Director: Sanjay Gupta, Hansal Mehta, Rohit Roy, Meghna Gulzar, Apoorva Lakhia, Jasmeet Dhodi
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Arbaaz Khan, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah
Storyline: Ten short stories – stolen, adapted and some credited – with a twist in the tale.
Bottomline: Film students make more original films.
Sanjay Gupta is a thief and an obsessive, compulsive kleptomaniac at that.
After recycling Reservoir Dogs (Kaante), modifying U-Turn (Musafir), plagiarising ‘Old Boy’ (Zinda), he turns to books this time. Thanks to Shilpa for letting me know about the source stories.
For the first short story, Sanjay Gupta rips off Roald Dahl’s ‘Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat,’ calls it ‘Matrimony’ and takes the writing credits for the story about cheaters.
The eccentric cinematography, crisp editing and the grainy grading once again proves that Gupta is technically competent, so much that you are hooked to the story-telling than what his actors Mandira Bedi and Arbaaz Khan can do by way of histrionics.
Hansal Mehta’s ‘High on the Highway’ too is stylistically shot to suit the mood, with a non-linear narrative that seemed intelligent until you learn that Jimmy Shergill is supposed to be passing out of college. Masumeh’s presence more than makes up for the casting mistake and the silly plot.
Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Pooranmasi,’ is also about sexual choices. Set in a rural milieu, this short has very little going for it and makes you understand why Minissha Lamba jumped into the well. I switched off halfway watching a middle-aged Amrita Singh wake up in the fields in the arms of her half-naked lover.
Sanjay Gupta then returns with ‘Strangers in the night,’ an excuse to Neha Dhupia strut her stuff, with suggestively phallic imagery. Erotic no doubt, by why these porn-movie metaphors if the story was not about lust but about nobility? Oh, okay, that’s the twist.
His ‘Zahir’ that follows next, credited to Rajeev Gopalakrishnan, packed a nice twist towards the end – the only story to have actually caught the fancy of the audience. Manoj Bajpai acquits himself pretty well too. This short story made in Tamil, I’m told, played on Doordarshan many years ago, with what seems to be a much better twist.
After five stories woven around different excuses to set up sex scenes, Jasmeet Dhodi’s ‘Lovedale’ post Interval, tries a supernatural spin bordering on incest. With Aftab doing the chunk of acting, this is as boring as it gets.
Apoorva Lakhia’s ‘Sex on the beach’ is just a showcase for Tarina Patel’s golden bikini. Dino Morea evokes a few laughs but this is seriously the kind of fare you don’t mind from film students.
Rohit Roy’s ‘Rice Plate,’ a reworking of Jeffrey Archer’s ‘Broken Routine’ (again, uncredited) has Shabana struggle with a Tamil accent but this is clearly among the more watchable stories of the lot, especially with her facing off Naseeruddin Shah. A pretty decent debut for Rohit Roy.
‘Gubbare,’ written by Gulzaar is a beautiful tale, completely misdirected by Sanjay Gupta. What should have been a well-concealed twist that tugs at your heart-strings turns predictable half-way in spite of Nana Patekar’s heart-breaking performance.
Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Rise and Fall’ is spectacularly shot, highly stylised and inspired by Matrix Revolutions with Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty doing what they do best: fight in slow-mos.
With no common thread running through the films (no, different excuses for sex and violence cannot qualify as a theme for an anthology film), nothing original about these stories, ‘Dus Kahaaniyan’ is not half as good as shorts made by film students with much lesser budgets.
Wait for a cheap DVD copy.