Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Bollywood movie review: Bachna Ae Haseeno
The movie is a typical Bollywood romantic comedy, and it doesn’t really offer anything new. But the casting is so fresh that it makes for a good escapist 2.5 hours.
Bachna Ae Haseeno has everything going for it to make it a decent movie experience: produced by the powerful Yash Chopra camp, a very catchy soundtrack, and the second movie for two newcomers (Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor) who both won last year’s award for Debut Male and Female.
The title and the movie poster itself practically give away the plot, loosely translating to “Save the Girls.” It centers on the player Raj Sharma (Ranbir Kapoor), who has been fooling around with women all his life without thinking about consequences, until he meets the girl of his dreams who forces him to change his ways. Beginning in the present day, the movie flashes back to the three women who have influenced Raj’s thoughts on love and life over the last decade.
Mahi (Minissha Lamba) takes over the first segment in 1998 when both Raj and she are 18 traveling around Switzerland. Mahi is trying to re-create the magic of the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge by finding her Prince Charming on a European excursion that will save her from her arranged marriage. Raj is just lookin’ for a good time and breaks her heart. The next segment flashes to 2002 with Raj and his live-in girlfriend, Radhika (Bipasha Basu), a wannabe actress and superstar. However, she falls madly for Raj and will give up her career to follow him to Sydney and be married. Raj is just lookin’ for a good time and breaks her heart. Flash forward to 2007 when Raj is having his good time until he meets the stunning cab driver, Gayatri (Deepika Padukone), who is in business school and doesn’t believe in marriage and would rather have a career. Raj actually falls for her and decides to get this girl, but since she doesn’t want a relationship, he tries to mend his karma, change his ways and make nice with the women he hurt in the past.
The movie is a typical romantic comedy, like most Bollywood movies, and it doesn’t really offer anything new. But the casting is so fresh that it makes for a good escapist 2.5 hours. The first half of the movie was quite entertaining with all the loverboy escapades. However, the only problem was that since Mahi was trying to re-create the classic DDLJ, this movie itself tried to copy scenes from that movie, which made that storyline fall flat. It felt like a really bad, forced rehashing. The second half started to drag and became overly predictable. The ending was quite anticlimactic and you leave the theater feeling a little dissatisfied.
I must say this Yash Chopra camp is really trying to be “progressive” since there are 3 kisses on the lips in this mainstream movie. Oh my! That has been becoming a trend recently and for them to incorporate it into this movie, I must give them kudos for trying to break this taboo because I know there will be hoopla surrounding it (i.e. lawsuit filed against Dhoom 2 for the on-screen liplock).
Just like his previous film, Saawariya, this movie is another launch pad for soon-to-be-unstoppable superstar Ranbir Kapoor. He gets to be the fun, lovable Casanova and he pulls off the part quite well. Nothing seems forced by him, unlike when a lot of other Bollywood stars are trying to act “cool.” He has everything going for him (dancing, looks, acting) and he successfully carries the movie on his shoulders.
Since this is Deepika Padukone’s second film, all eyes were on her to see if she deserved to get the lead role in last year’s mega-hit Om Shanti Om. She looks gorgeous and goes through the part pretty easily, but she is barely in it. She doesn’t really get much of a chance to have a character and leave a strong impact. Minissha Lamba actually gets the most opportunity to prove her abilities, and she succeeds in showing her transformation from a naïve girl of 18, to a desperate housewife at 28. She was quite a surprise. As far as Bipasha Basu, she doesn’t really fit into the movie, mostly because all the other actors are pretty new to the Bollywood scene. She is obviously older than Ranbir and always has a vampy, controlling look to her. So for us to believe that she falls head over heels in love is unlikely. She does have a fun, stereotypical transformation, but her plot doesn’t create much interest.
The songs are definitely what you leave the theater with. The cinematography, lyrics, and music of “Khuda Jaane” leave you breathless. Shot on an exciting location, with the bluest water and whitest sand you will ever see, you don’t want this song to end. “Lucky Boy” and “Ahista Ahista” are catchy as well with fun choreography. The only song that seemed forced was the typical wedding song, “Jogi Mahi.”
You won’t leave the movie feeling amazed, but you won’t leave bored. It is very much an entertainer due to Ranbir Kapoor, the tunes, and how you feel you have traveled all around the world due to the beautiful locations. However, if you want to see a really fresh and intriguing love story this year, then Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na should be on your must list rather than Bachna Ae Haseeno.