Gulabo Sitabo was one of the first Indian film releases straight to streaming services, skipping theaters due to COVID-19. With the cast of Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan, plus the behind the camera team of writer Juhi Chaturvedi & director Shoojit Sircar, my expectations were high. I was sorely disappointed in this film. The narrative was just not compelling enough to sustain for the length of the movie. Gulabo Sitabo is playing on Amazon Prime.
Sarkar 3 Review – Amit Sadh and Amitabh were great but film not my favorite
I went to see Sarkar 3 without seeing the first two films in the series beforehand. Margaret of Don’tCallItBollywood clued me in to the backstory from the previous films, which are heavily influenced by The Godfather films. I went to Sarkar 3 because I wanted to see Amit Sadh in this kind of role. I loved him in Sultan, and he was fantastic in Running Shaadi earlier this year. Here’s the video review I did for Bollyfools:
Paheli – My Kind of Ghost Story
Paheli, Shahrukh Khan’s 2005 movie about a ghost or spirit is one of my all time favorite Shahrukh Khan movies, even if it is not one of his blockbusters. It’s not a scary Halloween movie (like maybe Darr, which is more creepy than scary), but it does have a ghost! Paheli means riddle.
Fantasy film seem to be unusual in Hindi cinema, and in this film Shahrukh Khan plays both a number counting merchant husband, and a bhoot, or a ghost or spirit (sort of a genie, really) who takes his place. Rani Mukerji is the bride who captivates the Ghost, with Amitabh as a wise shepherd in a cameo. It’s a fable that is also about women’s empowerment, and the scene where SRK tells Rani he’s a ghost is one of my all-time favorites. She laughs at first, because it sounds ridiculous! But her real husband barely noticed her, and wouldn’t sleep with her on their wedding night, but this ghost is obsessed with her every since he saw her at the well he haunted.
He could have lied and just taken her in the guise of her husband, but he loves her enough to give her the choice. Swoon!
Rani and SRK have always had great chemistry, but man do they smolder in Paheli. Yowza.
The costumes are just stunning, and the music in the film is just fantastic:
Amitabh Bachchan has a fun cameo as the wise shepherd who must solve the riddle of the two husbands. Juhi Chawla, who co-produced the film, plays Rani’s sister-in-law whose husband (Sunil Shetty) had disappeared. Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak play puppet narrators and of course Anupam Kher is the father.
I love Shahrukh in double roles and these two roles he makes completely separate people. The husband is comedic and obtuse, and the ghost playful and sultry.
Plus, I love the idea of a ticklish ghost! Paheli has been overlooked but I love it. And I love its message of female empowerment and choice.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna – 10 Year anniversary appreciation
I actually like Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, although I know it is not most people’s favorite Karan Johar movie. It’s certainly not my favorite Shahrukh Khan film, but it does have some great moments for me. Today is the 10 year anniversary of KANK’s release date.
While it is about mature adults, and not young lovers, the subject of adultery is not one that everyone wants to watch in a film. I do love the music, too. I really like seeing how Karan played homage to Silsila especially in this song sequence. He copies the exact poses of Rekha and Amitabh.
But what I really take from KANK, is the gay subtext. It may have also been about Rani Mukherjee’s real life relationship with Aditya Chopra. But I think when Karan explores the sexual incompatibility of Rani and Abishek’s character’s marriage, and how Rani feels things with Shahrukh that she has never felt before — ding, ding, ding — we’re supposed to read into that a gay subtext.
Here’s an example when Shahrukh and Rani play act how he should greet his wife while they are in a department store. The first few times I watched this scene, I was focused on Shahrukh’s reaction, but look at Rani’s face at about the 1:17 minute mark. She realizes she’s feeling desire for Shahrukh that her character has never felt with Abishek. She wasn’t expecting to feel it, and she stops immediately, but she can’t stop thinking about it from this moment on.
I don’t believe that adultery is right, but I also don’t think people should stay in marriages where they are miserable. And that’s the real message that Karan is trying to tell us, whether the couples are gay or straight.
The whole soundtrack of this movie is fantastic. Margaret at Don’t Call It Bollywood posted today about how the song Mitwa deconstructs the typical fantasy song.
Te3n – Amitabh Bachchan as an obsessed grandfather searching for clues to a family tragedy
Te3n is a Hindi thriller starring Amitabh Bachchan as the grandfather of a young girl who was kidnapped and killed 8 years ago. He can’t let the unsolved case go, and visits the police station every day for an update. Vidya Balan is the police detective who tries to gently get him to move on.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was the police officer investigating the case 8 years ago, and botched it. He has since become a priest, and Amitabh (John) also torments him regularly about the cold case.
Amitabh neglects his disabled wife, the bills and regular life in his obsession to find justice for his granddaughter. He uncovers what he believes is new evidence in the case, and gets Martin (Nawaz) to accompany him to track down more clues.
Then another young child is kidnapped, and the details of the case seem to be an exact copy of the case of John (Amitabh)’s granddaughter. Vidya calls on Martin (Nawaz) to help her find the kidnapped boy.
What this movie got right was the obsession that family members can fall into, especially the elderly, with an unsolved case. Our family happens to have a missing person/probable murder cold case. Having a tragedy like that hanging over a family can take a heavy toll. Amitabh lets all the despair and pain show in this movie. His wife, and every one urges him to just let it go, but he can’t. He just can’t.
Te3n is written and directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and produced by Sujoy Ghosh of Kahaani fame. It’s an authorized remake of the Korean film Montage, which I have not seen. Te3n is set in Calcutta, but just never manages to reach the level of suspense and tension of Kahaani, or true surprises. Here you have three of my favorite Indian actors in Hindi cinema, and while the film is good, it’s not as great as I was hoping it would be. The ending was a satisfying conclusion to the thriller, but I had some unanswered questions.
Amitabh’s John is fleshed out, but I was left wondering if it was just this one case that led Martin, Nawaz’s former cop character to become a priest.
Three and a half stars out of five.