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Since 1st March, 1999
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Riotous parody

Mr & mrs smith

Director: Doug Liman
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Stephanie March, Jennifer Morrison, Perrey Reeves, Chris Weitz

Mrs Smith (shifting uneasily in a twin couch alongside Mr Smith): “This huge space between us that keeps filling up with all the things we don’t say to each other...what’s that called'” Offscreen counsellor: “Marriage.”

It’s a riotous tongue-in-cheek take on the unbearable dullness hiding under the shiny skin of yuppie American suburbiana, with a spectacularly gorgeous model couple, playing out a blackly absurd version of the usual inconstancies of matrimony. As married undercover assassins, who suddenly find themselves on each other’s priority hitlists, Brad and Angelina (casually outsassing any onscreen Bat, Cat or Croft so far) have a whale of a time parodying all the uber-action flicks you’ve been watching, while throwing hilarious insults and double-barrelled niceties between them. Sight gags and insider jokes abound ' like the Fight Club T-shirt on a hostage and Brad’s edgy colleague Vince Vaughn (Psycho remake) yelling, “Mom! I almost killed you back there.”

The look constructed by Bojan Bazelli is Original Sin smoothing into John Woo. And though Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) is careful never to upstage the constant bickering between the Smiths with the Bazookas and Widowmakers, the killer rapport they ignite at the beginning does turn significantly limp once their sexual chemistry picks up. The last 20 minutes or so, with an increasingly thinning excuse for a plot, and a prolonged blast fest between the Smiths and the rest of the world, in extreme-slow-motion choreography, pretty much kills the movie.

Paramita Brahmachari

Feastful of Prosenjit


Director: Shankar Roy
Cast: Prosenjit, Rachana Banerjee, Locket Chatterjee, Swastika Mukherjee, Subhasish Mukherjee, Rwita Dutta Chakraborty, Ranjit Mallick

For Prosenjit fans, Shankar Roy’s Criminal is a feast. They want him hot ' they have a Prosenjit in the role of a criminal, on the swimming pool floater in an extravagantly colourful swimming enclosure, with Locket on top, after she has dropped her clothes one by one. Too hot to keep on. And too restrictive for that dance of hers.

For those who like things little colder ' cut to the new life Prosenjit begins with Rachana. Pistol thrown away to grip tightly the thela he now pulls to live life honest and clean. Does away with the tints and faded jeans and his indispensable jackets and gets into dhotis and big rough kurtas. While Rachana is as she is in every film. At one point she wakes up with a start from a nightmare. Maybe she saw herself acting. And served in a small potion, alongside, is a Subhasish, interestingly characterised as ‘News’ because as the teaboy he keeps all the neighbourhood khabor.

For those who like things little sweet ' there is Prosenjit after his release from jail, with hair falling all over his bearded face. And in true Bengali cinema style, the sweet session goes on and on and on, with Ranjit going all out to halo Prosenjit into martyrdom. With wife and deprived mother Rwita as the sauce to taste.

For all those who start craving for a little peppering at this stage ' in comes the young, dashing and incredibly the same Prosenjit as the old man cowering in the corner. As the loving, soon-to-be daughter-in-law is Swastika who has to give those soulful mishti looks.

No paan served, but you’ve burped already.

Deepali Singh

Beware this biwi

meri biwi ka jawab nahin

Director: S.M. Iqbal
Cast: Sridevi, Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Gulshan Grover, Johny Lever

If you have seen the song, Pyaar hota jhoot, shoot on TV, you have seen the best part of this movie. The resurrected Sridevi starrer, despite her manic attempts to keep it going, suffers from a hackneyed plot, in which the only remarkable thing is that the biwi competes with her policeman husband in bashing up dozens of gangsters without raising a sweat. She not only goes dhak-dhak, as a good biwi should, but also dhishum-dhishum and bang-bang, sometimes courting widowhood with her misplaced enthusiasm.

Possibly S.M. Iqbal intended to make a comedy but surrendered his ambitions across the years of filming. Akshay looks good in uniform but has problems keeping it buttoned up. Anupam Kher tries to look evil but has problems with an itching neck. Despite Anand Bakshi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Laxmikant-Pyarelal the music is ordinary. As a ‘new’ release, Meri Biwi is a weak swansong for old reputations.

Sudip Mallik

But where’s the praja'

mayer raja

Director: Milan Bhowmick
Rituparna Sengupta, Jisshu Sengupta, Anamika Saha, Biplab Chatterjee, Tapas Paul, Rupa Ganguly, Ranjit Mallick

You just can’t say that Milan Bhowmick has not been politically correct. Scrupulously (and studiously) has he littered the two-hour-odd film span with regulation pastiche: a ‘socially’ educated pampered brat (Jisshu) of an upright zamindaar dad (Ranjit) and a doting mom (Rupa), fooling around in police uniform and getting spurned in love by a college-educated urban belle (Rituparna). Sounds nice, doesn’t it' But even such a surefire success formula gets scotched by a flawed execution.

First, the Sengupta twosome,Jisshu and Rituparna, despite sincere individual efforts, don’t quite click together as a lead pair, partly because of the age-mismatch factor, but more because of a not-too-inspiring screenplay. Ranjit is just about okay, but, Rupa, gosh! What is she doing here' Her nuanced style of acting gets little purchase out of this blatantly typecast role and whatever she delivers predictably falls flat on the target audience. And then; those hit folk songs ‘remade’ into item numbers!

A penitent Rituparna wins back a wronged Jisshu, but not Milan his viewers, who have vanished from the city hall before the first week of the film’s release is over, like the rain clouds in the city summer sky.

Arnab Bhattacharya

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