Ranveer Singh

Ep 5- Chori Chori Chupke Chupke Review and Padmaavat Discussion

Episode 5 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita discussing the first film voted to screen by their audience – 2001’s Salman Khan-starrer, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (CCCC).

First, however, we make a short foray into current cinema with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extremely controversial Padmaavat, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh. We discuss the fan politics surrounding the film as well as the merits of the film itself. (Please excuse the sound of the occasional firework in between – Amrita’s neighbors were very excited about India becoming a republic.)

Going back to our Khandaan business, however, 2001 was a significant year for Hindi cinema. It saw the release of Farhan Akhtar’s debut directorial Dil Chahta Hai, featuring Aamir Khan, a seminal road trip movie that is often credited with changing the very language of modern Bollywood by employing an everyday conversational style. Karan Johar, whose multi-starrer behemoth Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), featuring Shahrukh Khan, released to massive box office success later that year, has famously said that he knew his movie was outdated the moment DCH released.

This was also the year Aamir guided Lagaan to the Oscars, India’s first nomination in the Best Foreign Film category in decades, laying the foundation for his reputation as the great savior of good Hindi cinema. A nearly four-hour period drama about weather conditions, taxes, and cricket, Lagaan was a sensation when it released but isn’t much referenced today within the modern Hindi cinematic ethos unlike DCH and K3G, which each left an enduring impact on desi pop culture for very different reasons.

Shahrukh also had two other releases that year – Asoka, the directorial debut of ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan, was a gorgeous-looking period drama about the eponymous emperor that tanked at the box office before becoming appointment TV in its serialized form; and the washout One 2 ka 4, a rare movie that features SRK as a cop.

The fact that CCCC, a subpar family drama about a rich couple who hire a hooker to carry their baby, was able to win the vote against such a stellar field of choices is a testament to Salman’s star power – and we discuss the issues that arise when a celebrity wields such power. Made at the height of Salman’s personal problems, which would shortly include a murder charge, CCCC was also a troubled production, allegedly made with mafia money.

Belying the nostalgia of several friends of this podcast, CCCC is also deeply problematic, dealing with supposedly progressive ideas in the most regressive way possible. Rani Mukherjee is horrendously dressed and is the catalyst for the main plot of the film, which is bizarre and offensive. Preity Zinta is effervescent and charming – and completely wasted as a hooker with a heart of gold and a fertile uterus. The supporting cast includes an OTT Amrish Puri as a (male) baby-obsessed grandfather, Farida Jalal as a (male) baby-obsessed mother-in-law, Dalip Tahil as a dad who just wants to get his son out of the country for some reason, Johnny Lever as Random Family-Adjacent Dude who sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong, and Prem Chopra as a doctor willing to break every single professional ethic for the sake of friendship. Salman appears medicated.

We did not enjoy this movie but please do listen and laugh at our pain.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Podcast notes:

We refer to Sal Salam‘s excellent essay on BollyBrit which you can find here

Our awesome theme song was 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.

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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.

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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!

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Ram Leela Trailer: Romeo And Juliet through Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Lens

Like most Bollywood fans, we have spent the morning refreshing our social media feeds for the launch of the Ram Leela trailer and finally the wait is over.

Rumored to be an adaptation of Romeo And Juliet, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets the story in contemporary Rajisthan. Some of the visuals do remind you of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but adding fire brand actor Ranveer Singh, the movie just seems a lot more fun than anything we expected from Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Deepika has been picking some great roles and it’s paid off at the box office this year, and she seems to have amazing chemistry with Ranveer, which make me hopeful to see more of these 2 on screen together.

The trailer is quite extensive and a welcome change to the stupid marketing ploy of 30 sec teasers. I’m looking at you Dhoom and Krissh 3, this might be that we are pretty sure we know the major story beats so we can are allowed to see more of the lush world that they have built.

Here are some images, posters, synopsis and of course the awesome trailer:

Ram : Born in the land of guns, goons and hardcore enmity, RAM – the local village romeo, is a raapchik, cheap, dramatic vagabond. The lover who fights the whole world for his Leela and yet the man who stands by his clan even at the cost of his own love

Leela : In love with her enemy, a beautiful, young, spicy, fearless gujrati belle, born to an underworld mistress and yet far removed from the violence that surrounds her. Her life is only about her faith in her lover , her tireless wait for him, her sacrifices for him and ultimately her’self’ against him

When the two see each other for the first time, worlds collide, wars are fought and destinies are written in blood, forever. The Jadejas and the Rabaris are sworn enemies since the past 500 years and their own kin falling in love with each other is worst than any storm that could have ever come by. Set in the present day, magnificent vibrant landscape of Gujarat, woven with song and dance, Ram and Leela fight the world to live their own dreams. What will happen when they declare their love to the world? Will their families relent or will Ram and Leela carve their own destiny?

 



Ram Leela is in theaters on 15th November.

@asimburney

 

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New Trailer Lootera: Reveals more of the plot!

We just recorded a massive episode of UPodcast where we do 2013 mid year wrap up and also talk about the movies we are looking forward to in the 2nd half of the year. The one movie that both our guests FilmiGirlGetfilmy and Upodcast were very much excited for was Vikramaditya Motwane’s Ranveer Singh – Sonakshi Sinha starrer Lootera, slated for a July 5th release.

Until now not too much was revealed in the first trailer except that it was a romance set in the 50’s. The 2nd trailer changes that and give us much more of the story which seems to be Indiana Jones meets Catch Me If You Can added with some desi tadka.

 

 

How beautiful does that look?

Last time Ranveer Singh played a con man in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl wasn’t met with the kind of success as his debut so it’s quite interesting he is taking on what seems to be another role of a scam artist. As I mentioned during the UPodcast recording for me this is Sonakshi’s litmus test, she has the talent and screen presence but until now has been stuck doing inconsequential roles paired opposite much older heroes.

Director Vikramaditya Motwane’ s following up the critically acclaimed Udaan teaming up with Balaji entertainment which is an interesting collaboration. I have been listenting to the Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack pretty much non stop.

There is a lot riding on Lootera and I’m liking what I’m seeing until now.

@asimburney

 

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Review Ladies vs Ricky Bahl

Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and director Maneesh Sharma come together once again under the YRF banner after their sleeper hit of last year Band Baaja Baarat, Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl is called a Rom-Con puntastically and banks heavily and is pretty much built around the popularity of the leading man, after Ranveer’s debut which almost ecplipsed his co-star unfairly.

 

Here we follow grifter Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh) under his different guises as he cons Daddy’s Girl Dimple in Delhi (Parineeti Chopra) as a gym trainer, no non-sense business lady Raina in Mumbai as an art critic (played by former model Dippanita Sharma) and before that as shy garment manufacturer from a small village so where he duped the innocent Saira played by Aditi Sharma in Lucknow (Probably the most “evil” of cons).

The swindled ladies want to get back their money, respect or “boyfriend” back and hire salesgirl Ishika (Anushka Sharma) to con the “conner”.

 

Up to this point in the story (which is pretty much the interval) the movie is a joyous ride of the different cities, accents, get-ups, cultures and each of the different scams of which especially the one in Delhi is fun to watch.  We see firecracker Ranveer proving his debut was not a fluke and he truly is a guy to watch out.  Anushka makes an energetic introduction in Jazba, shaking her behind in front of dubbawhala’s in a station and Parineeti has us pretty much cracking up in every scene she is in almost playing a spoilt version of Shruti Kakkar, or is just that no nonsense Delhi accent she puts on? It makes certainly makes us look forward to her forthcoming movie Ishqzaade with Arjun Kapoor.

But then things start to go downhill as soon as the focus shifts to the duped trying to get back at Ricky.

 

As we discussed during our Matchstick Men Upodcast about con movies, a con movie is only as good as the con, and here there is not a moment that you truly believe that these girls will be able to have the upper hand on Ricky. What remains is the love story, which is underdeveloped, and when it does pop up, it comes out of nowhere.

If the pacing of a movie engrossing you don’t realize some loopholes but this is not the case in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and the pace actually drops in the scenes were Ranveer isn’t present.

 

Although the supporting actresses are talented, and Saira was channeling a bit of Yasmeen from Dhobi Ghaat)

Both Anushka and Ranveer look great but as an audience member you almost feel cheated as I didn’t feel there was enough of them in the 2nd half of the movie. We never really get to understand Ricky and in a very “500 Days of Summer”- way we only see the version of Bloody Kamina that the victims of his cons show us. Making it that even the climactic scenes of character growth feel like they materialized out of thin air. I do think Ranveer was trying to channel a bit of Tanni from Rab Ne Banadi Jodi (before the reveal) looking at everything with mysterious glances, is he aware that he is being conned? Or is he just playing along? But this is probably just the performance trying to add more to an underdeveloped script.

Anushka is radiant, and there was lots of talk of her weight loss, some going as far as to shout anorexia but she manages to fill the screen with a positive energy that no other contemporary actress has.  Some actresses ooze class, some sensuality, Anushka manages to do both and adds a girl next-door charm.

And god that smile… too bad Ishika, the character, doesn’t live up to the talent of this amazing performer.

 

The visuals are glossy as Christmas ornaments; every scene has the popping energy that we are used to YRF studios (I do wonder if this is a look that will translate to the US movies they are now producing)

 

The songs are mediocre although choreographed marvelously. I did feel that the undershirt dance in title track was reminiscent of the studios massive hit Dhoom 2′ s “Dhoom Machale”. The song placement is balanced and the performances by the leads against are so energetic they are enjoyable even though you wont be buying the soundtrack anytime soon (something I haven’t done either, although that jazz sample in the title track is pretty awesome)

Every close up is shot with lots of fans so hair is always flopping around, something I might have found more annoying as I was sitting super close to the screen.  (I could actually see a couple of nose hairs poking out of Ricky’s pulling me totally out of the moment, I hope I didn’t spoil any moments)

 

All in all Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is quite fun and enjoyable even though I don’t imagine it ending up on any best of 2011 lists. Something I am preparing for a future Bollywood Upodcast so keep checking us out. Maneesh Sharma needs a better screenplay next time but it’s quite tough to capture lightning in a bottle. If you don’t go with the expectations of another Band Baaja Baraat, you will have a great time.

 

Something more:

 

  • I would love to see what Ranveer can do coming out of the YRF banner. The guy has such a screen presence and could totally take on more challenging and edgier roles if given the chance.

 

  • I would like to see Anushka Sharma in pretty much everything, she s such a delight to watch.

 

  • Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is another in a long line of Yash Raj con after Bunty Aur Babli, Badmaash Company, the Dhoom series and in some ways even Rab Ne Banadi Jodi. Maybe Band Baaja Baraat connected more with audiences, as it was a movie about hard work and graft? Something we don’t seem to get as much in contemporary Hindi cinema.
  • It seems that Yash Raj studios have no idea how to portray the business world actually works.  Salesmen are equated with con men (something that was also raised in last years Rocket Singh-Salesmen of the Year) and seem to be proud of duping their customers, something I inherently disagree with. Even Raina’s who’s supposed to be a hardnosed corporate manager also has to deal with interior decoration and also being a part time art critic

 

 @asimburney

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