Thursday, October 29, 2009

De Taali: Ritesh, Ayesha, and Archie Comics

Today's review transferred from my old blog is one of an older film - I don't quite remember why I saw De Taali but I'm glad I did. It's a sweet little film and finally convinced me to like Rimi Sen. The reason you're seeing it today - Ritesh Deshmukh, whose first big budget HERO film, Aladin, opens tomorrow.


I vaguely remembered hearing Ayesha Takia on BBC’s Love Bollywood back when De Taali came out. She set it up as being like Archie comics come to life. Now, if there is one thing that I love, it’s Archie comics. And Ayesha wasn’t completely off the mark by describing De Taali in that way. The film is an odd – but utterly charming – mixture of an American teen comedy and Golmaal: Fun Unlimited.


Aftab, Ayesha, and Ritesh are three best friends.


(I dare you not to be charmed by the opening number.) Ayesha is a total tomboy; Ritesh is a dork; Aftab is always falling in love. They are always hanging out and doing stuff together… until one day the seed of a crush is planted in their fertile young adult midst. A series of events triggers Ayesha to develop a total crush on Aftab. It’s all done in this very natural way – no bells or whistles or little dogs from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…!.


The innocent crush is nurtured by Ritesh, who thinks he’ll be better off with Aftab dating his good pal Ayesha than with some dumb bimbo. Unfortunately, the dumb bimbo Aftab ends up with isn’t so dumb…. Enter Rimi Sen as the Veronica to Ayesha’s spunky Betty.





What follows is classic Bollywood screwball comedy as Ayesha and Ritesh gang together to push Rimi out of Aftab’s life while keeping his friendship. Small events snowball into more and more extreme events until the whole thing ends in a wedding showdown – naturally. But all of that is fairly standard stuff. What makes De Taali so much fun are the details.


Aftab’s character is a huge Amitabh Bachchan fan and the movie is filled with jokes about the Big B. Wouldn’t you fall for Anthony Gonsalves at the Big B Charity Party? Not to give too much away, but Pran’s qawwali in Zanjeer may be referenced at some point in the film.



Ritesh has great chemistry with both the leading ladies!


Ayesha Takia was wonderful. She is plump and gorgeous and just full of life! The three friends all have a wonderful filmi friendship and lots of small moments play off the gang’s friendly chemistry. This is what was missing from Jaane Tu for me. The sense that we were seeing real emotions between friends, rather than sacrificing everything for the chimera of romantic love. That particular trope no longer rings true for me, which is one reason why Jaane Tu didn't work.

One of the things that I’ve realized over the last few years of watching Bollywood films, is that one of the big differences between Bollywood and Hollywood is that Bollywood aims to unify the community within the film by the end. Hollywood doesn’t care about that. So, something like De Taali has everyone find their place – even Rimi - tying up the knots satisfactorily. Jaane Tu is more concerned with the individual’s pursuit of that ultimate self-interest: romantic love.

The songs were a lot of fun, too! The dancing was great!

In fact, the one small thing I took issue with in De Taali was that Aftab is such a boring actor that I never really cared what happened to him. I was rooting for Ritesh with both the ladies, although I knew Aftab would probably have to end up with one of them.

In short, De Taali isn’t anything groundbreaking or super meaningful, but it is a lot of fun! And it’s got me imagining a Shahid/Ritesh best friend movie (with Ayesha!) where the two guys have a big fight over something but then make up. Or they are co-workers who don’t get along and are forced to go on a business trip to their boss’s home town but then a lot of hilarious stuff happens! Yes! I will watch that movie now!

1 comment:

Shaima Wahab said...

I so agree! The only thing I disliked about the movie was Aftab, and couldn't help but hate on the casting directors for not having cast Shahid in that role!

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