Action Replayy, 2010
Directed by: Vipul Shah
When you Wikipedia Action Replayy it says "Formerly 'Action Replay'". I wish I hadn't seen that. Why on earth was the extra y added?
I cannot mentally handle the implications or motivations to screw up words so I'll just carry onwards.
Action Replayy is neither awful or monumentally profound, it just is.
I also have to preface by saying that I totally adored this film, even for all of its flaws. (Don't I always, though?)
The premise of the plot is simple, Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) goes back in time to fix his parents'-Kishen (Akshay Kumar) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai)-marriage. Bunty manages this because his girlfriend Tanya (Sudeepa Singh) just happens to have a mad scientist for a grandfather who spends his free time building time machines. Yup.
The first 20-25 minutes of this film are, and there is no other word for it, excruciating. It's awkwardly shot, acted and presented. I cringed and cringed and sank lower in my chair so disheartened that I was going to hate the film and then, we crash land in 1975 and flutter goes my dil and happiness pours forth with abundance.*
Unlike Dabangg where the Masala style was intentionally alluded to I didn't get the same vibe from Action Replayy. It was set in 1975 but that was it. Frankly, that was a failing on the film's part. Think of the source material they could have gleaned! The film was an exercise in not going the distance; the costumes were fantatabulous but the interior decorations of our hero and heroine's homes were too subdued.
I realize you can't have everything you want in life, but there is also no shame in going big.
I don't know why time travel to the past was entirely needful to fix this marriage, BUT since it involved men wearing white bellbottoms I'm so willing to overlook my nagging there and enjoy the visuals.
While the film was shot beautifully and there were several moments of gasp-worth set designs (I'm look at you, millions of paper lanterns!), I felt that the colors were all off. The Cotton Candy color scheme seemed to scream at you "THIS IS FANTASY! HAHAHAHA!" when we, the audience, are already quite aware that fantastical things are going on. Time travel, for one. Yes it is very pleasing to see such a vivd display of yellow and pink and blue but when I think 70s I see more avocado and oatmeal and husky red and brown.
The movie spends 90% of its duration in 1975, which I would have never guessed having listened to and fallen in love with the music before seeing the film. In case you're unaware, the sound track has not a shred of 70s flavor to it. Oh, that would have been good, to me at least, to have some throw backs to the golden age; but alas, I was left wanting. It is hard enough to reconcile the Cotton Candy 70s without having to wrap your head around the introduction of early 2000's-esque Hip Hop 30 years too early. That being said, I adore this soundtrack and thought it actually worked really well on screen.
Where I was not disappointed was in the incidental music. The sound designers so perfectly captured the essence of 70s films with the background music that it left me in giggles every time a sharp "DUN DUN!" accompanied bad news, a fast turn or the approach of a bad guy.
I cannot deny my absolute head-over-tops pyaar for the song pictureizations. Well, that is how I felt AFTER I had to sit through the awful first song. I like Zor Ka Jhatka song, but on screen we were treated to the visual delights of seeing Aish pop-n-lockin' it. If we learned nothing else from Endhiran, we should have learned this: Do not make Aishwarya Rai dance modern dance. IT. IS. PAINFUL. Our pain is rewarded later on with the other songs, which to my everlasting praise, contained a Holi song, and we all know how much I love Holi.
Now on to the things I didn't love so much...
This film was set in the 70s, ergo chest hair should be flying about free and akimbo.
Guess what there was NONE of? It was so frustrating not having any glorious chest hair peeking out through open-buttoned shirts.
Oh, and the girls were too...flat. Yes, that is how I'm going to phrase that.
And that is all I didn't like.
Well, that is a lie. There were a variety of other things that didn't please me... but I was willing to ignore them in the face of being swept off my feet like Akshay Kumar and being so confused I didn't know what to do with myself. He always does this to me. I think "Oh boy, what unfortunate teeth he has" and then he goes growling around in that voice and with that nose and those legs and I turn into a complete idiot. And I start off all of his films disliking him, and then he grows on me by the last 20 minutes and I just die with disgust and self-loathing.
While I have a love/hate realationship with Aishwarya I've never been one to say "Oh, home girl can't act" because I think, honestly, that she can. However, I do think she does better when she is given the opportunity to be organic. The main reason the first 20 minutes of this film were so impossible to endure was because it felt like the director had set our Mrs. Bachchan down and said "Just pretend you're an Ice Queen and Victoria Beckham and yourself and you'll be great!" Don't give our Aish instructions, directors! It backfires. Just let her act as she will. It is apparent when she is just enjoying her roles and when she is trying to make them into something and I much, much prefer the former.
This film suffers from a very common oversight: the inclusion of too many unimportant characters. Sure, Om Puri is there and Mama Kirron is flying about in overdramatic displays but did they NEED to be there? No. Neither did the "goon" that never turned into a goon. There were about 5-odd characters that were loose strings and entirely unimportant to the plot. They could have been removed, replaced as cameos (In Om Puri and Kirron Kher's instance) and things could have continued on just as well. With these extra characters it just felt like there were too many finer plot details were left on the editing room floor and they didn't get the development or attention they required to make them important enough to justify their inclusion.
Since I am a complete sap I was totally charmed by this film. Like I said, it isn't groundbreaking or extraordinary in anyway, but it is good enough to give you some cheer.
Oh, and can I just add that this film blows. Badly.
But, I have such a weakness for brightly colored things and bellbottoms.
I'm going to go watch Om Shanti Om and detox.
*'Sup? I write scripture?