Monday, November 29, 2010

Of gorgeous break-ups and fashionable suicides

Last I checked, break-ups were emotional affairs and tear-jerkingly sad. Particularly if either of the involved parties is still in love but can't control the leading circumstances.

'Break Ke Baad' shatters that notion altogether and makes break-up look gorgeous, packaged in a panoramic camera shot of pristine sea and pretty people sitting on a rather clean jetty, with their backs towards the camera.  Gorgeous camera angle but wrong context. May I present Danish Aslam, the director! Here is a man, nay a bollywood zombie, who obviously thinks good looking people, great photo frames and a random shot showing Facebook will make up for lack of imagination and acting skills. Btw, I'm glad he has shown Facebook coz I came up with my own FB reference to this movie.

3 FB status messages I wrote that will review the movie instantly:

  • 'Contrivd, suprfcial, prtentious, banal. Break ke Baad's like "I hate Luv stories" n "Aisha". If u've seen either of 'em movies, u'd kno wot i mean!

  • Break ke Baad: Makes break-up look gorgeous; commits a very fashionable suicide. RIP!

  • Deepika can't act. Imran can't choose good projects. Danish Aslam can't direct. Break ke baad won't make money.

In the hands of a better movie maker, may be the story would have come to life and allowed a romantic to soliloquize to no end about its depth. Such as it is, the 2hr-something movie is about two young lovers, Abhay Gulati (Imran) and Aaliya (Deepika). Abhay is stuck in a passionless desk job with his ultra-rich Dad and Aaliya is stuck in her lofty dreams to become an actress, while helping her supra-rich mom, Aisha (Sharmila Tagore),  make earthen pots. Abhay also has a tandoor in his backyard that he uses to cook delectable fare amid the small talk of his much-married aunt played by Lilette Dubey.

Soon, circumstances bring about a separation when Aaliya secretly gets herself into an Australian university causing heartbreak to both Abhay and Aisha. Abhay persists with the relationship, whereas Aaliya mentally moves on. Thus far, the story progresses pretty quickly, amateurishly establishing the hollowness of Aaliya's character and the inexplicable romanticism of Abhay. Some contrived and superficial fights on long distance phone calls were needed to establish why they wanted to make this movie.

An interesting turn follows after Aaliya parties on for 2 days on the beach and gets sloshed only to wake up in bed with her housemate Rishabh. Rishabh eyes her lustfully/wistfully (whatever) the earlier day and tells Abhay on phone that he's 'in queue' causing Abhay to catch the next flight to Australia. He comes just in time to find Aaliya accusing Rishabh of taking advantage of her. Promptly, people move on to the next big thing and Aaliya dumps Abhay after accusing him of insecurity.

Insecurity, your pedicured foot! You just slept with a stranger under the influence of  irresponsible drinking for 48 hrs. He has every f**kin' reason to feel outraged about you after that! Ofcourse our sweet Abhay decides to stay and win her back with the help of the brother-sister duo, Nadia and Cyrus (Shahana and Yudhistar), which owns the beach shack. No one talks about that 'night-of-the-casual-drunken-sex' at all for the rest of the movie. And the rather sensitive subject of break-up is reduced to a farce, coz who takes anything seriously in a bollywood romcom anyway, huh?

Abhay proceeds to illegally drive cabs, work at airports, wait at restaurants exposing the glaring holes in the Australian immigration system. It might also explain why the common Australian is worried about the brown skinned brigade snatching his job. But ofcourse, Danish Aslam is no Art cinema type to deal with such mundane issues. He pans the camera, shows another cool beach scene with Deepika's bare legs in micro-shorts and we all move on. Abhay finds his passion soon, and cooks food at a brisk pace. Deepika gets an offer to act in a movie, and she breaks the promise made to Aisha by taking the offer. Danish Aslam keeps adding needless cellulose to the story by bringing in new restaurants and casting agents and investors and foot massages. Phew!

In the end, he loses interest in all the sub plots he created and decides to cut the agony short by doing a Karan Johar. By which I mean, he introduces the 'power-of-true-love' element. Enough said about the plot. You didn't miss much anyway.

To be fair, the movie did have its moments. Sadly, the best of them involved side characters such as Nadia and Cyrus. Like the scene where Nadia tells Aaliya how she is using Abhay like an ATM - no deposits, only withdrawals (read: emotional bank account). Couple this with the scene that soon follows where Abhay tells Aisha that he's just friends with Aaliya after being prompted to say that. That is when you realise that Danish Aslam wasn't insane all through the filming period. He did have his moments of lucidity after all!

3 top moments of the movie:

When Abhay and Aaliya are talking about something I didn't exactly follow because Cyrus (Yudhistar) is practicing some form of martial arts in the background. Hilarious scene! This guy Yudhistar has great potential!

Aaliya gives an audition for a play and the viewers break out into applause!! I mean, who are we talking about here? Deepika?? Giving an applaudable performance?! Seriously, what did you take us for??

Nadia opens Aaliya's eyes by dramatically revealing to her that she (Aaliya) is in love with Abhay towards the run up to the inane climax.

Here's how, I'm guessing, Danish Aslam went about making the movie. He got himself a rich producer first, who himself happens to be a 'formula' director. They both decided to make a romcom with the hottest young actors of this gen. So, they sat and watched a few old + new romcoms and wrote the dialogue in English, later translating it to Hindi (possible explanation for the totally unreal dialogue). They took money from Kitkat, Zen mobiles etc and shot the movie in Mauritius, mysteriously deciding to call it Australia. Then they got a happening music director duo to do the tunes, half-heartedly paid a bad lyrics writer to fill the gaps between instrumental interludes. Then they decided to call it 'Break ke Baad' coz someone told 'em it is so cool n catchy for the current generation grown up on music channels and Facebook. Then they suddenly remember Facebook and force-write a brief scene where Abhay confusedly plays with his relationship status on FB. Just so that they can tell you all 'yung boyz n gurls dat they blongz 2 ur gen-x n knos ur pulse. Yo!

I didn't want to go to this movie, but Mamata booked the tickets days in advance after the music released. I went anyway hoping something will go right with Imran's career someday and that TOI might have written a genuine review and not a paid promo.At the end of it, I could have written an FB status msg abt this movie, but instant gratification is Danish Aslam's idea of communication on sensitive issues. I desired to be different about my emotions henceforth.

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