I’ve had a good run at the movies of late. Watched 4 movies over the past couple of weekends. Yes, we seem to be getting our groove back! :)
I’ve already written about Eclipse which I enjoyed in the most carnal way (seriously, there's no other way to enjoy that movie). Let’s talk about the other 3…
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai is the story of Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn), a smuggler with principles, and Shoaib (Emraan Hashemi), his over-ambitious protégé. But more than them it's the story of the betrayal of Mumbai by the "underworld".
Sultan Mirza is a Robinhood like character in some ways. He's a criminal but he helps the poor, and he won't smuggle stuff (such as drugs) that his conscience doesn't permit him to. The one big mistake of his smuggling career is to recruit Shoaib who can go to any lengths to control Mumbai. Kangana Ranaut plays a super star who is in love with Sultan Mirza while Prachi Desai is a middle class conservative girl in love with Shoaib.
The movie has enough drama to keep you at the edge of your seat, and in spite of being based on the underworld it stays away from blood & gore. The characters are well etched out and the performances, superlative.
However, I was a little let down by the way the movie ended - it was not only abrupt, it was also a little unjustified maybe.
The dialogues are an entirely different story though - they were really cheesy! Straight out of a 70s Hindi movie. I'm not sure whether that was intentional given the retro theme of the movie, but saner dialogues would've definitely helped. Overall though, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai is definitely worth a watch.
Aisha is an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. That's the biggest thing the director had going for her - a story with immense potential. Yet, she screwed it up and how!
19th century rural England is replaced by South Delhi's high society. Sonam Kapoor plays the role of Aisha, a fashionable brat who lives in a bubble and spends her life match-making. She sees it as helping people and "doesn't even charge any money for it". Every single woman is a new "project" for her. She has spunky Pinky Bose for a best friend and a dishy Arjun for childhood friend (supposedly).
Enter Shefali, a small town girl whom Aisha must hook up with eligible bachelor Randhir Gambhir (Cyrus Sahukar). But before that, she needs to convert Shefali into a diva. Only if Arjun stayed out of the way!
The story itself is great material for a blockbuster chick flick - it's got romance along with dollops of humor and huge doses of fashion - but the execution is quite poor.
For one, Aisha & Arjun are supposed to be childhood friends but they're hardly shown to share a bond. You'll never see them hanging out, there are no "moments" between them. So you never find yourself wishing that the girl ends up with the guy - something very essential to a chick flick. And when they finally profess their love for each other, you're left with a WTF feeling.
Secondly, people keep hooking up randomly throughout the movie, without any background or context. People who couldn't stand each other end up together after sharing a single car ride. People who meet each other at a party for the first time end up making out and in the next scene, they're getting married! It's completely random...more WTF moments.
And I didn't understand why everyone was showing up everywhere! Aisha goes to Mumbai to visit her sister who's about to deliver. There she runs into Arjun, who is Aisha's brother-in-law's brother. So far so good. But why is Aarti (Arjun's business partner) also in the house? Go figure!
Abhay Deol was perfect for the role of Knightly - suave, sexy, smart & sassy. Yet, he's completely over-shadowed by Sonam Kapoor in terms of screen time. What a waste! And he's so unconvincing in the last scene where he tells Aisha how much he loves her. Rightly so...he too probably would've realized that it made no sense at all!
Sonam Kapoor is good as the self-centered, ditzy, bratty Aisha. I loved her wardrobe. Ira Dubey is great as the bitchy Pinky Bose, and I loved her Manish Arora outfits! Amrita Puri is cute as the impressionable small town simpleton who looks up to Aisha, Cyrus Sahukar is your typical Delhi guy and Lisa Haydon is better off on the ramp. And Arunoday Singh...he's so not hot. Big burly guys are not my type anyway.
I really wish Rajshree Ojha had done a better job of this movie...it had the potential to be such a fun chick flick. Overall though Aisha is worth a watch if you're in the mood for some candy floss and are willing to overlook the flaws in the script.
You see, I'm kind of done with so called "realistic" movies. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to deride them. But they generally tend to be depressing and so much crap to deal with in life anyway, who needs to inflict more torture upon themselves
Udaan is one such movie. That apart, it's got a good story, good performances. It's the story of a boy who gets kicked out of boarding school for watching a porn movie. He's sent home to a dad who he hasn't met in 8 years. On reaching home, he learns that his dad has remarried and he has a step brother. To make things worse, the dad is a tyrant who insists on being called "sir", is abusive and is totally against the boy pursuing his dreams. The rest of the story revolves around how the boy copes with his dad and forms a bond with his step brother.
Watch it if you hold a torch for such cinema.