Tag Archives: Ritesh Deshmukh

Movie Review: Grand Masti (2013)

Grand_MastiZero Stars (out of 4)

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If there is any country in which one would expect filmmakers to steer clear of rape jokes, it would be India. Nevertheless, on the same day that four of the perpetrators of last year’s horrific gang rape and murder were sentenced to death, director-producer Indra Kumar released Grand Masti: a movie that features a joke about gang rape.

The rape joke is the perfect example of Grand Masti‘s tone-deafness and sexism. In attempting to push the boundaries of what Indian audiences are willing to accept in an adult comedy, the tone of Kumar’s film feels like what passed for funny in Hollywood films in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In exchange for squeezing a record number of masturbation jokes into his film, Kumar reduces his female characters to nothing more than sperm receptacles.

(Correction: all of the sperm remains safely contained within ManForce condoms, a brand whose corporate sponsorship purchased a bizarre instance of product placement in the film.)

Grand Masti focuses on three asshole best friends: Amar (Ritesh Deshmukh), Meet (Vivek Oberoi), and Prem (Aftab Shidasani). Six years after graduating from college, the three assholes aren’t having enough sex with their smoking hot wives as they would like, so they travel to their college reunion — who the hell holds a college reunion after just six years? — hoping to have a lot of sex with a lot of co-eds.

Why are the guys so love starved that they’re driven to cheat on their wives? Amar’s wife, Mamta (Sonalee Kulkarni), is busy taking care of their infant son; Meet’s wife, Unatti (Karishma Tanna), is working overtime so that they can afford to buy a house; and Prem’s wife, Tulsi (Manjari Fadnis), is at the beck-and-call of Prem’s demanding parents, who live with the couple. All of the women would like to have sex with their husbands, but their other responsibilities keep getting in the way.

So, again, these three assholes don’t magically swap bodies with some single guys, nor do they find themselves facing temptation against their will. They actively seek out extramarital affairs because their gorgeous, willing wives are overwhelmed with the burdens of earning money and caring for their children and parents. It’s impossible to feel empathy for lead characters as loathsome as these three jerks.

Just as a bonus, the trio attempts to murder the dean of the college to keep their wives from discovering their cheating ways. What sweethearts!

These three tools become even less appealing whenever they are in the presence of any women other than their wives. They ogle and drool like animals, heads bobbing in time with the bounce of a woman’s breasts as she walks by.

This cartoonish horniness is particularly pronounced when the guys are in the presence of white women, of whom there are a lot in Grand Masti. All of the white women in the movie wear skimpier outfits than their ethnic Indian counterparts. They are ogled more freely by the male characters and are more likely to be groped or humped during dance numbers. It reinforces the Indian stereotype that Western women are immoral and willing targets for sexual predators. It’s offensive.

Not willing to limit the stereotyping to white women, Meet warns Prem about an angry East Asian woman: “She might know Kung Fu!”

In addition to being offensive and lacking sympathetic main characters, the immature, tired gags in Grand Masti go on way too long. Bits that are mildly amusing the first time are repeated for minutes at a stretch, blunting their impact. The acting is uniformly lousy.

It’s hard to believe that a movie this out-of-touch could be made in 2013. It just goes to show how far society still has to go before women are seen by all men as humans of equal status, and not just sex objects.

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Opening September 13: Grand Masti

Only one new Hindi movie is set to open in Chicago area theaters on September 13, 2013, and it looks painful. The bawdy comedy Grand Masti stars Ritesh Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, and Aftab Shivdasani as three guys trying to cheat on their wives. If you have to include this many exclamation points in your official plot synopsis, your movie probably isn’t that funny.

Grand Masti opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. (Note: At the showing I attended at the Cantera this morning, the film had no English subtitles.) If you just can’t wait until tomorrow to see Grand Masti, the River East 21 has a pair of showings tonight. The movie has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

Sadly, John Day isn’t opening in the Chicago area.

The charming romantic comedy Shuddh Desi Romance gets a second weekend at all four of the above theaters, plus the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge.

Last weekend’s other new release, Zanjeer, carries over at the South Barrington 30 and Cantera 17. The Golf Glen 5 is holding over the film’s Telugu version, Thoofan, for a second week, but not the Hindi version.

Satyagraha gets a third week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17, having earned $672,951 in the U.S. so far. With total U.S. earnings of $5,220,926, Chennai Express chugs along for a sixth week at the Cantera 17 and South Barrington 30, which also holds over Madras Cafe for fourth week.

The Golf Glen 5 is also carrying over the Tamil film Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam.

In other news, the late-June release Ghanchakkar is now available for streaming on Netflix. It’s funny and worth checking out.

Opening July 27: Kya Super Kool Hain Hum

New in Chicago area theaters on July 27, 2012, is the comedy Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, starring Ritesh Deshmukh and Tusshar Kapoor.

Kya (or Kyaa) Super Kool Hain Hum opens on Friday at the AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and the Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 16 min.

Thanks to impressive earnings of $1,027,121 from its first two weeks in the U.S., Cocktail gets a third week at both of the above theaters. Bol Bachchan — also performing well in the States, with earnings of $1,155,696 so far — gets a fourth week at the South Barrington 30.

Other Indian movies showing at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles this weekend include Eega (Telugu), Karnan (Tamil film from 1964), Onamalu (Telugu), and Ustad Hotel (Malayalam).

On Tuesday, July 31, the DVD of Kahaani becomes available to Netflix subscribers. If you missed the superb thriller in the theater, be sure to add it to your DVD queue.

Trailers for a pair of high-profile upcoming releases went public recently. Heroine hits theaters September 21, while Son of Sardaar debuts on November 13.

Movie Review: Housefull 2 (2012)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

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When is a sequel not a sequel? Housefull 2 is a strange, boring spectacle that has nothing to do with 2010’s Housefull.

Okay, not precisely nothing. Both are wacky comedies about mistaken identities and concealing romantic relationships from one’s parents. Both starred Akshay Kumar and Ritesh Deshmukh. But Kumar and Deshmukh don’t play the same characters as they did in the first movie.

In Housefull, Deshmukh played a card dealer named Bob while Kumar played an unlucky doofus named Aarush. In Housefull 2, Deshmukh plays millionaire’s son Jolly, while Kumar plays a sleaze named Sunny. Sunny then pretends to be Jolly. Confused, yet?

Jacqueline Fernandez and Malaika Arora Khan were both item girls in Housefull and also return as different characters in Housefull 2. Fernandez plays Bobby (not Bob, Deshmukh’s original character), and Khan plays a different item girl.

Here’s where things get weird. Boman Irani plays a character named Batuk Patel in both movies, but it’s not the same Batuk Patel! In Housefull 2, Batuk seeks to marry off his only daughter, Parul (Shazahn Padamsee) to the son of his best friend, JD (Mithun Chakraborty). In the original Housefull, Batuk’s daughter is Hetal (played by Lara Dutta), which is incidentally the name of Batuk’s deceased wife in Housefull 2.

The only character and actor to make the transition from one movie to the next intact is Chunky Pandey’s funny half-Indian, half-Italian schmoozer, Aakhri Pasta.

As if all this half-baked crossover isn’t bad enough, the plot of Housefull 2 is thin and stupid. Two feuding half-brothers, Daboo (Randhir Kapoor) and Chintu (Rishi Kapoor), want to secure the richest husband in England for their respective daughters, Bobby and Henna (Asin Thottumkal). When Chintu insultingly rejects the family of one possible groom, Jai (Shreyas Talpade), the young man vows to get revenge by making sure Henna is dumped at the altar.

Jai is pals with Jolly, England’s most desirable bachelor. They hire their college friend, Max (John Abraham), to pose as Jolly and trick Chintu and Henna. Max accidentally gets engaged to Bobby, so Jai and Jolly call Sunny to trick Chintu. Max and Sunny hate each other, but Daboo and Chintu live in adjoining townhouses, and — OH, NO! — what if they see each other?!

This covers the first forty-five minutes of the plot. Things only get stupider and more annoying until the end of Housefull 2‘s unbearable 155 minute runtime.

In addition to the sloppy story construction, there are continuity errors throughout. Henna has a pet “crocodile” that is really an alligator. Sunny falls asleep in a raft out at sea, and when he wakes up in the raft the next morning after it washes ashore, there’s already sand on his shoes. Henna puts her finger to her ear to indicate that she’s talking on a Bluetooth headset, but she’s not actually wearing one.

All these mistakes — combined with the crap story– point to the fact that Housefull 2 is just a cash grab designed to trick people who enjoyed Housefull (myself included). A cast full of stars can’t save something this inept and nonsensical.

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Movie Review: Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

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Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (“I’m in Love with You”) is a funny romantic comedy with quality performances. It took careful planning by director Mandeep Kumar and writer Abhijeet Sandhu to make a movie that seems so effortlessly enjoyable.

Take the efficient and effective opening scene, a song featuring the male lead, Viren (Ritesh Deshmukh). As “Jeene De” plays, Viren smiles and sings along as he goes through his day: rising early to drive his auto-rickshaw, playing with the kids he picks up from school, gratefully stashing his days’ earnings underneath the rickshaw’s seat.

In the span of a few minutes — and while the necessary opening credits roll — the audience learns that Viren is a good guy. He’s happy, polite, thrifty, a hard worker, and he can dance. By the end of the song, we know who the main character is, and we like him.

Viren loses his life savings when Bhatti (Tinnu Anand), the man from whom Viren leases his rickshaw, sells the fleet and upgrades to cars. In an uncharacteristic drunken stupor, Viren crashes the engagement party for Bhatti’s daughter, Mini (Genelia D’Souza).

Mini doesn’t want to marry the rich oaf her father has chosen for her, so she tricks Viren into kidnapping her. He reluctantly agrees to participate when Mini promises to get his money back from her father in the form of ransom. But Viren is so inept at pretending to be a criminal that Mini has to make the ransom demand herself.

Mini’s dynamic personality is irresistible. D’Souza imbues the character with charm, as Mini gets her way without being bossy. Mini takes charge of the phony kidnapping plan to make up for the fact that she has no say in the biggest decision of her life: who she’s going to marry.

Viren isn’t cowed by Mini so much as he is out of his depth. He’s a principled guy who has deliberately chosen to avoid any activities remotely criminal. Since he doesn’t know what he’s doing — and faces prison if he’s caught — he lets Mini run the show. The characters have a nice rapport, undoubtedly helped by the fact that Deshmukh and D’Souza are married in real life.

The fun continues into the second half of the film, as Viren and Mini grow closer and we meet Viren’s family. The story is well-balanced, and dance numbers are spaced appropriately. A wedding number in which Viren and Mini get drunk is a highlight thanks to D’Souza’s overly enthusiastic dancing.

The scenery is gorgeous throughout, whether the action takes place in the fields or in the mountains. Costumes are likewise vibrant and beautiful.

Overall, Tere Naal Ho Love Gaya is a really well-made film and a great example of its genre.

Links

  • Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya at Wikipedia
  • Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya at IMDb

Opening February 24: Jodi Breakers and Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya

Valentine’s Day has turned into a month-long event as Bollywood releases two more romantic comedies the weekend beginning Friday, February 24, 2012. Jodi Breakers stars R. Madhavan and Bipasha Basu as a pair of professional breakup artists.

Jodi Breakers 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. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min.

Also opening on Friday at all of the above theaters is Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (TNLHG), which has a runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min. TNLHG stars Genelia D’Souza and Ritesh Deshmukh respectively as a rich girl who forces one of her father’s underlings to kidnap her in order to escape her arranged marriage. Click here for a national theater list.

Having earned $1,026,303 in its first two weeks in U.S. theaters, the romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu gets a third week at the South Barrington 30. The romantic drama Ekk Deewana Tha leaves Chicago area theaters after just one week.

Other Indian films playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Padmashree Bharath Dr. Saroj Kumar (Malayalam) and the Telugu movies Ishq, Love Failure, My Heart Is Beating, and Poola Rangadu.

Movie Review: Bluffmaster! (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

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After being disappointed by Dum Maaro Dum, I decided to check out the first collaboration between Abhishek Bachchan and director Rohan Sippy: Bluffmaster! The pair’s first effort is clearly the superior of the two.

Bachchan stars in Bluffmaster! as conman Roy Kapoor. His heists have netted him loads of cash, and he has a sweet girlfriend named Simi (Priyanka Chopra) who thinks he’s a stockbroker. Simi learns the truth about him when a movie producer Roy conned shows up at their wedding.

Six months later, as Roy mourns his failed relationship with Simi, he watches a pair of small-time con artists trick a doctor out of his wallet. Roy retrieves the wallet and earns the friendship of the doctor, Bhalerao (Boman Irani). One of the cons, Dittu (Ritesh Deshmukh) is so impressed with Roy’s skills that he asks to become Roy’s student.

While Roy contemplates Dittu’s offer, he begins experiencing blackouts. Dr. Bhalerao discovers an inoperable brain tumor and gives Roy just months to live. Given Roy’s history of untruths, Simi assumes Roy’s brain tumor story is a trick and slams the door on him.

Dittu, unaware of Roy’s condition, explains that a prominent hotelier tricked his father out of his life savings. Roy decides to spend the little time he has left helping Dittu get his father’s money back. It’s the first time in Roy’s life that he’s ever put someone else’s needs above his own.

What distinguishes Bluffmaster! from Dum Maaro Dum is the former’s superior plot structure. While Dum Maaro Dum is mired in flashbacks and sideplots, Bluffmaster! moves forward at a steady clip. Just as it appears Roy may have a chance to win Simi back after all, his scheme with Dittu becomes more complicated than he expected. All the while, the threat of imminent death hangs over Roy’s head.

Bluffmaster! is based on the Argentine movie Nine Queens, which was also remade in America as Criminal. Additionally, Bluffmaster! shares similarities with Hollywood films like The Game and Matchstick Men. All of these movies directly or indirectly supply the template for Bluffmaster!. Meticulous continuity is the only way to make such a complex story work, and it does so in Sippy’s sophomore directorial effort.

The acting is uniformly good. Bachchan brings charm to a character who is initially a selfish crook. Irani is stellar as an elder who sees potential in Roy and has great affection for him. Chopra and Deshmukh are solid as the skeptic and the sidekick, respectively.

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