Roy poster

22 Things That I Learnt While Watching Roy (2015)

Okay, so a couple of days back, I sat down to watch ‘Roy’ – the much touted second big release of 2015 (after Akshay Kumar’s ‘Baby’). I had been hearing spine-chilling reviews of the movie from friends, colleagues and…well…whoever bothered to share their opinions – but hey, when has that ever stopped the biggest movie-fanatic this part of the globe (that’s me, you sillies!) from taking the plunge? Weekend arrived, and…armed with a cuppa coffee, some snacks, and a cat beside me, I took on this task that many had cautioned me against. Did I have any takeaways from ‘Roy’? You bet:

Roy poster

  1. You can totally mislead the paying public with your promos and teasers. ‘Roy’s promos had Ranbir Kapoor splashed all over them, he was the man in the ‘in & as’ role, and it was a ‘Face/Off’ style poster with Arjun Rampal. Reality check? ‘Roy’ is NOT a Ranbir Kapoor film…Rampal is the captain of this (sinking!) ship.
  2. Anyhoo, people had gone in to watch ‘Roy’ as a RK film – and RK is the ‘next big thing in Bollywood’ – so why did the film crash, and crash this bad? The answer is simple folks – when Salman dishes out trash like ‘Jai Ho’, or SRK puts people to sleep with ‘Ra.One’ – they still manage to pull in Rs. 125 crore+ in India alone. That’s the leeway you get with being in the industry for a quarter of a century. When Ranbir does a dud, it remains a dud. Miles to go…
  3. When you can’t convince, confuse. No other movie in recent times has tried to follow this age-old adage so dedicatedly. Even when the end credits roll, you will be (unless you have snoozed off!) wondering whether it is a psychological thriller, a crime drama, a tale of dual personality disorder, or simply about a film within a film. Or was ‘Roy’ just a pathetic attempt by first-time director Vikramjit Singh to make a movie…just anything for the silver screen?
  4. Jacqueline Fernandez has shown the world that there is a very easy way to portray different moods of her character. When she is feeling all mushy and lovey-dovey and ‘Chittiyan Kalayian’ (the song promo said, ‘This Wedding Season…Go Chittiyan Kalayian’, whatever that means!), specs disappear, eyeliners and lipstick come into the picture, and her thighs become natural actors. And what if she is feeling sombre or depressed? Specs, oversized coats, and a general pained expression. Easy-peasy!
  5. Speaking of pained expressions, Ranbir Kapoor hadn’t sported this type of ‘the-world-has-come-crashing’ look even after his ‘Besharam’ tanked at the BO. Since his is a (probably, viewer judgement advised) imaginary role, he has a glazed look in his eyes – when he is planning an art robbery, or romancing the girl, or riding a bike, or when…sorry, he doesn’t do anything else in the film!
  6. Punchlines and captions mean shite for a movie. ‘Roy’ had 2 punchlines. The first went: ‘One Thief. One Robbery. One Confession.’ There is no confession in the movie, the robbery is reduced to a minor event, and the thief does not even exist in reality. The other one was ‘Words may lie…but the story never lies.’ Sorry, what story?
  7. In ‘Roy’, Arjun Rampal is ‘Kabir’, who is in a creative rut. But he has to write the script, and direct ‘Guns Part III’ – the finale of his super successful trilogy of films. So he goes to Malaysia, has a fling with the dishy Ayesha Amir (Jacqueline Fernandez), watches her do the ballet on the beach (which is, to give where credit’s due, very well performed), is never spotted doing any meaningful work – and then wonders aloud ‘Na jaaney yeh picture kaise ban gayi’? (How did this picture even get made?). Dear ‘Kabir’, the same thing can be said about ‘Roy’ too.
  8. Cyrus Broacha is alive. No kidding folks, a super fat version of dear ol’ Cyrus surfaces as a talk-show host at the start and near the end of this disaster…sorry…movie. The director, probably in a bid to break Cyrus’ funnyman image, does not give him any fun lines. Poor Cyrus looks bored. As did I.
  9. Some of finest actors can be drawn into a muddled soup like ‘Roy’. The starcast of Vikramjit Singh’s film includes names like Rajit Kapoor, and Anupam Kher, and even our very own Barun Chanda. All of them are equally wasted in inconsequential roles. But then, the entire movie is inconsequential – so I can’t really complain.
  10. Action sequences sell. They still do. Want a proof? ‘Roy’ has a grand total of ONE action sequence, when Ranbir Kapoor beats up some baddies. Almost the entire of it was shown in the trailer of the movie. Some people thought this is one of those dark actioners. Poor souls.
  11. Since my shoddy friends had already told me the gist of the story, I was still surprised by the opening credits of the film. Okay, the director does not want to admit that his biggest star-draw (RK, who else?) has an extended cameo in the movie – but what does the title card ‘Ranbir Kapoor (in a dynamic role)’ even mean? Try wrapping your heads around this one, folks.
  12. Serious, brooding guys get all the girls – that’s what ‘Roy’ teaches us. Arjun Rampal’s ‘Kabir’ never smiles (the closest he gets to it is a smirk), has an unkempt, bearded look for extended parts of the movie, speaks with a drawl (the ‘Rampal drawl’ would be familiar to any regular Bolly-watcher) – and yet, he already has had 22 affairs before laying his…erm…eyes on the pretty ‘Ayesha Amir’. Some people have all the luck.
  13. Not all movies have screenplays. Take the instance of ‘Roy’. Yes, the credits say that Vikramjit Singh is in charge of screenplay – but he fails as spectacularly in this regard, as he does as a director. Half an hour into the movie, you will start getting confused as to what is what and who is who. By the time the movie ends, you will have a few more gray hairs.
  14. The worst films often have the best music. Remember Ajay Devgn-Tabu-Rahul Bose’s ‘Thakshak’ (1999)? ‘Roy’ falls in the same category. ‘Sooraj Dooba Hai’ is peppy, ‘Tu Hai Ki Nahi’ is hauntingly soulful, ‘Chittiyan Kalaiyan’ has an infectious energy about it – but they pop up just like that in the film. By the time Ranbir Kapoor whistles while riding his bike to God-knows-where, the damage has been done.
  15. If you love someone, you can find a lookalike of your beloved just like that. At least that’s what happens to our protagonist ‘Kabir Grewal’. He falls in love with ‘Ayesha’, and immediately casts a heroine who ‘looks like her’ in his ‘Guns Part III’ movie. Maybe, just maybe, there is a case of twin sisters? ‘Roy’ does not explain that.
  16. At the start of the movie, Ranbir Kapoor says (serious face et al.), ‘Hum hameshaa kisi aur ki zindagi churake jeena chahtey hai’ (we always try to steal and live someone else’s lives). Fair enough, and certainly a case for philosophical brownie points. But how is that profoundly thought-provoking statement relevant in this movie? He is the thief…and if anything…he is being thought up and ‘lived’ by Arjun Rampal, right?
  17. Intense movie directors must always wear hats. Ask Quentin Tarantino. Or Francis Ford Coppola. Arjun Rampal’s ‘Kabir’ follows this etiquette religiously. He may or may not have a beard, his ponytail may or may not be present, but the hat is always there. Slightly tilted. Cigarette dangling from the lips. Hint of a smirk. Daddy Cool!
  18. Those of you unfortunate souls who have not seen ‘Roy’ won’t know this – but Jacqueline Fernandez has a double role in the movie. She is the ambitious filmmaker and love-interest of ‘Kabir’, and the glamorous art-loving companion of the fictitious ‘Roy’. In what can be termed as a uniform performance, there is no change of expressions between the two roles. Viewers not paying attention can easily get confused regarding which one is ‘Ayesha’ and which one is ‘Tia’.
  19. As the movies draws to its (eagerly anticipated!) close, ‘Roy’ becomes all transformed by love and wants to return a stolen painting. That’s also the cue for ‘Kabir’ to come out of his ‘writer’s block’ and finish the script for ‘Guns Part III’. So, if your lead character is an anti-hero sort of a guy, the film cannot be made?
  20. In ‘Roy’, Jacqueline’s ‘Ayesha’ is herself a movie maker. She is in Malaysia shooting for her short film, ‘Malaccan Diaries’. Just like ‘Kabir’, she is never spotted in any film set, there is no crew members in sight, and she spends days on end cavorting on the beach with the hunky Rampal. Does her film stall? No, Sirs and Madams, it does not – in fact, ‘Malaccan Diaries’ ends up winning awards! Super multitasker, I say!
  21. Apart from the solo sleek action sequences and the nice songs, ‘Roy’ has ONE more very well-crafted scene – the one where ‘Kabir’ rolls down his car window and waves a goodbye without looking to ‘Ayesha’, who is in another car behind him. Why do I mention this? Oh come on, one has to look for positives from this trainwreck!
  22. When a movie has Arjun Rampal in practically every scene, it’s bad news. Think ‘Moksh’ or ‘Deewanapan’ when the man was starting out as a leading man, or ‘I See You’, or ‘We Are Family’, or ‘Inkaar’. ‘Roy’ suffers from the same curse. Each of these movies had a lot of potential (that’s right, the premise of ‘Roy’ about stolen identities is certainly interesting) – but somehow, all of them got messed up. It’s not Arjun Rampal’s fault, since he has evolved a lot as an actor. Is it Karma?

A scene from 'Roy'

I started watching ‘Roy’ as a young man, all alive with the start-of-a-weekend energy. By the time the movie ended, I felt like a wizened, tired old guy, my cat had fallen fast asleep, and it felt like the world had come to a standstill. Probably because during the 147 minutes of ‘Roy’, nothing really happens.

Some films have that effect on you. ‘Roy’ is one of them.

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