Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Benaam

The opening scene of Benaam is indicative of the overall problem with the movie. While ominous music plays in the background, a man calls a woman and tells her she has to come with him. She becomes upset and says she doesn't want to go. Both their faces are shadowed, and the man toys with a knife as he speaks with her. And then the phone call ends and we quickly discover that the man is Amit (Amitabh Bachchan), a family man and upstanding citizen, and he was asking his wife Sheela (Moushumi Chatterjee) to come to a work party with him. The movie wants to be a thriller, but the things that happen aren't actually very exciting. Any suspense that the movie manages to generate is almost immediately undercut by the anticlimatic events that follow, and after several times of being told, "This is scary and intense! Oh, just kidding. Everything's fine," you stop taking the movie seriously.

The plot is relatively straightforward. On their way to a party, Amit and Sheela witness a crime, and Amit drives the victim to the hospital. His colleagues think he's a fool for becoming involved,

and his good deed does indeed cause some problems in his life. He receives threatening phone calls, and his dog is poisoned.


Then he keeps receiving threatening phone calls, the movie keeps pretending that something exciting will happen soon, and I stop caring. Finally, after two long hours, it ends.



Apparently the filmmakers seriously overestimated how interesting their ending actually was.


Moving on to more interesting topics, I was intrigued by the artsy photos on the wall in Amit's office.


As you can see in closer shots, his desk is tastefully decorated with Glaxose-D products.



In fact, this movie has some of the clunkiest product placement I've ever seen, and I watched Yaadein.






We're even treated to an actual Glaxose-D commercial, ostensibly because Amit needs to show it to his boss for approval.




I'm rather amused by Amitabh's noticeable lack of enthusiasm during all of these scenes.


I also enjoyed the brief appearances by Tun Tun, Iftekhar (as the police commissioner, of course), and Helen.


Helen and Amitabh dance a Viennese waltz together, which was unexpected. That might have been the most thrilling part of the whole movie.

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh, man. The description is really funny, but I think watching it would be a bit more frustrating than funny.

Cindy said...

Thanks! It wasn't a terrible movie -- it just wasn't a very good one. My reaction to the movie was more apathy than anything else.

The product placement was actually blatant and over-the-top enough that it was funny to watch, especially since Amitabh's heart clearly wasn't in it. And I definitely laughed at the unwarranted concern about people revealing the ending. (Really, I can't even figure out what part of the ending they wanted to keep secret. It wasn't like there was a twist or something. Hmmm, maybe it was the absence of a twist that they didn't want revealed. Who knows.)

bollyviewer said...

Glaxose-D and murder! Now thats a scary enough connection not to require any ominous music.

"The movie wants to be a thriller, but the things that happen aren't actually very exciting." - welcome to the world of Bollywood thrillers. Very few of them manage to be thrilling! To be fair, the songs and eye candy more than make up for it.

Cindy said...

Songs and eye candy are definitely two reasons I watch Bollywod films. :)

Unfortunately, this film only had three songs, and two of the three were quite forgettable. The only real reason to watch it would be Amitabh, but I've got better movies of his to watch.