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A Mostly Dull Quarter

Friday, March 29, 2013
By Deepa Gahlot

The first quarter of the year ends with Himmatwala,  which has been promoted as aggressively a big film should and after Race 2, this is the biggest film of the year, though Kai Po Che came in with massive promotion too, which was needed because it had no established stars.

Some 40 odd films released in the first three months, and some like Kirchiyan, Meri Shaadi Karao, Bloody Ishq, The Unsound, Naachle London, whizzed past without even registering on the radars of moviegoers. Some like Dehradun Diary, Rajdhani Express, Main Krishna Hoon, Mumbai Mirror, Listen Amaya, Gangoobai were noticed, to the extent of getting reviews, but ignored by audiences.

The first pleasant surprise of the year was Aditya Dutt’s Table No 21, which had an interesting plot, Paresh Rawal and Rajeev Khandelwal to attract audiences.  The first nasty shock was Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, which baffled most people. But Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapur’s performances were appreciated in the dark comedy about change—not necessarily for the better—being planned for a sleepy Haryana village.

Sudhir Mishra’s Inkaar, with a currently relevant subject of workplace harassment, also turned out to be a strange mish-mash that did not take a stand. 
Abbas Mustan’s Race 2 has a crazy plot, but delivered the glamour, thrills and exotic locations, which, when it comes to a weekend in the multiplex is all that audiences want.

The Vishwaroop controversy blew sky high, and almost ruined Kamal Haasan, who had spent loads of money and reportedly mortgaged his home.  A Muslim faction stalled the release because it was offensive to them.  Reviews were mixed, but the effort was generally appreciated, and Kamal Haasan was saved by a hair’s breadth.

Bejoy Nambiar’s David was shot stylishly and experimented with narrative form—the stories of three men named David crisscrossing—but audiences rejected it.  Neeraj Pandey’s second film (after A Wednesday), Special 26 was entertaining in a mindless way.  But the surprise hit was ABCD, in which the big draw was dance.

Abhishek Kapoor pulled off Kai Po Che without stars too, but Murder 3 without Emraan Hahmi just didn’t tick.  Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns created mood and atmosphere, but did not deviate enough from the prequel to sustain interest.  But Saare Jahaan Se Mehenga made a few points about inflation and corruption that hit home. Mere Dad Ki Maruti and Jolly LLB appealed to niche audiences and got decent reviews.

Himmatwala will presumably introduce the horrors of 80s cinema to an audience that wasn’t born in 1983, because those who actually saw the original quake at the idea of a remake. But if enough people want to revisit their awful movie-going past, then Sajid Khan has a hit on his hands.

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