January 2, 2010
Right up front I have to say that I am in no way objective about this film. Director Raju Hirani is a good friend of mine, and I spent a couple of days on the sets back in March and had a brilliant time interacting with the incredibly smart, funny and friendly cast and crew—including this guy named Karan who spoiled me rotten. All I had to do was *think* about wishing I had some tea, or water, and there he was with whatever it was I was thinking about wanting.
Oh, and I read the script in advance too, because Raju asked me to look at the subtitles so that “bloggers like you won’t make fun of them” (yes, that is a direct quote).
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June 25, 2007
This is a refreshingly mature film about life, love, disappointment, responsibility and all those things that make us happy and sad. And, unlike most attempts at this before it, the movie manages to juggle a large cast of characters AND give them dimension and substance so that you actually care about what happens to them (see Salaam-E-Ishq for contrast).
Konkona Sen Sharma and Irfan Khan showed their comedy chops, and their story unfolded with a lot of sweetness and humor. A great scene had Irrfan teaching the buttoned-up Konkona some primal scream therapy. I would love to see them paired up again. Sharman Joshi was a revelation to me; I had never seen him before* and found myself rooting for his geeky entrepreneurial character. I would bet that he becomes a very versatile actor. In fact, I found myself rooting for almost everyone in this movie — the notable exception being Kay Kay Menon’s cheating, hypocritical husband (which only means that Kay Kay’s acting was v.v. good). Shilpa Shetty was very good as his long-suffering wife**. I hope she continues to get good roles like this and Phir Milenge. I imagine that not many people could NOT find at least one of these characters to relate to.
It was also a joy to see Dharmendra and the gorgeous Nafisa Ali, in a sweet twilight-years love story. Dharmendra’s entrance was like seeing an old familiar friend in an unexpected place. His presence added more warmth to an already heart-warming film.
The other great character in this movie was Mumbai itself during the monsoons. Beautifully photographed and atmospheric, perfectly suited to the tone of the movie: I wished I were there standing on a terrace overlooking the city drenched in rain. The musical interludes jarred me a little as they appeared out of nowhere suddenly and felt like an interruption, although the soundtrack is very nice listening on its own.
I would show this movie even to my most stubbornly “anti-Bollywood” friends.
*Well, actually, I discover that I have, in “Rang De Basanti” which maybe validates my next sentence, because I don’t remember him in it
**Although long-suffering self-sacrificing Indian wives have long gotten on my last good nerve