Action Replayy, 2010

Directed by: Vipul Shah

When you Wikipedia Action Replayy it says “Formerly ‘Action Replay'”. I wish I hadn’t seen that. Why on earth was the extra y added?

WHY?

I cannot mentally handle the implications or motivations to screw up words so I’ll just carry onwards.

Action Replayy is neither awful or monumentally profound.

I also have to preface by saying that I totally adored this film, even for all of its flaws. (Don’t I always, though?)

The premise of the plot is simple, Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) goes back in time to fix his parents’-Kishen (Akshay Kumar) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai)-marriage. Bunty manages this because his girlfriend Tanya (Sudeepa Singh) just happens to have a mad scientist for a grandfather who spends his free time building time machines. Yup.

The first 20-25 minutes of this film are, and there is no other word for it, excruciating. It’s awkwardly shot, acted and presented. I cringed and cringed and sank lower in my chair so disheartened that I was going to hate the film and then, we crash land in 1975 and flutter goes my dil and happiness pours forth with abundance.*

Unlike Dabangg where the Masala style was intentionally alluded to I didn’t get the same vibe from Action Replayy. It was set in 1975 but that was it. Frankly, that was a failing on the film’s part. Think of the source material they could have gleaned! This film is an exercise in not going the distance; the costumes were fantatabulous but the interior decorations of our hero and heroine’s homes were too subdued.

I realize you can’t have everything you want in life but there is also no shame in going big.

I don’t know why time travel to the past was entirely necessary to fix this marriage BUT since it involved men wearing white bell bottoms I’m willing to overlook nagging and enjoy the visuals.

While the film was shot beautifully and there were several moments of gasp-worth set designs (I’m look at you, millions of paper lanterns!), I felt that the colors were all off. The Cotton Candy color scheme seemed to scream at you “THIS IS FANTASY!” when we, the audience, are already quite aware that fantastical things are going on.

Time travel, for one.

Yes, it is very pleasing to see such a vivid display of yellow and pink and blue but when I think 70s I see more avocado and oatmeal and husky red and brown.

The movie spends 90% of its duration in 1975 which I would have never guessed having listened to and fallen in love with the music before seeing the film. In case you’re unaware, the sound track has not a shred of 70s flavor to it. Oh, that would have been good, to me at least, to have some throw backs to the golden age; but alas I was left wanting. It is hard enough to reconcile the Cotton Candy 70s without having to wrap your head around the introduction of early 2000’s-esque Hip Hop 30 years too early. That being said, I adore this soundtrack and thought it actually worked really well on screen.

Where I was not disappointed was in the incidental music. The sound designers so perfectly captured the essence of 70s films with the background music that it left me in giggles every time a sharp “DUN DUN!” accompanied bad news, a fast turn or the approach of a bad guy.

I cannot deny my absolute head-over-tops pyaar for the song pictureizations. Well, that is how I felt AFTER I had to sit through the awful first song. I like Zor Ka Jhatka as a song, but on screen we were treated to the visual delights of seeing Aish pop-n-lockin’ it. If we learned nothing else from Endhiran, we should have learned this: Do not make Aishwarya Rai dance modern dance. IT. IS. PAINFUL. Our pain is rewarded later on with the other songs, which to my everlasting praise, contained a Holi song.

Now on to the things I didn’t love so much…

This film was set in the 70s, ergo chest hair should be flying about free and akimbo.

Guess what there was NONE of?  It was so frustrating not having any glorious chest hair peeking out through open-buttoned shirts.

Oh, and the girls were too…flat. Yes, that is how I’m going to phrase that.

And that is all I didn’t like.

Well, that is a lie. There were a variety of other things that didn’t please me… but I was willing to ignore them in the face of being swept off my feet by Akshay Kumar and being so confused I didn’t know what to do with myself. He always does this to me. I think “Oh boy, what unfortunate teeth he has” and then he goes growling around in that voice and with that nose and those legs and I turn into a complete idiot. And I start off all of his films disliking him, and then he grows on me by the last 20 minutes and I just die with disgust and self-loathing.

While I have a love/hate relationship with Aishwarya I’ve never been one to say “Oh, home girl can’t act” because I think, honestly, that she can. However, I do think she does better when she is given the opportunity to be organic. The main reason the first 20 minutes of this film were so impossible to endure was because it felt like the director had set our Mrs. Bachchan down and said “Just pretend you’re an Ice Queen and Victoria Beckham and yourself and you’ll be great!” Don’t give our Aish instructions, directors! It backfires. Just let her act as she will. It is apparent when she is just enjoying her roles and when she is trying to make them into something and I much, much prefer the former.

This film suffers from a very common oversight: the inclusion of too many unimportant characters. Sure, Om Puri is there and Mama Kirron is flying about in overly dramatic displays but did they NEED to be there? No. Neither did the “goon” that never turned into a goon. There were about 5-odd characters that were loose strings and entirely unimportant to the plot. They could have been removed, replaced as cameos (In Om Puri and Kirron Kher’s instance) and things could have continued on merrily. With these extra characters it just felt like there were too many finer plot details were left on the editing room floor and they didn’t get the development or attention they required to make them important enough to justify their inclusion.

Since I am a complete sap I was totally charmed by this film. Like I said, it isn’t groundbreaking or extraordinary in any way, but it is good enough to give you some cheer.

Oh, and can I just add that this film blows. Badly.
But, I have such a weakness for brightly colored things and bell bottoms.

I’m going to go watch Om Shanti Om and detox.

*’Sup? I write scripture?

Housefull, 2010

Directed by: Sajid Khan

1. WHY does Laura Dutta get all the love that she does? I think she’s just SnoozeLand, USA. Compared to Deepika I preferd the latter, and my feelings about Miss Padukone are not the nicest things in the world.

So I saw Housefull last night at the InOrbit mall in Mumbai… just a hop and a skip away from my house here in the city.

Can I tell you how WEIRD it is to watching INDIAN films in INDIA?  It shouldn’t, SHOULDN’T blow my mind but seeing all the previews with Shah Rukh and Bebo and everyone else was just so WERID.

Ok, I admit it, I started crying a little. Don’t judge.

These are the people I live through in the states, and here they are, just the normal Tom, Dick and Harry of the entertainment business around here.

PAGAAL!

Anyway, Housefull is a film that I would never have seen back home. As it is, I thought I was meeting with the director, but my boss misinformed me and I saw it anyway. O well.

Comedy isn’t my thing… except in really rare cases. Spy Movies, War Dramas, Historical whatsits… THAT’S my scene. So to see an Indian Comedy… something I don’t quite understand to begin with is something. I think the lack of subtitles really aided in the fun I had at this film… that and a very long, very Ranbir-centric preview for Rangeeti

Having to know exactly what everyone said would have killed this movie so dead for me. And quickly. I’d say I got 75% of it just on context alone, but I don’t need the fine details. It was low-brow humor of the same qualty of all of those dumb teen sex movies. Am I right?

At first I was annoyed that there were no subtitles to distract me from Deepika’s face… but then after I realized I just had to bite my tonge and look at her, that I didn’t find her that offensive. Maybe she’s growing on me? Maybe I found her so much more interesting than that annoying-even-in-Hindi Itailian fellow, or maybe because Ritesh might put me to sleep faster than Laura Dutta… I don’t know but I managed to find Akshay and Deepika the most compelling characters in the story.

Oh… and Lilete Dubey. She’s fab.

Although I haven’t seen that many pairs of shiny hot-pants as displayed in the “Boys Night Out” since the Spice Girls were cool.

Fashion is circular, I guess.

Blah blah blah. Housefull.
It’s not that I found it so terrble, but it just seemed so contrived, so forced. Like everyone on set should have taken a muscle relaxer and THEN done their shots.

And is it just me, or does Deepika just have one dance move? The bent-knee, “drive the golf cart”, hip thrust? TRUST ME, watch for it, it’s ALL SHE DOES!

Akshay was precious though, I tend to just like him for the sake of seeing him wear clothes. Suits in general. OOOOO BABY can he wear a tux! Also, what happened to the extreme clumsy-ness about 1/4 into the film? It was just gone. (Good riddance, but still, inconsistant!!)

And is it only becasue I’m in India that I find the Punjabi/Sardar sterotype rather abrasive? Gosh, I’m going to have to investigate that.

Deepika should only wear all black, and with a smokey eye. Even I will admit that she’s quite the sex kitten enrobed ala Femme Fatal.

Ok, So I might just like Deepika now.

Wasn’t it SO werid to see Mukesh (Arjun Rampal) from OSO being happy and dancy? Gave me the shivers.

This is not so much a reviw as just feelings. But it’s effing hot here. Ok?

Love,
e

(p.s. this keyboard kind of stinks, any errors are not my fault.)