Band Baaja Baaraat, 2010
Directed by: Maneesh Sharma
I cannot praise this film enough. I'll spare you the sap and the laudatory gushing that I usually provide and stick to the facts: this is the most refreshing romanic comedy I've seen in a while.
It was honest, it was real, it was cute, it gave me plenty of melt, and it had heaps of heart.
Anushka Sharma is probably in my Top 5 for current actresses. She's so bubbly, so full of life and her face is so open and charming that you're just sucked right into her art of storytelling. The fact that she actually can act speaks volumes enough just to make her likable and sets her apart from other current leading ladies.
I'm not going to name names, but we all know the handful of girls I'm talking about.
Ranveer Singh, the new boy, was totally charming. For some reason I was especially fixated on his teeth, but he also has the "it" factor that could very well propel him in to a great star. He's coy, lovable, does a good puppy-dog face and has a sense of self depreciating humor that is really quite charming.
The filmography and photography was rough around the edges, but for a first time director I'm more than willing to look beyond small little nitpicks. Overall my only persistent annoyance was the way the actors having a conversation face-to-face would be shot having a conversation face-to-camera; breaking the fourth wall and creating an awkward break in illusion. Asides and clever nods to the knowledge of an audience are some of my favorite tricks, but only when used smartly and with a direct purpose. In BBB it just felt like we, the audience, were involved in the characters' conversation, and since there was no reason for us to be "there" we shouldn't have been.
Maneesh Sharma gets a huge Thumbs Up from me on his presentation of the sex scene. (And if you didn't know there was one, well, there you go...) It wasn't tacky, it wasn't thrown in for shock and it did not become a fiasco. Yes, the physical relationship between the characters caused problems but the actual display of them didn't. The build-up and treatment of all of the lovey-dovey parts were really commendable. There was tension, there was excitement, and the audience was well rewarded for their emotional evolvement.
While the songs themselves were rather lackluster, lacking just the teeniest bit of umph to make them truly good; the picturizations were superb. Special mention must go out to the song shot in monochromatic costumes, scenery and flowers. I literally had my breath catch in my lungs. Fantastic. Superb. The other songs were productions such as the like I haven't seen in a while. They teeterd on the edge between "showstoper" and "superfluous" without going over the edge and instead were visual delights.
While the story was not new in the context of its genre it was presented in a delightfully fresh way. There was an honesty and a strong sense of "we're not going to bullsh*t you" that had me feeling at many times that they had plucked situations, emotions and dialogue from my own romantic experiences. At times, as most romatic comedies are prone to doing, it borders on cheese and extremes that are not altogether realistic, but these small moments are easily overlooked in the grand scheme of the narrative.
At the end of this film you'll leave feeling chipper, you'll probably have a grin in your face and you'll be full of bubbles. It may not be a classic in the making, but it is leaps and bounds ahead of some of its peers.