Film Reviews of Director/Producer Ram Gopal Varma

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Film Reviews of Director Ram Gopal Varma

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Shiva

Film:

Shiva

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Tamil (Udhayam) and Hindi (Shiva)

Year:

1990

Cast:

Nagarjuna, Amala, Raghuvaran, J D Chakravarthy, Chinna, Murali Mohan, Tanikella Bharani, Brahmaji, Kota Srinivas Rao, Hindi: Rohini Hattangadi, Girija Shankar, Goga Kapoor, Paresh Rawal

Banner:

S S Creations, Annapoorna Studios

Producer(s):

Venkat Akkineni, Surendra Yarlagadda

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma (Debut)

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Ilayaraja

Background Music:

Ilayaraja

Art Director:

Thotta Tharani

Cinematography:

S Gopal Reddy

Editing:

Shankar Suri

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

The debut film of Ram Gopal Varma surprises one and all, especially for its sheer technical brilliance and a unique style of story telling. The film Shiva is the edge of a seat thriller and is definitely a treat to the audience. The main star cast of this film are Nagarjuna, Amala and Raghuvaran. The title role Shiva is played by Nagarjuna. The film starts with a college environment where Nagarjuna joins the college as a fresher. Nagarjuna stays along with his brother , the party played by Murali Mohan. The film deals with the bad people and the way they use the college students for their own benefits. The film is all about how Nagarjuna transforms from a innocent student to a violent guy who takes on the bad people and wins over them. Raghuvaran plays the role of a villain named, Bhavani and his performance is the best and scores on all of them. Nagarjuna and Amala have performed their roles to perfection but above all the credit goes to the director, Ram Gopal Varma who has got a unique style of story telling, the direction and screenplay is excellent. However Ram Gopal Varma seems to be inspired by the film Arjun. Stickler for perfection, Ramu's Shiva is a perfect blend of story, full of violence, fun and love by the roadside. While it took some of his peers over two decades to build their image as successful directors, he achieved it in 3 years. He won 1991 Andhra Pradesh Government's Nandi Award as Best Director.

Shiva dealt with student politics and violence on college campuses. The film was a success and won rave reviews for its technical expertise and the intense mood created throughout the film Shiva was a landmark in Telugu movies in many ways. At that period of time, Telugu movies were becoming saturated with melodramatic scenes, outlandish costumes, shoddy technique and double entendre comedy. Shiva was a revolution in many ways. Technically it remains one of the finest movies to have been made, Ramu bought in the light and shade technique, inspired by another great director Mani Rathnam. Instead of the long-winded dialogues, the dialogues were simple, short and hard-hitting. But it was in the realm of action that Shiva proved to be a trendsetter. Till then, fights in Telugu movies had meant one hero bashing up dozens of goons, indulging in all kinds of weird acrobatics, and a fight sequence gave a ready excuse to leave the theater for a smoke. The very first fight in Shiva was where the villain (Chakravarty of Satya fame, which came later) keeps pushing back the hero (Nagarjuna) who keeps quite, and retaliates with a mighty blow. That single shot thrilled the audience to no end, and we were privileged to witness some of the best action sequences. Ramu kept his action sequences short and hard-hitting, as close to real life as possible. Shiva which was the story of a young student (Nagarjuna) that was dragged into the campus group fights and took on Bhavani (Raghuvaran), the city's notorious don, was a run away hit. The characters of Shiva, Nagarjuna, Amala, Bhavani, Nanaji (Tanikella Dasa Bharani), Chinna (the actor became known as Chinna after this movie) became household names in Andhra Pradesh and south india. It firmly established Ram Gopal Varma as a director to reckon with in Andhra Pradesh. It was dubbed in Tamil as Udhayam and Hindi as Shiva. It had Music Maestro Ilayaraaja's music, sets by Thotta Tharani, camera by S Gopal Reddy.


Kshanakshanam

Film:

Kshanakshanam

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Tamil (Ennavoa Nadakudhu) and Hindi (Hairaan)

Year:

9th October 1991

Cast:

Sridevi, Venkatesh, Paresh Rawal, Horseman Babu, Rami Reddy, Brahmanandam, Krishna Rao, Narsing Yadav

Banner:

Sri Durga Arts

Producer(s):

K L Narayana, S Gopal Reddy and Y Lakshmana Chowdary

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Seeta Rama Sastry & Vennelakanti

Music:

M M Keeravani

Background Music:

M M Keeravani

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

S Gopal Reddy

Editing:

Shankar Suri

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

Satyanand

Review by Gudipoodi Srihari from Idle Brain.com

If Shiva introduced Ram Gopal Varma as a promising director to Telugu screen, his second film Kshanakshanam proves that Shiva is not a by chance success. Young Ram Gopal Varma displays his mature mind in Cinematography art, in framing every scene of Kshanakshanam in Hollywood texture, well helped by the photographer S Gopal Reddy and Editor Shankar. This film is rich in visuals, audiography and then in content too that too totally absorbing despite of its meager volume of subject. For that matter, it is an experiment how a small subject can be expanded into an engrossing two-hour drama, keeping every character active. And Ram Gopal Varma achieved it. He gave the film more classic touch than just catering to the mass taste.

The theme despite of its ghastly exterior has a core of lighter vein drama, which basically sustains audience interest. A group of thugs rob a bank and lock up in a canvas bag more than a crore rupees of cash stolen from the vaults of the bank. In the process, a watchman is killed. The bag is hidden in a railway station cloakroom and the receipt is accidentally hurriedly drop by one of the rogues into the handbag of a working girl Satya (Sridevi), who chances to visit a photo studio where the thugs are present. Once the chief of these rowdies, by name Nayar (Paresh Rawal) comes to know of this, he and his men begin the chase for the girl Satya, unaware of what is in store for her she is surprised when one of these goons visit her house. In the ensuing struggle, a goon gets killed and Satya is framed for the murder.

She is on the run now. She falls in company of Chandu (Venkatesh), a small time thief and pickpocket, when the latter saves her from another bunch of rowdies. The police headed by Inspector Yadav (Rami Reddy) also chase the pair. Thus, the three groups set out and move into forests, where most of the drama occurs. The entire film, from then is nothing but chase and relevant adventures in the process. Analyzing the situation, Satya and Chandu realize that there is a chit in her bag for which the gang is chasing them. And they get back to Satya apartments, which is heavily guarded by the police. They manage to enter stealthily and to get hold of the receipt of the cloakroom. And at the same time the gang also is after them. Now the drama shifts to railway station and then on to a train, where the climax is set. A dramatic action finish is given to the film.

Sridevi corners histrionic glory. Paresh Rawal as Nayar who appears to have spoken his dialogues himself, with terribly affected accent, manages well to kick up humour in his eccentric appeal. Venkatesh is strong in action scenes of fight and chase. The music by Keeravani is another asset. After Shiva, Ramu came up with his next movie Kshanakshanam (meaning every minute) in 1991, a comedy thriller on the lines of Romancing the Stone, starring Venkatesh and Sridevi. The story of a girl fleeing a murder and a common thief coming together to search for the missing money from a bank was narrated with superb style by Ramu reminding us of the Hollywood thrillers. It was a real seat of the edge intelligent thriller, and had excellent comedy from Paresh Rawal. Sridevi was again at her best in the movie. Unfortunately not many appreciated this movie, and it was not as big a hit as Shiva, but still Kshanakshanam remains one of the finest movies made by Ramu. Known for its excellent technique. Won four awards.

Kshanakshanam is truly one of the best Telugu films ever made, The important part of the film is it starts the previous night, followed by next night and ends by next day evening . Very rarely you find such a kind of movie which just spans 2 days ( 48 hours). In fact the whole credit of such film goes to none other than Ram Gopal Varma, the director, who made it at the standards of Hollywood, where films run on tight screen play and not much melodrama. A must see movie, a movie raved for its technical excellence. The music of the film is superb, on the whole the movie is recommended for everybody, Venkatesh and Sridevi enact their roles well. Screenplay by Ram Gopal Varma is excellent. On the Technical side, Cameraman, S Gopal Reddy deserves a special mention. He has really come out with some good angles. The audiography is very different and exciting.


Raat

Film:

Raathri

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Hindi (Raat)

Year:

1991

Cast:

Revathi, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi, Anant Nag, Akash Khurana, Chinna, Nirmalamma

Banner:

Narasimha Enterprises

Producer(s):

Boney Kapoor

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

(No Songs)

Background Music:

Mani Sharma

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

-

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

Review by Omar Khan

In 1992, Ramu again came up with Raathri (The Night), also made in Hindi as Raat, a horror movie. Unfortunately, while the movie was quite spine chilling, it was a bit difficult for the audiences to digest and the movie flopped. The song less horror movie in which he used special effects. Ramu's ode to William Fried kin's The Exorcist, Raat, starred the talented South Indian actress, Revathy. It revolves around a new family consisting of Revathy, Rohini, and Akash Khurana and a little kid whom moves into a new house. But, something is wrong with the house. At first things that happens are small things like funny noises, doors closing by themselves and dead cats coming back to life-but then Revathy gets possessed by a ghost which even leads it to kill her friend at a wedding party. It is revealed that a ghost of a lady who was murdered there, by her boyfriend still lives there under the house. The film was a disaster at the Box-Office. This film was a brave attempt at reviving the horror genre from the gutter as well as rescuing it from becoming the all out farce that it had deteriorated to at the hands of the Ramsay's and the Bhakri's during the 80's. Audiences had rapidly dwindled for the ultra low budget crap turned out by the Ramsay factory of creature features and horror in the 90's was all but confined to the small screen in the form of the dire Zee Horror show. With their fairly ambitious shocker Raat, the producer-director team of Boney Kapoor and Ram Gopal Varma attempted to put horror back on the mainstream map, but alas for all their slickness and polish...their efforts bore no fruit as audiences stayed away causing considerable financial heartache all around. Horror thrillers were once again put on the back burner for a few years until Ram Gopal Varma himself returned with the rather more financially successful Kaun? late in the 90's. Raat is about a family, the Sharma's, that move into a new house in a new neighborhood and soon they find themselves being besieged by strange, inexplicable happenings...the teenage daughter. Mani Sharma (which is actually the producer's real name) starts behaving in a decidedly odd manner, smiling menacingly as well as suddenly taking to wearing gold coloured contact lenses for a rather startling effect. As the plot thickens and Mani's condition deteriorates further and further, her hapless family desperately search for a cure. 

The pragmatic and cold fish of a father turns to the world of psychiatry, science and medicine for his answers while his wife Rohini searches for her answer in the realms of the spiritual world. An old hag of a neighbour, about 120 years old, recounts chillingly how the owner of the house Rohini's family has moved into is cursed and houses some very dark, disturbing secrets. Slowly but surely as Mani's condition slides into Exorcist territory, though mercifully we have been spared the vomit and the head spinning this time around - a spiritual tantrik baba is sent for - how could they make a Bollywood horror film without resorting to the fabulous powers of the trusty old Tantrik Baba. However, this time the tantrik is a soft spoken, serious and brooding fellow in the form on Om Puri and he has finds that the house is indeed infected with evil. The scenes of his arrival at the house are Varma's noble but desperate attempts at creating the same ambience as Friedkin managed in The Exorcist in the scene when Father Merrin first arrives at the MacNeil residence in Washington. 

Ram Gopal Varma's film is choc full of slow build up scenes, with over bearing music...typical (clich้) music from 80's slasher movies - in fact in once bizarre scene when Mani has a fit claiming something to have burnt, the background music has been lifted directly from Halloween. For the avid horror fan watching
Raat is like a game of spot the rip off, or lets be polite and say "homage" because they flow thick and fast, and it is indeed evident that Ram Gopal Varma spent considerable time watching genre classics like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th (classic?) Evil Dead, The Exorcist, Amityville Horror, Childs Play and so on. All these influences have been taken and fused into one jumble of a film which somehow works fairly well due to the strong performances and the relatively classy production values and slick if trite and clich้ ridden direction. The background music, by Mani Sharma, while not as jarring as it was in Kaun is very irritating and the most effective moments on screen are when music is at a minimum. However there are some excellent ideas along the way and some startlingly chilling scenes as well but they are largely undone by the sledgehammer like subtlety displayed by the director as if to make sure he drives a point home. 

Everything about the movie is overdone and overwrought, but then that is something typical of desi movies in general. The film has its moments and is slickly put together - world apart from the rubber masked creatures of the Ramsay films - but that said, its still unoriginal and simply a rehash of several hit Hollywood horror films. Perhaps, the day Bollywood gets over their fixation and their complete infatuation with aping the Exorcist, Evil Dead and co will be the day that they will finally produce a truly masterful horror film. There is however one scene which is shockingly similar to the central idea of Ring...a TV flicks mysteriously on by itself - its one of the best scenes of the movie without the jarring music and the overcooked acting and heavy handed direction. On the whole it
Raat is a considerable step in the right direction (after Ramsays and Bhakris) even if it suffers from the derivative nature that affects almost all Bollywood horror.


Antham (Drohi)

Film:

Antham

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Hindi (Drohi)

Year:

1993

Cast:

Nagarjuna, Urmila Matondkar, Danny Denzongpa, Salim Ghouse, Akash Khurana

Banner:

Narasimha Enterprises

Producer(s):

Boney Kapoor

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

R D Burman

Background Music:

R D Burman

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Teja

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

Akash Khurana

The same year, he again came up with Antham (The End), which again was dubbed into Hindi as Drohi. The movie was a love story between a hit man (Nagarjuna) and a cop's sister (Urmila). While technically it was good, and it had some hummable songs by R D Burman, the unrelenting violence and the stale plot, saw it falling at the Box-Office. Certainly not one of his best movies. Antham seemed contrived. A haphazard story and screenplay didn't help matters. Antham could be rated as one of the most violent films ever made, Ram Gopal Varma gives Nagarjuna a negative role this time, Nagarjuna has power in his eyes and has displayed his role to perfection, the film is a violent love story, Nagarjuna is a hit man who falls in love with Urmila. Nagarjuna gives up his profession for his love. This is all about this film, the film was partly shot in Sri Lanka. Ram Gopal Varma's direction is ok but he could have cut down some of the scenes which seemed to be over violent and unnecessary. The music, composed by R D Burman is excellent. Overall Antham is a technically well made film which, unfortunately had a week story line.


Govinda Govinda

Film:

Govinda Govinda

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Hindi

Year:

1993

Cast:

Nagarjuna, Sridevi, Paresh Rawal

Banner:

Vyjayanthi Movies

Producer(s):

Ashwini C Dutt

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Raj-Koti

Background Music:

Raj-Koti

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

S Gopal Reddy, Ajay Vincent

Editing:

Shankar Suri

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma, Ganapathy Rao, Komanapalli

Dialogues:

The film, produced by, Ashwini Dutt for for Vyjayanthi movies. Director Ram Gopal Varma faced lot of problem from the Censor Board. The film deals with the robbery of Tirupati Balaji's Crown. The unnecessary Censorship and criticism made Varma wild and he vowed never to return to Telugu films. Subsequently retracted it. Sridevi's first Telugu film after the face lift surgery. It was rumored that people could not stand the act of steeling Balaji's Crown even in a fiction. Varma thought that this anti sentiment made the movie a financial failure and added new title to the movie "dEmuDe gelichaaDu" - a stunt that didn't change the fate of the film. Tirupati explored. Overall Govinda Govinda was a disappointing affair, Ram Gopal Varma's screenplay and direction was bad. The songs of the film were poorly picturised. Technically the film was average. Overall the audience get a doubt if this film was really made by Ram Gopal Varma. Govinda Govinda, starring Nagarjuna and Sridevi, Paresh Rawal. The music was by Raj-Koti and Cinematography by S Gopal Reddy. The movie, which was inspired by the Eddie Murphy starrer the Golden Child, tried to mix mythology and action together, however the end product was just not up to the mark and the movie sank at the Box-Office. Ramu had made some absolutely lousy movies and this was certainly one of them. It was at this time that the smear campaign was started against him in the Telugu media, about how he was gone, how his movies were not being accepted, how he was over rated etc. He was bitterly attacked on all fronts, and in the Telugu movie industry there were attempts by vested interests to suppress him. Disgusted at all this backbiting, he left for Bollywood, some say, for good.


Gaayam (Desam)

Film:

Gaayam

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Tamil (Desam)

Year:

1993

Cast:

Jagapathy Babu, Revathy, Urmila Matondkar, Charan Raj, Kota Srinivas Rao

Banner:

S S Creations

Producer(s):

Surendra Yarlagadda

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sri

Background Music:

Sri

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Rasool Ellora

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma, Mani Rathnam

Dialogues:

-

He was back in form again with Gaayam (The Wound, dubbed in Tamil as Desam) in 1993 dealing with his pet topic - The Mafia. The movie starring Jagapathy Babu, Charan Raj, Revathy and Urmila dealt with the gang wars in Hyderabad, and had shades of Godfather in it. The movie basically deals with the story of a young man (Jagapathy Babu) who is drawn into the gang wars after his brother (Charan Raj), a don is brutally murdered in broad daylight. His journalist girlfriend (Revathy) leaves him while his cousin (Urmila) dotes on him. Though critically panned and receiving negative talk initially, the movie slowly caught on and became a big hit. The hard-hitting dialogues in the Hyderabadi dialect, the realistic depiction of the street fights attracted the audiences. Gaayam had screenplay by Mani Rathnam. Gaayam is a violent love story, the story was written by Mani Rathnam and Ram Gopal Varma, it was a powerful film. It deals with corruption existing in politics, Ram Gopal Varma has shown how politicians create communal violence, how they utilize the society for their own benefits. The film stars, debutant, Jagapathy Babu in a key role and he has really come out with a powerful performance. The other costars are Revathy and Urmila. Jagapathy Babu is in love with Revathy but due to circumstances he is not able to marry her, Urmila is in love in with Jagapathy Babu. Meanwhile, Jagapathy Babu wants to fight against the criminals who had killed his brother, finally Jagapathy Babu wins the war against them and finally gets along with Urmila. Revathy marries a policeman. Overall, the film is a good entertainer with powerful cast.

Music Director Sri says;

"Ram Gopal Varma, extracted good work from me for Gaayam, Money, Money-Money and Anaganaga Oka Roju. We tend to give the best to the people who pamper us. Ram Gopal Varma has that quality of pampering technicians. Everybody thinks that Ramu is a haughty person. He is a wonderful human being. He is meticulous. He is manipulative. He is a businessman. But at the same time, he knows how to treat the artists and technicians".


Film:

Money

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1993

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Chinna, Renuka Sahane, Paresh Rawal, Brahmanandam

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Siva Nageshwar Rao

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sri

Background Music:

Sri

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Teja

Editing:

Shankar Suri

Story & Screenplay:

Siva Nageshwar Rao

Dialogues:

-

Siva Nageshwar Rao was Ram Gopal Varma's assistant and got his first directorial break with this film. Based loosely on the English film Ruthless people starring Danny DeVito. Danny DeVito played the role of Paresh Rawal. Renuka Sahane, was originally famous for her smile as the host of the popular Hindi series Surabhi on DD. The film is worth seeing and the whole credit goes to the actor Brahmanandam who has come good comic performance. Debutant Siva Nageshwar Rao has really come out with a good job. A commercial of a different sort.


Film:

Money Money

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1994

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Chinna, Paresh Rawal, Brahmanandam

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Siva Nageshwar Rao

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sri

Background Music:

Sri

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Rasool Ellora

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Siva Nageshwar Rao

Dialogues:

Uttej

Sequel to Money with the same cast. Money Money, is definitely worth a see especially for Brahmanandam who comes out with a very good comic effort. Special mention should also be given to Uttej who has written the dialogues for this film.


Thiruda Thiruda

Film:

Thiruda Thiruda

Language:

Tamil, dubbed in Telugu (Donga Donga) and Hindi (Chor Chor)

Year:

1994

Cast:

Prashanth, Anand, Heera, Anu Agarwal, S P Balasubramaniam, Malaysia Vasudevan, Salim Ghouse, Madan Bob

Banner:

Aalayam Creations

Producer(s):

S Sriram and Mani Rathnam

Presentation:

-

Director:

Mani Rathnam

Lyrics:

Vairamuthu

Music:

A R Rahman

Background Music:

A R Rahman

Art Director:

Thotta Tharani

Cinematography:

P C Sreeram

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Mani Rathnam, Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

Thiruda Thiruda, is a comedy thriller inspired by Ram Gopal Varma's Kshanakshanam. The film deals with robbery and is out and out a youthful film, The film has mind blowing music by A R Rahman, who has really come out with some scintillating numbers. The film technically a delight to the audience. P C Sreeram is extremely brilliant as a Cinematographer. The only disappointment factor of this film is its weak script which is generally unusual in Mani Rathnam's film. A fun filled caper. It had no storyline but a lot of fun. A lot of people did not like it because, we are used to very serious story lines. It was Mani Rathnam's first flop after a long time. Thiruda Thiruda, was a fun filled caper. It had no storyline but a lot of fun. It was a misfire about two petty thieves and a girl on the lines of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) but, Mani Rathnam bounced back with his next film, Bombay (1995).


Rangeela

Film:

Rangeela

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Tamil (Rangeela) and Telugu (Rangeli)

Year:

July 1995

Cast:

Aamir Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Jackie Shroff, Gulshan Grover, Reema Lagoo

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

Jhamu Sughand

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Mehboob

Music:

A R Rahman

Background Music:

A R Rahman

Art Director:

R Verman

Cinematography:

W B Rao

Editing:

E Niwas

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

Neeraj Vora, Sanjay Chel

Review by Avinash Ramchandani from planetbollywood.com

Rangeela (1995) catapulted him into Bollywood. Ramu, is planning to move to a bigger arena and not confine himself to Telugu audience alone. He is thinking of making only Hindi films in future which has larger national audience. It is certainly a loss to Telugu audience and a gain to Hindi audience. Let us hope and wish he doesn't forget his roots and entertain the Telugu audience at least sometime down the line. Rangeela, which was a fluffy MTV style musical from A R Rahman (Mani Rathnam introduced A R Rahman to Ram Gopal Varma and first original musical from A R Rahman in Hindi). 

Rangeela was a landmark in many ways, it was Ramu's first original Hindi movie, all others being remakes or dubbed versions of his Telugu flicks. Ramu attempted a musical for the first time in his career, while giving Aamir Khan a Tapori image. But Rangeela would be forever remembered as the movie, which catapulted Urmila Matondkar, to the status of India's No. 1 sex symbol. From a gawky, grimacing heroine in countless movies, Urmila underwent a metamorphosis into India's hottest pin up girl, with her new look, helped in no small part by Manish Malhotra. The songs by A R Rahman were typical MTV fast beats, and caught the imagination of the young crowd. Ramu played Pygmalion and made Urmila a star. Rangeela came like a whiff of fresh air. Full of dreams, colours, upbeat music and inspiring performances, the film portrayed Ramu's light side as a director. A love triangle between rogue Munna (Aamir Khan), aspiring actress Mili (Urmila Matondkar) and film star Kamal (Jackie Shroff), Rangeela was one of the biggest hits of the year 1995. The film also gave Urmila's career a new lease of life and reaffirmed Aamir's versatility as an actor. The movie was a big hit in 1995. While a typical candy floss movie, Rangeela nevertheless had a good script and the characters were more real to life. It had some superb performances by Aamir as usual (the famous restaurant scene), Urmila and Jackie Shroff. The dialogues were by Sanjay Chel.

I had great expectations from Rangeela, A R Rahman's first Hindi movie, Urmila's first movie with a large role, and Aamir Khan's first movie since Aatank Hi Aatank (which was a flop). I don't know how much you awaited this movie, but it was on par for my expectations. Compared to the recent movies that have been released (like Saajan Ki Bahoon Mein, Aatank Hi Aatank, Gundaraj, Veer, Ahankaar, Love in Jungle, Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India, Sanam Harjai, Guddu, Hulchul, etc...) this movie ranks at the top of the list. 

Mili (Urmila) is a middle-class young woman that wishes to be an actress. She dances with the group of Saroj Khan's dancers but hasn't gotten a break yet. Munna (Aamir Khan) is an orphan that has a close relationship with her family and her. One day Munna arrives at the set of one of Mili's movies, and realizes that he loves her. Of course, Munna has the "normal troubles" to tell Mili that he loves her. One day, while at the beach, Mili starts dancing, and the famous actor comes and sees her. This famous actor is Raj Kamal (Jackie Shroff) and he forces the director to sign her for his next movie "Rangeela". During the shooting of "Rangeela" she is roaming with Raj Kamal but Munna feels "dissed", as he feels that Mili has become a big movie star and is right for her to marry Raj Kamal. When the movie is completed, Munna doesn't arrive at Mili's premiere show and writes her a note that he is leaving the town and doesn't want to get in between Mili and Raj Kamal's relationship. But Mili didn't think that she and Raj Kamal had a relationship, she actually loved Munna. Meanwhile, Raj Kamal fell in love with Mili, but as in most movies with Jackie Shroff as a supporting actor, he doesn't get the girl. So, Mili and Raj Kamal run out of the premiere and get Munna. Today, Mili and Munna live happily every after in "movie land". 

Aamir Khan again proves the talent that he has as an actor; Jackie Shroff has a very insignificant role, but he does a wonderful job in it. Urmila is excellent in a very different role ("a cat role") than her previous movies. There is a share of comedy in the movie and (good news for the family) there is minimal violence (but no blood shed)! The first six songs are excellent, the last two get boring. The best are Rangeela Re..., Tanha Tanha..., and Kya Kare Kya Na Kare... They also have excellent choreography, except for two numbers (Pyar Yeh Jaane Kaisa... and Hai Rama...) which get too repetitive. Cinematography is outstanding and attention is paid to coloring. Direction is first class. Trade analyst, Amod Mehra says, Rangeela is the only universal for Mr. Varma.

This is what A R Rahman tells about Rangeela music:

"Tanha tanha.., Mangta hai.. and Hai Rama... Their music happened, it flowed. Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma) would say, "let's go for a Rangeela sound; a Rangeela tune, Rangeela music". He would be very charged-up. He would walk up and down the studio as if he was possessed, when Hariharan was recording Hai Rama. We went for an intensely romantic sound... we were immersed in the score for nearly a year and we tried...to reflect the changes and the youthful energy around us".


Film:

Anaganaga Oka Roju

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1995

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Urmila Matondkar, Kota Srinivas Rao

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Seetharama Shastry

Music:

Sri

Background Music:

Sri

Art Director:

Cinematography:

Rasool Ellora

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

After Rangeela, Ramu was back to Tollywood again with another comedy flick Anaganaga Oka Roju (Once Upon a time). The movie was about two lovers (Urmila and Chakravarthy) who elope from home, only to find themselves caught as suspects in the murder of the CM's political opponent. A laugh riot all the way, this movie again was a big hit, proving once again that comedy was Ramu's forte. The story of Anaganaga Oka Roju existed in the directors mind long before Rangeela was released , in fact Ram Gopal Varma had started the films shooting long back before Rangeela existed, but due to various reasons Varma couldn't complete the film, he started working on the film Rangeela but with Rangeela's huge success, the director had started shooting Anaganaga Oka Roju, which stars Urmila Matondkar and J D Chakravarthy. Like Rangeela, Urmila was given a glamorous role in this film. The film deals with a murder by a politician, the role played by Kota Srinivas Rao. Urmila and JD are lovers who run away from their house as their parents disagree to their marriage, the audio cassette which is the only evidence of the murder accidentally gets into the hands of the lovers, how the cops and the politicians goondas chase the lovers for the cassette forms the main story of the film. The film is a suspense thriller and director Ram Gopal Varma has really done a splendid job. The plus point of the film is the comedian Brahmanandam, he has been given a splendid role by the director and Brahmanandam has come out with a good humour which keeps the audience happy throughout. Technically the film is well made, overall Anaganaga Oka Roju is an entertainer.


Gulabi

Film:

Gulabi

Language:

Telugu, dubbed in Tamil (Idhayamae Idhayamae)

Year:

1996

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Maheshwari, Brahmaji

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

ABCL Corporation

Director:

Krishna Vamsi

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sasi Preetam

Background Music:

Sasi Preetam

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Rasool Ellora

Editing::

-

Story & Screenplay:

Krishna Vamsi

Dialogues:

-

The film, was financed by Amitabh Bachchan and produced by Ram Gopal Varma for the director Krishna Vamsi who is from Varma school of film making and was his chief assistant director. Director Krishna Vamsi has done a great job in this debut film. Like Ram Gopal Varma, Krishna Vamsi proves that he has sound knowledge on the technical side of film making. The film stars Maheshwari and J D Chakravarthy in key roles. The film is a violent love story where the heroine, (Maheshwari) is sold by the hero's friend, Ram Gopal (Brahmaji). The film deals with how the hero (J D Chakravarthy) struggles to save his heroine from the evil people who sell her for a heft amount to a Arab Sheikh. Technically this is one of the best Telugu films ever made. A special mention should be given for the films audiography and Cinematography department. This film happens to be the first film of Sasi Preetam as music director. Composition sounds very similar to the A R Rahman style of High Voltage, High Wattage and electronic effects, with Rap beats and Synthesizers dominating the language. All songs of the film are good .Overall Gulabi is a well made film.


Deyyam 

Film:

Deyyam

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1996

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Maheshwari, Jaya Sudha, Tanikella Bharani, Jeeva, Jagan, Master Ravi

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

V Satya Narayana

Background Music:

V Satya Narayana

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Chotta K Naidu

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

They are very few good horror movies in Telugu. Ram Gopal Varma's -Deyyam is one such movie. The movie thrives mainly on his technique. A director who has command and control over his technique he has made full use of this special talent of his in this movie, which has no story value. The director/movie promotes the view that whoever dies becomes a spirit. Dr Murali buys a farm house in the outskirts of the town near cemetery and lives there with his young son Chinni, sis-in-law Mahi. The picture starts with the scene in which Chinni is killed by the spirit of a person killed by a spirit. Chinni becomes a spirit and kills the psychiatrist and his mother Sindhu turns into spirit and in turn kills Dr Murali Mohan. The movie end when all the spirits are about to kill Mahi and her friend Narsing. In most of the old movies Nieru used to be a cause for the spirits to kill anyone. But, in this movie the spirits kill for the sake of killing. The announcement in the beginning that the movie is made with the sheer aim of scaring people - seems to be made to cover up the flaws of the film. When viewed scene by scene, the director succeeded in his sole aim of frightening the audience. Chotta K Naidu's photography is the high point of the film. He also succeeded in creating the necessary mood and light for such movies. The background music is scary but the songs are plain. Jaya Sudha as Sindhu succeeded herself to the audience. As Punjagutta Dada Chakravarty provided good entertainment. the rest of them get pass marks. Ram Gopal Varma has let down his fan following and hope he will not repeat it.


Wife of Mr. Vara Prasad

Film:

Wife of Mr. Vara Prasad

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1997

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Vineeth, Avani, S P Balasubramaniam, Mallikarjuna Rao, G Murali

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Krishna Vamsi

Lyrics:

-

Music:

M M Keeravani

Background Music:

M M Keeravani

Art Director;

-

Cinematography:

M V Raghu

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Krishna Bhargavan

Dialogues:

-

From a noted duo like Producer/director Ram Gopal Varma and Krishna Vamsi, the former as an eminent director of National repute and the latter noted for his finesse, a movie like Wife of Mr. Vara Prasad is a big disappointment, to put it mildly. Having lost his parents at an early age, Vara Prasad (Vineeth) was raised by his grandfather, Ramabhadra Raju (S P Balasubramaniam). He grew up as a happy-go-lucky pleasure seeker, unmindful of the business responsibilities inherited from his grandfather. Believing that once married he would mend his ways, the grandfather tries to force him into marriage. When Vara Prasad refuses to be bullied into marriage, the old man tries another trick i.e. gets a heart attack. The doctors who attend on him pronounce that he will not live beyond 30 days. The family lawyer advises Vara Prasad to keep the old man in good humor in his last days by entering into some pretence of marriage. While on the look out for a girl who would be prepared to fake marriage with him, he comes across a treacherous fellow Thyagaraju (J D Chakravarty), who was fabricating financial difficulties to his girl friend, Bhuvaneswari (Avani). Vara Prasad promises a hefty amount to Thyagaraju on condition that his girl friend acts as his wife for 30 days. With Thyagaraju's connivance he takes Bhuvaneswari to his grandfather and introduces her as his wife. Bhuvaneswari wins over the old man with her care and affection. Meanwhile Thyagaraju, threatening to reveal the truth, extorts more money from Vara Prasad. Thoroughly bowled over by her love and affection and her good deportment, the grandfather wills all his property to Bhuvaneswari. Unwilling to continue the fraud, she leaves the place when doctors pronounce the old man out of danger. Going home, she gets disillusioned with Thyagaraju when she finds him with another girl talking ill of her. She goes back to Vara Prasad and recounts what happened. He tells her that, in spite of everything, he is in love with her and wants to marry her if she is willing. When she agrees, he takes her to Thyagaraju and thrashes him for all his perfidy and marries Bhuvaneswari. Thyagaraju checkmates them by joining their household as a servant and revealing their falsehoods to the old man, who throws them out. He gains the old man's confidence to such an extent that he wills his property to him. Then he plans to get rid of the old man by hiring a professional killer, who feigns to get killed by the old man instead of killing him. Thyagaraju pretends to be sorry for his master. Meanwhile, Bhuvaneswari and Vara Prasad arrive on the scene with the police and explain everything - their collaboration with the grandfather and the killer - to catch Thyagaraju red-handed. Director Vamsi, who earned for himself a distinct name for giving wholesome entertainment, has had a string of flops and this is one such. A run of the mill movie like this can become a success with adept handling, which it lacks. The music too is dull. The heroine's character is not well portrayed. Supposed to be in love with Thyagaraju, she shows no qualms in switching her affection to the hero. Vineeth and S P Balasubramaniam have done justice to their roles. As villain, J D Chakravarty excels in his role and acquits himself.


Daud

Film:

Daud

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Tamil (Oattam) and Telugu (50-50)

Year:

June 1997

Cast:

Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Bajpai, Neeraj Vora, Ashish Vidyarthi

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

Jhamu Sughand

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Mehboob

Music:

A R Rahman

Background Music:

A R Rahman

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

-

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

Sanjay Chel

Review by Sunder Kumar from planetbollywood.com

Ramu attempted to improve upon the same in Daud in 1997 with Urmila and Sanjay Dutt, to make a road movie. While many claim that this movie undeservingly flopped, I don't think so. While the concept was good, the movie was more concentrated on Urmila's charms and Sanjay's biceps that the basic plot went awry. No wonder it was a huge flop at the Box-Office again. As if to atone for Daud, Ramu went all out with the on-the-road adventure Daud. The film was expected to be a Romancing The Stone kind of thriller. But thanks to its insipid sense of humor and lack of chemistry between costars Urmila and Sanjay Dutt, Daud was a washout. The film is best remembered for Urmila's steamy dance numbers and Paresh Rawal's dark comedy.

Daud, the run, and "fun" on the run? It all seems hazy now, after seeing the movie. Daud is a tired jog by a middle-aged person trying to shed off loads of extra-flab. The movie has a large excess of flab, and little body - much in contrast to the star attraction in the movie, Urmila. 

The movie is about a runaway twosome, played by Sanjay Dutt and and Urmila, who believe to have a crore or two worth of gold. That it is not gold is obvious from the beginning of the movie, and predictably the cops and real thieves are behind this twosome. Is the story familiar? Director Ram Gopal Varma had co-scripted CHOR CHOR (original THIRUDA THIRUDA) with
Mani Rathnam. But the difference in the movies were in the direction.

Daud lacks the tautness, and speed of THIRUDA THIRUDA. Ram Gopal Varma himself exhibited better control of speed in his earlier movies, Shiva, Raat, Drohi, and Rangeela. This misses the effect of those movies by far. The movie seems to lack any direction!

Song pop in and out predictably, clich้d humor, and action are forced into the movie - to the extent that in the end, the humorous parts of the movie appear to be the only saving grace, besides the expected Urmila exhibition and Rahman music. The dialogues are above average at times, but have a heavy influence of Aamir Khan from Rangeela. But Sanjay Dutt does not carry off those lines as well as Aamir did. The film peters from a promising start, to ridiculous but enjoyable humor (PJs for some), to an unendurable road to finish.

So much for the downside, the song picturisations are also not out of the ordinary. Saroj Khan does not seem in pace with Rahman, and seems ill at ease, except a few sequences within the songs. Sanjay Dutt is extremely stiff as a dancer, and despite Urmila's best efforts - the highly experimental music of Rahman don't come alive on screen. The photography is good as always with Ram Gopal Varma, and so are other technical aspects of the movie.

Among the star cast, Sanjay Dutt is good in few sequences; Urmila has a good role, and does her part very well. Ashish Vidyarthi is wasted as the cop, but does show his wares in the few chances he gets. Paresh Rawal as the villain-de-piece is clich้d. Neeraj Vora in a meaningless cameo does well to bring humor into his character as "Chaako". The others fall in and out without much role to talk about. After all this, I would still recommend that
Daud is worth seeing, for the dances of Urmila, and the Rangeela-influenced humor in the first half.

Daud is everything you would expect from a competent director like Ram Gopal Varma - and more. Daud is, basically, fun on the run - and what fun too! The highly stylised direction with an equally stylised screenplay make for some really great entertainment. Daud is also an excellent example of a movie meant to be viewed exclusively on a big screen equipped with Dolby Digital. Try your absolute very best to miss it on video.

Daud is not an intellectual film. It does not make you think. It doesn't even make sense at times. If you wanted to, you could call it inane. However, it is dignified because it is conscious of that fact all the time. It knows when it is being dumb - and it goes all the way. There is no attempt at keeping a so called 'balance' of comedy, drama, action and all the other clich้s of Hindi commercial cinema. It is a true comedy adventure. A very rare, if not non-existent formula for Mumbai films.

Daud would work well in a society that is conscious of what is senseless or absurd and laughs at it; which obviously doesn't describe the majority of viewers for Daud. What Daud tries to convey as humour might be taken seriously by viewers who don't really understand it, and then dismissed as something that doesn't quite make sense. Take for example, the way Sanjay Dutt walks and dances in the film. He looks ridiculous. And that is the way it is meant to be. I have actually heard people grumbling that Sanjay Dutt doesn't know how to walk in the film.

The gospel truth would be that most evidently Ram Gopal Varma does not give a goddamn about his movie's result at the Box-Office (the grapevine might prove me wrong though). Ironically, the absurdity in the film it seems, bothers quite a number of viewers - when escapist cinema is said to be thriving. Sure Nandu and Bhavani (Sanjay and Urmila) are our unorthodox lovebirds. But again, their love for materialism is so 'humane' and humorous at times. Not forgetting that there is "Chaako" (watch the movie and you will know who) who does some amusing jabbering without much wit.

Sanjay Dutt is humorous, or rather Sanjay Chel is humorous (dialogues is written by him). His dialogues are so bizarre that at times I was surprised - like when Sanjay Dutt tells a hooligan to apply 'Tiger Balm' on his wounds after Sanjay thrashes him or when Sanjay and Urmila disclose their names. Paresh Rawal should not be forgotten as he has done a classic role of Pinky the fugitive. Though his anarchist mind is extremely filthy and sadist, he is definitely the pioneer for the coming of age for Hindi film's villains. In fact
Daud has loads of black humour.

Interestingly,
Daud is in Dolby Digital when most big-budget movies are in DTS nowadays. But anyway, due to the employment of a sound designer, the sound is very different from your average Hindi film. The fight scenes have actually got some impressive, yet credible sound effects. The guns sound like real guns with real bullets - a quantum leap for us. Some interesting computer graphics were used during the starting credits.


Satya

Film:

Satya

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Tamil (Satya) and Telugu (Satya)

Year:

1998

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Manoj Bajpai, Urmila Matondkar, Paresh Rawal, Saurabh Shukla, Makrand Deshpande, Snehal

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Gulzar

Music:

Vishal Bharadwaj

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

Samir Chanda

Cinematography:

-

Editing:

Bhanodaya

Story & Screenplay:

Anuraag Kashyap

Dialogues:

Saurabh Shukla, Anuraag Kashyap

Review by Film Critic Khalid Mohammed from filmfare.com

Nothing but the truth. The underworld hits the top of the world in overall punch.

REJOICE. India's answer to Quentin Tarantino is here. Indeed, someone has finally had the guts to go ahead and make a movie about and for our times. No diabetic sweetness, no pretentious pontificating, no foolish fantasy out here. Believe it or not, Ram Gopal Varma belts it out straight, like a prize-boxer delivering a knockout punch. Clearly, the dumb-cluck Daud can be forgotten and forgiven. A fact-based report of a city under siege, Satya is alive and kicking. It broils, snaps and explodes with energy. The events (obviously condensed from the recent gang wars and bestial carnage on the streets of Mumbai) whizz past at a murderous clip, hurtling the viewer along almost demonically. The back alleys, sleazy dens, pubs and chawls of the metropolis seethe with conflict. Killers crawl through the urbanscape like scorpions on a stove. When a gun battle erupts, it seems a logical climax for the crazy, tense, superheated atmosphere: desperate characters floating along on a sea of booze, sex and paranoia, watching a city collapse around them. 

The shocking daylight slaying of Gulshan Kumar, incessant gang reprisals, double-edged police 'encounters' and extortion threats have been deftly adapted into a searing, slice-of-life script by Saurabh Shukla and Anuraag Kashyap. Throughout the lingo is correctly coarse and colloquial. Mercifully, as in the case of Bandit Queen>, the Censors haven't tinkered with the authentic dialogue. From the minute Satya (Chakravarthy), a man with no surname, arrives at VT railway station, we know he's no pancake hero. An agnostic with no roots and family ties, he drifts into a hell of no return. Aligning himself with a caboodle of snarling, smiling, sweaty hoods, led by the cocky Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpai), the stranger finds a matchbox-sized room to live and brood in. That Satya is still capable of human emotion is underscored by his shy romance with Vidya (Urmila Matondkar), the innocent girl-next-door.

"Jo bhi item hai, bahut bhaari hai baap", his cohorts cackle. But can love thrive in the time of relentless violence? The story moves between incidents which are simultaneously sordid and serene, this contradiction in terms building up to a finale that's as volatile as it is heart-tugging. Without revealing the end, suffice it to say, it's a zinger. The dramaturgy goes rancid briefly when Varma lets clouds of sentimentality deodorise the bracing cynicism and viciousness. It's as if the director felt he had to pay for his audacity: sing a few hymns about family values (Vidya's wheelchair-bound father is a clich้d caricature) and hover needlessly over the breakfast table of the yogurt-serving police commissioner. Also that first meeting between Satya and Vidya, in darkness because of a light-fuse, is a brazen lift from Satyajith Ray's Pratidwandi. Such grouses aside, there's plenty of food for thought.

Scenes like Bhiku Mhatre babbling after the extermination of one his gang boys, digs at American blockbusters a la Jurassic Park, Bhiku's near-soliloquy at the beachside and Vidya's police inquisition are just some of the passages that stay in the memory. Also of note is the police side of the story, with the commissioner (a fine cameo by Paresh Rawal) asserting loud and clear that the law keepers are caught in a Catch-22 situation: they're damned if they clean up the city, and they're damned if they don't. However, the film's trump card is its compassionate treatment of every character, great or small. The red-eyed, unkempt henchguys with their whiplash irreverence are exactly like the lumpen louts loitering around lethal lanes. Excellently photographed by Gerard Hooper and Mazhar Kamran, the Ganpati immersion shots and the overall lighting schemes are visually imaginative. 

Lyrics by Gulzar (Baadalon se kaat kaat ke) and the evocative background score by Sandeep Chowtha are the other assets. Of the cast, co-writer Saurabh Shukla doubling up as the gang's anchorperson is marvelously subtle, sportingly allowing others to steal the show. Ditto Chakravarthy, who's gentleness personified, his anger simmering under the surface. Urmila Matondkar is first-rate, essaying even the most complex scenes with effortless grace and intelligence. And Manoj Bajpai, as the mercurial Mhatre, is brilliant. If we thought he was good in a minor role in Tamanna, here he attacks his meaty part in the manner of a hungry tiger. All said and savoured, Satya is a gritty, hellishly exciting film which stings and screams. No one will go away from it unprovoked or unmoved.

Ramu came up with what must be one of the best movies of his career, Satya in 1998. Satya was in a league of it's own. An explicit depiction of the underworld, their modus operandi and their mindset. Technically brilliant and with a sound script, Satya was a trendsetter. It also saw the rise of actors like Manoj Bajpai who played the volatile Bhiku Mhatre. For starters, the hero doesn't join the mafia to take revenge on those who killed his parents and raped his sister, he does it just to survive and loves what he is doing. The hero (Chakravarty) is again not like the typical gangster hero with a heart of gold and a beautiful moll in tow. He is absolutely cold blooded and ruthless. He has no qualms about making use of his girlfriend Vidya (Urmila) to get his job done, nor causing a stampede in a theater and killing innocent people to escape from the cops. While Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpai in an outstanding performance) is the impulsive and hotheaded type, Satya is the cooler type who thinks more. Contrary to allegations, Satya never glorifies the gangsters. It doesn't show the gangsters as heroes and the cops as bumbling idiots unlike countless Hindi movies. It shows them as ordinary people fighting to survive in a violent world. The cops are shown as dedicated and efficient people, who are as ruthless as the gangsters are. And the end shows all the gangsters being shot dead like pigs literally. The climax scene where Satya begs his girl friend Vidya to listen to him, while he is being shot dead by the cops would put off any sane person from this path. There are no sermons by the cops or gangsters either about how unjust society is. Ramu has simply taken a slice of reality, put it on the screen and asked the audience to draw their own conclusions. 

Satya is obviously the director's shift towards movie-making honesty. Saddling his focus on the travails of a gangster, Varma hopes to convey the insecurity and jeopardy of urban existence in the contemporary milieu of deception and violence. His camera pans the brazen realism of Mumbai underworld and cautions that one can encounter the murderously bizarre anywhere in the metros. Satya was a big sensation and brought the best from a unpopular actor like Manoj Bajpai. It was dubbed in Tamil and Telugu as Satya. It has turned out to be critics delight, besides it has done extremely well at the Box-Office. The success of Satya has proved that Varma is always an accomplished craftsman.


Dil Se../Premato/Uyirae

Film:

Dil Se..

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Tamil (Uyirae) and Telugu (Premato)

Year:

August 21, 1998

Cast:

Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Priety Zinta, Arundhathi Nag, Rajpal Yadav

Banner:

India Talkies

Producer(s):

Mani Rathnam, Ram Gopal Varma, Shekhar Kapoor

Presentation:

Bharat Shah

Director:

Mani Rathnam

Lyrics:

Gulzar

Music:

A R Rahman

Background Music:

A R Rahman

Art Director:

Samir Chanda

Cinematography:

Santosh Sivan

Editing:

Suresh Urs

Story & Screenplay:

Mani Rathnam

Dialogues:

-

Review by Anish Khanna

It is indeed a case of truth proving stranger than fiction with the release of a film on terrorism at the very height of a global terrorist scare. One would think that this fact could only aid Dil Se.. by heightening the impact on the audience. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Dil Se.. is a valiant effort on Mani Rathnam's part but gets lost somewhere along the way in a weak screenplay and sketchy characterizations. The first half of Dil Se.. relies more on images than a solid screenplay, but Santosh Sivan's camera work is simply stunning and perhaps the best I've ever witnessed on the Hindi screen. Every image is like a celluloid poem and thus very effective. Chaiya Chaiya, Dil Se re.., and Satrangi Re are some of the most aesthetically pleasing songs ever shot. The locations are gorgeous! Mr. Sivan single-handedly holds the audience's interest despite the fact that they are left to contend with the very drawn out interactions between Amar (Shah Rukh) and a cold, lifeless caricature called Meghna (Manisha). Amar is on a terrorist interview assignment for All-India Radio somewhere in a northern territory, where he keeps bumping into Meghna (which she says is not even her real name). Despite repeated attempts to get close to Meghna, all Amar really finds himself in is trouble, and after being ditched by Meghna, Amar quickly returns to his family in Delhi and an engagement to the frank and outspoken Priety (Priety Zinta). The audience then learns that Meghna is a terrorist. The script completely falls apart after intermission. Manisha's character waxes and wanes between acting human and acting for her terrorist cause, but with no real pattern or logic to her actions. One minute she will feel guilty about using Shah Rukh in order that she may be incognito in Delhi, while the next minute she doesn't bat an eyelid when he's arrested or in danger. Her breakdown scenes seem extremely forced into the script, and the only reason why these scenes prove even somewhat effective is because Manisha is and remains a phenomenal actress, even in an improperly-defined part like this. The sequence where she tries to cry but the tears won't come out is mind-blowing, and no other actress could have portrayed this scene as well. Shah Rukh's character talks forever about how much he loves Manisha, but his "love" really has no reason to be anything more than infatuation and intrigue. Not once do you have reason to suspect otherwise. Again, Shah Rukh does the best one can do with his role, but the redundancy and ignorant nature of the part work against him. The chase sequence towards the end shows a new, diversely intense side to Mr. Khan's acting. Priety Zinta, in the brief but welcome appearance as a real 90's woman, has a gol-matol face and child-woman quality reminiscent of the late Divya Bharti. What was the message Mani Rathnam was trying to portray with this film? If he wants us to see how the mind of a terrorist works, he failed, as I could never tell what Meghna's pattern of thought was. If it was a statement on the futility of terrorism, the statement is incomplete as we never find out if the assassination plan is carried out by the terrorist group. If it is a statement on love vs. warfare, I don't believe it, because - again - I have no reason to believe that Meghna loves Amar or that Amar is more than infatuated with Meghna. Maybe if Mani highlighted Meghna's transition more from stoic terrorist to sensitive lover, it would be more plausible. Her action at the very end (one that supposedly proves her love for him) seems to come out of the blue. One moment Meghna is telling her group leader how confident she feels about their terrorist plan, and the next moment she gives up the whole terrorist thing by making her final "act of love" to be with Amar. I was very sad and disappointed by this film. Mani Rathnam's strengths are always his intensely-filmed sequences and the portrayal of relationships between people. This film had several great sequences, but the relationship aspect was lacking. This is especially disappointing after we have just seen Maachis, which excellently portrayed the humanity and love of terrorists. A film that had the potential to be in the league of some of the best cinema ever ends up falling flat on its face. If it weren't for Manisha and Shah Rukh's excellent performances and Santosh Sivan's unbelievably good Cinematography, I would give this film a much, much lower rating. Ironically, with a title like Dil Se.., the film loses its heart somewhere along the way.


Film:

Kaun

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Telugu (Evaru)

Year:

1999

Cast:

Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpai, Sushant Singh

Banner:

-

Producer(s):

Mukesh Udeshi

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

(No Songs)

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Mazhar Kamran

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

Anuraag Kashyap

After Satya, Ram Gopal Varma returns to his first love -- the thriller. Kaun bears an uncanny resemblance to a horror film -- for some time at least. Kaun has six principal elements, Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpai, Sushant Singh, the house, the rain and Sandeep Chowtha's background score. The story starts and ends in one stormy night. After her parents go out, the nameless character that Urmila plays is home alone, and the solitude apparently gives her the creeps. As she fiddles around trying to keep her mind occupied she hears news of a killer on the loose, one who murders women alone in their houses. Heartening stuff, really. Bajpai -- whose character is also nameless -- knocks on her door, apparently having got the wrong address. After some time he knocks again, seeking to use her phone. Urmila refuses. Sometime later he knocks again, seeking to come inside since he's dripping wet and it's very cold outside. Urmila asks the persistent young man to find solace in his car. But he comes back yet again because he's locked his keys in his car. Though the prudent heroine won't let him in, she lets him have a cheese sandwich; thereafter he hangs around outside, watching the television within. Of course, you can guess that it will only be a matter of time that he enters the house. And soon the lights go out and Urmila's cat is killed. At this juncture Sushant Kumar makes his appearance, claiming he is a police inspector. After a while, the identities of both Manoj and Sushant become suspect. Urmila infuses her character with just the right amount of paranoia. Bajpai plays a totally different role, where he is irritating, likeable and scary, changing from scene to scene. He plays a person who never loses his cool and he clearly enjoys the part, particularly the bits where he is trying to pacify Urmila and when he is sparring with Sushant. Sushant was first seen in Satya as the local hoarder whose face is slashed by Satya. In Kaun he doesn't have much of a role, though he gives his best to what little he has, making it believable. The many elements within the house are used to good effect -- the fish tank, the bedroom, the hall, the phone, the eerie attic... The director uses a lot of the standard props -- like statues, paintings, the rain -- to keep the tension high. Chowtha's background score has all the necessary elements for a nice, scary flick. The editing is crisp and the camerawork compliments the storyline. But the film is more an experiment in sound than visual effects. There are bits, though, where one felt silence would have been scarier than a heavy soundtrack. The film may have drawn some inspiration from Wait Until Dark and Yash Chopra's Ittefaq, but it has nothing in common with their stories or characters. One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Manoj and Sushant try to make coffee. That has a touch of Tarantino. The same feeling popped up in some scenes in Satya. Writer Anuraag Kashyap fleshes out the story properly though the dialogues could have done with some more tweaking. One scene in particular, in which Bajpai cracks an old, old joke, is the first glimmer of lightness in the film. But the very staleness causes the effect to subside well before the next scene comes on. And that's effective. The film starts with a big scare that leaves you feeling silly and, slowly, as the momentum picks up, it draws you in. You prepare for the worst, and end up jumping at shadows. Though the climax is a little long-drawn and leaves you with some unanswered questions, it delivers the required punch. Done up in masculine black-and-white, Ram Gopal Varma's Mumbai address is a busy place. You'd think he'd have gone home for the holidays, what with his film, Satya, long complete. But the director, today counted among Indian cinema's best, has quietly donned up his clap - board and taken to the floors again. He has begun making his next film, Kaun. Kaun promises out to be a two hour thriller, sans anything (including songs) that night break the tautness of its plot. Ask Varma about the cast of Kaun and you have a quote waiting to leap into print - "Three Characters, four dead bodies, one person on TV, a voice on the phone and thirty junior artistes in a dream sequence. All within a house!" Less dramatically put, Kaun has two main characters, Urmila Matondkar plays the girl alone at home with a killer on the prowl outside. Manoj Bajpai plays "the stranger", the unknown entity who peers through her window that fearful rainy evening. The film covers the hours between 5:30 pm and 2 am. The camera stays with the girl, never leaving the house through those eight tense hours. Varma says that the film is really about the feeling that creeps up your spine when home is no longer a haven. "when even the houses seems to conspire with the man outside. You hate the bed sheet that extends to the floor, the bath curtains that cover the shower, the space behind the door that could hide a man, it is this element of the human psyche that the film captures through the girl home alone". Kaun originated before Satya was completed. The idea interested him so Varma got one of Satya's writers to work on it as soon as the final cut of Satya was ready and the writer free The script quickly shaped up, it found a producer in Mukesh Udeshi, Urmila Matondkar agreed to do the female lead and Manoj Bajpai, who plays the volatile Bhikku Mhatre in Satya, was cast in the other main role, because , says Varma simply "he is the best actor I've worked with". Kaun has the no songs. "The main stream film industry believes that a a film without songs will not make it at the Box-Office. If someone has tried making an interesting film sans songs and that flopped, one might agree with their reasoning, Instead all our films that have songs and 90% of them flop at the Box-Office anyway,", Varma argues, "But in Kaun, they'd only hinder the pace of the story". The most interesting thing about Kaun is that the film is Varma's attempt to break the stranglehold of big budget films, to make a low budget that profits at the Box-Office. What is a low budget film? The director wont commit to a monetary figure, but he explains that it is made with a skeleton unit. "You believe in the script and stick to it, You believe in your actors who are not necessary stars and you cater the film to a niche and not to a mass audience". The publicity for such a film would have to be done creatively, "Very different from the publicity of a large budget, star studded film", says Varma. It would have to attract the movie-goer on the strength of its basic idea. Varma feels that small film tend to fall because everyone from the producers to the actors have an apologetic attitude towards it..."We even give it an apologetic release and somewhere along the line, this attitude rubs off on the audience". Varma aims to keep Kaun true to its script. "And if I don't screw it up", he smiles. "it might return a genre exemplified by films like Kanoon and Ittefaaq, from the '60s and '70s, to the large screen". Shot on a shoestring budget at a reclusive farmhouse in Panvel, Kaun was an experimental horror film. A girl alone in a house, an unnerving stranger, a small-time crook, a stormy night, Ramu's technical sense, Sandeep Chowtha's eerie music and Mazhar Kamran's focused camerawork built up a chilly mood. Urmila's performance was a revelation. The film did well in the metros. Like Raat, Kaun had no songs. Both the films relied on their haunting background scores. He followed it up with Kaun in 1999 a murder mystery involving just 3 characters. It was an innovative movie and again had superb performances by Urmila and Manoj. Kaun was a hit in the metros, but then Ramu has never been too popular in the hinterland.


Prema Katha

Film:

Prema Katha

Language:

Telugu

Year:

1999

Cast:

Sumanth, Antara Mali, Manoj Bajpai, Radhika, Giri Babu, Annapoorna, Narasimha Raju

Banner:

Annapoorna Studios

Producer(s):

Nagarjuna Akkineni

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Venkat Prasad

Editing::

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

Produced on Annapoorna Studios banner by Nagarjuna, introducing his nephew Sumanth as hero, Prema Katha is directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Coming from the two, well known for their flair for finesse and taste, the movie comes as a complete disappointment to the moviegoers who expect gripping entertainers from them. It is a violent love story with weak story line. Suribabu (Sumanth) is a wayward youth wasting time with friends. In the very first meeting he falls in love with a girl (Antara), who comes on a visit from city. Later he comes to know that she is his father's (Narasimha Raju) landlord Janaki Ramayya's (Giri Babu) co-brother-in-law's daughter, Divya. He develops a rapport with her by visiting Janakiramayya's house often. When he reveals his love to his mother Subhadra (Radhika), she tries to reason with him not to entertain any such hopes because, apart from the vast gulf of difference in the social status of the two families, Divya is already engaged to another person. Divya, who is unaware of all this, noticing him to be dull, takes Suribabu to the fields for a walk. On way, his shirt gets torn by the branch of a tree revealing her name tattooed on his chest. Suribabu is forced to confess his love to a shocked Divya. She goes home and spends the night pondering over him and his friendship and decides to marry him. When she conveys her decision to marry him, his happiness knows no bounds. Divya also informs her brother Sankaram (Manoj Bajpai) through Janakiramayya that she does not want to marry the person that has been settled for her earlier. A furious Sankaram comes to the village and on finding the two in a movie hall, flogs Suribabu and drags away Divya. But Suribabu goes to Janakiramayya's house and takes her away. When he comes to know that Sankaram is thrashing his friends to find out their whereabouts, he goes and beats up Sankaram and his gang. Some time later, when Sankaram wants to meet his sister, Suribabu takes him to her. When he tries to convince Divya, she does not budge from her position and an insulted Sankaram leaves in a huff. When their marriage is under progress, with the support of the elders, Sankaram lands with his men and in the ensuing fight, everybody gets killed.

Director Varma, known for making a different statement in every movie, fails to make his mark and proffers a mediocre movie with hardly any story content. Failing to portray the strong bonds of love between the lovers, he kills them in the end. New comer, Sumanth proved his acting prowess, while Manoj Bajpai is impressive. Rest of the cast has done well. Music score by Sandeep Chowtha is melodious. Cameraman Venkat Prasad captured the gorgeous Konaseema scenes brilliantly in his camera. The movie categorically proves to Varma, who relies on his technical excellence, that technique is only a tool that can enhance the effect when coupled with good story content and by itself cannot carry a movie on its shoulders.


Mast

Film:

Mast

Language:

Hindi, dubbed in Telugu (Mast)

Year:

October 15, 1999

Cast:

Aftab Shivdasani, Urmila Matondkar, Antara Mali, Govind Namdeo, Neeraj Vora, Dalip Tahil, Snehal

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

Samir Chanda

Cinematography:

-

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

-

Dialogues:

-


Review by Faisal Sheriff from rediff.com

Yes, a must see. If not for the storyline, if not for Urmila Matondkar, if not for the music, then because most of us, somewhere within, nurture this secret fantasy of realising our wildest dreams. And that is what Mast is all about. Realising a dream. In an interview with rediff.com, confessed he was inspired by his personal infatuation with Sridevi in his younger days. There actually is a cameo scene where a rickshaw driver arrives in Mumbai in search of Sridevi and, when he learns of the truth, curses Boney Kapoor till kingdom come.

As for the story, it's something like this...

Krishna Kant aka Kittu (Aftab Shivdasani), a final year student in Pune, belongs to the quintessential happy family -- an affectionate mother, a sensitive father and an inquisitive, but adorable, sister. He is madly in love with a famous film star, Mallika (Urmila). And, as a result of this obsessive fascination, he fails his exams. After another song and dance dream sequence, his father, in a fit of rage, storms into Kittu's room and tears every Mallika poster in it into bits. Fuming at this sacrilege, Kittu walks out on his family and catches a train to Bombay. Of course, ticket less. He somehow reaches Mallika's house, but is forced to return with nary a glimpse of his cherished idol. Kittu finds refuge in a caf้, run by Usmaan Bhai (Neeraj Vora), right next to Mallika's mansion.  The entry of the support cast at this stage really livens the movie. Their theatrics, with some help from Aati kya Khandala Nitin Raikawar, add an element of humour to a film that keep threatening to get serious. The Chiku Mhatre scene, in particular, is rib-tickling. Anyway, coming back to the boy from Pune who landed empty-handed at Bombay's railway station, he begins to wear expensive, branded T-shirts everyday and, for reasons unknown, is treated like a king by the owner of the cafe. Kittu, in subsequent reels, goes on to find out that is that his fair lady is mistreated by an evil uncle who seems to have complete control over her. He somehow manages to get into her house, witnesses a torture session and knocks the wicked uncle out. Kittu then convinces Mallika that he is her one true saviour. If you think the plot sounds unconvincing, you have to see the movie to realise how smoothly the director pulls it off. Aftab is a major disappointment, all sound and no fury. Varma had said he was looking for someone with a dreamy look. Something that Aftab seems to have taken a little too seriously. He banks too much on his cute looks and fails to create the contrast between Kittu, the kid next door, and Mallika, the star. In contrast, Urmila seems to be improving with every film. She looks fresh and, though her character is not taut, she carries it off well. But because Urmila is from the film industry, it becomes a little difficult to accept her as a terrorised actress. The surprise package of the movie is Nisha (Antara Mali), Kittu's childhood friend who is madly in love with him. Her confidence is amazing and her performance, outstanding. Though, she does not have a meaty role, she holds her own and leaves a lasting impression. Varma once again succeeds in creating characters who score over his main star cast. Sandeep Chowtha's music is like the curate's egg, good in parts but a disappointment on the whole. The title song, voiced by Sandeep Chowtha, just fails to match Aftab's character. Ruki ruki thi zindagi is the only other hummable number in the film. Manish Malhotra might walk away with the Best Dress Designer's trophy yet again, but what we see in the movie are designer labels; DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Vagera. Which makes one wonder -- where is the designing? The dance sequences in the film are well picturised; the title song, in particular, stands out. Dalip Tahil does a neat job as Kittu's father and amuses with his hidden fixation for Rekha, highlighted towards the end when the camera pans to a picture of Rekha hidden in his wardrobe. The movie climaxes with proverbial twists, but still keeps one interested all the way. As for the end, you have to see it to believe it. It's a Mast end!


Jungle

Film:

Jungle

Language:

Hindi

Year:

1999

Cast:

Fardeen Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Raju Kher, Sushant Singh, Sunil Shetty, Makrand Deshpande, Kashmira Shah

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

Bharat Shah

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director;

Samir Chanda

Cinematography:

Vijay Arora

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Ram Gopal Varma

Dialogues:

-

Review by Aparajitha Saha from rediff.com

An ominous premonition of evil and a lingering sense of foreboding aptly sum up the menace exuded in Ram Gopal Varma's Jungle. The lush foliage, wrapping the terrain beneath in darkness, and the predatory dangers lurking within, provide a convincingly threatening backdrop for Varma to unleash the primeval malevolence of man. Like the peaceful day before the nightmare, the movie unfolds with two lovers, Anu (Urmila Matondkar) and Sidhu (Fardeen Khan), daydreaming about their life together. Fate (and the demands of the script) takes Anu, Sidhu and Anu's family on a holiday to a forest resort. And all unknowing, they enter the realm of the ruthless Durga Narayan Chowdhury (Sushant) and his band. Narayan's curriculum vitae, for those interested, began tamely enough with petty acts of sandalwood and ivory smuggling, before he graduates into a purveyor of mass terror. The two groups meet, in circumstances fraught with tension and danger. Narayan Chowdhury holds the motley group of vacationers hostage, demanding in exchange the release of one of his men, imprisoned by task force commander Shiv Raj (Sunil Shetty).

Shiv Raj's mission in life is to capture the dreaded terrorist, and quite a few of his soldiers have already been sacrificed on the altar of that particular ambition. To add fuel to the incendiary mix, Narayan Chowdhury develops an obsession for Anu. And this fascination with, and desire for, the unattainable sets off a chain of violence that ends -- inevitably -- in destruction.

The above storyline, trite as it is, does not convey the frenetic pace of storytelling and the raw, animal magnetism the movie exudes.

Ram Gopal Varma's specialty is using his characters to strike sparks off each other, and getting his cast to deliver credible performances. Jungle is no different. The eclectic assortment of people adds to the richness of the film, while the fact that most of the cast is relatively unknown frees Varma from the need to adhere to existing stereotypes attached to the protagonists. Fardeen redeems himself, after the disaster that was Prem Aggan, while Urmila reaffirms her credentials in the histrionics department. With this movie, Sunil Shetty is finally initiated into the school of acting, as he turns in a restrained, controlled performance. But the real stars of the movie are the non-heroes. Sushant (who made his debut in Varma's Satya) is terrifyingly real as the man without a conscience. Theater veteran Makrand Deshpande is impressive as resort owner Doraiswamy. Rajpal Yadav haunts you, with eyes that convey a million emotions, while Kashmira Shah finally dares to act more and bare less. Sandeep Chowtha's music brings welcome relief to tension fraught moments, the score fitting seamlessly into the mood of the film. Cinematographer Vijay Arora captures the sinister beauty of the dense surroundings. And above all, Ram Gopal Varma plays on his story, and his cast, to create a slick, fast-paced film that has his stamp all over it. 

Jungle is a movie where the violence is believable, the tension palpable, the emotions credible and the performances real.


Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya

Film:

Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya

Language:

Hindi

Year:

2001

Cast:

Fardeen Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Suresh Oberoi

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation;

-

Director:

Rajat Mukherjee

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

-

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Rajat Mukherjee

Dialogues:

-

A happy-go-lucky photographer Jai (Fardeen Khan). A headstrong, spoilt rich girl Ria (Urmila). Girl meets boy. Girl fights with boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Sounds familiar. Just like your regular Hindi film. That is the story of Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya up to the intermission. Post which comes the twist: The guy doesn't love the girl. He is happily married and crazy about his wife Gita (Sonali Kulkarni). The uneasy triangle emerges. Ria turns obsessive. Threatens to jump off the building. Calls him in the middle of the night. Visits Gita in the hospital after injuring her. And spins lies to sow the seed of doubt in Gita's mind. Anything to get the man she loves. Jai meanwhile tries to hold on to his sanity and marriage. Gita tries not to let the doubts and suspicions creep in. And the story of Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya unravels. The first half has a few breezy scenes coupled with humour. Rajat Mukherjee builds the suspense with few clues to let the viewer know that something is amiss: the maniacal gleam in Ria's eyes, her headstrong behaviour with her father. Barring Fardeen's entry in a song from nowhere, the characters are well etched. From a stubborn brat, Ria emerges a woman who blooms under Jai's attention. And Jai changes from an easygoing photographer to a man desperately trying to make his marriage work, despite all odds. The second half which shows Ria slipping into a depression and trying to come to grips with her emotions is very convincingly portrayed. The scenes in the second half are intense, quick, racy. The pressure builds as Rajat Mukherjee depicts how Ria's insinuations test the roots of a marriage. Of how, little by little, suspicion creeps in. The frustration of a man caught between trying to save his marriage and yet trying to help another human being by doing the right thing. Of how he loses his patience and his control snaps as Urmila's love for him turns more obsessive and almost has his wife's life in danger. The scenes leading to the climax are feverish. Jai patiently trying to convince Ria that he is not the man for her; Ria walking into a fight between Fardeen and Sonali; Urmila trying to convince Sonali in the hospital that there is a relationship happening between her and Fardeen are scenes that lend the film the character. Gita's insecurity as she constantly seeks reassurance that she is beautiful and loved, Ria's continuous struggle to win Jai and her fight against depression, are well portrayed. The scenes are heavy, the edgy Cinematography in sync with the realistic mood of the film. No loud colours, no unreal situations, just the story told. Though the camera angles and some of the costumes are very unflattering, the sharp editing and the background score will keep the audience tuned. Fardeen Khan essays the role of a smooth charming photographer with his easy lines and I-am-so-cool demeanor. He still needs to work his way through some of the emotional scenes, which could have been more convincing. The film, though, belongs to Urmila Matondkar. She plays the role to a T. Especially convincing is the climax scene and also the confrontation scene between Urmila and Sonali. Lending a certain credibility to the character, Urmila makes you believe that it is so easy to go to any lengths for a man you love. Fortunately, Rajat Mukherjee, does not make any apologies for Urmila's character. The Ram Gopal Varma hangover stays throughout the film. While the script and screenplay are not very strong, the crisp editing and the taut scenes add to the edge and anticipation. But, in extracting performances from Fardeen and Urmila, Rajat Mukherjee fails to explore the marriage angle, neglecting Sonali Kulkarni's character completely. The actress doesn't really have much of a role, unfortunately. The songs, though, by Sandeep Chowtha, are totally in tandem with the emotion of the film. Take the wistful title song and the eye-pleasing Kambakth ishq.., to the intensely dramatic Rondhe hai.., Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya... Well publicised and slickly promoted, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya might appeal more to the metros than anywhere else.


Company

Film:

Company

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2002

Cast:

Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi, Mohanlal, Akash Khurana, Manisha Koirala, Antara Mali, Seema Biswas, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz

Banner:

Vyjayanthi Movies/Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma, Boney Kapoor, Ashwini Dutt

Presentation:

Boney Kapoor

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Abbas Tyrewalla

Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Background Music:

Sandeep Chowtha

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Hemant Chaturvedi

Editing:

Chandan Arora

Story & Screenplay:

Jaideep Sahni

Dialogues:

Jaideep Sahni

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

Movie MagiK Review of Company

High on hype, high on substance as well! That sums up COMPANY, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. One has witnessed underworld sagas since time immemorial. But COMPANY has a new language – a language that's even more hard-hitting when compared to its predecessors. And, of course, it's ingenuous as well. A saga of two friends – Malik (Ajay Devgan) and Chandu (Vivek Oberoi) – the story travels from the streets of Mumbai to Hong Kong and then Nairobi. Malik is a trusted lieutenant of an underworld don. He recruits Chandu in the gang when the activities begin to expand. Differences between Malik and his colleagues surface when Malik starts siding Chandu. Malik decides to take the reins in his hands and together with Chandu, starts running the 'company'. Later, they shift base to Hong Kong and start remote controlling their men from this foreign land. But a misunderstanding turns the two friends into foes. In a bid to achieve supremacy, they decide to eliminate the other. Malik stays in Hong Kong with his close associates (Manisha Koirala, Ganesh Yadav, Rajpal Yadav), while Chandu shifts to Nairobi. The dangerous game of death begins! This is the second time that Varma is attempting a film of this genre, after SATYA, and like his previous attempt, COMPANY also underlines a message that is loud and clear – Crime never pays. The initial reels are easygoing. The storytelling is ordinary and the pace is just about okay. But the film gathers momentum once the two friends decide to run the 'company' together. And the narrative gets even more interesting when the friends turn foes. The best thing about the film is that it catches you unaware at several paces. Just when you start thinking 'What next?', comes up an incident that wobbles you completely. The post-interval portions are even more captivating than the first part. This part focuses entirely on the enmity aspect, with subtle doses of emotions attached to the characters so that they don't become one-dimensional. Ajay's sequences with Manisha and Vivek's with his wife (Antara Mali) and mother (Seema Biswas) subsequently are brilliantly executed. The climax is unconventional, but just right keeping the graph of the film in mind. Directorially, Varma takes you to a world that is much-discussed and has become a part of our everyday life. One identifies instantly with the goings-on. Picking up incidents from newspaper and television news headlines, the narrative gives the viewer a microscopic view of how the mafia functions. The director's contribution is visible in several sequences in the film, like –* Ajay and Vivek corner their colleagues in the car and shoot them at point blank range;
* The sequence in the Commissioner's (Mohanlal) office, when the Commissioner questions Ajay, Vivek and Akash Khurana soon after the shoot out at a studio;
* The misunderstanding that results in the friendship going kaput and Akash Khurana's murder;
* Ajay's blood-thirsty men entering Vivek's hideout in Nairobi in a bid to eliminate him;
* Manisha and Antara coming face to face in a shopping centre;
* Vivek's telephonic conversation with his mother, wife and brother-in-law from the hospital, where he is undergoing treatment;
* Antara rushing to Hong Kong and the subsequent scene with Ajay and Manisha when she points the gun at Ajay;
* The culmination of Ajay's character…
If at all the viewer feels slightly letdown, it's on two counts –* One, the post-interval portions tend to get a bit too heavy, with no relief in the form of light moments;
* Two, absence of songs in the film. The film boasts of just one song – the immensely popular 'Khallas' – while the remaining songs form part of the background. Writer Jaideep Sahni deserves a pat for serialising the occurrences to precision. Sandeep Chowtha's background music is first-rate. It enhances the impact of several sequences. Action sequences (Allan Amin) are realistic and are sure to pick an award or two for their skilful execution. Cinematography (Hemant Chaturvedi) is up to the mark. Ajay Devgan enacts his role to perfection. A controlled performance, the actor takes to this complex character like a fish takes to water. He underplays his part with admirable ease.
Vivek Oberoi surprises you with a performance that is a cut above the rest. He seems to have prepared for the character, bestowing it with finer nuances. The usage of the slum dweller's dialect and the intonations give his character a vividly distinct look. A performance that merits the highest marks! Mohanlal is excellent as the tough cop. His South Indian accent gels well with his role. His scenes with Vivek Oberoi towards the latter part of the film are refined. Manisha Koirala doesn't have a meaty role, but she expresses herself magnificently through gestures. She looks the part she plays. Antara Mali is superb. Playing a completely deglamourised role, she makes her presence felt in a male-dominated flick. Seema Biswas is outstanding as Vivek's mother. Akash Khurana is effective. Bharat Dabholkar, Rajpal Yadav, Ganesh Yadav and Vijay Raaz support well. On the whole, COMPANY is amongst Ram Gopal Varma's finest works. A stylishly narrated tale, the film will win plaudits and reap a rich harvest at the Box-Office for its hard-hitting content.


Road

Film:

Road - Only accidents don't kill. Drive carefully (Very)

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2002

Cast:

Vivek Oberoi, Antara Mali, Manoj Bajpai, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Sayaji Shinde, Makrand Deshpande, Snehal

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation;

-

Director:

Rajat Mukherjee

Lyrics:

Abbas Tyrewalla

Music:

Sandesh Shandilya

Background Music:

Amar Mohile

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Sudeep Chatterjee

Editing::

Chandan Arora

Story & Screenplay:

Rajneesh Thakur, Rajat Mukherjee

Dialogues:

Rajneesh Thakur

Action:

Allan Amin

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

It sure requires guts to attempt a film of this genre. Ram Gopal Varma's Road, directed by Rajat Mukherjee, defies all norms of commercial Hindi cinema. Road is about Aravind (Vivek Oberoi) and Lakshmi (Antara Mali) who love each other. They flee their homes when their parents oppose their relationship. On the way, they come across Babu (Manoj Bajpai), who asks for a lift. What happens next, forms the crux of the story. Inspired by Steven Spielberg's English flick Duel, Road tackles a theme that is alien for Hindi movie buffs. Shot at the picturesque locales of Rajasthan, the novel thing about the film is its plot – three characters and their misadventures on a deserted road. Road starts off as a love story and later comes straight to the point. As far as the plot is concerned, yes, producer Ram Gopal Varma and director Rajat Mukherjee deserve a pat for deviating from the mushy love stories/mindless action flicks to come up with something that's genuinely 'hatke'. The story actually gathers momentum when the lovers give a lift to Manoj Bajpai and how, slowly, Bajpai's eccentric behaviour comes to the fore. The film keeps you on tenterhooks all through the first half, thanks to its share of chills and thrills. The introductions of an eerie Vijay Raaz and a happy-go-lucky Makrand Deshpande add zing to the enterprise. In a nutshell, the first half is like one of those roller coaster rides that's thoroughly enjoyable. But the film falters in the post-interval portions. Though the look of the film remains consistent, the script goes for a toss in the latter half. There are loopholes in the screenplay and they partly erase the indelible impression that the first half had left on the viewer.
Instances:

* The introductions of several new characters in the second half (Raj Zutshi and Ganesh Yadav) are half as exciting as the characters in the first. Actually, Zutshi's character has no relevance to the story.
* Two, the story suddenly focuses more on Manoj Bajpai in this half, sidelining Vivek Oberoi in the process. From the script point of view, one does feel the absence of the hero in passages. There's no denying that director Rajat Mukherjee has presented the story with style and panache. Right from the titles to the last frame, the craftsmanship is visible in every frame. The shot execution is simply fabulous.
But Mukherjee ought to have concentrated on the content as well. The writing (Rajneesh Thakur) leaves something to be desired. In order to accommodate Manoj Bajpai in the second half or perhaps, to exhibit his (Bajpai) wide range as a performer, the writer has jumbled up an otherwise captivating plot. Sandesh Shandilya's music is easy on the ears and two tracks can easily be singled out – Makhmali Ye Badan and Kya Ye Pyaar Hai. The background music (Amar Mohile) is superb and enhances the impact of several sequences. Cinematography (Sudeep Chatterjee) is fabulous. The chase sequences (Allan Amin) are fantastic. The sound effects (Arun Nambiar) deserve a special mention. Manoj Bajpai stages a comeback with gusto with Road. The actor gives it all to this performance and is sure to walk away with plaudits. Vivek Oberoi impresses a great deal, but how one wishes the writer wouldn't have relegated him to the background in the second half. Antara Mali exhibits her anatomy and her talent freely. Amongst the character artistes, Rajpal Yadav (excellent) and Makrand Deshpande (good) stand out. On the whole, Road caters more to the city audience and would appeal to those who understand and appreciate cinema of this genre. Its business will taper as it moves from cities to towns to interiors. Nevertheless, an interesting flick to watch!


Bhoot

Film:

Bhoot - Be Afraid

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2003

Cast:

Rekha, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Urmila Matondkar, Fardeen Khan, Tanuja, Seema Biswas, Victor Banerjee

Banner:

Dream Merchants

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma, Nitin Manmohan

Presentation;

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma

Lyrics:

Lalit Marathe, Praveen Bharadwaj, Jaideep Sahni

Music:

Salim-Sulaimaan, Amar Mohile, Anand Raj Anand

Background Music:

Dwarak Warrier

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Vishal Sinha

Editing::

Shimit Amin

Story & Screenplay:

Sameer Sharma, Lalit Marathe

Dialogues:

Sameer Sharma, Lalit Marathe

Action:

Allan Amin

Sound:

Dwarak Warrier

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

Flashback 1960s �

Horror films in Hindi cinema have been presented in a routine fashion over the years. The sound of the door, the owl on a tree, the pitch-dark night, the blowing of the wind, the soft movement of curtains, the lights going off�

Flashback 1970s �

The Ramsays redefine the genre. The skull in the verandah, the dead body being buried in the backyard, the aatma resurfacing to avenge the murder, the scar-faced ghost�

Nothing of the sort happens in BHOOT, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. BHOOT is atmospheric, spooky, bloodless and carried by strong acting and fleshed out characters.

Dream Merchants Enterprise's BHOOT is an urban supernatural thriller set in Mumbai city.

Vishal [Ajay Devgan], a stock analyst, is in search for a flat for his wife Swati [Urmila Matondkar] and him. He finds the perfect place on the 12th floor of a tall apartment building.

The flat has a problem� the previous occupant, a young woman, had plunged to her death from the balcony. But a non-superstitious Vishal does not let this affect his decision to shift in. He just neglects to inform Swati about this.

Eventually, Swati finds out about the young woman's death. She starts losing sleep over it. She begins to see things. She gets distressed. What Vishal thinks is a psychological problem begins to unravel into the unexplainable. He becomes helpless.

In a fight to save Swati, Vishal will have to reach out into the horrifying and discover the truth.

RGV defies several 'rules' of Hindi cinema, like �

Rule 1: Hindi films are incomplete without songs.
RGV has done away with the mandatory song-dance sequences in BHOOT. In fact, the film has no songs at all and one doesn't miss songs in an enterprise like this.

Rule 2: The makers need to intersperse comedy with the intense portions to balance the proceedings and provide 'relief' to the viewer.
There're no 'light moments' or 'relief factors' in the film. In fact, the film is so very content-driven that one hardly longs for any 'relief' or 'light moments'.

Rule 3: The hero has to romance the heroine, otherwise the romantic track looks incomplete.
The romantic track exists, but has been treated differently. The intimacy between the couple is more mature, unlike the routine stuff.

Rule 4: Matching the star cast with heavy production values is a must. Foreign locations/grand sets enhance the look of the film.
One of the USPs of this 1 hour, 59 minutes' film is that the story is set in the middle of the city. There's tremendous identification with the goings-on, with every character looking believable. The desire to watch breath-taking visuals does not surface in a film like this.

The first time the ghost appears, you get a shock of your life. And then the ghost comes face to face with Urmila Matondkar. The impact is eerie. So strong is the impact that the sequence stays with you even after the show has ended and you've retired to bed.

The murder at the interval point raises the expectations from the second half. Post-interval, more characters are introduced � Nana Patekar [who comes a scene before the intermission!], Rekha, Tanuja, Fardeen Khan, Victor Banerjee� and the reasons that prompted the ghost to haunt the house are unveiled.

The sequences thereafter, right till the climax, have a nail-biting effect. It keeps you on the edge all the while.

RGV is in complete form this time around. Undoubtedly one of the best makers in India today, RGV proves yet again that he has the guts to take the untrodden path and come up with awe-inspiringly different stuff. The director's contribution looms large in every frame.

However, the only 'flaw' if any is its climax. This is one aspect that may not find complete acceptance from a section of the audience that doesn't believe in the supernatural.

Writers Sameer Sharma and Lalit Marathe have developed a complex subject with dexterity. Identification with the story is a major asset of the film. From the screenplay point of view, the story moves on a singular track all through, without deviating into unwanted tracks. It's refreshingly different from the formula-ridden stuff.

Two more aces of the film are Dwarak Warrier's sound effects and
Salim-Sulaimaan's background score. Both are of international quality. In fact, sound plays a major role in a film like this and RGV has ensured that the sound quality is superior. Vishal Sinha's cinematography is appropriate.

The performances are of a high order. Ajay Devgan enacts a role that is in sharp contrast to his action image � he plays a helpless husband remarkably. Nana Patekar is extremely competent as the tough-talking cop. Rekha is superb in her role, while Fardeen Khan [neighbour] registers an impact in a small but significant role.

Tanuja [mother] proves yet again that she's a dependable performer. Victor Banerjee [psychiatrist] is first-rate. Ditto for Seema Biswas [house maid], whose performance adds to the mystery.

But the film clearly belongs to Urmila Matondkar all the way. To state that she is excellent would be doing gross injustice to her work. Sequences when she is possessed are simply astounding. If this performance doesn't deserve an award, no other performance should. It beats all competition hollow.

On the whole, BHOOT is a richly rewarding experience for the discerning horror fan. It has thrills and chills to entice, excite and scare the viewer. At the box-office, the film should prove to be a winner all the way. Business at multiplexes will prove to be the best.

Rating:- * * * ฝ.


Darna Mana Hai

Film:

Darna Mana Hai

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2003

Cast:

Vivek Oberoi, Nana Patekar, Shilpa Shetty, Saif Ali Khan, Isha Koppikar, Sanjay Kapoor

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation;

-

Director:

Prawaal Raman

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Salim-Sulaimaan

Background Music:

-

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

-

Editing::

-

Story & Screenplay:

-

Dialogues:

-

Action:

-

Review by Kunal Shah, India Syndicate.

Prawaal Raman's Darna Mana Hai is an interesting concept of six stories woven into one main story. The story varies from the eerie, scary, weird to the diverse, and each character in the film narrates a tale, but little do they realise that they themselves are a part of one.

Six friends are on their way back home after a holiday, and their car breaks down when they pass through a jungle. They are forced to take shelter in an old-deserted building in the middle of the jungle. To pass their time, they start narrating different stories to one another. The stories they tell are not only weird, but also scary and then their worst fears come true when they themselves become a part of a horrifying story themselves.

The film kicks of with the story of a honeymoon couple -- Sohail Khan and Antara Mali-- who encounter a unfortunate situation when their car breaks down in midst of a jungle. Then there is a story of two guys in Nana Patekar and Vivek Oberoi where Nana tries to make a bakra out of Vivek by posing as a dead man. But Nana turns out to be the bakra himself as Vivek himself is a ghost. Then there is the story of a teacher played by Raghuveer Yadav, who has been instrumental in killing someone when he was a kid. The kid in him comes back in the form of a student and makes him lose his mental balance.

Also, there is a weird story of a woman -- Shilpa Shetty -- who buys apple for cheap from a weird apple seller, Rajpal Yadav and everyone including her husband, who eats the apple transform themselves into apples. There is another interesting story of a hotel where an eccentric hotel owner kills you if you smoke inside the hotel. This story has Saif and Boman Irani playing important roles. Finally there is also a story of Aftab who gets power from God himself to stop anyone and everyone and move them as per his will.

The format of the entire film is very different and there is an ongoing story happening in between this narration. These weird stories vary from good to average to bad ones. This hampers the smooth flow of the film. Like for example, the stories of Nana-Vivek and Saif-Boman are excellent.

On the other hand the stories of Raghuveer-Revathy and Shilpa Shetty-Rajpal-Sanjay Kapoor are not interesting enough. Aftab-Isha and Sohail-Antara stories are average. If all the stories had been good, the film would have been a path breaker in its own right. Also, the main story involving these six friends, who include Sameera, Sushant and Gaurav , promises to have an interesting climax, but turns out to be a major disappointment.

Thankfully, this film does not have songs, which helps Prawaal a lot in his valiant effort. However, a major problem of the film is that it is not at all scary and does not have those necessary thrills one would have expected in the film. There is no fear element in the film. This makes the film an average flick.

The roles are so small that you also cannot judge performances in the little screen time that all the stars are given. Still, the performers who stand out are Boman Irani, Rajpal Yadav, Raghuveer Yadav, Vivek Oberoi and Sameera Reddy.

Prawaal Raman should be complemented for the kind of theme he has chosen to make his debut. He has also managed to weave all the stories into a single frame beautifully enough. If only all the stories would have been good, he would have had a winner in his hands.

At the box-office, the film will definitely attract the city audiences due to the uniqueness in the film. And, business in cities will be the best.


Mein Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon

Film:

Mein Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2003

Cast:

Antara Mali, Rajpal Yadav, Govind Namdeo, Raman Trikha, Sudhir Pandey, Reeta Bhaduri, Benjamin Gilani, Vandana Sajnani.

Banner:

Entertainment One/Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation;

-

Director:

Chandan Arora

Lyrics:

-

Music:

-

Background Music:

-

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

-

Editing::

Chandan Arora

Story & Screenplay:

Chandan Arora

Dialogues:

-

Action:

-

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

It calls for immense fortitude to break the norms set by makers of formula-ridden Hindi cinema. Ram Gopal Varma's MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON, directed by Chandan Arora, is an attempt at trying to give the audience something different.

So, does MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON succeed in its endeavour? Partly!

MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON tells the story of Chutki [Antara Mali], who aspires to be as famous as Madhuri Dixit. Living with her parents and younger sister in a small town, Gajrola, the youngster is a die-hard fan of Madhuri Dixit.

The story takes a turn when she decides to come to Mumbai to fulfil her dreams. But her parents throw a spanner and decide to get her married instead.

Raja [Rajpal Yadav] and Chutki have been childhood friends and though he doesn't express his feelings to her, his heart pines for her.

When Raja learns that Chutki's parents have chosen a groom for her, he hatches a plot: Let's get married, he tells Chutki, and board the next train to Mumbai to fulfill her dreams.

Chutki agrees and so do their parents and the two get married. Under the pretext of starting a business in Mumbai, Chutki and Raja leave for Mumbai.

But the starry-eyed Chutki and Raja have to face obstacles at every step. From finding an accommodation to entering a film studio to meeting a director, the ride to Bollywood is bumpy.

But her struggle pays off as she gets chosen for a music video and subsequently bags a film starring duplicates of top stars. Unfortunately, the film, when released, meets with a dismal response at the box-office.

Chutki is heartbroken. Raja and Chutki pack their bags and return to Gajrola. What happens next?

Although a number of films with Bollywood as the backdrop have been attempted in the past, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON brings back memories of two films -- GUDDI [Hrishikesh Mukherjee] and MAST [RGV].

The first half of the film depicts the aspirations of the girl convincingly. The perils and the hazards that Chutki and Raja encounter at every step, from the time they arrive in Mumbai to facing the camera for the first time for a video, are straight out of life.

Director Chandan Arora has laced humourous and emotional moments in the first half. The light moments, in plenty, do succeed in bringing a smile on your face. At the same time, the thorny road to stardom has been depicted without resorting to running down the film fraternity or showing the film industry in a negative light.

Post-interval, the story continues to move forward, but the pace drops at this juncture. Although the story moves on a singular track, somehow it does not measure up to the expectations raised by the first half.

But the turn of events in the pre-climax -- when Chutki's film opens to empty houses -- uplifts the film again. The sequence inside a near-vacant cinema hall -- where the film is being screened -- is simply brilliant. Even the end of the film catches the viewer unaware and is, in fact, an apt culmination to the film.

Editor turned director Chandan Arora is a welcome addition to the growing list of directors for whom substance matters more than stars. Although the film doesn't star a single known name, the director has extracted wonderful performances from the entire cast. Technically too, the film is just right.

The songs -- most of Madhuri's numbers -- have been presented with a different beat and the results are satisfactory. 'Maar Dala' [from DEVDAS] and 'Dhak Dhak Karne Laga' [from BETA] can easily be singled out for near-perfect rendition.

Cinematography is inconsistent. The auditorium sequence, for instance, could've been better lit. Dialogues are realistic.

Now to the performances! Antara Mali is brilliant as Chutki, expressing the gamut of emotions with ้lan. The vulnerability that her character exudes comes across very well. Rajpal Yadav is outstanding yet again. The actor conveys the helplessness with utmost precision.

Raman Trikha is confident and excels in that one scene when he confronts Antara in her house. Govind Namdeo shines in a significant role. Sudhir Pandey is first-rate. Reeta Bhaduri is fair. Benjamin Gilani is competent. Vandana Sajnani is adequate.

On the whole, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON is nothing short of an experiment which will meet with diverse reactions -- some would love it, some would ignore it. At the box-office, the film caters to a niche audience who have an appetite for different cinema. Business at multiplexes in metros should prove to be better.

Rating:- * *.


Ek Hasina Thi

Film:

Ek Hasina Thi

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2004

Cast:

Urmila Matondkar, Saif Ali Khan, Seema Biswas, Aditya Srivastava, Pratima Kazmi.

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma, R.R. Venkat Rao

Presentation;

-

Director:

Sriram Raghavan

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Amar Mohile

Background Music:

Dwarak Warrier

Art Director:

Shyam De

Cinematography:

C.K. Muraleedharan

Editing::

Sanjib Datta

Story & Screenplay:

Pooja Ladha Surti

Dialogues:

-

Action:

Yusuf Khan

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

Ram Gopal Varma. The name is synonymous with films with substance. The name also corresponds with films that rebel against the set-patterns, rules, norms and formulas of Bollywood masala flicks.

His latest venture, EK HASINA THI, directed by Sriram Raghavan, is no exception!

First things first! EK HASINA THI is not a copy of director Bruce Beresford's DOUBLE JEOPARDY [1999; cast: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood], as is being widely speculated. The story of the film has a miniscule bit of that film � of a woman seeking revenge, but the similarities end there.

For that matter, EK HASINA THI also brings back memories of Mahesh Bhatt's GUMRAH [Sridevi, Sanjay Dutt; this film was inspired by BANGKOK HILTON], but one has witnessed the wronged woman seeking revenge in Rakesh Roshan's KHOON BHARI MAANG [Rekha, Kabir Bedi; this film was inspired by RETURN TO EDEN] as well.

EK HASINA THI deals with the fury of a woman wronged, but the story, situations and the treatment of the narrative cannot be compared to any Bollywood flick witnessed so far.

EK HASINA THI is nonconforming and appeals tremendously!

Varma Corporation Ltd. and K. Sera Sera's EK HASINA THI tells the story of Sarika [Urmila Matondkar], a single working woman in Mumbai.

 Karan [Saif Ali Khan], a globetrotting dashing bachelor, sweeps Sarika off her feat. The two decide to get married.

But one incident plunges Sarika into a nightmare. She is arrested. Jailed.

Dumped in prison with a bunch of hardened women criminals, she vows to erase the person she once was and emerge anew. But to do so, Karan and Sarika must confront the truth about each other.

Attempting a songless thriller for the third time in one year [BHOOT, DARNA MANA HAI and EK HASINA THI], RGV and debutante director Raghavan come straight to the point at the very start of this film.

EK HASINA THI begins with a flashback and as the reels unfold, the viewer gradually slips into a world of deceit, treachery and betrayal. The narrative moves at a brisk pace, with the viewer being on the edge all the while.

The slimy, mean character [portrayed brilliantly by Saif[ comes to the fore in the first reel itself, yet the turn of events continues to keep you engrossed and immersed. The twist in the tale � right from the time Urmila is arrested till her confession in the courtroom � takes the film to an all-time high.

The interval point � when Saif stands exposed and Urmila decides to take him to task � increases the curiosity value tremendously. The viewer awaits with bated breath the course the story would take in the post-interval portions.

The first half has some outstandingly executed sequences, notable among them being the ones that take place in the prison. The transformation of a simple middle class city girl to a hardened woman is amongst the most convincing aspects of the enterprise.

The story takes a different route in the second half. If the first half focuses on Urmila and the unfortunate incidents that take place in her life, the second half throws light on the sequence of events in Saif's life.

Saif's character is more elaborate in this half, as he leads his life in the fast lane, continuing with the murky business. When the two cross path again amidst volatile situations [she is being chased by the cops, he by the underworld], the film takes an interesting turn.

The film reaches a nail-biting crescendo and the culmination to the story appears completely justified. The woman doesn't want to eliminate the culprit so easily � she doesn't choose to eliminate him instantly. How she plans to settle scores sends a chill down the spine.

 Given the fact that it's a song less film and has an undercurrent of tension all through, the goings-on tend to get slightly heavy towards the second half. If trimmed slightly [in the post-interval portions], it should only prove advantageous.

Director Sriram Raghavan is a director to watch! The expertise with which he has handled the tense-filled moments should win him all-round praise. He strikes the right balance between realism and commercialism, between form and content.

The background music [Amar Mohile] is fantastic, enhancing the impact of sequences considerably. Cinematography [C. K. Murlidharan] is amongst the assets of the film. The sound quality [Dwarak Warrier] is top notch.

Besides a tight screenplay, the film rests on two solid performances, that of Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar. Saif seems to have emerged as one of the finest actors we have today. If he was lovable in DIL CHAHTA HAI and KAL HO NAA HO, you would hate him for being iniquitous in EK HASINA THI. His second outing at negativity [KYA KEHNA was his first negative role!], Saif handles the part like a pro. This film is sure to multiply his fan following tremendously, besides consolidating his status as one of the bests in the profession.

Urmila delivers yet another knock-out performance. After BHOOT and PINJAR, her romance with author-backed roles continues. The feeling of being used and abused is displayed to perfection by this actress in EK HASINA THI. A tricky role that demands histrionics, the actress takes to her part like a fish takes to water. She leaps ahead with this performance!

 Seema Biswas [cop] is fantastic. Pratima Kazmi [gangster operating from prison] is first-rate. Aditya Shrivastav [lawyer] is effective.

On the whole, EK HASINA THI, in the spirit of RGV's other movies, has some fresh things to say about love, passion, deceit and destiny. The film has all the potential to carve a niche for itself. At the box-office, the theme would not only strike a chord with the multiplex audiences, but will appeal at the grassroots level as well. It has all the merits to grow as days progress. Recommended!

Rating:- * * *.


Ab Tak 56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film:

Ab Tak 56

Language:

Hindi

Year:

2004

Cast:

Nana Patekar, Revathi, Prasad Purandare, Yashpal Sharma, Jeeva, Nakul Vaid, Kunal Vijaykar, Mohan Agashe, Hrishita Bhatt

Banner:

Varma Corporation

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Shimit Amin

Lyrics:

-

Music:

-

Background Music:

Salim-Sulaimaan

Art Director:

Shyam De

Cinematography:

Vishal Sinha

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

-

Dialogues:

Sandeep Srivastava

Action:

Parvez Khan

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

The Ram Gopal Varma 'factory' seems to be churning out films with amazing regularity�

A few films have won acclaim [BHOOT, EK HASINA THI], while some have been rejected outright [DARNA MANA HAI, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON]. But the fact cannot be denied that the brand 'RGV' is synonymous with quality cinema. Cinema that dares to defy the stereotype.

RGV's latest film, AB TAK 56, is no exception.

Debutante director Shimit Amin's intentions are sincere � to provide an insight into the lives of the cops. Unfortunately, there's been an overdose of films that depict the men in uniform � KAGAAR [N. Chandra] and KHAKEE [Rajkumar Santoshi] are two prime examples that come to your mind instantly.

Besides, the handling of the subject matter of AB TAK 56 is different from films of its ilk. It's extremely realistic and looks straight out of life. If that is the USP of the enterprise, it's also a downer considering that the viewer of today is just not interested in watching a docu-drama that's too realistic [at times grim!] and is laced with four letter words and brutal encounters all through.

AB TAK 56 is set in Mumbai and revolves around the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police, set up to weed out the increasing organised crime from the city. 

Sadhu Agashe [Nana Patekar] is the leader of this highly competitive and selective team of encounter cops, whose mission is to eradicate crime from Mumbai. During the course of his work, he develops a relationship with India's most wanted Don Zameer [Prasad Purandare].

The strife and resentment continues amongst the officers in the Crime Branch with Imtiyaz Sidiqui [Yashpal Sharma] vying for Sadhu Agashe's position. Equations change for the worst when a new commissioner, Mr. Suchak [Jeeva], favours Imityaz, causing the enmity to rise between them.

Accused of crime, Sadhu Agahse now becomes a fugitive�

Debutante director Shimit Amin AB TAK 56 gets a few things right. The setting, the politician-police-underworld nexus, the rivalry amongst officers� looks straight out of life. The stressful lives the cops lead have been depicted with utmost precision.

But the problem with AB TAK 56 is that it holds your attention intermittently. While the story doesn't really move in the initial reels, it does gather momentum when the new Commissioner of Police [Jeeva] takes over and a few reels later, Nana's wife [Revathi] gets murdered.

In fact, the first half of the film is extremely slow-paced, gets talk-heavy at times and tests the patience of the viewer.

The story does get interesting in the post-interval portions, but the sequence of events follows the beaten path after a point. The pace gathers momentum yet again when Nana flees the country with the help of the don [Prasad Purandare], who is operating from another country.

Although the pre-climax seems interesting as the top cop interacts with the don, the finale leaves a lot to be desired. A more appropriate ending was needed for sure.

Debutante director Shimit Amin has handled a few sequences with flourish. The media meet of the new Commissioner and the sequence when the Commissioner is introduced to Nana soon after is expertly executed.

Ditto for the sequence when Revathi is murdered during the marriage revelry. In the post-interval portions, the sequence of events that lead to the Commissioner gunning for Nana's head is well treated. As also the sequence when Nana kills the Don minutes before the film comes to a close.

But the genre Shimit Amin has opted for looks less exciting given the fact that there has been an overdose of gangster films in the past [RGV's SATYA and COMPANY stand tall in the list]. From the viewer's point of view, those looking for entertainment are sure to be disappointed, for the film tends to get grim and morbid after a point.

Besides, the generous usage of expletives and the depiction of blood and gore in the film may not appeal to those who believe and swear by feel-good cinema.

The film scores distinction marks in the technical department. Cinematography [Vishal Sinha] is of superior quality. The camera captures the by lanes of Mumbai with as much flourish as it captures the coastline of Mauritius. Dialogues [Sandeep Srivastava] are superb. In fact, they contribute enormously in giving the film a real feel.
Salim-Sulaimaan's background score is top notch. It's another feather in their cap, after the scintillating score in BHOOT. Action [Parvez Khan] looks straight out of life.

Nana Patekar delivers a flawless performance. In fact, the actor is in form after a long, long time. Prasad Purandare is a revelation. Here's an actor who can deliver if given an opportunity. Another actor who impresses with his performance is Jeeva. His sequences with Nana are electrifying.

Yashpal Sharma is, like always, highly competent. Nakul Vaid is first-rate, making his presence felt with a natural performance. Kunal Vijaykar is wonderful, enacting his part with utmost conviction. Mohan Agashe is adequate in a small role.

Both Revathi and Hrishita Bhatt don't get ample scope, but leave a mark nonetheless.

On the whole, AB TAK 56 is a very Mumbaiya kind of a film that will appeal to a limited number of viewers in Mumbai only. The not-too-aggressive promotion, coupled with the blood and gore depicted in the film, will only go against it.

Rating:- * ฝ.


Gaayab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film:

Gaayab

Language;

Hindi

Year:

2004

Cast:

Tushaar Kapoor, Antara Mali, Rasika Joshi, Raghuveer Yadav, Ramman Trikha, Govind Namdeo.

Banner:

Varma Corporation/K Sera K Sera

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma/K Sera K Sera

Presentation;

-

Director:

Prawaal Raman

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Ajay Atul, Amar Mohile

Background Music:

-

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Pietro Zuercher

Editing::

Sanjib Datta

Story & Screenplay:

Kona Venkat and Prawaal Raman

Special Effects:

Huzefa Lokhandwala

Action:

-

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

A genre like the one attempted in Gaayab has not been witnessed with rapid regularity in Hindi films. Of course, there has been Mr. X In Bombay, Mr. India and the two desi versions of Ghost, Maa and Pyar Ka Saaya, in the past. 

And now Gaayab
But novel ideas don't necessarily develop into path-breaking films. Gaayab has its share of engrossing moments, but they're few and far between. Unlike Mr. India, which appealed from age group 6 to 60, Gaayab neither completely satiates the kids, nor those looking for wholesome entertainment. 

Somewhere, as it progresses, the screenplay gets gaayab and what you carry home are a handful of deftly executed sequences. But a handful of high-quality scenes are no compensation in a two-hour flick!

Let's just say, Gaayab was ripe with potential that succumbed completely to trite and tepid Bollywood convention. 

Vishnu Prasad [Tusshar Kapoor] is a loser in life. He lacks self-confidence and the attitude to lead a normal life. 

Having an unmatched knack of attracting problems, his life doesn't get any easier, courtesy a nagging mother [Rasika Joshi], who takes pride in beating up Vishu given the slightest opportunity. 

His father [Raghuveer Yadav], a henpecked husband, is petrified to raise a voice, let alone take his side. Mohini [Antara Mali], the love of Vishnu's life, doesn't even know his existence and her boyfriend [Ramman Trikha] wants to break his bones. 

Disappointed and frustrated with life, he prays to God to make him gayab. And the wish is granted! 

An original piece of work? Nope! Flashes of The Invisible Man [1933] and the more recent Hollow Man [2000] cross your mind as you watch Gaayab. Unfortunately, Gaayab is an interesting idea gone haywire. When stretched into a two-hour film, it just doesn't hold. 

Gaayab has its moments of glory. And these moments come in the initial reels itself. Depicting the protagonist as a loser at the very start of the film was the proper way to set in motion the story. The turning point in the tale, when Vishnu becomes invisible, though not having a strong impact, still keeps the viewer's interest alive. 

But the film goes haywire in the latter part. The focus suddenly shifts to the one-sided romance and how Vishnu wants to possess the girl. Nothing wrong with that, but the way screenplay writers Kona Venkat and Prawaal Raman go about it makes you only realise that a sound idea can go awry with amateurish writing. 

Whatever little impression the film makes in the first half, it blows it away in the post-interval portions. The thrill and excitement associated with an invisible man movie is completely missing in this half. If the effort was to make you laugh, sorry, it doesn't. If the endeavor was to pull your heartstrings, it doesn't either. 

The car-bike chase in the second half and to an extent the scene when Tusshar and Antara meet in a secluded mill is worthy of mention. But the climax is a complete letdown from the writing point of view. Antara's sudden change of heart [towards Tusshar] is difficult to absorb. Even Tusshar surrendering himself to the law [he continues to be invisible till the very end!] looks plain ridiculous. Frankly, one does miss some surreal scenes and a nail-biting finale. 

Another drawback of the film is its music [Ajay Atul, Amar Mohile] and the placement of songs. In fact, the songs only seem like an excuse for a generous display of skin show, which is only a forced ingredient in a film like this. 

Director Prawaal Raman has yet to grasp the art of writing the screenplay and giving it an interesting form, thereby mesmerizing the viewer for the next two hours. In fact, Gayab also looks like a two-hour version of one of the six stories of Darna Mana Hai, featuring Aftab Shivdasani and Isha Koppikar. Besides, it lacks terror and suspense - so vital in a film like this! 

Cinematography [Pietro Zuercher] is consistent. Special effects [Huzefa Lokhandwala] are decent at times, but tacky at most places. Even otherwise, great special effects do not a great movie make. 

Tusshar looks the character he has been assigned to portray and he does it well. Antara Mali just doesn't deliver. Ramman Trikha is adequate. Govind Namdeo and Raghuveer Yadav are as usual. Rasika Joshi tends to go overboard at times, but stands out due to her characterisation. 

On the whole, Gaayab is strong on hype, but weak in content. The USP of the film is the invisible factor in the story, but an amateur screenplay ruins the show. At the box-office, Gaayab might attract the multiplex audience for a day or two thanks to its aggressive promotion, but after the word is out, the drop in its collections will be inevitable. Business in Mumbai should prove to be slightly better, but in most circuits it will face an uphill task! 

Rating:- * �.


Madyahnapu Hatya

 

 

Film:

Madyahnapu Hatya

Language:

Telugu

Year:

2004

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Aavani, Priyanka, Venkat, Brahmaji, Bhanu Chander, Narsing Yadav, Raghunatha Reddy.

Banner:

Varma Corporation/Pratima Films

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma-Boyinapally Srinivasa Rao

Presentation:

Boyinapally Srinivasa Rao

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma-J D Chakravarthy

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Shailender, Swapnil

Background Music:

Shailender, Swapnil

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Chota K Naidu

Editing:

Bhanodaya

Story & Screenplay:

Atul-Ram Gopal Varma & J D Chakravarthy

Dialogues:

-

Action:

-

Review by Jeevi from Idle Brain.com

Story

Ravi (JD Chakravarthi) is a film editor. He has a beautiful assistant editor called Nikita (Priyanka) working under him. They share a pure friendly relationship with no love/sex attached. His wife Lakshmi (Aamani) is a loud-mouthed nagging lady who keeps irking him for no reason. One fine day, Ravi kills Lakshmi and packs her body in a carton box and dumps the box into a river in the city's outskirts. Later on Ravi and his father-in-law complain to cops that Lakshmi is missing. The cops are on the trail now. The rest of the story is all about how the murder mystery in unveiled.

Artists Performance

Chakri did well as the protagonist. He had shaven off his mustache. The character played by him is confusing at times. Amani did a small role as the nagging wife. Priyanaka is very cute and she did well. Venkat is appropriate in his role of Priyanka's boy friend. Bhanu Chandar, Raghunadaha Reddy, Narsing Yadav and Brahmaji are adequate. 

Technical Departments:

Story - Screenplay - direction: This kind of storyline is very atypical in Telugu films. This story is like the ones we find in crime news section of local tabloids. Since everybody could guess from the title, caption and posters that this film is all about a husband killing his wife, it needs an exceptional handling of screenplay and narration to make the viewers glued to their seats. Screenplay of the film is amateurish. Direction leaves a lot to be desired. The director failed in creating and sustaining the suspense element in this film. The narration of the film is uninteresting.

Other departments: Background music and rerecording of the film is technically good. But conceptually very wrong. Music plays a vital role in thrillers. The music director should use the sound for a chills down the spine experience wherever needed. But the music director used frightening sound for unimportant scenes, which let the steam off the film. Photography by Chota K Naidu is excellent. Editing by Bhanoday is fair. Dialogues are pretty trivial.

Analysis: 'Madyahnapu Hatya' - which is supposed to be a thriller - ends up being an uninteresting narrative where hero's characterization and his motives are very hazy. The killing process and subsequent follow-up is not narrated effective enough to make the audience believe. The best thing about the film that it is a song less film with duration of 1 and half hour. This film also suffers from an abrupt climax and it makes the film an anticlimax. You can avoid this film without any hesitation.


Vaastu Shastra 

 

 

 

 

Film:

Vaastu Shastra

Language:

Telugu (dubbed in Telugu)

Year:

2004

Cast:

J D Chakravarthy, Sushmitha Sen, Master Ahsaas Channa, Peeya Rai Chowdary, Rasika Joshi, Purab Kohli, Sayaji Shinde.

Banner:

Varma Corporation/Sahara Manoranjan

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma-Sahara Manoranjan

Presentation:

Boyinapally Srinivasa Rao

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma-J D Chakravarthy

Lyrics:

-

Music:

-

Background Music:

-

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Sachin K Krishn

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Charu Dutt Acharya

Dialogues:

-

Action:

-

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

When you market the film with statements like 'If BHOOT scared you, VAASTU SHASTRA will kill you' or 'Warning: The producers aren't responsible for the consequences after watching the movie', you expect VAASTU SHASTRA to scare the daylights out of you.

Besides, with Ramgopal Varma in the producer's seat and BHOOT still fresh in memory, expecting VAASTU SHASTRA to be the spookiest fare from the film factory is a foregone conclusion.

So, is VAASTU SHASTRA scarier than BHOOT? Or was it a clever marketing ploy to lure moviegoers with tall claims?

To be honest, VAASTU SHASTRA is no masterpiece. It's not as scary as BHOOT either. Nor is director Sourabh Usha Narang as accomplished a storyteller as RGV.

But VAASTU SHASTRA does appeal in parts. It does scare you intermittently, a few eerie moments do send a chill down your spine, the sound quality [so vital in a film of this variety!] only enhance the visuals and the mood is just perfect.

Yet, VAASTU SHASTRA doesn't leave you completely enchanted or spellbound. The feelings are mixed after the show concludes. You have witnessed all this [and more] in BHOOT and that's where VAASTU SHASTRA falls short of expectations. Virag [Chekravarthy] and Jhilmil [Sushmita Sen] are the quintessential made for each other couple.

Jhilmil works as a general physician in a hospital in Pune. Virag is a writer by profession. To complete his new assignment, he requires peace, hence the decision to shift to Shanti Kutir at the outskirts of Pune.

Jhilmil and Virag's son Rohan [Ahsaas Channa] is enjoying the summer break. Radhika [Peeya Rai Choudhuri], Jhilmil's younger sister, also lives with them.

A father engrossed in writing his new book, a mother busy at work and one perceptive child exploring his new house. With no one to keep an eye on him, Rohan ventures into different areas of the bungalow only to notice things - strange occurrences that no one believes.

His parents think that he is lying until the unthinkable happens. And suddenly Rohan's stories seem very real. The family is shattered by three bizarre deaths - first, the maid [Rasika Joshi] is murdered, then Radhika and her boyfriend Murali [Purab Kohli] are slaughtered.

The cop [Sayaji Shinde] thinks it's the handiwork of a serial killer, but is it? Shanti Kutir is no ordinary house - it's a haunted mansion. And the massive unsightly tree in the complex is a symbol of death�
Loosely based on Stanley Kubrick's acclaimed THE SHINING [1980; Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall], which was based on author Stephen King's best-selling novel of the same name, VAASTU SHASTRA also reminds you of the Nicole Kidman starrer THE OTHERS [Sush's child playing/communicating with the ghost-kids]. Of course, comparisons with BHOOT are also inevitable [a couple moving into a new house and the strange occurrences that follow!].

Following the trend set by BHOOT, VAASTU SHASTRA also defies the stereotype. The eerie atmosphere is created not by skulls or skeletons tumbling out of the wardrobe, but [cleverly] with creepy situations.

Yes, a few sequences startle you completely. Like Sushmita noticing a dead man outside the window or Peeya walking to her house after a late-night session.

But the problem with the film is that it takes a lot of screen time to drive home the point, testing the patience of the viewer in the process. Some sequences, like Purab and Peeya's love making scene, Purab's subsequent disappearance and Peeya searching him in the mansion, are so long drawn that they mellow the impact that a few brilliantly executed sequences had created.

Even the climax - so vital in a film of this genre - is a downer. It is bound to have its share of adversaries. And the finale - which leaves behind the scope for a sequel - although novel, may not be fully absorbed or gel well with the orthodox Indian moviegoer who wants the evil to eliminate at the conclusion of the story.
Sourabh Usha Narang shows a grasp over technique, with the lighting and camera movements contributing enormously in making the situations look eerie. But the writing [Charu Dutt Acharya] is not half as convincing as BHOOT [both have slightly similar storylines, you could say that!].

A pertinent question that crosses your mind is why do the ghosts take so much time to eliminate those living in the house? There were umpteen situations when each and every character was all by himself/herself and the ghosts had been loitering around, giving cold and angry stares. So, why go on a rampage and kill everyone in the end? Why not before?

Cinematography [Sachin K. Krishn] suits the requirements. The background score as well as the sound quality are first-rate. The visual effects are functional.

Sushmita Sen is competent, enacting her part with flourish. Chekravarthy continues to be stiff. Master Ahsaas Channa is the real star. The child is supremely talented and his expressions at most places contribute to the eerie atmosphere.

Peeya Rai Choudhuri impresses. Purab Kohli doesn't get any scope. Rajpal Yadav goes completely over the top. His character is the weakest in the film. Rasika Joshi is efficient. Sayaji Shinde is not half as convincing as Nana Patekar in BHOOT.

On the whole, VAASTU SHASTRA does the job of scaring you half-heartedly. At the box-office, the film has chances of faring better at multiplexes of metros, especially in Mumbai. But, in some circuits, its business prospects appear bleak!

Rating:- * *.


Naach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film:

Naach - Celebrating Life

Language:

Hindi

Year:

2004

Cast:

Abishiekh Bachchan, Antara Mali, Ritesh Deshmukh, 

Banner:

Varma Corporation/K Sera K Sera

Producer(s):

Ram Gopal Varma

Presentation:

-

Director:

Ram Gopal Varma, Kiran Reddy

Lyrics:

-

Music:

Shailendra Swapnil

Background Music:

Amar Mohile

Art Director:

-

Cinematography:

Kiran Reddy

Editing:

-

Story & Screenplay:

Pooja Ladha Surti, Musharaff Ali Khan, Sulekha Bajpai.

Dialogues:

-

Action:

-

Review by Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM.com

First things first! With a title like NAACH, you expect this RGV film to be a musical, with songs aplenty. But NAACH is more of an intense love story.

So, is NAACH at par with the immensely likeable RANGEELA? Or MAST? Or MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON? Note: All three RGV films had the backdrop of the film industry.

NAACH is not one of those bubbly, romantic, popcorn flicks. It's not hardcore escapist cinema either. The master film-maker tries to make the characters appear very life-like, very real and in the process makes a film that may not be absorbed by an avid moviegoer.

Unlike RGV's previous flicks, NAACH is abstract, offbeat, unusual. And that's why it fails to arrest the audience's interest.

NAACH tells the story of two characters - Rewa [Antra Mali], a wannabe choreographer and Abhi [Abhishek Bachchan], a struggling actor.

Rewa and Abhi are both trying to get a foothold in the industry. Abhi is lucky to get a break, while Rewa is shown the door since the lead actress wants her fav choreographer in the film. Things reach a stage where Abhi and Rewa go separate ways due to ideological differences.
Abhi becomes a big star, while Rewa continues with her struggle. She finally manages the big break when a music company boss, Diwakar [Ritesh Deshmukh], offers her a video, as an actress. There's no looking back, Rewa becomes famous overnight.

Abhi and Rewa meet again, this time in a restaurant. There's uneasiness. The same night, Abhi confesses to Rewa that he still loves her. But Rewa turns down the offer.

Diwakar now wants to start a musical film and he approaches Rewa and Abhi for the main roles. What happens next?

NAACH is about Abhi and Rewa's principles and their outlook towards life. How those principles throw a spanner in their lives forms the crux of the story.

Let's get things right at the very outset: NAACH is not inspired by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai's Chinese film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE [2000], as being widely speculated.

With a thin plot on hand, RGV tries to experiment with NAACH. If RANGEELA was a heady mix of romance and music, while MAST and MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON were part-realistic, NAACH fits into the realistic zone completely.

Nothing wrong with being realistic, but NAACH moves at a sluggish/lethargic pace throughout and even the screenplay [writers: Pooja Ladha Surti, Musharaff Ali Khan, Sulekha Bajpai] isn't half as captivating as RANGEELA.
In the first place, one fails to understand why Antra is shown to be so strong-headed even though what Abhishek says and means makes sense and is in the interests of both. After the tiff at the intermission point, when the two decide to go separate ways, you expect some movement in the story in the post-interval portions. But nothing happens!

The story has a third character coming in - Ritesh Deshmukh - in the second half and although the actor does manage to lend credence to his character, there's nothing dramatic happening in this half as well. More than anything else, your heart doesn't pine for the lovers to unite, which is so vital in a love story.

RGV seems to have chosen the right story, but has gone wrong in the screenplay department. The narrative doesn't have those moments to excite you. It's quite dull at times and the slow pace dilutes the impact further. Yes, there's no denying that the film has been shot extremely well and technically speaking, it's a notch above most Hindi films.

Music is quite appealing and the picturization of at least three tracks is fantastic - 'Naach Naach Ke' [music: Shailendra Swapnil], 'Bandhne Lagi' [music: Amar Mohile] and 'Sara Sara' [music: Amar Mohile]. Cinematography [Kiran Reddy] is fabulous. The locations in the 'Bandhne Lagi' track are simply breath-taking. Choreography [Raoul & Maitria, Shabina Khan, Terrence Lewis, Harshall-Vitthal] is excellent.

NAACH is embellished with great performances. Abhishek Bachchan proves yet again that he's amongst the most dependable actors of Indian cinema today. This is another performance that will be written about and discussed in days to come.
Antra Mali is first-rate, conveying so much through her eyes. What makes this performance special is the way Antra approaches it - without actually replicating anyone. Besides, her dances/acrobatics are a treat. She also exposes her anatomy without inhibitions. Ritesh Deshmukh has a small but significant role and he does complete justice to it.

On the whole, NAACH lacks in that vital department that's the lifeline of every film - script. At the box-office, given the tough competition this week [VEER-ZAARA, AITRAAZ, MUGHAL-E-AZAM] and the fact that it's not the type that would instantly catch the moviegoers' attention, NAACH won't dance its way into the audience's heart.

Rating:- * �.



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