Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bollywood Infomercial Sleek: RACE 2 Review

Let us quote and interview of Johann Verheem, founder of a weight loss company who became famous overnight due to one of his infomercials: “It's not just that sex sells, but one of the other things very important in direct selling, in infomercials, is that a product looks different enough for someone to stop and watch it.” (Inc. magazine)

Verheem's expert knowledge of "what sells" completely matches my impression of Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla's Race 2, where a score of gorgeous males and females show off their tanned and chiseled bodies and brand clothes in luxurious settings while trying to appear cool by emoting as minimum as possible and handling uncannily humongous sums of money (plus the shroud of Turin!) throughout a plot that unfortunately keeps craving for an ending well before the intermission.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

MATRU KI BIJLEE KA MANDOLA Review: Bhardwaj's Off-beat Genius

It was enough to see the promos featuring a smiling pink buffalo, Gulabi Bhains, prior to a Talaash screening to convince us we needed to watch Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. Seeing Vishal Bhardwaj's name appended to it convinced us further...
Though the plot has been analyzed and sometimes criticized by first-time viewers across the press expecting a mainstream movie with a dash of quirkiness or originality from Vishal Bhardwaj, I have to say I find most critics who were disappointed with Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola have missed its point. In my very humble opinion, the movie's disjointedness and wackiness was written on purpose. One scene jumps to the next, the absurd creeps up every other scene and the plot includes a critical view of Indian village society while at the same time providing funny cracks. The film might not have the duality of Kaminey or the straightforward drama of Omkara; it might at times seem like Bhardwaj wrote a set of unfinished brilliant sketches for a set of characters he fleshed out in advance; but ultimately, the film follows a thread of veiled, surrealistic but effective critique of India that can absolutely not be brushed off.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

USTAD HOTEL: The Beauty of Nonchalance

Every now and then, there is a regional film making its way into a review by the Hindi Cinema Blog and Ustad Hotel, a 2012 Malayalam film written by Anjali Menon and directed by Anwar Rasheed merits such an occasion.
Ustad Hotel´s subtle cinematography and its richly colorful images paint a refreshing and simple story. Faizal, nicknamed Fayzee (Dulquer Salman) grows up amid his sisters until they are "married off" one by one. Fayzee hopes to be a chef, much against the aspirations of his father. He goes to Switzerland to study hotel management at the University of Lausanne. When he returns, the possibility for an arranged marriage is broken off by the bride-to-be Shahana (Nithya Menon), who also reveals to one and all that Fayzee has secretly completed a chef's course and not a career in hotel management, as agreed. This event shatters his father's dream of opening a five-star hotel in his home town of Kozhikode. Fayzee feels so cornered that he decides to move in and work with his grandfather Karim Ka (Thilakan), who is also a chef and runs a beach restaurant called Ustad Hotel. Fayzee's philosophy of life matures and evolves under the formative eye of his grandfather in this lovely coming of age entertainer. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

DABANGG 2 Review: Chulbul Pandey Came and Went

Bombay moviegoer's expectations were ablaze viewing the giant posters of Bollywood’s most masalaic hero pointing a gun at cars passing by on high avenues. The sequel to one of the cinema industry’s most recent box office monuments, Dabangg, was about to conquer the Indian psyche, or so it seemed...
While I am aware of the huge following Salman Khan has among Indians and while I do believe the icon he has become can become an acquired taste for those of us who did not grow up with masala as a run-of-the-mill method of storytelling, this blogger remains nonetheless underwhelmed with the result of the sequel to a very innovative and entertaining original Dabangg.

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