Dedh was a cuss word in the streets of the small suburbs of Bangalore we grew up in, of the 70s and 80s. And this half measure does need some cursing, much more than the One and half I haven’t quite uttered.
Vishal is an artist who in 2013 has decided to feed us Rotis that are only half cooked. True that even these are better than the Rowdys and Chennai trains that go nowhere. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola disappointed, so does Ishqiya 11/2.
I accept, we went in with the memory of the sweet taste of gaalis and Vidya from Ishqiya, and came out wanting to go back to the old. This 11/2 and not half the fun.
The parts we liked:
The guys are quite good. Naseer and Arshad are good together. Their timing delightful, though Arshad moves like he probably chewed one bhang more than he should have.
The English subs – a very cool idea. If it wasn’t for that, a lot of the Urdu shayaris would have been wasted on us aam jantha.
Huma promises but has no support from the script. She is the bodyguard to this petite aging Begum and she plays it straight.
Didn’t much care for:
Madhuri Dixit, there has been much made of her come back. She is all dainty en all.. but she’s quite like a mannequin that was given some lines to speak. Oh, yes, she looks very well preserved and there is even a whole song as the credits run for her to showcase Birju Maharaj’s deft moves, but it held back none, not at the theater I was at anyway. A person from the newspaper a couple of days later wrote that she was more enthused by Madhuri in the 1 minute trailer of ‘Gulab Gang’ more than this movie that she went to see. We sometimes make too much of a comeback: sometimes we expect great brilliance to come after a fading away. If you remember Pukar in 2000 it was more Namrata than Madhuri. And when the barefooted Hussain couldn’t quite get her to ride them horses around that time. Devdas was like: ‘ok, now we are tired, am going home’, and Chandramuki handed the bucket to Paro and left with Nene.
And Madhuri did come back 5 years later, and they (mostly reality shows on TV) crowned her dance queen with the ravishing smile.. and in the last 5-6 years she has been trying to freeze that to her image. Oh yes, that’s it, she does look a bit stiff.. And about that trailer, which pits these 80s girls on the big-screen for the first time, we think they might have waited too long.
There are some cool lines and Naseeruddin does the shayari well and the con man even better. And that time when an old Hakim (yes about 100 years older than Naseeruddin) holds his trembling hands and then just when Khalujaan (Naseer) thinks the Hakim might have gone to the other world in the course of listening to his pulse, the hakim wakes up from deep seance and delivers his cure: the mohabaat (seven course) will do it!
And Masha Allah! Mohabaat does heal! kicks and lives again.
Oh right, and Babaan (Arshaad) does gets a few stages into Mohabaat and get into Huma’s skirt too.
And these being the 7 stages: Dilkashi (attraction), Uns (attachment), Mohabbat (love), Akidat (trust), Ibadat (worship), Junoon (madness)
and the last stage is Maut (death).
This team that worked on this flick are such heavies : gulzar, rahat fateh ali khan, vishal… and they even get Honey Singh to mouth Gulzar’s lyrics with the banal ‘horn ok please’… no, it is not crass as dinka chika… remember Vishal made Dhan Te Nan (kameney) sound classy, and gulzar got Bipasha Basu to light a Beedi… So, these guys when they pick up dirt, it does breathe life. But the energy and the hooks abandon them here. No – Dil To Bachcha Hai. No – Ibn-e-batuta … Kya Hoga soars some height but doesn’t quite get there.
Oh ok, it is a good outing at the theaters I accept, but it is difficult to settle for anything but the finest Biryani from these folks.