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Bollywood Round-up

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Set in Mauritius Ajay Chandok’s Nehlle Pe Dehlla (12A) 125min (1 Star) is a reworking of the 1989 US comedy hit Weekend at Bernie’s. Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt mark time amongst the slow motion shots of lycra clad Bollywood babes, practising aerobics or running down the beach, which is infuriating given that both actors excelled in last month’s Eklavya: The Royal Guard.

Namastey London (PG) 127min (4 Stars, pictured) is an atypical Bollywood romcom, with the usual emotional and moralistic messages. Modern British girl about town Jazz (Akshay Kumar) has a ‘very arranged’ marriage to a ‘Fun/Punjabi’ village boy, flitting from London’s metropolis, to the rural landscapes of the Punjab. Director Vipul Shah (Waqt, Ankhen), draws on the Diaspora experience, satisfies the generational gap and pulls on Indian heartstrings. The movie is a ‘post modern’ 21st Century successor to the fabulous Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Entertaining, funny and energetic, the film still begs the question - why do English characters in Bollywood films live in enormous country estates?

Milan Luthria’s Hattrick (PG) 120min (1 Star) uses the tenuous link of World Cup Cricket fever to connect three separate narratives, all of them tedious, all of them asinine.

Just Married (PG) 135min (3 Stars) debuts the directing talents of Meghna Gulzar (daughter of lyricist Gulzar and actress Rakhee). The film explores the discomfort of two strangers on honeymoon after an arranged marriage. Gulzar’s previous writing credits (Filhaal) show a mature and sensitive approach to middle class Indian sensibilities. Just Married is overlong and is stylistically very safe, but the themes of enforced physical and emotional intimacy are well scripted, with satisfactory roles for the main players and incidental characters.

Lovely Singh’s Kya Love Story Hai (12A) 120min (2 Stars) is a formulaic romcom focussing on ‘young love’ and marketed as a contemporary approach to the love triangle scenario. Offering nothing extraordinary or spectacular, the only highlight here is a windswept cameo dance number from Kareena Kapoor and some exotic location shots. Aeysha Takia is wasted (after her excellent turn in Dor) and Tusshar Kapoor is dull and creepy in his school uniform as he secretly watches and stalks the lady he loves, but Bollywood has always been awash with such absurdities.

All films on selected release from Fri 13 Apr.

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