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Lucky: No Time for Love (2005)
unusual Hindi movie
I watched this movie when it first came out as a teenager and loved it: it as my fantasy come true, beautiful to look at, had an awesome musical score and starred Salman Khan which pretty much guaranteed my bias toward it!! Watching it again today I have a newfound appreciation for it as a unique film (for the industry it was made in at least) and as a good film, in fact it is now officially one of my favourites.
The film is unusual for Hindi cinema in the sense that its plot driven (a more Hollywood feature) as opposed to emotionally driven. Hindi films seem to take a lot from Romanticism ideals with the plot being driven by the larger than life characters irrational and spontaneous emotions. Lucky is thus a distinguished film: the two protagonists are if anything ordinary, thrown into extra-ordinary circumstances which bring out their emotions and eventually changes them.
This brings me to another point; its is difficult to put this film into any genre at all, it balances between action and romance. I personally think of it as a fairytale following the journey of two characters during which they come to mean something very special to one another.
Seeing as the love story was not the dominating focus and very subtle I can see why the Indian audience was not very receptive to the film. It's not a "masala" film as one would expect a Salman Khan film to be: yes its mounted on a grand canvas, has commercial music and is peppered with some masala moments (they don't detract from the film)but the emotion typically depicted in Hindi films is not there in a melodramatic fashion and has to be actually looked for and pondered.
The film makes great use of a fairytale motiff, once again unusual for a Hindi film and will go over the top of a viewers head if they are unfamiliar with fairy tales. There is great use of symbology with what characters say at the beginning being repeated toward the end and a very subtle link between the songs Aa ke bharlo and Chori Chori.
Salman khan gives an awesome performance, very subtley mainly through his expressions showing the change that comes about in the very charming character of Aditya Sekhri. Sneha Ullal acts well, i'll admit her crying scenes left me in want (one star off) but overall for a newcomer completely foreign to the industry she does well and suits the character to the tee, however the change that comes about in her character Lucky is seen more through action than her expression.
As its already been established the cinematography is brilliant. The music topped the charts with good reason but is enhanced by its placement in the film or rather the songs enhance the film; not a single song sticks out. The direction is great and the film is well edited with nothing seeming unnecessary or prolonged.
The action of the film begins with "Ghar chale" and ends with it also, but the two characters are not the same at the end. As Salman Khan described the film is about growing up; not just for Lucky but for Aditya also. I personally enjoyed watching the characters grow up under the pressure of the circumstances: Aditya blossoms from a selfish "manchild" of sorts into a sensitive man watch when he offers to beg the doctor and you'll know that he hasn't done it for anyone else but Lucky whilst Lucky blossoms from the shy dreamer into a young woman; another standout and symbolic scene where she embraces her childhood in the form of the child and her subsequent escape from the train is something she initially would not have done alone.
On a ending note there's quite a fuss about whether Aditya actually loved Lucky. The expression on his face said it all during that embrace (now by best cinematic hug!!)and in fact his expressions and actions all throughout the movie said it all! The fact that he didn't vocalize it only makes the film all the more special as does the ambiguous ending,
OK movie with some above average assets
Veer is no art-house flick and nor is it historically accurate. Its a historical drama with an entertainment capacity only. One cannot expect to watch this film and analyze it as being "poetry in motion" or groundbreaking.
Like most Salman Khan movies its a pure entertainer and quite paisa vasool in this regard. There are cringe worthy moments with the historical inaccuracies (would there really have been female "exchange students" in the era in question?)and following the interval the film loses some momentum. However whilst these flaws are present they are overshadowed by the stellar aspects of the film such as the impactful performances and melodious music.
Salman Khan is PHENOMENAL in and as Veer. During the course of the film one cannot separate him from Veer and never has he delivered such a consistent serious performance. His role is strong, powerful and intense which he meets all throughout the film, to the extent that one is able to overlook the films ludicrous historical inaccuracies.
Mithunda is another consistent and powerful performer in the film. He is a pleasure to watch and the audience will find themselves missing him in the portion of the film Veer is in England. All the other cast are strictly OK, understandable by the sheer strength and presence in the performances mentioned before. As far as Zarine Khan is concerned her role is undemanding,however her screen presence ought to be noted.
The films music alongside the awesome performances is another of it's assets. All the songs are beautiful and well placed in the film. Surprisingly none of the songs stick out like a sore thumb and really enhance the film.
What exactly happens post-interval is difficult to pinpoint, the plot slackens and it hits the viewer as it was preceded by the such an engrossing and speedy first half. However the film does quicken toward the end and the ending coupled with Salman and Mithunda's intensity and chemistry can almost make the viewer forget the preceding "shonkiness".
Veer is not the greatest film ever made, but it isn't the worst as one of its critics cited (comparing it to Tashan!). It is a mega entertainer, a great cinematic experience and perhaps one of Salman Khan's best performances.
Provoked: A True Story (2006)
lots of potential that wasn't met
this movie had a heap of potential...that wasn't met. the story in its self is a seller but its execution was pathetic. instead of feeling sorry for kiran and considering her actions revoulutionary i walked out thinking that this movie was promoting murder over telling someone e.g. police. i feel this may have had o do with the fact that ash as pretty as she is isn't capable of getting in the skin of a character and making you feel with the character. i walked out considering kiran a weak woman when she probably wasn't in reality. kiran was a Punjabi girl and she was going to be a lawyer, she was obviously educated and intelligent so why portray her as so backward ?? only one scene really portrayed the kind of person kiran was (the scene before he threw her down the stairs) she told him what she felt. the personality of that scene should have been carried through the entire movie...but it wasn't. 5/10 purely for the story & the little effort
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006)
i thought this movie was rather pathetic considering karan johars previous movies. I never felt for the characters of this movie. the topic of this movie is a sensitive one & it needed to be handled carefully so you could love the characters of rani & shah rukh but i ended up resenting them both & loving there spouses. These two characters were meant to be the couple u rooted for till the end but the way they were written made them unrootable for me. shah rukh so irratble & rani the evercrying unappriciative wife. They were both unappriciative of what they had. The main saving grace of the movie was abhieshek. Amitabh & Kirron Kher were wasted. Two talented actors only there for show.