I often overrate my instincts. I do have huge self-destructive tendencies. On such days, I pick a really bad movie to watch. Today, it happened to be "Dus Kahaniyaan".
I had no big expectations from the movie. The movie was just 2 hours long. That makes it a mere 12 minutes per story. Even if 3 stories are good and a few are not unbearable, I felt it was not a bad choice and it did not seem too risky. How wrong was I! I would not bore you by writing about all of them, but definitely a few that got on my nerves.
Strangers In The Night
Mahesh Manjrekar and the lady with the longest face, Neha Dhupia are a weird couple who spend their anniversary day disclosing their past infidelities. Neha discloses that she had kissed a stranger in a railway station before meeting Mahesh. Flashback, we get to see Neha kissing the stranger's palm, her chin touching his elbow! She kisses his palm, his fingers - some of the most innovative ways of kissing never seen before on celluloid. Flashback again, in the railway station a small muslim kid runs towards her crying for help, she hides him from the rioter carrying a sword, confronts the rioter, kisses him on his palm and diverts his attention long enough for the kid to escape. I had tears in my eyes. I actually had cold!
Manoj Bajpai, an ex-banker, a wannabe writer and a pessimist comes to stay at a friend's apartment for writing his novel, where he meets the retarded looking yet optimistic Dia Mirza. They talk, drink coffee and when Manoj falls for her and tries to kiss her, she rejects him and goes away. Disappointed Manoj goes to a bar to get drunk and finds out that Dia is a call girl interacting with a 'customer'. When Dia comes over to Manoj's place for giving an explanation, Manoj teaches her a lesson (there is another word for this - "rape"!) without letting her tell what she intended to say. Few months later, now in a hospital, the unshaven Manoj realizes that she had come to tell him that she had AIDS and now he is also affected by AIDS. This becomes the story to his novel. What? Why? WTF? Yeah, I too had those questions. Sanjay Gupta releases his movie the same month as World AIDS day and leaves a message - Never rape a HIV patient!
A soon-to-be-married girl meets a woman on the train, who gives the lone ear ring that she wore and suddenly disappears (You guessed it right, she should be a dead person with a great motive!) The girl gets off at the station in search of that woman and she stumbles into Aftab's house, where she has coffee with him. Then, she meets him again at her engagement ceremony, finds out that Aftab is her fiance's friend and her dad Anupam Kher asks her if she is really *really* happy about her marriage. The girl obviously displays the utter confusion thats so natural for a typical desi heroine, to which her dad gives a lecture on *true love* - he narrates a story of his youth, where he had met a beautiful lady on the train to whom he had gifted a pair of ear rings, one of which has remained with him. Surprise surprise, it matches the one she had got from the woman on the train. She runs towards Aftab and hugs him, comes to know that the woman was Aftab's mother, dead 10 years ago.
Had the woman being alive and Anupam Kher married her now, the girl and Aftab would have been 'socially siblings'! On the other hand, if the girl and Aftab had married first, the oldies marriage would be cross-in-laws marriage :D
Sex On The Beach
The career-going-nowhere, still-depressed-from-Bipasha-dumping Dino Morea is vacationing in a lonely island. He discovers a book buried in sand, opens it and makes his signature. And out of nowhere, a lady in skimpy golden bikini storms in a water boat towards the sea shore. After exchanging blank glares, she invites him to her home. Dino reaches her home and accidentally drops a pack of condoms on the floor while talking to her (Wah, the "maturity" of Bollywood!) and waits on the couch, while she excuses herself to 'slip-into-something-comfortable' (why do people wear uncomfortable clothing so often? ;) ) When the lady takes more than the average time a woman takes to get ready for a party, Dino enters the bathroom and finds that the lady is dead, her eyes as expressionless as when she was alive. He gets panicky, runs out of her home, on the way getting confronted by the lady bhooth and the next morning, the kids playing on the beach discover Dino, as dead as his career. A new visitor on the island discovers the same book, signs it and the lady in skimpy bikini storms in again (and so on and so forth).
Somebody comes to know of it and carefully turns this virgin beach into a burgeoning tourist destination (Sorry I made the last one up - my sense of humor seriously affected by this gem of a movie)
A businessman buys a pack of cookies and enters the airport lounge. A shabbily dressed man comes and sits next to him. He picks a cookie from the pack the businessman has kept by his side and starts eating. The businessman takes a cookie from the pack and looks angrily at the man. The man picks yet another cookie, the businessman takes the second cookie and walks away, thinking how rude that man was. On entering the flight, he opens his bag to discover that his cookie pack is still intact and it was he who was taking cookies from the other man's pack. Moral - Never judge others. Ever read this forward? Replace the businessman with an old Tamil woman who is prejudiced against muslims, replace airport with railway station, replace cookie pack with rice plate - and you got an original from Rohit Roy!
A couple traveling in a bus start quarreling over some trivial thing and the angry wife gets up and sits a few rows behind. She sees a very calm Nana Patekar holding 'gubbare' (balloons, if you didn't know) He talks to her in maniacal calmness, about how he also quarrels with his wife and he takes her gubbare to pacify her. He narrates his stories very fondly, with the pouted heroine listening to it with a "ooh so cute" look. It did not take me a second to guess that Nana's wife must be having Alzheimers, in a coma or already dead. I was right, we see Nana sitting by the side of his wife's grave, planting the gubbare there and narrating all the trivial details with maniacal calm affection.
I remember listening to a bunch of people over the last few days as to how Bollywood is changing and making different movies. "Bold" topics, extra-marital affairs, using words like 'bitch' and 'bastard', awkward kissing scenes, showing a pack of condoms - if this is what qualify as world class, Sanjay Gupta deserves standing ovation. I guess I should go back to my "I-wont-watch-a-Bollywood-movie-unless-strongly-recommended-by-some-sane-person" mode. I think I will!
P.S: I found the hugely criticized, self-obsessed largely mindless "No Smoking" to be quite a unique and interesting cinematic experience!