Thursday, October 09, 2003

kuch naa kaho: santa zarquana voostra! {see also: product endorsement, music review}

Rohan Sippy, son of Sholay-maker Ramesh Sippy makes his directorial début with a sick flick incorporating NRI-friendly elements (Raj, a student of NYU, living in America with his mother, a doctor -- whose name I don't think I heard too much, and played with unrequited gusto by Suhasini Mulay, comes to mera Bharat mahaan for his cousin sister's wedding, and falls in love with her married and single-with-child friend Namrata who makes sure we notice that she drinks only Coca Cola; The mother, unable to make it to the engagement, dispatches the shagun via Western Union Money Transfer), a north-indian wedding, the sick affluence of the unreal upper class north-indian houses. Pathetic. To be honest, there were elements I didn't mind in this film, and since they are few, I'll explore them, before belching out the vitriol. And down with ILU-esque mantras like "A B B G / T P O G / I P K I / U P O G". TRIVIA: Background score by Aadesh Shrivastava and Uday Mazumdar.

The good: Mulay and Satish Shah lend good support. Abhishek Bachchan finally convinces me that he might have something to offer in terms of acting. He is earnest, sincere, but still suffers from being a shadow of his father: the left-handedness, the mannerisms, the dancing (in fact, the lack of gusto in the dances must be noted: chhoTaa B has already begun dancing in the withdrawn professional style that marks the dances his father began in his second stint in acting). The opening credits are cool, although uncomfortably fitting well with product placement: as someone (who turns out to be chhoTaa B later on) is taking a shower, the camera roves about the different objects in the bathroom and we get credits etched into, onto or superimposed on the different objects: Rai's name (WHY SUCH LARGE LETTERS?) on the towel(?), Abhishek's name in the white soap )(SO SMALL-blink-and-you'll-miss-it), credits on (Lakmé?) conditioner tubes, editor credits on the blades of a scissor, Akhtar's lyrics credit on a Saregama (the music company that released the soundtrack) CD, the music credits on a boombox, IDBI's financing credit on an IDBI card, a production executive's credit on a Nokia phone. Some of the lighter moments early on in the film work. There's also some decent dialogue: when Raj talks to his mother after she has found out that he loves Namrata, and that Namrata has a kid; or when Raj consoles the hurt and confused Adi in the pre-climactic wedding showdown.

The bad: Forget the Jerry Maguire-esque guy in love with single mother whose kid loves him angle: it's been done before in Hindi mainstream cinema, but I wish I could remember where I'd seen that. Besides, it's more coincidence than direct application. What we must focus on is that the story is inherently dull, trite, predictable and pointless. We know what's going to happen. We're just sitting there watch it unfold. And then there are the songs. Now they're not all bad, aurally at least, especially baat merii suniye to zaraa, tumhe aaj mai.nne jo dekhaa, and my favourite on the album, kehatii hai ye hawaa, the "sad" version of the title song, which plays in the background against montage and dissolves. But the dances suck. The junior artistes in the background seem to be enjoying it more than the stars. Jaspal Bhatti and Himani Shivpuri swing the scale from mildly amusing to grating as they provide the mandatory comedy track. And when (predictably) Namrata's husband Sanjeev (Arbaaz Khan in a special appearance) returns to mouth crap, look menacing, and incite some emotional hijinks (the final outburst about wives is so trite and badly delivered), the film begins its downslide.

Which now brings us to the worst part of the whole enterprise, Aishwarya Rai: begin rant to paraphrase Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged, a tosspot and a piece of turd. This emaciated sparrow, who dances more like a marionette with loosely jointed lips and relies on a finite set of faces and physical movements, lends nothing to the film but bad acting, accented (south bombay-esque?) hindi (and english!), and zero chemistry (now how can you make a love story where there's no chemistry between the people who play the couple in love???). Damnation. How such people even get so far to being stars is understandable. But how they can be referred to (even lightly) as actors (or actresses, if you will) is beyond me. Making people think you are beautiful is one thing. Convincing them that you can act, when you know squat about the process, is another. Weep. And yet, she seems to top the most-desired-by-audiences list. I suspect that the raves for her having "busted the myth that beauty and brains don't go together" in Chokher Bali is media hype again. end rant

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