Posts Tagged ‘Arjun Rampal’

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

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

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.


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.


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.


Interview with Mina Khan — Also Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Interview with Author Mina Khan

Author Mina Khan

Author Mina Khan

Today, the lovely Mina Khan is visiting my blog to give away a book and be awesome. Which you will find out from the probing, serious, deeply intelligent questions I ask her.

About Mina Khan

Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She writes about djinns (genies), dragons, hunks and whatever else sparks her fancy. She also writes a weekly food column for her local newspaper. Originally from Bangladesh, she is now a proud West Texan.
For more information check out her:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog: Stories by Mina Khan

Facebook Author Page

Twitter: @SpiceBites


To sign up for Mina’s quarterly newsletter with release updates and inside information on the stories, please check out:


The Questions

1. So. Your story in Alphas Unleashed. Tell us about it!

Alphas Unleashed: A collection of hot science fiction and paranormal romance stories from Michele Callahan, Carolyn Jewel, S.E. Smith and moi. You get 5 heroes, 5 romances, and 4 story worlds.

Mina: My story in Alphas Unleashed is Sealed with a Kiss. It’s about a fire djinn (genie) and the desperate woman who captures him. While deception brings them together, dangerous enemies make them unlikely allies. Can one wrong lead to two rights and true love?

I had a lot of fun writing this pair and figuring out the magic and mayhem that are essential to the story.

2. Do you have any pets? Tell us about your pets. Do you have pictures?

Mina: Erm, I have a full house: three cats and three dogs. All of them are wonderful rescues.

Patches & Mason

[Ooh. So cute!!!]

3. How do you feel about winter? What is your favorite kind of weather?

Mina: Lol! I’m such a cold wimp! Maybe that’s why I associated one of the villains in Sealed With A Kiss with winter…

4. Your books have been nominated for lots of awards. Which books, which awards? Tell us about them!

Mina: I have been very fortunate that my stories (cooked up by my crazy imagination) have been well received. I think all writers/artists/creatives hope their work will connect with another.

WILDFIRE E-book 1400px

Wildfire: A Paranormal Mystery with Cowboys and Dragons. Lynn, a Japanese American dragon shifter, hunts down a rogue dragon setting fires in the wilds of West Texas.


Wildfire is a finalist in the 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence and the 2014 PRISM Contest.

It also finaled in the paranormal category of the Write Touch Readers’ Choice Awards, but Crista McHugh (an author I love to read) won… so thrilled to be in the running!

What Readers Say About Wildfire

“I love books that shift and twist genres, and Mina Khan excels at this…I have to say that this novel is paranormal in a way that no other paranormal I’ve read, it’s romance with some serious sexual tension, and in case that’s not enough, the backbone of the story isn’t the romance or the mystery arsonist, but family, tradition, and acceptance of who you are and where you came from.” ~ Amazon Customer Heather C. about Wildfire

cover 1
A Tale of Two Djinns won the 2013 RomCon Readers’ Crown for best paranormal.

The Djinn’s Dilemma won the novella category of the 2012 Romance Through The Ages contest.

5. You must make this choice: Take an all expenses paid trip to:
(assume VERY high expenses and someone to do all the housework while you’re gone)

Pick one

  • the wilderness (lake or no lake, your choice)
  • the beach
  • your backyard
  • a city somewhere

Where do you go, why, and what do you do while you are there?

Mina: I love exploring cities so have to pick the last one. Probably London or Paris – lots of history, culture, interesting neighborhoods, architecture, and, of course, good food! I’d make sure to visit graveyards, flea markets, and book stores. I’d spend a lot of time walking around at an unhurried pace, following my curiosity.

6. Look to your right. What do you see?

Mina: My backyard with mesquite trees, the Concho River and puppies!

7. You are granted three selfish wishes.

If they aren’t selfish the world will end but not before everyone knows it’s your fault. What do you wish for and why?

Mina: Oh wow, this is a challenging question! But since it’s wishes and I write about genies, I think I can work up a few answers.

A. Money. I would wish for an unending supply of money because money can make things happen. From letting me jet set around the world, to building schools, hospitals and job training centers (here’s the selfish part: they’d all have big signs with my name). Of course, how I spend the money is up to me and not a wish-granting qualifier as stated.

B. The best library ever (open 24 hours) – with books, electronic databases, comfy chairs, café with an international menu, natural light, lots of space so patrons weren’t intruding on each other, good soft jazz, beautiful inspiring architecture, lots of plugs so I could write wherever I wanted. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love libraries and would realize this is truly a selfish wish.

C. My dream house: It would be a penthouse overlooking Central Park, but also open to a beach in the back, and have lush tropical gardens (hey, it’s a wish, so why limit myself?).

8. Tell us a little bit about you as a writer. [EG, plotter, pantser, or something in between? That sort of stuff]

Mina: I’m definitely a pantser. However, the term I prefer (because it’s really how my stories develop) is “organic writer.” I usually start with an image or a sentence that just pops into my mind and refuses to let go.

9. Hobbies?

Mina: Cooking, gardening, doodling, Renaissance dancing, walking, and watching movies (Bollywood & Hollywood).

9.5 OH!! I LOVE Bollywood movies. Who are some of your favorite Bollywood actors and actresses?

Actors: Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, and Sanjay Dutt. I have actually named two of my heroes after two of my favorites — Akshay/Shay, the crown prince of the earth djinns in A Tale of Two Djinns, and Rukh O’Shay, my djinn assassin from The Djinn’s Dilemma. 😀

Actresses: Kajol, Ashwairya Rai/Bacchan, and Rekha

Note: Mina and I had a great twitter conversation about Bollywood movies we’ve enjoyed. We both really like Om Shanti Om, and she was quite jealous that I scored a signed poster of SRK. (Shah Rukh Khan). Regular readers of my blog may already know about my love of Arjun Rampal.

10. What’s next for you?

Mina: More stories! Lol! I’m working on a sequel to Wildfire, a trilogy set in my djinn world, and a secret project. And, of course, several different food stories for my day job!

Other Books By Mina

A Tale of Two Djinns: is a sexy Romeo & Juliet story with genies, feminists and a happy ending. Warning: Assassins and worms tend to pop up at inopportune times!
Also, 50 percent of the proceeds from this story are donated to UNICEF.

“Because of its thematic complexity, its strong and magnetic characters, and its vivid setting, A Tale of Two Djinns is easily a keeper. I’m a fan of the author and the series now, and I truly can’t wait for the next foray into this world!” ~Book Lovers Inc.

The Djinn’s Dilemma: A djinn assassin falls for his human target. He has to figure out how to keep her alive and win her heart.

“The Djinn’s Dilemma is a romantic story about being accepted for who you are. It’s a unique novella that paranormal romance readers will want to check out! It’s a GraveTells Recommended Read!” ~ GraveTells

Dead: A Ghost Story: A multicultural ghost story in which Nasreen – the Indian American protagonist – grapples with her life and death in West Texas.

You can check out all my stories on:


Mina Will give away a digital copy of any of her books to one lucky commenter. The rules are below!

The Rules

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. To enter leave a comment with at least one of your three selfish wishes by 11:59:59 PM Pacific, Saturday, July 5th, 2014. If the winner does not reply to the notification email within 10 days, an alternate winner will be chosen. The winner will be chosen at random from among the qualified comments.

How to Enter

What would at least 1 of your 3 selfish wishes be? Refer to interview question 7, for the details. All three is fine, but bonus points for that will have no effect on your chances of winning.



Movie Review: EMI

Monday, September 5th, 2011

My Bollywood adventures continue. I am so completely loving this!

EMI: Liya Hai to Chukana Padega

Once again, the structure of this movie is quite different from what I’m used to. I think, however, that there’s a LOT I missed because the title wasn’t explained anywhere. Also, parts of this movie struck me as silly and disjointed.

But not this: Arjun Rampal

This movie follows four separate stories involving people who take out loans and are, for various reasons, unable to pay them back. The Good Luck Recovery Agency is an outfit that, as you might guess, is in charge of securing payment on the delinquent loans. The story of the owner of the agency ties back and resolves the other four stories. It’s almost like watching five different movies with a magic wand at the end.

At first I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what the Good Luck Recovery Agency had to do with anything aside from comic relief, and fairly ridiculous comic relief at that. It was like watching the comic relief in a Hong Kong martial arts movie: completely unsophisticated and very boy-driven humor. In other words, the humor, while it was obvious it was supposed to be funny, wasn’t very funny to me. In the way that so many women fail to find the Three Stooges very funny.

But those four stories, which are woven into the beginning of the movie without reference, yet, to the Good Luck Recovery Agency, ranged from meh to interesting to funny to heart-breakingly sweet.

Arjun Rampal plays a man who intends to “borrow until he dies.” He was hilarious in this part. And gorgeous, of course. His story line was a favorite of mine because he was just so good. His comedic timing was wonderful. Then he meets the woman of his dreams . . . just as his financial house of cards is collapsing. She dumps him because she expects to be taken care of in style. Alas, he wears the dorkiest hat ever (Why? For the love of God, why?)

I can just imagine the conversation in costume:

“Hey, here’s a hat someone needs to wear.”
“Whoever wears that hat is going to look like a doof.”
“Yeah. That hat is going to kill someone’s career.”
“Better give it to Arjun. No one else can survive the hat of doom.”
“Hey, Arjun! Wear this hat, k?”

Only his major hotness saves him from looking like a doof.

Another of the story lines involved a father who borrows money to support his rather spoiled son’s dreams. This story line was sweet and tender and I teared up several times. You could see the looming financial disaster and oh, my. Even if this were the only decent part of the movie, I’d give this a recommend. It was just so beautifully acted, particularly by the father.

There’s a young couple that borrows so they can marry and go on a honeymoon. For me, this was the least compelling of the stories.

A woman’s husband commits suicide and leaves her with a daughter to support. She can’t get the insurance to payout and she borrows money in order to pay off certain nefarious persons who are supposed to provide evidence that her husband was murdered. Even though this was one of the more emotional stories with some really fine acting on the part of the widow, I had the most trouble with this story. In the West, what she’s doing would be fraud and she’d go to jail for it. So I think I’m missing some cultural context.

Sattar’s story wraps up all the others. He’s a self-made man of humble origins who now employs over 400 people via The Good Luck Recovery Agency. From what I could tell the agency is essentially an extortion racket ala the Mafia, only on behalf of a bank for at least some clients. But now Sattar wants into politics and he is advised to do some good deeds. Initially, he struggles with the concept of doing good. Isn’t employing 400 people good enough?

Then Sattar meets the widow and his story turns into one of the most touching romances I’ve seen in quite some time. He’s smitten from the very moment he sees her. Arjun Rampal’s character agrees to bring them together and plays a sort of Henry Higgans to Sattar’s Eliza Doolittle. And then he has dinner with the widow and he’s just so in love, you can’t help but root for him and he pulls it off. He really does.

Sattar-in-love becomes the solution to everyone else’s financial troubles in a Deus ex Machina way that was silly but whatever. Then there’s a big PSA at the end about the evils of borrowing money and living beyond one’s means.

The Take Away

For me this started out as a jumbled mess of a movie that came together quite late but completely won me over on the strength of 3 of the stories. The romance is wonderful and Arjun Rampal and others turn in some truly excellent performances.

Thumbs up.


One More Movie Review – Or Stupid Psycho Tricks

Monday, August 29th, 2011

After I finished my revisions for Not Wicked Enough and emailed them to my editor last night, I found myself with nearly 2 hours before I had to think about going to bed.

So, I watched another movie with my favorite Bollywood hottie, Arjun Rampal.

Insert Frownie Face Here

First I have a complaint and a warning. My DVD of Vaada came through an outfit called Eros and wow. They serve as an example of What Not To Do. Number one, there are about a bazillion trailers and ads and you can’t just fast forward through them. No. It stopped after each one so I had to FF about a bazillion times.

I wasn’t clever enough to figure out how to bypass that and go straight to the the Menu so I could watch the damn movie, but IT WOULD NOT HAVE MATTERED! Because when you click Play Movie, MORE ads and trailers play. OMFG.

Yes, I FF’d through them (see note above) but come on. I was already cutting it close with regard to my bedtime and that DVD wasted at least 12 minutes of my time.

Guess what? Even once I got the movie playing, there’s a persistent watermark in the upper left that says “EROS.” Boy, was that ever annoying. So, never ever buy a DVD from them. And I intend to return that DVD and pay more for one that doesn’t have all those irritations. I have to say, I was really irritated by the time the movie finally started and at times when that damned logo interfered with my viewing.


In this movie, the sexism was far more overt and that made me sad. The woman’s honor is everything and even things she cannot possibly control affect her honor and lead to a horrific act that, alas, provides the whole reason for the plot in the first place. And then the cliche women-can’t-drive. OMG. Sigh. So, that’s in there.

Complaints aside, my understanding is that Vaada is based on a US film, but I didn’t see that movie and can’t recall what it was, though I’m thinking about tracking it down and watching that one.

Arjun was incredibly hot. He can’t help it, the poor guy. Even in a fake goatee and mustache he was hot. There was no amnesia in this film and I can’t decide if I’m disappointed or not.

There was martial arts in this movie, which I was NOT expecting. All of a sudden my man Rampal was channeling Jet Li and I have to say it was pretty awesome mostly on account of a tight black shirt and some very decent choreography. Someone must have been watching some John Woo because there was lots of Slo-Mo. Those of you who know me know that I LOVE martial arts movies so when a Gung Fu fight suddenly broke out I was pretty darn happy. Well done.

I Like Movies Where You Learn Something

One thing I learned is that no man should ever wear a light blue suit. Not EVER. Because if Arjun Rampal looks like half a doof in a suit that color, there’s just no hope for the rest of mankind. Everyone else would have the full-on doof effect and probably worse. Fortunately, the blue suit was limited to a song and dance bit and some idiot was going for the Sari color coordination. Nice try, major fail.

Rich Man vs. Psycho Man – Who would YOU choose?

The plot of this movie is that Rahul, a handsome rich tycoon (Rampal) falls in love with this woman named Pooja (that’s the spelling from the subtitles.) He romances her and has to work surprisingly hard for it, especially considering that the blue suit was yet to come. They get married and THEN right after the ceremony, Pooja tells him that she has had a previous relationship. Rahul is cool with that once she assures him she does not love the man. Well done, I thought. But of course, it’s obvious she’s not telling him everything.

And, indeed, we learn the following, not necessarily in this order:

Krazy Karan

In the past, the former boyfriend is one Karan. He is Nucking Futs. Psycho. Completely off his rocker psycho and stalking Pooja. Her father won’t permit her to marry a poor man. (Pyscho is apparently OK? But I think the poverty thing was just an excuse . . . ) So, Psycho boyfriend goes off to make his fortune and have psychotic breaks in Europe and elsewhere besides India.

Meanwhile, Rahul meets, courts and marries Pooja and tells her that she, the woman, is now the family’s honor and therefor his honor. They have a happy marriage, there is singing and dancing that includes the blue suit which is when I knew they were really in love because 1) He was secure enough in his masculinity and general off-the charts hotness to wear that thing around her and 2) She didn’t ask him what the hell he thought he was doing going out of the hotel dressed like that. Probably she accidentally lost the suit later. But honey, it was there! It must have fallen off the Gondola! Don’t worry. I’ll get you a nice charcoal-gray suit.

Then Rahul teaches her to drive and she is unable to master this — yet Rahul has her on the damn freeway where she can’t drive a straight line and he must have had brain damage from that suit because he did not have his seatbelt on. And yes, there is an accident and yes, Rahul goes through the windshield but instead of ending up with amnesia, he ends up blind.

This is destiny, he says to Pooja. Now you are my honor AND my eyes. Or your eyes are mine. Possibly both.


Then it turns out blind-Rahul has this good buddy who is now his business partner and who he relies on a lot. And his friend, can you believe it? Some chick did NOT wait for him while he was off making his fortune and instead married some other guy. And yes, the good buddy is none other than the psycho Karan.

The main plot of the movie is that Pooja commits suicide. Or was it murder? Because her body has disappeared from the morgue. My first thought was vampires, but that turned out to be wrong. The police captain assures everyone that he will recover the body and find the culprit. Then Karan gets arrested for the murder, but Rahul bails him out. But the police think Karan did it. Karan insists he’s being framed and then he begins to suspect that Rahul is not really blind.

Rahul is Blind . . . Rahul is NOT Blind

There ensue several attempts to trick Rahul into revealing that he can see. Because if Rahul is pretending to be blind, he would not ALSO be an evil genius capable of foiling such trickery. Or else, he’s actually blind.

1) First, that Krazy Karan arranges to send Rahul a packet of papers to sign but SOME OF THE PAGES ARE BLANK! If he signs the blank page, well, that must mean Rahul is blind. If he does NOT sign the blank pages, then Rahul can see and is a liar and a murderer.

Rahul wants to know how many pages to sign, but the guy who hands him the documents doesn’t know. Just sign them all, he says. No, no, Rahul says. I will count them. Which he does. The camera cleverly shows us that, indeed, some of the pages are mostly blank but for an official looking stamp. Rahul counts, starts to sign then decides that no, he will only sign the documents if Karan is there, too.

A brilliant plan foiled. Or did the blind guy just want his trusted friend there for him?

2) Next, Karan and his attorney put poison in Rahul’s drink — right in front of him because if he’s not blind, then he will not drink the poisoned drink but if he IS blind, then he’ll drink the poison. The attorney points out the flaw in that plan in the event that Rahul really is blind so instead of poison, Karan substitutes a laxative in the bottle that says POISON right there on the label.

Rahul demonstrates that blind people can hear, so he knows when people get up and when drinks (or poison???) are poured. And the lights go out. We know that Rahul has engineered this lights-out in a bit of genius (but is it EVIL genius?) and when they come back on . . . Well the wrong guy gets the poison and has to leave for the facilities.

3) The next attempt to prove Rahul can see involves lowering four potted plants hanging in a doorway such that when Rahul walks through, he will either duck (Rahul can see) or bonk his head (Rahul is blind). But this plan is foiled too. Because Rahul trips and does not walk through the doorway. Instead he stands up IN the doorway and bonks his head on only one of the potted plants. Ouch. Then he throws them all, complaining about idiots who lower potted plants in a blind man’s house. He tosses his pots with uncanny accuracy at the police chief and his henchmen who are hiding there to witness the proof.

4) The NEXT attempt to prove Rahul can see involves hiring a thug to beat him up. And not just one thug it turns out, but a whole bunch of thugs. The reasoning is this: Rahul gets mugged and can’t defend himself (Rahul is blind) or Rahul gets mugged but defends himself (Rahul can see).

This leads to the tight black shirt and the martial arts and it was starting to look a lot like Rahul could see because he was beating their asses bad. BUT then Rahul blindfolds himself and continues to beat their asses only worse. So, the issue is still not resolved.

The penultimate attempt to prove Rahul is blind involves taking him for a walk on the train tracks. Rahul gets run over by the train (Rahul is blind) or Rahul jumps off the tracks and does not get run over by the train. (Rahul is not blind.) Things don’t go according to plan (not having learned the lesson that blind people can hear and probably feel vibrations too.)

The train is behind them and it’s kind of loud actually and the whistle is blowing, but Krazy Karan assures his friend that the train is on a different track. And then OMG! There is a young goatherd on the tracks and the boy and his goats are about to be shish-ka-bob. Rahul saves the boy and his goats by running really fast and flinging himself and the boy off the tracks.

Well. Rahul insists he is blind but hey, he saved the goatherd. Seems kind of like he can see. Only, then there’s some hard evidence that Karan killed Pooja (in the form of a shoe) and Karan goes on trial. But did he do it?

You Will NEVER Guess . . .

Meanwhile we see Rahul alone at home and holey moley! He really CAN see! How long has he been lying to everyone about that? But, since he saved the goatherd I knew he wasn’t Evil-Rahul. Krazy Karan was willing to sacrifice the boy so, yeah.

Anyhow,Rahul explains away the goatherd incident (the boy SAVED him!) and then Rahul’s faithful servant, who has been bribed to testify that Rahul can see, testifies instead that he was bribed and Karan goes to jail screaming his innocence.

Then things get a little silly.

Anyway, see what I said about saving the goatherd, Rahul is NOT evil. Karan is still psycho but NOT a murderer but he drove Pooja to suicide in order to protect Rahul’s honor and this is payback, baby.


I actually liked this movie a lot because the events did not unfold in the order I revealed them, and because of Arjun Rampal in a tight black shirt busting his Gung Fu moves and because of all the shots of Rampal looking like maybe he is a murderer who framed the psycho . . .

Rampal has very much improved as an actor and this movie represents a midpoint between some of his really impressive roles and movies that suck so bad no one could save them. Plus, one of the songs was really good.

I would totally watch this again and hope to talk my sister into seeing it.


3 Movie Reviews – Arjun Rampal

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I have three movie reviews for you today. Three. You might notice a theme. That theme looks a lot like this:

That is because I have discovered Arjun Rampal, an Indian actor who has officially taken over as my Other One True Love and is, and it’s shocking that I can even write this, making a serious bid for my One True Love. Many of you probably know that Alexander Skarsgard is my One True Love, by the way. Meaning the bar is pretty damn high.

A bit of a disclaimer:
One thing I’ve learned is that the English language descriptions of Indian moves (in my admittedly limited experience) do a very poor job of describing the actual movie. Another consideration is that I am missing a lot of cultural context that would surely expand and deepen my appreciation of any Indian movie. So, keep in mind that I am viewing these films as an American woman. I’m quite sure some cultural things whooshed right over my head. My ignorance of Indian culture probably explains some of the things I was at times confused about.

Here are the three movies I’ve seen so far in which Rampal appears:

The Last Lear

Movie director Siddharth (Rampal) talks an eccentric Shakespearian stage actor, one Harish Mishra, out of retirement in order to act in his film. In the course of filming the movie, Siddharth elicits an electrifying performance from Harish. We know as well that Harish was horribly injured in an accident connected with the film. The Last Lear is, in essence, about what happened and why and how lives were affected. And, of course, as with any good story, about a great deal more.

It’s not inaccurate to say that Siddharth seduces Harish into agreeing to act in his movie. Rampal is absolutely brilliant as Siddharth, by the way. The man can act. Harish (Amitabh Bachchan) is completely and utterly charming. His defense of the stage over cinema is wonderfully done, and yet, he ends up agreeing to do the movie.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I will say that I did not anticipate what happened. Did not. When the moment came, everything I thought about previous scenes completely changed. There were several points at which the movie changed for me as plot lines and time lines came together, raveled and unravled. I was a bit confused at the beginning and probably for about a third of the movie, but that was a result the structure of the movie (which completely works, by the way).

The Last Lear is an amazing movie and Rampal’s portrayal of Siddarth is multi-dimensional and nuanced. Oh my. This is a movie I recommend seeing no matter what.

Rock On

Rock On is about the four members of a Rock band who disband just as they are on the cusp of major success. Ten years later, they reunite. The movie has two time lines: the 10 years previous when they are dedicated musicians and the present, 10 years later when most of them are either not involved in music at all or are only peripherally involved.

Rampal plays the part of Joe Mascarenhas, the volatile but talented lead guitarist. He’s Catholic and there were times I was pretty sure someone was flirting with the Joeseph of Nazarene theme there. But again, I think my cultural ignorance prevented me from picking up on the nuances and implications of his religion other than to see they were put front and center in a couple of scenes. The actual star of the movie was Aditya, the band’s lead singer.

For this American, the movie was way too long. I’m told (and am discovering) that Indian movies have a different pacing. (And yet, see my review of Raajneeti where the length was not a problem at all). Rampal burned up every scene he was in and, frankly, the other actors simply weren’t a match for Rampal’s talent and charisma. They held their own scenes quite well, but as soon as they were in a scene with Rampal, they just weren’t interesting enough. In my opinion, the movie was miscast. Rampal should have played the role of Aditya.

The plot was completely schmaltzy and you could see the ending coming about 10 miles off, but it was still fun. And, to its great credit, the movie is not just about 4 guys forming a band, breaking up and then getting back for more fun later. It’s about 4 men who lose their way in life and find their way back.

For me, this was an OK movie with Rampal being almost the only reason to stick with it for as long as it lasts. If this had been an American film by the way, it would have starred Mike Meyers and been a completely stupid boy movie. But it wasn’t, thank goodness.


Much as I liked The Last Lear, Raajneeti is by far my favorite of the three. Its 162 minutes and it’s gripping for just about all of it. This movie was EPIC. EPIC I tell you. If I were more familiar with Indian politics I might not have been so surprised by all the twists, but HOLY FUCKING HELL!

The movie is about a family of politicians — they are all in one way or another supporting their party, until the patriarch and party head suffers a stroke that leaves him barely able to communicate. The family fractures and splinters and it was like watching Good Fellas and The Godfather all rolled into one movie with a dash of Quentin Tarrantino. There is a secret baby thrown in, too.

The Indian caste system comes into play as well. All the women get knocked up and let me just say that, with my limited cultural context, politically I think the parallels to Indira Ghandi and probably Benazir Bhutto were pretty evident.

Rampal plays Prithviraj Pratap, the elder brother who, after his uncle’s stroke, is given a powerful position in the party. A lower caste man (Sooraj) whose father is the Pratap family chauffeur, wants a role in the party and appears to have some serious support from his caste. Prithviraj’s younger brother, Samar, has been in America getting his PhD in . . . . wait for it . . . 19th century Victorian poetry! He returns to India for what is supposed to be a short time, after which he’s going back to New York to do a “presentation” on his dissertation and then probably accept a teaching job. I think this was supposed to mean his orals. For quite some time Samar is fairly uninteresting, and then, holy moley! He’s not.

What I loved about this movie was the way the brothers where at times noble, conniving, cheaters, bribers, dedicated to the good of their country, murderers, mad-bombers and hit-man hirers. I swear, there were scenes where I thought Prithviraj (Rampal) was as dirty as a politician could get and then his enemies were even dirtier and I was back on his side. And then there’s the baseball bat scene and even after that Tarrentino inspired scene, Prithviraj manages to rehabilitate himself. Samar, mild-mannered, Americanized Victorian poetry Academic is a fish out water and then, whoa. Evil mad poetry genius?

And then Indu — the beautiful young woman with political ambitions who is still at the complete mercy of her father. She loves Samar, but Samar loves this American woman (except it turns out she was born in Ireland –WTF?) and well, she was the weakest character who kept pronouncing Samar’s name as “Summer” and let me just tell you that there are more than enough Indians in New York that there’s just no excuse for her cultural insensitivity. I’m calling out the directors and writers for that. Sorry, but America really is culturally diverse and a NYC college student just would not be so completely treacly. Ick. Anyway, Indu is in love with Samar who loves that American dishrag bit but she ends up having to marry Rampal and to be perfectly honest, I thought, oh, you lucky lucky woman. Do not look back. You are now married to the hottest man on the planet.

OK, so some other things about this movie. There is a scene early on where Rampal is having what I later realized was sex with this other woman. It started out really hot but then, when they’re actually having sex (mostly standing up) I DID NOT realize at the time they were having intercourse– mostly I was wondering why the foreplay was so … odd– because they were not physically close enough for his *ahem* member to be where a man’s penis goes during such a moment. Seriously. Once I realized that they were supposed to be doing the deed, all I could think was, no man’s dick is that long. A rare fail moment.

Anyway, Raajneeti. Highly recommended. It’s a brilliant, gripping movie with plot twists galore and well, Arjun Rampal, who was fantastic. He’s one hell of an actor.