Dishkiyaoon Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

1.5 In 1998, Ramgopal Varma created a clutter-breaking film on Mumbai mafia called SATYA. Post RGV’s attempt, which earned a cult following amongst cineastes, a number of film-makers — including RGV himself — attempted movies on the sinister world of guns, goons, gangstas and gang wars. These films promised to offer the spectator a closer view of the mechanisms of the dark, gritty world.

Sanamjit Singh Talwar explores the underbelly of the city in his directorial debut DISHKIYAOON. But the question is, hasn’t RGV himself [besides a couple of film-makers] milked this genre dry? Perhaps Sanamjit had an interesting idea on paper — a youngster walks out on his father, who preaches non-violence, to be a gangster — but the debutant director squanders it all thanks to a worn-out script.

Let’s enlighten you about the premise. DISHKIYAOON is narrated through flashbacks as Viki [Harman Baweja] reveals his life story to Lakwa [Sunny Deol]. Starting out as a timid student, Viki’s life undergoes a metamorphosis when he comes into contact with Mota Tony [Prashant Narayanan]. The rest of the film focuses on his sole ambition of being the master of the game.

Seeking inspiration from some of the best gangster films isn’t sacrilege, but like I pointed out at the outset, isn’t the genre over-exploited? And anything in excess loses sheen, right? Again, serving the tried-and-tested stuff is not an issue, but the material ought to have the power to keep you absorbed and engaged. Unfortunately, in this case, the recipe is right, but the flavor isn’t.

Come to think of it, the trailer makes you believe that the debutant director is sure to spring a couple of surprises, but the predicament is DISHKIYAOON is marred by a laborious screenplay that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. There’s a twist in the tale towards the final moments of the film, but barring this sequence as well as the emotional outburst by Harman, the film doesn’t really work. In addition, like most first-time efforts, the substance takes a backseat, while style takes precedence here. Ideally, it should’ve been the other way around.

On the brighter side, a couple of action pieces catch your eye, but there’s an overdose of violence here and it gets on your nerves after a point. The soundtrack is mediocre, although, frankly, there’s not much scope for songs here.

There are instances of flawed scripts getting salvaged by competent performances, but that’s not the case with DISHKIYAOON. Sunny Deol looks exhausted. Harman Baweja pitches in a fine performance, although he needs to polish his skills in dramatic moments. New-find Ayesha Khanna is strictly okay.

Prashant Narayanan is top notch, while Anand Tiwari gets his character spot-on. Sumit Nijhawan plays the mandatory bad guy without much effort. Aditya Pancholi is wasted. Ditto for Rajit Kapoor, who plays Harman’s father. Shilpa Shetty Kundra sizzles in the promotional track that’s placed towards the end credits.

On the whole, DISHKIYAOON misses the mark!


  1. Author
    sputnik 8 years ago

    O Teri Movie Review by Taran Adarsh


    The election fever is heating up and not a day passes when one doesn’t hear of charges of corruption, bribery, scams, kickbacks and frauds committed by certain politicians. Fodder for drama? Post BODYGUARD, one expects Alvira and Atul Agnihotri to deliver yet another masala entertainer — a remake, perhaps — with celebrated stars. But the Agnihotris take a U-turn with O TERI. They opt for an issue-based film, cast relative newcomers, but package it with commercial ingredients to connect with the aam junta. Does the film strike a chord?

    First, the premise! O TERI narrates the story of intern journos Prantabh aka P.P. [Pulkit Samrat] and Anand aka A.I.D.S. [Bilal Amrohi] associated with a news channel in Delhi, in search of a big scam to prove a point to their senior [Sarah Jane Dias]. The story takes a turn when a dead body accidentally lands up in their car. Later, a bridge collapses and finally, a CD which exposes a major scam involving a politician [Anupam Kher] falls in their hands. What happens next?

    Does the plot ring a bell? Oh yes, it does! Recall Kundan Shah’s ageless classic JAANE BHI DO YAARO. O TERI brings back memories of that film. Even the characters portrayed by Pulkit and Bilal bear similarity to Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani’s characters in JAANE BHI DO YAARO [Shah and Baswani portrayed struggling photographers in that film]. Coincidental?

    The similarities notwithstanding, first-time director Umesh Bist borrows from real-life episodes, emphasizes on the politician-builder nexus, throws light on corruption amongst the top ranks of leadership, but ensures he sugar-coats the bitter truth with funny lines, amusing episodes, glitzy songs… in short, O TERI is a satire with a Bollywoodish slant.

    The plot of O TERI had the potential to explore the murky games that politicians play. Handled adroitly, the outcome could’ve been revealing and rewarding. But O TERI spends too much time and footage on inconsequential things, which deviates your attention from the core issue. While the first hour is engrossing in parts — a few episodes are amusing — the graph of the movie spirals downwards in the post-interval portions. Reasons: the humor is banal, the laughs are missing, the writing lacks meat, the sequence of events leading to the culmination just don’t work.

    In addition, the undercurrent of sarcasm — so essential in a film that mocks at the system and also at the bureaucrats — is clearly missing. Furthermore, Umesh succumbs to the pressures of making a masala entertainer, which results in the storyteller packing songs and item tracks, which look forced in the scheme of things. In addition, the run time, although controlled [less than 2 hours], seem never-ending, more so towards the second half.

    The soundtrack is foot-tapping, but an overdose of songs [in the first half] mars the impact.

    Pulkit Samrat is pitch-perfect in his part. He seems to be getting better with every film. Bilal Amrohi radiates confidence, but the rawness is too evident at times. Anupam Kher runs through his part with effortless ease. Sarah Jane Dias does quite well. Mandira Bedi is effectual, while Vijay Raaz’s talent isn’t tapped to the fullest. Manoj Pahwa looks like an add-on and his re-emergence in the climax seems weird. Salman Khan sparkles in the title track towards the end credits.

    On the whole, O TERI had the potential to be a smart take on political scams and corrupt bureaucrats, but, unfortunately, the film crumbles thanks to a shoddy screenplay.


  2. Author
    sputnik 8 years ago

    Youngistaan Movie Review by Taran Adarsh


    Politics, besides movies and cricket, is a fav topic of Indians, but the talk on politics has reached a crescendo these days. The forthcoming elections, the political rallies, the debates and arguments on TV channels, the widespread coverage in the print media, the chats on social networking sites… almost every discussion veers to politics, politicians and the ensuing elections nowadays.

    YOUNGISTAAN, directed by Syed Ahmad Afzal, couldn’t have desired a more appropriate release period. For, YOUNGISTAAN centres around politics, with Jackky Bhagnani essaying the part of a politician who intends bringing about a change. It’s a pertinent take on contemporary politics, yet a fictionalized account of a youngster who’s not the archetypal politician.

    Come to think of it, YOUNGISTAAN is not a hardcore political film. Set against the backdrop of Indian politics, this one attempts to strike a balance between the love story of a young politician and his political life. The challenge lies in doing the balancing act well, besides entertaining the spectators. Does the first-time director get it right?

    Let’s enlighten you about the plot, first! YOUNGISTAAN narrates the story of Abhimanyu [Jackky Bhagnani], who returns from Japan after his Prime Minister-father, Dashrath Kaul [Boman Irani], succumbs to illness. The elections are not far away and the senior party leaders decide to make Abhimanyu the Prime Minister for the interim period, although his girlfriend, Anvi [Neha Sharma], is dead against Abhimanyu’s decision of joining politics. A storm ensues as Abhimanyu’s love life becomes public and fodder for gossip mills…

    YOUNGISTAAN looks at scheming politicians, driven by a greed for power and who try to pull the rug from under the feet. The storyteller also borrows episodes from real life — some characters bear a striking resemblance to real-life politicians too — making the spectator relate to the proceedings. The ambience is pitch-perfect, the feel is just right, the upheavals in the life of the young politician are illustrated wonderfully at times [Jackky pitches in a stellar act — more on that later].

    Having said that, it’s not smooth sailing as far as the screenplay is concerned. The love story, which should’ve been integrated seamlessly in the premise, is inconsistent. Why is Neha against Jackky’s decision of joining politics? Perhaps she has her reasons, but it could’ve been explained distinctly. Subsequently, Neha’s behavior — after Jackky is sworn as the Prime Minister of the country — ought to be far more responsible, right? Also, knowing well that the paparazzi has done an exposé on their love life, why don’t Jackky and Neha take the saat pheras?

    The minor blemishes notwithstanding, YOUNGISTAAN has some wonderful moments. Jackky’s character is, without doubt, the USP of the enterprise. His sequences with his father [which are interspersed across the movie], his speech at the U.N., his reaching out to the common man and of course, the culmination to the story keep you completely hooked. Also, the sequences between Jackky and the senior political leaders are expertly executed by the director.

    The soundtrack boasts of the energetic ‘Tanki’, but it’s the harmonious ‘Suno Na Sangemarmar’ that stays with you. In fact, ‘Suno Na Sangemarmar’ comes across as a breath of fresh air in this era of mediocrity. The production design is top notch, with the makers going all out to give the film a tasteful look.

    Jackky Bhagnani springs a big surprise, surrendering himself to the character completely and delivering what can be rightly termed as his most sensitive portrayal to date. The confidence and understanding with which he carries off his part is an eye-opener, frankly. This act is sure to win Jackky plaudits, besides making people sit up and notice the hitherto untapped talent. Neha Sharma does very well, although you don’t feel for the character initially. The late Farooque Sheikh is absolutely flawless and his performance in the film makes you miss him all the more. Boman Irani is, as always, bankable. Meeta Vashisht and Kayoze Irani get limited scope. The actors enacting the part of the politicians are perfect.

    On the whole, YOUNGISTAAN has an interesting premise, a mature act by Jackky Bhagnani and importantly, the message it conveys is just right. The writing could’ve been sharper, but having said that, this movie is worthy of a watch.


  3. aryan 8 years ago

    O Teri Movie Review by Raja Sen

    From snatches of dialogue (about adulterated cement) to plot-points (about disappearing corpses), even lifting bits of the background score to try and underscore its salutation, O Teri borrows constantly from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and drowns it all in slapstick so noisy it all comes off as more lame than loving, more blasphemous than beholden, says Raja Sen.

    Satire isn’t what it used to be.

    Neither, of course, is the nation. We are a country who tunes in every night to watch an apoplectic news anchor shout till he’s blue in the fact with righteous indignation, a country whose national sport is match fixing, a country whose politicians are so farcical that they spoof themselves better than any stand-up comics can… A country, in short, that needs a good walloping more than it does a subtle wake-up-call.

    This looks like a job for black comedy, and the makers of O Teri came up with what may well be, on paper, the most suitable of ideas: what if Kundan Shah were to make his Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro today? What if two bumbling, well-meaning protagonists were faced with the Commonwealth Games Scam, Niira Radia and the 2G brouhaha? What if the system was skewered while a homage was constantly paid to the most memorable Hindi comedy of all time?

    Um, here’s the thing about movie tributes: to pull them off, they need to come from a place of great competence. A book, for example, was written about Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro a few years ago, a book assiduously compiling stories told by the classic film’s cast and crew. There was nothing wrong about this telling, per se, save its depressing dryness; it was like hearing your Hindi schoolteacher dictate a jeevani of your favourite limericist. Factual correctness can’t make up for a horrid lack of whimsy, and as one of the many lifelong JBDY maniacs, I felt cheated by a book that showed none of the spirit, the inventiveness, the vim that any work about the 1983 masterpiece deserved.

    Which brings us to Umesh Bist’s O Teri, a film that borrows constantly from the great one — from snatches of dialogue (about adulterated cement) to plot-points (about disappearing corpses), even lifting bits of the background score to try and underscore its salutation — but drowns it all in slapstick so noisy it all comes off as more lame than loving, more blasphemous than beholden.

    The loudness of the film seems intentional, especially considering the frighteningly oversaturated palette, one that makes a Ferrari look way, way too red and Mandira Bedi’s lips look like she were auditioning for an Aqua video. Every single character in the film constantly speaks with some manner of silly accent; it was as if the actors were told to ham it up during the shoot and then told, again, during the dub, that the face-stretching was all well and good, but that they now needed to bring out their best keshto-voices.

    There are a few fine actors so bulletproof they can wade through this manner of tripe unscathed — Manoj Pahwa, Razzaq Khan and Vijay Raaz, the latter even delivering a few actual laughs, and Mohan Kapur appears particularly well-cast as lobster-loving editor Vir Sanghvi — but the rest of them flounder fatally in this sea of overacting. Especially the leads. Pulkit Samrat, a feller I’ve liked from the get-go, is pretty damned unwatchable here, and along with him — and sporting the name “AIDS” in this film — is the debuting Bilal Amrohi, who is essentially the Mtv Roadies version of Suniel Shetty. (Make of that what you will.)

    In fact, that goes for the whole film. In case you’ve always wondered how JBDY would look if made with all the subtlety of Phir Hera Pheri/Grand Masti, then this is your lucky day. (There’s even a peculiar song about “butts.”) Which is a pity because O Teri, despite being loud enough to jolt any laash alive, targets the right scumbags and has more than a couple of fun ideas, not least a soothsaying dog who — like Paul the Octopus, or a particularly cute magic 8-ball — predicts the future. Now if only they’d kept the pooch around during the edit.

    Rating: 1.5/5

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