Bajatey Raho: Just a few laughs here and there

MUMBAI: Bajatey Raho can be termed as a crossbreed genre; it is a revenge comedy. While comedy does not come easily to Hindi writers and often turns out to be forced, revenge in this film is in the guise of what people recently saw in Special 26.

The film starts off well enough with Tusshar Kapoor visiting a high profile school seeking admission for his brother. The principal rejects him but changes his mind when Kapoor offers him money. It turns out that Kapoor was doing a sting operation on the principal. The principal chases him with a revolver in hand and Kapoor drives away with his getaway partner, Ranvir Shorey. After Kapoor threatens to send the footage to the media, which would spoil the reputation of the school, the principal relents and the matter is settled at a price of rupees three crore.

In fact, this act was a part of the revenge being sought o the school's owner, Ravi Kishan, by Dolly Ahluwalia, her son Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Shorey.

Kapoor's father was the manager of a bank run by Kishan. Keeping him as a front, Kishan defrauded middle-class people of crore of rupees with the lure of offering 15 per cent interest within three months. When the three months were up and people wanted their money back, Kishan blamed the manager for the fraud and the bank took no responsibility. The manager and Pathak's wife, who worked as his aide, were arrested but the manager died of heart attack.

The depositors then get an order from court to have their money paid back within 15 days or Ahluwalia and Kapoor will be rendered homeless. They need Rs 15 crore of which three has been collected from the school sting; they are in search of the Rs 15 crore from wherever Kishan has hidden it. They will have to wait till the wedding of Kishan's daughter, but Kishan has promised the same Rs 15 crore in dowry to his son-in-law to be.

Producers: Sunil A Lulla.

Director: Shashant Shah.

Cast: Tusshar Kapoor, Vishakha Singh, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Ravi Kishan, Dolly Ahluwalia.

Kapoor runs a cable network in his neighbourhood and in this line of business comes across Vishakha Singh and they start dating. To get an entry into Kishan's farmhouse, Singh poses as a dance instructor and is appointed to choreograph the wedding 'naach-gaana' event. Kapoor and Shorey turn into caterers while Pathak becomes 'bhajan' singer for the pre-wedding 'Mata Ki Chowki'. They have to carry out the ultimate heist by outsmarting Kishan, returning the defrauded investor's money and restoring their family pride.

The title would suggest this to be a cheap comedy; the fact is there is no comedy at all. In fact, there are more heavy moments in the film. It just meanders till the climax is reached with not much excitement or thrill. There are no distractions either as the bunch goes on executing their grand plan. The script lacks tautness. Direction is okay. Some trimming was needed. Music is passable. Kapoor is his usual self. Singh is good. Kishan is proving to be a good character artiste. Pathak and Shorey support well. Ahluwalia when in the get up of a tycoon does very well.

Bajatey Raho has not aroused much curiosity so far and the opening has been below par. Improvement seems unlikely.

Issaq: A desi take on the classic Romeo and Juliet

Producers: Dhaval Gada, Shailesh R. Singh.

Director: Manish Tiwary.

Cast: Prateik Babbar, Amyra Dastur, Evelyn Sharma, Malini Awasthy, Ravi Kishan, Makarand Deshpande, Neena Gupta,Sudhir Pandey.

Issaq is supposed to be a modern day Romeo and Juliet; just how so is another thing altogether. It is about a few warring families who keep wasting bullets over nothing with even a bunch of gun welding Naxalites thrown in. When did Naxalites reach Banaras? Maybe this is a futuristic film. In any case, Banaras is where the film is based. And since the film is supposed to be based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, we know the end is going to be not a happy one.

Prateik Babbar belongs to a local bahubali's family and leads the family wars with other mafias involved in sand on behalf of his father. Otherwise he chases a ghori girl, a disciple of saffron clad Makrand Deshpande, a guru who can float in air at will. It is at Sudhir Pandey's Holi festivities that Prateik spots pretty and petite Amyra Dastur, the niece of another mafioso, Ravi Kishan. To add to the sand mafia's gunshots is a Naxalite group chanting 'laal salaam' and taking away trucks-full of sand.

Prateik chases his romance, Amyra, as thought he is Spider Man. He jumps from walls to walls and terraces across town; he is barely seen walking and makes it a practice of materialising in his lady love's presence at will. The girl does not take long to reciprocate and a secret rendezvous routine begins. Eventually, they decide to marry with the help of Amyra's granny, Neena Gupta. As expected, all hell breaks loose.

There are too many characters dotting the screen and it is time to eliminate some. Ravi Kishan, out to kill Prateik is the first to go. After that there are back stabbings, plotting and scheming as bodies fall with sand digging rights as the trophy. And, to end the film on a Shakespearean note, in a conveniently contrived misunderstanding, the hero and heroine drop dead too.

The first memory of a Banaras film being H S Rawail's classic, Sunghursh, which was about clan enmities, watching Issaq is a challenge to one's senses. Once again, it is a case of a maker trying to sell local fantasies to the national cine-going public. There is no logic, identification and plausibility to be found in this film. The direction is average. Musically, the title song, Issaq tera…. is good. Dialogue is cliché. Prateik is fair while Amyra is very confident considering this is her debut film; she acts well. Ravi Kishan, Pandey and Deshpande are okay in support.

Issaq is a poor entertainer.

Nasha: An overdose of sleaze and fantasy

Producers: Surender Suneja, Aditya Bhatia.

Director: Amit Saxena.

Cast: Poonam Pandey, Shivam Patil, Sheetal Singh, Vishal P Bhonsle, Rohan Khurana, Ranvir Chakma, Raj Kesaria, Chirag Lobo, Nikhil Desai, NehaPawar, Tanuka Laghate, Mikki Makhija, Mohit Chauhan, Gargi Patel, Seema Roy, Sandeep Hemnaoni, Sanjay Vichare, Akshay Bhagat.

As a boy attains puberty and comes of age, his first love is usually infatuation and most often his school teacher. There have been numerous movies on this theme. There have also been many films on seduction of a teenager by an older woman, in films, TV, news reports as well as pornography. The theme in Nasha is titillation, and so is the aim because there is nothing that the film has to say as such. There were numerous such films dubbed from Malayalam and screened with interpolation during the 1980s.

The pupils in this Panchgani co-ed school play funny games where four boys are supposed to strip and wait till a bunch of girls arrive and watch them naked before they jump into the swimming pool! In walks a hot pants-clad cleavage-popping new teacher, Poonam Pandey. The boys turn instant voyeurs and their imagination runs wild. And one thought even students were not permitted to wear such clothes in schools. But this film has its task cut out: to provoke 14 year olds.

The teacher decides to involve the students in a stage play. The play will, of course, be erotic where a girl will arouse a guy. Thereafter the school is cut down to a small bunch of young boys and girls. Pandey teaches acting with practicals showing the girls how to do it. While all the boys fantasise and joke about this teacher in panty sized shorts, one boy, Shivam Patil, is totally smitten. She invades his life full time, while he eats, sleeps, walks he only dreams of Pandey. So much so he even starts ignoring his steady girlfriend. The teacher is very amiable which leads Patil to believe she cares for him too. That is till Pandey's boyfriend drops in. Patil is shattered but he still believes Pandey is not the type who would sleep with her boyfriend before marrying him.

Dared by his friends, he slyly sneaks into her house at night only to find her in bed with the man. He predictably bangs into a table for her to come out to see who the intruder is. Her wrap is caught in piece furniture and there she is standing full frontal nude in front of him holding a candle in her hand! This only fires more passion in our young boy's heart. What follows is much footage of teasing the boy's emotions and passion, driving him almost crazy; he has to have her!

Patil's hopes soar when Pandey's friend two-times her and their relationship comes to an end. He is not her only companion. While all this goes on, the school, the play, the extracurricular activities that the teacher Pandey is here for are all forgotten. It is a game of patience for Patil as well as the audience till Pandey sleeps with Patil and brings the ordeal to an end. For whatever reason, she decides to pack her bag and leave town but finally obliges Patil before leaving. Having got what he wanted, Patil is back to normal and back with his school girlfriend!

Pandey suits the role she has been cast in. Patil acts well. Rest of the young boys and girls are also natural. Direction is fair. Music does not help much.

Earlier, it was said that such films did well with cinemas patronised by the masses and in the interiors. Well, there was no porn at a click of a mouse or cell phone button at that time. Now there is not much left in the name of mass-cinema halls still standing in the interiors. Nasha will not find much favour at the box office.

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