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Raja Sen's Film Reviews
Bachna Ae Haseeno is well shot, competently performed and the writing shows glimpses of honest-to-goodness subtext and intelligent character development. It’s also a film centering around a lead actor, showing off just how much of ‘it’ he has — and he has more than a fair amount. If only the second half wasn’t as predictable as it is, the film was an hour shorter and every one-liner wasn’t accompanied by a burst of background score acting like a laugh track, we could have had a really good film.
The problem lies with their puppeteer, the all-conquering badshah of bluster. Sanjay Leela Bhansali [Images] takes Fyodor Dostoevsky’s White Nights — a stark, lovely story about romance born and rekindled over four nights — and, picking out its barest heart, proceeds to smother it in mixed-up layers of trite melodrama. And money. And so this soft core, this tender tale, is hidden — under several reams of indiscriminately wrapped silk and velvet, of loud noise and harsh light, of bewildering backdrops and the colour blue — so deep beneath smug self-indulgence and a bizarre budget that you can’t even hear the heartbeat anymore.
It’s always tragic when young directors start off their careers with scripts originating out of foreign DVDs. It’s not a smart move, inviting comparison and critical condescension, while just trying to make a movie they assume few have seen.
Still, go. Despite everything, see this film. Watch it for Vinay.
A tense romantic drama between two married couples — and the most compelling character in the film is a dad who dresses like a pimp? The film is working from a fundamentally flawed script, and our four (okay, two) main leads aren’t really fleshed out at all. Khan is perpetually pissed, an angry man too busy grumbling about his limp to care about his marriage. Mukerji’s character is strangely unreceptive of Abhishek’s advances. Preity’s Rhea echoes Bollywood cliché of careerwomen being ruthless and uncaring. Abhi, while a bit of an upstart, is the most believably written of the bunch. But never once do you feel concern for any of them, nice New York cinematography or not.