Kambakkht Ishq, Dil Bole Hadippa, Blue, and Barah Aana: I Scream. Everyone Screams. For what, again?

Ever notice how, when ice-cream has more sugar than necessary, plain water tastes weird (in a bad way) when consumed immediately following? Each of these films offers a good example to illustrate this framework of after-effects of ice-cream consumption applies just as well to film consumption. (Well, at least it does theoretically; that Physicists tell us water is tasteless is beyond the scope of this discussion :D). Let's briefly discuss each, then, from worst to best of the lot.

Please excuse the title to this post being cliched, but then, significant portions of these films are cliched, and there's hardly a shortage of those who love to scream. Each shall also be assigned a qualitative 'I Scream' rating.



Kambakkht Ishq (2009) still has me confused, about a month after I first saw it. As its end credits rolled, it was almost as if it were mocking me for being a blank slate of a fan, demanding I assess the purposefulness of all cinema and revise my welcome note here (which I did!).

Before I elaborate, get this: If Kambakkht Ishq is even slightly more watchable than it's been made to be, it is solely because of the presence of Akshar Kumar and Kareena Kapoor (aptly called 'Bebo' in the film). When they filmed in Los Angeles, I witnessed first-hand Bebo and the film crew performing close to 20 takes on a minute-long sequence (which didn't make it to the final cut, it turns out). So there is no issue with lack of effort or commitment on behalf of the cast and crew to the cause here.

The issue is, there is hardly a substantive cause to begin.

Screwball comedy doesn't have to make much sense. Many Bollywood films across genres can be great without being very logical. (Surely, that's part of the appeal! Why those who demand logic all the time stick around to Bollywood -- or Hollywood -- is beyond me.) But it's truly disconcerting when everyone and everything (even all the screaming!) are wasted on nothingness. From the cast to the music, settings, and potential for genuinely funny comedy. Not one of these stands out. Here's a small sample of what bothers me about it:

A lot of it was filmed in L.A., but it turns out they could have filmed most of it in Bombay and used the Universal Studios logo for effect. The only other uses of L.A. were in the opening credits and right before the closing credits.


Stereotypes abound -- racial, sexual, geographic, among others. Of course, as an Angelino, I feel violated! (Fellow Angelino at Apni East India Company shares the pain).


No matter how beautiful a lady, that attitude displayed by Bebo and Co. would win no admirers from the opposite sex. Nor would Akshay Kumar's. So...


...I don't see how it could possibly be funny that they call each other dog and witch (quoting the subtitles here, switch the 'w' out for actual); and

Don't see how it could not be disgusting that they fall in 'love', and that too after Denise Richards has declared her unconditional love for Akshay because he can give her 'golden babies'. :D In retrospect, Denise might be on to something here, don't think it's a joke. Talk about a value proposition! Surely, this one can be a niche!


Did I mention everyone screams?


Yes, everyone.


Indeed.


Not a shot of Akshay from Blue.


The laughter-inducing moments in this comedy are so scarce, this scene is an outlier! Of course, it involves a scream too. Of course, it's offensive in its own right.


It's a shame all the time, financial and human resources went into making *this* product. The bigger shame is this film earned its fair share of revenue. And the biggest shame is this film is supposed to represent Hindi cinema gone global. You know, how this is supposed to represent something (this is for real, by the way). A sign of advancement? You tell me.


A half star merely for Bebo in L.A., shots of my workplace and local beach with the opening credits. Nothing more here. Akshay and Kareena: Please wake up! You've wasted your incredible talents for too long. Okay, that was aimed at Akshay. At least Kareena in the upcoming 3 Idiots is something to look forward to.


Movie rating: 0.5/5.0 ('Poor' is a kind word)
The term 'golden babies' has clearly tainted me.

I Scream rating: Off the hook! (Not justified, unless it's an accidentally implanted alarm clock...okay, second funny bit in the film.)

Music rating: 2/5 (Does it even matter?)

My classification: R (For language, theme, sexual situations)

Official website: KambakkhtIshq.erosentertainment.com

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In Dil Bole Hadippa (2009), Yash Raj Films (YRF) celebrates Punjab, womanhood, sport, Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1994), Dhoom (2004), and everything in between. What's new, you ask? Well, not much, except Veera (Rani Mukerjee) cross-dressing (as Veer) to make it to an annual Aman Cup (Peace Cup) cricket match (or game). The match is played by two small-town teams, one each from India and Pakistan. The Pakistani team have won eight years in a row, and the Indian team's manager Anupam Kher begs his son (Shahid Kapoor) -- a team lead in English county cricket -- to turn around his local team. Which is all fine and dandy, at least Kher receives him with a band playing 'Papa Kehte Hain' from QSQT (1988), and there's a lot of color involved all the time...


...except that English county cricket's most valuable player cannot tell the most valuable player on a team he's assembled is a woman dressed as a man, even after listening to the woman's very distinctive voice before in her true persona, and (this gets me) even after chest bumping the woman! Now, it's evident Rani's lost some weight, including in places where she didn't need to (she's looking great, as she always has), but she is a woman after all!


You all know by now I have little issue in suspending disbelief. It's just that this one takes it too far. In many ways, it's almost similar to Anushka Sharma not recognizing her husband's voice, skin tone, facial traits, height, and what not, in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)! Hey, that worked at the box office, so why not some more? But they've defied the odds here. How can TEN men not notice what's below the neckline? If not on the field, why not in the locker room?

To make matters less complicated, Veera's even caught showering in the men's locker room when our wise captain goes searching for Veer. But does he demonstrate any skepticism? Of course not! And what does she do when she is caught? Why, that's easy. She SCREAMS! (If you've seen the film and disliked it, check out the picture source, this post at Off the Record...on the Net; thanks @SujoySingha for the link.)


Having said that, Dil Bole Hadippa delivers what it promised all along. It has some good actors and decent performances. Rani in particular is a joy to watch, especially as Veer. It's a shame the film wastes her fine work. It's a YRF film after all, and its formulaic, and especially self-celebratory approach is the biggest problem here (as it often is in YRF films for a while, now).

Watch it only if you're a Rani/Shahid fan, or if you enjoyed Rab Ne. To be fair, Rani had me smiling with her goofiness, although I wish they'd all found a better reason for her convincing act, and that she hadn't taken to the bikini to try to stay relevant in what has become a sad point in her career. She's more than sexy enough in salwar kameez (I'd argue, much more so). At best, an average 'timepass' movie. It's exponentially better than Kambakkht Ishq. Sadly, that's not saying much.

Movie rating: 2.5/5.0 (Average)

I Scream rating: Loud! (Screams without outcomes are just noise.)

Music rating: 2/5 (Below average)

My classification: PG (This is its value sell)

Official website: This YRF link

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Can't help but make a discussion on Blue (2009) more personal. I've spent all but one in 27 years of existence right by the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Life without a beach within five minutes is unimaginable. My favorite sports teams are the 'Dolphins' and the 'Blues', and my favorite Beverly Hills hangout is named 'Aqua'. (And there's more related to speed and cars that I cannot mention without my credibility being seriously compromised; not proud of it.) In other words, there is a chance I might be only slightly biased in favor of a film with this theme. :)

If you like bike chases and underwater sequences that were previewed in trailers, you will thoroughly enjoy bits of Blue. The action, as promised, sets a new benchmark for Hindi film. The music and camerawork are flawless. (Although the integration of the music isn't.) The wardrobe fits perfectly with the look and feel.

The performances are about fine, too -- each of Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, Zayed Khan, and Lara Dutta, does quite well with what he/she has to work with. Katrina Kaif as a biker babe is alright. There's even a scene in which Akshay reminds Sanjay of his being 'out of shape', which the critics have conveniently ignored in their criticism of Sanjay's fitness levels. (Which means they were either: 1) not paying attention; or 2) not giving the screenplay credit. Which is worse?)

The big disappointment here lies in the plot and screenplay. Given the elements this film got right -- traditionally the more difficult ones for Hindi films to succeed at -- this is a downer alright. Especially considering the surprisingly slow pace and few number of screams involved in the action film! And especially considering they could've most certainly found a way to use Akshay's and Sanjay's comic timing to add some multilayered entertainment.

Three stars for Blue. The style quotient is remarkable, but there's no doubt this could have been packaged into a much, much finer action film. Thought the same of Dhoom and Dhoom:2, which means, if you liked either of those for the action, this will be better by a lot.

Movie rating: 3/5 (Above average)
Like that they've left the door open for a sequel starring Sanjay and Akshay (at least). Bring them to L.A.!

I Scream rating: About right! (But is that a bad thing for action films?)

Music rating: 4/5 (Excellent!)

My classification: PG-13 (Think desi Fast and Furious)

Official website: BlueTheFilm.com

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Barah Aana (2009) is by far the best film of this lot, with by far the best performances. Naseeruddin Shah, Vijay Raaz, and Arjun Mathur play a driver (or chauffeur), watchman (or gatekeeper) and waiter, respectively. They're roommates in Mumbai, and their only hope to life devoid of extreme financial hardship and suffering involves crime. How they go about it determines their fate, and ours too.

This film has plenty of screaming, and all of it is very well-controlled and justified. The story has its share of cliches, the most bothersome being the continued demonization of the haves and their treatment of the have nots. There's also the predictable love triangle involving Mathur, a local woman who has the hots for him, and an Italian gori whom Mathur finds fascinating.

The issue with Barah Aana is that despite a run-time of less than an hour and forty-five minutes, and despite having no conventional songs, it is slower than it needs to be. This holds true especially in the second half. Somewhere, the screenplay gets disengaging. And it's never a good sign when a film this short appears lengthy, enough to make the viewer either fast-forward through portions, or get up and grab a magazine to try to multi-task the rest of the way. Had me. Lost me.

Had me again. It makes up with the climax, which incorporates a message offering a neat little bit of philosophical punditry to hold on to well after the film ends. Had it been more gripping, it could've been special. But it certainly had me smiling at that point. Three and a half stars for Baarah Ana. A story well-told is one worth appreciating. Watch this for the dazzling performances and a heartwarming story.

Movie rating: 3.5/5 (Good!)

I Scream rating: Perfectly used! (Justified! How all screaming should be!)

My classification: PG-13 (for language, theme)

Official website: BarahAana.com

24 comments:

rhilex said...

...and that she hadn't taken to the bikini to try to stay relevant in what has become a sad point in her career. She's more than sexy enough in salwar kameez (I'd argue, much more so). -- THANK GOD someone agrees with me! I mean, there's nothing wrong with wearing a bikini, but wearing one just to boost your career means you don't think you have what it takes otherwise, and Rani certainly has what it takes! That and wearing a bikini just because 'oh, and let's have her wear a bikini' kinda ticks me off. I really don't think Rani needed to lose any weight. She looked gorgeous before.

...Yeah, I know that didn't really have anything to do with these movies, but I haven't seen any of them (and don't really want to). :p

theBollywoodFan said...

I still wish she hadn't succumbed to what must have been some pressure, especially because it had no business whatsoever in the film. I had flashbacks to Rani in Ghulam (1998), how India fell in love with her after that film. She's so above and beyond that, it was sad. Oh, well.

And yes, she was absolutely stunning before, I'd say more so. Even in her films this decade, a Mangal Pandey or Veer Zaara, Bunty Aur Babli or Yuva. I want my Rani back!

The only film from this lot I would recommend is Barah Aana. All that potential wasted with the rest. *Sigh*

Thanks for your visit and comment! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I have the DVD of Barah Anna for more than 10 months now but some how have not been interested in viewing it - perhaps had this mental hang up that it is too serious a movie. Now I shall do so after reading ur review.

Anon from DU

theBollywoodFan said...

Well, Barah Aana is mostly a serious movie, no doubt. But it has moments when the seriousness is diluted. Beware of the cliches, you sound all set for a fairly decent ride! Have fun Anon from DU! And as always, thank you for stopping by!

MinaiMinai said...

Hello! I love your KI review. I saw that piece of schnitzel in the theater, unfortunately. Your screencap of the cavity-searching crazy woman brings back all the fine memories! :) A complete waste of effort- I agree!

And I hadn't heard of Barah Anna- very interesting, thanks for posting.

Joss said...

I wonder what you'll think of this, tBF ... my family and I are about to get a puppy. It's a sprocker spaniel which is a cross between a springer and a cocker, so it will have lovely, long, shiny, dark brown hair. For this reason we are going to call her Rani Mukherjee. :) Or, Rani Mucky Paws when she's not looking as good as her namesake! My son also wants to get her brother (Aamir is who he reminds me of) but I think I will probably have my hands full with Rani.

Great reviews, very insightful. Why can't they spend more time and money on the screenplays of all these movies (and make fewer of them, I suppose). I have heard that the latest Pixar animation UP took five years to make, of which three and a half years out of that time was spent developing the storyline/board. And what a fantastic film it is too. My partner, who has written a musical, says time and again that the story is the most important thing and if you don't get that right it doesn't matter how fantastic the music is. I used to disagree with him but having seen too many Hindi films ruined by scant regard for plot I now think he is right.

kk said...

I anticipated Blue to be exactly the kinda movie it turned out to be, so stayed away. :)
Though all that ocean creatures plus Lara Datta in a bikini in 70mm should surely count as paise-vasool for any but the most finicky of viewers. Jacques Costeque lives again! :)

Pathethic(sic!) that Rani is seen as "old", how old is she? I doubt she is even 30, and 50+ Sanjay is romancing Lara. Bah! Rani looked far better with a bit of chubbiness in her cheeks. - to parapharse Pulp Fiction about ugly pot bellies, "why is something that is so good to the touch, so ugly to look at", why get rid of something (Rani's face) that was so good to look at AND touch for something that doesn't look that good too. :)

ajnabi said...

I'm going to see Blue, no matter what anyone says, so it's good to know at least one person liked it. :-)

I think Rani looked great in DBH, but then again I thought she looked fantastic in Saawariya too. Unfortunately looks can't save a movie, and someone should let her know. I wouldn't blame her for doing what Salman's doing and hiring scriptwriters to look over her scripts!

Filmi Girl said...

I'm sorry you didn't like KI or DBH! Clearly, we have exactly opposite taste in timepass films because I couldn't wait for Blue to end... ;P

Is that Linda Arsenio in that shot from Barah Anna? And Arjun Mathur impressed me a lot in Luck by Chance - glad to see it wasn't a fluke performance!

Bhargav Saikia said...

When will Akshay Kumar stop speaking perverted dialogues!? So damn cheap man.

Arjun Mathur is a good actor. I hope we get to see much more of him. Glad you like Barah Aana.

theBollywoodFan said...

MinaiMinai: Hello, welcome, and thank you for your comment! It must've been painful to see KI without a fast-forward button, especially that scene at LAX. And while we're talking of Akshay and Kareena, what was Boman Irani doing in the film? Oh, well. Look at the bright side -- experiences at the cinemas will almost always be relatively better. =)

Joss: Interesting! Good luck with getting that puppy! Okay, this might sound silly, but at one point in my life when in college, I'd named my car 'Basanti'. One accident in which I lost a big part of her (which was a shame, it was a brand new car too) and I decided to change her name. (You know, how Sonu Nigam goes to Niigaam, or Devgan goes to Devgn =) So she was then named 'Rani'! I've since changed cars, but never considered naming this one any different.

So...point is, I think it's a GREAT idea! That you're even considering these names is testament to your fandom of Hindi film! Awesome!

I would completely agree with your partner on script being the single, most important factor of a film. (Haven't seen UP, but looking forward to it, thanks for your note.) The script-writing phase is probably like a standard planning stage in any project, really. Spending good time up front on the script only pays dividends in the latter stages. Here's to good scripts! Going by what we've seen in 2009, Bollywood could certainly use some good ones, and fast!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi KK: Thanks for your visit and comment. There's always that risk in any action film, let alone one from Bollywood. I did think it was worthwhile seeing in theaters, but there are moments when the weaknesses in the script are so obvious, even someone who loves the theme has a hard time buying in. And Jacques Costeque indeed!

Ref: Rani, per Wikipedia (way to go for a source, LOL, sorry), she's 31. And yes, I like the real Rani a lot more too. That's not to say she isn't looking gorgeous here, she is. Just that I liked the Rani of old better. Excuse this bias, but what's a woman without curves? ;)

Ajnabi: It does appear I am the only one who found some things to like in Blue! All that hard work, the fantastic music, perfect wardrobe, and all those stunts have to count for something!

Rani has always been great. Looks might save a movie, but only if it stars Katrina Kaif ;) Okay, obvious shameless bias #20. Wow, I didn't know Salman had someone reviewing scripts to his films. That might be what's worked for him this year! I think Rani could use some time away from YRF. She's too good a talent to restrict herself so. Oh, well.

theBollywoodFan said...

Filmi Girl! That we do, LOL. I'm scared to watch 99 now! :D J/K. That's actually Violante Placido in Barah Aana. And Arjun Mathur was great here. It's a tough ask to not be completely overshadowed by Naseeruddin Shah or Vijay Raaz, but he's clearly held his own here, partly due to the role, but still.

Bhargav: I sincerely hope Akshay moves on to more substantive roles, he's too talented, the waste hurts! :( Right on about Arjun Mathur, we could use as many good new actors as we can get. I'm sure you'd agree with the importance of the script (see comment by Joss above).

kk said...

This will probably come across as very sexist, but "It's unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye are seldom the same.", Pulp Fiction quote.
But what the size zero fanatics don't seem to get is that for 90% of red-blooded males, both ARE the same. :-p

theBollywoodFan said...

Well, it is sexist and a generalization if there were one. To each his own, really. I don't speak from experience, but geez, size zero is great and all for them models, and I have nothing against actresses who strive to maintain the look, but I like the comfort and naturalness that accompanies a healthier (and more fit). But then, as I've said somewhere on this discussion before, the likes of Katrina Kaif and Vidya Balan make up my current favorites (and Bipasha and Malaika Arora Khan for the fitness fan in me, not that I'm very fit, LOL), so there you go. :)

rossywar said...

I couldn't watch Kambakkht Ishq all the way through - life is just too short to waste on crap films! It's a shame because I really enjoy watching Akshay and Kareena - you're right, they totally wasted their talents in this one!

Anonymous said...

OMG TBWF, you named your cars? Such a GUY! =P 3 Idiots music is out, trnaslations, please!

masakalli (via Twitter) said...

I agree with you on Blue... though I expected a lot more underwater action... I guess it's an improvement though!

theBollywoodFan said...

Rossywar: Thanks for stopping by, and I wouldn't blame you for stopping short of the end to Kambakkht Ishq. Akshay and Kareena have been guilty of this for a while, now. I know we all certainly hope they turn things around, and fast!

Anonymous: Cars deserve to be named, don't they? ;) Been listening and enjoying the music to 3i, translations should make their way soon ;)

Masakalli: I wish there were more fighting underwater too. Maybe if they based the climax to Ghajini underwater or something? :D This somewhat seemed to lack intensity and purpose, probably its downfall.

shell said...

I don't know why I didn't comment of this when you posted. Of course we have some opposing views on KI. I've yet to see any of the others, but I did manage to get a copy of Dil Bole Haddipa and was looking forward to Rani immensely in it. I may eventually get around to Blue but it's not high on my list of priorities. I'd rather see some older Akshay (so now I wonder why I was so eager to see KI?)

Emily said...

Hmm, the only one of these I've seen is Dil Bole Hadippa. I keep falling behind on new movie releases. (Though I have yet to read a review of KI that made me want to see it. It sounds dreadful.)

For me suspension of disbelief in movies like DBH and RNBDJ isn't a problem because the whole idea of a double role is a kind of wink at the audience anyway. We know that SRK is playing both Suri and Raj (and I can excuse Taani's not recognizing her husband because I don't think she ever really looked closely enough to be expected to recognize him without the nerdy exterior), we know that Rani is playing Veer and Veera, so the whole point is more novelty than believability.

But that's just me. :-)

Anyway, I was a little disappointed with DBH, probably because I'd been looking forward to it for so long. It was cute, and exactly the sort of Yash Raj fluff I'd expected, but the songs seemed to be tossed in randomly and Rani and Shahid had great chemistry but didn't get much chance to display it. I'm sure I'll buy it anyway, though!

theBollywoodFan said...

Shell: Do let us know how your experience is with some older Akshay! From the relatively more recent movies, have you seen Hera Pheri? I love that film and its sequel, and the performances! We can disagree on KI, sure. I enjoyed Rani in DBH, she's the only reason the film's watchable.

Emily: Watch KI at your own risk! I guess the degrees of tolerance ran out for me in DBH and RNBDJ. So while I could buy the look being overlooked, I had a hard time buying the issues with voice and the physique! As you say, though, DBH had more issues than just the Veer and Veera dilemma. Bothersome, because Rani sure gave it her all.

Cheers!

Pitu said...

Hehe awesome reviews! Agree with all your points. I have seen only KI of this lot, and it sucks bigtime. DBH to I couldn't even get past 15 minutes!! Hideous. Haven't had the guts to watch Blue. But I am glad these movies flopped, they deserved to :p I am so mad at Bebo for giving 3 horrors this year- KI, Main aur Mrs Khanna and Kurbaan. SO. OVER. IT. :(

theBollywoodFan said...

Been very disappointed with Bebo's choice of films since Jab We Met! And why Dil Bole Hadippa was even made is beyond me, because I like to think we've moved on from that brand of cinema. Apparently not even close. *Sigh*