I've managed to catch up with Johnny Gaddaar and Jab We Met this week. Both highly recommended.
After having read all the good stuff about Johnny, there was a lurking fear that I might be disappointed. But the fears were entirely unwarranted as the movie was all that I could hope for and slightly more. The movie starts off with the hero reading Erle Stanley Gardener and the heroine reading Guide (a pointer to his deceit and her adultery?) and moves along surefootedly in the very manner of a Gardener novel. The premise being simple, one of the best things Sriram Raghavan, the director, does is that he does not intend the movie to be a whodunit. It simply follows the travails of our Gaddaar once he goes through with his gaddaari. Each of the five gang members is given a distinct touch by which to remember it...Even the first to be bumped off, Shiva, has a south indian girlfriend, Vyjayanti, obviously south indian, who brings him 'lemon rice' when he is about to set out on a journey. Dharmendra turns in a likeable performance, Neil Mukesh is restraint personified, Vinay Pathak rocks, Zakir Hussain is snake like, slithery and full of venom, Asha Kalsekar is outstanding and the twist at the end catches you by surprise. All in all a good movie that probably fell flat due to its non-star cast. This one will surely enjoy a good run in the home video section.
Jab We Met is for people who like to go to the theatre and see how delightful a slice of life movie can be. RamGopal Verma, with all his underworld sagas, had almost convinced me that a real life movie means it has to be extremely dark and depressing. But here, with characters that do not talk in the "Mooh haath dholo betaa, gajra kaa halwa khilaadoongi language", the movie proves to be extremely refreshing. The other guy, for example is actually fedup with Kareena's constant chatter about 'ghar kaisaa hogaa, balcony kaisaa hogaa, parde kaise honge' etc instead of being enamored by all the sweet talk. And the movie really came down to Kareena...full of wide eyed innocence and non-stop 'I'm my favorite' chatter, she was a delight to watch. This delightful, gullible character so pulls you in that you feel bad when she becomes a sober person in the second half. You want to tell her that all that has happened to her was not because she was an idiot, it was because she chose the wrong idiot. This identification is what you take back home, because the characters stay long after the lights have come on and you go home. Dont be surprised if you find yourself full of hope when you step out of the theater, Imtiaz Ali's second feature can do that to you!