Copyright 2017 - ClickCelebs

Rehguzar

REHGUZAR depicts the life of laborers in the Middle East. The helpless labor class, which arrives from different countries to Gulf, dream of a rosy life there. But most of the expatriates have to work very hard to make their mark.

Engineer Rahul [Jimmy Shergill] comes to Dubai with dreams in his eyes. He falls in love with Neha [Saloni Aswani], the daughter of a rich Indian businessman [Rajiv Verma]. Rahul leaves his present job and tries his hand at various jobs. Finally, he gets a job in Rajiv Verma's firm, but he's unaware that he is Neha's father. How he wins, loses and eventually wins various battles of life, forms the crux of the story.

REHGUZAR could've mirrored the hardships of life in Gulf convincingly. But director Faruq Masudi's execution of the subject is sub-standard and therefore, the drama fails to strike a chord. The film does boast of a few interesting sequences, but they aren't enough, frankly! Besides, the film moves at a lazy pace, which leads to boredom.

Aadesh Shrivastava's music is another sore point. The songs just don't work. Cinematography could've been better. The locales of Dubai haven't been captured dexterously by the lensman.

Jimmy Shergill pitches in an earnest performance. But no actor can rise beyond a lackluster script. Saloni is strictly okay. Vrajesh Hirjee and Rakesh Bedi contribute to the humorous moments. Rajiv Verma is as usual.

On the whole, REHGUZAR is a poor show. At the box-office, will prove to be an also-ran!

Producer
     Kesar Kothari

Director
     Faruq Masudi

Star Cast
     Jimmy Shergill...... Rahul Khanna
     Saloni Aswani...... Neha
     Rakesh Bedi
     Mushtaq Khan
     Vrajesh Hirjee
     Usha Bachani
     Rajiv Verma...... Manmohan Kapoor
     Guddi Maruti
     Amri
     Kapil Kothari

Singers
     Aadesh Shrivastav
     Alisha Chinoy
     Sukhwinder Singh
     Abhijeet
     Udit Narayan
     Shreya Ghosal
     Shaan
     Alka Yagnik
     Adnan Sami

Lyricist
     Nusrat Badr

Music Director
     Aadesh Shrivastav

Background Music
     Aadesh Shrivastav

Choreography
     Habiba Rehman

Editor
     Vidhyadhar Pathare

Screenplay
     Bholu Khan
     Aman Jaffery

Sound
     Uday Inamati

PRO
     Rajoo Kariya

Processing Labs
     Adlabs Films Ltd

Publicity Designs
     Sai Durga

Story / Writer
     Faruq Masudi

Janani

Urmila [Ayesha Julka], an enterprising woman who runs a toy company, is married to Raj [Mohnish Bahl], a businessman with interest in real estate. However, when their young son Rahul [Vineet Raina] falls in love with Neha [Sonica Handa] and the young lovers decide to marry, Urmila and Raj initially agree but unanimously put their foot down against the marriage when they know about Neha's parents.

Who are Neha's parents? What prompted this couple to deny their only son's wish?

Akanksha [Bhagyashree], who lives with husband Tarun [Aman Verma], son Rahul [Master Smith Shah] and mother-in-law [Anjana Mumtaz], had been more of a friend than just an assistant to Urmila. So, when Rahul was diagnosed with brain tumor and an expensive operation seemed the only cure, Raj and Urmila pay for the operation.

Later, when Akanksha goes to thank Raj and Urmila, she overhears the silent moans of the couple that cannot bear a child because of certain medical disorders with Urmila. Akanksha decides to gift the couple what they desire most; as a payback for saving her child but later disappear from the city with her family.

Twenty years later, Rahul and Neha's undying love has renewed old and forgotten wounds. Their relationship has cropped up innumerable unanswerable questions and put everyone's life into jeopardy, including their own.

The problem with JANANI clearly lies in its scripting. The screenplay raises a few points, but doesn't answer all of them. Also, it lacks the power to keep your attention arrested all through, partly because of ineffective screenplay and also because the emotions don't strike a chord.

Chander Behl's direction has its limitations due to a half-convincing script. Dialogues too seem straight out of yesteryear films. Musically [Nirmal Pawar], a mediocre score.

JANANI has two powerful performances in the form of Bhagyashree and Mohnish Bahl. Both seasoned actors, they infuse life in their roles with solid portrayals. Ayesha Julka goes overboard at times. Aman Verma is passable. Vineet and Sonica are able in their debut film.

On the whole, JANANI has nothing to lure the family audiences, its target audience. At the box-office, this one's a non-starter!

Producer
     Sushil Kumar Agarwal

Director
     Chander Behl

Star Cast
     Mohnish Behl...... Raj
     Ayesha Jhulka...... Urmila
     Bhagyashree...... Akanksha
     Aman Verma...... Tarun
     Anjana Mumtaz...... Tarun's mother
     Vineet Raina...... Rahul
     Sonica Handa...... Neha
     Master Smith Shah...... Rahul

Cinematography
     Thomas Xavier

Screenplay
     Mohan Azaad

Dialogue
     Mohan Azaad

Story / Writer
     Mohan Azaad

Apna Sapna Money Money

Years ago, Brij Sadanah made a rib-tickling comedy with Ashok Kumar and Pran called VICTORIA NO. 203. It was all about the precious diamonds being hidden in a horse carriage [Victoria]. APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY also charters a similar path. A gangster’s moll hides the booty in her sandal and the assorted eleven characters, not remotely connected to one another, come lusting for it [diamonds] in the end.

Sivan’s fundas are evident at the very outset. APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY is not for those looking for path-breaking cinema. APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY is not for the pseudo critics. APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY is not for the hi-gentry that loves to pop champagne at Page 3 events.

It’s for the aam junta that looks for non-stop entertainment.

APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY rests on a waferthin plot, but is loaded with nonsensical [and juvenile] humor that makes you laugh at regular intervals. Sure, this comic caper has too many characters and Sivan and writer Pankaj Trivedi’s narrative goes on and on in the second hour. Also, the climax loses its sheen for this very reason [all eleven characters need to have a conclusion after all]. But you overlook the flaws since APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY was never in the race for the Oscars!

To sum up, APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY is a decent time pass flick that delivers what it promises: Tadka [glamour], jhatka [skin show], masti [jokes], mazaak [laughter]… most importantly, the escapism form of entertainment that appeals to the hoi polloi.

APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY revolves around a bunch of madcap characters that eat, drink, sleep and worship money. The story revolves around a mechanic [Shreyas Talpande], a conman [Ritesh Deshmukh], a dancer [Koena Mitra], an upright cop [Suniel Shetty], an obsessed father [Anupam Kher] and his homely daughter [Riya Sen], a tabela owner [Rajpal Yadav], a ruthless gangster [Chunkey Pandey], a deadly don [Jackie Shroff] and his moll [Celina Jaitley] and an unpredictable dog [Casper].

If one runs after money, the other runs after love and the one who runs after love eventually runs after money. A dramatic turn evolves when all the characters start looking for hidden diamonds that are worth Rs. 50 crores.

APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY defies logic from start to end. Writer Pankaj Trivedi borrows characters and incidents from real and reel life to make a funny film. A few jokes are indeed amusing, but there are times when the gags fail to evoke mirth.

Ritesh and Anupam’s scenes are hilarious. So is the Rajpal Yadav track [he does a takeoff on Big B from SARKAR]. Chunkey’s portions also make you flex your facial muscles. But the love story [Shreyas-Riya] looks lifeless, the Ritesh-Koena prem kahani is equally listless, the don [Jackie] is reduced to a caricature and the climax, which should’ve been thoroughly enjoyable, falls flat.

What also goes against the film is that the narrative lacks the consistent wit-n-humor of KYAA KOOL HAI HUM. Sivan’s execution of the subject is perfect and the idea to make Ritesh change into various get-ups is indeed brilliant. In fact, Ritesh’s final get-up [of Shreyas’ aunt] is the best part of the enterprise. But how one wishes Sivan would’ve [i] Opted for fewer characters, [ii] Utilized the dog in some way or the other, [iii] Opted for a better climax.

Pritam’s music is strictly komsi-komsa. Barring the title track, the film lacks the hit tunes one associates with Mukta Arts’ productions. Ramji’s cinematography is eye-filling. Dialogues are enjoyable at times, but corny at places.

APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY has so many characters that it’s difficult to carry each one home after the show has concluded. But if there’s one actor who’s bound to make heads turn with a smash performance, it’s Ritesh Deshmukh. It’s a challenge for any actor to portray multiple roles in one film, but Ritesh gets to portray four here and he takes to each role with relish, enjoying every bit of it. He works the best as Shreyas’ aunt who flirts with Anupam Kher.

Anupam Kher is in terrific form yet again. In fact, Anupam is so good here, you actually wonder if anyone else would’ve been able to carry off the part with as much flourish. Chunkey Pandey is fantastic. After watching him in APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY, all you want to ask him is, Where were you hiding all this while? Rajpal Yadav delivers yet another knockout performance that’s sure to be talked about. Suniel Shetty is lovable as the honest cop.

Amongst ladies, Celina Jaitley is the best of the lot. She looks gorgeous and enacts her role with rare confidence. The girl is gradually evolving into a fine actor. Koena Mitra is alright. But the writer hasn’t done justice to her part. Even Riya Sen is relegated to the backseat.

Jackie Shroff doesn’t work. Shreyas Talpade’s role is oh-so-clean, which looks fake in a film of this genre. However, he enacts his part well. Sanjay Mishra is competent. Vrajesh Hirjee, Vijay Patkar, Bobby Darling and Avtar Gill lend decent support.

On the whole, APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY is a time pass entertainer targeted at the aam junta. Don’t look for logic in the film and chances are you wouldn’t be disappointed. At the box-office, the patronage by its target audience [masses and youth] as also a favorable opening response should help this medium-budget film make decent profits in the final tally.

Producer
     Subhash Ghai

Director
     Sangeeth Sivan

Star Cast
     Jackie Shroff...... Carlos
     Sunil Shetty...... Inspector Namdev Mane
     Ritesh Deshmukh...... Krishna
     Riya Sen...... Shivani Pandit
     Celina Jaitley...... Saania Badnaam
     Koena Mitra...... Julie
     Chunky Pandey...... Arjun Rana (Nepali Don)
     Rajpal Yadav...... Chote Sarkar
     Anupam Kher...... Semi-blind pandit Satyabol Shastri
     Shreyas Talpade...... Arjun Fernandes
     Payal Rohatgi...... Inspector Namdev Mane's wife
     Bobby Darling...... Bobby Mohabbati
     Sunil Pal...... Chote Sarkar's sidekick
     Avtar Gill
     Vrajesh Hirjee
     Sanjay Mishra...... Sarju Maharaj Banarswala
     Vijay Patkar

Cassettes and CD's on
     Tips Music Films

Singers
     Sukhwinder Singh
     Rana Mazumder
     Bob
     Alisha Chinoy
     Mika Singh
     Suzanne D'Mello
     Hamza Faruqui
     Sunidhi Chauhan
     Amit Kumar

Lyricist
     Shabbir Ahmed
     Mayur Puri
     Ashiesh Pandit
     Asif
     Suzanne D'Mello

Music Director
     Pritam Chakraborty

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
     Raju Farooqui

Cinematography
     T Ramji

Choreography
     Remo

Action
     Horse Babu

Art
     R Verman

Editor
     Bunty Nagi
     Chirag Jain

Screenplay
     Pankaj Trivedi

Sound
     Rakesh Ranjan

Costume
     Falguni Thakore

Processing Labs
     Adlabs Films Ltd

Promos
     Binni Padda
     Ravi Padda

Publicity Designs
     Marching Ants

Story / Writer
     Sangeeth Sivan

Deadline - Sirf 24 Ghante

DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE has never been in news. Why, a majority of people might not even be aware of its name, cast or storyline. Expectations are, therefore, zilch. But DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE surprises you with its gripping story and razor-sharp execution. It's an engaging fare, with life-like performances -- vital factors that make a taut thriller!

Heart surgeon Dr. Viren Goenka [Rajit Kapoor], his wife Sanjana [Konkona Sen Sharma] and their seven-year-old daughter Anishka [Princey Shukla] live in Mumbai. Their joys have just multiplied with Viren being honored with a prestigious award for his contribution to the medical world.

Viren is all set to visit New Delhi to receive this award. He promises to celebrate his daughter's birthday once he returns. But fate has something else planned for Viren and his family: Anishka is kidnapped under Sanjana's nose. She is startled with the presence of a creepy man named Krish [Irrfan Khan] in her house. Krish tells her that Anishka will be fine as long as Sanjana and Dr. Goenka follow his instructions.

While Krish keeps Sanjana in the house, his partner Roohi [Sandhya Mridul] keeps Viren confined in his hotel room and their third associate Kabir [Zakir Hussain] holds Anishka at a remote location. The kidnappers keep strict half-hour checks with each other by cell phones and set the ransom amount at Rs. 3 crores.

It doesn't take much for Viren and Sanjana to realize that abiding by the kidnappers' rules is the best thing that they could do to save their daughter's life. Viren mortgages everything possible, including his dream hospital project and his house, and somehow manages to collect Rs. 3 crores in just 24 hours.

But the kidnappers flee without any signs of their daughter and take away the ransom money as well. Both Sanjana and Viren are uncertain about what could've happened and fear for the life of their beloved daughter. Viren wants his daughter back at any cost and thus, tries to exploit all his resources. The police searches for clues, but there's no breakthrough.

DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE bears a slight resemblance to the Sanjay Dutt starrer TATHASTU [which, in turn, was inspired by the Hollywood film JOHN Q]. The son of an ordinary man is hospitalized [he has a hole in his heart], the kid has to be operated upon immediately, the father is running short of funds, the doctor demands a fat fee before the operation, the father revolts… In TATHASTU, the father takes the emergency room hostage. In DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE, the hapless father and his wife along with a companion kidnap the doctor's daughter to teach him a lesson.

Despite the comparisons, DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE is well treated by director Tanveer Khan, who gets ample help from screenplay-dialogue writer Dilip Shukla, besides the principal cast of the film.

In terms of execution, the second hour of this 12 reeler is far more gripping than the first. Nothing wrong with the first hour as such, but the flashback portions in the second half not only expose a stark reality, but also succeed in driving home a message about the noble profession. On the flip side, the subject material of the film isn't everybody's cup of tea. It caters to a limited audience, especially the multiplexes of big centres.

DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE is writer Tanveer Khan's second effort at direction [after MADHOSHI] and he shows vast improvement as a storyteller. The story is simple, but the treatment catches your attention. Dilip Shukla's screenplay moves on one track and there are no diversions whatsoever. Perfect. However, Shukla's dialogues give the sequences that extra sheen. Baba Azmi's camerawork is appropriate.

It's difficult to pinpoint any one performance as the best since every character is well etched out. Irrfan Khan is flawless, displaying the rough and soft sides with aplomb. Konkona Sen Sharma excels yet again. Note her outburst when Irrfan offers her a drink or soon after the intermission, someone walks in unannounced and Konkona saves the situation by calling Irrfan a friend. Commendable.

Rajit Kapur amazes as the helpless father. He infuses life in the role of the money-minded doctor. Sandhya Mridul is effortless yet again. Especially noteworthy are the sequences with Rajit. Zakir Hussain is effective in a role that may not be as substantial, but demanded a fine actor nonetheless. Child artiste Princey Shukla looks cute and does an okay job. Rajiv Verma is ordinary.

On the whole, DEADLINE - SIRF 24 GHANTE is a well-made film that holds appeal for the multiplex audience mainly. At the box-office, the lack of aggressive promotion will curtail its prospects to an extent, but a strong word of mouth should go in its favor.

Producer
     Ravi Agrawal

Director
     Tanveer Khan

Star Cast
     Konkona Sen Sharma...... Sanjana
     Irrfan Khan...... Krish Vaidya
     Rajit Kapoor...... Dr. Viren Goenka
     Sandhya Mridul...... Roohi
     Zakir Hussain...... Kabir
     Princey 'Jhanak' Shukla...... Anishka
     Indira Krishnan
     Rajiv Verma

Lyricist
     Anshul Vijayvargiya

Music Director
     Anshul
     Sandy

Cinematography
     Baba Azmi

Action
     Bhiku Verma

Art
     Bijon Das Gupta

Editor
     Sanjay Sankla

Screenplay
     Dilip Shukla

Sound
     Jitendra Chaudhary

Publicity Designs
     Studio Link

Story / Writer
     Tanveer Khan

VIVAH

Sooraj R. Barjatya’s VIVAH does a complete about-turn. It is reminiscent of the cinema of yore. It re-introduces you to a world many of us may have forgotten thanks to the barrage of modern themes. It re-introduces you to the traditional side, without getting orthodox.

VIVAH is very desi, very Indian at heart, seeped in Hindustani emotions. It talks of familial bonding. It packs in loads of desi sentiments in those 2.48 hours. It faithfully follows the tradition of Rajshri movies of providing unadulterated entertainment. But VIVAH is not without its share of blemishes. And since this is a Sooraj R. Barjatya film, you just can’t overlook the flaws: Its slow narrative [in the first half especially] and sub-standard music [Ravindra Jain].

Like all Sooraj R. Barjatya films, the best is reserved for the penultimate reels and VIVAH is no exception. Deep inside, you know that a storm is brewing and it explodes in the second hour. You have a nagging feeling that one of the characters might create problems. But the twist in the tale is completely unexpected. It’s unconventional, yes, and therein lies its strength.

To sum up, VIVAH is not in the league of Sooraj’s first two films [MAINE PYAR KIYA and HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN] in terms of content and music. Nonetheless, it has a strong second half and an equally strong emotional quotient to appeal to the Indian junta that tilts towards paarivaarik films, especially the family audiences.

Prem [Shahid Kapoor] may be an eligible bachelor, but he is not yet ready for marriage. He agrees to meet Poonam [Amrita Rao] just to please his dad [Anupam Kher] and finds a woman he can really grow to love.

An awkward, formal exchange of words grows into a deep, meaningful conversation as Prem and Poonam soon discover that they are soul mates. Poonam, an orphan, has grown up in a small town, where her Chacha [Alok Nath] has brought her up. Chachi [Seema Biswas], however, is jealous of Poonam’s beauty, simplicity and charm, as her own daughter Chothi [Amrita Prakash] is overshadowed.

Gentle, soft-spoken Prem, the scion of one of Delhi’s most prosperous business houses, may have studied abroad, but retains his respect for family traditions and values. Prem and Poonam are engaged and the marriage is scheduled to take place after six months.

Prem and Poonam now enter the most magical and romantic time of their lives. Just when everything is set for the wedding, a crisis puts their love through a trial by fire.

In terms of scripting, VIVAH is structured on the lines of HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN. The first hour as well as the start of the second hour focuses on light moments and songs. But the film changes gears twenty minutes after the second half begins. While the light moments as also the songs of H.A.H.K. were magnetic, that’s not the case with VIVAH.

Sure, VIVAH starts off very well and the bonding between Alok Nath and the baby [Amrita Rao’s childhood] is indeed emotional. Everything is fine till Shahid and Amrita get engaged. Surprisingly, there’s no movement in the story thereafter. It wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the story comes to a grinding halt as the lovers indulge in romantic talk for the next 35 odd minutes. Besides, the songs are a complete distraction here. Not only are the tunes lifeless and belong to the fast-forward variety, even the placement of a couple of songs is inappropriate.

Thankfully, VIVAH strikes back in the post-interval portions. The twist in the tale is the highpoint of the enterprise and the dramatic events take the graph of the film to its peak. The emphasis is on emotions and the twists and turns in the concluding reels are sure to make you moist eyed. The sequence between Shahid and Amrita in the hospital is brilliantly executed. Note the dialogue that follows thereafter [delivered by Mohnish Bahl] -- that’s another clapworthy moment.

Sooraj R. Barjatya is back to his style of narrating simple stories, with emphasis on emotions. As pointed above, this may not be Sooraj’s finest effort, but the assets outnumber the liabilities this time. However, the film needs to be trimmed by at least 20/25 minutes and a few songs should be deleted instantaneously for a better, stronger impact.

Ravindra Jain’s music is archaic. Barring the ‘Mujhe Haque Hain’ and to an extent ‘Do Anjaane Ajnabi’, the remaining tracks are listless. Cinematography [Harish Joshi] is plain mediocre. Dialogues [Aash Karan Atal] are wonderful and the emotional lines do tug at your heart strings.

Shahid Kapoor performs like never before. If he was super-cool in ISHQ VISHK and showed flashes of brilliance in FIDA, you’ve to watch him in VIVAH to see his growth as a tremendous actor. He is exceptional in emotional sequences. Amrita Rao also gets a new lease of life with VIVAH. She looks the character and is splendid all through.

VIVAH has a host of characters, but the ones that stand out are Alok Nath [terrific], Seema Biswas [excellent], Anupam Kher [very good], Amrita Prakash [confident] and Master Ameya Pandya [first-rate]. Sameer Soni, Lataa Saberwal, Manoj Joshi and Dinesh Lamba are adequate. Mohnish Bahl [sp. app.] does well.

On the whole, VIVAH has an ordinary/routine first half, but the post-interval portions, notably the climax, compensate for the shortcomings. At the box-office, the rich emotional quotient [last 40 minutes] should appeal to ladies/families and help the film gather momentum slowly, but surely. The film may start on a slow note, but a strong word of mouth should help it consolidate its status in the traditional markets. Business may not be strong at multiplexes as much as in single screens, where the weekly run will compensate for the number of shows at multiplexes.

Producer
Kamal Kumar Barjatya
Rajkumar Barjatya
Ajit Kumar

Director
Sooraj Barjatya

Star Cast
Shahid Kapoor...... Prem (Bholu)
Amrita Rao...... Poonam
Anupam Kher...... Harishchandra
Alok Nath...... Krishna Kant (Chacha)
Seema Biswas...... Rama (Chachi)
Sameer Soni...... Sunil
Manoj Joshi...... Bhagatji
Jatin Siyal...... Prem's office staff
Dinesh Lamba...... Munimji
Shreya Sharma
Goolshan Mazd...... office receptionist
Amrita Prakash...... Rajni (Chothi)
Lata Sabharwal...... Bhavana
Ameya Pandya...... Rahul (Sunil-Bhavana's son)
Aditi Bhatia
Mrinal Deshraj...... Prem's office staff
Anita Wahi
Mohnish Behl...... friendly appearance as surgeon
Yusuf Hussain...... friendly appearance
Baby Maariayah Khatri
Chirag Channa
Jaspreet Singh

Singers
Udit Narayan
Shreya Ghosal
Babul Supriyo
Suresh Wadkar
Kumar Sanu
Pamela Jain
Sudesh Bhosle
Ravindra Jain
Aparnaa Bhaagwat

Lyricist
Ravindra Jain

Music Director
Ravindra Jain

Executive / Associate / Co-Producer
Sooraj Barjatya
Rajjat A. Barjatya

Cinematography
Harish Joshi

Choreography
Jay Borade

Action
Moses
Shyam Kaushal

Art
Sanjay Dhabade

Editor
V N Mayekar

Screenplay
Sooraj Barjatya

Sound
Jitendra Chaudhary

Dialogue
Aash Karan Atal

Costume
Anna Singh
Shabina Khan

Promos
Binni Padda
Ravi Padda

Publicity Designs
Esses Grafixs

Story / Writer
Sooraj Barjatya

Umrao Jaan

Quite obviously, UMRAO JAAN, his latest outing, evokes tremendous anxiety. Sadly, it’s bound to meet with diverse reactions/feedback…

UMRAO JAAN has sensitive performances, it is visually rich with the bygone era captured beautifully on celluloid and the stamp of a master storyteller is visible in crucial scenes. But there’s a flip side too. It’s not a enriching, satisfying and fulfilling experience, it’s toooooo long [20 reels; 3 hour + duration], has too many songs and lacks the power to keep you hooked in entirety.

In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that the lethargic pacing coupled with the unnecessary length make UMRAO JAAN a bejaan experience!

A courtesan and a poetess in her own right, Umrao Jaan [Aishwarya Rai] was a name to reckon with in Avadh. If Lucknow was the heart of Avadh, Umrao was the heart beat.

When she first came to Lucknow, she was Amiran, the eight-year-old daughter of a lower middle class family. Her father [Parikshit Sahni] was a jamadar at the ‘Bahu Begum ka Makhbara’ in Faizabad. A pious and simple man, he gave evidence in a case against Dilawar Khan [Vishwajeet Pradhan]. Dilawar was sentenced to jail for ten years. After finishing his sentence, Dilawar came out, only to kidnap little Amiran, cart her to Lucknow and sell her to a kotha owned by the astute Khanum Sahib [Shabana Azmi]. This was the vengeance and a few rupees as bonus. “Let her suffer a death worse than a death,” he said.

A kotha in that age, especially that of Khanum, was not only a cultural hub known for excellence in performing arts but also a temple of learning -- learning the art of living. As an inmate of the kotha, little Amiran benefited the most. Khanum gave her the name ‘Umrao’, Bua Hussaini [Himani Shivpuri] brought her up in style, Maulvi Sahib [Kulbhushan Kharbanda] imparted education, Khan Sahib initiated her into the world of music while the great Kathak Acharya made her feet move to rhythm.

In the company of Bismillah [Divya Dutta], Khurshid [Ayesha Julka] and Gauhar Mirza [Puru Raaj Kumar], Umrao developed varied skills including poetry. The pen name ‘Ada’ was ample proof of the proficiency in writing and presenting poetry that she went on to acquire.

Graduating in years, Umrao became a rage in Lucknow. A beauty that was stunning, a manner that was enticing and words that were soul stirring, made the name of Umrao Jaan mean sheer joy of watching and listening.

Stepping into youth, she had to seek the love of her life. His name was Nawab Sultan [Abhishek Bachchan]. With the whole of Avadh at her feet, Umrao craved for Sultan’s company. Somewhere deep inside her, she had a dream of a husband, a family and a home. She chased her dream from one end of the rainbow to the other.

But there were hiccups in the form of a dacoit Faiz [Suniel Shetty], who was smitten by Umrao. Subsequently, the misunderstanding with Nawab Sultan takes place. Later, the war of independence makes her homeless. And much later, her mother [Maya Alagh] and brother disown her. Amiran is forced to become Umrao Jaan again.

UMRAO JAAN takes off on a positive note. The story of the little Amiran, who is kidnapped and sold to a kotha in Lucknow, is sensitively depicted. The entire track -- sequences with her parents and also with Khanum [Shabana] and Bua [Himani] -- unravel beautifully. Then Sultan walks in Umrao’s life. Love is in the air. You begin to ponder: UMRAO JAAN is akin to a poem on celluloid.

Romance takes over and the story comes to a grinding and screeching halt. Two/three songs flow in one after the other. You start getting restless and impatient. Agreed, J.P. had to be faithful to Ruswa’s literary work. But the songs are completely unwanted and only add to the extra length. The sad part is, Anu Malik’s music, although in sync with the film, comes across as an unwanted guest in the narrative.

The turning point comes in the form of the Sultan’s father, who disowns him. An interesting twist in the tale. The dacoit walks in, he wants Umrao at any cost. He even convinces her to come along and spend a month with him. She agrees. Interesting. Sultan gets to know the half-truth. He’s upset. He shuns her. She returns back to Khanum. Okay.

The war of independence breaks out. Umrao reaches Faizabad. Her home-town. She comes face to face with her mother and brother. She weeps, they’re not convinced. Sadly, the emotions don’t touch the heart here. You don’t feel sorry for Umrao. She gives her last performance in Faizabad. One more song. Ideally, the movie should’ve ended with Umrao walking out of her house and her brother slamming the gates on her face.

If J.P. deserves meritorious points for drawing sensitive performances and also taking you to 19th century Lucknow, you want to deduct many points for the slow and tiresome narrative and also unwanted scenes and songs. As an editor, J.P. fails to keep you hooked. The film can easily do without three/four songs and also a few scenes. Ideally, a 25/30-minute trimming is a must!

Anu Malik’s music is a minus point here, partly because people want to listen to the story and the songs here add to the boredom. O.P. Dutta’s dialogues are exemplary. Dutta Sr. is a supremely gifted writer and his work in UMRAO JAAN stands out in every sequence. Costumes [Anna Singh and Bindiya Dutta] are rich. Cinematography [A. Bose] is flawless. The sets [Bijon Das Gupta] are topnotch. Choreography [Vaibhavi Merchant] is commendable.

Aishwarya Rai looks ethereal. In fact, it’s after HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM that Ash has looked heavenly and performed so convincingly. She emotes through her expressive eyes and the consistency in her performance is evident from start to end. This can easily rank amongst her prized assignment in her repertoire.

Abhishek Bachchan is up to the mark, although one strongly feels that he’s capable of so much more. Shabana Azmi is superb, especially in the sequence when she insults Abhishek [minutes before the intermission]. Suniel Shetty doesn’t get much scope. Nevertheless, he’s alright. Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Himani Shivpuri lend good support. Divya Dutta and Ayesha Julka leave a mark in brief roles. Parikshit Sahni, Maya Alagh, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Javed Khan are passable.

On the whole, UMRAO JAAN has a weak first half and a tolerable second. But the damage done by the first half [unwanted songs and scenes] creates a major dent, which the second half tries to repair, but cannot. At the box-office, the film will appeal to a miniscule segment of moviegoers [gentry] in a handful of multiplexes, but the wide majority would give it thumbs down due to its unnecessary length [20 reels; 3 + hours’ duration] and lackluster treatment. Given its low hype and poor start at the ticket window, the film will incur losses for its investors.

Producer
     J P Dutta

Director
     J P Dutta

Star Cast
     Abhishek Bachchan...... Nawab Sultan
     Aishwarya Rai...... Umraao Jaan
     Shabana Azmi...... Khanum Sahib
     Sunil Shetty...... Faiz Ali
     Divya Dutta...... Bismillah
     Himani Shivpuri...... Bua Hussaini
     Puru Raaj Kumar...... Gauhar Mirza
     Kulbhushan Kharbanda...... Maulvi Sahib
     Ayesha Jhulka...... Khurshid
     Bikram Saluja...... Ashraf (Nawab Sultan’s friend)
     Parikshit Sahani...... Umrao’s Father
     Maya Alagh...... Umrao’s Mother
     Vishwajeet Pradhan...... Dilawar Khan (Amiran’s abductor)
     Javed Khan...... Peer Baksh (Dilawar Khan’s accomplice)
     BANSREE MADHANI...... Amiran (the young Umrao)

Singers
     Alka Yagnik
     Javed Akhtar
     Sonu Nigam
     Richa Sharma
     Anmol Malik

Lyricist
     Javed Akhtar

Music Director
     Anu Malik

Background Music
     Anu Malik

Cinematography
     Ayananka Bose

Choreography
     Saroj Khan
     Vaibhavi Merchant

Art
     Bijon Das Gupta

Editor
     J P Dutta

Screenplay
     J P Dutta

Dialogue
     O P Dutta

Costume
     Abu Jani
     Sandeep Khosla
     Anna Singh
     Bindiya

Publicity Designs
     HR Enterprises

Story / Writer
     O P Dutta

Don - The Chase Begins Again

A remake comes with its share of plusses and minuses, advantages and disadvantages. The advantages first…

    * Perhaps, the new generation might not have watched the classic starring Bachchan. That makes the 2006 adaptation a novel cinematic experience. The present version also arouses tremendous interest since SRK steps into Bachchan's shoes.

    * DON was made in the 1970s and a new version, with appropriate updates, is always welcome.

    * Most importantly, every director has his/her style of interpreting a story. Chandra Barot had his way of narrating a story, Farhan Akhtar has his own unique style.

    * Since the Bachchan starrer remains etched in the memory of a section of moviegoers, the SRK starrer carries a massive responsibility on its shoulders. The comparisons, therefore, are inevitable. Every character, song and the impact of several vital portions will be viewed minutely.

    * The original script [Salim-Javed] had the power to keep you involved and mesmerized for the next 2.30 hours. The new version lacks it.

    * The sequence of events in the earlier DON unraveled at a feverish pace, which the entertainment-hungry viewer lapped up with glee and excitement. The new version moves at a sluggish pace at regular intervals and that indeed is bad news for a thriller. In fact, boredom sets in after a point and it also gets difficult to comprehend what's going on. Things could have been simpler for sure.

    * Every character in the earlier DON was well etched out. That's not the case with the new version. Barring SRK and to an extent Priyanka, the remaining characters appear as mere caricatures.

    * The songs in the first version were merged beautifully with the script. Somehow, in the new version, barring the Kareena track, the songs don't take the story forward. Even the terrific 'Khaike Paan Banaraswala' comes across as an unwanted guest.

Any area where the new version works? Of course, it's far more glossy, far more stylish and far more visually appealing. Let's just say, the new DON is body beautiful, minus soul. The original version had simplistic execution, but it hit you like a ton of bricks. The new version is a hundred times more stylish, but how about a riveting script, Mr. Director?

The one question you want to ask Farhan Akhtar is, What happened? His directorial debut DIL CHAHTA HAI told a novel story. His second attempt, LAKSHYA, stood on a slippery wicket. But DON, his new endeavor, is his weakest attempt as a storyteller. Agreed, Farhan has climbed the ladder as far as craftsmanship is concerned [every frame is well decorated and makes a spellbinding impact], but, despite a readymade classic at his disposal, the storyteller just doesn't get it right this time.

Farhan makes a sincere effort to shock the viewer in the end and you are startled for a minute, but the moment the focus shifts to the flashback and how he managed to pull a fast one, the impact evaporates into thin air. Farhan also ends the film with some scope for a sequel. Nothing wrong with that, but how one wishes Farhan had a hit a boundary in this interpretation of the classic first.

Now, the storyline:
The drug trade is booming. Trafficking between Asia and Europe is at an all-time high. There are rumors that a dreaded gang has moved their operational headquarters to Kuala Lumpur. The cartel is headed by Singhania [Rajesh Khattar], but the business is managed by his lieutenant Don [Shah Rukh Khan].

An Indian officer Desilva [Boman Irani] has sworn to put an end to the nexus. He knows that in capturing Don lies the key to unlock this puzzle. And he succeeds one day. Don is captured and Desilva puts his plan into action. Unknown to even his own department, Desilva recruits and trains a man who is a splitting image of Don. His name is Vijay.

Vijay infiltrates the cartel and manages to give Desilva all the information he needs to bring it down. But in a bizarre twist of fate, Desilva is killed during a raid and the secret that Don is in fact Vijay is buried with him. The only people who realize that he's an imposter are the members of Don's cartel [Pawan Malhotra and Shakeel Khan] and they want their revenge.

Vijay manages to escape and is now on the lookout for the one last piece of evidence that can get him out of the mess. Helping him on this quest are two people: Roma [Priyanka Chopra] and Jasjit [Arjun Rampal].

There are glaring loopholes in the screenplay and you just can't overlook them. Like, for instance, how does SRK kill Kareena when the fact remains that he himself admits that there aren't any bullets in his gun? Here's another one: SRK, the Don, arrives in India for a major drug deal, but why isn't he arrested by Boman Irani and his team of cops when he must've presumably boarded an aircraft from KL? Why chase him on a secluded beach somewhere near Mumbai?

In the second hour, the murder of Rajesh Khattar [Don's boss] gives an impression that it's child's play to eliminate a drug baron. Moreover, what happens to Don's gang, also being held captive and being chartered to another destination [just before Don escapes from the aircraft]? Also, Arjun Rampal's exit from the story could've been properly defined. Also, where does his kid disappear suddenly? And what is Om Puri doing in this film? A junior police officer [aiding Boman Irani] has a meatier role than Puri here. It's a screenplay of convenience. Frankly, this looks like a desi James Bond saga, with the protagonist behaving like one mighty guy who can outsmart just about anyone and everyone.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is strictly functional. The only track that's worth a mention is 'Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Diwana' and S-E-L cannot get credit for it because it's not their composition. Mohanan's cinematography is of international quality. The opulent look and sets are well captured by the lensman and so are the eye-catching locations of Malaysia.

Action scenes are superb. Take the fight between SRK and Chunkey Pandey at the very start of the film or the chase on a secluded beach and the lanes of a town before Don is captured by the cops -- it's jaw-dropping. The sync sound is not coherent at times and this will pose a major problem, especially at single screens where the sound system isn't of standard.

SRK carries a massive responsibility on his shoulders since direct comparisons with Bachchan are foreseeable. SRK does very well as Don. He enacts the evil character with flourish. But he fails to carry off the other role [Vijay] with conviction. It looks made up, it doesn't come natural to him at all. Priyanka Chopra carries off her part with élan. The stunt [when she rescues SRK] is bound to win her laurels.

Arjun Rampal's character could've been better developed. Despite the shortcomings, he makes a sincere attempt. Kareena Kapoor looks alluring in a miniscule role. Isha Koppikar is alright. Boman Irani is fantastic yet again. He enacts the conniving and calculating villain with gusto. A remarkable actor like Om Puri is completely wasted here. Pawan Malhotra does very well. Why doesn't one see more of his talented actor in films?

Diwakar Pundir [as Kareena's fiancé], Shakeel Khan and Rajesh Khattar are adequate.

On the whole, DON does not meet the expectations as a film. BUT the film will be a different story altogether at the box-office. The tremendous craze for the film, the fabulous hype of the film, the presence of SRK in the central role and also the credibility of its makers [Farhan Akhtar] will ensure a fabulous start at the ticket window. The Diwali and Idd period will only give a big boost to the business, making its distributors jump with joy.

In short, sometimes a weak film weaves magic at the box-office. DON is one of those!


Producer
   Ritesh Sidhwani

Director
   Farhan Akhtar

Star Cast
   Shahrukh Khan...... Don / Vijay
   Priyanka Chopra...... Roma
   Arjun Rampal...... Jasjeet
   Kareena Kapoor...... Kamini
   Isha Koppikar...... Anita
   Om Puri...... Vishal Mallik
   Chunky Pandey
   Pawan Malhotra...... Narang
   Boman Irani...... DSilva / Vardhan
   Sushma Reddy...... Geeta
   Diwakar Pundir...... Ramesh
   Rajesh Khattar...... Singhania

Singers
   Shaan
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   Shankar Mahadevan
   Udit Narayan
   Shahrukh Khan
   Alisha Chinoy
   Mahalakshmi Iyer
   Sonu Nigam
   Ehsaan Noorani
   Loy Mendonca
   Midival Punditz

Lyricist
   Javed Akhtar

Music Director
   Ehsaan Noorani
   Loy Mendonca
   Shankar Mahadevan
   Midival Punditz
   Dj Randolf

Choreography
   Farah Khan
   Prabhu Deva
   Saroj Khan
   Ganesh Hegde
   Rajeev Soorti

Screenplay
   Javed Akhtar

Sound
   Andrew Belletty

Dialogue
   Farhan Akhtar
   Salim Khan

PRO
   Dale Bhagwagar

Publicity Designs
   HR Enterprises

Story / Writer
   Javed Akhtar
   Salim Khan

Jaan-e-mann

From SANGAM to KABHI KABHIE to CHANDNI to SAAJAN, the concept of two men falling head over heals in love with the same woman has been done to death in Bollywood. Is there anything else left to explore? What novelty does JAAN-E-MANN offer then? Is it old wine packaged in a new bottle?

Sure, JAAN-E-MANN is a love story. But it explores new grounds, in terms of story as well as execution. It's an unconventional film. Yet, innovative at the same time. It doesn't follow the path most love stories charter. It's a fresh concept and the twists and turns in the screenplay only ensure that it doesn't stagnate.

To be brutally honest, it takes time to absorb a new format of storytelling. As moviegoers, we are used to following one particular format, which rarely changes. In JAAN-E-MANN, the story begins where most end. At the very outset, you're told that the first relationship has already fallen apart. Knowing that it's over between the two, the first guy encourages [and actually assists/trains/spoon-feeds] the second guy to get close to the woman both love. The second guy faithfully follows the instructions, till a twist in the tale brings about an awakening. Just when you think that it's going to be a conventional climax, there's a twist again…

It's said that [most] editors make fantastic directors. After all, the biggest of dreams take final shape on the editing table. Editor Shirish Kunder wears many hats in his first attempt: Director, story-screenplay-dialogues' writer, background music composer, TV and theatrical promo maker and of course, editor. And yes, he makes a terrific impact in his maiden attempt as a storyteller.

The marriage of realism with escapism as also form and content is evident in JAAN-E-MANN. There are moments that offer tremendous entertainment. There are times when Shirish borrows incidents straight from life; you've seen it happening to someone or perhaps, it's happened to you.

All the same, the execution of the film and the shot compositions are masterly. If you understand cinema or if you're an avid moviegoer, you'd notice that JAAN-E-MANN is shades apart from Yash Chopra or Mani Ratnam or Priyadarshan or RGV or Rakesh Roshan's movies. It stands out for its individuality. The technique leaves you wondering, is this Hindi cinema or are you watching a fairytale?

Most importantly, JAAN-E-MANN has its heart in the right place. Like this reviewer pointed out at the outset, it takes time to get used to Shirish's style of narrating a story. The initial reels may give you the feeling that it's all gloss, no soul and perhaps, the director has lost his marbles and experimented at the expense of an uncompromising producer [Sajid Nadiadwala], but JAAN-E-MANN catches you slowly, but firmly and doesn't leave you till the end.

Wait, this doesn't imply that JAAN-E-MANN is a flawless product. There are blemishes that stand out in the narrative. If Shirish deserves distinction marks as a storyteller, you need to deduct his points as an editor. Perhaps, Shirish fell in love with his product and didn't realize that this 19 reeler tends to get lengthy and at times, slow paced.

Also, Shirish's style of storytelling -- very novel and refreshingly different -- caters more to the multiplex crowd/elite/big city junta/Overseas audience rather than the aam public/hoi polloi/masses/frontbenchers. The generous usage of English will also restrict its appeal to urban centres. Yes, there are mass appealing moments, but JAAN-E-MANN is a big gamble. The first section of moviegoers would love the film and if it catches on with the masses [thanks to the strong emotional quotient in the second hour], there's no stopping the film then.

Now to the story:
JAAN-E-MANN begins with Suhan [Salman Khan] receiving a notice to pay the alimony. He has to shell out Rs. 50 lacs to his estranged wife Piya [Preity Zinta], now settled in the U.S. Suhan's 'Chachu' Boney [Anupam Kher], a lawyer, thinks of ways to wriggle out of the situation.

It's at this juncture that Champu aka Agastya [Akshay Kumar] walks in, looking for Piya. He was in love with her during the college days, he tells Suhan and Chachu, but she was in love with someone else [Agastya is unaware that Suhan is the guy]. Piya had ignored Agastya then, a nerd, and even broke his heart by courting another guy. A heartbroken Agastya had left the college for this reason.

Back to the present: Agastya is now at NASA. His outwardly appearance may've undergone a change, but he still doesn't know how to communicate with a girl, forget dating her. Suhan and Chachu hatch the plan to get Agastya and Piya together, so that Suhan is out of the mess.

Agastya flies to New York, so does Suhan. They hire an apartment right opposite Piya's residence and monitor each and every move of her through binoculars and telescope. Suhan helps Agastya to woo Piya. A reluctant Piya eventually gives in. But the story changes when Suhan gets to know of a certain reality and that changes his life completely. He feels responsible towards Piya.

Suhan realizes his folly and wants to make amends. But oblivious to Suhan's presence, Piya is now preparing for a life with Agastya. One wouldn't like to reveal the climax, since that would take the sheen away from the enterprise. We wouldn't be able to reveal the finale either, which is sure to bring a smile on your face.

JAAN-E-MANN balances humor and emotions beautifully. In fact, a film on relationships ought to rest on a solid emotional ground and JAAN-E-MANN has those scenes in abundance, especially in the second hour. Salman's journey from a mere spectator of Akshay-Preity's courtship to being a part of the love story is beautifully depicted. What prompts Salman to have a change of heart and feel more responsible [the reason is withheld by the reviewer] is again a brilliant stroke from the writing, execution and performance point of view.

All the same, the humor is just perfect. It's not the crass or mindless kind, but simple and at the same time, sure to bring a smile on your face or force you to break into laughter.

JAAN-E-MANN has more aces, starting with Farah Khan's choreography. Every song in immaculately choreographed and comes across as a remarkable piece of art. Anu Malik's music is soothing and soft, in sync with the mood of the film. 'Jaane Ke Jaane Na' is undoubtedly the best track of the enterprise. 'Ajnabee Shaher' and 'Humko Maloom Hai' are two compositions that also stand out for sheer melody. Sudeep Chatterjee's cinematography is remarkable. Right from Sabu Cyril's delightfully colorful sets to the skyline of New York, the D.O.P. captures every moment with dexterity and flourish on celluloid. Surily Goel's costumes are classy and well-synchronized with the upmarket feel.

Now to the performances! The one question that you want to ask Salman is, why had you hidden the sensitive performer in you all these years? Agreed, the actor has delivered fine performances in the past, right from Sooraj Barjatya's films to TERE NAAM to NO ENTRY [aimed at the masses]. But this is an altogether different Salman you see in JAAN-E-MANN. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that if asked to choose one performance from the three pivotal ones in JAAN-E-MANN, it has to be Salman without doubt. He wins hands down completely. The role is a reflection of what Salman can handle in real life: Loads of attitude, the mischievous dude with a naughty streak and most importantly, a sensitive and soft-hearted man who can weep, if affected. Simply remarkable!

Akshay is first-rate. The actor plays a simpleton, a far cry from the roles he's now famous for [DEEWANE HUYE PAAGAL, GARAM MASALA, PHIR HERA PHERI] and proves his versatility yet again. There's a marked growth in Akshay's performances and the one in JAAN-E-MANN only endorses the statement.

Preity is wonderful. Not only does she look like a woman who is the cynosure of two men, but also emotes her part with amazing grace. There's a surprise in store in the end and Preity's fans are sure to love her in that look as well.

Anupam Kher is fantastic as Chachu, but has an ill-defined role as the look-alike in New York. Jawed Sheikh and Soni Razdan [Preity's parents] are appropriate in brief roles. Nawaab [Preity's brother] and Aman Verma are decent.

On the whole, JAAN-E-MANN balances humor and emotions beautifully. In fact, it's a BIG film in all respects -- right from its cast to the extravagant sets to the lavish making, besides, of course, unadulterated entertainment it has to offer. At the box-office, the Diwali and Idd holidays will prove bountiful for the film and add to the big returns. Business-wise, JAAN-E-MANN should fare best at multiplexes and also at major centres, besides Overseas. But its business at comparatively smaller centres, where masala films dominate, is bound to be affected by DON's presence. However, if the strong word of mouth catches on, the business at smaller centres will add to its booty.

Producer
   Sajid Nadiadwala

Director
   Shirish Kunder

Star Cast
   Akshay Kumar...... Agastya Rao
   Salman Khan...... Suhaan Kapoor
   Preity Zinta...... Piya Goyal
   Anupam Kher...... Vakil Chachu
   Soni Razdan
   Aman Verma...... Zubin
   Javed Sheikh (Pakistan)...... Samrat Goyal

Singers
   Sonu Nigam
   Sadhana Sargam
   Sukhwinder Singh
   Krishna
   Suzan
   Kunal Ganjawala
   Adnan Sami
   Sunidhi Chauhan
   Udit Narayan
   Rahul Vaidya
   Amit Sana
   Prajakta Shukre
   Monali Thakur

Lyricist
   Gulzar

Music Director
   Anu Malik

Background Music
   Shirish Kunder

Cinematography
   Sudeep Chatterjee

Choreography
   Farah Khan

Art
   Sabu Cyril

Editor
   Shirish Kunder

Screenplay
   Shirish Kunder

Dialogue
   Shirish Kunder

Costume
   Surily Goel

Publicity Stills
   Anjay Thakur
   Payal Shah
   Joe Dsouza

Story / Writer
   Shirish Kunder

Bhoot Unkle

For a film that relies on chills and thrills, besides moments that would appeal to kids, BHOOT UNKLE runs out of gas after a fairly interesting first half. There are two reasons for its downfall: One, the special effects are shoddy and tacky and two, the second half transforms into a masala flick that moviegoers have witnessed a million times before.

If the idea is to woo the kids, sorry, the execution of the subject ruins whatever chances it may have had!

For 12-year-old orphan Shyam [Dev Kantawala], life had been nothing but a series of tragedies and hardships. He is ill treated by his aunt [Rasika Joshi], while his uncle [Anurag Prapanna] watches helplessly. One night, Shyam unexpectedly stumbles upon an idol of Lord Shiva in a haunted lighthouse.

The mystery of the missing Lord Shiva idol, which Shyam accidentally solves, makes him come face to face with a dead pirate aka Bhoot Unkle [Jackie Shroff], who had robbed the idol a hundred years ago and is now trapped in the lighthouse.

Shyam is now entrusted with the responsibility of saving the idol from the clutches of the corrupt MLA [Akhilendra Mishra] and installing it back in the temple.

For any kiddie film to leave a mark, it ought to be embellished with antics and frolics that would appeal to kids from 6 to 60. In BHOOT UNKLE, a series of watchable events happen in the first half, while the second half is devoid of moments that would make the kids clap with glee. In fact, the writing [screenplay: Rajiv Agrawal and Veeru Shahane] is the culprit here. It's slipshod, to put it bluntly!

The emergence of Jackie in the second half raises the expectations, but the animation that follows [it's a brilliant idea nonetheless] fails to appeal because the animation is poor. Let's face it, the kids today are exposed to highly skilled animation on the small screen and the quality of the 10-minute animation in BHOOT UNKLE is akin to the games kids generally play on their computers.

Besides, the visual effects are low-grade and the cinematography [C. Vignesh Rao] is also substandard. From the writing point of view too, not much happens in the second hour, with the kid forgetting all about the idol. Things fall into place in the climax, but it's too late by then.

Given the poor screenplay in the second hour, there's nothing the director can do to salvage the situation. The film has just one song [Baba Saigal], which is tuneful, but the effects in the song are inferior.

Jackie Shroff, the friendly ghost, doesn't work. Dev Kantawala, the child artist, is a complete natural. He's the scene stealer actually. The remaining kids are tolerable. Akhilendra Mishra, Rasika Joshi, Shehzad Khan and Anurag Prapanna are plain mediocre.

On the whole, BHOOT UNKLE lacks the power to satisfy its target audience -- kids. With not much going in its favor, its chances of survival at the ticket winow are bleak.

Producer
Aneesh Arjun Dev
Krishan Choudhary

Star Cast
Jackie Shroff...... Bhoot Unkle

Cassettes and CD's on
Ultra Music

Singers
Baba Sehgal
Kidz
Tarannum

Lyricist
Pratibha
Baba Sehgal

Music Director
Baba Sehgal

Cinematography
C Vignesh Rao

Choreography
Chinni Prakash

Action
Hanif Khan

Art
Ajit Dandekar

Editor
Sudhir Achary

Screenplay
Rajiv Agarwal
Veeru Shahane

Dialogue
Mukesh Ramani

Official Website Designer
IndiaFM.com - Hungama.com

Publicity Designs
P9 Integrated Pvt Ltd

Story / Writer
Aneesh Arjun Dev

Gafla

The problem with GAFLA is that it comes across more as a biography of a scamster than a film that makes a statement against the big sharks of the stock market. Moreover, since the plotline unravels at a lethargic pace, the impact of a couple of well executed sequences also evaporates into thin air.

GAFLA is a story about ordinary people or rather an ordinary young man, Subodh [Vinod Sharawat], in ordinary circumstances. Subodh starts out like any middle class guy, with limited opportunities to survive and go ahead. Perhaps, he has a little bit more drive than the others, more energy and bigger dreams.

Subodh's intentions are good and understandable in terms of ordinary ambitions. Subodh wants to make money, to be successful and enters the stock market. His brilliance makes him successful, but he is at the mercy of big players.

Faced with a choice of either following a secondary career, dominated by big players or becoming a big player himself, he opts for the latter. But, as an outsider, he shouldn't have become the biggest player of all. He didn't know where to stop. He didn't pause to strengthen the base of political and institutional support before rising further. He is inexperienced.

So, when things go wrong, Subodh is crucified for doing the same fraud that everybody was doing.

Director Sameer Hanchate chooses a novel subject for his debut vehicle. But a subject like this has its limitations since it caters to a niche audience, a thin section of moviegoers who'd be interested in watching stock market scams on the big screen.

Hanchate's direction is alright, although his choice of the subject, as pointed above, will find limited takers. GAFLA has been filmed on actual locations and that adds to its authenticity [cinematography: Anshul Chobey].

Vinod Sharawat does a fair job. Shruti Ulfat is commendable. The remaining actors, Brijendra Kala, Purva Parag, Vikram Gokhale, Aditya Lakhia and Shaktee Singh, enact their parts with competence.

On the whole, GAFLA is a dry film that has come virtually unannounced, with as good as zilch pre-release promotion. At the box-office, an also-ran!

Producer
Sameer Hanchate

Director
Sameer Hanchate

Star Cast
Vinod Sharawat
Shruti Ulfat
Vikram Gokhale
Purva Parag

Music Director
Kartik Shah

Cinematography
Anshul Chobey

Screenplay
Rajiv Velicheti

Story / Writer

Sameer Hanchate
f t g m