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Mayank Shekhar's Review: The Apartment

india Updated: Apr 24, 2010 16:10 IST
Mayank Shekhar
Mayank Shekhar
Hindustan Times
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Film: Neetu ChandraThe Apartment

Director: Jag Mundhra

Actors: Ronit Roy, Tanushree Dutta, Neetu Chandra

Rating: *

“Remember the golden rule of advertising,” says this film’s hero (Rohit Roy), holding up a copy of a magazine called Stardust (whose circulation figures I’m not sure about anymore): “Nothing sells better than sex. Not even Shah Rukh Khan.” A thoroughly original point, of course.

The heroine in the movie (Neetu Chandra) then plays a psycho-obsesso like Shah Rukh Khan from the beginnings of his career (Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam).

The sex here is of course a given. We’ve just been treated to an arbitrary shot of the leading lady sitting nude by the shower in the loo. It's a snapshot. And the film moves on.

An appropriately named Tanha (Anupam Kher) is a loner shayar (poet) in this film. A producer, listening to his Urdu couplets, stops him short, and suggests such things don’t work anymore. What does? Krazy Kiya Re! A ‘silicon implant’, later in the movie, shimmies across the screen over an “item song.”

The hero moves in with his girlfriend (Tanushree Dutta), a flight attendant. She walks out on him right away because a random girl walks in to their house once, drops champagne on herself, looks at the hero, and goes: “Look what you did. You made me all wet.” Hmmm. This is how the psycho-obsesso, and the flight attendant, become flat-mates.

The Apartment (1960) by Billy Wilder is a popular old movie, glimpses from which you may have watched twice on the Indian screen before: Aziz Mirza’s Yes Boss (1997), and in parts, Anurag Bose’s Life In A Metro (2007).

This Apartment is not even a distant relative. The script stars a small-town dement, who makes strange faces and obsesses over an uptown girl. It reads more like a Z-grader called Girlfriend (2004): a homophobic movie that many thought was a lesbian subject. You wish the plot here came embellished from elsewhere instead, Hollywood perhaps. But then, no one will attempt such a flimsy subject for about two hours. Inspirations are hard to find, for an obvious reason.

Legalise betting in this country, and you may get rid of match fixing allegations. Accept soft-core pornography in Indian films, and you’ll get rid of poor apologies such as these that have to force in plots, since they can’t just make a semi-porn pic instead. Deep sigh!