Movie Review: Saand Ki Aankh

Mon, 21 Oct 19 06:50:09 +0000

Aamir Khan’s landmark TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ introduced viewers to several real-life heroes that were then unknown. Two of the most memorable guests on this series were the ‘Revolver Daadis’, that is, Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. Tushar Hiranandani, for his directorial debut SAAND KI AANKH, decides to adapt their story onto celluloid. So does SAAND KI AANKH manage to enlighten and also entertain viewers? Or do the makers fail to do justice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1032669 size-full" title="Movie Review: Saand Ki Aankh" src="" alt="Movie Review: Saand Ki Aankh" width="720" height="450" /> SAAND KI AANKH is the story of two women who find their calling in their 60s. The year is 1999. Chandro Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prakashi Tomar (Taapsee Pannu) are sister-in-laws living under one roof with their respective spouses, strict and orthodox brother-in-law Rattan Singh (Prakash Jha) and their children in Johri village in Uttar Pradesh. Both have crossed 60 years of age and though they had the desire to do something worthwhile in their lives, they were not allowed to because of the pressures of the patriarchal society. One day, Dr Yashpal (Viineet Kumar) returns back to Johri. He leaves his medical profession and starts his shooting range. Chandro’s daughter Shefali (Sara Arjun) expresses interest to practise shooting but Rattan obviously refuses to give permission. Yet, Chandro takes Shefali to the range. Without giving much thought, Chandro also tries her hand and surprisingly, she hits a bullseye! Yashpal tells her to try few more times and he realizes that Chandro is a pro. Later, even Prakashi joins and even she turns out to be an expert shooter! Yashpal encourages them to hone their skills at his shooting range and later, tells them to take part in a shooting competition held in Chandigarh. The <em>daadis</em> have never stepped outside their village in their lives. Hence, they get apprehensive at first but nevertheless, they agree. They fool their husbands and Rattan smartly and head to the competition where Prakashi emerges first and Chandro second. In no time, they win many tournaments with ease, while also cooking up various stories to tell their spouses. However soon there comes a time when the Tomar sisters are compelled to tell the truth to Rattan. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Balwinder Januja's story is very promising and inspiring. It not just enlightens viewers about the lives of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar but also gives an important comment subtly about the ills of patriarchal society and lack of awareness of population control. Balwinder Januja's screenplay is captivating for most parts but could have been better in the beginning of the flashback portion and in the pre-climax. Jagdeep Sinhu's dialogues are acidic and sharp. Tushar Hiranandani's direction is quite good for a first-timer and he’s in control of the writing material in hand. He also tries his best to make it as entertaining and mainstream as possible. Also he scores on the emotional front as the struggles of <em>daadis </em>and the way they get slammed by the male members of the family can leave viewers moist-eyed. On the flipside, he should have kept the duration in check. The last 15-20 minutes could have been better emotionally as the scene preceding the finale is too good. SAAND KI AANKH begins on an interesting note and Chandro and Prakashi’s entry puts a smile on one’s face. The flashback portion works in parts. In fact, the entire first half though engaging doesn’t really go on a high. There’s not enough drama or tension in this hour as the <em>daadis</em> are able to easily practise and even go to Chandigarh without the men getting suspicious. The best part of the first half is the Chandigarh competition and how both the women silence their detractors. Post-interval too, the tension doesn’t arise till a certain point. Yet, the second half is better as there are some very sweet moments. One of the most touching scenes here is when Chandro and Prakashi mistake the finger bowl for hot lime water and gulp it down the throats. The Maharani (Nikhat Khan) doesn’t want the <em>daadis</em> to be humiliated for their gesture and hence, even she does the same! Even the <em>jugaadu</em> disco light installed by the <em>daadis</em> in their house in <em>‘Baby Gold’</em> song is sweet. The confrontation sequence between the <em>daadis</em> and Rattan Singh is exhilarating. One expects the film to end here but it goes on for another 20 minutes as the film also focuses on the track of Shefali and Seema trying to be shooters. This track also has its moments but after the high-voltage confrontation scene, the film falls flatly in this said scene. The film ends on an emotional note. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>BLOCKBUSTER : Taapsee & Bhumi’s HILARIOUS Rapid Fire on Akshay, clash with Housefull 4, women crush</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> SAAND KI AANKH belongs to Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar undoubtedly. It’s important to note that they don’t really look that old but both compensate for it through their performances. Taapsee is at ease and the way she breaks into a sheepish smile when her plan of fooling the men succeeds is damn good. She gives her best however in the last portion of the film. Bhumi too gives in her best and her body language is spot-on. Also her attempts to pick up English will elicit laughs in theatres. In a few scenes though, she gets overpowered by Taapsee. Viineet Kumar is endearing and would be loved in the role of the person who serves as catalyst in the journey of the ‘Revolver Daadis’. From his dialogue delivery to his expressions, he gets his act just right. Prakash Jha is very convincing in what can be called a negative role and one can’t help but hate him from start to finish! Shaad Randhawa makes his presence felt in the second half of the film. Nikhat Khan is lovely as the Maharani and she is a part of some of the most important scenes of the film. Sara Arjun has a great screen presence and does well. Yogendra Singh (young Rattan Singh) is apt. S K Batra (I G Jaidev), Pawan Chopra (Jai Singh Tomar), Kuldeep Sareen (Bhanwar Singh Tomar), Pritha Bakshi (Seema) and Himanshu Sharma (Sachin) also put their best foot forward. Vishal Mishra's music is situational and works well, but only as a part of this film. <em>'Udta Teetar'</em> is exhilarating. <em>'Womaniya'</em> appears in the end and is memorable as the real Chandro and Prakashi Tomar also feature in the track. <em>'Aasmaa'</em> is touching and sung well by Asha Bhosle. <em>'Baby Gold'</em> and <em>'Jhunna Jhunna'</em> have catchy tunes and shot appropriately. Advait Nemlekar's background score has the commercial feel. Suddhakar Reddy Yakanti's cinematography is spectacular, especially in the shooting scenes. The camera moves in such a way that it adds to the drama. Also watch out for a scene where all the important movements of characters are captured in that rear-view mirror of a motorbike. Ravi Srivastava's production design is authentic. The fact that it was shot in the village of the Tomar sisters also adds to the authenticity. Rohit Chaturvedi's costumes are straight out of life. Sunil Rodrigues's action gels well with the film. Rajeev K Rastogi's VFX is rich. Devendra Murdeshwar's editing is neat but could have been tighter in the second half. On the whole, SAAND KI AANKH rests on an inspiring story and bravura performances by Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar. At the box office, however, it will need a strong word of mouth to survive competition in the form of HOUSEFULL 4 and MADE IN CHINA

Movie Review: Laal Kaptaan

Fri, 18 Oct 19 04:05:11 +0000

Since last year, Bollywood has seen a rise in period films based in the pre-Independence era. Not just films based on real-life characters like MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI, KESARI or SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY, but even fictional sagas like THUGS OF HINDOSTAN, TUMMBAD or the upcoming SHAMSHERA are also being made. Saif Ali Khan’s latest outing, LAAL KAPTAAN, belongs to the latter category and attempts to tell a revenge drama. So does LAAL KAPTAAN succeed in entertaining despite the niche appeal? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1031588 size-full" title="Movie Review: Laal Kaptaan" src="" alt="Movie Review: Laal Kaptaan" width="750" height="450" /> LAAL KAPTAAN is the story of revenge spanning a couple of decades. The year is 1789, 25 years after Battle of Buxar. Hunter (Saif Ali Khan) is a Naga Sadhu who’s looking for a man called Rehmat Khan (Manav Vij). Through Noor Bibi (Sonakshi Sinha), Hunter finds out that Rehmat is a governor of a kingdom somewhere in North India. At this time, the evil Rehmat takes away all the treasure of his kingdom and kills his servants. Along with his army, his confidant Aadham Khan (Aamir Bashir), his wife (Simone Singh), wet nurse (Eshika De) and his newborn son, he abandons the fort and is on a way to the banks of the river Yamuna. By the time Hunter reaches the fort, there’s no one except a widow (Zoya Hussain). Hunter gets injured while fighting some Pathans on the way and the widow takes care of him and treats his wounds. In return, she requests him to take her with him. Hunter refuses and yet, she follows him. After Hunter and the widow leave, a tracker (Deepak Dobriyal) who’s an expert in finding out whereabouts with the help of his smelling power and pet dogs, reaches the fort. In some time, the Marathas attack the fort and the tracker agrees to help them find Rehmat. Rehmat was to give a portion of the treasure to the Marathas but since he didn’t, they are trying to find him. Meanwhile, a few days later, the Hunter reaches the place where Rehmat and his army have camped for the night. Hunter quietly enters Rehmat’s tent but he doesn’t kill him, which has always been his sole aim since 25 years. Rehmat’s army nabs Hunter but Rehmat doesn’t want him eliminated. He wants to know who exactly is Hunter and why he wants to kill him. Rehmat is also reminded that six years ago, he had crossed paths with Hunter and the latter had told him that he’ll finish him. Even then, Hunter had spared him. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Deepak Venkatesha and Navdeep Singh's story is very poor and gives a déjà vu of certain period films of Bollywood and also Hollywood. Deepak Venkatesha and Navdeep Singh's screenplay is confusing and ineffective. The film has too many tracks and except Hunter’s track, none of them are interesting. Also, the transition between tracks is not smooth. There’s a twist in the tale revealed in the pre climax but it arrives at a time when viewers are tired with the goings on and just want the film to end. Sudip Sharma's dialogues are nothing special and quite pretentious. The philosophical one-liners fail to entice. Also, various dialects and even Marathi is used and it’ll be difficult to decipher some of the lines in the absence of subtitles. Navdeep Singh's direction is highly disappointing. He had very weak material in his hand and moreover, he further spoils the show with his execution. The film is extremely dry and slow and very few scenes arrest your attention. There’s also an attempt to add humour with the character of the tracker and by showing Pindaris, allied with the Maratha army, as buffoons. But it just doesn’t impress. Even the revenge bit looks silly as Hunter crosses paths with Rehmat Khan twice and yet doesn’t kill him. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Laal Kaptaan: Public Review | First Day First Show | Saif Ali Khan</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> LAAL KAPTAAN has an intriguing beginning showing the flashback portion. Hunter’s entry is heroic but soon the film falls flat and it remains that way till the end, save for a few minutes in between. The film is too long at 155 minutes and moves at a snail’s pace. The story moreover is very random and also quite confusing. Hence, it becomes difficult for audiences to keep their interest. Also, it is bewildering that Hunter is desperate to find Rehmat Khan since 25 years. And when he finally meets him, he never kills him. Audiences would never be able to understand this factor. In the end, the reason is revealed but it’s very unconvincing and silly. Talking of performances, Saif Ali Khan genuinely puts up a good show. His look is quite dashing and he excels in action scenes. Manav Vij too does very well, as the baddie. His intense eyes work very well for such roles. Deepak Dobriyal is mildly amusing but in most scenes, his act doesn’t raise laughs. Zoya Hussain puts up a confident show. Simone Singh is decent. Aamir Bashir and Eshika De are passable. Neeraj Kabi (Sadullah Khan) gives a nice performance in a cameo and same goes for Chetan Hansraj (Sangram Singh) and Ajay Paul (Thakur). Vibha Rani (Laal Pari) is quite scary as clairvoyant but the director misses the bus here as he could have done a lot with this character. Madan Deodhar (Maratha captain) is appropriate and he’s the only one who manages some laughs. Henry Douthwaite (British officer Theodore Munro) has nothing much to do. Sonakshi Sinha is wasted and is there for just one scene. Samira Koppikar's music is nothing great and songs are badly used. <em>'Taandav'</em> sounds exhilarating but comes at a very confusing point in the movie. <em>'Red Red Najariya'</em> could have made for a great item song but is played just for a few seconds and hence, wasted. <em>'Kaal Kaal'</em> and <em>'Lahu ka Rang Kara'</em> don’t make the desired impact. Benedict Taylor and Naren Chandavarkar's background score is in sync with the film’s mood. Shanker Raman's cinematography is spectacular and the film is shot in some virgin locales. Rakesh Yadav's production design is authentic. Darshan Yewalekar's hair design and Dhananjay Prajapati's makeup is spot on, especially in case of Saif.  Maxima Basu Golani's costumes too are straight out of the 18<sup>th</sup> century India. Illusion Ethereal's VFX is fine but could have been better in some scenes. Jabeen Merchant's editing is haphazard in several scenes. On the whole, LAAL KAPTAAN is bizarre and a poor film that has nothing substantial to offer the audiences in general. At the box office, the negligible buzz along with its release in the dull pre-Diwali period will spell doom for the film

Movie Review: The Sky Is Pink

Fri, 11 Oct 19 02:30:12 +0000

The death of a young child can be one of the most painful experiences for any parent. Director Shonali Bose, who suffered a similar loss in her life, is now back with THE SKY IS PINK, based on the life of a motivational speaker, Aisha Chaudhary, who passed away at the age of 19. The team of the film has promised that it stands out as it focuses on celebrating the life of the deceased person instead of living through the sorrow of him or her not being there anymore. So does THE SKY IS PINK emerge as a touching and uplifting film? Or does it fail to strike a chord with the viewers? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1028860" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> THE SKY IS PINK is the story of a family facing a crisis over a period of nearly two decades. Niren Chaudhary (Farhan Akhtar) from Chandni Chowk marries Aditi Chaudhary (Priyanka Chopra), a South Delhi girl and also his childhood love, in 1986. They have a son, Ishaan (Rohit Saraf) after a few years. Aditi also gives birth to a daughter, Tanya, but she passes away in 6 months. That’s because both Aditi and Niren have a rare faulty gene. They again try for a baby and on March 27, 1996, Aisha (Zaira Wasim) is born. Sadly, just like Tanya, Aisha too gets affected due to rare faulty genes of her parents and develops a condition called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), an immune deficiency order. They move to London for her treatment and even manage to raise double the funds needed for her treatment. At the age of 6 months, Aisha gets a bone narrow transplant but as a side effect of this treatment, she develops a serious illness of the lungs called pulmonary fibrosis. This condition comes to the fore when Aisha is 13, at a time when the Chaudharys were hoping all her problems are history and she’ll lead a normal life. Moreover, the doctors make it clear that she won’t survive for more than 5 years. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar's story is very promising and could have made for the most touching film of the year. Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar's screenplay works only in parts. A few scenes are exceptional but in some sequences, the writing doesn’t have the desired impact. The film constantly goes into various flashback modes and it might be difficult to keep a track of the same. Juhi Chaturvedi and Nilesh Maniyar's dialogues are okay. A few one-liners work well and are witty. But some of the dialogues misfire, especially the narration of Aisha penned by Nilesh. The humour in the dialogues looks forced, especially the constant hammering of Aditi and Niren’s sex life. Shonali Bose's direction is strictly okay. She had a great subject in hand but she fails to do full justice. The film gets too long at 149 minutes and should have been way shorter. At the same time, a few details are skipped and ideally should have been focused, at least briefly. Aisha was inspirational speaker but this bit is touched only for a few seconds. Ishaan in a scene also exclaims that Aditi’s video has worked wonders on the internet. The audiences would have loved to see what Aisha spoke as motivational speaker, considering that she had a great sense of humour. Similarly, Niren is revealed to have a band and that surprises viewers as this part too never gets mentioned even once until the pre-climax. Shonali tries to make the situation light so that the film doesn’t get too heavy. Hence, she adds humour and in one crucial tragic scene, a funny background score is played and this decision completely fails to impress. On the positive side, she handles a few scenes with élan. One of the most beautiful aspects in the film is the bond Aisha has with her brother Ishaan. It’ll be unanimously loved. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Priyanka Chopra: “The Sky Is Pink is About Celebrating People’s Lives Instead Of…” | Farhan Akhtar</span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> THE SKY IS PINK commences in the year 2015. The sad faces of Aditi and Niren indicate that things are not right between them. The story then goes on a flashback mode and keeps viewers engaged as Aisha gets conceived and her treatment takes them to London. A few scenes stand out here like Niren having the suspicion that Ishaan is not his son, Aditi blasting Niren for helping a lady called Sonia and Niren giving a surprise visit to Aditi in London. However, there’s too much back and forth happening as the film jumps across timelines. The emotional touch is also missing in the first half. In the second half, a few scenes are very moving and make the impact. But on the flipside, the long length plays spoilsport, among other factors. The subject, treatment, content and even the title is such that it’ll appeal only to select urban audiences. Priyanka Chopra delivers a great performance and carries most of the film on her strong, able shoulders. She has a very difficult part to essay but she effortlessly succeeds. Zaira Wasim puts up a confident act. The story is about her but her childhood portions dominate most of the first half. As a result, she makes an entry very late, though her voiceover plays from the first scene. She looks convincing as a happy-go-lucky person suffering from a terminal illness. Farhan Akhtar has a restrained performance and gives his best shot. Sadly, he gets a raw deal as the narrative focuses more on Priyanka and Zaira. Rohit Saraf looks dashing and shines in some important scenes in the second half. Gurpal Singh (RJ Arjun Gill) gives a heartfelt performance. Rajshri Deshpande (Anita Tandon), who made an impact with SACRED GAMES, has blink-and-miss appearances throughout the film. Ishan Jotshi (Karan; Aisha’s crush) is decent. Sudhavna Deshpande (Dr. Nirvick), Puja Sarup (Mohini), Sunil Chitkara (Niren’s father) and Nirupama Verma (Niren’s mother) are passable. Pritam's music is average. <em>'Dil Hi Toh Hai'</em> is the best of the lot and is very well shot. <em>'Nadaaniyaan'</em> and <em>'Zindagi'</em> are not very memorable. <em>'Pink Gulabi Sky'</em> is played in the end credits. Mikey Mccleary's background score is a bit theatrical and works only in some scenes. Kartik Vijay and Nick Cooke's cinematography is appropriate. The locales of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are well captured. Aradhana Seth's production design are realistic and yet appealing. Eka Lakhani's costumes are straight out of life and not over the top. Manas Mittal's editing could have been tighter. On the whole, THE SKY IS PINK has a great plot but falters on the account of a flawed execution and a lengthy runtime. At the box office, it will only appeal to a thin section of the niche audience in select metros

Movie Review: War

Wed, 02 Oct 19 06:29:02 +0000

Two-hero films were in vogue at one point but in today’s times, it’s a rarity. Yash Raj Films brings respite in this regard in the form of WAR, one of the most anticipated flicks of the year. The film features two of the most popular actors today and the way they have been portrayed has upped the excitement to insane levels. So does WAR manage to meet all the expectations and emerge as a true blue action entertainer? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1025368" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> WAR is the story of two patriotic soldiers fighting against each other. Khalid (Tiger Shroff) is the son of an army officer, who had joined hands with the enemies. As soon as Khalid's mother (Soni Razdan) found out, she informed the army and the father got killed by fellow officer, Kabir (Hrithik Roshan). For an important mission, Khalid is assigned a part in Kabir's team. Kabir obviously is apprehensive but Khalid wins him over with his loyalty and bravery. The story then moves two years ahead. Kabir is assigned the duty of eliminating a dreaded terrorist. Instead of killing him, Kabir bumps off his commanding officer, V K Naidu (Mohit Chauhan). Khalid and others are shocked that someone like Kabir has gone rogue. Khalid is instructed to kill Kabir immediately before he causes any more harm. While Khalid is trying to find out Kabir’s whereabouts, the latter steals army equipment in a daredevil mid-air stunt. In another act of bravado, Kabir comes in front of Khalid and informs him that his next target is a certain Dr. Utpal Biswas (Arif Zakaria). What happens next forms the rest of the film. Aditya Chopra and Siddharth Anand's story is decent and loaded with twists and turns. Shridhar Raghavan and Siddharth Anand's screenplay is effective and engaging for most parts. However in the second half, a lot of dumbing down happens which could have been avoidable. A few developments are quite unconvincing and are hence, difficult to digest. Abbas Tyrewala's dialogues aren’t memorable as such but work. Siddharth Anand's direction is simple and he shows that he has the ability to handle a film of this scale. He also joins the dots in the narrative neatly. On the flipside, he could have shortened some of the action scenes for a better impact. A few moments also give one déjà vu of past YRF films like DHOOM, TIGER ZINDA HAI etc. Lastly, the way Tiger Shroff and Hrithik Roshan are pitted against each other might not seem entirely acceptable to the fans. WAR begins on a rocking note. The entry sequence of Kabir has a twist and startles viewers. If Kabir’s entry impresses, Khalid’s entry blows one away as it’s a smashing action scene shot in one take. One expects the cat and mouse chase sequence to begin immediately from hereon. But instead, the film goes on a flashback mode to explain the dynamics of Kabir and Khalid’s bond. The mid-air action scene is quite fun while the intermission comes at a decisive point. Post interval, the Hrithik vs Tiger saga begins in full force and makes for a fun watch. The film also gets a bit stretched but the twist in the tale saves the day to an extent. Ideally a film like this should have ended on a high but the finale fight is tedious and too long. <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">War: Public Review | First Day First Show | Hrithik Roshan | Tiger Shroff | Vaani Kapoor</span></strong> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Talking of performances, both Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff deliver exceptional performances. Hrithik Roshan looks very dashing and his performance is outstanding. He is brilliant in every frame. In some of the emotional moments, he’s quite endearing. Tiger Shroff’s action as expected is out of this world and it’s commendable the way he fights baddies in the long action sequence in the beginning. In the emotional sequences, he shines and his act gets better in the pre-climax and finale. Vaani Kapoor (Naina) has a very late entry but manages to impress with her performance and oomph. Also, she dances like a dream. Ravi Awana (Basheer) is very convincing as the terrorist. Sanjeev Vatsa (Rizwan Ilyasi) and the actor playing Feroze Contractor are quite good as the baddies. Ashutosh Rana is dependable as always. Anupriya Goenka (Aditi) has a decent screen presence and suits the part. Dipannita Sharma (Dr Mallika Singhal) is okay in the cameo. Soni Razdan, Arif Zakaria, Mohit Chauhan and Swaroopa Ghosh (Sherna Patel) are fine. Vishal-Shekhar's music doesn’t have a long shelf life. <em>'Jai Jai Shivshankar'</em> is the better of the two songs thanks to Hrithik and Tiger’s chemistry. <em>'Ghungroo'</em> comes next. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara's background score is energetic and adds to the thrill. Benjamin Jasper’s cinematography matches global standards. The film is shot in some of the beautiful locales of the world and the lensman does justice to each place. Rajat Poddar's production design is rich and appealing. Paul Jennings, Oh SeaYoung, Parvez Shaikh and Franz Sphilhaus's action is a highpoint. Each and every action scene is well thought of and choreographed. The finale fight however could have been shorter and more imaginative. Anaita Shroff Adajania and Niharika Jolly's costumes make the actors look sexier. YFX’s VFX is superior. Aarif Sheikh's editing is slick. The various action shots are well stitched together. But in the second half, there was a need to trim down a few scenes. On the whole, WAR is a paisa-vasool action entertainer which has style as well as enough twists and turns to keep the viewers engrossed. At the box office, the extended weekend, dazzling action, stunning international locales and stylish execution will ensure mammoth footfalls for the film

Movie Review: Syeraa Narasimha Reddy

Wed, 02 Oct 19 02:43:10 +0000

Our long-drawn independence struggle saga is filled with innumerable stories of bravery and valour. Sadly, a few of them have been lost in the pages of history or only have local awareness. Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy is one such great man who is credited to have fought a decisive battle a decade before the great 1857 rebellion. Ram Charan takes up the challenge of making a film on this figure, titled SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY, and it features his father, megastar Chiranjeevi. The presence of actors from other industries and that it releases in Hindi and other versions make SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY a pan-India film in the truest sense. So does SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY manage to entertain and stir up the viewers? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1025279" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY is the story of India's first chapter of freedom struggle. The year is 1857. The soldiers of Rani Lakshmibai (Anushka Shetty) are wondering whether a handful of them will be able to fight the huge British army. In order to motivate them, the Queen narrates the story of the brave Narasimha Reddy (Chiranjeevi) who revolted against the British a decade before the 1857 revolt. The story then goes in flashback mode. Narasimha Reddy is a ruler of a part of the territory in South India called Rayalaseema. He is a part of a polygar which consists of several other rulers like Avuku Raju (Sudeep), Basi Reddy (Ravi Kishan) etc. All these kings get pension from the British and are expected to be submissive to the Crown. Narasimha Reddy however is in disagreement with this arrangement and is finding a way out to free his kingdom from the clutches of the British. The region faces drought and to appease the rain gods, Narasimha Reddy's learned mentor Guru Gosayi Venkanna (Amitabh Bachchan) asks for a <em>yagna</em> to be conducted. Narasimha is shocked as he learns that the last time a similar yagna took place was in his childhood and that time, he was married off to Siddhamma (Nayanthara). But the married couple was kept apart as there was a <em>'dosh'</em> in their union and they could reunite only after another <em>yagna</em>. Narasimha Reddy is devastated at first as he loves Lakshmi (Tamannaah Bhatia). With a heavy heart, Narasimha Reddy leaves Lakshmi and advises her to use her dancing talent for the greater good. He then accepts Siddhamma and begins his married life. Despite the drought, the British officer Jackson (Oscar Skagerberg) asks for tax from farmers. He even mocks them and once while he’s doing so, Narasimha Reddy arrives and teaches him a lesson. An angry Jackson enters a village ceremony and eliminates 5 farmers and a child. Narasimha Reddy is so angry that he enters the British settlement, attacks the soldiers and then beheads Jackson. The other rulers of the polygar refuse to help him at first but then join Narasimha Reddy in challenging the mighty British Empire. What happens next forms the rest of the story. Paruchuri Brothers's story is excellent and makes for a grand, patriotic film. They have obviously fictionalized a lot of developments in the plot but it has been done very well. Surender Reddy's screenplay is confusing in the beginning as too many characters get introduced and it might seem difficult to understand who is exactly related to whom. But in the later sequences, the script is quite effective and packs a punch. Manoj Muntashir and Jitender Pawar's dialogues are sharp although some of them are over the top. Surender Reddy's direction is quite massy and simple. Most of the important scenes are well executed and leave a lasting impression. He stirs up the viewer’s emotions beautifully. One can’t help but hate the British for their atrocities and one can’t help but root for Narasimha Reddy for his acts. On the flipside, the initial portions are strictly average. The film moves too fast, since it’s already too long at 171 minutes and hence, a few scenes don’t make the desired impact. There’s also a déjà vu of BAAHUBALI, the Hollywood flick 300 and even surprisingly THE AVENGERS and this was avoidable in many places. SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY’s initial portions are not very impressive. The proceedings are neither great nor terrible – it’s somewhere in between. The first 30-40 minutes are spent in introducing the characters, the setting, location etc. The entry of Siddhama makes for a great twist in the tale. But a few developments are difficult to digest at this point. Sidhamma remembers her marriage, which took place in the childhood, without fail but Narasimha Reddy doesn’t even know he’s married! However, the film really picks up in the scene where Jackson arrives at a farmland and mocks a farmer. The manner in which Narasimha Reddy gives a monologue and challenges Jackson is clapworthy. The intermission sequence however is even better and the audiences in single screen cinemas will go crazy at this point. The second half too has some great moments though they could never reach the level of the aforementioned sequences of first half. It also gets a bit too long. But it keeps one engaged. The finale is powerful and the film ends on a rocking note. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Ram Charan REVEALS Why He Has Not Acted In Sye Raa Narsimha Reddy | Chiranjeevi | Big B</span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY has a great ensemble cast but the film belongs to Chiranjeevi. No two doubts on that! He owns the film with his performance and style. It’s also commendable to see him doing action at this age so well. His stardom is intact and that adds a lot to his character and to the film at large. Sudeep is quite good as the mysterious and badass ruler and would be liked by audiences. Tamannaah Bhatia has a supporting role but she springs a surprise in the second half. Watch out! Nayanthara gets a very raw deal and the only scene where she leaves a mark is when she confesses her love for Narasimha Reddy. Vijay Sethupathi (Raja Paandi) has a late entry but is entertaining. Jagapathi Babu (Veera Reddy) creates an impact in the pre climax. Oscar Skagerberg is excellent as the villain and would be remembered, though he’s there only in the first half. Ravi Kishan and Mukesh Rishi act well but their voices are dubbed by someone else, which makes their performance a little awkward. Lakshmi Gopalaswamy (Narasimha Reddy’s mother) is passable. Lastly, Amitabh Bachchan is smashing in the special appearance while Anushka Shetty as always is impressive. Amit Trivedi's music is nothing great but works in the film. <em>'Jaago Narsimha Jaago Re'</em>, played in the beginning, fails to make a mark. <em>'Sandal Meraa Mann'</em> isn’t memorable either. <em>'Sye Raa'</em> comes at an excellent juncture and very well shot. <em>'Saansein Teri Desh Hai'</em> is played in the end credits but doesn’t have the period feel. Julius Packiam's background score is way better and adds to the drama and exhilaration. Ratnavelu's cinematography is top-notch and goes on another level in the battle and action scenes. Rajeevan's production design is quite grand as well as authentic. Greg Powell, Lee Whittaker, Ram-Laxman and A Vijay's action is one of the highpoints of the film. It’s gory at times but done well overall. Anju Modi, Sushmita Konidela and Utthara Menon's costumes are regal. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is quite fast-paced and even reckless at places, which could have been avoided. On the whole, SYE RAA NARASIMHA REDDY is a great patriotic saga and a visual spectacle that leaves a tremendous mark thanks to its plot, Chiranjeevi’s performance and massy execution. At the box office, it has the potential to succeed

Movie Review: Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas

Fri, 20 Sep 19 12:10:13 +0000

In 1983, Dharmendra launched his older son Sunny in the love story BETAAB, which proved to be a huge success in all respects. 36 years later, life comes full circle as Sunny Deol now takes up on himself to launch his older son Karan Deol with PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS. Sunny is not just the producer - he also dons the director’s hat. The film has been in the making for a long time and has been shot in virgin locales of the Himalayas. So does history repeat with PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS and does it turn out to be a success? Or does it fail to touch the hearts of the viewers? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1020825" src="" alt="Movie Review Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas IMG" width="750" height="450" /> PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS is a love story set amidst the beauty of Himalayas and the ugly politics of Delhi. Karan Sehgal (Karan Deol) resides in Manali and is the owner of the very popular Camp Ujhi Dhaar. He lost his parents in an avalanche when he was 10 while they were on the hunt for the elusive snow leopard. The costliest trekking package offered by Camp Ujhi Dhaar is worth Rs. 5 lakhs and involves solo trekking with an expert. Vlogger Sahher Sethi (Sahher Bambba) from Delhi, who has just taken a break from her boyfriend Vinny (Aakash Ahuja), signs up for it as an excuse to escape from her nagging relatives who are to visit her house. The expenses are borne by her company for which she vlogs. Sahher is known for tarnishing the image of hotels and tour companies with her acidic vlogs and she’s all set to do the same with Camp Ujhi Dhaar too. She believes charging Rs. 5 lakhs is akin to a daylight robbery by the camp. Karan himself takes up the responsibility of taking Sahher for the 5-day trek. Initially, she detests Karan and says negative stuff about him in her daily vlogs. Karan, on the other hand, too doesn’t think too high of Sahher. But slowly, they fall for each other. Sahher changes her mind and realizes that the trek is the best thing that has happened to her.  She returns to Delhi and continues to be in touch with Karan. She breaks up with Vinny, infuriating her. But he doesn’t show and pretends to be cool with her decision. Karan, unable to survive without her, reaches Delhi when she hints him that she misses him too. They profess their love for each other. Vinny decides to put a devious plan into motion to bring back Sahher in his life. He’s aided in this plan by his elder brother Sushant Narang (Aakash Dhar), who’s running for the elections and the son of Ratna Narang (Meghna Malik), who’s into politics since two decades. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran's story is beaten to death and very ordinary. It’s shocking that a story like this was approved in today’s day and age. Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran's screenplay is also poor, especially in the second half. The first half is also nothing great but the mountaineering bit makes it watchable. Jasvinder Singh Bath and Ravi Shankaran's dialogues are also nothing memorable at all. Sunny Deol's direction is simple and decent. He executes the mountaineering scenes very well in the first half. Also, he does justice to the visuals and locales at his disposal. Unfortunately, since the script itself is so weak and outdated, his execution fails to save the film. He tries to enhance the film’s appeal with action and even a sequence on the racing circuit. Then there’s a bizarre snow leopard sequence but it works as he directs it well. But these factors can’t be of much help when the script itself is not upto the mark. PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS has a very poor commencement, showing Karan’s childhood and his present-day life. Sahher’s entry scene is also unconvincing and the attempt to be funny falls flat. The interest is set once the trek begins. The finest scene of the film is when Sahher faints due to altitude sickness and Karan puts her on his back and treks on a steep slope. The rest of the scenes are okay and the interest is maintained due to the locales and the trekking factor. The second half begins well with the <em>'Dil Uda Patanga'</em> track. Things then go downhill as there’s no story as such in the second half. And whatever story is there is very clichéd and routine. Moreover, it’s very predictable. The action scene raises interest and individually, it works. But as part of the film, it won’t be lapped up by the audiences. The finale is very simplistic and unconvincing. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas Public Review | Sunny Deol | Karan Deol | Sahher Bambba | FDFS</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Karan Deol puts a genuine effort but still, it falls short. He’s too raw and still needs guidance to become a fine actor. In the scene where he’s racing, he has a weird smile on his face and it takes away the impact. The attempt to roar like his father in the action scenes will work with the front benchers though. Sahher Bambba meanwhile does very well and has a wonderful screen presence. Aakash Ahuja is fine as the villain. Kamini Khanna (Sahher’s grandmother) is adorable and raises laughs in a funny scene. Meghna Malik leaves a huge mark. Aakash Dhar, Simone Singh (Sahher’s mother), Sachin Khedekar (Sahher’s father), Nupur Nagpal (Natasha), Vijayant Kohli (Kapil Gupta) and Kallirroi Tziafeta (Karan’s mother) are decent. Music is okay but some of the songs are shot well. <em>'Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas'</em> comes at a significant juncture. <em>'Ho Jaa Awara'</em> is the best of the lot thanks to its picturisation. <em>'Dil Uda Patanga'</em> comes next. <em>'Aadha Bhi Zyaada'</em> fails to work due to Karan’s acting. <em>'Ishaq Chaliya'</em> is forgettable. <em>'Maa Ka Mann'</em> is very soulful but comes at a very unconvincing point in the movie. Raju Singh and Rishi Rich's background score is quite exhilarating. Himman Dhameja and Ragul Dharuman's cinematography is spectacular. The locales of Himachal Pradesh are shot beautifully. The whole team deserves credit for shooting the film at locations that have been never before explored on celluloid. Not just the mountain scenes, even the second half is shot nicely. Resul Pookutty's sound design adds to the effect. Amardeep Behl and Tina Dharamsey's production design are appealing. Niharika Khan and Vishakha Kullarwar's costumes are very glamorous, especially the ones worn by Sahher Bambba. Vikram Dahiya's action is spot on. Prime Focus's VFX is quite okay and could have been better in the snow leopard sequence. Devendra Murdeshwar's editing could have been slicker, considering that the film is too long at 153 minutes. On the whole, PAL PAL DIL KE PAAS has an outdated storyline, with just the mountain scenes and Sunny Deol’s direction saving the day to an extent. As a result, the film will have a very tough time at the box office

Movie Review: Prassthanam

Fri, 20 Sep 19 07:35:27 +0000

Political films, based in the hinterland, have a strong chance at the box office, especially when made in a massy way. Sanjay Dutt who has had a rough time at the box office ever since his new innings in Bollywood post his release from jail is now back with PRASSTHANAM, the Telugu remake of the 2010 film of the same name. The original was loved for its plot, concept and performances. So does the remake turn out to be the much-needed hit for Sanjay Dutt? Or does PRASSTHANAM fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1020673 size-full" title="Movie Review Prassthanam" src="" alt="Movie Review Prassthanam" width="750" height="450" /> PRASSTHANAM is the story of family, trust and betrayal in a lawless land. 25 years ago, in Ballipar, Shiv (Anuup Sonii) has stood for elections against a violent rival. The rival stabs Shiv during a rally, resulting in his death. Shiv's father is an ex politico who is distraught by the demise of his son. He tells his most trusted aide, Baldev Pratap Singh (Sanjay Dutt) to take over the reins and also to take care of Shiv’s wife Saroj (Manisha Koirala) and his two children. Baldev agrees but not before eliminating the rival candidate who killed Shiv. Baldev is helped here by his closest confidante, Baadshah (Jackie Shroff). Baldev marries Saroj and this angers Shiv’s daughter Palak. But Shiv’s son Ayush looks up to Baldev. Baldev and Saroj give birth to a son, Vivan due to which Palak further feels alienated. The story then moves 25 years forward in the present day. Baldev has been a four time MLA and is busy with the upcoming elections. He recently got a stay order on a land which is being illegally usurped by a cunning businessman, Bajwa Khatri (Chunky Panday). Palak (Chahatt Khanna) is now a doctor and is happily married and also has two kids. She has completely broken contact with Saroj and Baldev and she only is in touch with Ayush (Ali Fazal). Ayush still has the respect for his step father and dutifully works under him. Baldev is so happy with Ayush that he’s made it clear that he will be his heir. Vivan (Satyajeet Dubey) is infuriated with this bond as he feels he’s the biological son of Baldev and hence he is the rightful heir. Baldev however realises that Vivan is not cut for politics and advises him to study abroad and then handle his hospitality business. Vivan revolts and due to his hot headed nature, ends up insulting Asma (Divinaa Thackur), Baadshah's daughter who’s also the manager in Baldev's hotel. Baldev is aghast with Vivan's behaviour and tells Ayush to apologise to Asma which he does. He also tells Ayush to train under Asma and he agrees. While working together, both get close. One day, Baldev is shot by assailants belonging to Bajwa who wants to avenge the loss of his land. Baldev survives and gets second thoughts about fighting elections. But Ayush takes care of everything and ensures that Baldev signs the nomination papers. Baldev gets whole hearted support from locals and hence, the party assures that he’ll become the state home minister after winning the elections and that Ayush will be youth president. Vivan revolts but Baldev shuts him up. Vivan ends up drinking and creating a scene in the hotel. Asma tries to control the situation but he ends up drugging and raping her. When he and his friends escape from the hotel with Asma, their car meets with an accident. They decide to finish Asma and try to pass it off as a road accident. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Deva Katta's story is promising on paper as the film touches upon issues of how all is fair when it comes to politics. The Machiavellianism bit comes across well. Deva Katta's screenplay (with additional screenplay by Farhad Samji) is also effective especially in the first half. But the film is devoid of entertainment in the second half and gets too violent. A few sequences are also unconvincing at this point. The pre-climax puts some things straight but the anti-climax finale spoils things. Farhad Samji's dialogues are acidic and even clapworthy. Deva Katta's direction is quite simple and that works to an extent as the storyline is quite vast and complicated due to the presence of so many characters and the dynamics they share with each other. But one wishes he had done something about the finale as it’s the most disappointing part of the film. Also, audiences have seen films like RAAJNEETI, SARKAR, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR etc which are also based on corruption and bloodshed in politics and these films had far better impact. PRASSTHANAM pales in comparison of these memorable flicks. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“Salman Khan- TIGER, Shah Rukh Khan- BADSHAH, Ranbir – DILWALA”: Sanjay Dutt | Rapid Fire</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> PRASSTHANAM begins on a fine note showing the flashback and how the dynamics haven’t changed between certain characters over the years. The title track played during an action scene of the flashback is quite massy and would be enjoyed in single screens. The first half has some well written and executed scenes and has enough drama. The rape sequence and the aftermath is a shocker and makes for a great interval point. The second half is when things get really messy. The characters become sworn enemies of each other resulting in bloodbath. Sure there’s unpredictability but it’s get too much. There’s a solid twist in the pre climax that revives interest. However, shockingly the climax is absolutely <em>thanda</em>. One expects fireworks but it just ends on a tepid note. Single screen audiences, the target audience, will be expecting such an action packed film to end on a rocking note. But they surely would come out feeling dejected. Sanjay Dutt gives a genuinely good performance and doesn’t go over the top. He keeps it restrained and it suits the character. Ali Fazal however steals the show. He gets the maximum screen time and he rocks the show. Jackie Shroff hardly has any dialogues but his screen presence is electrifying. The <em>'Haji Ali'</em> track comes suddenly and seems weird to see a character run all the way from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai. But Jackie’s performance saves the day. Manisha Koirala is decent but doesn’t have much to do. She’s like the silent observer and one surely expected more from such a dynamic performer. Satyajeet Dubey is great in the villainous role and oozes fear. Chunky Panday is passable. Amyra Dastur (Shivi) doesn’t get much scope. Chahatt Khanna and Divinaa Thackur do well. Other actors who leave a mark are Deepraj Rana (S P Narang), Zakir Hussain (Majid Maqbool) and Annup Sonii. Ishita Raj is smoking hot in the item number. Talking of music, the title track is the most memorable. This is followed by <em>'Haji Ali'</em> chiefly due to Jackie’s presence. <em>'Dil Bevda'</em>, the item song, is nothing great. <em>'Charo Khane Chit'</em> is forgettable while <em>'Dil Dariyan'</em> is wasted. Mahesh Shankar's background score is dramatic. Ravi Yadav's cinematography is appropriate and the birds-eye shots of Lucknow are well captured. Abbas Ali Moghul's action is a bit gory as per the requirement. Pallavi Bagga and Suman Roy Mahapatra's production design is average. Priyanka Mundada's costumes are straight out of life. Ballu Saluja's editing is quite good in the first half especially. On the whole, PRASSTHANAM rests on some great performances and a fine first half. But the second half and especially the lacklustre ending spoil the show. The buzz for the film is low due to which it will face a tough time at the box office

Movie Review: The Zoya Factor

Fri, 20 Sep 19 03:18:33 +0000

Last month, during the promotions of his flick MISSION MANGAL, Akshay Kumar made a startling revelation. He said that he believes that success depends on 70% luck and 30% hard work. His statement surprised many but the fact is that many around the world of different nationalists, communities and even class believe a lot in luck and the concept of lucky charm. No wonder, the business of numerologists and astrologists is thriving. Anuja Chauhan’s novel ‘The Zoya Factor’ tackles this idea and it was written so well that it became a bestseller. The rights were soon picked by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment but the production house failed to make the film within the stipulated period. Aarrti Shetty and Pooja Shetty Deora then bagged the rights and turned the novel into celluloid, while keeping the title of the film the same as the book. So does THE ZOYA FACTOR turn out to be as entertaining as the novel? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1020460 size-full" title="Movie Review The Zoya Factor" src="" alt="Movie Review The Zoya Factor" width="750" height="450" /> THE ZOYA FACTOR is the story of a girl who considers herself unlucky but is the lucky charm for the country. Zoya Solanki (Sonam K Ahuja) is born on June 25, 1983, the day India won the 1983 Cricket World Cup final. Her father Vijayandra Singh Solanki (Sanjay Kapoor) declares that she’ll prove beneficial for the cricket team, having born on such an auspicious occasion. While growing up, Zoya indeed turns out to be a lucky charm for Vijayandra and her brother Zorawar (Sikandar Kher) when they used to play Gully Cricket. As an adult, Zoya however considers herself unlucky. The madness that her family members have for cricket makes her dislike the sport. She works as junior copywriter at an ad agency called AWB and is constantly making mistakes, much to the annoyance of her boss Monita (Koel Purie). Monita sends Zoya on ad campaign comprising of the Indian cricket team in Sri Lanka and warns not to make an error in what she calls a small, simple shoot. Zoya reaches Sri Lanka and becomes friends with Nikhil Khoda (Dulquer Salmaan), the captain of the Indian team. This is a time when the players have lost back to back matches. The World Cup is just a month away and the pressure is killing them. On the day of their match in Sri Lanka, Nikhil invites Zoya to have breakfast with the players. Here, Zoya casually mentions about her date of birth and lucky charm bit. On that day, India miraculously wins the match. The players realise that she is indeed a lucky charm. They make flimsy pretext to stop her from going back to India and try to get her to have breakfast with them for the next match. As expected, they win again. Nikhil however doesn’t believe in luck and The Zoya Factor and feels that it’s hard work that works. Yet he can’t help but fall for Zoya who too is in love with him. Meanwhile, the Indian Cricket Board's Jogpal Lohia (Manu Rishi Chadha) comes to know about Zoya. He approaches her with an offer – dine with the boys in blue before every World Cup match and get paid Rs 1 crore! Zoya however refuses the offer. Jogpal realises that they need Zoya anyhow and hence, they hand over the World Cup campaign to AWB with instructions that Zoya should be leading it. Jogpal is also aided in this plan by his nephew Robin (Angad Bedi) who is also in the team and is Nikhil's rival. He wants to see Nikhil being removed from captaincy and he uses Zoya for his ulterior motive. What happens next forms the rest of the film. THE ZOYA FACTOR is based on the novel by the same name by Anuja Chauhan. The story has a lot of promise and is also relatable. A lot of people believe in luck as well as are cricket fans and hence in a country like ours, such a story can connect with the viewers. Pradhuman Singh Mall and Neha Sharma's screenplay (with additional screenplay by Anuja Chauhan) is effective for most parts. They don’t make the film too emotional even at a single point. The idea is to keep the film light and entertaining from start to finish. In a way, it’s great but at the same time, the film misses the emotional touch. Pradhuman Singh Mall and Anuja Chauhan's dialogues are very witty and contribute a lot to the laughter. The dialogues mouthed by the commentator are sure to be loved by audiences. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The Zoya Factor Public Review | Sonam Kapoor Ahuja | Dulquer Salmaan | Abhishek Sharma | FDFS</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Abhishek Sharma's direction is decent. He has handled some scenes with élan but there were also scenes where he really rushed through the proceedings. But the creativity of his execution comes through in several sequences. The scene where it rains is one such sequence – the focus is on Nikhil returning to the pavilion while Zoya could be seen on the giant screen in the foreground. Also, he has used subtle hints to show that the film is set 9 or 10 years back. This is evident through the use of old mobile phones. The idea to not base THE ZOYA FACTOR in 2018 or 2019 makes sense as Zoya’s age is supposed to be not more than 26 or 27. Moreover, the product placements can be an eyesore in most films but here, it’s like an integral part of the film. The Cadbury Silk TVC, for example, is well woven into the narrative. THE ZOYA FACTOR has a very impressive commencement that gives an idea about the cricket and luck elements of the film. Shah Rukh Khan’s witty narration and the animated sequence adds to the fun. The initial scenes of Zoya are okay but the film gets better once she reaches Sri Lanka and interacts with the Indian team. The romantic track also has its moments. Two scenes stand out here – Zoya’s interaction with Nikhil in the elevator and Nikhil meeting Zoya’s family and family friends. Post-interval, the film slips a bit. Also, the film seems too quick at places. The World Cup sequence in the pre-climax and climax however revives the interest. The performances are great by all actors. Sonam K Ahuja suits the part to the T. One can’t imagine anyone else for this role and she does total justice, whether in the scenes of her being love struck or acting pricey or even acting mature and giving out some important lessons to Nikhil in times of need. Dulquer Salmaan is super-dashing but he also gets his act right. He’s totally into his character and convincingly seems the captain of the team. Angad Bedi gets a great part and also screen space and is fine as the baddie. Sikander Kher is the surprise of the film. His role might remind one of Prateik’s character in JAANE TU YA JAANE NA [2008] but his part stands out and Sikandar ensures that happens. One of his best scenes is when he offers tea to the very protestors who have come to vandalize his house! Sanjay Kapoor is a natural. Manu Rishi Chadha is fine and it’s good that he doesn’t overdo the lisping bit. Koel Purie is strictly okay. Pooja Bhamrrah (Sonali) looks quite glamorous and plays the supporting part well. From the other crickets, the ones who leave the mark are Abhilash Chaudhary (Shivi), Gandharv Dewan (Harry) and Sachin Deshpande (Lakhi). Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is in sync with the film’s mood. <em>'Lucky Charm'</em> is the best of the lot followed by <em>'Kaash'</em> and <em>'Maheroo'</em>. <em>'Pepsi Ki Kasam'</em> is played in the end credits. Indrajit Sharma and Parikshit Sharma's background score (with additional background score by Kingshuk Charavarty) is dramatic and adds to the fun. Manoj Lobo's cinematography is suitable and the lensman does a good job in the cricket scenes especially. Theia Tekchandaney, Abhilasha Devnani and Gayatri Thadani's costumes are very appealing. The ones worn by Sonam especially are too good which was expected. Rajat Poddar's production design is rich. After Studios' VFX is quite good, although it’s a bit poor in some scenes. But overall, it’s a good job considering that quite a many scenes are shot against the green screen. Utsav Bhagat's editing gives the film a pacy feel but some scenes could have had a bit of slow, slow-motion effect especially in the finale. On the whole, THE ZOYA FACTOR is a feel-good popcorn entertainer that works chiefly due to concept, treatment, humour and performances. At the box office, it has the potential to grow dramatically due to a good word of mouth

Movie Review: Dream Girl

Thu, 12 Sep 19 15:10:38 +0000

Over the years, Ayushmann Khurrana has become nothing short of a brand. He attained success with quirky and urban comedies. Last year, he surprised as he switched gears with ANDHADHUN, a thriller black comedy and earlier this year with ARTICLE 15, a no-nonsense crime drama. Now this talented actor will be seen in DREAM GIRL, a thorough commercial fare, his first ever. The trailers and songs have done the trick and the film is carrying a lot of expectations. So does DREAM GIRL turn out to be a well-made entertainer? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1017184" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> DREAM GIRL is the story of a man masquerading as a woman to earn his living. Karamvir aka Karm (Ayushmann Khurrana) is an unemployed youth in Mathura who is desperately looking for a job. His father Jagjeet (Annu Kapoor) runs a shop that sells funeral items and has taken a huge loan. The recovery agents have been harassing him over unpaid dues. Karm is known locally for playing female roles in plays and Jagjeet detests this side of Karm. One day while returning home from an unsatisfactory job interview, Karm comes across an advertisement for a call centre job. Karm reaches the venue and is surprised to know that it’s a Friendship club involving women calling men and talking seductively with them. The owner of this place, W Ji (Rajesh Sharma) however hires Karm when he realises that Karm can talk like a women very convincingly. Karm gets the job and he turns into Pooja. Karm does so well in his work that W Ji pays him handsomely and even gifts him a car. Meanwhile Karm falls in love with Mahi (Nushrat Bharucha) and both get engaged. Once Karm repays the loan of his father and gets settled in life, he realises he no longer wants to be Pooja. But W threatens Karm that he’ll tell his father, Mahi and everybody in the neighborhood about how he seduces men daily by assuming Pooja’s identity. Karm hence continues his work. He also realises that he is in for a bigger problem as four of his customers – Mahendar (Abhishek Banerjee), coincidentally his to be brother in law, a hot headed teenager Toto (Raj Bhansali), a cop-cum-<em>shayar</em> Rajpal (Vijay Raaz) and a man-hating journalist Roma (Nidhi Bisht) are crazily in love with him or should we say with Pooja. If this is not enough, Karm's father Jagjeet too starts talking to Pooja and wants to marry her. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Nirmaan D Singh and Raaj Shaandilyaa's story is excellent and it has a very wide appeal. It is reminiscent of the 90s David Dhawan, Govinda comedies. Hence there’s also a nostalgia value attached to the plot. Incidentally the manner in which Karm hides his real profession from his near and dear ones gives one a déjà vu of Ayushmann Khurrana's debut flick VICKY DONOR (2012). Nirmaan D Singh and Raaj Shaandilyaa's screenplay is terrific as the writing packs in so much in 132 minutes. Often, great idea goes kaput at the screenplay level. In case of DREAM GIRL, the screenplay enhances the winning plot. Raaj Shaandilyaa's dialogues further add to the fun and madness. The one liners are so smart and naughty that viewers will be amazed with the writer’s wittiness. Raaj Shaandilyaa's direction is superb, especially considering that it is his first film. He handles the man-talking-in-woman's-voice bit very nicely. He also has a bit of an experience since he has scripted Kapil Sharma's show which involves drag acts for laughter. But in this case, Raaj is not only writing but also executing the content and in all departments, he shines. It’s a bit slow in the beginning of the second half and some of the references to religion might not be liked by a few. But these are minor cons. What’s also praiseworthy is that he makes an important comment about loneliness in the society that drives so many men (and women) to resort to a Pooja. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Nushrat Bharucha: “Ayushmann is Very SMART Person But He Is…”| Kartik Aaryan | Dream Girl</span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> DREAM GIRL begins with a bang and makes it clear that it is laced with some smart writing and smooth direction. Not much time is wasted and in no time, Karm turns into Pooja and begins the seductive game on call. The romantic track is not that exciting but has its moments and keeps the interest going. The intermission point is a big surprise. Post interval the film drops initially. But it goes on a high when Jagjeet goes crazy over Pooja and goes to insane lengths. This bit is going to bring the house down! The climax is a bit serious but works well. DREAM GIRL is embellished with some fine performances and Ayushmann Khurrana shines the most. This is his most massy role yet and he hasn’t done such a part before. But he slips into his character effortlessly. He also sheds his inhibition beautifully. To see him emoting and dancing like a woman while talking like Pooja is a joy to witness on screen. DREAM GIRL will go a long way in getting mass acceptance for Ayushmann. Nushrat Bharucha has lesser screen time but makes her presence felt. Annu Kapoor raises maximum laughs among all the lovers of Pooja. Initially he doesn’t make an impact but in the second half, he’s a riot. Vijay Raaz comes next. His part is adorable and is sure to chuckle audiences with his <em>shayaris</em> and comic timing. Nidhi Bisht is apt for the part and she also has a unique background score reserved for her. Raj Bhansali is effective. Manjot Singh (Smiley) is too good as the sidekick. Abhishek Banerjee gets a bit overpowered by so many actors around but is good nevertheless. Neha Saraf (Chandrakanta) makes an impact as Vijay Raaz's wife. Neela Mulherkar (Mahi's grandmother) is very funny. Rajesh Sharma is as good. Meet Bros' music is foot tapping and suits the narrative. <em>'Radhe Radhe'</em> is grand and makes for a great watch. <em>'Dil Ka Telephone' </em>is the best of the lot and very well placed. <em>'Ik Mulaqaat' </em>looks a bit forced but is soulful. <em>'Gat Gat' </em>is played in the end credits. <em>'Dhagala Lagali'</em> is missing in the film. Abhishek Arora's background score has the massy feel. Aseem Mishra's cinematography is decent. Rajat Poddar's production design is a bit daily soap like but doesn’t affect the impact. Niharika Bhasin's costumes are appealing and realistic. Hemal Kothari's editing is just right. On the whole, DREAM GIRL is a laugh-a-minute-riot that fulfills all the expectations. At the box office, it has the chances of scoring big time with its target audience and is likely to enter the 100 crore club

Movie Review: Section 375

Wed, 11 Sep 19 11:55:44 +0000

The #MeToo movement took off in a big way in 2017 in Hollywood after well-known producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment episodes became public. It reached India a year later and became a huge social movement. Although the movement made people aware of some genuine cases, it also came to light that some of the allegations were false or were made with ulterior motives. The latest film SECTION 375 is inspired from cases of this nature and expects to make a hard-hitting point. So does SECTION 375 manage to succeed in its endeavour? Or does it fail to impress? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1016957" src="" alt="Movie Review Section 375 IMG" width="720" height="405" /> SECTION 375 is the story of a filmmaker accused of rape. Anjali Dangle (Meera Chopra) is a junior costume designer on a film set. She’s told to go to director Rohan Khurana’s (Rahul Bhat) residence to show him the costumes. When she reaches the house, Rohan and the house maid are present. Rohan sends the maid out of the house on some pretext and then forces himself on Anjali. Anjali reaches her house and tells her family that Rohan raped her. The same evening, Rohan is arrested from his film set. The Sessions Court finds Rohan guilty and sentences him to ten years of rigorous imprisonment. Rohan’s wife Kainaaz (Shriswara) approaches famous criminal lawyer Tarun Saluja (Akshaye Khanna) to file the case in the Bombay High Court. Tarun goes through Rohan’s file and realizes that the Sessions Court verdict was unfair. The case gets accepted in the High Court and the trial begins. Tarun’s ex-protégé Hiral Gandhi (Richa Chadha) is the public prosecutor and Anjali’s lawyer. As the case begins, a lot of unknown and intentionally hidden details tumble out. What seemed like an open and shut case of rape turns out to be murkier than expected. What happens next forms the rest of the story. Manish Gupta's story has tremendous potential and is the need of the hour. It is also quite relevant in today’s times. Manish Gupta's screenplay (with additional screenplay by Ajay Bahl) is quite effective for most parts. The film gets a bit technical but will be easy to comprehend for its target multiplex audience. Manish Gupta's dialogues (with additional dialogues by Ajay Bahl) are quite acidic and sharp. However, at places, there are far too many English dialogues. Ajay Bahl's direction is quite apt. He captivates the viewers with his storytelling and doesn’t lose their attention even once in the 120 minute duration. Also, he presents both sides quite nicely and convincingly. This is a courtroom drama but like conventional Bollywood films in this genre, the film is not made in a dramatic fashion. Yes, a lot is happening in the film but it is all done a bit more realistically. On the flipside, the second half is where the film drops a bit. One expects a film with so many unpredictable moments to end with a bang. Sadly, that doesn’t happen. Also, it’s bewildering why Hiral, who used to shout ‘Objection’ each time Tarun would present anything or make an attention grabbing statement, doesn’t react at all when Tarun explains to the court how Anjali got the injury marks on her inner thighs. Except for Tarun, the private lives of Hiral and Anjali are never shown and it takes away the impact to an extent. SECTION 375 begins on a fine note. Tarun Saluja explaining the concept of justice and law by giving the instance of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case makes for a strong point and it also indicates what is to follow. The scene where Anjali meets Rohan in his house and the alleged rape happens is quite smartly executed and only a part of it is shown to keep the unpredictably going. This is followed by probably the most gut wrenching scene of the film – the medical officer asking the gory details of rape to Anjali quite nonchalantly, in front of her mother. And also, the said medical officer is a male! The film obviously goes on a high once the trial begins. The manner in which it comes to light that the investigating police officer Milind Kasle (Shrikant Yadav) did an extremely shoddy job is bound to shock viewers. Post-interval, the interest is maintained as many more details pour out in the courtroom. The finale however lacks punch. Also, the verdict announced in the end might leave viewers divided. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“Aamir Khan Will Make a Good Politician”: Akshaye Khanna | Rapid Fire | Section 375</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Akshaye Khanna takes the cake when it comes to performances. Other actors also do well but Akshaye leaves a very strong impact. Whether it’s his dialogue delivery or his interrogating style in the court or his shrewd smile when confronted by the judges or Hiral, Akshaye’s performance is spot-on. Richa Chadha is very good as the no-nonsense lawyer whose idea of justice differs from that of Akshaye’s character. One of her heartening scenes is when Hiral is discussing about her partner and sharing her meal with her ‘rival’ Tarun. Rahul Bhat gets into the skin of his character. He’s too good in the beginning scene when he comes on the set and blasts everyone. Meera Chopra has very few dialogues initially but in the second half, she has a crucial part and does well. Krutika Desai (Justice Bhaskar) is good while Kishore Kadam (Justice Madgaonkar) is very impressive in his part. The latter also contributes to the laughter quotient. Shriswara speaks a lot through her silences and makes her presence felt. Shrikant Yadav is too good. His less-than-a-minute-conversation with Richa after he messes up in the court is memorable. Same goes Dibyendu Bhattacharya – his performance takes one of the most important scenes to another level. Sandhya Mridul (Shilpa) is lovely in the special appearance. SECTION 375 is a songless film. Clinton Cerejo's background score however is subtle and dramatic. Sudhir K Chaudhary's cinematography is quite appropriate. The alleged rape sequence is shot well in different angles and the perspective changes with each angle. And he also makes use of some hand-held, zoomed-in shots that also helps with the impact. Nilesh Wagh's production design is decent. Ameira Punvani's costumes are realistic. Praveen Angre's editing is crisp. On the whole, SECTION 375 is a hard-hitting courtroom drama that raises some important points. At the box office, it has the potential to grow significantly in multiplexes once the word of mouth spreads among its target audience

Movie Review: Chhichhore

Thu, 05 Sep 19 15:44:36 +0000

For most adults, the years spent in college are often considered to be the best part of their lives. It’s a time when the fear of the uncertain future always looms over the head but the joy of being with friends makes this period worth it. Nitesh Tiwari, after delivering the monstrous blockbuster DANGAL [2016], is back with CHHICHHORE, which focuses not on just the student part of the character’s lives but also on what happens when they have a reunion a couple of decades later. So does CHHICHHORE manage to give viewers an entertaining time and make them go down memory lane? Or does it fail to stir up any emotions whatsoever? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1014857" src="" alt="Movie Review Chhichhore" width="720" height="450" /> CHHICHHORE is the story of ‘loser’ friends trying to become winners and learning some important lessons on the way. Annirudh Pathak aka Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a middle-aged man residing in Mumbai with his son Raghav (Mohammad Samad) after divorcing his wife Maya (Shraddha Kapoor). Raghav is under immense pressure as he has just given the entrance exams for engineering. Both his parents were rankers when they gave the entrance examination. As a result, Raghav is feeling the pressure tremendously. Anni however is confident that he’ll make it. Finally, the result is out and sadly, Raghav fails to make the cut. Scared that he’ll be labelled a loser all his life, he attempts to commit suicide by jumping from a high rise. He survives but the doctor treating him, Dr Kasbekar (Shishir Sharma) makes it clear that the chances of him recovering are slim. Anni is obviously heartbroken and with no option in hand, he decides to adopt a novel method to ensure that Raghav gets the will to live. He starts narrating him his story as an engineering student in Mumbai’s National College of Technology. He’s allotted a room in Hostel no 4 aka H4, considered to be the residence of the ‘Losers’. At first, Anni is flabbergasted with the kind of characters in H4. But slowly, he becomes good friends with some of them like Gurmeet Singh Dhillon aka Sexa (Varun Sharma), Acid (Navin Polishetty), Sundar aka Mummy (Tushar Pandey), Bevda (Saharsh Kumar Shukla) and Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin). The number of girls in engineering is negligible and the most popular among them is Maya (Shraddha Kapoor). Anni manages to woo her and they soon start dating. However, Anni and others are still called ‘Losers’ and there’s a reason for it. The General Championship aka GC is a sports tournament that takes place annually in the college. The students of H4 always lose miserably and are the last among the ten hostels. Hence, the ‘Loser’ tag. Raggie (Prateik Babbar) from H3 is a champion who wants all the winning students from other hostels to be in his hostel so that H3 can win the GC. He invites Anni, since the latter is a basketball champion. But Anni refuses, thereby earning the wrath of Raggie. Anni and others from H4 decide to shed the tag of ‘Loser’ once and for all by winning the H4. However, the road to the trophy is full of hurdles. Cut to present-day. Raghav’s condition stops deteriorating after listening to the story of the ‘Losers’ but there’s no improvement either. What happens next, in the flashback as well as in the present day, forms the rest of the film. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's story is entertaining, moving and has potential. The film is more than what the promos indicate. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's screenplay doesn’t exploit the story to its full potential however. Sure they try their best and keep the narrative simplistic without complicating it. They also add humour in adequate doses to appeal to the masses. But it also is a bit superficial especially when it comes to the emotions part. A little more depth in terms of characters, their background etc. was required. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's dialogues are simple but funny and well-worded. One however wishes the writers had written some extremely funny liners for the slogan sequence. This is a scene that could have caused a riot but the end result is decent not extraordinary. Nitesh Tiwari's direction is appropriate for most parts. He deserves praise for the way he goes back and forth with the present day and flashback scenes. Also, in the climax, three scenes are running parallel – one of the chess tournament, one of the relay and one of the basketball match. He merges them very well. On the flipside, he skips some of the details with regards to the characters’ lives and that hampers the impact. For instance, viewers never come to know properly what exactly went wrong between Anni and Maya that they had to divorce and why didn’t Maya take the custody of Raghav. Except Sexa and Mummy, none of the students’ parents are ever shown. As a result, we don’t know what kind of families they hail from. Not just that, even in present-day portions, except for Mummy and Sexa to an extent, the other characters’ lives are not explored at all. Mummy apparently flies from USA to be with Anni. How did he manage to do so that too immediately remains a question mark. Then there are scenes that are unconvincing like Raghav attentively listening to the story of the ‘Losers’ but at the same time, we are told that he is critical. Even when his health deteriorates in the pre-climax, he doesn’t look medically serious. The ‘Losers’ or Raggie are never really shown studying and we never come to know how they are faring in the exams. It seems like the reason they have taken admission in the college is simply to win the GC. CHHICHHORE begins on a high note, which nicely depicts the kind of mischief happening in hostels as well as the enmity between H3 and H4. The movie then focuses on Raghav getting tensed over his result. The film drops a bit here but the shocking suicide sequence ups the interest. Soon the flashback portions commence and the interest in the film gets maintained. From here, the film is sans complaints as director Nitesh Tiwari uses the first hour to introduce the characters, the college setting and how much GC means to the students. In the second half, the college portions manage to entertain and even raise laughs. Anni’s idea of demotivating the rival teams psychologically is interesting and makes for fun watch. However, it also raises questions since the method is deemed to be too effective in even improving their game, which was very poor in the first place. How that happens is bewildering. The climax is based on an interesting idea of three tracks running simultaneously but goes on for too long. The basketball scenes especially go on and on. The end result of the GC might divide audiences with some not finding it acceptable. However, it is in sync with the film’s message. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Chhichhore | Public Review | FDFS | Sushant Singh Rajput | Shraddha Kapoor</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Performances are exemplary by all. It’s great to see that not just the lead actor and actress but the others also get a big chance to shine. Sushant Singh Rajput plays the part with ease and is apt as Anni. He’s not playing the typical ‘hero’ as such and slips into the character and performs accordingly. In the older portions, he’s quite good and has modulated his voice a bit which is praiseworthy. Shraddha Kapoor lends able support. Her character sadly doesn’t have much to do after a point. The romantic track is very weak and doesn’t even get sufficient screen time. And she doesn’t look that old as compared to others. Varun Sharma is quite entertaining and will be loved by audiences. He was dull in films like ARJUN PATIALA and KHANDAANI SHAFAKHANA. But in CHHICHHORE, he seems to be in form. He also surprises in the entry scene of the older Sexa. Tahir Raj Bhasin looks dashing and performs very well. The pain and anger in his eyes comes out very well. Naveen Polishetty has a good screen presence and is lovely as the guy with the acidic tongue. Tushar Pandey is fine for the character he plays and adds humor to the proceedings. Saharsh Kumar Shukla has a very late entry but has a brilliant screen presence. In the finale especially, he has a major part to play. Mohammad Samad has his moments. Prateik Babbar leaves a mark as the baddie. Shishir Sharma, Sanjay Goradia (Mummy’s father), Rohit Chauhan (Chris Cross), Ranjan Raj (the underweight Abhimanyu Rathod aka Danda) and the actor playing the cook are fine. Pritam's music is in sync with the film’s mood but won’t have a long shelf life. <em>'Fikar Not'</em> is the best of the lot as it also reflects the film’s message. <em>'Control'</em> comes next as the situation during which it’s played is funny. <em>'Woh Din'</em> and <em>'Khairyat'</em> fail to make a mark while <em>'Kal Ki Hi Baat Hai'</em> is played just for a few seconds. Sameer Uddin's background score is subtle but makes an impact. Amalendu Chaudhary's cinematography is appropriate. The hospital, hostel and sports scenes are well captured. Laxmi Keluskar's production design is good. Mukesh Chhabra's casting deserves praise as all actors fit the bill. The casting of Abhimanyu Rathod is quite nice. Sunil Rodrigues's action is not too gory obviously and works. Rohit Chaturvedi's costumes are authentic. The characters are even shown repeating their clothes in hostel scenes to keep the realism. Preetisheel Singh's prosthetics and character design is overall quite good. But in case of Shraddha Kapoor and Tushar Pandey, it’s not very convincing. Charu Shree Roy's editing is slick and the present-day and flashback portions are well woven in the narrative. On the whole, CHHICHHORE is a decent entertainer that has its share of entertaining and touching scenes. At the box office, it will be liked by its target audience – the youth and the families. However it will require a positive word of mouth to sustain and excel

Movie Review: Saaho

Fri, 30 Aug 19 08:23:50 +0000

Sometimes, one film is enough to turn an actor into a nationwide star. BAAHUBALI - THE BEGINNING was one such film. It made Prabhas from a regional star to a pan-India sensation and it’s sequel BAAHUBALI 2 - THE CONCLUSION cemented his position as a superstar. Almost 2 ½ years later, this macho actor is now back with SAAHO. While BAAHUBALI was a period drama, SAAHO is a modern-day actioner with a bit of a futuristic setup. The hype is tremendous from East to West, North to South. So does SAAHO live up to all the excitement? Or does it disappoint viewers? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1013048" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> SAAHO is the story of a mysterious man on a mission. The foreign city of Waaji is ruled by gangsters and criminals and the biggest of them is Roy (Jackie Shroff). He cleverly manages to get the approval of an Indian minister, Ramaswamy (Tanikella Bharani) for a hydro project in India. He then reaches Mumbai and this is where he’s killed in a road accident. His son Vishwank (Arun Vijay) then takes over, which angers Devraj (Chunky Panday) as he wants to sit on Roy’s throne. Meanwhile the Mumbai crime branch is investigating the death of Roy and other related crimes. The case is handed over to Ashok Chakravarthy (Prabhas), a macho and extremely intelligent officer. He insists that Amritha Nair (Shraddha Kapoor) is also made a part of his team after he gets smitten by her photograph. While scanning the CCTV footage, they come across a mysterious person (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who they believe is a suspect. In the absence of evidence though, he can’t be arrested. Ashok however manages to speak to him and finds out that he’s hunting for a black box which can be used to access the wealth left by Roy in Waaji. Not just this chap but even Vishwank is trying to find the black box, which is hidden in Mumbai. He sends his associate Kalki (Mandira Bedi) who for some reason secures the box but instead of taking it to Waaji, she deposits it in a bank. When the mysterious person comes to get it, the cops who are already on his trial arrest him. However, the cops get a shock of their lives at this point when they realize they have a mole in their team. The mole runs away with the black box and this baffles not just the police force but also the gangsters of Waaji. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sujeeth's story is strictly okay but it could have been made for an exciting actioner if the screenplay and direction were upto the mark. Sujeeth's screenplay however spoils the show. Till the first half, it is captivating but then the screenplay is all over the place in the post-interval portions. There are so many villains and moreover, there are so many people double-crossing that it gets confusing for viewers to remember the twists. Abbas Dalal and Hussain Dalal's dialogues are simple but a few one-liners are powerful. Sujeeth's direction is quite weak and it is one of the big reasons why this film fails. A film like SAAHO, mounted on such a huge scale, required the execution by an expert and experienced filmmaker. Sujeeth sadly fails to do justice. The plot is weak but still, the film could have been saved with the execution. Sujeeth fails to do so overall. On the positive side, a few scenes are handled very well. These are mainly in the first half like the entry scenes of Vishwank and Ashok, Devraj threatening his father Prithviraj and of course, the interval point. In the second half, he does very well in a brief part of the climax where three scenes are running parallel - one of Ashok, one of Amrutha and one of Kalki. If he had wisely directed the rest of the film, SAAHO would have been on another level. SAAHO has an average beginning. Too much information is laid out and it takes a while to process it all. The film gets a bit better with Ashok’s entry. The investigation carried out by Ashok and his team is quite engaging. Also, the politics played out in Waaji amongst the warring factions makes for a nice watch. The best is however reserved for the pre-interval. The sequence where Kalki’s car gets attacked is good. The intermission point comes as a jolt. A part of it is predictable but there are too many twists here and hence, it works since viewers won’t be able to guess all the unexpected developments. Post-interval, one expects the film to go on another level but sadly the opposite happens. There is too much chaos, visually and otherwise, and the film ceases to make sense. Yes, the action scenes are spectacular but after a point, the audiences get tired of the overdose. There are more twists in the climax but this time, the viewers don’t get very impressed. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Saaho | Public Review | FDFS | Shraddha Kapoor | Prabhas</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Talking of performances, Prabhas puts up a great show. As per his character, he performs well and would be loved by the masses. His dialogue delivery in Hindi however is a bit weak. Moreover, his character sketch is also a bit flawed – throughout the film, his character is always winning and ahead of his enemies. Initially, it works but then it becomes unconvincing. Shraddha Kapoor is quite lovely and suits the part of the no-nonsense officer very well. She is great in action scenes. Jackie Shroff makes a huge impact in his cameo. Neil Nitin Mukesh is dependable and looks quite dashing. Chunky Panday steps into the villain zone once again after BEGUM JAAN and is appropriate. Arun Vijay oozes fear very well and is apt for the part. Murali Sharma (David) has a crucial part and is decent. Mandira Bedi gives a memorable performance. Tinnu Anand doesn’t mouth a single dialogue and yet delivers a fine performance. Mahesh Manjrekar (Prince), Prakash Belawadi (Shinde) and Goswamy (Venella Kishore) are okay. Evelyn Sharma (Aisha) suits her part but her character doesn’t have much to do. Jacqueline Fernandez is sizzling in the special song. Music is average. <em>'Psycho Saiyaan'</em> (changed to <em>'Kaiko Saiyaan'</em>) is the best song of the lot and well shot and choreographed. <em>'Enni Soni'</em> and <em>'Baby Won't You Tell Me'</em> are forced in the narrative. <em>'Bad Boy'</em> is visually quite stunning. Ghibran's background score is a bit loud. In a few places, it overpowers the dialogues. Raju Sundaram and Vaibhavi Merchant's choreography is first-rate. Madhie's cinematography is captivating. A few scenes are captured upside down and make for a great watch. The lensman has also captured Mumbai’s birds-eye view beautifully. Kenny Bates, Peng Zhang, Bob Brown, Stefan Richter, Dhilip Shubbarayan, Ram Lakshman, Stunt Silva, Parvez Shaikh and Stunt Jashwa's action is excellent when seen individually. But in the film, a few of them seem needless. A few scenes that work well are Mumbai traffic scuffle (by Stunt Silva), Prabhas’s entry (by Peng Zhang) and chase sequence in pre-climax (by Kenny Bates). Sabu Cyril's production design is ambitious and larger-than-life, especially the Waaji city portions. But it doesn’t seem authentic. R C Kamalakannan's VFX could have helped in making it look real but it fails at places. Thota Vijay Shankar and Leepakshi Ellawadi's costumes are appealing, especially the ones worn by Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez in the songs. A Sreekar Prasad's editing adds to the chaos and could have been simpler. On the whole, SAAHO suffers from a lackadaisical script and a vacuous screenplay. At the box-office, it is bound to have a huge start and a good extended weekend due to tremendous hype and the fan following of the lead cast but will face obstacles post the weekend

Movie Review: Mission Mangal

Wed, 14 Aug 19 16:59:31 +0000

Just like how Eid is synonymous with a Salman Khan release, the Independence Day holiday isn’t complete without an Akshay Kumar starrer. From 2013 to 2018, he has had a release during this beneficial weekend, barring 2014. 2019 is no exception and this time, he is out with MISSION MANGAL, based on an important chapter of India’s history. The mood of the film is also apt, considering that just last month, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-2 towards the moon. MISSION MANGAL has all the trappings of a blockbuster. So does it turn out to be as exciting and entertaining as expected? Or does the content fails to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1008325" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> MISSION MANGAL is the incredible true story behind India’s mission to Mars. The film begins in 2010. At the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a space mission under Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay Kumar) fails after Tara Shinde (Vidya Balan) in his team makes an error in judgement. As a punishment posting, he’s asked to handle India’s Mars program, which is not expected to take off anytime soon. A few days later, Tara while cooking puris in her home has a Eureka moment. She realises that through innovative methods, they can try to get our satellite reach Mars in just two years. She tells Rakesh about the plan and he realises it’s a golden opportunity. Rakesh approaches his senior (Vikram Gokhale) for approval who finds the idea unfeasible. Also Rupert Desai (Dalip Tahil) who has come from NASA to join ISRO feels that Rakesh's idea is ridiculous. Rakesh however manages to persuade and begins work. He asks for the best of the men from ISRO for this project. However he’s given inexperienced colleagues like Kritika Aggarwal (Taapsee Pannu), Eka Gandhi (Sonakshi Sinha), Varsha Gowda (Nithya Menen), Neha Siddiqui (Kirti Kulhari) and Parmeshwar Naidu (Sharman Joshi) and a very senior employee Ananth Iyer (H G Dattatreya). What happens next forms the rest of the film. Jagan Shakti's story is superb and also very challenging. It’s not easy to pen down a mainstream film with such a plot. Also many are not aware of what transpired behind the making of India’s Mars mission. Hence it’ll be exciting for them to witness the whole journey. Also there are so many twists and turns in the plot that one might not believe that some of the plot points are actually true incidents. R Balki, Jagan Shakti, Nidhi Singh Dharma and Saketh Kondipathi's screenplay not only simplifies the proceedings but also make it massy. The screenplay blends science and entertainment seamlessly. The film’s goings on are extremely easy to comprehend. R Balki, Jagan Shakti, Nidhi Singh Dharma and Saketh Kondipathi's dialogues are effective and funny. Jagan Shakti's direction is terrific for a first timer. He had a winning screenplay in his hand and he takes it to another level with his execution. The film has also has subplots of each of the main characters and even these are very well woven in the narrative. And through these tracks too, the makers have made some important comments about religion, parenting, marriage, religious bias etc. and all these contribute to the film hugely. MISSION MANGAL starts off beautifully showing Tara running a house efficiently on the day ISRO has an important launch. Rakesh's entry and the confrontation scene when he’s offered Mars program is intriguing as well as entertaining. It also makes it clear that the film won’t get serious and that the entertainment quotient will be maintained. The rest of the team is introduced in a quick but interesting montage like sequences and it adds a lot to the film. The first half moves swiftly with no complaints. The second half is longer and the commencing portions are where the film drops. Also to see the team renovating their work station at a time when they are running against time is a bit too much. Thankfully the film soon picks up. The best is obviously reserved for the finale. There are a lot of obstacles faced by the team here and it makes the film even more gripping. The finale is applause worthy. <p class="entry-title name"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Mission Mangal | Public Review | FDFS | Akshay Kumar | Vidya Balan | Taapsee Pannu | Sharman Joshi</span></strong></p> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> MISSION MANGAL is embellished with some fine performances. Akshay Kumar is in top form. He gets to play such a splendid role and gets into the skin of his character. And he’s very much there throughout the film! The way his character rarely gets serious and makes even serious discussions light and funny is seen to be believed. One of the greatest sequences of the film is when he makes an imaginary call to none other than APJ Abdul Kalam. Vidya Balan dominates most of the first half and suits her character to the T. It’s also admirable that she has no qualms playing mother to teenagers. Sonakshi Sinha is lovely and gets to shine. It’s great to see how she makes an impact in a supporting role. Taapsee Pannu is also quite efficient and gives her best in the climax. Nithya Menen has a smaller role but it serves as a great debut. Kirti Kulhari manages to score and many would be able to relate to her character's struggles. Sharman Joshi is funny and would surely make viewers smile. H G Dattatreya is adorable and the scene where he teaches Kirti's ex hubby a lesson is too good! Dalip Tahil is appropriate as the pessimist. Sanjay Kapoor (Sunil Shinde) is the surprise of the film. He delivers a fine performance and post interval he goes in another mode that would be greeted with whistles in cinemas! Purab Kohli (Vivek) and Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub (Rishi) lend able support. Rohan Joshi (Dilip Shinde) is hilarious and even heartening as Vidya Balan's son. Kashmira Pardeshi (Anya Shinde) gets no scope. Vikram Gokhale is decent. Others are also good in their respective parts. Amit Trivedi's music is well interspersed with the proceedings. <em>'Dil Mein Mars Hai' </em>is entertaining and catchy. <em>'Shaabaashiyaan'</em> is played at a crucial juncture. Amit Trivedi's background score is engaging. S Ravi Varman's cinematography is quite simple and has the big screen effect. Sandeep Ravade's production design is praiseworthy as it’s straight out of life. Debashish Mishra's sound design is also as real as it gets. Sham Kaushal's action is good in the lone action scene inside the metro. Famulus Media and Entertainment's VFX is top class without which the long climax would not have worked so well. Theia Tekchandaney's costumes are appealing yet not too glamorous. Kirti Kolwankar and Maria Tharakan's costumes for Vidya Balan are authentic. Chandan Arora's editing is just perfect as the film neither moves too fast nor drags. On the whole, MISSION MANGAL is engaging and entertaining while being patriotic in its feel. At the box office, it will be accepted whole heartedly by the audiences and has the potential to emerge as Akshay Kumar's highest grosser ever

Movie Review: Batla House

Wed, 14 Aug 19 06:21:48 +0000

Films based on or inspired from true incidents always have an edge, especially if made well. A recent classic example being ARTICLE 15, loosely inspired from Badaun rape case and Una flogging incident, and which became a commercial success. Now Nikkhil Advani attempts to unravel the mystery behind the more-than-a-decade-old Batla House encounter in his flick, also titled BATLA HOUSE. So does BATLA HOUSE give viewers an entertaining and thrilling time? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1008066" src="" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> BATLA HOUSE is the story of an upright cop caught in a sticky situation. The year is 2008. The Indian Mujahideen has conducted a series of blasts across the country. Their latest attack is in the capital city, Delhi, on September 13. ACP Sanjay Kumar (John Abraham) is having trouble in his marriage with Nandita (Mrunal Thakur). On September 19, he is informed by his team that the terrorists responsible for this blast are holed up in a flat in L-18, Batla House in the Okhla locality of the city. Before Sanjay could reach the site, his junior officer K K (Ravi Kishan) orders the team to engage with the occupants of the said house. The occupants who are Okhla University students fire at the cops, injuring K K grievously. Sanjay meanwhile reaches and he along with the rest of the police team eliminate the shooters. One of them, Tufail (Alok Pandey) is arrested. Even before the cops could leave, the residents begin raising slogans against the police. Soon, the media and political leaders blame the police for staging a fake encounter. K K on the other hand passes away in hospital. Sanjay meanwhile finds it difficult to prove that he’s right and that these residents of Batla House were indeed a part of Indian Mujahideen. He also informs the police department that there were two more guys in the Batla House flat who escaped, one of which is Dilshaad Ahmed (Sahidur Rehman). He escaped to Nizampur, Uttar Pradesh. Sanjay’s senior Jayvir (Manish Chaudhari) sternly tells Sanjay not to head to Nimzapur to arrest Dilshaad. Yet, Sanjay defies the orders and heads to nab Dilshaad with his team. In Nizampur, he encounters hostile residents and a leader of a political party who tell him to back off. Yet, he goes ahead and attempts to take Dilshaad back to Delhi. The locals on one hand are baying for his blood. On other hand, Jayvir and other senior cops are slamming Sanjay for his irresponsible action. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Ritesh Shah's story is well researched and gripping. Moreover, it’s extremely relevant in today’s times. Many might not be aware of this case and how it led to such a huge controversy at that time. Hence, the novelty factor is also there. Ritesh Shah's screenplay is captivating for most parts but is shaky in the first half. The film should have been simpler yet thrilling and devoid of too much of docudrama feel, for a better impact. However, there’s no doubt that some scenes are exceptionally scripted. Ritesh Shah's dialogues are acidic and sharp. The one-liners in the climax work very well. Nikkhil Advani's direction is simply brilliant. He understands the material he has in his hand and its sensitive nature. He has handled some scenes deftly and shows his brilliance in the interrogation scene in the first half and later in the courtroom sequences. Also, the Rashomon effect works well here to make the audiences wonder as to which version is correct. However, a few scenes in the first half are not up to the mark. Some scenes might even confuse viewers. For instance, it is bewildering why Sanjay switches off the camera during a crucial interrogation. Thankfully, the plusses outweigh the minuses by a huge margin here. BATLA HOUSE’s first half is decent but one misses the overall ‘Wow’ factor here. The reason behind the straining of relations between Sanjay and Nandita is not explained properly. The encounter is only partly shown and hence, one remains confused as to what exactly transpired between the police and the students. Also, Sanjay’s constant hallucination sequences become a little too much after a point. But on the positive side, a few scenes are quite promising. The film picks up in a big way when Sanjay quotes from the Holy Quran while interrogating Tufail. This powerful scene will surely be greeted with claps and whistles and it also proves how vested interests smartly misinterpret religious texts for violent gains. The Nizampur episode is a bit over the top but is quite thrilling. The intermission point also comes at a great moment. Post-interval, the interest levels increase as Sanjay gets determined to nab Dilshaad. The entry of Victoria (Nora Fatehi) adds charm to the film. But the best is reserved for the last 35-40 minutes. The courtroom drama is quite exhilarating and clap worthy. Also, once the entire scenario becomes clear, the film becomes simpler.  As a result, audiences would be even more interested once they know the complete picture. Sanjay’s monologue at this hour ensures the film ends on a high. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Batla House Public Review | John Abraham | Mrunal Thakur | Movie Review | First Day First Show</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> BATLA HOUSE belongs to John Abraham, without a shred of doubt. He is not just playing a brave, decorated police officer. He also essays the role of a person who is abused and slammed from all quarters. No one wants to know or believe his version of truth. The trauma he faces is brought out beautifully by John. Also, he’s first-rate as expected in action scenes and also in dramatic and confrontational sequences. Mrunal Thakur is letdown a bit by the script as the back story is never revealed. But she gives a decent performance. In the second half, she impresses even more as the woman who stands up for her husband. Ravi Kishan leaves a huge mark in a small role. Manish Chaudhari is efficient. Rajesh Sharma (Advocate Shailesh Arya) is quite scathing, as per his character’s requirement. Nora Fatehi provides much-needed sizzle in the film. Her character has a small but important role in the film. Alok Pandey and Sahidur Rehman play their respective parts with earnest. Pramod Pathak (Defence counsel P Krishnan) has a late entry but makes an impact. Others also do well. Songs aren’t memorable except for of course <em>'O Saki Saki'</em>. The item song is quite entertaining but it starts off quite suddenly though. <em>'Rula Diya'</em> and <em>'Jaako Rakhe'</em> are okay. John Stewart Eduri's background score is subtle yet adds to the impact.  Adil Shaikh's choreography in <em>'O Saki Saki'</em> is visually great. Soumik Mukherjee's cinematography is topnotch. This is especially in the interior scenes of Batla House flat and in the chase sequence in the small town. Priya Suhas's production design is quite realistic. Amin Khatib's action is thrilling and yet not gory or disturbing at all. Maahir Zaveri's editing is razor sharp in many scenes and also stylish. But this kind of editing also affects the impact in some of the scenes in the first half. On the whole, BATLA HOUSE is a powerful saga which is sure to spark off discussions and debates. The relevant plot, watertight screenplay, clapworthy moments and terrific performance by John Abraham makes BATLA HOUSE one of the finest films of the year. At the box office, it will have a promising run. Recommended

Movie Review: Jabariya Jodi

Fri, 09 Aug 19 02:37:42 +0000

A lesser known film, ANTARDWAND, released in 2010 and sank without a trace. But it stood out from rest of the niche films as it was based on the system of groom kidnappings prevalent in Bihar. Now, newcomer director Prashant Singh attempts to make the idea even more popular with his film, JABARIYA JODI. Unlike ANTARDWAND, which was quite a serious fare, JABARIYA JODI attempts to look at it in a light-hearted manner. Moreover, it stars two known actors – Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra. So does JABARIYA JODI entertain and comes across as a respite for its lead actors? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1006550 size-full" title="Movie Review Jabariya Jodi" src="" alt="Movie Review Jabariya Jodi" width="750" height="450" /> JABARIYA JODI is the story of two equals, who come from different worlds. In 2005, two kids – Abhay Singh (Aryan Arora) and Babli Yadav (Gurket Kaur) – fall in love in the Madhopur village in Bihar. But Babli’s mother catch them red handed. She and Babli’s father Duniya Lal (Sanjay Mishra) decide to leave Madhopur and shift to Patna. Cut to present day. Abhay Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) is now an adult and works with his father Hukum Dev Singh (Jaaved Jaaferi). Abhay’s job is to kidnap grooms and get their <em>‘jabariya shaadi’</em> done. Abhay, Hukum and the rest of the gang members believe that they are doing social work with these forced marriages. After all, the bride’s father doesn’t have to pay dowry in such type of marriages. While getting one such <em>‘jabariya jodi’</em> done, Abhay bumps into Babli (Parineeti Chopra), who is the friend of the bride Shriya (Kirtika Budden). Both recognize each other and sparks fly. For Babli, the timing is just perfect. She has been dumped by a guy for whom she ran away from her house. Abhay too falls for Babli but he also gets apprehensive about the relationship. Moreover, he has political ambitions – he wants to be an MLA and stand for elections next year. Meanwhile, Duniya Lal finds out that she is in love with Abhay. He detests Abhay, since he is a goon and decides to get her married to the supposedly decent and educated fellow, Pappu (Rashul Tandon). But Pappu’s parents ask for ridiculously high dowry. With no option in hand, Duniya Lal and his close aide Pathak ji (Neeraj Sood) approach Hukum Dev Singh and request for Babli and Pappu’s <em>‘jabariya shaadi’</em>. Babli is told of her marriage but she assumes her father is getting her hitched to Abhay! So she is very glad and happily participating in pre-marriage customs. Abhay meanwhile is sulking as he doesn’t want her to get married to anyone else. At this point, the powerful and well-connected Daddan Yadav (Sharad Kapoor) approaches Hukum Dev Singh. He requests him to let go of the deal he made with Duniya Lal since Pappu is his close relative and that he’s planning Pappu’s wedding somewhere else. In return, Daddan would give Hukum Dev the election ticket from the seat of Gaya. Hukum Dev agrees and he tells Abhay to return the fees given by Duniya Lal at his residence. This is when Babli learns the truth and she is shattered. An angry Babli now decides to do <em>‘jabariya shaadi’</em> with Abhay! What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sanjeev K Jha's story is based on an interesting idea. Many in the country are not aware of <em>‘pakadwa vivah’</em> tradition and the writer succeeds in showing this bit in an entertaining manner. At the same time, he also highlights the downside of such kind of marriages. But the inherent love story is weak and has loose ends. Sanjeev K Jha's screenplay (with additional screenplay by Raaj Shaandilyaa and Neeraj Singh) doesn’t really succeed in hiding these minuses. A few scenes are well written and thought of. Also, the writing has the massy vibe. But one wishes the writer and additional screenwriters had done something about the unconvincing plot points. Raaj Shaandilyaa's dialogues (with additional dialogues by Neeraj Singh) are one of the highpoints. The one-liners are sure to be greeted with claps and hooting. In fact, it’s a rare film where dialogues help in hiding the goofs of the film. In the emotional scenes, the dialogues work big time. Prashant Singh's direction is very good for a debutant. He understands that the story has a pan-India appeal and executes it appropriately. Also, he keeps the audiences hooked from start to finish without boring them, despite the 144 minutes duration. But he doesn’t do much when it comes to unconvincing moments in the movie. The biggest dilemma faced by Abhay Singh in the film is the fear he has that he’ll turn like his father and harass his to-be wife and she’ll suffer the same fate like her mother (Sheeba Chaddha). This is an important point and should have been explained further. Only the childhood portion shows Hukum Dev Singh indulging in adultery and that he’s quite strict. But it’s not enough and the director should have tried to explore the dynamics between Hukum Dev and his wife. Also, he allowed the repetition of some sharp dialogues, due to which the impact is not made. Not just that, Hukum Dev’s change of heart is too sudden and catches viewers unawares. Lastly, the product placement in the film is too in-your-face and it’ll raise laughs. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Jabariya Jodi | PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> JABARIYA JODI starts off on a sweet note, showcasing the love story between two teenagers. The fun continues once adult Babli enters the story and bashes up her boyfriend for not turning up at the railway station. Abhay’s introduction too is done in a fun manner. The sidekicks and supporting characters are also quite strong and they also add a lot to the film and its humour quotient. The manner in which Babli is completely oblivious that she is getting married to Pappu and not Abhay is hard to digest. Did no one around her ever even take the groom’s name, even as a passing remark? Post-interval portion begins on a promising note as Babli decides to force marry Abhay. The way it’s done is pretty hilarious. But soon, the film drops. Thankfully, the action-packed climax, though weak, works and the film ends on a happy and appropriate note. Sidharth Malhotra is in fine form, also look wise as he suits the part. There’s a scene where Babli’s pals try to kidnap Abhay but get scared the minute they see him. And this bit looks convincing as Sidharth makes Abhay look like someone not to be messed with. But his performance is a bit dry in some scenes. He should have shown a bit more aggression in a few more sequences. Parineeti Chopra does quite better and is just perfect as Babli. In the second half, she gets surprisingly mellow, which seems a bit out of character. But even in this hour, she leaves an impact. The scene where Abhay comes to take away Babli is where she leaves a huge mark. Aparshakti Khurana (Sanku) slips into his part effortlessly. Sanjay Mishra is fair and adds to the humour quotient especially in the scene where he consumes the ‘banned’ alcohol. Chandan Roy Sanyal (Guddu) is apt for the part. Mohit Baghel (Halla) is quite funny and makes his presence felt. Raashul Tandon goes overboard and yet manages to entertain and raise lot of laughs. Jaaved Jaaferi is decent as the strict father. Sheeba Chadha gets a raw deal. Neeraj Sood has a few funny dialogues but one wishes he had a lengthier role. Sharad Kapoor is strictly okay. Gopal Dutt (Inspector Tiwari) is very good in the cameo role. Aryan Arora and Gurket Kaur are sweet as young Abhay and Babli respectively. Elli AvrRam is sizzling in the item song. Music is not great as it doesn’t suit the feel and theme of the film. <em>'Zilla Hilela'</em> is the only track in the film that matches with the film’s setting. <em>'Khadke Glassy'</em> is also nice but comes in the end credit. <em>'Dhoonde Akhiyaan' </em>works because of the picturization. <em>'Khwabfaroshi', 'Ki Honda Pyaar' </em>and <em>'Macchardani' </em>are disappointing. Joel Crasto's background score is dramatic. Bosco Martis' choreography (<em>'Khadke Glassy'</em>) and Adil Shaikh's choreography (<em>'Zilla Hilela'</em>) is good. Vishal Sinha's cinematography is fair, with few scenes capturing the small-town India very well. Rajat Poddar's production design is realistic. Malavika Kashikar, Niharika Jolly and Akshay Tyagi's costumes are stylish. But Parineeti Chopra’s crop tops seem a bit out of place and doesn’t go well considering the film is set in Patna. Vikram Dahiya's action is realistic. Dev Rao Jadhav's editing could have been crisper by a few scenes. On the whole, JABARIYA JODI is a decent entertainer and works because of the novel idea of forced marriages, performances and hilarious and witty dialogues. At the box office, it will do decent business before the Independence Day biggies take over

Movie Review: Fast And Furious Presents: Hobbs And Shaw

Fri, 02 Aug 19 09:17:33 +0000

The Fast And Furious franchise started way back in 2001. Since then we have seen the franchise evolve from racing to something that includes, heists, spying and of course fast cars. Now two years after the last release in the series THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS hit screens in 2017, we see a spin off feature film in the form of FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW. But will this new action flick woo the Fast and Furious audience or will it like so many other actioners be all glitz and no content is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1004788 size-full" title="Movie Review Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw" src="" alt="Movie Review Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw" width="720" height="450" /> Starting off, FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW is centred around the titular Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), characters introduced in the main series. The film begins with a crew of MI6 agents attempting to retrieve a virus, Snowflake, which can be programmed to decimate millions of people, from terrorist organization Eteon. Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon operative with advanced cybernetic implants, arrives and kills all agents except for their leader, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), who injects Snowflake into herself as a dormant carrier and escapes. Brixton frames Hattie as a traitor who killed her team and stole Snowflake, forcing her to go on the run. Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are both informed of the missing virus and are assigned to work together reluctantly to track it down. From here on begins a cat and mouse game to save Hattie and the world while keeping the deadly ‘Snowflake’ out of the wrong hands. Much like the previous FAST & FURIOUS films, this spin off too is an action entertainer that promises edge of the seat stunts, fast cars, and big explosions. While there were initial questions raised whether a spin off on a series like F&F would work and hold the audience’s interest, FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW proves that such films if made well, not only keep the audience in their seats but also provides for a fun filled thrilling watch. Director David Leitch, who has in the past proved his mettle with JOHN WICK (2014), ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) and the more recent release DEADPOOL 2 (2018), has done it again. Thanks to a background as a stuntman with professional martial arts training, Leitch is able to execute and shoot some rather difficult action sequences with precision. Keeping in mind the background of the franchise, Leitch has capitalized on characteristic traits of Hobbs and Shaw to develop seamless fight sequences that are well co-ordinated. As for the story of the film, like most action flicks, this one too features a wafer thin plot. However, it isn’t the plot that is the film’s mainstay; instead it is the eye popping relentless action that is interjected with well-placed humour to break the monotony. Coming to the performances, Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs does what he does best, which is smashing things. Assisting him on this endeavour is Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw who takes the more refined approach as compared to Hobbs’ brute force technique to eliminate targets with finesse. Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw does a commendable job and manages to hold her own despite the fact that the film is centred on the characters of Hobbs and Shaw. However it is Idris Elba as Brixton Lore who steals the limelight. A cybernetic enhanced superhuman hybrid, Brixton is capable of feats that push the boundary. Despite having such power, Elba’s restrain is clearly evident, thus preventing the film from becoming too over the top. The dialogues, though not much are good in places with well time punch lines that deliver. As for the action, well it is a spin off from the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, so expect tons of it. Though unlike the previous films in the series, this one features fewer high end cars, skimpily clad women and debauchery, but rest assured David Leitch has done well with the action. Adrenaline pumping, edge of the cliff (quite literally) gasoline fuelled explosions that are sure to satiate your hunger for destruction. On the whole, FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW lives up to the FAST & FURIOUS tag, with insane stunts, high octane action, well timed humour and an entertaining rollercoaster ride that keeps you in your seat. At the box office, the film that releases in four languages, English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu is expected to open well and will see an increase in footfalls over evening and night shows. With little competition at the box office, FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW looks set to dominate the weekend

Movie Review: Arjun Patiala

Fri, 26 Jul 19 07:27:49 +0000

Comedy is an established genre in Bollywood. Since audiences are now ready for <em>hatke</em> stuff, filmmakers are constantly trying to push the boundaries in the existing genres too. This Friday coincidentally sees the release of two such films, although both the movies are as different as chalk and cheese. While JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA has violent undertones, the other film – ARJUN PATIALA – is like a spoof comedy, on the lines of famous Hollywood films like SCARY MOVIE and DEADPOOL. Bollywood has rarely made such films and one recent film in this space was WELCOME TO NEW YORK [2018]. It was a huge failure in all respects and now its lead actor Diljit Dosanjh appears in another spoof film, ARJUN PATIALA. So does ARJUN PATIALA manage to entertain and emerge as a pioneer of this genre in Bollywood? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1002474 size-full" title="Movie Review Arjun Patiala" src="" alt="Movie Review Arjun Patiala" width="720" height="450" /> ARJUN PATIALA is the story of a cop trying to achieve a crime-free district. A struggling director (Abhishek Banerjee) meets a rich third-generation producer (Pankaj Tripathi). After ensuring that the director has put all the necessary ‘ingredients’ needed for a <em>masala</em> entertainer, the producer allows the narration of the script. The director then starts to tell his story – that of a police officer named Arjun Patiala (Diljit Dosanjh). He becomes a sub-inspector through sports quota and he is posted at Ferozpur Police Station in Punjab. Within a few days, he falls for Ritu Randhawa (Kriti Sanon), an honest reporter working for Tezz News Channel. He is also visited by his senior, DSP Gill (Ronit Roy). Arjun looks up to him since childhood and he is the reason why he decided to be a cop. DSP Gill shares with him his dream of making Ferozpur a crime-free district. Ritu meanwhile helps Arjun in sharing the list of baddies in the area. There’s Baldev Rana (Amit Mehra) who is so brash that he even beats up police officers if they come in his way, Sukool (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub) who runs a brick kiln, his brother Anda (Sumit Gulati) and finally Dilbaug Singh (Himanshu Kohli) who runs his business from jail and also has haemoglobin problems. Arjun devises a plan – he generates a gang war between them, hoping that they’ll all kill each other and hence DSP Gill’s dream will be achieved. However, there’s also MLA Prapti Makkad (Seema Pahwa) who seems to be the biggest villain of all and also has ulterior motives of her own. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Ritesh Shah and Sandeep Leyzell's story is outdated. The writers had some good ideas but fail to put it together on paper. Ritesh Shah and Sandeep Leyzell's screenplay is shockingly horrible. It’s like an apology of a script. The attempt to make a spoof comedy and taking a dig at conventional Bollywood films is something that could have paid dividends. They also had some very funny characters and any other worthy writer would have made a complete laugh riot. Alas, the writers of the film let these characters go waste. They add some dry and beaten-to-death moments and twists. In fact, it’s bewildering how this script got approved in the first place. Ritesh Shah and Sandeep Leyzell's dialogues are also dry and fail to evoke laughter. Rohit Jugraj's direction is smooth for most places but with such a poor script, there isn’t much he could have done. At a few places however, he rushes through the film and this was avoidable. For instance, it’s never properly established why Sukool agrees to bump off other villains in the district. A few more minutes should have been spent in establishing the tensions between the various gangs. If Rohit had done the needful, the end result would have been better but still, the film would have emerged as a disappointment as the content itself is not worth it. ARJUN PATIALA begins on a great note. The manner in which the producer and director converse over the <em>‘masala’</em> script is interesting. The opening credits sequence, a spoof on James Bond style of films, is witty. But soon, one realizes there’s nothing much happening in the film. Yes, there are a bunch of villains but they are not utilized properly. In fact, after a point, the film stops being funny. A few scenes are interesting here and there like Sukool assassinating Baldev Rana or the way romance blooms between Arjun and Ritu. But these are few and far between. The twist in the tale in pre-climax is something that one can see from miles away. The finale is hardly funny and reeks of lazy writing. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Laugh Riot: Diljit & Kriti’s Most Hilarious Rapid Fire | SRK | Hrithik | Kartik | Sara | Deepika | Arjun Patiala</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Diljit Dosanjh is apt as the cute and naughty police officer. He genuinely plays his part and tries to rise above the script. Varun Sharma (Onida Singh) is likeable although he’s repeating himself now. Kriti Sanon is also sincere and plays the entertaining part well. The sequence where she narrates her tragic part is where she gives her best. Sadly, the makers spoil the show with an animated flashback running below on the screen and it takes away the impact of her performance too. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub is the best amongst the villains. He shines and it’s sad that such a cool villain won’t get his due to the bad script. Ronit Roy fits the part to the T. Seema Pahwa is decent. Amit Mehra, Himanshu Kohli and Sumit Gulati get no scope. Biswapati Sarkar (Editor of Tezz News Channel) is appropriate. Ritesh Shah (Arjun’s father) and the actor playing her mother are poor. Sunny Leone (Baby) is sizzling. Pankaj Tripathi and Abhishek Banerjee are the funniest in the film. Sachin-Jigar's music is nothing compared to their previous works. <em>‘Main Deewana Tera’</em> has the chartbuster feel but doesn’t have a long shelf life. <em>‘Crazy Habibi vs Decent Munda’</em> is situational. <em>‘Dil Todeya’</em> and<em> ‘Sachiya Mohabbatan’</em> are okay. <em>‘Sip Sip’</em> is played during the end credits. Ketan Sodha's background score is theatrical. Sudip Sengupta's cinematography is fine. Parijat Poddar and Shekhar Ujjainwal's production design is a bit television show-like. Vikram Dahiya's action is sans any gore. Veena Kapur Ee's costumes are appealing, especially the ones worn by Kriti. Huzefa Lokhandwala's editing is too quick at places. On the whole, ARJUN PATIALA is a shockingly poor fare, riddled with an outdated and tragic script. At the box office, it will be rejected outright by the cinegoers

Movie Review: Judgemental Hai Kya

Fri, 26 Jul 19 03:11:02 +0000

How will you define ‘normal’ human behaviour? And what is the criteria to be followed by a person that he/she can be considered as ‘normal’? We have seen in films like MY NAME IS KHAN [2010], TAARE ZAMEEN PAR [2007] etc. wherein the protagonists’ behaviour were such that they stood out and were even ostracized. But still they were special and earned respect in society after a long struggle. Now, writer Kanika Dhillon and director Prakash Kovelamudi bring us JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA that tackles these issues but unlike the aforementioned films, this flick goes into an unconventional zone with even a murder occurring in the narrative. So does JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA manage to entertain and thrill the audiences? Or does it fail to make the impact? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1002336 size-full" title="Movie Review: Judgemental Hai Kya" src="" alt="Movie Review: Judgemental Hai Kya" width="720" height="450" /> JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA is the story of a woman with mental issues trying to solve a supposed crime. Bobby Batliwala Grewal (Kangana Ranaut) is an orphan who has lost her parents at a young age. She is partly responsible for their demise. Bobby grows up as a disturbed individual and her grandfather (Lalit Behl) takes care of her. She stays separately from him and works as a dubbing artiste for South films. She is on medication for her mental condition but she doesn’t consume her pills. She is in a relationship of sorts with Varun (Hussain Dalal) who is desperate to get physical with her. But she doesn’t give him the opportunity. At this point, Bobby gets a new tenant – Keshav (Rajkummar Rao) and his wife Meena (Amyra Dastur). Both are deeply in love with each other. Bobby spies on them and she starts to imagine herself with Keshav. However, she also gets intrigued since Keshav seems mysterious. In front of Meena, he pretends to be a non-smoker and a vegetarian. But Bobby catches him smoking heavily and also relishing chicken. She starts to trouble them and then it reaches a point where Keshav and Meena decide to move to another place. Before that can happen, a gas explosion occurs in their kitchen and Meena dies. The cops (Satish Kaushik, Brijendra Kala) begin their investigation. Bobby makes it categorically clear to them that Keshav has murdered Meena but doesn’t have concrete proof. The police officers interrogate Kehsav as well but realize it was a case of accidental death. Hence, they decide to close the case. An enraged Bobby assaults Keshav and she’s sent to mental asylum for a brief period of time. Two years later, Bobby seems to be in control. She’s started regular medication and her grandfather sends her to her cousin Megha’s (Amrita Puri) place in London to help in a stage production on Ramayana. All is going fine when Bobby gets a jolt when she spots Keshav. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Kanika Dhillon’s story is unconventional and quite promising and entertaining. Kanika Dhillon’s screenplay is interesting but in some parts, she falters. This is particularly in the second half where the film goes into another zone and doesn’t seem convincing. She however raises some interesting points on the idea of ‘normal’ and even draws parallel with Ramayana. Only if all these things had come together well, the impact would have been manifold. Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues suit the film, especially the ones mouthed by Kangana. Prakash Kovelamudi’s direction is appropriate and he uses his technical knowledge well. The film is very stylishly narrated which goes with its theme and also the title. In a few scenes, he shows his brilliance but goes over the top in the second half’s pre-climax especially. Also, a few scenes might seem difficult to digest, particularly the scene where Bobby confronts Keshav. He was treading line with this film and sadly, he trips at places and this affects the impact. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Judgemental Hai Kya | PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | Rajkummar Rao | Kangana Ranaut</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA’s intro scene shows the disturbed childhood of Bobby in a brief and concise manner. Once Bobby grows up, it takes a while however to get in the film’s flow. This is because the character is unconventional and unlike anything that we have seen in Hindi films. Hence her mannerisms, actions, way of living life etc. are not exactly ‘normal’. Things get interesting once Keshav and Meena arrive to reside at her place as tenants. Keshav also seems mysterious and the scene where he is fixing the fuse at midnight is quite nicely done. The Lonavala sequence also is funny. But it’s when Meena passes away that things begin to heat up. The intermission point is a shocker. Post-interval, the interest level is maintained with some unexpected developments. But this is also the point where bizarre things start happening in the film. One can argue even the first half had its share of bizarre stuff but in the second half, the makers go completely overboard. The film is still unpredictable but the theme and execution will restrict its audience to only multiplexes of urban areas. Performance wise, Kangana Ranaut nails the part. This was probably her most challenging part yet and she delivers as per expectations. Any other actress in her place would have to put a lot of effort and it might have made her performance mechanical. But Kangana slips into the part with ease and takes it to another level. Rajkummar Rao also gets to shine. He’s too good as the mysterious Keshav. But he’s at his best in these two scenes wherein he begs Bobby to spare him and his wife. Amyra Dastur is cute and plays the supporting part well. Same goes for Amrita Puri. Satish Kaushik and Brijendra Kala are apt for their respective roles. Hussain Dalal is a talent to watch out. He’s very funny and adds a lot to the film. Jimmy Sheirgill (Shridhar) is endearing in the special appearance. Lalit Behl is decent. Kanika Dhillon (Sita), also the writer of the film, is stunning and gets to play a fine part in the film. Songs don’t really make an impact. The title song stands out but comes at a time when the film turns very bizarre. <em>‘Kis Raste Hai Jana’</em> is okay. <em>‘Wakhra Swag’</em> appears during the end credits. Daniel B George’s background score however is way better and is zany just like the film’s theme. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography is conventional and yet works in a film like this. Sheetal Sharma’s costumes are quite quirky especially the ones worn by Kangana Ranaut and she looks great. In fact, costumes add a lot to her character. Ravi Shrivastav’s production design is praiseworthy, especially for the Ramayana play. After’s VFX is average and the cockroach shots could have been more realistic. Shweta Venkat’s editing (with additional editing by Prashanth Ramachandran and Shieeba Sehgal) is fine. The duration of the film is just 116 minutes and that’s a plus point. On the whole, JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA is a well-made film with powerful performances from both Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao. At the box office, it will cater mainly to the multiplex frequenting audience

Movie Review: The Lion King

Fri, 19 Jul 19 03:51:41 +0000

Years back in 1994 we saw the release of the animated Disney film THE LION KING, which went on to become a cult classic that kids the world over have grown up on. Now, decades on, we see a remake of the film with photorealistic computer animated characters. But will this remake entice the audience or will the film be just another heavy on visual effects extravaganza, is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-1000300 size-full" title="Movie Review The Lion King" src="" alt="Movie Review The Lion King" width="720" height="450" /> In the African savanna, the young lion Simba idolizes his father, Mufasa, and longs to succeed him as King of the Pridelands. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother -- and former heir to the throne -- has plans of his own. A jealous Scar initiates a coup which results in Mufasa's death and Simba's exile. While in exile Simba grows up in the company of Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog pair with a carefree lifestyle. As tensions rise, he is drawn back into a battle with Scar by the friends from his past life. Will Simba take back what is rightfully his is what the rest of the film is about. Starting off since the film is a shot for shot remake of the 1994 animation do not expect differences, though an obvious fact is, more often than not viewers are left waiting for something new to happen. That being said, THE LION KING does not live up to the previous film. In fact, save for the photorealistic computer generated animatronics, little else makes an impression. When compared to the ’94 version, this new age visual effects masterpiece only brings in more colour, vividness and life like realism to a story that has since been told a million times over. Sadly, this is not where it ends, instead unlike the previous film, the new LION KING seems lacking the emotional connect. Contrary to what THE JUNGLE BOOK accomplished, THE LION KING fails to establish an emotional rapport with anyone older than a fifth grader. However, it isn’t all bad. Once the film begins, viewers are hard pressed to believe that the on screen visuals are not live action, from the way hair and particles move in the wind, to the physics of flowing and still water, the makers of THE LION KING have paid attention to the minutest detail. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>WOW: Shah Rukh Khan PAIRS UP With Aryan Khan For LION KING | Mufasa | Simba</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Coming to the direction, Jon Favreau has quite literally remade the original. A frame to frame copy of the 1994 film, THE LION KING features everything that made the original heart touching and endearing. Retaining James Earl Jones as the voice of Mufasa as homage to the original is something that takes the relatability of the film a notch higher. Sadly though, the rest of the voice over cast leaves a lot to be desired. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar to John O Oliver as Zazu, Donald Glover as Simba to Beyonce Knowles Carter as Nala, and Billy Eichner as Timon to Seth Rogen as Pumbaa have each given it their best, but the emotional connect that developed an instant rapport in the first film is sorely missing. Crisp editing, and well executed sequences that resemble the original almost shot for shot without looking repetitive is definitely a high point for Favreau. In terms of music, the background score and the tracks are well, let’s just say perfect. Favreau has retained a lot of the original charm in this new age rendition of a classic. On the whole, THE LION KING features nothing new, and is in fact a step down from the original. It will however attract kids and younger audiences. At the Indian box office, the Hindi version of the film may have a better appeal as it features voice-overs by Shah Rukh Khan and his son Aryan Khan

Super 30 Movie Review

Thu, 11 Jul 19 07:55:26 +0000

Overpopulation is one of the biggest ills plaguing the country. The number of people in this country vis-à-vis the education institutes available are fairly disproportionate. As a result, lakhs of students every year have to struggle and study hard in order to get a few thousand seats in elite educational institutes. The problem gets compounded when students belong to low-income groups and hence, their access to fine tutoring at affordable prices is even lesser. Anand Kumar from Bihar came as a godsend for many such aspirants. He gave free coaching to students and guaranteed them a seat in IIT. This feat made him a household name and now Hrithik Roshan is all set to reprise his role in SUPER 30. The film has faced lots of obstacles and also few delays. So does SUPER 30 manage to do justice to the journey of the man and yet manage to entertain? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-997852 size-full" title="Super 30 Movie Review" src="" alt="Super 30 Movie Review" width="720" height="450" /> SUPER 30 is the story of a selfless man fighting for the cause of education-for-all. The year is 1996. Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan) has completed his graduation and is passionate about mathematics. He’s so good in the subject that he is felicitated at the hands of the education minister (Pankaj Tripathi). Anand manages to solve a complex mathematical problem, which has baffled scholars all around the world. His feat lands him a seat in the prestigious Cambridge University. His father Eshwar Kumar (Virendra Saxena) is a postman who takes out his PF to fund Anand’s foreign education. When the money falls short, he and Anand knock at the doors of the education minister, who had promised him help. But the minister refuses to help. Meanwhile, Eshwar passes away one day suddenly. He was the only earning member of the family and hence, Anand sheds his ambition and begins selling papad to survive. One day, he bumps into Lallan Singh (Aditya Srivastava) who runs Excellence Coaching Centre, an institute for those giving the IIT-JEE exams. He is aware of Anand’s brilliance in mathematics since he was in the college when Anand was felicitated. He gets Anand enrolled in his coaching institute as a premium teacher. Since Anand’s teaching methods guarantee success, he becomes quite sought after. Excellence Coaching Centre management even promote themselves by using Anand’s picture on their banners. Anand’s financial condition also improves as he’s even made one of the signatories. However, he soon realizes that some brilliant students aren’t getting a fair chance to excel in life because of their underprivileged background. Overnight, Anand quits Excellence Coaching Centre. He starts his own centre, where he decides to teach 30 students for IIT entrance exams for free. Not just that, he even arranges for their accommodation and food. Lallan obviously is livid and he tries his best to persuade Anand. When nothing works, he tries to demotivate Anand, saying that all his students who fail will go back to their impoverished lives. It’s important that each and every student of Anand manages to crack the IIT exam. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sanjeev Dutta's story is decent and has the potential. However, the incidents shown in the film seem too unreal at places. The makers claim it’s based on a true story but some of the episodes of the second half seem fictional. Sanjeev Dutta's screenplay is watertight in the first half. There’s too much happening but it’s all written down well. The writing in the second half is a bit shaky. Also, the writing seems quite dated. The good vs bad battle is something we have witnessed in countless number of films before. Many of the scenes of the baddies are typical of the 90s films especially the manner in which they are plotting to strike against the hero. Sanjeev Dutta's dialogues are acidic and make the right impact. Vikas Bahl's direction is average and could have been better. In the first half, he manages to handle everything well but cracks begin to develop in the second half and it shows. There are several loose ends; for instance, what angered Lallan and the minister so much about the Super 30 programme that they even get ready to eliminate Anand? The funny part is that Vikas hints a bit on the entire education scam. But for a better impact, he should have delved a little bit more on the topic. In the absence of the detailing, it looks quite superficial. Secondly, some characters appear all of a sudden. There’s a way of introducing important characters. In SUPER 30, Raghunath (Amit Sadh) and Purshottam (Manav Gohil) suddenly spring out of nowhere and it takes a while to understand who they are and what their relevance to the plot is. Similarly, some major characters vanish without a trace as well, towards the climax. The biggest goof up by Vikas however is in the Holi sequence. It falls completely flat. It also gives one a déjà vu of Vikas Bahl’s earlier film, SHAANDAAR [2015]. Even the hospital scene in the end seems stretched. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Super 30 | PUBLIC REVIEW | First Day First Show | Hrithik Roshan, Mrunal Thakur | Vikas Bahl</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> SUPER 30 has an interesting start, depicting Fugga (Vijay Varma) as a kind of narrator who tells the story of Anand to an audience in London. The focus soon shifts to Patna and the beginning portions are not very well directed. But they keep one glued to the screen. A lot happens in the first half – from Anand getting selected for Cambridge to the struggle faced to get funds to his father’s demise to becoming rich and famous after being employed at the coaching institute to starting his own centre. Hence, there’s never a dull moment in the 75-minute-long first half. The second half begins well and the sequence of the competition between Excellence students and Anand’s students is impressive. But then things go downhill, in the Holi sequence. It’s bizarre to say the least and the intended message just doesn’t come across. The climax too might seem filmy for a section of audience. But it is thrilling and also moving due to which the overall impact is not affected much. The final scene is quite uplifting and is an apt way to end the film. SUPER 30 belongs to Hrithik Roshan, no two doubts on that! He’s the soul of the film and the reason why one looks forward to the proceedings despite issues in the second half. He’s completely convincing as a Bihari and his accent, clothes, make-up, body language etc. are spot on. He proves yet again why he’s one of the most accomplished superstars at present! Mrunal Thakur (Rashmi) suits the part and delivers a decent performance. It’s a very small role but has a relevance to the story. Aditya Srivastava is quite good in the villainous role. Pankaj Tripathi is gimmicky. In some scenes, it works but in few places, it doesn’t come across as intended. Virendra Saxena is adorable and his character is sure to win hearts. Nandish Singh (Pranav Kumar) is fine as Anand’s brother. Amit Sadh (Raghunath) is too good and has a badass look which suits him. Sadly, he’s hardly there and this is one character you wish had more screen time. Vijay Varma is entertaining in the intro scene but later on his character’s significance will be questioned by the viewers. Rajesh Sharma is wasted and one wonders why his character is even there in the film. Manav Gohil is natural. Karishma Sharma is sizzling in the item song. As for the students, all have done a superb job but the ones who leave an impact are Ghanshyam Kumar (little Fugga), Deepali Gautam (Kusum) and Rahul Raj (Kishore). Ajay-Atul's music is not of chartbuster variety and one wishes the film had one chartbuster, theme-like song. <em>'Jugraafiya'</em> is the best of the lot. <em>'Paisa'</em> is situational. <em>'Question Mark'</em> seems like a good idea on paper but execution is weak. <em>'Niyam Ho'</em> is played at a crucial juncture. <em>'Basanti No Dance'</em> is horrible. Ajay-Atul’s background score is a bit loud but correctly makes the impact. Anay Goswamy's cinematography is appropriate. Allan Amin's action is realistic and is not over the top. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty's production design is quite real. Subodh Srivastava and Niharika Bhasin Khan's costumes are straight out of life. None of the characters look glamorous by any angle. Vikram Gaikwad's make-up is praiseworthy, especially in the case of Hrithik. Mukesh Chhabra's casting deserves applause, in the case of the casting of students particularly. Sreekar Prasad's editing is disjointed and from an editor of such a calibre, a better job was expected. On the whole, SUPER 30 has a fine first half but goes downhill in the second hour. Yet, the impact is made due to the high emotional quotient and also thanks to Hrithik Roshan’s superlative performance. At the box office, it will require a good word of mouth to rein in the footfalls

Movie Review: Spider-Man - Far From Home (English)

Thu, 04 Jul 19 12:13:42 +0000

One of the greatest chapters in world movie history has to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After introducing various exciting superheroes and also the ultimate villain (Thanos), the series went on another level in AVENERS: INFINITY WAR [2018] and later in AVENGERS: ENDGAME [2019]. The latter ended on a somewhat tragic note owing to the demise of Iron Man primarily. However, MCU saga continues and one of the first post-ENDGAME films that have hit theatres is SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. So does it manage to entertain and excite audiences? Or after the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, it doesn’t live up to the expectations. Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-995683" src="" alt="" width="750" height="450" /> SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is the story of a superhero torn between his love and responsibilities whilst fighting a nasty villain. The world is slowly adjusting after half of the population disappeared and then re-emerged five years later (called the ‘blip’). Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is still distraught by the demise of Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). He doesn’t want to be a superhero for a change and is looking forward to a two-week summer field trip to Europe organized by his alma mater, Midtown School of Science and Technology. That MJ (Zendaya) is also a part of it makes him even more excited. He plans to propose to her on top of the Eiffel Tower, Paris during the trip. Meanwhile, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) reach Mexico where locals complain that the cyclone, that destroyed their village, ‘had a face’. While investigating, the Earth Elemental resurfaces. At this point, Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) also emerges and destroys the creature. Realizing that Spider-Man can prove to be of help, Nick calls Peter and even sends Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to him. But Peter ignores the call for plea and heads to Venice for the trip. While he and his school mates are enjoying the sights, the Water Elemental wreaks havoc. Mysterio reaches on time and he destroys it and Peter also helps him. Nick Fury meanwhile reaches Venice as well and tells Peter that the Fire Elemental will be attacking next, in Prague. Mysterio, who is revealed to be from another Earth, says that it is the most dangerous of all and that it destroyed his planet. Nick hence insists that Peter help them. He also gifts Peter Tony’s glasses, equipped with the artificial intelligence, EDITH, meant for the latter’s successor. Peter is touched with the gesture but he rejects to help and looks forward to moving to Paris next where he will be finally proposing to MJ. However, Nick gets the school trip’s itinerary changed to Prague instead of Paris! Hence, Peter reluctantly is compelled to help in fighting Fire Elemental. As expected, the fire creature attacks and with great difficulty, Mysterio, along with Peter’s help manages to destroy it. Peter realizes he doesn’t deserve the EDITH glasses and hands it to Mysterio. All seems to be well but here’s when things change for the worse. Peter realizes he has done a grave mistake and what happens next forms the rest of the film. Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers's story is impressive and is in sync with the theme and mood of the earlier SPIDER-MAN film, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING [2017]. Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers's screenplay does justice to the plot and adds a lot to the film. There’s a lot happening in the movie, especially in the personal life of Peter, and this aspect especially is well woven with the hero vs villain track. Dialogues are as expected witty and up the humour quotient. Jon Watts's direction is commendable and he takes the film to great heights. After having more than 20 MCU films and showing countless number of evil creatures vandalizing various cities, it is a challenge to show all of that and yet impress the audience. And Jon wins the battle here, though in the first hour, it doesn’t entirely impress. But later on, with some twists in the tale, the desired impact is made. He also directed SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and hence, recreates the mood and even some of the aspects. The intro scene, after the Marvel logo is shown, for instance is done in the same way as the earlier film. But he also brings a contrast by making Peter run away from superhero responsibilities whereas in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, he is dying for the next mission. Lastly, he also touches upon the Iron Man tribute but makes sure he doesn’t go overboard. On the flipside, the twist in the villain track is a shocker but could have been more convincing. It’s bewildering that the antagonist managed to pull off what he did without any suspicion. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME’s beginning scene, showing the Mexico sequence is ordinary. The fun begins once the narrative shifts to New York City and viewers get acquainted with the ‘Blip’ concept. With AVENGERS: ENDGAME fresh in mind also Peter’s association with Tony, it seems very convincing when he declines to help Nick. His chemistry with MJ is electrifying and not just action, but this film scores in this department as well. The scenes where Water and Fire Elementals destroys Venice and Prague makes for a good watch, although it’s something that we have seen in previous Marvel films too. But it’s how Spider-Man and Mysterio team up is what makes it novel. Till here, the film is fine but it goes on a high once the true intentions of Mysterio are unveiled. And this really takes the film on a high because the events that follow are novel, especially the villain’s powers and methods. The finale in London is very exciting. The mid-credit scene is shocking and makes you wait for the next Marvel films with even more excitement. The post-credit scene is a surprise, though it raises questions as well. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-995684 size-full" title="Movie Review: Spider-Man - Far From Home (English)" src="" alt="Movie Review: Spider-Man - Far From Home (English)" width="750" height="450" /> Tom Holland is now fully acceptable in this role. This time, Peter has become a bit matured although his goofy side is still intact. Tom balances this act very well. As Spider-Man too, he is just apt. His best act however is when he’s trying to woo MJ. Jake Gyllenhaal is quite impressive in this interesting role and he gets better in the second half. That evil laugh, when he reveals his true colours, is one of the memorable moments in the film! Zendaya is terrific and she does complete justice to her character. The way she rattles off trivia about various places and shows her dark side of humour makes her even more fascinating. Jon Favreau is dependable as always and this time, his character pisses off Peter and you have to see the film to understand why! Marisa Tomei (Aunt May) is a stunner as expected and is decent. Samuel L Jackson in his element. Jacob Batalon (Ned) is quite funny and even his character comes across a significant change and it adds to the entertainment. Tony Revolori (Eugene) is fine as the bully and there’s a hint given as to how he’s going to contribute a lot to future Marvel films. Other actors who are nice are Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Angourie Rice (Betty), J B Smoove (Professor Julius Dell), Martin Starr (Mr Harrington) and Numan Acar (Dimitri). The late Stan Lee unfortunately is not present in his trademark cameo appearance. Michael Giacchino's music is energizing for such a superhero film. Matthew J Lloyd's cinematography is breath-taking and the various cities are well captured. The sequence set in the tulip fields of The Netherlands however stands out. Claude Paré's production design is up to the mark. Anna B. Sheppard's costumes are appealing. VFX as expected is top class and in the illusion scene, it is very impactful. Leigh Folsom Boyd and Dan Lebental's editing is sans complaint. But in a crucial twist scene, it is too quick and takes a while to comprehend. On the whole, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is a fun, entertaining fare that gives viewers their money’s worth. With AVENGERS: ENDGAME fresh in everyone’s minds, it further adds to the impact. Spider-Man has been immensely popular in India and hence at the box office, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is expected to rake in huge numbers and possibly emerge as the biggest non-AVENGERS Marvel flick. Recommended

Movie Review: Article 15

Wed, 26 Jun 19 02:43:46 +0000

One of the burning issues of the country is the caste system. Despite relevant laws and provisions, one can’t deny that the discrimination of various communities continue with alarming regularity. At times, it manifests into shocking crimes. The political class takes advantage of these conflicts and it further creates a divide. Very few films in Bollywood have plots that actually revolves around caste, shockingly. Anubhav Sinha however takes up the challenge, motivated by the success of his last year’s flick MULK, which dealt with religious tensions. The result is ARTICLE 15, featuring the urban audience’s favourite star Ayushmann Khurrana in the leading role. The trailer and content has already become a talking point. So does ARTICLE 15 succeed in giving audiences a thrilling time? Or does Anubhav Sinha miss the bus this time? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-993005 size-full" title="Movie Review Article 15" src="" alt="Movie Review Article 15" width="750" height="450" /> ARTICLE 15 is the story of a righteous cop trying to solve a caste-related crime. Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) is an IPS officer from Delhi who has been transferred to a village named Lalgaon in Uttar Pradesh as punishment posting. As soon as he joins duty, he comes to know about a case involving three missing girls from the Dalit community in the village. The cops out there don’t investigate the matter, citing that the case isn’t serious and the community often files false complaints. The next day however, the corpse of two of the missing girls – Shalu and Mamta – is found hanging on a tree. The third girl, Pooja, is missing. One of the girls from the community, Gaura (Sayani Gupta) tells Ayan that these three girls used to work under the local contractor Anshu who used to pay them Rs. 25 per day. The girls then asked for a raise of just Rs. 3 but it was rejected by Anshu. Hence, they protested and left work. Gaura alleges that Anshu possibly violated the girls to teach them a lesson. Ayan decides to investigate the matter as he realizes that Gaura is indeed right. But officer Brahmdutt Singh (Manoj Pahwa), working under Ayan, secretly tries to change the narrative of the crime. He plants a story in a newspaper that both the girls were in a same-sex relationship and that’s why their fathers killed them. In short, it was not a caste-related crime but honour killing is what he tries to prove. He also forces Dr. Malti Ram (Ronjini Chakraborty) to change the post mortem report, although it’s clear that Shalu and Mamta had been repeatedly gang raped and then hung on the tree. Amidst all these challenges, Ayan attempts to solve the case and find Pooja. To top it all, a Dalit underground leader Nishant (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub) attacks police officer Jatav (Kumud Mishra) and Ayan’s PA Mayank (Ashish Verma) and sets their jeep on fire. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki's story is very hard-hitting and deserves to be told. It is loosely inspired by events like the Badaun rape case and Una flogging incident. The various characters, their dilemmas, and of course their caste status is well put out and used. However, one also wishes the film didn’t have so many people as it becomes confusing. Also, not all contribute entirely to the main plot. Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki's screenplay is engaging and keeps one hooked from start to finish. There’s so much happening every minute and the writers try their best to keep audiences captivated. A few scenes however should have been written in a more entertaining way. Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki's dialogues are one of the pillars of the film. They take several scenes to another level. And the writers don’t take a safe route. The names of various castes are fearlessly mentioned and thankfully, the CBFC hasn’t chopped off these references either. It’s a pleasant surprise that even the F-word has been retained. In one sequence, the characters even discuss about the symbols of the political parties and it’s easy to understand what they are hinting at. Anubhav Sinha's direction is first-rate for most parts. It’s a very sensitive topic, which is why most filmmakers have feared taking it up. Anubhav not only makes a film out of it, he does a fine job and also ensures the various communities don’t get offended. But one wishes he had made ARTICLE 15 in a more commercial way. His earlier film MULK was easy to comprehend and had a thrill element and that made it more mainstream. ARTICLE 15 is entertaining and massy only in parts. In a few scenes, it seems like a documentary. A few moments however are very memorable and keep lingering in one’s mind for a long time. The shots where sewer cleaners enter the gutters without any safety equipment is bound to haunt viewers. Another brief but powerful shot is how political workers put up the banner of the upcoming rally on the very wall where posters of missing Pooja are pasted. It’s quite an interesting way to subtly tell viewers about how society has got the priorities all wrong. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Article 15 Review | Ayushmann Khurrana | Isha Talwar | Public Review | FDFS</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> ARTICLE 15’s initial scene is quite a shocker but then the interest levels drop. The first 10-15 minutes are spent in introducing the characters and setting. It’s when the dead bodies are found that the film rises again. The complexities are laid out very well and one begins to see with interest how Ayan wades through these challenges and attempts to bring justice. One of the most memorable sequences of this hour and also the film is when Ayan gets outraged after knowing the caste status of fellow cops and how there are plenty of hierarchies. The intermission point takes the cake as the finest scene of the film and will surely be greeted with claps in cinema halls. It also excites audiences as they expect second half to be even better. In the second hour however, the film gets quite complicated. The subplots of Nishant and the Mahant ji are interesting and even realistic but don’t gel well with the main plot. On the positive side, the twist in the tale is unpredictable. The scenes of Nihal Singh and his sister give goosebumps. Also, the sequence of Ayan being interrogated by the CBI is arresting. The climax is quite impressive and the film ends on a fantastic note. Ayushmann Khurrana is in top form. He’s mostly known for quirky roles but last year, he surprised everyone by exceling in the thriller ANDHADHUN. In ARTICLE 15 however, he goes one step ahead as there’s no scope for comedy at all here. Yet, he comes out with flying colours. Even with his silences and eye movements, he conveys so much. ARTICLE 15 has created a buzz also because he’s there in the film and he ensures he doesn’t disappoint his fans and admirers. Manoj Pahwa leaves a huge mark. Anubhav Sinha extracts the best from him – last year he rocked in MULK – and now with this flick, he yet again impresses. Watch out for the scenes when he charges towards Jatav and in the second half when he confronts Jatav. Kumud Mishra is the surprise of the film. His role is very well fleshed out and with his performance, he takes it on a high. He gets to be in a clapworthy sequence in the second half. He also contributes to the comic quotient in the movie. Sayani Gupta is efficient. She arguably did a similar role in JOLLY LLB 2 [2017] where also she was begging the powerful people for justice. But here, the setting is different and she tries her best to ensure her performance doesn’t remind one of any previous performance. Her breakdown scene is chilling. Isha Talwar (Aditi) is decent and her chemistry with Ayushmann is quite fresh. Aakash Dabhade (Satyendra Rai) has a crucial part and is well cast. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub gives a powerful performance and suits his character. It’s a well written part but one wishes his later portions had more impact to the overall plot. Ronjini Chakraborty is quite confident. Nassar (CBI official) is apt. The actors playing Anshu, Amla the maid, Nihal Singh and Mahant are fine. Music has no scope in the film and it’s not relegated even in the background. <em>'Kahab Toh'</em> is played in the opening credits and its lyrics are quite sharp. <em>'Shuru Karein Kya'</em> is played during the end credits and though it is catchy, this rap track looks out of place considering the theme of the film. Mangesh Dhakde's background score is not consistent but the exhilarating music elevates impact. Ewan Mulligan's cinematography is quite raw and suits a film of this genre. Nikhil Kovale's production design is realistic. Overall, the look of the film is quite rich and even a bit haunting and it works. Vishakha Kullarwar's costumes are straight out of life, especially the ones worn by the marginalized communities. Yasha Ramchandani's editing is appropriate. On the whole, ARTICLE 15 is a hard-hitting film that raises some important issues related to caste, that are plaguing the country. At the box office, the powerful plot and brand Ayushmann will ensure that it gets decent footfalls in the multiplexes

Movie Review: Kabir Singh

Thu, 20 Jun 19 18:09:26 +0000

One of the most loved love stories of Bollywood is DEVDAS. It has been remade several times and ten years ago, Anurag Kashyap gave a different touch to the tale through DEV D [2009]. All the interpretations have been liked as there’s a charm in the story of a man who goes on a self-destructive path when he fails to get the girl he loves. Two years ago, Sandeep Reddy Vanga made a Telugu film named ARJUN REDDY, which had a kind of a deja vu of DEVDAS. Yet, it stood out due to the treatment, execution and performances. ARJUN REDDY became a cult success and now its Hindi remake KABIR SINGH is all set to hit theatres. So does KABIR SINGH turn out to be as good as or better than ARJUN REDDY? Or does it fail to stir the emotions of the viewers? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-991288 size-full" title="Movie Review: Kabir Singh" src="" alt="Movie Review: Kabir Singh" width="750" height="450" /> KABIR SINGH is the story of a heartbroken man on the path of self-destruction. Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is a top ranked medical student from a Delhi medical school. He is hot tempered and once during a football match, he gets into physical altercation with a rival college student named Amit (Amit Sharma). The college Dean (Adil Hussain) asks him to tender an apology or else he’ll be fired. Kabir choses the second option as he’s of the opinion that he did no wrong. But in no time Kabir changes his mind after he sees the first year student Preeti (Kiara Advani). Luck favours on him as Preeti's family is family friend of Kabir's and he’s asked to take care of her. Kabir is much feared on campus and he starts to give her personal lessons. Preeti enjoys this attention and soon they begin a romantic relationship. After their course ends, they move back to their respective residences in Mumbai. Kabir's brother Karan (Arjan Bajwa) is getting married and Kabir goes to Preeti’s house to pick her up. Things turn awry here as Preeti’s father spots the lovebirds cosying up to each other. In a sudden turn of events, Preeti is compelled to get married to one Jatinder and Kabir is unable to stop this union. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s story is top-notch and very entertaining. The entire premise and most of the script is the same as ARJUN REDDY. Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s screenplay does justice to the premise. The biggest plus is that it’s quite fresh. Despite the DEVDAS hangover, it stands out and looks like a story of present day. The film showcases a vast journey of the protagonist and it’s stitched together very well. Siddharth-Garima’s dialogues are quite impactful and suit the temper of the protagonist. The funny and medical-inspired one liners are quite witty. Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s direction is quite impressive and he recreates the same magic that he managed to create in ARJUN REDDY. For a director who’s so new, Sandeep helms this venture like a pro. One can feel the pain that Kabir goes through and despite his immoral acts and addiction, one’s heart goes to him. To manage to achieve this feat is no cakewalk. KABIR SINGH has a bit of a philosophical beginning and it’s confusing. The film gets on track as the flashback commences. One of the high points of the first half is when Kabir assaults the rival college player and rationalises his behaviour in front of the Dean. The scenes where he orders Preeti to join him for private lessons seem a bit unsettling but it gets better once you find out that Preeti is willingly joining him and that she enjoys his company. Then again the film goes on a high during the intense Holi sequence. The tension continues in the entire pre interval and intermission portions. Post interval the film gets a bit dragging. But it keeps one engaged as Kabir turns into an alcoholic but a fantastic surgeon and gets into a sort of fling with Jiya Sharma (Nikita Dutta). The in house court sequence is very intriguing. The climax is partly predictable but the turn of events will surely surprise one and all. The film ends on a lovely note. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Kabir Singh Review | Shahid Kapoor | Kiara Advani | Public Review | FDFS</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Shahid Kapoor owns the film. It won’t be wrong to say this is his most accomplished work. He had a tall order to accomplish since he is stepping into the shoes of Vijay Deverekonda and that too in a role that made him an overnight craze. Yet, Shahid comes out with flying colours. He has boyish looks and still, when he enters the rival college and bashes a student in front of other hundreds of in house students and they don’t object, it seems totally convincing. His alcoholic phase is quite digestible too. Kiara Advani doesn’t have much dialogues and her screen time is limited in the second half. However she fits the part and adds a lot with her fine performance. Her breakdown sequence is exceptional. Nikita Dutta is sweet in the supporting role. Arjan Bajwa and Suresh Oberoi (Kabir’s father) are decent. Soham Majumdar (Shiva) has a very crucial part and is very entertaining. Audiences would surely love him. Adil Hussain is passable. Vanita Kharat (Kabir’s maid) raises laughs in both her scenes. Amit Sharma is a bit over the top but that suits his character. The actors playing Shruti, Jatinder, Keerti are fine. The Songs are mostly relegated in the background. <em>'Bekhayali'</em> is the best of the lot and very well placed in the film. <em>'Kaise Hua'</em> is well shot and the instrumental part of the song is like one of the film’s themes. <em>'Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage'</em>, <em>'Pehla Pyaar'</em> and <em>'Tera Ban Jaunga'</em> are sweet. <em>'Mere Sohneya'</em> is uplifting. Harshvardhan Rameshwar's background score is subtle and even absent in a few scenes. But the central theme of the film is exhilarating and adds to the excitement. Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran's cinematography is superlative. The madness is very well captured. Mansi Dhruv Mehta's production design is quite rich. Payal Saluja and Ankita Patel's costumes are realistic yet appealing. Afzal Usman Khan's action is quite real and gory. Aarif Sheikh's editing is a bit abrupt at certain places. On the whole, KABIR SINGH is a well-made love saga which has tremendous appeal for the youth. The deadly cocktail of adult theme, lovemaking scenes, hit music, taut script and bravura performances would surely bring audiences in hordes to the cinemas

Movie Review: Toy Story 4 (English)

Thu, 20 Jun 19 07:55:57 +0000

In 1995, we were introduced to the characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear, along with a host of others with the film TOY STORY. Since then, we have seen two other films in the series release with Woody and Buzz playing the mainstay characters who though being just toys have imparted valuable lessons. Now nine years after the last film in the franchise hit screen, we see the release of TOY STORY 4. Promising to recreate the feelings of old, the new film yet again brings the two main characters to the forefront, while interweaving a social lesson for viewers. But will this new film from Pixar live up to expectations or will it be just another animated flick is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-991055 size-full" title="Movie Review: Toy Story 4 (English)" src="" alt="Movie Review: Toy Story 4 (English)" width="620" height="450" /> TOY STORY 4 begins with a prelude to what has happened since the first film. Though brief, the segment manages to capture the essence of the past, and gradually transforms into the present. From there we are taken into the world of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang whose new owner Bonnie is all set to start a kindergarten. Woody, once a favourite is now cast aside, but staying true to his nature, the cowboy goes above and beyond to ensure Bonnie is happy on her first day in kindergarten. While there, Bonnie makes a new toy from a spork, who she names Forky. However, all hell breaks loose when the family along with the toys head out on an adventurous road trip that turns into an unexpected reunion, as Woody's slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they're worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as toys. For those of you who remember the Pixar animated films from the days past, let us just say that TOY STORY 4 is sure to bring back fond memories. With characters that have already been developed over the past three films, a watertight script and a story that takes viewers on an emotional roller-coaster ride with twists and turns when least expected. In fact, TOY STORY 4 is exactly what you expect a Pixar animated film to be, replete with family values and messages conveyed in an entertaining fashion that connects with kids and adults alike. For those of you who have watched the TOY STORY saga unfold, the latest film is a perfect culmination to the franchise. Director Josh Cooley has done exceedingly well in developing a film that not only keeps up the pace but also gives viewers much needed breathers to slow down and enjoy the plot. The animation is as expected, seamless and visually stunning. From the quick paced sequences to the way each character responds and acts, it is emotions that are the main focus. Another point that needs to be mentioned is the fact that the writers and director have developed the film in such a way that viewers who will be watching this as the first film in the TOY STORY franchise will be able to understand the nuances of friendship between Woody and Buzz, and the rest of the gang. In terms of animation, Pixar has risen to the call and have done an excellent job with making the film. Refined finishes, believable movement and most of all, visual emotions that convey feelings effortlessly are what makes TOY STORY 4 stand out. On the whole, TOY STORY 4 is an entertaining fare as a standalone film and an even better one as a finale to a saga. A definite must watch for the young and old alike. At the box office, the film will face competition from the other big releases, and with low key promotions, the film might find the going a bit tough

Movie Review: Men in Black: International (English)

Fri, 14 Jun 19 12:26:01 +0000

Back in 1997 we saw the sci-fi film MEN IN BLACK hit screens starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The film, about an undercover government organization that secretly protects the Earth from alien life was an instant hit among the masses. Following the success of this, there were two other sequels that released, with the last one releasing in 2012. Now, six years on, we see a new film in the series with MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL. But will this new film which features a new cast, comprising of Liam Neeson, and the THOR: RAGNAROCK pair of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson manage to live up to the past films in the series or will it fall flat and be classified as just another CGI filled fest is the question. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-989271 size-full" title="Movie Review Men in Black International (English)" src="" alt="Movie Review Men in Black International (English)" width="620" height="450" /> The film starts off after the events of MEN IN BLACK 3, with a new branch of the MIB being set up in London. From here the film skips to a scene in a local neighbourhood in America where a young girl Molly (Tessa Thompson) sees her parents get nuralized, but escapes the same herself, while at the same time assisting an alien lifeform to escape. Years pass, and Molly persistently searches for the mysterious organization of individuals who wear only black suits. Meanwhile back in London, the head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), pairs her up with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) to battle a different alien species called The Hive. The battle is won and both Agent T and Agent H are hailed as heroes. Back in America, Molly finally finds the headquarters of MIB and convinces Agent O (Emma Thompson) to recruit her. Put on a probationary period, Agent O sends Molly now rechristened to Agent M on a mission to London where she meets Agent T and Agent H. Though on probation Agent M wriggles her way onto a mission with Agent H, a mission where they need to keep an alien noble safe. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worse, and the two must now figure out what went wrong, who leaked the information of the alien noble being on Earth. And most importantly they have to tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Right from the word go, viewers are taken on a journey where everything is possible, from wormhole travel to high speed undersea trains. With excellent CGI, the film is visually stunning keeping you in your seat. However, the first half of the film is spent in setting up the premise for the story while at the same time introducing the new characters. Though Agent T and Agent H aren’t given much in the way of a backstory, Agent M, on the other hand, has her life played out from the moment she first encountered the Men in Black. Sadly this process comes across as long drawn and if not for the visuals and occasional action sequences, viewers would be hard pressed to stay in their seats. The second half of the film picks up with all the ends coming together, a clearer picture begins to emerge. However, as the story progresses one can’t help but notice how predictable the flow is. In fact, the entire core of the film can easily be surmised by the end of the first half with the eventual outcome also being spot on. In this regard, the writing of the film certainly could have been better; with a rather predictable approach and lacklustre punch lines in the dialogues, a lot is missed. In fact, when compared to the previous film, MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL comes across as a half baked attempt to take the franchise forward. The writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway could have paid more attention to the comic aspect of the film, which unfortunately works only in parts, while for the remainder of the time it comes across as forced and unwanted. Marcum and Holloway have also tried to imbibe Agent T and Agent M with the same kind of relationship that was shared by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the previous film. However, once again the writing falls flat with the two coming across as disinterested and unconcerned for the other. Director F Gary Gray does what he can with the script and dialogues, weaving a visually stunning film. Unfortunately, this does little to help the film. Coming to the performances, Chris Hemsworth who was last seen as the bloated Thor in AVENGERS: ENDGAME is back in shape and on the ball as far as his performance is concerned. Sadly, we have seen his comic side and know he could do better but was limited by the script in this one. Given this fact, Hemsworth has done a commendable job of trying to carry the film. Tessa Thompson, as Molly/ Agent M has done a decent job in her role and so has Liam Neeson as High T. However, though each of the artists have given it their all putting their best forward, the underwhelming story and the weak writing severely undermine their acts. As for CGI and visual effects, MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL has it all. From big explosions to unimaginable alien lifeforms, the film features everything. But once again, visuals alone do not make a film, making this latest in the franchise just another CGI filled venture. Even the background score of the film is rather forgettable, unlike the previous films whose tunes are still there in the back of your mind, MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL features an uninteresting and uninteresting soundtrack. On the whole, for those of you who have loved the MEN IN BLACK series this new release will be a serious downer. At the box office, with BHARAT running strong and competition from other new releases, MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL will face a tough time ahead

Movie Review: Game Over

Fri, 14 Jun 19 02:30:37 +0000

Video games are an inherent part of the lives of many. In today’s times, it’s not uncommon to see people playing games on their smartphones as a stressbuster or as a hobby for long hours. Hollywood has made films where these games are the USP like JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [2017], READY PLAYER ONE [2018], WRECK-IT RALPH [2012] etc. When it comes to Bollywood, apart from RA.ONE [2011], no other film has had this element. Now GAME OVER attempts to get into this space. This is a dubbed Hindi film and is originally shot in Tamil and Telugu. So does GAME OVER manage to give viewers a thrilling time? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-988924 size-full" title="Movie Review Game Over" src="" alt="Movie Review Game Over" width="750" height="450" /> GAME OVER is the story of gamer fighting demons inside her and also in the outside world. In December 2017, in Sector 101 in Gurugram, a young girl named Amrutha (Sanchana Natarajan) is stalked by an unknown killer while she’s enjoying her meal in her house, all alone. Sometime later, the killer enters her house, assaults her and takes her out of the house in a football field. Here, he beheads her and sets her body on fire. A year later, Sapna (Taapsee Pannu), who stays in Dhankot in Gurugram is having a traumatic time. She is a video game designer and a video game addict who stays alone in a palatial house along with her house help Kalamma (Vinodhini Vaidyanathan). A couple of weeks after Amrutha was murdered, Sapna too had a harrowing time, on New Year’s Eve, when she was raped and the whole act was filmed. With December 31 approaching, she begins to have panic attacks. Since the rape, she has not been able to stay in darkness for more than few seconds. In the midst, she begins to face a new problem. She has a game-centric tattoo on her wrist and it begins to ache badly. Before going to the skin specialist, she goes to the tattoo artist Varsha (Ramya Subramanian) to check if it’s something to do with the tattoo. Varsha hesitatingly informs her that she had mistakenly put a memorial tattoo on Sapna. Meaning, a small amount of ash, of Amrutha, was mixed in the tattoo ink. It was to be used for the tattoo of Amrutha’s mother Dr. Reema (Parvathi T) but by mistake, it was applied on Sapna. Sapna is obviously aghast on knowing this information. She attempts to kill herself but survives. After a meeting with Dr. Reema and knowing the kind of fighter Amrutha was, Sapna decides to start life afresh. At this point, however, the killer who killed Amrutha begins to stalk Sapna. On December 31, he decides to murder her. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Ashwin Saravanan and Kaavya Ramkumar's story is a <em>bhel puri</em> of various aspects. The film touches upon trauma faced by rape survivors, cancer survivors, serial killing, video game addiction etc. And it’s not stitched together well. Ashwin Saravanan and Kaavya Ramkumar's screenplay gets affected because of the poor and random storyline. The second half is better and though it reminds one of JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, it manages to engage a bit. Shruti Madan's dialogues are nothing great and the ones by Vinodhini Vaidyanathan could have been better written. Ashwin Saravanan's direction is nothing great. Though he understands the technicalities, he fails to do justice to the overall plot and that’s not surprising since the writing itself is flawed.  A few scenes are quite engaging with one sequence in the second half guaranteed to give viewers a jolt. But he should have made the narrative simpler and not culminated the film on such an abrupt note. Moreover, the loose ends in the film are way too many. <h2 class="entry-title name"><a title="Game Over Movie Review | Taapsee Pannu | Ashwin Saravanan | First Day First Show" href=""><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Game Over Movie Review | Taapsee Pannu | Ashwin Saravanan | First Day First Show</span></strong></a></h2> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> GAME OVER’s biggest problem is that it is dubbed in Hindi. When the makers were shooting it in two Southern languages already, they should have also shot it in Hindi especially since lead actress Taapsee Pannu is a popular face in Bollywood. The film has been shot in South but the makers attempt to pass it off as Gurugram and it just doesn’t work. Not just the exterior settings, even the interiors are not convincing. What exactly does Sapna do for a living that she’s able to afford such a huge bungalow? Despite having such a vast place, Sapna doesn’t have her own bedroom and sleeps on the sofa in what seems to be the room where she works. No explanations given! In fact, a lot of things are left unexplained till the very end and it really dilutes the impact. The entire rape episode is never properly touched upon. The serial killer bit too is not properly dealt with. Moreover, the film’s genre keeps changing. It starts off as a violent crime drama. Later, it becomes a psychological thriller, even giving a déjà vu of the Hindi film PHOBIA [2016]. In the scene where Sapna meets Dr. Reema, it becomes an emotional saga. The second half is like a different film altogether. The twist here is novel and that thankfully arrests attention. It’s also completely action packed and that somewhat helps in entertaining the viewers. But it’s not enough to impress the audiences on the whole. Taapsee Pannu is quite good in her part as always. Very few actresses can convincingly play such a part with élan and Taapsee definitely impresses. She constantly tries to rise above the weak script. Vinodhini Vaidyanathan has a very crucial part and is okay. Ramya Subramanian has a fine screen presence. Sanchana Natarajan is quite likeable. Her track is heartwarming but doesn’t make the desired impact as it seems like a misfit in such kind of a film. Anish Kuruvilla (Psychiatrist) is passable. Ron Ethan Yohann's music is exhilarating. The theme played during the opening credits is splendid. A Vasanth's cinematography is appropriate for such kind of a film. Sachin Sudhakaran and Hariharan M's sound design is nothing special and should have been better considering the film’s genre. Shiva Shankar's art direction is decent. “Real” Satish's stunts and N K Nandini's costumes are realistic. Richard Kevin A's editing is nothing remarkable. On the whole, GAME OVER packs in too much in a single film and hence the desired impact is not made. The buzz is negligible and hence, GAME OVER will surely face a tough time at the box office

Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (English)

Thu, 06 Jun 19 11:41:21 +0000

Over the years we have seen superhero films grow into a genre of its own, especially with Marvel’s characters entertaining us on the big screen. Now, continuing the same is the latest release from Fox Star in the form of X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. But will this new film, which will essentially mark the end of an arc in the X-MEN franchise, match up to the ones that have already been release, will it bring clarity to the muddled up timeline of the X-MEN universe or will it be just another actioner devoid of soul is what we analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-986673" src="" alt="" width="620" height="450" /> X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX starts off by introducing Jean Grey as a child who realises her mutant abilities via a gruesome accident. From there, Jean is taken to Professor Charles Xavier’s institute, where she eventually grows to become part of the X-Men team. Unfortunately on one fateful mission in space Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiralling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite -- not only to save Jean's soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy. Will the remaining X-Men manage to overpower what Jean has become, will Jean manage to fight against the forces within her are some questions that make up the rest of the film. Starting off, the film begins by laying down the premise and introducing Jean Grey’s character and her mutant abilities. Though the first half of the film is rather slow thanks to this setup being introduced, the second half does pick up. However, despite a more rapidly progressing second half, action sequences are sparse and far between. Although, the few action sequences that are there are well executed and are sheer visual treats, one expects more from what is essentially the last film in a character’s arc. X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX has in its run up to release been promoted as an edge of the seat thrill ride that promises an adrenaline pumping action, the onscreen product though is far from it. In fact, more often than not, the viewer is left impatiently waiting for what comes next. Director Simon Kinberg seems to have focussed more on telling the story of an individual mentally tussling with herself to gain the upper hand, while unknowingly affecting those around. Sadly, this latest offering in the X-MEN franchise is as muddles as the recent releases in this series. Unfortunately, unlike the other Marvel sagas, the X-MEN franchise has been subject to rather random time jumps and shifts that have left their core audience at a loss. If you think you will gain clarity about the time line with reference to X-MEN: APOCLYPSE and X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, you will be let down. But it isn’t all downhill, we have to admit that the CGI is well developed and seamlessly woven into the live action bits, from the space mission to the wanton destruction that happens, each CGI heavy sequence is modelled and executed to perfection. The background music too is on point, and with Hans Zimmer as the music director, one expects nothing less. Coming to performances, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey is decent. She does well in her given role; however there are times when it may all seem a bit over the top. But, Turner does hold her own, even when sharing screen space with the likes of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. As for Fassbender and McAvoy, both have done equally well in their given roles. In fact, both the actors have over the time adapted to their characters and embodied them perfectly. As for the rest of the cast, each of them have done fairly well in their limited roles. A special mention needs to be made here for Jessica Chastain as Vuk, she plays the emotionally and expression devoid character with aplomb. On the whole, X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX is just another action movie that you won’t regret not watching. And if you are an X-MEN fan there are high chances that you be disappointed. At the box office, the film hits screens alongside the Salman Khan starrer BHARAT, and will face an uphill task. However, the release across 1100 screens in multiple languages will certainly assist in posting decent figures

Movie Review: Bharat

Wed, 05 Jun 19 03:04:55 +0000

In <a href="">Bollywood</a>, a film that covers an entire lifespan of a character is very rare and is only seen in biopics. Hollywood has done that quite often in fictional films but in our cinema, it has rarely been witnessed. Blockbuster director Ali Abbas Zafar, after delivering two Rs. 300 crore grossers, is now back with <a href="">BHARAT</a>. It stars Salman Khan in the lead and he’ll be seen in various avatars as he ages through the film. The looks of the superstar has been appreciated but will these praises be there for the film as well? Will <a href="">BHARAT</a> work despite being such an atypical entertainer? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-986534 size-full" title="Movie Review Bharat" src="" alt="Movie Review Bharat" width="720" height="450" /> BHARAT is about the journey of a man and a nation together. The story begins in 1947 in Mirpur village near Lahore. Bharat (<a href="">Salman Khan</a>) is a kid and his father Gautam Kumar (Jackie Shroff) dotes on him. This is the time of Partition and Bharat and his family are compelled to leave for India. At the railway station, Bharat is climbing on top of the train with his sister Gudiya (Barbiee Sharma) when she falls down on the station. Gautam has already managed to safely climb atop the train but he goes down to search Gudiya. But before that, he gives his watch to Bharat and assures him that he'll be back. He also tells him to go with his mother Janki (Sonali Kulkarni), brother and sister to Gautam's sister Jamuna (Ayesha Raza Mishra)'s shop, Hind Ration Store in Delhi. Bharat and his family cross over to India and thus go to the ration shop as asked by Gautam. They are quite poor and Bharat starts doing odd jobs. Bharat soon grows up as a dashing young man (Salman Khan) and he and his childhood friend Vilayati (Sunil Grover) join a circus. Here he comes across the sizzling Radha (Disha Patani). Both Bharat and Radha get into a relationship while also doing death defying stunts. However when Bharat realises his stunts might be influencing youngsters to do the same without proper training, he quits the circus. He goes to employment exchange where he meets Kumud (Katrina Kaif) and gets smitten by her. Bharat and Vilayati are sent to Middle East to work in the oil fields. The money is good but not as much as he expected to earn. Hence, Bharat decides to work in the dangerous underground mines. Kumud who is now in love with Bharat stops him from taking up the project since she's aware that the risk is quite high. Bharat however still takes up the work. All is well at first but 21 days later, an explosion takes place in the underground mine. It seems near impossible for Bharat and his other colleagues to come out alive. What happens next forms the rest of the film. <a href="">BHARAT</a> is based on the 2014 Korean flick <em>Ode To My Father</em> (directed by Yoon Je-kyoon; written by Park Su-jin). The story has been Indianized very well and the important events of post-Independence India like the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, rise of unemployment, the 1983 Cricket World Cup final, era of liberalisation and globalisation, emerging trend of redevelopment etc are well inserted in the narrative. Ali Abbas Zafar and Varun V Sharma’s screenplay is effective and keeps viewers engaged from start to finish. The emotional sequences especially are quite well written. Ali Abbas Zafar and Varun V Sharma’s dialogues are simple and sharp, and even quite funny at places. Ali Abbas Zafar’s direction is topnotch. Unlike his previous films, this film is in a different zone but Ali handles it all like a pro. The film changes tracks every 15-20 minutes and to handle such a film is not a cakewalk. For instance, after the tragic Partition scene, the film gets a bit comic and even quite colourful in the circus sequence. The switch however happens quite seamlessly and this can be seen throughout the film. On the flipside however, the humour is forced in a few scenes and doesn’t make the desired impact. Also, the National Anthem scene seems unwarranted for and could have been written in a better way. <a href="">BHARAT</a> begins very well, showing the 70-year-old Bharat and his life in Delhi. One might feel that the makers perhaps have shown too much at this point. But one need not worry because there’s a lot that the principal character goes through in his life and it slowly gets unveiled. The childhood portion is moving while the circus scenes are vibrant and entertaining. The real fun however begins once Bharat meets Kumud and later when he starts working in the Middle East. Till this point, there hasn’t been much conflict in the tale. But it finally enters the narrative once Bharat and his teammates get trapped. The manner in which the film goes on a high at this point is seen to be believed. The second half gets better thankfully. The scenes of the ship are quite good and watch out for how the humour is so well infused in the sequence where the pirates attack the vessel! The best however is reserved for the pre-climax. An interesting development takes place here and it’ll surely bring tears to the eyes of viewers, a la BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN [2015]. The film ends on a justified note. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Bharat Movie Review | Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover, Disha patani | Public Review</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Salman Khan as expected rocks the show. He is dashing and entertaining in each and every avatar. And he seems convincing in all these makeovers. In the circus scene, he’s supposed to be below 30 years ago and it comes out just right. Even as an old man, he fits the part and makes subtle changes in his speech, body language etc. His fans are surely in for a treat! Katrina Kaif looks ravishing and performance wise, she is first rate. She gets to essay a very well-written part and she does justice to it. Her conversation with Salman while munching on shawarma is quite memorable. Sunil Grover gets a lot of screen time and is almost like the second lead of the film. And he makes good use of the opportunity and would surely be appreciated. Jackie Shroff’s screen time is very limited but he has a crucial part and he makes his presence felt. Disha Patani is sizzling and has a fine screen presence. Tabu (Meher) has a powerful cameo. Aasif Sheikh (Mehek’s husband) stands out with his characterization and humour. The kid actors - Barbiee Sharma, Kabir Sajid (young Bharat), Aaryan Prajapati (young Vilayati) and Matin Rey Tangu (young Jimmy) are adorable. Nora Fatehi (Sussan) looks quite hot but is wasted. Sonali Kulkarni, Kashmira Irani (Mehek), Kumud Kumar Mishra (Keemat), Ayesha Raza Mishra, Shashank Arora (Chhote), Rajiv Gupta (Gulati) and Ivan Rodrigues (Gupta) are decent. Meiyang Chang is hardly there but his look is quite badass. Vishal-Shekhar's music is good but could have been better.<a href=""> <em>'Slow Motion'</em></a> is the top song of the lot followed by <em>'Chashni'</em>. <em>'Aithey Aa'</em> is well choreographed. <em>'Zinda'</em> is exhilarating.<em> 'Tupreya'</em>, <em>'Aaya Na Tu'</em> and <em>'Thap Thap'</em> are okay. Julius Packiam's background score is better and exhilarating, especially in the emotional scenes. Vaibhavi Merchant and Adil Shaikh's choreography is appealing, especially in <em>'Slow Motion'</em> and <em>'Aithey Aa'</em>. Marcin Laskawiec's cinematography is captivating and some scenes are very well captured. Rajnish Hedao's production design is quite rich. Ashley Rebello, Alvira Khan Agnihotri, Veera Kapur Ee and Lolveen Bains's costumes are authentic and also glamorous. The ones worn by Katrina Kaif and Disha Patani stand out. SeaYoung Oh, Parvez Shaikh and Dave Judge's action is not too gory and is appropriate. Rameshwar Bhagat's editing falters in a few places but overall, it’s commendable, considerable the expansive storyline. On the whole, <a href="">BHARAT</a> is a super-entertainer with emotions as its strong USP and <a href="">Salman Khan</a> like never before. The superb combination of Salman Khan, emotions and the release period [Eid] will ensure fireworks at the ticket windows. At the box office, it will fetch bumper profits for all concerned. <a href="">Bharat Review</a> <a href="">Bharat Movie Review</a>                  <a href=""> Bharat Movie Review</a&gt

Movie Review: India's Most Wanted

Fri, 24 May 19 04:30:50 +0000

Since many years, there have been extraordinary tales of heroism and bravery pertaining to national interest. At times, these news items made it to the newspapers and yet didn’t become a talking point. Or there were times when it never made it to the headlines at all. Director Raj Kumar Gupta made a film last year, RAID, which fell in the latter category. And now he tells a story that comes in the category of former in his upcoming film, INDIA’S MOST WANTED. So does INDIA’S MOST WANTED manage to entertain and keep the viewers gripped? Or does it fail? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-982338" src="’s-Most-Wanted-3-1.jpg" alt="" width="720" height="450" /> INDIA’S MOST WANTED is the story of a sensational capture of a terrorist. Prabhaat Kapoor (Arjun Kapoor) is an intelligence official based in Bihar and has the reputation of capturing several high-profile criminals. He one day gets a tip from a mysterious source (Jitendra Shastri) about a dreaded terrorist’s hideout in Nepal. This terrorist is none other than Yusuf (Sudev Nair), who has masterminded several terrorist attacks in India. Thanks to his track record, he has been hailed as India’s Osama Bin Laden. After getting permission from his senior Rajesh Singh (Rajesh Sharma) unofficially, Prabhaat leaves for Nepal along with Pillai (Prasanth Alexandrr), Amit (Gaurav Mishra) and Aasif Khan (Bittu). Without informing Rajesh, Prabhaat takes financial and manpower help from Ravi (Bajrangbali Singh) and the team reaches Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. They meet the source and he tells them that Yusuf had met him through his acquaintance Nadeem to send money to Saudi Arabia. But the source doesn’t know where Yusuf exactly resides. Thus begins the hunt for Prabhaat and his team. However, the challenges in front of them are aplenty. They are not authorized to use weapons and are on the mission illegally. Moreover, Pakistan’s ISI have a heavy presence in Nepal and they’ll do anything to save Yusuf from the clutches of Team Prabhaat. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Raj Kumar Gupta's story is strictly okay and reminds one of the second half of Akshay Kumar-starrer BABY [2015]. He has tried to remain authentic to the real incident. In doing so, Raj Kumar Gupta's screenplay suffers. The episode of how the terrorist was nabbed was sensational especially the bit of getting hold of him without firing a single bullet. But in other words, this also means that the film is devoid of action and some real entertainment. Raj Kumar Gupta's dialogues are nothing great. Raj Kumar Gupta's direction is not upto the mark, especially considering his work in the past films like AAMIR [2008], NO ONE KILLED JESSICA [2011] and RAID [2018]. The writing is surely the biggest culprit here but even his direction doesn’t do much to salvage the situation. A few scenes here and there are fine but these are far and few between. The element of thrill is certainly missing. Moreover, the idea of inserting shots of various serial blasts followed by Yusuf’s justification at regular intervals is very random and spoils the film’s narrative. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Arjun Kapoor On Freedom Of Expression | Bolne Me Sau baar Sochna Padta | We Are Soft targets</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>   INDIA’S MOST WANTED starts on an average note. Prabhaat’s entry is intended to be heroic but it doesn’t come out well. The sequence where Prabhaat’s members pool in money for the Nepal trip from their own pocket is moving especially considering that all of them hardly have any savings. This is the only time one can feel for them. Otherwise, throughout the film, one doesn’t really root for them and also they don’t seem convincing about their record of successfully executing some crucial missions in the past. The pace of the film is slow and some scenes just add to the confusion and length. The character of India’s Most Wanted terrorist also is weak. He doesn’t come across as powerful or heinous but thankfully, no attempt is done to show his back story or his sufferings. The interrogation of the source is well executed. The intermission point is quite dramatic. Also, the climax is when the interest really piques. But again, the sequence of Team Prabhaat’s journey from Nepal to India seems rather convenient. The finale is a bit exhilarating and that helps the film end on a somewhat decent note. Arjun Kapoor delivers a performance that can be called passable. His act is not consistent – in some scenes, he really acts genuinely but in some scenes, he doesn’t seem in complete form. His best act is when he sets his eyes on the terrorist for the first time. Rajesh Sharma is quite dependable. Jitendra Shastri is entertaining, especially his looks and character. Prasanth Alexandrr, Gaurav Mishra and Aasif Khan are strictly okay. Same goes for Bajrangbali Singh. Sudev Nair tries his best to look and act in a heinous manner. Amit Trivedi's music is forgettable. <em>'Vande Mataram'</em> doesn’t evoke any sense of patriotism. The club song <em>‘Dil Jaani’</em> is forced although it’s hummable. Amit Trivedi's background score is in sync with the film’s mood. Dudley's cinematography is nothing special. Too many aerial shots have been used. Rita Ghosh's production design is realistic. Rohit Chaturvedi's costumes are also quite authentic. Parvez Shaikh's action lacks excitement. Bodhaditya Banerjee's editing is flawed as the film could have been much shorter. <a href="">India's Most Wanted Review :</a> On the whole, INDIA’S MOST WANTED is an average fare thanks to its poor writing and direction. At the box office, the film is going to face an uphill task owing to the lack of excitement and buzz. <a href="">India's Most Wanted Review :</a>        <a href="">India's Most Wanted Movie Review</a&gt

Movie Review: De De Pyaar De

Thu, 16 May 19 18:12:53 +0000

In Indian society, a marriage of a younger woman with an older man is seen as completely acceptable. However, terms and conditions apply especially if the age gap between the two is considerable. Such marriages are quite common and yet they continue to raise eyebrows and become a topic of gossip. Luv Ranjan, known for making quirky relatable romcoms, now takes up this topic in his latest offing, DE DE PYAAR DE. But this time he’s just the writer and producer as he passes on the director’s hat to well-known editor and first time director, Akiv Ali. So does <a href="">DE DE PYAAR DE</a> manage to entertain and give a gala time, just like Luv Ranjan’s previous works? Or does it fail to deliver? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-980254" src="" alt="Movie Review De De Pyaar De IMG" width="750" height="450" /> DE DE PYAAR DE is an unusual love story. Ashish (Ajay Devgn), 50, is based in London. He is separated from his wife, Manju (Tabu). At a common friend’s wedding, he comes across Aisha (Rakul Preet Singh) who is 26 years old. She is free-spirited and carefree and both she and Ashish get attracted to each other. In no time, she moves into his place. When the topic of marriage comes up, Ashish hesitates but realizing how much he loves Aisha, he agrees. He takes her to his hometown in Manali to get his parent’s approval. He decides to go there unannounced and as soon as he reaches there, all hell breaks loose. Ashish has not been in contact with them since years and hence his family comprising of Manju, daughter Ishita (Inayat), son Ishaan (Bhavin Bhanushali), father (Alok Nath) and mother (Madhumalti Kapoor) are startled to see him and that too with Ashish. Ishita gets livid as her to-be-father-in-law Atul (Kumud Mishra) is about to come to meet the family. She is petrified since she told Atul and her boyfriend Rishi (Rajveer Singh) that Ashish is no more! Ashish develops cold feet on seeing so much of negativity upon his arrival. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Luv Ranjan’s story is entertaining and also quite progressive and mature. He gives a very important message but peppers it with entertaining and funny sequences to keep the interest going. Luv Ranjan, Tarun Jain and Surabhi Bhatnagar’s screenplay is also just right and very effective. There’s so much happening in the film every minute that throughout the 135 minute duration, one doesn’t get bored at all. A few sequences are unconvincing here and there but the plusses outweigh the minuses in a huge way. Tarun Jain and Luv Ranjan’s dialogues are as expected very well-worded, witty and funny. The lingo is of today’s generation and that is refreshing. The muting of abuses however is a downer. Akiv Ali’s direction is quite good and as a first-timer, it is very praiseworthy that he has handled the film and its plot with sensitivity and finesse. The film is also a bit bold for the Indian audience due to the stigma attached with couples having unusually huge age gaps. Also, a sequence related to Raksha Bandhan might raise eyebrows. Same goes for the pre-climax twist. Hence, a section of moviegoers might get uncomfortable. But the writing along with Akiv’s direction ensures that it’ll be accepted and will be seen in the right spirit. Also, it reflects the changing times. <a href="">DE DE PYAAR DE</a> begins on a rocking note. Aisha’s entry is smoking hot and the manner in which she develops feelings for Ashish is gradual and seems convincing. The track of Sunny Singh (Akash) adds to the fun. A surprise of the first half is when the laughter vanishes and the narrative gets moving. However, it doesn’t take the film down and prepares audiences for the fact that the film is not a laugh-a-minute caper. The intermission point is clapworthy and comes at an excellent point as one knows that from hereon, it’s going to be all fireworks. And that’s what happens in the second half. The madness goes on another level as Ashish gets attacked from all quarters. At the same time, it will also make viewers teary-eyed. The sequence where Ashish bats for live-in relationships and the effect it has on others is too good. But the best is deserved for the pre-climax and climax. Some unexpected developments take place and Manju’s outburst is seen to be believed. The film ends on a great note and there’s even a hint of a sequel! <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Ajay Devgn is subtle and underplays his part beautifully. When it comes to comedy, in recent times he’s known for films like GOLMAAL where he is over the top. But in case of <a href="">DE DE PYAAR DE</a>, Ajay understands the space well and keeps the whole thing real and at the same time entertaining. In the initial scenes, he speaks with his eyes a lot without mouthing many dialogues and it creates a tremendous impact. And there’s a lovely SINGHAM surprise in the film which will make the masses crazy! Rakul Preet Singh shines like a star and it is her most accomplished work in <a href="">Bollywood</a>. She appears very confident as the hot bombshell and performance wise, she is spot on. In fact, she dominates many sequences of the first half. Tabu on the hand is the soul of the second hour. Her character is fleshed out very well and with her performance, she makes it even more special. Her part would be accepted with open arms and after ANDHADHUN [2018], this is yet another feather in her cap! Jimmy Sheirgill adds to the humour though in some scenes, his character seems a bit forced. Alok Nath seems to have sleepwalked from the sets of Luv’s previous film, SONU KE TITU KI SWEEETY [2018]. No complaints though as he’s funny. Kumud Mishra adds a lot to the film. Inayat is too loud and though that was the character requirement, she goes slightly overboard. Bhavin Bhanushali is adorable and his track too adds to the madness. Jaaved Jaaferi (Sameer) and Sunny Singh contribute to the laughter quotient in the first half. Madhumalti Kapoor and Rajveer Singh are okay. Songs are not of chartbuster variety but work in the film. <em>'Vaddi Sharaban'</em> is the best of the lot due to its picturisation, situation and choreography (Bosco Caesar). <em>'Dil Royi Jaye'</em> comes next and the moving track is beautifully sung by Arijit Singh. <em>'Mukhda Vekh Ke'</em> is foot-tapping, <em>'Chale Aana'</em> is visually strong while <em>'Tu Mila Toh Haina'</em> is sweet. <em>'Hauli Hauli'</em> is played in the end credits. Hitesh Sonik’s background score adds to the entertainment. Shashank Tere's production design is rich and appealing. Niharika Bhasin Khan and Aki Narula's costumes are glamorous especially the ones worn by Rakul Preet. Even Ajay and Tabu are styled nicely. Chetan M Solanki's editing is praiseworthy as the pace of the film is neither too quick nor dragging. <h4><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">De De Pyaar De Review</a> :</h4> On the whole, <a href="">DE DE PYAAR DE</a> is a paisa vasool entertainer with plenty of laugh aloud moments and strong emotions as its USP. At the box office, the film has the potential to work big time basis a strong word of mouth. Recommended! <h4><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">De De Pyaar De Review</a>      <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">De De Pyaar De Movie Review</a></h4&gt

Movie Review: Student Of The Year 2

Fri, 10 May 19 07:40:29 +0000

Some of the most popular films on OTT platforms at present are those that are set in schools or colleges. These are usually light-hearted films dealing with love and other school based aspects. Not just on streaming platforms, even in cinemas, this genre has never gone out of fashion and Hollywood regularly churns such films. But when it comes to Bollywood, one can hardly recall handful of such films. The only memorable movies one can recollect in the last 10-11 years are JAANE TU YA JAANE NA [2008], 3 IDIOTS [2009] and FUKREY [2013]. STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 hence is an important film in this regard. Its first part, released in 2012, was a success and established three new actors – Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra. Now, Karan Johar has released STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 and this time he casts two new girls – Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria – along with popular actor Tiger Shroff. However, it’s Punit Malhotra who’s wearing the director’s cap for the sequel. So does STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 manage to entertain and be as good or better than its predecessor? Or does it fail to entice? Let’s analyse. <img class="aligncenter wp-image-978310 size-full" title="Movie Review Student Of The Year 2" src="" alt="Movie Review Student Of The Year 2" width="720" height="450" /> STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 is the story of triumph, love and making a comeback. Rohan (Tiger Shroff) and Mridula (Tara Sutaria) study together in Pishori Chamanlal college. Both are in love and there comes a time when Mridula changes her college and gets admission in the prestigious St Teresa College. Rohan too wants to get admitted in this institution but knowing that the fees there are too costly, he abandons the plan. He still tries his luck and seeks admission under the sports quota. As luck would have it, his admission is approved. Rohan reaches there and realizes Mridula has changed. For starters, she now calls herself Mia. She also gets a bit detached with Rohan. However, in no time Rohan wins her heart and they both again become a couple. Meanwhile, Rohan is introduced to the Teresa’s stud and star athlete, Manav Mehra (Aditya Seal). They quickly become friends but Manav’s sister Shreya (Ananya Panday) detests him. She always tries her best to put Rohan in a spot. At the time of the dance competition of the college, Rohan and Mia team up while Manav and Shreya jointly participate. For both the girls, winning the competition is very crucial.  Mia wants to attain popularity and she realizes that this dance competition will be a step in that direction. Shreya, meanwhile, wants to escape the clutches of her tyrannical father Mr Randhawa (Chetan Pandit) and also her over-achiever brother Manav and enrol in a dance school in London. During the competition, Manav and Shreya win while Rohan and Mia get defeated as Mia loses her grip. Mia is devastated and when Rohan goes to console her, he finds Mia and Manav cosying up to each other. An angry Rohan punches Manav. This action leads to Rohan’s expulsion from St Teresa. Manav, still cross over getting hit by Rohan, gangs up and beats Rohan black and blue. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Arshad Syed's story, with additional inputs by Paulomi Dutta, is nothing new and novel. However, it’s written keeping in the mind the genre. Arshad Syed's screenplay however is praiseworthy as its peppered with some entertaining, dramatic and even moving moments. The beginning however is a bit haphazard. Arshad Syed's dialogues are witty and some one-liners raise guffaws. Punit Malhotra's direction is appropriate. He understands the space in which the film is set and does justice to the plot in hand. He had a tall order to reach considering that the first part was very well helmed by Karan Johar. In that regard, he comes quite close and that’s quite a feat. Despite the unreal world, Punit puts his earnest effort in making it seem convincing. At a few places, he does falter though, story-wise. Shreya’s turn around in the second half is difficult to digest. Also, a twist in the first half revolving around Mia is surely a shocker but might raise questions. STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 doesn’t have a great opening as such. The beginning portions don’t really engross viewers. It’s only when Rohan gets admission in St Teresa that the film picks up. The stark contrast between Pishori and St Teresa is well depicted. Also, the issues Rohan faces while adjusting in the new environment and the way he upgrades his wardrobe to fit in is very relatable. The scene at Jeffrey’s is funny but the scene to watch out for in the first half is when Mr Randhawa slaps Shreya. It takes the film to another level as viewers realize Shreya’s life isn’t as lovely as it seems to be. Another sequence that comes close is the intermission point – quite impactful. The second half gets better as Rohan changes gear and also his life dream. A few sequences stand out here – Shreya celebrating her birthday alone, Rohan, Shreya and Mia arguing in the café and the fight at the college stadium. The climax keeps viewers on the edge and though predictable, it makes for a fine watch. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ROFL: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Pandey & Tara Sutaria’s FUNNIEST Quiz Ever | SOTY 2</strong></span> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Tiger Shroff is completely in his element and as always, does a great job. His screen presence is electrifying and though he is perceived as a killing machine, it’s still believable when he’s the one getting bashed up by the baddies and he doesn’t even fight back. However, when he does make a comeback, it’s seen to be believed! In fact, the praise should also be showered on Punit Malhotra for using Tiger’s action potential to the fullest and also seamlessly making it a part of film’s narrative! Ananya Panday is a complete star and she proves it. She looks very convincing as a spoilt rich brat. Her change of heart might seem unconvincing but once that happens, she impresses even more, acting-wise. Her’s is in fact the most moving character in the film and she wins hearts! Tara Sutaria too puts her best foot forward. Her screen presence too is something to watch out for. Sadly, she gets a bit sidelined in the second half but she surely gets noticed and is set for a bright future in Bollywood! Aditya Seal is well casted and he is terrific as the baddie. Watch out for the scenes where he’s silently observing and without saying a word, he conveys a lot! Harsh Beniwal (Puggi) is quite entertaining and raises laughs. Ayesha Raza (Principal Singh) and Manoj Pahwa (Coach Mahipal) are a bit over the top but it was as per the requirement of the character. Samir Soni (Principal Gujral) tries to be funny but fails. Gul Panag (Coach Kuljeet) shines in a small role. Chetan Pandit is alright. Rajesh Kumar (Rohan’s astrologer uncle) is hilarious in his entry scene. Manasi Joshi Roy (Roshan’s aunt) is unrecognizable and doesn’t have much to do. Samreen Kaur (Mia’s mother) is there for just one scene which is also needless. Rajveer Singh (Security guard Lahiri Singh) gets noticed. Will Smith is seen for a few seconds while Alia Bhatt adds to the glamour quotient in the end credit song. Vishal-Shekhar's music is not that great. The first part had very memorable songs while in this part, songs are below-par. <em>'The Jawaani Song'</em> is the best of the lot and most entertaining. <em>'The Hook Up Song'</em>, appears in the end credit, is okay. <em>'Main Bhi Nahin Soya'</em> is moving, more so because of the visuals. <em>'Fakira'</em> and <em>'Jat Ludhiyane Da'</em> are also alright. <em>'Mumbai Dilli Di Kudiyaan'</em> is not a part of the film. Salim-Sulaiman's background score is energetic and dramatic. Ravi K Chandran's cinematography is rich and gives the film a brilliant look. Choreography is visually appealing by all three - Remo Dsouza (<em>'The Jawaani Song'</em>), Adil Shaikh (<em>'Fakira'</em> and <em>'Jat Ludhiyane Da'</em>) and Farah Khan (<em>'The Hook Up Song'</em>). Sumayya Shaikh's production design is superior in terms of visuals and ups the film’s richness. Manish Malhotra and Nikita Jaisinghani's costumes are also a treat to the eyes. Though they might seem a bit too over the top, especially the costumes worn by Ananya and Tara, it will be liked by the target audience and might soon even set a new trend in fashion. Sham Kaushal's action defies logic and laws of gravity at places but in a film of this zone, it actually works well. Ritesh Soni’s editing is praiseworthy. The film is nearly 145 minutes long but doesn’t seem lengthy. On the whole, STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 is an entertaining and an enjoyable fare which will strike a chord in the audience’s hearts. At the box office, it has the potential to do excellent business! <strong><a href="">Student Of The Year 2 Review</a>        <a href="">Student Of The Year 2 Movie Review</a></strong&gt

Movie Review: Blank

Fri, 03 May 19 04:31:12 +0000

Before Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday make their much awaited debuts next week in STUDENT OF THE YEAR, there is one more newbie who will step into the world of Bollywood – Karan Kapadia with BLANK. The film and the actor both have been talked about since Karan is the nephew of Dimple Kapadia. Even Akshay Kumar has lent his support to the film by agreeing to do a promotional song. With the marketing aspect being taken care of, the questions that arise now are – Is BLANK well-made worth all the hype and buzz? Or does it fail to strike a chord with the audience? Let’s analyse! <img class="aligncenter wp-image-975944 size-full" title="Movie Review Blank" src="" alt="Movie Review Blank" width="750" height="450" /> BLANK is the story of a terrorist who is a ‘living explosive’. Hanif (Karan Kapadia) is a part of a terrorist group called Tehreer Al-Hind, headed by Maqsood (Jameel Khan). He has arrived in Mumbai along with other terrorists with a deadly plan – to set off 24 bomb blasts, each by a terrorist. However, on the D-Day, he meets with a road accident. He faints and is taken to the hospital. The staff there is astonished to see a timed bomb fixed to his body! Immediately, the ATS chief S S Dewan (Sunny Deol) is informed. The doctors are unable to detach the bomb from his body as its connected with his heart. Once Hanif regains consciousness, another obstacle emerges in front of Dewan. Hanif has lost his memory due to the accident and doesn’t remember anything at all about the bomb or where he has come from. Dewan’s juniors, Husna (Ishita Dutta) and Rohit (Karanvir Sharma) meanwhile nab another suicide bomber, Farukh. Realizing that the police now has the second terrorist to extract information from, Dewan’s senior Aruna Gupta orders that Hanif be taken to the outskirts of the city and be killed. Dewan accompanies the party that takes Hanif to a salt pan. On the other hand, Husna successfully locates Hanif’s residence where she finds the blueprint of the bomb attached to Hanif’s body. She realizes that killing Hanif will trigger other 24 bombs in the city and she quickly informs Dewan of the same. At this moment, a team of terrorists arrive at the salt pans and attacks the cops. They also take away Hanif. What happens next forms the rest of the film. Pranav Adarsh's story is average. His screenplay is decent but also has its loose ends. Some small developments are also skipped which is bewildering. After all, the film’s duration is quite less and 4-5 minutes of extra scenes wouldn't have harmed the film. Behzad Khambata's dialogues are simple and work well. Behzad Khambata's direction is quite good, also considering that it’s his directorial debut. He has some handled some scenes deftly. BLANK is just 111 minutes long but it seems quite lengthy. The film starts off well at a crucial moment and then goes on a flashback mode. The first half doesn’t go on a high but is decent and sans complaints. Hanif’s fight sequence in the hospital is nicely done. His interrogation sequence gets a bit dragging but keeps viewers engaged. The intermission point however is the best part of the film. Three developments are happening simultaneously here – Husna is searching Hanif’s house, Rohit is in search of the godown whereas Dewan is about to execute Hanif. And all these episodes are well directed. Post-interval however, the film goes downhill. A track is needlessly added about Hanif’s father during the 2002 riots. Remove this bit and the film still would have made sense. The action scene in the tourist office is quite long and well executed. The climax is quite unexpected and unpredictable. That is a plus but at the same time, logic goes out of the window. The masses especially would find it difficult to understand the developments regarding the bomb attached on Hanif’s body. <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sunny Deol, Karan Kapadia and Ishita Dutta grace the trailer launch of the film Blank | Part 2</span></strong> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Karan Kapadia makes a fine debut. He succeeds in pulling off this uni-dimensional character. Shockingly, the film is marketed extensively on his name but for most of the second half, he is not there on the screen. Sunny Deol is excellent and after a string of bad films and acts [YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA PHIR SE, MOHALLA ASSI, BHAIAJI SUPERHIT], he finally proves his worth in this film. The audiences will get to see the Deol they love, in this film. Ishita Dutta gives her best shot. Karanvir Sharma looks dashing and makes his presence felt. Jameel Khan (Maqsood) is entertaining. But his act might remind one of his character in BABY [2015]. Kishori Shahane (Dewan’s wife) is wasted. The actors playing Farukh, Bashir, Aruna Gupta and Dewan’s son Raunaq are average. Music has no scope. <em>'Ali Ali'</em>, featuring Akshay Kumar, appears in the end. <em>'Himmat Karja'</em> is wasted and the way Sunny Deol and others start doing a particular hand movement in a serious moment looks out of place. <em>'Warning Nahi Dunga'</em> is played during the opening credits and goes well with it. Rooshin Dalal and Kaizad Gherd's background score however is quite powerful and escalates impact. R Dee's cinematography is top-class and gives the film a superior look. Watch out for the bird’s eye shot of the salt pans – simply breathtaking! Vikram Dahiya's action is visually nice and not too gory. Rajinder Sharma's production design is appropriate. FutureWorks Media Ltd's VFX is authentic. Sanjay Sharma's editing is okay. On the whole, BLANK is well directed and performed and is based on the relatable events of terrorism. Sunny Deol's fans will love him in an action packed role after a long time. At the box office, it will be an average fare

Movie Review - Avengers: Endgame (SPOILER FREE)

Thu, 25 Apr 19 17:29:01 +0000

Over the past decade or so Marvel and Disney have introduced the audience to superhero films that have since become some of the highest grossing cinematic ventures ever. With a fan following that rivals any army, audiences throng to the cinema halls each time a film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases. Now, after 22 films we finally see the release of the concluding chapter with AVENGERS: ENDGAME hitting screens. But how do you wrap up over a decade of stories, with twice as many films while tying up loose ends is the biggest task this week’s release faces. Will the new release that comes with immense hope and anticipation attached to it live up to expectations or will AVENGERS: ENDGAME be yet another CGI filled actioner is the question. <img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-973955" src="" alt="Movie Review Avengers - Endgame (English)" width="720" height="450" /> AVENGERS: ENDGAME starts off from where the chaotic events of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR left. After the snap, Earth’s mightiest heroes are left picking up the pieces of what remains following Thanos wiping out half of all life. The film details the mental anguish and trauma each character goes through, the loss they feel and cope up with and eventually them formulating a plan to turn back events. Will the arrival of Captain Marvel that was revealed in the previous film be the game changer? Will the Avengers who have survived ‘The Decimation’ be able to band together and save the day, or will a new evil threaten what remains on Earth is what forms the rest of the film. Right from the word go, the viewer is plunged head first into the Avengers universe, detailing what remains after Thanos’ infamous snap that has been christened ‘The Decimation’. We learn how each of our favourite superheroes are dealing with the loss. But the film does not dwell upon this topic for long, from there on the viewer is taken on a chaotic ride filled with twists, plots and sub plots as the remaining Avengers conceptualize and execute a way to bring back the fallen. Though the runtime of AVENGERS: ENDGAME has been a point of ongoing discussion, the film which is over three hours long seems like a breeze. Not once does the film let the viewer know how much time has passed. In fact the film brings a sense of normalcy after the chaotic happening in INFINITY WAR, while keeping the viewer gripped. Like any of the previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, if not the best is by far one among the best made films in a saga that has lasted for over a decade. A fitting conclusion to a 22 film build up that literally no one could have seen coming, the film is a perfect ode to a story that has entertained a generation. Be it writing, direction, acting or editing, each aspect has been dealt with excellence. Here, a special mention needs to be made for writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have done a brilliant job with the character. Both Markus and McFeely understand each character and their relevant lines so well that they have managed to breathe life into their on screen renditions, while at the same time keeping in mind the happenings over the past 22 films to bring them all together in a fitting, gut-wrenching, emotional climax. However, AVENGERS: ENDGAME isn’t perfect; the film does have its share of flaws coming in the form of confusing plots and sub-plots that intertwine with each other to create a confusing mesh of time travelling mashup all done to defeat Thanos. And here in lies some of the biggest loopholes, given the fact that the film has teased time travel with set photos finding their way to the internet. The big questions then arises is, how do the Avengers maintain the space-time continuum while skipping back in time to change events. Though it may not follow the beaten path as films based on time travel have in the past, ENDGAME sees its own laws of time travel unravel. While this certainly is entertaining to watch, fans might just be plagued with a few unanswered questions at the end. <strong>Avengers Endgame: First Day First Show Grand Celebration with Fans | Public Review</strong> <iframe id="jwiframe" class="playerFrame" src="" width="800" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> Coming to the performances in AVENGERS: ENDGAME, each of the cast members from Robert Downey Jr. to Scarlett Johansson, to Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo Chris Hemsworth and the others have done stellar jobs. Here, a special mention needs to be made for RDJ, who proves why he was the one Avenger who had the entire script of ENDGAME. Directors, Anthony and Joe Russo too have done a commendable job, as ending an era of films with a visual spectacle that entertains is no easy task. But the director duo has done exceedingly well to encompass the fandom and fan theories that have evolved over the years. With twists that keep you gripped and well executed action sequences that leave you in awe, AVENGERS: ENDGAME makes for a thrilling watch. Along with a good story, excellent direction and flawless performances, AVENGERS: ENDGAME also features visually stunning CGI that has been woven into the live action sequences seamlessly. Besides this there is also the background score of the film that adds a whole new dimension to what is happening on screen. The well intoned notes and crescendos build up the proceedings for a thrilling climax. A special mention needs to be made about the editing of the film, which seamlessly merges past and present events while at the same time ensuring not to confuse the viewer. On the whole, AVENGERS: ENDGAME is a fitting end to a journey that lasted over a decade. While the climax itself might leave viewers wanting more, the journey the film takes them on is an experience that will not be forgotten soon. A definite must watch roller coaster ride that will leave you speechless. At the box office, with shows running right through the night in some locations, and with an ardent fan following, AVENGERS: ENDGAME looks set to establish new box office records in India. <h4><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Avengers: Endgame (English) Review</a>   <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Avengers: Endgame (English) Movie Review</a></h4&gt

Movie Review: KALANK lacks soul and is disappointing

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

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

Movie Review: The Tashkent Files

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

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

Movie Review: Romeo Akbar Walter

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

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

Movie Review: Notebook

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

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

Movie Review: Junglee

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

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

Movie Review: Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota

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

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

Movie Review: Kesari

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

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

Movie Review: Milan Talkies

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

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

Movie Review: Photograph

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

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

Movie Review: Badla

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

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

Movie Review: Captain Marvel (English)

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

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

Movie Review: Luka Chuppi

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

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

Movie Review: Sonchiriya

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

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

Movie Review: Total Dhamaal

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

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

Movie Review: Gully Boy

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

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

Movie Review: The Fakir Of Venice

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

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

Movie Review: Alita - Battle Angel

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

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