Tag Archives: Hrithik Roshan

Movie Review: War (2019)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Pitting two of Bollywood’s biggest action stars against one another lives up to the hype in War, a tremendously fun, globetrotting thrill ride.

Indian super-spy Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) has gone rogue. A task force including his former pupil, Khalid (Tiger Shroff), must track Kabir down and figure out what happened. Their boss, Colonel Luthra (Ashutosh Rana), assigns another agent to lead the task force because Khalid is “too close” to Kabir. Khalid’s colleague Aditi (Anupriya Goenka) covertly funnels him information, because she wants to find Kabir as badly as he does.

Kabir’s team was the best of the best, hot on the trail of international criminal Rizwan Ilyasi (Sanjeev Vasta) when Khalid joined them as a promising new recruit. The onboarding process was rocky, since Kabir worried that Khalid might harbor some resentment for Kabir having killed his agent-turned-terrorist father (in self defense!). But Khalid proved both loyal and capable, winning Kabir’s trust — only for Kabir to turn on the government he swore to protect.

Khalid’s desire to join Kabir’s team stems both from a need to show the world that he is not his father’s son and from his infatuation with Kabir. Roshan as Kabir gets one of cinema’s most loving introductions, stepping out of a helicopter with the wind blowing his hair, striding muscularly, like a being made of pure testosterone. Khalid gawks at him on behalf of all of us.

Not to be overlooked is Khalid’s own introduction, via one of Bollywood’s best-ever fight scenes. The fight choreography and Ben Jasper’s camera work as Khalid tosses drug dealers around an apartment are spectacular. Shroff’s athletic prowess is just as impressive.

War is among the most expensive Indian films ever made, and it looks it. Chase scenes — whether on foot or via car or motorcycle — in foreign locales are as exciting to watch as they are stunning to look at. The scale is big, the stakes are high, and writer-director Siddharth Anand pushes the envelope even further than his previous action spectacular, Bang Bang, which also looked great but was disappointing. The lessons learned from that film translated into a thriller that can stand up alongside anything Hollywood has to offer, with well-integrated CGI, practical effects, and complicated stunt work.

Another improvement is in the quality of acting Anand gets from his performers. Roshan was miscast in the action-comedy Bang Bang, but he plays Kabir perfectly as steely but not unfeeling. Shroff has always been his best when playing underdogs, and he uses that here to show how Khalid’s over-eagerness makes him reckless. Goenka’s role is utilitarian — she’s always there with the right information at the right time — but she gives Aditi a spark.

Vaani Kapoor has a small but impactful role as Naina, a dancer Kabir befriends while tracking Ilyasi on a solo mission in Italy. Naina pegs Kabir’s martyr streak as dangerous. Kabir says his team is his family, but Aditi has a fiance and Khalid has his mother — Kabir’s the only one with no one else to come home to. It helps to remind Kabir that real people are involved, something the movie notes when Colonel Luthra acknowledges some Portuguese soldiers killed in a mission gone wrong. The characters don’t just rampage through cities without consequence.

Sure, some loose ends are left hanging at film’s end, and the ridiculous climax includes what is essentially a really-effective Audi commercial. But no one can ever accuse War‘s cast or crew of phoning it in. Anand wanted world-class stunts and powerful action sequences, and he got them. Roshan and Shroff look jacked, and their fights and dance scenes are impressive. Kapoor stands out in her acrobatic showcase dance number as well. War is just tremendous fun and a great example of a movie that warrants viewing on the biggest screen possible.

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Bollywood Box Office: January 27-29, 2017

There was a decisive winner in the first Bollywood box office battle of 2017. Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees bested the collections of Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil in North America by a factor of 3:1. During the weekend of January 27-29, 2017, Raees earned $1,742,565 from 289 theaters* ($6,030 average). Including collections from Wednesday and Thursday — both films opened on January 25 — Raees‘s total stands at $2,313,656.

Kaabil‘s total earnings since Wednesday are $781,064, with $631,923 of that coming from 253 theaters ($2,498 average) over the weekend.

The problem for Roshan isn’t that Kaabil failed to match Raees‘s earnings. It’s that this is the second consecutive box office showdown he’s lost. Last year, Roshan’s Mohenjo Daro finished second to Akshay Kumar’s Rustom despite opening in over 100 more theaters than Kumar’s film. In fact, Kaabil‘s opening weekend per-theater average of $2,498 is worse than Mohenjo Daro‘s $3,073 average. Even including earnings from Wednesday and Thursday, Kaabil‘s 5-day per-theater average is just $3,087. Given that Mohenjo Daro was widely derided as a flop, what does that make Kaabil?

Kaabil is going to earn more than $1 million here in the United States and Canada, which is good, but each battle lost diminishes Roshan’s perceived star-power. He’s not on the same level as the Three Khans, and last year’s battle shows him to be less popular here than Kumar at the moment. Even though Kaabil fared better in India relative to Raees, it still finished second. The scheduled Christmas, 2018 box office rematch between Roshan and Khan seems like another battle Roshan is destined to lose.

Other Hindi films still in North American theaters:

  • Dangal: Week 6; $77,817 from 30 theaters; $2,594 average; $12,255,617 total
  • OK Jaanu: Week 3; $131 from one theater; $351,054 total

*In the event that Bollywood Hungama’s North American theater figure actually counts Canadian theaters twice (as has happened in the past), the revised averages are $6,576 at 265 theaters for Raees and $2,772 at 228 theaters for Kaabil.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Kaabil (2017)

kaabil0.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Kaabil (“Capable“) is stupid and gross. The movie’s biggest problem is that Yami Gautam’s character exists solely to be raped, an act which serves as a catalyst to transform Hrithik Roshan’s character into an avenging hero.

Roshan plays Rohan, a blind voice actor. One of his producers wonders how Rohan is able to deliver his dialogue in sync with the cartoon characters he voices when he can’t see the footage, but the question is offered as praise rather than a legitimate plot concern writer Vijay Kumar Mishra and director Sanjay Gupta simply ignore.

Gupta and Mishra also elect not to explain what preexisting relationship Rohan has with Amit (Rohit Roy) — a politician’s sleazy brother — and his toady, Wasim (Sahidur Rahaman). Events of the second half of the film make no sense unless Rohan has extensive background information about the two men and their families, which we’re not given any reason to believe he would have. It would also go a long way to explain why Amit and Wasim terrorize Rohan and his new wife, Supriya (Gautam), in the first place.

Most of the film’s first half is the establishment of Rohan’s romantic relationship with Supriya, with whom he’s setup by a mutual acquaintance based on the couple’s mutual blindness. They’re both kind people, but Supriya emphasizes how much she values her job and her independence, and says she is loath to sacrifice either for marriage. If only she’d stuck to her guns.

Instead, Supriya marries Rohan, with whom she enjoys a brief period of happiness before Amit and Wasim rape her because of some unexplained animosity toward Rohan. Throughout her ordeal, the movie gives no consideration to Supriya’s feelings, focusing instead on how her assault affects Rohan. She tells her husband, “Now I am not the same person for you.” Rohan doesn’t contradict her, his silence confirming her worst fears. He later claims he needed time to process what happened. You’d almost think he was the one who’d been raped.

Not long after Supriya’s assault, director Gupta inserts an item number into the film. The audience is supposed to pivot from being disgusted by a rape to now being titillated by closeups of Urvashi Rautela’s thighs and cleavage while Amit sings. It’s repulsive.

Rohan’s revenge is built on a number of conveniences, including his aforementioned intimate knowledge of Amit’s and Wasim’s families derived from who knows where. Rohan is also a master of hiding in the shadows, which is pretty amazing considering that he’s blind! He’s been blind since birth, so he’s never so much as seen a shadow, let alone learned how to use them to conceal his whereabouts.

Kaabil is so dumb that it would be tempting to laugh it off, were it not guilty of creating a confident female character just for the purposes of turning her into a plot device. It’s a textbook example of the offensive “Women in Refrigerators” trope, explained brilliantly in the video below:

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Bollywood Box Office: August 12-14, 2016

The battle between Rustom and Mohenjo Daro has been decided in North America, with Rustom emerging the victor by a greater margin than it first appears. From August 12-14, 2016, Rustom earned $757,004 from 132 theaters ($5,735 average). During the same weekend, Mohenjo Daro earned almost as much — $728,236 — but in over a hundred more theaters (237, to be exact). That gave Mohenjo Daro a much lower per-theater average of $3,073.

To put these performances in context for the year, Mohenjo Daro released into the third highest number of theaters in North America, but its opening weekend gross was only sixth best and its opening weekend average a disappointing eleventh. On the other hand, Rustom released into the eighth highest number of theaters for 2016, but its opening weekend gross and average were both fifth best.

Both movies will wind up earning $1 million here, so at least Mohenjo Daro star Hrithik Roshan can hang his hat on that. It’s now a question of how widely the two film’s fortunes will diverge going forward, and anecdotal evidence from the Chicago area hints at a brighter future for Rustom. Last weekend saw Mohenjo Daro open in nine Chicago area theaters, compared to Rustom‘s six. Rustom is carrying over for a second weekend in all six of its original theaters, while Mohenjo Daro is down to seven. More importantly, three of those seven theaters are only showing Mohenjo Daro twice per day over the weekend, and another is only showing it once daily. So, despite the higher theater count, Mohenjo Daro gets only twenty showings across the Chicago area on Friday, while Rustom gets 22.

If Mohenjo Daro‘s showings are already being cut back dramatically, the movie could be down to just one or two theaters in Chicago by next weekend. If that plays out the same way in other metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada, Mohenjo Daro could have a lot of trouble going forward. Worst case scenario is a quick burnout like Fitoor earlier this year, which made 2/3s of its total earnings in its first weekend. A 1.5 multiplier would see Mohenjo Daro post total earnings just shy of $1.1 million, which would put it in tenth place for the year. That would be bad.

Other Bollywood movies still in North American theaters:

  • Dishoom: Week 3; $5,863 from nine theaters; $651 average; $803,195 total
  • Sultan: Week 6; $1,738 from two theaters; $869 average; $6,189,464 total

Source: Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Mohenjo Daro (2016)

MohenjoDaro1.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Even without context, Mohenjo Daro isn’t a very good movie, but it’s especially disappointing when considered within the landscape of recent Indian films and with regard to director Ashutosh Gowariker’s past achievements.

Gowariker’s story takes place in the ancient Indus Valley city of Mohenjo Daro, around 2,000 years B.C. Hrithik Roshan plays Sarman, a nearby farmer with a mysterious connection to the city that he doesn’t understand.

Sarman’s uncle Durjan (Nitish Bharadwaj) caves to Sarman’s relentless begging and allows his nephew to go to the Mohenjo Daro, albeit with warnings about the city’s many dangers. At forty-two, Roshan is too old play a character so immature that he opens the “only in case of life or death” package that his uncle gives him as soon as Durjan is out of sight.

When Sarman arrives at the metropolis he finds a place governed by greedy politicians fearful of the merciless senate leader Maham (Kabir Bedi) and his bully of a son, Moonja (Arunoday Singh). Maham orders a tax increase, even as farmers struggle with diminishing yields due to Mahan’s damming of the river.

Sarman is fed up and ready to head home when, wouldn’t you know it, he spots a beautiful woman who makes him change his mind. (Conveniently, everything of import in Mohenjo Daro happens at exactly the right moment.) The woman is Chaani (Pooja Hegde), daughter of the head priest (Manish Chaudhary) and The Chosen One of Mohenjo Daro.

Chaani presents all kinds of problems in the story (none of which are Hegde’s fault). Right after Sarman admonishes his buddy and traveling companion Hojo to stop ogling women, Chaani shows up in an outfit that demands ogling. Her backless, floor-length dress has slits all the way up both thighs, a cutout to expose her navel, and a pushup bra. So, it’s bad when other men leer at women, but not when Sarman does it?

Then there’s the part about Chaani being The Chosen One. A prophesy at the time of her birth decreed that she would make a decision that would usher in a new era for Mohenjo Daro, but she never makes such a decision. She’s just a bystander as the people forget about her divine destiny and declare Sarman the savior of Mohejno Daro.

With very little written or archeological evidence to go by, Gowariker was free to style his version of Mohenjo Daro as he wished. The results are bizarre, not in a fanciful way but in an impractical one. In addition to feathers and several kilos of metal beads, Chaani’s elaborate headdress has slices of geodes that hang next to her face. One can only imagine how annoying it must have been for Hegde to have slabs of rock clanking against her cheek in nearly every scene. And don’t get me started on helpful city guard Lothar’s (Diganta Hizarika) 1980s side-ponytail.

There are weird visual nods to classic Christian stories from Hollywood, too. In flashbacks, Maham is styled like an evil Jesus. Narendra Jha as the crazy prophet Jakhiro looks like Charlton Heston’s Moses from The Ten Commandments.

The lack of historical data was an opportunity to create something visually stunning, but Mohenjo Daro just isn’t. Worse, it looks really bad when compared to last year’s historical epic, Baahubali: The Beginning. In every respect — costuming, CGI, fight scenes, musical numbers — Mohenjo Daro looks like a lackluster version of Baahubali, with a less compelling story.

The bland, obvious plot is perhaps the most shocking element of Mohenjo Daro. Gowariker has a great track record for writing and directing engrossing stories that subtly convey his political ideals. Lagaan had poor, rural Indians literally beating the British at their own game. Swades showed how innovation and dedication to community can circumvent the slow movement of government. Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey saw young Indians pushed to violence by oppressive British rule. In Jodhaa Akbar, Roshan played a progressive emperor who embraced multiculturalism.

Gowariker ditches the nuance and character motivations of his previous films for cliched populism. Sarman declares that The People are fed up paying the senate’s taxes, and The People cheer in unison, somehow instinctively knowing that this outsider is the savior who can lead them out of poverty, and causing them to forget about the crew of murderous hill goons Maham employs as bodyguards, a la Tyrion Lannister.

It’s too easy. The idea that all of India’s (or anywhere’s) problems could be solved if the masses would rise up as one behind a charismatic leader is lazy and unsatisfying, whether the action takes place in the modern day or thousands of years ago. It absolves the masses of having to do the hard work that was such an important part of Lagaan, Swades, and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. Just wait around for a messiah — but not the woman we thought was The Chosen One. This other guy instead.

Even the manner in which the story is presented is ham-handed. A. R. Rahman provides a score full of uncharacteristically garish musical cues. The single corniest moment sees one character tell another, “something something something YOUR FATHER,” followed by a noisy instrumental blast and a zoom to closeup on the listener’s face.

There are also none of the culture-clash elements from Gowariker’s previous films present in Mohenjo Daro. Sarman is an outsider, but it’s not really a problem. He adapts to life in the city almost immediately, making friends and falling in love without a hitch. Then again, there’s not enough to Chaani’s character to make her a complicating factor. She’s there to look pretty, which Hegde does exceedingly well.

The actors aren’t to blame for Mohenjo Daro‘s shortcomings. No one is particularly good or bad, although I did enjoy Singh’s performance as the thwarted heir apparent more than I have some of his past work. This will be one of Roshan’s most forgettable roles.

There’s not enough substance here to tell if Mohenjo Daro could have been more than it is. It’s just the unfortunate product of a talented filmmaker who appears to have lost his way, sublimating his ideals for pandering that pleases no one.

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Opening August 12: Mohenjo Daro and Rustom

One of the biggest box office showdowns of the year happens on August 12, 2016, with the release of two very different period films. The Indus Valley-set Mohenjo Daro stars Hrithik Roshan and is directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. It’s their first reunion since Jodhaa Akbar.

Mohenjo Daro opens in nine Chicago area theaters on Friday: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston/Cinearts 6 in Evanston, Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 in Round Lake Beach, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.

The weekend’s other new release is Rustom, set in Bombay in 1959 and based on a true crime story. It stars Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, and Esha Gupta.

Rustom opens on Friday in six Chicago area theaters: River East 21, MovieMax, South Barrington 30, Cantera 17, Woodridge 18, and Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 28 min.

Dishoom gets a third week at the Cantera 17.

Other Indian films showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Box Office Star Analysis: Hrithik Roshan

Though the three Khans dominate the Hindi film industry at home and abroad, it’s important not to overlook Hrithik Roshan’s popularity in the United States and Canada. Check out Hrithik’s North American box office returns since 2001.

HrithikRoshanNABoxOffice

Though not as prolific as other Bollywood heroes, Hrithik is certainly dependable at the box office. Ten of the thirteen films he’s released since 2001 — the ones for which I have reliable data — have earned at least $1 million in the States. His only movie to earn less than $500,000 in North America was 2009’s Luck By Chance, in which he played a small supporting role (despite featuring prominently on the film’s poster).

With the three Khans in a league of their own, let’s pit Hrithik’s track record against that of a more comparable A-list star: Akshay Kumar, an actor as profligate as Hrithik is picky. Though Akshay has had a great 2016 so far — with Airlift earning $1.8 million here in January and Housefull 3 $1.3 million in June — this chart I made in 2014 showed his earnings in North America trending down. None of the four films he released in 2015 made $1 million.

Akshay’s highest finish in the all-time Bollywood box office list for North America is 45th place for 2008’s Singh Is Kinng. Five of Hrithik’s films rank above that, including two in the Top 20 (Jodhaa Akbar in sixteenth place and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in eighteenth place). While Akshay may have greater lifetime receipts due to volume, Hrithik’s earning potential for any given film is higher.

Hrithik and Akshay face off in theaters on August 12, 2016, with the release of Mohenjo Daro and Rustom, respectively. Mohenjo Daro reunites Hrithik with his Jodhaa Akbar director Ashutosh Gowariker, but the film’s leading lady, Pooja Hedge, is a newcomer to Hindi films (as opposed to his superstar Jodhaa Akbar heroine, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). On the other hand, movies with patriotic themes — like Holiday, Baby, and Airlift — have been Akshay’s bread and butter in recent years, and he plays a Navy officer in Rustom. It’s going to be fun to see who wins this box office duel.

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Movie Review: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001)

KabhiKhushiKabhiGham3.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (“Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness“) may not be the best movie ever, but it certainly is the most movie ever. Those able to embrace the film’s excesses are rewarded with non-stop entertainment.

From the outset, K3G (the film’s popular nickname) establishes familial love as its theme. The movie opens with a wealthy man, Yash Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan), talking about the particular affection a father feels for his child. Yash’s wife, Nandini (Jaya Bachchan), stresses the unconditional nature of motherly love. They smile as they talk about their pride and joy: their son, Rahul (Shahrukh Khan). Cut to a portrait of the happy family.

Wait, who’s that other kid in the picture? The one they didn’t bother to mention? It’s their younger son, Rohan, who is a complete afterthought in his parents’ eyes.

Yash and Nandini adopted Rahul as a baby, after having trouble conceiving. When Nandini unexpectedly became pregnant with Rohan nine years later, they continued to focus all of their parental affection on Rahul, leaving young Rohan to make due with hugs from the Raichand family maid, Daijan (Farida Jalal).

Yet when Rahul is disowned for falling for a working-class gal named Anjali (Kajol), it falls on poor Rohan to try to reunite his family. He does so willingly, despite being the acknowledged second-favorite of his parents’ two kids.

Fortunately, the years spent carrying that chip on his shoulder have molded adult Rohan into an Adonis, played by Hrithik Roshan. He takes his prep school education and sleeveless shirts and heads to England to find his estranged brother.

Rohan’s quest is aided by his former childhood nemesis: Anjali’s younger sister, Pooja (Kareena Kapoor). The minute grown up Pooja is introduced, everyone else in K3G ceases to matter, because Kapoor’s fabulousness outshines them all.

Adult Pooja is the queen bee of her college, sneering at the girls and smugly brushing off the boys she deems too lowly for her to date. She’s so damned popular that she can go by the nickname “Poo” without people laughing in her face. Her wardrobe is made up exclusively of hotpants, fur shrugs, and tops that are basically a cocktail napkin held in place by a shoelace.

It cannot be overstated how amazing Poo is. Everything she does is over the top. No character has every been as bratty yet lovable. Kapoor commits to Poo’s outrageousness, and the results are hilarious.

London is where the character relationships in K3G are at their best. Shahrukh and Kajol are even more charming as a married couple then they are in the early stages of Rahul and Anjali’s relationship. Rahul and Poo banter sweetly as he acts as her protective older brother. Poo’s romantic advances toward Rohan are as funny as his rebuffs.

There are a couple of negative aspects to K3G. First is the incessant fat-shaming of young Rohan (Kavish Majmudar). Young Rahul (played by Shahrukh Khan’s son, Aryan) calls his little brother “fat” in every conversation he has with Rohan as a boy. Other members of the household join in, too, as do young Pooja and her pint-sized cronies. When adult Rahul realizes that the hunky guy who’s been living with him under false pretenses is his long-lost brother, the first thing he asks Rohan is how he lost so much weight.

Then there’s the creepy relationship between patriarch Yash and Naina (Rani Mukerji), the woman he’s chosen for Rahul to marry. Naina is all kinds of fabulous, in her sparkly backless dresses and midriff-baring tops. Yash is way too touchy-feely with Naina, and she only makes it worse by singing a sultry, Marilyn Monroe-style rendition of “Happy Birthday” to her would-be father-in-law.

Yet all can be forgiven thanks to the movie’s endearing absurdity, including a song that features Shahrukh dancing in front of the pyramids while sporting see-though shirts, and then pawing at Kajol while wearing various all-leather outfits. When characters aren’t celebrating, they are crying. There is so much celebrating, so much crying, and you just have to roll with the whole experience. Keep that mindset throughout Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… and you are guaranteed a great time.

Links

  • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… at Wikipedia
  • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… at IMDb

Movie Review: Bang Bang (2014)

Bang_Bang_(2014_Film)2 Stars (out of 4)

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When Jimmy Shergill offers the villain of Bang Bang some “extra cheese,” he’s not just talking about a pizza topping. He’s describing the tone of the film. Either that or he’s priming the audience for the ridiculous product placement to come.

Shergill’s role in Bang Bang as Indian Army Colonel Viren Nanda is minor. He’s dead before the opening credits roll, murdered by Interpol’s most-wanted terrorist, Omar Zafar (Danny Denzongpa) — but not before giving a needlessly patriotic speech.

Zafar puts out a notice to the world’s criminals — via Facebook? Twitter? — offering a bounty for the Kohinoor: a giant diamond stolen from India by the British during Queen Victoria’s reign. The diamond is filched from the Tower of London by Rajveer (Hrithik Roshan).

While on the run from some goons, Rajveer pauses to romance Harleen (Katrina Kaif), a lovely bank receptionist who’s been stood up by her internet date. Harleen is the absolute, most completely pathetic woman in the whole world because she doesn’t have a boyfriend. No boyfriend means no potential husband, and according to Bang Bang, an unmarried woman’s life is a meaningless waste.

Harleen gets caught up in Rajveer’s run from Zafar’s gang. The adventure takes her to all the exotic places she’s only dreamed of visiting. That Harleen spends much of the film drugged and being dragged from place to place suits Kaif’s abilities.

There are moments in Bang Bang that are a lot of fun. The dance song during the closing credits — aptly titled “Bang Bang” — is super catchy. The action scenes are entertaining, if only slightly more believable than those from an earlier Roshan action flick, Dhoom 2. Some of the dialogue is really clever and funny.

However, Kaif and Roshan aren’t up to the best of the material. There’s no chemistry between the two — although a kiss between them goes a long way to erasing memories of Kaif’s clumsy liplock with Shahrukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan — and neither is a good enough comic actor to deliver the humorous lines. Yes, Roshan is jacked and has about 1% body fat. It doesn’t make him right for this part.

For all of the stuff that blows up, Bang Bang is dull. Plot lines resolve slowly, and time is wasted on shots (from the neck up) of Kaif looking wistful in the shower. The background score is unbelievably corny.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, there’s some really cynical product placement in Bang Bang. A pivotal scene is set in a Pizza Hut located on the top of a mountain, on the edge of a cliff, with no place for a parking lot. Nevertheless, the restaurant is crowded.

Not so crowded that Rajveer and Harleen can’t ponder the merits of thin versus stuffed crust, mind you. The kid behind the counter (Aditya Prakash) suggests a pan pizza as a compromise. The kid is the best actor in the film.

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Movie Review: Krrish 3 (2013)

Krrish32.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Krrish 3‘s great flaw is not that it’s a derivative mishmash of X-Men, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Superman. It’s that Krrish 3 is boring. Why does a standard superhero plot — bad guy wants to takeover the world, good guy needs to stop him — need so much exposition?

Krrish 3 starts with a helpful recap of the previous films in the series — Koi… Mil Gaya and Krrish — narrated by Amitabh Bachchan. Rohit (Hrithik Roshan) inherited superpowers from an alien and passed them on to his son, Krishna (also Hrithik Roshan), who moonlights as the superhero, Krrish.

Bachchan’s narration disappears for half-an-hour so that we can see Krrish rescue some folks, only to return unexpectedly to introduce the villains. After that, we don’t hear from Bachchan again.

The primary villain is Professor X, er, Kaal (Vivek Oberoi), a telekinetic quadriplegic who somehow retains the use of both index fingers. Bachchan assures us: “Unbelievable as it is, but it’s true.” As a byproduct of his experiments to cure his paralysis, Kaal creates an army of animal-human hybrids: his “manimals.”

One of the manimals is a chameleon-hybrid shape-shifter named Kaya (Kangana Ranaut). In addition to looking sexy in a strapless latex catsuit, Kaya can pass through walls and possesses super-strength.

Kaya’s storyline is the highlight of the film. Her role in Kaal’s evil scheme requires her to impersonate Krishna’s wife, Priya (Priyanka Chopra). While gathering intel for her boss, Kaya gets to live a life she’s never experienced, one in which she’s a beloved member of a family. This causes her to question her loyalties to her creator, Kaal, who’s always treated her like a tool.

Kaya is a better developed villain than Kaal, whose plans seem scattershot. He spends the first hour of the film infecting countries with a virus, and then charging high prices for the cure in order to fund his paralysis-cure research. The movie is half-over before Krrish and Kaal have anything to do with one another.

After exhausting his animal research, Kaal becomes obsessed with bone marrow. When he says, “I need your bone marrow,” he dramatically emphasizes the tissue as if he were saying “heart” or “brain” or some other vital organ. It’s as if no one told him that a bone marrow transplant is a relatively common, non-lethal procedure. Boy, is he going to be bummed when he finds out.

Kaal’s not intimidating enough to be a super-villain, and he’s not as complex a character as Kaya. He’s about as scary as his henchman, Frogman (Gowhar Khan), who gets way too much screentime for a guy whose only weapon is his tongue.

Krrish/Krishna is kind of a dud, too. There’s a germ of a running gag in which Krishna keeps getting fired from service jobs because of his superhero duties, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Krrish rescues a boy, only to lecture him not to try superhero stunts at home.

That lecture, plus a bunch of speeches about how we’re all like Krrish whenever we do something nice for someone else, make Krrish 3 too self-aware to be truly engrossing. Whenever scenes show a glimmer of emotional truth, the camera zooms soap-opera style into a close-up of a character’s face, just to make sure the audience knows that this is an emotionally significant moment.

The performances by Roshan and Chopra are corny, and Oberoi isn’t villainous enough. Ranaut’s compelling turn as Kaya makes the film bearable.

The musical numbers are also a letdown. About half the audience at my showing headed for a bathroom break as soon as “God Allah Aur Bhagwan” began. “Dil Tu Hi Bataa” is so wacky that it’s almost charming. Why is Ranaut dressed like she’s in the Ice Capades?

But, wait! Isn’t that my boy Sushant Pujari from ABCD bustin’ moves in red sneakers in “Raghupati Raghav”? Maybe Krrish 3 is worth watching after all.

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