Friday, July 03, 2009

KAMBAKKHT ISHQ: Usual Bollywood Camp

KAMBAKKHT ISHQ (Romantic comedy in Hindi)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Aftab Shivdasani, Amrita Arora, Kiron Kher, Javed Jaffrey, Vindu Dara Singh with special appearances by Denise Richards, Sylvester Stallone and Brandon Routh.
Director: Sabbir Khan
Time: 138 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Gosh, I thought that they had buried movies about the 'battle of the sexes' and 'swashbuckling stuntmen' way back in the 20th Century. And yet, here it is, all exhumed, reanimated and outfitted with Hollywood bling-bling the likes of Sly Stallone, Denise Richards and Brandon Routh - and called 'Kambakkht Ishq'. The title is derived from the popular number, 'Kambakkht Ishq' from Ram Gopal Varma's film, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya.

Directed by Sabbir Khan, Kambakkht Ishq is loud, crude, cliched, campy and utterly predictable. And if you are curious about the (advertised) roles of its Hollywood supporting stars, let's say that their parts are so cheesy, you can open a pastry shop with them. Imagine a geriatric Stallone reprising his Rambo role and you will know what I mean.

THE SKINNY: The movie is a remake of the 2002 Tamil film Pammal K. Sambandam. It is about a 'super' Indian stuntman in Hollywood (Akshay Kumar as Viraj Shergill) who meets an Indian supermodel (Kareena Kapoor as Simrita Rai) at his brother's (Aftab Shivdasani as Lucky) wedding in church. Both the leads, who do not believe in love, are unhappy about the marriage of Lucky and Simrita's sister Kamini (Amrita Arora) and the battle lines are drawn at the wedding reception where we see the movie's most dazzlingly choreographed number that ends in a tasteless and farcical brawl.

Yeah, Viraj and Sim hate each other. In Bollywood terms, it means they are gonna do lots of idiotic things before they finally realise that they love each other right from the get-go.

HITS & MISSES: The first half is more tolerable than the second. Sabbir Khan loads the first hour with action-packed stunt sequences and dance numbers that take us from Hollywood to Italy. Then he has to take such a long time to render the outcome of the 'battle of the sexes' plot which everyone in the audience already knows. And if that is not bad enough, Sabbir Khan also does recaps of his scenes - in case we missed them or forget them!

The director also could not resist crude American Pie gags like having the protag fart in the face of a bride, having the heroine curse like a sailor; and going over-the-top with an 'anal search' scene. Character development is minimal, and the cast are unimpressive, with the age-old device of having the 'hero' supported by a clownish aide (in the form of Vindu Dara Singh). And whose idea was it to have Viraj undergo open abdomen surgery without anaesthesia?

Of the stars, Kareena shines brightest in a lazily-written role.

THE LOWDOWN: Yeah, how low can one go in a film that has Akshay Kumar stoop to touch Sly's feet?


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