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Review: Woodstock Villa

Directed by Hansal Mehta, this purported noir thriller is a killer waste of your time and physical tolerance, writes Khalid Mohamed.
Hindustan Times | By Khalid Mohamed, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2008 08:42 PM IST

Woodstock Villa


: Long Hair, Screamer, Sanjay Dutt Guitarwala


: Hansal Mehtaji


: * (and that’s being generous)

Take care. Your eyes may crinkle, ears tingle and your face may be lined with a brand-new wrinkle. Why-o-why? Oh dear, such fear, technically you’re assaulted here.

Flash slapdash, zappy zowie cuts, burn-outs, bleaches, jerky Jimmy jib jives, crane-pain, split screens and more techno-tricks are on display in Woodstock Villa. Directed by Hansal Mehta, this purported noir thriller is a killer waste of your time and physical tolerance. Ouch phir jeene ki tamanna hai?

Villa’s producer Sanjay Gupta has been down that rock-and-roll route so often that he should have learnt his lesson—by now -- to go straight. MTV chip-chops are no longer hip. Those editing slices and who-cares-a-damn-attitude about storytelling went out with those deejays going, “Yo!” and “Happy Deewali.”

Anyway, dil pe mat le yaar. Here’s returning to the villa which is a spooky bungalow in Lonavla. In case you don’t make the connection with the title, be informed that like Emraan Hashmi the camera keeps going kiss-kiss-kiss. Whoa, the camera smooches a signboard saying WOODSTOCK VILLA. Incidentally, the lights are very low in there and the ancient cane furniture seems to have been stolen from a godown of the Prince of Wales Museum. Umm.

Now whenever the camera stops lurching around drunkenly, like Keshto Mukherji, you can figure out that a young, long-haired man is making a screaming girl’s life miserable. He’s doing a Prem Chopra on her, threatening rape, tying her hands up in those nice, clean ropes which are always so accessible in the kidnap movies. Meanwhile, her Sanjeev Kumar-like nice husband hangs on to a cell phone as if he were expecting an important call from Mallika Sherawat. Or maybe even Jackie Chan.

Very, very confusing. You even expect a Villa Arun to pop up. Disappointingly, she doesn’t. So, you’re stuck with Long Hair (Sikandar) who needs money – who doesn’t? . And so he is has kidnapped that screamer (Neha Uberoi). Very aieeeee types.

By the way since she wants some cash too, she quits screaming and cozies up with Prem Chopra with long hair. Meanwhile harassed Sanjeev Kumar (Arbaaz Khan, will someone buy him a stylist?) is running around CST station with that cell, a non-designer bag of rupee notes (what, no dollars-shollars?), and two cops (Sachin Khandekar who couldn’t catch a mosquito). You keep wondering why Khedekar wasn’t given a double role. Comedy relief, you know.

Next: A car is dumped in a pond, Gulshan Grover goes, “I like eet, I like eet” the way Rajesh Khanna would. Shakti Kapoor shows up only for a brief while (thanks, thanks) and Sanjay Dutt hits a guitar as if he were beating up a goonda.

Amar Mohile’s background score could have done with finessing in the final mixing. As for Vikash Nowlakha Anshum’s camerawork and Bunty Negi’s editing, they leave you exhausted with all the gimmickry.

Of the cast, Neha Uberoi evidently needs some Whistling Woodstocks lessons in acting and make-up. First-timer Sikandar has a screen presence. For sure, he has potential but is obviously restricted by the screenplay and direction (for instance, he isn’t even assigned any dance moves in a disco set piece).

You’d like to see him again but not in that grungy look that went out with..Prem Chopra, Ranjeet..oh forget it. It’s becoming a tough life at the movies.

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