Movie Review – Roy (The Smoke Got In My Eyes)

Yesterday on twitter, a fellow Arjun Rampal fan asked why I hadn’t blogged on the subject lately. His tweet reminded me that I have been remiss, and that Rampal’s recent movie, Roy, has been sitting unwatched in my stack of DVDs. Which means it’s been unwatched since before there was any hope of streaming movies here at Jewel Central. I used to have to buy all the Indian films I wanted to watch. Now, though, I can do Prime or Netflix.

It so happens, though, that Roy recently won Best Music at the 61st Filmfare Awards, which I actually knew already because I follow several Bollywood related accounts.

Having just watched the movie, I can represent that the music IS really good.

And so, @arjungrg  (He has the same first name as the actor we admire) herewith my review of Roy.

Roy was directed by Vikramjit Singh and stars Rampal and Jacqueline Fernandez.

The trailers I saw for this film were smoking hot scenes of Rampal and Fernandez in a pool and I guess I blanked out everything else. So, what I thought the movie was about and what it’s actually about? Two different things. Also, keep in mind this paragraph, because I’m going to circle back to it.

Smoke Got in My Eyes

Except for the two minutes while the final credits were rolling, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie with such an overt male gaze. There were maybe two minutes out of the three some hours where there were two women on screen at the same time (excluding extras).

Besides Fernandez, the only other woman (Shernaz Patel) who has more than a couple of lines of dialogue, is there for the sole purpose of providing moral support to Rampal’s character. It’s like whoever wrote this film thinks women spring to life only when there’s a man around. Which was kind of ironic because Patel’s role could have been played by a man, so kudos to casting a woman. I guess. She did a great job letting us know Rampal’s character was in emotional pain and that she was there to support him.

Upfront, I’ll just say that plot of this movie was so convoluted it started to feel like the screenwriter was trolling me. There wasn’t enough shirtless Rampal to make up for that. The master of “I AM IN SO MUCH PAIN SHE BROKE MY HEART!!!!” could not rescue a confusing script. Which is a pity because there was so much potential, and twice it broke out and I was all “Oh, whoa, that’s interesting!” and then I think the director was all “WAIT! I have to make this even more confusing. DO NOT FOLLOW THAT THREAD!” Right, because if he did, there would be a movie worth watching.

Smoke? What about the Smoke?

EVERYBODY smoked. And, for this film, that means every man smoked. Whenever someone was smoking there was this tiny little notice “smoking kills” in the lower right corner of the screen. It was there a lot. I now believe all the smoking is the reason the movie opened with two anti-smoking ads. All that smoking was distracting. I think the director must not have trusted his actors to actually act.

Plot

Rampal plays Kabir Grewal, a screenwriter (with writer’s block when the love of his life isn’t there) and director who is a playboy. He’s writing/directing the 3rd movie of a trilogy. Singh’s (Roy’s director) conceit is to make us unable to figure out that the subplot is actually the movie that Rampal’s character is writing/directing. In doing so, Singh seems to have forgotten that confusing movies ::cough::Inception::cough:: need a story hook that won’t let you go.

Confusing isn’t enough and the writing forgot to give us a reason to care about Kabir. The fact that I cared even a little speaks to Rampal’s ability to emote. But there was so little script for him to work with.

To be honest, when you forget that Women Are People Too, it’s understandable you might not realize you should give the women in your movie actual acting to do. Fernandez is a beautiful woman and director Singh never lets us forget that. I’m pretty sure she can act, but when your main function is decorative and to reflect the hero of the movie, it’s hard to be sure.

Surprises?

Well, I was surprised by the martial arts scene in the movie within the movie. Totally surprised. There wasn’t actually any martial arts. It was more like Movement, jump to post movement so no one actually had to do any martial arts. American movies take the same dreadful shortcuts, I’m afraid.

Sum up

This wasn’t a total waste of time because Arjun Rampal. If you like movies with women that exist only in the minds of men, this is the movie for you. But it was a waste of some talented actors. My recommendation is to watch only the final credits because those scenes were combustible. Actual acting!! The pre-release trailers I saw were entirely made up of scenes from the final credits and it made it look like the movie was about heartbreak and true love. Nope. It could have been. Loads of Indian films successfully do that. Not this one.

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