Plenty of bollywood action happened at my end last month. Watched Umrao Jaan on the big screen at Offenbach, while still waiting for the release of Don. My friend Madhu tells me that the entire movie can also be watched online, but I am resisting the urge to do that. Nothing like watching it on 70 mm, or even an original DVD. For now, I have to be content with some clippings on youtube.
Talking of DVDs, I watched some interesting and inspiring flicks and one particularly forgettable one. The forgettable one, Jaan-e-mann! Firstly, a name like this doesn't inspire confidence. Secondly, after watching the promos, it looked like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi part 2 (and I hadn't particularly enjoyed part 1). Thirdly, the music, supposed to be real cool, left me cold. Now Im not very fussy about filmi music. I enjoy anything from 'Kya Housala' (Dor) to 'Aaj Ki Raat' (Don). Even 'Just Chill Chill' does it for me. Bare the 'Humko Maloom Hain' track, the rest of the music was just average. Same goes for the Soundtrack of Vivaah. Sorry Ravindra Jainji, I'm into old fashioned music, loved songs from 'Veer Zaara' and the new 'Umrao Jaan' (more on that in a bit), but Vivaah was a disappointment. I completely missed the magic of Chitchor and Heena. May be I'll enjoy the music more after I watch the film, but I'm not too hopeful.
Moving from forgettable to interesting movies, two films produced by UTV that I recently watched were 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' and 'Pyar Ke Side Effects'. They were tightly scripted, with songs only in the background, had interesting story lines and composed of talented actors like Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Rahul Bose, Ranvir Sheroy, Vinay Pathak and others. Among the women, Mallika Sherwat was good in 'Pyar Ke..', Tara Sharma was OK in 'Khosla..'. I've seen Ranvir's performance in a play 'The Blue Mug' and always thought he was a fantastic actor. So its great that good theatre actors like him and Vinay Pathak are getting meaty roles in interesting films.
Umrao Jaan's music is really good, if you are into melodious ghazalized songs . Anu Mallik, the composer has really hit done well with this score. I like almost all the songs in the film, especially 'Pooch rahe Hain' and 'Main na mil sakoon' where I coud actually feel the pain in Alka Yagnik's voice. Just a tiny prick in the balloon, though. The tune of the song 'Jhoote Ilzaam' is a straight lift from the old Lata number 'Yun Husraton ke Daag'. The film didn't meet the same standards. J P Dutta should hopefully have realized by now that its not enough to have great music, period costumes and big stars leading to big hype. The direction leaves a lot to be desired. Till date, I only liked 'Border' and 'Yateem' among his other films. And to add to that, UJ is a very long film. I (and other people also, I think) are getting used to the 2+ hour long duration (thanks RGV).
There were a number of reasons why I wanted to watch the Mahesh Bhatt written 'Woh Lamhe'. I loved the soundtrack, love Shiney Ahuja and can tolerate Kangana. More importantly, it was rumoured to be Parveen Babi's life story. If Im not wrong, Mahesh Bhatt already made another film on the same story. - 'Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi'. The music of that film was also quite popular then. 'Woh Lamhe' is good. Very good portrayal of a schizophrenic by Kangana. I actually felt sorry for her and the character played by Shiney. A must watch, I'd say.
Finally coming to the inspiring movie 'Dor'. Nagesh Kukunoor has the knack of choosing stories that are very realistic and still have the filmy magic to them. In Dor, a woman from Himachal is looking for a woman in Rajasthan. They have a strange connection. One's husband is dead and the other's husband will die, unless fate intervenes. And how it does! What starts as a plea for forgiveness ends up as a friendship that cuts across all barriers set by society. Beautiful! Excellant performances by the lead starcast.Shreyas Talpade is amazing, and boy can he mimic. Gul Panag looks beautiful and emotes well as the strong and silent crusader, never giving in to melodramatics. And Ayesha Takia is perfect as the young widow, yearning for a normal life and some happiness on the side. As always, I will be waiting for Kukunoor's next film with bated breath.
Next week, I might check out Ravi Chopra's Babul. Two reasons why I'll end up watching this film : Ferose is a big fan of Rani Mukherjee (and I have missed John Abraham too) and we don't really have much choice since only very few hindi films make it to the big screens here. So watch out for my review of Babul. I am expecting to see a film with lots of tears and too many songs.