NEW DELHI

Face to face with the Facebook generation..... Cinema

Go for them: While actors Ranbir Kapoor and Konkana Sen light up the show in ‘Wake Up Sid’ (left), Govinda is in his immaculate form in comedy ‘Do Knot Disturb’ (middle) and film-maker Quentin Tarantino brings a remarkable, not-to-be-missed World War II fantasy in ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (right).  

Anuj Kumar

WAKE UP SID

(Delite and other theatres in Delhi and elsewhere)

Debutant young film-maker Ayan Mukerji draws inspiration from the characters of Dil Chahta Hai to create Sid (Ranbir Kapoor), the boy who is refusing to grow into a man and is suitably smug about it. Director Ayan follows all the predictable plots of “coming of age” movies. A directionless boy who refuses to see the road ahead until his super rich father cuts the flow of money. However, Ayan with cameraman Anil Mehta has managed to give the film a look and a feel that is very today. The Facebook generation will find its reflection in Sid and his world.

Young Ranbir Kapoor has taken to Sid as fish to water. Ayan has crafted Sid with a whole range of emotions – cheesy to vulnerable – and Ranbir has played all of them with remarkable ease. Always in character, he never attempts to be a hero. Perhaps he knows the camera is his good friend! Most of the time as you begin to laugh at the predictability of the situation, Ranbir makes it watchable all over again.

Giving him able company is Konkona Sen Sharma as Aisha, the ambitious writer in the making who finds Sid too boyish to be her man. She is aiming for the attention of her boss (Rahul Khanna). Again watching Aisha you feel Konkona has done it before in films like Laga Chunari Mein Daag. But as she unravels her astonishing range and depth you don’t mind taking the beaten track. The two share an endearing bonhomie all the way.

Alas, Ayan has not given them enough wit in their lines. The good thing is he keeps the mood understated and never attempts the preachy mode even when Sid’s father (Anupam Kher) is in lecture mode. Supriya Pathak is winsome as the mother trying to keep pace with a generation which sometimes measures people by the way they walk and talk.

The screenplay tends to drag in the middle overs of the movie but picks up pace after the break and you are drawn to the awakening of Sid.

Watch it for the coming of age of a wannabe star!

DO KNOT DISTURB

(BIG Cinemas Odeon, Delhi, and other theatres)

There is something magical about Govinda and David Dhawan that nothing can disturb their chemistry. Not even a shallow plot! He is no longer the David of his good old Swarg and Raja Babu days. Now he thrives on plush locations. It is another matter that we don’t recognise the Delhi where the film is set.

His actors sport the latest in fashion, except for Govinda who still looks fresh in his clowning glory. He is the fulcrum of the film that relies on a half-page story. Here he plays the husband of a bossy wife (Sushmita Sen), trying to hide his illicit relationship with an item girl (Lara Dutta).

As the nosy wife begins to suspect and calls a detective (Ranvir Shorey), Govinda hires a waiter (Ritiesh Deshmukh) to act as Lara’s boyfriend to nip the doubt in the bud. The fun begins when Govinda starts to suspect something is cooking between the two.

A master at situational humour, David gets ample opportunities to tickle our funny bone. With Govinda in immaculate form, we get on to the fun ride. He teams well with his sidekick (Manoj Pahwa) but the rest could not join them in the party. Because only Govinda can make sense out of nonsense! He manages to capture innocence even in double-meaning dialogues and situations.

Ritiesh is dwarfed by Govinda in acting and in size by Lara. Even when Govinda suspects, we know Lara and Ritiesh make no match. Perhaps that is why David keeps dangling a “loose” character called Diesel (Sohail Khan).

Sushmita and Lara have nothing much to do apart from spreading their luscious charms. However, a weak music score by Nadeem-Shravan, who are back after a while, takes the buzz out of their “hard work”.

After a roller-coaster first half, we expect David to tell a story and bring in some emotions. David hardly relies on in-depth characterisation and we all know that logic has to be logged off before entering his universe but here he seems in no mood to change gears. As a result, the jokes begin to get stale, the sidekicks (Rajpal Yadav and Ali Asgar) begin to shout, and a hackneyed climax kills the joy.

Go for Govinda!

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

(PVR Saket and other theatres)

No one makes blood-soaked stories as entertaining as he does. No one fondles with tension as he relishes and no one puts so much fun into film-making as Quentin Tarantino does. Once again he is spot on in rubbing the purists the wrong way as he goes on to dismantle known facts around World War II to create his own fantasy where a group of Jews is out to take their revenge on the Nazis.

If the sub-text is that the Allies were as brutal as Hitler’s Third Reich, we got it. If it is more of propaganda to set some “bloody” equations right at least on celluloid, we don’t approve of the thought but as a cinematic form, a piece of art, Basterds is eerily believable.

The film opens in the Nazi-occupied French countryside where Colonel Hans Landa, popularly called the Jew-hunter (Austrian actor Christoph Waltz) storms into an isolated farmhouse to question a farmer about local Jews in hiding. This tense conversation is easily the film’s best scene. Lasting almost twenty minutes, it sets the unhurried pace of the film. Tarantino builds tension block by block. Sitting across the table, Landa is a deliciously evil creation. A reptile of a man, Landa drinks the farmer’s milk, lights up his humongous pipe and strikes a friendly tone even as he verbally corners the man into divulging crucial information.

Even as he massacres the family, one of the farmer’s daughters, Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), escapes his clutches.

As Tarantino opens another chapter (yes, here he works in the literary format), we find Shosanna as the owner of a cinema in Paris. There she is wooed by a young Nazi hero who is the star of a propaganda film set to premiere at her theatre. This will give Shosanna a chance to kill the top Nazi elite, including not just Landa but Hitler himself.

Meanwhile, a group of vengeful Jewish-American soldiers led by Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) have their own plans to blow off the Nazi top brass. They strike fear in the Nazi hearts with their unique, unorthodox techniques. One of them is smashing heads through baseball bats.

Tarantino has a fascination with torture scenes and here again he unabashedly goes out to fulfil his intentions. A large portion of the film is in languages other than English, and the subtitles test your patience, but then what is unfolding is so engrossing that you make every effort to read.

Pitt is convincing in his strangely eccentric avatar but the show belongs to Waltz. As Landa he towers over everybody else.

Not to be missed!