Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 : The Year that Was ...

The year of the global economic crises , 2008 , is about to get over and it was not only the year of economic crises but probably also the year of creativity crises when it comes to Indian films released this year .Both , the commercial cinema and low-budget off-beat cinema didn't provide that good entertainment this year . Most of them had either mediocre scripts or no script at all (eg. Tashan) . The two-three films that were good like A Wednesday,Aamir,Khuda Key Liye and Mumbai Meri Jaan , had that same terrorism background in all of them . The only two films that I thought were different in a good way were Mithya and Dasvidanya . Still , films like these were at least made and appreciated else it would have been a disastrous year because commercial cinema hit the lowest this year with films like Tashan,Singh is Kinng,Bachna Ae Hasino,Golmaal Returns,Yuvvraaj,Krazzy 4,Sunday,Love Story 2050 etc. etc . All of these commercial films that I have mentioned here had good star cast and big budgets but still were some of the worst films I've ever seen .

This year was no different for Yashraj than the last year . They continued making crap films like Tashan,Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic,Roadside Romeo and Bachna Ae Hasino . Same as last year when SRK's Chak De India saved Yashraj from humiliation this year it was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which according to various sources is the Biggest blockbuster success of this year . Though Rab Ne got mixed reviews it was still in my view a good film in general sense and a Great film as compared to the other Yashraj films that released this year . SRK has again proved that economic crises and terrorist attacks can not affect his stardom and he still is the king when it comes to box-office collections . Talking of King or should I must spell Kinng , Akshay Kumar pulled off a hit in form of Singh is Kinng which in any case is one of the Akshay's worst film in the past few years . 2008 was not as good as 2007 for Akshay as both his films SIK and Tashan were badly made films . Still , Singh is Kinng stands second only to RNBDJ in terms of Box office collections .

Apart from films one thing that was in true sense "Manoranjan Ka Baap" was IPL or the Indian Premiere League . No producer had the guts to have a one on one with this Rs. 4500 Crore mammoth and for a month and a half no films were released . Though it featured the likes of Mukesh Ambani , Vijay Mallya and Ness Wadia who are corporate giants yet it was our very own SRK who made the maximum profit of them all with his Kolkata Knightriders (KKR) . Though his team not even made it to the semis still he was left with maximum profits in the end . He would be hoping for a better result on field also in the next season . The King of Good Times ,Vijay Mallya , saw some bad times with neither his Royal Challengers nor his Force India F1 team doing well . SRK once again proved that he is a marketing genius and he can literally give any businessman a run for his money .

IPL had all the elements of any Bollywood Film and it very well made up for the films that didn't release during this period . Whether it was the Sreesanth-Bhajji slap controversy or the hue and cry over the scantly clothed Cheer leaders , it all provided some good entertainment packed along with real competitive matches . The word "mania" very well justifies the effect that IPL had and suddenly T-20 seems to be the future .The first season proving to be a big blockbuster success , IPL would be one thing that would haunt film producers every year .

Coming to the new comers , there was a substantial lot that made its debut this year , including debutant actors like Harman Baweja,Imran Khan, Arjan (the Fashion guy) , Sikander Kher and the supposedly rock sensation Farhan Akhtar . Amongst the female actors were names like Prachi Desai , Mugdha Godse , Manjari Fadnis (Imran's girlfriend in Jaane Tu..) , Shahana Goswami , Asin and the very famous Anushka Sharma . Though many made there debut but as usual only few were good like my personal favourite Shahana Goswami who acted like pro in Rock On . She completely bowled me over with her acting in the film , one of the finest natural performance of the year though a short one . If you don't remember she played the character of Debbie , wife of Arjun Rampal . Manjari was also good but she didn't actually made her debut since she has worked in films like Mumbai Salsa earlier . Anushka was also good and she also acted naturally in RNBDJ. Among the guys only Imran Khan impressed me in Jaane Tu.. but still overall he doesn't have a wide range and only certain roles would suit him . Farhan got a hit film but I still prefer him behind the lens . Harman is a disaster with his fake sounding voice and his even more fake mannerisms . I just hope he proves me wrong in his coming films .

The year wasn't good even for established actors like Abhishek , Priyanka , Kareena and Salman . Hrithik also had only one film this year which was just about the size of two . Still , Jodha Akbar was a huge success and may be this year a lot of awards would be bagged by this film only . After all Filmfare can never give a best picture award to a film like Aamir and it won't look good to give it to a film like Singh is Kinng or RNBDJ so they will in the end give it to Jodha Akbar which would be the safest option . Abhishek's bad run continued and neither his Dad (in Sarkar Raj) nor his mom (in Drona) could save him . Though he got some relief in the end with KJo's Dostana which again wasn't a good film as such . Kareena had probably the worst year with films like Tashan and Golmaal Returns , both being C-grade cinema at its best . Golmaal Returns worked at the box office but for me it was undoubtebly the most Cheap film of the year and also of Ajay Devgan's career . Priyanka also had her fair share of flops with films like Love Story 2050,Drona,Chamku and God Tussi Great Ho . She had some respite with Fashion and Dostana in the end . She is a strong contender for this year's Best Actress award for Fashion . Fashion though was liked by critics but for me it was just a fictional piece with bits of one off real life incidences .

Music wise also the year was just an average year . The Rahmaniacs got a good dose of the Maestro with Five of his albums releasing this year . But in my opinion he was better with one or two albums a year only . Frankly speaking none of the five albums of ARR that released this year were complete albums and as a true fan rather than a hardcore one I was really disappointed . Songs were good but not brilliant which is expected from ARR as always , maybe the excessive work was the reason . Pritam had his fair share of hits with Race and Kismat Konnection and Vishal-Shekhar disappointed a lot considering last year's OSO soundtrack . Shankar Ehsaan and Loy also did an average job in Rock On considering their earlier albums like Taare Zameen Par and Kal Ho Na Ho etc. I know you can argue with me saying that the rock genre that they attempted was completely different and new but for me those are just excuses . A similar excuse can be given for the different attempt of Rehman in Yuvvraj . Still , SEL have ended the year on a good note with songs like "Sapno Se Bhare Naina" from Luck By Chance and "Tere Naina" from Chandni Chowk to China which are really nice tracks .

And how can I forget the Blog wars . Stars like Amir and Amitabh spoke more with their blogs rather than their work . Directors like Karan Johar and Ram Gopal Verma also got one each . RGV's blog is more of a joke where he keeps ridiculing the comments that people leave and people still take the pain to comment on those comments . SRK brought a lot more hits to their blogs by being compared to a pet dog and also through TRP charts . What a pity that was , with Legend like Amitabh comparing himself with SRK and Aamir calling his dog SRK .

The party of the year belonged to Katrina Kaif who called all the heavyweights to her Birthday party . This would be one birthday she'll never forget . We know what happened there so I won't say anything about that and there was a huge stupid media coverage on that too . RGV's going into Taj after the terrorist attacks generated more hype than his films .

The year came to end with the competition between the two khans , Amir and SRK . When Aamir was getting 8 packs for his Ghajini look , SRK was loosing his six for the plane simple look of Suri in RNBDJ . In this case , I admit openly that I may sound biased because I am a hardcore fan of SRK . Still , keeping the biases aside I feel that people would forget Ghajini in the long run , no matter how big a hit it gets but they would always remember the Suri of RNBDJ . I loved the character and SRK's acting so what if it was a commercial film and had those elements which are a little hard to believe , Ghajini was one step further when it comes to commercial Masala . RNBDJ was a commercial film that had an original story and characters in its core . If anyone who can pull off a blockbuster with only three characters in a film then it is only the duo of SRK and Adi . For me neither Aamir nor SRK won the battle because both of their films were quite average opposite to what is expectd from them . But one thing is for sure Ghajini was a complte formula film that had a long list of loop holes which didn't make any sense logically . Ghajini gave a very disappointing end to what has been already the year of below average cinema .

Overall , the year was a below average one when it comes to films . Akshay , Aamir , SRK and Katrina were the only few who tasted success but that too in some very average films . High hopes from films like Singh is Kinng , Ghajini and RNBDJ ended in disappointment . And the films that worked apart from these like Race and Golmaal Returns are not even worth mentioning .Jaane Tu.. and Rock On were just time pass films and nothing so great about them . In all , a very dull year with a long list of flops and bad films . I can go on writing about the disappointments but I think you would all agree with me . The industry would definitely like to forget the year and look forward to a better 2009 .

Anyways as usual I have my list of best and the worst of the year which goes as follows :

Best Songs : (Popular)
1. Singh is Kinng - Title Track
2. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi --- Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
3. Race - Title track .
4. Rock On --- Title Track .
5. Krazzy 4 - Break Free (title track).
6. Aye Paapi -- Kismat Konnection .
7. Haule Haule --- Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Best Songs : (Lyrically)
1. Pehli Nazar Mein -- Race .
2. Sapno se Bhare Naina -- Luck By Chance.
3. Bakhuda -- Kismat Konnection
4. Haa Raham -- Aamir .
5. Guzarish --- Ghajini .
6. Tere Naina --- Chandni Chowk To China .
7. Khuda Jaane --- Bachna Ae Hasino.

Best Trailers :

1. Dostana - Teaser Trailer .
2. Rock On - Trailer .
3. Chandni Chowk to China -- Teaser trailer .
4. Fashion - Trailer
5. Oye Lucky Lucky Oye --- Trailer (the film was also good , Abhay is one good actor)
6. Luck By Chance --- Trailer
7. New York --- Trailer

Best Films (overall and popular) :
1.A Wednesday .
2. Aamir
3. Jodha Akbar
4. Fashion
5. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
6. Dasvidanya
7. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Rotten Eggs of the Year :

1. Tashan --- the undisputed champion .
2.Golmaal Returns -- Cheap comedy that looks good in C-grade films .
3. Love Story 2050 --- if I had a time machine I would go back and not watch this film .
4.Drona --- The ugliest looking superhero of all time .
5.Singh is Kinng --- This is what I call B4 - Big Budget Blockbuster Bummer .
6.Yuvvraj --- Even Yuvraj singh won't have watched it .
7.Roadside Romeo --- In real life also Saif sounds like a dog but that also didn't help the film .
8.My name is Anthony Gonzalves --- I am yet to see this film [:)]

This year it was a tough competition for rotten eggs as there were many . Some others that almost made it to the list were names like Mission Istanbul , Karzzzzzzzzzzzzz , Race, Bachna Ae Hasino , God Tussi Great ho , Heroes , De Taali , Maan gaye Mughal-e-azam , C Kompany, The Last Lear , Hari Puttar (who watched it?) , Hello etc. etc.

This is the last post for the year so here's wishing everyone a very Happy n Prosperous New Year . Lets hope 2009 will bring some good entertainment along with it .

Monday, December 29, 2008

Luck By Chance --- Music Review

The year is almost over and just before the end has come the music of Luck By Chance which gives a good end to the year which has been not so good in terms of music that has released . Luck By Chance is the second film as an actor for Farhan and from the promos this one looks to be more promising than his first one .The film starrs some big names like Konkana Sen Sharma , Juhi Chawla ,Hithik Roshan,Rishi Kapoor,Sanjay Kapoor,Saurabh Shukla,Dimple Kapadia,Isha Sharvani etc. etc. The film's plot revolves around a struggling actor and his journey to make his dreams come true . And as a result the songs are very much related to dreams and life that one wishes to have . Such songs always work among the audience because everybody has a dream and it results in an instant connection with the songs. Remember "Aashayein" of Iqbal . Well this album is pretty much similar in terms of content . The film is Directed by Farhan's sister Zoya Akhtar and hence the music is also by brother's favourite Shankar , Ehsaan and Loy .

The first song on the album is "Yeh Zindagi Bhi" which is a nice slow track with some really nice lyrics . Jaaved Sir always pens down some fine lyrics when it comes to the films that his son/daughter make . This song is a nice opening track and gives a nice insight of life . This song might mark the start of Farhan's journey in the film . The tune that SEL have used is really very nice and keeps the whole song pretty simple and melodious and letting the lyrics do their job . In such songs the lyrics are always the strong point and the job of the music director is to highlight those lyrics even more with the proper tune . In all its a good slow track that very well sets up a mood to listen the further tracks . Both the singers Loy Mendosa and Shekhar Ravjiani do a good job with the vocals .

Just after the slow and soulful track comes a very upbeat and sufiana track "Baawre" . This one is a treat who love Sufiana sort of tracks and also like pure Indian folk tracks . The lyrics here are also great by Jaaved sir and Loy does a fantastic job in singing the sufiana parts . The track though belongs to Shankar for most of the part and he does a great job as usual . In this track contrary to first one the Music takes the lead and dominates the track . The lyrics are good but it is the fantastic use of different instruments and the whole rhythm that makes this song one brilliant track . SEL have done a fantastic job on this one and given full justice to the song . The song interestingly describes a Circus scenario but ironically it refers to life only in general especially of the film world .

The third track on the album is a Slow Romantic number "Pyaar Ki Dastan" . Here both lyrics and music take a very safe mode and lack the newness . The music in this track has been kept very simple and nothing new has been tried . This one is just an average track and good thing is that it has been kept simple only and would work in the film . The male singer on this one is Amit Paul . Remember him ? The guy that came second in the last Indian Idol because of some unfair regional voting for the guy that won the show . Well I wont call it a superb entry into the music scene but he is at least with good guys (SEL) and I am sure they will help him in future also . His voice though sounds quite fresh and he needs to sing a lot many songs and then only any judgement can be passed on his singing . This one was a simple track so nothing to praise about . Mahalaxmi Iyer is an established singer and she does her job well as usual .

Then comes "Yeh Aaj Kya Ho Gaya" which is a nice guitar based track with Sunidhi Chauhan giving the vocals . It is a good short track with nice use of guitar throughout . This one is also a basic track with nothing fancy about it . The lyrics on this one are not as good as compared to the other songs . It is not a weak track yet it isn't a strong one either . The song would look good along with some situation in the film and probably would feature Konkana .

Then comes the Best track on the album and one of the best released in this year , "Sapno Se Bhare Naina" . One brilliant track with some of the finest Lyrics Jaaved Sir has ever written . Just pay heed to the first line - "Bagiyan Bagiyan Baalak Bhaage , Titli fir bhi haath na laage , Is pagle ko kaun samjhaye......Sapno se bhare naina to neend hai na chaina " . Anyone who has a passionate dream that he/she sees for his/her life would just love this track and would instantly identify himself/herself with it . Not only the lyrics are great but even the music that the trio has given is just fabulous . And who else than Shankar himself could have sung it better . His strong classical base matches the passion that is required to sing the song . Overall , a brilliant track and probably one the best in the career of both SEL and Jaaved Sir . I can keep on praising it .

The last original track on the album is "O Rahi Re" . SEL return to the simple soulful mood that is there on the first track . The music and lyrics both are great on this one too . The tune is great and reminds us of the music of the old times . Shankar sings this one also in his immaculate style and does full justice to the lyrics and tune . The lyrics in this one are again very philosophical sorts and talk of life . Music lovers would definitely like the song . Overall , its a really nice track keeping the theme of the entire soundtrack intact . A perfect song to end the soundtrack .

There is one Remix version of Baawre in the end that is probably the only song with heavy techno beats . It is a nice remix and people who won't like the original version would certainly like the remix version . For guys like me still the original one is better any day . But still , the remix is a nice one and not just adds extra bass and ups the tempo . It makes it sound completely different than the original one and would definitely work .

Overall , it is one of the best albums of the year and it was really nice to end the year with such a fine album . Great lyrics packed with some good tunes and singing . SEL and Jaaved sir together have done a much better job on this one than they did on Rock On . I just hope that this film also meets all the expectations I have with it . Go buy it if you are a true music lover .

Album Rating : Four out of Five Stars ; Great Package in total for music lovers .

Ghajini --- Movie Review

Ghajini is exactly what I was expecting and probably even better and before you jump to any conclusions let me tell you that I was expecting Ghajini to be Masala film with lack of logic and some mindless action . And this is what I got , a big disappointment . I was still hoping against the hope that may be there would be just mindless action and still it would have an intelligent story but as it turned out it just had mindless and logic less action with a story that had been borrowed from west and some Indian Masala added to it . Do you remember those old action films of Amitabh and others of that era that had that typical Revenge (Badla) plot with hero running after the villain and in the end beating 50 odd people on his own and taking his revenge . Well , Ghajini is exactly that kind of formula cinema .

What has struck me even more is the fact that Critics like Rajeev Masand (IBN) and Mayank Shekhar (Mumbai Mirror and TOI) have rated it much higher than Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi . Most of the critics argued while reviewing RNBDJ that they found it hard to believe that Anushka doesn't identify his husband just because he shaves off his moustache . And those critics probably left their brains at home while watching Ghajini which from start to end has a long list of logical flaws in it which don't make sense at all . Those critics didn't even keep in mind that at least RNBDJ had an original plot and not an inspired one whereas Ghajini has many similarities with Memento . I mean how biased are these critics , leave aside Taran Adarsh (of IndiaFM) who thinks Ghajini deserves 4.5 stars out of Five . Mind You , he has given Taare Zameen Par 4/5 and Chak De India a mind boggling 2 out of 5 .

Leaving the critics aside , I thought that Indian films and audience were finally getting more intelligent and liked only those films that were a little different and didn't have that formula feel to it . But I was maybe wrong because the films that worked in 2008 like Race , Singh is Kinng , Golmaal Returns etc. are all masala entertainers having all those emotions with very less emphasis on story . Though Ghajini has been marketed as an Action film but let make it very clear that it is a Masala film with a little more of Action .

Frankly speaking , Ghajini is not even worth comparing to Memento . If Memento was a brilliant film then there is no shade of brilliance in Ghajini . Any young upcoming Director from south could have made this film who has grown up watching films of Rajnikanth in which he is always a superhero with no superpowers and yet he beats a group of people to bring justice . The only similarity is the basic theme of the protagonist and rest all is Indian Masala that too with a lot of inspiration from South Commercial cinema .

The film in the first place jumps from Romantic angle to Intense angle almost suddenly many times leaving a mixed feeling . The worst that suffered from this was the Romantic super hit song Guzarish . The song almost starts instantly after an intense situation where audience is in a thinking mode . There is no Romantic build-up before the song and hence the only good song in the film also got a little wasted . Leave aside the other songs which were more of item numbers with no link to the film . Can you believe Jia Khan does an Item No. sort of song (Lattu) at a College Function in very glamorous costume which by the way is a Medical College . Jia becomes a detective from a doctor and all of sudden starts investigating Aamir's case . How real is that ? Well , I can mention several such loop holes in the film but I don't want to , you can see them yourselves . When I heard Kaise mujhe on the album I thought it would be in more of a sad situation but Aamir is all happy when this song is there . The song didn't go along with his mood but the Lyrics did .

Asin is a pleasant surprise and acts quite well and has good comic presence . Though she acted well but I felt that she was just overdoing in some of the scenes which is quite a turn off . She can act but the Director would have to make sure that she doesn't start over-acting . Her role was adorable but not so much believable . In any case the whole film is a bit over the top so you won't mind Asin's acting also . She was cute but didn't make such a good pair with Aamir and the chemistry was a little less . Jia doesn't have much of a role and hence was kept out of the publicity .

One more thing that makes it a typical Formula film is the length of the film which is just about 3 hrs and the pace with which it moves is also of the 80's and 90's . The hammering background score makes sure that no one gets asleep while watching the film . In some parts the score is good but for most of the parts it is a bit over the top . There is also a vague Character of a Police officer who serves nothing in the film or story apart from adding a little bit of action .

The only one positive was the Cinematography which was great and Ravi K. Chandran needs to be applauded for that . The director A.R. Murugadoss also does an average job and he at least made sure that film doesn't become unbearable and kept it a little entertaining . The art direction didn't impress me that much but was still not that bad . I hope Murugadoss comes up with a little less commercial film and more of an original one , the next time .

At last coming to Aamir Khan who according to several critics acted quite well and it is completely his film . Well , there is no doubt that it is completely Amir's film but the acting part isn't that good . I am also an Aamir fan and I've seen him act at least Ten times better than what he did in Ghajini . Such roles first of all don't suit him and I hope he never selects such a character in the future . I am sure nobody would remember Aamir in Ghajini in the future . They might remember Ghajini because of Aamir's 8 packs though . Aamir can do so much better than what he did in this film . Shouting and Killing like an animal doesn't suit him that much if you ask me and for that matter it wont suit any actor of today .

There is no doubt that Ghajini would be blockbuster and you can also watch it to see Aamir in a masala film for a change . But I just hope that with the success of films like Ghajini , Golmaal Returns and Singh is Kinng the producers don't get encouraged to make such cinema more often because it took almost three decades to come up till hear for the industry and I hope it doesn't push itself back to its roots . If this trend continues then we would get to see Superstars getting together and pulling off a blockbuster for a similar story every time .

Movie Rating : Two and a Half out of Five Stars ; Aamir in a Masala film to its core is one thing that I don't want to watch .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi --- Movie Review

The film for which everybody was waiting since a long time , the film that marks the comeback of the famous Jodi of Aditya Chopra-SRK and the film that would probably take the industry out of the slump it is facing , RNBDJ , released with huge expectations this Friday . People would always expect something good when names like Yashraj , Shah Rukh and Aditya Chopra are associated with a film . SRK also comes back on screen after almost one whole whole year so even his fans are expecting a lot from him . So does the film matches to all these ecpectations ? The answer lies ahead .

The primary aim of any SRK film is to provide three hours of Indian Entertainment to the viewer so that at least he or she can forget his/her daily life for sometime and yet can see his/her life in the film to an extent . And RNBDJ serves this primary aim to its fullest . This time round though there are no Huge Lavish Sets that catch your eye , instead there is a simple Punjabi Kothi that looks much more beautiful than a Haveli . The film doesn't take you to the Highways of Europe like DDLJ does but it does take you to congested lanes of Amritsar . The protagonist is not a Rich Son "Raj" but instead it is an average looking Suri Sahni who is just an average employee of Punjab Power . Still , the film has all those dramatics that any Aditya Chopra film has because it is his style and he knows that only . He creates a Commercial yet Story Oriented film that would please not only the intelligent audience and critics but also the lay man on the street . Adi's last film Mohabbatein though was a hit yet it was according to me one of the most pathetic films of SRK's career . The film was poorly inspired by Dead Poets Society and also had greats like Amitabh and SRK delivering some of the most Cliche dialogues and the situations were age old .

So does this mean that RNBDJ doesn't have those Cliche moments . The answer is No , it has those cliche moments but they are very few in number and don't last that long . So if you can digest few of those cliche melodramatic moments then this film is for you . The film is completely based upon the central character Surinder Sahni who is an average guy who somewhere in the corner of his heart wishes to be a Hero that we see on screen and has a Golden heart . His heart makes him a bigger hero than any of those on screen heroes who are more fake than real . Suri is very real and very believable . He finds happiness in simpler things in life and doesn't aim to become a big shot with all the flamboyance .

He is a man with all the values and he meets this girl , Taani , who probably is the compliment of his personality and is all bubbly and vivacious . Taani loves to live life and believes not only in love but also in a Happily Ever after philosophy . But fate takes its turn and she ends up with Suri who she likes as a person but can never fall in love with .Suri on the other hand falls completely in love with her the moment he sees her . Suri with some help from Bobby (Vinay Pathak) transforms himself into Raj to make her happy . Raj looks good and expresses whatever his heart feels right away . But there is a small twist in the story that I have not revealed and I want you to see that for yourself .

The film successfully portrays all the characters in their true elements and there is no larger than life premise . Some parts still have that Fantasy Love and one has to go along with it to enjoy the film . The most entertaining thing in the film is SRK and his character , of course . He carries the entire film on his shoulders through his Fine performance . It has all those humorous moments that any SRK film has . This time round though he makes you Smile for most of the part rather than make you laugh your heart out . He makes the viewers feel good about his character and makes people realise that how they can find more happiness in small things in life that even an Academy Award cannot give .

There are not many emotional moments in the film and those that are there are not forced in . The film in all is a full on entertainer which has elements of both a Light Hearted and Commercial film . You will fall in love with not only SRK's character but also remember the characters like Taani and Bobby . SRK very well acts out the simple average man's character and shows all the shades of it . His acting is one of the strong points of the film . His body language in the film is one thing one should notice to realise that how good an actor he is . He not only changes his clothes but also changes his walking style and mannerisms . Anushka also plays her character very well and she looks beautiful on screen in both Indian and Western Attires . She acts very naturally and her smile will leave boys asking for some more .Vinay as usual acts his part very well and he also has a good role in the film . Vinay has struck a nice balance by doing both commercial and off beat cinema performing equally well in both .

Adi's Direction I feel didn't have much to do because the film lies completely on the shoulders of SRK .But still he doesn't do a bad job and in films like these the central character has the major part of responsibility . The music of the film by Salim-Suleiman is also one of the strong points . Haule Haule being the best and Dance Pe Chance being an absolutely rocking number . Anushka dances really well in the film and SRK is as usual . Then there is "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte" which is a surprise visual delite that will please everyone . The film's music goes along with the film and doesn't hinder the film or its pace in any manner .The choreography and the group of Shiamak Dawar and Vaibhavi Merchant is great and plays an important part in the film. The background score by Salim-Suleiman is also good but sometimes it looks out of the place because it is very much inspired from the films of west . The cinematography by Ravi K. Chandran is fine and at times quite brilliant especially in the scene where Anushka enjoys the raindrops from her window . The story by Aditya Chopra is good but the screenplay is a little weak in some parts .

Overall , its a nice film that not only entertains you for its length but also makes you feel good . The film has released in a time when people are a little disturbed by the recent attacks on our country (and not Mumbai) and the film will definatly take some focus off the heinous act and make people return back to normal .This film would appeal more to a mature audience and a little less to the youth . Watch this film for SRK and his acting and also for Surinder Sahni who exists everywhere and probably a part of him exists in all of us . The only negatives being some small parts in both the first and the second half where the film gets a little weak . Still, the film is worth a watch till the last credit rolls down , why I say so would be clear to you when you'll watch the film . You might end up clapping in the end .

Film Rating : Three and a Half out of Five Stars ; For SRK's fine performance and Surinder Sahni's character.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Raaz - The Mystery Continues --- Music Review

The sequel of yet another film is going to hit the cinema halls pretty soon and this time it is a sequel or should I must say a film in the Raaz series . Raaz if you remember brought back the trend of Horrors and Thrillers in the industry and then followed films like Bhoot,Darna Mana Hai,Saya,Krishna Cottege,Nazar, etc. etc. that all had some supernatural element in it . Raaz was more of a sleeper hit and no one expected a film with the likes of Dino and Bipasha to do well . This time round though the situation is completely different and it is Bhatt camp’s favourites Emraan Hashmi and Kangna Ranaut that are sharing the screen space trying to send a chill down your spine . The director is also different with Mohit Suri in the seat instead of Vikram Bhatt . Vikram Bhatt in any case hasn’t given many hits in his career of 22 films . Though he recently tasted succes with 1920 . One thing that I am expecting out of Mohit Suri is a good original film that need not necessarily be a classic in the genre . I liked his last attempt Aawarapan and he certainly made Emran to act for a change instead of making out with the female lead.

Lets talk a little about the soundtrack and looking at the album it looks like the trend of getting music for each song from different composers is catching on rapidly . The album has Five Original tracks along with three remixes and there are around four different music directors that feature on the album . The first track is ” Maahi ” which is already on air . The lyrics on this one are by “Jiya Dhadak Dhadak ” fame Sayeed Quadri and he does a fairly good job on this one also . Music is by Sharib-Toshi who do a decent job themselves . They have given it a very basic tune and the lyrics along with that tune are good enough to carry the song . This song may not get as hit as the other songs of Emran Hashmi have got in past but certainly would get popular . Toshi the singer also does a decent job and his voice gives a different feel to the song . Overall , it is a nice track that might get much more popular in the coming days .

Next comes “Soniyo” by Raaju . It is also a very simple track and has nothing so new about it that would make it an instant hit . But this doesn’t mean that the song is not good . It has some nice lyrics by Kumaar and vocals by Sonu , Shreya and Neeraj . Sometimes simple tracks get a lot more popular than the others . The track starts off with some nice english singing by Neeraj and slowly Sonu takes over . Then it is Sonu for most of the part yet Shreya and Neeraj support him beautifully . The lyrics by Kumaar have a nice romantic feel to them but I felt that the music composition could have been much better . Still , it is a nice simple romantic track that would be liked by all .

The third track on the album is “O Jaana” is more of a commercial track so a little different than the previous two . Though it is commercial yet it is different . Different because usually commercial tracks don’t really have good lyrics and this one on the contrary has good lyrics . Music is by Raju Singh who does a decent job and doesn’t spoil the good lyrics by giving it a fancy tune or experimenting with it . The lyrics on this one are again by Sayeed and he does a good job again . KK gives in nice vocals like always and overall it is a fun track with some nice content .

Next comes in the Title track “Kaisa Ye Raaz hai” which again has slower tempo like the first two songs and it interestingly has a little rock music sort of feel in it . And since no one sings rock songs better than KK in the film music scene , he does the job effortlessly and in a nice manner . Sayeed writes an average song and the music by Pranay Riijia is also quite average . Some of the Piano based pieces in the begining and in between sound quite mysterious and haunting . These pieces would be very much a part of the Background score. Overall , the song is so so and would probably be liked by KK fans and would certainly make much more sense in the film along with the story line .

Last original track on the soundtrack is “Bandaa Re” which is again more of a Film oriented track and has all those spooky mantra chants , thunder sounds and other such elements to give it a little eerie feel . The lyrics by Gourav Dasgupta in this one are below average and not good as compared to the other songs . The lyrics don’t provide much to the song and neither does the music . The music is also just good enough and would sound better in a cinema hall rather than at your home . This song might hinder the pace of the film a little bit considering it is a five minute track with nothing much to offer . The song would become a disaster and a final nail in the coffin if the screenplay is a little weak and slow . The vocals by Krishna are good but he sings in almost Kailash Kher style and we don’t need one more Kailash , happy with one .

Then comes another version of Soniyo which is labeled as “Soniyo - From the heart” on the album . This one makes my point even more stronger that we don’t need another Kailash . Krishna gives vocals on this one straight from Kailash Kher’s heart . Jokes apart , Krishna is a good singer no doubt but he needs to change his style a bit or else he would get lost somewhere as a copy of Kailash Kher . I liked this one also but I would still prefer the original one .

Then comes a Rock version of Maahi which would be surely made into a promotional music video featuring Emran acting as a rock star . Well this is just a guess but not a wild one and I am positively expecting a music video to soon hit the music channels . This version is also by Toshi and this pne sounds better than the original one . The rock like music that has been composed by Sharib n Toshi is good and it doesn’t feel like the rock version has been made just for the sake of increasing the songs on the album . The song is bound to get popular among the youth which after Rock On expects a rock song in each album . But still , I felt that the tune feels a lot inspired from the western rock songs and I am still waiting for that perfect purely Indian rock song that I didn’t even find in Rock On . Toshi has a voice for such songs and we can expect many such songs coming from him in future .

The last track is a remix of O jaana by DJ Suketu and is labeled as “dance with me mix”. So it is a track that is good for discos etc. and DJ Suketu has done a good job on this one . He is not one of those DJs that add extra bass beats and increase the tempo and label it as a remix . He adds a lot more to the remix and gives it a different feel than the original one .

Overall , it is a good album with almost all the songs being worth listening once . Apart from Banda Re and the title track almost all songs are good enough to make the soundtrack worth buying .

Album Rating : Three and a Half out of Five Stars ; Good songs with not many experiments .

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chandni Chowk to China --- Music Review

One of the four pillars of Indian Film Industry , Akshay Kumar (others being SRK,Hrithik and Aamir) , is all set for his next release , Chandni Chowk to China or in short CC2C . This would be probably the first full fledged Warner Bros. produced pic in India and they might be expecting a different fate than Sony Pictures debut flick Saawariya . But Akshay these days is like a guarantee card attached to a product and his films at least provide a guarantee of recovering the cost . The film is a third attempt for the Kal Ho Na Ho fame Nikhil Advani who would be a little skeptical after his last film Salaam-e-Ishq which didn't do that well on the box office and was a weak film in itself . This one though is not a multistarrer like the previous two . The music for this one has been given by more than one music directors and features the likes of SEL , Bappi Da and Kailasa .

The album in whole has Eight tracks out of which Five are original , two remixes and one being an adapted version of an older song . The first track on the soundtrack is S.I.D.H.U. or in other words Sidhu . This track has been composed by the team of Kailash Kher , Naresh and Paresh together who are known as Kailasa . Their album Teri Diwani got quite popular and this would probably be their first attempt in Film music . The song has been sung by Kailash Kher and it mainly focuses on the lead character , Sidhu (Akshay) , and the characteristics of his character . The tune of this song is very basic Indian one and has a lot of use of percussion instruments . The music on this one reminds us of the track Billo Rani from Goal . This track starts in almost similar fashion as that one . And since it has the very basic desi tune in it , it is bound to get popular and even the lyrics are catchy enough to make it popular . I am sure Navjot Singh Sidhu would love this track and laugh in his Sidhuistic Style after listening to this one . Overall , the track is a nice and safe first attempt by the group Kailasa and has all the ingredients to get successful . The lyrics are also by Kailash Kher so it turns out that he has all the talents from writing to singing . Good piece of writing considering he is not a full fledged writer .

The next song on the album is the Title track "Chandni Chowk To China" that we heard in the teaser promos to an extent . This one has been composed by another well set trio in the industry , Shankar Ehsaan and Loy . SEL had given a blockbuster album with Nikhil in Salaam-e-Ishq . This time though they get only two songs on the album . This track has been sung by Shankar , Anushka Manchanda and Neeraj Sridhar . This is a typical SEL track with Shankar yelling at the top of his voice , don't mind shankar I am just kidding . It is just that he mostly sings High pitched songs so they all sound similar . It also has some Chinese Folk Music inputs which sound good . The track though on a whole is a little weak to be a title track . The Lyrics on this one by Rajat Aroraa are very average and they don't provide anything to the song . Both the lyrics and tune are pretty commercial . The song though is good enough to not harm the film . It might look good if filmed properly . The only refreshing thing in this song is the voice of Anushka Manchanda . She sings well and she is a good alternative for overused Sundhi Chauhan's voice .

The third track on the album is an adapted version of Mumbai se Aaya Mera dost(Aap Ki Khatir-1977 ) titled as India Se aaya Mera dost . This one has been composed by our very own Bappi Da who is back after Taxi No. 9211 with this track . Since Taxi No. 9211 was also produced by Rohan Sippy like this one , Bappi gets a bonus for the hit soundtrack that he produced for that film . This track makes me wonder why doesn't he work more even though he gave a hit soundtrack in form of Taxi No. 9211 . This one is a fabulous track and probably my pick on the album and Bappi Da proves the saying that Its not Age but it is Mileage that counts . The track starts off with some weird Chinese lyrics and tune . The additional lyrics by Rajat this time are much better and add to the beauty of the song . The tune itself of the original song is so good that it makes one sway to it . But Bappi da has also added a lot to the original tune and given it a very modern make over . The use of Chinese music in this one makes much more sense than what was used in the title track . This one also sounds like those spanish Football World Cup theme songs that are good for cheering etc . Apart from composing the song Bappi Da has also sung the song in his typical style making it much more entertaining . Overall , it is a fun song from the word go .

The fourth song on the soundtrack is a soft romantic number "Tere Naina" by SEL . This one is nice song and like one of those lounge versions which have minimal use of music and stress in more on Lyrics and singing . It has a nice modern feel to it and even Shreya sings in accordance with that feel . The lyrics by Rajat Aroraa on this one are the best in the entire album and even the singing by both the singers is great . Backed up by good on-screen chemistry between Akshay and Deepika this song might turn out to be a Romantic treat . Shreya is a master in such songs and she sings in a soulful manner . Overall , the best original track on the album and is a winner all the way . This one reminded me of the track "Dil Mera Ek Taara" from 16 December which is one of my all time favourites .

The next on the soundtrack is "Chak Lein De" by Kailash , Paresh and Naresh . This track is also a modern track with a nice use of Punjabi Lyrics . It starts off with seriously cool music something that you usually hear in soundtracks of films like The Matrix . I liked the lyrics to an extent but I think that this track would have got much more popular if the lyrics would have been a little better because the music on this one is top notch . It feels a little inspired from west but still is quite good and would look even better if its music is used in background score for the film . The song has some good use of flute in between and overall has a nice pace attached to it . Kailash as usual sings it quite well and this song has all the compositions of a good track that might grow over with repeated listening .

The last original track is a RAP song CC2C sung by Akshay Kumar and has music by Bohemia , the London based Punjabi Rapper . I don't know if this song would be featured in the film or not but at least it would be featured in the end credits . This one is an average RAP attempt and though Akshay is not one of the best singers yet he manages to sing it in an average way . The akshay fans would love it since it has the story of Akshay Kumar in short . The music and Lyrics by Bohemia are good enough to hold the song . The singing is the weak point and lyrics are also so so . Akshay glorifies himself a little bit in the song and nobody would mind that since he is riding quite high on the success wave . Overall , it is an average attempt at the RAP music genre by Akshay Kumar and Bohemia .

Then at last come two remixes from DJ Amyth of the title track and Chak Lein De . The remixes are as usual with increased tempo and having the usual DJ bass effects in them . The remix of Chak Lein De is better one and little different than the original song .

Overall , its a nice Commercial soundtrack that would definitely do quite well on the charts and it would certainly help the movie and won't hinder the pace of the film in any way . The soundtrack has some good songs and others are average tracks that any commercial soundtrack has . You can try it once .

Album Rating : Three out of Five Stars ; Tere Naina and India se aaya mera dost being the best .