Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bachna Ae Haseeno

Don't you love it when you have low expectations for something and it ends up being pretty darn good?

That's exactly what happened when I saw Bachna Ae Haseeno, the new Yashraj romcom featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Bipasha Basu, and Minissha Lamba.

I was on the fence about it--When I first saw the promos, it looked like it could be fun, and I enjoyed Ranbir in Saawariya, but as the months rolled by I lost interest. How much did I like Ranbir, anyways? I couldn't really remember. Also, thanks to my blogging friends, my list of Bollywood recommendations grew, and I watched a string of great films. I began to crave more from my Hindi film experience than the same ol' Yashraj fare.

Was Bachna Ae Haseeno any different? Nope, not really. But gosh, it was still an entertaining way to spend a Monday afternoon. I didn't fall in love with the film, but I definitely thought it was better than Kismat Konnection.

Let's walk through it together (There may be some teeny tiny spoilers, but trust me, there really aren't too many "surprises" to spoil. I won't give away the ending, how about that?). The film kicks off with Ranbir dancing in a Shahid-Kapoor style number with the three leading ladies (who I noticed all have big, cat-shaped eyes--which I love because you can clearly see their makeup and imitate the look). I found it interesting that in both of Ranbir's films (the only two he's done so far), he's gotten to make a grand entrance, as if he's already a superstar (I guess that must be one of the perks to being a Kapoor). Yet he lives up to the hype on the dance floor, at least. The man can move, although he's a bit over the top about it. Don't get too excited, he's no Hrithik Roshan, but he's good when he's trying to be kind of Justin Timberlake-ish, all smooth and hip. Anyways, the title song was cool, but it gave me a bit of a Kismat Konnection flashback, so I remained skeptical.

As the movie began, I realized the plot was not what I expected ( I thought it was a love quadrangle starring Ranbir as the three-timing jerk who can't decide who he wants). Instead, it was a story of a man who fell in love with three different women at three different phases of his life. Hmm, I thought, this could be interesting.

A 17 year old Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) is traveling to Switzerland by train with some buddies. On the same train, Mahi (Minissha Lamba) gazes out the window and dreams of meeting her true love. At this point of the film, I sighed with disappointment, smelling another DDLJ knockoff. But the writers did this intentionally--Mahi is actually a huge DDLJ fan, and the "true love" she hopes to find is literally a real-life version of SRK's Raj in that film. The love story between Ranbir's Raj and Mahi develops under somewhat of a parody of DDLJ--and its actually pretty funny (Notably, Ranbir's impersonation of SRK). You don't get irritated when, like Raj and Simran, Raj and Mahi miss the train, because you know it's deliberately set up to play out that way. Even Raj is privy to the joke--In fact, he's the mastermind behind it, using it to win Mahi over. Of course, once he does, he breaks her heart, and we begin to understand why Raj's relationships have never worked out.

Did I lose you yet? Because all this Raj stuff is beginning to make my head spin. Let's move on, shall we? ;)

Fast forward to 2002. Raj now lives with Radhika (Bipasha Basu), his gorgeous new girlfriend. However, once Raj is offered a job transfer to Sydney, he jumps at the chance, planning to drop Radhika and enjoy bachelorhood in Austrailia. Sadly, Raj isn't man enough to be straightforward with Radhika and tell her he doesn't see their relationship going any further, and she mistakenly assumes he is going to marry her and take her to Sydney with him. This segment of the film really proves what a coward Raj is, as he makes several tasteless attempts to get Radhika to break up with him, so he doesn't end up looking like the bad guy. Needless to say, the outcome to this relationship doesn't end up any better than the first, and another woman is left brokenhearted.

The final romance in the film occurs between Raj and Gayatri, played by Ranbir's real life girlfriend Deepika Padukone. This time, it is Raj who falls head over heels in love, yet Gayatri isn't ready to settle down and marry. Raj finally gets a taste of his own medicine! But he isn't ready to give up... He decides the only way he will have a chance with Gayatri is if he makes peace with the two women he has hurt in the past. The second half of the movie follows Raj on this mission, and unfortunately it does drag a bit here.

Still, overall Bachna Ae Haseeno was surprisingly pleasant. I wasn't moved too much by any of the romance stories, but the beat of the film was still witty and the performances solid, making it an entertaining ride. I'll most likely purchase the DVD when it comes out (which will probably be before the ridiculously delayed Jodhaa-Akbar, not that I'm bitter or anything, lol ).

I wasn't as smitten with Ranbir as I was in Saawariya, but I have to say I was impressed by him in this light-hearted role. He was actually pretty funny at times, despite the fact that his character was an immature little prick who liked to use women. Can you believe that after all he did to his first two girlfriends, I couldn't hate him? I wasn't rooting for him 100%, either, but I did give him a little credit for at least trying to make amends--even though his reasons for that also happened to be selfish.

Minissha Lamba was sweet, but she was my least favorite of the three ladies. Her dancing and acting seemed stiff at times, but in all honesty I don't think that's what bugged me about her. There was just something missing--Maybe she didn't spark enough chemistry with Ranbir, I don't know. To be fair, her character was written as the more bland of the three women, which obviously wasn't her fault. And I, for one, would never be able to hold my own next to Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone, so she deserves points for that as well. Watch out for a surprise cameo as the man who plays her husband in the second half.

The only other film I'd seen Bipasha in was Dhoom 2, and I didn't feel she was given enough to do in that for me to pass judgement. I really liked her here, though. In the first half, when Raj developed a crush on her, I remember thinking, whoa, buddy, she's totally out of your league. But by the end of their love segment I was convinced Radhika simply didn't care whether or not she could "do better" (because, let's face it, she totally could have)--she genuinely loved Raj.

Bipasha deserves a second paragraph for her performance after the intermission, when Raj locates her to deliver his apology. She's a famous Bollywood star now (and quite the diva), and makes him earn her forgiveness by becoming her personal assistant. Since she verbally abuses most of her staff, this is totally Radhika's way of getting sweet revenge. Gosh, I know its wrong, and goes against the moral code for forgiveness, but could you actually imagine what it would be like to do that to an ex? And one that left you at the altar, at that? It was absolutely hilarious...I couldn't help but root for her here! There's a scene in this segment where Radhika calls Raj over to zip her dress up for her. She's not being seductive, but rather sticking it to him, because she looks amazing in this shot. Both actors conveyed so much without saying a word--it was a very well done scene. I really wish I had a screencap so you could see how picturesque Bips looks in this white dress, but watch for it if you go see the film. Eat your heart out, Raj!

Deepika Padukone wowed me with her charm in Om Shanti Om, and she managed to do it again this time. In Bachna Ae Haseeno, I noticed her talent even more without the glitz of Shahrukh and his 31 friends to distract me. Deepika is once again more than I expect her to be, and everything I wish Priyanka Chopra was. She shines onscreen, whether she is dancing, smiling, and yes, even acting. If she keeps this up she may make it to my list of favorite actresses someday, but its still too early to tell.

Shockingly, I thought all of the comedy in Bachna Ae Haseeno was well done, and didn't find any of it weird or over the top. I really expected some oddball side performance from one of the Bollywood comedians, but there was none of that here (No disrespect, but that can be distracting sometimes. A glaring example would be Rajpal Yadav in Waqt, a film I haven't gotten around to even watching the second half of). The jokes were sharp and flowed with the context of the film, and I appreciated that.

Bachna Ae Haseeno tries to subtly slip a few commentaries on love and romance in today's era, but thankfully the messages aren't drilled into our brains. The film did an excellent job portraying the man who isn't ready to commit, something that was also well done in Salaam Namaste, which had the same director.

I'm glad I decided to see this film instead of the more popular Singh is Kinng (I just couldn't do another Welcome). This may be because my expectations were so low after the Kismat Konnection disappointment, but it was surprisingly not bad. Not bad at all.

Text © 2008 Nida Nazir

Bitten By Bollywood


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Zehra,  August 20, 2008 at 6:44 AM  

Hey Nida,

WOW! You really did make it sound so good. I'll definitely watch it now because previously I had decided to give it a pass even though I'm a huge YashRaj fan.

When I saw the promos and all I was like Ranbhir?!?! Although I loved him in Saawariya, loved, loved him. But still some of his dancing shots seen in the promos just looked plain weird to me.

Yeah I know Minishia must have had a tough time. I mean she was up against Bipasha and Deepika. Dude what do you expect?!?!

As for Bipasha OMG! I'm a big Bipasha fan even though she doesnt have much scene credits to her name. But in case you haven't seen 'Jism' yet. You should really watch it. Just set aside the reviews and all be neutral and judge the movie. John was phenomenal amd that song, that sad, angry one... argh! I can't recall it now; that was beautiful!

Ohh even I simply adored Deepika's grace in OSO and yeah you are right after this performance she does prove the point that she really has acting in her and doesn't want Shah Rukh to propel her career for her.

As for Minishia's "surprise" husband cameo. I'm guessing that was Shah Rukh himself, right? ;-)

Nicki August 20, 2008 at 6:59 AM  

Wow Nida. You got to see this! I really want to see it but I'll have to wait for dvd to make lots of screen caps. When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was going to be "inspired" by Korean movie
S Diary
but I was wrong! S Diary is really funny but it's about a girl going back to 2 of her exes getting revenge and even with them on why they dumped her. I would love to see Bollywood do this!

I like Ranbir but I wouldn't watch the movie for him. I would watch it for Bips! Not sure if you know but I'm a huge die hard fan of hers. I mean come on, I even dedicated a
neglected website of hers, lol.

Wow, you've only seen Bips in two films? You're missing out. Gosh, I have so many movies to review and show others on why I love Arjun, John, Bipasha - the underrated hot model-turned stars! For her films, I really like Raaz, Jism, Madhoshi, Corporate, just to name a few.

I usually like Minissha in her films. The only movie I was disappointed in her was
. She's usually in supporting roles.

I thought Deepika was great in OSO. Glad to know she is living up to the hype of the movie. I think she resembles Priyanka Chopra so much and a better actress than her.

Okay, I rambled long enough. :)

Rum August 20, 2008 at 11:35 AM  

ohhhh nida, this movie looks fab now, you have me convinced to see it. I am so hoping after the backwass that was kismat konnection that this will be better! thanx!

Nida August 20, 2008 at 12:25 PM  

Thanks to all for your comments!

Zehra--This would definitely be worth a trip to the theater, especially since you said you make a day out of it with your loved ones. Let me know what you think! I'm not sure how I feel about Ranbir in traditional dance, but I like him in the more contemporary stuff.
I own "Jism"! I haven't seen it yet...I keep forgetting I have it because its on VHS and doesn't fit on my DVD shelf. I'll have to pop it in one of these days!
Unfortunately, the cameo was not SRK. :( That would have been really cool! But this actor is pretty well known and still a welcome addition to the movie (even though he is sportin' a very different, very Punjabi look in the film).

Nicki--I have to add S Diary to the list of Korean films you gave me! I think I am really going to enjoy them...who knows, maybe I'll start a Korean film blog, too ;) You said you had one, right?
Thanks for the link to the Bips site! I didn't know you were such a dedicated fan of hers. That's very cool...The thing I really like about her so far (and yes, two films are unacceptable and I need to see more) is that she comes across as being really strong and not caring what other people think of her. Thanks for the recommendations--I own "Jism", as I told Zehra, but I'll have to check out the other ones as well.

So much to watch!!!

Rum--I'm glad, and I really hope you like it! As I said in the post, I thought this was much, much better than "Kismat Konnection"...I even thought Ranbir did a better job than Shahid overall! Would love to know what you think after you see it!

Thanks for stopping by!

ajnabi August 20, 2008 at 2:18 PM  

Oh my gosh, I can't wait to see this!!! Thanks for posting about it, Nida.

bollyviewer August 20, 2008 at 3:32 PM  

Now my expectations are high! :-) I was planning to miss this one because I dont find the cast too inspiring but it sounds like a very interesting story. Plus it appears that Bipasha gets to play something other than a hot-babe that she specialises in (she only ever did that in Corporate and was very good there). Thats enough to get me to the theatres for this!

Bollywood Blogger August 20, 2008 at 5:24 PM  

Nida, thanks for the great review! I can't wait to see this movie. I'm not crazy about Ranbir but Deepika is so gorgeous! And my hubby loves Bips, so I guess all that combined should be enough for us to see the movie :)

Crazy on Bollywood August 21, 2008 at 2:13 AM  

I hv seen tat movie..entertaining one.Ronbhir rocking.

Reviewer August 21, 2008 at 1:18 PM  

Wow after reading your post, I am actually looking forward to seeing this movie :)

Nida August 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM  

Ajnabi--Go see it! I think you'd like it, or at least find it worth your while (its fun and entertaining and a bit modern--far from the "chase Indian girl image" thats so common in Hindi films (and that I know irritated you in "Vivah").

Bollyviewer-- Yep, Bips was great here. She showed a lot of strength and played a very modern woman who didn't care what people thought about her decisions. I'll have to check "Corporate" out, now both you and Nicki have recommended it.

Bollywood Blogger--Deepika does not disappoint here; In fact, she's even better than in OSO. And she looks amaze!

Crazy on Bollywood--Ranbir is certainly impressive seeing as this is only his second film. I know he's a Kapoor and all, but...he really was meant to be in movies.

Reviewer--Hopefully you'll like it as much as I did!:)

Joss,  August 22, 2008 at 4:59 AM  

I love the positive way you write, Nida. Even though you point out all the flaws in films you still make me want to see them. You're right, there is just so so so much to watch! But if watching them all proves impossible to arrange, then your blogs are a very good second best. Keep writing! I'll keep watching.

ajnabi August 22, 2008 at 3:21 PM  

BTW, Nida, did you get the email from Nehaflix announcing Jodhaa-Akbar's release?

Zehra,  August 23, 2008 at 10:16 AM  

Sadly Nida here in Pakistan only those movies are shown in theatres which have Pakistani artists or singers in them.

As "Bachna Ae Haseeno" has none so we don't have it playing here. I would have loved to go watch it.

Although "Singh Is Kinng" is playing because the title song is sung by a Pakistani band "Azal". By the way azal means something which has infinite life =)

Keep posting, looking forward to them.


theBollywoodFan August 23, 2008 at 10:35 AM  

Sadly, this isn't playing at my local cinema, and the one I was looking forward to seeing most (Minissha) seems to have done so-so at best, so I'll look forward to the DVD.

Liked the songs, and sounds like the cast did them justice. I'm not the Bipasha fan I used to be (after her representation of India at the New 7 Wonders ceremony last year -- disastrous, in my humble opinion), but as others have noted, if you can overlook the technical flaws of Corporate (read: redundant dialogue), it is well worth watching for Bips and especially for Rajat Kapoor. She also had a different kind of role in Goal (2007), which I disliked. Liked her in the slightly spooky Raaz and Rakht.

She really does seem to be better suited to music videos. See her in this, 'One Love' from Rakht. She's fantastic in the song, not as much in the few seconds later (acting-wise):



Nida August 26, 2008 at 7:23 PM  

Joss--Thank you very much! Blogging and hearing the opinions from readers such as yourself makes my whole Hindi cinematic experience all the more rewarding. Its just so much fun to read the opinions and comments, and extremely motivating. I'm glad you like it so much--thank you for always writing a little something when you notice something you like!

Ajnabi--I finally, finally got an email that my copy is on its way! I couldn't believe it...I preordered this back in oh, May or so. Each week the DVD was supposed to come out, there would be a two to three week delay...This went on all summer. Grr...so frustrating! But at least it came out before fall...Now I'm just waiting on my little delivery. :) Wonder if I'll like it as much now?

Zehra--Very interesting about the films in Pakistan, I knew they were strict on their film policy but did not know to what extent.
Did you get to see "Singh Is Kinng" yet?

The Bollywood Fan--LOL, at first I thought this was a pop video by a group called "Rakht", so I thought to myself, "Gosh, this guy looks like Abhishek Bachchan"...then as the video played I realized it was from a film and this was Abhishek! But thanks for bringing this song to my attention...I definitely think this, along with the video Nicki posted really shows Bips should be in music videos. I'm truly surprised she hasn't been in more American videos, particularly R & B and hiphop--she just has that look about her.

Nicki October 18, 2008 at 2:31 PM  

Hey Nida. Where did you disappear to? Miss you lots. I finally saw this and made caps of some scenes for you.

Here it is

B November 27, 2008 at 10:40 AM  


Pretty good review.
Even I liked 'BAH' and wud prefer it anyday over Kismet connection which was really a horrible movie(why it did any business whatsoever is beyond me). I think the Kapoor lad has arrived on his won with this movie..thats the advantage of being a star son, u get second chances in moviedom.

Nice post.

Nida December 4, 2008 at 12:29 PM  


Aww, thanks! The screencaps are great! Can I take some for my banner?:)


Agree with you on both counts!"Kismet Konnection" was abyssmal...this was loads better--though still not an amazing film, either....but enjoyable enough!

And as for the Kapoors, you're right, didn't Kareena have a string of flops before making her own mark with "Jab We Met"?

Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the complement!:)

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