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Since 1st March, 1999
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So what’s new in 2'

Basic instinct 2

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Indira Varma

Everybody knows Sharon Stone doesn’t uncross her legs in Basic Instinct 2. Everybody knows Sharon’s sex kitten purr is not what it was when she first took her kit off in Basic Instinct. Everybody knows David Morrissey is no Michael Douglas. Everybody knows this is 2006 and not 1992, when kinky sex in mainstream cinema used to be an exciting prospect. So what’s new in Basic Instinct 2' It is as if the producers thought merely transporting the oversexed Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) from San Francisco to bleak London would light up both the city and the screen.

For director Michael Caton-Jones, the biggest challenge in making Basic Instinct 2 may have been to create a sizzling, yet intellectually superior, product than Paul Verhoeven’s unpretentious original. He fails on both counts. The script for this purported psychological thriller makes the original look like a masterpiece in plotting and dialogue. “She’s a mind-f*****,” the seemingly all-knowing detective investigating Sharon’s predilection for rough sex and post-coital madness warns Morrissey’s character. With such gems punctuating almost every other dialogue, one is left wondering whether psychology is a study of the mind or the groin.

Another major flaw is the progression of Sharon’s character. In Basic Instinct, she was this devious but magnetic character with a streak of vulnerability, which came to the fore during her dalliance with the police detective played by Michael Douglas. In the sequel, she is little more than a thoughtless nymphomaniac trying too hard to live up to her reputation. Her paramour and psychological adversary this time is Dr Michael Glass (David Morrissey), whose name might rhyme with Michael Douglas but is an unexciting replacement for Nick Curran, the troubled character essayed by the Oscar-winning actor in the original. But for the fact that Sharon looks like a million bucks even at 48, it would be fair to say that Basic Instinct 2 basically sucks.

Ritu Parna Dutta

Six-ceetee film

humko deewana kar gaye

Director: Raj Kanwar
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Mahesh Thakur, Bhagyashree, Shernaz Patel, Helen, (Anil Kapoor)

This guy ain’t Greg Chappell, so he makes proper use of his finger. He puts it in his mouth, under his tongue, and lets go a sharp and sweet tweet. And it’s only to be cutely chivalrous and hail a horse carriage cab for his fairytale fairy. He also does that to call her attention when she’s going to the mall for another round of shopping. She even asks him, “Log ceetee kyon bajaate hain'” He grins his gummy grin, and says, “Is liye ke jaate huey log ruk jaayen.” And that does impress her much.

But, boy oh boy, are all the ceetees from the audience reserved for Katrina Kaif, or what! In the second half, when the story takes a little more twist and turmoil, terror and tears, some ceetees go to Akshay Kumar, too, and not surprisingly, to the megalomaniac tycoon Anil Kapoor (who’s the ‘surprise element’ in the film, not Salman Khan as the whispers went around pre-release). The basic content of Humko Deewana Kar Gaye is good old pre-modern quadrangle drama, but the look is slick and it also includes a remix (or, polyp version if you like), of the title song by Himesh Reshammiya (though the music score belongs to Anu Malik). Only, the comic relief track is a little forced and has no spark. And the second lead, Bipasha Basu, should have returned the signing amount to the producers. The relief comes more in the series of songs, pre-modern game again, the generally competent acting performances and, of course, Katrina who could give any eye candy one big complex. She should be now bottled as eye lotion.

Anil Grover

Votes and taalis

mla phatakesto

Director: Swapan Saha
Mithun Chakraborty, Debashree Roy, Koel Mallick, Rajatava Datta, Soumitra Chatterjee, Master Anshu, Sanjeev Dasgupta, Bharat Kaul, Santilal Mukherjee

‘Vote for MLA Phatakesto’ ' The slant seems to have worked well for Swapan Saha and Mithun Chakraborty. Whether people will throng the election booths with equal enthusiasm can’t be said for sure, but the full-house frenzy has hit the theatres for MLA Phatakesto. Politician bashing is the theme and an opportune moment, this. Here’s a man, not at all a ‘white’ character, who stands up for the cause of the mass and gives his best shot at cleansing corruption from the city. Mithun is Goonda Phatakesto who speaks a language that inspires a chorus of ceetees and taalis, “Aami Goonda Phatakesto, maarbo ekhane laash porbe shashaane." “Phatakesto khabor dekhe na, pore na, khabor toiri kore.”

The rest isn’t inspiration, but a rehash of the Anil Kapoor starrer, Nayak, where Anil becomes chief minister for a day. Mithun however takes some more time to do his job, a week, as the Home Minister, and in the bet loses wife Debashree who’s been reduced to a one-song role here. Rajatava plays the corrupt minister pitted against the good one, Soumitra. And, of course, Koel Mallick, masquerades as a TV journalist.

Madhuparna Das

Only melodrama


Director: Swapan Ghosal
Alokenath, Laboni Sarkar, Jisshu Sengupta, Rimjhin Gupta, Bharat Kaul, Mitali Chakraborty, Raja Chatterjee, Debjani Chatterjee, Aloka Ganguli, Chandan Sen, Piyali Mitra, Dulal Lahiri, Santilal Mukherjee

Well, what do you expect from a film whose star attraction is Alokenath' Just another flick wanting to ride the Baghban tide. Good-for-nothing children and their wives throwing out the honest, hardworking parents and adopted brother and the subsequent triumph of good and retribution of evil . All this would have been acceptable if it wasn’t so boring. The audience boos and cheers at the right cues. The couple fighting in the next seats provides better entertainment.

There is no drama, only melodrama. The less said about the treatment the better. Alokenath and Laboni are completely at ease, hardly surprising as they have been doing the same roles in countless other flicks. In his effort to portray simplicity Jisshu comes across as a half-baked simpleton.

Sunayani Ganguly

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