Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dil Bole Hadippa! Or, Not So Much

The Heroine

What can I say about Dil Bole Hadippa! (My Heart Says W00t!) that hasn't been said already? I'll tell you what I can say. I can give the opinion of a die-hard Shahid fan and say that he's criminally wasted in this film. He's better than he has to be, but that's not saying much. The end.

The Hero

But then, you've never known me to actually choose brevity over rambling, have you?

Sometimes when you watch a film you have to wonder about the prevailing thoughts on-set among those involved. Like, did everybody already know the script was for shit, or did it become that way in editing? Or did everyone just figure that a flashy and standout performance by Rani Mukerji would carry the day? Did Shahid know he was just going to serve as eye candy in a role that anyone from Ranbir to Imran to Emraan could've carried off, or did he just figure that at least Yash Raj pay their actors and it would give him a chance to take his shirt off? Did Rani know that her last few films with Yash Raj (like, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic) were massive failures and this one probably would be too, or did she just seize the opportunity for a double role with her eyes closed?

The Hero(ine)

Regardless of what everyone was thinking, here's my take: Dil Bole Hadippa consistently chooses style over substance, flair over script, and cheap laughs over cogent observation. Normally, I wouldn't complain about this. You're talking to a girl who's seen Anchorman about ten times.

However, one can catch frustrating glimpses about how the film could have done things, maybe even wanted to do things before it got shredded in the candyfloss machine. It could have drawn some pointed conclusions about how the man's world of sports, even amateur sports, cuts off 50% of its potential talent pool because they have boobs and suffers as a result. It could have made observations about how a 100% stereotypical Indian/Punjabi girl could hold an allure for an NRI (that a Westernized ho-alike couldn't possibly hope to attain) simply due to her embodiment of what NRIs think India's all about. It could have made a statement about how a person's heart knows to whom it belongs regardless of the appearance with which it's confronted.

The Pair of Them

Dil Bole Hadippa chooses to pursue none of these avenues. It offers tantalizing possibilities, quick to be buried in a flood of showmanship, like a page from a novel inserted into a flip book. On the surface, there's no reason for it to have failed, especially considering that it released in a nation that made Kaho Na... Pyar Hai a megahit (and I'm not throwing stones, the U.S. has had its share of idiotic successes). It's got shiny colorful sets, good music, great dancing, beautiful people, and beyond decent performances. Beneath the surface, and even halfway revealed through shoddy editing, is a lost opportunity to make a smart entertainer with applicable social commentary. Maybe that's what audiences sensed was missing... or maybe the taint of failure wafts from Rani like blood in the water, and sharks are gathering for their piece of her. I hope not, though. She wasn't the problem here.

23 comments:

  1. Bwahahahaha! Well said! That is all :)

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  2. 2009 had it's fair share of disappointments, that's for sure. I was looking forward to this movie and had high expectations for it. All I felt in the end was simply meh.

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  3. This one didnt amount to much more than a collection of cliches and "production values"! In defence of Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, I must say that it had a coherent story (no matter how absurd and silly), the first Hindi hero who could DANCE (Shahid was still a couple of years in the future!), and all its masala in the right place. This one doesnt even have the edge in terms of novelty value. Plus, it keeps trying to give the message of female power only to undermine it every turn.

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  4. "like a page from a novel inserted into a flip book" = best way to describe a film I've heard in a long time. =)

    Haven't seen this... I wanted to just for Shahid, but if he's wasted... meh. =/

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  5. I think its interesting how all the films from YashRaj are essntially the same- the same elements, similar shots, music, scenarios, and yet they share different fates. I wonder why the viewer accepts some of them, but not all.

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  6. Ah, well-said. I was sort of at a loss of words on this movie - it worked a little, it didn't work a lot but I was struggling to pin down on the specifics.

    I liked it enough to buy the DVD, in the end, but you really need to adopt a certain attitude while watching, and that's not necessarily a good thing.

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  7. "It could have made a statement about how a person's heart knows to whom it belongs regardless of the appearance with which it's confronted."
    I loved this observation. Very well put! I've seen the Amanda Bynes movies that this was based on, so I will probably watch it because I have a sick addiction to teeny bopper fare. However, one of my pet peeves is wasted potential (see MNIK) movies that could have been great but for inexplicable laziness, so it will probably make me mad. Nice review!

    bollywoodfangirl.blogspot.com

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  8. As a jaded Yash Raj veteran, I suddenly came to realize all the films had the same "We love Punjab, NRI's come home, loook at the lovely song, listen to the annoying speech" and it was all due to this film! I went to see it with my sister dragged along to see just for Rani, but we both got terribly bored with colourful and very typical songs and the NRI bashing! But I agree to very silly to waste Shahid who had one intense anger scene to him and the rest shots of him fawning over Rani!

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  9. Wow, DBH gets some fast results in the comments section! Thanks y'all for visiting!

    Beth: Bahut shukriya. :-D

    shell: Well, I wasn't actually anticipating much--and Netflix's skippy DVD didn't help matters--but meh covers it, I think. :-/

    bollyviewer: I think I might've sounded harsh on KNPH, when in fact I really enjoy it for all the reasons you stated, right down to the goofy "Is this love" question asked of the parents, of all people! What I meant was, on the *surface* level they seem to have the same basic ingredients, but as you pointed out, really they don't.

    rhilex: Thank you! And, I wouldn't say wasted, since I *am* such a fangirl and it *is* really great to see him onscreen, and there's one scene where he kinda brings the angry and is fine, but it really could've been played by anybody. Maybe not as well, but probably.

    Shweta: For me it's the element of heart & story combined. I don't care about ridiculousness (see: RNBDJ) but I do care about carelessness, and if it has a deep emotional hook then I might even forgive that. Most of Yash Raj's recent fare hasn't worked for me because it's seemed to leave out or blatantly ignore story developments... but maybe I'm just completely inconsistent. Could be.

    veracious: If I can find it cheap, I'll buy it for the songs. :-D Don't blame you at all for having it, because like you said if you're in the right frame of mind...

    Christy: Thanks! You know, I've never seen She's The Man, but I share your love for teen-aimed films (10 Things I Hate About You, anyone?). If wasted potential through laziness is one of your pet peeves, I also share that, so prepare to be pissed off. ;-)

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  10. Yup, this film was a criminal waste of Shahid's talent. I think it wasn't successful for several reasons...people already started seeing Rani as a flop queen, the critics were very harsh on the film, it released very soon after Kaminey and people didn't care to see Shahid in such roles anymore, but most importantly, the cricket in the movie was atrociously far-fetched and for a cricket crazy nation..that's a HUGE no no. Shahid said that he signed this movie to build a relationship with YRF, though why he'd want to do that is a real head scratcher. Has he seen YRF's track record lately?

    Anyway, excellent review as usual :-)

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  11. Loved it the first time but re-watched and know exactly what you mean. It's a film that I could still watch because it's brainless and silly:)

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  12. most of the times, my predictions proves right. I predicted by first look of the movie that this is going to another YRF Bomb, a disaster. There..

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  13. Rum: he did do the angry scene well, hai na? But that was pretty small potatoes when the rest of his stuff involved, as you said, mooning over Veera and bullying Veer (in a coach-ish way, of course). I don't object to the Yash Raj Punjabi formula, but in this case it seemed to be missing a few elements.

    Sonia: Thanks! And yeah, I wonder why he'd want to build a relationship with YRF? Unless it was to catch Karan Johar's attention. The two of them flirt on Twitter on a pretty regular basis now, so maybe it was just Dharma by way of YRF. ;-)

    Nicki: Brainless and silly aren't necessarily bad. In this case it just seemed (to me) like it wanted to make some Big Important Statements and kept on failing, yk?

    Darshit, you were totally right. Wah, pandit-ji, wah! ;-)

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  14. My last comment didn't manage to make it on to here :(

    I think Shahid decided to do DBH because of associating himself with YRF and because he needed and easy, cakewalk of a role after Kaminey.

    "He's better than he has to be, but that's not saying much"

    This is going to sound stupid but what do you mean by that?

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  15. she's the man aand 10 things I hate about you are like Shakespeare for dummies:)
    I loved watching DBH it's a great hangover movie.

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  16. MsBlogger: If I recall correctly he signed for DBH roughly the same time as Kaminey, so maybe he was just hedging his bets. That quote you mentioned means this: he brings more skill to the role than the script demands; however, the script demands so little that he doesn't have to bring that much--in fact, he can't, given its limitations.

    dink213: Shakespeare for Dummies is fine, as long as you don't stay with them. I've read almost all of his comedies and acted in two (lo these many years ago), so I guess it makes sense that I'd like Shakespeare Lite as well. :-) As for DBH being a great hangover movie, I tend to nurture headaches with silence so Rani's squalling wouldn't work for me, but I'm glad it does something good for you! ;-)

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  17. Well as long as your complimenting Shahid I'm happy ;) Just joking! I have no problems with anyone disagreeing with me... Thanks for explaining, I thought it might mean this, or it might mean he's trying too hard...

    If he signed them at the same time, then it also makes sense, because then he knew Kaminey was going to be hard, so he needed another role that would result in two releases but it wouldn't be too much work. You knoe, to counter balance them...

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  18. Hmm while i do see your point this is one movie i just enjoyed for what it was, as opposed to hom it was delivered. Bollywood banter's review best describes how i felt about this

    http://filmjournal.net/stephen/2010/01/04/dil-bole-hadippa/

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  19. Ms Blogger: There's very little chance of me saying something uncomplimentary about Shahid. As my banner attests, I am a sadly biased fan.

    bollywooddeewana: Stephen's a die-hard Rani fan, which is something I can understand (see above re: Shahid). This movie was Rani's show all the way and there was no chance he wouldn't like it. Which is fine! I'm pretty sure there's an audience for every movie, and I by no means think my opinion is authoritative or even informed. It's just my opinion.

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  20. You think he needed to try that hard to catch KJo's attention? ;) Actually, did you know KJo wanted to cast him in Kaal but Shahid turned it down?

    No, my guess is Shahid wanted to do BC and Adi Chopra wanted to make a movie for Rani, so he offered Shahid a two film deal.

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  21. Sonia: Nah, I don't really think that. I'm fairly sure KJo's got his fingers in all the pies that matter. I'm sure your guess is right.

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  22. Yay! Another hopelessy biased fan! I had worked that out from your Jab We Met post, which was great might I add...

    I like what Sonia said, thats a very interesting idea, thanks for that! Badmaash Company had better be good! The poster is great though

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  23. Ms. Blogger: Yes, very hopelessly biased. Badmaash Company is looking like a lot of fun so far.

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