Film: Namaste England
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra
Directed by: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Duration: 2 hrs 16 mins
Namaste England is one of those super hare-brained films that make you wonder how Bollywood manages to blow money on such drivel – this film apparently cost `50 crores and it is not even a big budget film in that sense. But clearly not a lot of time, intelligence or money was spent on writing a story that has an appeal to anyone with an IQ that is in double digits.
Namaste London came almost ten years ago, that film was no great shakes but it had an appeal for certain audiences. Now instead of adapting a story to the present times, director Vipul Amrutlal Shah has gone back in time and this film, if at all, belongs to the bronze age. Incidentally, it is his first film in eight years after the disastrous Action Replay (2010).
Arjun Kapoor plays Param, a Punjabi who falls in love with Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) while they are celebrating some festival – was it Dussehra, Diwali, Holi or something else? Not sure, there are so many festivals in the film.
He likes her, she likes him but most of the times they meet, she is discussing some or the other problem with him. “Main chahiti hoon ki mera husband understanding ho” (I want a husband who is understanding) making a great revelation, as if all other women want a life- partner who is not understanding.
Her major problem is that she comes from a conservative family where her grandpa will agree to most things, except that women in the family should not work.
The duo gets married but grandpa’s shadow never leaves – she is an aspiring woman and like many people from that part of country, is looking westward for better prospects. There are some visa issues and in a highly convoluted twist, she leaves him behind and heads for Old Blighty. You also get to hear gems like “Jawaan Punjabi ladkon ko UK ka visa milna utna hi mushkil hai jitna terrorists ko swarg milna” (The chances of a young Punjabi man getting a UK visa is the same as a terrorist getting a place in heaven).
There is also a very patriotic speech towards the end that also involves India’s Mars mission and instead of being a rousing one (at least that was the intention), it becomes a bore.
Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra both look lost and occasionally when they don’t look lost, they are least bit interested in the proceedings – can’t really blame them for the screenplay but then they decided to be a part of this antiquated film.
The Birds and The Bees
Film: Badhai Ho
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao
Directed by: Amit Ravindernath Sharma
Duration: 2 hrs 3 mins
Rating: * * *
In our country, sex is a subject that is still pretty much taboo – and middle aged people doing it is definitely something that is never brought up or discussed. If this subject is related to the family, then most people would be more comfortable sitting on charcoal than discussing matters of procreation.
Badhai Ho, directed by Amit Ravindernath Sharma takes the scenario of middle aged couple whose son is their 20’s when they discover that they are going to become parents. It is an awkward situation in more ways than one but the film deals with it in an endearing manner.
Meet the Kaushiks’ from Delhi –the head of the family is Jeetu (Gajraj Rao) a soft spoken gent who likes to keep everyone around him happy, especially his old mother (Surekha Sikri) and wife Priyamvada (Neena Gupta). They belong to the middle class and live in a rather modest apartment, with their two sons, the 20 something Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) and the school going teenager Gullar (Shardul Rana). The most dominating person in the house happens to be the grandmother, she calls the shots and others oblige.
One fine day, the news breaks that Priyamvada is pregnant – it causes embarrassment to everyone, starting with the hubby who has no clue how to break the news to his kids and his mother – both the scenes, particularly the latter, are a hoot.
The initial reaction from everyone is more of shock and less of awe. Nakul is most embarrassed, he can’t come to terms with the news and pretty much the whole family has to listen to the neighbor’s jibes. In our society, what neighbors think and what they say is considered to be of paramount importance. In fact, some people’s way of life is shaped by what others think of them. These issues are brought out in a fairly non preachy manner in the film.
Nakul, who is of marriageable age himself, has a girlfriend Renee (Sanya Malhotra) who also happens to be his co-worker. The pregnancy episode causes discord in their relationship as well and the two scenes between her mother and Nakul are particularly well written.
Considering that the plot spreads a bit thin at times, keeping the proceedings simple and to the point helps – the film clocks just over two hours and anything longer, the wheels would have come off.
It has became a positive feature in Hindi films lately where characters, settings and the lingo that they speak are utterly convincing – in fact, many a times, that makes up for a dip in the story.
The trio of Surekha Sikri, Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao are absolutely spot on and a treat to watch. Ayushmann Khurrana does well to slip into his role comfortably and with conviction. For going where no Hindi film has gone before, Badhai Ho deserves a dekko.