Monday, June 30, 2014

Bollywood Movie Preview: July 2014

When school’s out, work is slow, and everyone's dawdling under that sluggish, summer-induced lethargy, I’m seeking protection from the blistering heat with the best form of sunscreen: the cinema!

In what I hope will become a regular series on Reel Simple, I’m taking a look at movies hitting your multiplexes this month, with my takes on what to see, what to skip, and what to delegate to the DVD department.

Here’s what’s on the Bollywood slate this July….

Bobby Jasoos
Release Date: July 4
Starring: Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Kiran Kumar, Supriya Pathak

What’s the story? A small-town gal with lofty dreams and a penchant for espionage aspires to become Hyderabad’s leading detective, despite naysayers and skeptics who doubt her potential.

See it or skip it? The trailer of Bobby Jasoon shows Vidya bumbling her way through her investigative endeavors in various disguises, giving this highly anticipated film a lighthearted vibe of Harriet the Spy meets Sherlock Holmes. With the prospect of Vidya trying her hand at some physical comedy, plus the picturization of “Tu”—the gorgeous tune I’ve been hooked onto since the movie’s audio release—I’ll be queuing outside the theater for this one!

Lekar Hum Deewana Dil
Release Date: July 4
Starring: Armaan Jain, Deeksha Seth, Rohini Hattangadi

What’s the story? Sick of her father’s nagging to get married, a young woman decides to escape on a road trip with her best friend, who happens to be a fun-loving young man {insert predictable ending here}.

See it or skip it? I’ll be honest: this movie was nowhere near my radar until about ten minutes ago, when I did a frantic Google search to be able to write this very blurb. Turns out, it might be kind of a big deal. Sure, the cast list isn’t twinkling with A-listed starlets; however, co-produced by Saif Ali Khan, directed by Imtiaz Ali’s little bro Arif Ali, and scored by A.R Rahman, I’ll be watching Lekar Hum Deewana Dil out of involuntary curiosity—albeit probably on DVD a few months from now rather than in the cinema this weekend.

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya
Release Date: July 11
Starring: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt

What’s the story? When rich girl Kavya Singh from Ambala visits Delhi to shop for her wedding and meets Punjabi munda Rakesh “Humpty” Sharma, it’s hate-at-first-sight, eventually turning into an opposites-attract scenario.

See it or skip it? The second big-ticket release this month after Bobby Jasoos, the on-screen reunion of Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt bears a few vague similarities to their 2012 Student of the Year debut: Alia’s cast in a similar rich-girl role, the glitzy “Saturday” dance number is set in a nightclub much like SOTY’s “Vele,” and producer Karan Johar’s influence inevitably gives the trailer a glossy, bubble-gum feel. Yet, Humpty Sharma seems to feature less frothy flouncing around, more witty banter, and significantly fewer gratuitous shots of Varun’s well-oiled abs. Plus, any film that makes DDLJ references scores points in my book. While it doesn’t promise to be a groundbreaking cinematic accomplishment, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya sure looks like a whole lot of fun—who’d say no to that?

Pizza 3D

Release Date: July 18
Starring: Akshay Oberoi, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Dipannita Sharma

What’s the story? A pizza boy’s day goes from humdrum to hair-raising when he makes a delivery to a house that’s haunted, and becomes ensnared in the secrets and supernatural threats that loom inside.

See it or skip it? If director Akshay Akkineni thought he could spook up a title and a premise as lame as this one (I’ve made student films in middle school with more sophisticated plotlines) by tacking on the 3D element, I’m convinced he’s grossly mistaken. The only thing scary about looking at melted mozzarella in enhanced depth is that it’ll probably tempt me into calling in for a personal stuffed-crust pie. No need for those goofy stereoscopic glasses to see a clear verdict here: save your waistlines—and your brain cells; skip this one. 

Hate Story 2
Release Date: July 18
Starring: Surveen Chawla, Sushant Singh, Jay Bhanushali

What’s the story? I don’t know, guys. It’s an erotic thriller. Do those have stories?

See it or skip it? I’m scratching my head as to why, after the hot mess that was the original Hate Story back in 2012, producer Vikram Bhatt thought that a part 2 would be a good idea. Hate Story 2 then shoots itself further in the foot even before its release by claiming to be inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series—way to set your bar unattainably high, Vikram. Even trying to keep an open mind with the whole “erotic thriller” thing, I’m at a loss for reasons to watch this. If you come up with any, I’m all ears.

Release Date: July 25
Starring: Salman Khan, Jaqueline Fernandez, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

What’s the story? Salman Khan stars as a he-man with a mysterious profession that involves a lot of helicopters and death-defying feats, and an inexplicable obsession with what gives life its “kick.”

See it or skip it? Given that Salman Khan has the most loyal fans in all the world, I’ll probably face serious backlash after saying this but, like most of his films, Kick looks to be just another rendition of his tried-and-tested formula: a confused but oddly effective mix of highly risky, highly improbable action sequences; melodramatic yet meaningless dialogue; and a romantic subplot featuring Sallu’s latest inappropriately young flame haphazardly thrown in. Worth the price of popcorn and soda? I’m still on the fence. 

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