Farhan Akhtar

Ep 234: “Parts like these aren’t written for women in India” – Richa Chadha talks Fukrey Returns

This week’s episode is filled with tons of goodies!

We speak to the amazingly talented Richa Chadha about Fukrey Returns which is the Hindi theater release from last Friday.

I do keep mistakenly calling the movie “Fukrey two” which is not the name of the movie- my bad!

We talk about:

  • Shooting and fun on set
  • Lady Gaga
  • Leveraging Indie success to the mainstream
  • Why Bholi Punjaban is angry?
  • When to speak against social injustice

We also have a sneak peak of our new podcast series “The Khandaan Podcast” before the show, have a listen so you know what the fuss is all about.

Keep an eye out on our social media feeds so you are all caught up on when the new show drops.

Of course if you subscribe below in our iTunes feed, you definitely wont miss it.

We also have an amazing new theme song, created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

Fukrey Returns is currently playing in theaters!

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Wazir Review Upodcast

Wazir tells the tale of two unlikely friends – a wheelchair-bound chess grandmaster (Amitabh Bachchan) and an ATS officer (Farhan Akhtar). Both are brought together by grief and a strange twist of fate as part of wider conspiracy that has cast a dark shadow over their lives. Wazir is a pulsating thriller, a moving character study and a gripping revenge story.

This episode we are joined by Sujoy Singha, also known as @9e3k on twitter, where we try to be as careful as possible and not reveal anything that isn’t in the trailer or promo’s.

There is a spoiler warning from the 43 min mark, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you can still listen up that point.

For those have seen it, let us know what you thought of uPodcast in the comment section below.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or subscribe to us in iTunes and never miss an episode.

 

 

Dil Dhadakne Do Review Upodcast

The cruise liner of Bollywood Podcasts is back, this time joined by our friend Anisha Jhaveri, to break down the ups and downs of Zoya Akhtar’s dysfunctional family drama Dil Dhadakne Do.

Now that she’s 3 movies in, we can discuss:

  • What the characteristics of a Zoya Akhtar joint are
  • How succesful she is in combining content with entertainment and her place in the gaggle of nouveau Manmohan Desai film makers
  • What the movie would have felt like with the initial cast
  • The baggage of narrative devices

Beside the ins and outs of one of the most hyped movies of the year.

You can find Anisha’s review by clicking here!

You can listen/stream/download the episode below. Or you can subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show!

Farhan Akhtar LIFF Screen Talk at the BFI

That Farhan Akhtar is a multi-talented being is beyond doubt – just look to his amazing body…of work as an actor, director, writer, singer, lyricist, producer and general Mr Congeniality of Hindi cinema. But damn it, he is rather likeable too – at least I felt I wanted to hang out with him a bit more after a screen talk at the BFI Southbank. As part of the London Indian Film Festival 2014, (which is fast going from strength to strength and now a major event on the South Asian cultural calendar in London) and hosted by editor of Sight + Sound, Nick James, the evening quickly felt like spending time with a friend of a friend who you want to be friends with.

In front of a packed audience which also included filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra (whose presence was the surprise of the evening; when Farhan named the Munnabhai series as having a great social impact on society, the audience were alerted to Chopra’s presence and broke into spontaneous applause), his wife Anupama Chopra, who is perhaps the most sanguine film reviewer in India today, Bollywood casting powerhouse Mukesh Chabbra  and director of recent superhit Queen, Vikas Bahl, Farhan charmed with tales of how he started as an assistant director to avoid being thrown out of home and how he would cut class at college to watch films.

Photo Credit: London Indian Film Festival 2014
But there was also lots of unexpected fun – Farhan managed to make Nick James lose his calm composure and corpse into uncontrollable laughter a few times as well as delighting the audience with an impromptu snake dance (an interest he shares with Shah Rukh Khan) as well as singing the title song from Rock On! It was also interesting to hear Farhan talk about Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (including being unable to look at a tomato for a good six months post the Ik Junoon song filmed at the Tomatina festival in Spain). One did miss the inclusion of Lakshya which was a significant film in his career but with time of the essence, there was lots to get through.

When finally it was time for the audience Q&A, there was lots of enthusiasm and whilst a request for a hug from a determined fan was not quite appropriate, only the stoniest heart would have denied a two year old girl a hug and kiss from her favourite actor (though Farhan didn’t take a selfie with a fan who had come from New Zealand which felt unfair, especially as her question regarding how he worked with Zoya was one that seemed to pique his interest). All too soon, it was time to wrap the session up but not before a clip showing Farhan in his career defining role as Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. What added to this was how Farhan shared how he embraced the grueling process to achieve that amazing athletic look.

As I left the Southbank feeling inspired and pleased, fans had thronged all the possible exits hoping to get a photo with Farhan as he made his way to the after party. Inspiring that kind of affection and keeping it is not easy but then this is the very talented Mr Akhtar we are talking about here – and there is no doubt that as he forges ahead with anything he chooses to do, it will be with a degree of class, dedication and a disarming and endearing sense of humour.

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

LIFF 2014: Europe’s Largest South Asian Film Event is Back!

Emma Thompson’s Sold, Million Dollar Arm & Bollywood Stars at London INDIAN Film Festival

Executive produced by actor Emma Thompson, Sold will be the red carpet European Premiere opening night film of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (July 10-17). This film is a powerful, survival against the odds tale about a young Nepali girl who is trafficked to Kolkata, India. Gillian Anderson stars with a great Indian and Nepali ensemble cast including Seema Biswas (Bandit Queen). Central highlights of the festival will be the UK Premiere of the true story Million Dollar Arm, from The Walt Disney Company, starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi). Bollywood’s hottest actor Farhan Akhtar and South Indian cinematography supremo Santosh Sivan will be giving rare screen talks at the BFI Southbank. Closing the festival will be the World Premiere of Hemalkasa, an homage to the revolutionary human rights leader Prakash Baba Amte, starring Bollywood hero Nana Patekar. Many other special guests are expected to a packed week of UK first screenings.

Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, in association with Pure Heaven, the British Film Institute, and official Hotel Partner Grange Hotels, celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema and bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of the Indian subcontinent’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity. The festival will stretch citywide, opening in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continuing at BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas Wembley, Wood Green, Wandsworth and O2 in Royal Greenwich and ICA near the Pall Mall, so there is a screening near you.

The first weekend of this high-impact festival launches with Sold, on 10th July which explores the controversial theme of child trafficking; one school girl’s battle against the odds and the dangerous journey to liberate her from the Kolkata mafia; expect a glamorous line up of celebs to follow X Files and The Fall actress Gillian Anderson down the red carpet.

On 12th July Rotterdam Film Festival headliner Qissa: Tale of a Lonely Ghost, has its UK Premiere, Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi) plays a rural Punjabi father hell bent on having a son and heir, no matter what the consequences. Apur Panchali, based on a true-life story, is an emotionally charged homage to Satyajit Ray’s impoverished child character Apu and the real-life person who played one of the most famous child roles in world cinema. It screens on 13th July. By contrast Slamdance audience winner Hank and Asha explores a new generation of trans-global online romance, at ICA and Cineworlds across London. The festival’s Central Gala is the inspirational true story Million Dollar Arm that follows the uplifting journey of two Indian boys whose lives are transformed by a national TV contest and against the odds end up going to the US to train to become major sports stars.

As well as films in the Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam languages, and UK/Pakistani film Anima State, in Urdu, the festival previews its first Bangladesh based film Shongram (Struggle) directed by Munsur Ali. In terms of special talks, India’s most celebrated cinematographer and acclaimed director Santosh Sivan gives a unique Masterclass at BFI Southbank, 11th July. The multi-talented singer, actor and director Farhan Akhtar rocks into town on 15th July and offers an insight on his high-octane career so far, including his iconic recent role as muscle rippling athletics hero Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Expect lots of female fans! Bollywood icon Nana Patekar stars in the festival’s uplifting closing World Premiere of Hemalkasa. Directed by Samruddhi Porey it’s guaranteed to make you cry and smile at the same time.

London Indian Film Festival also includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring UK and Indian subcontinent co-productions. The winner of the annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition will be announced at the end of the festival, with short-listed contenders battling it out at the ICA on 15th July. We are delighted to announce that our Major Sponsors this year will include Queen’s Award for Enterprise International Trade winner Sunmark Ltd, producers of Pure Heaven brand and founding sponsor Grange Hotels. The festival is also grant funded for by the BFI Film Festival Fund.

Emma Thompson comments: “It is wonderful to have our film premiered at London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere”.

Says Farhan Akhtar: “At its heart, Cinema is about sharing ones culture with the world. Be it on screen or in representation of ones work. I look forward to sharing my experiences, memories and motivations.”

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director comments: “We are delighted that the festival is now firmly established on the London and international scene after five amazing years. If you want to find out more about South Asian cinema, come to London and soak yourself in a week of magnificent, world class cinema”

For more information and how to book tickets head over to:

www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

Join their on social media:

www.facebook.com/LondonIndianFilmFestival | www.twitter.com/LoveLIFF

 

 

Bhaag Milka Bhaag Songs and Images: Farhan working out, Sonam Smiling

Not being a huge fan of Biopics or sports related movies, the cast invovled in Bhaag Milka Bhaag is the reason I still mentioned the movie as one I am looking forward to in our Mid Year 2013  Bollywood Upodcast episode.

Farhan Akthar is a great writer-director but creatively that combination can be very draining so he has spread out his talents to production and acting, with a reasonable amount of success.

Sonam Kapoor is wonderful to look at in screen, and usually is shot in a slow motion panning shot whilst she smiles. The lady has a lot of opinions which she brazenly shares, one hopes that she can start delivering the goods soon too.

Shankar Ehsan Loy’s music and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s direction has been a mix bagged lately but they are talented enough to create magic with the right project, if Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that project, we will probably know soon enough.

 

 

From the Press Release:

Many recall Milkha Singh as a world champion in the 400 meters, who infamously lost the penultimate race of his life – the 400 meters final at the Rome Olympics – but won in LIFE.

Milkha Singh’s life is a portrait of professional triumph over personal tragedy. The film attempts to understand a catastrophic loss that was deemed a sure victory and explores through the darkness of disgrace Milkha Singh’s redemption and catharsis that came when he confronted his past.

This iridescent tale winds through the plagues of a bloody civil war where Milkha’s family were brutally killed during the tumultuous India-Pakistan Partition era resulting in a lost childhood, homelessness, a life of petty crime, right through to victories hard won and easily lost.

The film draws an intricate image of human trials, setbacks and fate leveraged against the sheer power of will as Milkha Singh evocatively illustrates that true victory lies in racing with one’s troubles and not in running away from them.

The film stars India’s most versatile multi-star, the critically acclaimed actor, producer, singer, writer, director and musician Farhan Akhtar [Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Luck By Chance] who essays the role of Milkha Singh for what is described as Farhan’s most demanding performance to date.

He is joined by Sonam Kapoor [Saawariya, I Hate Luv Storys, Aisha (Indian version of Jane Austen’s classic Emma)], Art Malik [BBC1’s Holby City], Rebecca Breeds [Home and Away] and is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (director of the Bafta nominated film Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6).

The inspirational story is penned by Prasoon Joshi and the soundtrack is composed by the award-winning trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will see Milkha fly, fall and rise, bruise his soul but not his will to survive. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag releases worldwide on 12th July 2013.

@asimburney

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fukrey’s New Title Track

Here is a song from Excel’s forthcoming “Young Indian men bonding over shenanigans and learning life lessons along the way”- movie Fukrey.

Frankly after Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots, Delhi Belly, Kai Po Che, I’m done with this story trope and nothing I have seen until now from Fukrey is showing us anything we haven’t seen yet.

I do have faith in Excel as a banner so they might spring some surprise, but I’m not hedging my bets on it.

 

 

From the Press Release:

Your college days are said to be the best of your life – fun, frivolous and filled with friendship. But this is far from true in the new “rogue-trip” film ‘Fukrey’.
Fukrey is a twisted coming-of-age drama and deliciously hilarious tale of four young, hapless ‘nobodies’ [‘Fukreys’], running after their individual desires, brought together by one dream. Their lives are turned upside down when they chase that elusive ‘get rich quick’ scheme. The film combines the crazy antics and madcap mishaps of four loser college friends, as their paths cross with an array of colourful characters, from a tough-talking Punjabi female don to a Jugaad Baaz college watchman. Mayhem ensues with predictably hilarious and unexpected results.
Fukrey stars a bevy of talented stars in the Bollywood arena – Richa Chadda [‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’]; Ali Fazal [3 Idiots, The Other End Of The Line] Manjot Singh [‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, ‘Udaan’], Pulkit Samrat [‘Bittoo Boss’] and Varun Sharma, amongst others.
The film is directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, [‘Teen Thay Bhai’], who also shares screenplay adaptation and writing credits with Vipul Vig. The vibrant and eclectic soundtrack is by composer, musician and producer Ram Sampath, noted for his musical scores on such films as: Delhi Belly, Talaash and Khakee.
The acclaimed producer duo Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani lend their sizable producer talents to the film under their production banner Excel Entertainment. The company was founded in 1999 with a vision to make contemporary Indian cinema. With modest beginnings nine years ago, today Excel is considered iconic in changing the sensibilities of Indian viewers, and for pushing the boundaries of ‘reel’ entertainment across the world. Some of Excel Entertainment’s cult classic projects include: Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya [the official entry for the Rio International Film Festival], Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Don 1 and 2 [screened at the Berlin Film Festival].

Fukrey releases nationwide on 14th June 2013.

@asimburney

Enhanced by Zemanta

Muskaanein Jhooti Hai Song Promo from Talaash

Although Jab Tak Hai Jaan has been creating the most waves in terms of promotions, the movie we are most looking forward to this year is Amir Khan’s Reema Kagti directed suspense drama Talaash. The buzz has been building up and it seems only now that we are getting to see a bit of the movie. Here is the jazzy first track from the soundtrack and some very interesting tid bits about the movie, Spoiler Free (I checked before posting as I didn’t want to mess up anyone’s experience, being an awesome film blog and all).

Kareena looks ravishing, Rani looks ticked off that she doesn’t get to dance and be all smooth and Amir’s moustache fills up the rest of the screen while he drives through the seedy areas of the city. Ram Sampath delivered a cracking soundtrack last time for Delhi Belly and if this is the sound he’s going for then we can add that to the list of exciting things about this movie!

Here is the press release and some news:

TALAASH – The search is on… in one single room now!

We have heard of suspense drama films revolving their entire story around bringing together all suspects in one script and confusing the audiences. But Talaash, which features the acclaimed actor Aamir Khan (who has been India’s Oscar choice frequently and whose production house, Aamir Khan productions has co produced this film, was nominated in the foreign language category at the Oscars, for Lagaan), newly married Kareena Kapoor, and Rani Mukerji, has juiced up this suspense formula a little more.

In the first song video from the film, Muskaane Jhoothi Hain, all suspects of the crime are going to be seen in the same room, under one roof. Talaash being a film of suspense drama genre, this music video is set to build up the anticipation of the audiences even more.

The movie is about a police officer played by Aamir Khan, who is trying to investigate and solve what seems like a perfect crime, and all suspects in the film are going to be seen together in that one single music video.

The video will thus have Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Nawazzudin (from Gangs of Wasseypur) and all principal cast of the film  in one single frame making it a never seen before visual.

In such an interesting and nail biting way, Talaash is thus reviving a popular long forgotten genre of Bollywood film-making i.e. suspense drama.
The film also marks the amalgamated re-union of Aamir Khan, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani who last came together in the cult classic film, Dil Chahta Hai.

One more reason for having a special promotional video was to bring Aamir, Rani and Kareena together in one frame and give that sensational visual to the audiences, as in the entire film, all three are never seen together. The film has been scripted in such a way that three lead characters of the film don’t come face to face..

Reema Kagti has directed a music video for the first time, and as the director of the film. She says: “Muskanein jhoothi hain is the title song of the film. The idea was thrown by the producers that perhaps we should also shoot a promotional video with it. Farhan, Zoya and I sat and brainstormed, and we came up with this idea, to introduce all the players in the suspense plot that will unfold in the film”.

 

Talaash Releases 30th of November

 @asimburney

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don 2 Upodcast FlashBack

We recorded this podcast just a day after Don 2 came out in a casual late night chat with our good friend Danny Bowes, from MoviesByBowes and also IndieWire (he’s been firing from both barrels so definitely check out his work).

Unfortunately I’m only now getting to posting it since there were some audio issues that i could only solve now as I didn’t want to give you guys a bad experience listening to Upodcast, but with Priyanka Chopra coming at us with a critically acclaimed performance in Barfi and her career as a popstar starting, as well as just not being to wait long enough to talk Shahrukh until Jab Tak Hai Jaan comes out in November, it was the right time to dig up and dust of our great chat about Don 2 again.

The discussion is still very geeky and very indepth as usually is the case with Upodcast. Bringing you a twist on Bollywood reviews that no one else does.

We talk the Superstar that ShahRukh is, what kind of movies he wants to make and how he wants to project himself, and we even go into the age old Salman vs Shahrukh debate ( in a respectful manner)

We covered Don’s release quite intensly and even did an interview with director Farhan Akhtar in our inimitable style that you can check out here! ( funny story, Shahrukh actually stepped into the room when we were talking to Farhan on the phone so we were only 1 degree away SRK, WOOHOO)

Do check out the episode below or subscribe to us in iTunes:

 

@asimburney

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don 2 (3D) Review

Our favorite suave and chique crime lord Don is back after escaping from Interpol agents Roma (Priyanka Chopra) and Malik (Om Puri) in the first part of this franchise. We pick up the story after a 5-year gap (most of which Don has spent growing his hair and getting a butt ugly tattoo probably as the trend of wearing a tie under your shirt wasn’t taking off)

After becoming the ruler of Asia’s drug empire, he has now set his eyes on conquering Europe too. The top gaudy shirted crime bosses of Europe get together to get rid of Don but by doing so they set into motion the return of the king. This time his plan is to steal the currency plates for Euro Notes, I think he probably watched Lethal Weapon 4 a few times when he was kicking back and having his hair braided by Apache Indian’s stylist, but to do this he needs to get a key to a safe containing a video tape from Vardhan (Boman Irani), his nemesis from the earlier adventure who’s locked up in a Kuala Lumpur jail. Will Don be able to bust out Vardhan, steal the Euro plates, wipe out his enemies and finally become the king of crime in both Europe and Asia?

 

Where as the 2006 Don was a remake/re-imagining, the twist it added set the movie up as a slick action thriller franchise. The sequel takes us into the heist genre following the usual tropes i.e. setting up the heist with blue prints and lasers, getting a crew together each with a specialized skill set, things go wrong during the heist and then the big reveal. The movie is quite action heavy and the set pieces are very glossy and precision engineered. The team will be glad to hear that they are on par with stunt sequences reminiscent of the James Bond or Mission Impossible franchises, and that is clearly what the film makers were intending. I particularly enjoyed the initial Muay Thai double cross in Asia and the main car chase in the middle of the movie.

Unfortunately the action scenes are very heavily inspired by some of the above mentioned movies, also they are trying to match that level but never surpassing or adding anything original to the mix. Barring arguments about budgets, this is something that Korean, Thai or even French cinema is able to do much better and hence has a more unique voice in the global cinematic landscape, maybe this is one of the struggles Hindi Film cinema will continue to have until they develop a confident identity and vision.

 

This brings us to the fundamental flaws in the screenplay. As an audience we are trained to inherently root for the good guy. The hero dishooms his way through a pack of villains and vindicates the social injustices we identify with. The original Don’s main intrigue was about a simple guy, Vijay, infiltrating a crime organization for the future of his adopted street children and a sense of civic duty.

You want him to succeed in his mission whenever he is danger of his secret identity being disclosed by police or gangsters. You cared for Vijay’s well being.

When you take that away that suspense from the audience, as was the case in the 2006 version, understandably you feel cheated. You loose track of why you are rooting for the protagonist and only your affinity for the actors on screen makes ithe movie a satisfying experience. The cache of the actors involved for both Priyanka and ShahRukh was on a much higher level in 2006 then it is now.

Although Don is now the king of Asian drug trafficking, in the screenplay as a character his crimes are white washed.  We don’t see him doing any “evil deeds” or get any retribution for his actions whatsoever, Don is and remains a bad guy form start to finish without any character development.

Shahrukh has played anti heroes before in Baazigar and Darr that have been dubbed grey or negative characters but of each characters as an audience member you understood the motivation and story arc, be it obsession for revenge or love. I do think his role in Anjaam was overwhelmingly negative and to my recollection Anjaam flopped because of that. Don is a different beast.

He isn’t a “steal from the rich, give to the poor” kind of criminal. He is a vicious drug lord wanted in pretty much every country (which would make his mom proud as he proudly proclaims).

We are expected to root for this character and many times I was left wondering why we should do that? Just because Shahrukh looks cool? (again his coolness has lost a lot of its sheen since ’06) Or because he says please and thank you? Also where is his gang? Where are his minions? He seems to be very hands-on when it comes to pulling capers?

Director Farhan Akhtar mentioned when we spoke to him on our podcast that he also struggles with why audiences’ root for Don as a character and I don’t think he ever really figures it out during the entire movie and the only thing we are left with is… “Isn’t’ Shahrukh awesome?”  (as a disclaimer, yes he is awesome)

 

The whole set up of Don 2 is that he wants to be a billionaire and wipe out all his enemies, of which all the information is contained on a again a mythical disk that acts as a mcguffin through the rest of the flick. You reach the intermission and ask yourself what are the stakes in this movie?

Are we just here to see a bad guy do more bad stuff (ie  kill hostages and security guards by his henchmen) and if he has planned everything in detail as we are intended to believe then the innocents killed are on his conscience making the character very hard to like.

 

As a side note, I was watching a very interesting Star Wars documentary called “The People vs. George Lucas”, it spoke partly about how George Lucas made the first Star Wars when he started wanted to have control of his own movies and image and wanted to rail against the established studios by being a rebel outside of the system.  But now after living years off of his franchise and desperately trying to protect his “vision” ended up becoming the system himself. Watching Don 2 made me draw a parallel between George Lucas and Shahrukh’s career.

Shahrukh in the same way started out breaking all the classical hero molds. He took on supporting roles, off beat characters and small scales movies when Hindi film leads were not willing to experiment. This became the reason we love our Shahrukh, the reason we want to see him on screen, the nostalgia we feel when we call him King Khan.

And now quite ironically, he has become the one hero who has become most rigidly stuck in the image he has created.

But it’s been a rough year for SRK and I don’t think the detractors will change their tune after seeing Don, which is unfortunate but also understandable after the oversaturation people fell after marketing mayhem of Ra.One and now Don 2.

 

Following the rules of sequelitis, this one is bigger, better, flashier but the ’78 Saleem Javed version delivered something that was still memorable after 20 years. So much so that it has been remade in different eras as well as languages and regions. No one will be remaking Don 2 in 20 years and people that aren’t on board of the SRK or Piggy Chops train, won’t come out of theatres won over by the movie.

 

Although the loopholes in the screenplay, the dialogues penned by Farhan Akhtar himself are fun zingy one liners that had me half smirking in the quintessential SRK way quite a few times. I did purposefully stay away from the “Don Says’ virals on the net as I didn’t want the impact of the dialogues spoilt outside of context and this was a major win for me. Also since I am not a fan of those desperate marketing experiments, which are the equivalent of entertainment fast food that neither the performers nor the audience truly enjoy, and if they do, shame on them!

 

The soundtrack has been a pretty big disappointment and lacks anything catchy or mythical for us to buy or even revisit the album. Unlike Don ’06 we missed Kareena’s sizzling item number and there isn’t a “Khaike paan banaras wala” to lift the spirits either. The background score is slightly better and makes the heist and the action scenes more impactful.

In a way this makes the movie less Bollywood and maybe missing what the French call ” I don’t know what?”

 

The stunts are shot exquisitely shot (actually most of the cinematography is great by Jason West. Who is also playing one of the baddies, if I haven’t misread the cast list) they are very much competing with the MI franchise but unfortunately never taking it ever further. The execution is top notch but it looses out in creativity.

 

I chose to see Don 2 in 3D even if I am not a big fan of post converted movies (I haven’t seen any that I have liked or felt that the 3D added anything more). The 3D adds a sense of depth to the action scenes and but also points out the low budget design of the movies CGI. What 3D can provide something more is to the dance sequences in Zara Dil Ko Thamlo, But again since there was only one song and not much choreography required, there wasn’t much left. (My hopes are still high for Shrish Kunder’s Joker, next year, which IS shot in 3d and not post converted)

I wouldn’t shell out for the premium ticket for 3D if you are on a budget or anything and don’t enjoy wearing the glasses.

Unless like me you are not biased against 3D or just want to see a hindi 3D movie.

 

The 2 other niggles I had with the movie were Priyanka Chopra as performer and the character of Roma and her team at Interpol.

Interpol never provides a foil for Don or any threat, weakening the dramatic tension. Roma was an innocent victim of Don and collaborated with Interpol as an undercover mole, now she seems to be a Special Agent and the bright shining future of the team and there isn’t a moment her ability to do anything except pout and point out whatever is obvious on screen. Here is an example of her investigative method: “We see 2 people in the car, BUT now there is only 1 person so someone must have stepped out of the car” – No shit, Sherlock!

Not even the local German police takes this version of Interpol seriously, neither do the banking officials (who seem to have the power to offer immunity to felons)

 

On top of that Roma struts around every time Don surrends as if she actually did anything to catch him, which she clearly didn’t. Her introduction to the movie is where she has forgotten her colleagues’ birthday… and this is the agency that is chasing Don, the most notorious criminal, no wonder they haven’t gotten anywhere.

Priyanka does look ravishing and is quite impressive in the final action scene where she kicks some ass with really skinny arms.

Too bad for her she again gets outshone by the supporting actress who is wearing a gold dress, last time Kareena, this time Lara Dutta.

 

Overall I would say, I had been really excited for Don 2 and I liked it but it’s not going be on anyone’s top 10 of the year list. It’s a very slick, enjoyable and above all well made movie reminding me of Excel’s Game, released earlier this year. The star power and the brand recognition of Don 2 will carry this movie further in terms of Box office then it did for Game.

And I do have to admit that I walked out of the theater humming the title track, popping my collar and sneer- smirking like only a wanted man does….

 

 

Spoiler Section:

  • Having been cheated once before in the earlier Don, you start to expect a twist at the end of this one. I wouldn’t want the Don franchise become a N Shymalan style movie where most of the impact is lost just because you as an audience member don’t want to me cheated and just sit there waiting for a twist.
  • Hritik Roshan’s cameo: Don goes undercover as Hritik followed by a Mission Impossible 2 style mask taking off, which was illustrated in one of the posters that came out earlier. Although a preposterous set up ( MI did put in the effort to explain how the managed to copy the voice and mannerisms, here it’s not the case) it was quite fun to see Hritik even if it was for a short while. It made me wonder when will we get to see Hritik play a bad ass? But then I thought of the Agneepath traier and it was like my wish will be granted very soon
  • More effort should have been put into establishing Interpol’s credibility, instead of introducing us to them by talking about missed birthdays, maybe talk about a case Roma just cracked? would have given her a bit more development as a character.
  • Some of the influencesI picked up watching the movie:
    • Die Hard and the Nakatomi heist, up to the final climax where Don arches his arms back when he is close to surrendering. I was hoping they would just go completely meta and make SRK say something like: “Yippikay kutte!”).
    • Mission Impossible 1: face masks, heist, poison pen, fire brigade escape, upside down safe crack
    • MI 2: Don’s get up in the finale
  • Shah Rukh’s hair foibles: Seriously what look were they trying to go for?

Let us know what you thought of Don 2? We have a podcast discussion with our good friend Danny Bowes about Don 2 going up in a couple of days so keep your iTunes feeds updated!

@asimburney

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Upodcast Interviews Farhan Akhtar for Don 2

When we posted the generic media interview a couple of days ago we put ourselves the challenge that if we get to interview Farhan Akhtar for his forthcoming movie Don 2, we would as much better questions. Lo and behold Asim got a chance to squeeze in an exclusive chat with Farhan whilst he was visiting Dubai for the international Premiere.

Although allegedly Shahruh was in the same room as this interview happened, we had to wrestle down our nerves to ask one of our favorite filmmakers some questions about revisiting a character much loved and how things have changed for Don, we ask about the post conversion to 3D and why certain action scenes remind us of other movies.

Have a listen to our podcast below and let us know what you thought of our chat in the comment section below.

@asimburney

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don 2 Interview with Director Farhan Akhtar

Farhan Akhtar one of my favorite directors/producers has been doing some interviews during some media round table. Upodcast were unfortunately not invited, if we were the questions would have been a hell of a lot geekier 😉 but we are lucky enough to post some of his thoughts about his forthcoming sequel Don 2 starring Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra amongst many others.

We posted some exclusive pictures earlier but now let’s hear from the filmaker himself.

Enjoy!

Tell us something about Don 2.
I really don’t know what to say about the film as that way I will be giving out the whole story. It has been fun, challenging yet a satisfying journey so far to make this movie. I was guilty of saying that I won’t probably make a sequel of Don, but my obsession with the character got the better of me. With amazing help and support and almost a sharing of vision with Ritesh (Sidhwani, producer) and Shah Rukh and rest of the team, I could not help but make Don 2.

Who is the ‘King’ of Don 2: The King is Back?
The King of Don 2 is undoubtedly Shah Rukh Khan.

Did you consult your father and writer Javed Akhtar on the script of Don 2?
Whatever film I write, I give it to him (Javed Akhtar) to read. I want him to give his feedback on screenplay, dialogues. He is somebody who is extremely experienced, somebody who is very good with the art and craft of writing; and fortunately I have this kind of access to him. It makes sense for me to use him and I use him to get feedback on not only this, but every script.

When you were making Don: The Chase Begins Again, you consulted Salim Khan (Salim-Javed being the screenplay writer of Amitabh Bachchan‘s Don in 1978). Did you do the same this time too?
I had gone to him to request him to give permission to make the film. I thought it was important that people who worked on the earlier film be happy with the remake we had made. So I met him regarding that, not the screenplay or such things. He was very, very kind and completely wished us all the best for the remake. Hopefully that applies to the sequel as well.

In the 2006 film, you retained some of the dialogues from the 1978 film like Don Ko Pakadna Mushkil Hi Nahi Namumkin Hai. Are you trying some new lines in the sequel or want to carry forward the legacy?
There are other dialogues in the film of course. For us, the line you just spoke about, strike a chord. But who knows, may be some other dialogue Don says in Don 2, might match out to the audience. While writing dialogues and thinking about the style of the dialogues, I knew that the approach has to be to write it in a way that films of that time (1970s) were written, where people spoke with a bit of theatrical sense. There was a lot more drama in the lines. So I maintained the approach as it gives you good feeling and also makes the film sound different. It takes you back to the times when you got to see films like this where you know every dialogue was a DIALOGUE.  So it is written with that in mind. But again, whatever people take from that, is upto them. There are fun lines in the film, hopefully they will enjoy.

Did you ever think of another actor for Don, had Shah Rukh said ‘no’ to you?
I don’t even want to think about that. When I started out to make the film, I wanted Shah Rukh to play the character and he loved the part. Beyond that, I stopped thinking about any other actor as I got the person I wanted for my film.

Social networking sites are flooding comments since Don 2 trailer was put on Youtube.  What is the best compliment you have got so far?
The best compliment I have got about the film so far is ‘Thank You for making Don 2’…that’s the sweetest thing one can say with minimum words.

Why did Don 2 take so long in the making (five years)?
Well, it was a challenging but extremely satisfying journey. I was guilty of declaring that I won’t make a sequel for Don 2, but once I spoke to Ritesh Sidhwani and Shah Rukh Khan, I could conceive it.

Why have you decided to make the film in 3D?
The film is not shot with the 3D camera. But when we saw that there is a possibility to make it in 3D, we gave it a shot. The people at Reliance made a demo and it looked very good. Technology has advanced a great deal; it is great to watch the film in 3D as well.

So who is Farhan the actor’s favourite actor?
I like many actors. All actors have their own strengths. But I do enjoy watching Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn purely for the fact that when you see their body of work and the body of work of most other actors, you notice that these guys bring something new to the table by way of a story or character. I love the way Ajay keeps reinventing himself as an actor. I would hate to watch the same kind of performance over and over again. An actor must keep challenging himself if he wishes to have a really long innings. Even as a filmmaker, I believe in mixing genres. A film must be entertaining. When I say entertaining, I don’t mean that you should only make people laugh. You can enthrall them with drama or comedy. There should be a sense of variety in storytelling and performance.

I have to say that the approach to 3D is worrisome, post converted 3D usually sucks and some of the questions are really derivative but I am sure a lot of people out there will love reading up on this.

We’re still super Psyched for the movie which will be out Wednesday 21st December 2011 in theaters worldwide

@AsimBurney

Enhanced by Zemanta