Familiar road, familiar company, familiar fireworks... .


NOT QUITE COMPANY: Debutant Randeep Hooda tries his best but "D" falls tantalisingly short of the mark.

NOT QUITE COMPANY: Debutant Randeep Hooda tries his best but "D" falls tantalisingly short of the mark.  


(At Odeon and other Delhi theatres)

Another new student joins the Ramgopal Varma School of Film-making. And like a dutiful pupil stays faithful to the manner and the method of the master. But a follower is a follower, no matter how well meaning, how honest. And that is the trouble with Vishram Sawant too. He takes all the camera angles, the speed of storytelling, the editing of the master. He even tries his hand at an item number or two. All in typical Bambaiya fashion, the street lingo we have come to identify the city with. While Sawant is a good student, he is not quite a master yet. At no place in this gangsters' tale does he step beyond the shadows of his master or try to diversify on his own. So unlike his hero, Deshu - no, he is not called Dawood, whatever the pre-release buzz might have suggested -- he sticks to the familiar, the predictable. No surprises, just a feeling of seen this, heard that.

The result? A film that feeds off the past. A bit of "Satya" without its raw intensity, a bit like "Company" without its nerve-jangling thrills. There is no brooding intensity of Manoj Bajpai, no sharp-edged gangster of Vivek Oberoi. The bullets are all there, as is the brawl. The storyline is similar: guys live by fire. They perish by it too. And one man rises above the crowd. We knew it from the beginning; nothing new, nothing so earth-shattering. That the new hero has a girl from the film industry by his side would be called incidental by those charitably inclined to Varma. Not those who have seen the don's link with Bollywood. But that is where the similarities between reel and real end. And we get a film that is consistent in pace though never quite pacy, that is straight to the point though never quite engrossing.

So, is "D" worth a dekko? Well, not a bad bargain if you don't go looking for novelty in storyline or treatment. It is the kind of film you won't feel sorry for watching, also the kind of film you won't be enriched for watching.

Hey, by the way, it has a new hero, Randeep Hooda, who reminds you a little bit of Oberoi in "Company", a bit of Chakravarthy in "Satya". And there is Rukhsar too, emerging a decade after "Yaad Rakhegi Duniya". Most had forgotten her but she is quite bewitching without letting all these years add to her acting ability. Not to forget Chunky Pandey, not quite a buffoon we have been familiar with all these years but a remarkably restrained understudy to Deshu. The swagger is blended with a hint of subtlety, giving us a preview of what he is capable of on a sunnier day.

Watch "D" if you don't mind a trip down familiar road. If you are looking for novelty, stay home. A student like Sawant is never quite original. Better wait another day. Ramgopal Varma may just have an ace up his sleeve with "Sarkar", releasing shortly.


(At Regal and other Delhi theatres)

This is Hindi cinema at its most debased, debauch, dreadful. This film by Chander Mishra brings alive your worst fears: that one day some crassly commercial film-maker without an iota of social responsibility will make a film that he himself won't be able to watch with his daughter. It is that kind of film. It is appalling in treatment, sick on content.

PUERILE FARE: Director Chander Mishra's "Time Pass" is nothing but a waste of time, effort and money.

PUERILE FARE: Director Chander Mishra's "Time Pass" is nothing but a waste of time, effort and money.  

Ostensibly telling the story of a Hindu boy who wants to get intimate with a Christian girl at a time of communal violence, this film propagates those repugnant values euphemistically called stereotypes. The Christian family speaks broken Hindi and girls in the family dress up in the way that leaves you wondering why at all! And the guy? To say that he is juvenile and has as much charisma as the strap of his watch is to be polite.

No, this film does not cater to the frontbenchers either. To even imply that is to insult the mind-set and values of those faceless multitudes who flock to the cinema halls every other day and make or mar the fortunes of many a film. It just takes the lowest common denominator lower still. Watch this film to see how the Censors have been lax in their approach, if not worse. Incidentally, the Central Board of Film Certification had not cleared the film at first go, asking for some major cuts. Apparently the scissors had gathered some rust by the time the "edited" version came to the table. You do yourself a favour. Sleep well at home. That is a more viable option to pass time than to watch this jarring take on a surge of youthful passion.


(At Wave, Noida, and Delhi theatres)

HURRAY FOR HORROR: Jaume Collet-Serra's "House of Wax" melts many hearts.

HURRAY FOR HORROR: Jaume Collet-Serra's "House of Wax" melts many hearts.  

This one is like a model answer students are told to practise in the classroom. It begins well, ends well too. In between what we get are predictable shots -- eerie, scary, frightful. All this if you are prepared to be accosted with death at every corner. Sitting in your seat, with the changing colour of the screen from bright hues to more sombre and grim, with the background score turning haunting, you know death is not too far. For the youngsters who make a brief detour on their way to a match. They set up their tents in pitch dark, and a couple of mock incidents prepare the viewers that here is a film that belongs to "Friday the 13th genre". There is a comforting feeling of familiarity here: it is a re-make of a 1953 horror classic.

Hey, don't dismiss it as another horror fim with a bit of spooky stuff, a gory hand, a falling chandelier. Not to forget some carefully used special effects and a leisurely, even languid, pace of storytelling. This one comes with nice, delectable intermissions of youthful sequences of a beauty who knows where her strength lies and in unafraid to use it. She has chutzpah, she has �lan. Yes, that is Paris Hilton, who packs in a wallop as a seductress, and makes even horror a viable exercise to undertake on a lonely night.

Watch this take on youngsters' night gone awry for her. But basically watch it to see how far director Jaume Collet-Serra has been able to stay honest to Belden's story. In the honesty of narration lies the success of the film. Go for "House of Wax" with its still and eerie night at the beginning and a nice closing sequence - just like a model answer! It melts many a brave heart.

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