Tag Archives: Konkona Sen Sharma

Movie Review: Talvar (2015)

Talvar4 Stars (out of 4)

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*Author’s note: Though this film is based on a true story, I reviewed the film as a stand-alone piece of art, not as a referendum on the 2008 Noida double murder case.

A candlelight vigil is held following a teenage girl’s murder, protesters holding signs demanding justice for the victim. Director Meghna Gulzar and writer Vishal Bhardwaj highlight the subjective natures of truth and justice in the hypnotic mystery Talvar (international title: “Guilty“).

The girl is 14-year-old Shruti Tandon (Ayesha Parveen), found dead in her bedroom by her parents, who apparently slept through their daughter’s murder. Shruti’s father, Ramesh (Neeraj Kabi), and mother, Nutan (Konkona Sen Sharma), fall under suspicion after the original suspect — a servant named Khempal — is found murdered on the roof of their apartment building.

The initial police investigation is a calamity. Neighbors and detectives wander obliviously through the family’s apartment, contaminating the crime scene. Officers neglect to preserve crucial evidence because they are busy taking photos of each other next to the body on the roof.

With the most obvious suspect exonerated by virtue of his being dead, the police invent outlandish theories to establish the guilt of the parents. They rely heavily on the testimony of Ramesh’s employee, Kanhaiya (Sumit Gulati), who has a grudge against his boss.

At the press conference announcing formal charges against the Tandons, the police chief mispronounces Shruti’s name and assassinates her character. The chief accuses Ramesh of wife-swapping, adding, “He is as characterless as his daughter was.” Embarrassed by the conduct of the police, the government turns the case over to the Central Department of Investigation (CDI), handing the reins to officer Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan).

As new theories of the crime are introduced, Gulzar reenacts each version as though it were true. Ramesh and Nutan are shown as either savvy killers or grief-stricken parents, depending on who is telling the tale.

The technique is integrated seamlessly into the narrative of the investigation, which changes hands three times. That means that Shruti’s death is shown over and over again, in gory detail. Even though the investigation is the focus of the story, the audience is never allowed to forget the two deaths that started it.

The point of Talvar is not so much to establish the truth of what happened — a fact made extraordinarily difficult thanks to the botched initial investigation — but the multiple ways that evidence can be interpreted. The different conclusions reached by the police, Ashwin, and his successor Paul (Atul Kumar), reveal as much about the investigators as they do about the crime itself.

Gulzar maintains the gravity of the story with sparing use of background music (also written by Bhardwaj). Uncomfortable interrogations are made even more uncomfortable without the distraction of a musical score. Gulzar also coaxes great performances from her cast, especially Kabi, Sharma, and Gulati, who have to act in the present day storyline as well as the reenactments of the murder.

Irrfan Khan is amazing, with Ashwin standing in for the audience as the objective observer. Well, as objective as Ashwin can be whilst being pressured into a divorce by his wife, Reemu (Tabu). The divorce subplot again highlights that the participants are human beings, not crime-solving robots. Same for the detail about Paul bringing his son with him to the crime scene because he can’t find a babysitter.

Talvar is an engrossing police procedural full of humanity. It’s both a joy and a nightmare to watch, knowing that the story is based on a real incident. Gulzar’s direction is tense, but never exploitative. This is a terrific film.

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Movie Review: Ek Thi Daayan (2013)

Ek_Thi_Poster2 Stars (out of 4)

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Was the TV edit of Ek Thi Daayan (“Once There Lived a Witch”) released to theaters by mistake? There’s a lot missing from the story: important stuff like character establishment and a coherent mythology. Absent those, Ek Thi Daayan doesn’t really work.

The film jumps into the action so quickly that it neglects to properly introduce the main characters. Following a stylish animated opening credits sequence, we find our hero at work on stage. Bobo the Baffler (Emraan Hashmi) — one of India’s top illusionists, despite his ridiculous name — levitates his assistant at the top of a burning rope. The trick is monitored from a control room by Bobo’s girlfriend, Tamara (Huma Qureshi), and their young orphan friend, Zubin.

Bobo visually and aurally hallucinates a little girl, later revealed to be his long-deceased younger sister, Misha. Bobo misses his cue, and the assistant is badly burned. Backstage, Tamara complains that this is the third time Bobo has hallucinated mid-performance this month. Has no one in the media noticed that India’s top magician has literally burned through a bunch of assistants recently?

While Tamara complains to the priest at Zubin’s orphanage that she can’t get Bobo to commit to marriage — an apparent obstacle to their plans to adopt Zubin — Bobo wanders into an obviously haunted apartment building. In what turns out to be his childhood apartment, he again hallucinates that he sees Misha. Tamara arrives and points out that it’s not Misha, just the dead girl’s creepy-ass favorite doll.

They head home, a love song plays, and the couple has sex — in front of the scary doll.

Already twenty minutes into the movie, we still don’t have any reason to care about Bobo, Tamara, or Zubin, apart from the fact that they’re our only options. Are they good people? Are we supposed to aspire to be rich, famous magicians? Where the hell did they find this orphan kid anyway?

Doesn’t matter. Bobo gets professionally hypnotized, and the rest of the first half of the film is a flashback to the repressed memories of 11-year-old Bobo and the circumstances of Misha’s death. Was his dad’s second wife, Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma), really a witch, or was the boy just angry at her for replacing his mom?

There are clearly paranormal elements at work, but director Kannan Iyer and writers Vishal Bhardwaj and Mukal Sharma throw lore around willy-nilly, without a clear description of the rules of their supernatural world. Where do witches and demons come from? Can they be permanently destroyed? What does Bobo have to do with them? Are his repressed memories some kind of magical amnesia or the result of childhood fright?

There are so many unanswered questions and unclear relationships that it’s difficult to become invested in the characters. While the movie is atmospheric, the story is so straightforward that it lacks tension. The few jump-scares that exist are telegraphed.

It’s too bad, since there are some decent performances in Ek Thi Daayan. Konkona Sen Sharma is delightfully sinister, while not so overt as to eliminate the possibility that young Bobo has judged her unfairly. The young actors who portray Bobo and Misha are both talented.

Hashmi and Qureshi are solid, though their characters lack depth. Kalki Koechlin shows up in the second half as an obsessive fan of Bobo’s. Koechlin’s performance is similarly good, but it’s overshadowed by the fact that Bobo and Tamara aren’t unnerved by her character openly stalking Bobo.

With a runtime of just over two hours, Ek Thi Daayan isn’t long enough (by Bollywood standards) to become boring, but it never offers the audience much incentive to care. With more careful control of the story structure and establishing a mythology, this could have been quite good. Maybe it will make more sense if the DVD contains a director’s cut.

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Opening April 19: Ek Thi Daayan

Even though I’m a huge chicken, I am really excited about the new Hindi horror film opening in Chicago area theaters on April 19, 2013. Ek Thi Daayan (“Once There Lived a Witch”) has an incredible cast: Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin, and Huma Qureshi.

Ek Thi Daayan opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Its runtime is listed variously as 2 hrs. 10 min. and 2 hrs. 30 min.

Last weekend’s new release, Nautanki Saala!, gets a second week at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago and the South Barrington 30, which is also holding over Chashme Baddoor for a third week.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include the Telugu movies Chinna Cinema and Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde, Amen (Malayalam), and both the Tamil and Telugu versions of Udhayam NH4. The Cinemark Century Stratford Square in Bloomingdale has Sadda Haq (Punjabi), while the Cinemark at Seven Bridges in Woodridge carries over Baadshah (Telugu).

Movie Review: Mirch (2010)

2.5 Stars (4 Stars)

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Mirch (“Chili Pepper”) stands out from other Bollywood fare because of its subject matter: women’s sexuality. It’s a topic that makes some people skittish, yet Mirch addresses it with a sense of humor. However, the otherwise amusing movie fails to reach its full potential.

The movie is actually a series of four short stories — two set in the ancient past, two set in modern times — held together by a framing device. A rookie screenwriter, Maanav (Arunoday Singh), can’t find anyone willing to buy his original screenplay because the subject matter is deemed too dark and not “sexy” enough. So Maanav comes up with another plan: turn four stories from the ancient Panchatantra into a film.

The four stories all feature sexually liberated women who use their wits to get the better of their jealous, promiscuous spouses. Maanav’s girlfriend, a movie editor named Ruchi (Shahana Goswami), convinces her producer boss Nitin (Sushant Singh) to listen to Maanav’s pitch, even though it appears Nitin has his own designs on Ruchi.

The four stories unfold as Maanav’s narration gives way to cinematic depiction, starting with the two historical vignettes. First is the story of a frisky wife (Raima Sen) whose manual laborer husband becomes suspicious of her eagerness to hop in the sack with him.

Second is a story of a young bride (Konkona Sen Sharma) married to an impotent old king. The bride is desperate to lose her virginity, and she chooses a young courtier (also played by Arunoday Singh, who appears in two other stories as well) to do the deed. However, the courtier will only consent if the bride agrees to do it in front of her husband.

The characters in the “real life” storyline acknowledge a need for stories set in modern times, shifting the time period forward for the final two stories. Sen returns in the third story as another devoted wife whose husband (Shreyas Talpade) tests her fidelity. Sharma likewise returns for the fourth vignette, as a wife who catches her husband (Boman Irani) trying to cheat on her.

All of the stories start with straightforward premises but end with a twist: either the wife turns the tables on her husband, or she was hiding a secret all along. In every case, the stories acknowledge the fact that women have their own desires apart from fulfilling their husbands needs. Sen and Sharma carry the movie, playing their characters as provocative rather than overtly sexual.

While the vignettes have their charms, the framing device is uneven. The interludes between the mini-movies seem to be driving toward a love triangle finale that would force Ruchi to choose between Maanav and Nitin. A new character is introduced at the last minute, seemingly invalidating the implication that Nitin was ever interested in Ruchi.

Mirch also makes the unfortunate mistake of putting a character in blackface. When the husband in the third story dons a disguise in order to seduce his wife, he covers his skin in dark makeup. It’s a crude attempt at humor that’s loaded with racist undertones. A wig and a fake mustache would have been sufficient.

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Movie Review: 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)

4 Stars (out of 4)

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Director Vishal Bhardwaj’s movies have always suffered a bit in translation. Whether due to a lack of nuance in the English subtitles or particular regional references that require context, I felt like I didn’t fully experience films like The Blue Umbrella, Omkara or Kaminey.

Not so with 7 Khoon Maaf (“Seven Murders Forgiven”). It’s Bhardwaj’s most universally accessible work yet. It’s perfect in the way of all cult films: not flawless, but giddy, emotionally effective and memorable.

7 Khoon Maaf chronicles the love life of a black widow named Susanna (Priyanka Chopra). The film is based on “Susanna’s Seven Husbands,” a short story by Ruskin Bond. The title itself is a clue that things don’t turn out so well for the men in Susanna’s life.

The story is narrated by Arun (Vivaan Shah), a forensics expert tasked with confirming the death of the serial spouse murderer. Arun explains to his wife (Konkona Sen Sharma) the nature of his relationship with Susanna when she was alive: he was Susanna’s ward, and she funded his education. But the more Arun explains, the more bizarre the story becomes.

Shortly after the death of her father, the wealthy, orphaned twenty-year-old Susanna marries Major Edwin Rodriques (Neil Nitin Mukesh). Edwin has a temper, and he terrorizes his wife and her loyal servants: a butler named Ghalib (Harish Khanna), a maid named Maggie (Usha Uthup) and a stablehand named Goonga (Shashi Malviya).

As Edwin becomes more dangerous, Susanna and her servants decide to get rid of him in a way that looks accidental. Thus begins the deadly cycle of Susanna’s romantic life.

The film is darkly humorous, and a bit perverse at times. Some of the more visceral visuals reminded me of Guillermo del Toro’s films like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, though there are few special effects in 7 Khoon Maaf.

Also reminiscent of del Toro is the pervasive religious symbolism throughout the film. Susanna is a Christian, so hymns pervade the soundtrack, which was also composed by Bhardwaj. Given the number of weddings and funerals Susanna must attend, church is a frequent setting.

Much attention in the promotions for the film has been given to Susanna’s husbands: the rock star (John Abraham), the poet (Irrfan Khan), the healer (Naseeruddin Shah). But all of them, by design, have limited roles in the film.

Much more central to the plot are Susanna’s accomplices, Ghalib, Maggie and Goonga. They evolve from pragmatic problem solvers into a trio of gleeful assassins. The three actors deserve much credit for enriching the film.

Arun likewise plays a central role, aging from a child to a man throughout the film. Vivaan Shah is competent in his first film role, playing a man who watches his patron’s life unravel from a distance — sometimes a physical one but also an emotional distance, due to being much younger than Susanna.

But the success of the movie depends entirely on Chopra, Bollywood’s most ambitious actress, and she does not disappoint. Susanna ages approximately 35 years through the course of the film, and Chopra adapts accordingly. She walks a fine line, making Susanna charming and innocent, and then merciless and deadly.

7 Khoon Maaf is an all-or-nothing film. It either works for you or it doesn’t. Its strangeness will be a turn-off for some viewers, while others will lament a lack of explosive action scenes. But, if you’re in the mood for something a little different, beware: Susanna might just steal your heart.

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Movie Review: The Japanese Wife (2010)

4 Stars (out of 4)

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On rare occasions, I break with my policy of reviewing only Hindi movies, and instead review a movie in another Indian language. I recently watched The Japanese Wife — which features dialog in English, Japanese and Bengali — because it will be featured on October 3rd at Chicago’s inaugural South Asian Film Festival. Also, it’s directed by Aparna Sen, mother of Bollywood actress Konkona Sen Sharma. Since the movie is already available on DVD at Netflix, I thought I’d give it a shot.

The DVD’s menu screen describes the movie as “A Love Poem by Aparna Sen,” and that seems appropriate. It’s a heartbreakingly romantic film about the lengths we go to on behalf of those we love and how the written word brings us closer together.

Rahul Bose stars as Snehamoy, a high school arithmetic teacher in a small, remote village in West Bengal. He lives with an aunt who raised him after his parents drowned when he was a boy. He’s unbearably shy and has only one close friend: Miyage (Chigusa Takaku), his Japanese pen pal. She’s just as shy and lives with her ailing mother. They write letters to each other in imperfect English every week.

Scenes from the present — a giant package from Japan making its way through Snehamoy’s village to his house — are intercut with voiceovers and scenes cataloging how the friendship between Snehamoy and Miyage develops through their letters.

After three years of correspondence, Snehamoy writes to Miyage about his aunt’s attempt to find a bride for him. The girl, Sandhya (Raima Sen), is so timid she won’t even let Snehamoy see her face. He turns down the marriage, and Sandhya weds another man.

Miyage proposes that she and Snehamoy get married, even though they’ve never met and have no prospect of doing so in the near future. She has to take care of her mother, and his monthly $100 salary isn’t enough to afford an expensive plane ticket to Japan. But they agree to get married anyway. She sends him a silver ring, and he sends her some coral bangles and vermillion powder to wear in the part of her hair, signifying their status.

Several years later, widowed Sandhya and her son, Poltu (Sagnik Chowdhury), move in with Snehamoy and his aunt. Sandhya becomes Snehamoy’s unofficial wife, in practice: she cooks and cleans, and he escorts her shopping and helps her raise Poltu. She’s at least physically present, while Miyage remains in Japan.

The movie raises questions about the definition of marriage. Can Snehamoy and Miyage really be married without having ever met? And what of Snehamoy’s relationship with Sandhya? They actively build a life together with some degree of mutual affection. Which “marriage” is more real?

The movie unfolds beautifully as the love between Snehamoy and Miyage is revealed through their words. Because English isn’t either of their native languages, they write honestly and without euphemisms. The musical score alternates between traditional Indian and Japanese harmonies.

Probably the most striking aspect of the movie is the contrast between their places of residence. Snehamoy lives in a small village with no electricity that’s only accessible by boat. I wasn’t sure in which decade the movie was set until he journeyed to a big city and mentioned that he had Miyage’s email address.

Yet it makes complete sense that Miyage, living in a big city in Japan, could fall for Snehamoy. One can be lonely and isolated even in a crowded place.

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Retro Review: Omkara (2006)

3.5 Stars (out of 4)

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There’s something compelling about director Vishal Bhardwaj’s movies: the dark atmosphere, the impending sense of doom, the heroes who are just barely heroic. I just wish I understood Hindi well enough to fully appreciate them.

More accurately, I’d need to understand Hindi and a handful of colloquialisms from Uttar Pradesh, where Bhardwaj grew up. A knowledge of U.P. politics and the associated gangster culture would also be useful. My cultural and linguistic deficiencies hampered my enjoyment of the first Bhardwaj film I watched, 2009’s Kaminey.

Cultural differences troubled me less in Bhardwaj’s 2006 movie Omkara, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. Prior familiarity with the story certainly helped, as did an English-language book that was written about the movie’s development.

The book — Stephen Alter’s Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief — is essential for appreciating the film’s dialogue. English subtitles are often translated in a way that compromises the subtleties of the original words. Alter, who speaks Hindi, explains the true meaning of the words and gives context for the dialogue, making sense of the movie’s otherwise confusing opening scene.

According to the scene’s subtitles, Langda (Iago in Shakespeare’s play) discusses with Rajju (Roderigo) the difference between a “fool” and a “moron.” The two words are used somewhat interchangeably in American English, so the conversation seems odd and not very insightful.

Alter explains that the Hindi words translate more accurately to “fool” and “fucking idiot.” The scene — and the message Langda is conveying to Rajju — makes more sense with the uncensored translation; it ends with Landga explaining that, while they were talking, Rajju’s fiancee, Dolly (Desdemona), ran off with Omkara (Othello). Rajju realizes too late that he’s not a mere fool, but a fucking idiot.

The rest of the story follows the original, even though the setting has changed. Instead of a soldier in the Venetian army, Omkara is a gangster working in the service of a U.P. politician. The action takes place in the modern-day, as evidenced by the fact that the gangsters carry cell phones. Yet the town at the center of events is small and rural, evoking the story’s timeless quality.

Omkara (Ajay Devgan) and Dolly (Kareena Kapoor) are happy together, even though she’s defied her father to be with the illegitimate son of a village leader and his servant. During the course of their wedding planning, Omkara is promoted to a political position. When picking his successor as gang leader, he defies expectations and chooses Kesu (Vivek Oberoi) — a college-educated city kid — over his childhood friend, Langda (Saif Ali Khan).

Langda commences an attack on Kesu’s character, subtly trying to convince Omkara that Kesu is having an affair with Dolly. He’s aided by Dolly’s spurned suitor, Rajju (Deepak Dobriyal). Langda’s wife, Indu (Konkona Sen Sharma), inadvertently gives him the piece of physical evidence to validate his lie, and the tragedy unfolds.

The acting in Omkara is as nuanced as Langda’s machinations. Dolly and Kesu are youthful, charming, and utterly bewildered by Omkara’s suspicion. Rajju is twitchy and eager to reclaim his stolen bride. Omkara’s authoritative facade only breaks in front of Dolly, who coaxes smiles out of him with a glance.

Saif Ali Khan’s Langda walks a thin line. He’s vengeful, but not without cause; devious, but not totally malicious. His only interest is ousting Kesu from the position he wants. However, he fails to consider the toll this will take on Dolly and, by extension, Omkara, his benefactor.

Konkona Sen Sharma’s Indu is the film’s most relatable character. She’s caring, funny and smart enough to figure out that something is wrong. She probably could’ve solved the problems between Dolly, Kesu and Omkara, if only her husband weren’t secretly working against her.

Another highlight of Omkara is the music, especially the sexy dance tune “Beedi.” Bhardwaj got his start in Bollywood as a composer, and the music he’s written for Omkara sets the mood perfectly.

It’s hard to recommend a movie that requires further reading to really understand, but Omkara is worth it. The acting, atmosphere and music are of such high quality that American film fans should just enjoy the ride, knowing that Stephen Alter’s book will clear up some of the confusion. Vishal Bhardwaj is a director of such talent that it would be a shame to overlook his work because of a few cultural differences.

Opening March 12: Right Yaaa Wrong and Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke

The Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles hosts the only new Hindi movies opening in the Chicago area on Friday, March 12: the cop thriller Right Yaaa Wrong, which stars Sunny Deol, Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma, and a little known comedy with a long title, Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke.

Expect next week to be light on new Hindi movies as well, with wider Chicago area releases of movies featuring big stars resuming March 26.

Other Hindi movies continuing to show in the Chicago area this weekend include Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge at the Golf Glen 5 and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, Karthik Calling Karthik at the South Barrington 30 and My Name Is Khan at the South Barrington 30, AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville.

During its four weeks in U.S. theaters, My Name Is Khan has earned $3,834,048.

Other Indian movies showing near Chicago this weekend are Inkosaari (Telugu), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (Tamil) and Ye Maaya Chesave (Telugu), which carry over at the Golf Glen 5, and Leader (Telugu) and Chattambi Nadu (Malayalam) at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.

The Golf Glen 5 is also showing Indian Premier League cricket matches in the morning every weekend through mid-April. Check the theater’s website for match times.

Movie Review: Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge (2010)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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The Hindi phrase “Atithi Devo Bhava” translates as “A guest is a god,” meaning that one should treat guests with the utmost respect. That sounds fine until one realizes that “atithi” more precisely means an unexpected guest.

For most Americans, that conjures up memories of the time your mother-in-law dropped by on a Friday and declared she was staying the weekend, then complained because the sofa bed was lumpy, and because you didn’t have any grapefruit in the house while she was on an all-grapefruit diet. But that situation is hospitality for amateurs.

I know a married couple in Chicago who hosted both of their mothers — who only speak Turkish — in their one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. At the same time. For a month. That’s the kind of extreme hospitality Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge is about.

The movie (the title of which translates as “Guest, When Will You Leave?”) stars Ajay Devgan and Konkona Sen Sharma as Puneet and Munmun, a happily married couple with a six-year-old son. Puneet works as a screenwriter and Munmun as an architect. They live in a modern one-bedroom apartment in the city.

One day, Puneet’s uncle arrives at their apartment building unexpectedly. Puneet doesn’t remember this uncle, but admits that he could’ve forgotten him in the decade since he left his small village for the city. Uncle Lambodar (Paresh Rawal) explains how he’s related to Puneet’s deceased father, and the two get Uncle settled into the family apartment.

Uncle (which is how he’s primarily referred to in the movie) proceeds to turn the couple’s life upside down. Since he doesn’t understand what Puneet and Munmun do for a living, he assumes that they can wait on him hand and foot. He rattles off a list of six or seven dishes for Munmun to prepare for him, since he only wants a “light” dinner. He spends the rest of the night fouling the apartment with his chronic flatulence.

Uncle Lambodar isn’t an unlikeable boor. He’s a decent guy who’s simply clueless about what life is like outside of his village — not that he’d have a clue about how annoying Puneet and Munmun find him anyway. They do most of their grumbling behind closed doors, grimacing with every new demand Uncle makes. They yearn for Uncle to leave but are too polite to ask how long he plans to stay.

The veneer of politeness is what makes everything in Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge work. Devgan is at his funniest when holding a blank expression on his face, conveying contained rage to the audience and nothing in particular to Uncle Lambodar.

Likewise, Sharma’s best moment consists of her repeating an elaborate list of snacks and beverages Uncle expects her to prepare for him and his friends, as though she enjoys being treated like a servant.

But Rawal is the star of the movie. By underplaying the performance, he imbues Uncle Lambodar with humanity, rather than letting him exist as an irritating plot device. Lambodar is exactly the kind of person about whom people amend any complaints with the phrase, “…but he means well.”

Because this is the type of slapstick comedy that’s trendy in Hindi cinema at the moment, it contains its share of slapping. There are also the requisite goofy sound effects, including an elephant trumpet. But strong performances by actors with serious dramatic credentials elevate Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge above other movies in the genre.

Note: If the song “Jyoti Jalaile” sounds familiar, that’s because composer Vishal Bhardwaj adapted it from the song “Beedi” from his movie Omkara, turning a lusty bar tune into a devotional number. Like Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge, Omkara also stars Ajay Devgan and Konkona Sen Sharma and is co-written by Robin Bhatt.

*Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge‘s runtime is listed as 2 hrs. 35 min. Including previews, it’s really closer to 2 hrs. 5 min. — a more appropriate length for a comedy.

Opening March 5: Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge

One new Hindi movie opens in the Chicago area on Friday, March 5, 2010. The comedy Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge stars Ajay Devgan and Konkona Sen Sharma as a married couple desperate to rid themselves of an annoying house guest, played by Paresh Rawal.

Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge will play at Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington.

Thriller Karthik Calling Karthik continues for a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville, having earned $179,643 in its first weekend in U.S. theaters.

Last weekend’s other new release, Teen Patti, leaves theaters after one week.

The only other Hindi film showing in the Chicago area this weekend is My Name Is Khan, which has earned $3,634,423 in the U.S. so far. It continues its run at the South Barrington 30, Cantera 30 and AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago.

Other Indian movies playing in Chicagoland include Aagathan (Malayalam), Leader (Telugu), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (Tamil) and Ye Maaya Chesave (Telugu) at the Golf Glen 5 and the Telugu movie Sadhyam at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.