When Mini-Reviews Attack! Day 6: assorted

A handful of things I've watched, briefly presented in unimaginative chronological order:

Ab Kya Hoga (1977)
Watching a mystery without subtitles is like...um...it's...it's a dumb idea, is what it is. Fortunately, Ness has seen it with subtitles and could help me out, and I enjoyed it for the Neetu Singa/Shatrughan Sinha jodi. It's not my favorite for her (Amitabh Bachchan is, believe it or not—I know, sacrilege) but it is my favorite for him, and for whatever reason I often like his brand of swaggering, shouty ridiculousness. Features of this film include Neetu being as good as always but in a different, more brooding and ghosty sort of way; a fantastic rip-off-mask-to-reveal-true-identity moment; helpful Ranjeet lounging on a circular bed as his shirt strains open at the buttons*;
Mac Mohan as an art gallery curator**;
Shatrughan as a zombie;
and Bindu doing an excellent "Nahiiiiiiin!" 
Sometimes that's all I need.

Khooni Murdaa (1989)
The internet tells me this is a re-hash of Nightmare on Elm Street, which I have never seen because it sounds way, way, way too scary. I'm kind of grateful for Indian low-budget horror movies because I don't find them way, way, way too scary, so I can watch them without covering my eyes and thus begin to learn a little bit about the vast world of international horror films.
Anyway, I suspect that most of what I found impressive about this movie, namely the interesting and/or creative ways in which people are killed, are likely copied. Still, it's entertaining enough. Kiran Kumar plays the stalker/monster—and for once a stalker is clearly marked as psychotic! Thank you, movie—and it was so weird to see him just a few weeks later in Mr. Romeo, a role that could hardly be more different. My favorite death in the film is the monster inhabiting someone's girlfriend and then luring the boyfriend on to a bed and making out with him before the monster/girl bites his tongue and stretches it out of his mouth, using it to tie the guy to the bed and throwing him out a window. You can learn more about Khooni Murdaa at the site of my Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit colleague Ninja Dixon.

Pyasi Chudail (1998?)
This is my favorite of the 3-in-1 horror DVD that I purchased for reasons I no longer remember (the others being Khooni Murdaa and Pyaasi Bhootni). It's the Hindi dub of a Tamil film, apparently, and has the chestnut storyline of a witch possessing an innocent bystander and using the victim to take revenge for some long-ago wrong. But no matter—it's totally entertaining for the same sort of "collection of small delights and treasures" reason that Ab Kya Hoga? is. That's a good thing, too, since the basic plot is so predictable. Look at this credit sequence. How can you not enjoy this?
The little skulls bounce around, including popping out of what seems like maybe a bloody (or flaming?) tabla? Wow. One of the songs features a screen split between the couple on the beach and other inexplicable (at least without subtitles) elements like the skylines of various world cities, including Chicago.
I can't remember if What's Your Rashee? includes the Chicago skyline, but if not, this film gets the honor of being the first Indian film I've seen with the Hancock Tower in it. Also, Oprah's building is the tall wavy black one on the right, so you all know where to throw eggs.
There is a helpful anipal (who meets a tragic, self-sacrificing end, please be warned),
somewhat non-crappy care of artifacts at a museum (well, they call it a museum—I call it a bunch of stuff on shelves),
She should probably have gloves on, but at least she's cleaning the magical amulet with a tiny paint brush instead of bleach or something.
 and witchy possession that looks like this.
I'm going to make a horror film called Khooni Scrunchie.
Read a plot summary and see more pictures at Badnaam.

Bombaiyer Bombete (2003) (Bengali)
Now, finally, we will have some truly mini reviews. I was just typing "This is a terrible film" when I realized that it didn't even make enough of an impression on me for that to be fair...unless you count lack of impact as terrible, which is a legitimate approach, I'd say. I have a vague recollection of thinking most of the actors didn't really seem very engaged and that the overall effect was sloppy. The plot, which loosely deals with navigating mysteries and crimes in the film world of Bombay, has no teeth.

Ekdom dekhben na. Jaachetai. Which I'm told by a top advisor is the Bengali equivalent of "Avoid, yaar," my lowest rating for a film.

A special note to those still suffering from Inspector-Rana-from-Kahaani hangovers and happy to see Parambrata Chatterjee in a Bengali film on DVD with subtitles: this is still not worth watching. He hardly speaks. Bhooter Bhobishyot is oodles better than this. Heck, even Baishe Srabon, which cured me of said hangover, is better than this, even disregarding all factors other than Parambrata.

Mirch (2010)
When I realized that the writer/director of this, Vinay Shukla, was also the writer/director of Godmother, a little lightbulb went off in my head and I was able to see in Mirch some interesting commentary on women as possessing—and even enjoying—self-directed, autonomous sexuality. Before that, though, I kept thinking of Mixed Doubles and other films that try so hard to be sexy or erotic or bold or "modern" but just end up being soooo clunky. It's like the sex in the films is a bowling ball that they insist on lugging around but repeatedly drop, barely missing your toes. There are a few moments in Mirch that are alluring, but mostly it's silly. Maybe it's supposed to be? Also, it is a catastrophic mistake to cast Arunoday Singh, whom I hear is howlarious in Jism 2, in not one but four roles, all of them supposedly as attractive and three of them as a maha studmuffin. Laughable.

On the other hand, it was great fun to ask twitter what "major studmuffin" would be in Hindi. "Chutiyatic," suggested one friend/author (get his book!). "Maha stud-bhai," said another very erudite young man.

Paan Singh Tomar (2012)
I hate to end on a downer, but all I have to say about this is that 1) Irrfan Khan has again proven himself through and through and 2) the futility of PST's story (at least as presented in the film) is so overwhelming that by the end of the film all I could do was bang my head (gently) on the wall. The character himself is at least not so depressed that he was unable to try to progress—that's quite significant, I think, his maintenance of a sort of not-entirely-thought-out and very simple effort while recognizing that life is wildly unfair, yet also somehow never being defeated by that injustice—but that's sure how I felt. If you saw this film and were left with anything other than a sense of bleakness, please tell me about your experience in the comments.

* I'm sorry the pictures are so bad. Believe me, this particular Ranjeet would make anyone's day. On that subject, when I tweeted this picture while watching the film, I was accused of being under the influence of too much Ranjeet. As if there could be such a thing.
** I can now die happy.


Banno said…
You've had a busy time. :)
Rahul said…
The overall impact of the movie was poor. In between it was going so slow, sometimes you wondered when it will end. On performance, only Hooda did resonable job. Sorry to say Sunny does not have acting skills. Most of time she was only breathing deeply. Singh was also poor.
Anonymous said…

Very nice post and straight to the point.
fathyry said…
good movie ...........

JennyK said…
Now, while I'll grant you that Mirch was a less than satisfying movie (and I went to NYC to see it! just because Konkona was there to present it) I think you're being a tad to hard on Arunoday. Perhaps he was stretching it too far trying for four different roles...okay, he was definitely trying for too much. But I remember thinking he was definitely stud-muffin-ly playing the Frank Churchill stand in in Aisha, the Emma remake with Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor. In this dance number, I think he's almost reaching an early Gregory Hines funky-cool thing with his red shirt and his hat. Maybe I just like it because it deflects the ear-impact a bit.

Paan Singh Tomar was good, too. Sad, I'd agree, but not so sad to stop you from watching and enjoying the film, overall. Come on...didn't you love the bit with the Japanese track and field fan?? I'm afraid that's a bit how I'd be if faced with His Irrfan-ness. Sort of the same effect he had on me in The Warrior, too, one to savor. I blogged PST in more depth on my blog, so I won't go on here :-)

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