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...
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.
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.
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 :)
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):