Roy Review: The film is a snoozefest despite the hotness of Ranbir, Arjun, Jacqueline
The dialogues of Roy perhaps are more daunting than the mystery of Arjun Rampal's never-changing expression.
Spider-Man fans, turn away as we butcher your favourite quote for a great cause.
With great hotness, comes great power. Like the power to stop the audience from yelling 'WTF' even as they witness something mind-numbing and stupid. Arjun Rampal spends two-and-half-hours proving this fallacy right in Roy.
Roy opens showing filmmaker Kabir Grewal (Rampal) giving an interview to Cyrus Broacha about his new film (Kabir's, that is). He is in a black blazer, black pants, white shirt and a black fedora. Full props to the film's stylists for lavishing so much thought and attention to the wardrobe of a man who only has to keep his jawline unharmed in order to look hot enough to give ladies and gentlemen so inclined hot flushes in the peak of Delhi winters.
Kabir quickly proceeds to do a series of extremely nonsensical things that would render an average man unemployable and un-dateable to the world. However, when he takes a shower, his similarity with average mortals ends and you realise why he can get away with some of the worst pick-up lines ever. Kabir slips into a bathrobe, puts the fedora back on his head and sits down to write at his desk. He then pours himself a whisky, arranges a box of cigarettes like a child obsesses over a new box of crayons. Finally, he starts typing. On a typewriter. Unlike everyone in the modern era who spends half their lives keeping back-ups of back-ups of important documents on hard drives etc, Kabir taps into his inner Ernest Hemingway and rubbishes the perishable quality of paper and ink. Sitting in a room that looks like an antique shop selling over priced Ganeshas to foreigners, Kabir types his script.
Now, what's his film about? No one knows yet including the film's financier. All we know is that it's part of a franchise that is imaginatively titled "Gun". Gun I and Gun II were huge hits. This is Gun III and it is to be shot in Malaysia, of all places.
But early on in the shooting, the heavens weep and there's a tropical downpour -- probably because nothing of Rampal's torso was visible under the multiple layers of clothing. So Kabir cancels his shoot and decides to gift us mortals a glimpse of his torso by taking a dip in swimming pool. As he emerges from the pool, he spots a woman leaving the poolside. The sight of her bare female skin (framed by the straps of her rather modest swimsuit) stirs the adarsh bharatiya man in him. So he decides to stalk her.
Cue in Jacqueline Fernandes as Ayesha Aamir. She is an indie filmmaker from London, also shooting in Malaysia. For the first and last time in filmi history, an independent film has the budget to keep the director in the same hotel as the one in which a hotshot masala director is staying. Since she is intelligent and indie, Ayesha sits alone in the bar, with a book. She also chews her lips and occasionally her fingers to make sure there's not item in the sexy checklist left un-ticked.
"I don't like drinking alone," says Kabir as he strides over to Ayesha, and offers a glass of wine to her.
Ayesha throws him a "Phone mein WhatsApp, Facebook nahin hai kya?" look, but he is unfazed. Then they chat.
Since Kabir looks like Arjun Rampal, there's nothing creepy about him following a single woman around a hotel. So that's how a romance kicks off.
Simultaneously, there's another plot unfolding. This has a thief Roy, played by Ranbir Kapoor, the Manoj Kumar wig edition. He has to find the other half of a French painting. It's a badly drawn scene of a riverside city has oddly-shaped men and women, a dog and the colouring skills of a four-year-old. It's also priceless and there's another half of this painting, which is owned by a woman. So Roy sets off to pursue her and get the painting.
The woman in question is Tia, Jacqueline Fernandes trying to look like Marilyn Monroe with the help of a retro bob and red lipstick. We suspect she is a professional sea-gazer, or perhaps a balcony-admirer because we don't see her doing anything else. If these are indeed professions, we'd also like to sign up for standing at verandahs overlooking Malaysian rainforests while wearing deep lipstick.
While it is entirely possible to walk into that house, pick up the painting and leave, Roy decides to add some drama to it. So he pursues the woman, does the dirty with her (but not so dirty that her curls are dislodged or her lipstick gets smudged) and then makes a clean getaway after stealing the painting from her.
So what is going in Roy? Are we watching Seeta Aur Geeta, the New York Fashion Week edition? Is this the modern ambitious, multi-tasking woman's guide to bagging two hot men at the same time? Are we seeing an elaborate conspiracy to make Ranbir Kapoor look like a gingerbread man by giving him that terrible hairstyle and placing him alongside the gorgeous Rampal? Is it an ironical commentary on how bad your choice of films is? You have to sit through Roy to figure that one out. I suggest french fries, a empathetic friend on WhatsApp and Candy Crush Saga to be kept within reach to survive its running time.
Since his brief was 'Bollywood thriller', the Roy's cinematographer decided to keep colours and light out of the frames. Every frame of the film is a muddy grey, the colour of the monsoon sky in Mumbai. After a bit, if you are in Mumbai like me, you start panicking about your laundry, four months in advance.
Kapoor was asked to re-live John Abraham's one expression from Jism and he dutifully obliged. Rampal was asked to not smile too much and develop a stiff upper lip, literally. So he did. Fernandes should pay half her salary to the lipstick company, because her lip colour did more work that her face in the film.
More mysterious than the twist in the film (which anyone with a single functioning brain cell can predict within minutes of the film's opening) are the dialogues in Roy. Here's a sample. This is what two people who have sex with each other in two days say to each other by way of small talk.
Man to woman doing yoga: "Hmmm, yoga..."
Woman: "Haan, yoga...".
It's difficult to pick what is Roy's greatest achievements. But somewhere near the top of the list is the fact that director Vikramjit Singh has managed to make a film that has two of Bollywood's most goodlooking heroes, and leave a woman stalking random people's honeymoon pictures on Facebook mobile. To quote Kapoor in Roy, "Yeh kahani aisay khatam hogi, mein nahin janta tha."
Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele movie review: Zareen Khan, Anshuman Jha's sincere performances get lost in slow narrative
Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele has some freshness, but its the mawkish climax that rids the story of any realism
8½ Intercuts movie review: Astonishingly frank biopic of one of the greatest Indian filmmakers of all time
8½ Intercuts stands out because of director Lijin Jose’s clear-eyed view of KG George that is respectful yet not adulatory, and because George did not censor this final cut.
Photo-Prem movie review: Neena Kulkarni's film is a bittersweet take on how to leave a legacy behind
Photo-Prem is a funny, quintessential take on what we leave behind for memories but quickly loses potential with half-baked writing and slow pace.