Sunday, December 6, 2009

8 x 10 Tasveer: Akki's Diminishing Returns

Reposting this one for reasons that will soon become obvious. I can't believe all the films I saw this year!

Oh, 8 x 10 Tasveer! Apparently, Akshay Kumar wasn't too happy with the film. I blame director Nagesh Kukunoor who tried to make a Bollywood masala thriller in a Hollywood style.
Spoiler alert: It didn't work.

Let me set up the plot for you. Akshay Kumar plays Jai, a forest ranger. He's an environmentalist AND a total bad-ass. Poachers had better watch themselves because Jai will totally kick their butts and then compost them. Jai also engages in Film Girl fan service by doing things like chopping wood while wearing a plaid shirt, feeding ducks with an adorable expression on his face, talking smack about oil companies, and being extremely protective of girlfriend Ayesha Takia.

The plot is set into motion when Jai's father, an oil executive, dies on a boat trip. Everyone tells Jai that it was an accident but in walks a mysterious detective (Javed Jaffrey!!!!) who tells Jai that his father was murdered. The first half is a slow build but if you stick with it, the second half is action-packed and we're given a nice masala pay off at the end!

Here is what I enjoyed about the film:

* Akshay Kumar is fantastic, as always. Besides the Filmi Girl fan service, he also gets to run around and jump off of stuff, get emo, be lovey-dovey with Ayesha, and just put in a great masala Hero performance. Needless to say, if you are not a member of the Akshay No. 1 Ladies Fan Club, you probably won't enjoy 8 x 10 Tasveer.

* Ayesha Takia is adorable and although her role isn't much more than "girlfriend", she pulls out one or two great scenes and has wonderful chemistry with Akshay. I would watch the two of them paired together again, despite my usual misgivings about pairing 22 year old women with 40 year old men. For some reason, Ayesha and Akshay worked very well together. I think it helps that they looked comfortable together. When Ayesha was paired with Ajay in Sunday, he seemed to be acting beside her rather than with her. Akshay was 100% there.

* Javed Jaffrey! Can I even tell you how happy it makes me to see Javed Jaffrey? He put in a great performance as the mysterious detective who is convinced that Jai's father was murdered. It was an understated performance for Jaffrey but very entertaining.

* Sharmila Tagore in denims! She played Jai's mother and I have to admit that 99% of my glee at seeing her on-screen was being amused at seeing proper Sharmila-ji in these perfectly pressed denims. I kept imagining her character ironing them.

So, if the performances were good and the story line drenched in masala - which it was - why didn't I like this movie more? Here's the thing, 8 x 10 Tasveer takes a great masala plot and tries to film it in a very Hollywood way. It was a fun movie but the emotion that should have been there just wasn't. This could easily have been another Ghajini - a modern masala film - but Nagesh Kukunoor decided to go for understated when over-the-top was needed.

My biggest problem with the film was that there were no songs. In a typical masala film, there are very natural places to break for songs. 8 x 10 Tasveer needed these breaks to build emotion but for some bizarre reason, there were none, giving an emotionally flat feel to the film - very Hollywood. There needed to be a romantic song between Ayesha and Akshay establishing their love, a item song of some sort, a comedy song for Javed Jaffrey, a nostalgic song for Akshay, and perhaps another song somewhere for Ayesha. Masala is not masala if there is no change in feel and the songs would have helped a lot in this. I would have also liked to have seen more variation in costumes - the boring naturalistic costumes were fine in some scenes but we need variation.

Also, Akshay didn't get to take his shirt off.

Nagesh Kukunoor doesn't know masala.


TadyLovesDaniel said...

This was the only film of his I didn't get to watch this year...I am so putting this on my Netflix queue...Immediately!!

Filmi Girl said...

@Tady it's not a great film but Akshay is good and you can always fast forward through the boring parts... :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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