Sunday, June 28, 2009

New York --- Movie Review

This year has been virtually empty when it comes to film releases . Those that managed to get released before the strike were all major disappointments and the year has been so far not good . The first half of 2009 has almost got over and now we finally have a film that one can look forward to , New York . The film's subject matter is known to everyone and this film is not a typical entertainer . When a production house like Yashraj makes a film like this it is bound to get a bit commercialized . What matters though is that does the core subject matter of the film gets lost under the glossy outside .

The answer to that question is no . Kabir Khan is an intelligent film maker and he had proved that in Kabul Express . This time he re-confirms it . He has made sure that the big cast and budget do not affect the film in any way and affect it only in a positive way . The positive that I see is that when big names and big stars get associated with such a subject the message that the story aims to send reaches a far wider audience than what it would have in case of a smaller budget film .

Talking of film , it starts off in a great way and comes straight to the point . There's no circumlocution and the director makes his point clear right in the beginning that this ain't no usual masala entertainer . The introduction of characters on screen is one of the most powerful I've seen in recent times . The song "Junoon" has been Brilliantly used for this task and I could have never imagined that it would be used in this way . The small love angle that is there in the film is there just for some roughly 20-25 minutes in the beginning and that too done in a very swift and neat way . Time passes by in the film pretty fast and it takes no time for the director to come right from 1999 to 2008 . The whole introduction part has been done in a very fresh and brilliant way . The friendship of all the three characters has been portrayed in a very subtle manner and it is not in your face . They become friends just like normal people do , presentation might be a bit different and large . The emotional connect with the main characters gets established in this part and I must again say Kabir has done this job fabulously .

Once that connect is established , the film gets right down to business and talks of life after 9/11 for an average Muslim person in America . The film moves about in a very fast and a bit thrilling way . It talks about the inhuman torture that the non-american prisoners have to bear in the prison cells and how it got even brutal after the 9/11 attacks . Kabir and the actors have very well understood and felt the subject and carried it off brilliantly on screen . There is this small character of guy who has been traumatised by the treatment he gets for no fault of his own . He is just brilliant . Though a really small part but when he speaks about what happened with him , it shakes you to the core . The actor has done a top quality job for this small part and he has the strongest part apart from the main cast . This is one character that you would remember for a long time even after the film ends .

I don't want to give out many details from the story as it is treated in a way that it would be better if you know them as you watch the film . The little bit of suspense that Kabir has kept has been done in a nice way in the film . The film's story unfolds in a really nice way and it manages to hold attention of the viewer throughout the film . The first half of the film ends strongly and manages to hold the interest of the viewer and keep it alive for the second half .

If majority of the first half is seen through Omar's (Neil) eyes then second half has Sam's (John) view of things . The second half starts afresh and the story moves forward from there and doesn't creep slowly towards the end . The serious tone of the film continues here too and it is this part where the director aims to send out his view on the things and also the message of the film . The way story moves , the end is a bit expected yet the director manages to surprise a bit here too and executes it in an almost perfect manner . The end comes at a proper time and again comes at a swift pace . The film doesn't have any emotional drama yet the emotional connect with the characters is good . Kabir proves his point that one doesn't need long emotional dialogues to establish that connect .

The cast of the film is also great and they all look good together . The friendship of the characters has been portrayed in a very fresh and good way . Katrina , John and Neil look great on-screen together and a good friendly love film can be made using this chemistry . But I guess it won't look as fresh the second time as it did in this one . Too bad that this film has none of that and has only small trailer of what could have been full length Yashraj feature film . The innocence of their friendship and their characters add a lot to the film and make the point of the film even more stronger . The young characters of the film also make sure that the message goes out straight to the young people of our country or as Pepsi calls it , the Youngistaan .

Talking of acting , everybody has done a great job and even Katrina who is accused to be a mere show girl does her part well . John and Neil both have felt the characters in the script and acted out them well . Irfan needs no compliments and he is great as usual . His character is also an important one . The small kid that is there in the film is also great and his really short part is also good .

Music of the film is also good and it has been brilliantly used by Kabir . He has made sure that almost through every song the story keeps moving and the songs don't hinder the pace of the film . In fact the songs have been used in such a way that they add to the film in so many ways . The background score by Julius Packam is great and only in some parts it could have been a bit different . The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is great and he shows new york in a great way . While watching the film I realised that the trailer of the film had been cut in a really brilliant manner and kudos to Kabeer and his team for that . The editing of the film by Rameshwar Bhagat is also good and film is very brisk in nature and moves about at a constant rate .

In all , its a great film and you need to see it to believe it . The script of the film is great and when script is great things generally tend to fall in place automatically . The director Kabir Khan has done a really good job and he needs to be applauded for making a film on this subject . I don't like Aditya's decisions mostly but I respect him for supporting this film and also providing Kabir with a good budget to make it . He should support films like this and look forward and if not many then at least make one such film a year . Kabir is a good film maker and I am now looking forward to his next project , I hope it is also a good one . I would recommend this film to everyone and it is high time that we support good and subject oriented cinema no matter who produces it . If this film works on the box office which I am sure it would then many producers would dare to support such projects and not go for the usual masala entertainers .

Movie Rating : Four out of Five ; A good film made with a good intent .

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Love Aaj Kal --- Music Review

The team that gave super-hit music for "Jab We Met" is back again and this time they have a huge monkey on their back which would certainly result in comparisons . The music of "Love Aaj Kal" is out and I must say I was looking forward to this album with lot of anticipation . The film has an all new cast for director Imtiaz Ali who has never worked with them before and as a result expectations are running high . Pritam's recent work , New York , is already on the charts and has got positive feedback .The lyrics which are done by Irshad Kamil , last worked on Jab We Met where he did a great job . This album has a total of 10 tracks with 3 remixes and 7 originals.

The first one on the track is the one that is already on air , "Twist" , which is a nice peppy track to begin the album . It has vocals by Neeraj Sridhar who is good with English vocals as always and has his distinct style of singing . The song starts with the famous "Been" tune from the hit song "Tan Dole mera mann dole" of Nagin originally composed by Hemant Kumar . The old classic tune has been given a modern feel and it is probably the best thing in the entire song music-wise . The lyrics don't have much to offer and there's nothing so great or catchy about them . The only catchy phrase that is there is "And We Twist" which has been given by some guy Indie according to Album Credits so lyricist gets no point for this song . The only two positives of the song are the classic music and the phrase "And We Twist" . Interestingly the credits to both these positives have been given in real small fonts somewhere in the corner on the Album Credits . Overall , a nice track , will get popular for sure but I guess in the long run wont work .

Then comes "Chor Bazaari" by Neeraj Sridhar and Sunidhi . How ironic , Pritam gets to compose a song by the name of "Chor Bazaari" , he he , he would have had no problem composing this one . Well , the song has nice music , I hope the source is Pritam only . The lyrics here are much better than the first track and add to the song . This song would be of the league of "Ye Ishq Haaye" from Jab We Met and I guess in this one also Saif and Deeps would be roaming around in some beautiful locales . I am looking forward to see this song on-screen . Niraj and Sunidhi have sung it effortlessly and did a good job . Pritams Chor Bazaari is of the better tracks on the album .

Remember the cool music in First Trailer of the film . Well , that was from "Aahun Aahun" which comes next . This was the part that made me look forward to the music and as always the best part was in the trailer itself , nothing more to offer . I just loved the first 50 seconds from this track after which it takes a whole different path . And guess what , the first 50 seconds that I loved again have an outside source . Both the lyrics and melody of the this part are from a Traditional Punjabi Track -"Kadi Te Hass Bol Ve" . Good part though that this part has been sung by Master Salim who I think has done a great job . At first I thought it was Mika (considering Jab We Met) but to my surprise it was not him . Anyways Salim does a great job in that part . Apart from the first part , the song in my opinion has nothing much to offer , neither lyrically nor music wise . The guitar piece in the beginning and throughout is good . Music is all about Passion and Feelings and that is very much visible in that first part of this song which are no where else in the entire album . I just loved it .

Then comes "Dooriyan" by Mohit Chauhan . Mohit got a great song in "Jab We Met" but I guess history doesn't repeat itself so fast . This one is a good track but not a great one . This track would make much more sense after the film releases and when we watch it along with the story . The lyrics are also good . The song has a slow sad feel to it and Mohit adheres to it . He does a good job with vocals . Overall , its a nice slow track that would work with the film .

"Ajj Din Chadheya" comes next by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan which is a nice soulful track with a simple bit of music . The song has some nice lyrics with some inputs from Shiv Kumar Batalvi . The entire track has an element of simplicity to it yet it is certainly worth listening. The Punjabi lyrics have been very well sung by Rahat who as always does a great job . Irshad has done a great job with lyrics and his best on this album . In all , its a nice track that might grow on you with repeated listening and would grow even more once film releases .

Then comes a folk song like track "Thoda Thoda Pyaar" which is a bit different and has some traditional music in it . Though it has a folk song like feel but it is not something like "Genda Fool" which was a pure folk song yet done brilliantly . This one is meant only for film and would look good only in the film . Nothing so different about it and is just like usual traditional Punjabi track . The lyrics and singing both are good .

Finally comes "Mein Kya Hoon" by KK . He has sung this one in similar style that Shaan had sung "Aao Meelon Chale" in Jab We Met . I guess Pritam is responsible for that . Pritam though has failed to compose a good tune for this one . The music is pretty much average for this track and lyrics are also not that good either . The music of this track though would sound good on a good music system and bass lovers would love it . Overall , its an average track and doesn't provide a good end to the soundtrack .

Then there is a series of remixes of tracks "Twist" , "Chor Bazaari" and "Aahun Aahun" all done by DJ Sanj . These are just like any other remixes , faster and some beats in it for the discs n clubs . The remix of chor bazaari has some bad English lyrics that make no sense as such . Last comes a remix of Aahun Aahun in which the part that I loved has been cut short so that leaves pretty much nothing in it .

Overall , a nice album but falls short of expectations . This one would not be a blockbuster like Jab We Met and would go down as an average bollywood film soundtrack . The songs that are a bit good also don't impress that much . But still , it aint that bad and Pritam somehow manages a soundtrack that would at least not hurt the film and add to it in a certain way .

Album Rating : 3 out of 5 ; Good but only in parts .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kambakkht Ishq Music Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not at all related to any bollywood stars and I am not conspiring against Akshay Kumar . My views are independent and unadulterated .

This year so far hasn't been so good for films as such and it has been particularly not good for Akshay who has already had two disasters and all his hopes are lying on his next release Kambakkht Ishq . I am personally not a fan of "Nadiadwaala" films (producer Sajid Nadiadwala) and most of their films are big budget crappy commercial cinema for me . Though their films work at box office because of their commercial nature and this is probably why stars don't say no to him . The only decent film coming from Nadiadwala's has been Jaan-e-mann which by the way didn't work on the box office . So one thing is clear that I don't expect much from their films but one thing that has been not so bad about their films is the music . Most films have had commercial yet decent bit of music which were an important factor in their film's success . This album has provided exactly what I was expecting from it , senseless crappy commercial music . Anu Malik who mostly doesn't work these days has been out of form n touch and it is quite evident in this album .

Lets get down to songs , first comes Om Mangalam . This one has been written,composed and performed by RDB , a regulation in all Akshay's films these days . RDB are a good bunch of kids and they do good with music and singing but certainly not with lyrics . They should leave the job of writing for some professionals . In terms of music though this one is amongst the better tracks on the album and would get most popular from the entire lot . I personally didn't like this song because it is mostly copy-paste job i.e. same part has been repeated over and over again in this song . Take a look at the lyrics "Meri Fasne ki nahi Chahat thi , lekin kismat ne mujhe rahat di " ; what the hell does this mean !! Anyways its just a commercial track and this is what is expected .

Next comes "Lakh Lakh" by Neeraj Sridhar . This one is a very average and mediocre kinda track . Nothing new about it . We've heard such commercial tracks in the past and such tracks will keep coming . The music is also pretty basic and Anu would have composed this effortlessly . The lyrics are also so so by Anvita Dutt Guptan who shot into fame after her work in Bachna Ae Hasino . The lyrics here are very commercial and make very less sense .

Then we have a track called "Bebo" by Alisha Chinoy . Anu always asks Alisha to sing a song in his album and this is probably why Alisha wouldn't have said no to this track . Again , this one is also pretty much mediocre and reminded me of the early Alisha tracks that she sung in the beginning of her career , the music was also from that era . This track would have worked 15 years back from now but it won't work at all today . Kareena would love this track as she loves herself probably more than anyone else and after this she wouldn't mind working again in Nadiadwala's next film too , even if this one doesn't work .

Then comes a second title track , this time by Anu Malik . One more disappointment . This one by KK and Sunidhi has even crappier lyrics than the previous one . "Sunidhi , I plead to you , Please stop singing songs like this !! Please , you wouldn't want people to remember you for songs like these ." And what happened to KK , when did he started singing such songs . Bad track and Anu needs to seriously think of retiring . This track might work by the way as there is an audience for such tracks too .

Then comes a decent track "Kyun" by Shreya and Shaan . This track is a little better than the previous tracks and when I heard this one , it reminded me of the Title track of Yaadein (Hrithik-Kareena Disaster) . If you don't remember , Yaadein's title track had a "Sargam" part in it which roughly forms the base of this track in some parts . Yaadein's music was also composed by Anu Malik so I cannot accuse him of stealing . Though inspired from here and there still it is a decent track and the lyrics are good . So in all it is a little different from the other commercial tracks on the album and provides a welcoming change .

Then come a series of remixes of the songs that we've heard till now starting from reprise edition of RDB's version of title track . Only a bit faster and extra bass beasts in it , nothing more . Then comes a "Electro Dhol Mix" of Lakh Lah which doesn't make it any better . Then comes a "club mix" of Bebo with some girl moaning in the background to make it sound sensual . Nothing more to it . Then comes a remix version of Anu's version of Title Track , this one remixed by K&G , a little different from the original version , not that good but better than other remixes .

Shreya sings a complete female version of "Kyun" next which again provides a necessary change after the series of needless remixes . This one is no different than the previous one and just Shaan is absent from this one .

At last comes "Welcome to Hollywood" composed by Salim-Sulaiman . By putting some tiny-winy guest appearances of Sylvester,Denise Richards and Brandon Routh , Sajid claims that this film will bridge gaps between Hollywood and Bollywood . He he what a joke !! As if he has casted Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise in a lead role for a Hindi film . Well anyways , this music by Salim-Sulaiman is certainly not their best and they have done better . The English lyrics in this one by Sabbir Khan are just there for the sake of adding a western touch . Anushka sings well and she strangely is absent from good songs even after giving a hit title track in the original Golmaal .

Overall , this album can be avoided and it has very less to offer if you are looking for some good music . If you like commercial music then buy it at your own risk . Anu Malik once again disappoints and I think he needs to forget that he is a big music director and needs to work like a new guy . Waise I am too small a guy in stature to give him any advice .

Album Rating : Two out of Five ; mediocre music with very few decent tracks .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New York --- Music Review

New York is the first big film to hit the screens after the long strike between the producers and multiplex owners and also Yashraj's first film for this year . Yashraj had a terrible last year with RNBDJ being the solo hit of the year and they would expect to start this year on a positive note . This film by Kabir Khan of Kabul Express fame is based on different subject matter and is not usual Yashraj entertainer . The film as we all know has the backdrop of 9/11 WTC attacks and the story revolves around that incident . The trailers of this film had hit the cinema halls long back along with Rab Ne.. but the release got delayed and now Yashraj have very less time to promote the film . The music of this one is by Pritam and expectations of a commercially hit album are always there from him . He last worked on Aa Dekhe Zara and the track "Gajab Huio Rama" is still on the charts .

Since the film is completely based in New York , the music of the film also has that complete western feel and there are very few Indian elements in it . The soundtrack has eight tracks in total with 6 originals and 2 remixes . The first song on the album is the track that features in the trailer , "Hai Junoon", by KK . The track begins with a guitar piece that reminded me a bit of the guitar theme from Sholay . When I heard it in the trailer my expectations with the music rose and I started expecting a good soundtrack . I must say that the best part of the track was in the trailer itself and apart from that it has very little to offer , at least in terms of music . The track though a simple one but yet in my opinion is the best on the entire soundtrack and comes upfront . It will definately get popular but at a a slower rate probably because it is not one of those instant hit types . The lyrics by Sandeep Shrivastav are nice and refreshing and capture the emotions of the characters very well . This song suits Katrina very much and this is definately her time . KK as usual does a good job singing the song and I loved the chorus also in the track . Overall , a nice light track to begin the album .

Next comes "Mere Sang" by Sunidhi Chauhan who I think sings very few good songs these days . She has far more talent and she is wasting it on so so commercial tracks . By the way this track is not one of those and is a good one . It also has a western feel to it and is of the league of songs from pritam's film METRO. This song also has a good use of guitars and drums and has the rock feel to it . The lyrics of this one are also good and have that urban feel to them . Overall , its a nice track and Sunidhi does well singing it .

Coming third is "Tune Jo Na Kaha" which reminded me of the track "Chal Chalen Apne Ghar" from Woh Lamhe . Pritam who is famous for composing inspired music this time got a little inspired from his own work from the past . Though not largely but in certain parts you can observe the similarity between this track and that one . Listen to both the tracks and if you think that I am right then please leave a comment , I want to know that is it me only who thinks this way or you also think so . Well , this track is also good one and the lyrics here add to the beauty of the song . Sandeep has done a great job once more and he can do even better . The vocals are by Mohit Chauhan on this one and he has done great job as usual . Overall, a nice slow number and has some nice piece of lyrics .

"Aye Saaye Mere" comes next which aims at sending out a message through itself . The central message of the film also probably lies in this song . This one has been composed and Sung by Pankaj Avasthi . He does a great job singing and his voice does have that sufiana quality of a saint and the music he composed for the song is also pretty simple and basic . This song would most probably feature in the background and would look good that way along with the film's storyline .

Next come the remix versions of "Hai Junoon" and "Mere Sang" which are just like every other remix and have those bass beats and DJ effects with a higher tempo . Nothing great about them and are good for discs etc. Amongst the two , I liked the "Mere Sang" one more . The tracks have been remixed by Julius Packam who has also composed the two themes musics that follow next .

In the end come two theme musics by Julius Packam , first one being "Sam's Theme" which is nice and has vocals by Caralisa Monteiro . The fact that Sam's character has a theme proves that it is the central character in the film . Caralisa does a great job with the vocals and apart from her vocals the music has little to offer in this theme . Nothing so new about the theme but might look good in the film . Sounds a little sad which leads me to believe that Sam probably dies in the film .

Finally comes the theme music of the film and this one is nice bit of music but not a great one . Julius had done a fabulous job in Kabul Express and I expected a little more from him . I hope he does a great job with the background score of the film just like he did in Kabul Express .

Overall , the album falls a little short of the expectations but still is worth listening and the songs are pretty simple . They match to the theme of the film and I am sure they would look and sound even better in the film . Lets hope that the film doesn't fall short of expectations and is at least as good as Kabul Express .

Album Rating : Three out of Five ; certainly worth listening .