9 May 2011

Cinemascope: Luv ka the End & Haunted 3D

Silly romp, but not without its moments

Director: Bumpy
Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Taaha Shah, Shenaz Treasuryvala, Ali Zafar


Luv Nanda is the coolest boy in junior college. He's hot, he's rich and he can turn on the charm tap whenever he wants. Rhea l-u-r-v-e-s Luv. She goes all weak in the knees when he so much as looks at her. Now the exams are over, it's the night before her 18th birthday, and Luv wants her to prove that she really lurves him. I mean really.

So she agrees to Luv's plans for the big night, despite her best friend Jugs' deadpan instructions, hilariously delivered: "Izzat ek ladki ka gehna hoti hai beta... please don't lose it, especially not in the backseat of a car!" But then Rhea's parents have to leave town at short notice, leaving her in charge of a somewhat crazed grandmother and a super-spoilt kid sister (the irritating Jannat Zubair Rahmani). While Rhea's still apologising to Luv and searching for ways to get out of the house, she and her friends Jugs and Sonia discover that Luv has already moved on to Plan B, involving superbitch Natasha. Not just that, it turns out that girls in general are just grist to Luverboy's dirty display mill. Enter the online Billionaire Boys Club, in which Luv Nanda is top contender – though only 100 points ahead of Goldie Gulati from Chandigarh HR College...

So Rhea and her pals embark on a night-long plan to teach Luv a lesson. It's all a bit juvenile, the songs are awful and many characters, like the nerdy Karthik, are cardboard cutouts. But it's not unsatisfying, and if you're 17, this may just be the girl power movie you've been waiting for.

Taaha Khan is perfectly cast as the smarmy, too-cool Luv, as is Shraddha Kapoor as the with-it-but-not-cutthroat-enough Rhea. The spirited Jugs is the best 'fat female friend' character I've seen in ages (even better than Wake Up Sid). The film gets extra points for paying attention to the different sets of parents: Archana Puran Singh as Sonia's embarrassingly gung-ho mother; Rhea's well-to-do but relaxed parents; we even catch a glimpse of Luv's Svarovski-sareed mother descending the stairs.

The Sunday Guardian film column for this week: 8th May

Mimoh in 3D — how scary is that?

Director: Vikram Bhatt
Starring: Mahaakshay Chakraborty, Tia Bajpai, Achint Kaur, Arif Zakaria


Haunted has all the ingredients of the classic Indian ghost film – the young male protagonist through whose eyes the narrative unfolds; the huge, old, empty house with creaking doors and lights that turn off and on by themselves; the tragic female spirit who – all the way from Gumnaam and Woh Kaun Thi to now – makes her ghostly presence felt by singing melancholy songs in the middle of the night. Except it's 3D. Rehaan, the puppy-eyed Mahakshay Chakraborty (aka Mimoh, son of Mithun) drives up to Ooty to ensure that the sale of a grand old house by his father's real estate company goes through all right. Upon arrival, he finds that one of the servants has died. The post-mortem report says it was a heart attack, but the staff are convinced that he was killed by an evil spirit that haunts the house. The resolutely rational Rehaan dismisses this, of course. But a single night of screams and bloodied handprints in Glen Manor – or as the film's characters repeatedly say, Glen Menaur – is enough to push him over the edge.

"But I'm not stupid: MBA kiya hai Stanford University se," he says to the mocking Mr. Billimoria, "Aur main drugs nahin leta! "Prove it," says old Billy. So, armed with some sexy looking camera lenses, Rehan sets out to get evidence. After another night with the musical girl ghost and wheezing evil spirit, a book falls out of a shelf to reveal a letter written by the girl before she became a ghost (ghosts, it seems, can't read and write – this proves crucial later). Cue flashback: a girl in a white dress is at her piano lesson: "I can't come to class from tomorrow, Professor"...

For those of you who're still deciding if you should watch this film, suffice it to say that the highlights of the multi-faith second half include a spirit medium, a problem-solving Christian priest, a ghost-banishing baba and a magic well in a bewitched labyrinth. Plus time travel, and a faux-lesbian spirit-rape complete with a grotesque 3D tongue. Enjoy.

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