Monday, February 25, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar -- The Review (Or the lack of one)

To all the non existent readers of this blog, we are pleased to start posting once again.

Over the weekend we found ourselves in Fun Cinemas watching Jodha Akbar, if only its title had started with a K we would have been completely convinced that this was an Ekta Kapoor production. For the time being we will have to satisfy ourselves with the theory that the premise proposed in the Antara Mali flick Mr ya Miss has actually come true and that Ashutosh Gowariker's soul had swapped places with Ekta Kapoor while the making of this movie was going on.

All in all this movie is what would happen if an Opera singer were given stock options a.k.a. so(a)p opera.

We really hope that this movie gives rise to characters like Travis Bickle in Indian society.

By now you would have realized that we do not propose to give this movie any sort of respect by blogging anything more about it, if not then a better post about it can be found here by a much better (and may we say funnier) reviewer.

Mit Mithya, jäh?

(yes, making multilingual puns in languages we don't understand proves that we suck.)

The Academy Awards were announced today, and as might have been expected, Pixar's Magnum Opus on the rendering of multiple hairy animals did win something. This is not about that movie, unfortunately, since the idea of a rat cooking up anything other than Plague a la mode is endlessly entertaining.

Mithya is, at its simplest, a remake of Don. Lest this bring to mind that insipid overhyped Pshaw Rooke starrer, we hasten to remind you of movies like these, which lend their inspiration well (don't you love euphemisms? No? Oh well.)

Mithya starts off well, with a bridge that might have served Guy Ritchie well being turned into the scene of a shootout, and Ranvir Shorey(VK) hiding, terrified, under it as two people who we shall know by the names of Inspectors Ram and Sham do their utmost to adjust the pH of the waters below (It is suggested that any subliminal imagery you might see of curvy horns and con men might be replaced by this. It does not make much difference to the eventual outcome.)

Earlier, our hero plays his part by playing the part of an extra at a film, wherein we first get to see Neha Dhupia(forget her name, at least till the end of this review) playing her part (now, and throughout the movie) as a Cicinnurus regius impersonator. More generally, she does try to cover all the Paradiseae, sometimes with incongrous results (but we are getting ahead - or behind) the story here. Sadly, she's no Zeenat Aman, but then, who could be? She still does provide a restful, if lush, backdrop to the increasingly grim stuff put on screen in the name of realism, though of course, we wonder about the rocky docky imagery.

Somewhen (it is rather confusing) during, before, or after the process of pH readjustment, the inspectors inspect the visage of VK, and find it (as you might have expected) a rare match with the Don, and a reaction of substitution is initiated. There follows a rare comedy sequence reminiscent of the reactions of someone presented with their first digital camera, ending in a barber shop where the shot is taken. Sadly, we never see this theme develop any further, remarks about brains and backsides notwithstanding.

Naseeruddin Shah and That Other Guy Whose Name I Do Not Know play the competition to Don, though in a rather effective way, which provides for a certain amount of restful tranquility as we wait for the inevitable ending to this movie.

This provides a rather nice spot to bring up our main complaint with this movie? Didn't someone say that switching genre mid-movie is bad? After all, there are only a finite number of ways to end a movie like Don properly (or worse, improperly), and the darkly (or otherwise) humourous first half offered so much more potential; particularly when a sane viewer would have been enormously tempted to bail out during the first 45s of the movie, given certain a priori assumptions.

The humour works extremely well, but once we start getting to the unfunny parts (which tend to be as gripping as a bald radial tyre on a bicycle being driven through yet another Himalayan avalanche), the predominant thinking is a wish that whoever did the scissorwork had had the good sense to borrow from this movie. It would have enlivened the proceedings, and probably would not have caused lasting harm to its eventual success at the bocks ofis. After all, if you can inspire a fan site (or a great citizen of the east) into speculating about what the movie really means, you have a classic some decades down the line.