Dabangg

Dabangg 2 Review Upodcast

After the massive success of Dabangg, no one was surprised by the announcement of a sequel. What was surprising was that neither director Abhinav Kashyap nor Sonu Sood were coming back.

Instead Arbaaz Khan, previously producer of Dabangg, was going to make his debut as a director and deliver the follow up to the adventures of Chulbul Pandey within a year.

 

We loved the first Dabangg and we discussed it at length in a previous podcast with wonderful guest FilmiGirl and Amaluu, check out that episode by clicking here.

 

This week Upodcast is joined by always thought provoking writer, burlesque MC, dancer and all round amazing guy Bastard Keith, to challenge our statement that Dabangg 2 might be one of the best sequels made in Hindi Cinema.

We take you on a earth stomping ride, gyrating our belt buckles whilst we compare both Dabangg’s, talk about the phenomenon that is Salman Khan and what the future might hold for him and his now director brother Arbaaz.

Fevicol this Podcast to year ear holes and listener discretion is advised from the outset… seriously guys and gals, this is meant for immature mature audiences.

If you don’t believe me, check out some of Bastard Keith’s other work on his site.

 

Listen/download/subscribe below!

 

@asimburney

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Review Bodyguard

It’s Eid, a day of rejoicing after a pious month of fasting and introspection. And how do us Hindi Film fans celebrate? We go out to the movies of course! Since the past few years Eid has become synonymous with a Salman Khan release. He’s set records with Dabanng and Wanted at Eid and Ready earlier this year. Will he be able to do so again with Bodyguard? Will he be A-One number one and beat that other King? Has Upodcast ever been interested in the box office fate of a movie and will we start to do so now? If you want to know if Bodyguard will be a hit, I am sure there will be numerous reviews posted around the interwebz in the next few days. But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of Bodyguard, read our review!

Bodyguard is the story of Lovely Singh (Salman Khan)a trusted and loyal bodyguard that gets hired by Sartaj Rana (Raj babbar) – one of those dhoti wearing rich dudes with a moustache-  to protect his college going daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Divya feels her style gets cramped by having a bodyguard shadowing her in college, so she decides to prank call Lovely Singh pretending to be a girl named Chayya to distract him by making him believe she is in love with him…Do I need to spell out what happens next?

It’s never great to start a review by talking about another movie but I have to admit as a Salman Khan fan, watching Ready ( our full review) was a torture that still gives me pant shitting nightmares every time I hear the annoying whistle from Dhinka Chikka. But it was a huge hit so I guess it only shows how much out of touch I can be with the taste of mainstream audiences. (I didn’t like Transformers 3 either). So to put it mildly I was reticent of watching Bodyguard after seeing the first trailer. I felt it was an easy cash earner riding on the popularity of Salman after his previous hits, the soundtrack wasn’t really exciting me either (does any Himesh soundtrack do that anymore?). Another thing Ready proved was that Salman’s movies were becoming critic proof, and no matter the shoddy direction or egregious plot, the shirt removal scenes would have the audiences in raptures. It’s back in vogue to be a Salman Khan fan and more power to him. He’s had a couple of rough years pre-Wanted.

(Where were you people when he was making Jaan E Mann, Garv and Veergati? I ask you this faux Salman fans, where were you when he needed you???)

Bodyguard is tailor made to be a massive hit. The timing is perfect, the marketing has been ramping up (of which you have seen a lot on Upodcast, truth be told) and they have created a lot of buzz in a short span of time (Bodyguard started shooting in January if I’m not mistaken). It mixes everything we want as a time pass movie in measured doses. First half is comedy and a hint of a love story. The 2nd half ramps up the action and emotions. The songs are placed with precision engineering and more than anything this movie is produced by an ace team.

Performances are what are to be expected from stars of this caliber. Glad to see that this will finally be a hit for this pair after the underappreciated Kyon Ki and the unmitigated disaster that was Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Salman is playing Salman as he usually does. He’s a lot more subdued playing a dutiful Bodyguard but the moments he needs to switch up with some classic Michael Jackson moves and charm the audience, he does so faultlessly. He’s become a master at giving the audience what they need, I just hope the audience needs this Salman for a whole while longer. Also can we have every movie of his start with a warehouse fight? (This one was particularly brilliant)

The money and effort spent Kareena’s look and wardrobe is staggering and she looks luminescent on screen in every frame. (We might still be a bit besotted by meeting her last week and her podcast with us). Compared to Kaajal Agarwal in Singham (The previous South Indian remake) who was also dressed in the ethnic look, you can understand what sets Kareena apart from anyone else and why she is in the position she is. Above all that she has really developed into a fine actress, even in a movie like this which is pretty light, the moments she needs to emote with her tear filled eyes, she does so with aplomb. She gets an introductory montage in the movie which makes you forget for a moment that you are watching a movie and if she would turn around and sell us a brand of shampoo or face cream, I am sure the audience would have run out and bought that product straight away. (She doesn’t do so although there is quite a bit of overt product placement throughout the movie). I’m not entirely sure she can still pull off the role of a college girl but I am sure people show me the “Amir Khan in 3 Idiots” card as soon as they have finished reading this sentence, so it becomes a moot point.

The action scenes designed by Vijayan (who worked with Salman in Wanted and Dabanng) are amazing, probably the best we will see all year (until Agneepath comes out). They take the no-holds barred mix martial arts approach from the climax of Dabanng and add more wire work to it. Whereas the wire work in Singham (apologies for harping on about Singham, maybe check out our full review for our thoughts) made the action seem weightless and cartoonish at times. The fights in Bodyguard feel more grounded as they are aided by well used freeze frames and bullet time. The final fight scene with Aditya Pancholi ( why don’t we see more of him) if breathtaking, and even if the villains are only punching bags for Salman in this movie, they do a pretty good job.

But all this is a success of the production team but a movie needs a few more elements like a tight or at least logical screenplay, clap worthy dialogues and competent directing and that is where bodyguard starts to falter.

Director Siddique has written and directed this movie 3 times (In Tamil as Kaavalan, in Malayalam as Bodyguard and now again in Hindi) now but he is still not skilled at telling the story and he seems to have no idea what the job description of bodyguard actually is. In Siddique’s warped mind a bodyguard is an amalgam of a special ops commando, a personal trainer and a nanny. Apparently a bodyguard needs to attract as much attention as possible and can also not sit next to his master.

He fills in the first half of the movie with an comedy track with overweight side kick (something that seems to happen quite a bit when importing movies from the south- see Wanted and Singham). The overweight girl from “I H8 Luv Stories” is somewhere on the background and only around so the midget (dwarf, little person, I don’t want to piss any karate proficient little people) can make some fat jokes. Apparently these jokes benefit from the rapid fire repartee of South Indian cadence, I don’t think I would find them funny in anyway shape or form.

The love story until the interval is pretty juvenile and if it wasn’t for the charming performance of the stars, it would be ridiculous. Why do remakes of South Indian movies make their female characters act only a couple of levels above the retardation line is a mystery to me? (I’m sure their moms had to get involved to get them just above that line a la Mama Gump)

I want to talk about the ending of the movie in the spoiler section but only read it if you have seen the movie already in one of its previous avatars or don’t care enough about it not to have it spoilt. But Siddique reminded me of Puri Jagganath director of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap. Another director who overstretches his skills and his movie was only successful through the weight that the actors brought in. At least Puri made an orginal movie. Siddique has done this 3 times now and if it wasn’t for a strong action director, camera man and production team, he would not have been able to deliver.

Clearly not every South Indian director is Prabhu Deva.

For whoever is keeping final score for Bodyguard:

Dabanng ≥ Wanted > Bodyguard > Ready > Suryavanshi

Before I go into the spoiler section I want to go into a bit of tangent.

I do wonder how far we can stretch the southification of Hindi Film Cinema. Audiences will get tired of the inane comedy that just doesn’t make that much sense and every South Indian I have spoken with prefers the original version and feels the adaptation wasn’t done right. It would be an idea to take the time and effort to really adapt and distill the screenplays to local audiences and just change the timing of the comedy and emotional beats. Even the dialogues lack the punch when translated from a language they weren’t originally written in. Until now, the power of the stars has been able to drag these movies to box office success. Stars like Aamir, Salman and even Ajay have enough of a following to do so but what will happen when these movies have minor stars attached to it?

I am dreading seeing the promo’s for Force and I do not believe that people who loved seeing Surya in Kaakha Kaakha( which we reviewed) will enjoy pretty boy John Abraham in it.

I also understand the anger that some South Indian fans feel towards these movies which can only be described as a Mcdonaldisation of their cinema transforming it into a bland mongrel form of sustenance which only nourishes but does not fill the appetite.

When speaking with my twiter buddy Reena Mumbai from TwoMangoes (check out her blog by clicking here) about our obsession with pre- 50 Cent hip hop. It made me think of a song by Mos Def called Rock N Roll on his epic Black on Both sides Album, about how white America has appropriated much of black culture thanklessly.

“I said, Elvis Presley ain’t got no soul
Chuck Berry is rock and roll
You may dig on the Rolling Stones
But they ain’t come up with that style on they own”

I wouldn’t say we are there yet but I do hope more effort is put into adapting these movies in the future.

But can we at least get rid of the overweight sidekicks and inane slapstick comedy?

Spoiler Section: ( Really do not read before watching the movie)

  • There is unnecessarily convoluted twist at the end of the movie which is an example of the ineptitude of the writing. Not only does it just seem to give us the same result we were going to get 15 min earlier but it does so using one of the most thankless characters in the entire movie. This could very well be a prequel to Kuch Kuch Hota hai. It really sucks and annoyed me to no end. (oh I was really evil, and I now have this ailment that the writer doesn’t even take the time to name and could you please not tell your daddy I was evil oh bespectacled son)
  • I also wonder why did no one get any older? We don’t need them to pull a Veer Zaara but you could add some wrinkles or at least dress people differently, it seemed the scenes were just shot 2 days later but a 7 year old kid had suddenly appeared out of the blue.
  • The entire phone plot made me miss Karisma Kapoor so much. I hope she comes back soon and if we pray really hard maybe she will do a movie with Salman Khan again. I don’t think there was ever an actress he seemed more comfortable with or just had fun with and it showed on screen. It’s a shame because to think that way though as Bebo looks so pretty but did anyone else feel she was channeling a bit of Lolo on those phone scenes?

Let us know what you thought of Bodyguard and how they did adapting it from the previous versions in the comments section below

 

 

 

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BodyGuard Trailer gives us measured doses of previous Salman Khan hits!

Trailer Analysis: Our good friend Honey who always has all the latest Bollywood the scoops just posted the trailer and posters for Salman Khan‘s next outing The Bodyguard (check out her site for more pictures and goodies!). Written and directed by the director of the original South Indian movie, Siddique, it co-stars Kareena Kapoor and is produced by Atul and Alvira Agnihotri (brother in law and sister of the star actor). So check out the trailer below and some of our thoughts after the jump!

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Ready Review

 

The promos have been playing night and day. The pocket pointy dance has become a fad. The public has been waiting for a time pass masala entertainer since January. Salman Khan is riding high after Dabanng and Wanted. Aneez Bazmee is at an all-time low after Thank You and No Problem. No one can even remember the last time Tips, the production company, behind Ready had a bona fide hit. So how does Ready stack up with all these expectations? Check out our review after the jump!

Before I start talking about the movie I have to mention that there are a ton of sponsorship deals, thank you’s and corporate tie-ins that appear before the movie starts.

A special mention to Rahul Rawail Grandson’s logo which is a straight lift from Disney’s The Lion King. It’s probably the first time I actually wanted Disney to sue someone.

But I was hungry to be entertained and more than anything I wanted this movie to work.

Having seen Dum Maaro Dum and Game, both movies I really enjoyed but didn’t tickle my masala craving, I walked in with my pot of strawberry flavored yoghurt into the theatre. I have always made my fondness for Salman Khan clear in even his most dreary outings. Everyone can love the man in Dabanng but loving him in God Tussi Great Ho demands a certain kind of insanity and adulation.

Asin is always a pleasant appearance on the big screen in the few movies I have seen her in and I felt the chemistry she had with Salman in London Dreams was probably the best part of that horror fest.

But I had no faith in director Anees Bazmee whatsoever as I have never enjoyed any of his movies. I don’t like his brand of humor and above all I question his mindset.

To me he seems like lecherous old man cracking inappropriate jokes that gets invited to your house party. You can humor him for a couple of minutes but after that you can or drop kick him out your house or walk away. It’s always a surprise seeing his interviews as the man seems quite sensitive and well spoken. It’s a shame none of his eloquence translates through to his cinema.

Bazmee land is a cacophony of inane puns fired blindly at the audience. Calling them double entendres would be too smart a word. It’s just words that sound like other words (Tu teacher nahi, cheater hai)

The whole scenario is doused with Anees’ usual tropes i.e. mild rape references or hurting women physically (I counted 5), husband cheating on their wives treated as a mild faux-pas (a thread that annoyed me to no end in his previous disaster Thank You, a film where the hero slaps one of the backup dancer in a song for no apparent reason) and just a general patronization of womankind even when trying to endear them. At the climactic fight sequence where we should be cheering on the hero, a throw away joke is made that just leaves a bad taste.

The mind of Anees Bazmee is a dirty horrible conservative place which I do not wish to visit but this is supposed to be a family entertainer which makes it even more worrisome. His brand of humor seems to work though as most of the auntijee’s who had snuck in bottle of hot sauce to pour over their chips were laughing harder than anyone in the audience. And this will make a ton of money which in turn will allow Anees Bazmee to make more of these movies.

Besides all that, he is just an incompetent director. The comedic beats are off, the editing is shoddy and the times Ready beats you in submission and you do start laughing you feel you need to take a long  shower like Elizabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas.

I want to try and explain the plot of Ready but instead I have the perfect visual presentation:

 

But if that doesn’t work for you. Here is a summary:

Prem Kapoor (Salman Khan) is a good hearted rascal/kameena/kutta/dog that lives with his joint family of uncles and aunties. All the uncles have a quirky trait so it makes it easier to keep them apart, the aunties are not so lucky. Sanjana walks into their family posing as Pooja (some really old lady waiting at an airport that we’re supposed to believe is a bride to be for Salman Khan) trying to escape her evil uncles who want to forcefully marry her off to their brother-in laws to usurp her riches.

Prem and Sanjana end up falling in love just before the interval. After the interval Prem poses as an an accountant for Sanjana’s mafia uncles and tries to go all DDLJ on ’em in Salman Style via way of a speeded up chase climax a la Priyadarshan.

Don’t you wish you had just looked at the picture instead of reading that paragraph?

The first half is just a slog to sit through. The family dynamic is annoying and the pace is just dead slow. Post interval things pick up and this is solely because the appearance of one man that should be wearing a big ‘S’ on his chest and that man is Paresh Rawal. Everything the man says or does is just freaking hilarious and every scene he has is probably the best the movie ever gets. Too bad he didn’t have a bigger role and didn’t have more scenes with Salman.

The movie just feels very heavily edited and tinkered with. Whole joke sequences and reaction shots are done behind a blue screen. There is even a voice over at the start of the movie establishing characters which substantiates the rumors that the director took a back seat. Instead Salman Khan and the producers tried to readjust as much as was salvageable of the movie. They did try really hard but the whole base is off and there is only so much polish a turd can take.

Character Dheela (Zarine Khan looking very pretty), Dhinka Chika and Meri Ada (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan FTW!!!) are awesome to look at and you do get forget how badly they are placed within the narrative.

The song sequences, the production design, the action which were rumored to be tinkered with are shot lavishly and pretty much the best part of the movie. Especially as this is the moments that Asin can shine as she doesn’t have much to do in the second part of the movie which is really surprising as her character is a real kameeni and churratth (not my words) in the first half.

Salman khan has free reign like a lion that can not and will not be tamed by anyone. He stands, dresses and jokes as he pleases and no man will come between him and his understanding of his audiences.

But our hero can sure pack a punch when needed even if he seems a bit puffier then he usually is. His obligatory shirt taking off scene is even heavily CGI’ed and played as a joke that really isn’t a joke. I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil the few jokes that did work for me at least.

Your enjoyment of Ready is really dependent on how much you enjoy watching Salman on screen and how much you want to be entertained as you walk into the theatre.

A good comparison is last week’s Hangover part 2, a movie based on a finely calculated scientific formula of laughs per minute and dependent on the appeal and familiarity of the audience for its stars. Like a blind man with an UZI in a dance hall, some jokes are bound to find a target. More than anything this movie is a success in terms of production, marketing and above all timing.

Go in with your expectations set to low, wanting to laugh and if you can go in a group do so as even then you will only have a moderately good time. Damn you Bazmee, Damn you!!!!

 

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CurrySmugglers: Project Munni

Do you want to see your eminent Upodcast host Asim dance on the Internet and make a fool of himself! Of couse you do! Watch Project Munni, our tribute to one of our favorite movies of 2010 Dabangg and our friends from CurrySmugglers. Watch the video after the jump!Â

The CurrySmugglers is one of the best musical podcast around if you want to know what’s going on in the Desi, Urban and Arab music scene, you need to be plugging in every week! The awesome hosts PareshG and SachinB are good friends of Upodcast and Paresh was even part of our Bonus Episode on Bollywood Item Numbers.

The video gives a good explanation on what we were trying to do, so I’ll let it speak for itself! (you will be left speechless after watching it though!)

That move has been called “the Chakki Peesing”! You need Desi credentials to perfect it!

Maybe you can recognize some of our friends from our Dabanng podcast Review special on Upodcast Anandini and Filmigirl!

Here’s is the original Munni clip as you can see Asim was trying to go for a pretty Salman Khan specific look! ( and failing miserably)

Be Sure to Check out CurrySmugglers podcast and The Diwali Special Dropping Today! Click Here! Or Follow them on Twitter!

Leave comments and Be nice People!

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UpodCast Dabanng Special

Like Salman Khan, UpodCast walks it’s own beat. This week we dissect the phenomenon of Dabanng joined by friends of the show Filmigirl and Anandini. We extensively review the movie, ask ourselves if you need to be a Salman Khan fan to enjoy Dabanng to the fullest, debate the return to massala entertainment,  rave about Sonakshi Sinha and also discusss what a potential sequel could look like.  Oh, if that wasn’t enough to salivate your earbuds,  we also discuss the  forthcoming releases for the rest of the year! For all this and much much more, Listen to the episode after the jump!

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DABANGG: The most BANGGin’ Bollywood trailer of 2010!

DABANGG has been my most anticipated Bollywood movie for 2010 and I am elated to see that the trailer is catering to all our masala sensibilities and delivers an all fronts. It’s like an explosion of all things yummy and dipped in awesome juice!

Starring Salman Khan and introducing Shotgun Sinha’s daughter, Sonaksi. Dabanng is a movie about a “bad ass Robin hood corrupt cop” set in rural India. Arbaaz Khan is producing (and acting) with Abhinav Kashyap in charge of direction and the trailer looks uh-ma-zing!. Check it out our thoughts and the full trailer after the jump! Read More