Days Of Tafree

Lost In Translation

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The biggest hit of recent years in Gujarati cinema may not be able to recreate its magic in this childish Hindi remake.

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daysoftafree-1aShahbuddin Rathod is Gujarat’s best known stand-up comedian. His audience has heard almost all of his jokes a million times. But whenever he comes on stage, people demand same old jokes, Mr. Rathod doesn’t disappoint them. And people on the other hand in spite of remembering every word of those jokes, laugh wholeheartedly as if they are listening to them for the first time! I have observed the same phenomenon with ‘Days Of Tafree’ (DOT) which is an official remake of one of the biggest hits of Gujarati cinema ‘Chhello Divas.’ Almost all the people in the auditorium were fond of Chhello Divas, they knew all the jokes and every time they came people started laughing even before the punch-lines were spoken. But what is there in DOT for those who aren’t aware of Chhello Divas?

College Ke Saathi

DOT is a story of four third-year college friends, Nikhil (Yash Soni), Vicky (Ansh Bagri), Suresh (Sanchay Goswami) and Daljeet aka ‘Dhula’ (Sarabjeet Bindra), studying in Delhi. Nikhil has just come out of a breakup with an irritating girlfriend and ready to fall in love with his classmate Pooja (Nimisha Mehta). Rich spoilt brat Vicky has two things in his mind all the time, girl and ‘masti.’ Suresh is in desperate search of a girlfriend. Hot-headed Dhula is always ready for two things, hit someone and eat something. Together they bunk classes, mess with teachers (pun intended), go to movies, pass the time in a canteen, celebrate different days-birthdays, party hard, copy in exams, propose girls and so on. But an accident is waiting for them to suck all the joy of their carefree life.

Fooling around

In film schools, they teach about film story and struggle of its main characters. But DOT is unique in that sense. It virtually doesn’t have any story, neither its characters have any struggle in life. They are from well to do families, study in posh college, drive cars and spend more money than average Indian earns every month. DOT is actually a compilation of routine college gags and pranks. Chhello Divas worked mainly because of the chemistry among the actors, their superb performances and carefree writing by writer-director Krishnadev Yagnik. Without a story or any kind of progression the film keeps on jumping from one gag to another. They could go on and on this way. To be frank, DOT is more suitable for a web series than a full-fledged movie. There is an accident, hospital sequence (which strongly reminds us of Karan Johar’s ‘Student Of The Year’) to hold the movie together, but it doesn’t serve many purposes in the film.

‘Tafree’ means making fun of someone or something, especially in front of them. And believe me, they spare no one. The humour level of this film can give a hard time for some sensitive people. Guys in this film make crude remarks about elderly people, their fathers; make fun of somebody’s appearance, skin colour, they literally hit girls for cheap laughs; use toilet humour, speak sexist lines to count a few. The makers of this movie promised that this film will be a clean entertainment for a whole family. However some lines are muted by our censor board, there are many, many cuss words, suggestive lines, and gestures to make you uncomfortable if you are with your family or kids. Some might argue saying this is today’s generation who talk and behave like this only, but I doubt how many youngsters sleep with their girlfriend in their own house or tell shamelessly to their dad they haven’t had sex yet.

To remake in Hindi, the director has omitted some sequences and characters. For example, ‘Naresh-the peon’ who was the spoof of well-known Gujarati actor Naresh Kanodia is not here in Hindi version. But more than 90 per cent movie is the literal translation of its Gujarati version. So, you can easily guess the dialogues even before they spoken. Many times humour is evaporated in the process of translation.

But to be fair with DOT, many situations make you laugh. The scene where a girl furiously complains about why his boyfriend ordered coffee for her, when the group celebrates birthday, guys copy in an exam in a unique way, are the moments when you laugh out loud. But most of other situations completely fall flat. However, the farewell speech by one of the characters can evoke your college memory and make you a bit nostalgic depending upon your sensibilities.

The movie is set in Delhi but most shooting has been done in Gujarat, around Ahmedabad. They have used stock footage of Delhi in most places. Thus we never get the feeling of Delhi or outside Gujarat.

‘Days Of Tafree’ is full of loud background music which might hamper your hearing abilities. The movie has two songs which are amateurish. As a viewer, you can sustain its first half, but with more than 2.35 hours of length, it tests your patience. One long propose prank is completely avoidable and stretched to hell.

The lead guy Yash Soni is reprising his role of ‘Nikhil’ from Chhello Divas and he’s the only sane guy in the movie. He is a charmer and I am looking forward to more meaty roles for him. Ansh Bagri as ‘Vicky’ is nice but he reminded me of Jacky Bhagnani instead of Malhar Thakar from the original movie. The leading lady Nimisha Mehta looks cute but doesn’t have much to do. All other people in the movie are completely cardboard characters and are there just to make noise.

For Gujjubhais and Gujjubens

Adaptation of movies from Gujarati to Hindi is not a new phenomenon. But as far as DOT is concern, its original audience i.e. Gujaratis can laugh at it as they have enjoyed Chhello Divas. Days Of Tafree doesn’t exceed its original edition and has a tremendous uphill task for the audience outside the state.

Rating: ** (Two Stars)

(Published On DeshGujarat.Com)

Copyright © Jayesh Adhyaru. Please do not copy, reproduce this article without my permission. However, you are free to share this URL or the article with due credits.

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Wrong Side Raju

Keep Calm And Wait For The Climax

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Despite some fine performances, this much-hyped movie falls short on many fronts.

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wrong_side_raju_posterIt obviously becomes news when the pied piper of new ‘urban’ Gujarati cinema Abhishek Jain brings his new movie. But wait. This time, he is in the producer’s chair with a big company of Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane fame ‘Phantom Films.’ A close associate of Abhishek Jain, young debutant director Mikhil Musale has worn a director’s cap this time. We are served with a thriller drama named ‘Wrong Side Raju’ inspired from ‘Vismay Shah hit and run case.’

Don’t Drink And Drive

Raju Bambani (Pratik Gandhi) is a driver by the day and teetotaller bootlegger by the night. He works as a chauffeur for city’s biggest lawyer cum industrialist Amitabh Shah’s (Asif Basra) son Vismay, err, Tanmay Shah (Kavi Shastri). Raju dreams of starting a travel agency. But his life takes a wrong turn when he finds himself as a prime suspect in a hit and run case which leaves two policemen dead and one man critically injured. But not before he falls in love with a gori ma’am Shaily (Kimberley Louisa McBeath). He does the Garba, roams around the city, drinks bootlegged French wine and weaves the rosy dreams of future with her. But for now, he has a herculean task to prove his innocence. You can expect many turns towards the climax.

More the messier

You should always reach cinema hall on time, even before the anti-smoking advisory starts playing. But for this movie, if you be a little late, don’t panic. By the time the makers finish thanking who’s who of Gujarat, you would comfortably make it to your seat.

As expected the movie starts with the accident, takes U-turn to tell the story of the protagonist Raju Bambani and keeps back and forth between past and present. The biggest strength of the movie is the lead actor Pratik Gandhi. He has a charming personality, very expressive eyes, excellent command over dialogue delivery, has perfect comic timing and literally lifts the whole movie on his shoulders. It’s a treat to watch him laughing, crying, romancing, dancing, being made a scapegoat and serving a new card every time he comes on the screen.

Music by Sachin-Jigar gives much-needed thrust to the movie. We have a song for each occasion.  Especially ‘Satrangi Re’ sung by Arijit Singh (which makes his first ever Gujarati song) and ‘Zindabad Re’ sung by Vishal Dadlani have come out really well. ‘WSR’ is one such album you can hear while stuck in city traffic. But alas, rest of the ride is too bumpy to enjoy.

I don’t know if the director, the editor and the writing team believe in the slogan ‘speed thrills but kills’, but the whole pace of the movie is too slow for a tight thriller. No one is in a hurry here. Policemen merrily enjoy whiskey (which is the evidence) in the police station itself, that too in cup-saucer! They ask bribe, discuss Gujarati translation of selfie, but rarely go out of the station. They say the case has become high profile and a national issue, but we hardly feel the race against the time. Even the big shot father doesn’t try to find his missing son. The First half of the movie, depicting a love story between Raju and Shaily, is cute to see but takes too much time to come to the point.

There is a courtroom drama after the interval, with a pleasant cameo of our own Siddharth Randeria aka ‘Gujjubhai’ but minus energy. Somehow Randeria looks tired and disinterested. This drama should have been more engaging than of ‘Jolly LLB’ which had the same storyline of hit and run case. But the whole courtroom sequence neither has energy, nor powerful dialogues, nor any memorable performances. This is a pity because we could see the names of some of Gujarat’s most known lawyers in starting slides. You can’t afford to hide the protagonists invisible for a significant time. All blame goes to the writing department.

The whole movie is so crowded with the hero, villain, police, everybody has their sidekicks. Even sidekicks have their own sidekick. There are so many direct product placements that you can learn which undergarments to buy, which edible oil to use, who sells best cakes in the city, which is the best heritage hotel to stay to name a few.

Policemen duo, played by very talented Jayesh More and Alok Gagdekar, try hard to be funny, menacing, wicked at the same time, but almost all of their lines fall completely flat.  The other cast members Makrand Shukla, Hetal Puniwala, Kenneth Desai, Ragi Jani are just ok. But yes, the seasoned actor Asif Basra in the role of a patriarch is amazing.

The whole movie is full of deafening background music and unnecessary jerky, handheld camera movements. The camera literally irritates in courtroom sequence. We are served with twist ending which comes unannounced and the logic goes for a toss.

Bumpy Ride

‘Wrong Side Raju’ is technically superior, but never gives the much-needed thrill, goose bumps, sense of urgency or proper message. It needed to go beyond ‘Shaitan’ and ‘Jolly LLB’, the Hindi movies made on the same subjects, but never comes even close. The things you remember after leaving the theater are a couple of songs and Pratik Gandhi.

Rating: ** (Two Stars)

(Published On DeshGujarat.Com)

Copyright © Jayesh Adhyaru. Please do not copy, reproduce this article without my permission. However, you are free to share this URL or the article with due credits.

થઈ જશે!

Dreams Unlimited

***

In spite of honest performances and the heart in its place, this movie is tiring watch mainly because of its wafer thin and unconvincing plot.

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1462967486-thai-jashe2The issue raised in the movie ‘Thai Jashe!’ is very genuine and relatable. Almost everyone would agree with the fact that it has become Herculean task  to buy one’s own home in the city like Ahmedabad, especially in last decade. So, the director Nirav Barot must be congratulated for raising such an important issue which touches every member of the middle class as well as working class. But to build an interesting and gripping building on such a single line story is completely another game.

Sweet dream, bitter experiences

Pranav Joshi (Malhar Thakar), a young, educated man who comes from a small town of Jetpur to the big city of Ahmedabad with dreams in his eyes. He literally has a list of dreams stuck on his wall. Two of his dreams have been fulfilled so far. He has a decent job and a beautiful, understanding fiancé Kajal (Monal Gajjar).

But things are not going well in his hometown Jetpur. His father Chandrakantbhai’s (Manoj Joshi) sari making unit has closed down and he is in a financial mess. Like a dutiful son, Pranav brings his parents to Ahmedabad to live with him. There is one problem now. Name of the problem is his landlady, Shanti aunty (Bhavini Jani). She makes their life hell. One such not so fine day, during a heated argument with Shanti aunty Pranav challenges her that he would buy his own home in just two months. But how? Will he be able to find home of his dreams? Does he have enough money to fulfil his desire?

Logic Vs Emotions

The whole structure of ‘Thai Jashe!’ is stood upon emotions. Though his father is of dominating nature, Pranav has a small family of three tied with love. He gets emotional while leaving his home, parents, old friends in Jetpur. He easily gets irritated with the annoying landlady. He even easily throws a challenge he can’t fulfil easily. He gets frustrated with red tapism of our banks. All his emotions strike a cord with audience. We can feel his pain and his struggle. He asks one good question, which must be answered by our society where the rich keeps buying houses just for investment and keeps the market up. This makes almost impossible to buy a home for those who really need them.

The protagonist’s chemistry with his fiancé, his friends is delightful. The movie has a decent production value and aerial shots of Ahmedabad and Jetpur are eye candy.

But the problem starts when you start seeing through logic glasses. The whole struggle begins with a silly challenge of buying a home in two months with the relatively unknown landlady. The lady who doesn’t give a damn whether our hero can buy it or not. Then why on the earth is he so desperate to buy the home which is clearly out of his reach? Does he want to show his father who constantly underestimates him? But then he has already proven himself by settling down in a big city. All he needs is just some time.

When Pranav realises he falls short of an eligible amount of loan and the actual price of a flat, he starts abusing banks and their officials. He even delivers a long (and impressive) monologue on the uselessness of red tapism of the banking system. But how can banks sanction a loan which you clearly can’t repay? Forgot what happened in sub-prime crises of USA? His fiancé is MBA in finance, doesn’t even she know about it?

There isn’t even a one scene where Manoj Joshi doesn’t scream. We don’t know why he is always grumpy. Why doesn’t he share a good vibe with his son? Doesn’t he have some wise, encouraging words for him? He helps his tenant but doesn’t have any sympathy for his own son? Strange!

One thing we clearly didn’t expect in such family drama movie was homophobia and cuss words. There is one typical ‘gay’ looking character inserted just for cheap laughs and is supported by below the belt comments. These were completely uncalled for.

‘Thai Jashe!’ has wafer thin logicless plot, but it is excruciatingly two and a half hours long. Unnecessary long unwanted scenes, high-pitched melodrama and almost loud comedy by actor Hemang Dave, makes the whole journey tiresome. The film has a couple of lyrical songs but they aren’t catchy enough to remain with us.

Once time settlement

‘Thai Jashe!’ is definitely a welcome change in comedy bandwagon of recent Gujarati releases. But it works only in parts and mainly because of its honest performances. Had the movie been edited by 20-30 minutes more with some logical twists, it would have left a powerful impact on viewers’ minds. This is strictly one-time watch.

Rating: ** (Two Stars)

(Published On DeshGujarat.Com)

Copyright © Jayesh Adhyaru. Please do not copy, reproduce this article without my permission. However, you are free to share this URL or the article with due credits.

Love U Baka

For A Few Cheap Laughs Only

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One more amateurish Gujarati film which is full of below the belt jokes.

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maxresdefaultHave you watched recent Hindi disasters named ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum-3’ and ‘Mastizaade’? Do you prefer a movie which is full of cheap double meaning jokes and most of the lines which are full of sexual innuendoes? Are you ready to spare two hours of your life to have some guilty pleasure? If all these questions have ‘yes’ as an answer, then my friends, you are eligible for director Utpal Modi’s latest release ‘Love U Baka.’

Dil Dosti Etc

There is an idealistic young student comes to Ahmedabad with dreams to make a career in civil services in his eyes. But soon he makes friends with two street smart youngsters named Jigo and Sam. Baka wastes no time to fall in love. But uh-oh, his dream girl is a sister of city’s biggest land mafia and don Chhote Dhirubhai. Who is happen to be a Rajesh Khanna fan and has a personal assistant named Currency, who has a lisping problem while speaking and is always eager to sing ‘Jay Jay Shiv Shankar’ song. So, the protagonist gang sets up a trap for Chhote Dhirubhai to convince him for the marriage of his sister to Baka.

Laugh, come what may

Director Utpal Modi made ‘Chaki Kahe Chaka, Jo Baka’ last year. Which, according to industry sources, did a good business. So, the director dared to convert it into a franchise and now we have ‘Love U Baka.’ But between these two films, our Gujarati cinema witnessed a phenomenon called ‘Chhello Divas.’ Which openly broke into the forbidden territory of below the belt humour. ‘Love U Baka’ sees no hesitation in potty-toilet humour, gay jokes, undergarment jokes, sexual innuendos, indirect references to cuss words, cross dressing etc. In short they have pulled all the levers to make you laugh anyhow. Even sometimes camera ogles on the woman’s torso deliberately. If you prefer such things in the name of comedy, this movie can be your cup of tea.

Makers haven’t bothered to do much effort in other departments as well. Logic in the movie is like gravity in space, non-existent! All the characters look high on some mysterious drug all the time. Both sidekicks of the protagonists seem sexually charged 24×7. The villain is straight out of Rohit Shetty’s ‘Golmaal.’ He is clear recreation of ‘Vasoolibhai.’ The only difference, here he is the fan of Rajesh Khanna instead of Sanjay Dutt. But except one or two characters, the whole acting department sounds amateurish.

The movie is badly written. There are age old stale jokes and many others which don’t work. We can see a senior name like Srinivas Patro in the editing department. He is the man who edited famous movies like ‘Taal’ and ‘Joggers Park.’ But alas, almost all the scenes stretch beyond a bearable limit. Some scenes repeat for no reason. You can see complete carelessness in writing, direction and editing as well. Even anti-smoking line is misspelt and nobody bothered to correct it. Many scenes have lip sync problem, too.

Background music with clichéd stock sound effects is equally annoying. There are only two songs, which can be bearable, only because of their lyricist, Dr. Chinu Modi, who happens to be the father of the director.

In the name of youngsters

‘Love U Baka’ could have been a good slacker comedy, provided it had a sound script, good acting and some innovation. But it seems they have made this movie just to encash the trend of vulgar comedy targeting the young audience. You can give it a try if you have nothing to do in 2-3 hours. If nothing works for you, there’s always a good nap to enjoy!

Rating: * (One Star)

(Published on DeshGujarat.Com)

Copyright © Jayesh Adhyaru. Please do not copy, reproduce this article without my permission. However, you are free to share this URL or the article with due credits.

HuTuTuTu- Aavi Ramat Ni Rutu

A crash course on commodity market!
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Despite all the clichés and over simplicity, this movie is a welcome change in urban Gujarati films.
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Sensex is the seventh sense of Gujaratis. But we haven’t had a Gujarati film dedicated to our love for the stock market so far. This new urban Gujarati film ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu – Aavi Ramat Ni Rutu’ is perhaps the first film on the backdrop of the commodity market. It breaks monotony of mindless, double meaning comedies and presents complete family drama. Moreover, we have got a talented female film director as Shital Shah as well.

Pawn Stars
Choksi & Choksi brothers (Abhay Chandarana and Ankit Joshipura) are commodity kings of Ahmedabad. With God-like attitude, they think they can make or break anybody with proper atmosphere and power of money. One day over a game of chess, a bet is placed between both brothers. The bet is to swap the Queen (or wazir) with a pawn. The Queen is their talented Harvard return Managing Director Uday Gandhi (Parth Oza). And the pawn is a small-time petty thief Guru (Raunaq Kamdar). They literally bring Uday on the road using their proven dirty tricks. On the other hand, they handpick Guru and after some personality makeover, they make him MD of their company. So, the bet is over.

But not the game. These pawns launch full blown attack on their masters with the help of two beautiful ladies, a struggling actress Sheela (Shital Shah, also the director of the film) and a personality grooming expert Aishwarya (Shaina Shah). Will they succeed?

Snail Gaadi
The very first thing you notice about this film is its title. It’s taken from the classic catchy Gujarati rap song which was originally composed by father-son duo Avinash & Gaurang Vyas. The song has been recreated and used very effectively. Parthiv Gohil’s rock solid voice gives the song much needed power. The song sets pace throughout the movie. But unfortunately, no credits to its original composers were visible in their title credits.

The director takes too much time to demonstrate the lavish lifestyle of Choksi brothers. They roam in luxury cars, go to a club, play snooker-chess, but all at the cost of the pace of the movie. The movie keeps progressing at the snail speed in the first hour. Had they edited a few scenes more sharply, this 139 odd minutes long movie could have been a nice thriller-revenge story like ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla.’

Apart from slow speed, a few more things hampered the otherwise nice movie. Like, some incidents and characters are very clichéd as well as over simplistic. Like, protagonist’s overnight transformation from riches to rags. It’s hard to believe that Harvard educated man literally becomes penniless in just one night. The director couldn’t establish chemistry between both the lead pairs. A scope of nice love story got ruined by the time wasted pre-interval plot setting. Thus, it becomes hard to digest that why a personality grooming expert and an actress involve in revenge saga of two unknown youngsters. Laziness in storytelling snatched a chance to show opportunistic friends or relatives and worthlessness of money. Goon, thief, policeman, white collar executive, struggling actress, girlfriend… all looks caricaturish. They look far from reality and don’t have any layers in their personalities.

One can’t help but find shadows of some of the iconic movie sequences here. Like, grooming scenes of roadside goon reminds you of Gujarati film ‘Santu Rangili’ and Amitabh Bachchan starer ‘Yarana’. Manmohan Desai’s ‘Parvarish’ had asked a question, what makes a man what he becomes, birth or upbringing? The bet in ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu’ between two brothers has the same question. But the point couldn’t be proven. Dialogue delivery style of Shital Shah’s character reminds of Deepika Padukone from ‘Happy New Year’, which completely falls flat. This film seriously lacks some hard hitting catchy punchlines, too. Many scenes only serve a purpose to be an advertisement of film’s apparel sponsor.

Our new age Gujarati films have completely ditched title credits in Gujarati script, including this one. The problem of broken language remains in ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu.’ Except Raunak’s character, no one has natural Gujarati dialect. What we hear is almost bookish language. We can clearly hear ‘pulis’ instead of ‘police’, ‘dagabaaz’ instead of Gujarati ‘dagabaaj’. Such minute things create a barrier between characters and audience. Strangely, one small character has heavy foreign accent for no obvious reason! English subtitles are nice attempt to reach to global audience.

Silver Lining
In spite of all the imperfections, ‘Hu Tu Tu Tu’ has its heart in its place. You can’t hate this movie for sure. It has nice production values. Both the leading men look cute. Especially, Raunaq Kamdar has very good comic timing. The leading lady Shital Shah has great screen presence. Hope she continues to wear director’s cap. Both Choksis looks perfect Sheth material. Ex-newscaster Hridaynath Gharekhan has small but likable cameo.

Buy it!
‘Hu Tu Tu Tu’ is not a great film, but it’s neither unwatchable. You can certainly give it a try with your family. You may learn basics of commodity trading if not get entertained!

Rating: **1/2 (Two and a half stars)

P.S. After I reviewed this film I came to know that this movie is completely copied from Eddie Murphy starer Hollywood movie ‘Trading Places’ (1983).

(Published in DeshGujarat.com)

Copyright © Jayesh Adhyaru. Please do not copy, reproduce this article without my permission. However, you are free to share this URL or the article with due credits.