Monday, 30 December 2013


Directed by: Anthony D´Souza
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborthy, Shiv Pandit, Danny Denzongpa, Ronit Roy, Aditi Rao Hydari
Released: 2013
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

This film made no sense at all (including having opening titles 40 minutes into the film). And no kind of "it is supposed to be brainless" justifies how LAME the whole plot was. At least your characters and their basic principles should not be contradicting themselves.

Possibly the most essential role in the film is that of a father, because the relationship he shares with his son is the driving motivation for EVERYTHING that takes place, and gaining his affection is what the whole plot is striving for. However, as good an actor as Mithunda is, I found his character obnoxious and holier than thou. I could perhaps understand him being furious after the other boy was killed, but when the kid comes out of the jail he is viciously attacked by several armed adult men and he HITS THEM WITH A BUCKET, which results in father rejecting him forever without even giving him an opportunity to say a word in his own defence. WTF??? And in the end, when the boy´s death turns out to had been accidental, this father accepts the son even though he now IS a goonda and just killed a guy in front of him (and possibly have killed others, as is implied earlier in the film). What about your high principles babuji?

Just let me collect my feelings Babuji....
The film did not have to be a waste at all. It definitely had potential. In fact the first 40 minutes were rather intruiging, setting the backdrop for the later story. Kick-ass Danny Denzongpa who could really still kick your ass even today was awesome, the villainous police officer (whom everybody kept calling by his first name which was just weird) really menacing, and the young pair of lovebirds adequate. And then out of nowhere Akshay is beating people to some desi beat and riding cars on just two wheels through the desert. The tone of the film changed so abruptly it was not welcomed. What I thought would be a gripping family drama suddenly transformed into a silly comedy. Given it was not all bad, there were funny bits, but way too often slipping to OTT. I kept thinking that the basic idea of the movie would work very well - if it was either thriller or comedy, but definitely not as both. The mix did not work in film´s favour. At one point I hoped that Boss would be torn between loyalty to Danny and that to his family, and he would have to deal with lots of emotional drama. Instead his bro got into jail. So he set him free. And he got there again. So he again set him free. And that was it.

Bhai ka pyaar comes with an extra pair of cool shades
Aditi Rao Hydari was another contradiction. She is supposed to be "sabse alak" and her first shot is raising out of a pool in bikini, but firstly her strength is being cute and not sexy and secondly for the rest of the film she is as average as you can imagine, not to mention covered from head to toe. I hoped for some confrontation between her and her brother, but there is none, not even when she is supposed to send him to blazing hell. Then again, women do not have any importance in the Boss universe. If leave out sabse most covered Aditi, all we are left is bunch of "gori whoris" in the songs (which were all unquestionably pathetic). Party all night has possibly the most disgusting and cheap picturization this year. BTW notice how the only girl wearing something more than a bra and tiny skirt is another sabse alak Sonakshi Sinha, in a cameo TRULY unworthy of her talent.

Akshay has never looked more desperate
And how
da phuck
did this
made it through Censor board?

To sum it up, Boss had a great start and then started limping just like the old babuji, only to end up in the same place as the bomb-chika-chika-bum. It could have been really good, if they had sorted out what they were making in the first place and adjusted the script accordingly. The movie can also boast with many awesome names that have made place for themselves in our hearts, and they do deliver in whatever way they are allowed to, but truly, they all deserve much better

I think I´l l disown him for that party.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Krrish franchise

Koi... Mil Gaya

Directed by: Rakesh Roshan
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Rekha
Released: 2003
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

First of three movie that now create a franchise, Koi Mil Gaya is a shameless rip off of extremely popular E.T., in more ways than one. Is anyone surprised that even music is lifted from other films? I was really annoyed when I recognized two of my favourite soundtracks – the Neverending story and yes, they even DARED to touch the Lord of the Rings – and I assure you I am not mistaken as I know that music by heart. Koi Mil Gaya is a film for kids (even though adults can enjoy it as well), and as such it manages to hit the mark. However even as a film for kids it is not too spectacular, especially not in the special effect department. The little blue creeper Jadoo has nothing on likeability of E.T., and looks just way too puppet-ish for anyone to think he is real for a second. The film is worth watching for Hrithik Roshan, who delivers his possibly best performance ever. The level of vulnerability, innocence and sincere emotions he projects is amazing, and that too in a role which is a far cry from macho heroes Bollywood thrives on. His pairing with Preity Zinta is cute, and the actress looks just lovely. Rekha, of course, is one of the most natural actresses ever. I love her in just about anything and everything, so this was no exception. Out of all three films this one has the biggest heart.


Directed by: Rakesh Roshan
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha
Released: 2006
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Papa Roshan has decided to boost his son´s career a bit more, again with something new and unusual (and inspired) and what better (read: easier) way to do that than creating a sequel to a successful movie? And so Krrish was born, Preity Zinta killed off and Priyanka Chopra brought on board – as not really worthy a replacement (though she looked stunning, she was just kinda annoying silly gal in this). Yet again, the film needs to be watched through children´s eyes and the romantic track needed to be shorter. Performances are fine, but both Hrithik and Priyanka are owned by their older co-stars – apart from Rekha we also meet the very awesome Naseeruddin Shah as the main villain. Unfortunately somewhere down the line one was grieving that loveable, childish, simple Rohit from Koi Mil Gaya was replaced by his „son“, brooding Jesus-on-steroids Krishna. That said Hrithik has a perfect image to be a superhero. For adult people and teenagers Krrish doesn´t really work as a film of particular interest, for children it is almost perfect. I personally, though with long pauses in between, quite enjoyed it.

Krrish 3

Directed by: Rakesh Roshan
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangana Ranaut
Released: 2013
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Last (at least for now) instalment of the franchise has raised many eyebrows with its title. Krrish „3“? Did we miss Krrish „2“? Then again numbers do not seem a strong point of Papa Roshan, as we could see during the BO collections aftermath. I was not kind to the idea of the movie, given the previous one was nothing earth-shattering, and the promos very lackluster, the songs just pathetic, reminding one of an outdated 90s films. And after the release I was very put off by all the boasting from various people, mostly Vivek Oberoi, about their own greatness (you do NOT compare yourself to Mogambo and have me nodding in agreement). So I was very sceptical about this venture when I hit the play button and very surprised to find out.... Krrish 3 is a good film. Miles ahead of its predecessor (though sentimental me still prefers Koi Mil Gaya), it has a good enough story to keep you interested and the pace is good throughout. There are moments that are just not needed and overdone (because saving an old grumpy man would simply not play on our heart-strings like saving a cute baby), some of the action scenes are just weird (I kept singing Cause baby you make me tongue-tieeeeed, tongue tiiied...... in my head through the weirdest one – and btw how unhygienic it all was!) and AGAIN, ironically, the special effects look average. What I couldn´t grasp was the fact nobody, including Kangana´s character, realized Krishna is Krrish. The dude is not acting super secretive while in his costume – he sits down with everyone and chats (and apparently has a box of spare bracelets to give out for free) after all. The dude has green eyes and six fingers and nobody suspects anything? Not even when they are capable of making his statue and have his IDENTICAL father reveal it? Sorry, I am not buying that.

Vivek Oberoi as Kaal is impressive – at least up until the moment he decides to wear a seriously embarrassing armour, and so is Kangana Ranaut as a mutant. I suppose when she is forced to be subtle, she can really be great. Her change of heart was not too well explored, but it was sufficient still. Priyanka is better than the last time, but she really is „just there“. The role was not demanding at all. Coming to Hrithik Roshan, this time we do not have to make a choice between Rohit and Krrishna as we get them both. And Hrithik delivers as both – this time actually a lil more as Krrishna. Not a Best Actor award winning performance, but solid enough to be regarded as one of the better ones this year.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Akaash Vani

Directed by: Luv Ranjan
Starring: Kartik Tiwari, Nushrat Bharucha
Released: 2013
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

We may have seen students in love a countless times before, but very rarely does the relationship seem as effortless and genuine as the one between Akaash and Vani. There is no big I-Hate-You drama, neither does anyone stalk the other. Two people take liking to each other and that´s it. It just felt very natural, believable. Just as the rest of relationships we encounter throughout the movie. It is actually all more Vani than Akaash, as hers is the character growth and variety of situations compared to Akaash.

Going through a truly agonizing choice between duty to parents and promise to a boy she loves, Vani actually brings even more agonizing moments on herself. Some may argue that the guy she is promptly married off to is a caricature, an evil puppet of a man painted in the darkest colours for the sake of the film, but unfortunately such men do exist and they are actually not as scarce as we would like to think. Vani is less of a wife and more of a robot - and as crude as it sounds - a masturbation tool. She is being humiliated, looked down upon and raped. And yet when she tells her parents - they take her husband´s side. That too was just way too realistic not to strike a chord. Nushrat Bharucha does a great job as Vani. She is loveable and sweet at first, but bit by bit the fire is going out until she is pretty much a walking corpse.

Kartik Tiwari as Akaash is decent, but I did not think he was the best choice for the role. He looks too fragile and girly, which may be forgivable in first half, but once he reappears again one would expect him to be less of a child and more of a man. His dialogue delivery was bad. Also - even though I found the couple cute, Kartik and Nushrat do not really share a chemistry. Sunny Nijar as Vani´s husband is good and he makes it easy for you to hate him. His character is an insecure, sexist hypocrite treating his wife like shit and at the same time still feeling like the most gracious God she should worship with her every breath. This mentality is not reserved for Indians. I know such men and have seen such relationships where I live too. I was wondering if Vani was at least partly to be blamed for all the misery – after all she did not even try to love the guy, but all in all, after being raped for the first time, and then again and again, and never given a thought as a human being... no, I don´t think it was her fault at all.

Songs are good but some lyrics are awful (Baby I, your crazy, Lover, You smiling me climbing tower), and the greatest flaw is the uneven space given to different stages of the story. Vani´s marital life and her suffering are seemingly going on forever and after a certain moment it just becomes way too tiring to watch. It really balances on the point between gaining sympathy and feeling for Vani and melodramatic emotional blackmail. Similarly her "happy day" with Akaash after years was tad too long, not to mention the most "bollywood-ish" bit of the film - too good to be true.

The climax and ending, that should potentially be the most intense, is a letdown. It happens too quickly and doesn´t give any satisfaction to the viewer, who had been waiting for some serious confrontation with abusive husband and old-fashioned parents. But if the husband or the parents realize what really went wrong, we are never shown. Our Akaash Vani have their filmi ending without much fanfare.

Akaash Vani would have been better if it had some other hero and really sorted out its priorities. You can´t give me so much pain and have me shedding so many tears (I was positively bawling) only to solve it all with a slap. As if the filmmaker decided he had already shown what he wanted in the form of marital abuse, and the rest of the story was not really worth that much attention.   

You tell them girl.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Directed by: Abhinav Kashyp
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
Released: 2013
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

After drowning us with tears in emotional Rockstar, warming our hearts with delightful Barfi and entertaining us with romantic YJHD Ranbir Kapoor has apparently decided it was time to screw his reputation with Besharam. He is without a doubt my most favourite actor from the new generation (yes, even after this film), but truth to be told that only made the whole matter worse. I admit - I was not as appalled and horrified as I probably should have been, because appalled and horrified reviews kept coming from all sides and my expectations hit rock bottom. When I found some himmat to watch, I was ready for the WORST. The first half is decent - if we forget the disgusting morning erection scene and the most repulsive scene EVER (starring living legend Rishi Kapoor and a toilet) which was not needed and pretty much an INSULT to all his fans. Ranbir is acting well (even though his character is a disgusting creep for most part) and the new girl can dance. And Rishi Kapoor is the one who gives you a few chuckles (when he is not doing potty).

The story is extremely weak, and even though one is not supposed to look for logic in these kind of movies, the stupidity of actions these people go to is just too much. There was no need to steal the car again, at least not once the girl knew the truth. And did they really think they couldn´t be tracked down? Did they really think nobody would look for the money? The bones of this plot are rusty, and the tofu you are trying to plaster on them ain´t no meat. So what that Babli is an orphan. How does that justify him being a thief? And that he gives everything to the orphanage makes even less sense - he could be doing any honest job and do the same. In other words Babli is a thief - because he likes it. There is no majboori involved, no matter how much they are trying to shovel that into your throat.

I will do something I usually hate when others do it and say that Pallavi Sharda is just not beautiful enough. Not for this movie. She IS pretty and she is not a bad actress at all, however this role called for a STUNNING lady that would just catch your eye immediately. And Pallavi does not have this quality. She completely lacks star quality and is very bland. She shares no chemistry with Ranbir (obsessed with his crotch be it in the songs or otherwise) whatsoever, and their love story is very much awkward and superficial. It doesn´t feel natural at all, has no progress.

The girl is treated just bad in the whole movie. She is pursued by the hero because of no other reason than her looks. He is stalking her even though she several times rejects him and makes it clear she has no interest in him whatsoever. Later in the film she is deceived and lied to. And when she gets upset - SHE is the one who gets lectured on being spoilt, heartless and cold. WTF?! Sexist much director saab?

Neetu Singh.... the pyaari Neetu.... got the worst character in the film and is pretty much stripped of all her grace and ellegance. She was obnoxious and annoying and unfortunately only PARTLY because her character sucked. One of the main attractions of the film was the fact the three Kapoors were starring together in it - for the first time ever - but in the end it makes everything even more sad.

In the end I can only say that not even super low expectations save anything - except perhaps it doesn´t make you that mad. It also doesn´t guarantee you will not want to barf at the toilet scene. Besharam Abhinav Kashyap took us for a ride and drove so recklessly we all can only feel sick.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Directed by: S. U. Sunny
Starring: Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari, Jeevan
Released: 1960
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

A delightful film sprinkled with comedy, romance and action, wrapped in pleasant visuals and stuffed with pretty songs. There is that certain naivity you have to accept, and when you do nothing can really prevent you from enjoying the movie. Kohinoor is unique because it showed the two people best known for their brilliant suffering on screen in a completely different light. Well, in Meena Kumari´s case the tragic part of it was not completely abandoned, but still. The film also proved to be exactly and literally what doctor prescribed to depressed Dilip Kumar, who had previously portrayed the eternal alcoholic looser in Devdas and found himself unable to just let go of him for some time.

Dilip Kumar (as handsome as you can imagine!!!) is a Prince, who in spite of everything refuses to be over-dramatic. And that there would definitely be reasons for having a fit or at least a nervous breakdown! Attacks on his life are made – until even he gets suspicious and when he finds out that it is actually his seemingly faithful minister, who has been blinded by greed and sees himself on the throne already, the Prince is forced to leave his kingdom. But no worries, no time for moping – after all, he soon crosses the path of Princess Meena Kumari, with whom his marriage had been planned, and they promptly fall in love fall in love. Unfortunately there is someone else, malicious and sneaky, who is lusting after the beautiful Princess! 

To see Dilip and Meena in such a film was sheer joy. Especially he gets an opportunity to tune into other than the mopy and depressing mood (which he previously crafted into perfection). And I really don´t think there has been an actor more handsome in Bollywood, ever, with possible exception of very young Sunil Dutt (I think by this point you get that Yusuf Khan is my Khan of all seasons). He handles comedy extremely well. I loved how chilled his character was! You just tried to kill me? Whatevs man, I have a girl to impress. You just shot me in the arm? Ain´t nobody got time for that, let´s sing a happy song. We are trapped in a building full of enemies? Here, darling, why don´t you handle them yourself, I´ll collect you later.

Meena Kumari too proved that she was capable of much more than just bringing tears into our eyes. She could make us laugh as well! Although I was bit irritated with the stereotypical character naive girl who doesn´t recognize her lover just because he put a fake beard on. There were moments in the second half where I was afraid the film has deserted the comic track and decided to go into full-blown drama, which at that point was the last thing I wanted. I had way too good a time being entertained! Fortunately our Princess soon realizes that fainting at every occasion gets her nowhere and starts throwing everything that she finds at everyone that she sees!

The villain turned out to be a very familiar face – Jeevan. He may not have the exaggerated English accent in this, but I just kept going back to „Raabert“ from Amar Akbar Anthony in my mind, every time he appeared on the screen. But he was good nontheless. And it was not his fault that he made such an impression on me in AAA, that I will forever see him in that role. After all, Kohinoor happened a long time before AAA.

The film definitely won me over. Favourite moments? Many! For example a hysterical princess beating everyone over their heads with a stick, and the absolutely hilarious "missing mirror" scene between the hero and the intoxicated antagonist! Oh – did you know Dilip Kumar actually learned how to play a sitar just so he could do so in one of the songs?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Directed by: Sajid Khan
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tamanna Bhatia, Paresh Rawal, Zarina Wahab
Released: 2013
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

When I reviewed the famous (and overrated as hell) 1983 Himmatwala some time ago, I expressed a thought that any remake can only be better. I am not going to eat my words. At least not entirely. It is bad, quite bad actually. Maybe even as bad. But worse it is not. And frankly while it deserved severe criticism, I don´t think it was as horrible as critics made it sound. I don´t think they even try to be fair when it comes to Sajid Khan, who has never been their favourite thanks to his overconfident attitude that understandably rubs them the wrong way (me too, but he has yet to insult me personally.) In the end Himmatwala flopped – very much deservedly, but at the same time it is not the worst film of the year by far – something many have been trying to prove.

There are things that are different from the 1983 film (I don´t want to say „original“ since I am not sure it was „original“ - more like a remake of something too) and there are things that remain untouched. Unfortunatelly the elements Sajid Khan decided to keep are often what makes the whole movie seem regressive instead of initiating an avalanche of nostalgia among 30+ audience. And so a wife has to stay with her abusive husband, because you know – family honour! And evil women wear mini-skirts, so when they suddenly shift to sarees you realize they mended their ignoble ways. And an attempt at morally „right“ approach towards rapists may be understandable from a certain point of view, but again it is just violence and violence only. Threw in a gay joke or two, just to be sure you are funny. And if the audience did not get it, make it really obvious, that you are making fun now. 1-2-3-laugh!

I was glad that Ravi (Ajay) did not suffer from a memory loss, unlike his predecessor, and I liked how they changed his identity. Unfortunatelly Ajay Devgn may be a great action hero, but his attempt at comedy don´t go well. He is, much like Jeetendra, too old for the role, and if not that he is definitely too old for his heroine. Tamanna Bhatia, whom I really like and adore, have been making waves down in the South, but she is yet to make her mark on Bollywood map, and for her sake (and the fangirl in me who is ready to love her) I hope her next Hindi venture will offer her more scope. She does well in her small role, her expressions are delightful and she dances beautifully. Paresh Rawal in ridiculous get-up is not funny. And Zarina Wahab as the new-age suffering Maa has nothing on epic crying Maas of the past.

That the film is over the top, ridiculous and just full of loopholes goes without saying. Sajid Khan is hated by critics also because of making most ridiculous movies that, as many feel, are made to mock their intelligence. But my peeve against Sajid is a bit different: I don´t think he is a good story teller. Even simplistic, silly cinema can be worth your money if it keeps you entertained, but not this. Himmatwala is an example of lazy filmmaking, trying to ride the masalla wave, that, however, can only end up in a blind alley after a while.

The marketing line of „80s will be back“ did not lie, but who in the world wants Bollywood 80s back? It is actually quite depressing to think that 30 years have caused a very little progress in the minds of some people (quite a few people – Himmatwala may have fopped but it still earned around 60 crore). Oh - if you really want to see a hand-to-paw combat with a tiger, I recommend to watch the „rascalla“ scene from Om Shanti Om over this.

Saturday, 23 November 2013


Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Om Prakash, Nirupa Roy
Released: 1974
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Once upon a time, there was a little boy from a slum, who had to slog and yet went to bed hungry. And seeing all the injustice in the world he became a criminal to ensure his survival. Two lines that could start describing about a million Indian films. Some used it as a background idea, many used it as the main motivation of the characters. Some were brilliant and some did not work, and even though Roti has apparently been appreciated at the time of its release, I don´t think it deserves to be anywhere near the top when it comes to a list of such films.

After escaping from jail and being considered dead, Mangal (as Rajesh is called) decides to lead a different life. He ends up in a small mountain village, where posing as a friend of their son, he finds a shelter with blind aging parents, acquires the position of a teacher in the school, romances Bijli (Mumtaz), saves prostitutes and turns everyone „human“ (because who better but a guy running froma a police for that job, eh?)

How to dress when you are wanted killer on the run, lesson 1.
Rajesh Khanna wearing hippie shirts and awful mullet tried to persuade me he is both a wanted criminal and Jesus in second incarnation. Needless to say he looked unconvincing as the first and annoyingly pretentious as the latter. He did not act badly, but apparently the magic of Rajesh Khanna for whom the girls were writing letters in their own blood does not work on me. I felt rather bored throughout, which is largely to be blamed on a script full of things I have seen a million times, and the never-ending message that resonates through Indian films since the beginning till today - about corrupt society and innocent children turned criminals. But Mangal is not just a small-time thief or a Robin Hood. He is a killer - and people are also killed because of him, without him ever caring. The story is told without getting some kind of emotion from the viewer, and the most engaging action is the God-intervention starring monkeys.

How to dress when you are hiding from the police in the woods, lesson 12.
This is the first time I saw Mumtaz (well, not really true because I saw her previously in Suraj, but there she was just in a supporting role and completely lost in the awesomeness that always shines around Vyjayanthimala), and I liked her well enough. She had some spunk, even if at times her character was an annoying chatterbox. However a heroine whose only purpose is to fall for the hero, no matter how prepostrous the whole thing is, is yet another fail the film has. And sadly, she doesn´t even have a song that would be worth mentioning it. Oh no, all the songs are social-waking opportunities for our criminal-Jesus.

I understand why these films were and are still made. Because reality has not changed. But some films seem to be made just to be preachy, and end up being more of a boring lecture (with lack of logic involved) than an emotional experience that would actually make one sit back and think for a while, if not get up and doing something. Roti doesn´t do enough to justify the ways of Mangal. He keeps having passionate speeches about hunger and stomachs, but sorry, dude, you´ve been a healthy adult for long enough now and still you would choose stupid fight resulting in killing someone, then having people shot because of your pompous escape from the gallows... and I am supposed to feel your pain more then theirs?

I lost a leg because of you, wanted murderer, but even though I am aiming at you, I will not shoot you. On the contrary I wil let you run along with best wishes because when you crippled me you skillfully lied to my blind parents so they took you in. And they think you are a great guy.

The film needed a better editing too, as some bits seem to be left out (or I again got a copy with scenes cut). What starts as a tale of a hungry child ends in an amazingly unbelievable climax with burying your enemies under an avalanche, racing ahead of a police dog with Mumtaz on your back, having yet another damn long speech after being shot in the heart (and you blood evenly spilling into the part of Mumtaz´s hair – which totally beats the famous Mujhse Dosti Karoge sindoor scene), as the blind parents and their one-legged son obviously manage to hurry up (and be quicker than police and gundas in their cars) to mourn over you.

OMG I have your blood in my hair. I have never been happier. 
I´m dying.
Not fair! I also had a speech on increasing gas prices and globalization!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Burning Train

Directed by: Ravi Chopra
Starring: Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Jeetendra, Hema Malini, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Danny Denzongpa, Simi Garewal
Released: 1980
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

Choo choo! This ride gave me quite a few surprises. Firstly, I was a bit skeptical about a film with a title basically giving away the whole plot. Secondly, the post-Sholay action films are not always my cup of tea. And finally there was Jeetendra listed among the cast, which so far has always been enough to turn me off a movie completely. However in the end curiosity got the better out of me and I ended up not only enjoying the this speeding and flaming journey, but even spent a whole day thinking about it and singing the songs from it in my head.

A mix of masala and American catastrophic genre, The Burning Train may not be completely original when it comes to situations it chooses to show, especially as the big tragedy starts, but at the same time it manages not to feel wanna-be-ish. It starts like a standart Indian masala – since childhood Vinod and Ashok were the best of friends, brushing aside easily angered Randhir (and being actually quite assholes to him for no reason), and the relations remained unchanged even after they grew up into Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra and Danny Denzongpa respectively. After being pushed out from a little train by Vinod, after being rejected by Parveen Babi in favour of Vinod, as well as being rejected as a supervisor and creator of a new luxury train in favour of Vinod, Randhir decides that enough is enough and once the ambitious „Super Express“ is launched with great fanfare, he has a way to sabotage the train and thus taking his merciless revenge. Soon enough Super Express is racing through the countryside with no breaks. And to ensure the film title is accurate, somebody leaves the gas running in the kitchen.....

From the beginning of the ride we are one by one introduced to quite a few people and couples, each having a little story of their own to told – a pregnant woman, a smuggler on the run and a detective going after him, a newly-married couple, a teacher supervising little kids...... Most notable among them being none other than Ashok and Seema (Hema Malini), who have once upon a time planned a wedding, but all went wrong and they drifted apart, and then there is also a thief Ravi (Jeetendra) hoping to rob the runaway bride Madhu (Neetu Singh).... As the film progresses, everything that can go wrong does, to the point one asks themselves what are the chances.

Flaws in logic bugged me. It is great that we have heroic men willing to take a risk, but why in the world would you not try and lessen the possibility of killing yourself? Why, when they first decide to climb on the top of the train in order to reach the locomotive, don´t they normally walk to the first boogie right behind it and THEN climb out? Not only safer, but also lot quicker, and would have spared us the whole burning drama. I guess our heroes had the logic blackout for the sake of the film not to be called „Speeding train“. This was not the only instance when I had to roll my eyes and accept that movie logic is not even a distant cousin of real life logic.

Super Express has more than an impressive starcast. There are so many well -known faces it was impossible to list them all above. From Dharam and Vinod and Jeetendra, to their three girlfriends and Simi Garewal singing religious songs with bunch of kids and many, many more. Everybody does their job well (except for Hema Malini, who just fails to impress me yet again, but thankfully has not much screentime), nobody really overshadows anyone and the many pieces of the star puzzle fit nicely together. As I have mentioned, I was properly shocked by actually liking Jeetendra. I don´t know what happened to him later in the 80s, that he became was utterly boring, bad and ridiculous, but here he was watchable enough. Makes one wonder what it was that kept the filmstars so much without ego, because there is no way one could pull off three major male and three major female stars in one film casting coup today.

The Burning Train has a great thrill and tension factor. The pace is even and not slowed down by the songs (brilliant album overall – meaning you remember them all after just one listening!) or emotional scenes. There is not time to loose as the fire gets nearer, and so the filmmakers do not loose it – something that is not always considered an option. One only wishes there was more shown about our villain Randhir, then again I suppose we are not supposed to feel for him, no matter how unreasonably awful our heroes had been to him.