By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 7 December 2007
Apoorva Lakhia, Meghna Gulzar, Sanjay Gupta,
Sanjay Dutt, Nana Patekar, Vidya Balan, Neha Dhupia
Normally, if a film is made up of multiple stories, one tends to discuss the favourites; here you end up talking about which was the worst of the lot. What happened? The so-called twists promised in every story are so predictable, you find your intelligence offended ten times over in this movie. Some of the stories are very much like Ram Gopal Varma?s Darna Mana Hai, which was in turn inspired by Tales From The Crypt, but DMH was interesting and fresh, this is plain juvenile. Of course, since this is a Sanjay Gupta film, there?s lots of skin (no fully clothed women allowed in Gupta?s films unless they?re over 40), lots of violence, and the mandatory underworld story with lots of gore shore in stylized slow mo. The film reportedly has twelve writers, eight composers, six directors and 25 actors ? and surprisingly, not one had the right mindedness to see through the over-simplistic tone of the film.
Here they are chronologically:
Story One: Matrimony
Cast: Mandira Bedi, Arbaz Khan and Sudhanshu Pandey
Dir: Sanjay Gupta (Zinda, Musafir, Kaante)
Everyone?s given up on romance, looks like. Here you see the clich? of a housewife (Mandira Bedi, bored and lonely, embarking on an extra marital affair. But the so-called twist is when she realizes her hubby?s (Arbaaz Khan) not wasting his time either (big surprise, eh?).
Rating: 2/5, largely for Mandira Bedi?s effortless screen presence
Story Two - High on the Highway
Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Masumeh
Director: Hansal Mehta (Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar, Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai, and now this!)
This one?s about two just-about-to-graduate young `uns who love to get wasted on the highway for the heck of it. (Isn?t casting Shergill as a college student a bit of a stretch? His otherwise handsome face is interrupted by the floppy hair covering his forehead down to his eyes.) Masumi is an interesting looker, and the twist in the tale is comparatively riveting. Direction is absorbing.
Story Three: Pooranmashi
Cast: Amrita Singh, Minisha Lamba and Parmeet Sethi
Director: Meghna Gulzar (Filhaal, Just Married)
Finally, some sense in the madness. This story is relatively well-told and intelligent. Set in rural Punjab, it?s about a mother?s joy as she celebrates her daughter?s engagement while struggling with her unhappiness and emptiness in her own life. But she unwittingly costs her daughter her happiness. A good watch.
Story four: Strangers in the Night
Cast: Neha Dhupia, Mahesh Manjrekar
Director: Sanjay Gupta
This one was perhaps the worst of the lot. Gupta tries to get pseudo intellectual, but it doesn?t make sense in the end. A couple plays this game every anniversary, where they talk to each other about their romantic exploits, and Neha?s telling her story.
Story Five: Zahir
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Dia Mirza
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Two people meet (Manoj Bajpai, Dia Mirza), discover they are neighbours; so far so good. Bajpai?s charcter is a banker, and budding writer; the lovely neighbour says she?s a call centre executive, except that she?s a bar dancer. He discovers this one drunken night and rapes her for hiding the fact from him. If the story has disgusted you this far, the twist might make you laugh.
Story Six: LoveDale
Cast: Anupam Kher, Aftab Shivdasani and Neha Oberoi
Director: Jasmeeet Dhodi
This one?s unintentionally funny too. A girl is led to the house of a painter by a woman who intentionally leaves her earring with her. This mysterious woman is not to be seen anywhere but the girl, though to be married, falls for the painter. But who this woman was, is the great big kahaani mein twist.
Story 7: Sex on the Beach
Cast: Dino Morea and Tareena Patel
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
This one?s too juvenile to even get into. They?ve put a girl in a bikini, and have assumed there?s need for little else. The half star is only for Dino?s dimpled smile and goofy charm.
Story 8: Rice Plate
Cast: Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah
Director: Rohit Roy
The story?s not great even here, but Shabana Azmi is an incredible treat to watch as the rigid, South Indian, on her way to Pune to meet her granddaughter. She gets the accent and mannerisms bang-on and is in superlative form. That she hates Muslims is driven home again and again; she refuses to ride in a cab of a Muslim and prefers one which had Hindu idols (of course, the cabbie turns out to be a Muslim after all). Then she suspects Shah, a Muslim, of stealing her rice plate at a restaurant.
Rating: 3/5 only for the performances. Good debut by Rohit Roy.
Story 9: Gubbare
Cast: Nana Patekar, Anita Hasnandani and Rohit Roy
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Emotionally manipulative, done-to-death story about a husband?s reverence for his wife, who he keeps taking about on a bus journey. But the wife?s whereabouts are mysterious.
2/5 only for Nana Patekar
Story Ten: Rise and fall
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty
The end had to be reserved for the dudez. It?s the same underworld bhai-giri spiel where Sanjay Dutt is the kingpin in an Armani suit and Shetty pretends to act. Lots of gore. Lots of blood. Very stylized. Just another typical Gupta film shrunk into twelve minutes.
Overall, the film leaves you unaffected. If you?re a fan of style over substance, then you might find this film somewhat watchable. Otherwise if meaty, deep stories are what you?re looking for, you?d better stay away.
Verdict: One and a half stars