actors were there to make him shine bright. The cameraman was there to make him look larger than life. The writer and director did not do much in the sequel and let him loose on the set. They replicated everything Abhinav Kashyap – creator of Chulbul Pandey and writer & director of the first installment – did in Dabangg. They did not bother to add anything fresh and copied the tried and tested formula. 
They were so lazy that they even lifted the narrative off the first one in almost the same sequence. A fight scene in a warehouse, check;  Salman Khan’s dance number with extras dressed in police khakis, check. Salman Khan’s romantic song in a bazaar with the heroine, check. Introductions of the villain/s following that, check. Salman Khan’s action sequences in the slo mo with the gravel/wood/dirt flying, check followed by some sentimental scenes with family (daddy and goof of a bro), check. Salman Khan’s second romantic song in the deserts of Arabian Peninsula, check. Salman Khan’s item number with a hottie, check. Salman Khan bashing up a villain, who is much younger, taller and more muscular than him in a shirtless fight scene, check. If anything, Chulbul Pandey seemed more brazen and in your face than the previous chapter and Salman Khan wore this character like a second skin. At times, it felt that he is just given situations and is acting out the scenes the way he wanted– with minimum guidance from the writer and director.  

Just when you think that Sallu is not gonna take his shirt off – he did not even take it off during a love making scene and before you run off thinking it’s a racy film, it is not, it is given U certification – it gets off, miraculously. Pandey ji only pulls his shirt out of his trousers and it gets removed by a touch from the villain’s hands. It appears that even villains want to have a dekho of Sallu’s body which I believe should now get a separate billing in the end credits. The applause for Sallu’s bare torso was even more thunderous than the ceetees and taalis for kareena’s item song and no, they did not come from the ladies, a good 70 percent of the film goers in the packed hall were men. 

My sister who feared that Sallu Bhai might have lost his mojo and his physique due to old age was relieved at the disappearance of that shirt. She thought that the order in the universe was restored with a glimpse of that shirtless body.

Oh and in case anyone failed to notice, I should point out that I quite like Salman Khan – not because he is a great actor – because he is called bhai and he always reminds me of Karachi – my hometown  – the city of the ultimate bhai, Altaf Bhai. 
بس ذرا گردن کی کمی ہے ورنہ اپنے الطاف بھائی بھی کسی چلبل پانڈے سے کم ہیں کیا ؟ 

Aug 31, 2012 - RAW, Salman Khan, Turkey    12 Comments

Romance of a Ballerina and Tiger Balm

Contrary to my earlier plan of watching Ek Tha Tiger in Cinepax during Eid holidays with the boys and girls of Rawalpindi, I ended up watching Ek Tha Tiger on my computer with a copy downloaded via torrent because the film was not officially released in Pakistan. It was no HD, but was still good enough to see that Katrina Kaif has increased the amount of collagen she injects in her lips to an alarming proportion and now lives with a permanent pout. It was actually quite painful to see her delivering longer dialogues, her lips must be hurting like crazy.
The film opens in Iraq where Salman Khan was busy jumping off buildings and killing people with guns, sharp objects, blunt objects,  with hands and a scarf (Yes, a man jumped after him from one building to another, while the hero landed perfectly on his feet, he rolled a scarf and threw it on the face of the goon following him, the scarf conveniently opened when it landed on the goon’s face, blinded him for a moment, he couldn’t jump neatly and fell to the ground and died, so yes, that was death by a scarf). Oh and he is also a nameless agent who goes by the name Tiger (I wondered through half of the film why a self respecting adult man would respond to a name like Tiger, Salman Khan also realized that in the latter half of the film and said, “yeh tau kuttay ka naam hota hai”.)

Tiger Bhaijan beating up an ISI agent


To cut a long and totally unnecessary story short, Tiger goes to Dublin, meets Katrina Kaif, a Dancer/Ballerina/choreographer/stage manager/ lighting director who also moonlights as a maid and dances with a vacuum cleaner. Before you can say something like ‘meteor shower’ our Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina are in love and before you can say ‘Abay kya bakwas hai yaar’ Tiger Balm aka deadly RAW agent finds out that Katrina Ballerina is not the sweet simple girl he thought she was (what’s with the desi dudes wanting simple girls, they do know that in English language simple also passes for a simpleton, right?) but an ISI agent! Hai Allah Mian Ji!

They part ways, Tiger Balm is back in the mother ship (that is Delhi and his sarkari daftar) and is kinda miserable. He finds out that there is some foreign ministers’ conference happening in Istanbul and Katrina Ballerina would be there. Tiger Balm suits up and goes as a member of the Indian delegation. Katrina Ballerina too is removed from active duty to become part of the Pakistani diplomatic entourage and though some sherwani wearing dude played the role of the Pakistani foreign minister, the film director paid a fitting tribute to our fashionista Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar by making Katrina Ballerina wearing clothes that look straight out of Ms. Khar’s closet, complete with blow dried hair, duppata pinned to her hair and small studs in her ear lobes – the only item missing was a Berkin Bag in her hand.

Katrina Ballerina in her HRK avatar

At this point, things got intense; kinda sad and very emotional, but I could not get invested. As I recently came back from Istanbul, afterbeing royally robbed, I was busy figuring out the exact spot where my bag got stolen. While Katrina Ballerina confessed her love for Tiger Balm and saying poignant words about tragic love between hostile spies and how they can never get together, I was busy telling my cousin that it was probably shot on one of the bridges in Eminönü and it was Süleymaniye Mosque in the background with our jasoos Romeo and Juliet.

Süleymaniye Mosque , Tiger Bhaijan and Baji ISI – Love in Istanbul

Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina duped everyone in their respective organizations, ran away from Istanbul and ended up in Havana where they lived like ordinary folks, or as ordinary as a balm and ballerina can get. Tiger Balm painted at night and sold his art on the streets of Havana during the day and Katrina Ballerina became a Ballet teacher, until one fine day someone tried to snatch Katrina Ballerina’s purse and being the agents that our love birds were, they ended up killing a bunch of low level criminals in front of an ATM machine with a camera. That image got transported back to Islamabad and Delhi and by defying all travel related logic; the agents from both the agencies reached Havana in just few hours.
No matter how modern Bollywood gets, there is always a lecture about the values and morality of Bhartiye  naari, this time because the naari in question was a Pakistani, there was a lecture about the izzat and abroo of a Pakistani dosheeza. What makes this lecture most distinctive is that it was not delivered by some Ammi, Baji type but by the guy who played Katrina Ballerina’s ISI boss! Katrina’s ISI boss, Capt. Abrar, was a very shareef pappu type boi who respected her so much that he used to call her Bibi. I have spent enough time in Islamabad to know that no one calls anyone bibi in any of the sarkari offices and they would never call a girl bibi who look anything even remotely like Katrina Kaif.
Among other things, there was a car chase in Havana where both ISI and RAW dudes were chasing the spies who loved each other and one of the cars was a brand new Range Rover! A shiny black range rover! Now I have not been to Cuba but I know that Fidel Castro is still alive and they would not start importing shiny new Range Rovers while Fidel still breathes and his brother heads the government.

Tiger Bhaijan romancing an ISI agent in a bed sheet

Btw, if Katrina Ballerina is an example of how ISI trains its agents, they are certainly top notch. If ISI puts it out in their recruitment brochures that their training includes ballet, Spanish language, jumping off the buildings, flying small planes, killing random men and pataofying the likes of Salman Khan, a lot more women would join the organization instead of all the shalwar qameez wearing uncles with handlebar mustaches and pot bellies.
Both RAW and ISI failed in catching the love birds, they are still on the run and my young cousin who was watching the film with me thought that it was sweet that they defied such odds for love but it would have been great if they were not living in sin. I am still trying to tell her that finding a maulvi who would agree to a nikah between a Zoya and an Avinash – the names that Tiger Balm and Katrina Ballerina were given in the film, would be a tad difficult, especially when they are on the run but she still insists on legal matrimony. Ah these children, they want this, that and the other!

PS: That checkered black and white gamcha that Tiger Balm sported in the opening sequence may be all the rage in India now, but we in Pakistan have been wearing it for quite some time. 🙂 

Oct 10, 2008 - Salman Khan    38 Comments

Bollywood, no more !


I watched mindless TV for an hour last night and decided that my love affair with Bollywood must come to an end. Like all desi girls, I have indulged shamelessly in the fantasy and escapism that Bollywood has provided me all along, but it is getting a little too close to real life.

Don’t get me wrong, I like art house as much as the next pseudo intellectual, it is the total lack of aesthetics in hiring the appropriate cast that is grating on my nerves. Last night, there was a film on one of the channels with Imran Hashmi in the lead. Why should one watch a balding man who is short, ugly, has a big head over really small shoulders and totally over play his cuteness (which is non existent in my opinion). I couldn’t swallow it so decided to switch to another channel, which showed clips of forthcoming Bollywood attractions. There was a song where a fugly (fugly is fucking ugly for the uninitiated) Ajay Devgan was romancing a super hot girl like Kareena Kapoor. I was quite sad to see that on telly; I mean I see that everyday in real life – smart and beautiful girls with really boring and average looking guys, why cinema does has to imitate life? Kher, I soldiered on and then saw what was the ultimate shocker. Himesh Reshmiya is back, this time with fake flowing locks and that too with a sizzling Urmila Matundkar !!! Listening to him was painful enough but seeing him as a passionate lover boy is downright vomit inducing.

I only watched Bollywood to escape reality. Seeing good looking men with rippling muscles serenading the chiffon clad leading ladies in the foothills of Alps has been the escapism I have been indulging all my life. I turn to Bollywood to see Salman Khan shaking his booty, Arjun Rampal’s deep eyes and tattoos, Aamir Khan’s action and John Abraham abs. I can’t be expected to actually shell out money to see a blonde highlighted Ajay Devgan or a toupee wearing midget Himesh.

Adios Bollywood, I am off to see ‘Burn after Reading’. At least Coen brothers are smart. If they have a John Malkovich in the film, they have balanced it out with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.