Two gorgeous Venetian masks shot by my daughter Arundhati in Venice. We spent a lot of time admiring Murano glass in the windows of stylish boutiques in and around Saint Marco Square. Our biggest regret was that we didn't get to sip an over-priced Bellini at Harry's Bar. But we did listen to enchanting classical music in the Square, played by beautifully dressed musicians at the historic Floriana Cafe.
This appeared in Bombay Times on Monday.........
Mine is bigger than yours....
What happens to a movie when the intentions are positive, but the product fails to deliver the promised goods?? The hall at the friendly neighbourhood multiplex was half full when I watched ‘Maximum’, first day, second show. Not a bad sign, given the time of the year when most of Mumbai is away on chhutti.Clearly, expectations were high. This is the era of gritty, edgy, violent movies which are finding their own audiences in our discerning metros.With a title like that ( piggy-backing brazenly on Suketu Mehta’s definitive book on Mumbai), I for one, was salivating in anticipation. The concept of a Cop Vs. Cop movie set against the backdrop of the city’s notorious ‘encounters’ with low life, held a great deal of potential. What one saw was just another cop film minus a core. Sonu Sood’s almost alarming impersonation of Amitabh Bachchan ( without Bachchan’s sense of irony) was like applauding a competent mimic at a mimicry contest. That’s a pity, because the guy has it in him to strike out on his own and create an identity for himself. But at least he was provided with a storyline, a family and some motivation. Naseeruddin Shah’s boredom came through so strongly, it seemed deliberate, like he was in fact mocking the script... perhaps he was doing just that. What was far more annoying was the disjointed effort at projecting a particularly sordid chapter in the world of Mumbai cops, which had rocked the city with its senseless killings and games of one upmanship that had nothing to do with maintaining law and order. Neha Dhupia playing the cop’s wife wearing fake eyelashes at dawn was really emblematic of where and why the movie collapsed. It’s all in the details, bro. And when those details go so hopelessly wrong, credibility and audience interest both vanish instantly.
Perhaps we are at a stage when the entire Mumbai cops genre has been done to death.... murdered in cold blood by film makers who don’t really ‘get it’. Just like Madhur Bhandarkar didn’t really ‘get’ ‘Fashion’ because it was an entirely alien world to him. If this movie was about testosterone driven male rivalry in íts extreme form, it would still have fallen flat whether or not the protagonists wore a ‘vardhi’. The Naseer character was introduced so late, and so shoddily, it was impossible to get under his skin and figure out why his insides were as corroded with jealousy for the younger cop. Corroded enough for that entirely gratuitous, blood splattered climax to take place on - yes – a railway platform! Just like those other predictable standards that have become mandatory in ‘Mumbai Movies’- Ganpati visarjan and Gokulashtami.And please, can we avoid cop clichés – those Ray Ban aviators, the crotch-tight faded blue jeans and that gun tucked into the waistband pointing South! I mean, phallic references do have their place in cinema, but THIS obvious? Nuts!
The next cop film should really be about ACP Dhoble. I had offered to take him out on a date over Twitter. Just to show him what Mumbai’s less obnoxious night life is all about. Not every woman sipping a drink is a prostitute, and all those men posturing around may just be insecure dudes who have never done drugs in their lives. Dhoble has his fan club.... he could be the man of the moment for some canny movie maker – an unlikely hero armed with a hockey stick – take that for a ‘mine is bigger than yours’ metaphor!