Friday, September 14, 2007

MASOOM (1983)

I've got a bit of a history with this one… some months ago, I almost bought the DVD, but then changed my mind when I couldn't recall how favourable the film's review on Filmi Geek had been. Then I found out that Filmi Geek (and her readers) loved it, and so I finally went back to the bookstore to pick it up a couple of weeks ago. I'm so very glad that I did…

We each have our 'hot-button' issues – those human phenomena, those occurrences in our world, that somehow just elicit a very strong reaction from us – those things that just get to us, that move us, that upset us like other issues don't. Sometimes it's because we've lived through those things and can relate to how painful they are, other times it's more difficult to explain why these issues hurt us so much. Filmi Geek's recent review of 'Bombay', for example, reveals that sectarian violence is one of her hot-button issues.

One of mine is this: I really hate it when children are made to suffer the consequences of adult actions – and sadly, this happens everyday in our world, to millions of children. I always feel – if you've been hurt by another adult, take it out on the offender, do what you need to do (within legal limits, of course) to be able to move on, but please leave that innocent child who is in no way responsible for your hurt out of it. Why should a child have to suffer for adult actions?

I think this is partly why Shekhar Kapur's 'Masoom' (1983) evoked such a strong reaction in me when I watched it, and why it's stayed on my mind till then. As the name would suggest, 'Masoom' is a film about innocence – about the innocence of a child who comes into the world as a result of a grave mistake. The question is: should he have to pay for that grave mistake? Gulzar is one of my favourite scriptwriters, and his screenplay for 'Masoom' is masterful, rich with metaphor and compelling – yet gentle, simple and subtle – it kept me engaged and engrossed right up to the end (I had planned to watch the film in two sittings, but I was absolutely glued to my screen). The film is filled with lovely, sometimes enchanting, sometimes haunting images, as well as beautiful songs (the music is composed by RD Burman) that fit in perfectly with the mood and themes of the film.

DK and Indu (played by Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi) are a happy, loving couple with two adorable daughters and a comfortable home. Although DK would like a son, he's very pleased with his little family, and so is Indu. As with 'Kabhi Kabhie' (although 'Masoom' is a very different type of film), 'Masoom' is the story of how a ghost from the past comes to haunt this hitherto peaceful home, in the form of a child named Rahul (played excellently by Jugal Hansraj). Rahul is the result of a one-night stand DK had early in his marriage to Indu (at the time, Indu was pregnant with their first daughter), while he was away at a college reunion – unbeknownst to DK, the other party got pregnant as a result of their tryst.

The movie's tagline sounds like one for a horror movie – it's 'Can this boy destroy your family?', and although 'Masoom' is not a scary movie (at least, not in the sense of the horror genre), it's somehow quite apt – not just for the storyline of the film, but also for what you see in Rahul's huge blue eyes. Shekhar Kapur manages to elicit from Jugal Hansraj sadness but deep hope; hesitancy mixed with faith; re-awakening and eagerness layered over numbness; love mixed with pain. It's a vulnerable, haunting combination that just hurts you to look at it – and helps you grasp the difficulty of what Indu is feeling.

The film is sad from the start – we first see Rahul lose the mother who meant the world to him. The kind, elderly schoolmaster who looks after Rahul following his mother's death senses that he is reaching the end of his own life, and realises that he cannot cope with the care of the child, that the child needs more than he can give. He is left with no option but to deliver a bombshell to DK – to tell him he has a son, and moreover, that the son is being sent to live with him in Delhi. DK in turn has no option but to receive Rahul – but first he must break the difficult news to a horrified Indu, who is left to not only struggle with the crushing pain of DK's uncovered betrayal, but to be daily confronted with it in the form of Rahul.

Rahul is a loveable child – he's sweet, sensitive and shy. Although the pain of losing his mother is raw, he holds tight to the hope of one day meeting his father, whom his late mother (who was herself a haunted, traumatised young lady with a premonition of her own premature death) had always said would one day find him. Although his mother is the only family Rahul has ever known, his disposition is such that he quickly forges a bond with his half-sisters, and with DK (for me, their scenes together are the most beautiful in the film – watching their relationship deepen was very moving). However, Rahul has no idea who DK and family really are – he thinks they are distant relations and calls DK and Indu 'Uncle' and 'Aunty'.

With DK's marriage under tremendous strain (Indu almost leaves, and although she eventually stays, their relationship takes a huge nosedive – with Indu barely speaking to him), DK decides to lose the child in order to save his home. The decision is difficult for him, because he has come to love his son and probably realises that sending Rahul away is not the best choice for such a sensitive and vulnerable child – but he loves his wife more, and is determined to rescue his marriage and family by packing Rahul off to boarding school.

Indu, for her own part, is deeply troubled – so much so that she cannot sleep. Everytime she sees Rahul she thinks of DK's unfaithfulness – and 'the other woman'. The drama she has only watched from afar in the lives of others is suddenly a part of her life, her marriage, her family – the things she holds most dear. The dream has suddenly become a nightmare. And because she's not a very voluble type of person (and also, I guess, so as to protect the children from the tension that has seeped into the home), a lot of the pain, anger and sadness is ‘controlled’ and internalised. Every now and then the volcano erupts though, with the innocent Rahul suffering the pain of rejection more than once. Being the sensitive child he is; he feels the difference; the repudiation and discomfort in her attitude towards him very keenly. On the other hand, though, Indu's motherly heart is drawn to Rahul – she sometimes finds herself feeling protective and compassionate towards him, loving him despite herself, until she remembers who he is and what he 'stands for' in her world.

Meanwhile, poor little Rahul is about to be on the receiving end of a bombshell himself – and the story gets even sadder at this point… I will stop myself here so as not to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie. I will just say that the characters each have to work through their issues themselves – and I like that Gulzar makes a point of showing that it really is about them coming to their own decisions, not just acting upon the advice of well-meaning friends, because, as the film shows, well-meaning friends have their own lives to live and have been known to change their tune when circumstances change. Our main characters must each do what is right for them. I love that there is something very empowering about the film's ending in this respect, especially for the character of Indu (who, with the arrival of Rahul, seemed to have come close to losing her power in her own home). Indu effectively is able to disarm the past (along with everyone else – even I was disarmed).

Anyway, this is one absolutely lovely and very moving film. The songs, as I mentioned before, are beautiful, and are simply and sweetly picturised on the adorable children. The performances are uniformly wonderful – I've already praised Jugal Hansraj, but Aradhana and Urmila Matondkar (yes, 'Milli' from 'Rangeela', most recently seen doing an item number in RGV’s flop ‘Ram Gopal Verma ki Aag’) are lovely in their child roles too. Shabana Azmi conveys the conflict within Indu excellently; just in the way he holds her body, the way she moves her hands, the tone of her voice, the tilt of her head. Fantastic. She is just so compelling to watch (hence all the caps of her in this post - and I've got loads more on my computer). And I just adored Naseeruddin Shah as DK – I loved how he communicated so much varied and raw emotion seemingly effortlessly. He was DK – I completely believed him and immediately got him. Brilliant.

(If you haven't seen the movie and you don't want to know what happens at the end, please don't scroll down beyond this line.)

And I absolutely loved this – it was a nice little treat, a boon for the viewer: those haunting shadows of uncertainty in Rahul's eyes are so gone…

In other unrelated news, my friend Uzo and I have finally taken the huge step of buying the flight tickets for our first trip to India, and I just got my visa today..... We’ll be spending a whirlwind ten days in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Mumbai in the middle of next month. I will definitely not be blogging while I’m there, but I will come back with loads of pictures and stories to share here. It will definitely be an exhausting and challenging ten days, but we also hope to make it a hugely memorable trip… and any suggestions, tips etc are most welcome from anyone who reads this blog and has experienced these cities…

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

KABHI KABHIE - Love is Life

'Kabhi Kabhie' is a film I was really looking forward to for a couple of reasons – one was its famously beautiful songs. Another was the Rishi Kapoor/Neetu Singh jodi (because I love them both and had heard that this was their best film together). If you had asked me while I was watching the film if it lived up to my high expectations, I'd probably have said 'not really'. Interestingly though, now that I've had a bit of time to mull over the film, I like it more than I did initially.

'Kabhi Kabhie' is a film about secrets and lies. Not the 'harmless' kind; but the powerful kind that can shatter happy homes and destroy blissful marriages. Secret romances, secret children, secret adoptions… those kinds of secrets. Every family has some of those… and as long as they're kept well hidden, life is grand… but the funny thing about secrets is that they have a way of (often many years later), rearing their ugly heads in a way that affects the lives of not only the keepers of the secrets, but also the people they love. The overpowering message of the film is that it takes love – deep love, to overcome the past, to forgive, to accept the loved one 'warts and all', and to destroy the bitterness, anger and confusion that can arise when those family secrets are revealed. (Hence the film's tagline: 'love is life').

I found some elements of the film's plot instantly relatable. Neetu Singh plays Pinky, a carefree, pampered youth who suddenly discovers that the people she calls her parents actually adopted her from a mother who couldn't keep her. Instantly, she no longer feels comfortable with her adoptive parents – irrationally (but then, I guess plenty of genuine emotion is irrational), she feels like a stranger in her own home - even though her parents love her to bits and say mushy OTT things like this to her:

Pinky goes in search of her 'real' mother (and answers to the questions of who she is and why she was unwanted as a child). Waheeda Rehman (in what I found to be a very effective performance) plays Anju, Pinky's conflicted birth mother. Anju is torn between acknowledging Pinky on the one hand, and preserving the fragile new life she has built for herself with an oblivious husband (and their adored, rather stroppy second daughter) on the other. I could instantly relate to the conflicts and confusion felt by these two characters (Pinky and her mother) because their situation echoes recent events in my family...

And then there's the other part of the plot – one which I couldn't relate to and which I thought could've been portrayed better… given a bit more thought, perhaps. At the beginning of the film, Amitabh Bachchan and Rakhee play young lovers (he's a renowned poet named Amit Malhotra, she's a pretty student named Pooja), whose lovely winter romance is rudely and abruptly terminated when Pooja's parents marry her off to Vijay Khanna, played by Shashi Kapoor.

Luckily for Pooja, her husband, a jovial, fun-loving kinda guy, is loving and kind to her; and she apparently comes to love him too (as a duteous fate-accepting wife should(?)). (I suppose a weak-ish case could be made for her being very fond of him, but not wholly loving him until the end of the film when all the secrets are revealed - honestly I dunno). For all her broken-heartedness at the end of her romance with Amit, not much pining is done by Pooja; after their poetry-filled wedding night all is hunky-dory, it seems, and on the honeymoon she is just as ecstatic and affectionate as any madly-in-love bride. Her demeanour does not read resignation and acceptance, but joy and excitement. Was she just overjoyed and overwhelmed at how wonderful her new husband was, how much he cared about her? Did she fall in love with him almost immediately? Not really sure what to make of it – part of me just wonders, was the sex that good? (No judgment of her attitude though, I just wondered about the reason for it).

Our poet Amit, on the other hand, ceases to write poetry, now that his Pooja belongs to another. He goes off to work for his dad and then settles down and has a family of his own, but he seems to have a tougher time moving on with his life than Pooja. His marriage (in the scriptwriter's mind) doesn't seem particularly happy (although, to be fair, we don't see as much of it as we do of Pooja/Vijay's) – his wife (Anju of the adoption storyline) seems a little scared of him, and he seems more passionate about his daughter than he is about his wife. Perhaps it's his naturally sombre and reflective disposition, perhaps it's the fact that his sensitive poet's dil has been broken, or that he's a bit lost without his art and inspiration, or simply that he just hasn't been pragmatic enough to embrace his fate the way Pooja has; or perhaps it's just the fact that he's a man and therefore more 'constant' in his affections (if so, yeeuck!). Whatever it is, he just does not appear as happy in his 'new life' as Pooja is in hers.

This comes across when Pooja asks Amit:

The years keep rolling by… and neither Pooja nor Amit reveal their romance to their spouses. Then Pinky falls for Vicky, Vijay and Pooja's sprightly show-off son (played by Rishi Kapoor – I have to wonder how many 'Vickys' he's played) It's at this point that the secrets all start to unravel.

'Kabhi Kabhie' has a lot going for it. I love the music – especially the title song. The picturisations are memorable – the wedding-night one is lush and romantic, the song in the rain is fun, fresh and charming, as is the one with Rishi, Neetu and Naseem Banu – done with the requisite youthful abandon and (in the latter) a little bit of angst. Speaking of Rishi/Neetu, they really were very sweet together in 'Kabhi Kabhie'. I loved their chemistry and the passionate love/hate thing they had going – they were actually very convincing as young, immature lovers.
There were also a lot of neat little touches in the film that I really enjoyed, like the camp/tacky chair-covers at Amit and Anjali's dining table,
the giant dice in Pinky's room,
and the attention paid to costume throughout the film.

The acting is good, although not excellent – I really like Amit Ji playing restrained, quiet roles ('Zanjeer', 'Sholay', 'Kasme Vaade'), so I enjoyed watching him here even though I didn't warm to his character much. I thought Rakhee was alright, and although Shashi (whom I'm a recent convert of, thanks to 'Deewaar') guffaws way too much and too loudly for any normal/sane human being for most of this film (I kept wondering what kind of mood-enhancers his character was on); I liked the fact that beneath all the excessive cheer, he really brought out the sensitivity and depth of his character. This saved me from wondering if I should go back to my not-really-liking-Shashi days – that and his relaxed and very enjoyable scenes with his real-life nephew, Rishi.
I've already praised Waheeda (very good job), Rishi and Neetu… and Naseem Banu is also memorable as Amit and Anju's bratty daughter, Sweety. And it was interesting to catch Simi Garewal, looking much the same as she does now.

'Kabhi Kabhie' is a flawed film. The last Yash Chopra film I saw before 'Kabhi Kabhie' was the brilliant 'Deewaar', a tough act to follow in every way, so perhaps I was a little harsh on 'Kabhi Kabhie' as a result. I don't think so, though. To my mind, 'Kabhi Kabhie' suffers from defects in the pacing of the scenes and the development of the characters and their relationships. There are too many rough edges, and some 'disjointedness' in the script. And this is a minor quibble, but the shower scenes (one with Rakhee and one with Neetu) felt gratuitous and a little silly. And putting a little chalk (or at least something that looked a lot like chalk!) on the temples of Amitabh, Rakhee and Shashi actually did not make them look older at all – they looked pretty much the same as they did at the start of the film. Not a very good job by the make-up people. The editing could have been much better and I think the whole winter theme was overdone – it was pretty and made for compelling visuals in some parts of the film, but it felt pointless and boring in others.

For all its faults, though, 'Kabhi Kabhie' does have a whole lot of charm and some very interesting themes, and is probably a film I will come to enjoy more and more with time. And I like it when that happens…

Monday, September 10, 2007


T-Hype tagged me yonks ago… and I’m finally taking up the challenge… this is eight random things about moi, Daddy’s Girl…

1. I love to laugh (and it's really easy to amuse me), but I can't stand the sound of fake laughter. It grates on my nerves. I hate it when people laugh even when they don't find the joke funny… I know it's called "polite laughter", but I think it's actually impolite, because it is always so glaringly obvious that the laughter is forced. I think that laughter is one of those things that's just impossible to fake.

2. I love heels… the higher the better… I love the way they look, and I love the way they make me feel. I never longed to wear them until I put my feet in my first pair – but from that moment on, a pair of heels has felt like home. I’ve never felt the slightest bit uncomfortable in them, no matter how high (in fact, the first night I wore a pair of stilettos, I ran a mile in them). Nothing against flats, they’re nice and comfy… but heels are just… tres magnifique.

3. I am sometimes really, really amused when I read the stuff that I write… because although I write the way I think, I don’t write the way I speak – at all. On paper, I am very wordy, ridiculously verbose even (summary was my worst part of English class at secondary school). In person, I am actually really quiet… interesting also in view of the profession I am a member (and practitioner) of. It’s one in which the common perception is that you have to be a loudmouth.

4. I love bookstores – I walk into one and I feel completely at home. One of my favourite things to do is just wander around a bookstore, letting that lovely "paper smell" waft into my nostrils, running my hands across the spines of the books, flipping one open at random. Somehow, being around books just gives me pure joy. One of my very many dream jobs is to work in a bookstore.

5. In view of all the gushing I have been known to do on this blog, it might surprise some to know that I don’t do romance – I've been told I am quite 'hard' and 'unfeeling' in this respect. I am not the least bit romantic. I can’t be bothered with ‘I love yous’ and Valentine’s Day and sweet nothings (ugh). Mushy stuff only makes me cringe and roll my eyes. So, no hearts and flowers in my world – I’m heartily unimpressed by all that… I enjoy seeing it in the movies (sometimes), reading about it now and then, and (strangely) I love observing it (and cheering it on) in other people’s lives, but that’s about it. It’s just not for me.

6. I hate food that's mushy, gooey, soft, baby-food-consistency-ish… eeuuww. I love food that's nice and solid and chewable.

7. I like to sleep with loads of stuff on my bed. It’s a funny thing – I feel really comfortable when there’s stuff around me on the bed… a spacious bed and uncluttered bed looks nice and fresh and appealing from afar, but it only really feels familiar and comfy when I dump some books and papers and clothes and stuff on it. This one really drives my mother mad. Wonder what it'll do to the husband (if I ever get hitched)...

8. I’m not very good with faces – I tend to forget people’s faces, their names too (gets me in a whole lot of trouble on a regular basis). But I remember the oddest things about people – their handwriting (I rarely forget a person’s writing after I’ve seen it once), the way they walk, the way they eat and drink…

Ok, all done…
I have so much to talk about on this blog in the days to come... coming up soon are some thoughts on 'Masoom' and 'Kabhi Kabhie', and possibly a little something on the excellent 'Chak de India', which I saw with Uzo on Friday night (if I can get over the hotness and charisma that is SRK long enough to string some coherent thoughts together)...

Monday, September 03, 2007

POLL: Please Vote!!

I love a good poll... the one on my sidebar is the first one I've done on this blog, and it was inspired by a programme I saw once that proclaimed the duo of Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha Hindi cinema's best couple ever.... According to the programme, their onscreen chemistry in films like 'Silsila' was amazing, and paled only in comparison to the rumoured blazing secret love affair between the two...

Well, having seen the Amit Ji/Rekha jodi in only one film ('Muqaddar ka Sikandar'), I probably am not the most qualified person to pass judgment on this assessment... but for what it's worth, I disagree. I'll tell you who I think shares the best onscreen chemistry with him later, after some votes have come in (readers of this blog will probably already have guessed who my vote goes to... it's actually revealed in a past blog post). And I'll also reveal later which of the actresses on the list I think has shared the least onscreen chemistry with Big B.

But, far more importantly, I'd love to know what you think... please vote in the poll (you can vote for as many actresses as you like)... and leave a comment here if one of the actresses you'd like to vote for isn't already on the list. I can think of one actress who's not on the list but whom I really liked opposite Amit Ji - the gorgeous Shefali Shah (they played husband and wife in 'Waqt - A Race Against Time'). Also, I'd appreciate comments saying whose name you think should be stricken off the list (because there's no chemistry there).

Anyway... enough talk... please vote, I look forward to finding out what you think...


This is not a review… it’s just a fun post to note down some of my thoughts on ‘Apne’ (the Deol-fest). Some thoughts are sensible (I hope), others silly, but all part of the experience I had seeing the movie. It was really a lot of FUN, for me 'Apne' is a solid all-round entertainer. Many thanks to Nitin ji (of the wonderful for all his support!

1. The scripting could have been better, tighter – the pacing was off. They tried to do too much in too little time. A lot of scenes should’ve landed on the cutting room floor, to give the better scenes ‘room to breathe’…

2. How cute was Dharam Ji? Yup, he’s still got it.

3. Who was that Igbo guy (“I told you, don’t go near the ring!”)? That was amazingly hilarious!! The guy was quickly christened ‘Chidi’ by the other cinemagoers. Up Naija! Igbo kwenu!!

4. The music was not as bad as I thought it would be – it was actually rather nice. Nice one, Mr. Reshammaiya – I may not be your biggest fan, but I don’t think you did badly at all.

5. The song picturizations were absolutely great (well, except ‘Mehfuz Rakhta Hoon’ – it was just barely ok). I loved that they didn’t try to make poor Sunny dance – the choreography was all really nice and natural, and the placement of the songs flowed well with the story. Dharmendra made me cringe a little, especially when he whipped his shirt out of his trousers – it was so great to see him having fun, though.

6. Ok, ‘cut me, Papa, cut me’ was a bit unnecessary… especially since we didn’t actually see any cutting! I’m torn with this one – on the one hand, as a MASSIVE ‘Rocky’ fan, I’m very appreciative of any nods to the Rocky films; but on the other hand… it was a little bit unnecessary.

7. The girls done good – Shilpa was so cute and I loved her acting (I’m warming to that chick these days). Katrina was lovely as ever, and her acting was not too bad. I didn’t think she could convince me that she was a doctor, but it kinda worked. She needs to work on that Hindi though. Loved the chick who played Dharam’s daughter as well – must find out who she is, I know I’ve seen her in something before...

8. Still on Shilpa, I think it was a silly idea to have her come into Sunny’s match so late… it made no sense in the context of the type of relationship they’ve convinced us that they have. And it just didn't work. ‘He… he’s my husband…’. Blech. (sorry)

9. Ok, so obviously the place they were claiming was the USA was so obviously not… no matter how many times they tried to flash the American flag in our faces. Actually, this is probably a good point at which to state clearly that this movie is NOT realistic. It’s a lot more fun when you realise you can’t make it realistic – it’s just not. It’s just a movie, chill out and enjoy it (at least, that’s what I did).

10. Back to Shilpa, she had Sunny had lovely chemistry together (based on ‘Indian’, in which they co-starred, I was expecting otherwise). It totally worked. Good on them.

11. I’ve always rather liked me some Sunny, he’s a big, brawny, often corny, quiet, tough-guy-softie – and I really liked him here. He was so adorable – his part was really emotional and he totally keyed into the emotion and made you believe him. Loved his fights with the ‘Luca Garcia’ character (angry Sunny rocks!) – and the swearing match with Luca (‘Bleep!’ ‘Bleeeep!!’ ‘Bleeeeeep!!!’) was absolutely hilarious! Loved his fights with his Daddy! Go Sunny! Go Sunny! I need to find me some more Sunny… he’s a guilty pleasure for me now (with all the emphasis on the ‘pleasure’ part).

12. Dharmendra’s character was rather selfish (and a little bit mean) for much of the film – I don’t think anyone could watch this without screaming at him the words ‘get over it, it’s not all about you!!’ at some point. Thankfully, he did redeem himself eventually, but it was all a bit rushed and bogus towards the end. As noted in thought number 1, the big problem of this film was the plot-pacing – they should have devoted less time to his self-obsession and more to him coming to his senses. The ending was a bit WTH?

13. If you don’t like outpourings of emotion, ‘Apne’ is not for you – it might make you gag. I thought the emotion was lovely, it didn’t get in the way of the film, and it just flowed so well from one character to the other. It was all really sweet and natural, the emotion was obviously real and sincere (if sentimental). I loved it. But then, I’m… obviously very partial.

14. Ooh, Dharam broke some glass with his bare hands (like he did in ‘The Burning Train’). Woohoo… I luuurrve it when he breaks glass! And he still does it sooo well…

15. Anyone who doesn’t get excited at Bobby’s miracle moment has a stone for a heart, I tell you. That was maaad exciting! Hot stuff…

16. Bobby bhaiyya, we’ve had this talk before… this longish, curly-furly hair that you so clearly favour does you no favours. You look so much nicer with short hair. And please, go easy on the hair dye and highlights – you must’ve had like 20 different hues in your hair in this film alone. That stuff’s not good for your hair, ok? One day it might all start to break off from all the heat application - all the tweaking, teasing and colouring – and where would that leave you? By the way, you did very well in ‘Apne’. You were rather cute, if slightly cheesy (but hey, it's a Deol-fest - I expected nothing else). Big ups.

17. Two brothers. One is covered in hair all over his chest and back – a veritable pelt. The other’s chest and back? Smooth as a baby’s bottom. Very striking contrast. (Don’t look at me funny, I’m sure everyone else who sees the movie notices this too!) If it’s a wax job in Bobby’s case (and I seriously doubt it – that ish was sooo smooooth), then I want his wax-person’s number (not for my chest of course)… and while he’s at it, he might want to hand it to Sunny too (at least for the rug on his back and shoulders). Ok, enough hair talk. I'm starting to feel grossed out.

18. The flashbacks to Dharam’s character’s boxing youth could’ve been better. They were a bit shoddily done – more work should’ve gone into making it look authentic. They really didn’t have to over-use that same black-and-white photo of young Dharam-ji that’s all over the internet (the said photo is even on this blog, in one of my ‘All About Dharmendra’ posts…)

19. The pacing could’ve been so much better. Some parts felt a bit incoherent and unfinished, some parts felt rushed, some parts were a bit overwrought. But hey, you can’t have it all.

20. The movie was a lot of fun to watch!!! A LOT!!! The drama, the excitement, the emotion… I enjoyed every single minute of it. (How could it have been otherwise?) But it wasn’t just me, (I would probably have been pleased with almost anything, even dross) everyone in the hall (including some people who mentioned that they haven't seen a Hindi movie since they were kids) was laughing, applauding, passing funny comments… there were even a few screams. ‘Apne’ was really entertaining to watch.

21. If you have a problem with boxing, or more importantly, with boxing-related violence, then err... this ain’t for you! It’s not as violent as any of the other boxing movies I’ve seen (contrary to what some reviewers have said, I thought the violence was a bit toned-down), but I guess it’s kinda violent – lots of khoon and fractures and such.

I have a problem with boxing as a sport, but I am a huge ‘Rocky’ fan (go figure) – so the violence did not bother me at all. I loved watching the boxing scenes, and I thought they were very nicely done – I was a bit worried that they’d look horribly fake, but they looked really good for the most part. The make-up was pretty realistic and the Deols obviously did a bit of training for the movie. The punch-sounds were too loud though – but that’s a small quibble. Bigger quibble: the pacing problems of the film affected the boxing bouts – they didn’t seem to know when to cut things short or let things roll out a bit.

But I think, to be absolutely fair: they did very well all told. You can’t expect perfection when a film-maker’s doing something largely unprecedented. Bollywood hasn’t done this kind of stuff before, as far as I’m aware, and they did a very good job when you take that into consideration. They really managed to hold the viewers’ attention – made you feel like you were ringside. Shaabash!

22. How random was the sudden entry of Luca’s girlfriend, and all the “I love you babys”? That was way too random and fake. They should’ve kept that character out of the movie. It would’ve been nice to have her if there’d been time to develop her properly, but there’s only so much you can do in 3 hours…

23. What was with all the ‘Luca, we want blood!’, ‘Luca will eat you alive!’, ‘Luca will kill you, destroy you and send you to hell!’ (ok I made that last one up) signs? That was ridiculous. Oh well, it was funny in a macabre kind of way…

24. Kirron Kher is such a good, consistent actress – totally loved her in this. And she and Dharmendra were really good together – very natural. And Victor Banerjee was really great with Dharmendra too. Dharam ji was just so awesome to watch in general… I loved his performance… I love Dharam ji, I just love the man… I could go on and on about how much I loved watching him… so I’ll just stop.

25. Did I mention how much FUN this movie was? Delightful is the word. It was so much FUN!! LOVED it. Random thought: I loved all the Hinglish parts and the way they switched between languages. I loved when Dharam told Luca he’d pick up the Hindi with time. Fab. The emotional parts got me emotional, the funny parts made me laugh, the clumsy/fake/silly/ridiculous parts (and yes, there were a fair number of those) made me laugh, the action was very exciting… what’s not to love? Nothing, that’s what! I LOVE ‘APNE’!! Ok, brief teenage flashback over…

But… GO DEOL MEN! Ya’ll need to get together and make a sequel or something – or at least another movie with all three of you… (I know, it’s unlikely to happen, but this was so much fun – so I’ll just keep dreaming that they come up with another 3-Deol film, thank you very much…)