Time for a lil’ change of pace… and this time, a movie with my sweet Carolyn in mind. She’s a really… really… good sport about dealing with her goofy wife’s obsession with subtitled foreign film. Yep… it’s just sooo darn adorable how much she’s willing to put up with this wee Catgirl’s crazy movie tastes. 😉 So for her, we recently had ourselves a “Movie Nite: Romance Edition”…. with a look at 2014’s big budget blockbuster Hindi film “Bang Bang!”.
Our synopsis? How’s this? “When the enigmatic Rajveer draws shy bank receptionist Harleen into a wild chase around the globe, she has little choice but to trust him when he claims that he’s the good guy, and will protect her at all costs. Meanwhile, with danger at every turn and her feelings for him growing more serious, can she truly trust the mysterious jewel thief who has stolen her heart?”
Before silly lil’ me came into her life, I imagine my sweet wifey could count the number of foreign-made movies she’d seen on the fingers of one hand… now it’s a rare evening that we ever watch something made domestically, unless we’re cuddling up for some actual TV shows. You’d never know it if you ever just casually met my Carolyn… she’s so cool… so calm… so utterly no-nonsense and serious… but deep inside she’s a big softie with a secret hidden desire for romantic movies. Well… if it’s one thing Hindi films do and do well… it’s generously slather on the romance along with all that singing and dancing they usually do. Throw in some big budget action, exotic locales, a bit of comedy and I just knew this one would be up her alley… and it’s a remake of an American film she’s actually seen. Win-win if you ask me. 😉 So what are you waiting for o’ Gentle Visitors? Let’s all go “Bang Bang!”…
So, this one is a remake of a big budget Hollywood film… and an authorized one at that… not surprising given 20th Century Fox’s involvement through their Hindi subsidiary Fox Star studios. Now both Carolyn and I had already seen the Tom Cruise/ Cameron Diaz version of this one, 20th Century Fox’s 2010 “Knight & Day”, a few years back. I wasn’t all that impressed with it… and I think that was my sweetie’s general feeling as well. There just wasn’t that “chemistry”… that certain “zing”… between Cruise and Diaz that could sell the story… and a Romance story is all about the “chemistry”. If it’s not there… with that sizzle and smoldering feeling of real desire… a romantic film is doomed to failure.
I have to say… when I discovered this one during one of my usual shopping sprees for Hindi horror, I almost gave it a pass. But… darn it… Indian DVD’s are just soooo dang inexpensive. That, and I’m always promising my sweetheart I’d find us some movies without ghosts, monsters, aliens, or ninjas. (You mean there really are movies without any of those? 😉 ) Sigh… Given that, how could I not give this one a try?
Happily, I’m glad to say it was a risk worth taking. “Bang Bang!” ditches the ridiculous plot of the original for a much leaner, much more Hindi style story framed around the basic premise of the original… “shy ordinary “Good Girl” meets hunky mysterious “Bad Boy” for adventure and romantic hijinks”. This time out we get exotic, dark-haired Katrina Kaif as our heroine, shy pretty bank receptionist Harleen Sahani, who gets drawn into a plot involving international terrorist Omar Zafar (played by Danny Denzongpa). Violent Omar masterminds a vicious escape from police custody in the UK resulting in the death of dedicated Indian Army officer Colonel Viren Nanda (played by Jimmy Shergill) and then offers a $5 million reward for an Indian thief to steal the Kohinoor diamond from the Tower of London in an effort to stoke Indian nationalism and destroy all chances of a proposed extradition treaty between the UK and India becoming a reality. Simple, eh?
That first sequence, with its horde of evil mercenary thugs blasting their way in and out of the high security MI6 detention prison, is well done. It looks like something right out of a James Bond film and gave me the comfortable feeling the producers were definitely ready to go all out for the budget for this film, and they seemed willing to keep that impression going as the film progressed.
While all this is happening, back in India, our heroine Harleen has come to the unpleasant realization that her life… particularly her love life… are passing her by and she’s in real danger of ending up old and alone. But what’s a socially awkward shy woman to do about that? Certainly not get involved with her bank’s sleazy Lothario of a manager Karan Saxena (played by Pratik Dixit)… and the singles bar scene is sooo not her thing. Well… ummmm… So, how about internet dating?
After setting up a blind date with a potential suitor, “Vickie”, she runs into our dashing jewel thief Rajveer (played by Hrithik Roshan) while he’s hiding out from Omar’s goons after a handover of the diamond goes terribly, terribly wrong. It’s the old “mistaken identity” plot of course… with Harleen mistaking him for the date she’s arranged and Rajveer instantly smitten with the pretty woman he’s run into by accident and in need of a place to hide. We’ve seen it all before, but as is usually the case in these sorts of films, it works on that basic level to get the ball rolling.
Which it does… Naturally both the Indian Security services as well as Omar’s mercenaries jump to the conclusion that Harleen is somehow involved deeply with the roguish mysterious and quirky Rajveer. That puts her in serious danger. Luckily for her, Rajveer keeps popping up to save her… as well as get her even deeper in trouble. The chemistry is pretty good… with Harleen constantly in that state of confusion over whether or not her new mystery man really is a good guy, a certifiable nutjob, or a villain at heart. (Early on you’ll be thinking it might be all three… kind of like Han Solo meets James Bond gone off his meds, big time…)
There are the expected car chases, gun fights, globe hopping to exotic locals such as tropical Thailand, exotic Greece, Prague, and Abu Dhabi, all done with that ease that if this wee Catgirl was to think tooo much about it would have me wondering just how they manage it while being pursued by every police agency in the world. It’s best not to think about it…. the improbability of it just gets in the way and ruins the fun. Just accept it as some sort of “spy thing”…. 😉
Again… all this big action and world travel give “Bang Bang!” a look that tells you they had a big budget here and certainly weren’t afraid to spend it. The stunt work and action stuff is really good, giving Hrithik Roshan a chance to strut his stuff and he makes the most of it. He’s got a smoldering, brooding look about him with sinfully green eyes and five o’clock shadow that screams “action hero”…. Ooooohhh!! And some of the hunkiest abs this wee lady’s seen in quite a while. (Seriously!! There were a couple of times Carolyn caught me staring and gave me a playful nudge to remind me just who’s my “one and only”. Hey… I might be married… but a girl can look… 😉 ) Yep, our boy Rajveer is a lean mean macho machine… and I honestly could watch him chop wood shirtless for hours… Sorry sweetie, your kitten loves ya dearly, but this guy is a serious hunk. 😉
As our couple do that dance that lovers always do in one of these stories… on again… off again… almost in love, but not quite trusting the others intentions… we eventually figure out that Rajveer is really trying to use the Kohinoor to lure Omar out of hiding for reasons of his own. I can’t really go into what those reasons are, but they end up making sense by the climax, a last-minute rescue of our damsel-in-distress, Harleen from evil Omar’s desert fortress.
So will our hero turn out to really be a hero? Will our slimy villain get his? Will the Kohinoor get returned safe and sound and India and the UK make nice again? Most importantly… will our two lovers finally work it all out before that final big dance sequence at the end? Pssssh. People..people… c’mon… it’s a Hindi romance film. 😉
So how did this one go down for us then? Well… as remakes go… it’s actually a pretty good lil film. Certainly the romantic paring of Karina Kaif and the yummy Hrithik Roshan blows the competition away in the elusive “chemistry” department. (Sorry Tom and Cameron… but it’s just soooo true.) The story here is leaner… more “Indian”… and just a bit more simplistic… but it works better too. There’s enough really well done action to satisfy action junkies too. They keep the best bits from that earlier film and throw in quite a few of their own. Oooooh!! And I must award a special Nekoliscious “Purrr” of Happyness for the amazing waterborne chase sequence as our hero and heroine make their getaway from Thailand at one point in the story. It features this crazy bit where our hero Rajveer uses some sort of insane jet-ski/ waterboard thingee to run rings around his pursuers while doing that HK inspired “gun-fu bullet ballet” action films just love. I’m not certain if it was real… or clever CGI and wirework… or just what the heck it was, but “Boy, howdy!!”, it’s an amazing sequence that just screams “spy gadget” and would have looked perfect in a James Bond film. Bravo!!
I ended up liking this film. Certainly a whole lot better than I liked it’s Hollywood original. My sweetie did too… even agreeing, somewhat grudgingly that Hrithik was definitely the hunkiest hero we’ve seen in a long while in any movie. Both of us liked the romance, the exotic fun and flair… and even the musical interludes that wove throughout the film as spicy little nuggets of fun rather than jarring interruptions. With that… although others may be less impressed, I feel comfy in awarding “Bang Bang!” a firm 4 “Meows” out of 5 for giving us both a harmless fluffy evening of fun and romance and a couple of pretty catchy tunes. Yep. That certainly works for me. Want your own copy? That’s easily sorted, with the Region Free widescreen Hindi DVD available with those super nice English subtitles you want for right around 10$. Gotta love a bargain!
Yep… there’s a Trailer, a big loud one, with lots of reasons to explain why this one was so appropriately titled “Bang Bang!”. 😉