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Salaam Namaste
“Salaam Namaste”: Starring Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arshad Warsi; directed by Siddharth Anand; music by Vishal-Shekar.

This romantic comedy produced by Yash-Raj Films takes place in Melbourne, Australia. Saif Ali Khan plays Nick, a carefree guy who lives life to the fullest. He works as a chef in a restaurant and his passions are cooking and partying. Preity Zinta plays Ambar, a cheerful girl who arrives from Bangalore to study medicine. Her part-time job as a radio jockey for a station called Salaam Namaste has her interviewing Indians in Melbourne. When Chef Nick oversleeps and misses a scheduled interview, Ambar decides to teach him a lesson. The two are drawn to each other despite their opposing views on many matters. Not wanting to rush things between them, they instead decide to share an apartment with separate rooms as they get to know each other. Slowly, minor quarrels and rising tempers interrupt their happy moments. So, are they made for each other? The makers say “Salaam Namaste” offers a quirky take on life, love, and relationships. Debutante director Siddharth Anand assisted during the making of “Hum Tum,” another successful, colorful film about a cool, young pair.

“Chocolate”: Starring Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Arshad Warsi, Emraan Hashmi, Irfan Khan, Tanushree Dutta, Sushma Reddy; directed by Vivek Agnihotri; music by Pritam.

This unusually titled thriller tells the tale of seven strangers in a foreign land and a crime that brings them together. It’s Christmas time in London when a series of bizarre incidents shatter the celebrations of peace and joy. Some out-of-luck Indians are brought into custody by the police. But are they just scapegoats and is there a mastermind behind these events? Several subplots reveal the various characters that cross paths. Anil Kapoor plays Krish a debonair, egotistical lawyer with sharp skills ready for any challenge. Suniel Shetty is Rocker, a strong-willed man who never lets anything get in his way. Irfan Khan is Pipi, a thinker, who believes in following the right path. Tanushree Dutta plays Sim, a temptress with a suspicious past. Sushma Reddy plays a journalist going through hard times. Do these ordinary people have any dark secrets? The film’s tagline says, “Sometimes, it’s best not to ask too many questions.”


“Film Star”: Starring Mahima Chaudhury, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Vasundhara Das, Aryan Vaid; directed by Tanuja Chandra; music by Jatin-Lalit.

Set against the backdrop of Hollywood, this film features Mahima Chaudhury as Hiram Pundit an arrogant actress who thrives on public adoration. When her films aren’t successful and her popularity wanes, she can’t bear it. She runs into Digambar, played by Priyanshu Chatterjee, an old college friend she hasn’t seen in years. He’s now an out-of- work lawyer and alcoholic, who sings in a club to make a living. Digambar criticizes Hira, saying her acting has become predictable and she needs to reinvent herself onscreen. This chance reunion begins a series of life-changing events. Hira finds a real-life drama involving a traditional wife, the murder of her rich husband, and a powerful father-in-law. She hopes this true story will put her back on the A-list.

Vasundhara Das plays Leela, the woman in jail for murder, who Hira begins to sympathize with and resolves to help. Director Tanuja Chandra is known for her strong women-oriented films, including “Dushman” with Kajol, “Sangharsh” with Preity Zinta, and “Sur” with Gauri Karnik.

Bollywood releases last month

By Shephali J. Rele

“My Wife’s Murder”: Starring Anil Kapoor, Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Boman Irani, Nandana Sen; directed by Jijy Philip.

Anil Kapoor plays Ravi Patwardhan, a simple middle-class man trying to earn a living for his family. Ravi’s job and his editing studio are a source of happiness where he works on tight deadlines with his faithful assistant Reena, played by Nandana Sen. Suchitra Krishnamurthy is Sheila Patwardhan, Ravi’s possessive, controlling wife, who persistently mistrusts him. Her pesky nagging drives the mild-mannered man to absolute fury. One day, he gets pushed a bit too far. And now she’s dead. Boman Irani plays the police inspector with the suspect in his sights. This film marks the debut for director Jijy Philips who previously assisted Ram Gopal Varma on “Bhoot.” The script for the thriller was written by Varma himself. Co-producer Anil Kapoor considers this one of his best films.

“Mangal Pandey – The Rising”: Starring Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Amisha Patel, Toby Stephens; directed by Ketan Mehta; music by A.R. Rahman.

Aamir Khan as Mangal Pandey
A historical epic set against the 1857 Indian Mutiny, the much-anticipated “Mangal Pandey” marks the return of Aamir Khan to the silver screen after a four-year absence. Khan plays the legendary martyr Mangal Pandey, one of the Indian sepoys in the British infantry. After 100 years of the British rule, the people of India are growing tired of their unfair treatment. Meanwhile, brave sepoy Mangal Pandey rescues his commanding officer William Gordon, played by Toby Stephens, during a battle. A strong friendship and loyalty grows between the two men, which is later confronted by circumstances. Controversial new gun cartridges are introduced among the troops. These cartridges had a casing made of animal fat that had to be bit through before use. This was an affront to the soldiers’ religion and feelings. The sepoys were first told no animal fat was present. Pandey discovers the bitter truth. This event sparks a resentment that spreads across India. Mutiny breaks out among the sepoys. That’s how Pandey becomes India’s first revolutionary freedom fighter. He was hanged by the British in 1857 for revolting against them. “Mangal Pandey” is based on historical events and tells a tale of friends, enemies, betrayal and the awakening of a man and a nation.

NOW ON DVD/VIDEO If you didn’t get a chance to see this film in theaters, now’s your chance to watch it at home.

“Bunty Aur Bubli” stars Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Amitabh Bachchan. It is directed by Shaad Ali with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. After a successful debut with “Saathiya,” director Shaad Ali’s second venture features Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji as the title characters in this stylish adventure story. Bunty and Bubli are runaways who use many disguises during their cons while on the run in the back waters of Uttar Pradesh. Amitabh Bachchan plays the cop trying to track down the elusive culprits. The film features Aishwarya Rai in the hit song (“Kajra re” sung by Alisha Chinai) dancing with Amitabh and Abhishek.

Whether you are a Bachchan senior, junior or Rani fan, this film is a delight to watch. With likable characters, snappy dialogues and rocking music, this adventure caper offers sheer entertainment value for the entire family. Rani’s comic timing and snazzy outfits are a treat. Abhishek’s performances keep improving with every film. After a serious turn in “Yuva,” he proves his mettle in comedy as Bunty. It’s always nice to see Amitabh in a character-driven role. Even if you are not an avid Hindi film viewer, be sure to check out “Bunty Aur Bubli.” You will surely enjoy this exciting comedy and don’t forward any of the songs!


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