A barely watchable Earth Boy-Venus Girl romance. Plus, a marginally better actioner.
APRIL 11, 2010 – SINCE ITS INCEPTION, MANKIND HAS PONDERED over the mysteries of life beyond earth. Who is out there? Where? What do they look like? How do they live? Milap Zaveri’s Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai nobly strives to provide answers – at least with respect to our neighbouring planet. The film’s heroine, you see, is from Venus – and not just in the figurative sense of men, correspondingly, hailing from Mars. She’s an honest-to-goodness alien, who looks awfully like Jacqueline Fernandez (and is called Tara) and who falls, quite literally, into Rajesh’s (Riteish Deshmukh) arms. Tara informs us that the inhabitants of her planet, named after the goddess of love, have forgotten how to make it. Instead, they make babies through computers, dressed not in milk-white togas but shiny hot-pants with attendant swirls of chiffon, embellished with rhinestones. Clearly, the dominant cultural influence on the planet isn’t the Roman goddess of yore but Kalpana Iyer. No wonder Tara can stay on Earth for a scant two days. The mantra, evidently, is hurry home hurry.
In that brief period, for the benefit those who’ve never laid eyes on a Hindi movie, Tara and Rajesh search in vain for love with others (Ruslaan Mumtaz, Sonal Sehgal) before realising that they belong in each other’s arms. All of this would have served as ideal fodder for a breezy fish-out-of-water rom-com, as we witnessed in the inordinately charming fish-out-of-water fable Splash, but the director has other ideas. He wants, instead, to fashion a romantic melodrama, hinged on a leading man more suited to lightweight comedy than heavy-duty drama. By the time Deshmukh’s eyes well up with lovestruck tears, you no longer care who ends up with whom, or even if they wind up in Earth or on Venus. We do know, however, that Rajesh’s friend Kaushal (who may be gay, and who’s played by Vishal Malhotra) will not remain an earthling much longer. He tells us, before following Tara’s sister into a spacecraft, “She’s from Venus and I have a very big p—s.”
That, by the way, is just the tip of the prurient iceberg. For a supposedly family-friendly entertainment, scene after baffling scene comes laden with references to the thing Venusians have forgotten all about. Kaushal, for a significant stretch, is attired in a T-shirt that screams, “I just got laid.” Rajesh’s father (Satish Shah) is caught reading an article titled Be a Sex Genius, as well as salivating over a porno-flick about pink pussy cats. And did I mention that when Rajesh eyes an album of prospective brides, in consideration of an arranged marriage, the girls are (un)clad in bikinis? It’s then that you wonder why these films are made. I mean, why bother? With all the actor tantrums and financier troubles and union negotiations and logistical nightmares, why set out to commit to screen what could be accomplished at a tenth of the cost on television? At least then, we’d be able to change channels when Rajesh, waltzing into a restaurant with Tara, coughs up this witticism to a hapless waiter. “Table for eighty two.” (Pause a beat to register waiter’s shell-shocked reaction.) “Only, eighty are not coming.”
MAY I USE THIS PLATFORM to put forth an entreaty? It’s one thing that the filmmakers of today are fast running out of ideas. But are they also running out of titles? Years hence, imagine this scenario: a poor television viewer looks up the schedule and singles out Prince. He expects to unwind to Shammi Kapoor’s effortless coolness in Badan pe sitaare, and instead, he’s saddled with Vivek Oberoi’s desperately kewl antics in Kookie Gulati’s Bourne-meets-Bond actioner. (In other words, an amnesiac man-of-many-skills sets foot into the world of 3G: guns, girls and gadgets). What has happened to this once-promising actor? This is a film where the megalomaniac villain has a metal hand, for crying out loud, and seeks to modify the world’s memory through a computer chip. This is the stuff of superlative (and potentially sidesplitting) camp. Why does Oberoi play it so seriously, preening like a smug peacock, as if starring in a hero-worshipping eighties’ adventure?
Gulati cannot decide if he wants to emulate a superhero movie (hence that shot of Prince’s lair, replete with costumes and contraptions) or if he’d rather tap into a more human dimension, with the hero in a limbo after having lost his mind. The film itself exists in a bit of a limbo, with the merely human action of opening a laptop accompanied by a thunderously superhuman soundtrack more suited to the onset of Armageddon. In the spirit of fairness, though, it must be said that – in the subset of Hollywood movies made for the set that doesn’t usually watch Hollywood movies – Prince achieves its ends far better than Blue did. At least, it’s never boring, thanks largely to twists and turns that rival those on Nandana Sen’s frame (speaking of whom, someone cast her as a Bond babe already). Besides, I have a great weakness for thrillers where people bark such orders as “Initialising periscope programme” or “Start the brain mapper.” If only this sense of loopiness had prevailed, we might have had a strapping throwback to the Roger Moore-era Bond adventure, whose most endearing quality was that it never forgot to wink at itself.
Copyright ©2010 The New Sunday Express. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.