A good idea, like a good marriage, lasts for about seven years, till the itch begins.
When Nagesh Kukunoor returns on the screens July 2 with "Hyderabad Blues 2", he talks about marriages getting stale. The same, he should be told, happens with ideas.
"Hyderabad Blues 2" tries hard to revive the freshness and the joie de vivre that characterised "Hyderabad Blues". Sometimes the humour succeeds, bringing back a spurt of a smile; at others it's a little tardy.
The marriage of Varun Naidu (Kukunoor) and Ashwini (Jyoti Dogra) has lasted happily for six years, but now it's getting just a wee bit weary. Her biology clock is ticking on. He shudders at extending the family.
The film begins on a fine note - Kukunoor asking himself all the questions a much married man asks from time to time, "Am I really happy?" and "Is a great job, nice wife, good marriage what I want from life?" -- the usual stuff.
Kukunoor looks exactly the right sort of dazed, while Dogra plays the good wife, who only sleeps with her husband once in a blue moon, to the hilt.
There is, whether intended or not, a distinct been there, done that sort of lack of chemistry between them.
Trouble is none of it - the jokes, the everyday life style - are new any more. Nor are the jokes about US-returned accents. In the six years, since Hyderabad Blues released and made waves across the country, India has moved on.
Kukunoor, a good filmmaker by any standards, revisits but does not revitalize enough. His themes though interesting and certainly more engrossing than regular Bollywood fare have perhaps past their prime.
So, the innovativeness of things like using an amateur camera to give a real feel is a little lost. In the interim, there has been too many wannabe Kukunoors.
All this has dented the feel of the original.
The great thing is that Kukunoor is still able generate some laughs -- in aunties teaching seduction to young wives and telling them how to get their husbands to have kids, in Telegu abuses punched into the English film, in wives bitching about poking holes in condoms; all to have babies.
The best performance is by Tisca Chopra, who plays the smooth seductress Menaka. She is subtle, soft and with just the right hint of realistic seduction.
No cleavage popping, no tearing off clothes -- a gentle, mellow sort of seduction that works. The camera of G.S. Bhaskar tries hard to give an authentic amateurish feel, sometimes even hits the mark.
In the scene, where Kukunoor is drowning in his dreams under a flood of wailing babies, the lighting gets a little awry.
At times the cinematography is frankly more film school than avid filmmaker.
The songs, specially "Tere Bina" by Pakistani band "Fuzon", are delectable. It is here that Kukunoor really succeeds in weaving popular taste with the mood of his film.
The songs are just the sort that his upper middleclass characters would enjoy.
So "Hyderabad Blues 2" is enjoyable, especially if you like the small budget, soft humour films. Should Kukunoor make "Hyderabad Blues 3"? No.
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