Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood ... I love them all!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011)

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Starring: Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar, Tara D'Souza  
Genre: rom-com
Lenght: 2h:19m.28s

I have been waiting for this movie since April. At first, I was curious because of Imran Khan and Ali Zafar. Then I got a bit nervous when I found out that the female lead was going to be Katrina Kaif. With every picture, trailer, song promo and behind the scene footage I saw I got less and less nervous and more and more impatient. :) Then the music composed by Sohail Sen released. I trusted him since the beginning, seeing as I still love his debut album What's Your Raashee, even after two years. I got so hooked on the music that there wasn't a day when I didn't listen at least to a snippet (mostly Choomantar :p). Besides, I really liked what I saw of Katrina in the promos and with that my last concern disappeared.

Hmm, this may be my longest review yet. Just felt like warning you guys :)

Of course, nobody expects objectivity from me, right? At least I hope so...

The promo video to Madhubala (it captures the essence of the movie and isn't as misleading as the trailer)

Luv Agnihotri has been living in London for 8 years, and 5 of those years he spent fighting with dating Piali. Once they get into a very heated argument (full with pieces of furniture flying) and at the end they break up. Well, Luv's the one who decides to end it. In the onrush of emotions and unexpected joy of freedom he promptly decides that he would actually like to get married. He calls his brother Kush, who lives in India and is celebrating the success of his latest movie (he's an assistant director), and announces his resolve to settle down. But not just with anybody - it's gotta be a true Indian ladki (whatever that means :p). Seeing as they have always had the same taste in women, Luv asks his little brother to find him a wife. Kush gets right down to it, but none of the candidates are to his liking. At wits end, a friend recommends to publish a Shaadi ad in the newspapers. Luck strikes in the form of Dilip Dixit, a politician on the lookout for the perfect groom for his daughter. The families meet, everybody gets along like a house on fire... and then Kush sets eyes on the would-be dulhan Dimple and realizes that he knows her. Knows her from the times when she was a wild college student, who simply decided to hold a rock concert in the Agra Fort and had to be escorted by the police.

That was a long time ago and people change. She's still a little naughty, but she's ready to settle down. Being 27 years old, she's already considered somewhat of a spinster in India. She speaks with Luv over the internet, both agree on the match and the families start with the wedding preparations. Kush takes really good care of his bhabi - he even agrees to spend two days reliving her days of glory, joining in the antics she's gonna have to give up for good after the wedding.

Time goes flying; Luv arrives in India, the engagement takes place ... and Dimple and Kush realize with horror that they've fallen in love. What now? How are they to resolve the dilemma without hurting their families and tarnishing their good name?

Especially since Kush doesn't want to follow Dimple's quick and bulletproof plan and she's really not the type of girl who takes no for an answer...

Original? Serious? Dramatic? It never pretended to be any of those things. The movie is loud, happy, crazy and.. well, desi. It doensn't shy away from clichés, but it uses them in a really smart way. I knew what the movie would be about even before I saw the synopsis. The title gives the plot right away. I remember another movie with the same theme - Sorry, Bhai! But the two movies couldn't be more different in their handling of the plot, because whereas Sorry, Bhai! is a romantic drama, MBKD is a romantic COMEDY. So it was original in the way it was presented. I guess whether one likes it depends largely on what sense of humour one has.

What was the most pleasant surprise? Besides the screenplay and the story? The beautiful and spontaneous Katrina Kaif! I won't let myself get caught in the hate she's so generously given anymore. Ali Zafar was fabulous, Imran was in his element, but Katrina was the soul of the movie.

I like it when there's a spark in the heroines and Dimple was like a huge bonfire. She grew up in London so that explained her accent, she was free-spirited, assertive, playful and lots of fun. Not for a minute was she mousy or meek. Sometimes I don't really agree with the way the directors depict carefree characters (Kareena in Jab We Met, Genelia in Bommarillu). Here it was just right. Dimple never sounded childish or ditzy, she simply knew how to enjoy life. Yes, she played at being a rock-chick rebel and now she agreed to an arranged marriage. So what? Five years have passed between these two events. She wasn't a fool; all her relationships led nowhere, so she decided for this "different kind of adventure". As for the romance... if love at first sight can be in 90% of the movies, why not a love that developed after a few days spent together? Especially if you're so comfortable around somebody that you act petulant around them, can get drunk if you feel like it, and basically do all the things you shouldn't as an official 'grown-up'? Dimple seemed like that kind of a person - sit her down into a crowd of grannies and she's going to be picture perfect desi girl. Let her go out with somebody she trusts and she'll have the time of her life. Without crossing the line, of course! :)

I'm not even going to stop showering praises on Katrina. I LOVED her.

W A R N I N G !!!  R A N T   A H E A D !!! :D

She's the main reason I enjoyed MBKD so, so, so much. And no matter how many people say they've only gone to see the movie because of Ali (I do love him!) or for Imran (even he's my darling!!), Katrina is the star of the movie. THE star!

This girl gets too much hate and I'm NOT down with it! >:( I'll be the first to admit that there must be better actresses than her who deserve to be on the top, but I'm not going to blame her for being loved like crazy by the Indian public. As long as there are Anushkas, Deepikas and Nargises on the screen, Katrina has every right for her place in the spotlight too. I don't know what makes her so special - whether it's her fair skin, toned body, hair I'd kill to have, or what. Frankly, I don't care.

What I do know is that I've seen her in several movies and I like her style. And she played Dimple with such a zest, I can't imagine anyone else in her place.


R A N T   F I N I T O !!  :)

I was a tad afraid about the development of the plot post interval, because up till that lightshow over Kush's head announced the midway pause, I was thoroughly entertained. But in the next few seconds I had to smile, two minutes later I was laughing out loud and a while later was touched by the sweetness of Dimple's tantrum and Kush's rationality. This movie had so, so many opportunities to slip into melodrama or spoil it in some other way. A few times it looked as though the story would opt for a quick emotional blackmail, but luckily it never really happened. Even though Kush didn't come up with such a spectacular scheme as Chandu in the Telugu movie Ready, it showed that he learned a LOT in his line of work - I mean, if all those tricks and speculations had to come from somewhere, then why not from the tried and tested filmi formulas? If it works in movies, it's bound to work in real life too. Right? Right.

Overacting - done right :)
Oh, and how beautifully they overacted!! Luv was a perfect little drama queen since his entrance on the scene. His stagy, but at the same time totally suave act was to die for. When he returned to India after years abroad, he eased up on his antics a bit. Just a tiny little bit. Kush and Dimple (not to confuse with Imran and Katrina!!) tried their hardest to pull off their little plan as smoothly as possible, but lets face it - neither of them had Luv's ease in being cocksure about everything (I mean except when he was totally confused about everything!). It wasn't a part of their character to be a drama queen. Their group attempt to get Luv drunk (and the whole family too, while they were at it)... that little rickshaw ride when Kush almost got a heart attack... when he pretended he fell in love and was happy about the marriage plans... so obviously overacted, so much more real than it would lead one to believe. By the way, I was very happy wih the second half - the girl wasn't left out of the plan, or reduced to sitting around and looking pretty. She played a very much vital part. If this was a Telugu movie, she would appear in a few songs and at the wedding. (yep, the aforementioned Ready)

Kush may have seemed too subdued next to the whirlwinds that were Dimple and Luv, but to me he worked as a beacon of normality in all the craziness going on. And what a pretty beacon he was!!

I can't seem to stop myself again, but oh well... there's still the music and more to write about!! :)

I've already written that I loved the music long before I saw it used in the movie. I have to mention how perfectly placed the video songs were. Even though four of them were in the first half, it never felt cramped, and the second half with only two didn't feel like too little. The title song is a very obvious tribute to the three Khans and Imran (bless his two left feet) did the best he could. He's so intensely adorable I could watch him trying to dance all the time :D

Dhunki... I'm not really into rock songs, but how cool was it that Dimple got her own character song?? And that huuuge candid crowd - amazing! Katrina sold me on the song. It took longer than the remaining tracks, but I did grow to love it. 

Choomantar was the first song I got addicted to. Seeing it in the movie itself, I have to say it captured that transition from friendship to something deeper quite nicely.

What can I say about Isk Risk? Everybody knows Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was made to sing slow, soulful ballads. Easily one of the most romantic songs I've heard this year.

Ah, Madhubala. Ali Zafar, you are too amazing! I was watching the movie with my roommate present and it was torture not being able to dance and sing along (I'd love to watch this with an Indian audience :D To dance, sing, whistle and all that stuff).

When Do Dhaari Talwar came up I lost all pretence of being presentable and started jumping on my bed. While laying down. It's just too energetic! Not to mention that the only time Imran is more adorable while trying to dance is when Ali is right next to him trying even harder! :D And I was really happy to hear Shweta Pandit in the last two mentioned tracks. I've heard her before thanks to Naach - she's got such a lovely voice!

Bosco-Caesar, I love you guys!!!

I'm very happy that I got so many of the cultural and filmi references :) I read The Ramayana this summer so I got the Luv - Kush combo :D And even the Sholay drunk scene, most of the oldies music, the puns, "panghat pe nache.. Madhubala", the rapid-fire round... I don't really like the self referencing going on in movies (esp. the gratuitous kind, e.g. Dhoom and KKHH theme music making appearance in other movies), but seeing as Kush was an assistant director and practically lived for that world, I forgave him when he quoted Salman's dialogue from Wanted. It all just seemed natural... you know, like when my brother had a black-eye and I told him he looked like Rocky Balboa? Nothing unusual :P

I've discovered that I really like seeing Katrina with younger actors. Her and Imran had a very sweet onscreen love. Very subdued in the second half, but well... there really wasn't an opportunity to take a leave from all the schemes and go sing a song somewhere in the meadows :P Ali and Imran are great at comedy and they fulfilled one of my dreams - they played together in a movie. I didn't even know I had this dream before I saw them next to each other! :* Ali was especially delightful, but what else do you expect when he's saddled with the most OTT character in the movie? I'm very glad the rest of the cast was quite normal - if everybody was such a drama queen as Luv, his character wouldn't come to the fore like it did and the movie would look more slapstick than romantic comedy :)

Extra points to the whole cast because even though the story was so crazy, it still felt somewhat realistic.

And there were these little touches that I love about a movie - how the past was reflected upon, how everything was rooted in something that was already said or shown. It wasn't necessary to introduce a new character to solve the whole dilemma of the unwanted wedding (if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean). Luv mentioned right at the beginning that he and Kush always had the same taste in woman and that one little statement paved the way for Kush falling in love with Dimple. How those two met in Agra and in Isk Risk they danced as Shah Jahan and Mumtaz before the Taj... and Rohit, Shobit and Dimple's cousins always doing something in the background... just little details that make me happy. Things like this show how much thought (love) went into a movie and I appreciate it more when I know it wasn't just put together during one night of brainstorming :)

And I don't know whether to be happy or sad that some of the scenes were deleted from the movie. Sad, because it caused little holes in the narrative. Or happy, because now I have something new to watch and relive all the fun I had the first/second/third time I watched the movie.... I'll go with happy for now. But please, Mr. Ali Abbas Zafar, leave them all in the next time? OK? Thanks.

How to sum it all up? I love it, it's as simple as that. Then again, I've come to the conclusion that I have a 'unique' sense for humour and romance - I can see that this type of a romcom is not for everybody. But I happen to think that love should be a LOT of fun, especially in a romantic comedy. So all of you who hated the movie can keep your Band Baaja Baarats and leave all the Mere Brother Ki Dulhans for me. :)

Now excuse me while I go and purchase a few flannel shirts....


  1. MBKD was definitely the best romantic comedy of the year, very enjoyable with great music. I shall never be a Katrina fan (I find her overrated in ALL departments), but yes, she did very well in this film. WOuld not sit through the film again though, as it was so painfully predictable even the first time.

  2. I don't know whether I'm a fan, but I do prefer her to Deepika and Anushka in romcoms :) And come ooon, all romcoms are predictable! :D Anyways, are you saying you saw ALL of that coming? The kidnapping, the 'childhood friend from London', how their plan backfired against them...? Because I've thought I had it all figured out, yet they still managed to surprise me :P
    I admit that I may be looking at the movie through rose coloured glasses, because it made me insanely happy - and there hasn't been a romcom in long to make me feel so good :)

  3. Deepika and Anushka win for me :D I do prefer Katrina to Sonam though :P I will not say I expected every single thing, but yes, 80% of it was no surprise at all. It did not matter though - because it was really fun. It just sometimes happens that you fall in love with a film others may not find that awesome (belive me, I knowww the feeling) :)

  4. Hello Reminii, great review! And although I still don´t like Dimple´s character I agree with you that Katrina was amazing. (But I´m still an Anushka-fan to the core. :-))
    And I´m totally with you on that one: "the girl wasn't left out of the plan, or reduced to sitting around and looking pretty. She played a very much vital part." That WAS quite refreshing after all these telugu movies I have seen. (In fact, MBKD was the first hindi movie after some 15 or so telugu movies and it was... quite different. :)) But it still wasn´my kind of film although I usually like romcoms. Bye!

  5. You're right, I remember how different it felt when I returned to watching Bolly movies after months of Southie flicks :D But I'm thinking of going back there, it seems a lot more is going on in Tollywood and Kollywood :) Maybe I'll start with Kaavalan... it's bound to be better than Salman's Bodyguard!

  6. This was a wonderfully fun film. Not masterpiece cinema, but sweet, good-natured and positive. I live a long way from any cinemas that show Hindi films, & had a made a special weekend trip to see "Mausam", only to find that MBKD was still playing. How delighted I was to have my weekend saved by being able to see this as well, given the hideous bloated mess that Mausam was. I thought Katrina totally owned this film, she was great in it, and Ali Zafar is to die for. It's always nice to read reviews by others who like this film as much I do, thank you!