October 2, 2014
Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Jaaved Jaaferi, Pawan Malhotra, Danny Denzongpa, Deepti Naval, Kanwaljeet Singh, Vikram Gokhale, Jimmy Sheirgil
Bang Bang is a flimsy, fun, flawed, vapid and – in retrospect – tepid film. Vapid is okay – we all need to occasionally let our hair down with a silly conversation, book or movie. What is not okay is to remake an entertainingly vapid – and vapidly entertaining – Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz-starring slick action flick and pull it down several notches with languid romantic numbers that are dull to say the least and slow down what should have been an unrelenting pace.
Siddharth Anand’s Bang Bang is the official remake of James Mangold’s Knight and Day, a box-office money-spinner from 2010. Who better to step into Cruise and Diaz’s parts in Bollywood than Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, two of the most gorgeous human beings to walk the earth, did I hear you say? Well, I’ll tell you who better. None better than Hrithik but certainly someone who looks as exquisite as Kat and can also act. Such as Kareena Kapoor? Or Priyanka Chopra?
To be fair, Katrina has improved in the histrionics department in the 11 years since she entered this industry. You can gauge how much when you watch scenes from her debut film Boom in 2003 and contrast them with her ditsy Dimple Dixit in 2011’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in which, despite an OTT performance, she stole the show. You can also gauge how very far she still has to go when you watch her pale in comparison with the talented Anushka Sharma in 2012’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan. In Bang Bang, she does ditsy again to the best of her abilities, and looks to-die-for of course, but pales in comparison with Hrithik who has got to a stage in his acting graph when he can eke out a moment or two of something special even from a deliberately mindless film.
Knight and Day and Bang Bang are intentionally silly films that do not merit ruminative reviews. So let me wrap this up quickly. The story in a sentence: Bank receptionist Harleen Sahani’s boring life in Shimla turns into a roller-coaster ride when she gets unexpectedly involved with Rajveer Nanda, who confesses soon after they first meet that he is the thief who stole the Kohinoor from the Tower of London. Harleen: Katrina. Rajveer: Hrithik. Narration: over.
Okay now, the pluses:
(1) Hrithik Roshan, Hrithik Roshan, Hrithik Roshan. When Rajveer changes his clothes in Harleen’s presence, and she gawks in wonderment at that perfect torso, you could have turned the camera on the women in the hall where I watched Bang Bang and caught the same expression on many faces. It reminded me of 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love in which Emma Stone’s reflex reaction to a shirtless Ryan Gosling is: Oh my god, that looks like Photoshop! (words to that effect) At one time Hrithik had begun to look unaesthetically over-muscled (Kites), was wearing too much chest make-up (Kites again – remember him changing in the woods?), had started preening like a peacock (Kites and that mirror scene in ZNMD) and all in all was getting too bulked up and self-conscious for my tastes. Stick to the muscle mass of Krrish 3 and Bang Bang (not the title track but the shirt-changing scene with Kat), be casual about it, don’t strut around, continue to age gracefully as you are doing now, and I’m a happy woman, Mr Roshan!
(2) As you can see, I have given these crucial matters much deep thought, so let me give you my second reason for watching Bang Bang: Hrithik Roshan. We know he dances like a dream. Just watching him on the big screen, moving to the catchy, lavishly produced Tu meri and the film’s title track are worth the price of a ticket.
(3) Katrina Kaif. Her looks and wardrobe are impeccable, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. It’s just that it feels nice that in the past decade and a half, Bollywood has begun acknowledging its female audience as creatures who too have hormones. If actresses wear bikinis and little skirts, their male colleagues take off their shirts – here’s to more equitable objectification of the kind that does not demean or dehumanise. That gaping expression on Katrina’s face was worth the price of my companion’s ticket for me.
(1) The screenplay. No no, I’m not expecting depth from a film of this variety. Why though did the director decelerate with those romantic scenes? Knight and Day’s strength was that it did not give us time to think of its weaknesses. Big mistake, Team Bang Bang.
(2) The action. Good, but not relentless or as inexorably smooth as you might expect from the promos, despite some not-seen-before-in-Bollywood stuff.
(3) The music. Uff, Meherbaan and the title track have really common-sounding tunes. Not what you would expect from Vishal-Shekhar, the team that gave us the Dostana soundtrack. Plus, Uff and Meherbaan had no place in a film which needed to keep the audience on the edge of our seats instead of giving us gooey-eyed breaks.
Despite all the above, I don’t regret watching Bang Bang. This is the kind of film for which we film-goers have come up with descriptions such as “one-time watch” and “timepass”. It’s not as “paisa vasool” as Knight and Day, but it’s entertaining all the same. Bang Bang is the Archie you might read after an Emily Bronte. I was so lost in thought after Haider, that I needed this film to unwind. It’s unmemorable but what the heck, it’s unobjectionable and inoffensive fun.
Rating (out of five stars): **
CBFC Rating (India):
Photograph courtesy: Everymedia PR