02 February 2014

Bollywood Movies - then and now...

I watched quite a few films off late. Couldn't help but compare them and write about them.

Some movies I watched-

  1. Dhoom 3
  2. Madras Cafe
  3. Bombay Talkies
  4. The Lunchbox
  5. Dedh Ishqiya
  6. Phata Poster Nikla Hero 
  7. Katha
  8. Silsila
The first six are all contemporary movies but frankly I wasn't moved by any of them as much as the last two. While all of them were first time watches for me, Silsila was a repeat. But it still managed to touch a chord.

There have been endless comparisons between the 3 versions of Dhoom series, and by common consensus, D3 seems to have come up worse. However, I liked the sincerity of Aamir Khan, the whole plot of D3, less slapstick humor by Uday and honest effort put in by Katrina. Admittedly, there are gaping holes in the plot but the punch during intermission takes you by surprise. The end was predictable though.

Madras Cafe has a decent performance by John Abraham. The pace is gripping and there are no distractions in the form of songs. This very fact however gives it a feel of being a documentary than a commercial film.

Bombay Talkies, a tribute to the 100 years completion of Bollywood, comprises of 4 stories directed by 4 different directors. The first one by Karan Johar is ordinary and even Rani could not save it. The one with Amitabh was very confusing and I was left scrambling as to what to make of it. The one with the boy wanting to be a dancer touched a chord as also the one with an unsuccessful actor trying to fulfill his dream. The overall result was bit of a let-down however.

The Lunchbox is another hatke take on romance in the busy, middle-class Mumbai. The story is a bit after its times. Its hard to imagine two people communicating through letters in this era of email and whatsapp. But, it is cute and touching nevertheless. Performances by all actors in the film are classic- even Bharati Acharekar as the invisible neighbor manages to leave a mark.  I loved the fact that the end was left open to interpretation and being the die-hard romantic that I am, I chose to be optimistic:) Its good to know that love can surpass boundaries of marriage and age.

Dedh Ishqiya is a dud in my opinion and should never have been made. And what the actors of high calibre such as Naseer, Huma & Vijay Raaz were doing in this movie beats me. Arshad is the only saving grace of the movie. Madam Madhuri, the single most overhyped actor of current times, fails to make an impact and thereby a comeback. The first Isqiya was far too superior  and they should have left it at that.

Phata Poster Nikla Hero - The plot is too straight-forward and oft-repeated. The moral is relevant to current generation though - its worthwhile being a hero in real life rather than in reel life. Shahid looks good, dances impressively, mimics awesomely but somehow this movie failed to be his comeback film. The actor still needs to find his niche in the industry. The songs are really good and well choreographed. Ileana is eminently forgettable.

Katha was aired as part of Farookh Shaikh movies on TV and I watched it more because of that. But it left an impact due to the sheer boldness of its subject. Even though the plot is in the backdrop of a Mumbai chawl, that too more than 20 years ago, Sai Paranjape's direction and the performances by lead actors gave it an extra-ordinary treatment. Both Farookh and Naseer were trying to break their stereotypes and succeeded amazingly well.

Silsila - what can I say? Another movie far ahead of its times. It is tremendously well-directed and succeeds primarily because of the direction and performances by some of the stalwarts of Bollywod. Jaya Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar are simply mind-blowing. Shashi Kapoor made his presence felt even in a short appearance. Amitabh and Rekha share a sizzling chemistry and the songs are all well-picturized. The subject is debatable - can compromise and duty be the foundation for a successful marriage? Is it wise to leave a love story unfinished for it will always come back for a finish eventually? Everyone has their own answer to this quandary, as does the director.

Having written all this - what I concluded was that the impact made by movies of more than 20 years lasts longer than the current ones. What could be reason? After all, we are making movies on more diverse subjects, today's audience is more accepting and broad-minded to sample the fare offered by upcoming maverick directors. Yet, somehow they fail to make history. Is it because we are making way too many movies and the actors are stretched beyond their abilities to do real justice to their roles? Or is it because, the novelty of some subjects, dialogues and scenes has simply worn off by now? The jury is still out on that.



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