Joined: 31 December 2005
Mumbai: Come Friday and the ticket window is ready with its doze of filmy masala. However, this Friday, the Shahid-Kareena starrer 36 China Town opens with no competition at all.
The men in white Abbas-Mustan are back with another murder mystery. This time round with Shahid, Kareena and Akshaye Khanna who reside in 36 China Town.
The plot - a leading businesswoman and the owner of a Bangkok casino called '36 China Town' is murdered and detective Akshaye Khanna is solving the whodunit.
The usual suspects include Shahid and Kareena - a wannabe couple who are out to make a fortune in the city, Paresh Rawal, a compulsive gambler, Upen Patel a cassanova and Johnny Lever who comes to the casino with a hidden agenda.
Slap together some confusion, a little bit of drama and a pinch of comedy and you have 36 China Town which looks like a typical Abbas-Mustan no-brain entertainer.
Produced by Subhash Ghai's Mukta Arts, the film's catchy soundtrack also has music director Himesh Reshammiya exercising his vocal chords.
With successful thrillers like Ajnabee, Badshah and Baazigar behind them, duo Abbas-Mustan may just add 36 China Town to the must-watch list.
Joined: 14 November 2004
In a career spanning almost two decades, right from their debut Hindifilm AGNEEKAAL to their last release AITRAAZ, director duo Abbas-Mustanhave handled thrillers proficiently. The mystery element workedextremely well in films like KHILADI, BAAZIGAR and HUMRAAZ.
The baazigarof thrillers now present yet another whodunit, 36 CHINA TOWN.Naturally, the expectations run high, also because the combo --producer Subhash Ghai and director duo Abbas-Mustan -- made anoteworthy impact in their first outing together, AITRAAZ.
Like Abbas-Mustan's previous outings, 36 CHINA TOWN bears a glossy lookfrom scene A to Z, but for any whodunit to strike a chord, it ought tokeep the viewer on the edge of the seat, making him/her chew the nailstill the penultimate reel. Also, if the identity of the killer catchesyou by surprise no sooner the mystery is solved, it's a clear sign ofvictory. But if it doesn't, the makers ought to realize that they'vemissed the bus.
Unfortunately, 36 CHINA TOWN doesn't get the grammar of whodunit right.
Suspense fares like TEESRI MANZIL, JEWEL THIEF, MERA SAAYA and BEESSAAL BAAD or, for that matter, even Abbas-Mustan's BAAZIGAR workedbecause The writing was foolproof, [ii] the suspense quotient wasintriguing and [ii] the climax was the highpoint. 36 CHINA TOWN failson all the three counts!
To cut a long story short, 36 CHINA TOWN only cements the fact thatgloss can never substitute for a spellbinding story. If the foundation[script] itself is shaky, none of the support systems [star power,music, exotic locales] can salvage the show.
Sonia [Isha Koppikar] is the owner of a casino in Goa. A successfulentrepreneur, the only love in her life is her son. When the toddlersuddenly goes missing, the lady is distraught and distressed. Sheoffers a huge reward [Rs. 25 lacs] to anyone who can trace her son.
Raj [Shahid Kapoor] and Priya [Kareena Kapoor], two strangers fromdifferent backgrounds, accidentally spot the child and decide to splitthe reward money given by Sonia. But when they finally reach Sonia'smansion late at night, they find her murdered!
Raj and Priya panic and escape from the mansion. In the confusion thatfollows, Priya forgets her suitcase in the mansion. Soon, they are thechief suspects in the murder. The cop [Akshaye Khanna] realizes thatthis isn't an open-and-shut case, since a number of new suspects showup while the investigations are on.
The suspects include two couples [Johny Lever-Tanaaz / PareshRawal-Payal Rohatgi], a playboy [Upen Patel], a drunkard [Raj Zutshi]and the domestic help [Dinyar Contractor, Roshan Tirandaaz]. Who's themurderer? And what is the motive?
36 CHINA TOWN has too many things crammed in those 2.30 hours. Or,perhaps, the writer [Shyam Goel] wanted to play safe and decided to addevery ingredient available on the shelf. The pre-release promotionsgive an indication that 36 CHINA TOWN is a whodunit, but it comesacross as a regular masala movie, with emphasis on songs, romance and comedy.
36 CHINA TOWN begins with a playboy wooing girls of all shapes andsizes and breaking into a song [filmed on Upen], which is immediatelyfollowed by another song [Shahid's intro with Tanushree Dutta]. Thatmakes it two songs in the first twenty minutes itself. No sooner do thesongs end, it's time to make way for some light moments [Paresh, Johny,Payal, Tanaaz], followed by a dream song [Shahid, Kareena] and someromantic moments. In between, a pivotal character is murdered andminutes before the intermission, the focus is back on the murder.
Post-interval, you expect the writer to divert our attention to themurder mystery alone. The viewer is keen to know the suspects, theactual murderer and the motive behind the murder. But in the secondhour too, the writer doesn't want you to think of murder alone. Sothere's loads of comedy [Johny Lever and the suitcase portion], comedyduring the cross-examination [Paresh-Payal-Upen track] and a dream songin the prison cell [Shahid-Kareena].
Clearly, 36 CHINA TOWN is letdown by a sloppy script. In fact, onewonders how the supremely talented directors actually okayed suchsub-standard writing in the first place. The biggest flaw is, withoutdoubt, the climax of the film. The identity of the killer is such ananti-climax. What were the directors and writer thinking when they cameup with such a thanda end? Seems like the end was penned by some kindergarten kids!
Abbas-Mustan's direction is handicapped by an apology of a script. Evenotherwise, the film lacks the by-now-famous stamp of the duo,especially in dramatic scenes. Himesh Reshammiya's music is the onlysaving grace. 'Aashiqui Meri', '24 x 7' and 'Badi Dilchaspi Hai' arefoot-tapping and what acts as an icing is that each track has beenfilmed exquisitely.
Cinematography [Ravi Yadav] is wonderful. Dialogues [Anurag Prapanna]are poor. Editing [Hussain Burmawala] is slick. The edit of both theversions of 'Aashiqui Meri' track is commendable.
Akshaye is, as always, proficient. His is the only performance thatstands out. Kareena doesn't really get any scope. Shahid tends to goover the top. He needs to control his facial expressions. Upen Patelmakes a fine debut. He seems confident.
Paresh Rawal and Johny Lever contribute to some good comedy. IshaKoppikar is wasted. Payal Rohatgi and Tanaaz are mere props. VivekShauq, Raj Zutshi, Viveck Vaswani, Dinyar Contractor and RoshanTirandaaz are gap-fillers. As for Priyanka Chopra's surpriseappearance, it's insignificant and seems forced.
On the whole, 36 CHINA TOWN is high on hype, but low on substance. Disappointing!
Guys gr8 review for the music!
Joined: 31 December 2005
agree a 100 % wid u di .......
thanx alot on da artical
Joined: 31 December 2005
|Debojit Saha: "Whatever Himeshji touches, turns into gold" |
Joined: 31 December 2005
|Audience goes to town about '36 China Town'|
|BY A STAFF REPORTER | Saturday, May 06, 2006 11:33:55 IST|
|FIRST DAY, FIRST SHOW|
The throng streaming out of Apsara Theatre gave a thumbs up to 36 China Town, calling it a 'good entertainer.' The film's impressive promos have sure woven their magic into drawing people to the theatres. Himesh Reshammiya's much talked-about music lived up to people's expectations.
Joined: 31 December 2005
From master-thriller makers comes this brisk and bouncy rib-tickler that purports to be a comic whodunit. Admittedly, some portions of the narrative keep you smiling and some make you bite your nail in suspense.
This is pleasurable silliness masquerading as a whodunit. To that extent it works, though you never know why the film had to have the title that it has when in fact Chinatown plays no part in it. Sure, paper dragons float by in the climatic song and we see some mongoloid faces in the chorus line. But er...is that all it takes to create Chinatown?
Maybe Abbas-Mustan wanted the film to be more stylish than the other films. The ambience is saturated with vibrant colours and smooth songs (Himesh Reshammiya). The artwork, cinematography and editing are flamboyant without flaunting the glamour quotient or giving away the film's illogical plot.
If this is meant to be a whodunit then the denouement comes as a big disappointment. But since the film showcases some truly eye-catching actors in ritzy clothes and sets that try to be upmarket and non-garish, you tend to forget how weakly the whodunit whimpers to a finish.
Paresh Rawal and Johnny Lever with their respective screen-wives Payal Rohatgi and Tenaaz Lal know how to roll their eyes without losing their focus on the film's suspenseful ambitions.
But the dialogues are the pits. The joke about calling a lady a bomb that Upen Patel uses to flirt was used by Akshaye Khanna in Subhash Ghai's 'Shaadi Se Pehle'. Aridity of ideas or just production control?
What really carries the script beyond its inherent wishy-washiness are the actors. Akshaye Khanna, better here being serious after his over-the-top comedy in 'Shaadi Se Pehle' last month, plays the investigative officer with arresting lan.
Vivek Shouq as his assistant has been given some deft behind-the-scenes humour to make his character come alive.
Shahid and Kareena as the couple on the run share a warmth that somewhere transcends the plot. Kareena's chiselled beauty pervades the film, superseding the bevy of feminine beauties, including Priyanka Chopra's endearing walk-on part, whereas Shahid's comic timing and energy are eminently endearing.
Upen as the Casanova in the casino makes an unusual stylish debut. He dances with confidence and holds his own even among the accomplished ensemble of actors.
'36 Chinatown' courts frivolity without falling flat on its face. There's a certain momentum to the humour that doesn't get diluted by the depleted denouement.
Copyright Indo-Asian News Service
Joined: 31 December 2005
RDB broke the January jinx. For years a cloud of superstition has hung over the first month of the year with even expected blockbusters going down like nine pins. Tradition looked to be repeating itself as even the pitted might of Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Rajkumar Santoshi and Keshu couldn't save Family—Ties Of Blood from sinking faster than the Titanic. It was the same sad story with Sanjay Gupta's Zinda that despite a punch-em performance by Sanjay Dutt, couldn't 'live' long.
The year's first releases too got the thumbs down even though, interestingly, they were a study in contrasts. If 15 Park Avenue was dark and drew on the excellent performances of its ensemble cast, Jawani Diwani was feather-light, strung along by Celina Jaitley's bikini and Emraan Hashmi's now-famous smooches. While the debacle of latter hasn't in any way dented its Rs 81 lakh star's fan following, the fate of Aparna Sen's 15 Park Avenue, followed by the dismal performance of Rajat Kapoor's critically acclaimed Mixed Doubles and Paul Berger's Aishwarya Rai starrer Mistress Of Spice, has certainly put a question mark on the future of English language crossover cinema whose prospects had lifted considerably with the opening of multiplexes across the country. Today, with even off-beat Hindi films like Umar, Chingari and Ho Sakta Hai finding few takers, distributors like Shringar Films that not so long ago had been agressively marketing this genre is giving it a wide berth."If a big-budget film recovers 60 to 75 per cent of its investment through a theatrical release, such films recover only 15-25 per cent in comparison and become commercially viable only if you are able to purchase their satellite and video rights as well," explains Balkrishna Shroff. However, even in this fast-losing genre, Being Cyrus, a black comedy helmed by a debutant director, sprung a surprise by doing decent business in Mumbai city, Pune city and Delhi city. In Mumbai alone it wil have netted in at least Rs 50 lakh and looks set to cover its Rs 3 crore investment. While the film has sparked off some amount of optimism, the trade refuses to believe that its modest victory could signal a revival for small-budget, meaningful cinema. They argue that Being Cyrus was an experiment that worked well within its budget but was nowhere in the range of a regular Saif Ali Khan starrer nor hyped as one. Had it arrived with a bang, it might well have bombed. It remains to be seen if Parzania, Sacred Sins and Bow Barracks Forever can renew confidence in this new-wave cinema. Another metro-centric film—one could even call it Mumbai-centric—that has paid off for Rohan Sippy is Taxi No. 9211 that quietly roared off on February 24, easily decimating the competition posed by Sun Zarra. Milan Luthria's novel treatment, punchy dialogue and clever marketing ensured that the Nana-John Abraham starrer cruised through a 50-day run. "With good showings in the Bombay territory and Delhi, this comic caper should at least be a commission earner," says Atul Mohan, Business Executive, Complete Cinema. The modest success of Taxi No. 9211 could work to the benefit of Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate that is another metro-centric film with the business community concentrated around Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. It also ensured that February which is traditionally considered a dull month, ended on a high note. Actually the second month of this year surprised many by getting off to an encouraging start with the Anant Mahadevan directed thriller, Aksar. Boosted by a chart-topping score by Himesh Reshammiya and generous glimpses of Udita Goswami's cleavage, Aksar managed a decent opening. And even though it couldn't capitalise on its heady start, the producers were enthused enough to announce a sequel. Sohail Khan's Fight Club also took a handsome lead over the Sushmita-Mithun starrer Chingari on February 17, opening well thanks to some well-choreographed action sequences, but stumbled on the first Sunday itself with an Indo-Pak one-dayer keeping the crowds away. And once the collections fell they never picked up. In comparison the other Dino Morea starrer, Pooja Bhatt's Holiday that came a week earlier, despite some gravity-defying dances, vacated the theatres in a hurry. Mere Jeevan Saathi, Hum Ko Tumse Pyar Hai and Teesri Aankh boasted of star power—Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Arjun Rampal, Sunny Deol, Karisma Kapoor, Ameesha Patel—but also a lingering stench of staleness that was difficult to cover up. The Moranis tried rejuvenating HTSPH by promoting it as an "evergreen" love story, MJS was heralded as Karisma's "comeback" film in a negative role and Harry Baweja made a last-ditch, desperate attempt to project Teesri Aankh as a Sunny Deol maar dhaad thriller even though the star had only a guest appearance in the film. None of the ploys worked and the trio took a dive. "Thrillers and horror stories work only if they have a taut story line and are presented sharply. Star power rarely makes an appreciable difference to collections," opines Amod Mehra, pointing to Boo...Darna Zaroori Hai that despite the presence of a number of big names like Amitabh Bachchan, Ritiesh Deshmukh and Mallika Sherawat to name a few, couldn't even take an opening and has once again proved that only Ram Gopal Varma himself can give a 'Factory' product any credibility. "Few people are not interested in a film produced by Ramu unless he's directed it too. And while a Darna Zaroori Hai might well have worked on TV it was no-no on the big screen sending yet another warning to RGV not to over-sell his brand name," adds Mehra. However, the trade analyst is quick to add that one can't discount star power entirely. The bottomline even in Hollywood is that you need a top-ranking cast to churn out a big commercial hit. The buzz surrounding Fanaa, Krrish and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna for instance is undoubtedly because of the presence of Aamir Khan,Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji. If Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is a must-buy today it is as much for producer-director Karan Johar's enviable track record as for its dream cast that makes it the second biggest star-studded venture in recent times after Johar's earlier Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. Krrish which also has a budget in the range of Rs 45-50 crore, is generating equal excitement in the trade. "In fact, thanks to the combined power of the two Roshans—Rakesh and Hrithik—and the memory of their last two blockbusters—Kaho Naa...Pyar Hai and Koi...Mil Gaya, Krrish has even stolen a march on the six-star Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, fetching Rs 1.25 crore from the otherwise stingy Bengal territory as compared to KANK's Rs 80 lakh," Mehra informs. He prophesises that Krrish will register the biggest opening ever with the Roshans expected to flood the markets in India alone with 700 prints, Bombay alone accounting for 200 of them. While KANK is scheduled for an August explosion and the desi Superman is being positioned to storm the theatres in July, Yashraj's Rs 30 crore Fanaa will open on May 26. And despite a certain sense of Dil Se de ja vue, this Kunal Kohli directed love story looks to be this summer's big vacation treat with Kajol returning to films after five years and Aamir Khan riding high on the success of RDB. "Stars may not be be able to help a bad film run but they can certainly bring in the crowds for a good film," asserts Mehra, arguing that films like Jhankaar Beats, Jogger's Park and more recently Iqbal that impressed with their unsual storylines, might well have done better commercially had they boasted of bigger names. However, he is quick to add that while star power continues to be a factor at the box-office, the story has assumed equal significance. A case to point is RDB which may be an Aamir Khan starrer but this once the superstar shared equal credit and footage with four lesser acclaimed actors who played as important a role in taking forward the story of a film-within-a-film that incites four careless campus campers and one waana-be neta to revolt against the system. The same's true for Malamaal Weekly that in just four weeks has more than doubled its Rs 3-4 crore investment and has not just the audience but even its producer, distributors and exhibitors laughing all the way to the bank. A situational comedy without stars but with a definite track, it has scored over other laugh riots like Shaadi Se Pehle and Pyare Mohan that boasted of bigger names but relied more on punchlines and jokes than a story well told. "Stand-up comedies may work on television but they are still no-no as far as the big screen is concerned," Mehra reasons. "For a comedy to work it has to make you laugh." Malamaal Weekly's super success following in the wake of Kya Kool Hain Hum, Bunty Aur Babli, Salaam Namaste, No Entry and Garam Masala hit parade has reinforced the impression that it is these paisa vasool light entertainers that are in favour with 12-32 age group that primarily make up the theatre going audience. While, this theory has generated a lot of interest in the Hera Pheri sequel, Phir Hera Pheri and the next Priyadarshan directed comedy of mistaken identities, Chup Chup Ke, Atul Mohan argues that it is not it's not so a particular genre that works. What the paying public is looking for is a quality product that has the backing of smart promotion and good music. However, even a beautifully photographed foreign location, good music and a saleable star—Akshay Kumar—could not make a hit of Humko Deewana Kar Gaye that opened well only in UK. The reason, Amod Mehra believes is that the film's producer, T-Series, being a music company concentrated so hard on pushing the music that they failed to give people a feel of the film as a whole. The promotion too went wrong by projecting HDKG as a "true life love story of a couple coming from two different worlds who get married against all odds", thereby giving out the end well before the release. The predictability of the plot too didn't help at a time when the mantra seems to be 'Ring out the old, bring in the new.' To make an impact today you have to do something new...something different. But in the effort to trend new ground you can't go straying into too strange worlds as happened with Pankaj Parasher's Banaras that left its viewers completely befuddled. Spiritualism doesn't sell...And nor does sex. Jigyasa, Souten, Naughty Boy, Madhubala...The string of flops signals the end of on-screen skin shows. The reason could be that neither do these C-grade flicks have good production values, nor do they have a story to lend some semblance of credibility to the venture. Their attempt is to cater to the basic instincts of a set audience that resides primarily in the interiors but today even these once-loyal viewers are satiating themselves through phoren po*no films that are easily accesible at the local video parlour, leaving the raat ki ranis hunting high and low for patrons. Sleaze have few takers today but stir in a little bit of sex into a cauldrum already bubbling with an interesting story and catchy songs and chances are that you could hit the bull's eye. That's what the trade had believed of Mukesh Bhatt's Gangster. The first Hindi film to exploit the virgin locales of South Korea had fanned a lot of excitement thanks to its eye-catching promos and ear-pleasing score and was expected to wrap up the first quarter on a roll. But while Gangster wasn't a write off like Darna Zaroori Hai and Mistress Of Spice it hasn't got the kind of opening it was looking for and while it might hold steady thanks to a long weekend that has the advantange of a Labour Day holiday, it remains to be seen if it can sustain the collections through word-of-mouth publicity. "At present it looks to be an average runner at best, miles away from Raaz or Murder. Such small films that make it big only come once in a blue moon and we've already won one such loottery in Malamaal Weekly this year," points out Amod Mehra.
And so we move from April to May when small entertainers makes way for star-studded bonanzas. Will Fanaa, Krrish and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna deliver. That's the BIG question?
Joined: 14 November 2004
Thanks for the gr8 articles ash!!!!
Hmmm don't quite know what to make of Debojits statement - I do know that Himeshji is offering him a song as well let's see what happens...
hope everyone is well,
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