Connect with us

Entertainment

Shaitaan Haveli review: Varun Thakur’s show could have been flawless but for its unnecessarily long run time

Published

on

In the fourth instalment of let’s-get-comedians-to-make-TV-shows, Amazon has let Varun Thakur get behind the wheel. We have already had one bad, one decent and one good show from this experiment. How then, does Thakur’s offering Shaitaan Haveli fare?

As it turns out, surprisingly well.

By Thakur’s own admission, the show is an homage to ’80s horror movies; which essentially means it is an homage to the Ramsay brothers, the pioneers of Indian horror-sex cinema. They had an audience which adored their work despite (or because of) the campiness, the low-budget feel and the bad acting. Thakur was one of such admirers. And with his brand of comedy (he plays a crass, sexist brat half of the time), he is actually pretty well suited for the project he has undertaken.

The poster of Shaitaan Haveli.

The show itself is meta – it is a horror story about a horror story. Hariman, a legendary director of B-grade horror cinema, has had an ill-fated venture with a family sex drama (Dilwale ka Dekh ke Dulhaniya ko Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) and is returning back to his roots. Determined to make a hit to recoup his losses, he packs up his cast and crew and arrives at the titular Shaitaan Haveli. He starts filming but something sinister is afoot and things quickly go awry.

The premise itself is hardly earth-shattering. However, as soon as you hit play on the first episode, the smart writing takes over. Characters are established quickly and the story moves along sharply. The show is engaging from the start and before you know it, you’ve binged half of it.

And that is when the problem starts.

Eight episodes!

A true artist, it is said, knows when to stop. Unfortunately, Thakur at the moment is not a true artist.

While the show impresses till around the fourth episode, after that it starts meandering. The story merited a six-episode run and had it ended there it might well have been one of the better things on Indian TV. It is not that the ending is especially bad but the middle bits randomly stretch for no reason. Eight episodes were absolutely unnecessary for the plot and towards the end you do kind of start to lose interest.

Mention must also be made here of the entire witch-master love angle which is ridiculously bad. It is not funny and almost embarrassing to watch. One can see the plot point it serves but surely the writers could have worked that in another way.

While Thakur is a big part of the show, the actual stars are director Hariman (Bhupesh Singh) and his assistant Gangu (Kanchan Pagare). The duo are a laugh-a-minute with peculiar mannerisms which are just flat out funny. Hemant Koumar also puts in a surprisingly good performance as Monty Khurana, a cross between Salman and Shahrukh. Indeed, he makes it seem as if he was born to play the role of a dumb muscled brat, which is a testament to the great work he has done here.

The female leads (Pippa Hughes and Neha Chauhan) put in solid performances as does Thakur himself. No one is winning Oscars for this, but they get the job done more than adequately.

Can something that is supposed to be bad be good?

The problem with trying to judge Shaitaan Haveli is that it already sets a pretty low bar. It is taking after a genre of cinema which was known for bad acting, iffy continuity and scripts which were more holes than plots. How do you assess a show which is supposed to be kitschy? What is the metric to use? What are the questions to ask?

For me, there seems to be only parameter to judge the show: was it entertaining?

The answer to that is: it definitely was. Sure the plot is as leaky as a chawl in a Bombay monsoon and there is clear overuse of drone shots for practically no reason. And the show does drop off after the fourth episode and some of the jokes are extremely bad. And it does telegraph some of its plot revelations about a million years in advance.

Despite it all, it was fun to watch, plain and simple. It was a quirky premise with decent actors and bunch of fun references (Game of Thrones, Andaz Apna Apna). It is binge-worthyish and while there is better stuff out there, there is enough in this show to recommend it.

PS: In the interests of full disclosure, I must mention here that if Hariman ever gives Dilwale ka Dekh ke Dulhaniya ko Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (D3K2H2) the pan-India release it deserves, I’ll be the first in line for tickets. #IndiaKaNolain

Published Date: Jan 09, 2018 12:44 PM | Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 12:44 PM


Readmore

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Suriya at Thaanaa Serndha Koottam success meet: ‘The film has shattered a lot of stereotypes’

Published

on

The success meet of Suriya’s Thaanaa Serndha Koottam was held in Chennai on 18 January. Suriya, who was conspicuous by his absence during the beginning of the event due to food poisoning problems, made a sudden entry towards the fag end of the function to the surprise of everyone.

“I haven’t missed any event for Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. That’s why I decided to come down despite asking for an excuse. The road trip in Andhra Pradesh took a toll on me, especially the spicy food (laughs). We traveled nearly 1000 KMs covering Rajahmundry Vijayawada, Bhimavaram, Guntur and visited some 10 to 15 theatres. It’s my first multi-city theater tour in Andhra Pradesh although my films have been regularly getting a Telugu release in the past twelve years,” said Suriya.

Suriya in Thaanaa Serndha Koottam.

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam has become an important film in my career,” says Suriya

Talking about the extremely encouraging positive feedback from across the board, Suriya said, “TSK has become an important film in my career. Although it’s my 35th film, I’ve received a lot of responses that it’s a completely different movie in my career. The unanimous feedback, from audiences to the media, is that TSK is quite unique from my previous outings. Everyone opines that a lot of stereotypes concerning my makeover have been shattered in this film. The entire credit goes to director Vignesh Shivan. He meticulously took care of all the minute details.  He kept exploring various options, which made me convinced.”

Suriya said he’s happy with the film’s performance at the box-office although he doesn’t delve into exact numbers. “I usually don’t go into box-office collections. But somehow the information reaches my ears. The Sunday figures are higher than the opening day (Friday). And the Monday numbers are said to be higher than Sunday. It’s mainly because of the family audiences who watched the film, after the opening,” he said.

“Anirudh’s songs have taken this film beyond borders,” says Suriya

Suriya showered praise on composer Anirudh Ravichander for delivering a great album and excellent background score for the film. “Anirudh’s songs have taken this film beyond borders. Every technician has played some crucial role in the movie’s success. Everyone was lifting the whole experience by contributing something. We all had a lot of positive vibes while shooting the film. We were very sure that the film should be a celebration because it’s been eight years since my last festival release. And, I witnessed all the celebration in theatres firsthand by visiting screens like Kasi and Brinda, where people were enjoying everything on screen. For every film, there will be an inevitable difference between how the media and public respond. But, for Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, there was a unanimous opinion,” stated Suriya.

“There was a lot of pressure on Vignesh Shivan to deliver an entertaining film,” says Anirudh Ravichander

Composer Anirudh Ravichander talked about his magical working experience with Vignesh Shivan and reasoned why their combo clicks. “When Vignesh Shivan decided to do a film with Suriya sir after Naanum Rowdy Thaan, there was a lot of pressure. NRD was a small-scale film, and it opened up the opportunity to bag Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. So, the fate of Thaanaa Serndha Koottam would decide his future since it’s a big-star film on a big canvas. Despite the considerable pressure, Vignesh utilized the offer correctly and delivered an entertaining movie, which didn’t receive any negative reviews at all. I don’t know how our combination works. He extracts the best of out of me very casually. We used to keep chatting something, and in between, he will take the right scores from me. Our sessions have always been candid and very nonchalant.”

“Though the music was a hit, we wouldn’t remember the experience fondly if the end product is not good. It’s what I’ve learned in my small career. If the film doesn’t work well, we won’t have any pleasant memories associated with it even if the album was a chartbuster. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie with audiences in theaters,” added Anirudh.

“Suriya sir gives his 100% to the script, and that’s his biggest strength,” says Vignesh Shivan

Vignesh Shivan said Suriya’s absolute commitment to the character he plays was one of the reasons for producing the output he had desired.  “When I received this offer, I was a little hesitant about the ‘remake’ part. But, it’s a precious opportunity to direct a big hero. So, I did my best to make the film more interesting. Suriya sir gives his 100% to the script, and that’s his biggest strength. He understands the role thoroughly and gets into the skin of the character with utmost commitment,” said Vignesh.

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:16 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:16 PM


Readmore

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Supreme Court upholds acquittal of Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui by Delhi HC in rape case

Published

on

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the acquittal of Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in a rape case by the Delhi High Court, after hearing a plea by an American woman challenging the high court verdict.

During the hearing before the apex court, the woman’s counsel told the bench that a new argument of alleged consensual relation was advanced by Farooqui’s lawyer before the high court and claimed that this issue was not raised before the lower court during the trial.

The bench, however, observed that it was not a case where strangers came, met and did something as both Farooqui and the woman were known to each other.

File image of Mahmood Farooqui. GettyImages

File image of Mahmood Farooqui. GettyImages

“This is a very hard case. We would like to say that it has been decided extremely well (by the high court),” the top court said.

When the woman’s counsel said the issue was whether there was any consent, the bench observed that there appeared to be a “positive response” which, according to her, was faked by her. “People give false smiles. How would the other person know that it’s a false response? This is very difficult to understand,” the bench said, adding, “she appeared to have responded in a positive manner”.

When the petitioner’s counsel referred to the email conversation between the woman and Farooqui, the apex court said the record reflects that they were good friends. The bench also referred to one of the communications between them and asked whether she had said “I love you” to Farooqui in one of the emails after the alleged incident.

“How many rape cases you have gone through where the prosecutrix (woman) has said I love you to the alleged accused much after the alleged incident,” the bench asked the counsel and also posed several other queries including how many times the woman had visited Farooqui and had drinks together.

The bench was not satisfied with the answers given by the counsel and dismissed the plea, saying no question of law was involved in the matter.

“We will not interfere with the high court verdict. It is a well-written judgment,” PTI quoted the Supreme Court as saying.

In September 2017, the Delhi High Court had acquitted Farooqui, saying he was entitled to benefit of the doubt as the testimony of the victim was not reliable.

Justice Ashutosh Kumar had set aside the trial court order which had awarded a seven-year jail term to Farooqui after convicting him for the alleged rape of a 30-year-old American researcher at his south Delhi residence in March 2015.

The high court, in its 85-page judgment, had directed that Farooqui be released forthwith.

It had held that the woman’s testimony was not reliable and the accused can be given the benefit of doubt. “Whether such an incident happened, if it has happened, it did happen with the consent of the prosecutrix. This remains in doubt,” the court had said.

Farooqui had challenged his conviction and the sentence given by the trial court.

During arguments, Farooqui’s lawyer had denied the allegation of rape levelled by the woman and had said, “no such incident took place on that day”.

His counsel had referred to messages exchanged between his client and the woman before the case was lodged and contended that the two were in a “relationship” since January 2015.

The argument was opposed by Delhi Police’s counsel, who had said that rape had taken place and the trial court had given reasons while convicting and sentencing 45-year-old Farooqui.

A trial court on 4 August last year had sent him to jail for seven years, observing that he had taken advantage of the situation when the victim was alone in his house.

The court, which on 30 July, 2016, had held Farooqui guilty of raping the American woman in 2015 in a drunken state, had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

The police had on 19 June, 2015, lodged an FIR against Farooqui on the woman’s complaint after which he was arrested.

On 29 July, 2015, the police had filed its chargesheet against Farooqui, alleging he had raped the research scholar from Columbia University at his Sukhdev Vihar house in South Delhi on 28 March, 2015.

With inputs from PTI

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:46 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 13:48 PM


Readmore

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Naya Rivera’s estranged husband Ryan Dorsey drops charges of domestic violence against Glee actress

Published

on

The charges of domestic violence against Glee star Naya Rivera by her estranged husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, have been dropped after he decided not to press charges, as reported by Daily News.

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey. Facebook

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey. Facebook

Rivera had been arrested and charged with domestic battery last year following a complaint by Dorsey when she had struck him on the head and the bottom lip while on a stroll with their two year old son. The charges have been dropped by Kanawha County Magistrate Court’s office, as reported by Daily News.

The incident had occurred on 25 November, 2017 and the actress was believed to be intoxicated at the time. The fight between the couple had erupted over an argument over their son. At the time the actor known for his role on Pitch had tweeted a statement, “This is a difficult time for everyone in the family especially for Naya and I. This isn’t some reality show, this is our life, and I ask that everyone especially ‘the media’ please respect our privacy and treat us/this situation how you would want a loved one to be treated. Perhaps with kindness, respect, without judgement, and as negative a situation like this is, with positivity and love. Thanks,” as reported by US Weekly.

After her arrest, Rivera had filed for divorce a second time, from Dorsey since November 2016, which she had dismissed, as reported by Daily News.

Published Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:48 PM | Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 12:48 PM

Readmore

Continue Reading

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Trending