Tagged with " Bollywood"

Queen – ruling hearts


More often than not, Bollywood fare comes with masala entertainment, paisa vasool hilarity and a ‘leave-your-brains-at-home’ kind of fun. I decided to give a slew of such recent releases a miss, but ended up checking out Queen on the insistence of a friend. And am I glad I did.

Queen’s storyline may not seem much on the surface: it is essentially a coming of age story where the protagonist overcomes adversity by the end of the film, but what makes it unique is its refusal to tie up all loose ends neatly. It takes the bold step of leaving viewers with a sense of freedom seldom associated with Bollywood.

Queen is the story of Rani, superbly played by Kangna Ranaut, a young girl who is looking forward to her big Punjabi wedding in Delhi to her engineer fiancé. Her monologue voiceover, a peek into Rani’s head before her big day, retrospectively turns into a commentary on marriage in desi culture, where the wedding itself becomes the be-all and end-all of the process. The innuendo-laden pre-shadi hilarity along with Queen’s breakout hit song ‘London Thumukda’ nudge and wink at the impossibly glamorous idea of the ‘honeymoon’ with all its attendant promise of exposure to a world of sexual intimacy and travel. But before Rani can taste any of these hitherto forbidden fruits she is jilted by her fiancé two days before the wedding day. In her first flush of deep despair she decides to leave for her ‘honeymoon’ on her own. Thus begins, not just Rani’s journey of self-discovery, but a new-age alternative to the honeymoon, the single woman traveller who can taste both physical pleasures (within bounds acceptable to an Indian audience, of course) and the pulse of the outside world all on her own.

In Paris, she learns how to pronounce ‘Champs Elysses’ correctly but much more importantly manages to outlast a bag thief by tapping into deeper reserves of courage the pre-jilted Rani would never have dreamed possible. Outside of her comfort zone she makes friends with people who are superficially different but so alike when you peel the upper layers. Lisa Haydon, who plays Vijay Laxmi, a free spirited Parisian woman Rani befriends in France, is a lot of fun to watch. Not only she is beautiful and glamorous, she walks off with her head held high in a supporting role.

After a few days in Paris, Rani catches a train to Amsterdam and bids adieu to her friend. What Paris did not teach her, Amsterdam does. She ends up in a youth hostel with a bunch of racially diverse men as her roommates and after a hiccup or two she became really good friends with them.

As a South Asian woman, I hardly ever come across fictional characters I can relate to. The Western characters belong too obviously to a different cultural framework while the characters produced by our entertainment industries seem stuck in time. Rani is unique in the sense that I could relate to so many of her fears, heck I have even lived some of them. Even though the first time I stayed in a youth hostel, I shared my room with girls, but it was no less traumatic for me because of my sheltered upbringing and a very private life. I could relate to her hesitation in trying new food or going to places that she had never been before. Even when you leave your restrictive environment behind, you take your cultural baggage with you even when you are in a city like Amsterdam.

As a long time consumer of Pakistani television dramas and Bollywood, my biggest grouse against both is that most female characters either annoy me to hell and back or make me feel sympathy for them. Queen did neither.

The end cements the rest of the movie’s good sense by refusing to indulge in chest beating histrionics or loud declarations of independence from patriarchy. It just leaves the audience with a subtle awareness that Rani’s life is her own as viewers partake in the joy she experiences when she realizes that she is truly free at that moment.

There is no masala here, no copying of formulaic romantic comedies (Had it been one, she would have found a Raj, Rahul or Prem by the end). It is honest storytelling around a major life changing incident in a girl’s life and how just one decision – of not wallowing in self pity and going ahead with the plan – turns her into a much braver person.

Kangna Ranaut delievers a top notch performance. Her Rani is endearing. She changes, but the change is subtle and intangible. She does not turn into a drastically different person but a more open and courageous version of herself who is ready to embrace life at her own terms. Her changes are not validated by her finding romance with a new man or even the old one.

The film could’ve done with some serious editing in the first half and the characters of Taka, the vertically challenged Japanese roommate and Rukhsar/Roxette, the Muslim stripper with a heart of gold, were clichéd and reminiscent of less subtle cinema of the 1980s, but I could not find fault with much else.

I am a sucker for coming of age films that reaffirm my faith in life, people and humanity in general, so I had the biggest grin on my face when I came out of the cinema. Five stars for honest storytelling with a lot of heart and some stellar performances.

Originally published in The Friday Times

Sep 6, 2013 - Bollywood, Politics    5 Comments

Satyagrah tries everyone’s patience


This is not a film review, this is basically a rant. If you want to read a review of this film, try New York Times. Yes, Bollywood now gets reviewed by New York Times.

I should start this non review with the declaration that I only watched Satyagrah for Arjun Rampal.

I don’t watch a lot of Hindi cinema, heck, I don’t even watch all Arjun Rampal films but I wanted to watch this one. There is no doubt that Arjun Rampal is the best desi eye candy out there, but a kurta clad bhaiyya accented Arjun Rampal  (a la Raajneeti) is positively lethal and the best thing since the advent of soft round chapattis. Sadly, he was barely seen in the film, I mean the director had the temerity to plaster his pretty face on the poster but he only had three and a half dialogues and four close up shots and fans like me were left wondering how can anyone who is not visually impaired give more screen time to Ajay Devgan or Amitabh Bachchan or his behen ji type daughter-in-law when they had the oh so glorious Arjun Rampal at their disposal.




Arjun Rampal in all his orange kurta glory

Ajay Devgan looked too old and too fat and far too plebeian to pull off the ameer naujawan role, the most tragic part of the film was that he actually used the phrase “Hum naujawan” (Us youth). I mean who uses the world naujawan after leaving university anyways? What added insult to the abuse of the term youth was a dialogue in the penultimate scene, where a 45 year old Ajay Devgan asked a 41 year old muhalla leader Arjun Rampal to form a political party of youth which will bring about the desired change. The Indian youth should totally sue the writer/director for that transgression, especially in case of Ajay Devgan who is sporting a paunch in this film and looks closer to pension eligibility. Thank God Arjun Rampal kept quiet and did not utter a single naujawani related dialogue because that would have surely dampened my decade long infatuation.

The Ajay Devgan romance with Kareena Kapoor’s journalist character was also forced. Perhaps the writer/director wanted to present yet another interfaith romance – Ajay Devgan was a Manav and the journalist lady was a certain Ms Ahmed – which resulted in a series of yawns. They first met in a party, then had chai at a dhaba during a dharna (extremely romantic setting), next thing you know, Ajay Devgan is calling her to some tiny town in UP/Bihar to cover some small time protest and she leaves a trip to Japan with the prime minister to go and cover that. As a former TV journalist, I know it for a fact that NO ONE will ever pull off that stunt, and especially not for Ajay Devgan. Then he went missing and turned up two days later, she screamed at him for not informing her about his whereabouts and how worried she was, he silenced her with a kiss and before you can blink an eye, off they go to a bedroom in someone else’s house (it was Amitabh’s house where he lived with his behen ji vidvah bahu) and boom, they sleep together. As if that was not awkward enough, the copy I caught on Jadu Tv had Shahid Afridi’s name printed below an amorous Kareena Kapoor and Ajay Devgan. (Jadu TV is like Desi Netflix in North America, I have a feeling that most of the content on that is not really legal but I digress).


Shahid Afridi is omnipresent and so is Ajay Devgan’s paunch


The saddest part of the film was that Ajay Devgan lived, despite receiving bullets in his body. For a minute I thought that they may go in that direction where they take risks and hero dies but it did not happen. Even though he got shot thrice in his torso, he miraculously sported a plastered left arm afterwards. I hate when film makers give such super human powers to any character played by Ajay Devgan. I think it is just plain cruel.

Despite his miniscule role, Arjun Rampal with Bhojpuri/bhaiyya accent, his orange Kurta, chador, jeans, joggers with brightly colored socks (yes, I notice everything about Arjun Rampal – how can you not) was the only thing to watch in an otherwise very mediocre film.

There was no story, no plot and no narration in the film, watch it if you are a masochist or an Ajay Devgan fan which is synonymous in my opinion.

For Arjun Rampal fans, I recommend that they should wait, a gentle soul will soon upload all his 3 ½ dialogues in a Youtube video which we can later watch, minus Ajay Devgan of course.


Added this photo in the end because why not.

Apr 25, 2013 - Bollywood    3 Comments

If ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ does not make the Daayans angry, then nothing ever will

Once upon a time, a friend and I had a late night profound discussion on movies in general and Emraan Hashmi and his sleaze factor in particular. Back then the two of us used to live in two different continents but we made a pact that whenever we meet next, we will watch an Emraan Hashmi film together.  We ended up in the same city a few weeks back and when ‘Ek Thee Daayan’ premiered, I reminded E that we must honour that old pact and watch this film. We dragged another friend –who we shall call A here – along with us because not only E and I value his company and but also the fact that we are poor people with no mode of transportation to call our own. So eager were we to watch the film that none of us bothered to either see the trailer or check out the reviews. All we saw was a poster of Emraan Hashmi with three women and thought it would be a regular slutty Emraan Hashmi fare. Little did we know that we will end up watching a film which is neither horror nor psycho thriller, but pure bullshit.

ek thee dayaan


As soon as the credits start rolling at the beginning we saw names like Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar, A, who was the reluctant viewer thought that it might turn out to be a decent film but precisely thirty seconds into the film we knew that it would be as crappy a film as we expected it to be when Emraan Hashmi made his appearance in a cage with a hoody as the master magician – a cross between David Blaine and David Copperfield perhaps? Another 10 seconds and we knew that this one is a goner because the master magician was called “Bobo the baffler”. I mean WTF? I wondered throughout Ek Tha Tiger why a self respecting adult man would respond to a name like Tiger, but in comparison with Bobo the baffler, Tiger was a very sane choice.

Bobo is magician who is troubled by his past and his dead sister. At times he hallucinates during his acts and injures his assistants but because it is India, no one sues him for negligence at work. Bobo seeks help from a psychiatrist who hypnotizes him back to the time when he was kid and encountered daayans for the first time. As a kid, Bobo was a pesky bugger who was into books on witchcraft, old elevators and sported the hair do which can pass as a Jew fro but I digress. One fine day, he was fiddling with his building’s elevator and pressed for the sixth floor thrice which took him to an underground hell. Then a Daayan makes her appearance through that same elevator and before you can say Bobo – the baffler, Bobo’s daddy marries the daayan which results in an unfortunate series of events involving dayaans, pitchal pairy, churails and what not.  The child actor who played Bobo was so freaking annoying that I ended up rooting for the daayans to beat the crap outta him. My friend A, who is not too fond of Emraan Hashmi hated the kid so much that he ended up rooting for Emraan Hashmi.

There is more confusion, more dayaans, a couple of songs and some more magic tricks. The ending of the film should make you happy if you are rooting for diminutive Bobo to triumph over the daayans. But if you are anything like me and were rooting for the daayans (how can you root for a guy who looks like Emraan Hashmi and is named Bobo) you totally want your money back.

Lessons I learned while watching Ek Thee Daayan

  • If you live in an old building with a rickety elevator and if you press for the sixth floor thrice, chances are that you will end up glimpsing hell. In order to see hell, you must reside in a building with at least six floors. How else will you press for the sixth floor, if your building does not have it.
  • One should never let one’s 11 yr old kid buy old books on witchcraft from an old book vendor; it makes them total psychos who spend way too much time loitering around faulty elevators.
  • Bobo’s magic trick with a phallic rope has probably inspired someone somewhere to plan a porn scene along those lines.
  • Emraan Hashmi should stick to the slutty roles he was famous for. He is good at running after babes, running after Daayans is clearly not his forte.
  • Daayans are generally born on February 29th because that’s when they sacrifice little children for their eternal lives. If you happen to know anyone who’s born on February 29th, beware. Just saying.
  • Emraan Hashmi is a tiger in bed and he roars. Nops, I am not making this shit up, it was an actual dialogue in the film.
  • Emraan Hashmi is such a stud that a woman dreams about him in Canada, ditches her boy friend of four years, comes to India and wants to hang out with him even when she finds out that he is married. Not only that, she is rich and buys his old haunted apartment for 2 crore Indian rupees and is so fearless that she sings romantic songs for him in front of his wife.
  • If you really want to freak out your friends, order a set of those huge eye ball covering black lenses that the dayaans wore during sacrificial ceremonies and sing them a birthday song. If they have seen this film, they might get scared, otherwise they will think that you have completely lost your shit and will probably call someone to put you in a straight jacket, or a padded room or both.
  • A daayan’s shakti (power) is hidden in her long braid so women with short hair can’t really be the daayans.  Most daayans have really long swinging braids which makes me think that they go through the shampoo bottles like an average alcoholic goes through bottles of Jack Daniels.
  • A daayan can turn into ashes if someone hacks off her hair – preferably with a dagger.  But the daayans can only be killed if the braid is cut off by someone pure of heart.  Emraan Hashmi can pull off anything but purity of heart!
  • Daayans randomly throw lines like “Shaitan ki qasam” in the middle of conversations. I mean like seriously? Next thing you know, they will start banging their heads to death metal and will make it totally uncool for the rest of the world.
  • Once you do it with a daayan, mortal ladies just don’t cut it for you. Looks like Bollywood is trying to sell Daayan sex like folks in True Blood sell vampire sex. Unfortunately the daayans were not as hot as the vampires in True Blood.
  • Last but not the least; I am the bravest amongst my friends. If we ever encounter any Daayan or even a ghunda  mawali for that matter, I will probably end up saving their asses.

PS: Because the name Bobo baffled me to no end, I managed to catch Bobo’s real name on his wedding register. It was Bijoy which is no great shakes but anything is better than Bobo the baffler.


The alternate universe where Shahid Afridi and Katrina Kaif share a plate of biryani

Nothing makes me miss the city of Karachi more than its crazy zany billboards, banners and adverts. Here in the twin cities, you either see road side boards selling real estate (Gulberg anyone?), the odd billboard of the PM or the President opening an institute or welcoming a foreign dignitary or if you are in Rawalpindi, you would spot chotay Mian sahib (Shahbaz Sharif) celebrating the construction of a nala or kamyab dengue bachao muhim, everything is mundane and nothing touches the creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit of Karachi and its people.
Once upon a time, a cart vendor by the name of Ilyas Quraishi started selling Biryani in my former neighbourhood in Karachi. We don’t know if it was because his biryani tasted better than others or because he was the sole biryani seller in the muhalla or the fact that he used to raise the price of his plate of biryani quite regularly; his business grew phenomenally and in few short years, he moved from a single cart to multiple carts, then to a shack and finally to a proper shop. This reflects two things; Ilyas Bhai is a bonafide Karachiite who is enterprising and knows what works for him and pursues it. Secondly, we in Karachi, can never get enough of Biryani that is why the city has many rags to riches stories of the biryani sellers of all varieties in almost all localities.
This Eid, Ilyas bhai decided to go big and ordered a couple of big Billboards to announce to the world that Ilyas Bhai and his biryani is here to stay.
Ilyas Quraishi Biryani house wishes you Eid along with Shahid Afridi, Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif
On the extreme right corner of this billboard, we have Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, getting many thelas (bagfuls just does not seem right when we are talking about biryani) of Ilyas Biryani while riding a bike. An unseen acquaintance meets him and the conversation goes like this:
The unseen acquaintance: “Shahrukh Bhai, kya baat hai, itni dher saari biryani lay ke ja rahain hain woh bhi Ilyas Bhai ki, kya mehman aye hain?”
Shahrukh, in his glorious hairdo says, “Kya karain bhai, humaray mehmaan tau Ilyas Bhai ke ilawa kisi aur ki biryani khatay hi naheen.”
It does not end here, in this Ilyas biryani alternate universe, Shahid Afridi – Lala or Shahid Bhai as he is affectionately called by the fans – is married to Katrina Kaif. In their biryani filled coupledom, a conversation goes like this:
Katrina: “Birynai kaheen idhar udhar se mat lana, sirf Ilyas Biryani se hi lana warna mein naraz ho kar apni ammi ke yehan chali jaon gee. 

Shahid Bhai gets worried, does not even bother to change and starts running towards Ilyas Birayni in his Pakistan team kit saying, “Naheen naheen, apni ammi ke yehan mat jana, mein Ilyas Biryani hi la raha hoon.”

This too reflects two things; firstly, Bollywood is BIG; from selling soaps to fizzy drinks to Ilyas Bhai ki Biryani, we need Katrina Kaif and Shahrukh Khan. Second of all, if there is anyone who either matches or beats the Bollywood brigade in terms of popularity and selling goods, it is Shahid Bhai. Eat your heart out #TeamMisbah, you can never sell a plate of biryani — or murgh cholay for that matter — it is brand Afridi that does it.
PS: I wonder what numerous Lala fan girls have to say about this pairing of Shahid Afridi and Katrina Kaif by Ilyas Quraishi biryani walay.
Photo Courtesy: Salman Jillani
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. 🙂 

Jul 25, 2012 - Saif Ali Khan    12 Comments

Bharti naari, a party girl and an aging Lothario do not make a good Cocktail

After my latest sojourn to the local cinema, I have come to the conclusion that I seriously need to move to a country where they show things besides ‘Abraham Lincoln: the Vampire Killer’, ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and something called ‘Cocktail’. 
For starters, why was the film called ‘Cocktail’? All indiscretions happened after shots, all conversation happened over a glass of red, Saif Ali Khan even competed to finish a beer bottle in one go, but NO cocktails, so why name it cocktail? It’s not like anyone was either serving or drinking them but I digress.
The film starts with Saif Ali Khan playing an Indian Lothario and wooing a flight attendant with lines so cheesy you would think you are not in a cinema but damp cheese ripening rooms. As if that was not cringe worthy enough, he continued to act like a stupid 22 year old and tried pick up lines – in Hindi – that were once used by Dev Anand in his jawani, on random gori women on the streets of London and his workplace. He tried to do the same to a certain Bharti Naari at Heathrow airport, who came all the way from India in gulabi jora, bangles and bindi to meet her husband. The husband turned out to be a scumbag who only married her for her money and wanted her to go back to India. She was a loser miskeen behen ji type with no parents and an aunt who couldn’t care less about her and one wonders why anyone would marry her for money.
Somehow the Bharti naari ended up in a club’s (or was it a restaurant, I can’t recall as I must have dozed off in the super thanda air conditioned cinema hall) restroom where a party girl played by Deepika Padukone came to her rescue. To cut a long story short, Bharti naari became a free loader at the party girl’s house and in another scene the Lothario and Party girl decided to become lovers (they said they are just having fun) and he too moved in to party girl’s house. 
A few other inanities, a crazy Punjabi mother and bumbling mama scenes later, party girl decided that she is done having fun and wants the whole works: Shadi, ghar aur bachay. While party girl has had a change of heart, the Bharti naari went on a vacation with these two, wore a short dress, had a few shots, danced a bit and wham, the Lothario falls in love with her. Even though the party girl had been doing pretty much all of it all along, the Lothario remained unaffected. But the minutes Bharti naari showed her long limbs, the dude was a goner. Even though the girl was a Bharti naari who was still married to the money hungry scumbag, she had no qualms about kissing her BFF’s boy friend – the same BFF who sheltered her, was also sponsoring her lifestyle (and perhaps her vacations). What about the bharti naari code that a wife must stick to her husband after saat pheray even if he happens to be an arse and a greedy one at that? What happened to the girl code that says that ‘thou shalt not look at your bestie’s boy friend with lovey dovey eyes?’
When the party girl finds out, she flips and the Bharti naarigoes out. The minute the bharti naari is out of this aging lothario’s life, she goes back to her old dowdy self and behenji clothes. I mean who wears floral printed corduroy cropped jackets FFS!
The scenes where the party girl begs the Lothario to marry her border on torture. Here is a friendly, free spirited, well off party girl begging a guy with too much Botox, to take her and is willing to morph into his mother’s clone for him to accept her. To make it even more puke inducing, she mouths dialogues like “Party girl (forgot what the party girl was called in the film) bhi ek normal larki hai, usko bhi pati aur ghar ka sukh chahiye.”  With lines like this, feminism goes back to the century before last.
Lothario did not have one endearing quality apart from bouts of grocery shopping and still two seemingly intelligent, beautiful women who are both taller than the Lothario fall for him. The behen ji who called him pig for being a man whore fell for him just because he said she is beautiful! I mean how easy do the Bollywood walahs think girls are, esp those who are like ten feel tall and weigh 120 pounds?  
The premise of the film was that men fall for behen ji types even when they are man whores and have slept with half the women in two metros (Delhi and London). Lothario was a slut because he had not found true love, party girl was a slut because she has abandonment issues and Bhati naari was NOT a slut because she was insecure about her looks.
I ask Bollywood one simple question: Why can’t sluts be sluts because they feel like it? Why do they have to have something deep going on? Why can’t the NOT sluts be Not sluts because they do not feel like sleeping around? Why do they have to be insecure about their looks and what not. Why can’t life be simpler and why does Saif Ali Khan use this much Botox? 
The party girl, the Lothario & Bharti naari in a not so Bharti naari-ish dress!
Jul 4, 2012 - Sargodha, Shahid Kapoor    17 Comments

Braving bijli crisis with crap Bollywood

Do you know what is the worst thing ever! Your local cinema not updating their website.
I mean you check the schedule, you go there and you find out that the film you want to see will be screened three hours later! I mean why have a bloody website when you are not going to update it at least 24 hours before the screening.
S and I have been wanting to catch this particular film but when we went to the cinema, we found out that the film we wanted to watch will be screened hours later and the only two films starting within next 45 minutes were Rowdy Rathore and Teri Meri Kahani. As S refused to watch Rowdy Rathore ( I did not probe her deep seated loathing for Akshay Kumar but I am sure she has a good reason for that) the only other option available to us was Teri Meri Kahani. S thought it would be better than Rowdy Rathore, but was she wrong or what! I actually wanted to come back and watch the latest episode of Masterchef (yes, I am obsessed like that) but then realized that there won’t be any electricity at home for a couple of hours so there is no point in coming back. I decided to endure the next two and half hours of misery that passes for a Bollywood film these days for a chilly air conditioned hall (yes, I have my priorities right – mental agony must be endured for bodily comfort – that’s what one has got to do when the mercury hits 46 degree Celsius).
For starters, how in the God’s name can Shahid Kapoor be an A list actor? His teeth are more crooked than my neighbour’s paan eating 80 year old grandfather, what’s the point of making all that money if you cannot invest some of it on decent dental veneers! Would have been better if he had invested money in teeth instead of a chin implant, but I digress.
There are three alternate stories where Shahid Kapoor gets to romance Priyanka Chopra and they are all so lame that I was physically cringing every time he gets amorous. In the first one, Priyanka is a Bollywood actress in the 60s who fell for a struggling musician while bonding over kachay aam! I mean it is just 1960s not dark ages where women would fall for guys who will get them 5 slices of kachay aam! And she was a film actress FFS!
The other story is set in 2012 England where two students fall for each other over BBMs, MMS, tweets and facebook updates because the girl was a student at Nottingham and the guy was going to a university in Stratford-upon-Avon. Wait! Does the town of Stratford-upon-Avon even has one? No, it does not, the nearest university is Warwick but Kunal Kohli – the idiot who wrote this crapfest – was too lazy to google university towns in England and chose Stratford-upon-Avon to use some cheesy lines about Shakespeare and romance and what not! I have a feeling that the Bard must be turning in his grave like crazy over this one.
The last story was set in 1910 Pakistan – or part of Punjab that now constitute Pakistan – and the place they mentioned was “Sargodha, Lahore.” Seriously Mr. Hot shot Bollywood writer, how long does it take to google either Sargodha or Lahore to find out that they are two different cities and were two different cities even back then. I wonder who will take more offense at this, the Lahoris or the Sargodhvis that they were bundled like this! The hero, a Muslim stud muffin who was sleeping with all “alhar mutiyars” (village belles for lack of better translation) of all kinds – Sikh, Hindu and Muslim – fell in love with this girl and joins the protest against evil colonizers to impress her dad. He was jailed and under some really strange law, the village girls were allowed to hang out, make out and sing & dance with the inmates in their finest clothes. Sargodha had some really messed up permissive jail laws back then, I am sure the inmates in 2012 are turning green with envy for the fun those guys had back in 1910. Even though her dad was Sikh, the heroine was referred to as “Yeh Hindu Bewa Aurat” (yes, the stud muffin was the reformist who wanted to get nikah-ofied with the Hindu widow lady)
Oh and someone needs to tell all the Bollywood wallahs that being a Muslim does not turn Punjabis ghabroo jawans from Sargodha and Lahore into paan eating, poetry spewing young men from UP who throw adaabs at every random person, use sentences like ‘Hazoor tabiyat tau nasaaz naheen’, ‘ama apkay kya kehnay’, ‘miyan purzay wurzay tau theek hain na’etc. I am sure India has enough Punjabis that they would know how they behave and Punajbi men speak the same way whether they are Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Hindu, Islam does not turn them into hardcore Lucknow bwoyz!
Did I regret watching the film? Not really, I got to sit in an air conditioned room for two and half hours – something that has become a distant dream with hourly load shedding. Hai Allah Mian ji, bijli ki adam dastiyabi hum se kya kuch karwatee hai!
PS: This post has too many exclamation marks, yes, it was deliberate.
Jun 9, 2010 - Uncategorized    32 Comments

This is NOT a film review


I saw Rajneeti last night and while the film was arrite, there are a couple of things that I must point out.

For starters, it always comes in handy to have two studs in a political family. You want a super rich dude to finance your election campaign; you offer one of them to marry his daughter, if he does like the one you offer, there is always the other stud who will step in.

The film has some of the most fertile female characters ever presented on celluloid. They could be from different generations, different races and countries but they all conceive at the drop of a hat. There are three female characters in the film and they all got pregnant before you can actually say the word. Be it the mother who sleeps with her geriatric guru ji, Ranbir Kapoor’s character and his firangi girl friend and the married couple of Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif, they are all reproductively blessed beyond measure. No single character, not even the PhD from New York and his American girl friend thought about using protection. No wonder South Asia still has one of the highest birth rates in the world.

Whosoever designed Manoj Bajpai’s hairpiece should be shot dead. I mean there is fake hair piece and there is a fake hairpiece that screams ……..FAKE!!!!!!!!!!! As if that hair was not distracting enough, he was made to wear silk waistcoats that go with kurta pajama/shalwar kameez. The irony was that he was made to wear them with trousers and shirts making him look like a total moron. The audience had to root for the sartorially sophisticated combo of Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor, poor Bajpai had no chance.

I am glad that Ajay Devgan’s role was small. Tolerating him is an ordeal in any case, tolerating him in a longer role would have been a bigger ordeal. Thank God I, and millions of other viewers were spared that.

The parallels with Godfather are inevitable. 

Arjun Rampal is drool worthy no matter what he wears (or not wear), but Arjun Rampal in a kurta pajama trying to speak in Bihari accented Hindi is super drool worthy. If you are a woman with a pulse and can understand Urdu/Hindi, please do watch the film to admire super desi studliness (yes, I just invented that word) of Arjun Rampal, you won’t regret it.


Dec 28, 2008 - Uncategorized    20 Comments

This is no list …

Last night, my friends and I were discussing the films we have seen this past year and no one could agree on the films they like best. Being a film buff that I am, I have seen a lot of films this past year. From super hero action extravaganza like Ironman (Asma and I actually whistled and clapped in the cinema when Ironman took his first flight in his iron suit) to off beat British cinema like Happy go lucky to everything in between.

Honestly, film watching is such a personal experience that no two people enjoy it in a similar fashion. This year, I have seen some interesting films and some unexpected films such as Ghost Town. Come on, who would have thought that we will ever see a romantic comedy which stars Ricky Gervais!!!) I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds’ Definitely, may be which was a sort of a romantic whodunit. Another film that I thoroughly enjoyed was How to lose friends and alienate people. For one, I have a thing for quirky British comedies (though this one was shot in New York and the only British character was that of Simon Pegg), secondly, as someone who effortlessly alienates people, I thought I had something in common with the protagonist in the film.

Apart from all these wonderful and the not so wonderful films, I have seen three films this year that stand out the most. The most recent film that has completely bowled me over was Slumdog Millionaire. Directed by Danny Boyle (the man behind my all time favourite film Trainspotting) and written by Simon Beaufoy (man who wrote another favourite of mine, The Full Monty), this British film is shot and set in India and follows a chai wala named Jamal who appears on a game show and exceeds people’s expectations, raising suspicions from the game show host and police. The two children who played the younger Jamal and Saleem are so endearing that they make the viewer fall in love with their characters. A must watch for everyone who has ever rooted for an underdog.

The second film that I liked a lot and have seen about 4 times is Into the Wild. Technically, it’s a 2007 release but because I have seen it in 2008, for me it’s a 2008 film that is worth at least a watch. How can one not fall in love with a character who prefers to be called Alex Supertramp rather than his given name and says profound sentences like “Careers are a 20th century invention and I don’t want one.” The fact that Emile Hirsch is quite a dish did not hurt either.

But the film I loved most this year was ‘In Bruges’. When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was a heist plot and was not too interested in it. It was later recommended by someone in the family and boy, what a treasure it turned out to be! I have seen it about 5 times since September and have memorised most dialogues. It’s a must see for everyone who likes black comedies, Ralph Fiennes or Colin Farrell.

Ralph Fiennes was absolutely marvelous in the film; his inanimate object dialogue was perhaps the highlight of the film. Colin Farrell was delightful with his colloquial use of the word “fuck” and the fact that he actually tried to pick up a girl by going on and on about suicidal midgets (or dwarfs). His character was the worst tourist in the world whose idea of tourism was getting sloshed in a pub. He was so adorable that if there was a real person like him, I think I would have fallen madly in love.

Here is a little piece of the film to whet your appetite 🙂

Dec 21, 2008 - Shahrukh Khan    45 Comments

Keeping ’em luscious!!

Those who know me know the ‘lack’ of affection I have for the Shahrukh Khan. I think he should come out of the closet as soon as possible and live happily ever after with Karan Johar, but such fairytale like stuff only happens in fairytales or … in Bollywood musicals. In real life, men have to play at being faithful husbands, but I digress.

Shahrukh Khan is mentioned because two of my North America dwelling friends just saw his latest film. Preeti, the temporary New Yorker, thinks the writer/director should be sued and SRK should be asked to sit at home until he promises to take on age appropriate roles with modicum of intelligence and maturity (I know, Preeti is extremely demanding and asks for the earth, moon, stars and some other planets on the side). Erum, the permanent Toronto dweller, got quite confused in his moustachioed and non moustachioed personas and lack of logic in pursuing the fake character. She was also miffed that the film assumed that women in general, and the one you are married to in particular, are so stupid that they would fall for anything and won’t use their brains – not even when the hubby started posing and dressing as a teenaged colour blind wanna be dancer who is quite obviously confused about his ‘sexual identity’. OK, I admit. Erum did not use that particular term but the homoerotic references SRK has recently made about Amir Khan’s abs made me add that one. I have not seen the film – nor do I intend to – but I just had to add that bit.

The reason I went on this spiel about SRK is that I just had to spread a special news about him. Don’t get me wrong, I have not taken on as his PR person, but I have just learned from reliable sources (through someone who has shot SRK on ad campaigns) that he wears butt pads to keep them … err luscious.

Bollywood is a lot more gender neutral than I thought.

PS: PS: There was never any intention to insult LGBTQ people in this post,but if I come across that way, I apologize. I have nothing against a person’s sexuality; rather my frustration was with someone who can create an impact by coming out, not only in India but across the globe with desi community.