News Column

Bollywood Sequel to 'Hitchcock' Disappoints

June 14, 2013


Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) fails to deliver laughs and his screenwriter wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) risk everything to self-finance "a nice, clean, nasty little piece of work" called Psycho.

Director: Sangeeth Sivan.

Starring: Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol. The plot: Conman Dharam (Dharmendra) and son Gajodhar (Bobby) make a plush living in Varanasi.

Studios bosses balk at distributing the film and the universally feared Motion Picture Production Code voices its concerns about the infamous shower scene.

London-based Paramveer is Dharam's elder son who supports him financially.

But nonetheless, the twisted duo takes great pleasure in ripping- off innocent businessmen.

During one of their latest escapades, Dharam poses as high priest Baba Yamla.

Alma remains a rock of support through the turmoil, and she offers valuable advice about killing off the heroine halfway through the film. "I think it's a huge mistake," she opines. "You shouldn't wait until halfway through... Kill her off after 30 minutes!" When principal photography eventually begins, Hitchcock nurtures an obsession with his blonde leading lady, Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson).

It's not long before Dharam meets UK-based millionaire Sir Khanna (Annu) and his daughter Suman who travelled all the way to get Baba's blessings.

A conniving Dharam requests Gajodhar to woo the young lady and so make their way to the UK.

In response, Alma entertains flattering overtures from fellow writer Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), which fans the flames of her husband's jealousy.

As the father-son land at Heathrow they are disappointed to find Paramveer working for none other than Sir Khanna. And so begins a rollercoaster ride of chaos and mayhem.

Adapted for the screen by John J McLaughlin from the book Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, Sacha Gervasi's biopic is a handsomely crafted portrait of tortured genius, distinguished by scintillating performances.

The verdict: Partly filmed in Birmingham, director Sivan's latest offering does not live up to Samir Karnik's 2011 original film.

Despite being an attempted comedy, the story lacks the earlier comradeship and sentiments.

A shabby screenplay full of ambiguity, bad editing and weak characterisation turns the whole film into a mindless caricature.

WARM BODIES (12) A TERRIBLE epidemic has reduced most of the population to shuffling corpses incapable of speech or feeling. Survivors of the disaster are crammed inside a high-walled metropolis patrolled by General Grigio (John Malkovich) and his gun- toting troops.

A beefy Sunny Deol disappointingly tries hard to be normal amongst a group of buffoon-style amateurish characters.

The film also gets a bit nauseating with Sunny repeatedly screaming his head off while bashing the goons singlehandedly.

A less energetic Bobby Deol looks jaded playing the lover-boy character already seen before in countless of films.

The acting talents of Annu Kapoor - who did brilliantly in Vicky Donor - remains untapped on this occasion.

The general's feisty teenager daughter, Julie (Teresa Palmer), ventures into the dead zone with her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) and best friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton), where they come under attack from zombie buddies R (Nicholas Hoult) and M (Rob Corddry). R kills Perry and devours the boyfriend's brain, which transfers memories of Julie.

Bored-looking veteran star Dharmendra seems to spend most of the time hitting the whisky bottle.

And quite rightly so, since he's surrounded by foolish characters and a story that is going nowhere. The Deol family hits rock bottom with this release and may very well not be able to recover the money they put in to producing it.

Something stirs within the zombie and he rebels against his carnivorous nature to protect the terrified girlfriend. Holed up in R's hideaway aboard an abandoned airplane, Julie slowly comes to trust her unlikely protector. Romance catalyses a remarkable physical transformation in R, suggesting there might be a cure to the plague.

Manish Gajjar is the Bollywood consultant for VUE Cinemas based at Vue Birmingham - the No 1 choice for Hindi movies in the West Midlands. For more information on film times and to purchase tickets in advance visit or call 08712 240 240 (calls cost 10p per minute from BT, other network may cost more).

Warm Bodies is a surprisingly sweet post-apocalyptic rom-com, that offers a refreshing twist on Romeo And Juliet replete with brainmunching and an army of skeletons known as "bonies", who threaten the film's star-crossed lovers.

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