Indian Express’ Sankhayan Ghosh and Ranjib Mazumder sift through the movie moments that linger and the ones we want to banish.
Queen: Rani (Kangna Ranaut) enters a Parisian nightclub with her newbie soul sistah Vijay Laxmi (Lisa Haydon) and she’s hell-bent on having the time of her life on Hungama ho gaya, but not before she tucks her cardigan in her handbag. You can take a good Indian girl out of India but you can’t take India out of the good Indian girl.
Filmistaan: A small group of villagers watch Maine Pyar Kiya with wide-eyed wonder in Pakistan in the middle of the desert. At one point, the audio of the pirated DVD goes off. The hero of Filmistaan, Sunny (Sharib Hashmi), who is captive in the village, comes to the rescue as he starts mouthing the dialogues of the movie, line by line, learnt by heart over years. The faces are shown glowing again, awestruck with what’s happening on screen, played out in a montage with music.
Highway: Alia Bhatt’s Veera runs through the vast, endless salt desert of Kutch till she realises the futility of trying to escape. Tired and helpless, she first breaks down, then surrenders to the moment, to the moonlit night as the Sufi song Tu kuja mann kuja plays in the background.
Haider: Irrfan as Roohdaar makes one hell of an entry amid a hailstorm, shrouded in mystery that unravels through the film. His scene with Basharat Peer — on whose book The Curfewed Nights, the film is based on — where he helps out a man with the ‘New Disease’ evokes gooseflesh. Ditto his monologue about Kashmir: Main tha main hoon aur main hi rahunga, Irrfan plays the poetic embodiment of Kashmir. But one that tops all is the exposition of Oedipal element when a mother-son kiss actually takes place.
PK: When Aamir Khan’s PK recounts his first experiences on earth, discovering the workings of the civilization that begins his search for God, he makes us see our own lives with an alien-like distance.
Ugly: The scene in which Rahul Bhatt and his friend end up getting interrogated by the cop as they file a case for Rahul’s missing daughter, has Anurag Kashyap’s quirky conversational signature we had seen blossoming in Gangs of Wasseypur.
Dedh Ishqiya: Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) are tied up, while shadows of Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) and Muniya (Huma Querishi) indulge in an amorous act. Allusions are all over, but here Khalujaan spells it out, “Lihaaf maang lein (Shall we ask for a quilt)?”, a clever hat tip to Ismat Chughtai’s controversial story of forbidden love. It’s a scene that asks you to listen to the footsteps of Hindi cinema of the future when this will be widely referred and discussed in the LGBT narrative.
Hasee Toh Phasee: Parineeti Chopra’s Meeta is locked up in a room for too long by Sidharth Malhotra’s Nikhil, and by the time he comes back to realise his gross mistake, she has already urinated in her dress. In an industry where heroines are too glossy to be human, this little scene came as a big surprise.
Kill Dil: If the rest of the film wasn’t enough, the climax of Kill Dil ensured that it goes on to become one of the worst films of the year. We understand the meta tone of the movie that has references to masala cinema of another era, and every movie deserves a closure. This one ended before we realised, with Bhaiyaji (Govinda) dying an abrupt death in the hands of one of his henchmen. We were left clueless of what must have led the director to wrap things up there.
2 States: Arjun Kapoor plays an introvert (Chetan Bhagat in real life!) in 2 States. We get it. But Kapoor spent the entire run time of the movie trying to convince us with remarkable failure.
Bang Bang: Product placements, done with all earnestness (to the advertisers) are turning out to be a recurring feature in Hrithik Roshan movies. After Krrish 3, it was given similar importance in Bang Bang. From villain Danny Dengzonpa munching on a pizza from Pizza Hut to Roshan mouthing the punchline of a soft drink he endorses, the whole film felt like a shampoo commercial.
Heropanti: A film that almost justifies Khap with sentimentality, the narrative reaches its uproarious peak when Prakash Raj (Chowdhary) makes Tiger Shroff (Bablu) sit with him to make sure he doesn’t run away with his daughter. In the bargain, Chowdhary touches Bablu all over, going as far as putting Bablu’s hand on his thigh, while requesting him to stay till bidaai. Chowdhary does all this with homoerotic subtlety, as if heaving with desire for his daughter’s lover.
Humshakals: Those poor people in the dark. That’s Sajid Khan talking about us with sadistic glee. What else can justify Ram Kapoor in a swimsuit, romancing himself while breaking a bed and scarring us for life?
Gulaab Gang: A group of women descend upon the office of a corrupt government official, and lock him in. And then suddenly, the gang of women break into a choreographed dance number. You have Madhuri Dixit, and you make her dance irrespective of the plot. Why?
Happy Ending: To be offensive is one thing, but to be boring is the biggest of all crimes. The film wants to be a satire on romcoms but becomes a victim of its own ambitions.
Action Jackson: That one where Sonakshi Sihna wants to catch a sight of Ajay Devgn’s man bits because it’s lucky for her.