Tag Archives: Ali Zafar

Movie Review: Dear Zindagi (2016)

dearzindagi3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the movie at Amazon or iTunes
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon or iTunes

Dear Zindagi (“Dear Life“) is one of those movies that’s terrific through the climax, only to close with a denouement that undercuts much of the good that came before. Its unfortunate ending contradicts the primary life lessons learned by a young commitment-phobe over the course of the film.

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is at that point where the biologically ingrained self-centeredness of the teens and early twenties must, by necessity, make way for a more empathetic means of interacting with the world. In short, she’s stuck.

Already an accomplished cinematographer with dozens of commercials and music videos to her credit, Kaira wants to finally shoot her own feature film. The perfect opportunity comes her way via a handsome producer, Raghu (Kunal Kapoor), with whom she’s been cheating on her handsome restaurateur boyfriend, Sid (Angad Bedi).

Raghu offers Kaira the chance to be the lead cinematographer on a film he’s producing in New York City. To address any awkwardness in advance, he warns Kaira that his ex-girlfriend is also working on the project. Kaira seizes on this minor complication as a reason to blow up her budding romance with Raghu and her chance to make the film.

When a new renting rule gets Kaira booted from her apartment, she has no choice but to embark on a visit to her parents’ house in Goa. Her relationship with her folks is icy at best, though only from her end. Mom offers to make Kaira’s favorite foods, and Dad happily boasts about her professional accomplishments. There has to be a reason for Kaira’s attitude, even if we don’t know what it is.

With time on her hands, Kaira takes the opportunity to explore her failed romantic relationships by meeting with an unconventional therapist, Jehangir “Jug” Khan (Shah Rukh Khan). He pushes her to consider why she’s so concerned about what other people think about her–and what, if anything, it has to do with her parents. To paraphrase Jug, Kaira is letting her past blackmail her present at the expense of her future.

Dear Zindagi deftly destigmatizes mental illness and therapy. Kaira is not conventionally “crazy,” but she repeats patterns of behavior that make her and those around her unhappy. She also lacks the conviction that her life choices are valid, regardless of what others say. Solving those problems is a lot easier with help, and the film depicts a recognizable version of cognitive behavioral therapy, flavored with a liberal dose of Shah Rukh Khan charisma.

Kaira is a refreshing character, the flip side of the more common cinematic man-child forced into adulthood by the love of a good woman. The whole point of Kaira’s journey is that she has to do it for herself, not for anyone else. Bhatt’s appeal makes her a wonderful choice for the role. She shines during a lengthy monologue in which she recounts the source of her enmity with her parents. Director Gauri Shinde wisely keeps Khan offscreen while Bhatt speaks, the camera alternating between Kaira in Jug’s office in the present day and flashbacks to her as a young girl. It’s a credit to the director’s faith in Bhatt as a lead performer that she doesn’t rely on Khan’s presence as a crutch.

Shinde — who also wrote the film — makes a couple of decisions that do a disservice to her complicated, intriguing protagonist. A small complaint is that, in addition to all of Kaira’s more interesting flaws, she is also clumsy. After Twilight, clumsy heroines are a bore. Sure, there are a few lines about Jug’s ability to repair broken things and broken people, but they didn’t need to be visualized so literally.

More problematic is an ending sequence that brings back Kaira’s ex-boyfriends for her moment of triumph. It’s mostly an act of fanservice to give the audience a last glimpse of Kapoor, Bedi, and Ali Zafar, who plays Kaira’s handsome Goa fling. Without getting into specifics, what transpires in this sequence undermines much of Kaira’s self-actualization.

Challenging female characters are a rare breed in film, and Shinde wrote a really good one. That’s why it’s so frustrating to be forced to ultimately view Kaira through a male lens, instead of being able to regard her as she is, unfiltered. Dear Zindagi is a step in the right direction, but it stumbles just before the finish line.

Links

Movie Review: Tere Bin Laden – Dead or Alive (2016)

TereBinLadenDeadOrAlive2.5 Stars (out of 4)

The comedy sequel Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive starts out strong, but the story doesn’t have enough momentum to sustain laughs. Two films in this franchise are enough.

Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive (TBL 2, henceforth) begins in 2009. Manish Paul plays Abhishek Sharma, the real-life writer and director of both movies. Abhishek (the character) gets the greenlight to make his first film — Tere Bin Laden — after he spots Paddi Singh (Pradhuman Singh), a dead ringer for Osama Bin Laden. There’s a helpful refresher on the first film, which proved to be enough of a hit to merit a followup.

Shortly after production on the sequel begins, the real Bin Laden is assassinated by the United States. This puts the kibosh on Abhishek’s movie but not Paddi’s career as a lookalike. With no body or video proof of Bin Laden’s death, an inept terrorist organization in Pakistan wants Paddi so they can claim that Bin Laden is with them, alive and well. Meanwhile, the US wants to recreate the assassination, substituting video of Paddi’s murder as footage of Bin Laden’s death.

The early stages of TBL 2 are full of great bits. Ali Zafar — the star of Tere Bin Laden — appears in a funny cameo, playing an egomaniacal, womanizing version of himself. The Pakistani terror organization stages its own version of the Olympics, with games like the Bomb Relay and Landmine Jump. If you blow yourself up, you win!

The sharpest barbs are reserved for the Americans. Their drone control room is set up like an arcade, complete with coin-operated remote weapons. The “Chief of Invasions” is a man named David DoSomething, played by Sikander Kher in white-face makeup and a blond comb-over wig. Kher’s southern accent is deliberately hilarious.

In order to dupe Paddi and Abhishek, David dons brown-face makeup to pose as David Chadha, an NRI Hollywood producer. He quickly masters Hindi, though he mispronounces his last name as “cheddar.”

The movie acknowledges just how racist this is gambit is, with David consulting a makeup chart featuring a range of ethnically appropriate skin tones. When President Obama (Iman Crosson) sees David in his desi avatar, he quips, “I see you painted your white-ass face brown.” Considering that TBL 2 released on the same day as Gods of Egypt — a Hollywood film featuring no Egyptian actors — the digs seem deserved.

Though supporting characters like David, his female assistant Junior (Mya Uyeda), and President Obama are funny, they often feel better suited for a sketch comedy show rather than a feature film. There’s something missing from TBL 2 that causes it to slow down as soon as all of the characters are introduced.

One potential explanation that there’s no B-story in the plot. Elements such as Abhishek’s abandoned career as a confectioner and his fraught friendship with Paddi are introduced but don’t go anywhere. The story needs an anchor or emotional hook of some sort. Jokes aren’t enough.

TBL 2‘s strongest attribute is its subtitling and localization. It’s among the best I’ve ever seen in a Hindi film. For example, the Hindi word “jalebi” is translated as “churro,” substituting a piped, fried sweet popular in India for one popular in the U.S. Kudos to the TBL 2 translation team, the real stars of the film!

Links

Movie Review: Kill Dil (2014)

Kill_Dil3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

With a vibe that combines the wild west with rock ‘n’ roll and Indian gangsters, Kill Dil (“Kill Heart“) has a unique, appealing aesthetic style. That style — plus a briskly paced story and a hypnotic performance by Ranveer Singh — make Kill Dil worth watching.

Singh plays Dev, one of two orphans raised by Bhaiyaji (Govinda), a gangster. The other orphan, Tutu (Ali Zafar), is Dev’s best friend and partner in crime. Together, they serve as Bhaiyaji’s chief assassins.

While Tutu looks every bit the part — black leather jacket, sunglasses, mustache — Dev’s goofy energy and bowl haircut seem at odds with his profession. Yet Dev’s spirited demeanor is what makes him Bhaiyaji’s favorite.

Predictably, everything falls apart when Dev falls in love with Disha (Parineeti Chopra). She works finding jobs for reformed criminals, but Tutu points out that she probably doesn’t want to date one. Dev has to decide whether a normal life with Disha is worth leaving Bhaiyaji and incurring his wrath.

Though the plot is a bit familiar, the presentation is not. The vibrant colors — especially during Bhaiyaji’s Diwali party — and framing make every shot captivating. The terrific rock soundtrack makes every song feel necessary in an otherwise very fast movie. Before you know it, an hour has passed and the word “Intermission” appears on screen.

Zafar, who normally plays nice guys, is very cool as an assassin, taking his cues from the Marlboro Man on the billboard above the apartment Tutu and Dev share. Govinda likewise sheds his usual comic image and makes an imposing tough guy.

Singh is a boundless source of energy, practically vibrating in every scene, even when his character isn’t the focus. He’s at his most “on” during dance numbers. It’s impossible not to watch him. He’s charisma personified.

Yet Singh’s best moment comes during a tearful discussion with Tutu, the moment when Dev must commit to his future. Singh’s earnestness is moving as he channels all that energy into a plea for understanding.

Chopra plays her character well, but she and Singh are somewhat lacking in chemistry (despite Chopra playing her most overtly sexy character to date). Disha seems a mismatch for Dev. It’s not just that he flunked out of fifth grade, it’s that their cultural tastes don’t seem to match. It’s not enough that Dev’s a nice guy.

There’s a moment that hints at a subplot about Dev finding in Disha’s family the parents he never had, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Plus, it’s a little hard to believe that neither Disha nor her family wouldn’t be suspicious of Dev’s evasiveness about his past.

What flaws Kill Dil has are masked by an undeniable cool factor. This is a doggone stylish movie that combines a bunch of elements to make something unique and interesting. In an industry awash in gangster movies, Kill Dil really stands out.

Links

Movie Review: Total Siyapaa (2014)

Total_Siyappa_poster1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon

Total Siyapaa (“Total Chaos“) could’ve been a cute romantic comedy about the power of love to overcome cultural differences. Instead, the level of humor never rises above ethnocentric cheap shots. It’s a missed opportunity.

Ali Zafar plays Aman, a Pakistani musician who’s on the receiving end of nearly every abuse one could throw at his country. He arrives in London to meet his girlfriend, Asha (Yami Gautam), only to be arrested by a white police officer who suspects Aman of being a terrorist.

Things get worse when Aman meets Asha’s family. They really, really, really hate Pakistanis. In fact, the only defining characteristic of Asha’s younger brother, Manav (Anuj Pandit), is his hatred for and desire to kill Pakistanis. Naturally, Asha failed to tell anyone in her family whence Aman hails.

Once Aman meets the family — headed by a matriarch played by Kiron Kher — there are plenty of opportunities for situational comedy. Aman’s behavior grows more erratic due to his social discomfort and his realization that he may have accidentally killed Asha’s father, who was hit in the head by a container of frozen soup Aman dropped out the window.

Asha’s mom gamely tries to overcome her prejudices and accept Aman for her daughter’s sake, even as Aman’s goofy antics make it hard to understand what Asha sees in him. The film’s most successful scenes feature Kher and Zafar, who share a nice comic chemistry.

Over and over the jokes in Total Siyapaa return to slams against Pakistanis, well after the film has exhausted that humorous vein. The climactic argument that nearly drives Aman and Asha apart involves them shouting nationalist insults at one another.

For good measure, the white cop from the beginning of the film returns near the end to refer to a mixed group of Indian and Pakistani young men as “stinky terrorists.”

The whole experience feels like being stuck at a family gathering while an elderly relative tells a series of vaguely racist jokes, heedless of the uncomfortable expressions on the faces of his audience. There’s not much point in speaking out, since it’s not like you can change his mind, so you just sit there and wait for the joke teller to either run out of material or get up to refill his beverage.

As Total Siyapaa plods along, it’s easy to see how the movie could’ve been better. It has a solid fish-out-of-water premise; it has some decent visual gags; and it has tried-and-true comic actors in Kiron Kher and Anupam Kher, who plays Asha’s father.

If only director Eeshwar Nivas and writer Neeraj Pandey had dialed the Pakistani jokes way back after the first half hour, Total Siyapaa could’ve been pretty good.

Links

Movie Review: Chashme Baddoor (2013)

Chashme_Baddoor_(2013_film)_Poster3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Chashme Baddoor is an enjoyable comedy, and I’m not just saying that because Ali Zafar is adorable. And his hair looks so soft. And when he smiles, I feel like I’m floating.

Knowing that David Dhawan is responsible for both the film’s direction and updating the screenplay from 1981’s Chashme Buddoor, I expected the film to be as crude and tedious as some of his other recent comedies, like Rascals and Do Knot Disturb. Though it has a few annoying elements, Chashme Baddoor is a sweet, funny film about the ways love can interfere with friendship.

The plot focuses on three best friends living it up in Goa: bookish Sid (Ali Zafar) and two aspiring Lotharios, Jai (Siddharth) and Omi (Divyendu Sharma). Their landlady, Ms. Josephine (Lilette Dubey), and the tough-guy owner of the local bar, Mr. Joseph (Rishi Kapoor), can’t understand why a guy with as much potential as Sid hangs out with two losers.

The film introduces Jai and Omi first, which is something of a mistake, since they’re not as likeable as a Sid. The apparent risqué humor of Omi’s romantic poetry doesn’t translate well from spoken Hindi into English subtitles, and Jai is too brash. Their antics are often accompanied by irritating musical cues that had me reaching for my earplugs.

Jai and Omi take turns trying to woo the cute new girl in town, Seema (Taapsee Pannu). Both flame out, but conceal their failure from each other and Sid, inventing stories of romantic conquest. When Sid — having never seen Seema before — falls for her, Jai and Omi conspire to break the couple apart before Seema can reveal their rebuffed flirtations and subsequent lies.

More than just a pretty face, Zafar does a fine job playing Sid as a regular guy. He’s shy, but not mousey; scholarly, not nerdy. Sid’s presence has a calming influence on his buddies, and Omi and Jai are at their best when they’re with Sid.

Pannu likewise does a fine job with Seema, who is feisty without becoming a shrill caricature. She’s youthful but a bit more worldly and confident than Sid, enough to lead him to believe that she could be a lot more worldly than him.

Anupam Kher plays a double role as Seema’s father and uncle. Kher’s characters are even more outrageous than Omi and Jai and are accompanied by even noisier sound effects. This isn’t my favorite performance by Kher.

Kapoor and Dubey, however, are very cute as Joseph and Josephine, a pair of single adults whose courtship is heartwarming. Their story could’ve been more thoroughly integrated into the main plot, but they are delightful every minute they are on screen.

Even during its darkest moments, Chashme Baddoor never gets too dark. When romances and friendships are at risk of falling apart, there’s always a sense that the relationships can be saved, because the characters are all good at heart. This is unapologetic light entertainment that succeeds because it maintains a carefree air throughout.

Links

Opening April 5: Chashme Baddoor

For the second week in a row, a Hindi remake of an ’80s film hits Chicago area theaters. This time its Chashme Baddoor, which stars Ali Zafar and is distinguished from the original — Chashme Buddoor — by a slight spelling change in the title.

Chashme Baddoor opens on Friday, April 5, 2013, at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

Last weekend’s remake, Himmatwala, performed poorly at the box office, earning just $197,770 from 99 U.S. theaters. Nevertheless, it carries over at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

The other big Indian release of note this week is the Telugu film Baadshah. It opens on Thursday, April 4, at the Golf Glen 5, Cinemark Century 12 Evanston in Evanston (one-time-only showing on Thursday), Cinemark Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale, and Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 38 min. and is showing locally without English subtitles.

Other Indian films playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include the Tamil movies Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga and Settai. The Century Stratford Square has the Punjabi movie Sadda Haq, which is showing with English subtitles.

Movie Review: London Paris New York (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

The starting point for debutant writer-director Anu Menon’s London Paris New York (LPNY, henceforth) was undoubtedly the allure of setting a story in the three glamorous title cities; the plot and characters surely came second. But when the movie isn’t being a glorified travel show, interesting characters add spark to this edgy love story.

There’s a lot demanded of leads Nikhil (Ali Zafar) and Lalitha (Aditi Rao Hydari), who, after a chance meeting in London, utter almost every line of the film’s dialog. The young adults have in common the fact that they are both on their own for the first time, their overprotective parents having reluctantly agreed to let them attend college abroad. When Lalitha misses her connecting flight to New York, the strangers decide to spend the day exploring London together.

They have the types of conversations only had by movie characters (have you ever asked someone you just met, “So what do you want to do with your life?”), but form a genuine connection. Nikhil promises to come visit Lalitha in New York. When Nikhil tracks Lalitha down in Paris two years later, we learn that he didn’t keep his promise.

Nikhil starts out pushy and entitled but is humbled as the story progresses. I didn’t care for Zafar’s smarmy delivery in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, which he toned down for LPNY. He’s strong in the dramatic scenes but at his best in lighter moments when he can flash his killer smile.

The best surprise of LPNY is Lalitha’s character. Unlike many female leads, who are really just vehicles for the emotional growth of the male main character, Lalitha is an equal partner for Nikhil. That means she’s equally responsible for the bad choices that drive the two apart.

Hydari strikes the right balance with Lalitha, a young woman of strong ideals but lacking some emotional maturity. Hydari’s best moment is when Lalitha turns a devastating realization into an opportunity for revenge, her coldness underscored by a deep hurt.

Zafar, who made his name as a rock star, wrote and performed all of the music for LPNY. The soundtrack is appropriately poppy for a film about young urbanites. The music features prominently during the three montages of the highlights of each city. Though I suppose it’s hard to avoid showing iconic sites like the London Eye and Times Square, the montages feel stale.

Even when it comes to the music, Hydari again steals the show. She bravely chose to sing her own parts on two songs, giving the numbers a more natural feel than when actors lip sync to voices not their own.

In the United States, LPNY has an MPAA rating of PG-13 due to references to sex and scenes of the characters drinking and smoking. LPNY is a bit grittier than a typical Bollywood rom-com, so it’s not appropriate for the whole family. But those old enough to appreciate it will be rewarded.

Links

Opening March 2: London Paris New York and Paan Singh Tomar

Will rom-com fatigue doom London Paris New York, one of two new Bollywood movies opening this weekend in Chicago area theaters? With four romances having opened in the last three weeks — and the dismal U.S. box office performances of last weekend’s new films — it’s a very real concern.

London Paris New York (LPNY) stars Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari in a love story set in three of the world’s most beautiful cities.

LPNY opens on Friday, March 2, 2012, at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. The movie is rated PG-13 and has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 40 min.

Predictably, the two romantic comedies released last weekend split the audience share, to the detriment of both. Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (the better of the two films) had the better weekend, earning just $94,583 in the United States. Jodi Breakers fared worse, earning a paltry $52,618. It departs area theaters on Thursday.

Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30, which also brings back Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu for a fourth week. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu‘s U.S. theater earnings stand at $1,130,842.

This weekend’s other new Hindi release, Paan Singh Tomar, opens on Friday at the South Barrington 30. It stars Irrfan Khan as an elite athlete who becomes a rebel fighter. It has a runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Aravaan (Tamil), Ee Adutha Kaalathu (Malayalam), Ishq (Telugu), and Love Failure (Telugu).

Movie Review: Luv Ka The End (2011)

1 Star (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Luv Ka The End (“The End of Love”) is the first movie released by Y-Films, a subsidiary of the venerable Yash Raj Films aimed at producing youth-oriented movies. In its style and content, Luv Ka The End appeals to a generation of kids more interested in films from Hollywood than from Bollywood. But the movie has such a dismissive view of sexual violence toward women that it can’t be recommended.

The teen sex comedy opens on the final day of junior college for Rhea (Shraddha Kapoor) and her best friends, Jugs (Pushtiie Shakti) and Sonia (Sreejita De). Rhea intends to consummate her relationship with her boyfriend, Luv (Taaha Shah), that night, which happens to be the eve of her eighteenth birthday.

By chance, Rhea and her friends discover that Luv is the leading scorer in an online points-for-sex game. Taking Rhea’s virginity and posting video proof would cement Luv’s victory. The girls set about taking revenge on Luv before the night’s big end-of-the-school-year bash.

The predictable revenge story — where does one buy itching powder anyway? — takes up the bulk of the film and drags on longer than necessary. It’s not bad, just not as cool as the whimsically-named director Bumpy thinks it is.

Things quickly fall apart after the girls finish their mischief-making, and the tone of the film changes from light-hearted to sinister. Fair warning, spoilers ahead.

At the party, Rhea lures Luv into a bedroom rigged with video cameras, intent on humiliating him as the partygoers downstairs watch on monitors. Luv turns the tables on Rhea and ties her to the bed, threatening to broadcast her rape over the Internet.

The revolting scenario is interrupted so that a few of the side characters can make jokes. It’s appalling that the screenplay trivializes sexual violence against women by trying to lighten the mood with humor. Meanwhile, no one at the party besides Jugs and Sonia try to rescue Rhea, as everyone watches the horrifying scene on the monitors. Not even the local news crews that are on-hand to cover the party make an effort to prevent the potential rape that is occurring just upstairs from them.

Compounding the insult to women everywhere is that, within minutes of escaping Luv (to the tone-deaf cheers of the unhelpful partygoers and news crews), Rhea dances at a concert by her favorite singer. When that singer — played in a cameo by Ali Zafar — asks Rhea on a date, she says yes. That’s simply not the way someone who just survived an attempted sexual assault would react.

It’s a disappointing end to what is, for the most part, a pleasant enough film. It distracts attention from the talented cast of young actors, all of whom do a nice job with their narrow characters, and who outshine the adults in the cast.

*Luv Ka The End is currently available on Netflix streaming.

Links

Movie Review: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan have been established Bollywood stars for years, but this has been something of a breakout summer for both of them. Kaif scored big at the box office with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and Khan showed serious comedy chops in Delhi Belly.

Headlining Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (“My Brother’s Bride”), Kaif and Khan seem their most at ease in front of the camera. Not only do they share a charming chemistry, but they give two of their strongest individual performances to date.

Khan anchors Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (MBKD, henceforth) as Kush, an aspiring director in India who gets an odd request from his brother in London, Luv (Ali Zafar). Having broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Piali (Tara D’Souza), Luv decides to entrust his romantic future to Kush. Luv asks his younger brother to find a nice Indian girl for him to marry.

Kush enlists his parents and friends to scour Dehradun for a bride for Luv. The ideal candidate turns out to be a reformed party girl named Dimple (Kaif), whom Kush met years earlier during her wilder days. She describes her qualifications thusly: “I am correctly beautiful and appropriately sexy.” She gets the gig.

Predictably, Kush and Dimple fall for each other as they make wedding preparations. Only after Luv arrives do they acknowledge the problem: she’s about to marry the wrong brother.

The fact that MBKD feels a bit like something we’ve seen before is actually its strength. Debutant filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar (who’s not the Ali Zafar who plays Luv) clearly set out to make a feel-good romantic comedy, and he achieved his goal.

To play up the familiarity, the opening dance number pays homage to some famous Bollywood routines of the recent past. There are plenty of dance numbers, and all of them are entertaining and well-integrated into the plot.

A few slightly unexpected tweaks to the formula are a nice surprise. While Kush is the film’s main character, Dimple does more to drive the story forward. She’s not a passive damsel in distress, but rather an impatient problem solver whose impulsiveness gets her into trouble.

In another unexpected twist, MBKD doesn’t have a villain. I kept waiting for Luv to reveal himself to be an oaf, or for Piala to turn into a “crazy ex-girlfriend,” but all of the characters are nice people. The situation — not the characters — provides the conflict. It’s tricky to pull off, but Abbas Zafar handles it well.

The advantage of this approach is that the story doesn’t get bogged down in maudlin montages of Kush and Dimple staring forlornly into the rain as a singer laments the cruelty of fate. Rather, the lovebirds recognize a problem and set about fixing it.

The lone complaint I have about the movie is that several jokes depend on cultural references that American audiences likely don’t share. There are repeated references to Complan, which I learned after the movie is a British nutritional supplement. (See Ricky’s comment below for a more complete explanation of the Complan references.) This isn’t a reason to avoid the film, but American moviegoers should know in advance that they won’t get all the jokes.

Links