Armaan

"Weak"

Armaan Review


Having limited knowledge of Bollywood movies, I'm a little afraid of showing cultural ignorance in my review of Armaan. However, if there's one thing I've learned from my nearly three-year stint at filmcritic.com, watching some of the worst movies ever committed to celluloid, it is that cinematic flaws transcend geography and cultural understanding.

The movie, which clocks in somewhere between 160 minutes and forever, deals with the trials and tribulations among the personnel at a gorgeous estate of a hospital, which is in need of new equipment and a load of cash. From that main conflict springs a virtual geyser of events, including a romance between a talented neurosurgeon (Anil Kapoor) and an anesthesiologist (Gracy Singh), an arranged marriage that puts a strain on the two lovers' professional and personal rapport, two tragic deaths, ghostly visions, a staggering number of brain surgeries, lots of screaming, and other conflicts, songs, a pretty sexy dance routine, two car accidents, and more songs.

Like most Bollywood films, Armaan plays like an elaborate soap opera, interspersed with songs. There's nothing wrong with good over-the-top entertainment. Two of my favorite movies last year were a musical (Chicago) and a melodrama masquerading as social commentary (Far From Heaven). But combining both formats into one lengthy project is just overbearing and eliminates any camp appeal. This is especially true when none of the songs are memorable and the onscreen drama is presented as if the director (Honey Inish, who co-wrote the screenplay) is running the movie equivalent of the fast break.

Consequently, the movie fails to weave a spell, which becomes apparent when Kapoor's character tells Singh's character that he is marrying another woman (the amazingly shrill Preity Zinta). Such an arrangement is the only way he can save the hospital, which his saintly father (Amitabh Bachchan) created and ran. Of course, Kapoor doesn't tell Singh the truth about his situation. Now, if the movie had thrown me into its world, I would have ignored this gaping hole and be happy that more drama was unfolding. I didn't and realized the movie was only halfway to its finish.

Other nagging problems include the actors' tendencies to speak in the foreign dialect and then launch into English, a trait that's even more annoying considering that the dialogue oftentimes matches the text onscreen. The subtitles are written so badly that you'd think the characters were in a Merchant-Ivory production. Two expressions actually used in the movie: "What rot" and "flow like bucketfuls." I did not see one corset or top hat during my time at the theater.

In the movie's defense, it does try to get a reaction, but the filmmakers try much too hard. After an hour or so, you realize that all they have is a series of dramatic twists, loud conflicts, and a collection of songs to flaunt. It's a lot like watching a very long movie trailer. However, Armaan's Web site proclaims that the movie is "a family drama that allows us to explore the intimacy of human relationships." I must have missed all that between all the brain surgeries and car crashes.

Like Assante?



Armaan

Facts and Figures

Run time: 158 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th May 2003

Distributed by: Ultra

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dr. Siddharth Sinha, as Dr. Akash Sinha, as Sonia Kapoor, as Dr. Neha Mathur, Aamir Bashir as Dr. Sanjay, as Gulshan Kapoor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.