Bhaag Johnny

As we all know by now that Bollywood is a domain of films that cater to different genres. The genre of thriller has always fascinated the audience. This week's release BHAAG JOHNNY, which happens to be a thriller, is about two identities of one man. Will this film 'run' at the box-office or will it get stumped… let's analyze.

The film starts off with an extremely worried and concerned Savitri (Nishigandha Wad) meeting up a spiritual guru Acharyaji (Arun Bali) in order to know about the safety and whereabouts of her son who is settled in Bangkok. This is immediately followed by a 'musical introduction' of her son Janardhan Arora aka Johnny (Kunal Khemu). Just when things are getting settled down, Johnny's boss Ramona Bakshi (Mansi Scott) summons him to her cabin and accuses him of 'insider trading' in the company. She also gives him a couple of choices as a punishment. The first option is to serve 10 years of Rigorous Imprisonment in jail and the second option is to spend 3 days in Pattaya. After much reluctance and a failed escape plan to India, Johnny chooses the Pattaya option. The moment he reaches Pattaya, he is loaded with a set of instructions from Ramona Bakshi's man aka 'Mr. Nobody' (Aseem Merchant), who instructs Johnny to kill Tanya (Zoa Morani). Left with absolutely no option, the very moment Johnny makes up his mind to kill Tanya, there appears a 'jin' (Vikram Bhatt), at the behest of Acharyaji. The 'jin' offers to help Johnny in a very unnatural way. He gives Johnny two lives to live. While in the 'first life' Johnny can kill Tanya and see the consequences for himself, in the 'second life', Johnny can save Tanya see the consequences. Game for this, Johnny starts living both the lives and faces the consequences in both. The story takes a sudden U- turn when the two Johnnys meet each other face to face. What happens when Johnny's 'two lives' meet each other, what happens to Tanya and Johnny, what is the hidden motive of Ramona Bakshi to get Tanya killed… is what forms the rest of the film.

Director Shivamm Nair, who has to his credit a history of making not-so- memorable films like AHISTA AHISTA, MAHARATHI, GHOST GHOST NA RAHA, falters terribly with BHAAG JOHNNY, right from the word go. He has erred with the most essential element of filmmaking viz., direction. One really wonders as to what he was thinking when he was making the film. While the film does have its moments under the sun (strictly a handful of them), the rest of the film lands up doing nothing to the viewers, except confusing them to the core. The film is far, far away from having an engaging or a gripping storyline that is required to hold the interest of the viewers.

As for the performances, it is Kunal Khemu who leads the way in the film. The irony of the film is that despite Kunal Khemu not having a double role, he portrays two roles in the film. One cannot take away the fact that he has put in a sincere and an honest performance in the film. There is hardly anything that even he could have done in the film which had a senseless plot. As for the heroines, despite Mandana Karimi 'playing' the second lead (or is it parallel lead?), the film sees her in an extended cameo. Whereas the full film is being dominated by the likes of Manasi Scott and Zoa Morani. While Manasi Scott delivers what was expected of her role, Zoa Morani gets stuck with a solo expression in the film throughout. She definitely has miles to go as far as acting is concerned. The most shocking element was the cameo appearance of Vikram Bhatt, whose character of 'jin' is so gimmicky that it lands up invoking laughter rather than any kind of mystic feelings. Mukul Dev in the role of a pony tailed ACP is totally wasted. The rest of the actors do no good to the lacklustre film.

While the film's music (Devi Sri Prasad, Mithoon, Ankit Tiwari, Yo Yo Honey Singh) is decent, but the two tracks that stand out are 'Daddy Mummy' and 'Iss Qadar Pyar Hai'. These two songs are possibly the only relief in this tiring movie. The film's cinematography and editing is average. It is however the action sequences that shot very well.

On the whole, BHAAG JOHNNY offers no entertainment value.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon

After the successful transformation of Shah Rukh Khan from a TV star to Bollywood phenomenon, there have been many, who have tried to walk his path (read 'emulate'). While there have been only a handful of success stories, there have been many who have fallen. This week's release KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON marks the Bollywood debut of Kapil Sharma, who became a household name after having a successful stint on TV with his famous 'Comedy Nights'. Will Kapil Sharma's debut film click at the box-office or not... lets analyze.

KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON starts off with the definition of 'shaadi' and also with the introduction of Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan aka Bholu (Kapil Sharma) in a swanky car. Even as he drives the car, the audiences are driven to a flashback of events that establishes the connection between Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's past with his present. If one had to sum up his life, then, the only statement that would do total justice to it is 'Kar bhala toh ho bura'. Every time Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan lands up helping a girl (unmarried, to be specific) in distress, he lands up marrying that girl! That establishes the fact as to how he gets married to Juhi (Manjari Fadnis), Simran (Simran Kaur Mundi) and Anjali (Sai Lokur). Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan very successfully hides his marriage from all the three girls err... wives. And in order to avoid problems, he places them at various locations of Bandra, Borivali and Kandivali. But, upon the 'expert advice' of his close friend lawyer Karan (Varun Sharma), Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan buys one flat for each wife in an ironically named building called 'Cocktail Towers'. To all his wives, he explains his super busy schedule stating that he has three different 'offices' to be taken care of. He even names his different offices (read 'wives') on his mobile phone as 'Head Office', 'Branch Office' and 'Area Office'. The common excuse that Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan gives to all the tree wives is that, because of his super busy job, he will spend one night with them and two nights in the office. In that way, he actually does justice to all the three wives. The story takes a U-turn with the entry of Deepika aka 'Enquiry Office' (Elli Avram), the girl whom he really loves. Due to the fear of losing Deepika, Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan keeps her too in the dark about his marriages and his respective wives. Just when the duo (Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan and Deepika) plan to get married, Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's estranged parents (Sharat Saxena and Supriya Pathak) make an entry. In order to hide about his three marriages from them, Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan stations them separately with different wives on different floors. Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan doesn't even tell his wives about his estranged parents. The plot gets further murkier when all the three wives become best of friends (unaware that they 'share' the same husband) and they land up seeing Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's parents coochie-cooing with each other, thus adding to the confusion. The confusion reaches its crescendo when Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's three wives get invited to their best friend Deepika's wedding with Kumar (Shiv Ram Kishan). Will the three wives ever get to know each other's reality and their husband's relation with them, will Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's estranged parents unite again, will Deepika and Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan ever get married, will Kumar Shiv Ram Kishan's reality be exposed to the world and his wives... is what forms the rest of the story.

The film's directors Abbas-Mustan, have been always associated with the thriller genre. Films like KHILADI, BAAZIGAR, SOLDIER, RACE etc, mirror this fact. Because KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON belongs to a comedy genre, what initially seems like an uphill task for the masters of thriller is handled by the duo with ease. The director duo has touched upon a genre (bigamy and polygamy) that was popularized by the likes of Govinda in the 90's. Their film KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON, which addresses human instincts and polygamy, picks up from where Govinda's films had left. Despite comedy not being their forte, full marks to the Abbas-Mustan for handling the full film with utmost ease. The remarkable scenes in the film include the underwear scene, Karva chauth and the confusion at the mall. The product that Abbas-Mustan have created in the form of KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON will surely appeal to the masses.

As for as the debutante Kapil Sharma is concerned, the film looks like a cakewalk for the man who has already established himself in the genre of comedy. The film will definitely pave way for him to fill in the vacuum left behind by Govinda. The way Kapil Sharma has handled the emotional outburst scenes in the film, is something that needs to be lauded. He just couldn't have asked for a better debut than KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON, a film that caters to his comfort zone of comedy. His comic timing and the delivery of one-liners are totally unmatched and flawless. As for the heroines, because the film is a multiple heroine one, the screen time for each actress was bound to be limited. Having said that, one has to admit that the actresses were decent in their respective roles. The fact also remains that except for Manjari Fadnis, the rest of the heroines were relatively unknown faces. But since the film was very clearly touted to be Kapil Sharma's launch pad, the choice of the heroines seemed totally justified. As for Varun Sharma, he is only getting better with every passing film. KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON sees him in a very funny role. His role in the film and his Newton's laws are bound to find resonance with the masses and classes alike. Ideally, he carries the entire film on his shoulders along with Kapil Sharma. The Supriya Pathak - Sharat Saxena angle seems like a forced narrative in the film, and lands up diluting the story angle and the film's focus. Arbaaz Khan is funny in his deaf 'Bhai' act.

While the songs in the film are totally situational, the film's music (Javed Mohsin, Amjad, Nadeem) is a letdown. The only hummable track (featuring Kapil Sharma in a rap song) features only during the end credits. Besides this track, the rest of the tracks and the lyrics fail to leave an impact on the viewers.

Special brownie points to director Abbas-Mustan and screenplay and dialogue writers (Anukalp Goswami, Dheeraj Sarna) for having created an extremely engaging narrative in the first half of the film, which is half the battle won for the film. The second half, which unravels the confusion is totally up to the mark and doesn't drag the story. For this, one has to credit the film's editor (Hussain Burmawalla) for having done a razor-sharp job in the film. There are places where the film's cinematography (Dilshad V A) seems really shaky, but the film's narrative overshadows these flaws.

On the whole, KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON can be watched if you enjoy Kapil Sharma's style of comedy.

Calendar Girls

It's often said that 'Films are nothing but a reel representation of the real life'. While a majority of filmmakers thrive on making 'masala' films, there are a handful of them who have carved a niche for themselves in making realistic yet commercial cinema. Madhur Bhandarkar is one such bright example for this. Be it CHANDNI BAR, PAGE 3, CORPORATE, TRAFFIC SIGNAL, FASHION or HEROINE, all of his films have been reflecting the bitter truth or like he says 'the other side of the coin'. Madhur's penchant for realistic films continues with his latest offering, CALENDAR GIRLS, yet another film that exposes the bitter side of the glamour industry. Will CALENDAR GIRLS make it to the calendar of successful films or will it fizzle at the box-office... lets analyze.

The film starts off with the introduction of Nandita Menon from Hyderabad (Akanksha Puri), Nazneen Malik from Lahore (Avani Modi), Sharon Pinto from Goa (Kyra Dutt), Mayuri Chauhan from Rohtak (Ruhi Singh) and Paromita Ghosh from Kolkata (Satarupa Pyne). Fighting all the odds, these five girls become the chosen ones for the flamboyant industrialist Kumar (Suhel Seth)'s 'passion' project of the annual 'calendar girls'. These five girls are greeted with all the paparazzi and media attention on the night of the calendar launch. It is this big night which they all have been waiting for. The next morning brings all these five girls inroads to a new life full of opportunities. Paromita Ghosh accidentally meets up with her long lost (overambitious) boyfriend Pinaki (Keith Sequeira) in a social function in Mumbai. Unaware of his motives, she continues to love him unconditionally. So much so that, at his behest, she becomes the honey-trap to do match fixing with cricketers for the cash-rich cricket league matches. Things soon go downhill for her when the cops corner her. On the other hand, because of the anti-Pakistan movement in Mumbai, the Pakistani model Nazneen Malik is forced to return the signing amount that she had taken from a leading filmmaker for her debut film. Left with no option now, she lands up being a high-society escort, courtesy 'broker' Ananya (Mita Vasishth). Thirdly, the effervescent Sharon Pinto, who gets signed up by a leading talent management agency gets to hear some fictitious and unsavory stories about her from the agency owner Aniruddh Shroff (Rushad Rana). The self-respecting woman that is, Sharon slaps Aniruddh in his own office before all the employees... only to be slapped back with a 'ban' from advertising world. An accidental meeting with a leading journalist at a bookstore lands her a job as a TV show anchor. Meanwhile, Nandita Menon quits her glam job even before it takes off, only to get married to Harsh, the scion of the wealthy Narang family. Lastly, Mayuri Chauhan uses not just her networking skills, but also her social networking skills to become a successful Bollywood actress. In this process, while on one hand she doesn't mind doing a film with wealthy producer's son purely for the sake of money, on the other hand, she leaves no stone unturned when it comes to hobnobbing with the filmmakers who matter (in this film, its Madhur Bhandarkar in a cameo). Will Nazneen Malik ever be able to get out of her escort business, does the 'model' Sharon Pinto become a successful TV host, does Nandita Menon ever find true love from her husband Harsh, does Mayuri Chauhan and her impeccable PR skills make her a successful actress and does Paromita Ghosh manage to get out of the cricket scam and what ultimately happens to all the five 'calendar girls' is what forms the story of the film.

With Madhur Bhandarkar at the helm of things, and with a theme like 'Calendar Girls', one is bound to expect a revelation of yet another side of the glamour industry. While Madhur Bhandarkar exposed the ugly side of fashion and Bollywood in his earlier films, FASHION and HEROINE respectively, he has treaded a similar path with CALENDAR GIRLS. And this time, he succeeds to a large extent. Besides being the director, Madhur Bhandarkar also doubles up as the writer of the film. The genesis of CALENDAR GIRLS has been undisputedly borrowed from his earlier films, wherein he showcases the yet another dark, but real side of the glamour industry. What really works for the film is that, instead of showcasing the 'making' of calendar girls, Madhur Bhandarkar has highlighted their life after the exposure to fame and success. The film's narrative is simple, engaging and also hard hitting at the same time. There were many occasions wherein Madhur Bhandarkar could have just lost control and could have gone over the top with the film. But, he restrained the story very convincingly within the film's premises. One has to laud him pulling off such a complex story with 5 stark newcomers.

All the five actresses playing the calendar girls, namely Kyra, Avani, Ruhi, Akanksha and Satapura have performed their respective roles to the best of their abilities. They do not land up playing a caricature, which makes their roles very relatable. Even though the men did not have much to do, still, actors like Suhel Sheth, Rohit Roy, Atul Parchure and Keith Sequeira shine in their respective characters.

The music (Meet Bros Anjaan, Amaal Mallik) is situational. Since the premise of the film did not have any requirement of music, one did not miss the want of a chartbuster song in the film. The cinematography by Hari Vendaantam is decent while the editing by Devendra Murdeshwar is commendable.

The film has very correctly highlighted the high net worth families and their 'pushing under the carpet' problems, the platform that reality show offers to its contestants and also their 'selection' process, how relationships and condolences can be 'money-pulated'. Without being preachy, Madhur Bhandarkar's CALENDAR GIRLS showcases that life is all about the choices that one makes, which can either make or break a person.

On the whole, CALENDAR GIRLS can be watched for its wholesome entertainment value, hard hitting drama and engaging narrative. Or like Madhur Bhandarkar himself would describe it in one word.... 'Jalwa'!

The Intern English

Hollywood big starrers are usually known for their big-budgets, grandeur and established genres that justify the presence of the big stars. This week's release THE INTERN, despite the presence of heavy weights like Robert De Niro and Anne Hathway is a light comedy, which has a lot more to offer than you would expect.

The 121-minute film opens with Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), an empty nester trying to spend his days more purposefully. When he chances upon a flyer of a senior internship program at an e-commerce company in his Brooklyn neighbourhood, he's quick to make it past the interviews and bag the job. He is posted as an intern to Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), founder of the online fashion start-up As he struggles with learning the ropes of modern technology, his bigger challenge is breaking the ice with the boss, who only wants him shifted to another department, since she doesn't quite see the point of having a senior citizen intern working under her. But Ben is not one to quit. He takes every menial task in his stride - from getting coffee to clearing clutter- his will is endearing. Jules, however, cannot help but notice how this old man is becoming 'Mr. Congeniality' of her office, who is loved by everyone around. Soon, Ben replaces Jules' driver and starts driving her around for her meetings and also handling small tasks for her, which eventually seem to add immense value to her life. In no time, he gets friendly with Jules' family, her 'stay-at-home' husband and her little daughter, and Ben becomes an integral part of her life.

The film is interspersed with moments of humour and De Niro's winning charm, with his adventures and a few funny misadventures at work. We only wish there was more of that in the film because when the focus shifts from De Niro's new ground to Ostin's rickety life, the narrative gets a bit tiresome. It's the same old rants about the high-power busy wife, too busy for her own good, with her marriage on the line. But writer-director Nancy Meyers is known for dealing with subjects that show complicated relationships and this film too has a unique viewpoint on the matter. Nancy surely does a brilliant job in showing one man's pursuit to push the accelerator on his mundane life, and one woman's pursuit to hit the brakes on her fast-paced life. How these opposing forces work together, unfolds as a beautiful telling that will stir something in you.

As far as the performances go, no surprises here, as Robert De Niro steals the show from the first frame. De Niro brings tremendous charm to the character of a 70 year old widower who is as excited as a teenager to jump back into the new-age corporate world and work as an intern (dressed in a suit all the time) with colleagues, who are one an average 40-50 years younger than him. From struggling to start his laptop, to tidying up the office space, to fixing his boss Jules' life, De Niro as Ben wins you over in every scene. Anne Hathaway as the over-worked young entrepreneur, struggling to manage both her office and her home, presents the complexity of her character with her trademark charm. The dilemma of whether to give up her company to save her family haunts Hathaway's character throughout the film, and with this complexity, Hathaway builds a unique chemistry with De Niro on screen. Other actors like Andrew Rannells, Rene Russo, Zack Pearlman, and Adam DeVine make for great supporting cast and help take the film forward.

Overall, THE INTERN is a simple sweet film, with charming performances by Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, which makes for a good watch.

Katti Batti

In any grown up relationship, there are always ups and downs, highs and lows. Whereas, during childhood, the same ups and downs were equalised as 'katti' and batti', where 'katti' signified red signal for communication and 'batti' signified green. This week's release goes by the name KATTI BATTI, and is said to be fresh take on the ups and downs of romantic relationships. But will this film get a Red or a Green signal at the box-office… let's analyze.

KATTI BATTI starts off with Payal (Kangna Ranaut) shooting an MMS of a slightly reluctant Madhav Kabra aka Maddy (Imran Khan). This is followed by a hospital scene where Madhav is admitted after he consumes phenyl 'accidentally'. Then begins the flashback of many such incidents and events that show us the tale of his romantic relationship with Payal. The flashback shows that Madhav, who is doing his architecture in the same college as Payal falls head over heels in love with her the very moment he sees her for the first time. Even though he confesses his true love to her at regular intervals, Payal shrugs it off stating that she is just looking out for a 'time pass' relationship and not a committed one. Despite all the odds, Madhav convinces Payal to acknowledge his love and then they take a decision of living-in with him in Mumbai. While life seems to be a bed of roses initially, it gradually opens up its ugly side when Payal and Madhav have an argument for some reason or the other. It is during one such argument at the airport when they were en route Goa, that Madhav decides to break up and leaves her at the airport. After cooling down, when he comes back hunting for her, Payal disappears and switches off her phone, not to be seen again. Unable to digest the mysterious disappearance of Payal from his life, what follows is his endless attempts to search her at every place possible and from everyone possible. Is there more than what meets the eye for the mysterious disappearance of Payal, what ultimately happens to Madhav and Payal's love story, will Payal ever become 'batti' with her 'katti' live-in partner Madhav, is what forms the rest of the film.

KATTI BATTI is Nikhil Advani's successive release at the box-office after last week's HERO. Besides directing the film, he has also written the film alongwith Anshul Singhal. With a plot that is supposed to revolve around the matters of the heart, heartaches and heartbreaks, Nikhil fails terribly to hit the right cord. While the film suffers due to a weak script, it seems to have been inspired by various American rom-coms and TV shows put together as episodes in the film. But most importantly, the film's premise is heavily inspired by Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves starrer 2001 film SWEET NOVEMBER. KATTI BATTI suffers from a poor screenplay, which tests your patience throughout the film, right from the word go. While Nikhil Advani has managed to make the film look fresh and young, he fails to build an engaging narrative. Rather than stretching the film endlessly for no reason, he should have focussed on having a stronger storyline and a crisper screenplay. Because of the absence of these vital elements, the film turns out to be an endlessly dull affair.

KATTI BATTI primarily belongs to Imran Khan and Kangna Ranaut. As for the performances, Imran Khan, who hasn't had a release for sometime now, is decent only. In the film, he keeps on running after Kangna's character despite the constant refusal from her. His character seems spineless beyond a point. A little more dedicated effort from Imran's side into his character could have given him an extremely convincing onscreen presence. On the other hand, Kangna Ranaut, from whom expectations are sky-high now after her last two hit releases (QUEEN and TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS), seems to be a letdown in KATTI BATTI. One cannot blame her totally for the mess, as her character did not have scope to do anything extra-ordinary. It is indeed sad to see a talented actress like her not having much to do in the film. She also has comparatively lesser screen time as compared to Imran Khan. The rest of the actors help in the film moving forward.

Except for the two heavily promoted songs ('Lip To Lip De Kisisya' and 'Sarphira') the music of the film (Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa) is nothing great to write about. The background music (Gulraj Singh), on the other hand, is decent. While the film's editing (Maahir Zaveri) could have been a bit more crisper, the cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray is commendable. Costume designer Sheetal Sharma has done a good job in styling the lead pair.

There are many reasons as to why the film may suffer at the box-office. The main problem with KATTI BATTI is that while its promos and trailers give an impression that the film is a rom-com, the film turns out to be a sob-fest, a reason that may work against the film. Secondly, for a romantic film, the audience has to connect with the lead characters to feel for them. However, in the case of KATTI BATTI that connect never happens. In addition to all this, the film keeps on oscillating between the past and the present, which lands up confusing the audience, especially during the climax.

On the whole, due to its weak script and non-engaging narrative, KATTI BATTI will face 'katti' from the audience at the box-office.

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