Movie Review: KALANK lacks soul and is disappointing

Wed, 17 Apr 19 08:15:14 +0000

At one time, multi-starrers were in vogue but of late, such films barely come out of Bollywood. A few franchises like GOLMAAL and HOUSEFULL have kept this tradition alive. Even DHAMAAL can be counted here and its recent instalment TOTAL DHAMAAL was one of the biggest multi-starrers in a long time as Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit got added to the star cast. KALANK goes one step ahead as it stars six actors, all of whom are big and prominent names in their own right. So does KALANK manage to be a memorable multi-actor flick, replete with ample entertainment and drama? Or does it fail to entertain? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-971649 size-full" title="Kalank Movie Review" src="" alt="Kalank Movie Review" width="720" height="450" /> KALANK is the story of lovers not destined to be together. The year is 1945. Satya Chaudhry (Sonakshi Sinha), wife of Dev Chaudhry (Aditya Roy Kapur) is diagnosed with cancer and she is told that she has just a year or maximum two years to live. Realizing that Dev will be shattered after her demise, she decides to find a second wife for him. Her search takes her to Rajputana, Rajasthan where Roop (Alia Bhatt) resides. The families of Roop and Satya go back a long way. Roop at first rejects Satya’s offer but upon knowing her medical condition, she agrees. However, she has a condition – Dev will have to marry her first and only then she’ll move into the house of the Chaudhrys. Satya, Dev and Dev’s father Balraj (Sanjay Dutt) agree. Dev and Roop get married and the former makes it clear to the latter that this will be a marriage of convenience. After marriage, Roop moves to Husnabad near Lahore where the Chaudharys reside. At first she feels lonely but then gets curious by the voice of Bahaar Begum (Madhuri Dixit). She decides to learn music under her tutelage. Satya and others at first are aghast on hearing this decision since Bahaar runs a brothel and that too in the infamous part of the city called Heera Mandi. Roop protests and the Chaudharys give in. Bahaar meanwhile is impressed by Roop and decides to teach her singing. At Heera Mandi, Roop bumps into the flirtatious Zafar (Varun Dhawan). Both get attracted to each other. Zafar is a blacksmith and works for Abdul (Kunal Kemmu) and the latter has a communal mindset. He’s also against Dev’s newspaper Daily Times that promotes the idea of one nation theory, rejects the notion of Partition and recommends industrialization even at the cost of job loss of blacksmiths. Bahaar senses that Roop is getting attracted to Zafar and she gets horrified. After all, she knows that Zafar has ulterior motives behind romancing Roop and it get can lead to disastrous consequences. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Shibani Bathija's story is poor and silly and rests on a wafer thin plot. Except for Roop-Zafar’s track, all other parts of the story are not well fleshed out and are full of loopholes. Abhishek Varman's screenplay doesn’t do much to salvage the situation either. Instead of wrapping up scenes quickly, he lets them go on and on. And again, he doesn’t do much to hide the glitches. Hussain Dalal's dialogues are quite good at places. But in some scenes, it’s too filmy and might even induce unintentional laughter. Abhishek Varman's direction is not upto the mark. He was quite in control in his directorial debut, 2 STATES [2014]. But in the case of KALANK, he makes a mess. Anyways he couldn’t have done much when the script itself is flawed. The only plusses are that the climax is engaging and he is able to handle the visual grandeur of the film very well. KALANK has a surprising commencement since the trademark and famous title card of Dharma Productions is not displayed in its usual style! The three production houses associated with the film are quickly mentioned and the film begins. Again, here the principle cast is depicted quite smartly, without showing their faces. This might make everyone believe that one is about to see a film laced with a superlative script and execution. In no time, it becomes evident that it’s not going to be the case. The biggest problem with the film is that most of the developments are not convincing. In the beginning itself, audience will be bewildered as to why Satya went to Rajputana of all places to search for a bride. Roop reminds Satya that the latter’s family had helped the former’s family at one point but no details are ever given. It is also quite laughable that Zafar had never seen the face of Dev Chaudhary ever despite the fact that he had so much poison against the Chaudharys and also that Dev is a prominent figure of the town. The entire track of the blacksmiths revolting against industrialization and also for a separate nation also seems superficial. Why was Abdul so insecure about what gets published in Dev’s newspaper? Agreed that Dev’s daily must be having a wide readership. But it can’t be the only newspaper in circulation? He could have taken the help of other newspapers to spread his agenda. The film moreover is too long and some scenes could have been done away with. The bull fight sequence, for instance, serves no purpose and was just added to appeal to the masses. On the positive side, a few sequences are well directed. The intermission point, though predictable, makes for a nice watch. The sequence of Bahaar Begum, Balraj and Zafar in the second half is quite dramatic. Also, the climax and the madness at the railway station will keep the viewers engrossed. <strong>Kalank | PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | Varun Dhawan | Alia Bhatt | Madhuri Dixit | Aditya Roy Kapoor</strong> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt save the film from becoming an ultimate disaster. Varun is as always at his best and gives his hundred per cent to the role. He also contributes to the laughter quotient. In the climax however, he is terrific. Alia Bhatt also puts her best foot forward and just like Varun, even she is let down by the poor writing. She arguably has the maximum screen time out of all six actors and makes great use of it. Aditya Roy Kapur seems monotonous but this is how his character is. His dialogue delivery is quite good and in the scene with Varun, he does quite well. Sonakshi Sinha is sincere but her role will remind one of her act in the second half of LOOTERA [2013]. Madhuri Dixit looks stunning and gives a decent performance. Sanjay Dutt, credited as special appearance, is okay. Kunal Kemmu (Abdul) plays the villainous role with panache. Achint Kaur (Saroj), Hiten Tejwani (Ahmed) and Pavail Gulati (Aditya; journalist interviewing Roop) are fine. Kiara Advani is royally wasted. Kriti Sanon looks glamorous in the item song. Pritam's music could have been much better. <em>'Ghar More Pardesiya'</em> leaves impact followed by <em>'Tabaah Ho Gaye'</em>. The title track is relegated to the background. <em>'First Class'</em> is catchy and <em>'Rajvaadi Odhni'</em> is okay, but they come almost back to back. <em>'Aira Gaira'</em> is forcefully added. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara's background score is dramatic and adds to the effect. Binod Pradhan's cinematography is captivating and has the big screen appeal. Amrita Mahal Nakai's production design is surreal and though it might remind one of Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, it is praiseworthy. The Heera Mandi set and especially the brothel of Bahaar is stunning. Manish Malhotra and Maxima Basu Golani's costumes are appealing but doesn’t seem authentic in terms of the era and the economic condition of some characters. Sham Kaushal's action is fine and not too violent. Remo Dsouza, Bosco-Caesar and Saroj Khan's choreography is worthy. Fluiidmask Studios and NY VFXWaala's VFX is good overall but quite bad at certain places, especially in the bull fight sequence. Shweta Venkat Mathew's editing is very disappointing as the film is quite lengthy at 168 minutes. On the whole, KALANK is a visual spectacle that lacks soul and falters big time on account of its writing, length as well as music. At the box office, the film will suffer due to negative word of mouth and therefore the collections will drop after the initial euphoria subsides. DISAPPOINTING! <span style="color: #000000;"><strong><a style="color: #000000;" href="">Kalank Review </a>       <a style="color: #000000;" href="">Kalank Movie Review</a></strong></span&gt

Movie Review: The Tashkent Files

Fri, 12 Apr 19 07:30:49 +0000

A simple internet search will reveal how so many conspiracy theories exist when it comes to some important episodes of History. The scenario in India is no different and a lot of people strongly believe that what history has taught us is not entirely true. Hollywood has made films and documentaries out of it while India has lagged behind. But now director Vivek Agnihotri tries to put forward an investigative thriller based on Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death. The result is THE TASHKENT FILES and it releases in the middle of the exciting election season. So does THE TASHKENT FILES shake the viewer with its content and execution? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-970553 size-full" title="Movie Review The Tashkent Files" src="" alt="Movie Review The Tashkent Files" width="750" height="450" /> THE TASHKENT FILES is the story of a group of people trying to understand whether there was any foul play in the sudden death of a significant Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Raagini Phule (Shweta Basu Prasad) is a rookie political journalist in Delhi working for a newspaper called ‘India Times’. She has been given an ultimatum by her editor (Asif Basra) that she has to submit a scoop in a few days or else she’ll be transferred to arts and culture, a beat that Raagini abhors. One day she receives a call from an unknown person (voiced by Vivek Agnihotri) and he asks her to write about the mysterious death of India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. He had died on January 11, 1966 soon after the Tashkent Agreement was signed following the end of India-Pakistan war. The unknown caller even provides all the evidences and references needed for Raagini to file the story. The article gets published and it goes viral. Shyam Sunder Tripathi, leader of the opposition, uses this opportunity to score brownie points against the ruling government. Realizing that the matter has become too big, PKR Natrajan (Naseeruddin Shah), the minister of home affairs, forms a committee, and its members are to decide if there is indeed any foul play in Shastri’s demise. Shyam Sunder Tripathi is made the head of the committee. Other members include Raagini, author and historian Aisha Ali Shah (Pallavi Joshi), social activist Indira Joseph Roy (Mandira Bedi), director of National Archives Omkar Kashyap (Rajesh Sharma), scientist Gangaram Jha (Pankaj Tripathi), ex RAW chief G K Ananthasuresh (Prakash Belawadi), president of the Young Indian Congress Vishwendra Pratap Singh Rana (Prashantt Guptha) and retired Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Abraham (Vishwa Mohan Badola). A few of them in this committee, like Aisha Ali Shah and Vishwendra Pratap Singh Rana, vehemently deny that Shastri’s death was mysterious and stress that he died of natural causes. Raagini and others put a counter view to prove the matter should be investigated. Soon, it comes to light that nobody really cares for Shastri and all are there for some ulterior motives. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Vivek Agnihotri's story is interesting and the film rests on a brilliant idea. The material is well-researched and it shows. But the character development ought to be a bit stronger. Vivek Agnihotri's screenplay is not very effective. A few committee scenes are well written and thought of. However, at certain places, it becomes a mess as there’s too much of information thrown at the audience. Vivek Agnihotri's dialogues are acidic and add to the impact. Vivek Agnihotri's direction is average. There’s no doubt he has handled some scenes deftly. The sequence where Raagini is wiping the cake off her face and talking to the caller is well executed. A few committee scenes are also impactful, especially the finale. On the flipside, the exterior scenes look substandard. This is especially for the slow-motion jogging scenes. Vivek has also shot a crucial sequence in Tashkent and even a layman can make out that a lower quality camera has been used. These are all shaky, hand held shots and one wonders why he didn’t opt for at least a cheap tripod! <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Vivek Agnihotri & Team talk about film Tashkent files-who killed Shashtri</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> THE TASHKENT FILES is a 2.24 hours long film and could have been shorter and tighter for a better impact. The opening scenes are decent but again, too much time is wasted in establishing the setting and characters. The fun kicks in once the committee starts discussing about Shastri. The manner of the argument and even some character traits give an instant déjà vu of the Hollywood classic 12 ANGRY MEN [1957] and its Hindi remake EK RUKA HUA FAISLA [1986]. Post-interval, things do heat up at some places, especially Gangaram showing his true colours and his extremist views. At the same time, a few developments are quite unconvincing. The sudden killing of an important character is bewildering. Also, Raagini suddenly becoming a villain in the eyes of people and media doesn’t seem easy to digest. Shyam Sunder Tripathi’s monologue in the pre-climax is sharp but the impact is not much. The climax thankfully comes as a shocker and revives interest. The film tries to appeal to that vast section of people who feel that we have been taught incorrect history and who believe that a particular political party has been in the wrong all along. Although they’ll love the information and shocking details provided in the film, it doesn’t mean they’ll go to cinemas to see it as the treatment is not massy. Moreover, the plethora of information is laid out in such a way that the common moviegoer will get confused and overwhelmed. A few details are needlessly given to the viewers, like the role of Kamraj. Hence, it starts to feel like the makers wanted to also impress audiences with their research and not just tell a good story. THE TASHKENT FILES has some fine actors but Shweta Basu Prasad rocks the show. She gets a very meaty role and she gives her hundred per cent. In the climax especially, she goes on another level. Mithun Chakraborty is a bit over the top but it works and it is good to see him on screen after a hiatus. Pankaj Tripathi adds to the fun initially and then surprises viewers with his extremist views. He is fine although one might also feel that he just walked out of the sets of last year’s hit STREE and shot for this film without making any change in his look or dialogue delivery! Pallavi Joshi is efficient while Mandira Bedi doesn’t get much scope. Prakash Belawadi is dependable and also contributes to the film’s fun quotient. Prashantt Gupta is strictly okay. Rajesh Sharma and Vishwa Mohan Badola don’t get much scope. Asif Basra is fine. Vinay Pathak (Mukhtar) looks too young for the part of a spy who has worked few decades ago. His entry is laughable. Naseerudin Shah is nothing special. Achint Kaur (PKR Natrajan’s wife) is completely wasted. Ankur Rathee (Imran) is over the top and showing that he had a past association with Raagini serves no purpose. Yusuf Hussain (P K Bakshi) leaves a mark. Rohit Sharma's music is entirely forgettable. The promotional song <em>'Saare Jahan Se Acchha'</em> is missing from the film. <em>'Sab Chalta Hai'</em> doesn’t generate impact. Satya Mannik Afasr's background score is okay and could have been more dramatic. Uday Singh Mohite's cinematography is appropriate in the committee scenes but in the exterior scenes, it is nothing great. Uday Prakash Singh's production design is theatrical. Khatri Irfan's costumes are appealing. Sattyajit Gazmer's editing should have been sharper as the film is too long. On the whole, THE TASHKENT FILES is laced with an excellent idea and provides some shocking facts related to the sudden demise of Lal Bahadur Shastri. But the film has zero buzz and is riddled with too many loose ends. At the box office, the film is bound to sink without a trace

Movie Review: Romeo Akbar Walter

Thu, 04 Apr 19 15:13:20 +0000

When it comes to spy films, one usually thinks of the big-budget action flicks that have made mark in Bollywood like AGENT VINOD [2012], PHANTOM [2015], BABY [2015], BANG BANG [2014], EK THA TIGER [2012], TIGER ZINDA HAI [2017]. But RAAZI last year changed it all and made a mark in this space as the spy was not shown kicking ass but quietly doing her job for the country. Now a film in a similar space, ROMEO AKBAR WALTER, is all set to release. The comparisons with RAAZI will be inevitable, also because it is based in the same time period. So does ROMEO AKBAR WALTER manage to stand out from RAAZI or any other spy film? Or does it fail to deliver? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-968610" src="" alt="Romeo Akbar Walter" width="720" height="450" /> ROMEO AKBAR WALTER is the story of a patriot who takes extreme risks while spying in enemy country. The year is 1971. Romeo Ali (John Abraham) works in India in a bank. He stays with his mother Waheeda (Alka Amin) who is overprotective about him since Romeo’s father had died while serving the country. Romeo too has the passion to work for India but is unable to do so due to his mother. However one day he meets Shrikant Rao (Jackie Shroff), head of RAW, and he asks Romeo to join them and spy on Pakistanis on their soil. Romeo agrees and before leaving for training and eventual trip to Pakistan, he lies to his mother that he has been promoted in the bank and that that’s why he has been sent for training. In Pakistan, he manages to smartly win the trust of arms dealer Isaq Afridi (Anil George), who’s very close to General Zorawar (Purnendu Bhattacharya). While spying on their conversations and activities, Romeo stumbles upon an important information. The Pakistani forces are planning an air strike in Badlipur area of the then East Pakistan. This part of Pakistan is getting rebellious and wants independence. The rebels meanwhile are being trained by Indian forces and a lot of them are stationed at Badlipur, where the Pakistanis plan to drop bombs. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Robbie Grewal's story is promising and could have made for an exciting thriller. Robbie Grewal and Rahul Sen Gupta's screenplay however is very weak and flawed. The scenes don’t flow well and the narrative is quite incoherent. Audiences might not be able to easily comprehend what’s going on. There are too many loopholes that even a layman will be able to point out. Robbie Grewal, Ishraq Eba and Shreyansh Pandey's dialogues are well worded but nothing memorable. Robbie Grewal's direction is not upto the mark. It is evident that he has put in a lot of research but it’s of no use when you are not able to use it well. Moreover, audiences won’t be able to help but compare the proceedings with RAAZI and it was a far superior product. So this factor also comes in play. Except for the final scene, one doesn’t root for Romeo. His bond with his mother seems half baked. Even the romantic track with Parul (Mouni Roy) seems forced. The makers don’t even bother to show what happens to Parul later on. ROMEO AKBAR WALTER has a shocking start but then goes downhill. The film suffers from problems at many places. Audiences might not be able to comprehend what’s going on in the story. Quite a few sequences are difficult to digest especially how Pakistanis start to trust Romeo so easily. A few scenes do spark interest like the intermission point, Colonel Khan (Sikandar Kher) searching Romeo’s house, the lie detector test sequence etc. But such scenes are immediately followed by not-so-exciting or flawed developments. The last few minutes do evoke patriotism and tries to move viewers and the makers succeed only partly as it comes too late in the day. <strong>Romeo Akbar Walter PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | John Abraham | Mouni Roy</strong> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> John Abraham gives his hundred per cent. The film might disappoint but he won’t. His deadpan expressions work very well for his character. Mouni Roy has an interesting part to essay. Though she does well, her character gets a raw deal. Jackie Shroff is dependable but at places, it’s difficult to understand what he’s speaking. Sikandar Kher oozes fear and terror and gets the accent right. Suchitra Krishnamoorthi (Rehana Kazmi) is fine but has very little to do. Anil George is damn impressive. Raghubir Yadav (Mudassar) leaves a mark. Purnendu Bhattacharya is okay. Rajesh Shringapure (Awasthi) and Nawab Afridi (Shadaab Amjad Khan) do well. The music has no scope and seems forced. <em>'Bulleya'</em> fails to strike a chord. <em>‘Maa’</em> is forcefully added. <em>'Vande Mataram'</em> is played in the end credits. <em>'Allah Hoo Allah' </em>is needless while <em>'Jee Len De'</em> is there for just a minute. Hanif Shaikh's background score is quite loud but works in enhancing impact. Tapan Tushar Basu's cinematography is appropriate. Madhur Madhavan and Swapnil Bhalerao's production design gives the film a nice retro touch. Same goes for Ameira Punvani's costumes. The clothes worn by Mouni is in sync with the era shown. Prana and Pixel D's VFX is passable. Nilesh Girdhar's editing is quite slow and the film is too long at 144 minutes. On the whole, ROMEO AKBAR WALTER fails to impress as it suffers from a flawed script as well as a weak and lengthy execution. At the box office, it will have an uphill task to register impressive numbers

Movie Review: Notebook

Thu, 28 Mar 19 15:32:12 +0000

In the age of electronic media and social messaging apps, the charm of handwritten letters and note is even more special. At such a time, Salman Khan presents NOTEBOOK. Although it is based in time period of the last decade, it is not exactly a period film and talks about some of the relatable issues of Kashmir, and also of the matters of the heart. So does NOTEBOOK manage to entertain and touch a chord among the viewers? Or does it fail to do so? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-966660" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> NOTEBOOK is the story of the bond that develops between two lonely teachers without even meeting each other. Kabir (Zaheer Iqbal) is based in Jammu and has quit the Army following a traumatic incident. He is called to Srinagar by an acquaintance who recommends him to join a school started by his father in Wular. The school’s only teacher Firdous (Pranutan Bahl) has quit the school just some time back. With no other teacher there, Kabir agrees to join. Wular is located in a remote town and the school is built in a rundown houseboat. There are only a handful of students around and Kabir starts teaching them. In the drawer in the teacher’s desk, he finds a notebook written by Firdous. She has written her thoughts, fears, insecurities, strengths etc. while she was teaching in Wular. It helps motivate Kabir and he also falls for her. Also, the manner in which the students speak highly of her makes it clear that she’s a kind-hearted person. Firdous also mentions in her diary that she is having an on-off relationship with a man called Junaid. Moreover, one day the school is hit by a storm during which Firdous’s notebook falls in the water. Kabir tries to save it but fails. What happens next forms the rest of the film. NOTEBOOK is the official remake of the 2014 Thai film TEACHER’S DIARY [Directed by Nithiwat Tharatorn; story and screenplay by Nithiwat Tharatorn, Sopana Chowwiwatkul, Thodsapon Thiptinnakorn and Supalerk Ningsanond]. Darab Farooqui’s adapted screenplay comes across as inconsistent. The script had to be watertight in this film keeping in mind the loopholes in the plot. Sharib Hashmi and Payal Ashar’s dialogues are fine and work well within the context of the film. Nitin Kakkar’s direction is poor, which is shocking considering how well he had executed his previous films, FILMISTAAN [2014] and MITRON [2018]. The first sign is seen in the opening scene itself depicting Kabir suffering from the horrors of his past. However, this bit is shown just once. Ideally, the director should have shown it multiple times that he’s getting flashes of the horrendous episode he suffered when he was in the armed forces. Secondly, an action scene is needlessly forced in the first half and it serves no purpose. NOTEBOOK is a niche, multiplex-type urban film and the masala fight sequence looks so out of place. In fact, this niche appeal is also an issue as audiences might not get exactly the gist of some scenes. Take for instance the scene where Kabir reaches Delhi Public School to find Firdous. It is not clear at this juncture whether he managed to recognize Firdous. If he did, it’s bewildering why he didn’t talk to her. If he didn’t, then why didn’t he ask around in the school about her whereabouts. Lastly, it is laughable to see that Kabir never reads Firdous’s book fully. He’s reading just few pages each time. Note that he’s in a remote town and he has no other means of passing time. Also, he has fallen crazily for this girl. In such a situation, anybody in his place would have read the notebook in one go. But Kabir doesn’t and it’s only a few months later that he realizes that she has also written about her marriage! Due to such silly sequences, the impact goes for a toss. NOTEBOOK is around two hours long but moves at a snail’s pace. The introduction part is engaging and the manner in which the school is depicted initially is intriguing. One can actually feel that the school is located in the middle of nowhere. Kabir trying to adjust to his new surroundings makes for a fine watch. The sequence of Kabir making friends with the kids is okay as the humour seems forced. The best part of the first half is however when Kabir catches his girlfriend Dolly cheating. The use of the song <em>‘Accha Sila Diya’</em> adds to the fun. The intermission point is quite arresting. Post-interval however the film falls. Kabir could have easily met Firdous by making enquiries but the makers don’t allow that to happen. Hence, it seems very unconvincing. Also, the film deals with too many topics like terrorism in Kashmir, exodus of Kashmiri pandits, importance of education for Kashmiri children etc. These tracks however are more interesting than the principle plot and that’s not good news for a film that is essentially a love story. The film ends on a fine note but it’s too little, too late. NOTEBOOK rests on some fine performances with both the debut actors doing an excellent job. Zaheer Iqbal is quite sincere and genuinely does a good job. Despite his tough look, he plays the vulnerable part very well and comes across as quite endearing. Pranutan Bahl is stunning and has a supreme screen presence. She delivers a first-rate performance and can definitely make a mark in Bollywood, provided she signs some well-written films. From the kids, Mir Mohammed Mehroos (Imran) has an important track and is a natural. Soliha Maqbool (Shama) is most adorable. The others - Mir Mohammed Zayan (Tariq), Baba Hatim (Waqar), Adiba Bhat (Dua) and Hafsa Ashraf Katoo (Iqrah) also put their best foot forward. Mir Sarwar (Iqbal’s father), recently seen in KESARI, is fine. Zahoor Zaidi (Hameed Chacha), Mozim Bhat (Junaid) and Farhana Bhat (Dolly) are decent. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Notebook HONEST Public Review | Salman Khan | Zaheer Iqbal | Pranutan Bahl</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"><span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span></iframe> Vishal Mishra’s music is melodious. <em>'Nai Lagda'</em> is the best song of the lot and is also picturized well. <em>'Bumro'</em> is peppy although it comes up all of a sudden. <em>'Main Taare'</em> comes next though Salman Khan’s voice doesn’t come across properly at a few places. <em>'Safar'</em> and <em>'Laila'</em> are forgettable. Vishal Mishra’s background score is as per the film’s theme. Manoj Kumar Khatoi’s cinematography is stunning and captures the remote Kashmir locales beautifully. Urvi Ashar Kakkar and Shipra Rawal’s production design is rich. The entire school-in-houseboat bit is fascinating. Sanam Ratansi’s costumes are appealing. Shachindra Vats’s editing could have been tighter. On the whole, NOTEBOOK boasts of exemplary performances by the debutants and is beautifully shot while stressing on the importance of education. At the box office, the film would appeal only to multiplex audience

Movie Review: Junglee

Thu, 28 Mar 19 12:26:29 +0000

The gentle giant, elephant, at one point was a significant part of some very important films. The most memorable film in this regard was HAATHI MERE SAATHI [1971]. Then there were films like MAA [1976], SAFED HAATHI [1977] etc. that also dealt with elephants and made for a great, entertaining watch. Almost 40 years later, the jumbo makes a mighty comeback in Bollywood with JUNGLEE. The film has been noticed for its trailer and plot. Moreover, it’s a rare Bollywood film directed by a Hollywood director, Chuck Russell. So does JUNGLEE manage to be an ‘ideal elephant film’, just like its predecessors? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-966604" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> JUNGLEE is the story of a vet trying to fight an international poacher’s racket. Raj Nair (Vidyut Jammwal) is based in Mumbai and is a renowned veterinarian. He has an estranged relationship with his father, Dipankar (Vijaya Kumar Arcot Ramachandran), who runs Chandrika Elephant Sanctuary. Their relationship soured 10 years ago after Raj’s mother passed away. On her 10<sup>th</sup> death anniversary, Dipankar requests Raj to come back. This time, Raj agrees and he’s accompanied by journalist Meera Rai (Asha Bhat), who wants to interview Dipankar for his contribution in safeguarding elephants. Raj is welcomed with open arms by his childhood friend Shankara (Pooja Sawant), who’s also a female mahout. Meanwhile, Kotian (Atul Kulkarni) is a poacher working for a client in Taipei. They realize an elephant in the sanctuary, Bhola, has unusually large tusks. If they manage to retrieve it, they can get amazing returns for it. Kotian accepts the assignment and after a thorough recce, he attacks Bhola at night. Dipankar however reaches the spot and Kotian kills him. The goons working with Kotian also kill Bhola and escape with his tusks. Raj too goes to the rescue of Bhola but is defeated. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Rohan Sippy, Charudutt Acharya, Umesh Padalkar and Ritesh Shah's story is poor and dated. The only plus is that it educates audiences about the horrors of poaching and wildlife conservation. But audiences also need entertainment along with enlightenment and that’s where this film falters. Adam Prince and Raaghav Dar's screenplay is ineffective for most parts. There’s a lot the screenwriters could have done here but they don’t and it’s a loss of a golden opportunity. Akshat Ghildial and Suman Adhikary's dialogues are nothing special and some of them are even awkward. Chuck Russell’s direction is shockingly bad. One expected this director from Hollywood would work his charm and entertain audiences. Instead, he makes a mess. He takes too much time to establish and build up. It’s still fine for the scenes of Raj bonding with the elephants as it has novelty value. However, the sequences of Raj and his father are very unconvincing and looks staged. Also, he goes overboard while depicting the Indian culture and customs. In this regard, there are some ridiculous developments in the second half which would leave the audiences shocked. It’s unbelievable how it got approved in the first place. JUNGLEE is just 115 minutes long and that’s a big advantage. The beginning portions, depicting the sanctuary and presence of poachers is neat and sans complaints. Raj’s entry sequence and the fight scene at the skywalk are also decent. One expects fireworks once he reaches the sanctuary. His scenes with Bhola and a female elephant, Didi, are also quite good. But the film drags a lot out here with nothing much happening. In fact, this goes on for a long time till the pre-intermission point. The interval point is a shocker and gears up audiences as they anticipate a roller-coaster ride from hereon. But sadly, apart from Raj’s escape from the prison, no scene really makes a mark. The film also gets silly and ridiculous here. The sequence where Raj imagines talking to Lord Ganesha is when the film touches a low. The finale is also nothing special. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Junglee Public Review | Vidyut Jammwal | Pooja Sawant | Asha Bhat</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"><span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span></iframe> Talking of performances, Vidyut Jammwal’s performance is nothing great but he has a fine screen presence and that helps. Also, his action scenes are always first-rate. Pooja Sawant looks stunning and arguably is the best performer of the film. Asha Bhat keeps her performance controlled thankfully. Makrand Deshpande (Gajja), on the other hand, hams like anything. Atul Kulkarni is passable. Vijaya Kumar Arcot Ramachandran gives a decent performance. Akshay Oberoi (Dev) is sincere, in a special appearance. Vishwanath Chatterjee (Inspector Khan) is quite theatrical. Rohan Joshi (Jayesh) tries to be funny and fails. Same goes for Lars Kjeldsen (Vane; villain in Taipei). Agnelo Chang (Mr Sinaki; buyer of the tusks) and Ania Zeyne (Crimson lady) push the envelope when it comes to giving the worst performances of the year. Sameer Uddin's music doesn’t work. <em>'Dosti'</em> is sweet and is well shot. <em>'Fakeera Ghar Aaja'</em> could have been touching but it comes at a time when the film is really dragging. <em>'Garje Gajraj Hamare'</em> is played in the end credits. Sameer Uddin and Tanuj Tikku's background score is better and has that big-screen appeal. Mark Irwin and Sachin Gadankush's cinematography is average in most scenes. Also, too many long and bird’s eye view shots are used and it kills the impact. Chung Chi Li, Parvez Shaikh and Seayoung Oh's action is entertaining. Special mention should also go to Vidyut Jammwal's additional action choreography and it adds to the film. Mukund Gupta's production design is a bit unreal but works nevertheless. Urvashi Shah, Anirudh Singh and Dipika Lal's costumes are glamorous. NY VFXWala's VFX leaves a lot to be desired. And it’s very bad in the Lord Ganesh scene. Jayesh Shikarkhane and Vasudevan Kothandath's editing should have been sharper in the first half. On the whole, JUNGLEE is a clichéd revenge drama and reminiscent of the 80s and 90s action fare. The use of elephants might attract a section of audiences but in the long run, it’s bound to suffer at the ticket windows

Movie Review: Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota

Thu, 21 Mar 19 04:57:51 +0000

A sub-genre developed in Hollywood in recent times is that of superhero black comedy. DEADPOOL [2016] and KICK-ASS [2010] are fine examples of it and have been loved across the world. In India we have lagged considerably here. Forget superhero black comedy, even films with dark humour are seldom made probably since such films lack mainstream appeal. But now director Vasan Bala has taken up the challenge and the result is MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA. The protagonist is not a superhero here although his condition does make him a force to reckon with. With such an interesting idea, does MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA manage to work and give an entertaining time to the viewers? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let's analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-964667" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA is the story of a young chap with an extraordinary ability. Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani) is born with a rare defect called congenital insensitivity to pain. In simpler words, he can’t feel pain at all. This lets him go wild as a child and even get injured multiple times, since he doesn’t realise when he has broken a bone or requires medical intervention. His father Jatin (Jimit Trivedi) is therefore very cautious about him. Having lost his wife and Surya’s mother (Shweta Basu Prasad) days after Surya is born, his father is hence even more concerned. But Surya’s maternal grandfather (Mahesh Manjrekar) who also stays with the two is more open and adopts an unconventional method of parenting. In school, Surya gets bullied because of his condition and the only one who comes to his rescue is Supri (Radhika Madan). She however has an abusive father and she’s helpless in front of him. Surya feels obliged to help her and while doing so, he ends up pushing her father from the terrace of a three-four storeyed building. The father thankfully survives but Surya and his family are compelled to leave their residence and shift elsewhere. Here, Surya grows in a controlled environment under the strict watch of Jatin. He’s allowed to go out only once. In the present-day, Surya is around 21 years of age. Jatin is in love with a woman named Nandini and he wants Surya and the maternal grandfather to meet her at her residence. Both hence venture out. But in a funny misunderstanding, the grandfather is taken away by the cops and gets separated by the Surya. Surya meanwhile bumps into Supri, who has now grown up as a badass girl. He sees her posting publicity posters of Karate Mani (Gulshan Devaiah), who Surya has idolized since he was a kid. Surya decides to meet Karate Mani immediately and also Supri. However, once he reaches the karate centre, he’s shocked to see the place ransacked and Karate Mani injured. This is when he learns that Karate Mani needs help as he’s being tortured by his evil twin brother, Jimmy (Gulshan Devaiah). What happens next forms the rest of the film. Vasan Bala's basic plot is novel and unlike anything viewers have seen in Bollywood. However, the plot on the whole is quite waferthin. It’s a bit unconvincing to see that Surya and others are simply retrieving a gold locket stolen by Jimmy and nothing else. Vasan Bala's screenplay however tries to add some creative and entertaining moments to keep the interest going. Vasan Bala's dialogues are quite sharp and funny. Supri's remarks on Rumi are sure to bring the house down. Vasan Bala's direction is top notch despite some rough edges. The treatment is quite unique and that makes the film engaging to a great extent. The manner in which he has executed some sequences and Surya’s manner of thinking are also quite fun. The use of pop culture references further add to the charm. If only the film had a solid and convincing storyline, MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA would have been in another level. MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA begins on a fun note. The childhood portions are interesting but get stretched a bit. Memorable sequences here that stand out are Surya pushing down Supri’s father and Jatin confessing to Surya’s maternal grandmother that he loves Nandini. The latter is hilarious and would surely be loved. However, the first half is only used for build-up and establishing characters. It’s only in the second half that the film really gets interesting as Karate Mani’s characters gets defined properly and also Jimmy is introduced in the narrative. The fight in the security office is entertaining and even the finale is fun. However, the fight sequences are quite dragging. The film also doesn’t end on a justified note, especially what happens with Karate Mani. The makers do drop a hint about a possible sequel though. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Abhimanyu Dassani makes an extremely confident debut and impresses with his histrionics. Radhika Madan, last seen in PATAAKHA [2018], gets to play a <em>‘pataakha’</em> yet again. She has a fine screen presence and adds to the film's entertainment quotient. Special mention should also go to her action scenes. Gulshan Devaiah is the surprise of the film. His double role act is superb especially the part of the antagonist. He induces the maximum laughs in the film. Mahesh Manjrekar is also at his best and after a long time, he gave such a memorable performance in a Hindi film! Jimit Trivedi, who impressed in 102 NOT OUT, also adds to the fun. Shweta Basu Prasad leaves a mark in a cameo. The actors playing the young Surya and Supri are quite something. The actors playing Nandini, Atul, Supri’s mother and the old, moralistic security officer do well. Karan Kulkarni's music won’t become a chartbuster but is utilized well in the film. <em>'Rappan Rappi Rap'</em> is like a theme of the film. <em>'Life Mein Fair Chance Kiska'</em> has a nostalgic vibe, with the singer crooning in the style of S P Balasubrahmanyam. <em>'Tere Liye'</em> is touching. <em>'Nakhrewaali'</em> is well shot. <em>'Dreamtime'</em> comes at a crucial juncture while <em>'Kitthon Da Tu Superstar'</em> and <em>'Shaolin Sky'</em> don’t make the desired impact. The background score however is in good sync with the film. Jay I Patel's cinematography is neat. Eric Jacobus and Anand Shetty's action is one of the highpoints of the film. It’s very well-choreographed and would be loved. A few shots do get a bit gory though. Prateek Parmar, the martial art consultant, also deserves praise for his services. Ratheesh U K's production design is realistic. Abhilasha Sharma's costumes are glamorous, especially the ones worn by Radhika. Prerna Saigal's editing could have been tighter. The 137 minute long film ought to have been at least 10 minutes shorter. On the whole, MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA rests on an interesting idea and is well directed and performed. At the box office, it will need to depend on a strong word of mouth to post decent numbers at the ticket windows

Movie Review: Kesari

Wed, 20 Mar 19 16:30:35 +0000

Our history is replete with innumerable stories of heroism, which will shock one and all. More shocking is the fact that so many such brave tales are not even known popularly. The Battle of Saragarhi is one such story. 10,000 soldiers fighting against a troop of just 21 men - on the story level itself, it’s quite intriguing and even exciting. A couple of filmmakers did show interest in this project but for various reasons, these ventures couldn’t materialize. Finally, Akshay Kumar along with Dharma Productions and director Anurag Singh made it happen with KESARI. So does KESARI provide ample entertainment and patriotism doses? Or does it fail to stir up the emotions? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-964640 size-full" title="Movie Review: Kesari" src="" alt="Movie Review: Kesari" width="720" height="450" /> KESARI is the story of valour and bravery. The year is 1897. Hawaldar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) is posted somewhere in the present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Sikh regiment. The regiment witnesses a woman about to get killed by a group of Afghan tribesman for not adhering to her marriage. Despite the superior British officer telling him to not get involved, Ishar attacks the Afghans and saves the lady. The British officer is furious and as punishment, Ishar is transferred to Saragarhi Fort, considered as a place where ‘nothing happens’. Ishar Singh reaches there and realizes the 20 Sikh soldiers posted in the fort as part of 36<sup>th</sup> regiment are making merry since they are aware there’s no way an emergency or war like situation will ever arise. Ishar attempts to punish them but realizes that they are tough and have a brotherly feeling towards each other. Meanwhile, the various Afghan tribe chiefs unite and decide to attack the Saragarhi Fort and also Fort Gulistan and Fort Lockhart and thus defeat the British. The Afghans are aware that there are a handful of Sikh soldiers in Saragarhi and hence, they would be easily defeated. They begin their march. Ishar Singh and the others in the fort get shocked as around 10,000 tribesman stand outside the gate of the fort and all set to attack. Ishar gets an order from the British to stay put at the fort. They are unable to provide help as the Afghans have cut off all routes to Saragarhi. Ishar asks his regiment that fighting so many people will be fatal and that they can all run away. The soldiers however refuse to escape and chose to fight and die. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Girish Kohli and Anurag Singh's story is interesting and inspirational. Although there has been a television series on this battle, still this episode hasn’t got its due. Hence, KESARI is sure to educate viewers on this landmark incident of Indian history. Girish Kohli and Anurag Singh's screenplay is effective for most parts. The first half has some light as well as tense moments. But it is also weak at some places and could have been better written. But the second half is where the writers do a fabulous job. They have written the sequences very simply and hence, viewers will be able to comprehend what’s going on. Also, drama is very well infused in war sequences to keep audiences glued to their seats. Girish Kohli and Anurag Singh's dialogues are sharp and also funny at places. Moreover, they are clapworthy and relevant in today’s times. Anurag Singh's direction is neat and uncomplicated. The sequences flow very well although in the first half, he could have done a better job. He manages to stir anger towards Afghans among the viewers. Also, the 21 Sikh soldiers are actually fighting on behalf of the British and this angle could have affected the impact. But the director takes care of this aspect nicely. Throughout the second half, one just roots for the 36<sup>th</sup> regiment and want them to emerge victorious. On the flipside, one wishes the execution was little better at certain points. KESARI has a fine first half and it’s mainly utilized for the build-up and to introduce the characters. There are places where one does feel a bit disappointed as the goings-on are not that great. Also, the romantic track is damp squib. But the makers compensate with the introduction sequence, the scene of the hen and with the scene of the Sikhs rebuilding the mosque in the village. The intermission arrives at a great point and it sets the tone for the second half. Post-interval, the film goes on a high with several scenes turning out to be clap and whistle worthy. Films usually suffer from the curse of the second half but KESARI is an exception. The scene where Ishar wears the kesari-coloured turban and arrives in front of the regiment is sure to create a riot! The battle scenes are a treat to watch as the soldiers use clever tactics to eliminate the Afghans. At the same time, the manner in which the soldiers begin to die one by one also affect you emotionally. The climax is sure to give a lump in the throats of the viewers but the makers add a nice heroic angle here that’ll surely lift the nationalistic spirits among viewers. Talking of performances, Akshay Kumar delivers an excellent performance. He looks totally in character. Check out his restrained smile when one Sikh soldiers urinates to chide the Afghans! Or of course in the climax when he’s down but not out. Yet another spectacular performance from this talented performer! Parineeti Chopra (Jiwani Kaur), credited as special appearance, doesn’t contribute much to the film. Her scenes, where she features in Ishar’s thoughts, don’t add much. Actress Toranj Kayvon (Afghani lady) makes much more impact in comparison. Mir Sarwar (Khan Masud) leaves the maximum mark out of the Afghani tribesmen. Bhawani Muzamil (mysterious sniper) gets to play a badass character and he’s quite fun. Rakesh Chaturvedi (Mullah) plays the evil character well. Ashwath Bhatt (Gul Badshah Khan) is decent. From the Sikh soldiers, Surmeet Singh Basra as Gurmukh Singh is the best and has a very crucial part to essay. Vansh Bharadwaj (Lance Naik Chanda Singh) also does a fine job. Music might not have a longer shelf life but works well in the film. The very entertaining <em>'Sanu Kehndi' </em>is sadly missing from the film. Same goes for <em>'Ajj Singh Garjega'</em>. <em>'Deh Shiva'</em> turns out to be the best and used very well. <em>'Teri Mitti'</em> is quite moving. Raju Singh’s background score gives the film a heroic feel. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Anshul Chobey's cinematography is spectacular. The long shots especially are impressive. What also aids the lensman is that the film is shot in some breathtaking locations. Sheetal Sharma's costumes are authentic. Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray's production design is a bit unauthentic in the fort scene, especially the exterior shots as it seems fake. But a lot of effort has been done to recreate the bygone era and it proves to be successful on other fronts. Parvez Shaikh and Lawrence Woodward's action is hardcore as per the requirement and is choreographed superbly. Fluiidmask Studios's VFX is praiseworthy. Manish More's editing is razor sharp overall and could have been shorter in the first half. On the whole, KESARI is a brave and inspirational tale of courage and patriotism with the dramatic battle sequence as its USP. At the box office, it will be loved by the classes as well as the masses while the four-day weekend will prove beneficial for the makers. Recommended

Movie Review: Milan Talkies

Fri, 15 Mar 19 10:40:34 +0000

The small town mania that gripped Bollywood in the last decade brought a welcome change. The films became more and more real as they talked about the ground realities and hence more viewers were able to identify with it. Tigmanshu Dhulia's MILAN TALKIES is also an attempt in the same league. It is one film that has being planned since 6-7 years with numerous changes in the cast and even producers. Finally, Dhulia managed to make it last year with Ali Fazal and Shraddha Sainath. So does MILAN TALKIES manage to impress and entertain? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-963016" src="" alt="Movie Review: Milan Talkies" width="750" height="450" /> MILAN TALKIES is the story of two lovers in a small town. The year is 2010. In Allahabad, Anu Sharma (Ali Fazal) is a small town filmmaker and dreams of becoming a big shot director some day. He funds his films by selling exam papers. Maithili (Shraddha Sainath) approaches him one day as she needs help in passing her examination. It is the pre-requisite by her future in laws before she can tie the knot. Anu agrees and falls in love with her. In fact his racket gets exposed and yet he goes out of the way to help her cheat and pass in the exams. Maithili too begins to love him and they start a romantic relationship. They start to hang out in the projector room of the single screen theatre Milan Talkies since Anu is friends with the projector guy, Usman bhai (Sanjay Mishra). Anu wants to send his father (Tigmanshu Dhulia) to talk to Maithili's father Janardhanan (Ashutosh Rana) for marriage. But Janardhanan is a priest and quite conservative. Hence he detests film industry and those working for it. As a result, he would never agree to the union of Anu and Maithili. With no other option in hand, the lovers decide to elope. However their plan is foiled as Janardhan finds out. He takes the help of local goon Guru Panda (Sikandar Kher) to nab them. Guru is aggressive and hates the idea of courtship. He stops Maithili and fires a shot at Anu. But Anu escapes. Meanwhile the husband-to-be for Maithili refuses to get married to her after the elopement episode. Guru Panda then agrees to get hitched with Maithili. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Kamal Pandey's story is predictable and done to death. So many films have been made on this subject for years. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Kamal Pandey's screenplay is lacklustre and amateurish. The single screen theatre element gives some scenes a nice touch but it could have been utilised in a better way. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Kamal Pandey's dialogues are simple and sans complaints. Tigmanshu Dhulia's direction is disappointing and how. It’s shocking that the filmmaker who gave gripping films like HAASIL [2003], PAAN SINGH TOMAR [2012] and SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER [2011] has made this apology of a film. There’s no consistency and direction leaves so many loopholes out in the open. For instance, the film starts in the year 2010 and yet the makers wrongly depict Anti Romeo Squad wrecking havoc when it’s a common knowledge that it was formed only in 2017. Also the look and even the quality of opening credits is substandard and again, this is not expected from a filmmaker who has created magic with limited budget in the past. MILAN TALKIES has an extremely haywire beginning. Too much information is fed to the viewers in limited time. It becomes difficult to ascertain what exactly Anu does for a living as he’s shooting films, replacing his actors when they get arrested, selling exam papers and even entertaining patrons at Milan Talkies when there’s a power cut. Viewers might even mistaken Anu as the owner of Milan Talkies! It’s only in the scenes of Anu helping Maithili that the film gets a bit better. The scenes of romance are also engaging. Post interval the story moves three years and one expects some fireworks finally. But that doesn’t happen. The idea that Anu made a film with a hidden message for Maithili is extremely silly. Moreover, in a shocking sequence, Anu who is now an established filmmaker is assaulted brutally by Guru Panda in broad daylight. The media covers the incident immediately and yet no arrests are made. The finale is predictable and clichéd. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-963017" src="" alt="Movie Review: Milan Talkies" width="750" height="450" /> Performances save the film from becoming an ultimate disaster. Ali Fazal is quite fine and shoulders the responsibility of a lead hero well. Shraddha Srinath has a striking face and a nice screen presence and gives a good performance. Ashutosh Rana is dependable. Sanjay Mishra is adorable. Sikandar Kher hams. Rajiv Gupta (Hariya) genuinely gives his best. Tigmanshu Dhulia the actor does a much better job than Tigmanshu Dhulia the director. Reecha Sinha (Babli), Deepraj Rana and the actors playing Ali Fazal's pals are passable. Music is average and not of chartbuster variety. <em>'Bakaiti'</em> is catchy followed by <em>'Mind Na Kariyo Holi Hai'</em>. <em>'Jobless'</em> is foot tapping. <em>'Din Dahade'</em> and <em>'Shart'</em> are disappointing and forced just about anywhere in the film. Dharma Vish's background score is nothing great. Hari Vedantam's cinematography is okay. Dhananjay Mondal's production design is poor. Nishant Khan's action is realistic. Praveen Angre's editing is haphazard. On the whole, MILAN TALKIES is a badly made film and riddled with a clichéd storyline. Avoid

Movie Review: Photograph

Thu, 14 Mar 19 14:02:43 +0000

The parallel cinema movement has been going on since many decades. A lot of well-made films have been made as part of this movement but most of them, due to niche factor, go largely unnoticed. Ritesh Batra’s THE LUNCHBOX [2013] however was an exception. It got noticed and even emerged as a commercial success. The way it became a rage in the festival circuit was so significant that even Dharma Productions got associated with it. Now, Ritesh Batra’s second Hindi film PHOTOGRAPH is all set to release and it once again seems to be an ode to Mumbai while depicting an unusual love story blossoming slowly. So does PHOTOGRAPH manage to work and be as good as or better than THE LUNCHBOX? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-962700 size-full" title="Movie Review: Photograph" src="" alt="Movie Review: Photograph" width="750" height="450" /> PHOTOGRAPH is the story of two people belonging to different strata of society who come together thanks to an unusual circumstance. Rafiq (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a photographer at the Gateway of India, Mumbai. He stays in a slum in a small room shared by 3 other people. Rafiq's grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar), based in his village in Uttar Pradesh, is old and is distressed by Rafiq’s refusal to get married. She hence stops taking her medicine as a sign of protest. To pacify his grandmother, Rafiq lies to her that he is in a relationship with a girl named Noorie. He even sends her a picture of a girl he claims is Noorie. The picture however is that of Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), a scholar from a Gujarati family. Rafiq had clicked her picture when she got separated from her family when they were at the Gateway Of India. When she saw her family is searching for her, a scared Miloni left taking the photograph and without paying Rafiq for it. Rafiq however is impressed by her innocence and beauty. Miloni meanwhile is extremely happy with the picture that he clicked as she believes that it captured her happiness and contentment like never before. Meanwhile, Rafiq’s grandmother is so happy with the news of Rafiq's relationship with Noorie that she comes to Mumbai to meet her. With no other option in hand, Rafiq meets Miloni and persuades her to meet his grandmother once. Miloni agrees and what happens next forms the rest of the film. Ritesh Batra's story is interesting and a bit in THE LUNCHBOX zone. Ritesh Batra's screenplay is engaging at places but falls flat in several scenes. The element of consistency is missing. Ritesh Batra's dialogues are simple and realistic. Ritesh Batra's direction is average. With a bit of a shaky screenplay, ideally his direction should have compensated. But that doesn’t happen. A few sequences don’t add much to the film and this happens more in the second half. Also the film has some unconvincing moments which the execution is not able to hide well. For instance, the manner in which Miloni is okay with Rafiq stalking her with the former even agreeing to meet the latter’s grandmother is difficult to digest. Also, how is she able to find time to meet Rafiq and his grandmother? Is she bunking her classes? If yes, why doesn’t the professor (Jim Sarbh) inform her parents or ask her considering that she is the star pupil? If she is not skipping classes, why don't her parents get the hint that she is coming home late, especially considering how strict they are about her education? PHOTOGRAPH begins on a sombre note and viewers will take a while to get into the mood of the film and characters. It’s only 20-30 minutes later that the film picks up. A few sequences stand out like Miloni meeting the grandmother for the first time and Miloni asking her maid Rampyaari (Geetanjali Kulkarni) about life in her village. The second half however is too dragging. Scenes of Rafiq buying the soap and comb and thereafter don't work. PHOTOGRAPH is a 110 minutes long fare and ideally it shouldn’t have been more than 90 minutes. The entire sequence of Rafiq hunting down the cola manufacturer is quite unique. But nothing much happens with regards to it later. In fact the climax is quite ambiguous and as a result it’s a huge downer. The film just ends all of a sudden and even as an open ending, it’s unconvincing. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Nawazuddin Siddiqui as always delivers a commendable performance. He is apt as the soft spoken and good natured photographer. Sanya Malhotra however steals the thunder and gives a powerful performance, proving that she is one of the best talents around. She went completely into the skin of her character and looks apt for the part. Farrukh Jafar is likeable. Geetanjali Kulkarni is adorable and her scene with Sanya in the first half is a highlight. Sachin Khedekar (Miloni's father) is passable with most of his dialogues being in Gujarati sans subtitles. Akash Sinha (photographer Baanke) and Saharsh Kumar Shukla are fine and authentic. Jim Sarbh (Professor Anmol) has an interesting look and is okay, performance wise. Vijay Raaz (Tiwari) doesn’t add much and his lone sequence is needless. Peter Raeburn's music has a laidback feel just like the film. Ben Kutchins and Timothy Gillis' cinematography is raw and captures Mumbai very well. Neha Kamra's hair and makeup and Niharika Bhasin's costumes are straight out of life, especially in case of Sanya Malhotra. Shruti Gupte's production design is also in sync with the character’s strata. John F Lyons's editing is too dragging. Also the intercutting in few scenes seem amateur. On the whole, PHOTOGRAPH is too niche and ambiguous and coupled with the lack of buzz it’s chances of success at the box office are slim

Movie Review: Badla

Fri, 08 Mar 19 08:07:54 +0000

A genre where Bollywood has lagged whereas the Western movie industry has progressed by leaps and bounds is the suspense. When it comes to Hindi cinema, very few such films are made out of which only a handful are memorable. KAHAANI [2012], directed by Sujoy Ghosh, is one of the best films in this category. As a result, the expectations are naturally high for his latest directorial venture, BADLA. What has also added to the curiosity is that it reunites the actors of the much-loved courtroom drama PINK [2016] – Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu – and that it is a remake of the much loved Spanish suspense thriller, THE INVISIBLE GUEST. So does BADLA manage to emerge as an entertaining and shocking fare? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-960574" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> BADLA is the story of a murder accused trying to prove her innocence. Naina Sethi (Taapsee Pannu) is a successful businesswoman in London and married with a daughter. Her life turns around when she’s accused of murdering her lover, Arjun Joseph (Tony Luke). All evidences are against Naina since she was the only one in the hotel room where Arjun was killed. She claims a third person was present who carried out the murder and even hurt her on the forehead. But the preliminary investigations revealed that the room was locked from inside. Witnesses outside the room confirmed that nobody came out of the room. Naina's lawyer Jimmy Punjabi (Manav Kaul) realises that it’s a tricky situation. Hence he hires expert defence attorney Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to ensure she doesn’t have to go to jail. Badal reaches the residence of Naina and he begins his own investigation. Upon talking to Naina and insisting that she tell him the truth, a lot of skeletons tumble out of her closet. She reveals that the murder of Arjun has something to do with the disappearance of a young man from a small town of Aviemore named Sunny Kaur. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Oriol Paulo's story (also the original writer of THE INVISIBLE GUEST) is quite impressive and unlike other murder mysteries. Sujoy Ghosh's adapted screenplay tries it’s best to do justice to the original film and its plot. A lot of scenes are well written. However the film is complicated in the middle. For a layman, it might be difficult to ascertain what’s going on. Moreover, the RASHOMON style of narrative can get a bit heavy on viewers. Sujoy Ghosh and Raj Vasant's dialogues are sharp and witty. A few dialogues however needlessly stretch the narrative. Sujoy Ghosh's direction is exemplary and tries to keep the essence of THE INVISIBLE GUEST alive. There a few loose ends, which were present in the THE INVISIBLE GUEST as well. Yet his direction is such that one won’t mind since there’s so much happening in the film. Also with the shocking climax, he scores a brownie point. On the flipside, BADLA could have been shorter. THE INVISIBLE GUEST was just 106 minutes long and this one is 14 minutes longer. These extra minutes in this frame-by-frame remake are because of a few dialogues that were not needed. Moreover, Ghosh adds a crucial dialogue in the first half that is a give-away of the film’s climax and it’s surprising he did so. Also unlike KAHAANI, this film is slightly niche and this could affect its prospects. BADLA's opening credits are quite interesting and slick. The beginning portions of the film are a bit dragging. Too much time is wasted in Badal persuading Naina to part with the truth. It’s only when she starts talking that the interest levels increase. The best part of the first half however is Arjun meeting Rani (Amrita Singh) and Nirmal and the shock he gets in their house. The intermission point is interesting as it sets the mood for things to come. Post interval, the film remains engaging but at the same time, it also starts to drop at places. It’s only in the last 20 minutes when the tables turn is when it arrests attention. The climax is definitely a bolt from the blue as no one could have seen it coming. But it should have been executed well for a better and more mainstream impact. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Amitabh Bachchan delivers a bravura performance as always. His scenes are only with Taapsee in an enclosed room. But he does it very well and adds to the dramatic and even funny quotient. Taapsee Pannu is exceptional and the way she brings out the various shades of her character to the forefront is praiseworthy. Throughout the film, it’ll be difficult to know if she’s the victim or not and this is possible majorly through her convincing performance. Amrita Singh is natural and has a crucial part in the film. She proves yet again that she deserves to be seen more. Tony Luke has an accent but that works for his character. Performance wise, he is first rate. Manav Kaul is fine in a small role. Denzil Smith (cop) and the actors playing Sunny Kaur, Naina’s husband Sunil are okay. BADLA is a song-less film with only the title song played during the opening credits. Clinton Cerejo's background score is engaging and suits the mood of the film. Avik Mukhopadhyay's cinematography is appropriate and the outside country scenes are well captured. Kaushik Das, Subrata Barik and Paul Rowen's production design is fine although it could have been a bit more realistic in the hotel room scene. Dipika Lal and Anirudh Singh's costumes are spot on. Christian Tinsley and Dominie Till's prosthetics is damn good as it plays a very important part in the film. Sham Kaushal and Alister Mazzotti's action is real. Monisha R Baldawa's editing is sans complaints except for few scenes in the first half and middle of second hour. On the whole, BADLA is a smart and impressive suspense drama with the shocking climax and riveting performances being its USP. At the box office, its prospects might be limited to multiplex audience

Movie Review: Captain Marvel (English)

Tue, 05 Mar 19 19:05:23 +0000

Over the past few years, a little over a decade to be precise, we have seen the Marvel Cinematic Universe take shape. With twenty films already released in the run up to an ultimate climactic ending, each release has taken the story line forward. Now doing just that as well as introducing Marvel’s first female lead superhero film is CAPTAIN MARVEL, which is the 21<sup>st</sup> film in the MCU. But will CAPTAIN MARVEL that comes with immense expectations match up to the previous releases, and more importantly will it lay the foundations of what to expect in the much anticipated AVENGERS: ENDGAME are questions that fans across the globe are asking. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-959744" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> Set in 1995 CAPTAIN MARVEL follows the story of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as she turns into one of the galaxy's mightiest heroes and joins Starforce, an elite Kree military team, before returning home with questions about her past and identity when Earth is caught in the centre of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds. Will Danvers manage to patch together her past to reveal who she was, will she be able to subvert the Skrull invasion that threatens the existence of humans and earth, and most importantly will she eventually be the one to undo the decimation are questions that make up the rest of the film. Being a film set in the 1990s, CAPTAIN MARVEL begins with detailing existing characters that we have come to know like Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Korath the Pursuer, and Ronan the Accuser. Said to be set even before the events from the first IRON MAN happened, CAPTAIN MARVEL makes use of Marvel’s de-aging technology to bring us a younger Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Right from the outset the viewer is well aware of the fact that like the previous MCU films that have introduced characters, this one too will give viewers a backstory of who Captain Marvel is, where she came from, how she got her powers, and what exactly her powers are. However, a major question that has been plaguing the MCU fan base is the possibility of spoilers that could mar the viewing experience of AVENGERS: ENDGAME. But, rest assured, since Captain Marvel is set in a time when the Avengers never existed, it will be a far cry for spoilers to be visible. That said, we have to admit that directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have done a neat job with CAPTAIN MARVEL. Keeping in line with the previous MCU films this one too does well in detailing a back story for Carol Dancers that gives her role depth and helps develop a connect with the audience. A point that deserves to be mentioned here is that though Danvers suffers from amnesia and is able to remember her past life in glimpses and dreams, the on screen proceedings are never confusing. In fact, Boden and Fleck have blended montages of her past life well into the narrative and give the story progression an easy flow. Coupled with this is the fact that though CAPTAIN MARVEL is an actioner, it does have its share of dramatic and comic moments that are well interspersed into the narrative. Speaking about performances Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel does well in her given role. Despite being burdened with the weight of essaying the first ever female superhero character in an MCU film, Larson does a commendable job. Samuel L. Jackson is his usual self as Nick Fury, a role that has now become synonymous with. Ben Mendelshon as Talos/ Keller has similarly done a good job. Though caked in layers of prosthetics for his Skrull look, Mendelshon's acting skills still manage to shine through. Here a mention needs to be made for the stellar job done by the stunt coordinators who have executed the action sequences brilliantly. Coupled with a watertight screenplay and stellar performances, CAPTAIN MARVEL also features a good background score. Keeping in mind the time period the film is set in, the film's directors have done their research in terms of audio. Besides this the directors have also paid detailed attention to the prevalent language and slang of that era. On the whole, CAPTAIN MARVEL, is a thrilling ride that has the right amount of action, drama, and comedy, all rolled together with some fine performances. Despite being the 21st film on the MCU, it still retains that freshness and edge of the seat thrill that is certain to drive viewers berserk. At the box office, the film is expected to do very well, given the high level of anticipation for it

Movie Review: Luka Chuppi

Thu, 28 Feb 19 19:25:42 +0000

The 2005 film SALAAM NAMASTE is credited for making the idea of live-in popular in India. It’s been nearly 14 years since the film released and although live-in is a known concept by now and we have also had a few more films on this topic, it’s still considered a taboo in many places, including in some progressive urban areas of the country. Hence, to show a couple living-in in a small Uttar Pradesh town secretly can make for a fun and entertaining watch. Cinematographer-turned-director Laxman Utekar's debut Hindi film LUKA CHUPPI explores this aspect. Moreover, it stars Kartik Aaryan and this is the actor’s first film after the much loved and successful flick SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY. So does LUKA CHUPPI manage to provide entertainment in abundance? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-958234 size-full" title="Movie Review Luka Chuppi IMG" src="" alt="Movie Review Luka Chuppi IMG" width="720" height="450" /> LUKA CHUPPI is the story of a couple living-in with their family. Superstar Nazim Khan (Abhinav Shukla) gets into a controversy when it comes to light that he is living-in with his girlfriend and is unapologetic about it. The moral police come out in full force to protest against his 'indecent' act. One such organisation is Rashtriya Sanskriti Manch and in Mathura, it is led by Vishnu Trivedi (Vinay Pathak). His daughter is Rashmi (Kriti Sanon) and she joins a local news channel after completing her media studies in Delhi. Here she bumps into Guddu (Kartik Aaryan) and both fall in love. After a fight with his elder unmarried brother Vikas (Himanshu Kohli) and brother in law Babulal (Pankaj Tripathi), he decides to tie the knot ASAP. He proposes to Rashmi. She however refuses to marry him so soon and insists on a live-in relationship. Guddu obviously freaks out. However inspired by an idea given by their colleague Abbas (Aparshakti Khurana), they decide to live in when they go on a 20-day assignment at Gwalior, where no one knows them. Hence they could live in without any fear. But in order to get the flat on rent, they pretend to be a married couple. Rashmi also has to go out wearing <em>mangalsutra</em> and apply <em>sindoor</em>. All is going well when Babulal catches them getting cosy in a public place. Assuming they are married, he tells his family about it and they all land up at their pad in Gwalior. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Rohan Shankar's story is novel and entertaining and different from other such films in this genre. The characters are very well fleshed out and most importantly, they are relatable. Rohan Shankar's screenplay is effective for most parts and evokes the right humour. At some places however, it is a bit weak, especially in the first half. In the attempt to establish the setting and the dynamics between the characters, the writer seems to have done a bit of a rushed job. On the positive side, a few scenes are exceptional and would surely be loved. Rohan Shankar's dialogues are funny. Thankfully, there are no dialogues with double entendre. Laxman Utekar's direction is good but could have been better. The script gets a bit off in the first half and his direction does not do much to polish the minuses. But he gets better as the film progresses. One of the best parts of the film is how it addresses a taboo topic and yet makes it mainstream. In the past, we have had films based on live-in like say OK JAANU [2017] but it was a niche product as majority of the country just couldn’t relate to it. Laxman however executes the plot well and the message comes out loud and clear. As a result, this film has a wider appeal and thanks to humour and treatment. LUKA CHUPPI begins on a surprising note, showing the Nazim Khan controversy. It makes it clear that besides being a comedy, it’s also going to make a social comment. Audiences however will go by the trailer and they expect to see romance and some dash of situational fun. And they definitely get that once the characters get introduced. At the same time however the film takes a while to get into its element. The falling-in-love happens quite quickly. The way the equation between Guddu with Vikas and Babulal is established seems forced. In fact the dream sequence where Guddu imagines that his nephew Chiku is getting married falls flat. It’s in the scene where the Gwalior neighbours create a havoc is when the film picks up. This particular scene is quite hilarious and even heroic and will be greeted with claps. The intermission point, when Guddu-Rashmi’s <em>‘luka chuppi’</em> gets exposed (though not entirely) is also quite entertaining. Post-interval, the film gets even better as Guddu and Rashmi pretend to be married when they are not. The sequence at the temple is quite impressive, especially when it brings a new angle into the film. Guddu-Rashmi attempting to get married in their house is touching and yes, guffaw-inducing. The best however is reserved for the finale. Usually, comic capers tend to go all over the place. Fortunately in the case of LUKA CHUPPI, it doesn’t happen and it ends on a good note. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Kartik Aaryan once again is in a great form. His boyish looks work instantly but it’s his performance that makes it even more endearing. In one scene in the bedroom with Kriti and Aparshakti, he does go into the ‘monologue’ zone but quickly composes himself. His silent, deadpan expressions, especially in scenes when his family members are calling him names, are quite hilarious. Kriti Sanon has a fantastic screen presence and maintains a strong position. She also surprisingly shines in an important emotional sequence in the second half.  Aparshakti Khurana as always is dependable. The prejudice that others have towards his character’s religious identity is quite hard hitting. Pankaj Tripathi’s humour seems forced initially but later, it’s him who raises the maximum laughs. Vinay Pathak is a revelation. Till now, he has been associated with funny and light roles. But in this film, he plays a role of a dreaded politician and he looks very convincing. Himanshu Kohli is the surprise of the film and his character helps a lot in adding to the humour quotient in the film, especially post-interval. Vishwanath Chatterjee (Guddu's brother Varun) and Neha Saraf (Guddu's bhabhi Janki) also get a chance to make their presence felt. Chiku (Master Samarth) is adorable. Sapna Sand (Mrs Srivastava) is good as the nosy neighbour in Gwalior. Ajit Singh (Srikanth) is irritating as Vishnu Trivedi’s sidekick but that was the idea as his character has a villainous tinge. Atul Srivastava (Guddu’s father Badriprasad) and Alka Amin (Guddu’s mother Shakuntala) are decent. Abhinav Shukla is okay and ideally, the makers should have cast a superstar in his place. There are only recreated songs in the film which is a first. <em>'Poster Lagwa Do'</em>, the biggest song of the film, is shockingly missing from the film and is played during the end credits. This might disappoint its fans. <em>'Coca Cola'</em> is also played during the end credits and its foot tapping. <em>'Photo' </em>and <em>'Duniyaa'</em> are fine while <em>'Tu Laung Main Elaachi'</em> is melodious. Ketan Sodha's background score has a funny touch that instantly make the proceedings light-hearted. Milind Jog's cinematographer is average. Manini Mishra's production design is satisfactory. Sukriti Grover, Mallika Chauhan and Jia Bhagia's costumes are appealing, especially the ones worn by Kriti Sanon. Manish Pradhan's editing is appropriate. The film is just 126 minutes and moves swiftly. On the whole, LUKA CHUPPI is a funny take on the modern relationships laced with dollops of situational and funny moments. This clean comedy would get thumbs up not just from the youngsters but also from the family audiences. Recommended

Movie Review: Sonchiriya

Thu, 28 Feb 19 09:29:52 +0000

Hindi cinema at one point had a genre pertaining to films based on dacoits. Some highly memorable films are from this type of cinema like MOTHER INDIA [1957], GUNGA JUMNA [1961], BANDIT QUEEN [1994], JIS DESH MEIN GANGA BEHTI HAI [1960], MERA GAON MERA DESH [1971], CHINA GATE [1998] etc. Then there were films that weren’t completely on dacoits but had popular dacoit characters like SHOLAY [1975], LAJJA [2001] etc. In recent times, there has been only PAAN SINGH TOMAR [2012] which talked about the goons, that too of the dreaded Chambal region. Now Abhishek Chaubey attempts to bring back this cinema with SONCHIRIYA and just like PAAN SINGH TOMAR, he bases it in Chambal. Of course, Abhishek comes from a different cinema mindset and it is known from the start and more so after watching the trailers that SONCHIRIYA is not the usual commercial entertainer. Nevertheless, does SONCHIRIYA manage to make an impact? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-958089 size-full" title="Movie Review Sonchiriya" src="" alt="Movie Review Sonchiriya" width="720" height="450" /> SONCHIRIYA is the story of a group of rebels in Chambal. The year is 1975. The Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, has declared Emergency in the country. Man Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) meanwhile leads a gang in Chambal, a region that more or less is lawless. Vakil Singh (Ranvir Shorey) and Lakhna (Sushant Singh Rajput) are important members of this gang. Man Singh is in need of money to procure new arms. Based on a tip from Lacchu (Jaspal Sharma), he and his men descend to Brahmpuri village. A marriage is taking place in this hamlet where the groom is about to get a huge amount of gold and cash. Man Singh and his gang reaches the marriage venue in order to loot this wealth. However, the cops, led by Virender Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana) ambush the gang. In the tough fight, Man Singh and half of the gang get killed. Vakil, Lakhna and others escape. Vakil, now the leader of the gang, accuses Lakhna of betraying them and calling the cops. Lakhna is fed up of being a rebel and wants to surrender. Meanwhile, as they are running from the cops, they bump into Indumati Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar). She’s accompanied by her sister Sonchiriya (Khushiya) who has been brutally raped. Sonchiriya needs to be taken to the hospital urgently and she asks for Vakil’s help. The gang agrees. They halt to seek blessings of their goddess at a temple where Indu’s husband and other family members arrive. She is accused of killing her father-in-law and they ask the gang to hand over Indu and Sonchiriya. Vakil agrees but Lakhna realizes it’s not just and hence revolts. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Abhishek Chaubey and Sudip Sharma's story is interesting and very-well written. The characters are also fleshed out very well. Sudip Sharma's screenplay helps in keeping the narrative gripping. However, a few developments ought to be better explained. The dialect already makes things difficult to comprehend. And moreover, a few twists are so sudden and quick that viewers might not get a hang of it. Sudip Sharma's dialogues are acidic and sharp. Abhishek Chaubey's direction does justice to the plot and setting. This is a complicated film and on most counts, he manages to succeed. On the flipside, he should have avoided a few slow-motion shots as they didn’t seem appealing. Also, a film of such a budget and scale requires execution that makes the film more mainstream and commercial. SONCHIRIYA however is meant only for a niche audience. From ISHQIYA [2010] to DEDH ISHQIYA [2014] to UDTA PUNJAB [2016] and now SONCHIRIYA, Abhishek has remained consistent and has also become a pro in handling difficult subjects with élan. SONCHIRIYA’s intro scene is of flies feasting on a corpse of a reptile. The close-up shot is quite gory and makes it clear that you need to have a strong stomach to digest the proceedings. Also, the language is quite hard hitting. It takes a few minutes to get acclimatized to the setting, characters and most importantly, the Bundelkhandi dialect. But once that happens, there’s no looking back. The madness that erupts during the marriage scene is quite gripping. Same goes for the fight at the doctor’s residence. The entry of Indumati and Sonchiriya add to the drama and tension. The story takes a sharp turn when Indumati’s hubby lands up at the temple. Post-interval, the film slips a bit. The flashback portion, though very crucial, is too long. Till a point, it seems a bit repetitive as well since audiences have seen similar kind of action and dramatic sequences in the first half. But the way it ends is a shocker. The sequence in Beni Ram’s house also doesn’t come out quite well. It’s with the entry of Phuliya that the interest levels go up again. The finale also has a shocking twist. However, there are too many characters and far too many things are happening in the film. As a result, it might be difficult to comprehend some of the developments. The film also has excessive violence and abuses. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> The performances in the film are of tall order. Sushant Singh Rajput’s entry scene is such that you might not even notice him, since he’s standing amongst the other gang members and he looks just like them. No attempt to stand out or shine! This itself is quite praiseworthy. Of course later, he gets to shine and proves yet again that he’s one of the finest actors around. He is quite endearing in the scene where he’s showing his magic trick. Bhumi Pednekar has a late entry but once she comes in the narrative, she rocks the show. This is unlike the other rural or semi-rural characters she has essayed and gives a praiseworthy performance. Manoj Bajpayee overpowers everyone in his special appearance. One wishes he had a longer role. Ranvir Shorey too does fine. Watch out for his performance in the pre-climax during his confrontation with Lacchu. In fact, his character graph and the way it progresses is an important arc of the film. Ashutosh Rana’s eyes do a lot of talking and are impressive. Khushiya hardly has any dialogues but she’s a very crucial part. In fact, the film is named after her character. But she does fine. Same goes for Hetal (Little Gujjar girl), who haunts Lakhna and Man Singh. Her expressions are horrifying. Sampa Mandal (Phuliya) is terrific and is a surprise of the film. She plays a role based on the real-life dacoit Phoolan Devi and she does it brilliantly. From the gang members, Ram Diwakar (Natthi), Mukesh Gour (Sheetla), Mahesh Balraj (Bhoora) and Abhimanu Arun (Balak Ram) are first-rate. Other actors who do well are Jaspal Sharma, V K Sharma (preist), Dev Chauhan (Beni Ram), Vijay Kumar Dogra (Dr Bhadoriya), Ashwini Mishra (Gopal) and Kumar (Lalla). Vishal Bhardwaj's music is obviously not of chartbuster variety. However, none of the songs are memorable but they work well in the context of the film. <em>'Baaghi Re'</em> and <em>'Ruan Ruan'</em> stand out. <em>'Sonchiraiya'</em> is well placed and shot. <em>'Naina Na Maar'</em> and <em>'Saanp Khavega'</em> are forgettable. Naren Chandvarkar and Bendict Taylor's background score is subtle and impactful. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan's cinematography is splendid and captures the arid landscape very well. The bird-eye shots are also well captured. Anton Moon and Sunil Rodrigues's action is real and gory. There’s too much of blood and violence but again, it’s something that is required for a film of this genre. Rita Ghosh's production design is authentic. Divya and Nidhhi Ghambir's costumes are straight out of life and that era. Shrikant Desai's make-up is spot-on. None of the actors look glamorous. Meghna Sen's editing is simple and unhurried. However, the flashback sequence in the second half is stretched and could have been shorter. On the whole, SONCHIRIYA is a well-made and a well shot movie with a strong narrative and brilliant performances as its USP. At the box office, its prospects will be restricted as it caters to a different set of a multiplex going audience

Movie Review: Total Dhamaal

Fri, 22 Feb 19 07:39:27 +0000

The DHAMAAL franchise might not be counted in the same league as GOLMAAL or HOUSEFULL films. But the fact is that both DHAMAAL [2007] and DOUBLE DHAMAAL [2011] have been successful ventures and have worked on television as well. Therefore, the recall value is quite strong. Hence, it’s no surprise the third part of the franchise – TOTAL DHAMAAL – carries a lot of expectations. The makers have even upped the scale and madness by not only getting three prominent actors (Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor) in addition to the existing star cast (minus Ashish Chowdhry) but by also making it an adventure comedy, a rarely explored genre in Bollywood. So does TOTAL DHAMAAL manage to entertain and rock the show? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-955993" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> TOTAL DHAMAAL is the story of a bunch of greedy madcap characters on an adventure. Guddu (Ajay Devgn) is a small-time conman. He along with his partner Johnny (Sanjay Mishra) gets a tip that a large sum of money is being exchanged in a hotel room. They reach there only to realize that the one receiving the money is the police commissioner (Boman Irani). Nevertheless, Guddu and Johnny rob the money from the commissioner and escape. At this point, their driver Pintu (Manoj Pahwa) double crosses them and runs away with the money, amounting to Rs. 50 crores. Meanwhile, Avinash Patel (Anil Kapoor) and Bindu (Madhuri Dixit) are married for 17 years and have filed for divorce. Lallan (Riteish Deshmukh) and Jhingur (Pitobash Tripathy) are firemen who are fired from their job for taking bribe. And Aditya Srivastav (Arshad Warsi) and Manav Srivastav (Jaaved Jaaferi) are in need of a job. They are employed in an antiques arts gallery by its owner Altaaf (Sudesh Lehri). Unfortunately, Manav ends up breaking these antique materials worth crores. With no other option, they run away from the gallery and that too by stealing Altaaf’s high-tech car. They along with Lallan-Jhingur and Avinash-Bindu are on the highway when they see a plane crashing. They go to the site and see Pintu who is inside the ill-fated flight. He’s about to die and he blurts out to them that he has hidden the money he stole from Guddu at a zoo in Janakpur, located almost 450 kms away from the site. Before he confesses, Guddu reaches there and tells the others to back off since it’s his money. But the others threaten to go to the cops. That’s when Guddu devises a plan – whoever reaches Janakpur Zoo first will be the sole owner of those Rs. 50 crores. Thus begins the race of these guys towards Janakpur. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Ved Prakash, Paritosh Painter and Bunty Rathore's story is lame as it's just borrowed from the first part. There’s absolutely no novelty and it’s completely predictable. Ved Prakash, Paritosh Painter and Bunty Rathore's screenplay thankfully is a bit better as the funny situations this time are different than last time. But at certain points, it's also a bit random. This is especially true in the second half. Ved Prakash, Paritosh Painter and Bunty Rathore's dialogues are one of the highpoints and add to the fun. Indra Kumar's direction is a bit dated. He hasn't realised that times have changed. The plot and script already takes viewers intelligence for granted and his direction doesn't help much either.  The film gets stretched in the middle of the second half. Also certain communities are made fun of and it might not go down well with a section of audiences. On the positive side, there are numerous sub tracks as there are so many characters but he nicely shifts focus equally between them. TOTAL DHAMAAL begins with a bang. The entry scenes of all characters are hilarious, especially that of Guddu. Lallan's entry scene would also raise loads of laughs. The manner in which all the principal characters bump into each other is also quite nicely done. But then, there's no story movement as the next 80-90 minutes are devoted to the characters trying to reach Janakpur Zoo and the various obstacles they encounter on the way. Some scenes here are funny and genuinely raise laughs like the madness in the railway tunnel, Avinash-Bindu's attempt to take a shortcut, the sequence involving the GPS (voiced funnily by Jackie Shroff) and Lallan's scary helicopter ride. Post interval though it begins to seem repetitive. Also, the second half is devoid of humour especially when compared to the first half. The skydiving and waterfall scenes just don’t work. Notice how the makers have taken a jump in the narrative. They don't explain how Avinash-Bindu escape from the waterfall and how Lallan got hold of a motorbike. It seems like director Indra Kumar suddenly realised that he's invested too much time in doing 'Total Dhamaal' and hence quickly jumped to the climax. However he ought to have done it in a better way. The finale is also quite long drawn and again like DHAMAAL, it gets emotional. Thankfully the element of wild animals and the humour surrounding them give the climax a nice touch. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Ajay Devgn is hilarious and his expressions are spot on, thereby inducing maximum laughs. Anil Kapoor is loud but it works overall. Madhuri Dixit gets her comic timing just right. Her character also has a sensitive side - she is the one who urges the others to try to save Pintu and even the animals. However, Anil-Madhuri’s <em>tu-tu main-main</em> gets on one’s nerves after a point. Riteish Deshmukh sadly gets a raw deal and gets dominated, although he too gets his share of funny scenes. Arshad Warsi is sans complaints as always. Jaaved Jaaferi, one of the biggest strengths of the franchise, is quite good. Since there are too many actors, his screen time is a bit less as compared to the last two films. But his admirers will surely have no reason to complain. Esha Gupta (Prachi) has a very late entry but leaves a mark. Boman Irani is decent and his scenes with Ajay and Vijay Patkar (Inspector Patkar) are quite funny. From the supporting cast, Vijay Patkar, Sanjay Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Pitobash Tripathy, Sudesh Lehri, Mahesh Manjrekar (Chinappa Swami) and Srikant Maski (Reddy) are notable. Johny Lever (Shubroto) however leaves the maximum impact out of these supporting actors. Special mention should also go Crystal the monkey (Zoo security official) as he's funny and cute and also to Jackie Shroff who is funny as the voice of the GPS. Sonakshi Sinha is okay in the <em>'Mungda'</em> song. Gourav-Roshin's music gets no scope and thankfully, no songs are added in the middle of the adventure. <em>'Paisa Yeh Paisa'</em> is the most memorable from the lot. <em>'Mungda'</em> is disappointing while <em>'Speaker Phat Jaaye'</em> is played in the end credits. Kookie Gulati's song direction is visually great. Sandeep Shirodkar's background score suits the genre of the film. Keiko Nakahara's cinematography is satisfactory. Durgaprasad Mahapatra's production design is a bit gaudy and poor in some scenes. R P Yadav's action is fine while NY VFXWaala's VFX is average. In the scenes of the animals, VFX is quite good but in some sequences, it’s a letdown. Dharmendra Sharma's editing could have been crisper. At the same time, the way the focus shifts from one character to the other is praiseworthy. On the whole, TOTAL DHAMAAL is a '<em>leave-your-brains-</em>behind-at-<em>home</em>' entertainer with its share of funny moments. If you are not looking for wisdom and rationale in a light-hearted entertainer, then this movie is definitely for you. At the box office, it’s only the masses who might give the film thumbs up and they’ll majorly determine the fate of the film from Monday onwards

Movie Review: Gully Boy

Wed, 13 Feb 19 16:57:53 +0000

Rapping is a celebrated form of music worldwide. It came up from the streets and was able to resonate with all sections of society. India too has had a rapping scene and two of them who are quite famous in this category are Divine and Naezy. Zoya Akhtar’s GULLY BOY is loosely based on their lives and has managed to generate tremendous hype. The presence of Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt has also added to the buzz. So does GULLY BOY manage to fulfil all the expectations and emerge as a complete entertainer? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-953179" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> GULLY BOY is the story of a timid slum dweller whose life changes thanks to his talent. Murad (Ranveer Singh) is a college student who lives in a slum in Mumbai’s Dharavi. He’s in a relationship with the fiery Safeena (Alia Bhatt), a medical student who comes from an orthodox upper caste Muslim family. There’s tension in Murad’s house as his father Shakir (Vijay Raaz) gets a second wife, much to the dismay of his mother Razia (Amruta Subhash). Meanwhile, one day an upcoming rapper MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) performs in Murad's college and he gets floored. After all, he’s always been interested in rapping. MC Sher one day asks aspiring performers to meet him and Murad jumps at this opportunity. MC Sher takes a liking for Murad and motivates him to rap publicly. Murad is hesitant at first but he performs for the crowd who give him thumbs up. MC Sher even gets him to shoot a video which becomes very popular. However, Murad is not able to pursue his passion full time. He is compelled to step into his father’s shoes and become a chauffeur after the latter fractures his leg. He also has a complex on account of his social status. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar's story is promising. The character of Murad is very well written and also the world around him. Many who had criticized Zoya for showing the world of the elite in ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA [2011] and DIL DHADKANE DO [2015] would surely be surprised. Also the writers have ensured that the film doesn’t turn out to be just a story of a rapper. It speaks about passion, aspiration and also makes an important commentary on poverty, social strata, juvenile delinquency, polygamy etc. Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar's screenplay is highly effective. A lot of research has gone into the film and it shows. Several sequences are powerful and they hit you hard. Even the humour comes out very well. Vijay Maurya's dialogues further add to the impact as they are acidic. The poems of Murad are penned by Javed Akhtar and they have their own charm. Zoya Akhtar's direction is exemplary yet again and she proves she is worthy of setting her film in diverse world and yet emerging victorious. However, the film has a few rough edges and one wishes she had taken care of it. The second half is quite lengthy. In fact, it feels like one is watching a three hour long film. A few characters like Safeena and Sky (Kalki Koechlin) are interesting but they don’t have much to do and are conveniently disappeared in the middle. Also the tone and the theme of the film is such that it won’t appeal to audiences pan India. The film features scenes of rap battle where one is supposed to roast the opponent and get personal. Such scenes may put off a section of the audience. GULLY BOY is not the usual entertainer and this becomes evident in the first scene itself. However, the goings on are very interesting and suck you into the world of these characters. The entry of Safeena adds to the fun and the sequence where she assaults Albina, a girl who shows interest in Murad, will bring the house down. Murad’s struggles and his bond with MC Sher is also well depicted. A few scenes are exceptionally directed like Murad’s first performance. Another scene that stands out in the first half is when Murad gets the idea of the song <em>'Doori'</em> in the car. Post interval, the interest dips a bit. The film gets stretched and also has far too many sub plots. The climax thankfully is when the film picks up beautifully. The film ends on a high. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Ranveer Singh gets completely into the skin of his character. He is ten years older than Murad in real life and yet he convincingly manages to essay the role of a college student. Even as a rapper, he seems like a pro and not even once does it feel that he’s acting for the part. Also watch out for the scenes where he’s playing second fiddle to MC Sher in the first half. For a lead actor to do so is quite praiseworthy. Alia Bhatt is explosive to say the least. Her role would be loved and she’s so good that one wishes she had more screen time. Siddhant Chaturvedi makes a solid debut. He has a crucial part and would surely be talked about. Kalki Koechlin leaves a tremendous mark in a small role. Vijay Varma (Moeen) is satisfactory. Vijay Raaz is quite nice and makes an impact, especially in the pre climax. Amruta Subhash is decent. Shrishti Shrivastava (Albina) is hilarious. Jyoti Subhash (Murad’s grandmother) makes her presence felt in a crucial scene in the second half. Others are fine. There are far too many songs in the film and none of them are conventional chartbusters, considering the theme of the film. But few of them stand out. <em>'Apna Time Aayega'</em> has got noticed and takes the film to another level. <em>'Mere</em> <em>Gully Mein'</em> is peppy while <em>'Azadi'</em> is riveting. <em>'Doori'</em> is quite touching. <em>'Sher</em> <em>Aaya Sher'</em>, played during MC Sher's entry is decent. Background score is in sync with the film. Jay Oza's cinematography is magnificent and gives the film a fine look. Even in the finale, the lensman's fine job adds to the effect. Arjun Bhasin and Poornamrita Singh's costume are stylish and realistic. Manohar Verma and Sunil Rodrigues’ action is also quite real. The latter has choreographed Alia Bhatt's action scene and it’s one of the film’s highpoints. Suzanne Caplan Merwanji's production design is authentic. Nitin Baid's editing is stylish but could have been crisper in the second half. On the whole, GULLY BOY is a fun and moving entertainer that will surely resonate with the youth and multiplex-frequenting urban audiences. At the box office, the four day weekend will ensure that it emerges a profitable venture for its makers

Movie Review: The Fakir Of Venice

Thu, 07 Feb 19 15:55:58 +0000

In today’s times, getting a right release for your film is as crucial as shooting and writing it. But there are times when movies don’t get a timely release due to certain reasons. However, there have been films that have got delayed by more than five and even ten years such as DEEWANA MAIN DEEWANA [2003], YEH LAMHE JUDAAI KE [2004], MEHBOOBA [2008], SANAM TERI KASAM [2009], MILENGE MILENGE [2010] etc. Now THE FAKIR OF VENICE gets added to this list. It’s the first-ever film of actor Farhan Akhtar, even before he shot for ROCK ON [2008], which eventually became his debut flick. So does THE FAKIR OF VENICE manages to entertain despite the delays and dated feel? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-951026" src="" alt="The Fakir Of Venice Review IMG" width="750" height="450" /> THE FAKIR OF VENICE is the story of an Indian fixer who has a life-changing experience. Adi Contractor (Farhan Akhtar) works in films as the production controller. His job is to ensure that the bizarre demands of the producers are met. He once manages to get a monkey from China as per the requirement of an urgent film shoot in the Himalayas near the border on the Indian side! He is based in Mumbai where his ex-girlfriend Mandira (Kamal Sidhu) and her colleague Avantika (Sushma Prakash) ask him to meet the requirement of a reputed art gallery in Venice. They are in search of a fakir or a sadhu who can be buried in the sand for hours and thus can awe the visitors. Adi takes up the offer and he sets off to Varanasi to find the fakir in question. But his search yields no results. After returning to Mumbai, he decides to meet Amin aka Goldtooth (Joginder Singh), who’s also a ‘jugaadu’ guy. Amin introduces Adi to Sattar Shaikh (Annu Kapoor), a poor and impoverished slum dweller who paints buildings for a living. Adi realizes that Sattar is apt for this job. Sattar too agrees since he realizes that he’ll be paid handsomely and he can give the money to his married sister Hamida (Jhilmil Hazrika) with whom he resides. Adi with the help of Mandira trains him to pretend to be a fakir and gives him the right clothes. Both then reach Venice and the madness begins. Visitors are awed to see Sattar being buried in the ground with just his hands protruding out. Adi meanwhile spins imaginary story about the extraordinary powers of the ‘fakir’. However, Sattar is fighting his set of demons and there’s a risk that it can expose their lies. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Rajesh Devraj's story is reportedly based on the life of filmmaker Homi Adajania, known for directing BEING CYRUS [2006], COCKTAIL [2012] and FINDING FANNY [2014]. The plot is interesting and if it was in the right hands, it could have made for a nice watch. Rajesh Devraj's screenplay is a bit messy and fails to make the required impact. This is especially in the second half when Sattar’s issues come to the fore. But a few scenes here are unconvincing while the ones that are fine don’t really take the film to a high. Rajesh Devraj's dialogues are simple but gets a little preachy. Also, Adi is narrating the film in English and such tactics would further reduce its box office prospects. A lot of dialogues have abuses which have been muted, courtesy the CBFC. Hence, it is difficult to comprehend some of the sentences muttered by the characters. Anand Surapur's direction is nothing great as he could have done a lot with the subject matter and characters. The dated feel further pulls down the film. THE FAKIR OF VENICE begins on a fun note but the thrilling background score seems out of place. It soon becomes clear that the film has a film festival-feel and that it should be viewed in that regard. The film is just 98 minutes long and the first half is breezy and light-hearted and does engage viewers. However, the second half gets too heavy and bizarre. Sattar repeatedly waking up with a scream becomes repetitive. His entire dilemma could have been better explained. The scene where Sattar runs away from the hotel is quite over the top but does raise interest level. Moreover, he enters the same place where Adi is partying. Despite Sattar going berserk and rocking the show there, he doesn’t bump into Adi and the latter doesn’t even come to know that Sattar was present in the party. It seems difficult to digest since there weren’t too many people at the bash. Technically too, the film is not sound and the dated feel also kicks in at certain places. Although the film ends on a good note, it is too late in the day to make the desired impact. Farhan Akhtar, as expected, looks quite young and reminds one of his style and appearance in his first two films – ROCK ON [2008] and LUCK BY CHANCE [2009]. And this look really suits him. Performance wise, he does a fine job, sans complaints. He’s playing a selfish guy and that side comes out very well. Also, one can feel that he’s dominating Sattar – this bit seems very convincing. Annu Kapoor is the soul of the film and saves it from becoming a disaster. Two scenes where he really was the best were when his sister bids him goodbye and his monologue at the beach. Kamal Sidhu is wasted. Valentina Carnelutti (Gia) has a crucial part in the second half and does well. Jhilmil Hazrika looks very authentic. Sushma Prakash, Joginder Singh and Mathieu Carrière (Massimo) are passable. A R Rahman's music makes no impact. The song <em>'Wako Naam Fakir'</em> is played in the background and isn’t memorable. The background score is awkward at places and a bit too loud in a few scenes. Deepti Gupta, Preetha Jayaraman and Bakul Sharma's cinematography is okay. Some hand-held and long shots look a bit off and fail to give the film a big-screen look. The colour correction also is not done correctly in a crucial scene. Susanna Codognato's production design is decent. Anand Surapur's editing is quite okay and bit haphazard. On the whole, THE FAKIR OF VENICE boasts of an interesting plot and bravura performance by Annu Kapoor. But the flawed execution, festival-style narrative and most importantly the delayed release will go against the film heavily

Movie Review: Alita - Battle Angel

Wed, 06 Feb 19 12:24:43 +0000

Over the years we have seen an increasing number of films being based on comic books. With an audience that laps up this cinematic ‘Marvel’ and with technology being advanced enough to offer a seamless visual treat such films have become a rage. Continuing with the same, this week’s release ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is a film that is based on Yukito Kishiro's manga Gunnm that was developed in 1990. While manga fast became a rage and developed a cult following. But, will the new live action – animation adaptation of this popular manga entice the audience is the question of the hour. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-950601" src="–-BATTLE-ANGEL-MOVIE-REVIEW.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> Set against a post-apocalyptic future, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL follows the story of Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg who has lost all memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor, Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), who rebuilds and takes care of her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst, which leads to her becoming a Hunter Warrior or bounty hunter. The story traces Alita's attempts to rediscover her past and the characters whose lives she impacts on her journey. Will Alita remember who she is and where she came from? Will she become what she was built to be or will she fall in love and live a new life is what forms the rest of the story. Based on the first four books in the series, the film starts off with a monologue detailing the post-apocalyptic scenario after the technological downfall that is referred to as ‘The Fall’. From there the story traverses Alita’s journey of discovering who she really is, and also includes the aspect of ‘Motorball’ that played an intrinsic role in helping her become the Battle Angel. James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis have done a good job in adapting the books to celluloid, while there obviously major chunks of the story from the original manga that are missing, director Robert Rodriguez does a commendable job of weaving a coherent story. In fact, the makers of the film have done a convincing job of detailing a whole new CGI world and adding life to it. With over 30 minutes in the first half spent on giving the viewers a look and feel of the city, the film develops from being an action entertainer to one that tells the story of life. Once done, detailing the city and the issues and circumstances under which life exists, Rodriguez next focuses on Alita played by Rosa Salazar. Giving the character a well-defined back story that gradually unfolds with her recollecting lost memories, the film keeps the viewer riveted. Along with this, the director has ensured that the onscreen proceedings are pacy enough to keep the ball rolling with twists and turns that keep the cogs in the machine turning. Unfortunately, the second half of the film comes across as a bit rushed, especially since most of the key plot points have already been explored in the first half. Coupled with this are the performances in the film, though acting stalwarts like Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali and Jackie Earle Haley are featured in supporting roles, each of them shines with brilliant and convincing performances. However, with a story that is based solely on one character, the entire focus is on Alita played by Rosa Salazar, and one has to admit that she has done a good job with the given role. Here a special mention has to be made for the CGI and visual effects team that have done a marvellous job of seamlessly creating a believable and lifelike resemblance on screen. With life like expressions and attention to minor details like hair movement, pupil dilation and even the finer motor functions that are part of walking, the CGI team have gone above and beyond the call. In fact, one can easily say that this film might just be one of the best, if not the best in film animation spectacle. However, the film is not all positives only, as for fans of manga, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL leaves out quite a few plot points that make the manga that much more interesting. In fact, the second half of the film comes across as a rushed job with the makers opting to skip over the entire ‘Motorball’ fights that Alita has in the arena that eventually leads to her being christened as the Battle Angel. This, along with other smaller plot lines that are omitted or ignored totally might not go down well with the hard core fans of the manga. In addition to this, since Alita is the main focus of the story, very little time is dedicated to elaborating on the character of Vector (Mahershala Ali) and Nova (Edward Norton). Sadly, neither of their villainous roles is explored and remains as foot notes in the film. On the whole, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is filled with the right amount of empathic visual cues which builds an emotional rapport with viewers. A rapidly progressing story line peppered with action sequences and seamless visuals make the film a visual spectacle that captures the eye. However, fans of the original manga might be let down a bit, while those new to the story will relish the film

Movie Review: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

Fri, 01 Feb 19 08:59:50 +0000

Recently, the draconian and regressive Section 377 was put down as ‘unconstitutional’ by the Supreme Court of India, giving hope to millions of those who were attracted to members of their own sex but couldn’t come out publicly. Bollywood has made films on this aspect but they are few and far between. Those who did talk about it upfront like FIRE [1996], ALIGARH [2016], ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES [2015], MY BROTHER NIKHIL [2005], MARGARITA WITH A STRAW [2015] etc. were meant for niche audiences and on the other hand, GIRLFRIEND [2004] was too sleazy for mainstream audiences. DOSTANA [2008] however was a mainstream film but here, the characters pretended to be gays. KAPOOR & SONS [2016] took a serious, no-nonsense approach but it was just a small track in the film. And in DEDH ISHQIYA [2014], it just touched upon the aspect in a very subtle manner. In this regard, EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA is an important flick as it centres around a lesbian character and at the same time, it features prominent actors and backed by a reputed production house. So does EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA make good use of the opportunity and work big time? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-948734 size-full" title="Movie Review: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga" src="" alt="Movie Review: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga" width="720" height="450" /> EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA is the story of a girl wanting to love but is not allowed to due to societal pressures. Sweety (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja) lives in Moga, Punjab and is the daughter of Balbir Singh Chaudhury (Anil Kapoor), who runs a big garment factory. She completes her graduation and Balbir starts hunting for a suitable groom for her to marry. Sweety’s authoritative brother Babloo (Abhishek Duhan) however realizes that Sweety secretly is in love with someone. When she goes to Delhi to meet the lover, Babloo follows her. Sweety realizes and she runs away. She lands up in a drama auditorium where she bumps into play director Sahil Raza (Rajkummar Rao). Sweety ends up seeing the play rehearsal and remarks that the play lacks soul, as if the writer-director has never fallen in love. Sahil falls for her at that very instant. Babloo however lands up at the theatre and Sahil helps her in running away from him. So smitten is Sahil by Sweety that he lands up in Moga. He pretends to conduct an acting workshop there and he’s helped in his ‘mission’ by the lovable Chatro (Juhi Chawla). Babloo meanwhile tells Balbir and Beeji (Madhumalti Kapoor) that Sweety loves Sahil, a Muslim boy. Balbir is shocked and decides to immediately find a suitable match for Sweety. Meanwhile, Sahil finds out from the house help in Chaudhury’s Kothi, Chaubey (Brijendra Kala), that Sweety’s family knows about him and that Sahil is here for his ‘girlfriend’ Sweety. Sahil’s joy knows no bounds as he presumes that even Sweety likes him. On Beeji’s grand birthday bash, Sahil meets Sweety in private and professes his love. This is when Sweety admits to him that she doesn’t love him and that her love interest is a girl. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Gazal Dhaliwal and Shelly Chopra Dhar's concept is progressive and makes an important comment, which is praiseworthy. But just having a good message isn’t enough and there are a few blemishes that should have been taken care of, for a better impact. Gazal Dhaliwal and Shelly Chopra Dhar's screenplay is decent but doesn’t have the hard-hitting feel. As a result, the film’s impact is limited. On the plus side, a few scenes are well written. Gazal Dhaliwal's dialogues are good. Director Shelly Chopra Dhar sensitively handles the subject of homosexuality. However, the conflicts don’t seem that extreme for some reason. Ideally, the confrontation between Sweety (Sonam) and her family should have been more extreme and that’s when it would have made a smashing impact. Also, the finale seems a bit too simplistic. EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA has a somewhat awkward beginning as the celebrations in the song <em>'Gud Naal Ishq Mitha'</em> seem a bit superficial. The story picks up as Sweety and Sahil meet in the auditorium and later in the sequence inside the metro train. The manner in which Sahil decides to leave the play rehearsal in the middle and embark to Moga to find Sweety is quite difficult to digest. And this aspect continues throughout the film. A few scenes here and there thankfully entertain like Balbir secretly going to the kitchen and Balbir-Sahil’s first meeting. The intermission point could have been more impactful but nevertheless, it works to an extent. Post-interval, Sweety’s flashback is worth watching and a lot of unanswered questions get solved. Again, Sahil’s decision to stay back in Moga to help Sweety feels a bit far-fetched. The climax could have gone quite wrong, a la AAJA NACHLE [2007] but thankfully, it doesn’t. At the same time, it doesn’t induce a feeling of goose bumps, which it ideally should have. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Sonam K Ahuja gives a fine performance but doesn’t impress much. She could have done a lot with such a brilliant part but she lets the opportunity go. Her performance is not a failure but at the same time, not as memorable either. The film centres on her but it’s the other actors who carry the film. Anil Kapoor steals the show with his performance and leaves a tremendous mark as the patriarch caged by society and its expectations. He is bound to put a smile in scenes where he is passionately cooking in the kitchen and when he gets charmed by Juhi. In the finale, it’s his performance that lifts the film. Rajkummar Rao has a bit of a supporting part and is great as always. In fact, he’s so good that one wishes that he had a longer role. But he’s letdown by the characterization. Juhi Chawla is very adorable. Surprisingly, she tries too hard to be funny in the beginning portions but once she lands up in Moga, she is something else. Her Google map scene will surely be appreciated! Abhishek Duhan plays the negative part well. Madhumalti Kapoor is sweet. Brijendra Kala is quite good and raises laughs in the scene where he’s chased by Rajkummar. Seema Pahwa (Billo) gives a lovely and hilarious performance. Sara Arjun (young Sweety) is satisfactory. Akshay Oberoi (Raza) is wasted. Kanwaljit Singh (Sahil’s father) and Alka Kaushal (Sahil's mother) are sweet. And finally, Regina Cassandra (Kuhu) is quite an important part of the film and impresses with her confident act. Though one wishes her character was given more screen time. Rochak Kohli's music is subtle and touching but not of chartbuster variety. <em>'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha'</em> is played at crucial junctures. <em>'Gud Naal Ishq Mitha'</em> doesn’t make the desired impact. <em>'Chitthiye' </em>is touching. <em>'House Party Song'</em> and <em>'Good Morning'</em> are groovy but aren’t memorable. Sanjay Wandrekar and Atul Raninga's background score is good. Himman Dhamija and Rangarajan Ramabadran's cinematography is quite good and captures the locales and emotions well. Rajat Poddar and Teddy Maurya's production design is realistic and has the small town feel. Sheetal Sharma's costumes are glamorous. Ashish Suryavanshi's editing is abrupt at several places. On the whole, EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA makes an important commentary on same-sex relationships in India and is embellished with some fine performances. But the narrative is very convenient to make any emotional impact. At the box office, its appeal will be restricted to niche urban multiplex audiences

Movie Review: Thackeray

Fri, 25 Jan 19 07:36:31 +0000

Maharashtra is one of the most significant states of India due to its rich history and culture and also because it houses Mumbai, the country’s financial capital. And post-independence, some prominent leaders left a mark on Indian politics and the most supreme out of them was Balasaheb Thackeray. The man amassed millions of followers who continue to worship and swear by him. A biopic on him thus is quite ideal as it can make for a great watch. Moreover, some of his acts and beliefs were quite controversial and had evoked polarized views. THACKERAY, the biopic, promises to tell his tale and also touch upon these sensitive topics. So does THACKERAY prove to be a hard-hitting entertainer? Or does it fail to make a mark? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-946172 size-full" title="Movie Review Thackeray" src="" alt="Movie Review Thackeray" width="720" height="450" /> THACKERAY is the story of the Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. Bal Keshav Thackeray (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is the eldest son of social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray and is married to Meenatai (Amrita Rao). The story begins in late 50s when Bal is working in Free Press Journal as a cartoonist in Mumbai. He feels stifled with the restrictions put on him by superiors over attacking certain political figures. Hence, Bal resigns and starts his own political weekly called Marmik. Bal realizes that the South Indians have dominated businesses and offices in Mumbai and look down upon Maharashtrians. Through his cartoons and later his speeches, he begins to inform the sons of soil that they should fight for their rights and not let ‘outsiders’ to take over the reins of Mumbai. His speeches begin to motivate Maharashtrians and they commence the fight for their rights. As his stature and popularity grows and as he begins to be addressed as Balasaheb, he floats his own political party called Shiv Sena, in 1966. The party suffers a lot of ups and downs but slowly makes its mark. In the 80s however, Balasaheb shifts his agenda and becomes pro-Hindutva. The Shiv Sainiks also have a part to play in the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, which leads to riots and widespread wave of shock across the country. How Balasaheb tides over this crisis fearlessly and also overcomes other challenges forms the rest of the film. Sanjay Raut's story is interesting and a winner since a film on such a strong political figure itself is a great idea. He has focused on the most notable and even lesser known episodes of Balasaheb’s life (his meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi stands out, in this regard). Also, most of these aspects are controversial and these factors surely appeal to the viewers.  Abhijit Panse's screenplay is engaging and more importantly, massy. The film has been written in such a way that it can reach out to as many people as possible. Arvind Jagtap and Manoj Yadav's dialogues however are acidic and sharp. Balasaheb never minced words in his speeches and interactions and the dialogue writers do justice in this regard. Abhijit Panse's direction is very good and his narrative keeps the viewers hooked on to their seats from start to finish. A few scenes are exceptional and would be greeted with claps and whistles. Also, in a rare instance, the first half of the film is almost entirely in black-and-white. This gives a nice touch to the film and the transformation from black-to-white to colour is quite creative. The film is 2.19 hours long but it doesn’t feel so as there’s so much happening in the story. However, one wishes the significant people in Balasaheb’s life were also given a little more screen time. This would have helped viewers to know more about them and their equation with the leader himself. Panse also jumps narrative and this could have been reduced. For instance, Balasaheb gets jailed after the Morarji Desai incident but no attempt is made to explain when he was released. The climax of the film leaves you wanting for more, considering the mood and theme of the film, but it seems like the makers are already planning a sequel for the latter half of Thackeray's life. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> THACKERAY starts with a bang. The entry of Balasaheb in the Lucknow court is clapworthy and would be loved by audiences. The beginning portions are very engaging and the way the makers depict the sad state of Marathi-speaking people through animation is very novel. It is amusing but at the same time, it makes an impact. Also impressive is how Balasaheb resigns from Free Press Journal in his own unique style. The first half has several scenes that stand out like Balasaheb helping a helpless landlord (Bachan Pachehra) in getting back his property, the violence that erupts when Morarji Desai (Rajesh Khera) lands in the city and the track of Krishna Desai (Sanjay Narvekar). Post-interval, the entertainment continues. However, some scenes are excellent like Balasaheb forcing the film <em>Tere Mere Sapne</em> to be replaced by popular actor Dada Kondke’s Marathi film <em>Songadya</em>, Balasaheb’s meeting with the then PM Indira Gandhi, Balasaheb insisting on a Muslim old man to perform namaaz in his house and Balasaheb’s meeting with Dilip Vengsarkar and Javed Miandad. The film also goes back and forth with the courtroom sequences and these are also quite impactful. The film ends with an impactful monologue with the announcement of the sequel in the finale being the icing on the cake. Nawazuddin Siddiqui rocks the show and delivers a stupendous performance. He goes totally into the skin of the character and tries his best to not just mimic Balasaheb’s mannerisms and body language but also live and breathe him. This talented performer has given several fine performances in his life and this surely would rank as one of his most accomplished acts. Amrita Rao is lovable in her supporting role. Rajesh Khera is quite good and leaves a huge mark. Sanjay Narvekar is okay. Prakash Belawadi (George Fernandes) is nice in the lone scene. Same goes for Nikhil Mahajan (Sharad Pawar). The other actors who give fine performances are the ones playing Indira Gandhi, Prabodhankar Thackeray, Emmanuel Modak, the prosecutor in the court, Dilip Vengsarkar and Javed Miandad. Rohan-Rohan's music doesn’t get scope. <em>'Saheb Tu Sarkar Tu'</em> is the only song in the film and is played in the end credits. Amar Mohile's background score is quite exhilarating and adds to the excitement. Sudeep Chatterjee's cinematography is topnotch. P K Swain's action is realistic. Sandeep Sharad Ravade's production design is authentic and ensures the bygone era is realistically depicted. Same goes for Santosh Gavde's costumes. Kiran Kamble's make up and hair and Pritisheell Singh's prosthetics are praiseworthy. Ashish Mhatare and Apurva Motiwale Sahai's editing is fine and it’s great to see how various episodes of his life are neatly stitched and how it all flows well. But in a few scenes, it could have been better and not so razor shop, especially in the second half. On the whole, THACKERAY is a well-made and well-told biopic about one of the most important political figures of Maharashtra and India. The target audience and the centres in Maharashtra would surely accept this film with open arms. However, the film also has a pan-India appeal and this can surely go in its favour

Movie Review: Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi

Thu, 24 Jan 19 15:38:26 +0000

The recent super success of URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE has proved that when true stories of brave people are told well cinematically and in an entertaining manner, the sky is the limit. Just two weeks after this film based on the 2016 surgical strike released, Kangana Ranaut is now all set to unveil the long-in-the-making and much talked about flick MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI. It is based on a warrior known and celebrated throughout the country. So does MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI manage to leave a mark and emerge as a winner? Or does it fail to do so? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-945976" src="–-The-Queen-Of-Jhansi-Review-IMG.jpg" alt="Movie Review: Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi" width="720" height="450" /> MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI is the story of the brave Rani Laxmibai. Manikarnika (Kangana Ranaut) lives in Bithoor and is a favourite of the Peshwa (Suresh Oberoi) and he has brought her up with lot of love. One day Dixit Ji of Jhansi (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) spots her facing a ferocious tiger fearlessly. Impressed, he asks Peshwa for her hand in marriage with Jhansi's king Gangadhar Rao (Jisshu Sengupta). Dixit Ji is aware that the British is eyeing Jhansi and wants to annexe the kingdom at any cost. He realises that her brave persona would play a crucial role in giving a tough fight to the British. The marriage takes place and the king gives her a new name – Laxmibai. All these developments upset Gangadhar's brother Sadashiv (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub). He is friendly with the British and wants to usurp the throne by hook or by crook. Laxmibai, after a few years, gives birth to Damodar and she is unable to contain her happiness. Her joy however is short-lived as Sadashiv surreptitiously poisons Damodar. Gangadhar, at the same time, falls ill too. Knowing that his end is near, he and Laxmibai adopt a son. Gangadhar passes away and the British attempt to annexe the throne. However, Laxmibai surprises everyone as she decides to take over the reins. She proclaims herself as the queen of Jhansi and challenges the British openly. What happens next forms the rest of the film. K V Vijayendra Prasad's story is simple and tries to be as historically accurate as possible. K V Vijayendra Prasad's screenplay is very effective and impactful. He tries to ensure he sticks to the facts and dramatizes it convincingly. The first half is however slightly weak due to slow proceedings. The second half however picks up as the story moves fast with lot of twists and turns. Prasoon Joshi’s dialogues are sharp, clap worthy and acidic and add to the impact. Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut's direction is quite good and both manage to more or less do justice to the film's scale and historical importance. It’s important to note that more than half of the film has been reshot by Kangana. But except for a few places, it doesn’t seem like that the film has been helmed by two different directors with very different sensibilities. Some scenes are exceptionally helmed and stand out like Manikarnika's entry, the demise of her son, the intermission point, Laxmibai's dramatic entry at Gwalior Fort etc. besides the action scenes. On the flipside, the direction is inconsistent at times and it hampers the impact. Also, this is a time when viewers have already seen films like BAAHUBALI [2015, 2017], BAJIRAO MASTANI [2015], PADMAAVAT [2018] and these films had more impactful executions. MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI lacks that at a lot of places. MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI is 2.28 hours long with the first half being just around an hour in duration. The makers use this first hour mainly for establishing the characters and other minor developments. This portion is interesting but is slow. The intermission point is clapworthy and gives an indication of what the second half has to offer. And sure enough, the film does go on a high. The action scenes are entertaining and watch out for the sequence where Laxmibai kills multiple British soldiers single handedly near the idol of Goddess Kali. The cinema halls would thunder with whistles and claps at this point! Also, emotionally, the film connects beautifully and hence, viewers root for Laxmibai constantly. The climax could have been better but nevertheless it is moving. The factual details mentioned in the end also add to the impact. Kangana Ranaut delivers a terrific performance and owns this challenging character. The Rani of Jhansi has a lot of significance and the actress ensures she does complete justice to it. In the action scenes, she is great but watch out for her performances in the emotional sequences as well! Jisshu Sengupta is likeable in the supporting role. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub is a bit of a caricature but doesn’t ham. Suresh Oberoi is impressive. Danny Denzongpa (Ghulam Ghaus Khan) has a sudden entry but performance wise he is dependable. His voice and personality adds a lot to his character. Ankita Lokhande (Jhalkari Bai) is excellent and leaves a tremendous mark in limited screen time. A fine debut! Atul Kulkarni (Tatya Tope) is good in his introduction scene but later he doesn’t have much to do. Mishti Chakravarty (Kashi) has a good screen presence but is hardly there. Kulbhushan Kharbanda is quite appropriate for his role. Tahir Mithaiwala (Sangram Singh) has a badass character but is arguably wasted. Unnati Davara (Mundar), Suparna Marwah (Rajmata), Nihar Pandya (Rao) and Pir Ali (Anil George) are okay. Talking of actors playing British officers, Edward Sonnenblick (Gordon) is over the top. But Richard Keep (Hugh Rose) is genuine. Others are fine. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is not of chartbuster variety but works very well in the film. <em>'Bharat'</em> is like the theme of the film and lingers in one’s mind. <em>'Vijayi Bhava' </em>and <em>'Bolo Kab Pratikar Karoge' </em>also add to the theme and mood of the film. <em>'Rajaji'</em> doesn’t work and <em>'Shiv</em> <em>Tandav'</em> is hardly played. <em>'Dankila'</em> lacks the energy of a <em>'Malhari'</em> but is entertaining. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara's background score is exhilarating. Gnana Shekar V S and Kiran Deohans's cinematography is spectacular and captures the various moods of the film well. Murlidhar J Sabat, Ratan Suryawanshi, Sukant Panigrahy, Sujeet Shubhash Sawant and Sriram Kannan Iyengar's production design is grand and helps in giving the film a big screen feel. Nick Powell, Todor Lazarov and Habib Riyaz's action is not too gory but makes for a nice watch. At a few places however it could have been better. Neeta Lulla's costumes are appealing, especially the sarees worn by Kangana Ranaut and Ankita Lokhande. Prime Focus, Prana Studios, Drishyam VFX and Future Works's VFX is quite good but certain shots could have been better. Rameshwar Bhagat's editing is praiseworthy considering that he seamlessly merges the works of two different directors. But the jumps in the narrative were avoidable. On the whole, MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI is a well-made historical with the right scale, emotional quotient and battle sequences as its highpoint. Also, Kangana Ranaut's performance is the icing on the cake. At the box office, the film comes at the right time as the Republic Day period will further add to the film’s prospects

Movie Review: Fraud Saiyaan

Fri, 18 Jan 19 09:24:44 +0000

Four years ago, Sonam Kapoor surprised everyone with her comic caper DOLLY KI DOLI [2015]. It was a tale of a woman getting married and then running away with the money of the groom. Now in a gender reversal, Arshad Warsi attempts something similar in FRAUD SAIYAAN. This is a delayed film but fortunately for the makers, it doesn’t seem dated. So does FRAUD SAIYAAN turn out to be a fun-filled entertainer? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-943755" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> FRAUD SAIYAAN is the story of a guy who has multiple wives. Bhola Prasad Tripathi (Arshad Warsi) is a con man who gets married to women and then robs them of their money. He has got married to as many as 12 women and is searching for his next target. He is with his wife Sunita (Deepali Pansare) one day in Lucknow when she tells him to go to the station to fetch his uncle Murari Chaurasia (Saurabh Shukla). Murari however finds out the truth about Bhola. He tries to expose him but the effort proves futile. Then he pretends to be enamoured by Bhola and asks him to make him a part of the team. Bhola agrees reluctantly and Murari then gets a first-hand experience of how Bhola is handling so many wives and fooling them with ease. However both land in a soup as dacoit Chanda Yadav (Bhawana Pani) who was promised marriage by Bhola, abducts him and forces him to get married. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sourabh Shrivastava's story is interesting and does give a déjà vu of DOLLY KI DOLI and even Kapil Sharma's debut flick KIS KISKO PYAAR KAROON [2015]. There are some loose ends and on the screenplay level, it could have been taken care of. However, Amal Donwaar and Sharad Tripathi's screenplay makes no such attempt. Things happen quite conveniently in the film. One can excuse some of them since it’s one of those leave-your-brains-at-home kind of a film. But even then, there has to be some limit and the makers don’t adhere to it. For instance, Murari gets off on a desolate railway station which was not supposed to be his destination. And here, he finds an abandoned car with key in its ignition. Needless to say, he grabs it and keeps it with him till the very end! Amal Donwaar and Sharad Tripathi's dialogues however are quirky and help in bettering the impact. Sourabh Shrivastava's direction is average as the film is all over the place. Despite the short length, the film seems dragging. And the attempt to justify Bhola’s actions backfire badly. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> FRAUD SAIYAAN is a delayed film and visually it might not look old but in terms of thought, it definitely seems dated. A film like this would have worked 4-5 years back. But in 2019, such a film seems regressive and objectionable. Some scenes however are interesting. The sequence of the cop chiding Murari brings the house down. Also a few scenes here and there of Bhola fooling his wives easily are funny. But an attempt is also made to force humour. The multiple instances of Murari farting bring the film down. Also, despite the short length of 1.52 hours, FRAUD SAIYAAN seems like a 2.30 hours affair. Thankfully the climax is a surprise and unexpected. That saves the film from becoming an ultimate disaster. Arshad Warsi is in his element and his highly entertaining. He is apt for such roles and he ensures that viewers won’t have any complaints at least with his performance. Saurabh Shukla is also quite fun though he is let down by the script. Both Arshad and Saurabh make a great pair. Sara Loren (Payal) is hardly there initially but in the second half; she makes the most impact out of all the other actresses. Flora Saini (Shraddha) comes next. Elli AvrRam (Chandni) is decent. Her scene is an afterthought but is well woven in the film. It is however amusing to see that her character name is Chandni but she has a tattoo on her body that reads Elli AvrRam! Deepali Pansare is nothing great and same goes for Anangsha Biswas (Aastha). Bhawana Pani is funny. Nivedita Tiwari (Mala Dubey) is okay. Preeti Sood (Preeti) gets limited scope. Varun Badola (Badri) is fine. Piyush Suhane (Dulare) and Faizal Malik (cop) add to the fun. Sohail Sen and Tanishk Bagchi's music is routine. <em>'Chamma Chamma' </em>is the most memorable. Title song is catchy but not memorable. Sohail Sen's background score is quirky as per the mood of the film. Uday Prakash Singh's production design is fine. Prakash Kutty's cinematography is simple. Nirav Soni's editing is weak and few scenes could have been shorter. On the whole, FRAUD SAIYAAN comes too late in the day and might have worked better a few years back. At the box office, the lack of buzz will affect its prospects

Movie Review: The Accidental Prime Minister

Fri, 11 Jan 19 07:16:28 +0000

Hollywood has churned out many biopics or films based on real-life politicians and ministers. In this regard, Bollywood has been lagging quite a bit. We have had political flicks but they often get fictionalized in order to avoid any trouble. THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER hence is a rare film in this regard. It doesn’t attempt to take pseudo names but boldly mentions the real identities of some important members of Indian politics. Moreover, the controversy regarding whether this is an agenda-driven film has added to the curiosity. Notwithstanding these factors, does THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER turn out to be an engaging entertainer? Or does it turn out to be a case of all-hype-no-substance? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-941032" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER is the story of the ex-Prime Minister of India. In 2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has Indian National Congress as the principle party, wins the Lok Sabha elections. Sonia Gandhi (Suzanne Bernert), president of Congress and chairperson of UPA, is all set to become the Prime Minister. But the opposition protests against this development since she’s not a natural born citizen of India. Hence Sonia decides to find someone capable and who also enjoys the confidence of the allies, to take up the post of Prime Minister. After careful deliberation, she asks Dr. Manmohan Singh (Anupam Kher) to be India’s next PM. Dr. Singh does so and soon realises that all the major decisions would be taken by Sonia Gandhi herself and her subordinate, Ahmed Patel (Vipin Sharma). Dr. Manmohan Singh meanwhile asks journalist Sanjaya Baru (Akshaye Khanna) to be his media advisor. Sanjaya knows Dr. Singh since more than a decade and has utmost respect for him. He tries his best to strengthen his image in the media and continuously tells him to make himself heard. Dr. Manmohan Singh however is too soft spoken and has no qualms in letting others take credit for his work. He also agrees to be remote controlled by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi (Arjun Mathur), the latter poised to be India’s next Prime Minister. What happens next forms the rest of the film. THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER is based on the book of the same name by Sanjaya Baru. The book must have been quite detailed but Mayank Tewari, Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, Karl Dunne and Aditya Sinha’s story is very weak. Same goes for Mayank Tewari, Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, Karl Dunne and Aditya Sinha’s screenplay. The film just jumps from one scene to another and in many scenes, back stories are not even provided, so the viewer has no context. As a result, many questions are left unanswered. Mayank Tewari, Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, Karl Dunne and Aditya Sinha’s dialogues are good but not memorable. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s direction is amateurish. The subject no doubt is fascinating and also appealing to the audiences. But at the same time, it needed someone better and far more experienced to handle the difficult subject. Vijay Ratnakar Gutte sadly makes a mess out of the plot in hand with his incoherent execution. He also tries to make the scenes light-hearted by adding a funny background score but that doesn’t help. Thankfully, he managed to handle few scenes well like Dr. Singh remembering his earlier days while passing through the corridors of the PMO, Sanjaya explaining to Dr Singh about ‘Que Sera Sera’ and Sanjaya and Dr. Singh’s last meeting. THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER's biggest problem is that things are explained in the film without context. The makers assume that viewers will easily recall every political development of the last 15 years. However, that’s not the case. As a result, a lot of sequences in the film go over the head. Right from Dr. Singh appointing Sanjaya Baru as his media advisor despite his 1991 blunder, to Rahul Gandhi tearing down the ordinance, to Dr. Manmohan Singh discussing Balochistan, to Natwar Singh not being allowed in George W Bush's cabin, to Narasimha Rao being cremated in Hyderabad and many more such scenes will be difficult to comprehend. Moreover, certain dialogues and terms have been muted. A few of them could have been avoided altogether by simple editing but the makers didn’t do so for reasons best known to them. Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna drive the film with their exceptional performances. Anupam Kher gets totally into the skin of the character and looks every inch Dr. Manmohan Singh. His mannerisms, way of talking, body language etc. are spot on. Akshaye Khanna gives a tremendous performance and nails the part. His way of talking and smiling will be loved. Suzanne Bernert leaves a mark in a small role. Arjun Mathur too gets his act right. Aahana Kumra’s make-up and look are great but her screen time in negligible. Vipin Sharma is dependable. Divya Seth is fine. Ram Avtar Bharadwaj (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) hams. Vimal Verma (Lalu Prasad Yadav), Avter Saini (Lal Krishna Advani), Anil Rastogi (Shivraj Patil), Ajit Satbhai (P. V. Narasimha Rao), Shiv Subrahmanyam (P Chindambram) and Sunil Kothari (APJ Abdul Kalam) are okay. Prakash Belawadi (Mike) and the others from the PMO don’t have much to do. Sudip Roy and Sadhu S Tiwari’s music has no place in the film. The only song <em>‘Om Shabd’</em> is shown during the end credits. Sumit Sethi and Abhijit Vaghani’s background score is subtle but gets too loud in the opening credits. Sachin Krishn’s cinematography is neat. After Studios’s VFX is disappointing. The view of the Lutyens’ Delhi from Dr. Singh’s room looks unreal. Also, use of too many stock footage could have been avoided. In one scene, Anupam Kher’s face is superimposed on that of the real Dr Manmohan Singh and it is badly done. Paul Rowan and Tarpan Shrivastava's production design is rich. Shrikanth Desai’s make up design deserves praise as its quite convincing. Praveen KNL’s editing is haphazard. On the whole, THE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER rests on a great premise but the faulty and flawed screenplay and direction ruin the show. At the box office, the controversy surrounding the film might help it initially but the film is bound to crash

Movie Review: Uri

Wed, 09 Jan 19 12:04:02 +0000

While we usher into the New Year, one hopes that this year will be better for Bollywood than the last. While 2018 was a rather tumultuous period for films, 2019 looks more promising. 2019 will open with the release of URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE, a film based on true events of the Uri attack that shook the nation and the heroic revenge taken by the Indian Army by conducting surgical strikes across PoK. But will the film that features Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam, Kirti Kulhari and Mohit Raina entice the audience, is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-940463 size-full" title="Movie Review: Uri" src="" alt="Movie Review: Uri" width="720" height="450" /> URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE is based on the true events of the surgical strike carried out by the Indian armed forces following the September 2016 Uri attacks, which was termed as one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian forces. The film opens depicting Indian soldiers being ambushed in Manipur, followed by retaliation by the forces on terror bases across the India - Myanmar border in the North East. From there, the story follows Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal), who seeks retirement owing to his mother's ill health as she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, Pakistani terrorist outfits carry out an attack at Uri Army Base camp in Kashmir. Vihaan’s childhood friend and brother-in-law Captain Karan Kashyap (Mohit Raina) along with some other fellow army mates are martyred in this attack. Following this, Vihaan is forced back by emotions to extract revenge by leading the strike force. Vihaan puts together a team to conduct the surgical strike under the guidance of PMO bigwig Govind Bhardwaj (Paresh Rawal) with special orders from PM (Rajit Kapur) himself. Special Agent Pallavi (Yami Gautam) helps Vihaan to detect the location of the launch pads and details of the target. And what follows is the execution of the surgical strikes across PoK. Written and directed by Aditya Dhar, URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE, similar to the Hollywood film, <em>Zero Dark Thirty</em>, is based on a true life covert military operation. Though unlike the Hollywood counterpart, which was completely based on true events and served as the revelation of what exactly happened during the operation, URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE is fictionalised to a degree. However, URI manages to grip viewers with a telling story that inspires and entertains at the same time. For a first time feature film director, Aditya Dhar has done well in keeping the on screen proceedings tight and crisp. Dhar has managed to imbibe the essence of the film being an edge of the seat, gritty action thriller that keeps the audience gripped. While the first half of the film sets up the premise and details the story of the film, the second half is totally dedicated to the actual strike and action sequences. As far was the writing goes, while the first half is a balanced mix of story, drama, emotions along with action, the second half is absolutely dedicated to action. The inclusion of a dramatic or emotional track in the second half could have elevated the overall effect of the film, at the same time diverting the audience's attention and giving them a break from the nonstop action. But since the incident is based on real life, Indian audiences already have that angst against what occurred in Uri, and hence this flaw in the script gets covered up when the action scenes showing attack on the terrorist launch pads in Pakistan begins. Besides this in the second half of the film, one tends to feel that as a writer, Aditya Dhar could have paid more attention to the script, and researched in terms of what went on beyond the strike. The whole Garud drone concept seemed a little gimmicky and convenient. Talking about performances, Vicky Kaushal has come a long way since his debut back in 2012. With noteworthy performances in films like <em>Sanju, Raazi</em>, and <em>Masaan</em>, Kaushal has slowly yet steadily built up an ardent fan following. This time too Vicky doesn’t disappoint as his performance in URI is spot on. His mannerisms as an officer from the armed forces who is solely focussed on one goal are bang on. His bravado performance and rigorous training to get into the role reflects on screen. Yami Gautam as Pallavi/Jasmine is severely underutilized as a special agent. Similarly, Kirti Kulhari as Seerat Kaur too is slotted in a minimalistic role. Paresh Rawal as Govind Bhardwaj, Mohit Raina as Major Karan Kashyap, Yogesh Soman as Ravinder Agnihotri, and Rajit Kapur as PM Narendra Modi have done well in their given roles. Though a special mention needs to be made for Raina who has done an exceptional job! On the other hand, Paresh Rawal's character is repeatedly shown breaking cell phones, unfortunately the context and reason why is never shown. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> In terms of music (Shashwat Sachdev), there is not much to expect. With just five tracks all of which are situational, one does not look for a chartbuster song in such a film. However, the Background Score (Shashwat Sachdev) is done well, and helps build the crescendo during climactic sequences. Action sequences are very well choreographed and form the backbone of this film. Cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani does a good job, especially during the action sequences. The editing by Shivkumar Panicker is crisp and keeps the film pacy. On the whole, URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE has a thrilling and a gripping narrative which instills patriotism without getting jingoistic. At the box office, the film will mainly appeal to the multiplex audience

Movie Review: Simmba is a sure-shot winner

Thu, 27 Dec 18 20:45:43 +0000

Telugu film TEMPER is one of my favourites. A film that’s very fresh in my memory. A well-packaged entertainer, it was embellished with a bravura, commanding performance by the lead man Jr NTR. The expectations from SIMMBA - an official adaptation of TEMPER - are monumental. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-937230 size-full" title="Movie Review Simmba" src="" alt="Movie Review Simmba" width="750" height="450" /> Rohit Shetty has to live up to the expectations for varied reasons: He teams up with Ranveer Singh for the first time... He attempts a cop story yet again... And, of course, those who have watched TEMPER will compare the two films minutely. Rohit borrows the essence from TEMPER, but modifies a major chunk of that film [especially the second half and climax]. What eventually unfolds on screen is so different, in a positive way. First, the plot line, without giving away the entire story / spoilers. Sangram Bhalerao aka Simmba [Ranveer Singh] is a dishonest police officer. Once transferred to a different town, he meets Shagun [Sara Ali Khan] and love blossoms between the two. Sangram also develops a bond with Aakruti [Vaidehi Parashurami], a medical student who teaches poor kids. She realises her students are being used for drug peddling by the brothers [Saurabh Gokhale and Amrit Singh] of a powerful man, Durva [Sonu Sood]. Aakruti lands up at the pub where the illegal activities are taking place and manages to capture it all on her cellphone, but gets caught. What happens next? First things first. Rohit Shetty and screenplay writer Yunus Sajawal [additional screenplay by Sajid Samji] pick and choose some memorable, clap-trap moments from TEMPER and give SIMMBA an altogether different texture. The essence of the story remains intact, but it’s made more contemporary to suit the pan India tastes. There’s no denying that Rohit Shetty is the present-day Manmohan Desai of Hindi cinema. His fundas are crystal clear: Deliver entertainment in large doses. In SIMMBA, there’s a powerful message too that stays with you once the movie has concluded. SIMMBA is an absolute joyride in the first half. A number of sequences and the witty and sharp one-liners [dialogues by Farhad Samji] are sure to bring the house down. The post-interval portions get serious and you may miss the fun and laughter, but the issue that’s depicted demands seriousness. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Like I stated at the very outset, Rohit and his writers offer a completely new conclusion to the tale and those who’ve watched TEMPER will notice the difference. In my opinion, the courtroom sequence and the final moments take the graph of the film higher. Ranveer Singh is the lifeline, the soul of the film and I must add, he proves he’s an all rounder who can essay diverse characters with superb ease. SIMMBA is sure to multiply his fan following by leaps and bounds. Sara Ali Khan sparkles, just like her debut film KEDARNATH, although there’s not much scope for her in the second half. Sonu Sood is in terrific form. SIMMBA would’ve faltered if the antagonist wouldn’t be as convincing as the protagonist. Sonu matches up to Ranveer every time they come face to face. SIMMBA has a huge supporting cast, but I would like to single out a few names that add weight to the proceedings. Ashutosh Rana is exceptional. The salute sequence will be greeted with a thunderous applause. Siddharth Jadhav excels. Vaidehi Parashurami is wonderful. Ashwini Kalsekar is fantastic. Her dialogues in the climax will be greeted with applause. Ganesh Yadav and Ashok Samarth [the lawyers] do a fine job. Saurabh Gokhale is first-rate. Sarita Joshi is alright. SIMMBA has a number of cameos, including the GOLMAAL gang [Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade and Kunal Kemmu]. Ajay Devgn’s introduction will be greeted with whistles and claps and his act is sure to find love. Last but not the least, there’s Akshay Kumar too. Again, the viewers are in for a treat. The soundtrack gels well with the mood of the film. ‘Aankh Maare’ is already a chartbuster, while ‘Aala Re Aala’ leaves you awestruck by its execution. Background score deserves special mention, especially the fusion of the themes of SINGHAM and SIMMBA. Jomon T John’s cinematography is flawless. The action sequences are vibrant and striking. On the whole, SIMMBA is a sure-shot winner, no two opinions about it. This one will storm the boxoffice. 2018 is sure to conclude with a roar

Movie Review: Zero

Fri, 21 Dec 18 06:46:01 +0000

ZERO is a crucial film for varied reasons. The main reason being, it’s the first collaboration of Shah Rukh Khan and Aanand L Rai, who has a hat trick of hits to his credit [TANU WEDS MANU, RAANJHANAA and TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS]. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-934882 size-full" title="Movie Review: ZERO is an epic disappointment!" src="" alt="Movie Review: ZERO is an epic disappointment!" width="720" height="450" /> Unlike their previous ventures, the stakes are high this time. The actor features in a role he hasn’t portrayed earlier, while a significant part of the second half has space travel interwoven in its screenplay. Naturally, the expectations are colossal. Without giving away the minutest details of the story, here’s the spoiler-free plot: Bauua [Shah Rukh], a 38-year-old man, lives with his family in Meerut. He comes across the profile of Aafia [Anushka Sharma] at a marriage bureau and decides to woo her. Aafia doesn’t show interest in Bauua initially, but falls in love with him subsequently. Bauua backs off. A few months later, Bauua is shocked to see Aafia at his residence. Bauua’s father [Tigmanshu Dhulia] decides to get Bauua and Aafia married and a reluctant Bauua agrees too. Meanwhile, Bauua had signed up for a dance competition where the winner will get to meet the superstar, Babita [Katrina Kaif]. An ardent fan of Babita, Bauua ditches Aafia on the day of marriage. What happens next, forms the remainder of the film. To begin with, the story [Himanshu Sharma] hinges on a wafer thin plot. The writer has integrated space travel in the narrative and you may argue [and rightly so] that it’s this aspect that drives the story away from predictability. However, the writer fails to knit a compelling, riveting and captivating screenplay that stays with you. ZERO appeals in bits and spurts and a few moments in the first half do grab your attention, make you giggle and bring a smile on your face. A few individualistic sequences do catch your attention, but you realise, as the narrative progresses, there’s something amiss. You invest hopes in the post intermission portions, hoping that the writing and the emotional quotient - the hallmark of Aanand’s previous movies - will change the scenario for better. Unfortunately, the writing goes for a toss as the fun portions fall flat, romance seems superficial and emotions appear fake. What saves ZERO, besides the performances of its principal cast, are some sharp and witty lines. But the bitter truth is, great lines or individualistic sequences in a disjointed screenplay are forgotten once you exit the theatre. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Aanand L. Rai’s direction is a far cry from his previous works. In fact, the incredibly talented storyteller is known to make you smile, laugh and make you moist-eyed in his well-packaged movies. Everyone who recalls his works will be wondering, how did he okay a half-baked screenplay this time? Too many questions cross your mind as the drama unfolds and you soon realise, it’s a screenplay of convenience. The graph of the film goes haywire in the second hour. Generally, you don’t complain about the length of the film / run time if the proceedings and sequence of events keep you hooked, enthralled and mesmerised. Sadly, ZERO lacks the power of a strong and cohesive script. Ajay-Atul's soundtrack is a big plus. ‘Mere Naam Tu' is, undoubtedly, the best track. The song featuring Salman and SRK is a treat for the fans of the two superstars. Cinematography is brilliant. The DOP captures the various moods and locales to perfection. The production design is top notch. A special mention of the VFX, which matches the global standards. Shah Rukh is the lifeline of ZERO. He is in supreme form. The actor deserves 10/10 for a performance that’s absolutely fantastic. Anushka nails the part. There’s no doubt that she’s amongst the best and her act in ZERO reiterates the fact. Katrina surprises you with a stunning performance. Some moments in the second half give her ample scope to shine. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is dependable, contributing to the fun quotient. Tigmanshu Dhulia is perfect. Brijendra Kala is hardly there. Abhay Deol and R Madhavan hardly contribute. ZERO features Sridevi, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, Karisma Kapoor and Juhi Chawla in an inconsequential sequence. On the whole, ZERO has several factors going for it: star presence, winsome performances, energetic soundtrack and of course, it’s timed during the Christmas and New Year vacations. Sadly, the weak, flawed and lacklustre screenwriting is all that you recall after you’ve watched the much-awaited movie. This one’s an epic disappointment

Movie Review: Kedarnath

Thu, 06 Dec 18 16:59:42 +0000

The charm of inter-faith love stories can never fade away. Since a long time, several filmmakers have made some memorable films on this topic like BOBBY [1973], JULIE [1975], BOMBAY [1995], GADAR - EK PREM KATHA [2001], VEER-ZAARA [2004], ISHAQZAADE [2012], RAANJHANAA [2013] etc. Now, Abhishek Kapoor attempts to tell one such story in his latest offing, KEDARNATH. The film promises to be more than a love story as it’s based in the holy town of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. Moreover, it is loosely based on the devastating floods that rocked this region in 2013. These three elements can make for an exciting film if handled well. So does Abhishek Kapoor do justice to the premise in hand? Or does he fail in this endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-929234" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> KEDARNATH is a love story that takes place right before a natural catastrophe. Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a <em>'pitthoo'</em> aka porter who carries pilgrims to the holy Hindu town of Kedarnath from the base. His Muslim identity doesn’t come in the way of fulfilling his duty and believing in the faith in Kedarnath. Another resident of Kedarnath is Mandakini aka Mukku (Sara Ali Khan). Her father Briraaj (Nitish Bharadwaj) is a priest and he owns a lodge and a shop on the way to the temple. He has fixed her marriage with Kullu (Nishant Dahiya), a big name in the temple town. Mukku is against this marriage as she doesn’t love Kullu. Also, Kullu initially was to marry her sister Brinda (Pooja Gor) but then he decided to opt for Mukku instead. Mukku meanwhile bumps into Mansoor and love happens. Kullu anyways hates Mansoor due to his Muslim identity. When he finds out that both Mukku and Mansoor are having an affair, it leads to madness. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Abhishek Kapoor and Kanika Dhillon’s story is extremely weak. The Hindu-Muslim love story has been done to death and it seems forced here just for the heck of it. Kanika Dhillon’s screenplay is inconsistent. A few scenes are decent but overall, it lacks any novelty and excitement. Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues however are impactful. Abhishek Kapoor’s direction is poor and it seems he hasn’t learnt his lessons after the big debacle of his previous film, FITOOR [2016]. For starters, he’s confused as to whether the film is a love story or a social drama or does it belong to the disaster genre. The film keeps switching among these genres, thereby diluting the impact. Also he takes too long to arrive at the point. In this 120 minute long film, the intermission point arrives in just 50 minutes and that too at an unexciting point. It catches viewers unaware since hardly anything has happened plot wise in the film until then. Also, at a crucial point in the second half, he turns the film into an unintentional funny fare by adding a scene of a sadhu baba who refuses to leave during the floods and gets washed away. KEDARNATH's first ten minutes are beautiful. The day to day life of the temple town and the services of the porters are well established. A few scenes of the romance between Mansoor and Mukku also has its moments, especially their sequence in the cave. However, the film drags a lot. You know their love story is going to cause a problem and you know that floods would rock the town. But both these developments happen too late in the day. There’s no doubt that the flood sequences are attesting. But since the film fails on a script level, these sequences don’t move the audiences. The climax also could have been heart wrenching but the desired impact is missing. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Sushant Singh Rajput is not in top form. There’s no doubt that he has worked hard physically in playing the porter. But in terms of performance, there’s a lot left to be desired. Shockingly, some of his dialogues are difficult to decipher in the first half an hour. Sara Ali Khan makes a very confident debut and is the only one to benefit from the film. Her performance is exemplary and she’s sure to stay here and shine! Sadly her characterization is unconvincing. The way her character suddenly falls crazily for Mansoor is difficult to digest. Nitish Bharadwaj is decent and restrained. Nishant Dahiya plays the villainous part well. Again, his performance suffers a bit since the makers never cared to explain properly why his character was so revered by one and all. Pooja Gor leaves a mark. Sonali Sachdev (Lata; Mukku's mother) and Alka Amin (Mansoor's mother) are okay. Others are fine. Amit Trivedi’s music is soulful but not well utilised in the film. <em>'Namo Namo'</em> is the only song that leaves a mark. <em>'Qaafirana'</em> and <em>'Jaan Nisaar'</em> are just okay while <em>'Sweetheart'</em> is well choreographed. Hitesh Sonik's background score is nothing special. Allwin Rego and Sanjay Maurya's sound design however adds to the thrill quotient especially in the flood scenes. Tushar Kanti Ray's cinematography is breath-taking. The locales of Kedarnath are never seen before on screen in any film and that adds to the charm. Dave Judge and Sunil Rodrigues's action is well done. Mayur Sharma's production design is authentic. After Studios's VFX is superior. Though one fails to understand why the visuals in the crucial flood scenes were kept so dark. Shruti Kapoor and Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla's costumes are straight out of life and ones worn by Sara are praiseworthy. Chandan Arora's editing could have been better. On the whole, KEDARNATH is a poor fare owing to the unexciting and flawed writing and weak execution. What works well is Sara Ali Khan's stupendous performance and the flood sequences. At the box office, its fate will be an average one. &nbsp

Movie Review: 2.0

Thu, 29 Nov 18 07:45:28 +0000

Can you imagine a life without a cell phone in today’s times? The answer obviously would be a ‘No’ as it’s like a boon in today’s times and almost like a digital extension of one’s arm. Ironically, even the ones fighting over the health hazards of mobile phone towers can’t help but use a mobile for their day-to-day activities. It is a necessary evil and would continue to be unless a solution is found to its harmful radiation. Director Shankar, one of the most imaginative and successful directors of India, has now taken this idea and neatly linked it to his earlier sci-fi flick, ROBOT [2010]. 2.0, the sequel to the 2010 blockbuster, promises to be India's best film in terms of VFX and technology. But does this film ,that has faced numerous delays, has a story to tell that would appeal to the audiences emotionally? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-926389" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> 2.0 is the story of an evil force wreaking havoc and how a robot is awakened to fight him. Dr. Vasigaran (Rajinikanth) has progressed in his field and is trying to promote the importance of robots. He has developed an attractive robot named Neela (Amy Jackson) which can do any domestic work. Meanwhile, a strange phenomenon begins to occur in the city. The mobile phones of every citizen gets zapped into the air and disappears, creating chaos. After the head of a mobile phone company Manoj Lulla (Kaizaad Kotwal), a wholesale retailer of cell phones and a prominent leader R S Vairamoorthy are killed by this evil force that can even take the shape of a giant bird, Dr. Vasigaran requests the government that he be allowed to reactivate Chitti the robot. However, Dhinendra Bora (Sudhanshu Pandey) objects since it had led to immense destruction the last time. But with no other option in hand, home minister Vijay Kumar (Adil Hussain) grants Dr. Vasigaran the permission. Chitti is brought back to life and gives a tough fight to the evil force. But soon even Chitti is unable to do much. The evil force, who is none other than Dr. Pakshirajan (Akshay Kumar), has a dark past and is too powerful. He won’t rest until he achieves his objective. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Shankar's story is imaginative, modern and the need of the hour. It does give a déjà vu of KICK [2014] and Shankar's very own APARICHIT [2006] while the VFX and setting in the city scenes remind one of KRRISH 3 [2013]. Shankar's screenplay is taut, engaging and most importantly, simple and highly entertaining. It is commendable to see how he has infused an important message without compromising on the entertainment quotient. Abbas Tyrewala's dialogues are nothing great but work. Shankar's direction is highly effective and he proves once again why he’s one of our best filmmakers. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by the technology available and makes correct use of it. He also strikes a balance while talking about the harmful radiation and its ill effects on birds but again, he doesn’t get preachy. As a result, the impact is tremendous. In fact, 2.0 can start the much needed debate on this topic. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> 2.0 wastes no time and from the first scene itself, the story begins to move. This continues till the end. There are no forced songs or humour and the focus is solely on the story. The 148 minute long film doesn’t bore even for a moment as there’s so much happening. All the three murders are a bit gory but make a huge impact. The entry of Chitti takes the film to another level and it’ll surely be greeted with <em>seetis</em> and <em>taalis</em>! The intermission point is terrific but Shankar reserves the best for the second half. The flashback of Dr. Pakshirajan could have dipped the interest. But that doesn’t happen and it gives the film the much needed emotional touch. However it’s the climax where the film goes on a high. Rajinikanth steals the show at this point and his fans are bound to go berserk! Rajinikanth is the star of the show as expected. He’s too good in the beginning portions but in the second half and particularly the climax, he’s a riot! The legendary superstar hasn’t had a great run at the box office of late and 2.0 is sure to change that! Akshay Kumar appears on the screen very late but leaves a huge mark with his limited screen time. His flashback portion in the second half is excellent and his novel look would surely be appreciated. But most importantly, he looks every inch a menacing villain. Kudos! Amy Jackson has a very crucial role and is the surprise of the film. Watch out for her killer smile when Chitti is mentioned by Dr. Vasigaran! Sudhanshu Pandey plays well but his track is difficult to digest and too illogical. Adil Hussain is dependable as always. Kaizaad Kotwal is decent. The actor playing R S Vairamoorthy is funny. A R Rahman's music doesn’t make any impact. <em>'Rakshassi'</em> and <em>'Nanni Si Jaan' </em>are relegated to the background while <em>'Tu Hi Re'</em> is played during the end credits. A R Rahman's background music however is quite impactful. Nirav Shah's cinematography is terrific in all respects, especially the aerial shots. T Muthuraj's production design is top class and the film looks quite rich. V Srinivas Mohan and Rif Dagher's VFX is out of the world. Especially in the last 30 minutes, it is something not seen in any Indian film ever! Resul Pookutty's sound design is praiseworthy, particularly thousands of phones vibrating simultaneously. Kenny Bates, Nick Powell, Steve Griffin and Silva's action is a bit gory but in the later scenes it is very impressive. Legacy Effects' animatronics and special make-up matches the global standards. Special mention here for the make-up of Akshay Kumar, it is brilliant. Anthony's editing is flawless. On the whole, 2.0 is a cinematic marvel which has the style as well as the substance. The VFX especially during the last 30 minutes is something which has not been watched on Indian screens ever. At the box office, it is a sure shot blockbuster and will set new benchmarks in the days to come. Highly recommended

Movie Review: Bhaiaji Superhittt

Fri, 23 Nov 18 05:03:47 +0000

The last decade saw the emergence of the action comedy genre. Rohit Shetty exceled a lot in this genre as most of his films had action coupled with some fun moments. Besides, SINGH IS KINNG [2008], READY [2011] KHILADI 786 [2012], DISHOOM [2016] etc. were some of the popular action comedies that worked for the audiences. Sunny Deol, who also toyed with this kind of cinema in YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA franchise, is now back with another action comic fare, BHAIAJI SUPERHIT. This film has been in the making since almost five years and faced lot of obstacles. Now that it releases finally, does BHAIAJI SUPERHIT turn out to be an entertaining ride? Or does it fail to deliver? Let’s analyse <img class="aligncenter wp-image-924277 size-full" title="Movie Review: Bhaiaji Superhittt" src="" alt="Movie Review: Bhaiaji Superhittt" width="720" height="450" /> BHAIAJI SUPERHIT is the story of a gangster who enters into films. Devi Dayal Dubey aka Bhaiaji (Sunny Deol) is a goon with a heart of gold based in Mirzapur, a town close to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He’s married to the dynamic Sapna Dubey (Preity Zinta) who leaves him after she suspects Bhaiaji of having an affair with the widow of a deceased fellow gangster. Eight months pass and Bhaiaji is depressed and is unable to focus on his work. His team therefore take him to a psychologist, Dr. Gyan Prakash Buddisagar (Sanjay Mishra). He tells Bhaiaji that Sapna won’t like if his work suffers and people start ridiculing him as a result. He motivates him to become popular not just in his town but the whole of India. Bhaiaji hence decides to get into films. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Goldie Kapoor (Arshad Warsi) is a director who also cons producers of their money smartly. He’s kidnapped by Bhaiaji’s men and compelled to make a film on his life. Realizing that Bhaiaji is super-rich and in this vulnerable state, he can be fooled into passing millions to him, Goldie agrees. He then brings a writer, Tarun Porno Ghosh (Shreyas Talpade) to script the film and the hot and cunning Mallika Kapoor (Ameesha Patel) to essay the role of Sapna. While Bhaiaji is busy in the making of the film, his rival, Helicopter Mishra (Jaideep Ahlawat) is trying to usurp his place and establish himself. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Neerraj Pathak’s story is poor although the basic plot has promise. A track in Anees Bazmee’s comic caper WELCOME [2007] had Nana Patekar, playing a gangster, trying his hand into films. This particular sequence was loved and is remembered even today as it was so funny. So this central idea can work wonders if handled well. Moreover, even the characters like Sapna Dubey, Goldie Kapoor, Tarun Porno Ghosh and Dr. Gyan Prakash Buddisagar have a lot of potential. But they are horribly utilized. Neerraj Pathak’s screenplay is one of the biggest culprits as the scenes are haphazardly written and there’s no flow. The humour quotient is also below par which takes the film further down. Neerraj Pathak, Aakash Pandey, Raaj Shaandilyaa, Shirish Sharma and Sumit Nijhawan’s dialogues are quite okay and only a few scenes of Goldie and Tarun Porno Ghosh raise laughs. Neerraj Pathak’s direction is inconsistent and messy. There are far too many characters and subplots and the manner in which he has stitched everything together is horrible. To add to it, the script is flawed and his execution further ruins the impact. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> BHAIAJI SUPERHIT has a very awful beginning as the title song is played during the beginning credits and it is interspersed with an unintentionally funny action scene. One can make out that the said action sequence was not initially intended to be a part of the track and was forcefully added. In fact, this film which has been in the making since several years seems dated and at places, there are also continuity issues. Thankfully, the makers waste no time in getting straight to the story but the various situations don’t really add to the fun. A few scenes elicit laughs – that’s it. Post-interval, the makers add a plot twist by introducing Bhaiaji’s lookalike, Funny Singh (Sunny Deol), but it adds nothing the story. The villain's track, meanwhile, is quite silly and in the action scene in the finale, all logic and sense is thrown out of the window. Sunny Deol is not in top form. However, he sails through the film. He has a great comic timing and when it comes to action, he’s first-rate as we all know. In both these departments, he manages to do well but on the whole, it’s sad to see him doing such badly written films this year, from YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE to MOHALLA ASSI to now BHAIAJI SUPERHIT. Preity Zinta gets to play a <em>‘Dabangg’</em> character in her comeback film and does a fine job. The character didn’t deserve this film and would have worked wonders in some other comic caper. Her attempt at humour and showing her vulnerable side is nice and would be lapped up by her fans. Arshad Warsi is the reason why the film is mildly funny. He gets to play a great role and rises above the substandard script. Shreyas Talpade is also fine but gets limited screen time. Ameesha Patel looks quite sizzling but performance wise, she is average. Sanjay Mishra, again, is a funny character but is under-utilized and given some very bad dialogues to mouth. Pankaj Tripathi (Builder Gupta) is hardly there and is nothing special. Jaideep Ahlawat puts in genuine effort but is made a caricature in the end. Brijendra Kala (Chacha ji) is decent. Hemant Pandey (Charsi bhai) is strictly okay and his character is sure to bewilder audiences. Throughout the film, he’s shown to be just another gang member but in one particular sequence, he’s presented as a drug addict and this is when the audiences are told that his name is Charsi Bhai. It’s clear that this scene was an afterthought and added later on. But in the process, it’s shocking that they changed the nature of a character. Pankaj Jha (Chairman Gajendra Singh) tries to be funny but fails. Same goes for Amit Mistry (Lucky Singh Lapata). Manoj Joshi (Inspector Arun Ghosh) is introduced well and it seemed like he’ll have an important part to play. But after his entry scene, he’s never shown again and only mentioned once. Ranjeet (Sapna’s father) is added for the heck of it. Mukul Dev (Bhaiaji’s gang member), Rajeev Mehta (disgruntled producer), Nawab Shah (henchman), Hanif Halal (Helicopter Mishra’s gang member) are wasted. The end credits mention Lillete Dubey’s name but she is nowhere in the film. Her scene must have been axed but the makers forgot to remove her name from the rolling credits! Music is nothing special. <em>'Sleepy Sleepy Akhiyan'</em> is the only song that looks decent and well presented. <em>'Do Naina'</em> comes next. <em>'Om Namah Shivay'</em> is horrible and Sunny Deol’s dance is bound to raise unintentional laughs. <em>'Naam Hai Bhaiaji'</em> as said before is poor and same goes for <em>'Baby Jaanleva Hai'</em>. Vijay Verma, Anamik and Lyton's background score is loud. Vishnu Rao and Kabir Lal's cinematography is nothing special. The film is set in Uttar Pradesh but many scenes are shot in Mumbai, as evident by the skyline and skyscrapers in the background. S Vijayan's action is a bit gory and even silly. Muneesh Sappel's production design is quite okay. Ruchika Paanday, Manish Malhotra and Rocky S's costumes for Preity Zinta and Ameesha Patel are quite appealing. Sandeep Francis's editing is very haphazard. The film, it seems, was quite long and the makers tried to bring down the duration but the end result was bad. On the whole, BHAIAJI SUPERHIT adds to list of disastrous films of Sunny Deol in recent times. This dated film suffers from lazy and inconsistent execution, bad writing and unfunny moments. At the box office, it is bound to flop

Movie Review: Pihu

Fri, 16 Nov 18 06:41:49 +0000

The most indispensable part of parenting, especially during the initial years, is supervision. It’s impossible that any parent would let the child go off their sights or that of the guardians. The fear that their kid might get hurt is forever looming over their heads. Vinod Kapri’s PIHU plays on this idea. It attempts to throw light on what happens when a child is let loose with nobody to look after, in an urban dwelling. The premise is quite intriguing, more so because it’s based on a true story. So does PIHU manage to give a nail-biting experience to the viewers? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-921960" src="" alt="Movie-Review-Pihu-Review-Image" width="720" height="450" /> PIHU is the story of a toddler trapped in a house. Pihu (Myra Vishwakarma aka Pihu) turns two years old and her parents – Puja (Prerna Sharma) and Gaurav (voiced by Rahul Bagga) – throw a bash for her. At night, after Pihu goes to sleep, the parents have a huge showdown. They have had a lot of such fights in the past. The next day, Gaurav leaves for Kolkata for work purposes early in the morning. Unable to bear the trauma of the problems in her marriage, Puja consumes pills and ends her life. Pihu wakes up next to the lifeless body of Puja. However, she’s unable to comprehend that her mother is no more. She tries to wake her up but to no avail. Gaurav meanwhile calls Puja to scold her for not packing his bags and also to inform her that he forgot to switch off the iron. However, Pihu answers the phone and due to her young age, she’s unable to inform her father about her mother’s state. Pihu meanwhile also feels hungry and goes down to the kitchen to have milk and snacks. However, she wreaks havoc as she tries to use the gas stove, microwave oven and refrigerator. She also accidentally switches on the geyser. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Vinod Kapri’s story is quite novel and interesting and it’s shocking to know that it’s based on a true story. Vinod Kapri’s screenplay (additional screenplay by Abhishek Sharma and Pihu herself) however has quite a few rough edges. It’s a bit too convenient after a point and also drags. Ideally, this 90 minute long film should have been further shorter by 15-20 minutes. Vinod Kapri’s dialogues are quite natural. Thankfully, subtitles have been provided and hence, one can correctly understand what the child is muttering. Vinod Kapri’s direction is simple and uncomplicated. But he should have known where to draw the line. He just goes on and on using all the props available and somewhere, the impact gets diminished. On the positive side, a few scenes are very well executed like Pihu getting trapped in the refrigerator, Pihu trying to locate the source of the smoke in the bedroom and Pihu’s conversation with her father in the second half. <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>PIHU seems quite a lengthy fare as there’s no story as such and it moves at its own pace. The first 15-20 minutes are definitely arresting. The opening credits are in sync with the background noise played, depicting Pihu’s birthday celebrations. But soon, the film begins to lose its sheen. Survival dramas anyways are risky films as you really can’t do much with just one character. And there have been great films in this genre that have formed a benchmark. PIHU is nowhere close to it majorly due to the length. Moreover, few sequences are unconvincing. In order to up the scare quotient, Pihu is shown doing mischief with almost every appliance around – from television to gas stove to refrigerator to iron to microwave oven to geyser! After using all these aspects, Pihu moves to the balcony and as expected, she tries to climb the railing. All these scenes definitely give a heart-in-the-mouth scare but are also difficult to digest. Those who have infants in their house won’t be able to sit through the film. Finally, another major issue with the film is that the trailer, though quite impactful, showed a bit too much. As a result, one can anticipate about the various scary moments that will be shown in the film. PIHU consists of just two actors with Myra Vishwakarma having the majority screen time. As expected, she does a tremendous job. Her looks and expressions are very cute and at many places, your heart goes to her. Vinod Kapri deserves kudos for extracting such a fine performance from such a young actor. Prerna Sharma appears dead throughout the film and is decent. Rahul Bagga’s voiceover is fine but he hams a bit, especially in the end. Hrishita Bhatt (voice of Meera) however is fine. The other voiceover artists like the angry neighbour, milkman, watchman etc go overboard. Vishal Khurana’s music is a bit daily soap-like and could have been edgier. In a few scenes, it’s quite correct. Subash Sahoo’s sound designing is much better and enhances the thrill elements. Yogesh Jaini’s cinematography is captivating. It manages to capture the tension very well despite limitations in space and also give the film a theatrical look. Irene Dhar Malik, Sheeba Sehgal and Archit D Rastogi’s editing should have been slicker. On the whole, PIHU rests on a very novel idea but the long length and certain unconvincing and disturbing developments act as spoilsport. This niche film carries low buzz and would find it difficult to lure in the audiences

Movie Review: Mohalla Assi

Thu, 15 Nov 18 15:32:23 +0000

Globalization has brought the world closer. But a section of people, who are very rooted and swear by their age-old traditions and values, feel threatened by it. They always fear the Westerners are here to ruin their ancient tradition and that would mean a loss of identity. Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s MOHALLA ASSI majorly talks about this aspect. Based in Varanasi, which is also a hot bed for political discussions, this film also has a political and communal colour to it. The film was stuck at the Central Board of Film Certification for a few years and it was passed by the High Court recently. This controversy has got the film some traction. So does this controversy and content help MOHALLA ASSI in making a mark? Or does it turn out to be a disappointing fare? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-921644" src="" alt="Movie Review: Mohalla Assi" width="720" height="450" /> MOHALLA ASSI is the story of a man with principles forced to make compromises. Dharmnath Pandey (Sunny Deol) is a priest who sits on Assi Ghat in the holy city of Varanasi. He attends to the pilgrims during the day and teaches Sanskrit in the afternoon. The income is meagre and unlike others, he doesn’t compel his visitors to pay him exorbitantly. This causes lot of distress to his wife Savitri (Sakshi Tanwar) and she’s forever cursing him for not earning enough. But Pandey feels that there’s no end to a man’s greed and that one should be happy with what he/she earns. He’s also a firm protector of the values of Assi and would not tolerate any ‘corruption’. A lot of other Pandas like him also reside in Assi which gives a clear view of river Ganga. As a result, foreign tourists insist on renting a room in this locality. But Pandey not only refuses to allot a room to any tourist in his house but doesn’t even allow others Brahmin Pandas do so. His neighbour and fellow panda Upadhyay ji (Saurabh Shukla) is hence always cross with him on this aspect. Besides Dharmnath Pandey, the film consists of subplots comprising of a tourist guide Kanni Guru (Ravi Kishan) who’s ready to do anything to earn more money and Nekram (Faisal Rashid), a barber who falls for a tourist, Kathryn (Alisha). Lastly, the film also focuses on a group of men, comprising of right-winger politician Radhe Shyam (Mukesh Tiwari), Tanni Guru (Akhilendra Mishra), Gaya Singh (Mithilesh Chaturvedi), lawyer Srivastava (Rajendra Gupta), communist sympathizer S P Mishra etc – who meet at Pappu’s tea shop and discuss about politics, religion and how foreigners are trying to pollute Varanasi. MOHALLA ASSI is based on the book ‘Kashi Ka Assi’ by Kashinath Singh. The story is interesting and even quite brave as it boldly takes names of controversial incidents and episodes of modern Indian history. From a film point of view however, there’s too much happening and neither of the various tracks make the ultimate impact. Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s screenplay is engaging only in a few sequences but overall, it’s not put together properly. The tea-stall conversations seem interesting initially but later, it tests the patience of the viewers. Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi and Kashinath Singh’s dialogues are sharp and acidic at several places. A lot of abuses are used frequently but they are as per the requirements. Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s direction is simple and works at some places. But it’s also flawed as besides the character of Dharmnath Pandey and Savitri, one doesn’t connect with other dozens of characters in the film. Also, the major developments happen in the second hour and it doesn’t make for an exciting watch. This is especially after Dharmnath Pandey dreams about Lord Shiva cursing him and the developments that follow. The climax is strictly okay and the film doesn’t really end on a high. Also, one more problem with the film is that the plot begins in 1988 and ends in 1998. But barring Dharmnath Pandey’s kids, not a single character is shown aging. MOHALLA ASSI’s first hour is majorly devoted in just establishing the characters and the setting. Some sequences stand out like Gaya Singh forcing the cops to stop sealing the tea shop, Nekram and Kathryn eloping and Dharmnath Pandey deciding to go to Ayodhya for the cause of the construction of Ram Temple. The last-mentioned episode is expected to be a highpoint in the film but it quickly gets forgotten. It’s only in the second hour that Dharmnath Pandey takes centre stage and his problems get talked about. Few scenes here are moving and the sequence where Kanni Guru tells him to make major changes in his house is quite interesting. But after the much talked about dream sequence, the film goes downhill. <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>Sunny Deol is in a fine form. He’s known for his action roles and dialogue<em>baazi</em>. The role doesn’t give him a scope to beat up baddies but he surely gets a chance to deliver angry monologues, but this time, it’s restrained. Sakshi Tanwar is superb as the angry young wife who is scared of her family’s future. One can feel her pain in several scenes. Ravi Kishan is very entertaining and will surely be liked. Saurabh Shukla is as always dependable. Mukesh Tiwari plays the right-winger to the T. Mithilesh Chaturvedi goes over the top. Rajendra Gupta also manages to leave a mark. Faisal Rashid is decent and his track will surely induce laughs. Seema Azmi (Ramdayi, Savitri’s neighbour) also provides comic relief. Daya Shankar Pandey (Behroopiya/character dressed as Lord Shiva) makes an impact in a cameo. The actor playing S P Mishra is okay.  Out of the foreigners, Alisha gets the maximum scope followed by Sofia (Madeline). The actor playing Muslim vegetable vendor strikes a chord despite having a two-scene role. Amod Bhatt’s music is forgettable and music gets no scope. Amod Bhatt and Utpal Sharma’s background score is dated and gives the feel that the film is long delayed. Vijay Kumar Arora’s cinematography is simple and effective. There are not too many birds-eye-view shots of Varanasi and the lensman ensures MOHALLA ASSI doesn’t seem like a tourism video. Sham Kaushal’s action is nothing great. There’s just one lone action scene and it’s not worthy enough. Bhupendra Singh’s art direction is realistic while Nandita Pandey’s costumes are straight out of life. Aseem Sinha’s editing is very incoherent as scenes start and end at random and are not put together well. On the whole, MOHALLA ASSI is a poor fare and fails to make an impact because of the unexciting script, incoherent direction and too many subplots and characters. At the box office, it arrives without noise and is sure to sink without a trace

Movie Review: Thugs Of Hindostan is a King-Sized disappointment!

Thu, 08 Nov 18 07:42:52 +0000

A Diwali release is an event in itself. And this year, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan team up for the first time in the hugely awaited THUGS OF HINDOSTAN. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-918817 size-full" title="Movie Review: Thugs Of Hindostan is a King-Sized disappointment!" src="" alt="Movie Review: Thugs Of Hindostan is a King-Sized disappointment!" width="750" height="450" /> Let's come to the point right away. Does THUGS OF HINDOSTAN manage to live up to the monumental expectations? Or does it turn out to be a shocking disappointment? Unfortunately, the film is a king-sized disappointment. THUGS OF HINDOSTAN is the story of a group of rebels fighting the British. The year is 1795. The kingdom is ruled by a benevolent king [Ronit Roy]. The evil Clive [Lloyd Owen] annexes the kingdom by treacherous means and kills the king and queen. The king's guardian, Khudabaksh [Amitabh Bachchan], escapes with the king's daughter Zafira [Fatima Sana Shaikh]. 11 years later, Khudabakash, Zafira and their gang are now considered thugs. They have wrecked havoc in the lives of the Britishers. With no other option in hand, Clive summons Firangi Malla [Aamir Khan] to trace the whereabouts of Khudabaksh. Firangi is a devious character and it's difficult to trust him. Betrayal is his second nature by his own admission. With the help of his friend Shanichar [Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub], Firangi devises a plan and enrols into Khudabaksh's army. What happens next? To start with, the story is formula-ridden and utterly predictable. The writer could have done so much with the content but, sadly, he lets go of this golden opportunity. The screenwriting has some moments [especially in the first half], but the narrative loosens the grip as it progresses. Worse, too many cinematic liberties and a lifeless second hour act as roadblocks. The dialogues are interesting, especially between the senior actors, but they are few and far between. Vijay Krishna Acharya's direction is shoddy. Frankly, with such poor written material on hand, the director couldn't have salvaged the show either. However, he does manage to make an impact in a few sequences... <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> *Firangi's entry and the sequences between Firangi and Khudabaksh in the first hour are worth recalling. *Khudabaksh's entry would be greeted with seetis and taalis. Even Firangi Malla's introduction is funny and keeps the interest going. *The interval point and prior to that, the confrontation and action sequences involving the two actors is engaging. Manoj Kumar's multi-starrer KRANTI, released in 1981, 37 years ago, remains a far more interesting and hugely entertaining movie made on the subject [a group of rebels fighting the Britishers]. That film boasted of memorable songs that hold tremendous recall value to this date. Ajay-Atul's music is a letdown. The supremely talented composers are not in form this time. Background score is jarring. Cinematography is stunning. Action sequences are well executed. Production design is top notch. VFX should've been better. Editing is uneven. The film could've done with a shorter run time. Aamir plays to the gallery, but is letdown by the writing. Also, at places, he tries too hard to be funny. Amitabh Bachchan delivers a powerful performance and towers above all. Fatima Sana Shaikh fails to create the desired impact. Katrina Kaif is hardly there, barring two songs and a few sequences. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub hams to the hilt. The two Britishers are caricaturish. Ila Arun is wasted. Ronit Roy is decent. Sharat Saxena gets no scope. On the whole, THUGS OF HINDOSTAN has some engrossing moments in the first half, that's about it. The post-interval portions are an absolute downer. The plot is formulaic, while the screenplay is riddled with cinematic liberties. At the box-office, TOH is bound to have a huge weekend thanks to the festive period coupled with tremendous hype and the impressive names involved. But once the initial euphoria settles down, it'll be difficult for the film to sustain. This one is a golden opportunity lost, a KING-SIZED DISAPPOINTMENT

Movie Review: Baazaar

Thu, 25 Oct 18 11:25:33 +0000

The stock market is the most important aggregation of India’s financial centre, Mumbai. The updates of the rising and falling stocks always makes it to the news regularly. Yet, hardly any film has been made on this subject. In the last decade, Samir Hanchante’s GAFLA [2006] sank without a trace, although it was a decent attempt and inspired from the stock market scam of 1992. Now, Nikkhil Advani and debutant director Gauravv K Chawla unveil BAAZAAR, probably Bollywood’s first big film on stock market. So is BAAZAAR an interesting and worthy entertainer? Or does it turn out to be a dampener? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-913209 size-full" title="Movie Review: Baazaar" src="" alt="Movie Review: Baazaar" width="720" height="450" /> BAAZAAR is the story of hunger, greed and power. Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) is a small time stock broker in Allahabad. He’s not happy with the paltry earnings and hence, comes to Mumbai. His ultimate aim is to work with the dynamic business tycoon Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan). He first manages to get a chance to work with Kishore Wadhwa (Denzil Smith) in his trading company. Here, he befriends Priya Rai (Radhika Apte) and both later get into a relationship. Once, both go for a high profile event where Rizwan finally manages to come face to face with Shakun. Rizwan impresses Shakun by correctly predicting an upcoming market development which nobody is able to foresee. Shakun hence opens his trading account with Rizwan and slowly both become very close. On the other hand, a SEBI official Rana Dasgupta (Manish Chaudhari) is aware of Shakun Kothari's misdealings but doesn’t have enough evidence. Realising that Shakun and Rizwan have become close friends, Rana now starts to closely monitor Rizwan as well. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Parveez Shaikh’s story is quite interesting and promising. There’s no similarity to the Hollywood flick WALL STREET (1987) as such. Parveez Shaikh and Aseem Arora’s screenplay is effective and engaging in the first half. In the post interval portions though, it goes downhill heavily and becomes cumbersome. Aseem Arora’s dialogues are sharp and impactful. Gauravv K Chawla’s direction is quite good for a first timer. Some scenes are exceptionally handled especially in the first half. However he makes a mess in the second half. The script had loopholes and he couldn’t cover it well. Moreover, too many technical terms are used in the film which a layman may not understand. So it’ll be difficult for them to comprehend the proceedings. This restricts the appeal of the film to a great extent. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> BAAZAAR begins on an intriguing note. The introduction scenes of Rizwan are interesting. However the entry sequence of Shakun Kothari is very powerful and whistle and clapworthy. From here on, there’s no stopping the film. All the scenes that follow like the auction scene, Rizwan's interview process at Wadhwa's office, Rizwan’s first big catch, Shakun’s confrontation with Sandeep Talwar (Vikram Kapadia), Shakun's conversation with wife Mandira (Chitrangada Singh) at the dinner table and then with the kids, Shakun-Rizwan's first meeting and the intermission point – all of them leave a tremendous mark. Some of them are convenient but you don’t mind since it’s entertaining. But the film falls in the second half and drags. Only the engagement scene of Aamna (Sonia Balani) is arresting. Otherwise the film’s developments post interval don’t make the desired impact. There are few twists and turns at this point but unlike the first half, these convenient developments now begin to bother. The finale also is not justified. Saif Ali Khan delivers an outstanding performance and this would rank as one of his best acts. Right from the first scene, he’s in his element. He sounds cunning as well as funny, depending on the situation, when he mouths Gujarati dialogues. Rohan Mehra makes a confident debut and is quite promising. He got a great role to essay in his first film and makes good use of it. Radhika Apte looks quite glamorous and charming and as expected, delivers a fine performance. Chitrangda Singh gives a great performance but has very less screen time. Manish Chaudhari is hardly there in the first half. He is effective overall. Denzil Smith, who impressed everyone recently in HAPPY PHIRR BHAG JAYEGI, is fine in a small role and convincing. Sonia Balani is adorable. Pawan Chopra (Zulfiqar Ahmed) and Abhishek Gupta (Anwar) are okay in their special appearances. Vikram Kapadia leaves a huge mark. Utkarsh Mazumdar (Chheda), Danish Hussain (Dubey) and Sahil Sangha (Vineet Mehra) are okay. Elli AvrRam is hot in the <em>'Billionaire'</em> song. Music is not memorable. Only song that works is the catchy <em>'Kem Cho'</em>. <em>'La La La'</em> comes next. <em>'Adhura Lafz'</em> and <em>'Chhod Diya' </em>are forgettable while <em>'Billionaire'</em> fails to make an impact. John Stewart Eduri's background score however is terrific and heightens impact in several scenes. Swapnil S. Sonawane's cinematography is great and the lensman captures the high rises and glitz and glamour of Mumbai very well. Shurti Gupte's production design is rich. Natascha Charak and Nikita Mohanty's costumes are very appealing and glamorous especially the ones worn by Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte. Maahir Zaveri and Arjun Srivastava's editing is very slick and stylish but in a few places in the second half, it’s a bit abrupt. On the whole, BAAZAAR has a brilliant first half but the unconvincing and convenient second half hampers the impact heavily. Moreover, the subject is such that only the multiplex audiences in the urban areas would find it appealing

Movie Review: Namaste England

Wed, 17 Oct 18 18:31:44 +0000

Times have changed when it comes to women empowerment and gradually, the people on the whole are realizing that equal opportunities are a must for people of all genders. Yet, a lot needs to be done especially in the places which are away from the mega cities. NAMASTE ENGLAND, which marks the return of Vipul Shah as a director after eight years, throws light on this aspect and also promises to be a beautiful love story. Moreover, it’s the second film in the franchise, the first being the much loved NAMASTEY LONDON [2007], starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. So does NAMASTE ENGLAND manage to be better than or at least as good as its predecessor? Or does it fail to make an impact? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-910511" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> NAMASTE ENGLAND is the story of a couple torn between love and their dreams. Param (Arjun Kapoor) and Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) reside in a tiny village in Punjab. Both fall for each other. Meanwhile, Jasmeet, who’s interested in jewellery designing, gets a job in Amritsar. She has to work there for three days a week. Jasmeet’s grandfather (Shivendra Mahal) is strictly against women working. So Jasmeet hides this bit from him but one day the truth comes out. Param at this point asks Jasmeet to get married to him and asserts that she can work then without any problem. Param’s family visits Jasmeet’s house to ask her hand in marriage. Jasmeet’s grandfather agrees but he has a condition – Jasmeet should not work once she ties the knot. Both ultimately get married and a year later, Jasmeet meets her friend Harpreet (Mallika Dua). She lives in UK with her husband and is very happy and settled. Seeing her, Jasmeet gets a desire to leave India and settle in England so that she can work there and have an independent life. Param is even ready to move there with her and his father also has no issue. The issue however is that Param can’t go out of India. On his wedding day, Param has an altercation with his friend Gurpreet (Anjum Batra), who’s well connected, and the latter vows that he’ll not let Param get a visa of Europe, where the couple were planning a honeymoon. Jasmeet hence devises a plan – she’ll move to UK alone at first and after securing residency, she’ll be entitled to let Param enter UK. Param is fine with the arrangement. However, Jasmeet hasn’t been completely truthful to him. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair's story is very weak and silly and rests on a wafer thin plot. The story has too many flaws. Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair's screenplay is juvenile and does nothing to hide these glitches. It's shocking that the duo is associated with some fine films of recent times like AIRLIFT [2016], D-DAY [2013], RAID [2018], MARDAANI [2014] and even NAMASTEY LONDON and yet they collectively penned this apology of a script. Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair's dialogues are also terrible and dated. Vipul Amrutlal Shah's direction is haywire and it seems like he has lost his touch. The scenes begin and end all of a sudden and he tries to incorporate a lot. He also tries to repeat the magic of NAMASTEY LONDON, be it during the intermission point or during the scene where Param delivers a patriotic speech. But while the latter sequence was powerful in NAMASTEY LONDON and is still remembered today, the one in NAMASTE ENGLAND looks forced. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> NAMASTE ENGLAND has a bit of an awkward beginning. The lovers are shown meeting each other during various seasons and it takes a while to understand that. At this point, Param forces his friend to marry a girl from Jasmeet’s group just so that he gets a chance to meet Jasmeet again! This scene itself gives viewers an idea that this film is not going to make any sense. The entire bit of Jasmeet's grandfather refusing her to work even after marriage seems unconvincing but works nevertheless. But the scene that doesn't work at all in this hour is Gurpreet's drama at the wedding. Param-Jasmeet's romance post marriage is cute and the scenes of Gurnaam (Satish Kaushik) help in keeping the interest going although the film has still not gone on a high. The intermission point comes across as a shocker but not for the right reasons. The first half comes across as disappointing while post interval, the film falls further. Param entering UK illegally is an engaging scene but doesn’t make any sense. Even worse is Param pretending to marry Alisha (Alankrita Sahai). These scenes, besides being nonsensical, are not even funny or moving. Also the film gives a very wrong message and tries to project that immigration is a bad idea and that's certainly not true. Also, the film ends at an abrupt point and all the conflicts of the film don’t end even when the credits roll. This isn't Arjun Kapoor’s best act and his performance leaves a lot to be desired. He looks haggard and a bit overweight in some scenes. Parineeti Chopra is however better and puts up a great act. Sadly, she is letdown by terrible writing.  Aditya Seal (Sam) has a fine screen presence and makes an impact. Alankrita Sahai (Alisha), last seen in the recently-released web film LOVE PER SQUARE FOOT, looks sizzling and does fine. Satish Kaushik is over the top and the way he says ‘Darling’ in every sentence is not funny. Same with Shreya Mehta (Mitthi) who makes a sound at the end of each sentence, a la Nawazuddin Siddiqui in KICK [2014]! But she puts a confident act. Anil Mange (Iqbal Khan) is decent. Pratik Dixit (KG, the British Born Indian origin guy) is laughable. Mallika Dua is good and probably is the only funny character in the film. Anjum Batra, Shivendra Mahal, Hobby Dhaliwal (Param’s father) and Vinod Nagpal (Sam’s grandfather) are okay while the actor playing Harpreet is damn good. Mannan Shaah’s music is okay with some songs working while the others being a disappointment. <em>'Dhoom Dhadakka'</em> is very catchy and foot-tapping. <em>'Tere Liye'</em> comes next. <em>'Bhare Bazaar'</em> doesn’t work and it’s abruptly cut into half. Prasad Sashte’s background score is over dramatic. Yiannis Manolopoulos’s cinematography is appropriate but nothing special. Sriram Kannan Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant's production design looks superficial, especially the houses in Punjab village. Aki Narula, Sanjana Batra and Gayatri Thadani's costumes are nothing special initially but the ones worn by Parineeti in London scenes are appealing. Amitabh Shukla’s editing is horrible. On the whole, NAMASTE ENGLAND is an extremely poor fare and is riddled with a terrible script and a juvenile screenplay. At the box office, it will face a tough time and will not find favour with the audience

Movie Review: Badhaai Ho

Wed, 17 Oct 18 10:55:32 +0000

Since the time Ayushmann Khurrana debuted in 2012 with VICKY DONOR, he has become the poster boy of films which were unconventional, taboo and yet attracted moviegoers in hordes. While his first film talked about sperm donation, his last year’s sleeper hit SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN dealt with erectile dysfunction. Now he’s back with yet another film on similar lines, BADHAAI HO. So does BADHAAI HO follow in the footsteps of his earlier hatke films and emerge as a must watch fare? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-910393" src="" alt="Movie Review: Badhaai Ho" width="720" height="450" /> BADHAAI HO is the story of a family that faces an unusual situation. Nakul Kaushik (Ayushmann Khurrana) resides in Delhi with his family comprising of his father Jeetender aka Jeetu (Gajraj Rao), mother Priyamvada (Neena Gupta), grandmother (Surekha Sikri) and younger brother Gullar (Shardul Rana). Nakul is in a steady relationship with his colleague, Reene (Sanya Malhotra). One day Jeetu and Priyamvada get intimate when they are reading the poem written by Jeetu that is published in a magazine. 19 weeks later, Priyamvada falls ill and the doctors inform that she is pregnant. For Nakul and Gullar, the world comes crashing down. Priyamvada is told that if she wants to abort, she should do so within the next 3-4 days. But she doesn’t feel like aborting and decides to go ahead with the pregnancy. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Akshat Ghildial amd Shantanu Srivastava's story is very simple and relatable. It’s surprising that nobody made a film with this subject as the principle plot and the writers treat it well. Akshat Ghildial's screenplay is a bit subtle. This goes against the film in few scenes but still manages to click. Every situation in the film seems straight out of life and there’s nothing that’s over the top. Akshat Ghildial's dialogues are very witty and funny and would be loved, as again, they’ll resonate with the audiences. Amit Sharma's direction is decent but he falters in the first half. Also he should have treated the romantic portions well. The track of Nakul and Reene is weak and it’s the older couple and <em>Dadi</em> who take the cake. But on the positive side, Amit Sharma brings out the emotions very well in a lot of sequences. The film has quite a few subplots and the sequence of Nakul going to Gullar's school to teach a bully might seem unwarranted. But it is important as it helps in explaining how different generations react to such kind of development in their lives. BADHAAI HO might seem like a laugh a minute riot from the promos but it’s not. The funny moments are definitely there but the film also has its share of emotional and touching moments. Hence, keep your expectations right and you’ll surely enjoy the fare. The film’s beginning and introduction of characters is a bit shaky. The film picks up only when the Kaushik couple announces about the 'good news' to Nakul and Gullar. The reaction of <em>Dadi</em> at this juncture will surely be loved. The film again falls a bit and the intermission point makes it seem like an arthouse film. But it’s in the second half where the film shines the most. The outburst of <em>Dadi</em> in Meerut is clapworthy. Nakul's reaction when his parents return from Meerut is priceless. Another scene that stands out is Nakul apologizing to Reene's mother (Sheeba Chadha). The finale however is the best part of the film and would surely make viewers teary eyed. Ayushmann Khurrana delivers a brilliant performance and his act is spot on. Whether it’s the scenes where he’s acting rude or when he gets drunk and creates a ruckus…he is first rate. In the scene where he apologies to Reene’s mother, he’ll win a lot of hearts. Sanya Malhotra is quite decent but has limited screen time. Neena Gupta is the soul of the film and puts up a very convincing and lovable performance. In several scenes, she expresses so well with her eyes and silences. Gajraj Rao is in top form and steals the show in several scenes. He is like the second hero of the film and fulfills the responsibility ably. Surekha Sikri is out of this world and her scenes are sure to induce claps and whistles. Shardul Rana gives a wonderful performance and his scene with Ayushmann in the second half is noteworthy. Sheeba Chaddha leaves a tremendous impact in a small role. She also communicates a lot through her silences. Others are fine. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Talking of music, <em>'Badhaaiyan Tenu'</em> is the best of the lot and is very catchy. <em>'Sajan Bade Senti' </em>is average but is presented very well. <em>'Nain Na Jodeen'</em> is touching but the impact is limited as the romantic track is not that strong. <em>'Morni Banke' </em>appears during the end credits and is okay. Abhishek Arora’s background score however is entertaining and has a naughty vibe which suits the film. Sanu John Verughese's cinematography is appropriate. Ratheesh UK's production design is straight out of life. The house of Kaushik’s looks authentic. Kirti Kolwankar and Maria Tharakan's costumes are appealing especially the ones worn by the lead couple. Dev Rao Jadhav's editing could have been crisper at a few places. On the whole, BADHAAI HO is not a laugh riot but emerges as a complete family entertainer with emotions as its USP. The film leaves you with a smile and at the box office, it is at an advantage. It releases during an extended weekend and families are bound to come in large numbers. It’s surely a 'Badhaai Ho' time for the makers and investors

Movie Review: Jalebi

Fri, 12 Oct 18 08:19:26 +0000

Vishesh Films, headed by Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt, are known for their small-budget, high-concept films. They have given some memorable films and chartbuster songs but since the last few years, their reputation has taken a beating. None of their films after the blockbuster AASHIQUI 2 [2013] have worked well. The number of films made by the banner has also reduced. Their last film, BEGUM JAAN [2017], released almost one-and-a-half-years ago. Now they are back with JALEBI, which promises to be a clean, romantic love story, and also it’s miles away from the erotic and horror films that had become their trademark. So does JALEBI touch the hearts of the viewers? Or does it fail to stir their emotions? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-908446 size-full" title="Movie Review: Jalebi" src="" alt="Movie Review: Jalebi" width="750" height="450" /> JALEBI is the story of love and separation. Ayesha Pradhan (Rhea Chakraborty) is a depressed girl. She has written a bestselling novel but her troubled past is not allowing her to focus and write her next book. She is on her way from Mumbai to Delhi for a book reading session. In the train, her co passenger is Anu (Digangana Suryavanshi) and her daughter Pulti (Aanya Dureja). Over the course of their conversation, Ayesha gets a jolt upon learning that Anu’s husband is none other than her ex hubby Dev Mathur (Varun Mitra). The story goes back seven - eight years. Dev is from Purani Dilli where he does guided tours. He’s proud of his roots and proudly flaunts his locality and also his mansion, popularly known as Netaji Ki Haveli. Once, Ayesha takes this tour and falls for Dev. Dev also develops feelings for her. In no time, they get married and that’s when cracks begin to develop in their relationship. Meanwhile, in the present day, the train halts at Bhusawal railway station and Dev enters their coach to give Anu a surprise. The ex-lovers, that is Dev and Ayesha, thus come face to face after all these years. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Just like BEGUM JAAN, JALEBI is also a Bengali film remake, of Prosenjit Chatterjee-Rituparna Sengupta starrer PRAKTAN [2016], which was written by Nandita Roy and directed by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee. Here in Hindi, Kausar Munir and Pushpdeep Bhardwaj's story is disappointing and juvenile. There’s no head and tail to the story and they do total injustice to the original film. Kausar Munir, Pushpdeep Bhardwaj and Suhrita Sengupta's screenplay is the biggest culprit. The film is bland and the trio have made no attempt to make situations exciting or novel. Kausar Munir, Pushpdeep Bhardwaj and Suhrita Sengupta's dialogues are horrible to say the least. The manner in which the characters are talking to each other is laughable. Pushpdeep Bhardwaj's direction is amateur and he doesn’t even know the basics properly it seems. The way the film moves back and forth especially when Ayesha would hear a term or hear a song is so convenient and outdated. And the post-marriage problems are akin to <em>saas-bahu</em> drama shown on television but even those daily soaps are more entertaining and even progressive than this film. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> JALEBI is terrible from the word 'Go'. The film begins with a loud cry of Ayesha on the black screen and hence, even before the first visual, the film gets unsettling! The beginning portion of Ayesha crying over abandoning her marriage is weird. Once the train portions begin, one hopes for the film to get a bit better. Also, there are 3 subplots involving various passengers in the bogie. They seem interesting and you expect them to add to the film, in case the lead protagonists aren’t able to. Sadly, these three tracks are boring and contribute in no way to the film. The flashback portion begins well. Dev showing his house to the tourists is nicely done. Also the way Ayesha books the entire tour for herself just so that she can spend all the time with Dev is lovely. Once they get married, the film becomes routine and showcases problems beaten to death in films. The miscarriage portion is also poorly executed. The train portions aren’t that interesting, although few developments are a bit unpredictable. If you expect the climax to at least lift the film to some extent, you’ll be dejected. The Kashmir sequence makes no sense and even more senseless is the justification given by Dev in the end. Varun Mitra is disappointing. He looks weird in the scenes where he has to cry and even when he’s seen celebrating his wife’s pregnancy. In the beginning scenes, he does well. The actor has done well in the past, in Ishaan Nair’s unreleased film KAASH [2015]. So, here, the fault could be of the director in failing to get better performance from him. Rhea Chakraborty is what makes the film bearable. She has done chirpy roles in the past and JALEBI is the first time she is seen in a serious, mature role. She is the only one to benefit from this film as she proves that she can do a lot more than comic capers and special appearances. Digangana Suryavanshi is alright while Aanya Dureja is sweet. Arjun Kanungo (Arjun) is okay and his track makes no sense. Farida Dadi and Yusuf Hussain (the old couple in train) are fine but are letdown by the script. What exactly are they doing in the film one wonders. Poorti Arya (Renu; Dev’s sister) and the actor playing Dev’s mother are forgettable. Music also gets thumbs down, which is sad, since Vishesh Films was known for its songs. <em>'Tum Se'</em> is catchy but it’s not going to linger in one’s mind for long. <em>'Tera Mera Rishta'</em> is played during the courtship scenes, which as mentioned above, was the only good part of the film. The rest of the songs like <em>'Mujhme'</em>, <em>'Pehle Ke Jaisa'</em>, <em>'Pal'</em> and <em>'Mera Pyaar Tera Pyaar'</em> are nothing special. Raju Singh’s background score is bad. Same goes for Manoj Soni's cinematography – few shots are taken from a very close range. The VFX is tacky and anyone can make out that the scenery seen from the window is fake. Sandeep Suvarna's production design is alright and the set does look like an actual First AC bogie. But it’s funny to see the railway station being so empty in the end, and that too the busy Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station of Delhi. Devendra Murdeshwar's editing is not good and even the film that’s just 112 minutes looked like a three-hour-plus film. On the whole, JALEBI will leave you with a bitter taste. It’s a film that has no plot or logic. At the box office, it will be a disaster. Skip

Movie Review: FryDay

Fri, 12 Oct 18 03:13:29 +0000

A film shot in a house replete with madcap characters is a great idea used very well in the past. Priyadarshan tickled the funny bone of audiences with GARAM MASALA [2005], which was majorly set in a luxurious flat. Later, all the films of the HOUSEFULL franchise also dealt with this scenario and audiences loved it. Now Govinda’s new film FRYDAY is also on the same lines and what’s more, it also features Varun Sharma. Both the actors are known for their excellent comic timing and can create riot if the film is laced with a well-written and funny script. So does FRYDAY manage to get things right? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-908293 size-full" title="Movie Review: FryDay" src="" alt="Movie Review: FryDay" width="750" height="450" /> FRYDAY is the story of madness that unfolds in a house on a Friday. Rajiv Chhabra (Varun Sharma) works in a water purifier company called Pavitra Paani Purifier as a salesman. He hasn’t been able to complete his targets while his colleague Sameer (Meghvrat Singh) has been an overachiever. His boss gives him an ultimatum that he has to sell a water purifier by coming Friday or else he would lose his job. Rajiv meets a motivational talker Manchanda (Sanjay Mishra) who inspires him and also recommends that he install a water purifier in the residence of NGO worker Bela (Prabhleen Sandhu). Bela is married to Gagan Kapoor (Govinda), a theatre actor. Bela is so busy with her social work that she starts to ignore Gagan. A lonely Gagan hence starts an affair with Bindu (Digangana Suryavanshi), who is married to Inspector Ranpal Dahiya (Rajesh Sharma). Bela is to leave for Shimla on Friday for a day. Therefore, Gagan makes a plan and calls Bindu to his house. On the other hand, Bela talks to Rajiv and calls him to her house to install the water purifier on Friday. On Friday morning, Bela leaves for Shimla and soon Bindu arrives in the house. However their idea of spending time together is short-lived as Rajiv lands up there to get his work done. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Rajiv Kaul’s story is simple and interesting. Rajiv Kaul and Manurishi Chadha’s screenplay turns the waferthin plot into an entertaining film. It flows very smoothly and does justice to the 113 minutes runtime of the film. Manurishi Chadha’s dialogues are one of the pillars of the film. The various one-liners are very funny and would bring the house down, especially in single screen cinemas. Abhishek Dogra’s direction is quite nice and does justice to the script. The director has earlier directed DOLLY KI DOLI [2015] which was also a fun comic caper. But even that film fizzled towards the end and FRYDAY is no exception. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> FRYDAY has a rocking beginning with the opening credits that mention Govinda as ‘Hero No 1’ and an exhilarating song <em>'Chotey Bade'</em> is played. Rajiv’s introduction is nothing special. One wonders why he’s traveling by an expensive cab when he’s financially not secure. Gagan’s entry however is hilarious and it sets the mood of the film. Things really come on track once Bela leaves for Shimla and Bindu enters the residence. From here on, it’s a mad ride as strange characters ring the bell and disturb the lovers. The track of Chitchor (Brijendra Kala) and the manner in which Gagan allows him to loot his house with permission is hilarious. With Rajiv entering the mad house, things get even better and funnier. The intermission point comes at a crucial juncture although it reminds one of NO ENTRY [2005]. Post-intermission, the madness continues but after a point, it gets a bit diluted. A few sequences are funny, like Gagan making up stories about Bindu and Rajiv’s love affair when caught red-handed by Bela and also Ranpal’s scenes. But the climax leaves a lot to be desired and the film ends sans any high. One wishes the second half had more gags and funny situations especially when the setting and the characters had the potential. Govinda is in top form after ages. His recent films like AA GAYA HERO [2017], KILL DIL [2014], NAUGHTY @ 40 [2011] etc. have been highly disappointing. But with FRYDAY, the veteran actor proves that he still has the ability to thoroughly entertain the viewers with his excellent comic timing. It’s a pleasure to see him going all out and giving the audiences complete entertainment.  Varun Sharma also does a very good job and he too manages to leave a huge mark. Also, he compliments Govinda very well. Digangana Suryavanshi looks cute and manages to give a decent performance. Prabhleen Sandhu has a good screen presence. Sanjay Mishra is impressive in a cameo. Brijendra Kala has a crucial role and gives a fine performance. His track however doesn’t end on a satisfactory note. Rajesh Sharma delivers a nice performance, especially in the climax. Ashmita Kaur Bakshi (Sonam) and Manoj Bakshi (Boss) are okay. Ishtiyak Khan (Sunny) contributes to the laughter while Meghvrat Singh gets to play a very interesting character. There’s no scope for music as such in the film. <em>'Chotey Bade'</em> is played in the beginning credits and works at that juncture. <em>'Jimmy Choo'</em> and <em>'Kauva Party'</em> are missing from the principle part of the film. Sanjay Chowdhury and Rooshin-Kaizad’s background score is quite filmy and dramatic. Manoj Shaw’s cinematography is okay. Shailesh Mahadik’s production design is very poor and the film doesn’t look rich. Tina Ahuja and Naahid Shah’s costumes are quite appealing. Manan Ajay Sagar’s editing could have been a bit slick, especially in the introduction scenes of Rajiv. On the whole, FRYDAY is a decent funny entertainer that works despite glitches. Govinda is in superb form and he is sure to be loved by the audiences, especially in the single screen cinemas. But the absolute lack of buzz might go against the film at the box office

Movie Review: Helicopter Eela

Fri, 12 Oct 18 03:05:30 +0000

Motherhood, considered to be one the most beautiful aspects of life, comes with its set of challenges. Safeguarding the child becomes utmost important for mother, and also for the father. While some mothers are easy going and allow the child to develop and mature with minimal supervision, some are controlling and get too involved in a child’s life. It’s called ‘helicopter parenting’ because, like helicopters, these parents ‘hover overhead’, overseeing every aspect of their child's life constantly. Pradeep Sarkar’s latest offing HELICOPTER EELA deals with this aspect and promises to be a funny as well as a touching entertainer. So does HELICOPTER EELA manage to entertain? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-908288 size-full" title="Movie Review: Helicopter Eela" src="" alt="Movie Review: Helicopter Eela" width="750" height="450" /> HELICOPTER EELA is the story of a mother and a son. Eela Raitodkar (Kajol) is an aspiring singer and is in love with lyricist Arun (Tota Roy Choudhury). She gets a major break as a singer and actor in a pop song. However, in the middle of the song shoot, the project gets shelved after the underworld gives threats to the director, Mahesh Bhatt. Eela meanwhile gets married to Arun. Their son Vivaan is born soon. All is going well until one day when Arun gets the news that his relative, in his 30s, has passed away. This is when Eela casually remarks how all the men in his family have died before they reached the age of 40. This scares Arun who realises that his end might be near. He decides to abandon Eela, Vivaan and his mother (Kamini Khanna). Eela has to give up her singing aspirations as she gets busy in raising Vivaan. Some twenty years later, Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) is now a college student. Eela is still as paranoid about Vivaan as she was before. Vivaan feels suffocated and he advises Eela to pursue her music or complete her education so that she gets busy and doesn’t bug him. Eela decides to do the latter and she joins Vivaan's college. If that isn’t enough, she manages to get admission in Vivaan’s class. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi’s story is adapted from the Gujarati play BETA KAAGDO, written by the latter. It is very unconvincing. Still it could have been a bit decent if the script had covered some loose ends nicely. But Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi’s screenplay is terribly flawed and all over the place. Also certain developments would leave the viewers stunned as it’s so senseless. Mitesh Shah’s dialogues are okay. Pradeep Sarkar’s direction is very weak. He has given some decent films in the past but HELICOPTER EELA is his worst film yet for sure. Also the film is titled so since Eela hovers around her son like a helicopter. But this is not explained properly in the film. Hence the viewers would be confused with regards to the title. HELICOPTER EELA begins on a haphazard note. The film then suddenly goes into a flashback mode and the beginning of this portion is quite convenient, especially how Eela is praised by one and all in the music industry. But the worst part of the film is how Arun decides to leave Eela and his family for a silly reason. It is unbelievable how this bit of the script even got approved. Moreover, Eela's education is never stressed upon initially and there was no inclination that she is not a graduate. As a result, Eela suddenly deciding to join college seems random. Post interval, the silliness continues and things continue to happen at random. In a crucial scene, Arun arrives again and one expects things to heat up. But he leaves as suddenly as he comes back. Immediately after this scene, Eela is seen singing the song <em>'Oh Krishna you’re the greatest musician'</em>. Wonder what made the makers chose this song out of all songs. It is sure to induce unintentional laughter. The film gets a bit moving when Vivaan decides to stay away from Eela. The climax as expected is also far fetched and stretched. The end credit scenes makes one laugh wondering what exactly were the makers thinking. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Kajol delivers a fine performance and in some scenes, she does bring a smile and even leaves audiences teary eyed. In the flashback sequence however, she gets over the top. Riddhi Sen delivers a terrific performance. This National Award winning actor remains in his character and does very well. Neha Dhupia (Padma) is fine in a supporting role. Tota Roy Choudhury is laughable. Kamini Khanna is decent. Zakir Hussain (Principal Vivek Joshi) is good but in the end, it’s funny to see him getting scolded by a student. Rashi Mal (Nikita) has a good screen presence. Chirag Malhotra (Yash) has an important part and is decent. The cameos by Amitabh Bachchan, Mahesh Bhatt, Ila Arun, Baba Sehgal, Shaan, Anu Malik, Ganesh Acharya etc add to the star value. Amit Trivedi’s music is nothing special. <em>'Ruk Ruk Ruk' </em>is the best song of the lot and is thankfully not a remix created for the heck of it. It has a significance in the film. <em>'Mumma Ki Parchai'</em> comes next and has quirky lyrics. <em>'Yaadow Ki Almari'</em> is a bit underwhelming while <em>'Janam'</em> doesn’t work. Daniel B George’s background score is in sync with the film’s mood. Sirsha Ray’s cinematography is neat. Madhu Sarkar and Bhavani Patel’s production design is rich. Radhika Mehra, Shubha Mitra and Punam Mullick’s costumes is appealing. NY VFXwalla's VFX is terrible while Dharmendra Sharma’s editing is haphazard. On the whole, HELICOPTER EELA is a poorly made film and has too many loose ends and silly moments. At the box office, this helicopter is bound to crash

Movie Review: Tumbbad

Thu, 11 Oct 18 10:57:51 +0000

We have lagged behind considerably in the horror genre with only a handful of films succeeding in impressing the audiences. A sub category in horror genre is that of period horror. Here, only Vikram Bhatt has made a mark with 1920 [2008] and HAUNTED 3D [2011]. The rest of the films in 1920 franchise and 1921 [2018] failed to live upto the expectations. Now, Anand Gandhi and Sohum Shah, known for making the critically acclaimed SHIP OF THESEUS [2013], return with a scarefest, TUMBBAD, based in the pre-Independence era. So does TUMBBAD manage to send a chill down the audiences’ spine? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-908062 size-full" title="Movie Review Tumbbad" src="" alt="Movie Review Tumbbad" width="720" height="450" /> TUMBBAD is the story of a man who gets access to unlimited gold thanks to the curse of a goddess. When the Universe was created, the Goddess of Prosperity, the symbol of unlimited food and gold, gave birth to 16 crore gods and goddesses. The Goddess however loved her first child the most – Hastar. But Hastar wanted all the food and gold possessed by the Goddess. He managed to get access to her gold but when he came to get hold of the food, the fellow Gods and Goddesses attacked him. Before he could get completely destroyed, the Goddess of Prosperity saved him by keeping him in his womb but on one condition – no one should ever worship him and that he should be forgotten. Many centuries later, the residents of Tumbbad village however made a shrine in honour of Hastar, turning this village into a curse. It became a village where it rains perennially. The story begins in 1918. A teenaged Vinayak, his younger brother Sada and their mother reside in this village. The mother is a mistress of the village Sarkar who stays in the ‘wada’ (estate) where the Hastar’s temple is situated. Vinayak and Sada are the illegitimate children of Vinayak and Sada. The Sarkar has tried to find the treasure possessed by Hastar but his search turned futile and he managed to find just one gold coin. The Sarkar’s mother is a wretched old lady who refuses to die and Vinayak’s mother takes care of him. The Sarkar dies and the next day, Sada falls from a tree and also passes away. The mother gets hold of the gold coin from the shrine and leaves Tumbbad permanently with Vinayak. 15 years later, in 1933, Vinayak (Sohum Shah) goes back to Tumbbad in the hope of finding the lost treasure. Luck smiles on Vinayak as he’s able to find a way that leads him to unlimited gold coins. But he gets hold of only certain coins at a time. Vinayak exchanges these coins with a local moneylender Raghav who grows suspicious of Vinayak and the way he regularly gets hold of the coins. Unable to control his curiosity and desperate to earn some quick buck for getting license from his opium business, Raghav goes to the estate to get hold of some gold coins. What happens next forms the rest of the story. Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi’s story is unique and unconventional. With such a plot and setting, TUMBBAD could have turned into a game changer. But Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi’s screenplay doesn’t let that happen. It is inconsistent – at places, the setting and the legend is very well explained. But certain developments are depicted in a subtle manner and they might get missed. Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi’s dialogues are simple and not memorable as such. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Rahi Anil Barve’s direction is a bit weak as he too fails to do justice to the plot in hand. One of the biggest problems with the direction is certain things never get explained properly. For instance, who was the first one to remember Hastar and how did that person come to know about him, especially when he’s never mentioned in the scriptures anywhere? How come the Sarkar was never able to find gold coins in abundance, like Vinayak? The climax does grab your attention but again, a question arises why exactly such a twist occurs in the first place. TUMBBAD’s first few minutes should not be missed at any cost. The entire legend of the village and Hastar is explained here and missing this bit would prove detrimental. The film is divided into three chapters. The first chapter, involving Vinayak’s childhood, is disturbing and needlessly gory. It doesn’t really engage well. The second chapter is slightly better, though a lot is still left to be desired. The intermission point is well shot and it’s from the second half that the film begins to get clearer. The scene in the womb immediately after the commencement of the second half leaves a mark. The third chapter has interesting developments, especially in the finale. But the way the makers don’t answer certain questions again hampers the impact. Sohum Shah however delivers a fabulous performance. His deadpan expressions, dialogue delivery and eyes create an impact and works very well for this role. Anita Date (Vinayak’s wife) is quite good and makes a mark in few scenes. Ronjini Chakraborty (Vinayak’s mistress) gives a nice performance, especially in the scene where she meets Vinayak’s son. Mohd Samad (Vinayak’s son) is quite great and dominates a major chunk of the second half. Jyoti Malshe (Vinayak’s grandmother) is fine and her make-up itself is sure to scare a lot of viewers. Cameron Anderson (Sergeant Cooper) and the actors playing Hastar, Vinayak’s mother, younger Vinayak, Raghav are good. Ajay-Atul’s music is nothing special and there’s just one song – the title song – played at various junctures in the film. Jesper Kyd’s background score however is brilliant and has an international feel. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography is spectacular and one of the best of the year. The virgin locales of Maharashtra are very well captured. Filmgate Films AB’s VFX is quite good and doesn’t give any reason to complain. Nitin Zihani Choudhury and Rakesh Yadav’s production design is praiseworthy, especially in the scenes of the womb. Smriti Chauhan and Sachin Lovalekar’s costumes are reminiscent of the bygone era. Serina Mendonca Texeira and Shrikant Desai’s make up and Dirty Hands and Studio Hash’s prosthetics is something to watch out for. Parvez Shaikh’s action is decent while Sanyukta Kaza’s editing is smooth. On the whole, TUMBBAD rests on a unique concept but the disjointed narrative spoils the show. It’ll be a challenge for this film to impress the masses and hence struggle to do good business at the box office

Movie Review: Venom

Fri, 05 Oct 18 12:12:30 +0000

Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of superhero films that have now become one of the best performing movies at the box office. In fact, Marvel has developed a fan base for almost each and every character they have, with standalone films doing brisk business. However, away from the Disney – Marvel universe, this week we see the release of a film based on Sony owned Marvel character, Venom. Starring Tom Hardy, VENOM features a character from the Spider-Man line of comics that features a grey character outline. An anti-hero at best, Venom is a symbiot that bonds with a host absorbing the personality and enhancing the host’s traits. But will this introduction of a relatively lesser known anti-hero work at the box office is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-905532 size-full" title="Movie Review: Venom" src="" alt="Movie Review: Venom" width="720" height="450" /> VENOM starts off with a space craft belonging to the CEO of Life Foundation - Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) that was on an exploratory mission crashing into earth. Carrying a payload of symbiotic lifeforms from deep space, the craft is destroyed on impact. However, while four specimens are recovered from the crash, one escapes. After the four are brought back to the Life Foundation research facility in San Francisco, Drake, becomes obsessed with bonding symbiots to humans to prepare humanity for Earth's inevitable ecological collapse, and begins illegally experimenting on vagrants, resulting in numerous deaths. In the meantime, investigative journalist Eddie Brock, who arranges an interview with Drake through his girlfriend Anne Weying, a lawyer affiliated with the Life Foundation confronts Drake with confidential materials indicating wrongdoing that he stole from Weying's e-mail, leading to them both being fired from their respective jobs and the end of their relationship. Six months later, Brock is approached by one of Drake's scientists, Dora Skirth, who disagrees with Drake's methods and wants to help Brock expose him. With her aid, Brock breaks into Drake's research facility to acquire evidence from his crimes, in the process learning that an acquaintance of his, Donna Diego, has become one of Drake's subjects. Brock attempts to rescue her, but Donna attacks him and the symbiot possessing her, transfers from her body to his, killing her in the process. Brock manages to escape, but soon begins displaying strange symptoms. Will Brock also fall victim to the symbiot, will the symbiot overpower its host, or will the two merge into one being is what forms the rest of the film. VENOM starts off detailing the character of Eddie Brock, the investigative journalist and Carlton Drake, the CEO of life Foundation, and from here the film quickly moves on to establish the basic premise of how the symbiots arrive on Earth and what their mission is. Director Ruben Fleischer does a good job in keeping the proceedings fast paced and gripping at the same time. Not once does the film slow down, instead the script keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat with constant shifts and well executed action sequences. A special mention here needs to be made for the Visual Effects team that have done well to integrate CGI and live action sequences seamlessly. This facet is evident in multiple scenes through the film, especially since the subject matter involves a ton of CGI. Coming to the performances in the film, both Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/ Venom and Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake/ Riot, have done an impeccable job with their given roles. Well timed humour and perfect timing in crucial moments propels the overall appeal of the film. Similarly, the rest of the cast, comprising of Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, and Reid Scott as Dr. Dan Lewis have done a decent job in their limited roles. Despite being a film that focuses solely on one character, VENOM features well detailed characters for each of the cast members. On the whole, VENOM makes for a fun action packed movie that keeps you in your seat. The constant twists and the rapid action does not let the tempo of the film drop. For the Indian market, being a film that does not come after any predecessor, VENOM is easy to understand and builds a story line around a lesser known character that can eventually become a major league player. At the box office, with competition from two other Bollywood releases viz. LOVEYATRI and ANDHADHUN, VENOM will face stiff competition. However, the wide release in four languages will work in favour of the movie

Movie Review: LoveYatri

Thu, 04 Oct 18 18:11:16 +0000

The state of Gujarat is considered quite vibrant and colourful but surprisingly, very few films are based there. Out of these films, most of the movies based in this state have failed to do justice to its USP. Only select ones like KAI PO CHE [2013], RAEES [2017] and the recently-released MITRON [2018] have captured the essence well. Now, Aayush Sharma’s long impending debut flick LOVEYATRI is out and it promises to show Gujarat at its best. Moreover, the film is set during the much-talked about festival of Navratri. So does LOVEYATRI manage to succeed in its endeavour? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-905203" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> LOVEYATRI is the story of romance that blossoms during a course of nine days. Sushrut aka Susu (Aayush Sharma) is a good for nothing guy in Vadodara, Gujarat. He is poor in studies and gives garba lessons to kids in his neighbourhood. Meanwhile, Manisha aka Michelle (Warina Hussain) is originally from Vadodara but stays in London with her father Sameer aka Sam Patel (Ronit Roy), who is a rich businessman. Manisha is studious and is about to get admission in a reputed business school. A day before Navratri, both arrive in Vadodara when their family members trick them. Manisha goes with her family and friends for a Navratri event and there she bumps into Susu. Encouraged by his maternal uncle Rasik (Ram Kapoor), Susu pursues her as he has fallen for her. Manisha too begins to get fond of him. Sam learns of this romance in the making and he tries to manipulate the situation. Susu has a fight with Manisha. By the time Susu realises his mistake, Manisha has already left for London. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Niren Bhatt’s story is too simplistic. There are a lot of interesting characters and even the setting is unique. But the writer doesn’t use them well. The biggest conflict arising between the lovers is insignificant but it takes forever for the misunderstanding to resolve. Niren Bhatt’s screenplay however is engaging and entertaining. Despite the fact that there aren’t many conflicts happening in the film, the script keeps viewers engaged. Niren Bhatt’s dialogues are quite nice. Some of them might remind of the WhatsApp forwards but considering the context and theme, it works. Abhiraj K Minawala’s direction is neat and uncomplicated. It’s his debut directorial venture but he proves that he knows his job well. LOVEYATRI begins well with the typical grand hero’s entry. His world is well established and also that of Manisha. The sequence where Susu sees Manisha for the first time might seem a bit far-fetched but it surely works. Susu's various interactions with his pals Negative (Pratik Gandhi) and Rocket (Sajeel Parekh) and Rasik mama are quite hilarious. Along with laughter, the film also depicts some tender, romantic moments between Susu and Manisha. But the best in the first half is reserved for the scene where Sam takes Susu for a ride in the giant wheel. Quite dramatic! The showdown in the high end restaurant followed by the intermission point is terrific. In the second half, things continue to remain interesting as Susu tries every trick in the book to go to London. Once in London, the fun gets better although the climax is sans any high. Aayush Sharma makes a confident debut. The actor surely has spark and is set for a great career ahead. He dances like a dream and most importantly, he does very well in the confrontational sequences. Warina Hussain looks stunning but is not relegated as a PYT in the film. She has an important part and she shines. Watch out for her scene where she opens up about her mother. Ram Kapoor is the 'jaan' of the film. His characterization and performance are such that they lift the proceedings! The scene where he talks about Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan would be greeted with claps and whistles! Ronit Roy gets the Gujarati accent right and performance wise, he is first rate. Pratik Gandhi brings the house down while Sajeel Parekh also contributes to the laughter quotient. Kenneth Desai (Hari; Susu’s father) is fine. Manoj Joshi (Natu Kaka) is great but doesn’t get scope. Arbaaz Khan (Jignesh) and Sohail Khan (Bhavesh) are adorable. <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>Music is of chartbuster variety and utilized very well in the film. The title song is fun while <em>‘Chogada’</em> comes at an important juncture. <em>'Dholida'</em> and <em>'Rangtari'</em> are foot tapping. <em>‘Akh Lad</em> <em>Jaave’</em> has a nice seductive feel and lastly, <em>‘Tera Hua’</em> is melodious. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara's background score is dramatic and commercial. Jishnu Bhattacharjee’s cinematography is too good and captures the essence and colourfulness of Navratri flawlessly. Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography is eye catching and adds to the film’s charm. Manish Malhotra, Alvira Khan Agnihotri and Ashley Rebello’s costumes are very appealing. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty’s production design is simple and real. Ritesh Soni’s editing is neat. On the whole, LOVEYATRI is a feel good and colourful film laced with some lovely moments and chartbuster music as its USP. It’s a clean entertainer and has the potential to attract youth and families in abundance

Movie Review: AndhaDhun

Thu, 04 Oct 18 07:06:09 +0000

Bollywood filmmakers have used blindness as an interesting aspect in their movies and most of these films have turned out to be interesting fares. In recent times, films like KAABIL [2017], AANKHEN [2002], BLACK [2005], FANAA [2006], LAFANGEY PARINDEY [2010] etc featured blind characters and it gave a distinct touch to the film. Now, Sriram Raghavan, known for his crime thrillers, uses this aspect in his latest fare, ANDHADHUN. So does it turn out to be a thrilling flick? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-904952" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> ANDHADHUN is the story of a creative artist who gets involved in a crime scene. Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a blind piano player based in Pune. While crossing the road, he one day accidentally bumps into Sophie (Radhika Apte), who along with her father runs a restaurant named Franco’s. Impressed with his piano skills, she hires Akash to play at Franco’s. Akash impresses the guests with his performance and also Sophie. Both start a love affair. A frequent customer at Franco’s is yesteryear actor Pramod Sinha. He has retired from films and is now into real estate. Three years ago, he married Simi (Tabu), who is his second wife. He has a daughter from the first wife, Dani. Pramod loves Akash’s performance and is also moved by the fact that he is able to recognize Pramod by his voice. It’s his marriage anniversary the next day and he asks Akash to come to his house for a private concert for him and Simi. The same night, he tells Simi that he’s going to Bengaluru the next day for work purposes. He purposely lies as his plan is to surprise Simi and then have a concert by Akash. The next day, Pramod reaches his residence but he’s shocked to find Simi sleeping with her lover, Inspector Mahendra (Manav Vij). In the madness that ensues, Pramod is shot dead. Minutes later, Akash arrives for the concert. What happens later forms the rest of the film. Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Yogesh Chandekar and Pooja Ladha Surti’s story is inspired from the French short film L’ACCORDEUR [writer and director: Olivier Treiner]. However, a lot of changes have been done and it’s praiseworthy. Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Yogesh Chandekar and Pooja Ladha Surti’s screenplay is flawless in the first half and is bound to leave viewers stunned. The second half becomes a bit routine and unrealistic. Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Yogesh Chandekar and Pooja Ladha Surti’s dialogues are sharp and witty. Sriram Raghavan’s direction is terrific. In the past, he has made some great urban thrillers like EK HASINA THI [2004], JOHNNY GADDAAR [2007] and BADLAPUR [2015]. ANDHADHUN is more in the JOHNNY GAADAAR zone and he treats the plot very well. The dark humour element comes out beautifully and that helps the film from becoming too gory or disturbing. Also, his love for the 70s Hindi cinema comes to the fore and it adds to the film’s charm. If only he had done something about the glitches in the second half, ANDHADHUN would have been a game changer! ANDHADHUN’s first half is simply out of this world! The introduction of the characters is great and soon, the plot begins to unfold. There are surprises after every 10-15 minutes. The real fun however begins when Pramod Sinha gets murdered and Akash reaches his residence. This scene is seen to be believed! All scenes from hereon take the film to dizzying heights – whether it’s the scene at the police station or Manohar visiting Akash’s residence or Akash visiting Pramod’s residence the second time or the prayer meeting. The intermission point raises tension levels significantly. The second half begins with a bang and even a shocker. Although this hour also keeps the viewers gripped, the film begins to drop and get unconvincing. The proceedings become far-fetched which is not the case in the first half. Newer characters are added while a significant character from the first half gets sidelined. In fact, the first and second halves seem like two different films. The climax is interesting and watch out for the final scene! <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Ayushmann Khurrana has done unconventional but mostly light films till now. ANDHADHUN is his first intense flick and he excels. This is a very challenging role as his character has lot of shades and a secret to hide. But he puts up an excellent act. He’s unforgettable in the sequence where Pramod Sinha is killed and also in the scene immediately after intermission. Ayushmann already has a wonderful filmography and this flick will add a lot of weightage. Tabu delivers a bravura performance as expected. The manner in which she plays the mind games and tries to manipulate the situations at various points is quite fun. Radhika Apte plays a chirpy character and delivers a fine performance. Sadly, she has very little to do in the second half. Anil Dhawan is terrific and leaves a mark. Manav Vij’s entry scene is chilling and notice how he conveys a lot merely with his eyes. A first-rate performance! Ashwini Kalsekar (Rasika) is too good and rocks in the scene wherein she’s discussing the murder of Pramod Sinha. Zakir Hussain (Dr Swami) is quite quirky and contributes to the fun quotient. Gopal Singh (Sub inspector) is fine. Chhaya Kadam (Maushi) is an actor to watch out for. Kabir Sajid (the kid) is too good and too funny. The actors playing Murli, Mrs D’Sa are nice. Amit Trivedi’s music is melodious and suits the narrative well. <em>‘Naina Da Kya Kasoor’</em> is the best of the lot and is quite foot-tapping. <em>‘Laila Laila’</em> comes next despite coming immediately after <em>‘Naina Da Kya Kasoor’</em>. <em>‘Oh Bhai Re’</em> is quite quirky while <em>‘Woh Ladki’</em> is played at a crucial juncture. Daniel B George’s background score has a very important part to play and enhances impact in several scenes. The piano pieces are excellent. K U Mohanan’s cinematography gives the film a captivating feel. Also, ANDHADHUN is a rare film shot almost entirely in Pune and captures the city like never before. Snigdha Pankaj and Anita Donald’s production design is quite rich and appealing, especially Pramod and Simi’s residence. Anaita Shroff Adajania and Sabina Haldar’s costumes are also eye-catching, especially the ones worn by Radhika Apte. Parvez Khan’s action is realistic. Pooja Ladha Surti’s editing is razor-sharp. On the whole, ANDHADHUN is a thriller par excellence. Very rarely does Bollywood deliver a thriller that shocks and stuns you so well. Although the second half does drop, the impact is made and this would surely result in a good word of mouth. Recommended

Movie Review: Sui Dhaaga – Made In India

Fri, 28 Sep 18 08:21:49 +0000

Since more than a decade, filmmakers have been increasingly setting their stories in the heartland of India. This gives the film an authentic and realistic touch and also helps the film get a wider appeal. More number of people watch such films, provided they are told in a simple and entertaining manner, as they could relate to such stories more than the ones set in urban or foreign regions. SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA, this week’s big release, is not only based in a village, but also makes some important comments about social entrepreneurship for the social and economic development of artisans. So does SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA manage to be an entertaining as well as enlightening tale? Or does it fail despite its honest intentions? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-902814 size-full" title="Movie Review: Sui Dhaaga – Made In India" src="–-Made-In-India.jpg" alt="Movie Review: Sui Dhaaga – Made In India" width="750" height="450" /> SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA is a heartwarming story of pride and self-reliance. Mauji (Varun Dhawan) stays in a village near Delhi with his wife Mamta (Anushka Sharma), father (Raghubir Yadav) and mother (Yamini Das). Varun works at a shop that sells sewing machines, owned by Bansal (Sidharth Bhardwaj) and his son Prashant (Ashish Verma). Both have a habit of ill-treating Mauji and make him do fun antics. When Prashant gets married, Bansal invites Mauji and his entire family. Mamta feels humiliated when she sees Mauji being asked to imitate a dog by the Bansals. Mamta encourages him to start his own business, especially since he is a pro at sewing. However, Mauji’s grandfather was a tailor who faced immense losses. Hence, his father vowed never to get into this business again. Mauji at first rejects Mamta’s suggestion but later leaves his job and puts a stall on the streets in Delhi. On the other hand, Mauji’s mother falls down in their house and she’s hospitalized. The tests reveal that she has multiple blockages in her heart. The family is already having a hand-to-mouth existence and Mauji’s mother’s hospitalization further add to their woes. Moreover, Mauji has left his job as well. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sharat Katariya's story is simple and the need of the hour. It reminds one of the films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and gives a nice ode to that kind of adorable cinema. Sharat Katariya's screenplay however is much more impressive. He does total justice to the characters and the setting and also keeps the viewers involved. However, unlike his previous outing  DUM LAGA KE HAISHA [2015] which had plenty of funny moments, SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA is more dramatic. There's not much scope for humour and a section of audiences might miss that. Sharat Katariya's dialogues are witty and play a major part in contributing to the laughter quotient. Sharat Katariya's direction is brilliant and enhances the well written script. He could have made the film a bit tighter and less convenient and predictable but thankfully these are minor flaws. SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA 's first shot is very impressive and captures a lot simply in one take. After establishing the characters and setting, the film wastes no time in getting on point soon. The hospital sequence is lovely but in the first half, what takes the cake is the pre interval sequence. Notice how the makers raise tension levels! In the second half, the film drops a bit. Also the manner in which Mamta and Mauji get shortlisted for the fashion tournament seems a bit convenient. But the finale makes up for it (though it gives a déjà vu of the 2008 comic caper MONEY HAI TOH HONEY HAI) and the film is sure to leave viewers with a smile. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA belongs to Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma. Both actors deliver powerhouse performances. Varun Dhawan looks every inch a village simpleton and is sure to be loved. He plays his part with earnesty and that shows. Notice his reaction when Bansals force him to act like a dog and how he beautifully hides his embarrassment. Also in the climax scene especially in the hotel lobby sequence, he's too good. Anushka Sharma gets mentioned before Varun in the opening credits and has a very crucial part. One forgets that she is THE Anushka Sharma and gives her hundred per cent. In a scene where she asks her mother in law if she's fine and whether she liked the hospital, the actress seems so natural. Raghubir Yadav gives a very touching performance. Towards the finale especially, he’s sure to make viewers teary-eyed. Yamini Das plays her part perfectly, especially in the hospital scenes. Puja Sarup (Harleen Bedi) leaves a huge mark. Same goes for Namit Das (Guddu). Bhupesh Singh (Naushad) is damn good. The actors playing Majnu, Majnu’s wife, Palteram and others are also very good. Anu Malik’s music goes very well with the film, although it’s not of chartbuster variety. The title song comes at a very crucial juncture and makes an impact. <em>'Chaav Laaga'</em> is melodious. <em>'Khatar Patar' </em>and <em>'Tu Hi Aham'</em> are situational songs and work. <em>'Sab Badhiya Hai'</em> is missing from the film. Andrea Guerra’s background score is in sync with the film’s mood and is also subtle. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is too good and doesn’t get lost in capturing the simplicity of the village or the glitz and glamour of the city life. The lensman captures only what’s essential. Meenal Agarwal’s production design is realistic. Darshan Jalan and Neelanchal Kumar Ghosh’s costume designers deserve brownie points as it’s one of the pillars of the film. Charu Shree Roy’s editing is simple and neat. On the whole, SUI DHAAGA - MADE IN INDIA is a simple tale told beautifully with strong emphasis on emotions. At the box office, the film will have to rely on a very good word of mouth to attract audiences. It has an extended five-day weekend of sorts (with October 2 being a National Holiday). Hence, the film would surely have a healthy run at the ticket window and would turn prove profitable or should we say <em>‘badhiya’</em> for the producers. Recommended

Movie Review: Pataakha

Thu, 27 Sep 18 15:51:56 +0000

Ask anyone who has a sibling and they’ll admit that they have had physical fights with them while growing up. This aspect however has been rarely explored in our Hindi films, although a few films have talked about the relationship between brothers or sisters. While most grow out of our action avatars when it comes to our siblings, some don’t. Shakun Batra’s KAPOOR & SONS [2016] explored this aspect as it showed Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan indulging in physical assaults as grown up adults. Vishal Bhardwaj now turns the tables with his latest outing PATAAKHA and throws light on the lives of two sisters who have no qualms fighting with each other. So does PATAAKHA succeed in entertaining viewers? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-902506" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> PATAAKHA is the bittersweet story of two badass sisters. Badki (Radhika Madan) and her sister Chhutki (Sanya Malhotra) reside in a village in Rajasthan. Their mother is no more while their doting father Bapu (Vijay Raaz) works as a mine contractor nearby. Badki and Chhutki are forever fighting and beating each other for the smallest of reasons. Bapu as a result is perennially tensed. The sisters then fall in love – Badki with Jagan (Namit Das) while Chhutki falls for Vishnu (Abhishek Duhan). On the other hand, Bapu risks losing his mine if he doesn’t give bribe to tune of Rs. 4 lakhs to the new forest officer. Patel (Sanand Verma), the Mr Moneybags of the village and also the one with a roving eye, agrees to pay the said amount to Bapu in exchange for marriage with either Badki or Chhutki. A simple toss decides who’ll marry Patel. Badki unfortunately is selected as Patel’s wife-to-be. Chhutki is overjoyed that she’ll finally be free of Badki’s torture. However, on the eve of the wedding, Badki elopes with Jagan. On the day of the marriage, Patel decides to marry Chhutki instead. When Patel arrives for the wedding at night, he’s shocked to see that Chhutki has run away as well, with Vishnu! Both the sisters get married to their respective lovers. However, their joy is shortlived when they realize that Vishnu and Jagan are brothers and even after marriage, they’ll have to share the household with each other. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Charan Singh Pathik’s story (originally published as a tale called ‘Do Behenein’) is interesting and novel. Vishal Bhardwaj’s screenplay has some plusses. He has kept the tone of the film light and fleshed out some scenes very well. An interesting sequence in the first half that stands out is Badki enquiring at the milk plant while Chhutki making inquiries at a coaching institute. Notice how the camera pans out to a poster of Narendra Modi hugging Donald Trump! It’ll surely induce chuckles. Also, the way he draws a parallel to India and Pakistan’s equation while describing Badki and Chhutki’s relationship is interesting. However, in the second half, he loses grip over several scenes. Vishal Bhardwaj’s dialogues are witty at places. At few places however, some dialogues are difficult to decipher. Vishal Bhardwaj’s direction is controlled but in a few scenes, he could have done a better job. The entire portion of Badki and Chhutki facing physical ailments look very unrealistic and takes away the charm created by the earlier scenes. Moreover, a few scenes are disgusting and were avoidable. For instance, there was no need of showing excreta, people spitting on stones repeatedly etc. As it is, the visuals of women fighting are going to keep a section of audiences away and such scenes would further add to the alienation. PATAAKHA is a black comedy and definitely has its moments. The duration thankfully is controlled, at 136 minutes. The beginning portions are breezy and entertaining. Thankfully, the scenes of physical fights between the sisters are not incorporated every now and then. The way Badki and Chhutki fall in love seems a bit quick but works. But the equation is very well established among the principal characters. The scenes where the sisters run away make for a nice watch and same goes for when they realize that their husbands are related. Post-interval, the interest dips a bit in the initial portions. The interest rises again when Badki and Chhutki hatch a plan for independence from each other. Once that happens, the film shockingly goes downhill. The withdrawal symptoms faced by them are too unconvincing and difficult to digest. The finale thankfully has some fun moments which bring the film back on track. Sanya Malhotra, last seen in DANGAL [2016], can once again be seen getting into the mud while trying to defeat her opponent. This is no easy role and it required confidence and losing inhibitions. On both fronts, Sanya scores very well and the same goes for Radhika Madan. Not many actresses would like to do such a role in the initial years of their careers. But Radhika not only took up the challenge but also came out with flying colours. Sunil Grover (Dipper) has the most rocking character in the film and he’s surely the trump card of PATAAKHA. His scenes would be loved by the audiences as he tries to complicate matters into the lives of the warring sisters and her father. Performance-wise, he’s first-rate! Vijay Raaz delivers a terrific performance yet again. He contributes to the laughter but your heart also goes to him as he tries to survive amidst his ferocious daughters! Namit Das and Abhishek Duhan lend able support. Saanand Verma is decent. Chomina Beyong (Patel’s wife) is hilarious. Usha Nagar (Dadi), Sameer Khakhar (Sarpanch) and Ajay Kumar (Eye surgeon) are fine. Others do a good job. Vishal Bhardwaj’s music is hardly memorable but is well incorporated in the film. <em>‘Naina Banjare’</em> stands out. <em>‘Balma’</em> also works thanks to its picturisation. The title song is forgettable while <em>‘Gali Gali’</em> comes at a crucial juncture. The much talked about item song <em>‘Hello Hello’</em> featuring Malaika Arora is shockingly missing from the film and is not even a part of the end credits, although the credits mention her presence in the film in the ‘mela’ sequence! Vishal Bhardwaj’s background score has a fun tone and it helps in keeping the mood light. Ranjan Palit's cinematography is raw and grungy, in keeping with the film’s theme. Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray's production design is realistic. Karishma Sharma’s costumes are straight out of life. Soma Goswami and Natasha Mathias’s makeup design deserve special mention for the heroines look quite convincing as rebellious village belles. A Sreekar Prasad’s editing is okay. On the whole, PATAAKHA is a decent entertainer which has its moments but the post-interval portions are quite unconvincing. At the box office, it will need to rely on word of mouth to register decent collections

Movie Review: Manto

Fri, 21 Sep 18 09:11:25 +0000

Is freedom of expression absolute? What constitutes obscenity and indecency? These are the questions our present-day Indian society is grappling with especially when artistes sometimes try to push the envelope. This is unfortunate, considering our history is replete with some very progressive artists who set the benchmark for progressiveness and yet, our society moved forward. Saadat Hasan Manto was one such writer and his works continue to fascinate readers even today. Nandita Das, after years of struggle, is finally ready with her film on this personality, titled MANTO. So does MANTO manage to stir and move viewers just like the writer’s works? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-900021" src="" alt="Movie Review Manto" width="720" height="450" /> MANTO throws light on the four decisive years of the life of Saadat Hasan Manto (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a rebellious writer. The story begins in 1946 in Bombay, India. Manto is a non-practicing Muslim but has his apprehensions when the communal riots break out at a time when the country is at the cusp of freedom. He is married to Safia (Rasika Dugal) and he earns his living by writing for films. His close friends are fellow liberal writer Ismat Chugtai (Rajshri Deshpande) and film actor Shyam Chadda (Tahir Raj Bhasin). Meanwhile, India gains Independence on August 15, 1947. Saifa goes to Lahore to attend her sister’s wedding. Manto meets Shyam’s family who have run from Rawalpindi to India and have lost a family member while escaping. Shyam, in a fit of rage, expresses his hatred for Muslims and even tells Manto that he could have killed him too. A distraught Manto decides to leave India permanently and settle in Lahore. There, he is slapped with obscenity charges over his story ‘Thanda Gosht’. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Nandita Das’s story is interesting as it doesn’t throw light on Manto’s entire life but only on the four years. It also makes a nice comment on the idea of freedom of expression and how society continues to create problems for those who are showing the mirror. Nandita Das’s screenplay has its moments with few scenes being exceptionally written. However, at a lot of places, the film fails to make the desired impact which is unfortunate since the film has a lot of potential. Nandita Das’s dialogues are sharp and acidic. Manto’s original quotes are also used and it adds an authentic touch. However, a lot of dialogues are in chaste Urdu and English subtitles thankfully have been provided. Nandita’s direction is unhurried and breezy. The subject reminds one of Ketan Mehta’s RANG RASIYA [2014], which also spoke of an artist being dragged to court over a frivolous issue, and the acclaimed Spanish film NERUDA [2016], based on the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. But Nandita with her execution ensures that viewers don’t start drawing parallels with these two films. Special mention should be made of two aspects – one, she doesn’t get overwhelmed with the period setup and doesn’t try to focus more on the sets and props. She instead keeps her focus on her protagonist. Secondly, she handles few sensitive factors with panache, one of them being Manto’s friendship with Ismat. The manner in which their pure friendship is depicted with Manto’s wife also acknowledging it makes for a nice watch. But on the other hand, she makes the film too dry, especially in the second half. This heavily mars the impact. MANTO is just 112 minutes long but could have been tighter, like Nandita Das’s previous directorial venture FIRAAQ [2009]. The characters are well established and the manner in which Manto’s stories are interspersed with the narrative smoothly is praiseworthy. The first half is shorter and has some memorable sequences – Manto getting livid with the producer (Rishi Kapoor), Manto and Safia trying to imagine the back story of a woman they see in a park and Manto and Safia witnessing the Independence Day celebrations. The best sequence of the first half however has to be Manto and Shyam’s confrontation in the local train. The second half is longer and this is where the film slips. Manto’s struggles could have been showed in a better manner. Also, the film has some great characters but barring 2 or 3, the rest don’t get their due like the lecherous film producer (Rishi Kapoor), Shaad Amritsari (Shashank Arora), Jaddan bai (Ila Arun), Nargis (Feryna Wazheir), Tea Stall Man (Neeraj Kabi), Ansar Shabnam Dil (Vijay Varma), Abid Ali Abid (Javed Akhtar) etc. The climax is symbolic but looks a bit abrupt. As a result, MANTO will appeal only to the high-end multiplex audiences. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the soul of MANTO and succeeds in giving a yet another memorable performance. The actor breathes life into the character and does justice as he portrays his various sides. One of the most underrated aspects of his performance is when he feels fearful (notice him in the scene with Ashok Kumar). Rasika Dugal has a crucial part and plays her part with aplomb. Tahir Raj Bhasin delivers a bravura performance. In the second half, his screen time is limited and although he does well, the happenings in the said sequence seem superficial. Rajshri Deshpande is terrific in a cameo and one wishes she had a longer role. Rishi Kapoor is good as the sleazy filmmaker. Shashank Arora has an important part but no explanation is given as to who exactly is he and how a bond is formed between him and Manto. Ila Arun gets to shine in the scene where she sings the song. Neeraj Kabi is as always exceptional but again, has hardly anything to do. Vijay Varma, mostly remembered as the antagonist in PINK, is decent. Javed Akhtar is impressive, giving one a déjà vu of Naseeruddin Shah’s cameo in the Pakistani film KHUDA KAY LIYE [2007]. Inammulhaq (Hamid) and Chandan Roy Sanyal (Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi) are okay and don’t get much scope. Feryna Wazheir gets no dialogue although she quite looks the part. The actor who played Ashok Kumar is a bit over the top but manages to get the nuances right. Then there are actors who play the characters of Manto’s stories. Out of these, Ranvir Shorey (Ishrat Singh) and Divya Dutta (Kulwant Kaur) get the maximum scope and create a tremendous impact. This is followed by Vinod Nagpal (Bishan Singh; Sikh man in Toba Tek Singh). Paresh Rawal (Pimp), Tillotama Shome (Prostitute), Gurdas Maan (Sirajuddin) and Purab Kohli (Kaifiyat) also do very well. Sneha Khanwalkar's music doesn’t get much scope. <em>‘Nagri Nagri’</em> gets registered as it’s played at an important part. <em>‘Bol Ke Lab Azaad Hain’</em> comes during the end credits. The rap song <em>‘Mantoiyat’</em> thankfully is not made a part of the film. Zakir Hussain's background score is subtle and impactful. Kartik Vijay's cinematography is neat. Rita Ghosh's production design, Sheetal Iqbal Sharma's costumes and Shrikant Desai's hair and make-up are too good and play an important role in giving the film a realistic, authentic touch. Prana Studios's VFX matches the global standards. All these come together very well in recreating the bygone era. A Sreekar Prasad's editing is simple. On the whole, MANTO has its moments and makes an important comment which is relevant in today’s times. However, the second half is weak and the film overall is too niche. Hence, it won’t appeal to the mainstream audience and this would affect its box office performance

Review: Batti Gul Meter Chalu is an average, one-time watch

Fri, 21 Sep 18 07:30:56 +0000

It’s often said that there are 2 India’s within this country. One is the urban India where the infrastructure is developed and all facilities like electricity, water supply, sanitation etc. are readily available. But there’s a part of India which still struggles with basic facilities. Shortage of electricity is one of the major problems of our country even today with power cuts being very frequent almost daily. On top of it, it’s not uncommon to come across reports of people slapped with insanely inflated electricity bills. Director Shree Narayan Singh, who impressed audiences last year with the social entertainer TOILET – EK PREM KATHA, is now back with BATTI GUL METER CHALU, and it also promises to be an entertainer with substance. So does BATTI GUL METER CHALU manage to impress and move viewers? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-899956" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> BATTI GUL METER CHALU is the story of the struggles of the common man with regards to the inconsistent electric supply. Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid Kapoor), Lalita Nautiyal aka Nauti (Shraddha Kapoor) and Sundar Mohan Tripathi (Divyenndu) are thick friends. All three are based in Tehri in Uttarakhand. While SK is a lawyer who likes to earn a quick buck by blackmailing people and arm-twisting them, Nauti runs a boutique shop and dreams of becoming a top designer. Sundar is a simpleton who has recently started his factory, called UK Packaging. Both SK and Sundar have feelings for Nauti. Nauti decides to date both of them one by one and decides to announce her decision as to whom she’ll eventually get into a relationship with. At first, she dates SK and she has a lovely time. Then, it’s Sundar’s turn and he floors her with his simplicity and honesty. One day, SK sees them cosying up to each other and he loses his mind. He stops talking to them and leaves for Mussoorie. Meanwhile, Sundar is slapped with a bill of Rs. 54 lakhs by the private electricity company SPTL. He tries his best to find a solution to it and explain to the concerned authorities that it’s impossible that he has consumed so much of electricity. Moreover, due to power cuts, he’s already using generator which has put additional burden on his finances. Realizing that he might have to sell off his ancestral house to pay off the dues, Sundar approaches SK for help. But SK is hurt that Nauti chose Sundar over him. Hence, he ridicules both of them. With no other solution in hand, Sundar decides to end his life. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Siddharth-Garima and Vipul Rawal’s story is simple which held a lot of promise but is not put together well. The basic premise has potential as it’s very relatable but it doesn’t come out properly. Siddharth-Garima’s screenplay is engaging only at places. There are far too many flaws and they get noticed easily. The film also reminds one of another courtroom drama, the JOLLY LLB series. Moreover, a crucial development is similar to Shahid’s own film CHUP CHUP KE [2006]. Siddharth-Garima’s dialogue has some funny punchlines. But the excessive use of terms like ‘<em>thehra</em>’ and ‘<em>bal</em>’ could have been avoided. In fact, the film’s length could have been reduced by ten minutes if these two words were chopped off! Shree Narayan Singh’s direction is weak. He had a bit flawed but interesting write-up in hand and any other capable director could have turned things around. But Shree Narayan Singh doesn’t succeed much. There’s no doubt that he has handled some moments deftly and does make viewers aware about how acute the problem in question is. But his execution leaves a lot to be desired. BATTI GUL METER CHALU is almost 161 minutes long and it’s first half could have been easily shortened by around 30 minutes. The beginning sequences depicting the friendship of the trio are strictly okay. Things begin to heat up once Nauti decides to date SK and then Sundar. The scene where Sundar spots Nauti and Sundar kissing is quite dramatic. Also, the entire Mussoorie sequence raises laughs and also has a great confrontational moment. The intermission point is dramatic. Post-interval, the scene of SK threatening the SPTL lawyer in the ombudsman office is whistle worthy. But the real fun begins with the courtroom sequence. The way SK catches hold of Gulnar Rizvi’s (Yami Gautam) soft-porn book and reads aloud an excerpt will bring the house down! A few of the facts revealed by SK are also startling. The climax ideally should have been a highpoint but sadly, it’s a point where the film comes down. Moreover, the villains in the story are not powerful enough. SK is fighting such a huge electricity company and he has even got the public on his side during the course of his fight. Yet, at no point does the company threaten him or his family members or physically assault him. They quietly let things happen and this bit looks very unconvincing. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Shahid Kapoor is one of the major reasons why the film succeeds to an extent. He’s in top form and will be loved for his comic timing. In the second half, he’s a riot! Also, he gives a wonderful performance in the emotional sequences. Shraddha Kapoor is over the top in the beginning sequences and it’s only in the serious scenes of the second half where she scores. Divyenndu is quite sincere and as always, gives an able performance. Yami Gautam has a very late entry and gives a fine performance. However, the scenes where she gets teased in the courtroom might not be liked by the female audiences. Atul Srivastav (Murarilal Tripathi; Sundar’s father) has some important scenes and is nice. Mukesh S Bhatt (Upreti) has quite a lot of screen time but doesn’t contribute much. Sushmita Mukherjee (Judge) tries to do a Saurabh Shukla of JOLLY LLB but looks forced. Sudhir Pande (D N Pant) is strictly okay and some of his scenes, shown in the trailer, are removed from the final cut. His entire track of trying to find a second wife doesn’t add at all to the main plot. Farida Jalal (Dadi) and Supriya Pilgaonkar (Beena Nautiyal) are wasted. Samir Soni (Sanjay Baduriya) looks tired and it seems like his voice has been dubbed. Rajendra Chawla (Janak Khanduri; officer at the complaint office) and Sukhvinder Chahal (Pankay Bahugana; SPTL official who gets caught in sting operation) are quite nice. Bijendra Kala (Deendayal Gangotri Travels owner) is as always good. Vikas (Sharib Hashmi) is unrecognizable while Badrul Islam (Kalyan) is decent. But their track is such that viewers might not be able to comprehend its significance. Anushka Ranjan (Rita) gets no scope. As for the songs, <em>‘Gold Tamba’</em> is catchy and <em>‘Har Har Gange’</em> comes at a crucial juncture. <em>‘Hard Hard’ </em>and <em>‘Dekhte Dekhte’</em> are forced. Vijay Verma, Anamik and Lyton's background score is disappointing in the light-hearted scenes but gets better in the second half. Anshuman Mahaley's cinematography is appropriate but the makers should have avoided taking too many long shots of the town. Udai Prakash Singh’s production design is realistic. Darshan Jalan and Neelanchal Kumar Ghosh’s costumes are as per the requirements of the characters. Post House’s VFX is very bad especially in the scenes shot in the day but are presented as night sequences. Shree Narayan Singh’s editing could have been better and crisper. On the whole, BATTI GUL METER CHALU is an average, one-time watch entertainer that appeals only in parts. The film has lot of flaws and loose ends and Shahid Kapoor’s entertaining performance saves the day to an extent. At the box office, it will require a really strong word of mouth to attract footfalls

Movie Review: Mitron

Thu, 13 Sep 18 05:00:42 +0000

The entrepreneur spirit of the Gujaratis is well known globally. However, this aspect and the overall flavour of Gujarat hasn’t been captured well in our films. Barring KAI PO CHE (2013), none of the films based in Gujarat in recent times like GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN (2013), SWEETIEE WEDS NRI (2017), PATEL KI PUNJABI SHAADI (2017) and YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE (2018) have failed to do justice to the Gujarat setting. Now FILMISTAAN director Nitin Kakkar tries his luck with a film based in a Gujarat city. So does he manage to put up a convincing show? Or does he fail in the process? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-896784" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> MITRON is the story of two people, both of whom are the black sheep in their respective families. Jai (Jackky Bhagnani) is a good for nothing youth in Ahmedabad. His father (Neeraj Sood) leaves no opportunity to chide him for wasting his life despite having a degree in automobile engineering. His interest lies in cooking and even he starts a YouTube channel. But it doesn’t pay dividends. He’s advised to make prank videos as it can get record views. Sadly his father catches him in the act. He decides to get him married, as per the recommendations of an astrologer and also with the hope that it’ll make him responsible. Meanwhile, Avni (Kritika Kamra) is a smart, responsible girl. She too doesn’t get respect from her father (Sunieel Sinha) since he always wanted a son. Hence he can’t wait to get her married. Avni is in love with Vikram (Prateik Babbar) and both plan to start a food truck business and also eventually settle down. However Vikram ditches her suddenly. Avni then accepts her father’s suggestion for arranged marriage. At this point, Jai and Avni meet. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sharib Hashmi's story is adapted from a Telugu film PELLI CHOOOPULU (2016), which is written and directed by Tharun Bhaskar Dhaassyam. It is interesting and although a bit clichéd, it has potential. Sharib Hashmi's screenplay is entertaining and engaging. The food truck and the good for nothing character gives a déjà vu of CHEF (2017) and BAND BAAJA BAARAAT (2010). Sharib Hashmi's dialogues are quite creative and hilarious. Nitin Kakkar's direction is neat and uncomplicated, despite the non-linear narrative in the first half. In the second half, he could have done a better job at few places. This is especially in the scene where Jai gets late for the engagement brunch. That he had too much of drinks a day before and the manner in which he had no plan in place for the snacks that he was supposed to prepare seemed very unconvincing. Moreover, the title of the film doesn’t completely capture the film’s essence. However, overall Nitin managed to capture the flavour of Gujarat very well. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> MITRON's first ten minutes are flat with none of the jokes working. It’s only when Jai and Avni get trapped in a room and they narrate about their life is when the film picks up. The flashback is told interestingly; notice how the actors break the fourth wall at places smoothly while narrating their tale. The manner in which Jai catches his girlfriend Shruti indulging in cheating is sure to bring the house down. Also, Jai's attempt at pranking people by pretending to immolate himself is hilarious. The track of Avni and Vikram begins unexpectedly but it has its moments. The twist during the intermission point works. Post interval, the fun continues. The humiliation faced by Avni at the engagement brunch is a crucial sequence handled well (although the scenes that lead to it are difficult to digest) and also the following sequence involving Jai and Avni's father. The pace does drop here but it gets back on track in the climax. This is a comeback of sorts for actor Jackky Bhagnani (his last Hindi film was WELCOME TO KARACHI in 2015) and he gives a genuinely good performance. He gets the diction right and keeps his act controlled. Kritika Kamra makes a very confident debut. She gets chance to display her talent in the second half. Pratik Gandhi (Raunak) steals the show and gets to mouth some very funny one-liners. Deepu (Shivam Parekh) gets totally sidelined. Neeraj Sood also ensures he doesn’t get overboard and irritating and does a fine job. Prateik Babbar is impressive. The actors playing Perline (Richa) and Shruti (Jai’s girlfriend in the call centre) are okay. Songs are quite peppy and reflect the mood of the film. <em>'Kamariya'</em>, played in the intro scene and during the end credits, is the best song of the lot and is bound to linger in one’s mind for a long time. <em>'Sawarne Lage'</em> comes next and its theme music is a bit loud but again, very catchy. <em>'Ghar Ke Hai Na Ghat Ke' </em>has a nice 80s vibe and is also sung by Bappi Lahiri. <em>'Chalte Chalte'</em> is sweet. <em>‘Door Na Ja’</em> doesn’t make much of an impact although it’s sung beautifully by Sonu Nigam. Sameer Uddin's background score is fun and dramatic. Manoj Kumar Khatoi's cinematography gives the film a commercial touch. The locales of Ahmedabad, especially the long shots, are well taken. Urvi Ashar Kakkar and Shipra Rawal's production design is fine, with the food truck standing out. Mandira Shukla's costumes are quite real and appealing. Sachindra Vats's editing is quite impressive, especially in the first half. On the whole, MITRON is a feel-good film and can surely appeal to the family audiences. Unfortunately, the lack of buzz and acute competition this week will prove detrimental

Movie Review: Manmarziyaan

Thu, 13 Sep 18 04:00:39 +0000

Bollywood is primarily known for love stories and many of the films belonging to this genre have been huge successes. A lot of these have been love triangles. But soon it emerged that it doesn’t project the reality, especially the confusion that prevails in such situations. Anurag Kashyap, known for dark and hard-hitting cinema, decides to switch gears and make a light-hearted romantic story dealing with three characters. So does this ‘commercial experiment’ work? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-896770 size-full" title="Movie Review: Manmarziyaan" src="" alt="Movie Review: Manmarziyaan" width="720" height="450" /> MANMARZIYAAN is the story of a girl trapped between two lovers. Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) is a rebellious girl from Amritsar. She is orphaned at a young age and stays with her paternal uncle and family. She’s in love with Vicky aka DJ Sandzzz (Vicky Kaushal) who stays close to her house. Vicky is used to secretly coming to her house to meet her in her bedroom. One day, he gets caught and all hell breaks loose. Rumi’s family members decide to get her married. But Rumi puts her foot down, stating that she’ll marry only Vicky. She also assures that Vicky and his parents will come to their house to ask her hand for marriage. However, Vicky shies away from responsibilities. Hence, he gets a jolt when Rumi brings up the topic of marriage. Meanwhile, Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan), based in London, arrives at Amritsar to meet his family and get married, as per the wishes of his family. Realizing that Vicky is commitment and marriage phobic, Rumi gives the nod to her family to find someone for marriage. Hence, Robbie and Rumi meet. For Robbie, it’s love at first sight. Rumi also agrees for marriage. Vicky gets livid when he hears about her wedding. A day before the marriage, he tells Rumi that he’s changed and is ready to take responsibilities and get married. Rumi still has love for Vicky and she agrees to elope with him. She first meets Robbbie at night and informs him that she can’t get married to him. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Kanika Dhillon’s story is impressive and a bit novel, despite based on a premise that’s been done to death hundreds of times. Kanika Dhillon’s screenplay is engaging and layered at places. The characters are very well fleshed out and the dynamics shared by them are superb. However, after a point, the film begins to slip in the second half. Also, at around 155 minutes, the film is a bit too long. Moreover, the bold theme of the film may put off certain section of audiences. The appeal of the film hence might be towards the urban and youth audiences more than others. Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues are powerful and acidic. The funny one-liners are also well written. Anurag Kashyap’s direction carries his trademark stamp although the subject here is a bit lighter as compared to his other films. He does justice to the overall plot but when the film begins to get a bit repetitive, even his execution is not able to do much. Let’s get one thing straight. MANMARZIYAAN is not a remake of DHADKAN [2000] or HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM [1999] as alleged by some netizens after watching the trailer. From the treatment to the characters to the happenings, there’s no similarity between these two films and MANMARZIYAAN. The film begins on a fun, musical note, depicting the hot romance between Vicky and Rumi. As the title suggests, the characters in the film do as their heart pleases. This aspect is brought right correctly, especially in the first half. The way dramatic sequences and songs are neatly blended also make for a good watch. One of the best scenes of the first half is when Rumi blasts Vicky in the middle of the highway. The intermission comes at a crucial point and one looks forward to what will happen next. Sadly, the film slips in the second half and even starts dragging. The pre-climax is unconvincing although the way the finale is presented makes up for it. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> MANMARZIYAAN is embellished with some fine performances. Taapsee Pannu is electrifying and one can’t take one’s eyes off her. In recent times, she has given some memorable performances like PINK [2016], NAAM SHABANA [2017] and in the recently released MULK [2018]. But her performance in MANMARZIYAAN stands out and is surely her most accomplished work till date! Vicky Kaushal who is on a great spree this year delivers a yet another rocking performance. He gets totally into the skin of the character and looks every inch a wannabe musician cum DJ from a small North Indian town. His breakdowns, his silences, his way of communicating with his eyes are too good. Abhishek Bachchan maintains a strong position and it’s a pleasure to see him on screen after ages. He gets to play the role of a soft-spoken guy while the other two characters are quite dynamic. But this doesn’t mean that he gets overshadowed. He makes his presence felt and his breakdown in the second half is something to watch out for. Also watch out how he emotes in the ‘suhaag raat’ sequence immediately after interval and when the marriage bureau guy tries to badmouth Rumi. Supporting characters in the film also do a very fine job. Ashnoor Kaur (Kiran; Rumi’s cousin sister) is fine. Saurabh Sachdeva (Kaka ji, who runs the marriage bureau) has a crucial part and does very well. Vikram Kochhar (Robbie’s brother) adds to the fun quotient. The actors playing Rumi’s Darji and Robbie’s mother are also quite good. Amit Trivedi’s music is one of the pillars of the film as it’s a musical. Not all songs are memorable but they are well inserted in the narrative. <em>‘Daryaa’</em> is the best of the lot and both the versions are played in some important scenes. <em>‘Grey Walaa Shade’</em>, played in the very beginning, sets the mood of the film. <em>‘F For Fyaar’</em> is hardly there while <em>‘Dhayaan Chand’</em> is funky and well shot. <em>‘Bijlee Giregi’</em> is peppy and <em>‘Kundali’</em> is a nice celebratory track. <em>‘Hallaa’</em> is played during a very tense sequence. <em>‘Chonch Ladhiyaan’</em> and <em>‘Jaisi Teri Marzi’</em> are sweet while <em>‘Sacchi Mohabbat’</em> is poignant. Amit Trivedi’s background score is also very much in sync with the film’s theme. And watch out for the twin sensations, Poonam Shah and Priyanka Shah, dancing in the middle of the Amritsar streets while the characters go about with their lives. It gives a unique touch! Sylvester Fonseca's cinematography captures the tensions, the realistic locations and the locales of Kashmir beautifully. Meghna Gandhi's production design is straight out of life and psychedelic in the scenes of Vicky’s studio. Prashant Sawant's costumes are quite appropriate. All characters are dressed as per their personalities. Aarti Bajaj's editing is simple and neat. On the whole, MANMARZIYAAN comes across as a contemporary and an unorthodox tale laced with some brilliant performances and powerful writing. The bold theme of the film might restrict its appeal but its target audience is sure to give the film a thumbs up

Movie Review: Paltan

Fri, 07 Sep 18 08:43:24 +0000

It’s always fascinating to know about a chapter of history which is forgotten but holds an important place. In the past, we have seen with films like AIRLIFT [2016], NEERJA [2016] and the recently released GOLD which spoke about heroic instances and all these films were lapped up by the audiences. Now, J P Dutta, known for his war films, is back with PALTAN. After BORDER [1997] and LOC: KARGIL [2003], J P Dutta completes his war trilogy with his latest flick which also enlightens viewers about something that they should be proud of. So does PALTAN succeed in giving the viewers an exhilarating time? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-894354 size-full" title="Movie Review: Paltan" src="" alt="Movie Review: Paltan" width="750" height="450" /> PALTAN tells the story of a military clash between India and China in 1967. This is a time when the state of Sikkim isn’t a part of India. China wants to capture it by hook or by crook for strategic reasons but due to international pressure, they can’t make their intentions public. Yet, at Nathu La border in Sikkim, they keep engaging in minor skirmishes to scare the Indian forces which are stationed there after the king of Sikkim granted them permission. Maj. Gen. Sagat Singh (Jackie Shroff) appoints Lt. Col. Rai Singh Yadav (Arjun Rampal) as the in charge of Nathu La. Rai has undergone training in London and is well versed with Chinese tactics. Some of the officers under him at Nathu La are Major Bishen Singh (Sonu Sood), Captain Prithvi Singh Dagar (Gurmeet Choudhary), Major Harbhajan Singh (Harshvardhan Rane), 2 Lt. Attar Singh (Luv Sinha), Hawaldar Lakshmi Chand (Abhilash Chaudhary) etc. Frustrated with the constant harassment by Chinese, Rai recommends that a permanent fence be laid down dividing the Indian and Chinese border. This would stop the regular fights between the forces of both countries over where exactly the border line is. Work on the fencing begins on the Indian side and it rattles the Chinese as this would put their plan of capturing Sikkim in jeopardy. With no other option in hand, the Chinese forces open fire and a war breaks out between the two countries. What happens next forms the rest of the film. J P Dutta's story is based on real life incidents and he tries his best to keep it as authentic as possible. J P Dutta’s screenplay is engaging. Even in the repetitive scenes, one doesn’t get bored. J P Dutta’s dialogues are simple and sharp. But there are far too many famous quotes mouthed by actors every few minutes. J P Dutta’s direction is topnotch. Often, filmmakers who shined in the 80s and 90s are not able to move in with the times, a recent example being of Anil Sharma who directed GENIUS. But J P Dutta takes care of this bit and ensures the audience of today will be interested in the film. At the same time he has kept his sensibility intact. He however should have not let the proceedings to be stretched and should have avoided scenes similar to BORDER. But he executed the war scenes like a pro. Also he ensured the audiences can feel the tension at the border. PALTAN is two and a half hours long and takes a long time in the build up. The war commences only in the middle of the second half and that’s when the film truly shines. Before that, the film has its moments but not in entirety. One of the most heartbreaking sequences of the film is in the beginning showing a postman delivering the telegram to several houses in a neighborhood and thereby informing them of the demise of their family members in the 1962 war. The manner in which the postman nonchalantly delivers the telegram and cries can be heard in the background is quite chilling. After the story shifts to 1967, the film continues to be engaging. But it gets repetitive. There are far too many sequences of the Chinese soldiers arguing with the Indians. Also some amount of time is devoted in throwing light on the personal lives of the soldiers and their lovers. It is interesting but it has a BORDER hangover. The war sequence however is sans complaints. It is heroic and would surely induce claps and whistles. Also the scene of the family members receiving the remains of the soldiers will put a lump in your throat. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Jackie Shroff is in a supporting role and does fine. Some of his English dialogues in the beginning are a bit difficult to comprehend. Arjun Rampal plays the main officer in charge of the border and he nicely plays his part. The way he shows aggression but also knows when to restrain himself is impressive. Sonu Sood is a natural and adds a lot to the film. Gurmeet Choudhary leaves a huge mark with his humour, temper and also his romantic side. Harshvardhan Rane also delivers a stupendous performance and looks perfect as the angry young Sardar. Both Gurmeet and Harshavardhan are going to receive maximum applause and whistles in the finale! These two young actors get a chance to show their true potential in this film. Siddhanth Kapoor gets limited scope but is memorable as he plays the interpreter. Luv Sinha is alright but gets to show his worth in some very important scenes in the 2nd half. Abhilash Chaudhary and Nagender Choudhary get very limited scope. Rohit Roy (Major Cheema) is wasted. As for the actresses, Monica Gill (Harjyot) gets the maximum scope followed by Dipika Kakar (Captain Prithvi Singh Dagar's fiance) and both are nice. Esha Gupta (Lt. Col. Rai Singh Yadav’s wife) is hardly there while Sonal Chauhan (Major Bishen Singh's wife) appears only for a few seconds in a song. Anu Malik’s music isn’t of chartbuster variety but works for the film. The title track is average and <em>'Raat Kitni' </em>is forced but somehow works. <em>'Main Zinda Hoon'</em> generates the most impact. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score is dramatic and adds to the excitement. Nigam Bomzan and Shailesh Awasthi's cinematography is breathtaking and has captured the locales beautifully. However in terms of authenticity, the film falters a bit as they have tried to recreate Sikkim in Ladakh and obviously the topographies of both regions are different. Amrish Patange and Dayanidhi Patturajan's production design is very real. The huge billboard of Mao Zedong creates an impact. Sham Kaushal’s action is terrific and makes the war scenes so real but at the same time he avoids gore. Ballu Saluja’s editing is appropriate. VFX however is could have better at a few places. On the whole, PALTAN not only enlightens viewers about a lost chapter in history but also entertains viewers while doing so. Though the buzz is limited, a good word of mouth can definitely help the film

Movie Review: Laila Majnu

Fri, 07 Sep 18 04:01:18 +0000

The eternal love story of Laila and Majnu has fascinated people over the centuries across several countries. In Bollywood itself, some 4-5 films have been made on the lovers, that too since the time of silent films era. Now Imtiaz Ali presents a film on this topic directed by his brother Sajid Ali in association with Ekta Kapoor. Imtiaz is known for his intense love stories and has shown obsessive characters in the past and Laila-Majnu’s tale is also on similar lines. So does LAILA MAJNU manage to do justice to the spirit of the story and turn out to be a great entertainer? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-894132 size-full" title="Movie Review: Laila Majnu" src="" alt="Movie Review: Laila Majnu" width="750" height="450" /> LAILA MAJNU is the story of two lovers who are not destined to be together. Laila (Tripti Dimri) is a young girl in Srinagar who’s a flirt and likes attention from guys. One day she bumps into Kaes (Avinash Tripathy), a Casanova who has just returned from London. Laila at first is repulsed with Kaes’s stalking but slowly she falls for him. Both start dreaming of a future together. However, things aren’t going to be easy. Laila's father Masool (Parmeet Sethi) is in a feud with Kaes's father Ghulam Sarwar Bhat (Benjamin Gilani) with the former alleging that the latter took away his land by fraudulent means and built a five star hotel. Hence, the fathers of both Laila and Kaes get livid on finding out about their love affair. At the insistence of Kaes, Ghulam goes to meet Masool to ask Laila’s hand in marriage. Masool however humiliates him. A war of words ensues between the two. Masool decides to get Laila to Ibban (Sumeet Kaul), his trusted protégé. Kaes tries to find a way to stop this marriage. But when he’s not able to find any, he lands up at the wedding. He begs Masool to stop the marriage and when the latter doesn’t agree, Kaes insults him. Laila gets angry and asks him to leave. Kaes goes away in anger. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali’s story tries to do justice to the actual tale of Laila and Majnu. But Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali’s screenplay is difficult to digest especially in the second half. Also it gives a déjà vu of ROCKSTAR [2011]. Hence, the freshness element gets marred since viewers have already seen it before. But there are places where the craziness crosses all boundaries and it is unconvincing. Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali’s dialogues are however effective. Sajid Ali’s direction is quite good for a first timer and he definitely seems inspired by brother Imtiaz. He keeps viewers engaged but he fails to achieve mass appeal for his film. LAILA MAJNU's beginning evokes mixed reaction. The character of Laila is presented in a unique manner but to show her as a flirt is unconvincing. The sequence of Kaes peeing at the same spot where Laila is hiding is disgusting and one wonders why the writer wrote such a scene. Things get better once Laila and Kaes start seeing each other. The scene where Ibban follows Laila and Kaes is quite dramatic and same goes for the sequence where both the fathers meet. The intermission comes at a significant juncture. Post interval, the film goes on a different track as Kaes transforms into Majnu. This bit is bound to go bouncer for a lot of audiences as the depiction of his craziness is extreme. The film also ends on an unconvincing note. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Performances however are exemplary. Avinash Tripathy delivers a confident and a very impressive performance. As Kaes, he’s efficient but as Majnu, he goes on another level. And it doesn’t appear like a caricature. This is no easy feat. Tripti Dimri does a great job in playing the vivacious Laila and again, knows where to draw the line while enacting. In the second half however she gets limited screen time. Sumit Kaul is the surprise of the film. He plays his part very nicely and he’s sure to get noticed and talked about! Parmeet Sethi and Benjamin Gilani deliver decent performances. Sahiba Bali (Laila’s sister) is fine. Others do a good job. Joi Barua and Niladri Kumar's music is indispensable to the film. Not all songs are memorable but they add to the impact. <em>'Hafiz Hafiz' </em>is the best of the lot as it is in sync with the crazy happenings in the film. <em>'O Meri Laila'</em>, <em>'Tum'</em>, <em>'Sarphiri'</em> and <em>'Gayee Kaam Se'</em> are soulful and melodious. Hitesh Sonik’s background score is also very nicely done. Sayak Bhattacharya’s cinematography is spectacular. Kashmir has been captured in a lot of films but never like this. Niharika Bhasin Khan’s costumes are very authentic and same goes for production design. Editing is simple and neat. On the whole, LAILA MAJNU is embellished with some fine performances but it is not meant for the mainstream audience. Also with very little buzz surrounding the film, it will be a challenge for the movie to register impressive numbers at the box office

Movie Review: Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se

Fri, 31 Aug 18 04:04:23 +0000

One of the most respected and humble film families has to be that of the Deols. It’s a treat to see the bond shared by Dharmendra with his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol. On-screen, it was first translated in APNE [2007]. But it was in the comic caper YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA [2011] where it worked big time. However, the sequel, YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA 2 [2013] failed to strike a chord with the audiences. Now the affable Deols are back with YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE. So does it entertain audiences like they did with the first part of the series? Or does it fail just like the second part? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-891114" src="" alt="" width="720" height="405" /> YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE is the story of one man’s fight against a corrupt pharmaceutical company. Puran (Sunny Deol) is an Ayurveda expert who runs his clinic in Amritsar. He uses ancient medicinal knowledge passed on to him by his forefathers. Marfatia (Mohan Kapur), owner of Marfatia Pharma, tempts Puran’s younger brother, the good for nothing Kala (Bobby Deol), that he’ll offer Rs. 1 crore if he can convince Puran to part with the ‘<em>vajrakawacha</em>’ that can cure a host of diseases. Puran refuses the offer and even physically assaults Marfatia. Marfatia decides to take revenge for this humiliation. Meanwhile, Chikoo (Kriti Kharbanda), a surgeon from Surat, comes to Amritsar to study Ayurveda under Puran. Kala falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Marfatia slaps copyright case on Puran, alleging that he has the patent for ‘<em>vajrakawacha</em>’ and that Puran can’t use it in his clinic. Puran realizes that Marfatia has stolen the formula from him. Enter Jaywant Parmar (Dharmendra), Puran’s paying guest who has overstayed by years and pays a paltry Rs. 115 as monthly rent. Puran and Parmar don’t see eye-to-eye but when Puran gets into this legal tangle, Parmar, who’s an excellent lawyer, decides to help. What happens next forms the rest of the story. Dheeraj Rattan’s story is very poor and dated. A plot like this would have worked in the 90s or even in the past decade but not anymore. Dheeraj Rattan’s screenplay is the biggest culprit. A wafer-thin plot can be turned into a great film if the script is cracked properly. But sadly, he makes a mess. A few sequences are well thought of at the story level but at the script level, it goes kaput. For instance, Parmar’s dilly-dallying in the court in the finale could have made for a hilarious sequence. Same goes for Kala’s drunken rants at night, a la ‘Mausiji’ sequence of Dharmendra in SHOLAY [1975]. Alas, these scenes are badly written and hence, make no impact whatsoever. Bunty Rathore and Vankush Arora’s dialogues are also not worthy enough. Only a few one-liners leave a mark. Navaniat Singh’s direction is very ordinary. He didn’t add anything of his own and just executed a badly written script. YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE does arrest attention in the beginning when <em>sutradhar</em> Annu Kapoor gives an introduction about Ayurveda medicines and its importance followed by Puran’s introduction. However, things go downhill once Kala is introduced. This is supposed to be a comic caper but throughout the film, there are hardly any scenes that would induce even a mild guffaw. The entire bit on who stole the formula from Puran’s clinic is very predictable. Kala-Chikoo’s love story is nothing special. In the second half, one expects things to get better as the madness shifts to Surat. But even here, there is hardly any scene that would be enjoyed or would touch audiences. The climax is long-drawn and the manner in which Parmar tries to waste time of the court goes on and on and tests audience’s patience. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Even in a poor film like this, Sunny Deol shines. He genuinely gives his best shot and he is the only one who strikes a chord with the audiences. His scene at the airport, for instance, is touching, though again the impact is marred by poor writing. In the climax, he gets a raw deal. His action scene should have got more footage than the dragging courtroom sequence. Bobby Deol is strictly okay and goes overboard in many scenes. Dharmendra shockingly has a late entry and has very little to do in the first half. It’s praiseworthy that he’s acting even at this age. He too tries his best but is letdown by the script. Kriti Kharbanda looks beautiful and gives a first-rate performance. She constantly tries to rise above the script and make the scene better. Shatrughan Sinha (Judge Sunil Sinha) is a well thought character and could have taken the film to another level had the writing being superlative. He looks quite old but entertains nevertheless. Mohan Kapur is alright as the villain while Rajesh Sharma (Lawyer Bhatia) leaves a mark in the courtoom scenes. Asrani (Nanu) is disappointing. Satish Kaushik (Bedi) is wasted. In fact, he is forced in the narrative in the climax. His presence makes no sense at all at this point. Paresh Ganatra (Real estate broker Paresh Patel) is fine and same goes for Binnu Dhillon (Billa). Bharat Bhatia (Sainath; Gujarati neighbour who’s always suspicious) plays his part well. Others are okay. Salman Khan has a cameo in the finale and he looks disinterested. Music is also disappointing. <em>'Little Little' </em>and <em>'Nazarbattu'</em> have zero recall value. <em>'Rafta Rafta Medley'</em> is shown in the end credits. Raju Singh’s background score is loud and over the top. Jitan Harmeet Singh’s cinematography is nothing special. Rita Ghosh’s production design is theatrical. Vikram Dahiya’s action is quite nice. Manish More’s editing is okay. On the whole, YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE is marketed as a comic caper but there are hardly any scenes that would make one laugh. Disappointing