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SCREEN: LACKING SUBSTANCE

November 04, 2018

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5 Weddings

US-based female reporter (Nargis Fakhri) vying for a top position at work gets an assignment to capture the essence of exotic, colourful India by covering not one but five Indian weddings. She takes up the assignment, with a side-job to track down her dad (Bo Derek plays her mum), but apart from the wedding also takes an interest in ‘serious and worthwhile’ journalism by covering the lives of transgenders who dance at weddings.

In the midst of unengaging music and a bland, fake-dramatic point of view, we also see Rajkumar Rao sleepwalk through his role as a police officer assigned to watch over her.

Yes, 5 Weddings is as uninspired as it sounds — but hey, at least it’s only 90 minutes long (thank God for small favours).

5 Weddings is bland and uninspirational while Saif Ali Khan’s Baazaar is a knock-off of Michael Douglas’ Wall Street

Baazaar

Saif Ali Khan steps into a distinct avatar of Michael Douglas in Baazaar, an Indian knock-off of Wall Street. Director Gauravv K. Chawla and screenwriters Parveez Sheikh, Aseem Arora and Nikhil Advani (the film is produced by Advani), design a fast-paced engaging enterprise that is, in hindsight, as soulless as its principal hero-cum-villain Shakun Kothari (Khan).

Sakhun, a Gujarati stock-manipulating mogul is from humble origins, similar to the story’s other hero Rizvan (Rohan Mehra) who, when the film starts, is a small-time stock broker in Allahabad. Rizvan wants to make it big, like his idol Sakhun, so he packs his bag, leaves dad and sister, joins the Mumbai stock-trading world and gets into a relationship with a fellow trader (Radhika Apte).

Sakhun and Rizvan meeting, working together and eventually facing off isn’t really the main selling point of Baazaar. In fact, one can guesstimate exactly what is going to happen when in the story on how it is panned out by Advani.

Baazaar’s one real gem is Khan, who makes his character deliciously evil — a remorseless bad guy and yet a loving family man who can’t see his two daughters cry (Chitrangada Singh plays Khan’s wife). With just this one layer, Khan adapts his performance scene-to-scene, bringing slight nuances to both his Gujarati accent and facial expressions.

Apte and Mehra are fairly good as well, but the film trades genuine character depth for the pumped-up ambience of the big-money world. Like a flashy stock in the stock-market, Baazaar entices with its flamboyancy but dips because of a lack of substance.

Published in Dawn, ICON, November 4th, 2018

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