Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From the Vaults: De Taali - Clap your hands!

I have quite a few flaws but holding a grudge isn't one them. So, for my new Internet buddy Abbas Tyrewala, here is a review I wrote back in February 2009 of a film he had a hand in - De Taali. I remember really enjoying this but I haven't seen it since then... perhaps I'll add it to my Riteish Deshmukh sub-series of Box Office Poison. (Poor guy, apparently he doesn't work as a solo hero for anybody but me. Aftab Shivdasani, on the other hand, I most gladly banish to the land of Third-String Hero in Abhishek Bachchan Films along with Zayed Khan and Neil Nitin Mukesh.

I hope AT appreciates this because it's so embarrassing reading how terrible my writing was back then!

See, kids! When you blog consistently and frequently, your prose improves mightily!

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.

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!

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!

1 comment:

batulm said...

I remember finding 'De Taali' a little inane when I saw it first, but in the view of your comparison with 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na', I think it would be interesting to see it again. And I do like Ayesha Takia a lot, and Ritesh Deshmukh too.

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
.article .article-content { word-break: normal !important; }