Planet Bollywood
Producer: Boney Kapoor
Director: S.J. Suryah
Starring: Fardeen Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Johny Lever, Beena, Sharad Saxena, Neeraj Vohra, Navin Nischol & Narration by Amitabh Bachchan
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Sameer
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 55 mins
Film Released on: 07 February 2003
Reviewed by: M. Ali Ikram  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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Woe to those annoying performances, those garishly annoying performances. Opposite to the adage that talented actors can make a mediocre movie enjoyable, Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor are determined to ensure that their pitiful performances in Boney Kapoor┬┤s Khushi will ruin an otherwise tolerable three hours for the audience. Taking his semi-entertaining plot from the South Indian original Khushi, S.J. Suryah just cannot get effective emoting from his lead actors, and we, the audience, are left holding the short-end of the happy stick.

The booming baritone of Amitabh Bachchan starts off the Indian tale akin to Joy Augustine┬┤s ebullient "Tere Mere Sapne" and you┬┤ll be deceived into thinking this is going to be one mighty good time going forward. We┬┤re shown the births of Karan (Fardeen) and Khushi (Kareena) in two distinct parts of India, informed that they┬┤re soul-mates per the Lord┬┤s masterful plan, and are expected to wait for them to get together years and years later.

Jump forward to the couple┬┤s late teens, and they meet as friends through a series of divine coincidences at Bombay University. Problem is that Khushi is loathe to trust the male species, and neither soul is up for just admitting his/her true feelings for the other. And so ensues a two hour melange of fighting, bickering, jealousy and dreaming between the two apparent love birds?!?! What drives them together and apart is their tag-teaming to assist a couple of college mate lovers get together against the wishes of the rich girl┬┤s mafia dad. Ho hum!

The story┬┤s not as boring as it might seem. (I can┬┤t recreate the entire screenplay for you in this review.) There are plenty of poignant and thought-provoking quandaries the director puts our love-birds into. (Though I will argue that these arguments are superficial compared to the masterful Saathiya, no one expects Ratnam-like insight into the human psyche from all directors.)

I resubmit though, that the problem is our lead pair┬┤s acting talent, or lack thereof. Given a couple of better actors (Vivek Oberoi, Rani Mukherjee or Antara Mali), the Karan-Khushi scenes would have lead to zesty repartee in the crucial bickering scenes between the couple. But Fardeen and Kareena? Oh, Fardeen and Kareena.

Mr. Khan has improved considerably in his acting skills since his disastrous "Prem Aggan" debut, but vocal and facial emoting? At times, it seems he has no clue about the meaning of these two conepts. Sitting through his drunken stupour scene with Neeraj Vohra, where he derides Khushi┬┤s treatment of his heart, is excruciatingly painful. Like me, you may have never had a hang-over in your life, but I┬┤m thinking the feeling must be pretty close to watching Fardeen Khan┬┤s antics in parts of this film.

Not to say Ms. Kapoor is much better. In my books, she┬┤s always been an over-confident and overrated star riding the coat-tails of her more talented sister. Both Kareena and Karisma started their careers as go-getting divas. But whereas the elder sibling has proven her mettle with unforgettable cinematic performances over the years, Kareena is all talk and little talent. She screams herself silly in every second scene of this project, an action unintentionally designed to make the audience go deaf. And when she makes hideous faces at the camera every two minutes, you wish someone would make the burkha a mandatory covering for her visage. This display of buffoonery is not talent Bollywood directors, so why do you keep signing her on?

Plenty of Suryah┬┤s scenes are also somewhat contrived, in the vein of those eighties family pot-boilers we used to enjoy, but visually speaking K.V. Guhan┬┤s cinematography is probably the best out of Bollywood in years. He uses some unique aerial camera angles to bring life to Anu Malik┬┤s mediocre song soundtrack, though his love for the zoom lens may be a bit excessive.

Riding the wave of so-so-ness, Khushi┬┤s unlikely to find long-term favour with most folks in the audience. There are parts that are good, parts that are bad, but in the grand scheme of things, there┬┤s really little Khushi to be had.

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