Cast: Bipasha Basu, Imran Abbas, Mukul Dev
Directed by: Vikram Bhatt
Duration: 2 hrs 15 mins
Rating: * 1 / 2
If your vehicle breaks down in the jungle in the middle of the night and you hear scary sounds emanating from the forest will you (a) venture into the forest to see who is making those sounds or (b) stay put in the vehicle and be alert?
In most horror flicks the answer is (a) and that is just one of the minor oddities in Creature that comes from the factory of director Vikram Bhatt’s scary films. The premise is so silly that very often you find yourself chuckling over the inane scenes that are meant to be scary. The only worrying factor was how long would they grate on your nerves before the creature is killed and they live happily ever after. Quite long as it turned out to be.
Literally set in a forest, Bipasha Basu plays Ahana the owner of a new boutique hotel. She has left her troubled past behind in Mumbai and is looking forward to this new venture.
But there is a creature that is going around killing people for no rhyme or reason. We are told that this Davy Jones looking cross between dinosaur and lizard is called a Brahma rakshas and his soul is in a limbo. Only Lord Brahma could have helped them but that didn’t apply to the hapless audience.
The guests at the hotel are not particularly pleased with the fact that their fellow residents limbs are being chopped off by this rakshas. Very soon the bank comes knocking on Bipasha’s door to recover a loan. With the help of a builder cum musician turned lover (Imran Abbas), a zoologist (Mukul Dev) and a rakshas specialist who gives them precious advice (the bullet has to be dipped in holy water), they overcome the hurdle after a rather long drawn climax. She also manages to keep her word with the bank guys.
Having made several films of this genre, Vikram Bhatt is very much in auto-pilot mode with all the standard ropes. It all gets very exhausting by the end. To recover completely from it, this is the advice I got “Poornima ki raat, bottled water ke saath, char bottle vodka peeni padege”. Teetotallers like me have no hope in that case.
Meet the Parents
Film: Guru Pournima (Marathi)
Cast: Upendra Limaye, Sai Tamhankar, Sulabha Arya
Directed by: Girish Mohite
Duration: 2 hrs 3 mins
Rating: * *
Directed by Girish Mohite, Guru Pournima is a family drama that doesn’t offer any novelty or surprises. It has decent production values but the screenplay is a major let down – it is predictable and the way in which the story unfolds doesn’t add much positive weightage to it.
Meant to be a story about love, marital discord and family relationships, we have Guru (National award winner Upendra Limaye) who teaches film making to students. One such talented girl is Pournima (Sai Tamhankar) whose parents are extraordinarily cruel and chuck her out of the house because she wants to be an actress. With support from his loving mother (Sulbha Arya) Guru gives her shelter and eventually they get married.
Years later, we learn that they have separated and he is living with their daughter (Sai Tamhankar in a double role). Turns out that the mother wanted to pursue her acting career leading to discord and finally separation. Now it is up to the daughter and the grandma to make the twain meet.
The story could have served well for a television serial – everything is a bit too convenient in it to digest in a feature film. The whole affair about a short film contest organised by a bank and the route taken to make the parents reunite looks artificial. The editing also leaves a fair bit to be desired.
The strongest point of the film is the acting. Upendra Limaye is a seasoned actor and can pull off any scene with ease. Sai Tamhankar has the arduous job of playing a mother as well as daughter and she is convincing in both roles. The actors do wonders to the film, but sadly they don’t have a story good enough to back them.
Film: Finding Fanny (Engish version)
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Nasseruddin Shah
Directed by: Homi Adajania
Duration: 1 hr 42 mins
Rating: * * *
First things first, even though the film has conventional actors, Finding Fanny on almost all counts it is diametrically opposite to the mainstream Bollywood films that are released. To be clear, this film was shot in English and dubbed in Hindi subsequently.
Clocking well under two hours, it is crisp, funny, and quirky and gives a lot to cheer about. The basic plot itself doesn’t have a great deal to harp about but it is the ancillaries that lift the film and the devil still lies in the detail.
After an impressive debut with Being Cyrus, Adjania disappointed with Cocktail which was a run of the mill Bollywood product. Thankfully, he is back to where he belongs, on the road less travelled.
Set in a fictitious and idyllic village in Goa called Poccolim, there are five central characters to this story. Angie (Deepika Padukone), a widow, lives with her mother-in-law Rosy (Dimple Kapadia), a bossy woman, who is also the first lady of the village. Don Pedro (Pankaj Kapur), a painter and a man with apparently good tastes, has moved to this village and his eyes are firmly on Rosy. Arjun Kapoor plays Savio, another gent who has returned to his land after a break. Once upon a time he had a thing going with Angie, almost. That leaves us with Ferdie (Nasseruddin Shah) who had professed his love to Fanny in a letter almost half a century back but discovered that the letter never reached. Together the five they set off on a trip to find Fanny.
They have another companion with them – Rosy’s beloved cat, and the episode involving the feline provides a few laughs.
It’s not just Ferdie who is looking for something or someone. Angie at some point realises that she is in love with Savio and even though he reciprocates, he can’t spell it out. Don Pedro constantly remains in hot pursuit Rosie, only she appears to be the one who is unattached, but that could be because of her past. The film is sprinkled with humour and some clever lines, and although they keep it going the story hits a few roadblocks particularly in the latter half when it becomes a road movie. There is not much of an attempt there to push the envelope and you can’t read too much into the characters or their motives.
But there are far more positives than grievances – the film is gorgeously shot by Anil Mehta and the interiors of Goa have never looked better on screen. Interestingly, there are no Goan landmarks in the film (which otherwise is the norm) and most of the film is shot in the countryside. I also particularly liked the way they have largely used mid shots and close ups in the first half and yet made it look so beautiful and appropriately convey the flavour of the village.
The background score which was very apt and the quirkiness of the characters is reminiscent of those Eastern European films, Kusturica’s Black Cat White Cat would be one. In what seems like a continuity error there is a scene involving blue can white can.
The actors also help to elevate the film – Dimple Kapadia as Rosy is superb, note the scene how her expressions change in those few shots after she sees what Don Pedro has painted. Nasseruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur are too good to let such roles go waste. Arjun Kapoor fits the bill and Deepika adds yet another feather to her cap, as Angie she sparkles. All in all, Finding Fanny offers something you don’t get to see often in the weekly Friday releases.
Film: The Prince
Cast: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, Jessica Lowndes
Directed by: Brian Miller
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins
Rating: * 1 / 2
Lately there has been a spate of films from Hollywood involving a father in search of his kidnapped daughter. The Prince directed by Brian Miller not only has that clichéd formula but the execution is very ordinary to say the least. Even though the cast has some well known names, presumably only the pay cheque must have interested them rather than the characters they are playing.
Paul (Jason Patric) discovers that his young daughter who lives in another city, has gone missing. We gradually learn that he was a hit man of sorts who can beat a bunch of guys to pulp in the blink of an eye. Turns out his daughter was involved with the wrong people and wrong things like drugs. Her friend (Jessica Lowndes) helps him track her down. Bruce Willis plays a gangster and the two men were involved in a common incident years ago.
John Cusack is also seen in a cameo and he constantly has that can-we-finish-this quickly-so-that-I-can-go-home look. You can’t blame him for that; the story doesn’t deserve anything better.
While it barely starts off on an okay note towards the end you get the feeling that everyone involved with the film just get on and finish it as a formality. The Price as a result has very little to offer.