Dus Kahaniyaan (2007)

Did anyone else catch the song Dhoom Tana from Om Shanti Om (2007) at the Olympics?! One World. One Dream. Indeed.

Finally saw Dus Kahaniyaan (2007) this past weekend. Remember liking its soundtrack (across three CDs -- here's my review), and had somehow avoided it for all this while, which was a shame, because the movie was one of the most creative and original to have released last year. The format was very interesting. As the title suggested, it was a synthesis of 10 stories. Each was treated independently, and had an end with a twist. The dialogue, background score, music (without playback singing), cinematography, and abundance of acting talent, made for a unique viewing experience, one I thoroughly enjoyed! A big thank you to Filmi Girl for her comments on the film here, following which I got the DVD. Here's her review. You can also read Doc Bollywood's review here.


Given the brevity of the mini-movies, I'll stay away from giving away much of the plots to each. Instead, here is a listing of the stories, and some notes sans major spoilers. Here's one of my favorite songs from the film, so click the play button and read on...


1. MATRIMONY
Starring: Arbaaz Khan, Mandira Bedi, Sudhanshu Pandey
Enjoyed the way this started out -- making mango juice can never not be exciting :) The plot, a love triangle, caught me off-guard. Well done Arbaaz!



2. HIGH ON THE HIGHWAY
Starring: Jimmy Shergill, Masumeh Makhija
Be on the lookout for a placement of the song Waqt ne kiya, kya haseen sitam from Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959). Loved how the song O Maahiya was shown, the club ambiance captured to perfection, although very briefly. This mini-movie could have done without heavy make-up (yet again!) on Jimmy Shergill. Probably my least favorite of the ten.



3. PURAN MAASHI
Starring: Amrita Singh, Minissha Lamba, Parmeet Sethi
One of my favorites, largely because of the two leading ladies, who played mother and daughter. Amrita Singh (along with Neelam) was the first ever Bollywood crush of my life (since I started keeping record ;) She's still beautiful. Minissha Lamba looked stunning as well.


And they acted beautifully too, especially the former. The story was interesting, and the music used to good effect. This was also where the quality of art direction and costumes shone through. And the song Vichodeya Ne was used remarkably well.



4. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
Starring: Mahesh Manjrekar, Neha Dhupia
A theme began to develop here, one that was alluded to at least two more times in the mini-movies that followed. See if you can catch that. The highlight here, in addition to its end, was the beautiful sets -- good taste. Could have used less of a sexual undertone, surely, which was why the overall impact was less than spectacular. It was still decent, particularly because of Neha Dhupia. She's a model-turned-actress who can, for a change, act.



5. ZAHIR
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Dia Mirza
Another favorite, this one was interesting for many reasons. On one hand we had the gorgeous Dia Mirza (she can act, too!)...


...and on the other hand, the gorgeous Dia Mirza at a bookstore, doing more than drinking coffee (looking for a book)!


I'm petitioning my local library to have Dia in those 'Reading is Sexy' bumper stickers and bookmarks. :o) Zahir was brought to an unpredictable end. Effective, and well done. Manoj Bajpai is a class act, but we knew that already.


6. LOVEDALE
Starring: Anupam Kher, Anuradha Patel, Aftab Shivdasani, Neha Uberoi
Loved it! This was the closest we came to a masala plot, but its treatment was fresh and the music (Bin Tum) splendid. The actors did well.


Again, the art direction stood out. Aftab played an artist who worked with mostly black and white, giving more meaning to my (admittedly rather defensive, when it's brought up) stance that between black and white are a million shades of gray, each of them as interesting as any other color!


Loved the interior.



7. SEX ON THE BEACH
Starring: Dino Morea, Tareena Patel
Dino was listening to Halo Halo from I See You (2007), an instantly recognizable tune. This mini-movie was so-so.



8. RICE PLATE
Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi
This kicked off the strongest back-to-back-to-back mini-movie series in the film, which alone was worth watching the film for. Shabana Azmi was excellent, as always:


And so was Naseeruddin Shah:


This mini-movie also made me hungry, so I paused for a bit and got me a couple of samosas...no rice plate at 7 p.m., thank you :)



9. GUBBARE
Starring: Nana Patekar, Anita Hasanandani, Rohit Roy
A definite highlight here was Nana, who was at his best. A lesson learned, a couple of hearts touched, and a fantastic visual portrayal of religion, were all effectively done.


Anita and Rohit did well too.



10. RISE & FALL
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty
Two of the best actors for the role they played here. Rise & Fall worked well, and was appropriately titled. It reminded me of Musafir (2005), and concluded the series of mini-movies in fitting fashion. Once again, the realism portrayed worked, although they could have gone easier on the language and violence.



Overall, Dus Kahaniyaan was as novel a journey for the audience as it must have been for those who made it. A milder undertone of violence and sex in some stories would have made this much more appealing to the masses, which a film with this innovative approach deserved to be. Yet, the mini-movies that were good were brilliant. Really enjoyed #s 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.

An ambitious project resulting in a remarkable and unique achievement containing some fine cinematic elements (most notably those mentioned in the opening paragraph), I'm going with close to four stars for this. It's well, well worth experiencing. The soundtrack sounds even better after having seen the film, and I am still in love with the disc with the poetry.


Movie rating: 3.75/5 (Very good!) -- a heck of an experiment

My classification: R overall (for language, violence, sexual situations). Stories 8 and 9 were were clean (PG).

Official website (and picture source):
http://duskahaniyaan.erosentertainment.com/

16 comments:

Nicki said...

I liked Dus Kahaniyaan. I know it got mixed reviews but ten short stories in one movie. Not bad, huh? Overall, I thought it was good. I've been wanting to review this movie but get backed up because there's so many movies I want to share on Blogspot.

Anonymous said...

Puranmaashi was my most favorite. I had high expectations from "Rice Plate" already, and they were completely met.. but since I didn't know what to expect from Puranmaashi, I was blown away by its beauty. (I should've gotten a hint from the fact that it was directed by Meghna Gulzar, whose Filhaal I absolutely loved for its quiet sensitivity).

I was surprised that you have liked Lovedale; I thought that was one of the weakest story of the movie. Not because it had a supernatural element to it.. but I thought the director couldn't bring the "mystic" of the story across quite as well. And I had to give up halfway on "High on Highway" .. i expected it to be interesting, but it was getting too boring & slow.

But you know, the one story that really took me by surprise was the Neha Dhupia one. I don't like, as you pointed out, stories that have too much of a sexual overtone.. but.. *after* that segment was over, I found myself thinking over it. I mean, that TWIST.. how it managed to change the "tone" of the story totally.. that is what got to me!

~Well sorry for the looooongg comment; it was nice to see a favorite movie reviewed at a favorite blog, so couldn't stop myself! :-D (I follow your blog closely; though it's the first time I'm writing in). Cheers! ~Ranya

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nicki: This wasn't bad at all. In fact, quite the inverse, right? It could have wrong, but the directors (I should have mentioned them in my review -- the complete listing is available at the official website of the film noted at the bottom of the post) did well. And I really liked that by the fifth or sixth story, they had conditioned the viewers to think about the twist at the end of the ones that followed. It was well packaged.

//but get backed up because there's so many movies I want to share

A true film lover's dilemma! You might have just helped coin a term here! ;)


Hi Ranya: Thank you! Greatly appreciate your kind words.

Puranmaashi was extremely well done. I kept waiting for someone to take accountability. Either way, it might not have changed the outcome. Agree that it was much less predictable than the other excellent story, Rice Plate. Amrita Singh really did well in making it work.

The lack of predictability was also why the Neha Dhupia story stood out, as you note. That one was perhaps the most striking, because the tone changed *that* fast, it caught me by surprise, too. And yes, we did perceive the character in a different light after the climax.

Agree on High on the Highway. As for Lovedale...I'm probably in the minority who like this one. The mystic could have been better portrayed, that's an excellent point. I think what did me in was the ambiance throughout the segment, which was very easy to relate to. The train, rain, earring, home, its interior, the flashback, some decent dialogue, an excellent background score, and my favorite (happy-romantic :) song, all worked for me. And some decent acting too, of course.

Again, thanks so much for following the content here. Until next time! Cheers :)

Nida said...

Wow, I can't wait to see this! Yep, you guessed it...I own it but haven't watched it yet...lol.

I agree, the concept is definitely creative and I'm glad you found the stories delivered for the most part as well!

Didn't catch "Dhoom Tana" on the Olympics, but that is very cool...and you know what? This song was also on the popular U.S. show "So You Think You Can Dance"!

Deepa Dev said...

janaab, although I haven't seen this yet, from quite a reliable source, I found out that more than one of the 10 kahaaniyaan is not original and is from uncredited stories/movies...

just thought I should tell you...

Filmi Girl said...

I'm glad you finally got a chance to watch this one. The whole film really took me by surprise and in retrospect I'm glad I saw this instead of Khoya Khoya Chand, which was the film I had intended to go to that day.

The format of the small stories is just such an usual one for popular Hindi film, where we are used to the slow unfolding of plots that give us information on parents, family histories, and full depictions of the main characters lives. The most effective "twist" stories (which I thought were Puranmaashi and the Dia one) managed to connect the audience with the characters without all of that background information.

You've made me want to re-visit this!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nida: You have an incredible to-watch list going...I have a real hard time with this, but maybe it's time to freeze purchasing for a bit?! LOL ;) Back to Dus Kahaniyaan. For the approach alone, it is worth checking out. I'm recommending this to some of my friends who've complained Bollywood films aren't slick and crisp. This one's a standout in that category, and I think is convincing enough.

Haven't seen 'So You Think You Can Dance?', but will try finding the clip with Dhoom Tana. That would be cool. Thanks for pointing it out.


Hi Deepa: Thanks for the alert! Why is not surprising? :(

The Wikipedia entry for the film (at this link), which is full of spoilers by the way, notes at least two that were 'inspired'. I wouldn't know enough about the originals to judge their 'inspiration quotient', but the ones they mention (Matrimony and Rise & Fall), had themes that must surely have been tackled in many Hindi movies before it too. I think it's just how they were treated that made them good, and maybe that's where the inspiration was drawn? Again, I find the 'uncredited' piece really bothersome (sigh)...


Hi Filmi Girl: Thank you again yaar! Couldn't agree more about the format -- your points are all very valid. *Loved* both stories you mentioned as having very effective twists. They really had us guessing in some of them.

Back to our dreams of writing scripts and lyrics...maybe we could start with a mini-movie?! :)


Cheers!

bollyviewer said...

Great review! Loved your screen caps. I really do need to get hold of this one - have been meaning to but there are so many movies to watch and so little time...

"my (admittedly rather defensive, when it's brought up) stance that between black and white are a million shades of gray, each of them as interesting as any other color!"

Why defensive? Do you think you'll be suspected of color-blindness? ;-) I think its a very good point and agree that B&W can be just as interesting as color.

Pitu said...

I rly enjoyed Dus Kahaniyan. Puran Maashi was fantastic- I wish Meghana Gulzar would concentrate on these sort of themes rather than the Honeymoon Travels stuff she attempted. Amrita was so good!

I hated the Neha Dhupia one and the Sex on the Beach one was just stupid.

But oh, Nana rocked Gubbare and Azmi-Shah was awesome in Rice Plate. I said 'pickad' for days afterwards :-)

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Bollyviewer: Thank you! Yes, it should make for interesting viewing, at the very least. There is a good enough variety that you'll likely enjoy some.

Glad you think B&W can be as interesting as color. Of all my drawings, I've only ever used color in one. But I've never missed using color, really. Now if I wanted to rid any suspicions of color-blindness, maybe I should draw and color something from a Govinda movie! =) Love your post here!


Hi Pitu: With you on Puran Maashi! They could have done so much more with the Neha Dhupia one, because the climax was stunning; just disliked the plot otherwise. Agreed. Also agree on the Dino Morea one.

But oh, Nana rocked Gubbare and Azmi-Shah was awesome in Rice Plate. I said 'pickad' for days afterwards :-)

True! =)

Hope all's well in the sultanate... ;)

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Adab Nawab theBollywoodFan,
Glad to see this write up. Nice concise job and good screen caps to remind me of this film (films). I think I most enjoyed PURAN MAASHI aur GUBBARE (Nana!). I liked how RICE PLATE made you hungry, me too. It's great how Sanjay tries to branch out and do different things too. Thought I saw ZINDA and didn’t care for it too much, then found out why: It was a remake of a Korean film. The few Korean films I’ve seen have been gory and graphic like ZINDA. Have you seen SIRF? I saw that last night and enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of DUS a bit.

All the best!
SIta-ji

Filmi Girl said...

We can certainly start with a mini-movie! I have some ideas for a twisty 15 to 20 minute film - but then I have ideas for everything...

One important question - who will be doing the music? Do you think A.R. Rahman is free? (LOL!)

ajnabi said...

Why have I never heard of this one? Thanks for the heads-up, Bollywood Fan!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you all for your comments!


Sita-ji: Adab. Glad to know you enjoyed this. RICE PLATE had more than just the rice plate to make us hungry. That bit where Shabana's packing a bag full of goodies for her granddaughter was equally hunger-invoking.

Agree with your thoughts on Zinda. Fast-forwarded through most of it. There is only so much one can take, especially outside the context of a war movie.

Haven't seen SIRF, but anything that reminds one of DUS must be good!


Filmi Girl: We can take our pick on the music director. The options are limitless ;) There's *got* to be a wannabe A.R. Rahman out there for a wannabe Javed Akhtar!


Ajnabi: You're very welcome. Now you know!

Ramneek said...

Reading this makes me want to watch the film again. Too bad it didn't do so well financially.

theBollywoodFan said...

Right, Ramneek. I loved the novel approach in this film!