We're half-way through the year, and around this time last year was when Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na took over, for which a shout out is in order. The multiplex strike is a distant memory, and there's a full slate of releases scheduled this month. As if it hasn't been official all along, Bollywood (it's in the name!) is in love with California, with two big releases at least partly based here. To top it off, I came across this at my local Best Buy store this weekend. I wonder if it's a pilot project for stores in and around Los Angeles, or a greater initiative of some sort.
Very interesting, and the prices are very reasonable too. Having said that, we know they need to do better with their selections when the only Aamir Khan film available is Mela (2000). Ouch. Partner (2007) is prominently featured. I thought it'd be a test case to prove Bollywood can do better with a Hollywood script (yes?), but Heyy Babyy (2007) put that opinion to shame. Not one Shah Rukh Khan film was available. Even *I* agree that's not a fair representation of our film industry :) Get with the program, Best Buy! How about putting Lagaan (2001) out there? Oh, well. Moving on...
Topping the July releases starring big names is Kambakkht Ishq on the third, with Akshay Kumar and Karena Kapoor in what promises to be yet another nonsensical comedy by Sajid Nadiadwala. At his peak, he's delivered with Salman Khan films such as Judwaa (1997) and Jaane-e-Mann (2005). At the other end of the scale is a film such as Heyy Babyy (2007), which I didn't like (but audiences apparently did, more than well). Akshay is a fine actor who is still often underrated, and the Hera Pheri series is probably my favorite comedy of the decade, but I wish he made better films. So, as you can tell, I'm somewhere in the middle when it comes to this particular film. But he's honest enough to tell the audience beforehand to check our brains at the door, and if I couldn't do that, I wouldn't be a true Bollywood fan, so... :)
On the plus side, very significant bits of this film are based in L.A., so it'll be nice to see nevertheless. The film will be selling a lot of the glitz and glamor of the city (of course!), but I wouldn't live in L.A. and Bombay if I were opposed to that :D On a personal note, the crew of the film were kind enough to have me on the sets so I could see first hand that the lovely Kareena Kapoor looks better in person than she does on camera (haaye Allah!).
Wish she too made better films, but at least she's working on it (read 3 Idiots!). The music (Anu Malik) is about okay; the title track is my favorite. The trailer to 'Bebo' feels as if it's Yeh Mera Dil from Don (2006) revisited. You can listen to the songs at this link. Official website: kambakkhtishq.erosentertainment.com
Next, there's the seldom mentioned Morning Walk, releasing the 10th. Starring Anupam Kher, Sharmila Tagore, Rajit Kapoor, Divya Dutta and others. Between its very interesting blend of music (Jeet Ganguli) and excellent cast, it's my sleeper pick of the month. Official website: MorningWalktheFilm.com
Luck, releasing the 24th, stars Sanjay Dutt, Mithun Chakroborty, Danny Dengzongpa, and Imran Khan. It's an action film shot in South Africa. Not too excited about all the violence that comes with bets, and guns (especially) not owned by law enforcement, which is the appearance the theatrical trailer suggests will dominate. Violence unaccompanied by purpose greater than wealth (e.g. in Ghajini (2008), and they had street fights, fewer guns there too) doesn't excite me enough to visit theaters. Haven't listened to its music (Salim-Sulaiman), and shall update this space if I like it.
Speaking of music, I must mention Jashnn, which releases the 17th. Its music by Toshi and Sharib Sabri delivers the solid soundtrack of the month, which I'd rate at three stars. Not sure what to expect of the Mukesh Bhatt film, though. The tagline reads: 'For every Nobody who wants to be a Somebody'. It's the tried and tested theme at issue. We'll see. Official website: Jashnn.com
And finally, there's Love Aaj Kal releasing the 31st. Saif Ali Khan's debut production is partly based in San Francisco, and as if the title wasn't enough to tell us what its segments are, the website is divided into sections for aaj (today) and kal (yesterday in this case; tomorrow when used with the appropriate tense). Based on this piece of information alone, we know where this film is going, don't we? Saif seems to like two dimensions. Aaj Kal. Hum Tum. What's next? Yeh Woh (This-That)? =)
Its music by Pritam Chakraborty is about average (and closer to that of Kismat Konnection (2008) than to that of Jab We Met (2007), i.e. for the worse). The one outstanding track is Yeh Dooriyaan by Mohit Chauhan, who, since his first big Bollywood hit in Rang De Basanti (Khoon Chala), has been unstoppable. To be fair to the music, I have yet to listen to the songs (especially Twist) in a club, so maybe I'll favor it more when at the right time and in the right place. It's a film written by Imtiaz Ali, whose last product, Jab We Met (2007), we know we like. And it stars Saif opposite Deepika Padukone. I wasn't convinced at first, but there's this *hilarious* bit in this theatrical trailer (exactly 45 seconds in) that I think our films took too long to borrow from reality ;)
So, for a packaging job well done, part of me is looking forward to it! If they use the music from Yeh Dooriyaan for their theme and through the score, which I think they will, the elements are in place for a biggie. I also have a feeling the ladies will like the film a lot more, but I'll shut up for fear of inviting trouble :) Official website: loveaajkal-illuminatifilms.erosentertainment.com; listen to the songs at this link.
Quick question: Am I the only who thinks this had might as well be Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008)?
Here's the complete listing of July releases (source: IndiaFM.com):
Dekh Bhai Dekh
Mohan Das - A Man Lost In His Own Nation
Short Kut - The Con Is On
Ek Second...Jo Zindagi Badal De?
Love Aaj Kal