Movie Review: TEES MAAR KHAN

Well Well Well …. the biggest entertainer of the year released today to a thunderous applause. It’s been three years since Farah Khan’s last outing ‘Om Shanti Om’ released and broke all existing box office records, so it was expected from Farah to deliver another BLOCKBUSTER with or without Shah Rukh Khan. ‘TEES MAAR KHAN’ is a very risky attempt taken by Farah as heist movies need a lot of detailing in stunts and a good execution. A territory by far dominated by male directors, Farah has tried to attempt it well and surprise of surprise she has acheived it to a greater extent. Let me also inform you that TEES MAAR KHAN is a straight lift of Peter Sellers’ 1966 Italian film AFTER THE FOX [CACCIA ALLA VOLPE] with little changes to adjust to Indian audience.
Tees Maar Khan [Akshay Kumar] is the story of a con man who steals, cons and cheats all with such alarming audacity that even shame shies away from him. He and his gang comprising of Dollar, Soda and Burger have managed to keep the police, world over, on their toes.

Then one fine day international antique smugglers, the Johri Brothers, assign Tees Maar Khan the biggest con job of his life. He must rob antiques worth Rs. 500 crores from a heavily-guarded moving train. Will Khan and his gang, with some unwitting support from his wannabe-actress girlfriend Anya [Katrina Kaif] and the Oscar-greedy Bollywood superstar [Akshaye Khanna], be able to pull off this heist?

TEES MAAR KHAN is a joyride and like all Farah Khan movies in the past is a brainless comedy with full too paisa vasool timepass entertainment. TEES MAAR KHAN like her previous films will see a big divide in opinion as the masses will admire it, while the critics will go mad criticizing it. As a movie TEES MAAR KHAN worked in parts for me.
The story screenplay by Ashmith and Shirish Kunder is fast paced and develops the entire premise of the movie in quick succession. The dialogues are good in parts and the comic antics by the leading and supporting cast is good enough. Akshaye Khanna is a dream to watch as the movie helps him to explore his comic act. Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif are good and so are the Apra Mehta who play Akshay Kumar’s mother, Sudhir Pandey, Aarya Babbar and the three side kicks of Akshay.
Barring ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’ the music by Vishal – Shekhar falls flat. Salman Khan’s item number with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif is a must watch. Cinematography by P.S. Vinod is superb and so is the background score by Shirish Kunder.
On the whole TEES MAAR KHAN is an average entertainer that might make good money in the first week due to the heavy promotions and ofcourse ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’.
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Preview: Toonpur Ka Superhero

This Christmas season Bollywood sees three big movies coming from three prestigious banners. Tees Maar Khan from Farah Khan’s production house after Om Shanti Om, Toonpur Ka Superrhero from Ajay Devgn and Kumar Mangat’s production house and Isi Life Mein from Sooraj Badjatya’s Rajshri banner. However among all three movies, one movie that stands out is Toonpur Ka Superrhero as it is India’s first motion picture that combines animation with live action and also promises a lot of fun for kids during this Christmas.

The film stars Ajay Devgan and Kajol in lead roles. The movie is conceived and directed by Kireet Khurana and has music by Anu Malik.

Aditya (Ajay Devgan), a film superstar, and his wife Priya (Kajol) have achieved all the success they have dreamed of. But their children (played by Amey Pandya and Chinky Jaiswal) would rather have a father who is a real life hero, not just a reel hero.

Aditya wants to redeem himself in the eyes of the children when suddenly the opportunity comes knocking on his door and he finds himself in Toonpur.

Toonpur is the land of his children’s favourite cartoons, where he has to fight the toonasaurs (bad toons) to save the Devtoons (good toons).

Aditya meets a number of toon characters like the sexy Loveena, the music freak Guppy, the geeky Lappy, the sagacious Gyaandev, the big fat Beegben, the constable Pandu and a kid named Bolly.

Produced by Kumar Mangat and Krishika Lulla, Toonpur Ka Superrhero is set to release on December 24.

Movie Review: KAALO

There was a time when Ramsay Brothers were the only production house that churned out horror flicks until Ram Gopal Verma and Vikram Bhatt took the mantle. Joining Vikram Bhatt and Ram Gopal Varma is director Wilson Louis who only specializes in horror genre. Wilson Louis had earlier attempted two movie ‘Ho Sakta Hai’ and ‘Mallika’ before he made ‘Kaalo’ a day horror movie which till date no one has attempted in India.
The story is of a witch named Kaalo who lived in Kulbhata during the 18th century. She was killed and buried by angry villagers for sacrificing young girls to satisfy her greed for immortality, but her fear lived on. Years later, villagers spoke of Kaalo’s sightings yet again. They claimed she was even more angry and dangerous and she was back to finish what she left incomplete. Kulbhata was vacated overnight by scared villagers.

All roads leading to Kulbhata were sealed by horrifying tales of Kaalo killing anyone who dared to enter Kulbhata. Until a bus carrying a few passengers on its way to Kuldevi had to pass through Kulbhata. One of the passengers on the bus was a twelve-year-old girl named Shona [Swini Khara], who is traveling alone to spend her vacation at her grandmother’s house in the neighboring village.

During the course of the journey, Shona and co-passenger Sameer [Aditya Shrivastav] strike a rapport. Sameer is traveling with a bag loaded with gun powder to blast a small hillock, which would give way to a water canal for his drought-hit village. Badly disfigured and thirsty for blood, Kaalo could smell the girl from miles away… and heads straight for the bus. When the passengers realize they were staring into death, everything changes. They realize Shona is their reason for dying. Everyone wants her out of the bus, except Sameer.

The movie sounds very good on the story board however the execution is very bad however the camera work by Pushpank Gawde is very good so is the visual effect. At times the movies seems to be stretched out and that slackens the pace of the movie and also the end of the movie is not at all convincing. The creature has supernatural powers, yet combats Aditya Shrivastav like a mortal. Being a horror movie one expects chilling and thrilling moments in the movie however we find none.

Director Wilson Louis like his earlier ventures delivers another half baked movie which leaves a lot to be desired. In comparison to this movie RGV’s movies are classics. Wilson Louis needs to go back to film making school and learn the nitty gritties of directing.

Speaking of performances, Aditya Shrivastav does well. Swini Khara doesn’t get ample scope. Amongst the passengers in the bus, Abhijeet Satam, Aditya Lakhia and Raj Arjun register the maximum impact. Prashant Kumar is alright. Paintal and Sheela Sharma are perfect. Hemant Pandey is adequate.

Overall a very bad effort which will be soon forgotten by the viewers and another box office dud to the ever mounting pile of flops seen in the last few weeks.

Knocked Up : MUMBAI EVENT

Hello Friends,
KNOCKED UP my debut novel has been doing extremely well in the market and to celebrate that Reliance Timeout and Magic Moments organized an event in Mumbai. I am very happy for the fact that all those people who mattered to me made it to the event and made it a success.
The event started late by 30 minutes as I was caught up in traffic while coming to Mumbai, however the fun we had during the event was awesome. Mr. Radhakrishnan Pillai the author of ‘Corporate Chanakya’ unveiled ‘Knocked Up’ to the gathered crowd of friends. My dear friends Pushtiie (Mahi of Mahi Way), Rishi Bhutani (Bolo Raam fame), Sundeep Malani (Director) and Aditya Kripalani alongwith Praveen, Mohit, Jasmin, Sonia (BookChums) were there to cheer me.
The question answer session conducted by Mr. Pillai was entertaining and everyone associated with KNOCKED UP was given a chance to give their precious thoughts about the book and the book making process. Few of my other friends who couldn’t make up for the event due to traffic jam like Anand Kumar (Director), Aseem Tiwari, Amish (The Immortals of Meluha), Devansh Patel etc sent their wishes and were constantly present on the phone checking the progress of the event.
It was a fun evening and I will always remember it….thank you friends for making my day special 🙂
With loads of Love
Shaiju Mathew

Movie Review: NO PROBLEM

No Entry, Welcome, Singh Is King – three blockbusters in a row and all three movies shared the same director – Anees Bazmee. Yes, Anees Bazmee the man behind several hit movies as a story writer and also as a director comes out with his latest comical outing ‘No Problem’.
No Problem unlike his earlier outings is a non-starter from the word go. Anees Bazmee movies are always high on laughter quotient and although they are mindless comedies they always are highly enjoyable. However ‘No Problem’ doesn’t live upto the expectations and is a total disaster for the viewer.
The story is about Yash [Sanjay Dutt] and Raj [Akshaye Khanna] who are small-time crooks and childhood buddies. Raj wants to lead an honest life, but Yash always manages to do something that jeopardizes Raj’s chances of turning over a new leaf. When Yash robs the First Village Bank, the innocent bank manager, Zandulal [Paresh Rawal], also falls under suspicion, just because he had sheltered Yash and Raj under his roof.

In Durban, Arjun [Anil Kapoor] is a bungling cop, married to Kajal [Sushmita Sen], the daughter of the Commissioner of Police [Shakti Kapoor]. Kajal has a split personality – one moment she’s a loving wife and mother, who, for 10 minutes every day, transforms into a terrifying maniac intent on murdering her husband.

Diamonds worth millions have been stolen from the International Diamond Centre by the gang lead by Marcos [Suniel Shetty]. Arjun is as determined to find these ruthless robbers, as Zandulal is to find the two crooks who robbed his bank. Yash and Raj try to avoid Zandulal, who does not realize that they are his neighbours.

Meanwhile, Raj falls in love with Sanjana [Kangna Ranaut], Kajal’s younger sister. But just before the engagement, Zandulal threatens to expose Yash and Raj unless they return the money they stole from his bank. Cornered, Raj and Yash agree to commit one last robbery. They rob a minister’s house, minutes before Marcos arrives. The minister is tortured and killed, because Marcos cannot find the stolen diamonds.

Now starts a game of hide and seek, as Arjun goes after Yash and Raj, the prime suspects in the minister’s murder and Marcos also hunts them down because he’s figured out that they have the diamonds. Yash and Raj must prove their innocence and also somehow or the other pay back Zandulal.

The movie is entertaining in bits and parts and among the principle characters Sanjay Dutt does a decent job. Kangana and Sushmita are plainly wasted whereas Akshaye, Suniel Shetty and Anil Kapoor doesn’t get much scope to showcase their acting chops.

 
On the whole NO PROBLEM will pose a big PROBLEM to its investors as the box office results for this movie seems to be bleak. Another disaster in the making.

Review: Band Baaja Baarat

After the debacles witnessed in the past few weeks, this week opened with two big banner movies. Yash Raj’s Band Baaja Baarat with Anushka Sharma and newcomer Ranveer Singh based on Indian Weddings and Wedding Planners.
The story, Shruti [Anushka Sharma] is a 20-something no-nonsense girl from a middle class Delhi household. Focused and determined with pre-planned ambitions, her goals in life are well laid out by the time she reaches her final year of college. Bittoo [Ranveer Singh], on the other hand, has no real aim in life. As a final year college student of Delhi University, he whiles away his life having fun with his buddies.

A chance and inopportune meeting brings the two of them together on a tumultuous journey where they become partners in their very own, “Wedding planning ka bijness.” The rules, however, are clear: “Jisse vyapaar karo, usse kabhi na pyaar karo” [Don’t mix business with pleasure]. Together, their friendship and business enters the ups and downs of the lavish Delhi weddings. And while trying to find themselves, Shruti and Bittoo discover each other and realize that they are made for each other.

The story is simple but the dialogues and screenplay does the trick. The Delhi lingo earlier explored by Habib Faisal in his own directorial debut ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ has been reused keeping in mind the movie is based in Delhi. Debutant director Maneesh Sharma, who earlier worked on FANAA, AAJA NACHLE and RAB NE BANA DI JODI, makes a confident debut with BAND BAAJA BAARAAT. Sharma narrates a quintessential Delhi tale most effectively. BAND BAAJA BAARAAT would’ve lost the plot had it been entrusted to a lesser talent. BAND BAAJA BAARAAT also captures the Delhi flavour diligently. In fact, Aseem Mishra’s cinematography captures the North Indian ambience with precision.
Music by Salim-Suleiman is decent and so is the background music. Actingwise both Anushka and Ranveer do an excellent job. The supporting cast also give an able support especially Neeraj Sood [as Maqsoodbhai], who’s excellent. Manmeet Singh Sawhney [as Rajinder] is good, while Manish Chaudhari [as Mr. Sidhwani] is first-rate.
Overall the movie is a delightful fare and on the box office it will be a winner eventhough it would start off slowly.

Year 2010 : Fall of the Titans!!!

2010 will always be remembered in Bollywood history as the year where most of the big directors failed to hit gold with their movies. Lets take a look at these high profile directors and their turkey’s.

VEER: The year started with VEER, an ambitious project for both Salman Khan and Anil Sharma. Anil Sharma is one director who gave the biggest blockbuster of Indian Movie History ‘GADAR- Ek Prem Katha’ and he also gave other successful movies in the past like ‘HERO- A lovestory of a Spy’, ‘Apne’ etc. The movie was mounted on a huge budget however the costumer drama fell flat on the face incurring huge losses for the producers and distributors.
KITES: Rakesh Roshan, Rajesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan always spell box office magic. So when ‘Kites’ was announced it was one of the most anticipated movie of the year. The movie had created a lot of noise because it was a movie that also boasted of starring Mexican Superstar Barbara Mori and also because of the rumours of Hrithik – Barbara love story. For the first time Hrithik was directed by Anurag Basu instead of Rakesh Roshan in their home production financed by Reliance. There was nothing interesting in the movie or in the treatment, this 125 crore extravaganza burnt a huge hole in the pockets of Reliance BIG Cinemas making it one of the biggest disasters in the history of Indian Movies.
RAAVAN: Master-Blaster director Mani Rathnam who always commanded respect and critical acclaim for all his past movies had to take a lot of flak for his latest offering ‘RAAVAN’ starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. AR Rahman who always gave chartbursting music in every Mani movie gave a mediocre score for RAAVAN which added to the losses. The movie was made on a lavish scale at the cost of 100 crore plus however it was another money loser for Reliance BIG Cinemas and Mani Rathnam.
ACTION REPLAY: Vipul Shah has always had an enviable box office track record with three blockbusters ‘Aankhen’, ‘Waqt’ & ‘Namaste London’ as director and ‘Singh Is King’ as a producer. So when Action Replay was announced there was huge curiosity in the trade circle and even the industry tried to forget Vipul’s last movie ‘London Dreams’ which had made below average box office collections. After Raavan this was another flop for Aishwarya and it also hit Akshay’s already staggering career badly.
RAKTCHARITRA 1 & 2: Ram Gopal Varma was one of the most respected names in the trade circles and he also spelt box office success however in the last few years apart from the SARKAR series he didn’t strike gold at the box office. RGV tried resurrecting his career with Raktacharitra however instead of resurrecting the careers of both RGV and Vivek Oberoi it added onto their basket of flops. Another disaster from the RGV ‘Factory’.

ANJAANA ANJAANI: There is still a debate on the box office status of Sajid Nadiadwala’s Anjaana Anjaani starring current heart throb Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Sajid Nadiadwala and Siddharth Anand always spelt box office success before they teamed up for Anjaana Anjaani. However their combined luck factor didn’t help the movie to recover its costs. If box office returns are to be calculated the movie is a flop however if the satellite and music rights collections are counted then its a profit making venture for Sajid Nadiadwala.
GUZAARISH: After the debacle of SAWAARIYA, Sanjay Leela Bhansali returned with a sensitive story about a Paraplegic patient seeking ‘Mercy Killing.’ Considering the story and the setup the movie shouldn’t have costed SLB anything more than 10-15 crores and if he had made it at that budget the movie would have been one of the superhits of 2010. However SLB made the movie at a huge budget of 90 crores out of which his remuneration was 27 crores plus Hrithik’s fees which was around 15 crores and Aishwarya’s fees which was 3 crores. The movie was a huge disaster although it is one of the masterpieces made by SLB. UTV had to incurr huge losses and Aishwarya got her third flop in a row and Hrithik his second flop after Kites.
We still have not counted few movies like We R Family that came from the prestigious banner of Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions or Break Ke Baad by Kunal Kohli Productions or even Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar who have given us big blockbusters like ‘Lagaan’ & ‘Jodha Akbar’.
The year is yet to end and we have the Father of all Big Budget Movies in the form of ‘Tees Maar Khan’ by Farah Khan starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif hope it is not another turkey in the waiting….

Movie Review: Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey

Movies today has become a costly affair not only for the makers but also for the viewers. An average middle class person has to spend a minimum of Rs.1500/- if he has to take his family for a movie these days which includes the multiplex ticket fares as well as the popcorn-cola expenses and commuting fares. If someone has to spend such huge amount for a day of entertainment for him and his family then better the movie be worth the money being spent by him. Few days back I had heard Abhishek Bachchan professing the same sentiments that I have put forth on a leading TV channel while promoting his latest movie ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’. Alas these were mere words for him and the adage ‘Practice what you preach’ seems to be suggested to him and the director Ashutosh Gowarikar.
‘Jeelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ is the latest offering from Ashutosh Gowarikar who tries to take us back in history and narrate a story less heard off and read about even in our school history books. JHJJS is based on a book ‘Do and Die’ by Manini Chatterjee inspired from the Chittagong Uprising that took place in 1930. The movie narrates the story of Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan) a school teacher, spearheading a revolt with the help of his five comrades (Sikander Kher, Samrat Mukherjee, Feroz Wahid Khan, Shreyas Pandit, Maninder Singh), two feisty women (Deepika Padukone and Vishakha Singh), and 56 teenagers on the night of April 18, 1930 in Chottogram (Chittagong).

But their plan to take on the cantonment, destroy the telegraph office, cut off the rail link, confiscate the armoury and take the firangis hostage goes haywire for several reasons. Coming under retaliatory attack, the band of 62 flees into the jungles of Jalalabad where many of them are massacred by the British. One by one all the revolutionaries on the run are either gunned down or arrested and thereby ‘transported for life’ or sent to the gallows. The story is short but the director stretches the same into a 3 hour affair and so the movie seems to move ahead slowly and at times it becomes boring.
Coming to the performances, Abhishek Bachchan has done a fantastic job and so does Deepika who has donned the role of Kalpana Dutta and she even gets a chance to showcase her badminton skills in a small sequence in the movie. Rest of the cast like Sikander Kher, Vishakha Singh, Maninder Singh, Shreyas Pandit and Feroz Wahid Khan leave an impression on the minds of the viewers.
The production design [Nitin Chandrakant Desai] transports you to that era. It’s that authentic. The stunts [Ravi Dewan] are true to life. Kiran Deohans and Seetha Sandhiri’s cinematography captures the era to perfection. Music by Sohel Sen is just average and there are no songs that leaves any long last impression. The screenplay by Raoul V Randolf and Ashutosh Gowarikar is wonderful however the editing should have been more crisper in the second half that would have made a huge difference.
All said and done the movie is a one-time watch and the box office returns seems to be bleak as today’s audience doesnt seem to favour such subjects and would rather wait for the movie to be screened on the Television rather than catch it onscreen paying huge ticket fares. Moreover the movie was not publicized well nor the posters give a feel that will generate an interest in the minds of the average movie goers to go and watch the movie. Another disaster in the making as far as box office returns is considered.