Sajid Khan sounded very confident in his interviews before the release of “Housefull”. He even went on to predict the success of his second project which eventually raised the expectations level of the viewers to a great extent. And with the IPL season coming to an end, the movie was projected to be the first biggie to finish off the lean period. But unfortunately the final product presented before the audience does not fulfill all the promises made by its makers completely. It’s a mixed bag of comic moments blended with some emotional stuff which entertains only in bits and parts and ends up in a terrible manner.
Honestly it’s seems very cool and easy to be a fan of Manmohan Desai & Parkash Mehra kind of cinema, but to come out with a product close to them in 2010 is quite difficult. The times have changed and the mindsets are different. Still the only part of their cinema which can work today is “The Comedy”. And Sajid Khan is exactly following the same path making movies based on the comedy practiced by the above mentioned two maestros in his own style.
Sadly his “Housefull” fails to come out as a thorough entertainer and lacks the required pace which is a must for a hilarious laugh riot. It starts off very calmly and goes on with its storyline about a loser, in a very lethargic style. Surprisingly, I found the energy levels very low in the movie, particularly in the first half, which is not normally the characteristic of a Sajid Khan project. Sajid has always been fast, witty and highly energetic in all his previous ventures, be it a movie or a serial. But in “Housefull”, his famous style of humor is visible only in parts and that too more in its second half.
The film can be divided into two different sections as far as its story plot is concerned. The first half deals with the story of Akshay getting married to Jiah Khan, facing an immediate shock after the first night and then meeting Deepika Padukone as her next love. Along with that there is another angle of a married couple, Ritesh Deshmukh & Lara Dutta, living in London against the will of Lara’s father, played by Boman Irani. This part purely deals with the love story of these two couples and their related problems.
Post interval, the script moves on to the same seen before plot of “Mistaken Identities” which was also used in the last year Hit comedy “All The Best”. Here both the couples are expecting one senior person from their families, coming to visit them in London. At their simultaneous arrival, they wrongly identify the characters living together, which leads to further confusions and chaos. Thankfully, the movie picks up post intermission and you get to see some good funny sequences which entertain. But again the climax comes as a big let-down, written around a silly thought of laughing gas, which miserably fails to generate any laughter and ends the movie on a terrible note. I really wonder how the director Sajid Khan, who is known for his wide collection of Home Videos couldn’t think of any other climax for his big movie.
In a few words “Housefull” is not able to hold the viewer consistently. It’s a kind of bumpy ride, which becomes slow at times, then picks up a little and again goes back to its snail pace at regular intervals. Though it has some good moments to enjoy mainly in its second half, but still they are not enough in numbers to provide a satisfactory result to the viewers. In short the movie only reaches half the mark with its routine emotional plot and uneven funny sequences.
On the performance front, Akshay Kumar doesn’t play it loud this time and acts his part calmly. But I really missed his famous cunning smile in the comic scenes. Ritesh displays his comedy skills like a child act. In fact he can now easily be called as a master of comedies. Arjun Rampal impresses as the tough man. Out of the three girls, Deepika scores the most with her new found confidence and her stunning revealing water act in the beach song. She even excels in her emotional scenes this time, which shows that she is working on her skills. Lara looks gorgeous and like Ritesh, she is also fast becoming a pro for comedies. Jiah Khan gets less scope in the script, but looks great and sizzles in her few scenes in the movie. Boman Irani is perfect in the role of Gujrati father and Randhir Kapoor is fine as a London Casino owner. Lilette Dubey does a routine seductive act whereas Malaika Arora is just wasted.
Amusingly, out of its entire star-cast the most entertaining cameo comes from Chunky Pandey as an Italian Hotel owner. I seriously found his few scenes in the first half as the most refreshing and funny moments of the entire movie. And I wish he was given more footage along with Akshay in the later part too.
From melody point of view “Housefull” has a fairly good soundtrack with few melodious songs shot well in the exotic foreign locations. But the remix track “Apni To Jaise Taise” lacks the solid punch which still sounds more impactful in its original. Another unimpressive and strange aspect of the movie is its slow and unenergetic Background Score, which literally did not match the comic movements on the screen. On the other hand, its cinematography is simply outstanding capturing the outdoors and the beaches in a mesmerizing style. On a funny note, the 3 beauties and their bodies flowing in the waters can also be well used for Sajid Khan’s production’s next new-year calendar.
Lastly, I would only like to say that “Housefull” will no doubt reap the benefits of being the first big movie released after the IPL season. But as a complete entertainer it doesn’t live up to the expectations. With a sloppy script and sluggish pace it leaves you largely unsatisfied.
Rating : 2 / 5
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The now famous “Andaz Apna Apna” was indeed a hilarious comedy released in 1994 having the two immensely popular youth icons Aamir Khan and Salman Khan coming together on the screen as a rare treat. Along with the two ravishing beauties Raveena Tanodon & Karishma Kapoor, the movie was a great laugh riot also featuring Paresh Rawal in a double role and Shakti Kapoor as the funny Crime Master Gogo.
However, recently I found the main theme of the movie quite close to another fine comedy movie of the past with the title “Nauker” released in 1979. It had three legends of Indian Cinema, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri and Mehmood playing key roles in the movie, written around the same subject of interchanging identities between the rich & poor.
Coming to the similarities, in “Andaz Apna Apna”, Karishma is the daughter of a rich & famous millionaire and she is always accompanied by Raveena Tandon who is both her secretary and a good childhood friend. The duo is visiting India in search of a charming & honest young man to marry Karishma, who is not interested in her money and social status but is a self-made man with a dignity. Now in order to judge the boys properly, Karishma interchanges her identity with Raveena and becomes a secretary herself, placing Raveena in the disguise of a rich girl. And then they both go on to the search of their eternal love.
Interestingly, the same theme was there in “Nauker” wherein Sanjeev Kumar played the role of a rich businessman and Mehmood was his poor driver cum friend who always traveled with him everywhere as a companion. Now in very similar circumstances in the movie, when Sanjeev Kumar is invited to see a few girls in a family for his marriage, then he too thinks of the same idea of switching identities with his friend. He turns Mehmood into a rich man in search of his bride and he himself becomes Mehmood’s poor servant (Nauker), in order to know the real character of all the girls.
No doubt, the treatment given to the subject in both the movies by their respective directors was entirely different and unique but still the similarity within their story plots is quite significant.
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The legendary Nobel Prize winner poet and writer, Shri Rabindranath Tagore’s famous novels & short stories are known for their simple, soulful and heart transforming content. His writings sincerely represent those hidden emotional qualities of people, which unexpectedly get discovered in the tough times of life. “Kabuliwala” is also one of his most appreciated works revolving around the life span of an Afghani Pathaan, who comes to India for earning money but ends up spending his major years of life in jail remembering his own daughter and mother waiting for him in his home town.
Bimal Roy productions and director Heman Gupta skillfully transform this beautiful story on the celluloid along with the most natural actor, Balraj Sahni, playing the role of an Afghani Pathaan in a highly authentic style. His gem of an act is simply outstanding and undoubtedly one of the best performances of Hindi Cinema till date. Throughout the movie he never gives you a single moment, where it seems like he is acting. And if one is not familiar with Balraj Sahni’s huge and reputed status as an actor, then he is sure going to take him as a real pathaan performing the lead role in the movie.
Such is the impact of Balraj Sahni’s incomparable act in “Kabuliwala”. Especially in the scene towards the climax when he fondly calls the small girl of his memories to come out to meet him, but finds a young grown up girl standing in front of him instead. And further when he is told that the girl is going to be married in just a few days, then the expressions on his face are sure going to make you go numb.
The movie very gracefully shows the agony of working away from one’s own mother land. Along with that it very tactfully enlightens the viewer with both the strengths and weaknesses of its main characters originating from two different regions of the world. In other words “Kabuliwala” truly represents the Golden Era of Bollywood, when simplicity was used in the most effective manner to express the emotional stories taken from our rich literature.
With a classic musical score by Salil Chaudhary, which includes two memorable and meaningful songs, “Aye Mere Pyare Watan” sung by the great Manna Dey & “Ganga Aaye Kahan Se” sung by another legend Hemant Kumar, “Kabuliwala” is a cinematic masterpiece which should be considered as a mandatory watch by every true lover of Indian Cinema living anywhere in the world. So if you love Bollywood from your heart then you simply can’t afford to miss, Balraj Sahni & his “Kabuliwala”.
Directed by Heman Gupta
Starring : Balraj Sahni, Sajjan, Asit Sen, Sonu, Usha Kiran and more
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The first time I heard the title of this lesser known movie “City Of Gold”, it reminded me of the famous masterpiece from Brazil called “City Of God”. Further the posters showcasing all the youngsters gazing with their intense eyes strengthened my doubt of it being an Indian version of the Brazilian classic. And now after watching it, I can surely say that though it revolves around a realistic plot about the closure of all Mumbai textile mills in the eighties, still Mahesh must have had “City of God” and its young cruel criminals, somewhere at the back of his mind while making this.
But the above comment should not be taken as anything negative against the director since it’s not easy to go anywhere near the “City of God”. Mahesh has made this movie with his strong conviction and the end result brings him back with his golden touch of “Vaastav”. In fact, only a person with a first-hand experience of the city and those tough times could have made such a movie with perfection, depicting the ground reality of the struggle faced by all the mill workers and their families in those difficult years.
“City of Gold” revolves around a particular family and their neighbors living in a local chawl. The head of the family is waiting for his gratuity income to be released by the Mill owners after his retirement and his 3 young sons are still struggling to make some money in their own legitimate and illegitimate styles. Their only sister gets caught in the love web of a local shop owner which puts the family in a more embarrassing situation than ever. Mahesh brilliantly puts forward the hardships suffered by the family in his own unique style which also reminds the viewer of a few scenes seen in his “Vaastav”. But one doesn’t mind the similarity as the narration just takes you on with its racy pace and superb acting by its entire cast ensemble on the screen.
The best scenes of the movie include the ones written around the young kids and adolescents, who are excited enough to hold the gun and pull its trigger to kill anybody. The sequences involving the young ones killing for fun, food and revenge are the most intense and disturbing sequences of the script which are even capable of influencing the youth watching the movie. And for that reason the film is strictly meant for adults only.
Another worth watching aspect of “City of Gold” is the way Mahesh presents the internal fights of a poor family and its unintentional consequences with sheer perfection. It’s like listening to the voices of some real life family characters living next door, fighting with each other on their monetary issues. Along with providing few relief moments for the viewers at regular intervals, Manjrekar also touches many serious social issues like forced abortion, suicides due to poverty, builder-criminal nexus, government’s involvement in the proceedings and direction less youth surrendering to crime, in his realistic portrayal of the city. The movie is sure going to be an eye opener for all the youngsters who simply have no idea about what was there before all these big shopping malls and multiplexes came into existence in their city.
However, apart from all the above mentioned merits of the movie, I still found something missing in it which could not revive the magic of watching Mahesh’s earlier take on youth crime. On second thoughts, I found two points which were more or less responsible for restricting “City of Gold” to reach a cult status of its own.
One, due to the excess attention given to all those gripping scenes of the youth involving in crime, the movie slips from its main plot of Mill workers and their fight for their rights. Towards the climax their union leader is surprisingly treated as a clown by both his family and worker friends, which in turn lessens the overall impact of his previous efforts shown in the movie. In the second half it more becomes like an underworld flick revolving around the builder-criminal nexus killing everyone in the end.
And Second, even though the movie is high on content, superb in execution and moves at a great speed following a brilliant edit, yet it scores quite low on the emotional quotient. Apart from a few scenes, the viewer doesn’t really feel related to anyone on the screen emotionally. Due to the presence of too many characters in the script they all lack the much needed depth in their characterization. More specifically, I found the emotional connect missing in the movie which is a must in a realistic project like this. As the end credits role, you are impressed and majorly satisfied yet don’t feel sorry for any character dying on the screen covered with blood all over the body.
Still, it is a commendable effort from Mahesh Manjrekar, from whom a good Hindi project was due from quite long now. “City of Gold” is also worth watching for its outstanding performances from the entire cast. Every person in the movie delivers one of the most memorable acts of his or her career. But special mention has to be made ofSeema Biswas(as the mother), Sachin Khedekar(as the Uninon Leader),Siddharth Yadav(as Speed Breaker) andKaran Patelas the young leader of the gang giving a splendid performance which is sure going to be noticed by the industry.
Musically, it has one regional song in its opening titles which sets the mood in. Background score contributes a lot to build up the tense feel and Camerawork is superb capturing the 80s era and the current scenario together in its realistic frame. But the film is not meant for the soft romantic lovers who have a tendency to find romance in almost every scene of a movie. “City of Gold” is dark, it’s grim and is not for the faint hearted either. So go for it if you can appreciate the bloody genre of movies where killing a person is as simple as singing around the trees.Its Mahesh Manjrekar’s spirited Indian edition of the world famous CITY OF GOD. It may not be a masterpiece but indeed a worth watching movie based on reality.
Rating : 3 / 5
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