ACTION REPLAYY - EK CHALIS KI LAST LOCAL - ANARI
That I would end up writing about these three films in particular, in one single post, was nothing I had had in mind when watching them. They were just coincidental views, films that I bought because I was curious and had heard about them. It's funny that Ek Chalis Ki Last Local was the only one I had been wanting to buy for a long time, the only one I watched even though it wasn't the first one of my new films, alphabetically - and the only one I ended up not liking, plus being disappointed by.
Anari and Ek Chalis Ki Last Local have currently received the exact same rating at the IMDB: 7.3/10. Both are Parallel Indian Cinema, Anari was a Superhit with superstars, directed by disinguished Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Ek Chalis Ki Last Local was a Flop with "normal" actors and directed by debuting director Sanjay M. Khaduri. Now, Action Replayy is something in between, starring two big Indian stars, but receiving a Below Average rating from the box-office, a 3.9/10 rating at IMDB and being directed by a unsuccessful but commonly known director (Vipul A. Shah).
Differently from my other mini-reviews, I won't divide this one into the different films, but into categories and compare the films this way.
Just to clear this at the very beginning - without revealing my deepest thoughts, which I will do at the end only;
The Good: Action Replayy (2010)
The Weird: Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007)
The Awesome: Anari (1959)
Many people pointed out, that the main idea of Action Replayy seemed to be stolen from all-time-classic Back to the Future, which in some ways is true, but the story actually is very different. Still, this does not make it more original; I haven't heard or read anyone mentioning this before, but the plot is very similar to 2007 German tv-production Küss mich, Genosse! (IMDB). I don't appreciate story stealing at all, so in this category, AR does worst. One of the problems about Ek Chalis Ki Last Local is, that there doesn't seem to be any story at all. A guy misses his train at night, has to spend two hours in a village and meets a girl. Boring, and hard to make a good screenplay of (which I also don't think they did).
The sad-funny story of a poor young gold-hearted man, who doesn't seem to have much luck by his side is typically Raj-Kapoor and 50's Indian cinema - so it's not hard to decide, who wins in this section.
As already said, ECKLL's screenplay doesn't count to the best ones made. The love story is minimally interesting, but all other plot lines didn't catch my attention at all, which is also why I turned off the DVD player after almost 2 hours. Off course, I could have stayed through the last 30 minutes, but I really couldn't stand it any longer.
AR takes us on a bubbly, coulourful 70s-trip and manages to never let boringness slip through any giant screenplay-holes. How nice.
Everything in Anari can be classified as either interesting, amusing, or entertaining - in one word: as Raj Kapoor. Therefore, as in every other category, Anari wins.
You (and I) already know that no one can beat Raj Kapoor, but as I'm not the most versed person concerning actors from the 50s, I'll tell you what I thought about my first meeting with Nutan. I was very pleased by her performance, her wittiness and beauty, which reminded me strongly of Kate Winslet. Along with Raj Kapoor and Lalita Pawar, she is the person that makes Anari shine. -- If you've been following this year's Deol Dhamakka, you've most certainly read my (only) contribution to that event (if not, read it here). In that post, among other things, I tried to express my love to Abhay Deol, which thankfully is still untouched after watching this film. He was lovely as ever in ECKLL - thank god. An item song in Heyy Babyy was all that I'd seen of Neha Dhupia until ECKLL (and Action Replayy, for that matter), but she does look promising, even though I think there's much more she can, than what I've seen yet.
Aishwarya Rai, I don't think you're the Queen of Bollywood, like Western media often tries to call you, but nevertheless what you are is: definitely already one of the finest actresses of this decade, one of the best dancers after Madhubala and Madhuri Dixit, and one of the most beautiful women I've seen. Akshay Kumar is... well, I think he's one of the most sympathetic actors I know, and also he can make the worst movies and still not loose me as his fan. He can also look incredibly ugly in films, and incredibly 70s-fashion-victimy - never will my affection for him die.
I think we can agree that all of these films could mention some worthy names in their credits, and that all of them did a good job.
One of the reasons, and also the most important one, that I wanted to watch ECKLL, was not Abhay Deol, funnily. Around the releasing time in 2007, I had one of those periods where I listen to all of the latest Bollywood soundtracks, and immediately fell in love with this one - three years before I even watched my first Abhay-film. Laree Choote features a wonderful singer and is very intense, Ekka Chauka is funny and fast, Akh Ladiye is a great example for a disco-background/underground-track - shortly: I love the soundtrack.
Also Anari was discovered by me through its music, namely when I listened to some of the songs that won a Filmfare Award for Best Singer. The song I'm talking about ("Sab Kuchh Seekha Humne") really is one of the best ones I know, combining satirical lyrics with the awesome singing talent of Mukesh and an interesting melody. But also the other tracks are fabulous and will stay on my mind (and iPod).
Though I listened to the music of AR before, I only really liked it in the film. The best tracks are Zor Ka Chhatka and Nakhre, while Baaki Main Phool Gayi can only be described with 9 letters: h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, believe me. However, this soundtrack is the weakest, compared to the other two.
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local = The Local Train That Went at 1:40.
Unusual title, but in the end just as totally meaningless as the film itself.
Action Replayy = Action Replay
Fits the story, but the second "y" is just as annoying as stolen from Heyy Babyy (2007).
Anari = Idiot/ simpleton
Brilliant title, brilliantly used in the film.
The poster of Action Replayy already says that the film is shot "IN EASTMAN COLOUR", and that's also what you NOTICE when looking at the poster. 70s slam-tam-bamboo-banga eastman colour, that's what this film is made of. Sometimes the camera setting is very mainstream-music-video like, for example in the song Zor Ka Jhatka, but otherwise very fitting and a good contrary to category-winner Anari.
In a nutshell... (Lucky-Nut)
I expected a long-drawn, exaggerating, very below average film with some good songs.
I saw a never-boring, exaggerating, very entertaining personal-hit (with some good songs).
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local:
I expected a satirical, unusual, surprising film with a cute Abhay and a great soundtrack.
I saw a boring, art-housy-bad, uninteresting and weird film with a cute Abhay and a great soundtrack.
I expected a Raj-Kapoor-film.
I saw a Raj-Kapoor-film.
Let's end this post with a little smile:
"Marriage, now? We've only just sung a duet song!"
(Akshay Kumar in Action Replayy)