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Monday, January 29, 2007

Salaam-e-formula

Salaam-e-ishq boldly goes very almost all of Bollywood has gone before: too many songs, too little logic, melodramatic dialogue and a pretense at originality.

The movie weaves 6 tales, all loosely connected to each other in the manner of Love Actually, where each story centers around the theme of love and each has a problem that needs resolution. Now let's sit back and take wild guesses at what these problems would be: married man has affair - of course yes! woman has accident and gets amnesia - Bingo! Yuppie thinks marriage is a prison - Right on! Intercaste marriage? - er no, but we are close coz there's an inter-race marriage issue now! Well, you get my drift...

Director Nikhil Advani clearly has had enough of the new generation of Hindi movies that have come out recently. So he's gone all out in using the old formula of success: take a star cast (a whopping 11 big names), add naach gaana (6 useless tunes and only 1 good cover number from Shankar Ehsaan Loy), and don't bother with the details despite ample time to go beyond superficiality - the movie is more than 3.5 hours long! And finally, give a happy ending - in this case, 5 happy endings and also a "happy ending" of the massage parlor variety if you get my drift.

The tragedy is that Advani has failed to learn from his muse Love Actually what good editing is all about. Honestly, he could have trashed all those useless songs, removed quite a few of the melodramatic scenes that serve no purpose in the story ('papa, please I beg you, show your hatred towards my wife!', etc) and left the movie a few notches higher and me much happier in the bargain.

On the bright side, the cast has acted well, and is quite good looking too.* John Abraham provides many topless and barely covered torso scenes, but for some unfathomable reason he indulges in a lot of baywatch-style running. Salman is looking better and slimmer and less bald. But I wish he'd lost the accent along with the puffiness. Priyanka is as sexy and stylish as ever as an item-girl.

More importantly, There are certainly quite a few laughable moments. Akshaye Khanna and Govinda create some good scenes. Sohail Khan has a role bordering on gross and manages it with aplomb in the few minutes he gets on screen. Only John Abraham keeps on weeping along with Vidya Balan and drinks a lot of glycerine in the bargain. Yes I said 'drinks' glycerine, coz he keeps on kissing the woman's tears in a manner that the director must have found romantic, but personally I find rather yucky.

Verdict: wait for DVD. Movie is timpeass if you keep the remote control's forward button in hand. Certainly better than chhup chhup ke, golmaal, 36 Chinatown and other monstrosities that I've subjected myself to recently.

*cast: John Abraham/Vidya Balan, Sohail Khan/Isha Koppikar, Anil Kapoor/Juhi Chawla, Govinda/ Shannon, Akshaye Khanna/Ayesha Takia, Salman Khan/Priyanka Chopra


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm really pissed.
A good book can do that you.
It tricks you into believing strange lands and stranger people, and just when you start getting comfortable with, and even fond of, the characters... well, then in come the villains and ensnare the hero away. Not only do they torture him, but they also screw up all the fancy plans and strategies he'd made and I'd spent so many hours reading. Why couldn't the asses just take the money, or kill each other, or die of spontaneous combustion or bad luck or whatever. But no, coz apparently there's a law similar to gravity that operates in novels to keep the hero downtrodden right till the last page.

So it is that I'm gnashing my teeth while my dashing man has been caught in the wily snares of lots and lots of women. I hope the beating he's getting from them will make him stop trusting them FINALLY, coz frankly, I can't bear the pain they give him at every corner. Last night I could barely sleep wondering who on Earth will rescue him.

The only comfort is that he is the hero of the novel after all, so I can reasonably hope that he will be alive and well in the end (and cornered by the right women too).

The bad news is that what I'm reading is the 6th book in a series of 13 novels of which only 12 have been written. So just in case the author Robert Jordan fails to write the final installment of The Wheel Of Time series, there is a good chance that I'll be stuck waiting for a rescue mission.

Now if I were to write a book, it would be different.
The hero would be a mish-mash of South Indian actors - Rajnikanth, Vijaykanth, etc. Therefore he would be capable of doing anything, by which I mean ANYTHING. (giving electric shocks to electric shocks, biting bullets fired at him, surviving 10-storey falls, etc etc) So no way that even an army of a thousand Indian soldiers, or even two Australian cricket teams, could bind and take him away.

And to bolster my readers confidence further, my villains would be a cross between Kevin Spacey in The Superman Returns and Dr Evil in Austin Powers - you know, sufficiently senile to be their own enemies, and so obviously evil that the hero has no chance of confusing them with the good guys.

And even then, to ensure that no readers of mine get nervous palpitations regarding my hero's future, I will kill them on the first page.

Horrible goons, namely Mister Sinister and Blood-thirsty-Vampireman are dead, my story would begin. For the rest I can harp on about the delicious food he is eating and the enthralling parties he's going to. I know it sounds like a Page 3 story, but you know what, those things make money. Besides, wouldn't it be a nice change for your wife/husband to not find you clutching a book at 12 pm at night, desperately trying to read fast to the point where the hero finally manages to aim at the right head in a bullet fight?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Saving women from themselves

Anti-abortionists in US have found a new reason for their crusade, according to my morning newspaper. Women suffer psychological problems after abortions, they say, and should therefore be denied the option.

I wish they would shut up. It's probably true, or maybe it isn't. But either way, they cannot usurp authority over women whose decision it is to make. Pregnant women aren't retards. And they aren't thrill-seekers who set themselves up into pregnancy for the fun of morning sickness or the adventure of having an abortion. They're in a situation where they've realised they cannot support a child - and unless the embryo is conscious to pain (which it isn't) - they should have a right to decide.

I also wish the lobby would shut up with all the talk of the "baby" they wish to save. It is not a baby, but an embryo without consciousness most of the time. "Baby" is more apt a description of the thousands who died in pre-war Iraq because of medicine sanctions, and of thousands who are dying in post-war Iraq, thanks to a president whose policies this same lobby supported. And if you think I'm digressing and should leave out the war in my discussion, then let me just say that the anti-abortionists cannot possibly feel more pain at the loss of the "unborn child" than the woman in question herself. She would have given weightage to the factor, most of the time. Moreover, at late stages of pregnancy (when you may debate on the issue of consciousness) abortion is medically risky for the mother too so it would very rarely happen.

Anyhow, coming back to the new argument the lobby has uncovered: If cigarettes are legal despite being documented lethal, and alcohol is available despite the ills an overdose can cause, why should abortions be banned for the damage they may have? What makes the right to smoke superior to the right to terminate a pregnancy? Especially as the abortion stops an unwanted child - with a high chance of bad childhood which thereafter causes a high chance of criminal adulthood - from coming into the world?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Promises, promises....

New year time is resolutions time, and accordingly I have drawn up a list for my husband. He should thank me for it, and probably won't. But that won't stop me from doing what's right which is to let him know what's right for him.

1. Get a six-pack.
No, not the beer but the abs.

2. Develop lesser interest in cricket.
At least, pretend to have lesser interest in cricket when I'm strutting in fancy clothes.

3. Lie, and lie well.
Try to realise that when I ask you to 'be honest', by no means am I actually asking you to be honest. Obviously. All I'm saying is that my own personal honesty is coming in the way of me considering myself Audrey Hepburn, and NOW is the time for you to unleash an Oscar-winning performance that convinces me that I'm Audrey Hepburn incarnate.

4. Stop dating the computer.
I know how much money you spend to accessorise it, how much time you spend to understand it, how you don't realise it's past midnight when you're in a program with it, how you want to turn it on the first thing in the morn, even at 7 am, and if this affair carries on any further you may find this is the only affair you are left with.

5. Give up attempts at aping Dharmendra. In fact, give up what you consider your sense of humor.

6. Start reading my blog.

Rest is censored.