Tuesday, December 29, 2009

[DVD] Blue (2009)

If I may broadly categorize Bollywood films into two camps. One, the original works, which might even extend to remakes of films from the other regions in the subcontinent, but seldom seen outside of it. The masala formula would work its magic into creating an entertaining tale filled with a song and dance extravaganza. Then the other would be the stitching together of elements from other films, seldom referred to as paying homage or acknowledged if at all, and trying to pass them off as originals. These tend to be predictable, and plainly concealing a bad, if non-existent story. Blue unfortunately falls into the latter category.

I had originally wanted to watch this on the big screen, given its tooting of the horn that it's the first to feature stunning underwater photography in a Bollywood action film. But the result here, for an actioner, is something that left much to be desired. While references to Into The Blue can be discounted by virtue of it being just another treasure hunter movie set in the high seas, the other sequences here were something that you would have seen before, from boring MI:2 motorcycle chase scenes, the Bourne Ultimatum for fisticuffs on board a boat, to the one that takes the cake involving a gunfight that was a lift out from Bad Boys 2.

Lines were also found lifted from films like Hitch, but thankfully this was kept to a minimum. Set in the Bahamas with locations like Thailand also included, this film dwells on the search for the missing sunken ship Lady in Blue, which is said to contain treasures beyond a man's widest dreams. A simple, carefree fisherman Sagar (Sanjay Dutt) holds key to the location of the ship, given a diving expedition with his dad when young which resulted in a tragedy. His good friend, rich playboy Aarav (Akshay Kumar, whose films this year had rather mediocre box office returns) desires that Sagar would come to his senses and make them both richer, but to Sagar it's a secret that he would bring to the grave.

Enter Sagar's reckless brother Sam (Zayed Khan) who's being pursued by thugs all the way from Thailand for a sum of 50 million dollars that he owes, and you know just what the solution is for our reluctant Sagar. As mentioned the film got made through the stringing of action sequences one after another, with room for some romance between Sagar and Mona (Lara Dutta, and Sam and Nikki (Katrina Kaif in a short supporting role), but the much touted underwater action scenes turn out to be nothing more than a drop in the ocean, much of it against faceless thugs who seem to appear quite conveniently to challenge our testosterone filled trio.

There's a nice twist to the story about families which gave the weak story some sense, but alas this was too little too late, as the finale was one hurried affair that seemed more like a haphazardly inserting a coda just for the sake of, damage having already been made by the uninspiring action and plot. If only it had taken time to further develop the characters beyond their cardboard caricatures, which would have made it all the more palatable in terms of story, rather than to stick its guns to the action which were cobbled from films made in the West.

Region Free DVD by Shemaroo Entertainment comes presented in gorgeous anamorphic widescreen format, except for an opaque watermark which pops on screen at the bottom right corner every now and then. Audio is presented in its original Hindi/English track and you can select from a 5.1 Dolby Digital or plain Stereo. Subtitles are available in English, French, Dutch, German and Arabic, and Scene Selection is over 18 chapters.

Staple to Bollywood film DVDs, the Songs section is separate, and allows you to choose specifically which track you want to revisit, either Rehnuma (3:59), Aaj Dil (3:09) or Kylie Minogue's Chiggy Wiggy (4:25). There's a play all function as well, and all songs once completed will lead you back to the menu.

Other Special Features include the standard Making of the Movie (20:16), presented in letterbox format, which goes behind the scenes at the shoot, as well as interviews with the cast and crew. A lot of time got devoted to the making of the action sequences here, and you'll even see Akshay Kumar get hurt while filming underwater. Some of the clips here also had segments from the respective Making of the Songs such as Chiggy Wiggy (6:58) and A.R. Rahman's Fiqrana (5:26).

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