Wanted: September Releases and Chick Flicks that Click

And so begins the most exciting period of the filmy year! Lots going on this month and through the rest of the year, and before we get right to it, a quick note to thank Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan (picture here) for a spectacular concert here in L.A. on August 16, which culminated with Mere Haath Mein from Fanaa (2006) with the word 'rooh' (soul) substituted for 'dil' (heart) in the title couplet! Sonu is easily among the best I've seen live, and I'd put him alongside Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar as vocalists who are more mesmerizing in person. Notable moments included tributes to legends Mohammad Rafi and Michael Jackson (members from the Jackson family were among the audience), and acknowledgment by Sonu that he considers himself the voice of Salman Khan. He certainly had the songs to back up his claim.

Speaking of Salman, he is back with 'Wanted' on the 18th, the Eid release produced by Boney Kapoor and directed by Prabhu Deva. He plays a streetfighter and sharpshooter in this Bombay underworld flick, which also stars Mahesh Manjrekar, Prakash Raj, Vinod Khanna, and of course, the lovely Ayesha Takia. Lots more including the theatrical trailer at the official website, Wanted-theFilm.com. Stay away from its Wikipedia entry if you want to keep the special appearance(s) 'special'. :)

The average soundtrack (Sajid-Wajid) sounds better after having seen the trailers. Wanted is a remake (as acknowledged on the official website) of the Telugu film Pokiri (2006), which was also remade in Tamil as Pokkiri (directed by Prabhu Deva as well). Has anyone seen either?

I am really quite upbeat about it, and certainly more than enough so to go see it in theaters (the violence appears very filmy, which works for me). It caters to Salman's strengths, what with the action (he's really been one of the best at it since the outset of his career) and animated dance sequences complementing his efforts here. Should be a fun-filled core masala entertainer. All trailers and song promos available at this ErosEntertainment YouTube playlist.

Interesting time for Salman fans -- he's got others lined up before the end of the year in Main Aur Mrs. Khanna (with Kareena Kapoor and Sohail Khan) and London Dreams (with Asin and Ajay Devgan). The law of averages suggests he will end his box office slump with at least one. We'll see. Salman fans -- be absolutely sure to check out a really cool interview (with lots on Wanted) at BollywoodHungama: Part 1 | Part 2.

Also releasing the 18th is Dil Bole Hadippa (My heart skips a beat/skips to the rhythm), produced by Yash Raj Films and starring Shahid Kapoor opposite a Rani Mukerjee fresh from a makeover. She's looking great (does she ever not?), and here she'll be trying to make a cricket team. To combat the narrow-mindedness of her village folk, she'll have to pursue her dreams dressed as a man! The film also stars Anupam Kher, Poonam Dhillon, Dalip Tahil, Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra. Plenty more at its official website. Of course, no Yash Raj Film is ever complete without a reference to Dhoom (*yawn*).

The music is well below par, and there's a little too much fluff and melodrama for my taste, which means I'll be waiting for the DVD. This YRF playlist has all promos.

Now, I hardly have anything against romantic comedies and chick flicks. I've mentioned before that Serendipity (2001) is one of my absolute favorite films, and it's the wit and subtle but abundant sex appeal that characterized that Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack starrer, that I'll be looking for in the Ashutosh Gowariker-directed 'What's Your Raashee?' (What's Your Zodiac?), releasing the 25th.

Gowariker has given us two of the finest films of the decade in Lagaan (2001) and Swades (2004), and Jodhaa Akbar (2008) wasn't bad either. Each has a song with specific mention of the stars or heavens which is beautifully directed -- Mitwaa, Yeh Taara Woh Taara, Khwaja Mere Khwaja. So it's only sequential that we get a complete film on the role of aligned stars! (Aside: And if you're into mentions of stars in film, you must see A Beautiful Mind (2001). Heck, even Serendipity has them.)

What's Your Raashee? has an intriguing theme, and I expect an excellent script and screenplay, and cool cinematography, although I haven't read the Gujarati novel -- 'Kimball Ravenswood' by Madhu Rye -- on which it is based. Trust Gowariker with his view of what cinema should be, and appreciate what he'll be trying to achieve through 12 Priyanka Chopras! Hope the film overcomes two potential roadblocks:

  1. Any true musical which has 13 songs needs to have really good and engaging ones, from the first to the last. The soundtrack to What's Your Raashee? (Music: Sohail Sen; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar), while quite good in some respects, leaves a lot to be desired. I've tried hard to like it as a whole (and that's key), but the best the music critic in me can say is 'not bad' at a 3/5. What will likely make it good is excellent integration, which we can expect from the director. I just hope everyone is prepared for a Gowariker outburst at the awards ceremonies next year (he's made it a trend) -- this soundtrack ain't winning a thing, although why Gowariker cares for awards is beyond me. =)

  2. The single biggest concern: Harman Baweja. His films (Love Story 2050 (2008) and Victory (2009)) have yet to prove he can keep up with the bare minimum acting requirements to entertain and engage the masses (and yes, those two films were probably doomed from the start because of lackluster scripts, but still). He is on the hot seat, and if the best full-time director in Bollywood cannot turn his career around, no one can.

Oh, well. Much more at the official film website: WhatsYourRaashee.com. Suffice it to say there are only two people I trust with quality cinema each and every time. Ashutosh Gowariker is one of them. This chick flick should click!

In other goings on, the A. R. Rahman soundtrack to Blue (releasing mid-October) releases this week, which means I sense a music review at some point this month. I'll also try to get some exclusives for you all for next month, hopefully some behind-the-scenes video of stunts, etc. (remember this?) Blue will be real fun.

And finally, I'll be blogging relatively sparingly through the next couple of months. There's a lot going on I'd rather make time for. Trust the films and music mentioned above to keep me coming back. In the mean time, you can follow me on Twitter (@theBollywoodFan).

September (remaining) release dates (Source: IndiaFM)

11: Aamras, Baabarr, Ruslaan, Shaabash! You Can Do It, Vaada Raha... I Promise

18: Wanted, Dil Bole Hadippa!

25: Fast Forward, What's Your Raashee?


Darshit said...

Sonu is right. He sounds so perfect when sings for Sallu. And for Wanted, I was in doubt, that I will turn out watching it or not, but as I have heard more about Pokkiri, may be I will be going in halls. But music is really average, and is a let down for me.

Ditto feeling abt YRF and Dhoom, they are using is like Dhoom has won Oscar, and so they have to use its reference!! :S I didn't like its music too. Surprisingly I have hardly listened to its OST at full.

I didn't get the novel's name. Have you typed in the original name or translated one? Madhu Rye has some nice work to credit. Now I certainly looking more forward to Whats your... True about soundtrack, but it still has 'fun' to it. Not meeting expectations, but you will have fun while listening to it. Not the mesmerizing scores, as always Ashu's movies had.

And last word, people are expecting too much from Blue, hope it will get heads up besides such heavy burden. And well, I haven't heard its director's name before, am I right?

Anonymous said...

Even though i'm not crazy about Harman, i am hoping 12 Priyankas will overshadow him & by the end we will forget that he was even in the movie. I'm completely lost as to what made Ashutosh choose him.
Okay a correction regarding 'Wanted'. The original Telugu film is Pokiri, which later remade in Tamil as Pokkiri. I've seen the Telugu Pokiri and it was Fabulous thanks to Awesome Mahesh Babu. He has an electric screen presence.
Even though i absolutely adore Prabhu Deva, I'm not sure how he interpretted the role for Salman. This would have been a better fit for Salman 10 years back...now i'm not so sure.

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Sonu and Salman have some of the best total dance masti songs this decade, they're a great combo. I was hoping Sonu would sing Mastam Mastam, that would've been too perfect, though, LOL. When I first listened to the soundtrack to Wanted, it sounded very ordinary, but the songs seem to have been well picturized and choreographed, and the presence factor should work in their favor to make them tolerable. Let's see.

Regarding YRF and Dhoom, that's exactly the point -- it's not like Dhoom and Dhoom 2 were the best movies out there, and even if they were, these references are old and annoying.

The novel's name I got from WYR's official website. That's about all I know about it. I'm loving the storyline, let's hope it works. And yes, can you imagine how different something by A. R. Rahman would've been? I understand both Gowariker and Rahman need to diversify their portfolios and all (as if it matters at this stage -- they both kick serious butt and know it), but the potential was definitely there.

And lastly, you're right about Blue and its director. But I would think the action, music, and cinematography are all as important. As are the cast. And in these departments, I think they'll be just fine, so I'll continue to have high expectations as I wait :) Funny we mention Dhoom and Blue in the same comments, trust Blue to have exponentially better action. Fingers crossed for a good, controlled script.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: I'm hoping for that too! But there's the same Harman sharing screen space with each of the Priyankas, so he'd better be good, LOL. Gowariker has said repeatedly the casting for WYR was finalized before Love Story 2050, and it sure seems like it.

Thanks for the notes on Wanted! I've updated the info above. Wanted should be interesting, it's been so long since we've seen Salman do a pure action flick, so I'm hoping for the best. Are you going to see it? You'll definitely have a much better perspective if you've seen the original.

Darshit said...

Oh, that would be awesome. Rahman in whats your... Sigh.....Maybe he was bound to Blue guys, which I don't fear, going to be that great, as it is publicized.

Filmi Girl said...

Have you heard the soundtrack for Main aur Mrs. Khanna yet?

Sonu does a fantastic job on "Don't Say Alvida" and the rest is really good, too.

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: The music to Blue is going to be different, and the sky-high expectations after Rahman's Oscars will likely lead people to conclusions sooner than verdicts on any of his soundtracks deserve to be passed. I don't doubt it's going to fit in well, at the very least. And I'm sure it'll sound good, as I was saying earlier, the bits I've listened to are great.

Filmi Girl: Thanks for the tip. I haven't yet checked out the Main Aur Mrs. Khanna soundtrack, hope to soon. Sonu is such a talent, I'll look forward to 'Don't Say Alvida'!


Anonymous said...

I am curious as to which songs in Whats Your Rashi you like?

ajnabi said...

I have Pokiri in my DVD player for tonight. A lot of people call it their favorite Mahesh Babu film (and I loved him in Athadu) so I'm looking forward to it. I'll be sure to post about it when I'm done.

Ugh. Harman. I'll still give it a chance but he does not impress in promos.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: There are several rather interesting (and frankly, good) tracks in the soundtrack to 'What's Your Raashee?' -- I like the following in particular (in no specific order):

1. Bikhri Bikhri
2. Su Chhe Su Chhe
3. Pyaari Pyaari
4. Salone Kya
5. Koi Jaane Na
6. Chehre Jo Dekhen Hain

I particularly cannot get enough of #s 1, 4 and 5. I have a feeling the Priyanka to go with #4 will be my favorite. ;)

Again, it's not entirely fair to judge a soundtrack before having seen the film. We all seem to do it all the time (filmmakers encourage it too in the film lifecycle), but please let's always have a disclaimer that a good soundtrack, first and foremost, complements the film it is in and for. We won't know that until we see the film. I have a feeling I might like this soundtrack a lot more after having seen What's Your Raashee?!

theBollywoodFan said...

Ajnabi: Yes, please do let us know about Pokiri. As I'd twittered earlier, Nicki has some cool screenshots here, as always.

Yes, Harman in the promos is really not doing it. But he shouldn't be 'doing it' for me, LOL, I get that. Still...this would have undoubtedly been so much bigger just a couple weeks away, with someone else from Harman's generation.

Should've said above that one of the things I am most looking forward to in 'What's Your Raashee?' is how Ashutosh films Bombay. Abbas Tyrewala did great in Jaane Tu last year, but I can't imagine Ashutosh wouldn't do just as well. This, of course, assumes that each of the 12 Priyankas is in Bombay.

Filmi Girl: Been checking out the 'Main Aur Mrs. Khanna' soundtrack, and I'll save more for October. While I like the Sonu Nigam song, the album isn't working for me at all. I like the music to 'Wanted' more! Hoping the picturizations and cast will do it.

theBollywoodFan said...

The thought process in filmmaking is as important as the film. Stuff like this with Gowariker is why he's gotten to where he is. Cool dude, yes?

Darshit said...

I might like this soundtrack a lot more after having seen What's Your Raashee?!

Same feeling.
also, besides 3 songs 'dhadkan' [which will might be likable after watching movie], Manunga and Aaja Lehrate; I re-listen all songs frequently. Loving it gradually.

Saadia said...

This is one of Salman's most loyal fans writing! :-) So yes, I'm excited and from the promos, Salman and Ayesha rock together. Too bad she's taken!

I am, however, concerned about his hairdos in all these films. Don't you agree?

p.s. never heard back from you.

Arjavi said...

Never thought like that about Gowarikar, what an interesting way to get to WYR with the 3 songs. By the way, where was the star reference in Jodha-Akbar?

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Should be interesting. Aaja Lehrate would've been so much better without those silly interludes. I like the 'wa oh ah oh' bit (it's catchy), but there are two bits that are difficult to describe (LOL) and belong in 'Milo Na Milo' in Love Story 2050!

Saadia! Let's hear it then for Salman and his loyal fans! Salman and Ayesha rock, but he and Katrina Kaif rock too!!! =) You're absolutely right about his hair, though. Sent you an e-mail, please let me know if you received it.

Arjavi: The bit in Jodhaa-Akbar is when Akbar gets up and is moving in a trance, one palm opened to the sky, the other to the groud, as if to seek divine inspiration and help to transfer the goodness of the heavens to his people. That's at least what I gathered from it, and given the role of the heavens as described in Islamic philosophy, it makes sense in a track that is a tribute to [a Sufi] Khwaja Chishti. What do you think?

Saadia said...

Mmmm...Katrina and him don't seem to get along that well (looking good just ain't enough!), so it just spoils the moment. Haha.

Didn't get any email. Are you sure you're typing 'saadia' with a double 'aa'?

Emily said...

I'm looking forward to all 3 movies, but I'll probably only see Dil Bole Hadippa in the theater. I love that colorful, fun Yash Raj look of the promos.

Wanted has me curious, since I don't like Salman Khan much but I love Pokiri (the Telugu one) madly. Mahesh Babu is a lot to live up to, and it'll be interesting to see if Salman is capable. Plus I'll see just about anything Prakash Raj is in!

theBollywoodFan said...

Saadia: Agreed on looking good not being enough at all. My view on all the bad press on Salman and Kats is that it is unbelievably poor (read baseless and without evidence) journalism. I could be wrong, of course. But then, good luck looking for good, fact-based, complete-picture-showing journalism in gossip columns, LOL.

I have a different e-mail from the one with your name in it. If you want, please e-mail me again at thebollywoodfan at gmail dot com, and I'll write right back. Thanks.

Emily: See, I'm missing out on a lot of good movies and perspectives because I primarily restrict myself to Bollywood (from among the Indian industries, at least).

'Wanted' should be interesting. Which Salman films have you seen? And Dil Bole Hadippa should be fun for YRF fans, certainly. Enjoy!

Nida said...

Ooh, is it time for another Ashutosh Gowarikar film already? Hooray! (I've still got to see "Swades", BTW).

I'm 100% with you on the Harman thing. If this film can't make him shine, what will?

I'm really excited for this one. "Dil Bole Hadippa" looks ok, and I've missed Rani, but I'm going to probably wait for the DVD as well. "Wanted" is going to be hit or miss for me--I'll wait for the blogging reviews.

Saadia said...

Well, of course, I wouldn't pay any *whatsoever* to masala journalism. I was commenting on all the coverage I've seen of the two of them together.

I'm still confused about Dil Bole Hadippa. Sure, its colorful and I do love Shahid too (surprise!), but the storyline doesn't seem fresh or original to me. Hollywood has done that kind (man dresses as woman or woman dresses as man) a bit too much.

Emily said...

Saawariya, Baabul, Salaam-e-Ishq, Jaan-e-Mann, Lucky, Tere Naam, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Arjun, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Andaz Apna Apna...enough to know that he's not for me! (Okay, you probably didn't need that whole list. Sorry!)

If you ever do decide to branch out to South Indian movies, I highly recommend it!

theBollywoodFan said...

Nida: Yes, time has come for another Gowariker film! Although I'd check out Swades first chance I get. It's not why people like SRK, yes, but hope you are able to enjoy it! (Because the vast majority of his fans seem to dislike it.)

In the ideal world, each of the three movies will have a lot to appreciate about them, hoping for the best, as always.

Saadia: Okay, Shahid fan, I share your concern with Dil Bole Hadippa. Even Hindi films have had their share of cross-dressers. Although I cannot recall one in which it was done through more than a small segment, and since I don't watch a lot of Hollywood movies at all, it will be kinda new to me. I'll check it out only for Rani's sake. :)

Haven't seen a whole lot of Salman and Kats together. I think I saw them on a game show together around the time Yuvvraaj was released, thought they were fine. But I can see them being uncomfy in some ways.

Emily: So you have seen several! Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) is not on that list?! :P If you think (and I'm not sure on this) one movie alone can change perceptions of an actor, or that a film-viewing experience wouldn't be hurt because of negative perceptions of one of its actors, I'd totally recommend it to you, as I would to any Hindi film fan.

If I decide to see films from the south, I'll be sure to come to you and a couple others in the blogosphere, first! You all know so much I could benefit from!

theBollywoodFan said...

PS Saadia: Ditto on masala journalism! Your comment made my day!!! It's not only unethical and demeaning to the subjects, it stems from attention-seekers (there's a word for that I cannot use because it would violate my comment policy, LOL), and that I think is the bigger problem of the cycle.

Kinda feel sorry for those writers too. They probably have little going on in their lives that's interesting. :)

Anonymous said...

dis is andalib-the girl(lol)again.yes i hv seen pokirri in tamil,with tamil superstarvijay(da srk of tamil mvies):D.
da did'nt quite click for me though.i found it a typical bolly-masala with maar-dhaar(dhisum-dhisum)and all.waise i knw da story of da mvie.do u wanna me 2 reveal it 2 u.will do it with pleasure.:D

and abt WHAT'S YOUR RASHEE i wud surely dn't wanna knw da rashee's of harman&piggy chops for sure.:D

Anonymous said...

yeah...i saw the telugu film pokiri...its a wonderful movie...a super hit film...but that film mainly attracted audience because of the hero's slang, and his appearence in the movie(it's different from his usual appearence), and music was really good, i think wanted music is not as good as pokiri...it may become a hit, but not as big as pokiri...please visit my blog too... www.picsatoz.blogspot.com

Nicki said...

Definitely watch Pokiri soon, try that link I gave you on Twitter :)

I think Sallu will do fine in an action. I love him so can't wait!

Harman, oh gosh, let's see. If Gowariker can't help him, then Harman has no hope :D

theBollywoodFan said...

Andalib: No, no, please don't reveal the end to Wanted/Pokiri! LOL. I still can't get over Harman in What's Your Raashee. Even in the trailers, he's acting very average, and the trailers usually showcase the best bits! :( A great script needs at least a good actor to make it all work, unconvinced with Harman. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Chaitanya: The selling point of Wanted is Salman, don't think there's any question about that. The music to Wanted could've been so much better though, absolutely.

Nicki! Thank you again, and I know I need to catch up on Ghajini and Pokiri soon.

I too think Salman will do just fine here, this one's got his name written all over it. Seriously hope he shuts up all the haters out there.

At the point where I wouldn't feel bad if Harman messed things up for Gowariker. He's in the hot seat, that's for sure.


pitu said...

I watched WYR and it's so not worth it despite great acting from Priyanka. It's massively long and has tons of substandard songs! I reviewed it and gave it 2.5 tops.

Darshit : the reason that novel is called 'Kimball Ravenswood' is becoz the lead character (Harman) is from Chicago and the train junction at Kimball Ravenswood on the CTA line is where a lot of desis including Harman stay.

Rashmi said...

Yes, was quite disappointed with WYR though I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting. I guess a 3.5hr romantic-comedy is a bit of a stretch, though I don't mind the length for historical dramas. It had some funny moments and some touching ones, so I'm not disappointed for having watched it. And I like some of the songs as well. But definitely, just an OK movie.