Soundtrack (Neerav Ghosh, 2011)
This is a film I have actually recommended to countless people in the past few months, and it’s kind of ridiculous that I haven’t written up an in-depth glowing review by now. Basically, Soundtrack is a fictional bio-pic, recounting the meteoric rise and fall of a superstar DJ, Raunak Kaul (Rajeev Khandelwal in one of two memorable roles of last year – the other was his turn as a cop in Shaitaan). I liked Soundtrack enough to include it on my list of the Top 10 Underrated Films of 2011 for Bollyspice.com: it takes a premise borrowed from a British mockumentary, of all things – the idea of a DJ losing his hearing – and reinvents what was originally satirically funny into a genuinely touching story of a man overcoming his demons. It’s inventively told with a few surreal, beautiful, puzzling touches, focussing on the sex-drugs-techno club culture but with a little less darkness than say, Anurag Kashyap might bring to the proceedings. Plus I really love the soundtrack.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (Shakun Batra, 2012)
HONESTLY I DON’T KNOW WHY THERE ARE A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO PERSIST IN PERPETUATING THE MYTH THAT THIS FILM IS MEH OR SUBSTANDARD OR LACKLUSTRE IN ANY WAY.
- You KNOW I love Imran Khan in everything except Delhi Belly because FAR OUT I STILL AM NOT OVER HOW MUCH I HATE THAT FILM. But honestly: Imran as an “anti-hero” – an uptight, wound-up, bundle of neuroses just begging to fall in love and be all softened around the crisp, perfectly ironed edges? HELLO THAT IS MY IDEA OF PERFECTION AND I LOVE HIM SO SHUT UP HATERS.
- I admit that when I read the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” on the back of the dvd case a chill of horror and repulsion ran down my spine because that is a) basically not a thing for me in Bollywood unless your name is Genelia D’Souza and also KILL ME NOW and b) ZOOEY DESCHANEL IS MY ARCHNEMESIS AND ANY THING THAT REMINDS ME OF HER = shudder. Good news: what a load of bollocks that MPDG description is. Kareena Kapoor is a little bit Geet, sure, but I didn’t want to stab her in the face. AND THAT IS THE TEST.
- It’s a romantic comedy. It’s sweet, and I liked the way the two protagonists interacted with each other, and I CRIED because it felt like where they come from and where they go is BASED ON EMOTIONAL TRUTH YOU GUYS. That’s what I liked about this movie – and what I think the haters hate and refer to as boring or meh – there’s an absence of over the top Bollywood sparkle and romance ultimately and a conclusion that is…realistic. Sometimes, it’s nice to watch a film and be able to feel like your life isn’t a million miles removed from the sparkly shiny lives onscreen.
Tere Bin Laden (Abhishek Sharma, 2010)
Unlike apparently 90% of the bolly-blogosphere, I don’t really have a “thing” for Ali Zafar. I don’t think I even hardly MENTIONED him in my review of MBKD (though his one line “Teen din mein GOT OVER YOU?!” is possibly one of my favourite parts of the entire film) and when I tried to watch London, Paris, New York recently, I had to switch it off after about 10 minutes because it was…so…annoying (also: I’ve seen Hum Tum. I don’t need to see it again). But I had meant to watch Tere Bin Laden like, forever, because I don’t think I have heard a negative thing about it (well, apart from the whole “Banned in Pakistan” business).
You know what? Awesomesaucecity is about the best way to sum this one up – in the first few minutes it’s apparent that it’s not only hilarious but smart with it, and refreshingly free of the preachy heaviness that you’d probably expect to accompany a film name-checking the world’s most infamous terrorist. The story in a nutshell: Ali Zafar plays a journalist desperate to get out of Pakistan and into the United States – unfortunately, as a Muslim post 9-11, his visa is repeatedly denied. So he looks for an alternate route…and when he serendipitously stumbles upon Noora, a chicken farmer who looks NEAR IDENTICAL to Osama Bin Laden, he comes up with a plan to make himself internationally famous: finding a new “tape” from Bin Laden and releasing it to the media.
I liked it a lot. If you’ve seen Four Lions you will understand how seemingly serious subjects can be treated with intelligence and humour at the same time – and this is that kind of film. Plus Ali Zafar didn’t annoy me once. I even kind of liked him.