Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Good, The Weird, The Awesome - Triple Mini-Review


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.

Who's who?
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.

Camera (Cinematography)
After all those camera-experimental films, filled with 1-second-shots, dizzy-making rotations and shaky hand cameras, a 1959 classic black-white motion picture can feel like a supreme vacation (inlcuding virgin pina colada). Long, clear-shot scenes, no distracting eastman colour, grainy quality... I am sighing with relief. One may notice, that ECKLL is also shot in a rather quiet and non-distracting way, but a little more bang-bang would have been nice due to the boring screenplay. I'd like to mention the kiss scene though, which was not only well-performed but also beautifully captured.
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)
Action Replayy: 
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)


  1. I only saw AR and found it very average and rather boring, but this review is great! Brilliant idea!

  2. I LOVE your In a nutshell comment on Anari- very very apt!

  3. I've only watched Action Replay but I like your reviews :D

  4. So The Awesome is Anari? Phew, good because I had no desire to ever watch Action Replayyyyy :)

    I quite liked Ek Chalis even though I pulled the plug on it the first time around. It takes for EVER to get going. But then once they get to that pub place it's really fun. I always enjoy Abhay in a "don't know where I came from no clue where I'm going" type of role, and I had so much fun with their shenanigans to get the money. But to be honest, I never even noticed the soundtrack :( Oh well, not Abhay's greatest, but not his worst either (*coughAishacough*).

  5. @ Gaja Gamini: This is becoming a habit - us two not agreeing about a film. But nevermind, I hope we'll stay friends. And thank you for the kind words.

    @ Shweta: Aw, thank you so much. And I just learned a new English word: apt.

    @ nayika: Thanks, I think Action Replayy is the one most people have seen, because ECKLL is an offbeat production, and Anari is quite old. But I'd recommend watching Anari to you.

    @ Dolce and Namak: Off course it's Anari :D - but if you like the exaggerating-fun-retro-Akshay-Aishu kind of film, I can recommend Action Replayyyyy to you. Otherwise not.
    Aisha was definitely Abhay's worst choice for a role, but I liked the film more than ECKLL. Maybe I should watch the it another time, fully.

  6. I only saw Ek Chalis Ki Last Local but I agree that it was a bit weird :D But overall, I did like it.

    When I saw your title, I was thinking of the Korean movie, "The Good The Bad The Weird" :D

  7. Ek Chalis Ki Last local was weird---but in a good, interesting way for me! I doubt I'd ever watch it again, if that says anything.

    As for Action Replayy, I really feel like the movie had so much potential but didn't deliver. The story, thought not completely original, was interesting. The comedy/entertainment value was where I thought it failed. I tried soooo hard to like the movie and to laugh at the "funny" parts but I felt like most of the humor relied on Akshay's goofy looks--which went away halfway through the movie! I did quite like the music though.

  8. @ Nicki: Actually I was inspired by that title, even though I haven't seen the film yet.

    @ The Bolly 'Hood: The way you feel about those two films - that's the way I really wanted to feel about them, too. But I couldn't. There's probably something very wrong with me.

  9. Action Replayy had a good concept and I liked "older" Akshay and Aish - and the man singing like a woman was unique if anything.

  10. The Bolly Hood: Finally someone who agrees with me! :*

  11. Hello,
    As a lover of Nutan I was deeply offended that you could think of saying she "reminded you of Kate Winslet" :-) Nutan has a charm and a beauty is at least level with that of KW, even if I recognize that KW is perhaps an even superior actress. Well, perhaps.
    Anyway, thanks for looking at such movies as Anari!! There aren't many Bollybloggers who care to give these oldies as much as a thought!

    BTW, if youre interested: http://www.letstalkaboutbollywood.com/article-anari-1959-naive-hero-in-a-naive-movie-39212066.html

  12. @ yves: Hi, I just found your comment right now :). Of course, I didn't mean to offend you - Nutan and Kate are both individually wonderful actresses and are not to be compared. All I meant to say was, that the way Nutan smiled and behaved somehow reminded me of Kate, meaning she was so cute and sympathetic. :)
    And I'll check out that article right away.


Let the discussion begin!