I went on a spree recently and ended up watching three movies in more or less quick succession. Hey, people gorge on chocolate, I watch two movies back to back at a multiplex. So sue me. None of them really deserves a longish review (actually they do, but I’m a lazy bum), so here’s a paragraph or two about each of them.
Quick Gun Murugun
After a minor tribute to Tarantino’s Kill Bill right at the beginning, the opening credits of Quick Gun Murugun show our hero being ferried to heaven by Yama on what seems like Thailand’s answer to the buffalo. Heaven turns out to be something like a large Government office, complete with an old watchman sleeping at the gate. When Murugun alights, Yama asks him, half-sheepishly, “Saar, meterukku mela konjam…” And when the former walks on without even responding, the latter mutters what must be the most appropriately worded insult in recorded human history: Saavu kirakki. (My apologies to those who do not understand Tamil — my translation skills aren’t quite sufficient to make this joke work in any other language.)
With such auspicious beginnings, one would expect QGM to be an absolute laugh riot. Sadly, this doesn’t turn out to be the case. Like Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run, it all sounds amazingly funny until you actually sit down and watch it. It’s eminently chuckle-worthy all right, and one never really tires of all the sly references (lines like “Make my day, machchaan” abound), but by and large, the movie manages to be clever without really tipping over the edge into laugh-out-loud-funny.
I have watched both of Shashanka Ghosh’s movies now — Waisa Bhi Hota Hai and this one. Neither of them will rank as a work of comic brilliance, but maybe these will turn out to be the opening notes in a brilliant career. Who knows, the man might even give us our own Annie Hall sometime in the future.
Dil Bole Hadippa
Dear Yash Raj Productions,
Despite my better judgement, I have watched most of the movies you have come out with in recent times. I do not need a refresher.
The trouble with DBH, I suppose, is that while it isn’t really a bad movie per se, it doesn’t seem to be bothered much with being a good one. Then again, if all you have is the idea of an ambidextrous Punjabi kudi wanting to play cricket with the boys and masquerading as one in order to do so, just how good can it get? At least Twelfth Night added more complications (like the business of twins) to disguise the fact that it was basically just fluff.
Nobody really stands out. Rani Mukherjee tries gamely, but quite frankly, she just doesn’t have what it takes to elevate this material. The best you can expect from her is to do justice to a well-written part — this one isn’t. Shahid Kapoor moves his career up one square by playing an essentially likeable character yet again, except with a bigger banner paying him to do nothing this time around. Rakhi Sawant moves her career up one square by getting a more-or-less non-speaking 5 minute part in addition to her item song. Sherlyn Chopra turns up with seemingly one purpose — to increase the per capita exposure in the movie by a few dozen square inches. She does well at that. A non-speaking part would’ve been even better, but as it stands, it doesn’t really hurt the movie. The others convert O2 to CO2. On the whole, I’d have been better off doing the same at home.
I doubt I can say it any better than Amrita has in her absolutely wonderful review of this movie. The best I can do is say the following: Wanted is exactly what it claims to be, and it is very good at what it aims to do.
I was initially skeptical about the casting choices — I felt Salman was too old for the part, and that Prakash Raj’s performance might not work as well in Hindi as it did in Tamil and Telugu. I was wrong on both counts. Both of them seem to be having the time of their lives, and from what I could see in the multiplex, the public absolutely loved it. Ayesha Takia proves yet again that, were it not for the occasional little gem like Dor or Socha Na Tha, all we might end up remembering of her is how she fills out a t-shirt. (Very well, I might add.)
As for the supporting cast: Vinod Khanna has a nice little role doing nothing. Inder Kumar seems to be raking in millions in steroid endorsements. Mahesh Manjrekar is suitably sleazy while managing to be a mite less over-the-top than his counterparts in the Southie versions — which is saying very little and very much at the same time. And a bunch of interchangeable goons seem to growl and die in the background often enough to keep the story going. One even commits suicide instead of letting the hero kill him — I’m not sure how he sees this as a better option, but I’m disinclined to argue the point.
On the whole, this is an absolutely wonderful B-movie. And if you need any other reason to watch it, here’s one: as toothpaste ads go, it’s much better than Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.