Saturday, July 12, 2014

NEW: Bobby Jasoos could've done with a bit more plotting

I had high expectations, especially after Vidya Balan herself talked it up to me in May and Dia Mirza was buzzing about it in front of me in April, and it’s obvious that Bobby Jasoos is high on many production values, most notably characters and their development.

What it’s low on: cohesion and continuity. For real.

It starts off with wonderful premise, 30-year-old Bilkis (Bilkis!) “Bobby” wants to be a detective in Hyderabad’s old city, but nobody will give her a job or even the time of day. (Unless you count TV news hunk Tassawur [Ali Fazal], who pays her regularly to foil his dad’s attempts at marrying him off.) And her family is certainly less than understanding as well, worrying about marrying her off or at least reining her in enough to get her sister married off.

But then it devolves into continuity errors, seriously uneven pacing and desperate attempts to wind all of the threads together. (Case in point: Mysteriously Threatening Bad Guy A, a gangster in love with Bobby’s childhood friend [whose name is not even consistent] whom Bobby sort of blackmails, turns out to be the son of Mysteriously Threatening Bad Guy B, who is paying Bobby to find girls in the city who then quietly disappear.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The good bits about IIFA

Photos courtesy of IIFA
Y'all, I'm not some whiny baby who rants when not everything goes her way. Despite what commenters have said in the last few days after I posted my IIFA mega rant. (Also, I don't just make stuff up. I'm actually a professional journalist when I don't write about Bollywood as a fan. But that's another story.)

Ahem, not that I care.

Anyway, I thought it was worth saying at some point that there were a few nice things about IIFA. Not as many as there were bad things, and having done it once, I still never would do it again (as a member of the media or as a fan). Next time I'll just watch it all on TV.

But still, here were some fun bits nonetheless:

Stars said some nice things about Tampa (when they weren't busy gushing about their love for fans despite dodging them all weekend). Aside from the folks who just cooked stuff up because that's what they're supposed to say, there were some real nice sentiments. "Bahut khoobsurat hai, bahut peaceful, bahut charm," singer Ankit Tiwari (now being held on rape accusations... oops) said of Tampa. "I just don't want to leave this place," Anil Kapoor said in the Tampa Theatre. "This theater is absolutely magnificent. It's fantastic. This city has a soul, and I can see that soul in this theater." Vivek Oberoi, who has family in the area and has visited before, said before the event: "It's not as crazy and gritty as Miami but it's so beautiful, so you get the best of both worlds in Tampa. You can relax, unwind. There are beautiful beaches nearby. The weather is always fantastic." It isn't always, but it was for that weekend. Several stars said on the green carpet that they'd been enjoying the sun at Clearwater Beach. In fact I heard this so often that I wondered whether all the fans shouldn't have camped out there rather than the green carpet to see stars. It would've been a nicer atmosphere, for sure.

Meeting international journalists was awesome. The coolest part of the whole IIFA experience was being sandwiched between journalists from the U.K., Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan and India. Talking with them was overall better than meeting the stars. Except the "media professionals" who think they deserve the spot you've been standing in for six hours because they think they're better than you. They sucked.

I thought Deepika's gown was especially nice.
Got to see some nice gowns on the green carpet. You already know not all of the big stars walk the green carpet, but the ones that did had some nice gowns when they did. I saw a few fashion disasters (Dia Mirza's gown... yikes; though she seemed nice when I ran into her earlier that day, and I heard nice things about her in general), but most gowns were pretty good. Certainly not something you get to see every day.

Kevin Spacey doing Lungi Dance. This. It was amazing. If you haven't watched it on YouTube yet, do it. NOW. What I haven't seen on YouTube is the hilarity after, when Spacey bundled up his lungi and laid down to take a nap on stage. Shahid then covered him with his own lungi as a blanket.

John Travolta strutting his stuff -- at 60! I mean, was there a more perfect Hollywood star to bring to IIFA? Aside from the fact that he lives like two hours from Tampa, Travolta is basically a Bollywood star: He sings, he dances, he acts. He gave his speech reading from cards, which was rather lame, but overall Travolta's presence was a plus. (He wasn't overly friendly on the green carpet, either, tho. I definitely don't intend to sugar coat that fact, either.)

Shahid and Farhan were funny hosting. I mean, they had to ask for the teleprompter to be fixed about a dozen times, so maybe it wasn't them being funny, but there were some good laughs to be had. (And I'm sure the jokes that fell flat, of which there were also a few, will be edited out in the end.)

They entered on a pirate ship! I was right beside them when it happened. They threw out beads (I even caught some) like a real Gasparilla parade and everything. (Gasparilla is a Tampa tradition, a big pirate festival and parade every year.)

The performances were pretty good. Other than some dragging bits that will obviously be trimmed down, the performances were pretty good. However, there were some parts that were way too busy for you to see anything. Like too much happening all at once, lights flashing blindingly in your eyes, etc. Ranveer entered driving around on a motorcycle, which was pretty cool and changed tacky jackets about five times (he must have an endless supply of them...). Hrithik's performance started blacked out with lighted suits, which was also pretty nifty. Priyanka started her performance off with aerial stunts although some of that will definitely be edited out; she didn't seem very comfortable in the harness.

Milkha Singh was there, and friendly -- and funny. I mean, who would've expected he'd run in place and sing "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" on the green carpet? And that he'd be much better spoken than "star" director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (seriously, slowest, most boring talker ever)? Though I could have done without Milkhaji's 10-minute acceptance speech at the show's end. That's sure to be edited, too.

So, yeah, most of the good things to be said are about the show itself -- the stuff they did for the cameras.

Of course the obvious downside of all this good talk about the show is that if you didn't pay $300 or more, you couldn't see or hear anything from the top deck.

Catch it on TV for free.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 IIFA Awards up close and personal: A disastrous, infuriating mess

Two weekends ago now, I attended the International Indian Film Academy — IIFA — Awards here in own back yard of Tampa Bay as a member of the media — a dream come true, right? A dream that led me to come home early from India, to skip a trip to Assam.

Boy, did I end up regretting that.

I've watched IIFA broadcasts before and was so excited to see it up close and personal, but I came out of it realizing that IIFA is much, much better enjoyed as a TV show. Covering IIFA was a terrible, terrible experience that given the chance I’d never choose again. It was infuriatingly unprofessional and much less than promised (more on that later). And I'm not the only one who feels that way. I've heard complaints from everywhere, and there's even a survey circulating about how awful the experience was. Some others have made me feel like a whiny baby though (boohoo the stars came to my back yard but didn't want to see me), so I've held back on posting even after writing this epically long rant days after the events ended. But, nope, most of the fury hasn't died down.

I get the impression that IIFA’s “imperfections” are generally glossed over by media and everyone else, but I’m not one to sugarcoat things — ever — so here goes nothing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

IIFA 2014 Tampa Bay gossip: Priyanka Chopra seriously ticks off Ranveer Singh during the show

Photo courtesy of IIFA
I've got much more to come later on how covering the IIFA Awards was a nightmare, but first I thought I'd whip this up and put it out there:

Months ago after Gunday, some sources said Ranveer Singh vowed he’d never work with Priyanka Chopra again.

Those of us sitting on the floor at the IIFA Awards this weekend in Tampa Bay saw the rumored spat turn into a full-blown fight during PC’s act.

After some aerial stunts and busting more than a few moves, Priyanka descended from the stage during Tune Maari Entriyaan to the celebrity seating, where she was met by an eager Ranveer. After good-naturedly shimmying a bit with her Gunday co-star (worth noting other co-star Arjun Kapoor wasn’t there, though his daddy was), she proceeded to her real target: John Travolta.

60-year-old Travolta, of course known for shaking a leg in hits like Grease and Saturday Night Fever, was there accepting a special award for his outstanding contribution to international cinema. He proceeded on stage with her to show off those dance moves. The video is amazing, if you haven't seen it.


He later accepted the award from and then did a dance with Hrithik Roshan, the only star’s name he even tried to pronounce, probably wisely so after his now infamous Oscar gaffe.

But let’s just say Ranveer wasn’t too happy about being passed over for a Hollywood star.

He stormed off to the side, found organizers and proceeded to let loose a serious string of abuses. The organizers of course had to placate Ranveer as he was performing later in the show.

Also later in the show, Priyanka was supposed to be presented with a special “Woman Of Substance” award (you know, one of those things they cook up just so she gets something). But announcers said she had left to catch a flight and so her music agent would accept it in her place.


I have to wonder whether a fight rather than a flight was the cause for PC’s early departure. It does seem odd that she'd plan to leave before being presented with her only award of the night.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

IIFA 2014 nominees are out; who won the Filmfares vs. my favorites

IIFA announced its nominees this week for the 15th annual awards, to be held in my very own Tampa Bay in April. The nominees are shortlisted by voting by members of the "film fraternity" (a phrase they all use quite freely) and then voted on by average joes (and janes!) like you and me. (Seriously, go vote now.)

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag earned the most nominations with 10 (no surprise given that Farhan Akhtar is co-hosting this year), then Ram-Leela and Aashiqui 2 with seven each, then Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani with six.

But the clear winner this year? Deepika Padukone, who dominates the best performance in a leading role (female) category with three nominations!

Now as you may very well know, the favorites for IIFA awards can often be determined by the winner of the Filmfare Awards, which were handed out last month. In 2013, the best film, best leading male and female actors, best supporting male and female actors, best male debut, best music director and best directorial debut awards were the same between the Filmfares and IIFAs. The table below shows all nominations for the IIFA awards, with the Filmfare winners highlighted in red.

This is a year in which I've seen each of the best film nominees, so see below the table for my own commentary.

Best Picture


Film
Nomination

Dhoom 3
Aditya Chopra

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Karan Johar

Goliyon Ki Rasleela-Ramleela
Kishore Lulla & Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Krrish 3
Rakesh Roshan

Kai Po Che
Ronnie Screwvala & Siddharth Roy Kapoor

Chennai Express
Ronnie Screwvala,Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Gauri Khan & Karim Morani

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Viacom 18 Motion Pictures & Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra






Direction


Film
Nomination

Kai Po Che
Abhishek Kapoor

Krrish 3
Rakesh Roshan

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Chennai Express
Rohit Shetty

Goliyon Ki Rasleela- Ramleela
Sanjay Leela Bhansali




Performance in a Leading Role (Male)


Film
Nomination

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Farhan Akhtar

Krrish 3
Hrithik Roshan

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Ranbir Kapoor

Goliyon Ki Rasleela-Ramleela
Ranveer Singh

Chennai Express
Shahrukh Khan

Kai Po Che
Sushant Singh Rajput




Performance in a Leading Role (Female)


Film
Nomination

Chennai Express
Deepika Padukone

Goliyon Ki Rasleela- Ramleela
Deepika Padukone

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Deepika Padukone

The Lunchbox
Nimrat Kaur

Aashiqui 2
Shraddha Kapoor

Lootera
Sonakshi Sinha




Performance in a Supporting Role (Male)


Film
Nomination

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Aditya Roy Kapoor

Special 26
Anupam Kher

The Lunchbox
Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Pawan Malhotra

Jolly LLB
Saurabh Shukla




Performance in a Supporting Role (Female)


Film
Nomination

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Divya Dutta

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Kalki Koechlin

Krrish 3
Kangana Ranaut

Goliyon Ki Rasleela-Ramleela
Richa Chadda

D Day
Shruti Hassan

Raanjhanaa
Swara Bhaskar

 Filmfare winner: Supriya Pathak Kapur, Ram-Leela (nominated in Negative Role category for IIFA)


Performance in a Comic Role


Film
Nomination

Jolly LLB
Arshad Warsi

Grand Masti
Riteish Deshmukh

Fukrey
Varun Sharma




Performance in a Negative Role


Film
Nomination

D-Day
Rishi Kapoor

Aurangzeb
Rishi Kapoor

Goliyon Ki Rasleela- Ramleela *
Supriya Pathak

Krrish 3
Vivek Oberoi

* Supriya Pathak Kapur won best supporting actress at Filmfare



Music Direction


Film
Nomination

Aashiqui 2
Mithoon, Ankit Tiwari,Jeet Ganguly

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Pritam

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Shankaar - Ehsaan - Loy




Best Story


Film
Nomination

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Prasoon Joshi

Kai Po Che*
Pubali Chaudhuri, Abhishek Kapoor & Chetan Bhagat

The Lunchbox
Ritesh Batra

 Filmfare winner: Jolly LLB,
*Kai Po Che won best screenplay
  




Lyrics


Song
Nomination
Film
Tum Hi Ho
Mithoon
Aashiqui 2
O Rangrez
Prasoon Joshi
(Filmfare won for Zinda)
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Sunn Raha Hai
Sandeep Nath
Aashiqui 2



Playback Singer (Male)


Song
Nomination
Film
Sunn Rahai Hai
Ankit Tiwari
Aashiqui 2
Tum Hi Ho
Arijit Singh
Aashiqui 2
Zinda
Siddharth Mahadevan
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag



Playback Singer (Female)


Song
Nomination
Film
Ram Chahe Leela
Bhoomi Trivedi
Goliyon Ki Rasleela - Ramleela
Sawaar Loon
Monali Thakur
Lootera
Sunn Raha Hai
Shreya Ghoshal
Aashiqui 2
O Rangrez
Shreya Ghoshal
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag


Now we get down to my opinion, though it matters very little.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and other things that bugged me about Dhoom 3



Okay, so I think this post may win for “biggest delay in posting about a new movie.” About four days after watching Dhoom 3, I was like meh, I don’t know that I’ll blog. And I was told nah, you still should. And so I started one, and never fleshed it out much. Well, after nearly three weeks, I don’t know whether you’d call this a real review of Dhoom 3 so much as a me describing a few things that have continued to bother me when I think about the movie.

Synopsis: Like all Dhoom movies, there is Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan) and Ali Akbar (Uday Chopra) chasing down a bad guy on a motorcycle. This time, the bad guy is Aamir Khan playing a circus performer by night and bank robber by day because that bank wanted to repossess the circus building owned by his suicidal father (there-too-briefly-to-be-cringeworthy Jackie Shroff). Adding the necessary estrogen (or at least the necessary female figure to drool over) is Aaliya the acrobat (Katrina Kaif).

Much like Chennai Express earlier this year, Dhoom 3 falls into the category of film (or director) famous for one type of movie meets star actor famous for another type — a recipe, they believe, for a blockbuster. But that is instead a recipe for unfulfilled high expectations.

Dhoom is a great franchise. Aamir Khan is a great actor. But the two do not mesh well.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NEW: Gori Tere Pyaar Mein: A rom-com with enough fun and funny



Do you know those times where you’re thoroughly unimpressed by a trailer but you figure “what the hey, I’ll go see this one anyway”?

That was the case today with Gori Tere Pyaar Mein. It looks like exactly the same kind of rom com formula that produces as many fizzlers as sizzlers. And then there’s the fact that Imran and Kareena’s last movie — Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu — thoroughly sucked.

Well, I won’t tell you their chemistry’s gotten a whole lot better, because it hasn’t. It’s still mediocre.

But Gori Tere Pyaar Mein is actually pretty funny and fun for at least three quarters of the movie (the ending, however, slows down and drags on for a while once you hit all of the necessary moral stuff). And maybe it’s just because I wasn’t expecting much, but I had fun.