Jhoom Barabar Jhoom: It is Jaan-e-mann minus the child and associated sentimentalities, also minus some of the Salmaan-only (self-bashing, self-referencing stuff, although Abhishek Bachchan tries it meekly) sheer fun, but is a logical follow-up to it, unapologetic dip into fantasy, fun and dance. And Lara Dutta is as brilliant in the film as Amitabh Bachchan is irritating. Also Gulzar comes out of fake-poetry mode (Geela paani (Satya), Geeli Hassi (Saathiya)) and rhymes France and Baans ("Tu raani hai France ki, main baasuri baans ki, apni society mein yeh chalta nahin"). He did the same excellent job when he rhymed Shaayari and Diary in Jaan-e-mann ("tooti phooti shaayari mein, likh diya hai diary mein"). Also last time, I smelt oral sex in a song; it was Namak ishq ka from Omkara ("Jabaan pe laaga laaga re, namak ishq ka"). Gulzar has finally found his calling. I used to like Gulzar as a child and still find some of his lines great but his clever wordplay is very thin in meaning. Meandering "sust-kadam raste, tez-kadam raahein" cannot stand the piercing directness of "Koi yeh kaise bataye ki woh tanha kyon hain", neither do his better lyrics on assortment of past, memory and romance like "Ek sau solah chaand ki raatien, ek tumhaare kaandhe ka til" age better than agelessness of "Tumhe yaad karte karte, jayegi rain saari, tum le gaye ho apne sang neend bhi hamaari". On gut feeling, his lyrics look artful, rehearsed, discontinuous and showy (see I know a word called "marasim" too. One heavy word in the shallow sea of trite letters. Its just one step better than those who translate Hindi to Urdu by replacing "Main" by "Hum"). Coming back to the film, I found it a very interesting entry in the new-wave Bollywood-musicals, where logic is sacrificed for songs and narrative is told through them, and director confidently makes such a mess.
Chatri Chor: A film that shows how love for a thing and desire for it can be mixed into good-evil madness, and how it (love + desire) quite never dies. The end of the film is quite Shakespearean. It would be too much to see the entry of a beautiful Umbrella in a small village both as an object of desire/lust for the simple folk and also as an object of foreign infiltration into simple lives, but one could not help himself making both the comparisons at some point. It doesn’t hurt till the scrutiny of human nature which seems to be director's main concern remains to the fore. Nice return to sublimity, unforced humor and right mood by Vishal Bharadwaj. There is an ingenious sequence where our heroine kills a snake and becomes Devi, and how the news runs fast through the small village. Its story telling, humor, montage and myth rolled together.
Johnny Gaddaar: Good, but lacking the atmosphere of the films it draws from. And who casts Rimi Sen as love interest. The lead actor is good, but I must say that he is too self-conscious, I mean he acts little too much in limits, in the end I dont know what I felt for him, which may be the exact feeling that director wanted to evoke but we need to feel something for a person portrayed as an evil doer without an evil heart. I also felt little uneasy when dead man's girlfriend was tortured, because I was never able to figure out what the director wanted out of it (may be some Tarantino stuff homage, may be, but the girl was so innocent and so in love that it was not funny at all). Cut the fricking finger!
Chak De India: Good reworking of all of sports clichés (and few others too), and a final embrace into fantasy that we won. A politically correct fairy tale meant to inspire and please. One might rightly argue that girls from each state don’t really represent their state but are symbols of North Indian stereotypes of those states (One girl from whole South like a Sardar can be used in a Tamil movie to represent the whole North India) including North Indian states (Bimbos from Chandigarh, Sector 16). But it is fun. If we see the last half an hour as fantasy and add a last scene where Kabir Khan loses again and returns to his old home, we can have our latest Bollywood noir hero :)