Tag Archives: Shahid Kapoor

Movie Review: Teri Meri Kahaani (2012)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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The danger of telling three different love stories in three different time periods in the span of two hours is that it doesn’t allow much time for plot or character development. Spending about thirty minutes on credits and song-and-dance numbers further raises the level of difficulty. Ultimately, Teri Meri Kahaani (“Our Story”) is cute but shallow.

Connecting the three stories are the actors playing the lovers: Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. In each time period, their characters meet by accidentally bumping into each other. He overcomes her initial distaste for him, they fall in love and sing and dance, then he does something stupid to put her off again.

The narrative begins in Mumbai circa 1960. Chopra plays a superstar actress named Ruksan and Kapoor a struggling musician named Govind. He courts her while toying with the emotions of Maahi (Prachi Desai).

Fast-forward to a present-day storyline set in England. A budding romance between college students Radha (Chopra) and Krish (Kapoor) is complicated by his ex-girlfriend, Meera (Neha Sharma)

Finally, the story flashes back to Lahore, 1910. Kapoor plays a lech named Javed and Chopra plays Aradhana, the daughter of an independence activist. Javed takes extreme measures to prove to Aradhana and her disapproving father that he’s not the useless layabout he appears to be.

All of the romances suffer because Kapoor’s characters are all clueless about women. It’s not fate that keeps the couples eternally apart. Kapoor just plays a trio of knuckleheads.

Without any star-crossed interference, the success of the romantic storylines depends upon the chemistry between Kapoor and Chopra. Unfortunately, there is none. It’s not completely their fault, as the structure of the stories — meet-cute, dancing, he does something dumb — doesn’t allow them enough time to develop passion.

There are some interesting stylistic choices that add flair to the film. The 2012 story is augmented with Facebook status updates and Tweets by the characters that appear onscreen as their relationship progresses.

The 1960 storyline pays homage to the movie industry in its presentation. The Mumbai street scenes were obviously filmed in front of a green screen, as confirmed by behind-the-scenes footage shown during the closing credits. I didn’t love the effect as it made scenes look flat. The action is interrupted occasionally by title cards, as seen in silent movies, and Govind engages in some Charlie Chaplin-style antics. Again, I didn’t love the effect, but it did help to distinguish this storyline from the others.

If anything stands out about Teri Meri Kahaani, it’s the song-and-dance numbers, which are uniformly entertaining. Since they make up almost a quarter of the movie’s runtime, their contribution is significant. “Humse Pyaar Kar Le Tu” was undoubtedly my favorite.

Overall, there’s nothing terribly wrong with Teri Meri Kahaani, but it’s nothing special. With its abbreviated storylines, frequent dance numbers, and short runtime, it’s perfect for people with short attention spans.


  • Teri Meri Kahaani at Wikipedia
  • Teri Meri Kahaani at IMDb
  • Video of “Humse Pyaar Kar Le Tu”

Opening June 22: Teri Meri Kahaani

The love story Teri Meri Kahaani, starring Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor, is the only new Hindi movie opening in Chicago area theaters the weekend beginning June 22, 2012.

Teri Meri Kahaani 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 runtime of 2 hours. My review of the film is available here.

After posting modest opening weekend earnings of $240,792 in U.S. theaters, Ferrari Ki Sawaari gets a second weekend at all of the above theaters, plus the Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie.

Patang (“The Kite”), which debuts at the Golf Glen 5 on Friday, did well enough to earn a second week of showings at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago.

Rowdy Rathore carries over for a fourth week at the South Barrington 30, having earned $744,164 in the U.S. so far.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Mem Vayasuku Vacham (Telugu), Spirit (Malayalam), the Tamil film Saguni and its Telugu version, Shakuni.

Movie Review: Mausam (2011)

1 Star (out of 4)

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In the film industry, a “logline” is a single sentence that summarizes a movie’s plot. It’s an effective way to pique an audience’s interest or pitch a story to investors. Take Die Hard, for example: A cop’s attempt to reconcile with his ex-wife is derailed when her office building is taken over by terrorists.

Loglines aren’t unique to Hollywood; many great Indian movies can be succinctly summarized as well. Chak De India: The Indian Women’s Field Hockey team must overcome their own internal struggles before they can take on the rest of the world.

I’ve tried to craft a logline for Mausam, and I can’t do it. I don’t know what Mausam is about. Okay, I obviously know that it’s about two young people whose fondness for each other spans decades. So what?

In my example loglines for Die Hard and Chak De India, the conflicts that fuel the plots of both films are contained within the sentences. John McClane is at odds with both his ex-wife and the terrorists. The women’s hockey team fights internal and external battles.

Mausam‘s biggest problem is that it has no conflict. There’s no reason why the lead characters, Harry (Shahid Kapoor) and Aayat (Sonam Kapoor), can’t be together. Their parents don’t object, they’re not engaged to other people, they’re not driven apart by war or culture. Rather, their budding romance is stymied by minor obstacles and a lack of communication.

Harry and Aayat begin falling for one another in Harry’s village in Punjab, where Aayat has moved to escape violent riots in Kashmir. Then Aayat leaves in the middle of the night, without so much as leaving a note for Harry.

Seven years later (in 1999), Aayat and Harry meet again in Scotland. Actually, she spots him first but doesn’t say anything. She waits for him to notice her among all the women in Edinburgh, even though he has no reason to suspect she’d be there.

Her explanation for why she fled so suddenly years earlier? Her dad phoned and asked her to join him in Mumbai. No emergency, and she wasn’t in danger, she just moved house in the matter of a few hours on a moment’s notice.

The couple appear to be on their way to marriage when, this time, Harry is abruptly called away without time to contact Aayat.

Aayat’s excuse for not contacting Harry is difficult to believe, but Harry has no excuse at all. He has Aayat’s cell phone number, her home phone number and her home address. Rather than call Aayat to tell her why he had to leave, he phones his sister in Switzerland and tells her to go to Scotland (without calling first) and meet Aayat in person to explain what happened. Of course, Aayat has herself moved to parts unknown by then.

Harry and Aayat meet several times in subsequent years before they finally commit to a future together during a preposterous action-packed climax. The finale is so stupid, I laughed out loud.

What makes the silliness of actor Pankaj Kapur’s directorial debut such a shame is that Mausam is a great-looking movie. Harry’s hometown is a charming village out of time. There are a number of breathtaking set pieces, as when Harry races on his bicycle to catch Aayat’s departing train. Closeups of Sonam Kapoor — who’s plenty cute on her own — make her look angelic.

Kapur might yet have great success as a director, so long as someone else writes the screenplay.

Another problem that will only affect international audiences is that Mausam‘s English subtitles are translated too literally, something that doesn’t work given the different sentence structures of Hindi and English. Consequently, the jokes aren’t funny, and one must spend so much mental energy reconstructing the words into meaningful sentences that it distracts from the action on screen.

Overall, Mausam proves that style doesn’t trump substance. As gorgeous as it looks, Mausam is too boring and silly to warrant the nearly three hours of attention it requires.


Opening September 23: Mausam

After being delayed for a week, Mausam makes its debut in Chicago area theaters on September 23, 2011. The romantic political drama stars Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.

Mausam 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. Click here for a national theater listing. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 35 min.

The great romantic comedy Mere Brother Ki Dulhan enters its third week at all three of the above theaters. Bodyguard gets a fourth week at the South Barrington 30.

Note that the Indian-Canadian co-production Breakaway — opening this weekend in India under the title Speedy Singhs — releases internationally on September 30.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Dookudu (Telugu) and Pranayam (Malayalam).

Movie Review: Paathshaala (2010)

0.5 Stars (out of 4)

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The first scene in Paathshaala contains a closeup of a boy’s crotch as he pees himself. Need I write more, or is that sufficient evidence that this is a terrible movie?

Paathshaala (“School”) strives to be the after school special version of Taare Zameen Par, a movie which itself is drearily on-the-nose in its critique of the Indian school system. Paathshaala lacks sophistication in its storytelling and bores as it attempts to make a statement.

Nana Patekar plays Aditya Sahay, principal of an elite private boarding school that’s low on funds. Shortly after the arrival of a new English teacher named Rahul (Shahid Kapoor), the well-respected principal announces bizarre changes at the school.

Sahay turns control of the school over to a management firm who want to increase the school’s profile and cash flow by entering all of the students in reality TV competition shows. Rather than studying, students spend the day auditioning for singing competitions and arranging themselves in human pyramids in the hot sun.

Why Sahay allows his school to be turned into a joke isn’t explained until the last ten minutes of the movie. The explanation is ludicrous: the school board demanded more revenue and, out of other options and not wishing to burden the staff and students with the problem, Sahay allowed the board to implement changes.

This is stupid for a number of reasons. First, there’s no reason for Sahay to keep the board’s demands secret. It would’ve been a more interesting movie had he explained the problem and the students themselves came up with the plan to compete on reality shows.

The second issue with Sahay quietly acceding to the board’s wishes is that it turns him into a villain. He assumes responsibility for the changes even as his students pay the price in injuries, exhaustion and missed educational opportunities. If Sahay loves his school as much as he claims to in a tedious speech at the end of the film, he never would’ve put his students at risk.

Sahay, however, isn’t even the focal point of the movie; Shahid Kapoor is front and center on the movie poster. Rahul is supposed to be the cute, cool new teacher. He wears jeans in class, high fives his students and plays guitar for them (though Kapoor doesn’t bother to strum the guitar as he “plays” it).

Rahul’s attempts to befriend his pupils would have the opposite effect in reality. The kids would think he was trying too hard to be one of them and dismiss him as a dork.

The rest of the teachers are mere caricatures. The nutritionist/lunch lady played by Ayesha Takia is there to look pretty. The kids are supposed to be cute but wind up as annoying screen fillers. In every respect, Paathshaala fails to make the grade.


Movie Review: Milenge Milenge (2010)

1 Star (out of 4)

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Milenge Milenge (“We Will Meet, We Will Meet”) is a remake of the 2001 Hollywood romance Serendipity that is, at times, remarkably faithful to the original. Too bad the writers missed the point of the movie.

Kareena Kapoor stars as Priya, a college girl who abhors guys who drink, smoke, and lie. A tarot card reader — played by the great Kirron Kher, who acts like she’s embarrassed to be in the movie — informs Priya that she’s going to meet her soulmate on a foreign beach in seven days. The next day, Priya learns that she’s been selected to attend a youth conference in Bangkok.

At the same time, good-for-nothing fellow college student Immy (Shahid Kapoor) finagles his way onto the same trip. In Bangkok, he stumbles into Priya’s room while running from the cops and immediately falls in love with the sleeping beauty. He steals her diary and learns about the tarot card reader’s prediction. He makes sure he’s the one waiting for Priya on the beach on the seventh day.

Of course, pretending to be Priya’s fated soulmate means Immy must give up drinking and smoking. After he finally decides that being with Priya is worth abstaining, she discovers his scheme and calls the relationship off.

At this point, Milenge Milenge becomes a full-fledged Serendipity clone. The couple meet up in India when they both reach for the same item in a department store. Priya has Immy write his name and phone number on a 50 rupee note, and she writes hers inside of a book. Then she gives both the book and bill away. If Priya and Immy are destined to be together, she reasons, he’ll find the book with her name and she’ll find the note with his.

The original Hollywood movie began with two strangers meeting in a department store. They spend some time together and enjoy each other’s company, but both are already in committed relationships. They also do the bit with the book and the dollar bill, a cosmic test to see if they should ditch their partners and be together.

The whole reason that the fate angle worked in the original was that the lead couple had no history. The test of fate was based on the idea of what could be.

When Priya and Immy test fate, they already have a history, and it’s a bad one. Immy is a thief and a fraud, and Priya has good reason to dump him. If he wants to prove that he can change, he needs to be with Priya to do that.

If their test works and they are reunited by fate, it doesn’t prove that Immy is a better man. What if Priya was simply destined to be with a jerk?

In addition to the logical problem of Priya & Immy’s fated reunion, there’s also a practical one. In Serendipity, the male lead didn’t know the woman’s last name. In Milenge Milenge, Immy knows Priya’s last name, as well as where she went to college. Why not call the alumni office? Why not Google her? There’s no reason why he can’t find her.

The fact that neither Immy nor Priya thinks to consult the Internet makes the movie feel dated, as does virtually everything else about Milenge Milenge. The quality of the cinematography makes it look like a contemporary of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) rather than a movie made in 2004. (The movie’s been stuck in post-production hell for the past six years.) A cheesy soundtrack, wacky overacting, and a prudish sense of morality make Milenge Milenge seem even older than that.

Milenge Milenge languished on the shelf for six years. It probably should’ve stayed there permanently.


Retro Review: Jab We Met (2007)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

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The recent release of Milenge Milenge prompted me to watch Jab We Met (“When We Met”), a 2007 romantic comedy. Both movies star Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor (no relation). Had I not committed myself to reviewing the movie, I would’ve turned off Jab We Met within the first 45 minutes.

The movie’s first act is a prolonged meet-cute between the two leads, Aditya (Shahid) and Geet (Kareena). Aditya, emotionally exhausted by legal battles over the rights to his deceased father’s wealthy corporation, wanders the streets in the kind of depression that only exists in movies. He stares at nothing, silently boarding buses and trains, with no idea where he’s going.

He’s a lot more mobile in his melancholia than most depressed people. If the movie was going for authenticity, Aditya would’ve left the boardroom, headed home, and crawled into bed.

On the train, Aditya is verbally assailed by a fellow passenger, Geet. To call her a chatterbox is insufficient; Geet won’t shut up. She jabbers in a manner that, like Aditya’s ambulatory despondency, only exists on film. She flits from topic to topic without pause, utterly self-absorbed and failing to notice Aditya’s blank stare out the window.

The clueless chatterbox is one of my most hated movie clichés, because she doesn’t exist in real life. At least not in such an extreme and irritating form. An ordinary person wouldn’t last a minute on the receiving end of such a soliloquy before faking a trip to the bathroom and finding an empty seat at the other end of the train, thus depriving the clueless chatterbox of her audience.

Writing deliberately annoying characters is tricky because — as with Geet — they often wind up annoying the audience as well as their fellow characters. An example of annoying-done-right can be found on the television show Glee. Supporting characters refer to the main character, Rachel, as annoying, but she rarely acts in a way that’s irritating to us viewers. We get that she annoys the other characters, without having to be annoyed ourselves.

Through a series of idiotic decisions, Geet gets herself stranded at a station, minus her wallet and luggage. She berates Aditya into helping her, then berates cab drivers and beverage vendors on the way to her parents’ house. Geet’s abuse of service workers further diminishes her attractiveness.

Thus ends the first 45 minutes of a 140-minute-long movie.

The rest of the movie is pleasant enough, as Aditya finally engages with his surroundings. There are colorful wedding decorations and Geet’s equally colorful family to liven things up. But, for the most part, the remainder of Jab We Met is just above average.

The big problem is Geet. Though Kareena Kapoor does a fine job acting the part, Geet is not a nice character. She starts out annoying and fails to develop throughout the film. She reacts but doesn’t grow, remaining clueless until the last few minutes of the movie. It’s hard to believe a decent, rich guy like Aditya couldn’t have found someone better.


Opening July 7: Red Alert and Milenge Milenge

Two new Hindi movies debut in the Chicago area this weekend, though in a limited number of theaters. Red Alert: The War Within stars Sunil Shetty as a farmer driven by poverty to work for a militant communist organization. It opens at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles on Friday, July 7.

The second new release is Milenge Milenge, a romantic comedy starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor that’s been in production since 2004. It opens at the Golf Glen 5 and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. Milenge Milenge has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

I Hate Luv Storys, which earned $535,273 in its first six days in U.S. theaters, gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and Regal Cantera Stadium 30 in Warrenville. Other box office figures from Independence Day weekend include a five-week total of $1,510,559 for Raajneeti and a three-week total of $705,504 for Raavan.

Other Indian movies showing near Chicago include the Rain Man remake Alexander The Great (Malayalam) and Bheemili Kabaddi Jatu (Telugu) at the Golf Glen 5 and Raavanan (Tamil) and Vedam (Telugu) at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.

Movie Review: Badmaash Company (2010)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Why is it that movies espousing the belief that “crime doesn’t pay” spend so much time glamorizing the ways in which crime pays?

Badmaash Company‘s (“Rogue Company”) protagonist is Karan (Shahid Kapoor), a recent college graduate from a middle class family. His father (Anupam Kher), who’s worked for the same company for 25 years, expects him to earn an MBA and follow a similar path. But Karan dreams of making it rich as his own boss.

Karan and his buddies, Zing (Meiyang Chang) and Chandu (Vir Das), try to make fast money carrying goods from Bangkok to India on behalf of a smuggler who uses them to avoid paying the import tariff. An assertive girl named Bulbul (Anushka Sharma) joins them on the trip, quickly becoming friends with the trio and falling for Karan.

The quartet devises a way to import goods and skirt the tariff. They make a lot of money, until the Indian government drops the tariff from 120% to 20%, destroying their profit margin.

Karan’s father realizes that his son’s sudden wealth isn’t from a legitimate job and kicks him out of the house. Karan, Bulbul, Zing and Chandu then fly to America to recreate their scheme. Karan’s uncle, Jazz (Pavan Malhotra), provides the financing, though he doesn’t know the illicit nature of their business. The scheme works until alcohol, ego, and suspicion from the authorities destroy the crew’s business and their friendship.

Of course, when things are going well, they go really well. There are dance numbers in bars and shots of the characters shopping at Prada and stepping out of limousines. People sell their souls for less. If the movie wants to show how dangerous greed is, why make it look so cool?

One reason is that it’s easier to show montages of characters doing neat stuff than it is to script meaningful dialogue. It’s a shame, since the scenes of character interaction are good. Early in the film, Karan and Bulbul talk about their plans for the future over coffee, the first date in their budding romance. Kapoor and Sharma have an easy rapport that is enjoyable to watch.

Sharma’s confident Bulbul is crucial to the film’s success. She acts as the face of the business, flattering the buyers without being overtly sexy. She’s the kind of woman men want to make happy, even if they don’t expect anything in return.

Badmaash Company‘s problem, odd as it may seem, is a lack of exposition. There’s no explanation for a rift between Jazz and Karan’s father. And the inevitable reunion between father and son is limited to a shared look with no conversation. It didn’t have the same emotional impact as a Karan admitting his failings and asking forgiveness would have.

That said, the story is reasonably well told and the acting quite good. There are worse ways to spend 2 hours and 24 minutes.


Opening May 7: Badmaash Company

This weekend’s new Bollywood movie is Yash Raj Films’ Badmaash Company. It stars Shahid Kapoor as a businessman who, with the help of his friends, finds a shortcut to becoming a millionaire.

Badmaash Company opens in the Chicago area on Friday, May 7, 2010 at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 24 min.

Last weekend’s new Hindi release, Housefull, carries over for a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and Cantera 30 after earning $642,156 in its opening week in U.S. theaters.

Other Indian movies playing in the Chicago area this weekend include Simha (Telugu), Sura (Tamil) and T D Dasan Std VI B (Malayalam) at the Golf Glen 5 and Darling (Telugu) and Irrumbokattai Murratu Singam (Tamil) at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.