Half Girlfriend Video Review – Infuriating film!

While there were some parts I liked, this movie made me crazy for what it might have been.  With the director Mohit Suri and the hits he’s had with Ek Villalin and Aishiqui 2 plus a book by Chehat Bhagat, you’d think this would be great, but it just didn’t work for me at ALL.  The more I thought about it, the more infuriated I got.  I happened to see the same showing as Kathy Gibson, who REALLY hated it.

 

 

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OK Jaanu – Adiya Roy Kapur is adorable in this decent remake of OK Kanmani

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I’ll be honest that I’ve been dreading OK Jaanu [OK Darling] because I love OK Kanmani so very much.  I went to an A. R. Rahman concert in Chicago and I heard the song Mental Manadhil for the first time, and I was completely blown away.  Rahman played this video while he sang the song, and I just had to see this movie.

OK Kanmani is a Mani Ratnam Tamil movie about two young people who are working in Mumbai, and thrilled to find another Tamil speaker.  I didn’t know at the time that Dulquer Salmaan is actually from Kerala and known for his Malayalam films.

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So Adorable!

I’ve become like all those people in South India — the Southern original is so much better!  There is an undeniable magic to the Mani Ratnam Tamil original.  The chemistry between Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen is amazing.  And it’s one of my all time favorite A. R. Rahman soundtracks.  I listen to it all the time.  O Khadal Kanmani is the movie that started me on my journey of watching Malayalam films, because I just had to see what other films Dulquer and Nithya had done, which led me to Bangalore Days and on and on.  It all started with the Tamil OK Kanmani, which I have watched multiple times.

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So, I had trepidation about OK Jaanu.  I like Aditya Roy Kapur okay, and Shraddha Kapoor.  I saw Aashiqui 2, and they do have decent chemistry together.  Then the Humma song came out, and I got excited.  The song from this scene in the original movie is cute, but one of the weakest of the Tamil soundtrack.  This is waaay sexier.

Then, something happened a week ago.  My father became very seriously ill and he has been in ICU at the hospital for this entire past week.  It’s been incredibly stressful, but he seems to have come out of the crisis.  I’ve been exhausted and spending all my time at hospital with my parents.  When I’ve had a moment to wind down, I’ve turned to Bollywood song videos as my sort of comfort food.  And tonight, I decided I deserved a break, and went with a neighbor to OK Jaanu.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  It took me away from all my cares and worries for a few hours.

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I think this is the best movie I have seen Aditya Roy Kapoor do.  He was truly adorable.  Because I know Dulquer’s performance in the original so well, I could tell when he was even trying to match Dulquer’s mannerisms, but he made it his own.  Shraddha is no sparkling Nithya but she was good enough.   Aditya was good in Aashiqui 2 and, not horrible in Fitoor (that movie had other problems), but I like him so much better quirky and cute like this than brooding and angry.  I’m also one of the few people who liked most of Daawat-e-Ishq.  (Not Aditya’s best look, but I still love this title song!)

The plot of OK Jaanu is basically identical to the original.  Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a young video game designer who has just arrived in Mumbai, and is staying in a room of the house of his brother’s former boss (Nasureedin Shah).  Nasureedin’s wife has Althzeimer’s.  Adi meets Tara and a torrid romance begins, but they both vow they never want to marry.  He’s determined to move to the US, and she wants to study architecture in Paris.  They convince Adi’s landlord to let them live in sin together in his room.  All comes to a head when they both have to leave to follow their careers — will they choose love or their career?  It does have a fantastic message that a girl shouldn’t have to give up her career for marriage — her career is just as important.

 

Some of what made the original special is lost in the Hindi translation.  Part of what drew Adi and Tara together was that they were two Tamil speakers alone in the big city of Mumbai.  That plot point is gone. Naseeruddin Shah is of course his excellent self, but I so adored the big hulking Prakash Raj, who so often plays the big villain, being the tender devoted husband to his ailing wife in the Tamil OK Kanmani.  The sets are certainly bigger and more expensive looking.

One thing that is a welcome addition are the new songs.  Enna Sona, sung by Arjit Singh is gorgeous, and the film turns black and white during this sequence as Adi is missing Tara while she’s away on a work trip.

My neighbor thought OK Jaanu was better than the original.  But she doesn’t really speak Tamil (her husband does) and watched it without subtitles.  She said Dulquer Salmaan’s accent was so thick she couldn’t understand him.  The original will remain one of my favorite films, and if you live in the US, I urge you to watch it on Netflix.   But, the Hindi remake is quite enjoyable.  It’s partly my frame of mind with all I’ve been going through but, this movie allowed me to forget my troubles for a few hours.   Thank God for Indian Cinema and that it is there whenever I need it.  I told my husband what a comfort it is to me in times like this.  I think I’m being more generous than some other reviewers may be, so sue me.  It’s no hardship to watch Adiya being this adorable for a couple hours!

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Aashiqui 2 -The Hindi remake of A Star Is Born

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NOW I get it.  When Aditya Roy Kapoor did his solo numbers at the Dream Team concert in Chicago, the girls in the crowd went crazy, especially when he covered one of the dancers with his jacket.

And it was because he was lip syncing the two big songs from Aashiqui 2 [Love]Sunn Raha Hai Na Tua and Tum Hi Ho.

I’ve been suffering with what I think is a bad sinus infection for days and haven’t felt up to watching anything with subtitles as I couldn’t even concentrate.  Margaret at Don’t Call It Bollywood mentioned that she’s going to write a review of Aashiqui 2 soon, and I realized that I should really watch it before OK Jaanu comes out next weekend.  I rented it last night from Amazon streaming, but I’m a little worried something may have been cut in their copy as the run time was only 2 hours 6 minutes.

I have not seen the classic 1954 Judy Garland A Star is Born, but I have the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson version from the ’70’s.  Aashiqui 2’s plot is completely A Star Is Born.  Successful male takes talented woman under his wing, and then her career eclipses his as he declines into alcoholism.

While Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor had decent romantic chemistry in Aashiqui 2 and acted, well, okay… there are so many flaws in this film.  I could totally believe that Aditya was a rock star.  With Arjit Singh singing those songs, he had the swagger to pull it off.  Shraddha’s character is this young naive ingenue, scraping by singing in a bar in Goa when Aditya stumbles in to hear her sing his song, Sunn Raha Hai Na Tua.  The problem is her singing voice in the film is not a powerhouse raw talent.  It’s tinny and thin sounding.  She looks up to Lata as her inspiration, but her singing did not blow me away AT ALL.  That is the whole point of A Star Is Born — this talent that is just so amazing, that the male lead has to share it with the world.

When I was growing up, you could not escape Barbra Streisand’s Evergreen from the 1976 film.  Kris Kristofferson was well cast, because while he is a talent, he’s not the legendary BARBRA.

So, from the get go, I’m not buying Shraddha as this big talent, but the romance plot in the first half is nice and it is refreshing to have a male Indian lead doing everything to support a woman’s career.  But oh that demon alcohol.

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You can tell Aditya is a real alcoholic because he drinks straight from big bottles!  The addiction storyline here is treated so ridiculously.  Shraddha remains a naive ingenue to the end, convinced that she can solve his addiction just by taking him away to the mountains and giving him a nice shave outside to get him clean.

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Your boyfriend, who never even mentions marriage and is fine living with you and ultimately off your earnings, goes into drunken rages and pushes you to the ground, and you can just hug him even tighter and it will all be okay?  Blech.  I wanted to shake some sense into Shraddha in this movie.  This is not 1954!  Surely, her character could have had a little more spine in this day and age or even some character development.  And sorry for the spoilers, but gee, alcoholism can’t be solved by love alone.  And it’s noble to kill yourself rather than go to rehab or accept your father’s help because even though you didn’t marry the poor girl, she’s ready to give up her career for you?   If you’re going to copy the entire plot of A Star Is Born, then I guess you have to end it that way, but it could have been portrayed as more dark and desperate rather than noble and misguided.

 

The music is central to a film like this, and this film has a couple of amazing blockbusters.  You can’t help but love this soundtrack.

350827-aashiqui-2So, in all, glad I finally watched this first pairing of Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.  But I think they look like they have even better romantic chemistry in the trailers of OK Jaanu.  I hate to see OK Kanmani remade (because it is perfection) but hopefully they won’t screw it up too much.  Aashiqui 2 won’t be a film I want to rewatch, but I will definitely be downloading the songs.

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And now there’s going to be a new Hollywood version of A Star Is Born with a release date in September of 2018 starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  Cooper will not only act in the film, it will be his directorial debut.  Lady Gaga is the kind of powerhouse talent perfect for the role. Bradley’s acting is Oscar caliber, but I hope his directorial skills will be up to the task.

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