After many troubles Ae Dil Hai Mushkil finally released this weekend and we’re joined by Anisha Jhaveri (@Jhavanis) writer for Indiewire, to talk about Karan Johar’s new movie starring the all star cast of Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Fawad Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
We talk about:
Our expectations walking into a Karan Johar movie
Some alternative theories on how to view the ADHM
Deal with some of the major criticism the movies has faced
Is Ranbir Kapoor’s shtick getting old?
Is Anushka Sharma a new version of Geet from Jab We Met?
The wardrobe of ADHM: sneakers and red pocket liners on a pea coat
Was Aishwarya’s role over sold in the promos?
Aishwarya and Anushka straight out a magazine cover
The team of Sujoy Ghosh (this time as producer) , Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan (switching roles as lead vs guest appearance) that brought us one of the best Indian movies, Kahaani, of the last few years comes together again for Te3n.
The movie is set in Kolkatta and is a the remake of the Korean thriller Montage, but this time added with an amazing central performance by the living legend that is Amitabh Bachchan and directed by Rubhu Dasgupta.
Josh Hurtado from TwitchFilm joins us to break down if Te3n delivers on it’s promise, where it ranks in terms of recent Indian trillers as well as child abduction movies like Talaash and Ugly.
We keep the review spoiler free until the midway point, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, we warn you in advance where to stop listening.
Do also check out our interview with the talented and wonderful Vidya Balan by clicking here.
We had the opportunity to speak with the amazingly talented Vidya Balan about Te3n which hits theaters today in the UK.
As usual on Upodcast we talk about the most random things:
Greed as an actor
Our theory that Vidya might be a superhero ninja
How hard it was for Sujoy ghosh to not direct the movie
Vidya reveals a little about Kahaani 2 and we pitch our ideas for Kahaani 3
How the ending of Te3n was kept secret from the cast
In one of the only emotional scenes of this movie, a very old Punjabi grandfather character (played wonderfully by the veteran Indian TV actor Arun Bali) speaks of the horrors of getting uprooted from what you once considered home, and being forced to leave everything behind. This scene is crucial in establishing why a certain Mr. Kohli (Kumud Mishra), a paper-pusher in the External Affairs Ministry Office, turns into one of the key figures in enabling the success of an impossible rescue mission. It is sad then, that Airlift, a movie based on true events of world’s largest civil evacuation could not evoke any further emotional hooks for me as a movie audience to remain invested or engaged. And yes, it even has a mini segment where we see the tricolour being hoisted and K.K. singing Vande Mataram. And even then, I did not participate in that moment of triumph. THAT is the biggest failure of the movie.
I am not for a single bit, attempting to undermine the real heroism of the true heroes who were involved in this rescue mission of 170,000+ Indians from war-torn Kuwait. I am in fact saying that a story as incredible as this deserves a much better movie than what it got in Airlift. It is a classic case of an ambitious director meeting an “out-of-their-league” story and getting overwhelmed by it. Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon along with his team of writers have put up a screenplay which can be the equivalent of a college play on opening rehearsal day, with a very rough first draft of a scribble on a tissue paper acting as a script.
The narrative tries to introduce several characters into the plot – from the ever so grouchy George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi – Madras Cafe, Talvar), the unnecessary Mr. Poonawala, and the somewhat simmering and confusing love story of Ibrahim (Purab Kohli – Rock On). But none of them ever have a sub plot as such. There is no distinct payback that we as audience get from these plot threads. The trunk of the story tree is the man who is front and centre in the poster – Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katiyal. He is the Ship Captain who is reluctantly put in charge of the fate of 170,000+ Indians. And Akshay handles it as best as he can. But the screenplay again fails him.
In one of the scenes, Akshay’s wife played by Nimrat Kaur convinces him to go to the docks – because he is a negotiator. And there is hardly anything following that scene which highlights this very characteristic of Mr. Katiyal. On the other hand, there is a scene where Akshay goes gung-ho and attacks a bunch of check-point gunned security guards, and even manages to threaten them. It seemed like Katiyal was playing Akshay for that moment, and not the other way around. We are told of Rajiv Katiyal being a businessman through and through. But in the face of such hardships, there is hardly any conversation in the movie that is scripted as one that demanded special skills. The Iraqi General played by Inaamulhaq (Filmistan), is layered in poor and generic Middle Eastern accent, and is a character written as a caricature. And hence, there is no sense of threat or perhaps, we have all seen this done way better in many other movies and TV shows.
The female lead in the movie, Nimrat Kaur seemed like one of the stereotypical naggy Indian housewife for most of the movie. She’s pretty glammed up for a woman stuck in war-torn Kuwait. But I assume, the writers felt compelled to give her something more than just that. And by virtue of that, she gets one scene which showcases glimpses of the actor we liked so much in The Lunch Box.
But my biggest complaint from this movie, is that being titled Airlift, the movie spends a total of only 2 minutes speedily narrating about the mega-operation taken up by Air India who managed to “airlift” the 170,000+ Indians from Jordan. Perhaps, that wasn’t as exciting on paper as Akshay punching dudes in sandy desert. And let’s not even get started on that cringe-worthy remix of Khaled’s Didi .
This one is not even for a lazy matinee.
Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon and stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur (Homeland, The Lunchbox).
The film releases internationally on on the 22nd of January in the UK.
Most fans of popular Hindi cinema will be familiar with films like Zubeidaa (2001) and Welcome To Saajanpur (2008) but as The Master: Shyam Benegal shows, Bengal has a formidable body of work before mainstream success; films that won many National Awards, defied convention and were very much ahead of their time – so much so, that today’s cinema will be forever indebted to Benegal’s contribution.
Unfortunately then, The Master has quite a jarring rhythm to it so that the viewer never really gets settled in and feels quite clumsy at times. I also found my attention wandering at one point and at one point, was not sure why we had certain contributors on screen who didn’t offer anything different from what Benegal has already told us. Although the affection Mohammed has for Benegal and his films comes across quite well, I do wish the editing had been more stringent and there was a greater organisation to the material rather than a brisk chronological stroll through Benegal’s filmography.
Thankfully, the subject matter here is fascinating and just about overshadows the flaws- Benegal is a very likeable person who comes across really well as a passionate creative who has conviction in his vision and one gets the sense that his pursuit in making his films really was instrumental in forming independent Indian cinema as we know it today. I felt all of his films could easily fill documentaries of their own, not only because they are rooted in various social causes but also the amazing roster of talent such as Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseerudin Shah that his films boast.
Out of all the contributors interviewed for The Master, I thought Shabana Azmi’s anecdotes were quite candid and offered a real insight into what it is like to work with Benegal whilst Manoj Bajpayee’s recounting of how Karisma Kapoor asked him not to kiss her on the lips in Zubeidaa is an awkward encounter, especially when Karisma manages to avoid elaborating on the subject. As Neena Gupta points out, most actresses are quite possessive of Benegal after working with him and it is not hard to see why – his films truly offer actresses a wonderful showcase for their talents.
If you have never heard of Shyam Benegal or are unfamiliar with his early work, The Master offers a a guide of sorts of which ones to watch (I had seen Ankur (1974) prior to this and cannot wait to watch Mandi, Nishant and Bhumika as well as a rewatch of Zubeidaa). Hopefully this won’t be the only documentary made on Benegal but it certainly is a starting point to learn more about one of India’s most prolific independent filmmakers.
Directed by: Khalid Mohammed
Narrated by: Naseerudin Shah
The Master: Shyam Benegal played at the London Indian Film Festival.
It’s that time of year again where we revisit the year that has passed and recap the best and worst moments. There will be quite a lot of “Best of”- lists appearing on the interwebz but Upodcast’s listsÂ are obvisouly the best .Â So here is a rundown of the best Bollywood Albums of 2010! See the entire list after the jump!
Our friend FilmiGirl is running her “best of 2010″ lists on her blog and although usually we see eye-to-eye, for once I didn’t agree at all with the picks she made.
Â So we decided to put our own of list of best Bollywood SongsÂ together but realized that it is actually pretty hard to create list only ranked by songs. And especially coming to our top 3 we just couldnt pick single tracks that stood out. (unless you have the science of iTunes backing you up).Â So instead of ranking our favorite songs, we went with our favorite Albums of 2010. Here goes nothing!
Pritam might not be my favorite composer but he is extremely effective in the style of music he delivers for commercial Hindi cinema and although accusations of plagiarism are rampant, I do find myself putting his songs and albums on repeat even when the film has come and gone. He has a knack for collaborating with singers with quite unique timbres and finds songs that really suit their style ie Atif Aslam, Mohit Chauhan or Tulsi Kumar.
â€œPee Loonâ€ which had a bit of â€œPehli Nazar Meinâ€ from Race hangover but still was sweet and this could have been an Atif song so I was glad to hear Mohit chauhan grab the mic instead as a change. Although the picturization might not have been that great (The scene where Emraan dresses up his girlfriend like Dimple Kapadia in “Bobby” and then jumps her bones Â just made me a throw up a little in my mouth!). â€œTum Jo Aaye Zindagi meinâ€ sung by Rahat Ali Khan and Tulsi Kumar was a nice soft ballad and barring the black face â€œPardaâ€ was passable lacing the album with 3 pretty decent tracks!
I have to be honest here, I haven’t checked out the full album and the chipmunk voices on the title track do not work for me at all. ButÂ I do have a lot of faith in director Farah Khan to add oodlesÂ of entertainment and mastiÂ and actually improving on the musicality of the album by making the songsÂ look awesome.
A Perfect example of this is â€œWallah re Wallahâ€ which would be a pretty average qawalli track if it wasnâ€™t for a certain special appearance. And of course Tees Maar Khan does have the 2nd most awesome item number of the year in â€œSheila Ki Jawaniâ€!
8.Band Bajaa Barraat-
Music Director: Salim Sulaiman
Another soundtrack that you want to revisit after watching the movie! The Punjabi feel is heartpouding and most of the songs are high in energy especially “Ainvayi Ainvayi” .The item song “Dum Mast Mast” is a bit of a misfire but we get to see a glammed up Anushka Sharma which doesnâ€™t happen enough.Â I also have a real soft spot for her, like my friend Suraj mentioned: She is the new Zinta!
The song â€œTarkeebeinâ€ which was used in most of the promos wasn’t bad although theÂ constant repeating of “Turkey mein” started to get gratingâ€¦( and why was break out star Ranveer singing about Turkey anyway? Wasnâ€™t this movie supposed to be set in Delhi?)
Both Hritik Roshan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali have been having rough time lately and although they pour their heart and souls in every endeavor, they do not manage to strike gold at the Box Office every time. Both the music and the movie seemed to beg the audience to love them just because Â it was sincere and heartfelt but to me it seemed like that needy kid in High school that writes love poems for girls that are way to hot for him. It’s just not gonna happen, Â kid! As both high school and the box office are cruel mistresses.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali first fully composed album and although â€œSau Gramâ€,â€ Guzaarishâ€ and â€œUdiâ€ are poetic songs completely part of the mood and story of the movie and look beautiful, how could they not with SLB framing Aishwarya Rai-Bachan.
Â I can’t help but wonder if the movie itself would have been better if he had just focused on directing and put his trust in a team of talented people around him.
Probably the most refreshing OST of the year composed by newcomer Sneha Khanwalkar who had previously composed for Dibakar Bannerjee’s â€œOye Lucky Luckyâ€a film I wasn’t a huge fan of.
Â I donâ€™t think the movie created many ripples but was showing in quite a few film festivals (even in London) it was one of my favorites of the first half of 2010 and the soundtrack has been on repeat on my playslist all year.
When I first heard the woman’s scream followed by a gun shot at the start of LSD’s title track I had a similar feeling to hearing the Dev D album aÂ year ago, the same kind of excitement of listening to a fresh music composer trying to do something different whilst still being embedded in the narrative of the movie. Although the lyrics might not make it as the best sing along album for your family picnicÂ (I am looking at you â€œTu Ghandi/ Nangi Achi lagti haiâ€ surprisingly sung by Kailash Kher). I would recommend seeking the movie and the soundtrack out if you still havenâ€™t; it’s an underrated gem and an album you can play back to back!
Before I go into my top 5: I wanted to give some honorable mentions, these were Albums that had some great tracks on them but not enough to make them part of my top 10:
Lamhaa:â€ Madnooâ€ and â€œSajnaaâ€ probably my 2 favorite easy listening songs of the year, rest of the album didnâ€™t connect with me though.
Robot: I shall only sayÂ â€œO O O O ROOBOOOâ€ maybe this was a better album in Tamil but I had the Hindi version and didnâ€™t care too much about electrons and Newton.
Lafangey Parindey: Our Review is on the site so you can find more of our thoughts on the movie itself. Even then I mentioned that Mohit Chauhan’s â€œMan Lafangaâ€ was the only good thing about this Yash Raj films debacle. I wished this song hadn’t been wasted on this filled diaper of a movie.
Raavan:Â Again a misfire from my favorite composer of all time AR Rahman. I know most of our Bollybloggers agree that Raavanan was better than Raavan but I have not heard as much about the soundtrack. Beera is still awesome though and truly the Rahman sound we know and love with a rustic drum patternÂ and amazing chorus line.
Back to our list!
5. Prince: It’sÂ Showtime-
Music Director:Â Pritam
WARNING: Â if you are not a fan of Atif’ Alamâ€™ss crooning do not even consider giving this a listen as you might want to poke hot steel rods in your ears afterwards.
I think the more time has passed, the more I hate this movie. But I can’t lie that I listened a lot to the album. Being a full on Atif Aslam fanboy needs to be a requirement though as I mentioned as he’s sung the lion’s share. Tips produced the movie and being predominantly a record company every song was poppy and catchy from the Britney Spears inspired â€œIshq Meinâ€ to the bittersweet acousticÂ remix of â€œTere Liyeâ€. I never bother listening to the remix version of any songs but I made an exception with this album. And I still sing â€œTere Liyeâ€ when riding my bike through London!
4. I Hate Luv Storys-
Music Director:Â Vishal Shekhar
Probably my favorite music composer duo at this time, even if Vishal gives me shit on twitter sometimes. Â I do feel that they try to do something innovative even within the constraints of the commercial powerhouses they compose for now.
Although they only had 2 major albums released in 2010 and â€œAnjaana Anjaaniâ€ didnâ€™t work for me at any level, I kinda loved the OST for I Hate Luv Storys especially the â€œBin Tereâ€ in all its variations, the title track sung by Vishal himself (he does rock the mic every time he grabs it) and the dreamy â€œBaharaâ€ which had an awesome Rahat Ali Khan version that was unfortunately not featured in the movie (or might have when I dozed off for a second).The album rounds off with â€œSadkaâ€ and â€œJab Mila Tuâ€ which werenâ€™t too innovative but successfully served their purpose. I hope to hear more from them in 2011 again!
Music Director:Â Vishal Bhardwaj
Â This album contains me overall favorite track of the year sung by the already legendary Rahat Ali Khan, you know I’m talking about “Dil to Bacha Hai Ji”. Although the title has been lifted for a Madhur Bhandarker ( a practice I truly despise) I have had the song on repeat the entire year, from the soulful first notes to when the harmonium starts backing up the melody, I was in love the first time I heard it.
Rahat once said that he decided to branch out to popular music as he could never surpass the milestones set in Classical music by his unforgettable uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and after hearing his songs I’m glad he decided to do so.Â
Afterâ€ Dil Toâ€¦â€ you still have soon to be classic tracks like â€œIbn-E Batutaâ€ and â€œAb Mujhe Koiâ€Â (sung by Rekha Bhardwaj) and a few remixes but the album is pretty short and sweet as usually the case when Vishal Bhardwaj composes. I hope with these best of lists we can shine the light again on this may be forgotten gem. I’m going to stop raving about it and give â€œDil to Bacha hai jiâ€ another listen…
Music Director: Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi might not be the most prolific of music directors but whenever he is involved I storm out to get the album without even taking a second to read up about the movie itself.
Â In this case the OST was vastly superior the movie which being a adaptation of a Jane Austin novel ( or more likely an adaptation of Amy Heckerlingâ€™s Clueless) was the brain child of Sonam Kapoor and her producer sister Rhea Kapoor. Everything I have just written was the main reason I still have the movie gathering dust on my DVD shelf and have never watched it.
But the album on the other hand was ludicrously good!
From â€œSuno Aishaâ€ to â€œGal Mithi Mithiâ€ there wasnâ€™t a single track that wasnâ€™t innovative, fresh and thought through. Even the songs that any other composer would consider filler ie â€œBehke Behkeâ€ and â€œLehreinâ€ were treated with the care and attention by Trivedi and did really not deserve to be part of such a vapid and superficial movie.
Music Director: Sajid Wajid
Ok, I know a lot of reader must be balking at my choice to put the Dabanggâ€™s OST as number one. It especially pains me to see names like Vishal Bhardwaj and Amit Trivedi come after Sajid Wajid but here are some of the reasons Dabangg is my favoriteÂ soundtrack of the year:
Numbers: The movie and the soundtrack are the most loved by most people and however cool it is to find some underrated composers and album, this album just worked in terms of sales figures and will continue to do so probably with the next reason being an important one
Munni Badnaam Hui: Clearly badnaami was the way to go this year. Honestly I think the kind of frenzy this song created can only be compared to Madhuri’s â€œCholi ke Peeche Kyaâ€ hai from Khanayak. The ultimate of Item song made me wish we had recorded our Upodcast Item Song special after his came out as itÂ would have topped all our lists.Â The songÂ was composed by Lalit Pandit as a guest for Sajid-Wajid who took care of the rest of the albumÂ and has been on repeat in every household since the first teaser trailer for the movie released. And of course Upodcast has a special bond with this track through Project Munni from our friends The Curry Smugglers!
Complete Package: Unlike Aisha and Ishqiya, Dabangg soundtrack works for every mood and every listener. Except Munni there is still the romantic track â€œChori Kya Reâ€, the drinking song â€œHumka Peeni hainâ€ and the Rahat â€“ Do I still need to Rave about him- Ali Khan’s â€œTere Mast Mast Do Nainâ€, and every song was picturized pretty perfectly too without spending all their money on funding the Swiss economy.
This is Bollywood Yaar! We think we need creativity, sensitivity but what we truly crave is a good dose of masala and this exactly what makes Dabangg delivers. To me itâ€™s the perfect and best soundtrack of Bollywood in 2010!
Â I am sure not everyone will agree with my picks but that’s what the comment section is for!
It’s directed by acclaimed south Indian directorMani Ratnam after their awesome collaboration in Guru.Â It also stars the wonderfully effervescent Aishwarya Rai of which we only see a passing shot. Watch it here now before it get’s pulled by the man!