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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hindi Movie Review : Awarapan - Stay off the cinema hall

Human trafficking is a menace that most nations are today trying to do away with. Emraan Hashmi-starrer Awarapan is an attempt to portray this scourge. The serious bit of the review ends here.

Awarapan starts in an exotic night club of Hong Kong and goes on to a port where a delivery of people is to be offloaded. This is where Reema (Mrinalini Sharma) is introduced. When she realises the light of the day, off she runs to save herself.

A predictable camera chase later, she is recaptured only to blare "Give me my freedom. Leave me alone." That is the premise of the movie (in case you missed it).

Cut two, and we have Shivam (Emraan Hashmi ), Gangster Malik's (Ashutosh Rana) most trust-worthy man. Mesmerized by Reema, Malik asks Shivam to find if she has a man in her life. Loyalist Shivam keeps a watch on Reema.

Then follow song sequences that make you yearn for an urgent nip tuck� be it Mrinalini for her bad dancing skills and woody movements or Pritam whose excessive electronica makes you reach for your ear muffs.

A flashback here reveals Shivam's past. While escaping the clutches of the police, bandit Shivam bumps into Aliya (Shreya Saran). Looking as pretty as ever, she tries to coax him to buy a pigeon she is selling and release it, as a karmic cleanser. Unperturbed he continues his run, not before realising that he has fallen for her.

Their meetings continue, with Aliya making all attempts to induce some faith in Imran. Then bad luck has a lucky day and the couple is caught by Aliya's father, who tries to knock some sense into Aliya. Shivam professes his love for her and hands over the gun to her father. In the bid to shoot Shivam, her father shoots Aliya. Flashback's over.

Back to present, Shivam continues to keep a watch on Reema, and happens to stumble upon Bilal, her love interest. When this news reaches Malik, he orders the assignation of Reema. Another flash back and the loyalist Shivam seems to get jelly feet with the very thought of killing Reema. Yet he barges into their home and fires six bullets, which even at close range missed the couple. Divine interventions, he concludes.

What follows is predictable. An unhappy villain, a lot of dishum dishum and gunfire et al.

And so as to leave no stone unturned, the director eve assures that the villain's entire family is wiped off. In what seems to be a rather cheesy end, the viewer is reminded (finally!) of the premise of the movie -- "Give me my freedom. Leave me alone."

Mrinalini could sure do with some better facial expressions. As for Emraan, he desparately needs a better stylist and Shreya a new makeup man. Talent Ashutosh is wasted and so is Shreya.
On a radio show this week, a very confident Emraan had proclaimed that if anyone does not enjoy the movie, he shall pay them back the ticket money. Well, I have preserved my ticket and await a refund.

Did anyone mention human trafficking?

indfilmnews.blogspot.com Rating :

Hindi Movie Review : Apne - Watch it for knock-out Dharmendra

Magic has no expiry date. Nor does it ever lose its touch.

That is what makes Dharmendra so timeless. The seventy plus actor, known for his devastating good looks, emotional demeanour and remarkable body of work, reminds us why he is so special.

There is a lot of actor in him left untapped. And unlike his previously embarrassing outings (Kis Kis Ki Kismat and Hum Kaun Hain?) which failed to assert so, Anil Sharma's Apne allows him to demonstrate just that.

There's also this curiosity factor of seeing the three Deols -- Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby share screen space for the first time. One appreciates the delicate bonding between the genuinely warm-hearted Jats.

In essence, Apne is not so much a boxer's fairy tale, as it is a family kerchief caper that salutes the 'can do' spirit. Here's how:

Having been banned from the world of boxing on false doping charges, former Olympics silver medallist Baldev Singh Chaudhry (Dharmendra) retires to a life of haunting humiliation and growing resentment.

His hopes of seeing elder son, Angad (Sunny Deol) restore his lost honour are squashed, after the latter refuses to play the 'worthless' game. Going by the fate he meets in the ring, you can't really blame him for thinking so. Instead, at the risk of evoking his boxing-obsessed father's wrath, he throws himself in revolutionizing agricultural farming.

His kid brother Karan (Bobby Deol ), partially handicapped post a childhood mishap, takes up music as a profession.

With neither son inclined to the sport to which he gave his all, Baldev becomes increasingly bitter. An ungrateful coaching experience (Aryan Vaid ) shatters Baldev completely.

His break-down triggers something in Karan and his until now paralysed arm is miraculously healed. He resolves to fulfil his father's lifetime wish of becoming an international boxing champion.

After rigorous training, our Punjabi stallion is fit enough to break every rib his gloves face (including Vaid's). Now the only thing standing between Karan and a champion's belt is Luca Gracia (played by a super stiff Chris Anderson -- an African American with an Italian handle, how inventive is that?)

The Rocky-inspired match has a rather tragic outcome, leaving Angad with very little choice. The move is as ridiculous as Sunny battling out an armed force of 100 in Gadar. Here he challenges to take on a title holder with just a month's preparation. So much that even Dharmendra can't resist quipping: 'Boxers retire at your age.'

This segment of Apne heavily relies on Sylvester Stallone's Oscar-winning classic for moves, mock threats, punches, jibes and spirit. Which means clumsily picturised fights, tacky make-up, inelegant cussing in English (F-word inclusive), a lackluster audience carrying posters that read incorrectly spelled words (Luca Destroy Him, anyone?)

Ideally for Sunny, Apne should have come out a decade earlier when he was at his prime's peak. Here his worn out appearance and diminished vigour lessen the impact of his earnest performance. Even so, his vulnerability spontaneously surfaces in sequences where his father attacks him with acerbic sarcasm.

Brother Bobby shines in his part. Not only is he looking incredibly fresh, but is suitably understated and genial. With barely any lines to speak, he conveys volumes with reverence, determination and awe in his body language.

Definitely, it's Dharmendra's show all the way. Whether it is flirting with his wife (Kiron Kher playing the Punjaban wifey yet again), indulging his grandson, fooling around with his best buddy (a charismatic Victor Banerjee), bucking up his sons to victory or breaking down with a sense of utter failure, he portrays an underachiever with heart, humour and strength of character.

Another good thing is, unlike all the other unconvincingly goody-goody characters in this enterprise, Dharmendra's Baldev is the most believable. His weaknesses are conspicuous. For one, he can't help endangering his sons' lives, in order to feel vindicated.

The ladies -- Shilpa Shetty and Katrina Kaif , provide ample eye candy and shoulder to cry on to their stumbling beaus. Both actresses have enough screen presence not to face any problems doing that.

As much as you enjoy cinematographer Kabir Lal's palette of colours flushed on screen, capturing the best of Chandigarh and New York City, the editing (by Ashfaque Makrani) is strictly below par. With its lengthy narrative and excessive melodrama, Apne tends to drag miserably in parts.

Himesh Reshammiya's weepy title track, popping every two minutes, does not help either. His score is one of the weakest links in the movie.

Ultimately, it is an Anil Sharma film. Going by his past record (Tehelka, Hukumat, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, The Hero: Love Story of a Spy), the man has an amazing appetite for kitsch and absurdities. The movie bears his stamp alright.

But despite all its glaring oddities and palpable flaws, Apne has its heart in place.

indfilmnews.blogspot.com Rating :

Hindi Movie Review : AKS - A Himesh showcase

There are many reasons to make a film but when the reasons are to explain why Himesh Reshammiya always wears a cap or why he never smiles, then God save us!

Two years ago, Himesh and his childhood friend Prashant Chadha decided to make a video of the smash hit single Aashiq Banaya Aapne, featuring the singer-composer. What followed was an unparalleled success story. Now, we have a film that tries to explain the cult of Himesh Reshammiya aka HR.

Aap Kaa Surroor: The Moviee: The Real Luv Story is about HR, a widely successful rockstar now on the German leg of his world tour. He is a simple God-fearing, non-smiling cap-wearing Indian, who imagines his dream woman in a salwar kameez even though she's walking up to him in a pink party dress! HR not only hears the Gayatri Mantra every time he comes face to face with Riyaa, he also hums a jazzed up version of it when he realises he's in love.

All about Aap Kaa Surroor

In between singing at every occasion and trying to save his izzat from his man-eater manager Ruby (Malika Sherawat), HR manages to get embroiled in the murder of a television reporter. The dead girl's father (Raj Babbar) is convinced that HR is the killer. So is HR's prospective father-in-law (Sachin Khedekar).

Now, it's up to HR to prove his innocence, otherwise Riaa would get married off to someone else.

The film offers nothing except a bad concoction of everything avoidable -- bad acting, clich�d dialogues, terrible one-liners and a cute terminally ill kid who smiles her way into our hearts.

The much-talked about Mehbooba song featuring Himesh with Mallika has no connection with the film's story.

The movie suffers on so many fronts that after some time, you lose the number of problems just like I lost count of the number of caps Himesh sports. He hams his way through the film as if he started acting in the 1980s but finally completed the film 20 years later. Even the songs offer nothing new.

The rest of the cast is passable. Hansika Motwani aka Riaa tries to look cute and manages to successfully employ the same done to death 'am so cute' nuances. But I could not understand why she was trying to copy Sushmita Sen !

Raj Babbar has four scenes, two of them featuring him in the same place, watching the same TV report and holding on to the same emotion.

The film seems disjointed and it's evident that the people behind it just wanted to cash on the Himesh wave. Why else would nicely photographed songs be separated by an inanity trying to masquerade as a script?

The only thing worth remembering in the film was Himesh's sidekick mentioning commenting: 'Agar naak cut gayee, toh gana kaise gayega?' Well, Himesh still has his khatarnak for that.

indfilmnews.blogspot.com Rating :

Exclusive Spicy 'Malli' Movie Gallery

Nayantara: 'I Agreed Only Because Of Rajni'

"I agreed to dance in an item song for 'Sivaji' only because of Rajni Kanth. Otherwise I am firm against to item songs these days. I'm not agreeing any" said Nayantara.

But it is also said that she is worried a lot now as her films are not doing well any where and her item song with Rajni in 'Sivaji' also bagged bad talk. That was the only song in the film pictured badly, say many.

So Nayan is worried for all this. She is looking out for a right break in any of the industries. After her break up with Simbhu, she is not placing herself in filmy news frequently. That's another worry of her.

UNESCO: Taj Campaign is unofficial

We Indians have been voting for the Taj Mahal to include it in the list of seven wonders of the world. But UNESCO, which is the universally authorised body to recognise heritage structures, says the campaign is unofficial and it has nothing to do with it.

Following is the statement UNESCO has posted in its website:

"In order to avoid any damaging confusion, UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that there is no link whatsoever between UNESCO's World Heritage programme, which aims to protect world heritage, and the current campaign concerning "The New 7 Wonders of the World".

"This campaign was launched in 2000 as a private initiative by Bernard Weber, the idea being to encourage citizens around the world to select seven new wonders of the world by popular vote.

"Although UNESCO was invited to support this project on several occasions, the Organizaton decided not to collaborate with Mr. Weber.

"UNESCO's objective and mandate is to assist countries in identifying, protecting and preserving World Heritage. Acknowledging the sentimental or emblematic value of sites and inscribing them on a new list is not enough. Scientific criteria must be defined, the quality of candidates evaluated, and legislative and management frameworks set up.

"The relevant authorities must also demonstrate commitment to these frameworks as well as to permanently monitoring the state of conservation of sites. The task is one of technical conservation and political persuasion. There is also a clear educational role with respect to the sites' inherent value, the threats they face and what must be done to prevent their loss.

"There is no comparison between Mr Weber's mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The list of the "7 New Wonders of the World" will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public."

Related Link:

Spotlight: 'Vote for Taj' campaign a gimmick!

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