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Guru

So when GURU, Mani's new film, makes claims such as the one mentioned above, the viewer saunters into the cineplex with real big expectations.

Mani's impressive repertoire includes a few bio-pics and now GURU is a welcome addition to the club. This time around, the supremely talented storyteller narrates the story of a man who rises from zilch and becomes the premier industrialist of the country through sheer hard work, determination, passion and grit.

As a story, GURU is tremendously inspiring and makes you feel all the more confident to encounter challenges and hurdles that may crop up in a journey called life. But by no means is GURU a documentary, as a section of the film industry/media would want us to believe. Sure, GURU chronicles several vital facets of an industrialist's life, but the marriage of enlightenment and entertainment is brilliantly executed here.

With GURU, Mani proves that he's indeed the guru when it comes to narrating stories. Note the poignant moments in the narrative -- Guru's thorny relationship with his father [Rajendra Gupta], his relationship with a newspaper publisher [Mithun Chakraborty], Guru's brother-in-law Jignesh [Arya Babbar] staging a walkout and creating a rift between Guru and his wife Sujata [Aishwarya Rai], the confrontation between the journalist [Madhavan] and Guru at the publisher's residence, Guru's emotional moment in the hospital when his trusted aide [Manoj Joshi] attempts suicide and of course, the finale.

The graph of GURU escalates gradually and reaches its crescendo in the concluding reels. Guru's monologue in a packed courtroom -- where an enquiry commission is looking into the complaints against Guru's companies -- gives you goose bumps. The simpleton from a village in Gujarat roars like never before and the impact it creates cannot be described in mere words. All you want to say is, it's the most fitting finale for a fabulous film!

Mani's choice of the protagonist -- Abhishek Bachchan -- is equally worthy. You ought to be enormously talented to understand the nuances of the character and Abhishek deserves the highest praise for reliving a complex role. You smile when he smiles, you cry when he cries… you relive every single emotion that the character experiences. Only goes to show that the actor involves you at every step with a stupendous performance.

In a nutshell, GURU packs in a solid punch in those 2.45 hours. The year 2007 may have just begun, but one can confidently state that this Mani Ratnam film will rank prominently amongst the bests of the year when we go into a flashback mode later this year. Put your hands together for one of the most courageous attempts on the Hindi screen. GURU is a film not to be missed!

In a small village of Idar in Gujarat, a young man dreams of making it big some day. His father [Rajendra Gupta], the headmaster of the village school, tells him that dreams never come true. But Gurukant Desai [Abhishek Bachchan] dares to dream!

Set in 1951, GURU tells the story of a ruthlessly ambitious villager who moves to Turkey first and Mumbai later with his wife Sujata [Aishwarya Rai] and brother-in-law Jignesh [Arya Babbar] to fulfill his dreams.

In Mumbai, truth dawns upon Guru that the business world is a closed community ruled by a handful of rich and influential people who don't believe in giving opportunities to new players. Despite barriers, he starts a company called Shakti Trading and climbs the ladder of success at a furious pace.

Manik Dasgupta aka Nanaji [Mithun Chakraborty], who publishes a newspaper Swatantra, treats Guru as his son. But when he learns that Guru's means to make it big are not right, he along with the Editor of his newspaper, Shyam [Madhavan], decide to expose Guru's unjust ways.

Even though GURU is a bio-pic, the serpentine twists and turns in the screenplay are the mainstay of the enterprise. You may have heard of a few incidents, but the life sketch of the leading industrialist makes for an interesting celluloid experience.

From the writing point of view, while GURU holds your attention at most times, there are a few loose ends, though negligible, that you cannot overlook. The tiff between Guru and his bro-in-law Jignesh is one of those tracks. What actually brings about a rift between the two and why doesn't Jignesh reappear anywhere in the story later is not explained.

Another track that doesn't really hold your attention is the one between Madhavan-Vidya Balan. Although the emotional sequence between them is a highpoint [the smooch that follows is aesthetically filmed], you still wish there was some more meat in this sub-plot.

Moreover, the film can do without a song 'Ek Lo Ek Muft' [appears soon after Guru and his wife are blessed with twins] and also the pacing could've been tighter in the second half.

GURU ranks amongst Mani Ratnam's finest attempts. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that the film is at par with his most accomplished works like NAYAKAN, AGNI NAKSHATRAM, GITANJALI, ROJA and BOMBAY. Every sequence in GURU bears the stamp of a genius and the outcome is tremendous.

A.R. Rahman's music is in sync with the film. 'Maiya Maiya' at the start of the film [Mallika Sherawat] is sizzling, while 'Barso Re' [Ash's introduction] and 'Tere Bina' are melodious to the core. Rahman's background score is also topnotch. Rajiv Menon's cinematography is of international quality. The lensman captures the 1950s look, right to the present day setting, with flourish. Vijay Krishna Acharya's dialogues are of superior quality. The writing in the last twenty minutes is fantastic.

Reserve all the awards for Abhishek Bachchan. No two opinions on that! His performance in GURU is world class and without doubt, a shade above his career-best work in YUVA. From a sharp teenager in Turkey to the biggest entrepreneur of the country, Abhishek handles the various shades this character demands with adroitness. He takes a giant leap with this film!

Aishwarya Rai too stuns you with a powerful performance. Known for her angelic looks all the while, the actor will make people sit up and notice the reservoirs of talent in GURU. Also, the chemistry between Abhishek and Aishwarya is electrifying. Mithun Chakraborty is in form after a long, long time. And it's a pleasure to see the veteran deliver a natural performance from start to end.

Madhavan's role could've been stronger, but he enacts it with élan. Vidya Balan too suffers due to a weak characterization, but makes up with a confident performance. Arya Babbar is first-rate in a brief role. The film has a number of characters, but the ones who register a strong impact are Roshan Seth, Manoj Tyagi and Sachin Khedekar.

On the whole, GURU is one of the finest films to come out of the Hindi film industry. At the box-office, its business will be excellent at the multiplexes as compared to the single screens. In fact, the business at the multiplexes [which are performing 12/14/18/20 shows a day] will be enough to make the film a success story in days to come. Strongly recommended, go for it!

Producer
   Mani Ratnam
   G Srinivasan

Director
   Mani Ratnam

Star Cast
   Mithun Chakraborty...... Manikdas Guptha (Nanaji)
   Abhishek Bachchan...... Guru Kant Desai
   Aishwarya Rai...... Sujatha
   Mallika Sherawat...... Dancer
   Arya Babbar
   Madhavan...... Shyam Saxena
   Roshan Seth
   Vidya Balan...... Meenu
   Sachin Khedekar
   Dhritiman Chatterjee
   Arjan Bajwa
   Darshan Jariwala
   Manoj Joshi
   Rajendra Gupta
   Sarita Joshi
   Neena Kulkarni
   Sanjay Swaraj
   Sudhir Pandey
   Laxmi Rattan
   Murad Ali
   Mukesh Bhatt (II)
   Pratap Pothen
   Master Sunny
   Baby Simran
   Baby Ashoi
   Baby Anoushka

Cassettes and CD's on
   Sony Music

Singers
   Shreya Ghosal
   Uday Mazumdar
   A R Rahman
   Chinmaye
   Bappi Lahiri
   Chitra
   Maryem Toller
   Keerthi
   Hariharan
   Alka Yagnik
   Udit Narayan
   Madhushree
   Swetha Bhargavee

Lyricist
   Gulzar

Music Director
   A R Rahman

Cinematography
   Rajiv Menon

Choreography
   Brinda
   Saroj Khan

Action
   Vikram Dharma

Art
   Samir Chanda

Editor
   Sreekar Prasad

Screenplay
   Mani Ratnam

Sound
   H Sridhar
   Jagmohan Anand
   Rakesh Ranjan

Dialogue
   Vijay Krishna Acharya

Costume
   Ameira Punvan
   Sai
   Nikhar Dhawan
   Anu Parthasarathy
   Aparna Shah

Hairstylist
   Mohan

Official Website url
   www.guru-themovie.com

Visual Effects
   Prime Focus Ltd.

Publicity Designs
   Himanshu Nanda
   Rahul Nanda
   HR Enterprises

Publicity Stills
   C H Balu

Story / Writer
   Mani Ratnam

Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana

The premise -- borrowed from the popular TV series SEX AND THE CITY -- can easily be redesigned into an interesting cinematic experience, but the writing is so excruciatingly weak that you want to ask debutante writer-director Amar Butala, Yeh kya ho raha hain?

Sure, KUDIYON KA HAI ZAMAANA boasts of some entertaining moments, but the lows outnumber the highs in those 16 reels. The writing lacks the power to keep your attention arrested, to put it bluntly.

Director Amar Butala could've explored newer horizons with a chick flick. Unfortunately, what comes across is neither inventive nor engaging. A terrible waste of a terrific opportunity!

KUDIYON KA HAI ZAMAANA revolves around four friends -- Mayuri [Rekha], Natasha [Vasundhara Das], Kanika [Kim Sharma] and Anjali [Mahima Chaudhary]. Even though they aren't of the same age, they have grown to be the best of friends. They keep meeting at a beauty salon where they go to pamper themselves. In between the facials, manicures and pedicures, they have become the best of friends.

Anjali is the cause of much envy for the remaining three. Carefree and fancy-free, Anjali dates men all the time and has a lot of fun. Another habit of Anjali that really annoys her friends is that she always bets with them, on almost anything and everything under the sun. And she always wins! The three want to beat her just once.

Anjali had once bet that she would never marry till she's 25 and so Mayuri, Natasha and Kanika decide to find a man for her and win this one bet. But things go topsy-turvy when each of them decide to outdo the other and find a man for Anjali. Meanwhile, Anjali meets Amar [Ashmit Patel] and falls in love with him.

Anjali now has not one, two but four men wooing her. A dramatic confrontation tears the friends apart when Anjali realizes the game plan.

With an innovative concept on hand, debutante director Amar Butala could've worked wonders by balancing the hilarious and emotional moments beautifully. Sadly, barring a handful of scenes, neither do the light moments evoke mirth nor do the emotional moments make you moist eyed or tug at your heart strings.

The light moments are far from funny. Right from the start -- the three ladies [Rekha, Kim, Vasundhara] zeroing on guys of their choice [Sanjit Bedi, Nikhil Chinappa and Ashwin Mushran, respectively] and the method adopted by the three bachelors to woo Mahima -- looks completely farcical. If the intention was to make you laugh, sorry, it doesn't!

The second hour goes on an altogether different track. Ideally, the film should've ended when Rekha realizes her folly and sorts out the problems. Instead, the narrative starts focusing on Rekha's failed relationship with her fourth husband [Sachin Khedekar] and what follows is one lengthy scene and an unwanted 'Din Dhal Jaye' song [rendered by Rekha herself], which adds to the boredom.

Even the surrogate advertising [Lays Wafers] is crudely handled. Whether Vasundhara is having her pedicure done in a beauty parlour or having dinner with Mahima in a restaurant or being rushed to a maternity home [she's pregnant], she seems to be clutching on to the wafer packet all the while, holding the wafer packet right into the camera. Irritates big time!

Climax too is weak. In fact, Ashmit's idea of bringing in the baraat at the dot of 12 so that Mahima wins the bet is very filmy.

Amar Butala's direction is passable, but it's the writing that spoils the show. Iqbal Darbar and Yasin Darbar's music is truly melodious. Besides the catchy title track, the two romantic songs [Ashmit-Mahima] are easy on your ears. A.K.N. Sebastian's cinematography is inconsistent. Dialogues are witty and at times, saucy and spicy. But why this generous dose of English at several places?

Rekha does an okay job, but goes over the top in the second hour. Mahima Chaudhary's outfits are only getting skimpier and outrageous with each passing year. Dressed in skimpy outfits and indulging in a passionate lip-to-lip kiss with Ashmit is what you remember most of Mahima in this flick. Kim Sharma needs to take lessons in acting. Vasundhara Das is equally wooden.

Ashmit Patel is strictly functional. Sachin Khedekar is natural. Nikhil Chinappa, Gaurav Kapoor, Sanjit Bedi, Kabir Sadanand and Ashwin Mushran are mere gap fillers. Upasana Singh screams her lungs out in the lone hospital scene.

On the whole, KUDIYON KA HAI ZAMAANA is a poor show with a lame script as its main handicap. At the box-office, this one's a non-starter!


Producer
   Amar Butala
   Mejoo Khan

Director
   Amar Butala

Star Cast
   Ashmit Patel...... Amar
   Rekha...... Mayuri
   Mahima Choudhary...... Anjali
   Vasundhara Das...... Natasha
   Kim Sharma...... Kanika
   Sachin Khedekar
   Nikhil Chinnappa
   Kabir Sadanand

Cassettes and CD's on
   Eros Music

Singers
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   Jaspinder Narula
   Shaan
   Sadhana Sargam
   Udit Narayan
   Ayesha I. Darbar
   Rekha
   Vasundhara Das
   Suzan
   Rahul Seth
   Nikhil Chinnappa
   Dj Nawed
   Chris Mcguinness Zoheb Khan

Lyricist
   Saahil Sultanpuri
   A.M. Turaz

Music Director
   Iqbal Darbar
   Yasin Darbar

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
   Lekhraj Sirawar
   B R Naidu

Cinematography
   A K N Sebastian

Choreography
   Longines Fernandes
   Raju Khan
   Rekha Chinni Prakash

Art
   Rajat Poddar

Editor
   Deepak Naidu
   Vijay Mengle

Sound
   Suresh Paswan

Processing Labs
   Quality Labs

Publicity Designs
   Able & Will

Story / Writer
   Amar Butala

I See You

I SEE YOU, directed by debutante Vivek Agrawal, is targeted at the multiplex junta, but right intentions don’t necessarily translate into right films. The problem with I SEE YOU is that it works in bits and spurts, not in entirety.

It’s not blasphemous to be inspired by a Hollywood film [JUST LIKE HEAVEN; starring Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo], but writer Suresh Nair and director Vivek Agrawal should’ve ensured that the desi adaptation appeals to Indian sensibilities and is captivating enough from start to end. Sure, I SEE YOU has its share of interesting moments, but the recipe [screenplay] used for cooking this dish lacks a few vital ingredients.

To sum up, I SEE YOU is the kind of film that works best on the tube or DVD circuit. As far as its theatrical business is concerned, it might find its share of advocates in a handful of multiplexes of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore mainly, but even that segment of viewers would be minimal.

Write your own movie review of I See You
Another factor that goes against the film is its release period. To expect viewers to rush to a nearby theatre on 31st December [Sunday] or 1st January [Monday] would be foolhardy. The cinema attendance goes downhill during those days and expecting the business to pick up from Tuesday onwards is like expecting snowflakes in Mumbai.

Story: Raj [Arjun Rampal] is the star attraction on the TV show British Raj. One evening, Raj finds an unexpected visitor in his house -- Shivani [Vipasha]. Is he dreaming? Is she for real? At first Raj thinks his friends are out to make a bakra. But he realizes that Shivani is a spirit.

Shivani breezes in and out of his home and office whether he likes it or not. Unfortunately, Raj is the only one who seems to be able to see her or talk to her. His friend Akshay [Chunky Pandey] thinks it’s an alibi and also arranges for a meeting with a shrink [Boman Irani] on his wedding anniversary.

Gradually, Raj falls in love with Shivani. But Shivani and Raj have to find answers to questions that led to Shivani’s current state.

I SEE YOU is a ghost story, but it doesn’t belong to the BEES SAAL BAAD or BHOOT variety. It’s not on the lines of Ramsay productions either. A love story revolving around a spirit and an ordinary mortal, the plot focuses more on humor and romance than spine chilling or tense moments.

Although the premise is refreshingly different for Indian audiences, the manner in which writer Suresh Nair and director Vivek Agrawal open the cards is what gives you hiccups. In the first place, no explanations are offered as to why Arjun alone can see Vipasha. Also, she can’t touch a telephone, but the twist in the tale has her opening the door of the room where her comatose body lies. How did she manage that? Chalo, maan liya, spirits in Hindi movies can even break into songs and dances, but the opening of the door is like double crossing Arjun since the cop [Michael Maloney] is already at the doorstep.

Even the finale -- the mystery behind Vipasha’s accident is solved and the doctor is arrested -- is far from convincing. A few minutes earlier, didn’t we see the doctor and a nurse entering Vipasha’s room in the hospital and even injecting a drug to put her to sleep forever? So how did the cop [Michael Maloney] reach there from the BBC Studio [he’s being interviewed ‘Live’] and how did Vipasha suddenly come alive? It’s a screenplay of convenience!

In a nutshell, I SEE YOU tries too hard to appeal to the heart, but it forgets that moviegoers have thinking minds too.

On the plus side, a few individualistic sequences are well executed. The initial portions -- Arjun refusing to believe Vipasha is a spirit until he visits the hospital -- are interesting. The humor-laden sequences involving Chunky Pandey also keep you in splits. The finale -- Vipasha disappearing from Arjun’s arms [faulty writing] -- is well handled too. Ditto for the end -- Arjun introducing himself to Vipasha at an eatery -- is worthy of note.

Vivek Agrawal had the opportunity to play with special effects since the protagonist is a spirit, but the storyteller doesn’t utilize this aspect in the narrative. Also, his choice of the story is perfect, but not the screenplay. How could he okay a faulty script in the first place? Vishal-Shekhar’s music is pleasant. ‘Subah Subah’ and ‘Halo’ are two noteworthy tracks in the narrative. In fact, the set décor and choreography [Shiamak Davar] of the ‘Halo’ track is superb. Ashok Mehta’s cinematography is delightful. Dialogues [Niranjan Iyengar] are strictly kaam-chalau.

I SEE YOU rests on Arjun’s shoulders. Arjun is efficient in a role that doesn’t really demand histrionics. He has proved his credentials in the past and his performance in this film is at par with his earlier works. He works best in the dramatic portions. Vipasha may not be gorgeous to look at, but she’s a decent actor.

Chunky Pandey is only getting better with every release. He registers an impact. Kirron Kher gets very little screen time. Boman Irani tries hard to make you laugh. Sonali Kulkarni also has a miniscule part. Sophie Chaudhary adds to the glamour quotient. Her scenes with Arjun [especially the one at the start, when Vipasha lands up at the studio] are truly funny. Michael Maloney [the Hindi-speaking angrez cop] is good.

Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan make fleeting appearances in the ‘Subah Subah’ song. While SRK is strumming a guitar, Hrithik breaks into a small jig.

On the whole, I SEE YOU could’ve been an interesting fare, but is letdown by a lopsided screenplay. At the box-office, the lack of face-value and an inopportune release period [people don’t like to spend New Year in a cinema hall] will only add to its woes.


Producer
   Suresh Savlani
   Mehr Jessia-Rampal

Director
   Vivek Agrawal

Star Cast
   Arjun Rampal...... Raj Jaiswal
   Vipasha Agarwal...... Shivani Dutt
   Boman Irani...... Dr. Patnaik
   Chunky Pandey...... Akshay Kapoor
   Sonali Kulkarni...... Kuljeet Kapoor
   Shahrukh Khan...... Special Appearance
   Hrithik Roshan...... Special Appearance
   Kirron Kher...... Mrs. Dutt
   Sophie Chaudhary...... Dilnaz Boga
   Michael Maloney

Cassettes and CD's on
   Eros Music

Singers
   Zubeen Garg
   Vishal Dadlani
   Shekhar Ravjiani
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   Sukhwinder Singh

Lyricist
   Vishal Dadlani

Music Director
   Vishal Dadlani
   Shekhar Ravjiani

Background Music
   Shekhar Ravjiani
   Vishal Dadlani

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
   komesh rohira

Cinematography
   Ashok Mehta

Choreography
   Shiamak Davar

Art
   aditya kanwar

Editor
   dilip ahuja

Screenplay
   Suresh Nair

Sound
   Kunal Mehta
   Parikshit Lalwani

Dialogue
   Niranjan Iyengar

Costume
   Manish Malhotra

Publicity Designs
   Himanshu Nanda
   Rahul Nanda

Publicity Stills
   Bharat Sikka

Story / Writer
   Vivek Agrawal

Bhagam Bhag

BHAGAM BHAG, his new outing, charters a similar path. At least that's the impression you get when you look at its qualitative promos. After a breezy first half, you realize that there's more to BHAGAM BHAG. It's not just a comic fare. It transforms into a murder mystery.

Nothing wrong if Priyan packs two diverse genres in one film, but the problem is that the comedy works and the whodunit doesn't!

Write your own movie review of Bhagam Bhag
Let's examine the two halves of BHAGAM BHAG minutely. Analysis of Part 1 first:

    * Lock your brains and throw the key in the sea as the curtains go up and BHAGAM BHAG unfolds. Remember, don't look for logic, don't ask questions.

    * The escapades of Akshay-Govinda-Paresh are truly entertaining. In fact, howlarious at times. A number of comic scenes are the mainstay of the enterprise. The first half, to put it rightly, is paisa vasool entertainment!


Now an analysis of Part 2 [post-interval portions]:

    * The whodunit takes off very well at the intermission point. But as the mystery deepens and the three suspects [Akshay, Govinda, Paresh] start running helter-skelter, trying to put pieces of the jigsaw puzzle meticulously, the sequence of events that lead to the finale aren't convincing and captivating.

    * The climax is the biggest culprit. The identity of the murderer and the motive behind the murder should come as a shock if the whodunit has to have a solid impact. In BHAGAM BHAG, the end result is not as impactful.


To sum up, BHAGAM BHAG may not be Priyadarshan's finest effort in this genre, but it provides ample laughter and entertainment in the final tally. Had the second hour been as captivating as the first, it would've been a different story altogether!

Champak [Paresh Rawal] has a theatre group in India and he performs shows all over the country. Bunty [Akshay] and Babla [Govinda] along with others are actors in the group. Both are naughty-natured guys who never miss a chance to flirt with girls, even with girls in the group.

At the completion of one show, an organizer [Asrani] offers Champak's group to perform shows in England. Unfortunately, the heroine of the play [Tanushree Dutta] opts out due to Bunty's misbehavior.

They reach London and through Gullu [Rajpal], a taxi driver, Bunty and Babla try to find a girl for their play, but it leads to many misunderstandings. In this process, Bunty and Babla fall into trouble involving a drug baron [Manoj Joshi].

Thereafter, Bunty and Gullu discover a girl Minni [Lara Dutta], who suffers from amnesia, to act in their drama and just as Bunty and Minni fall in love, she regains her memory and reveals that she's married to a U.K.-based entrepreneur [Arbaaz Khan].

Comedy is serious business and Priyadarshan has explored this genre with flourish. In BHAGAM BHAG, there are ample moments that tickle your funny bone. But it's the writing in the second hour [screenplay: Neeraj Vora] that acts as a spoilsport.

    * The Shakti Kapoor-Rajpal Yadav track raises a few laughs in the first hour, but stands out like a sore thumb in the next hour. Ditto for the drug baron [Manoj Joshi] and his sidekick [Sharat Saxena]. It hardly evokes mirth!

    * The murder mystery is just not convincing. The Arbaaz-Lara-Jackie tracks are poorly etched out. And as pointed out at the outset, the climax -- very similar to the one in David Dhawan's SHAADI NO. 1 -- manages a chuckle, but is far from being hilarious.


Given the fact that Priyadarshan is saddled with an ordinary screenplay, there's not much he can do to elevate the goings-on. Yet, there's no denying that his handling of the comic scenes is superb. Pritam's music is strictly okay. 'Signal' is the best track of the enterprise, while 'Afreen' appeals more due to its choreography and the colorful set [Sabu Cyril] than its tune. The music composer is just not in form here. Jeeva's cinematography is topnotch. Dialogues [Neeraj Vora] are excellent. Vora knows where to give the right punches!

Akshay does his part well, but why is the actor getting typecast in similar roles? Compare his character in DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL, GARAM MASALA and PHIR HERA PHERI with the one in BHAGAM BHAG and it's the same Akshay in all the films. Hello Mr. Kumar, why this act of monotony?

Govinda doesn't get it right in his comeback vehicle. Known for his impeccable sense of timing vis-à-vis comic films, he's just not in form this time around. Also, he's looking older and obese in the film. Paresh Rawal is competent, while Rajpal Yadav is superb, but is sidelined in the second hour.

Lara Dutta lacks the talent to carry off a challenging role. She looks pretty, that's it! Jackie Shroff is mechanical. Arbaaz Khan doesn't get much scope. Shakti Kapoor is in true form. Asrani, Sharat Saxena, Manoj Joshi, Razzaq Khan and Amita Nangia are okay. Tanushree Dutta looks glamorous in the 'Signal' track.

On the whole, BHAGAM BHAG will be loved for its comedy in the first hour, but the whodunit in the second hour tapers the impact. At the box-office, the pre-release hype will ensure a bountiful first four days [Monday is Christmas, making it a 4-day weekend], thereby adding to the booty. Even otherwise, the holiday period in the coming days and lack of a mass-appealing entertainer since DHOOM 2 will benefit BHAGAM BHAG, making the film a safe bet for its distributors.

Director
   Priyadarshan

Star Cast
   Akshay Kumar...... Bunty
   Govinda...... Babla
   Lara Dutta
   Tanushree Datta
   Jackie Shroff
   Shakti Kapoor
   Rajpal Yadav
   Maushumi Udeshi...... special appearance in an item number
   Sharat Saxena
   Paresh Rawal...... Champak Chaturvedi
   Asrani
   Arbaaz Khan
   Razzak Khan
   Manoj Joshi

Cassettes and CD's on
   T-Series

Singers
   Kunal Ganjawala
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   Remo
   Suzanne D'Mello
   Neeraj Shridhar
   K K
   Shreya Ghosal
   Jojo
   Suhail Kaul

Lyricist
   Sameer

Music Director
   Pritam Chakraborty

Cinematography
   Jeeva

Choreography
   Rashmi Verma
   Prasanna

Art
   Sabu Cyril

Editor
   Arun Kumar

Screenplay
   Priyadarshan
   Neeraj Vora

Dialogue
   Neeraj Vora

Costume
   Violet Monis
   Anna Singh
   V. Sai

Story / Writer
   Priyadarshan
   Neeraj Vora

Kabul Express

After having watched KABUL EXPRESS, all you want to do is hit the blokes hard for spreading malicious stories about the film. Agreed, KABUL EXPRESS traverses a different path and Kabir Khan is a documentary maker, but KABUL EXPRESS is not a documentary at all. It’s a ‘proper’ Hindi film -- a thriller to be precise -- that dares to tackle a difficult and different theme.

Write your own movie review of Kabul Express


Besides the subject matter that’s its USP, the film takes you to Afghanistan -- a country most of us haven’t visited, as tourists or as moviegoers. Yes, DHARMATMA and KHUDA GAWAH did visit Afghanistan, but the post-Taliban Afghanistan hasn’t been witnessed on the Hindi screen. That makes KABUL EXPRESS a novel experience indeed!

Now to the pertinent question: Does the story hold your attention for the next 1.45 hours/12 reels?

KABUL EXPRESS is a film with different sensibilities. It’s not one of those films that depict two Indians taking on the Taliban and bashing them to pulp. It narrates the story of two Indians, one American, one Afghani and one Pakistani and what transpires in the next 48 hours. It’s straight out of life and certain moments do make you get into an introspective mood.

A film like KABUL EXPRESS is more for the elite and the thinking viewer than the aam junta. While the theme of the film is anything but stereotype, the sequence of events that lead to the climax as also the liberal usage of English and Afghani languages will restrict its appeal to multiplexes mainly. In the single screens, KABUL EXPRESS will find few takers!

Another factor that goes against the film -- in Overseas territory at least -- is the conflict between the Afghanis and Pakistanis in the film. Although director Kabir Khan may argue that he’s tried to be authentic, you cannot overlook the fact that Pakistanis -- who form a major chunk of movie-going audience in U.K. and U.S.A. -- may not give KABUL EXPRESS their mandate or whole-hearted approval because of the anti-Pak flavor.

KABUL EXPRESS is set in post 9/11 Afghanistan where the American bombing has destroyed the Taliban regime and the Taliban soldiers are trying to escape to Pakistan to avoid the wrath of the Afghans. Against this turbulent backdrop, Jai [Arshad Warsi] and Suhel [John Abraham] -- two Indian television reporters -- have entered Afghanistan and their aim is to somehow get a rare interview with a Talibani. Helping them in their pursuit of a Talibani is their Afghan guide, translator and driver Khyber [Hanif Hum Ghum] in his Toyota Jeep called Kabul Express.

The trio is having their share of adventure as they go from being blindfolded and taken to secret hideouts in the mountains to interview Taliban prisoners to nearly getting trampled by horses while shooting a game of Buzkashi. They are saved from getting trampled by an American photo-journalist, Jessica [Linda Arsenio]. Despite all their attempts, the Taliban remains elusive. But unknown to them, these hunters are being hunted down themselves...

One cold winter morning in Kabul, they get kidnapped at gunpoint by a Taliban fugitive who wants to escape to the Pakistani border. The kidnapper, Imran [Salman Shahid], is a Pakistani army soldier who was part of the Taliban. He knows that as journalists, Jai and Suhel’s movements in the country will not be questioned and posing as their local guide, he can reach the safety of his country.

From here on begins the two-day journey from Kabul to the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border. Jai and Suhel’s mission becomes a nightmare as they are taken hostage aboard the Kabul Express and made to drive across the most dangerous country in the world. Jessica sees their car driving away from Kabul and mistakenly thinks that they are onto a big story. She begins to chase them. Before she knows it Jessica gets stuck in a bizarre situation and inadvertently, also gets taken hostage by Imran.

By the end of the journey, Jai, Suhel and Jessica actually help Imran reach the border of Pakistan -- his country that he is very proud and patriotic about. But the turbulent political situation at that time has a surprise in store for all of them.

KABUL EXPRESS is director Kabir Khan’s first foray into feature films and you have to acknowledge the fact that the director knows what he’s talking. A storyteller is only successful if he’s able to narrate a story with utmost conviction and the listener/viewer listens to every word with rapt attention. Kabir succeeds in his mission of not just narrating an unadulterated story, but also making you travel to a country that’s hit headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The film has several poignant moments, but Kabir reserves them for the penultimate reels. The relationship between the kidnapper and the hostages, which changes from mistrust to trust, is carefully handled. As also the banter involving Indian and Pakistani cricketers. The highpoint of the film is the Pakistani’s reunion with his daughter and his subsequent killing by the Pakistani soldiers. Kabir deserves full marks for taking the film to an appropriate finale.

Kabir also gets ample help from the locations and the cinematographer, Anshuman Mahaley, takes full advantage of it. Not only are the locales of Afghanistan breath-taking, the lensman also captures them with dexterity. Without doubt, this ranks amongst the finest works [cinematography] of this year!

You walk out of KABUL EXPRESS with two actors in mind -- Arshad Warsi and Salman Shahid, the Pakistani. Arshad has an amazing sense of timing and it’s very difficult to compete with him. The actor is lovable yet again and in fact, contributes to the light moments in the thriller. Salman Shahid is excellent. He enacts his role with precision and his sequences, more towards the concluding reels, will win him ample fans in India.

John Abraham doesn’t really get a chance to exhibit histrionics, but gets two major scenes -- one, when he talks to the Pakistani about his daughter and the other, when the Pakistani is offering prayers. John handles them with supreme confidence. Hanif, the Afghani, is first-rate, while Linda, the American journalist, does an okay job.

On the whole, KABUL EXPRESS is aimed at the elite and the thinking audience. A well crafted thriller, the film has better chances at multiplexes mainly. However, the liberal usage of English and Afghani languages will restrict its appeal to urban centres in India. At the single screens, the film will find the going very, very tough since there’s nothing for the aam junta.

Also, its ride in the Overseas territory will be bumpy thanks to the depiction of the conflict between Afghanis and Pakistanis in the film. The Pakistanis form a major chunk of movie-going audience in U.K. and U.S.A. and they might not give KABUL EXPRESS their whole-hearted mandate due to the anti-Pak flavor in the narrative.


Producer
   Aditya Chopra

Director
   Kabir Khan

Star Cast
   Arshad Warsi...... Jai Kapoor (TV journalist - cinematographer)
   John Abraham...... Suhel Khan (TV journalist - director )
   Salman Shahid...... Imran Khan Afridi (Pakistani journalist)
   Hanif Humghum...... Khyber (Afghani driver and guide)
   Linda Arsenio...... Jessica Beckham (journalist from New York)

Cassettes and CD's on
   Yash Raj Music

Singers
   Raghav Sachar
   Shubha Mudgal
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   K K

Lyricist
   Aditya Dhar
   Swaratmika Mishra
   Vijay Kumar

Music Director
   Raghav Sachar
   Julius Packiam

Editor
   Amitabh Shukla

Re Recording
   Anuj Mathur

Aryan - Unbreakable

Let’s face it! On face value, ARYAN doesn’t generate curiosity, like one of those biggies around the corner. But the film, starring Sohail Khan in the lead and directed by actor turned director Abhishek Kapoor, takes you by complete surprise as the reels unfold.

If the promos of ARYAN give an impression that the film is all about boxing, you’re partly right. Boxing is an integral part of the storyline, but the film has much more to offer. It’s also about the relationship between a husband-wife and the ups and downs in their relationship.

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In most cases, you do notice some raw edges when you watch a film directed by a first-timer. But Abhishek Kapoor seems to have done his homework pretty well and the deft handling of the subject matter deserves highest praise. In fact, his handling of the emotional, tense and thrilling moments in the film will leave you spellbound.

Without doubt, ARYAN is one of the most stylish films, with content to match!

Aryan [Sohail Khan] was born to fight. He is the college champ and under the tough training of Coach Ranveer Singh [Puneet Issar], he dreams of winning the nationals. His love, Neha [Sneha Ullal], is more than just his better half. She is his support system, his strength. He needs her to be around every time.

Life takes a turn and Aryan chooses to give up his dreams and marry his love instead. They have a kid and start living a common man’s life. Life moves on and so does Aryan. He takes up a job as a sports commentator, but life is never the same for him. He hits a low professionally, as well in his married life.

One day, his ex-coach asks him to get back into the ring and gives him the courage to face the world head on. Aryan decides to follow his dreams again, but he isn’t the man he used to be. His support system, his wife, has left him. Will Aryan be able to achieve his dreams?

The Sylvester Stallone starrer ROCKY has had its share of admirers in Bollywood. Years ago, Raj Sippy captured the sport on celluloid in BOXER and now, Abhishek Kapoor does so in ARYAN. While Sippy’s version of BOXER was well shot too, the film lacked a strong emotional side that would balance the combat in the penultimate reels. That’s where ARYAN really scores!

ARYAN starts off as a routine love story, of a rich girl and a poor guy, but the emotions come to the fore as the husband and wife go separate ways. And the rift in the relationship is very well depicted here.

Another highpoint of the film is its penultimate 30-minute climax fight, where the protagonist not only has to crush his opponent in the boxing ring, but by winning the match also earn respect in the eyes of his wife and son. The fight-to-finish boxing sequences are outstanding and a never-seen-before experience on the Hindi screen.

Anand Raaj Anand’s music is soulful. ‘Jaaneman’ and ‘Chhuna Hai Aasman Ko’ are two tracks that stand out; the former for melody and the latter for the overpowering spirit. Ranjit Barot’s background score is electrifying. Cinematography [Neelabh Kaul] is topnotch. In fact, the cinematographer along with action co-ordinators Chris Anderson and Mahendra Verma and editors Renjit B. Vattakattu and Shakti Hasija deserve distinction marks for the penultimate fight. Something like this has rarely been seen on Bollywood screen before!

ARYAN gives ample scope to Sohail Khan to portray the gamut of emotions and Salman’s youngest brother proves that given an opportunity, he can rise to the occasion. He gets to portray three diverse shades in the film -- lover boy, husband and frustrated man -- and his performance stands out all through.

Sneha Ullal, who made her debut in LUCKY, shows improvement over her debut performance. However, she looks too young to carry off a mature role. Puneet Issar [excellent], Satish Shah [effective], Supriya Karnik [vicious to the core] and Inder Kumar [menacing to the hilt] compliment the lead characters. Farida Jalal is okay. Suved Lohia has the trappings of a natural actor. Fardeen Khan, in a special role, is first-rate.

On the whole, ARYAN is a well-made film that combines style and substance beautifully. Unfortunately, the box-office will sing a different tune altogether! Reasons: [i] Not-too-attractive face-value, [ii] Delayed release and [iii] Oppositions in KABUL EXPRESS this week and BHAGAM BHAG next week. To sum up, despite strong merits, ARYAN will be knocked down in the box-office ring!

Producer
   Poonam Khubani
   Vipin Anand

Director
   Abhishek Kapoor

Star Cast
   Sohail Khan...... Aryan
   Sneha Ullal...... Neha
   Puneet Issar...... Ranveer
   Inder Kumar
   Farida Jalal
   Satish Shah
   Supriya Karnik
   Kapil Dev...... Kapil Dev himself
   Gulshan Grover
   Suved Lohia
   Ahsaas Channa
   Fardeen Khan...... special appearance

Cassettes and CD's on
   T-Series

Singers
   Sonu Nigam
   Shreya Ghosal
   Hamza Faruqui
   Poonam Khubani
   Anand Raj Anand
   Kunal Ganjawala
   Pamela Jain
   Bianca
   Ranjit Barot

Lyricist
   Anand Raj Anand
   Kumaar

Music Director
   Anand Raj Anand

Background Music
   Ranjit Barot

Cinematography
   Neelabh Kaul

Choreography
   Remo

Action
   Christ Anderson
   Mahendra Varma

Art
   Jayant Deshmukh

Editor
   Renjit B Vattakattu

Sound
   Pradeep Suri
   Parikshit Lalwani

Costume
   Komal Shahani

PRO
   Chimes Image Collaborators

Processing Labs
   Adlabs Films Ltd

Visual Effects
   Rajtaru Videosonic

Publicity Designs
   P9 Integrated Pvt Ltd

Publicity Stills
   Avinash Gowariker

Story / Writer
   Abhishek Kapoor

Baabul

But VIVAH, four weeks ago, and BAABUL, this week, prove the detractors wrong!

BAABUL tackles the issue of widow re-marriage, an issue the late Raj Kapoor successfully raised in PREM ROG [Rishi Kapoor, Padmini Kolhapure]. But comparisons between PREM ROG and BAABUL wouldn't be right, except that both talk about the rehabilitation of a young widow.

In terms of genre, BAABUL tackles a purely Hindustani issue, like the recent VIVAH. But let's quickly add that Sooraj R. Barjatya and Ravi Chopra's storytelling techniques are as diverse as chalk and cheese. While Barjatya adopts a desi approach for just about everything, Chopra takes a desi theme and gives the film an urbane feel. But the commonality is that both Barjatya and Chopra cater to the same set of viewers: Families.

In terms of content, BAABUL has its share of uppers and downers. Fortunately, the highs outnumber the lows in BAABUL and what really takes the film to another level is its climax. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that the graph of the film takes a big jump in the last half-an-hour thanks to the apt culmination to the story. The penultimate reels are truly outstanding!

Also, any film that raises a pertinent issue ought to rest on a solid foundation -- its writing. While Achala Nagar's writing isn't tight, it isn't trite either. Agreed, the writing could've been far more convincing and cohesive, but you cannot deny that there are ample moments in the film that make you moist-eyed.

To sum up, BAABUL is a competent follow up to BAGHBAN. After attempting diverse genres from ZAMEER onwards, Ravi Chopra gets it right with BAGHBAN first and BAABUL now.

  Balraj [Amitabh Bachchan] is a rich businessman with progressive modern outlook towards life. For him, family, culture and values are of utmost importance. Shobhna [Hema Malini], his wife, is more than his better half. Together, they dote on their only child Avinash [Salman Khan]. For Balraj, Avinash is more of a friend than just his son. After spending many years in the U.S., Avinash returns home to his parents. Their lives light up!

Avinash meets the pretty Millie [Rani Mukerji], a painter. They fall in love and get married. They are blessed with a lovely child named Ansh. Rajat [John Abraham], a young musician and Millie's friend, has feelings for Millie, but never reveals it to her. He is now happy for Millie and Avi. He decides to settle in Europe, pursuing his musical career.

Fate plays a cruel game and on Ansh's birthday, Avinash meets with a fatal accident. Life without Avinash is unbearable for Millie. Meanwhile, Balraj and Shobhna try to find the love of Avinash in Ansh.

Balraj cannot bear to see Millie's colorless life. He decides to find Rajat and asks him to marry Millie and help him bring the colors back into her life. But Balwant [Om Puri], Balraj's elder brother, objects to Balraj's plans. Even Shobhna is not with Balraj this time.

Will Balraj be able to fulfill his plans? Will he prove to be a father [Baabul] rather than being a father-in-law?

  An issue-based film has to be tackled with kid gloves, with utmost care, efficiency and sensitivity. And Ravi Chopra does just that! Although there are several emotional moments in the film, at least three sequences strike a chord…
  • Hema requesting Rani to wear colorful clothes, after Salman's demise.

  • Salman and Rani's son feeling the presence of his father by sitting in the closet.

  • Rani dancing with Salman's pullover amidst heavy rains.

Any shortcomings? Oh yes! The pace drops in the second hour. While the first half focuses on light moments, songs and romance, the emotional track in the post-interval portions unfolds at a lethargic pace. In fact, the film can easily do with a 15-minute trimming to spruce up the goings-on.

Aadesh's music stresses on melody and the score is quite pleasant. 'Come On Come On Chalo Jashn Manaye' is peppy, while 'Baawri Piya Ki' is soft and soothing. 'Bebasi' [rendered with feeling by Kunal Ganjawala] is melancholic. Barun Mukherji's cinematography is appropriate. The frames are vibrant with colors. Dialogues [Achala Nagar] deserve special mention. They are fantastic!

  BAABUL rests on two actors mainly -- Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji -- and both emerge trumps. Bachchan is in top form yet again and proves for the nth time that he's the 'Big Boss' as far as histrionics are concerned. He is simply superb in the climax! Rani takes her character to a new level altogether. HUM TUM, VEER-ZAARA, BLACK, K.A.N.K. and now BAABUL, you can well imagine how impressive she is if one clubs her work in BAABUL with her earlier accomplishments.

Hema Malini looks gorgeous and acts her part with amazing grace. Salman is natural and provides ample light moments. He's cute when courting Rani. John is perfect, although the dashing guy is looking pale and tired at times. What happened, John? Om Puri is loud, but that's the demand of the character. BAABUL stars a host of characters and those who stand out in brief roles are Sarika [tremendous], Sharat Saxena [very good] and Smita Jaykar [competent]. Rajpal Yadav doesn't get much scope. Aman Verma and Parmeet Sethi are forced characters.

On the whole, BAABUL makes a statement in a convincing manner. The film rests on three aces -- emotions, performances and execution -- which will attract the family audiences in large numbers. At the box-office, the strong theme has all it takes to make its target audience [families] cry with joy and its distributors laugh all the way to the bank!

Producer
   B R Chopra

Director
   Ravi Chopra

Star Cast
   Amitabh Bachchan...... Balraj Kapoor
   Hema Malini...... Shobhna
   Rani Mukherjee...... Milli
   Om Puri...... Balwant
   Salman Khan...... Avinash
   John Abraham...... Rajat
   Aman Verma
   Parmeet Sethi
   Rajpal Yadav
   Smita Jaykar
   Avtar Gill
   Gargi Patel
   Sharat Saxena
   Vaishnavi
   Neeta Lulla

Cassettes and CD's on
   T-Series

Singers
   Amitabh Bachchan
   Sonu Nigam
   Aadesh Shrivastav
   Ranjit Barot
   Shreya Ghosal
   Kunal Ganjawala
   Jagjit Singh
   Kavita Krishnamurthy
   Alka Yagnik
   Sudesh Bhosle
   Kailash Kher
   Richa Sharma
   D J Suketu

Lyricist
   Sameer

Music Director
   Aadesh Shrivastav

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
   Kapil Chopra

Cinematography
   Barun Mukherji

Choreography
   Farah Khan
   Remo
   Vaibhavi Merchant
   Rajeev Soorti

Action
   Mahendra Varma

Art
   Keshto Mondal

Editor
   Godfrey Gonsalves

Sound
   Dilip Subramaniya
   Chirag Cama

Costume
   Alvira Agnihotri
   Sabyasachi Mukherjee
   Gabbana
   Neeta Lulla
   Narendra Kumar Ahmed

PRO
   Peter Martis

Publicity Designs
   Himanshu Nanda
   Rahul Nanda
   HR Enterprises

Publicity Stills
   Anjay Thakur

Story / Writer
   Ravi Chopra
   Achala Nagar

With Love... Tumhara

Anuradha [Preeti Jhangiani] is in love with an army man, Akshay [Nakul Vaid], who lives with his father, Colonel Mahendra [Sharat Saxena], in Manali. They are about to get married, but Akshay is called on a mission. He knows he must go and although everyone is disappointed, they eagerly await his return.

Also on the mission is his good friend Rahul [Parvin Dabas], with whom he shares many of his feelings. A few days later, Col. Mahendra receives a letter from army headquarters stating that his son is missing. Although unwilling, he has a slight idea of what it could mean. He does not tell Anu about recent developments, fearing her reaction.

Just then Rahul comes to their house to inform Akshay’s family members about the reality. He tells the Colonel that Rahul has died as a brave soldier. The news is not taken well, but Anu is still kept in the dark. Rahul is asked to stay in their home for a few days.

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Rahul’s fiancé Neha [Anupama Varma] is arrogant and egoistic by nature and does not understand the terms that must be dealt with before Rahul can come back home. Rahul falls in love with Anu and decides to live with the Colonel since Anu has accepted a job offer in Delhi. He assumes her responsibilities.

Six months later, Anu is called back by Colonel Mahendra, who reveals the love Rahul has for her and wants them to stay together forever. But Anu vehemently states that no one can replace Akshay in her life. Rahul cannot live with her, yet be far away from her, so he decides to leave from there.

Although WITH LUV… TUMHAARA has been shot well [the film is visually enticing], the problem is that it has nothing new and exciting to offer. Director Kamal Nathani has not been able to come up with a convincing fare because the emotions are not completely established. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that the writing is loose!

Sudeep Banerjee’s music is melodious and the ‘Dheere Dheere’ track is the pick of the lot. Camerawork is first-rate.

Preeti Jhangiani does not handle emotional scenes as expected. Parvin Dabas looks confused. Nakul Vaid does not get scope. Sharat Saxena is quite effective. Anupama Varma underperforms. Pankaj Berry, Lalit Parashar, Mahrru Sheikh and Sanjeev Tiwari are okay.

On the whole, WITH LUV… TUMHAARA does not offer anything new. At the box-office, the low-key promotion and awareness coupled with weak merits will make the effort go unnoticed.



Producer
   Rakesh Bhatia

Director
   Kamal D. Nathani

Star Cast
   Parvin Dabbas...... Rahul
   Preeti Jhangiani...... Anuradha
   Nakul Vaid...... Akshay
   Sharat Saxena
   Anupama Varma...... Neha
   Pankaj Berry...... Col. Kapoor
   Master Hardik
   Sanjeev Tiwari
   Moushmi Chatterjee...... special appearance
   Lalit Parashar
   Manmeet Singh

Cassettes and CD's on
   Music Today

Singers
   Shreya Ghosal
   Shaan
   Sudeep Banerjee
   Kailash Kher

Lyricist
   Vicky Nagar
   Nazir Akarbarabadi
   Sudeep Banerjee

Music Director
   Sudeep Banerjee

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
   Kapil Mattoo

Cinematography
   Roopang Aacharya

Choreography
   Rajiv Singh
   Rajeev Kumar Dinkar

Editor
   Sarvesh Parab

Screenplay
   Kamal D. Nathani

Sound
   Navin Shah

Dialogue
   Sanjeev Tiwari

PRO
   Picture-N-Kraft

Processing Labs
   Prasad Film Laboratories

Story / Writer
   Kamal D. Nathani

Project advised by
   Rakesh Nath

Dhoom 2

Yes, DHOOM 2 works big time and here's why…

    * Very rarely do you come across Hindi films that marry form and content so beautifully. DHOOM 2 is cool, but beneath the sheen there's substance too.

    * Mounted on an extravagant scale, the film is a visual delight. The film travels from one breath-taking locale to another in those 16 reels, often making your jaw drop to your knees thanks to the sweeping impact it makes.

    * For any sequel to score high marks, it ought to be embellished with pulse-pounding moments. DHOOM 2 is a hi-octane thriller and the thrills, stunts and pace -- vital for any thriller to strike a chord -- are sure to keep you on the edge from Scene A to Z.

    * Most importantly, DHOOM 2 delivers what it promises: Escapist cinema at its best!


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Any hiccups? Not really, but the music could've been better. That's about it!

So, what's the verdict then? A film like DHOOM 2 raises the bar for Hindi films. If you've tasted the best, you would never settle for anything komsi-komsa stuff later, right? That's the DHOOM 2 effect. For film-makers that tread a similar path, it's going to be an added responsibility to go beyond DHOOM 2.

In terms of business, DHOOM 2 is bound to create dhoom at the ticket window. It's a box-office triumph all the way. Time for Yash Raj to pop champagne yet again!

Write your own movie review of Dhoom 2
Ali's [Uday Chopra] dream of becoming a police officer has come true. He is now ACP Jai Dixit's [Abhishek Bachchan] right hand man. Together, they are trying to keep a tight leash on the crime in India. Little do they know what they are going to be up against.

Enter Aryan -- Mr. A [Hrithik Roshan]. A hi-tech international thief. After pulling off a series of impossible heists all over the world, his next target is Mumbai, India. The case is given to ACP Jai and Ali. Helping them put the pieces of the puzzle together is ACP Shonali Bose [Bipasha Basu], Jai's college mate, now a police officer in her own right. For the last two years, Shonali has been tracking these amazing thefts and is now an expert on this thief, who no one has seen.

Once in Mumbai, Mr. A finds his match in Sunehri [Aishwarya Rai], a petty yet clever thief. She makes him an offer he finds very hard to refuse. A partnership! Aryan accepts. And so the game begins, a game of cat and mouse, a game of good v/s bad.

The cops -- Jai, Shonali and Ali -- are after the robbers -- Aryan and Sunehri. From the deserts of Namibia to the backwaters of Goa, the mean streets of Mumbai and the ancient forts of Rajasthan and finally to Rio, Brazil.

DHOOM 2 is modeled on the lines of the chor-police sagas that Hindi films specialized in the 1970s and 1980s. In essence, it's not a path-breaking/inventive story, but what takes the film to dizzy heights is the sequence of events that unravel at a feverish pace. Right from the start of the film [Hrithik's first heist in Namibia; the robbing of a crown from a moving train] to his next target [robbing a precious diamond from a museum in Mumbai] to the theft in Jamnagar [Hrithik and Ash come face to face for the first time], the film whets your appetite from the word 'Go'.

If the first hour focuses on the cat-n-mouse game, the second hour changes tracks as it transforms into a love story. While the scenes between Uday and Bipasha [in a dual role] are cute, the ones between Hrithik and Ash build up slowly. The pace drops intermittently in this hour since the thrills are reserved for the penultimate reel, but a number of worthy sequences in this half conceal this tiny blemish.

Note the turning point in the tale -- the revolver sequence between Hrithik and Ash and the lip-to-lip kiss that ensues; it's an outstanding sequence from the writing, execution and performance point of view. The pre-climax -- the robbery of man-made gold coins -- as also the climax chase are breath-taking as well.

The end is distinctive and will have its share of advocates and adversaries. Yet, in all fairness, it's one of the highpoints of the sequel. Any scope for the third installment? Oh yes, there is. Don't be surprised if Abhishek and Uday embark on their third mission. As for the climax shot vis-à-vis John Abraham's surprise appearance, it's an unfounded rumor!

DHOOM 2 is director Sanjay Gadhvi's finest effort so far. The execution of the subject is such, you just can't help get transported to a world of make-believe. Gadhvi has handled a number of sequences with aplomb. The Hrithik-Ash sequence mentioned above is one of them. The dialogue between Hrithik and Abhishek -- after they've known each other's true identities -- is another. The final scene of the enterprise [it would be unfair to reveal it here!] is yet another sequence that indicates that the director has done his homework well.

Pritam's music is fair. Barring the 'Krazy Kiya Re' track and the title track [filmed on Hrithik], the score is outright mediocre. However, the saving grace is the vibrant and energetic picturization, which takes the songs to another level. The choreography of the title track by Shiamak Davar is outstanding. Vaibhavi Merchant's choreography of 'Krazy Kiya Re' is admirable as well. Salim-Sulaiman's background score is highly effective.

DHOOM 2 is peppered with good looking visual effects [Tata Elxsi], besides a stylish décor/look. The action sequences as also the stunts [Allan Amin] do complete justice to the genre and the Indian audiences are bound to gasp with disbelief. Cinematography [Nirav Shah, Vikas Shivraman] is impeccable. The camerawork can easily match international standards. Dialogues [Vijay Krishna Acharya] are wonderful. Costumes [Anaita Shroff Adajania] are upmarket. In fact, the styling of Hrithik and Ash [the tanned look et al] deserves distinction marks.

Hrithik's casting as the antagonist can be accurately called a masterstroke. He's the actual star of DHOOM 2, the real scene stealer. In fact, you can't imagine any other actor enacting the cool robber with such precision. If there's anyone who's bound to benefit the maximum from DHOOM 2, it's Hrithik. No two opinions on that!

Abhishek in DHOOM 2 is what Shashi Kapoor was in Amitabh Bachchan starrers. Important yes, but relegated to the backseat. Abhishek does a fine job nonetheless. Only thing, he needs to take care of his appearance and posture when he's pitted against someone with a personality like Hrithik.

Aishwarya evolves into a different person in DHOOM 2. Her tanned makeup, her styling, her performance, it's a different Ash here. It's a complete departure from what Ash has done in the past. Does it work? Of course, she is in form!

Bipasha is just about okay as the cop, but is lively as the twin sister. Uday irritates at times, but handles a few scenes well. His portions with Bipasha's twin sister in Rio are sure to bring a smile on your face. Rimi Sen is hardly there.

On the whole, DHOOM 2 is a winner all the way. At the box-office, the film has already embarked on an earth-shattering initial and with multiple shows being conducted at multiplexes [16/18] with inflated ticket rates, the film will set new records in days to come. For Yash Raj, who've not only produced but also distributed the film, DHOOM 2 should emerge as one of the biggest hits of their career. Blockbuster!

Producer
   Aditya Chopra

Director
   Sanjay Gadhavi

Star Cast
   Hrithik Roshan...... Aryan
   Uday Chopra...... Ali
   Abhishek Bachchan...... Jai Dixit
   Aishwarya Rai...... Sunheri
   Bipasha Basu
   Rimi Sen...... Sweety Dixit (special appearance)
   Yusuf Hussain
   Arjun Sablok...... special appearance

Cassettes and CD's on
   Yash Raj Music

Singers
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   K K
   Alisha Chinoy
   Sonu Nigam
   Bipasha Basu
   Sukhbir
   Soham Chakrabarthy
   Jolly Mukherjee
   Mahalakshmi Iyer
   Suzanne D'Mello
   Vishal Dadlani
   Dominique

Lyricist
   Sameer
   Asif Ali Beg

Music Director
   Pritam Chakraborty

Background Music
   Salim Merchant
   Sulaiman Merchant

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
   Aashish Singh

Cinematography
   Nirav Shah
   Vikas Shivraman

Choreography
   Vaibhavi Merchant
   Shiamak Davar

Action
   Allan Amin

Art
   Pramod Guruji
   Vinod Guruji
   K K Muralidharan
   Rachna Rastogi

Editor
   Rameshwar S Bhagat

Screenplay
   Vijay Krishna Acharya

Sound
   Dwarak Warrier

Dialogue
   Vijay Krishna Acharya

Costume
   Anaita Shroff Adajania

Visual Effects
   Tata Elxsi

Publicity Designs
   Fayyaz Badruddin
   Yash Raj Films Design Cell

Publicity Stills
   Adil Jain
   Tarun Khimani

Story / Writer
   Aditya Chopra

Unns

UNNS is a story narrated by Natasha [Juhi Babbar] about her close friend Ria [Rituparna Sengupta], who gets married to Rahul [Sanjay Kapoor] on a rebound. Rahul, an ideal husband, truly loves his wife. Unfortunately, Ria is unable to reciprocate Rahul's love in the same way as he does.

Ria's first love, Rishi [Sudhanshu Pande], is a advertising tycoon who she really loved once upon a time. Rishi too loved her, but they could not get married.

Succumbing to her consciences, Ria deliberately starts picking up fights with Rahul and one day tells him that she has decided to end the marriage. Rahul is shattered. Natasha's boyfriend Sameer [Aman Verma], a lawyer, helps Ria. Natasha understands that Ria cannot get a better husband than Rahul and discourages her from divorce. But Ria is adamant.

Rahul, a product of a broken family and the one who probably nursed a desire to keep his family always happy, wants to save his marriage. Natasha stands against her own boyfriend Sameer as well as Ria and helps Rahul in this process.

Besides a theme that's difficult to digest, there's one prime reason why UNNS doesn't catch your attention: The screenplay is far from gripping. Be it Sudhanshu's characterization or the courtroom sequences, the film could've done with a taut screenplay.

Bhupendra Gupta's direction is average. The conflict between the characters is not fully developed and hence, the impact is missing. Music [Sujeet Shetty] too is dull. Cinematography [Ishwar Bidri] is first-rate.

Juhi Babbar stands the tallest as far as acting is concerned. She delivers a polished performance. Sanjay Kapoor is able. Rituparna Sengupta does a fair job. Sudhanshu Pande looks lost. Aman Verma tends to go over the top.

On the whole, UNNS has limited chances due to a not-too-convincing plotline. At the box-office, it has dim chances!

Producer
     Bhupendra Gupta

Director
     Bhupendra Gupta

Star Cast
     Juhi Babbar...... Natasha Patel
     Sushant Singh
     Raj Babbar
     Sanjay Kapoor...... Rahul Malhotra
     Rituparna Sengupta...... Riya
     Sudhanshu Pandey...... Rishi Rampal
     Aman Verma...... Sameer Shah
     Vivek Shauq
     Ravi Kissen
     Anjana Mumtaz
     Yateen Karyekar

Background Music
     Bhavdeep Jaipurwale

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
     Vijay Reddy

Cinematography
     Ishwar R Bidri

Choreography
     Bhupi
     Pappu Khanna

Art
     Madhu Kamble

Editor
     Nilesh Mulye

Dialogue
     Bhupendra Gupta
     Farooque Braelvi

PRO
     Montoo Singh
     Haalberd

Processing Labs
     Prasad Film Laboratories

Publicity Designs
     Able & Will

Publicity Stills
     Haresh Daftary

Story / Writer
     Bhupendra Gupta
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