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

Movie Review: Stree

Thu, 30 Aug 18 16:50:24 +0000

Horror comedies can be quite fun if handled well. Last year, we saw how GOLMAAL AGAIN became a blockbuster as it amalgamated horror and comedy in equal and entertaining doses. Earlier this year however, the Abhay Deol starrer NANU KI JAANU also belonged to this genre but failed miserably. Now debutant director Amar Kaushik is ready with his own horror comedy, titled STREE. So does STREE follow the footsteps of GOLMAAL AGAIN and entertain audiences? Or does it fail to impress, a la NANU KI JAANU? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-890996 size-full" title="Movie Review: Stree" src="" alt="Movie Review: Stree" width="750" height="450" /> STREE is based on folklore and a myth that has found acceptance in several states across India. Set in the Madhya Pradesh town of Chanderi, it tells the story of a bride’s wandering spirit who roams the streets for four days during an annual pooja. She calls out to young, unsuspecting men, and if they turn back, she takes it as their acceptance to be with her. Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) is a gifted tailor in this town and he doesn’t believe in this myth. On the first day of pooja, a mysterious young girl (Shraddha Kapoor) approaches him to design her ghagra. She shows interest in him romantically and Vicky falls for him. Vicky tells his friends Jana (Abhishek Banerjee) and Bittu (Aparshakti Khurana) about his love interest. Jana is happy for Vicky but Bittu cautions Vicky to be careful of her. Trouble arises when Bittu analyses the situation and realises that Vicky's love interest might be none other than Stree. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Raj Nidimoru, Krishna DK and Pawan Sony’s story is based on a true phenomenon. They make great use of the plot as it’s quite fresh and they add the necessary elements to make it better. Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s screenplay is very effective and entertaining. The film’s duration is just right at 128 minutes and it keeps the audiences engaged. Sumit Aroraa’s dialogues are hilarious and very witty. Few one liners are sure to bring the house down. Amar Kaushik’s direction is commendable, considering that this is his first film. He has handled the horror as well as dramatic scenes with panache. However for a horror comedy, the film gets a bit too spooky. Hence, it might be a bit too much for the family audiences. Secondly it seems he rushed through the ending. The build up is excellent but then he finishes it in a jiffy. Also the final scene will confuse a section of audiences and they might come out of the theatre in daze. STREE begins on a high and sets the eerie mood. Immediately then, the entry of Vicky, Bittu and Jana make things light hearted. The manner in which Vicky and the girl fall in love is sweet. However the horror sequences are also neatly inserted in between. The sequence where Narendra (Aakash Dabhade) gets taken away is quite scary. However the most chilling sequence of the first half is the pre-interval sequence. Post intermission, the oscillation between fun and horror continues well. But the interest drops a bit at this point. Also, the ending has its moments but it’s also underwhelming and confusing. Rajkummar Rao gets a chance to dabble in a new genre and he excels thoroughly. He genuinely gives an earnest performance and is a treat to see him getting spooked, delivering monologues and behaving madly in love. He is sure to bring the house down when he loses his cool in front of Jana and Stree. Also watch out for him in the second half sequence when he’s trying to analyse <em>Stree</em>. He’s terrific. Shraddha Kapoor delivers a fine performance and has a mysterious air about her as per the character's requirement. In the second half she gets better. Aparshakti Khurrana gives a great performance and he doesn’t get overboard. Same goes for Abhishek Banerjee. In fact he’s superb in the last one hour. Pankaj Tripathi is hardly there in the first half and he rocks big time in the second half. Vijay Raaz (Shastri) leaves a mark in the lone sequence. Flora Saini plays an important part with elan. Atul Srivastava (Vicky’s father) brings the house down in the scene where he talks to Rajkummar Rao about sex. Nora Fatehi is sizzling in the item number. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Sachin-Jigar’s music is entertaining. <em>'Darji'</em> is peppy while <em>'Milegi Milegi' </em>is the best of the lot but is played during the end credits. <em>'Kamariya'</em> is entertaining while <em>'Nazar Na Lag Jaaye' </em>is okay. <em>'Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe'</em> is relegated to the background. Ketan Sodha’s background score is excellent and enhances the eerie quotient significantly. However the sound quality at some places could have been better. Amalendu Chaudhary’s cinematography is ideal and sans any vague camerawork that certain horror films often have in Bollywood. He also has shot the locales of Chanderi beautifully. Madhusudhan’s production design is authentic. Manohar Verma and Gulzar Amin Khatib's action is nothing special. Prime Focus’ VFX is upto the mark. Hemanti Sarkar’s editing is simple and works well. On the whole, STREE is a unique concoction of humour and horror that floors you completely. At the box office, this entertainer surely has a chance to tickle the audience’s funny bone, send a chill down their spine and ultimately give them a roller coaster experience. Impressive

Movie Review: Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi

Thu, 23 Aug 18 18:47:53 +0000

Every year, we have had sleeper hits that come out of nowhere and turn out to be surprise successes. HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI was easily the dark horse of 2016. It released with minimal buzz and ended up doing decent business at the box office. Audiences loved the humour quotient a lot which helped the film sustain and even have a recall value two years later. The makers are now back with the sequel, HAPPY PHIRR BHAG JAYEGI and promises to be better or as funny as the first part. So does it manage to live upto the expectations? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-887947" src="" alt="Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi Review Image" width="750" height="450" /> HAPPY PHIRR BHAG JAYEGI is the story of mistaken identity that takes place in the neighbouring country of China. Harpreet Kaur aka Happy # 1 (Diana Penty) is accompanying her hubby Guddu (Ali Fazal) to Shanghai in China where the latter is invited to sing at an event. In the same flight, Harpreet Kaur aka Happy # 2 (Sonakshi Sinha) is also flying to Shanghai to find Aman Singh Wadhwa (Aparshakti Khurana) who was to marry her but ditched and flew to China on the wedding day. Happy # 2 mistakenly takes the cab that had come to pick up Happy # 1. It is learnt at this point that Guddu has been tricked into coming to China by Chang (Jason Tham). They want to kidnap Guddu and then force Happy # 1 to go to Pakistan, meet her friend Bilal (Abhay Deol) and compel his father to get into a business deal that he had promised to fulfill but had later cancelled. Sadly for Chang and his men, they got Happy # 2. With no other option, they are forced to kidnap Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill) from India and inspector Usman Afridi (Piyush Mishra) from Pakistan and force them into finding Happy # 1 and take her to Pakistan. Happy # 2 meanwhile runs away from the clutches of Chang and bumps into Khushwant Singh Gill aka Khushi (Jassie Gill), a sardar who works at the Indian embassy. He decides to help Happy # 2. Usman and Bagga too manage to get free from Chang's hold and they team up with Khushi and Happy # 2. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Mudassar Aziz’s story is based on a wafer thin plot and doesn't have much logic in it but the humor makes up for it. Mudassar Aziz’s screenplay is engaging but one wishes he had done something about the loose ends. The scene where Usman gets horny on seeing the semi naked girls doesn’t really induce laughter. Mudassar Aziz’s dialogues are hilarious and witty. Dialogues had been the mainstay of the first part as well and in the sequel, they are funnier. At some places, it’ll pleasantly surprise you. For instance, the DANGAL reference is killer! Mudassar Aziz’s direction is simple and uncomplicated. He uses a bit of a non-linear style in the beginning and it works very well. In the midst of fun and laughter, he inserts the somewhat sad flashback sequence of Happy # 2 and yet it engages viewers. It’s also thanks to his direction that the glitches in the script get overpowered to a great extent. HAPPY PHIRR BHAG JAYEGI doesn’t waste time and the story starts to move forward from the first scene itself. The misunderstanding owing to the name is neatly established. The real fun begins once Bagga and Usman enter the narrative. Their interactions are hilarious and take the film to another level. One of the funniest scenes is the madness that happens in Khushi's house when Chang arrives with Usman and Bagga. The flashback portion of Happy # 2 keeps the interest alive. The drama at the adult toy centre and the prison is not that funny but makes for an interesting watch. Also the film slips in the middle of the second half. But it picks up well in the pre climax. Watch out for the escalator sequence here; hilarious! The climax might be a bit underwhelming but has some funny moments. The film ends on a positive and 'Happy' note. All the actors do a very commendable job. But it’s Jimmy Sheirgill and Piyush Mishra who take the cake. Jimmy Sheirgill is the soul of this series. By now he’s become a pro in playing roles of guys who don’t get the girl in the end. But he does it endearingly and it’s a treat to see that. Piyush Mishra comes next. He also contributes a lot to the funny quotient of the film. In the adult toy centre sequence, he is too good. Sonakshi Sinha delivers a very able performance. She completely looks the part and in some sequences, she dominates beautifully. Jassie Gill enters the series and even Bollywood with no expectations. However he turns out to be a nice surprise. Watch out for him in the scene where he starts blabbering nonsense while in shock. It’s sure to bring the house down! Diana Penty and Ali Fazal hardly have anything to do initially but give their best shot in the last 20 minutes. Jason Tham is an actor to watch out for. Denzil Smith (Adnan Chow) essays a novel and a never before seen character and is very impressive. Aparshakti Khurana leaves a mark but only in the second half. The actors playing Happy # 2’s father and sister are decent. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Sohail Sen’s music doesn’t work. The title song is the best of the lot. <em>'Swag Saha Nahi Jaye' </em>comes next. <em>'Kudiye Ni Tere' </em>is forced but stands out as it’s a rare song in today’s times sung by Udit Narayan. <em>'Koi Gal Nahi'</em> is a forgettable composition but incorporating two Chinese men singing a Hindi song is funny! <em>'Chin Chin Chu'</em> appears during the end credits. Sohail Sen's background score however is much better and suits the film's quirky mood. Sunil Patel’s cinematography is sans complaints. Aparna Raina and Sheena Saini’s production design is realistic. Divya – Nidhhi and Ipshita Bhatnagar’s costumes are authentic and appealing. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing is slick but gets a bit dragging in the second half. On the whole, HAPPY PHIRR BHAG JAYEGI turns out to be a worthy sequel. Despite the loose ends, it manages to make audiences laugh thanks to its funny dialogues and situations, clean humour and bravura performances. At the box office, it will turn out to be a decent fare

Movie Review: Genius

Thu, 23 Aug 18 17:47:41 +0000

We often come across reports of whiz kids who prove to be much smarter and intelligent than others their age. Anil Sharma’s GENIUS attempts to tell the story of not just one, but two such geniuses and what happens when they have a face off. So does GENIUS turn out to be as entertaining and exciting as some of the previous entertainers of Anil Sharma? Or does it prove to be a disappointment? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-887942" src="" alt="Genius Review Image" width="750" height="450" /> GENIUS is the story of two genius minds. Vasudev Shastri (Utkarsh Sharma) is an orphan from Mathura. His mind works faster than a computer. He not just knows his Sanskrit <em>shlokas</em> but also his algebra theorems and scientific formulas by heart. He goes to study at IIT Roorkee where he falls for Nandini (Ishita Chauhan). The RAW finds out about Vasudev and his intelligence and invites him to join the wing even before completing his course. Nandini however doesn’t reciprocate to his love. Vasudev gets depressed and one day he comes to the rescue of RAW when their servers get hacked. Vasudev then once again gets an offer to join RAW and this time he agrees. While investigating the hack and a fire in an ammunition godown in Ambala, Vasudev realises that the mastermind is the evil and mysterious MRS (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). How Vasudev tries to defeat this fellow genius forms the rest of the film. Anil Sharma’s story is weak and flawed. Anil Sharma, Sunil Sirvaiya and Amjad Ali’s screenplay has loose ends and is scattered everywhere. The idea of having a non-linear narrative in the first half doesn’t work. Anil Sharma, Sunil Sirvaiya and Amjad Ali’s dialogues are over the top and preachy. Some of them are absolute trash and it won’t be surprising if a fun listicle is made on them. Anil Sharma’s direction is dated and it looks like he’s stuck in the 90s, or even in the 80s. The way the songs are forced into the story and the manner in which few sequences are lifted from Hollywood films like the Batman series is shocking and is reminiscent of the bygone era. GENIUS has a non-linear narrative and it makes no sense why it was done. In the first 10 minutes, viewers get a fair idea about what has happened. One expects the makers to rush through these developments. But instead they take their own sweet time to unravel the story. The entire idea of genius bit is hammered needlessly. Everyone is shown to be in awe of Vasudev's genius side, constantly praising him for just any random reason. He’s also shown as someone who plans not just ten, but thousand steps ahead. This could have been interesting but sadly, it seems laughable. In fact it is shocking how the script got approved in the first place. The first half is longer with the romantic portions being bland. And not just the love story, even the revenge saga fails to impress. Utkarsh Sharma is terribly miscast for the role. He’s extremely raw and has a long way to go. He looks like a college kid and hence throughout the film, it becomes difficult to imagine him as a RAW agent or even as an IIT student. He also needs to work on his expressions. Ishita Chauhan also fails to give a decent performance. In the initial sequences, she has just one expression on her face. Nawazuddin Siddiqui makes an entry only minutes before the intermission. He saves the film with his excellent performance. Watch out for his dance in <em>'Pyar De Pyar Le'</em>! Mithun Chakraborty (Jaishankar Prasad) is decent. Abhimanyu Singh (Pravin Joshi) is wasted. Same goes for K K Raina (Mr Das) and Ayesha Jhulka (Nandini's mother). Malti Chehar (Rubina Sheikh) and Dev Gil are hardly memorable. Himesh Reshammiya’s music is peppy and soulful. It’s unfortunate that such nice songs are used in such a terrible film. <em>'Tera Fitoor'</em>, <em>'Dil Meri Na Sune' </em>and <em>'Tujhse Kahan Juda Hoon Main' </em>are melodious. <em>'Holi Biraj Ma' </em>is very catchy and <em>'Pyar Le Pyar De'</em> is entertaining. Monty Sharma’s background score is exhilarating and dramatic. <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>Najeeb Khan’s cinematography is nothing special. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action goes a bit overboard at places but otherwise it’s entertaining. The VFX however is very tacky. Bijon Das Gupta’s production design makes the film looks very rich. Ashfaque Makrani’s editing is haphazard. On the whole, GENIUS is an extremely poor and senseless fare. At the box office, it will be rejected outright by the audience. Watching this film is surely not a genius idea. Avoid

Movie Review: Gold

Tue, 14 Aug 18 11:39:36 +0000

In the beginning of 2016, an Akshay Kumar starrer, AIRLIFT, opened our eyes about an incredible rescue mission carried out by an Indian and shockingly, very few knew about it. It made people realize that there are many such episodes that have been lost in the pages of history. The fact that these stories are not popularly known coupled with the heroism attached to it make it ideal for it to be captured on celluloid. 2 ½ years after AIRLIFT, Akshay is back with another real-life story with GOLD and this time the genre is sports drama. So does GOLD manage to entertain and move viewers like some of the previous well-made sports biopics? Or does it fail in its endeavour? <img class="aligncenter wp-image-884106 size-full" title="Movie Review: Gold" src="" alt="Movie Review: Gold" width="750" height="450" /> GOLD is a story of India’s first big win in an international sports tournament after attaining independence. Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar) is the junior manager during the 1936 Berlin Olympics for the British Indian hockey team. British India defeated Germany quite easily and won the gold medal. Since India then was still under the British rule, the British national anthem was played at the end of the match. Tapan feels humiliated and he vows to help a free India win the Olympics and then stand proudly as Jana Gana Mana will be played. Sadly the World War 2 begins soon enough and the 1940 and 1944 editions of the Olympics get cancelled. In 1945, the war ends and in 1946, it is announced that the 1948 Olympics will take place in London. The independence of India is also near. Tapan by now has become an alcoholic and owes a lot of money to many. He has been ousted from the Hockey Federation. But the announcement of the 1948 Olympics excites him. He manages to convince the Federation board that he’ll move heaven and earth and get the best team for India and a gold for India eventually. Thus begins his search. The captain of the 1936 Olympics, Samrat (Kunal Kapoor) refuses to come on board but he recommends Tapan that Imtiaz Shah (Vineet Kumar Singh) should be made the in charge. Tapan then tours around the country and finds gems like Himmat Singh (Sunny Kaushal) and Raghubir Pratap Singh (Amit Sadh). All is going fine until the Partition is announced. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Reema Kagti and Rajesh Devraj’s story is surely something that deserves to be told. Of course, it has been dramatized and slightly fictionalized but it’s done well. Reema Kagti’s screenplay is topnotch and she keeps viewers captivated. However a few sequences could have been shorter and crisper. Also a few scenes give a heavy déjà vu of CHAK DE INDIA [2007]. Reema Kagti’s dialogues are sharp and acidic and give the right punch. Reema Kagti’s direction is neat and uncomplicated. The match scenes are very nicely presented but at a few places, some of the cliches could have been avoided. But it’s praiseworthy how she took the film on a high in the finale. The national anthem scene would surely move viewers and it doesn’t seem forced. The patriotic fervor comes out perfectly! GOLD has a terrific commencement. The 1936 Olympics finale is very well shot and the pain of standing for a foreign national anthem comes out very well. The opening credits don’t make the desired impact but the film gets on track once Tapan starts getting the players. The entire bit of Raghubir Pratap Singh stripping after seeing an impoverished person is lovely. However the best sequence of the first half is the Partition sequence involving Imtiaz. Heartbreaking! Post interval, the Kanheri Caves sequence involving a mute priest is great and will bring the house down. Another sequence worth mentioning is Samrat compelling the players to pick up bricks to teach them a lesson in unity. The film however also gets a bit long and a song or two could have been done away with. But the climax makes up for it. The tension and drama in the last twenty minutes would surely keep you hooked. Akshay Kumar might not be playing hockey in the film (save for one brief sequence) but he rocks the show. One can feel his passion and pain when he goes about convincing people that how important it is for India to win the gold. Even his comic timing is spot on, as always. Mouni Roy (Monobina) has an excellent screen presence and lights up few sequences. Unfortunately her role is limited.  Kunal Kapoor looks every inch a star player and it would have been great if he had more screen time. Amit Sadh gives a brilliant performance and gets to play a very interesting character. Sunny Kaushal is the surprise of the film. His track is very touching and he’s sure to win hearts! His outburst in the pre climax is too good. Vineet Kumar Singh also wins hearts. His performance as expected shines and he gets to play a very memorable character. His track and the way India-Pakistan aren’t shown as rivals as it usually happens is a beautiful aspect of the film! Nikita Dutta (Himmat's girlfriend) is cute and does fine. The actors playing Mr. Mehta and Mr. Wadia are decent. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> The songs are melodious and peppy but few of them are forced. <em>‘Naino Ne Baandhi’ </em>works as it’s nicely shot. <em>‘Chad Gayi Hai’</em> is forced and looks very much like <em>'Monobina'</em> played earlier. <em>‘Ghar Layenge Gold’</em> and <em>‘Khel Khel Mein’ </em>are okay. Sachin-Jigar’s background score however is in sync with the film’s moods and even elevates impact. Alvaro Guierrez’s cinematography is quite appropriate and helps a lot in simplifying the hockey scenes. Paul Rowan and Shailaja Sharma’s production design is outstanding and the duo recreates the bygone era authentically. But the VFX in the match scenes is bad, especially the spectators bit. Payal Saluja’s costumes are also quite realistic. Aimee Mcdaniel is the sports coordinator and he also deserves praise for his work. Anand Subaya’s editing is great, especially in the match scenes. On the whole, GOLD is a brilliant, touching saga that would surely entertain viewers and make them hoot for the retro men in blue. At the box office, it is sure to strike Gold! Highly recommended

Movie Review: Satyameva Jayate

Tue, 14 Aug 18 04:42:40 +0000

We all have seen corruption and apathy in the government and police force etc. from close quarters at some point in our lives. Most of the times, we have not protested and merely given up since the thought of taking on the system is just too much. But imagine if you could teach these corrupt officials a lesson. Milap Milan Zaveri’s SATYAMEVA JAYATE promises you to get into that space and give you a kick in seeing baddies facing a crushing defeat from an aam aadmi, as evident from the trailers. So does SATYAMEVA JAYATE turn out to be as action-packed, massy and satisfying as expected? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-883951 size-full" title="Movie Review: Satyameva Jayate" src="" alt="Movie Review: Satyameva Jayate" width="750" height="450" /> SATYAMEVA JAYATE is the story of a vigilante on a killing spree for a personal reason. Veer (John Abraham) is an acclaimed artist who has taken up a mission to kill corrupt cops. His first target is Sadashiv Patil (Abhishek Khandekar). He sets him on fire alive and then sends his ashes to his police station in Santacruz, Mumbai. In no time, he bumps off Inspector Irrfan Qadri (Shaikh Sami Usman) from Andheri Police Station in the same manner. DCP Shivansh Rathod (Manoj Bajpayee) is given the charge of this case by the Commissioner (Manish Chaudhary). Veer meanwhile meets Shikha (Aisha Sharma) at a beach clean-up drive and both fall for each other. Meanwhile, Veer challenges Shivansh to stop him from killing his next target. Shivansh fails and Veer manages to eliminate Inspector Damle (Ganesh Yadav) of Thane Police Station. Shivansh is shaken by Veer’s audacity and his fearlessness and he goes on an overdrive in trying to know who his next target would be. Finally, Shivansh cracks the modus operandi of Veer. Shivansh realizes that Inspector Bhonsle (Rajesh Khera) from Yari Road police station is the next one in line. Shivansh lays a trap and is all set to catch Veer. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Milap Milan Zaveri's story is simplistic, massy and something that the masses would applaud. Milap Milan Zaveri's screenplay is also on the same lines but it gets repetitive. There’s no novelty value left after a point with regards to the killing of the cops. Also it’s a bit flawed. For instance, Veer giving all the clues through his painting was a bit too convenient. The climax is a bit confusing especially actions of Shikha. Milap Milan Zaveri's dialogues however are completely <em>paisa vasool</em> and would be greeted with <em>seetis</em> and <em>taalis</em>! Milap Milan Zaveri's direction reminds one of the 90s action dramas. Although it works in most parts, at some places the film begins to give a dated feel. In the second half, he could have executed the killing sequences differently as that would have enhanced interest. Moreover, the film gets a bit stretched towards the finale and perhaps, he could have avoided this aspect too. SATYAMEVA JAYATE begins with a <em>dhamaka</em> and the excitement keeps going. The entry of DCP Shivansh in the narrative adds to the fun. Veer’s first ever call to Shivansh is quite a dramatic sequence. The manner in which the three cops are eliminated are also quite interesting and viewers would surely root for these sequences. But the best sequence of the first half is the <em>‘namaaz’</em> sequence. Single screen audiences would go crazy at this point. The intermission point comes as a bolt from the blue. Post-intermission, the hospital sequence stands out. But then the film drops as it becomes too overdramatic and repetitive. Even the finale would be received with mixed reactions. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> John Abraham delivers a fabulous, nuanced performance. John is known for his action avatar majorly and his role in SATYAMEVA JAYATE is definitely the best as compared to other such flicks of recent times like FORCE 2, ROCKY HANDSOME and DISHOOM. Watch out for the way he dons a cunning act in the hospital sequence. Manoj Bajpayee provides able support and enhances impact in some scenes. His confrontation with Veer at various points is too good. Aisha Sharma makes a confident debut but sadly doesn’t have much to do in the film. Amruta Khanvilkar (Sarita) is completely wasted and that’s unfortunate considering that she just gave a memorable performance in RAAZI. Manish Chaudhary is fine but hams a lot in the climax. Rajesh Khera leaves the maximum impact out of the police officers. Ganesh Yadav comes next. Abhishek Khandekar, Shaikh Sami Usman and Ankur Sharma (Inspector Mohan Shrivastav) are okay. Chetan Pandit (Inspector Shiv Rathod) leaves a mark. Archita Agarwal (Muslim girl harassed by cop) has a good screen presence. Nora Fatehi looks and dances like a dream and is quite sizzling. The songs don’t have much purpose in the film. <em>'Dilbar'</em> is the best of the lot and this chartbuster is very well picturised. <em>'Paniyon Sa'</em> doesn’t register an impact while <em>'Tajdar-E-Haram'</em> is relegated to the background. Sanjoy Chowdhury's background score is dramatic and exhilarating. Nigam Bomzan's cinematography is decent while Priya Suhas' production design is a bit poor but works well for this film as it’s based in a realistic setting. Amin Khatib and Ravi Verma's action is the highpoint of the film. It’s not too gory but at the same time feels quite raw and real. Maahir Zaveri's editing should have been crisper. On the whole, SATYAMEVA JAYATE is a powerful and gripping drama that leaves an impact as it resonates with the problems of the common man. It is sure to work big time in the single screens where the various scenes are bound to induce claps and whistles. This one is for the masses

Movie Review: Vishwaroop II

Fri, 10 Aug 18 04:46:44 +0000

Terrorism is a global menace and its impact is felt more in the world now than ever before. Kamal Haasan tackled this issue head-on with VISHWAROOP [2013] and tried to give the film a nice, novel touch and matched it with international standards in terms of scale and grandeur. The veteran multi-talented performer is now back with the sequel, VISHWAROOP II. So does it manage to entertain viewers as much as the first part or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-882333 size-full" title="Movie Review: Vishwaroop II" src="" alt="Movie Review: Vishwaroop II" width="750" height="450" /> VISHWAROOP II continues from where the first film ended. After the plan of Al-Qaeda terrorist Omar Qureshi (Rahul Bose) to attack New York City is disrupted by RAW Agent Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri aka Vishwanathan aka Vis (Kamal Haasan), the former and his aide Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat) escape. Wisam's wife Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) slowly begins to accept the fact that her hubby is a dashing secret agent and not an effeminate dancer that she loathed. Wisam, Nirupama, Wisam’s protégé Ashmita (Andrea Jeremiah) and Wisam’s boss Colonel Jagannath (Shekhar Kapur) then head to United Kingdom where they get ambushed and they suspect that it’s the handiwork of the expat Rajesh Mehta (Ananth Narayan Mahadevan). Soon Wisam discovers that Omar has planned to explode the bombs situated under water since the time of World War 2 and thereby destroy the city of London. He also finds out about another shocking terror attack planned by Omar in Delhi. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Kamal Haasan’s story has some promise and it could have made for a nice, espionage action thriller. But Kamal Haasan’s screenplay is very weak and disjointed. The sequences are not stitched together well. There are some individualistic scenes involving Wisam and Nirupama and even Wisam and his mother (Waheeda Rehman) that stand out. But these scenes have no connection as such to the main plot and that’s not good for a film that’s actually an action entertainer. Atul Tiwari’s dialogues are simple and aren’t memorable. Kamal Haasan’s direction is very poor and he completely lost the opportunity of taking this franchise forward nicely. The film doesn’t involve or move viewers at all and there are too many tracks running simultaneously and none of them leave an impact. What works are the few scenes that are helmed well like Ashmita and Wisam finding the bug in the room in UK, the action sequence in the beginning, the underwater action madness and Wisam’s heroic entry in the finale. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> VISHWAROOP II’s opening credits are splendid and you expect the fireworks to begin right from the first scene and continue till the end. There’s an intense action scene in the first 15 minutes itself when the car topples after being attacked by a terrorist. From here on, the film goes downhill. The film then depicts some portions of VISHWAROOP (when Wisam goes undercover in a terror camp) in a fast-forward manner and at the same time, some extended sequences are also added. The manner in which it’s done is very bland and disinteresting. Also, VISHWAROOP doesn’t have a recall value and the first half wasn’t a critical or commercial success. Moreover, it had come 5 ½ years ago. As a result, most of the moviegoers will have no clue of the events that unfolded in part 1. But Kamal Haasan and team assume that viewers very well remember what all happened in VISHWAROOP. Even after the recap portions get over and the film comes back to present day, nothing much happens in the story. The intermission point is random but in the second half, a new chapter begins with no connection as such to the underwater sequence that happened before the interval. This bit too takes a lot of time to come to the main point and once it does, it is very abruptly and hurriedly done. As for acting, Kamal Haasan is decent and tries to give his best shot. But due to faulty writing and execution, his performance gets affected. Also, some of his dialogues are difficult to decipher. Rahul Bose has a very short role this time since the film goes off track and hence he gets limited scope. He hams all the way like never before. See it to believe it! Pooja Kumar makes her presence felt more in the sequel and gives a fine performance. Also she adds the required sizzle in few scenes. Andrea Jeremiah too has a better fleshed out role and she’s confident. Shekhar Kapur is dependable. Ananth Narayan Mahadevan is memorable but his track doesn’t serve much of a purpose and it was flawed. Jaideep Ahlawat gets some scope only towards the end. Waheeda Rehman is endearing but again, her track is just forced in the film. Yusuf Hussain is okay while Rajendra Gupta is disappointing and it was frustrating to see how he kept on hammering the importance of ‘collateral damage’. M Ghibran’s music is completely forgettable. None of the songs – be it the title song or <em>'Ishq Kiya Toh'</em> or <em>'Tu Srotu Hai'</em> - are good enough. But the background score is quite dramatic. Shamdat and Sanu John Varghese’s cinematography is eye-catching. Stefan Richter, Parvez Feroz, T Ramesh's action is too gory and bloody and would surely put off a section of audiences. Lalgudi N Ilayaraja’s art direction is authentic. Mahesh Narayanan and Vijay Sankar’s editing is nothing great. On the whole, VISHWAROOP II is a highly avoidable flick. The film has too many tracks and the narration and execution is flawed and weak. Also at the box office, the film will have a tough time

Movie Review: Fanney Khan

Fri, 03 Aug 18 04:12:34 +0000

It’s often said that not just talent, but luck is also required to fulfil your dreams of making it big in showbiz. As a result, those with oodles of talent but little luck find it tough to survive in this field. But many of these individuals don’t stop dreaming with the hope that one day luck will favour them. Atul Manjrekar’s directorial debut FANNEY KHAN talks about these relatable aspects and promises some touching as well as hilarious moments. So does FANNEY KHAN succeed in giving the audiences a great time? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-878957" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> FANNEY KHAN is the story of a father going to desperate lengths to ensure his daughter becomes a star. Prashant Sharma aka Fanney Khan (Anil Kapoor) was a local orchestra singer in Mumbai who has to give up his singing dreams when his daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) is born. Lata is now approaching her 20s and Fanney is now working in a factory. Lata is a huge fan of sensational singer Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and aspires to be like her. But her attempts to participate in singing competitions lead to humiliation, more so because of her weight. Fanney wants to save money and cut an album for her. However, his earnings are quite meagre. And one day his world comes crashing down after the factory he works in suddenly closes down. Fanney thankfully starts working as a taxi driver. One day he gets none other than Baby Singh as his passenger. Instead of dropping her at her location, he puts her to sleep by lacing her water with sleeping pills. He then takes her to the factory where he worked, which is now abandoned. With the help of his colleague Adhir (Rajkummar Rao), he officially kidnaps her and also calls Baby's manager Kakkad (Girish Kulkarni) and informs him about the abduction. However, he doesn’t ask for money as ransom. What happens next forms the rest of the film. FANNEY KHAN is an official remake of the Belgian film IEDEREEN BEROEMD aka EVERYBODY’S FAMOUS [2000]. While the original film was shorter and had dark comedy, thereby maximizing impact, FANNEY KHAN on the other hand moves at its own pace and is too melodramatic. While this may work for some, others might find it unconvincing. Atul Manjrekar, Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal’s screenplay is lackluster at places but scores at a few places. Hussain Dalal, Abbas Dalal, Jasmeet K Reen and Athar Nawaz’s dialogues are simple but quite funny in some scenes. Atul Manjrekar’s direction could have been better and that in turn would have made the film better. There’s no doubt that he handled some scenes exceptionally well. However, at many places, he loses the plot. The storyline is quite illogical in the first place and it needed an expert hand to ensure the film works logically. Unfortunately, Atul partly fails in his endeavour. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> FANNEY KHAN has a decent commencement and sets the mood of the film. The introduction of characters however is not that impressive. The track of Adhir and Jinal (Swati Semwal) however is interesting. The film picks up thankfully once the kidnapping takes place. The manner in which Fanney Khan and Adhir make futile attempts to scare Baby Singh makes for a great watch. In the second half, the film drops again and hooks viewers only towards the end. The climax would be loved by a section of viewers as its quite moving. But some might find it too illogical. The performances however are too good, thereby helping the film. Anil Kapoor is in a great form and is the soul of the movie. The emotional scenes work thanks to him. One can feel his pain and one can’t help but hoot for him even when one knows that what he did isn’t right. Rajkummar Rao genuinely puts his best foot forward and is endearing. He raises laughs in the kidnapping scene. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks like a million bucks and adds a lot to the film with her supporting role. Pihu Sand seems a bit irritating at places but she makes up for it with her touching performance in the climax. Divya Dutta (Kavita) is dependable as always. Girish Kulkarni as usual plays the negative part quite well. Satish Kaushik (Kadar bhai) has an interesting part but is wasted. Barbie Rajput (Rhea), Swati Semwal and Asif Basra are decent. The songs are appropriate for the sequences in which they appear but could have better since the film is essentially a musical. <em>‘Achche Din’</em> is the best of the lot. <em>‘Tere Jaisa Tu Hai’</em> comes next and it comes at a crucial juncture. <em>‘Mohabbat’</em> serves as a fair introduction for Aishwarya. <em>‘Fu Bai Fu’</em> has interesting lyrics. <em>‘Halka Halka’</em> is the most unconvincing portion of the film as it shows a prominent singer, whose kidnapping has shaken the entire nation, roaming around freely! Tubby - Parik’s background score goes well with the various moods of the film. S Tirru’s cinematography is quite effective. Ajay Vipin’s production design however is nothing great although it works in the house scenes of Fanney Khan. Monisha R Baldawa’s editing is passable. Eka Lakhani and Manish Malhotra’s costumes are appealing, especially the ones worn by Aishwarya. On the whole, FANNEY KHAN is laced with illogical plot and a lot of loose ends. But the emotional and funny moments coupled with some fine performances ensure that the film turns out to be a decent, entertaining fare

Movie Review: Karwaan

Thu, 02 Aug 18 09:30:19 +0000

Road trip films have their own charm and some of the most memorable films in the West belong to this genre. Even Bollywood has excelled in this genre with films like PIKU [2015], QARIB QARIB SINGLLE [2017], ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA [2011], HIGHWAY [2014], JAB WE MET [2007], YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI [2013] etc. Irrfan Khan, surprisingly, has appeared in two such films in recent times – PIKU and QARIB QARIB SINGLLE. And now he’s all set to complete his travel trilogy with KARWAAN, which is the Bollywood debut of South star Dulquer Salmaan and the first leading role for internet sensation and Marathi actor Mithila Palkar. So does KARWAAN manage to entertain and motivate like other films in this genre? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-877921 size-full" title="Movie Review: Karwaan" src="" alt="Movie Review: Karwaan" width="750" height="450" /> KARWAAN is the story of three diametrically opposite individuals on a journey together. Avinash Rajpurohit (Dulquer Salmaan) works in an IT company in Bengaluru and is frustrated with his job. One day he gets a call that his father Prakash Rajpurohit (Akash Khurana) has died in a bus accident while he was on his way to Gangotri. The travel company arranges for his father’s mortal remains to be sent to Avinash in Bengaluru. Avinash had a troubled relationship with his father as the latter compelled him to give up his dreams of becoming a photographer. As a result, he’s not quite affected with his demise. Avinash asks his friend Shaukat (Irrfan Khan), who runs a garage, to provide him with a van so that he can carry the mortal remains from the airport to the crematorium. Avinash picks up the body and reaches the crematorium, where he realizes that he is given the mortal remains of a woman (Beena). The woman turns out to be a victim who also died in the same bus accident and her family resides in Kochi, who in a terrible mix up, were provided with Prakash’s remains. Avinash hence decides to take advantage of the long weekend and take the woman’s remains to Kochi and exchange it with his father’s. Shaukat also joins in. On the way, the dead woman’s daughter Tahira (Amala Akkineni) makes a SOS call to Avinash and requests if he can pick up her daughter Tanya (Mithila Palkar) who studies in Ooty and is incommunicado. Shaukat has reservations with this idea but Avinash doesn’t listen. He reaches Ooty, picks up Tanya and then they head to Kochi. Unknown to them, a group of small-time goons are also following the trio. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Bejoy Nambiar’s story is promising and could have made for a great script. But Akarsh Khurana and Adhir Bhat’s screenplay fails to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. The film moves at a snail’s pace and many developments don’t happen organically. Also, the entire track of Avinash’s father forcing him to give up photography is something that’s been done to death in our films, most notable and recent example being TAMASHA [2015]. Hussain Dalal’s dialogues are funny and witty, yet worded simply. The ones mouthed by Irrfan Khan stand out. Akarsh Khurana’s direction is weak and he also lets go of the opportunity of turning a somewhat flawed script into a good film with his execution. One doesn’t feel much for the characters due to the way the narrative pans out. Except for the part where Shaukat speaks about his father, no other scene moves viewers, not even the monologue of Tahira and Avinash. Also, the predictability sets in since one knows that the road trip films usually end with the characters getting transformed ultimately. Hence, despite the scene of Avinash in the end with his boss being a good one, it doesn’t make the desired impact as the audiences already see it coming. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> KARWAAN begins well and the frustration of being a part of a profession that doesn’t suit Avinash is well depicted in the initial scenes. One expects things to get better once the road trip begins. And it does get better but not to a great extent. The film drags and a lot of humour and situations seem forced. The character of Tanya is half-baked and the writers should have etched this part in a better way. The intermission point is funny and again, the hopes rise for a better second half. Alas, that doesn’t happen and the film remains flat in the last hour as well. Even the climax lacks punch. In fact, the Indian audiences might have strong reservations in the manner in which Tahira and Tanya organize a feast, play cricket and make merry as if nothing untoward has happened in their lives, just hours after the funeral. On the positive side, the film has some funny moments that succeed in raising laughs. The best part in this regard is that track of the <em>shehnai wallah</em> (Habib Azmi). It’s sure to bring the house down! Irrfan Khan delivers a decent performance and contributes to the laughter quotient, but only at places. Almost all his dialogues are worded to create an effect and the endeavor fails. Compare this with Irrfan’s previous travel films – QARIB QARIB SINGLLE and PIKU – where the humour flowed organically. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen here. But he surely dominates the film and gives the most memorable performance out of all actors. Dulquer Salmaan makes a confident debut. He understands his part well and watch out how he carefully ensures he doesn’t go overboard. This aspect would surely be loved. Mithila Palkar is strictly average. Her character lacked depth and even performance wise, she could have brought out various shades which would have enhanced the impact. Alas, her performance looks a bit monotonous. Amala Akkineni is genuine. Akash Khurana is good as the autocratic father. Kriti Kharbanda (Rumana) is quite lovely in the special appearance, but again, her track fails to add much to the film. Donna Munshi (Tasneem) has a striking face and does very well. Habib Azmi gives a fine performance. Beena is alright. The actors playing the cargo office staffer, Avinash’s boss, Rumana’s husband, new employee at Avinash’s office and Nambiar are good. Music goes well with the narrative but isn’t something that would have a long shelf life. ‘<em>Chota Sa Fasana’</em> is the best of the lot and is like a theme of the film. <em>‘Heartquake’</em> comes next and works due to its quirky lyrics and situation. <em>‘Saansein’</em> is also fair and the rest are forgettable. Anurag Saikia’s background score is good but could have been a bit more subtle. Avinash Arun’s cinematography is breathtaking and captures the locales so well that one feels that one is actually a part of the ‘Karwaan’. The lensman had earlier shown his magic in MASAAN [2015] and DRISHYAM [2015] and directed the acclaimed Marathi film KILLA [2015] and he ensures that he keeps his credibility intact. Tiya Tejpal’s production design is passable. Three locations – the house of Rumana, Tahira and Nambiars – all seemed to be shot at one location. Ajay Sharma’s editing is too slow and could have been slick. Also, the manner in which the flashback of Prakash Rajpurohit would suddenly pop up seemed unconvincing. Jaya Taurani’s costumes are fine. On the whole, KARWAAN is a good opportunity gone waste. Irrfan Khan is the biggest draw of this film but the audiences might be dejected to not see him in his full glory. At the box office, the film is going to struggle to stay afloat

Movie Review: Mulk

Thu, 02 Aug 18 03:57:12 +0000

One of the most burning issues of the country and also the world, since a long time, is the perception of Muslims in society. In India, the extremely traumatic memories of Partition of 1947 compounded the Hindu-Muslim divide. As time passed, the differences reduced significantly but it still exists. Anubhav Sinha’s MULK attempts to talk speak about this aspect and promises an intense, hard-hitting time to the viewers. So does Anubhav Sinha treat this sensitive topic well? Or does it fail to make any impact? Let’s analyse <img class="aligncenter wp-image-878300 size-full" title="Movie Review: Mulk" src="" alt="Movie Review: Mulk" width="750" height="450" /> MULK is the story of a family facing extreme crisis when one of their own is accused of being a terrorist. Murad Ali Mohammed (Rishi Kapoor) is a respected lawyer in Varanasi and he lives there in an almost century old building with wife Badi Tabassum (Neena Gupta), brother Bilal (Manoj Pahwa), Bilal's wife Choti Tabassum (Prachee Shah Paandya), Bilal’s daughter Aayat (Vartika Singh) and Bilal's son Shahid (Prateik Babbar). The Mohammeds are planning a grand party on the occasion of Murad Ali's 65<sup>th</sup> birthday. His daughter in law Aarti (Taapsee Pannu), married to his son Aftab (Indraneil Sengupta) comes from London and surprises them. On the same day as Murad Ali's birthday, Shahid leaves at night under the pretext of watching a cricket match at Kanpur. Unknown to the family, he has been brainwashed and he carries out a bomb blast in Allahabad, killing 16 people. Shahid is spotted in the CCTV footage and a hunt begins for him. He’s finally found and is eliminated by officer Danish Javed (Rajat Kapoor). For the Mohammed family, the world comes crashing down. Bilal is accused of helping out Shahid with the terror attack and is arrested. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Anubhav Sinha’s story is excellent and the need of the hour. There are a lot of characters and each of them is well written. Anubhav Sinha’s screenplay is highly effective as it keeps the audiences captivated from start to finish. He understands that he has a sensitive topic in hand and treats it very well. He takes up both sides of the issue and that’s very praiseworthy. Anubhav Sinha’s dialogues are hard hitting and acidic. The dialogues mouthed by Santosh (Ashutosh Rana) might squirm viewers but it was needed to make the impact. Anubhav Sinha’s direction is very good and he is in control of the written material. He has often been criticized for not executing his films well, be it DUS [2005], CASH [2007] or RA.ONE [2011]. But in MULK, he seems in seems in top form. Only blemish is that the film seems too long and it drops in between in the second half. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> MULK impresses viewers from the introduction itself. After acquainting them with the Mohammed family and the characteristics of each of them, it slowly indicates that Shahid is not what he seems to be. The sequence where Shahid is encountered is quite thrilling. But the scene in the first half that stands out is when Murad Ali refuses to accept Shahid’s mortal remains. It’s moving to see how he and his family gets branded as terrorists by those who knew him since years. In the second half, the film gets better as the courtroom drama goes on a high. At some places however the pace drops. But the film picks up when Aarti interrogates Murad Ali and asks him some tough questions. Note that this sequence might remind viewers about PINK [2006] which had a similar sequence of Amitabh Bachchan forcing Taapsee Pannu to speak up to prove a point. The closing arguments of Aarti are also terrific and surprisingly, even the monologue of the judge (Kumud Mishra) is remarkable and would induce claps from audiences! Rishi Kapoor delivers a bravura performance, and stands amongst his finest in his long, glorious career. Viewers are bound to move by his plight and helplessness and the way he was obligated to prove his nationalism simply because of his religion. His monologue in the pre climax is very memorable. Taapsee Pannu is quite nice in the first half and in the beginning of the second half, she’s a silent spectator to the goings on. But as soon as she takes up the case, she surprises viewers with her glorious performance. It’s thanks to her that the climax goes on dizzying heights.  Manoj Pahwa is the next best in line. He’s always been a fine actor but sadly never got his due. With MULK, he’s surely going to be talked about a lot! Prateik Babbar is terrific in a small role. Ashutosh Rana gets into the skin of the character and is quite good as the villainous, communal minded advocate. Rajat Kapoor looks every inch a no nonsense officer and performance wise, he’s dependable. Kumud Mishra is subtle yet impressive. Neena Gupta and Prachee Shah Paandya are decent but get scope only in the first half. Vartika Singh, Ashrut Jain (Rashid) and Indraneil Sengupta are fine. Others do well. Songs aren’t required in this film. Only <em>‘Thenge Se’ </em>stands out. Mangesh Dhadke’s background score is dramatic and enhances tension. Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography is fairly decent. Nikhil Kovale’s art direction is quite earthy and real. Yasmin Rogers's make up and Preetisheel Singh's prosthetics are excellent, especially in case of Rishi Kapoor. Riyaz – Habib’s action is straight out of life, in the lone action scene. Ballu Saluja’s editing could have been crisper and better. Few scenes ended and began abruptly and this could have been avoided. On the whole, MULK is a hard hitting and exhilarating saga that effectively talks about some of the burning issues of our country. At the box office, it has the potential to grow thanks to the positive word of mouth and thereby emerge as the dark horse of the year! Recommended

Movie Review: Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3

Thu, 26 Jul 18 17:34:33 +0000

SAHEB BIWI AUR GANSTER [2011] arrived sans any noise and it turned out to be a surprise success at the box office. Encouraged by the response, the makers came up with the sequel – SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER RETURNS [2013]. The first part had a great combination of sex and thrill while the sequel hardly had any sizzling scenes. Now the makers are all set to unveil SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 and it marks the return of the sizzle in the franchise. What’s more, this time, Sanjay Dutt plays the dashing gangster while Chitrangda Singh is also added to the cast. So does SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 manage to be as good as its predecessors? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-875738" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 begins where part 2 ended and twisted games that continue between the Saheb and the Biwi. Aditya Pratap Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill) is still in prison and is desperate to get out, settle scores and take back his lost power. His seductress wife Madhavi Devi (Mahie Gill) is now an MLA and using all the tricks of the trade to get what she wants. Aditya hatches a clever plan and comes out on bail. Madhavi realizes that with the Saheb a free bird, she would once again be compelled to remain caged behind closed doors. She searches her way out and in the process bumps into the Gangster, Udai Pratap Singh (Sanjay Dutt). Shunned by his family and scorned by his love, the beautiful Suhani (Chitrangda Singh), Udai agrees to help Madhavi Devi. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan’s story is weak and stands on a wafer thin plot. In fact one can say that there’s literally no story in the film. There are far too many characters and too many plots running parallel. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan’s screenplay is quite disjointed with the narrative not flowing in an organic manner. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan’s dialogues thankfully save the day and spike interest in some scenes. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s direction is flawed and it’s shocking that a person who exceptionally helmed films like HAASIL [2003], PAAN SINGH TOMAR [2012] and even the previous parts of SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER is just not in form. There are multiple scenes which start and end abruptly. The VFX is tacky at places and in one shot, the colour correction changes mid way! For most part of the film, nothing much is happening. Only few scenes here and there work, along with the performances. The film’s length is another issue. It’s too long and with not much exciting stuff happening in the film, it tests your patience. <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 arrives five years after the second part and the recall value isn’t that strong. The makers should have realised this and could have given some recap. But they don’t and as a result, audiences might get confused with some of the developments. On the other hand, the track of Sanjay Dutt is like a downer. His track is half baked. Audiences never get to know under what circumstances he had to leave India, separate from Chitrangda Singh and marry someone else. However some scenes stand out. The sequence where Mahie Gill picks up a hunk from a party and gets him to the haveli will bring the house down. Chitrangda's entry is power packed. A few sequences of Jimmy also work well, particularly his conversations with Mahie. When seen in isolation, these scenes look great but in totality, they get overshadowed by the many minuses. Sanjay Dutt's presence was supposed to take the series to the next level. But sadly he looks disinterested and tired and fails to do justice. Thankfully he gets to mouth some clapworthy dialogues, which will impress single screen audiences. Jimmy Sheirgill is yet again in top form. The actor enjoys playing the Saheb and it shows. The film will disappoint but Jimmy won’t! Mahie Gill is also exceptional and arguably creates the maximum impact. Watch out how her character cunningly gets her way out of any situation. Surely she deserves to be seen more and act in better films. Chitrangda Singh genuinely gives her best shot and her entry scene is kick-ass. But later on, she hardly has anything to do in the film. Deepak Tijori (Vijay Singh), Zakir Hussain (Bunny Uncle) and Kabir Bedi (Udai's father) are average. Deepraj Rana (Kanhaiya) plays the loyal assistant part well. Pamela Singh Bhutoria (Deepal) is quite promising. Nafisa Ali (Udai’s mother) leaves a mark. Soha Ali Khan is okay. The music is disappointing and songs are just forced, further adding to the film’s length. <em>‘Baba Theme’</em> has a massy touch while <em>‘Kesariya Jugni’ </em>suits the opening credits.<em> ‘Lag Ja Gale’ </em>has been promoted a lot but it’s wasted. Dharma Vish’s background score is quite exhilarating but badly chopped at places. Amlendu Chaudhary’s cinematography is okay. Dhananjoy Mondal’s production design and Tulika Dhulia’s costumes are rich, authentic and quite appealing. Nishant Khan’s action is nothing special. Pravin Angre's editing could have been slicker and at places, could have been smoother. On the whole, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER 3 is a disappointing fare thanks to its long length, flawed script and haphazard direction. At the box office, these flaws and the lack of buzz will hamper its commercial prospects

Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Thu, 26 Jul 18 13:09:43 +0000

Making a sequel to a highly successful film isn’t an easy task, leave alone making the sixth instalment in a franchise that has since its introduction back in 1996 developed a fan following across the globe. But this week we see exactly that with the release of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT. Marking the return of Tom Cruise to the legendary character of Ethan Hunt, after the highly forgettable THE MUMMY, the film comes with tremendous hype. But will the new film live up to the legend of old, or will it like the previous film in the series leave fans disappointed is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-875633 size-full" title="Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout" src="" alt="Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout" width="750" height="450" /> MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT begins with Ethan Hunt on a mission to impersonate an arms dealer in an attempt to recover three nuclear cores. However, the deal goes south with Hunt finding himself caught between choosing the life of one of his team members and acquiring the cores. Putting his team’s value above everything else, Hunt saves Luther’s life but in the process loses the cores. After this IMF mission ends badly and Solomon Lane escapes custody, the world is faced with dire consequences. As Ethan Hunt takes it upon himself to fulfil his original briefing, the CIA begins to question his loyalty and his motives. Hunt finds himself in a race against time, hunted by assassins and former allies while trying to prevent a global catastrophe. Starting off, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT marks Christopher McQuarrie’s second directorial outing in the franchise, the first being the rather forgettable MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION. However, unlike the previous film in the series, with FALLOUT, McQuarrie has done a commendable job of harkening the new flick to the first three in the series. From high octane bike chase sequences, to the cliff hanging thrill of free had rock climbing the FALLOUT features quite a few sequences that remind viewers of the first three films. Well executed and deftly shot, the film makes for a rather thrilling adrenaline pumping right. Sadly though, FALLOUT has a rather flimsy story line. With a wafer thin plot and multiple utterances of the catch phrase, “I’ll figure it out” the film comes across as a project that did not really have a bound script. In fact, more often than not, the on screen progression comes across as ad hock performances strung together to make a whole. Coming to the performances, Tom Cruise has since become the main stay of the MI series. And with the new film, it isn’t much different, Cruise does well in his given role as the super agent that never was, while still retaining the charm and charisma from the previous films. Since the film focuses mainly on his character, the others viz. Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin find themselves relegated to supporting roles. While most of them have performed well, Sean Harris as Solomon Lane makes an impact. Playing the rogue agent who has since setup his own organisation, Harris imbues his character with a fierce menace and maniacal rage that chills. On the other hand, Henry Cavill as August Walker is plain pointless. Though the character has multiple arches both emotionally and mentally, Cavill just seems like a misfit. However, it isn’t performances or story that is the main stay of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT, instead it is the action. Well-choreographed and executed marvellously, the film makes of an engaging watch. Though it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, it has enough elements to get the adrenaline pumping. With high altitude helicopter chase sequences to high speed bike chase scenes, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT features some of the grandest stunts that exist in the series. On the whole, with only action going for the film, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT does make for a decent watch for the MI fans who enjoy action films. At the Indian box office, with previous Bollywood releases fading away, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT that sees a wide release in multiple languages, looks set to enjoy a good opening weekend

Movie Review: Dhadak

Thu, 19 Jul 18 19:11:20 +0000

Falling in love in India comes with its share of major problems. This is especially true when the lovers belong to diverse castes or religions or regions. Honour killing is still prevalent in many parts of India and so many cases have been reported and talked about so openly in media that it doesn’t even shock us anymore. Yet, when Nagraj Manjule presented his 2016 Marathi film SAIRAT to the audiences, it left the audiences deeply impacted. But at the same time, they were thoroughly entertained too! The film became a craze in Maharashtra and also got noticed pan-India. Shashank Khaitan, who has proved his worth with films like HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA [2014] and BADRINATH KI DULHANIA [2017] decided to take up the task of remaking this flick in Hindi. Titled DHADAK, the film is significant as it marks the long-awaited debut of Sridevi’s elder daughter Janhvi. So does DHADAK manage to turn out as entertaining as or better than the Marathi original? Or does it fail to live upto the expectations? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-873109" src="" alt="Movie Review Dhadak image" width="720" height="405" /> DHADAK is the story of two young souls who fall in love against the restrictions of caste hierarchy. Madhukar Bagla (Ishaan Khatter) belongs to a lower caste in Udaipur, Rajasthan. He’s smitten by Parthvi Singh (Janhvi Kapoor), the daughter of the high-caste politician Ratan Singh (Ashutosh Rana). Parthvi has an intimidating personality but that doesn’t stop Madhukar from making her known that he has feelings for her. Parthvi gets impressed by Madhukar’s bravado and love blossoms between the two. Trouble arises when at the birthday celebration of Parthvi’s brother Godaan Kumar (Roop Kumar), Ratan Singh catches Parthvi and Madhukar together. Madhukar and his friends Shridhar Watsar (Purshottam) and Gokul (Ankit Bisht) are taken into police custody while Parthvi is grounded at home. Parthvi however reaches the police station and manages to free Madhukar and his friends. Madhukar and Parthvi escape to Kolkata where they try to start their life afresh. What happens next forms the rest of the film. DHADAK is adapted from SAIRAT (written and directed by Nagraj Popatrao Manjule). Shashank Khaitan’s story is on the same lines as the Marathi blockbuster with minor tweaks. Shashank Khaitan’s screenplay is very effective. One of the best things about the screenplay is that it’s shorter than SAIRAT. However the impact is more or less the same. In the second half, the film gets a bit slow but then it was necessary to show the hardships. Shashank Khaitan’s direction complements the script well. He keeps the film very rooted and also tells a very relatable story. In some sequences, he takes the film on another level. For instance, the scene where Madhukar and Parthvi have a showdown on the streets of Kolkata is very well handled. Also he shines in the climax. Shashank Khaitan’s dialogues are simple and funny and even acidic as required. Though DHADAK is an official remake of SAIRAT, one should not expect the former to be a scene by scene reworked version of the latter. As a result, there are quite a many changes. Hence even those who have seen SAIRAT will be in for a surprise. The film begins on a nice note with the food eating competition sequence turning out to be quite interesting. The manner in which Madhukar and Parthvi's love story develops will surely put a smile on the faces of the viewers. Two sequences stand out here – Madhukar meeting Parthvi at her mansion at night and Madhukar singing an English song for Parthvi. The film goes on a high as soon as Ratan Singh learns about their romance. Post interval, the film switches tracks as the lovers realise that love is not a bed of roses. But the best is reserved for the finale. It’s a shocker to say the least! <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>Ishaan Khatter had already proved his worth with BEYOND THE CLOUDS and with DHADAK, he proves that he’s definitely here to stay. He’s very confident and looks so endearing in scenes where he’s head over heels in love, especially in the song <em>'Pehli Baar'</em>. In the emotional and dramatic, he’s equally efficient. Janhvi Kapoor also does extremely well and exudes lot of confidence. She handles this difficult role with so much ease and that’s a feat for a newcomer. Definitely, a star is born! Ashutosh Rana is a natural when it comes to negative roles and this one is no different. Shridhar Watsar is extremely hilarious and contributes a lot to the humour quotient. He’s going to be loved by the youth and single screen audiences. Ankit Bisht is fair but gets overshadowed by the presence of Ishaan and Shridhar. Godaan Kumar is good in the villainous role and leaves a mark in the scene when he’s asked to apologise to the college professor. Aditya Kumar (Devilal) gets limited scope. Ishika Ganeja (Ambika) looks lovely and gets noticed. Govind Pandey (Bhagwandas) is decent as Madhukar's father. Shalini Kapoor (Ashadevi) and Aishwariya Avinash (Gayatri) are fair as the mothers of Parthvi and Madhukar respectively. Manish Verma (Arvind Mama) is passable while Kharaj Mukherjee (Sachin Bhowmick) is very adorable and would be loved. Shubhadevi Harshal Choksey (Promila Bhowmick) looks beautiful and is confident. Balaji Gauri (Sulekhaji Goenka) makes a mark in a cameo. Vishwanath Chatterjee (Inspector Shekhawat) looks convincing. Ajay-Atul’s music is melodious. The title song has a soothing feeling. <em>'Zingaat'</em> is already a rage and should grow after the film’s release. <em>'Pehli Baar'</em> is soulful and well shot. <em>'Vaara Re'</em> is neatly relegated to the background. John Stewart Eduri’s background score is brilliant and enhances the impact. Vishnu Rao’s cinematography is one of the best things about the film. The locales of Udaipur have been captured like never before. Shashank Tere’s production design is convincing as well as appealing. Monisha R Baldawa’s editing is slick. Manish Malhotra, Natascha Charak, Nikita Mohanty's costumes are impressive. On the whole, DHADAK is a simple tale told in a beautiful way. Despite being a remake of an iconic film, it manages to stand up on its feet and entertain the audiences thoroughly. At the box office, the youth is going to savour this flick big time which will ensure commercial success

Movie Review: Soorma

Thu, 12 Jul 18 18:02:25 +0000

An anonymous quote says “Willpower is like a muscle: The more you train it. The stronger it gets”. Yet, it is easier said than done, especially in cases when the whole world is asking you to give up or not try. But there are a rare breed of people who have managed to shun all these notions and achieve the impossible through their sheer will. One such legend is the Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh who got back on his feet after facing a shocking accident. The plot is very interesting and can turn out to be a great, inspirational biopic. So does director Shaad Ali manage to do justice to this exciting storyline? Or does he fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-870658" src="" alt="Movie Review: Soorma" width="750" height="450" /> SOORMA is the unbelievable story of Sandeep Singh, his beginnings in the world of hockey, his accident and his comeback that shocked everyone. Sandeep Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is from the village of Shahabad, Punjab. As a kid, he is enrolled for hockey training under Coach Kartar Singh (Danish Husain). But Kartar's strict ways forces him to leave the training in his childhood itself. When he turns adult, he gets interested in hockey again when he falls for Harpreet (Taapsee Pannu). She is an efficient hockey player and Sandeep decides to try his luck on the sport once again to woo her. Meanwhile, Sandeep's brother Bikramjeet Singh (Angad Bedi) never left hockey and has the potential to play in the national team. However he doesn’t get selected. He returns home dejected but is overjoyed when he realises that Sandeep can do the dragflick, an extremely difficult skill of hockey, effortlessly. Bikramjeet hence takes Sandeep to Patiala so that Coach Harry (Vijay Raaz) can train him. In no time, Sandeep gets selected in the national team. He also is given a job in an airline company. Harpreet is ready to marry him too. However, all his dreams are shattered on August 22, 2006, when he’s traveling in a train and a police officer accidentally fires him on the back. Sandeep survives but he gets paralysed from his waist below. Needless to say, he can’t play hockey again. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Shaad Ali’s story is quite promising and inspirational. But Suyash Trivedi, Shaad Ali and Siva Ananth's screenplay fails to do justice. It is a bit slow in the first half but on the plus side, a lot of scenes are well written. But in the second half, it is too quick and sans any impact. Suyash Trivedi, Shaad Ali and Siva Ananth's dialogues are witty, sharp and funny, especially the ones mouthed by Vijay Raaz. Shaad Ali's direction is inconsistent, with the first half executed very well more or less but the second half being a letdown. Post interval, he rushes through the narrative. He also fails to do justice to the romantic track at this point, which otherwise is quite cute in the first half. Also, hockey as a sport is not as popular as say cricket. Hence it was important for him to ensure that the aam junta can comprehend what’s going on in the hockey scenes. But that doesn’t happen. Few developments are not properly explained. For instance, why Chairman Saab (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) is called back is not properly explained. A film like SOORMA should have ended with a punch. But the final match between India and Pakistan is lackluster. SOORMA is a bit shaky and one realises that in the very beginning. But one doesn’t mind as the first half is embellished with some lovely and dramatic sequences that keep the interest going. One of the most interesting sequences of the film is when Bikramjeet realises that Sandeep is a very good dragflicker and the latter is surprised that he possesses such a rare skill. Then, Vijay Raaz tickles the funny bone with his hilarious one liners. The intermission point is shocking. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill in the second half. The entire process of Sandeep getting back on his feet and on the field should have been the highpoint. Shockingly, director Shaadi Ali shows it in a bland manner within just a song, thereby completely diluting the impact. What also is a problem is that CHAK DE INDIA [2007] is still fresh in people’s minds and has set a benchmark when it comes to hockey related films. SOORMA is nowhere close to this iconic film. <center><iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></center>Diljit Dosanjh however saves the film to an extent. He looks very endearing as he romances his ladylove and wins accolades for India. One feels terrible after he meets with the accident. Watch out for him when he has an ugly fight with his brother outside his residence. Taapsee Pannu gets to play an interesting character but sadly her part seems unconvincing after a point. Performance wise, she is very good though. Angad Bedi has a supporting part but is fairly nice and gets to be a part of some important scenes. Vijay Raaz steals the show. Some of his dialogues are going to bring the house down in the single screens! Satish Kaushik (Gurucharan) plays his part with honesty. Khulbhushan Kharbanda and Avtaar Singh (Mahavir Bhullar) are quite lovable. Danish Husain looks very convincing. Jimmy Moses (Lobo Joseph) gets a bit overboard. The real Bikramjeet Singh appears in the film as the villainous Pakistani player Tanveer Alam and is fine. Others do a good job. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is forgettable. <em>‘Soorma Anthem’</em> has the anthem like feel but is not well utilitised. <em>'Ishq Di Baajiyaan'</em> is lovely but is used in too many scenes. <em>'Flicker Singh' </em>and <em>'Pardesiya'</em> are strictly okay while <em>'Good Man Di Laaltain' </em>works as it’s well shot and choreographed. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Tubby’s background score is dramatic. Chirantan Das's cinematography is a bit disappointing. Some scenes could have been better shot. Sharmistha Roy's production design is authentic and same goes for Eka Lakhani's costumes. Farooq Hundekar's editing could have been better, in the second half majorly. On the whole, SOORMA is laced with a promising plot but the weak execution hampers the impact. The buzz is very low and at the box office, it should do better in the North compared to the rest of the country


Thu, 12 Jul 18 11:09:20 +0000

After the last Marvel release AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS fans of the series have been desperately awaiting the next film in the line, which is ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. With many unanswered question still remaining after the last releases, hope is that the new film will at least manage to assuage a few unrelenting questions. But will ANT-MAN AND THE WASP that comes with much hope attached to it live up to audiences’ mammoth expectations or will it be just another fly on the wall in the larger scale of things is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-870507 size-full" title="Movie Review: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP" src="" alt="Movie Review: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP" width="720" height="405" /> Starting off ANT-MAN AND THE WASP begins with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man living life within the confines of his home for the past two years after the happenings in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL-WAR. Post Lang assisting Captain America in his fight against Stark, Lang has been put on house arrest with the threat that if he breaks the parameters of his new boundary or even comes in contact with quantum tech, he will be imprisoned for 20 years. With just a few days left till his house arrest is terminated, all hell breaks loose when Lang has a dream where he sees Hank Pym’s wife and daughter Hope. Confused with the sudden dream, Lang makes a call to Pym, who in turn reaches out and literally abducts Lang with the help of Hope. Once at the lab, Lang is told that Hank and Hope managed to open a tunnel to the quantum realm wherein Hope’s mother has been trapped for the past 30 years. And it was due to this that Lang, who has in the past visited the quantum realm, developed a link with Hope’s mother. But in the meantime, Ava/ Ghost, a young girl who has met with a quantum accident is hell bent on acquiring energy from the quantum realm to help stop her from phasing. While a battle ensues between Pym, Hope, Ant-Man and Ghost to acquire control of the quantum tunnel all hell breaks loose. Will Pym, Hope and Lang manage to rescue Hope’s mother, will Ghost harvest enough quantum energy or will the tech fall into the wrong hands is what makes up the rest of the film. Right from the start it is evident that ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is unlike any of the previous films released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With a focus more on human values, the film sees the family and emotions play a more integral part in the overall story and on screen happenings. However, this does not diminish the action. In fact, keeping with the MCU format ANT-MAN AND THE WASP does feature its share of action and humour well interspersed that keeps the viewer in his seat. From witty one liners to some high octane action, the film has it all. But, the biggest drawback for ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is the fact that unlike previous MCU films, the villain in this one is rather underplayed. After the progressions in AVENGERS: INFINTY WAR, the audience expects nothing less than a menacing antihero or if you will, the villain. Unfortunately in the new release, the role of the villains comes across more as an individual who has been led down a nasty path against their will. With the main antagonist owning up to their dark past while displaying remorse for what they have done, the viewer is gets the picture that is contrary to expectations Ghost is in fact a lost soul in desperate need of realignment. But it doesn’t stop here, instead ANT-MAN AND THE WASP comes across as more of a Disney film rather than a Marvel film for the plain fact that while typical Marvel films focus on interpersonal superhero relationships and their outcomes, this film follows Disney’s tried and tested method of instilling family values, with the good guys eventually saving the bad one who then turns over a new leaf to live a perfectly normal life. However, despite this, one must admit that ANT-MAN AND THE WASP does still make for a decent watch. With CGI and visual effects that are on point and a tight script, the film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride with references to past films and TV series thrown in for good measure. On the whole, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP that makes for a good watch plays its role of acting as balm to assuage the anguish left after AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR perfectly. A light hearted film with true Walt Disney film values at its core, this is one film to watch just to complete the list of MCU releases that eventually will tie into the main plot of the next AVENGERS film. At the box office, with SANJU still running, and the other Bollywood release SOORMA taking up a good share of screens, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is likely to face a hard time raking in the numbers