Monday, February 26, 2007

I FINALLY GOT KANKED… AND A BIT ON ‘EKLAVYA’…

So, yonks after the rest of the world, I finally got KANKed yesterday. ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ (KANK) is not a bad film, even if it’s not exactly good. It seems like Karan Johar is losing the plot a bit – always trying to make the big, over-dramatic, overly-contrived, star-studded epic even when the story clearly does not call for it – K3G had the same problem. Shankar Ehsaan Loy also seems to have lost the plot a bit for KANK (although it was obviously – and thankfully – a bump in the road, as they’ve done some great soundtracks since KANK), with a distinctly uninspired set of songs – I particularly hated ‘Rock n Roll Soniye’. I also hated the choreography and picturisation of the faster ‘disco’ numbers – even the special appearances by Kajol and John Abraham couldn’t save them for me. The slower songs I thought were a bit better – I like ‘Mitwa’.

What else did I hate about getting KANKed? The film was too long, they dragged it out too much and put in some unnecessary stuff – especially near the beginning. The truth is they didn’t need all that time to tell the story – thinking over it now, I can pick out the key scenes –some scenes just should have been cut from KANK in their entirety. It also seemed really unevenly scripted – some scenes were really good and nicely done, and some were just so blah. What else bugged me? The ‘Sexy Saaam’ thing they played almost everytime Amitabh Bachchan came onscreen, the often unfunny and irritating attempts at comic relief, the over-‘perfectness’ of all the sets, clothes, make-up and hair (although one just has to learn to live with that in many contemporary Bollywood films). Oh, and, is it just me or does Preity Zinta look kinda funny in this movie? There’s something about her eyes, it seems…



Okay, now that I’ve got all that out of the way… it’s really not a bad film. It actually works on some levels. As a story about relationships, communication, honesty, and all that good stuff, I think it works. My friend who lent me the DVD told me it’s a story about ‘real life issues’, and I agree. It’s a cautionary tale in some ways, but it’s not preachy. I think some scenes captured the discomfort, tension, conflict, and frustration of modern marriages very well – this might actually be a good film for married couples to watch together and have a ‘discussion’ about – but then what do I really know about marriage? Anyway, I liked the way they brought out some of the messiness, the false starts, the skewed timing, the complexity, the layers beneath all the ‘mundane-ness’ of modern relationships.

I think the performances were strong, even if none was particularly brilliant, and most had some rough patches (partly because it was all a bit too much, I think). I think I liked the older actors’ performances (Big B and Kirron Kher) best, actually. And what (asks, rather predictably, this SRK fan) is it with all the SRK-haters saying Shah Rukh Khan’s acting was terrible in this film? I really don’t get it. I thought it was a decent portrayal of who this guy is supposed to be – disenchanted, disappointed, frustrated, tired, self-seeking, but also (to me anyway) kinda appealing. I could actually see what Rhea and Maya saw in him. Which takes me to my next point – call me crazy, but I don’t actually see why the character of Dev is so maligned in all the reviews – he’s not a nice considerate guy, he’s really kinda mean, but I thought he was just a fallible messed-up human being, just another selfish man with a chip on his shoulder… not an evil person.

I can’t say I really LOVED anything about this film but I liked a few things. One major thing was the fact that it emphasizes the need for self-discovery and introspection, understanding who you are and what you need BEFORE you go and take on all the responsibility of marriage and children and having to put another person’s needs alongside yours. It also explored our human-ness, our weakness, our constant need to connect with someone else – I think my favourite scene in the movie is the little bit where Dev hugs the guy on the park bench near the end. Ultimately, the story of KANK is one well worth telling, but Johar just didn’t need all of the extra big-production stuff – I think the film would have fared much better if he had stripped it down some – no, a lot. It was just rather overdone.

And now that I am no longer a KANK virgin, I’m off to read Angela’s review (and the other KANK reviews I couldn’t read in depth before now).




AND A BIT ON ‘EKLAVYA’…

My friend Uzo and I saw ‘Eklavya’ at the cinema on Saturday. Although we were the hapless victims of an elaborately-orchestrated act of sabotage played out by the people in the row behind us (LOL), we really liked it. This is definitely a must-see for people who, like me, are fans of Amit-Ji. He is really, really good in this film – I fell in love with him all over again in the role of Eklavya – I want an Eklavya in my life to love me intensely and keep my scarf for years, and be all loyal and noble too (well, not really, but I kinda did when I was watching him). Saif Ali Khan (his real-life mother Sharmila Tagore also plays his mother in the film, although they actually never share the screen) is pretty hot stuff too as the tortured prince – I so wanted to hold him and ease his pain, but Vidya Balan apparently has all the luck. Sanjay Dutt has a smallish role as a policeman, but he rocks it out in style.

The performances are uniformly lovely (Boman Irani, playing the king, was really really good, and Jackie Shroff was also very good in his role as the king’s brother – and I rarely find reasons to praise him) and the chemistry between the leads (especially between Amitabh and Saif) was great. The beauty of the royal fort (where the story takes place) is something to see – not overdone in Bhansali style, but very authentic. The story is engrossing and compelling (we were at the edges of our seats more than once) and the dialogue very moving (made me wish I understood Hindi), but what stood out for me even more is the way the film was shot. It is absolutely beautiful – very creative, very stylish, very provocative, and just NICE. That’s really all I want to say about this film.

Oh, that and ‘poor, poor, poor Jimmy She(i)rgill’. You’ll see what I mean when you see the movie.

One more thing - don't go reading any of those reviews that tell you the whole story before seeing this movie (unless, of course, knowing exactly what's going to happen in a movie is your thing).

14 comments:

Angela G. Skylar said...

Yay! I'm so glad you got KANKed. Reading your review was a lot of fun! Its funny because some of the things that you hated about the film (mostly the over-the-top aspects) I actually loved, LOL! But I love that we bollywood bloggers can differ constructively! I understand what you mean about the effort put in to mae everything "perfect" and glitzy but I think that's just Karan Johar's style and let's face it it sells. People like a big entertainer, and I think the entertainment factor is what draws them into the theater in the first place.

But about the movie being too long, yes I agree it was. Even I got a little impatient towards the end of my first bollywood movie in a theater watching experience.

And about Priety's eyes, yes they did look a little "freaky?!" I'm not really sure what the makeup artists were thinking there!

Skimmed over the Eklavya bit, because I havn't seen it yet, another one I'll have to add to my list :)!

Angela G. Skylar said...

Plus...I love what you said about introspection and self-discovery. I've analyzed this film quite a bit in terms of its deeper meaning, but never really thought about this aspect.

And, you're right I don't see why so many people didn't like SRK's performance. I agree that he played his very "human character" rather realistically. I'm sure there's people like him (Dev) out there in the world.

Daddy's Girl said...

Thanks for the comments Angela. Thinking about it, I agree with you that all the glitz and glamour is Johar's style, and yes, it's definitely working for him and making all his films super-hits! So I really can't hate on that level, even if I wish he could tone it down a bit. My fave K-Jo film so far is still his first - 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'. I loved it so much because although it was very much a masala film, it felt really fresh and had lots of heart and was kinda simple at its core. I feel like that's kinda slipping away in his work and being replaced by too much glossiness. But, hey, it's working for him!
And true... there are definitely a lot of 'Devs' out there... I think it was brave of Johar and SRK to make Dev so human... pity it wasn't appreciated by a lot of people.

Uzo said...

I know a few Devs which is why o loved SRK in KANK. I really thought this whole movie was so realistic and i thought it was time that Bollywood addressed real life. I love Bollywood but we all know that life isnt all about colorful saris and love right? I was so intent on following the plot of the flick and feeling for all the characters that a lot of the stuff you mentioned in terms of the sets and all passed me by. John Abraham is so delicious.

Eklavya....Ah. I loved this. I have to buy it on DVD as soon as it comes out. I am still traumatized by the weird child touching me....Oh well.....

Oh and the preview of the movie with Amit Ji - 3 Aryaars (did i get it right), i sooo want to see that....

t-HYPE said...

Hmmm. I'm with the haters on SRK's performance. He didn't give me enough of anything to see why someone would leave their husband for him. The low point for me is when he shouts at his kid, totally terrifying him.

And, shamefully, I luuved the Sexy Sam theme song! It was so ridiculous but people having theme songs makes me giggle.

I'm jealous you've already gotten to see Eklavya. It doesn't play here until Sunday! Glad to know it's a nice film...

Daddy's Girl said...

@uzo: Sorry about that naughty little girl jare. I want to see '3 Aryaars' (or whatever) as well!

@t-hype: Aww, poor kid - I felt so sorry for him when SRK bullied him like that. Well, maybe if Rani's character had seen Dev do that to his son she wouldn't have had the affair with him... LOL At least he recognised the error of his ways and treated his son better later. I hope you like 'Eklavya' when you get to see it...

Sanket Vyas said...

I recently saw KANK as well - just took some time after getting the slew of reviews from friends about how bad it was. I think Karan Johar will always suffer from what 'Orson Welles Syndrome'... When your first movie is so incredible ('Kuch Kuch Hota Hain' & 'Citizen Kane' respectively) you will be forever compared to that flash of lightning that can never be duplicated.

SRK didn't do a bad job with this movie - I agree that his character was never going to be the hero we all end up cheering for. Just tired of his same (over) acting & mannerisms I guess. AB though, and Sexy Sam, just cheesy enough to cool. As an aside, shortly after this movie came out 'Rock & Roll Soniye' was a staple at EVERY Desi wedding we went to - again, cheesy but endearing.

Daddy's Girl said...

@sanket: True... Karan Johar will spend the rest of his career trying to live up to KKHH... he's young though, maybe he'll succeed someday... maybe even make something better than KKHH. Wouldn't that be something? Anyway, even if he doesn't, I'm sure he'll keep making money-spinners.

I liked AB's performance a lot, I thought it was a nice role for him.

Like you said, SRK's character was never going to be liked, and I think it was a (brave) risk to make the supposed romantic lead so unlikeable. My sister and I just had a discussion about SRK yesterday - she said he always uses the same mannerisms in every movie, and I (of course) defended him, saying 'how many mannerisms can a person have?'. Then she was like 'Amit-Ji doesn't keep using the same old mannerisms in every movie - he's always different'. Had to agree there. Guess that's why AB is in a class of his own. I still love SRK to bits though.

Tohou Lidia said...

For me, Abhishek was the only saving grace in this film. I missed out on all the pre-KANK hype (i know, i must have been the only one in the world who missed the hype) so i wasn't expecting anything spectacular, especially from Mr Karan :) I did find SRK abit annoying. I think the reason everyone was confused about why Maya fell for him was because Rishi seemed so perfect :) I loved Mitwa but i especially liked the Title song - had it on repeat for ages :) I agree...Preity Zinta didn't look her usual cuteness. Maybe that was the whole point. You can't have a babyfaced actress playing a mean cruel career b**** - although i didn't find her that bad. I was abit disappointed in Rani...she's always my favourite...but she was almost annoying in this film. And she didn't get to dance alot :( I agree also, her clothes were always a bit too perfect! And i cringed alot when she did the english accent/bondage and whip thing!!

But that's my two cents!
-Amy

Alan said...

Good review of KANK. I'd blogged about it while back. Comments from tohou lidia above are right on the mark.

Daddy's Girl said...

Thanks for your comments, Amy! Great to note all the different things different people picked up on in this film. That's a good point about Preity.

I hated the whip thing too - this was definitely not one of Rani's best performances. I love watching her dance too. I know it was part of the story for them to be all sullen, but I almost wished she and SRK (with Dev's leg problems - yeah right) would join in the dancing during 'Rock n Roll Soniye'. I definitely missed SRK's dancing.

Daddy's Girl said...

@Alan: Skipped your review because I hadn't watched KANK at the time - will read it now.

Aparna said...

I liked Eklavya...it was like watching theatre/drama....but extremely well-made...as if the fineness has been pilished to perfection. After watching it, you can actually single out bad acting or directing in the next movie that you see.

Daddy's Girl said...

@aparna: True, they really raised the bar with the quality of filmmaking in this movie. Good to have you back!